Life Goes Strong asked a movie critic and film buff, Jane Boursaw, to weigh in on the best new films for grownups: new movies out now that may be especially appealing to the sensibilities of moviegoers like us.
Jane is the founder and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane, an entertainment site specializing in movies, TV and celebrities. Here's her take, which includes some Oscar nominees:
What characteristics make a movie attractive to grownups?
Mainly, a movie has to be well made. Grownups have been around long enough to see some really bad movies - bad in terms of writing, directing, acting and production.
We don't have time, nor do we want to sit through bad movies. We want and deserve quality films that mean something in the bigger picture of our lives. Bonus points if a film has a great setting or a wonderful musical score.
Does age of the characters play into that equation?
Not necessarily. Quvenzhané Wallis was only six years old when she starred in Beasts of the Southern Wild, director Benh Zeitlin's moving film about folks struggling to survive in a flooded bayou community.
On the other end of the spectrum, Emmanuelle Riva is 85 and starred in the foreign film Amour. Both stars are nominated for Academy Awards in the Best Actress category. Likewise, both films are nominated for Best Picture.
However, there's a recent trend of films featuring older characters, which I love. That's a revelation in the youth-oriented Hollywood. Films like Amour, Skyfall, Lincoln, Arbitrage—-and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which features a who's who of veteran British actors. These actors have been around the block a few times and really know how to deliver a great performance. None of them phone it in. They're the real deal.
What kinds of movies do grownups tend to dislike?
It goes back to quality. We want movies that are well-made, whether it's an animated film like Brave, a documentary like West of Memphis, a drama like Flight, a ripped-from-the-headlines movie like Zero Dark Thirty, or the continuation of a beloved film franchise like the recent James Bond movie, Skyfall.
I wouldn't count any particular genre out for grownups, but they have to be quality films. If they make you think, that's a bonus, but sometimes you don't want a thinking person's movie. Sometimes you just want to escape with a fun popcorn flick like The Avengers.
Do you have any sense of whether the movie industry is more focused on youth, age, or the middle?
Hollywood will probably always be focused on youth, but I believe our culture is changing to celebrate age and wisdom, as noted in movies like Exotic Marigold and Amour.
You recently compiled your own list of must see movies of 2012 for grownups. Which movies made the cut?
3) The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
5) Les Miserables
6) Django Unchained
8) The Bourne Legacy
10) Life of Pi
11) The Words
12) Beasts of the Southern Wild
13) Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
15) The Untouchables
17) Magic Mike
18) Hit and Run
(Brief descriptions of each of these films can be found here on Reel Life with Jane.)
Do you think any of the movies on your list are Oscar-worthy? If so, which ones and why?
Several of the movies on my list have been nominated for Oscars, including Argo, Lincoln, Les Miserables, Django Unchained, Beasts of the Southern Wild and Life of Pi. (Note that I hadn't seen Zero Dark Thirty, Amour or Silver Linings Playbook when I created the list; otherwise, those would have been on there, too).
The Oscar race is really interesting this year, because there's such a diverse range of movies. And I wouldn't say that any one movie is a frontrunner at this point. As we saw at the Golden Globes, anything can happen. The winners in all categories were spread out among the movies. There wasn't a sweep by any one film, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out at the Oscars on Feb. 24.
To find some of the film reviews on Play Goes Strong, put the term "reel review" in the search box above.