Once upon a time a certain kind of producer made modestly-budgeted films that weren’t aimed at lowest-common-denominator morons. These films were made for semi-cultivated, marginally educated, upmarket audiences who were…oh, 30 years of age and older, let’s say, and a certain kind of distributor would endeavor to distribute these films.
This was a few years before Amazon and Netflix and other streamers were routinely delivering films in 1080p and 4K to home theatres, and audiences, arcane as it may sound, would get into their cars, drive into garages and pay money to see these films in places called “theatres” or, if you will, “multiplexes,” where they would show films on large-sized screens with the aid of complex, SUV-sized devices called “projectors.”
This was more or less the way things were done in the mid teens and before. But even in this progressive-minded, sometimes adult-friendly age, audience viewing habits would sometimes disappoint certain erudite columnists. Enterprising fellows, for example, like Hollywood Elsewhere’s Jeffrey Wells. I’m mentioning this because earlier today a team of researchers came upon a portion of a column written by Wells many years ago, or way back in 2015. It’s only a portion of the column, apparently, but the tone indicates he was suffering from pique and irritation.
Here’s what it says: “The public, bless’ em, sometimes shows curious inclinations as far as which films they want to see. This is a roundabout way of saying that ticket-buyers only occasionally exhibit what used to be know as ‘taste‘ in choosing what they like, and that their moviegoing habits often indicate preferences of a lazy, ignorant and ineducable bent.
“On top of which narrative complexity (i.e., a deliberate, creative choice on the part of filmmakers to avoid black-and-white, dumbshit simplicity) seems to scare them to death.”