In the holiday season, Hollywood releases movies, packing them in for year-end nominations. As any studio executive will admit, there have always been box-office failures, but successes counter the losses. But does Hollywood know what we want as an audience? Or do they only know what they are giving us?
One of the losses we experienced moving to the desert was we no longer saw premieres at the Directors Guild, with a respectful audience, where talking was not permitted during the show, or snacks, cell phone rings, no shuffling around until the final credit rolled. Occasionally, after the film, one of the actors who starred in it, would be in attendance for a Q&A. Three actors stand out as memorable- Shirley MacLaine who is as comical as she appears on screen, Keira Knightley who is as smart as a whip and John Lithgow who is a wonderful orator.
But we moved, and the thought of not seeing movies was painful.
Being a cable subscriber for the first time, I saw movies I had never seen before. I’m even more demanding of film than I am of television. I sat there and saw a lot of movies where there was no gravitational pull.
This morning I groaned at the Golden Globe nominations, I no longer pay them heed since they nominated Slumdog Millionaire, Sideways, Before Sunset, Dark Knight or Up in The Air. Although I admire the independent film finance that went into making these, I thought they were bland, soon to be forgotten films, which had nothing unusual about them.
I haven’t been stunned since Atonement, which had a beautiful plot based on a novel with a wonderful score. It made me think; once a moment is lost, it’s lost. Another film that moved me was Australia, because there was a woman to child love element and the Aboriginal culture and its relationship with nature, that fueled an imaginative vision.
Investing in Hollywood movies has always been a risk. Don’t the moguls know movies are an essential part of our culture? Instead of spewing out stories that denigrate the soul and bore the mind, when will they give us real stories? The kind that leave you speechless and in complete utter awe for hours after. Enchanting throwbacks to an era that strives to entertain its audiences with dazzling spectacle and melodrama, and all of the beauty and dark impulses that comes with it.