There was a very interesting piece in today’s New York Times on how cinematic superstars no longer guarantee a movie’s success. The article suggested several reasons why this is so, but I have my own conclusion:

Times are tough, and we’re not friggin’ stupid.

Will Ferrell, for example, is funny. But unless you have an IQ lower than, oh, 50, there’s no way you could see the preview for Land of the Lost and think, “I’ve gotta see that!” The same goes for, literally, any film Eddie Murphy puts out these days. His latest—name escaping me—grossed $6 million its opening week. By comparison, I make that much eating a potato chip.

As I write this, I stand 20 minutes removed from seeing District 9 with my father. Truly, truly, truly excellent film—with nary a big-time star for miles. Most people I know don’t need Eddie or Will or Julia or Clooney to make a trip to the cinema worthwhile. We need excellent stories, good drama, a compelling ending, etc … etc.

So keep your stars. Nine out of 10 times, the indie film wins by heart …

6 thoughts on “Stars”

  1. District 9 may have been the best movie I’ve seen years, and is definitely the best Sci-Fi movie since Episode 6 of Star Wars. Truly phenomenal.

  2. I’m not into Sci-Fi, so I likely won’t see District 9 until it comes out on video (errr, DVD), and even then it’s a maybe.

    But, you are right. Save the million dollar special effects and the overpaid actors and give me a good story, and more importantly a good ending. It seems like today’s blockbusters spend so much on special effects and “talent” they run out of money and throw an ending together.

  3. Everybody likes to bash the stars, but good acting is only 1 factor in the overall quality of the movie.
    District 9 might be a well written and directed movie, but it is not aided by he lack of quality stars.
    Then again, an overpriced ‘name’ sleepwalking his way through a well developed storryline can ruin it.

  4. I really hate hearing all the hype about a movie, because inevitably it leads to a letdown.

    And so is the case for District 9. The setup took way too long, the story was thin, the rationality of the situation even thinner. But honestly, if I read no reviews about the movie going in, I would have liked it. Knowing how well received this movie was, I was pretty disappointed.

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