Wednesday, May 16, 2001

"Why Are Movies So Bad? or, The Numbers" by Pauline Kael

This is an essay written 21 years ago by the esteemed (and now retired) movie critic Pauline Kael. Jeffrey Wells, one of the Net's respectable movie industry insiders, has tried to bring this essay to the attention of Hollywood types, and it's a good read. Why is it good? Because it doesn't seem like much has changed in 21 years. Studios still churn out crap for the lowest common denominator; directors with a fluke hit under their belts dive into self-indulgent morasses; executives still think that the best movies are the ones that make the most money.
The biggest change in 21 years has been the development of digital video, which theoretically makes anybody with a few grand to spare the next Sergei Eisenstein. My hope is that DV will allow more directors to work outside the studio system, giving them the space and freedom necessary to remain true to his or her vision.


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