While it is hard to deny that the 80s and 90s were a great decade for movies, what is often forgotten is the large amount of rubbish that was also spewed out then also. Bad and boring movies are forgotten for a reason, and even some of the 'greats' which came out then do not stand the true test of time. The way movies are watched and distrubuted has changed so much since then, so people are watching a much wider selection that they were back then. In 20 years time, people will be looking back on the 00's and the 10's with rose tinted spectacles asking why they don't make movies like "Drive" or "Avatar" anymore.
Whether we are talking about smaller films like her or drive. Or bigger films like the dark knight and the lord of the rings trilogy. Tarantino and Scorsese giving us some of their best work. It seems like it is the hip things to say that old things are better. I really don't understand it, at all.
Listen, the fault here isn't with movies. It's with which ones are more popular. "Her", "Seven Psychopaths", "Mud", "Nebraska", "The East", "Short Term 12", "Drive", & "The Place Beyond the Pines". All of these films have come out int the last three years, and they are just as good as some of the best films from 20 years ago (1994).
"Oh, but those are indie films. Those don't count".
Of course they count! They are films! They have a director, a script was written for them, actors played the roles, they are films. Just because they don't make as much money as Pacific Rim doesn't negate their existence as a movie.
Granted, big companies don't usually take as many chances with indie films or more ambitious projects. But it's always been that way. In 1974, Alejandro Jodorowsky attempted to adapt the science fiction novel "Dune" to film. He had an ambitious cast and cinematographer lined up, but studios canned the project because they thought audiences wouldn't like it. Ten years later, David Lynch made Dune, but a more Studio friendly version, for more money. And the film was horrible.
The point is, studios have always gone for more money making projects than ambition. Films such as Pulp Fiction were not backed by major huge studio execs, they were backed by (at the time) less major companies. The same kind of companies that make films like Mud nowadays.
There are films just as good as films 20 years ago, but they're not popular enough so you don't pay attention to them.
No, movies today are not as good as they were twenty years ago. Although they are filled with much more complex animations and graphics, story lines, as well as character developments, are lacking. Movies twenty years ago had substance; they provided an opportunity to consider different and complex situations and actually have intelligent conversations about them. Movies today are just mind-numbing, and provide a solution for distraction.
No, movies today are not as good as they were twenty years ago, because all the movies today seem to have the same plot. It's two men, usually unintelligent, who engage in slap stick comedy and poor decision making. There are only a few actors who do everything. Movies were more interesting twenty years ago.
As with everything, movies too evolve. While many years ago a few number of films were released, now thousands are released every year . Why is this? This is because movies can generate a lot of capital, but at what cost. Movies now forgo adding substance to instead use things such as CGI and big name actors to attract people to see it. The producers of movies also are less likely to take a chance on a movie that might succeed as a critical success for a known commercial success.