Monday, September 24, 2012

Max Rambles and the Films of Summer 2012

Ok, so it's been a while since I've posted anything here. I mean, to be honest this year has generally been pretty quiet, but since April I've only posted five times. That's probably the sparsest period I've had since I started this blog (in 2008!) and I want to take a moment to address it. A lot of that has to do with the fact that I was crazy busy this summer, but a lot of it also has to do with a combination of reader feedback and the movies that came out this summer.

First and foremost, let's be frank about the fact that this is predominantly a movie blog. It started as a space for me to review movies, and although I've definitely branched out the common thread that has kept me writing has always been film criticism. This is clear from the fact that all five of my posts this summer were about movies (two about Prometheus, two about Cabin In the Woods, and one about The Avengers). I started writing here as a way to continue to critically engage with film after I finished my undergrad, and that continues to be the primary motivation for my "rambles."

Over the years I've taken a lot of flack for being overly negative. I've mentioned this before and my defence has always been "I'm critical because I love film and I expect a lot from it." I stand by that statement, but there's also another facet to why I'm critical so much more often than I'm reverent. The fact is that when you watch a lot of media you begin to be more critical with what you're watching because, frankly, if something's not good there are better things you can be doing with your time. There's so much good film and television out there that it's frustrating to waste time with bad stuff. That's not to say that I subsist on a purely high-brow movie diet, far from it! But competent construction and some sort of value are qualities that I do look for and hope to find in everything I watch, from comfort TV to film fest fare.

Which brings me to the summer of 2012. This was a summer that I went into with a lot of excitement. I mean, just look at the roster of movies that came out: The Avengers, Prometheus, The Dark Knight Rises, Brave. That list includes a new Pixar film, Ridley Scott's return to science fiction and the Alien-mythos, and Christopher Nolan's (supposedly) final Batman movie, who wouldn't be excited by that line-up? And yet for all the potential, the summer proved to be a bit of a bust. Prometheus was deeply disappointing for a litany of reasons that I've just barely touched upon in my two blog posts on the movie. Brave was one of the reviewed Pixar movies of all time, second only to obvious cash-grab Cars 2. The Dark Knight was so shockingly mediocre that I've had a hard time expressing my feelings about it in writing (although I did make an attempt elsewhere).  The Avengers was the sole bright point in the summer and not only did it come right at the beginning, it was also a mess of a film in its own right. Hell, it was the epitome of a bottom-line minded, studio construction that was coherent in spite of itself, thanks only to the saving grace that is Joss Whedon. That is what we have to look back on as the high watermark for the summer of 2012.

So as you can tell, I don't have a lot of good things to say about the movies that came out this summer. On top of being just ridiculously busy this summer, my general dissatisfaction with the films I saw wasn't exactly inspiring from a writing perspective. Not only was it difficult to imagine picking up a pen (so to speak) to crucify movies that I had been so excited to see, I also wasn't exactly eager to use my spare time to be publicly negative. It's exhausting to be so consistently negative about something you love, and this summer just plain did me in with its general unremarkableness (and that's being a bit generous, IMHO).

The word on the Internet is that the art house scene was full of great stuff this summer, and I fully intended to see what I missed throughout the fall. Hopefully I'll find more gems like Martha Marcy May Marlene, Incendies, or Cabin in the Woods (which admittedly wasn't an art house movie by any stretch but was 100% awesome). Those are just a few examples of the types of movies that started this whole project and keep me going through the long, dreary hours of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,  Young Adult (too awful to warrant a post, trust me), and Prometheus (yes, I did just equate Ridley Scott's latest flick with Transformers, deal with it). I also have high hopes for at least a few movies coming out this fall, namely Looper, The Master, and Django Unchained.

I don't go looking for bad movies, or for flaws in decent ones, I've just seen enough to know that films can and should be better than they often are. Hopefully my ramblings here convey my sentiments on the potential (realized or not) of the films I review, as opposed to a general sense of dissatisfaction about the medium. That would be the complete opposite of my intent with this whole project.

No comments:

Post a Comment