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I'm really starting to get disenchanted with Hollywood. Oh, I don't mean Hollywood in the form of all of the sordid and horrid stories about movie stars that you find on all of the grocery store checkout racks. I was disenchanted with those long ago.
I'm talking about the horrible growing trend of almost every film story being: a) based off of a previous work, b) a remake of a previous film, or c) a sequel to a previous film.
I went to the local Movie Mondoplex (20 separate theaters) with a friend of mine recently. As we waited in line to take out some financing for popcorn, we looked at the movie posters for movies that were "Coming Soon". We were both amazed at the number of sequels that were on the posters. So, $48 later we took our popcorn and drinks to our theater. We decided that as the trailers played before the Feature Presentation, we would count the number of original films that were advertised. We saw no less than seven trailers, and would you care to take a guess as to how many films were original material?
None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
When I got home I decided to check a movie ticketing website to see all of the upcoming films. Surely what I had seen at the theater had to be a fluke. Certainly there are plenty of original ideas coming from Hollywood screenwriters, right? Obviously not, as this is what I found:
Hoodwinked - A computer-animated film based off of the characters from childhood nursery rhymes / fairy tales.
Glory Road - A touching story about an underdog basketball team whose players learn to win, and in turn learn to respect themselves and one another. Wasn't this previously named "Hoosiers" ?
Last Holiday - With all due respect to Queen Latifah, we've seen this premise before. William Hurt did this as a surgeon that contracts cancer. Only when we know that we're close to Death do we truly appreciate Life. Not very original.
Brokeback Mountain - Eureka! An original idea! Plenty of films have been made about cowboys, but not homosexual cowboys. I applaud the concept, but I don't see this as being big box office with men. Especially not the men that go to the movies with other men, and then have to leave one empty seat between them as a "homo buffer". If you're that insecure about your sexuality that you're afraid that sitting next to a guy might stir up some unsettling feelings, go get a shrink. Or a sex change.
The Chronicles of Narnia - Based off of the popular book series. I appreciate that the writers might have a challenge with adapting an existing book to a film, but most of your "heavy lifting" is done for you.
King Kong - While really well done, this is nothing more than a three-hour love letter to the original film. Didn't DePalma do this by reshooting "Psycho" a few years back?
Annapolis - You might know this film better by the original title: An Officer And A Gentleman
Big Momma's House 2 - Sequel to a previous film. A really bad previous film.
When A Stranger Calls / The Hills Have Eyes - Both of these films are remakes of older films. Nothing original to see here. Move along.
No, I think that the problem is this: writers are rehashing old material, because it's the only thing that the studios will pay them to write. Did we really need the big screen version of The Dukes of Hazzard? I sure as hell didn't. But the studios must have figured that they had a built-in audience for that material, because it was such a popular television show. And it was, it was indeed a popular television show. Twenty years ago!!! Hey Studio Guys, don't you think that you missed your window?
As long as we keep paying money to see the sequels, remakes and retreads, that is all that Hollywood will produce.
Vote with your wallet! Only spend money on original material!
Bring on the gay cowboys!