At the Movies: The Best and Worst Years

Further thoughts on the decline of the movie industry. (Earlier thoughts, replete with details, here.) Base on my ratings of films released since 1930, these are the best vintages:

1933 (56 percent rated 8 or higher on 10-point scale)
1934 (63%)
1936 (55%)
1938 (75%)
1939 (59%)
1941 (65%)
1954 (57%)*
1974 (60%)**

And these are the worst (also see footnote ***):

1963 (16%)
1969 (15%)
1976 (12%)
1978 (6%)
1985 (15%)
1996 (16%)
2007 (8%)

Excellent films (rating of 8 or higher) as a percentage of films seen, by decade of release:

1930s – 52%
1940s – 36%
1950s – 32%
1960s – 31%
1970s – 28%
1980s – 27%
1990s – 22%
2000s – 22%

Some things have improved markedly over the years (e.g., the quality of automobiles and personal computers). Some things have not: government and entertainment, especially.

Movies are no longer as compelling and entertaining as they used to be. Why? For me, it’s film-makers’ growing reliance on profanity, obscenity, violence, unrealistic graphics, and “social realism” (i.e., depressing situations, anti-capitalist propaganda). To rent a recently released movie (even one that has garnered good reviews) is to play “Hollywood roulette.”
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* An aberration in what I call the “Abysmal Years”: 1943-1965.
** An aberration in what I call the “Vile Years”: 1966-present.
*** Tied at 17% are 1943, 1944, 1975, 1991, 1998, and 2005 — all among the Abysmal and Vile Years.