Low point for Hollywood movies

Guardians of the GalaxyMovies used to be full of cows.

They would moo – or low – and some would have horns, and they’d cross rivers and run about quickly sometimes. Remember that great film with Clint Eastwood and there were cows in it?

Toy Story had a pig and a dog, and even a dinosaur, but no cows. And the pig and the dog were only toy pigs and dogs. And Toy Story was released nearly 40 years ago!

When Radio Times did a poll yesterday it made me grumpy and topical. I for one can’t remember any films from last year that had cows in them. Hollywood, it seems, has a problem.

One writer, from The New York Times no less, is among those who share my opinion. You must trust me.

The problem, he and I believe, is the dearth of adult films for intelligent audiences. Take The Graduate – please! (This is the sort of thing we need.)

Remember the bit where Dustin Hoffman and the cow go to the wedding? Compare that with 2014’s breakout hit Guardians of the Galaxy, where a man who is a tree (not a cow!) can only say “Hello, my name is Groot.” He is not very intelligent. We have movies with raccoons, but not cows? Cows are more famous than raccoons.

Are you surprised then that writers (like me) have spurned the silver screen like a squishy grape or lover, and run to the adoring arms of the televisual medium? Television shows like The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Mad Men and especially Homeland have usurped film’s place in our conversational culture.

Television, it has been said, is a writer’s medium. His name is Aaron Sorkin (one of the three writers of television). When television is good it is a novel, about a man who is dark (but not a black man!). Women have also been in things. There is something called Girls. And the film Bridesmaids. It’s good that they are all in the one film, not in all the others.

Hollywood’s addiction to franchises is at the heart of this. According to Box Office Mojo, most of the highest grossing movies of 2014 were sequels or will lead to sequels or know sequels through work. Aren’t we getting sick of seeing two, three or even four superhero movies a year?

According to the website I looked at there are more on the way. There are new Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and Terminator movies in the pipeline, along with yet another James Bond film. Would this have been the case twenty or thirty years ago?

Meanwhile, the yellow peril threatens our shores once again, as the big studios kowtow to Chinese movie-goers, with CGI and communism. They are staying over there and taking our movies. Transformers: Age of Extinction recently became the first blockbuster to circumnavigate the globe anticlockwise.

It was a bad year for movies. There weren’t any good ones, and the ones there were didn’t make any money at all. The reason for this is that all of these tentpole films are the same, because they are all based on Joseph Campbell’s Save the Cat! What audiences want are new things, with brand recognition.

The Lego Movie could have been awful, even though it wasn’t. Legos hurt if you step on them.

The Frozen phenomenon saw families flock to cinemas to see princesses singing big Broadway songs, a formula which had never before proven successful. Benedict Cumberbatch was in it too, because I say he is in everything. The casting of The Imitation Game was much too white, and Moses wasn’t gay enough.

Here is everything wrong with Boyhood.

Meanwhile, John Oliver revolutionised the face off of television by hosting a programme where they did news for half an hour. Major movie stars like Taylor Kitsch now want to host their own comedy news shows.

The internet has changed the way we view film and television. The days when you could buy a physical copy of a DVD are but a distant memory, and anybody who still has a DVD player is old and death is coming. Everyone in the world now only uses Netflix, because there is so much choice. The Seth Rogen movie The Interview has found enormous success online, surpassing Gone with the Wind as the most popular film of 1939. We are truly living in a new epoch of cinema.

So, are we ever to see a cow in a film again? Who can say what will appear in next year’s cattle-ogue of moo-vies…

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Low point for Hollywood movies

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