John Cassavetes on Why The Hollywood System Sucks (1978)

“This is a stupid town. And it’s a stupid town in the sense that it is maybe one of the largest cities in the world, and it’s lazy. It’s polite. It is so sissy in its mentality; so go-along with everything that goes along. It’s corporate-owned; it’s a town owned by Hollywood. And it’s about time it grew up. It’s about time it took art and said, ‘C’mon, baby! Show me something!’ And we’re showing them something. And there are not many people showing anything. There are not many people who’ll go out there and put themselves on the line in this world today because everyone’s frightened … I’m sick. I’m sick that this is such a little sissy town that people will only go to see something that is going to be successful; that a corporation says is great. We have something so much better … I’m sick because they are just such a bunch of sissies in this world that they won’t go out and see something that is wonderful. And they’ll hear that it’s wonderful, and other people will tell them that it’s wonderful. But ‘Is it going to be a success?’ I don’t care if it’s going to be a success. I want those suckers to come in there, and to see this movie, because they’ll see what they always wanted to be. And that is to be theatrical; to be wonderful; to be liked; to be friends; to have something in their life that is warmer, and to regard someone that has more guts than you do, and to be inspired by people. And I’m not ashamed of it. I really hate this nonsense. ‘Kill somebody! Shoot ’em in the head!‘ The blood pours out. Isn’t that wonderful? I hate it. I HATE IT! And I feel sad for all the youth that has to be coerced into that thing. They feel sick and sorry because they have nothing to go to. I’m not saying that we’re super-human. We just are terrific people. We’re terrific. We are sensational. We’re better than all those guys that steal from their corporations, that stand up and say, ‘We’re gonna rip off [everybody].’ I don’t care. It’s sick! I’m tired of that nonsense. I really feel more for the young people in this world. I really believe in them. I think that they’re terrific, and yet they have nobody to show them the way. And they’re a bunch of sheep. I’m telling you that. They go, ‘Here. No, wait. That’s no good. Oh, OK. We’ll go here. No, wait. That’s no good. But this is wonderful! Oh, OK. We’ll go here.’ Those people are floundering and walking around with nothing in their lives, simply because they are not led by anybody of any responsibility. I don’t want to lead anybody. He’ll lead. I’ll lead. We’ll all lead, and we’ll go and we’ll try and take a chance and express ourselves, and hope that somebody will recognize that expression. I don’t care about CBS, NBC, ABC. Television sucks.”

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