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Returning to the Heart of Cinema

Make the movies watchable again.

Often I am told that the reason most films to hit the box office are flops is that the market now is tailored towards an international audience. This might be so, but the question that I have is, "Why?" Were the movies somehow less popular before this trend towards global cinema took hold? I hardly think so. I went to the movies a total of once in 2018. Why? Because it is seldom if ever that the movies provide something that is story driven. Today, it's about explosions, CGI, and lackluster sequels that seldom if ever live up to their poor predecessors.

I am a fan of the film Field of Dreams and the quote, "If you build it, they will come." It is precisely this quote that needs to be utilized in Hollywood if movies want to retain their glory. It used to be that TV was not the place for great storytelling but cinema has been dethroned. Personally, I love that TV has encompassed broader storytelling and diversity of talent.

However, the experience that the cinema provides is still sacred to many of us. It was often the case that you could go with your family to see a good movie that everyone enjoyed on Thanksgiving or during the holidays. Now, my family and I would much rather sit in front of our own separate TV's because what's put out in the theaters is so pale by comparison.

Back when there was the uproar about not enough representation at the Oscars, I was often criticized for saying, "I'm all for making the movies more culturally inclusive, but we need to make Oscar-worthy movies. At this point, we are hosting the Oscars out of tradition instead of awarding a real bounty of stellar films. " Criticize me if you wish, but I believe I raise a very valid point. How do we fix everything wrong with the movies? We must "build it" so "they will come," so to speak.

Before this movement of globalization in cinema, movies did just fine. They inspired movie makers around the world to create their own films and tell their own unique stories. In fact, I argue the best movies that I see today are foreign films geared towards their own culture and people with no intention of globalizing themselves. Why? Because these filmmakers don't compromise. They know what makes a good story and they know if they make it, then the rest will follow.

Paradoxically, we forget that we are one species in this globalization effort and fail to see how similar we are. It is funny because it can be said that all cultures have stories. These stories are not so different as many have noted. They speak to the deep human longings in all of us. There's no need if you have a compelling story to worry about how to market it abroad. When the Harry Potter books were made into films the films were an international hit. There was no need for the creators to worry about how the film came across internationally. Why? Because they built it a fantastic story and floods of fans came and still come.

We need to build good stories that are worth telling. Today, we make movies for the sake of making movies. We have lost the spark that made the flame of cinema ignite the world. We are not so different, we all desire to be entertained, we all desire justice to be served, we all desire meaningful and relatable characters, and above all, we are all sharing in the human experience. 

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Returning to the Heart of Cinema
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