baleanoptera: (Film Buster Keaton Sherlock Jr)
[personal profile] baleanoptera
I'm a bit in love with this article called Memos to Hollywood

Several memos in the style of "urgent, eyes-only communiqués to Hollywood, fully confident that they will be carefully and thoughtfully ignored."

A few of my favorites are:

To: Filmmakers, especially under 40

From: Manohla Dargis

The tripod is your friend. Few filmmakers can pull off florid handheld camerawork because most aren’t saying all that much through their visuals, handheld or not. (Also: Shaking the camera does not create realism.) Though it’s a cliché of contemporary cinema, fiction and nonfiction both, handheld camerawork that calls aggressive attention to itself tends to make empty images seem even emptier. If you want us to notice your cinematography, make sure you have something to say, like the French filmmaker Olivier Assayas ("Demonlover"), whose restlessly moving images convey a searching intelligence. He isn’t just waving the camera around; he’s saying something about the world and the people in it.


To: John Lasseter

From: M.D.

I’m psyched that you and the guys at Pixar Animation Studios are finally making a movie with a girl as the lead character and with a woman as director, no less — another first for you! Congrats! Of course we have to wait until 2011 to see "The Bear and the Bow," but on behalf of 51 percent of the population, I salute you.


To: Members of the Writers Guild of America

Cc: M. Night Shyamalan

From: A.O.S.

You may think that slipping a doozy of a third-act surprise into your screenplay — a shocking twist that no one could possibly see coming — might make you look smart and the audience feel dumb, but please consider that the reverse might actually be the case.

Date: 2009-05-06 12:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That's a great list. I, too, would like more Rachel McAdams. Amongst most of the things they asked for.

Date: 2009-05-06 12:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
But, but..that would mean casting a woman that could actually act! That is unprecedented! ;P

But I hear she is going to play the part of Irene Adler in the new Sherlock Holmes film, aka the one with Robert Downey Jr. So there is hope.

Date: 2009-05-06 01:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes! This makes me feel all is well with the universe (really, I am easy to please).

Date: 2009-05-06 06:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Speaking of Holmes - new images are to be found here ( With Ms McAdams.

Date: 2009-05-07 12:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I hope this lives up to the promise of its cast. I am looking forward to it.

Date: 2009-05-06 05:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I also saw the article a few weeks ago and they cover a lot of my pet peeves about Hollywood.
"might make you look smart and the audience feel dumb, but please consider that the reverse might actually be the case." is certainly a highlight. :)

I agree with a lot of them but if I had to pick another one then it would be the one about the inability of Hollywood to make decent romantic comedies. It can't be so hard to give an author some leeway to write a good, funny script that doesn't get watered down to reach the lowest common denominator to (theoretically) reach a large "target audience".

Date: 2009-05-07 07:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
it would be the one about the inability of Hollywood to make decent romantic comedies.

That is definitely a good one as well. To be honest I've more or less given up waiting for a good romantic comedy to come out of Hollywood. The belief that one (or both) of the people involved has to be stupid for the plot to work just annoys me. That said few would be as happy as me if a good rom-com actually made it to the screens.

When it comes to the trend of having twists in the plot I think a major problem is that the audience now expects them. I remembered when I first watched The Usual Suspects, and I literary did not see that twist coming. A few years later and I sort of expect it. Now don't get me wrong - I think a twist used well can heighten a film tremendously. But a plot twist as a matter of course is just sloppy writing and usually a bit predictable.

(Hmm...I think you started me ranting on two of my personal peeves here. I'm sorry if I sounded a bit mad. ;) )

Date: 2009-05-08 05:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Not that it matters a lot but please let me correct that I read the article a few days ago, not weeks. I'm not able to look into the future. ;)

Thinking about it, I should probably also add that I even had a bigger territory in mind than what I usually mean when I say Hollywood (in the sense of the US studio system) since even the UK seems to have hit a dry spell in recent years (probably related to the (semi-)retirement of Hugh Grant ;) ).

In general I like twists and probably can live with a lot more of them compared to most viewers (The Usual Suspect is just great and I really should watch it again soon) but Shyamalan has become a bit ridiculous. As you said, everybody is only guessing what the big "twist" will be which is a bit silly. I tend to be a lot more generous when it's a small production not backed by a big studio.
Only a few weeks ago I saw a small film called The Escapist. I already thought it was a pretty enjoyable movie but a "twist" made it even more memorable for me.

I didn't even read it as a rant. And even if, it's your journal so you can do whatever you like. It's me who apparently can't stop writing lengthy comments. :)

Date: 2009-05-07 07:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
These are fabulous things - too good , I feel like questioning their authenticity.

Date: 2009-05-08 12:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hee. Well, they were printed in a major newspaper - so in that sense they are very real.


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