Our wish list for 2005
Posted Thursday, December 30, 2004 at 4:56 PM Central
by John Couture
It's that time of the year again: champagne, mysteriously glowing balls that drop on cue, and well-meaning lists that will undoubtedly fall on deaf ears. Well, this is our wish list for the entertainment industry as we begin 2005. Please excuse us as we scream into the vacuum of the internet.
- Scrutinize All Documentaries – Thanks to Fahrenheit 9/11 and Super Size Me, we find ourselves on the cusp of a documentary avalanche. Now, I am in no way advocating the abolishment of documentaries altogether, but rather a careful screening process to protect the innocent viewer from junk.
If not, the next thing you know, we're watching thought-provoking exposes into belly-button lint and grass-growing techniques (and we're not talking about the stuff you smoke).
- Put Ben Affleck On A Milk Carton – Hey man, I love you (in a purely platonic, yet brotherly way) and here's some tough medicine to swallow. Take a sabbatical, hiatus, vacation, whatever. Get out of Dodge. Live life, enjoy the Red Sox World Series victory and count your blessings as Mr. Jennifer Garner. Heck, have a kid or three. Give it half a decade or so, and then come back in a Quentin Tarantino movie. It did wonders for Travolta, it couldn't hurt for you.
If you need further convincing, go down to your local video store and pick up a copy of Surviving Christmas. Yes, that's right, it's already on video. Yeah, I know, it was in theaters 6 weeks ago.
- Pre-empt The Format War – There's a little known (if you're not in the home entertainment industry) war brewing between formats for the next generation of DVDs. The High Definition DVD that is set to make all those HD TVs that you bought this Christmas hum is overflowing with competing entries.
On one side you have HD-DVD and the majority of the hardware suppliers, while on the other side you have Blu-Ray with its catchy name and a handful of software suppliers (read: movie studios) at its back. Oh no, it's 1982 all over again and I have the Beta/VHS West Side Story theme stuck in my head.
- Everything Small Is Big Again – If you look at the top selling DVD list this week, you might be surprised at who's at the top. Not Spider-Man 2. The Return of the King was really only the second coming. And no, I, Robot didn't come in Ist Place (nice use of Roman numerals, no?).
The head of the class is a small little movie about a high school freak called Napoleon Dynamite. Here's a little bit of simple math that even a 3rd grader would understand. If you owned a movie studio which movie would you want to put your name on? A movie that cost, I dunno, $200 million to make and only grossed $33 million at the box office (Alexander), or a juggernaut that only cost you less than $5 million to put out and brought in $44 million at the box office and is the top-selling DVD (Napoleon Dynamite)? Nine out of 10 third graders picked Napoleon, the tenth one mumbled something about math class being tough and wanting to go shopping.
- Tread Lightly Into The Comic Book World – Just because it's got a pretty picture on the cover and words in a balloon over the characters' heads doesn't mean that you have to automatically make it into a movie. I get it, Spider-Man and X-Men were huge cash cows for you, but don't forget about The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemens or The Punishers of the world. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
- Stick To Your Guns – If you're a comedian at heart, choose comedy movies. If you're an action hero, choose action scripts. Vin and Adam, we're talking to you. Okay, as if Spanglish wasn't bad enough, didn't you learn anything from Punch-Drunk Love? For the love of Happy Gilmore, step away from the dramatic movies slowly.
- Go For The Single – First, there were two volcano movies. Then, there were two killer asteroid movie. But, did we really need two movies about the President's daughter who decides to escape from the confines of secret service protection only to fall hopelessly in love with a young, hot undercover Secret Service agent? At times, I could swear they were using the same script.
And while we're at it, get over The Matrix complex. If a movie is good and doing a sequel will take away from the coolness of the first movie, DON'T DO A SEQUEL.
- Turn Off The TV – Here's a simple lesson. Seinfeld good. Nick & Jessica Variety Hour bad. While we love seeing the good stuff on DVD, there is no need whatsoever for all the complete seasons of Saved By The Bell. There is more to life than Screech.
And while I'm on the topic, whenever you want to kill the whole reality TV thing, you have my blessing. If I see some Tsunami-inspired reality show, I will turn off the set for good, and that's not a threat.
- Give The Poison Apple To The Disney Stars – I've had enough of the Hilary/Lindsay/ Jessica/Britney/Amanda clones for one lifetime. There should be some sort of actor's test, similar to a driver's test, that every perspective actor or actress must pass before they are given a license to act.
I mean seriously, how many saccharine, teeny bopper movies do we need in one year. I think one movie a year called "What A Mean Cinderella Wants" will suffice.
While we're at it, stop allowing the siblings of these stars from getting their own record deal, TV show, etc. As an alternative, please make more movies with Jena Malone, Leelee Sobieski and Scarlett Johansson.
- Enough With The Varied-Ink Chromium Special Editions – Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to get rid of the fat-Daddy, Kevin Smith-is-my-hero type of DVDs. I'm talking about releasing one definitive edition DVD. Is that too hard of a concept to grasp? I don't want to have to keep buying Lord of the Rings every 3 months, just because someone found a couple of scrap frames of celluloid on the cutting room floor somewhere.
And if you give me some lame excuse about needing more time to create the Special Edition, here's an idea. Why not release a bare-bones rental copy on DVD that you sell only to retailers at a higher price level and bring the special edition out for sell-through pricing?