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Random Thoughts for Random People

A Blockbuster Discussion

Over Christmas, my brother and I got in to a discussion on a subject I have mentioned here previously.  The subject was the writers strike.  I parroted my idea that I was conflicted with the writers strike because on the one hand, actor’s, aka “the talking heads”, get paid so much for movies, yet writers receive such a small portion.  Also, I included that I thought that writing was the major part of any Hollywood endeavor.  My conflict arose from the seeming recycling of story lines and nostalgia movies and sequels that we have been living through.

My brother agreed with me about writing being an important part of movies, but disagreed that the writing in Hollywood has been going down hill.  He said that nostalgia movies were limited to blockbusters, but there were more good movies made recently than in previous decades.

Now, my brother is not an artsy kind of guy, so I was confused as to what he meant by a non-blockbuster…knowing he probably didn’t mean film festival movies.  As it turns out, his definition of “Blockbuster” could be summed up as “High Budget”.  Special effects, explosions and stunts being the major part of any budget (and actors I suppose).  My definition was “Popular” or “High Grossing”.

This may be a sign of the times.  Because once we realized that we had a different definition, the discussion deteriorated to the “we will agree to disagree” phase that is always unfulfilling.  We could have continued our discussion, if we had looked up the definition of “Blockbuster” in a dictionary.  What did I do?  I looked around for my tablet PC (a laptop without a keyboard that I keep next to my chair at home).  But we were at Gram’s house.  So, not only was there no tablet PC to be found, but no wireless network and no broadband connectivity.  Once I realized that, I dropped it.  Forget that Gram probably had a paper dictionary somewhere.  Forget that she has a computer with dial-up.  I just dropped it rather than go through the trouble.

Well, I remembered our discussion when I got home and was once again back in Connectionville.    So, I looked it up on  The conclusion: There is evidence for both opinions.  But more for mine. 🙂

Of the nine definitions give, only one contained a hint of what Mark had mentioned: “a motion picture, novel, etc., esp. one lavishly produced, that has or is expected to have wide popular appeal or financial success.”  Meanwhile, there were two other definitions that included the terms “popular” or “high-grossing” (or synonyms) that did not include a reference to how much it cost to produce.

So, I win, right?

Well, not exactly.  All this proves is that I had a slightly more accurate definition of the term “Blockbuster”.  But the question of whether or not Hollywood writing as a whole as improved over the past decade or so is still up in the air.  On my side are such movies as:

Star Wars Episodes 1 through 3
The Chronicles of Narnia
The Dukes of Hazard
Alvin and the Chipmunks
Alien vs Predator
Batman Begins
Ocean’s 11
Rocky Balboa
Rambo (Due out in the spring)
The Incredible Hulk
Superman Returns
Star Trek: Insurrection
Lord of the Rings
Ghost Rider
The Bourne movies

All of which are rehashings of old stories, or sequels of movies made in the 80s or 90s, or books.  I am sure I am missing many examples because these movies were so non-memorable that I have forgotten them.  I am also not saying that all of these movies are bad…in fact, I rather liked many of them.  My point is that they are not new ideas. 

But, that doesn’t prove anything.  I should go back to the late 1990s and/or 1980s to see if the same ratio of movies exists.  And to Mark’s point, I was looking at the IMDb best movies of the 2000s, and there are some good ones in there.  I didn’t recognize most of the titles, so they probably were not blockbusters in any sense of the word.   But most of the moves that are listed that I recognize, that are not remakes, are animated movies.  The Incredibles is one of my all-time favorite movies.  I wasn’t particularly impressed with Finding Nemo or Ratatouille, but they were original ideas with original story lines that were at least entertaining.

My conclusion?  I can’t make one.  I suppose the writing in general has improved.  Even with the remakes, many were better than the originals.  I guess I am more frustrated with the dregs that are pulled up just to get people to spend money to go to a movie.  Those have probably always existed, but they drop out of the mind after a time.  So that all we remember from the glory days are the good movies. 


December 31, 2007 - Posted by | Random Thoughts

1 Comment »

  1. […] A Blockbuster Discussion […]

    Pingback by star trek insurrection | Great for news | January 11, 2008 | Reply

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