FROM POST MODERNISM TO RETRO: a theory on the future of movies

I thought I would throw this out and get some reactions to it. It’s an idea I’m toying with as the subject for a fuller blog essay.

I’m getting the feeling we are about to get that new wave in movies in the U.S. that I’ve been hoping for these last few years. For me, American movies have been getting worse and worse since 2001 (for a variety of reasons), especially as an art form, and that we need something to happen to shake things up. We need a new movement.

I think that is about to happen for a couple of reasons.

Over the last ten years, something important happened in film. It became so inexpensive to make movies and so easy to, that everyone was doing it.

The great thing was that anyone could make a movie.

The awful thing was that anyone could make a movie.

Even those who had nothing to say and had no reason to make a movie. And it showed in the indie movies being made: conventional; lacking any sort of edge or challenge; formulaic; or at other times, simply unwatchable.

I think what is about to change is the platform for making and distributing movies. The big monkey wrench is the entry of Netflix in producing, not just television series, but movies. And I think with this, tons of other platforms, from Hulu to Amazon, maybe You Tube, will be following suit if they are not already doing that.

And there will be more outlets for distribution of films as well with the rise of VOD, the internet, Kindles, etc.

These outlets tend to look more toward challenging films (since new outlets always look for the new and different in order to call attention to themselves) and they will also be more of a clearing board, weeding out those who don’t have a reason to make a movie and don’t really have enough talent.

So what to call this movement and I am suggesting a term:


Before this, we were in a period of post modernism with such filmmakers as Soderbergh, Tarantino and the Coen Brothers, movies that took everything from the past, treating it all as equal in value, and made movies that were self-aware of what they were while trying to work on their own terms.

I think we may now be entering a period influenced by the past but in a more specific way.

The future, at least in the U.S. in independent and indie film, is a heavy emphasis on genre (horror, sci-fi, rom com, thrillers, neo-noir, etc.), but not in a self-conscious or self-referential way, but in a more straight forward way, reminiscent of the types of movies made when many new filmmakers were either growing up or the types of films they watched when they first started watching movies (and based on my friends’ viewings, are still the sorts of movies they still watch more than any other), especially, but not limited to, B-movies of various kinds (as well as, or perhaps with even more influence, television series).

And in the U.S., the most interesting films of late have been low to medium budget sci-fi, neo-noir, horror and fantasy.

I haven’t though this all through. I’m just throwing it against the wall and seeing what sticks.

But I’m wondering what people think of this and whether retro is a good way to describe it?

So tell me what you think.

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