Cinema Bros’ Best Dialogue of 2017

Dialogue is probably one of the most important parts of a film. You can have incredible cinematography, great music, wonderful acting and a great story, but if the things that your characters are saying don’t seem believable or don’t make sense, it doesn’t matter. Great films usually have memorable, believable dialogue and there were many films that fit that bill in 2017. Here is the Cinema Bros’ list of the Best Dialogue of 2017:

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – By James Gunn

By Sam

This exchange is interesting because it serves as a break in the action of the final battle of the film. As Peter Quill and Yondu are both descending from the wreckage of their ship Quill throws what he thinks is going to be a funny quip at Yondu, but since Yondu is an alien he assumes it is a compliment. It is a great moment for the pair when Quill, who has been growing closer to Yondu, his surrogate father figure, the entire film, decides to let Yondu believe that Mary Poppins is a cool dude. It is a funny but subtly tender moment.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – By Martin McDonagh

By Jacob

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is about as crass and tasteless as they come. It is, after all, a film set in the rural Midwest. Political correctness doesn’t exist here, and folks say a whole bunch of things they probably should keep to themselves. This venomous attack on an unsuspecting reporter epitomizes the film thematically, but it also encapsulates Mildred’s character. Her daughter was raped and murdered, yet the police aren’t in any hurry to figure out who is responsible. The titular billboards that announced her anger to the whole world have been vandalized. Mildred is absolutely correct: she’s just getting started and is certainly not concerned with her public image.

The Florida Project – By Sean Baker & Chris Bergoch

By Josiah

What is so wonderful about The Florida Project is how many of its little moments and little conversations are far more than meet the eye. From Willem Dafoe lighting a cigarette to Moonee playing in the bathtub to this wonderful conversation, writers Sean Baker and Chris Bergoch deserve a lot of credit for not only making the characters, story and dialogue feel incredibly real, but managing to thread a lot of really interesting subtext throughout. This conversation is a great example of that. Originally, Baker and Bergoch had written “up-rooted” instead of “tipped over”, but quickly realized that a six-year-old girl would never say it that way. So, not only do you have a line that feels exactly like a little girl would say it, but it also has huge subtext embedded in it. Moonee is much like the tree. She is a victim of her circumstance and, in a way, she has tipped over. But, despite her circumstances being quite bad, the film offers some hope. Moonee is still growing. It makes sense that she would gravitate toward the tree because it is a symbol of hope and she needs a little bit of hope.

The Big Sick – By Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani

By Sam

Shortly after Kumail meets the parents of his girlfriend, who is in a coma, he starts awkward small talk with them and what could be more awkward than bringing 9/11. This is the first of many great examples of this type of humor, but this is one of the best because it also mixes in some of the racial tension that makes up a bulk of the movie’s key plot points.

Brawl in Cell Block 99 – By S. Craig Zahler

By Jacob

This fascinating take on the “law of averages” is spoken by Bradley who has just been let go from his job at the local garage. He arrives home to find his garbage can has been knocked over onto the street. Getting out of his car, he discovers that his wife has been cheating on him with another man. He dismantles her car with his bare hands (I’m really not joking), and then calmly walks into the house and sits down on the couch. With bloodied knuckles, Bradley explains that he is done with playing the odds. This monologue signals a turning point in the film, one from which Bradley can’t come back. Brawl in Cell Block 99 is a film about a man who leaves nothing to chance. Bradley is done drinking the “skim stuff” and he won’t let anyone stop him from getting what is his.

Columbus – By Kogonada

By Josiah

I couldn’t make a list of the best dialogue of 2017 without including something from Kogonada’s beautiful debut Columbus. I mean, most of the film is really just two people talking to each other trying to hash out the problems and obstacles in their lives. This particular scene is the first time real tension is brought into the relationship. Casey is a young woman who is fascinated by architecture and has put her life on pause to stay home and care for her former drug addict mother. Jin is older and is in town because his architecture professor father has slipped into a coma. This scene perfectly demonstrated how alike and how different the characters are. Both are struggling with their parent being an obstacle in their lives and this is the first scene they begin to be truly honest about their feelings about that. Much like the architecture throughout the film, the dialogue here by Kogonada is perfectly constructed.


CB Podcast Ep. 80 – “The Big Sick” // “War for the Planet of the Apes” Reviews

This week, the bros bring you two reviews for the price of one. The new romantic comedy comedian Kumail Nanjiani wrote with his wife, “The Big Sick”, and the final chapter of Caesar’s story, “War for the Planet of the Apes.”
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Cinema Bros “Loving” Review Roundup

“Loving” – A Married Man’s Perspective

By Jacob Wampfler

Immediately after my screening of Loving concluded, I texted my wife.  The text message read, “I love you.  I know I take for granted what we have together, far too often but…I love you.”  Loving was, for me, an introspective and emotional film that caused me to examine my own marriage and contemplate the unsettling reality of Richard and Mildred Loving’s story.  I have never been told that I cannot be with my wife.  I have never had my personal rights or space violated because I choose to love the woman to whom I am married.  Jeff Nichols and his powerful film convey the long-suffering triumph of two people who refused to stop fighting for one another.  And at the very center of that story lies a simple message summed up in the words of Richard Loving, “Tell the judge that I love my wife.”  This may be a film about a landmark Supreme Court decision.  But moreso, it’s about Mildred and Richard and their love for each other.

I had the opportunity to see this film in St. Louis at a small art-house theater I used to frequent when I lived in the area.  As the theater began to fill up for an almost sold-out showing, I looked around me to notice that the audience was populated with couples of all ages and demographics.  The one demographic that stood out to me most, however, were the interracial couples who had come to see Loving.  It struck me that these couples, during the time in which Loving took place, would not have been allowed to see a movie together in  many parts of our country.  As the film progressed and finally, as the credits rolled, I heard the emotional sound of sobbing throughout the theater.  As I walked out that night, I saw one interracial couple grasping hands together, leaning towards each other with tears streaming down their faces.  That image has imprinted itself in my memory…and this is why Loving is important filmmaking.

There is a recurring theme in Loving that has stuck with me since I saw the film about a month ago.  Richard Loving is a mason by trade.  He goes to work each day with his tools and lunch pail in hand.  In a lesser film, this could quickly become cliche.  However, Nichols uses this aspect of Richard’s life to communicate something magnificent.  Over and over again, we see Richard with trowel and mortar laying brick on top of brick.  At the beginning of the film, he tells Mildred he will build a house for her one day.  At the end of the film, he builds that house for her in their home-state of Virginia, the very place from which they had been exiled for their previously unlawful union.  Mildred and Richard didn’t help to change the Constitution of the United States overnight.  They did it slowly, painfully, and not without setback along the way.  Brick by brick, they built their love for another.  Brick by brick, they made history together.  Loving is a fitting testament to and celebration of Richard and Mildred Loving, and it is an essential film of our time.


The Relevance of “Loving” in Trump’s America

By Sam Wampfler

I knew, going into Loving, that it was going to be a difficult movie to watch. It is a film set in a time when our country not only had bigoted and hate filled ideas, but also had the legal means to act on those ideas in often times brutal and unforgiving ways. That being said, I greatly enjoyed Loving. The makers of this film did everything right.

The casting was phenomenal. The lead actors, Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton, played the roles of the tormented interracial couple perfectly. Negga especially was breathtaking. Her portrayal of Mildred Loving was strong and confident yet extremely caring. Even the minor roles in this movie were extremely important and perfectly acted. Nick Kroll, normally known for comedic antics, plays completely against type as the lawyer that initially takes on their case and Michael Shannon, as a man assigned to photograph the couple, adds new layers to some already emotional scenes.

Loving is also a very beautiful film. It is so beautiful that for the first half of the film I was so immersed in the visuals that I didn’t even realize how relevant the concepts of the film are to post-election America. Then at about half way through the film I realized just how screwed up America once was and just how screwed up we might become very soon.

The racist tendencies of our country have never disappeared and they never really will. As I mentioned before, the era that Loving is set in had no laws against the prejudiced actions of its citizens. Now that a man that could pass as one of the “villains” in Loving has been elected as president, it is very possible that we could end up with an America that looks far too much like the America we see in LovingThe growing prevalence of these completely racist beliefs in modern day America scares the crap out of me. The resurgence of open racist acts by some Americans days after the election definitely contribute to this fear. Hopefully my fears are unfounded.


“Loving” is the Rare Biopic That Is Both Accurate and Artful

By Josiah Wampfler

Biopics have become sort of a cliche, especially if they come out in the fall. Many follow the same types of plot beats, they are usually dripping in melodrama as they chase awards attention and, in general, I usually get pretty bored with a lot of them. Hacksaw Ridge and Sully earlier this fall were guilty of almost all of the biopic sins I mentioned. They were passable films, but they never really transcended the “genre” and overall I was just plain bored with them. Thankfully, 2016 has finally brought us a transcendent biopic in Loving: a film that manages to not only be true to its subjects, but also is told with an artistic eye.

Directed by Jeff Nichols, Loving tells the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, who famously were the couple behind the supreme court case, Loving v. Virginia, that ended laws against interracial marriage throughout the country. Going into a film such as that, one may expect a typical courtroom drama that shows the harassment that both the lawyers and the Lovings faced. And while we do see much of the harassment the Lovings themselves faced, the courtroom is almost completely absent from the film. Nichols instead knew that the best version of this story would be to focus on what was truly important in it: the Lovings themselves.

As a result, Loving is a very subdued, quiet film that reflects the real people its characters are based upon. These weren’t revolutionaries like Malcolm X or Martin Luther King. Mildred Loving certainly helped a lot of other people in pushing their case to the ACLU, but in the end they were two people that loved each other that just wanted to be left alone to raise their family. And Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga do a spectacular job of portraying that. Edgerton’s Richard is a man of few words who is quite the reluctant participant in the whole ordeal. Negga’s Mildred on the other hand starts off quite timid, but as the film progresses she really takes charge and ends up being the really driving force in the relationship. And their chemistry together is absolutely palpable.

Now, Jeff Nichols, may not seem like the right man to tell a story like this, and even he has said he had his doubts at first. I mean, you wouldn’t think the white guy behind Mud and Take Shelter would be directing a biopic about the Lovings, but after seeing the film he made, I think there is no doubt he was the perfect person for the job. Not only does he take great care in getting the characters right, but he is exactly the type of sure-handed director that this story needed. He doesn’t get too flashy and he lets the characters really be the driving force behind the film. His obvious affinity for stories about huge anxiety inducing forces bearing down on people certainly helps the film as well, as he not only shows the obvious harassment the Lovings face, but the psychological torment they bare. And his experience of growing up in the south certainly comes through in the film, as he tackles the issue of race in quite complex ways that we don’t often see in films. There is even a brilliant conversation about white privilege in which Richard is made aware of the fact that he is the rare white man that has had a small glimpse into what black people at the time were facing.

The complexity Nichols brings to the film as well as his willingness to let character drive it is exactly what makes Loving a truly great biopic. In many ways, it is quite conventional, but Nichols always finds ways to either subvert convention or just do conventional things really really well. I think the moment in the film that really sums up the genius of it also happens to be where Nichols’ favorite actor, Michael Shannon, enters. His character, a photographer for LIFE magazine, comes by the house to take pictures of the Lovings. And while he is there, he is able to capture Mildred and Richard’s true selves as they eat and joke around the dinner table, wash dishes and finally, he snaps the most iconic shot of the couple: Richard lying his head on Mildred’s lap as they are perched on the couch laughing at the TV. Not only was this one of my favorite scenes, but it also represents everything the film is: a subtle look at the humanity of two people who loved each other very much.


Your Superman is Dead. Get Over it.

By Josiah Wampfler

“Truth. Justice. The American way.” These are the qualities that represent Superman to many people. Since 1938, the character has been known as the pinnacle of heroism and his name has been synonymous with hope and optimism in popular culture. But today, we have a different Superman. This Superman exists in a world not unlike our own, where cynicism is common and acts of heroism are not always met with praise. This Superman is a man who is not entirely sure what being a hero means or whether the world actually needs him to be one. And it is this Superman, according to critics like Devin Faraci at Birth.Movies.Death, that spells the end of an American icon. And it is Zach Snyder who killed him.

In his article, “Superman and the Damage Done: A Requiem for an American Icon,” Faraci claims that Snyder’s “ugly new interpretation” of the character in both Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice “devalues the simple heroism of Superman and turns the decent, graceful character into a mean, nasty force of brutish strength.”

This view has not been uncommon in the days since Batman v. Superman released. I have heard people say that the film “got the character of Superman wrong,” that the film “isn’t what superhero films are supposed to be” or that Snyder “deeply misunderstands” the character of Superman. The film has been ravaged by critics, and while many of the criticisms are valid – the film certainly has an array of problems – I find this particular criticism to be quite dubious. Zach Snyder does not “deeply misunderstand” the character of Superman. It is those that are saying this that “deeply misunderstand” Snyder’s vision for the character.

The complaints with this Superman began back when Man of Steel came out. Critics of the film decried this new Superman who was unsure if he should be a hero, caused massive destruction to the world in his fight with General Zod and executed Zod by snapping his neck. While Snyder having Clark let his father die is still inexcusable, everything else made sense. Superman’s reluctance to be a hero was an interesting dimension to a usually flat character, the massive destruction caused makes sense in a battle between two super-men and Superman had no choice but to kill Zod.

The same critics that leveled these complaints against Man of Steel are the ones saying that Zach Snyder has officially killed the character in Batman v. Superman. The great irony of it all is that Snyder gave critics exactly what they wanted: consequences. While Man of Steel seemed to overlook the destruction caused by Superman, Batman v. Superman dwells on that destruction and gives weight to that destruction. This is because the new film is mostly told from Batman’s perspective – easily the biggest critic of Superman.

Yes, this Superman is not the do-good Boy Scout that Christopher Reeves’ version was. Yes, we are compelled to mistrust the Man of Steel in this film. We don’t particularly like the character through most of the film because this is not a Superman film. It is a Batman film (hence why his name is first in the title).

Granted, the film does not always do the greatest job of keeping with Batman’s perspective and that is one of its many problems. But, one only needs to look a little closer and it is quite clear that this is the case. Man of Steel seems almost overly optimistic compared to the darkness in Batman v. Superman because Batman is an overly cynical character. This overly cynical Batman would seem pretty crazy if the Superman he wanted to kill was the same as Christopher Reeves’ Superman. We would hate Batman, and it is very important that we are sympathetic to Batman in this film.

The other aspect of Snyder’s Superman that critics get wrong is the overall themes he is working with. Devin Faraci writes in his article, “One of the larger themes of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is the idea that every act of heroism is a catalyst for something terrible in the world, a point of view that is not only a) insane but b) inherently anti-Superman.” He goes on to call this theme “intrinsically nihilistic.”

This is another example of how critics are fundamentally misreading the film. Again, Snyder’s themes sometimes get a bit muddled, but they are quite clear if only you look a little deeper.

The theme of the film is not that every heroic action will lead to something terrible, but that every heroic action could lead to unintended harm. The film is not saying Superman shouldn’t be a hero, it is saying that he should think more about the consequences his actions have on the world around him.

You can draw a direct correlation between the debate the film has over Superman and the debate we as a country have had over our foreign policy and specifically our drone program. When we call a drone strike, we may kill a terrorist leader, but there is also the chance of civilian casualties. Just as we must consider the effects of a drone strike, so too must Superman consider the effects of his actions. As another comic book company’s character said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Also, so what if this version of Superman is a bit nihilistic? Sometimes nihilistic, dark storytelling is more appealing because I think we like to wallow a bit in the darkness of life every once in a while. Sometimes these stories are just more interesting than the glossy, hopeful stories of past Superman films. This is probably why Batman is a much more popular and beloved character, despite him being far more cynical. Maybe, we all have a bit of nihilist in us.


Still, some critics proclaim that Batman v. Superman is not what superhero films are “supposed to be.” They say that superheroes are meant to be beacons of hope for us to look to; that superheroes are meant to inspire us.  They long for the days of Christopher Reeve, where seeing Superman on-screen was a way to escape the darkness of life.

While I certainly love the Marvel brand of superhero films that are bright and hopeful and Christopher Reeves’ Superman was the first great superhero film, I like that DC has decided to bring something different to the table now. They don’t want us to escape the darkness of life. They want us to really think about it.

The last line of Devin Faraci’s article states, “I feel bad for the youngest generation who has been handed a jar of granny’s peach tea instead of truth, justice and the American way.”

Maybe, Faraci, without even knowing it, just stated exactly what this film is trying to say. That, by flipping this American icon on his head, by making us question the man whose slogan is “Truth, Justice and the American Way,” Snyder is saying what a lot of younger people are feeling today: That the American dream we were taught would be there for us is no more…and in its place is a lonely jar of granny’s peach tea.