Why Are Hollywood Movies So Bad? The Real Reason Hollywood Makes Bad Movies – Part II

Why are hollywood movies so bad? There are different theories.

One theory goes like this: Stupid movie executives purchase bad screenplays and make them worse using Blake Snyder’s storytelling formula.

As a result Hollywood produces bad movies full of explosions instead of non-formulaic, original films like The King’s Speech…. Right?

Why ARE Hollywood Movies So Bad?

Let me catch you up on the controversy.

Recently, Slate movie critic Peter Suderman opined that screenwriting teacher Blake Snyder’s Save The Cat screenwriting method is partly responsible for “bad” movies coming out of Hollywood.

I responded that blaming Snyder’s method is like blaming a book about “how to write a business plan” for the failure of most small businesses.

Many of you agreed with me. Some of you did not.

Overall, via comments and email, three main arguments were made.

Film Executives Are Often Number-Crunchers – True!

A widely-held belief is that executives are bean-counters who don’t understand (or really care about) story, e.g.:

  • Paul wrote, “The age of studio mavericks like Robert Evans is long gone, his ilk replaced by bankers/lawyers/analysts who have reduced the green-light process to one of best-possible-ROI-mathematics. Save the Cat is [a] hack [that executives use to] minimize risk and maximize their potential ROI, and as a result we’re suffering through a cinematic drought.”
  • Jim wrote, “The problem is that too-popular books, one-stop gurus, and structure guides are used as cheat sheets by non-writers to drive development [and] all they know about storytelling they got in a book or a weekend McKee course.”
  • Stephanie wrote, “If there is a finger to point, it might be at today’s young and/or inexperienced studio execs or even independent producers who are not all familiar with story structure, and who have taken Blake’s suggested structure as “the rule” of screenwriting as opposed to a tool that should help all of us get a clearer picture of what the audience expects.”

There is definitely a lot of truth in this point of view.

While “bean-counters” isn’t my favorite descriptor, many film executives are knowledgeable about the business aspects of filmmaking. They do look at financial models and are “money-people.”

Like you, I wish that more of the “money-people” involved in making movies would take the time to learn more about story. I also believe that “story-people” should learn more about the business aspects of filmmaking.

Writers should try directing, directors should try acting, and everyone should try producing. It doesn’t take long to figure out that each aspect of the business requires expertise and deserves respect.

If more film executives had creative experience or training, I think this would help them to see the potential revenue in more original material.

However, executives – even if they are “money-people” – know a lot more about story than you might think.

Executives read a lot of scripts. They see a lot of movies. They meet with lots of professional writers. And with very rare exception, they work extremely hard, long hours. (I remember when an executive emailed me about a script three hours after she gave birth).

So an executive may be a “money-person.” He or she may be young, inexperienced, and using Blake Snyder’s checklists as a way of evaluating your work. But this is also a person who, in the last month, has likely:

  • Read at least thirty scripts
  • Considered lots of pitches
  • Watched a dozen movies
  • Met with some of the top screenwriters in the business

Part of the problem is that while an executive may have a good instinct for story, if a project isn’t pitched to them in a way that also makes sense to them from a business perspective, they are going to say “No.” It doesn’t mean they don’t get it—it means that you didn’t persuade them effectively.

Therefore, learn to pitch in the language executives understand.

I don’t mean talking about foreign pre-sales or the way you calculate the size of the potential audience. Instead, pay close attention to how you identify successful precedents and comparisons for your project. This is a way of talking about money without talking about money.

Film Executives Are Afraid of Originality – True!

I know that many of you feel strongly that film executives are biased against original work, e.g.:

  • Mike wrote, “You haven’t addressed the underlying point of Suderman’s article, which is that homogeneity is bad in fiction. It does a disservice to human ingenuity for everyone to work from the same formula.”
  • William wrote, “A movie [that is] truly original will break convention and be something with no precedent.”
  • B. Rosson wrote, “Studios shy away from risk and the making of highly imaginative, original films…. I wonder how producers convinced investors to make a film about a stuttering British King (The King’s Speech)? The script was NOT formula, nor Save the Cat structure.”

In broad strokes, I agree with this idea.

Film executives, in general, ARE biased against original work IF the way you pitch the story makes it seem extremely risky.

Often it’s appropriate for film executives to be scared of originality.

What? Did I just say that?

Yes. Writers value and emphasize originality. That’s important. The desire to do something original stimulates others to innovate, entertains audiences in new and challenging ways, and holds a mirror up to new aspects of our culture.

However, originality scares film executives for good reasons. Something that is 100% original has no precedent that proves it can work.


  • Investing your life savings in a stock that was billed as “totally original, unlike any financial product that’s ever been invented before.”
  • Driving your newborn baby in a car that was “original and ground-breaking in every respect.”

Of course, you wouldn’t invest your life savings in some new-fangled thing, and you wouldn’t drive your newborn around if you couldn’t be confident in the safety of the vehicle.

Original things are not safe. They are exciting because they are risky.

This is why, when an executive hears when you say, “This is a completely original, groundbreaking script unlike anything you’ve read before,” they hear:

WARNING: This has never worked previously. This could get you fired, ruin your reputation, and end your career.”

Therefore, learn to pitch your work by giving it a familiar context and using the right comparisons to demonstrate a successful precedent.

Movies Used To Be Better Because They Were Original – False!

For some people, the movies used to be better, e.g.:

  • Michael wrote, “Why did the Hollywood Renaissance take the nation by storm in the 60s and 70s? They did it because the writers, directors, and producers took risks making the films they wanted to make, films that had messages and morals…. Hollywood needs to take risks on well-written stories [instead of an] endless parade of sequels, prequels, reboots, and over-milked gimmicks like 3D.”

A lot of people feel this way. They look at exceptional movies from the 60’s and 70’s and think:

  1. The films are successful because they are so original.
  2. Today’s films would be better if they were equally original.

There’s only one problem. This argument doesn’t take into account all of the movies from the 60’s and 70’s that were highly original and FAILED.

I don’t think I’ve ever used the words “logical fallacy” before, but this argument (that movies used to be better because they were more original) is a logical fallacy with a name: The Halo Effect.

The Halo Effect means that often what we believe has contributed to a movie’s performance are often attributions based on performance.

In other words, because the old movies we like are original and were successful, we assume that the originality caused the success. But the originality and the success are correlated, not causative. To determine causation, we would need to a) measure originality in way that has nothing to do with financial success and b) evaluate a large, random sample of the movies from the 60’s and 70’s.

Most People Agree – Blake Snyder’s Work Is Not The Problem

Most people got my point that the reason bad movies are made isn’t because of Snyder’s formula—it’s because movies are incredibly hard to make.

  • Bill Lae wrote, “Most cakes use the exact same core ingredients (otherwise they would not be cakes.) Is that why bad cakes are bad? Using Suderman’s [argument], his [own] essay sucks: “The reason op-eds, reviews, critiques, and essays these days stink is because they all follow the exact same formula: introduction/premise ending with thesis statement, body of arguments, and a conclusion. Voila. Crap! So formulaic; I was bored. SAVE THE EDITORIAL!”
  • CJG53 wrote, “There’s a name for this; it’s called STURGEON’S LAW. The late Science Fiction novelist and screenwriter, Theodore Sturgeon, was once asked back in the early ’50s why 90% of Science Fiction was ‘crud.’ His response: 90% of EVERYTHING is crud. Sturgeon wrote: ‘Using the same standards that categorize 90% of science fiction as trash, crud, or crap, it can be argued that 90% of film, literature, consumer goods, etc. are crap. In other words, the claim (or fact) that 90% of science fiction is crap is ultimately uninformative, because science fiction conforms to the same trends of quality as all other artforms.’”
  • Colin Holmes wrote, “The other side of the coin would then be that since some movies are terrific, all the credit should go to Blake Snyder as well, right? STC is just a template, not a formula. If it was a formula and it worked, then every movie would be using it and every movie would be great.”

The King’s Speech Saves Two Cats

A number of people have brought up The King’s Speech (or a movie like it) that they believe represents a non-formula movie that has nothing to do with Save the Cat.


  • The story does fit into the Save the Cat model. Here’s one version of a beat sheet breakdown.
  • Bertie (The King) has a “save the cat” scene starting on page 13 of the script.
  • Lionel (the voice coach) also “saves a cat.” His “save the cat” is the whole movie.

Bertie is the cat, and Lionel is saving him. The whole film is one giant “Save The Cat.”

Blake Snyder Would Have Loved This Debate

Blake and I talked frequently when he was writing the Save The Cat series. I think he would be thrilled by how successful his books have become, how many writers he has helped, and how intensely people have been debating the value of his contribution (or lack thereof).

He knew what he was saying was going to ruffle feathers within the Hollywood community and he was okay with taking that risk as long as he was helping writers.

I feel the same way. I understand that as a former executive, you might assume that I am biased in favor of the executive’s position in this argument about why “bad” movies are made.

I am a former executive. I’m an also an executive who left her job and career to work with and help writers. Many of my friends are writers. My husband is a writer. I care about writers and am highly sympathetic to the writer’s position.

That’s why I want to explain what’s happening as clearly as possible so I can help you to make good decisions and achieve your goals.

Of course, whether you think I’m right or wrong, I hope you’ll let me know in the comments. Thanks!

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Discussion About Why Are Hollywood Movies So Bad? The Real Reason Hollywood Makes Bad Movies – Part II

  1. Elisha Rhea

    Simple.. because SOME if not most,directors change the script or story that talented writers write. If I don’t see directed and written by I will give the movie a chance. But most movies I like are the movies that are “written and directed by” There is a good chance the director being that he or she wrote the script will not change the elements that will make the story great.The majority of Americans has no clue on who is Melissa Matheson? But I bet I know everyone knows Steven Spielberg. Ms Matheson wrote a great script and Mr Spielberg did an outstanding job on putting story on screen. Anyway Hollywood has gotten way from good basic story telling as they did in the era’s from the 40’s to the 70’s. You know in the 50’s there were no “how to write a screenplay’ books. Writers just knew how tell a story . Today it’s all about “agendas” and “special fx”. And still to the Hollywood execs that green light movies have no clue on what life is like outside of California. So they go on numbers because they have no life experiences to judge on whether a story is great or not.

  2. Jon Bonnell

    I loved Blake. He took a chance and helped me with my first script sale. He didn’t really know me, but he went out of his way to help me out. I wrote an article about this last year when asked the opposite: “Following the “Save the Cat!” blueprint seems to be a sure-fire way of at least having a chance of getting your screenplay any sort of actual success.”


    One thing I should point out. This EXACT discussion about a paradigm ruining the stuff that Hollywood was pushing out was had a few years back, but then it was Hero’s Journey underfire and not Save the Cat.

    People look for scapegoats for what is wrong. I honestly think that the problem is the prevalence of media these days. People are consuming more media than ever in history so there is just so much more out there. No one can keep up and so stuff is rushed to market, not necessarily thought out or complete. It used to take years for major feature films to get completed, now its a year. They announce that a writer has been hired for a new property and 1 to 1.5 years later this huge tentpole is at theaters around the world.

    So, the real problem is consumers demanding more and more, cheaper and cheaper, faster and faster.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Excellent point, Jon. Thanks so much.

    • Sarah Gabrielle Baron

      You hit the nail on the head there, Jon Bonnell! For sure, there’s just too much of a rush job! Actually, I think a lot of movies being produced these days are GREAT! Sure, if you want to see some cheep-oh re-make go ahead and waste your money, but a little research on imdb for this week’s picks will help make sure you see something worth seeing, ANY day of the week!

  3. SO

    You’d think an industry run by men and the virgin obsessed culture we live in that everyone would WANT to be first to produce an original idea! (That’s a joke, folks. You can laugh. It won’t hurt, I promise)

    Seriously though…SOMETHING had to be first once upon a time….

  4. Nicholas

    Some people forget that one must learn the rules before one can break them. Save The Cat is not the reason movies are bad, and it absurd to think it is so. Breaking into the industry is the hardest part, and once you do so, you can truly break the boundaries and create “original” work because Exec’s trust you. You have to start somewhere, and learning the basics of story telling from Blake is a great place to do just that.

  5. sydney

    I always thought the reason Hollywood keeps making terrible movies is because the public keeps paying to see them…

  6. Mark Garstin

    Stephanie, I must concur with the comments that Hollywood makes bad movies because people continue to pay to go and see them. The proof that that phenomenon occurs can be see in the prolific production of those naughty movies (the ‘P’ word goes in here). If people did not continue to pay to watch such movies then that industry would disappear faster than a centipede at a frog convention. In the same manner, remakes, reboots, sequels, prequels, super heroes and incredible CGI ad nausea movies continue to be made by Hollywood because, in the end, people continue to pay to watch them. When a truly original movie is made the general audience fails to recognize and appreciate them with their wallets, thus, Hollywood doesn’t make them all that often.

    For example, the Wachowski’s movie Cloud Atlas was a highly original movie. But can one break that movie down into a Blake template? There are a few Blake beats that can be rendered out of that script but they don’t fall into the template cleanly or consistently. For instance, the seemingly heroine of the movie (Donna Bae), who endures persecution in all of her lives ends up getting executed in her last depicted life. She does not show up on the rescue ship in the end. The hero (Jim Sturgess) who has done everything altruistically in all of his lives gets his throat slit before the rescue ship arrives. But the sort-of hero (Tom Hanks) who has lived lives that preyed on the weak saves Halley Barry in his last depicted life and gets to go on the rescue ship in the end.

    How does any of this fit into Blake’s templates? Is that why the movie was not a box office hit, because it didn’t do things as how the general audience would have expected them to occur? Perhaps if the Jim Sturgess and Tom Hanks characters in their last respective lives were exchanged (Jim Sturgess saving Halley Barry and getting on the rescue ship and Tom Hanks getting his throat slit) might have produced a better response from the audience and the box office.

    Is this an example of why Hollywood doesn’t like truly original scripts and why we (as the viewing audience) are condemned to seeing one ‘bad’ movie after another?

    I know that the movie was not a box office success and many people came away not knowing what it was they just saw, but my wife and I loved it. We purchased the Blu-Ray as soon as it came out and have re-watched it about a dozen times over, picking up something new each time. But I know that we are not the norm (just ask any of our associates and they will tell you that we are not the norm 🙂 ). Is this an example of a movie that is not a bad movie per-say but a movie that is too involved, too cerebral and/or too complex for the general populace (the ADD crowd that my wife and I sometimes like refer to as) to understand and appreciate?

    Perhaps there are two kinds of bad movies, those movies that are on the left hand side of the bell curve (the truly bad movies) and those movies that are on the right hand side of the bell curve (the movies that are so brilliant and original that people are lost and, therefore, classify them as bad… in other words, they are ‘too’ good).

    Does that make any sense?

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Mark. Perhaps you are cherry-picking examples to fit your narrative (as we all do)? Let’s look at the Oscar nominated movies from the last ten years. Are you seeing lots of bad movies in that group or are you seeing brave scripts and courageous artists who made them? It’s not that the Oscars are the only yardstick, but the point is that good movies are getting made and people do go and pay to see good movies. In my experience, people who say a movie is bad are not the audience for whom that movie is intended.

  7. Jack

    Hi Stephanie,
    I’m glad I came across this post — really interesting. For one thing, I think it’s a little odd for people to give a single person all the blame for what an entire industry has been doing. That’s most likely their way of making Blake a scapegoat, being unable to accept the fact that sometimes people just make shitty movies. While Blake wrote some guidelines, he didn’t write all of these movies. However, in STC, he did have a really “strict” beat sheet, which was even specific about what happens on which page. If EVERYONE follows that exact formula, their movies are going to feel old and predictable. It’s a good book with great advice, but it isn’t the constitution, and the only person to blame here is whoever decided that STC is suddenly the one and only guide to screenplays.

  8. Migue

    Why does Hollywood makes “bad” movies?

    Easy… Because in Hollywood, as in all parts of the world… Money talks!

    If you have let’s say 10 million dollars in your personal account and you want to invest in making a movie that could get you ten times that amount in revenue (that sounds amazing, doesn’t it?)… And you have 2 scripts in your hand, and YOU are the decision maker because it’s YOUR own money on the line, and those 2 scripts are very different in story and structure.

    You have:
    1) A night without a moon – A thriller that goes backwards without you even noticing it until the end.
    Whoa, that’s very original, but wait, you have no idea how the audience is going to react to such an original story, and movies with that abstract editing don’t do so well in the box office. It may get an Official Selection in a film fest, but that’s it. You as the money person have all the right to think “That’s risky.”

    Then, you have:
    2) Drunk parents – A comedy about a couple of parents that get drunk in their daughter’s birthday.
    Now, you might think “That movie will suck. Same R-Rated movie with same structure, as always.” But wait, movies about drunk people do pretty good at the box office. Now, based on previous movie results… That movie might not be as good as the first thriller, but it has better chances of doing well at the box office because I’ve seen movies about drunk people and hangovers doing great at the box office.

    Because you want to earn money by making this movie, you will go with the safe bet, which is the same lame comedy. Why? Because people will not invest their money and time into a risky bet.

    Put yourself in the shoes of the executive, and not on your own shoes as the most original writer ever.
    Success in Hollywood is not originality. Success in Hollywood is money.

    PS: I’m not saying I’m in favor of this, I’m just saying it’s the way it is.


  9. ivan

    Great article Stephanie!
    Today I think there is much more good movies in Hollywood than bad but original movies are reduced in favor of those types of movies which are already proven to be sold. More original doesn’t mean better of course. This is the first time I heard about Blake Snyder and his book “Save the cat!” I see there may be theory about how most if not all of the Hollywood stories have been told and that’s a little bad for me to hear because I like to think that every story is unique, but on the other hand it helps writers to write more acceptable story for audience.

  10. Peter Wiley

    It twas ever thus.

    Much as a few media companies dominate a lot of film production ( even so-called “indie” production ) today, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries the Theatrical Syndicate heavily influenced, dominated might not be too strong a word, what appeared on the American stage — mostly formulaic melodramas that did well at the box office. It took the rise of the Little Theatre movement to make a home for playwrights with intellectual, expressionistic, or naturalistic ambitions ( e.g. Eugene O’Neil, Clifford Odets ). New forms of distribution, digital technologies, a growing demand for content and more sophisticated audiences make such a movement in film possible today, but few or thinking in this way or are willing to organize; too few want to work on original business models to drive original content.

    As to why so many movies are so bad, I recommend David Mamet’s “Bambi vs. Godzilla: On the Nature, Purpose, and Practice of the Movie Business.” It contains the lost screen writing secrets of the Incas and a lot of other amusing observations besides.

    More at http://www.cinemalocale.org

  11. Barry

    Back in the ‘early days’ you’d go to the movies to see two films (along with shorts, newsreels, etc.). The first film was known as a “B movie” which meant don’t expect anything great. And usually it lived up to its expectations. Then came the feature; some were great films, some good films, some stinkers, etc. So by definition, Hollywood was not expected to produce even 50 percent “good movies” but audiences were okay with this, at least until TV came along. I would guess that the overall percentage of crummy movies (subjective as that category may be) isn’t all that different today than it was in the 1940s. We just have to spend more to see them in theatres, our expectations are higher, the films cost a whole lot more money to make, the average moviegoer sees far less films in theaters today than back then, and from a writer’s point of view, the romantic notion of packing up your typewriter, hopping a train, and getting a job at a Hollywood studio is dead and buried. None of this is Blake Snyder’s fault. It’s not even Robert McKee’s fault. The comparison is just an exercise because we can’t go back to how things were, we can only try to figure out how to improve how things are. Thanks for these thought-provoking articles!

  12. Steven

    I haven’t read all the comments yet (they’re very insightful), but no one so far focuses on the audience. It’s a simple fact that audiences want stories to be both familiar and new. Moviegoing is a frightening experience–you surrender your conscious ego for two hours. Familiarity assures the audience that the journey is safe (enough). Novelty makes the journey worthwhile. If movie Y was identical to movie X, why would anyone invest time and energy in it? (We rewatch favorite movies only if they surprise us each viewing with something new.)

    Balancing familiarity and novelty is a difficult task. In fact it’s impossible–any story is going to lean one way or the other. Ideally the blend will satisfy the taste of target audience. But even fans of the most unusual, idiosyncratic fims expect these stories to provide a strong dose of what they’ve seen before (a David Lynch film should be a David Lynch film; a European arthouse film should not have a contrived Hollywood ending; etc.).

    It’s perfectly natural for the people bankrolling a production to demand that the result err on the side of profit rather than loss, and that means that sequels and series and franchises and adaptations are going to be popular with producers–as they have been with audiences since the silent era.

    Seems to me that writers would be better served creating compelling stories with that sweet spot for their target audience than griping about the lack of original content. What I’m learning from Good in a Room is that the goal of pitching is to simulate in the room audience the sort of enthusiasm that a theater audience seeks, and that to do so, the pitcher must appeal to that paradoxical desire for the familiar and the new.

  13. Mimi

    God disapprove of these Horror Movies on Tvs & Movies he hates them. Any one who likes them go ahead & watch them but God won’t have your blessings !!! I think these Movies are turning your minds too kill People that is wrong. So don’t watch these Movies it’s not rely good for your mind.

  14. Fiona Faith Ross

    Tragically, the late, great Blake Snyder is no longer here to defend himself and his method. I’ll admit I’m a rookie screenwriter. I’ve not been doing it long, and I haven’t had any successes – yet. I became aware of the STC method by many discussions, debates and forums, from warm to heated to steaming. I resisted for a while, and then I realised, he had made an important contribution, and if he was still alive, he’d probably be even more influential. I bought the book. I have read it countless times. When you read it, his style is so engaging, it feels like he’s in the room talking to you. Not many writers can do that. I rewrote one of my scripts on his index card method, and I’m hooked. I think he was – and still is – a genius. I believe a good script, no, an outstanding script, will shine through the stuff that’s “not quite there”. I listen to other advice, and I take classes, but STC BS2 will always be part of my process now, as a means of securing the structure of my screenplay. Writing of any kind is hard, and can propel you into an emotional or existential crisis. Writing a screenplay that works, is nigh on impossible. It’s a wonder any of them work at all, never mind the crap. It’s not entirely Hollywood’s fault. How can you predict a blockbuster? (Sorry, tent pole). You might make a sequel, yes, but will it fly? “Nobody knows anything”. Formula: One. Write a brilliant screenplay. Two. Find a producer (with means of production) who shares your vision. Three. Make sure he’s got access to a grubby hundred million greenbacks. Four. Throw in the same amount for marketing. Five. You got your movie – way to go! See? It’s easy. P.S. If you had a hundred mill in the bank, would you care to spend it making my script?. Thanks a bunch. Drinks are on me.

  15. Benjamin

    I have “Save the Cat” and have read it thoroughly. I think it’s one of the most insightful books I have read thus far and I agree with you in this article. I think the problem lies in taking a template and making it Law on all sides of the spectrum. I also believe that every person in the industry should have some experience in every area of filmmaking: Pre, production and post.

    I think that bad movies pumped out of the industry are focused on money and only concentrating on what sells: sex, violence, sequels…you know, primal stuff. Story is everything, but if the story is solely based around those so that it sells, it isn’t a good story. That being of course just my opinion but I am a consumer as much as I am a filmmaker. To me, the best films are the ones that commence debate, controversy and actual thinking for the audience and those are the films studied in classrooms. Seldom do I see those being produced anymore.

  16. julya m mirro

    I tend to agree with Mark – perhaps there are even 3 kinds of “bad” movies: truly ‘bad’, unrecognized for their ‘good’ qualities, and fun ‘bad’ – those campy cult-type movies that people love but are embarrassed to admit because someone always rolls their eyes.

    That being said, its the second category that concerns me. How many times have we seen something that was brilliant and it requires an explanation to anyone we speak to? The trend in ‘indie’ movies was originally meant as ‘low-budget’ (yes?) and now its meant more as something decidedly different from “Fast & Furious 7” / “The Avengers” (which might be bad examples, as they are clearly not low-budget).

    My point is, as a writer (Im part of a creative team), how you get the loyalty of fans (like the 3rd ‘bad’ above), the feel of an indie (the 2nd ‘bad’ above) without falling into the first category seems… challenging. The number of movies Ive seen where the script might’ve been fine – there are A-list actors in it, great DOP work – but it falls flat leads me to think either A) the director has no vision or B) the script is sub-par.

    I direct for the stage and have come to learn what is a director’s choice, the actor’s, the text – as I watch it, I mean. I find it much more difficult with film. I know this is a little off-subject, but it feels like the same conversation – what makes a good film good, and why doesnt Hollywood recognize when they’ve not done such a thing? How can you tell when its ‘on them’ and when its on the text? And why dont they just send the bad movies straight to DVD/digital outlet?

    Thanks for listening –

  17. Kathleen Scott

    There are two kinds of movies: those that are “drugs” and engage on a hormonal level (most action movies) and those that are “stories” that engage on spiritual, intellectual, & emotional levels. Both are valid commercial “products.” If a “bad” product according to the professional critics becomes popular it is probably either because the audience buying it doesn’t know better or doesn’t have a better alternative. The education of the audience probably now starts at age 3. Technology makes it both easier and harder to educate audiences, and it can’t stop our liking the effect of “drugs”. So any change starts at home with our own kids (who will become the next generation of producers) and with great artists & writers taking their work to the young. We might not like it, but important work for our culture is something that will be enjoyed by children and lauded by adult critics.