This has to be the worst year for movies that I can remember. Usually, at this point in the year I’ve seen a handful of shows that I can’t stop talking about. Ones that really moved me and that I want others to experience. In previous years, I’d seen Once and Murderball and Little Miss Sunshine and Waitress and Knocked Up and Wedding Crashers and Capturing the Friedman’s and Fever Pitch by now. So far this year, I’ve seen ONE movie that I would highly recommend to everyone and it’s the documentary Bigger, Stronger, Faster. That’s all! I guess that shouldn’t surprise me since docs are usually more satisfying than studio films. But, I’m depressed that my trips to the theater have come up short consistently for 10 ½ straight months.
The best theatrical release I saw this year was The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and that was actually released in 2007! Sure Iron Man exceeded my expectations and was great fun, the Dark Knight came up a little short for me, but was still an extremely well-made piece of comic pulp, and The Visitor and Frozen River have sustained (barely) my faith and interest in independent films, but that’s all. Week after week I venture out with my best intentions and end up trudging through middling offerings like Ghost Town, Flash of Genius, and Burn After Reading. Of the 50 films currently in wide release, according to metacritic.com, only ten (20%) show mostly positive reviews and of those ten, only two are considered universally praised and both came out in the summer (Dark Knight and Wall-E). Meanwhile, 16 of the 50, have received largely negative reviews.
The fall Oscar season can’t get here quick enough. Hopefully, it comes through in a big way because we need some quality in the marketplace. It’s getting really deflating to get my hopes up week after week, only to see the new releases being panned by critics (Miracle at St. Anna, Body of Lies, How to Lose Friends…, Blindness, W, the list keeps going). I guess there are some pluses to having the economy in the toilet. No money to spend on crappy movies anyway.