Tuesday, February 22, 2005 | 20:35
I just returned from watching this documentary on the Discovery Channel about the fickle mindedness business of show business in Hollywood and beyond the glitzy silver screen. It's nothing new but just sort of a revelation that came to me as I stared down the boob tube in the last hour.

The name always sells. It's a fact of life. No matter how much you may want to deny it, it is the hard truth. I used to be so naive thinking that the above statement couldn't be true. I always prayed so hard that it was not the name that really drew in the movie-goers but the story, characters, the integrity that the movie held that called in the crowd. How very wrong I was. I have accepted the cruel fact of life and will not stand in the way of the cold hard cash pouring into the studio's thick, grubby, and "bling-bling" covered hands, to watch the next star-studded movie.

Perhaps, it's because of the recent Marketing lectures that I've been attending that just finally cracked some sense into me. I too have been a victim to many a star-studded film. Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Shrek, X-Men, Spider-man, Pirates of the Caribbean, and others that I can hardly recall. It could be due to their less than lack-lustre film rating that I thought them duds rightfully deserve. But, I digress. Though the above films are just a handful of the gems in this contaminated ocean of movies that I actually enjoyed and occasionally rave about to innocent bystanders and friends who have to put up with me, I do try to stay away from what people call "mainstream movies". Shark Tale, Troy, Hulk, Tomb Raider, Charlie's Angels, Meet the Parents and Fockers, and loads more are just of the the diabetic and sugar-coated movies that really shoves money down the conglomerate studio big boys. Over the years, these MMs have gained a reputation for being mildly entertaining yet are money-suckers that attack gullible movie-lovers (like myself unfortunately) who will fork out good money to stare at some pretty faced girl or boy for some worthless 90 minutes. I can spell out tons of movies right now that just tarnish the reputation of good movies everywhere. But, I digress again. The fear of having those movie moguls coming after me with their knife-wielding producers and writers does not interest me in risking my neck just because I have a bone to pick with several tens of movies out there. I let the movie critics do that.

Lesser known movies sometimes prove otherwise that they can be better than those MMs. Big Fish, Finding Neverland, A Very Long Engagement, The Motorcyle Diaries, Mystic River, Garden State, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Sideways, Spirited Away, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and probably loads more that I've yet to be exposed to. Please do let me know of any good untainted-by-Hollywood movies. Anywho, indie films as they're also known as, have somehow regained their reputation for producing good and watchable movies that actually challenge the viewer instead of melting certain people's already putrid brains to a further mushy grey pulp. Unpredictable plot, moving stories, occasionally witty scripts, and very character-driven movies that push the boundaries of what really make good and great movies. I miss the good old days, not that I've ever been there but I like to think that the good movies belonged to a different era from ours now. Ours are just filled with candy-laced backgrounds, stomach churning acting, predictable plots, and unfunny scripts that really makes me wonder and boggles me at how such movies ever did get the green light to go into production in the first place.

Then, there's the "middles". The movies that are generally good but did not reach that out-of-the-earth limits akin to that of Titanic. The Incredibles, Ray, The Aviator, Million Dollar Baby, Dodgeball, Face/Off, Bridget Jones, Mrs. Doubtfire, Liar Liar, and others which I am too weary to recall now. I generally enjoyed them though I've never watched the Aviator, Million Dollar Baby and Ray yet, but I still deem them as reputable movies that are notable enough to be in this list. These are the movies that raked in a substantial amount of moolah at the box office but did not manage to blow it big time like other well known cash cows and instead generated enough heat to remain close to many a viewers' must-watch list. Especially when the Oscars are drawing so close, it's become immensely more important than ever.

So, yes. The names can literally break or make a movie. Just by name dropping their first names almost everyone can sound off who's who. Brad, Julia, Jim, Nicole, Sean, Angelina, Orlando, Meryl, Robert, Cate, Leonardo, Natalie, Ewan, Catherine, Arnold, Kate, Johnny, Renee, Hugh, Halle, Keanu, Tom, and Tom. And others of course. People will just keep on coming to watch them as they continue to charm us with their good looks and smiles. The life of a Hollywood asset is never boring.

Exit. Stage left.
Jill |

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