Just answering six reader questions this afternoon for time constraints so we'll do another handful later in the week. Thanks for all the great Qs, readers! Here we go.
GSHAQ: Do you feel the gap is widening between the stories told in mainstream movies and contemporary issues? Oops, that might be an essay.
NATHANIEL: This question hurts my brain but I'll try. I do fear for the health of cinema which directly addresses contemporary issues. For a long time the movies have preferred past-tense filters for social and political issues, once it's safer since history has sorted out consensus. The best of those past-tense films also address the here and now through their resonant power (see: Selma). And there's something to be said for the facility that good genre films have in addressing the way we live via metaphor (The Babadook, Bridesmaids, and Melancholia are MUCH better films about depression than some earnest dramas that directly take it on) Even superhero films can be reflective of the here and now in spite of (or maybe because of) all their mixed messages and contradictory 'have it both ways' politics. I don't think it's an accident that Batman v Superman and Captain America: Civil War, whatever their disparate qualities, are asking the same questions about Might Equalling Right and whether we have the right checks and balances in place for those in power. These are issues that we're facing in very real ways all over the world. But, that said, we do need a reenergized contemporary cinema. If we can only think about tough issues through metaphor or by dwelling on the past, we have some maturation to do as a society!
It's true that movies made in the right-now about the right-now can age quickly (see movies we've recently discussed like Working Girl) but if they're any good -- and sometimes even when they aren't -- they make great time capsules about the way we were, the things we valued, and the issues that laid claim to our collective mental real estate.
BVR: Rank the animated movies from the Disney Renaissance (1989-1999). Extra: which is the most underrated?
NATHANIEL: This is cheating and asking for a top ten list but here's a NON commital answer after the jump...