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(The New Yorker)   Whatever happened to movies for grown-ups?   (newyorker.com) divider line 157
    More: Sad, horror movies, Pauline Kael, foreign films, Tony Gilroy, Alexander Payne, lawrence, dead air, David O Russell  
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9613 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 08 Oct 2012 at 4:12 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-10-07 09:27:12 PM  
Soccer moms and hen pecked girly men decided to start rating movies "for the children" and made it unprofitable to get too high of a rating. Hence, PG-13 became the terminal illness of art in Hollywood and now the only good movies for mature audiences are foreign or indie.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-10-07 09:34:36 PM  
doglover

Around the 1980s it also became unprofitable to get too low a rating. Studios would throw in a few swear words to boost the "children only" G rating to a "fun for all ages" PG.
 
2012-10-07 09:36:47 PM  
If you look at types of movies during the Great Depression you find musicals, gangster films, and romances. Which is pretty much what we have today. Most 'Grown Up' films are depressing in one form or another, and right now most people don't want to pay money to be reminded that times are bad. The economy improves and grown up films will become more popular.
 
2012-10-07 09:42:53 PM  
(out today from Simon & Schuster)

Ah. So this is a 'shiat I made up' article.
 
2012-10-07 10:05:19 PM  
Because a movie for "grown-ups" would be a bomb. Old people don't go to movies.
 
2012-10-07 10:13:46 PM  
Inglorious basterds.
Dead man's shoes.
Ded sno.
You're free to choose.

Last Man Standing
It's a Hoot
Mr. Blanding
Hey, who let that wild leopard in here?
 
2012-10-07 10:16:22 PM  
 
2012-10-07 10:22:27 PM  
What happened was people realized film and other visual media is, for the almost completely most part, an inferior medium for presenting complex ideas, themes and stories. It's a great medium for presenting pretty ideas that require less thought than more to be plausible

Anyone that wants complexity, reads*.

*Books without pictures
 
2012-10-07 10:30:49 PM  

Mangoose: What happened was people realized film and other visual media is, for the almost completely most part, an inferior medium for presenting complex ideas, themes and stories. It's a great medium for presenting pretty ideas that require less thought than more to be plausible

Anyone that wants complexity, reads*.

*Books without pictures


"Game of Thrones", book 1, after watching the HBO season one of the same, was like deja vu.

The rest were a poor imitation of the books.
 
2012-10-07 10:48:29 PM  
They're called "adult films" now please move on to some other subject, I've got some fapping to do.
 
2012-10-07 11:04:25 PM  
Nothing. Stop whining and go watch them, you idiot.
 
2012-10-07 11:26:23 PM  

GAT_00: (out today from Simon & Schuster)

Ah. So this is a 'shiat I made up' article.


Yeah, I got that "Look at me, I have a new book out!" vibe pretty much right away.
 
2012-10-07 11:28:09 PM  
So any movie with an action sequence is unwatchable and worthless? This is exactly the kind of pretentious shiat that makes people hate the New Yorker.
 
2012-10-07 11:40:54 PM  
They all have subtitles.
 
2012-10-07 11:54:25 PM  
Articles like this are the equivalent of the size 0 woman complaining that everything is just too big and she can't find anything that fits.
 
2012-10-08 12:05:20 AM  
I think there are more "movies for grown-ups" today than there were decades ago. You just don't see them making huge numbers at the box office. Doesn't mean they don't exist, lazy person.
 
2012-10-08 12:12:47 AM  
He obviously knows what he's talking about, and I agree with a lot of it. His bit about Lawrence of Arabia not being made now is because an epic drama with a huge budget is a giant risk. See: Cleopatra, Heavens Gate.

There are plenty of "adult" movies still being made, and it's ironic that he used Clooney's photo at the top of the article and mentioned that Michael Clayton wouldn't be made today, because Clooney produced the excellent Argo, which is a "movie for grown-ups." I think that Michael Clayton would still get made today because the same people who made that are still making adult movies.

The only complaint that I have about films today is that the incredible rise of independent filmmaking in the 90's and 00's seems to have subsided a bit, and that's probably what he's getting at. I also agree that some of those great indie directors aren't working as much as they should. But a lot of that energy and originality has transferred to television dramas on the niche cable networks, which are akin to independent film studios, so I think it's a wash from an overall entertainment point of view.
 
2012-10-08 12:16:25 AM  

ihopOVERpancakes: So any movie with an action sequence is unwatchable and worthless?



No. He specifically mentioned Lawrence of Arabia (lots of action), Zero Dark Thirty (Navy SEALs killing bin Laden), and Michael Clayton (car bomb, hitmen).
 
2012-10-08 12:22:49 AM  

shower_in_my_socks: His bit about Lawrence of Arabia not being made now is because an epic drama with a huge budget is a giant risk. See: Cleopatra, Heavens Gate.


He's simply wrong about that. You want epics with huge budgets? Prometheus just came out this year! It wasn't brilliant, but not every epic will be. The Lord of the Rings movies. Kingdom of Heaven. Gladiator. Avatar. There Will Be Blood. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Apocalypto. The Last Samurai. Master and Commanders. Lots of others I'm just not thinking of.

This guy is a whiner.
 
2012-10-08 12:24:55 AM  

shower_in_my_socks: He obviously knows what he's talking about, and I agree with a lot of it. His bit about Lawrence of Arabia not being made now is because an epic drama with a huge budget is a giant risk. See: Cleopatra, Heavens Gate.

There are plenty of "adult" movies still being made, and it's ironic that he used Clooney's photo at the top of the article and mentioned that Michael Clayton wouldn't be made today, because Clooney produced the excellent Argo, which is a "movie for grown-ups." I think that Michael Clayton would still get made today because the same people who made that are still making adult movies.

The only complaint that I have about films today is that the incredible rise of independent filmmaking in the 90's and 00's seems to have subsided a bit, and that's probably what he's getting at. I also agree that some of those great indie directors aren't working as much as they should. But a lot of that energy and originality has transferred to television dramas on the niche cable networks, which are akin to independent film studios, so I think it's a wash from an overall entertainment point of view.


Wasn't Michael Clayton made just a few years ago.
 
2012-10-08 12:26:42 AM  

coco ebert: shower_in_my_socks: He obviously knows what he's talking about, and I agree with a lot of it. His bit about Lawrence of Arabia not being made now is because an epic drama with a huge budget is a giant risk. See: Cleopatra, Heavens Gate.

There are plenty of "adult" movies still being made, and it's ironic that he used Clooney's photo at the top of the article and mentioned that Michael Clayton wouldn't be made today, because Clooney produced the excellent Argo, which is a "movie for grown-ups." I think that Michael Clayton would still get made today because the same people who made that are still making adult movies.

The only complaint that I have about films today is that the incredible rise of independent filmmaking in the 90's and 00's seems to have subsided a bit, and that's probably what he's getting at. I also agree that some of those great indie directors aren't working as much as they should. But a lot of that energy and originality has transferred to television dramas on the niche cable networks, which are akin to independent film studios, so I think it's a wash from an overall entertainment point of view.

Wasn't Michael Clayton made just a few years ago.


Yeah, its a 2007 movie.
 
2012-10-08 12:26:43 AM  

DamnYankees: shower_in_my_socks: His bit about Lawrence of Arabia not being made now is because an epic drama with a huge budget is a giant risk. See: Cleopatra, Heavens Gate.

He's simply wrong about that. You want epics with huge budgets? Prometheus just came out this year! It wasn't brilliant, but not every epic will be. The Lord of the Rings movies. Kingdom of Heaven. Gladiator. Avatar. There Will Be Blood. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Apocalypto. The Last Samurai. Master and Commanders. Lots of others I'm just not thinking of.

This guy is a whiner.


I agree with you when to comes to epic movies. I think romances and romantic comedies though tend to be awful and not geared towards anything close to the reality for grownups.
 
2012-10-08 12:27:12 AM  
Guessing he didn't see The King's Speech, then.
 
2012-10-08 12:28:39 AM  

coco ebert: I think romances and romantic comedies though tend to be awful and not geared towards anything close to the reality for grownups.


This isn't true either. The problem David Denby has is that he's no longer just a grown-up; he's a senior citizen. Most of the big comedies made these days are for grown ups - Denby just doesn't like the fact that grown-ups are 25 years younger than him, and he doesn't like their humor, so he tries to take the bullshiat high ground by defining that comedy as not "grown-up".
 
2012-10-08 12:33:44 AM  

DamnYankees: coco ebert: I think romances and romantic comedies though tend to be awful and not geared towards anything close to the reality for grownups.

This isn't true either. The problem David Denby has is that he's no longer just a grown-up; he's a senior citizen. Most of the big comedies made these days are for grown ups - Denby just doesn't like the fact that grown-ups are 25 years younger than him, and he doesn't like their humor, so he tries to take the bullshiat high ground by defining that comedy as not "grown-up".


That may be. I just can't think of the last time I saw a romantic comedy I could remotely relate to and I'm 32.
 
2012-10-08 12:34:59 AM  
What ever happened to movies for the intelligent or with 20/20 vision?
 
2012-10-08 12:43:18 AM  

coco ebert: DamnYankees: coco ebert: I think romances and romantic comedies though tend to be awful and not geared towards anything close to the reality for grownups.

This isn't true either. The problem David Denby has is that he's no longer just a grown-up; he's a senior citizen. Most of the big comedies made these days are for grown ups - Denby just doesn't like the fact that grown-ups are 25 years younger than him, and he doesn't like their humor, so he tries to take the bullshiat high ground by defining that comedy as not "grown-up".

That may be. I just can't think of the last time I saw a romantic comedy I could remotely relate to and I'm 32.


(500) Days of Summer
The 40 Year-Old Virgin
Lars and the Real Girl
High Fidelity

Keep in mind, romantic comedies have ALWAYS been a genre of shiat. How many legitimately great romantic comedies are there, ever? Harry Met Sally and Annie Hall? That's, like, the whole list.
 
2012-10-08 12:44:19 AM  

DamnYankees: coco ebert: DamnYankees: coco ebert: I think romances and romantic comedies though tend to be awful and not geared towards anything close to the reality for grownups.

This isn't true either. The problem David Denby has is that he's no longer just a grown-up; he's a senior citizen. Most of the big comedies made these days are for grown ups - Denby just doesn't like the fact that grown-ups are 25 years younger than him, and he doesn't like their humor, so he tries to take the bullshiat high ground by defining that comedy as not "grown-up".

That may be. I just can't think of the last time I saw a romantic comedy I could remotely relate to and I'm 32.

(500) Days of Summer
The 40 Year-Old Virgin
Lars and the Real Girl
High Fidelity

Keep in mind, romantic comedies have ALWAYS been a genre of shiat. How many legitimately great romantic comedies are there, ever? Harry Met Sally and Annie Hall? That's, like, the whole list.


I do love those two. :)
 
2012-10-08 01:10:31 AM  
Did that dude do a "they'd NEVER make that today!" with a movie that's 5 years old?
 
2012-10-08 01:30:41 AM  
I'm lucky to live in New York, where there's a constant flood of independent movies, foreign films, documentaries, and everything else playing all the time.

Someday the rest of the country will discover electricity and stuff.
 
2012-10-08 01:40:06 AM  
Even worse is that for the last few years many if the "adult" movies have been lousy, either poorly acted, badly written, or just plain boring. Take for example last years J Edgar, a movie that by all rights should have been phenomenal, but ending up being a stinking turd due to the insistance on avoiding the more interesting aspects of Hoover's life and focusing heavy on the dull parts.

I've work at the movies for a decade now and have seen a slow decline over the years. The industry keeps moving those goalposts and claiming record profits and promises of more to come, but they're full of it. It's a dying industry which cannibalized itself for a multitude of reasons, and will eventually go away. Home theater technology has gotten to the point where it is on the verge of doing to movie theaters what home consoles eventually did to arcades, render them totally obsolete.
 
2012-10-08 01:55:54 AM  

DamnYankees: He's simply wrong about that. You want epics with huge budgets? Prometheus just came out this year! It wasn't brilliant, but not every epic will be. The Lord of the Rings movies. Kingdom of Heaven. Gladiator. Avatar. There Will Be Blood. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Apocalypto. The Last Samurai. Master and Commanders. Lots of others I'm just not thinking of.

This guy is a whiner.



A drama with a lot of talking like Lawrence of Arabia is not in the same ball-park as sci-fi/fantasy, which is most of your list. Even Gladiator was more action movie than drama. He's not saying there are NO movies for adults anymore -- just that there are far fewer. And he's right.

PT Anderson -- 5 years between Punch Drunk Love and There Will Be Blood. 5 more after that until The Master. Before that, he was making a film every 1-3 years.

Alexander Payne -- 7 years between Sideways and The Descendants. Before that, Payne was making a film every 2-3 years.

40 years ago those guys would be making a film every 2 years. 60 years ago it'd be every year, sometimes more than one per year. Mostly I blame the budgets, which the writer also goes into and discusses more actors taking deferred payments in exchange for lower salaries so more of these films can get made.
 
2012-10-08 02:02:46 AM  

shower_in_my_socks: He's not saying there are NO movies for adults anymore -- just that there are far fewer. And he's right.


Really? There's about 100 indie flicks released every year that may not be in theaters, but they still exist. They may not get headlines or big box office, but they are still out there, waiting for whiny adults to watch them. There's a lot more guys out there than PT Anderson and Payne. Maybe you should learn some of their names.
 
2012-10-08 02:55:48 AM  

DamnYankees: coco ebert: DamnYankees: coco ebert: I think romances and romantic comedies though tend to be awful and not geared towards anything close to the reality for grownups.

This isn't true either. The problem David Denby has is that he's no longer just a grown-up; he's a senior citizen. Most of the big comedies made these days are for grown ups - Denby just doesn't like the fact that grown-ups are 25 years younger than him, and he doesn't like their humor, so he tries to take the bullshiat high ground by defining that comedy as not "grown-up".

That may be. I just can't think of the last time I saw a romantic comedy I could remotely relate to and I'm 32.

(500) Days of Summer
The 40 Year-Old Virgin
Lars and the Real Girl
High Fidelity

Keep in mind, romantic comedies have ALWAYS been a genre of shiat. How many legitimately great romantic comedies are there, ever? Harry Met Sally and Annie Hall? That's, like, the whole list.


Just off the top of my head: The Awful Truth, Philadelphia Story, Bringing Up Baby, Ball of Fire.
 
2012-10-08 03:13:43 AM  

Confabulat: Really? There's about 100 indie flicks released every year that may not be in theaters, but they still exist. They may not get headlines or big box office, but they are still out there, waiting for whiny adults to watch them. There's a lot more guys out there than PT Anderson and Payne. Maybe you should learn some of their names.



I make movies for a living. I know the business well and I love indie films. In my well-informed opinion, there are fewer good adult flicks now than there were 5 or 10 years ago. No need to get all snippy over a movie discussion on Fark.
 
2012-10-08 03:34:05 AM  

Mangoose: What happened was people realized film and other visual media is, for the almost completely most part, an inferior medium for presenting complex ideas, themes and stories. It's a great medium for presenting pretty ideas that require less thought than more to be plausible

Anyone that wants complexity, reads*.

*Books without pictures


You think that the Twilight novels are superior to the movies, don't you?
 
2012-10-08 04:04:03 AM  

FirstNationalBastard: Mangoose: What happened was people realized film and other visual media is, for the almost completely most part, an inferior medium for presenting complex ideas, themes and stories. It's a great medium for presenting pretty ideas that require less thought than more to be plausible

Anyone that wants complexity, reads*.

*Books without pictures

You think that the Twilight novels are superior to the movies, don't you?


Well, yes, but that's not saying much for either.
 
2012-10-08 04:19:36 AM  
Dear article writer,

This Film Is Not Yet Rated came out six years ago. You're late to the party on this argument.

Signed,
Guy not reading your upcoming book
 
2012-10-08 04:20:34 AM  

propasaurus: DamnYankees: coco ebert: DamnYankees: coco ebert: I think romances and romantic comedies though tend to be awful and not geared towards anything close to the reality for grownups.

This isn't true either. The problem David Denby has is that he's no longer just a grown-up; he's a senior citizen. Most of the big comedies made these days are for grown ups - Denby just doesn't like the fact that grown-ups are 25 years younger than him, and he doesn't like their humor, so he tries to take the bullshiat high ground by defining that comedy as not "grown-up".

That may be. I just can't think of the last time I saw a romantic comedy I could remotely relate to and I'm 32.

(500) Days of Summer
The 40 Year-Old Virgin
Lars and the Real Girl
High Fidelity

Keep in mind, romantic comedies have ALWAYS been a genre of shiat. How many legitimately great romantic comedies are there, ever? Harry Met Sally and Annie Hall? That's, like, the whole list.

Just off the top of my head: The Awful Truth, Philadelphia Story, Bringing Up Baby, Ball of Fire.


Princess Bride?
 
2012-10-08 04:23:24 AM  
An enormous percentage of movies made during the golden age this guy idolizes were westerns, musicals, gangster flicks, melodramas, screwball comedies and other pieces of genre fiction.
 
2012-10-08 04:23:36 AM  
This article written the same week The Master opens wide release?

Is the author retarded?
 
2012-10-08 04:35:02 AM  
Well, subby, Whatever happened to Fay Wray That delicate satin-draped frame As it clung to her thigh How I started to cry 'Cause I wanted to be dressed just the same.
 
2012-10-08 04:39:46 AM  

doglover: Soccer moms and hen pecked girly men decided to start rating movies "for the children" and made it unprofitable to get too high of a rating. Hence, PG-13 became the terminal illness of art in Hollywood and now the only good movies for mature audiences are foreign or indie.


A lot of that also had to do with the fact that since the late 90s, budgets have skyrocketed.

Case in point, The Godfather. Had a budget of $6 million. I know the was 1971 dollars, but even adjusted for inflation, it was cheaper than your average Katherine Heigl flick. 

Since a lot of actors now command huge salaries, any major studio event movie will run upwards of 70 million, and studios insist on a PG-13 to even have a chance being profitable.
 
2012-10-08 05:57:45 AM  

spman: Even worse is that for the last few years many if the "adult" movies have been lousy, either poorly acted, badly written, or just plain boring. Take for example last years J Edgar, a movie that by all rights should have been phenomenal, but ending up being a stinking turd due to the insistance on avoiding the more interesting aspects of Hoover's life and focusing heavy on the dull parts.

I've work at the movies for a decade now and have seen a slow decline over the years. The industry keeps moving those goalposts and claiming record profits and promises of more to come, but they're full of it. It's a dying industry which cannibalized itself for a multitude of reasons, and will eventually go away. Home theater technology has gotten to the point where it is on the verge of doing to movie theaters what home consoles eventually did to arcades, render them totally obsolete.


you make an excellent point. it is a dying industry and for multiple reasons. the attraction of air conditioning on a hot day is not what it once was. the special feeling one gets of walking into a huge theatre disappeared thanks to tiny multiplexes. the rude behavior of ticket holders ruining the experience of getting out of the house has more people happy to stay at home. and the huge high def TV's with a crapload of technology delivering an incredible choice of entertainment around the clock definitely helps drive another nail in the coffin. no need to mention the high prices of theatre snacks. or the repulsive Hollywood trend to remake every movie that made them a fortune ad infinitum.
 
2012-10-08 06:07:11 AM  
Ugh. I never hear someone say "this movie is for grown-ups" unless they're doing it to lob a hissyfit at movies they don't like, while at the same time implying they're high-minded and smarter than people who just don't "get" whatever it was they DO think is so much better.
 
2012-10-08 06:20:19 AM  

stoli n coke: doglover: Soccer moms and hen pecked girly men decided to start rating movies "for the children" and made it unprofitable to get too high of a rating. Hence, PG-13 became the terminal illness of art in Hollywood and now the only good movies for mature audiences are foreign or indie.

A lot of that also had to do with the fact that since the late 90s, budgets have skyrocketed.

Case in point, The Godfather. Had a budget of $6 million. I know the was 1971 dollars, but even adjusted for inflation, it was cheaper than your average Katherine Heigl flick. 

Since a lot of actors now command huge salaries, any major studio event movie will run upwards of 70 million, and studios insist on a PG-13 to even have a chance being profitable.


The biggest reason budgets have gone up is as the tax evasion schemes and not actors salaries. Every time the film looks like it might turn a profit the studio hits them with a new fee or cost that supprise supprise puts the film back in the red and builds up to the 70 mil costs. Stop this then the non-salary costs of films will drop back to the 10-20 mil level for rom coms.
 
2012-10-08 06:31:22 AM  

Six_By_Nine: Ugh. I never hear someone say "this movie is for grown-ups" unless they're doing it to lob a hissyfit at movies they don't like, while at the same time implying they're high-minded and smarter than people who just don't "get" whatever it was they DO think is so much better.


The kids start their rebellion
 
2012-10-08 06:34:14 AM  

Steve Zodiac: If you look at types of movies during the Great Depression you find musicals, gangster films, and romances. Which is pretty much what we have today. Most 'Grown Up' films are depressing in one form or another, and right now most people don't want to pay money to be reminded that times are bad. The economy improves and grown up films will become more popular.


Agreed. I have always felt that movies are escapist entertainment. I do not spend my money on dramas. If I want that, I can buy a newspaper, or just go home. But I do realize that it takes all kinds to make a world and a significant part of the population want to stimulate their minds with more than a quip and an explosion.

BTW - what kind of movie does a "hen pecked girly man" go to see? That sounds like a drama to me...

/Jane Eyre vs Avengers? Give me "breathtaking anger management issues" every time...
 
2012-10-08 06:39:59 AM  

Norfolking Chance: stoli n coke: doglover: Soccer moms and hen pecked girly men decided to start rating movies "for the children" and made it unprofitable to get too high of a rating. Hence, PG-13 became the terminal illness of art in Hollywood and now the only good movies for mature audiences are foreign or indie.

A lot of that also had to do with the fact that since the late 90s, budgets have skyrocketed.

Case in point, The Godfather. Had a budget of $6 million. I know the was 1971 dollars, but even adjusted for inflation, it was cheaper than your average Katherine Heigl flick. 

Since a lot of actors now command huge salaries, any major studio event movie will run upwards of 70 million, and studios insist on a PG-13 to even have a chance being profitable.

The biggest reason budgets have gone up is as the tax evasion schemes and not actors salaries. Every time the film looks like it might turn a profit the studio hits them with a new fee or cost that supprise supprise puts the film back in the red and builds up to the 70 mil costs. Stop this then the non-salary costs of films will drop back to the 10-20 mil level for rom coms.


Salaries are still a massive problem. Just look at James L. Brooks' last movie. 4 A-listers in the leads, which meant at least 40-45 million was spent before a single frame was shot.

A sappy slow-moving dramedy, It ultimately cost $90 million, and was a critical and box office disaster. 

Meantime, his last hit, As Good As It Gets, only cost half that much, and that included paying Nicholson.
 
2012-10-08 07:00:03 AM  
Those movies are being made, they're mostly just indie flicks with a smaller budget. Apparently, the author forgot about some of the great adult movies like The Hurt Locker and The King's Speech.
 
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