Hollywood’s Obsession with True Crime and Real Events Is Becoming Exhausting
This week I watched Hulu’s movie Boston Strangler, directed by Matt Ruskin, and it was just ok. It stars some familiar faces, Kiera Knightley, Carrie Coon, Chris Cooper, Alessandro Nivola, and some others. This movie follows the true events that took place in the 1960s. A man, eventually nicknamed the Boston Strangler, killed 13 women. There was already a movie made about the Boston Strangler that came out in 1968, but this one is different. The original follows the alleged killer, but the new one follows the two reporters who first reported the story, Loretta McLaughlin and Jean Cole. It mainly shows their struggle as women in a male-dominated workplace with the true events sprinkled in. It was a good twist in terms of entertainment, but still, the movie was just ok.
The acting was good, and I must credit Ruskin for his directing. It is also a period piece. It takes place in the 1960s and feels authentic with props, clothes, and hair. You would probably like this movie if you are a true crime enthusiast. But if you are like me and sick of true crime in Hollywood, then the movie is likely to be boring.
There is this weird obsession with real-life people and events going on, and it is becoming very annoying. I can’t lie, I enjoy the occasional movie or show based on a true story – sometimes it can be informative, maybe even entertaining. But everything that comes out now seems somehow related to a killer or a real-life event or people. Everybody wants to tell the story or try to be different from the last one in some way, and it rarely works. In some cases, with movies like 127 Hours (2010) or Stronger (2017), I can respect it because real people and the victims are involved and have a say. But other times, all I can think about is how the victims or families feel about seeing this stuff almost every year.
Last year Netflix released the series about Jeffrey Dahmer, and Lionel Dahmer, Jeffrey’s dad, said that he was upset about it. Elizabeth Kendall, Ted Bundy’s girlfriend, also spoke out about these kinds of issues in the past. They all say the same thing: that the obsession is becoming too much, and people need to let it go. As I mentioned before, this isn’t the first movie about the Boston Strangler, the first one came out four years after the murders. There was another movie in 2008 and a show in 2010. And I can’t blame them for wanting to release things that people will watch and become successful, and people watch and love true crime.
There are true crime documentaries and podcasts; YouTubers like Bailey Sarian do videos like, “Murder, Mystery & Makeup” that gain millions of views. There’s even a channel on TV dedicated to true crime, I grew up watching it because my dad was obsessed with it.
And it’s not just murder and mystery that sells, it’s any true story. Last year Hulu released The Dropout, a show about Elizabeth Homes. Other recent shows like Pam & Tommy, Inventing Anna, and Joe vs. Carole all have the same issue.
As I have said already, it’s not surprising that these documentaries and movies are being made. If people stay invested, they will continue to be made. But seeing how every other thing being released is somehow related to true events, and stories is exhausting. There’s already enough going on in the world, why do we need to see this in entertainment as well? I just can’t wait for this fascination to die down, but I’m not too thrilled to see what the next one will be.