I got a number of responses, both on the net and to me directly that I
really appreciated. I'll reply to Neil Pollock's list:
Once were warriors
Eat Drink Man Woman
The Browning Version
and his question, "but how many of these are from Hollywood?" by saying
only 2!! And you have films from around the world on this list. And I'll
also say that both _Quiz Show_ and _Pulp Fiction_ were Fall releases (in
the US); it has been months since something really terrific has shown up,
As for Matt McAllister's post, not only do I not mind his spinning off
a related issue, but I think the issue raised is a good one, and is
I will say the following things, very quickly as I get ready to leave
town for a few days: How many GREAT dialogue comedies were made by the
same person or persons? In other words, TV shows (like all scripts in
movies today) are not written but rewritten, with individual writers
submitting scripts to a series' story editor; thus, over the course of a
long TV run there may be literally dozens of different writers involved.
Too, I would say that comedy movies are notoriously difficult to sustain
over the course of 100 minutes. Go back and look at the Marx Bros.
masterpieces and we'll see they are a bit shorter than that. Woody Allen's
earlier, funnier films, too, came in at 80-90 minutes. Only Blake Edwards
in recent years has made long comedies (120+ minutes) and his carrer has
been notoriously uneven. I think, too, the idea that current American
cinema is action driven does allow TV to find a space not simply for
dialogue but for character.
I suppose people do "judge" a show by the cost. At $6.25 we want more
for our money than the (seemingly free or less expensive) commerical or
cable TV show. But since most people watch movies on home video they are
paying $3 a shot, not $6 and more than one person, typically, is watching.
In other words, have people's expectations of feature films been lowered
due to the lower cost at which most people will view them?
Do we hold out great hopes for THE QUICK AND THE DEAD, a spaghetti
Western from a horror director starring a sex siren? I do!
David Desser,UIUC Cinema Studies
2109 FLB/707 S. Mathews, Urbana, IL 61801