Filmism.net Dispatch December 4, 2023

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Since I first referenced how Marvel's dream run might be coming to a close, it's been a litany of bad news for the comic book powerhouse.

From audience apathy in the face of a torrent of MCU streaming series on Disney+ to the embarrassing ousting of former creative head Victoria Alonso, accusations of an iron fisted management style swirling around her departure, you should indeed have sold your stock the week Avengers: Endgame came out in cinemas.

The first running theme in the phase five era (I think, I don't keep track of that stuff) has been tepid box office, unheard of in the Downey Jr/Hemsworth/Evans years. It started with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which introduced the next big Marvel villain in Kang the Conquerer, but the box office was mediocre at best.

Noe we've had the first bona fide Marvel flop in The Marvels, one that didn't score highly overall with critics either and ended its theatrical run with the lowest earning box office of the whole series.

But the biggest turn of fortune, particularly interesting after the company spent so long miles ahead of every social issue driving Hollywood (feminism with Captain Marvel, inclusivity with Black Panther) is the actor they tapped to play Kang, Jonathan Majors.

Suddenly the company is caught up in a MeToo nightmare, the star embroiled in a high profile domestic violence case.

After 15 years of being Hollywood's golden goose, Marvel is suddenly mired in the same social politics quagmires and commercial realities as the rest of the industry. Might Disney already be looking to offload it, the initial $4bn investment having paid off by orders of magnitude already?

If I was Kevin Feige and I had an intern who complained about harassment or a black trans woman passed over for a promotion in favour of a straight white guy in my past, I'd be shitting bricks. If Weinstien taught us anything, it's that the system will only protect you as long as you keep making hits.

Anyway, I was recently updating the Filmism.net page that tells you what films have really grabbed me in the previous 12 months, and which tell you about my favourite films of all time.

As a 70s kid it makes perfect sense that I love the films of the Lucas/Spielberg years (and those that borrowed/homaged that aesthetic) and the Simpson Bruckheimer/MTV movement of the 80s.

But while most of my favourite films are from the 70s, 80s, 2000's and 2010s, there are very few entries in any physical or mental list of movies from the 90s that have really blown me away. In fact there's really only one.

I love plenty of great films from the 90s, of course, and how could you not in a decade that gave us Goodfellas, Trainspotting, The Matrix, Boogie Nights, Groundhog Day, Pulp Fiction, The Shawshank Redemption, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Being John Malkovich, Se7en, JFK, LA Confidential, Starship Troopers, Fight Club, Toy Story, Malcolm X or The Silence of the Lambs?

But none of them are really mine, not the way I consider Star Wars or Ghostbusters or The Last Starfighter to be. I came to plenty of them late, not even seeing some until years later on VHS. Some I just wasn't as impressed with the first time around.

The single film from the 90s I can think of in the above terms is Alex Proyas' The Crow, the film that cost Brandon Lee his life, where I knew as soon as the end credits started to roll that I'd seen something so brilliant and which had so completely transformed me I'd never be the same.

What films from the decade of The Spice Girls, Seinfeld and Sonic the Hedgehog gave you a similar experience?

On screens lately, I'm a bit behind the times as I've only just written my review of the midyear juggernaut Barbie. Because both it and its spiritual creative sibling Oppenheimer were such monster sized hits and so beloved by the whole world, it feels like I saw them in another universe and was somehow transported to this one where they were both much better movies. Like Oppenheimer, I didn't like Barbie at all.

Far more worth your time is a little seen documentary on the outsized (and insidious) influence the US military has one movies and TV, Theaters of War.

And I also did my duty as a cinema lover by going along to The Creator while it was still on the big screen. Some of the visuals were fantastic, but while the story had some interesting things in it, it was less successful.

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