10 things I hate about Hollywood.

dear hollywood a breakup letter

When you get a weird email, out of the blue, from Arnold Schwarzenegger, you read it. Even if you are merely one of thousands of his closest friends, when the mass email is this long- like really long, much longer than a publicist or media manager would write- you browse through it anyway.

Without idle curiosity, where would some of us be after this year?

How Arnold Schwarzenegger got your email address is easy: He bought it. All our information is for sale somewhere. Why he would bother is less clear.

Is Arnold considering another run for office? Announcing a new blockbuster? That is, if Hollywood is even bothering to make blockbusters for U.S. release anymore.

A few weeks later, all questions are answered.

It wasn’t a publicity stunt to drum up interest for a political campaign; it wasn’t to announce an exciting new artistic endeavor.

It wasn’t a public apology for “Pumping Iron”.

Hollywood has assembled a crack team of big-name, A-list actors and actresses to push a multimillion dollar campaign to get people to go back to the movie theater.

“The big screen is back!” according to Arnold Schwarzenegger, which is the name of the campaign.

Except I, like so many others, won’t be going. Obviously, we won’t be going.

Otherwise why would Hollywood, including Disney, finally relent after all these years and release first-run movies directly into our homes? If you really want to see “The Quiet Place II” or Disney’s “Cruella” or the new violent action film “Nobody”, you can rent it tonight for $20.

When a business model is killing it, you don’t change it. You change a business model when it isn’t working. Even long before Covid closed movie theaters across the country, many for good, people just weren’t as interested in going to the movies anymore.

A campaign to drum up interest in going to the movies didn’t used to be necessary, and it isn’t going to fix what’s broken in the movie industry.

Perhaps an answering grassroots campaign could begin in response, by and for people who used to love movies but haven’t found much to love lately.

Let’s call it: “Make Better Movies.”

  1. Cut down the violence- it became too much long ago. Hyperrealistic stylized violence is being substituted for good storytelling and compelling characters. The result is a lazy, unwatchable, squirm-inducing parade of torture porn. It’s appalling.
  2. You think you’re preaching, but you’re really just cashing-in on the worst humanity has to offer for cheap shock value. Quit it.
  3. End the glorification of violence against women. See above. It’s sick, it has real-world consequences, and it has gone on far too long.
  4. Burn the casting couch. See above. #MeToo only scratched the surface of exploitation in Hollywood. Read Kate Beckinsale’s stomach-turning story about Harvey Weinstein. Listen to the stories of women working in the pornography industryif you can bear it. Hollywood can’t presume to lecture anyone about anything as long as this is going on.
  5. Smash the Hollywood Machine. Disney, which owns the rights to Star Wars, won’t cede artistic control to George Lucas. Too much money on the line. The result, art by finance committee with approval from legal, is about as interesting as stale popcorn. Art means taking risks; not making a dozen sequels, prequels and remakes because they always do *ok*.
  6. Hollywood has become preoccupied with the culture of Hollywood; not with making great art. Actors are more concerned about how they’ll look on the red carpet, or on Oprah, than they are about being able to convey emotion with their faces. It’s a problem.
  7. Be the change you (claim) to want to see in the world. Hollywood is fond of championing the working class. What’s with these stories about actors paying production staff fair value out of their own (albeit exorbitant) salaries? Toxic workplaces? Hollywood is more than faces on a screen. It is past time it reflected that reality.
  8. On that note: Pay everyone more fairly. Hollow-wood talks a good game, but mind the wealth gap.
  9. Especially women. Cardi B. and Megan Thee Stallion slayed at the Grammy’s, but what Cardi B. really likes most is checksShe told us so. Is she getting those checks? If we were looking at the four people who made the most money from the WAP grammy performance, would Cardi B. and MTS be among them?
  10. Nothing from nothing leaves nothing. An industry that objectifies women, glorifies violence, exploits addiction, and perpetuates harmful stereotypes to the degree it has currently is bound to produce a degraded product.

Nothing good can come from the current environment in Hollywood. And until you clean up your act for good, we’re quits.

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)