A few years ago Martin Scorsese wrote that movies have deteriorated because contemporary funding structures remove risk from the film business and encourage formulaic production. While he was not alone in his assessment, his comment sparked a heated debate about the state of cinema and whether audiences' appetite for good films has changed. But there are also other reasons why movies are getting worse.
In the era of the blockbuster franchise, studios are afraid to take risks and instead play it safe by producing films that rely on nostalgia or appeal to familiar brand awareness. This is why we have so many re-makes, sequels and prequels. While this strategy might have worked for some movies in the past, it will ultimately produce diminishing returns.
The other reason movies are getting worse is that they have become more and more grandiose in an attempt to woo audiences back to the theaters in the face of competition from television and video games. The result is a glut of CGI-heavy spectacle features that have little to do with real world issues and often have little relevance to the audience's lives.
Movies have also resorted to blatant product placement and propaganda, something that was common even before the millennium. But it is becoming more common now as piracy and competition from TV and video games make direct ticket sales less reliable.
So, while there are still a few good movies out there, the overall quality of films has declined. This is a shame because there is no shortage of interesting and dramatic stories from which to make movies. However, if the industry wants to turn things around then it must stop making films like Tokyo Drift and start finding ways to create movies that have hidden depths and communicate important concepts to their audiences.