Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Hollywood Recipe

“The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday” – Baz Luhrmann.

And it was, on one such arbitrary tuesday evening, that I somehow stumbled onto an article, that spoke about the top box office earner’s in Hollywood in the last 30 years. I have always been a fan of Hollywood for its diversity, the versatility of its actors, and the broad cross section of topics it covers, So I was naturally interested. The list went something like this
1. The Aviator
2. Beautiful mind
3. Fight club
4. Rain man
5. One flew over the cuckoo’s nest

Quite an eclectic bunch of movies, I’d say. Let us look more closely,
In” Aviator”, We have leo playing an eccentric entrepreneur, who suffers from “Obsessive compulsive disorder”, adding a lot of mystery to his character keeping the audience entrenched.
In “Beautiful mind” A truly fantastic film we have Russel crowe playing John Nash, A truly brilliant mathemathician, suffering from Schizophrenia.
In “Fight club”, We have Brad pit, and Edward Norton, indulging in combat, and in the end leaving the viewer himself feeling schizophrenic.
In “Rain Man”, another fantastic Oscar winning film of yesteryear, We have Dustin hoffman with his epic portrayal of an autistic person.
Finally, In “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest”, We have Jack Nicholson and his experiences in a home for the mentally unstable.
You probably, have got the drift by now. As, you must have guessed , What I am trying to convey and what all of us must think about as well is..
Isn’t Hollywood exploiting, the medical field for obscure and uncommon diseases, as it gives their story a cutting edge, and secondly is it morally right?
It just seems, as if a perfect recipe for a Hollywood success would be :
1. Do some research, come up with an obscure disease.
2. Cast a great actor, to play this person.
3. Put in a love story, some good music.
4. Make sure this person comes through this disease, or learns to live with it, and comes out triumphant.
5. Make it a little ambiguous and complicated so that the viewer won’t ask too many question’s in fear of being labeled foolish (Emperor’s new clothes effect)
And voila! We have a Box office smash hit.
Think about it, From the director’s angle, It is a relatively safe option, for firstly not too many people know anything about the disease, so he can adapt it to his storyline. Secondly, It is considered humanitarian, as they are showing the travails of someone, who has to deal with an incomprehensible disease and it is impossible, for someone not to take a sudden interest in the person, and in the disease itself.
Thirdly, No one would dare to say anything discouraging about the movie in fear of suddenly being considered inconsiderate and insensitive. One would more likely hear something like, “Oh Poor thing! He is suffering from Schizophrenia”. When, I’m sure if one were to ask that same person what the meaning of schizophrenia was before the movie began, The most likely anwer would be akin to something like ,”I think it is a species of an African spider”.
And Finally, Most parents would encourage their children to watch such a movie, as they might even term it educational, You get to learn about a new disease. Well, How many of us are really dying to find out about “Schizophrenia” or “Obsessive compulsive disorder” anyway, I wonder.
The question’s to be pondered here, are
a) Is Hollywood that short of good story line’s that it has to revert to medicine, and various memory lapses and disorder’s in order to make a good film.
b) Secondly, How many people do you and me know, who have had even symptoms of any of these diseases
c) On a lighter note, Have the number of doctor’s watching movies suddenly appreciated, that these types of movies are suddenly so well appreciated.
By know, you guys must be coming up with other movies as well, which are on similar lines. Some, of these movies are really good, but you can’t help but feel that , A whole bunch of director’s have suddenly jumped onto what I’d liked to call,” ”The schizophrenic bandwagon”,and raked in the profits. For like I have just illustrated.It does makes great commercial and marketing sense.

Reminds me of that often quoted saying in Hollywood…”Money talks , Bull shit walks, That’s Showbiz!”, or better still "Its all about the money, Honey"


Rat said...

Congrats on your new blog ! Good stuff !

Vinod said...

Welcome to the blogging world dude!

pr@$#@nt# said...

I totally agree with ur theory mate, but Aviator and Beautiful Mind were abt real life ppl.I think, Hollywood directors looking to make movies abt more famous personalities sufferring from acute disorders of some sort or the other.Anyway, I liked this blog, much better than ur first try and found it more interesting too.

sm said...


I always knew you were smart and
had more brains than, well, me,
for instance.

But after rapidly going through
your 'Blog" ( what is a blog ?)
...i am ...perplexed to say the

Did you really ..i mean did you
actually deduce all that yourself...?


in the end, arent we all loony
too ?

The Lowdown,
a picture of your face,
your injured looks,
the sacred and profane,
the pleasure and the pain,
somewhere your picture .....
....and its your face ,
i'm looking for,
on every street.

...vidya ?!

its me,
sm ?

Sudhir said...

Thank you, Very much Deepika, That sure was prompt.
Sm, lol. You write well, Maybe u should start a (What is that) Blog!

sreekrishnanv said...

Hey sudhir really a good thought and i too accept with you ..... but some of them like Beautiful Mind do happen to people but not as effective as that happened to Nash and not only that disease but lot of such psycological for example.. u have a "beautiful mind" that constantly criticize and tease others although sometimes its really valuble.... so i feel its not a bad idea to make movies on this buit too much of makes ppl think weird like what you have ..... cool keep it up da.... it was really interesting..... hope peelu stops thinking abt those english movies and keep appreciating them ....sreekrishnan

Vinod said...

Put up a new post da!

aarabi veeraraghavan said...

i'm not sure about the movie, but fight club was an amazingly written book. intertersing, nicely done post. got me thinking about these movies from your perspective. but i think on the whole these movies do not really exploit audience space dynamics and push the histrionics to some unbearable insesitive point. anyways great stuff. and no,you get your own popcorn when you read my blog. its a low budget venture.

Anonymous said...

No Words to describe the Sultan of

I guess, you are blessed to actually hear him play -live.

"Lady killer regulation tatoo
Silver spurs on your arms
and its your face i'm looking
On Every Street......"

with my customary love,

Anonymous said...

hey ......about the hollywood recipe.....its fantastically written...a very unique and sharp observation on the underside of the not soo holly wood.......but cmmon..... why do we watch these physcologically disturbed -struggling -in -the -beginning emerging -triumphant -in -the- end(pheww) movies anyway.....coz most of us propably relate to them....the carthatic effect u c