Why Everyone’s Watching the Wrong Movies


Chirag Mangnaik

It is generally accepted that 1910 to the 1960s were the Golden Age of cinema. Bicycle Thieves, Psycho, Singin’ in the Rain and Casablanca were all a part of this era. Today, there are also a lot of amazing films coming out. But instead of hailing them for the masterpieces they are, we repeatedly ignore them at the box office and major film awards. We are entering a new “Golden Age” of cinema and nobody knows it because we’re watching all the wrong films.

There’s a common trend for the highest grossing movies of the last couple of years. They are all big-budget franchise films. Disney’s subsidiaries—LucasFilms and Marvelhave completely dominated the box office in recent years. And while they’re not exactly The Room, they’re far from the best movies out there.

Some of the best movies in a long time came out in 2017 and 2018, and nobody has even noticed. Raw, A Ghost Story, First Reformed, First Man, Columbus, Leave No Trace, Eighth Grade, Sorry to Bother You, 120 Beats per Minute. Some of these movies were, admittedly, not complete box office bombs, especially compared to their low budgets, but the fact of the matter is, there are too many people out there who haven’t even heard of these movies. Why is it, that we can no longer sit through a movie that doesn’t constantly bombard us with spectacular visuals? Have our attention spans really shrunk so much?

We crave fantasy. It’s an escape from the boring, everyday life that we lead. We sit around all day in front of our laptops or our textbooks, feeling like we’re wasting our lives away. Why wouldn’t we prefer Harry Potter to Lee Chandler or Tony Stark to Ernst Toller? We don’t want brutally honest depictions of ourselves; we want outlandish, crazy, fantasy worlds where anything is possible. But the simple fallacy of escapism is that it’s mindless dreaming. It’s no better than daydreaming. We know its sheer idiocy but we willingly stoop to their level for fleeting bliss.

We gorge ourselves on sequels and reboots, desperately trying to capture the essence of the original, to the point where we miss scores of truly original films out there. The Mummy, Halloween, Goosebumps 2, Incredibles 2, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, every Marvel movie after Iron Man. The same thing over and over and over again. The same tired tropes that refuse to tire. The bane of our generation isn’t technology, it’s banality. The rejection of change.