Wednesday, December 20, 2017

My 2017 Holiday Wish List

I got quite a few things I asked for from last year's list, including better diversity, some curbing of sequelitis, and the flourishing of Stephen Colbert on late night.  Alas, there is still no good way to easily access commentary tracks, and Twitter is still awful, but we can't have everything.  This year, I'm going to get a little more topical and serious.  (You should probably stop reading now if you're trying to avoid politics.)  

Dear Hollywood,

This year for Christmas I want…

For the 24 hour news cycle to make some attempts to put on the brakes.  I found it absolutely stunning that the Las Vegas shootings were completely out of the public's consciousness after two weeks, and everyone had moved on to the next catastrophe.  I understand that this year has been relentlessly eventful due to Trump's antics, but the degree of selective amnesia that descended when nobody could find a useful political angle on the tragedy was unreal.  FOX and the Sinclair stations I can understand to some extent, because that's just what they do, but I am severely disappointed that the saner wider media fell victim to the same mindset.

For the recent sexual abuse and harassment allegations regarding Harvey Weinstein and other prominent Hollywood figures to lead to wider changes in the entertainment industry.  As new allegations continue to surface about a growing list of powerful actors, producers, agents, and executives, there's no danger that anyone's going to be able to sweep all of this under the rug.  However, it remains to be seen what the consequences of this will be.  At the time of writing, a few careers have been ended, but no one is in jail, and nobody has taken any serious, concrete steps to change the way things are done, to ensure this can't happen again.        

For Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Reddit, and other social media platforms to stop enabling the Russian bots and the Alt-right trolls.  Each has taken a few baby steps to try and curb bad behavior, but I'm convinced that they're all partially responsible for the current climate of fake news follies and convenient internet outrage by allowing a staggering amount of hate speech and the blatant political manipulation to proliferate on their services unchecked.  Especially now that we know that it's happening, not doing anything is pretty much tantamount to endorsing it.  "Free speech" and "non-partisan" excuses aren't going to cut it.  Nazis and Commies are baddies.  Got it?  

For the continued health of Netflix and Moviepass.  (Full disclosure: I still own a couple shares of Netflix).  Both companies are in the middle of taking some big, ambitious risks that could cause them to sink or soar.  Netflix is pouring billions into building up its content library before the rest of Hollywood can get its own streaming services off the ground.  Moviepass is trying to grab as much market share as it can by drastically cutting the prices of its service, and thus the price of movie tickets, to the dismay of movie theaters.  Netflix has already caused a massive disruption to the existing media-consumption model, and Moviepass has the potential to, but I don't know if either are going to survive in the long run as the Hollywood establishment inevitably pushes back.        

For the animation industry to get its groove back.  I haven't written much about the individual films, but 2017 was a pretty lousy year for American animation releases.  I'm looking forward to the "Wreck-it-Ralph" and "Incredibles" sequels, but since the cancellation of "Gigantic," Disney and PIXAR won't have any non-sequel releases until 2020 at least.  Dreamworks is still struggling, and won't even have a release for 2018.  Illumination is making plenty of money, but their films still aren't very good.  After what they did to "The Lorax," I don't want to see what they have planned for "The Grinch."  Oddly, it's the largely ignored Sony Animation that has the most interesting 2018 slate, with "Peter Rabbit" and an animated "Spider-man" film in the works.

For all the new films and television shows coming out this winter and next year to exceed my expectations, and for those that didn't to improve.

And for the new "Doctor Who" and companions (and showrunner) to be given a fair shot.  Fingers crossed.

Happy holidays!

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