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A Pictorial History of the Movies: 2013 – Gravity

This is the defining film of 2013. I know people will say 12 Years a Slave is the film of 2013, but it’s not. Gravity is that film. 12 Years is the most important film of 2013, but it’s not the film that defines 2013.

Put it this way – how many people were really excited about Gravity before it came out? I was. Shit, I called that movie 5 stars when it was supposed to come out in 2012. January 2012, I already said, “I’m so fucking in for this movie.” It’s not like it had that prerelease buzz of something like The Avengers. Or The Dark Knight. Or Avatar. This was a movie that, unless you were paying attention to it, you knew was a space movie that was coming out.

And then if fucking blew up. This movie brought people back into the theaters. The right way. Not in that, “We spent millions of dollars to market it, so people will come out the first weekend and not afterward because it’s not very good,” way. This was the, people came out, people went, “Holy fuck, that was amazing,” and then went back to see it. And they told their friends, “Holy fuck, did you see Gravity? You need to go right now and see that fucking movie.” That’s why this is the most defining movie of 2013. Read the rest of this page »

A Pictorial History of the Movies: 2012 – The Avengers

At this point, pretty much any movie that cracks the top five all-time box office upon initial release is most likely going to be considered the film that defines its year. Though, in this particular case, it actually represents a larger trend that I’ve been discussing, which is superhero movies (Spider-Man, then The Dark Knight).

Starting with Harry Potter, franchises became the major form of big budget movie for Hollywood, and they haven’t turned back since. The trend has only taken even more of a stranglehold on the marketplace since then. Now, everything that comes out has a subtitle, designed to spawn a series of films. Movies can’t be one-offs anymore.

But The Avengers actually represents a very specific twist in the superhero genre, one that will define the next ten years of Hollywood, which is the trend of world building. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. Read the rest of this page »

A Pictorial History of the Movies: 2011 – Bridesmaids

How can it not be?

This was the breakout hit of 2011. This came out to little fanfare, really, and then gradually, through word of mouth, became one of the biggest comedy hits of all time.

The important thing about this film is the fact that it really brought women to the forefront of comedy. It’s not that women were never present in comedy. You think of writers like Ruth Gordon and Elaine May, and stars like Lucille Ball and so on. It’s just that, over the past 20 years, women have become marginalized. They’re always playing a type, or stuck playing the girlfriend role. Especially has comedy has become… whatever the hell it’s become. That dumb, raunchy, sophomoric Apatow shit. Which is so clearly male dominated.

So the real importance of this film is that it brought women back to mainstream comedy and allowed them to do the kind of comedy men do and have a lot of people enjoy it. Read the rest of this page »

A Pictorial History of the Movies: 2010 – The Social Network

This year took me a good minute to decide. You’d think it would be easy to decide the years you’ve lived, especially ones so recent. But this was still difficult. Because you look at the films that made the most money – Toy Story 3. No. We talked about the franchise already, and it wasn’t so big a hit to the point where that’s all we talked about for a while. Alice in Wonderland, no. Deathly Hallows 1 – we talked about it. At this point, it’s established. Inception makes a case for itself, but I remember Inception. We talked about it over the summer, and while it was a huge film, it was pretty much forgotten come the winter.

And then I saw this film and went, “Huh… that’s interesting.” Because, in a way, we’re still talking about this movie. The movie was a big deal when it came out. It made $100 million, which is a lot of money, considering its subject matter and lack of star power. It caught on. People were talking about it. It almost won Best Picture!

Plus, it talks about our culture and the way things are now, in this social media environment we all live in. So, I feel like considering it’s the perfect storm of critical acclaim, box office success, and cultural resonance (in terms of people remembering it and quoting it and what it says about our culture at its time of release), it’s really a perfect choice for this year. And I can really see no other option the more I think about it. Read the rest of this page »

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