Dateline: HOLLYWOOD—The American movie industry has been releasing the simplest, dumbest possible movies for overseas markets, especially in China, to pay back the Chinese for flooding the American market with shoddy merchandise, according to Hollywood insider, Wily Hangeron.
“Hollywood no longer cares about making quality films,” said Mr. Hangeron. “North American audiences are cynical about movies now because they’ve already seen anything. So they’re like movie critics: almost impossible to please. It takes a lot of skill and money and time to entertain experienced audiences, so Hollywood has set its sights on foreign viewers that are new to American movies.
“That’s what all the superhero and action movies and remakes and reboots are all about. Instead of telling stories that would appeal specifically, say, to China or India, the American movie industry realized it could appeal to almost everyone by lowering the bar, by telling the broadest and dumbest possible stories. They’re not trying to make art anymore. It’s all seemingly about laziness and greed, because it turns out the Chinese will watch anything.”
When Hollywood ran out of superheroes, it began filming hours and hours of blank footage, and still made millions of dollars overseas.
“Americans hated those blank screen movies, of course,” said Mr. Hangeron. “They were like, ‘What happened to stories and characters and discernable objects and colours instead of just two hours of absolutely nothing? But the newbies in China ate it up, so Hollywood kept churning out these lowest-common-denominator productions.”
Wily Hangeron obtained secret information, however, indicating that Hollywood executives were interested in more than just making easy money by ignoring the sophisticated local expectations and appealing to foreign audiences that would evidently be content to watch paint dry.
“I kept hearing these rumours that it’s all really about revenge. Then I looked into it further, and it’s true! It turns out that China is a really old and experienced civilization—as in 4,000 years old.
“China invented paper, gunpowder, the compass, alcoholic drinks, bells, wooden coffins, cookware, noodles, rowing oars, rice, artillery, banknotes, colour printing, crankshafts, crossbows, dominoes, explosives, firecrackers, fishing reels, flares, folding screens, fragmentation bombs, fuses, gas lighting, goldfish domestication, hand fans, hand grenades, handguns, helicopter rotors, horse collars, incense, India ink, irrigation systems, kites, land mines, merit systems, modular architecture, nail polish, natural gas as a fuel, oil refining, paper cups, parachutes, pig iron, pinhole cameras, playing cards, porcelain, puppet theater, raincoats, restaurant menus, rocket boosters, salt mining, seals, soy sauce, stirrups, sunglasses, tea, toilet paper, umbrellas, wheelbarrows, wheelchairs, woks, wrought iron, and many, many other things.
“So in its heyday China already did everything. Now Chinese people are as cynical as American movie-goers, except that the Chinese are also cynical about life in general. That’s why the Chinese are hard to please when it comes to merchandise, and that’s why, like Hollywood, China’s taken the easy route of ignoring its domestic market for so long and focusing on selling Americans the lowest-quality goods that the Chinese produce in their sleep, the stuff that falls apart as soon as you take it out of the box or that’s hazardous to your health if you look at it the wrong way.”
According to Mr. Hangeron, Hollywood decided to take revenge against China for its flooding of America with cheaply-made products, by sending the basest, most slapdash American movies China’s way.
“‘You want to give us your schlocky, knockoff goods, because you think Americans are newbies to culture in general and don’t know any better? Okay, we’ll give you our crappiest movies and we’ll see how you like it.’ That’s how Hollywood sees it. In the meantime, Western movie buffs, eager for more challenging fare on the big screen are left out in the cold.
“In the US, you couldn’t get away with two hours of just blank screen footage without even a CG superhero thrown in somewhere—not even in an arthouse cinema. If there’s anything Americans know about, it’s lowbrow entertainment. But even lowbrow movies should have at least a car chase, some course language, maybe a pointless reboot of a mediocre movie made only a decade ago. Something!”
Meanwhile, economists point out that China is beginning to focus on selling to its domestic market.
“It turns out that China has a lot of people in it—as in almost one and a half billion people,” said one economist. “That’s a lot of potential customers, compared to America’s measly 323 million.”
“Maybe China’s finally emerging from its funk of world-weariness,” said Mr. Hangeron, “and is ready to consume again instead of working like a dog all day and night to make a quick buck off of the credit cards of clueless Americans. In that case, it won’t take long for China to outgrow this generation of Hollywood movies. When that happens, Hollywood will have to relearn what it’s like to tell an original, grownup story.”
By Ariel E Barry (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons