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Old 11-06-2019, 08:00 AM   #1
Megunticook
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Default Martin Scorsese's Op-Ed on Marvel and Cinema

Saw it in Monday's New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/04/opinion/martin-scorsese-marvel.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Hom epage

Curious what you think of it. Valid lament on the state of Hollywood in general and accurate assessment of the Marvel films? Or a cranky old guy pining for the way things used to be and unable to adapt to the changing times?

I have to admit I haven't yet sat down and watched a Marvel all the way through (I loved comic books as a kid, by the way). The other day I was on a transcontinental flight and the woman in front of me was watching Aquaman. I watched parts of it in between chapters of my book--kind of an interesting perspective to just see the visuals and read the subtitles but not hear anything. Visually it was extremely rich with very impressive sets and effects. Another thing I noticed was how frenzied the editing pace was, with cuts every few seconds and lots of sweeping camera movements. Seemed like constant motion.

Hard to evaluate the dialogue, but from what I could see it felt pretty one-dimensional and predictable. Didn't seem like there was a lot of character development going on, but of course I would need to really sit down and watch the film all the way through to evaluate that.

The fight scenes came fast and furious throughout the movie, like every few minutes. I get that action movies are all about action--that's the whole point--but it almost felt like the film was essentially a series of fight scenes linked by brief interludes of dialogue and cursory story development.

I remember going to see Star Wars as a kid with my brother and grandparents in Manhattan when it came out. My grandparents and I found it pretty forgettable, but my brother was blown away and went back and saw it many times (he loved sci-fi). I like a good action flick as much as anyone, but it has to have rich characters and a compelling narrative--amazing action sequences and effects alone don't engage me. Anyway, that seemed to be the start of a huge transformation in the industry that continues to this day, and maybe the Marvel stuff is just the current form of that.

In any case, if people enjoy escaping for 2 hours in a Marvel film, that's great. Maybe it's not my cup of tea, but I have nothing against those films being made. I do think Scorsese has a point, though, that it's healthiest for cinema as a whole if there's oxygen and room for other, more character and story-centered films, or as he says risk-taking films that push boundaries and challenge assumptions, traditions, conventions. Maybe that's happening more in streaming these days (Breaking Bad being a great example), but it does seem like Hollywood is going all-in on safe, internationally-marketable clone films that offer a couple hours of action-packed escape but not much else. Valid survival strategy?

Opinions?
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Old 11-07-2019, 07:46 AM   #2
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Default Re: Martin Scorsese's Op-Ed on Marvel and Cinema

Scorsese has his opinion, but it contradicts what art should be. Art isn't just about creating something engaging with its own unique spin. The job of an artist -- and everyone involved in the production of a movie is an artist -- is to entertain, or to please. Never forget this.

A chef can come up with the most intricate dish known to man, but if it does not sit well on the pallets of his customers, then what is the point?

Aquaman was a horrible movie.

Avengers Endgame, on the other hand, is one of the better scripts of the last 2 years. It combines the heart of an indy drama with the explosiveness of studio films. There is more subtext in Endgame than you'll find in any sundance film that came out that year.

As for star wars, if that's not the ultimate piece of art, then I seriously do not know what is.

Any good filmmaker can make a movie like Lady Bird. I've seen a hundred Lady Bird movies. There are probably 4 people on the planet who could realistically make and come up with the concept for Star Wars. Lucas, Spielberg, Cameron, and Nolan.

My two cents.
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Old 11-07-2019, 10:54 AM   #3
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Default Re: Martin Scorsese's Op-Ed on Marvel and Cinema

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Geis View Post
I have to admit I haven't yet sat down and watched a Marvel all the way through (I loved comic books as a kid, by the way).
Opinions?
I think therein lies the problem. They should be kids movies. The bean counters in their wisdom have tried widening the demographic to scoop up every dollar.

I have a friend, saw the original star wars movies as a kid, they're his happy place, movie perfection in his mind but he's looking at them through the eyes of a 7-8 years old.

I was listening to Rogan last night interviewing Rick Baker, Joe claimed he'd seen Starwars 13 times as a kid... I'd assume there were adults (in the same rough timeframe) who saw Jaws the same number of times. Kids movies, adult movies
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Old 11-07-2019, 07:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: Martin Scorsese's Op-Ed on Marvel and Cinema

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vango View Post
A chef can come up with the most intricate dish known to man, but if it does not sit well on the pallets of his customers, then what is the point?
Thank you. This post was amusing for me to think of multiple customers sitting in a large, warehouse-type building that is some chef’s upscale eatery.

There, each customer is seated with their personal forklift in attendance — the preponderance of the customers with propane-powered forklifts, others with old-fashioned diesel powered forklifts, and the “green-conscious” customers with their electric forklifts — with all of the customers sitting around grand banquet tables assessing the chef’s latest, most “intricate dish known to man.”

It is not made clear which man it is who knows these dishes — perhaps he is not even on the premises, in which case, “mankind” would be more general and serve the purpose. Neither is it clear precisely what is the intricacy of the dish itself: is it brocaded, quilted, or needlepoint? One can only wonder, and marvel that a chef would also be something of a seamstress or tailor, too.

Then as each customer is served, they take the delicacy, “the most intricate dish known to man,” and place it on the pallet carried by their forklift.

They do this to discover if it sits well. Presumably, if the dish remains on the pallet, then it does “sit well,” and the forklift probably carries it off to some other, unspecified destination to be consumed.

Equally as presumably, if it does not “sit well” on the customer’s pallet, then the forklift likely raises the pallet on high, takes the dish to a nearby waiting dumpster to dislodge the recipe — and perhaps the sullied pallet, too — into the bin.

One wonders, though, that if the dish does not “sit well,” then it may be spilled upon the floor. Who, then, will clean it up? Indeed it would not be the customer, for they are paying customers. Nor would it be the forklift driver, either, for he or she is undoubtedly in a union. Now, there is a puzzle over the dish that does not sit well, as yet unresolvèd.

All else in the post was a mere opinion. Still, this attempted metaphor business of the “pallets of his customers,” well, that was well worth the price of admission and quite satisfying to imagine. Thank you.

Last edited by TigerFang : 11-07-2019 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 11-07-2019, 07:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: Martin Scorsese's Op-Ed on Marvel and Cinema

Originally Posted by Ed Geis View Post
I have to admit I haven't yet sat down and watched a Marvel all the way through (I loved comic books as a kid, by the way).
Opinions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Southern_land View Post
I think therein lies the problem. They should be kids movies. The bean counters in their wisdom have tried widening the demographic to scoop up every dollar.

I have a friend, saw the original star wars movies as a kid, they're his happy place, movie perfection in his mind but he's looking at them through the eyes of a 7-8 years old.

I was listening to Rogan last night interviewing Rick Baker, Joe claimed he'd seen Starwars 13 times as a kid... I'd assume there were adults (in the same rough timeframe) who saw Jaws the same number of times. Kids movies, adult movies
Yes, kid-themed movies versus adult-themed movies, that’s the ticket. When I saw Star Wars, I was a young teen. It was a fun ride, but not much different in its story than any other “good versus evil” flicker. As for Jaws, I seriously doubt that many saw it more than once, and when they did so, it was on cable television. Most of the young generation that fell so hard in love with Star Wars seemed to be awed by the technological representations or they were of lesser intelligence and easily swayed by the style of comic book storytelling. That exploitation continues today in a galaxy not so ‘effing’ far away.
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Old 11-07-2019, 07:31 PM   #6
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Default Re: Martin Scorsese's Op-Ed on Marvel and Cinema

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Geis View Post
My opinion is biased toward Martin Scorsese, for if one looks at the list of movie titles of his making, they are all recognizable titles and equally as many are considered excellent films by those who are in the same, justifiably lofty position as he. In his convictions regarding the state of affairs in cinema today, Martin Scorsese — that eloquent, venerable gentleman of the cinema — is spot on.
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Old 11-07-2019, 08:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: Martin Scorsese's Op-Ed on Marvel and Cinema

When I first heard Scorsese's comments about Marvel movies, I thought he was being a little bit of jerk by taking a jab at his fellow filmmakers’ movies. I didn’t think it was the coolest thing to do. Privately, say & think whatever. Though publicly, I feel it is a little rough.

But after reading his op-ed piece and getting a better context of what he is taking issue with, I feel I better understand what he was and is trying to say. And I think it’s more than fair enough, and not just in that, “Hey, everyone’s entitled to their opinion” dismissive way.

What I’m taking from his comments is that, yes, he’s older and a filmmaker who came about in a much different time & era. Is he shaking his cane at the kids on his front yard a little? Sure. Maybe. But I appreciate just that much more what he is noting now.

Movie theaters are being overrun in many ways by all the Marvel, DC and Star Wars movies. There are more and more every year. I think his frustration is that it’s frequently keeping “higher brow” fare out of the theatres and not giving smarter, more human stories much of a chance. Though I have enjoyed the various Marvel movies – DC not so much – and some of the Star Wars movies, I do hate to see relatively smaller, more personal stories about people and their relationships getting lost in the shuffle or outright ignored. There is no denying that studios have been pushing more and more these last so many years for movies based on comic books, novels, TV shows, and other existing IP. Original has taken a bit of beating, to say the least. Some still slip through which is wonderfully refreshing but it’s really tough for them.

There will pretty much always be a nostalgia and passion for what came before us or the films we grew up with -- the films that inspired us to make and write movies. To me “real” art (paintings & sculptures) is in museums such as the Louvre, the Met or the Getty. I like & even love some modern art, but personally I don’t see how one can truly compare the works of a Delacroix or a Rodin to say a white painted canvas with a tiny red dot in one corner entitled, “Insignificant.” But they each have their place for different people & different tastes just like different movies do. It’s what makes the world go ‘round, of course.

I sadly don’t think Scorsese or Coppola’s comments will change much of anything in this corporate run world of movies. But hopefully some of the newer platforms will provide a voice for more “intelligent,” “sophisticated,” personal and unique movies so everyone can find something they enjoy. Personally, I generally enjoy these movies more than the big budget summer stuff.
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Old 11-08-2019, 12:17 AM   #8
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Default Re: Martin Scorsese's Op-Ed on Marvel and Cinema

I've already been shaking my head at this Marvel craze for some years now, so I'm glad someone came out and said it.

In my view, it's virtually the same film over and over and over. I'm amazed they can release these films so frequently because it feels like audiences are paying to see the same film repeatedly!

I even like a couple of them, but most of it feels assembly line manufactured. And now it's such an accepted thing that they don't even bother to explain themselves. I tried to watch Ant-Man / Wasp and jesus, there isn't even any story setup.

I'm probably on polar opposite to some or even many people on these boards. But I think film writing has been poisoned a bit by the need to hit certain rules. And I think these rules have been dictated to make an assembly line shorthand for scripts. I'd rather see a film that takes gambles and fails than kicks out the same "this must happen by this page" mentality.

And I feel like Marvel films in particular are some of the worst offenders at turning cinema into a factory of pure commodity.

How was there such an explosion of free expression in the 90s, and we've so quickly become reduced to this?

As an example - I just watched Adaptation again. And the structure is really not that complicated. It's two parallel stories that eventually intersect. But damn, it felt like a massive wind of fresh air since it was one of the first films in a while I've seen that was cool and comfortable with ignoring Hollywood convention.
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Old 11-08-2019, 01:55 PM   #9
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Default Re: Martin Scorsese's Op-Ed on Marvel and Cinema

Marvel movies as art or cinema? Subjective. Sort of like can burgers be considered cuisine (or can burger chains be worthy of Michelin stars).


What isn't subjective is that big franchise films (Marvel, Star Wars, DC) are crowding out other kinds of films. That's the problem.

I like burgers. But I wouldn't like it if burger joints dominate so much it's hard to find anything else.

The biggest problem with these franchise films is the marketing dollars.

Months in advance of just *one* Avengers film, and the studio makes sure it's advertised everywhere. Now multiply that by a slew of other superhero movies and Star Wars films.

They've basically taken over all ad spots across all media - TV, online, etc. This drives up ad rates.

So if you have an original film (not indie, but say $25M+ production budget), and you want to market it, you may not need a Marvel film's marketing/ad budget, but you still need 25-50% of that, just to get the word out, and hope the word-of-mouth takes over.

And 25-50% of a Marvel ad budget is $100M. A Marvel or Star Wars film may cost $250-500M to make, but another $250-500M to market worldwide.

What studio is going to pony up $100M in marketing for an original, when so much of the money is earmarked for marketing their franchise films?

What smaller distro (A24) has $100M in marketing spend alone for *one* film? Esp if it costs multiples more to market than the cost of making the film itself?

And so this trickles back to the development process - less films are being greenlit simply because it's too expensive to market it.

Production budget isn't the problem. It's the marketing budget that makes films not viable.

Is it a surprise then that THE IRISHMAN was turned down by all studios, and picked up by Netflix?

Studios are going franchise. The streamers (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, Showtime) are the only ones who are paying for original films and series (and focus more on series) with limited or no theatrical.

It's a different motive. Studios treat films as product. Streamers treat films as gasoline/fuel to keep and grow their subscriber base.

Last edited by redturtle : 11-08-2019 at 01:59 PM. Reason: formatting
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Old 11-12-2019, 05:10 PM   #10
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Default Re: Martin Scorsese's Op-Ed on Marvel and Cinema

Quote:
Originally Posted by TigerFang View Post
Thank you. This post was amusing for me to think of multiple customers sitting in a large, warehouse-type building that is some chef’s upscale eatery.

There, each customer is seated with their personal forklift in attendance — the preponderance of the customers with propane-powered forklifts, others with old-fashioned diesel powered forklifts, and the “green-conscious” customers with their electric forklifts — with all of the customers sitting around grand banquet tables assessing the chef’s latest, most “intricate dish known to man.”

It is not made clear which man it is who knows these dishes — perhaps he is not even on the premises, in which case, “mankind” would be more general and serve the purpose. Neither is it clear precisely what is the intricacy of the dish itself: is it brocaded, quilted, or needlepoint? One can only wonder, and marvel that a chef would also be something of a seamstress or tailor, too.

Then as each customer is served, they take the delicacy, “the most intricate dish known to man,” and place it on the pallet carried by their forklift.

They do this to discover if it sits well. Presumably, if the dish remains on the pallet, then it does “sit well,” and the forklift probably carries it off to some other, unspecified destination to be consumed.

Equally as presumably, if it does not “sit well” on the customer’s pallet, then the forklift likely raises the pallet on high, takes the dish to a nearby waiting dumpster to dislodge the recipe — and perhaps the sullied pallet, too — into the bin.

One wonders, though, that if the dish does not “sit well,” then it may be spilled upon the floor. Who, then, will clean it up? Indeed it would not be the customer, for they are paying customers. Nor would it be the forklift driver, either, for he or she is undoubtedly in a union. Now, there is a puzzle over the dish that does not sit well, as yet unresolvèd.

All else in the post was a mere opinion. Still, this attempted metaphor business of the “pallets of his customers,” well, that was well worth the price of admission and quite satisfying to imagine. Thank you.
Lol. You're funny.
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