LESSON #1: BE SMARTER AND SEEK SMARTER FILM CRITICISM— This video from Patrick Willems is amazing. He nails the topic like an industrial nail gun with the safety off installing a roof of shingles in a 11 minutes. As a self-made critic, the ideals discussed here are where I strive towards. Always seek improvement.
LESSON #2: THE FLOODGATES ARE NOW OPEN. BE PREPARED— In the extended wake of all things Harvey Weinstein, the bankruptcy announcement of his studio company, The Weinstein Company, did more than just sink production. All legal contacts connected to the company are now voided and that includes non-disclosure agreements. Yes, THOSE non-disclosure agreements. If you think you’ve heard an unimaginable amount of names and victims, get ready. A tabloid tsunami is coming.
LESSON #3: LET’S PROMOTE TENDER MASCULINITY— From a seedy history of emasculation from Lesson #1, let’s bring in optimism. I cross-publish my Every Movie Has a Lesson film reviews on the social publication platform Medium.com where I have discovered a multitude of very good writers operating their own worthy stumps of commentary on any number of subjects. I really appreciated this recent piece from Terra Liore of Electric Lit entitled “In Praise of Tender Masculinity, the New Non-Toxic Way to Be a Man.” Liore examined some of our favorite movie and literary characters who exemplify a healthier and more nuanced manliness away from machismo. She cites films like Moonlight and Magic Mike XXL and characters like Samwise Ganges from The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Remus Lupin from the Harry Potter series. It’s a great piece that I encourage you to check out. We need more of this.
LESSON #4: SEATS ARE FOR BUTTS— When this ScreenCrush story (oh, the puns!) of a man dying after having his head trapped in an electric theater seat crossed the Feelin’ Film Facebook group, I thought it had to be from The Onion. There was no way it was true. Alas, condolences are needed and a few lessons needs to be learned. The culprit was a dropped phone and a malfunctioning seat. Go ahead and fire up the PSA printing press for one more reason to put your damn cell phones away at the movies. Those massively connected and dense seats are indeed a labyrinth. If you have trouble, get some help from the theater staff before trying to take matters in your own hands. Finally, society may have a reason for employing those senior citizen drug store staple products of the grabbing extender thingamabob. I think it’s time to arm every theater usher in America! Think of the lives (and phones) we can save!
LESSON #5: THE NUMBERS ARE IN AND JUSTICE LEAGUE IS IN LAST PLACE FOR THE DCEU— In the latest chapter of the eternal lesson of “too big to fail,” the final box office numbers came in for Justice League with a total worldwide gross of $647,924,295. Man of Steel is next with around $660 million. While that is more than double its reported $300 million budget where no one is loosing any fortunes or stock options, the cloud of disappoint still looms. The knee-jerk time period has cooled and we can better ask and advise where Warner Bros. will go from here. Right now, it’s up to Aquaman and Shazam. “The Rock” makes everything better, right?
LESSON #6: PHYSICAL MEDIA STILL HAS A PLACE— Today, the favorite film of 2017 for many Feelin’ Film followers (and hosts), The Greatest Showman, becomes available for digital download. This is the first chance to own the successful and celebrated film for home viewing. The Greatest Showman will still be available on Blu-ray and DVD on April 10th. We’re coming to a time where that is not always the case. I know I was bummed to hear that one of my favorite 2017 films, Wonderstruck from Amazon Studios, was not going to receive a physical disc release and only be available on streaming platforms for the immediate future. Has manufacturing discs really become that low in profitability? Maybe so, that linked Flavorwire article researched that numbers for digital sales (subscriptions, rentals, VOD, downloads) totaled $13 billion in 2017 compared to $4.7 billion for packaged products. Businesses are going to jump at that earning potential even if they can have both. To me, that’s one sign of many to a slow extinction for physical media. I think discs are going to be a Criterion-level niche like vinyl records soon. How many folks out there have gone more digital? How many people are still steadily buying physical media of current films (don’t count those Criterion keepsakes)? I know my number has dropped precipitously in the last five years. Both that cited Wonderstruck link and this recent story from Collider implore consumers to stave off the coming extinction. If you’re like me and enjoy the feel of possessing something special, give them a read.
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, Medium, and Creators Media.