C'mon Hollywood: Spread out your Oscar fare!
If you’re anything like me, then you find it exceedingly difficult to catch every single movie you want to see in theaters, especially during the Fall/Winter Oscar season. As the actual ceremony approaches, I often find that I’m still way behind on catching all the contenders, which can be a little infuriating. And the thing is, it’s not about the Oscars at all, because I could give a f*ck about Hollywood rewarding itself. My only true concern is catching what is considered to be the crème de la crème of movies. The problem is that Hollywood is in such a rat race to win awards that they choke their best contenders down our throats all at once, rather than spreading them out throughout the year, giving everyone an ample opportunity to catch them all.
Let’s think about what we are typically bombarded with throughout the year, which has become a predictable cycle of films timed like the seasons of the year. From January through March we’re hit with the dumping ground; Hollywood clears its catacombs of rotten corpses and fetid crap, leaving a barren wasteland of movies that once clung to life, but died a slow death and sit, stripped of hope and filled with celluloid despair. Basically, all the garbage they don’t know what to do with is saddled up with fingers crossed that maybe one of them will make a few nickels to rub together. And we’re expected to take that gamble, because, well, what else are you going to see?
April through August the summer movie season starts to trickle in, slowly, then building to a crescendo of big-budget, big-name vehicles of CGI spectacle; capes, spaceships, fast cars, big muscles, gigantic creatures, and pouty-lipped damsels in distress, all delivering the popcorn-munching extravaganza that is the summer movie season. We all love it, pine for it, and mark our calendars by it. It’s the season that revolves around all others. Yet, even for all it’s grand marvels, only a few ever escape as something memorable, while the others usually act as passing distractions, like a travelling carnival show, easily forgotten.
As August dies a slow death, we are ushered into one of the most worthless months at the box office, September; a holding pattern for the Oscar season fare, which hits in October and rolls all the way through December, with many catching up in wider releases in January. One would think that four months is ample time to catch them all, right? Not a chance, especially when they save up to release the biggest and brightest right smack dab in the middle of Christmas, many of them rushed there in limited screenings just to make the Oscar grade. For anyone that doesn’t have any combination of a job, family, obligations, and a decent amount of scratch to cover the trips, this is a non-issue. When I was 19 I fit that category nicely. But, you’re only 19 once and times change, and every aspect of your life with it.
The point, dear readers, is that this is bullshit. Now, you could easily just call me a “whambulance” and call it a day, but I think many of you will agree. The box office has settled into a “seasonal” box office, and has been this way for a long time. Hollywood following weather patterns, holiday patterns, and spending patterns; it makes sense, right? It’s easy to see why January is slow, as most of us have drained our bank accounts to put presents under trees or the like. But, I think that there’s plenty of space left in most of our wallets to catch one or two good movies during that month. After all, we’re just playing catch up by then, anyway, as the award season pics are finally being released where you don’t have to belong to an academy or critics’ venue to see them. The same can be said for February, March, September, and every other gap that usually houses crap. For those of us that take movie watching at a level much higher than your average viewer, this is an important issue. No one likes the wait. It’s painful and often insulting. Worst of all? It’s unnecessary.
What is to stop Hollywood from releasing some of their better fare during these “off” months? Rather than saving them to win statues, why not put them out to reap some box office and fill an otherwise dead month with something worth seeing? And the argument that “Academy voters” may forget about films released early on is bogus, as the majority of them get screeners. And even with that in their court, many have confessed to never seeing most of the films up for an award. How bogus is that?
Personally, I’m fed up with getting shouldered with dried up dogshit in these “off” months for the sake of Oscar season (or any “season” for that matter). It not only keeps me from seeing great films year round, but also makes my trips to the box office during that time a sad affair. As a movie geek and aficionado of film, it’s a clog in the pipe of the movie-going experience and one of many reasons box office is suffering (next to rude patrons and overpriced/low-quality concessions). It’s a very simple solution. Hollywood needs to slow its roll and give us an even spread of choices. There’s no predicting the box office; absolutely no science to back it up. So, take some risks. There’s no reason we can’t swap an ARGO for THE LAST STAND in January or any number of combinations out there. Give the audience a chance to see the goods year-round, rather than cramming for them all at once like homework.
|Extra Tidbit:||Well, let's hear it. Are you content with the way movies are scheduled or would you like to see better selections throughout the year rather than in "lump sum" amounts?|