Nov 18, 2008

The Height of Nerve: Hollywood Execs Blame the Audience.

All of a sudden, they are whining about the demise of "story". Peter Guber pines for the days when movies had stories.
Ultimately, he blames the audience for the perceived breakdown in narrative quality: in the end, he argued, consumers get what they want. Bobby Farrelly, a prolific writer, and director with his brother Peter of comedies like “There’s Something About Mary” and “Shallow Hal,” concurred.
If you go off the beaten path, say, give them something bittersweet, they’re going to tell you they’re disappointed,” Mr. Farrelly said. He spoke from his home in Massachusetts, where he is working on the script for a Three Stooges picture (I CAN ONLY IMAGINE THE CHEKHOVIAN STORYTELLING IN THIS ONE), and said he missed complex stories like that of “The Graduate.”
This makes my blood boil. Consumers don't get what they want. They get what Hollywood serves them. And when you ask them what they would like you to serve them and you get shit as a result, don't blame the audience for having asked them. They are not writers or directors or producers. They're not the ones who should be telling you how to make a movie.
Bobby Farrelly, if you don't want the audience to be disappointed, don't fucking ask them. Have the balls to stick to your artistic principles and tell the story you want to tell.
I've seen the audience questionnaires for movie research. The questions are absurd. I cannot fathom how anybody can get any coherence from whatever inanities the audience opines about a certain scene in a film. "What do you like/dislike about the ending?" The audience deserves no such power.
But I can see Hollywood tabulating the responses, and what comes out is that stale, unoriginal, formulaic, utterly stupid mess that is most Hollywood films. Focus groups are the end of story. And they are not commissioned by the audience.
Stop focus grouping movies and you'll see how soon story waltzes right back into your lives, you spineless cowards.

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