Well, with 2010 having passed, there is a very sincere question that people need to be asking- what is the next year of film going to be like? 2010 was a great year for intelligent cinema. There were so many great movies. Of course, greatness is a completely subjective term, but in my eyes, it was a great year for cinema. All of the films that got big praises were loved by this particular critic. There was The Social Network, which was one of the best-written films that I have ever seen. There was Inception, which once again proves that Christopher Nolan is trule a great director. In fact, let’s take this year apart piece by piece, because you don’t get many good years for intelligent big blockbuster cinema. It is a true rarity, and we can make a point about this by dissecting the great elements in film.
Let’s start with Inception, which is tied for my favorite film of 2010. It has proven what a truly fantastic director Christopher Nolan really is. This is a guy who has proven beyond any form of doubt that it is possible to have an action movie be intellectually stimulating. For crying out loud, this guy was able to make Batman intellectuallly stimulating! I didn’t think that was possible! The film Inception was an artful masterpiece combining rich characters with fantastical worlds and awesome fight scenes. It was engaging, tragic, and beautiful, and like so many of Nolan’s movies, it left the audience with questions. All great film should keep one thinking after the film is done.
The next film that was tied for the best of 2010 was The Social Network. This film was another demonstration of Aaron Sorkin’s great talent for writing dialogue. That was the best single part of this film- the dialogue. Sorkin is second to one other great director when it comes to good dialogue- Quentin Tarantino. Nobody can watch the film Reservoir Dogs and not credit Tarantino with being able to write great dialogue. That whole film was telling a story through dialogue, and it was done well. With The Social Network, this concept was put to use again. It was well-acted, with some of the most compelling lines that have ever been. Great film must have characters who compel you to remain interested, and great dialogue that never ceases to entertain.
A film that is an old concept that was shined up was Black Swan. This film was a rather interesting take on the concept of questioning reality. Of course, this is in no way a unique kind of film. Films about the truth behind reality are very common. This film distinguishes itself by having a compelling character, a unique life situation, and a fantastical element that makes itself known at the end of the film. The dual-nature of innocence and corruption were explored very well, and it was a very powerful film.
2010 was just a great year for major blockbusters, and with the summer closing in on us, people must keep in mind that it is rare for so many big-name blockbusters to be so good. There is a rather unpleasnat problem with big productions in this country- more often than not, they suck. Look at the Transformers series. How did Michael Bay screw this up? It is the simplest concept on Earth. You have two forces of robots who can become vehicle, and they are beating the snot out of one-another. It’s a simple concept, and if Bay had kept it at that, it would have been a great movie. But no, that wasnt’ what happened.
The American audience has a very bad habit of being completely fine with accepting crappy film in this country. The perfect example is with two films that came out in the same year. The first was a Swedish film called Let the Right One In. This film was a true masterpiece that showcased the rather unpleasant side of humanity. It was about two young people (who were actually believably young, by the way) who find the ability to heal one-another’s wounds. It is a story of teenage vampire romance. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, but somehow, the Swedish were able to accomplish making one of the best films that this critic has ever seen. It is one of those films that reminds us why we watch films.
The other film was the hackneyed piece of commercial garbage, Twilight. There was a girl in one of my journalism classes who said that this film rewrote that “chick flick” genre. There wasn’t a single intellectually stimulating moment in this entire film. It was the most nullodramatic (I would like to thank TJ Kincaid with coining that term). It was a piece of garbage. Like the previous film, it was also about teenage vampire romance (although it was clear that neither of these characters was a teenager), but unlike the previously mentioned film, this piece of commercial crap wasn’t able to bring a single substantive message to the screen in any way. It is easy to understand why teen girls loved it- a girl moves to a new town, and on her first day- every guy wants to do her, every girl wants to be her friend, and she meets the love of her life (who is a creep stalker that glitters in sunlight). It is easy to get why the teen and tween girl market just loves that film, but the fact is that it is garbage.
These two films highlight a deeper question to society- why is it that when we are presented with something of artistic merit, we choose to shun that for pure crap? Twilight, and all of the subsequent sequels, are nothing but T&A films for chicks. That is all they are. They are films so that girls can ogle cute guys and dream about being with them (even if the guy is a creepy pale stalker who openly admits to killing other people and wanting to kill her). Guys have this problem too, of course, which is the reason that the Transformers series did so well. Show Megan Fox’s breasts bouncing along in slow motion and you will have a film that gets you millions of dollars. It is a sad but true fact about America’s current film industry.
And what’s more, it is pathetic. Let the Right One In didn’t rake in nearly as much money as Twilight, and it was infinitely better than the other. What is wrong with American audiences? The film Avatar only did well because of the breathtaking special effects. The plot was so hopelessly dry and cliche that it was beyond sad. A film can have breathtaking special effects and be intellectually stimulating. Case and point- Inception. This film was a very great message, and most people probably don’t even notice. It was kind of funny, when I went to see that movie, a bunch of girls exited when I did and were all confused, not understanding what happened at all. I knew it was good then (like I didn’t know before).
Film can be better, if people want it to be. People have to start demanding something better. That is just my opinion, anyway.