Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ah, the British tell it like it is: "All-time box office - for teens only"

Here. Joe Queenan in The Guardian points out that action films are really adolescent and not serious adult movies. I agree with this, and think that writing a smarmy column based on the fact that all of the top 20 grossing films of all time are action films is inspired; even if it's something not likely to be said in America any time soon.

"Of course, since Hollywood's top 20 list is not adjusted for inflation, the most recent films will always dominate. (The list is a convenient way of making it seem that contemporary films are far more popular than the blockbusters of the past.) So instead of Gone with the Wind, we now have Avatar, Titanic, two Pirates of the ­Caribbean, five Harry Potters, all three Lord of the Rings, two recent Star Wars sequel-prequels, and the free-standing Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Finding Nemo, The Dark Knight, Jurassic Park, Shrek II and Spider-Man 3. In place of some of the slightly more adult-oriented classics of the past, the list is now filled to overflowing with films for teenagers, small children, and people who don't want to grow up (The Lord of the Rings, Avatar). Hollywood doesn't mind if grown-ups come in and see the films they make. But they'd much prefer it if they arrived with a bunch of kids. Theirs, or somebody else's. Strays even, orphans: the industry is not fussy.

The list is both predictable and strange. Spider-Man, which spawned Spider-Man 3, is not on the list, even though it is a much better film. Shrek II, a very entertaining film, is here, but Shrek, an equally entertaining film, is not. On a positive note, there are no films that are explicitly sexist or racist or stupid or evil. This suggests that mankind is moving in a positive ­direction, at least in this sphere of ­intellectual endeavour. Still, at least half of the films look like motion ­pictures that will not be on the list a few years down the road. I, for one, doubt that Spider-Man 3 has legs. I can easily see it being deposed by Harry Potter XXVI; The Curse of the ­Tungsten Goblet."

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