Over the years, my dad has talked to me about major moments in television and movie history that he lived through. He’s told me about the shock that was the M*A*S*H finale. He’s told me about the “who shot JR” episode of Dallas. His eyes light up when he tries to explain how mind-blowing it was to see Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977, when such a film was … Continue reading The Beauty of Bandwagons (SPOILER FREE!)
It’s that time of year again when people are more likely to to watch the 2003 film Love, Actually, since many people believe it to be a Christmas film. I am grateful to this film not because I like it but because it is one of those films that taught me an important lesson of writing. It has such a bad case of a certain problem that … Continue reading Writing About Writing: Love Actually Syndrome
I just came back from seeing one of the numerous movies on my “I should probably see that” list. On today’s episode of “Anne ruins a movie everyone else liked by being too analytical,” is Bohemian Rhapsody, which tells the story of Freddie Mercury and his bandmates. I can’t say the movie was BAD or that I regret seeing it, but I also didn’t really love all … Continue reading Writing About Writing: The Struggle Is Real (Also a Bohemian Rhapsody review!)
This is a big one, ya’all. Until yesterday, I had not seen a single Studio Ghibli film. There was never a deliberate desire to avoid them. I’ve spent the past several years telling people I’ve never seen one and quickly following it up with “Yeah, I need to do that.”
I’m not 100% sure why, but I’ve always gotten the impression that Spirited Away was THE quintessential Miyazaki film. Maybe it’s because it’s the only one that won an Oscar; Maybe I’ve just heard the name more than any other; Maybe it’s because No-Face merch is so ubiquitous. So when the lovely people of Fathom Events decided to bring it back to theaters, I decided to go. After all, if I had taken this long to watch it, might as well make sure I do it right.
If you follow a fair amount of movie-related media, you know it’s that time of year when everyone’s publishing those roundup posts of “Most Anticipated Fall 2018 Movies.” After binging these types of roundups for more time than I care to admit, I’ve assembled what I hope is a close-to-comprehensive list of all the narrative, feature-length, English language movies that will be widely theatrically released … Continue reading I Watched 75 Fall Movie Trailers So You Don’t Have To
I am a firm believer that you can learn a lot about someone by asking them what their guilty pleasure movies are. The reason why is because a person’s “guilty pleasure” reveals a little bit about their intellect as well as a little bit about their emotions. The very definition of a guilty pleasure is a struggle between these two sides that exist in every person. I love learning what makes someone happy as well as what a person believes should make them happy.
However, one thing I don’t think we talk about enough is the other side of the coin. That is, the movies that we think should make us happy that just don’t. I call them guilty apathy movies. These are those films where I recognize on an intellectual level that the movie is well-executed. It’s a solid idea that’s written well, acted well, shot well, and edited well. These are the cases where it’s incredibly difficult to point at something and say “welp, there’s the flaw that killed the whole thing” (not that I won’t try anyway).
Yet at the same time, guilty apathy movies just don’t punch me in the gut and make me feel something. They’re not fun the way something like Adventures in Babysitting or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is fun. They don’t give me a precious “d’awww” moment like When Harry Met Sally or Crazy, Stupid, Love. They don’t rip my heart out like Steel Magnolias or Pay it Forward. They don’t make me laugh the way I laugh at Mean Girls or My Cousin Vinny. They don’t inspire me like Sing Street or Whiplash. They don’t take me on the adventure of Kingsman: The Secret Service or Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.
So the Internet is talking about the Oscars. Specifically, they’re talking about a controversial decision to present an award for “Achievement in Popular Film” in addition to the regular Best Picture Oscar.
It’s still up in the air as to what constitutes a “popular” movie and The Hollywood Reporter has a great piece articulating all the potential logistic issues with that. It seems to me though that the general intention of the Academy is to shrink the disconnect between its members and the general movie-going public. The logic seems to be “if our telecast features all these Star Wars and superhero movies that everyone likes, people will be more likely to care about our awards and tune into the ceremony.”
I will say I think the Academy’s heart is in the right place. It’s always been a little irksome to me how many awesome movies are never recognized by the Academy simply because they’re not the Academy’s type. Personally, I think a better solution would be to introduce genre categories. For example, there are Grammys for Best Country Album, Best Rock Album, Best Rap Album, etc. in addition to an overall Album of the Year award. Likewise there could be Oscars for Best Comedy, Best Horror, Best Action, Best Sci-Fi, etc. in addition to a Best Picture Award.
I have some issues with this whole “popular” thing though. There’s a bit of a chicken-and-the-egg issue because most years, there are a fair number of films that become more popular precisely because they are nominated for an Oscar. One of the more positive things about the awards is that they encourage audiences to go out and see smaller indie films that never would have had such a large audience without their nominations. Now, those small indie films may have to compete for screens with the popular movie nominees.
So like many people, I watched a certain show called Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood as a child. And like a far smaller number, I also went to see the new documentary about this show entitled Won’t You Be My Neighbor? And I also imagine that like most of the people who went to see the documentary, I probably hadn’t watched a real episode of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood in over a decade.
Children’s programming is fascinating to me for a lot of different reasons. One of them is that children don’t overanalyze. Children don’t care about historical context. Children just know if they like something or it they don’t like it. Part of what makes Won’t You Be My Neighbor? so special is that it takes a show most of us are familiar with and provides that context we couldn’t understand as children.
Had I seen it before: No. And I’m like 57% ashamed that it took me as it long as it did.
What IMDb says: A cynical nightclub owner protects an old flame and her husband from Nazis in Morocco.
– At least one Best Picture Academy Award Winner
Had I seen it before: Yes. It’s one of my favorites and I’ve already lost track of how many times I’ve seen it, even though I just discovered it within the last year or two.
What IMDb says: A boy growing up in Dublin during the 1980s escapes his strained family life by starting a band to impress the mysterious girl he likes.