The one inevitability of 2020 is that, when Hollywood production pipelines normalize again and everyone gets back to work after this unprecedented time to make movies set to the rigorous standards of the Chinese Communist Party, they’re going to make movies set during this unprecedented time.
There was a recent announcement about a Doug Liman-directed heist movie set during lockdown, which sounds really cool until you realize it’s no different than that movie that was a heist set during a hurricane.
And while they are just starting to announce the glut of coming projects that will be set during this unprecedented time, it’s the trickle that foretells a flood. And I know, in my heart of hearts, that movies set during the lockdown are going to be inescapable in the coming year or so.
The main reason these sorts of things annoy me is that, contrary to what appears to be the dominant perception about this unprecedented time, none of this is going to shake out the way that people think. It never does.
Composing this picture while the focus is still too tight on this unprecedented time warps things like using the wrong lens for a certain shot. On a larger scale, this is like Oliver Stone making movies about the the unprecedented time of the 1960s, but in real time: intentional or not, it solidifies a picture of history with a myopic perspective and no benefit of hindsight. Reality, which is massively more complex, is shelved in favor of perception.
It’s not like people haven’t made movies set in the present day throughout all of film history, and filmmakers are only players in a larger effort at casting history in a certain way. There were movies that dealt with the unprecedented time of World War II while the war effort was underway.
I understand that completely.
I think I’m partly annoyed because I’m living during this unprecedented time, and I realize that the perception of the 1990s were similarly skewed by the extant works of the day. To look at those movies, everyone would think we wanted nipples on Batsuits or to be lazy slugabeds in nonsensical love triangles, or actually thought Empire Records was a good movie. (It isn’t.)
I’m also annoyed because the prospect of knowing I won’t even be able to escape this unprecedented time and how people reacted to it.
And yes, as much as some people might dismiss the idea, I’m one of those old-fashioned sorts that likes to escape the pressures of life through entertainment. Maybe that means I should go for a brief trip to Room 101 to adjust my attitudes during this unprecedented time.
(Author’s Note: I hate the word “unprecedented” due to its overuse throughout 2020 as everyone copied everyone else’s work, and if someone uses it in person with me it will take all of my Christian goodwill not to punch them in the mouth. I also hate the dominant variant “unprecedented time.” I used “unprecedented time” purposely during this post just to demonstrate how tiring it is. Find a different word, you lazy jerkweeds.)