Dying for Something Original

The other day, I was scrolling through On Demand looking for a movie to watch. I skimmed past the ones I’d already seen, plus the ones my husband wants to watch someday, which left me with fewer choices. I scrolled and scrolled, but nothing caught my attention. It was just more of the same.

It seemed like every description went something like this: An unsuspecting stranger inadvertently unleashes an evil spirit . . . or An undercover cop gets pulled into a ring of violent criminals who . . . or Two middle-aged friends try to rediscover their youth by . . . Oh, and I think there might have been a new superhero movie or two and a few remakes of famous 80s flicks.

I’ve always been a film buff, and I was really in the mood to watch a good show, but after fifteen minutes, I gave up and read my book, Cutting for Stone, which was original. It was set in Ethiopia, of all places, with an unlikely cast of characters and some pretty enticing plot twists.

Yes, Hollywood is in a rut, and I’m not the only one who’s noticed. It’s a constant struggle, I know, for the big players to balance the need for high revenues with the desire to produce good art. I was chatting with a theater owner once who told me she’d rather stage nothing but little-known, high-quality plays, but every year, she feels compelled to throw in a classic or popular show because they bring in the most ticket buyers.

So it makes sense to me that Hollywood or Broadway or the New York Publishers or the big record labels must put out a few blockbuster selections each year in order to keep their doors open, but lately it all seems a bit excessive. I’d like to call out to them to make room for the kind of art that challenges us, pushes boundaries, stirs and inspires, and takes our breath away with its uniqueness. I’d like to call on them to reconnect with their artist souls and trust that if you make good art, you’ll make good money.