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 FILMS— Alcohollywood 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.