Sometimes a tweet is too short and a iTunes review is not as personal as one want to be. So then you write a blog post, I guess.
My first encounter with Screenrant was about 4 years ago when I recently had moved to Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. I had left a dreary life on the west coast to work at one of Sweden’s top schools and life started to feel purposeful again. One sleepless night I found a new podcast, The Screenrant Underground, and contrary to my hopes of a sleeping pill in audio form, I found myself immersed in an brand new world.
I’ve always read books and movies has been a way to, at least for an instance, run away from the everyday harshness of the world around me. Though comics weren’t that big of a deal for me, and in Sweden overall, they have also made their impressions on me.
And now I had found a couple of guys just like me. Well, there are some differences but they are more based on what was shown on tv in Sweden during the late 80s and early 90s. Voltron wasn’t that big but if you want to talk about M.A.S.K well then I’m your man! (Where is the blockbuster movie btw?! Lorenzo di Bonaventura I’m looking at you…)
Screenrant, and mainly The Screenrant Underground, didn’t change my life in “Hey I just became a father” or “The weird looking alien probed me and now I can transform into a unicorn and make people bleed rainbows”. But it changed the way I looked at comics, popular culture and most of all, movies.
I’ve taken classes about moviemaking, writing, speech and drama. I’ve seen countless of movies, including all the classics. The first feature on a blu-ray disc I start to watch is the Making of and the director’s commentary. But Ben and Kofi broke down movies in a way that I truly enjoyed, and also learned from. The geek part or the review part was backed up with “real science”. It wasn’t just about opinions, it was about the craft. And in doing that their love for movies shone thru in a way that elevated the discussion and left me standing in awe, waiting for more.
That coupled with the “no bars hold” Ant and Rob, with his energetic persona filled to the brink with energy, created a match made in heaven.
But as all good things eventually do, The Screenrant Underground ended.
Just to arise like Phoenix or Lazarus (I’m skipping the JC connection here) and transform into Total Geekall. The core is still the same but as all good things do, it has evolved. And I still love it.
Every time I tune in to a new episode I’m not listening to a show, I’m sitting down with friends and although they can’t here me, I’m a part of the conversation. It’s probably why I get so frustrated when I see all the flak they sometimes get over reviews and opinions. In a weird way it gets personal. In Sweden during the late 80s we had a country wide campaign called “Rör inte min kompis”, Don’t touch/mess with my friend, and it’s kind how I feel in times of Internet trolling.
To break it all down a bit and get even a bit more personal…
I’m always in total awe when I read an article written by Andrew Dyce. The knowledge that he possess is only rivaled by how masterful he is at explaining things to others. It’s a craft, I know, I’m a teacher. He also has the ability to dissect comics, screenplays and movies and show the hidden layers that make the movie great/good weak or flawed.
It’s always a treat to read something by Hannah Shaw-Williams. She has an intellect that always manifest itself in her writings. Her article about the first season of Agent Carter was masterful, a brilliant dissection of our views on feminism that few understood but should be compulsory reading in schools and writing classes. And she adds a great sense of humour to the podcast.
Rob Keyes has this energy going on that always impresses me. Just like Dyce he has an enormous amount of knowledge about, not just Marvel but comics and movies in general. His positive attitude is contagious. If you don’t believe me just listen to the podcast when he talks about his set visit to the Justice League movie. WB should hire him on the spot to do PR because he absolutely sold the movie too me there and then.
Ben Kendrick is a person I’ve never met but have the utmost respect for. I wrote about it in one of the earlier paragraphs but the way he can deconstruct a movie and explain things in a grounded but still technical way is masterful. He, along with Kofi, has taught me more about movies that I’ve learned by myself in 10 years. On top of this he genuinely seems to be a great person. Despite all the trolling and harsh comments I’ve never heard him or seen him write anything inflammatory. He truly epitomises the “sticks and stones” way of life.
They also all have something in common. They don’t just have an online presence, they interact with the readers and listeners. And that’s rather unique in a world that has become more about clicks and page views then conversations. Just recently I tweeted Ben about some tips on books about writing and he took the time to reply and gave me some great suggestions. So kudos to you for that.
To sum it all up…
Screenrant and the podcasts has made an impact in my life. You “guys and girls” have made me enjoy movies and comics in a new and better way and for that I will always be thankful. I truly enjoy your reviews (I tend to agree with Ben all the time) but I most of all like the conversation that you’re having with each other. Because you always manage to create a middle ground where my opinions land. For example, I liked Ant-Man but could agree with Dice that it was flawed. I didn’t enjoy Mad Max: Fury road but could totally agree with Hannah and her views. And that is what’s so great about the site and about the podcast. It’s a couple of friends discussing comics/movies/tv-shows. And for the duration of that podcast I can sit next to you and be a part of that conversation.