Film Therapy: A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place directed by John Krasinski, stars John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, and Cade Woodward. The film released on April 6th, 2018 and is about a family that is struggling to survive a creature invasion by living in silence.

Film is therapy, and how I consume that therapy is by taking what I have seen and questioning how it resembles my own life or how I think I would react if I were in the situation of the protagonist. A Quiet Place hits home on many different levels because of the fact that a family is experiencing the horror of an invasion together and the parents are struggling to keep their family alive. The opening five minutes of the film will stick with me for a long time. I look at the youngest son who is perhaps five years old at most, and I see my son – right down to his interests as well as the camouflage pants he wears.

I ask myself, would I be able to protect my five year old son? Would I be strong enough to hold on through the horror that awaits at every turn? Would I make the same choices as Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) – or would I already have perished because I am not strong enough to withstand the storm? I ask myself these questions, not because I feel the need to prepare for an invasion or an apocalypse, but more as an exercise of will.  Do I have the strength to endure?

One thing that moviegoers like to do in response to apocalypse/invasion type movies, is go over what they would have done logically to ride out the storm. While this can be an interesting thought process, it is important not to dwell on how you have the best way to survive the situation because that can limit your overall enjoyment of the film. So proceed with caution.

There are many instances that I wanted to break down and cry during this accurately paced and timed film (running a crisp 1 hour 30 minutes), but it wasn’t until after the film that I would cry about it. The truly special films, the films that take a space in our hearts, are the ones that provide you with emotion after you have seen them and for that I am thankful.

Movie Prescription: This is the perfect film for a parent to see when they have reached the end of their rope with their children because it will remind you how important you are to your family.

The Greatest Showman – film review by Miss Movies

The Greatest Showman is an original musical that musical theater geeks have been waiting for.

Musicals are very important to me. I wouldn’t say that I am obsessed with stage musicals, but I do have an obsession with movie musicals. This is the first original movie musical I’ve seen that encapsulates the love and feeling I have for stage, screen, dance, and music since I saw White Christmas (1954) for the first time in 1996.

The Greatest Showman follows the life of P.T. Barnum and the beginning of Barnum’s American Museum. The music of the film helps to move the plot along with exposition as well as provide depth of character through song. The musicality of song, as well as the style of dance performed, has a modern feeling compared to the songs and dances used in the traditional stage musical titled “Barnum.”

The stage musical, “Barnum,” is quite different than this story that is being told. While I have not seen the stage production of Barnum, I have read the synopsis and listened to the soundtrack and through this basic research, it is clear that these two productions are vastly different with just the subject matter being similar.

When listening to the soundtrack and seeing the movie, you will note that Rebecca Ferguson’s singing voice is dubbed by Loren Allred (The Voice finalist in season 3). Some may not like this decision, but I contend that we have stunt doubles to do what actors cannot do, so when you are playing a real life woman that is the best singer in the world, why wouldn’t you get the best?  Some may say, why not have a singer in the role, but honestly, it’s easier and more effective to dub than it is to teach a singer to act. Side note: Mulan’s voice and singing voice are done by two different actresses.

Hugh Jackman is perfectly cast as P.T. Barnum and seems like he was made for this role. His voice and dance ability lend itself to show how he really is The Greatest Showman (you know, after James Corden — I kid, but go watch Crosswalk the Musical: The Greatest Showman). I was a little nervous about the age difference between him and Michelle Williams as a married couple, however, I think they did the best they could with makeup and distance in shots that it doesn’t seem out of place. Michelle Williams is an incredible actress that I feel we don’t talk about as much as we should. She is fantastic in this role and could have even been given more to do.

Zac Efron (or as my 7 year daughter likes to say – Troy) plays a character with depth, but we don’t get to see everything play out with him in full. What we do see, and the conflict that he goes through regularly in the movie, makes you root for him throughout. I appreciate the dynamic relationships that he has in the film and how he is able to navigate them.

Zendaya seems a little young for the role she was cast in but holy heck does she have some acting and singing chops that I just can’t help fall in love with her too.

My only criticism of the film is that it felt a little glossy of P.T.’s life and a little bit rushed at times, but overall, I can’t wait to see it again and again.

There’s only one thing left to say about this film and that’s:

 

Where did that second rope come from?? (you’ll know what I mean)

9/10

 

The power of community

Six Degrees with Nick Scarpino of Kinda Funny

I’ve been in the YouTube space for a few years now (both on camera and off) and I have learned a lot about building a community for a channel/brand. What I find interesting is lately there have been corporations that have taken over (or bought) smaller channels or shows that are now trying to figure out the YT formula for growing an audience and building a brand. They want views and interaction, but they fail to realize that something like that takes years to build. The way it is built is through trust. That trust comes from the creator and the audience.  When the audience feels that the creator has failed them by changing format, changing hosts, bringing in new shows and taking away shows, the trust is broken.  So let me break it down for those that want the views and the interaction but don’t bother to hire a community manager – the best thing you can do to build your brand is to invest in your audience.

How does a brand invest in its audience?  The most important factor is allowing time for the brand to grow.  This isn’t going to happen overnight and it might not even happen in a year.  Things take time and if you put in the time, you will see the benefits.

Treat your audience like they are part of the show.  THE AUDIENCE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU ARE.  If you fail to realize this, your brand will not go far.  We live in a day and age where interaction with those beyond the lens is more important to the audience than passively watching a television show or movie. This is why twitch is the platform of the future, when people use it and do things well (such as Geek & Sundry and Hyper RPG) the audience will be loyal and will continue to tune in each week. The other benefit of Twitch is that the audience can monetarily support the show directly.

One of the best examples for how to build a community and to value a community is the team behind Kinda Funny.  I have been following Kinda Funny for almost two years now and I feel they know their audience and interact with their audience better than any other community I have been a part of. One of the most important things they did this year was hire a community manager (Joey Noelle, hey girl!) – someone to be the go between of the community and the people creating the content. Kinda Funny is on twitch every day for their morning show and for Kinda Funny Games Daily and they will constantly read out “tips” from viewers as well as do giveaways, talk directly to viewers, and then answer questions in subscriber mode only.  Their patreon is incredibly successful because they get to know their audience and they provide incentives that make you want to support them at any level.

I have been to a handful of Kinda Funny events (including their annual “concert/live show” Kinda Funny Live) and every time I go to a community meet up I know that I will feel welcomed even when I don’t know anyone. How many channels/brands/creators do you know that have meet ups without the actual creator being involved?  Building a successful channel starts with the audience – never forget that because your channel and “views” live and die by their trust.

with Kinda Funny after Kinda Funny Live 3

How do I love thee, Christopher Nolan? Let me count the ways

My two favorite directors working today are Christopher Nolan and Ridley Scott (with Quentin Tarantino in a close third place). I have not seen all of Ridley Scott’s films, but I have seen all of Christopher Nolan’s films.

Since I have seen all of his films I thought it would be interesting to rank how I feel they stack up against each other, however, I always feel conflict when ranking films because how do you compare Van Gogh’s Sunflowers to Van Gogh’s Irises and why is it necessary?  Well, it isn’t necessary, but sometimes it can be a fun exercise. So here we go:

  1. The Prestige
  2. The Dark Knight
  3. Dunkirk
  4. Inception
  5. Batman Begins
  6. Memento
  7. Insomnia
  8. Interstellar
  9. The Dark Knight Rises
  10. Following

 

Now I will rank all of Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings starting with my favorite The Starry Night.  Just kidding.  What is your Christopher Nolan film rankings and do we match up?  Let me know.

Ode to Back to the Future

Recently, I was asked why I love Back to the Future so much and instead of responding immediately, I decided to write an essay on the topic.

I don’t quite know how to put into words my love for Back to the Future but I will try to break it down (from memory) piece by piece.

One of my favorite parts in the opening of the movie is when Marty says he’s late for school and it cuts to him skateboarding out of Doc’s garage.  The shot of him skateboarding is the same street that I would drive down all the time in Burbank because I lived there for over 4 years. What I love even more about that part is how it breaks into Huey Lewis and the News while he is skateboarding his way through town.  Therefore, anytime I hear a Huey Lewis and the News song I immediately think of BTTF.

Then we get to meet Mr. Stickland – this character is probably my least favorite in the first film because his purpose isn’t really understood to me – does he move the story along in anyway?  Maybe he is just there to provide some comic relief when we see him in 1955 looking exactly the same.  During our time at the school we learn that Marty has a band and that Huey Lewis is one of the judges for the school band selection process for the dance.  I appreciate his cameo in the film and think it is pretty subtle.

Jennifer – ugh.  She is terribly one dimensional (in this particular part of the film) and really doesn’t provide us with anything except for the fact that Marty has a girlfriend.  She is underused but luckily we see her more in the rest of the trilogy.

I love the nuance when Doc calls Marty to the “Twin Pines Mall” to visit him and test his time machine but when Marty later returns from the future it has changed to “Lone Pine Mall” all because he ran over a tree when he went back to 1955.

I appreciate the transformation of Hill Valley from the gross run down palace that it is in the beginning of the film to the glossy beauty that it becomes when he returns back in time. Seeing streets of Pasadena transformed for the film (places that I recognize – particularly character’s homes) makes it even more special to me because I have been there.

The beats of the film continue from one movie to the next which provides comfort to me knowing what is going to happen next which is why I find the introduction of 1955 George McFly to be that more interesting. The idea that Marty can go back to the future and see his parents in high school is really what I love most about the film.  It takes us to a pinnacle point in their relationship with each other and puts it on its ear.  Now that Marty is involved and needs to not only get back to 1985 but needs to alter events in 1955 so that he might be born raises the stakes and makes me care about his character. I also like that his involvement in his parents’ lives while they were in high school actually makes their lives better at the end.

There is a complete understanding that he would absolutely wouldn’t have been born once he interfered because of the whole butterfly effect thing but I guess that is the one specific suspension of disbelief that I chose to ignore.

I love how much BTTF has transcended culture as well.  I can cosplay as Marty McFly and pretty much everyone will understand who I am.  I love being able to go to a theme park and hear the score and instantly think about the movie.  There are a lot of movies out there and I love how much BTTF has been able to become culturally relevant.  When I am asked to think of something that has to do with time travel it is the first thing I think of.  That means something to me.

And of course the DeLorean: I know that particular car was chosen because it looks like a spaceship but anytime I see one I automatically think of the movie.  The same isn’t true for other vehicles I may recognize from other movies.  I don’t see a Bug and think of Herbie, or a Big Rig and think of Maximum Overdrive or Duel.  It really is the only car that I think associate with a film.

Ok, I’m going to need to end it here for now because this is getting crazy, but that (so far) is why I love Back to the Future so much.  Nostalgia, friendship, adventure, and time travel all together create an entertaining movie experience (plus I love the Johnny B Goode scene and the fact that Chuck Berry totally plagiarized that song is hilarious to me 😉 ).

When passion for film is priceless

I spoke with a friend recently about going on shows without pay and without a contract and was told – we do it for the exposure and to further our brand.  This made me think, a lot. While those things are helpful, that is never the reason I go on shows without pay or without a contract. I do it because I love it. In fact, in most instances I am paying for my own makeup to be done in order to look my best on shows.  I consciously buy clothing that I like but that would also look presentable on camera if invited to be on a show.

Money isn’t the only thing that I have sacrificed to work for free, time is also being sacrificed. As a mother, I have to prep in advance when I am going to be away from my family and doing so can also mean needing to pay for a babysitter for my children which, once again, costs money.  I’ve spent a lot of money to do things for free for others and it’s because I love talking about movies and I love talking with others about movies.  For me, it isn’t about the exposure, it’s about being with people that love film and the energy and high I get from talking with other movie enthusiasts. In conclusion, doing what I do doesn’t pay (for now), in fact, it is the opposite, but the reward I receive in spending time and forging relationships with others that have a similar passion for film is priceless.

A Movie Survey ~ courtesy of Facebook

There is a movie related post that is circulating around Facebook and I felt it was time I answered the call – so here are some films that I currently love:

Most Hated Movie: The Vertical Limit

Movie I Think Is Overrated: La La Land
Movie I Think Is Underrated: Train to Busan; 11:14
Movie I Love: Back to the Future
Movie I Secretly Love: My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks

Favorite Action Movie: Enemy of the State
Favorite Drama: Casablanca
Favorite Western: Tombstone
Favorite Horror: Scream
Favorite Comedy: Troop Beverly Hills
Favorite Disney Movie: The Parent Trap (1961)
Favorite Science Fiction Movie: Edward Scissorhands
Favorite Animated Movie: Mickey’s A Christmas Carol

Favorite Coming-Of-Age Movie: Mean Girls
Favorite Superhero Movie: Kill Bill vol. 2
Favorite Musical: White Christmas

Favorite Dance Movie: Dirty Dancing 

Favorite Bad Movie: Deep Blue Sea
Childhood Favorite: Clue
Favorite Franchise: Fast & Furious
Best Trilogy: Back to the Future
Guilty Pleasure: Heartbreakers
Favorite Movie This Year So Far: Get Out
Movie I Have Recently Seen: Smurfs: The Lost Village
What I Thought of It: Decent kids movie but I was hoping it would stick to the canon of Smurfs and Smurfs 2 (where is Vexy?)
Favorite Movie Of All Time: Alien 

My own film therapy part 1

Someone asked me my opinion about the movie musical Into The Woods recently and I disappointed them by saying I haven’t seen it. This is a common theme for movies that were released between 2012-2015.  I now lovingly refer to this time as my “dark ages.” Which is also the time that I was in a severe depression. I want to be very clear with you, when I say, “severe,” I mean, severe to me. To someone else, my particular depression may seem mild.

This was a time that I didn’t see movies and I didn’t want to talk about film anymore. I felt maybe I was evolving and needing to focus on my children, but the truth was, I was barely functioning as a human being.

Depression can creep up on you at any time and for any reason. There doesn’t need to be an event that occurs to put  you in a state of depression, but I found that moving, quitting my job because I was moving, and giving birth to my second child was too much transition all at once. Shortly after my son was born, my original website (Hit or Miss Movies) lapsed – we were unaware that this had happened because it was linked to an old email account.  Once the website was finished and taken over, I felt like my entire identity was gone. This was when I started to “hibernate” and question wether or not movies gave me joy anymore. For a time, the answer to that question was no – the only movies I would watch were films that were for my children or movies that brought me comfort from my childhood (so I could revert back to a happier time). I hardly saw anything new and when I did, I wasn’t as invested in it as I previously would be with movies.

While this was a very difficult time in my life, and while this is a very condensed blog post (that I am sure I will revisit in time), I want to let you know that I was able to come out of that depression and I was able to find joy in film again – and with even more gusto.

It is hard to conclude a post that I could write a dissertation on. It is hard to conclude an important post that maybe no one will see or read – but I just want you to know, that if you are where I was, there is hope, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I was there, and now I am somewhere else. I am thankful to now be able to call those “dark ages” a memory.

I know this page doesn’t have an option to comment at this time, but you can always tweet at me your thoughts: @MissMovies

Experts Need Not Apply

I’m not an expert – in pretty much anything. I find that in this world, there are very few “experts” in certain areas. Unless you have a Phd or have published a book, or print article on something, you are hardly an expert. I do believe that people can be gifted or skilled in a certain area and not be labeled “expert.” We tend to throw around the word easily, so when someone is looking for an expert in something I laugh and think, good luck to you.

I’m proud to not be an expert, because this allows me to constantly be learning. This also provides for a more well rounded life experience.  While I love movies to an unhealthy level, movies aren’t the only thing that I love and and know about.

When I first became interested in film, I was already in my sophomore year of high school which meant I had a lot of movies to catch up on. Where as most movie lovers would spend their days watching movies and reading about movies, I would spend most of my days at dance practice, theater practice, and doing homework for school which meant there was limited time to watch films. By the time I was out of college I was finally able to regularly go to the theater and watch films at home.

Now I’m at a point in my life where I have other adult duties to take care of during the day. Since I am a stay-at-home-mom and content creator, I find I have exactly 2 hours after my children go to bed to devote to watching movies. While this isn’t much, I find that because of all of this, I am a more well rounded movie goer and pundit. I don’t know it all, but there is beauty in learning from others – which is why I love my YouTube channel. It is a place to learn about movies and a place for me to learn from the audience which provides a dichotomy that is different than other channels that talk about film.

What you can count on from me is that I will always be real and raw with you. While I work hard to be informed about what I discuss, I will also be honest with you – whereas other people may try to fake it, I take pride in being myself and letting you know when I don’t know something or letting you know when I feel short sided by Hollywood. So I hope you will join me on the journey that is the Miss Movies YouTube Channel.

Check out all the learning that is going on at www.youtube.com/MissMovies