Happy New Year — and Good Riddance to the Five Worst Movie Trends of 2011
Let us be DONE with these themes, at least for a bit, okay?
Movie Stars Playing Real Life People (My Week with Marilyn, J. Edgar, The Lady, The Iron Lady, The Devil’s Double)
We get it, you guys all want an Oscar. Well, nobody but Meryl Streep is going to get it for playing a real person. Stop it already! That old person make-up is never, ever a good look.
Economic Strife As Fantastical Plot Point (Tower Heist, In Time, Hobo with a Shotgun)
When it works, it works. (Props to the awesome Hobo with a Shotgun, in which homeless Rutger Hauer just wants to save enough money to buy a lawnmower, dammit.) And I’m not talking about the movies about the actual economic crisis. (Margin Call, you’re okay.) It’s the other vaguely economy-themed movies that are so very tired – the ones where a ridiculous heist in a tower hinges on incredibly impractical Ocean’s Eleven-style planning by bumbling amateurs, or where former pop stars live in a world where time is literally money.
Aliens (Paul, Attack the Block, Cowboys & Aliens, Super 8, Green Lantern, Transformers: The Dark of the Moon)
Look, I liked Paul, loved Attack the Block, and have always had a soft spot for aliens in movies. It’s just, especially given the huge studio flicks of 2011 that B-O-M-B-E-D (cough, Cowboys & Aliens & Green Lanterns), let’s give the interstellar visitors a rest, shall we?
Old-timey/backwards looking sentimentalism (The Artist, Tintin, War Horse, Captain America, The Help, Midnight in Paris, Young Adult, Tinker Tailor, The Muppets, Footloose, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, X-Men: First Class)
It’s not enough just to preach the evergreen position that remakes are evil and unnecessary, though 2011’s Footloose and The Thing certainly seemed so in ways. 2011 was rife with a backwards-looking sentimentalism, and that’s not to say these movies were all bad; it was a mixed bag, from meh (1960s-era X-Men: First Class) to great (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) to outright awards bait (War Horse, The Help, The Artist). But Woody Allen’s lovely Midnight in Paris said it all; the past is great and all, but how’s about living in the present?
The Continued Proliferation of Happy Madison Productions (Just Go With It, Zookeeper, Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, Jack and Jill)
Speaking of the present and future, here’s a problem we need to reach across the aisles and nip together as a people. For all the savvy self-awareness he seemed to display in Judd Apatow’s Funny People, Adam Sandler (and his extended creative fraternity) has become George Simmons. How could you mock the feasibility of a Hollywood comedy about a man stuck in an infant’s body and then turn around and make Jack and Jill?? This aggression will not stand.
What did you love/hate in 2011? Comment away and auld lang syne!
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