Saturday, May 26, 2007

Booty Shake part two

So what DOES POTC3 mean for Boise Filmmaking, anyway?

Damn fine question, glad I asked it.

When any monster budget franchise such as Pirates of the Caribbean or Lord of the Rings or even Back to the Future (remember that one, and how much part two REALLY sucked?) come out, the people with nice offices in Hollywood do a couple of things:

1) sign everyone on to multiple sequels, "just in case".
2) wait for opening weekend to arrive, hoping everyone else has done their job.
3a) if opening weekend tanks, fire assistants and move on to next project.
3b) if opening weekend doesn't tank, celebrate while someone else's assistants are being fired, then plot to make bukoo bucks on next two pictures in franchise.
4) realize that if franchise flops, you'll be looking for a new assistant.

Having checked out the world B.O. lists over at, I've noticed a few things: fantasy/sci-fi films really rake in the bucks if they're done right. And by, "done right" I don't mean, "having a great script." Here's the top ten worldwide money makers:

1) Titanic
2) The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
3) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
4) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
5) The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
6) Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
7) Shrek 2
8) Jurassic Park
9) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
10) Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Hmm. Not exactly David Mamet quality dialogue ripping off the pages of these movies, y'know? BUT... these are all very sexy looking popcorn films with big, epic cinematography/sfx and big, epic soundtracks by people we never hear on the radio. And these are the movies that people talk about when they talk about how much fun they had at the movie theater, whether we like it or not.

AT THE WORST... POTC: AT WORLD'S END is going to continue to foster in the common Mr. Moviegoer's mind that, for a movie to be REALLY GOOD, it's gotta emulate one of the above 10 movies - none of which would ever come close to cracking my personal top ten list. As lower-budget filmmakers in Boise, we haven't a chance at making these movies; Jurassic Park's production budget came in at $63 million alone (add another $20 mil for advertising, etc.,), and I'm pretty sure I don't know Michael Crichton or Steven "Big Daddy" Spielberg.

So what do we do?

Well... AT THE BEST... these movies perpetuate themselves in Hollywood; it seems that everyone in la-la land is trying to make the next Two Billion Dollar franchise. Hey, I don't blame 'em. BUT... it does allow for a whole world of errors that the consumer ends up paying for. For every Lord of the Rings movie, there are twenty Pitch Black sequels that all seem to suffer from the same thing: crappy scripts.

Anyone rush right out to buy Caddyshack 2 on DVD lately? Me neither.

Ultimately, this massive amount of effluence and dreck makes Hollywood look bad, and that's when the doors open for the indie filmmaker. BUT: the indie filmmaker can't be a lazy bastard, oh no he and she cannot! They have to hustle and work their networking craft all over the place, and even that's not going to get them very far unless they have one of three things:

a) the treasure of the Sierra Madre.
b) whatever's in the briefcase Jules is delivering to Marcellus Wallace.
c) the best script possible.

Desire, heart, talent - all these things account for tons in the everyday world, but let's remember something: making movies isn't about living in the everyday world. It's about living in a fantasy land where we get to pay (hopefully) people to hop around according to our whims while cameras roll.

So. I say let Hollywood have their blockbusters. When it comes time for movies with good scripts - and it will again - the doors will be that much more open for the likes of me. Err... us. Uhm... whatever.


Real Filmmakers. No Tourists.


TDO said...

For a minute there, I thought you were going to announce plans for LE DIVAN VERT DEUX or maybe PIZZA MAN VERSUS THE DUDETTE.

So, what are some movies you would mention as being those movies with "good" scripts. I'll show me my list if you show me yours.

AARD7ARK said...

Working on the idea that this list should be taken from relatively mainstream films (i.e. those that have been released in theaters or at least wide video distribution or TV play...), I'd say (from my POV, anyway, that the following eleven films qualify for having good scripts. This is not, however, intended to be a "Top Eleven" list; rather, a sampling of what I'm writing about.

- Alien
- Apocalypse Now
- Babe
- Barton Fink
- The Godfather
- The Usual Suspects
- Amadeus
- The Graduate
- Oldboy
- Dog Day Afternoon
- Magnolia

- Will