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That’s Ministry! by Tyler Smith

12 May

At this very moment, all over the internet, one can find classified ads seeking out actors and crew members for films shooting in and around Los Angeles. These ads often give general details, such as the length of the shoot and perhaps a few specifics about the type of film being shot. As you skim these ads, you’ll eventually arrive at the pay rate, which, more often than not, is “low/no”, meaning that those involved likely won’t be getting paid. The ads will often specify, however, that actors and crew members will be compensated in the form of “exposure”.


Cinematic Suffering now available!

15 Apr

We’ve all seen terrible movies. Films that are so bad, they actually make us angry. Clumsy writing, stilted acting, and half-hearted visuals all contribute to some of our worst moviegoing experiences.

In his new book Cinematic Suffering, Tyler suggests that there’s always a silver lining, and we can still learn something from even the most painfully-bad films. The book contains reviews of studio misfires, shameless Oscar bait, ridiculous horror movies, and some films whose very existence defies all reason!

Cinematic Suffering is now available for purchase for only $15!

Books can be delivered only within the United States. Please allow two weeks for delivery.

Prove Yourself, by Tyler Smith

6 Mar

There is a moment late in Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s Captain Marvel in which the main character defiantly proclaims that she doesn’t need to prove herself to anybody. It’s a powerful moment, but one that is ultimately undercut by the film itself. The first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to feature a female hero as its lead, Captain Marvel is under heavy scrutiny, both from those that looking to champion the film’s nod toward equal representation and those that are suspicious of it. It is more of a burden than any one popcorn film should have to bear, but it’s not necessarily impossible. The best way to do this is to focus squarely on character and story and let the cultural chips fall where they may. This is what made DC’s Wonder Woman such a satisfying filmgoing experience. Unfortunately, despite its claims to the contrary, Captain Marvel throws back its shoulders, juts out its chin, and challenges its critics to take a swing at it, out to prove that it is every bit as legitimate as Iron Man or Captain America, losing much of its narrative – and, even worse, its character – thread in the process.


Pre-order Tyler’s New Book

13 Jan

Tyler is publishing a new book of reviews, called Cinematic Suffering: Reviews of Terrible Movies. He plans to release it in late March, and you can help!

You can now pre-order the book for $20, which will help with publishing costs. For your contribution, you will receive your signed copy of the book as soon as it is available and your name will be included in the “Special Thanks” section.

Unfortunately, right now, we can only ship within the United States, but we are looking for ways to ship out of the country.

Just click the “Buy Now” button below to pre-order your copy of Cinematic Suffering! Thank you for your support!

The Uncurious Case of Adam McKay, by Tyler Smith

18 Dec

It may have helped his career and general pedigree, but it would seem that the worst thing for director Adam McKay’s artistic sensibilities was winning that Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar in 2016 for The Big Short. In rewarding his comedically-anarchic approach to would-be dramatic material, the Academy essentially communicated to McKay that his throw-everything-at-the-wall instincts were much more of an asset than a liability. And while it can be refreshing to portray harrowing real life events in a humorous fashion – see Armando Iannucci’s The Death of Stalin as a recent example – it can lead to an unevenness of tone and execution that amounts to a sort of thematic wheel-spinning; making a lot of noise, but ultimately going nowhere. This is most certainly true of McKay’s new film, Vice, which purports to portray what lay behind the actions of former Vice President Dick Cheney. The instincts that may have served McKay well with the event-centered Big Short fail him here, as his attempts to make an illuminating character study are undercut by his own incredulity. The final product is a film that is self satisfied, condescending, and – perhaps worst of all – exceedingly uncurious. 


Minisode 118: Teaching

8 Nov

In this minisode, Tyler recounts his experiences as a grad student and teacher.

Episode 218: Annihilation

18 Oct

In this episode, Tyler and Reed discuss Alex Garland’s Annihilation and Danny Boyle’s Sunshine.

Episode 217: Get Out

4 Oct

In this episode, Tyler and Reed discuss Jordan Peele’s Get Out and George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. 

MTOL Top 50: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

27 Sep

In this minisode, Tyler and Josh discuss Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Episode 215: The Good Place

20 Sep

In this episode, Tyler and Josh welcome back Tyler Straessle to discuss the NBC sitcom The Good Place.