Hollywood is for lack of a better term: unique.
For those of us who watched movies over the years and can remember and quote famous films of the past, it becomes somehow apparent if not obvious that screenplays are the only aspect of modern cinema that is not evolving.
Directors can now film from any angles they want – cameras now record images that look better than real life itself – make-up artists can transform any actor into a believable monster or make them look realistically injured – – special effects can even be used to witness a pick-up truck transform into a giant fighting robot AND make it look cool.
Separately each and every aspect of Hollywood movies has been upgraded, tuned-up or completely revolutionized in comparison to its past generation – and yet screenplays are standing alone as the only pillar of movie-making outside of this trend.
Yes, the scripts have changed now: faster pace, plot-centered and formulaic 1 dimensional characters inhabit most of Hollywood movies of the past 20 years.
There are obviously exceptions here and there, but the fact of the matter remains that screenplays are being ”dumbed-down” by the Hollywood machine. Complex 3 dimensional characters and interlacing stories centered around their relationships and dilemmas have been long forgotten. Today, blockbusters need to bombard us with enough stimuli to keep our attention from other visual media doing the exact same thing. If a story and interesting characters can fit in the visual orgy – so be it, but it’s not required.
As a matter of fact, almost 90% of every new movie in the past few years has been a remake or reboot or prequel or sequel or adaption of something else. Original ideas are condoned while innovation in every other cinematic aspects are accepted and praised. We always see new advancements in the art of editing, sound mixing, special effects and cinematography but we never see it with screenplays anymore.
The good scripts we have now are not better or learning from movie scripts of a generation away. Movies are not pushing to advance screenwriting techniques, destroy clichés or create new story structures –they are trapped in a profit-maximizing 3-act formula in order to attract as many people and dollars as possible.
Genres are blended , love interests, actions sequences and fart jokes are shoehorned-in, in order to please all the different demographics – kids, teenagers, adults, men, women.
Those decisions are obviously not made on the screenwriters’ watch. Hollywood producers are the culprit here and their focus on movies as a pure business venture has rendered many if not most of our finest screenwriters powerless. Producers will buy good scripts and will pay others to ‘adapt’ them to fit their wider audience ambitions.
This website is a place to call out on this self-inflicted degradation. We are not searching and hunting for plot holes because we hate movies – perhaps we simply hate the decisions made by people who don’t write stories to tell storytellers how to craft them.
I kinda agree but you are too harsh on current movies.
To respond to David K, I’d say that he isn’t harsh on current movies. Those movies you mentioned, for the most part are from widely respected directors who have been around for a long time. Coens had the freedom in the 90’s to make whatever they wanted, and the popularity they received made hollywood producers ok with greenlighting Coen’s material, despite it being non-mainstream.
“Movies are not pushing to advance screenwriting techniques, destroy clichés or create new story structures -they are trapped in a profit-maximizing 3-act formula in order to attract as many people and dollars as possible.”
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