See a movie
Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 01:01
Going to the movie theater is a chore for college students.
We are busy enough as it is, and students are notorious for being cheap. Those factors do not add up to an attractive theater-going experience. A ticket costs at least $8 — buying popcorn and soda is $15. Justifying spending more than $20 and committing two-plus hours is hard to do.
But, 2012 was one of the best years for films in recent memory for a couple reasons. For a demographic usually apathetic about seeing movies in the theater, this has to be one of the years when even those in college have made the trip.
The summer blockbusters (“The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises”) both cleared $400 million in the box office, as expected. Both were also well received, scoring better than 87 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Now, Rotten Tomatoes is not the be-all and end-all of whether the movie is good or not, but it’s the best tool to understand how film critics think about any given film.
This was also a great year for the surprising movies — “Magic Mike,” “Looper” and “Moonrise Kingdom” gave a nice change of pace throughout the non-Oscar season. There were mixed opinions about “Prometheus,” but it still drew a worthwhile reaction.
The quality of films in the Best Picture category is the most notable about 2012. Since 2009, the category expanded to allow for more than the usual five nominees. This switch made room for animated films “Up” and “Toy Story 3” to be nominated, and films like “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” (47 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and “The Blind Side” (66 percent) to sneak in.
The quality of nominations for Best Picture had been diluted, but 2012 is an exception. We’ve seen the French Revolution in musical form. We’ve been to the Middle East — twice. We’ve been stranded in the Pacific Ocean with a tiger. And we’ve been to the Civil War era twice, in much different contexts.
A film based on a true story has become as commonplace as seeing Mark Wahlberg in a movie trailer. But this year’s group has been exceptional, and each hits on deep issues and delivers in telling stories we already knew a lot about (“Lincoln”) or ones we knew nothing about (“Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty”). And then there’s Jamie Foxx having a kill count as high as Jack Bauer. “Django Unchained” isn’t for everybody.
The Motion Picture Association of America’s annual theatrical market statistics report in 2011 (the most recent data) shows a downward trend in the 18-24 age group. College-aged individuals went to 8.4 movies per year in 2009, 7.0 in 2010 and 6.8 in 2011.
This trend suggests what we already know: Students are frequenting the theaters less, and as a result, are not witnessing some of the best films of our generation.
What we’re saying is: Yes, going to the movies can be a hassle and hard on the bank account, but the talent pool for quality films this year has been exceptional.
Go see these films before they leave the theater. Because they’re worth it.
Editorials serve as means for Barometer editors to offer commentary and opinions on issues both global and local, grand in scale or diminutive. The views expressed here are a reflection of the editorial board’s majority.