But this year I do!
Is it me, or does the summer movie season get less lustrous every year? Sure, there are standouts — this summer, The Avengers, Prometheus, and The Dark Knight Rises have all been high on my to-see list — but the majority of what’s out isn’t all that attractive. There’s an ever-widening gap between art and commerce on the big screen — which makes this the perfect time to catch up with small one. With the rise of original programming on cable, TV has taken the opposite trajectory of cinema — lately, it’s only gotten better.
So this spring, while quality was on vacation at the multiplex, I turned to Netflix to catch up on a medium I’ve neglected over the past couple of years. That means I got to check out Game Of Thrones, Hung, and Happy Endings, to name a few, but primarily it meant that I finally got around to watching Mad Men.
And guess what, you guys? Mad Men is a really good show!
(Originally posted at FabApp.)
It’s that time of year again, folks! What I like to call “movie Christmas.” And like an actual holiday, the Academy Awards often end up as more of a disappointment than anything else — any Oscars handed out to not-so-great nominated films like Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and The Iron Lady can be chalked up to the cinematic equivalent of “ugly sweaters from grandma we’ll throw in the back of the closet and never speak of again.” But it’s really the excitement leading up to the big show and the discussions of film it creates that make it all worthwhile.
So here’s where I like to make up for the Academy’s occasional lapses in good taste by recognizing the movies and performances that are really worthy of celebration. Because what has a group of thousands of filmmakers with decades of experience in the entertainment industry got on me?
In 2011, there were plenty of movies about scheming, boozing bad girls like the out-of-control flock of Bridesmaids or the self-destructive prom queen in Young Adult (see my post on “The Chicks”). Fun, right?
To counterbalance this, though, we also need that are properly progressive in feminist terms — the medicine to Bridesmaids & co’s spoonful of sugar. Which I’m all for, in theory.
In practice, however, 2011′s lineup of silver screen glass ceiling-breakers left something to be desired.
(Movies discussed in this post: Shame, Hunger, and Drive.)
In film criticism, it is trendy to champion the smallest of movies. Micro-budgeted, artsy, foreign language — any or all of these qualities will do. The more bare-bones and stripped down a film is, the better. Basically, the less a movie has going for it to appeal to a mass audience, the more a tried-and-true film critic is going to love.
I’m going to admit something that makes me a bad film critic. (I use the term “critic” loosely, in that “everybody’s a critic” way; never would I imply that I’m a real film critic. Alas, I’m just a guy with great taste.)