A good story! A24's Meteoric Rise to Dominance
5) The Death of the Divergent Series
4) The Lackluster Summer Blockbusters
So why did this happen? I think the primary blame can be laid on the table of sequels and remakes. That's pretty much all we got this summer, with only a few films in the early days of the season being original IPs. We did get the batshit crazy Hardcore Henry, and one of them, The Nice Guys, was one of my favorite films of the year, but unfortunately original IPs were hard to come by as the summer progressed. And when they did come by they were disasters like freaking Ward Dogs. But films like Independence Day and Jason Bourne were clear and obvious examples of cash-grabbing triumphing creativity, and those films suffered in the process. Hopefully 2017's summer blockbuster season is better, with films like The Fate of the Furious and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 stepping up to the plate. Oh, and I cannot deny that I am STOKED to see Captain Underpants. Freaking loved those books.
So yes, I believe many people, whether they want to admit it or not, were turned off by the simple notion that an all-female Ghostbusters crew was going to be the thing. I won't admit I was one of them. But I also admit that I was wrong, and if you went into the film with an open mind you would've been convinced as well. This film is EASILY the most underrated film of 2016, and was a highlight for me in an otherwise totally lackluster summer blockbuster season that I talked about earlier. It's just a damn shame that too many of us were gunning for it going into it because of its casting choices.
2) False Advertising
So first off, what did Live By Night do that was so egregious? It cut out a major character! Scott Eastwood was initially going to portray Ben Affleck's brother in this film, but then his entire character was left on the cutting room floor. To me this is a major middle finger to Eastwood, and because his character is mentioned multiple times throughout the film it leads to an even more incoherent mess because we the viewers are wondering, "Who is this guy?" and "Why is he being mentioned so often?" I mean it's one thing to cut out a minor character, even a minor character played by a high-profile actor, if it doesn't fit in with your creative vision for the story. It's another thing to cut out a major character and still mention him and tease his reveal for an entire film and then never actually have him show up.
Theeeeen there's Rogue One. This is the main reason this controversy is on this list. Why don't you do me a favor. Go and watch the trailers real quick, will you? What are some of the coolest moments of those trailers? Is it the rebels charging head-on at an AT-AT? Or maybe bloodied Felicity Jones taking on a TIE-figher? Or how about that badass shot of Ben Mendelsohn that I used in this post? Well, hope you're not too attached to those clips, because NONE OF THEM ARE IN THE MOVIE. Look. I have no problems with reshoots. I have no problem with a clip or two making a trailer that doesn't make the final cut of a film. Both of these things happen all the time. But there is no doubt in my mind that the marketing team behind Rogue One made shots that were eventually cut from the movie altogether centerpieces of the marketing campaign, and that's what I have issues with. Seriously. Go watch that first trailer again. What is the coolest moment of the entire trailer? The rebels charging at an AT-AT, right? I know I was waiting for that moment the entire film and was quite upset when it never came.
I hope this is a one-off in marketing-after all these ultimately cut shots were definitely expensive to produce-but it could lead to an alarming new trend of false advertising in crappier movies. Maybe someone douchebag like Adam Sandler will look at this and say, "Hey! Let's manufacture awesome clips just for the trailers to get people interested in our movie!" and try and go further down the path of false advertising to get butts in seats. So, while I am willing to forgive Rogue One for its false advertising by saying that it was accidental, but I'm warning you, Hollywood. Don't make this into a trend.
1) The Double Standard of Hollywood
Let's start with The Birth of a Nation. I was initially very excited to see this film. It made big splashes at Sundance and was purchased by a distributor for a record-setting contract in the wake of #OscarsSoWhite 2.0, and was immediately marketed as the big film of 2016 about African Americans that was finally going to end the controversy of a very pale Oscar nominee class. Well, a few weeks before the film's official release, allegations against Parker rose and led to a (very deserving, mind you) uproar over the film. There were boycotts, empty critics and awards consideration screenings, and overall the film went from anticipated to hated almost overnight and ultimately tanked at the box office, and Fox Searchlight Pictures found themselves struggling to even make back their contract money they gave the film at the start of the year. This controversy has likely torpedoed Nate Parker's career as well. Meanwhile, in Casey Affleck's world....
When the allegations made against Casey Affleck rose shortly before the release of Manchester by the Sea, the response was VERY different. The accusers (there are multiple) were immediately shined in a negative light, as many dismissed their allegations as wanting to get their "fifteen minutes of fame" in light of Affleck's most successful performance. Critics and the Academy to this point have made no real comment about it, other than continuing to give Affleck dozens of awards for the performance, and currently he's the favorite to win the Oscar for Best Actor. Despite the controversy gaining a bit of momentum around the Golden Globes, it has had little to no effect whatsoever on Affleck's career, and he seems all too content to keep it that way.
So, before I provide my two cents on the issue, I will point out one difference that some may consider worth noting. It doesn't change anything in my book, (what they both did and are accused of is disgusting, and should be investigated further) but it is something that should be mentioned: Nate Parker's accuser killed herself a few years ago, primarily over the incident. This is an absolute tragedy, however it does not change my mind personally about this issue. To me the primary+ reason Nate Parker was crucified and Casey Affleck was glorified is because.....you guessed it.....systemic racism. Neither of these cases to me are worse than the other-both sets of accusations depict pretty disgusting images of the accused-and it my belief that they should both be treated equally. Both Parker and Affleck should have been immediately pulled from any sort of awards consideration until the completion of a thorough investigation. Now, that may seem a bit asinine to some, but let's put it in perspective: our current system when it comes to sexual assault allows for one man to be crucified while another can walk home with the most coveted award in acting. Does that seem reasonable to you? I am open to suggestions, everyone. Ultimately, though, this controversy will once again rear its ugly head for one final laugh if Casey Affleck walks home with an Oscar. Roman Polanski needs some company, right? Right.....?
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMTQ1NDk3NDExN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODM4NjU5NzE@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_.jpg (Independence Day: Resurgence)
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMjE3MzA4Nzk3NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjAxMTc1ODE@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,744_AL_.jpg (Rogue One)
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BNTQwMTMwNjIzM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTQ1MDMyMDI@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,946_AL_.jpg (The Birth of a Nation)