It has become an extremely tired cliche to complain about the past year in movies. Nearly everyone who has seen a film at the theater in the past year feels prone to pontificate on just how putrid the motion picture industry was over the course of the past twelve months. They will stand on their soapboxes and shout the standard complaints we’ve all heard for the past few years: too many sequels, no originality, Adam Sandler, ticket prices are too high and not enough Ryan Gosling.
While studios tried, yet somehow failed, to give us enough Gosling, they have also failed us as consumers. It is for that reason why attendance at movie theaters reached a 16-year low in 2011. Despite blockbusters such as “Independence Day,” “D3: The Mighty Ducks” and “Kazaam,” 1996 somehow turned out to be a clunker for theater attendance. It makes me wonder whether or not cinefiles in the mid-90s were as pessimistic as they are now or whether they simply considered ’96 a down year. I mean, there were summer Olympics in Atlanta in ’96, which could have kept people in front of their TVs for a few weeks. All we have for excuses are unemployment and the economy.
While this year has been a well-rounded one with an excellent slate of documentaries, this has been a down year in film. At first glance 2011 lacked memorable standout films that will stand the test of time. “Bridesmaids” was easily the year’s best comedy and might have the most longevity. “Moneyball” will most likely crack Top 20 lists for best sports movies. “Midnight in Paris” was an extremely charming Woody Allen adventure, and the final Harry Potter film speaks for itself.
Nevertheless, as excellent as Best Picture front-runners “The Artist” and “The Descendents” were, even Oscar gold is unlikely to help them be considered classics by the general public. I loved both films and I think it’s unfortunate that they’ll suffer from the sigma of being released in 2011, however, it was a lackluster year.
Now lets take a look at five reasons why everyone you know is bitching about state of the film industry and no one is going to the movies.
5. “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
The third film in Michael Bay’s atrocious Transformers franchise finished second in the 2011 box office, grossing over a billion dollars world wide. Maybe this is a bad example for explaining why no one goes to the movies, because people obviously went to go see Shia LaBeouf yell and alien machines destroy each other in IMAX 3D — but hear me out. These movies fucking sucked. A lot of critics have panned the films much more eloquently, but I just wanted to get to the point. Michael Bay, and his high-grossing substance-less movies, are a huge part of the problem. I believe everyone that went to see Transformers didn’t see another film this year out of fear of having an epileptic seizure.
4. Not Enough Ryan Gosling
2011 was the year of Ryan Gosling. He made us laugh in “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” He quietly beat the shit out of people in “Drive,” and he back-stabbed George Clooney in “The Ides of March.” Even though 2011 cemented Gosling’s status as a bonafide A-list movie star, the real take away from his break-out year was the fact that he’s extremely good looking. Sure, he’s a rare example of an actor with great comedic timing and serious dramatic chops, but even as a straight male it’s easy to get lost in those eyes.
3. “Human Centipede 2″
The first one was an interesting novelty. Just when you thought gross-out horror flicks have stepped over every line and left no boundary uncrossed, we get a German mad scientist who sews mouths to assholes. Of course they made a No. 2.
2. Streaming Video
Here’s my one serious reason on the list. The internet is quickly ruining any and all reasons to ever leave the house. Everything we need is a couple clicks away. Food, sex and alcohol can be delivered. Unlimited amounts of movies, TV shows and porn are at our fingertips due to the advent of streaming video and the Chinese’s incredible ability to get their hands on DVD screeners sent to Academy Awards voters. So people are deciding to stay home and watch one of the hundreds of thousands of movies they have never seen on Netflix instead of paying $12.50 to see “Larry Crowne.”
1. “Jack and Jill”
When I was growing up Adam Sandler movies were a dependable source of comedy. Even “Little Nicky” was sort of funny if you’re in the right state of mind. But over the course of the past decade or so Sandler has gotten less laughs than “Blue Valentine” and “Schindler’s List.” He seems to be taking advantage of the fact that he could write anything and people will pay to go see the film. This past year seems to have been an ode to his vanity and laziness. The simply unbelievable “Just Go with It” starred supermodel Brooklyn Decker and not-too-shabby Jennifer Aniston fighting for his love and affection. But his crowning achievement is “Jack and Jill,” which was arguably the worst film of the year. Sandler dressed in drag and played both starring roles, channeling his inner Klump. The film got people in the seats, but a part of their souls probably died after watching it.
[Image via shutterstock]