Special Effects Doth Not A Movie Make

This is one of my (many) pet peeves:

Blockbusters struggle to sustain fanbase amid ‘summer of doom’

At last week’s Comic-Con event in San Diego, the film director Zack Snyder bounded on stage to announce a bold new merger. His next Warner Bros blockbuster would pit Batman against Superman, two costumed superheroes in one movie. “Let’s face it,” said Snyder, “this is beyond mythological.” The fanbase was galvanised. Hyperbole hit the roof. But in Hollywood, alarm bells were ringing.

Industry insiders are referring to this season as “the summer of doom” – an overcrowded huddle of big-budget spectaculars, without the audience to sustain them. US box office takings are down 19% on the same period last year, while the studios are smarting from such high-profile casualties as The Lone Ranger, After Earth and the supernatural action-thriller RIPD. While the runaway success of Iron Man 3 and Despicable Me 2 helped soften the blow, major figures claim that the industry needs to adapt quickly or die.

Speaking on a panel at the University of Southern California last month, the film-makers George Lucas and Steven Spielberg suggested that the era of the $300m movie dinosaur may well have run its course. “There’s eventually going to be a big meltdown,” Spielberg said. “There’s going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even half a dozen of these mega-budgeted movies go crashing into the ground – and that’s going to change the paradigm.”

You wanna know why movies are bombing? Lousy writing.

You can take a crappy script and pile on lots of gratuitous sex and violence along with a couple hundred million dollars in special effects, and you know what you got? A very expensive crappy movie.

Would you go to a restaurant and order a plate full of spices and seasonings? I would hope not. But take a nice breast of chicken or shark filet, marinate and season it, grill it to perfection and viola! A fine dining experience.

Writing is the meat of movie making. All that other stuff can make it better but it can’t replace good writing. Some of these recent movies are like they came up with a bunch of special effects and wrote a script to tie them together. It’s the same way they make porn movies.

There will always be a market for quality.

About Myiq2xu - BA, JD, FJB

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
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64 Responses to Special Effects Doth Not A Movie Make

  1. Klown says:

    Hollywood keeps making crappy movies and we’re supposed to take their advice on who to vote for?

    • John Denney says:

      They sometimes tell a good story, but it’s mostly fiction divorced from reality.

    • 49erDweet says:

      “It’s the same way they make porn movies”. And these days it’s often the same exact people, which makes their political advice even creepier.

  2. DandyTIger says:

    This is why we had big indie movie surge some years ago. Then many of those people and small studios got too much money and started making crap themselves. But there’s always a new batch of indies. Too bad writing isn’t valued in hollywood. Or thinking.

  3. angienc says:

    Maybe some of these actors who get paid millions for playing make believe for 3 months at a time should stick to reading scripts and STFU about politics too.

  4. Klown says:

    I’m watching a new series on Showtime. Premiere episode features Jon Voight wearing nothing but a towel dancing with an overweight hooker.

    Midnight Cowboy was a long time ago.

    • Symptoms of the problem. 70 year old boomers still working. I understand it, but it sucks ass for my generation. We will suffer until they die, at which point we’ll be too old to take advantage of it.

      • elliesmom says:

        The problem is the movies being made by the “younger generation” are awful. If the movies were better, they’d have no trouble pushing the old guys out. But as long as guys like Clint Eastwood keep cranking out half-decent movies, and the next generation gives us “Bridesmaids” and “The Hangover”, there’s no contest. Older folks are a target audience for theaters. If you go to a matinee, most everyone will have gray hair. Friday night most everyone will be under 30. Sunday belongs to the Disney crowd. We have a small independent theater in town with 3 screens. I know the owner, and he says an ideal line-up for him is a kiddie movie, an action adventure or “bathroom humor” movie, and a movie with a good storyline and good acting. That’s a week he can get everyone in town interested in coming in.

        • Klown says:

          Some things are funny once. Some are funny never.

          Rebel Wilson – fat girl with an accent making fun of herself is funny once.

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          The “next generation” is not making Bridesmaids or The Hangover. If you’ve got a problem with those movies, take it up with Millenials.

        • elliesmom says:

          But if Apatow can get movies made, it’s not the Boomers’ fault if your generation can’t.

        • DandyTIger says:

          It’s amazingly cheap and easy to make a movie these days with new technology. There are no excuses. The full age range of movie makers can make good movies or crap. Their choice.

    • insanelysane says:

      Ray Donovan… Looking like a pretty good series.

  5. To be fair, even writers are experiencing a drought of creative proportions. Poverty, or impending poverty, is sucking the air out of everything. I hope it was worth it for those voters who stayed home, deciding it was more important to placate the African-American community than advocate for their own future success. America is getting what it deserves. Unfortunately, so are those Americans who knew and know what was what.

  6. 49erDweet says:

    Let’s face it. Most of the movie industry is a loose assemblage of narcissistic, hedonistic morons willing to do absolutely anything to acquire what they think is fame. That part knows nothing of the actual world other than what someone may have written. The remainder of the industry are big-money people who see everything through the filter of dollar signs. How introspective and principled is a dollar bill?
    Yes, there are a few exceptions. Very few. Clint might be one. But on the whole, unless they buy a distant stranger’s life story, they haven’t a clue. Whatever else they write is based on what they know, whiz-bang and crap. Maybe someday I’ll say what I really think.

    • votermom says:

      I read an article not too long ago that said something similar. Hollywood is too divorced from real life – the writers/directors are people from film school, who study films made by directors/writers who themselves were inspired by the 1st generation of film-makers. So liek a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy, the current film makers have lost all clarity. Good films come from the occasional film maker who’s actually experience real life.

      • elliesmom says:

        Hollywood is too focused on “pushing the limits”. They want to see how far they can get computers to go to create special effects and how gross and disgusting they can get with bodily function humor. Neither requires either good writing or good acting. I can remember how “cutting edge” it was the first time we heard Archie Bunker flush his toilet. Now we have to watch actors filling theirs. I don’t want to pay money to watch people puke. Unless their heads are spinning around and they’re levitating. But that’s already been done.

        • Klown says:

          I bought the Bridesmaids and Identity Thief dvd’s. I never finished watching either one. I gave them to my nephew – he’s still young enough to enjoy that stuff.

        • votermom says:

          I can remember how “cutting edge” it was the first time we heard Archie Bunker flush his toilet.

          I just watched a tv mini-series made way back in 2008 where “the NSA gets to read all your electronic info without a warrant” was supposed to be shocking. *Sigh*

  7. Klown says:

    According to Neblett, Peru is part of Scandinavia:

  8. underwhelmed says:

    If it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage. (or the screen, as it may be.)

    Too many morons in Hollywood forget this basic truth.

  9. votermom says:

    OT My pithy tweet of the day 😛

  10. votermom says:

  11. Klown says:
    • 1539days says:

      Browner than George Zimmerman, I presume.

    • Somebody says:

      What an ignorant statement. I guess he hasn’t seen the statistics on the evil “Stand your ground” law cases. The law benefits AA’s just as much as others and in some areas disproportionately benefits AA’s.

      “Brown-skinned folks” as he puts it are far more likely to be the victim of crime (black on black crime is high) and thus PLENTY of them legally carry.

  12. helenk3 says:

    movies used to have story lines. but also hollywood used to have educated people as writers, directors. they knew the classics and history and knew how to make an updated entertaining movie. example romeo and juliet = west side story. How many movies took a time in history and made it personal? today you do not have that.
    it is mostly knock them down and tear up the town. ever notice in these movies it takes over a hundred bullets to get one hit.
    At one time hollywood loved America.

  13. 1539days says:

    Never underestimate the power of bad word of mouth.

    I think the idea of bad writing is too simplistic to explain the failures. I would argue that the writing in “World War Z” was better than “Iron Man 3,” but I enjoyed Iron Man more. I loved Fast and Furious 6 and the writing in that was ridiculous.

    The problem with “After Earth” is Will Smith. He’s not famous anymore and his kids are marginal actors at best. The story was horrible, it was depressing and the special effects are the same as every other movie.

    The problem with Lone Ranger is Johnny Depp. That was a vanity project like “Dark Shadows” only it was bankrolled by the guy playing the Lone Ranger, who’s an heir an industrialist. The script was mostly an opportunity for Depp to ham it up.

    I think RIPD was just the victim of formulaic writing. Big budget supernatural buddy films are more common now and everyone who saw the ads said “Hey, this looks like Men in Black.” I think this is a lot like “Green Lantern,” an otherwise good movie in a saturated market.

    I think one of the most successful movies this summer could be “We’re the Millers.” It has a low budget, funny scenes and a slightly unusual concept. It’s a family movie with a fake family.

    A movie can do everything right and still not make money and vice-versa. The problem with huge budgets is that they have to blow away attendance to make any money. A lower budget movie has a much better chance of being profitable, but it won’t make big money. The movie industry is suffering the same delusion as government, the big score instead of the incremental gain.

    • Klown says:

      Movies don’t all have to be Oscar winners. John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Chuck Norris and Burt Reynolds all spent most of their careers making low-budget action movies. Very formulaic.

      But their movies made money.

      • votermom says:

        We’re going thru bad times as a country – audiences are looking for entertaining escapes.
        Hollywood is too detached to realize this.

  14. Klown says:
  15. Lola-at-Large says:

    some of the best writing is happening for TV anyway. Just watched a very powerful episode of The Killing. Just incredible.

    • votermom says:

      I’ve never even heard of that series and just saw a bunch of tweets tagging it. I’ll have to check it out on netflix

      • Lola-at-Large says:

        You should. It’s part of the nexus of awesomeness that is AMC.

      • 49erDweet says:

        See the episodes in sequence or they will lack cohesion. I’ve enjoyed it but I’m glad this is the final season. Murder mysteries need to have an end, even dark ones.

    • DandyTIger says:

      Agree, there’s some good stuff on TV these days. Both at the high artsy end and at the crazy fun end, including some stupid reality TV that’s better than what hollywood does.

  16. yttik says:

    “There will always be a market for quality.”

    You’re such an optimist.

  17. lisadawn82 says:

    I will watch anything by Josh Weden. I also love the scifi stuff coming out of Canada like Continuum, Lost Girl and Orphan Black though the last isn’t really scifi.

    • 1539days says:

      Orphan Black is also out of the UK.

      I started watching episodes of Flashpoint on Netflix. That was a Canadian drama about their version of a SWAT team.

  18. helenk3 says:

    judge jeanine pirro wrote two books
    sly fox which I just got finished reading. good book
    and a second in the series clever fox which i will read tomorrow.
    about an ADA in upstate NY.

  19. helenk3 says:

    since I have been watching some series on hulu I found some good ones from Austraila and Canada.

  20. mothy67 says:

    Wonder how much home theaters and the quick arrival to on demand and DVD have effected box office. Why go out wait in line spend 12/ticket and 20 for snacks to be seated behind an infant in an R rated film or next to a group of rambunctious teens.

    • Klown says:

      And you can get the DVD for less that $20 at Walmart if you wait a few months.

      • mothy67 says:

        Buying used from Amazon usually costs a penny plus 3.99 s&h. Rarely watch a movie more than once but it’s great for kids. Also if you buy a digital copy at full price its yours forever on their cloud service.

  21. Klown says:


    “Taylor Swift canceled a radio contest to meet her biggest fan when it turned out her biggest fan was a man nearly twice her age. Nothing’s working out for Anthony Weiner these days.”

  22. mothy67 says:

    21 of the top 100 films of all time adjusted for inflation(domestic) were released after 2000. There was only one place to see Gone with the Wind and VCRs were still uncommon when Star Wars came out so looks like when Hollywood produces something people want to see the viewers still show up.

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