Friday night topic: The trouble with movies

— 5:00 PM on June 17, 2005

Hollywood is in a monster slump at the box office, with revenues declining consistently for some time now. Some say it's because folks are choosing to watch movies at home on DVD. Others say it's because Hollywood has abandoned adults, catering only to the teenage crowd.

Maybe this makes me an old fogey, but I think this sounds just about right. I'm not sure it's entirely an age/demographics problem, but I do think Hollywood needs to produce higher quality movies. Action films have pretty much abandoned any semblance of storytelling to chain together spectacular special-effects sequences. Reviewers used to say this was true in the early 90s, but it wasn't until some point later that big-budget action flicks just gave up on plot. I remember sitting stunned in the theater at the first summer blockbuster that really did this—can't recall the name—and then every new action movie I watched since was like that: indecipherable. Meanwhile, Hollywood seems to have practically abandoned the mid-line movie, the non-blockbuster flick that's not an indie film. Dramas like "Million Dollar Baby" and "Cinderella Man" don't get made so often anymore. I've resorted to watching TV dramas and renting DVDs of shows like "24," which are usually way better than most movies.

So what do you think is the trouble with the movie business? Discuss.

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