Wednesday, February 21, 2007

hopelessness and death in 2006

In reflecting on the films of 2006 I think some really great films were made, and in fact the Academy has really captured some of my favorite films as award nominees this year.

Yet at the same time, it seems like every film that was made well was generally depressing. Sure there were films that mixed in a little comedy here and there, but most films seemed to be 97% depressing. Sometimes there'd be that glimpse of hope at the end of the film or the release of tension, but generally hollywood's finest work was depressing and stressful.

I mean, I can hardly think of a single movie this year where someone didn't die in it.

Even look at the best picture nominees.

In Babel the film delves into many seemingly hopeless situations...and yes, there is death.

The Departed's title alone refrences death and yes, definitly people dying in this movie, definitly hopeless situations for both lead characters.

Letters to Iwo Jima is about a difficult, long, deadly and hopeless battle told from the perspective of the losing side.

The Queen is about a hopeless situation where Queen Elizabeth can't do right in the eyes of her country after the death of Princess Diana.

And even in Little Miss Sunshine, the title aludes to happiness and yet even in this comedy every character is facing their own hopeless situation, whether it's getting their motivational book printed, or discovering you don't have the physique of a beauty queen, etc. and yes, even here this film has a meaningful death.

I challenge anyone to come up with a list of just five movies from 2006 that were quality films that didn't deal with hopelessness and/or death.

We certainly know that the following films are certainly not allowed on these list: United 93, World Trade Center, Blood Diamond, Catch A Fire, Flags of our Fathers, Pan's Labriynth, A Prairie Home Companion, etc. etc. etc.

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Will said...

OK, RC, I completely agree with your point here -- 2006 was the Year of Memento Mori -- but just for the sake of taking you up on it...

1. The Pursuit of Happyness
2. Half Nelson
3. Thank You for Smoking
4. The Devil Wears Prada
5. Cars
[6. Inside Man]

But that was tough. I mean, even Stranger than Fiction and both of the "magic" films this year were also about...death. Good call.

taggARTfineart said...

Despite the truth found in this post, one has to realize that an audience needs more than blind entertainment. In today's world audiences crave catharsis as well as comedy. One might note that as depressing as these films are, they address issues that America often shies away from and/or blatantly refuses to face, so maybe this new trend in filmmaking is reflecting a sort of societal maturity that our country is finally developing. Also, the part at which you stated "it seems like every film that was made well was generally depressing" interested me. It could be true that the more talented directors are more willing to address tougher, more controversial (aka depressing), issues that the less-experienced and less-talented directors simply aren't willing to touch. As tough to watch as these films are, I would rather watch a movie like "Schindler's List", that is actually thought-provoking, than the mind-numbing "comedies" we see today, such as "Talladega Nights".

Jacob said...

Lets see good movies in '06 about hope.

-Pursuit of Happyness (definitely)
-You, Me, and Dupree (well had to throw that one in there for my favorite actor)

So there are a few