In the season finale of the YouTube series Reunited Apart with Josh Gad, the core cast of John Hughes’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) joined together for the first time in thirty-four years, according to NBC Chicago. Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Grey, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, Cindy Pickett, Lyman Ward, as well as Ben Stein all hopped onto a Zoom call with Gad. Broderick, who hadn’t seen Ruck in at least fifteen years, told Gad about how he hurt his knee before shooting the parade scene, before the cast went on to act out iconic scenes from the cult classic.
Studio Ghibli is not all soot sprites and fire demons dubbed by Billy Crystal – indeed, Isao Takahata’s Grave of the Fireflies (1988) is one of the most devastating films you will ever see, anime or otherwise.
If you don’t know what to watch next, Grave of the Fireflies is available to stream on Hulu. The animated war film is based on the semiautobiographical short story of the same name by Akiyuki Nosaka. It stars Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi, Yoshiko Shinohara, and Akemi Yamaguchi.
Set in Kobe, Japan, around World War II, the movie opens September 21, 1945, with a teenage boy named Seita (dubbed by J. Robert Spencer) starving to death and his spirit joining that of his younger sister, Setsuko (dubbed by Corinne Orr).
Several months earlier, the two children are orphaned after a firebombing destroys most of Kobe and kills their mother (dubbed by Veronica Taylor).
Upon moving in with their aunt (dubbed by Amy Jones), Seita and Setsuko face the brutal reality of growing up as refugees in wartime Japan.
Studio Ghibli is known for its antiwar themes. For example, Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) is heavily influenced by the filmmaker’s childhood in postwar Japan.
Grave of the Fireflies is the dream factory’s most powerful tragedy, though, its young characters developed in such a way that only Ghibli would know how.
To be sure, it is because of the studio’s family-friendliness that Grave of the Fireflies is so mature and heartbreaking. Seita and Setsuko are childlike in a way that transcends across cultural as well as artistic boundaries.
That they are cartoon characters does not detract from their characterizations.
But the nationalistic, toxic masculine intent behind the picture sullies it somewhat. After all, Japanese audiences interpret Seita’s decision not to return to his aunt’s as a wise one, even though the consequences are deadly.
While there are cultural differences at play, Seita’s pride in himself as an imperial Japanese male should not be more important than life itself.
But intentionalism is a critical fallacy – there have been many filmmakers throughout history who did not mean to shoot unethical works but did so anyway – so the director’s interpretation is no less subjective than that of the viewer.
Fantastic Beasts star Eddie Redmayne has joined “Harry Potter” himself, Daniel Radcliffe, in condemning JK Rowling’s recent transphobic social media posts, according to The Guardian. Redmayne – who played Lili Elbe in Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl (2015), the first known person to undergo sex reassignment surgery – says, “Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative, and over the years I have been trying to constantly educate myself.” Similarly, Radcliffe says, “Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations, who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I.”
On Thursday, the Criterion Channel has joined the likes of A24 and Bad Robot in coming out to help support the fight against systemic racism, as well as advocate police reform and support for protestors throughout the United States, according to IndieWire. In an email from Criterion president Peter Becker and CEO Jonathan Turell, the company announced a $25,000 initial contribution, in addition to an ongoing $5,000 monthly donation, to organizations that back Black Lives Matter. Criterion will also lift the paywall on titles from Black filmmakers and white documentarians who have captured the Black experience, available on their homepage.
Between violent confrontations with police in protests over George Floyd’s death, the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as record unemployment rates, there is little to celebrate about this year’s Pride Month, according to The New York Times. This isn’t to say all Pride events are canceled or postponed, because many can still be enjoyed online, such as virtual drag shows, benefit concerts, and, of course, “entertaining and evocative” films about the queer community and its history. Seven of these movies are: Arthur J. Bressan Junior’s Gay USA (1977); Greta Schiller and Robert Rosenberg’s Before Stonewall (1984); Christopher Ashley’s Jeffrey (1995); Gus Van Sant’s Milk (2008); Matthew Warchus’s Pride (2014); Robin Campillo’s BPM (Beats Per Minute) (2017); and David France’s The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (2017).
As protests continue to rage over the death of George Floyd, Black social justice leaders as well as scholars urge people wanting to make a change to educate themselves on systemic racism through books, conversations, movies, and documentaries, according to ABC. Doctor Creshema Murray, founding fellow at The Center for Critical Race Studies at the University of Houston-Downtown, published her first book in 2018, Leadership Through The Lens: Interrogating Production, Presentation, and Power. “Television and film is a way for us to disconnect from what’s happening in the real world, but it’s also a tool for us to understand,” says Doctor Murray.
Hollywood has a longstanding tradition of producing comedies about men dressed up as women.
Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot (1959), in addition to its six Academy Award nominations, was voted as the top comedy film of all time by the American Film Institute on their “100 Years… 100 Laughs” poll.
While a man in drag shouldn’t be the butt of the joke in today’s climate (nor should they ever have been), these pictures, when viewed critically, can still yield a smile to your face.
Sydney Pollack’s Tootsie (1982) is one of the most warm-hearted, least mean-spirited of these examples.
If you don’t know what to watch next, Tootsie is available to stream on Netflix. The comedy was nominated for ten Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, as well as Best Original Screenplay. Jessica Lange won for Best Supporting Actress.
Set in New York, Michael Dorsey (Best Actor nominee Dustin Hoffman) is an actor with a reputation for being difficult to work with.
When his friend, Sandy Lester (Best Supporting Actress nominee Teri Garr), tries out for the role of Emily Kimberly on popular daytime soap opera Southwest General, an unemployed Michael auditions as “Dorothy Michaels” and gets cast.
However, “Dorothy” becomes a star, forcing Michael into a dilemma wherein he must reconcile his success with his and Sandy’s relationship, and his feelings for costar Julie Nichols (Lange).
Tootsie is second only to Some Like It Hot on the AFI’s “100 Years… 100 Laughs,” surpassing even Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), and it is preserved at the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry.
It is as romantic as it is comedic. Between Sandy and Julie, the dramatic stakes escalate the tension to a breathless climax.
Indeed, Lange defines star presence as Julie. One of the greatest actresses of her generation, she may be more recognized now for her tenure on FX’s American Horror Story (2011-), but she hits her marks as the infamously Method Hoffman’s love interest.
She can be funny without coming at the expense of her pathos, and you can’t help but fall for Julie, too.
Aside from the film’s questionable sexual and gender politics, Tootsie also suffers from Hoffman’s presence in it. After all, he was a name named as part of the #MeToo movement.
Not to mention, he made self-congratulatory comments during an interview about how he needed to play “Dorothy Michaels” to learn sexism is a thing.
Again, Tootsie is for the critical consumer. If you can look past the era it represents, you will find yourself taken by its romance and its wit. It is a movie with both a heart and a mind, which is what makes it as comforting for the soul as falling in love itself.
Extinction Rebellion has enlisted sixty-four-year-old Hollywood star Whoopi Goldberg for their three-minute climate change film, The Gigantic Change, which goes live on their Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram for World Environment Day, according to Inside Nova. The short takes a look back from the year 2050 at how people came together to save the world and ends by directing audiences to a page outlining the most effective actions they can take to fight global warming. Goldberg, who has been a co-host on ABC’s The View (1997-) since 2007, announced earlier this year that her calling in life is to help people.
SpringHill Entertainment, a film company co-founded by Maverick Carter and his business partner, NBA megastar LeBron James, will produce a documentary about Black Wall Street and the Tulsa Race Massacre (with no release date as of yet announced), according to KTUL. Salima Koroma, who pitched the project back in April, will direct the picture, tweeting that, “The Tulsa Race Massacre is not just a black story but American history. The fabric of this country is soaked in racism and today 99 years later, we’re still fighting for change.” This week marks the ninety-ninth anniversary of white rioters destroying the prosperous black community in Oklahoma.
Women In Film Los Angeles released a response to the ongoing protests in LA and around the world against the racist murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, according to Deadline. Calling for an end to anti-Black violence on their official Twitter account, Women In Film went on to encourage “real, systemic change,” while, at the same time, declaring their support for those among their members (as well as the LA community at large) who fight for racial justice. With this statement, Women In Film joins the many media organizations, agencies, and networks in the industry endorsing sociocultural change.