Ever since Star Trek Into Darkness, I’ve decided I never want to see a new movie again. A calculated piece of brand awareness, it lacked any meaning or purpose. I have seen plenty of blockbuster, comic-book, franchise all-action movies before and enjoyed many of them, but until Star Trek Into Darkness, I had never seen anything that so blatantly made me feel like a dollar sign. Anyway, I know I’m not the only one who has felt a loss of interest in movies. Obst helps explain what happened to Hollywood studios. In the 2000s DVD revenue petered out and international box-office revenue blew up. Pitch meetings, where new ideas were worked out between producers and writers, were lost, and instead marketing departments now lead development. Everything now is about “preawareness” and franchises—-things that can be easily sold across languages and cultures.
Obst’s text is anecdotal and conversational. She goes on personal tangents, and drops in puzzling, non-essential details. She says things like, “She looks like a cameo in a locket but acts like a turbocharged Ferrari.” (Which is so nonsensical that in a different context it could be mistaken for a brilliant Bob Dylan line.) She lays too much blame on the 2007 WGA strike for jump-starting everything. But this is a first-hand, honest observation from someone whose entire world shifted beneath her feet in a period of less than a decade. She isn’t just lamenting a lost-past, and she doesn’t entirely hold herself blameless. Obst is as funny and sincere as new movies are calculated and heartless.