Editorial: Sustaining Films Like Super Bowls - PopcornReel.com

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Sunday, February 4, 2018

EDITORIAL
Sustaining Films From Start To Finish The Way Tonight's Super Bowl Did


Corey Clement of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates his team's win at the end of Super Bowl 52 tonight in Minneapolis.  Getty Images

       

by
Omar P.L. Moore/PopcornReel.com        Follow popcornreel on Twitter FOLLOW                                           
Sunday, February 4, 2018

Who said that this Super Bowl would be a bore?  If tonight's Super Bowl, a frenzied, all-out, end-to-end exciting entertainment extravaganza, could win an Oscar for best sporting event, it would be richly deserved.  The Philadelphia Eagles outpaced the New England Patriots 41-33 in thrilling fashion in Minneapolis, and it was a well-deserved victory.

How many films sustain themselves from start to finish the way this incredible Super Bowl 52 did?  Very few, including over half this year's Best Picture nominees, do. (Sustainers?  "Get Out", "Phantom Thread", "The Post", "Dunkirk" and "Lady Bird".) 

In the early part of any New Year -- January through February -- film releases are usually the worst Hollywood has to offer: cut-your-losses holdovers and hidden-in-plain-sight disasters.  The studios hold their noses until the stink of their celluloid failures peter out.

Super Bowls are often boring.  Enough blowouts offer sufficient evidence.  The AFC and NFC Championship Games preceding Super Bowls are often more exciting.  The last two Super Bowls haven't been boring.  Three other Super Bowls featuring the Patriots haven't either.  (Along with last year's comeback win, there's the Super Bowl win over Seattle, and both New York Giants wins over the Patriots in 2008 and 2012.)  When the hated Tom Brady and co arrive in the most watched sports event in America on an almost annual basis these returns are sequels of sorts, appearances in a dynasty by one team.

How about movies?  Most sequeled films lack the inventiveness, excitement or freshness some of these recent, super-charged Super Bowls have. 

Super Bowls, like other sporting events, are often compared by sports media commentators and analysts to movies, specifically Hollywood movies, with fairy-tale endings, with scripts being pulled out of Miracleland and those Walt Disney World "I'm going to Disney World" commercials, impromptu events where out-of-breath delirious Super Bowl MVPs cry, "I'm going to Disney World!"

Those commercials have ended.

The question is, how do we sustain the narrative energy of most films the way the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots did tonight?  Better writers?  Better visions?  Different and fresh voices?  How?  That is the challenge.  Audiences are too smart -- smarter than they are given credit for.  They know what works.  They know what doesn't.

Fifty years from now tonight's Super Bowl will still be a watchable event.  How many of this year's Oscar-nominated films will be?  For a quick example, can you see yourself sitting down and watching Best Picture Oscar winner "Driving Miss Daisy" (1989) right now?

Exactly.


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