This will be a very brief entry, at least for now, as it is late and I want to go to bed. I wanted to pay a little attention to hype's roll in the success of certain films. Specifically "God's gift to cinema" The Dark Knight.
We are all well aware of the hype put around this film. Firstly, for people like me, Christopher Nolan has always come off as a very competent and powerful film director, even though his first entry into Gotham was less than stellar. Secondly, it is a film about Batman, which will always play well with the crowds (at least draw them in for some profits). Thirdly, and most important to this entry, the death of Heath Ledger. At the time, only the crew and his friends had any idea what his performance was like, and obviously they were going to say it was the most amazing thing to ever grace our vision since the Sistine Chapel.
This played perfectly into Nolan's hands as it gave his perfectly fine film the edge and publicity it needed to become truly huge. Obviously it could be argued that it would simply have been just as popular as Nolan's first entry if it hadn't been for the unfortunate death. That is the route I am going to take, but as I said, it is late so I am not going to do the arguing now.
The media obsession fueled by all of this helped shoot The Dark Knight into what VERY many people believe to be the single greatest film ever made. I hate to tell you people, but cinema does not start and stop with The Dark Knight. What drove me to point this out was I never got over the IMDb rush surrounding that movie. Fans, even before the movie came out, started voting The Dark Knight perfect 10 scores, and then to give it a little boost, they began voting the films that already had the top few spots scores of 1. This debacle actually worked, as The Dark Knight became the #1 movie of all time on IMDb's list for quite a while before other people caught on and balanced it back out (sort of).
The whole point of this really wasn't to say that The Dark Knight was a bad movie (I rather enjoyed it and would easily give it a score somewhere around 8). The point was to give that IMDb example to help show that people can be sort of... dumb, for lack of a better word. That movie was propelled into stardom by some form of mob mentality, but it will soon be replaced in most people's minds (most likely with the The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which will be the last movie featuring Heath Ledger). If you still believe that The Dark Knight deserves to be called the greatest movie ever made, then you should just wait a little longer and watch as it becomes forgotten in the waves of releases, where only the true pieces of art remain afloat.
Errata: I was on amazon the day after I made this entry, and pretty much any item is now linked to The Dark Knight. I found a box set containing the entire series of the Flintstones... and it was linked to The Dark Knight. This is getting out of hand.