Why Hate Hollywood
Why Hate Hollywood? For starters, the town is run nowadays by people who don’t know much about movies and don’t especially like them. The town? Hollywood isn’t so much a place anymore, though a lot of its infrastructure remains in Los Angeles, but a state of mind favoring sequels over substance, the repetition of poor ideas over the innovation of good ones. Anyone remember Mr Ed: The Movie? Somebody actually pushed that dead horse through the production process, laying odds in favor of a hit. The assumption was that a silly TV show popular 25 years earlier was a good bet at the box office—people might actually gamble the price of a ticket on a talking horse picture because Mr. Ed, whether anybody liked or actually saw the show in the ‘60s, had name recognition.
Hollywood thinks the public is dumb. Once in a while we prove them right. With Mr Ed, the joke was on them. Sure, Hollywood was founded to make money, but the people who founded it loved the entertainment industry. They enjoyed movies and wanted huge audiences to enjoy them, too. They appreciated the craft of the cinema and often respected cinema’s potential as art—as long as it didn’t lose its ability to entertain. They ran Orson Welles out of Hollywood but not until he made a couple of great films.
Nowadays, Hollywood studios are prestige branches of soulless corporations preoccupied with quarterly profit reports. A good movie in the minds of today’s studio hacks is one that sells lots of tickets on opening weekend, boosting the company’s profits. (The percentage of ticket sales going to the studios drops the longer the films are in the theaters, which explains why the marketing mavens move on to new projects week after week.)
I hate Hollywood because I miss seeing good Hollywood movies, films like The French Connection, TheGodfather and The Shining, movies that merge the enormous technical resources at the studio’s command with intelligent writing and superb acting. More and more, people with digital cameras and low budgets are making interesting indie films, but sometimes too much of that can taste like a strict diet of tofu. The sizzle and the pleasure are missing.