While trashing the intramural industry attitudes of some of the Left Coasters who’ve dissed David Denby‘s New Yorker piece about Hollywood ‘s digital future while at the same time (almost in the same breath) allowing that Denby’s piece “isn’t that good,” N.Y. Times Oscar blogger David Carr (a.k.as., the Bagger) offers some interesting side-sights:
#1: “Denby’s story is just more Chicken Little hollering about the same old pieces of the sky. iPods, downloads, home theaters — all of them represent additional programming space for an industry that can’t find a place to land a movie that is not based on an ancient sitcom or comic book character. The studios are so busy putting up tents that they haven’t noticed that the ground is shifting under their feet.”
#2: “Meanwhile, a new, if still-nascent, industry, one that will bypass traditional tastemakers and marketers, is growing up of its own accord. And that is a far more interesting story than the blundering of the studios. Digital in, digital out, to be consumed at a time and place and on a device of one’s own choosing. Consu- mer-driven choice, the ultimate capitalist algorithm, will tunnel beneath the studio system.”
#3: “Why is Hollywood so stuck, given that they make a product we can’t resist and the world continues to ingest in spite of our country’s tattered global image? Hollywood is a fundamentally conservative industry. The seven sisters are The Blob that ingests everything — talent, innovation, enterprise. They not only don’t enable innovation, they eat it in hopes it will go away. Anything that comes over the hill is worth shooting at and if doesn’t die, it is ignored.”
#4: “Remember when VCR’s were going to gut the industry? They spun film libraries into gold instead. It was lucrative enough that Sony was able to buy the software — a studio no less — to go with the hardware. And DVD’s, another shot straight to the heart, now serves as the product after the trailers — that blockbuster opener — has come and gone.
#5: “The studios generally treat people with new ideas the way China does, by parking them in padded cells. Mel Gibson gets tagged as a nutter when he taps into a massive Christian market, while Mark Cuban is judged to be an Antichrist when he suggests alternative means of distribution. Audiences, of course, want plain English, the dumber the better, but the impact of films where dialect is rendered in text — Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima and Volver, to mention a few — suggests an increasing consumer openness to a combination of image, text, and sound.”