Although ... one could argue that “The King’s Speech” was more touching and inspiring than bleak. And “Inception,” like mind-bending shows every year (“Avatar” last year, “The Dark Knight” the year before), was visually impressive but didn’t seem particularly applicable to daily life.
Or take “Toy Story 3.” It was just as much a mix of adventure, comedy, and separation anxiety as “Toy Story” 1 and 2 a decade and more ago. (Exhibit A: the toys trying to rejoin Andy’s family in “TS-1.” Exhibit B: the heartbreaking neglect of Jesse the cowgirl as her owner grew up in “TS-2.”) And besides, making a movie takes three years on average, so nailing the national mood on première day would be quite a trick.
Neal’s the critic. He’s thought about these things professionally. As has Peter Rainer, whose writing graces our pages each week. I’m a rank amateur. But that’s really my point. When it comes to movies, we all get a vote. We all have our reasons why some movies are great, some are howlers, and some are like a warm blanket that we turn to over and over again.