Falling out of love with Films

1 Guardians of the Galaxy BV $329,390,224 4,088 $94,320,883 4,080 8/1 –
2 Captain America: The Winter Soldier BV $259,766,572 3,938 $95,023,721 3,938
3 The LEGO Movie WB $257,760,692 3,890 $69,050,279 3,775 2/7 9/4
4 Transformers: Age of Extinction Par. $245,439,076 4,233 $100,038,390 4,233 
5 Maleficent BV $241,200,085 3,948 $69,431,298 3,948 5/30 –
6 X-Men: Days of Future Past Fox $233,921,534 4,001 $90,823,660 3,996 
7 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Fox $208,433,412 3,969 $72,611,427 3,967
8 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Sony $202,853,933 4,324 $91,608,337 4,324 
9 Godzilla (2014) WB $200,676,069 3,952 $93,188,384 3,952 5/16 
10 22 Jump Street Sony $191,484,389 3,426 $57,071,445 3,306 

This is a list of the top ten films of 2014 so far; the figures show the gross takings, opening weekend takings etc. It is an American chart, but also holds good for the UK too, with one exception. I don’t know about the top foreign language films, as I am just discussing films in English for this post. Three things come to mind when perusing this list. Comic book franchises, pointless remakes, and a lame comedy. I am also mindful of CGI, green-screen technology, and the use of extensive make-up, and graphic effects. There are toy and model collecting franchises in there; as well as marketing opportunities, for everything from Burgers and theme-parks, to T-shirts.

I have some concerns, and some questions. Where is the acting here? What happened to originality, new ideas, good scripts, and plots? This is a burgeoning trend, and it shows no sign of abating. Comic-based blockbusters, with their right-wing messages, eye-popping 3-D, and endless sequels. Is this all we can expect from now on from the big studios? Have audiences become so mindless and thoughtless, that this is all they really want to watch? Is the recycling of old themes for younger generations the new golden age of film-making? To be honest, I despair of it all.

Where are the edgy directors? Does anyone ever want to take chances anymore, or has the power of profit reduced this industry to little more than a conveyor belt of crap? Even if you don’t want the independent thoughtful dramas, witty comedies, and abstract visions of the past, what about the epics? Where is the new David Lean, the modern Orson Welles, or even a John Ford for the 21st Century? Is it simply that they cannot get funding for their projects, and that nobody will read their scripts? Or are the big studios dictating what the public can watch, as it generates the most dollars for them? Perhaps I am wrong. Maybe the audiences have changed. They no longer want to think about what is on screen, as they munch through their snack foods in ‘ambient light’, updating their social media status on their smartphone, occasionally glancing at the film, distracted by a large explosion.

You may have the answer. You may well have your own opinions. But for me, the truth is simple. I am falling out of love with films. At least those in English.

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18 thoughts on “Falling out of love with Films

  1. This post is so true and to the point.. This is why I have a DVD collection when I want to watch a movie these days. The stuff that’s out there is well, compost….or perhaps should be at least turned into something useful..

    Great post and we can always hope for a good film to find its way to the cinema …

    Take care, Laura

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  2. I think it is rather unfair to lump together some of the movies on that list: I abhor the Transformers franchise for example (it is mind-numbingly stupid), but Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was, hands down, one of the best films I’ve seen recently (the first one too), featuring the out-of-this-world performance of Andy Serkis, who deserves all kinds of praise. The LEGO movie was also smart and very funny (who would have thought!), a very spirited parody that was not just for kids. The superhero movies tend to be unequal. Captain America: The Winter Soldier, was one of the better ones, with its critique of state surveillance. I don’t care about the other films on the list (Godzilla was unwatchable, the rest I don’t plan to watch, with the exception of Guardians of the Galaxy), but I did see the latest X-Men twice. In a movie theater. It is the best superhero movie in my opinion (I’m not a fan of Nolan), and it would be worth seeing just for the sake of Quicksilver’s central scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qckKMEySSYg.

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    1. I watched the clip Nandia, and it is very clever. It reminded me of ‘The Matrix’ in many respects. I have heard other good reports about the Lego Movie, so perhaps it is not what I believed it to be. As for the remakes, special effects, and CGI, I still stand by my comments. If all this creativity and technology is the way films are to be now, then I would like to see some original plots, new ideas, and less reliance on comics and previous successes. Maybe it’s an age thing? My age, that is.
      One thing I will confess, is that I have not watched any of the films on the list, so my uniformed opinion is just that.
      Thanks for your considered comment, always a pleasure to ‘see’ you here. Pete.

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  3. Gosh, I haven’t seen anything on the big screen in years. I am not kidding so I am not that familiar with all these titles. The only times that I watch movies (old ones) are thru cable and DVDs.

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  4. I always wait for films to come out on DVD/Blu-Ray, and then pick and choose, before watching them. I haven’t seen any of the 2014 films except for “Noah,” which I didn’t particularly care for. I grew up reading superhero comics, and I do enjoy watching these films. I must admit, though, that while they do appeal to the man with the child in his eyes, they do not satisfy my more adult intellectual side. I get far more enjoyment out of cleverly written or expertly produced dramas (e.g., “Midnight Express”), comedies (e.g., “Intolerable Cruelty”), and musicals (e.g., “Chicago”). I also have my guilty pleasures (e.g., “Basic Instinct”). As you know, I recently watched “Adam’s Rib” for the first time, and absolutely loved it. To be honest, I am a sucker for any film that stars Katharine Hepburn, Rita Hayworth, Lauren Bacall, or Marilyn Monroe, and generally prefer the older films (1930’s through the 1960’s) to the newer ones.

    Like many film aficionados, I deplore the fact that Hollywood focuses on remakes, reboots, sequels, and spin-offs. I think that’s why “Inception” received such a great reception: it was fresh material. I also agree with some of your readers that original films are out there awaiting discovery. You just don’t hear about them as much, because the studios don’t spend big dollars promoting “small” films that don’t appeal to the largest movie-going demographic. So-called art house films (e.g., “The Girl with the Pearl Earring”) have a very small audience, open in fewer locations, and disappear quickly off the radar.

    I won’t condemn the current trend in film making (though I question the validity of evolving films from toys and board games), but I will say that there needs to be more marketing emphasis on, and more Hollywood openness to, films that boast solid, creative, and fresh scripts. In other words, we more balance. Perhaps we also need a more discerning public. One way to accomplish this would be to educate younger viewers to some of the classic gems of the mid-20th Century. I’ve met young people who won’t even consider watching a film that came out prior to 2000. Never watched “Patton,” “Once Upon a Time in the West,” “Vertigo,” “My Fair Lady,” “Gilda,” “To Have and Have Not,” or “Hell’s Angels” (to name just a few)? How sad!

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    1. As always David, a thoughtful and well-reasoned response. You make many valid points, especially about younger people not being interested in all the marvellous films that came out before they were born.
      Thanks for your thoughts, and this comment. Always much appreciated.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  5. Pete: although, as you say, the ‘charts’ are dominated by the genre you have listed in 2014’s US/UK Top Ten there are still film-makers out there doing a good job. Mike Leigh, Danny Boyle and others have made people laugh, cry and generally ‘feel’ – they always will do. Yes, there are a lot of great foreign films it’s true but I have seen some tosh too. Just because a film has sub-titles it does not necessarily make it a good one! Having said that, I can’t remember a Japanese film that I haven’t enjoyed. BPC PS: I do hope this comment gets posted as some of my previous responses have not.

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    1. I am sorry that some of your comments haven’t appeared Brian. I can assure you that I have never deleted or edited any that I received. And as you know that I would never make that up where you are concerned, I can only assume a wordpress glitch.
      Mike Leigh does make some excellent films, agreed. I own many, and have enjoyed most. But they have never been ‘box office’, or received the same attention as much of the mindless rubbish I am talking about. I am not so sure about Danny Boyle. I loved ‘Sunshine’, but hated ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, and ‘127 Hours’. I know all too well that there are many great films and good directors out there, but those working in English are being overwhelmed by special effects and ‘Hero’ features. That was my main point.
      I hope that you are keeping well, my dear friend. X.

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  6. Oh no Pete, I do not disagree with you at all, I am just noting that there are still some great movies being produced and yes, many in the foreign language field, notably for me recently, from Mexico and France.
    Also I agree with Jimmy, we don’t go near the High St. cinemas unless it’s Muswell Hill. For me it’s Curzons all the way . . lucky to be in London for them.
    Best to you x

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  7. I was told that the problem is due to copyright running out or sold. Leaving film makers rushing to be the first to put out new versions of things like Snow White. I was told that six or seven versions of this were being filmed at the same time.

    I think the other half said four versions of centurion, maybe with other names but same storyline were all being done at the same time.

    I’ve seen films recently that I’ve enjoyed (none that you mentioned) but none that I thought were brilliant or that I’d happily go and see again.

    On the note of munching through snakes and using mobile devices, We no longer go to big high street cinemas and opt for places like the imax and everyman. Without wanting to sound snobby; its just different cliental.

    I hope something floats your boat soon.

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    1. Thanks for the info Jimmy, makes sense mate. I used to like to go to the Curzon Soho, Screen on Baker Street, The Renoir, and even Camden Odeon. More ‘serious’ film watchers there too, like The Everyman.
      I’m still enjoying my subtitled films though! Don’t get me started on Disney… Best wishes, Pete.

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  8. Well Pete, perhaps we should have a look at the next 20/30 films in that list. There have been some fabulous films in the last few years and production must be at an all time high don’t you think? Films outside of the top ten still make loads of profit so, before you despair and fall out of love I humbly request that you look a little further on down the line. Having said that I ought to do it myself to add gravitas to my uninformed opinion.
    All the best and check out ‘Night Moves’, ‘Lilting’, ‘Boyhood’, ’12 Years A Slave’ etc., or am I missing the point?

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    1. Hi Ro. I looked down the list until number 40, and it didn’t get a lot better. I didn’t ever fancy ’12 Years A Slave’, so will have to take your word for it, but ‘Boyhood’ is very much on my radar. You are not missing the point, as it is what is relevant to you that matters. I just have this overwhelming feeling of deja vu when it comes to most US/UK dramas these days. And don’t get me started on the awful comedies. I really believe that foreign film-makers are leading the way at the moment; though living in Norfolk, I will have to wait for the DVD releases, as showings are rare.
      It is mainly about the endless comic-book hero pap that is churned out, and lauded by many as ‘wonderful entertainment’. Of course everyone is entitled to disagree, especially you old friend…X

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