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August 1994


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 4 Aug 1994 07:09:58 EDT
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (41 lines)
In discussing the "dumbing down of movies," Drew makes what I think
is a very good point (re _Blown Away_, T2, _Jurassic Park_, and
even _Forrest Gump_):
> problem is, when the technology (in this case,  the computer) becomes the
> star of the film, everying else seems to suffer. we now find ourselves
> seeing flims for gee-whiz f/x rather than old fasion acting and origional
> scripts.
I think one reason for this ascendancy of FX is that theatrical
release is still the key to the biggest financial returns. A
movie that does spectacularly well in its opening weekend, week,
and month does spectacularly well in video (and perhaps in
product tie-ins, and in...). Of all the ways to do spectacularly
well, perhaps the most reliable is to be spectacular. That is,
the difference between seeing _Four Weddings and a Funeral_ in
the theater and on the home screen is not so great that my wife
and I will necessarily decide to part with $14.00 when we can
wait two months and see it for $2.00. But those FX movies just
don't don't curl my toes on a 25" TV. Sure, some of us have 50"
TV or even projection TV, but how many? But nearly everyone--not
only in the U.S. but to a large extent abroad as well-- has a
VCR. So, how to guarantee that spectacular opening weekend? Put a
big name star (or six) in a vehicle that astonishes the eyes
(and, in the case of _Jurassic Park_ and _Blown Away_, the ears,
too: digital sound coming at you on umpteen orchestrated tracks).
_It's a Wonderful Life_ not only doesn't do that job, it looks
just fine on TV. And even when we see it in the movies these
days, we do see it only as some movie character watches it on TV.
Eric Rabkin                [log in to unmask]
Department of English      [log in to unmask]
University of Michigan     office    : 313-764-2553
Ann Arbor MI 48109-1045    dept      : 313-764-6330
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