Friday, June 20, 2008

A Letter To My Friend Hollywood

Reposted from YesButNoButYes

Dearest Hollywood,

Hey buddy. It’s me, Johnny Wright. How are you? I’m good, thanks for asking.

Enough pleasantries. We need to talk. Don’t freak out, there’s just a few items that I feel we need to discuss. I’m writing this because I care.

The hope of this letter is that you will listen to my concerns and make some changes. If not, we may have to gather at Joel Coen’s house and have a full scale Scott-Weiland-style intervention.

Your house is not in order. In fact, it’s a mess. The following is a list of issues I believe you need to stand up to, take responsibility for, and make your best effort to correct. This is for all of our goods. Your as much as ours.

Trust me, this is as hard on me as it is on you.

Are you sitting down? Okay, let’s begin.

Just because a film is profitable, does not necessarily dictate a needs for a sequel. Or four. Nobody left the theater after seeing “Legally Blonde” thinking “Man, I cannot wait for the next installment! Will she still love pink? What happens to that little dog?” This didn’t happen after “Miss Congeniality” or “Big Momma’s House” either. Sometimes a film is a one-shot deal. This is okay when it happens. A sequel should be either a continuation of one long narrative, or a completely different chapter featuring a beloved character. Not every borderline hit needs a sequel. Write that down.

There is a huge difference between “We have a great concept, let’s make a movie,” and “We need a movie, let’s make a concept.” A huge difference. That thinking is what gives us “The Mummy Returns” and “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Empire.” And never, I repeat never, start filming without a completed script.

Casting Abigail Breslin is lazy.

Please stop giving untalented people money to make films. Brett Ratner, McG, Uwe Boll, etc, these are bad filmmakers. We hate them. It really is acceptable to say “We gave you chance, your films are rubbish,” shake their hands and send them on their way. Hollywood should not be a lifetime membership once you break in. Show some guts and give some young and talented people a shot.

It is perfectly acceptable to cast Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers and Martin Lawrence as one character only. We don’t mind. There are actors who are actually fat or Jewish that could play the parts. The novelty of the practice wore off after Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers.

You’re making too many films. Honestly, you need to chop the output in half. What has happened is very similar to the effects of expansion in Major League Baseball. The pitching is watered down and as a result, much worse. There were more roster spots to fill, and guys who would have struggled in AAA ten years ago, get to be middle relief in the bigs. Same principle with what happens now in movie making. The obscene amount of films produced has watered down the product to the point of disgust and embarrassment.

You should cap all budgets at $150 million. Nobody should spend more than that and expect to make a profit.

Along these same lines…

No performer is worth $30 million. Nobody. Stand up to the snake-oil-salesman agents and say no. How many agents will be able to hold out for more than $20 million if you stop paying it? Eventually, the top stars will see that $10 million is much more than $0 million. It’s approximately ten million more. Consider instituting a salary cap.

Please stop encouraging Cameron Diaz. I’m begging you.

Please don’t let Carlos Mencia transition to films. I’m begging you.

You should consider going back to the “Studio System.” The focus was on the finished product, not the horse manure surrounding it. This limits the hack’s hands from meddling. The films were much better with fewer cooks in the kitchen.

Once performers become tabloid fixtures, they should be cut from the studio roster. The more “famous for being famous” someone becomes, the less we want to see them in a film. Nobody wants to see a Lindsay Lohan or a Mischa Barton movie. Also, once the C-listers do a “reality” show, they should be banned from further film work. Put out to pasture to think about what they have done.

Luke Wilson is the Joey Harrington of Hollywood. I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but come on. Like Harrington, you can start him at quarterback and he may give you a handful of touchdowns, but in the long run, he isn’t going to help you win football games.

The film-going public is not as dumb as you treat them. They’re really not. Yes, we as a country are getting more stupid by the day, heading to intellectual hell in a handcart, but not as much as you seem to believe. There are many who are insulted by the parody films like “Meet the Spartans” and “Scary Movie 9.” I know you don’t care about the quality of the product as long as it’s profitable, but you could fake it a little, no? Mr. and Mrs. Lowest Common Denominator have more films made for them than the educated. That doesn’t add up on my abacus.

I know you really want it to, but a female superhero film is probably not going to work. Should we run down the list of failures? I don’t think we need to. I’m tired. The female superhero movie is a lost cause. Nobody wants to see Wonder Woman. Why, you ask? She has an Invisible Jet, indestructible bracelets and a lasso of truth. That is the worst superhero ever.

And finally,

You need to start learning from your mistakes. Really, it’s about time. At this point, can’t you see a bad script when it’s put on your desk? Did you really think that “Witless Protection” was a good idea? You don’t actually think that Jessica Simpson can put butts in the seats do you? She was in “Dukes of Hazzard” and had a bad southern accent. She’s southern. Shouldn’t that DQ her from further film involvement? Clive Owen doesn’t need to fake a British accent, he has one. I just saw the trailer for “Meet Dave.” Nobody stepped in to nip that sucker in the bud? I know there is always going to some gamble to the process, but it’s time you tightened the parameters of what films slip through development to “green light.” You should have seen the probable failures of “Battlefield Earth,” “The Postman,” and “Gigli” as they stumbled down Sunset Boulevard. All we’re asking for a little growth. A little discernment.

Thank you for listening. I want the best for you. I really do. You’ve been a good friend over the years and I am trying to return the favor. I’m writing you because I care.

Have a good summer. Tell television I say hello. We don’t talk anymore because she’s a lost cause.

I love you,

Johnny Wright

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