Mick LaSalle (movie reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle), had a brilliant piece Sunday. Making the point that Oscar-nominated movies are not the big box office hits, he wrote about what the majority of Americans prefer to see at the movies.
“So people are not flocking to the best movies. They’re not flocking even to the movies they believe to be the best. Instead they’re paying to see alien invasions, malevolent AI and civic chaos, films showing either the destruction of the world as we know it . . .or a post-apocalyptic world, with humanity forced to endure a dystopian nightmare.
“What does the persistent popularity of these recurrent themes tell us? . . .The fear of alien invasion is an elaboration and distortion of the fear of immigration. The fear of artificial intelligence taking over is a disguised wariness of automation, of computers taking away our jobs. And the depictions of civic chaos . . . is a manifestation of the modern fear of terrorism. . . .
“As the dominant themes of our films, they probably can be called the dominant fears of our historical moment. They may even help explain the result of the 2016 presidential election. Once you know what people are afraid of, you know how to reach them.”
10 Top-Selling Movies of 2016 9 Oscar-Nominated Best Films of 2016
Captain America: Civil War MoonLight
Rogue One La La Land
Finding Dory Manchester by the Sea
Zootopia Hidden Figures
Jungle Book Lion
The Secret Life of Pets Fences
Batman v. Superman Hacksaw Ridge
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Arrival
Deadpool Hell or High Water