Hollywood has been the BIG GUY of the movie industry for countless years. There’s no doubt that Hollywood has really contributed a lot to the whole movie industry, and has pleased and entertained generations of audience, probably from the grand-grandpas to the grand-grandsons. We have tremendous fascinating movies from this marvelous land, such as Casablanca, Gone with the wind, Citizen Kane, etc. There is no way to erase the glory and success of Hollywood, yet I think it’s time for a change, or a little revolution, to the movie industry, according to the varied viewer market. Commercial movies with always car crash and bullet blooding are still all right, high-tect 3Ds like Avatar are still surely breathtaking. But after movies and movies with these tedious elements just simply constructed and reconstructed, here comes a dilemma to the Hollywood. It lacks innovation, and the independent movies with great inspiration are coming in the road, selling and yelling. For I see here, Hollywood really needs changes, probably from head to toe.
As the viewers has been upgrading as time goes by, the preference of them has also changed a lot.
The first thing ought to be changed is the content of the films.
Jonathan Rosenbaum pointed out the truth that Hollywood and the media limited what films we could see in his very famous critical book-Movie Wars.(2000) Rosenbaum blamed the audience for their coarsening. Thus the producers tried to flattered these audience with worse taste, using elements like loud explosions, profanity, sex and violence. But I doubt the fairness to blame the audience instead of the producers. Most likely, audience, especially teenagers without enough sense to tell right from wrong, the films like this making extremely bad examples for the children. A test conducted by M.H Thomas and P.M. Tell (2004) with 96 male teenagers undergraduate could illustrate a lot. In their test, Thomas and Tell separated them into 3 groups. Two groups watch the same violent movie, one was told to be presented a real event, and the other was told to be presented a fictional event. The remaining group saw no film. Then they were exposed to fake violence conducted by the confederate. The result shows that subjects who view the real film acted stronger, and got anger the easier, than the group who view fantasy violence and the group saw no film. It’s not that hard to imagine the kids exposing in so many violent, sexual movies could do whatever beyond control. Another illustration is also remarkable. Jack G. Shaheen(2003), a scholar in Southern llllinois University, published an article named Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People. After studying more than 900 films, she found that lots of moviegoers believed and stated that Arabs and Muslims are exactly the same. The producers also shoot the Arabs as heartless, rude, extremely religious, and cruel and always kidnapping or rapping maidens. The movies like these are totally misleading and shame the real Arabs and Muslims. So far as I see, the content of the Hollywood movies nowadays fall far behind the golden age, when the stuffs were more warming and encouraging. So there should be a content change in the mainstream movies, using more tender and humane elements instead of the ones instigating.
Second thing I would like to see changed, is the use and the position of the movie stars.The movie stars today enjoy extremely high positions around the society. We can see them well-dressed on the red carpet, waving and smiling to the audience with changeless smile. We can read tons of magazines reporting who’s wearing who and who’s dating who. But the real life of the movie stars, which we are least concerned about, is not that glamorous as we thought it should be. An interview made by Todd Berliner uncovers the bitter behind the glory of the movie stars, with the saying that “real life is another performance”. I may guess the pressure come from our fellow audience, who treat movie stars as the most important element to judge whether a movie is successful or not. An article named Movie Stars and the Distribution of Financially Successful Films in the Motion Picture Industry (Albert Steven, 1998) points out that audience tend to see the movie with information from previous successful film, which the audience mark with specific movie stars. The superstar Barbara Streisand has noticed it. She thought the audience bought her work because she had a strong star power at the moment. It’s not strange to see audience treat movie stars even more important than the movie itself. It’s the producers scheme, the more movie stars means the more office-box income, and more commercial advertisement cooperation. However, the commercial movies are dropping out from the viewers’ choices. So there needs a change, to avianize the star power, meanwhile it can give the real life back to the stars, and to emphasize the movie again.
The third aspect I want to see change about Hollywood, is the organization itself. It’s quite hard to get into practice, but it’s necessary.
A study conducted by Wasser, F (1995) elaborated the reason why the Hollywood no longer addresses audience nationwide. There’s a disassociation between domestic films and the domestic audience, when fiancé is changing particularly in marketing practices. The classic Hollywood films represented the American movies for a specific age. But as the time approaches, more and more types of culture crash in Hollywood, the way it produce and the way it organized became a little bit fallen behind. According to Balio(1993), Schary (1950) and Staiger (1985), in the 1940s, the industry of Hollywood was under control of integrated organizations which were both hierarchical and vertical. But after the Second World War, the management of the studios fell into declined. Short after that, the system had a huge change, the old one was replaced by new organizations which were no longer hierarchical and capital intensive. They fitted the times, showing characteristic of the contemporary organizations, they were flat and knowledge intensive. (Caves, 2000; Robins, 1993, pp. 87-161). That’s where the glory of Hollywood begun. Change saved it, and again it’s about time to get another change. The organization may probably fit the post-war times, but it couldn’t work any longer. Probably the studios should come up an idea to save themselves, before the heartless audience totally abandon the Hollywood movies, and embrace the independent ones, which are getting more and more mature, successful and worth seeing.
So to draw a conclusion, I would like to see 3 things change in the Hollywood movies and the Hollywood itself: the content of the movies, the emphasizing of the movie stars, and the system of Hollywood. I can’t tell how much work should be paid into it, but as a super movie fanatic, I do hope see the changes taken place. I still miss the Golden Age of Hollywood; still adore the movie with the most reputation. I want to see them back, not the same movie, but the same spirit they tried to convey. I want to see producers really making movies instead of just making money. So, just give them some time, let them work out.
Balio, T. (1993).Grand Design: Hollywood as a Modern Business Enterprise, 1930-1939. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
Caves, R. (2000).Creative Industries: Contracts betwen Art and Commerce. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Robins, J. (1993).’Organization as strategy: restructuring production in the film industry. Strategic Management Journal, 14, Summer, 103-18.
Schary, D. (1950).Case History of a Movie. New York: Random House.
Staiger, J. (1985).’The Hollywood mode of production to 1930′. In Bordwell, D., Staiger, J. and Thompson, K. (Eds), The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film Style and Mode of Production to 1960. New York: Columbia University Press.
Shaheen J.G. (2003)Reel bad Arabs: How Hollywood vilifies a people Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science,Â 588,Â pp.Â 171-193.
Thomas M.H.,Â Tell P.M.(1974) Effects of viewing real versus fantasy violence upon interpersonal aggression Journal of Research in Personality,Â 8Â (2),Â pp.Â 153-160.
Todd Berliner Hollywood Movie Dialogue and the “Real Realism” of John Cassavetes, Film Quarterly, Vol.52, No.3 (Spring,1999), 2-16