The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

12 July 2011

Moving pictures

Have you seen any good movies lately?

Summer used to be the season for tent-pole movies, block buster movies, who-cares-about-plot-let's-just-blow-stuff-up movies. There used to be something for everyone at the local multiplex: rom-coms for the ladies, testosterone-driven extravaganzas for the lads, chirpy animated fun for the wee folk, and the occasional thoughtful 'film' of foreign extraction for those who don't mind reading while at the show. If you were in the mood for cinematic entertainment, you were practically assured of getting it.

Not so, these days.  I hear that Hollywood is struggling with its own financial crisis.  I'd suggest this has little to do with Fannie and Freddie and rather more to do with a flawed green light policy. (Green light means a script has been approved for development)

Have you seen the ads for this summer's box office?  It's men behaving badly in Bangkok, women behaving badly somewhere else, men and women behaving badly together, with a little murder and psychological terror thrown in for good measure.

So often a story line seems to have promise.  There is potential for 90 minutes of air conditioned entertainment - throw in some over-priced popcorn and you're well prepared for some fun. But when it's over, you're left wondering what all the fuss was about, and maybe you should have stayed home to sort your socks after all.

I know that it's very difficult to get someone to look at your script.  Then, if you have the good fortune to get an agent, it's a challenge to be picked up by a studio.  And after getting that far, a script can linger for years before it is put into production. It takes such a lot of money to make a film.  It requires people of talent to do the work on the set, costumes, make up, special effects, stunts, craft services, camera work, film development, editing, promotion and much, much more. And it takes somebody to read the script and say "I believe this will make a good picture." or at the very least, "This will make me stinking rich." and find backers who are willing to risk their money on the project, and artists to stake their reputations on it.

It's head-shakingly baffling then, after realizing all of that (and more) goes into making a film, to scan the listings and see the movies on offer. Really? Someone decided to approve that storyline? Somebody wrote that script and had the nerve to pitch the idea? And someone else thought it was a sure winner?

I'd love to hear about your favourite summertime movies, especially if it's from this year's crop.


  1. I would heartily agree with the flawed green light policy. And a lot of Hoolywood's struggles are due to a serious lack of imagination - Do we really need 4 Pirates of the Caribbean, 3 Transformers and seriously, more than one Hangover movie!!! How about the numerous comic book character movies we've been forced to endure. (I'm just waiting for a Aquaman movie and re-make of Wonder Woman!!)

    W in O-town

  2. How could I have overlooked the imagination quotient? Very good point, Mr. W.

    I don't know how true this is, but I heard whispers that they were going to put out yet another Rambo. Or was is Rocky? No, was Footloose!

  3. Thought I'd put my two cents in. I agree with both of you. There is a movie coming out this summer which I am looking forward to. It's called "The Help" based on the bestselling novel. I haven't read the book and am going simply from the previews but it actually looks like it has a story, and strong characters. Hopefully I won't be disappointed.

    M in Ottawa

  4. Capital M,

    The preview for that one looks promising. Here's hoping!

    Thanks for stopping by.