“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Let’s say you have no idea what we do and leave it that, alright? Nada. Zip. None. If you had any idea about what we do we would not be good at what we do, would we? We be c—-s. Are you callin’ us c—-s?”—The Departed
They’re those movie titles that make you do a double-take when you see their names on nomination lists.
"I’ve never even HEARD of that!"
Those, my friends, are art house films. And they’re popping up more and more outside of the art house.
"Blue Valentine" and "Somewhere", two of the best films of the year, are low-budget films with raw camera work, gritty realism, and powerful messages. The former stars Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling as two adults trapped in a marriage where despair and unhappiness threaten to tear them apart. The latter is Sophia Coppola’s (Lost in Translation) dive into the head of a hedonistic actor as he struggles to maintain a relationship with his young daughter.
Neither of those plot lines sound very happy do they? They’re not supposed to.
My experience with bonafide art house films is limited. They don’t come out in Atlanta, and for good reason. No one would go to see them. They have a very limited audience, and not many people want to go to a the movies and see someone wallowing in misery.
Fortunately, that limited audience gives the films all of the recognition that they need in order to make a statement to the rest of the world.
Movies are not about how many cars you can blow up in 120 minutes (Michael Bay) or how many different ways the same sex joke can be told (Judd Apatow).
Movies are about feeling and living and being and experiencing everything that you don’t get to in your normal life.
Art house films capture the lost essence of the film world and say one thing:
With the new year, IMDb started posting a slew of previews for the blockbuster movies that are coming out during the summer. “Fast Five” (Fast and the Furious 5), “Thor”, and “Green Lantern” — just to name a few — are going to be some of the biggest of the season.
What I don’t understand, though, is the backlash of criticism that these previews have been met with. The ratio of positive-to-negative comments is staggering. Everyone and their mother is coming out of the woodwork to say how, “Oh God, another Marvel let down!” or “Vin Diesel’s bald lol.” while making sure to point out that the plots are filled with holes and the cinematography isn’t Oscar-worthy.
What happened to the days when we went to the movies because we wanted to be entertained? Not every movie has to have a deep, sentimental message that sends the audience into an emotional state of catharsis. Sometimes I want to go a movie and just escape the suffocating reality that we live in. Sometimes I want to forget that we’re in a recession and that unemployment is at an all-time high.