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Complications Ensue:
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Saturday, July 09, 2005

Watched Bad Boys 2 as, um, research for the buddy cop comedy I may be writing. Then tried to watch Beverly Hills Cop. Man, that stuff is slow. If you recut it for today's audience it would be about an hour long, I think. When did movies get slow? The movies from the '40's aren't slow. Movies from the '30's certainly aren't slow.


don't know the answer, but i'd guess it happened sometime while i ran to the fridge to make a sandwich during halftime or something...

seriously, on a related note: a couple of years ago, my teenage daughter happened to ask me about Alien. "You've NEVER seen Alien?!" i gasped...

i went on and on, extolling its virtues, yadda, yadda (i'm a writer [aspiring TV/Film scribe, although i've had one tv show produced a few yrs back] and often engage in such convos w/ my offspring, if for nothing else than to give them a different angle from which to judge flicks and programs)...

anyway, she got all excited about it and couldn't wait to see what i called "one of the best space/horror movies of our time."

rented it, and (surprise!) she thought it sucked! she kept asking how i could possibly hold it in such high regard, etc. and i found myself having to use the "for its time" argument, like i was lecturing a high school class on Hitchcock or something...

so, yeah, man, i agree. somehow, someway, that snail's pace was the norm...

(funny thing is, while watching Alien with her, i kept thinking, "damn, this is SLOW. i don't remember it being THIS boring...)

-- c

ps. off topic -- i copped your book about a year ago. not only extremely helpful, but hilarious and very fun to read! can't wait to get my hands on the TV version...

By Blogger carlitomachete, at 2:54 AM  

Good Buddy Cop Movies to Rent:

Leathal Weapon 1+2
48 Hours

Movies didn't get slow, MTV helped excellerated the audience's ADD to such heights that if Alien was shown nowadays it wouldn't have been called the scariest movie of all time.

If something doesn't happen in a Genre Movie like Horror/Action in the first five minutes it could be called slow and boring until something happened.

I would hazard a question, the question being, when did FILMS become overblown popcorn MOVIES?

As for renting Bad Boys 2, I rent Bad Boys 1 and ignore Bad Boys 2.

By Blogger R. K. Bentley, at 8:45 AM  

Yet Casablanca is jam-packed with plot, His Girl Friday is a talkfest to rival Gilmore Girls... was it the cursed '50s?

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 11:15 AM  

I think it was the fifties... THey were gettting into the colourized versions of films and I think that they slowed down because of that. They probably felt that the audience should sit back and enjoy the new technology so plot and dialogue slowed to a crawl.

Black and White adds a dimension to the film yet subtracts a distraction in my mind. It makes a film timeless...

On another topic...

I sure hope they don't do a remake of His Girl Friday, the comedic timing of Cary Grant was amazing, and I don't think that it can be reproduced nowadays nearly as well.

By Blogger Jason Sanders, at 1:30 PM  

I can't really tell what angle some of you are coming at. Do you think that films from the 70s are TOO slow or just slower than today's films? Personally, I think it's the latter. I just watched ALIEN not that long ago and it's still amazingly brilliant and the same can be said of Scott's follow-up, BLADE RUNNER (which is methodically paced to the extreme).

You know, I saw REVENGE OF THE SITH a few days after it opened and so many people were talking about how good it was. I came out of it thinking that it actually was pretty good. But, then I saw an AFI screening of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK a week later at the same theatre and I realized that SITH was simply better than the crap that came before it (the first two prequels). But, it's ridiculously busy. There are no rhythms to it whatsoever. Watching EMPIRE on the big screen almost made me want to cry when I realized that summer blockbusters used to actually vie for Academy Awards -- and with good reason.

One of the biggest problems seem to be that so many people watch stuff at home these days. When you're watching something on your tv set and you can be distracted by the phone or a dog barking, perhaps you need those attention-deficit cutting techniques. But, watching that trash at the movie theatre is FAR more boring than watching a 3 hour love story because it all just blends together into homogenized chaos. It's no wonder that a film like BATMAN BEGINS, which spends over an hour developing the character of Bruce Wayne before you even see Batman will make half as much money as the video game styled SPIDERMAN.

I feel like a crotchety old man and I'm only in my 30s!

By Blogger Unknown, at 5:58 PM  

no angle; just a comment. no real stance; just blowing steam, although i'd venture to say that i haven't built up that much steam to begin with...

upon re-reading my previous post, i realized that my reference to having a teenage daughter made me sound like i'm somewhere in the upper 40s or beyond. i'm not. mid-30s to be sure (got an early start). and, i too, can appreciate the His Girl Fridays and such.

re: the MTV/ADD correlation, yeah, i can agree to the sentiment behind it, but i'm not so sure i can rock w/ the whole "other distractions" thing. TV was around in the 70s, as were barking dogs.

my easy take? times change, and with it, so do tastes. Moby Dick? classic. no argument there. anybody read it lately? all due respect to Melville and the 19th century, though, it's BORING, by contemporary (read: my, i admit) standards of pacing.

re: Alien and Blade Runner, for that matter, i still like 'em, but i'm also convinced that the memories they evoke play a part as well.

i agree that Sith is a little all over the place. i agree that it comes nowhere near Empire Strikes Back (do ANY of 'em?) and that, yeah, it sucks that there once was a time when the summer blockbusters competed for Oscars right along w/ the "smaller" movies.

but --and i'm sure somebody will correct me if i'm "wrong"-- wasn't Gladiator a summer blockbuster? it won a couple of those statuettes. pretty good film, if you ask me. and a damn good movie, too.

and the easier take? (more like a cop-out, since i'm sure this thread might be getting stale by now) tell good stories.

By Blogger carlitomachete, at 12:44 PM  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Blogger Jason Sanders, at 4:41 PM  

Well, the "other distractions" comment was referring to the way people watch movies these days not to the reasons behind short attention spans. Yes, all those things were around in the 70s, but people watched movies strictly in the movie theatre unless you were watching a network broadcast. I was getting at the fact that more people are watching movies at home than in the theatre between the combination of home video and cable/ppv, and I think it's having an effect on the way we experience them.

The movie experience used to be a completely isolated one. Granted, in the theatre you're not isolated from other people, but you are isolated from the rest of the world. The movie itself has your utmost attention. Not so at home. Even with the world's best home theatre experience, there's still the opportunity to press pause and go get a sandwich or take that call. These little distractions break the viewer from the world of the film and make it more difficult to watch something that demands more attention (especially if you have children).

I remember reading something in Film Comment talking about the fact that, ironically, the big screen experience actually benefits the small film more than the blockbuster. They were using LOST IN TRANSLATION as their example where it did so well in the theatre and it would seemingly do better on home video. Although it rented okay, due to hype from the theatrical release, the response from home viewers was less than enthusiastic because the film seemed boring to them. Such a loose narrative played better in a theatre where the audience is entrenched in the film, whereas your average home viewer just lost interest.

I agree that it should be all about telling good stories. But, equally as important since film isn't merely a literary artform, is to tell them in interesting ways using the visual, audial, and editing tools that this medium makes available to its filmmakers.

By Blogger Unknown, at 1:14 AM  

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