Yesterday was Festivus, a holiday for the rest of us, popularized by “The Strike” episode of Seinfeld. The holiday was concocted by Seinfeld writer Dan O’Keefe’s father. On the show, it was executed by Frank Costanza. It featured an aluminum Festivus pole (instead of a tree), the Feats of Strengths, and most importantly, the Airing of Grievances. Here are my grievances with several facets of the film industry. To quote Frank Costanza, “I got a lot of problems with you people! And now you’re gonna hear about it!”
Theater Patrons: Is it so hard to ask you to show up on time, not talk during the movie, and shut your mouth when you chew? Nobody paid $10 to watch you traipse in after the film has started, or listen to you eat and describe plot points to your date. And if I so much as smell a cell phone in use during the movie, I’m going to launch it against the wall at maximum speed.
P.T. Anderson: It’s excruciating to wait five years between your films. You have serious talent, and we’d all appreciate it if you shared it with the world more often. Now that The Master is done, hopefully we can all see something new from you in 2014 or 2015 instead of 2017.
Theaters: This list is long. For starters, most movie theaters that I encounter should be darker. There’s a bit too much ambient light. The sound volume varies from film to film and theater to theater. At least one theater I regularly attend doesn’t close the door, so everyone in the theater will invariably hear whatever’s playing on the screen next door, which is also playing in a theater that has an open door. These are easy things to change. Make it happen.
Fanboys: For crying out loud, get a hold of yourself. The death threats to Dark Knight Rises critics went well beyond any reasonable sense of decorum. When you blindly defend films you haven’t even seen, you turn yourself into a laughingstock. The next time you want to comment angrily because something on the internet annoys you, take a valium, cool off, and think about the absurdity of your actions.
Studios: Enough with the remakes and adaptations already. I understand that there’s financial safety in repackaging a known commodity, and I also understand that these remakes may still be good films. But you can not possibly tell me that there aren’t loads of genuinely good original screenplays out there waiting to be made. You’re choking the industry. And along these lines…
Superhero Movies: Look, plenty of these have been good. Some have even been great popcorn movies. But we’re way beyond saturation. By this time next year, both Spider-Man and Superman will have been rebooted within seven years of closure of the last re-boot. Whatever the quality of the actual films, the whole process is unnecessary. For the money it takes to make these films, imagine how many more smaller, original films could have been made. It boggles the mind.
IMDb: I appreciate how much your site offers. However, there’s one item that it no longer offers, and loads of movie fans still miss it. Please consider reinstating the Hit List. It was a daily visit for so many people, and it was the perfect way for word-of-mouth (internet mouth, I guess) to spread about great entertainment-related videos and articles.
Movie Marketers: You’re getting sloppy. Trailers have become completely, eye-rollingly predictable. Worse, you show too much throughout the marketing process. By the time audiences see your films, they’ve had an opportunity to check out anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes of your movie, often featuring the most memorable lines and scenes. It all leads to overhype, which sets unrealistic expectations amongst audiences. Your methodology is so scattershot, and you don’t seem to care so long as something- ANYTHING- hits a target audience. I know you can fix this.
What about you? Do you need to air any grievances?
20 responses to “The Festivus Airing of Movie-Related Grievances”
Good list. I agree about cinemas being too light. Legally required lighted fire exit signs are massively annoying.
Good point about the TDKR as well. Doubly so as it wasn’t even very good.
Yes! Bring back the IMDB hit list.
My (main) theater won’t even kill the lights until the trailers are done. They’re very dim, but they’re still slightly on. Then when the movie starts, they kill them completely. That’s disappointing. Minor nitpick, I know, but it’d add to my enjoyment.
IMDB’s Hit List used to be the first thing I checked on the computer every morning. It is, in fact, how I discovered your blog. And yes, studios, you are allowed to make the odd original film every once in a while.
There are so many things I’ve discovered over the year that would’ve been perfect Hit List items, but I had to find out about them secondhand, and usually weeks after they’d been created. Case in point: this amazing Ottoman-style art of movie scenes, which is the kinde of thing the Hit List should thrive on:
I have always thought that if the studios and theaters used some of their marketing and theaters for smaller films, maybe they wouldn’t be so small. I’ve got a friend who considers himself a movie buff, but he hadn’t even have heard of a film like Beasts of the Southern Wild. Instead of playing The Amazing Spider-Man on 6 screens, couldn’t one be used for independent movies, or god forbid, a foreign film?
Absolutely agreed. I’m hoping that legitimate indie revolutions are cyclical based on every two decades. We saw one in the 70s, we saw another in the 90s… It’s time for another.
As far as the superhero movies go, they tried to reboot Superman and they tried to find a guy who kind of looked like Christopher Reeve and recapture the magic (of Superman IV). They did recapture that magic, however it was a boring continuation of the oneupsmanship between Lex Luthor and Superman. Also, it wasn’t really a reboot, but actually a recast of all key roles. From a storyline perspective, it was a continuation of the same Superman universe. The upcoming Superman is really the reboot, but it seems a little more like what Christopher Nolan did for Batman .
Yeah, wasn’t the 2006 version supposed to be from the point of view that 3 and 4 never happened? It picked up the storyline at that point?
Yeah, strangely enough, it sort of fits with or without parts 3 and 4. I think there are a lot of people who wish part 4 never happened. Regarding what Phil wrote about showing more indie flicks, its mostly a matter of putting asses in seats. I think tthe cinemas should have a blockbuster section with the larger theatres for 3D crap and a smaller section with five indie theatre
I think you could potentially put several small indie screens in the space it would require for one huge theatre typically reserved for the latest Transformers sequel.
The worst part is, even if an indie film triples its budget at the box office, you’re still talking about… what, a $10M gross? But if Tran6mers: The Dark Rising Flaming Turdbot even beats its budget by 5%, it’s going to make the studio $15M. And that doesn’t even include worldwide numbers.
I’m working on some ugly numbers right now about box office totals. It’s going to piss everyone off.
Yes but there is plenty of indie stuff being made. It’s the in-between, smaller studio stuff that we don’t get enough of. The Avengers and Beasts of the Southern Wild are at huge extremes. Most movies USED TO BE somewhere in between, not anymore.
Have you read Down and Dirty Pictures? I haven’t but I wonder if it sheds some light on how that happened- what you’re describing.
I have read it, but some time ago. Probably the consolidation of indie companies had something to do with it.
As far as remakes of movies from the 80s go, we will have to survive the Robocop remake and maybe a few others and I think they will start to slowly go away for a while. At this point, the studios have more than anecdotal evidence that nobody wants to see these remakes and they will be moving on to their next horrible idea.
You’d hope that’d be the case but I have less faith. For instance, even the Total Recall remake, which took a beating with critics, pulled in $55M. Karate Kid earned $176M; Arthur made $33M (budget of $40M, but like Total Recall, it’s an extremely bad one); Footloose has grossed $51M (budget of $24M), etc… Sadly, they make money.
Maybe you will cover this in your upcoming post, but if Footloose can make such an enormous profit, when I didn’t even notice its release, isn’t a movie like Argo or Silver Linings Playbook even a better bet? They at least have the possibility of being truly popular, without The Avengers budget. But I don’t know how much money they are making, so I might be wrong.
Funny you should mention that- I am covering it soon (hopefully Wednesday, or at least this week), although it’s more aimed at re-makes and less so at the mid-range non-remake stuff.
To date, Argo’s at $164M worldwide, and SLP is at $37M. From the very little I’ve seen of box office figures, those are really solid numbers, and well past their production budgets (Argo production- $44.5M, SLP- $21M).
That’s what I would have guessed. Also, they will make even more when the Oscar noms come out, since they both should be there in a big way. I thought Argo was very good if not great, and haven’t even seen SLP yet, but I’ll take either one over The Dark Knight Sucks Balls. And I loved Life of Pi, which is making a lot too, if I am not mistaken.