November 4, 2004

Banal Box Office

Print More

I would call myself a movie buff. I enjoy movies and I pride myself on knowing everything that is playing at the box office, both mainstream and independent, as well as the actors in the films, the reviews and which ones look like Oscar hopefuls. (Yes, it has already been established that I am a big dork, however you shouldn’t be surprised, after all I write for the Daze). It came to my attention a couple of days ago when I was perusing the box office stats that it doesn’t matter which film happens to be number one, because I haven’t heard of anything that’s in the top ten. The funny thing is, however, as soon as I started reading through synopses and reviews, I realized that there is not a damn movie playing right now that I would pay ten dollars to see. Why is it that the majority of the films that are surfacing nowadays are mediocre? If you look at the films slated to release in the next two months it becomes inherently obvious that the Oscar race this year will be slim pickings. This is positive for small-time independent flicks to get their chance at movie gold, yet there hasn’t been a great number of amazing independents released in the past year either. Focus Features will undoubtedly want Motorcycle Diaries to catch the eye of the Academy, and Lions Gate will put a great amount of effort into pushing Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 into one of the five best picture slots. There are a slew of other hopefuls, I [Heart] Huckabees, Kinsey, The Aviator and Ray, but there does not seem to be just one film that is carrying the Oscar brouhaha.

Anyway, back to my original thought, why is it so pointless for me to go to the movie theater? It isn’t that these films don’t look intriguing, they just don’t sound enticing enough to get me off my butt. Disregard the Oscar / Golden Globe race for the moment (that is an entirely different ridiculous issue), what I’m talking about is pure, simple, good ole entertainment. This intense drought at the theaters is making me sad because I need something to do on weekends. Why can’t I go see a movie where I can just enjoy myself? I am relying too heavily on the release of Ocean’s 12 because it sounds like the only entertaining movie that has been filmed in the past year. What if it sucks? Then where will I be? I’ll be forced into relying on the film adaptation of The Polar Express, and that’s a bad situation because it’s one of my favorite books. Can you name any movie besides The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter that do justice to a good book? Now you understand that relying on The Polar Express won’t restore my faith in modern cinema. On top of all that, I think that it’s peachy that films nowadays are documentaries about the absurdities of politics, but when you’re in a place like Cornell for 4 years the last thing you want to do is think during a movie. I know that sounds terrible, but you can’t deny it.

I want to be able to go out and see a good movie, that isn’t over-the-top, or overly depressing. I want it to be intelligent and thoughtful and well-acted, and I want to finally see something that is worthy enough to gain some recognition from those muck-a-mucks in the Academy. Is that so much to ask?

Archived article by Amanda Hodes