In his succinct history of the Hollywood romantic comedy for HowAboutWe.com, Film School Rejects Managing Editor Cole Abaius tosses off a clever phrase worth adopting as a new film term. Describing the generally lackluster quality of modern rom-coms, Abaius declares this “The Cubic Zirconia Era of Hollywood.” Here’s how he puts it:
“We’re living in the Cubic Zirconia Era of Hollywood. The Golden Era was so long ago that we yearn for it, fantasize about it. In fact, even Sarah Jessica Parker had to focus on the screwball love of Clark Gable and and Claudette Colbert to get through her own ‘Sex and the City’ sequel. Nostalgia is a powerful drug, but it’s undeniable that the soft focus past of romantic comedies seems a lot sweeter than the current crop.”
Now whether or not there truly was a Golden Age is a topic for another blog post (what are you doing tomorrow around, say, 10:00 AM?). But regardless of how much nostalgia plays into our perceptions of past and present, I absolutely adore describing the 2010s as “The Cubic Zirconia Era of Hollywood.” Abaius doesn’t tease out the term any further than that in his essay, so let’s fill in the blanks for him real quick.
Cubic zirconias are, of course, synthetic diamonds (synthetic being a nice word for phony baloney). Which, if you’re a cold, cynical, heartless bastard (note: I am one), makes them the perfect descriptor of so much of contemporary culture. On the surface they look fantastic — even glossier and more polished than gold — but when you put them under the microscope you see that they’re devoid of substance and contain no real value. They’re pretty but disposable. The Cubic Zirconia Era. Brilliant (pun intended because gemology humor rules).
Read the rest of Abaius’ fine piece at HowAboutWe.com. Long may the Cubic Zirconia Era reign.