Around the Orbital HQ, maybe we need to pick a weekend to give The Tree of Life another shot. Because if Patrick (H) Willems is “pretty much the Terrence Malick of YouTube” as he claims, we’ll probably quickly become obsessed with the real-life Malick, too, after a closer examination.
If you don’t know Willems, prepare to lose hours of your movies-loving life on his YouTube page soon. He specializes in video essays explaining different aspects of films, and these essays can center on anything: story (you do want to know why Predator is the smartest idea in film, right?), soundtrack (get ready to seek out many Needle Drop playlists), cinematography (Christopher Nolan wakes up every day to thank IMAX, right?), or some combination of those things and more. It has been pretty much love since he also had to go through a major self-reckoning over what we want from the Star Wars franchise in the wake of this latest trilogy’s drastic Last Jedi-to-Rise of Skywalker shift.
For Ars’ latest “Personal History” episode, Willems graciously agreed to go to a hostile galaxy not so far away. “The YouTube comments section is the place I’d want to go if I wanted to feel bad about some other aspect of myself that I didn’t feel bad about already,” he begins. He notes there are some lovely comments but also says, correctly, that the comment section below a YouTube video “is not a place for support or encouragement.”
He’s joking, we hope. Willems persevered and ultimately shared his signature blend of comedy and comprehension as he discussed his humble beginnings in filmmaker homage (“What if Werner Herzog directed Ant-Man?” is :chef’s kiss:), color grading in Marvel movies (ugly, right?), and how he briefly pivoted to COVID-era Internet talk shows. We already liked this guy—he unironically appreciates The O.C., recognizes baseball makes a better movie sport, and enjoys plushies—but now we’re committed regardless of whether he ever decides to tackle the career of everyone’s favorite modern action-film auteur.
Actually, wait, Willems shared some news about that.
“Talking about Zack Snyder on the Internet is a great way to make your life worse,” he said. “But this spring, I’m finally giving in to TheCoolComplexity’s 2018 comment and doing a Zack Snyder video. God have mercy on my soul.”