2016: The Year of the Geeks!

Reel DirtIt’s arrived. We are living in a post-Star Wars Episode VII world now. The day has come and gone. Box office records have fallen and even more records are sure to tumble in the near future. The movie of legend is plummeting headlong into cinema history with blasters blazing.

And what of it? If you ask me, it was good. It was epic. It had its flaws, but certainly it was better than what the prequels brought us between 1999 and 2005. It heralds a new age of the saga with new official episodes and spinoffs.

Kind of gives you faith in humanity.

It is a glorious age.  

2016, the year of the geeks. This time for sure!

Yes, there were a number of comic book and genre movies in the past year, so you might say that 2015 was the year of the geek, with Avengers 2, Jurassic World, and — for Kenobi’s sake! — Star Wars! Oh, and Ant-Man. Can’t forget that little film.

But this year, you’ll find yourself swamped with people roving around in costumes, even if they’re not attending conventions. You’ll see people crossing the street dressed as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, or any number of people from the new Batman v Superman movie. They’ll be lining up at the local Burger King with signs that tell you if they are on Captain America’s or Iron Man’s side in celebration of the new Civil War movie.  Or you might find yourself on a city bus surrounded by mutants as they anticipate the release of the new X-Men: Apocalypse flick.  

And all that is just in the first five months of this year.

It used to be that geeks and nerds and anyone who would get into a genuinely intense argument about whether a lightsaber could cut Superman’s skin, or about who would win in a fight between Wolverine and Sylar, were ridiculed and socially marginalized. And now these people are the ones making television shows, movies, and other media. Those folks who were most influenced and inspired by Star Wars, and the culture that spawned from it, now have more creative control and influence than ever before.

This year, you’ll find yourself swamped with people roving around in costumes, even if they’re not attending conventions.

This article isn’t about how things have gotten better in the world since Star Wars came along (though they have); it’s about how the case used to be that a conversation would go like this:

“Hey! You’re one of those people that’s really into Star Wars! What a nerd! You have Star Wars pajamas?”

Nowadays, it’s more like:

“You’re into Star Wars?! Me too! You have Star Wars pajamas? Do you have the ones that have the tie fighters on them or the ones with the Ewoks? I have the Ewok ones!”

It is a glorious age!

Futur internationale

So what will happen in the future? Given the global climate, you see movies made in the United States being shipped and marketed around the world.

Take the Fast and Furious franchise, for example. The most recent installment, Furious 7 (or Fast 7, or Fast and Furious 7, or The Fast and the Furious 7, or The Bulky and the Bald VII, or Fast and Furiouser Septupled…) did really well in the American theaters. It earned something like $350 million here in the States. That was enough to be 31st all-time in the domestic box office. That’s pretty good.

But abroad, it did (dramatic voice, please) PHENOMENALLY. It earned over a billion and a half dollars. Yes, I said Billion. With a B.

Fast and Furious. Americans like it. The Chinese LOVE it.  

So, if you have a problem with the franchise’s increasingly irreverent view of physics, or its increasing cast size, or its increase in box office take, blame the Chinese, or Mexico, or Brazil. Those countries, and honestly many, many others, have been shoving cash into those movies hand over fist.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with this particular set of movies growing and evolving into its own brand of silliness, but when things like Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and Transformers benefit from the collective bad judgment of the rest of the world, I lose faith in humanity.

Regardless, with Deadpool, Dr. Strange, Suicide Squad, plus the superhero movies I mentioned earlier and so many other movies that pander to my own personal sensibilities, I can’t help but be optimistic about 2016. Yes, that’s selfish of me, but … so what?

I love you guys. Happy New Year!RedShtick-Top-ColumnStop

About James Brown

James Brown
James Brown is not related, affiliated, or representative to or of the estate of the Godfather of Soul. Any similarity is purely coincidental.

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