Mathews might be speaking for himself when he says that audiences are sick of being asked to identify with criminals. You do not go to a movie only to identify with the characters.
"GoodFellas" is one of the best movies I have seen in a very long time. Yes, today's crime rate is high, but so is alcoholism, drug abuse, child abuse, etc. But do we say we aren't going to pay to see movies about these subjects because they are too real ?