Home Theater Forum and Systems banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,423 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I suppose the title says it all,....

As most of you know, (or maybe it's just me) but very few Hollywood films as of late (or the last 20 years) have been worth looking at. On the other hand there are a number of excellent TV productions. Whether you like 'em or not:

All in the Family
Band of Brothers
Battlestar Galactica
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Deadwood
Firefly
Gunsmoke
Hill Street Blues
The Honeymooners
Mad Men
Lost
The Office
The Shield
Smallville
The Sopranos
SpongeBob SquarePants
Twin Peaks
24
X-Files
The West Wing
to name a few,...

Curious,...when will Hollywood get a clue? Perhaps it's just me,... but I prefer a little character and plot development much more than an all out slam-bam action film. Whatever happened to:

Alien
Amadeus
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
The Godfather
High Noon
In the Heat of the Night
Lawrence of Arabia
M*A*S*H
The Quiet Man
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Red Rock West
Serenity
The Shootist
Twelve O'Clock High
Young Frankenstein

Just a smattering of good films,..... but
Am I alone? Does the vast majority just want another: Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, et al; mindnumbing action film???: :hissyfit:
Or will the quality of television finally surpase film making?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
539 Posts
Re: Will television surpase flm?

:hissyfit:
Or will the quality of television finally surpass film making?
You have an interesting perspective that is certainly worth considering.

I read a book recently called "everything bad is good for you". It's basically about how so-called junk culture, those things that the older folks (ie. baby boomers and older) think are detrimental to the mind and culture are actually better than they're giving credit for and are just showing prejudice.

A couple of the biggest examples are video games actually being "good" and not bad for the mind. And most of all that modern TV has actually improved over older shows.

Modern shows involve complex plot lines and multiple story threads that crisscross. Older shows usually revolved around a single story thread and only a couple of a potential small handful of characters.

He actually maps out the average episode of Happy Days, Hawaii 5-0, Dragnet and others and compares it to Heroes, Housewives etc.

Sure, reality TV is inane and personally I hate it. But he defends it against the "reality" of the past which were game-shows and variety shows. The inter-relationships within a season of Survivor are far more complex and stimulating to more of the brain than any gameshow of the 60s - 70s.

I'm not saying it's all right. But it's interesting.

When HBO started doing TV shows like Band of Brothers then Deadwood and Rome I thought ... wow... a new era of the TV show using its potential to create what used to be called a mini-series.

I love the idea of a one shot story. TV could be used to make stories that are just about as complex as the book because they're not limited to a two-hour run-time like a film.

But it turns out that making subsequent seasons of a successful single-season run is far too tempting. Perhaps there is an economic paradigm shift that needs to occur to allow this to happen. Seeing a successful run as a cash cow and running the franchise into the ground is just too sad.

Can you imagine if they decided to do subsequent seasons of Band of Brothers just to make some money and bastardize the whole project?

BoB II, the brother go to Korea.

BoB III, the brothers adjust to life at home

BoB IV, the grizzled vet brothers go to 'Nam

eech.

There are always good movies too though Nova. I just think TV or the weekly serial is a format that could be used to produce some amazing storytelling.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,054 Posts
The problem with Movies these days is that alot of them are either terrible or rated R with way to much gore and sex. Back in the 80's a person could go to a decent movie at least twice a month now there are entire months that go by before a good quality movie hits the screen. Look at last year, DVD releases were awful I went almost two and a half months without seeing a new release because there was nothing worth seeing.

But that also is true for television, there were far better TV shows available to us back in the 80's than there are now. I can think of only a handful that I will watch now. Law and order, Lost, Flashpoint and a bunch of shows on Discovery, TLC and HGTV.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,384 Posts
I went almost two and a half months without seeing a new release because there was nothing worth seeing.
How do you know they are not worth watching, I wonder? Maybe you are not giving the new releases a chance?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,054 Posts
How do you know they are not worth watching, I wonder? Maybe you are not giving the new releases a chance?
I'm not the only one that thought that, there was a thread going here about that topic. I look at reviews before I go and rent.
 

·
Plain ole user
Joined
·
11,121 Posts
The problem with Movies these days is that alot of them are either terrible or rated R with way to much gore and sex. Back in the 80's a person could go to a decent movie at least twice a month now there are entire months that go by before a good quality movie hits the screen. Look at last year, DVD releases were awful I went almost two and a half months without seeing a new release because there was nothing worth seeing.

But that also is true for television, there were far better TV shows available to us back in the 80's than there are now. I can think of only a handful that I will watch now. Law and order, Lost, Flashpoint and a bunch of shows on Discovery, TLC and HGTV.
I am having some trouble following your point. It seems that you throw out anything rated R, but were not some of the films you listed rated R? And the list of good TV you made is pretty long compared to what was available a couple of decades ago.

Perhaps you could clarify your view if you described more about what you think makes a good film and give some recent examples.

It seems to me that there have been lots of examples of fine films and television in recent years, among much more garbage, but I do not see the overall availbility of quality decrease at all in either. There is much more to choose from of all types.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
539 Posts
Just to play Devil's advocate Tony... I am going to disagree with most of what you say. Although it's an opinion and you're certainly entitled to your own.

I feel TV entertainment has advanced since the 80s and prior and it's gotten "better" by many measures.

I think the acting, editing, sets and many other conditions are better on TV today as it's ever been. I think the stories are more complex than ever too.

If anything is wrong with TV today it's pretty much the same thing that has always been wrong. As a business it sometimes takes a good thing and drags it out to maximize profit at the expense of the art.

All in the Family was a great show.

Many of its spin-offs were also high quality, like the Jefferson’s.

But nobody wanted to let it die. Does anyone remember Archie Bunker's Place?

Hill Street Blues was one of the first prime time Police dramas that incorporated multiple threads and storylines that would intersect. It was complex and deep. By today's standards its stories are pretty basic. Look at all the things going on in an episode of 24 or even Prison Break.

Although... like most shows, Prison Break needed to end when.... WHEN THEY BROKE OUT OF *******' PRISON!!!!! The show is called Prison Break and well I stopped watching it when they broke out. It started turning into a soap opera.
Also Tony about movies and overt sexual content.

I am not sure I follow you there. I know that current trend in pop-film production is to aim movies at 15 year old boys. This means they go for PG, avoid R and NC-17 is the kiss of death.

If you watch older action movies (cop movies for instance) from the 80s or earlier it was common to have brief nudity. It's almost never that way today. Horror is the same way.

The Firday the 13th formula always involved horny campers, show some nudity then kill them. Today you'd still probably get the sex but not the nudity.

The original Die Hard had a nudity scene. Subsequent Die Hard films did not. It's a sign of the times.

I really don't buy nostalgia. I think people who believe movies aren't as good as they used to be will also say that music isn't as good as it used to be either. But this can’t be the case because there is so much indie music going on today that any taste is being explored, even classic rock.

I bet if you polled everyone who ever said (it was better back in the day) I bet the peak for the production of entertainment was during said nostalgia buff's high school years. That's when we tend to decide what we like and most of us decide to stop discovering about that time too.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,054 Posts
I am having some trouble following your point. It seems that you throw out anything rated R, but were not some of the films you listed rated R? And the list of good TV you made is pretty long compared to what was available a couple of decades ago.

Perhaps you could clarify your view if you described more about what you think makes a good film and give some recent examples.

It seems to me that there have been lots of examples of fine films and television in recent years, among much more garbage, but I do not see the overall availbility of quality decrease at all in either. There is much more to choose from of all types.
I dont throw out everything rated R but the rating system in our country's has changed so much that a movie rated R in the 80's would be a PG13 now. There are some great movies out even today. I loved the Price Caspian movie Madagascar2 , as well as the latest Batman among others but the days of good fun movies like Back to the future or Star wars seem to be fading. Now it seems to be more about making a quick buck no matter how dumb or awful the plot.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,423 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I did not say all newer films are not worth watching,... just the vast majority :bigsmile:. I have very much enjoyed a number of newer films. Just seems to me that the ratio of good television shows to bad ones is greater than the ratio of good films to bad ones. No scientific data or anything,... just my perception which could easily be wrong.
 

·
Plain ole user
Joined
·
11,121 Posts
I just don't see the same. There were tons of lousy films a few decades ago. There seems to be much more of everything these days. More choice for more tastes in both TV and movies. Seems to be reason for optimism to me.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,423 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Good point Leonard, could be "my" perception of films, as the better stuff from years ago sticks with me and the others are forgotten. Television is (from my same perspective) getting much better than in the past, as Wayde points out "Modern shows involve complex plot lines and multiple story threads that crisscross. Older shows usually revolved around a single story thread and only a couple of a potential small handful of characters". Most newer films just do not get a chance to do this, between all the obligatory action scenes, sex scenes and time limits,... well for me anyway, they leave much to be desired.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
89 Posts
I did not say all newer films are not worth watching,... just the vast majority :bigsmile:. I have very much enjoyed a number of newer films. Just seems to me that the ratio of good television shows to bad ones is greater than the ratio of good films to bad ones. No scientific data or anything,... just my perception which could easily be wrong.

I may be new here, but hopefully it's ok that I say.....

Ahhh, Curmudgeons! My kind of people..... :bigsmile:

First off: I got confused in your OP. So Gunsmoke was in the last 20 years, and the movie Serenity wasn't? :scratchhead:

There's been plenty of dreck on TV both then and now. My least favorite current show has got to be American Idol. Of all the quality acts out there struggling to make it, and people like to watch a show that votes a guy through just because of his hair (was it Sanjaya or sumthin like that). Give me my Vienna Teng or Brenda Weiler any time.

I agree there are some TV gems out there in the last 20. Although I fall into the curmudgeon age-range, I'm a big Whedon fan, going for BTVS and being one of the few who watched Firefly all the way through it's original TV run (admittedly quite worried about Dollhouse though). Some other random thoughts on current TV: For pure slapstick, give me Top Gear. Sorry to see Pushing Daisies go. Loved Rome, and have high hopes for the HBOs ability to stage A Game of Thrones.

For movies, I agree I can't believe a lot of what get's put out there and how much money goes into it. But off the top of my head just this last year, I really enjoyed Iron Man, The Dark Knight, Frost vs. Nixon. My favorite way to select movies is to check out RottenTomatoes and go for something that both interests me and is "Certified Fresh".

anyway, enjoy!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,423 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
:bigsmile: Yeah,... well,... along with Gunsmoke, there is All in the Family and the Honeymooners :R oops. But the point is the same.

I also enjoyed Ironman, for the most part, because they took the time for some character development and plot. What I didn't like was the ending, seemed like they didn't know how to end it so we got a rush job on a cliche ending.
The Dark Knight was better, as was the ending, seemed to be better thought out.

I also watched Firefly's initial run. Dialog was very witty and entertaining.

Ahhh,...reality TV. That is the big flaw in my premise. I CAN'T STAND ANY OF THEM! Apparently many people love those shows,... I just don't get it. :gah:
 

·
Senior Shackster
Joined
·
792 Posts
As always, I have a different perspective on things.

In my opinion, the reason why so many current films are so mediocre
or bad is that they are too expensive.

Why is that a problem? Well the more money a movie costs, the more
the bottom liners, financiers, merchandizing interest and others will have
influence on the content. And you can't blame them because the risk
is so high they need alternative venues to make sure there is income
generated from it. So you're not going to get challenging or daring or
innovative movies by 'auteur' directors in large numbers in these financial
conditions.

If they can dramatically reduce the cost of films then they can take more
risks with cutting edge filmmaking techniques and approaches. So that's
how I see it.

In terms of TV shows listed above, I don't think "All in the Family" (or others
like "Laugh In") hold up in the long run because they are too topical and
linked with the years they were produced which is always a problem with
'message' shows and movies or those with a political slant. Times change
and so do the political stakes which dates those episodes to the point where
they are no longer relevant or entertaining...at least not for me. I had a tough
time sitting through Season One of "All in the Family" and had to really rewind
my memory banks to remember what topics they were referring to back in the
early seventies. I also don't think "Gunsmoke" holds up, at least not the color
episodes. It's too tame and doesn't have enough action for my tastes. The whole
point of a Western was action and some strong characterization. I thought the
series was too cliche. I prefer "Have Gun will Travel" or "Wanted: Dead or Alive"
in that genre. Much better shows.

"Band of Brothers" was very well acted but somewhat sloppily constructed as a series.
I don't think the characters were that well established or individualist enough and I had
to go back to some previous episodes to figure out who was who. It did grow on me
during the run but not every show worked on it's own and was too dependent on what
the previous show was. Good but not great and I wouldn't want to screen it again.
I thought the history was quite interesting but I didn't become that emotionally involved
with the people in the story.

"The Honeymooners" holds up fine because it has very strong characterization and is the best Laurel and Hardy clone of all time. So good you almost forget that most of the plots were recycled from the Roach team shorts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
539 Posts
As always, I have a different perspective on things.
Thanks Richard. I always find your posts informative.

I recently watched (Blu-ray) A Bridge Too Far. The first run of the film in theaters was a bit before my time, I don't even think I ever saw it before although I was crazy about WWII movies as a kid. This one might have been a bit too grown up for me to watch back then.

But in viewing it now I was amazed at what a HUGE movie this was and must have been in its day. It had so many A-list actors. To have made something like that today with the actors budget alone, forget the great (for its day) special effects, stunt work, equipment they blew up and pyrotechnics... it would have cost a fortune and could have easily brought down a studio if it failed to make money.

ie. Heavan's Gate might have suffered that syndrome.

I guess it must have been easier to finance huge movies with a cast that includes so man huge actors. I guess they must have not made the kind of money (for the time) as they do now.
 

·
Senior Shackster
Joined
·
792 Posts
I saw "A Bridge Too Far" in 70mm when it came out in NYC back in 1977 while
I was at NYU. I was epic and noisey and had a good cast but I can't figure
out why they made it. It was about a failed mission which was a real downer.

I'm not a fan of Richard Attenborough as a director although he's a good
actor. His movies lack the character nuance of a David Lean film. I was
very disappointed with his "Ghandi". Attenborough depicted him as a flawless
Saint. He beat Lean to the theaters since that director was also preparing
his version. Lean's heroes are flawed and shown in shades of gray just like
real life which makes them much more interesting to watch. I wish Lean's
version had been produced. It would've been a better movie.

The other trouble with Attenborough films is that they tend to be too long
with a very slow pacing. The performances are always good but I think he
lacks style as a director.

Bringing this back to the original topic, another problem for theatrical movies
is the insistence that most stay within the PG-13 content which is what the
megaplexes prefer. They don't want minors sneaking into R rated movies so
few are released these days. HBO doesn't have these restrictions so they can
incorporate more adult content into their narratives.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
539 Posts
another problem for theatrical movies
is the insistence that most stay within the PG-13 content
That's where I get the 15-year-old-boy problem with movies today. Roger Ebert harps on it on his website often.

For movies to make money today they have to be able to reel in the fifteen year old boy demographic. If you can appeal to them you have a blockbuster on your hands. The rest of the movie watching public gets what's left over in any studio's budget.

That's why I find it a bit ironic that anyone would think there is a rise in questionable sexual content in films these days. I think if anything movies have become much more de-sexualized... if you were to take the top weekend box office gross every Monday and ... well…

Here are the last week's top grossing films:

1 He's Just Not That Into You WB PG-13
2 Taken Fox PG-13
3 Coraline Focus PG
4 The Pink Panther 2 Sony PG
5 Paul Blart: Mall Cop Sony PG
6 Push Sum. PG-13
7 Slumdog Millionaire Fox R
8 Gran Torino WB R
9 The Uninvited P/DW PG-13
10 Hotel for Dogs PG

4 out of 10 are rated PG - family entertainment.

Only 2 of 10 are rated R Slumdog Millionare and Gran Torino...

Neither of those films I'd categorize as containing questionable sexual or moral content. I admit I haven't seen Slumdog but - isn't it about a kid from India that gets rich? Gran Torino is one of the most morally upstanding movies I've seen in a long time, I loved that movie and would take my son to see it if he were a teenager.

4 of 10 are PG-13. You may not agree with the MPAA, I know I don't like the whole idea of rating movies in the first place because it gives them too much power to decide what's going to make money.

But all-in-all I think we're in a sanitized era of film. Family oriented movies are at a peak in quality, creativity and box office potential. Especially when you consider all the two big studios making CGI films, those are all consistently very good films and all family oriented.
I think you'd have to go wayyyy back to the 50s or 60s to find an era where mainstream films are as non-sexual and consistently family oriented as they are now. That era certainly was not the 70s and 80s.

I have a five year old and one of our favourite things is to go to the movies. Seldom a weekend goes by there isn't something new we can go see.
 

·
Senior Shackster
Joined
·
792 Posts
Wayde,

What you stated is true but you have to factor in the business end.
The increase in popularity of home video formats dramatically decreased
adult patronage in cinemas in the eighties and nineties. So studios and
distributors are reacting and catering to the current moviegoing demographic.
It's a "Catch 22" situation. Exhibitors will say, "Why make movies with
adult content when it's mostly teenagers attending" and the other side of
it is "Why would adults attend if the content is geared for teenagers".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
526 Posts
Hello Richard, whats going on? Haven`t heard from you in a while. i was wondering what you thought of this years Oscar show? Especially with Slumdog winning the best picture? My wife brought that movie home, roughly 3 weeks ago, but I never watched it. Never really heard anything about it either.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top