Joe Lynch (Everly) Introduces His Week as Talkhouse Film’s Guest Editor

The regular Talkhouse Film contributor sets the table for his festive stint in charge of the site.

Happy Holidays! Man, I love this time of the year for movies. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, moviegoing was always woven into my annual holiday happenings, as synonymous as turkey and stuffing, naps on the couch, wrapping paper remnants on the floor, the holiday shopping rush and spilling eggnog on my ugly sweater (every year, without fail!).

It was a time that felt right to gather up family and friends and sit in front of the Silver Screen Yule Log and let the movies (be it the studios or the indies) whisk us away. But with a slew of new films coming out all on the same Christmas day, which one is the perfect complement to your special holiday time (or that nice day off from work/school)? It’s a very cluttered crowd to choose from, and this year seems to have one of the most exciting and eclectic holiday film slates in recent memory, with practically every genre covered, from sci-fi opera to historical thriller to gripping topical drama to extreme (with ALL CAPS!!!) action.

Personally speaking, 2015 has been quite a year for cinema. From the perspective of a pure movie fan and someone who threw their chips on the table (my own film Everly was released this past year, and is now available on Blu-ray and coming to Netflix in January!), this was a divisive year – as well it should be! Cinema should have a wide and varied range of opinions, pushing all sorts of buttons in the viewer while simultaneously taking us away from our own narrative and temporarily dropping us into another one, be it one of pure escapism or thoughtful parable with deeper resonance. We as an audience are all different, so while it’s cool when a film comes along that taps into the collective consciousness – like Guardians of the Galaxy or more recently Creed – hitting all the demographics and quadrants, it’s also nice to know when a film is catering to a specific viewer.

Some have said this has been the worst year for film, while others have proclaimed it one of the best years in film since 1999. Either way, 2015 has been a very interesting year, especially on the precipice of change throughout the industry, from the way films are shot to how they are brought to the viewer. Whether it’s Ex Machina or Mortdecai, Tangerine or Furious 7, Spotlight or The Human Centipede 3 (The Final Sequence), there’s been something for everyone.

At the end of every calendar year, there’s a crop of new films that are released around the holiday season, especially Christmas Day, that are so divergent that it puts the audience at a crossroads as to what to watch. Since awards qualifications state that a studio or distributor must release a film theatrically – even in one theater for a single week – to be eligible, suddenly a slew of what we biz folks call “Oscar bait” starts to roll out around Thanksgiving, prestige pictures vying for awards prominence to hopefully bolster their sales. But Hollywood also knows there are kids off from school during the holidays and people off work with some disposable cash ready to hand over, so there always seems to be films released purely for the thrill, the fun factor, the sheer entertainment. And yes, a new Chipmunks movie.

When the Talkhouse approached me about a project to shine some light (or possible shade) on the Christmas Day releases, I was excited because I wanted to see most of these movies (and have now seen most of them thanks to advance screenings or screeners – ah, the perks of being DGA!). Since there are so many exciting films coming out, from ambitious awards hopefuls that promise a little more than the usual popcorn fare to what is likely the biggest popcorn movie of all time, there are so many chances to start a discussion about this wide range of cinematic art, that we thought it would be fun to reach out to a few fellow filmmakers to pick their brain a bit on how some of these films fared with them.

This collection of artists I’ve personally gathered here are people that I’ve admired greatly; every one of them has affected, inspired and influenced me personally or with their art, and I’ve been lucky to call them my friends. Some I’ve known for years, some I’ve met recently in my travels, but all were gracious enough to take time out of their busy holiday schedules to talk a little shop with us, using cinema as a gateway into their minds and even a little into their own craft. These pieces allow you to see a movie from the vantage point of an artist who isn’t just merely a passive viewer but someone who has been in the trenches. Having spent almost 10 years now making movies as well as almost 40 watching them, my own POV on film has changed, and it’s exciting the Talkhouse has given artists a forum to share our thoughts with you as well as spark a good old-fashioned conversation about a medium we love. Consider it a holiday gift of hopeful gab!

I hope some of what you read on the site in the next week inspires you the way many Talkhouse articles I’ve read this past year have, both giving me a new perspective on great cinema from 2015 and shedding light on brave, bold and exciting new voices in film.

Let’s talk!

Joe Lynch is a director working in various film genres, from horror to action to comedy (both intentional and unintentional). His feature credits include Everly with Salma Hayek, Knights of Badassdom starring Peter Dinklage, Steve Zahn and Ryan Kwanten, the anthology film Chillerama, and Wrong Turn 2 with Henry Rollins. Lynch also co-stars and executive produces the TV show Holliston and co-hosts the popular podcast The Movie Crypt on Geek Nation with fellow filmmaker Adam Green (Hatchet). He loves jump cuts, practical blood and making his days.