Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017): Manners Maketh Sequel

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“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is directed by Matthew Vaughn (X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass), who also is the director of “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” the previous installment in “Kingsman” leading up to this movie. This movie stars Taron Egerton (Eddie the Eagle, Sing), Colin Firth (Love, Actually, The King’s Speech), Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes, The Imitation Game), Julianne Moore (Crazy Stupid Love, The Lost World: Jurassic Park), Halle Berry (Catwoman, Monster’s Ball), and the movie also features Elton John, Channing Tatum (Magic Mike, 21 Jump Street), and Jeff Bridges (TRON, Iron Man).

This movie continues the adventures of the Kingsman. Poppy (Julianne Moore) strikes the Kingsman’s headquarters, the world is held hostage, the Kingsman run into a US spy organization known as the Statesman, and the two team up to stop the evil Poppy.

Before we go any further, I’ll have you know that I REALLY enjoyed the first “Kingsman” installment, “Kingsman: The Secret Service.” It’s a movie that absolutely knows what it is, an insane spy movie. You’ve got this kid, he’s trying to become a member of the “Kingsman” organization, there’s tons of action, great music, and British people being British. While I will say that I saw better movies the year “Kingsman: The Secret Service” came out in theaters, such as “Star Wars Episode VII” and “The Martian,” I will say this undoubtedly has the best action sequence from a movie which came out that year. If you have never seen “Kingsman” you should watch it, and as far as that action scene goes, be prepared for when you see Colin Firth inside a church. If you want to watch that action sequence, there will be a video down below that you can click on.

That action sequence displayed above, personally, is one of the best I’ve seen in terms of music choices, cinematography, shock value, movements, and immersion. Going into this sequel, not only did I want a good movie, I wanted something that could potentially rival or top this scene. So did the film provide a scene like that? Sure, but that doesn’t mean it had a scene as good as this one. In fact, you can also say this movie is worse than the original. That doesn’t mean the movie sucks however, it’s still tons of fun and is definitely worth seeing either if you liked “Kingsman: The Secret Service” or if you just want an action flick in order to waste a couple hours.

Starting off the character section of the post, let’s talk about Gary “Eggsy” Unwin, although before we do, LOOK AT THIS SHOT. It’s so crisp, so beautiful, so artistically well done! I love it! Anyway, when this movie begins we actually notice some changes brought to Eggsy’s life since the previous film. The biggest example I can give is that he’s now dating Princess Tilde, which if you’ve seen “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” you may recall her as that princess who gets captured, also as someone Eggsy ends up finding when he’s trying to save the world, then they later engage in anal sex because Eggsy managed to accomplish his mission and save her. Their relationship plays a key role in the film, including a sex scene that isn’t anything short of brilliant. If you manage to see that scene, you might ask yourself “Where do people come up with this stuff?” If the answer is the brain, that wouldn’t be too surprising by the way.

Some of you may argue with me that this is a spoiler, and trust me it’s not, Colin Firth is back in this movie as Harry Hart. I bring up the possible spoiler assumption because of something that occurred in “The Secret Service” involving his character, but based on how Harry has been shown in advertising, I’d say this isn’t a spoiler. Anyway, there’s actually a subplot devoted to Harry that at times, was cringeworthy, but seeing Harry became less cringe-inducing as the movie went on. It reminded me of Tony Stark in “Iron Man 3” if he had a more gigantic cringe-factor.

Julianne Moore plays the main antagonist in the movie, and admittedly, she wasn’t terrible, but overall she was serviceable. There were actually aspects that I found rather cliche about her but at the same time I was able to come across aspects I liked about her which showcased her wickedness. Seriously! She turns a guy into a hamburger! Where else do you see that?! However, when it comes to her as a villain, she very much felt like a cartoon. Moore’s performance however was pretty good.

This movie also introduces us to the Statesman organization, which is basically an Americanized version of Kingsman. This means we get some new characters, some of which play a crucial role in the movie. I liked a lot of these characters. Granted there were mainly people from the southern part of the United States and not many people from the northern part, but keep in mind that this organization is in Kentucky, which is also the state where the church shootout in the first movie occurred.

One little factoid that may surprise some of you is that Elton John is in this movie. Not only that, but he also plays a major role in it too. Guess who he plays? Well, he plays himself, and it’s f*cking awesome! Elton John pretty much has one line in the entire movie and that’s “F*ck you.” OK, in reality he had more, but my point has been made. He’s basically a slave to Julianne Moore’s character in a way, and he was a definite scene stealer!

When I watch sequels, I tend to look out for similarities to previous installments of a franchise. “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” definitely had similarities to “The Secret Service.” For example, in this movie we get a “Manners maketh man” scene, we also get an action scene that remains in a single shot for a period of time, and another thing I noticed that’s kind of brought up twice is a reference to this:

GARY “EGGSY” UNWIN: Sorry, love. Gotta save the world.

PRINCESS TILDE: If you save the world, we can do it in the asshole.

That’s actually from when Eggsy and the woman who happens to be his girlfriend in this particular movie first met. This is actually brought up in a conversation between Harry and Elton John that was somewhat funny, but it didn’t really mean as much as the line it’s reminiscent of. Not to mention before Eggsy leaves to go on a mission, he’s talking to Tilde and she says “If you save the world, you know what happens.” While I do understand what she meant by that, the execution of that line honestly was weak. This is an R rated movie. My suggestion is try to say something raunchier than doing it in the asshole or just eliminate the line altogether. In fact, I’ll mention once again, the execution of the line given in the conversation between Elton and Harry was funny. But how funny would it be if Elton told Harry they can do it in the asshole if the world is saved? Just for the record, Elton John is gay so it would probably make sense. Plus, Harry’s sexuality has never been established, so if he’s heterosexual, he might as well appear grossed out by the comment and it might make for a few laughs in the audience.

Another thing I noticed in this movie is that part of it may be a commercial for the FOX News network. Now, I personally hate FOX News, but that’s not my point. A lot of the movie’s exposition was shown by hearing reporters on FOX News. Part of me wonders how much they paid to be in this film. OK, I take that back, this movie’s from 20th Century Fox so my brain tells me that’s probably likely to be nothing. I say this because I don’t know if I’m imagining things but it’s unusual for me to see a news channel in a movie for the length of time FOX News has been featured in this particular film. OK, well, if we’re talking about “Nightcrawler” or maybe “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” that’s a different story. I remember seeing Sky News in the first movie, but I remember them getting less screen time. This does remind me of the movie “Mother’s Day” which is basically a 118 minute long commercial for the Home Shopping Network. Granted FOX News in this movie is a lot less in your face as opposed to the Home Shopping Network in “Mother’s Day,” but still.

One more complaint I have about “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is that it’s too long. The movie has so many subplots in it that it almost feels like an extended cut as opposed to a movie that would traditionally feel like a theatrical cut. Watching the movie’s climax, I was nearly convinced into thinking that the movie almost didn’t know when it wanted to end based on all of the s*it that was going down. It’s like all the hurricanes we’ve been getting lately. WAIT! THERE’S ANOTHER ONE?! F*CK THIS WORLD!

In the end, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” may have flaws, but I’d say it’s definitely a sequel worthy of the “Kingsman” name. The first movie may be better, but this movie is certainly a fun ride with tons of action, cool new characters, and an interesting villain despite how cliche she is. From a technical perspective, this movie’s amazing, and I’d say this movie also happens to be enjoyable in terms of entertainment value. I’m gonna give “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” a 7/10. Thanks for reading this review, and before we go any further, I’m gonna let you know about a cool new app called Stardust.

Stardust is a free app you can download if you want to talk about TV shows and movies. There are multiple cool things you can do with this. You can record short videos about movies or TV episodes, you can follow people for their latest thoughts and reactions, by the way, my Stardust handle is JackDrees if you want to follow me, and you can also add movies and TV to a watchlist. By the way, if you want to talk about a particular movie or an episode of a TV show, you don’t even have to watch it, the videos you take can give you the option to say you haven’t watched something. So go download the app now, and this is NOT SPONSORED. I just wanted to share this because I have a feeling a number of people in my demographic would find this interesting.

As far as upcoming reviews go, this weekend I want to go see “American Made” which stars Tom Cruise and is directed by Doug Liman, who directed “The Bourne Identity” and “Edge of Tomorrow,” I’m also desperate to see “Blade Runner: 2049,” by the way, based on the early reviews, I can tell this movie’s gonna be amazing. I also want to see “Stronger” at some point. We’ll see what happens. Stay tuned for more reviews! Also, which “Kingsman” movie did you like better? “The Secret Service” or “The Golden Circle?” If you ask me personally, “The Secret Service” is the better movie, but I want to know your thoughts down below. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Underworld: Blood Wars (2016): More Like Bore Wars *SPOILERS*

Before we dive into this review for the crime against movies known as “Underworld: Blood Wars,” I’d like to take a second to promote something to you all. Keep in mind, when I say promote, I don’t mean that as in I’m advertising something for money. I just discovered something the other day that I think will totally interest a number of people reading this post and I want to share it with you all. So it’s free advertising! I want introduce you all to an app called Stardust.

Stardust is a free app you can download on your mobile device. It’s basically Snapchat for movies and TV. Now I find it amazing that I like this because I don’t like Snapchat. How does it work? You can search for any movie or TV episode and record a short length video featuring your reaction and/or thoughts to the movie or TV episode. For example, if you go see the latest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe or if there’s a movie you like or dislike that you really want to talk about, you can record a video summing up your thoughts. Or if there’s a TV show you’re watching and you want to talk about a specific episode, you can bring that up as well. I know this for a fact when it comes to movies, I’m not sure what the case is when it comes to TV, considering I’ve only talked about movies on Stardust thus far, you don’t even have to see the movie you’re watching. You can give your thoughts about any of this stuff at any given time even without knowledge of said stuff. Just don’t do it when you’re naked, that’s what intimate video chat is for. Plus, it’s kinda weird. You can also find other people who use the app and follow them for updates on their movie and TV thoughts. If you want to find me on the app, my handle is JackDrees, go check it out! Now with that out of the way, let’s start the review.

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“Underworld: Blood Wars” is the fifth installment in the “Underworld” franchise. It began back in 2003 and now it has lead up to its most recent installment which has come out in theaters January of 2017 (even though you can also call this a 2016 movie). This film is directed by Anna Foerster, who has directed episodes of TV shows like “Outlander” and “Criminal Minds.” This film stars Kate Beckinsale (The Disappointments Room, The Aviator), Theo James (Divergent, Golden Boy), Tobias Menzies (Casino Royale, Outlander) and involves the main character of Selene as she tries to end a war between the Lycans and the Vampires.

When it comes to the “Underworld” franchise, I can imagine that some people see this as a series that shouldn’t be taken too seriously, and I can kind of understand why, but that doesn’t mean all of its movies are good. I enjoyed the first two movies, but the other sequels leading up to “Blood Wars” were just awful. “Rise of the Lycans” probably has the one of the most poorly presented sex scenes in cinematic history, and “Awakening” is just plain forgettable. Not only that, but even the good movies aren’t even that great. I’ve gone back to watch the first movie more than once, but other than that, I had no desire to watch the other ones again. OK, to be fair, I actually watched 3 & 4 for the first time recently, but I haven’t really gone back to watch 2. Despite my hate for 3 & 4, I wouldn’t say they belong in the garbage bin. Granted, 4 comes close, but it’s not quite there. This movie however, might just have a place in said bin. If you think about it, this news isn’t really all that surprising. This movie released theatrically in the month of January and it’s the fifth installment in the franchise which is coming out five years after the previous installment, which by “Underworld” standards is unusual because these movies typically come out three years apart from each other. For the record, this isn’t the only fifth installment in a franchise to come out this year that I disliked, “Transformers” is another example.

Before we dive into anything else, I just want to bring up how forgettable and boring this movie truly is! I barely remember anything in the movie plot-wise (if there is one). In fact I think “Transformers 5” had more of a plot than “Underworld 5.” All I can recall is that there was this huge quest for blood, mindless action, weird editing techniques, characters I didn’t give a s*it about, and just random nonsense! I’ve sat through a couple boring movies this year: “Logan Lucky,” “Ghost in the Shell,” but here’s the thing about those movies, they qualify as movies! “Logan Lucky” has good cinematography and acting, “Ghost in the Shell” has stellar action and great visual effects that makes you almost feel like you’re watching “The Fifth Element” or “Blade Runner.” This movie has like a couple coolish moments having to do with action but that’s about it for the positives! Let me just put it this way, “Rise of the Lycans,” is not good, but, at least there I cared for the characters. I cared for nobody here. I mean, I knew who some of the people were, it would be somewhat shocking if I didn’t know who Selene was considering I watched four other movies leading up to this one with her in it. Speaking of which, let’s talk about her.

Kate Beckinsale plays Selene once again and she’s pretty much the same character you can truly expect to see here if you’ve watched previous “Underworld” installments. However, unlike other movies I’ve seen her in where her character is rather kick-ass at times, you don’t really get any moments here that stand out in terms of kickassery. I can still remember the first movie when there was a scene where Selene had to shoot around a floor that stood out. I still remember a scene from the end of the first movie, the one where she slowly bites that one dude. Granted there were still moments of action out of “Underworld: Blood Wars” that I still remember, both for good and bad reasons. But there’s not really many moments where people shine here. It’s kind of like “Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise,” which now that I think about it, another thing these two films have in common is the boredom factor. Although I’ll say, “Revenge of the Nerds II” didn’t have as many boring moments which means this movie is more like “The Girl on the Train.”

As far as the other characters go, I’m not even gonna list them, because who gives a f*ck about the other characters?! The other characters certainly move the story along, but they were unmemorable despite seeing some of these folks before such as Theo James’s character of David, but these characters have no outstanding qualities about them.

The action in this movie, as mentioned, was both good and bad. There was a scene in a cage that was rather interesting to watch, although from an editing perspective, maybe slightly flawed by the looks of it. I own the Blu-Ray so I could probably look back and see if I’m just imagining things. The opening action sequence had potential to be somewhat cool but the editing in that scene at times was just somewhat jarring! The ending action sequence was rather cool, but chances are I won’t remember it that well. The sound editing was pretty good, but I can’t really think of anything else that was really that slick. Oh yeah, and SPOILER ALERT ahead, once the final action sequence ends, the movie doesn’t have much time left until it ends, and it’s actually open ended. I checked the movie’s IMDb page and Len Wiseman, a producer behind the “Underworld” movies, says that there will be a sixth film in the franchise! If this were another franchise, it’s possible that I might be rather excited, but based on how these movies progressively get worse, I can’t say the same about this! It’ll also star Kate Beckinsale one last time, and I hope it’s one last time because these movies need to die. As much as I enjoyed the first two “Underworld” installments, it’s objective that the franchise doesn’t really qualify as quality filmmaking.

In the end, “Underworld: Blood Wars” is a film you guys just really shouldn’t see. Go watch the first movie again, not only is it better, but you’re more likely to get it for a cheaper price! This franchise was dying when I watched the third and fourth installments, and after seeing this fifth installment, its death has now arrived. I’m gonna give “Underworld: Blood Wars” a 2/10. Seriously though, if a sixth “Underworld” movie is being made, my biggest request is that there’s effort put into it. There can still be mindless action, there can still be a dark color palette, just make a good movie, that’s the main thing I’m asking for! Not to mention, this news came in VERY RECENTLY and I almost left this information out, apparently “Underworld” is getting a TV series. If this is true, put effort into that too! Thanks for reading this review. Pretty soon I’ll have my review for “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” and now that I reviewed a number of Tom Cruise films which he made in the past, I want to follow up on that by seeing “American Made” this upcoming weekend. Stay tuned for more reviews, and I’ll ask you all, what is your favorite “Underworld” movie? You can still say it’s this one. You can even bash me and roast me and tell me why I’m wrong, I don’t care! I just want to know your thoughts! Anyway, comment below, and I do read them by the way. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Firm (1993): Life’s a Mitch

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! This Friday, there will be a new movie out called “American Made.” It stars Tom Cruise, it’s directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Jumper), and it’s not the first time these two are teaming up together. They worked on “Edge of Tomorrow” together. By the way, an “Edge of Tomorrow” review isn’t going to be done now or anytime soon, if I had the movie I’d probably look at it and review it, but I don’t. Also, good movie, check it out. Anyway, this review is the last installment of my past Tom Cruise movie series, so far I’ve done reviews for “The Last Samurai” and “Risky Business.” What’s my last movie? If you’re seriously asking that, look at the freaking title! But seriously, today I’ll be reviewing “The Firm.” After watching this movie, I have a good number of things to talk about, so let’s get to it!

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“The Firm” is directed by Sydney Pollock (Tootsie, Out of Africa), and stars Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn (Waterworld, Basic Instinct), and Gene Hackman (Superman, The French Connection), and revolves around the character of Mitch McDeere, a young lawyer who went to Harvard who goes to work at a firm which he soon discovers has a dark side.

For the record, this is the first time I watched “The Firm.” Last month I got a Triple Feature Blu-Ray pack featuring three Tom Cruise flicks: “Collateral,” “Days of Thunder,” and this one. When I told my mother I was watching this movie, her reaction almost sounded like she founded the Fountain of Youth. She loves this movie, and she also loves the book. By the way, the book is written by John Grisham, writer of novels such as “The Chamber,” “Skipping Christmas,” and “A Time to Kill.” After watching “The Firm.” I don’t know what to think. Part of me feels the need to read the book, and I don’t mean that in a positive way. “The Firm” made me rather want to take a bar exam as opposed to watching the movie. Before we dive into negatives, let’s dive into some positives.

The cast for “The Firm” is undoubtedly outstanding. Tom Cruise is, well, Tom Cruise. This isn’t really his best performance, you can still see a bit of Tom Cruise himself while watching this, but you can totally buy into his character. Jeanne Tripplehorn as Cruise’s wife, Abby, does her job well, the chemistry between the two is believable and there’s a scene that personally stands out. Although admittedly I didn’t really care about their relationship in the end, which I will come back to. Gene Hackman was also pretty good as the character of Avery. Also, some of the supporting characters are played by respectable actors who gave good performances throughout the picture. For example, Holly Hunter (Raising Arizona, The Incredibles), she played he character of Tammy Hemphill, Hunter’s performance delivered a lot of charm. It almost sounded fantastical and was almost shot up the sky high enough to reach over the top territory, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t charming. Hunter’s performance was also nominated for an Academy Award by the way. One of my biggest surprises I encountered during the movie’s runtime is that Gary Busey (Point Break, Lethal Weapon) has a role in it. His performance is definitely one of the best in the entire movie and it was aced from scene one. He’s barely in it, but if you check this movie out, look forward to Busey.

The cinematography for this film, while somewhat conventional, was pretty good. This was shown during the scene towards the end of the movie with Tom Cruise running, which I personally like because it doesn’t really do any quick cutting or jumpcutting or anything like that.

Now let’s dive into my first negative of the film, and this is something which if you have seen the film, you’ll probably disagree with me on, and that is the music. Here’s the thing about the movie’s music, at times, it meshes well with the movie, but at other times, it could have been altered. In fact, the film is using a piano in a lot of it’s music, the way the piano’s being used almost reminds me of a silent film. If you like the movie’s music, that’s great! You’re allowed to like it, but it really just didn’t flow that well at times. On a sidenote, one reason why I brought up the possibility of you disagreeing with me on the music is because it received an Oscar nomination. By the way, the composer of this movie’s music, Dave Grusin, is also the composer of music featured in various films which came out before this one such as “The Goonies” and “Tootsie” and Grusin also happens to be the musical composer of various films which came out after this one such as “Hope Floats” and “Selena.”

Also, the pacing of this film seems to be all over the place. I don’t know about you, but I felt like I was watching a completely different movie than my mother (refer to third paragraph). While this is mainly a thriller, it almost felt like it wanted to focus a lot as a romance film. It almost felt like it wanted to be two different movies at once. Now don’t get me wrong, films that are about something in particular can have romances interjected in there, but this romance almost felt like unnecessary filler at times. Not to mention, I almost didn’t care for anyone because the movie itself bored me at times. There’s a moment where it becomes interesting, then it just goes back to the slow-paced borefest I was already used to. The runtime is 2 hours and 34 minutes long, I’ve witnessed longer films that are better than this, also to be fair I witnessed longer films that are worse than this. As someone who hasn’t read the book, this makes me kinda curious, why is the movie this long? I did a Google search and I found out that the book is 412 pages long, and part of me wonders how much of this movie was taken from the book. Was everything taken from the book? Was everything that was considered “necessary” taken from the book while other stuff was left behind? I kind of want to know. Although with school and everything I don’t really have much time to sit down and read right now, not to mention, movies are more fun! Sorry, books! I’m not saying the movie should completely eliminate the romance which is included in it, but the movie honestly, as a whole, feels convoluted. If it removes various things from the film, things I can’t really come up with right now due to my boredom making my brain lack material from this movie, it might be a better movie.

Before we get into the section where I deliver my verdict, I have a rather humorous story to tell you. I only watched “The Firm” once, meaning I only watched it for this review. I have a Twitter account, by the way, the handle is @JackDrees if you’re interested. On that account, one thing I do occasionally is promote my upcoming material here on Scene Before. When I promote my upcoming material, one thing I would usually do is search for GIFs, otherwise known as the video file that might as well have started a pronunciation war. When I search for GIFs, I try to find footage of something that correlates to the focal point of a post. For example, when I reviewed “Risky Business” as part of this Tom Cruise series, I searched for GIFs related to that, and in a couple promotions I went with a GIF which had Tom Cruise sliding across the floor in his underwear. Now when I decided to review “The Firm,” I went searching for GIFs right away. I typed in “the firm” and “the firm tom cruise.” Both times, I got GIFs featuring Tom Cruise, then I chose the first result. I didn’t even know what it was, it had Tom Cruise in it though, I thought it was good enough because I needed something to promote my review for “The Firm” which you are reading right now. So I inserted the GIF, tweeted, and soon started watching the movie. About an hour or so in, I go to Twitter, and I have a notification waiting for me. Some user I don’t even know who goes by the handle @MrsPetitions replies to me saying “This is from Rain Man though 😂.” First, I’d like to thank @MrsPetitions for the little factoid. Second, I’ve never seen “Rain Man,” so if you’re going to accuse me for my lack of movie knowledge, just be glad it’s not from a movie I’ve seen or a movie that doesn’t have Tom Cruise in it. Third, upon review, there were barely any GIFs I saw for “The Firm” whatsoever. Fourth, this almost set the tone for the movie. It’s almost like Twitter suffered brain damage and immediately forgot what “The Firm” was, you know, kind of like me right now. This movie is forgettable.

In the end, “The Firm” was disappointing. I went into it with, not necessarily high expectations, but based on my mother’s thoughts towards the movie, I was expecting it to be good. I like the cast of the movie, sometimes the dialogue works, the cinematography isn’t all that bad, the film does look presentable, but there aren’t really many qualities that stand out about this film. “The Firm” got some things right, but ultimately needs some improvement. Is the book any better? I don’t know, I never read it, but it will be some time before I come back to this film unless I need something to fall asleep to. I’m gonna give “The Firm” a 5/10. Thanks for reading this review, that’s the end of this Tom Cruise series, I hope to see “American Made” this weekend or some other time soon. I’ll also have you know this Wednesday I’ll be seeing “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” which I’m really excited for. As far as other upcoming movies go, I’m desperately hoping to catch “Blade Runner: 2049” on opening weekend, but I don’t know whether or not that’ll happen.

Also, I want to let you know that in the future I do have other reviews in mind for past movies, for example, next month I’ll probably review “Thor” and “Thor: The Dark World” in preparation for “Thor: Ragnarok” which comes out November 3rd. If you have any movies in mind that I should review for one reason or another, let me know about it and I’ll keep it in mind. Also, if you want to check out my other entries in this Tom Cruise review series, links to those are down below if you want to read those posts! Stay tuned for more reviews! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

“THE LAST SAMURAI” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/09/11/the-last-samurai-2003-not-a-perfect-blossom-but-not-a-bad-one-either/

“RISKY BUSINESS” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/risky-business-there-is-no-substitute/

Top 10 UNPOPULAR Movie Opinions

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! There’s a saying that not everyone is the same. We are all different in our own little ways. This case is shown in our individual thoughts. In fact, in some instances, there are times when people wholeheartedly have different thoughts than others, or someone may call another’s opinion invalid for one reason or another. After reading this list, chances are you might just do the same with me. Today I’m going to be counting down my top 10 unpopular opinions in the realm of movies. With this list, I’m not trying to encourage others to change their minds about something. If they do, great! Although if they don’t, it’s understandable. So if you think that you should embrace something I say here simply because I embrace it, I wouldn’t recommend that. I’d recommend you embrace whatever fits with you, while I embrace whatever fits with me. So without further ado, let’s begin counting down my top 10 unpopular movie opinions.

10: Animal House is OVERRATED!

Before we get into this entry on the list, let me remind you, I’ve only seen this movie once, it was New Years Eve, and I recall there was also a transition to New Year’s Day while watching this. So ultimately, I could have been more awake. Nevertheless, when I was watching “Animal House,” I found it for the most part, boring. It’s not a terrible movie, there are worse comedies out there, but I don’t remember much about it today. I don’t remember anybody’s name, whats it’s about, how it ended. I don’t remember. There are some parts I remember, mainly the “I’m a zit” scene. For what I recall, I don’t think I laughed as much as other people while watching “Animal House.” Maybe it’s better the second time around, but only time will tell. This movie was directed by John Landis, who also directed “The Blues Brothers,” which is an awesome movie. If it were movie night and I had to pick between “Animal House and “Blues Brothers,” it’s “Blues Brothers” all day everyday baby! Although ultimately, if there’s a movie that I would personally watch that involves a fraternity, I personally prefer “Revenge of the Nerds.”

9: The Dark Knight is SLIGHTLY OVERRATED!

I love Christopher Nolan, I’ve said it time and time again. Some of you might be tired of me shoving that opinion down your throat. There are some of his movies that in recent times I’ve gone back and watched again. I have done that with “The Dark Knight,” but I really don’t think it’s as good as everybody says. Don’t get me wrong, it has a lot of redeeming qualities. The screenplay is really good, Hans Zimmer has created an excellent score, this was the first major Hollywood release to have footage not only presented, but shot in IMAX, and Heath Ledger’s interpretation of The Joker was phenomenal! This is certainly a film that has proven that comic book movies don’t always have to be childish, but even with that, I can’t give it the same praise that everyone else gives it. I’ve watched films from Nolan that I personally thought were better than “The Dark Knight,” such as “Inception,” “Interstellar,” and his most recent release, “Dunkirk.” “The Dark Knight” is a good movie, but it’s not a fantastic movie. Even my dad agrees with me. I mean, seriously?! #4 on IMDb?! Seriously?! This film is better than every installment of “Lord of the Rings?!” This film is better than “The Matrix?!” This film is better than “The Empire Strikes Back?!” Come on, guys! Christopher Nolan is certainly a director with tons of talent, but really? This is low on the list however because I personally predict that “The Dark Knight” might somehow become better with age therefore making this entry to the list having no matter whatsoever.

8: Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 is FUNNY AND ENTERTAINING!

Kevin James is a mystery to me. I like him in “King of Queens,” however his movies don’t usually live up to that show (mainly Grown Ups). However of the movies featuring James which I enjoy, a couple of those happen to be the two “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” films. Now, I said two. I like the first one better, but I’ll go as far as to say the second one, as much as you might want me to turn in my movie buff card for saying this, is watchable. Now, it’s not perfect. It’s stuff we’ve seen before, not to mention it borrows a lot of what we’ve seen in the first movie, in fact there’s more stuff in this movie that may as well come off as cringeworthy when compared to the original. I know from a critical perspective, this isn’t a good movie, it’s a slapstick comedy starring a fat guy on a segway, that TOTALLY sounds like an Oscar winner! And you know what? This movie was nominated for six Razzies! Worst Director, Worst Screenplay, Worst Screen Combo, Worst Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel, Worst Actor, and Worst Picture! Based on all of the negativity that is being displayed toward this film, it’s kind of surprising that it actually won a positive award. What did it win? It won a Young Entertainer Award in the category of Best Leading Young Actress- Feature Film due to Raini Rodriguez’s performance as Paul Blart’s daughter, Maya. I can understand how some people dislike this film. Sometimes it’s awkward, but it really could have been worse. There are moments in the film where I did laugh, and I wouldn’t mind watching it again. Now some of you may be wondering why I put this one on the list instead of the first one even though I like the first one better. Based on experience, I’ve seen more positive verdicts given to the original “Paul Blart,” and quite honestly, me putting the original “Paul Blart” on this list feels biased because I live right near the shopping centers where the original movie was shot. I think the first movie does get a lot more hate than it deserves, but I know people who watched it and ended up liking it. Although there is a saying that comedy is subjective and if fat guys on segways isn’t your thing, that’s understandable.

7: Revenge of the Sith is AMAZING!

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I love “Star Wars,” these movies have such an impact on our culture nowadays, and it’s easy to see why. In fact, now that Disney owns Lucasfilm and is making several new installments to the franchise, people are going as crazy for it as they were back when it started. So, what is my unpopular opinion about it? Well, it’s concerning the fact that “Revenge of the Sith” might be one of my favorite movies in the saga. For those of you who think I’m fanboying, I’ll have you know I don’t like “The Phantom Menace”  nor do I like “Attack of the Clones.” Now this is a lower entry considering the fact that when it comes to the “Star Wars” prequels, people might refer to “Revenge of the Sith” as “the good one.” In fact if you look at IMDb, “Revenge of the Sith” has a higher rating than both of the other movies in the prequel trilogy. A lot of people do like “Revenge of the Sith,” however, I LOVE IT. There are so many elements of this movie I appreciate. The score, the sound, the lightsaber duels, just about everything in the movie is awesome! The movie’s not perfect, Hayden Christensen isn’t really the best actor. That has also been proven in “Attack of the Clones.” However, to say this is bad like the other two movies in the prequel trilogy isn’t right. In fact, they toned down on Jar Jar, they only included him walking in the film! They don’t have him talking this time around! Woohoo! Part of me can imagine that as George Lucas was working on the prequel trilogy, this was the story he couldn’t wait to do. Who doesn’t love Darth Vader? Anakin as a character in this movie is totally conflicted, everything is crumbling for him and this starts out at a point in this movie. Palpatine is killer in this movie and the fight between him and a bunch of Jedi was short but sweet, not to mention accompanied by great music. His lines have become meme-worthy over the years and I can imagine Ian McDiarmid had fun at times on set. Ewan McGregor is terrific as Obi-Wan and it was really engaging to see him alongside Hayden Christensen’s Anakin both as a friend and as an enemy. John Williams crafted his best score of the prequel of the trilogy and that is saying something because “The Phantom Menace” has Duel of the Fates in there. Every single fight, whether it be a space battle, a lightsaber duel, or a massive land brawl, was awesome. Speaking of which, the opening shot for the first space battle is cinematic bliss. Also, the final lightsaber duels featuring a fight between Obi-Wan and Anakin and another fight between Yoda and Palpatine were engaging and thrilling. The Obi-Wan vs. Anakin duel is my favorite duel in the saga, it’s two former friends going up against each other and while fans may know the results to come of this battle, the characters don’t and despite it going on for awhile, it was never boring. You can say duels like the ones between Luke and Vader are awesome because of the situation at hand and the fact that you might not know what’s coming, but the duel between Obi and Ani impressed me from a musical perspective, a technical perspective, and it shows how far these two characters have come since they first met. Is it highly choreographed? Sure, but it doesn’t mean said choreography wasn’t impressive! Everything looked stylish, it had a video game feel to it which I kind of admired. The CGI actually still holds up today, and is much improved since the start of the prequels. If you ever feel like watching “Revenge of the Sith,” (Transition to Palpatine’s voice) do it.

6: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is THE BEST MOVIE IN THE LORD OF THE RINGS SAGA!

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There was a time when I had a huge fanaticism for “Lord of the Rings.” To this day I never read the books, but I’ve watched all the movies. I like all of the movies in the saga, including “The Hobbit” trilogy, but my favorite of all of them might surprise you. That my friends, is “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” Fun fact about “Lord of the Rings,” prior to going into the movie in the saga which came out before this, AKA “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” I had no clue this was even connected to “Lord of the Rings.” Part of this is due to how I never even watched “Lord of the Rings” in the first place. It took a long while for me to actually find out there’s a connection between these movies. The movie I watched after is “The Desolation of Smaug.” Before I watched that, I thought “An Unexpected Journey,” wasn’t bad, but it really could have used some improvement. The 3D was awesome though! “The Desolation of Smaug” was a whole different ballgame however. I walked out of the theater thinking “The Desolation of Smaug” was a huge improvement over “An Unexpected Journey.” It became my favorite movie of 2013 and stands today as one of my favorite movies of all time. In fact there’s a good chance I might say it’s better than any of the “Star Wars” films. The movie as whole was awesome, the action was immersive and entertaining, the music is epic, I mean it’s “Lord of the Rings,” so why wouldn’t it be? Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug the Dragon is probably my favorite villain in movie history. He’s so menacing, so massive, and his voice is amazing! The entire confrontation with Smaug sent literal chills down my spine. Imagine if in “The Empire Strikes Back” the entire confrontation between Luke and Vader actually had Luke as a very tiny guy and instead of going up against a guy his size, he’s going up against a freaking enormous giant! Also, imagine instead of having a fight, the small guy is getting chased the entire time! This goes on until the end of the movie and I was engaged the entire way through. This movie also introduced Evangeline Lilly’s character of Tauriel, who undoubtedly kicked some ass in the movie! Another really entertaining part of the movie is the barrel scene, which is basically this fight that is going on through a river, there’s dwarves, there’s orcs, there’s elves, it’s just glorious to look at. The music in that scene is something I’ve listened to time and time again. If I had any problems with the movie, it would be one thing and it’s how some of the effects actually somehow look better in the trailer as opposed to the movie. I’m not saying the visual effects in the movie were bad, I’m just saying that they didn’t look as good as what I saw in the trailer. While “An Unexpected Journey” may have been the first “Lord of the Rings” film I’ve seen, “The Desolation of Smaug” began my love for the franchise (movie-wise) and this still stands today as my favorite “Lord of the Rings” movie.

5: Avatar is OVERRATED!

Ah, 2009, the decade is coming to an end, everyone’s 2010 fever is rising, and at the end of the year, we’ve gotten, based on advertising, possibly the biggest movie of the decade. James Cameron, the director of the first two films in the “Terminator” franchise, is back in the director’s chair. The CGI looks very impressive, this movie’s being built up like hell, everybody’s super stoked to see James Cameron’s first film since “Titanic.” A film named “Avatar.” I saw this movie in the theater, and while I was somewhat impressed with what I saw, I really couldn’t say it was super duper. The CGI, as mentioned, is objectively amazing. Everything looks like you’re on a realistic theme park ride, but as a story, not only has it been done before, but upon rewatch, the story isn’t really something this movie has me coming back for. Not to mention, when this movie was released in theaters, it basically brought a huge rise in digital projection. While digital projection may be easier to use than film projection. Film projection from experience usually provides better images. A good number of digital projectors might give off an image at a resolution slightly higher than HD. Some theaters operate in 4K, but it’s still not as clear as film projection. I went to see the movie in 2D, and I imagine the 3D was awesome, but this is probably part of what brought the rise of 3D shows becoming a normality. And while certain movies are thrilling in 3D, there are those movies that really didn’t need conversion in the first place. I mean, it probably could have been worse. At least the cameras used to shoot the film were actually 3D cameras and the movie wasn’t just post-converted. I haven’t seen the film I’m going to be talking about here, but here’s a fun fact for you. You may be aware of a Disney film which came out in 1995 called “Pocahontas.” I’m going to provide a link down below to something I want you to see. “Avatar” is basically just another version of “Pocahontas!” By the way, on IMDb, “Avatar” has a higher combined rating.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/04/avatar-pocahontas-in-spac_n_410538.html

4: Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a CHOCOLATE-COVERED DELIGHT!

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Remakes and reboots are usually frowned upon by moviegoers, but it doesn’t mean good ones don’t exist. To me, one of the good ones happens to be “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Some of you probably have your pitchforks ready and that’s understandable, but please hear me out. For those of you who don’t know, Rohld Dahl created a book called “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” back in 1964, it has grown in popularity ever since and it is often read by children. Then in 1971, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” came out, starring Gene Wilder, I think that’s a great movie. It’s not exactly faithful to the source material in every single way, but in ways it isn’t faithful, it still works. Ever since it came out, it has remained as one of the most popular musical films and family films to date. Then in 2005, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” came out. What do I like about “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?” It gives a twist on a tale we already know and manages to be a darker interpretation which I can appreciate. Not to mention it relies on the source material in ways “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” didn’t. I don’t mind the Oompa-Loompas in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” in fact their songs are catchy, but the Oompa-Loompas in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” sing songs that resemble songs written in the book. Instead of being labeled a bad egg, Veruca Salt is labeled a bad nut. In fact, the scene in the nut room is awesome! There are more similarities, but I don’t want to go on a tangent, in fact the movie isn’t a complete copy of the book. Much like the 1971 movie, the 2005 movie has a different ending than the book. Honestly, the 1971 movie had the better ending. Wonka was kind of a jerk as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” came to a close, this changes as the movie goes on, but still. Speaking of Wonka, Johnny Depp’s performance could have been better, and as of right now I probably mean WAY BETTER. Also, I gotta say, Mike Teevee in “Charlie” was a great character. That’s not to say 1971 Mike Teevee was bad, but I also admire 2005 Mike Teevee. His introduction is AWESOME. We see him playing a video game in front of his TV, there’s a bunch of press around him, his parents are there. He’s kind of mopey and just trying to concentrate on his game. The thing I find funny about Teevee is that he hates chocolate. I think the writer nailed Teevee’s personality perfectly! Also, I love Danny Elfman’s score. It’s so dark, it’s so intriguing, and it’s just wicked investing! Is “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” perfect? Not really. Is it watchable? AB-SO-F*CKING-LUTELY!

3: Mad Max: Fury Road is OVERRATED!

I love it when movies can literally immerse you. I felt this way during certain movies. Some examples include “Interstellar,” “Dunkirk,” “Hardcore Henry,” “Oz the Great and Powerful,” and “Doctor Strange.” Another movie that belongs in that category to me is “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Although just because it’s immersive, it doesn’t mean I enjoyed it as much as I wanted to. For the record, I saw this in 3D in the theater, so it would have been surprising for the experience to let me down. What I got out of the experience was pure awesomeness, but I really wanted a better movie. After watching “Fury Road” I said to myself multiple times that I think it’s a great film from a technical perspective, but I wanted more from a story perspective. This film was filled with practical effects and it’s just an explosive chase from beginning to end. I still can’t get that one guy with the guitar out of my head. This movie actually broke a common rule used in cinema, that being the rule of thirds, which basically has a subject of focus on a left or right side of a camera frame. In this movie, a lot of the footage has its subjects centered. This can be an advantage if you’re a viewer because this means you won’t really have to tilt your head as much while you’re watching the movie. I couldn’t really get into too many of the characters, I was mainly into a lot of the other crazy stuff. Also, I recall my experience and there were times in the theater that I couldn’t make out some of the dialogue. Maybe if I watch the movie at home that’ll change, but it’s something that happened to me. Another thing I’ll mention is that I haven’t seen another “Mad Max” movie aside from “Fury Road.” Maybe there’s a chance this opinion will change once I witness another one of those movies.

2: Spider-Man 3 is ENJOYABLE!

Spider-Man, without a doubt, is one of my all time favorite superheroes. I grew up with Spidey, I watch Spidey, I love Spidey and in the realm of movies, there are a number of things when it comes to Spider-Man that I can agree with when it comes to the opinions of others, the majority’s thoughts on “Spider-Man 3” however is something I can’t agree with. Now, let me just say, “Spider-Man 3” in my opinion is not the best of all the “Spider-Man” movies, that medal actually belongs to “Spider-Man 2.” When it comes to “Spider-Man 3,” it’s a movie that a lot of people consider to be the worst “Spider-Man” movie ever made, and one of the worst comic book movies ever made. I personally disagree on both of those statements. Some of you may be thinking right now “Oh you’re just a Sam Raimi fanboy!” No I’m not, if I were a Sam Raimi fanboy, I would say his movies are perfect. I didn’t say “Spider-Man 3” is perfect! In fact, let’s point out some flaws I have with it right now. This movie interjects a similarity to “Batman & Robin,” which is adding in too many villains. They weren’t all terrible, but there was one that was literally shoehorned in there, AKA Venom. Flint Marko’s transformation to sandman was kind of idiotic because he landed in a pit of sand, which, yeah, things happen, but the problem I have with that is that a bunch of scientists are operating a machine above the sand. It’s turned on, and before it starts its procedure, one scientist picked up “a change in the silicon mass” in the pit, not exactly suggesting the scientist knows there’s a person in there specifically, and another scientist goes off on that statement saying “It’s probably a bird, it’ll fly away when we fire it up.” Based on the change given, is that really believable? There is NO spider-sense tingling sounds in this movie! Just a personal preference. Also, one complaint you’ll agree on is that the jazz club scene is rather cringeworthy. Now I don’t hate it as much as other people, I just think it’s a weak scene. But it could honestly be worse. It does illustrate the personality of certain characters and it plays into Peter’s development as a character. I’d rather watch that scene than “Suicide Squad” again! There are a lot of things I like about this movie I haven’t mentioned. I like the action scenes, the music, J Jonah Jamesson, the rivalry between Peter and Harry, this movie has plenty of positives that part of me imagines has once been overshadowed by the movie’s negatives for some people. I’ll even go as far as to say this movie is better than “Spider-Man: Homecoming!” I’m not joking!

1: Baby Groot SUCKS!

Ah, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” This movie had me going into it with high expectations and it ultimately disappointed me. The movie wasn’t bad, it just disappointed me. I did think there were some redeeming qualities shown throughout such as the visuals, some of the fight scenes, and the character of Ego. However, this movie wasn’t perfect, and part of it has to do with F*CKING BABY GROOT! I hated this thing! Groot from the first “Guardians” was a cool character. Somewhat one-dimensional, but his charm ultimately was revealed to me. Baby Groot however is not only one-dimensional, he’s just taking this picture which is meant to be a superhero flick and turning it into a f*cking toy commercial! When I first saw him at the beginning of the flick, it set the tone for the whole movie, I couldn’t even tolerate what I was watching. The movie had an opportunity to show us an opening action sequence, but we cut away from that just to focus on this twig! I know that Baby Groot is considered cute by many people, but based on how much he stole from the entire movie as a movie, he got on my nerves. This is part of why I don’t own a Baby Groot toy unlike a lot of other people. What if R2-D2 was just made to serve no purpose in all of his movies other than to sell toys? You can argue he’s that way in “Rogue One,” but what if he was that way in the original “Star Wars?” I expected Baby Groot to leave some sort of impact on the movie, but not this kind of impact! I already thought “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” was overrated but the fact that this character is being put on such a pedestal right now is astounding to me! Sure, some people think he’s cute and I imagine kids like him, but there’s so many things I found annoying about him. In a way, he’s almost like Toad from “Super Mario Bros.,” puny and annoying. Not to mention, after seeing Baby Groot, it kind of makes me worried about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Will we ever see a great MCU movie ever again? I already said I wasn’t a massive fan of “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” which was somewhat enjoyable, but it wasn’t what I wanted it to be. “Thor: Ragnarok” looks visually pleasing, but I’m not sure how I feel about it from a story perspective. I imagine the fight between Thor and Hulk will be cool, but this ultimately, judging from the trailers, might be filled with certain things I’ve already seen. Not to mention the vibe doesn’t feel like it fits “Thor.” “Black Panther” honestly looks intolerable. I’ve only seen the trailer a couple times but it really didn’t impress me. I hope “Avengers: Infinity War” is good otherwise this franchise might fall. Is “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” a bad movie? No. Is it overrated? Sure. Although before I think to myself that the movie’s overrated, I might think to myself about the horror I had to suffer through while glancing at Baby Groot. I’m sorry if you like him, and clearly a large portion of the world does, but in my world he’s as annoying as Spirit Airlines.

Thanks for reading this countdown, I hope you aren’t planning to kill me or my family after I made this list, but I’m sorry if this list has various things you don’t agree with. Do you have any unpopular opinions in the realm of movies? What are they? Do you agree with any of my picks? Do you think my mind should be adjusted? Do you think you can convince me to change my mind about one of these picks? Leave a comment below and maybe I’ll respond! Also, stay tuned because tomorrow I’ll have my last review in my series of Tom Cruise films, and that review will be for “The Firm!” Stay tuned for that review and more great content! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Risky Business (1983): There Is No Substitute

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Today I’m continuing my series of Tom Cruise movie reviews. Tom Cruise is one of the most revered actors working today. Over his lifetime, he’s had a lot of movies under his belt, no Oscars, but he was nominated for three of those bad boys. His film acting career began in 1981 with the romantic comedy “Endless Love,” and on September 29, 2017, as far as the United States goes, a new film starring Cruise will be released, which is called “American Made.” Leading up to that film, we’re gonna dive into some of Cruise’s earlier work. To start off the series, I did my review for “The Last Samurai,” which came out in 2003. Today, we’re going back to 1983, to review “Risky Business.” So without further ado, let’s start the review!

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“Risky Business” is directed Paul Brickman, stars Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay (Flipped, Wedding Crashers), and is about a teenage boy whose parents go away and leave him alone at his house. While this happens, the boy is looking for chances to have fun, but this situation gets out of hand soon.

I own the DVD for “Risky Business” and when I actually first got the DVD, my mother said I’d love this movie, and love it I did. This movie seems to be one of those films a lot of people like for one reason or another. It features iconic scenes such as when Tom Cruise is sliding on the floor and dancing in his house to “Old School Rock and Roll.” It has a stellar cast, they all seem to ace their role and pull you into the movie. It feels realistic, it doesn’t feel like a cartoon like “Blues Brothers,” which works as a cartoon-like film, but if you put “Risky Business” side-by-side with “Blues Brothers” right in front of me, chances are I’m gonna say “Blues Brothers” is a fun ride with interesting characters and great humor, but I’m also gonna say “Risky Business” is an art film. It’s not complete goofiness, it’s not absolute absurdity, it’s unquestionable authenticity. Granted there are moments in the film that feel like they can’t be done in real life, but the whole vibe of the movie and the scenes it has can be convincing enough to let you know that this can happen. In some ways this almost feels like a John Hughes film, which is kind of interesting to me because this came out around a time before a lot of his famous movies which he wrote were released. Movies like “The Breakfast Club,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Weird Science,” and “Home Alone,” that is if any of those films were rated R, so this is more like “The Edge of Seventeen,” in some ways when it comes to the mood, which came out in 2016.

Let’s talk about the main character of Joel Goodsen, played by Tom Cruise. Joel is the character that is staying home while his parents are away. While this happens, we see him taking on various responsibilities, hanging with his friends, dancing in his underwear, trying to increase his chances of getting into a high-achieving college, shaping his future, and screwing around with a chick, we’ll get to her in a second. If you ever saw the movie “Home Alone” and ever felt that Kevin in that movie was having the time of his life because his family was away, that is something these two had in common at a point in this movie. The two characters also find themselves in troublesome situations. If you put these two movies alongside each other and tweak them a little bit, you get almost the exact same movie. Joel is simply just a kid trying his best to succeed and at the same time he’s just trying to have some fun, I can relate to that. I might not call a sex worker, I’m 17 after all so I can’t really do that. I live in an area where the age of consent is 16 years old, but still I can’t really do that.

Rebecca De Mornay plays Lana, when we first witness her in the film, she’s actually a call girl who Joel calls one night, and their one night interaction eventually turns into something more. When it comes to casting, there COULD NOT have been a better pick when this movie was in production back in 1982. If you look at De Mornay, she’s basically a dream girl. I’ve gathered this based on her seductive attitude that is executed throughout the film, in terms of overall acting ability, I never really discovered a moment when she was out of character, and JUST LOOK AT HER! She’s also rather funny at times, there’s one line in particular given by her that I find laughable, not sure how many of you agree, but if you watch the movie and hear the tone which it’s delivered and have a realization of the situation at hand, it’s probably gonna make some people laugh. I personally think it’s humorous, so I don’t see why someone else wouldn’t.

JOEL: Don’t steal anything. If I come back here and anything’s missing, I’m going straight to the police. I mean it.

LANA: Joel, go to school. Go learn something.

As far as their relationship goes, this is a relationship that almost seems like it can’t happen in real life, but when watching this movie, you can totally buy into it. This is one of multiple reasons why I’d say this is one of my favorite relationships in all of cinema. Not to mention, how the relationship itself begins is interesting. You see, Lana is a call girl, and she’s someone who Joel calls one night when he has nothing better to do while his parents are gone. When Joel calls Lana, Joel doesn’t even say his actual name to her. Instead of referring to himself as Joel, he says his name is Ralph. Unfortunately for Joel, he failed to realize the cost of what was originally meant to be a one-night stand, which happened to be $300. The acting was perfect during the scene, Joel was questioning Lana, getting a little nervous, and tries to find a way to pay her.

There are a number of supporting characters in “Risky Business,” however my personal favorite would have to be the one in the red shirt you can see in the image above on the left. If you don’t know who I’m talking about, that’s Miles, played by Curtis Armstrong (Revenge of the Nerds, Better Off Dead). And speaking of favoritism, I’m actually going to be talking about something in association with the topic in just a moment, but for now, let’s focus on Miles. Miles is basically a bad influence to Joel, and out of all the supporting characters shown throughout the movie, Miles definitely moved the story along more than any other. One of the redeeming qualities of “Risky Business,” at least to me, is the screenplay. In fact, if you have seen my recent countdown, “Top 10 BEST Movie Quotes,” one of the quotes from this movie, given specifically by Miles himself, is on that list, in fact, let’s reveal that quote once more.

MILES: “Every now and then, say, “What the f*ck.” “What the f*ck” gives you freedom, freedom brings opportunity. Opportunity makes your future.”

In my countdown I described the quote as something that can apply a lot to reality. Think about it. In life, people have ideas, doesn’t matter how brilliant or dumb said ideas are, they’re just around. When it comes to certain ideas, one may be uncertain of how it’ll turn out, it could work out, it might not. But some people might say “What the f*ck,” or “What the hell,” or “What the heck,” because while they have no idea where this idea will lead to or how it will turn out, they feel the show must go on. This is not the only great line Miles gives in this movie, there’s more, including this one early on in the film.

MILES: “I don’t believe this! I’ve got a trig midterm tomorrow, and I’m being chased by Guido the killer pimp.”

That line actually took place during a chase scene, and this took place in a Porsche, speaking of which, let’s talk about this exchange between Miles and Joel once the chase ends.

JOEL: Porsche. There is no substitute.
MILES: (Face peeps from back seat of the car) F*ck you.

Curtis Armstrong literally nailed his performance, and keep in mind, this was his first movie. Then again he has done stage work prior to the making of this film. Much like Tom Cruise, if Curtis wasn’t in this movie, he probably wouldn’t have a film career the size he does today. If Tom weren’t in this movie and showed himself off in a breakout role, it’s possible the chance of Cruise starring in the “Mission: Impossible” movies would be impossible, we would have never seen him ask Goose to talk to him in “Top Gun,” we would have never witnessed him live the same day over and over again in “Groundhog Da–err I mean “Edge of Tomorrow.” Regardless of how much you might end up enjoying this film, this film set the stage for both of these careers to take off. The film was a big hit when it came out, film enthusiasts admired it, both actors played likable characters while giving off good performances. Armstrong may have played the character he was most well known for in the next movie he did, “Revenge of the Nerds,” but if it weren’t for “Risky Business,” it’s quite possible that Armstrong would have never had roles in various pieces of work including “Better Off Dead” and “Moonlighting.” Now let’s bring the subject of favoritism back into play here.

I mentioned this before, and I’ll mention this again. From a fanatical standpoint, I admire Curtis Armstrong. You guys may be thinking that I’m just talking about all of this because of my admiration for the man himself, and while my admiration has encouraged me to discover more about him, he has proven from a critical standpoint, not just in my mind, but in other people’s minds, to be a respectable actor. If you watch some of his work you’d understand. Just watch this movie, “Revenge of the Nerds,” “Ray,” or even some of his voiceover work in shows like “American Dad!.”

Anyway, back to the review. One thing I don’t want to forget is the perhaps slightly overlooked performances given by Joel’s parents. Part of this may have to do with some of the movie’s writing, but as I watched this movie more and more, I’ve grown in terms of admiration towards these two characters. The mother is played by Janet Carroll and the father is played by Nicolas Pryor. While these two barely have any screentime, they certainly serve their purpose. The father comes off as stern, although he never really goes over the top with it with obnoxious yelling and the mother seems to be rather worried. She doesn’t really show it emotionally, but it’s something I picked up on while Joel was with her and the father in the airport as she handed money to Joel. If you watch “Risky Business,” listen very carefully to the dialogue in that scene to see what I mean. A line that’s somehow funny to me that comes out of the father’s mouth is “Do I hear others there?” If this line were given in some other way as opposed to how it sounds in this movie than it wouldn’t be funny, but the delivery here is what makes it humorous to me.

There are a lot of things that I like about this movie, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have flaws. One of the most interesting things I discovered concerning the movie’s production is how the ending turned out. The ending that everyone who has watched the film from beginning to end witnessed was not the ending that director Paul Brickman had in mind. His original ending was mostly similar to the one you see in the movie. However when we get to a conversation which takes place in a restaurant Joel and Lana are eating in, we don’t cut away from it. We do get the same cutaways to a couple of young folks giving speeches about their products and the profits they made. Although in the theatrical ending, we cut away from the restaurant and the two are in a park, they’re talking to each other. The talking consists of lines reminiscent of a conversation the two had earlier in the film. Soon we hear this line:

JOEL: “My name is Joel Goodsen. I deal in human fulfillment. I grossed over eight thousand dollars in one night. Time of your life, huh kid?”

The alternate ending is basically the same thing without the cutaway, we see a continuation given to Joel and Lana’s conversation, then Lana sits on Joel’s lap as the two begin to show affection for each other. Then we hear this line:

JOEL: “My name is Joel Goodsen. I deal in human fulfillment. I grossed over eight thousand dollars in one night. Isn’t life grand?”

I personally prefer the alternate ending, and so does Brickman. I prefer it because the original ending feels very tacked on. It doesn’t entirely fit with the movie itself. That’s not to say the ending’s an abomination, it’s not as bad as say, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” but it just feels like something that would belong in a different movie. The original ending has a rather comedic vibe, and yes, the movie is funny, but the dramatic tone of the alternate ending seems to fit the movie better and highlight how life isn’t always going to be pretty. Not only that, but it also makes Joel and Lana’s relationship more believable. Now, I mentioned before, there are parts that feel fantastical, but this ending makes this relationship feel more like a relationship. It’s not often that you are in a boyfriend/girlfriend status and talk about bonds in the bank twice in a short period of time. I mean, heck, I can’t recall many times in my life where I hear people talk about bonds in any sort of perspective! Unless we’re talking about possibly Daniel Craig, Sean Connery, Roger Moore, David Niven, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, Barry Nelson, or George Lazenby.

If there’s one common genre of movies to come out during the eighties whose movies still hold up today according to many people, that is in fact, the coming of age genre. One guy who has mastered this is John Hughes. Now “Risky Business” came out in 1983, John Hughes has done some work before it came out, including “National Lampoon’s Vacation” which actually came out the week prior to “Risky Business.” Although a lot of John Hughes’s movies came out after “Risky Business” and when I watch this movie, I can’t help but connect them together sometimes with comparisons. Between this movie and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” both have an incident involving a valuable car. Based on my memory, the movie also has a similar vibe to “Sixteen Candles” at various times. Another John Hughes film I like is “Weird Science,” and much like this movie, that one has a fast-paced scene in a car, a rather seductive woman, and younger people doing things that their parents would find troublesome. So in a way, it’s possible that John Hughes’s writing may have been inspired by this movie.

Speaking of kids getting into trouble, part of this movie’s conclusion involves Joel having to own up to actions which occurred earlier in the movie. I love this because it shows the imperfections of Joel, he doesn’t exactly earn complete victory. There are lots of movies where we see someone go down, then go completely up. In this movie, we see someone fluctuating up and down as time goes on.

Another part of the movie I’ve found out others admire is the music. The music in this movie is done by Tangerine Dream, who you may also know as the composer of the music heard in 1984’s “Flashpoint,” the 2013 video game “Grand Theft Auto V,” and the 1987 movie “Three O’Clock High.” The score in this movie overall flows naturally and at times it really takes the movie from being a movie and turns it into art. This is shown during the train scene when Joel and Lana are removing each other’s clothes and are about to make love to each other. Not to mention, when it comes to the movie’s music from a general perspective, it’s kinda catchy. Also the inclusion of outside songs worked too for the scenes they were in. A lot of people say that the “Old School Rock and Roll” scene is iconic, but one scene that I personally feel is overlooked is the scene featuring the song “In the Air Tonight.” This is in the same scene towards the end of the movie that Joel and Lana are about to make love to each other on a train. I love how this music blends into this scene. This just screams sensual. The song is not only groovy, but it does a good job at providing the perfect vibe to the scene that’s at hand, and when it comes to Tangerine Dream’s score, that’s something I can say for that too.

In the end, “Risky Business” is a movie that gets better the more I think about it. There are multiple great characters in the movie. Joel, Lana, Joel’s parents, Miles, Guido, a lot of people shine here. From an editing perspective, this film is amazing. The music blends perfectly with every scene it’s featured in, and the screenplay has numerous quotable lines. On IMDb, this film has less than a 7/10. I think this is a little bit underappreciated as far as entertainment value goes, and as far as moviemaking goes. I’m kind of disappointed that Paul Brickman didn’t do much other work after this movie because this is something I’d watch over and over again. I’m gonna give “Risky Business” a 10/10. But wait! Some of you might be thinking, “Jack! You imbecile! You said this movie had flaws!” A movie can still be a 10/10 and contain flaws. YouTube user Chris Stuckmann reviewed “Batman Begins” and said it had an editing problem but ended up giving it an A+, another YouTuber named Jeremy Jahns reviewed “Baby Driver” and said it was ten minutes too long and ended giving it an “awesometacular,” which is his highest grade. I love “Star Wars Episode VII,” I currently have that as a 10/10 movie, but that movie borrows a lot from the original “Star Wars” trilogy. I loved that movie so much in fact that it was my favorite movie of 2015! So yeah, for now I stand by my 10, it could change, who knows? I originally had this movie at a 9/10. This doesn’t mean the movie’s perfect, it just needs a little extra pieces to complete the puzzle and than I’d say bingo. But seriously, this movie’s underrated and depending on what happens, might be my favorite movie I review in this series of Tom Cruise reviews. Thanks for reading this review, I would like to let you know that next week we will be looking at the final entry in the Tom Cruise series, I’m still deciding on what that movie should be, but if you have any suggestions, leave a comment as to what that movie should be down below and who knows, I might review it. If you want to check out my previous entry to the Tom Cruise series, be sure to check out my review for “The Last Samurai.” If you want to read that review, you’ll either find a red box down below that will take you to it or if you’re on my page where all my posts are in order, it’s the post right below this one. Stay tuned for more reviews! Also, I want to know, what are some interesting stories you have about being home alone without your parents? Or if you are someone who is still living with their parents, perhaps a teenager, what are some interesting things you would do if your parents are gone? Let me know all that down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Last Samurai (2003): Not a Perfect Blossom, But Not a Bad One Either

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here and welcome to an all new series of reviews! Today we are going to be starting my Tom Cruise series. Why? On September 29th, “American Made” comes out in the United States, so before that film releases, I’m going to talk about three of Cruise’s prior films. Now before we dive into the first review of the series, let’s talk a little about Tom Cruise. If you ask me, I think Tom Cruise is a fine actor. You may know him nowadays from big action flicks like “Mission Impossible,” “Edge of Tomorrow,” and “Jack Reacher.” You may know him from a bunch of other films like “Collateral,” “The Outsiders,” and “Cocktail.” The man’s been nominated for three Oscars, he’s also been nominated for seven Golden Globes and ended up winning three of those seven. Today we’re gonna talk about a movie starring Cruise which gave him one of his Golden Globe nominations, he hasn’t won that one, but he was nominated. What film am I talking about? I’m talking about “The Last Samurai.” This movie came out in 2003 and it has been nominated for four Oscars, three Golden Globes, and it was AFI’s Movie of the Year. So what did I think of this? Read to find out!

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“The Last Samurai” is directed by Edward Zwick, director of “Glory” and “Legends of the Fall” and stars Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe (Inception, Batman Begins), Billy Connolly (The Boondock Saints, Timeline), Timothy Spall (Chicken Run, Secrets & Lies), Tony Goldwyn (Ghost, Tarzan), and Hiroyuki Sanada Koyuki (The Wolverine, 47 Ronin). This film is about the birth of modern Japan, an American military advisor is in Japan, while he’s there, he embraces the Samurai culture.

Now I’ve watched other movies involving Samurai before, well sort of, have you guys ever heard of “Samurai Cop?” That so-called movie from 1991 that went straight to VHS? If you haven’t, it’s a movie about two cops who think they’re in “Lethal Weapon,” by that I mean they resemble Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, and they have to stop a bunch of drug dealers. What’s my problem with “Samurai Cop?” Well, pretty much everything to be honest, but one big problem is despite being called “Samurai Cop,” there’s almost nothing Samurai-esque in the movie, it’s more your traditional chases you’d see in modern-day movies, only these chases are the movie equivalent to vomit. Luckily for the “The Last Samurai,” this movie is nothing like that at all. This movie takes place in the late 19th century, and the Samurai culture itself was vanishing. I’m gonna give you some of my positives concerning this movie.

The first positive I’ll give to you is that the action in this movie was awesome. During the moments which we see massive battles it never feels bloated, it is pretty engaging, and I’ll even say the action that technically isn’t action was pretty cool to watch as well. What do I mean? Two people are swordfighting and it’s more like practice than an actual battle. I will say though, watching the big battle which you see at the end of the movie, kind of reminded me of “Braveheart,” not to say that was something that degrades the movie, it’s actually a compliment. This movie did feel like “Braveheart” at times as a whole. By that I mean it’s a good movie, but I felt I needed to pause at times. Then again, the weekend I watched this was the first weekend I had since going back to school, so whaddya know?

Another positive at times was the score. If you weren’t already aware, this movie was scored by Hans Zimmer. Before this movie, he scored “The Lion King,” “Mission: Impossible II,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.” After this movie, he did “The Dark Knight” trilogy, “Sherlock Holmes,” and my favorite movie score of all time, “Interstellar.” Here in this movie, his score suits the atmosphere of Japan and the movie itself. It displays the right moods at the right times, and I’d definitely listen to it sometime if I have nothing better to listen to. Also, I’ll remind you this guy went on to compose the “Kung Fu Panda” trilogy, so this isn’t the only Asian type movie he’s composed for. By the way, the music in those movies is pretty great too.

Now let’s talk about Tom Cruise. He plays a character named Nathan Algren. When comparing this to other Tom Cruise performances I’ve seen, this one is rather unique. This is because when I watch other Tom Cruise movies like “Mission: Impossible” or “Edge of Tomorrow,” I think what I see from Tom Cruise delivered in those movies happens to be pretty good, but I might also think to myself, that’s Tom Cruise. Here, he was a completely different character. Sure, he wasn’t Japanese, but he played someone who doesn’t always make you think, “Oh, that’s Tom Cruise.” Granted at times, I did actually think that, but I already knew beforehand that Tom Cruise was in this movie.

One of my biggest problems with the movie is that the supporting characters are rather unmemorable, I don’t recall who they are, I don’t remember any of their names, anything like that. I remember some of them being in engaging scenes, but chances are I won’t remember a majority of them soon. I will say though, this is my first time watching “The Last Samurai,” maybe if I watch it again, I’ll become more invested in the supporting characters and get to know them a little more.

One of my personal favorite parts of the entire film was the scene when Tom Cruise gets in front of a target and forces a Japanese soldier to fire at him. This isn’t a battle, it’s more like an exercise. He’s telling the Japanese soldier to shoot him, and he’s also telling him to quickly load his weapon, he’s yelling strictly, and it’s really compelling to watch. If you want to watch it, the clip is displayed above. Overall, in terms of acting and writing, this is one of my favorite scenes in a Tom Cruise movie.

As I was researching this movie on IMDb, I came across some information worth sharing. This movie was directed by Edward Zwick and I gotta give some credit where its due. Why? The movie takes place in Japan, and it was generally well received over there. One viewer, Tomomi Katsuta, of “The Mainichi Shimbun,” a major Japanese newspaper, said that Zwick did his research, cast well-known Japanese actors, and consulted dialogue coaches in order to avoid confusion between casual and formal Japanese speech. The only problem he had with the movie is the storybook feel it had. Japanese viewers such as the one suggested here, thought of the Samurai as more corrupt. Despite flaws being picked up overtime, it’s nice to see this sort of reception for a movie like this. In a world where we got a movie called “Gods of Egypt” years later, a movie that has pretty much not one Egyptian actor in the entire runtime, it’s nice to see a movie like this.

In the end, “The Last Samurai” wasn’t as good as I was kind of expecting it to be, but that doesn’t mean it was bad. A lot of people praise this movie, in fact there’s a significance with this movie when it comes to the day May 26. If you didn’t know, the movie’s final battle takes place on May 26, which is a reason why people watch the movie on May 26. Think of it as “Star Wars Day,” only you have less content to choose from, and instead of being on the fourth of May, it’s on the twenty-sixth of May. Overall there were many aspects I was able to appreciate and while I don’t think I’ll be popping the disc in again anytime soon, I’m glad I watched it. I’m gonna give “The Last Samurai” a 7/10. Oh yeah, just a fun fact. I actually bought this movie used on Blu-Ray and its original cost was $3.99 (before taxes), but the store had everything 25% off since it was moving, so ultimately I got this for just a little over $3. That’s a good deal considering how revered this movie is by many people. Thanks for reading this review, I should let you know in at least a couple of weeks from now I’m planning on reviewing “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” and just to let you know I’m not gonna review “Kingsman: The Secret Service” beforehand, so get that out of your mind now if you’re thinking that.

Next up in my Tom Cruise review series I’m gonna be talking about the movie “Risky Business,” I actually already started my review on that, I’m not finished, I still have to rewatch it in order to get everything I need out of it. That review will be up on Monday, September 18th so keep your eyes peeled. Stay tuned for that review, along with more reviews! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

ANNOUNCEMENT: I’m Going to Rhode Island Comic Con 2017!

 

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Before we begin this post, I’d like to give a little free promotion to something I personally feel, needs promoting. You see, I live in New England, and I like bowling. For those of you who don’t know where I’m going with this, I should inform you we here in New England don’t have as much traditional tenpin bowling as opposed to another form of bowling. In New England, candlepin is king. And on YouTube you can watch a web series dedicated to professionals competing against each other in the sport. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, “King of the Palace.”

“King of the Palace” is a show that takes place at a candlepin bowling alley known as New Palace Lanes in Fitchburg, MA, it features skilled bowlers showing their stuff as they compete against each other. It’s intense, it’s got people who know what they’re doing, and it definitely gets the ball rolling. Whether you’re from New England and want to watch your traditional bowling, or you’re not from New England and want to dive deeper into “weird bowling,” or you just want some moments of entertainment, this show is for you. The show is hosted by Steve Bronchuk, Dave Maatala, and Dennis Nuzzo and they definitely got some fascinating words to say as the bowlers duke it out. “King of the Palace” is shown on TV on some local stations in Massachusetts, however if you want to look at the YouTube channel for it, click the link down below and check it out!

https://www.youtube.com/user/NewPalaceLanes

Now bowling is not the only thing I’m interested in, I’m into a lot of other cool stuff, including conventions. On that note, I’d like to break to you all that I’m going to Rhode Island Comic Con this year! Now what is Rhode Island Comic Con? Rhode Island Comic Con is a convention which takes place in Providence, RI. It will be in two locations which are connected, the Rhode Island Convention Center, and the Dunkin Donuts Center. I’ve been to this convention for two years in a row and now this will be my third. This is one of the conventions done by Altered Reality, who also do ComiCONN, Colorado Springs Comic Con, Southcoast Toy and Comic Show, and Terror Con, another convention that takes place in Providence, RI. Rhode Island Comic Con markets itself as the biggest show in the smallest state. I haven’t been to many shows in Rhode Island, but I can guarantee you, this is big. Both years I’ve gone there have been tons of celebrity guests from TV, movies, etc. Last year this show had guests including the cameo master himself, Stan Lee, Billy Dee Williams (The Empire Strikes Back, Batman), Alice Cooper, Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite, Monster House), Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things), and surprisingly, Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot. This year we have another enormous lineup of guests, and we’re about to talk some of the guests who have actually been announced thus far.

This con has a number of guests that fall into a category of “special” guests, otherwise known as headliners. This is something that happened last year too. Guests like Gal Gadot, Stan Lee, Millie Bobby Brown, and Ray Fisher all fell into this category. These guests were all located in the Dunkin Donuts Center, specifically on the stadium floor, which is kind of a good idea. The lines for some of these guests were long as hell, in fact Gal Gadot’s and Stan Lee’s lines were almost too long. Although my dad only waited seconds to talk to Alice Cooper, another headliner from last year, but then again this was on the last day of the con and everybody was getting ready to head home. If my head isn’t messing with me, the layout in the Dunkin Donuts Center probably won’t change this year. Regardless of where these guests end up, here are this year’s headliners:

Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy, Riddick)
Elizabeth Olsen (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Godzilla)
Val Kilmer (Batman Forever, Top Gun)
Norman Reedus (Boondock Saints, The Walking Dead)
Paul Bettany (Iron Man, A Beautiful Mind)
Michael Colter (Luke Cage, The Good Wife)
“Weird Al” Yankovic (Musician)
Gene Simmons (Musician, KISS)
Billie Piper (Doctor Who, Collateral)
Sting (Wrestler)
Jason David Frank (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
John Cusack (Better Off Dead, 2012)
Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead, The Punisher)
Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter, Peter Pan)
Dolph Lundgren (The Punisher, The Expendables)
Freddie Prinze Jr. (Scooby-Doo, She’s All That)
Beverly D’Angelo (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Entourage)
Justin Roiland (Rick and Morty, Gravity Falls)
Carl Weathers (Predator, Arrested Development)
Robert Englund (Nightmare on Elm Street, Regular Show)
William Shatner (Star Trek, Boston Legal)

When it comes to these headliners, a number of them do intrigue me. If I were to meet any and talk with them, it would probably be Weird Al and John Cusack. Weird Al isn’t really an artist I listen to but I do want to talk about his appearance on “Last Week Tonight” with him. As far as John Cusack goes, that’s another person whose work I don’t follow, but part of me is somewhat intrigued to engage in a conversation with him. I haven’t seen “Better Off Dead,” I’m making an attempt to get my hands on a copy though, but I heard Cusack himself hated the movie. I also heard somewhere that Cusack’s despise diminished, I’m curious to know how this happened. I’d probably have time to ask this depending on the lines, both guests will be at the con for multiple days. Weird Al will be there longer, but still. The idea of having Dave Bautista and Elizabeth Olsen as guests does somewhat excite me, but I have a feeling their lines will be long and all they’ll be doing is signing autographs and won’t have any sort of time for conversation. But who knows really? Not to mention, when it comes to those guests, I had no absolute desire to meet them as opposed to Gal Gadot last year. I fanboyed hard when I found out she was going to be there!

This con also has a number of guests appearing which happen to be affiliated with various groups. There are plenty more on the way, but there have been a good number who have already been announced.

Starting off with “Star Trek,” we have a good number of guests there. So far we have a plethora of guests from “The Next Generation” such as Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn, Marina Sitris, LeVar Burton, Jonathan Frakes, and Gates McFadden. Just a fun fact, I’ve actually met Michael Dorn before. I haven’t chatted with him much, but I got his signature for a good friend of mine. Also, for LeVar Burton, I actually heard he’s been doing this series where he reads short stories and he gives his thoughts on them. It’s called “LeVar Burton Reads,” I actually haven’t checked out yet, I might sometime. However if you know me as a member of the Knights of Nerdvana, our challenge for July 2017 was to take a gander at this series. The members who did check it out thought it was worth witnessing, so I might take a look at it before I go and possibly talk to Burton about the series. Also we have a guest from “The Original Series.” Ladies and gentlemen, the one, the only… William Shatner. He will, as recently mentioned, be a headliner, and he’ll also moderate the “Star Trek” panel at the convention.

Next up we have “Star Wars” and when it comes to the “Star Wars” guests, many of them are people I wouldn’t exactly know, but there are a couple that stick out to me. The guests are Freddie Prinze Jr., who also happens to be one of the headliners, Jason Isaacs, another headliner, Julian Glover, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Joonas Suotamo, Steve Blum, Spencer Wilding, and Ian. F*cking. McDiarmid. Based on what you just read, you can tell I have extreme excitement for Ian McDiarmid, we’ll get to him in a minute, however one guest I feel like talking about is Spencer Wilding. Some of you might not know who this guy is, although if you look at his IMDb page, you may know him from “Guardians of the Galaxy” as one of the guards, and he was also in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” Which character does he play? Only the best character in the entire movie, Darth Vader! You may know that James Earl Jones does the voice, but you may or may not know that someone else is walking around inside the costume. For “Rogue One” in particular, the one walking around is Wilding, which means he’s the one who gave the best scene in the film towards the end! Now let’s talk about Ian McDiarmid. If you don’t know who Ian McDiarmid is, you may know him better as The Emperor, otherwise known as Palpatine, or that crazy maniac who laughs a lot, or the “Star Wars” character most likely to be a mascot for the Tampa Bay Lightning. I admire The Emperor as a character, and when McDiarmid was referred to as Palpatine in the prequels, he was one of the best parts of the entire thing. Just watch “Revenge of the Sith” to see what I mean. Alan Tudyk, who you may know as K-2SO in “Rogue One” was going to show up at one point, but unfortunately ended up cancelling his appearance.

Next up we have “Power Rangers” guests. And for those of you who are waiting for me to tell you Amy Jo Johnson is here, sorry, her name has not been announced. She has been to this convention both years I went, so who knows what could happen? However when it comes to the original series, we have Jason David Frank (Green Ranger), and Steve Cardenas (Red Ranger). We also have cast members from other series’ in the franchise too. These include: Blake Foster, Hilary Shepard, Catherine Sutherland, Selwyn Ward, Nakia Burrise, and Michael Copon.

For those of you who are familiar with the “Rocky” franchise and have watched “Rocky 4,” that’s one reunion taking place here. This is between cast members Carl Weathers, who you may know as Apollo Creed, and Dolph Lundgren, who you may know as Drago. By the way, both of these folks are headliners.

Another reunion is for the movie “The Boondock Saints.” The cast members associated with this reunion are Norman Reedus, who you may know as Murphy MacManus, Sean Patrick Flanery, who you may know as Conner MacManus, and David Della Rocco, who you may know as Rocco. By the way, Norman Reedus is a headliner.

Speaking of Norman Reedus, he’s also one of the many guests from “The Walking Dead” that will show up at the convention. The other guests include: David Morrissey, Jon Bernthal, another headliner, Jeremy Palko, Khary Payton, Tom Payne, Michael Koske, Michael Cudlitz, and Lennie James. By the way, Jeffery Dean Morgan was here last year, and it’s very likely he won’t be back this year due to his complaints about the con.

For wrestlers, this con is currently featuring six, and there are more to be announced in the future. So far we have Dave Bautista, one of the headliners, Rey Mysterio, Sting, another headliner, Brooke Adams, Bret Hart, and a duo who refer to themselves using the hashtag #TeamBestie, Trish Stratus and Amy Dumas.

The last of the reunions the con is currently showing on their website is one I’m highly anticipating, and that is the “Revenge of the Nerds” reunion. This con is going to feature eight cast members from the “Revenge of the Nerds” franchise including: Julia Montgomery (Betty Childs), Brian Tochi (Takashi), Larry Scott (Lamar), Ted McGinley (Stan Gable), Andrew Cassese (Wormser), Donald Gibb (Ogre), Robert Carradine (Lewis), and Curtis Armstrong (Booger). I consider to be “Revenge of the Nerds” to be one of my favorite comedies, it’s not technically perfect, it’s not a masterpiece, but it’s funny and relatable. Not only does it excite me that the cast is coming to the con, but I’m also excited for Curtis Armstrong and Robert Carradine, probably more than any of the other cast members. If you know me in real life, I’m a huge fan of “King of the Nerds,” the two hosted that show and I consider it to be my favorite show of all time based on what it did for me and other people. I’ve met Curtis before, in fact I met him twice, but I’ve yet to meet Bobby. I’d love to go here, meet Curtis once more, talk with him for a bit, and also chat with Robert. I barely go to panels at cons, but once I see a “Revenge of the Nerds” panel, the con has me running for it! By the way, Curtis, if you’re reading this, I’ll be sure to bring “the shirt” when I go to the con. And for those of you wondering, no, I didn’t meet Curtis topless without having an idea what a shirt is, I met him twice wearing the same “King of the Nerds” t-shirt I owned since March 2015, for good reason. Oh yeah, Bobby will get to see it too!

That’s all for group guests, although I’m gonna do some separate paragraphs on guests I’m particularly interested in that don’t belong in any of these groups.

The first one I’m gonna talk about is Rob Schneider. I feel like talking about Schneider because I honestly never really expected him to show up at conventions. You may know Rob Schneider from “Grown Ups,” “Saturday Night Live,” “Deuce Bigalow,” and the poorly received “Norm of the North.” I never really imagined Rob Schneider as someone who would show up at an event like this. Although once I researched this I found out he was at some other cons this year. He’s actually going to be here all three days of the con, and I’m willing to bet that meeting his fans may be somewhat exciting to him, but I’m willing to bet he’s in it for the money a little more. Although I will say, having Rob Schneider at Comic Con is probably a better idea than “Grown Ups 3” so that’s a plus.

One guest I admire, but don’t necessarily plan on meeting, is Gene Simmons. I feel like bringing him up because he’s actually doing something that I think some of you might be interested in. This year, he’ll be there and the website is also promoting a concert at the VETS Memorial Auditorium which he’ll be performing at. The concert will be happening on Sunday at 8PM so if you want tickets to this concert for Gene Simmons Band, go to the link down below!

http://www.thevetsri.com/events/detail/gene-simmons-band

Another unique guest showing up to Rhode Island will be Geekfest. Geekfest does film festivals and right now they are touring at multiple cons. They are marketing this stop, based on one of their tweets, as the “World’s Largest in New England!” I’m not exactly sure if I’ll be familiar with the films they’ll be showing, but this is unique and it is kind of interesting to me to have a film festival in a convention like this.

One more guest I’m gonna talk about is one I’m undoubtedly stoked to meet, and that is Doug Walker. I’m willing to bet some of you are thinking right now, who the f*ck is Doug Walker? Allow me to say, Doug Walker is one of the greatest people I’ve ever seen on YouTube. You may also know him from That Guy With Glasses or Channel Awesome as the Nostalgia Critic. He remembers things so you don’t have to. I may be a little biased since he reviews movies just like me, but he’s mainly focused on anything that has any sort of nostalgic connection. A lot of Doug’s reviews are mainly for various films highly regarded as some of the biggest abominations known to man including “Batman & Robin,” “Superman IV: The Quest For Peace,” and the 2003 live-action movie version of “The Cat in the Hat.” As a fellow movie reviewer, I’ve actually, well, I wouldn’t say I copied him, but he may have inspired me to take on a certain writing style. You’d see it in my reviews for “Moonlight” and “xXx: Return of Xander Cage.” In recent years, Doug’s reviews have altered, he traditionally still follows the same formula that he does in his older reviews, but we’ve seen more sketches that are basically parodies on the movies he’s reviewing. In fact, he’s now doing movies once they come out in theaters. This is where Doug utilizes his “clipless” technique, which is basically not using actual footage from the movie, and instead, recreating it with his own actors, including himself in order to poke fun at it. You can see this in his reviews for “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” and “Wonder Woman.” I’ve also been exposed to Doug’s panels on YouTube, and one thing I love about them is that people ask him, sometimes in a literal sense, sometimes with subtle hints, to do his “Bat credit card” gag. In “Batman & Robin,” the two heroes are together, we are witnessing a scene where an auction takes place, and there’s minutes dedicated to men bidding on women, and at one point, one of the film’s villains, Poison Ivy, played horribly by Uma Thurman (Pulp Fiction, Gattaca) uses her powers to make men fall in love with her, then Batman and Robin start bidding on her. They’re going back and forth, bidding millions of dollars, then Batman, says “7 million,” he whips out a credit card, allowing us, the audience to hear a cha-ching sound effect, by the way, the card is good “forever.” Doug spent some of the review freaking out about the credit card like a boy who got nothing for his birthday. During the panels, when this whole gag goes down, Doug will get out of his chair, and chase down whoever made him freak out. This is one of the few occasions in somebody’s life when one would say “I’m really glad that dude beat me up.”

I just realized how long I went on talking about the guests, it was long indeed, but let’s move onto something else. As fun as cons are, they’re not always perfect. This con has had a number of issues over the years.

In 2014 for example, there was an issue regarding the number of people who showed up to the convention. At the time, Rhode Island Comic Con only took place in the Rhode Island Convention Center. The center has a maximum occupancy of 17,000 people, but 20,000 people turned out to be in the building. This caused the convention center to close for hours, making people turned off by crowds and some not wanting to go to this convention again.

In 2015, more issues came along. The show expanded itself to put some of its guests and vendors in the Dunkin Donuts Center, but the show still experienced unfortunate crowd issues. There’s a walkway that can take you from one building to another located indoors between the two. It turns out that year, there was clogging in the walkway, which if I remember correctly, is a reason there was such an enormous line to get from one center to another at one point.

In 2016, they had a little spin on what people would normally do in order to meet certain guests. As mentioned, during this year in particular, the Dunkin Donuts Center arena was dedicated to headliner guests such as Stan Lee and Millie Bobby Brown. This didn’t stop the long lines, which isn’t necessarily the issue. The issue here is that being able to get an autograph or photo op from these guests is a little bit tedious. I got an autograph from Gal Gadot, and instead of paying my money during the process of signing, I had to pay at a box office. I didn’t even realize this. Let me tell you what happened. So I was staying at a hotel with my dad, it’s morning, it’s almost the time for the convention to open, so I figured we grab a quick breakfast. We grab something to eat at Dunkin Donuts inside the Providence Place mall, we get in line for the convention, I get inside, I knew where my first stop was, Gal Gadot’s table. I get in line, eventually I find out I’m in the VIP line, I’m not a VIP ticket holder, so I’m taken to another line. The line eventually kept on moving, and once I get to five spots away in my line from Gal, she leaves. To be fair, she was only there Sunday, and she also had photo ops and a panel to do, but it kind of left me somewhat disappointed. I waited probably over five hours until she came back. Then when it was my turn to get an autograph, it turns out that I’m missing something, a punch card. I didn’t even realize I have to pay beforehand. This is something I can kind of understand for photo ops, but not autographs. I have a feeling a reason why they did this is in order to make more money. A lot of people didn’t get to meet Stan Lee like they wanted from what I could tell and I doubt the con gave any refunds for that reason. From what I can tell, I believe they’ll be doing that again this year. (Sigh) Although then again I probably won’t be focused too much on headliners this year anyway so it won’t matter.

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The con itself, as mentioned, is massive. As mentioned in the name, it’s partially dedicated to comics. As you can also tell, it has a major focus on providing tons of celebrity guests, but it also focuses on providing artist guests, games, panels, cars, wedding ceremonies, exclusive items, and something called “Sci-Fi Speed Dating.”

The con also has a number of discounts available for those staying overnight, if you want to stay at a certain hotel, I’d recommend going to the Rhode Island Comic Con website, click on the section labeled “Hotels” (link down below), that way you can check out the discounts you can get on a certain hotel. A number of these are conveniently located near the convention center, but there are also a few that are away from it, specifically in the town of Warwick. These discounts won’t last forever so get them while you can!

http://www.ricomiccon.com/hotels

Alright, that basically is everything I need to say so far about Rhode Island Comic Con, I hope to see you there, I’ll be there ALL THREE DAYS, so you might run into me at least once. So I want to know, are YOU going to Rhode Island Comic Con? What days are you going? What do you plan to do there? Or, what is a con that you think I should attend in the future? It can be far away, and if you actually happen to be working for a convention I’d love to visit your con to review it as long as I don’t have to pay for much of anything, maybe except for food and definitely anything inside the convention center. Also guys, I mentioned before that the hosts of “King of the Nerds” will be at this con, and in honor of that, I’d like to leave a link here that will take you toward a post I made on September 4 about “King of the Nerds” detailing why I’m not done with the show, and what I’d like to hopefully see in the future regarding the show itself. I put a lot of effort into it, and I don’t know why I wouldn’t, I love the show probably more than I love pizza, and that’s kind of saying something. Please look into that post, also stay tuned for more posts, including my series of Tom Cruise related movie reviews! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

“KING OF THE NERDS”: Two Years Since Cancellation Was Announced To Public, Why I Am Not Done with the Show: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/09/04/king-of-the-nerds-two-years-since-cancellation-was-announced-to-public-why-i-am-not-done-with-the-show/

The Glass Castle (2017): A Tamer and Less Intriguing Version of a Bestselling Memoir

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“The Glass Castle” is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and stars Brie Larson (Room, 21 Jump Street), Woody Harrelson (Zombieland, The Edge of Seventeen), and Naomi Watts (Insurgent, The Ring), and is based on the memoir written by Jeannette Walls that essentially describes the coming of age for a girl growing up in a dysfunctional, poverty-stricken family with a mother who is an eccentric artist and a father who abuses alcohol.

Before watching this movie I knew a bit about this story, I actually read this book before. I didn’t read all of it, but a good portion of it. I still remember various parts of it and they are somewhat drilled into my memory. I don’t read often but if I had nothing to do I’d pick up this title and give it a read, maybe if I were on a long flight or something. So, is the movie watchable just like how the book is readable? Well, if I lived in a universe where no meant you should go see the movie, I wouldn’t be here right now in THIS universe. So no, this movie is not worth your time. My mother personally gave this movie a 7/10. I’m not here to tell her she’s wrong, she can defend her verdict all she wants, I just probably wasn’t as intrigued by what this movie had to offer. Although before we get into negatives, let’s talk about the movie’s positives.

From a technical perspective, the movie’s not bad, everything is shot well, the vibe of the movie was definitely correct, the locations are well-chosen, and the score was a little repetitive, but overall, not displeasing. The acting was also very good, everyone seemed to be in character. The casting did a fine job when choosing actors to play certain characters, the child actors didn’t do all too bad as well. Woody Harrelson’s performance was pretty stellar, but then again he played my least favorite character in the movie. We’ll get to him later. I’ll mention once more, I read a portion of the book, and from what I read, the book is better. One thing I noticed about this movie is that it was told in nonlinear order, now movies have done this before and I ended up liking those films. Films like “Arrival” and “Memento,” both of those are great movies. This movie, not so much.

The way this movie starts is that it takes place in a fancy restaurant, and Jeannette Walls, the author of the book, is talking about how the book came to be with three other people. The movie soon goes back in time to her childhood, then later on it switches back to her adulthood, it goes back and forth and it doesn’t really flow. I don’t think we needed much of her adulthood story. It BARELY added anything to the movie. Also, I will say that the movie doesn’t include everything that you’re told in the book. It’s not the first time it’s happened, the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy didn’t include everything the books had to offer. I will say however, I thought on the way home there was one massive con I had. I thought something very important to the plot was slightly altered that kind of made the movie, maybe a little more tame or possibly inaccurate. Luckily that’s not the case. OK to be honest, the movie actually is tamer than the book, part of the book includes a story that wasn’t in the movie involving Jeannette touching a boy’s penis at a very young age. And if you’re asking, no, it wasn’t sexual, it was more of a self-defense technique.

Let’s talk about the character of Jeannette Walls. She was played by multiple actresses, including Brie Larson, Ella Anderson, and Chandler Head. In the book, I thought this character was rather intriguing, and her overall story, for what I read, interested me. In the movie, I didn’t have that same interest. I rooted for her, but at the same time, watching her as an adult, made me have different thoughts about her. Not only that, but I’ll mention once again, I didn’t care about the story she had as an adult.

One reason why I rooted for young Jeannette is that she was living with her bats*it crazy dad, Rex. I get that this is based on a true story, but seeing Rex in this movie made furious. There are so many times I thought to myself, “What an asshole!” Sure, he was somewhat unstable, but at the same time, his way of teaching certain things to Jeannette made me angry. Seeing his character in this movie, endlessly irked me. Sure, what happened was true, some of those things were in the book and not in the movie, but it doesn’t mean I liked his character. There was also a point I thought the mom was an idiot too, but I’m not gonna get into that. The two characters worth going in-depth about are Jeannette and Rex.

Another thing that I actually didn’t understand about Jeannette, is that she had a terrible childhood, she had a father that didn’t treat her properly, and later in the movie, she went on saying that she thought her father was likable in a number of aspects. I will admit, there are moments when Rex is likable in some ways, but her childhood, as the movie displayed, was basically a pile of baloney when you insert Rex into the mix. I kind of get that we’re talking about Jeannette’s father, and this is someone Jeannette grew up seeing every single day, but as a viewer, I couldn’t side with her. So basically for parts of the movie I couldn’t side with Jeannette, or her parents. That’s not good.

I also don’t like the movie’s ending, I won’t get into it because it will basically be in spoiler territory. Although on the bright side it’s not as bad as “The Circle,” another stinker which came out this year.

In the end, I didn’t find myself enjoying “The Glass Castle,” which I really hate to say because that means it continues my streak of less than average newer releases. Brie Larson is in this movie, and if you want a good movie with Brie Larson in it, just watch “Room,” it’s free on Amazon if you’re a Prime member. “The Glass Castle” had a couple interesting moments, but it had characters that I personally hoped I’d end up caring about more once I left the theater, especially considering I made it through a portion of the book without hating anyone written there. Jeannette Walls might be a nice person, but I’m sorry, this movie sucks, it’s just the way it is. I’m gonna give “The Glass Castle” a 3/10. Thanks for reading this review, I’m not sure what movie I’m gonna watch in theaters next, but if you want some more content to pass the time, I’ll post a few things down below that I think you might enjoy. Also if you want some info on newer content, I’ll let you know I’m gonna be doing a series of Tom Cruise related movie reviews before “American Made” releases in the US. Stay tuned for those, and be sure to check out my older content such as the content you see down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

“LOGAN LUCKY” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/09/03/logan-lucky-2017-a-very-unlucky-movie/

TOP 10 BEST MOVIE QUOTES: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/08/29/top-10-best-movie-quotes/

MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE WILL CONTINUE FOR DECADES: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/08/24/marvel-cinematic-universe-will-continue-for-decades-not-surprising-although-slightly-concerning/

King of the Nerds: Two Years Since Cancellation Was Announced To Public, Why I Am Not Done with the Show

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! You may have clicked on this post wondering what you’re getting into. If you observe the title, it might give some you the impression that I am a spoiled brat that wants everything to go my way. While I may have a lot of cool stuff, I assure you, I’m not Veruca Salt. This is more of a series of thoughts I have in mind and it’s meant to explain a certain number of details to support the topic mentioned in the title itself. Before we dive into this post, I’ll just say, if you know me in real life or on the Internet. I have an enormous fanaticism for the reality show, “King of the Nerds.” Now, I’m not one who would spend lots of time watching other reality shows other than “America’s Got Talent” or something. The reason that I got into “King of the Nerds,” more than anything, is that it was relatable. Let’s face it, do I sound like a person who could relate to the Kardashians? Do I sound like someone who could relate to a real housewife of Atlanta? Do I sound like someone who could relate to a dance mom? If you know me, you’d probably be able to tell that I can’t exactly relate to any of those. I’ll also say, when it comes to most reality shows, I usually hear they’re cheesy and it basically displays what’s wrong with society. Not to mention, does anybody really consider the Kardashians role models? To a certain portion of the population, the Kardashians might be fascinating people who have interesting lives. I don’t know for sure, I don’t even watch the program. Plus I hear a lot of people say Kim K is hot, but that’s probably men who don’t watch the show. Anyway, where were we? Oh, yeah, before we go any further. Let’s talk about the show first, because I’m not sure how obscure it is right now.

“King of the Nerds” is a reality competition hosted by Curtis Armstrong and Robert Carradine, two cast members of the cult classic comedy film, “Revenge of the Nerds.” The premise is that a number of nerds, are all living in a house together called “Nerdvana.” These nerds compete to sit atop the “Throne of Games,” win $100,000, before taxes, and be crowned “King of the Nerds.” How do they compete? They battle each other in several nerd aspects known to man. There are challenges involving topics such as gaming, science, horror, sci-fi, fantasy, comic books, debating, engineering, strategy, mathematics, and memory. There’s more to this, but the information presented here just happen to be the basics.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s revisit what I just said in the opening paragraph, which was how the show was relatable. Let me just say, I’m a nerd. If you read this blog, you may consider me a movie nerd, or a cinephile. I also consider myself a fanboy in various ways. And yes, a lot of it applies to topics that have some correlation to film, and if you know me well enough, you can tell part of my fanaticism is directed towards “King of the Nerds.” I liked the show at first, but when the series started, the first two episodes had some replay value over a number of days. I knew from then on, this was the start of something. The whole first season had a replay value in fact, the whole second season did too. The third season did as well, but not as much as the second, but that’s when I started Twitter and I developed relationships with various people involved with the show including Kelsey Syers from season 2, along with Kayla LaFrance who was also in season 2. This was all part of the fanaticism I’ve achieved from watching this show based on how much it connected with me. I resemble the nerds, I look up to the nerds, I see them as passionate people dedicating their lives to something in particular. I might not have the exact same personality traits or interests, but we’re both knowledgeable or passionate about something. Right now, I’m dedicating part of my life to this blog, which I am in fact extremely passionate about. If this blog takes off, I might start monetizing it and consider it my way of life. I’m also passionate about screenwriting, when I grow up, I might end up screenwriting movies. There’s no certainty on that, but that is one thing I’ve always had in mind. I will also say, as a matter of fact, if I do make it to Hollywood, this is a show I’d want any sort of position on.

“King of the Nerds” lasted for three seasons on TBS. The whole series began on January 17, 2013, and the final episode aired March 13, 2015. “KOTN” was officially canceled by TBS on June 26 of the same year. Let me just remind you, from a ratings perspective, season 3, which was the final season, received the best ratings the show’s ever had. That season even aired all of its new episodes on the Friday night death slot. On September 4, Curtis Armstrong himself went straight to social media to warn everyone of the news. Why September 4? That’s pretty much around the time Curtis was even informed about the cancellation. Craig Armstrong (no relation to Curtis) and Rick Ringbakk from 5×5 Media were executive producers throughout the series. The two informed Curtis about it, and they heard about the cancellation of the series through a journalist who interviewed Kevin Reilly, a chief creative officer for TBS, when Reilly told the journalist in a direct question, “We won’t be doing anymore episodes of ‘King of the Nerds.'” If you ever known about the TV show “Firefly,” created by Joss Whedon, that only lasted one season on FOX, but many people say the show got canceled way too early. Just look at its IMDb page, the show has an overall total of 9.1/10, and it’s #17 in the top rated TV shows. I was very young when that show was on the air (2002-2003) whereas I was thirteen when “King of the Nerds” started, and I was fifteen when it ended. “King of the Nerds” was my “Firefly,” only thing is, I’d want “King of the Nerds” to go on forever and ever, whereas I’d be fine if “Firefly” had a final chapter. In fact, when “King of the Nerds” canceled, TBS wasn’t done with reality TV, they went on to do a competition called “America’s Next Weatherman,” presented by Funny or Die. Now I watched that show and while it’s definitely not as unwatchable as something like “Dance Moms,” at least in my book, it didn’t even come close to matching the overall quality of “King of the Nerds.” And besides, look at it this way, TBS literally canceled a reality show featuring nerds, and now they have another reality show featuring nerds (I guess you can say that based on some of the personalities of the contestants), but instead of dedicating itself to showing nerds of all types, they just focus on one group of nerds. We had to cope with this, WEATHER we liked it or not. On a sidenote, I’ve actually talked to some of the contestants from that show online, and they’re nice people, however, I’ve built a community with those involved with “KOTN.”

Despite how TBS never uncanceled “King of the Nerds,” I have spoken with an executive producer of the show, Anthony Carbone, recently. I let him and a bunch of other people know I was watching “King of the Nerds” since I own the entire series on Amazon, and he replied to the tweet saying this:

“People who work/worked for Turner all feel the same way. It was a mistake. Now they spend millions on comedies that no one watches.” -@Carsueda

As one who owns a TV, I agree. After “King of the Nerds” got canceled, TBS started airing a bunch of new shows including “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” “Angie Tribeca,” “Wrecked,” “The Detour,” “People of Earth,” “Search Party,” and “ELeague.” I never found myself watching any of these shows. I tuned in for a bit of “Angie Tribeca,” but that’s only because my dad essentially forced me into it. I didn’t really laugh. I don’t watch “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” all that much, but there’s a divide on the show considering it to be amazingly funny or liberal propaganda. You might as well say the same thing for HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” but even if it is liberal propaganda, I actually still continue to watch it because I find Oliver himself to be extremely funny, he does a lot of informative segments, including ones on FIFA, Online Harassment, the NCAA, Net Neutrality, and more. The show also recently introduced me to Lord Buckethead, which, sorry Negasonic Teenage Warhead, there’s officially a name cooler than yours.

DEADPOOL: And you are?

NEGASONIC TEENAGE WARHEAD: Negasonic Teenage Warhead.

DEADPOOL: Negasonic Teenage… what the s*it? That’s the coolest name ever!

When it comes to programming on TBS I watch, it’s either reruns of sitcoms such as “Seinfeld,” “The Big Bang Theory,” or “King of Queens.” If there’s anything “new” that TBS airs on their channel, it’s either episodes of “Conan” or “American Dad!.” Now keep in mind, “Conan” has been on TBS since 2010, so there’s a sign people still watch it. Not to mention, Conan O’Brien does a lot of cool events with his talk show. He takes it on the road to various venues across America, including New York City, Chicago, and he even took it to San Diego Comic Con for the past few years to shoot episodes there. He’s even done international shows. Overtime there have been various shows in places including Mexico, Cuba, and Armenia. “American Dad!” isn’t original to TBS either, it actually started out on FOX, but they canceled it and TBS picked it up. On the bright side, it’s a sign that TBS likely doesn’t have a rocky relationship with one of “King of the Nerds’s” hosts, Curtis Armstrong, because Armstrong plays a supporting character on “American Dad!” named Snot.

Anyway, with all of this being said, let’s go back to Anthony Carbone’s tweet. Since people involved with TBS’s production regret this decision, why can’t they undo it? I don’t know if there’s anything against it. My suggestion would be to either cancel one of your unsuccessful shows, or put a show on hold for awhile, and allow “King of the Nerds” to fill in a slot. If you can’t do that, the people behind it might as well find a new home for it, which we will get into.

I’m not sure what has been going on with one of the show’s hosts, Robert Carradine, lately. I am planning meeting him at Rhode Island Comic Con this upcoming November, but I don’t know much of what he’s been up to lately. I’m aware he’ll be appearing in “Solitary Confinement,” a horror game that is set to come out October 1, but there’s not really much else I know about him. I do however, sometimes communicate with the other host, Curtis Armstrong, on Twitter. I also met him in person twice, he’s a nice guy, sounds like someone I’d hang out with, which is interesting for me to say because I never hang out with anyone. When it comes to other people I can talk to on Twitter, I have follows from Xander Jeanneret from season 2, Mary Kate Smith from season 2, and Kelsey Syers from season 2, who I actually brought up earlier. I also mentioned Kayla LaFrance, also from season 2, we talk often and while we may not agree on certain matters (Star Wars vs. Star Trek, Pac-Man) we still enjoy communicating with each other. If we the people can find a way to unite together like everyone did at Nerdvana, whether it be in teams or just being in the moment together as a nerd family, we can get the show back. It could work. Not only do we have the production crew and contestants working alongside each other, there will also be an avid supporter of the show like me involved in the process. Perhaps this can spread across social media and people who have watched the show in the past and enjoyed it can either take part in the cause or at least bring it to the attention of others.

I am currently taking action on this matter by myself, since I’m only 17 years old, live in Massachusetts, and have no experience in Hollywood, I’m doing what some folks would do for certain causes, sharing a petition (link is below). I have shared it before and I even did a post on it. I’ve shared it online with contestants, people behind the show, including Armstrong himself, I asked him if he approved of the petition, and he did. I mean, why wouldn’t he? I just wanted to know for sure because I didn’t know if he was done with the show and thought it would be weird doing it again. If I were working in Hollywood, I’d work on that show for the rest of my life if I could, it would be a passion project for me, even if I am not one of the main folks behind the production. Anyway, the petition is on Change.org, the ideas I had were to put it on one of two channels that I considered priorities. I’m not saying they will accept the idea, but I’m saying this show sounds like it would fit properly with one of these two channels.

“KING OF THE NERDS” SEASON 4 PICKUP PETITION: https://www.change.org/p/game-show-network-have-a-network-pick-up-king-of-the-nerds-for-season-4

The first channel I had in mind was the Game Show Network, otherwise known as GSN. You may know them for their neverending Steve Harvey “Family Feud” reruns, along with original programming such as “Divided,” “Idiotest,” “Baggage,” and “Winsanity.” They even have their own adaptations for game shows which have been done before such as “The Chase” which has other variants around the world, and “The Pyramid” which is basically a revamp of a classic game show that was mainly hosted by Dick Clark. For those of you who think that “King of the Nerds” isn’t a game show, that’s up for debate, but GSN has also had experience with reality shows, there was a point when they would air reruns of “Dancing with the Stars,” they also have an original show called “Skin Wars,” a competition involving body painting, and “Steampunk’d,” which if you can’t tell by the name, involves steampunk. By the way, just to let you know, steampunk has been a part of “King of the Nerds” before. Just watch the first episode of season 3. While “Steampunk’d” is officially cancelled, “Skin Wars,” has neither been canceled or renewed for a new season. So far, like “King of the Nerds,” “Skin Wars” has aired three seasons and it’s previous episode premiered June 29th, 2016, which doesn’t count the spinoff of the show, “Skin Wars: Fresh Paint,” hosted by RuPaul, who you may know from “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” If “Skin Wars” is officially cancelled, there’s a good chance it hasn’t been announced, or maybe GSN is focusing too much on other originals. Although if “Skin Wars” isn’t cancelled, I have an idea. Renew “Skin Wars” for season 4, and consider that one of your main reality shows, and while that show takes a break, “King of the Nerds” can come in, then the two shows can switch back and forth. If this show does end up on GSN, it can probably still keep its $100,000 prize and maybe we, yes I said “we,” because I feel like an imaginary part of the show, can work out an agreement with GSN that we’d apply something game show related to the show for at least one season. In fact I even have an idea for what can be done. Maybe for one episode we can bring on someone who hosts one of GSN’s originals such as Ben Glieb from “Idiotest” or Mike Richards from “Divided,” and I even have a game show themed nerd-off in mind. It’s called “Push Your Luck” and the two competitors are given multiple choice questions related to game shows. If they answer correctly, they get to spin on the “above-average sized board” to earn points in order to increase one’s chance of winning, if that doesn’t work, we can put in a wheel or something. We can even put something in place that will either take away points or forbid someone from getting additional points. I’m thinking either “dragons,” “sith lords,” “stormtroopers,” “enchanted bunnies,” “ghosts,” or “kaiju.” I know this sounds a lot like “Press Your Luck,” and it does, and that’s not even the only game show element I can apply to this. I even have a way to include Mindy Robinson, AKA Pom Pom Kitty, a “character” on the show if you will, in the challenge. Robinson can stand by the board, and applaud the competitors, kind of like Vanna White during “Wheel of Fortune.” This game show deal doesn’t have to be mandatory, only do it if GSN is little skeptical about the show or something. Some people may say that game shows aren’t as nerdy as comic books or science, but if you think about the people who go on “Jeopardy!,” heck season 3 of “KOTN” actually had a “Jeopardy!” contestant, he even appeared on “500 Questions,” a game show so intense and had so much potential but during both seasons, the combined questions asked to every contestant who appeared in a single season didn’t even reach five-hundred. By the way if you’re curious to know who I’m talking about, that’s Colby Burnett. He won a Teacher’s Tournament back in 2012, earning $100,000, he went on to a Tournament of Champions in 2013 where he won $250,000, and he was in 2014’s Battle of the Decades where he won $25,000 as a semi-finalist. I’m just proving my point to you, game shows and nerds can make an excellent combination. Last thing I’ll add here, as a nerd, game shows are a passion of mine. Just saying.

The second channel I had in mind was Syfy, home of “The Magicians,” “The Expanse,” and the continuously growing “Sharknado” franchise. As far as reality show experience goes, Syfy has done “Face Off,” a show with a science fiction and horror focus. Contestants on the show duke it out against each other trying to create prostheses such as ones found in science fiction and horror films. The show currently has twelve seasons, so imagine how long it could keep “King of the Nerds.” When it comes to money, I’m not sure what it will allow the show to offer as a prize, when it comes to “Face Off,” it’s traditionally $100,000, something makeup related, and a new car. When “King of the Nerds” was on TBS, the prize was always $100,000 and nothing else, so while I don’t know what will happen here, Syfy would probably be cool with this. I honestly have a more elaborate plan for the series to end up on GSN, but if it doesn’t work out with GSN, Syfy would be a good backup choice. Both channels are nerdy in one way or another, and their experience with reality shows might be a benefit for “King of the Nerds.” You may have noticed I put down no streaming channels. It’s a personal reason, but it stands in my book. I personally want to livetweet to the show when it airs, kind of like I did for the entirety of season 3.

As far as other channels go, I did think about TruTV at one point, but that’s uncertain right now. Before we go any further, I would like to remind everyone reading this now, if you like this show and you want to bring attention to others about the show. Notify channels on social media with the hashtag #SAVEKOTN, you can also use #NerdsRule or #NerdArmy as another notification. The more you do this, and the more people that get involved in this, the greater chance there will be of the show coming back for another season.

If anybody reading this has an idea on how to bring back “King of the Nerds,” leave your thoughts in the comments down below, maybe your thoughts will be executed in the future. I want to know, have you seen “King of the Nerds?” What are your thoughts on it? Or what is a show that has been cancelled that you want back? Leave all of your thoughts in the comments section, and I assure you, I do read them.

One last thing before we finish this post, pretty soon I’m gonna have a mini-review series starting up and that is for Tom Cruise movies. You may know Tom Cruise as a famous actor who is well known for a lot of roles, but nowadays you’d see him in big action flicks including “Edge of Tomorrow,” the “Mission Impossible” series, and the “Jack Reacher” series. By request, I’m gonna be starting the series off with the 2003 film “The Last Samurai,” I will also include a review for “Risky Business,” along with a review for one more movie with Tom Cruise in it. I’m thinking either “Top Gun,” “Collateral,” “Days of Thunder,” or “The Firm.” Only time will tell, we’ll see what happens. Stay tuned for those reviews, and please, if you want “King of the Nerds” back, take action! It is the ultimate nerd show, celebrating all things nerdy, so if you want it back and happen to be currently worried about not getting it back, do something about it! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Logan Lucky (2017): A Very Unlucky Movie

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“Logan Lucky” is directed by Steven Soderbergh who also directed “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Magic Mike.” This movie stars Channing Tatum (Magic Mike, 21 Jump Street), Adam Driver (Girls, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens), and Daniel Craig (Casino Royale, Cowboys & Aliens) and is about two brothers who try to pull of a heist while a NASCAR race in North Carolina is going down.

Going into this movie, I’ve had some experience with Steven Soderbergh. And by some, I mean not much at all. I’ve watched part of “Ocean’s Eleven,” which is a heist movie that takes place in Vegas, I fell asleep. For the record, I wasn’t bored, it was late. I was at my grandparents and I was in a sofa bed with my father, we were watching this at one point during the night. I haven’t watched it again since, but I know a lot of people like it. “Ocean’s Twelve” and “Ocean’s Thirteen” from what I heard aren’t as good as “Ocean’s Eleven.” This guy also did “Magic Mike,” which I haven’t seen, but from what I gathered, the movie might as well be called “Look at Channing’s Gigantic Tatum!”, which saying that now, is kind of interesting considering how Channing Tatum is in this movie, who we will get into in just a moment.

Here’s something I just want to get out about “Ocean’s Eleven,” while I recall it putting me to sleep, what I witnessed on screen wasn’t all that boring.. I’ll tell you guys, and a lot of people are gonna probably call me a nincompoop, type comments in all capitals or comments suggesting that you want me to die, or simply say I have the brain capacity of Patrick Star from “Spongebob Squarepants,” despite what I said, I’ll get something off my chest. …This movie was BORING. This is probably the most dull movie I’ve seen since “The Girl on the Train” which came out last year! What was boring about it? Well, let’s start with the basics, and by the basics I mean just about everything the movie has to offer!

When it comes to the pacing, it almost felt like it was a bunch of different movies crammed into one. There was the meat of the film, which was the heist, then you have this drama involving a couple of exes, then you have this father-daughter relationship film which felt like “Gifted,” a movie that a lot of people ended up enjoying but I couldn’t, you know, kind of like this movie. Part of the movie also felt like it had part of the finale of “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” with less humor, which actually does fit in terms of tone, although it took place in the middle of the movie as opposed to the end.

I also have to say that as far as character motivation goes, it really could have been improved. I like the cast, but the characters which the cast ended up playing were not that well written or executed. You have characters you either don’t give a s*it about, you have forgettable characters, and you also have one character that’s a little too cartoony for the movie he’s in. In terms of his looks and attitude, he reminded me of Nux in “Mad Max: Fury Road,” a character who works in “Mad Max: Fury Road,” but when it comes to “Logan Lucky,” this isn’t really the adequate time to yell about how lovely your day is. If you witness Daniel Craig, there’s a scene where he laughs and it’s kind of embarrassing.

The first character I’m gonna talk about in depth is played by Channing Tatum, he’s known in the movie as Jimmy Logan, and while he may have been fired at the beginning of the movie because of a preexisting condition, I didn’t feel any sort of connection to his character. This is partially due to how, as mentioned, the movie jumped back and forth between too many subplots and tons of exposition. I mean, getting fired from your job and not earning as much money as you once did is one reason that one would like to go on a heist, but I just didn’t care, something REALLY felt off. The other characters didn’t really seem to have much of a motivation, Daniel Craig’s character probably wanted to get away from jail, but that’s probably the only hint of motivation that I recall from this movie if it was even there.

Adam Driver was also in this movie as Jimmy’s brother, Clyde. The only quality that was even the least bit redeeming about the character was probably his fake arm. Clyde’s fake arm probably had more of a story that I cared about than Clyde himself. One of the movie’s best parts actually involved the arm. There was one scene where the characters were using a vacuum, and it ends up sucking the arm.

Now let’s dive into a character I thought would be interesting, but turned out to be lackluster. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Daniel Craig’s Joe Bang. Walking out of the movie, I don’t recall much of anything from his character, for the most part, Daniel Craig gave a good performance, but there was one moment that took me out of the film, which was his cartoony laugh I was talking about earlier.

And that’s the thing about this movie, it has a stellar cast, it has likable performances, including one from a child actress that wasn’t bad at all. Everyone sounded like they were from the south. In terms of costumes, yeah, technically these aren’t costumes but you get my point, it all suited the characters quite well. When it comes to aspects of the movie itself, it feels like the right vibe is there, but overall you have this s*itpile of a movie so it doesn’t feel like everything is being hit in the sweet spot.

Also, you can kind of say this is somewhat like “The Hunger Games” because I remember it taking it forever in those movies to actually get to the Hunger Games. This is said to be a heist movie, but this feels more like an exposition movie with a heist somewhere in the mix. This may have worked if I cared about the characters a bit more, but I basically said what I needed to say about them. Oh yeah, I forgot, there were a lot of other characters, including some played by big names such as Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, American Dad!), Hilary Swank (Insomnia, Boys Don’t Cry), and Katie Holmes (Batman Begins, Dawson’s Creek), those characters aren’t worth talking about all that much. I mean, I didn’t care for just about anyone in this movie, the characters are basically random people with names inserted into a script and then transferred into something that might qualify as a film.

In the end, “Logan Lucky” was a HARD movie to review. This is partially because of my unpopular opinion and the fact that I actually did experience glimmers of enjoyment during segments of the film. I wanted to like this movie, especially because the rest of the Internet does. This has a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes as of now, which is higher than “Interstellar,” one of my favorite movies of all time. If you like this movie I really don’t blame you, we all have our own thoughts, I’ve met people who actually enjoyed watching “Gods of Egypt.” You know the movie featuring a bunch of Egyptians played by non-Egyptian actors? Yeah, that one. For me, this movie was boring, I had no interest while watching the movie, I just wanted to leave the auditorium. If you like the movie, that’s fine, but that just means we don’t have the same tastes when it comes to film. I’m gonna give “Logan Lucky” a 4/10. Thanks for reading this review, pretty soon I’m gonna go see “The Glass Castle” and review it for you all, and also stay tuned for my series of Tom Cruise movie reviews, I’ll be reviewing three movies in this category, so stay tuned for those! Also, I want to know, what is a movie that you think is bad that everyone else thinks is good? For me, that’s this movie. OR what is a movie that you think is good that everyone else thinks is bad? For me, that’s “Spider-Man 3.” Leave your thoughts in the comments! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!