Last Picture Show
LeSueur Minnesota, July 2011
While watching last Sunday's Academy Award Show, it struck me that everything thing about the industry seemed a little less- Kodak is bankrupt, the "Best Picture" nominees were, for the most part, not exactly blockbusters, but even more importantly, they didn't capture the imagination of a large group of movie goers.
War Horse and Moneyball were genre pictures, The Descendants, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and The Help were strong dramas but not exactly timeless masterpieces, while The Tree of Life was a personal vision of director Terence Malick. The Artist was the big winner of course- a throwback to the silent films of the twenties- it was pleasant and well done but I can't help but think that if it had come out in the twenties it would have been just another film. Hugo, Martin Scorsese's 3-D adaptation of Brian Selznick's graphic novel, a technical tour de force, was also tribute to early film makers.
There have never been more movies being made. HD TV on large screens in the home is replacing the trip to the cineplex, video on demand is on your computer or even in your pocket, but the theater experience is soon to be a thing of the past. Expensive, unpleasant (more and more ads before the show) with ear-splitting (and often lo-fi) sound and even low-quality digital projection.
Maybe it's just me, am I too old? I don't know. But grandeur of HOLLYWOOD is fading fast. It was always a dream factory, and there were always more bad films made than good ones. There just aren't very many sweet dreams anymore.
Which leaves us with Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris. Written by Woody, on a typewriter(!), this subtle musing on desire, art and bygone times may well be the film that will be remembered in the next millennium.