I personally feel as if a combination Amtrak and freight train that I’ve been riding on and living off most of my professional life (spiritually and economically) has jumped the tracks.

Even five years ago (summer of ‘16) we were all part of a hugely different landscape, or soul-scape even. Even with the overwhelming formulaic Marvel/D.C. scourge (which had begun around ’05) there were pockets of vibrancy…opportunities for surprises and odd possibilities….who knew?

Then the realm started to convulse and consume itself by way of four traumatic shake-ups that amounted to a perfect storm:

(a) the horror and chaos of Trump, and the sense that rural racist bumblefuck attitudes that Trump winked at and empowered (Charlottesville, George Floyd) + older white male sexist establishment attitudes (Weinstein, et. al.) had to be resisted head-on;

(b) regimented cinematic woke political currents (the traditional function of nervy smarthouse cinema up-ended by required SJW narratives & the transformation of Sundance and to a lesser extent Toronto into instructive progressive re-education camps);

(c) streaming overtaking exhibition (thus ensuring that the “go woke, go broke” effect wouldn’t interfere with said narrative); and…

(d) the concurrent pandemic effect of ‘20 and ‘21, which has all but killed exhibition (which had already been isolating itself by succumbing to the gladiator-arena syndrome, which was caused by a tidal shift in audience appetites due to adult-level dramas moving to cable and streaming).

The film world was far from idyllic before all this happened but the last four or five years have been shattering. The only upside I can see is that the pandemic ejected Trump from the White House, although the psychology of Trump Nation has obviously persisted if not metastasized.