As the year of our lord 2016 comes to a close we here at the Playlist have taken the time to compile our various lists of the best of all things cinema. And through that lens, 2016 certainly didn’t disappoint. But we’ve also thrown together our picks for the worst the year had to offer, which could basically be simplified by saying it was a shit year for studio fare. In truth, though, such a black and white breakdown of the year does little to represent the wide variety of the cinematic landscape of the past 365 days. In fact, a good portion of the movies we saw this year were, more or less, passable, that large grey area between unwatchable and perfectly pleasant.
For The Nerdwriter, though, it’s exactly this sort of passable film that’s truly problematic. In his new video essay, “The Epidemic Of Passable Movies,” he breaks down just how prevalent such adequate movies have become and how we audiences are beginning to happily settle for such cliche-laden filmmaking. Not only, he explains, do these movies struggle with “a lack of tonal control,” but they lack the sort of original, nuanced storytelling that marks a good film.
It’s a hard observation to argue with nowadays (I recently lambasted “Star Trek Beyond” for being heralded as the best blockbuster of the summer, when it was really just passable). Especially, when it seems that passable is really the only mark a studio has to hit to sell tickets. Not to mention that asking anything more seems farfetched when a tentpole film is aiming to check each of the four quadrant boxes.
Still, 2017 is on the horizon and there’s a whole host of promising stuff looming ahead (at least 100 films we’re looking forward to). No matter what, though, be sure to check out Nerdwriter’s video essay above and weigh in with your thoughts on this year’s most passable movies in the comments below.