(1) Shake it Like a Polaroid Picture
If you use a shaky camera, it' almost a given that you will be hailed as the greatest artiste since Fellini. While Steven Soderbergh pretty much heralded the advent of this rule with fare like sex, lies and videotape, Traffic
and even Erin Brokovich
, the style is actually a throwback to the work of many untalented, out-of-work film students who are now working at Blockbusters across the country. Hey, shit-heel-ever hear of a tripod? Maybe it' just me, but I hate feeling like I have an inner ear disorder when I'm just trying to be entertained.
This year' entries,
, followed in those famous footsteps, so here' the rule in a nutshell: if your film looks like a Parkinson' patient was holding the camera or resembles home movies of your seventh birthday-the one in your backyard where your dad filmed you and your friends on the "Slip n' Slide"-you better start writing your acceptance speech right now.(2) Art Imitating Life (aka The Creative Bankruptcy That Has Become Hollywood)
Pick the aging musical artist du jour who' riding high on a wave of nostalgia (think Ray Charles or Johnny Cash) and do a biopic. All the better if you start filming and then the subject keels over in real life (which happened with both Ray and Johnny, both of whom helped pick the stars who played them but didn't live to see the finished films. Eerie, huh?). Come to think of it, perhaps you have said biographical subject knocked off right before the film' release to increase your chances at Oscar? And it doesn't hurt to have the actor sing a little bit so we can all be surprised.
Either way, biopics of already famous people, whose life stories are readily knowable if people weren't so goddamn lazy and just went to the public library, seem to pluck at the heart (and purse) strings of the Academy. All of this points to the simple fact that Hollywood has run out of original ideas and has now decided to make films based on STORIES PEOPLE ALREADY KNOW about PEOPLE WHO ARE STILL ALIVE OR JUST DIED. Well, here' hoping some lowly Hollywood execs are reading this: the American public has absolutely no interest in biopics on Willie Nelson, BB King, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Journey, Air Supply or Foreigner.
(3) Ebony and Ivory
Hey, remember when they invented color? Wow. That was really something. But for some reason, Hollywood seems to think that ditching technological advancements and quality filmmaking (see shaky camera techniques, item 1) will distract us from mediocre scripts. It' like a shell game of some sort: "Hey look! We're filming in black and white! Please focus on the lack of color!"
I know Hollywood may think me a stooge willing to pay $10.75 to watch almost any drivel that they pump out, but believe it or not, I can suspend disbelief long enough to imagine that the story takes place in the 1950s WITHOUT being reminded every second by the annoying lack of color. Based on Hollywood' love of throwbacks such as this, we predict the new trend we should watch out for is the return of silent movies. I personally can't wait to begin reading dialogue on placards between five-second scenes.