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By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Thomson: Oscar pics won't be remembered in 50 years

At Truthdig, Sheerly Avni checks in with film uberpundit David Thomson to dismiss this year’s Oscar crop. “I think they’re quite good examples of small independent pictures carefully made. It’s a fairly good group, I think. I just don’t think any of them is what I would call a knockout big-experience picture. They’re thoughtful. And I like that, I mean, please, don’t think I’m against it. And they all have an interesting, valuable, useful point to make. But I don’t think they are going to be remembered in 50 years’ time…. Very few of the movies up for nomination this year have cost very much, and very few of them have done the kind of business that Best Pictures are expected to do. In many respects those are good things. Brokeback Mountain… cuts quite radically against the grain of popular American taste and, as you say, there are a whole lot of places where the movie has not been playing at all.” Crash avers Thomson, is “heavy-handed and somewhat self-righteous.” Good Night, and Good Luck is also shit, Thomson believes. dthompson_by lucy gray8888200.jpg“If Good Night, and Good Luck can congratulate itself, which it sort of does, I think, about being an indirect oblique political statement about the world we live in, the world now, I think that is also a sign of a sort of helplessness—a cowardice still in dealing with situations… If there’s a political consciousness that made that film, why isn’t there a film about what we’re going through now, that might really have offended and made trouble? And after six years they’ve had time to respond, and I think it’s still the case that the liberal faction in Hollywood are much better at going to parties and raising money than actually making challenging film…. Sound is not good these days, the projection is not good, and you have to pay a lot of money. When I say old, I mean people 40 or older. People think, “I’d rather not see this latest horror film with eye-gouging and so forth…. I’d rather sit at home and get a good DVD and see if it’s as good as I remember.”

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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch