Zombieland: Double Tap (2019): A Presidential Zombie Flick

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“Zombieland: Double Tap” is directed by Ruben Fleischer, who also directed the original “Zombieland” back in 2009. The film stars Woody Harrelson (Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Edge of Seventeen), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice), Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine, Scream Queens), Emma Stone (Easy A, The Amazing Spider-Man), Rosario Dawson (Sin City, Men In Black II), Zoey Deutch (The Year of Spectacular Men, Dirty Grandpa), and Luke Wilson (Concussion, Enlightened). This film takes place, appropriately, ten years after the original “Zombieland.” Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita, and Little Rock are back and they have survived in an America that has basically become zombified. We see them in the White House, continuously living with their current reality as an imaginary dysfunctional family. Meanwhile, Little Rock flees away with a guy which prompts the remainder of the White Household, plus a new teammate, to go find her. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget, there’s zombies.

I first saw “Zombieland” back in 2016, which happens to be 7 years after it came out. While it was not the best comedy of its particular year, I found it to be rather funny. Granted, it also tries emphasize various horror elements, but the more I think about it, it almost feels like a pure comedy. That’s not to say that “Zombieland” is a bad horror movie, but it just feels like it was meant to be funny more than it is meant to be scary. This is why when I saw the marketing a couple times, I was a tad turned off, because it didn’t seem that funny.

Although at the same time, one thing I didn’t consider is a common complaint among various moviegoers. You know how there are a lot of comedies out there that show all the funny parts in the trailer? This movie, at least from my experience, saved a great portion of the funniest parts for the final product. By the way, if you have NOT seen the recent red band trailer for “Zombieland: Double Tap.” DON’T. There’s a moment that is not in the main film, but instead, during the credits. I didn’t watch this red band marketing piece until after watching the movie, but I saw something in there that I would have preferred the marketing team to leave out because I would rather have it be a surprise. Granted, it involves something I knew about going in, but it involves a specific moment that should have been unmentioned for a greater effect.

This is also a warning to all of you who are going to see “Zombieland: Double Tap,” stay for the entirety of the credits. You will not regret your decision.

One of the best parts of the film is perhaps the characters. I say that because they all have lovable chemistry. I mean, it shouldn’t be too surprising. The main cast consists of great actors, all of whom were at least nominated for an Academy Award. Granted, “Zombieland: Double Tap” is not the type of movie that would be going for any acting awards, but it is hard to deny when it comes to being together as a team, the characters tend to shine. You’ve got Tallahassee who is the same quirky, gun-loving redneck we have seen from the first film. There’s Columbus who will stop at nothing to follow his own rules. Little Rock shows up and while she does not have as much screentime as the others, her story in the film is rather interesting. Wichita’s here too, and there’s a subplot in this film involving her and Columbus, it gets nuts. Also, I don’t know how anyone else feels, but to me it feels kind of weird to see Emma Stone in this movie. I say that because I thought based on her last few choices of work, it seems she has increasingly made a transition to Oscar bait material or smaller budget films. Guess she just wanted a change of pace, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Based on how much I enjoyed this film, I should rephrase myself… There’s ABSOLUTELY NOTHING wrong with that.

Much like the first film, I must warn everyone, this is a horror comedy. Although I feel just like the first one, this is more funny than scary. I will also state, personally, this isn’t really a bad thing. Because of level of humor in “Zombieland: Double Tap” is freaking unbelievable. I was with a relatively active crowd, and there’s a good mix of chuckle-worthy, burst out laughing, and kneeslapping moments. There’s even a couple of moments where the crowd managed to applaud.

Sticking with the theme of things that worried me slightly when I was going into this film, let’s talk about Zoey Deutch’s character, Madison. We first see Madison in a surprise moment for Columbus. Specifically, he’s in an abandoned mall and he’s trying to defend himself. From this moment, I’ve gotten the impression that she is a talkative teenager in an adult’s body. I thought as soon as I saw her, she was going to be the reason for me wanting to slap someone in the face as a way of taking out anger towards this movie. I WAS DEAD WRONG. She’s also associated with the dumb blonde stereotype, which gave for PLENTY of laughs. Speaking of funny scenes with her, she is involved with perhaps the most hysterical sex scene I have witnessed in recent memory. I will not go into detail about it, but look forward to it.

The film is incredibly well paced, finely written, and while I’m not sure if this film will get many nominations for cinematography, there is one kick-ass action scene that is all done in one take. The set used for it is incredibly vibrant, which only adds to the overall sense of satisfaction I achieved from watching the particular clip. This movie happens to be shot by Chung-hoon Chung, who also shot 2017’s “IT.” To me, “IT” has good cinematography. After seeing “Zombieland: Double Tap,” there’s a good chance “IT” might as well eat its own heart out. Or in this case, its brains out.

If I had any flaws with “Zombieland: Double Tap,” there are a couple lines that don’t exactly land, and there is a line that happens to be a callback that feels kind of awkward as one particular character responds to said callback. Also, there are certain portions that do become slightly predictable. But even with that, it pretty much fails to detract from the overall fun to be had watching this movie. And again, this is mostly a comedy. I don’t consider it a “flaw” per se that this feels more comedic than horrifying, but if you are going in expecting pure scares or dark vibes, look elsewhere. Then again, I guess I couldn’t go wrong with a fun zombie movie every now and then. Nothing wrong with that in my book.

In the end, “Zombieland: Double Tap” is a sequel worthy of the “Zombieland” name. It may be as good as the original, if not better. It’s fun, crazy, and hilarious. Halloween is coming so there’s a lot of horror material right now in theaters, so if you want your horror fix while also slapping your knees, “Zombieland: Double Tap” is worth seeing. In fact, if you just saw “Joker” and need something light to watch, I would probably recommend this movie even more because you have a transition from something incredibly disturbing and depressing to something absolutely bonkers and energizing. It would probably be a pretty good double feature if you ask me. I’m not sure on my final rating yet, but I enjoyed “Zombieland: Double Tap” just about as much as its predecessor, so I’m going to give it a rather high 7/10. Thanks for reading this review! I just want to let everyone know that next Wednesday, I have an advance pass to the upcoming film “Countdown.” This film is about a nurse who downloads an app that predicts when people would die, only to find out she has three days left before she bites the dust. This sounds like a neat concept, so I am absolutely curious as to how it will be executed. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email if you want notifications about the blog in your inbox, or with a WordPress account to like, comment, and get notifications in your WordPress feed. Stay tuned for more great content, and check out my Facebook page! I want to know, as of this review, there have been a number of advance screenings that have taken place. So, did you see “Zombieland: Double Tap?” What did you think about it? Are you looking forward to it? How does it compare to the original for you? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

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Isn’t It Romantic? (2019): When Jack Met Natalie

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“Isn’t It Romantic?” is directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson and stars Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect, How to Be Single), Liam Hemsworth (Independence Day: Resurgence, The Hunger Games), Adam Devine (Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Modern Family), and Priyanka Chopra (Baywatch, A Kid Like Jake). This film revolves around a woman named Natalie, who we first see in this movie as a young kid watching “Pretty Woman.” In this scene we hear her mother tell her that she’ll probably never see a romantic comedy about her, or she’ll never truly experience a fantasy worth living. Keeping this in mind, she grows up and questions the purpose and value of the rom com. Meanwhile, she eventually gets trapped in a PG-13 romantic comedy and now she has to deal with a new reality she never experienced before. Meanwhile, we as an audience, get to experience a parody that pokes fun at the rom com genre. AND IT F*CKING BLOWS, and I’ll explain why in just a sec!

Romantic comedies are not my preferred genre of film. In fact, the only two reasons why I am reviewing this film is because I found a Blu-ray copy of it at Newbury Comics for $5.99, which is probably the cheapest price this movie could be right now in the United States. Plus, in school, I have to do a project on something that I, a straight white male, happen to find “gendered,” so I figured this was a good opportunity. I almost considered watching “The Bachelor,” which frankly, probably would have been a better idea. Why? Because it’s free! I probably could have found an episode or two On Demand or something and just gotten it out of the way. It involves entitled brats fighting over a flower, but it still wouldn’t mean I’d be typing this crap away! F*ck this reality!

And in fact, speaking of realities, this movie has an alternate reality that’s less s*itty, less of an increasing everyday wasteland, everything is happy go lucky. I have nothing against this reality, except that nothing entertaining happens in it. I’m just going to have you all know, “Isn’t It Romantic?” is PG-13, and because of that supposedly intended rating, it tends to make jokes about how the movie can’t push the envelope to the tenth degree.

Remember that “Family Guy” episode, PTV? The one where the FCC starts censoring real life? One of the big jokes of this film is that Rebel Wilson is in this universe, and while she’s here, she cannot swear, she cannot have sex, and the only way she can enjoy an actual man’s genitalia is by sneaking a peek when the male’s getting dressed or something. “Family Guy” did something like this ten times better. The way the characters in “Family Guy” question this reality (for the most part) and overall the writing there much more clever. Here, it’s like an overstretched “Saturday Night Live” sketch. This is especially true when Liam Hemsworth’s character says “Good morning beautiful,” to Rebel Wilson’s character for the third freaking time in a minute!

Also, guys? Can we just agree that Chris Hemsworth is a much more relevant Hemsworth?

This movie attempts to parody the style and traditions of numerous romantic comedies. There’s the gay best friend who is incredibly hyperactive. There’s the big, hunky billionaire that someone lusts after. The movie has a joke about the lead character having a voiceover moment. I honestly think the biggest problem about a movie like this is that it not only is self-aware, but even the characters in the movie know about the self-awareness that’s ensuing. It kind of makes me feel unintelligent as a viewer!

I cannot say I watched a plethora of parody films, but do you guys remember “Spaceballs?” That’s a parody, but that was never talking down to its audience! The closest thing in that movie to letting the audience know that someone had the knowledge that they were in a parody was during the scene where they show all the merchandise. Oh and let’s not forget, “Spaceballs” is hilarious. The most generous thing I can say about “Isn’t It Romantic?” is that it got a laugh out of me out of at a couple of points, but 99.9% of the moments dedicated to this film have irritated me to no end. I think the fact that the main character has almost no knowledge of how a romantic comedy works made me end up not liking her. Just about every single choice from a screenwriting perspective pissed me off.

And I’ll be honest, I never fell in love with Rebel Wilson as a performer. She’s never been that funny, she happens to be put in roles that don’t exactly appeal to me. Her movies are not usually in my demographic, so therefore I can’t entirely blame her. Although at the same time she was in “Night of the Museum: Secret of the Tomb,” and she just goes to show how this happens to be the worst “Night of the Museum” movie. In fact, I just saw her in a couple Match.com commercials recently and I cannot say that I was happy to see her. They were obviously trying to be funny, not to mention real about the dating game. They failed miserably. I pretty much already established my displeasure with her performance here in “Isn’t It Romantic?,” but like another movie Rebel happens to be in, “Pitch Perfect,” she certainly gives effort in her performance. But for some reason, the execution leads to a result that doesn’t sit well with me. And if Rebel’s character was supposed to symbolize how stupid lead characters can be in these types of movies. Maybe I could understand, but it still made me want to throw up on the Blu-ray copy I bought for this film.

Remember how in the abomination against humanity some like to call “Uncle Drew” there’s a dance sequence? In my review for that film, this is what I had to say about it… “Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… THE MOST. POINTLESS. DANCE SEQUENCE. IN HISTORY!”

Now, “Isn’t It Romantic?” fortunately does not have a pointless dance sequence. OK, technically it does, but it doesn’t exactly hurt the movie as much as such a thing hurt “Uncle Drew.” But, ladies and gentlemen, I give you… THE MOST. POINTLESS. KARAOKE SEQUENCE! IN HISTORY!

I cannot recall the last time I got so angry towards a sequence like this. I was in fumes as this happened! I had a bunch of questions! What did this have to do with the plot? How does this benefit the characters? Why is this happening? Granted, it does address an “important” rivalry in the film. But as the scene went on, I thought… WHY?!

As for the movie’s ending, it is perhaps one of the most convoluted things I have seen in recent memory. A lot happens in a few minutes, I feel like there’s not much that I care about, and I continued hating my life. It also tries to tack on this lesson that feels amazingly forced and is a complete twist on almost everything that has been built up. This movie broke me! If I put this movie in my Xbox 360, it might just flash the red ring of death as a sign of begging for mercy.

In the end, “Isn’t It Romantic?” has destroyed every fiber of my being, tarnished my dignity, and it feels like the writers bitch slapped me in the face like I’m on reality TV! And you know what? This may not be my type of movie, but seeing the low IMDb ratings from both genders make me wonder if this movie was for anyone to begin with. “Isn’t It Romantic?” is almost the most anger-inducing movie I have witnessed all year. It might actually be more intolerable than “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” which if you have seen that review, says A LOT. I did not expect to love this movie, but I also did not expect to have the urge to bury it in the ground either. But, it’s time to bury! Good riddance! I’m going to give “Isn’t It Romantic?” a 1/10. Thanks for reading this review! This Tuesday I’m going to be heading to an advance screening of “Zombieland: Double Tap.” I have no idea if I am going to like this movie, if I won’t like this movie, but I enjoyed the first one, so anything’s possible! I’m also interested in seeing Ang Lee’s “Gemini Man” starring Will Smith, and if I have time, I might be able to catch it in the high frame rate edition. It will give me a film to review plus something else to talk about! If you want to see these new movies get talked about, or other great content, follow Scene Before with an email address to get notifications in your inbox. Or, you can use a WordPress account to like and comment on all my posts past or present. While you’re at it, give a like to my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Isn’t It Romantic?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite Rebel Wilson movie? Seriously! I need a good one to watch to turn my opinion around regarding her! Please comment to save my life! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Joker: No Laughing Matter (2019)

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Before we get into my review for “Joker,” I just want to iterate a quick thought. I am well aware of this movie constantly being compared to “Taxi Driver,” and I’ll have you all know, I have not seen “Taxi Driver,” so none of those comparisons will be coming from me. I would love to check it out one day, but my schedule is pretty stacked up at the moment so it might have to wait for a little bit. So without further ado, let’s dive into the latest controversial movie!

Man, this poster is badass!

“Joker” is directed by Todd Phillips (Due Date, The Hangover) and stars Joaquin Phoenix (You Were Never Really Here, Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot) as the famous, psychotic killer clown originally created by DC Comics. This film is about the character of Arthur Fleck, who eventually becomes known as the Joker. Essentially, it is a character study of what would happen if the Joker were placed in a depressing environment, with depressed people, in what could perhaps also be a depressing time.

If you have missed out on a lot of comic book movies recently, there is a good chance you probably have no recollection of big, explosive, not to mention expensive, blockbusters that purely exist to be part of a collected universe and happen to be somewhat friendly for both kids and adults. Maybe there’s an occasional dark vibe here and there with movies “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” or “Avengers: Infinity War,” but nevertheless, comic book movies, over the past decade, have mainly been big budget films that get a lot of audiences, including families, in the theater. There’d also however be an occasion where a film would be rated R. Some examples include “Deadpool” and “Logan,” both of which have been successful. And when the MPAA would end up slapping an R on these movies, there would usually be a reason. Gorey violence, language, perhaps bloated sex scenes, and so on. “Joker” is the next to join the club, and honestly, I am very happy to say that.

Before going to see “Joker,” I had some thoughts in mind regarding comic book villain movies. I was very skeptical before we had one of these films come out, and some of you know this already, but last year, audiences witnessed “Venom.” This was one of the earliest examples of an origin story of a comic book character who is usually seen as the villain. Once I heard we were getting a “Venom” movie, I thought all hope was lost. Granted, this was at a time when I realized comic book movies were perhaps the biggest force in the industry, and it seemed like the only thing people would willingly go see. I wasn’t sure how people such as myself or other audience members would go into “Venom” and enjoy him as a character because it’s hard to relate to a villain. Plus, as a viewer, I traditionally aspire to be the hero. Why should I aspire to be a monster who eats people? And the last nail in the coffin… a PG-13. This made every action scene feel lifeless, it made the editing feel odd at times, and it honestly just showed that perhaps Sony or somebody else behind this movie wanted a quick, disposable money grab. However, oddly enough, as time passed, I did become curious about the “Joker” movie.

There was not enough evidence that “Joker” was going to be a masterpiece or even a halfway decent movie once I first heard about it. But it was hard to deny that I was not at least intrigued. The various details that stacked up in 2018 got me interested. Then the trailers dropped this year, and whoever edited them, you deserve a cookie! All the while, the movie played at events including TIFF and Venice Film Festival where it received the top prize, the Golden Lion. Keep in mind, everybody was saying that “Avengers: Endgame” was going to be the biggest and best movie of the year, but when it comes to chances at awards, “Joker” may have an answer. “Joker” may be tapping on the shoulder of “Endgame” saying “On your left.”

So… It’s time for answers! Is “Joker” worth the hype? Is it worth jumping up and down over? Is it worth every single penny? Did it deserve all the praise it received during snobby film festivals? In a word, yes. This is pretty much EXACTLY what I would want out of a movie like this. Serious, dark, sort of slow, and honestly, kind of poignant. Because I cannot even believe I’m saying this, I sort of felt for the Joker character. Granted, he spends a lot of the movie making stupid decisions and mistakes, and the Joker is a guy you don’t want to mess around with, but even his moments that would make a person in this particular movie turn against him may as well be all part of his charm. In fact, as I watched “Joker,” I thought to myself that the movie was not trying to approve of his actions, it was just showing a realistic view of what could happen if this guy existed in our society. And by our society, I mean how it was years ago. You know those controversies that happen to be surrounding this movie? Honestly, they’re pointless. Granted, there is an argument to be made that every single movie ever made contains the slightest of bias. But “Joker” is not a movie that is trying to hammer a message down your head. It’s trying to say, “Hey! Here’s this character, here’s his journey, it’s pretty twisted, we just want you to believe it.”

I should also not go without mentioning that Joaquin Phoenix acts his ass off in this movie! I’m honestly having trouble right now on whether I should declare him the best Joker or if I should stick to my opinion towards Heath Ledger being the best of them all. I know it’s only October, so there is an argument to be made that maybe Phoenix won’t get an Oscar for this movie, but he BETTER get nominated, or there will be riots!

OK… Not literally! Movies don’t promote violence! It’s just the truth!

Anyway, Phoenix manages to handle a role where he has to be the biggest laughing maniac possible. At the same time he has to be creepy, while also occasionally being sweet. There are a lot of, get this, JOKER cards that Phoenix himself has to flip over to showcase the core elements of his character.

I also really liked Robert De Niro’s character. He plays a late night host, and as I watched this movie and saw Arthur Fleck watching the show at home with his mother, I kind of felt immersed into the world, probably realizing that this was a pure form of escapism for most people in society. The two are talking and I remember it being mentioned by the mother that this late night host, AKA Murray Franklin, is relatable to them. Now this movie took place in 1981, so I got a good sense that this guy was a fine alternative to Johnny Carson. Not to mention, he’s charming and has a good presence, which is something all talk show hosts should possess.

The acting overall in this movie is pretty much off the charts, I think the only other movie where I have seen a group of cast members put so much effort into their roles this year might be “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Although “Us” comes relatively close as well. But other standouts of excellence in “Joker” come from the technical side of the spectrum.

I mean, my gosh! Let me just start off by saying, I had the special privilege of watching “Joker” on a 70mm print. Thanks to Warner Brothers and everyone else involved with this film for making such a thing happen! The color grading on this film is some of best I have seen this year. It’s pale, it’s depressing, and it’s almost off-putting in the best possible way. The cinematography is great too. This movie is directed by Todd Phillips and if you watch some of his movies like “The Hangover,” you’d notice they are shot by Lawrence Sher, and much like that film for example I have seen from the two of them together, the pair combine to deliver some delicious hot and spicy buffalo wing level shots! There’s a scene where Arthur is walking down an enormous staircase and between his motions of dancing on the steps and jumping in puddles, the camera manages to catch each one and make me want to have them all as a desktop photo. The editing’s pretty stellar in that scene too, it’s eye candy. I’m almost shocked that I’m saying that about a scene in a comic book movie that doesn’t have much glossy CGI.

And speaking of depression, this entire movie has nothing but people who are almost too upset to acknowledge existing, and almost nobody manages to care about another living soul. There’s a scene where Arthur is playing peek a boo on a bus with a kid, and the kid’s mother is just plain annoyed. The film also manages to go into certain problems regarding people with mental illnesses, and it features a deep struggle that Fleck himself has to face. There is a scene where he comes to the realization that he’s meeting with his therapist for the last time due to funding cuts. Even though I knew who the Joker character was, I still couldn’t help but sympathize with Fleck at times. It feels weird to say that, but I have been taught at a young age that is not nice to lie.

If you ask me, I think the absolute best part about “Joker” is the fact that it has the rare qualities that you wouldn’t manage to find in many other comic book movies. This film was given an R rating from the Motion Pictures Association of America, and once I heard that was going into effect, I felt like climbing a tree, pounding my chest, finding a banana, and tearing it open! Going gorilla style! It was one of the most glorious moments of my life! Having seen this movie, let me just give a message to all the parents and guardians who are planning on seeing this “comic book movie” with their kids.

Don’t. Just don’t.

I mean, you can… Maybe they are mature enough to comprehend everything that is going on in a movie like this, but this is NOT a film for kids in the slightest. It deals with real world issues, it’s bloody, kind of disturbing, and without going into much detail, I’d say there’d be a moment or two where I would not blame a kid if they cried out of pure fear.

Let’s look at it this way. Let’s take one of the most recent comic book movies that also had a couple heavy moments, “Avengers: Infinity War.” Without going into detail about the ending, if you have a kid who cried at the end of “Infinity War,” I think there’s a good chance that same kid, depending on their transition of age, will weep for sweet release of death during “Joker.”

Having said that, I realize simply having dark moments in a movie doesn’t automatically make it good, but these dark moments were an absolute highlight and a reason for me to keep my eyes glued to the screen.

In the end, “Joker” is one of the most unique comic book movies I have ever seen. I honestly would love more movies like this in its particular genre. I am a bit curious to see “Taxi Driver” now that I have seen “Joker,” but I’m just hoping it doesn’t ruin “Joker” for me in any way. Everything about this movie was done to A+ levels. The acting, the camerawork, the music choices, the screenplay. It’s all worthy of two thumbs up. If I had any issues with the movie, I’d say there’s a couple moments, as I put on my brain, that I could see coming a mile away. Also, there’s a moment or two where my head drifted off into space, signifying a slight issue with pacing. Granted, it’s not a big deal, but nevertheless. “Joker” is a movie that I personally think may be one of the most individualistic in its genre. I have almost seen nothing like it. Just for that alone, it gets a ton of praise from me. I’m going to give “Joker” an 8/10. One more thing. After walking out of this movie, I did have a question on my mind: How much replay value is this going to have down the line? It’s a really good movie, but is it going to get a ton of replays in the DVD player? I can see reasons for some people declaring “Joker” to be a movie that is good for a single watch, but because of how heavy it is, maybe a second watch would be impossible. Even so, I enjoyed “Joker.” I personally want to see it again because of the enjoyment factor. Hopefully when it comes out on Blu-ray, I can catch it another time.

Thanks for reading this review! Next week I am going to an advance screening of the new film “Zombieland: Double Tap.” I saw the first “Zombieland” a few years ago for the first time. I’m personally intrigued as to how they are going to handle this sequel. I don’t know if it will be as good as the original, but Bill Murray’s back, so anything’s possible! If you want to see this review or other great content, consider following Scene Before either with an email, or if you want the ability to comment or like, use a WordPress account! Also, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Joker?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite R rated comic book movie? For me, the answer is simple, “V For Vendetta.” It also might be Natalie Portman’s best movie for all I know! Leave your opinions, or if you want to be a moron, completely objective and factual statements down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Fanatic (2019): Fred Durst Presents: THE ROOM

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“The Fanatic” is directed by Fred Durst, who achieved fame overtime from his involvement in the band “Limp Bizkit.” This film stars John Travolta (Pulp Fiction, Battlefield Earth) as the character of Moose. He is an obsessed fan of an actor made up for this movie’s script, Hunter Dunbar. After a failed attempt at getting Dunbar’s autograph at an event, Moose tries to get Dunbar’s attention in whatever way possible, no matter how creepy or invasive these ways may be. He tries to go to his house, follow him around, whatever. Dunbar, who is a busy actor with little time on his hands for fan interactions, wants Moose out of his life due to his stalker tendencies.

I first heard about this film back around the end of July and beginning of August. Believe it or not, John Travolta went to a local convention in my area, specifically Fan Expo Boston. I never went, I never got his autograph or anything, but part of the reason he was there in the first place was because he was on a promotional tour for this movie. I didn’t hear too much about the film until that point, and while I can appreciate the fact that Travolta is showing up to a convention for autograph signings while trying to promote a film involving a similar concept, it didn’t mean I had much faith in this film. I know a lot of people like John Travolta, but over the years, it has been revealed that he’s kind of like Nicolas Cage. He can be great, but he doesn’t always pick the finest roles. He’s been in films like “Battlefield Earth,” one of the biggest fails in the realm of blockbuster science fiction. And most recently he starred in “Gotti,” which did not do too well critically or financially. Although that says something because “The Fanatic” opened to just a little more than $3,000.

Originally, I had no real plans to watch “The Fanatic.” If I were low on options, it would probably be close to a last resort move in my playbook. When I checked once to see where it was playing, it was only at one location with two showtimes. Safe to say, I missed out on the theatrical experience. But no matter how I could get the movie, let’s just say I was gonna grin like an idiot once I can turn it on. Why? Because I have heard nothing but terrible things about it, but that’s why I wanted to watch it. It’s a film that is not exactly Shakespeare, but because it is complete and utter trash, it makes it almost have the feel of a masterpiece. On the surface, Fred Durst’s “The Fanatic” sort of reminds me of Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room.” It’s a film that is totally cringeworthy and disastrous in ways that amount to utter amazement. A number of viewers would seemingly wonder how it actually got made.

Having seen “The Fanatic” recently, I can pretty much confirm what I previously expected. It’s hot garbage. But again, it’s the kind of garbage that you don’t want to take out for certain reasons. There are moments during the movie where I felt a little turned off, but at the same time, those turnoffs are met with a variety of awkwardly funny lines, questionably insane scenes, and admittedly, a surprisingly decent performance (at times) from John Travolta.

When it comes to John Travolta’s character, I found him to be relatable in the worst possible ways. He plays a guy who dresses up as a character on Hollywood Boulevard for a living. He has one friend who we see throughout the movie, they seem to be relatively close, but I never bought their chemistry for a second. Nevertheless, Travolta does not have many friends. This point is also emphasized because he fails to stand up for himself on the job. There is another guy on the street who people tend to flock towards, Travolta interacts with this guy, and it gets to the point where Travolta is getting harassed. To add onto this, Travolta’s character of Moose loves movies, collects tons of memorabilia and other junk, is obsessed with an actor to the point where he’d do anything to get an autograph or a follow from him on social media, and he has autism! Let me just point out, this guy is almost me! I’m obsessed with Curtis Armstrong (Revenge of the Nerds, Supernatural), I have three autographs from him, we follow each other on social media, and while I tend to keep my distance from his personal business, I would not blame him if at one point or another, even right now, he thought that I was a stalker. I love movies, I collect a lot of movie-related items. And I have been diagnosed with high-function autism. Seeing John Travolta as Moose is almost like looking at a mirror image of myself if I spoke at a poor vocabulary level, if I never went to college, and if I had grey hair. So from those points, Travolta doesn’t give an F minus performance. But it’s also hard to say that his performance is also Oscar-worthy. Because just like “The Room,” there are a ton of unintentionally funny moments. There’s a clip of the movie where Moose is in a bar, he’s interacting with an actress. He receives a compliment about his shirt.

His response, while if you watch the movie, makes sense, comes off like it’s the best comedy gag of all time. The response, “It’s the only one in the world.”

Holy s*it, the amount of laughter I let out in that moment was beyond unreal! The scene may try to symbolize how awkward interactions between fans and celebrities can be, which can be interesting. But it’s so goddamn funny that I feel like the film accidentally sent me the wrong message. You want to know how convincing Moose is in this movie? We are introduced to Moose, we see him enter a store where he happens to be a regular customer. One of the first lines in this scene, out of Moose’s mouth is, “I can’t talk too long, I gotta poo.”

I mean, there is so much to talk about in this movie that could be regarded as hilarious without pure intention. It’s ridiculous if you ask me! It’s a masterpiece of crap!

I’m not gonna dive into spoilers, but here are some amazingly hysterical moments from “The Fanatic” that probably should have been serious, but turned out to present itself in a completely different manner.

There is a death scene where someone lies on the ground with blood on their face. John Travolta is looking at this person and thinks that they could still be alive, and just reflects on a time he has a nosebleed, saying things like “it wasn’t fun.”

Remember how John Travolta can’t defend himself? There’s a scene where the opposite occurs and the moment where he begins to go into self-defense mode, he almost becomes a serial killer version of himself. The moment he starts strangling somebody’s neck, and this boom sound effect goes off, I made the Joker’s laughter look tame.

But not all the hilarious gags come from Travolta. One of them comes from the actor who won’t give an autograph to the main character, Hunter Dunbar. As mentioned in the beginning, the movie is directed by Fred Durst, who is a member of Limp Bizkit. There is a scene where Dunbar is driving his kid to school, and he’s playing Limp Bizkit in his car. He’s reminiscing of the good old days where he’d listen to the band’s music. It’s almost like listening to Limp Bizkit is the only way Dunbar can get a hard-on!

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This movie also features narration. It’s not from some voice that has no other significance in the movie. It’s also not from Moose, but instead, from his only friend, Leah. She’ll have a line here and there, and there are a couple unintentionally humorous lines out of her when the narration goes down. As for the actual character, I’d say that’s not always the case, at least from my experience. But one thing I will point out is that she may not be in the entire movie, but she plays an important role. She introduces Moose to an app that allows people to look up where celebrities live, and perhaps gaze at their homes. I don’t know how that would be legal, unless certain celebrities either publicly disclose their location or if they hear about this app and give someone permission to put their house on the app. Nevertheless, it’s a thing. It’s like “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” Why does it exist? I have no idea! But some freak wants this idea out there, so here we are!

Speaking of characters, I want to talk about Hunter Dunbar in depth. As mentioned, he’s an actor who is being stalked by Moose. The way this movie plays out, it almost tries to make Moose look like the main antagonist. And believe it or not, there are ways that I can personally relate to Moose. But, we have this actor who is getting followed around. I don’t know who to root for more in this movie. Dunbar, or Moose. For all I know, I shouldn’t be rooting for either of them. Because, speaking of things done perhaps without intention, both characters come off as assholes. Moose is a stalker, but Dunbar occasionally presents himself as a dick. There are times where I can stand by his actions when he acts in this sort of way, but when Moose first meets Dunbar, I can’t say the same thing. Why? Because he doesn’t even take the time to acknowledge the presence of a fan. When Moose presents a jacket Dunbar wore in “Space Vampires” in front of him, his response is “How about I sign your face with my f*cking fist?” Now, we see him having a personal matter being dealt with at this moment, so in a way, I can understand if a celebrity is a little bit angry with what’s happening. Maybe they have some bad vibes going on in their head. But it doesn’t give them the right to say something like that to a fan. Now if Moose originally introduced himself and started to talk s*it about some mistakes Dunbar did during his career, I could stand by his reply. Either that or who knows? Maybe he’ll agree that he took on one or two projects and had regrets about them. Celebrities are human. We all make mistakes. It happens.

But still, my point still stands. Who should I root for? It’s almost like a worse version of “Avengers: Infinity War.” I say that because that movie could arguably be Thanos’ story as he tries to take down all the heroes, because his motivation is clear, and he sees himself as the hero. That is something “Infinity War” handled very well. At the same time, we have all the heroes and their point of view. As an audience member, I am rooting for the heroes at all costs, partially because I have gotten to know them from eighteen other movies that came out before “Infinity War.” This movie almost doesn’t even know who the protagonist is, and who the antagonist is. You could almost flip a coin to decide who is who! I don’t even know who I should be rooting for. Because in terms of being complete assholes, both characters are almost equal in their own little ways. But one is clearly written to be the protagonist and one is clearly written to be the antagonist. As an audience member, I can easily pinpoint who is who, but the script and final product almost make it a guessing game as to who is the hero or the villain.

This movie has increments of good ideas. I won’t go into all of them, but between moments of the performance given by John Travolta, giving Moose autism, and one particular moment that happens at the end of the movie that I won’t spoil, there are things to admire. But this movie overall, fails. If this movie presented itself as a more competent product, then I would probably call it a fine allegory as to why you should never meet your heroes. Maybe they’ll treat you like crap, maybe you’ll get too close to them and invade their much valued privacy, or maybe in relation to one of those two previous ideas, you’ll forget to see the humanity in them. I can imagine that a lot of people view celebrities in the same way certain people will view religious figures. They’re not just folks that certain fans tend to like, but they’re like gods among us. It’s almost as if they were on this Earth for a reason. And that reason may associate with impressing and pleasing their fans. Although in reality, as much as they, hopefully, try to do that, they’re like the rest of us. They value time for themselves and don’t always have time for fans.

Technically speaking, the movie’s not terribly shot. The cinematography isn’t astounding, but it works. The same goes with the lighting. It just works. The real problems with this movie are the characters, some of the acting, occasional narration, plot holes, and an over-abundance of utterly funny moments. I guess the biggest compliment I can give “The Fanatic” is the fact that it’s so bad it’s good. But if you think I like the movie, you need your brain checked.

In the end, I think “The Fanatic” may be one of the interestingly horrible movies I’ve ever seen in my life. Much like “The Room,” there’s a plethora of wholeheartedly questionable scenes that just make me laugh for all the wrong reasons. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone involved with this movie eventually wrote a book on their time working on the movie and the process of how it got made. You know, sort of like Greg Sestero did with “The Disaster Artist.” Surprisingly, there’s nothing in this movie that made me truly angry. Maybe it’s because of my expectations going in. Before I saw this movie, I watched Chris Stuckmann’s review of it, which went into a deep dive about a ton of the movie’s highlights. I pretty much got the vibe of the entire of movie from there. There are certainly problems worth pointing out and a ton of “What the hell is going on with the plot,” moments, but to say I felt infuriated about “The Fanatic” is like going into a Microsoft Store trying to buy a MacBook Air. Why would I do that?! Even so, this movie still sucks, lacks sense, and wouldn’t be one I’d be turning on again anytime soon, so I’d say “The Fanatic,” despite my laughs here and there, is still worthy of a 1/10. One of the best things about this movie that I have yet to mention… IT’S BASED ON TRUE EVENTS FRED DURST EXPERIENCED! And to add onto the hilarity, this movie was dedicated to Bill Paxton. This movie does star one of his children, but even so, it’s almost seemingly crazy! This is one of those movies that you honestly have to see to believe. Then again, based on various career choices John Travolta has made, this may not be as shocking as I’d make it out to be. But even with that in mind, this movie is still the definition of “unintentionally hilarious,” and just for that, it could be worth checking out despite my low score. Thanks for reading this review! Unfortuantely, I will not have my review for “Joker” up this weekend. But fear not! Because I’ll have my review up next weekend! I’m going to be seeing “Joker” in 70mm next week, I cannot wait! For all I know it could be a life-changing event, but we’ll have to see. Be sure to follow Scene Before, check out the Facebook page, give this post a like, and share it with your friends! It really helps me out! Stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “The Fanatic?” What did you think about it? Or, what is the worst John Travolta movie you have ever seen? I’m quite curious about what your comments will be, because I have a feeling there are quite a few contenders. Nevertheless, let me know with a comment and if you want me to sign something for you, I wish I could automatically teleport a Sharpie through my screen. Until then, good luck finding me. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Spider-Man Is BACK IN THE MCU!

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! So next week, I’ve been thinking about seeing “Joker,” the latest of the neverending trend that we like to call “comic book movies.” And I’ll tell you, the movie looks pretty freakin–WAIT A MINUTE! HOLD THE PHONE! SPIDER-MAN JUST RETURNED TO THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE!

This information, to me, came completely out of the blue. I was just enjoying my Friday off from school, summing up my thoughts on the latest movie I’ve gone out to see, when all of a sudden, I’m on social media, and a Variety article comes up with a headline that at this point looks too good to be true. Once I saw the headline “Spider-Man Will Stay in the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” there was only one thing to do.

DO SOME CARTWHEELS AND ALERT THE FREAKING MASSES!

I try to maintain a level of professionalism on this website. There are definitely signs that may suggest otherwise, but that’s because I want my blog to be fun, not boring, not unoriginal. I want everything to stand out. So with that in mind, THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS I’VE HEARD IN MY LIFE! HELL TO THE FREAKING YEAH! BOOM!

Now, let me just say, Spider-Man is my favorite superhero of all time, and if you have not been following my favorite superhero of all time in the news recently, you’d know that Disney and Sony had a little scrap. For some years now, Sony had the ability to spend money on a new Spider-Man movie, but Marvel Studios (owned by Disney) helps out in making those movies come to life and in return, their side gets a portion of the money, all of the merchandising rights, and a couple of chances to show Spider-Man off in other movies they happen to be making. Sony also gets the chances to retain rights to solo Spider-Man filmmaking as they have already come out with films like “Venom” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” But this was recently interrupted because Disney asked Sony for greater permission on the content, but Sony said no.

The original deal had Sony making 95% of the box office totals on films that would eventually be known as “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” This means for those movies, Disney would gain 5% of the box office. After the exciting news of “Spider-Man: Far From Home” becoming Sony’s highest grossing movie ever, it was a great sign that the deal seemed to have worked out. Both Disney and Sony are making money on Marvel Studios films, Disney is getting merch money, and Sony gets to make money on their own “Spider-Man” films outside the MCU. But Disney asked for Sony to co-finance and split profits on upcoming “Spider-Man” films. Sony wasn’t satisfied with Disney’s new proposal, so they were no longer involved with the MCU. But, a “Spider-Man 3” was still planned. So they were going to make the movie on their own, without Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige’s involvement, which seemed kind of difficult because if you ask me, Spider-Man currently represents an enormous part of the MCU’s current storyline. With several main characters we currently know having disappeared, Spider-Man may be the next crucial main character for Marvel’s phase 4 and on. He was taken under the wing of Tony Stark, he tried to make him proud from time to time, and now he is trying let Stark’s legacy live on. This separation would have been bad because Sony probably couldn’t use any of Marvel Studios’ other properties or characters if they needed to, and future Marvel Studios films would probably have to come up with some lame or cheesy excuse as to why Spider-Man is not with the Avengers.

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Did he have too much homework?

Is he busy with The Daily Bugle?

Did he not feel so good? I mean, come on!

Nevertheless, as of Friday, Sony and Disney have reunited with new terms that may seem to work out for both of them. And that was one thing that I personally was worried about, because as much as I want Spider-Man in the MCU, I understand why Sony left, and I would have rather had Sony leave the way they did as opposed to having them go along with the 50/50 terms because that means they lose control, or at least partial control of their biggest property, and let’s face it, if this were a game of Film Studio Monopoly, Disney would be winning. They own Boardwalk (most of Marvel), they own Park Place (Lucasfilm), there are hotels on both properties, and you might as well say that they own Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Pacific Avenues, all of which represents the remains of 21st Century Fox, and they are starting to build on those properties as we speak. If Sony were playing this game, they’d be better off landing on the go to jail spot over and over again. I’m not saying they are in danger of going out of business, but still. Luckily, things are being kept in check, because while the deal is no longer a 95/5% difference between sides, it is now 75/25%, with Sony gaining most of the profits. And while this may seem like a significant increase right now for Disney, it may be worth it in the end. Because Sony is still putting some of their eggs into the basket of their own Spidey content, including “Venom 2” which is currently in development.

Despite how much I may point out how Disney is making “too much money,” there’s not much wrong here with Disney wanting more money for these “Spider-Man” films. They’ve done their part when it comes to inserting soul into the character. But I think this deal should probably not go much higher, because Sony is the one distributing the film, and they are the ones paying for it to be made. I personally think 25% is the highest that I would be OK with Disney earning for these movies. Because if they are allowed to earn anything greater, then they might as well be snatching “Spider-Man” from Sony. Yes, Disney technically owns Marvel, but Sony is also in a position where Spider-Man movies are “their thing” and will probably end up being their greatest asset for the time being. It would be like Universal giving up “Fast & Furious” or Paramount giving up “Mission: Impossible” or STX Entertainment giving up “Bad Moms.”

I should also point out that in addition to this whole reunion, the spreading of joy and good news across the movie fandom, Sony put out a post recently of a little announcement that I think you all might enjoy.

One word. Hype.

I honestly almost couldn’t be happier because while Disney is still increasing their control on Spidey, it’s not like they’re hogging the entire plate. Sony gets to keep the rights, and Marvel Studios gets to keep Spider-Man in the MCU. And even if it is just for one more movie, it would help me as an audience member in getting some closure after the AMAZING mid-credits scene of “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” What mood am I in right now? Well, look down below!

I feel like dancin’ like I just don’t care! Booyah!

Thanks for reading this post! I just want to remind everyone that “Joker” comes out next weekend. Now, I want to go see it next weekend. I have time to go see it next weekend. But chances are, I’m not going to. I will say though, I do have tickets booked for the second weekend! I’m going to see “Joker” on Friday, October 11th in 70mm! Hopefully I can get a review up by the end of Columbus Day if I go see it then for the first time, or Indigenous Peoples’ Day depending on your preference, I cannot wait to check it out! As for this next weekend, I am not sure what’s going on. Maybe I’ll watch “The Fanatic,” the new John Travolta movie that just came out, because I kind of want to talk about it. It just seems like it would make for good material, so we’ll see what happens. Be sure to follow Scene Before with a WordPress account if you want to see new posts in your WordPress feed, or if you just want to subscribe with an email, you will be notified of new posts immediately through email. Stay tuned for more great content, and check out my Facebook page! I want to know, what are your thoughts on the latest news regarding Sony, Disney, Marvel, and Spider-Man? Are you happy to see him back in the MCU? Do you think a better deal could have been made? Or are you disappointed? Did you want to see what Sony could have done with Spider-Man without Marvel Studios? Leave your thoughts and opinions down below and I’m not sure about you guys, but bring on “Spider-Man 3!” I want it now! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

“This is terrific, Peter Parker’s story took a dramatic turn in ‘Far From Home’ and I could not be happier we will all be working together as we see where his journey goes.” -Amy Pascal (Producer, SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING and SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME)

Black and Blue (2019): The Adventure of the Body Cam

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“Black and Blue” is directed by Deon Taylor (Meet the Blacks, Supremacy) and stars Naomie Harris (Skyfall, Moonlight), Tyrese Gibson (Transformers, 2 Fast 2 Furious), Mike Colter (The Good Wife, Luke Cage), Frank Grillo (The Purge: Anarchy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Reid Scott (My Boys, Veep), and Beau Knapp (Death Wish, The Nice Guys). This film involves a rookie cop working for the police department in New Orleans. She is on a mission where she is forced to do nothing, only to lead to a moment where some real chaos goes down. This “chaos” by the way, is the killing of a drug dealer, who died as a result of the actions executed by cops. Naomie Harris’ character, Alicia West, sees this and now she is on the run, defending her life.

The film experience I had for “Black and Blue” in particular was very interesting, because unlike a good portion of the films I watch when they first come out, I have not witnessed a single piece of marketing for this one. I will admit, I knew a bit about the plot going into it, but as I was reserving my spot in the theater, this was literally the earliest I have known about this movie.

I just want to remind everyone that this movie is not even out until the final weekend of October. I saw this at an early screening where there seemed to be a good amount of people who scored advance passes. So I’m gonna be pretty vague here with this review. When I saw this movie, I was with a pretty active audience. They would gasp, talk to the screen, and burst out into applause at times as if this were an “Avengers” movie. As for me, I was pretty quiet. There were a few moments where I would react to things, but those reactions were nowhere near as obnoxious or as likely to shake the entire room. Then again, I don’t usually watch movies about cops, maybe it’s because the director, writer, and producers weren’t trying to target me specifically. I don’t know. The point is, this movie is not as good as the rowdy crowd at my theater would have made it seem. In a way, this almost reminded me of “Captain Marvel,” which I had the privilege of seeing this year at Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre. It’s a movie that when audiences applauded or reacted to something, I honestly either remained in silence or questioned why this was happening in the first place. There were even a select couple of moments where I had my hands on my face. I did the same thing I when I saw “Venom” last year. If you saw that review, you could tell that this isn’t pretty. But staying on the topic of “Captain Marvel…”

Remember when Captain Marvel takes down Yon-Rong with a laser beam in one hit after he’s maniacally rambling? OK, this sort of thing worked in “Raiders of the Lost Ark!” Here it’s just cheap!

Now I am not going to deny that there are a fair share of “edge of your seat” moments that the movie has to offer, but the fact is that when it comes to characters, not everyone stands out. As I left the film, there are a fair share of characters who I felt their motivations or feelings could have been expressed better and overall the film convoluted itself based on how many characters it tries to handle at a time.

In fact, I’m not gonna get into the ending, but let’s just say that it goes on for a time that is longer than I would have anticipated, and it kind of overstays its welcome. There are a couple of things that I would trim out, clean up, some edits that I might end up fixing and speaking of editing, there are a couple moments in this film, albeit in the category of nitpicky, but it does show a select amount of shots where the cinematography almost looks like something out of a student film. There are a couple of shots I think could have been adjusted, but they have little to no real effect on the movie as a whole. I will admit, I am surprised to dive a little deep into the cinematography of this movie, but speaking of surprises…

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Let’s talk about Tyrese Gibson. Looking back, I didn’t think about this that much, but Tyrese Gibson does a really good job in this movie. Gibson plays a character by the name of Milo “Mouse” Jackson, who operates a convenience store. Throughout the film, we come to realize that he is the only one who can help Alicia in her current situation. I might need to watch the movie again to know for sure, but compared to some other movies I have seen him in, he seems a lot more calm and collected here. I almost couldn’t even tell Tyrese played the character he was supposed to portray, which may be one of the best compliments I can give to an actor.

As for the main character, I was rooting for her. There was a point, especially during the beginning, where she kind of came off as the only interesting character in the entire movie. Granted, I would rather watch a movie where I care significantly more about the main characters as supposed to supporting characters, but it does not change the fact that when it comes to supporting characters, they’re either bland or unmemorable. I didn’t flat out hate any of them, but the main characters made me feel like I drank 10 cups of coffee whereas the supporting characters made me feel like someone dropped an entire container of Melatonin pills into my body like Tic-Tacs.

When it comes to other things about the movie worth pointing out, part of why I don’t particularly think this movie is going to be all that memorable as time goes on is because of the pacing. The movie tends to maintain a fast pace throughout and sticks with it. But at times, it goes a little haywire. It feels like the movie eventually goes on a sugar rush and gets a little too bombastic with some absurd happenings. There are a couple of moments where I questioned the logic of the movie, and again I’ll bring up the obnoxious crowd I was with. Take out the lively atmosphere, this would probably be a slightly lackluster movie experience.

To quote YouTube user Jacksfilms…

“Wait why are we clapping? Stop clapping!”

In the end, “Black and Blue” was not even close to insufferable. But it also wasn’t even close to a masterpiece. It’s just… Something. …That exists. The experience was undeniably wild, which may be why I wasn’t exactly bored during the movie. I was silent, and at times, annoyed by certain people who happened to be talking, but it was still like a big movie theater party. I’m wondering how this film will do when it releases at the end of October. It’ll definitely get some people in the theater, but so far, most of the reviews I have seen, specifically from outlets like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, have not been great. Unfortunately, this review belongs in that category. Based on how much I think I’ll forget this movie compared some other films that came out this year, I’m going to give “Black and Blue” a 5/10. Thanks for reading this review! Next week is the release of “Joker,” which could possibly be THE BEST comic book movie of the year. I’m planning on seeing it opening weekend, I’m probably not gonna go opening Thursday night, because I might make it a priority to see this film with my dad, because I think he may enjoy it. I’ll have to see if he’s busy, but nevertheless, I am here, I am ready, I am game for “Joker.” Bring it on! If you want to see that review and other great content, be sure follow Scene Before! Also, if you are on Facebook, check out my Facebook page, it helps me out a ton! I want to know, did you see “Black and Blue?” What did you think about it? I’m willing to bet at the time of this review, a majority of you didn’t, so let me ask another question. What is your favorite movie featuring Tyrese Gibson? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Ad Astra (2019): Cliff Booth Goes to Space

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“Ad Astra” is directed by James Gray (The Lost City of Z, The Immigrant) and stars Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, World War Z), Tommy Lee Jones (Men in Black, The Fugitive), Ruth Negga (Preacher, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Liv Tyler (Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Incredible Hulk), and Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games, Ordinary People). This film is about an astronaut by the name of Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) and he is trying to fulfill a space mission with one person in mind. Specifically, his father. But it’s not easy, it is in fact, as this movie presents, dangerous to the tenth degree.

I. Love. Space movies. Period. Some of the best movies of the decade have primarily taken place in space. So naturally, I was curious about “Ad Astra.” I will say though, compared to other years, “Ad Astra” didn’t seem to have the same level of anticipation that I had for say “Interstellar” or “The Martian” as they were coming out. But, it doesn’t mean I didn’t take whatever anticipation I DID have into account. This is being released at the end of the summer into the beginning of the fall, which is around the kickoff of awards season. Plus, Brad Pitt is playing the starring role, which is something that is totally attention-grabbing for this year because Pitt just had the scene stealing role as Cliff Booth in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”

Before going into the auditorium to sit down and watch the movie, I have been exposed to tons of positive word of mouth regarding the film’s technical aspects. Let me just say off the bat, to every person who said this movie is cinematography gold, you are 100% correct. And I can totally see why, because this movie is shot by Hoyte Van Hoytema, who shot another wonderful space adventure during the decade, specifically “Interstellar.” And he also shot “Spectre,” which had one of the most incredibly well-done opening scenes in a recent action film. And at times, you can say this film has thrills and vibes that maybe a film like “Interstellar” also had. But you can also say that much like “Interstellar,” it’s slow at times. Now “slow burns” are not a bad thing. As long as the “slow burn” is used to execute the story well, then I’m all for it. But that is something to keep in mind, because “Interstellar” was still entertaining and somewhat compelling at its slow moments, this movie is just… f*cking dull.

I mean, it’s not bad! But it’s utterly forgettable! This movie sort of reminds me of the most recent movie I reviewed, “Brightburn.” If “Brightburn” were considered an organism and had a personality, I wouldn’t be surprised if I had to take it to a professional to see if it could diagnose it with a minor disability. This film is sort of on the same level. Would I immediately go back and watch the movie a second time? Probably not, but maybe I would, there’s always a chance. But if there were any reason to pay attention, I’d say it would be due to certain well thought out and executed concepts.

One sci-fi flick I often think about is “Star Wars,” and one reason is because of their “spaceports,” which to me, are futuristic versions of airports, even though that movie takes place “a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.” And guess what? One of the standout scenes in “Ad Astra” involves a literal space version of an airport! You’d look around and you have random shops, restaurants. If I were in this movie, I could literally go to the moon, get off the craft, be surrounded by walls, and go grab a muffin at Dunkin’. I guess this was in one way or another, just an excuse to shove product placement down our throats, but it doesn’t I’m denying that this was a good idea! I wouldn’t mind seeing a future where I could go to the moon and grab some chicken crispers or something at a Chili’s Too during a long layover to Mars.

The main message that I have honestly gotten out of this movie is to appreciate your parents and make them proud. This movie relies heavily on a plot involving the son of a famous astronaut, who also takes on the same lifestyle. In fact, one of the main reasons why our main character is doing what he is doing in the first place, is because of his father.

That being said, this does bring up one thing… I’m not going to give anything away, especially considering how “Ad Astra” was not the highest grossing film of the past weekend. I’m kind of shocked, but apparently I underestimated the level of anticipation there was behind “Downton Abbey.” Anyway, in “Ad Astra,” some things were established about the main character’s father. What things? I’m not going to go into any of them, but based on the information that was provided about him throughout the film, I questioned why we were getting the movie we happened to be getting in the first place. If you ask me, if you were pitching two movies, they took place in the same universe, and a movie about the main character’s father was one of them, I’d rather watch that. It would probably be way different from what we’re getting here, but from an entertainment factor, I think a movie like that would have a better shot at putting a smile on my face. But, keep in mind, this is just an idea. The execution of the final product is what matters. Things like proper direction, stellar acting, and excellent writing are all supposed to culminate to make something special. Based on what I’m about to tell you regarding the screenplay… They don’t.

The movie’s script, on the surface, is not bad. There are a fair share of attention-grabbing and thrilling scenes. But between the pacing issues and lack of knowledge I have about Brad Pitt’s character or some other characters during the movie when it starts, it doesn’t flow the way I would want it to. I imagine some people, specifically those in the general audience demographic would rather watch “Ad Astra” than “Interstellar” simply because of the two films, it’s shorter. To me, when it comes to characterization, “Interstellar” has a significant advantage because it takes its longer runtime to have us as an audience get to know our characters and eventually care about them. I like Brad Pitt, but the character he plays is almost not even worth giving a damn about. But let’s get into something that I did not expect to talk about. One of the last pieces of marketing I saw for “Ad Astra” before going into it was a trailer where Brad Pitt is just narrating from start to finish.

There is a lot of narration in this movie. And I can’t say I dig it.

Granted, you can also make the argument that since Brad Pitt’s character is a little reserved in this movie, almost similar at times to Ryan Gosling’s portrayal of Neil Armstrong in “First Man,” the narration works. It gives the audience some insight to what the character’s thinking given how little he tends to open his mouth. And if I had to judge Brad Pitt’s acting in this movie, it’s actually really good, but his character’s minor turnoff for me was the narration. There were a lot of times where it just felt tacked on. It makes “Ad Astra” feel more like a book than a movie. If this were originally a book, I’d understand everything that occurs in the film in terms of narration because narration in a book, specifically in the same case as the movie presents, which is “first person,” is a common happening. I’ve yet to watch the original cut of “Blade Runner,” although I’ve watched “The Final Cut” quite possibly ten times. But if you are familiar with “Blade Runner’s” different cuts, you’d notice that in the original, the main character of Rick Deckard, played by Harrison Ford, narrates. I’m not forcing for this to happen, but I wouldn’t mind if one day they came out with an alternate cut of “Ad Astra” and they called it the “Third Person Edition” because I want to see how a narration-less version of this movie will turn out. It could be better, it could be worse. Who knows? But part of me thinks that the movie will end up benefiting from something like this because I think it would allow an audience member to immerse themselves into the vibrant environment of the film. Again, the cinematography in this movie is some of best I’ve seen this year. It’s up there with films like “Us” as far as 2019 goes in that realm. But sticking with the topic of narration, I will say that it doesn’t make me feel stupid, so as much as I am not exactly satisfied with it, I can tolerate it.

This review is weird! I’m saying I like this movie, but at the same time, I want two different ones that I think could be better, based on its material! Pretty f*cking crazy if you ask me!

In the end, “Ad Astra” has the potential of being the worst good movie of the year, if that makes any sense. Brad Pitt is really good in this film, although he is better in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” if you ask me. I like some of the directions in terms of concepts and story elements this movie tends to lean towards. The cinematography, lighting, and sound are all superb and this movie would be excellent to show off as part of a tech demo. But if you are watching purely for the story, I’d seek out another space movie. Who knows? Maybe this is one of those movies that will be better on the second watch, but I cannot say for sure. I’m going to give “Ad Astra” a 6/10. I almost gave this a 7, but I had a few days to think about this because I’ve been busy with life and school. This is a good movie, but I wouldn’t rush out to see it, but if you want to watch Brad Pitt act well and see big pretty things for a few hours, no judgments here. Thanks for reading this review! I just want to remind everyone that tonight I will be going to see a movie that will not be out until the end of October, and that is “Black and Blue.” I honestly know little to nothing about this movie, but since I have an opportunity to attend a press screening for it, I thought why not take it? Be sure to follow Scene Before to check out that review when it is up, I’m not even sure when the embargo lifts so I might have to guesstimate as to when I can officially release ANY thoughts related to the movie. Also, like my Facebook page and tell your friends about the blog, it really helps me out! I want to know, did you see “Ad Astra?” What did you think about it? Or, what is a movie that you thought you would be at the top of the box office charts on its opening weekend but couldn’t make it? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

NFL at AMC Theatres: Is It a Touchdown?

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! As an American, there is no denying that during this time of year, football is one of the priorities of most people around me. Personally speaking, I think it is a complete waste of time and nothing more than grown men hitting each other over a brown object. It does have its moments, but football is obnoxious to the point of insanity at times, and sports are not my thing in general. Granted, I live in New England, which would mean I would be somewhat pressured to celebrate my “culture of victory” from time to time, but it doesn’t mean I enjoy football as a sport. That being said, I come from a country that seems to put football over literally anything else, so I find it to be no surprise that AMC Theatres is planning to capitalize on the sport.

While we aren’t getting a thousand football-oriented movies right now, we are in the middle of the current NFL season. And during this season, AMC is planning on showing football games at select theaters on Sundays. Keep in mind, I said select theaters, there’s a chance that the closest AMC to your house might not be taking part in this.

What are the requirements?

First, you must be an AMC Stubs member. It doesn’t matter what level you’re subscribed to. If you don’t want to waste any money on a membership, you can snatch a Stubs Insider ID for free. The other membership levels, Premiere and A-List, come with more perks, but also with higher prices.

Second, you don’t have to buy a ticket to watch a football game in the theater, BUT if you want to sit down in the theater and watch the game, you need to spend at least $10 on food. I think this manages to make a lick of sense, because let’s say you are watching a game at your house. You might intend on ordering food sometimes like wings or pizza. Or you go outside of the house to a bar and buy food. This is AMC’s equivalent to that, because let’s face it, food and sports have gone together since the dawn of time. That, and food is how AMC usually makes its money as opposed to tickets.

Also, keep in mind that these are for SUNDAY GAMES ONLY. Typically, NFL games are played on Sunday, so this doesn’t seem to be much of an issue, but if you were say looking forward to this Monday’s game between the Bears and the Redskins and planned on catching it at an AMC, don’t get your hopes up.

One interesting thing about this concept is that on AMC’s website, users can vote for which teams or games they would like to see. This is sort of surprising, because I figured AMC would already have these games preplanned. Because when you go to a local bar, you’d most likely expect them to have at least one TV playing the “local” game. If you go to a bar in Boston, you’d expect to see a Patriots game. If you go to a bar in Philadelphia, you’d expect to see an Eagles game. If you go to a bar in Miami, you’d expect to see a Dolphins game. Keep these thoughts in mind by the way…

On the list of theaters testing this out, there are three in my area, specifically the Boston/Massachusetts markets, showing NFL programming: AMC DINE-IN Framingham 14, AMC Liberty Tree Mall 20, and AMC Methuen 20. One surprise about this to me however regards the state of New York. If you look on the website showing all of the participating theaters, not one happens to be in New York, which surprises me since it is such a highly populated state. Not one theater in even New York City, of all places, happens to be doing this? If you want, you can drive down to Edison, NJ which has the AMC DINE-IN Menlo Park 12 but I am not here to control your life.

Another thing I noticed that may get some people excited is that the games seem to all be in reclined theaters. Of the three recently mentioned theaters, they all have the leather reclining seats that go back to make you feel like you are in your living room. I feel like that was intended because one of the disadvantages of a bar for some viewers, from what I would imagine is that the environment could be lively, but they have no choice except to sit in a a less than comfortable chair (depending on the occasion) or to stand. This does suggest that the games will be shown in theaters that do not have the largest capacities in the AMC chain, but there is no doubt that the environment will be comfortable.

One slight inconvenience about this idea however is that if you want to get tickets, you can’t do it a week in advance or even a few days in advance if you really wanted to. Why? Because times for NFL games at AMC locations are listed every Friday evening. And since AMC only airs Sunday games, this gives you a maximum of perhaps two full days to snag tickets.

To be honest though, if you are a football fan and are picky about your teams or will only choose to support whatever team is close to you, you won’t always get what you want. Because let’s take the three theaters I brought up in the Boston area, they are airing multiple games at different times, and their schedules are not exactly the same. That’s fine, I actually like the variety factor, but not a single one of those theaters is airing a Patriots game! And you may be wondering, “Hey, Jackass! New England is a combination of several states, what about those other states? Do they get Patriots games?” From what I’m seeing on AMC’s website, it doesn’t look like they will be showing any NFL games in states like Connecticut or New Hampshire to begin with. In fact, as I scroll through the markets, it seems that just about nobody is going to get their local time. Want to go to an AMC in Dallas? Boom! No Cowboys games! Want to go check out a game at an AMC in Miami? Sorry, no Dolphins games! Oh, how about San Francisco? There’s a 49ers game this Sunday! AMC Manteca and AMC Metreon are airing some games! One of them has to be with the 49ers! NOPETY-NOPETY-NOOOOOO.

Now let me just point out one thing, there is a disclaimer on AMC’s website that says the following:

“Game selection varies by participating theatre location, local teams will not be shown.”

Before these games were even announced, I did manage to see said disclaimer. I thought that suggested maybe “local town teams” such as those commonly represented in local high-school football leagues or something. Turns out, they meant local NFL teams. According to NFL local TV station blackout rules, airing local games at certain theaters would interfere with the exclusivity of the local stations. I personally think this is going to hurt AMC a little. I say that because why wouldn’t a fan obsessed with their local sports team take a 10 to 30 minute drive to see them play on the big screen? Although at the same time, I wonder if this will provide an opportunity to several people who live far from where their local team play. If you live in the Atlanta area but happen to be a fan of say the Houston Texans, than you have the opportunity to check them out in a stadium-like vibe at the AMC Colonial 18 located in Lawrenceville. It would either take an extended road trip or a flight to Houston to go see them play in person, specifically with a seemingly common audience, which makes something like what AMC is doing a good deal for certain fans, especially for $10.

I gotta ask. What do you think about this? Even though there are no local teams playing at certain theaters. Is this enough to get you off the couch and see a game on the big screen? Are you in the middle with all of this? Or is this all a big fumble to you? Let me know your thoughts! Thanks for reading this post! This weekend is the release of “Ad Astra,” and to be honest, I’m not quite sure if I’m gonna be able to catch it by the end of Sunday. So if that’s the case, I do have a small amount of time I could waste before going into school for an evening class on Tuesday, so I’ll probably end up seeing it then. Also, “Joker” tickets just went on sale, so I officially have priorities regarding that movie as well. Be sure to follow Scene Before, and check out the Scene Before Facebook page so you can stay tuned for more great content! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Brightburn (2019): Superman: The Quest for Rest In Peace

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“Brightburn” is directed by David Yarovesky (Guardians of the Galaxy, The Hive) and stars Jackson A. Dunn (Shameless, Legendary Dudas), Elizabeth Banks (The LEGO Movie, The Hunger Games), David Denman (The Office, Traffic Light), Matt Jones (Mom, Breaking Bad), and Meredith Hagner (Men at Work, Search Party). This film revolves around a family and its child, Brandon Breyer. Brandon is growing up fast, and at times seems to be a relatively normal child. But we soon discover that he has powers, he sometimes behaves poorly, and he has various elements of a psychopath. Basically, take Superman, but make him malevolent, wicked, and some sort of equivalent to a devil worshiper.

I originally saw the first trailer for “Brightburn” last year, and I was somewhat excited for this film upon seeing that trailer. It looked beautiful, bold, and a tad scary too. In a way, this film is a mix of horror and a traditional comic book style story. The movie is not based on any preexisting property by name, even though it does contain similarities to “Superman.” To add even more comic book and superhero elements into the mix, let me just point out that James Gunn, director of the two recent “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, has a producer credit on this movie. This film is also kind of a family project, because the two writers are related to Gunn. You’ve got Mark Gunn, a cousin of James. And Brian Gunn, who happens to one of James’ brothers. It’s clear that this movie was partially done with combined passion, and it’s nice to see a family come together to entertain audiences. Granted, I don’t like everything they’ve done. I think “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” may be one of the most overrated movies of the past few years. And both Brian and Mark wrote “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,” which may be my least favorite movie with The Rock in it.

But with all of the creative forces combining together for “Brightburn,” how did they all add up? O-K? I guess? This was not my most anticipated film of 2019, but it was up there in terms of films I was looking forward to. In fact, of all the films that came out during its particular opening weekend, it was probably the one I wanted to see the most. Granted, I ended up seeing “Booksmart,” which ended up being good. I still have no interest in seeing “Aladdin,” but I finally got around to seeing “Brightburn” only to have numerous less than positive things to say about it. I mean, it’s not all bad. But it seriously could have been a lot better.

As a concept, it is certainly intriguing, and there are a lot of ideas that go into the concept that are executed fairly well. That being said however, this almost seems like a pitch movie.

“It’s gonna be Superman, but evil! Comic book movies are the thing right now! Let’s see what we can do with one of the most iconic comic stories of all time, but with a sinister twist! It’s gonna be great!”

This movie ultimately reminds me of a movie like “Lucy.” Remember “Lucy” from 2014? If you haven’t seen “Lucy,” Scarlett Johansson plays this girl who gets drugged by some less than friendly people, all the while discovering how to use more than 10% of her brain. It seems like a good movie to write with a couple of people around you, discussing ideas of how to use one’s brain at a greater level than what mankind is traditionally capable of. But it doesn’t mean anything for the movie in terms of how watchable or compelling it will turn out in the end, it’s just a collection of seemingly rad ideas.

If there were an evil Superman per se, this movie would be a good example of how such a character would work. In fact, I literally do mean evil Superman because the movie starts off with a crash on a farm, and the crash involves a baby boy. This baby grows up, we see him seemingly hitting puberty, and he becomes a stalker, an aggressive talker, and a violent maniac.

I also gotta give props to everybody acting in this movie, and this even includes our lead kid actor, Jackson A. Dunn. He owns the part as Brandon. He’s almost a perfect embodiment for a child of his age in terms of how he presents himself (despite being more aggressive than the average person). When he would cover up truths or lie, I felt like that would usually be how a kid of his age would do such a thing. And he, thankfully, did not overplay his character in any scenes involving dark violence, gore, etc. I guess in that sense, I might as well give props to the director for properly handling this film’s scenes.

But sticking to acting, the two standout performances in the movie have to be from the parents played by Elizabeth Banks and David Denman. The best part about their characters to me really sticks out like a sore thumb during the halfway point, specifically how they view the main situation of the whole movie. And it just goes to show how far Elizabeth Banks’ character would go to unconditionally love her kid. Granted, there are slight hints of wanting what’s best for him. But at the same time, she comes off as one of those mothers who will put her kid before anyone else regardless of how they behave or what they tend to do in their daily life. This sort of reminds me of those situations where a parent will endlessly defend their child or deny any of their faults. Her character’s thoughts and actions are completely different compared to those of David Denman’s character, who thinks the kid is up to no good, he’s violent, and he’s showing no signs of being a sane person.

My last compliment I can really give to this movie is that it does look really nice. The cinematography kind of made me feel like taking several deep breaths of fresh air. Granted, I did watch the movie through a 4K Blu-ray, but still. I also dig the farm location, I think overall, it suits the movie very well.

In the end, “Brightburn” is a movie with an interesting twist on a well-known concept, but I don’t know if I’d ever watch it again. Comic book movies are currently more popular than they’ve ever been. This is not based on a comic book, but if you told me it was, I wouldn’t be surprised. One trend I’m seeing now is the rise of comic book villain stories on film. We just saw it in “Venom” last year, which sucked hard. And we’re seeing it again this October with “Joker.” Thankfully, this is not anywhere near as unwatchable as “Venom.” But this movie doesn’t add anything big or bold to the type of genre with which it is trying to associate. “Brightburn” is a tad scary, it is somewhat entertaining, it is well-acted, but it doesn’t have an enormous “oomph” factor to it. I’m going to give “Brightburn” a 6/10. Thanks for reading this review! This weekend is the release of Brad Pitt’s “Ad Astra,” which I hear is getting great reviews so far, and I cannot wait to check it out whenever I can! I’m hoping to go see it Friday, because I do have Fridays off from school, so it would be good timing on my part. Plus, I am busy Sunday evening, so I can’t go see it then. Also, while not completely official, I wanted to touch upon another recent trend in the movie world, specifically “alternate programming at the movies.” If you have been following the news lately, sporting events and TV shows are making their way to cinema screens, and I want to talk about that! Be sure to follow Scene Before if you want hear me talk about this, or other movie-related topics! Also, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Brightburn?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite “Superman” movie? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

It: Chapter Two (2019): Hiya, Sequel!

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“It: Chapter Two” is directed by Andy Muschietti, director of the 2017 “It” installment. This film stars Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, Interstellar), James McAvoy (Split, Wanted), Bill Hader (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Power Rangers), Isaiah Mustafa (Shadowhunters, Horrible Bosses), Jay Ryan (Go Girls, Sea Patrol), James Ransone (Sinister, The Wire), Andy Bean (Swamp Thing, Power), and Bill Skarsgård (Deadpool 2, Allegiant). “It: Chapter Two” takes place 27 years after its predecessor, specifically 2016. If you have not seen 2017’s “It,” it’s established in that film that the main antagonist, Pennywise the Dancing Clown, wreaks havoc amongst certain individuals every 27 years. In 1989, we were introduced to the Losers Club, a group of mocked teens who unite to conquer their fears and take down the clown. At the end of the movie, the group forms a pact that if Pennywise ever happens to be alive or makes a return, they will meet up to face him once more. After all this time, the adult versions of these characters join forces once again, discuss where they’ve ended up all these years, while Pennywise happens to be on the loose.

If you have followed Scene Before over the past couple of years, you’d know that I talk about a lot of big movies. However, due to a lack of interest or commitment on the subject matter, I never got around to reviewing the first chapter of “It.” I also never watched the version of “It” where Tim Curry plays Pennywise (although I did watch Doug Walker’s Nostalgia Critic review). And one more thing… What was it? Oh, right. I NEVER READ THE BOOK! To this day, I have yet to read a single page of “It.” Movies are more fun, sorry books! I almost avoided any commitment I could possibly have with this movie, but there were certain factors about it that eventually intrigued me. I went to Best Buy one day, picked up 2017’s “It” on Blu-ray, which came with a $8 off sticker for the sequel (which I must have thrown out, like an idiot). I then waited almost a month to watch the movie, and when I finally witnessed what I’ve been missing for the past couple of years, I lost my mind. The main characters are so relatable, so charming, and when you put them together, it’s the recipe for perfection. Ultimately, “It” was a scary horror movie, but above all, an excellent coming of age story.

This brings us to the opening weekend of “It: Chapter Two.” I’ve heard a lot about this movie before I went into the auditorium. I’ve heard it’s got scares, people seem to like it for the most part, the cast is great, especially Bill Hader as Richie. While seemingly liked, it is not perfect, it does have notable problems here and there. And these statements, for the most part, are pretty much on the money. “It: Chapter Two,” from my perspective, is a film that feels as if it is trying to be “Return of the King.” The runtime is nearly three hours, it covers the finale of the written material from the books, and much like “Lord of the Rings,” this movie significantly showcases the power of companionship. Did this movie really need to be three hours? Probably not. I wouldn’t have minded a extended runtime, but it didn’t need to as long as “Interstellar.” I say that because when it comes to the material presented in the three hours of “It: Chapter Two,” a lot of it almost feels tacked on.

Remember “Suicide Squad?” One of the big problems with that movie is that it couldn’t focus too much on the present and instead relied heavily upon various flashbacks that would constantly appear out of nowhere. This movie has a good amount of flashback footage that isn’t off-putting, but pretty exorbitant. It kind of gets to the point where the flashbacks are charming, I guess, but they overstay their welcome.

But when focusing on the present, the characters are in fact the some of the best parts of this movie. It’s nice getting to know these new versions of previously established losers, especially considering how they all turned out to be winners in the very end. Richie became a stand-up comedian, Beverly is a fashion designer, Bill writes mystery novels, etc. I really admire how everyone in the Losers Club, which is appropriately named as it consists of people who were picked on, comes out on top in the end. But it’s not like everyone’s lives turned out to be rainbows and unicorns upon becoming adults. Beverly starts out the movie in an abusive relationship with her husband. Bill, while he seems to be a fine writer, doesn’t seem to stick the landing on his endings. Richie even has a little mishap upon returning to Derry, because he apparently yelled at a fan because he forgot a line he said during one of his gigs. Not everything’s perfect.

And speaking of imperfections, let’s talk about Pennywise. I’m not saying he’s a flawed character or anything, just saying he’s a psychopath. Bill Skarsgård is a f*cking boss in this film! This shouldn’t be too surprising because Pennywise was a standout in the original film. Films like this also remind me of how much fun it is to play a villain. Who wouldn’t want to play a vicious, horrifying killer clown that eats people? Everything about Pennywise was what I wanted out of this movie. The voice, the dialogue, the makeup, the crazy antics, the exploration of lore, whatever was presented was as delicious as pizza! That even includes one or two moments that are a bit heavy on CGI to the point where it is easy to pick up if you look hard enough.

But I will say, I don’t know if this movie will end up having the same replay value that I think the first one will end up having. It’s a bit early to say since I just saw this film on Saturday, plus I waited until last Thursday to watch the original. But if I were alone on Halloween and needed something to watch in the living room while handing out candy to children, I currently much prefer the original. Both films are effectively scary, and in this film, there are a lot of gross, disturbing, and shocking moments to witness. Remember that trailer with Jessica Chastain visiting the old lady? Get ready. That scene where Pennywise is surrounded by black and utters “Hello?” F*cking nuts. And the climax, while a bit extended, is undoubtedly entertaining. But as a story, this film is a tad more convoluted and a bit more poorly paced compared to the original. The original has a bit of an advantage due to the shorter runtime, but I can live with films going past three hours (which this one almost does). With that being said however, everything in those three hours has to matter, or be something that I as an audience member can care about, and unfortunately, that’s not the case for everything presented in that time.

Also, speaking of time, the ending takes FOREVER to fully establish itself. There are like two, three, four, perhaps even five or six points during the climax where the movie could stop, and wrap itself in a bow that is satisfying. Unfortunately, it goes ahead and says “Look at me, I’m ‘It: Chapter Two!’ There’s no stopping me now! Ha ha! Yeah!” And it’s kind of unfortunate because 2019, in my view, has not been the all-time best year for movies, but if there is one thing that stands out this year compared to others, it’s the eternal positive impact many endings will have on me as a viewer. We’ve had “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Ready or Not,” and “Toy Story 4.” All of these movies have magnificent final moments that I will perhaps forever appreciate. The ending of “It: Chapter Two” tries as hard as it can to leave a big impact, and I imagine for a chunk of people, it will. However, for me, I was appreciative of what was happening, while also hoping to get out of my chair because I feel like I have seen more than enough. It wasn’t like Pennywise bit my arm or anything, but it was like I was in line in a crowded Burger King or something.

In the end, “It: Chapter Two” is dark and gorey, but part of the mess associated with this movie is the less than pleasant pacing. The characters are great, the transitions they seem to make from teens to adults make sense for the most part. I find it a tad interesting that Ben is much more physically fit as an adult compared to how he was as teen, but Tom Brady is still winning Super Bowls, so anything can happen if you put your mind to it. If the movie were at least ten or so minutes shorter, perhaps fifteen, I think the pacing would be fair and square. But just because the movie is a bit sloppy on pacing, doesn’t mean it wasn’t enjoyable. So with that being said, I’m going to give “It: Chapter Two” a 7/10. Thanks for reading this review! I have no idea what my next review is going to be, at least for films out in theaters right now. I’m still trying to get my ass to a “Hobbs and Shaw” screening before it’s too late, maybe that’ll be the one I go to next. But I also heard a lot recently about this movie called “The Fanatic,” starring John Travolta. It’s not a big moneymaker, nor is it playing at too many cinemas, but I’m hearing a lot about this movie. It even got a Hilariocity Review from YouTuber Chris Stuckmann! And this film looks like it could be the next “The Room.” Perhaps even better than “The Room” in terms of how enjoyable yet horrible it really is. It’s available On Demand, maybe I’ll rent it, check it out, see what it’s all about, because as of recently, I’ve kind of been dying to see it in order to know what I’ve been missing. If you want to see that review or other great content, consider following Scene Before with an email or WordPress account, tell your friends about the blog, it really helps me out! Also, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “It: Chapter Two?” What did you think about it? Or, did you ever read the “It” book? Is it better than this movie? Is it better than the Tim Curry “It?” Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!