Thursday, 19 November 2009

Hollywood Babble On & On #399: The Hand That Feeds You

Welcome to the show folks...

A tip of the sombrero to reader Kit, who tossed me this link to yet another stupid comment by actress Megan Fox, and since it's a bit slow today with useful topics, I'll give you my opinion:
The actress tells The New York Times that her movie "Jennifer's Body" tanked because "the movie is about a man-eating, cannibalistic lesbian cheerleader, and that pretty much eliminates middle America."
I don't think the comment says a lot about Middle America, but it does tell us a bit about Ms. Fox's own cannibalistic tendencies. Apparently she likes to bite the hand that feeds her.

I suspect that Jennifer's Body tanked at the box office for several different reasons, that had little or nothing to do with the cannibal-lesbian-cheerleader-phobic tendencies of the general audience.

1. The movie sucked harder than a vacuum cleaner hooker up to a nuclear reactor. The Amanda Seyfried character, the emotionally needy nerd, was named Needy. If you need to know more than that to determine if a film was going to be bad, you don't deserve the right to choose what movies you're going to see.

The more we know about Diablo Cody and her writing, the more we appreciate the contribution director Jason Reitman, and the cast made to Juno.

2. The ad campaign was hurtin' for certain. Basically all the publicity and marketing for the film said things like: "See Megan Fox skinny dip," "See Megan Fox Make out with Amanda Seyfried," "See Megan Fox eat boys with lots of gore," and "See Megan Fox as nothing but a bitchy sex object, but don't complain, because Diablo Cody assures us that it's some sort of feminist allegory. Really."

And aside from the fact that the ads gave no impression that the film would be remotely entertaining, it neglected to accept the fact that...

3. Everyone is sick of Megan Fox. The stupid comments about the movies she makes, the people she works with, and the folks who buy the tickets, the constant flood of carefully posed photos where she always looks like she's been interrupted mid-coitus on the red carpet to the Transformer 2 premiere were all just too much.

She's a media star, not a movie star, meaning that she has more appeal to the entertainment media establishment than the general public beyond the occasional early teen boy who may consider her worthy of a file in their personal Spank Bank, but not worthy of shelling out $10 to see in a theater.

Her "stardom" is based upon parts in the Transformers movies that could have been filled by any other young attractive actress. She could be replaced with someone, anyone, else for Transformers 3, and not be missed.

Now that I've explained why Jennifer's Body failed, I will now attempt to explain why she blamed "middle America" for the film's failure.

In Hollywood no one takes responsibility for their own mistakes. The one hard and fast rule is that when you make a turkey, you blame someone else for its failure.

Since you can't blame the people who dole out the parts and those who advised you to take them, you go for the all purpose whipping boy: The Audience.

Sure the audience buys the tickets that ultimately pay the bills, but if recent phenomena from a steady stream of "political films" that no one will pay to see, to Will Ferrell's paychecks, are anything to go by, the audience often plays a very weak role in Hollywood decision making.

It wasn't always this way. The people who made films acknowledged that they were directly dependent on the audience for all that dirty sexy money. When they had a film that was considered "highbrow" they tried their darnedest to sell it to the audience by telling them that it was a "prestigious" work that used art to educate and enlighten.

The prime example I like to cite is the film Gandhi. Here was a film about a skinny Hindu in a faraway country, leading protests against the rule of white English speakers. It shouldn't have sold to "middle America," but it did, because the studio, Columbia, sold it to middle America based not on the differences between them and Gandhi, his people, and his cause, but what they had in common.

Hollywood doesn't seem to do that anymore, and there are two reasons for that.

1. Media conglomeration. The studios stopped being so dependent on audiences for their money when they became mere cogs in massive bloated media empires, and a great tax dodge for investment funds. Sure audience disapproval stung, but the pain was mostly absorbed by the blubber of corporate consolidation.

2. The rise of "indie" cinema come awards season. This created an attitude that in order to get the critical praise and prizes you had to not only make films that are "too good for the audience," but directly hostile to that same audience. The audience became the enemy.

So now when your film tanks, you just say that you weren't stupid for making a bad movie, the audience was stupid for not "getting it."

Plus, I'm pretty sure Megan Fox is an idiot as well.

1 comment:

  1. The powers in charge, due to the success of the Transformers and the advice of their sycophantic assistants, over-stated Megan Fox's appeal. People did not go to see both of those films for her.

    Diablo Cody comes off like another self-important lesbian ass who thinks every brain fart she spits out is some important commentary on life.

    Like you said it before she is a media star not a audience favorite.
    Miley Cyrus and the rest of the Disney tween machine do a better job of actually bringing in audiences.

    Disney actually manages their talent for the most part. We do not have Demi or Selena opening their mouths to unleash stupid on us all.

    Here in the US, we have a president who is basically the MEDIA's President. Who fawn all over him and every policy decision while the public us turning on his health care plan.

    Right now the video game industry right now is the last form entertainment that actually works to PLEASE their audience.