It’s that time again.
New Year’s brings with it an arbitrary impetus for self-improvement. The pub crowds thin out a bit, and the gym gets awfully crowded for a couple of weeks. Sure enough, I’ll probably be reciting the same tired litany of resolutions that I break before long every year—that old song and dance about eating healthy, reading classic literature, ignoring my ex and not getting shitfaced on weeknights. (For some reason, I also always resolve to learn more about wine and jazz because those seem like “adult” interests.)
Lord knows Hollywood could stand a bit of self-improvement, too, so here’s a handy list of New Year’s resolution suggestions for the filmmaking set. But unfortunately, even in the best-case scenarios, they’ll probably be broken before Groundhog Day. Just like ours.
• Ben Affleck will further sharpen his already impressive directorial chops by casting lead actors who are not Ben Affleck.
• Quentin Tarantino will get over “the N-word.” He’ll also stop giving interviews that make me retroactively hate his movies.
• Politicians and pundits will actually take the time to go see the films they’re claiming to be outraged about instead of just firing off uninformed op-ed pieces and bizarre talking points willy-nilly.
• Producer Megan Ellison will keep writing massive checks for movies like The Master, Killing Them Softly and Zero Dark Thirty because without her squandering her inheritance, cinema is far less interesting.
• Steven Soderbergh will change his mind about that whole pledge to retire from filmmaking after his next movie.
• Kevin Smith will not change his mind about that whole promise to retire from filmmaking after his next movie.
• All pictures in which Channing Tatum dies will follow G.I. Joe’s example and undergo costly delays and reshoots to make sure such a horrible thing never happens again.
• Brad Pitt will admit that his Chanel ad campaign was an elaborate prank by Tyler Durden.
• Clint Eastwood will no longer angrily lecture empty furniture during nationally televised political events, limiting such acts of public humiliation to his wife’s reality TV program.
• Peter Jackson will hire an editor.
• Filmmakers Alex Gibney and Robert Zemeckis will subscribe to Pandora radio and discover that there are music cues beyond the same half-dozen obvious songs from classic rock “greatest-hits” albums.
• We will all agree to stop relentlessly mocking Lindsay Lohan because after the Liz & Dick feeding frenzy, I won’t be able to stomach all you fuckers pretending you’re sad on Facebook when another inevitable LL tragedy strikes.
• Next time he makes a movie, Judd Apatow will leave his wife and kids at home.
• Someone will sit down with me and explain Javier Bardem’s plan in Skyfall, then explain how it makes sense.
• Gerard Butler will go away.
• After winning an Academy Award for directing The King’s Speech and perhaps a second for Les Miserables, Tom Hooper will, at long last, learn how to frame an actor’s entire head in a shot.
• No more movies based on children’s toys or board games. Hollywood blockbusters will once again be the province of sophisticated, adult-oriented storytelling about grown men wearing tights and capes.
• Three words: Senator Matthew McConaughey.
• And, though this train has probably already left the station, I do wish the major Hollywood studios would reconsider their own resolution to stop shipping 35mm prints to cinemas at the end of 2013. We can squabble all day about the pitfalls of digital projection, a buggy, still-developing technology with often noticeably inferior picture quality. But the more pressing issue here is the crippling overhead required for the conversion.
It costs roughly $60,000 per screen for a digital upgrade—mere peanuts for the major exhibition chains, but financially ruinous for independent operations. The National Association of Theatre Owners recently predicted that up to 20 percent of America’s cinemas will close before the end of the year, in which case, I fear we’ll all be resolved to going to the movies a lot less often.
Remembering Roger Ebert