Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The black hole at the end of the year: pros and cons

The end of the year depresses me, at least as a film critic. Filmwise, I have absolutely nothing to look foward to. I don't even know anything that's coming out next. The end of the year is really climactic. There's like this orgasmic explosion of quality films that come out right at the end of the year. "Blood Diamond" "Children of Men" "Letters from Iwo Jima" "Venus" "Dreamgirls", "Notes on a Scandal" etc, etc, etc. The flipside of this, is that from now until pretty much forever, I have absolutely no idea what's coming to the theaters. Absolutely nothing to look foward to, in a way, although the hype machine will start pretty soon. Last year, I believe it was New Year's Day or January 2nd when the TV Guide channel aired its first trailer of the Da Vinci Code and X-Men 3 and that's when we were like "whoah, that looks cool, i'm really looking foward to that" and the hype builds up over several months to the summer. The truth is it doesn't really matter if the film is good or not, the film industry can run on hype alone. Opening weekend grosses for those films are more than twice as high as the domestic total of the average film and by the time word of mouth gets out that the film is bad, the film's already made a ton of money, and I have no problem with that because usually, we like hype, we live off of it, in the sense that it gives us something to look foward to. Right now, i have no idea what's even playing this weekend (which i wouldn't mind if i wasn't expected to keep watching things and reviewing them at this time, that's why i was trying to get myself in by the end of the calender year) and stuff between January and May is usually very bad. Think Along Came Polly, 13 Going on 30, The Pacifier, Chasing Liberty, Are We There Yet?, The Ladykillers, Walking Tall, Guess Who, Showtime, Jersey Girl, etc. Maybe, the industry should just not release movies during those months and take a hiatus in September and call it the off season.

The end of the year is a great time for the press, however. All of those "end of the year" issues is probably one of your only opportunities where you can write about things that are up to 12 months old and have them considered fresh and current enough to put in current publications. I was able to recycle a lot of old issues and get articles in that otherwise would have had no relavance at all. With a top 10 movies and a top 10 films of the year articles on d.c. scene (www.thedcscene.com) i sort of got the opportunity to review (although in not as much detail) films the second time around.

I think Oscar Season is also a great time for the press and it has little to do with the actual awards ceremony but it gives me a chance to write about films that didn't get printed before or i didn't watch soon enough before and I'm sure that people who are already established enjoy being able to write even more about their favorite films that they haven't done before. The press is so geared around getting things toward deadlines and only writing things that are timely, that anything that you can write about delayed is a relief. I'm sure that's why the press builds up and loves oscar season.

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