I love film. Film is probably my biggest hobby outside of sports. I will watch any movie at least once. Salt; with Angelina Jolie? Sure. Sex and the City? Okay. Norbit? Alright.. Jason Statham Presents: Cars, Guns, and One Liners: Part 9? There’s a 7 o’clock show? Well, alright then.
2011 was an exceptionally poor year for film. When you’re top 10 list of most enjoyable films for the year contains 3 films that star Ryan Gosling, that’s probably you’re first clue that you will be busting out some of those old DVD’s that have been collecting dust. Don’t get me wrong, Gosling was great this year, and his performance in all three of his films (Crazy, Stupid, Love; Drive; Ides of March) has launched him back onto the radar of every film coinsurer, human with a menstrual cycle, and abdominal workout enthusiast.
But this got me thinking about something I saw in USA Today this week. Sundance Film Festival. Sundance highlights everything I love about film while simultaneously infuriating me. Allow me to explain.
It excites me to know that there are people out there who still make films for the artistic integrity of the medium. Sundance is full of actors, directors, writers, producers, and everyone in between, who are making films that they are passionate about; films that are supposed to mean something. This lets me know that not everyone I see up on the silver screen is just pedaling a product (themselves) for businesses who are only interested in how much money they can make in overseas markets.
Venting: How many absolutely terrible super hero movies do we need to see? Superhero movies this year alone: Thor (sucked), Green Lantern (sucked), Captain America (sucked), The Green Hornet (terrible), and the only C-Student of the group, X-Men: First Class. All these movies (exception: Green Hornet) were made with the sole intention of syphoning money from American’s wallets to studio exec’s foreign bank accounts. (Note: I don’t care what the reviews said. Did you actually watch Thor? That movie was atrocious.)
So in the midst of all these abysmal Hollywood releases, those of us who value the artistic innovation and excruciatingly hard work it takes to produce quality, original motion pictures can look to Sundance as a beacon of light. A rose amongst the thorns, if you – so cliché-ly – will.
What angers me is that if you actually want to see any of these films at Sundance, you really only have two outlets to do so. You can either A) spend thousands of dollars on flights, hotels, transportation, food, and ultimately tickets to these shows; taking time off work, and going out to Park City, or B) You can illegally steal them off the internet. Neither of those two ideas excites me at all, but I must admit, “B” is far more appealing.
(Since this is a blog, and since I am not Omniscient, please, someone contact me if this is readily available, but…) Here is my suggestion: Sundance should (through voting and an agreement with whoever owns the rights) determine the 10 best films at the festival, and make them viewable to the general public in some way. Whether that is through an online subscription with an allotted amount of time to view each title, or through a purchasable collection of DVD’s or Blu Ray’s, these movies need to be available. I get to see good movies, good movies get better exposure. Everyone wins.
That way, if 2012 is anything like 2011, instead of going to the theaters in early July for the Michael Bay documentary about what it’s like to have a brain aneurism (titled “Transformers 4: Let’s make some Money!”* which Siskel and Ebert will undoubtedly describe as “seizure inducing”) I can pop in “Smashed” and watch how Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) reacts when his wife/drinking partner decides to get sober.
*Dual credit given to A) Jim Rome for identifying that this should be the tagline for all crappy Hollywood Films, and B) everyone involved in the production of Real Steel for making it all too easy.