Cal has a few ideas on how to improve a creatively-bankrupt film industry.
Here are a few current practices in Hollywood filmmaking that really annoy me and should probably go away. Feel free to strike back with your own suggestions below.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Dude gets special abilities/uses his wealth to make a super suit/is chosen for something special and proves himself in action, making him the hero that we’ve all come to know and love over the years.
That outline has been used relentlessly since Batman Begins, to the point that every superhero origin story feels the same now, with the same broad strokes but the names changed. And because superhero origin stories are so successful, the formula is being forced onto every property. There are even talks of Commando and Cliffhanger being turned into multiple-instalment sagas beginning with an origin story, for fuck’s sake.
It can be done well. But even then, I’ve never seen a perfect origin story. Iron Man is solid for the most part, but the perfunctory villain and climax feels, well, perfunctory. Ditto for Batman Begins. There’s not really much room to manoeuvre here. The third act needs to be action-based and have a villain, and it just never feels organic.
Origin stories have lost their gusto over the years, it’s a fact. The series doesn’t get fun until the sequel, when everything is in place. Now there’s talks of a Boba Fett origins tale… What would you rather see? The story of Boba starting as a sprog and growing up, getting his outfit, and beginning as a bounty hunter, or Boba Fett the badass tooling around the galaxy on dangerous assignments, pwning piss-ants and being Boba Fucking Fett?! I swear to God, if they try to force the Batman origins psychology on The Fett, it will be a royal way to fuck up a great opportunity for a standalone story.
“Reboots,” “reimaginings,” etc.
I’ve had enough of these types of fucking movies. There’s remakes, which can be good, and there’s “reboots” or “reimaginings,” which aim to kick-start a new franchise based on an old property. This is tied intrinsically to the origin story template, too.
I mean, we don’t NEED to see RoboCop or Spider-Man starting over again. We really don’t. They SHOULD just make a movie which takes place after the origins and can even be considered a distant sequel to the old movies. That doesn’t mean the old films need to be referenced, but there’s no reason to deny they existed either.
Action stars in kiddie movies
Urgh, this is just getting old. It was cute in Kindergarten Cop because Arnie has actual comedic chops because his acting can be unintentionally hilarious, but nowadays, it’s just getting cloying and fucking stupid.
Cheap DTV sequels
Some DTV sequels can be half-decent, but for the most part, the crop is unwatchable, with budget productions slapped together with the title of a hit movie from a few years ago to sell a few extra copies. I mean, the Jarhead sequels are abominable – the first movie was a Sam Mendes war drama FFS, and the sequels are DTV schlock.
Can we please stop this? Please?
The “Loveable Asshole Makes Good” movie
You know the one. Our hero is a preening, cocksure, sex-obsessed jerk. He will spend the majority of the flick behaving in a manner that an insecure male audience assumes they would be able to as well if they were more gentically-gifted (read: treating women disposably and yet being rewarded for it). The hero then learns a last-minute lesson, seeing the error of their ways and making a show of human kindness – amazingly, in a manner that somehow ties back to their earlier negatively-applied skill set.
These movies piss me off to no end. Pitch-black comedies can be awesome, but the movies that want to be black but turn light at the end… are just shite. The I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell book is funny as hell, because there’s no repentance or redemption for Tucker Max. He’s just a fucking asshole. That’s why the book sold so well. By adding the forced arc by the end, you’ve alienated fans of the book, whilst also having scared off the crowd you wanted in the first place because they have no interest in this kind of stuff.
The Hangover is black comedy and the characters are pricks, and look how much money that made…
The “My Big Family is So Funny” comedy
An extended family, typically belonging to some specific regional or ethnic niche, gathers together in one space for some special event like a wedding or a funeral. Each member of said family is defined by exactly one dominant personality trait, which puts them into either conflict or unease with everyone else’s singular trait. Hilarity will apparently ensue, along with more serious asides regarding relatives whose aforementioned singular personality traits are related to something heavy and/or traumatic, until a cacophonous finale comes along wherein the value of family is re-affirmed…
I must have seen this movie five thousand times by now. I don’t need to see it again.
The “Seemingly Fabulous Upscale Career Woman Still Somehow Incomplete Without A Man” romcom
Can this please stop? We’ve had enough Katherine Heigl movies to last ten lifetimes.
Animated movies about animals that can talk
Fucking hell, every time I see a kiddie movie at the cinema, it’s prefaced with five or six trailers for animated movies about, you guessed it, talking animals! Because, hey, animals are cute and you can give them racist, stereotypical personalities, while letting them engage in slapstick or bathroom humour. Oh, and don’t forget a message about how humanity are the bad guys!
Fuck this. It’s gotten to the point where I see the cover of one of these movies and legitimately forget whether or not I’ve seen it. No wonder kids are getting dumber these days. Balls!
Dance contest movies
This shit is getting super old really quickly. You have the stereotypical dance contest movies (gee, I wonder who will win), and you also have its sibling, the “idealistic teacher must use unconventional methods (such as dancing, rapping or wearing leather jackets) to get through to violent, unruly inner-city high school students” movie.
They’re all the same.
PG-13 action movies too afraid to be R
I’ve had enough of this malarkey. When people are shot with firearms, they bleed. When shit gets real, people swear. The world is not glossy or sanitised.
I can understand why big blockbusters are PG-13; I take issue with movies that clearly want to be R-rated but don’t have the balls to cross that threshold. Movies which want to be hardcore 80s action movies, but serve up all the dim-wittedness and OTT action sequences without compensating through violence and swearing to at least make them more enjoyable.
Even the Fast & Furious movies could’ve done with an R-rated approach. After all, the first movie was essentially Point Break with cars, and Point Break was R.