Post Oscar Thought: Grown Up Films – An Endangered Species?
“When I was a child,” film reviewer Stephen Whitty wrote in “What Happened to Grown-Up Films?” for New Jersey’s state paper, The Star-Ledger, on the day of the Oscars, “most of the big hits in movie theaters were aimed at adults. Now that I’m an adult, most of the big hits in movie theaters are aimed at children.”
Earlier this month (“Why Can’t An Oscar-Winner Look More Like a Hit?” posted 2/8/12), several of us on this site were discussing what turns out to be the heart of Whitty’s article: the divergence between the acclaimed and the popular. With respect to my SOS colleagues, none of us put it quite as eloquently or made as substantial a case for the how’s and why’s behind that schism as Whitty does. His piece is worth a read and you can find it here.
The part of Whitty’s article which really brought it home for me – since he and I are about the same age – was his now-and-then contrast of box office toppers:
“In 1971…I was 12 and just getting seriously interested in films. And that was easy. Because back then, the top 10 domestic grossers were, in order, Fiddler on the Roof, The French Connection, Summer of ’42, Diamonds Are Forever, Dirty Harry, Carnal Knowledge, A Clockwork Orange, Klute, The Last Picture Show, and Bedknobs and Broomsticks…
“In 2011, the top 10 movies included two films based on young-adult novels, two more based on toys or amusement park rides, two superhero films, one sci-fi flick, one cartoon, one raunchy comedy and one over-the-top action picture…not one was a drama.”
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