The movie video essay has become boring. The YouTube genre popularised by the now abandoned ‘Every Frame a Painting’ channel, has become stale. You know the videos; slow male voice stressing certain words to add some gravitas to what is being said, onscreen graphics that ease in and out onto brightly coloured backgrounds, and chill hop music in the background. But one Movie essayists has broken from this convention and created something so fresh and unique it can’t be replicated.
Movies with Mikey, is exactly what it sounds like. It’s like going to the movies with Mikey Neumann, the creator of the series, as he tells you exactly why he loves the film he’s concentrating on.
Films are subjective, and when they’re evaluated there should be a consideration for this. There will never be a film review that 100% aligns with your views and that’s ok, I don’t agree with everything Mikey says, but I sure respect his views, as he’ll often explain his point of view without being condescending.
His videos, which will often concentrate on a film that has been out for a while—or at least is no longer in the theatres—explores how the film was made, the challenges it faced during production and the intentions of the filmmakers. But it’s his insights and his ability to become emotional over a film which sets him apart. He’s not scared to relate his experiences to the films he watched. He often talks about love and the importance love has on the intention of a film.
But what stands Mikey apart from the rest of the crowd is he has an in-depth knowledge of narrative structures. He worked at Gearbox interactive and ultimately become the ‘chief creative champion’ at the developer, working on titles such as Brothers in Arms and Borderlands 1 and 2. The narrative structure differs between games and films, but characters and story theory are very much the same, and this has put Mikey in good stead.
The structure of his videos is excellent, from the opening sting with the diamonds and funky music made to look like old cinema advertisement, to his ‘Did you know’ sections that will throw in some random nuggets of information. It’s a slick production, and it makes his videos fun to watch.
Mikey’s passion for films is incontestable, and it’s what makes his videos so engaging. I dare you not to become enamoured by Mikey, you’ll certainly binge his back catalogue quickly when you find it. His unique voice helps bring a freshness to the YouTube essay, something that the genre has desperately needed for a while.