Monday, December 5, 2011

It's Been a Good Year for the Roses...And the Movies

Every year for the past several years, as films become less and less about stories and characters and more about whose special effects are the biggest, shiniest and can cause the most damage as they crash headfirst into one another, there's always those who will say that the year in movies sucked.

There were a lot of movies that sucked in 2011. There were a lot of movies that sucked in 2010 and 2009 as well. And there were a lot of movies that sucked in 1925 and 1926 as well. There's always going to be movies that suck every year. It's inevitable. There's so damn many of them.

The problem with last year wasn't that it sucked, but that the good movies were just that: good. Few movies left a lasting impact. The Social Network was a timeless film but the highly praised Inception and Toy Story 3 weren't. They were good. Finding ten films to name as the year's best, that were better than good, was a bit of a chore.

2011 seemed to pose the same challenges. From January up until September there were a lot of bad movies and a lot of good ones but where were the great movies? Apparently now the question has been answered: they were waiting for Halloween to be over. My last 3 posts have all been reviews and all for films which I would award five stars. But they aren't just five star films (like say Inception), they are timeless films that rank among their respective filmmakers' best efforts.

I realized this as I was browsing Rotten Tomatoes. I clicked to see the expanded screen of the week's top box office grossers and found something I haven't seen in a long time. Of the 32 films on the list 22 of them are certified fresh, 9 of them are in the 90% range, 6 are in the 80% range and 5 of them are in the 70% range.

This means two things: 1) out of 32 films out there right now, critics on a whole have deemed that but 10 of them aren't worth the public's time and 2) the vast majority of critics are all in agreement: the good films are really good. Usually highly praised films are followed with sneers, unmatched expectations and general cynicism for some. Not in 2011, where everyone agreed we're in a good spot.

And here's the kicker: I write this on Monday December 12, 2011, weeks still before the release of Young Adult, Tinker Tailor Solider Spy (which, if the script is any indication, will be something special), We Need to Talk About Kevin, Carnage (see comments on Tinker Taylor),The Adventures of Tintin, Girl With the Dragon Tatoo and War Horse. If last year the problem was finding 10, this year the problem will be sticking to just that many.

As a side note I've decided not to publish my year end list this year until January or probably even closer to February. Why? Two reasons: 1) come the end of December there are so many best of lists its hard to care about any on an individual basis and 2) unlike last year I want to take as much time as I need to see the films that I feel could be on it properly.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm... I seem to have noticed a similar trend here in Spain (as in something worth watching in the cinema). It was like pre-Thanksgiving we were struggling to find something decent to watch and then wham! I've got at least 5 films on-screen that I would really like to see and probably won't have time for! Particularly when you consider the crazyness of the holiday period and ongoing new releases that look equally interesting! ;o)

    Oh, and we already got Tintin a month ago. I loved it! Lots of fun and very well done! Truly worthy of Hergé's creation. It's just a pity we have to wait until 2013 (or 2014!) for another installment... here's my review if you're interested: