Here’s an interview with Quentin Tarantino that you might find interesting:
Around the four minute mark Quentin starts talking about how he had recently analysed the ‘New Hollywood’ era of the last sixties and early seventies. In looking at those films he ended up comparing them to the nine best picture nominees of this year and came to the conclusion that this year, more than any other recent year, the best films have been proper, grown-up, intelligent movies.
Not only that, but if you look at the subject matter involved, many of them look like they would be either modest hits or commercial failures, whereas in reality many of them were massively successful (Django, Les Mis, Lincoln, Pi, Argo, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty have all taken a fortune at the box office).
That’s interesting, because there’s a theory that the film business mirrors real life quite closely. The great films of forty years ago were made in the context of rebellion, political disaffection, paranoia, Vietnam, Nixon etc., and they ended up being driven from that attitude to be smarter and more questioning than usual. Following that time we’ve had many years of relative affluence and trust (even when we couldn’t respect Bush, Reagan, Clinton, Thatcher, Major and Blair, there was so much money coming in that no one minded enough to really make a stink about it), culminating in a new era of shakier politics, banking scandals, media and police lies, riots, protests, Guantanamo etc., that has combined with a massive recession to produce films that aren’t quite so much vanilla bullshit (Silver Linings Playbook aside).
Annoying that it takes a worse world to create better movies, but every cloud, eh?