I'm sure many cineastes had the same reaction to this week's box office list: cinema is now officially dead. The day Jackass: Number Two -- isn't it clever how the title is a reference to fecal matter? -- becomes the most popular film in America is the day each of us ought to give up and become plumbers. I'm talking all film critics, as well as Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, David Cronenberg, Steven Spielberg, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Wong Kar-wai, Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, Charlie Kaufman, etc. Throw in the towel, guys. It's over. It doesn't matter anymore. I'll meet you at the bar, and I'm buying the first round.
It gets worse: At the same time, the esteemed film critic/screenwriter/film director Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, etc.) has published a brand-new film canon in the most recent issue of Film Comment, and the news is not good. Schrader started out writing a book, but realized that film will no longer have a place in the 21st century and gave up after 20 or so pages. He does list his 60 great films for inclusion in the canon but (with the exception of Wong's In the Mood for Love) they're all products of the 20th century.
Yes, film art is gone. All you have to do is perform stupid stunts, point a video camera in that general direction, and you've got a classic.