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Filmism.net Dispatch July 24, 2011

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A bit of Hollywood trivia first. Have you ever noticed how when a movie title's a question (like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Dude, Where's My Car? Are We There Yet?), sometimes they leave the questions mark off, like in the above examples?

It's actually considered bad luck in Hollywood to have a question mark in your movie title. I've never been able to find out why, but after watching How Do You Know recently I can only assume the curse might selectively extend to movie titles that should have a question mark according to the rule of grammar.

I also watched the 1940 Chaplin comedy The Great Dictator through the week. It went on my list ages ago after my curiosity about why audiences had a hard time swallowing a satire about Hitler in the middle of the Second World War. It's all pretty inoffensive now, but it got me wondering what the resulting mood would have been if Paul Greengrass' United 93 or Oliver Stone's World Trade Center had come out just months after September 11.

It just goes to show movies have lives and relationships to the world that change over time – just like people. Why else did I respond so overwhelmingly to Super 8, than because it was a perfect homage to the movies of my formative years? 25 years hence kids of today might be similarly charmed watching a reverent new spin on Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone or Twilight.

In other news, I finally got around to reviewing The Tree of Life, and I spun a little tale outlining what I think Johnny Depp's next move should be after his recent past, which you can read here.

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