Mail Bag: Framing Movie Posters, Great 4K Blu-rays, Multiverse Possibilities, Crying In Movies, Single-Player Board Games

On the May 10, 2019 episode of /Film Daily, /Film editor in chief Peter Sciretta is joined by managing editor Jacob Hall, weekend editor Brad Oman, senior writer Ben Pearson and writer Chris Evangelista to answer some long lingering questions in the Mail Bag.

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Opening Banter: We have a lot of emails to get into today.

In The Mailbag:

  • Ben P from Los Angeles writes in: “Hi Chris,  I know you've mentioned in the past that you're open to non-movie-related questions, so maybe you can help me out with this situation.   One of my co-workers is obsessed with giving advice. Someone made him an advice-related theme song once and now he constantly sings it during work meetings. During these meetings, when we're all trying to make very important decisions, my co-worker always jumps in and says things like "I've got some advice for that!" or "Need a little advice? I'm your guy!"  So here's my question: how do I get him to give EVEN MORE ADVICE? He's always right - I just need more! Thanks, Ben Los Angeles, CA”

  • The Advice Corner theme song was created by Love you Wally.

  • Jacob asks Chris for advice about his chair.

  • Jackson writes in “Hey guys, had a question   For those of you that collect movie art or posters, do you frame your prints in UV glass or anything special to preserve it? I just framed some Matt Ferguson Star Wars posters, and plan to buy more art at Celebration. Just curious what you guys recommend to preserve your pieces.   Thanks, love the show.”

  • Peter Freeman from Gainesville, VA writes in “After recently seeing Glass, I began to wonder if there has been a sequel of a movie or franchise that has been made over a decade or more after the last movie in the series that has been any good.  Some examples of not good: Glass, Incredibles 2, Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, All the Star Wars Prequels, Ghostbusters, Predators, Wall Street - Money Never sleeps, The Alien Prequels, etc.  I can't think of one, that was considered good. I thought maybe the recent Halloween sequel but that's just under 10 years.   Maybe this is something you could discuss in your next mailbag segment or if there is enough here maybe a post.”

  • Michael O from Nashville TN writes in “Hey guys! I’m a big board game fan, but unfortunately, it’s hard to get my gaming friends together at one time. Sometimes I find myself craving a board game while everyone else is busy. Can you guys recommend any sort of single-player board game experiences?”

  • Mohammed from South Africa writes in “Hi Peter and the /Film Daily team,  My name is Mohammed and I am all the way from South Africa. I've been a daily listener of the podcast for the last couple of months.   I am a huge fan of the whole team and I really love the podcast. My 60km (37 miles) commute to work and back home would be excruciating without you and the team.   I recently just upgraded my home setup with a new 65" 4K QLED from Samsung and a XBOX One X. I am a huge supporter of physical media for a couple of reasons (extra's, box artwork and nostalgia etc.).   I was hoping to get some suggestions from the team for 3 Must Own/Have 4K Blu Rays to add to my existing collection. I have already ordered the following:  Avengers Infinity War John Wick Mad Max Fury Road Blade Runner 2049  What else do you think would be great movies to own as well as to show off my new 4K screen?  PS my current collection already includes standard Blu Ray versions of Lord of the Rings boxset, Godfather Boxet, Oceans Boxset, Matrix Boxset, Star Wars Boxset and about 40 other movies.”  

  • Paul Toms from London writes in “Have been listening and reading your excellent Avengers End Game coverage via podcast and site, I have enjoyed every minute of it.  Following on from your second spoiler discussion podcast I just wanted to address a couple of points around the issues with Captain Marvel and her powers that you were all talking about.   There is an easy solution to her being overpowered (as suggested). As with recent comics and with Carol's long and often confusing history, you introduce a character like Rogue. Someone who can drain her ability. The recent Captain Marvel comics book run has seen this happen, and the two characters have a long and complicated back story. Side note, Rogue now under Disney ownership, a good way to slowly introduce the idea of mutants and then xmen? Just a thought.   The other point about the time it took Carol to turn up to the battle of upstate new york, it only takes her a few minutes once Thanos's army and ship shows up, if she's got to get from the other side of the galaxy I think we can give her 10 minutes.   Keep up the excellent work.”

  • Jim F writes in “Just finished listening to the May 6 edition of Slashfilm Daily, and it strikes me that there is a very different way to view the introduction of the multiverse into the MCU. Yes, it could provide a simple way of introducing the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. But it also provides an easy way to wrap up the Sony/Marvel contract. Instead of just forgetting about Spider-Man or killing him off when the partnership between the two studios ends, they could easily have Peter Parker head off into another dimension.   That dimension, of course, would be the same one that the Venom movies take place in, as well as any of the other rumoured Sony "Spider-Verse" projects. This way, Sony reaps the most benefit from the storytelling within the MCU up until now, with Peter's backstory and character being well-established. It gives him new challenges and experiences, like learning to live without any of his supporting characters, etc. Maybe Mysterio actually tricks Peter into heading into another dimension under the guise of needing his help, but then traps Peter there just to get rid of him.   Of course, I'm not sure what any of this means for the Aunt May spin off movie.”

  • Michael from KC writes in, “Hey Peter and Co.!  Appreciate all the excellent conversations across the /Film family and guests digging into “Avengers: Endgame”. I have thoughts. Apologies for the length.  As we see with both the comics source material and many superhero films from most non-Feige entities, these stories have traditionally been treated as “good enough is good enough”. (Recall a WB hack’s comment that it didn’t matter whether a Batman script was good or not, as global box office will support any Batman flick regardless of quality.)  Whether due to the strict deadlines involved or the original target audience, comic book stories from the past are largely forgettable, paint by numbers, or flat-out bad. That is to say, there’s rarely been an incentive for “superhero” stories to elevate beyond simple tales of good overcoming evil in funny costumes. None of these movies has any real right to be as good as many of them are. And due to their outsized box office representation, the responsibility that these films have both been assigned and actively taken on has roped in themes ranging from racism and gender equality to corporate greed and entitlement. There is the cynical point of view that says they might include those “deep” elements just to have the facade of being more than popcorn fluff, but if those socially aware aspects were the only key to hit movies, everyone would be making billion dollar movies. Maybe there’s something to a superhero candy coating makes the messaging medicine easier to go down? But then, hasn’t that been the format of all of our myths? I understand how the “non-true believers” have had to suffer enough borderline worship of the MCU as quasi-religious works, but lessons disguised as fun engaging stories has always been humanity’s way.  I’ve been super fascinated by how it seems that from a film criticism perspective the MCU defies easy classification, dissection, and critique. I think that in the future, it’s likely we will look back at this run of films as not only genre-defying, but medium-defying beyond the current “it’s just movies as TV episodes” that is a relatable way to approach the MCU. But TV shows usually have tons of extraneous filler, and leave few dots for the viewer to connect. The MCU proudly skips “entire missing movies” like Wanda and Vision’s life between “Civil War” and “Infinity War” or Bruce Banner’s shocking transformation that occurs off-screen during the five year gap of “Endgame”. Similarly, viewers fed a steady diet of comic books will also bump up against the lack of connective tissue that aging actors, contracts, and millions of CGI render hours cannot accommodate. So there’s no simple “in” for an approach grounded in other traditional serialized storytelling: television, comics, or film.  It’s not to say the MCU films are so genius they transcend our rational minds, but I do feel the critic community just doesn’t quite have perspective yet, or perhaps the vocabulary to accurately place this work (say, “The Infinity Saga”) in film history from an academic point of view. I felt this especially with the oft-repeated criticisms of “Infinity War” as too much table setting, and that the end is hollow because in our reality, we the viewer know that the dusted characters can’t stay dead because we read the trades that tell us actor contract and sequel details. These are fair and common ways to analyze a film as a singular work. But the MCU experiment has never been a singular work. Even “Iron Man”(2008) can’t be that because it plays to an audience that knows what the greater Marvel Universe is in pop culture. Even if you ignore the Nick Fury stinger, much of the audience has some knowledge that Iron Man teams up with Cap, The Hulk, etc. When we read a novel and set it down halfway through, we don’t google whether the author has a follow-up in the works with certain characters. Do we cynically cross our arms at the end of “Wrath of Khan” and smirk that Spock can’t really be dead, robotically robbing ourselves of the crushing impact of “I have been...and always shall be...your friend.”? The entire point of dusting half the universe in “Infinity War” is to tell a story about how the characters in the movie react to losing those people. We feel Spock’s death because of Kirk’s reaction, not our own as passive movie watchers. What we the audience know about the filmmaking process is entirely irrelevant to the characters’ state of mind.  Once we step back from a “film by film” consideration, and we see the actual real time these productions have spanned, how many changes the viewer has experienced in the interim, how large a percentage of filmgoers have seen them, and in a niche-ified cultural landscape how many separate generations now have these moments as common touchstones, these start looking less like a series of movies, and more like a bizarre portal to a virtual world that we have access to periodically to check in with “people” that we’ve become convinced are real in way. How else to explain our reaction? The ubiquitously-mentioned early cinema patron leaping out of the way of the oncoming train he was sure was going to burst out of the screen and hit him. We’ve been trained over a century plus to accept most movies as artifice, as neat boxes of storytelling that we can hold in our hand and spin around to inspect its every angle, and that feels comforting. To attempt to consider the MCU and its totality is far less neat, more like considering a universe. Is this Kevin Feige’s grand design made real? Doubtful, as the best/most influential works of culture are frequently happy accidents wrangled by many talented people in the right place at the right time: The Beatles, Star Wars, the Bible. But it doesn’t diminish the end result. Can you call The Beatles a rock band? You can, and you can even analyze each album separately as compared to its contemporaries. But I would argue the real impact The Beatles had is completely separate from any one particular set of songs. One other aspect that I haven’t seen touched upon that much is the subconscious impact that I think the MCU has had on the public perception of masculinity and antiquated macho ideals. No real empirical data here, but after I noticed some cracks appearing with “The Force Awakens” (Han’s grown-man-tear-inducing “Chewie...we’re home.”) we now seem to live in an America where openly weeping in a movie theater not only evades ridicule, but is accepted and even championed as a healthy and cathartic collective experience. As a boy, I was certainly raised in a climate that discouraged any public display of perceived weakness. How common is the experience of a kid being stigmatized for crying? The freedom to be so connected to one’s emotions that tears of joy, shock, grief, and just pure awe arrive unrestrained is freeing, and to me has to be considered a progressive moment for our culture. And I definitely applaud the courage and confidence you guys have in sharing your reactions in an even more public (and often toxic) forum. Some critics peg this as suspended childhood, but consider the emotional damage done to previous generations because fathers weren’t permitted to identify with their sons, and weren’t equipped with the empathy and confidence to believe that becoming your best self means being able to feel everything in a safe environment. Do I want a world where fathers are distant, confused by and ashamed of their children’s feelings, behavior, and tastes? Or do I want a world where fathers are proudly locked in to the beauty of the entire spectrum of emotions and human passion that connects people of all walks of life?  The MCU as radical social change standard-bearer, and transformative parenting catalyst??? Did even Stan Lee himself dare to dream of such a thing?  Thanks for all the good stuff!  

Other Articles Mentioned:

 

All the other stuff you need to know:

  • You can find more about all the stories we mentioned on today’s show at slashfilm.com, and linked inside the show notes.

  • /Film Daily is published every weekday, bringing you the most exciting news from the world of movies and television as well as deeper dives into the great features from slashfilm.com.

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