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Movies Losing Popularity at Box Office 795

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the good-scripts-also-lost dept.
andyring writes "Without the slightest mention of piracy, the MPAA said box-office revenues declined by 8 percent last year. About 40 percent of the decline came from the U.S. Now if only they'd realize that the decline is from movies sucking more than my shop vac." It's been a while since a film warranted spending the money to watch it in a room full of strangers.
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Movies Losing Popularity at Box Office

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  • Why Movies Suck (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ackthpt (218170) * on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:42PM (#14887053) Homepage Journal

    Really. There's jibes all over in the press about it. Most of the films in the past year I spent my money on were at a place like this [thenick.com].

    Why?

    Because I've seen it all before, now they're re-doing it all and nothing surprises me. Then I go to the Del Mar or The Nick and see something

    • See a story which is either deeply thoughtful or genuinely entertaining.
    • I have no idea where the story is going.
    • See really good acting.
    • See a production done so well I forget for a moment I'm actually watching it on a screen.
    • Suprising. Innocent Voices, that was an eye opener. Amelie, that was a charmer. Run Lola Run, that was just cool.
    Steve Martin in the recent remake of The Pink Panther is a prime example. I already have some idea where jokes are going, long before the punch. The acting isn't anywhere near as good as the first (Sellers may have been an ass, but he could act comedy.) Honestly. Steve Martin (The Spanish Prisoner) and Kevin Kline (A Fish Called Wanda) are really capable of great acting, but this was pretty weak.

    I'm a real flim buff. You can tell. I take my own popcorn salt, rather than risk they'll have table salt shakers from SYSCO.

    Hey, get that guys post! i want to create a movie based upon it! car chases! beautiful women! huge fireball explosions! sophomoric humor! It'll be great!

  • by ch-chuck (9622) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:48PM (#14887092) Homepage
    All the good plots have already been explored - everything else is just variations on a theme. Someone suggested "Somewhere In Time" (Christopher Reeves) and from what is posted on imdb.com it looks pretty decent. Wish I could get Turner Classic Movies without having to pay for 90 other channels I have NO interest in.

  • by gordgekko (574109) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:49PM (#14887096) Homepage
    I have to agree with you. I used to *love* going to see movies but in the past few years I'd much rather wait for it on DVD and watch it from the peace and quiet of my home. It's just not worth it going to a theatre anymore expect for those rare releases you know you want to watch on a big screen.
  • hmmmmm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by GmAz (916505) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:50PM (#14887099) Journal
    Well, lets see here, $10 per ticket where I live, they can piss off. No wonder ticket sales are down.
  • by keshto (553762) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:50PM (#14887101)
    I don't get Cowboy Neal's editorializing- half the fun of watching a movie is watching it on the big screen, with nice sound and popcorn. I only watch movies on dvd when I don't think it'll be worth paying $9.25+ (in boston) for a movie ticket. Though it's true that the fraction of movies I watch on dvd rose quite a bit last year, but that's the netflix effect.

    Movie quality might be a factor in lower box office collections, but easy, cheap availability of DVDs is too.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:52PM (#14887122) Journal
    Box Office sales dropped.

    What happened to DVD sales?
  • Being a Part of It (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ackthpt (218170) * on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:57PM (#14887155) Homepage Journal
    I think two of the people speaking were trying to convince the audience to go see movies in theatres, "There is nothing like being part of the a community and watching a great film on the giant silver screen" or whatever. This made me a little sick.

    Honestly, the last time I think I felt A Part of a Community was when Superman (with one with Christopher Reeve) came out. Star Wars:ANH also was like that. Wherever you went, people talked about it, it wasn't just being in the theater with your jaw hanging open and half-chewed popcorn rolling off your tongue onto your lap as the Millenium Falcon went into Hyperspace. It was wherever you went, for weeks afterwards, that everyone was talking about it and you were in the party, no invitation necessary.

    Can't say I've seen anything really like it, maybe Titanic came close, but films don't Wow(!) people like they once did. Probably because they're just too predictable.

  • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:4, Interesting)

    by stefanlasiewski (63134) * <slashdot@ste[ ]co.com ['fan' in gap]> on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:02PM (#14887190) Homepage Journal
    The Nick is an exceptional theater for an exceptional town. There are many people in Santa Cruz who want to see the funky flicks.

    But leave the Santa Cruz Bubble and art houses like the Nick become incredibly rare-- they usually only show 1 movie a week. The Nick is showing 6 films this week. We arguably have a couple nice arty theaters in Berkeley, but they are plagued by loud people, cell phones, drunks, etc. (Students? I don't know).

    Even Santa Cruz is loosing their Art houses--- there used to be 5-6 funky arty movie houses in the area. I think they are all gone except for The Nick & the Del Mar, and the Del Mar nearly went bust a few years ago.
  • by Karl Cocknozzle (514413) <kcocknozzle@NOspAM.hotmail.com> on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:02PM (#14887194) Homepage
    ...Because (no particular order):

    - Really expensive! (Ticket are $9.25 for adults! Are you kidding me?)
    - Really expensive snacks ($4 for a Coke? Fuck You Cineplex!)
    - Standing in a painfully long line to be gouged for your ticket.
    - Standing in a painfully long line to be gouged for snacks.
    - The arsehole that won't turn his cell-phone off until he "remembers" when it rings at the most tense moment in the movie.
    - The other arsehole whose phone is on vibrate, but who answers and talks as he walks out of the theatre.
    - Spoiled suburban brats dropped off at the theatre instead of the hiring a babysitter who throw things, talk, and generally distract from the picture.
    - That unidentifiable sticky substance on the floor that could be spilled Coke... Or any number of other unpleasant alternatives, each indistinguishable from the next in the dark. ...and of course, so many movies suck blatant ass these days that I can't possibly justify it.
  • by DA-MAN (17442) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:05PM (#14887213) Homepage
    Here's a thought Hollywood, stop making movies about gay cowboys and pimps. Get real writers and try making a quality movie or at the very least a movie about topics that people give a shit about.

    Please. This sentence is hypocritical and trollish. Brokeback Mountain is a good movie with a good script.

    Actually it isn't hypocritical or trollish. It's just worded horribly.

    Gay Cowboys and Pimps == Movies about topics that most people don't really give a shit about. Don't believe me, look at the ticket sales. BBM may have had great writing, and even been a great movie (i don't know, haven't seen it) but very few people cared about the topic.

    As far as the bad writing, do I really need to throw down examples? There are way too many to name.

    My point is clear, if Hollywood wants to make more money they can do one of two things:

    1) Make movies about things people care about. Even if it's not the greatest writing/acting/directing, people will see movies about things they are interested in.

    or

    2) Make movies with good writing. good acting and so on. There is more to movies than special effects

    But if they want to maximize their profits, they can combine 1 & 2.
  • by Potato Battery (872080) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:06PM (#14887224)

    "Wish I could get Turner Classic Movies without having to pay for 90 other channels I have NO interest in."

    McCain is actually working on legislation to require cable to go a la carte. From what I've seen, the cable companies are down with it, but the bundle-monsters like Disney and Fox hate it.

    I really hope it materializes. We haven't had TV for a couple years now, but if I could just pick a couple of channels I can't get now without a multimegabuck megabundle, it would be great to be able to casually flip on the tube again.

  • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ackthpt (218170) * on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:08PM (#14887241) Homepage Journal
    The reason for that is that they have choked off the supply of works going in to the public domain. Historically, Hollywood has dipped into the public domain for ideas. Nothing new into the public domain = nothing new in Hollywood.

    There's still buckets of stuff in the public domain. That said, there were a lot of great movies made of stuff copyrighted, like Gone With The Wind and The Wizard of Oz. I just think they've got some twisted idea that they won't take a risk. I think Heinlein's Tunnel In The Sky would make a killer film, but not with the calibre of actors I've seen cropping up lately. Lord knows they did a real job on Starship Troopers.

  • by eebra82 (907996) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:10PM (#14887256) Homepage
    I personally believe that the most recent development in home theater equipment is what makes people stay at home instead of going to the movies.

    Think about it:

    - HDTV has surfaced for real. - Large TV sets and projectors with much better image quality are here. - DVD prices are pretty much staying where they are. - Going to the movies is becoming more and more expensive. - Spending money on a home theater is widely acceptable and considered a high status item.

    The main reason I don't go to the movies is because I already have a good system at home. I prefer to sit there by myself, with my friends or with my girlfriend rather than sitting next to a fat guy who devours chips throughout the whole movie. And besides, it's actually cheaper to buy a DVD.

    In ten years, when HDTV is passé and when people are used to super quality at 100 inch screens or more, who will actually go to the movies?

    Last but not least, movies have kinda sucked lately. There's been a few good ones of course, but to me, quality is down. It would be interesting to see how the movie ratings have developed on IMDB during the past five years. Does anyone have stats on that?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:11PM (#14887263)
    Some time around the Oscars someone (Haggis, Spielberg?) commented that the days of $200 million movies were over. He speculated that in the future movies would cost no more than $15 million to make. I did some googling but couldn't find the quote.

    So, the economics of movies is changing. The other thing is that technology keeps getting better and cheaper. At some point, according to Moore's law, we'll all have the power on our desktops to totally make a movie as easily as we can write a bad novel. Lots more movies will get made and distributed on the internet. Some of them (according to the monkeys and typewriters theory) will be good. It is sort of happening now. It is common to find a bunch of people gathered around someone's computer looking at the latest cool animation that someone has found on the net. So, guess what, things are changing and they are no where near finished changing.
  • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rlauzon (770025) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:18PM (#14887329)
    There's still buckets of stuff in the public domain.

    Most of which has been already used in something "new" that is still under copyright, making it a risk to use.

    Last estimate showed that 80% of the currently available works are still under copyright but have no known owners.

    I think Heinlein's Tunnel In The Sky would make a killer film

    Agreed. But who owns the copyright? Heinlein's been dead for nearly 20 years.

    Also, Hollywood doesn't want to pay for writing. Disney, for example, timed their version of Peter Pan so that it wouldn't come out until the story passed into the public domain.

  • by rcpitt (711863) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:20PM (#14887346) Homepage Journal
    Turn that around - why do you have a home theatre system at home? It sure isn't worth the amount you'd otherwise spend on movies instead!

    Maybe its because the popcorn is a heck of a lot cheaper - fresher, and has butter on it instead of that crap they make you use at the theatre.

    Maybe its because you can at least turn the sound down on the commercials they force you to watch at the beginning of the DVDs you buy, rather than having the sound at even more than normal in the theatre.

    Mabye its because you can give your kids/wife/friends sh&*()T if they talk on the phone while you're trying to watch the movie instead of being kicked out of the theatre because you finally yelled at the idiot in the row in front of you to turn his &*^&* cell off!

    Maybe its because you can actually lounge down in the seat and put your feet up on a stool instead of getting heck from the guy in the row in front for moving his seat

    Maybe its because you can stop the movie and get up, go to the washroom, and restart the movie again without missing anything.

    Maybe its because you can watch the same movie a couple of times without having to pay again and again - just so you can actually see how they did the effects or concentrate on the supporting cast or look for the continuity screw-ups.

    I don't know - but those sure are the reasons I'd get a home theatre - if there was anything worth watching.

  • by bobcat7677 (561727) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:22PM (#14887361) Homepage
    For me, not only has the quality of movies been found lacking, but my standards have been raised a bit on the types of movies I will see in the theatre. In order to justify the cost, it has to be a movie I think I will REALLY like that's subject matter is something I think will really matter to me. "V for Vendetta" will probably be the first movie I see in the theatre since "Serenity" because of it's subject matter.

    The nail in the coffin though (as it were), is the Netflix and Blockbuster DVDs by mail services. I never have to get off my excellent *ss other then to go to the mailbox. And with Blockbuster at least, I can "save" movies that are just coming to theaters so I can watch them later when they come out on DVD. So, when I see a preview for something I might like...I just jump on blockbuster.com and save it. Sure I don't get to see it till a couple months later when it hits DVD...but I don't care as very rarely does a movie come along thats actually worth seeing in the theatre anymore. Unlike the live action epics of yesteryear (eg Ben Hur), CGI probably looks BETTER on my home TV set then the theatre screen.
  • Mashed Potato Cinema (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mundocani (99058) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:28PM (#14887414)
    I was floored when the MPAA president tried promoting moving theater attendance during Sunday's awards by espousing the virtues of viewing a movie with a group of strangers brought together by a common cause (is watching a movie really a cause?). Does he really believe his own crap? When was the last time he even saw a movie with the general public instead of in a plush private theater ahead of its general release date? I, for one, am not a big fan of paying a fortune to fight with strangers for a decent seat only to have to put up with chatter and cell phones throughout the film. I'm certainly not building mashed potato cinemas at the dinner table along with thousands of others who will find themselves also drawn to this mysterious force bringing us all together to watch some hollywood shovelware.
  • by fahrvergnugen (228539) <fahrv@noSPam.hotmail.com> on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:57PM (#14887590) Homepage
    It's not about the quality of the films available. The films are about as good as they've always been, to be honest. That is to say, they're shit, but they're entertaining, so I'll keep going.

    It's the theater-going experience itself that has become intolerable. I'd go back to the movies in a heartbeat if I knew of a theater that had the following policies:

    1) Theater owners need to hire large, hardass, bouncer-type stone cold ushers. If you talk, you're out. Cell phone? Out. Laser pointer? Out. Kick the seat in front of you? Out. Smartass who yells comments, thinking he's the next Joel Robinson or Mike Nelson? Out. If you're bothering the people around you in any way, instead of watching the film quietly or respectfully (or making out quietly, that's always cool by me), then you're out on your ass, no refund, and cry me a fucking river.

    2) Theater owners must enforce the MPAA ratings. Don't let kids buy tickets for The Shaggy Dog and then sneak into Saw II. They ruin it. Check IDs at the box office, and check tickets at the door of the auditorium, and bingo, no more problem. I tried to see the Exorcist re-release 5 years ago, and it was ruined by a theater full of teenagers who were all holding tickets to see the latest g-rated insult to IQs over 50. I haven't seen a horror film in the theater since.

    3) Theater owners must stop showing advertisements before a film starts for products that are not other films. People resent paying $12 to be a captive audience for 30 minutes of television commercials.

    Bonus un-necessary but IT WOULD BE AWESOME policies:

    4) Theater audiences must SHUT THE FUCK UP. In the last ten years or so, I've noticed a disturbing trend. Audiences seem no longer content to just laugh at the funny parts or cry at the sad parts. They now must treat a film as if someone is filming a sitcom, and they are part of the live studio audience. Here's a news flash, people: IT'S A FUCKING MOVIE. IT CAN'T HEAR YOU. Stop clapping and cheering when the Warner Brothers logo shows up at the beginning of the next Batman film. Stop applauding when Neo beats down Agent Smith. Definitely STOP GIVING THE CREDITS A STANDING OVATION. What, are you fucking retarded or something? What the hell is wrong with you people?

    3) A liquor license, even just wine-beer, for R-rated evening showings after 8pm. I'd love to be able to drink a cold one while I'm watching a movie in a room full of grownups. I already have a local theater that does this with second-run films, but I'd love it if I could get this kind of service in a first-run show with a kick-ass sound system.
  • by Macdude (23507) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @08:14PM (#14887685)
    Most movies made during any one year have always sucked. It's not the suckyness of the movies, it that for the price of:
      - parking
      - the tickets
      - the $4 small bags of popcorn
      - the $3 box of raisinettes
      - the $5 cokes
    I can buy a DVD, get a couple of pizza's delivered, open a bottle of wine (or a couple of beers), nuke a bag of popcorn and enjoy the movie on my schedule in a room with comfortable chairs that have lots of leg room, floors that aren't sticky and covered with garbage, a room without noisy assholes talking on their cell phones, stupid people constantly asking their friends "what did he say?" and "who's that?", a speaker system where the bass isn't being over driven and the center channel speakers aren't blown, a place where I don't have to sit through 15 to 30 minutes of commercials before the movie starts and if I have to get up in the middle I can pause the damn thing.

    I don't go to the theater because the theater experience sucks.

    In the past people went to the movies because it was an event, they looked forward to it for days or weeks ahead of time. Everyone was there to enjoy and drink-in the experience. Now we go to the movies because we don't have anything better to do.
  • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:4, Interesting)

    by networkBoy (774728) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @08:38PM (#14887808) Homepage Journal
    "Agreed. But who owns the copyright? Heinlein's been dead for nearly 20 years."

    UC Santa Cruz IIRC. He bequethed his literary work to the library. Which means a film would be excellent as (assuming is has a good director and cast and budget) it's a great story and the money would not go to waste.
    -nB
  • by h198x (312882) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @08:54PM (#14887894)
    Let's face it: Theaters simply suck. When was the last time you actually enjoyed going to a theater to watch a movie. Me? Return of the Jedi.

    To make matters worse, we now have to pay ridiculous prices AND watch commercials.

    F that, and F the theater owners.
  • my experience (Score:3, Interesting)

    by adpowers (153922) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @09:43PM (#14888112)
    A year and a half ago some friends convinced me to go see The Village with them as a group. We went to a Regal Cinemas, one of those huge multiplex deals. Anyway, we get there a little early so we can get seats together and everything. It had been a while since I'd seen a movie in the theatre, so I didn't know about "The 20" yet. The slideshow was bad enough, now they are playing 20 minutes of video (and sound) commercials before the show! Not only that, but these and the trailers are all spoilers for other things I might want to see. Trailers today give away all the good jokes and all the interesting plot twists, leaving no reason left to go see the movie. Anyway, after I suffer through that, then they play the television ads that were blown up to theatre size (although, I think they may have gotten better at this, and refilmed/remastered ads to make them work better in the theatre setting) and trailers. Finally, after 50 minutes of commercials, the movie begins. Some woman is on screen in one of those old-timey outfits and some stupid teenager shouts "She's hot" and then all the other little douchebag teens start giggling. I hate the standard teenager. This happens for a little while. Now, here comes the first scene where something interesting is about to happen and the fucking fire alarm goes off! We leave and come back 15-20 minutes later. The movie starts and we missed the whole sequence! Whatever happened we just missed out on. That was it, I got up and left. I went to the ticket counter and got my refund. The guy told me that the movie was continuing inside, but that wasn't why I was getting the money back. What a horrible, horrible experience. I will never go back to that theatre. The huge multiplexes are horrible, especially if they are in the suburbs.
  • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Scarletdown (886459) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @09:46PM (#14888124) Journal
    There's still buckets of stuff in the public domain.


    And some of the studios do still draw on PD material.

    http://imdb.com/title/tt0401729/ [imdb.com]

    I sincerely hope the title in the above link does actually become a reality on the big screen. And I hope that whatever studio is doing it doesn't completely fuck it up.

    This is something I've been waiting to see made into a movie (or series of movies) since I read the books back around 1980 or 1981.

    (And I hope whoever they cast as Dejah Thoris is just as hot as Burroughs described her in the first book.)

  • by acomj (20611) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:37PM (#14888364) Homepage
    You can now buy TV shows on DVD. If you get one season of a TV show thats probably 10+ hours of viewing. It takes time to watch those shows, times you aren't spending at the movies.

    That and the movie going experience is terrible.
  • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:4, Interesting)

    by shaitand (626655) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @11:35PM (#14888612) Journal
    Not really, those reviews came from people who hollywood could court or who have such oddball taste in movies that nobody actually relies on their reviews. In fact I could only name two film critics (one of them is no longer around) and I haven't agreed with a single review of theirs that I ever heard.

    On the other hand, reviews from real people rate about 80% of the time. Hollywood also needs to get over their obsession with making their money in the theater. If they were smart they would cut out the middleman and do unlimited dvd by mail (ala netflix and blockbuster) with PERMISSION to copy the rented films.

    It doesn't impact hollywood one bit if I have 1 movie or 10,000 movies. It does impact hollywood if I am spending $30/month on movies and that is all going to blockbuster online (tip, they don't throttle and give free weekly instore rentals on top of it).
  • by ajv (4061) on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:43AM (#14888801) Homepage
    In Australia, we have Gold Class Theatres, run by Village Cinemas. They've really thought about what it is to go see a film as an adult, and it really works. Most of the time, the Gold Class sessions are full, so it is working.

    You book your seat online before arriving, so you know where you're going to sit, and no queues. You can pick up your ticket from an ATM style thing out the front if you want to get it quickly, or you can go in and pick it up whilst you're ordering your goodies for the film.

    You can order hot food, pizzas, cakes (including creme brulee and lemon tarts... even choc top ice creams - but adult flavors like rum n raison and dark chocolate), champagne, wine, beer, decent cafe quality coffee, coke (if you must) to be delivered to you seat during the film, which is placed on a little table between every two seats... which has an inbuilt ice bucket. As there's so few seats, the waiters do not have to lean over someone else or squeeze past hundreds of others to give you your stuff.

    They have 30 or so reclining armchairs in a small theater with a smallish screen, but top notch acoustics and audio gear, usually not too loud (although Return to the King was painfully loud).

    There's heaps of space between you and the next person in any direction. Even if you're laying down flat and Sideshow Bob is in front of you, you can still see the screen.

    As the tickets cost $25, and the food aint cheap, it keeps the plebs and kids away for the most part. Sure I spend like $60 or $70 going out to see a film, but it's been an enjoyable experience, no brats, great food and beverages and I've felt like I got my money's worth.

    So quit whining about crap theaters, and ask for your own Gold Class theaters!

    Now if only they make more films like Amerlie and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and less shit like Date Movie, I'd be inclined to go to Gold Class more often.
  • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:4, Interesting)

    by evildogeye (106313) on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:45AM (#14888809) Homepage
    I completely disagree. I *always* want to go see movies, and I would be happy to pay $20 per ticket. I don't really care about money. I just want to see good movies. Lately, well for several years, actually, I haven't been interested in most of the movies that are out. It may be my fault for not looking close enough, of for getting too old, but either way, the reason I haven't gone to see movies is not because of price but because of lack of interest.
  • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Aardpig (622459) on Friday March 10, 2006 @01:15AM (#14888887)
    But it was a great tongue-in-cheek poke at those who elevate the military to God-like status. Wonderfully subversive!
  • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:4, Interesting)

    by howlingfrog (211151) <ajmkenyon2002@ya ... inus threevowels> on Friday March 10, 2006 @01:41AM (#14888965) Homepage Journal

    But the fact is that no decent music has been written since the Baroque era.

    Beg to differ. I'm happy to pledge my undying devotion to Renaissance and Baroque music above all other, and I agree with you completely about Mozart and the rest of the Classic era music--99% of it combines the worst elements of Baroque music with the worst elements of Romantic music. But even beyond that other 1%, there was PLENTY of great music after the Classic era ended (for reference, I consider Beethoven's Fifth Symphony to be the border between the Classic and Romantic eras). I refer you to Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorak, Grieg, Holst, Mussorgsky, Shostakovich, and Stravinsky, to name a few. And that's just taken from traditional Western art music, and just those who were consistently great. There are plenty of mid-level composers who turned out a masterpiece once in a while, too.

    There have been some great musicians in popular music of the past century or so as well. Most modern popular music is crap, yes, but the same is true of any era--crap from the past has just had time to be forgotten. The jazz tradition has Scott Joplin and Duke Ellington. As far as rock goes, the more I learn about music theory, the more I appreciate the Beatles. Procol Harum and Queen also put out top-notch music by any standards. And over the past 15 years, there's been some really good stuff coming out of the progressive/melodic metal genre. I'm not saying most of it is truly all-time great, but some of it is, and a lot of it is more than adequate even by the highest standards. Stratovarius, Nightwish, Kamelot (only after Roy Khan became the lead singer), Him, and to a lesser extent, Hammerfall (talking about the music, not the lyrics, in this case) and Sonata Arctica, are metal bands that have songwriters who can legitimately be called composers and performers who could be professional musicians even if their chosen genre was not rock.

    If it's not just any Baroque music, but actually J.S. Bach you're using as your standard for "decent music," then no, I'm not claiming any of that music is as good as his. But none of his contemporaries or predecessors were as good either. The fact that the greatest genius in human history happened to be a musician and happened to live during the Baroque era does not mean that that the Baroque era produced the world's only good music.

  • It's Not the Movies (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Michael_Burton (608237) <michaelburton@brainrow.com> on Friday March 10, 2006 @01:44AM (#14888970) Homepage

    During my college days, way back in the 1970s, I used to go to one of the local movie theaters a couple times a week. One was what we called a "repertory theater." They showed a frequently-changing bill with classic old movies interspersed with more recent films. I saw a lot of great films, and became a real movie buff. I often dragged friends along with me to see movies I really loved.

    Eventually the theater changed hands. The last time I went there, the manager blocked my way to the ticket booth. I was carrying my book bag because I'd just got off work. He insisted that I was taking outside food into the theater -- something I had never done -- and refused to let me, or the friend I had with me, buy tickets. I never went back, and within a year or two, the theater was sold and converted into a restaurant. It's said that the sale included a restrictive covenant barring the new owner, or any future owner, from ever converting the building back into a theater.

    I still went to movies at other theaters, but early in the '80s some theaters started interspersing commercials among the coming attractions. That practice angered me so much that, whenever a theater showed a commercial, I would shout, "Boo! No commercials!" loudly enough to be heard and understood in the projection booth. Often this would get a small round of applause. I would then go out and get my money back, and go home without seeing the movie. This became frustrating after a while. At some point in the mid-80s, I gave up. For about ten years, I never went to a movie theater.

    About ten years ago, a new theater opened near here, with big screens, great sound systems, and stadium seating, and I tried again. I was very happy to see that they were not showing the commercials that had driven me out of the theaters years earlier, and I started going to movies again.

    A few years ago, the commercials came back. Nobody seemed to mind except me. The last time I tried to see a movie at that theater, they were playing an endless string of commercials, interrupted only when the movie started. (Actually, the commercials, continued playing for a few seconds after the actual program started.) I haven't been back to that theater, either. It's going to make one enormous restaurant, I must say.

  • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 1u3hr (530656) on Friday March 10, 2006 @04:55AM (#14889417)
    But it was a great tongue-in-cheek poke at those who elevate the military to God-like status. Wonderfully subversive!

    Verhoeven did it better in Robocop. But rather than turning Starship Troopers inside-out, he should have started with something more in tune with his viewpoint, like The Forever War. (ST was basically WWII in the Pacific, complete with Pearl Harbor, FW was Vietnam.)

  • by AlpineR (32307) <wagnerr@umich.edu> on Friday March 10, 2006 @08:27AM (#14890035) Homepage
    I actually like going out and watching a new movie with a bunch of strangers. I spend enough time at home on the computer, and my TV is decent but nothing like a good theater. Dinner and a movie is still a good date plan -- my girlfriend and I would go almost every weekend if there were something good playing. A comedy or action movie is more enjoyable when you feel the reaction of others around you.

    The biggest problem I see is just bad movies. I've found that Rotten Tomatoes [rottentomatoes.com] is a good guide to the quality of new releases. Take a look most weeks and you'll see one decent movie and four bad ones in the top five releases. Considering that half of the good ones won't appeal to me based on subject matter, that means there's only one appealing movie every 2-3 weeks.

    I'd like to see less of the formulaic filler clogging the theaters. Try to show more smaller or independent films. For example, I'd love to see all the short films that received Oscar nominations this year. How about showing them together in place of a regular feature?

    I don't think that theaters are obsolete. Sure the popcorn is expensive, but I can choose to buy it or eat before. Cell phones are rarely a problem here in DC, at least now that most theaters have a "silence your cell phone" message before the feature starts. The experience could be improved with better food options including good coffee or beer. And during the Lord of the Rings trilogy I definitely appreciated my local theater that has Tempur-Pedic seat cushions.

    For my two cents, here are my favorite movies of the past year:

    • King Kong
    • Walk the Line
    • March of the Penguins
    • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    • Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-rabbit
    • Corpse Bride
    • Ballet Russes
    • Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

    AlpineR

  • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:2, Interesting)

    by stanmann (602645) on Friday March 10, 2006 @08:53AM (#14890150) Journal
    Although I seem to recall the closefighting incident, and the Drill sergeant pointed out that someday you will be out of ammo and a knife still works. I'll have to check for that. Heinlein always had a thing for weapons that didn't run out of ammo.
  • Re:Why Movies Suck (Score:2, Interesting)

    by somersault (912633) on Friday March 10, 2006 @10:39AM (#14890824) Homepage Journal
    Not all anime plots are trivial, but then again not all western plots are either. Anime is about attitude and style I guess, but also about atmosphere.. I'm trying to think whether the plot for the Ghost in the Shell series could be called 'trivial'. Also Gundam Wing.. I mean maybe the basic plot is quite simple, but they have a lot of politics and interesting ideas flying about which make the plots less childish. If you're talking about films like Spirited Away as being 'nonsensical' then you have a point from a western perspective, but if you were brought up in Japanese culture then you would probably understand the relevance of all the characters etc. I myself dont know that much about Japanese culture, but after reading a bit about Spirited Away then I realised there was a point to certain characters that I just thought were random before. Anyway I'll stop gibbering.
  • by trongey (21550) on Friday March 10, 2006 @12:57PM (#14891963) Homepage
    I totally agree.

    The first time is saw Star Wars and Close Encounters they were on a screen that was wider than my house. There were probably also more speakers in that room than I could fit in my house. To get to the single screen in that theatre I went through a lobby that was as lavish as any 5-star hotel. It was all about presentation. We stood in line for 3 hours because we knew there was something special waiting inside.

    Now I go to see movies on screens that don't impress me. I know some moderately wealthy people who have the same size screen in their house. I get there through a big hallway lined with overflowing trash bins. The only improvement is some really nice seats with cup holders.

    I don't expect to see a return to the giant screens. You'd never convince anyone that he economics are there. A little work in the presentation part sure wouldn't hurt though.

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