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.
In September, Box Office Mojo did its own calculation, naming Jackson Hollywood’s most bankable star.
When Trump responded that he and Jackson had never teed off together, Jackson posted the receipt from their game.
Jackson had watched over a number of years as members of his circle of actor friends – first Morgan Freeman, then Denzel Washington, then Snipes, then Laurence Fishburne – would jet off to Hollywood to make names for themselves.
“I’d call my agent and say, ‘Hollywood call?’ And she’d always go, ‘No.'” But when Jungle Fever premiered at Cannes in 1991 – Lee did not fly Jackson to the festival, explaining that there was only budget to bring “The stars” – Jackson’s performance as Gator caused such a sensation that the jury honored it with the festival’s first, and only, best supporting actor award.
“That day I’m out at some audition,” Jackson recalls, “And I called my agent, and said, ‘Did Hollywood call?’ And she’s like, ‘As a matter of fact, they kind of did.'” Lee has never apologized to Jackson for leaving his breakout star back in the U.S. “Not only that,” Jackson says, “When he came back, he didn’t actually give me my goddamn award for, like, eight months!”.
Jackson and Bruce Willis didn’t have many scenes together, but the two actors forged a friendship that carried over to the set of Die Hard With a Vengeance, in which Jackson played the sidekick role of Zeus Carver.
For years following Unbreakable’s release, they’d sporadically run into each other – typically driving past each other on a studio lot – and Jackson would shout out, “Yo! When we making that sequel, motherfucker?” It took 18 years – and the surprise success of 2017’s Split, which was itself a sort of stealth sequel to Unbreakable – for Jackson to get the answer he wanted.
That, serendipitously, is how Jackson ended up landing the linchpin role that ties together the most profitable superhero franchise in Hollywood history.
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.
People referred to tertiary Bird Box characters by their first names, the same way that Stranger Things fans toss around the name “Barb.” In an effort to promote the film earlier in December, Netflix presented a handful of well-known Twitch gamers with a Bird Box “Challenge,” asking them to play their favorite game while blindfolded.
White’s journey to the play button is likely one of the reasons that more than 45 million Netflix accounts viewed Bird Box within the first week of its release, a statistic that the company touted as its best-ever debut for an original film.
Amid the height of the Bird Box fervor, one suspicious Twitter user hatched a theory that the company was using bots to spread memes about the movie online, citing a large amount of engagement from recently started Twitter accounts that had very few followers and tweets.
“I feel like I’m being conned into watching it by some unseen force that’s funneling Bird Box memes onto my timeline,” Nora Hastings, a 25-year-old graphic designer, told me via direct message.
“I want to see Bird Box and understand the memes fully but I also really, really, really don’t want to give Netflix the satisfaction, despite the very obvious fact that they don’t know who I am or even care about what I watch.”
On Wednesday, Netflix tweeted a warning to its followers to be careful: “PLEASE DO NOT HURT YOURSELVES WITH THIS BIRD BOX CHALLENGE. We don’t know how this started, and we appreciate the love, but Boy and Girl have just one wish for 2019 and it is that you not end up in the hospital due to memes,” the company wrote.
Even if it’s not clear whether Bird Box meme makers and challenge participants enjoyed its film, Netflix appears to be right at home in the world of memes and challenges.
“Is it the amount of people who saw it, or is it the amount of people who discussed it? After the holidays, people come back to work on January 2. How many people were saying: ‘Oh, did you see Bird Box?’ Did they say: ‘Have you done the Bird Box challenge?’ In any case, it’s mentioning a movie that Netflix is behind, and Sandra Bullock is getting that exposure.” For Netflix, the creation of a massive online movement is worth far more than a few positive reviews.
The orginal article.
That’s why fans’ reaction to criticism reaches a pitch of aggrieved dignity: if a movie has been admitted into the circle of canon, negative views of the movie are received as a rejection not merely of fans’ taste but of their belief system.
With their aura of the sacred, superhero movies have also acquired an air of the sanctimonious and a fixation on doctrinal purity.
The movie is about Atlantis, the mythical vanished undersea kingdom, which, for the purposes of the movie, not only existed but exists and, to this day, thrives.
The upside to the sacred dimension of superhero movies is the occasional attainment of awe, astonishment, sublimity.
The cosmic element has offered some of the best moments in recent superhero movies, as in Joss Whedon’s “Avengers” movies, Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel,” Scott Derrickson’s “Doctor Strange,” and Peyton Reed’s “Ant-Man”-moments that stood out amid these movies’ many mandatory figures of quasi-scriptural mythology.
“Bumblebee” replaces the playthings with a message: where other superhero movies offer a mighty mythology of mind-stunning scale, “Bumblebee,” lacking mythology, offers a modest and local moralism.
The movie is a coming-of-age melodrama in the guise of a toy action film.
The movie’s sentiment gets occasional jolts of authentic heartiness from a handful of closely observed details, such as the gruff warmth of Charlie’s friendship with the junk-yard man and her blend of complicity and rivalry with her younger brother, as well as some bumptious comedy featuring John Cena, as a federal agent, and some nostalgic humor involving the voice-deprived robot’s communication with Charlie by way of the car radio within it.
The orginal article.
Early in the morning on Friday, December 28th, Netflix slipped its viewers a late Christmas present: a new episode of Charlie Brooker’s technological-dystopia anthology series Black Mirror, in the form of an interactive movie called Bandersnatch.
Bandersnatch may not have been designed specifically for decoding in the same way as those puzzles, but it’s still exactly the kind of complicated project the Reddit secret-miners thrive on dissecting.
Just like a game with save points, or one of those CYOA books, Bandersnatch lets the audience jump back to those branch points and choose a different option than they chose the first time.
Reddit users are busy at work hunting down the answers.
Another thread is digging into the subtle Black Mirror episode crossovers, references, and Easter eggs hidden in Bandersnatch.
Like so many previous attempts at interactive movies, Bandersnatch borrows heavily from games’ story-tree methodologies, where many choices are meaningless, others lead back to the main path for the sake of story economy, and still others lead to abrupt endings.
The Reddit users’ maps are effectively just a collaborative game walkthrough, and “Let’s play Bandersnatch” videos on YouTube and Bandersnatch-watch videos on Twitch may be the logical next step.
Reddit has yet to turn up any cheat codes for the movie, but given the episode’s video game theme, its openly meta storyline, and the self-referential ouroboros of an interactive story about a man trying to design an interactive story, who knows? They may actually be in there.
The orginal article.
Call it a surprise twist, if you must: Early in this Monday morning in November, M. Night Shyamalan turned on his shower, and no water came out.
Shyamalan has a new movie, Glass, due January 18th, that will likely cement one of the most dramatic showbiz comebacks of the 21st century.
“It’s a very suspense-thriller-meets-comic-book movie,” says Shyamalan.
Knocked off balance, Shyamalan went on to make two full-on Hollywood movies for kids, The Last Airbender and After Earth.
Shyamalan had already struck a deal with Disney for the cameo, which led to a unique release plan for Glass: Universal is distributing it in the United States, and Disney is putting it out overseas, with both studios clearing the release date of other big projects.
Shyamalan tripled down for Glass, again funding it himself with his earnings from the past two movies, not to mention collateral from his property.
If Shyamalan has righted his career ship, he believes it’s because he’s sending the right energy out to the universe, focusing on the right stuff.
Before we say goodbye, I mention a recent conversation with Samuel L. Jackson, who told me that Shyamalan is “More collaborative” than he was 18 years ago, when he would literally tell actors when to blink.
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.