When No One Cares

LOS ANGELES, June 14 - An urgent meeting got under way in Universal City on Tuesday, as the executives who made the star-crossed film Cinderella Man mulled the miserable question of the day: What went wrong?

So begins this unintentionally revealing article from the NY Times. I haven't seen this Manbiscuit wannabe yet, but I find this line of reasoning from an exec at Universal to be particularly troubling:

Mr. Shmuger noted somewhat bitterly that he repeatedly heard the complaint from cinephiles that there are no serious, adult dramas on studio schedules. Now that there was one, he said, moviegoers did not go.

"Despite all protest to the opposite, that audiences are clamoring for an alternative, I guess what they're really looking for is what their behavior shows," he said. "That's terribly concerning."

This takes for granted that the re-warmed meatloaf marketing campaign for Cinderfella somehow translates to cinephiles (hardcore or lightweight) as "serious, adult drama" and that just because audiences didn't respond to their pandering, they necessarily desire more Mr and Mrs. Smiths. Perhaps optimistically, I like to think that most people don't blow $10 on Mr. and Mrs. Smith out of of strong desire to see Branjelina go at it, but rather because its a better, less stultifying option than, say, Cinderfella. Is one really less insulting to the audience than another? Self-seriousness is only saleable up to a point.

Though Mr. Shmuger's (and what more perfect name could we give to a studio exec?) comments just lead me to believe that the boxes containining "creative" executive imagination continue to shrink, the article did have this nice tidbit that made me smile:

"There are hardly words to describe how we all feel," Mr. [Brian] Grazer said. "I feel like crying."

Watching him with an Academy Award in his hands was pretty much the same thing for me.


Blogger filmenthusiast2000 said...

Cinderella Man's trailer was, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the most direct-to-video looking thing I've ever seen projected.
But seriously, what does it take to get cinephiles excited? I mean, fucking Larry King called it the Best Movie Ever or something, right?

11:09 AM  
Blogger robbiefreeling8 said...

The sad thing about Muscle Crowe's shit-for-brains feel-good Depression saga is that the only reason people could ever want to see it is because they predict it will garner Oscar nominations. Therefore, they're paying ten dollars to be neither entertained nor edified but because they simply don't want to be left out when Sigourney Weaver or Mercedes Ruehl get up at the buttcrack of dawn to announce those nominations on that cold January morning from that Leopold Stokowski-like podium in LA. That's the thing about "Adult Dramas" in Hollywood these days, they're only fashioned as Oscar bait, they simply don't exist at all if not gaining Academy Award attention. (See: Snow Falling on Cedars, The Village, Spartan, etc.) Therefore, there is no expression beyond their box-office intake and the number of little naked gold men they earn. But CC is right when he notes that viewers' hesitance to see Fuckerella Man could be reflective of a much-needed resistance to bullshit. Too bad the same couldn't have been said for the less sentimental but no less hackneyed and soul-dirtying hip-hugger Sin City. The pathetic delusion of these pitifully greedy Hollywood pricks is at once angering and amusing, although I wish Brian Grazer all the best, and I hope he one day finds his place in this world, visits some sort of Zen monastery. If not he may find himself one day in a hot hot place, watching Jonas Mekas movies in a loop for all of eternity.

11:18 AM  
Blogger artflickchick said...

My feelings exactly, robbiefreeling8. The studio execs lamenting the failure of Cinderella Man (sorry, I couldn’t top Fuckerella Man) overlook the glaringly obvious fact that no one cares about this crappy movie because it looks so cloyingly like some god-awful conglomeration of every past Oscar winner, crying out for respect and audience love with an all-too-apparent sense of self-righteous entitlement as it does (those pretentious posters and previews say it all), that smart cinephiles have no choice but to stay away in droves.

11:57 AM  

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