Friday, October 01, 2010

I'm back from Disney World! Flying was incredibly terrifying (nothing bad happened, I was just panicky in general), the rides were awesome, the entertainment and food was top notch, the princesses where HOT, and the only downside was that the inter-park/resort transportation was too cramped.

All in all, a really good time. Look for posts on Facebook for more. Anyway, let's finally finish the movie ranting up.


(What? I just tried to come up with the most ridiculous anime title I could.)

1991-1998: Meh

By far the biggest grouping of years yet, these years comprise most of my teens, and I have to say, it wasn't much of a decade for movies. Oh there were really good ones, but for every classic there was a 'Hook' (can you believe it made 300 million?!), and for every deeply satisfying tale there was a crappy 'famous actor' vehicle that wasn't good enough to stand up on its own (I'm looking at you, Forrest Gump).

1992 was almost good enough to stand on its own, with Aladdin, Lethal Weapon 3, a Few Good Men, Unforgiven, and Scent of a Woman, but it's just not...enough. Besides, I had to sit through K2 that year, which was easily the most disappointing R rated movie a 14 year old could see at the time.

1996 was also a good year for action movies, with Independence Day, Twister, Mission Impossible, and the Rock all in the same year. It was sort of a one trick pony though. If you wanted comedies you had...Cable Guy. Great.

Some of the notable standout performers:

Beauty and the Beast
Silence of the Lambs
Addams Family
Groundhog Day
Nightmare Before Christmas
Interview with the Vampire
The Usual Suspects
Men in Black
LA Confidential
Truman Show

1999-2007: 9 Years of Mediocrity

You could almost sense the beginning of the 'wave' in 1999. Star Wars Episode I was about to be released. I was graduating from Brookdale and one of my fellow graduates had the 'countdown to release' on the top of his cap.

Can you remember that? A time when the thought of the Star Wars prequels filled us all with joy and wonder? Good times, good times.

When the wave finally crashed, we not only found ourselves with two and a half hours of mediocre crap, but a disturbing new trend. For 9 years straight, hollywood...well...stopped trying.

Every movie was either a sequel, a remake, a movie shamelessly trying to become a trilogy, or a super hero movie. Nobody seemed to care about movies anymore. They were just something that 'happened' each summer.

Even the great series, like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, all seemed to become routine, and failed to excite us anymore. Strong movies like Matrix, Pirates of the Caribbean, Casino Royale, Spiderman, and Transformers, were quickly followed up by mediocre sequels that just ruined the original for us as well.

2000 was a particularly interesting year, as not only was there only a single good movie all year (What Lies Beneath), but it also seems to be the year that the Oscars got its head stuck up its ass. Remember when any movie could win awards? Now it seems that you can only win the big Oscars if nobody's seen your movie. Before 2000, there was no such thing as 'Oscar bait movies', as every movie could possibly win. Now, if you're not indie, then you might as well stay home.

If it weren't for Pixar, I'm not sure if we would've made it through most of this decade at all.

Some notable exceptions that weren't setups for trilogies, and terrible followups:

What Lies Beneath
Monsters Inc
Spirited Away
Finding Nemo
The Incredibles
The Departed
No Country for Old Men

Yup, that's it. Sad, isn't it?

2008-present: Heath Ledger sets us free

It's an absolute tragedy what happened to Heath Ledger, and worse yet, after filming Brokeback Mountain, he also went on to die young.

Regardless, he's my personal savior, as far as movies are concerned, because he finally gave us hope. In a way, the 'wave' of trilogies/remakes/crap was continuing, as the Dark Knight was yet another trilogy bait movie, but Heath managed to transcend the genre, and his part, by pulling out all the stops, and presenting us with not only the most terrifying Joker in history, but also one of the greatest villains ever.

It was this performance (and to some degree the tragedy) that saved us from the wave. With so much money from a single movie, people began to reassess 'success'. Sure, it was a superhero movie, but it was the amazing and unique performance which drew everyone in.

Of course, Ironman and Twilight caused the wave to sort of continue, but in 2009-2010, Hollywood seemed more open for experimentation, resulting in Avatar, which took the world by storm, and also more thought provoking hits, like District 9, Angels and Daemons, Inception, and more.

Even the kids movies and teen comedies (Toy Story 3 and Easy A, for example) just seemed...better. So what happened? I think I know:

People began to yearn for new and better movies. It wasn't enough to release the same crap over and over. America (and the world) wants to be 'wowed', and the box office results prove it. Sure, they may stumble here and there (Scott Pilgrim and such), but I think Hollywood gets it, so I have a good feeling that next summer will be one of the absolute...

Oh wait, they're just re-releasing all the Star Wars movies in 3D.

Never mind.

Anyway, with all these possibilities it's difficult to say which was the best for movies, but since waffling or declaring ties if for wusses, I'm going to have to go ahead and give it too...


It may have been before I was quite ready for movies, and it might not have had all the hits, but this was just a great year for seeing 'good' movies. No matter what time of the year it was, you could go to the theater and see a movie that's not only on its way to becoming a classic, but is both entertaining and thought provoking as well. What more could you ask for?

Once again, some of the notable hits of that year:

Dark Crystal
Airplane 2
Blade Runner
The Thing
Star Trek 2: Wrath of Khan
First Blood
Road Warrior
Conan the Barbarian

Go ahead. Grab a bucked of popcorn and take your pick. They're all well worth the price of admission. ^_^