It's Monday! That means it's time for another Fistful of Thoughts post. Now, I've been sitting on some stories for the better part of a week now, waiting to talk about this stuff. I warned Ruth when she posted her 5 for the Fifth post last week that we were going to be discussing some of the same stuff today, and while I debated changing my course and finding some new stories...I didn't really want to.
So, let's get started.
Do you remember when Netflix was just a new way of getting DVDs? Remember when they were a fledgling idea of a company who most people were skeptical about embracing? Remember when they pretty much single-handedly put Blockbuster out of business? Yeah, that happened. Netflix has been flirting with creating an empire for a while now. They started by producing their own shows and have nurtured that into actually winning Emmys and SAG Awards all for their 'television', but they have bigger fish to fry. They want Oscars. They've already had success getting two of their documentaries Oscar nominated, but now they want a feature film, and so when word broke last week that Netflix actually obtained the distribution rights for Beasts of No Nation, it became clear that they came to play ball. This film was high on my early Oscar predictions for the year (those will be out April 1st), and while this news has me a tad skeptical about how well this will play with Oscar, it's clear that Netflix means business.
But let's talk less about Oscar (because we'll swing back around to that subject in a minute) and talk more about what this could mean for film in general. Netflix has stated that they are going to release the film in theaters (limited release) and, on the same day, for streaming. This has caused a stir as some major theater chains (AMC etc.) have said they will refuse to carry the film, since Netflix is not abiding by the normal window of time between theater release and home viewing release.
So this raises the question; would you rather see a film in the theater or, given the option, would you prefer to watch it at home?
I'm on the fence with this one. I mean, I love the theater. If I could, I'd see everything there...but, that's no realistic. First, it's awfully expensive, but the biggest detractor is that I have three kids and there is just no way that I can get a sitter for multiple nights in a week (I mean, I struggle for one night a month) so that I can slip away to a theater...so for me, I'd LOVE if I could just stream new releases at home. It would make things so much easier for me, affording me the opportunity to actually see the big films of the year before they sweep the Oscars and eventually make their way to DVD. I mean, I still haven't seen The Imitation Game or The Theory of Everything or Still Alice or even Interstellar! I rely on Netflix, honestly, to see most of the films I see each year, so I'd love it if they distributed everything.
Speaking of the future of movies, have you seen this:
I'm not going to lie, I has a MASSIVE Power Rangers fan when I was a kid. I haven't really cared since, like, I was ten or so, but when this show first came out, I was hooked. This short film caused quite a stir, since it was an unauthorized film and was initially taken down, but soon the studios realized it was going to prove to be a good thing, stirring a revitalized interest in the franchise which is currently planning a new film. James Van Der Beek (remember him?) had some interesting things to say about making this short and why he did it and it had me questioning whether or not we could see a boom in interest for films like this; small self produced productions that wind up released on YouTube, free for the masses and made simply for the love of making something interesting, compelling and visionary.
"I really wanted to follow him on this journey of creating something that was completely his own, and we just did it to give it away for free to fans. It's the essence of why we all got in the business: Let’s make something cool."
The short is really well made and highly entertaining, and it's only 14 minutes so watch it.
Moving from one former star to a rising one, let's talk about this recent news that Dan Stevens is going to play The Beast in Bill Condon's live action musical adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. I'm not entirely familiar with Stevens as an actor, but I'm becoming very intrigued. First, I saw The Guest a few months ago and was blown away by his performance. That alone was enough to snag my interest, but recently my wife and I started watching Downton Abby, and, like, he's incredible in that!
Don't tell me ANYTHING about the show...my wife and I are wrapping up season one and we already have friends spoiling stuff for us.
Anyways, Stevens career is BOOMING right now, and I personally can't wait to see where it goes.
Now...let's come back to Oscar. News has broke that Oscar is considering reverting back to a locked five Best Picture nominees. This is such a mess. I mean, this whole Best Picture change that has been constantly changing since it was initiated back in 2009 is just ridiculous. First, they decided to change the nominees to a set ten when outrage broke that Best Picture contenders Wall*E and The Dark Knight were snubbed for the The Reader, which wasn't doing very well with critics but was clear Oscar bait. Craving higher ratings by allotting the opportunity for more commercial films to get Best Picture nominations, Oscar switched to ten, but this quickly shifted to 'between five and ten depending on percentage of #1 votes', but now they are finally realizing that this is just so dumb. I mean, I've said since the change that this really takes away the prestige factor of a nomination. We don't have ten Lead Actor noms or ten Director noms, so why alter Best Picture? I'm all for this. I only have five nominees for the Fistis (you know, as a rule that can be changed if I so desire).
So what do you think? Are you for this or against this? Do you think that 'between five and ten' waters down the true impact of a Best Picture nominee, or do you think allowing films like District 9 or The Blind Side or Selma is worth the expansion?
And lastly, let's talk about something truly horrifying; Toy Story 4! I just can't get behind this. When Toy Story 3 ended, it was PERFECT. I know that we all love these characters and that they are huge movie making faces, but can't we just let this stay ended with such a sweet and perfect ending? As this article points out, you cannot top Toy Story 3...you can't, and so their decision is to...turn this into a romantic comedy? What? While they are trying to claim this isn't a continuation of the story, you are bringing the same characters back in a feature length film and so even if there is no mention of Andy or even humans in general, like, this is still Toy Story!
I just feel like this will mar something that was so beautiful.
Here's What I'll Be Reading Today:
Wendell reviews a bunch of dance films
Jeffery introduces us to Tear Council
Irene reviews Whiplash
Andy questions our current rating system
Jenna reviews Hercules
Big Screen Small Words discusses films to see before you're 12
Ruth reviews Chappie
Top 10 Films gives us 11 essential Keira Knightley performances
And lastly, I'm always looking for a good Blogathon, and Nostra looks to have a great on in The Five Senses Blogathon! Let's all play along.