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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

No period in film history is perfect. We tend to look back on other eras as superior to the one in which we were living — at least creatively. It’s easy to look at The Godfather and lament the fact that they don’t make movies like that anymore. It’s easy to look at Casablanca and dream of a better time in cinema, where a big hit didn’t require $200 million.

However, that’s simply not the case. Today’s era of film and TV has just as many pros as it has cons. Though, let’s not kid ourselves. As much as I love the current film landscape we live in, there ARE problems with a lot of today’s films and with the industry as a whole. Speaking with The Financial Times (via The Playlist) while promoting his latest series, Mindhunter, filmmaker David Fincher discussed the weaknesses of today’s cinematic landscape.

“There’s no time for character in movies. No, now. Look at All The President’s Men — everything is character. Now, movies are about saving the world from destruction. There aren’t a lot of scenes in movies, even the ones I get to make, where anyone gets to muse about the why. It’s mostly the ticking clock. And in this show it’s hard to find the ticking clock. But the thing is: I don’t care if the whole scene is five pages of two people in a car sipping coffee from paper cups as long as there’s a fascinating power dynamic and I learn something about them. And I do not care if the car is doing somewhere between 25 and 35 miles per hour.”

But of course, if you want to make movies in this business, there’s only so much a fight you an put up when the studios are the ones with the money. Fincher acknowledged that in order to make movies, you have to stay in the lanes of the studio system.

“Look, there’s a very large talent pool of people who are—don’t feel there’s much for them in terms of sustenance (working for Marvel). And I think that if we can make a playground for them that is thoughtful, adult, interesting, complex, challenging stories and figure out ways to pull them into it, there’s a chance at something that isn’t lassoed and hogtied by three acts. And there’s something else that doesn’t have to be 22-minute half hour or have a cliffhanger. I think it is an exciting time. The cinema isn’t dead. It just does something different. The place is still filled with kids, it’s just they’re all on their phones. It’s a social event like a bonfire, and the movie is the bonfire. It’s why people gather but it’s not actually there to be looked at. Because the bonfire is always the same.”

While I don’t quite agree with the idea that no one pays attention to the films nowadays (in today’s content-rich world, I’d argue the opposite), his point is very much taken. All in all, yes, there are some weak aspects of today’s generation of films. However, that doesn’t necessarily make it better or worse. It’s just a wholly different beast than it used to be.

Let us know if you agree with Fincher down below!

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SOURCE: The Financial Times (via The Playlist)

  • Moby85

    Well, movies have become so darn expensive that the failure of a modestly budgeted, well-made, film is a big deal (Exhibit A: Blade Runner 2049). I think there is fear over original properties not drawing a crowd and “kids these days” just wanting sequels no matter how good or bad they are – they still see it once. I think there’s merit to that.

    It makes me wonder if an announcement is imminent that Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” will be delayed.

    • Kindofabigdeal

      Only if Dewayne Johnson passes on the script.

      • Moby85

        He didn’t pass on Jumanji and that movie looks seriously awesome.

    • Victor Roa
      • HORSEFLESH

        The ad he did for Coke has even more of that particular influence.

        • Victor Roa

          YES YES YESSSSSSSSSS!!! There’s a commentary on Fight Club where he comments “man, my obsession with Blade Runner is so obvious”

    • HORSEFLESH

      Majority of people want to see spectacle when they go to the cinema; they don’t want slow paced nuanced drama when they know they can get that at home in comfort with bee, chips and farts.

  • Kindofabigdeal

    I love Fincher. He’s one of my favorite directors. But you can just picture him sitting in his Prius smelling his own farts.

    • Victor Roa

      its prius funded ad campaign but it’s still the only money he can get because Hollywood still fucked him over since Alien 3…….. fart sound.

      • Kindofabigdeal

        That’s because the studios wanted him to put the alien inside of a Doberman Fincher.

  • Victor Roa

    There are two things going on, one, Fincher’s been struggling since after Fight Club, if you recall he did those car ads with Clive Owen in the early 2000s and every now and then second an R rated film strikes like a lighting bolt and then all of Hollywood is scrambling “WHERE’S OUR SEX THRILLER?” You see this everyday in the Hollywood sites, it’s this group think where it’s scaring away real talent in favor of a name.
    I’m pretty sure Fincher doesn’t want to do a serial killer movie, he’s said everything he’s had to say since Seven (spacy/freeman/pitt in the car scene is the best scene of all time) but that’s how he has to make money.

    • Kindofabigdeal

      I have to disagree. I really liked Zodiac and I think it showed that Fincher is really good in that genre. Better than all those who try to imitate his work. So he could have more to say, he just needs to find that balance that others have. One for the studio and one for me.

      • Victor Roa

        Fair point…… but yeah Fincher is TALENTED AS FUCK! Like we all laugh at Guy Richie because he peaked on Snatch, and now everything he does is like gimick style with no real purpose. But I mean like you kinda see Fincher struggling, especially with Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, he really wants to make something happen and the audience isn’t reciprocating it. Or even his attempt to help the Goon Kickstarter happen especially since Blur’s been trying really hard to get feature film work since 2002 (trust me, I know this because I have a friend who works there, sure they are making millions per second in video game CG but none of them like doing Sonic the Hedgehog, Star Wars, or Halo).

  • Jeremy Alexander

    Weird. I have exactly the opposite take on todays movies and television. They spend so much time overdeveloping characters that they lack in actually telling a compelling story. I love Game of Thrones, but it is the worst example of that. The characters are so well developed that we’ve ignored the fact that it’s little more than a zombie show that delayed the zombies until the last few episodes and also has some dragons to fight over a meaningless throne. While the small character moments are often brilliant, it really just disguises one of the weakest overarching narratives in television. Lost did the same thing. I wanted to know about the island, it’s history, it’s secrets, and instead I got a family reunion in the afterlife and no answers about the only interesting part of the show which was the island itself. People complaining that characters in the new Star Wars trilogy are shallow and have no background somehow forgot that in the OT the emperor was in the entire trilogy about 10 minutes and we learned nothing about him other than he took over at some point and he was evil. What about the unexplained things about Vader? The clone wars, how he fell to darkness, how he didn’t know he had 2 kids, how he found out about Luke between Episode 3 and 4? We don’t have any of that information by the end of ROTJ, and nobody cared because it told a great story. Over developing characters and not telling interesting stories is why, imho, movies are in the state they are in today.

  • Kronx

    I don’t think it’s a new problem at all. There have always been plenty of light, action movies to bring in the crowds. The difference is we forget those movies and focus on the really, really good ones. So we tend to overvalue the past.

    The Godfather was great. But a lot of films came out in 1972. And a lot of them were garbage.

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer’s always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he’s always been something of a story junkie.