Once upon a time, in the comparatively innocent age of March 2016—oh how young we were then—a starry-eyed buck of a writer called Lard Castletoon (or something like that) wrote a wonderful deconstruction of the concept of ‘Hollywood.’ Last seen wandering over the US-Mexico border with a bottle of something brown smuggled underneath a raincoat, he nevertheless left us with some hard-won wisdom before he disappeared into a desert both real and metaphorical. He wrote:
People are drawn to the glamour of ‘Hollywood’ like moths to a flame. But in general, there is no governing structure. There is no comprehensive plan. There is no agreement about how best to proceed or who to hire or where to spend their money because every company is different and they’re all scrambling for funding and relevance and commercial success. But there’s no love lost between studios, generally no honor among thieves and sorry to say, there is no ‘Hollywood.’
Not in the way most people think, anyway.
Nuanced. Considered. Sensible.
Well burn your eyes, Castlethwaite, you degenerate art dealer. I’m hungover. I don’t have time for your nuance.
Here are ten DEVASTATINGLY great ideas that the monolith, singular entity known as Hollywood needs to adopt in order to become its best self. Some of these ideas are not new. In fact most of them are pretty common in certain circles.
BUT IT’S NICE TO HAVE SHIT ALL TOGETHER IN ONE TIDY PACKAGE SOMETIMES, YA KNOW?! PRINT THE LIST OUT, HANG IT AROUND HOLLYWOOD AS A REFERENCE.
1. Hire More People Who Aren’t White Men, You Twats
Hey, did you hear the one about gender diversity in Hollywood? How about the other, similar one, the one about race? The punchline to both is: White Dudes Have Too Much Power. True in Hollywood; true almost everywhere else. And guess what? That hurts everyone. Do you want a paucity of perspective in your stories, Hollywood, you twats? Because that’s how you get paucity of perspective in your stories. Give other people a chance. And don’t just point at one or two that you’ve deemed to let in front of the camera. Let them run the show. Let them hire people themselves too. Change the fucking system. Everyone will benefit. Or, you know, keep telling that story over and over again.
2. Quit Making Everything a Shared Universe, You Bellends
Here, listen: Kayleigh already expounded on this particular hangnail of a Hollywood obsession much more eloquently and with more balance than I ever could. My one contribution is: Just stop it with that shit! Bad Hollywood! Bad! Put that shared universe down. Tell me some stories that don’t depend on being surrounded by the creaking scaffolding of other stories!
3. Make More Buddy Cop Movies, You Crusty Old Jizz-Rags
Yes, you should diversify and make more types of movies, but hitting some reliable tropes now and then ain’t such a bad thing. A formula worked well can be a very satisfying thing indeed. So work one of the finest ones of them all. Hey, I know a guy who’s got loads of great ideas and who’s willing to license them for very reasonable amounts of cash-in-hand. A new golden age of buddy cop movies could be just around the corner. Think about itttttttt, the Rock and Tilda Swintonnnnnnn; you know it makes sensseeeeeeee.
4. Stop Remaking Shit, You Sozzled Old Drunks
I don’t care how much financial sense it makes in the long run, leave some of the old shit alone! It was wonderful. It was classic. It lives forever, alive and free, in our memories. There is almost never a valid artistic reason to remake an older thing. Sure, Michael Mann made Heat, the greatest movie of all time, by remaking an older TV movie of his, and there are other exceptions that prove the rule. But generally speaking: Don’t. When someone comes in to that boardroom with their mouth gurning a touch too much, their eyes un-blinking and wild, take that as a hint and throw them and their ‘Let’s remake Total Recall! Or Robocop!’ horseshit out on their powder-vacuuming arse.
5. Stop Revisiting Old Properties, You Silly Silly ****s
This one is the sister idea to number 4. Anchorman 2. Zoolander 2. Prometheus. Fuck off with that noise. I don’t care how ‘Hey you know what? That wasn’t so bad’ Alien: Covenant might have been. Even hiring a talented auteur like Denis Villeneuve doesn’t distract me enough from the odious stench that excavating an old relic of perfection like Blade Runner releases. Don’t. Challenge yourselves to create new worlds. Show us some wondrous new horizons. Those things don’t need sequels.
6. Stop Giving Abusers Chance After Chance After Chance, You Devious Shit-Gobblers
Does this one really need an explanation? You know who I’m talking about. There’s a whole bunch of these guys out there who, instead of feeling the sting of karma hobble their careers as payback for their heinous behaviour, get rewarded by a system that values entertainment over human life. These people might be talented, sure, but you know what? There’s a whole fuck-tonne of talent out there that isn’t tainted by malevolence. Start filtering out the latter, you might make more room for the former.
7. Stop Writing Relationships Where The Man is Double The Woman’s Age,
You Unimaginative Knobkicks
Yes, of course these kinds of relationships exist, as they have every right to as an act between consenting adults; but if you don’t see that the relatively high preponderance of such relationships as compared to the gender-reversed version isn’t a symptom of the underlying patriarchy that runs our society then you’re just being silly. And, also yes, sure: telling stories is a way of reflecting the world we live in, and if these kinds of relationships exist then we’d be remiss to occasionally not show them. But there’s two provisos to that:
1) At a certain point, reflection can tip, tip, trip across the line to become reinforcement and/or endorsement.
2) You show way too fucking many of them. It just gets boring. There’s only so many times I can see Tom Cruise paired up with Emily Blunt before I start to feel sorry for both genders.
8. Gay People Exist, You Staggeringly Retrograde Tossers
And trans people. Basically there’s a whole huge swathe of humanity out there, full of people who don’t fall into that narrow heteronormative worldview that has dominated your industry for the vast majority of its existence. It would be nice, I think, for everyone, to see more of their stories. Ah, but don’t worry, I hear you—yes, you have gotten better at having nonheteronormative characters on screen in recent years. But, uh-oh, here I come again with the provisos:
1) Sometimes it would be nice to have a gay character played by a gay actor. It’s just neater that way. The same goes for trans actors. Loads of them out there. They love a gig just as much as cis actors. Woo, meritocracy!
2) When writing these characters, ask yourself the question: Do they have any other characteristic other than their sexual/gender identity? They probably should. Just makes for an overall richer story that way. If there’s a gay or trans character whose primary characteristic is that he or she is gay or trans, well—if you don’t see why that’s maybe not ideal, try and flip the situation and imagine a heterosexual character whose main attribute is their heterosexuality. WOW HOW COMPELLING, RIGHT!
9. Stop Making Star Wars Movies Every Bloody Year, Force-Feeding Force-Fuckers
Yeah. I’m sick of it already. Once they were mythical monoliths. Still products of a money-oriented business, sure, but there is something about the assembly-line Disney-ification of the Star Wars franchise that fills me with dread. Like any remaining magic is being slowly and methodically drained out. There was good in The Force Awakens and Rogue One, but it seemed like it was in spite of the controlling hand of the puppet master, rather than because of it. Call me a cynic, sure, but the recent Han Solo movie news about the firing of Lord & Miller looks too much like the stifling hand of corporate control hovering heavily over the restless spirit of invention. I don’t care if this time it’s Larry Kasdan, long-time Star Wars auteur. You’re gonna end up grinding this series into the dust if you’re not careful.
10. Put Rosario Dawson in Every Movie, You Daft Cockwombles
Self-explanatory this, innit? Rosario Dawson is the best. Warm, funny, full of empathy and fire; she’s the complete package. Versatility is Rosario Dawson’s middle name. She enlivens every project she’s in. DO YOU WANT YOUR PROJECTS ENLIVENED?! Then you know what to do.