Saturday, 6 October 2007

Independent Backlash.

Happens every year. There is that one Cinderella story in the box office/awards season, usually a small movie that makes it big and people start to bitch. I don't just mean a little light bitchery, I mean full on hateful attacks.

I witnessed it last year with “Little Miss Sunshine” when quite a few bloggers out there began trashing it as it did better and better in box office and the precursors. I mean it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I except that, people are not going to like everything.
But I noticed that a lot of these ‘critics’ are the same people who bitch and moan about the state of Hollywood movies and blockbusters.

Shouldn’t you celebrate when an independent film gets notice? It is a platform for so many positive things to happen. After “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Pan’s Labyrinth” the spot light was shone once more upon independent film. Now we are getting buzz about films like “Juno”, “Once”, “The Savages”, “Away From Her” and “Grace is Gone”. These are all small films that could be headed to boxoffice and possible awards glory. And the same thing will happen
People will start bitching about the ones who are most successful. “LMS” made 7.5 times it’s production budget (Sony Pictures would be so happy if their biggest blockbuster of the year did that. “Spiderman 3” only made back 1.3 times it’s budget).
How good or bad “LMS” actually is not important, what is important that a small film can do well. It is possible for small film-makers with a vision and voice to be heard.
Sure “LMS” is slight when compared to heavier fare with a conscience like “Good Night and Good Luck”, but it still found it’s way with no star power behind it.

This year the biggest success thus far is “Once”. This film has currently grossed 10 million worldwide, which sounds like small potatoes when compared to a blockbuster. But take this into consideration. The film was made for only $150,000. It has made back it’s production budget 66 times over. (had “Spiderman 3” done that it would have made over 15 billion in worldwide gross, executives would salivate).
It still could gross more and possibly affect the Awards race, but what is important is that it was a success and it was seen and loved (I am still waiting for the UK release)

This years most likely awards breakout will be “Juno” and there are already rumblings amongst bloggers who say it is too slight and not as original as everyone is saying. Bah Humbug to them.
Can we just celebrate a film being made that is original and independent? Hollywood is churning out remake after remake. Most of the original screenplays are based on toy lines. We have movies based on TV shows and Saturday morning cartoons being rushed into production with big money being thrown at it.
And most of the blog community roll our collective eyes and get on your key boards and rant about the mass lobotomy’s Hollywood executives seem to have had.
Then when something comes along and is original we all complain it isn’t original enough. Is anything? How many different ways can you tell a story?
All you can hope for is that a movie moves and transports you. That you leave the cinema awed by it’s power to move, tickle, entertain you and even make you question. If there are more films like “Once”, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, “The Blair Witch Project”, “In the Bedroom”, and “Little Miss Sunshine” made, would that be a bad thing when you look at the alternative (“Transformers”, “Shrek the Third” “Resident Evil”)?

Thanks to Box Office Mojo for the figures!


Rural Juror said...

To be fair, a lot of people dislike LMS b/c it was a quirky comedy atypical of most you find at essence, they don't like what the Sundance movie has become.

Jose said...

As with everything else, I just want my movies to be good, regardless of the fact that they were made by big studios or two people in a garage.
Thing is, and especially in my geographical area, that the indie film is sometimes seen as some sort of sacred cow.
Some people assume that just because these films take a greater effort to be made, they deserve some sort of instant praise, even if they are absolutely terrible.
Or that "indie" means good, just because it's supposed to be the anti-Hollywood.
There's nothing that annoys me more than when the word "support" is associated with a film. Films are not causes.
If the film is bad, no matter how much we "support" it, it'll still be crappy.
I encourage and love originality in whatever shape it comes and whatever its source is.

P.S:I love Little Miss Sunshine!

braccha said...

Originality has been killed by the franchise