2010- The Worst Movie Year in Recent Memory and an Explanation as to Why There Will be No Review This Weekend
Looking at the list of new releases that enter the theaters this week ignites a genuine feeling of tiresome confusion and relentless agitation. When did movies begin to slowly devolve into mundane entertainment where there is not an inkling of redeemable features that can muster any sort of interest to get a feeling of excitement about experiencing the theater? It certainly doesn’t solely include this past year of 2010, probably the worst movie year ever, but goes back 10 years to the turn of the century when it became relatively cheaper to make films due to advancements in technology and a Hollywood culture focused on getting anything into the theater. A focus on quantity rather than quality has overcome the entertainment industry. Most of the worst films ever made have been featured in this past decade, including Eddie Murphy’s horrid The Adventures of Pluto Nash, the L. Ron Hubbard inspired Battlefield Earth, and a plethora of idiotic comedies made by Adam Sandler and Mike Meyers who touted such great examples of compost as The Love Guru, Little Nicky, and You Don’t Mess with the Zohan. So is there any reason to see The Lottery, a desultory rendition of Friday, or a gimmicky remake of an already dreadful horror film called Piranha?
But it hasn’t just been this weekend with the theater’s generic releases, such as the predictable romantic comedy The Switch or another repulsive parody of genre with Vampires Suck, but has been a steady feature for a majority of the year. With the exception of literally a hand full of major releases and the occasional foreign or independent feature, there has not been a significant example of quality entertainment in 2010. Perhaps it’s because Hollywood is always focused on sequels, remakes, and easily produced garbage that utilizes star power instead of brain power. Dinner for Schmucks, a horrendous comedy that’s in the running for worst picture of the year, was a remake of a wonderfully witty French film entitled The Dinner Game (Le Diner de Cons) and couldn’t even get the balanced tone of comedy correct. Plenty of sequels have continuously graced us with amateur entertainment for the last 10 years with pointless continuations of unintended story arcs which certainly includes Pirates of the Caribbean and the last two Matrix films. Hollywood is a business and it appears their business involves depending on the easy money maker rather than taking risks on new stories or fresh writers. But what do you expect from a creative system that depends on unions full of the notable writers that gave you Gigli, Catwoman, and I Know Who Killed Me. Aren’t you glad that those writer’s jobs are safe?
It’s easy to pick on the obvious clunkers that are continuously schlepped out week after week but the truth is the last 10 years has barely offered us even memorable award winners as well. The 2002 and 2004 best picture winners Chicago and Crash are probably the best examples of what type of standard we have given ourselves for deserving best picture winners that will unfortunately be historically next to such great names as The French Connection and Gone with the Wind. 2009 should have been an indication of what horrid and average films could be nominated for what used to be a prestigious award with the likes of James Cameron’s blatantly borrowed science-fiction opera Avatar and the typical sports fluff of The Blind Side. But even 2010’s releases seem to be worse than last year’s slim pickings for best picture nominations only offering the third installment of Toy Story proving that Pixar’s dedication to quality rather than quantity is a rarity in our cinematic generation.
Only foreign cinema and the occasional independent release have some memorable or risky qualities that make them more intriguing than say Grown Ups or Twilight. Just this year alone Korea has offered us two recognizably visual thrill rides with Kim Ji-woon’s spaghetti western The Good, the Bad, and the Weird and Bong Joon-Ho’s Hitchcockian Mother. Italy has given us a reverse Pygmalion story of passion with I Am Love while Sweden has been on a roll with riveting displays of drama and thriller with their adaptations of Stieg Larrson’s literary work (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). Foreign cinema is adopting the visual and narrative strengths Hollywood used to be solely responsible for developing and making head way in making risky yet quality entertainment that rests on a great story, believable character development, and bringing it all to life with intense camera work. So as Hollywood drifts away from the skill sets that separated them from the rest of the world in being the sole distributor of quality entertainment the rest of the world has learned to utilize those positive attributes. If it worked before for us then why couldn’t it work for us now?
2010 is practically a hopeless year from here on out. The big blockbuster release people are supposedly looking forward to will be a sequel to a 1982 flop now entitled Tron Legacy. It seems the months of September and October will be offering more of the same from all fronts with George Clooney’s The American or another Resident Evil movie that we could really have done without. Maybe Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan will be one of the more memorable and experimental films of this year taking us away from the constant drivel that plague the theaters every week but that doesn’t come till December. There are times when the movies are so bad that they are unreviewable and this is a long letter explaining my reasons to not review ANY of the big releases this week. There is nothing that could be written about Vampires Suck without being a pure waste of time in the theater and in the writing process to deem it an actual film. Nanny McPhee Returns is another useless sequel where you’d be better off renting Mary Poppins from your local store. And if you’re considering seeing Piranha 3D then perhaps a better choice is to sit at home and hit yourself in the head with a hammer repeatedly till the urge goes away. It was unfair not to write anything this week, but safe it to say nothing that is being majorly released into theaters this weekend is really worth your time or money…it certainly wasn’t worth mine.