Modern Myths In Movies And What’s Missing

The true story showcases Matthew McConaughey as a homophobic Texas cowboy diagnosed with AIDS in 1986 and given 30 days to live. Distrustful of his doctors (Jennifer Garner and Denis O’Hare), Woodroof begins smuggling drugs — not approved by the FDA yet effective — across the border for himself and a wide circle of AIDS-afflicted customers. For a time the scheme works, assisted by an unlikely ally: a transsexual (Jared Leto) who befriends Woodroof. By 12:20 a.m., the Toronto audience was on its feet to cheer on McConaughey as he emerged for a Q&A session with director Jean-Marc Vallee, Garner and Leto. The actor bashfully took a bow. The heartbreaking story, told with an undercurrent of humor, was shot in just 27 days. “People always ask, ‘What was the best prank?’ There was no time for a prank,” said McConaughey. The movie opens Nov. 1. “If people could only see how this tiny crew scrambled around, and how we never stopped shooting,” said Garner. McConaughey talked about losing 38 pounds to look emaciated on screen. “My wife wasn’t too fond of it,” he said.

8 Great Movies About Film Making All Directors Must See


Images of a sky god, from Man of Steel, 2013 The power of myth in our lives has been pointed out in books like Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Myths & Legends by Philip Wilkinson and The Gods of Greece written by this site’s founder Arianna Huffington, along with the extensive body of work shared by Joseph Campbell. All of these writers remind us that we can read many of the stories we’re presented with, even ones that are blatant mass entertainment, as metaphor. The sky god idea, particularly as presented in recent films, is useful for capturing the need to move in the world, to spread your wings, to take action, to feel dynamic and powerful, to protect others, to zip around, be free. Along with this, we routinely see the male warrior type in contemporary Hollywood, a la the character Wolverine and the new Riddick project — rather grim, no-nonsense gentlemen who have an immediate, visceral need to fight, to slash, to smash. Yet there’s more to life. Several big hero/action films fizzled domestically this past summer in a highly competitive, oversaturated media landscape. In addition to other market factors, there was a continual representation of the same ole, same ole and not a true offering of diverse patterns that reflect who we are. It asks the question of what’s missing. Assuming that Dr. Bolen is right, that ancient archetypes deeply inform who we are, then what are some of our essential habits that aren’t found in speculative cinema? I join others who observe that there’s something amiss in the lack of heroic movie vehicles featuring lead female characters, which the success of the classic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the highly allegorical Hunger Games brings up. It also raises the question of why we imply to viewers that it’s odd for boys to look to girls for inspiration and cues on how to experience life. (Note the reverse is far less true.) In terms of what is already there, I’m increasingly drawn to the protagonists who are more insular and depth-driven in their bearing, who question and observe before they act — Jean-Luc Picard and Spock, from instance, of the Star Trek series, or Professor X of the X-Men (actor Patrick Stewart might have this archetype on lock), or Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man.

The appeal is pretty obvious if great art comes from passion, it makes sense that a cinematic artist would be inspired when making a movie about movies, right? But all too often films about films tend to fall into one of two ludicrous extremes, either painting filmmaking as a soul crushing toil in the salt mines, or as a jolly frolic where theres no pressure and no pain, and inspiration flows from a tap. (Cue laughter from anyone whos ever tried to make a movie, ever.) No wonder the best movies about film making tend to be documentaries its harder to BS an audience about the process of making films when youre showing actual footage from a working film set. All of which is a long winded way of saying that when a film comes out that really captures something about the dynamics of filmmaking, its a special thing indeed. Hereseight films some documentaries, some fiction, some romanticized, some anything but that anybody looking to work in the art form should see: 8. The Snowball Effect OK, to be fair, citing a DVD making of documentary on this list is probably cheating but honestly, if youre looking for inspiration as a young filmmaker, what better source? In the past, knowledge about how movies are made only came from classic Hollywood films, which by and large offered a ludicrously sanitized fictionalization of the filmmaking process; now anyone with a DVD remote has direct access (sometimes perhaps a little too direct?) to the process by which films are made. Few filmmakers are more honest and forthright on this score than Kevin Smith. Open and honest about his own failings as a director ( Throw a rock, youll hit a better director than me , he once told a crowd of fans), Smith has also been quite open about the making of his films, with DVD and Blu-ray platters that sometimes seem awfully opulent for movies about a bunch of dudes standing around talking. The Snowball Effect, a documentary about the making of his debut film, Clerks, is probably the finest of these supplements, and honestly might be one of those rare beasts a documentary about the making of a film that is better than the film itself. Obviously theres plenty of wit (vulgar, but still) in The Snowball Effect, plenty of ribbing and joshing and juicy behind the scenes tales; but for any filmmaker, The Snowball Effect is the most valuable form of filmmaking heroin imaginable. If youve ever needed the inspiration to get off your ass and just make a movie, then its required you see The Snowball Effect, which charts in granular but fascinating detail how Smith, a college drop out, pulled together a bunch of his friends, some untried community theater actors and a few buddies from his brief time in film school to make a movie. The film is refreshingly blunt, with most of the participants admitting that they had little or no idea what they were doing, and that the fact that the film turned out watchable was probably a miracle; its also inspiring, in that Smith and his rag tag operation seem to prove Quentin Tarantinos assertion that if you love movies enough, regardless of time or budgetary constraints, you will probably make a good one.