Recently, Allan Siegel wrote of the lack of "epic" movies versus big budget "blow 'em up good" films being made. And Edward R. O'Neill wrote: >"... following up on Allan Siegel's post of late which points out the economic rationale behind large expenditures of cash on-screen (that is, in highly visible ways of which the audience is made aware by the media as a publicity machine. While I agree that large expenditures are apparently justified by larger profits, I also think there's more to it than this economic rationality. I think there must be some strange pleasure in seeing on-screen spectacles of the sheer profligate waste of large amounts of capital."< To this observation we can juxtapose a term that Krin Gabbard used in her post, when referring to True Lies: "blockbuster," (not as in a video store, but as in a megabuck effort.) But, in my opinion, the equivalent of the new "epic" IS the "blockbuster film." And Hollywood these days is less under the control of the producers and directors than of the accountants who strive to generate "blockbusters" not epics. The money counters are educated in the ways of patterns, charts, projections, and returns on investment. The money counters are dependent on studies and analyses done for them by marketers, and psychologists. Every move that a financial executive makes has to be justified by these studies and reports. Seldom is the artistic value of a project given the same importance that is given its economic feasability. Epic mentality is a characteristic of the artiste. Blockbuster mentality is a characteristic of the business department. Not that there is anything wrong with making megabucks. But, the problem here is the lack of support for "art for the sake of art," (as the lion once said.) When the analyzers say: "Audiences like big explosions," the money counters' studios run to make big explosions. These days the counters have noticed that most movies that receive big doses of P.R. and two to four weeks of advance advertising get big opening week numbers. Usually the weeks following a release show much weaker numbers for these features. But that doesn't matter much, since by then most of the money has already been recouped or soon will be via home video and cable. They've also noticed that few are the films that take a few weeks to build steam on word of mouth recommendations, anymore. So publicity wins over quality. We know that film production techniques are more expensive everyday. Unions, actors, agents, sets, and lunches are more expensive than ever before. But the biggest increase in budgets comes from bigger promotion costs. Yes, for the audience there is some value to the "blow 'em up good" type of entertainment. But most of us feel that there aren't enough real epics being produced. Then again, the accountant/producers are only doing what they have been told that we, the audience, like, (or as they say, what "works.") So, I don't really think that the thrill of signing big vouchers motivates the production of blockbusters. I think it's formula thinking combined with "CYA" caution that has created this phenomenon. Well, to close on a more positive note: I do believe that there are some epics being produced. Do you? Off the top of your head(s) what are three recent epics that you can remember? Sincerely, Chad Dominicis, Miami, FL.