I am film snob with a problem. I don't hate popcorn movies, and I can't sit through a lot of foreign films. I don't need to only see "art house" flicks, and I don't shun pictures that are clearly made to entertain the basest of tendencies. I turn my nose up at lack of craft. I can sit through a "stupid" movie so long as it is made well enough that I am pleasantly distracted. Conversely, an incredibly well made movie can also fall apart for me if it becomes too full of itself.
So what the hell does that mean? I don't know. I just felt the need to qualify myself on where I stand before I lay into the crapfest what graced them there movie screens over the last year.
Clearly, the biggest movie of the year (in all sense of the term) was Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. In a lot of ways, ROTS is a great metaphor for how the box office performed this year. Lots of flash and hype, loads of excitement going in, and a lackluster finish that fails to make any sort of real impression.
The scores of cinema pundits seem to be remarking about how disappointing the turn out for movie profits has been this year. Well, is it any wonder? Every weekend I weigh the costs and fun factor of driving against traffic, finding parking, and paying a wad for overpriced tickets and snacks to sit next to an annoying teenager who acts like the theater is their living room to see a bad movie against popping in a Netflix DVD and watching a movie I've seen, but know I like. Netflix generally wins, and I am pretty certain I am not the only one.
This year offered up a lot of really bad and uninteresting looking movies. The same tropes, plots and situations affected by the same actors with the same gimmicks. I like to think that this year's low box-office take is a sign that America may be getting better taste. Here's hoping that the studios will see that the movie going public needs a little more substance and a little less tard to get out of the house.
Or maybe that is wishful thinking.
If there is one good thing about a crap movie season though, it is that the true diamonds stand out even further. Oscar season approaches, and might actually be interesting since the films worthy of attention may actually receive merit. So as the event approaches, and the Academy excitedly jerks itself off, here is a handy year-end look back of some films from 2005 (judgmentally categorized by me):
The Good: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Brokeback Mountain, Capote, The Constant Gardener, A History of Violence, Crash, Inside Deep Throat, Millions, Sin City, Kung Fu Hustle, Dallas 362, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Batman Begins, Murderball, 2046, The 40 year Old Virgin, The Baxter, Serenity, Mirrormask, Good Night and Good Luck, Syriana, Ice Harvest, Oldboy, Lords of Dogtown, Hustle and Flow, The Weather Man, Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic, Walk the Line, and The New World.
The Bad: White Noise, Racing Stripes, Assault on Precinct 13, Alone in the Dark, The Wedding Date, Be Cool, Ice Princess, The Ring 2, Star Wars Revenge of The Sith, Sahara, The Longest Yard, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Bewitched, Fantastic Four, Elizabethtown, The Fog, Shopgirl, Saw 2, Zathura, Rent, and The Family Stone.
The Retarded: Elektra, Are We There Yet?, Hitch, Constantine, Son of the Mask, Man of the House, The Man, The Pacifier, Taxicab, Miss Congeniality 2, Beauty Shop, XXX: State of the Union, House of Wax, Monster-In-Law, Herbie: Fully Loaded, Bad News Bears, Stealth, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, Supercross, Into the Blue, Domino, Doom, Get Rich or Die Tryin', Yours Mine and Ours, Cheaper by the Dozen 2, and The Ringer (literally retarded!).
The Ineffectual and Non-Opinion Generating: Coach Carter, Boogeyman, Cursed, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, The Jacket, Memoirs of a Geisha, Hostage, DEBS, Amityville Horror, Madagascar, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, High Tension, War of the Worlds, The Wedding Crashers, Dark Water, Skeleton Key, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Four Brothers, Red Eye, The Brothers Grimm, Corpse Bride, Oliver Twist, King Kong, Fun With Dick and Jane, and Munich.
The "couldn't make me care enough to see it": Everything else.