Since it’s Thanksgiving and I’m guilty of complaining a little too much about what I don’t like about Hollywood, I thought it would be appropriate to point out a few of the things I think Hollywood is doing right these days – things I’m thankful for this season.
1. Realistic superhero movies (and other blockbusters) – Director Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” paved the way for taking fantasy genres and treating them with a respect that has not been seen previously. This is an indie film sensibility that’s starting to extend to fairy tale films, broad comedies and action pics. It’s a style that respects the intelligence of the audience and a trend that I hope continues.
2. The Weinsteins – Say what you will about their Oscar campaigns or their tirades; Bob and Harvey are among the few people taking risks on outstanding and visionary material that needs to be made. Responsible for distributing last year’s Best Picture, “The King’s Speech,” a refreshingly uplifting period piece, and this year’s riskiest bet yet, silent black-and-white festival pleaser “The Artist,” these guys are throwing their weight around for the right kinds of projects.
3. Aaron Sorkin – Consistently the best writer in Hollywood, for my money, and worth every penny that studios pay him to write or brush up a screenplay. Last year’s “The Social Network and this year’s “Moneyball” would likely not have been the award contenders that they turned out to be without his dialogue-driven magic.
4. Steven Spielberg making Spielberg movies once again – I haven’t seen the film yet, but the “War Horse” trailer looks amazing and I’m excited to see Spielberg back doing the kinds of films I love from him. After a stint of darker films (“Minority Report,” “War of the Worlds”), small dramas (“Catch Me if You Can,” “The Terminal”) and terrible sequels (Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), Spielberg is giving us this sweeping, David Lean-style epic about a boy and a horse, set against a World War I backdrop, as well as “The Adventures of TinTin.” Both feature youthful protagonists, John Williams scores and what looks to be moving, escapist entertainment.
5. Holiday cheer – One thing Hollywood loves to do is party. And during the holidays, after a year of hard work, the industry does know how to put out a spread. The business starts to power down after Thanksgiving unless you’re still on a production. Small things are wrapped up but new business is put off to the next year. Liquor flows, free Oscar screenings abound, gift baskets are exchanged and free food is abundant. It’s a time of year when the bounty is actually shared.
‘Tis the season to reflect on what’s great about our lives, so this holiday, whether you go to the theater or catch movies on TV, take a moment to reflect on the talent and hard work that go into them and appreciate that once in a while, great ones are made.
Gina Hall is a writer/producer with more than 10 years experience in television, documentary and feature film production. She is a graduate of USC’s school of Cinematic Arts and lives in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter @GScottEnt.