2019 was a big year for movies. From the stunning conclusion of Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Infinity Saga with “Avengers: Endgame,” a closer look on one of Batman’s greatest enemies in “Joker,” and the beautiful and equally brutal depiction of World War I in “1917.”
All these movies are fantastic, but while watching the Oscars this year, I was introduced to a film that not only won the prestigious “Best Film” award but was also a foreign film that I had never heard of before.
“Parasite” was directed by Bong Joon-Ho and is set in Korea. It focuses on the symbiotic relationship between a lower-class family and an upper-class family.
At first, hearing that this random film beating the likes of Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood” for best film was intriguing. It immediately had me wondering, “how good could it be to beat Tarantino?”
I decided to watch and absolutely loved “Parasite.” It is nothing short of a masterpiece and it well deserves the title of “Best Film.”
But why was I just now discovering this movie? If it was so good, why wasn’t there a mainstream theatrical release until after “Parasite” won the award?
There are many foreign films that deserve recognition as far as Hollywood’s concerned. There should be no reason that foreign films aren’t showed more often because quality filmmaking is everywhere, not only in the United States.
This weekend I saw “My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising.” It’s based on a Japanese anime of the same name following a group of high school students with superpowers, called “quirks,” as they protect a small island from a group of villains who threaten the world.
There were only three showings for this movie, and each played on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
I saw it on Friday, which was the version with Japanese voice acting and English subtitles, and there were more people in the theater than one would expect. Clearly, there’s a fanbase for these types of movies, and big theaters like AMC are missing out by not playing a variety.
“Weathering with You” is another Japanese anime movie that I really enjoyed, and it had a theatrical run in January for two days on a Wednesday and Thursday. This movie wholeheartedly deserved much more time in the domestic box office for the time and patience that went into that movie.
Aside from great foreign films, there are some fantastic domestic movies that don’t get much recognition either. Two examples would be “The Lighthouse” and “Uncut Gems.” Both movies are produced by A24, who have produced movies such as “Midsommar” and “The VVitch.”
“Uncut Gems” got the lighter sentence compared to “The Lighthouse” as it became an instant cult classic in many independent filmgoers’ eyes. It even landed Adam Sandler as the lead actor to win “Best Male Lead” at the Independent Spirit Awards.
AMC considered “Uncut Gems” an “Artisan Film,” which is a common label they give to independent films; however, I feel that films with that label don’t get much time to shine at the box office.
For example, I discovered “Uncut Gems” through a friend, and after we saw the movie (which accumulated low attendance in the theater at primetime) it was like its run was over at the box office after we saw it.
“The Lighthouse” didn’t even get a run at the Terre Haute AMC, but it should have. The film is shot in a black and white filter, which would’ve been great on the big screen.
Talent such as Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe are at their best in this movie, and I can’t even begin to summarize the plot because of spoilers. It was a wonderful arthouse-esque experience that would have been even better in a theater.
More movies like “Parasite” and “The Lighthouse” could have had more chances to shine if they were given opportunities to be shown in big theaters. Big theaters can benefit by catering to more niche audiences.