Lessons Learned From This Year’s Movies

A few days ago, one of my friend’s dad, Christopher Albright, made a post on Facebook about the lessons he learned from each movie that he had seen this year. I thought that was a great idea, so I wanted to make my own list. If you are friends with him on Facebook, take a look, if not, here is a link to his blog so that you can check out some of his other writings.

  • Frank– Trying to write a pop song may drive you insane.
  • The Signal- You do not find aliens, aliens find you.
  • The Lego Movie- I should have written all the plots I came up with while playing Legos as a kid. I could have made millions on a movie.
  • The Monuments Men- Conveniently enough, most people in France speak better English than Americans can speak French. Who knew?
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel- Jeff Goldblum makes every movie better, pencil-on mustaches will never go out of style, and Wes Anderson has a hilarious perspective on pre-war Europe.
  • Noah- If you want to make a bunch of right-wing Christians really angry, make a movie about the Bible.. Unless you are Mel Gibson… for some reason.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2- Engineers may snap at any moment with little provocation. Also, it may be impossible to make a decent Spider-Man movie.
  • Godzilla- Americans will never make a good Godzilla movie, even if they cast Bryan Cranston in it.
  • Edge of Tomorrow- Groundhogs Day would have been even better with aliens and lasers.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy- If you ever get kidnapped by aliens, bring along a great music collection. It might just save the universe.
  • Lucy- Some people (i.e. screenwriters) have absolutely no understanding of science.
  • Birdman- Washed up superhero movie actors still matter!
  • Nightcrawler- It is helpful to think of news stations as “a screaming woman, running down the street with her throat cut.”
  • Fury- War is hell.
  • Interstellar- Black holes are actually not dangerous, in fact they are filled with books!
  • The Hunger Games- Mockingjay- For teenagers, overthrowing a tyrannical dictatorship is less urgent than making sure that your boyfriend/girlfriend is with you.
  • Snowpiercer- If you want to solve global warming, dumping more chemicals into the environment may not be the best idea.

6 responses to “Lessons Learned From This Year’s Movies

  1. Okay. Given the large number of movies in existence and the diversity of genre, I’ll disclaim possibly leaving some undeservedly out and state these ten in no particular order.

    Sound of Music. Certainly musicals are part of the legacy of movies. This is the most enduring, easiest to repeatedly watch and (as a caveat) actually sung by the all the lead actors (poking at Audrey Hepburn and My Fair Lady). Out of the top ten, but quite worthy, is West Side Story.

    Citizen Kane remains a perfect film. My college instructors would expect me, even decades later, to remember why this is. Honestly? The film bores me. On the oldie flicks (black and white) that did a lot with a lot less, a nod to the far more engrossing Twelve Angry Men.

    Star Wars (and maybe the first two sequels, taken as a whole) as originally released. Here’s why. It changed everything. It is as important for the same reasons Citizen Kane is important. Also, it still holds up today almost 40 years later as something each generation wants to see and is entertained by. Yes, certainly the technology improved to advantage of more recent films. So an honorable mention to the best of that — Lord of the Rings trilogy (definitely taken as a whole).

    The Dark Knight certainly benefits from CGI and modern filmmaking; none of which calls attention to itself in the film. In terms of what this life is all about, it is about the battle between Lucifer and the spirits that kept their first estate by following Jehovah. The Savior taught allegorically; it is the best method. And there isn’t a film that more perfectly captures the gravitas, nuances, motivations and mechanics of this real life conflict. With all the Batman films and comic book films inundating theaters, watching this film repeatedly, prayerfully and with meditation, I mostly ignore and forget it is a Batman movie. I despise the way it makes me feel profiling the Adversary, but absolutely love this film. And I’ll not offer an honorable mention here.

    Groundhog Day is a simple, brilliant and relevant film to watch every year in February or more often. We can even plug here as a worthy Rom Com. It is a repetitive movie that can be watched repeatedly. He learns something every time; and I learn (and notice) with each viewing something interesting, profound and inspiring. There really isn’t an honorable mention for this either (Edge of Tomorrow was fine, similar in ways) — but a plug for Transcendence as a film that spiritually touched while the film overall isn’t that great. What is life beyond this one? What is resurrection?

    Five down. Hmmm…

    Let’s give a nod to James Cameron. Leading film making innovation. Billions at box office demonstrate the supremacy of Avatar (Top 10) and Titanic (honorable mention). Throw in the first two Terminator movies… Again, these movies entertain, break new boundaries in the art and move us with relevant themes. You mentioned Gravity as seen in 3D — which I didn’t see as I did Avatar in 3D and Imax. Bet that was really great!

    So six… kinda… and I have to post and go… finish later.

    • This is only for the movies of this year, so I only mentioned movies released in 2014. All of the movies you mentioned were not released in 2014. I’m kind of confused what you are posting about.

      • You can move the post if you wish. You probably should. My intent was to begin to respond to your musing below that you’d a post an all-time top 10.

        • Oh no problem. Continue if you wish I just wanted to make sure that we were on the same page. Want to have a debate over whether Avatar is actually a good movie?

  2. Only saw (so far) six of these movies. I don’t go to theaters, and all my movies watched on DVD/BluRay are free from the library. I’m patient and can wait.

    There is a song by Weird Al about things he’d prefer to do or have happen to him rather than spend “One More Minute” that are all applicable to what I’d rather deal with than to ever see the Lego Movie again. Without any doubt the worst mainstream movie of the year. Just awful.

    On another of your blogs I put Dark Knight in my all-time Top Ten films. This is a list that includes, seriously as a film minor from college, Citizen Kane, Shawshank and Groundhog Day. Edge of Tomorrow wouldn’t be there; but i get your sentiment.

    Understand your point about Guardians of the Galaxy. But that’s a movie much too over-hyped and over-appreciated by many. It was okay; but, not that good. Once was enough. Ehhhh.. sure I might watch a sequel… maybe.

    Monuments Men was okay, too. Once.

    My favorite comic book hero is and always will be Spiderman. But your assessment is spot on. Why is it so hard? Andrew Garfield? Topher Grace (different series). So much Harry Osborne?

    So not on your list is the Ten Commandments remake. My pessimism is rooted in the utter failure of the movie that was Noah. On so many levels this wasted some great casting. Evan Almighty was a better Noah movie; more spiritually moving. Not dissing it; it was a comedy. Noah was trying to be serious and was so off the mark…

    • Yeah although I didn’t think Guardians was amazing, it was one of the better movies of the year. Maybe I need to post a list of my top 10 movies of all time.

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