What We Learned This Week: May 7-13

LESSON #1: DISNEY UNDERPAID WHEN THEY BOUGHT MARVEL— In 2009, The Walt Disney Company bought Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion dollars.  I’m sure that seems like an astronomical sum, but the Disney/Marvel films have been printing money, with “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” bringing home $425 million worldwide this weekend on its way to almost certainly $1 billion-plus before it’s done in theaters.  In eight short years starting with “Iron Man 2,” Disney/Marvel films have earned approximately $9.8 billion at the theater box office alone (that will cross $10 billion this week).  That’s a total without all of the regular comics, home media, toys, and other merchandise sold on top of that.  Four billion dollars is looking like a pittance.  We’ll be doing this same math for Disney again in December when “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” drops and makes another killing at the box office.

LESSON #2: JAMES GUNN HAS EARNED CREATIVE CREDIBILITY— When the official word came down that last month that James Gunn will return to helm “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” it was also revealed that writer/director would be joining the inner circle of the MCU’s braintrust.  Gunn stated “I will be working side-by-side with Kevin Feige and the gang to help design where these stories go, and make sure the future of the Marvel Cosmic Universe is as special and authentic and magical as what we have created so far.”  Retaining a mind and a talent like James Gunn should call for backflips.  He has earned artistic respect and is the right man to join that team.

LESSON #3: THE 1970s WERE THE BEST DECADE OF THE CENTURY OF AMERICAN POP CULTURE— This lesson statement is designed to inspire debate.  Maybe I’m loving too hard on the stellar soundtracks of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, but I’m ready to call this prize fight.  No great decade of pop culture since silent film and recorded music began around 100 years ago can top the 1970s.  The music was eclectic and transformative, no matter the genre from rock and disco to soul and jazz.  In film, the 1970s were the peak of the New Hollywood era, a stratosphere of seminal films, emerging filmmakers, and dynamic performers that changed the entire industry and still inspire it to this day.  While there have been strong singular years or small stretches elsewhere, it’s not even close to volume of the 1970s.


DON SHANAHAN is a Chicago-based film critic writing on his website Every Movie Has a Lesson.  He is also one of the founders and the current directors of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle.  As an elementary educator by day, Don writes his movie reviews with life lessons in mind, from the serious to the farcical.  As a contributor here on Feelin’ Film, he’s going to expand those lessons to current movie news and trends.  Find “Every Movie Has a Lesson” on Facebook, Twitter, Medium, and Creators Media.

Episode 056: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

It’s The Fast & Furious, in spaaaaaaaace. Well, maybe not quite, but it’s close. With a strong theme of family resonating throughout, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 gives us much more to discuss than just really cool space battles (but there are plenty of those, too). The character depth here is a real strength and it’s clear that director James Gunn knows exactly the tone he’s going for. In our opinion, he mostly nails it. We have a fun conversation about this one. WE ARE GROOT.

What We’ve Been Up To – 0:01:54

(Patrick – The Way, Way Back)
(Aaron – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Psycho-Pass, La La Land)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review – 0:20:26

The Connecting Point – 1:08:45

Download this Episode


Intro/Outro Music – “Air Hockey Saloon” by Chris Zabriskie

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What We Learned This Week: April 16-22

LESSON #1: THE “FAST AND FURIOUS” FRANCHISE HAS BEEN FOR REAL FOR A LONG TIME— I was amazed this week how many casual movie fans (and uppity critics) were surprised by the record-breaking international success of “The Fate of the Furious.”  I wonder what rock they’ve been under because “Furious 7” was a $1.5 billion worldwide smash two years ago and each film of the four films since 2009 has surpassed the gross of the previous one.  The franchise has cross-gender and cross-racial appeal on multiple levels.   This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

LESSON #2: OVER-ANALYZATION TAKES AWAY FROM ENJOYMENT— After a month of incredible trailer debuts for blockbuster after blockbuster, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” came in this past week and dropped its own microphone.  In my opinion, Episode 8 didn’t need to share a single second of footage to be hotly anticipated and successful.  The problem has been the endless mountain of clickbait websites and posts filled that have tried to analyze every second of the trailer since.  I get that pageviews and visits move the needle and anything “Star Wars” sells, but diving into every little theory and poorly educated guess is destined to take away the enjoyment of the future finished product.  Pump the brakes and just enjoy the hype.  Don’t buy into the rumor mill.

LESSON #3: THIS YEAR’S CANNES LINE-UP WILL BE SPECIAL— The hoity-toity-est of international film festivals celebrates 70 years this May with a killer lineup of potential future Oscar contenders.  New films premiere from Sofia Coppola, Noah Baumbach, Bong Joo-Hoo, Michael Haneke, Todd Haynes, Yorgos Lanthimos, Francois Ozon, Mathieu Almaric, Taylor Sheridan, Arnaud Desplechin, and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.  That’s some pedigree.  Take a trip to Europe.  I’m bet the plane tickets to the French Riviera and hotel prices are more than affordable.  Hit up United.  I’m sure they’ll have room.

LESSON #4: FILMS CAN ADD AS MANY POST-CREDITS SCENES AS THEY WANT— 50/50 cheers and jeers of “that’s so awesome” and “good Lord, WTF” rained down from social media keyboards when Marvel Films and director James Gunn announced that “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” would have no less than FIVE post-credits scenes.  These stingers have been a signature staple for Marvel Cinematic Universe films.  They are both entertaining and functional to solidify the continuity of their film franchises.  You know you were staying anyway.  What’s a few more?  Enjoy the film’s kicking soundtrack, power back on your phone, and have a little patience.  If you don’t like it, go to the lobby, pee, and leave.  No one is stopping you or forcing you to stay.

 

DON SHANAHAN is a Chicago-based film critic writing on his website Every Movie Has a Lesson.  He is also one of the founders and the current directors of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle.  As an elementary educator by day, Don writes his movie reviews with life lessons in mind, from the serious to the farcical.  As a contributor here on Feelin’ Film, he’s going to expand those lessons to current movie news and trends.  Find “Every Movie Has a Lesson” on Facebook, Twitter, Medium, and Creators Media.