From a 6.12 N.Y. Times article by Michael Cieply about the all-but-total disappearance of American realism in movies: “Last year Hollywood’s top 20 domestic box office performers included just two movies — The Help and Bridesmaids — with realistic stories about American life, contemporary or otherwise, according to boxofficemojo.com. The rest took place in a fantasy world, like Thor, or abroad, like The Hangover Part II and Fast Five.
“In 1992, by contrast, 15 of the 20 best-selling American films were rooted in realistic, if sometimes twisted, American experiences. Those included Sister Act, Lethal Weapon 3, A League of Their Own, Unforgiven and Boomerang, all of which were released from May to August of that year.
“By 2010, pressure to generate international sales, which now account for about 70 percent of Hollywood’s worldwide ticket revenue, had pushed the simple portrayal of American lives almost completely off the big studio schedules in May, June and July.
“[Mainstream movies] have ceded the cultural mirror role to TV,’ said Martin Kaplan, a professor of entertainment, media and society at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, referring to the studios’ diminishing taste for films that reflect the home audience. “Shows like South Park, Family Guy and Modern Family are where Americans now go to try to figure out who we are.”
Incidentally: Bured in paragraph #15 or #16 is a statement that Billy Bob Thorton‘s Jayne Mansfield’s Car is “set for release by Roadside Attractions next year. Written by Tom Epperson, the film is about British visitors, led by John Hurt, who collide with a Southern clan headed by Robert Duvall.” Hurt is quoted as saying the film “is like an American version of a Chekhov play.”