|Trevor's View on Hollywood||
Just a couple of days ago, one of those horrid riots in response to the murder of George Floyd happened right in my own city, in Bellevue, Washington. Protests called for police cars to control massive crowds, and looters took advantage of the protest to break the windows of stores and spray paint graffiti all over public property; such graffiti included, "AmeriKKKa," and "I Can't Breathe." I am in genuine fury that people would stoop this low. Though I can't comprehend the exact feeling of injustice that those who were there felt, as I'm not Black, nor have I ever had a bad experience with a police officer. But the state of our country right now has just gone from worse to much worse only a week. It's completely shameful that so many people across the world allow their skin color to define differences, and even decide who's a good person and who's not. It's an absolute tragedy that a frightening number of innocent Black folks got killed by the same people who are expected to protect them, and my heart goes out to the friends and families of those murdered. So I believe this is the perfect time to share with you ten movies about Blackness that I feel are genuinely worth your time, they can allow Black people to feel proud of themselves, and can help educate other ethnicities about Black culture.
Pixar’s newest feature film Onward, now available to watch on Disney+, tells a classic type of story that aligns to some teachings by Holy Scripture. Among the more profound verses that supports it includes 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” It means that the Holy word always marks the right path, which is rarely the easy path, much like how this movie teaches kids and parents alike that the easy path is almost never the right path, that you need to take risks in order to grow, that you must rely on Christ as He commands you to take risks. (Proverbs 3:6)
The fantasy world of this film focuses on two teenage elf brothers, Ian and Barley, in their quest to bring their deceased father’s full body back before sunset. This quest is far from easy though, as the two brothers are quite different: Barley loves to take risks while Ian loves to remain in his comfort zone. Their differences cause them to mess up multiple times as Ian’s preference for what’s convenient clashes with Barley wanting to follow his gut instinct. The biggest asset that contributes to their conflict is Ian persistently thinking that his brother is a screw-up, which is ironic, since Ian is himself seen being the real screw-up in their obstacles. (Matthew 7:1-5)
I'd like to now share with you all an exciting new series I'm doing. Surely some of you have already seen a few of my movie-inspired recipes in the past, well now I'm taking them to the next level by making them into videos! My plan for this is to eventually make a living off YouTube by doing videos like this each week, so I would love for you to give this video a watch! For your convenience, I also have the recipe written out below so you too can taste the greatest movie about divorce ever made!
“A true hero isn’t measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart.” Disney’s Hercules shows how this famous Greek mythological figure gained immortality once he put another’s life above his own and learned to do so after an epic journey that echoes some of the beats from Jesus’ preaching. While it’s still got issues, this satire on Greek history depicts what makes a true hero to the extent where those qualities are much like Jesus himself. He died and rose again to overcome the world, (John 16:33) a lot like how Hercules wasn’t considered a true hero until he was willing to die for the woman he loved, and cast the god of the underworld into the river of death. (Revelation 20:13-14)
Now of course, Hercules was a mere mortal for almost all his life, meaning he sinned like any human, so had to learn over time how to use his abnormal strength. The rest of society thought he was a freak, so he felt he belonged nowhere. This is a universally common desire that everyone who doesn’t know Christ feels, because God designed man to desire a home in Heaven. (Matthew 11:28, Hebrews 13:14) Once he learned his destiny and sought out training to be a true hero on earth, his drive became mere public approval. When out searching for danger to improve his reputation, he was actually happy to hear that two boys were trapped in a gorge. His overconfidence of course led him inside the jaws of a hydra, but being in the belly of a beast caused a death and resurrection (Daniel 6:16-18, Jonah 2, Matthew 27:57-61) into the life of a mass celebrity.
Right now, it may feel like the entire world is falling apart; businesses are shutting down, we're being forced into our houses, the curve is going up, there's no more toilet paper, wearing face masks has become the new normal, our water supply is poisoned, our crops are burned, a plague has been delivered unto our houses.
In all my twenty-seven years of living, I've never seen anything as universally affecting as Covid-19, it's impacted every single little detail about the way people worldwide live, I can't even brush my teeth without being reminded of the pandemic!
I don't know about you, but this time has left me in periods of being sorely depressed, I've very often forgotten where my hope is, because in truth, that never went anywhere. That's why I want to share with you some strong inspiring films relevant to what's going on right now- ones you can put on your "quarantine watch list" and remember the hope we still have in this rotten, dying world.
“Anyone can cook!”
Now, Ratatouille isn’t saying anyone has the ability to cook well, while yes, anyone “can” cook, that doesn’t mean anyone “should.” Rather, good quality cooking can come from anywhere it’s not expected, showing much coming out of little the same way God chooses the most unlikely followers to carry out His duties. No matter where it comes from, newly discovered talent must be celebrated, (1 Peter 4:10) even if the talent often comes from somebody whom society disrespects. (Matthew 21:42) God always uses the weak to humble the strong, (1 Corinthians 1:27) He even put Jesus in a lowly position as a carpenter to further prove His point!
Though it’s considered dangerous for a rat like Remy to pursue his passion of cooking in a kitchen, as he’s considered a pest there, but those types of places are where God comes in to pull us through deadly waters so that we could use His gifts. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) If you really love doing something like dancing or painting, God will make sure you’re pursuing it for His purpose, discovering and creating as Remy describes humans doing. In that way, we can discover His glory as we create things such as songs of praise. (Psalm 117:1-2)
It's been two-and-a-half weeks since the Oscars ceremony awarded what they thought was the best of 2019 in cinema. They did pretty well compared to past years, but they could have done better, both in their winners and nominees. I'm not alone when I say there were so many great gems out there that got the boot, some of which were even critical and box office hits, while others that didn't deserve the recognition sadly got it instead.
So now, I have my ideal lineup of nominees and winners that I think the Academy should have gone for, one that would have guaranteed less controversy and more people willing to watch the show. With that, I combined box office numbers with the objective quality of the film, so that the nominees are movies the general public has actually heard of, and promote strong artistic values. I also made sure that there's an even balance, particularly in the Best Picture lineup, of films that appeal to men and women, as well as represent different ethnicities. Each of the top ten grossing films of the year get nominations, even if just for tech categories (except for Joker, because its Razzie nomination discredits its public respect). I also tried to make sure that of the films that pass as works of art, they each have an even balance of nominations in the major categories (Picture, Director, Screenplay, Acting) as the tech categories, that way, they can be looked at as not only profound social commentaries, but exercises in the power of visual storytelling. I don't want otherwise effective films like 1917 to be looked at as great technical achievement and nothing else, because they contain so much more depth than just that.
I'll try to do more of these with as many of the 2010s Oscar lineups as I can, but I ultimately want you to see this as a good guide on what films I most recommend you see, and just what problems exist within the Academy of Motion Pictures. Feel free to comment your thoughts!
Sorry for not posting my winner predictions here on this blog, but I did post them on my other social media sites, including Instagram. In total, I predicted 17 out of 24 correctly, which is shockingly not much of an improvement based on how I did in past years. Yet compared to how previous ceremonies have went (particularly last year's), I am so much more satisfied with what happened; my complaints this year are relatively few.
First, here's the full list of winners last night:
This infamous Batman foe remains among the more instantly recognized pop culture villains for the way he combines the scary clown trope with the concept of social disorder. Back in the pre-Nolan era of Batman, seeing Joker overthrown by the Dark Knight was satisfying to viewers, but today, seeing that clown prince of crime get away with his antics is what satisfies most viewers. He’s made to be sympathetic because of his mental disorder that causes uncontrollable laughter, which in turn justifies why he wants his death to make more sense than his life. This is a bad motive to set for oneself, death should never ever be the goal, as death was already conquered once and for all by Jesus. (John 20:17-18) Life, not death, is what should give hope for justice. (Philippians 4:6)
All throughout the feature, Arthur Fleck performs numerous criminal deeds, one of the briefest ones being when he stalks a young mom then kisses her without permission the night he commits murder. Later on the Murray Franklin show, he kisses another woman without permission; in today’s culture, both of these circumstances would easily be considered rape. Thus, Arthur’s a rapist as well as a murderer. Oh, but he’s not murdering out of self-defense like his original intention of accepting a gun from his coworker, as he chases the guy on subway, his drive is clearly for revenge. He’s in the deadly mindset that murder gives him purpose, as he accepts that about himself when he kills his mother for abusing him. Instead of seeking out the Lord’s shelter, he resorts to his own devices for redemption. (Psalm 91:3-6) He never shows a smidgen of humility or remorse for his unlawful actions… even Job, who assumedly did nothing to deserve such torment, still humbly lamented for any time he did wrong. (Job 31:9-10)
But first, a few notes on some of these categories:
I considered the animated films for all the categories except for makeup and costume design, since there are technicians behind the editing, cinematography, and set design that deserve every bit as much recognition as those who work on live action films. So it's virtually free for all in everything.
I also consider all films that feature visual effects shots a chance in Best Visual Effects. I say that it should be the goal of any VFX artists to make the effects invisible, so that's what I've been judging this year.
I'm not following the same judgment as the Oscars, who like to judge based on technical achievement. While that's important to acknowledge to make sure the artistry of filmmaking continues to grow with its discoveries, my focus is on how the practical elements contribute to the film's unique needs, so you may find nominees in some of these categories you'd never expect to find in any other awards show lineup. I'm not saying I'm better than any of them, but rather this is my two cents on what's important in filmmaking.