Sunday, September 30, 2007

Let's Go To The Movies???

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.


kat said...

I snuck out for a matinee movie this afternoon and caught the documentary "In the Shadow of the Moon."

It was amazing. And uplifting. If it doesn't win an Oscar for best documentary this year, there is something wrong with the Academy.

nate said...

RC, I was impressed with this somewhat disgrunteld post. It seemed very personal and commited to human progression. At some level, I can relate!

RJ said...

Although...what year isn't full of war dramas and violent tragedies? Pan's Labyrinth, Lives of Others, Flags of Our Fathers, Letters from Iwon Jima, The Departed, etc.....

Will said...

I know what you mean about this year, RC. If you're looking for a little more positive film-time this fall and winter, try a few of the following:

DAN IN REAL LIFE (dir. Peter Hedges)
MR. MAGORIUM'S WONDER EMPORIUM (dir. Zach Helm, who wrote Stranger than Fiction)
THE FOX & THE CHILD (dir. Luc Jacquet, director of March of the Penguins)
NATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS (if you go in for this kind of movie)
LE VOYAGE DE BALLON ROUGE (dir. Hou Hsaio-Hsien, director of Three Times)
SILK (dir. Francois Girard, director of The Red Violin)
PARIS, JE T'AIME (multiple directors, I don't think it's out in the US yet)
SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK (dir. Charlie Kaufman)
YOUTH WITHOUT YOUTH (Coppola's new film; hard to tell what it will be like yet)

So, there are still a few positive ones! And thanks for the props!

Jeremy said...

You're right it is difficult to find good films that don't depend so much on violence. I find again and again I have to go to my classic movies in order to find a good film with little violence. So far my favorite films are either comedies like "Knocked Up" or the human drama "Away From Her" which you said you also liked. I'm especially looking forward to "I'm Not There" the Bob Dylan bio which I don't think should rely on violence.

is that so wrong? said...

You know, after having read the book (and loving every page), No Country For Old Men is likely going to be the bloodbath to beat. I just hope the movie doesn't tip into quirky-off-beat territory that the Coen Brothers sometime like to dip their toes into.

RC said...

@ kat, i haven't heard about shadow until you posted about it sounds interesting.

@ nate, thanks for the compliment.

@ rural juror, yes, I realize that this is not new, but why so many movies like this? And if the alternatives are limited to the one Will mentions below, than it's a limited year.

@ jeremey, i'm not there does look interesting...i think i'm worried it will be too existential to be entertaining.

@ ITSW, hooray for blood bath...oh never mind.

Terence Towles Canote said...

As long as it is not gratuitous, I have to admit to not having an serious objection to violence in movies (my favourite movie of all time, after all, is The Seven Samurai...). That having been said, it seems to me as if lately Hollywood has gone overboard. There simply aren't many good movies out there that do not contain some violence. I would imagine that would make it difficult for anyone wanting to take their family to the movies.

Ramya said...

hi rc you once visted my blog can you tell people to go on mine pleeeeaaaasssseee thankyou.

Fox said...

Whenever I see the trailer for *Lions For Lambs* I can't help but giggle and think about *A Few Good Men*.

I think it's b/c Tom Cruise has another one of those "DID YOU ORDER A CODE RED???!!!" moments when he says "Do you want to win the war on terror...yes or no? ... YES OR NO???!!!"


I will see many of those films b/c I want to have an opinion on them, but I think you are right in where this fall season is heading.

PIPER said...


Good post. I most look forward to There Will Be Blood and I'm sure it will include violence of some kind.

It disturbs me that Cronenberg has now become this ultra-violent director and while he has teetered on the grotesque I've never thought him a violent director. And I'm not sure that makes much sense.

Juno looks fantastic and I am looking forward to that as well. But I would argue that it looks like it trivializes teen pregnancy so while it may not be violent, it still deals with objectionable material. It will do for teen pregnancy what Pretty Woman did for hookers.