Sunday, December 11, 2011

Mainstream, but not too mainstream

I often beat myself up over the fact that I don't always get as far outside the mainstream as I like in terms of the movies I watch. Oh, I'm aware of and see my share of foreign, independent and just plain weird titles. But a film snob would probably scoff at the overall commonness of what I watch.

So it was pleasing the other day when I was looking at the "2011 in film" entry on wikipedia, and noticed that I had seen only one of the top ten grossing films so far this year.

(I saw a second -- Transformers: Dark of the Moon -- last night, so I figured I better write this post before I get any further down that inevitable road.)

That's right, only the highest grossing film of the year -- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 -- had crossed my eyeballs before last night.

And that's out of nearly 80 films from 2011 that I've already seen.

Here's how the whole list stands, with the worldwide grosses listed afterward. (I usually have a local bias and consider grosses domestically, but wikipedia is more fair and lists the grosses worldwide, so I will go with that system for today.)

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 - $1,328,111,219
2. Transformers: Dark of the Moon - $1,123,196,189
3. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - $1,043,871,802
4. Kung Fu Panda 2 - $663,024,542
5. Fast Five - $626,137,675
6. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 - $596,383,267
7. The Hangover Part II - $581,464,305
8. The Smurfs - $562,044,359
9. Cars 2 - $551,846,625
10. Rio - $484,635,760

I assume I'll end up watching maybe half of these before I close my 2011 rankings in late January, and most of the rest over the next couple years. (Not sure if I'll ever get that far in the Twilight series -- we'll have to see.) But those I do watch between now and January, I'll be watching more to be completist than anything else -- more to be sure I've seen a truly representative sample of the films that came out in 2011, for ranking purposes. The others will make good candidates to watch with my son when he gets old enough. (I'm stockpiling animated movies I haven't seen now, so I'll have plenty later.)

And I take some pride in the fact that only one of these is a movie I went to see in the theater. I'm not such a sheep after all, am I?

However, the reverse conclusion is also somewhat discouraging. It means that a lot of other people saw a lot of movies in the theater that I, as a general film fan and critic, did not deem worthy of my theatrical dollars. Which, if you trust my judgment at all and extend this line of thinking outward, means that popular films are getting worse and worse in quality. Or simply that people are demanding less and less of them.

Well, for today I'll just dwell on the positive. I'm selective in what I expose my eyes to.

At least until I inevitably see the fourth Pirates and the fifth Fast and the Furious.


SickBoy91 said...

You should watch both Kung Fu Panda 2 (which is a great improvement over the original, with really strong visuals and a good story) and Fast Five (which is the best of the franchise and a very fun action movie, over-the-top without being too ridiculous).

Vancetastic said...

Thanks for the suggestions, SickBoy. I was not as big a fan as other people of the original KFP, so you certainly address one of my worries by saying this one is better. (The first was good, I just didn't love it.) And as for Fast Five, this is the first I've really been compelled to see since The Fast and the Furious. So I guess I have to get over the fact that I haven't seen 2 Fast 2 Furious, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and Fast and Furious.