05-15-2005, 12:48 PM
Back in November of 1996, I produced this web site about the television series, The Waltons. I had found so little about the show on the Internet and it was, and still is one of my favorite shows. I had watched the show when I was growing up and I now find that I still enjoy the adventures, the togetherness and the family spirit which they showed with my own family. There was no sex, and very little violence in the show. It is just warm family drama we can all watch comfortably together.
05-16-2005, 03:50 PM
There wasn't a single R-rated movie in the top 20 grossing movies last year. Will Hollywood get the message?
The 20 top grossing movies of last year all have one thing in common not one carried an R rating. Experts say there's a struggle between what families want to watch and what the Hollywood studios make.
The PG-13-rated "Spider-Man" was last year's top grossing movie. Bob Smithouser, editor of Focus on the Family's Plugged In magazine which helps educate parents about popular culture said part of that success was a sense of values.
" 'Spider-Man' made over 400 million dollars," Smithouser said. "I think the message to Hollywood on that one is: It's great to have an action film, but it's even better to have a character-driven, morally centered action film. It's not a perfect one, but there are elements to that movie that made it more than simply another superhero yarn."
05-21-2005, 11:42 AM
Star wars: How to make a blockbuster
I dislike film criticism, and millions if not billions of words
must have already been written about the star wars phenomenon (making
it almost impossible to say anything original on the subject). So I
will keep this short and to the point.
The very first star wars was made around the same time I was, and I've
always been a great fan (like most other males aged between 5 and 105)
of this film series. Now the series is complete with the latest and
last episode released: Revenge of the Sith.
The film is a great piece of entertainment. Certainly the best of the
more recent trilogy of star wars films, thanks mainly to a more
compelling and dramatic storyline. In comparison 'Episode I: The
phantom menace' seems unnecessary. The film successfully marries a
strong story with flawless computer special effects and an almost
astonishing visual inventiveness. With so many science-fiction films,
TV shows and computer games released in the last few decades it must
have been virtually impossible to come up with original and striking
alien environments, creatures and devices, but the film achieves this
with virtuoso skill.
Those who criticise the series for its simplistic, even clichι-ridden
dialogue misunderstand cinema. Cinema is pre-eminently a visual
medium, and while I wouldn't suggest that bad dialogue is a virtue, or
that good dialogue does not improve a film, a pretty good test of the
quality of a movie is if you could watch it without the sound and
still follow the story.
There are many interwoven stories in this series, the main one of
course being the fall of one man and his redemption by his son. The
wider implication being that no matter how bad things get in one
generation, our children offer a fresh start.
Whilst it is sad for the series to have finally ended, I believe it
can only be good for the film industry. Success is always a dangerous
thing for the imagination and spirit. It can make a person or an
industry dull and lazy. The current trilogy of Star Wars pictures are
generally regarded as inferior films to the original ones, primarily
because of an over-reliance of digital special effects at the expense
of intimate Human drama. This criticism may be slightly unfair, yet
there is little doubt that overall Star wars ushered in the age of
cinema as a blockbuster event, a roller-coaster ride. Ever since its
beginnings virtually all other popular cinema has stood in its shadow
and either tried to copy it or define itself against it. Now the era
of star wars is over, imaginations may be emboldened to go off in new
directions. In particular I expect the future of film to be in
3-dimentional film presentations.
As Obi Wan says in Episode 3: Only the Sith deal in absolutes.
However, based on my observations, I would summarise the following
"rules" for making a blockbuster:
1.Ensure you have big concepts, and planetary (or even galactic!)
stakes involved in your story (the most successful James Bond films
featured 'take over the world' plots, the least successful featured
plots with more local consequences).
2.Show the audience things they haven't seen before.
3.Tell the story visually, use as striking and memorable visuals as
you possibly can and layer in so much visual detail that people will
want to see it more than once just to take it all in.
4.Films with fantasy or science fictional stories yet that are made in
a realistic way tend to be far more popular than films about mundane
subjects that are made to look unusual and fantasy-like (the exception
to this is Titanic, but it succeeds brilliantly in rules 2, 3, and
5.Fill your story with honest hope and respect for the Human condition
and a beleif in good values. Cynicism may be chic, but it will never
sell as much as hope.
6.Stories about families or people who love one another, challenges
that break them up, and events that reunite them, seem to be at the
heart of most blockbusters. (even Jurassic Park which ostensibly is
about a group of scientists being hunted by dinosaurs has as its
emotional heart a Grandfather's efforts to rescue and be re-united
with his grandchildren who are victims of their parents break-up).
7.Finally, make your film appeal to families. Films that children and
their parents can enjoy will achieve a larger audience. Especially if
they allow adults to re-experience some of the excitements and thrills
If you do manage to build your own billion-dollar blockbuster movie
franchise, remember me. Won't you?
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