Is Modern Film Missing the Final Reel?

It is that time of year when all the “Best Of” lists begin to come out.  I always loved movies so this was always a fascination for me to review these list to see how my opinions compared to others.  This morning I saw my first top list of movies from 2011 on the NPR website.  The woman doing the reviews seemed a bit perplexed by the lack of standout movies for the year.  She thought it was a year of ambiguity in the industry and there were no major films that really won people over; but mostly split the viewer ship of those who had seen them.  As I perused the list I began to realize I had not seen a single movie that was released in 2011.  As I began to cut and past titles into Rotten Tomatoes, a movie information site that I used to adore and followed religiously on a daily basis, I realized how much this industry has changed and it was now like navigating a mine field to even find a spot to paste those titles due the site being taken over by a barrage of moving advertising.  I worked my way through the list of movies, trying to gain more insight, when an emptiness began to fill the pit of my stomach.  There was nothing here that even sounded remotely interesting.  That old excitement for finding a rare gem of a film that would challenge the way I saw myself or give me a new perspective on my world, somehow was missing and I began to think back to when was the last time I actually saw a film?  The last time I entered a theater was to see Avatar, whenever that was, and I utterly disliked the film and experience I have not been back since.  Granted I have taken the year off to become consumed by this project but what has happened to world I once loved so dearly.  I guess in a sense it has all come home.  I still watch stuff, but when the movie houses become filled with glorified video projectors, and Blu-ray at home outshines them it becomes harder to go sit with a group of strangers who are texting, talking and chewing, to watch a dimly lit presentation, at an exorbitant price for me to even go anymore.

My connection to the movies as always been strong and passionate.  I began working as a projectionist when I was a young kid and had to stand on a box to see out the portals from the booth and by the time I was 18 I was managing a local theater chain in Missoula.  Movies utterly captivated and entranced me.  I knew everything there was about every movie and saw most everything released throughout the year.  It was the soul of my livelihood and I lived as if my very existence hinged on them.  Growing up in a small community in Montana they become a rich fabric in which we learned to see ourselves. Every emotion I have ever felt was first experienced in a movie.  What has happened over the years?  How have I fallen so out of love with something that inspired me for decades?  Today I feel a loss, like a part of myself is missing.  Perhaps it’s just a sign of aging but I am still searching for a revelation in the flicker of that celluloid magic.