LESSON #1: LEAVE SOME THINGS TO MYSTERY— We’ve reached the final week of hype before Avengers: Infinity War. The anticipation is peaking, but so are the dumb think pieces and click bait articles trying to capitalize on the upcoming premiere. If I see another article asking where the Soul Stone is or a poll prognosticating which characters are most likely to die, it will be the umpteenth one and already too soon. They reach badly, kind of like this one talking about world domination. As I’ve preached before, let the film come to you. Pull off the tin-foil hats. Take a breath and soak it in. Have some patience. You’ve come this far. Don’t ruin your good feelings with swimming too far into guessing games. Start avoiding reviews after Sunday’s night’s Hollywood premiere and Tuesday evening’s press embargo. I promise you will enjoy the big opening more with more mystery and less overstimulation.
LESSON #2: COMIC BOOK ACTORS ARE NOT SELLOUTS— Speaking of Avengers: Infinity War, Guardians of the Galaxy star Zoe Saldana had the soapbox opportunity to clap back against the “elitists” out there that look down upon comic book films as comfort food trash and soulless acting. Her full statements are absolutely outstanding and must-read. She’s not the first to have this stance in the nearly two decades of this peak comic book film era. More established and classical actors from comic book films, from Robert Redford and Kenneth Branagh to Patrick Stewart and Anthony Hopkins, have done this work for wonderful reasons like family connection, fan support, and as a door opener to more wider visibility and more opportunities. Why would anyone frown upon someone who wants to have fun while making money or have something their children and grandchildren can see them in? Those critical aren’t elite people anymore. They are inflexible haters with lesser hearts.
LESSON #3: DUMB MOVIES DESERVE ROASTING AS LONG AS EVERYONE CAN KEEP A SENSE OF HUMOR ABOUT IT— I got a kick out of the story this week that Netflix finally got to return a little troll favor against popular scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson. On more than one occasion, NDT has enjoyed tweeting and pinpointing the scientific inaccuracies of films. Armageddon was one of his favorite targets and it is now on Netflix. For overly-committed fans of cheesy movies, Tyson’s commentary has been labeled as “ruining” by whiny uneducated fanboys. I side with Tyson, though I enjoyed (see the article) the return rub of gamesmanship from Netflix. Movies like Armageddon are stupefying when taken seriously, so I, for one, appreciate the extra level of shared smarts. Good science fiction movies can make solid entertainment and still keep their science cred intact. That said, if the enjoyment level is present (and it is most of the time for the Armageddon crowd), it’s OK to close the textbooks and kick back. It’s good to see both sides laughing. Halle Berry did it years ago when she accepted her Razzie in person. Others can and should too.
LESSON #4: MOVIEPASS WAS DOOMED TO FAIL— Chalk this up in the “things that are too good to be true often are” column. Business reports are auditors revealed that MoviePass has lost money for its parent company in the nine-figure department. The original prediction was $7.4 million only to have that number balloon to over $150 million. Good golly, that’s quite a haircut! The company claims it can become profitable by 2019, but it will require seeking other forms of revenue, especially with another price drop shrinking the profit margin. Good luck with that. Current members, skip past wait-and-see and enjoy the service while you can. You’re getting a heck of a deal.
DON SHANAHAN is a Chicago-based film critic writing on his website Every Movie Has a Lesson. As an elementary educator by day, Don writes his movie reviews with life lessons in mind, from the serious to the farcical. He is a proud member and one of the founders of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle. 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, and Medium.