Too bad there's no Tea Party in the movie industry. A little anti-incumbent fever might do some good.
The studios mainly coasted through most of 2010, delivering lukewarm sequels to previously hot properties, from the mediocre "Iron Man 2" to the unappealing " Sex and the City 2." They also gave us unfunny comedies (Adam Sandler's "Grown Ups"), unexplosive action flicks (Sylvester Stallone's "The Expendables") and unexceptional dramas (Hilary Swank's "Conviction"). Major achievements, like Christopher Nolan's head-spinning "Inception," or even modest gems like the intelligent Emma Stone teen flick "Easy A."
If fed-up moviegoers voted with their feet, the studios barely noticed - they continued making money by charging higher prices for 3-D and IMAX screenings. Nevertheless, change is in the air. "Barney's Version" (Dec. 3), featuring Paul Giamatti as a well-intentioned philanderer, harks back to the free-form filmmaking of the 1970s. "The King's Speech" (due Nov. 24), starring Colin Firth as a stammering English royal, looks like a crowd- and academy-pleaser, as does the Coen brothers' "True Grit" (Dec. 22), with Jeff Bridges filling the Oscar-winning saddle of John Wayne. And while the new "Harry Potter" will likely be the movie of the season, Disney may have a contender in "Tron: Legacy" (Dec. 17), the long-awaited sequel to its 1982 cult favorite "Tron."
Here are 25 major holiday-season films. The best news: Not all of them are in 3-D.
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1 (Nov. 19) >>Watch movie trailer
The first of the two-part goodbye to the beloved franchise. The core actors return, along with supporting players Helena Bonham Carter, Miranda Richardson, Imelda Staunton and Ralph Fiennes.
MADE IN DAGENHAM (Nov. 19) >>Watch movie trailer
A group of British women auto workers unite for equal pay in the 1960s. With Sally Hawkins ("Happy-Go-Lucky") and Rosamund Pike ("An Education").
BURLESQUE (Nov. 24) >>Watch movie trailer
A small-town girl (Christina Aguilera) moves to Los Angeles and discovers she has certain talents. Cher owns the nightclub; Cam Gigandet is the bartender-musician.
THE KING'S SPEECH (Nov. 24) >>Watch movie trailer
Albert, Duke of York (Colin Firth), must overcome his lifelong stammer when he is crowned King of England. Geoffrey Rush plays the unorthodox speech therapist.
LOVE & OTHER DRUGS (Nov. 24) >>Watch movie trailer
An adaptation of Jamie Reidy's book "Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman," which led to his ouster from Pfizer. With Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Oliver Platt and Hank Azaria.
TANGLED (Nov. 24) >>Watch movie trailer
Disney's twist on the "Rapunzel" tale features a wanted bandit (Zachary Levi) and a permanently grounded teen (Mandy Moore) who take it on the lam. In 3-D.
BARNEY'S VERSION (Dec. 3)
Paul Giamatti stars in this adaptation of Mordecai Richler's picaresque novel. Oscar hopes seem high, as the Dec. 3 release date is for an Academy Award-qualifying run; the film opens properly Jan. 14.
BLACK SWAN (Dec. 3) >>Watch movie trailer
Director Darren Aronofsky ("The Wrestler") delves into the mind of an overly competitive ballerina (Natalie Portman) in this psychological thriller. With Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder.
I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS (Dec. 3)
A Christian family man (Jim Carrey) discovers he's gay, which is only the beginning of this comedy from the writers of "Bad Santa." Also with Ewan McGregor and Leslie Mann.
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER (Dec. 10) >>Watch movie trailer
The latest installment in the "Narnia" franchise, this time in 3-D and with new director Michael Apted ("Coal Miner's Daughter"). Tilda Swinton returns as the White Witch.
THE COMPANY MEN (Dec. 10) >>Watch movie trailer
This downsizing drama, starring Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones, marks the directorial debut of John Wells (executive producer of "ER" and "The West Wing").
THE FIGHTER (Dec. 10) >>Watch movie trailer
Real-life boxer "Irish" Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) goes from palookaville to stardom. Christian Bale plays his black-sheep brother and trainer. David O. Russell ("Three Kings") directs.
THE TEMPEST (Dec. 10) >>Watch movie trailer
Writer-director Julie Taymor ("Across the Universe") tackles Shakespeare with an all-star cast that includes Russell Brand, Chris Cooper, Felicity Jones and Helen Mirren as the gender-bending Prospera.
THE TOURIST (Dec. 10) >>Watch movie trailer
While traveling in Europe, unassuming Johnny Depp meets glamorous Angelina Jolie. International intrigue follows.
CASINO JACK (Dec. 17) >>Watch movie trailer
Kevin Spacey plays disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Kelly Preston, Jon Lovitz and Barry Pepper also star. Director George Hickenlooper will not see the film's official release; he died Oct. 30.
HOW DO YOU KNOW (Dec. 17)
Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson and Paul Rudd make an attractive love triangle. With Jack Nicholson. Written and directed by James L. Brooks ("Terms of Endearment," "As Good as It Gets").
RABBIT HOLE (Dec. 17) >>Watch movie trailer
Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart are a couple dealing with the death of a child. John Cameron Mitchell ("Hedwig and the Angry Inch") directs.
TRON: LEGACY (Dec. 17) >>Watch movie trailer
Nearly 30 years after Disney's 1982 ambitious dud "Tron," the studio is releasing a sequel with Jeff Bridges again playing super-programmer Kevin Flynn. Daft Punk's music replaces Wendy Carlos' synth-score.
YOGI BEAR (Dec. 17) >>Watch movie trailer
Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake provide voices for Yogi and Boo-Boo, respectively, in this partly animated, partly live-action version of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon show. Anna Faris also stars.
GULLIVER'S TRAVELS (Dec. 22)
Jack Black is Lemuel Gulliver, an aspiring travel writer. Guess what happens on his assignment in the Bermuda Triangle. Jason Segel and Emily Blunt are among the Lilliputian cast.
LITTLE FOCKERS (Dec. 22) >>Watch movie trailer
More comedic family dysfunction in the "Meet the Parents" franchise. With Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Owen Wilson, Barbra Streisand and Jessica Alba. Paul Weitz ("American Pie") directs.
SOMEWHERE (Dec. 22)
Stephen Dorff plays a debauched actor; Elle Fanning is his 11-year-old daughter. From writer-director Sofia Coppola ("Lost in Translation").
TRUE GRIT (Dec. 22) >>Watch movie trailer
The Coen brothers readapt the Charles Portis novel that spawned the 1969 movie, with Jeff Bridges filling John Wayne's Oscar-winning role as U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn. Also with Matt Damon, Josh Brolin and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld.
THE DILEMMA (Jan. 14) >>Watch movie trailer
Ron Howard's comedy stars Vince Vaughn as a man deciding how to tell his best friend (Stony Brook native Kevin James) that his wife (Winona Ryder) is cheating on him.
THE GREEN HORNET (Jan. 14) >>Watch movie trailer
Seth Rogen, minus some weight, plays against type as a crime-fighter. Starring Jay Chou as Kato and Christoph Waltz ("Inglourious Basterds") as the villain. Also with Cameron Diaz. Michel Gondry directs. In 3-D.
Five other movies to keep in mind
FASTER (Nov. 24) >>Watch movie trailer
Dwayne Johnson and Billy Bob Thornton are a getaway driver and a cop, respectively, in this action flick.
THE WARRIOR'S WAY (Dec. 3) >>Watch movie trailer
A martial-arts hybrid whose equally mixed cast includes Kate Bosworth, Geoffrey Rush and Korean star Jang Dong Gun.
COUNTRY STRONG (Dec. 22) >>Watch movie trailer
Gwyneth Paltrow plays an unstable country singer managed by her husband (Tim McGraw) in this romantic drama from Shana Feste ("The Greatest").
THE ILLUSIONIST (Dec. 25) >>Watch movie trailer
Sylvain Chomet ("The Triplets of Belleville") animates a long-forgotten screenplay from legendary French filmmaker Jacques Tati.
SEASON OF THE WITCH (Jan. 7) >>Watch movie trailer
A supernatural action-adventure with two veterans of the genre: Nicolas Cage ("Ghost Rider") and Ron Perlman ("Hellboy").