SATURDAY LETTERS : Why the Movie Audience Is Shrinking

"Honey, They Shrunk the Movie Audience" (June 8) expresses the theory that filmmakers have lost the 13- to 25-year-old crowd. If that is true, I really don't feel it's for lack of trying to appeal to them. It seems to me most of the films coming out of Hollywood today are action-adventure R-rated films aimed at young men.

In my own family we are avid movie fans. My husband and I were in the habit of seeing everything, including foreign films, before the birth of our son seven years ago. Now, we like to bring our son with us and find our choices severely limited.

I have read and I believe that the industry is trying to produce more family films. We don't need specifically "family films." We need good films. It doesn't have to be about a dog for kids to enjoy it.

Box-office analyst Art D. Murphy says I'm on my way to Forest Lawn, so don't worry about what I like. Well, Art, that may be true, but my son has a good, long moviegoing future ahead of him if I get him hooked on movies. I'll do that if you'll give me the product.

DEBORAH BRYAN LOOSEN

Orange

* Why have the audiences shrunk? Try stories with no plot; dialogue as if from uneducated savages; language expected from the lowest of the filthy-minded; actors and actresses with talent that runs the gambit from unzip the pants to unhook the bra--all this from an industry with a demonstrated hatred for all that is (or was) great about our country.

If a studio has no story, no talent, no glamour, no beautiful people (really beautiful, not cliche beautiful) and no one in touch with the real world, then crude, profane language accompanying pornographic scenes is about all that can be expected, and shrinking audiences will continue.

JAMES T. HUMBERD

La Quinta

* David J. Fox touches on but then veers off of what I think is the real and very simple reason for the decline in attendance. Recently my companion and I went to a Saturday matinee movie at a Sherman Oaks shopping mall theater. Two tickets, two small popcorns and two small sodas cost us $27.

I'm an adult and make a good living, and I don't want to pay that kind of money. If you're a young person making close to minimum wage, how do you afford this kind of entertainment? How is a father to react these days to the following query from a teen-aged son: "Hey, Dad, can I have the car tonight and 50 bucks to go to a movie?"

BILL DIAL

Studio City

Moral 'Cryptkeeper'

There is nothing "gory" about the animated "Tales From the Cryptkeeper," which will appear on ABC's Saturday morning lineup this fall ("Abracadaver! New Toon Too Gory for Kids?," June 19). No character will be killed, and there is going to be no blood. In fact, these cartoons will be nonviolent morality tales designed to keep children on the edges of their cereal bowls, not in their parents' beds.

As there are no completed episodes to view yet, all comments about "Cryptkeeper" are pure conjecture. Nelvana, the company that produces "Babar," "Jim Henson's Dog City" and "The Care Bears," will not be irresponsible.

Nelvana's "Tales From the Cryptkeeper" will challenge children intellectually and stimulate them morally, while being both entertaining and exciting.

TOPER TAYLOR

Senior Vice President

Nelvana Entertainment

Los Angeles

TV Captions

We commend Monica Yant for her June 29 article "Captioning Gets a Regular Role on TV." But Times readers should know that they do not have to purchase a new TV if they want captions.

The nonprofit National Captioning Institute Inc. will continue to sell decoders that are portable and can be hooked up to TV sets and taken on trips. Their cost is between $130 and $180, and purchase information can be obtained by calling (800) 533-WORD for voice or (800) 321-8337 for the hearing impaired. Information on what shows are captioned also is available at those numbers.

With regard to cable, the Captioning Institute's Cable Captioning Consortium, made up of more than two dozen top cable programmers and operators, captions 460 hours weekly.

DEBRA DAVIS POVAR

National Captioning Institute Inc.

Hollywood

Thoughtful, Not Vitriolic

Thank you for the review of "Journey for Understanding Gays and Lesbians in the Church" (June 25). However caustic the review, it made me realize that the lowest-common-denominator mind-set of the TV industry has become what critics find most appealing.

Is our society reduced to the anger, despair and confrontation portrayed by Jane Whitney or Geraldo Rivera? Is MTV-style cutting, home-video camera work or shock-value footage more important than content? Whatever happened to production values, seeking the truth and being civil? Robert Koehler may have thought "Journey" was bland, but at least it provided information and opinions that will inspire some and educate others.

By the way, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony has been archbishop of Los Angeles since 1985. It is interesting that The Times still chooses to spell his name incorrectly.

RICK FLYNN

Producer-Director

"Journey for Understanding"

Los Angeles

Wise Up Like Avi

I don't know how old Mark Leviton is, but I wish he had shown the wisdom and consideration of 10-year-old Avi Dauermann, who didn't want to spoil our enjoyment of "Jurassic Park" by telling us too much about it ("Jurassic Park" Letters, June 19). But, no, Leviton felt compelled to tell us about the mirror gag because he hadn't seen it mentioned in any of the commentary about the film--as if it were the duty of movie critics to tell us all the good jokes so we won't miss them when we see the movie.

Fortunately, I saw "Jurassic Park" before reading Leviton's letter and therefore had the pleasure of discovering for myself what was perhaps the only subtle moment in the film. The next time Leviton is clever enough to get a joke in a movie, I hope he will kindly stifle the urge to tell us about it--or, barring that courtesy, The Times will kindly stifle the urge to print his letter.

PRESTON NEAL JONES

Hollywood

'The Grapevine'

Regarding the review of Cold Tofu's "The Grapevine" ("Effort by Cold Tofu Dies on the Vine," June 24): As the playwright I feel a need to respond to Richard Stayton's criticism or, rather, lack of criticism of the play.

His mocking, mean-spirited tone was one thing, but to dismiss the play without stating why is shockingly unfair to me, the production and the public.

Obviously Stayton didn't like the play. He's entitled to his opinion. But we deserve to know why. Why didn't he point out the weaknesses, mention the flaws, tell us what he didn't like? He did none of that.

Our production did our job by presenting a play for the public's enjoyment. Stayton failed miserably to do his.

SOJI KASHIWAGI

Los Angeles

'Distinguished Gentleman'

While reporting that "The Distinguished Gentleman" has been No. 1 on the video charts for a number of weeks, Dennis Hunt remarks that "no one can quite figure out why" ("Fans Are 'Forever' True to Gibson," June 25).

Although this may be a knotty intellectual problem for Hunt, the answer is really simple: People like the film very much and tell their friends.

JONATHAN LYNN, Director

"The Distinguished Gentleman"

Los Angeles

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