Herbie J Pilato: Where Are The Intimate Stories?

by Herbie J Pilato

besty3Ok, fine – Man of Steel was kind of a success. But no one cared about The Lone Ranger and they’ve stayed away in light-years from Pacific Rim.

Why?

It appears that audiences are sick to death of over-sized, loud, obnoxious films that are produced like video games by the studios who believe that only 12-year-old boys go to the movies.

Look – EVERYBODY loves a good adventure film – or TV show for that matter.

There’s nothing wrong with watching an exciting, panoramic, action-packed, globe-trotting movie up there on the big screen. And of course a few fight sequences thrown in for great adrenaline measure are always a nice touch, certainly even a good chick-fight (hello Fast and Furious Sex, I mean – Six!)

These kinds of films have been produced for years – and quite successfully. But come on, man – there has to be a STORY…with CHARACTERS who speak DIALOGUE…preferably, GOOD dialogue.

Crazy, uh?

I’m not saying that – oh, every once in a while, we can’t ever enjoy a mindless, overtly-action-geared movie experience. Every genre has its place and its audience.

But not every movie out there has to fit that format. If so, the diversity of creativity becomes lost in the art of filmmaking. The writer’s imagination becomes stifled and choked by a narrow-minded perception that leaves the audience feeling empty, which many times is the same result that studios experience with regard to in-take (which becomes “no-take”) at the box-office.

Life and work in Hollywood tends to be about extremes. Highs and lows, ups and downs, ins and outs; it’s all part of the creative mind and process and, when properly utilized, such experiences lend themselves to genius scripts. Sad and happy real-life experiences from a writer’s off-screen/off-page living has the great potential to add depth and credence to his or her work, many times resulting in some of the most elegant stories that have ever been transferred to the screen.

Unfortunately, however, an extreme measure of this perception has recently become lost in the translation from off-screen reality to on-screen fantasy.

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Somewhere along the line Hollywood decided that its intended market no longer cared about intimate stories, or smaller stories; somehow character-oriented films, or what I term, “mini-busters,” were replaced by “block-busters.” Steven Spielberg directed Jaws in the deep, blue sea, and over time, studios decided that audiences no longer cared about characters using their own jaws to speak any in-depth, worthy, character-driven dialogue on or off dry land.

But audiences are made-up of actual human beings, with actual feelings who, more times than not, are looking to identify with the characters they hope to see on the big screen.

I’m not sure that can happen with films like Pacific Rim. [Frankly, when I heard about this film, it sounded like it was going to be an update on maybe a great Beach Party movie. But that clearly was not the case.]

Keep in mind, too, that Jaws had great characters with solid dialogue, intermixed with solid action sequences, and even a few gory scenes, too.

So, sometimes, the best of all worlds and formats (intimacy and blockbuster) can cross-breed and deliver the goods that will please every age and audience-type in the movie theatre. But it just can’t be one or the other, if the goal is to deliver and complete a successful film experience.

To succeed, even well-intended-blockbuster movies can’t just be big, loud, violent and obnoxious all the time. Just like any size movie shouldn’t be long, drawn-out and boring with bad dialogue. (I’d at least settle for bad dialogue directly and acted properly with earnest in any format.)

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Either way, it’s a fine mix that leads to successful filmmaking; it’s all about balance and moderation; and there’s the rub: the creative mind does not always work within those parameters.

Consequently, the answer rests somewhere between understanding that both filmmakers and their audiences are human beings. As long as we all keep that straight, we can make and enjoy movies that will succeed on every level – and for everyone, behind, in front of and watching the screen.

About Herbie J Pilato

Writer, Author, Producer, Actor, Singer/Songwriter, Lover of Life