2017 may be the best year in cinema in a decade. Doesn’ t matter. Movies are dead.
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Movies are dead. But you probably don’ t need reminding.
Hardly a year has passed this decade without an obituary or two being written for dear ol’ cinema. What killed the moving picture remains a matter of debate (prestige television, franchises and smartphones are the leading suspects) . But regardless of what the autopsy reveals, the fact remains: movies are dead.
So far gone is cinema, in fact, the less than 100 Javan rhinos left in the world are spending their remaining time on earth working on a campaign to save it. Americans have more faith in coal, peace in Syria and the future of LeBron James’ hairline than they do in film.
The Rock is apparently considering a career in politics. One can only surmise that he’s doing so because the prospects for movie actors are so bleak. Williamsburg Cinemas, a multiplex in the heart of Brooklyn’s hippest neighborhood, often fails to turn off the lights at the start of a movie. If the theater’s therapist were to breach doctor-theater confidentiality, they might tell you that this very basic impotence stems from a fear that once the lights go off they’ ll never be turned back on. (And, as this theater’s therapist would also tell you, they probably won’ t.)
But sure, maybe you’ ve gone to a multiplex recently and have seen not a cinema-crushing, soul-obliterating franchise flick but an artful, original movie — say “ Dunkirk ” or “ Baby Driver ” or “ Landline ” or “ Atomic Blonde ” or “ The Beguiled ” or “ The Big Sick ” or “ A Ghost Story .” You might have left and texted a friend (who declined to come because they were too busy Netflix and chilling — perhaps to “ Okja ” or “ War Machine ” or “ Win It All ”) a recommendation to go see the movie you just saw. And then you might have stopped and thought, “ Maybe I should check cinema’s pul— no, it’s definitely dead.”
And right you were to correct yourself because that sign of life you thought you witnessed was not life at all; it was but a remnant of life, the reflexive wiggle of a corpse’s finger.