Psychological Complexes in Hollywood Movies

There are a pair of movies that spring to mind when I think of this particular subject. One was incredibly successful and the other pretty much disappeared without a trace. It hadn’t really occurred to me why one would do so much better than the other, especially since both had stellar casts, but I may now have an idea why.

The first of the two movies was released in 1991 and starred Billy Murray and Richard Dreyfuss. In “What About Bob” Murray played a multiphobic person who had difficulty leaving his house for any other reason than to visit his psychiatrist. When the doctor has to go on vacation, Bob goes into a bit of a tizzy and ends up stalking the good doctor and his family at their vacation spot. It’s there that the craziness ensues, with the family far more accepting of Bob than the doctor, which isn’t that difficult given how egotistical the Dreyfuss character is.

The biggest problem here was that the psychological issues that Bob suffered from were somewhat glossed over for the sake of the comedy. The complex issues of the main character were painted like a caricature and made so big as to be totally ridiculous. You never really felt that he was under any real personal stress, which I guess no-one wants to see in a light comedy of this sort. The movie did make money, but I believe that’s simply because of the popularity of Bill Murray at the time rather than any great love for the flick in general.

The other movie that I think of when it comes to psychological disorders is the 1998 Jack Nicholson movie “As Good As It Gets.” Ironically, the character that Nicholson plays in the movie has many of the same issues that Bob has in the aforementioned Bill Murray film. The difference here is that Nicholson’s problems are given a very “real” treatment. His character is very difficult to like from the get go, but you end up pulling for him because you can see that it’s his psychological issues that are affecting all of his relationships. So unlikeable is his character, you are surprised when a neighbor’s dog take to him so quickly. Of course, we find out later that he was stuffing bacon treats in his pocket so that the dog would come to him.

The scenes in the movie that show the problems of the character are subtle, yet it’s still very apparent how big of an impact they have on his life, as well as the lives of everyone he comes into contact with. You can see and feel that he wants to change, but that doing so isn’t going to be easy. Yes, his problems are played up for laughs, but you also get a bit of an insight into the life of a person suffering from these sorts of psychological issues. You see the pain he is creating, as well as his inability to stop it happening. Maybe I’m looking at all this a little too deeply, and it’s just as simple as people liking one movie over another, but I think the reason that “As Good As It Gets” scored big at the Academy Awards is because it was able to successfully mix the psychological madness into the comedy.

Top Hollywood Movies of 2012: Genre Hopping Fun!

With the new year quickly approaching, it might be interesting to focus on a summation of the best Hollywood movies of 2012. This past year saw some outstanding and innovative films spanning across some unusual genres. Les Miserables, starring Anne Hathaway, is a musical adaption of a Victor Hugo novel while science fiction intrigues like Looper, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, delighted and stimulated audiences earlier this year. Although the Academy Awards are a few months away, critics are talking oscar buzz with these films and some others exciting films, some of which will be chronicled shortly.

Les Miserables

Victor Hugo’s novel of the same name came to artistic fruition in 1862. Today it is hailed as on the best slice of life novels of all-time and perhaps one of the best overall novels of the nineteenth century. Transliterated as “The Wretched,” the novel (and film) focuses on the tough lives of peasants following the 1832 June Rebellion. Nonetheless, the film itself is a musical drama disseminated by Universal Pictures and starring big names like Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Anne Hathaway. In terms of critical reception, Peter Travers for Rolling Stone Magazine raves that Les Miserables is a musical feast for the eyes and ears and has ample humor and pathos to keep the whole family entertained.

Looper

In the same vein as a Ridley Scott science fiction flick or a Arthur C. Clarke novel, Looper gives us a futuristic story about time travel. The film takes place in the year 2074 and its premise is thus: assassins, known as loopers, are sent back into the past (present) to take out dangerous people. For instance, a criminal organization might decide that a neo-Hitler is simply too hostile and corrosive, and subsequently call for his assignation before his tumultuous rise to power. The film’s chief twist, though, is that the criminal organization in question, unbeknownst to them, has called for a hit of the assassin. The movie invokes time travel problems like the grandfather paradox and is expertly acted by both Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis; the latter plays the older version of the same character. You can’t miss this science fiction gem!

The Master

Hailed by some critics as the revival of Joaquin Phoenix’s waning career, The Master is actually a much more nuanced piece of art. Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman costar in a film with many themes: disassociation, disillusionment, betrayal, love, and loyalty all coalesce. The film revolves around the dislocated troubles of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character who helms a philosophical movement known as the “cause” in the film. Loosely based on the real-life scientology epidemic, which actually follows the same timeline as the partly fictitious “cause” in The Master, the film chronicles how people respond to power, desperation, and loyalty. Already, the film has generated best supporting actor Oscar buzz for a revived Phoenix. The story can’t be missed.

Summing Up

This article has made a compendium of the top hollywood movies 2012, spanning many genres and ideas. From science fiction to drama, this year in movies proved both eclectic and riveting for audiences everywhere!

Big Hollywood Movie Gross Sales and the Publicity of Tragedy Considered

Perhaps you recall back in the summer of 2012 there was a terrible shooting at the premiere opening night of the new Batman movie in Colorado. A gunman walked into the theater and started opening fire wounding over 50 people and killing 12. The media labeled it the worst shooting in US history by a single gunman. The amount of psychological damage not to mention the physical carnage will not easily be forgotten. Interestingly enough, that Batman movie grossed over $161 million in the first weekend. Okay so let’s talk about this for second shall we?

Did the terrible events trigger a massive media blitz helping that big Hollywood movie make more money? Although it was a big budgeted movie, and expected to do extremely well, I believe the tragic event and media coverage actually did help the movie make more money. This causes a dilemma with what we as Americans think is right. It’s not that we don’t want Hollywood to make money on their movies, we want the industry to succeed so they can keep bringing us even better movies in the future.

Unfortunately such a tragic event was rewarded at the box office due to the media coverage which transpired. In many regards anti-violent movie advocates would say that we need less violence in movies to prevent future tragedies, but in this case the tragedy became a symbiotic relationship with the amount of revenue earned by the industry. That’s a problem, and is something we now have to deal with. The movie reviews were good, and since it was such a high-revenue grossing movie there will also be actors and actresses win awards for their performances.

Will Hollywood be able to vote for their best-of-breed actors and actresses who performed in that movie in good faith? Will the Academy Awards consider the implication of pouring salt in the wounds of the victims by giving this movie “Best Picture” or awarding actors and actresses with best actor or best supporting role? That’s a tough call isn’t it?

Interestingly enough, the movie producers were hesitant on releasing the results for that first weekend because the movie grossed so much money, at a time when the country was in morning, and the President of the United States had actually declared the flags to be lowered for nearly a week to allow the country to heal and reflect on what had happened. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this on a philosophical and psychological level, and think on it

A Brief History Of Hollywood Movies

In the 1880s, the American stage was dominated by ‘Vaudeville shows’, which were cherished by the residents of North America. Being the primitive genre of variety entertainment, these shows differed from burlesque. As entrepreneurs started experimenting with their movie-making skills, these shows lost all of their glory. Here, achievement of the film, ‘The Great Train Robbery’ is noteworthy.

In 1910, director D.W.Griffith, with his troop, started filming in downtown Los Angeles. While searching for a more apt location, they found it in a village that was miles northward — ‘Hollywood’. The first movie shot by Griffith in Hollywood was ‘In Old California’, a melodrama of California. Thorough research work identifies a number of points that ushered the beginning of Hollywood movies. But, it was Griffith’s ‘Birth Of A Nation’, which was the pioneering endeavor that whistled a never-ending journey of American cinema.

Gradually, with the growth of Hollywood industry, films were exhibited in Nicholodeon halls. Ambitious people on the production side emerged as the controlling heads of movie studios. They aided the internationalization of films to reduce America-centric provincialism. At the zenith of its popularity, the industry produced about 400 movies a year, with an audience of 90,000,000 Americans per week.

The American studios, however, confronted major difficulties when their sound productions were rejected in various foreign language markets. Also, the synchronization technique was too primitive. Around the 1930s, parallel language versions of films were produced to provide a befitting solution to the problem. With rapid advancement of synchronization, dubbing also became more realistic.

During the Golden Age of Hollywood (1920-1950), the film industry was at the peak of its success. Adherence to the formula of western slapstick comedy, musical animated cartoons contributed to it. The same creative team worked on films made by the same studio. The most renowned studios were Warner Bros., MGM, RKO, etc. Each studio had its own specialized characteristics, a trait not seen today. Each film was unique in its own flavor, since the moviemakers were all artists and creative people. The release of classics that enriched the industry, were ‘WUTHERING HEIGHTS’, ‘GONE WITH THE WIND’, ‘CASABLANCA’ and such other timeless masterpieces. In the late 1940’s, the separation of the production of films from their exhibition and the advent of television led to the decline of the studio system.

The postclassical cinema gave birth to directors from a new school of thought. They introduced new filming techniques and strategies and developed upon the prevailing ones. Films like ‘JAWS’, ‘GODFATHER’, ‘PSYCHO’, and other modern blockbusters’ have no doubt added a new dimension to Hollywood. With independent films, another new generation of moviemakers became focused as they made films that were often innovative, critical, unconventional, and contradictory. However, for their considerable financial success and crossover into popular culture, they have become a very influential part of Hollywood mainstream films.

With the passage of generations, directors with their exclusive style and innovations have come up with intellectually stimulating and thought provoking creations, making the history of Hollywood movies interesting as well as amazing.