Forrest Gump

Warner Bros.

“It wasn’t as good as the book.” That old refrain comes up with just about any film adaptation, and for good reason. (You know, because it’s usually true.) Books have all the time in the world to tell their story. 200 pages? A bit short, but no biggie. 1,200 pages? Okay, George R. R. Martin, but only because we like Tyrion so dang much. Books aren’t a visual medium and can use your imagination how they see fit. Books don’t have a budget. Books can easily get a character’s internal perspective. But sometimes the unlikely happens and the film is just as good as the book. And sometimes a miracle happens and it’s even better.

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Netflix

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Young Einstein

This weekend, Paramount Pictures re-released their 1994 Best Picture winner, Forrest Gump, on IMAX screens. It wasn’t a huge deal, hitting far fewer theaters than the Ghostbusters re-release also going on right now, and only took in an extra $405k to add to its $678m worldwide gross of 20 years ago. Maybe you went to see it on the giant screen for the first time. Or maybe you skipped this return to theaters because you’ve seen in a billion times already. Forrest Gump was, after all, the highest-grossing of its year, is one of the top 25 highest-grossing movies of all time when accounting for inflation and has gone gone on to be one of the most iconic and quotable of the past few decades, inspiring plenty of parodies and recently being selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. Not bad for a movie that only seemed to be a groundbreaking work of drama and special effects. Of course, it also distinguishes itself with epic storytelling, much of it based in nostalgia, and a lovable performance from Tom Hanks. Hopefully it has influenced fans to seek out the actual histories and precursors, but if not I have a list of recommendations of at least the movies that came before as well as some of the TV appearances and archival clips that Forrest was digitally inserted into for some retconned events from the past. I’ve chosen not to include similar movies that have come out since the […]

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Genie Aladdin

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Rin Takanashi in Like Someone in Love

Another month has passed, which means that another batch of movies has been added to or added back to Netflix’s Watch Instantly streaming service. Looking for a few that will be worth spending your time on? Obviously. And you’ve come to the right place, because we’ve got mad recommendations for good movies on Netflix this month. As always, click on the films’ titles to be taken to their Netflix page so that you can add them to your My List. Pick of the Month:  Like Someone in Love (2012) Seeing as Like Someone in Love didn’t get its (very) limited US release until 2013, technically we can call it one of the best movies of last year. Which we should, because it is, quite simply, one of the very best movies that came out in this country last year, and there are still far too many film fans that haven’t gotten a chance to see it. Hopefully that’s going to change now that it’s streaming on Netflix. Providing easy access to independent and foreign cinema, even to those of us living in the middle of the country, is one of the coolest side-effects of this digital age we’re living in. What do you get when you let Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami (Certified Copy) shoot in Tokyo? This gorgeous movie, which uses the lights and windows of the city to create a layered, enveloping world that looks like the one we live in, but maybe from a different angle than we’ve ever […]

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Home Alone Talkboy

Defictionalization is when something that previously only existed in a movie universe comes to life. Films and TV shows are now taking advantage of this more than ever before. In the world of TV, Castle has spawned a series of books by Nathan Fillion’s crime novelist character; Parks and Rec has spawned a guide to Pawnee written by the characters themselves; and Archer is now releasing an album recorded by Judy Greer’s character Charlene (and not, apparently, by Judy Greer). Here are ten great examples of fictional products from movies that became defictionalized in interesting ways:

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Hollywood

All this week, Film School Rejects presents a daily dose of our favorite articles from the archive. Originally published in September 2011, Ashe Cantrell pulls back the curtain on the Hollywood conspiracy machine… You may already be a film industry cynic. Maybe you think Hollywood is a barren wasteland, devoid of creativity and originality. Maybe you’re sick of seeing talented people get ignored and vapid hacks get splashed all over the trades. Maybe you’re tired of 3D everything and having to re-buy your movies every five to ten years. I’m not here to dissuade you of any of that. Hell no, I’m here to make it worse. Get ready, because this is some of the rottenest shit of which the film industry is capable. These are the things so terrible that Hollywood has to cover them up, lest God see their sin and smite them accordingly (and keep various government entities and lawyers off their backs, of course). If you still had any kind thoughts toward Hollywood, I suggest you prepare yourself for crushing disappointment. But first, I’d like to give a very huge shout out and thank you to writers C. Coville and Maxwell Yezpitelok for their help on this article. You guys are great! And now back to the shit storm, already in progress:

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While you’ll see that I’m giving myself a lot of leeway in the following list (one of the ten isn’t even technically a film), the general idea is that the list that follows singles out films that go beyond simple narration, but rather identify themselves as stories being told either in the universe or even at times outside of the universe. Narration to a film is like a frame to a painting, and while all frames hold their painting in place, there are some that do it with a little more style than others. These are some of my favorites.

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Over Under - Large

When thinking about which films I consider to be overrated, I keep coming back to two different categories. First there are the art films that get embraced by the movie geek community and praised to high heaven for their crafting, whether they really makes for an exceptional overall movie-going experience or not. And then there are the movies that get overrated by the mainstream. They’re mostly sentimental movies that tug on the heartstrings, with characters that hit low lows, but then achieve some new victory. Robert Zemeckis’ Forrest Gump is definitely the latter. It’s a movie that seems designed solely to make parents and grandparents nod knowingly at historical incidents they remember and then tear up when a sad part rolls around; but they love it for it. Being There was nominated for the Palme d’Or and even won Melvyn Douglas an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor back when it came out, but it’s a movie I never hear mentioned these days. As a matter of fact, other than the little bit of nostalgia that remains for Harold and Maude, I would say that Hal Ashby is a director whose career has been kind of forgotten by my generation of film fans. That’s a shame, because the man did some great work, and this film in particular has one of the last great performances by the legendary Peter Sellers.

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Bond 50

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that, tonight, is focused on a cornacopia of new Blu-ray release information. From James Bond to Jake Gittes, it’s going to be a beautiful year of high definition goodness. There is also non-Blu-ray news, for those who like variety. We begin tonight with a look at the box for Bond 50, the upcoming release of the Golden Anniversary Blu-ray edition of all 22 James Bond films on Blu-ray for the first time as one complete offering. MGM and Fox laid out plans at CES today, which included making it available for pre-order right now. Put simply, it’s beautiful. They even delivered a trailer, which I’ve included after the jump.

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Every year, the National Film Registry announces 25 films that it will toss gently into its vault for safe keeping. This year, they’ve chosen a hell of a list, but (like every year), the movies saved act as a reminder that even in a digital world where it seems unfathomable that we’d lose art, we’re still losing art. The task of actively preserving films is an honorable, laudable one, and it’s in all of our best interests to see movies like these kept safe so that future generations (and those attending Butt-Numb-a-Thon 55) will be able to screen them as they were meant to be seen. So what 25 movies made the cut this year? Let’s explore:

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Remember those trailers for Stephen Daldry‘s adaptation of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close that we all cringed at? Well, how could you forget – they stick with you in a very off-putting way. Disappointingly, most of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close replicates that experience. Daldry’s a fine filmmaker, and with a script from Eric Roth – a writer who’s delivered his fair share of modern classics – one should expect more from their collaboration. What their combination delivered is a mostly stilted, heavy-handed, and, quite often, wrongly manipulative experience. I won’t dismiss the film as being “blatant Oscar bait,” seeing as it’s well-intentioned and earnest. Unfortunately, those intentions, in execution, feel false and empty. A real heart isn’t here to grab onto; only an artificial and cold one. The film constantly says how Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn) affects all these people he meets, but it never shows it. There are little glimpses of the child interacting with people on his quest, and whatever his effect may be holds no weight. The only emotional beat that somehow works is between Horn and Jeffrey Wright, despite the scene leaving one with the thought of, “Well, how’s this going to impact Wright’s character?” Sure, he’s seeing the beauty of a child desperately trying to find an answer, but in the grand scheme of things, the effect will probably be as powerful as a nice Christmas card: makes you smile and maybe makes your day, but a few days later, you’re no different.

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Criterion Files

Tune into VH1 Classics on any given day, and this is something you’re likely to see: a rock video of a mid-80s hair band playing on a giant stage, complete with sleek cinematography, wide camera angles, and a stadium-sized audience packed to the brim. At first you might be confused, thinking that this is possibly some Whitesnake or Guns N’ Roses song that somehow escaped your memory. But then the music video ends and in the bottom left corner the band’s name comes up. You’ve never heard of them before, and you’ve definitely never heard this song before. Yet this video depicts monstrous popularity that suggests nothing less than massive cultural phenomenon. While it’s possible for a one-hit wonder to develop this degree of renown for a certain frame of time, it becomes something of a schizophrenic moment when you consider that this hit single both inaugurated the now-forgotten band’s moment of popularity and depicted it simultaneously. With so many hair bands, how is it possible that every single one of them sells out stadium-size crowds? The answer, of course, can only be one thing: an association with mass popularity is, for hair bands, only a reality for the privileged few, but for the rest it’s a fabrication that’s all part of the musical aesthetic – it’s what makes this subgenre of rock that’s reliant on spectacle so spectacular. It’s fitting, then, that one of the landmark mockumentaries of American filmmaking chose as its subject a genre that itself relies […]

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Criterion Files

When I write this column, I typically don’t get the opportunity to write about movies from my teen years. I, like many, came into a cinephilic love for art and foreign cinema during college, and in that process grew to appreciate The Criterion Collection. Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused (1993), however, is a movie that’s followed me through various changes in my life for (I’m just now realizing as I write this) about half of my time thus far spent on Earth.

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as OhDaeSu2039 and CatsandDogsLvng2Gether in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the duo try to avoid the pitfalls of bad novel adaptations by exploring some of the best. How do you take a work by one and turn it into a work by thousands? How do you appease fans while introducing a new audience to the story? Does it always involve whale genitalia? What are the rules of making a great film adaptation of a book?

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american-flag-header

Instead of doing a cheesy list for Veteran’s Day, we here at FSR decided just to give a run down of all the war-type movies that we’ve covered over the years (the good, the bad, and the boots on the ground).

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You may have heard about all of this Forrest Gump 2 talk that is going on during the Benjamin Button press tour. And well, we’ve got some details — and there somewhat interesting.

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Flag and Fireworks

Even though celebrating Independence Day excites us more than Christmas, we get even more excited when we watch films that remind us of the land that we love.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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