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Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

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Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

Old 06-16-15, 12:01 PM
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Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

William Friedkin, the Oscar-winning director of The French Connection and The Exorcist, has dismissed the modern craze for superhero and sci-fi movies.

The acclaimed 79-year-old filmmaker, who is currently working for television channel HBO on a series about Mae West, told AFP reporter Sophie Laubie: "Films used to be rooted in gravity. They were about real people doing real things. Today cinema in America is all about Batman, Superman, Iron Man, Avengers, Hunger Games: all kinds of stuff that I have no interest in seeing at all."

The Chicago-born director, who also wrote and directed To Live and Die in L.A, was speaking at the Champs-Elysees Film Festival in Paris. He believes that the chase by studios to appeal to the broadest audience possible is why his own films fell out of favour after the Seventies. "That is when my films went like that - out of the frame," added Friedkin.

He dates the change back to 1977 when he made what he considered his best movie - the largely ignored Sorcerer, starring Roy Scheider, about four men transporting a cargo of nitroglycerin in South America - only to see it eclipsed by Star Wars. "If I am remembered at all for anything, I hope it would be that," said Friedkin.

Now Friedkin says "the best work" for directors is on television with cable and streaming networks that make shows such as True Detective and House of Cards. "You develop character at a greater length and the story is more complex and deeper than cinema," the director said, "this is the new zeitgeist. Many of the fine filmmakers of today are going to long-form TV. It is the most welcoming place to work for a director today."

Friedkin is working on a script for HBO about Mae West, the American sex symbol and entertainer, and he has spoken to Bette Midler about playing the part.

He is also looking to turn To Live and Die in LA into a TV series. He has not interest in adapting The French Connection or The Exorcist, however.

"I am not interested in making movies just for the pay-cheque," Friedkin said. "I have to love the film, the story, the characters. There were four sequels to The Exorcist and I've seen none of them, nor do I want to or intend to."
Source: telegraph.co.uk

Does he got a point? I'm not a comic/superhero nerd but will watch a superhero movie occasionally, but I'm not really crazy about them.
Old 06-16-15, 12:03 PM
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Re: Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

He just doesn't like the genre, it isn't ruining cinema, and I may have missed it but I don't think he actually said that. But he's right that spectacle has taken the place of thoughtful drama in movie theaters.

Some people like seeing guys in tights fight each other, some people like to watch people fellating a fried chicken leg. Apples and Oranges.
Old 06-16-15, 12:05 PM
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Re: Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

The link won't open on my phone but... no they're not. And the quoted bit doesn't say what the thread title goes for.
Old 06-16-15, 12:14 PM
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Re: Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

First of all, if these movies are doing so, it's not just in America. Worldwide box office tallies are higher for superhero and "big spectacle" movies than for smaller, more introspective films.

Which I'm fine with. There are still great films coming out with smaller distributions. The so-called "direct to video" that used to be an instant turn-off can now be fantastic with players like Netflix and Amazon.
Old 06-16-15, 12:15 PM
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Re: Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

Thanks for your input, William "Blue Chips" Friedkin.
Old 06-16-15, 12:33 PM
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Re: Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

So when in the late 70's when horror movies were all the rage that didn't do the exact same thing?

And I guess a head spinning around is rooted in gravity?

Get the fuck outta here with this shit.
Old 06-16-15, 12:34 PM
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Re: Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

Yeah, yeah, sure. Whatever.

Before blaming Superhero Movies for ruining cinema, people blamed shoot 'em up Action Movies for doing it. And before that people blamed crappy Horror Movies for ruining it, such as this terrible one directed by a certain "William Friedkin":

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/XB6TGtVghMY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
The Guardian (1990)

(I actually saw this piece of junk in the theater back in 1990)

Last edited by dhmac; 08-08-15 at 01:32 PM.
Old 06-16-15, 12:46 PM
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Re: Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

Who is that hack who gave us The French Connection, Sorcerer , To Live and Die In LA, Bug, Cruising, Killer Joe, Rampage & The Exorcist? How dare he criticize anything.

Last edited by inri222; 06-16-15 at 12:54 PM.
Old 06-16-15, 12:47 PM
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Re: Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

now GET OFF MY LAWN!!!!!!!!
Old 06-16-15, 12:50 PM
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Re: Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

Shame. I would have liked to see superhero movie directed by him.
Old 06-16-15, 12:58 PM
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Re: Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

Films used to be rooted in gravity. They were about real people doing real things. Today cinema in America is all about Batman, Superman, Iron Man, Avengers, Hunger Games: all kinds of stuff that I have no interest in seeing at all.
Shocker ... a 79 year old Oscar-winning director is not the target audience for mainstream Hollywood

Originally Posted by Timber View Post
And I guess a head spinning around is rooted in gravity?
Exactly And that's what he's most remembered for (with French Connection 2nd), not Sorcerer.
Old 06-16-15, 12:59 PM
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Re: Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

The title probably should have referenced Sci-Fi too, as it seems like it all started with Star Wars based on the quote. Not just about super hero movies.

Personally, I love those movies so I'm fine with the direction things have gone.
Old 06-16-15, 01:23 PM
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Re: Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

I wouldn't say superhero films are ruining cinema. That's like saying ANY hot genre du jour is ruining cinema. I would agree that there's very little daring, creativity, and originality in big budget filmmaking anymore, but I'd hardly be the first to make that assumption.

Eventually the superhero trend will die down and something else will replace it. Remember after Scream came out in 96 and it was nothing but attractive! teens! hip soundtrack! PG-13! horror movies! but not too scary! for about 5 years and change...
Old 06-16-15, 01:29 PM
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Re: Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

As much as I try to ignore these types of movies, don't their huge profits help fund the studios to make their smaller budget Oscar contenders each year?
Old 06-16-15, 01:29 PM
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Re: Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

Originally Posted by fumanstan View Post
Personally, I love those movies so I'm fine with the direction things have gone.
But even for those who don't, it seems there are more avenues for filmmakers to make their stuff than ever before. As Friedkin pointed out, television now allows for productions of the highest quality. Crowd-sourcing is paying for projects that never would've gotten made otherwise (well, except for Uwe Boll ). Digital technology allows professional looking movies to be made for peanuts. As a film viewer, it seems like I have access to a wider range of good stuff than ever before.

Yeah, if you're just going by the megaplex screens things could seem limited. But unlike from decades ago, that's not a good representation of all the movies that are out there.
Old 06-16-15, 02:02 PM
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Re: Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

Originally Posted by Dean Kousoulas View Post
As much as I try to ignore these types of movies, don't their huge profits help fund the studios to make their smaller budget Oscar contenders each year?
Yes, if anything superhero movies are saving film, and theaters.
Old 06-16-15, 02:07 PM
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Re: Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

Originally Posted by Dean Kousoulas View Post
As much as I try to ignore these types of movies, don't their huge profits help fund the studios to make their smaller budget Oscar contenders each year?
Eh I'm not sure about that. Most of the recent "real" Best Picture contenders have been independent or small studio financed features.

Take this past year.

Birdman, Boyhood, Imitation Game, Grand Budapest Hotel, Theory of Everything and Whiplash were all done outside of the typical studio system. Selma was financed by The Weinstein Company. Which leaves American Sniper as the sole traditional Best Pic nominee.
Old 06-16-15, 02:23 PM
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Re: Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

I still love you Billy, I got your back.


Last edited by inri222; 06-16-15 at 02:41 PM.
Old 06-16-15, 02:25 PM
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Re: Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

Originally Posted by brainee View Post
Shocker ... a 79 year old Oscar-winning director is not the target audience for mainstream Hollywood
I don't think his age has anything to do with it. His attitude, on the other hand...
Old 06-16-15, 02:30 PM
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Re: Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

I would say there is definitely a glut of Superhero type movies. Marvel has saturated the market and if the Avengers AoU is any indication the quality has suffered.

Now DC is going to do the same thing.
Old 06-16-15, 10:47 PM
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Re: Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

Yep, just like Westerns ruined cinema in the 50s and 60s.
Old 06-16-15, 11:12 PM
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Re: Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

It's weird to me that 1 or 2 movies a year from Marvel would be considered saturating the market. I get more hours then that in a single season of a TV show, even the shorter "premium" shows on HBO or even Netflix, so to me people talking about overload is strange, even if you throw in the movies from other studios.
Old 06-16-15, 11:25 PM
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Re: Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

I don't know, maybe he's right. But who cares? As long as there is an outlet for great directors & stories, so what? I personally enjoy the fact that TV is good & movies suck. I don't have to get out as much.

But really, if your best counter is a movie about Mae West starring Bette Midler...., that might just be a tiny indicator that you're not exactly cutting edge anymore.

Last edited by Eddie W; 06-16-15 at 11:38 PM.
Old 06-16-15, 11:34 PM
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Re: Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

Originally Posted by fumanstan View Post
It's weird to me that 1 or 2 movies a year from Marvel would be considered saturating the market. I get more hours then that in a single season of a TV show, even the shorter "premium" shows on HBO or even Netflix, so to me people talking about overload is strange, even if you throw in the movies from other studios.
I'm sure he was referring more to last couple years or something (Big Hero 6, Sin City 2, TMNT, Guardians of the Galaxy, Hercules, Snowpiercer, X-men Days of Future Past, Amazing Spider-man 2, Captain America 2, 300: Rise of an Empire, I, Frankenstein, Thor 2, Kick-ass 2, 2 Guns, The Wolverine, Red 2, RIPD, Man of Steel, Iron Man 3, Oblivion, Bullet to the Head, etc; )

It's more a style than just being "based off a comic book" anymore (like Mad Max) but hey it's what sells.
Old 06-17-15, 12:26 AM
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Re: Superhero movies are ruining cinema, says Exorcist director William Friedkin

He said "Marvel has saturated the market" which seems pretty specific Either way, I watch as many hours if not more of say Game of Thrones that I do comic book movies throughout the year, which was my point.

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