Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a passion for the cinema. Not necessarily blockbuster movies, but specifically independent flicks. If you look at my favorite flicks, a lot of them have independent roots or an idenpendent feel to them (Swingers, Good Will Hunting, Pulp Fiction, Se7en, etc.) I picked up a book on the bargain shelf at Barnes & Noble last week and I can’t put it down. Rebels on the Backlot is a book I’ve almost purchased many times for the full price of $25. It focuses on how film changed in the nineties and some of the men most responsible for those changes – Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction), Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia), Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich), David O. Russell (Three Kings), David Fincher (Fight Club), and Steven Soderbergh (Traffic). It’s an extremely interesting book as it paints a more interesting story about the directors than you probably already knew. More than anything, it made me appreciate growing up with such great movies in my late teen years. I really had forgotten how much I love all of these movies. Sadly, there are a few that I’ve always been meaning to see, but never gotten around to (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, and Being John Malkovich).
Reading about these movies made me want to watch all these movies again. I own a bunch of movies by these directors. For the sake of being thorough, here’s a list: Resevoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill 1 & 2, and (very shortly) Death Proof all by Quentin Tarantino. Traffic, Ocean’s Eleven, and Ocean’s Thirteen by Steven Soderbergh. Adaptation by Spike Jonze. Three Kings by David O. Russell. Sadly, nothing by PTA (Paul Thomas Anderson). Panic Room, Fight Club, The Game, and Se7en by David Fincher.
Reading the book was also kind of sad. It made me realize how a majority of studios aren’t interested in making good films. They are interested in selling tickets. They are interested in taking a chance if that chance involves a big name actor or a big name director. The only reason to even make an “artsy” film or a film that takes a chance is to win an Oscar which helps the reputation of a studio. It’s sad that you chances are (unless something drastically changes), my kids are going to see more formulatic movies that are out right now. My one hope is that somehow technology will help filmmakers make films cheaper in more of a do-it-yourself format with some sort of online distribution.
No real reason to write all of this today other than to point out that it’s a great book that you can find for cheap if you are into movies. I supposed I also wanted to remind you and myself of some of the great movies that came out from 1994 through about 1999. I know I’m going to re-watch some of these greats in the next week or so. Hopefully, if you get a chance to watch a movie, you’ll find something as entertaining as these movies are and were.