Something bizarre has happened in my mind over the past couple weeks. I've become less excited for the upcoming award season.
Don't get me wrong, there's still certain films I'm eager to see.
But as I look over the award caliber films...films with strong writers, directors, and acting talents, I have found myself somewhat sickened at home many of these films will simply be dark and violent. I'm not one who's strictly opposed to violence in film, last year's Letters to Iwo Jima was one of my favorite films, and found it's violent elements harrowing but effective.
Yet earlier in the year I talked about many of the violent horror movies coming out that could be categorized as torture porn, and as we head into the award season there are so many films about war, torture, and abuse. And simply enough, while any of these films might be good displays of film aesthetics or quality acting performances and writing, yet very few of the upcoming films are ones you'd be excited to see on a date, with a mixed company of friends, with family members.
Will Gray has spent sometime talking about films that are good films but have "potentially offensive elements (POE)," and it looks like this award season will be riddled with films of this nature. As soon as Eastern Promises came out all people could talk about was it violence and the Viggo Mortensen nude fight scene. Also, I imagine that violence and nudity can also be expected for other heavy releases we're going to see this year.
Also, there was a lot of buzz and frustration over the child-abuse drama Hounddog that starred child actress Dakota Fanning, but that's not the only child abuse film that will torture the eyes and minds of viewers in 2007. There's also the two real life stores that will play out in An American Crime (with Catherine Keener and Ellen Page) and Savage Grace (with Julianne Moore).
Movies like The Kingdom, Rendition, Lions for Lambs, Stop Loss, War Inc., Grace is Gone, Charlie Wilson's War and In the Valley of Elah all look at different angles of the American War on Terrorism, the effects of war, and the middle east. Some are certainly going to be filled with violence.
And Atonement, The Kite Runner, American Gangster, 3:10 to Yuma, Sweeney Todd, The Brave One, No Country For Old Men, and There Will Be Blood, are not be immune to their own fair share of violent acts.
If you want something that's artful and not riddled with violence and torture are you left with options like Fred Claus, Enchanted, and August Rush?
Who knows what films might surprise up in the next months, but the movie that looks different to me, and which I sense my excitement growing to see is Juno. I want to see a story about people, there relationships to one another, real life stories, artfully made films.
But I can not see any healthy reason to expose myself to the gammat of the violence and torture, and hopelessness of 2007. And I certainly, am not gathering a mixed group of friends to go see these films. So who knows what movies will get my dollars in the theater this year...but I'm craving something variety that I'm not seeing in the months ahead.