Thursday, January 10, 2008

Cry, Baby, Cry! Exploitation... Seriously?

Art exists to communicate. Good art communicates truth. Gifted artists have a way of getting truth across in a way the reaches the masses. If you can’t present your message in a way that appeals to people, maybe you are out of touch. Being out of touch with mainstream opinion is by no means a bad thing, but plenty of the world’s greatest artists were only appreciated after their time. Then again, some artists are not just out of touch with their audience, they are out of touch with the truth. Their art doesn’t connect because it doesn’t communicate.

"There will be no movies made in the next five years like Planet Terror and Death Proof."

That was Kurt Russell chastising moviegoers last year for not attending his film “Grindhouse.” He lamented the fact that it was the audience’s fault that this sort of movie going experience would not be repeated in the near future. Russell is a great actor, but it seems as though he, like many filmmakers today, looks at audiences with disdain.

Film-making as art is challenged by the fact that it depends on money. Many filmmakers resent their dependence on an audience to continue making films, but it is something that can be overcome. Hitchcock, one of the greatest auteurs of all time, always made his films with the audience in mind.

Grindhouse may be a great film. Half of it at least has been critically acclaimed. If it failed to connect with audiences, though, it may not be because the audience is out of touch. Perhaps Tarantino, Rodriguez and company should ask themselves if they have a nostalgia for seventies dreck that is simply not shared by many people. Either way, when faced with a box office failure, don’t blame the audience—make a better movie next time.

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