Shit. Just. Got. Real: 2016 Cinema in Review

It takes a long time to get a movie made: Martin Scorsese had been thinking about making Silence for over 30 years and had various false potential production starts; Fences was once slated to be made in the ‘90s with Eddie Murphy as the lead; and Damien Chazelle had wanted to make La La Land since before he made Whiplash. So, given how long it takes to make a film it’s obvious that they could not have predicted how much the world would change on November the 8th of the year they were ready to be released.

Following the events of this particular day, I went through a patch of depression that was unlike anything that I had gone through before. During this time I kept thinking why should I bother with movies, television, music, or art in general when the world was crumbling right in front of our eyes and so many people were celebrating it. Yet, I kept on watching because I had nothing else, but just about everything felt tainted.

The first film I watched in theaters since then was Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I had to drag myself out of the house, and I had to treat my self to a large popcorn and soda (which I never do). The film is not particularly great but watching a simple good versus evil story on the big screen where the good guys win while I’m gorging on salty popcorn and a sweet Coca-Cola was cathartic. That right there is how the real world should work, and I felt like standing up and cheering at the most basic of triumphant moments.

Since then, I cannot look at movies in the same way. Moana and Hidden Figures no longer are just movies about extraordinary women of color doing extraordinary things, but rally cries for real women of color to stand up and do even more extraordinary things. Moonlight is now a call for empathy and understanding. Even Star Trek Beyond, with its world where races and species of all kinds live in harmony feels like a daring future to strive towards.

This of course cannot be said of every film in 2016, let alone my top 25 (Everybody Wants Some!! Is still just about bro-dudes doing stuff and I love it for it), but that’s okay. Even so, art will never be the same, at least through my eyes. Continue reading


List: 10 Survival Skills I’ve Learned from Horror Movies

Today is Halloween, and I wanted to do something special for this. I could have done a list of my top 10 horror movies, but I’m not a big horror fan, so it would have sucked and the entries would have been too recent. But then, after watching An American Werewolf in London I decided that the best thing to write about is the things that I have learned while watching these movies. I am now sure that if I ever found my self in a horror movie situation, I’ll survive. I might get a couple of injuries, but I’ll have the last laugh.

So, here we go:

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Cinematic Heaven: Beauty & The Beast

Beauty & The Beast | Gary Truesdell & Kirk Wise, 1991

When I rewatch a movie that I grew up with, no matter what the quality is, I know that I’m unlikely to have a change of heart about it because of nostalgia, as proven by my recent review of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and my review of Pokemon: The First Movie. Beauty & The Beast was one of the few Disney movies that I had not watched during my childhood, so when I watched it a couple of years ago for the first time, it was possible that I would not find it as endearing as others have. However, from the moment the first music cue kicked in, and the story behind the beast was told, I knew that I was in for something special. And so, Beauty & The Beast became one of my favorite movies of all time.

The movie tells the classic tale of proving that true beauty can be found on the inside. After seeing the story of how a prince got turned into the beast (set to hauntingly beautiful music by Alan Menke), we get to know Belle (Paige O’Hara). She is the daughter of an inventor named Maurice (Rex Everhart). She is the talk of the town because she likes to read (gasp!) and because she is not interested in Gaston (Richard White), who is the town’s token narcissist.

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