Memo to: Filmmakers, Dealmakers, Scribes, Stars, Suits, and Readers
Who killed Hollywood? Who's responsible for studios hellbent on assembly-line "event" pictures? Why are production costs so high that no one can take artistic risks? Who decided that the studios should be a development arm of them parks? What happened to putting actual stories with characters onscreen?
And while we're at it, what happened to taste? Where are the believable human characters buried? Are all the execs out of control? How does so much money get spent for so little?
Who Killed Hollywood? is a passionate love/hate letter to the film industry. In it, Peter Bart pulls together his best columns form Variety and GQ. He groups them, juxtaposes them, and interprets them, outlining in detail the history and inner workings of Hollywood. This could only be done by someone powerful enough to phone an star or head of studio and have his calls taken on the first ring.
In story after story, Bart shows how the major studios have diverted their energies away from production of the shrewdly crafted pictures that once made the industry powerful. There isn't, for example, much range or innovation in the movies. There is only a handful of salable subjects-natural disasters, aliens, dinosaurs, ghosts, monsters, or any combination thereof. All the subjects easily parlayed into theme-park environments, action figures, video games, and clothing lines. Similarly, since Jaws twenty years ago, there's been a very short list of acceptable settings. The 1998 Academy Award nominations for best picture all went to films set in Elizabethan times or during World War II. A few years ago it looked as though Pulp Fiction and other independent films were going to save showbiz. Now independent producers like Miramax and New Line have been acquired by conglomerates.
Who and what will resurrect Hollywood? Peter Bart has the answers.