ARE MOVIES AS GOOD AS THEY USED TO BE?
I truly love a good movie and can well remember the excitement I used to feel as a child when the lights dimmed and “The Big Picture” started. Movies were so much better than real life.
As the years passed, I was to discover that real life is not without its merits—and could be every bit as exciting as a movie, and decidedly more dangerous; and that real sex beat movie sex every time. Nonetheless, movies have remained one of my favorite forms of relaxation.
Though I tend to have a fairly highly developed sense critique, I don’t watch movies that critically. I go to be entertained, not to carp—and if that means being tolerant, well so be it. That doesn’t mean that I enjoy bad movies—more that I’m not a perfectionist where movies are concerned. Also, my tastes are not particularly highbrow. I like Westerns, Gangster Movies, War Movies, Thrillers, Science Fiction, Musicals, and pretty much everything else except horror movies.
Given all that, I thought KILLING ME SOFTLY with Brad Pitt would be a safe bet. I like Brad Pitt and the supporting cast included such favorites as Ray Liotta.
Sadly, I was profoundly disappointed. In fact, though all the performances were excellent, I found the movie itself to be slow, sordid, and stupendously boring. God alone knows why Brad Pitt (who was rarely on screen) was attracted to the project.
Are movies as good as they used to be? Clearly some are, and bad movies are scarcely a recent invention. Still, it is my general feeling that screenplays are not as good and that technology has a tendency to get in the way rather more often than it should.
One fundamental fact, of course, is that directors simply don’t get the practice they used to to. Under the old studio system, a director could easily make several movies a year. Today it is more likely that he or she will make only a single movie every three or four years.
And practice makes perfect—or it certainly helps.
Where screenwriting is concerned, I suspect that globalization carries its share of the blame. If you want a movie to appeal to the widest audience possible, then there is a tendency to minimize complexity, sieve out subtlety, and reduce dialogue to a minimum.
Yes, I know film is a visual medium—but I’ll confess a weakness for good plotting and sharp dialogue.
But I’m a writer, so what else can you expect!