As movie studios rely more and more on international markets to bring in revenue, movies are getting simpler and more universal. That explains what has struck me as the diminishing quality of major movie studio releases in recent years. I draw my general impression of what the studios are putting out by keeping track of the new movie HBO shows each Saturday night. Most weeks I’m not interested, and when I do bother to watch, I’m almost universally disappointed. This effort to make movies more broadly popular not just among Americans but across the world can probably be blamed for the sad state of movies today.
Of course, there are still plenty of good movies being released, you just have to look harder to find them. This weekend I went to see Juno at The Rialto, and enjoyed it thoroughly. For about the first two thirds of it, I thought, “This is a really good movie.” By the end, I had decided it was great. A couple of things I really liked:
- The cast includes Jason Bateman and Michael Cera from Arrested Development. At one point in the movie, there’s a subtle but unambiguous reference to that show that doesn’t involve either of them.
- A paint-spattered “Alice in Chains” t-shirt is subtly used in a highly symbolic way.
I’d hate to spoil the movie so I won’t say any more. See it if you get a chance.