Talking about great movies with a friend the other day there was a realization none of the titles mentioned surpassed the early 2000s.
A recent trip to the movies was also mildly disappointing. Along with hot buttery popcorn, waiting for the lights to dim and the trailers of upcoming movies to start is one of the best parts of going to the theatre. Unfortunately, on this last trip there was only two trailers, and, also unfortunately, they were both for Marvel superhero movies.
Over the past decade or two—but especially in recent years—the overall quality of movies has declined to a lack of creativity and box office greed. It’s taking root like an epidemic.
Not saying it’s all recent movies, but so many released with a big fanfare are either bad sequels to movies that certainly did not need a sequel, a horror movie with a sadly predictable plot, a re-do of an old classic, or a superhero/action movie that has been CGI’d to death.
A quick Google search reveals some of the classified top movies of the 1990s as: The Silence of the Lambs, Forrest Gump, Home Alone, The Sixth Sense, Fargo and Mrs. Doubtfire.
Going back a decade earlier it’s: Back to the Future, Die Hard, Ghostbusters, Ferris Bueller’s Day off, The Princess Bride and Beetlejuice.
And if one really squints their eyes they will be able to see back to the 1970s, the so-called Golden Era of Hollywood: Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and The French Connection.
But what has happened to fully developed storylines, intelligent scripts and original ideas?
Production companies and Hollywood’s corporate core of non-creative incubi found a formula that worked splendidly for the first few years when the concept was “take movies people will actually want to watch and elevate them to an even higher level using high action sequences and special effects.”
But there is such a thing as too much of a good thing and now the gimmick is go-to.
Acting in movies is also on the decline. Not because the actors are less capable of producing talented performances, but because they are not being called upon to do so.
Hollywood is stuck in a vicious cycle that keeps producing brain-dead movies barely fit for a re-watch. But there is a way to break that cycle. Strip away some of the unnecessary technology and re-focus priorities.
According to Newsweek the U.S. edition, the number of people in North America attending theatres hit its lowest point in two decades in 2014. In 2002 those numbers were at an all-time high with1.57 billion tickets sold. All the while movie budgets have been increasing.
Unfortunately, popularity trumps common sense and rather than circling back to ideas during peak income times movies are seemingly going to plow ahead on their directed course, cashing in on what’s hot now rather than diversifying and play the long game.
Amelia Naismith is the reporter for The Pipestone Flyer and writes a regular column for the paper.