Sleepless in Hollywood by Lynda Obst

Have you been to the movies lately?  Like what you see?  Wonder if it’s a trend?

Today’s edition of Marketplace clued me in on the answer to question three via an interview with Hollywood insider Lynda Obst, producer of The Fisher King and Sleepless in Seattle.  Obst realized something had changed when her son said, “Mom, trying to get movies made because they’re good is so 2003.”  The interview concerned her new book, Sleepless in Hollywood:  Tales from the New Abnormal in the Movie Business.  

sleepless in hollywood

Obst says the “old abnormal” was when she could get movies made because they were good.  DVD sales financed half of studio profits and allowed production of the “smaller” movies she loves, like romantic comedies.  Then domestic DVD sales tanked at the same time as foreign viewership rose, particularly in China and Russia, where there’s an endless demand for our blockbusters and special effects.  You can make “small movies” anywhere in the world, she says, but so far, you can only make blockbusters here.

Which may explain why I’ve been to so few movies this year – when the trailers assault my senses with digitized special effects, I tend to give them a miss, with the exception of movies like Star Trek, because…well, it’s Star Trek.

Sleepless in Hollywood is now in my book queue, in part because Obst’s final chapter is called, “Does the future have a future?” and I want to know her answer to the question.

And a final note on 2013 movies to date – they’ve finally pushed us into the 21st century, with a subscription to Netflix, so there is at least one happy outcome.

2 thoughts on “Sleepless in Hollywood by Lynda Obst

  1. I just saw ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. At least I didn’t pay to see it in a theater. I disliked it so much, I’m cured for watching movies for a little while anyway. More time for writing! Thanks for the book recommendation. I will check it out because after the TDKR experience, I do crave some answers. It perplexes my why so many people liked it, however. Does the book address cultural tastes as well?


    • I watched “Dark Knight” on the screen on the back of an airline seat during a red-eye flight when I couldn’t sleep. Just about the right venue.

      I have to say that one of the really illuminating books I’ve read recently on cultural tastes is Life, the Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality, by Neal Gabler. It illuminates so many aspects of our environment. Here is the link to my review:

      I still love movies – I just watch more of them on TCM and Netflix.


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