Friday, 28 October 2011

You Have Questions I Have Answers! Part Deux!

Gather round my acolytes, it's time once again to drink deep from my pretense of wisdom!

That's right, I'm answering the rest of the reader questions.  So sit back, relax, and hang on my every word because there will be a test tomorrow.

Rainforest Giant asked... Furiously, they make 'chick flicks' but do they make any men's movies anymore. What I mean by that is movies like 'They Came to Cordoba', 'The Wild Bunch' and more recently 'Master and Commander'. Movies without women in them. Plenty of movies where men are only props on Lifetime channel but few men movies. In fact, Master and Commander is the last movie I saw without a speaking female role.

Since the 'warrior woman' fetish became so mainstream it's hard to find a movie that does not have a Michelle Rodriguez type who is tougher than the men. What's the chance that meme will die as well? I am sick of watching a 90 lb. 'Buffy' type beat up 300 lb. Dwayne Johnson look-a-like.
Captain Kitten
Well first thing is that most men watching a man flick, like to see women, even in small parts, but I do see your point.  There was a time when the "Men On A Mission" movie was pretty commonplace.  I'm talking about films like The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly, Where Eagles Dare, and The Guns Of Navarone.  These films centered on men doing manly things, usually fighting bad guys or each other.

Sgt. Squirrel
They slipped in popularity in the 1970s when the action adventure genre moved from groups of men fighting bad guys together, to individual men fighting bad guys alone. This came about partially from the decline in the popularity of war movies and westerns, but mostly from the simple fact that most big action stars didn't like sharing the spotlight and the money.  Now though they are rarer than hen's teeth, recent examples that come close to it being Inglorious Bastards, and The Expendables.

The main reason they are so rare, and so-called "chick flicks" are so common is the simple fact that very male movies don't appeal to women.  Men can be dragged to a chick flick, if it will please their woman, but women will not go to movies unless there is something in it for them.

Studios see more money in movies that can attract women because A) They're cheaper since they don't involve explosions. and B) The women make more of the household buying decisions than men.

When people first started seeing a "warrior woman" kick butt was surprising. Then it became repetitive when everyone started doing, then it became a cliche with a trap.

The trap comes from political correctness which dictates that in any action-adventure scenario if the female character is not at least an equal, but preferably a better, to her male counterpart, the people who made that film/TV show are therefore sexist pigs who are worse than Hitler and belong in a cave with Mel Gibson.
However, I do remember that Michelle Rodriguez is quite capable of throwing a punch.  

That's pretty much all I remember about that encounter aside from coming to in a dumpster with two black eyes and a headache.

Next question...
David C. Matthews asked... I thought I was up on all the Hollywood jargon, but a couple of weeks ago I got tripped up by the term "with penalty" (and thank you for answering my tweet about that!) Now I have another question: what is a "put pilot"?
There are four kinds of deals you can get when you're making a deal with a TV network for a new TV show, and it's kind of essential to explain them all to answer your question.

1. PILOT SCRIPT: The network pays you to write a script for a pilot episode, but don't make any commitment to make the pilot.

2. "PUT PILOT" COMMITMENT:  This is when they pay you to write a script, but it comes with the commitment to "put" the script into the production.  That means that no matter what, the pilot episode will be made.

3. PILOT PLUS SCRIPT ORDER:  This kind of deal means the network is really eager, and order a pilot to be made plus a certain number of scripts to be written (between 6-12 scripts).  It's not a guarantee that the show will be picked up, but it does increase the chances that at least the pilot will air.

4. EPISODE ORDER:  They love your script, then they love your pilot, they love the other episodes written for it, and they order episodes to be made for air.

Next question...
Helen asked... Why is Sam Mendes directing the next Bond movie?
Because the franchise has had past success with directors with a background in straight drama like Michael Apted, Marc Forster and Roger Spottiswoode.  It's supposed to be a win-win for everyone. The drama directors get to stretch their abilities, ably assisted by the best stunt and action technicians in the world, while the Bond movies get some fresh blood that don't have preconceived notions of action film-making, and are capable of coming up with something new beyond just doing it bigger than the last time.

That's why I hope the rumors of Mendes cutting out the action are just silly rumors.

Adder asked... What do you think of the nihilism that is prevalent in so many of today's films. Can you give an example of a good nihilistic film.
Mostly I think of it as a pose to cover up failures of the filmmaker's imaginations.  My favorite nihilistic film is The Wild Bunch, where the leads realize that if their lives are to have any meaning, they have to be destroyed battling a greater evil.

Then again, the fact that it involves a purpose probably ruins it as a nihilistic movie.
Siythe asked... Furious type person.  Is the flood of remade rebooted reimagining’s just a normal cycle of the business taken to extremes or something new caused by how the business has evolved and in either case what will it take for studios to start backing more original projects?

And while we're at it are reports of the demise of 3d greatly exaggerated or is the gimmick really dying off?
Remakes are as old as cinema itself.  The classic detective movie The Maltese Falcon with Humphrey Bogart was, in fact, the THIRD movie based on Dashiell Hammet's novel.

The main difference between then and now, is that back then remakes were mostly done for a purpose.  Doing a movie in sound, or in color, with a better director/script/cast, bigger budget, etc...

Nowadays remakes are being done because the people running the studios are scared shitless of doing anything original, and if they could get away with it will retreat completely into remaking properties they already own in the vain hope that the vague familiarity will somehow lead to profits.

It fails more often than succeeds, but I don't see them giving up any time soon.
As for 3D, I really do think the gimmick's dying off because it's become code for "This movie's too shitty to stand on its own, so here it is in 3D."  Too many bad movies for too much money, and too much hassle.

Sandy Petersen asked... Why do entire national film markets sometimes suddenly dry up? Look at Italy - it had a thriving, healthy movie industry which suddenly started to falter in the 1980s, and then pretty much died by the mid-90s. Look at Hong Kong - they were still going strong until 1999 - did the Commie takeover really make THAT big a difference? Now Hong Kong films are in the crapper. English movies took some heavy hits too.

What is going on? Is it just competition from Hollywood? Is it some change in the way movies are financed or marketed?
All markets follow boom and bust cycles. Even Hollywood gets hit with them on occasion.  The thing about Hollywood is that they're protected by their size, their reach, and the fact that for the most part they are not built around small cliques of  filmmakers and producers.

Where Hollywood has a steady stream of hundreds of new executives, producers / production companies, filmmakers and directors coming up all the time, many foreign markets have only a few dozen at best. 

This means that:

1. Fly-by-night producers and disreputable business practices do way more damage to the local industry as a whole than it would to the Hollywood behemoth.

2. When filmmakers and producers lose their creative-commercial mojo, which is inevitable, it can do exponential damage to the industry, even if it's temporary.

3. Local economic factors, like tax laws, regulations, as well as sources of capital investment can also effect these film markets. Remember, a lot of these film industries really depend on their local audiences and investors, because they can't sell themselves internationally on the epic scale of Hollywood.

All these factors make themselves way more fragile than Hollywood.

I hope I made a few things clear for you all.  Now I have to go lie down, I've been thinking too much today.


  1. I also think what killed of the MEN ON A MISSION war films is video games especially the Call of Duty, Medal of Honor etc. For some 16-35 Male why watch some men shoot it out when they can fire up a console and be part of the action.

    I do have to say there is no woman I do not care how hot she is, can drag me to another Twilight movie.
    The 1st one was dreck, could barely sit through the 2nd one, I had to watch it in 15min intervals and the others I have not cared about.

  2. Gary, kind of a personal question but are you married. Your hatred of Twilight might have something to do with the fact that it is advocating a return to the primite, tribal mindset. If the women you love isn't sure which hot guy she's in love with and she chooses you but continues to keep her options open, then you're mate guarding. Unless you can put a burqa on her and lock her up you're CONSTANTLY mate guarding. That means you're not being a part of society, making money, being productive. Unless you just want to be your girlfriend's gay-ified non-sexual "friend".
    That might have something to do with why guys don't like these films.

  3. Mate guarding? You're reading too much Roissey. Men hate twilight movies because they FUBAR perfectly good memories for no good reason. Vampires come in two varieties mindless minions that need to be staked and/or beheaded and master vamps that need to be staked and/or beheaded. The master vamp will sometimes want to seduce one of the chicks sometimes for weird undeadish sex but usually just for evil. That's where the 'modern' vampire sucks and I don't mean blood.

    Those faggy vamps on Twilight glitter like cheap strippers. And even though they are undead pedophiles they are the heroes. They entirely lack evil. They are no worse than a shark who occasionally eats a surfer.

    Werewolves come in three varieties. Bipedal 'flat face' (both versions of The Wolfman' Curse of Werewolf). Bipedal wolf face The Howling for instance. And quadrapedal wolf, Wolfen, American Werewolf in London.

    These guys are tormented angsty types unable to control the raging beast in them. They avoid their loved ones like the plague.

    Meyers wrote a teenage romance novel completely screwing up perfectly good memories for millions.

    I wonder if they will ever make a good vampire or werewolf movie again.

  4. Rainforest, we do have true blood, never read the books but the TV show on HBO, exactly depicts vamps and other creatures of the night how they will act in real life.

    I'm single, I hate the Twlight films because they JUST SUCK. They are slow boring and lack any entertainment value.

  5. I never read or watched true blood. I live in Forks (yes I will accept sympathy cards) and I have to live with the nutjobs half the year. The other half is too wet for them. Thank God.

    I see enough vampire wannabes I can stomach. Despite the fact that I loved Dracula, Count Yorba, Blackula, etc, I cannot stand them now. I tried showing Count Yorba to one of my daughters and she was uncomfortable with the completely evil portrayal of the vampire.

  6. Oh,

    And two of my kids are Quileute. They will not get any tattoos until they are eighteen and if they get one of those dumb-assed things Jacob has on his shoulder they better wait until I am dead. LOL.

    P.S. The damn word verification looks like 'glaucoma'. I wonder if it is trying to tell me something.

  7. Furioso,

    Did Michelle really punch your lights out? If so may I touch your shiners? Can you show me the dumpster she threw you in?

    I want to set up a shrine. Not that I want to watch her 'out-tough' Lee Marvin but she is smokin' hot. Kind of like Lucy Lawless, smokin' hot and into soft-core Roman gladiator pr0n. What more could a guy ask? I will forgive them for their tough guy acts.

    Which reminds me I guess there is one good thing to come out of this tough-girl fad. They can never remake 'Princess Bride' she'd have to rescue herself.

    This word verification looks like 'Sheepar'. I wonder if they took a D&D random name generator to create their word verifications?