#2. Camera Steadiers
We can harp on Hollywood for all of its shortcomings -- cliche rehashed plots, lackluster characters, and reliance on insulting stereotypes -- but god damn can they ever jump a car over stuff. You can't take the action sequence away from Hollywood. Or at least, you couldn't. With the last wave of gritty action movies came the complete failure of the action scene. Suddenly, it was no longer about setting up the perfect angle to film a jet ski ramping through the chest of a great ape, but about shakily filming said ramp from 20 different angles and rapidly splicing them together to give the vague overall impression that a jet ski had done something -- jumped, perhaps -- and there might have been an ape involved. The end result is that we get fistfights from the point of view of the spastic housefly darting around the action and epic car chase sequences as experienced by a man undergoing a mild stress seizure.
For the most part, the cheesy blockbusters of yesteryear got it right: Independence Day had amazing action sequences, even if the Basic Googler thought you could upload a virus to an alien ship with a PowerBook (he can be forgiven -- they didn't have Google back then, and "alien virus powerbook" is exactly the kind of bullshit Ask Jeeves would have come back with). I don't know if all those old-school action choreographers died in tragically bitchin' pyrotechnic displays on the set of Michael Bay's breakfast, but we need them back. Or, failing that, we need anybody not absolutely crippled by ADD to stand on set, hold the camera still, and point it at the awesome. I know you want to put your film school degree to good use, auteurs, but a jump-kick does not need a three part act structure. You can just film a man kicking while jumping, and show it to us, and we will call it Van Damme, and we will call it good.
#1. Book Slappers
This one's easy: Every single movie in production needs a person whose only job is to read the book, then slap the director with it every time they say "Yeah, but what if ..."