Feed on

Jared posted a link to an interesting article about the state of storytelling in Hollywood (here it is again).  I found the article rather unproductive, since all of the trends it dwells upon are widely acknowledged and it doesn’t go into enough detail to say anything new about them.  The article suffers from a lack of specificity in terms of what is happening to story in modern films and why it poses a problem.  Bobby Farrelly misses movies like The Graduate, while Peter Guber laments that nothing can compete with Transformers, but this seems like a simplistic preference toward more high-brow, or “intellectual” fare.  The article claims that recently “big films with relatively small stories have been hurried into production to meet release dates.  Meanwhile, hundreds of pictures with classic narrative have been eclipsed by other media…or suppressed by louder, less story-driven brethren.”  First of all, what the heck does it mean to be story-driven?  This is imprecise language that undercuts the point of the article.  Surely Transformers has story—infact, story in the colloquial sense of being closely allied with action-packed plot advancement might be a stronger force in action flicks like Transformers, whereas we might call The Graduate more character-driven.
David Kirkpatrick, the founder of this MIT story lab thing, fears “a world without story,” but I agree with the Sundance film festival folks—story is thriving, and the proliferation of new media is opening things up.  The article sets up an opposition between big studio movies seeking the largest possible opening weekend and lower budget films that accept a more limited audience, but they say it like this is a new trend, when the blockbuster clearly emerged as an industry-shaping force in the 1980s.  No form of storytelling has died, though its place in the industry may have shifted.  The article barely discusses new media forms, except to vaguely insinuate that text messaging is associated with the popularity of blockbuster action flicks (?).  The New York Times usually does better…

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