Is Hollywood Really Out Of Ideas?

The Arts

I have a production list for the upcoming year in Hollywood movies, and from the look of it, the idea bank is bust.

‘Reservoir Dogs’ – the remake? ‘Happy Feet 2’? How desperate has The Business become?

What’s interesting is a perusal of what sells here in the middle of the world – I’m in the Virgin Megastore, Dubai, looking at hit titles. A third are Arabic, a third are French and Spanish and the rest are small US indie films that are affordable to release, which at least gives them a chance of becoming hits. Hollywood blockbusters are notable more by their absence than anything else. They’re probably too expensive.

Meanwhile in the UK, the censors are back, hacking minutes out of horror films and ‘reclassifying’ films that don’t fit into neat demographics. I take heart in the recent resurgence of indie SF, with ‘Moon’, ‘District 9’, ‘City Of Ember’, ‘Splice’ and ‘Monsters’ being interesting (but not necessarily totally successful) standouts. Comedies like ‘Four Lions’ and ‘Heartbreaker’, thrillers like ‘The Secret In Their Eyes’ and ‘Exam’, but virtually no good horror films.

I really don’t mind derivative movies so long as they’re fun, and ‘Les Aventures Extraordinaires D’Adele Blanc-Sec’ really hit the spot, with its tough-gal heroine and its lovely baby pterodactyl bombing about the streets of early 20th century Paris.

I loved two Hollywood blockbusters; ‘Inception’ and the wonderful ‘The Social Network’. The executives who greenlit these should be proud of themselves. Maybe this is how film always was, and always will be – I think of myself as an outsider and am attracted to outside movies – the mainstream loves Justin Beiber (apparently more popular than the Dalai Lama and Obama).

Some wonderful authors are coming out of copyright, but in Hollywood nobody reads, so no-one will ever know about them. My last Hollywood script presentation consisted of something called a ‘Look Book’, a sort of children’s picture-book version of my script for dim executives.

If anyone wants to make a film of one of my scripts, apply here. I’m off to calm my frayed nerves at the beach. When I get back it will be mid-January, and February in England is grim enough to make you wish you were dead.

5 comments on “Is Hollywood Really Out Of Ideas?”

  1. Steve says:

    I’ve often thought of writing a script in which absolutely nothing expected happens. Sinister music as a woman walks slowly down the hall toward the kitchen and…when she gets there….she takes a drink out of the fridge and leaves the room. A whole movie full of disappointments. It would point out the fact that expectations are usually left unmet, and that everyday life is boring. I’ve never tried it because (a) I’d have no idea how to write a script and (b)everyone would hate it. I think.

  2. Helen Martin says:

    Don’t be so sure, Steve. Something like that could become a cult film with viewers going “Oooooh” as she goes down the hall, throwing popcorn when she sits down next to that strange man at the theatre, etc.

  3. Steve says:

    I suppose that’s true Helen. When I saw Star Wars in the theatre on first release, I thought it was one of the worst Science Fiction movies ever made. Still do. I suppose it’s the “pet rock” of movies. Who knew?

  4. Steve says:

    Oh and of course I’ve given the game away. If someone actually ran with the idea, I could hardly sue them for stealing “intellectual property” when I’ve posted it on a public blog, now could I?

  5. Helen Martin says:

    Perhaps I loved Star Wars because I wasn’t a science fiction fan and this was my first SF film, but I still love all 3 of the originals. There are Star Wars fans & non-Star Wars fans & never the twain shall meet.

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