These are fascinating times if you’re a fan of entertainment.
Businesses have become more monopolized/consolidated. Many publicist’s deemed the start of the “Streaming Wars” a bit too early when Hulu and Amazon rose up to the occasion.
Now Disney aims to corner the market, particularly in entertainment for children. A big chunk of Netflix’ revenue was based on the rights they had for various Disney properties. I watch Netflix. I just finished a terrific season of Atypical and the first half of the final season of one of Netflix’ greatest shows – BoJack Horseman. My viewing habits aren’t rare, but they are definitely more diverse than the typical streamer.
Every time I would visit my niece over the last few years she’d be enjoying various Netflix series’ like Daniel Tiger, The Magic School Bus and A Series of Unfortunate Events. This was amplified by the catalogue of Disney films and properties they had – which are no more.
I have not purchased Disney Plus yet. The only reason I would is The Mandalorian, which is almost reason enough. I’m trying to be patient and wait for the entire season to be out (almost worth the payment to avoid spoilers), that way I can own the subscription for a month, binge it, then cancel.
And by less I mean quantity not quality. Quality films are still consistently being created by some of the medium’s greatest auteurs. The quantity is down though. Quantity of great films, quantity is low for the budget of great films, and attendance is low.
We have our “event” films or as Scorsese and Coppola like to call them “theme park rides” and that’s fine. These films push the limitations of technical achievement for a unique experience that utilizes the bombastic capabilities of modern sound and modern screen. They make bank. Film has never been more profitable simply because of these movies.
In the early 2000s/late 90s studios created branches of their companies that sought out independent film. They’d finance obscure projects by filmmakers with credibility, but mostly they bought films at festivals and produced them. Often they’d hype up their quality (reviews, awards campaigns, etc.)
That’s still happening and independent films are cinema. Spotlight, Boyhood, Birdman, Parasite, The Lighthouse so many unique films that utilize ambitious storytelling techniques come out every year. One of the biggest ones of this year will undoubtedly be The Irishman.
Is cinema dying?
Nothing juxtaposes chaotic slapstick with crippling depression like BoJack Horseman. The animated series from Netflix has aged like fine wine – each season feeling more compact, more mature, more strained while still digging to deeper lows and climbing to higher highs. Basically, it gets funnier and funnier and sadder and sadder.
SPOILERS for BOJACK HORSEMAN S6 (Episodes 1-8)
The first 8 episodes of season 6 were a trip though. Maintaining the chaotic nature of Hollywoo these episodes deliver gags at the highest caliber. We begin observing the growth of each character.
BoJack as he grows from rehab, Diane as she finds her passion, Mr. Peanutbutter while he addresses an unfamiliar guilt, and Princess Carolyn as she learns to become a mother, and Todd as he finds a job and searches for his asexual partner.
I’m a big fan again, I swear!
The worst part about not being a fan of Force Awakens or The Last Jedi in the Twitterverse is that I’m immediately lumped in and generalized with the rest of the haters. Except some of the haters… just kind of need to grow up.
I was at Fantastic Fest and kept joking with my friend that I was going to have a “real talk” with Rian Johnson about The Last Jedi (I never actually planned to do it, if anything I’d just pick his brain about filmmaking in general since I’ve loved all his other works). Around the time of his arrival my friend pulled me aside and said “Don’t say anything about Last Jedi.”
I reaffirmed that I had never intended to, and he mentioned that the Alamo Drafthouse brought in extra security after Rian Johnson received some death threats – are you fucking kidding me?
I liked it. Don’t get me wrong.
I love how strong the story is, a true story, about these former-strippers turned robbers. It’s a rare female-drive anti-hero flick that does so many things right. Except sometimes… it’s messaging gets a little mixed.
Hear me out.
Through the narrative framing of Destiny (Constance Wu) telling her story to a journalist (Elizabeth played by Julia Stiles) we hear a lot expository dialogue about how we’re meant to “feel” about the crimes these women are committing.
To all my friends and family who have dealt with me stanning for Robert Egger’s The Lighthouse this past month… well… you’re going to have to deal with it a bit longer.
When I’m asked about my thoughts I immediately skew my attention right past the technical excellence (SD, 35mm, b&w looks amazing!), and right toward the incredible performances of Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe.
The superlatives I often use mirror that of my tweet when I saw it at #FantasticFest last month: physically and emotionally demanding.
There is one thing that always draws me back to South Park and that is the unbridled authenticity of co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
Have I always agreed with their social/political commentary? Nope, but I don’t take it too seriously when I don’t because, after all, it’s South Park.
In our current world we approach controversy and skeptical news events from the perspective of: “How do we, as a community, feel about this?” Outrage plagues social media, and outrage over that outrage plagues our day-to-day conversations.