The best sports movies are independent of the sport they’re depicting, with universal stories that should appeal to anyone whether they love the sport or not.
This is to say: Our favorite sports movies tend to avoid the traditional “Meet hero, see hero overcome adversity, see hero win big game” sports movie structure, or at least deconstruct it enough to justify themselves.
For some reason, many sports movies insist on being predictable, adhering to the formula.
Those are not the sort of sports movies you will find on our list of the 50 best sports movies of all time.
The best sports surprise us: These great sports movies do the same.
At the same time Rush isn’t a sports movie where we’re meant to admire both men equally – these competitive, closed-off men both seem to be striving for something bigger than victory, and both seem incapable of finding it.
Tin Cup suggested that Shelton would make various versions of wonderfully grown-up, sexy sports movies for years to come.
Many sports movies are sad or touching, but few are as profoundly pathetic as Foxcatcher, which finds director Bennett Miller further exploring the role that sports has in people’s lives.
The orginal article.
A musical love letter to classic Hollywood, a dark comedy about a woman’s rage, a civil-rights road movie, and a VH1-style rock biopic are not four films that you would immediately lump together – unless you follow the Oscars, in which case you know that La La Land, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Green Book, and Bohemian Rhapsody all hold the dubious distinction of becoming their respective seasons’ official villains to a certain segment of the awards-watching public.
Obviously, we won’t know if Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody will follow in those same footsteps for a few more weeks.
With First Man floundering, Green Book became Universal’s lead horse in the Oscars race, and Variety and The Hollywood Reporter in particular have given plenty of column inches over to its defense.
Team Green Book has been working hard to combat allegations that it’s a film for white people: Producer Octavia Spencer introduced the film at the Globes, and icons like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Quincy Jones, and Harry Belafonte have publicly co-signed Vallelonga’s efforts.
At the Golden Globes, the movie’s team, all of whom were perfectly fine making a movie with Bryan Singer as recently as a year-and-a-half ago, embraced the polite fiction that the movie was directed by no one.
All they want to do is enjoy a movie about an interracial friendship, or the band they loved as a teenager, and now people are saying that, as good-hearted progressives, they aren’t supposed to like them? It’s not as if Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody are the works of Richard Wagner; these are big mainstream movies about how being gay is okay, and how lifelong friendships can result if we throw away our biases.
As with the president, all this controversy may have the unintended effect of pulling the movies’ fans in closer.
What the two disparate reactions to Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody are really about is a dispute over the utility of pop-culture comfort food.
The orginal article.
Public broadcasting appealed to the minister in Rogers: he was concerned that profit-driven networks like NBC diluted arts programming, and he envisioned programming for young people with less slapstick, more meaning.
Coworkers remember Rogers as both zany-dancing across the set with an inflatable sex doll they had hid in his closet-and imperious, as when he reprimanded an actor who kindly suggested to Henrietta Pussycat that she not cry, something Rogers would never suggest to a child.
A new book, Maxwell King’s The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers, offers the almost wacky details of his life but only hints at the tension within Rogers, both the dutiful son of an industrialist and a sensitive composer devoted to the idea that the world children live in is fundamentally different from the world inhabited by adults.
King seems to almost reluctantly settle on “Androgynous” when he might have just left it with what Rogers told a friend: “Well, you know, I must be right smack in the middle. Because I have found women attractive, and I have found men attractive.” This would satisfy a preschooler but is too loose for King, who treats his subject’s sex life as if he were conducting a police investigation: “There was no double life. And without exception, close associates concluded that Fred Rogers was absolutely faithful to his marriage vows.”
Two years later, Rogers was featured in a Wall Street Journal profile under the headline “Loved by Kids for His TV ‘Neighborhood,’ Mr. Rogers is a Hit in Boardrooms, Too.” Rogers declined to discuss the strike but criticized the union’s existence.
In a series of tweets a few weeks after the film grossed $20 million-the highest-earning biographical documentary of all time-Aberlin listed the reasons she chose not to participate, chief among them a refusal first, she says, by Rogers and then by his production company after his death to allow the actors to continue with what Aberlin refers to as the Fred Rogers “Ministry,” Neighborhood-derived performances intended to reach children in meaningful ways, by staging the operas, for example.
Recently, the Fred Rogers Company, renamed for him after his death, sold the rights to one of his songs to be used in Google’s new Pixel 3 phone commercial, and a biopic starring Tom Hanks is now being filmed.
The film and book blur the distinction between art and commerce, and the new shows are born of the mercantilism of the Fred Rogers Company, not the art of its original artistic director.
The orginal article.
The two years since the 2016 election have been disastrous for the continued employment of cultural critics and journalists The last two years have not been particularly great for cultural criticism and culture writing more generally.
If you look beyond publications that have intentionally reduced the number of culture writers on their staffs, you’ll find many that have curtailed hiring around culture writing – often in favor of expanding political coverage.
Kracauer’s methods can be applied to our current pop culture – and the most astute cultural critics often do so Kracauer, of course, was writing his book after the end of World War II. Nazism had been defeated, and German cinema was knocked back by the end of the war as much as everything else in the country.
Culture writing can help better explain a vast, sometimes contradictory society When I make the above argument in favor of cultural criticism to journalistic colleagues who deal in what might be dubbed the “Hard sciences” of journalism – data-driven, boots-on-the-ground reporting – I am always aware that it sounds just a little fantastical.
Few critics looked at the pop culture of the early 2010s and said, “Yep, a culture war’s brewing,” even if it seems blindingly obvious in hindsight.
7 great pieces of culture writing from 2018 If you’re excited to explore some great culture writing from the past year, here are seven of my favorite pieces digging into pop culture in all its forms.
“CBS’s toxic culture isn’t just behind the scenes. It’s in the shows that it makes,” Kathryn VanArendonk for Vulture VanArendonk uses deep knowledge of CBS crime procedurals to point to how a culture of sexual harassment was allowed to flourish not just at the company but in the shows it put on the air.
Correction: The writers who left Buzzfeed, though culture writers, weren’t primarily focused on writing criticism.
The orginal article.
Only two people really understand how “Bandersnatch” – the latest episode of Black Mirror – actually works.
It is utterly unlike any episode that has gone before it and yet is unmistakably part of the Black Mirror universe.
Although most of the people behind the episode refer to it as a film, Weeks, who programmed computer games earlier in his career, likens it to a video game.
For Todd Yellin – the Netflix VP who first floated the idea of an interactive Black Mirror episode – getting the terminology around the episode right is of critical importance.
At the opposite end, Yellin says, indicating his right hand, you have a normal Black Mirror episode.
An episode that lets viewers pick their own route through an episode naturally subverts the idea that film-makers have the final say over how a film will be viewed or understood.
The huge file sizes involved in streaming multiple versions of the same scene, by the way, are why the film isn’t available for download.Brooker says the first time he watched the completed episode of “Bandersnatch” was as close to profundity as he ever gets.
If Netflix’s bet is right, and it also works for viewers, then this episode of Black Mirror might open the floodgates to a whole new era of film-making.
The orginal article.
The director-himself a three-time Oscar nominee-was Douglas Trumbull, a visual-effects genius who had already worked on some of the most monumental films of all time: as Stanley Kubrick’s special photographic effects supervisor on 2001: A Space Odyssey, and as visual effects supervisor on Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.
Doing so would have presented a mechanical problem, for one thing: Physical film moved through a camera as sprockets caught holes along the side-there was a limit to how quickly the film could move.
George Feltenstein is a film historian and the senior vice president of catalog marketing at Warner Bros., which now owns Brainstorm.
A week before filming began, Trumbull gathered much of the cast and some crew at the famed Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, a retreat where, according to its website, “Seekers” can “Explore deeper spiritual possibilities[and] forge new understandings of self and society.” The Brainstorm story has roots in the beliefs of Stanley Grof, a Czech psychiatrist who worked with Esalen and who was exploring the pursuit of altered mental states without the use of narcotics of pharmaceuticals.
Beyond Trumbull’s vision, beyond the charisma and ease of Walken and Wood, and Fletcher’s fierce and funny performance, there was the film’s other star: the fictional technology itself, the feverish Brainstorm/Showscan hybrid.
While filming one scene outside on the roof of the church, the sound of the 70mm film running through the camera was so loud it was difficult to hear what was going on.
” After depositions of Trumbull and other cast and crew members, including Louise Fletcher, the insurance company decided that abandonment wasn’t necessary and put more than $6 million of its own money toward the completion of the film, to pay for the new scenes and some special effects.
BRAINSTORM’S LEGACY”We needed a film that did what Brainstorm did when Brainstorm did it,” says Scott Bukatman, a professor of film and media studies at Stanford University.
The orginal article.
It’s just one among many, many instances of both Ginsburg and the broader idea of women’s equality being cutely commodified, but it was a reminder of how low my tolerance for that commodification has become.
2018 has been as rich with slogany, simplified women’s empowerment callouts as it has been with reasons for women to be filled with rage and dread, stretching way beyond the merch and mild cinema that’s come to surround Ginsburg.
It’s been an exhausting year: a year of watching the #MeToo movement’s momentum slow, as some accused men test the waters in preparation for a return; of tuning into the Kavanaugh hearings and being reminded that there is no victim “Perfect” enough to be believed when that belief is inconvenient; of having the midterms highlight the still sizable gap between how white women vote and how women of color do.
The head of Neon, the company that released the film later in the year, said in a statement after that disastrous opening weekend that while the numbers were disappointing, they stood by the movie’s quality: “[Director] Sam Levinson has created a bold, visionary and ultimately cathartic response to the dumpster fire that is 2018.” I wouldn’t agree, but what did seem to me to be indisputably 2018 was the way it was marketed, as a women’s anthem couched reassuringly in terms more often used to appeal to male audiences – that it was too wild, too extreme, and too real for prudes to handle.
For weeks after seeing Ocean’s 8, I couldn’t get its unapologetic half-heartedness out of my head. Was it deliberate? Was this what a corporation thought women wanted? Was it what women did want, to the tune of almost $300 million, and was I some sour-grapes outlier grumbling about how condescending I found the clunky ease of the whole thing, up to a twist that made the already happy ending even happier? What really got to me was the thought that a bunch of higher-ups felt it didn’t matter – that it was the mere idea of Ocean’s 8 that counted, not the actual end result, and that a hasty sketch sufficed when it came to a milestone this important.
I’m still befuddled by how much credit Halloween, David Gordon Green’s serviceable selective sequel to the John Carpenter-created series, got for its portrayals of three generations of Strode women, as if fans were trying to will it into being a more thoughtful movie than it actually was.
Watching the movie, I felt an intense pang for something I yearn for and am still not finding as often as I’d like – art by and for and about women that doesn’t feel the need to prove it can keep up with the boys, because it doesn’t worry about what the boys think at all.
Rew Bujalski’s comedy wasn’t advertised on the strength of its feminist bona fides, maybe because it takes place in a faux-Hooters where the servers wear cutoffs and crop tops, but it’s one of the best and most bittersweet portrayals of the power and the limitations of women’s solidarity within a crushing capitalist system I’ve ever seen.
The orginal article.
How on earth could Tom Cruise manage to top all this? Simple.
At 9:46 last night, Tom tweeted an 87-second video in which he and his go-to director Christopher McQuarrie explained the concept of video interpolation and why it is the death of all good things.
Tom Cruise I’m taking a quick break from filming to tell you the best way to watch Mission: Impossible Fallout at home.
If you still haven’t switched off motion smoothing by then, Cruise will force himself through your TV screen using willpower alone.
Because Tom Cruise has made a career of total commitment.
So you’d better believe that, if Tom Cruise wants you to turn off motion smoothing on your television, you will turn off motion smoothing on your television.
If you still haven’t switched off motion smoothing by then, Tom Cruise will force himself through your TV screen using willpower alone, like the girl from The Ring, grab the remote out of your dumb cow hands and turn off motion smoothing himself.
Plus, you know, it’s just nice to see a Tom Cruise video appear online that isn’t somehow about Xenu.
The orginal article.
For more about the Year in Movies, read Sean Fennessey’s essay about the movies’ many fallen men of 2018, Tom Breihan’s Best Action Movies of 2018, and Miles Surrey’s Best Superhero Movies of 2018.
No film I saw in 2018 improved more upon reflection, or thrives as strongly in memory; Jenkins’s extraordinary image-making hypnotizes the mind’s eye.
Let the Sunshine In Directed by Claire Denis Hopefully, 2019 will be the year of Claire Denis: The acquisition of the great French director’s new, stunning sci-fi movie High Life by hit-making distributor A24 means that her work will be more readily available to American audiences than ever.
For a movie that may ultimately be about the need for compromise, Let the Sunshine In doesn’t make any-and that’s why it’s Denis at her best.
Black Panther Directed by Ryan Coogler Black Panther does something that no other movie has done before.
Zama Directed by Lucrecia Martel The greatest movies make us experience them on their own terms.
No narrative film released in 2018 asked more of its audience than Martel’s Zama, a slow-motion comedy about a Spanish diplomat wasting away in a remote Patagonian outpost in the 1700s; the line between the boredom of Don Diego de Zama, who wants desperately to leave for better things, and that of the viewer is razor thin, but Martel-a genius of mood and atmosphere-stays on the right side in every precise, mesmerizing scene.
Burning Directed by Lee Chang-dong “There is a difference between movies that refuse to fix their meanings for fear of exposing their essential vacuousness-that leave so much space for interpretation that they end up feeling legitimately empty, like a shell game without a marble-and movies that bristle with an ambiguity derived from the complex, irreconcilable nature of reality itself.” I wrote those words about Burning in October, the point being that Lee’s film was in the second category.
The orginal article.
I suspect that the Coen brothers would not regard a ranking of their films with much respect.
For nearly 35 years, the duo from Minnesota have been making movies that celebrate and undermine genre, thumbing their noses at convention and trends, and exploring the meaninglessness of existence with the depth and absurdity worthy of the cause.
Given their constancy‚ it’s easy to forget that the brothers have been at it for quite some time-Buster Scruggs continues a streak across nearly four decades in which no more than three years have passed without a new Coens flick.
Which is to say, it’s based on Homer’s greatest Greek epic and Preston Sturges movies.
Though the concept of death unites all of the stories-and most of the Coen brothers’ work, frankly-each is a stand-alone in its own right.
In a world that trembles before God, the Coens control the fates.
What could have been a movie about Satan-in the form of the bolt stunner-wielding Anton Chigurh- often feels more like Frankenstein or Jaws, movies about unstoppable killing machines moving through the world, tearing apart our very idea of existence.
Played by Joel’s wife Frances McDormand in an Oscar-winning turn, is what catapulted the Coen brothers out of the respected category and into the realm of major American filmmakers.
The orginal article.