This is not a list of recommendations or reviews. It is more a rant about how bad movies have become and why movie critics should not be trusted.
Last night, I went to see the Downton Abbey movie because ‘she who must be obeyed’ wanted to see it. I won’t say it was awful, but it was dull and not worth the price (even with my senior discount). Sitting through the previews and looking at posters of upcoming movies, there was only one that seemed halfway intelligent and interesting and that was “The Current War” ( https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2140507/ ) about the battle between Edison and Westinghouse. What I did see was coming attractions for another remake of “Charlie’s Angel”, “The Adams Family”, another Rambo movies, and a political diatribe against DuPont and a number of forgettable titles. This past summer was similarly bleak with continuations of franchise movies heavy on explosions and no exposition. Since I used to be one of those ‘at least one movie a week’ people (even with kids), I was very disappointed.
Meanwhile on various streaming platforms, I have been watching “Peaky Blinders”, “Goliath”, “Good Omens”, “Carnival Row” and enough other excellent shows that I am fearful my butt may fall asleep. Understanding that the extended time does make for better story telling, but at the heart is that these are good stories. In addition to these series, I have been watching a number of good independent movies available through my subscriptions. Even my sons (21 and 27) say that there are no good movies out there. Apparently Hollywood has become so risk averse that anything without a built in audience is not being made.
Which leads to the circling of the drain.
– Hollywood does not make movies that attract a new audience,
– People watch streaming movies and shows,
– Hollywood can’t risk losing money and so makes only franchise movies,
– The franchise movies all look the same and people quit watching
– Hollywood complains that no one is watching movies and goes for the sure things.
Meanwhile, there are new titles at the literary and popular levels that would make great movies or even franchises (one again a plug for the Kitty Norville movie). However this would require taking a chance.
The second part of the rant is why I no longer trust critics. A few weeks ago I watched “The Professor and the Madman” (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5932728/?ref_=nv_sr_1?ref_=nv_sr_1 ) with Sean Penn (who I usually can’t stand) and Mel Gibson (I’m neutral about him) because I read the book. Since it was DVD, if it was bad, I could always pop it out and find something else. It was a marvelous movie about insanity, commitment, forgiveness, and friendship. Penn and Cruise played their roles with a light hand except when it was part of the plot (the depiction of a mental breakdown). The cinematography was excellent in expressing the feel of the the different scenes contrasting the bleakness of the asylum and London slums with the openness of academic existence. The problem – critics panned it (metascore of 25) and popular opinion loved it (7.3/10). Once again, the elites and the people have split. I wonder how much of the critic opinion is based on their dislike of the actors or the themes. Either way, it is clear that the critics and I will disagree, so I will quit paying attention.
Okay, end of rant.
As an addendum, I noticed I have not posted anything beyond reviews and announcements about publications in a month. September was not a good month for me between work commitments, issues with my ministry, and a back spasm that laid me up for a week. My hope is that the future will be better.