Many films are released each and every week of the year, so it is fair to say not all of them will make it to the cinema. Although , this means there a some underrated gems just waiting to be found on the lower shelves of your local video store, it also means that atrocities such as the recent Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus are not taking up valuable space and time, which could be allocated to filmmakers who are genuinely trying to contribute to the industry.
“Straight to DVD” has become an increasingly negative phrase as it connotes that the film and its creators have not succeeded in producing a work which is worthy of even a weekend on the silver screen. It is also a pre-determined rating system which notifies any half switched on film fan that there is probably something more worthy of your time, so maybe look elsewhere for the evening’s entertainment.
Some actors embrace their lowered status and milk it for everything it’s worth…
Straight to DVD also tells us which actors are on the decline (usually to never resurface). Some actors accept this, embrace their lowered status and milk it for everything its worth until the inevitable call from Big Brother comes a few years later. Others sadly do not, and appear to pretend that it is just a blip in their still burgeoning career, or that their appearance in a particularly unwatchable feature was definitely “not just about the money”.
I’m looking at you Mr De Niro. Searching through a random film store which hasn’t closed down yet I was full of hope and expectation. I stumbled across a film called Stone; not the catchiest title ever, but what’s this, a De Niro film I have overlooked. Well it must be good because it also stars the ever-reliable Edward Norton and Milla Yovovich. Well shame on you Mr De Niro.
…a film which failed to make it big, even with the Godfather attached to it.
I can completely understand that there are not as many opportunities in the limelight for the older actor, and taking a supporting role behind a fresh faced Bradley Cooper in Limitless is nothing to be ashamed of. But starring in films which, from the decades of experience you have gained, you should know will not even get a whiff of success is detrimental to your outstanding oeuvre.
It is not just the star of such classics as Raging Bull and Taxi Driver who is on the decline; some of his fellow veterans have gone straight to DVD as well. Most notably Al Pacino with 88 Minutes: a film which failed to make it big, even with the Godfather attached to it.
It is not just the older generation that seems to be suffering…
There is always the possibility that such actors have no choice but to gamble on a project that they hope will find success, but it may just be the general quality of films which is declining. Otherwise, how can you explain Morgan Freeman’s involvement in the critically acclaimed Batman series mirrored with his role in the almost invisible Edison? It is not just the older generation that seems to be suffering; you can understand when Statham or Snipes happily flop onto DVD (they’re not very good actors), but when such talent as Ryan Phillippe and John Cusack bypass the big screen, you know there’s something wrong.
Let’s just hope that the industry can reform and again produce material for these stars which compliments their talent and ability. But until then I think all of them should get together, have Sylvester Stallone write a script…
Images courtesy of The Asylum and Relativity Media