August 2018 – “Choose Your Director Month”

In January 2017, Feelin’ Film had its inaugural Director Month, covering the films of our favorite director – Christopher Nolan. Going through a single director’s films over the course of several weeks in a row provided a unique perspective on how his work had evolved, and was one of the most enjoyable things we’d done. So, in January 2018, we chose to make Director Month an annual occurrence and covered the films of Stanley Kubrick. This, too, was a wonderful experience for us and left us anxious to do it again.

Looking forward at the new release schedule, we have identified August 2018 as a great time to slip in another Director Month. But this time, we want YOU, our listeners, to choose whose filmography we dive into. Below you will find a list of directors and the corresponding films we would discuss. This is your chance to tell us what you want to hear us talk about on the podcast, and you can vote by clicking on the link below to join our Facebook Discussion Group and selecting your preferred choices in the poll.

Vote Here

Tony Scott

THE LAST BOY SCOUT
MAN ON FIRE
CRIMSON TIDE
DAYS OF THUNDER


Michael Mann

HEAT
COLLATERAL
THIEF
MIAMI VICE


Michael Bay

PAIN AND GAIN
TRANSFORMERS
PEARL HARBOR
THE ROCK


Jeff Nichols

MUD
SHOTGUN STORIES
TAKE SHELTER
LOVING


David Fincher

SE7EN
ZODIAC
FIGHT CLUB
GONE GIRL


Coen Brothers

FARGO
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
THE BIG LEBOWSKI


Clint Eastwood

UNFORGIVEN
MYSTIC RIVER
AMERICAN SNIPER
MILLION DOLLAR BABY


James Cameron

THE ABYSS
TITANIC
ALIENS
TRUE LIES


Martin Scorsese

GOODFELLAS
HUGO
THE DEPARTED
TAXI DRIVER


Wes Anderson

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
MOONRISE KINGDOM
ISLE OF DOGS
FANTASTIC MR. FOX


Kathryn Bigelow

ZERO DARK THIRTY
THE HURT LOCKER
POINT BREAK
NEAR DARK

What We Learned This Week: April 9-15

LESSON #1: THE WORD “GENIUS” IS THROWN AROUND TOO MUCH— After hearing Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins label his much-maligned “Transformers: The Last Knight” director Michael Bay a “genius” and a “savant” recently, I’m prepared to add “genius” to a list of overused words of hyperbole that include “epic” and “great” when talking about all things movies.  All three words are used too much and not truly earned.  I’ll grant that Michael Bay is a successful driver of spectacle and cheese.  His movies make a ton of money, but I don’t see the deeper wherewithal of the craft to make him the first dictionary definition of “savant.”  I see more the second definition that dives into mental disability, but he is tone-deaf and one-dimensional.

LESSON #2: CHRISTIAN AUDIENCES DESERVE BETTER FILMSAlcohollywood podcaster Clint Worthington, a film critic colleague from mine here in Chicago, wrote a dynamite piece for Crooked Scoreboard entitled “Calling Christian Movies to Repentance.”  The editorial examines the recent rise of a certain brand of films specifically made by and targeting sympathetic Christian audiences.  He talks about message, film quality, and more.  Go read the piece yourself and measure where your taste lies.  Clint nails the faults of this trend and I agree wholeheartedly with this lesson’s statement.    To truly and triumphantly serve a purpose and engage wider audiences, better thoughts and better films need to be fostered.  Well done, Clint.

LESSON #3: LET KIDS BE KIDS— Marc Webb’s “Gifted,” starring Chris Evans arrives this week and I cannot help but share this leading life lesson from my review.  It’s too good not to echo.  The film represents this lesson perfectly and in an unpretentious way.  Allow “Gifted” or this school teacher right here tell you and show you that too much academic pressure is placed on school-aged children these days.  They take too many high-stakes tests and spend too many hours doing rote and mindless homework.  College prep can start in high school, but leave it off of seven-year-olds.  Even geniuses can cultivate being well-rounded.  Let them go outside, skin a few knees, build something, and find activities they enjoy.  Feed those brains with experiences and not just book-based knowledge. Need ideas?  Here’s just one list of many things to do instead of homework.

LESSON #4: YOU’RE GOING TO LIKE JOSH BROLIN— In a casting news surprise that dropped Wednesday, Josh Brolin signed a four-picture deal to play the pivotal role of Cable for “Deadpool 2” and beyond.  Brolin has the qualities you’re looking for.  I promise you that.  He’s the right age and has perfect masculine features chiseled from granite.  Tell all the “but he’s already Thanos” cry babies to stop.  Fox and Disney/Marvel are different worlds right now.  If Chris Evans can be readily accepted as Steve Rogers after playing Johnny Storm, then Brolin can go from an off-screen voice/performance capture role as Thanos to putting his face out there as Cable with a different tone and timbre.  Most importantly, Brolin has the right temperament to play the grizzled warrior.  His mature resume of renaissance from the last ten years speaks for itself in terms of talent and huge range to play just about anything you want, from showy to reserved.

 

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 President 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.

What We Learned This Week: April 2-8

LESSON #1: THE FIRST STEP TO FIXING A PROBLEM IS RECOGNIZING YOU HAVE ONE— True to the quoted mantra of this lesson, a major movie studio did something I don’t think I’ve ever seen in recent memory.  They cited and accepted blame on an actual fault that the rest of us in the general public have known for months and could have told them the first moment it began.  After a dismal third place finish at the box office and parallel to the horribly tone-deaf Pepsi advertisement this week, Paramount Pictures exec Kyle Davies admitted that the “conversation regarding casting impacted the reviews” for “Ghost in the Shell.”  He wasn’t going to call it “whitewashing,” but we can read between the lines.  Maybe “Ghost in the Shell” becomes the public blemish example that pushes studios to change the way they do business.  One can only hope, but it was going to take a showy financial loser that stung someone’s bottom line before anyone noticed.

LESSON #2: HAVE A SCRIPT BEFORE YOU MAKE A MOVIE— Two little news nuggets about stories and screenplays pinged on my radar this week.  One was positive, in my opinion, and one was negative.  On the plus side, renowned and polarizing filmmaker Terrance Malick stated in an interview that he is “backing away from that style” of making movies without scripts.  He elaborated that “there’s a lot of strain when working without a script because you can lose track of where you are.”  You don’t say?!  Anyone who has seen “The Tree of Life,” “To the Wonder,” “Knight of Cups,” and “Song to Song” knows what I’m talking about.  As beautiful and experiential as those films are, they are absolute disorganized messes.  On the other end, “Transformers” steward Michael Bay revealed that 14 (yes, 14!) future “Transformers” movies already written.  Compared to Malick, way to be prepared.  Still, can someone light that shoebox of cocktail napkins written in crayon on fire and save us the future misery?

LESSON #3: THE MTV MOVIE AWARDS ARE STILL A JOKE AND WILL ALWAYS BE A JOKE— This year, MTV is merging their TV and movie award shows together into shared categories.  Here is the complete list of categories and nominees.  What’s the result of that?  All I see is compressed crap.  I think TV and film are two entirely different mediums of artistry and performance that shouldn’t be compared together, but what would I know?  I’m over the age of 24, have a full-time job, and don’t have a man-bun.  There’s a place for fan-centered awards, certainly, but stay fun and don’t pretend to be important.  The Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards get it right.  I’m more shocked that the MTV Movie and TV Awards actually have a Best Documentary category than their usual silly categories like Best Kiss.  I know I’m stepping to #getoffmylawn territory, but 90% of the Millennials watching MTV haven’t seen a single one of those nominees.  Stop already.  Shows like this feel like a slap in the face to recognizing real talent and real quality.

 

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 President 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.