The golden age of film has long passed us by. We have lost the awe and amazement that once encircled great cinema, perhaps the only people to blame are ourselves the movie-goers that haven’t gone since we realized it could come to us. Perhaps it is the cinema itself that has morphed into an overpowered money-hungry monster that has ultimately exiled itself from its own roots of tortured artists and hungry actors. However, it is also entirely possible that the death of cinema was a team effort.
Since the mid-2010s there has been a cinematic conglomerate operating in Hollywood that has dictated the move of every popular, actor and genre. Amongst those who control the film industry are the ever-powerful directors, producers, and simply families that made a name for themselves in Hollywood long ago and never let it die. While this small group of creatives and film creators have been responsible for some monumental pieces, there is something that they all lack; a sense of creative diversity and integrity. The idea of a filmmaker sitting in their comfortable Manhattan loft admiring all their other great blockbuster films as they utilize the ample resources they have garnered from their success to create their newest, unoriginal, blockbuster should always leave a sour taste in one’s mouth. Furthermore, when a few opinions, or a few bank accounts, control the narrative of the popular film we begin to see that they all become one monotonous, droning voice that talks about creativity and the art of filmmaking. At the same time, it stands on the backs of invisible writers and creatives. It is this singularity in creative vision and input that has forced the film industry into the toxic look of recreating old movies, remaking animated movies, and of course, the ever-dreaded, endless sequels that are nothing more than the desperate cling to great writing that can’t be recreated anymore. Not only has the public been forced into watching what is essentially the same movie time and time again, but also the same actors playing the same roles in all of them. However, this is what Hollywood is a vicious circle that only hurts the ones on the outside.
Maybe it is this controlling nature of the film industry that pushed so many into the warm embrace of television. The collaborative nature of television creates the very creative diversity that film lost long ago. It is far easier for the no-name intern or starving writer to get his foot in the door via television rather than the monopolized film industry. While some could argue that television may be the first step and one can work their way up to film, one could also say that working your way up in Hollywood means nothing more than pitching idea after idea and trying for years only to be overshadowed by the mediocre work of those already established.
While I, amongst others, miss the ages of great cinema that can now only be seen at film festivals and in independent theaters, there is something entirely comforting in staying home and watching the writing of various great minds play out on the small screen.
Despite the complex monopolization of the film industry that has led to the near erasure of independent theaters and filmmakers, there is something to be said about how the big guys have and will be the only ones that can bring the public to the movies in hoards. Movies like Barbie, Oppenheimer, and Asteroid City have caused a tremendous amount of social media disruption and will also bring in an immense amount of movie theater patrons. With a sharp decline in movie theater sales after the onset of the coronavirus, these big studio movies with even bigger names like Margot Robbie, Tom Hardy, and Scarlett Johnson, could potentially be the only thing keeping smaller films and theaters in the public mind. While big corporate monstrous movie machines may be to blame for the initial and continued ignorance of the small film industry, perhaps there is a world in which they can end up working for and with each other. However, to do so the monopoly of families, celebrities, and already-made-it filmmakers within the industry need to let the curtain fall on their reign, finally and dramatically.