Posts in Retrospective
VINTAGE REVIEW: The Untouchables

History and popularity have been kind to Brian De Palma’s crime movie achievement. The American Film Institute nominated the movie in five categories (Movies, Thrills, Hero, Villain, Film Score, and Gangster Film) during its “100 Years” series last decade. Then and now, The Untouchables earned a city’s pride and spurred new popularity to the Capone legend. Its success also fueled a star’s rise (Costner), secured another’s lasting legacy (Connery), and reminded audiences just how sharply talented its steward was. Once the end credits hit and Morricone plays us all out, you can also feel Brian De Palma channeling tough-guy Jimmy Malone with a “here endeth the lesson.”  The hitmaker never lost his edge.

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VINTAGE REVIEW: Medium Cool

When Medium Cool reaches its history-witnessing climax at the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests in Chicago, two crowd chants take over the urban soundscape. The first is a defiant “Hell no! We won’t go!” and the second is “The world is watching.” The observant cameras and microphones used by filmmaker Haskell Wexler preserved that spirited defiance for cinematic immortality. Fifty years after its release, the echoes of those unified shouts in Medium Cool still ring with relevance and importance today.  We’re not going anywhere, and people still fix their eyes on this film with shock and awe.

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GUEST EDITORIAL: The Relevance of "Fight Club"

In the last twenty years, however, it’s become something of a cult classic, and many have tried to dissect what the film actually means. To me, it’s mainly a satire on the American consumerist lifestyle, the prevalence of advertising, and masculinity. Some see it as a very political film, throwing around words such as “Marxism” or “propaganda.” To others, it’s about spirituality. Everyone has their own take on Fight Club. Personally, I think it’s some kind of combination of all of these ideas, and I’m dedicating the rest of this article to explaining why I believe that Fight Club has inadvertently become much more relevant now than it was in 1999. 

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20 YEAR RETROSPECTIVE: The best of the rest of 1998

Alright, I’ve spelled out my absolute “10 best” from 1998 in the previous post.  It’s time to take the press badge off and get casual.  Here are more categories of distinction and remembrance from 1998. Guess what? You still don’t see The Thin Red Line.  That’s too bad.  In the completely opposite direction, I was so very close to putting Wild Things in my Top 10 for 1998. Read on for more!

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20 YEAR RETROSPECTIVE: The 10 Best Films of 1998

In an annual series, Every Movie Has a Lesson is going to look back twenty years to revisit, relearn, and reexamine a year of cinema history to share favorites, lists, and experiences from the films of that year. When measuring back as far as twenty years or more, I feel like “favorites” that have stood the test of time have aged to become some level of “best.” I feel like a bunch of those populate my reflective look back at the best of 1998.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: Guest on the "The Cinescope Podcast" reflecting on "E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial"

Every Movie Has a Lesson gives a hearty welcome back to The Cinescope Podcast, hosted by Chad Hopkins, after a brief winter sabbatical.  After seeing me recently come out of hosting a screening of E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial through the "Kids Klassics" series at The Wilmette Theatre, Chad invited me to record a nostalgic retrospective on Spielberg's film as the return episode of The Cinescope Podcast.  E.T. is a cherished favorite film for both of us and it made for lovely discussion.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: YouTube guest on YPA Reviews reflecting back on "The Social Network"

In light of Mark Zuckerberg's testimonies before Congress this past week, Mike Crowley, the excellent YouTube video creator of his You'll Probably Agree channel, hit me up with the idea of looking back at David Fincher's The Social Network. Fincher's film has evolved from a tell-all biopic of sorts to a cautionary tale with an impact that is still growing. Mike and I think the film holds up and we went the social media route to record a video chat of our conversation.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: "Connecting With Classics" Episode #2: "Casablanca"

Here in Episode 2 of “Connecting With Classics”, Feelin' Film's Aaron White, guest host Josh Effengee from LSG Media’s Science Fiction Film Podcast, and myself celebrate Valentine’s Day by discussing a film that is considered one of the greatest love stories ever told. Casablanca checks in at #3, NUMBER THREE!, on the AFI Top 100 10th Anniversary list. This is definitely a beloved classic, my own #1 all-time favorite movie, and we have a great conversation about its quality as a film and all of the ways it has resonated with us emotionally.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: "Connecting with Classics" Episode #1: All the President's Men

Welcome, listeners new and old, to the FIRST episode of our new series “Connecting With Classics.” In this initial episode, Aaron and I discuss the #77 film on AFI’s Top 100 10th Anniversary list, and one which is closely connected to current new release The Post. If All the President’s Men isn’t the best journalism film ever made, it’s certainly in the conversation. Join us for some history, some lessons, and as always some emotional connection.

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20 YEAR RETROSPECTIVE: The best of the rest of 1997

In a new annual series, Every Movie Has a Lesson is going to look back twenty years to revisit, relearn, and reexamine a year of cinema history to share favorites, lists, and experiences from the films of that year. Partly taking my film critic hat off and adjusting the collar on my fanboy shirt, these next lists follow my “10 Best” list from 1997 with more categories of distinction and remembrance.

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20 YEAR RETROSPECTIVE: The 10 Best of 1997

In a new annual series, Every Movie Has a Lesson is going to look back twenty years to revisit, relearn, and reexamine a year of cinema history to share favorites, lists, and experiences from the films of that year.  Twenty years ago, I graduated high school in 1997 and the movie milestones matched the personal ones for me.  Here's my list of the best of 1997.

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