What Movies Are We Gonna Make?
(Note: Please keep in mind that this involves a lot of pure speculation with not a lot of hard numbers to back it up. This is purely for fun.)
A long time ago George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese were all sitting in their living rooms watching TV. Although this doesn't sound all that interesting, for these young kids it was an experience. Mob movies, sci-fi serials, monster & samurai movies were all seared into the minds of this young generation of film lovers. These "Movie Brats", as they were called later in life, went on to make some of the greatest movies of all time, drawing inspiration from their childhood movies.
A couple of decades later Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez started making movies based off the exploitation grind house movies they loved as kids.
This all got me thinking: what kind of movies are this age of film nuts going to make? What wild inspiration will find its way into our screenplays, cinematography and color coding? If we were living in a pre-1995 world, we'd probably point to people like David Fincher, Tarantino and the Coen Brothers as the great generational influencers. However, with the birth of the internet, suddenly a lot more people can be aware of older movies and with so many of them being on DVD and digital, a lot of film geeks are able to check them out and watch them.
What would get them interested in the first place, though? Why would millennials bother going on the internet and looking up movies from the fifties? Well, retro has become cool. It used to be that anything that was old was lame, but now so many people are obsessed with things from the past, even if they didn't grow up at the time those things became popular. Things like Back to the Future, Rocky Horror and Indiana Jones are all considered classics now because of their newfound popularity.
However, retro isn't the only thing that our generation has been exposed to. The long string of current Marvel films has been around since many of us were in our late middle school to early high school days and have set a new standard for blockbuster filmmaking. Odds are prospective filmmakers are bound to see them and probably like them. Even though there are still different types of blockbusters being made, this generation belongs to the superhero movie and it's bound to have some sticking power on the minds of our future writers and directors.
Among film fans modern indie movies have also sprung up in popularity; Birdman, Whiplash and The Revenant have become minor hits in their own rights for film students and movie nerds.
So we have retro, modern blockbuster and indie influences. Anything else? Actually, yes: animation. I believe the millennial generation is one of the first, if not the first, generations to fully embrace animation past and present. A lot of kids grew up with animation like the Last Airbender, Batman Beyond, Samurai Jack and Teen Titans and continue to watch them to this day. Some young adults even continue to enjoy animation into their adulthoods: Gravity Falls, Animaniacs, Steven Universe, Adventure Time and so forth. The animation industry has also been keeping pace with our generation by making strange adult cartoons like Rick and Morty and Bojack Horseman, making sure that we're still given fresh helpings of bizarre, out of the box stories and visuals that only cartoons can provide.
We're also the first generation to fully embrace anime and manga, marking the first time that foreign pop culture has struck a chord with American audiences. Since Dragon Ball Z first aired in the US in 1996, Japanese comics and shows have exploded among young adults. With such a wide audience even film nerds will have watched an anime or picked a manga and even if they haven't, they have some idea of what's it's like and will try to emulate elements of it.
So with a giant horizon of influence on our future filmmakers, what the heck are our movies going to look like in 20 years or so? Honestly, I don't know. It all depends on what certain people gravitate towards in the years leading up. If somebody stayed with cartoons, maybe they'll make a brilliantly surreal animated film. If they were really into old movies, maybe they'll make a film harkening back to those styles and storytelling.
At this point, I think anything could be possible. Maybe some mad genius will take all of these elements and squish them into one somehow. Until then, I'm gonna be waiting in anticipation.