This article from Poppolitic.com essentially says that it's all Star Wars' fault that Hollywood movies have consitently sucked for the past 25 years. While I don't know about that, he does point out the Academy Awards nominations it received, and I think that is definitely the beginning of the decline of the Academy Awards. Anyone else have any opinions on it?
It's funny, because every once in a while, maybe due to a dearth of even remotely good quality movies that made money, its like the Oscars have to slum in the "good films" for their nominees. Case in point, the 1997 oscars, which saw these nominees for best picture: -The English Patient -Fargo -Secrets & Lies -Shine -Jerry Maguire (they can't all be winners)
You know that year had to make them all unhappy.
How's your new love?/I hope he's doin' fine/Heard you told him that you'd love him 'till the end of time/Now, that's the same thing/the same thing you told me seems like just the other day/Gee ain't it funny, funny how time slips away? - Willie Nelson tells the truth.
"I thought it was cool how HHH just tossed Jericho out of the ring and made him vanish, possibly into another dimension, at the end of the match." - Dr. Unlikely says the funniest thing I've ever read on Wienerville
if this thread has turned to Oscars talk, then so be it:
There's always one or maybe two nominees that weren't huge movies and might not have huge stars in them, but they never win anymore. Or ever, really. What's changed is that movies that might try something new or push some buttons are now longer big movies. If Apocalypse Now were made today, it would have been canned halfway through fro going over budget, and, if it were ever finished, shown in New York and LA in limited engagements.
Originally posted by eviljonhunt81they used to be awarded to deserving movies, but in the last twenty years have become little more than recognition of what drivel made the most money.
I disagree. Here are the Best Picture winners of the last twenty years and where they ranked that year according to worldwide box office take.
82-ghandi 11 83-terms of endearment 3 84-amadeus 13 85-out of africa 4 86-platoon 4 87-last emperor 24 88-rain man 1 89-driving miss daisy 12 90-Dances with wolves 4 91-silence of lambs 5 92-unforgiven 12 93-schindlers list 4 94-forrest gump 2 95-braveheart 13 96-english patient 11 97-titanic 1 98-shakespere in love 10 99-american beauty 9 00-gladiator 2 01-beautiful mind 12
Only twice has the top film been #1 and seven times it didn't make the top ten. To contrast here are the winners from the 10 years before that and where they ranked.
72-godfather 1 73-the sting 2 74-godfather II 3 75-one flew over the cukoos nest 3 76-rocky 1 77-annie hall 8 78-deer hunter ? 79-kramer vs. kramer 4 80-ordinary people 10 81-chariots of fire 9
Only one (I am assuming about Deer Hunter because I couldn't find it's take) is outside the top ten. And for five straight years before the original star wars was nomintated the best picture winner came from a movie in the top 3 worldwide.
because before Star Wars, blockbuster movies often tried more than they do know. The recent winners aren't biggest at the box office, but they are up there. And movies that try to do anything the least bit out of the ordinary are barely released.
I think mskj's numbers are pretty convincing, and furthermore, they are even more convincing because they're actually biased in the opposite direction. Surely, "American Beauty" is as high as #9 in part precisely because it was an Oscar nominee and then a winner. To put it in a more general way, it's as high as #9 because it was a great movie that people went to see when they heard how great it was. You can't ASSUME that bad movies do better box office, and then be like "see, movies that win Oscars tend to do good box office, so clearly they're rewarding bad movies". There is going to be a strong correlation between a movie's quality and its box office take. Not perfect, for sure (obviously Independence Day is not one of the greatest movies ever), but strong. (And, before you even say it, movies like Independence Day and Jurassic Park never get nominated for Oscars besides sound and special effects.)
My very strong feeling is that blockbusters are getting much, much better. Would you rather have MI:2 and Batman & Robin from a few years ago, or Spider-Man and Attack of the Clones?? After a few huge flops of the Batman & Robin type (usually sequels), the studios now realize that they need to come through with a movie that can legitimately get people excited, not just one that has a "2", "3", or "12" on the end. So, I think the people are speaking on this point, and I'm surprised someone doesn't like the results honestly.
I agree that the big blockbusters still aren't Academy Award winners, but the Academy seems to favor movies that do well at the box office, and to do well at the box office and are the banal feel good type things that Hollywood seems to be only capable of making right now. So, I misspoke when I said it's "what drivel makes the most money" in that it's not the movie with the best box office, but the drivel with the best box office. The big money is always big action movies or Disney movies.
Look at that list... I see three "feel good drivel" movies -- Forrest Gump, Rain Man, Beautiful Mind -- in 20 years. Maybe you can categorize Titanic and Gladiator as feel-good and/or drivel. I'll give you four.
Now, as far as the other 15 movies go, I put it to you that NONE of them is drivel. And many of them (eg Platoon, Amadeus, Silence of the Lambs, Unforgiven, Schindler's List, American Beauty) are as far from feel good as it could possibly get.
The Academy isn't perfect, but they usually make a reasonable choice. In my years of serious movie watching, I think Gump and Beautiful Mind are the only truly stinky choices.
The term 'Best' Picture is useless, since that's so very subjective, so I've learned over the years to only be offended if the Academy happens to award a movie that is just inferior (the most recent example is Gladiator). Most of the time, however, the movie that wins is at least pretty good. Something like Forrest Gump, an outstanding film, is underrated because it happened to be up against such modern classics as Pulp Fiction and Shawshank Redemption, for example.
BTW, why is Star Wars held up as the end of the Oscars? It only won for technical categories; the major awards that year were basically swept by Annie Hall. The Oscars were awarding big-budget "popular" films long before 1977.
(edited by Big Bad on 30.5.02 0304) I was born in a manger, like that other guy. You know, he wore a hat?
Originally posted by eviljonhunt81... If Apocalypse Now were made today, it would have been canned halfway through fro going over budget, and, if it were ever finished, shown in New York and LA in limited engagements.
If Apocalypse Now were made today it would probably star James Van Der Beek and Shannon Elizabeth. The movie would end up becoming "The American Pie of War Movies." And it wasn't Star Wars that marked the decline of the Oscars, the Oscars have always been a joke as far as I can tell. From not giving awards to deserving people just because of their political beliefs to not giving an award to a deserving actor only because he was starring in a comedy, the Academy Awards are something special simply because of it's longevity and nothing more.
Originally posted by eviljonhunt81 Academy seems to favor movies that do well at the box office, and to do well at the box office and are the banal feel good type things that Hollywood seems to be only capable of making right now.
Yes because this year's crop of Best Picture nominees -- including Lord of the Rings and In the Bedroom -- were ALL "Banal" and "Feel Good." Lord knows I came out of both of those just feeling SO good.
EvilJohn, how many more times can you "mispeak" about your point? I mean, isn't this really a case of you telling everyone how you have better taste and are more cultured than everyone else out there? Because that's what it looks like.
I really mean no offense or ill will -- you're a cool guy from my hometown -- but you're going overboard here. And this thread "turned into the oscars" because, in your first post, YOU set the pace by discussing the academy awards and Star Wars' supposed "effect" upon them. I have to wonder how much this has to do with your CLEAR dislike of Episode II and your intention of letting everyone know how much you hated it and all things related to it.
Also, I've noticed you've not really mentioned what films YOU consider "Superior" to all the other "Banal, feel good drivel" that's out there. You alluded to Apocalypse Now" but you didn't weigh in on how you feel about it. So please, enlighten me and the other people posting in this thread about what you consider a "good" movie.
A banal, feel good movie is one that appeals to middle brow America sentimentality, and one which you're supposed to leave the theater feeling better or more enlightened for having seen. Dances With Wolves and Rain Man are perfect examples. Movies that try to grapple with some sort of idea, but end up trivializing everything.
And yes, this is a back handed attempt at me saying Star Wars Episode II sucked. Instead of coming out and saying it, I came across and interesting article that raises a point about Star Wars marking an end to a type of film making, and brought this article here, and then brought up a point the author hinted at in the article about the Academy Awards, all to say Star Wars II sucked, without having to put it bluntly.
Quite simply, I am not much of a fan of movies in the first place. I think it is too oppressive of a genre. Nonetheless, there are movies I like, and they are generally ones that try something new. Whether it worked or not is another question, but most of the time they tried. I don't feel like typing a list of movies I liked, and I don't think anyone cares, so we'll leave it at that.
I think that this year's nominees hurt my point on some level, in that it is an odd bunch, but the Academy chose the only nominee that would come close to the middle of the road type movie that they enjoy so much. I've only seen some of A Beautiful Mind, as I thought it was boring, but what I saw was the same type of bland, pseudo romantic nonsense that wins the Academy over each and every year.
The question remains, though, did Star Wars change the type of movies the Academy looks at, or did it change the type of movies Hollywood makes? Or is it all a coincidence. I don't believe in coincidences, so I'm gonna have to settle with the 2nd option. I think Hollywood makes big action Blockbuster movies that make a ton of money now, whereas before there was maybe one or two of those every year. The rest of Hollywood's movies are the sentimental nonsense that wind Academy Awards, with one or two strange films sneaking through every year.
What the heck does that mean... "I don't believe in coincidences", so therefore, the cause & effect that I can't prove in any way has to be right?? How do you know it wasn't Jaws, Saturday Night Fever, or freakin' Gone With the Wind that "ruined movies"? They were all huge hits.
Really, it was none of them. Even if you thought SW was bad, it's not going to reach through the screen and make your taste in movies worse. People are going to see movies that they like. Studios are going to try to make money. If people have bad taste and are easily sucked in by advertising campaigns, studios are going to make money putting out bad movies with lots of hype. That is true regardless of whether George Lucas ever existed or not. I have actually seen this point about SW made many times (it originates with Pauline Kael), but it doesn't make it any more valid.
Again, it seems like a very odd time to be making this point when so many of the recent blockbusters have been legitimately very good movies. I mentioned Spidey and SW before, and you can throw in X-Men too... Lord of the Rings is the best example, as it certainly would have been a much more deserving Best Pic winner than Beautiful Mind. Hell, it seems clear to me that sometimes the Oscars will actually shaft the blockbuster because it was sci-fi or had lots of action or whatever, and give the award to a drama or to an English film or something that seems more highbrow. I certainly think LOTR's fantasy genre and huge box office were working against it in the Best Pic voting.
Originally posted by eviljonhunt81A banal, feel good movie is one that appeals to middle brow America sentimentality, and one which you're supposed to leave the theater feeling better or more enlightened for having seen. Dances With Wolves and Rain Man are perfect examples. Movies that try to grapple with some sort of idea, but end up trivializing everything.
See also, Gump, Forrest. I know this, John. Nowhere did I (nor do I think anyone else in this thread) asked you to define what a "banal, feel good movie" is. You may not like them, I may not like them -- but here's the thing: they have their place and OTHER people like them. That doesn't make them any less of a person than me or you. Their tastes are different. You have to accept that and move on with your life.
Originally posted by eviljonhunt81 And yes, this is a back handed attempt at me saying Star Wars Episode II sucked.
John, I got it (and many many others got it) about 75 of your posts ago. LET IT GO. You're coming across as someone obsessed with making your point at all costs so you can show us how cool you are because you're a rebel or whatever.
Originally posted by eviljonhunt81 Quite simply, I am not much of a fan of movies in the first place.
So why start discussions about movies then? To show everybody how much you hate them? This makes no sense. Why even GO to the movies -- which I know you do.
Originally posted by eviljonhunt81I don't feel like typing a list of movies I liked, and I don't think anyone cares, so we'll leave it at that.
Why not? Because that's dealing in positivity for once? Are you afraid your "bitter guy credibility" will be exposed as an act or something? Come on, John. You're a smart guy.
Originally posted by eviljonhunt81but the Academy chose the only nominee that would come close to the middle of the road type movie that they enjoy so much.
There are more internal politics that go on involving the Academy's selection than there are in an election year. A Beautiful Mind's win has more to do with politics than anything else.
Originally posted by eviljonhunt81The question remains, though, did Star Wars change the type of movies the Academy looks at, or did it change the type of movies Hollywood makes?
Undoubtably the latter. But not in the damaging way you or the article's author want us to believe.
Originally posted by eviljonhunt81I think Hollywood makes big action Blockbuster movies that make a ton of money now, whereas before there was maybe one or two of those every year.
Look at post Return of the Jedi Hollywood. There was a good lull for a number of years without "big action blockbusters." If anything, it was TERMINATOR 2 that led to the latest crop of big actioners lacking substance (I like T2) that was pretty much killed dead with Godzilla. Only Jerry Bruckheimer consistently puts out films in this genre any more. It's experiencing another resurgance that I'm sure will hit hard soon -- the industry, like everything else, ebbs and flows. The mid 90s were all about the "independent film." The late 90s were all about "Dead Teenager Movies" thanks to Scream. I think you know what I'm talking about here.
Originally posted by eviljonhunt81The rest of Hollywood's movies are the sentimental nonsense that wind Academy Awards, with one or two strange films sneaking through every year.
If you keep making broad, sweeping statements like this one, your arguments and credibility are going to lose steam altogether. You don't really believe this last statement, do you? Or did you misspeak again?
Maybe I'm just a little dense, but I really don't understand what you're trying to say other than you're The Guy Who Really Hates Star Wars. That much I got.
But the list of Award winners seems to point the finger not at Star Wars for starting the trend that you seem to be talking about (movies about a triumph of the individual or what have you), but the year before, with Rocky. And the Blockbuster was born in 1975 with Jaws...or perhaps you can go back to 1939 with The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind (which is still, adjusted for inflation, one of the highest grossing movies ever).
In the last decade or so, you can't just ignore the critical (and award-related) success of movies like Silence of the Lambs and Unforgiven.
Movies about the triumph of the individual are always going to be successful here because that appeals to people. And movies that appeal to a larger number of people are going to make more money, it just makes sense. I don't think it has anything to do with lightsabers or The Force or being The Guy Who Hates Star Wars.
I'm interested to know what you mean in thinking movies are too oppressive of a genre (medium, I think you mean). If you're comparing it to literature, it's a different medium with different forms of expression, sure. But you're only limited by the medium you use when you're stuck trying to play by the rules of another one - you can do internal monologue in a novel that you can't in film, but there are other ways to express the internal state of a character in film that you can't in writing.
Anyway, if all you want to talk about is not liking Star Wars, just go for it, I'm sure people are willing to discuss it. It would be more useful, I think, than a roundabout way like this. Me, I saw it and enjoyed it far more than I was expecting.
first off, when did I say I don't like Star Wars? I don't ever remember saying this, as I do enjoy the first three movies.
I thought it was unclear what I meant by the banal middle of the road movie. Not only Forset Gump, but just about every other movie that has won Best Picture for the past 20 years. And just because they appeal to people doesn't make it right. It's laziness on the part of the consumer that makes these movies successful. These movies fail as a serious attempt to start any critical thought, and they fail as "mindless entertainment" in that they strive to be more than that. It's this fake middle ground where people feel like they've done something important thought provoking without having done anything. So, just because people like it doesn't make it alright. Hell, people liked Slavery, but that isn't a justification for it. The entertainment industry has conditioned us to either accept "mindless entertainment" (your basic action movies. This is not a knock on them, but most action movies that act like they are more than that fail miserably, as they are best when they accept what they are) or, if we want to be daring and feel good about ourselves for "thinking," we go see something like A Beautiful Mind, and come away not having been challenged once, but instead content with ourselves for acting like we appreciate serious inquiries into human nature. I think Silence of the Lambs falls in here as well, as it's supposed to be horirbly shocking and repulsive, but strikes me as boring and contrived. Maybe that's because I'm the age where I wasn't allowed to see it when it first came out, and so it got terribly overhyped in my mind. Regardless, I think that the only movies that escape this that have won Best Picture in the last 20 years are American Beauty and maybe Platoon. Gladiator and Unforgiven are different, as they are genre movies that were done well (very well in Unforgiven's case.), and the Academy chose to recognize them for whatever reason.
Here's the gist of what I'm trying to say: With the success of Star Wars, Hollywood began to push big action movies more heavily, which soon surpassed other genres to become the highest grossers of the year. Right around the same time, Hollywood's more "serious" dramas became tired and cliched, and the movies that receive Best Picture have changed as a result. no longer do we get the Deer Hunter or One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, but A Beautiful Mind and Shakespeare in Love. What does this have to do with Star Wars? That's what I'm tyring to figure out. The change seems to happen at right around the same time, and Star Wars would seem to have some responsibility in the change between dramas being the big movies and action movies being the big movie. But why, then, do dramas become so much shittier, while action movies stay at roughly the same level of quality (some good some bad.)?
If you really care, here's some movies I like. Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Freaks, Silent Running, Road Warrior, Rashomon, Scanners, Altered States, Battle Royale, Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis, Blair Witch Project, Day/Dawn of the Dead. I don't know. I could name more, but I don't think it matters. I'm not afraid of being positive, I just don't think any of this is relevant.
I have to go to work now, so I cannot finish. I think this change in movies can be traced back to Star Wars, but that doesn't mean I hate that movie. Hell, I can blame N'Sync on Burt Bacharach, but that doesn't mean I don't like Burt Bacharach.
I don't think it starts with Rocky, as that was just an attempt to turn the "boxing drama" into a recognizable inside of the action genre. It's not the fact that Star Wars was a big hit, but the way that Hollywood began to look at big aciton movies after that.
And I did mean too oppresive a medium, but that apparently wasn't what came out. Movies have to try harder to engage you critically, as you are too busy seeing and hearing what is going on the whole time. In a theater, you cannot stop and think about what has happened so far, and any movie that would allow you to do so would be pretty boring. I don't have the time to go into it now, and I don't think this is the thread to do so.
I'm not going to buy the next couple issues of Agent X (by Budddy Scalereawhosawhatsit) but in the newest previews, the next story arc will be writtin by Evan Dorkin. You bet your ass I'll be back on board for those issues :)