How Christopher Nolan Got His Start

We all know Christopher Nolan as the genius that brought us films like The Dark Knight Trilogy and Inception, massive blockbuster films that took millions of dollars to produce. But you might not have known that Christopher Nolan got his start as an indie film producer.

Christopher Nolan. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0634240/

Christopher Nolan is a film producer and screenwriter who grew up moving back and forth from Chicago to the United Kingdom. He created his first short film at the age of seven and always had a love for film making. He was a member of the film society at University College London where he attended school.

Nolan first came onto the scene as an indie producer with his film Following, he followed that with Genghis Blues and Memento. He then got his first taste of Hollywood when he took part in the making of the film Insomnia which starred Robert Dinero. After these films Nolan got his big break as a Hollywood producer and directed the film Batman Begins.

Following. (2019, March 21). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Following

Nolans first film as an indie producer was Following, a black and white film about a writer who becomes partners with a thief. This film had a budget of only six thousand dollars. Due to this low budget Nolan filmed in the homes of his friends and family. He also chose to use natural lighting instead of spending money on scene lighting. Following is now considered one of the most successful “no-budget” films of all time.

Nolans next indie film was Memento, another noir style film about a man with amnesia looking for the people who killed his wife. The original idea of the film came from his brother but Nolan decided to tell the story backwards. Nolan had a much larger budget for this film after his success from his first film, almost 4.5 million dollars. Nolan had gained some recognition in Hollywood and had originally planned for Brad Pitt to star in the film but Pitt was unable to. This film did very well at the box office grossing 40 million dollars.

Memento (film). (2019, April 03). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memento_(film)

Nolans first Hollywood film was Batman Begins where he found massive success. The combination of red carpet stars and a budget of 150 million dollars, Nolan was able to produce an amazing film.

Although Nolan is no longer a little known indie film maker his films still have similarities. Many of his films are still very psychological based and makes the audience think during the film. Nolan also uses similar camerawork as he did in his indie films. using large scale scenic shots as well as focusing on specific shots to show importance.

Christopher Nolan. (2019, April 10). Retrieved from https://www.biography.com/people/christopher-nolan-20881457

Memento. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://chrisnolan.fandom.com/wiki/Memento

Why Christopher Nolan’s Following is a masterful modern neo-noir. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://lwlies.com/articles/christopher-nolan-following-modern-neo-noir/

The Dark Knight: The Greatest Superhero Movie Ever????

“I believe what doesn’t kill you, simply makes you… Stranger.” -The Joker

(n.d.). Retrieved from https://cargocollective.com/GaryRosen/The-Dark-Knight-Known-as-the-best-viral-movie-marketing-campaign-in

The city of Gotham is at war with the crime families, led by the hot-shot district attorney Harvey Dent. But when the crime families turn to a new ally in The Joker only one man can save the city. Batman.

This film takes place in the fictional city of Gotham. A city plagued by organized crime and crooked politicians. However the city is on the rise, cutting down on organized crime and exposing crooked politicians. Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Dent lead the police force with occasional help from Batman. The city comes to it’s knees however when the crime families turn to The Joker who’s only goal is to cause chaos. Batman is left confused by The Joker’s motives, only knowing one thing. He must stop The Joker by whatever means necessary. This film is a very realistic take on superhero movies and makes it seem like things like this could happen in real life.

In my opinion this film is an A+. Everything about it is an absolute masterpiece, from the acting, to the camera shots, to the directing, everything in this film comes together perfectly.

Personally I think the acting is the biggest part of this movie being as great as it is. Particularly Heath Ledgers role as The Joker. He truly became The Joker for this film and played the role to perfection. His crazy laugh to seeming lack of care about anything at all was astounding. Aaron Eckharts performance as Harvey Dent/ Two-Face in this film was exceptional as well. From the stand up, “white knight” of Gotham city to his decent into madness. Christian Bale and Michael Cain were also very good in this film with their roles as Batman and Alfred.

Simpson, G. (2018, February 01). Heath Ledger had been set to reprise The Joker in The Dark Knight Rises. Retrieved from https://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/films/913169/Heath-Ledger-death-The-Joker-The-Dark-Knight-Rises-Christopher-Nolan

Christopher Nolan was the director of this film and successfully created one of, if not the greatest superhero film of all time. The shots and score in this film tied together seamlessly. One of the best shots in this film is batman flying across the night sky and all you can hear is the flap of his cap with Hans Zimmer’s score in the background. The action shots in this film were amazing as well. One of the best action sequences in this film was when The Joker attacked a police motorcade. You’re on the edge of your seat the entire scene but nothing seems overdone.

The writing in this film was also amazing. The way the characters were set up and played together was pure genius. All the characters developed in their own way but it was because of other characters that caused them to develop in this way. For example The Joker caused Harvey Dent to fall into madness. He also forced Batman to do things that in his eyes were wrong but necessary just to stop the Joker. The only character that didn’t seem to develop in the film was The Joker himself, but this fit the role perfectly because the only thing you know or even understand about him is his commitment to causing madness.

An Agency of Chaos: Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight’ • Cinephilia & Beyond. (2019, March 09). Retrieved from https://cinephiliabeyond.org/the-dark-knight/

This film is an artistic masterpiece and should be viewed in theaters if at all possible. However it is still a good movie to watch at home and shouldn’t fall into the category of a pure cinematic film. Overall this is one of the best movies I have ever seen no matter the genre. It will keep you on the edge of your seat and engrossed the entire time.

Best comedy film

Option 2:

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Director: Adam McKay

Writers: Will Ferrel, Adam McKay

Starring: Will Ferrel, John C Reilly

Release: August, 2006

Standalone Film

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. (2006, August 04). Retrieved from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0415306/

Talladega Nights is a slapstick comedy about the life and career of Nascar driver Ricky Bobby. Bobby is riding high and at the top of the world when a French formula one driver comes to Nascar to challenge Bobby. Bobby is tested when his world starts to crumble before his eyes.

This film is simple, in your face, style of comedy. There aren’t jokes you have to read into to understand. The goal of the film is to make you laugh and achieves its goal in every way. It relies on the script and the physical acting of the characters for the comedy and nothing more.

Some of the funniest scenes in this film are purely script, it doesn’t require the actor to do anything except for sit in a chair at the dining table. This particular scene revolves around Bobby, his best friend Cal, his wife, his sons, and his father in law. The exchanges between the group are pure comedy and I find myself crying laughing every time I watch this scene.

Baltake, J. (1970, January 01). Indelible moment: Adam McKay’s “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” (2006). Retrieved from http://thepassionatemoviegoer.blogspot.com/2012/03/indelible-moment-adam-mckays-talladega.html

There are also scenes where it does require the actor to do some kind of goofy stunt to really sell the scene. One in particular is when Bobby ends up in his underwear running around the track screaming that he is on fire.

“I’m on Fire!” (n.d.). Retrieved from http://weenie-mymisadventures.blogspot.com/2008/10/im-on-fire.html

This film uses multiple styles of humor but mostly relies on affiliative humor. There are parts of the movie where other styles of humor are used such as aggressive and self-defeating, for example, there are scenes in the film where you laugh at Bobby’s misfortune. There’s also scenes where Bobby trash talks opponents which results in a laugh from the audience.

One of the reasons this film is so funny is because of the outrageous antics of Ricky Bobby. I could come up with countless examples but there’s a few that are impossible to overlook. In one scene Bobby is running around the racetrack in his underwear screaming that he is on fire. Another is when he stabs a knife in his leg because he has convinced himself that he is paralyzed.

The cinematography, editing, and sound design, have very little to do with the comedy in this film. As I said before this film relies almost solely on the actors for the comedy in this film.

This film was not given the best reviews but did well financially. It was ranked number one for its opening weekend and made 47 million. Film critics didn’t respond exceptionally well to this film however, giving an average review score of around 70%. It did however do well with audiences and sits at an 89% audience rating.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. (2006, August 04). Retrieved from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0415306/

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=talladeganights.htm

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/talladega_nights_the_ballad_of_ricky_bobby

A Film Talent Worth Honoring

Josh Scism 3/18/19

Option 1:

I think Don Knotts is one of the greatest actors of all time. I particularly love him as Barney Fife in The Andy Griffith Show. He will always Barney Fife in my eyes because he really brought that character to life for me and made him seem like someone who could have actually existed in real life instead of just on a Hollywood set. He is a great example of natural acting in this role especially. However this isn’t the only example of a TV show or film he is great in. He also does an amazing job in “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken“.

Retroland.com, www.retroland.com/the-ghost-and-mr-chicken/.

In everything I’ve seen him in he has been a “naturalistic” actor, I think this is the best type of role for him to play because of his ability to bring a role to life. He has a unique ability to make the characters he plays extremely believable.

One of the things that makes him such an amazing actor in my eyes is his facial expressions and physical acting. He uses physical actions and his face to express what he’s feeling, whether it’s fear, surprise, or anguish. He makes it very easy to tell exactly what he’s feeling. However he is never repetitive with his actions. He finds a way to make his expressions different every time.

“Barney Fife.” Heroes Wiki, hero.fandom.com/wiki/Barney_Fife.

Some of the things he does seem very exaggerated but it’s never a problem because it fits his character perfectly. It’s always believable that his character would react in the way they do because they are over the top in almost every aspect.

Another thing that makes him such a great actor is his reactions to what the other actors are saying or doing even if he is not the main focus of the shot. He is always involved in what is going on and never seems out of place in a scene. He is also very natural in front of the camera. Everything he does seems natural and plan, and none of his actions and reactions seem forced.

“Don Knotts (as Barney Fife) and Jim Nabors (as Gomer Pyle) – Publicity Photo for The Andy Griffith Show – 1964 – History Tribute Encyclopedia.” Tribupedia, tribupedia.com/2017-celebrity-deaths/don-knotts-as-barney-fife-and-jim-nabors-as-gomer-pyle-publicity-photo-for-the-andy-griffith-show-1964/.

I have never felt like I guessed his reactions to things happening in films or shows he is an actor in. I think this is one of the best things about him as an actor, especially because of how much he uses physical acting. He always keeps the audience guessing with different reactions but the emotions are always still very easy to understand.

Chapter 4 Sights and Sounds Evaluation

Josh Scism

Baby Driver– Writer/Director- Edgar Wright

This film is about a young getaway driver who is trying to escape his life of crime. He also falls in love. His two lives eventually meet causing some serious trouble.

Baby- Main character in the film. Young male late teens early twenties who is an expert getaway driver.

Doc- Heist planner who Baby is in debt to and pays him back by doing “jobs” for him.

Debora- Baby’s girlfriend

Buddy, Darling, Bats- Heist crew

This film is an action drama which would appeal mostly to young adults in my opinion.

Baby Driver | Sony Pictures, www.babydriver-movie.com/discanddigital/.

The main character conflict in this film is Character vs. Character. Baby has conflict with everyone in the heist crew including Doc. Baby wants to leave the life of crime behind him but Doc threatens Baby’s girlfriend and foster dad. He then has conflict with Bats because Bats’ erratic behavior. Finally he has conflict with Darling and Buddy because he blows the heist and they’re all on the run from the police.

One thing I learned from this movie is that sometimes you need to stop running, take your blows, and move on. At the end of the film Baby and Debora are on the run from the police and they come across a road block, Debora is driving and she wants to try and escape but Baby turns himself in.

This is one of the best cinematic movies I have ever seen. They did amazing with the chase scenes especially. They had long cuts and quick cuts of the car chase and it was extremely fun to watch. They had a comfortable amount of both and put them together nicely, I never felt like I was jumping around too much but it was entertaining at the same time. They also used shots that were just fun little teasers that I didn’t notice my first time watching the film, for example near the beginning of the movie Baby is making a coffee run and theres music playing in the background and all along the city behind him the lyrics are on the walls, sometimes it’s graffiti, other times it’s store signs or posters. They used a lot of medium shots in the car to show emotion on the actors face but didn’t go too close which gave you a good shot of the other actors a lot of the time also. The camera movement was also done very well, in the shot I mentioned earlier when Baby went to get coffee it was one long shot as he turned multiple times, crossed the street, and ducked under some workers. The whole time the camera stayed with him and made if feel you were walking on the same street he was.

“Edgar Wright.” Memory Alpha, memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Edgar_Wright.

This film is one of the only films I have ever seen where I could easily see how much of a role the music and sounds played in the film. Music was very key in this movie because it was important to Baby but it was more than that in this film. When it was a shot focused on Baby and he didn’t have some form of music there was a buzzing noise that you could hear which really put you in his shoes. In the film it explains that he has a medical condition where he has a constant ringing in his ears and he uses music to kind of drown it out. But sounds play other roles in this movie as well. Throughout the movie sounds that are happening in the world go along with the music that is being played. For example there is a scene where they have a shootout and the gunfire goes along to the tune of “Tequila”.

This film was nominated for 61 awards and took home 41. Some of which include;

Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, and Best Achievement in Sound Editing

I think they deserved all these awards, the editing in this film was astounding and the combination of the sound and the camera, the way everything tied together made it almost impossible not to give them one of these awards without the others.

“For Your Consideration Baby Driver.” Awards Daily, www.awardsdaily.com/consideration-baby-driver/.

In my opinion this movie was a huge success. It did well at the box office, won awards, and was overall a really fun movie to watch. One of my favorite parts of the film was how the sounds and the shots tied together, it’s something I’ve never really seen before and I thought it was genius. It kept me entertained the whole time. If I had to give this film a final grade I would give it an A+, it is one of the best movies I have ever seen.

Josh Scism 3/11/19

Songs that Tell Stories

Watching You- Rodney Atkins

Driving through town, just my boy and me
With a happy meal in his booster seat
Knowing that he couldn’t have the toy
Till his nuggets were gone
A green traffic light turned straight to red
I hit my brakes and mumbled under my breath
As fries went a flying and his orange drink covered his lap
Well, then my four year old said a four letter word
That started with “s, ” and I was concerned
So I said, “Son, now where did you learn to talk like that?”
He said, “I’ve been watching you, dad, ain’t that cool?
I’m your buckaroo, I wanna be like you
And eat all my food, and grow as tall as you are
We got cowboy boots and camo pants
Yeah, we’re just alike, hey, ain’t we dad?
I wanna do everything you do
So I’ve been watching you.”
We got back home, and I went to the barn
I bowed my head, and I prayed real hard
Said, “Lord, please help me help my stupid self.”
Then this side of bedtime later that night
Turning on my son’s Scooby Doo night light
He crawled out of bed, and he got down on his knees
He closed his little eyes, folded his little hands
And spoke to God like he was talking to a friend
And I said, “Son, now where’d you learn to pray like that?”
He said, “I’ve been watching you, dad, ain’t that cool?
I’m your buckaroo, I wanna be like you
And eat all my food, and grow as tall as you are
We like fixing things and holding mama’s hand
Yeah, we’re just alike, hey, ain’t we, dad?
I wanna do everything you do
So I’ve been watching you.”
With tears in my eyes, I wrapped him in a hug
Said, “My little bear is growing up.”
He said, “But when I’m big, I’ll still know what to do.”
“‘Cause I’ve been watching you, dad, ain’t that cool?
I’m your buckaroo, I wanna be like you
And eat all my food, and grow as tall as you are
Then I’ll be as strong as Superman
We’ll be just alike, hey, won’t we, dad?
When I can do everything you do
‘Cause I’ve been watching you.”

Songwriters: Teddy Natalia Noemi Sinclair / Emile Haynie / Jeffrey Bhasker

Characters- Father and son (both unnamed)

Inciting incident- The father slams on the brakes at a red light and the sons drink spills in his lap.

Setting- Small town in southern USA, first in the car, then the barn, then the kids bedroom.

Conflict- The son says a cuss word and the father realizes it’s his fault the kid is saying these things.

Resolution- The father goes home and prays and sees his son doing the same later that night.

Film- If this song was turned into a film I think it would be a drama but not necessarily the usual drama you would think of. I think it would be a family film. It centers around the relationship between the father and son and how the son does what he sees his father doing. I think the film would revolve around the father striving to be a better person so his son becomes a better person as well.

Ch. 2 Film Evaluation

I watched A Quiet Place for my film evaluation. It’s a thriller drama written by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, directed by John Krasinski.

“A Quiet Place NOW ON 4K UHD, BLU-RAY & DIGITAL.” 100 Years of Paramount | Paramount Pictures, www.paramount.com/movies/quiet-place.

This movie is about a family who are some of the few survivors in a world that has been taken over by aliens who rely on their ability to hear. The mother is pregnant and the family is preparing for the day the baby will be born. The inciting incident happens when the mother goes into labor when she is home by herself. The family gets separated and the father goes to help the kids who have been found by the aliens. He sacrifices himself to save them. The kids escape back to the house where the daughter finds out her hearing aids are the aliens weakness. They kill one of the aliens and the film ends with the last shot being the mother cocking a shotgun.

I think the story question is what lengths is Lee (the father) willing to go to, to protect his family. He near the end of the film he is willing to go to whatever lengths necessary by sacrificing himself to save his kids.

This film is part thriller part family drama. Throughout the story the family is going through turmoil because they lost their youngest child when it was killed by one of the aliens. The oldest child (Regan) blames this on herself and thinks Lee blames it on her as well. As the story progresses Lee and the rest of the family are trying to prove to her how much he loves her. She doesn’t fully understand until he sacrifices himself to save her and her brother (Marcus).

Burwick, Kevin. “A Quiet Place 2 Won’t Be Rushed, John Krasinski Will Return.” MovieWeb, MovieWeb, 8 Jan. 2019, movieweb.com/a-quiet-place-2-john-krasinski-returning-production-details/.

I think the story was meant to entertain and keep you on the edge of your seat, but there was a deeper message behind it as well. It was about family and the love families share for one another. The story felt complete but left it on somewhat of a cliffhanger as well. There is a second movie coming out so they had to leave something for that movie and I felt they did a good job of providing closure but not so much that they didn’t have somewhere to start the second film.

This film was nominated for 83 awards and won 23. It was a great movie and did a wonderful job telling a story while the cast very rarely spoke. It focused on the art and telling a story without requiring the cast to tell it to you.

This film did follow the Freytag Pyramid Story Structure.

I think this film most closely identifies with the “Monster in the House” genre. More specifically “The Monster”.

The characters in this film are constantly growing, both together as a family and as individuals. Lee grows as a father and finally finds a way to show his children he loves them more than anything. Evelyn (the mother) goes from being the loving sweet mother to the woman carrying around a shotgun killing aliens. Regan finally comes to understand how much her dad loves her and realizes that she is the answer to killing the aliens. Marcus goes from being a scared little boy to the one that goes to cause a distraction to ensure his mother is safe.

I would say the protagonists in this story most closely align with the “modern hero” they are just a normal family who are thrown into this situation and are doing anything they can to survive.

All the characters in this film were dynamic. From the start of the film to the end they were constantly growing and coming into their own. By the end they all realized what they meant to each other and did what was necessary to save their family.

I think the most important part of the film was the characters. The entire film revolved around them and showed almost no one else in the film except for the main four characters. The plot was about their growth and how they supported each other, even if it didn’t seem like this all the time. There were parts of the movie where it seemed like it was going to pull away from the family and focus on one character but it always revolved back around to them helping each other and lifting one another up.

This film is “Character vs The Unknown or Supernatural”.

TheWolfman. “’A Quiet Place’ Monster Was Played by John Krasinski.” WWG, ComicBook.com, 17 Oct. 2018, comicbook.com/horror/2018/10/17/quiet-place-movie-monster-john-krasinski/.

This film did a very good job of covering plot holes and making everything in the film make sense and tie together. After the film I only had one or two question and if you haven’t seen the film you wouldn’t understand them. My first question was why didn’t the family move closer to the waterfall if that was a sort of safe haven for them because it was a constant noise that masked the noises they made. My second question was about when the alien killed Lee, as far as I could tell he didn’t make any noise when the alien first attacked him. As far as strong points it went above and beyond to make sure everything made sense. I can’t pick out one specific strong point because I feel like it was the entire film except for those two small parts I mentioned before.

I feel this story was a success and achieved exactly what it was meant to. It kept me on the edge of my seat while also telling the story about the family and showing their growth the whole time.

I feel this film is intended for teenagers and young adults. It is too dark for kids but it isn’t something I see older people watching and enjoying.

I would give this movie an A or A-. It kept me intrigued the whole time while telling a very good story. I found almost no plot holes and thoroughly enjoyed watching the movie. Not my favorite movie of all time but definitely deserving of a high score.

Josh Scism 2/24/19

Base, Quick. “An Online Resource Guide to Freytag’s Pyramid.” Quick Base, http://www.quickbase.com/articles/an-online-resource-guide-to-freytags-pyramid.

Anderson, Jeffrey M. “A Quiet Place – Movie Review.” Common Sense Media: Ratings, Reviews, and Advice, Common Sense Media, 3 Apr. 2018, http://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/a-quiet-place.

Tallerico, Brian. “A Quiet Place Movie Review & Film Summary (2018) | Roger Ebert.” RogerEbert.com, Brian Grazer, 6 Apr. 2018, http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/a-quiet-place-2018.

“A Quiet Place.” Metacritic, Livemixtapes.com, 6 Apr. 2018, http://www.metacritic.com/movie/a-quiet-place.

Bradshaw, Peter. “A Quiet Place Review – Silence Never Sounded so Terrifying.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 5 Apr. 2018, http://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/apr/05/a-quiet-place-review-john-krasinski-emily-blunt.

Livingstone, Josephine. “Sight and Silence.” The New Republic, 11 Apr. 2018, newrepublic.com/article/147930/quiet-brilliance-quiet-place.