Monday, December 12, 2011

Praise for Hugo

Man, it’s been a busy month. OK, I said I would only be updating once a month and… Oh, wait. Here it is.

The good news is that the new book is now with the editor so I have a break for a bit. The Comedy Film Nerds Guide to Movies has been a project myself, my CFN partner Graham Elwood and 11 other writers have been working on for over a year. And it’s finally edging towards the finish line and should be out in June if everything goes according to plan. It will be in bookstores (what are they?) and digital platforms online and of course for sale at

But I had just finished my chapters, including one on Family Films and Film School classics and never really thought about them being linked. Until I saw Martin Scorsese’s beautiful new film Hugo. It’s amazing. I usually leave the movie reviews over at CFN but I need to talk about this film some more. Plus, Neil T. Weakley did a fantastic job on the review over there so it’s covered.

In the upcoming book I touch on George Melies in the Film School Classics chapter and never thought I’d see him referenced in a “family” film, but there it is. And it’s done brilliantly. It’s gets to the heart of who we are, and why stories are so important. For the most obvious reason of all: They bring us together. Often in a dark theater with asshole teenagers texting next to us, but ultimately we are still brought together. The buzz on Hugo is that it is a love letter to film, and that is partially true. But it’s more of love letter to storytelling, storytellers, and how at heart that’s really who we all are.

From the trailer, it looks like a boy living in a train station clock trying to get his toy robot to work that his father left him. That is only one part of the film. But I guess it’s the part the trailer editor felt was important. Oh, don’t get me started on trailers. But I digress.

What’s weird is that it’s a “family” film. Yes, it’s a family film and the whole family can enjoy it, but ultimately young children who don’t have a working knowledge of early 1900s film history may be a little bored. Just saying. But it’s really just a great film without any sex, violence, cursing or other “adult” themes. Does that make it a family film? The absence of any scenes that would garner an R rating? Maybe. I won’t show it to my daughter until she is older, like around 9 or 10. Not because there is anything objectionable, but I think she’ll appreciate it much more in a few years. Right now she’d be bored if the robot doesn’t act like the Iron Giant, so we’ll wait a bit.

This is a movie made by dreamers for dreamers. I’ve always been one. I still am. We all are, even if we forget sometimes. That’s the point of the film. Martin Scorsese reminds us why we are all dreamers, and how dull life would be otherwise. See this film.


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