Large Shiny Robot | The Wizeguy: Back in My BS Day
Love him or hate him, Quentin Tarantino is one of those directors with such a distinctive voice that more people go to see a movie because of him, not because they necessarily think it will do good. work by tackling modern trends or even because the topic looks interesting. He is one of ten or twenty directors who can reliably attract a profitable audience on his name alone.
So I don’t know why he’s worried that we’re in one of the worst times in Hollywood history.
Tarantino is probably as steeped a cinephile as there are today, with an enthusiastic and encyclopedic knowledge of cinema. So if I have to listen to anyone ruminating on movie history, it’ll be him even if half the time he’s just stirring shit up for fun.
I’m Watching You, Video Archive Podcast. I think people should stop asking themselves what constitutes real cinema. Like half of those “old man doesn’t like Marvel movies” stories, it’s because in an interview some asshole brings it up, inevitably wanting a soundbite for the clicks. It’s less ‘the old man yelling at the cloud’ and more ‘the young keep bugging the old about the clouds’.
Pop culture is more of a constant, it’s the lowest common denominator.
The problem isn’t that “pop culture exists”, the problem is that it’s getting harder and harder to get studios to support ANYTHING that doesn’t exist in a tested franchise. Mid-budget production in particular is what’s at risk – really low-budget stuff can be done by independent funding, but there’s a level where you don’t necessarily need 100 explosive spaceships but you have need a big cast and/or good period details and/or a lot of sets and locations etc. As Everything everywhere all at once is a great movie, but there’s a reason it’s mostly set in the tax office and laundromat.
There are obviously positives, and I think horror is now kind of a bastion of original ideas, because most of them can be crafted cheaply and you don’t need an address Familiar IP to sell it, just a premise. And of course someone Tarantino level on Scorcese can get funding, they still have their names to sell it. But it’s fair to say that now that the studios are close to the most conservative they’ve ever been, there’s very little incentive to take risks.
Once the bottom drops (which eventually will), studios could redirect the money to lower-budget productions with higher margins. Or maybe not, depending on what the streaming and theatrical release landscape looks like. Many of the criticisms of these filmmakers are likely to be about the demise of an old distribution model (and the salary that came with it), rather than the death of cinema. The problem is that no one has any idea where the movies are headed. Streaming isn’t exactly new, but it’s pretty unstable right now. And we are still emerging from one of the greatest social disruptions of the last century.
There’s probably still a theatrical market for non-action movies targeting adults, but the market has really pushed smaller projects into streaming. When a studio loses a few million dollars on Brothersit’s a sign that there’s no theatrical market for rom-coms, but when a studio loses hundreds of millions of dollars on a franchise IP license, it just means they need to expand the next one.
I think repeatedly asking Marvel auteur filmmakers specifically isn’t a helpful conversation. Largely because a lot of Marvel movies are actually pretty good (for some definition of good – whether or not they’re quote-unquote “cinema” is another boring and unproductive debate).
Rather, I think the conversation needs to be about franchises and how Disney, Sony, Warner, Amazon, Netflix, and maybe one or two other companies own all the big IPs and keep regurgitating this content over and over again. If you want to talk about the death of cinema or anything, you have to watch the fantastic beasts and Morbiusare and black adam and the next three Avatar movies, not only black panther 2.