It's the end of the year and time to clean house. I wanted to write a "Top Ten Classic Films" post, the way I have for the past couple of years, but I haven't watched too many this year. Also, most of the titles I would have written about are going to pop up in my Top Ten lists for the early '70s and late '60s, and I want to avoid repetition. I also don't feel I have enough for a "Let Me Sum Up" post either.
So, since there has been a lot going on that I've missed, I figured it was high time for new update post. For those of you unfamiliar with these, I periodically write posts for updates on topics I've previously written about on this blog, but that I don't think need an entire post to themselves.
First off, I never got around to doing a summer season wrap-up, but I want to brag about the results of the Summer Movie Wager. I got 53 points this year, my best score yet! My best pick was nailing "Incredibles 2" in the runner up spot. I was totally wrong about "Christopher Robin" though.
Rooting for Filmstruck and Imzy - One of the worst pieces of news this year was the sudden demise of the Filmstruck streaming service, roughly two years after it launched. This announcement came only a few months after it was announced that the Warner Archive was shutting down and sending its content over to Filmstruck. it's a giant blow to classic film fans, since Filmstruck was the best source of older media available. Other major platforms like Netflix and Amazon largely ignore anything made before 1990. There's plenty of blame to go around, but most are pointing to the AT&T acquisition of Time Warner being a major contributing factor. Now, there's a scramble to find adequate alternatives. Fandor? Mubi? Kanopy? The Criterion content will be back online with its own channel, but the Warner Archive films will be MIA for the time being. Fingers crossed that they won't stay away too long. Oh, and the "nice Reddit," Imzy, was a bust, which shut down in 2017 after less than a year of operation.
A Decade of Depp - After fifteen years and five movies, Disney is rebooting the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise and kicking Johnny Depp to the curb. He's still in the "Fantastic Beasts" movies, but his days as a high-powered movie star look to be drawing to a close. That's not necessarily a bad thing for audiences, as Depp has done the majority if his more interesting work in indie and art films. As for the "Pirates" franchise, I don't know how much interest is left in the franchise. I think Disney should make sure there's plenty of distance from the last disastrous installment before trying again.
Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film?! - They walked it back. Of course they walked it back. The negative response was so overwhelmingly bad, it would have been suicide to try and move forward with the new category. This year's ceremony will likely still see smaller audiences, but that seems to be what's happening to all of network television at the moment. At least Lady Gaga will be in attendance this year to draw some viewers. I expect that ABC will still try to take measures to try and shore up ratings, but they'll be smaller ones for now. And I'm all for the push behind the Best Stunt categories.
Can You Reboot an Animated Film? - Well, the studios are certainly going to try. Universal has announced plans to let Chris Meledandri of Illumination Studios retool "Shrek" and "Puss in Boots." Meanwhile, reactions to next year's "The Lion King" teasers have been mixed, with several commentators pointing out that the only thing "live action" about the new version is the backgrounds.
The Resurrection of the Anime/Manga Adaptations - "Ghost in the Shell" and "Death Note" have come and gone, with "Alita" coming up quick. However, it's the upcoming "Detective Pikachu" that looks to be the biggest potential moneymaker, and will probably set expectations for future adaptations. Also, note that Netflix has announced a live action "Cowboy Bebop" series, which makes absolutely no sense to me, but we'll see what happens.
The Strange Cult Status of "Hocus Pocus" - And finally, I never in a million years would have predicted the huge marketing push that accompanied the twenty-fifth anniversary of this Disney Halloween film. Spirit stores were awash in fancy new merchandise, a new special about the movie aired on Freeform, and Disney even published a YA book sequel. I still think the movie is terrible, but it's hard to begrudge the fans who are clearly enjoying every moment