Movies We Used To Watch

The title of this article is actually a question that you probably have been asked many different times.

Why don't they make movies like they used to?

A lot of people ask this question in frustration. It’s really easy to see why because a lot of the movies that are very big in Hollywood nowadays, look like they were made by a cookie cutter.

Too Forgetable

I don’t mean that in a very dismissive way. I don’t mean that to really insult Hollywood, but you have to call a spade a spade. You have to look reality straight in the eye and call it for what it is.

The sad reality is that most of the movies being created now are entirely too forgettable. They’d look like somebody came up with a template and just cranked out thousands upon thousands of movies and tried to cram that “product” down our throats.

It’s easy to be dismissive of the whole industry because this seems to be rampant, but you have to dig even further. Even the “so-called good movies” aren’t really all that good compared to movies that came out in the 70s. After all, the 1970s is the cinematic decade that produced The Godfather 1 and 2, Deliverance, Apocalypse Now, Straw Dogs, there’s so many. I can’t even begin to count them all out. There’s just so many amazing movies made in 1970s.

Sadly, the stuff that we produce now is pale in comparison. It doesn’t even come close. Why is this? Why do movies suck nowadays? First of all, you have to look at the changes in the market.

The truth is the movies are just one option among many for people who are looking for entertainment. Now you can play a video game, watch stuff on the internet, or read Kindle books. There’s just so many ways to entertain yourself and don’t necessarily have to go to a theatre, flop down in front of the silver screen, and see the inside of a movie start to play. There are many other options on the table. This is due to the fact that there’s been a tremendous change in technology since the 1970s.

Forty years ago things were stable. Forty years ago, technology wasn’t such a big disrupter and now it is.

We thought for a long time that the internet was a very powerful technological platform, and soon enough, social media made the scene. We thought that was really big until mobile devices hit the scene and guess what? There are drones and all sorts of other technologies that are just completely dumbfounding us.

It seems like every other year, there’s this new technological sea change that fundamentally changes the rules. The result of all of this is the formation of a learned form of attention deficit disorder. If you don’t believe me, just look at the update on your Facebook Timeline.

You’re basically scrolling with your tongue. That’s how you consume information. You’re no longer reading, you’re just scanning and skimming. You could put out a very constructive ad that basically spells out what people need to do and the first question that they would ask in the comments section is, “How do I do this?” I can guarantee it. It’s not because they’re stupid that they ask this, it’s because they develop this artificial form of attention deficit disorder due to social media.

Social media has altered content consumption patterns permanently. This is the reality we have to work with. This is the reality we have to use as a lens when evaluating film because if we were to just say that movies just suck now and leave it at that, nobody is wiser, nobody is educated, nobody learns anything new.

You have to look at what’s going on. There’s a certain context, a certain technological trend that that explains why this is the case. Very few of those trends were present 40 years ago. That’s why we had the golden age.

The bottom line is people are just consuming a tremendous amount information and they want it as simple and as basic as possible. In other words, they don’t want to be challenged. They want to think as little as possible. This is not a value judgment, this is just the way things are. This is a description, instead of a prescription.