What We Learned This Week: April 20-26

LESSON #1: IMPATIENT PEOPLE HAVE TERRIBLE PRIORITIES SOMETIMES— Hey, I get it. I miss going to the movies too, but you’re not going to die without them. Therefore, don’t die for one either. They are a luxury and not a necessity. Not watching one at a public theater right now is a first world problem. If someone can tell that state of Georgia that, please do so. Besides, there isn’t a damn thing released to watch. Stay home, folks. Stay safe and unplug a little. 

LESSON #2: WHEN THE TIME COMES, SUPPORT WILL BE THERE— I promise you “absence away makes the heart grow fonder.” Yes, the theater chains are reeling, but when it’s safe, people are going to return in force. While it may be a little on the “too soon” side to match Lesson #1, I commend the initiative of IFC Films’ Indie Theater Revival Project to offer their library of stellar titles to surviving and re-opening indie locations. Other than eager and loyal audiences, the industry itself wants this comeback. Help will come.

LESSON #3: GO AHEAD AND WATCH A LITTLE FICTIONAL PARANOIA— Since this whole pandemic began, there has been a “guilty pleasure” spike in attention and viewership for virus-themed movies like Contagion and Outbreak. However, some on-edge viewers want nothing to do with those kinds of movies thinking they’re going to be gasoline on the anxiety fire they have burning between their ears and under their sternums. I got a kick out of a recent notion from Dr. Pamela Rutledge on Insider that watching those movies can be a good thing. The psychologist cited that movies like that have identifiable characters that make us feel not so alone. More importantly, many of those movies has resolutions of closure that we need to target and keep in mind in our real situations. I dig that logic. Let’s queue up some Soderbergh.

LESSON #4: THIS IS A GOOD TIME TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PEOPLE MAKING MOVIES— During this time when there’s nothing new to see, I believe the keepers of physical media have it the best right now in this lockdown. Not only do they have libraries of favorites, they also have some extra time dive into special features. If you feel like putting a steady favorite on your screen, try doing it with the director’s commentary on. If you’re reading a few more books, maybe dive into a behind-the-scenes one on film or a biography of a Hollywood titan. E-books are mere clicks away with library cards and subscription services. Deepen your appreciation and widen your knowledge. 

LESSON #5: THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A PERFECT FILM— Alright, I’ll be the asshole against #FilmTwitter and boredom-breaking trending threads. Don’t bother making a #FivePerfectMovies list because there are no perfect films. I mean every single one of them, even my beloved Casablanca. It’s an impossibility and, guess what, that’s OK. It really is. Imperfection doesn’t make them bad, “trash,” or any other negativity-triggering adjective. They are made by people. All people are flawed and so are their creations. Stop giving fake halos out, Twitter.

DON SHANAHAN is a Chicago-based and Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic writing on his website Every Movie Has a Lesson. His movie review work is also published on 25YL (25 Years Later) and also on Medium.com for the MovieTime Guru publication.  As an educator by day, Don writes his movie reviews with life lessons in mind, from the serious to the farcical. He is a proud director and one of the founders of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle and a member of the nationally-recognized Online Film Critics Society.  As a contributor here on Feelin’ Film now for over two years, he’s going to expand those lessons to current movie news and trends while chipping in with guest spots and co-hosting duties, including the previous “Connecting with Classics” podcasts.  Find “Every Movie Has a Lesson” on Facebook, Twitter, and Medium to follow his work.  (#130)

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