We’re done complaining about blockbusters. We’ll never be happy that today’s multiplexes are overcrowded with comic book movies and animated fare about talking animals, at the expense of variety. But we’re bored filing this charge day-in-day-out. So let’s focus on other ways the movies can be better. And rather than be Negative Nellies, we’ll stay positive. Here seven things we saw in the movies of 2016 that we hope will become trends this year, or at least in the near future.
Maybe corny tear-jerks shouldn’t be extinct?
Mid-sized budgets are all but dead in today’s Hollywood. With them went the middlebrow movie — the manipulative weepies, from “Dances with Wolves” through “Shine,” that used to soil the hankies of the masses and annoy snooty critics. As snoots, we say good riddance — except that, right now, a good, corny, manipulative tearjerker, when done right, might make us feel better about the world, even if temporarily.
Such was the case with “Hidden Figures,” a true life tale of black, female NASA geniuses overcoming both racial and gender prejudice in the early 1960s, converting the small-minded along the way. It’s a good enough film — strongly acted, interesting as underknown history, even subtle at times — that it would have played well during any era. But right now we’re raw, and even the jaded cinephile who’s seen it all occasionally needs a reminder to believe in yourself, go after your dreams, don’t be a stupid bigot, etc. (See also: the old school Disney toon “Moana.”)