It’s been a very existential, post-holiday here in the Post-Geek Singularity. We’ve received lots of letters about what fans should or shouldn’t say or do – or how they should or shouldn’t say what they mean. That’s why we read them and share them with you …

Was HEART AND SOULS a movie out of its own time?

Hi Rob, moderators, and Post Geek Singularity,

I just saw a movie, which I want to recommend to everyone who hasn’t seen it, as I quite liked it, called HEART AND SOULS, released in 1993, starring Robert Downey Jr, Elysabeth Shue, Alfre Woodard, and Charles Grodin. I did like it, but there was one issue.

Robert Downey, Jr. and Kyra Sedgwick starred in HEART AND SOULS

There were 2 plot points not resolved. The first was about a man who lost contact with his sisters, and goes to find out about it, but the film ends before that storyline is resolved.

The other is about Robert Downey Jr meeting Elysabeth Shue’s parents, which he doesn’t do. I would have liked to have seen those 2 plot points be concluded.

When I was reading reviews for it, one reviewer wrote something which I thought was an interesting observation. The reviewer said even though the movie was enjoyable, it definitely would have worked better if it was made in Classic Hollywood, as the feel of the film didn’t work as well in the 90s. I could definitely see that, as I think it would have worked very well in Classic Hollywood, as the film’s story and overall feel of it, reminded me of films like Topper, with Cary Grant, even though it was set in the 90s, as I think it could have worked well in the 1930s or 40s.

It reminded me of how some movies might be considered timeless, but not all of them would work if made in a different time. For example, I think Godfather could definitely still work if it was made today, just as it is, as opposed to the 1970s . However, something like The Apartment, just as it is, would not work today, as it definitely felt like a product of the 1960s.

That was something I observed about Heart And Souls, and other movies. As I said earlier, I would definitely like to recommend everyone to see Heart And Souls, if you haven’t, as I quite liked it. You guys might like it too, or not since it’s all subjective.

Thanks, live long and prosper.

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Finding your own “hidden gems” when it comes to favorite films

Greetings from Puerto Rico.

I recently started to watch your YouTube channel and frequently I see you on The John Campea Show. I always find your opinions very interesting and profound.

We all have our Top 10 or Top 50 favorite movies. There are films that never made the cut for those kinds of lists but still, we consider them as particularly special or hidden gems.

I’m not referring to the ‘is so bad that is so good’ kind of movies. For every ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘The Godfather’ there are some movies that resonate with us for some reason or another.

It would be interesting to know some of the films that are hidden gems for you and why.

In my case, I can mention films like ‘Redbelt’ (2008), ‘Finding Forrester’ (2000), ‘The Rainmaker’ (1997), ‘The Way of the Gun’ (2000), ‘Les Misérables’ (1998), ‘Presumed Innocent’ (1990), ‘Gattaca’ (1997), ‘The Prophecy’ (1995), ‘The X-Files: Fight the Future’ (1998), ‘Last Man Standing’ (1996), among others.

Happy new year in advance.
Nihilus Outis Sisyphus

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It matters that fans speak up about what they like – and they don’t have to agree.

Hi Rob,

Thinking about a couple of things, perhaps one more practical than the other.

Checking and I guess the short story submissions form is not up yet.
Wondering are we sending pdfs or word files. I assume pdfs to keep the pages aligned even though the word count can’t be precisely confirmed in pdf. I have written a couple of possible submissions, leaning more to one than the other over the filmability factor. But I write with regularity anyway.

It is an interesting conceit to first expect people who listen to the youtube channel may also make short films, and a further leap to imagine we will have an O. Henry in our number. It is pretty easy for us to binge each other’s short films, and accept the range of pacing or content – sometimes a student film screening is more entertaining than the usual Hollywood product – but reading a prose short story is more of a time investment.

It will be interesting to see how readers and judges wade through it. A few of us may get cold feet as the guidelines are solidified. I know I have a window for my retention, when reading or writing are going to get optimal progress. If I’m tired, I may be able to settle in and watch something passively but reading or writing require a few more active brain cells.

I have been reading Apropos of Nothing by Woody Allen, and it is well written and amusing but there are no chapter headings – just a few extra spaces now and then. This does not help my strategies around a learning disability that requires me to break things down and anticipate where everything is going. It also makes it harder for people to “leap to a scandal.” There can be a restlessness from reading.

Even though I am coming around to the idea that presenting people with a short story is better than a screenplay. At least if it doesn’t get made it is in some final form. When Kenneth Johnson novelized his un-produced V: The Second Generation, I thought maybe everyone should just novelize their final screenplay drafts. But that process may not be for everybody.

The other thing I wanted to mention is the topic of circular arguments.

Maybe it is of no value to decide or debate the definition of fandom or toxic fandom, for example. We can all make lists of our favourite directors or writers or films or shows or books and debate over what should be included or excluded or finally argue over the ranking on each list. Some might look at a list as a short cut to psychoanalyze people.

I recall an episode of Nurse Jackie where the male nurse Thor was advising a doctor on how do do a computer dating form and admonished him for choosing Goodfellas as his favourite film because it had some negative connotation. If I could find the clip I’d include a link.

For me, there is no one fandom or umbrella over it all. There are niches that are either being heard or not.

I mean, you will have more reach and Scott Mendelson at Forbes will have more reach defending The Last Jedi than I will as a “toxic fan” on Facebook trying not to be moderated out of existence. Unless movie-makers know there are still people who like a certain style of movie or a brand, maybe it will all be taken over by the safe kind of pandering to trends that poses as progress.

Four short years ago, Paul Feig’s remake of Ghostbusters was imposed on the marketplace. “Live with it, Fanboys,” was the message. “Your iteration is over, neck-bearded mom’s basement-dwelling trolls!” And when Jason Reitman’s upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife was announced as restoring the original continuity and iteration, some of us were able to say, “Live with it. Your iteration is done.” Maybe the latter version has a bit less vitriol and demon-ization and the expectation that forty-somethings live with their parents.

I think it matters that people speak up about what they like, and they don’t have to agree.

Will we see Gina Carano in a Cara Dune spinoff from THE MANDOLORIAN?

Money is being spent. A word like “nostalgia” is used to belittle a moment like the ending of Mandalorian season two, when in fact it was a fair and powerful storytelling choice that made first generation Star Wars fans perk up. I got goose bumps when the proximity alarm went off and we saw an x-wing. Then again when Cara Dune said sarcastically, “One x-wing. We’re saved!” That pretty much sealed it for me as to who had arrived.

Maybe there is a time to practice detachment and a time to just say I will support this or won’t support that. If Hollywood (broadly defined) wanted to know audience demand, it is easier than ever. Cast the right person as Mara Jade, and there could be an Emperor’s Hand series popping her into the background of known scenes, and also a series about the development of her relationship with Luke. But someone would have to be trolling fans if Brie Larson were put into the role, for example.

And I admit I am less open these days, considering just HOW MUCH content there is to wade through. I have seen STD season One, and I am prepared to take your word on remaining seasons and Picard. I am less excited than you about The Acolyte, simply because what tips the scales for me is that it is the Hedland project that Kennedy slipped though via leak instead of having it properly proposed. And maybe there is no reason an audience member should care about the proper channels of inner circle Disney management. But it’s enough to make a difference.

The Kennedy factions might easily dismiss those of my niche as “sexist” because the Acolyte was initially only described as female led. But that is the big strategy – make it about the complainer. Then they can be globally ignored. It would be infuriating if this turned out to be a Mara Jade series.

I can celebrate that there will be another season of Dexter, and then take Yoda’s advice and behave as if the worst has already happened rather than fear what could go wrong. I mean, I sure hope the new ghost or conscience or hallucination is Debra because a profane ghost chastising Dexter as he goes would being back the dynamic. But I also have to let go of that, make my own crap, and let entertainment sneak up more often.

I wonder how many fans of various brands and shows live in alternating periods of suspended animation for the release of something. This past year must have caused a lot of rocking back and forth. I’m a step away from plucking a few quills from the porcupine of pop culture hype machines.

Circling back to the first issue I mentioned in this letter, the one bedeviling aspect of composing a short story for submission was the tie-in to the meaning of imagination connoisseur. If a writer sits down to the blank page and there is a cacophony of youtube voices and pop culture punditry buzzing inside the brain, I’m not sure anything of interest can be generated.

Personally I have to take a while to clear the mechanism. I might be swimming when something clicks. I might be organizing my apartment and realize I forgot to put on an audiobook or music or a commentary track and that I’m just doing some tedious task with only the shreds of my own thoughts for company.

My detached view is that Star Wars was great when it needed to be great. If I get a moment like the Grogu/Luke resolution, that’s a bonus. But I fully understand people who either can’t stop raving about what they like and raging over what they don’t. That’s customer feedback, whatever name the studio spin machines give it.

Hey, Ocean’s Eight was entertaining and in continuity. I was supportive of that and would have paid to see it in the cinema if not for word getting out that Linus scenes were cut as a response for Matt Damon saying something reasonable and proportionate when asked what he thought about the pound Me Too era. The more we know about something, the easier it can be to put it off and not rush to see or buy it.

That may not be such a bad thing.

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Why superhero stories shouldn’t try to be realistic

Hello Rob.

Congrats on two years of Robservations, I hope to see many more. Just finished episode #585 and I disagree with you on the topic of realism in superhero movies. To be honest, I’ve always felt it was a bad idea that would eventually collapse onto itself. Superhero stories are not meant to be realistic, unless massive parts of their core concepts and lore are ignored or torn out. These stories, and I’ve loved them for over 30 years, are fantastic by their nature and that’s a VERY good thing. Our society needs escapism, maybe now more than ever, but the so called “realism” in some superhero movies sacrifice escapism to be real.

Does George Reeves represent what we want in our superheroes?

Let me give you two examples that I hope illustrate what I’m going for here. First, Man Of Steel. Full disclosure Rob, I think the movie stinks. The color palette is gloomy and joyless. So is the plot, the dialogue and the portrayal of every character. When I think Superman, the words gloomy and joyless should never come to mind. Sure, Man Of Steel is more realistic but I’d much rather watch Lois And Clark again or George Reeves’ Superman. Superman should never, ever be joyless. On the topic of realism, I ask this question Rob: does Mr. Mxyzptlk exist in the world Man Of Steel presents? Not likely and how would that work? How about Bizarro? Is there a square shaped planet in Man Of Steel?

2nd example, The Dark Knight trilogy. Full disclosure again, I only like Batman Begins. Sure The Dark Knight is a good movie but not a good Batman movie. That’s a topic for another letter. On the topic of realism, how would Christopher Nolan portray a comics accurate Clayface? Does Poison Ivy, a comics accurate Poison Ivy, exist in that Gotham City? How about a comics accurate Bane, Venom included? We see what Nolan’s version of Bane is, unfortunately. Rob, how about Azreal with his flaming sword? I just don’t think Jean Paul Valley would work in a Christopher Nolan movie. I do think all the same questions could be asked of Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix, another movie that sacrifices Batman lore in pursuit of “realism”.

One of the things I love about the Marvel movies is the acceptance of what Marvel comics are and always have been. Asgard being an alien world is dumb to me, but Thor is still Thor. Thanos is a purple giant on a quest to get magic jewels to go into a golden gauntlet. Pym particles are still a crazy idea, have been for over 50 years. When Banner gets angry he turns into a giant green man. Remember, you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry. The MCU accepts who and what they are. Forcing “realism” onto comic book characters isn’t a good idea and I think it’s time for it to go. Thanks and take care.
Jermaine K.

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Is “Freedom of Speech” dead?

Rob freedom of speech is dead and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

Let me explain. There used to be a time where a movie came out then people critizised it. These people watched alot of movies and woulsd compare and use harsh words to state their opinion on what they thought as a consumer.

Those days are done for. Because in this world there are camps. Sources of opinions.

Tribalism and if you stray from the path then you are no longer welcome.

If you critizise BATMAN V SUPERMAN – or if you praise THE LAST JEDI – then you are sorted into a pile of metaphysical garbage. People will comment on your comments. And not in a nice and constructive way. But in a I wish you were dead way. If Deadpool did not have regenetaive powers people would have killed him just so he would shut up.

Because in this day and age, we no longer wish for a critics approval. We want OUR media. Not a media.

And we want people to be a part od our tribe not some random kumbayaa.

Thus is the sad reality.

You can, in theory, say what you want. But if its not beneficial for a tribe be ready for pitchforks.

Emil J.

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