Movie News & Reviews

Greta Gerwig, Ryan Coogler named to Time 100 Most Influential People list

‘Lady Bird’ trailer puts Sacramento in the spotlight

The film, written and directed by Greta Gerwig, stars Saoirse Ronan as a Sacramento teenager trying to find her way out of California as she struggles with a strained relationship with her mother (Laurie Metcalf), her Catholic high school and her
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The film, written and directed by Greta Gerwig, stars Saoirse Ronan as a Sacramento teenager trying to find her way out of California as she struggles with a strained relationship with her mother (Laurie Metcalf), her Catholic high school and her

Sacramento native Greta Gerwig and Sacramento State alumnus Ryan Coogler were both named Thursday to the Time 100 Most Influential People of 2018 list for directing critically acclaimed, commercially successful movies.

Gerwig’s ”Lady Bird” earned record reviews and local adoration for its semi-autobiographical coming-of-age tale of a Sacramento girl eager to fly the coop. The St. Francis High School alumna graced the cover of Time magazine's March 12 edition and watched her directorial debut garner five Academy Award nominations, though she ultimately walked away empty-handed on awards night.

Legendary director Steven Spielberg called out Coogler as well in writing about Gerwig for Time.

”Not every year does a filmmaker’s solo feature debut sweep you up in its sweetness and pain, in its humility and frankness, and in its confidence in the art and craft of filmmaking,” Spielberg wrote. ”Of course, it has happened before, bringing to mind Mike Nichols’ ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’, Ryan Coogler’s ’Fruitvale Station’ — and now Greta Gerwig and ‘Lady Bird.´”

Coogler, a former star student-athlete who graduated from Sacramento State with a business degree in 2008, burst onto the national stage with the February release of Marvel's "Black Panther," which earned more than $1.3 billion worldwide and was the first large-scale American superhero movie with a predominantly black cast. Chadwick Boseman, who plays the film's protagonist T'Challa, was also named to the Time list.

“Black Panther” was celebrated as a tour de force of a superhero movie that resonated deeply with many African Americans, and joined Coogler’s two other full-length films — “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed” — in scoring at least 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, leading The Washington Post to question whether he is the best young director of his generation. Academy Award-nominated director and producer Ava DuVernay nearly argued as much in her essay for Time.

“Ryan will forever be known for ‘Black Panther’ and so much more. At only 31, what other stories will he tell us? And aren’t we lucky to be able to watch. Not just his films. But such an exquisite life being well lived,” DuVernay wrote. “If you ever need a reminder that this present moment is your time too, look no further than Ryan for inspiration. He’s easy to find. He’s the one with the light around him, shining strong and bright and warm.”

Gerwig has announced a goal of directing four more films set in Sacramento. Coogler is currently working with frequent collaborator Michael B. Jordan for “Wrong Answer,” a movie about the 2009 Atlanta standardized test cheating scandal.

President Donald Trump, tennis great Roger Federer and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting survivors were all included on Time’s list, as was artist Kehinde Wiley, whose work was added to the Crocker Art Museum in February, and Bay Area congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.

To see the full list of Time’s Most Influential People of 2018, click here.

Benjy Egel: 916-321-1052, @BenjyEgel

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