In an op-ed for the Washington Post on Friday, the 'Dunkirk' director acknowledged the 'regular people' behind the glamor of the movie business and identified the reasons why theatergoing is a collective, cathartic experience.
In response to the film industry being threatened by the global coronavirus pandemic — and in particular, the massive toll its taking on movie theaters — Christopher Nolan addressed the issues in an op-ed for the Washington Post on Friday.
"Movie theaters are a vital part of American life," the headline declared. "They will need our help." In the op-ed, Nolan wrote about what the movie industry really means, beyond the superficial surface appearance that it generates.
"When people think about movies, their minds first go to the stars, the studios, the glamour. But the movie business is about everybody: the people working the concession stands, running the equipment, taking tickets, booking movies, selling and advertising and cleaning bathrooms in local theaters. Regular people, many paid hourly wages rather than a salary, earn a living running the most affordable and democratic of our community gathering places."
Nolan then referenced the immense challenges that the community now faces in the wake of the coronavirus, which has rapidly spread throughout the world, affecting over 300,000 people and causing over 12,000 deaths; as well as state-of-emergency declarations and "Safer at Home" orders from lawmakers. As part of Governor Gavin Newsom's directive that all non-essential businesses close to slow the spread of the virus and encourage social distancing, movie theaters have in California and New York have closed until further notice.
"In this time of unprecedented challenge and uncertainty, it's vital to acknowledge the prompt and responsible decisions made by all kinds of companies across our country that have closed their doors in full knowledge of the damage they are doing to their business," wrote Nolan.
He continued, "Our nation's incredible network of movie theaters is one of these industries, and as Congress considers applications for assistance from all sorts of affected businesses, I hope that people are seeing our exhibition community for what it really is: a vital part of social life, providing jobs for many and entertainment for all."
The Dunkirk director went on to say, "As a filmmaker, my work can never be complete without those workers and the audiences they welcome." While noting that entertainment, in its many forms, can provide catharsis, Nolan wrote that the past few weeks have been a reminder that "there are parts of life that are far more important than going to the movies." He then added, "But, when you consider what theaters provide, maybe not so many as you might think."
Movie theaters have "gone...
Tyler Perry is one of popular culture's biggest contradictions: one of the most prominent African American storytellers in history, he's a bonafide showman and a sloppy filmmaker, often at the same time. Perry's prolific output often centers on inane dialogue, mismatched performances, and half-hearted scenarios that feel like they barely made it past the first draft. But whether he's channeling his now-retired quasi-drag queen Madea or turning up the melodrama, Perry's workmanlike approach always delivers on his own slapdash terms.
“A Fall From Grace,” Perry's first feature for Netflix and his first since apparently killing off Madea last year, encapsulates the essence of the Perry Touch. A trashy Hitchcockian riff designed to make its audience laugh out loud at every ludicrous twist, the movie turns on a peculiar miscarriage of justice and bizarre courtroom theatrics that make your average legal thriller look like Shakespeare. For that very reason, it's almost certain to please anyone willing to roll with loose attention to logic. Shot in five days last December — because why not? — Perry's self-produced soap opera scribble is the kind of hilarious so-bad-it's-good romp in which the man behind the curtain invites his viewers to roll their eyes.
By that same token, “A Fall From Grace” shows just enough potential that one can imagine the sturdier drama that a more cautious approach might have wrought. Set within the vague backdrop of suburban Virginia and a nearby penitentiary, Perry's script finds young public defender Jasmine Bresha Webb eager to take on her first case and tasked with getting a plea deal from Grace Crystal Fox, a middle-aged woman who has confessed to murdering her younger husband. After meeting a despondent Grace, however, Jasmine's not so sure that Grace actually did it, a suspicion that grows as she tracks down her son and best pal Sarah a tough Phylicia Rashad, always a compelling presence. While Jasmine's stern boss Perry, dialing down his more flamboyant instincts insists she needs to get the plea bargain and get out, the feisty aspirational defender eventually coerces a shackled Grace to share her tale of woe.
Needless to say, Jasmine has reasons for concern — but Perry saves most of them for a jam-packed finale with enough outrageous revelations to fuel a few franchises. That's not to say that the movie delivers on every twist, but spoiling any of them would ruin its greatest asset. In a meandering flashback that forms the movie's centerpiece, Grace recalls her courtship with dashing young photographer Shannon Mehcad Brooks, who seduces her while she's still reeling from her divorce. A couple of charming dates later, and Shannon proposes, but once the couple...