Hello, loves. Beau here, considering something I've been knocking around in my head for the past week. There has yet to be a film that's been released this year that has garnered widespread acclaim from all viewers (critics, audiences, and bloggers alike). At this point last year, we had a few already that we could point to: Midnight in Paris, Bridesmaids, Harry Potter had all done beaucoups bucks at the box office, and garnered more than respectable responses from the general public and critics alike. But this year... what?
The Hunger Games, The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises have made the most, but each inspired a heated dialogue about some element of the filmmaking. Examples: The Hunger Games 'should not have been PG-13'; 'bland, dull, watered-down'; The Avengers 'fan-fiction cum brand/merchandising cash cow' and 'Didn't move the genre forward'; The Dark Knight Rises 'nowhere near as good as The Dark Knight'; and 'WTF with the Bane sound design? the politics?')
Prometheus was enormously divisive, and Brave was widely regarded with a shrug. The critical darling Beasts of the Southern Wild didn't quite crossover. It's made $10 million so far but it's a fairly straightforward narrative, however poetically delivered, that elicits warm feelings and it made less than something as abstract, obscure and strange as Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life. (The latter had the advantage of starring Brad Pitt, but even so, people don't always follow the movie stars - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford made a paltry $4 million back in 2007 as well.) More...
Even my cause celebre of the year, Bachelorette, which I've written about and defended enough right here, barely made a dent in the box office last weekend. It didn't help that it was only released on a couple dozen screens. (It's a film that could have topped the charts had it been handled properly!) Critically, it's also proven to be one of the more dissentious films of the year. The New York Times' Stephen Holden gave it a rave, while Reelviews James Berardinelli gave it a 0 on Metacritic. A 0! It's an opinion that I strongly - vehemently, even - disagree with, but it exists nonetheless. And several other opinions surf the scale.)
Yes, the fall films are on their way. And no film will ever be universally loved, or completely trashed. We've already seen divisions in fresh festival buzz for Cloud Atlas, The Impossible, and Silver Linings Playbook. That's the nature of the beast. But shouldn't we have something to write home about already? It's September, for Pete's sake, and you can hardly find a film to discuss with friends without someone dismissing it either casually or fervently, or praising it to hog heaven? Where's the solidarity? Where's the grand slam? Where's the punching bag of punching bags?
Do you agree that this is a particularly divisive year in film or am I being too dramatic? Do you feel it's warranted? Are you hopeful for the crop of films being released this fall? Theorize away for me. Throw ideas out there. This year's got me puzzled.