The History of the Movies #WordPrompt

This month’s WordPrompt features the word BRIDGE. In an email from WordPress the morning of March 9, the first thing I did was start to consider using the WordPrompt inspiration as a jumping-off point for a new blog post.

What’s the Word: Introducing the Monthly WordPrompt

When I was learning how to make blogging a hobby, I took part in a few free courses. WordPress provided me with a ten-day photography course to get me out the door (and onto the “blog”) with some beginning training as a photographer.

Looking for other resources, I found the now-retired writer and educator Jeff Goins, from Nashville, Tennessee, best known for his bestseller The Art of Work, which I have read twice, also led me through an introduction as to how to write a blog, some years ago, through the free portion of his training courses, on Facebook. Mr. Goins is great and you can find his blog at https://goinswriter.com/blog/

Nowadays, building a bridge is not an expensive activity. Some towns are doing it to transform the pedestrian experience in their communities and to bring back some charm to the old traditional ways of living. By installing a pedestrian bridge, nearby areas will become more accessible and in turn boost local business as well.

A beautiful bridge crosses the Welland Canal very near to my parent’s home. There is a parking lot to sit in your car and watch ships pass, and walking and rollerskating and hiking trails run to and fro, very nice. It is not really for pedestrians, although you can go on foot if you feel what’s out there is worth walking to.

The road runs out of town in the direction across the bridge. The hiking trails run along the outskirts.

I want, for this post, to go back twenty-five years, to recall some excellent films. All these films pointedly affected me.

The Coen brothers’ 1987 film Raising Arizona is a favourite comedy. Lovers played by Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter pine for a baby of their own, though are unable to conceive. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AIfVoGUs6c

Finally, Cage, desperate to make his beloved wife happy, kidnaps a baby to raise him as their own. Despite the bad taste of the plot, it is a very funny caper film and does have a happy, if ambiguous, ending to all the trouble. The evil presence of the monstrous biker, having pledged his help to the infant’s real father, kind of transforms Cage’s view of criminality and helps him see that wrongdoing is not a loving way.

In 1988 audiences got the mind-blowing film Die Hard, where Bruce Willis plays a shameless cop who becomes caught in a high-level burglary in L.A. at Christmas time. The stakes are high for Willis’ character and the action is exciting and fast-paced.

Tim Burton’s 1989 film Batman redefined how a movie could introduce a superhero on the silver screen, especially at a time when previous versions of the character were beginning to be forgotten and new themes for the character were being introduced in the pages of comics. Tim Burton’s Batman was not only a superhero adaptation for the big screen but also incorporated elements that had never previously been attempted (or even dreamed of).

The nineteen nineties were set to be an excellent decade for film. With Jaws in 1975, Star Wars in 1977 and Superman in 1978, the tradition of the summer blockbuster event film had been established; the warnings that film was a doomed industry were unfounded. In 1992 Robert Altman brought to the screen a scathing indictment of Hollywood politics; Altman had previously been well known for directing MASH, the Korean War comedy.

Altman’s The Player was the story of a struggling screenwriter, played by Vincent D’Onofrio, keen on making his film a reality; the film executive who might give him his chance becomes so incensed by the trouble writer’s persistence that a lone encounter ends with manslaughter. The rest of the film is about the studio exec’s insistence on escaping justice, and while these are spoilers it is to be noted that the corruption about the murder is so pronounced that it translates to the meta in a break from reality. The Player is a very meta piece of work.

Another favourite movie of 1992 is Quentin Tarantino’s debut Reservoir Dogs, a story of a diamond theft woefully gone wrong. Acting wonderfully, Harvey Keitel keeps the film gripping for the audience. In the following years, it’s clear that Tarantino proved to be another visionary Hollywood auteur.

1993 saw the entire film industry mature when Steven Spielberg brought Richard Crichton’s sci-fi novel Jurassic Park to the screen in a massively successful undertaking that brought CGI in the film to a whole new ballpark. Beyond the visual spectacle are other nice touches in a special film; points of dialogue, often given to Jeff Goldblum, lend philosophical beats to the movie that remain relevant today. The theme of Jurassic Park is that people’s greed cannot be subdued when they are tempted.

The pop hit of 1994, Trainspotting, based on the Scotsman Irvine Welsh’s novel, shows the lives of drug addicts whose only allies are their small pack of anti-social but occasionally intellectual nonconformists. Great movie with not much CGI, but great music and outsider philosophy that is hard to match.

Another outsider film, a tiny film in 1994, Clerks is directed by Jersey’s Kevin Smith and features an unknown cast shot in grainy black and white, giving a voice to frustrations among convenience store characters who carry the talky little thing that Smith would prove in the career ahead of him he would never leave behind.

The Truman Show in 1998 stars Canadian comic Jim Carrey as a naive salesman who wishes passionately to leave his hometown, to give chase to a mysterious girl who once flirted with him in high school. His wife, his mother, his best friend all reject the idea. Adding to the complexity of Carrey’s character, he misses his father dearly, who drowned in a dramatic storm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ne-DzDN7WDw

Alan Ball directed American Beauty in 1999, a scathing satire of the upper class that is reminiscent of some of the best satires of the 1970s, such as Chinatown and Network. The film American Beauty asks questions about art; it takes the American Dream to task, with confusion among its seasoned male characters living successful family man lives.

Another great film from 1999 is The Blair Witch Project, a frightening horror film that broke box office records left and right and was the least expensive investment in Hollywood history that turned out to be the most successful. Internet marketing helped add to the intrigue in 1999 by linking the found footage filmmaking style to a website that helped make the events of the film appear real. I am pretty sure that The Blair Witch Project is the first found-footage horror picture.

In 1999, another excellent movie was Fight Club, in which Edward Norton’s character unravels and reassemblies his psychological make-up and values based on a chance encounter with Brad Pitt. Great music.

A fourth important film from 1999 is The Matrix. Neo, a computer programmer played by Keanu Reeves, finds out truths about a simulation that controls the world and slowly accepts that he is a hero for it.

SLC Punk in 2001 brought arthouse outsider sensibilities to the story of an American punk asshole who would claim to be a punk rocker while still pursuing the avenues opened to him by his hardworking parents. Good music here, too.

In 2002 The Bourne Identity stars Matt Damon as a U.S. spy with no memory of who he truly is. A realistically minimal style of narrative where plot and dialogue are concise and effective help make this film just great! No one dreamed it would be such an influential hit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpKaB5dvQ4g

By making Bourne Identity’s scripted ending seem insensitive, the events of September 11, 2001, complicated creative decisions about its conclusion, the director determined.

Kill Bill Vol. 1 in 2003 and Kill Bill Vol. 2 in 2004, both directed by Quentin Tarantino, proved that the best martial arts films in screen history could now come within from the USA; a new tradition.

The Terminal, a 2005 film starring Tom Hanks as an immigrant living in an airline terminal, until his immigration issues can be resolved, is a terrific movie. Hank’s efforts to be guilelessly cool work well and there is quite a bit of observational satire about social acceptance.

Another film that was strong in 2005 was Transformers, based on the Hasbro toys of the 1980s that represent advanced cars and trucks that transform into robots. Megan Fox delivers a strong and visually sophisticated performance as the female lead. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3t3TedG-ovs&vl=en

Note: this video, while using footage from earlier films in the franchise, is mostly discussing the upcoming Transformers 7.

In 2006, Daniel Craig starred as James Bond 007 in Casino Royale, which was the last film adaptation of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels after decades of James Bond movies. Craig did a good job as his performance helped bring a flashy but lightweight, though beloved, film franchise, into a new universe for 007, that saw that what was going on was dark and dirty.

The Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men in 2007 is stellar, where a lucky cowboy does his best to steal a small fortune in drug money after he comes across a shoutout where no one has survived. The villain in this film is a frightening characterization.

The 2007 action film Live Free or Die Hard is a sequel to 1988’s Die Hard, and even has Bruce Willis and Kevin Smith together for a scene. Unusual that a greying lead actor can return to continue to do a stunt-heavy film would become more and more acceptable for cinema audiences who enjoy the USA style of filmmaking.

A few years later, in 2015, the promotional work by the Walt Disney Corporation for Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens made me glad that I had Star Wars toys as a kid. I even had an R2-D2 light switch cover that would turn off the light when I needed to rest. I had workbooks, which is a little unfair to the other students, that helped teach me to put words together on the page through the lens of a world filled with Star Wars.

I had a lot of action figures that were likenesses of characters and vehicles from the Original Trilogy, and, in nice weather, I could play with them in the backyard of my house. In 2015 some of that fun reemerged unexpectedly when Disney and Lucasfilm revealed that J. J. Abrams would direct a brand new Star Wars film. Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill even returned for the new titles.

In 2017, Rogue One A Star Wars Story also provided a new backstory to the classic sci-fi Star Wars from 1977.

The 2019 film Joker is a standout about an anti-social outsider who wishes for nothing more than both sanity in his mind and the city around him, and who chooses between fame as a comedian or joining the criminal faction of the city of Gotham. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2ZIMeqgZ6E

How to create video content that makes you more famous

Some of my favourite personalities are YouTubers. And some of them want the fame and fortune of chasing the dream of being a big influencer!

Seventeen Magazine

A blogger writes on a website or a social media service (microblogging), and a vlogger video records presentations. Vlogging is the hotter of the two. There’s nothing better than a taste of Hollywood nostalgia, and it’s great to hear a TV journalist discuss what is going on in the world.

While a good vlogger can routinely (and sometimes casually) go viral, a smaller influencer or several may be better for you than someone towing a line. Consider referring to modest sources, instead of solely big ones, the big guns, such as Warner Bros, or CNN.

With the pandemic, embracing video content became all the more normal a pastime, when health care shuttered public destinations. I am not blogging the point of view of the creators. I want to pick up on how you can enjoy YouTube and feel supportive of your favourite vloggers.

They’re trying to live a dream! Making videos for a living on YouTube means you will only succeed if people watch the videos. If a YouTuber doesn’t have an audience, that creator will be unable to support a lifestyle solely through YouTube.

If you like video content, you should deal with a few realities. YouTube’s algorithm will give you recommendations that will waste your time if you are not attentive. Looking back at what I wrote in 2019, I saw that I complained that YouTube was beginning to become a platform only for mainstream entertainment, such as cable news and Hollywood filmmaking.

SPIN

When YouTube creators upload a mixture of original and copyrighted content, this can be flagged as a copyright violation, making the video inaccessible. YouTube is an extraordinary place for anyone who enjoys transferring recordings to the Internet, but that does not mean making a living at it is simple. That’s the nature of the beast.

The creators that you most enjoy should be people for whom you are loyal, supportive and careful. There is a good chance that a creator will produce more videos if their work gets attention. If you want to watch more of their stuff, watch your favourite creators’ videos from start to finish, and also consider watching the YouTube ads on their videos.

I am willing to speculate that those tips will make whom you chose in vlogging to enjoy watching even more prurient. When you join in with others who want to watch the same thing, you’re making money. Your creator’s fame is your fame.

You are part of a great, loyal viewing audience. You ought to watch your perusing propensities, on the off chance that you don’t need your inclinations met with advertisements on YouTube. Many tech services show users ads inspired by real-life habits.

With antiSpyware freeware, you can remove cookies that track your browsing habits. Tracking cookies report to businesses to place ads to appeal to you.

Fans deserve credit for the creator’s success since they are the ones who cheer when it succeeds. That should make you feel triumphant!

Let’s use Star Wars as an example. The greatest challenges faced by Star Wars Last Jedi director Rian Johnson were largely for his indifference to making good movies, in contrast to the feelings fans have for Star Wars Force Awakens director JJ Abrams. It isn’t a scientific correlation, but Abrams recreated elements of Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope and accordingly made Force Awakens into a billion-dollar box office success.

Star Wars IV A New Hope is a favourite for many who fondly remember it. Borrowing from the film’s pool of goodwill was a good idea for Abrams. With the eighth Skywalker film, Lucasfilm again earned a fortune, but many fans were unsatisfied.

The Verge

The Last Jedi was hastily-constructed in some areas. Despite Rey’s history as a Force-sensitive heroine, Force Awakens did not explore her backstory with the emotional heft of the original trilogy. Abrams, tasked with directing Episode IX Rise of Skywalker, attempted to return to some of the story elements Johnson introduced in Episode VIII while bringing back the spirit of the original trilogy that comes across in Force Awakens.

Without a fandom to get the word out, the controversy of The Last Jedi would have been moot. Instead, we heard many opinions on the Disney sequel films from the fandom, often negative, often on social media.

That’s what a good YouTube supporter should do. Provide your perspective. It’s your unofficial responsibility!

A person dancing with fame is under pressure. The image of an influencer must be tight. Somebody should put me in charge! 🙂

Perhaps I should make another objective, of trying to turn into a force to be reckoned with.

You can like, follow, comment, and my contact details are on the About page. I had a blast last month doing the bloganuary challenge, which involved prompts and loads of posting. I am pleased with the current direction of social media and Web 2.0.

In my professional role, I manage a Facebook page for a family business, and I am watching to see if Facebook and Instagram will make good on their announcement that they will cease serving Europe unless data regulations remain favourable. Maybe that will be another blog post from me.

https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited/

Why Skywalker`s Students Should Have Been Afraid

The Stupendous Wave on YouTube said yesterday that John Boyega’s people have said that an official trailer for Rise of Skywalker will air at halftime during Monday Night Football, and go to YouTube at the same time.

I wanted to say something more about the character of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, played in 2017 again by Mark Hamill.

Luke Skywalker wanted there to be more Jedi Masters, heroes of the Light Side of the Force, who help police their galaxy.

The word disciple often refers to people dedicated to learning about The Bible from Jesus Christ, of course. The Last Jedi retells how Jesus could do only so much, as when Luke is unseated by Ben Solo, son of Han Solo, and Leia Organa. Ben Solo has betrayed Luke and murdered the other disciples, becoming Kylo Ren.

This is not that different than the Apostle Judas betraying Jesus to Pontius Pilate for thirty pieces of silver. Unlike Jesus Christ, crucified by the Romans, Luke has enjoyed the freedom to retreat to Ahch-To. He is done with enlisting potential Jedi, at least until Rey seeks him, and tells him what she knows is happening in the First Order, across the galaxy.

The difference between Ben Solo and the other Jedi disciples Luke was trying to train is that Ben is the son of Leia and Han. Luke had known when training Ben, that the young man could be trouble for the galaxy if the Dark Side of the Force continued to grow in him.

Some of the tragedy of The Last Jedi, tragic in the sense that the events of the story are irreversible, and of an ill-nature, is that what Luke could teach caused the apprentices’ demise. The Jedi dedication to the Light Side of the Force could not combat the darkness in Ben. Supreme Leader Snoke has corrupted young Ben Solo, as a transformation into Kylo Ren begins, not too different than the transformation of Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader, in the prequel trilogy.

Snoke, a new character in The Force Awakens, has origins unclear, and likewise murky in The Last Jedi, but is an evil mentor to Kylo Ren, the opposite to how Luke was a mentor to young Ben Solo.

Dimensions: 3200 x 1967
Photographer: Luca Baggio

Not a big surprise, Luke Skywalker is my favorite character in The Last Jedi because of the reminders Mark Hamill creates of the original Star Wars trilogy. Luke`s powerful abilities with the Force, begun in Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977, and explored in the next two films, are what fans like about him. For Luke to be teaching the ways of a Jedi Master is great because Luke learned from Yoda, in The Empire Strikes Back, the ways of the Force.

“Pass on what you have learned,” Yoda finally tells Luke in Return of the Jedi.

Dimensions: 4500 x 2981
Photographer: Michal Jarmoluk

The Star Wars audience knows of events in the time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens because they have been told to Rey by Han Solo when the two are aboard the Millenium Falcon after Rey leaves home. If Luke`s other disciples had known of Snoke`s influence, on Luke, and his protégés, they would have become afraid. No one facing death would surrender life voluntarily when a pressing objective very much requires the opposite: the objective to become Jedi Masters and to protect the galaxy.

Luke`s remorse is evident. Mark Hamill displays the emotion perfectly.

Dimensions: 4608 x 2592
Photographer: Mateusz Dach

Recollections of the murders are present in The Last Jedi, but that movie would have been better if it were more clear what Luke searched for in his years of travel before the events of The Force Awakens. Luke is a Jedi Master who can deter the First Order if only he can teach Ben Solo the importance of the Light Side of the Force. That can`t be done, not even by Luke Skywalker.

How is it that Luke, with everything he understands about the Force, can make such a dangerous error? Luke has decided, I think, in The Last Jedi that to wield the Force, with as much ferocity as he has, is an act of hubris. If Luke had reached Ben Solo on any other level than of training the young man to become a Jedi, the sway of Snoke on Ben Solo might have been dispelled, with Ben never joining the First Order.

Although the conflict in Ben has made unrest in the galaxy that Luke, Leia, Poe, Fin, C-3P0, R2-D2, and Rose together combat in The Force Awakens, Ben`s path could have taken him elsewhere instead of to the very center of the battle against tyranny in the galaxy.

Appropriate fear is usually an emotion evoked by the Dark Side of the Force on one vulnerable. That same emotion could have prevented tragedy and kept both Han Solo and Luke Skywalker alive. Luke`s powers mostly fail him in The Empire Strikes Back when Darth Vader confronts him on Cloud City in Bespin, after Jedi Master Yoda has told Luke that he isn`t ready for such an encounter.

In The Last Jedi, Leia has told Luke that she desires for him to teach the Light Side of the Force. If Luke could have drawn insight from what Yoda at the last had to say about teaching with wisdom the Force, long before Ben precipitated the murders of Luke’s apprentices, the drawback of overconfidence in Luke Skywalker could have meant a better outcome for all.

You`re welcome to like this post, to follow the blog and/or to comment.

The Skywalker Saga draws to a close this winter beginning December 20.