Tuesday, April 13, 2021
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When did Hollywood get so gloomy?

Joe Queenan: "A look at this year’s most honored pictures shows that Tinseltown’s philosophy was: If you felt bad before the movie started, just wait till it’s over. Ready to see a personable young barista being smothered with pillows?

You got it (“Promising Young Woman”). Hapless seniors being scammed out of their life’s savings (“I Care a Lot”) or succumbing to dementia (“The Father”)? We got you covered. Jazz musicians fish-gutting one other? Check (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”).

How about a disastrous immigrant experience involving underachieving chicken sexers in Reagan-era America? Oh, yeah, that’s “Minari.” Or an entire town shut down by a plant closing, being stripped of its ZIP Code, forcing depressed, penniless residents to flee to hideously downscale trailer parks? Yup, we’re on it with “Nomadland.”

These films allow people in the movie industry to pretend for one night that they are not in the ‘Ant-Man 6’ line of trade. In a year when tens of millions lost their jobs, some forever, Hollywood really outdid itself by churning out a series of movies in which people either had no jobs at all or had really bad ones.

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