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  • The Midnight Library written by Matt Haig
    By: Destiny Breniser   What if you had the chance to live another life instead of the one you are currently living? This story turns the idea of a multiverse on its head centered on what happens when you die.  This book was published in 2020 with its genre being science fiction. The place you go when […]
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    Summer break is the perfect opportunity to get back into reading. Adam Silvera’s (2017) novel, They Both Die at the End, can serve as a stepping stone into the realm of reading. The pace is fast, action-packed, and develops loveable characters. Also, Silvera switches point of view each chapter where narration mainly focuses on the protagonists, […]

What’s happened to movies?

“They just don’t make them like they used to.”

Very true words. However, I’m not referring to the current state of electronics, appliances or automobiles on the market these days; I’m talking about movies.

I hold a deep passion in my heart for classic movies, as many other movie buffs do. Timeless, purely classic films such as “The Godfather,” “On the Waterfront” and “Lawrence of Arabia” still hold onto their merit as incredible films. The first few James Bond flicks, namely “From Russia with Love” and “Goldfinger,” were trendy for their time, but hold onto their style and classic design to this day.

From films that are synonymous with “classic” (“Casablanca”), to groundbreaking early suspense movies (“The Birds,” “Psycho”), to the just plain freaky (“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Taxi Driver”), classic films simply have fantastical auras that they exude; a kind of majestic radiance. These films in particular (and many, many more) are perfect examples of how film should be done in terms of execution, style and overall quality.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the greater bulk of movies that “grace” today’s silver screens across the U.S. Blatantly trendy, hype-fueled horror films like “Saw” (and its sequels – however many of them there are), super low-caliber (and lowbrow) comedies such as “Delta Farce” and even the steroid-enhanced, action-overkill modern James Bond movies are a testament to just how disgraceful some movies can be to their franchises of origin, and to the movie industry in general.

But of course, this is only natural. As our society continually evolves, so do the methods with which we entertain ourselves. In an era of violent videogames, broadband Internet access, HDTV, multifunctional cell phones and digitally distributed music, movies are prone to change in order to survive as an entertainment medium.

It is no surprise to me why the motion picture industry is no longer the omnipotent juggernaut it once was. After the television hit the mainstream market in 1955, the runaway success of the VCR in the late 1970’s, and modern use of movie-delivery Web sites and digital recording devices, the movie industry has encountered many obstacles.

Movies are still a viable multi-billion dollar industry today, but in the light of unyielding competition from other forms of entertainment, they must change in order to please today’s customers. Movies must target specific audiences and demographics, include sometimes gratuitous amounts of product placements or pre-movie advertisements and disseminate self-promotional ads all over billboards, Internet sites, magazines, and even soda cans.

Who are the people who movies must cater to in order to turn a profit? Modern-day citizens, many of whom are accustomed to the hectic, money-driven, instant-gratification style of life seen these days. Movies specifically cater to this audience, among other social demographics, in order to bring in these customers.

In all reality, though, it is a necessity: videogames grossed an amazing $10 billion in 2004, and this trend continues today. This is specifically why movies have evolved; in order to ramp up anticipation, hype and sufficient funding for a big-name film production, production teams are sometimes forced (or enticed) to incorporate product placements into their films, or to utilize buzz marketing, among many other money and attention-grabbing techniques.

Based on my personal observations, I can safely assume that such marketing techniques have almost completely saturated the mainstream movie industry in unprecedented ways. In other words, we’re seeing more and more modern advertising in our big-budget movies, and it’s becoming all the more prevalent to this particular moviegoer.

But I’m not alone in my sentiments. Fellow University freshmen Jamie Miller and Alex White have similar feelings on this issue.

“I would prefer to have the advertisements come before the movie, rather than in the movie in the form of product placements,” Miller said.

White argues a similar point: “I think it [product placements] distracts people from the movie” it leads viewers away from the story.”

I will attest to this. Towards the end of viewing the recent Hollywood blockbuster “Transformers,” I was completely pulled out the experience upon viewing a Mountain Dew soda vending machine transform into an autonomous robot; It doesn’t get any more blatantly advertisement-focused than that.

It sickens me to the core that the modern high budget movie is so susceptible to being turned into a two-hour motion picture with more advertisements than plot lines, and that the typical movie has lost its classic, timeless appeal in favor of demographic-targeted mush.

However, not all is doom and gloom. Movies which capture the classic movie form still find their ways onto movie screens, either in the form of big-budget classic epics, (“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy), or as artsy, minimalist independent films (“Tape”).

Sigh. I’m just another picky, opinionated moviegoer, I guess.

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