Sean Penn Speaks Out Against Hollywood's Formulaic Films

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Edwin Pereyra, Aug 27, 2001.

  1. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 1998
    Messages:
    3,500
    Likes Received:
    0
    In what seems to be a main gripe since the start of the summer box office season, it is now Sean Penn's turn to speaks out against films lacking in artistic and intellectual value.
     
  2. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 7, 1999
    Messages:
    2,921
    Likes Received:
    1
    In the past I would have never agreed with Sean Penn but this time he's right.
    I think people are finally getting sick of the the same crap getting released with only a name change to spruce it up.
    I think any kiddy bopper flick falls into the category.
    Can't hardly wait, She's all that BLAH BLAH BLAH
    Brent L
     
  3. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 1998
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    2
    Penn has been saying this publicly for some years now. At least this time, he restrained himself from attacking other actors who work in the system. A previous high-profile airing of his dissatisfaction with Hollywood contained a nasty swipe at Nicholas Cage (something about how he's no longer an actor, just a performing animal -- I wish I could remember the exact words).
    M.
     
  4. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2000
    Messages:
    12,251
    Likes Received:
    1
     
  5. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 1999
    Messages:
    2,601
    Likes Received:
    0
    I only have one thing to say regarding this article...
    God Bless Sean Penn !!
     
  6. Gavin K

    Gavin K Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2001
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    0
    Similarly, in the commentary for Christopher McQuarries' brilliant The Way Of The Gun he states that everyone complains when the audience is treated like idiots, and everything has to be spelled out, and you can tell exactly what is going to happen, yet test audiences didn't like TWOTG because they had to think too hard to follow along.
    But it's the same with every medium. Why do you think N'Sync is so popular, but Radish is just a blip on the radar. Unfortunately, the masses don't appreciate literate, thought provoking works of art. (I know that sounds funny after mentioning Radish, but hey.) And I think it comes down to education. Go to any University and compare the number of business majors to English Lit majors. When I was in High School we read Homer, Vonnegut, To Kill a Mockingbird, Bradbury, Steinbeck, Hemingway, Shakespeare, A Seperate Peace, Chaucer, Dickens, Hawthorne, Pygmalion, and numerous, numerous short stories and various other longer works. And I went to public school. Nowadays, my brother-in-law, who graduated a few years ago, read maybe three novels. And actually he used cliff's notes and watched a video version instead of actually read the novel. We actually read some in class, and our tests were thorough enough that we had to have read the novel to pass.
    As a society we're failing in certain aspects, and Hollywood is ultimately a business, and has caught on to this trend.
    I'm glad guys like Penn, McQuarrie, and John Sayles have found ways to bring their visions to the screen, but it does sound kind of funny coming from Jeff Spicoli.
    ------------------
    "Wow, what a dramatic airport!"
     
  7. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

    Joined:
    May 12, 2000
    Messages:
    4,118
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hollywood likes to shoot for the lowest common denominator because it brings in the most people. Hollywood is mostly about money nowadays, not about art. If art gets made, it isn't because Hollywood is trying to make it. The good thing is, there are still those out there who care about their craft. While I don't particularly like Sean Penn, I do respect his opinion and he does practice what he preaches.
    Jason
    ------------------
    My DVD Collection
     
  8. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 1998
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    2
    quote: Hollywood is mostly about money nowadays, not about art. [/quote] When has Hollywood ever been about anything but money? When was it ever about "art"? The movies started as popular entertainment, and they still are. The difference today isn't a change in the essential nature of the industry; it's a change in the scale on which it operates: big budgets, which necessitate big openings to recoup costs, which increases the risk that anything challenging, troubling or problematic will be eliminated from the final product.
    Good films are still made, but they don't necessarily get the huge distribution, and they need audience support. How many of the people complaining in this thread (and others) have made the effort to seek out and commit their dollars to the many fine smaller productions released this year? (Other than Edwin, of course -- his support is http://www.hometheaterforum.com/uub/Forum9/HTML/006656.html)
    M.
    [Edited last by Michael Reuben on August 28, 2001 at 02:25 PM]
     
  9. Gary Tooze

    Gary Tooze Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2000
    Messages:
    3,055
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bravo Sean... you are one of my two favorite currently working American directors.!!
    ------------------
    [​IMG][email protected]
    DVD COLLECTION CONTEST , My DVD Collection ,My Home Theatre
    DVDBeaver's 15 Member choices of the TOP 111 DVDs available today!
     
  10. Gavin K

    Gavin K Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2001
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    0
    QUOTE: "When has Hollywood ever been about anything but money?"
    I've been reading Joseph Engle's "Screenwriters on Screenwriting" and in it, Nicholas Meyer speaks about Zinneman's The Sundowners. He describes the basic plot as being about Australian Sheepherders and then adds, "Try to get that made today."
    I think before the cost of moviemaking skyrocketed, and actors and directors were under contract to studios, a wider variety of films could get made. It was still a business, but I think the bigwigs trusted the talent a little more.
    I'm not trying to say we need to go back to the old studio system, as I'm sure it had its downside, (look at what MGM did to Keaton), but I do think there was a time when the art of a movie was considered as a factor along with the financial side of things. As opposed to nowadays where money is the bottom line, story be damned.
    Going back to Mcquarrie. Even though he was successful with The Usual Suspects, the only funding he could get was predicated on him doing another crime picture, even though he had plenty of other scripts he wanted to do. In the old days, he would have been recognized as a talent and probably allowed a certain freedom about his next picture. Kind of like Stanley Kramer suddenly deciding to a comedy and making IAMMMMW. But today, he's a crime writer, shit out another crime script, it's what the people want. Copy your success, now a proven formula, instead of continuing your original works.
    I think what it boils down to is that Hollywood no longer has faith in its product. And why? Because if a movie tanks, an executive is out of a job. So they play it safe. And that's a shame.
    ------------------
    "Wow, what a dramatic airport!"
     
  11. Gary Tooze

    Gary Tooze Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2000
    Messages:
    3,055
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  12. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2001
    Messages:
    17,634
    Likes Received:
    1,435
    Location:
    One Loudoun, Ashburn, VA
    Real Name:
    David Fischer
    Sean Penn is one of my favorite actors, and I appreciate his persistence in trying to make "art". But at the same time, I don't wholly agree with his strident attitude.
    I like deep, challenging movies. But by and large, I watch movies to relax, have a good time. For that, I want fun, easy movies to watch. And this forum's constituents reflect this general desire as well: Look at all those who own/love/watch movies like "Armageddon", "M:I2", "Starship Troopers", "U-571", "The Haunting", etc. These are all 'popcorn' movies with varying degrees 'artistic' merit. And I'd wager that Penn opposes them as celluoid pablum.
    The other problem is the lack of consensus on what is 'art'. Some people think "Starship Troopers" is insightful art; I think it's a lame, big-budget, B movie. A poster above said, "Christopher McQuarries' brilliant The Way Of The Gun, " but all the reviews I saw for it said it was mediocre. And I think "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" is gorgeous, wonderful, truly artistic; others find it over-rated and silly with all those flying people.
    I hope Penn stays strident -- we need passionate artists to make passionate art like "Dead Man Walking", "The Sweet Hereafter", "Hamlet", "American History X", and "The Red Violin". But at the same time, I don't want to lose my fun Jurassic Parks, Indiana Joneses, Vertical Limits, Tarzans, Final Fantasies, and so on.
     
  13. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 1998
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    2
     
  14. Rob Willey

    Rob Willey Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2000
    Messages:
    1,314
    Likes Received:
    56
    Real Name:
    Rob
     
  15. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2001
    Messages:
    4,385
    Likes Received:
    0
    quote: I like deep, challenging movies. But by and large, I watch movies to relax, have a good time. For that, I want fun, easy movies to watch. And this forum's constituents reflect this general desire as well: Look at all those who own/love/watch movies like "Armageddon", "M:I2", "Starship Troopers", "U-571", "The Haunting", etc.[/quote]
    I think the main reason people in this forum like these movies has more to do with the fact that they're demo material to show off their home theater systems. [​IMG]
    [Edited last by Richard Kim on August 28, 2001 at 03:47 PM]
     
  16. Margo

    Margo Agent

    Joined:
    May 13, 1999
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  17. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2001
    Messages:
    17,634
    Likes Received:
    1,435
    Location:
    One Loudoun, Ashburn, VA
    Real Name:
    David Fischer
     
  18. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

    Joined:
    May 12, 2000
    Messages:
    4,118
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, I'm lucky and live in an area where there are plenty of places that play these smaller films. Problem is, I have to decide if these films are worth paying 8 bucks to see. Often, if I don't find one that I think is worthy, I just stay home, sometimes to catch that little film from last year that I rent from the video store.
    It is a fact that marketing is king nowadays. It is why thousands of people laid down their bucks on opening day to see Pearl Harbor, even tho it is a crappy movie. People buy into the hype all the time. I do it far less nowadays, since I educate myself on test screenings and WOM, but I can't always avoid it. ("The Mummy Returns" for example.)
    It is also hard during this time of year when all people want is to be entertained. That is certainly true of the teens. Course, in the fall, we get all the films everyone thinks are Oscar-worthy at once and can't possibly see them all during that short time frame.
    Jason
    ------------------
    My DVD Collection
     
  19. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2000
    Messages:
    9,467
    Likes Received:
    0
    To quote Harvey Keitel in Pulp Fiction: "Move out of the sticks"
    I have to drive between 20-45m to get to the various art houses around town, but I make the time to do it because generally I'm going to see a better movie than in a multiplex. I haven't set foot in a 'plex since early July when I saw A.I.
    A wider variety of movies were allowed to be made in the past because the moguls were movie lovers. Now the studios are run by marketers and financial analysts.
    ------------------
    "It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen"
    S&S Challenge: 72 ...25
    DVD BEAVER

    My DVD Collection
     
  20. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2000
    Messages:
    8,826
    Likes Received:
    220
    Real Name:
    John
    I tend to think the real "problem" is misidentified. I tend to think there are generally just as many "good" movies made but that there are more movies made overall every year and that makes more room for the crappy ones, which seem to keep getting crappier. There is generally a handfull of truly good ones each year. The problem is, as the crappy ones get more expensive and are hyped more (futilely hoping the public will look beyond how crappy they are) we tend to start forgetting about the good ones, which usually have a budget of a "paltry" ten or twenty million. As long as movies like Gladiator, Titanic and Forrest Gump get such acclaim, it hardly encourages studios to do anything very good.
    Personally, I think one of the major reasons movies tend to suck so bad is because they are rarely ever "written" by true writers. More often than not they are written by producers, directors or a producer in writer's disguise like Michael Crichton, and sometimes they are just written by committee. In the end they just tend to follow the same lame formats.
    In the end, I guess we will probably need to accept all the crappy stuff, but there are still several good ones to choose from.
     

Share This Page