There I go again with the leading questions. The truth is a lot of movies really fall short of their promise. The whole thing about moviemaking is that you’re able to slice and dice reality so that you can bring to life a lot of fundamental truths that would, otherwise, take a tremendous amount of time, energy and expense to even observe, much less capture.
Movies will dispense with all of that because we can really expose a wide range of all sorts of human conflicts, ethical conundrums, moral dilemmas and sexual angst through modern editing technology. Sadly, as awesome as this promise may be, current movies totally drop the ball. There’s really no other way to say it. They just completely missed the mark and failed to deliver although they’re given opportunity after opportunity. They definitely have the budget for it, so what accounts for this prolonged and often chronic mediocrity?
Over Emphasis on Technology
The first culprit is that the typical movie, to some degree, leans on modern editing technology. On the surface, this might seem like a good thing, but the problem is if you give a kid a machine gun, chances are, it won’t have a happy ending. The same applies with lazy producers, directors and editors. If the overarching motive is to make a buck then, you can bet that the technology would be a used like such a crutch that it ends up sucking out all the narrative firepower that the movie could have otherwise had.
Cheap Plot Props
Yeah that’s right, Quentin Tarantino, I’m calling you out.
Quentin Tarantino is on the record as saying that if you don’t like the violence in his movies, then don’t watch it. It really is that simple in his mind. To him, the scenes where people are getting butchered, shot and dismembered are no different on a qualitative basis than tap dancing or singing scenes at musicals.
Whatever you feel about this attitude, it does highlight the fact that Hollywood now has an unhealthy obsession with cheap plot props. In other words, by relying on gimmicks, we can paper over the fact that we are producing a movie that is short on story. It really is too bad because it again really takes away from the fact that the movie could have been so much better if it was written better, directed to focus on character and plot development over time.
Budget over Plot
In a typical Hollywood movie studio there’s always a division made up of specialty writers called “plot rewriters”. That’s their job. They’re basically going to go in re-adjust the guts of the movie depending on changing conditions. “Changing conditions” is just a fancy term of saying that there are budget issues.
Usually, Hollywood, being a typical business, wants to get the most profits for the least amount of investment. You really can’t blame them because that’s how businesses work. Unfortunately, this often leads to plot decisions that end up stunting the overall power that the movie could have otherwise had.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many movies I’ve watched that had fundamentals and potentials of being truly great movies. One of them being Dear White People, but unfortunately due to budget constraints or whatnot, it failed to deliver.
It’s like boxing Manny Pacquiao and getting points up until the 12th round and getting knocked out. It really is quite a disappointment, and I suspect that the whole preference of budget over plot had a role in this.