2016 has now become, to many, a terribly disappointing year in cinema. There are really only a handful of big films that have genuinely surprised people (in a good way, of course), as well as garnering a respectable amount of attention. I would say that there are two types of films that have succeeded this year, with almost all others failing miserably: the indies and the horrors. Driving to the Keystone Landmark Arts theater has become something I’ve done quite a few times now, seeing as how the smaller movies are the superior movies this year. If I didn’t drive to Keystone, then I stayed at home and watched streaming shows, because those were extremely surprising and well-made. The main message here: 2016 movies sucked, and 2016 television shows were great. It seems that television shows, mainly streaming shows on Netflix or other original series, have grown to become popular and well-received, even after just one season. It’s almost as if TV is surpassing film in quality of story this year; there are, and always will be, exceptions to any rule, but I’d say there have been many more disappointments in film than TV this year, and many more surprises in TV than in film as an entertainment medium.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Ghostbusters, Independence Day: Resurgence, Jason Bourne, Suicide Squad, and many other big films have all been critically elected as the biggest disappointments and flops of the year, at the time of this blog post (August 2016). Notice, if you will: all five of these films are either sequels, spinoffs, or remakes, which is probably why so much hype was built around them. All of these films are either the return for a popular franchise that has been dormant for some time, or was a sequel with a lot of promise, and they are all big-budget-blockbusters. So why did they disappoint? It seems as though studios are pushing the amount of films they make a year to maximize profits, but they are not pushing the quality of films with as much priority (read this too), which ironically minimizes profits. Either way, all five of these films will soon be forgotten (maybe) because they were not only unmemorable, but almost panned by critics and moviegoers (note: I’m a huge fan of Jason Bourne, I’m just echoing other opinions here). Of course, it’s still too early to say that all of 2016 was a disappointment, but summer 2016 has definitely let cinema-goers down. Even Disney released Alice Through the Looking Glass which proves that not even Disney Magic can save this year.
In stark contrast, shows like Master of None (Netflix), The Night Of (HBO), The People vs OJ Simpson (FX), Preacher (AMC), and Stranger Things (Netflix) have gotten so many people talking about them and recommending them to friends (they won’t shut up about ’em). Personally, I have yet to see most of these, so I cannot comment on the quality myself, but I have seen Master of None and I can say that it is a hilarious and thought-provoking series that contains a lot of social commentary on race, age, gender, sexuality, love, and life in general. Let’s go back to the movies real quick before we can talk about why these shows work. BvS, for example, didn’t work because the story wasn’t polished. The movie was sloppy, the characters underdeveloped, and it spent too much time setting up the next movies instead of making itself great first. Even with two and a half hours, this movie wasn’t able to do all of that without seeming rushed. If the movie had 10 hours, or even 5, it would have succeeded (I assume), because it would be able to develop more. A TV season has anywhere between 3 and 24 hours, usually, to tell it’s story, whereas a movie only has about 2-3. Studios are hell-bent on stuffing them as full as they can go, and the don’t even worry about making it good- just making it in general.
That reason exactly is why indies have worked, and TV has worked: they don’t have those rules to follow like movies do. Indies can say or do whatever they want because they’re picked up after being made, while a big budget superhero movie’s filmmakers has the studio breathing down his/her neck to follow the rules. Well, those rules suck, and it’s apparent from the trash reviews that 2016 movies have gotten. TV shows are the reigning king of 2016 (turn that into a poem), and the film industry has fallen flat on it’s face. Let’s hope the rest of 2016 will turn this year around, or at least 2017 may be less of a disappointment. What about you? What did you think about the first half of this year’s entertainment? Let me know! As always, thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon!