We were promised jetpacks.
That pretty much sums up the state of culture for me. Maybe I am greedy. I have far more movies that I want to see than I have time on earth, so I shouldn't be complaining, right? I know that we can match people with the movies that they will respond to so much better than we do now. Everyone is in a similar boat of grand abundance. But still... We were promised jetpacks, and have cheese spread instead.
Is it that we don't try hard enough to create truly original work? Or is it some flaw in the environment, an outside contagion? In America, I recognize we have tremendously diverse work -- and granted it is remains a bit difficult to discover it, even when it is out there. But at the same time, since we have no actual government support for the cinematic arts, the films that are well funded are generally forced to pursue the path of what is expected to sell. Most people determine what will sell by what has sold before. It is not so surprising that most of the work is consequently derivative .
I remember once being told by an executive -- who claimed to truly love the mindblowing film I was trying to get support for -- that he would do my movie in a heartbeat... provided I had ten other ones just like it, so that if he built an audience for groundbreaking work, the time and expense he went to building that community would not be squandered. I recognize that ours is an economy of scale. Nothing can be done just for a single audience (right?). However, I also recognize that our biggest independent successes are frequently the films that are doing something very different from what the mainstream is doing (Paranormal Activity, The Passion Of The Christ, Farenheit 9/11).
So why can't we deliver movies that consistently take us to another place? Can't we train ourselves to deviate from the norm? Why does so much of the work have to be so damn derivative? What happened to the WTF moment being a staple of cinema? Isn't part of the artist's obligation to show where we could go? Had we been around in 1902 for Melies' A Trip To The Moon and then dreamed of where the voyage of cinema would take us, I can't help but think we would not still be stuck at this place and time on earth. We can go FURTHER. What is holding us back?