Sorry Paul Schrader: The Movies Need To Change
You’ve probably heard about Paul Schrader’s remarks regarding the state of the film industry and the filmgoer’s today. He recently appeared at a BAFTA Screenwriters Series in London and spoke about the lack of quality films today and how this has changed the audience’s perceptions and attitude towards going to the movies… you know compared to the 70’s.
“There are people who talk about the American cinema of the ‘70s as some halcyon period,” said Schrader. “It was to a degree but not because there were any more talented filmmakers. There’s probably, in fact, more talented filmmakers today than there was in the ‘70s. What there was in the ‘70s was better audiences.” When people take movies seriously it’s very easy to make a serious movie,. “When they don’t take it seriously, it’s very, very hard. We now have audiences that don’t take movies seriously so it’s hard to make a serious movie for them. It’s not that us filmmakers are letting you down, it’s you audiences are letting us down.” Said Schrader.
Now, Schrader’s comments are not an insult to the audience but a mere observation of how things are and how things used to be. The man he’s been in the business for more than 4 decades and he knows a thing or two. But he has a point.
The audience is not the same. The film going audience in the 70’s fought for civil rights, fought for ending the war in Vietnam. They had different priorities but, they also didn’t had the abundance of movies to choose from. Seriously, today’s quantity trumps the quality that we desperately need. And let’s not mention the fact that there are incised number of film studios and streaming platforms that are making movies today. Hey, even Amazon, the company that used to sell books and clothes, now makes movies.
And what about the movies when the actually make it to the movie theaters? Well, you’ll get the Twitter response from the early screenings and then you’ll look at the Rotten Tomatoes thermometer on the quality of the movie you’ll want to see. Back then you’ll have to go out and actually watch the movie and tell you friends and family if it’s good or now. Oh, and speaking of quality… Yes, there are some amazing directors working today, and they do create original quality movies, but they’re probably 10% of the entire program in today’s film industry.
What we’re left in the rest of the 90% is the ill-fated attempts at remaking, rebooting movies that almost always goes wrong. And why do we need to know that Hollywood is making a cinematic universe compiled out of 10 upcoming movies when the first one is not even released yet? The Mummy had that problem and the total projected losses for the Tom Cruise movie ranked at 95 million dollars. It’s not that we don’t take movies seriously… My 2 cents are that most of Hollywood greedy for a profit, stopped taking films seriously. I can’t remember a time when i left a movie theater and felt moved by what i saw. I really can’t.
You can’t really pin all of the problems on the film going audience today. They’re the product of the modern times and most of the today’s generations can’t even name 5 movies written or directed by Paul Schrader. But I also think that we can’t lose hope. Why? Because we’re not the only one that need to change for the better. The film industry need reforms too. Can’ just complain that the cinema is dwindling and leave it to that. I promise you.