Hello world! Hey, how’s it going? How’s 2011 treating you so far? I’m so glad you stopped by to read the latest Reilly Roundtable.
And I have to admit. I was a little stumped as to what to write this week. I had something planned all planned…. But then I read that the GREEN HORNET made 40 million buckaroo banzai’s at the box office. Weird. It made me stop and think, you know. I mean I wasn’t at the movie theatres this weekend lining up for the latest laugh-riot that is a Seth Rogan movie. Who was? That’s what I want to know. So, for that other article mentioned, I will most likely publish another time. No, for this one, I want to try something else.
40 Million Dollars is a pretty good number for a movie. A movie I previously mentioned as being something I wouldn’t be seeing. Dare I say, loathe in seeing. And my fears and reservations had not subsided with a binky with some warm milk and a story… Especially since I watched the Schmoes Review. If you haven’t seen already:
When I read about the GREEN HORNET’S take at the box office, I got a little sad. That’s right. I was sad. I was sad that Seth Rogan now has another number one movie at the box office and will be given another key to the Hollywood Executive Wash Room. He must make copies to give to Jonah Hill and Jason Segal. Who in turn, make a copy for Sam Worthington, Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl.
GREEN HORNET, 40 Million, got me thinking. Why? How did this happen? It’s a little like seeing your ex-girlfriend with a buffed out meathead years after you broke up with her – you’re a little jealous of his pecs but you kinda sigh in relief cause you know he’s just a douchebag. Mostly because he’s wearing a see through, mesh tank-top (to show off his pecs.)
Sure, the guy has some might, he has some muscle… but there’s no heart. It makes you yearn for the yesteryears of… uh, yesterday, when a movie grabbed you by the short and curlies with its story, its inventiveness and its unwavering ability to entertain purely relying on something original.
Oh, how things have changed I say.
I don’t know what demon spawn was in me when I decided to spend hours on the Internet researching the movies from the eighties vs. the movies of now. I just wanted to see what the movies I grew up watching made back then. I looked at the grosses from the top ten movies of the year and compared them to the top ten grosses now.
It’s a pretty long list. So I decided to focus on three years in particular. I picked 1982 through 1984, to start, because they had some of my favorite movies of all time in the top ten of each successive year: ET, GHOSTBUSTERS, GREMLINS, POLTERGEIST, TOOTSIE, BEVERLY HILLS COP, TRADING PLACES, SPLASH, THE KARATE KID, ROMANCING THE STONE, MR. MOM, WAR GAMES… this is just a handful of the movies that came out between 1982 and 1984.
Now, I took the years 2008 through 2010 – some of my favorite money-makers from those years: THE DARK KNIGHT, IRON MAN, HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF BLOOD PRINCE, THE HANGOVER, TOY STORY 3, INCEPTION and HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS.
Now, notice how five of my favorites from he past three years are a sequel or adaptation. 2 movies were purely original – two out of seven favorites from 2008 through 2010. Now I do see the value and the entertainment of a great sequel or adaptation, 1982 through ’84 had its share of sequels – I am just commenting on the numbers here.
You know, for science.
I noticed a slight discrepancy in the movies I compared. In both cases – my favs vs. the top ten vs. the year they came out, the results awarded the 80’s with the highest percentage of satisfaction.
17 movies from 1982 through 1984 were original movies, not based on any pre-existing material, not a sequel, not a remake. Original.
9 movies from 2008 through 2010 were original movies, not based on any pre-existing material, not a sequel, not a remake. 2 of those were my favorite in the three years.
And, right? Who the hell am I? Who cares what I like vs. what everyone else likes? Well, this is an opinion piece so f’ off and your little dog too.
I share a common like of the movies that have been blockbusters in the last few years. Those of original fare like, say, INCEPTION and THE HANGOVER. They are both in the top ten highest grossing films of their respective years. Critics and moviegoers appreciated these movies and they had a “Fresh Rating” at the box office.
Now, let’s look at 1982 through 1984: ET, GHOSTBUSTERS, GREMLINS, POLTERGEIST, TOOTSIE, BEVERLY HILLS COP, TRADING PLACES, SPLASH, THE KARATE KID, ROMANCING THE STONE, MR. MOM, WAR GAMES, were all big money-makers, original, and left a lasting impression on me. That’s a pretty wide margin of original movies vs. adaptations and sequels, reboots and remakes.
Basically, I had double the chance to enjoy myself back in the 80’s than I do now. And as I dug a little deeper – as the years progressed, the numbers would change a bit, always leaning more to the side of a sequel, reboot, or adaptation. We’re now getting into the late 90’s and 2000 on.
And I didn’t even mention the other 80’s movies of an original decent. Take movies like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, RAIN MAN, ARTHUR, TIME BANDITS, BACK TO THE FUTURE, THE GOONIES, SPIES LIKE US, FERRIS BEULLER’S DAY OFF, TOP GUN, LETHAL WEAPON, PREDATOR, BIG, DIE HARD, BEETLEJUICE and WHEN HARRY MET SALLY.
My favorite movie, in the top ten, original, of the last ten years: MONSTERS INC., SIGNS, FINDING NEMO, THE INCREDIBLES, WEDDING CRASHERS, UP, THE HANGOVER and INCEPTION.
So, 8 of my favorite movies in the last ten years that were written especially for the screen vs. 26 or so in the 80’s written especially for the screen.
And for those wondering about the 90’s, I’m comparing my adult life in movies and my childhood movie-going experience only; the 90’s don’t really count because I was awkward, in college and high.
Come on, it’s a pretty big difference when it comes to box office, critical acclaim and that soft spot people everywhere have when it comes to this particular medium.
The geeks that make up today – those that went on to become filmmakers and fathers, mothers and professionals of every kind – and most important – the movie-goers just looking for a good time – these folk seem to reference those movies that affected them.
Is there not some connection when I read in the trades that a new movie is being made, described as ‘Insert 80’s Movie Title meets Insert 80’s Movie Title’?
Or when they remake every single 80’s movie or television show? Or when they sequel-ize or reboot every single original title from the 80’s like INDIANA JONES, ROCKY, RAMBO, DIE HARD, TRON, FRIDAY THE 13th, NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, HALLOWEEN, WALL STREET, THE EXORCIST and TERMINATOR?
I see a trend. I see Hollywood not living in the ‘Hakuna Matata’ of the present. They are always relying on the past. Or, at the very least, a brand.
So, there’s my beef. As expertly laid out as possible. When I looked into the numbers and the titles, I see a lot of movies that I fell in love with as a child or teenager (as many other movie-going patrons did as well) popping up into today’s cinemas. And most of them stink.
The other 10% of movies, those comic/book adaptations that make a gazillion dollars, usually have a pretty impressive pedigree to base, I.E. a comic book like BATMAN or a popular book like LORD OF THE RINGS.
Blow by blow, I’d say the original titles from the 80’s, when you adjust for inflation, take away the remake craze, tone down on the comic book adaptations, the original screenplay wins by a knockout.
Where are my GHOSTBUSTERS? My GOONIES? My ET’s and GREMLINS? My BEVERLY HILLS COP and my RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and KARATE KIDS?
Can you imagine where a GREMLINS script would end up today? Written by a no name, Christopher Columbus without a single produced credit?
Shoved out of the way for a known property or remake. Scripts like these are being shot in the back by a marketing team and a Harvard Business School Grad. They are being corn-dogged on the beach by a bunch of fraidy-cats with a fancy title.
I revisit more movies from the 80’s than I do the movies from the last ten years, hell, twenty years!
And so does Hollywood. They are REVISITING these movies almost every year. They’re called reboots, remakes and re-imaginings. Don’t think you are all clever, Hollywood, I see what you are doing. You are taking my favorite movie, dusting it off, clearing the mothballs and hoping I’ll show up with my whole family.
Well, guess what smarty pants? I don’t HAVE a family because I am sterile due to years living near Disneyland!
This is my letter to you, Hollyweird; I’d like you to give some of those scripts you’re using as a paperweight a chance. I’d like a fresh franchise a ‘la GHOSTBUSTERS, GOONIES, GREMLINS, RAIDERS or ALIEN to come out swinging. As the NFL has taught me this year, the underdogs are kicking the favorites’ asses all over the fargin place.
Fargin. Remember JOHNNY DANGEROUSLY? 1984. Original. Awesomeness.
These are some examples of the ‘kind of’ movies I would like to see in the Cineplex. Not really the same type of movie – just of the original variety. Something that makes me smile; something that males me appreciate a day at the movies. INCEPTION did that, DISTRICT 9 did that; all the PIXAR movies did that…. THE MATRIX did that… THE BIG LEBOWSKI did that…
And that’s my point. I don’t want to forgo a movie experience because I only have THE GREEN HORNET to choose from. It’s tiring.
Hell, I could write a whole article about the lead actors in those 80’s movies. Many of them were unknowns. I mean, where the hell has BILLY PELTZER been (Gremlins), the cast of Goonies? Henry Thomas (ET)? Dan Akroyd (GHOSTBUSTERS)?
Now we get Seth Rogan or Sam Worthington in EVERYTHING. Bah.
There’s my beef. Just something I’ve been thinking about lately. Take it or leave it. But I hope you take it and comment because I’d love to hear what all you fine feathered friends think.
No matter what, though, I will continue seeing movies in hopes a few gems slip through. That’s why we go, after-all. To see that diamond in the rough.
So, that’s that. Thanks for listen. Hugs and Kisses and…
See you in line,