‘gravity’: Five Things All Movies Can Learn From The Record-breaking Hit


Scarlett Johansson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s film will be followed by movies such as ‘Bad Grandpa’ and ‘Last Vegas.’ By Piya Sinha-Roy,Reuters / October 7, 2013 Scarlett Johansson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s movie ‘Don Jon’ was one of the first of many raunchy comedies planned for release this fall. Daniel McFadden/Relativity Media/AP The Christian Science Monitor Weekly Digital Edition Kicking off a season of coarse comedy is actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt ‘s directorial debut “Don Jon,” which was released Sept. 27, about a young, attractive man who struggles to connect with women due to his porn addiction. When Jon falls for the beautiful Barbara, played by Scarlett Johansson, he finds his relationship expectations challenged, while Barbara has her own ideas for the kind of boyfriend Jon should be. RECOMMENDED: The 25 best movie comedies of all time “I wanted to play with rom-com conventions and poke fun at them a bit,” said Gordon-Levitt, who also wrote and starred in the lead role. “(Barbara) expects her relationship with Jon to be like the romantic movies that she watches, and she tries to make him into that kind of man. They’re both stuck in their expectations instead of accepting each other for who they are,” he added. “Don Jon,” rated R for its graphic sexual content and strong language, leads a wave of comedies taking the place of conventional romantic-comedies drawing audiences looking for warm feel-good films as the weather gets colder. Movies such as 2001’s “Bridget Jones’s Diary” starring Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant that made $281 million worldwide, and 2006’s “The Holiday” with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet, which made $205 million at the global box office, demonstrated the power of romantic-comedies to bring in audiences. But in 2013, few traditional romantic comedies follow the traditional formula of boy meets girl in unlikely circumstances, falls in love and eventually lives happily ever after, a model that made films such as 1990’s “Pretty Woman” or 2001’s “The Wedding Planner” into romantic-comedy staples. “Rom-coms are not disappearing altogether, but there is a need for a novel approach… where the story-telling structure is different and doesn’t end with a woman and man just being happy,” said Lucas Shaw, film writer at TheWrap.com. COURTING MALE AUDIENCES

If I watch a classic film on Turner Classic Movies, I usually make sure to catch Robert Osborne’s insightful introductions and postscripts. More often than not, he tells me something I didn’t know, and that Post to Facebook Wanna introduce a film on Turner Classic Movies? on USATODAY.com: http://usat.ly/19YNe7U Incorrect please try again A link has been posted to your Facebook feed. Sent! A link has been sent to your friend’s email address. Join the Nation’s Conversation To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs Wanna introduce a film on Turner Classic Movies? Whitney Matheson, USA TODAY 1:16 p.m. EDT October 2, 2013 A new contest will let a Turner Classic Movies fan co-host a film with Robert Osborne. (Photo: TCM) SHARE 29 CONNECT 12 TWEET COMMENTEMAILMORE If I watch a classic film on Turner Classic Movies, I make sure to catch Robert Osborne’s insightful introductions and postscripts. More often than not, he tells me something I didn’t know, and that even goes for movies I’ve seen dozens of times (like, say, The Graduate). This month, TCM is holding a contest that will let one lucky fan co-host a movie with Osborne. Over at the site for its ” Ultimate Fan Contest ,” you can submit a 90-second video of yourself introducing a classic film.

Sandra Bullock in "Gravity"

While investing in Cuaron was by no means as simple as good business sense he hasn’t made a commercial hit outside of “Potter” it was a move by Warner Bros. to trust that quality filmmaking can perform just like something with brand recognition, and in the case of “Gravity,” be more memorable for it. It Doesn’t Take $250 Million Part of the trade-off of funding a movie based on an original concept from an acclaimed director with largely untested box-office drawing power is that the budget doesn’t balloon as high as it does for something like “The Lone Ranger.” “Gravity” cost $100 million to make, and the money was spent in the right places. Cuaron cast two of today’s biggest stars and essentially everything else went into state-of-the-art technology. And all the effects were essential to the story and innovative enough to make audiences feel like hadn’t seen anything like it before. It Doesn’t Take Two And A Half Hours Here is probably the easiest lesson for other studio films to learn from. A movie can seem even more impressive if it tells a compelling story within the span of 90 minutes. The non-stop tension of “Gravity” combined with its tight running time affected the overall experience of watching the film because the immediacy of the danger wouldn’t have felt as real if you were checking your watch at the two-hour mark, trying to figure out when this thing would end. Making a film that is as big as “Gravity” in only 90 minutes shows that Cuaron wanted this story which in essence is pretty simple to be stripped down only to the essential elements. People Will Come… Marketing departments for film studios have been programmed to believe certain things about their intended targets. Often TV ads are edited in a way to make the film appear to be something it’s not. A recent example even caused a lawsuit, when the moody “Drive” suddenly became a “Fast and Furious” clone in 30-second spots.

Wanna introduce a film on Turner Classic Movies?

Julien Temple’s 1979 debut The Great Rock And Roll Swindle caught the punk zeitgeist’s tail end and offered a ramshackle glimpse into the Pistols’ lives, albeit from a skewed Malcolm McLaren perspective. This second documentary on the band set out years later to get their take on events and – although punks would balk at the word – contextualise their influence in a broken Britain. Best music moment: A toss-up between ‘God Save The Queen’ and ‘Anarchy In The UK’. Tim Chester Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) Although not strictly a music film per se, this – like all John Hughes’ movies – brought indie music to the mainstream. From the ubiquitous “chick-a-chick-aahs” to the gratuitous use of The Beat, The Flowerpot Men, Sigue Sigue Sputnik and of course The Smiths’ ‘Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want’ in the museum scene, ‘FB’s Day Off’ seamlessly weaves iconic music into its goofy plot. Weirdly, John Hughes refused to release the soundtrack as a seperate entity, thinking no-one would be interested in hearing Yello and Wayne Newston on the same CD. Which just means you have to watch the thing, and hear them all in the context they were intended. Best music monent: The mass singalong to The Beatles’ ‘Twist And Shout’. Tim Chester Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1987) Richard and Karen Carpenter were the ultimate clean-cut, brother and sister act responsible for buckets of pleasant MOR, but behind the scenes lay a dark story of depression and anorexia. This film tells that story. Or at least it did, until Richard filed a lawsuit banning its distribution, which may have been down to the use of Barbie dolls to depict Karens illness, or the accusations of homosexuality. Either way, its a short but not-so-sweet document as doomed as its subject. Best music moment: Karen singing along to Dionne Warwicks Ill Never Fall In Love Again. Tim Chester The Importance Of Being Morrissey (2002) Directors Tina Flintoff and Ricky Kelehar corralled an impressive cast of talking heads for this fawning celebration of the cantankerous Smiths legend Bono, Noel Gallagher, playwright Alan Bennett and (weirdly) Harry Potter author JK Rowling were all on hand to sing Mozs praises. Obviously your attitude to the film will depend on your tolerance for Morrisseys own sour world view Tony Blair and the Royals come in for a kicking but there are illuminating insights into the great man’s life and work.