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The Disappointing Harvests of Springtime

Posted by Kenneth Shinozuka on March 19, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Why hello everyone!

Below is a piece I wrote recently for a school newspaper. I hope you enjoy reading it!

The Disappointing Harvests of Springtime

Spring typically yields the weakest cinematic crops of the year, the unfruitful season after a winter in which a number of outstanding films were released to compete for the Academy Awards. Due perhaps to the absence of holidays for both children and adults, it is the time during which the least amount of people flock to the cinemas; therefore, studios release the films that they think will be the least financially and critically successful.\

If a consistent genre of film is threaded throughout the spring season, it is the spring-break film. Vacuous teenage characters relieve themselves from any moral responsibility when freed from college during spring break, while students feeling equally apathetic about college watch their flagrant acts of sexual promiscuity and general inanity. March of 2013 witnesses the release of two films – Spring Breakers and 21 and Over – that unfortunately do not break from this pattern, although the former was praised by some critics for its youthful energy and uncanny performance by James Franco. These films embrace shameless self-destruction through alcohol, drugs, and law breaking in a manner that is often vulgar and, while comic to some, is generally unpleasant to see.

Blockbusters of the spring season present no lack of a similar mindlessness. Arguably the most anticipated film of the spring, “Oz the Great and Powerful,” the prequel to 1939’s cinematic classic “The Wizard of Oz,” presents a world that is inhabited by bland characters who become conveyors of saccharine themes rather than personifications of deeply human emotions and insecurities, like Tin Man and the Scarecrow of the 1939 film. In that film, cinema became a vehicle to leap “somewhere over the rainbow” into magical lands that cannot exist within our mundane lives; the 2012 prequel, however, fails to transport us beyond our imaginations or even the confines of the theater.

Other blockbusters, including “A Good Day to Die Hard,” the dying ember of the fading “Die Hard” franchise, superhero picture “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” and the action-thriller film about a national terrorist threat “Olympus Has Fallen” seem to be vacant cacophonies of gunfire and explosion.

While the releases of the spring film season have been consistently weak, there is still no shortage of excellent films that are available for your viewing on DVD, television, and even the theaters. If you feel a strong desire to satiate your starved cinematic appetite, I would urge you to rent the 1939 Wizard of Oz, the far superior classic to the prequel released this March, or enjoy some of the 2013 Academy Award nominees for Best Picture, including winner Argo, that are still playing in theaters. 

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