Originality smells

The following is from a great article on Salon reviewing Miami Vice

A few years back, a screenwriter friend of mine was pitching one of her original screenplays to an agent. The agent loved the script, but informed my friend there was no way she could sell it — “There’s no pre-awareness,” she said. When my friend asked what on earth that could possibly mean, the agent explained that the script wasn’t based on a TV show, or a book, or an earlier movie — in other words, it was based on an original idea and not on something that people had already heard of. There was no familiar set of coattails to affix it to. No one would bite.

It is one of my pet peeves that there is really no original art in movies anymore (not including indies, but even there they’re not what they used to be). That everything has to come with some sort of built in audience. Even if the movie doesn’t resemble what it’s based on (were Starsky and Hutch or the Brady Bunch originally comedies? Die Hard 3‘s script wasn’t even written for that franchise) that doesn’t matter because all the marketers want is a tie to the original.

Last week I said to some friends that the piece of dribble, Gone is 60 Seconds, would be welcome now because at least it’s original. The problem is that as the cost of movies have gone up, the studios are looking for ways to seemingly guarantee their performance. What’s ashame is that they forget that stories like the Sixth Sense, Raiders of the Lost Arc, the Matrix, and Star Wars sprung to the big screens first. They’ve lost the sense that the big screen can be the launching ground for some of the most compelling stories.

What’s interesting is that this comes at a time when television seems to have experienced a rebirth, becoming more daring and aggressive. Shows such as Lost and 24 are as good as anything produced by the movie studios.

I’ve already reached the point of dismissing so many movies because I’m tired of the lack of creativity. When I head to the Blockbuster, it’s not uncommon to leave empty handed because there’s nothing I want to see. Nevermind the fact that I haven’t watched a movie in months, there’s still nothing I want to see.

Oh well, here’s another thing I don’t have to spend money on.

Update: I’m made aware of the fact that Gone in 60 Seconds apparently is a remake too. IS ANYTHING SACRED! I guess a movie doesn’t have to be good or memorable to be remade.

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