Respected magazine The New Yorker, has just released its “Best Movies of 2019” list. Whilst I think this is a bit on the premature side, I mean it is only just April so less than 30% through so far (or maybe it’s because it’s April 1st)?), it did make me think.
Because of the content of FV^VR / Australian Videocamera, I take a keen interest in what’s happening in relevant Facebook newsgroups such as Film and TV Connection, Sydney Filmmakers’, United Filmmakers’, Film and TV Network and Melbourne Independent Filmmakers’ etc.
And many times, it is somewhat depressing, as there seem to be very little originality.
Oh, don’t get me wrong – all power to these folks for doing what they do. As we speak, I am sideways involved (very passively I stress) in the production of a live musical, and the shenanigans and occasional disarray between cast and crew and directors and producers, plus assorted media / acting coaches and others is very disheartening. So, for anyone who pulls all this stuff together and actually makes it all work is to be applauded.
I just wish some new areas would be tried for a change.
Instead, what we have is the usual Horror / Slash flick, Apocalyptic nightmare, the ubiquitous zombie / walking dead short film and of course the LGBTQI movie. Very little else.
I can understand that we all have our favourites and would love to emulate them – my own is 2001: A Space Odyssey, but the savings in the biscuit tin atop the fridge just won’t cut it I’m afraid. I can also understand the fun of dress-ups and gory makeup and special effects and even the attempts at trying to explain the difficulties of life.
But it seems no-one is willing to take any risks in the filmmaking world any more. The big studious are especially guilty; if it isn’t another bloody super hero, special effects extravaganza, usually with Hugh Jackman, it’s a remake (or a remake of a remake). Whoever thought redoing Mary Poppins was a good idea was as bright as the person who thought of Gone With The Wind II or that God awful War of the Worlds with shortarse.
Then there are those movies based on “real life” that attempt to purvey as close as possible all of the miseries and trials and tribulations of some minority groups and their fight for Truth, Justice and presumably the American Way. And who could / would rather forget Faraway Downs in “Australia”? Ugh.
My late Dad took me as a kid to the movies 4 times in his life. I remember them vividly – Planet of the Apes (the first one and the only one as far as I am concerned and piqued my curiosity and liking for GOOD science fiction), Grand Prix (which as a 10 year old started my interest in motor sport) and Battle of Britain (because he was there. Sort of. And then he wished he hadn’t.)
The fourth I can forgive him for, as probably everyone should see it as it is a benchmark – whether a good one or a bad one I think the jury is still out. But The Sound of Music has made some major dents in the fabric of the movie world over the years.
He explained his reasoning for so little movie time thus “I don’t want to go and experience the real world by seeing a film. I get that Real World every day. I want to escape it for a few hours”.
I couldn’t agree more.
While creating something to fight for or bring awareness of social justice say, is laudable and most certainly has its place, I don’t see it as entertainment. I am sure I am not alone that I want in that 2 or 3 hour break to be entertained. Not lectured to, unless it is done very cleverly. The episode ‘Rosa’ in the latest Dr Who series is a top example of this and requires brilliant writing and acting to pull it off.
Before you start scripting that next Shaun of the Dead homage, Mad Max wannabe or other it’s-been-done-before-a-hundred-times film, is it possible for you to have a think and see if there is another area to explore and have fun with?
Just a thought.
Flame away! I know you want to…