Is it worse to be a bad movie, or a boring one?
Not every project that goes in front of cameras gets to be a slam-dunk, but in an industry as bloodthirsty and competitive as Hollywood, mediocrity certainly isn't going to get you very far. There are few things more frustrating than watching a movie that has all of the potential in the world, only to see it play things far too safe and fail to even scratch the surface of what it could turn out to be.
Most big-budget movies seem eerily homogenized, precision-engineered in studio boardrooms around the world in order to appeal to as big of an audience as possible, unwilling to take risks in an effort not to lose out on those precious box office dollars.
There seems to be a cut-and-paste formula for blockbuster cinema now, and even smaller movies in certain genres to a lesser extent, which is a worrying sign of the times. Surely it would be much more satisfying from a creative standpoint to go for broke and ultimately fall flat on your face, rather than simply coast by on the bare minimum and fail to make the most of both the opportunity that's been presented, as well as the talent that's been assembled to create it.
George Clooney's directorial output has always been marked by inconsistency, but there was enough talent attached to 2017's Suburbicon for people to believe that it would turn out more like Good Night, and Good Luck than Leatherheads.
For one, the Coen brothers co-wrote the script with Clooney and Grant Heslov, and not only has the actor done some of the best work of his career under the watchful eyes of Joel and Ethan, but Heslov himself also has two Academy Award nominations for writing.
Throw in the kind of blue-collar black comedy that the Coens built their entire brand on, as well as a cast that saw Matt Damon headline alongside Julianne Moore and Oscar Isaac, and all the ingredients were there for something pretty special.
Unfortunately, Suburbicon turned out to be a bust and failed miserably in trying to maintain the tonal balance between social satire and murder mystery. It felt like the movie was trying too hard, and the end result ended up becoming a slog to sit through, and ultimately went down as a huge waste of a rare collection of A-list filmmaking talent.