with Gary Otto
Notes and candid thoughts from the Producer of the Uwe Boll: RAW podcast / talk show, Gary Otto. Gary is Associate producer of "In The Name of the King 3: The Last Job" starring Dominic Purcell, and Associate Producer of the upcoming "Rampage 3: No Mercy" starring Brendan Fletcher, Bruce Blain and Matt Frewer. Gary co-wrote the upcoming Uwe Boll film "12 Hours" which is currently in development.
the Nobodies, nothings, the armchair judgment & The wry smirk.
I try to be a diplomatic individual. I can't always say how I really feel, and when I do the people who have yet to experience it don't always get what I mean. Like there's people I know/knew who wanted to get into film production in some sort and decided to go to Full Sail University - not an accredited college, they will build up your ego and cash your check but you're really paying for nothing you couldn't do on your own. And it usually leads nowhere. Like those dumb commercials that tell you "learn to be a video game designer!" - like going to Full Sail would get you an "in" into that industry. They're really devious in that regard. You'll think you're being trained to rule the world. I always say nothing but "that's great" when someone says to me that they are going to this school. Because my true opinion would likely make them go on the defensive. I know I would be if someone brought it to my attention I was wasting so much time, money, and soul on bullshit. That this school is essentially run by puppeteers. It's all for show. And it's funny how some of these students (who know so much about film) or just the average movie lover/watcher/online self-appointed message board critic (borderline troll in denial of how miserable they are in their life) judge because I have worked on Uwe Boll films, like they instantly have this smugness that they think they can do a better job than I have, that I am somehow sub-par or do not work my ass off, like it would come so easily to them. They jump into self-assured comfort instantaneously when they hear, "oh, what does he know, because, you know, it's Uwe Boll." which itself is bullshit because the quality of his films has raised dramatically - people just enjoy having a target. Everyone wants to be the definitive source. The master! Well these people do not have a clue and they wouldn't be qualified to film a fucking Burger King commercial and wouldn't have the drive to succeed to make it even a fraction as far as I or others like me have. The ones like me, we took the hard road. The people who think they know automatically based on "what they heard" or some P.R. viral bullshit will go on to live their normal, boring lives long after our conversation ends and they walk away so proud of themselves for coming to the conclusion! These mindless sheeple leave no footnote in history. Nothing but some possessions, a wardrobe perhaps. A digital music collection. A really cool car. Such value as an individual on the surface! They will stay within their minds as the greatest creation that lived when they never fought or tried for anything actually worth fighting for. Hang out with your friends doing nothing. Care so much about popularity. Do all forms of casual bullshit. Show us how clever you are, tell us everything that you know. At a get together. At shallow parties. Buy a house. Get old. Judge everyone that does not remind you of you. These people are nobodies and ultimately nothing, and somewhere deep down they must know it - thus their need to judge and smirk and snicker and stare and gloat when you're down. But in the end, through all the confusion of what is real, who will get the last laugh when those people who are true individuals, who work hard - get finally divided into their own, earned category and appear on top of the pile while these hapless saps who thought they knew anything from the onset are buried deep beneath, their lives the same as 10, 20 years ago. Trivial when you attempt to see past the collections, the possessions, the wrinkles racked up on their face - those are the only things that will actually move forward - nothing else - to those who shall remain stillborn. Time will reveal everything. Time tells the true story.
Hollywood & the dumbing down of mainstream cinema to maximize profit potential (while they whisper to you what to believe & like via social media bullshit)
What a person brings to a film, as the viewer, is their own experiences. If you were to screen a slasher film for the type of person who prefers the works of Woody Allen, the reaction might not be so positive. This isn't the audience it was intended for. Sure, there are people who can enjoy both but if someone is used to films in that genre which have something to say that is socially relevant, they aren't going to find much to chew on in the likes of exploitative features like say, "Friday the 13th." That is not to say there is not a specific audience for that type of drive-in film. Films like those go the cult route, what was once considered drive-in fare - direct to the masses who thrive on pure entertainment and shared at midnight screenings, parties, and the like. The divide between what is considered meaningful cinema and "toy films" as the studio calls it, has grown wider and wider in the past 20, 30 years. Today we get films so gratuitous, as product, it leaves no room for interpretation, on both sides of the spectrum. I've noticed this divide primarily in the mainstream cinema, where films are treated as product to make money. Like that Sandra Bullock / Billy Bob Thornton film that just came out (and bombed) "Our Brand is Crisis" - it wants so badly to be this cynical, comedic commentary on our broken political system, but so hell-bent on the audience realizing this, it sacrifices it's entire purpose by being so hit-you-over-the-head obvious with it's storytelling, so everyone in the audience "gets" it that it ceases to be witty, or even relevant.
Versus the other spectrum of the films that come out these days - the throw-away flicks that sap any intelligent thought from the story because it believes that the audience wouldn't be able to handle it. Take a film like "Watchmen" for example, released several years ago - where they tried to blend social commentary with the throw-away superhero genre that exists purely as entertainment. A lot of the mainstream were lost when they watched the product. They gave their reasons, mostly superficial reasons, to complain. It was a film some people hated - they didn't like that the pacing was so "slow" in a superhero film. It was not exactly as it was in the graphic novel. They expect the pattern to be instantly identifiable as sure entertainment or else they reject it. Big explosions, not inner demons or characters that aren't instantly identified as "good" or "bad" - and when the movie bombs (which Watchmen did) you start seeing less and less emotional relevance in those type films, and a sort of sitcom-level of drama. The studio gets the message - people can't handle it. It needs to be simplified for the masses. There however, have been directors who tried to blend these genres of mass entertainment and thought or artistic strategy / social commentary, creating product that was unique, but typically has been less commercially successful. With product like that, it isn't as black and white for the studio on who to sell this product to. Who to market it to, or what to market it as. Movies like Paul Verhoeven's "Showgirls" which is seen on one hand as a "skin flick" and was marketed as some sensual journey (which itself is laughable if you have seen the film) has a lot of cynical commentary about our culture and our motivations - our lifestyles in America which can grow tainted, fueled by the desire television and pop-culture has seeded deeply into us. You see it on display every day on the internet, in the comments of news articles, on social media... the selfish and ultimately consuming desire to "win" - that we ourselves are always right, even if we are wrong. The importance of becoming famous, or having big money, with a heavy emphasis on the reality of what vapid characters exist that actually get there - to this, is it the dream or is it the nightmare? Most people lose their souls in the balance. And that is the point. Is it beauty, or is it ugly? And who are we in the balance of that? Mirrors. It was a cynical film blended in carefully with characters you wouldn't want to relate to - the "Kenny G" guy so charismatic and desirable was actually a trailer-trash rapist - this emphasis on appearances... where does the P.R. end and where does the real person begin? Would we even want to see the real person? Pull the curtain back on the entertainment industry in general vs the illusion of the glamour in the entertainment industry and it's usually like night and day. So if you went into that one (Showgirls) expecting to be aroused or to get an underdog story you could root or cheer for, you had another thing coming. It wasn't as on-the-surface as audiences needed in order to get the message, to be in on the joke. And it bombed. And is seen as "smut" by the general public who only noticed the number of bare breasts in the picture. Typical.
Or take Brian De Palma's "Body Double" - a film about a man losing his power to surrounding forces (ultimately to regain them through somewhat ridiculous circumstances) - the journey of him succumbing to voyeuristic tendencies in moments of weakness which leads him into a spiral, a bizarre murder mystery he chooses to solve, however implausible. The voyeurism is taken literally by the filmmakers throughout the film as we have a hard time connecting with the motivations of the character himself. It's almost as if we are watching him watching someone else, as voyeurs ourselves. Perhaps one would expect something sensual from it all but instead we get pure disconnect. There are points that ring true as commentary on the superficiality of the Hollywood system, but as a murder mystery - from a man who is known as the master of suspense, there is an odd disconnect with it all that is still never boring, but not what one might expect. This is all carried out with a maximum degree of visual style amid some excellent performances and beautiful cinematography which set it aside from the usual disposable skin flick (even though the film itself in reality doesn't contain so much nudity, this is how it was marketed due to the subject matter) all amid the constant Hitchcock homages worked into the story plot points. Some camera movements were taken verbatim from Hitchcock's most esteemed works. Sometimes these workings don't fit the story taking place in any natural way, or the natural progression of the story, makes the film feel bizarre. It's not quite art and it's not quite an exploitation feature - people have only started seeing that it can be interpreted as both. It took a long time for audiences to look for this themselves, and not listen to the general consensus from the reviewers who whittle things down into simple strides. The film didn't stray into black or white, instead choosing to be a hybrid of sorts. Which is what makes it unique. Sit someone down who is a die-hard Hitchcock fan with no familiarity or desire for exploitative features which made Roger Corman or Lloyd Kaufman famous, and they might walk away shocked. Hitchcock fused with an exploitative feature with a big Hollywood budget is not something that has typically been done before, or since. Films like this, that fit in a grey area - an area which seem not to exist anymore. Films that choose to do something personal, or something different in any capacity. Something that moves against the grain in any creative aspect. At least not when millions are being spent on the production. Today we get the black or we get white. There are some exceptions here and there (The "Rampage" series for example) but overall mainstream film has been whittled down into product. Political correctness reigns and the films lose something, eventually forgotten as critics praise mediocrity as the next big thing, value is placed on what sells over all else, and we forget what anything off-the-rails really means when we are left to analyze and interpret any grey area on our own.