Monday, October 24, 2005

Is it just me or are we in a huge movie slump?

Is is just me, or has there been a complete and utter drought of good movies lately? To be honest, I can’t even remember the last thing I was excited to see in the theatre that actually fufilled my expectations.

It seems like everything I’ve seen lately has run the gammut from absolutely terrible to mediocre with one recent exception. Capote, the small Sony Pictures Classic release starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the title role, was an incredibly strong film. The movie focuses on writer Truman Capote during the time period in his life when he concieved and wrote his non-fiction claim to fame, In Cold Blood. Hoffman puts in an unforgettable transformative prerformance as the ego-centric, droll, acutely insightful writer, and though the film was made by both a first time director (Bennett Miller) and a first time screenwriter (Dan Futterman), it felt as though it had been crafted by veteran filmakers. Not only is the film an intimate portrait of Capote the man, it is a close study of the writer and the writing process. Catherine Keener gave a warm and subtle performance as writer Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird) and there was a near voyeuristic pleasure in watching scenes between these two literary giants. Clifton Collins Jr. gave a starkly paradoxical feel to the role of killer Perry Smith encapsulating fierceness and brutality in the same space with lonliness and despair.

But other than that ? As I look over my recent reviews, I see the pickins are slim. The Fog? Horrendous. The Corpse Bride? So-so. The Exorcism of Emily Rose? O.K. The Brothers Grimm? Terrible. To adopt the youthful slang of the day, What is up with that?

Not only did the summer peter out in the sad sorry way it always inevitably does, but the fall ain’t been too pretty either. I haven’t seen History of Violence which I hear is quite good, and I haven’t seen Serenity yet because I need to finish watching Firefly. Good Night and Good Luck was pretty good, but we’ve also had to endure Into the Blue, Just like Heaven, Two for the Money and Domino. (A friend just told me he really enjoyed Domino but I’ll have to see it before I believe it)

And what’s next on our horizon? More soggy sequels. We have Saw II, and Mask of Zorro 2, and though its not a sequal, has anyone seen the trailer for Casanova ?!? Thank Goodness for Harry Potter, which comes out in less than a month on November 18th. I think the trailer for Memoirs of a Geisha is pretty stunning, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has my attention. Of course we all know what the most anticipated movie of the year for me is…. Peter Jackson’s King Kong, ---only fifty one more days to go!!

I haven’t seen Doom yet, though its gotten pretty poor reveiws, and didn’t do very well at the box office this weekend. In fact, according to Box Office Mojo , money wise, this weekend, might go down in history as the weakest October weekend of the decade. Egads. I’m looking for something to help break this boring streak. As of right now Harry Potter, all eyes are on you.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

squid and the whale. shopgirl. the weatherman. plenty to see.

1:16 PM  
Anonymous DC Dionysian said...

I too have been struck dumb by film's recent mediocrity. I have historically been at the movies at least monthly and frequently weekly. There were a couple of movies I thought I might want to see, but nothing over the past couple of months has motivated me at all. Some of it might be my getting older, but the fact is that movies just blow this year. Serenity and A History of Violence were both decent, though in any other year they wouldn't have been anything special.

3:40 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

To anonymous --shopgirl looks awful, and while the weatherman looks good its been in the can for over a year and has undergone massive redits.

- DC D, I can't believe its that we're getting old. I mean its not just kids movies, its adult fare too. everything. I do however, want to see wallace and grommit.

3:43 PM  
Anonymous DoorFrame said...

I've been assuming that I've just been getting old, too. There's really no way to prove it, but I hang around a bunch of people who are four years younger than me (it's not even that much of a difference) and they love all these crappo Anchorman/40 Year Old Virgin borefests...

People like Vince Vaugn and the Wilsom brothers and the Daily Show guys. I find them tedious and dull. But people probably felt that way about Wayne's World or whatever I was entertained by when I was a tad younger. Maybe we've just crossed that threshold where the young whipper snappers no longer seem to be in line with us.

That being said, it seems unlikely but I guess it's possible that movies just got bad.

12:05 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

I just can't buy the age thing ---at least not for myself. I watch dumbfounded as folk five to twenty years my senior sit next to me, and seem to heartily enjoy stuff that I find to be complete dreck. I will disagree with doorframe on one issue --i am a fan of the daily show.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Is it just me or are we in a huge movie slump?"

uh... it's just you... if you ever considered going to a movie that opened on less than 3,000 screens, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised...

father geek.

5:16 PM  
Anonymous DoorFrame said...

Is that AICN father geek? Weird.

The Daily Show is very good, it's the offshoots of the Daily Show which aren't.

Is it possible that we've just gotten smarter, and the dumb movies are no longer effective? I do the same thing, where I watch the people around me enjoying things that just seem terrible.

It doesn't really seem possible that we've gotten smarter.

8:25 PM  
Anonymous DC Dionysian said...

I've kind of warmed up to the whole age hypothesis. Its not a bad thing. We've become more discerning, and there is plenty out there.... On DVD if nothing else.

I've been tremendously amused to watch myself fall completely out of the cherry advertising demographics over the past couple of years. I haven't watched MTV since College (edging on 4 years), and while I still enjoy a good brainless action flick I certainly haven't gone out of my way to see one in a few years.

It brings up a sort of chicken - egg question. Did smart people stop going to movies first, or did Hollywood stop promoting decent movies? It doesn't make much sense. I've got a lot more disposable income now than I did back then, and most of it goes to entertainment. Sad really.

Enjoyed Wedding Crashers and so did my parents, for the record. I liked the gutter jokes and I'm not ashamed to say that I related to the whole growing out of partying theme as well.

8:51 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

Well, who can say really. What came first, stupid people? or Hollywood? I like that theory. I want to read that book out there that actually stipulates that all the things we think are making us more mindless are actually improving our mental acuity. its called something like "everything you thought was bad for you that is actually good for you.

9:25 PM  

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