Sunday, February 22, 2009


Today is Academy Awards day, which is basically Super Bowl Sunday for film geeks. There were a few good movies this year, and some real turds. Does it make any difference? Get the guacamole ready, we're coming over for the Oscars!

Another bad movie. Mindless fun or an insult to your imagination?

Have you ever watched a movie? Sure you have. Over the years we've all spent a fortune on films--and for every great cinema experience we've endured a hundred stinkers. Did you see any bad movies this year? Sure you did. Did watching some of that crap make you wonder if you could make a better movie? Could you match wits with "Witless Protection?" How about "The Love Guru?" or "Over Her Dead Body?"

A lot of money is at stake, and even Academy Award nominees for Best Picture can fall prey to a by-the-numbers formula, as shown here with "The Curious Case of Benjamen Button." (By the way, Button leads the Oscar pack with thirteen nominations.)

Benjamen Button vs. Forest Gump

"You paid to see them," the Hollywood schlockmeisters counter. "That's why we make them. The box office justifies everything. Think you could you do any better?"

What condescending horse manure. Just because people want something--entertainment, thrills, a good story--and pay good money for it, are they responsible for what they get? We didn't ask for that. Is water-boarding any better if you're really thirsty? Is drowning any better after eating a can of Pringles?

Michael Killen, professor of screenwriting at Stanford, gives some pointers

So make your own movie. You may not be able to get it made, but by all means use your imagination. The creative part of the brain requires occasional nurturing or it dies like a neglected houseplant. Spritz it from time to time, not like the house sitter who leaves your plants dead but wet the day you return from vacation.

Robert Rodriguez is famous for making a film on an extremely low budget. Here he gives you a film school lesson.


Anonymous said...

Makes one want to go out and shoot a movie!

Bob Rini said...

Exactly! Good luck!

And even if you can't get the funding necessary to make a movie, or don't have the connections to green light your project, you can support creative, surprising, entertaining films. Who knows? Maybe Hollywood will stop making formulaic retreads if we stop going to see them.