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Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, and Matthew Wrather mark the arrival of blockbuster season and reflect on linear and cyclical time, the various ways of organizing a sequence of poems, and why we tell the same stories over and over.
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As someone who lives in Africa, it was fascinating hearing about how you guys prepare for the seasons. Over here, what approximates to spring cleaning comes way earlier. There are a lot of family gatherings over the Christmas so we do a grand clean up and re paint the house.
After the holidays, somewhere between the time schools re open and when we need to take the Christmas decor down, we have another, smaller one. So its not weather based. We do have seasons but not harsh enough to radically alter clothing, or to move your stuff (cargo shorts all year round)
You raise a important point though, that because of these event movies the narrative quality of my life is different. I hadn’t realised that before.
That is so interesting, Jay — I always love to hear from overthinkers all around the globe! Any chance you feel like telling us a little more about where you live?
Yeah, absolutely. I live in Ghana. Right around the equator there. Nice weather, except when it gets terribly hot. Even though we don’t have four seasons, our school system is handed down from colonial Britain, so the vacations line up with winter and summer break over there, but there’s no substantial weather change to mark it. We could always change it, but its become convention at this point so people would be pretty mad. Lol.
It is kind of amazing (and amazingly annoying) how much modern media spends an excessive amount of time just laying groundwork, often in the least-interesting ways available, instead of just telling the story the creators want to tell. Movies and comics seem to tend towards the advertisement-for-the-better-product side, while “bingeable” TV shows assume that the audience is going to wait five or six episodes to see if it’s worth watching.
I’ve mentioned “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” before, but it bears another mention in that (now that the finale has aired) they always planned for a four-year arc with a specific story in mind for each year. Other than Babylon 5, it’s hard to think of other shows that have been that ambitious enough to have a complete story planned, rather than the “stuck in the second reel” approach that most media takes.
So when was the last time we had a similarly momentous month of pop-culture culmination? The last one that comes to mind was November/December of 2003, when both the Lord of the Rings and Matrix trilogies released their respective final movies.
Both featuring Hugo Weaving in a supporting role. Coincidence?
So, the two big years that I always keep in mind are 2008 (The Dark Knight) and 2012 (The Avengers).
Some quick wiki-scouring tells me that TDK came out a month before Tropic Thunder, a surprise hit that carried the momentum forward from Iron Man and made 2008 the “100% Official Year of RDJ”.
In 2012, The Avengers released about a month-and-a-half after the first Hunger Games film. Later, Magic Mike bridged the gap between Avengers and Dark Knight Rises. Likely by contorting his body into some kind of sexy planking maneuver.
2012 was also the year that Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance released within a month of John Carter, both of which were notoriously snubbed for Best Picture.
When did summer blockbusters bust out of summer? May 7, 1999, when The Mummy had an exceptionally early wide release. After that, no one needed to wait until Memorial Day for summer movies.
Of course, the Hollywood tent has more poles these days, more than can be crammed into June/July weekends only.
The original Star Wars films were all released in May. It wasn’t until recently Star Wars films were dropped in December.
Late may. Right before Memorial Day weekend in each case, which was the tradition… until The Mummy. (citation needed)