Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture – what’s new and old in entertainment.
As a movie nerd, I like to keep a meticulous log of every movie I watch and a ranking of it falls on a personal best-of list. It’s fun and it reminds me of all the great things I’ve watched in a given year. Or, as is the case with 2019 so far, all of the mediocre things I’ve watched in a given year.
At the mid-point of 2019, there has been very little to love at the box office. Avengers: Endgame dominated the charts though it isn’t anything more than a few hours of escapism in my book. To be fair, there are several movies I’ve really liked this year, but my list of mediocre or disappointing movies I’ve seen this year is much longer and includes Captain Marvel, High Flying Bird, High Life, I Am Mother and the laughable Serenity.
And it’s not just me. The box office returns have, by and large, been a disaster. Of course, Avengers is an outlier, but Dark Phoenix, the latest X-Men flick, tanked at the box office and disappointed fans and critics around the world. Godzilla: King of the Monsters went with a whimper, and a Men in Black reboot did very little to inspire ticket purchases.
As someone who loves going to see movies, wants to go see movies, I’ve been stretching to find titles I actively want to go see this year. So what’s the problem? Well, it’s a question studio heads and industry writers are trying to answer and it seems to be that fans don’t want to only see sequels. Of course, Avengers’ goliath run shows that sequels aren’t all dead, but maybe moviegoers don’t want to follow up the biggest sequel of the year with another X-Men movie, then a Men in Black movie and then the Secret Life of Pets 2.
By this point last year, I had already seen Eighth Grade, A Quiet Place, Blindspotting, and Annihilation. All movies that I loved more than anything new this year and, notably, none of which are sequels.
Now, I know fall will come and with it, hopefully, several movies I love. But the big summer blockbuster season that we’re always promised has been full of mostly duds this year. In a desperate fight to beat the experience of watching movies and TV at home on streaming platforms, big-budget movie studios have failed so far in 2019.
I’m Evan Rook.