May 24, 2021 at 8:08 pm #152geektalkKeymaster
Chris Gore is a writer, comedian, author and television personality who has built a solid reputation as a hilariously outspoken voice in the entertainment world.
As a teenager, Chris founded the brutally honest magazine Film Threat, which began as a fanzine while he was a college student in Detroit. As Film Threat evolved into a respected national magazine, he relocated to Los Angeles. The print magazine was retired in 1997 when it was re-launched as a web site.
FilmThreat.com found a huge audience online and was named one of the top five movie web sites by the Wall Street Journal. Chris has appeared as a film expert on MSNBC, E!, CNN, Travel Channel, and Reelz Channel.
Chis has also hosted shows on FX, Starz, IFC and G4TV’s Attack of the Show as the show’s film expert. His weekly movie review segment DVDuesday was among the most popular on G4. Chris is also an author, having written The 50 Greatest Movies Never Made and The Complete DVD Book. His book The Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide is considered the bible of the industry and is required reading at film school.
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Film Courage: Would you say that 99 percent of all movies today are garbage?Chris Gore, Founder/Owner of FilmThreat/Author/Filmmaker:In an age where most movies are referred to as content, I would say that 99 percent of thosemovies are pretty…bad. I always try…when I say 99 percent I mean of mainstream. When you look at(and I think one of the best examples of this is the sort of Zack Snyder’s Justice League)and how that was bungled. How that was bungled, how the Star Wars franchise was bungled,how they could not…I mean to me I’m the studio executive in charge of Star wars and we’re makinga new star wars movie and the first thing I’m going to do is I’m going to put Han, Luke andLeia in a scene together and the fact that that moment we will never be able to have that momentin cinema when Carrie Fisher was alive, that to me is I mean that’s that’s malpractice, that’s studiomalpractice. The fact that they had with Zack Snyder’s vision what he was building up to be,I think seeing the four-hour final product of what Zack Snyder’s Justice League turned outto be and that they made this garbage thing Joss Whedon I mean it’s disheartening to me to see thatI will say on an indie level tend to take like a glass half full view and I tend to always look forthe positive when it comes to indie films because you cannot compare the…you can’t compare an indiemovie shot in 12 days for $10,000 dollars to Justice League whichever version you’retalking about you can’t compare because in my mind there is no excuse for a studio to failwhen they put out a blockbuster movie you have no excuse. Your job is to entertain me, not lectureme. Not lecture me, your job is to entertain me. Unfortunately we live in a time you know backin the day when Star Wars was first made I feel like they were checking one box it was called funand now there’s not only there’s a million boxes that must be checked. There are all sorts ofnoting and committees and this thing and this is where you end up with…you knowthat last Star Wars movie by J.J. Abrams is unwatchable. I mean it’s garbage. It’s exactlyit informs exactly everything wrong with the studio system. It’s terrible. So I look atlike the Justice League debacle, the Star Wars franchise and how that has been was mishandledand I look at that and I just think how could that have been done? Where were the…where was the…we they ever like looking at the fans and what they think? What do the fans thinkof this stuff? Are they satisfying the fans? Most normal people don’t care. Is it entertaining?Taking my family especially how expensive it is to the movie theater experience which is is goingaway right? The theatrical experience of seeing a movie is going away. You had better entertain me.and I think that whether Hollywood notices it or not, I think that people don’t reallylike politics woven into fairly mainstream (which should be mainstream) entertainment experiences.And I think we’re seeing that more and more. It’s unbelievable to me. I think you’re leavingmoney on the table for not giving what the customer is looking for in that experience.In my mind, studios there’s no excuse to fail. You have the best people in marketing.You have the most talented actors, craftsmen. When it comes to special effects and cinematography,music – there’s no excuse for that to fail and I think part of the failing of Hollywoodis that the marketing is so good. Sometimes I’ve argued with friends sometimes that I believe thatthere should be a key art…I mean there are key art awards you know for key movie poster art.I’m a fan of movie poster art. There’s a really good documentary about movie poster art called24×36: A Movie About Movie Posters [Director Kevin Burke]. Check out that documentary. Butyou know there should almost a marketing award and here’s the problem, the conundrum, the marketingfor some for these movies is so good, the product doesn’t live up to the marketing.I got chills watching the trailers for The Rise of Skywalker. I was so excited to see that movie.The ninth I mean, I was a kid when I saw Star Wars. I’m seeing the ninth movie in this saga.I cannot believe how horrible it turned out. It’s really to me, it’s malpractice. What happenedto that franchise and how it’s divided fandom? Fighting over things that are really irrelevant? Ithink it’s well not entirely irrelevant, the fact that they’re just like you’re seeing people fromwithin that company attack the fans, it’s just like it’s…I hate to see it because I’m likenerds are my people I go to San Diego Comic-Con every year. I have since the 90’s gone to SanDiego Comic-Con and so to see people fractured over this is really disheartening. But when itcomes to studio movies there’s no excuse not to fail. Now when it comes to small indie movies,to make a good movie under those circumstances without the resources, without the money,without the great people in marketing without the budget, without all of the best of circumstances,to make an indie movie that like actually can you can be touched and moved by that is something tobe said. Which is why i’ve always gravitated toward indie film. It’s a miracle when you seesomething that’s watchable out of a studio. But I don’t know like where the executives, I mean otherthan like maybe coming to mind like a kevin frose which you know maybe his best days are behind him,you know I can’t think of a studio executive that is a visionary these days.Film Courage: Are those the jocks? The nerds are the consumers?Chris: Yeah the jocks. I mean when we look at like the era the 70’s being thelast great era of American filmmaking, we really arelosing that American identity because we’ve become so fractured as a culture and I think thatwhere’s the movie that we all love without debate? That we’ve all lovedexactly? I don’t know that there is one and and that’s really, I really at the end of the dayI miss loving Star Wars. I miss loving it. I used to love it and now i’m saddened by that franchise.I’m using that as like the best example. There’s a lot of other examples we could talk about TheTerminator franchise, we could talk about Star Trek, we can talk about these these sort of deadfranchises that have sort of lost their way. But when you look at like I just saw a documentarycalled Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies [Director Amanda Ladd Jones] about Alan Ladd,the visionary studio executive who basically green lit Star Wars and protected George Lucas,I’m just afraid we’re never going to see another George Lucas right? We’re never going to seeanother real creative visionary that changes the industry becauseeverything is so corporate. You know it’s like what did Francis Ford Coppola say,factory filmmaking. That’s the age in which we live. There’s factory filmmakingwhich is a product and content and then there’s up-and-coming indie filmmakersand when I talked about checking those boxes earlier a lot of it is like is it going to appealinternational? I mean let’s be honest, the box office internationally and especially in China ismuch bigger than the United States. That market, those dollars…so you can’t make a movie for theUnited States anymore. You have to make a movie for the world which is fine but I think in a waythat’s sort of diluting our identity as a people, as Americans, as we’ve become more fractured andit’s distressing to see. You see it when it’s like I was having a conversation with a friendbecause of course the movies are always an ongoing conversation with friends. If you’re in my circle,it will come up and it’s like when you look at like when certain decisions are organic or whenyou see when it’s shoe horned in right? When when certain things are shoe horned in likesay the trope that’s become a trope now, the strong female lead it’s justRipley [actress Sigourney Weaver in Alien] was a great character. Just write a great character,not try to shoehorn in a type right? You kind of know it when you see it. You go“Oh this is cliche!” You’re trying to shoehorn in a type rather than like that’s just a greatcharacter. You’re also talking to a guy when I ever play a video game I always choose a femalecharacter. I don’t know why I just do that as someone who has watched so many movies,as someone who has made their own films, why do you think there’s so many bad films that are made?Well I look, the reason there’s so many bad films these days is I think1) the barrier to entry is much easier, but I also think that you’re there on an indie levelI see bad indie films too right? I usually want to want to help them and say “This was your lesson,okay you’ll make a better movie in your second movie if you don’t quit.”But when it comes to studio films there’s just too many notes. There are too many people that it’ssort of you know the modern day ball player right? Just like it’s not about the passion for playingthe game. I don’t have a passion of hitting the ball and hearing the roar of the crowd. It’sthe licensing deals and it’s this and the sales of that and the tv commercials and whatnot. It’swhen I look back at the movie The Player which came out when I first moved to Los AngelesRobert Altman’s The Player  things haven’t changed. The subject has changed. I mean that wassort of, it was erotic thrillers and it was Julia Roberts and Bruce Willis were being cast in everymovie that was pitched in that film. Now it’s superhero movies, but it’s really too many cooksand I feel like the people being elevated to these positions are good executives but they’re notpeople that know the material. The heart of the material and when you look at the history ofcreatives who really created something like a George Lucas or a Gene Roddenberry things beginto lose their way when they get sidelined right? You really need those. I just feel like the modernday Hollywood now and especially with streaming changing the game, theaters,the survival of theaters being in doubt. Really we may live at a time where maybe the billiondollar blockbuster may not be back for a long time and that may end up being a good thingright? Like let’s make…I’ll joke with a friend and I’ll say my favorite Spider-Man movie isthe one where Mary Jane is in peril at the end which is pretty much all the Spider-Manmovies or my favorite science fiction movie is the movie where that thing blows up at the endthat’s every science fiction movie right? Which is why and The Empire Strikes Backwith such a because it wasn’t about “we got to do and blow up the thing.” That’s boring.It’s just creatively bankrupt which is why Empire Strikes back holds up everybody says “Oh it’s thebest Star Wars movie.” I mean you could argue it but it’s yeah because it didn’t do that thing thathappened in all the other movies and so trying to go against doing that thing or fighting a bluelight, there’s a lot of fighting a blue light that happens in films. Fighting a blue light,saving the person at the end, the thing that blows up at the end and I say defy those clichesat all costs. It’s funny because you know there’s still people that are able to work within studiosystem and deliver worthwhile films, Christopher Nolan being among them. I’ve quite admired hiswork although he has a tendency to make things a little overly complex for no reason just to bragabout how smart he is but there’s always a point in his films and you’ll notice it once I pointedout where a character in a Christopher Nolan movie will say “We have to go down the thing and grabthe thing to do this and shoot this.” It’s Captain Narrative right? It’s the person that stops themovie to tell you what’s happening in the movie to explain what’s going to happen so the audience(the dumb audience) understands and to me so you got that studio note and he compromises ina way that doesn’t completely destroy what he’s trying to achieve as a filmmaker. So he’s willingto play ball but I just see and I think the most recent example being Zack Snyder’s JusticeLeague and the fact that that universe will remain unexplored unfortunately which is disheartening.You look at that and i think part of the reason that Zack Snyder’s Justice League was suppressedwas because once it came out and you see these are the choices the studio executives made, theydecided to hire Joss Whedon, they decided to change everything about it in exchange for thislike it makes them look bad right because what Zack Snyder was trying to do is much much betterclearly whether you enjoy it personally or not, it was objectively much better than what Joss Whedonended up coming up with which was effectively a dumb cartoon, a live action dumb cartoon.Film Courage: So what about adaptations? Do you think that’s has that always been around or?Chris: Adaptations of what?Film Courage: Adaptations of popular books.Chris: Not necessarily, doesn’t have to be a franchise but think about,it’s here’s what’s dead is originality. I mean people forget what George Lucas createdin Star Wars was something completely original. I mean yes it was influenced by so many things,westerns, Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers serials and whatnot but almost nothing that you see isn’t(nothing that you see in the studio realm) it’s all based on something, pre-existing material.It’s a book, a graphic novel, a comic book, a thing that kind of proved the concept right andthen…or a franchise right? It’s a thing that you know whether it’s Star Wars, Star Trek whatever,comic book characters that have been around for years, it’s very rare that there’ll be somethingthat’s a wholly original concept. It would really be interesting if studios rolled the dice moreto get something like a Joker. What Todd Phillips did with The Joker right? ThatJoker film which was a low-budget movie right? I chatted with him about it. I’m sure you canlook up quotes Todd Phillips talking about how he pitched them doing some sort of DC Black Series.It would be these sort of one-off films that would be stories that didn’t really fit with anysort of larger continuity that were like smaller movies we could explore a part of that universeand the fact that movie did so well from being praised from in terms of at award season I thinkproves his concept was the right way to go and people forget Todd Phillips camefrom independent film. I knew him back in the day when he was making documentaries. He famously hasthat frat house documentary [Frat House directed byTodd Phillips Andrew Gurland, 1998] that playedSundance and then never was released. I think you can find it on Youtube.Film Courage: What about Mank?Chris: What about Mank? Yeah I don’t know. How you make a Mank? Here’s the thing I look at Mankand I’m like I love Mank but I went to film school and I’ve seen Citizen Kane 100 times and I’ve readbooks about Citizen Kane and one of my favorite dvd commentaries is the one that Roger Ebert didfor Citizen Kane. I know a lot of the backstory and I feel like it’s almost impossible to watchMank. You have to watch Citizen Kane. Maybe watch Citizen Kane first and then watch Mankand then re-watch Citizen Kane. I think Mank is incredible. But i think Mank is for film nerds.I think it’s brilliant that David Fincher was able to get that film made in the way that he made.It’s sort of a story about the genre made within the style of the old school genrebut with modern tools and then sort of laced with political commentary maybe a bit too heavy-handedat times. But I really enjoyed Mank. But that’s not a mainstream audience movieso kudos to Netflix for that. But yeah most of, I wouldn’t say that. No, I like to be anoptimist so I don’t know that 99 percent of the studio movies are bad. Maybe it’s more like 97.We can quibble about the percentages but you know stuff leaks through.Chris:That was a rant by the way.Film Courage: No that’s good. That’s what you want,that’s fantastic. I was going to add to it with Game of Thrones but that’s good. We’ll stop.Question For The Viewers: What do you disagree with?
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