This is a matter of opinion so I am really not concerned with who agrees with me since I am simply an audience member who is NOT part of the academy that LOVES independent films. Indie films do work and are gaining a wider audience. Has anyone ever asked why this is? I have. The reason they are gaining status and are respected–even if low-budget–is that they are perceived to not be part of the Hollywood produced, high-budget, politically correct celluloid productions that seem to be irritating the hell out of everyone at this point. They hype around such productions is irritating audiences as well when they get into a theater to see a much-anticipated film only to be highly disappointed.
There is a trend in major Hollywood productions as of late to keep putting out sequels upon sequels (E.G.–Pirates of the Caribbean) and such. Now there is “Footloose” and “The Thing” which are remakes–and a “Dirty Dancing” remake is in the works from what I hear. If Hollywood cannot come up with original ideas, they need new blood running the place and that’s all I have to say on that. While some of these films do well, and are actually good, they only draw into the theaters for short terms due to VOD and rapid DVD releases. This is not good for the studios or the actors/actresses so I don’t know why the hell they engage in this type of marketing.
They should not make these available for satellite for at least 90 days after release–and no vinyl productions for as long. This is, to me, a form of “suicide marketing”. Films can do better at the box office if they simply held off on making them available to the redistribution markets for at least 90 days. I am not an actor either, but this damned form of marketing has done more damage to the acting profession and the studios than any type of thing I’ve noticed…That is, unless the name “Depp” is attached to it.
In either case, unless it’s a good Indie film, I wait for the bloody dvd. The only movies I will buy a ticket for are those that are recommended by certain people I keep an eye on. I saw “The Conspirator” and it is Oscar material. I saw “The Help”. It is also. I expect several to come from the latter. However, when I notice how actors bring a role to life–that is what keeps me buying tickets to see their movies. I loved “Red” and I loved the 2009 “Star Trek”. The roles in those were played in a way that were believable enough to enjoy–and there weren’t a lot of eye candy models/actors/actresses pretending they knew how to act. I was pretty well burned out on theaters in the late 70’s because of all the bullshit movies that were coming out–with a FEW exceptions.
IN THE 70’s–the Billy Jack movies got my attention. The movie had real points to be made. Now Mark Wahlberg has the rights to the story. IF he is smart, he will not pull a Johnny Depp and take the lead part himself. When an actor buys the rights to something so they can star in it and put their own spin on it–a lot of everyday people out here call it “Drew Berrymore Syndrome”. Buy the rights and you’re the star of it–and it is not always for the best, either. Believe me if people were more in touch with the audiences and less concerned with the thoughts of the academy, they would knock this crap off too.
If I were Wahlberg, I would take a strong look at Alex O’Loughlin (Hawaii 5-0)…He has just the cool to pull that role off…If you saw the episode at the end where Patti Duke and Peter Fonda co-starred, then you KNOW what I’m talking about. Purists will say, well he’s an Aussie…Well you know what? WHO gives a rat’s ass where he was born and/or raised? That guy can act and he can give that part justice! I don’t see critics in an uproar when Rick Springfield plays and American so what the hell is wrong with this guy playing a man who is part Indian? I have no problem with that and I am part Comanche Indian.
Now if Wahlberg ditches the cheesy music and the football yoga references and such, fine. The story can still work anyway–but whoever he has to play Billy Jack is going to have to have the same “cool” that Tom Laughlin has and he’s going to have to NOT pick some well-known beautiful older actress to play Jean. No offense but 90% of the eye candy actresses could never bring justice to her character either. If I were going to pick anyone for Jean, I’d narrow it down to Jessica Chastain OR Bryce Dallas Howard.
Right now, the only guy I can see playing Billy is O’Loughlin. AND I would strongly consider a lesser known actor for Bernard too. Gary Cairns does come to mind here. The problem is, they need to make Bernard evil as hell and have him be a bit more intelligent–period! He was portrayed as an aloof dunce in the original and I think the story line would be better served if he were made to look evil or at least FULL of angst. He also needs to be articulate, intelligent and crazy like a damned fox!
Now for Bernard’s dad, the sheriff and the governor–I’d say just be careful…Pick actors known for playing some pretty mean bastards there…For Bernard’s dad, I’d see about getting Christopher Pennock. If it were up to me, I’d pick Ben Cross to play the prosecutor or the leader of the military operation–if they put the trial in. That scene where one of the military men lays down the rifle and joins on the side of the Freedom School spoke volumes to me. I’d re-write it to where whoever Cross plays if in the military aspect of it, is the first one to lay the rifle down and move toward the students to join them. I have not forgotten Kent State yet, but if they do put this in rather than do a sequel, then this would rock–totally. I am all about the symbolic gesture when it comes to what SHOULD have been.
Part of the appeal for the Billy Jack movies was that there were people who were of Native American descent in the cast as well. I would strongly urge Wahlberg to reach out to those communities and get Dennis Quaid involved with this somehow. The man has a vast knowledge about Native American culture and can help steer Wahlberg in the right direction with this. This movie also pointed out a lot of social injustices that were taking place. Some of those still are–such as the slaughtering of horses by the government. These social issues that are still ever-present are things that Wahlberg, if he can get Quaid to help, can truly capitalize on by bringing attention to the fact that these issues are not fixed–not by a long shot.
I want to finish here on a lighter note by saying that there is an Independent Film out that is going to make some serious money for Sean Penn. It is called “This Must Be the Place”. Check it out here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1440345/ This film has already snagged an award at Cannes, if I’m not mistaken! This looks like it is one of Penn’s best roles in a while now!
I am telling you these independent film makers and the actors who choose to work for them will be better off in the long run for it! The creative potential and the freedom within that industry is tremendous in that market! I don’t even have to be in the field to see that the indie film is only going to grow–much to the dismay of its competition in Hollywood!
Indie films work because many are in touch with their audiences–which is something a lot of the major studios in Hollywood tend to ignore. The indie market is on the rise. I can assure you all of that! I hope you enjoyed my runaway thought train on this as well. I just feel that as a viewing member of a discriminating audience the loves intelligent story-lines, that I needed to play around with this a bit!