Will’s Honest Opinion – Stranger Thangs – 10-30-17
This past weekend was an expenisve one for any one privy to the current providings of geek culture.
No matter what your poison, there seemed to be something to quench your thirst. Nintendo released the highly anticipated ‘Mario Odyssey’. ‘The Evil Within 2’, ‘South Park: Fractured Butthole’, and ‘Destiny 2’ were released to all major next gen consoles, and ‘Stranger Things Season 2’ hit the Netflix scene with it’s love-letter retreading of all things 80’s and monochromatic. All of this, and it was ostensibly Halloween wherever you went as well.
It’s actually pretty rare to have such a smorgasbord awaiting you all at once with so many options to chose from. This too comes off the heels of the weeks previous that gave us ‘Metroid: Return of Samus’, ‘LotR: Shadow of War’, and the incredible ‘Blade Runner 2049’. The year started out better than most had hoped for with entries like ‘Get Out’ and the fun as hell ‘Kong: Skull Island’. This year’s offerings wrapped up into a delightful “off year” by publishers, amounting in what turned into a great collection of soon to be hits and instant classics. I call it an “off year”, because that’s what it is. There are always on years and off years in the entertainment industry. 2011 was an off year. 2012 was the biggest on year since 2007. It’s a cycle perpetuated by the studios, that pitches it’s big tentpole properties, usually all at once for mass consumption; generally every two to three years. (This isn’t a hard rule but it’s a pretty good guideline.) The next one will most likely be 2019 when we see ‘The Batman’, ‘Star Wars 9’, ‘Avengers 4’ and ‘Bond 25.’
So what’s the point of all these current yet vatic observations? I posit that we are on the cusp of geek culture collapse. In fact, after 2020, I believe that the industry will become so disparate it will most likely divide into multiple subcategories and become unsustainable as a working business model. The comic/film/geek culture bubble is about to pop, and we’re in the middle of it’s glory days. (trending towards bloated expansion.) I would say that about half of you readers would argue that that’s total BS, and the other half thinks that’s an obvious, although hyperbolic, assumption. And, although you both may be right, I can tell you as someone who has seen it twice before, once in the 80’s and again in the 90’s… It’s coming.
The contributing factors won’t be franchise fatigue though; at least not by itself. The 2020 election will begin to rear it’s head in the Spring/Summer of 2018, and with the growing onslaught of politically aware activists, and SJW who’ve obtained overnight law degrees in civil rights, suddenly, the need for escapism will continue to escalate. But once Trump is gone, (and he will be gone. I predict Texas will go Blue in 2020.) the dialogue of healing a nation will begin. And it won’t include fanboys arguing over whether or not Wonder Woman is feminist enough for theater goers to enjoy. In fact, it could have a completely extemporaneous effect. As the bubble pops, it’s impetus will create a ripple effect. The common dialogue of one issue will seem nonsensical when compared to other more pressing issues. Who’s to say where the conversation will lead, but by that time, we may even be on the verge of witnessing a massive joint effort by the US and other countries to work side by side on a climate control project, should a larger catastrophe strike. What if California fell into the ocean? (If that was a plausible theory, it could explain the last ditch effort to make as much money as possible on known properties before it’s all too late…) That’s not a prediction, but stranger things have happened.
One thing you can conclude is that it’s all connected. If there’s a shift, I genuinely believe that the current film culture and socially aware political (sl)activism of today will be forgone in the hopes of forgetting a time when so many were so easily triggered. I conjoin the two, because they run in tandem. Nostalgia reigns supreme with every “new” iteration of known IP’s that are released seemingly daily. There wasn’t one new property in the list I presented earlier in the article. And if you think ‘Stranger Things’ is a new property, I have about 15 movies from 30 years ago to show you… People tend to gravitate towards known comforts in moments of duress. Similar to pining for a warm blanky, Millennials, Xennials and Gen Xr’s all demonstrate a similar systematic response due to the idiosyncrasies of their generation’s unique set of coping behaviors. They may seem different, but they aren’t. They all latch onto nostalgia as a way of refuting facts. It’s the definition of escapism. It’s why shows like ‘Stranger Things’ do so well, and why no one seems to really care that the ‘The Last Jedi’ borrows heavily from ‘The Empire Strikes Back’. Blame the internet, or whatever you want, but that’s a whole ‘nother article.
I hate to say it, but right now, this country is acting pretty dumb. It over reacts to non-news. It finds dumb shit entertaining by giving a pass to pastiche laden entertainment built by repurposing unoriginal content, and convincing it’s followers that homages are the same as creative writing. (‘Lego Batman’, I’m looking at you.) This is not a millennial thing. This is an American thing. The latter half of the 1970’s brought upon what is arguably the greatest era of film, music, and art known in modern culture. It did so because it was born out of the ignorance of infighting amongst leftover dixiecrats, overt racist tendencies, and current events that made places like New York City a walking cesspool. The 70’s also brought on a new type of film that had never been explored before. (No, not porn). It introduced real hard hitting slice of life stories of morals and race/gender relations; only previously and slightly touched upon by movies like ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. The onrush of baby boomers attending college and the counter culture that derived out of it, helped mold it into what it would eventually become. The world got smarter. I think we will too. But until then we may just have to endure the prospect that Marlon Wayans is most likely gearing up to make a movie called “Stranger Thangs”…