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.