Escape to the Movies: Musclepocalypse

MovieBob

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Musclepocalypse

MovieBob explains where our action heroes have gone.

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Scorpid

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Bob did you mix up your Escape to the movies review with Big Picture discussion videos again?
I agree with you though I never personally got what people liked about big muscly action stars and being an MMA guy I can tell you that that level muscle growth is actually a problem to real fighting. I think that people have gotten more saavy to what fighting looks like so having a guy that looks like HeMan is just cartoonish to them.
 

CWestfall

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Seems like it could've been an episode of The Big Picture instead, but hey, I'm not complaining. Neither "Identity Thief" nor "Side Effects" seem that interesting, if their Wikipedia plot summaries are to be believed (My backup source of movie advice).
 

JarinArenos

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I think this comes across as a Big Picture episode because the movie itself is so boring as to have almost nothing to talk about.
 

Chebs

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Arnold and Jamie Lee Curtis need to get on a True Lies sequel. If Morgan Freeman, Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren can do RED, by golly those two can do a True Lies 2 (Tr2 Lies?).
 

Chessrook44

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Wait, what was that Zelda-ish picture with JJ Abrams and the Companion Cube at the end about?
 

Trucken

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You have a point Bob, but I'm not sure that I agree with you entirely. You're right about action-movies changing, instead of big muscular guys brawling we instead get smaller guys who fight with a heck of a lot more finesse (see The Raid: Redemption). But people still like and want to see movies like The Running Man and Demolition Man, even though the latest Arnold and Stallone movies bombed. My guess is that they bombed because people were scared that they would suck. I was one of those guys that were desperately hoping that The Expendables would be good since I missed the kind of action-movies that we got in the 80's and early 90's. But since Expendables was a major disappointment (to me) it kinda killed my hopes that any attempt at making a movie like that today would be any good.
 

Marter

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Chebs said:
Arnold and Jamie Lee Curtis need to get on a True Lies sequel. If Morgan Freeman, Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren can do RED, by golly those two can do a True Lies 2 (Tr2 Lies?).
2 True 2 Lies. That's gotta be it, right? =D

OT: If Die Hard 5 bombs, that will really be a surprise. R-rated action isn't drawing right now, but with an established franchise, it's different.
 

Shinsei-J

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I think Bob sent in the wrong tape.
At the end I was still waiting for "I'm Bob and that's the big picture".

Guess it all just shows how unsubstantial the movie was.
 

MovieBob

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I guess you could say their going out of style was just an unfortunate Side Effect of over saturation.
JJ Abrams just can't get enough of SPAAAAAAAAAAAAACE.
 

Ickabod

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Pardon me for being captain obvious, but the fact those actions movies were hits and not now, might have to do with the fact the formula is 25 to 30 years old at this point. That would be like watching a movie from the late 50's in 1980, it's just a different era.

And honestly, I don't have a problem with JJ Abrams handling Portal. Think about it, JJ likes his big mysteries, Portal is a pretty good mystery since you're in the dark for most of the game. It could work. Keeping an open mind.
 

MowDownJoe

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Chessrook44 said:
Wait, what was that Zelda-ish picture with JJ Abrams and the Companion Cube at the end about?
Valve has given JJ Abrams their blessing to make Half-Life and Portal movies.

...Yeah. Why always JJ Abrams? There are other great directors out there. Hell, Valve lent del Toro the voice of GLaDoS!
 

Smokescreen

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I always felt that Die Hard and Lethal Weapon were the movies that shifted the focus away from the kind of action films that Stallone and Arnold made. It's touched on briefly in the video but seriously: everything was just absurd explosions starring guys who generally didn't have much acting talent in stories that didn't have much going for them.

Whereas in Die Hard and Lethal Weapon, there are character arcs impressed on compact, narrowly-scoped stories, brought to life by people who actually DO have some acting talent. Once audiences got ahold of that and liked it, it set the stage for...well, a whole lot of really, really shitty imitators. However, there was always the occasional odd duck that borrowed from that tradition, and certainly the dumbed down films of the 80's had to branch out a bit in the 90s, at least until Michael Bay brought Baysplosions. Even then, the idea couldn't be killed-Jason Bourne films were smartly done, even James Bond got tweaked into a more interesting character. But, you know. Transformers.

Which ruled the roost until...the Avengers. Which leads us back to movies with heroes that have actual character arcs again (even if the scope of the film is much bigger now.) And so it goes.
 

Scars Unseen

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So did we decide to use this week to escape from the movies, Bob? Oh well. I guess I can't complain about a Big Picture double feature too much.

Anyway... I definitely think that we are past the point where anyone's going to gain stardom based purely on muscle mass. I'm thinking that the old action icons would do best either sticking to their old iconic franchises or going for something that doesn't make their physique/manliness the focus of their acting.
 

Aiddon_v1legacy

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the thing is that idea of "masculinity" was only ever found in the 80s and 90s. If you look before, after, and even DURING that era you still had the typical Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen, James Dean, Paul Newman, etc archetypes in cinema because THAT was closer to ideal masculinity (which, oddly enough, is actually closer to Japanese masculinity). The 80s basically turned the brute archetype into the hero, but unfortunately also became an archetype known for ego, arrogance, and insecurity (a.k.a., for DOUCHEBAGS). It was more of a power fantasy than anything and it quickly ran its course, bringing us back to the REAL way action heroes should be done. Stallone's efforts to try and keep his 80s lunkhead stuff alive only goes to show just how irrelevant it's become and how insignificant it was even when it was around. Stuff like Die hard and Lethal Weapon just hell up BETTER due to having actual ACTORS in them.
 

Alakaizer

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Chessrook44 said:
Wait, what was that Zelda-ish picture with JJ Abrams and the Companion Cube at the end about?
That... was about this...
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/121946-D-I-C-E-2013-J-J-Abrams-and-Gabe-Newell-Tease-Portal-Movie

OT: Did we see a pic of Arnold giving the "Heil Hitler" salute?
 

daibakuha

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This is an interesting little video. Positing that special effects killed the action movie star.

I see his point, why bother going to Arnold or Stallone for the superhuman feats of baddass when we have a guy like Iron Man or Batman doing it technology and skill. They're more interesting to boot, they have flaws and feel like people. When you look at it this way it's inevitable that this would happen.
 

Scars Unseen

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Ickabod said:
Pardon me for being captain obvious, but the fact those actions movies were hits and not now, might have to do with the fact the formula is 25 to 30 years old at this point. That would be like watching a movie from the late 50's in 1980, it's just a different era.

And honestly, I don't have a problem with JJ Abrams handling Portal. Think about it, JJ likes his big mysteries, Portal is a pretty good mystery since you're in the dark for most of the game. It could work. Keeping an open mind.
He can't like his big mysteries that much since he keeps abandoning them for other projects (Lost, Fringe).
 

Daaaah Whoosh

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Since I only recently saw the first Die Hard, I can completely agree with this. I don't really want to see people who're so well-built and powerful that I can't relate to them. That's why I usually don't like anime.
 

daibakuha

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Ickabod said:
Pardon me for being captain obvious, but the fact those actions movies were hits and not now, might have to do with the fact the formula is 25 to 30 years old at this point. That would be like watching a movie from the late 50's in 1980, it's just a different era.

And honestly, I don't have a problem with JJ Abrams handling Portal. Think about it, JJ likes his big mysteries, Portal is a pretty good mystery since you're in the dark for most of the game. It could work. Keeping an open mind.
They would have to make significant changes to Portal in order for it to work as a film. Portal works as a game because it's a story about the gameplay, rather than gameplay used to tell the story. There's no real arc or character to it, it's a puzzle game with an interesting sense of humor and that's about it. Nothing wrong with that, but in a movie you need to have narrative, and portal doesn't have it.
 

mronoc

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I don't have the apparent contempt Bob does for J.J. Abrams, but I get the grumbling. I don't think he has it in him as a film maker to pull off anything close to Portal's tone.
 

Eicha

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I'm surprised that there was no mention of the Jason Statham genre of movies. One guy being impossibly badass and murdering everything remotely antagonistic is kind of the new-age of action hero.
 

daibakuha

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Daaaah Whoosh said:
Since I only recently saw the first Die Hard, I can completely agree with this. I don't really want to see people who're so well-built and powerful that I can't relate to them. That's why I usually don't like anime.
Depends what decade of anime you're looking at. I would say most anime don't really have this trope, and haven't since those movies were popular. Japan tends to favor the more average looking hero, rather than the muscle-bound doofus.
 

vid87

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Sounding as awful as it does, I can understand why JJ, mainly sci-fi from the looks of it, would be able to nab a Portal movie. If he somehow gets Zelda, however, I'll be convinced Hollywood is not just stupid as I've seen - they will be in need of an intervention before something psychotic and truly awful happens.
 

blackrave

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I never really bought that "macho-hero" BS anyway
Maybe because I grew in different era/location or maybe because I had computer games
My favorite games of childhood and early teens were RTSs and RPGs (C&C:Tiberian Sun and NWN in particular)
In those, skill and better weapons were edge of victory not beefing as much as you can
Hell, how much of Arnold-like looking orcs my character sliced in half because he knew how to deflect and parry
And how many of NOD cyborgs, stealth tanks and artillery I decimated not by stronger units, but by smarter approach
Closest things to macho-hero amongst GDI troops were ghost stalkers and they were often useless and sometimes even harmful
Basically brains and skills won over looks and physique
In fiction and in real life :)
 

The Last Melon

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Alakaizer said:
OT: Did we see a pic of Arnold giving the "Heil Hitler" salute?
Okay, good, I'm not the only one that raised an eyebrow at that. Anybody know the story there?

Also, I'm shamefully surprised that Bob had a shout-out to Chinese New Year at the end there. He's always seemed just so...white that I wasn't expecting him to acknowledge something like that.
 

teamcharlie

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To quote Krusty: "Free comedy tip, slick: the pie gag's only funny when the sap's got dignity."

Let's recall Demolition Man for a moment. That movie has an almost identical basic premise to that of Last Stand: an aging fish-out-of-water action hero saves a town in an oldschool ultraviolence kinda way, using antiquated technology and with an official comic relief sidekick. The difference? Demolition Man, silly as its universe was, took itself completely seriously. Last Stand and Bullet to the Head, on the other hand, don't seem to respect their subject matter, so why should their potential audience either? Put those action stars, or some other similarly ridiculous dudes/ladies in a big action movie and actually try to take it seriously (not post-modern, not ironic, not intentionally 'so bad it's good', but really an actual action movie), then see whether or not their era is over.
 

Callate

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I also can't help but wonder if that which thrived as "mainstream" can't do the same as "guilty pleasure". It's one thing to go to "The Expendables" because, hey, list o' names. It's another to go see one of those guys alone in a "80s style" movie with little to no sense of irony; it begins to feel like clinging to the past, or holing up in a cigars-and-cognac club where women aren't allowed.

But then, I can't entirely explain the success of Jason Statham. (And heck, I enjoy some of those movies.)

I feel like Bruce Willis's star is set to take a down-turn any day now, too, though, in part for some of the reasons MB describes: yes, the first three "Die Hard"s had him playing an everyman, but the most recent one and the upcoming one seem to want the audience to just accept it on faith that he's recognizably, visibly bonded in Hero Armor and his "This Man Is The Answer To All Our Prayers" turn in the new G.I. Joe movie reinforces that image. Perversely, as Willis approaches sixty, his action roles are insisting all the louder that we take him less as "everyman" and more as "icon", and I don't know if that's going to stick.
 

Elijah Newton

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Man, I'm relieved they bombed. Hadn't followed them, hadn't heard how well they did or didn't do, so this just plastered a happy grin on my face. I won't go so far as to say I wished their 'roid hero flicks never worked, but goddamn that was some dumb, formulaic drek. Getting nostalgic for it would be like wishing for the Segal or Van Damme formula martial arts movies to make a return. Ugh. The very least Hollywood can do is invent new dumb formulaic drek.
 

Yoshisummons

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If that's the whole shtick with Bruce Willis how come in the 4th one (and probably in the 5th one) he turned into someone that is unfazed about killing dozens of dudes and effectively "Jason Borne-ing" level of stunts for the movie?
 

Therumancer

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I think the recent trend has to do with the age of the people involved more than things changing.


Arnie for example got very old, he's not built like he was in his prime anymore, and that kind of shows. You can't have him tear off his shirt for the climactic hand to hand battle with the main villain and go "OMG", and really Arnie being able to carry off the whole "I'm superhuman, but I'm real" was kind of his appeal. He's a decent actor, and pretty smart, but don't forget he was also a living prop. It's also notable that Arnie became famous not just by playing an over the top action hero, but doing it in some rather creative science fiction settings. It's been long argued that James Cameron was as responsible for Arnie's success, as he was himself. If you look at Arnie's straight action movies like say "Raw Deal" you'll notice they haven't exactly been among his best. The big movies that made him famous were as unreal as he was, "Total Recall", "Predator", "The Terminator", and others. His most recent movie bears more resemblance to his relative failures than his big successes.

In Arnie's case you have to also remember that information technology has grown since his heyday. Arnie always had a reputation for being something of a macho jerk IRL, there were articles about him in connection to movies like "Pumping Iron" that are negative, with titles like "Arnold The Barbarian", but there was really only so much of an audience this kind of thing could reach and bombard you with, his exploding popularity made the people singing his praises a lot louder than his critics. Arnie comes back from a relatively divisive political career, and gets in trouble for banging his maid under the table... everyone hears about all of this stuff, and I think that very much influanced his performance in a way it never could before.

With Stallone it's a case where he's also still built, but again is showing his age, and they have largely had to gloss over his decreasing physical abillities. When the appeal, like Arnie, is that your action hero looks like he could really do the stuff the character does, combined with decent choreography, it loses a lot when your living prop no longer fits the bill.

Something like "The Expendables" succeeds because while the props involved are aging, you get to see them all together, and they share the burden of carrying the movie. The star power also lets you forget how terrible a lot of the choreography is and the tricks they use at specific moments so you don't ever clearly identify the actor doing something, since they are using more stunt doubles. There were always stuntmen involved, but I think it showed a lot more here than it did before, and it's something people realize is going to be a problem when an aging Sly or Arnie tries to carry a movie entirely on their own, your going to be paying mostly to see someone pretending to be Arnie doing an action movie... and people catch onto that kind of thing.

With "The Expendables" it's also noteworthy that along with the musclemen who knew some decent choreography, you also had some pretty skilled martial artists. Jet Li, Jason Statham, and Dolph Lungren (believe it or not) all have pretty substantial martial arts backrounds, there is a reason why they had Dolph fight Jet Li for one of the big scenes in the first movie, and it was also one of the fights where you got to see the most of the actors, being sure it was actually them doing the stuff.

To be honest there is still a market for this, kind of thing, but a new generation of action guys never really appeared, and it's easier to use computers than it is to actually find a bodybuilder who can act. Likewise, one also has to remember that the most successful movies of the genere tend to have some wierd spin to them, the movies where a muscleman just beats up a bunch of derivitive criminals with poorly written justifications have generally not been the ones that made stars out of the action heroes, generally forming the filler in these guy's careers.

For a while I thought Vin Diesel might actually be the second coming for the genere, but he generally wound up making some terrible desicians on what movies to do.

I also think political correctness affects it as well. I know I say it all the time, but the bottom line is that when you let liberals run rampant, you wind up with a situation where nobody can be the bad guy anymore. This leads to really having to stretch things to try and make it so the bad guys don't offend anybody. When people actually get press for saying movies like the last, terrible, crysal skull based "Indiana Jones" movie were bigoted for making the bad guys Russian, you know there is a problem. You have people fight criminals nowadays people will scream it's insensitive to whatever culture is the target no matter how close to the truth it might be ranging from blacks (gangstas) to Italians (the mafia). When all you have to do is drop an "ist" or an "ism" to get a platform and five minutes of fame, people will look for any excuse to do it. This means that by definition any kind of "reality grounded" action movie has real problems since it has to stretch what is already a fairly weak premise even further... like it or not, you can't have an action movie without bad guys to get beat on, and those bad guys have to be a group the audience believes represent a credible threat.

Let's say today I decided to make an "old school" Arnie epic, meaning I'm going to use a combination of reality and crazy fantasy stuff. I cast our old geezer of a hero as a retired general having come back from decades of service to his old home in Texas, which happens to be terrorized by Mexican drug smugglers and illegal immigrants, a group which is not only untouchable because of their numbers and guns, but because they are a bunch of Santa Muete cultists (the saint of killers) based loosely on the real deal, with the skeletan emblems with the gaudy jewelery on them and everything. The leadership having magical powers, and there being an actual manifestation of "Saint Death" running around doing the bidding of the cult leader. As a result you have Arnie come out, beat up a bunch of gang members, make a political statement (kind of contrary to some of what he stood for in office) by loading a bunch of immigrants into the back of the van and dumping them over the border and threatening to shoot them if they come back, intoning "problem solved" or other typical deadpan one liner as he does, before eventually getting the irritation of the cult's leadership who send some guys with super-powers after him. Arnie sends off a message to some buddies that work in a goverment lab (since he was a general and all) and goes to war with them, doing pretty well despite their powers (I mean he is arnie) but ultimatly being on the losing end. After hiding to recover from injuries a shipment of super weapons arrives for the general and he heads out and unleashes science fiction firepower on the rampaging cultists. The leader however gets upset at this point, channels his god, and you have the big showdown between it and arnie, with laser beams flying all over the place, and a finale invoving bone crushing hand to hand combat which arnie loses, before lowering it into an ambush near the border (turns out he called some military friends who also have super weapons, he was just holding it off for them to arrive) before decimating it, throwing the carcass over the mexican border in front of a bunch of watching cultists and the illegals he tossed out before, before intoning "consider yourself deported" end credits role.

In short epic, politically irreverant, cheeze. The exact kind of movie guys like Arnie are supposed to make, and which tend to be utter bombs, or explode into popularity where the sheer stupidity of the thing winds up making it even more epic. Half the point of such movies are also to give the mainstream seemingly simple solutions to problems that are more complicated in reality by way of escapism. Nobody is going to solve problems like illegal immigration or the border drug wars with a bit of two fisted head busting, but it's nice to put your brain into neutral for a while and pretend. You can then laugh about (and think highly of the movie) when things get too deep on an issue you can defuse it by saying "Consider yourself deported" with an Austrian accent for a laugh. :)
 

WanderingFool

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ThingWhatSqueaks said:
A kind and merciful god would not allow Conan 3 to happen.
A kind and merciful God wouldnt have let the reboot happen...

*Edit*

I wonder... would this be a good movie for guys like Arnie and Sly?

 

Scarim Coral

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Geez to some people, you do know he does do non review episode in this section of his shows when normally there are no films out in time for him to review (good/ decent ones that is) on time.

An interesting topic to dicuss since I do think that Arnold, Stallone and the other muscule bond actors are no longer role models as they were in the 80's/ 90's.
 

themilo504

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does that picture at the end mean that jj Abrams is making a portal film?

If so I have two questions first up why is jj Abrams making a portal movie isn?t the guy an action director at least when it comes to movies? Portal is a puzzle comedy.

And secondly why the hell are they making a portal movie don?t get me wrong I love portal but as a movie?..really????
It?s a game about solving puzzles while some robots talk to you how can you make a movie about that it like making a movie about Tetris I suppose there going to turn it into an action movie but that?s an awful idea too.

Here are some other great new video game movies we can make a Mario war movie(the hero is a koopa troopa) a noir Kirby movie(he?s trying to take down ??the penguin??) and a touhou horror movie(yukari kidnaps a group of outsiders then they all die horribly).
 

varmintx

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daibakuha said:
Daaaah Whoosh said:
Since I only recently saw the first Die Hard, I can completely agree with this. I don't really want to see people who're so well-built and powerful that I can't relate to them. That's why I usually don't like anime.
Depends what decade of anime you're looking at. I would say most anime don't really have this trope, and haven't since those movies were popular. Japan tends to favor the more average looking hero, rather than the muscle-bound doofus.
I would further point out that the implication here is that anime is a genre of action that has to have heroes doing heroic things which is simply not true. Anime is a medium that spans many genres. No one is going to be thinking about whether the kids in Grave of the Fireflies [http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20000319/REVIEWS08/3190301/1023] are believable action heroes.
 

J Tyran

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Therumancer said:
Arnie for example got very old, he's not built like he was in his prime anymore, and that kind of shows.
It would suit a third Conan movie though, the later ones when Conan became old and kinda tired.
 

GamemasterAnthony

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Oh goody...Portal with more lensflare. THAT should be a winner! [/sarcasm]

I also was expecting the "The Big Picture" sendoff as well...until I remembered that last week he said the pickings were slim moviewise for him to review. So...this was a filler episode of sorts.

*looks at the Growl video* o_O The HELL?!? Where the hell was this arcade game when I was a kid?!?
 

Aiddon_v1legacy

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daibakuha said:
Daaaah Whoosh said:
Since I only recently saw the first Die Hard, I can completely agree with this. I don't really want to see people who're so well-built and powerful that I can't relate to them. That's why I usually don't like anime.
Depends what decade of anime you're looking at. I would say most anime don't really have this trope, and haven't since those movies were popular. Japan tends to favor the more average looking hero, rather than the muscle-bound doofus.
That's the thing about Japanese culture, the muscle-bound boisterous dude is usually seen as something of a negative stereotype, usually that of an IDIOT. Japan favors humility, stoicism, and loyalty above all else, thus why the typical boisterous character is considered stupid and arrogant. Sure, there are some musclebound anime CLASSICS such as Fist of the North Star, Berserk, and Jojo's Bizarre Adventure (though Jojo actually starting veering away from that after awhile)
 

wolf thing

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they are making a terminator 5 and a new conan movie. good video Bob a lot of your points on the effect CGi has had i think is spot on.
 

wolf thing

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J Tyran said:
Therumancer said:
Arnie for example got very old, he's not built like he was in his prime anymore, and that kind of shows.
It would suit a third Conan movie though, the later ones when Conan became old and kinda tired.
well anri has been said to have signed up for a new conan movie called "king conan" so his age could facter quite well into the movie
 

J Tyran

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wolf thing said:
J Tyran said:
Therumancer said:
Arnie for example got very old, he's not built like he was in his prime anymore, and that kind of shows.
It would suit a third Conan movie though, the later ones when Conan became old and kinda tired.
well anri has been said to have signed up for a new conan movie called "king conan" so his age could facter quite well into the movie
Yeah it should all kinds of awesome, the last "Conan" movie with Jason Momoa had some awesome fight scenes but it just wasn't the same.
 

anthony87

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Guess we'd better get that guy who has been keeping track of how often Bob brings up The Avengers.
 

TWEWER

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I think the more pressing problem with the two movies in question is marketing. I for one have never heard of either movie until now.

Also, they already made a Conan reboot in case you forgot.
 

daibakuha

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Aiddon said:
daibakuha said:
Daaaah Whoosh said:
Since I only recently saw the first Die Hard, I can completely agree with this. I don't really want to see people who're so well-built and powerful that I can't relate to them. That's why I usually don't like anime.
Depends what decade of anime you're looking at. I would say most anime don't really have this trope, and haven't since those movies were popular. Japan tends to favor the more average looking hero, rather than the muscle-bound doofus.
That's the thing about Japanese culture, the muscle-bound boisterous dude is usually seen as something of a negative stereotype, usually that of an IDIOT. Japan favors humility, stoicism, and loyalty above all else, thus why the typical boisterous character is considered stupid and arrogant. Sure, there are some musclebound anime CLASSICS such as Fist of the North Star, Berserk, and Jojo's Bizarre Adventure (though Jojo actually starting veering away from that after awhile)
I think Berserk is a special case. As is stuff like Dragon Ball Z. Japan also values hard work, and those characters got big because of hard and diligence.
 

brazuca

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Also those films became predictble. Watching it is more like of a chore. They do not surprise anymore. Like comics adaptation of super heroes are becoming now. Movie is an idustry of trend like many others. So died the 1980's action hero enters the new one.

PS: have you not talked about this before MovieBob, in another show, here in this site? Or was it the review of The RAID...
 

Whispering Death

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Great piece Bob!

My opinion can be summed up in 2 words: they're old. There's a reason 25 year old bodybuilder Arnold became a 1980s star but his 40 year old bodybuilder friends did not. Young people go to the movies more often than old people and young people don't want to see movies about action stars who are older than their dads - they want to see action stars they can relate to.

The Expendables proves there's enough old guys who want to see a nostalgic action flick that they'll go to the movies once a year but they aren't going to go to the movies all the time. The market is saturated by one film.

Tony Stark in Iron Man is a vibrant professional who is single, flipplant, and generally relateable to the 18 year old guy. Contrast that with "The Last Stand" where the punch line was literally "how do you feel sherrif?" response from Arnold "old". Is there any guess why the 18 year old male goes to see Iron Man but not The Last Stand?
 

Tiroe

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I don't think the release dates for these films helped much either. The Expendables 1 and 2 premiere in August,which is when people want to see big, dumb action movies that are just fun. The 2 movies Bob was talking about came out in January and February, which is when people don't have as much time to go to the movies, unless it's something really good (or better marketed)
 

Paradoxrifts

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If you're too young to remember eighties popular culture as it happened, then you probably don't care about these guys in the first place.

But if you're old enough to remember eighties popular culture as it happened, then you're probably walking around with the preconceived notion that whatever these guys are making now just could not live up to the high water mark of their respective careers. So why bother?

The acting career of Bruce Willis bears a closer resemblance to that of Clint Eastwood then any of his action-hero contemporaries. They started out making genre flicks but moved on from that to establish themselves as well-rounded actors.
 

Arif_Sohaib

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Here is one thing Bob forgot.
In the 80s and 90s there was still a Red scare. The US was not the only superpower in the world so you could have these action heroes fighting Communists.
Today, in the words of Yahtzee "you have got kill-droids and they have rocks, you are the Stormtroopers mascaraing the Ewoks".
So unless there are plans to make movies with these guys now being villains(like Arnold back as the bad Terminator) you can't really have a very very good and believable movie.
Another possible route is the one from Witcher 2 which just plays with the stereotype physique of the main villain and then tells you near the end that he was the true mastermind behind everything on the orders of Nilfguard.If Hollywood wants to make a Witcher movie any of these guys would be perfect for that role.
 

Henkie36

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This does sound more like a Big Picture, but who cares. On Bruce Willis versus Stallone though, I don't entirely agree. See, Stallone was good in Rocky, but that's because he wrote the script, probably with character actions and emotions already in mind. He knew it inside out before the principal shooting. When he is not directly involved in writing the script, he's ok. Willis on the other hand, is a really talented actor, and while Die Hard jettisoned his career as a good action hero, movies like Unbreakable and The Sixth Sense also proved his worth as a really good actor.
 

nuba km

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I think its because both movies had REALLY SHIT trailers, they gave you no idea what the movie was about and hence gave you no reason to watch it.
 

PunkRex

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I wonder how the new 'Fast and the Furious' will do... poor Vin...

Also, does James Bond fit into all this? I know 'Skyfall' only did okay in the US but in the UK it broke records.
 

Zombie_Moogle

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"Grumble grumble" indeed

Ya know, the first movie I ever saw on premiere day was Cloverfield & I absolutely loved it. It then motivated me to check out more of J.J. Abrams' work... yeah, turns out he only produced Cloverfield... & it shows

Please, please next Star Wars movie, bomb hard enough that they find a new director for the supposed Portal film

(tbh, I don't really know how well Portal would translate to film. The setting & characters are awesome, but a large part of the charm came from the unique gameplay experience. There's a snowball's chance in hell that Chell would still be a silent protagonist. Here's hoping)
 

Aiddon_v1legacy

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Zombie_Moogle said:
"Grumble grumble" indeed

Ya know, the first movie I ever saw on premiere day was Cloverfield & I absolutely loved it. It then motivated me to check out more of J.J. Abrams' work... yeah, turns out he only produced Cloverfield... & it shows

Please, please next Star Wars movie, bomb hard enough that they find a new director for the supposed Portal film

(tbh, I don't really know how well Portal would translate to film. The setting & characters are awesome, but a large part of the charm came from the unique gameplay experience. There's a snowball's chance in hell that Chell would still be a silent protagonist. Here's hoping)
You might be able to do Portal as a short film, but not NOT as a feature-length one with an actual plot, characterization, and three-act structure, same with Half-Life.
 

Strain42

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...I have to be honest, when I watched this and realized it wasn't a video about an actual movie called Musclepocalypse...I was a little disappointed.
 

Rad Party God

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So, ETTM turned into The Big Picture again.
Not that I'm complaining, I like Bob's opinions, even if they're a bit flawed most of the time.
 

hermes

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Yoshisummons said:
If that's the whole shtick with Bruce Willis how come in the 4th one (and probably in the 5th one) he turned into someone that is unfazed about killing dozens of dudes and effectively "Jason Borne-ing" level of stunts for the movie?
Because, sadly, not every screenwriter is aware that the real charm of John McClane is that he is an ordinary cop put into extraordinary situations. He is fallible and, even when his feats are just unrealistic, they are not free. People relate to Willis when he is bloody and crawling through a floor filled with glass, not when he is cleaning a bruised eye after putting down a jet with his bare hands.

However, screenwriters are tempted to "up the volume" of the stunts for each sequel (the "more is better" philosophy) but are too afraid to mess with the image of the icon, so he became less and less vulnerable (both emotionally and physically) while facing even more ridiculous obstacles.

Also, that is the reason why Die Hard 4 is the less well received of the series.
 

Adam Jensen_v1legacy

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This is a great episode. Very insightful. Could have been The Big Picture episode but it doesn't matter. I prefer The Big Picture material anyway.
 

MovieBob

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Yoshisummons said:
If that's the whole shtick with Bruce Willis how come in the 4th one (and probably in the 5th one) he turned into someone that is unfazed about killing dozens of dudes and effectively "Jason Borne-ing" level of stunts for the movie?
So what your satying is after being beaten multiple times, shot often than not and got hurt from many of his very close to death jumps he wouldn't get used to it all by now?
Hell by the 4 movie Rambo got used to it when in the 1st 2 it still haunted him.
It doesn't happen to everyone but it happens.
 

Mr_Terrific

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I remember an interview with Stalone where he said his type of action star died when they cast Keaton as Batman. I think he was right. I, personally love that type of action hero and I die a little inside everytime I see one of these Twilight kids and baby faces cast in some roll that should go to more masculine *hehe men.
 

MovieBob

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This is sounding like an episode to skip..my patience for bob getting all up and offended has dwindled away after a couple (coughME3cough) I mean yeah its fun when his got interesting things to say- but the man has become somebody whose soapbox needs to be taken away imo
 

Sergey Sund

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I think it's kind of funny how there is not a single expendable character in The Expendables (1 or 2).
All the main characters are part of Sly's impossibly good army of mercenaries.
All of them are muscle-dudes who use the biggest weapons you can mount on a person.
If you kill only one of them it puts into doubt the whole concept of the muscle-warrior. You also offend at least one fandom who went to the movie to see their favourite jacked-up dude of choice in the first place.
So, you can't really kill any of them. That's why Dolph got "better" at the end of part 1 and that's why the only one allowed to die in part 2 is the nice-faced, not-jacked-up sniper, who uses distance and technology (aka the smart way to fight)to kill instead of going close-in, killing with his bare hands like the rest of them.
All the grim-faced, alpha-male martial arts characters (and I include Jet Li here) survive, a fact that is made the more improbable by the fact that a 12-year-old kid can aim an AK 47 these days.
This is a film that tries to be cool by adopting a gritty, dirty look like other films of this generation (I am looking at you here, new Batman series) but fails to deliver on this promise of insinuated realism by filling it with characters that come from a totally different film era, made for mightier-than-thou action knights who cannot lose.
 

Sergey Sund

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Yeah, a lot of comments say that this feels like an episode of the Big Picture and that Bob's soapbox is becoming increasingly larger than himself (aka the philosophical part is becoming bigger than the criticism part).
To be fair, though, I dare you to make an entertaining/funny/interesting review of any of these 3 films that is longer than 5 minutes. There is just. Nothing. There.
You can't discuss the plot because what plot?. You can't discuss the acting because do we really expect any of these Wrestler-turned-actor dudes to act? Really?
This is just mush material - you can't even pound that shit into the ground properly. And if that is all that has come out in cinemas this week then so be it.
 

RedDeadFred

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May 13, 2009
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Interesting video Bob.

I've honestly never like these kinds of movies so I'm pretty happy they're going away. The stars in these movies just are never relatable for me. They seem almost inhuman and as a result, even thought the movies are filled with action, they bore me.
 

Cpt. Slow

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Not to be misogynistic but there are more (young) women around these days who spend their times getting brainwashed with cheap romantic novel material, that 15 years would not even be suited for paper...but now they do and even get the big film treatment. And they don't like (absurd) alpha-males like Arnie or Sly.

Action films are on the latter doomed if this Twillightization keeps on going on. Before you go with the verbal gung-ho with 'you are a misogynist' remarks commence, here is an example of what I mean: while I was standing with a friend of mine in the line at the theatre I heard two young couples talking behind me, discussing which film they wanted to see. Of course the guys wanted to go the Die Hard 4 film but the girls said: 'ewww we want to see Knocked Up'. Well, point in case, the women decided what to watch because guys these days don't have the cojones to stand up to them.
 

MovieBob

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spunkgarglewiwi said:
Well, point in case, the women decided what to watch because guys these days don't have the cojones to stand up to them.
That's because the women have already taken them



Ha cha cha!

(but really, it's not like that...)
 

Doclector

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Good video, and just for the record, it's a crying fucking shame that "the last stand" wasn't a hit. It's great fun, Arnie's...well, Arnie, and the effects are awesome.

Can't say much for Stallone's comeback film, I haven't seen it. The trailer looked...okay.

Seriously though, if you can go somewhere that's still showing it, see it. It might be too late to save it, but I hope that one day it gains a cult status on DVD.
 

Barciad

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Marter said:
Chebs said:
Arnold and Jamie Lee Curtis need to get on a True Lies sequel. If Morgan Freeman, Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren can do RED, by golly those two can do a True Lies 2 (Tr2 Lies?).
2 True 2 Lies. That's gotta be it, right? =D

OT: If Die Hard 5 bombs, that will really be a surprise. R-rated action isn't drawing right now, but with an established franchise, it's different.
Die Hard worked for exactly the reasons that Bob said it did. It was a big action thriller but grounded in reality. There were diabolical plots, crazy villains, big gun fights and plenty of explosions; like any typical action film. Yet the man that saved the day was a regular Joe. A smart, tough detective to be sure, but he had flaws and was more than aware of them, whether he liked to admit it or not. Plus of course, especially at the beginning, he felt uncertainty, anxiety, even fear. John McLean was not in control of the situation, and he knew it. Yet by his wits and determination he pulled through it. Which is another thing, time and again John McLean came out on top, not through brawn, but by outwitting his adversaries. He was the one action figure that was prepared to stop and think.
I still rate the argument with his wife at the beginning of Die Hard (the original) as a superb scene. It is great in my opinion because it is believable. A rough detective, from a blue collar background finds it hard to accept that his wife can have a career. Seeing as this was 1988 and this was the time that women finally were able to achieve their potential. Three (though to a much lesser extent) and Four also dealt with similar issues.
 

00slash00

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can we have one week where you dont complain about j.j. abrams? i get you arent a fan of his but you just did an entire big picture about why you dont like him. i feel like you have complained about him for the past 3 weeks
 

octafish

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Henkie36 said:
This does sound more like a Big Picture, but who cares. On Bruce Willis versus Stallone though, I don't entirely agree. See, Stallone was good in Rocky, but that's because he wrote the script, probably with character actions and emotions already in mind. He knew it inside out before the principal shooting. When he is not directly involved in writing the script, he's ok. Willis on the other hand, is a really talented actor, and while Die Hard jettisoned his career as a good action hero, movies like Unbreakable and The Sixth Sense also proved his worth as a really good actor.
Action Hero? Bruce Willis was a TV superstar before Die Hard, as a comic actor. He was also in a couple of half decent Blake Edwards films before his run in at Nakatomi Plaza. Also jettisoned means dumped overboard, I think you meant launched.

Good point about Stallone there Bob, he can act, but you can never tell when acting Sly will turn up. When he does though he is a fine actor. I mean look at Cop Land, a good film not a great one, but he holds his own in a cast of heavy hitters.
 

Danny Ocean

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MovieBob said:
Musclepocalypse

MovieBob explains where our action heroes have gone.

Watch Video
Holy crap! Someone actually knows what an anthropologist is and respects what they do enough to defer to their knowledge!
 

Jennacide

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I think another reason to factor in is that action movies on the whole haven't been doing all too well lately, and most haven't been too good, except for the ones that are also genre films, like Avengers and Dredd. Honestly, Dredd blew me away partially just because it was more faithful to the comic's themes than the Sly movie was, but also that it was a geniunely well thought out action flick with an art direction and style.

As for Bruce Willis, his action film persona never went away, but it has definitely taken a back seat in the past decade. Sure, he's in stuff like RED, but he's still more remembered for his amazing roles in films like Sixth Sense, Lucky Number Slevin, and Looper.
 

maximara

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Aiddon said:
the thing is that idea of "masculinity" was only ever found in the 80s and 90s. If you look before, after, and even DURING that era you still had the typical Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen, James Dean, Paul Newman, etc archetypes in cinema because THAT was closer to ideal masculinity (which, oddly enough, is actually closer to Japanese masculinity). The 80s basically turned the brute archetype into the hero, but unfortunately also became an archetype known for ego, arrogance, and insecurity (a.k.a., for DOUCHEBAGS). It was more of a power fantasy than anything and it quickly ran its course, bringing us back to the REAL way action heroes should be done. Stallone's efforts to try and keep his 80s lunkhead stuff alive only goes to show just how irrelevant it's become and how insignificant it was even when it was around. Stuff like Die hard and Lethal Weapon just hell up BETTER due to having actual ACTORS in them.
Actually, it could be argued that Stallone and Schwarzenegger harkened back to the pulp "masculinity" of the 1930s and 40s as embodied by Doc Savage, Howard's Conan, and even to some degree Siegel and Shuster's Superman. The living embodiment of the physical part of that ideal was Charles Atlas who supposedly was Schwarzenegger's inspiration.

However unlike Charles Atlas many of these heroes were to put it bluntly jerks.

For example, Superman was originally cast in the Sam Spade mold--"See this iron girder?" Twists it into a knot. "This is what I will do to your neck if you don't tell me what I want to know." Batman was little better, carrying and using a gun for the first few months of his literary existence. So the "douchebagness" was there it just had been supplanted for a more toned version for decades.
 

maximara

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Ickabod said:
Pardon me for being captain obvious, but the fact those actions movies were hits and not now, might have to do with the fact the formula is 25 to 30 years old at this point. That would be like watching a movie from the late 50's in 1980, it's just a different era.

And honestly, I don't have a problem with JJ Abrams handling Portal. Think about it, JJ likes his big mysteries, Portal is a pretty good mystery since you're in the dark for most of the game. It could work. Keeping an open mind.
Good point. There was a reason the Western which use to be the main staple of movies and later TV is nearly nonexistent today.

Sometimes the formula picture gets a timelessness about itself (Them for example) but most of the time there is this disconnect.
 

MovieBob

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Surprised? How the fuck is anyone "surprised" that a movie best suited as a summer action flick in a financial period where people are naturally spending less bombed? Now, if it was tax season, where people would be done with their taxes and just wanted to turn their brain off for some raw action, or if it was summer, where summer blockbusters are summer blockbusters, it'd be one thing, but how is it conceivable that people were surprised this film bombed when none of the circumstances of its release date had anything going for it?

4:02- God damn, Bob, you've done it again! Great job!
Avengers count: 3

Also, anyone else think Bob should be disqualified to review any movie he has a negative/positive bias for/against? Really, his refusal to acknowledge anything right in The Amazing Spider-Man and his constant fapping to The Avengers pretty much shows the extent of his critical integrity, self-control, and qualification when it comes to movies he has a bias on.
 

Arcane Azmadi

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Umm... Bob, would it have been too much to ask for you to have given us a brief, 5-second answer to the simple question "Are The Last Stand and Bullet To The Head actually any good, or are they the kind of badly-made shallow garbage as The Expendables?" Just out of interest.
 

viranimus

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"We dont know what their place is yet"

Sure we do. Its in the friend zone, left to die, along with anything that exhibits anything even remotely suggesting a difference between men and women in a hyper sensitized politically correct world. THATS why Ahnold isnt relevant any more. You even hint on it but shirk it by explaining you are not an anthropologist.
 

Soak

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Interesting point.
When i first heard about Arni's return to movies and his new action hit "The Last Stand" my first thought was:
When an action movie star gets to old for movies, he can become governor and when he's to old to be governor, he can still... go back to movies? Yeah, riiight XD
Also, i just call it "Die very very very very very Hard" now

Well, i thank those guys for their classical movies and for what they've achieved for the action movie genre, but i guess there would be no problem if they would "retire" now either.
 

Snooder

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Personally, I have no idea what the hell MovieBob is talking about.

Sly and Arnold's movies aren't bombing because people don't like watching muscle bound action guys, they're bombing because Arnold and Sly are too fucking old to be playing those characters.

Compare, for example, The Rock. He seems to have no problem getting work, and I would be seriously surprised if Fast and Furious 6 doesn't make money in theaters this summer. Or look at the continued success of the WWE. They keep making money just as well as they ever did. Hell, the day comes that Gears of War gets turned into a movie, you can bet that whatever ex-body builder or wrestler gets tapped to play Marcus Fenix will most certainly look more like a brick shithouse than a normal human being.

There'll always be a place for the roided up hero, but frankly there will NEVER be a place for the roided up grandpa.
 

kouriichi

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Skeletor? Dr Rockso? Bruise Willis? This might be the best thing on the Escapist...
 

jovack22

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I didn't think this video would have much to it but bob usually has something worth listening to.
 

TheSchaef

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Daaaah Whoosh said:
Since I only recently saw the first Die Hard, I can completely agree with this. I don't really want to see people who're so well-built and powerful that I can't relate to them. That's why I usually don't like anime.
But that's exactly the reason I DO like anime, and tech anime in particular. Apart from the inherent coolness of robots-that-turn-into-stuff that made Voltron and Robotech hit shows in the 80's, there's also the fact that this guy



was the biggest badass in the universe. Even more than his own squadron leader, though granted, that guy crashed just about everything he flew.

Red X said:
Ha cha cha!
Did I really just see a legitimate, relevant Jimmy Durante reference? This may be the biggest mindblow I have experienced since the Orson Welles slow clap became a thing.
 

William Greeson

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Part of the success of Expendables isn't being talked about and feels important.

Next to the old guard are these new guys. Jason Statham only started getting big after Snatch, a movie showing off that he could be charming and clever. He follows it up with The Transporter and Crank. One being a not great action movie which still showcases a decent action star. The other being a parody of this kind of thing showing he doesn't take himself too seriously. You also have Terry Crews, who is really riding off those crazy Old Spice commercials making fun of superhuman phisiques. These guys sitting next to the old guys made expendables all the more interesting as an event rather than a movie.

With that in mind, it was a passing of the torch kind of thing, and some action fans felt obligated to go.(I didn't, I expected it would suck due to the ability to sell off star power and was proven right by friends who did go.) Hollywood needs to do one of two things to keep it going. Up the bar with fresh talent like Terry Crews, or do movies containing BOTH one of the old guys with one of these new guys.(Yes, I know that last stand has one of the guys from 'Jackass' but that doesn't count, since he's not one of the "new guard" action stars I'm kind of pointing towards.) Either one of these things will sell on premise alone.

But whatevs. I'm not too depressed to see these over the top action pieces fall a little. Hollywood might get creative if it keeps happening.
 

Roman Monaghan

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So basically, those five other shows Bob has to talk about whatever the fuck he wants on aren't enough, and he has to talk about completely inane bullshit on his movie show about movies instead of actually talking about what movie he saw. "Escape to the Movies"? More like Bob's third orgasm of the day, first one hundred views get one of the messy hand wipes and a cameo as an annoying character (sorry to be redundant there) in the next Game Overthinker episode.
 

Keith_F

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Or maybe the lesson is don't release a big budget action movie in January. Except that's not a lesson. Because that's been common sense for decades.
 

piclemaniscool

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I too would like to see see some demographics by an anthropologist. I have absolutely no idea of the background of this (or really any) franchise's core demographic, but to compare it to my own community: Those were the movies that everyone wanted to see, but nobody really "had the chance." For me, it was because I went to college and am no longer walking distance from a movie theater. All my friends are in a similar situation. While we would probably enjoy the movie the most, theaters IN GENERAL are outdated and inconvenient to people like me. Let me give you an example: Last Saturday, a group of friends and I were bored 3:00 in the morning. "we should watch a movie" one said. Now, do you think it even crossed our minds to find someone to drive us to the movie theater? Of course not. We cycled through Netflix, HBO GO, and ultimately decided to just play Mario Party. Why in the world would we spend $20-$40 for 2 hours when we have everything we could ask for here?

I still plan on watching these movies eventually, but there's a very good chance that when I do, they will have agreed that the movie was a failure and never make another. And I bet I would WANT another movie, but the lag time between money spent and money received is so long that movie makers would have a better return rate buying lottery tickets.

It's always been like this to a degree, producers know this and have been making all the blockbusters in the summer and winter, as that's when most people are on vacation and have the most free time. The problem is that companies have propagated social stigmas in all the places that now would be beneficial. Straight-to-tv/dvd, decreasing theater time, and word-of-mouth promotion has always been seen as an instant flop, but obviously TV shows like Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, and countless others are getting the love of just about everyone in their demographic. And I believe the majority for that is ease of access. Ask anyone on campus how they liked the last episode of Breaking Bad, and they will likely have an opinion. Ask them about any movie released after The Avengers, and you won't be so lucky.
 

conflictofinterests

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Anthropology major checking in with two things to say. WOOO PEOPLE KNOW MY FIELD OF STUDY EXISTS, and you may have something there, though that might actually be something more in the realm of sociology and psychology. While it is dealing with humans, at least as I've encountered so far, Anthropology doesn't often deal with post-industrialized cultures, except in the biological sense or in the instances in which they affect industrialized, industrializing and pre-industrial societies. What you're talking about tends to be covered in much more depth, though with much less consideration for other stages of humanity, by the aforementioned other fields.
 

conflictofinterests

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piclemaniscool said:
I too would like to see see some demographics by an anthropologist.
Anthropologists don't study demographics. You're thinking of demographers. Anthropologists only touch on demographics in a glancing way when they study culture.