Is the praise and criticism of Tom Cruise warranted? What makes a drama a “historical drama”? Who is that Bollywood star? Check out the delight in one fan’s reaction to the season finale of THE MANDOLORIAN … all that and much more!

Here are the letters from Imagination Connoisseurs for Tuesday, December 22, 2020. 

Taking delight in a fan’s delight over THE MANDOLORIAN season finale.

Dear Rob,

I came across this video on YouTube and I had to share:

This women’s visceral reaction to The Mandolorian’s Season 2 finale, I believe, represents all that is good about Star Wars fandom. I also feel that along the way, Lucas Film underestimated or forgot how much Star Wars (and its characters) means to the average movie goer.

I am delighted, however, by the course correction that Feloni and Favreau seem to be making. Some will decry “fan service” but fan service pays the bills and energizes the base!

Happy Holidays to you and yours. Here’s to a 2021 rife with peace, love, unity and nerdom.


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What makes a drama a “historical drama”?

Hi, Rob

Greetings from the UK, happily hurtling towards Brexit with no deal except the lockdown house arrest. Just a quick one today:

There was lots of discussion on the latest Robservations regarding what differentiates a historical from a period drama. Here’s the simple rule: if a movie takes place in the past, that’s a historical drama. If a movie revolves around a woman losing her sanitary items…that’s a period drama.

With that, I’ll don my beskar plated Helmet to deflect all the stones and lobbed bottles heading my way and scoot out of here.

Have a great Xmas and what can surely only be a better New Year!


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“Learning by Doing” works great in animation, too.

Hi Robert,

I’ve been watching you and John Campea talk about movies for a couple years now. I really enjoy hearing about all you have to say.

Well, I made a little animation with some friends, it’s based off an idea I had in high school- which I just graduated from this year. If it weren’t for you and John, I don’t think I would have made this. You two have shown me that these things can be done with enough passion.

This is only a pilot, and it’s cut down from 8 minutes, so it may feel choppy. But I loved making it and learned a lot.

Please tell me your thoughts, I hope you enjoy.

Lucas W.

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Character development takes time – it’s nice to see it done right.

Hey there Rob and the PGS,

I’ll try to keep these coherent and hopefully I won’t ramble on.

I’ve recently been working my way back into star trek, having watched as a kid I’m finding a new joy in rewatching as a adult. I wanted to write in as I progress through this journey, and as of writing this letter I’m on ep18 season 1 of DS9.

Each episode has taught me something new about which ever character is the focus, from Bashir and his need to be in the action and O’Brian being the general handyman while juggling a stressed relationship with his family, even Jake and adjusting to a life growing up as the son of a Starfleet commander.

While I’m not a expert in reviewing media, I feel like the time and care taken during season 1 to set up all these characters and their multitude of personalities and conflicting needs/goals is what makes the show so engaging. I look forward to more and I have to pace myself or I get burnt out and sit in a daze trying to sort out everything I just watched.

That’s all for now I hope you (Rob) and everyone listening are having a good time and geeking out about whatever we’re talking about today.

Hang loose and live long and prosper,

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People don’t make movies like they used to … do they?

Hi Rob, moderators, and Post Geek Singularity,

In terms of storytelling for movies, I have been thinking about this for some time now. I know movies are products of their time, but I’m thinking maybe a number of genres, so to speak, or certain types of movies and styles are also products of their time.

For example, comedies get made all the time, but I just feel certain types of comedies wouldn’t work in today’s society. As an example, I don’t think screwball comedies (in the vein of something like Bringing Up Baby and My Man Godfrey) work today, like they did in the 1930s and early 40s. As much as I like screwball comedies, like the two I mentioned, I just can’t picture a majority of modern day audiences sitting through movies like that.

Another example I have is for film noir.

I know there is neo noir, but I just don’t see a film noir in the vein of something like Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, and Sunset Boulevard, working if made today. I just can’t picture a majority of modern day movie goers sitting through a Raymond Chandler type story, the way people did during Classic Hollywood.

While I like screwball comedies and film noirs, I do lament, to a certain extent, how storytelling for film changes over time, but as some people say, “They just don’t make movies like that anymore”.

Thanks, live long and prosper.

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Taking a closer look at Dimple Kapadia and Bollywood cinema

So, we’ve finally watched Tenet – yay! But that is not what I mean to talk about (I enjoyed it.:) Also, I had no issues with the sound on the DVD. I thought I’d mention this, since the sound has been made a great issue of.)

No, I thought to use the occasion, since Dimple Kapadia is in it, to recommend a film of hers – Lekin (But).

In it she portrays a woman caught in the no man’s land between life and death. Now, I hasten to say – lest you be disappointed – that this is NOT horror. It is an understated, contemplative, even gentle film. It also lacks the wonted colourful Bollywood numbers – though it has, of course, songs in it. This is my favourite:

As a contrast, here she is in full Bollywood mode:

(She’s only got a guest appearance in this film – but I like the song, what can I say?:))

Note: I think I’ve seen a grand total of two Indian films without songs in them – and I didn’t like it. I kept waiting for the songs to appear – and when they didn’t… it was disconcerting.


PS – I would have linked to IMDb or Wikipedia, but they display a photo/poster/image/whatever, that I just detest. It vexes me. Because it gives a completely erronous impression of the film.

Looking at it, you’d think it was a cheap, overwrought romance. And anyone going into the film expecting lots and lots of romance – cheap or otherwise – would come away as disappointed as the horror afficionado hoping to be scared out of their skin.

PS2 – Regarding Tenet… In the first scene set in India, you can hear a song – a snippet, only a few words really – playing in the background. I could tell you which film that is from.:) (I’ve seen it.)

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Pulling the mask off the hypocritical coverage of Tom Cruise’s COVID diatribe.

Hi Rob,

It’s been a while since I wrote in. Yet this stuff over Tom Cruise illustrates something that needs to be said: “Life is not fair.” Why do I say that, well, because now you have people equating themselves to Tom Cruise. Which is mind boggling to me. Here’s a link to the news story  I read that cracked me up.

Melanie Liu, producer for DIGITAS

NBC News, I guess in their effort to appear “fair and balanced” after citing celebrities supporting Tom Cruise then decide to list Melanie Liu: Melanie Liu, a producer who has worked on television commercials and digital ad campaigns, said she could “understand the sentiment behind what he said.”

“I get the frustration,” Liu, who has produced advertisements for Kleenex and other major brands, said.

But the apparent rant also inspired her to look inward: What if she had behaved that way on a set?

“I can’t even imagine how I would be reprimanded,” she said. “That’s not a way that I can act on the set, and we shouldn’t, we certainly shouldn’t exclude him from following that type of standard.”

Then Ava DuVernay, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker behind “Selma” and the Netflix miniseries “When They See Us,” struck a similar chord in a tweet Wednesday morning.

“If you’ve shot during the pandemic, you know the Herculean effort it is to keep a project going within Covid protocols. Then some dude doesn’t wanna wear his shield? Nah. Been there. Felt the rage,” DuVernay wrote, apparently alluding to the Cruise incident.

She added: “Also: If I did that on set, I’d be directing icing videos for the local bakery.”

For starters: there is no comparison.

Why NBC News would choose these filmmakes in the industry and put them on the same level as Tom Cruise is hilarious to me. Should he have yelled like that? That’s debatable – we don’t know the full circumstances. Ms. DuVernay – the day before the Cruise audio was released. There was a story in Variety about 9 Covid cases on one of her shows. 

I know of quite a few shows for weeks that haven’t been shut down and Covid cases have been on sets. When businesses in Los Angeles haven’t been able to open – yet those shows still run? It’s hypocrisy and a double standard – it’s also money that the industry gives to California politicians through lobbyists.

The Intercept did a story on this two weeks ago.

Anyway, I love that Cruise is passionate about the protocols – hell, I read he spent $700,000 of his own money to house cast and crew in a cruise ship while they were shooting in Italy – so he’s putting his money where his mouth is and for people in the industry acting like they couldn’t get away with the behavior and placing themselves on the same pedestal as Cruise – come on!

When Ms. DuVernay and Ms. Liu are able to generate billions of dollars into the industry and also help open up the worldwide market to Hollywood – that’s right people forget that it was Tom Cruise that helped enable more revenue for Hollywood films by shoring up the foreign markets.

People forget that probably $400 million – $200 of which is going into Mission: Impossible 7 and another going into Mission: Impossible 8 which is going to shoot immediately after seven finishes principle photography. If the numbers are the same as Fallout – Paramount and their fellow investors could make close to a billion on each film.

Someone needs to explain to Ms. DuVernay that her last film which opened for Disney was a financial flop. The film was made for $100 million – which Disney may’ve spent an additional $100 million for worldwide publicity and it brought in over $130 million worldwide. Domestic Blu Ray/DVD sales – over $13 million.

Fallout – made $791 million worldwide and $21 million from Blu Ray/DVD sales. And Tom Cruise is 58 years old – for over thirty, hell in three years – 40 years – he has had a CV of financial succusses and made billions for the industry and Paramount especially, so Ms. DuVernay and Ms. Liu – if you generate that type of money for the studios – yeah, you probably won’t get disciplined.

Also, Paramount might try to discipline Tom Cruise – it would be dumb if they did or Cruise might release a statement of apology. If he were smart, he would just continue shooting his films, because this will turn into a no-win scenario, especially if NBC News is putting out stories where producers of different races and lessor CV’s are trying to compare disciplinary actions to Cruise. Besides, with national and world affairs another news story will eclipse this and it will be forgotten about by next week.

Over the years, I’ve heard nothing but nice things about Mr. Cruise and his behavior on set and his treatment of crew members. I’ve worked in the industry 16 years and have seen temper tantrums thrown and crew called out and fired for things that were ridiculous – Mr. Cruise saying what he said and how he came off to me – I wish more producers would throw fits of rage taking Covid seriously, because I’ve seen and heard from friends who are working where it isn’t being taken that seriously.

Oh, and by the way in reply to someone that talked about the mask Cruise wears – I have the same one on top of many others. And if people did their homework and looked at pictures since the last time M:I 7 was shut down – a few weeks back. Cruise started wearing a KN95 mask underneath the black port mask as well as a black mask over the KN95 mask. So, he’s been double masking at times.

Keep doing what you do Rob.

James W.

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One story behind an IICFF submission.

Hi Rob and Lizzy-poos

There’s so much you and I could talk about for hours. We land our Eagles on the same Moonbase.

I’m the executive producer (otherwise known as DAD) on the film in the IICFF, ASCEND.

I can’t tell you how excited the kids were to see their breakout film aired on your channel. I’m so proud of them all.

Danny Jeffs, my daughter’s boyfriend who we welcomed into our home has been the main energiser behind the film, since I told him you were holding the festival. I simply said that there is a guy on the internet I’m subscribed to who is looking for entries into a festival and they got to work.

Under incredible circumstances with the pandemic lockdowns they managed to shoot about half what they intended to and managed to cut what they had into a coherent story.

I suggested to them to make the film, and no matter what, forget about it and move on to the next one.

At this moment in time, my wife is in hospital and will be there over Christmas. She was in hospital last Christmas too. Only this year, we can’t even visit due to restrictions. It’s very hard for the family. But thats not the point. On the way back from dropping off Christmas supplies to her, without even getting the chance to wave hello, I started writing in my head. I formulated a NEXT episode of ASCEND. I got home and scrambled out a script to show. The excitement I got from the kids reading the idea was fantastic to see. We might collectively move forward with it, we might not. It was the excitement I loved to see in their faces.
I’d love to see these kids make it in ways that so many of us never did or could. But now they have friends like you and your followers who can help them, which is amazing.

So here’s to my point: The Hollywood machine seems to be in a state where it will do its best to exploit new talent and independent film makers, putting their own financial gains ahead of anyone else.

Do you think there’s going to be a paradigm shift where the independent film maker can not only survive, but thrive on internet platforms without the need for bloodsuckers in the industry taking their 99.9% cut and put the success back into the hands of young creators, essentially free spirited producers?

Love and kisses,

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