So according to this story which has been linked and commented on here and there across the blogosphere may indicate that our dearly beloved theatrical-release movie industry may be making a tight circle around the drain, at least as far as the domestic audience is concerned. They’ve been circling it slowly for years, but this time dare we hope that the end is nigh?

Meh. Maybe, maybe not and cry me a river in any case. I fall squarely into the demographic of that 30% that dislikes the movie selection. Yes, I am well aware of the axiom that 90% of any variety of popular culture sucks, yes I am at that cranky age where I have probably seen or heard a lot of it before. (And that little of it that I haven’t, I don’t want to. Thanks) I know that the movie-audience demographic segments most prized by Hollywood these days are A: Sub-literate, non-English speaking audiences who want to see lots of car-chases, explosions and machine-gun fire, B: pimply-faced American post-adolescent males given to communicating mostly in grunts, who also favor the above-listed cinematic elements and C: Politically correct and heavy-handed wank-fests mostly aimed at each other and a small circle of the self-consciously superior bi-coastal cognoscenti.

Hollywood gets by these days by throwing out multi-million dollar chunks of bloody chum to a large audience who gobble it up by the bucket, meanwhile salvaging their artistic pretensions by cobbling together some precious bit of art-house fluff which is ooh-ed and ahhh-ed over by the critics and all their friends, while the paying domestic audience avoids as if it were made of plutonium. This has the added benefit of allowing them to say scornfully “Really, the domestic audience just can’t handle difficult and challenging film-making! Smithers, fetch me another megabucket of chum for the masses!” (Epic Movie, anyone?)

Yeah, they turned out a regular smorgasbord of the craptacular back in any year you could name, but they also managed to churn out stuff that wasn’t half bad at all: movies with coherent and clever plots, snappy dialogue, fairly adequate performances, and the occasional happy ending… that also weren’t a remake of an older movie, part 8-whatever in some series that stopped being any fun at around part 3, or ripped from the pages of a comic book. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but for chrissake people, I am a grown-up! I stopped reading comic books at about the time my lips stopped moving when I read to myself! Please don’t start telling me about graphic novels. I have a copy of Maus and no, I don’t want to see a movie made out of it. Seriously.

If it weren’t for the lonely 1-2% of stuff produced which doesn’t suck with the force of a factory full of Hoovers, and a fairly agreeable collection of movies produced for cable and broadcast TV— at a mere fraction of the cost and the pretensions involved in theatrical productions — I swear there’d be nothing worth renting on DVD.

Might someone in the heart of dark heart of the Hollywierd beast be paying attention, and worrying about why people are staying away from the megaplex in droves? Possibly… but gloom and doom about falling movie attendance has been lurking around for about twenty years, ever since Michael Medved first began banging on about it in this book, and I haven’t seen any turn-around yet. Count me as one who is not holding my breath waiting for the whole edifice to collapse like a house of cards; not as long as they can go on unloading the buckets of spectacular and sub-literate chum on the overseas market.

In the meantime, I have a nice little second-hand copy of Cold Comfort Farm, with Eileen Atkins, Kate Beckinsale and Stephen Fry and a whole lot of people who can… you know, like act? And it’s got clever dialogue and an amusing plot… and there are no car chases at all. Oh, but the bull gets out and they have to chase after it, but that’s about it.

Sgt.Mom is a freelance writer and retired Air Force NCO who blogs at The Daily Brief… and hasn’t been to a move since her daugher dragged her kicking and screaming to see “Eragon”

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