2010 is the worst year for movies ever, just like every year before it.

By Scott Mendelson

hollywoodnews.com: Yes, yes, 2010 is the worst year for movies EVER, screams Joe Queenan of “The Wall Street Journal” . There have been plenty of years where I felt ‘this is the worst year/summer ever’, especially as, yes, I’ve gotten older. Part of it is nostalgia, as I remember the years past through rose-colored glasses. I remember the great moviegoing experiences (my dad taking me to a jampacked advance-night screening of “Jurassic Park”… best moviegoing experience of my life) more than the bad ones (my dad taking me to see an afternoon matinee of “Airheads” that had me feeling guilty that it turned out to be such a stinker). But looking back at years that I didn’t care for, there are still more than a few movies that are so good that they all-but redeem the year. We forget about the bad movies and only remember the good ones. When people discuss 1972, they discuss “The Godfather,” “Deliverance,” “Sleuth,” and “Sounder.” They do not mention “Horror at Snape Island,” “The Revengers,” or “The Last of the Red Hot Lovers.” When we think of 1996, we remember (depending on our taste) “Fargo,” “Independence Day,” “Paradise Lost: The Child” “Murders At Robin Hood Hills,” “Get on the Bus,” “Mission: Impossible, Big Night,” or “Star Trek: First Contact.” But I’m betting most of us haven’t given a second thought to “Sargent Bilko,” “Eddie,” or “Striptease” in fourteen years.

Sure, I may have complained that summer 2001 was a stinker, but who among us really knew how wonderful “The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring” was going to be just a few months later? I would never think for a moment to trade away the crap of “Pearl Harbor” or “Planet of the Apes” if it meant losing the sheer triumph of “The Lord of the Rings” or the curtain raiser than is “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” 2010 has been one of the lesser years in my memory, but it has still given us “Toy Story 3,” “Inception,” “How to Train Your Dragon,” “Mother,” the awesomely awful “Mega Piranha,” and “Winter’s Bone.” When looking back over a year in film, we don’t need every film to be good, we just need an occasional “Pulp Fiction” or “Being John Malkovich” to remind us why we’re still in this game. If it means we have to sit through “Iron Man 2” to appreciate “Inception,” it’s worth it. If experiencing “Toy Story 3” means that I’ll also have to watch the upcoming “Alphas and Omegas,” it’s a fair trade to me.

Also of note, as Lauren Feder seems to acknowledge after Queenen’s screed, many of the alleged classics that Joe Queenen brings up were NOT universally beloved in their time. “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” got mixed reviews at best, with many complaining about its darkness, violence, and the weakness of its lead performance. “The Matrix” only became a ‘classic’ after the fact, as frankly do most films considered classics (would you believe that the “New York Times” panned “Goldfinger” back in 1964 because Bond didn’t get laid enough?). And as for ‘no Slumdog Millionaire on the horizon’, part of the appeal of “Slumdog Millionaire” is that it took audiences somewhat by surprise. We (in general) rarely see the classics as classics when they are first released. We overpraise “American Beauty” and trash “Fight Club,” not realizing which one will truly stand the test of time. We pan “There’s Something About Mary” only to then complain that “Me, Myself, and Irene” isn’t as great as “There’s Something About Mary.” Today’s Marilyn Manson is tomorrow’s Beatles.

To read more go to Mendelson Memos

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  • August 1, 2010 | Permalink |

    It’s a little upsetting that anytime I see one of these “over-praised” movie articles, I always have to see one of my personal favorites American Beauty taken to task.

  • August 2, 2010 | Permalink |

    All this complaining about 2010 beingabad movie year is industry driven. Moviegoers aren’t complaining. It’s the studio execs And Industry analysts who are most concerned due ton flagging box office revenues. What they want is another Avatar. But we the movie goers want to be entertained. How much money Hollywood makes isn’t of any interest at all.

  • August 5, 2010 | Permalink |

    Well said, Simon. The public and therefore movie-goers aren’t interested in media-created hype and talk of dispair.

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