With Old Age Comes Cinema Cynicism?

ALLEY

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I recently had a birthday, which involved “a trip to the movies”, as usual.

This “got me to thinking” about how much my perspective has changed since I was a kid and would go through the same birthday & movie ritual.

My dad used to chuckle a bit every time he picked us up from the movie and would ask how it was.

Almost 100% of the time, my answer would be: “It was the best movie ever.”

“Even better than [Raiders, Empire, Wrath Of Khan, Superman II]?” He would ask.

“Yes—better!”

Now, when I go to the movies, if I’m asked the same question, my response almost always is: “Meh—nothing to write home about.”

Have movies REALLY grown that much worse, or am I simply more cynical in my old age??
 

Probe Droid

Master Member
Yes, they really have. Reboots, remakes, mindless CGI extravaganzas, and comic-book crap all are destroying the artistry of film. It's fine to make those films and for audiences to enjoy them, but Hollywood also needs to make serious dramas, comedies, romances, etc., and those have become casualties to the almighty blockbuster. The movies industry always has been about maximum profits, but the artistry that accompanied it has slipped away. All the really good stuff is on TV now.
 

Strikerkc

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Nah, kids just live in the moment. Adults try and get artsy with their movie enjoyment ("How was the cinematography compared to his last production?", "Will this be a classic?").

Every medium will always have, and has always had, remakes, re-imaginings, etc, etc, ad-nauseaum. Movies are no exception.

we also always look back at older sets of films and music as being "better", simply because we don't bother to remember all the absolute garbage that was mixed in with the gems. You like 80's music? Yea? No you don't. You like the good music from the 80's. Have you ever listened to a station that even does a whole weekend of all 80's music? It's horrible. Near unlistenable, because they have to play all the dregs; they can't just play the 250 songs we all love on loop.

Same goes for movies.

I'll also bet that you see a TON more movies now than you did as a kid. At the very least, when you were a kid, you didn't pay attention to the movies that were out that you didn't want to watch. If something was in theaters that didn't strike your fancy, it's like it didn't even exist. Now as adults, we're aware of every garbage movie that's out there, and we have easy access to more of them thanks to streaming and/or the hundreds of channels at our disposal now.
 

PoopaPapaPalps

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
While I do agree with the the previous post, I will say there is an artistry lost to movie-making. A "language" has been established and it's few and far in between where I see something where there is serious thought put into every frame of a film, regardless whether it works out or not.
 

sztriki

Sr Member
A bit of both I would say. One, we've all seen tons of movies and instantly spot derivative or even usual/typical things. None of the Marvel movies appeal to me for example because all I've seen had the same usual beats of an adventure movie. Seen it a million times and the characters just don't appeal to me to make me excited, and the overall filmmaking good but it is by the numbers. So there's that obviously.
On the filmmaking side I think there's the "we can make whatever the hell we want as long as we have enough animators". Even big-budget movies like Empire, Indy, etc back then had to be clever because not everything was really easily possible. Combine that with the extremely board-room/corporate way of thinking behind movies (and yes, I know moviemaking is and always has been business) then you have the treadmill movies, at least in the mainstream. And I'm not against SFX or CGI, the Matrix even though the "edgy" style didn't age too well at least try to be really creative with the CGI. Same goes for Sin City or Inception. But big robot things vs big alien monsters...it's just meh for me, was done superbly in Aliens, where's the buzz from seeing it bigger and more digital?
No movie like Jaws, Gremlins, Star Wars, Alien, etc will be made today where a big studio takes a risk with a talented filmmaker with a vision that will result a film that makes a big impact. This willingness to take risk with limited SFX and talented filmmakers is what really produced these important mainstream movies. Necessity is the mother of invention, therefore these filmmakers had to use their talents and skills in cinematic language to really prop up their movie. These days there's no real chance of a new John Carpenter, James Cameron, Steven Spielberg or Ridley Scott to start their careers with a promising but relatively small movie and gradually build their portfolio towards more and more prominent movies.
I more or less gave up on the new mainstream cinema because of lack of originality either in stories and/or filmmaking in general. For me the big tentpole movies kind of ended when Independence Day, Godzilla and co came in. Men in Black, Matrix and LOTR were really good but not much for me after that. And deffos no interest in either Marvel or DC or any comic book things. I actually can't wait for them to start tanking and see if anything more interesting comes next. :devil:
I probably come off as snobbish, but out of the movies I recently watched (and I know I'm behind on movies) Three Billboards, Birdman, The Road, Bone Tomahawk and The Witch were movies that I really enjoyed and thought to be really quality movies. None of these were really big-studio films.
 

ALLEY

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
What, I think is different is my expectations and mind-set, between back when I was a kid and now...

Back then nearly EVERY movie that I watched was “the best one yet”, even when the quality was objectively lower in comparing them against each other now.I mean, I specificially remember saying that “The Search For Spock” was “even better than Jedi” and the “The Last Starfighter was even better than Search for Spock” and so on... I very seldom seemed to be disappointed with what was delivered to me and each film seemed to be better than the last.

At some point, that mind-set changed.
 

Psab keel

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The wealth of content available to us and the ability to watch nearly anything we want from the comfort of our homes by streaming means you can get movies any time you want. Over exposure is part of the problem, but the quality of the content is a huge part of it too.

Perhaps with the success of something like Mission Impossible: Fallout the push to return to simpler plots and practical stunts will encourage studios to start relying less on CGI to fill the screen and start focusing again on characters and theme. I can't say that the demand for short form story telling with movies will completely disappear but the success of long form stories (TV and streaming series) has certainly changed the landscape for what is possible. More and more I find that the diversity of content is MUCH better on streaming vs what is in the theater because they are willing to take risks.

Culturally we take for granted the amazing resources we have available to us in this day and age. Rather than use this technology in creative ways we have a tendency to use it as a means to become even more lazy than we already are. This applies to movies too. You see it reflected in the kinds of movies that clog the cineplexes. It's the same tentpoles that play endlessly, with little room for smaller, more daring pictures because our culture demands flashy fast paced stories than anything with substance.

I know I'm guilty in participating in this too though so I can't hold myself exempt. I don't have the patience for certain things anymore because my time has become so much more limited so I can't afford to waste it when I want to watch something. Think about it though. Most people are working longer hours/ more hours which means less quality time with their families and when it comes to choosing entertainment you don't want to waste the few hours you have before bed watching something that you won't enjoy. The time constraints in a lot of ways are forcing us to be less patient with the available content.
 

AJK001

Sr Member
For the most part movies have just gotten worse. I really can't remember the last time I went to the movies and it isn't something I miss.
 

Halliwax

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I think everything is covered now.. movies are just copies of other movies

Nothing is 100% from scratch anymore or just a 100% reboot of another film...

That’s my take on it
 

Cephus

Sr Member
It's all been done already and for the most part, better. We don't go to the movies anymore, the last time we stepped foot in a theater was for the first Transformers movie. We know we're going to be disappointed by pretty much every movie that comes out because there's no artistry, it's all carefully formulated to maximize return, it's all safe, cookie-cutter nonsense. It's a rare movie that does something unexpected or enjoyable.

I wouldn't say that I have nostalgia for past movies either because I can re-watch old movies and get the same enjoyment out of them that I did when I originally saw them, unlike modern movies that I watch once, maybe twice, and never have an interest in seeing them again. I've watched the original Star Wars hundreds of times and I'd go watch it again right now. I can't say that about many modern movies.
 

Solo4114

Master Member
I think it's two things.

First, I think that in the last 20 years or so, we've seen a real concerted push towards "Franchises" and derivative works, and a decrease in willingness to take risks. That lack of willingness to take risks means that movies end up feeling...anodyne most of the time. Bland retreads of something you've seen before. And that's by design, because why not do what worked before? Why take a chance on something that might not work? Stick with what you know works until it doesn't work anymore, and then find something else that worked and do that. That seems to be the approach to filmmaking these days, and I think the result is that people who remember a different time where the real standout movies seemed to be ones that took risks in storytelling

Second, I think it's the simple experience of growing older and your tastes in entertainment changing. As I've grown older, I've demanded more and more from my entertainment. When I was a kid, big robots and 'sploshuns were enough for me! If you'd shown me any of the Michael Bayformers movies when I was 8, it would have been a transcendental experience of joy for me because ROBOTS AND SPLOSHUNS!!!!! As I grew older, though, I wanted more complexity, more carefully crafted narratives, better realized characters, more engaging dialogue, real engagement with the substance of the film rather than just a reliance on cheap tricks and artifice. That's a much higher hurdle to clear than just banal entertainment for a couple hours.

I continue to believe that you can make smart, engaging, compelling films that are accessible to audiences at all levels, but I think it's a lot harder to do than it might seem, and that audiences are just as easily entertained by robots and sploshuns and a rehash of last year's model, so...that's what Hollywood's gonna give 'em.
 

Strikerkc

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
...I used to go to the movies 3 or 4 times a month, now it's once every year or two.
Sure, but I'll bet these days you're watching 5+ a month (or the equivalent, via bingeing tv shows) from the comfort of your own home these days.
 

robn1

Master Member
Sure, but I'll bet these days you're watching 5+ a month (or the equivalent, via bingeing tv shows) from the comfort of your own home these days.
No. Maybe two movies a year, which I usually hate anyway. Star Wars is the only thing that gets me into a theater these days, and even that is letting me down. The only current TV I watch is Last Man Standing and The Orville, anything else is 30 years old or more. My most recent binges were Benson and Space: 1999.

I haven't changed, I still like almost everything I always have. It's the shows/movies that have changed. I can't even stand modern photography anymore, I swear every DP working today must be colorblind.
 

PoopaPapaPalps

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
... I can't even stand modern photography anymore, I swear every DP working today must be colorblind.
I don't know about colorblind but maybe with better night vision than most humans because everything I see now is shot dark and in heavy contrast. I was just watching Narcos: Mexico last night and there was a moment where two characters in an episode were looking for a crashed car and it was like being in the dark with these people...because I was actually looking at a black screen for 3 minutes!

Even in night sequences, I think the audience should still be able to see the actors' faces or at the very least what they're doing.
 

Psab keel

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Yes even in the theater sometimes the shots are so dark I literally can't see what is happening.
 

kristen jones

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Nah, kids just live in the moment. Adults try and get artsy with their movie enjoyment ("How was the cinematography compared to his last production?", "Will this be a classic?").

Every medium will always have, and has always had, remakes, re-imaginings, etc, etc, ad-nauseaum. Movies are no exception.

we also always look back at older sets of films and music as being "better", simply because we don't bother to remember all the absolute garbage that was mixed in with the gems. You like 80's music? Yea? No you don't. You like the good music from the 80's. Have you ever listened to a station that even does a whole weekend of all 80's music? It's horrible. Near unlistenable, because they have to play all the dregs; they can't just play the 250 songs we all love on loop.

Same goes for movies.

I'll also bet that you see a TON more movies now than you did as a kid. At the very least, when you were a kid, you didn't pay attention to the movies that were out that you didn't want to watch. If something was in theaters that didn't strike your fancy, it's like it didn't even exist. Now as adults, we're aware of every garbage movie that's out there, and we have easy access to more of them thanks to streaming and/or the hundreds of channels at our disposal now.

1000% this.
 

redrdr67

New Member
Chalk it up to wisdom?(Nicer sounding than getting older and cynical) I ask the same questions about a lot of things ALLEY originally asked.

BTW, happy belated birthday!
 

CutThumb

Sr Member
Nah, kids just live in the moment. Adults try and get artsy with their movie enjoyment ("How was the cinematography compared to his last production?", "Will this be a classic?").

Every medium will always have, and has always had, remakes, re-imaginings, etc, etc, ad-nauseaum. Movies are no exception...………..
^^^^^^^This.^^^^^

As far as I am concerned there are a few revolutionary changes to a multi media genre format that absolutely alters everything you'll felt about that came before and then after them. Its a constant update that's never really changed, and its unfortunately inevitably that everybody else then jumps on the bandwagon and follows that new trend because nothing else works quite as well without it afterwards, certainly in something as technically innovative as the movies.

But its always a tough act to follow because its that original emotional impact, that sudden wow factor that constantly stays with the fans ,often for decades. Its what makes us who we are because we want to stay true to that memory,and we will always redefine our critical expectations to anything afterward because of it. And, sadly, nothing else usually quite measures up in the same way again , except on odd, pretty rare occasions when the creative forces that generated it, really DO understand what made it so popular with the rest of us.

And its not just limited to film. Console/PC players are very picky about sequels to beloved games, writers will often have a huge hit with single novel and then often disappear from public consciousness. Look how the music industry churns through bands and singers . TV shows rise suddenly from absolutely nothing but a hit pilot to staggering heights of popularity and then sink just as quickly into cancellation and oblivion when the winning formula gets changed too far away from the original concept ,the character stars leave or they run out of ideas.

I think the issue for many of us here is that we have lived through the bulk of the really iconic examples and the important technical innovations and changes and so they've stayed with us through the years because they have had the biggest impact on our generations.

Its mostly the reason I like posting on the RPF, because its comfortable to hang out and keep company with people who pretty much feel the same way I do about alot of my favorite movies. Not all our opinions will match, but thats well and good too, because at least there have been some great discussions, and I'll admit I've some times had my mind changed by a post here , or somebody will have picked up something I've missed in the film.It all adds up, though of late there have been some heavy subtractions, this forum doesn't feel like exactly the same place anymore.

I don't think we've really become more cynical, not really in the truest sense of the word. I choose to believe alot of us now have much, much higher expectations based on the past that are rarely met again in the present , and its that disappointment, that failure, that often provokes such an outcry.That and the fact its no longer just moaning about it in the pub to a few your mates, you now can make a reasonable living it seems by doing it to a global audience on any social media platform that pays by the hit. Being a hard cynic now means money and popularity (of a sort).

It sometimes feels like a strange age to be living in to me, but I guess for the new generations, who really have such a stagggering mass of content now to choose from, and agian from so many different media sources, then there is no need to waste your energy being cynical about anything really, because so much new content is being generated now, its easier just to chuck it aside and move onto something else, rather than to feel any loyalty to a franchise some have followed for decades because it actually really matters to them.
 
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