Thursday, June 23, 2011

What's Happened To The Movies

This post is not about frugality, nor does it have much to do with retirement (unless after you finish reading you think I need to get our more). If you don't give a hoot about movies, feel free to laugh when it's over.

I adore movies. All movies, even mindless drivel. Although I'm a font of minutiae and could probably win a bundle on Jeopardy if I ever got there, movies are one of my things. I'm the gal who gets called late and night and asked about that "other, old" Cape Fear movie and who was in it-by the family member driving along the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I'm the one who knows the name of the long forgotten Clint Eastwood move ("Something about being a civil war soldier and walking through the mist"...). And I'm the sister who keeps asking my sister WHY she hasn't yet seen A Place In The sun.

It's not just "old" movies either. For years, when I took the kids to movies at the mall, I took the kids to the movies. Whether it's the Breakfast Club or Dangerous Minds, I've seen most (but not all, as I was reminded recently when I had absolutely no idea what a movie called the Boondock Saints was about).
Unfortunately, lately it seems like all the "old" movies are new again. While a remake may be a homage to some movies, most really great movies are untouchable. This means that we're left with a plethora of remakes of average, good at the time, B movies much of the time. A B movie remake is generally.....a B movie. A classic movie remake is generally...........not a classic movie. Obviously, there are exceptions. I spent last Christmas watching the remake of True Grit (good and true to the book). While Meryl Streep will never in all her years be able to channel the evil of Angela Lansbury, the Manchurian Candidate was worth the trip. Can Denzel Washington make a bad movie? But too often we're disappointed and left wondering. Why try and outdo a really good thing?

Because I love movies, and because my movie budget is extremely low (now I can say I wrote about frugality), in the last few days I've gone visited Rotten Tomatoes to see the movies that are coming in the long run. While these movies are often not rated, they give a gist of the plot and one can see actors, directors and the like. I was astounded by the number of remakes. Have we run out of original thought? Is there someone, somewhere who thinks Footloose will be better the second time around? Will Straw Dogs be any better a movie or less violent with James Marsden instead of Dustin Hoffman? And exactly HOW MANY TIMES will they remake The Three Musketeers in my lifetime. And then there's The Thing, The Killer Elite....... you get my drift.

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that given a chance, people might enjoy the original film. Obviously some moves don't travel well, but many do. And some were meant to be in a certain time and place, and frankly, the updates just don't work.
This is not to say that there are no good or original movies around. I'm still waiting to get to see the Tree of Life, and Cowboys and Aliens looks intriguing. I just wish there were more, new, original movies out there that could drag me to the movie theater.

Of course, I can always go see Fast and Furious 5 and the Rise of Planet of the Apes, but that discussion is for another time!


  1. We are movie addicts as well. When we were military we would go to the movies at least twice a week.
    So for the frugality portion of your blog-
    we are now Netflix addicts. We haven't been to the theater in quite a while. Enjoyed the last Harry Potter and looking forward to the Cowboy and Aliens as well.

    I don't think actors have caught on that we are not interested in their acting if there is no script....

  2. I only like to watch independent movies or foreign films. That's where you will find true talent, originality and expertly done films. American films have become too expensive to produce and that is why you see a large amount of reruns. The producers can only get so much investment money and they MUST produce hits. Same with shows on NYC Broadway. ALL remakes. Good for the tourists. Bad for the locals (that's why I go off-broadway now).

    Start watching the independent films. That's where the really talented young actors can be found now with original screen plays.

  3. JBO, I have netvlix and I do watch it. But there are some movies I feel need to be seen in a real theater (Inception comes to mind) to get the "full effect). Plus which I simply like the movie theater experience once in awhile. I agree iwth your opinon on the actors for sure

  4. Morrison, I like independent fims (and lived in Germany for seven years so know all about foreign films). that said, I still love a goood mainstream drama or thriller and do go to the movies on a regular basis...Im waiting to see the tree of life and two other mainstream movies as we speak.

  5. If you ready for a beautiful 2 hours see Midnight in Paris. The visuals of the city are so gorgeous that I have added Paris to my must-see list. It takes a little while to get used to Owen Wilson being serious, but the movie is a treat.

    Generally, my wife and I dislike remakes. The originals are usually better acted and constructed. One notable exception is True Grit. After seeing Jeff Bridges I can't even remember John Wayne's version.

  6. Paris is lovely, but dont forget the rest of france (the week I spent trailing my son around to every single war memroial and site from one end of normandy to the other was stunning). I will add that movie to my list.

    I so agree about true grit-although I have not read the book my brother has, and apparantly with one small exception (the way the horse dies) it is absolutely true to the book-which may be part of why we like it better.

  7. I rented several movies from my library this weekend: saw The Kings Speech, Black Swan, Sherlock Homes (with Robert Downey Jr) and Morning Glory. I enjoyed them all.

    Our local theater here only charges $5 for a matinee but the thought of paying $10 (for DH and I) vs *free* makes me pause, wonder and wait. I'll wait for the freebies from our library.


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