I came across a tweet on what is colloquially known as #FilmTwitter that decried the state of films and the industry and how it is all bogged down by giant corporate made blockbusters with no real life or soul behind them. The series of posts went on to further lament how this is killing theaters and the film industry because the state of film presentation is so loaded and doesn’t allow for smaller, more interesting films to be seen or be successful.
Now, this sentiment is hardly knew and usually makes the rounds after another Marvel film comes out and makes hundreds of millions in the box office. What was surprising was how many people, including so many critics, agreed with this notion as though the state of movies is actually suffering in some fashion. Amazingly, not a single one of these people seems to have issue with James Cameron making a soulless PSA film on an issue twenty years late with the understanding of a college freshman on the issue because, hey, it’s Cameron and not Marvel, but I digress. I am genuinely curious if these people are blind, dumb, or simply pushing an agenda of sorts because the state of film has not changed much and has honestly not been in a better place for quite some time.
Seriously, you can be annoyed that the box office and major news cycles are controlled by one or two films (and yes usually by one or two companies) every quarter, but that has always been the case. Just because one or two movies receive most of the money and attention does not mean that other films are not successful; simply that the ten, fifteen, twenty million dollar films do not compare in scale to the 150 to 300 million dollar ones. But again that has always been true, so to state that only those films are a success or being seen is an outright lie.
In the last few months outside of the two Marvel films and Cameron’s continuation of basic tropes but made really pretty, the box office and cultural conversations have included an original IP about a malfunctioning robotic doll that can only be described as ‘camp’, a new Shyamalan adaptation of a apocalyptic book. a new Tom Hanks movie about him just being a curmudgeon old man, a “true story” about four grandmothers in pursuit of seeing Tom Brady play in the Super Bowl played by four of the most awarded and talented actresses of any age, an animated franchise movie with incredible animation and heart, and that is just scratching the surface. Hell, this week, a much lauded and awaited movie about a coked up bear on a bloody rampage is premiering in theaters with several sold out showings. And there is far more odd, goofball, and interesting movies coming out in the year.
The notion that cinema is dying and only a certain type of movie is successful is utterly foolish and outright wrong. In reality, it seems like large segments of critics are annoyed that the films they believe should have been hits (e.g. films like Babylon or Devotion) were essentially duds in both box office and audience attention. Yet, obvious Oscar bait films and ego driven directorial wankfests have always been duds or at best “critically acclaimed” movies that a few watch or are interested in. Now, again, you can be bothered by this reality, but that does not give license to create an alternative one to soothe your ego or annoyance.
So, go out and enjoy and support the many, many films that are out that you wish to because, as always, the only thing that is listened to or matters in this case is where the dollars go to.