LESSON #1: HARASSMENT SHOULD NOT BE TOLERATED AT ANY LEVEL IN THIS INDUSTRY— This lesson could also read “PERPETRATORS GET THEY DESERVE.” The recent allegations surrounding the Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse and Ain’t It Cool News website are disturbing and troublesome. I couldn’t be more pleased to see workplaces all around several industries clean up their acts and seek greater integrity. These inequalities shouldn’t be silenced anymore.
LESSON #2: AMBIGUITY IS A POWERFUL DISCUSSION STARTER— I’ve seen Blade Runner 2049 and I can say that it hits with the same mystery and rich uncertainty that surrounds the 1982 original. When it’s silent, Blade Runner 2049 can infer volumes of connotations. When it speaks in its guarded circles of exposition, it conversely shields and misdirects its real secrets. Diving into all of the possible interpretations is brilliance and fun. In many ways, mother! did the same a few weeks ago. While I’m here, Denis Villeneuve has become the modern artistic authority on cinematic intensity. There’s nothing flat or flimsy about his work.
LESSON #3: TOM CRUISE IS STILL TOM CRUISE— I know plenty of people that won’t watch the man anymore because they disagree with who he is and what he values off-screen, but, at his workplace, Tom Cruise still has gung-ho charisma. He’s 100% committed to his roles from pre-production to selling the hell out of them with exhausting international press coverage and public appearances. American Made has a candor and sizzle that fits him perfectly without turning him into an indestructible superstar. Bonus points go to Cruise being credited as a stunt pilot in the film. Often, that’s him on the stick and that POV authenticity adds to the film.
LESSON #4: IS THE HONEYMOON PERIOD OVER FOR THE LEGO MOVIE FRANCHISE?— Plenty of films would kill for a $20 million dollar opening weekend frame, but when you’re sailing for the Warner Bros. flagship and bearing The LEGO Movie name, you have to do better than $20 million and a distant third place finish. Is The LEGO Ninjago Movie an outlier or the first sign of ho-hum market over-saturation. Is all forgotten if Chris Pratt’s Emmet or Will Arnett’s Batman come back with monster sequels to their blockbusters? Probably, but the lesson is worth asking.
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.