When I first saw Ready Player One, I was deeply unsettled by how the film handled nerd culture. It seemed to encourage the aspects of fan gatekeeping that has made online discourse so toxic. It made fandom into nobility. It made nerds into undeserving heroes. It was also just a noisy mix of different homages, action scenes, lights, and colors. I wasn’t a fan.
Youtube channel Renegade Cut has put together a smart video essay explaining why the message of Ready Player One is so toxic. I hope when people watch a film like this, they understand that these kinds of subtle influences can have real and unfortunate consequences.
I chatted with Aaron White from the Feelin Film podcast about Solo: A Star Wars Story. Interestingly, I don’t think we actually disagreed about the content of the film! But we did diverge in how much we enjoyed it.
For a 2-hour long dissection of Solo, listen to the /Filmcast review.
I had a fun time chatting with Erik Samdahl from FilmJabber about Deadpool 2. In our spoiler-filled discussion, we chat about our famous cameos, and whether the sequel lives up to the insanity and zaniness of the first film.
You can check out Erik’s review of Deadpool 2 here and follow him on Twitter.
Avengers: Infinity War is a hugely ambitious, audacious superhero film that made for an amazing theater-going experience. In this spoiler discussion, we discuss what made the film work and what we thought could’ve been improved.
I’ve been experimenting with new video setups in our house, and trying to record more of these spoiler-discussions that I have with my wife. Here’s one we recently did for A Quiet Place, which we both found to be an effective horror thriller.
It was a delight to see the /Filmcast name-checked in this insightful video essay by Patrick Willems. Willems dives into the current state of online film criticism – what people expect from it, how people are consuming it, and what its true potential really is.
I’ve been diving into the work of Patrick Willems on YouTube recently and I enjoyed his piece on the art of the video essay.
Willems argues that the format is fairly stale at this point. Many video essay-ists are actually filmmakers in reality, but their essays don’t reflect the full breadth of their creative abilities. Why not?
I appreciate that Willems is trying to push the medium forward. His subsequent video essay on Star Wars begins to show what may be possible with the medium from a narrative standpoint.
MovieBob (AKA Bob Chipman) has created a series of video essays totaling 4 hours (!) discussing everything wrong with Zach Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It is one of the most comprehensive analyses of any film that I’ve ever watched — Chipman covers everything from the film’s aesthetics and structure, to why Snyder’s overall attitude towards superheroes might’ve made him the wrong director for this film.
Most importantly, I think Chipman hits the nail on the head by calling Batman v Superman an act of cultural vandalism. It takes characters who are beloved, revered, and admired, and it completely defaces everything we know about them. That is not inherently a bad idea. Great pieces of art often subvert, deconstruct, and satirize. But in this case, the end result does not make it feel worthwhile.
Batman v Superman was a disaster of a film, but what remains tragic to me is how it has essentially ruined these characters for a generation. If I had a child, I would not take them to go see the film and if I’d seen it when I was a kid, I can’t imagine admiring or wanting to be either of these characters. Man of Steel and Batman v Superman created this psychic void of heroism and integrity that these characters used to fill. Watching these video essays helped me reckon with that loss.
This set of videos isn’t without its own flaws — some of Chipman’s points are self-admittedly minor nitpicks, the aesthetics of the videos might not be up to everyone’s standards, and there is a significant amount of repetition — but if a YouTube video essays can be said to be a genre, then this is one of the best entries in that genre that I’ve ever seen. Highly recommended for any film fan.