FF+ Alternate Oscars 2016

In this extremely challenging special episode, Aaron, Don Shanahan of Every Movie Has a Lesson and Cinephile Hissy Fit Podcast, and Kevin Brackett of Reel Spoilers Podcast come together to try and “fix” the 89th Academy Awards. Plenty of hard decisions have to be made but great conversation gets us there in the end. Be sure to find us on social media and let us know what you think we got right or wrong.

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FF+ Sports Movie Draft

We are joined by two very special guests, Don Shanahan of Every Movie Has a Lesson and Cinephile Hissy Fit Podcast and Paul Keelan of Cinematic Underdogs Podcast, for a cut throat draft of sports films between four lovers of the genre. Who had the best draft? Be sure to find us on social media or in the Feelin’ Film Facebook Discussion Group and let us know.

Follow & Subscribe

Aaron

Patrick

Feelin’ Film

Powered by RedCircle


Music: Upbeat Party – Scott Holmes Music

Rate/Review us on iTunes and on your podcast app of choice! It helps bring us exposure so that we can get more people involved in the conversation. Thank you!

If you like the show you can support us through Paypal. Select the link below and make your one-time or recurring contribution.

What We Learned This Week: November 9-15

LESSON #1: PEER PRESSURE CAN BE EFFECTIVE— With George Lucas long-retired and until James Cameron finally releases that next Avatar epic, the reigning King of Cinematic Hubris remains Christopher Nolan. His ardent activism for physical film will always be commendable, but he is not the “savior” the trades (and himself) tout him to be. Not if he can’t even properly tune his own films and has to hear about it from his peers and contemporaries. More than fans, fellow filmmakers have contacted Nolan about his messy sound mix from Tenet. To me, that’s when you know it’s bad, if you have buddies calling you it. Peer pressure is an effective motivator. Let’s see how it shifts the chip on the king’s shoulder below his self-made crown.

LESSON #2: WISE PEOPLE IN THIS BUSINESS CUT LONG-TERM DEALS— Back in the day, everyone from actors to filmmakers were on studio-exclusive contracts. If Paramount wanted to use a talent controlled by Warner Bros., they had to pay handsomely and vice versa. For the studios, it was winning bidding wars to secure top talent for multiple projects. For the actors, it was securing guaranteed work in an era before they made ungodly money. Somewhere along the way, the movies turned into looser free agency like you see today in baseball where everyone is a mercenary chasing paychecks. 

To see David Fincher sign a four-year deal with Netflix feels old school and a win-win, joining Patty Jenkins on the squad. Netflix nabs a big name for their digital marquees. The Mank filmmaker gets a shingle that pushes for Oscars, far more creative freedom on set, and more guaranteed upfront money than he would chasing box office receipts, especially during a pandemic choking the industry. Don’t believe me or Fincher? Just ask Martin Scorsese. No one else, and I mean no one, in town was going to give him $200+ million to make the geriatric steak buffet that was The Irishman. That epic may not have netted Oscars, but it brought in new subscribers and that’s Netflix’s bottom line.

Netflix is not alone in getting out their checkbook to sign top-shelf creators. Apple TV+ has first-look deals with Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Alfonso Cuaron. Even if most of those are for TV projects, those are names worth marketing and bragging about for the up-and-coming streaming platform. Is this the death of cinema? No. This is job preservation and squeezing for artistic carte blanche that you normally can’t get.

LESSON #3: DON’T BEAT LIVE HORSES ANYMORE THAN DEAD HORSES— Speaking of David Fincher, he has a long-standing reputation of over-filming many scenes in his directorial career. He’ll go after 50 or more takes in some scenes, the polar opposite of Clint Eastwood being good after one or two. It’s a personal philosophy Fincher has gone on record to explain. Word from the set of Mank, by way of Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman, was that the director went for as many as 200 takes on a scene, something that supposedly “cracked” the latter Oscar winner. There is meticulousness and fastidiousness, and then there is exhausting punishment. Dude, I love you, David Fincher. It’s been too long since Gone Girl,but have some workplace efficiency and empathetic professionalism. 

LESSON #4: NOW IS THE TIME TO SEE CITIZEN KANE— Speaking of Mank which is releasing into limited theaters today before debuting on Netflix on December 4th, this week’s final lesson in the usual go-home recommendation slot promotes just a single movie and quite possibly the greatest movie of all-time. To fully absorb and appreciate Fincher’s new movie, you must see Citizen Kane before it, period. If you’ve been putting it off because of its stature or the silly fact it’s old or in black-and-white, swallow hard, pick a day, and get through it. If you call yourself any level of film buff, connossieur, or fan, Orson Welles’ 1941 tour-de-force is required viewing as a cornerstone of visual filmmaking and storytelling techniques that would become the exemplars for decades. Citizen Kane is available now (thank you, JustWatch app) as part of HBO Max or can be rented for $3-4 on most streaming storefronts. If you want to do one better, straight up buy it or borrow any disc version of it from your local library. Seek out the late Roger Ebert’s audio commentary track. That will educate you more on film greatness in two hours than any self-made YouTube ranter or snarky podcast. Rented or bought, the movie is worth every penny and you will thank me for it.


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), Horror Obsessive, 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. (#145)

What We Learned This Week: November 2-8

LESSON #1: WE’RE RUNNING OUT OF THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO— By this point of any movie year with the calendar crossing into November, we would have film festival buzz from around the world announcing new films emerging for Oscars. We would have one or two big-studio early Oscar contenders like Joker, A Star is Born, The Departed, or Argo that dropped in October to beat the pack in a weak month of mostly horror offerings. The first weekend in November has delivered Marvel and James Bond movies over the years. We would be weeks away from a Disney/Pixar Thanksgiving tentpole with December not far behind for both prestige and blockbusters. 

But this is 2020. None of that feels present or possible. A parade of top-flight movies like No Time to Die and others continue to flee to 2021. Wonder Woman 1984 appears to be the only one left and one has to think it’s a matter of time before it blinks too. Folks, that’s the reality and it’s a meager one. We (and investors) are going to have to continue to be sustained by digital and VOD events and small indies, even if they are lesser than what we hoped. We’re at a “something is better than nothing” point with 2020.

LESSON #2: HOW MANY HAVE YOU SEEN?— If the box office year ended today, the box office champion of 2020 would be Bad Boys for Life with a $204 million domestic total. Inflation set aside, that would be the lowest annual champ since 1995 when Batman Forever was king with $184 million. By a large margin, 2020 is the lowest earning industry year since 1981. Removing the 2019 carryovers, the rest of the 2020 top 10 would include Sonic the Hedgehog, Birds of Prey, Dolitte, The Invisible Man, The Call of the Wild, Tenet, The Gentleman, Fantasy Island, The New Mutants, and Like a Boss. How many have you seen? If you dive to the digital charts, the most-watched movie is Hamilton, followed by Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, My Spy, Extraction, Phineas & Ferb the Movie, and Mulan. How many of those have you seen? If those fingers from the second list outnumber the first, that will tell you how bad of a year it’s been.

LESSON #3: THERE IS NO BAILOUT COMING— On the heels of theater chains circling the drain (AMC) or completely going under (Regal), some folks are hoping for government rescue. Keep dreaming. If regular citizens can’t get better than a one-time check that barely equates a month’s livelihood, frivolous non-essential businesses like movies aren’t a priority. Unlike massive economy drivers and bigger special interests like the auto industry, the film industry is fluff. There’s no money in it for the government to bail theaters out, no matter who wins this as-yet-undeclared Presidential election. Rescue is going to have to come from someplace else.

LESSON #4: MOVIE PRESIDENTS > REAL-LIFE PRESIDENTS— I don’t know about you, but when I watch a good fictional movie President of the United States, I daydream what it would be like to have that character actually be the Commander-in-Chief in normal life. I see Michael Douglas in The American President, Bill Pullman in Independence Day, Kevin Kline in Dave, Harrison Ford in Air Force One, Morgan Freeman in Deep Impact, and many others and get lost in those dreamy thoughts compared to the times of today. I want that kind of real President, unfleshed out policy backgrounds be damned (because we know movies don’t actually cover all that). Even with that specificity of imaginative wonder, good characters like those are part of the escapism of movies. Coming out of this election year, go ahead and indulge in a President that will throw a man off his plane. Who’s your favorite movie President?

LESSON #5: FIND MOVIES THAT BRING JOY— The first three lessons of this column have been rough. The COVID-19 virus is experiencing a second surge. The Presidential Election has set off its hostile tizzies on both sides. Man, we just need a lift. We need movies that punch with joy. In the recommendation slot of WWLTW, I present this video submission from the Film Positivity channel on YouTube (give them a like and a subscribe). Their ten choices of Cinematic Joy are excellent. What would be yours?

 

 


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. (#144)

What We Learned This Week: September 21-October 4

LESSON #1: THE WORLD CAN USE A DOSE OF BORAT RIGHT NOW— The rumors were always present that a Borat sequel was in the works from Sacha Baron Cohen. After a few months of secret shooting during the pandemic, Borat: Gift of Pornographic Monkey to Vice Premiere Mikhael Pence to Make Benefit Recently Diminished Nation of Kazakhstan will be unleashed to the world via Amazon Prime just in time for Election Day. Yes, you read that right. Expect the Vice President to be made an easy mark. In this election year, the world is ready for this kind of scathing laughter and cringe comedy. Bring it on.

LESSON #2: WE LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE EVEN THE BEST ARTISTS NEED PAYCHECKS— Barry Jenkins has quickly gained legendary auteur status with his Oscar-winning Moonlight and equally vibrant follow-up If Beale Street Could Talk. Word broke Tuesday with a headline that looked out of We Got This Covered or The Onion if it didn’t say Deadline above it. Jenkins has been tabbed by Disney to helm a follow-up to the CGI-reimagining of The Lion King. Before you dust off your The Lion King 1½ and The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride DVD collectors items, word is this will be a new direction and even a prequel highlighting a young Mufasa. Begrudge him or shake your head all you want, but I say this all the time in this column space: This is a business first and art exposition second. That happens the second you put a price tag on anything. Dozens of indie-level directors have done this in our recent history (David Lowery, Ava DuVernay, Colin Trevorrow, Gareth Edwards) and even more have done it for decades (Nolan, Spielberg, Scorsese). It’s “one for them and two for you.” It becomes about, 1) the effort you put in the big one, and 2) what that paycheck allows you to do next. Take DuVernay. She flipped that A Wrinkle in Time money into When They See Us, an upcoming Colin Kaepernick bio series on Netflix, infused money into her ARRAY distribution company for black artists, and helped launch the Evolve Entertainment Fund to promote inclusion. That’s not the worst aftermath and use of taking the big money. Let’s see what Jenkins can do both with the project and the cache. 

LESSON #3: AWARDS SEASON STARTS NOW– Film lovers, it’s October and, even during a reduced year of overall releases, the season of golden harvest is upon us. Oscar season! The virtual and drive-in versions of the usual top-notch film festivals are highlighting some early contenders to watch for. The early buzz leader is Nomadland from celebrated director Chloe Zhao (another indie darling like Jenkins who took the Disney/MCU money with The Eternals). The Frances McDormand starrer won the People’s Choice award at the Toronto International Film Festival, the top prize of the Venice Film Festival, and is slotted as the centerpiece of the New York International Film Festival. Close on its tail are the rave reviews for Regina King’s One Night in Miami. Keep an eye on the upcoming Netflix debut of Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 for another potential frontrunner. Folks, after months of random cast offs and C-level films landing on VOD and streaming sites, the top shelf stuff is coming. Now, the new diversity measures for the Oscars are a whole other (and wonderful) thing. We’ll save that for another WWLTW.

 


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. (#141)