Coming of age value in the 2011 movies

4th annual coming of age movie awards

The year 2011 is slowly coming to its end. Retailers have started to bombard us with their Christmas offers. Streets are being lit and covered in colors by all kind of bright gadgets while white-bearded people in red suits have begun to cross the streets under the gentle sounds of bells. The Christmas spirit is here again.

At this time of the year many people unwillingly start to look back at the recent past and review the events that have had some meaning for their lives. Pursuing their goal for better future, everyone is trying to take their lessons and come up with ideas how to make the next year better and more successful.

May be it is time for us as a fans of the coming of age genre, to also recall what we saw for the past one year and to what extent it affected us and left some marks in our memory. Which will be the names and titles to associate the year that is running out and will soon remain in the history with?

3rd Annual Coming of age movie awardsLast year when theSkyKid.Com initiated a campaign to nominate names and titles for its annual awards it got me truly puzzled. I needed the assistance of various web resources to assemble a list of movies’ titles and actors’ names. Regrettably they were few but also none of them were really memorable in one way or another. The year 2011 fortunately seems not to be the same case.

Here is the moment to make it clear that one (that includes me) can not possible see all the coming of age movies that are produced and released across the world. This is because many of them hardly get an on time attention outside their home countries and if they do get noticed it normally happens years after their first release. Another problem is that many fans do not get chances to see them for long time due to distribution problems not to mention that some titles remain known only to truly dedicated connoisseurs. This is why I will discuss those titles that most of the readers have had equal chances to see in the same year when they were released and presented with proper translation that would make them understandable. These are the titles that have also become object of countless of discussions; on-line and off-line. I believe most of the readers have already figured out that I will consider only the big scale productions of this year and if this brings some element of anger and disappointment, I would understand.
Let’s have a look at the titles in question, shall we?

SUPER 8

 

super 8I believe the first title that shall be mention in this article is Super 8. It is a Sci-Fi which in its crew had several names known to the fans of this genre. In my opinion the movie itself was nothing special and was far away to be classified as a masterpiece of some kind, nor it presented some original plot. However, judging by all the discussions and comments that I came across on many web resources, it seems to have managed to bring a simple enjoyment to many that went to see it.

If not else it was made in a way that reminded to Sci-Fi fans like me how movies of this genre used to be made once. With all kinds of fancy 3D action flicks made in a style to look more like computer games, I had almost forgotten that once those films would tell some stories. There was a time indeed when the plot of such movie was the on the focus and all the visual effects was nothing more like a necessary background. It did brought enjoyment to me because of this but also because it called some memories for the times when I was at the age of the main protagonists and how I used to be fascinated by such adventures.

Joel CourtneySpeaking of the main protagonists, I believe this is the element that would most likely make the movie memorable for the fans of the Coming-of-age genre. It presented some new and obviously talented actors. Joel Courtney who played the title character in my opinion delivered a really emotional and touching performance. I was pleased to find out that he will soon be seen in the new screen adaptation of Tom Sawyer’s story. As mentioned in another article recently posted on theSkyKid.com , the director chose to make the movie with actors that had no previous experience. I shall say here, that the risk was worth it. We shall also not skip the other young actors in the cast like Riley Griffiths, Ryan Lee, Gabriel Basso, Zach Mills and Elle Fanning who also did a great job.

REAL STEEL

 

Reel SteelI will confess that the first time when I found out about this movie, which was from a huge poster somewhere in the downtown, the thing that went through my mind was that this was the next action flick that presents nothing else but intense stimulation of one’s optic nerve and ear drums. Seeing a trailer in YouTube had me convinced that it was the next computer game-like movie showing nothing else but spectacular fights about robots. Then I started coming across discussions in a places where I least expected to see. I thought that all this can not be a coincidence. Then it took me another few weeks to overcome my stubbornness and I went in the cinema with the expectation that I would waste my money.

I was pleasantly surprised from what I saw. The movie itself is not something really special. Although the story seems to be in some way original, the script writers obviously preferred (or were made to) to use the safe and many times tested formula applying some standard approaches in order to present the plot. As result one could easily predict its development. Nevertheless, it could not eclipse the brightness of one emotionally touching story about father and son getting to know and love each other while the robot fighting element is more or less a background. The story itself perfectly meets all requirements to be classified as coming of age.

It is not an accidence that I have used the Japanese poster of this movie in the present article. This is because I believe it is more accurate and shows what actually this movie is about. I encountered comments of many people stating that they had been disappointed by the movie and been fooled by all the adverts and promotional campaign expecting to see real fighting movie. Seeing all this, one can draw their own conclusions about the moral values of the western societies.

Dakota GoyoWhat makes for the impact of this movie is the young Dakota Goyo.

Playing the son of Hugh Jackman he perfectly portrayed the emotions of a young boy meeting his father who was not around him while he was growing up. There seems to be an actual chemistry between the two actors which definitely was in favor of the story’s impact. I am sure that we will soon see more from Dakota Goyo. He says for himself that the hardest thing about acting is when he is not acting (source IMDB).

On a personal side I made a bet with a friend of mine that in the next two or three years we will see a sequel of Real Steal.

DOLPHIN TALE

 

Dolphin taleDolphin Tale is an emotional story starring the well known actor Nathan Gamble with the legendary Morgan Freeman beside him. The story itself is not something original as we have seen the boy and pet tale many times. Dolphin Tale does not go too far away from similar flicks such as Free Willy and Flipper.

I can not say more, though. This is simply because I have had not chance to see the film yet and what I wrote above is based on what was told to me and what I read on-line.
Nevertheless, it did make an impact and I believe that it will be remembered.

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HUGO & EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE

 

 

hugoI will only briefly mention the next two titles because at the moment when I am writing this article, Hugo has just been released and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is still not released.

Asa ButterfieldHowever, Hugo has already made an impact because of the appearance of the well known Asa Butterfield and because it is directed by Martin Scorsese. We shall also not ignore the campaign run by the distribution companies through the medias and the fact that it is made in 3D. Those features are enough to secure a movie which will be remembered in some way; no matter if the story turns out good or bad.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is an upcoming movie telling the story of a young boy who lost his father in 9/11 attacks on the WWC. It will be widely released in January 2012 but will have limited release before new year. This is a standard trick for the Hollywood managers, so the movie is eligible for various nominations which will serve as promotion for the movie.

Thomas HornIt will present another newcomer for this year; the young actor Thomas Horn who will play the main protagonist. Despite the film is not released yet, I am quite sure that it will make its impact and will remain remembered. If not else one can clearly see that the movie is already steered to the way of nominations, popular festivals and awards and is approaching to that path. Obviously that is all from 2011. Not all of course! I am sure that there is many more titles from around the world for which we will be finding out in the future.

The Russians have a proverb which says “we shall live and we shall see”. The year 2011 brought a memorable titles and names to our attention. We shall now look ahead and wait to see what 2012 will bring us apart from another end of the world.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Greetings to all readers. I am the author of this article and I think I should make some things clear about it that are obviously not understood.

    I am certainly not saying that those film are the best COA films produced and released in 2011. I am absolutely convinced that there are some titles that are light years away from the ones I wrote about.Those titles however, are the ones that most likely will be best remembered. Why, you would probably ask! It is because they are indeed popular and commercial. It is these films that are most actively promoted all over the world. It is these films that will bring countless of topics for discussion all over the Internet. They are quickly distributed all across the world and the international audience get equal opoportunities to go and watch them.

    Unfortunatly this is not the case with the independent films, especially the international ones. Many of them can not be seen outside their contries long after their initial release. They do get screanings on festivals but most of these festivals are attended by limited audience selected from specific social circles. It may take years for an international independent movie to get some decent popularity worldwide.

    And here we have the year comming to an end. Soon we will be exposed to polls, charts, etc. asking what we think was the best for the past year. Fans will start to vote for their favorites. Needlessly to say, they will vote for what made the strongest impression for them. One can not get an impression on a movie or an actor’s performance if he or she has not seen it. And since great number of fans would probably not get chances to see even a decend part of the international independent titles produced for the past 12 months, they will have no knowledge on the state of the international cinema durring this period. They will simply be able to vote for what or who is known to them. Ironically, commercial titles become so popular that even if one has not seen them all, he or she will be aware of them and familiar with the actors starring in them.

    The effect I am talking about can be seen from almost every on-line resource that in one way or another is involved in making different types of score lists of COA films and actors. This includes this site as well. I am now looking at the winners of last year’s awards. Is Noah Ringer truelly the best young actor to have started in COA film for 2010? I am personally still finding out about COA films made in 2010. Are we aware of all titles produced and released worldwide in 2010 to make an objective judgment on that? Still looking at the awards I can also ask if Karate Kid was truelly the absolute best of 2010? In order to make the proper decision on this, we (who vote in those polls) should be familiar with every single title out there which probably won’t happen in the next 10 years.

    So by writting this article I simply presented an analyse that I made. I simply presented what I think that has gained good popularity. These titles are known by almost every fan even if they haven’t seen them. This popularity will play its part when the score lists are being built. They are definitely not the best that has been made in 2011 but at this moment are symbolic.

    • Completely agree with everything you say.

      I still think an awards ceremony is a good way to narrow down the year to what we, as a COA community, thought was the best films of each year etc.

      I agree, The Karate Kid was most definietely NOT the best CoA film of 2010. I thought it was a very average film.

      Thanks for your insight William.

    • I do not question your choice of titles to present. Indeed these titles will be what the average person will associate with the 2011 releases of films in the coming of age genre. TheSkyKid.com is hands down the biggest media that focuses exclusively on coming of age films and as such I believe that the early awards have merit. When people vote they vote for their favorite actors and films  – in the case of Noah Ringer he won partly because of his talent and partly because of the way his fans organized themselves .

  2. Great article.
    I’m suprised at your first comments on Super 8 though… I don’t think it was a masterpiece, but I think it’s a very special film. I most certainly thought you would of felt the same. Could you elaborate on the issues you had with the film? I’m interested to hear an interpretation on this film from you.

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