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Metro In Focus: Forecasting a plan to help part the clouds over Hollywood

By Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

It’s awards season, a heady time when the movie biz pats itself on the back for a job well done. Tuxedoes are rented, Botox injected by the gallon and hundreds of miles of red carpets unfurled as industry insiders honour the best of the best with statues and speeches.

But is it really a time for celebration? The movie biz had a record-breaking year, raking in north of $11.4 billion on the backs of, as one industry insider said, “a forgetful fish, infighting superheroes and some intergalactic rebels.”

But for every Finding Dory, Captain America or Rogue One, which all earned good reviews and audience support, there were dozens of others that acted as public repellent, driving viewers away in droves. Those unsuccessful movies are dark clouds hanging heavy over the Hollywood landscape. Metro has some thoughts on how to clear the skies and ensure smooth sailing until Hollywood runs out of awards to hand out.

Let’s spend more time watching imaginative new worlds and ideas brought to life on the screen. Give me more movies from Guillermo Del Toro, Edgar Wright and Andrea Arnold, filmmakers who constantly reinvent our relationship with story and cinema.

Although I’m looking forward to John Wick 2 and Skull Island, let’s cut back on the reboots, reimaginings, remakes and films with numbers in their titles.

Let Kristen Stewart do anything she wants. Her death-defying leap from a Young Adult idol to indie star has been inspiring to watch. She digs deeper and deeper with every role, distancing herself from the teeny-bopper image that defined the early part of her career. Her choices are wild and woolly and you don’t know what to expect next from her. More please.

No more ‘interesting’ movies from Will Smith. His overthinking has done more collateral damage to his once towering career than his last film, Collateral Beauty.

More convulsive belly laughs triggered by thoughtful, interesting jokes please. That means fewer films that mistake politically incorrect “did he really just say that?” jokes for actual humour.

Can we have more reliance on the human touch on screen; directors like Jim Jarmusch, Mira Nair and Barry Jenkins who use instinct and experience to create their art.

Let’s have less studio reliance on branding, formula and script algorithms like ScriptBook, ScripThreads and Slated. Successful movie ideas don’t come from marketing departments or mathematical analysis, they come from the hearts and minds of interesting storytellers.

We need more films that pass both the Bechdel Test (does the movie feature a scene where two women discuss something other than a man?) as well as the DuVernay Test (do the African American and other minority characters have fully realized lives or are they just scenery in white stories?) If the answer is yes to either of these questions, you’ll have more films that better reflect the world we live in.

Finally, it’s time for Hollywood to be truly egalitarian. We need to see an end to white actors cast in non-white roles. It’s not knee-jerk political correctness — it’s justice for years of whitewashing in Hollywood. Recently in Doctor Strange, Gods of Egypt, Aloha and many others caucasian actors were cast in roles written or conceived for people of colour. Let’s stop that in 2017.

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