Last night’s Oscars opened with a musical number that featured Jack Black coming onstage and lamenting the lack of originality in cinema, as well as the surplus of superhero movies. Here’s what he sang:
“This industry’s in flux; it’s run by mucky-mucks, pitching tents for tentpoles and chasing Chinese bucks.
Opening with lots of zeroes, all we get is superheroes.
Superman, Spider Man, Batman,
Jedi man, sequel man, prequel man.
Formulaic scripts and after 50 Shade of Grey, they’ll all have leather whips.”
In and of itself, not exactly scathing, but the day before at the Independent Spirit Awards, Dan Gilroy shared his own thoughts on the matter while accepting the Best First Feature award for Nightcrawler.
“Independent film, the foundation and everybody here today, I think are holdouts against a tsunami of superhero movies that have swept over this industry,” said Gilroy. “We have survived and we have thrived and I think that’s true spirit.”
Gilroy’s wife Rene Russo (who stars in Nightcrawler), appeared in two Thor films as the title character’s mother, Frigga.
I didn’t really find the Jack Black superhero jokes offensive, did you guys? It was, like, a joke. I’m not sure if you guys noticed, but the writing on the Oscars didn’t seem to be all that well thought out.
As far as Dan Gilroy saying that attendees of the Independent Spirit Awards have survived against a “tsunami of superhero films” – well it seems a bit weird coming from a guy whose wife has acted in two Thor films – really, that seems like you’ve drowned horribly in that tsunami. But I know I just kind of make up stuff as I go along on these awards shows, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
Whatever the case, the truth is, popular fare in any medium has always been snubbed by the self-appointed elite. I’ve already won more awards than I ever expected for Guardians. What bothers me slightly is that many people assume because you make big films that you put less love, care, and thought into them then people do who make independent films or who make what are considered more serious Hollywood films.
I’ve made B-movies, independent films, children’s movies, horror films, and gigantic spectacles. I find there are plenty of people everywhere making movies for a buck or to feed their own vanity. And then there are people who do what they do because they love story-telling, they love cinema, and they want to add back to the world some of the same magic they’ve taken from the works of others. In all honesty, I do not find a strikingly different percentage of those with integrity and those without working within any of these fields of film.
If you think people who make superhero movies are dumb, come out and say we’re dumb. But if you, as an independent filmmaker or a “serious” filmmaker, think you put more love into your characters than the Russo Brothers do Captain America, or Joss Whedon does the Hulk, or I do a talking raccoon, you are simply mistaken.
I don’t know about you, but I got way more choked up at Guardians of the Galaxy than I did at some of the actual Best Picture nominees. If the “brutally honest Oscar voters” have taught us anything, this whole thing is totally subjective. Like what you like. For we are all Groot.