I guess the once-great screenwriter Paul Schrader is washing down his Ambien with a couple of cabernets again – only this time, instead of calling for civil war on Facebook, he is lashing out against his prospective customers:
Paul Schrader has been in the movie business for well over four decades, and the one thing he’s noticed that has changed the most over the last several years is the moviegoing audience itself. Schrader, who most recently wrote and directed the acclaimed “First Reformed,” recently appeared at a BAFTA Screenwriters Series in London and connected the dots between the current lack of quality films in Hollywood and the overall changes in moviegoing attitudes.
“There are people who talk about the American cinema of the ‘70s as some halcyon period,” Schrader said (via Deadline). “It was to a degree but not because there were any more talented filmmakers. There’s probably, in fact, more talented filmmakers today than there was in the ‘70s. What there was in the ‘70s was better audiences.”
“When people take movies seriously it’s very easy to make a serious movie,” he continued. “When they don’t take it seriously, it’s very, very hard. We now have audiences that don’t take movies seriously so it’s hard to make a serious movie for them. It’s not that us filmmakers are letting you down, it’s you audiences are letting us down.”
You know what, Paul? F*** you. How dare you.
I cannot honestly claim to be a devoted cinephile. But I like movies and I go to the movies when the opportunity presents itself and I feel there is something worth watching. Do you know how often that is? These days, almost never. Because virtually everything that’s playing is the cinematic equivalent of a Hot Pocket. It’s junk, and it’s bad for you.
And I am not some rube who doesn’t know an auteur from an arc shot. I mean, I was reading books about Hitchcock in high school for fun. I only mention this to illustrate that I actually care about movies. I take movies very seriously. Very seriously, Paul. And the stuff that you people are cranking out these days is just unwatchable. It’s terrible. It’s insultingly bad – even when you’re not actively pissing on the fans.
To paraphrase an online comment about Hot Pockets, what you call movies nowadays are in fact “disgusting movie-like items.” You (Hollywood) have literally lost the plot. You don’t know how to tell stories anymore. You don’t know how to captivate the audience using the magic of the big screen. You have a grave responsibility here. We are paying good money to sit in a darkened room for 110 minutes and be entertained. You had better not waste our time. But you are wasting it, Paul. Your industry is wasting billions of hours of our time every year. And we are not amused.
Paul, you are a brilliant screenwriter and it pains me to say this (not really). But in blaming the moviegoing public for the decline of Hollywood, you resemble a capering, jingling fool whose act has worn thin, and now both the rich nobles and the groundlings in the pit are jeering and pelting you with rotten vegetables. You don’t know when to cut your losses, though, so you stay on stage, cursing and shaking your fist at the audience, as an earl in the galleries roars with laughter and empties a bucket of tomatoes onto your ass-eared cap.