All in Views

Best Films of 2018

2018 was a wonderful year for films across multiple genres, languages, and styles. I did the best I could with this list to present a list I felt comfortable celebrating this year. Even though I appreciated many films released this year, I’m growing increasingly impatient with films that are negative just to be negative. I’m tired. I’m tired of films that don’t reflect the real world (meaning: we’re not all white, we’re not all straight, we’re not all mentally well, we’re not all rich, and we’re not all satisfied by default). I’m tired of films that present themselves as serious cinema that is meant to be so relatable that I can’t relate to. There are films that don’t even make my long list for “Best” because as technically well made as they are, I got nothing out of them.

Thoughts on the Dumbo Remake Trailer

Consider Dumbo my problematic favorite. It’s, sadly, not hard to think of times that the Walt Disney Company produced incredibly racist content in its feature and short films. There’s Sunflower, the black centaur and handmaid to the white and blonde centaur in Fantasia, drawn with exaggerated Jim Crow caricature features and literally erased from the Disney Vaults for all future re-releases of the film. Then you have Peter Pan and the infamous song “What Makes the Red Man Red?,” indulging in horrible stereotypes about American Indians and First Nations people in similarly racist caricature. Songs of the South had Uncle Remus as the happy slave singing and dancing for the enjoyment of free white children (the film is largely unavailable in America, and Disney has defended the film as not racist because it is set in the 1870s when Uncle Remus was most likely a sharecropper and not a slave; yes, an eye-roll is appropriate here). Disney also tripled down on the Siamese cat as racist Asian caricature conceit in Lady and the Tramp, The Aristocats, and Disney’s Rescue Rangers (not a film, but modern enough that Disney should have known better). This isn’t even getting into the racist WWII propaganda films that every animation studio produced to aid the war effort. It’s a slippery slope from “Der Fuhrer’s Face” to “Commando Duck.”

Dead by Daylight Mid-Chapter Patch 2.3.0 #31DaysofHorror

Behaviour Interactive, the developers behind asymmetrical 4v1 survival horror game Dead by Daylight, are consistently making good on a series of promises they made half a year ago. Once they made an agreement to buy back full rights to their own game, they promised to roll out regular updates to improve and change the game throughout the year. Essentially, we’re supposed to get four new chapters—DLC updates featuring a new killer, a new survivor, and a new map—and four mid-chapter patches over the next year. So far, we’ve seen the introduction of the Clown, Kate Denson, the Spirit, Adam Francis, a cosmetics shop, and a total revamp of in-game currency.

Format Shift: The Reinvention of Shane Dawson

It’s weird how quickly a cliche can develop. I feel like every piece of criticism responding to Shane Dawson’s new multi-part documentary format on YouTube starts with a bunch of disclaimers. The author (meaning writer, vlogger, podcaster, etc.) comments on how they hated or didn’t really know Shane Dawson. They say it’s surprising that he’s doing something so serious with his channel. They’re happy for his success, but they question what’s really motivating him.

In all honesty, I can see how this is true for a lot of authors. Online content, especially videos, is a young person’s game. I’m young by normal standards, but ancient by Internet standards: 32, turning 33 tomorrow. I’m old enough to remember when YouTube was a new platform; I’m also old enough to remember cassette overtaking vinyl and mall tours being a huge deal.