Blockbuster Fatigue

Hope and I went to see Super 8 this weekend. Since Forest has been born, it’s harder and harder to see movies in the theater. Between the money, the time, and finding a sitter, it just doesn’t happen much. But this was one that interested us both, and we were not disappointed. I was a sucker for the Spielbergian atmosphere of the whole thing (I’m a big fan of E.T.), and even though it got a little more action-y towards the end, it never felt like it went totally off the rails.

Not like the movie was perfect, but I feel very positively disposed towards it. Mostly, that’s because this has been a very dire summer for movies, from my viewpoint. I’m pretty tired of seeing row after row of sequels/remakes/familiar property. That may sound a little hypocritical coming from the guy who recently devoted a whole entry to Tintin and my excitement for that movie, but that’s a little like my excitement for the Lord of the Rings. It’s part of who I am, and that’s always exciting. Most movie trailers today tend to elicit merely a weary sigh from me. I’m tired of being offered up mediocre superhero movies, and fourth installments of series that probably didn’t need more than one installment to begin with. Even the usually reliable Pixar has made Cars 2, a movie that I haven’t seen, but feels pretty mercenary.

The thing is, a lot of these movies would have had me pretty excited as recently as two or three years ago. I genuinely love the idea of summer movies, because I tend to be something of a populist where film is concerned. I like big exciting adventure stuff, with spectacle and action. Many of my favorite movies involve the words “Star Wars” or “Indiana Jones.” That’s the kind of stuff that made me excited to see movies when I was younger. So that could be why I’m so disillusioned right now. I like summer fare, but I crave something more original. I long for something I haven’t seen. Super 8 wasn’t quite what I’d call original, but it was well-directed and not too noisy, and for once, I was able to go in without ever knowing most of the basic premise.

What does excite me this summer? Well, I can only go on trailers, so I’m pretty excited about the new Planet of the Apes movie, which looks exciting enough to even interest Hope. Cowboys and Aliens looks just silly enough to get me excited, and the pedigree is surprisingly high there. And of course, there’s the last Harry Potter movie, although I’m ready to be done with those movies by this time. They’ve given me a lot of pleasure, and I will certainly buy the whole set at some point, but I’m worn out by the endless promotions and the unfortunate decision to split the last installment.

So there you go. I’m worn out from the endless parade of blockbusters. Maybe I’m just getting old, maybe I’m just getting picker. What do you think?

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3 thoughts on “Blockbuster Fatigue

  1. I hear you, man. I think I resound your own feeling at just about every point, including the movies I actually look forward to and the ones that I don’t. I think it’s just a marker of age, but not a bad one, when you become pickier about movies. And I love movies. I love the thrill I feel every time I sit in the theatre and the early credits begin to roll. Frankly, I’m surprised after all the movies I’ve seen (and some of them stinkers, or just mediocre) that I still get that feeling. And yet, I long for really good ones that do something different, and tell a new story, yet one that is somehow always familiar to me without feeling unoriginal.

    I liked Super 8 as well, and for all the same reasons. It wasn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen, but it was just GOOD, well acted, well told. And I didn’t know what was going to happen at the end. And with the limited time and money that comes with maturity (because you have found there are some things in life more important to invest your time and money in), you HAVE to be pickier about what movies you see, and books you read, etc. Because you still want to see a really great movie and read a really great book. It isn’t being jaded, or elitist. It’s just discernment.

  2. Two weekends ago, I treated myself to “Midnight in Paris” and “Tree of Life”. It was more than refreshing to be reminded in the midst of the summer movie onslaught what a truly good film is like. I love the genre schlock that comes out in the summer, but make a habit of only gracing the well-reviewed ones with my presence (and ticket stub fun-funds). It’s quality before quantity. The same could be said of TV, books and even music. There are old stand-by’s that I will inevitably gravitate towards, but the quality work that shakes me to my core is usually found in more original fare.

    On a side note, be sure to follow directors. They tend to be a better bead on what’s good in Hollywood than the titles themselves.

  3. @Nathan
    You are right on target about directors, although it doesn’t always work.

    The biggest thing is to get over the need to catch something RIGHT NOW. If you can wait a few weeks, it really helps to separate the wheat from the chaff.

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