Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Decline of AMC

My discovery of AMC back in the mid-90's led to my discovery of a whole library of movies I had never seen and movie stars I barely knew. I could turn on AMC any hour of the day, any day of the week and knew there would be a movie worth watching and best of all they were shown in their original format, unedited and commercial free!

My list of favorite movies was rapidly changing to include His Girl Friday, All Quiet on the Western Front and All About Eve... I discovered who was ready for her close-up, who coulda been a contender, and why he didn't give a damn... That George Bailey had a 6' rabbit for a friend and was also a politician, a cowboy, and a clown... and it didn't matter if her name was Sabrina, Natasha or Golightly, her smile always had the same affect on me... that was AMC - before it changed.

How did AMC change? Commercials. Those annoying little advertisements changed everything that made AMC great, to what it is now...Another Mediocre Channel... how and why? Well let go through the progression:

  • It started off with classic movies primarily from the 30's-50's (with a bit of 20's and 60's sprinkled in the mix) that were unedited and uninterrupted.

  • The first change came when then they started adding commercials between movies...

  • Then they started adding a block of commercials halfway through the movie...

  • Now AMC is like any other broadcast station with 5 minutes of commercials every 10 minutes.
But the commercial interruptions aren't the worst part it's the changes that were made to appease the advertisers, changes like:
  • Editing the movies for content so as to not offend the advertisers... but what about us the viewer? What offends you more, the content in a movie you want to see or the "male enhancement" ads they're feeding you every 10-15 minutes?

  • Their shift to more full-screen pan and scan movies - especially when their audience is shifting to widescreen TVs... does that make sense?

  • And the biggest offence? Instead of primarily showing classics from the 30's and 40's they're now showing such "classics" as Steven Seagal's Out for Justice. And who can forget such classics as 2007's Return to House on Haunted Hill or better yet, get out the popcorn and gather 'round for the "classic" movie Survival Island with Jamie Pressly! A movie that reviewers on IMDB gave 2.5 stars... yes, a whole 2.5 stars out of a possible 10!
In the age of home theatres, HD players, and on-demand movies I'd have to say AMC's future is as promising as the movies they're calling the "future of classic!"