6 Degrees of Film News: March @the Movies!

Hello Film Fans! I’ve missed writing to all of you but these past few months have been disruptive – to say the least! A glitch in my website hosting change-over meant that I had lost about a year’s worth of the old posts…So in the meanwhile, as we’ve been celebrating the 10 year anniversary of 6 Degrees of Film, it seemed like a good time to just tweak the newsletter style and copy a bit! One of the things that has been most interesting of late, in respect to the film posts, has been the idea of just adding a list from the “Friday Flix’ site based on the latest questions posed from current posts on film and on the history of film. So to kick off our new ‘revamped’ version of the 6 Degrees of Film news monthly, here’s an offer from the recent posts that we have compiled to give you some “Film Food for Thought!”😊 …BTW…Our posts are also edited from the weekly Facebook entries in 6 Degrees of Film online…Visit us sometime! And of course…See you at the movies!-ML Some Food for Thought from Friday Flix     Is it true that young people don’t know “Movie Stars’ anymore?   Here is another double-edged sword to grapple with. Films are not driven in this era merely on the strength of an actor’s ‘Star Power’ or ability to draw in an audience. A few with lasting appeal can do this, but nothing to the extent this sold films to the audience in times past. But perhaps that is a good thing. The appeal of “Indies’ has risen. And the new breed of writers and story-tellers has eclipsed many of the script writers of the past using stale and formulaic script ideas. The screenwriters of today cannot simply churn out the same tired stories; & they can’t use the same old cookie-cutter assembly line formulas as the films made fifty years ago. It’s true that the comic-book genre has created an entire sub-series of less than stellar films that focused on ‘origin’ stories and formulaic plotlines. And as discussed, these have often failed to ignite a spark with audiences. The idea of selling a film just because someone is a ‘big movie star’ or the film preceding it was a blockbuster hit just doesn’t apply in today’s Hollywood.   How did Marvel Lose its Way?   There is a lot of talk these days about how Marvel has doomed Hollywood. The “Superhero Fatigue’ effect in our culture is now a ‘thing’ discussed by critics. But there are still a lot of films planned for release by the studios. There has been a huge glut of these types of films on the market since the heady days for Marvel when everyone was waiting for the next big adventure to drop. But there is always a day after. That occurs when the story has been told and then retold. The origin stories at times seem forced or at least not ‘fresh’ for the viewer. The keys to films that go beyond just “Ordinary!” And even the fantastic fight finales seem forced and contrived. That is when you need to turn around and take a long look at what the driving force is for these types of films. Audiences love adventure films. Action movies are always popular with the general public. But good storytelling and great actors are the keys which make the films go beyond the ordinary. Robert Downey Jr was a huge piece of the puzzle that helped bring humor to the Marvel series. Scarlett Johansson gave ‘heft’ to the films along with star power. And Benedict Cumberbatch was arguably the best actor in the bunch. So there was that. And when some of these characters were killed off, there was room to grow but also spaces to fail. And in some accounts, that is what has happened. Though never a huge fan of these ‘comic-book genre’ films, I’ve always maintained that there can be great storytelling and writing that emerges from the simplest and most banal of story lines. We know that William Shakespeare took the tried- and-true elements of theater ‘oldies but goodies’ in his day and turned many of them into classics for the ages. And this proves it can be done. And yes, it does take hard work, imagination and a touch of creative genius to rework the old and stale plots before us. But in theater and in film, miracles do occur! What actor did John Wayne diss by saying he was “Too stupid to do anything but Act?!” (Answer =Clark Gable)   The hilarious truth surrounding John Wayne is there are countless stories -documented on sites like “Far Out’ magazine, where Wayne is dissing numerous people and complaining constantly about various things he didn’t like about films in his later years. Clint Eastwood can attest to some of that backlash, as it centered around Wayne’s vigorous insistence that ‘good guys’ would never shoot anyone the way Clint did! And there are many actors, and genres, he did not approve of.  He seemed to feel the Old Hollywood ways were being left by the wayside. John Wayne didn’t do “PC!” What Wayne never took into account in his disapproval were things like political correctness or the feelings of women or minorities. In short, he disapproved of anything that stood in the way of the pictures he felt depicted life the way Wayne wanted it to be! And that included the Vietnam War pictures, as well as the Old West and all its gritty reality. There were essays that were written in Wayne’s heyday which condemned the type of “John Wayne’ ethos where America and its might always prevailed. And this was, to some, the notion that would lead young, idealistic men to their death. Especially during the era of Vietnam! John Wayne & Robert Ryan Wayne was a staunch right-winger, who had a very definite view of the way things should be. But

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