The Summer Sizzle

A few days ago, I was interviewed by Fayetteville’s alternative weekly, Up and Coming Magazine, about the summer movie phenomenon, and while I was able to get across some basic points about summer movies, I can’t help but think that the article’s author and I were speaking at cross-purposes. While I did try to emphasize that there is some evidence that “tentpole movies routinely suck the air out of the box office,” as Charles Acland observes in Screen Traffic (a great book by the way), I didn’t intend to create such a polarized relationship between film franchises such as Spider-Man or Pirates of the Caribbean and independent filmmaking.

But I also found myself working against the author’s thesis that Hollywood movies are getting worse (something that got cut out of the final article). As the “Badger squad” discussion suggests, sequels are not automatically second-rate, nor do they imply that Hollywood is in a state of decline, and in fact, the trend towards serialized storytelling can open up possibilities not available in a single two-hour film (it’s also worth noting, as David Bordwell points out, that sequels have existed at least since Homer penned the Odyssey as a sequel to the Iliad).

More than anything, I was trying to challenge some of the assumptions typically found in many summer movies articles, but I’m not quite sure it worked. At any rate, I always find it jarring when I’m quoted by somebody else, so I find the article pretty frustrating, but I’m glad that I’m starting to connect with some of the folks in the arts community here in Fayetteville.

Comments seem to be down again. We’re working on it [updated to clarify/correct a couple of points].

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