Over the weekend, Will threw up a tweet pointing to a relatively short GQ piece called “The Day the Movies Died.” It laments Hollywood’s apparent wall-to-wall dismissal of Inception‘s critical and commercial success.
[I]t’s really bad news when the industry essentially rejects a success, when a movie that should have spawned two dozen taste-based gambles on passion projects is instead greeted as an unanswerable anomaly.
The article goes on to lament the slew of mindless sequels and adaptations we’ll see this summer and the next. (You can be part of the solution by not buying tickets to see them, by the way.)
But here’s the good news, and there are two pieces of it:
First, the truly great Hollywood movies of 2011 and 2012 are the ones that we haven’t heard about yet because they’re not major studio tentpoles and so the major studios’ marketing departments are geared up yet—not now, in February—to tell us about them. I think it’s fair to say that there was not widespread public knowledge about, say, The Kids are All Right months in advance of its wide release in July of last year. And yet, great film. More like it will be released this year.
Second, movie-making is continuing to democratize, and continuing to disperse geographically from Southern California. I decided late last year that part of my long-term screenwriting strategy was to stop relying on the green lights of small-minded yes-men in the modern studio system to get movies made. This year, I’m going to make a short and next year or the year after, I’m going to make a feature. I’m going to do it here in Minneapolis. As I’ve started to lay the groundwork, I’m shocked at how much infrastructure and enthusiasm there is for it. I don’t think there’s been a better time for insurgent movie-making ever in the history of film.
Hollywood’s unwillingness to tell stories anymore will be a good thing, for some of us.