The same could be said for forgettable depository nonsense like Robin Hood, Prince of Persia, Sex & the City 2, The A-Team, Shrek Forever After, The Sorcerer's Apprentice and The Last Airbender. Whew! Fortunately for smart discerning moviegoers, hope did eventually come in a wonderful two-week period in July when two very different films with two very audiences opened to respectable numbers and glowing reviews. The films I speak of are Inception and The Kids Are All Right. What both films represent in a summer movie season of regret and longing is that specific, intelligent films do exist in the proverbial waste land of noise and pandering to the desirable younger male demographic. They represent, in a clear way, that pop entertainment can be just that, but also carefully shaded with bits of substance for those who crave it. It's important to note, I think, that Inception, courtesy of the most consistent big budget pop filmmaker of the moment, was a product of Warner Bros., and The Kids Are All Right an independently financed Sundance hit, with the fortunate nurturing of Focus Features, proving a upswing in the recent trend of smaller scaled films having trouble breaking out of the major cities. Big will always have it's place in the summer time, but small needs a place too.
Other lessons learned from this season at the movies, aside from Christopher Nolan's pure awesomeness and sperm donor comedies can be heartfelt and smart, were:
- 80s nostalgia works, except when it doesn't (The Karate Kid was a big success because it appealed to those who grow up with the original, as well as their kids; plus Will Smith's son likely inherited a few of his genes; however The A-Team stalled because all it had going for it was the hardcore fan base, and really how big can that be?)
- Tom Cruise needs to get Paul Thomas Anderson to write him another part; as evident by Knight & Day's blase reception. Give up the action star model for a while, and delve into character work-- you might regain your reputation, and possibly get that Oscar!
- Pixar is still the king of everything, evidenced by the singular beauty of Toy Story 3, which just might be the best third act in Hollywood history. I said it, hyperbole be mad!
- Jerry Bruckheimer may have totally lost it altogether, based on Prince of Persia and The Sorcerer's Apprentice.
- 3-D works, except when it doesn't! Nobody really complained about those high admission prices for Toy Story 3 or Despicable Me, because the product was good, but really how long will it be until the idea of 3-D is almost totally rejected if Hollywood keeps offering shoddy, and hideously ugly products like Shrek Forever After and The Last Airbender. Remember, 3-D isn't exactly a new filmmaking device, it's been around for decades, and has died before!
- Angelina Jolie is the new Tom Cruise. Since her Salt was originally scripted for Cruise, I suggest that every film Cruise is offered should eventually be played by Jolie...
I'm getting ahead of myself...I'll stop and regroup.