As I peruse the awesome film lists that people have been compiling to educate allies on racial inequity, there are a couple films that seem to be missing (The Help and Green Book are decent and all, Hidden Figures as well) but where is Higher Learning or American History X? Where is Queen & Slim? Where is 12 Years a Slave?
… I have an opinion on that.
As a Black man, I’ve looked at many of the recent films on Civil Rights and thought to myself, “That’s not for me. That’s for the white audience.” These are films that focus more on portraying Black people as people of virtue and worthy to be treated fairly. News flash, folks: we deserve equal rights based on our humanity. Nothing more. Nothing less. These films offer no accountability, which is what is sorely needed now. The latter films are rarely mentioned because they hold a mirror to people’s faces and show them things they don’t want to see or acknowledge. I believe 12 Years a Slave is the perfect film to watch if you’re serious about understanding.
To clarify, I’m not saying you aren’t serious about being an ally if you don’t watch it; I’m saying it’s the perfect film to watch. It’s an essential film based on the craft used to create it alone—impeccably shot. Solidly written. Powerfully acted. Emotionally scored. It has all the makings of a film that garnered multiple prestigious awards. It’s also without a doubt the most unflinching portrayal of slavery ever committed to film. This is what we need right now. Our streets are filled with gas. Our buildings are burning. Alliances are shifting. Friends are becoming enemies. Enemies are becoming allies. It’s a tumultuous time.
Almost all of this turmoil can be traced back to the slave trade, and what better way to educate yourself on a root cause than to watch the best film made on the very subject?
To those who haven’t seen 12 Years a Slave, or are descended from slavery, I’d like to reiterate that this isn’t your typical slavery film. This isn’t about glorifying a historical figure. It’s about narrowing the lens on the crime against humanity that is slavery. This is about one man’s fight for his freedom on a physical and existential level. You can take that harrowing journey and then realize that millions fought that same battle in their own way. Slaves were not a monolith then, just as marginalized people are not a monolith now. The oppressors would have you believe this because it’s how they reconciled their atrocities—by convincing themselves we are not individuals and we are lesser beings. There’s even hope among the chaos, because Solomon Northrup persevered through his ordeal. We, as descendants, can take his example as a microcosm for our own struggles. He survived with his character and dignity intact. He remained sure and proud. He never quit hoping or fighting. We have that same spirit within us. We’ve had no choice, because the alternative is more knees on our necks and guns in our faces.
I’d like to leave you with this in closing: changes in perspective and hard conversations need to happen in order for us to progress. Both of these won’t come by avoiding the elephant in the room—pretend it’s not there and you get trampled. Our streets are evidence of this in recent weeks. I truly, truly believe that 12 Years a Slave will stir something within you. It could be anger. It could manifest as sadness or disappointment. It might even (hopefully, prayers up) awaken you to the pain of a people. Whatever those emotions may be, I say let yourself feel them. You won’t be in a theater. You’ll be in the comfort of your own home or another familiar place. If it gets too tough (and it will) take a break. Don’t fast forward or skip. Gather yourself. Discuss it with your viewing partner. Analyze it. Work through it. Use the film as a tool toward better understanding and empathy.
My hope is that you leave your viewing experience a little beat up and worse for wear, but also energized and ready to take action—even if that’s simply getting another person to watch. The scars of slavery are evident in the Black community down to our inner psyche and the marrow of our bones. There are reminders everywhere—the monuments to leaders who believed they had the right to own us; the confederate banner they fought under; police brutality; malicious legislation; predatory loans and debt; defunded education; mass incarceration; the people afraid to sit next to you at the movies; even the disparity between elite athletes and ownership—all of it is born from the desire to maintain a 401-year-old status quo.
Let’s not make it 402 years.
About the AuthorAn aspiring screenwriter and all around good guy who has dedicated himself to the infinite pursuit of true objectivity - except when it comes to the cool stuff. A love of motorsports explains his positive Fast and Furious scores. He laments the fact that the strongest storytelling is currently told through streaming media and video games. He wants his cinema back! But being the flexible guy he is, has invited people back on his lawn.
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By Sam Cooley — 9 months ago
Alright guys. So there have already been some other Backseat Directors articles on the Oscars that you should totally check out. I want to use this spot to simply list out the results for the winners, whether I think they were deserving, and who were some snubs. I’ll look mostly at the more popular categories as well as a couple that I thought were especially noteworthy.
My Pick: Marriage Story
Nomination Snubs: Peanut Butter Falcon, and Farewell
To be fair, I think Parasite was a wholly unique and engaging movie with stunning visuals and insightful themes of class divisions and animosity; if anything, it’s awesome that it made history as the first foreign language film to win Best Picture. However, of all the movies that were nominated, this was probably the least likely to inspire or resonate emotionally. It’s a realistically cynical (albeit important) movie, but I don’t think it deserved Best Picture.
Even though this next movie was in no way a true competitor with Parasite in certain areas, I believe that it had it all when it comes to a worthy ‘Best Picture’ win: Marriage Story. No other nominee was so timelessly applicable nor poignantly touching. The acting was heartbreaking and heartwarming, the screenplay masterful; and the topic something that most can either connect with from personal experience, or at least better understand, all because of how genuine this film was. I suppose the next big trend-breaker is when a Netflix original will win Best Picture—maybe that’s why the foreign language film, Roma, didn’t win the title last year (and lost to Green Book, no less).
Winner: Bong Joon Ho (Parasite)
My Pick: Bong Joon Ho
Nomination Snub: Greta Gerwig (Little Women)
Honestly, I’m okay with this one. I still wish Best Picture went elsewhere, but Bong Joon Ho at least deserved some individual recognition.
I do think it would’ve been awesome to see Quentin Tarantino finally win Best Director (which is long overdue); Todd Phillips and Sam Mendes both in their own way brought game-changing movies to light, and I would’ve been happy with any of them winning.
At the very least, Greta Gerwig probably should’ve been nominated. I wouldn’t necessarily replace another nominee with her, but I don’t understand why she was passed up. It would’ve at least helped to put the Oscars in a more inclusive light (only one woman has ever won ‘Best Director’), and the fact that she deserved the nod made it all the more confusing.
BEST LEAD ACTOR
Winner: Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)
My Pick: Joaquin Phoenix (second choice is Adam Driver for Marriage Story)
Nomination Snubs: Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems) and Michael B. Jordan (Just Mercy)
Come on… This was a shoe-in, and honestly, some of the best acting of all time. One thing I’ll mention about the brilliance of this specific portrayal of the Joker is that it takes a villain—and shows that he wasn’t always the eloquent, cool, untouchable Ledger-like antagonist that we’ve all come to know, obsess over, and see in others like Hannibal Lecter and Anton Chigurh. Like most disturbed individuals, there’s more to the person (like social ineptness, vulnerability, and utter tragedy) that leads that person to break and then rebuild for the worse. That’s Joaquin’s Joker, and it’s the most captivating performance of at least this year. Great win.
BEST LEAD ACTRESS
Winner: Renée Zellweger (Judy)
My Pick: Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story)
Nomination Snub: Awkwafina (Farewell)
I can’t really say much here. I didn’t happen to see most of the movies with nominated ‘Best Actresses’, including this one. I thought that Judy was going to be your run-of-the-mill, Oscar-bait movie that would be quickly slated and ignored (I honestly don’t know a single person who saw it). I was surprised when Zellweger got nominated and dumbfounded when she had won. I guess I’ll definitely need to give Judy a watch.
I will say, I was really hoping for Scarlett Johansson to win. If you haven’t seen the movie Marriage Story, go and watch the fight scene between Adam Driver’s and her character, along with her monologue when she’s with her lawyer. Absolutely amazing.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Winner: Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood)
My Pick: Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood)
Nomination Snubs: Jamie Foxx (Just Mercy) and Shia Labeouf (Honey Boy)
I really enjoyed Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. He’s honestly one of the biggest highlights of the film… but it’s solely because he’s just cool. Super cool. He won for a role where he basically plays himself (or at least, how we all see him).
I can’t believe Pitt’s performance won over Tom Hanks’. If you haven’t seen the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? that was snubbed at last year’s Oscars, you should absolutely see it. Count how many times you cry, acknowledge how you feel about this near-perfect human being, and then watch A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and see how it compares. Hanks did such a good job so that all those feelings came right back as if I was watching the real man. In a day and age where kindness, sensitivity, and gentleness are tossed aside for power, imperviousness, and cynicism, this portrayed figure couldn’t be more appropriate. I know Hanks has two Oscars already and Pitt may have been long overdue for his, but if we’re basing this on performance and its impact alone (and forgetting “alumni” context) it’s obvious who should have won.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Winner: Laura Dern (Marriage Story)
My Pick: Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit)
Nomination Snubs: none
Why Laura Dern wasn’t nominated for her role in Little Women over this is beyond me, but the fact that she won is downright bizarre. Her role isn’t bad—it’s actually interesting: she’s an aggressive, feministic lawyer that’s just as sisterly with her client as she is cutthroat with her client’s husband. But in the end, it’s really not a memorable character as she’s completely overshadowed by Driver and Johansson’s performances… And I swear she only had like 10 minutes of screen time.
Very rarely does an actor/actress get two different nominations for two different roles, but Johansson truly deserved both. In Jojo Rabbit she’s a quirky, playful mom to the main character that makes for some hilarious, and touching scenes between mother and son. She’s also a single parent, and works as a steadfast moral compass to her Nazi youth son and others—a strong, impactful female character. I would’ve loved to see her at least win this.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY BITS
- Jojo Rabbit wins Best Original Writing.
I was pumped with this result! Taika Waititi has managed to make a name for himself rapidly in Hollywood. All of his movies are just fantastic (What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpoeple, Thor: Ragnarok), and this may be his best work so far. He was able to bring a story that used an extremely difficult era and subject matter to create genuine laughter, tears, and celebration of triumph over (apparently) clumsy and whimsical evil. If anything, it’s encouraging to see a film this lighthearted and optimistic receive accolades, and I wish it happened more often. Also, Waititi is the first person of Maori (New Zealand aborigine) descent to win an Oscar!
- 1917 wins Best Cinematography.
All I really need to say about this movie is that it’s a spectacle during the entire runtime. What makes 1917 stand out, and what should put it near the top (if not at the top of every ‘Best War Movie’ list) is the master class cinematography by Roger Deakins. Honestly, guys, the whole flick is like two different shots both lasting about an hour, and the way the camera follows the intensity and action is something that will catch the eye of even the most unsuspecting movie goer. Please try so hard to see this in theaters, or see it on a jumbo screen somehow, because this will prove to be one of the best movie going experiences you’ve had in a while.
- Joker wins Best Music (Original Score).
I would have been okay with a number of the nominees winning. Randy Newman’s work in Marriage Story was as tear inducing as ever. Probably my favorite composer ever, Thomas Newman (The Shawshank Redemption, Finding Nemo, American Beauty), built up the tension to another degree in 1917. But honestly, Joker’s score was probably the most fittingly haunting music I’ve heard in a film. It’s truly a unique style, and now I can’t imagine any other sound wordlessly telling the story of a misfortuned psychopath. On top of that, (and I did not know the composer’s gender until she came on stage) Hildur Gudnadottir is the first woman to win Best Original Score ever! Being that the Oscars have often been polarizing for some with a feeling of exclusion toward certain race and gender, this was an awesome win.
- Eminem’s Performance.
A lot of people felt like Eminem’s performance of “Lose Yourself” during the Oscars felt misplaced and random. I for one loved it, especially when I considered the context. At the 2003 Oscars, Eminem was nominated and won Best Original Song for “Lose Yourself”, which he had written for 8 Mile. Thinking that there was no way he would win, he not only didn’t attend the Oscars, but he was apparently asleep at home when it was announced that he had won. It was great to see him finally give his acceptance speech of sorts 17 years later.
- Shia Labeouf and Zack Gottsagen announce Best Live-Action Short Winner.
As previously mentioned, I think Peanut Butter Falcon was snubbed for not getting a nod for Best Picture (or for at least something else). Suffice it to say, if you haven’t seen it, you need to. It’s become one of my all-time favorite feel-good movies. It utilizes a Mark Twain-type atmosphere, and takes two unlikely actors (a pretty much blacklisted child star, and a man with Down syndrome) puts them in powerfully suitable roles and makes a beautiful relationship/adventure out of it. During and before production, Shia made sure that he and Zack spent plenty of quality time together. He even credits Zack for being part of the reason why he’s seemingly got his life back in order. And seeing them up there together—double teaming the announcement—was a really sweet moment.
Alright guys, let me know if you agree/disagree, who you would’ve picked to win, snubs I missed, or thoughts in general about the Oscars!Post Views: 316
- Jojo Rabbit wins Best Original Writing.
By Parker Johnson — 1 month ago
Ha ha. Shower thoughts! Get it? Alright, alright; I’ll lay off the puns.
If you can believe it, there was a time when I wasn’t completely obsessed with movies. Back in high school, I took a “Literature Through Film” class as an excuse to watch movies as the class of the day. It was a chance for me to relax for an hour before going off to work. I remember when it was announced that we would be watching Psycho (1960), the principle of the school came in and assured us that even though this movie was rated R, there was nothing in this movie that would violate our cultural religious beliefs. However, if anyone felt uncomfortable, the teacher would provide an alternative assignment. (I grew up in a very conservative part of Utah) No one took the alternative, and I myself was super excited to see a real life, unedited rated R movie! (Once again, I was really conservative growing up.) When the credit rolled, I found myself with a deep sense of…boredom. Despite being in a film class, I had not begun to appreciate all the nuances and technical aspects that comes with filmmaking. I had expected a lot more shocking visuals and graphic violence to accompany the movie regarded as the greatest thriller/slasher film ever made. In my youthful arrogance and ignorance, I wrote off Psycho as being overrated and was determined to leave it at that. Thankfully, I grew up.
My Redemption Arc
It was around 2014 when I discovered my love for watching and collecting movies, and around the fall of 2015 when I first began seriously studying film as a medium. I took an introduction to film class with my roommate, and I began really appreciating what goes into making a film. I began to expand my watch-list beyond the bi-annual Disney and Marvel movies, getting into more independent films and familiarizing myself with different directors. About a year later, I realized that I still had neglected a whole genre: horror. I had always been a bit apprehensive about horror film because of my conservative upbringing, but I also knew I wouldn’t be a very good film critic if I refused to watch an entire genre. So I began to ask around to see what the best horror movies were. I slowly began to really appreciate and admire horror as a genre simply by how much effort it takes to create a good horror picture. Cheap B-horror movies are a dime a dozen, and I can’t tell you how great it is to see a fantastic horror movie. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, when the Backseat Directors writers were having a group discussion about critically acclaimed movies that were overrated (in contrast to our “Defend Your Movies” series on the podcast). I threw out that I thought Psycho was boring, and the gasps of outrage and disbelief could be heard throughout the far reaches of space. André (the founder of Backseat Directors) brought up the suggestion that I should watch it again and see how I feel about it now. Knowing that my knowledge of movies had grown, and I’d probably have a different opinion now, I agreed. So, what’s my verdict? Psycho is a masterpiece.
Surprise vs Suspense
Many fans of Hitchcock are likely familiar with his famous advice about surprise vs suspense:
There is a distinct difference between “suspense” and “surprise,” and yet many pictures continually confuse the two. I’ll explain what I mean…TV interview with Alfred Hitchcock
We are now having a very innocent little chat. Let’s suppose that there is a bomb underneath this table between us. Nothing happens, and then all of a sudden, “Boom!” There is an explosion. The public is surprised, but prior to this surprise, it has seen an absolutely ordinary scene, of no special consequence. Now, let us take a suspense situation. The bomb is underneath the table and the public knows it, probably because they have seen the anarchist place it there. The public is aware the bomb is going to explode at one o’clock and there is a clock in the decor. The public can see that it is a quarter to one. In these conditions, the same innocuous conversation becomes fascinating because the public is participating in the scene. The audience is longing to warn the characters on the screen: “You shouldn’t be talking about such trivial matters. There is a bomb beneath you and it is about to explode!
In the first case we have given the public fifteen seconds of surprise at the moment of the explosion. In the second we have provided them with fifteen minutes of suspense. The conclusion is that whenever possible the public must be informed. Except when the surprise is a twist, that is, when the unexpected ending is, in itself, the highlight of the story.
One thing that plagues a lot of modern horror/slasher films is the over use of jump scares, and the lack of suspense building. They tend to go for the surprise angle and not the suspense. For some movies, that’s completely fine. However, an over reliance on suspense over surprise actually cheapens the quality of the film. This is the reason the original Halloween (1978) was such a success. It wasn’t as bloody or gory as most modern movies, and even the Halloween sequels themselves. But the constant stress of waiting and not knowing what the killer was going to do next kept us on the edge of our seats. I believe this drew its inspiration from Psycho.
“Re Re Re Re”
The music of Psycho is the heart and soul of the movie. Hitchcock even admitted that without the music, he was convinced that Psycho would be doomed to be a made-for-TV movie. However, after seeing the film with the finished score, he was confident in the film.
Going back to my comparisons with the original Halloween… in both films, the music elevated what could have been a B-movie into a masterpiece. Both had great themes and haunting melodies that accompanied the sense of being watched and stalked.
I just want to acknowledge how outstanding Anthony Perkins’ performance is in this movie. When we first meet Norman Bates, he seems like the perfect boy next door: a shy, but good natured man. Then slowly we learn that he is a peeping tom, and covers up for what he believes is his mother’s murders. The subtle change in his face and in his eyes over the course of the film is absolutely brilliant.
Back in high school I knew almost nothing about different types of movies, nor how they were made. In the words of my old boss at the movie theater, I was a “popcorn muncher.” Now, I totally understand why this movie is referred to as a classic and a masterpiece. Those terms are rightly used. It was because of Psycho that movies like Halloween could become so beloved. I’m so glad I watched this movie again. I own it now, and so should you.Post Views: 1,461
By Rachel Ogden — 6 months ago
What’s your favorite movie?
Don’t say you don’t have one. Everyone has one, you just don’t know what it is yet; it’s something you can turn on whenever; something that makes you smile every time you talk about it; something that impacted you and continues to amaze and delight you with every re-watch. I also believe our favorite movies are ones that define us, that connect in perhaps indefinable ways to our own stories and help mold and shape our choices onward. Is that a little extreme? Maybe. But quarantine has made me extremely grateful for movies and for the Backseat Directors community. So as we celebrate its 20th anniversary, allow me to share with you my all-time favorite movie: Gladiator (2000).
A Dream that was Rome
Let’s set the scene—it’s 180 A.D., and Emperor Marcus Aurelius is waging war with Germanic tribes, accompanied by his loyal Roman general. His son, Commodus, is brutal and unfit to be emperor, so Marcus Aurelius asks this general (who is the former lover of his daughter Lucilla) to take his place as heir to the Roman Empire. Naturally, Commodus is hurt by his father’s decision, and Marcus Aurelius is killed. Without the Emperor’s choice of heir made public, Commodus takes his father’s place as Caesar while the loyal general is exiled.
Those who have seen Gladiator might recognize the plot points and characters found in this description, but this synopsis actually belongs to a movie called Fall of the Roman Empire (1964). Considering the latter was released to an audience well-acquainted with Roman epics, the studio expected it to be a smash at the box office like Quo Vadis (1951) and Cleopatra (1963) before it. After all, it starred such titans of the screen as Sophia Loren (Two Women), Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music), Alex Guinness (Star Wars) and Stephen Boyd (Ben-Hur). The studio had spared no expense; the film’s Battle of the Four Armies (not to be confused with the Hobbit movie) involved 8,000 extras, and the Roman forum they built is still the largest outdoor film set in Hollywood history (yes, even bigger than Hobbiton). But the film was an utter failure. It tanked at the box office, almost single-handedly bankrupting its production company. Critics of the time panned it as being too ostentatious and devoid of humanity and drama (ironically today it holds a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes). So much for the glory of Rome. Fall of the Roman Empire was the last of the old Hollywood Roman epics, famed for making its title ironically intuitive and credited with killing the genre.
For 35 years, Hollywood steered clear of Ancient Rome, the Caesars, and the Coliseum. That is, until a screenwriter named David Franzoni had a pitch meeting with DreamWorks and suggested that they make a gladiator movie. Even though Fall of the Roman Empire was a disaster, the idea of making a Roman epic was thrilling enough to attract an acclaimed cast and crew. This included Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner) as director and a rough-and-tumble, goofball Aussie/Kiwi named Russell Crowe (L.A. Confidential) as the lead character, Maximus. The supporting cast included seasoned veterans like Richard Harris (Harry Potter) and Oliver Reed (Oliver!) and relative newcomers like Joaquin Phoenix (Joker) and Connie Nielsen (Wonder Woman). Hans Zimmer was invited to compose the score, and he had the good sense to bring on Lisa Gerrard. In addition to these well-knowns, 566 other names are listed in the credits (I counted). It was the dream team, and the movie’s success is owed to each and every one of them.
Death Smiles at Us All
When Gladiator won Best Picture at the 73rd Academy Awards, three producers took the stage to accept their Oscars. One of them was Branko Lustig, a native of Yugoslavia who as a boy spent years imprisoned during the Holocaust. He survived Auschwitz but lost the majority of his family. The life he went on to live is the best representation of why the movie he helped to make endures. Maximus is a hero who loses everything, but not because of a mistake or a momentary lapse of judgement: it is his very goodness that brings on his head punishment, heartache, and loss. But it’s his adherence to his principles that allows him to rise and eventually challenge the corrupt Emperor in the Coliseum, becoming leader to a Rome that lost its way. Overcoming adversity through strength and honor against even insurmountable odds is not uncommon in Hollywood pictures, but few films resonate with a worldwide audience the way Gladiator did. It’s what made Roman epics so popular in the first place.
Despite the talented and dedicated people involved, the making of Gladiator was fraught with difficulty and chaos. Much of Franzoni’s original screenplay was thrown out, so they began shooting with only about 31 pages of script. Dozens of other writers weighed in, brainstorming ideas that were often rejected and ridiculed by Scott and his actors (especially Crowe). While filming, the script was often freshly written the night before. When they flew a 300-person team to film the second act in Morocco, there wasn’t a line of script to work with, just a repurposed soccer stadium where they could shoot some gladiator bouts. The toll of filming such an epic affected everyone involved; Crowe was battered and injured throughout shooting, and Phoenix was incredibly anxious about his performing abilities and physique. Just as the end of the arduous shoot came into sight, tragedy struck: Oliver Reed (Oliver!), who plays the retired gladiator Proximo, died while shooting in Malta. Instead of replacing him with another actor, the ending was rewritten and filmed with the help of CGI and extra footage.
Gladiator was released on May 5, 2000. Even with its first act similarities to Fall of the Roman Empire, the final result was a journey more reminiscent of Ben-Hur (1959) and Spartacus (1960), with similar success. It’s a simple story: the general who became a slave, the slave who became a gladiator, and the gladiator who defied an Emperor. But it did the impossible; it ushered in another age of sword and sandal epics with a loose remake of the very movie that killed the age before. It won five Oscars, conquered the box office, and won over fans everywhere. Despite the legendary and extensive careers of both Crowe and Phoenix, today it remains the film they are most asked about in interviews. Franzoni, whose script was repeatedly thrashed, rewritten, and criticized, earned an Oscar nomination for his writing and took home an Oscar beside Branko Lustig when the film won Best Picture. It renewed a love and interest in Roman history in the United States (termed “the Gladiator effect” by the New York Times) and led to a series of movies and television shows set in Ancient Rome, though none of them were able to reach the same level of success. A Roman epic was not, and still isn’t, a guaranteed win for a movie studio, but Gladiator was a home run.
Are You Not Entertained?
So why now? Why take the time to extoll the stories and virtues of this film beyond my own obsessive fandom? Because I think Gladiator is the kind of film that inspires people to be artists. It’s the kind of film that pulls people like Richard Harris out of semi-retirement because they just can’t say no to starring in it. Nobody would go into entertainment if not for those kinds of films, and I’m sure everyone at Backseat Directors could tell you the films that made them love movies. With a founder who left a corporate career to pursue a passion and a group of writers made up of professional critics and film fanatics alike, we might be a dream team of dreamers not unlike the one Ridley Scott put together.
Hollywood became an empire because it told stories that captivated our imagination and elevated our perspective. Seated with our popcorn and good company, we enjoy visual storytelling that transports us across continents and to time periods both real and imagined. The beauty of art is its subjectivity, so this will not be true for everyone, but for me, Gladiator is Hollywood at its best. It is the ultimate hero’s journey: overcoming adversity by maintaining principles that the outside world calls you to abandon. The story on the screen and the one taking place behind the scenes can inspire and encourage us as we write our own stories. Daring to believe in your own creativity and build something that’s yours is not always easy, and the rewards are not always apparent. While your leap of faith may not be quitting the corporate life or standing up to corrupt dictators or taking a 300-man crew to Morocco with only an inkling of what you’re going to film, seeing people do so can give you courage. There’s always a chance that your idea will turn out like Fall of the Roman Empire; but if there’s something you feel drawn to do, something you can’t stop thinking about that lights you up inside, could it be worth the chance of failing? I’m certainly no expert on the subject. If there’s anything we can learn from Gladiator, it’s that life is short; but as a fictional man once said, “What we do in life echoes in eternity.”
“When you grow up in the suburbs of Sydney or Auckland……or the suburbs of anywhere, you know, a dream like this seems kind of vaguely ludicrous and completely unattainable. But this moment is directly connected to those childhood imaginings, and for anybody who is on the downside of advantage, and relying purely on courage: it’s possible.”Russell Crowe, Oscar for Best Actor acceptance speech (2001).Post Views: 604