Gravity

Celebration of 2013 as a year of movies is already in full swing, with critics groups handing out their awards, top-something lists starting to appear, and many a montage of 2013 footage competing for your time. The latest supercut ready to remind us of how some movies looked really good before we actually got to see them is Final Cut 2013, an 8-minute assembly of trailer moments, beauty shots, and trailer gags.

Get on the ride, below, and stick around for the argument that supercuts such as this one reflect the movie industry in ways that might not be exactly what was intended.

JoBlo and editor Nick Bosworth did the presenting and cutting here. There’s great work in the cutting, no question. This is a very watchable video, with a deliberate structure, that makes the run time fly by.

Having watched that, I’ll say that these montages are a lot better at re-purposing trailer moments than anything else. The storytelling, slow builds, and small character moments that made many of the year’s best films stand out are all difficult things to capture in an edit like this.

To Bosworth’s credit, there’s an attempt to include many small moments here, but they get subsumed into the trailer montage mindset. This is a criticism of the form rather than of this specific work. Trailer moments are meant to pop big, and an edit populated with dozens of them develops an energy that shuts out smaller moments. When the trend is to rely on the big music, huge visuals, and moments that have been burned into our eyes by advertising, the moments that take time to build, the small joys, look too minor against the bombast.

It’s all a metaphor for the movie business at large, in other words.

What hope do the small movies have? Plenty as it turns out, thanks to VOD and the public’s continued interest in stories. (A film like Blackfish didn’t get to be as influential as it is based on a trailer.) But that doesn’t mean it’s all good out there for the little guy; just as footage from Man of Steel or Kick-Ass 2 fits really well in these montages, it’s still going to be easier to have a blithe conversation about either of those movies than to talk about Blackfish or The Act of Killing.

Life without movies is impossible for many of us, but “movies” doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone, and when it’s difficult for an entire industry to serve all audiences over the course of a year, the real impossibility may be doing so in eight minutes.

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