True-life movies and big-budget franchises make for a ho-hum awards season
Many of this year’s Oscar-nominated movies look at the lives of non-fictional, influential people that the general public may or may not have heard of. At least half of the nominees for the Best Picture award are from biographical movies (Selma, The Theory of Everything, The Imitation Game, American Sniper) and most of the actors nominated for the Best Actor/Actress award also took part in biopics.
This brings an important question to the table regarding the lack of creativity in Hollywood. Where has the creativity gone in inventing pieces of work that are not based on comic books or real-life stories? In the past years we have seen more than our fair share of Marvel movies, from Iron Man to The Avengers, in addition to the continuous creation of sequels. I mean, is it really necessary to create seven Fast & Furious movies?
All jokes aside, it seems as though creative, genuinely impressive work is fading. Yes, autobiographies adapted into movies can be interesting, powerful and mesmerizing. Watching Eddie Redmayne play out the difficult character of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything was outstanding (to say the least). I’m sure Benedict Cumberbatch did a marvelous job portraying Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. However, the directors and scriptwriters are simply taking a real life story that was written and became a bestselling autobiography, which you could probably buy at Chapters for $30, and told themselves, “hey, let’s make a movie out of this and make millions!” There really is something missing. An audience starts to wonder: is it the “true story” that’s really stimulating, or the dramatized, creative-licensed version? What we end up with is a cinematic “chicken before the egg” conundrum. I mean, Foxcatcher anyone?
I’ve decided to make a list of a couple of directors who are unique in their own genres and always find a way to leave the audience at the edge of their seats.
Wes Anderson is an example of what I consider to be a creative director in this generation. With movies such as The Grand Budapest Hotel (nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards) Moonrise Kingdom, The Darjeeling Limited, and many more, Anderson creates parallel universes to illustrate the extremes of important values such as good and evil, family, friendship, love, and happiness.
Woody Allen is another example of a very talented director and writer. Allen has always had the ability to leave his viewers puzzled, laughing and also wondering what is going through his head. He has written and directed dramatic pieces that always have a funny twist to them. Penelope Crúz and Javier Bardem’s drama as a dysfunctional couple did give a good laugh in Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona, am I right?
Finally, Christopher Nolan’s creations in Inception and Interstellar are beyond remarkable. I don’t think anyone else would have come up with the idea of having “dreams within dreams.” If it weren’t for him, it’s doubtful that anyone else in this day and age would come up with sending ol’ Texas boy Matt McConaughey to space to find a way to save the universe in the depths of another galaxy. We can criticize his use of special effects, as they may seem too prominent, but without them his movies would not show the creativity or the beauty of his ideas. You still have to give him credit for writing and directing a masterpiece of a trilogy in the Dark Knight.
These directors may not have written or created movies that please the entire public, but all of their work is their own and is original. Biopics and action-packed Marvel movies are starting to get old. Enough with the Fast & Furious sequels, it’s time for the world of cinema to come out with new, original ideas that will mystify movie watchers and showcase the real talent that comes from the minds of both cinematic masters and rising artists.