The overwhelming amount of content available at our fingertips probably has something to do with it, but there's also the trend of people having to rate everything THE BEST THING EVER (tm) or ABSOLUTE SHIT WITH NO REDEEMING QUALITIES. The unique stuff that probably isn't the best technically speaking and wouldn't win any awards but is still satisfying falls through the cracks as a result as everyone focuses more on the cinematic universes and such.A lot of people are pointing to "Save The Cat", and perhaps that has had a dire effect on American films but I question how it could hold such humongous influence on an industry that's filled with tons of creative types who I doubt are basing their work on a book made by the dude who wrote "Stop or My Mom Will Shoot" and "Blank Check."
I would argue that two culprits at hand are two sources that Hollywood without a doubt obsesses over.; Rotten Tomatoes and "CinemaScore."
I don't think I need to explain to anyone what is Rotten Tomatoes is. You load it up and you'd see what new movies came out and how good they are based on the Tomatometer. The Tomatometer is misleading garbage because it rates the film based on the percentage of critics who give it a positive or negative review. It's only a worthwhile source in that you'll know likely that a movie that's 96% fresh is unlikely to do anything that will make you say the movie is lousy. But that system doesn't tell you how much the critics either loved or hated the movie, as a result the average crowd pleaser films are rewarded. The biggest indictment against the Tomatometer is that Black Panther holds the No. 1 spot of RT's Top 100 movies. Black Panther is one of the more memorable films of the Marvel Capeshit factory but I don't think any reasonable human being would argue that it's that good of a film. It would be way better for everyone if Metacritic was the defacto site to see a consensus on movies. But only gamers really care about Metacritic.
Cinemascore is a very important market research firm, it holds early screenings and then asks the audience to rate the films. They then give Hollywood apparently accurate estimations on how the films will do in the box office. I can't blame Hollywood for wanting to know in advance how it should spend its money. But I worry that like RT this service is further encouraging Hollywood to focus more on crowd pleaser movies rather than try their hand on films that simply won't please everyone. One of my favorite movies of the prior decade is 2017's Uncut Gems. It received an underwhelming C+ rating on CinemaScore. I loved the movie because I think it's one of the most accurate depictions of a degenerate gambler. SPOILING the following because I urge everyone who thinks all new movies are "bland" to just watch this film and not be biased by my opinions. I think Adam Sandler was excellent as he played a total shitbag of a human who I couldn't help but root for. It was awesome on a technical level and it drew a wide array of emotions from me as I watched it. At times I was laughing, at other times I was dreading the choices made by Sandler's character, and the ending which I felt was coming just felt like an incredible punch in the gut but it left me utterly satisfied as it was the only ending that could make sense. It was just a great film for my tastes. I have friends who I highly recommended it to who didn't enjoy it, so CinemaScore isn't wrong but at the same time it sucks that Hollywood is discouraged from making films that can be divisive. Speaking of divisive as much as I hate Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi I actually respect the guy for having the balls to make a movie that wouldn't please every Star Wars fan, shit I walked out of that movie disgusted by what I saw but I remember that experience more than watching the other sequel movies so that says something.
At the end of the day I sincerely wonder if the heart of the problem is that the modern population suffers from severe ADD. Prior generations used to read literature for fun, sure there were stupid flicks like "Francis The Talking Mule" but there were also geniuses like Orson Welles and Billy Wilder who made brilliant works that will go over people's heads unless they pay attention. I think movies today are by and large made for audiences to watch while they play with their phones or fuck around with their friends. Modern entertainment with a few exceptions is straight up background noise. And that's why it's bland, partly because our lives have become more chaotic thanks to technology.