Too many critics give non-mainstream films higher art status than equally good mainstreams films simply because they are not mainstream.
— Scott Derrickson (@scottderrickson) August 16, 2012
That tweet right there, from The Exorcism of Emily Rose director, Scott Derrickson, sums up everything I’m about to say about Cronenberg’s comments, SO you can sit here and listen to me ramble or let that be my thesis and move on.
I have no interest in repeating word for word what Cronenberg said, you can go Google it. Essentially, though, he “appreciates” Chris Nolan’s films but wouldn’t classify them as “art”. I find this argument so frustrating. I find the fact that David f-cking Cronenberg pretty much just came out as a hipster. I mean, come on. My problem with this argument is why should a genre put limitations on the quality of a film on how we receive and deem it “art” or not. My problem with him using the word “art” is that the act of filmmaking – you know, putting together a F-CKING MOVIE – for better or worse, is art. Or an art. The eventual quality of such film is subjective, but the act of it, the fact that a film is being played before you reenforced the my opinion that filmmaking itself is art, which then disqualifies his.
This is where “indie” and mainstream come in to play, re: Scott’s comments. Because something is popular it’s ultimately discredited as mainstream and therefore isn’t thought of us as having as high a quality as something more sought after. But why? But why should we consider Moonrise Kingdom anymore of an “art” piece than TDKR? TDKR has beautiful set pieces, a strong narrative, a distinctive tone, you know it’s a Chris Nolan film much like you know Moonrise is a Wes Anderson film, so how are they any different from one another? Because TDKR made what Moonrise Kingdom has made so far by 10:00am on it’s opening day? That’s what it comes down to.
The Best Picture race at the Oscars is now open to 10 films instead of 5 because of The Dark Knight. Because there was such an uproar when it wasn’t nominated. It wasn’t nominated because people actually, you know, saw it. It wasn’t nominated because it’s not considered “art”. You know what films used to be nominated all the time before The Academy decided to only nominate films that have made less than $50 million at the box office? Blockbusters. The Lord of The Rings, The Godfather Part 2, the list goes on… films that people saw, that people considered both popcorn entertainment and quality filmmaking.
But, you know, Cosmopolis is the second coming so…