10 New Year Resolutions We Want From Hollywood

Happy Sunday, folks! How’s your first week of 2012 going so far? Any luck on any one of your New Year’s Resolutions? Yep, I thought so… well, there’s still 358 days to get started on that right? 😀

Well, I don’t really have a list of cinematic resolutions to try to live by, but I know my pals ScottCastor and Nostra have posted theirs last week. Well, in the spirit of solidarity, I figure I should come up with a few myself…which are: 1) Try to catch up on a couple of TV series I’ve missed in the past year (i.e. Downtown Abbey), 2) finish my Gregory Peck marathon & get into more classic films, and last but not least, 3) see more indie films to balance the numerous blockbusters coming our way.

Well, as we moviegoers have our cinematic resolutions, my pal Ted S. and I thought of some that we wish the movie industry would at least try to live by. I mean, it’s only fair right, after all where would they be without us buying movie tickets to keep ’em afloat. All right, so here goes:

  1. Studios should open their smaller films in more theaters than usual big cities, i.e. L.A. Chicago and NY.
    If you don’t live in the big cities, I’m sure y’all can relate. As I’ve shared in one of my Weekend Roundup posts, I’m so tired of waiting for movies to open in my neck of the woods. Really Hollywood, Minneapolis is chock-full of cultured, artsy folks who enjoy and appreciate all kinds of films, big and small, no, the cold weather doesn’t exactly freeze up our brains. We have hats to alleviate such condition. Thank you!
    … 
  2. Stop making films based on toys, boardgames, video games or old cartoon shows
    I don’t need to see Battleship made into a movie, Transformers and G.I. Joe were bad enough.
  3. Maybe try hiring REAL talented filmmakers instead of film graduates who only know how to shoot films but doesn’t know how to tell a good story.
    … 
  4. Stop trying to make the current crop of pretty boy actors (Bradley Cooper, Chris Pine, Ryan Reynolds, Shia Labeouf etc.) into the next big thing, people don’t go see films just for the actor anymore.
    … 
  5. To expand on that note… hire these new talented crops of actors who are much, much more than a pretty face… i.e. Luke Evans, Tom Hiddleston,Romola Garai (whom Iba just featured recently), etc. more and not just in comic-book films!! They are perfectly suitable in any kinds of roles and with screen presence like these, they are all capable leading men/lady.
  6. Stop converting 2D to 3D!! People like ’em the way they were, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix (read: wreck) it. If you think the movie’ll be much better in 3D, then fine, make it that way but make it GOOD, consult James Cameron or Martin Scorsese if you must, but whatever you do, if you expect film goers to pay extra cash for 3D or IMAX, give us a WORTHY product please!
  7. Less sequels/remakes, more original concepts please! I think this one is self-explanatory and I’m sure every single moviegoer has wished this at one point and another. Seems like the more we wish for more creativity, the less we get from Hollywood. Now, I’m not saying we don’t ever want to see a remake or sequel, but if Hollywood MUST do one or the other, please try to make ’em GOOD or at least add something more than what the originals did.
  8. On that note, less horror/slasher flicks and more other sub-genres please. There are so many subgenres worth exploring that we rarely see in Hollywood, such as romance thrillers, sci-fi love stories, mob movies, etc.
  9. Enough with the banal ensemble-cast rom-coms like Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve! Yes, ParisJe t’aime was pretty good, but NOT because of the smorgasbord of stars on it, they also have something else working for it, namely a decent script. Please spare us another star-studded but empty rom-coms set on Fourth of July or Thanksgiving, pleaseeeeeeee…
  10. Stop green-lighting any more insipid Adam Sandler, Nic Cage, [insert name] movies… Just because some people WILL watch those movies doesn’t mean they SHOULD. As Gregory Peck said in his AFI Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989“Making millions is not the whole ballgame… pride in workmanship is worth more… artistry is worth more… the human imagination is a priceless resource. The public is ready for the best you can give ’em. Just maybe that you can make a buck, and at the same time encourage, foster and commission work of quality and originality.” Spoken like a TRUE legend.
    …. 

Well, do you agree with this list? Feel free to add your own wish list in the comments!

81 thoughts on “10 New Year Resolutions We Want From Hollywood

  1. I am so glad to see all this written down. It needs to be said, and the more people that say it, the larger effect it will have. I agree completely with everything you’ve written here. Fantastic stuff, Ruth!

  2. Hey Ruth, thanks for the shout out!

    (Re: #s 4 an 5) It is funny that you posted this list today because I just got back from the Times Talk with Carey Mulligan and she is a very interesting young actress. Posting something about it hopefully by this evening.

    (#9) Oh well “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” is coming out in May – so we are not out of the woods yet!
    (#10) I cannot agree with you more! And you have done your GP homework 😉

    1. You’re welcome Iba, I’m glad you highlighted Romola as she’s extremely underrated.

      In regards to Carey, I definitely think she is talented and I’m glad Hollywood has taken notice of her.

      I’ve never heard of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”… but even the title doesn’t sound promising

      Ahah, well I just happen to remember what Gregory said in that speech and it’s so fitting for what I want to say. I guess he’s got the cred to say that to Hollywood.

  3. yes, hire Luke Evans and Hiddleston in everything 🙂
    I actually love me some big ensemble romcoms, those are my favourite films when I need a cheer up and some optimism. And I hugely support all of the big stars who accept gigs in such films. It’s better starring in films which inspire love and optimism and positivity then humiliating yourself by starring in morbid and dark flicks which inspire violence and negativity.

    1. Ahah well not everything, dear Dezzy, they need some rest too 🙂

      Now, I’m all for films that inspire love and optimism, I just don’t think having star-studded cast is the key to such films. .

  4. Hi, Ruth and company:

    You really went out of your way to put all six in the 10 Ring!

    Kudos for hitting every pet peeve and annoyance, costly or otherwise I can think of.

    #1: The mid west should be prime territory for independent films to get some word of mouth going before Sundance and Telluride. Which have become far too commercialized for my tastes.

    #2: How do not you expect to see Hollywood behind films such as Candy Land and Battleship when ideas like re-boots of Bewitched and The Flintstones are green lit for television?

    #4&5: I’ve been getting sick and tired of pretty boys and girls hitting their marks, pouting and spouting dialogue for years. Can’t think of any that have the presence of a Peck, Mitchum, Stanwyck or Patricia Neal.

    #7: All of Hollywood lives within a 30 mile wide bubble and has no idea or concept what goes on or what people think beyond that perimeter. From enclosed places, lousy to no ideas flourish. If something worked once. Why not make it work again and again?

    #8: Slasher/Horror flicks are relatively cheap to make and every new director wants his or her own Blair Witch Project . It’s a genre/sub genre that has long since worn out its welcome!

    #9: Hollywood never learned its lesson from the financial disaster and God awful ticket sales that were New Years Eve, Valentine’s Day / or Bride’s War . And never will. As long as Sarah Jessica Parker or Anne Hathaway need a gig. They’ve got a Rom~Com.

    #10: Adam Sandler hasn’t been funny since his opera skits on SNL. His and Ben Stiller’s popularity are both mid boggling and a bit sickening. Nick Cage should never have left The First Church Of Over The Top Weirdness of his early films. Where he reigned as Reverend and developed a near cult like fan base. Nearly every film he’s done since Vampire’s Kiss has pulled him deeper into the quicksand of irrelevancy.

    Securing my Soap Box.

    Carry On!

    1. Thank you for expanding to every single one of the bullet points, Jack! As for #4 & 5, I think a lot of casting agents seem to equate good looks with screen presence which are two different things entirely, the greats do possess both, like the icons you mentioned, but very few have ’em.

      Ahahaha… The First Church Of Over The Top Weirdness… what an awesome sub-genre all Nic’s own! To be fair, I think he can be REALLY good if he tried (i.e. Adaptation, The Family Man, etc.), that’s the key, IF he tried.

  5. I agree with most of these, although i personally think its the material that has been holding Reynolds back more than lack of talent. The only movie he’s picked so far that really showed what he can do is Buried.

    1. Yeah I’ll still cut Reynolds some slack. Funny that as soon as he got accolades from doing Buried, he went back to doing something like The Change Up [shudder]

      1. I hope he doesn’t become another Nic Cage, who despite being talented seems to pick the worst material he can find(The most recent exception to that being Bad Lieutenant). The other actors(Cooper, Shia, Sandler) i am ambivalent to. So far the only actor who has ever came close to ruining a movie for me was Nick Cannon in Bobby.

  6. As someone who used to live in the Midwest, I feel your pain. I really do. I remember reading about how ‘War Horse’ had been test screened in select Midwest cities prior to its wide release, which was considered somewhat unusual. Maybe it’s the start of a trend?

  7. Those would be fantastic resolutions for Hollywood in 2012 (and beyond). I don’t think we have it that bad in Minneapolis, usually most indies do come to our area although it takes from a couple weeks to a couple months after they have been released in NYC/LA.

    1. Yeah this resolution is for this year and beyond, that’s why I didn’t put the year on it 🙂 Well Cas, you are a very patient man… we do get SOME stuff after a few months but sometimes not at all! I think that is unacceptable, I mean we are ONLY 7 hrs away from Chicago for crying out loud!

    1. Well I wouldn’t go that far and say ‘ALL’ but yeah, a great deal of them are only about the bottom line, unfortunately. Now, I’m no Harvey fanboy but at least he had the good sense to believe in The Artist. Even his brother Bob thought “…he was crazy to risk “a lot of millions” on a black-and-white valentine to Los Angeles” (per NY Times)

  8. Hear, hear. I would sign on for most of what you and Ted have listed.
    #2: for me, and quoting Jack, “It’s a genre/sub genre that has long since worn out its welcome!
    #6: nothing good comes from this practice
    #7: only good comes from this concept; originality breeds originality
    #8: okay, I have to stand up for this sub-category of film. As my friend and author John Kenneth Muir notes,

    The history of the horror movie is also the history of fear in America… those things that the nation has dreaded, derided and denied have often playing starring roles on our silver screens as blood-curdling boogeyman.” ~ Horror Films of the 1990s

    Many times, the genre film voices what is occurring in our society at the time… whether we like it or not. Yes, it displays the horrific. But it also tends to showcase and comment on what drives our anxieties and the dynamics that come out of our culture, politics, and/or religion. Yes, again as Jack stated, “Slasher/Horror flicks are relatively cheap to make and every new director wants his or her own Blair Witch Project.” No argument there. And there can be a lot of crap out there in this genre (‘Shark Night 3D’ anyone?), but there’s wheat among the chaff (‘Stakeland’ and ‘Monsters’ were some of the best things I watched last year). So, I’d say I’d want less of the former and more of the latter.

    There’s a reason Gregory Peck was a film icon and presence. As you said, “Spoken like a TRUE legend.” Great post, guys. Thanks.

    1. Thanks Michael. Oh I’m not saying Hollywood should get rid of the horror genre altogether, of course there are great films from this genre. I just think there are soooo many horror films being churned out year after year, bazillion sequels like SAW 7, Final Destination 5, etc etc), all I’m asking is to have a fraction of that done in other less popular but highly compelling sub-genres.

      So Julian, nobody here is disregarding the horror genre 🙂

  9. Amen to all of that. Especially number 2. How Battleship got to have both Liam Neeson and Alexander Skarsgard in it is beyond me. Here’s another resolution: give Neeson better roles. You saw how he was in Schindler’s List…let’s go back to that.

    1. Ahah, I take it you’re not a fan of Alexander Skarsgard? 🙂 Well I’ve never seen him in anything as I don’t watch True Blood but I know he’s got a bazilion female followers (not sure why). Yeah, I hope Neeson won’t end up being another Nic Cage!!

      1. No, I’m a huge fan of Alex! I watch True Blood (it is the only TV show I actually make a point of watching, haha), and he is perfect on that show. He just isn’t doing well outside of that show…

        1. I thought I saw a still of him in that Straw Dog remake?? I can’t comment on his acting skills as I haven’t seen him act, but something tells me he’s not exactly popular because of it, ahah.

  10. I couldn’t agree more about the post 2D to 3D conversion process. Seriously Hollywood, please stop with the whole 3D thing. You’ve proven that it adds no value and I am yet to see a decent flick which uses it to its advantage. (I exclude Avatar because while it was visually impressive, remove 3D and it’s not a decent movie).

    Amen to #4, people absolutely do not go to see a movie simply because one actor is in it. Personally I will never watch a movie just because one person is in it, it may add to the ultimate decision to watch something but will never be the sole reason.

    Great list, thanks for the interesting Read, Ruth.

  11. I agree with your number 7, I had enough of remakes. It looks like a shortcut to gain more money but less quality. I just wish if there are more remakes, they could ‘wow’ us in depth of story rather than visual effects.
    Converting 2d into 3d is fine, but since I wear glasses I agree with you, I’m fine with 2d 🙂
    And with the rom-coms, I wish they make another ‘Love Actually’!

    1. Oh I meant to mention ‘Love Actually’ also as an example of GOOD ensemble-cast movies. I love the cast in that one but the stories are also very touching, funny, and compelling.

  12. Some nice resolutions. How many Peck movies do you still have to see?

    I don’t mind movies based on toys, boardgames etc. I really enjoyed Real Steel and G.I.Joe (and I’m not afraid to admit that ;)).

    As for people not seeing the movies for specific actors…there are still a couple of actors I will watch if they are in a movie like Christian Bale, Nicolas Cage, Tom Cruise, Jason Statham.

    Can’t really comment on 3D as I hardly watch any 3D movies.

    I’m with you about more original concepts, although the sequels are necessary as they usually mean a steady stream of money which the studios can use to make other type of movies.

    Nice quote from Peck!

    1. Well, I barely scratched even half of what Peck has done in his lifetime, so I can’t say. In the near terms, I have about 3-4 additional films to see before venturing to his later works.

      I used to like Statham in The Transporter but no more after Expendables, ugh!

      I don’t mind sequels if they are GOOD. I mean, the Bourne series are excellent, why can’t the others be at least half as good as those??

  13. Haha, wishful thinking. Fat chance of any of these actually happening. In Hollywood, cash is king.

    A better resolution would be for us all to agree to not see those films, and not blog about them either.

    1. Ted S.

      Oh yeah we know that none of the things we wrote down will ever change in Hollywood as long as people keep paying for their product, just wishing thinking. But it’s always fun to make criticize of Hollywood.

    2. That’s so true, Bonjour, that’s why I refuse to see those dismal films I’ve mentioned here if I can help it. I won’t even post trailers for a stupid Adam Sandler movie or those dismal ensemble-cast rom-coms as I just would rather not support them.

  14. HAHA I love this;.

    Although I guess there is no real chance of most of these coming true, as we all know Hollywood loves a CASH COW.

    Thanks for putting this funny, and brilliant read together my friend.

    S

  15. 1, 5, 6, 7 – GREAT resolutions! Especially the 3D one. I’m really sick of seeing movies never intended for 3D, movies that don’t benefit AT ALL from being converted to 3D be put in 3D so studios can make an extra couple bucks a ticket by jacking up the prices even more.

    1. Thanks Kristin. I think poorly-made 3D just hurt the film so much, which is ironic considering how expensive they are. Case in point: Clash of the Titans remake, ugh!

  16. PrairieGirl

    Excellent list, agree with every single point. What I don’t get is why most movies takes so long to be made. I understand there’s a lot involved, but from the time a film and its cast are announced until it actually plays in a theater is years. I think more films with great stories could be simpler and less complicated. And the film credits nowadays! I’m surprised they don’t include the janitor, too.

    1. Ted S.

      Hey Becky,

      I think certain films took so long to hit theaters is because sometimes the studio just wasn’t satisfy with the final product so they would ask the filmmakers to fix it by either editing it down or do re-shoots. That of course then will take longer to finish the movie. Most films usually takes about a year to finish, from the first day of shooting to finally hitting theater.

      If you have some free time, watch some of the behind the scenes documentaries, it’s a great way to find out how films were made. I would recommend watching the behind the scenes of Alien 3, you’ll definitely understand why it takes so long to make a film, especially a big budget one.

      1. PrairieGirl

        Hi Ted, oh I know there’s tons of reasons for it, especially with blockbusters and CGI, but just look at TV. Some series are excellent enough to be as good as films: HBOs Rome and PBSs Zen, for instance. Each episode almost seemed like a feature film in itself. For three 90 minutes episodes of Zen, they filmed in Rome from about May to August 2010, and the first one was shown on the BBC on January 1st, 2011. Sometimes I think they get too much money to make a film.

  17. The only thing remakes do are make me look at the original film they were based on. Most often it is better to see the original than the upcoming remake.

    1. That’s true. I just saw a review of the original ‘Solaris’ which I didn’t even know it existed. I had been curious about the Soderbergh/Clooney version for a while, but I wonder if I should just see the original version instead.

  18. Heck, you’re not asking for much there Ruth are you! 😉 6,7 and 9 are particularly close to my heart also. Sick to death of 3D. Wish they just let it die. It’s like all the biggest directors in Hollywood have gone gaa gaa for this technology. It’s like a kid who’s found his dad’s gun. It seems like fun at first but sooner or later someone’s going to point it at the wrong thing and… well, at least we’ll have the evidence in all of it’s 3D glory! Another great post guys!

    1. Hi Ronan! Well I don’t mind if the directors in question still KNOW how to tell a good story like Scorsese with Hugo where the 3D actually enhances and not distract from the film. These filmmakers need to realize that no amount of technology can replace good filmmaking skills or script.

  19. Wait, there’s a Battleship movie coming out this year??? What’s next, a full-length feature on Simon, the memory game?

    This is a pretty good set of resolutions, and I especially agree with 6, 7 and 9. In regards to the last one, at least New Year’s Eve hasn’t done particularly well at the box office, right? Or did it manage to pick up steam? Either way, I could do without those rom-coms.

    1. Oy, well let’s hope it won’t come to that Eric, but wait… don’t count on it 😦

      I don’t think these ensemble rom-coms are all that successful (NY Eve only made about $50 mil) so it’s puzzling that this trend continues!

  20. Great list. Very entertaining read.
    I definitely agree with all of them, and # 1 definitely needs to be at the top of the list. I live in Chicago and even I have to scramble to get to watch smaller releases like “Senna” or “Win Win”. Thank God for the Landmark Theaters that cater to small, indie films.

    Niels

    1. What?? Even in Chicago you STILL have to scramble to find indie flicks?? [shakes head] Yeah, if it weren’t for Landmark theaters, I wouldn’t have seen Tinker Tailor!

  21. I think your list is spot on! everything I would say to the SAG if they ever answered letters. I also think the film-makers should think about reviewing the bestsellers list a little more carefully and look beyond them to see what people are actually reading. More classic novels on film would be nice like Sir Walter Scott or more Jane Austen but not the usual stuff her other novels thought uncompleted would be great for us Jane-ite and Austen-ites like myself.
    The same on this list could be said for television with it’s lack of originality with all these reality shows and copy cats.
    I am guessing they hire the young ones as they are cheaper for producing films but like in Joe Wright’s case it is certainly true. I hate the fact that they say a film is coming out and you are all enticed by the ideas and then it doesn’t surface. And yet they come out with these nonsense slapstick films and rom-coms not even worth going to the theatre or renting even. Other countries have their own films they could look into that as they have with the Dragon Tattoo series that was remade although I haven’t seen any of the remakes yet and because of the bad casting I probably won’t see them.

    1. Hi Stella, oh I’d love to see more Sir Walter and unconventional Austen adaptations. We both love our period dramas, especially well-made ones, so yeah, bring it on!!

      I’m not sure I will ever see the Dragon Tattoo series either, I have trepidation about the violent content. It’s not like I’ll be missing anything as there are too many films, too little time as it is 🙂

  22. By the way, I disagree with those who say 3d is, in itself, a bad thing for movies.
    I am guessing that most people want 3d to stop being used due to Hollywood’s poor use of it so far. It is a shame to see it headed toward the just-for-profit path, rather than adding something more substantial to the art, elevating the overall experience at the multiplex.

    I feel films like “Hugo” or “Avatar” greatly benefited from the technology because, in these specific cases, the directors thought of the film in 3d from beginning to end, adding another visual layer, contributing to the creation of a more believable atmospheric experience that becomes almost interactive.

    There is a danger that 3d will continue to be used as a merchandising tool to allure families into spending a little more on a ticket, instead of exploring the possibilities that such a technology could give to film-making. I think “Avatar” showed us the way, opened the door, and it’s up to the industry to know how to use 3d in a way that advances the art of cinema. Hopefully, the current trend that points to audiences becoming increasingly tired of the 3d sticker being attached to any blockbuster, would force Hollywood to reevaluate its approach to 3d without abandoning it.

    Niels

    1. I think most people hate BAD 3D but not 3D in general. Yes I agree that if done right, like the two films you mentioned, it does add value. But that’s because the filmmakers invested and put real efforts in it. No, I don’t think it should be abandoned either, though it still makes me cringe seeing those TITANIC 3D promos… sheesh, it looked spectacular in 2D, it just seems overkill to want to see stuff coming at you from such a tragic incident!

  23. Great list Ruth. I agree with all those above who believe most of these ideas won’t happen, because Hollywood is run by money more than any sense of creativity. If it makes money and is cheap to make, they’ll make it again and again (slasher/horror flicks) and steal ideas from every concept ever devised – board/pc game, book, music or half-whispered idea in a pub across the street: if it can look cool on the big screen, it’ll get made.

    Here’s me waiting for a film version of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series….. 😦 That being said, Battleship looks cool – if somewhat derivative.

    1. Well I haven’t lost hope in all of Hollywood… I mean once in a while we get something good and original, we just need more of those. Thanks for reading Rodney.

  24. 100% AGREE!!! especially on remake and sequel. I am this close from walking away on any movie by Hollywood.They keep making remakes (I will never watch remake unless I don’t know it was a remake), too much superheroes movies, and too much sequel.

    I have been having fun with British movies lately, they are more creative than Hollywood now

    1. British films are generally more creative, same w/ the actors that’s why I like ’em more. I think Gregory is one of the very few American actor I really think very highly of.

  25. Great list, Ruth. You had me at No 1!

    No 6 is certainly something that has annoyed a lot of people. If it wasn’t made in 3D to begin with, why are the studios converting it into 3D? Like you said, people probably loved the original just as it was.

    Mr Peck has a very interesting, and valid point, in that quote. The human imagination really is a priceless resource.

    1. Yeah, I’m generally very skeptical w/ 3D conversion, yes even if it’s by James Cameron as I always cringe when I see those Titanic 3D commercials.

      I found that my reading/researching of Mr. Peck that he’s not only gorgeous but also a very intelligent man with integrity. Really, they don’t make ’em like that anymore!

    1. Thanks T. As for #1, I think Hollywood forgets there are sophisticated movie-going people all over the country y’know, not just on the coasts! 😀

  26. Pingback: Are There Too Many Horror Films in Theaters? |

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  28. I agree with everything you stated. Unfortunately, as long as Hollywood keeps thinking they can make money off bad film ideas involving any type of nostalgia. And if they want more money from independent films, you would think they would try opening in more areas.

    1. I guess we moviegoers also need to step up and stop supporting bad movies, as Hollywood will continue making ’em so long as those movies have an audience.

  29. Aw, this was an extremely good post. Finding the time and actual effort to produce a top notch article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and never manage to get nearly anything done.

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