In the cold light of history, I'm sure there will be plenty of blame to be laid at the feet of one George W. Bush, but blaming him for movies? Well, that's what Ramin Setoodeh over at Newsweek is proposing -- that the rash of downer films that have littered the box office in the last two years is all because of big bad Bush, and it's a bit of a leap. After all, there's the tried and true logic that awards season usually has studios releasing their 'serious' pictures, and in the world of cinema, serious usually means depressing. But Setoodeh has some evidence to back up his claims, mainly that in the so-called 'golden years' of Bill Clinton, films like Shakespeare in Love and The Full Monty were Oscar contenders, and now we have grim, foreboding films like There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men, and Slumdog Millionaire. But it didn't stop at Oscar nominees, because according to Setoodeh, Terminators, the kids of Hogwarts, and even a pair of star-crossed lovers from Forks, Washington seem to be suffering from bouts of depression thanks to the Republican president.
Now I truly believe that if you need to take the temperature of any nation, pop culture is one the best places to start. But it does strike me a little odd that Setoodeh glossed over so many of the films released during Bush's reign that were far from the dark and depressing world of Cormac McCarthy. If you take a quick look, Bush's term was full of romantic comedies, animated films, superheroes and gross-out comedies galore, which makes it just like any other year at the movies.
After the jump: Oscar nominees that weren't a downer, and is Setoodeh right?