Samuel Brace on bad movies on bad content…
There has to be consequences for making a bad movie. There just has to. Consequences for bad movies, bad TV shows, bad video games, whatever. If a studio produces a movie, a bad one, one that is below a certain standard, a standard that we are not entitled to but that we should expect, it’s imperative that we as a consumer provide the people behind the product with real repercussions.
Now, I’ve recently become quite proud of everyone, of movie goes the world over. We as a collective consumer decided that Fantastic Four was a bad movie and that we didn’t want it. No matter why the film turned out the way it did, if it was the directors fault, the studios, or both, we decided that ‘No’ would be our response. This was good, this is what needed to happen. Full disclosure, I was pontificating on this piece before the Fox disaster came to screens, preparing myself for the film to make a slew of cash, meaning there would be zero repercussions for what was committed. That didn’t happen but this is still a pertinent discussion to have. Fantastic Four is still going to make its money back via worldwide sales and merchandise etc, there may very well be a Fantastic Four — in some shape of form — arriving in our future. We can’t let that happen, we can’t let this type of situation occur with other subpar content. We can’t let the powers at be get away with disrespecting us with garbage.
This all boils down to what we decide is worth our money, what we deem is worth our time. As a society we have a tendency to consume, we pick something we like, a brand, a genre, and consume that item until we’re sick. We keeping getting fed that item until we’re full, until we can’t take anymore. Now that’s fine, it’s not the industries responsibility to tell us when we’ve had enough. We are the customer, we decide what we want. All they do is fulfill our needs. If there is a market for something, you can bet your ass it will be readily available to us, available in spades. The problem here lies — when our mind frame, our consumer behavior is one such as this — that there becomes no reason, no incentive for studios to have any quality control. There is no need for them to make smart, well constructed content, if they know all they have to do is slap something together, something that falls into the popular framework of the time, and shove it in our faces. They know we will lap it up. This isn’t wrong but it certainly sucks. We have to demand more, not just from them but from ourselves.
If you go see everything, then bad movies will continue to get made. It’s really very simple. We are in the midst of the superhero era right now, there is a plethora of content for us to digest, handfuls of movies and shows each year. If you like this genre that’s fine, that’s no problem, but when you go and see every comic book film that comes out, when you watch every new DC or Marvel show that is broadcast, regardless of quality, then that train will never stop. We will be bombarded with more because there are zero repercussions. We need to start voting more with our wallets. A studio makes a less than stellar film? Don’t go see their next one. An installment of some movie franchise is released and it’s only ‘okay’? Then don’t watch the sequel. Refuse. Vote with your wallet and those responsible will have no choice. They will quickly realise that the world wants more than what they have been offering.
We should, no, we HAVE to demand and expect more from out content providers. Without us they wouldn’t exist. Sure, there would be no movies without the studios, without the content makers, but they make those movies, those TV shows, for us. So let’s ask for better, don’t we all want great movies? Surely we do. And let’s be clear, a great movie doesn’t have to mean a serious drama. An action film with explosions and CG can be a great film. Terminator, an extremely troubled franchise, one that should have went away quietly decades ago, this franchise is still around because we keep turning up, we keep taking ourselves to the show, just in case it turns out to be good. Let’s face it, that franchise is dead, it’s done; there is nothing there, not anymore. This is the inalienable truth of the matter. So let’s accept that, move on and stop turning up, it will quickly go away, you can count on that. Money talks. So let’s keep it and spend it on something that’s deserving. Terminator didn’t do particularly well in the US, the world’s biggest market, but internationally, in China, we are still giving it the time of day. Curiosity plays a huge part in why we keep turning up, but if we go see everything regardless, just out of this curiosity, then we will get more crap. This is why films like Pacific Rim get sequels, and you might say, “I enjoyed that film “and that might be true but imagine how much more you would of enjoyed it if it was a better piece of cinema. If the writing was fresh and vibrant, if the structure was tight, the story dense, if the actors gave a shit. It could have been a five-star, ten out of ten, experience, but it wasn’t because we turned up in droves to see films like Transformers, giving out the signal that we are desperate for more gregarious, brash, dumb content.
Fun is a word that gets thrown around a lot, particularly by this new generation of movie goers. “It was fun” you might say to friend after seeing a so so superhero movie, an okay jump scare horror, a run of the mill rom com. But was it really? Does fun simply mean it passed the time? That it wasn’t egregiously offensive in some way? If it doesn’t, then instead of saying “It was fun” with an apathetic cadence, why not say “No. It wasn’t good enough, it was only okay. I want more than that”. Back that sentiment up with actions. Take away your wallet, your attention, and bring it somewhere else.
We need to decide as audiences what films we are willing to give our money too. There are consequences for both parties depending on the answer to that question. No one can tell you what to like, answering that question honestly is something only you can do. But do be honest with yourself. Ask yourself the tough questions, deprive yourself of inhaling content because it’s ‘popular’, because everyone is doing it and stop depriving yourself of quality entertainment, of the magic that great movies and TV can really be. You can do this, you can, everything can be as great as The Dark Knight, as impeccable as Breaking Bad, as immaculate as Mad Max: Fury Road. Just stop watching everything. Start deciding what is good enough and then begin withholding your precious money. Because they want it, they desperately want it, and they will do anything, whatever you want, to get it. Make them come get it.