In any play or film or TV series there is one man, or very occasionally, I suppose, a woman, who stands taller than all the stars, the directors, the moguls and the bloke who sweeps the set - and that is the writer! Of course, the others have the negative ability to ruin what might have been a masterpiece but, in the first instance, it is the writer who creates the potential for a creation that will live in the memory.
So it is a sad fact that according to Thomas W. Hodgkinson - no, me neither, but he is a writer who appears from time to time in The Spectator and that's good enough for me - confirms what I have felt personally for some time and which other 'show biz' insiders have confirmed, that is, that Hollywood, in the 'Big Screen' meaning of the word, have demoted writers in favour of 3-D and cgi effects attached to fantasies which only kiddie-winkies under the age of six would ever take seriously. In fact, the use of cgi effects is to remove at the click of some nerd's mouse all realism and therefor all believability and all tension.
In addition, as I found out to my cost the last time I visited my local cinema, the unwary customer has to sit through these ridiculous inventions which make English panto seem real and undergo torture by means of sound effects designed to shake your dental fillings loose. I know where-of I write because, back in the day, when I was an army interrogator we used to bang-up our 'lab rats' in a sound cell in which they were bombarded with rock 'n' roll at brain-scrambling volumes. (Er, we did encounter one big fail when a couple of SAS types were found inside jiving with each other!)
Now, according to Mr. Hodgkinson, the good writers are departing for the other end of LA where the TV series are produced and where good writing is still valued. Hence the fairly steady production of TV series of some considerable merit, in which the human condition in a variety of situations is explored via comedy or tragedy or a mixture of both. It is also interesting to find that many of the stars, who are generally as thick as a stage door but who recognise good writing because they have to deliver the words, are following the good writers over to the TV series producers. Alas, in my mean-minded grumpiness I have fallen out with my ex-best friend, Rupe, and I no longer have Sky TV but I read the crits and if there is anything good on the go I simply wait until the box set appears. As they only seem to cost about the same as one month's viewing on Sky I reckon it's a good deal.
But Hollywood, get a grip, and go back to making proper films for grown-ups!