Alexander Paynes The Descendants
Solely because 2010 was a regrettable stinker-of-a-year, 2011 was a measured improvement, insofar as we’re more likely to forget it altogether than remember it with remorse.
Greenbacks Make Us Blue
In a year that finally saw the birth of resistance to radical wealth distribution to the greedy few, nobody will pity Hollywood for the failure of its “mo’ sequels, mo’ money” strategy. For the second consecutive year, both tickets sold and total revenues are doing the downward-facing dog pose. The last time attendance was this bad, Bill Clinton had just been elected to the white house. Not that I’m proposing a correlation. Total revenue will settle at less than $10 billion, one of the rare times collecting billions of dollars results in disappointment.
It’s no coincidence 2011 set the record for most sequels, with a whopping 27, the same year every major measure of success got flushed. With mega-flops like The Green Lantern and Happy Feet 2, one would like to imagine a message was served, but that fallacy is such stuff as dreams are made on.
Netflix In Flux
Perhaps the biggest shakeup and kerfuffle involving movies this year came from inside our homes, as Netflix tried its hardest to make everyone hate it. After making the calculated business decision to split up its DVD-by-mail and online services, resulting in a 60% price hike, CEO Reed Hastings gave us the business equivalent of “jumping the shark” when he gave us the phrase “introducing Qwikster.”
Qwikster was going to be a new company that would handle the physical DVD mailing, while Netflix would only handle the streaming content. Short of telling customers to flat-out “suck it,” creating a subsidiary company to divide a product in half and require an entirely new interface is the worst business move ever. Hastings crapped out an online mea culpa and terminated Qwikster before it was born. So where does this leave Netflix? Check next week’s 2012 predictions to find out!
Big O Lives Large
It goes without saying that when Alexander Payne, Omaha’s beloved directorial son, releases a new feature for the first time in ages, it’s a good year for our fair city. It also goes without saying how wonderful it was to see Film Streams at the Ruth Sokolof Theater roll out such a delightful premiere. But what else could we come to expect from a place that was lauded this year by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and continues to deliver incredible events such as bringing local musicians to play live scores to silent films?
What’s incredible is that Aksarben Cinema has been working to deliver the same kind of quality that Film Streams brings to the art house experience to blockbuster mainstream fare. With phenomenal themed events, not to mention the occasional movie-inspired cocktail, the locally owned operation has proved in 2011 that bigger need not mean impersonal.
For the second year in a row, things were peachy in Omaha, even if 2011 was largely forgettable when taking a view from above.