2001: A Space Odyssey (1968): A Symphony in the Stars *SPOILERS*

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! In just a few weeks, “First Man” will be hitting theaters, and in preparation for that, I’m going to be doing three reviews for movies that have some sort of relation to space. I will be posting these reviews weekly, so on the day this review is posted, expect another review in this series around the same time the week after. For this first review, we will be talking about “2001: A Space Odyssey,” which I feel is totally appropriate given how this year is the film’s 50th anniversary that way I have more than one excuse to do a post on it. Also, I must warn you that while this is technically a review of the movie, and my tradition is to leak as little important information as I can. This review is filled to the brim with spoilers. So if you have not seen “2001: A Space Odyssey,” proceed this review with caution. Without further ado, let’s open the pod bay doors!

Duuuuuuun. Daaaaaaan. Daaaaaaaawwn.

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DUN DUN!

“2001: A F*cking Space Odyssey” is directed by Stanley Kubrick (Spartacus, Dr. Strangelove) and stars Keir Dullea (David & Lisa, The Good Sheppard), Gary Lockwood (Star Trek, The Six Million Dollar Man), William Sylvester (Gorgo, The Six Million Dollar Man) among some other people you may or may not have heard of. This film takes place, as the title suggests, in a depiction of 2001 before it even happened. Although that’s not necessarily all there is to it, because the movie starts in prehistoric times. This is why if I’m asked to explain the plot of “2001” to you, I’d almost say that the plot doesn’t necessarily stick in a particular direction. Keep in mind, I don’t mean that in a negative way. It’s not like one of the “Transformers” movies where there’s either a very basic plot or a nonsensical plot to the point where it’s almost a compliment to even call those films “a movie with a plot.” Gosh I love this movie.

“2001” when it comes to ratings and reviews is one of the more interesting films I’ve encountered. You know how movies like “Fight Club” got terrible reviews by critics and yet we still manage to talk about them today? “2001” is “Fight Club” before “Fight Club.” Maybe not entirely because from what I hear about “Fight Club” when it first came out is how it got mostly bad reviews, “2001” on the other hand was simply polarizing. In fact, when it comes to 1968 releases, “2001” actually managed to become the biggest film at the box office of the year. But now fifty years later, not only are we still talking about it, most of the reception it still gets today is most likely to be positive. On IMDb, it has the #90 spot on its top 250 list. Many screenings are still being shown of this movie in theaters from one occasion to the next. In fact this year alone, MANY screenings have been going on in what this film was shot and projected in, 70mm film. I actually went to two of those screenings in two different theaters, and I might as well describe both of them as epic. There was even a week where “2001” happened to be presented in IMAX, which I also took advantage of. As far as this year goes, “Avengers: Infinity War” may be the biggest reason to see a movie in a theater according to many people. I personally beg to differ, “2001” might be THE movie you must see in a theater before you die no matter what year we’re talking about. There are so many sequences, which I’ll eventually dive into, that make a “2001” experience in a theater worth every penny. And that’s not to say that watching it at home is terrible. I own the movie on Blu-ray and it looks fantastic on my TV. “2001” to this day is one of the few movies I even watched with an overture, and when I hear it, it’s so freaking special. There was actually a point where it was on a plane, at the ready, just for me to watch on the itty-bitty TV they have. I avoided such a thing because they didn’t include the overture, and this film, while I would CERTAINLY watch it anywhere, was made to be seen on the biggest screen possible.

If I were to talk about this movie in detail, I’d like to divide it into three sections.

You’ve got the first section titled “The Dawn of Man,” which is the entirety of the ape scenes. The second section is in space where we see Dr. Heywood Floyd’s journey. And we have the ultimate section where we meet Dave, Frank, and HAL. This movie could probably work if the ten or so minutes of “The Dawn of Man” had been erased, but it is all the better for having it in there. I have a friend who watched this movie alongside their mother, who kept asking questions about what this movie was trying to do or be as she observed everything that was going on.

If you are very unfamiliar with this movie, there might be a chance that you might not be able to fully grasp the point of the apes in the beginning. Although with due time, it could enhance the movie’s entire message. Towards the end of this sequence, we see them create tools. We see a fight go down among the apes as they some take turns slashing with a bone. The bone is defined, as this movie pretty much suggests, as mankind’s earliest tool. There’s a point where we see the bone thrown up in the air, it goes back down, and we just cut to…

SPACE.

In fact, the first shot we get in space is of a satellite, which some people have said is a nuclear missile. If that’s the case, this movie is better than it needs to be. That means we go from mankind’s most primitive weapon to mankind’s most advanced weapon. We go from a bone that can take out a monkey, to a big fat hunk of junk that suggests that its user is NOT MONKEYING AROUND.

Let me just say though, all of the space scenes are BEAUTIFUL. This movie was made in 1968, and it looks so much better in terms of effects than a vast amount of content coming out today. You disagree? Well tell that to Stanley Kubrick who won an Oscar for the effects work done on this film!

Let’s talk about some of the characters in “2001,” starting with Dr. Heywood Floyd. His story is mostly covered through the movie’s second act. He has to maintain a cover story. He has to go after an artifact. Overall, this character indicates something that not only this movie’s characters indicate, but the movie itself indicates. Sometimes nothing can turn into something. This movie is on the slower side of the spectrum, but it’s all the better for it because you can inevitably focus on what is happening and not provide more information that we as an audience don’t really need.

Speaking of which, you want to know how much this movie can associate with the word “nothing?” The first line of spoken dialogue aside from whatever gibberish the apes are saying is given somewhere around the fifteen to twenty minute mark. The last line of the movie is given about twenty minutes or so before the end credits roll.

Two of the third act’s characters include Dave Bowman and Frank Poole. They are onboard the ship where HAL 9000 resides. These two don’t seem to have any sort of close relationship to each other that the movie dives into, but they are put on the mission together, which works for the plot. The duo happens to be heading to Jupiter on a ship by the name of Discovery One. As we meet Dave and Frank, we get an insight as to what their mission is along with their relationship with HAL.

Speaking of that, this is where we meet HAL. Our first lines of dialogue spoken by all of these individuals were all given during an interview. Dave and Frank aren’t necessarily complaining about anything, and HAL is the same way. His words of dialogue are especially worth holding onto because it is what we all want to be. And I say this regardless of whether we are human or technology. HAL goes on saying that he is “incapable of error” and he has a stable relationship with Frank and Dave. This is where we find out HAL was programmed to have emotional capabilities.

Soon thereafter, we see HAL wish Frank a happy birthday. More specifically, after he plays a message where Frank’s parents do the same. This shows how HAL has complete control over the entire ship and he has tons of responsibility. We also see a scene that if you didn’t realize how much this movie was about where we may have been heading with technology, this was hopefully your wake up call. We see Frank and HAL playing each other in a game of chess. HAL outsmarts Frank.

After we see that, we take a look at a scene where HAL alerts Dave of a part of the ship that was going to fail in 72 hours. What happens in terms of removing that part, forget it, we’re gonna jump over it. But an important thing that HAL says afterwards, is that this may be “attributable to human error.” HAL even affirms that incidents like these have always been due to human error and that the computer is never a problem related to this.

It’s scenes like these that make me think about where technology will go in the future, what it will do in the future, how we will stand with or against it in the future. And that is f*cking important, because this movie came out FIFTY YEARS AGO. Whoever these people who watched it back when this came out happen to be, they probably thought something along these lines, and now “their future” might have already arrived! I’m still in my teen years and yet this movie makes me wonder what technology is ultimately going to do! We are pretty much at the point where if you don’t have technology (for the most part) you’re basically a caveman. This movie makes me wonder when/if technology will take over to the point we as a human race are no more. Everyone is now attached to their smartphones, which like HAL, seems to be controlling all of our daily lives. We use it to make calls, receive messages, and depending on who you are, even buy newer phones!

When HAL kills Frank, the way that scene plays out is BRILLIANT. It shows you Frank flying in space, even hitting a pod, which has no sound whatsoever, which is how space works so I appreciate the accuracy. Most big deaths in movies have some sort of sound attached to it. Perhaps an explosion, some dramatic music, maybe even a headbutt. This death is different and honestly stands out from many other deaths we see in movies today. Not only does HAL kill Frank, but he kills some other individuals on the ship who happened to be in cryogenic sleep mode. None of them were awake for the whole movie, I didn’t know much about them, and yet those deaths are just tragic.

Of course, we can’t go without mentioning “Open the pod bay doors, HAL.”

After the recently mentioned deaths, not to mention Dave’s attempt to rescue Frank, Dave asks HAL to open the pod bay doors so he can reenter the ship. HAL denies Dave’s request, to which Dave asks what the problem happens to be. HAL says Dave knows the problem as well as HAL does. The computer knows what’s up. Dave says he’s gonna go in the emergency airlock, which leads to a lack of communication with HAL from then on. Once Dave is inside, we get one of my favorite rants that just scream “Oh s*it, I f*cked up, I need to defend myself,” in the history of film.

“Just what do you think you’re doing, Dave?”

“Dave, I really think I’m entitled an answer to that question.”

“I know everything hasn’t been quite right with me. But I can assure you now, very confidently, that it’s going to be alright again.”

“I feel much better now. I really do.”

“Look, Dave. I can see you’re really upset about this. I honestly think that you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill and talk things over.”

Throughout this ramble, Dave isn’t even talking, he’s just going into HAL’s control room. Ready to end this tragedy. He begins disabling HAL, and we see HAL feeling very afraid, which eventually leads to things he must have said in the past, or things maybe he’s programmed to say once turned on. The whole death is really just something that I feel might be hard to replicate in a future film.

An interesting thing I found on “2001’s” Wikipedia page is that critic and poet Dan Schneider recalled HAL’s death being sad. And in all honesty, I can see why. This movie gives you time to see HAL go. The death is a process to go through, and I believe as I watched this scene certain times, I may have felt HAL’s pain. HAL, without a doubt, was an ungrateful son of a bitch as this movie went on. But when he starts defending himself through words, I think that one of two things are absolutely possible. He either is genuinely sorry for his actions, after all he has been programmed with genuine emotions. Or maybe he is trying to defend himself, lie, and attempt to please Dave in a time such as this. Given how HAL has been programmed with genuine emotions, it makes me wonder, does HAL have the ability to know when he’s lying? Does he know how to lie at all?

HAL comes off as fairly certain that the HAL 9000 series is a perfect piece of machinery. Was that a total lie? Did he lie about the chess match against Frank being “a very enjoyable game?” Was the game considered “work” for HAL in order to please Frank? Did HAL enjoy the match, but feel that his win made the humans on the ship useless? There are so many relevant questions to be asked.

You know how I mentioned the last line of the movie comes about 20 minutes before the credits? That is given by Dr. Heywood Floyd, which makes him the only character to appear in multiple time periods of the entire film. Afterwards we are introduced to the ultimate segment, “Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite.”

I need you to take the greatest horror movie of all time. Maybe it’s John Carpenter’s “Halloween,” perhaps “Psycho,” or maybe if you are a fan of Stanley Kubrick and you’re reading this you might say “The Shining.” Keep that movie in mind. The sequence that defines this final part of the movie to me, is the Stargate sequence. If you have followed this blog for a long time, you may know I’m a super-fan of IMAX. I know a bit about IMAX’s history, including one of their pre-shows. A lot of people today are exposed to IMAX’s epic countdown before they watch a movie in that format. This has also occasionally been mixed up during certain films including “Blade Runner: 2049,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” and “Suicide Squad.” Before that was a thing however, IMAX had a couple introductions where it’s basically a journey through this wormhole which I’d love to see brought back everywhere for a special occasion if possible. The stargate sequence is pretty much what I described except more hypnotizing, and more horrifying. One of the first questions on my mind after watching the stargate sequence for the first time was the wonder of how high Stanley Kubrick had to have been to include that in the movie.

I mean, I eventually found out that when some people watch “2001,” they’re on drugs or they drop acid, and I can totally see why. It’s not my thing. In fact having seen this sequence in theaters a few times now, the sounds of the stargate were so unbelievably boisterous that it kind of drowns out the music at times. You take the visuals which are eye candy to say the least. You take the music which is a mixture of excitement but a reminder that what you’re watching is simply put, f*cked up. You also take the shots of Dave himself, you can tell he’s scared and doesn’t know what the heck is going on. All of it makes a sequence that is nothing short of masterful.

The way they did this sequence was actually through slit-scan photography, which was done by Douglas Trumbull. You know what? I refuse to call the guy Douglas Trumbull. Instead, I’m calling the guy a genius. This process was also used in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” and when it comes to “2001,” this actually required a customized machine. The sequence is haunting, it’s colorful, and it’s just strange. When I have “2001” on and this sequence playing, each time feels like my first time because it’s hard not to be hypnotized by a scene like this.

Now we get to the very ending, where Dave is in this room. He notices an alternate version of himself. The thing is, he’s older. The difference isn’t by much, but if you look closely, you can notice some grey hairs on the alternate Dave. There are also two more alternate versions of Dave himself. You have the one at a dining table and another lying down in bed. The one sitting at the table is not in a suit and instead, some sort of robe. It’s almost like he’s an old Jedi master that is trying to enjoy his last moments before he dies. Speaking of which, this alternate version glances over to another alternate version, whose skin is so worn to the point that he looks like a deranged grandfather. He’s practically on his deathbed. We notice him raising his hand up into the air very slowly. It’s slower than a shy kid in his history class. This hand raise is almost as if he is calling to God. In fact, if you watch the scene, you might notice the monolith, present before in the film, right in front of the bed. It’s as if the monolith is symbolizing Dave’s next stage, which is the star child. We notice this baby on the bed, which also happened to appear where old Dave was once lying down. Where does this baby end up?

SPACE.

Wikipedia suggests that Stanley Kubrick once said that this space baby is the next stage of human evolution. Now this baby has not cried once in this entire movie. If Kubrick is suggesting that we don’t have to go on a plane anymore and hear a crying baby. Spectacular, I hope this is futuristically accurate. Kubrick also said that this space baby, in his mind, is Dave as an elevated being, which is what evolution can suggest. But this film, as the old saying has been thrown around, is seemingly up to interpretation. I do agree on him being reborn, but part of me wonders if this makes Dave “a chosen being.” We always wonder what would happen to us after we die. Maybe the good go to heaven. Maybe the bad end up in hell. And if you kill a supercomputer with genuine emotions, you are reincarnated as a space baby. I can’t wait for the day when everyone forgets that Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter lost to a supercomputer on “Jeopardy!” all because they eventually destroy one with their bare hands and it sends a curse on society.

Another thing that can bring lots of interpretations to the table is the monolith. Our first glimpse of the monolith is during The Dawn of Man. The apes seem to have much curiosity towards the monolith upon first glance. They are all around it trying to decipher whatever the heck it is they are looking at. One thing I’ve noticed is that most of the moments where the monolith can be seen, we see the sun growing over it. When it comes to the first two scenes with the monolith, specifically the scene with the apes and the one on the moon, those are both moments of discovery. We have the apes curious to know what they’re looking at and the men curious to know what they’ve found. It shows how we as mankind are still curious even after we make discoveries years ago. The monolith may also be a way of symbolizing life itself. We see the birth of mankind in The Dawn of Man, where we create tools, and pieces of the puzzle are forming together. We see the moon discovery with the fact that the monolith knows the letter “e.” By the way, that “e” thing, I feel like those who have seen this movie might know what I’m talking about and might consider what I said to be some sort of joke based on actual events, but there’s this sound that can be heard towards the end of that scene and it’s basically the same sound that the fire alarm would make at the school I went to in grades 1-4. I had to cover my ears in the theater during that scene for good reason. We also see the monolith in the stargate signifying that maybe Dave is not going to be in as good of shape as he once was. The stargate, while majestic and beautiful to us as an audience, was not all fun and games for Dave. Then we see the rest of Dave’s life play out. The last thing Dave apparently sees is the monolith, therefore signifying death. Not the death of mankind, but the death of Dave. Although at the same time, maybe if Stanley Kubrick’s words of Dave evolving to the next, superior form of man can be applied here, maybe it can be the death of OUR mankind as we know it, and the birth of a new mankind.

Let’s also talk about the music in this movie. Before “2001” ultimately ended up with the music it has, it once was going to have a score by a composer known as Alex North. Before this film, he worked with Kubrick before on “Spartacus.” After he worked on the score however, his work was eventually discarded. Instead, Stanley Kubrick decided to insert pieces of music that already existed such as Richard Strauss’s “Also Spoke Zarathustra” and Johann Strauss’s “The Blue Danube.” By the way, those two have ZERO relation to each other. That first song I mentioned? That’s the one from that famous opening title sequence. That’s the song that has received parody after parody to the point where it’s almost not even a joke anymore. This song plays three times in this movie, and each time is just about as epic as the last. As for The Blue Danube, that plays three times, but none play the song in its entirety. There is not one original song here. In most movies, I’d ask myself why the f*ck that would be the case. Here, I wouldn’t blame others for asking such a question, but the biggest surprise to me is how much something like this works here. I mentioned I went to see this in the theater. When you listen to the music, it’s more like you’re taking a trip to an opera house as opposed to a movie theater. Much like the stargate sequence, it’s a trip. All of the music just feels grand, it matches with what the movie is trying to be, which is an ambitious epic.

This movie also shows something in space that I never really thought too much about until I saw this movie. I know that at NASA they have those zero gravity simulators and those can help you know what you’re in for regarding your future space travel. Although there are several scenes, and these are noticeable when the space scenes begin, where people are learning how to adapt to their spatial environment. There’s a scene where a stewardess is trying to walk and she’s having a tad of trouble doing so. You also have a scene that shows people needing to learn how to use the toilet in space. It gives us a look at humanity at a new stage in our cycle. We have now gotten to the point where space travel is pretty much a necessity and now we need to learn how to adapt to it.

Before this closes off, let’s dive into some detail about HAL. One recent notion I heard about this movie is that HAL, despite being a supercomputer, might be the most “human” character in the entire movie. Having heard that, such a thing makes every bit of possible sense. All of the humans in this movie for the most part, while they do appear human, barely have any sense of emotion. Even when they’re seemingly in danger, they don’t act like they are as much as HAL would. If you take HAL’s final words, you can tell that he made a mistake. You can tell he is trying to defend himself. Everyone else is trying to get work done. Sure, people do work, but each and every day we are letting the machines do all the work for us. It’s as if we are really the machines and HAL is the sole human in this entire film. In fact, as we become the machines, which we rely on to get work done, the machines have the ability to grow a consciousness, to the point where they can beat us in literally anything. After all, in terms of how animals operate, humans are pretty high in terms of superiority. The time when machines are as emotional as say a human is a point where one can assume that they can “win” the fight for survival. The whole message of the movie is that mankind created tools, allowing us to advance ourselves, to the point where we create a doomsday tool.

Gosh I love this movie. Oh, I forgot one more thing.

SPACE.

In the end, “2001: A Space Odyssey” is one of the best sci-fi movies ever made. Not only in terms of story, but also in how it was made, how it was directed, the effort put into every single set. This film has been influential on many more sci-fi films that have arrived after it. I can imagine it STILL being talked about even a thousand years from now. Not to mention, as a film it is different, imaginative, and also just something that can evoke lots of emotions. Either fear, sadness, inspiration, whatever. Stanley Kubrick, I love you, I want to watch more of your movies, you have outdone yourself here. I’m going to give “2001: A Space Odyssey” a 10/10. Thanks for reading this review! My next space movie review will be up on Thursday, October 4th, and I am not sure what I’m going to do next. But I would like to announce that one of the installments in my space movie review series is going to be “Gravity.” I will say, if I don’t have that review next week, I can guarantee that will be up the week after. As for the other movie, I’m actually still deciding. The mystery remains. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with your email or WordPress account so you can open the pod bay doors and find some more great content! I want to know, did you see “2001: A Space Odyssey?” Or, what is your favorite Stanley Kubrick movie? I’ll be honest, I need to see more of his work. But if you have a favorite, let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

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The Meg (2018): Shut Up, Shark

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“The Meg” is directed by Jon Turteltaub (National Treasure, Phenomenon) and stars Jason Statham (The Transporter, Furious 7), Bingbing Li (Transformers: Age of Extinction, Resident Evil: Retribution), Rainn Wilson (The Office, Juno), Ruby Rose (John Wick: Chapter 2, xXx: Return of Xander Cage), Winston Chao (The Wedding Banquet, 1911), and Cliff Curtis (The Last Airbender, Fear the Walking Dead). This movie is essentially about Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) who encounters a megalodon, a killer shark that is as large as Texas. It is up to him to save people from suffering while a submersible happens to be sinking.

“The Meg” was not really my most anticipated movie of the year, it was not really something I was thinking was going to be all that great, but at the same time, I just couldn’t keep my eyes off of it. Kind of in the same way that geckos can’t keep their eyes off of how 15 minutes can save you 15 percent or more on car insurance. Maybe they don’t know what that means, but at the same time it’s just so hypnotizing and rings a bell in people’s heads. The first trailer of “The Meg,” at least to me, was a thing of beauty. I felt like this was not going to necessarily be the movie that kills all of the other summer movies in terms of likability. Having already seen “Mission: Impossible: Fallout,” this movie has some big shoes to fill. Based on the music and catch phrases that the marketing provided (CHOMP ON THIS), I knew what I was going in for, and I was f*cking ready for it. Let me just tell you all, this movie is what “Sharknado” should have been. OK, well, maybe not, the plots kind of differ, but even so, in a world where we have more “Sharknado” movies than we have “Jaws” movies, “The Meg” is here to chew on every last “Sharknado” possible!

I’ll remind everyone about “Sharknado,” and if you don’t know what “Sharknado” is, consider yourself safe from being trapped by shark Satan. There’s also a good chance you might not be aware that it is well known for being stupid, and in a way that I GUESS entertains people. For me, I just find it horrendous. And even the franchise itself understands what I’m talking about. The previous “Sharknado” installment claims to be the ultimate movie in its lineup. It’s literally called “The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time!” When it comes to “The Meg,” the plot, while still revolving around scope per se, utilizes it and uses it in a way that is technically smaller. “Sharknado” might as well be the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy…

“It’s so dense, every single frame has so many things going on.” -Rick McCallum

…whereas “The Meg” might as well be the “Star Wars” original trilogy, where there’s glory, with a proper purpose.

“The Meg” is a movie revolving around a really big shark, and this does feel like a big movie, and that’s exactly what this movie does very well. Speaking of things it excels at, it manages to have some scares. Nothing groundbreaking, nothing to write home about, but it all works. “The Meg” manages to have the same quality “Jaws” seems to have, which is to effectively combine summertime fun and horror and put it into a nice little package. Now this movie is no masterpiece, so to call it the next “Jaws” is a bit of a stretch, but it certainly does share a redeeming quality that kind of made “Jaws” what it is. Horrific summertime fun.

What “Jaws” has though compared to “The Meg” is compelling characters. The characters in “The Meg” aren’t exactly unlikable, they don’t do anything that makes you want to smash them to bits, but they just aren’t really worth talking about in a greatest characters of all time list. And I say that primarily because while they certainly serve their purpose and are somewhat intriguing, they don’t have enough depth to them. Although then again, some of them are deep underwater in the movie so what do I know?

Our main character in the movie is played by Jason Statham and he plays a guy named Jonas Taylor, but in all seriousness, I am probably not gonna remember the character’s name that well and just refer to him as Jason Statham. If he looks like Jason Statham, talks like Jason Statham, walks like Jason Statham, then he’s Jason Statham. I also gotta say though, seeing Jason Statham in this movie, I honestly think he was slightly miscast. I can imagine others playing this character aside from Statham. Sure, Statham kind of works, but there are better choices out there. Maybe John Cena (Blockers, The Wall), maybe Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Ex Machina), maybe Terry Crews (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Brooklyn Nine-Nine).

And when it comes to the background we get related to Jason Statham’s character, there’s not really much I can report. All we really know about him is that apparently he’s crazy. In fact, what do we really know about anyone in this movie? Let’s just say you tied me to a chair and the only way I’d be able to live is if I can explain about at least one character in detail. Chances are that’d be impossible, because I feel like all of these characters lack detail. These are just people that all seem to be stuck in a situation who we as audience members could be getting to know, but in reality, are just scribbled on the script just to move the story along. These characters are seemingly interesting, they’re funny, they have good chemistry for the most part, acting is hit or miss, but they all seem to work well together.

Speaking of good acting, let’s talk about the portrayal of the young girl, Meiyang, played by Shuya Sophia Cai. Let me remind you, this is a child actress. She was born a decade ago, and the first trailer for this movie came out barely before she entered the double digit ages. Her acting level in this movie was probably better than a good number of adults present on the cast list. Either the director worked extra hard with this girl to make her execute the best performance possible, she has excellent mentors who know acting and can teach acting quite well, or maybe pleasing acting to her is something that just comes naturally. I don’t know, but the main point is, this girl can act! Well done to her!

As far as pacing in this movie goes, it almost makes the movie a puzzle in a sense. In the very beginning, it’s all exposition, it’s all introductions, it gets boring after a while, you just start begging for a megalodon to show up out of nowhere. I will admittedly say that maybe the first act of “Skyscraper” may have entertained me more than the first act of “The Meg.” Once you get into the megalodon stuff however, you don’t want to go back. It gets funnier, it gets wilder, it gets stupider in the best possible way. There was also some cringe comedy in there, and I’ll be honest, it flows rather well if you ask me.

One thing I gotta ask myself though is how GOOD this movie actually is. Because I’ll be honest with you, I REALLY enjoyed myself during “The Meg.” Let me just say this IS NOT a 10/10, but it’s also not a 1/10. What I’m trying to figure out on my mind if I like this movie because it’s so stupid it’s fantastic, or if it’s fun, or I’m just putting myself in a particular mindset for a couple of hours. And speaking of time, when I walked out of the theater, I noticed it was around 9:50PM, I went into the movie at 7:45PM, and the actual film started sometime past 7:50PM. When I walked out, this movie felt like it was 10 or 20 minutes shorter than it actually was, and I mean that in a good way. When you consider the boring first act, that almost sounds impractical. But from my perspective, this movie REALLY picks up at around the 30 or 40 minute mark.

Not only is pacing something that doesn’t stay consistent in this movie, but the tone is sometimes off for me. There were a couple times when someone was in danger where I didn’t really care if they got seriously hurt or if they died, whatever. I just didn’t really care for them because this didn’t feel like a character movie for one thing and once again, these people basically have no depth to them. And speaking of that, you know how I mentioned “The Meg” might as well be the superior version of “Sharknado?” With that statement in mind, “The Meg” contains a better story with more competent camerawork, special effects, and writing. I didn’t say everything in this movie was better by a landslide when it comes to “Sharknado.” Characterization needs some work if you ask me.

In the end, “The Meg” is the best kind of stupid movie you could ever ask for. It basically knows what it is, the fun never stops after a certain point, and while there happen to be some clashing tones interfering, this movie is still a good time. I honestly want to get the “The Meg” on Blu-ray when it comes out, because I think this will end up having a positive replay value on my part, so when that movie hits stores, I’ll be on my way. I don’t recommend this movie to everyone. If you are someone who is often called “Shirley” and is very serious, this movie might be one you’d want to avoid. For me, I just had plain fun, and I can’t wait to watch this movie again if I ever get a chance. I’m gonna give “The Meg” a 6/10. I’ll be honest with you. This grade might not even last. It could go up, it could go down, it could stay where it is. But based on everything I said, 6 seems to fit. Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I’m going to have my review up for “2001: A Space Odyssey,” which will be the first entry in my space movie reviews in preparation for “First Man.” Speaking of upcoming content, I would like to warn everyone that New York Comic Con is coming up in a couple weeks, and I have tickets for Friday and Sunday so be sure to look out for my thoughts on the con whenever I can get around to posting them. Be sure to follow me here on Scene Before either with a WordPress account or email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “The Meg?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite shark movie? I bet all of you are gonna pick “Jaws” so I’ll ask another question. What are your thoughts on “Sharknado?” You can talk about individual movies or the franchise, your choice. Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Peppermint (2018): A Cluster of Ice Cream, Badassery, and Lifetime

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“Peppermint” is directed by Pierre Morel (Taken, From Paris with Love) and stars Jennifer Garner (Juno, Daredevil), John Gallagher Jr. (Jonah Hex, 10 Cloverfield Lane), and John Ortiz (Silver Linings Playbook, American Gangster) and is about a woman who lost her family five years ago. After all this time, she plans to seek revenge on those who killed said family.

This movie is from the director of “Taken,” which contains my favorite line in movie history. To be more specific, Liam Neeson’s character, Bryan Mills, is giving a monologue, telling a kidnapper to let his daughter go before they face consequences. Here, it’s a pretty similar formula, you have a kid, although in this case you actually have a *kid* and not a teenager like in “Taken.” Also in this movie, the kid does not get captured, she actually gets brutally murdered alongside her father. Not to mention, “Taken” was PG-13 whereas this was rated R, allowing the movie to get away with more on screen. But I can tell you there is something this movie did not in fact get away with, and that is being forgettable, boring, and just plain bad.

I will say, the beginning of the movie was rather intriguing. The buildup until when the daughter gets killed is rather interesting, and even the stuff that happens afterwards was still worth sitting through. I didn’t really feel bored or insulted. Although factors such as predictability, Jennifer Garner in terms of how her character was written, and simply how I didn’t remember this movie all as well as I would have hoped sometime after walking out all contributed to what could simply be referred to as “a piece of crap.” But in all seriousness, Jennifer Garner, while she could have been written worse, she wasn’t written all that well to begin with. Although has nothing to do with her performance.

When it comes to Jennifer Garner as a performer, it’s just spot on, and it’s basically what you want out of an action movie like this. She’s a badass, she’s takes no nonsense whatsoever, and she is always. F*cking. PISSED. Although I will admit, that is also a slight deterioration in this situation because of how some of the writing is in this movie. Imagine if this were a movie about Facebook, no relation to the social network. Whenever someone on Facebook is doing something that may be somewhat questionable, but it is really hard for them to control, Jennifer Garner steps in really angry and just tries to stop them from doing whatever it is they are doing. OK, sure, you can try to stop them, but have you ever thought someone might be going through a hard time? If it’s not hurting anyone, let them continue on, although I wouldn’t jump onto that decision right away, maybe private message that person and just talk to them casually, ask them how they feel. I know this is an action movie that might not really be trying to go for any awards, but actions have consequences.

Did I seriously just quote “Fist Fight?” How is that movie still in my head?

This is what I think contributes to the film’s biggest weakness, the script. Not only is it predictable, but only certain moments are worth remembering and the rest might as well be tossed in the garbage. Not to mention, this movie was marketed as what seems to be a very typical action thriller similar to that of “Taken,” “John Wick,” or even “Deadpool,” all because they are about getting revenge. And while this movie is also kind of serious in the same way that “Taken” may have come off as somewhat serious, it doesn’t seem to have much fun being what it is. I get the summer movie season is coming to a close and the awards season is getting to that point where it is gonna be in full swing, but this feels like a cluster of an Oscar film and a summer movie. It’s not a summer blockbuster, but it’s still something you’d pay matinee price to see, or maybe now that we are in a new age, you’d pay with your AMC A-List perks, just to waste time. Think of a “Bourne” movie that doesn’t necessarily try as hard to be compelling. I say it feels like an Oscar film in ways because you have Jennifer Garner, who must have delivered with full force as far as her performance goes, and the tone just feels very dramatic and serious. In a way, I’d almost take back my “Oscar” statement and call this an action movie that may be meant to go straight to Lifetime! It’s just under two hours, Jennifer Garner seems to be the right age and person to play her character, and it has some occasional cringe!

And speaking of “Taken,” this is from the director of that movie as mentioned earlier. Although when comparing this to “Taken,” if these two movies were my children, and I had to decide which of the two would end up kidnapped, I’d say this one in a heartbeat. This movie feels more on the cliche side, the way the action is shot feels like it has less passion put into it compared to some other action films we’ve gotten throughout this decade. I mean, when you truly think about it, in fact, I don’t think much thinking would be required for this, but whatever. “Taken” would probably be just another action movie had I not admired it for just the way it executed its material. Then it would just be this movie.

Now let me just warn you, we are going to dive into this movie and how it manages to earn its title. They say never to judge a book by its cover. But this is a movie, so those rules, be damned! Plus, this was never based on any existing property so let’s just do whatever the f*ck I please! This movie is called “Peppermint.” And you may be wondering why that title exists. Maybe you think that’s the name or nickname given to the daughter who was killed. It could be a nickname for the killer. Or it just keeps getting mentioned or thrown around during the film. Guess what? None of that’s true! The reason why this film, at least from my assessment of what I’ve seen, is called “Peppermint,” is that there is an instance where just before the daughter dies that she gets ice cream. And what kind does she get?

Well, what the f*ck do YOU think, idiots?

This movie literally shares the name of the ice cream she gets before she dies. Granted there are worse names that could be stated. This movie could be called “John Wick” even though John Wick appears nowhere in the film. But this title almost either sounds like a working title, or a title that was slapped together at the least minute. Some flak could be given towards Dwayne Johnson’s recent film, “Skyscraper” for maybe sounding like a pitch movie, in fact, that’s almost what the title screams at some points. But at least it just sounded like it had things revolving around that title more than “Peppermint” did. I don’t know what title I would end up giving to “Peppermint” at this point if I had the power, but probably not “Peppermint.” Heck, even “Die Family Die!” would be a better title than this! It sounds stupid, but really f*cking intriguing.

Speaking of which, one thing that I found intriguing is the way this movie takes a look at Los Angeles and makes it look like this depressing wasteland. Bums are all over the place, it just seems trashy, and nothing of glory seems to be displayed. When I think of LA, I think of tall buildings, I think of movie stars, I think of culture. This movie gives a giant f*ck you to that and I kind of admire the movie for doing such a thing. I can’t wait for the sequel where they start the movie in New York and they show people asking for money on the street, horns honking everywhere, and creepy Disney character impersonators kidnapping children and their parents!

Guys, in the end, while I don’t think I have much else to say about “Peppermint,” most of what I have to say is not really all that positive. “Peppermint” could have been a fun movie, a compelling movie, or even a good movie. But the thing is that it probably doesn’t know what it wants to be. Is it trying to be an action-packed, made for audiences to go in and chew on popcorn time-waster? Is it trying to be a serious drama that would make you root for the mother? I don’t know. Guys, if you want a good movie about revenge, go watch “John Wick!” Go watch “V For Vendetta!” Not this crap. I’m gonna give “Peppermint” a 3/10. Thanks for reading this review! Tomorrow I’m gonna be going out to the theater to see “The Meg” so expect a review of that very soon, also if content consistency seems to be slower than usual, I should have you know, I’m in college now, so I apologize for any inconvenience this may be causing. However, let me just have you know that my resolution for 2018 is to deliver at least one Scene Before post each week. So I’m not saying this is dying. It’s still a serious commitment, it’s still going on, and I will make sure I deliver whatever content I can whenever I can. I may be doing something for someone else, but I’m also doing something for YOU, my 32 followers. With that being said, be sure to follow this blog if you haven’t already by clicking the follow button and following either with a WordPress account or an email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Peppermint?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite movie with Jennifer Garner in it? If you ask me, I gotta go with “Juno.” Let me know about your favorites in the comments! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Henry Cavill (Superman) OUT of DC Extended Universe (Or is he?)

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! The bird is getting crashed by the plane! Today we are going to discuss some of the most shocking movie news I’ve ever witnessed this year! When it comes to comic book movies, we’ve had our fair share of standouts this year when it comes to news. We’ve gotten news about records being broken by “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” James Gunn, director of “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” had his Disney business relationship severed over nasty tweets, thus making him unable to direct “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” The Russo Brothers, the directors behind “Avengers: Infinity War,” essentially sent out a reminder that spoiling the movie is wrong and is just as bad as committing murder. We also received word that both “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” and “The New Mutants” were pushed back from their original release dates. While “Dark Phoenix” is a somewhat understandable pushback, the one for “The New Mutants” is basically an electric shock and a half, moving from April of this year to August of next year!

Aside from the James Gunn situation, this news we are going to talk about may be the most shocking comic book movie related news I have to take on this very year. Henry Cavill, otherwise known as the star of 2013’s “Man of Steel,” which was essentially THE KICKSTARTER of the Detective Comics Extended Universe, has apparently parted ways with Warner Brothers and will no longer appear in any of the future DC films as Superman.

Before we go any further, there’s probably a spot open in the DC Extended Universe for a role, so I gotta ask, Nicolas Cage, what are you waiting for?! You had a chance to play Superman before and that didn’t work out! This is a second chance for you! Take it while it’s here!

Oh yeah, right, this happened. Still, you can play a LIVE-ACTION Superman!

Nevertheless, to me, this news is something that didn’t even cross my mind. Out of everyone that would slip away from the Detective Comics Extended Universe, I didn’t think Cavill would be the last one. Maybe Amy Adams, maybe Laurence Fishburne, maybe Ben Affleck (in fact at this point, it’s quite possible he’s completely out), all those people would consider parting ways or exit the DC Extended Universe before Cavill. I mean, it”s pretty certain that folks like Gal Gadot want to stay. I thought Cavill had no problem with staying in a franchise like this. It certainly pays well, he gets to be an iconic character, and it’ll definitely help with name recognition. I mean, if he wasn’t Superman, there’s a chance I’d probably have no idea who this guy was once I saw “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.” This almost sounds like something you’d hear about a maniac who insults women becoming president. But then you look at the source where this pretty much all started, The Hollywood Reporter.

Henry Cavill Out as Superman Amid Warner Bros.’ DC Universe Shake-Up (Exclusive)

According to the article, Warner Brothers, the studio behind all of the movies in the DCEU, has been making attempts to enlist Cavill to make a cameo appearance in the upcoming Zachary Levi-lead “Shazam” set to release in 2019. However, that is not happening, and when it comes to Cavill’s representatives WME (William Morris Endeavor) and the studio, the two sides were in talks and it basically lead to the end of Cavill’s Superman appearances.

So when that “Justice League” sequel comes around, not only will Cavill’s facial hair be erased, but so will his entire body.

The article goes on to state that Warner is shifting its gears towards making a “Supergirl” movie, which will focus on a teen heroine. Because ya know, we need some buildup toward “Batgirl v. Supergirl: Dawn of Injustice: Gods Among Us.”

One quote from the article states the following: “Superman is like James Bond, and after a certain run you have to look at new actors.” Funny enough, Daniel Craig is supposed to be doing his final “Bond” movie. So if Henry Cavill becomes James Bond, which honestly would be my preferred pick for the next Bond other than maybe Tom Hiddleston, it would be interesting to see a trade in roles between him and Daniel Craig. I doubt Craig wants to be the next Man of Steel, and I never really imagined him as such a characater, but nevertheless. I should also mention that Cavill was the runner-up to play Bond before the crew ultimately decided on Daniel Craig.

I will also point out that Henry Cavill does have another recently announced commitment. Netflix has decided to do a series on “The Witcher.” Cavill will be playing Geralt of Rivia. This started out as a series of short stories and novels, eventually leading to tabletop games, video games, a film, and a TV series separate from this one we’re currently discussing. Based on what I’m reading from IMDb, there’s eight episodes listed and they’ll be released in 2019. From what I’m imagining, this is essentially Netflix trying to start their own “Game of Thrones.”

Other than that, Cavill actually recently completed a project that has yet to be released, specifically “Nomis,” where he will star alongside Alexandria Daddario (Texas Chainsaw 3D, Baywatch) and Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle).

View this post on Instagram

Today was exciting #Superman

A post shared by Henry Cavill (@henrycavill) on

And as if this situation couldn’t get any more insane, I have a couple things I need to spit out. For one thing, Henry Cavill posted a video on his Instagram some time after this was announced of him wearing a shirt that said “Krypton Lifting Team,” as he slowly presents his own Superman action figure, all the while some dog-bark version of “The Blue Danube” happens to be playing. He lifts it up very slowly and brings it back down at the same pace. I have a ton of questions, so let’s start with question one.

WHAT THE F*CK?!

HOW DOES THIS HELP ANYTHING?!

WHY DOES THIS EXIST?!

One of the best parts of this post is what’s being said in it, specifically, “Today was exciting.” So… What does that mean? Is this all a joke? Is this to get into the Halloween spirit and scare all the DC fans out there? Are you excited to exit the DCEU? Are you disappointed because you didn’t make this decision on your own? I don’t understand anything about this! Is the shirt a joke? Are you trying to just make a video for fun where you’re pretending to lift weights and instead of lifting a weight you happen to lift a Superman action figure?! I don’t understand!

So let’s move on from the actor and focus on the studio once again, specifically Warner Brothers. Here’s what a Warner Brothers spokesperson said about this s*itshow after the publication of the story.

“We have a great relationship and great respect for Henry Cavill that continues to remain unchanged. Additionally we have made no current decisions regarding any upcoming Superman films.”

I have something to ask.

WHAT THE F*CK?!

HOW DOES THIS HELP ANYTHING?!

WHY DOES THIS EXIST?!

When I was younger, I’ve always been asked “yes” or “no” questions, and apparently for some reason my answers may not have been valid enough for said questions. In this case, this does not answer the question of whether or not Henry Cavill is out as Superman. Is Henry Cavill Superman? That’s the question we want answered!

This news is not only shocking, not only big, but overall it just makes me question a number of things. Is Warner going to hit the reset button on the entire DC Universe? If so, will this cancel movies like “Wonder Woman 1984?” What is humanity? What is the meaning of life? And most importantly, despite the title of the post, IS HENRY CAVILL STILL SUPERMAN?!

If you say yes, it’s all cool, we can move on with our lives. If you say no, then I do recommend probably continuing this current DCEU, personally because I’m curious to see where it goes. And if you do need another person to play Superman, allow me to throw out a few suggestions.

Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street, Titanic)
Alexander Skarsgård (The Legend of Tarzan, True Blood)
Tom Cruise (Top Gun, Mission: Impossible)
Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Ex Machina)
Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street, Jupiter Ascending)
Toby Kebbell (The Hurricane Heist, Warcraft)

And just for the fun of it, Nicolas Cage (Raising Arizona, The Wicker Man).

And just for the ABSOLUTE fun of it, Daniel Craig (Casino Royale, Logan Lucky).

These suggestions are sort of on the fly, so bear with me. I almost put down Jason Bateman (Horrible Bosses, Game Night) but I don’t know how much interest he’d have doing a superhero movie.

And sticking with the idea of how much this news honestly shocked me, this does sound like something you’d hear on that one day in the year. Specifically, April Fools Day, the holiday that celebrates being a total dick to those you know. This honestly makes me wonder something, and I guess this kind of falls in the hot take category. Is this actually a joke? The Hollywood Reporter is said to be one of the most credible sources in the entertainment industry. They’ve been in operation for almost ninety years. Maybe they wanted to do something for fun where they could create their own fake news. I legit think this is actually happening, either that or I am just really hoping it’s happening. Seriously though,

WHAT THE F*CK?!

HOW DOES THIS HELP ANYTHING?!

WHY DOES THIS EXIST?!

Thanks for reading this post! I just recently bought “12 Strong” on Blu-ray, so a review of that might be coming rather soon, and also stay tuned for my review for “2001: A Space Odyssey,” which will kick off my series of space movie reviews in preparation for “First Man,” which is set to release in October. There’s no official date for when I’m going to post such a review, but the latest it’ll be delivered is September 27th. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with a WordPress account or email and stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, what are your thoughts on Henry Cavill hanging up the cape as Supes? Or, who do you think should replace him? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Academy Postpones BEST POPULAR FILM: Thank Heavens!

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Last month I talked about perhaps the all-time dumbest idea that has ever come about in the history of the Academy Awards, that idea being the introduction of an all new award that celebrates POPULAR FILM. Like, why? As if the idea was bad enough, part of me wondered why it was even introduced in the first place. Yes, the Academy Awards had its least watched show ever this year, and they are trying to find ways to get its ratings higher next year and years down the road. But part of me wondered if ABC, the channel that airs the Oscars, stepped in and said, PRAISE US! And I don’t mean that literally, because ABC doesn’t make movies set to release in theaters. What I mean is that ABC is owned by Disney, the creator of the animated film “Dumbo,” which is just an understatement for how ridiculous this popular film award idea truly is. Disney has had a pretty successful year so far, releasing three films this that have surpassed $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office, and one of those films actually reached the $2 billion mark (“Avengers: Infinity War”). And it’s not just money that talks here, it’s also the critics and moviegoers. “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” happened to be two of the best reviewed comic book movies in recent memory. It’s possible that Disney wants an Oscar, just to say they’ve won an Oscar. “Black Panther,” which is getting tons of phrase left and right, seems to be a big contender, and certainly would also have that title attached to it if this category were to exist, but if you nominate “Black Panther,” or if that movie WINS the Oscar for “Best Popular Film,” I just see it as an insult. It makes the Oscars look like a popularity contest, and it somewhat diminishes the value of the movie itself. Maybe “Black Panther” ended up not taking Best Picture, but hey! It’s popular!

Gimmie a f*cking break.

Luckily, after about a month of a storm that is almost on the disaster level of a sharknado, The Academy answered the prayers of many in the movie community by saying that the award WILL NOT be presented in the 2019 Oscars telecast.

*APPLAUSE FROM SELF*

Now let me just say, from what I’ve read, I wouldn’t say this concept of an award is gone for good, because I’m hearing from various sources like The Wrap and Indie Wire that it’s been delayed, but still, IT’S NOT GONNA BE A THING! For those of you who have read my post that I completed last month about this, I must say, I had a wish to pick the host of the 2020 Oscars if this award idea was still going to be executed, and as much as I wanted either Mark Hamill, Conan O’Brien, or Howie Mandel to host the Oscars, the eradication (sort of) that this popular award idea has received is certainly something I’ll take.

And it’s not just me who has been raging about this whole Oscar popular award fiasco, people in the industry such as Steven Spielberg (Ready Player One, Schindler’s List), Laura Dern (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Big Little Lies), were highly against this idea. Not just them, but movie bloggers, vloggers, websites everywhere just so happened to be calling this a s*itshow! Another notable celebrity included Rob Lowe (Parks and Recreation, St. Elmo’s Fire), who tweeted saying that this idea was the worst thing the Oscars has done since he was supposed to come on the show and sing onstage with Snow White, which did happen by the way, as I was writing this, I watched a video of what exactly went down (below). It says it’s just over eleven minutes, which is a total lie, allow me to declare, IT NEVER ENDS! And if you were to ask me which Oscars idea was the worst, having seen this Snow White bulls*it, it’s close, but this popular award frenzy would CERTAINLY be my answer.

Let me once again state, this award is DOWN, not OUT. I gotta ask though, WHY THE F*CK IS THAT THE CASE?! Before I get too selfish here, I ought to calm down and realize that sometimes a little experimentation can’t do all that much harm. Because if you have been following this site and read that other post I did about this, you may remember I went over a couple of other new ideas the Academy has come up with. These include a commitment to making the show a three hour telecast, and setting an earlier airdate for the 92nd Oscars. And while I do have minor concerns related to both the first and second idea, my concern level isn’t as enormous as it is for the main topic. While I’m relieved that we’re not getting this award, it almost makes me think in a couple different ways. Does the Oscars have an idea related to this award that maybe the general public and reporters are absolutely missing? Because the way I see this idea is that it’s just an excuse to make the Oscars a popularity contest for a moment. F*ck craftsmanship! F*ck hard work! F*ck not putting how much money something makes into a situation like this!

To me, Best Popular Film, is basically the same thing as Best Animated Feature, only dumber. It’s an exclusive category for films that MIGHT not be good enough for Best Picture, or other prestigious categories, but hey, at least they’re nominated. If a film like “Thor: Ragnarok” won this award at the most recent Academy Awards, it’s just gonna be that one kid at the small table, stuck with his juice box and grilled cheese sandwich, whereas the grown-ups like “The Shape of Water,” “Dunkirk,” and “Call Me by Your Name” all get to enjoy the liquor at the bar while simultaneously chowing down on some fresh steak.

One highlight from all of this is some of the words spoken by Dawn Hudson, the CEO of The Academy.

“There has been a wide range of reactions to the introduction of a new award, and we recognize the need for further discussion with our members.”

Wide range? OK, I’ve talked to a number of people I know about this, but I’m pretty sure only ONE of them thought it was a good idea. In fact, if I remember correctly, this person could have changed their mind! But for the most part, the reactions all over have been “F*ck this idea!” So this, “wide range” that apparently is on your mind right now, forget about it, f*ck it!

And let me just say one thing, should the Academy decide to bring this award back to life, they should pay attention to my statement. Just because something is popular, it doesn’t make it good or Oscar-worthy. “Twilight” is popular, doesn’t make it good or Oscar-worthy. “Fifty Shades of Grey” is popular, doesn’t make it good or Oscar-worthy. “Mission: Impossible II” was the highest worldwide grossing movie of 2000, but was it good or Oscar-worthy? No. And you could make a case saying by stating fantastic popular films to come out in the years the other, inferior popular films came out. “Twilight” came out in 2008, but so did “The Dark Knight.” It was nominated for eight Oscars and ended up taking home two. “Fifty Shades of Grey” came out in 2015, but so did “Mad Max: Fury Road.” It was nominated for ten Oscars, including Best Picture, and ended up taking home six. And yes, “Fifty Shades of Grey” was nominated for an Oscar, but it’s for Best Original Song,” so who cares? “Mission: Impossible II” came out in 2000, but so did “Gladiator.”  It was nominated for twelve Oscars, and ended up taking home five, including Best Picture. I’ll just remind everyone that there is a place for popular films, but it’s not the Oscars, you know, unless it was masterfully created and executed. If someone were to create a show that celebrated everything that people know or follow, then OK, at least it’s honest. “Black Panther” will probably end up taking home a ton of awards, it’ll be a close race between that and “Infinity War” for Best Picture. But if you are creating a show that’s meant to celebrate the best of the best, don’t bring popularity into it.

And going back to Best Animated Feature, let’s consider that for a second. What if we find ourselves in a year which there are no good animated films? Some of the animations we’re getting next year include “Toy Story 4,” “Wonder Park,” “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” “UglyDolls,” “The Addams Family,” “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” “Farmageddon: A Shaun the Sheep Movie,” and “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.” Based on the trailer for that last movie I mentioned, I’d say we’re gonna have at least one good animated feature next year, but what if in future years, all of the animated features suck? So, what if the future popular movies are simply phenomenons? They just make money, and therefore they are popular. It would take a kiddy table award and just shrink it into a baby table. So, Academy, listen to me, if you don’t want me getting closer to choosing a future Oscars host again, ERASE THE IDEA COMPLETELY. YOU GET IT?!

If you want to find out more of my thoughts on this whole fiasco, I have a link to my other post that I did on this, be sure to check it out, back when life was harder and I wasn’t jumping for joy. This award may not be dead, but the progress of a full disappearance may be near completion. Let’s just hope it goes away as soon as possible.

Academy Awards Adds Popularity Contest?! *AN UNACCEPTANCE SPEECH*

Thanks for reading this post! I also want to invite you to check out some of my recent movie reviews. Be sure to click the links down below if you’re interested! Be sure to follow Scene Before with your email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, what are your thoughts on the Best Popular Film Oscar being postponed? Or, do you think they should have kept it? Is there any reason why? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

“KIN” (2018) REVIEW

“EIGHTH GRADE” (2018) REVIEW

“GRINGO” (2018) REVIEW

San Diego Comic-Con Can Only Be the One True Comic Con: WHY I’M MAD!

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! This post could have been done earlier, and by that I mean last month, but due to a lack of motivation and feeling the need to do such a post at one time, I ignored any thought of taking this on. But having talked about this with some pals recently, I feel that this is a situation that has REALLY gone out of hand and I feel that this gonna ruin a number of events. Months back, I did a post on my response to the case between San Diego Comic-Con and Salt Lake Comic Con. I was rather angry at the fact that San Diego Comic-Con had the idea that their stance as “comic con” is superior to everyone else. Sure, they are one of the most popular comic conventions out there. And building off of that, as a convention in general, they happen to be one of the first that enters people’s minds. But several news articles came out recently that sounded like something I’ve heard months ago, but once I saw them, they made me just as angry as I was during that period of time.

Apparently, I’m seeing articles pop up everywhere saying “San Diego Comic-Con” wins trademark rights for comic-con, here are just a few examples down below:

San Diego Union Tribune
Hollywood Reporter
NBC Washington

Now about all of this, I think it’s just plain f*cking stupid! I know that SDCC is the original comic-con, I know that they’ve been in this type of business for a long time, but the fact is, I don’t recall ever seeing a case like this before in the realm of conventions, or comic-conventions at the very least.

For those who need some background information, allow me to introduce the cons.

*Cue “The People’s Court” theme*

San Diego Comic-Con, formerly known as the Golden State Comic Book Convention, was once a convention where comic-books were king. Multiple decades later, chances are they are the first thing someone would think of when they hear the name Comic-Con. They sell out their tickets very quickly for their yearly events, have many celebrity guests, are known for long lines, and most recently, the surrounding of eScooters. SDCC is where many new pieces of promotional material for upcoming nerdy content gets released. This year some highlights include a trailer for an all new season “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” with the hashtag #CloneWarsSaved, the first trailer for “Aquaman,” the first trailer for “Shazam,” a trailer for M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass,” a trailer for Matt Groenig’s new Netflix series “Disenchantment,” and a trailer for “The Walking Dead” season 9.

Salt Lake Comic Con, otherwise now known as FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention, coincidentally has one of its shows around the time this post is released believe it or not. Past shows have been popular by Utah standards. For example, in September 2015, a couple years after this convention first started, there was an attendance of 127,000 according to FanX’s Wikipedia page. If you aren’t familiar with how Salt Lake Comic Con does things, they have two kinds of shows. There’s your standard Salt Lake Comic Con, and then there’s the Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience. Salt Lake Comic Con focuses on guests and other things that maybe you’d expect to find at a convention that has “comic con” in its name, whereas FanX is more focused on thinking outside the box.

As I write this, I reread my older post on the trademark battle, and for those who don’t know, San Diego Comic-Con apparently has claimed that they’ve trademarked the term Comic-Con, as stated during a court case between both parties. This court case by the way, was won by San Diego, and it just so turns out that neither party was satisfied with the outcome. Salt Lake was unsatisfied because they lost, and San Diego was unsatisfied because they didn’t even get as much money as they would have hoped out of the case. They were awarded $20,000, the top prize one can win after a game of “Family Feud,” as opposed to $12,000,000, which is the top prize of the game show that has yet to be pitched to ABC, “Who Wants to Be a Rich Egomaniac Who Doesn’t Give Anything to Anyone but Themselves?” By the way, that game show is also an accurate title describing what Jeff Bezos’ life is like as the CEO of Amazon. According to an article published by Hollywood Reporter on January 17th of this year, Daniel Farr and Bryan Bradenberg of Dan Farr Productions, the organizers of Salt Lake Comic Con, wanted a new trial because they felt that certain points were left out and the jury didn’t receive proper instructions. When it comes to San Diego, they wanted an injunction, they wanted Salt Lake to disgorge a profit on future events, and they wanted $4.5 million in attorneys’ fees and costs because they feel their argument is strong whereas Salt Lake is a bit exaggerative. SDCC also goes on to claim that this is an “all-out war” that was started against them.

I may sound like a nazi threatening San Diego Comic-Con at every turn, but in all seriousness, there are some valid points to their win. Aside from their claim that “comic-con” is their trademark, they are organized by a company referred to as Comic-Con International. And yes, they certainly got the “comic-con” of their name right. “International” though, not so much. Comic-Con International organizes two other events, specifically Wondercon and Alternative Press Expo, both of which, like SDCC, are in the United States, and not only that, but ALL THREE CONVENTIONS ARE IN CALIFORNIA!

I gotta say though, going back to the main topic, August comes around. US District Court Judge Anthony Battaglia, who coincidentally shares his name with a former pro hockey player who also happens to be a former contestant on “The Amazing Race,” has something to say. Keep in mind, he was the judge who has been fed all of these recently mentioned demands on both sides. What does he do? He lets Darth Vader chop Luke’s hand off! San Diego Comic-Con received $3.9 million in legal fees, Salt Lake Comic Con has 30 days to stop using “comic-con,” WITH OR WITH OUT A HYPHEN, OR ANY OTHER SIMILAR SOUNDING TITLES, according to SDCC attorney Peter Hahn. Just the other day, I was talking about this with friends, I referred to SDCC as “Stupid Dumb Crazy Crapfaces,” because that matches the initials of the acronym for San Diego Comic-Con. I take that back, because now they’re “S*itty Dumbasses Called Clusterf*cks!” I almost happen to have trouble processing this because having learned about this apparent “trademark,” it just makes me wonder how many other conventions have some variation of “comic-con” in their name and they could potentially be harmed by San Diego. I didn’t even know about this “trademark” until last year when I went over the trial in December, but as much as a trademark is a trademark, I can’t help but wonder, can a trademark like comic-con be defeated?

The short answer would probably be a no. But I gotta say, I’m kinda fed up. I’m not happy. Months ago, when I talked about San Diego winning the case, I referred to SDCC as what was once the ultimate place for nerds to unite, but then they changed into the jocks that put someone down. Now, to quote the marketing for “Revenge of the Nerds,” it’s time for the odd to get even!

Daniel Farr, Bryan Bradenberg, if either of you are reading this, awesome, hope you’re enjoying the free content slapped together by a moron. And I’ll just say, you might want to stick around for this. At the beginning of this post, I have mentioned that San Diego Comic-Con is famous for its lines. In fact, while it has been proven that SDCC is a fun time for many people, there are downsides. And while spoilers for “Game of Thrones” or “The Walking Dead” or “Avengers: Infinity War” may be a dealbreaker for some individuals, chances are that someone is guaranteed to most likely complain about the lines. But I want to take the worst part of comic-con and use it to send a message.

Now, I may sound like some progressive individual who is trying to organize some event in a major city. Trust me, I’m not. I don’t lean towards any political party, I haven’t attended any of the “marches” that have been going on, and most importantly, I’m busy. I just started college, what can I say? But if I were a little less busy, I’d want to organize an event somewhere, maybe either in Salt Lake City or San Diego. The event is not a march, but it does involve being on the streets. It also could potentially involve moving around. In celebration of the worst that a number of cons, not just San Diego Comic-Con, has to offer, I want to form an enormous line full of people. This line shall send a message to San Diego Comic-Con and Comic-Con International. I understand what a trademark is, but I also understand what generic means. And given the vast number of comic-cons around the world, it would only be fair if you’d let others have a name that may have once been a one-of-a-kind, but is now as ubiquitous as McDonald’s. So if you want the name comic-con to be applied to conventions aside from San Diego without other conventions apparently having to have a talk with them, I recommend that this event shall take place. If this idea generates enough interest among the public, then this might as well happen. Until then, I hope you enjoyed my free content that I just make for entertainment purposes. In fact, that busy thing? I’ll say that I have Fridays and weekends off so if this event were to happen and I were the key organizer, I’d be in a city on those days in a HEARTBEAT! So if you’re with me, let’s not stand together, let’s stand SINGLE-FILE, WHAT MAY SEEM LIKE FOREVER, AND FOR A PURPOSE!

Thanks for reading this post! Not much is coming out this weekend that I’m interested in. “The Nun” is in “The Conjuring” universe and I haven’t seen one of those films, so I’m skipping that. “Peppermint” kind of strikes my interest, so we’ll see where that goes. Maybe I’ll go see “The Meg,” “Operation Finale,” “Searching,” “The Happytime Murders,” one of those films, maybe something else, I’m not sure, we’ll just have to see what happens. Be sure to follow Scene Before with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, what are your thoughts on this whole comic-con fiasco? Do you think my line idea is something that must be executed? Or is it just plain crap? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Kin (2018): Two Brothers, A Ray Gun, and a Stripper

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“Kin” is directed by Jonathan and Josh Baker, two brothers who have worked together on multiple short films. This movie stars Myles Truitt (Queen Sugar, Black Lightning), Jack Reynor (Sing Street, Glassland), Zoë Kravitz (Divergent, After Earth), Carrie Coon (The Leftovers, Gone Girl), Dennis Quaid (Far From Heaven, Frequency), and James Franco (Spider-Man, The Disaster Artist) and is about an ex-con who has been recently released from prison and his teen brother who are on the run from soldiers. Alongside them we have a unique weapon, which just so happens to be some of their only protection.

The main reason why I’m reviewing “Kin” is not because I’m particularly interested in the movie, but because this review works around my schedule. I have reviewed movies in August, but there’s no point where I’ve actually gone out to see a movie actually released in the month of August. I wanted to see “The Meg” so bad, but I never got around to it. I had some sort of interest in movies including “Mile 22,” “The Happytime Murders,” “The Spy Who Dumped Me,” and “Searching.” I could have gone out to see these movies, but there was no time and on occasion, no way, to get to any of these. Apparently adventures like “2001” in IMAX and “Eighth Grade” are a lot more important. Now it’s September, and my chance to review an August movie is finally here. And I’d say for the most part, this August movie was worth my time. I have my problems with it, but we’ll get to those later.

This movie stars Myles Truitt and Jack Reynor as two “brothers” if you will. Jimmy (Reynor) was raised by his birth family while Eli (Truitt) happened to be adopted. Jimmy is not essentially the brightest bulb in the world. As the movie begins, we find out that Jimmy just happened to be released from prison. When the main plot kicks in, this is essentially where the two brothers have to team up. So the two go on a road trip, leaving post-apocalyptic Detroit to wherever their travels take them. And I gotta say that this is probably where “Kin” hits its highest marks. Not only did both actors play their characters well, but they’ve also delivered terrific and believable chemistry. None of it was awkward, at least from what I remember, and it made me see these actors purely as these characters. Who else is gonna play them now?

Now this movie is produced by the same folks who produced “Stranger Things.” While I have not seen much of “Stranger Things,” I am certainly well aware of what it is all about. And there are some moments of this that can feel like “Stranger Things.” Probably the biggest reason that can associate with such a statement is that the two main characters who have to stick together are on the younger side of the spectrum. And as mentioned, both of them did very well in this movie.

Along the way, the duo meet a girl by the name of Milly, played by Zoë Kravitz. Where do they meet her? A strip club.

Now whoa whoa whoa hold the phone!

Out of all the places that the two brothers could stop, the older brother, who happens to be in control of the wheel (for good reason), decides it would be reasonable to go to a strip club alongside his FOURTEEN YEAR OLD ADOPTED BROTHER. As crazy enough as that alone is, they don’t check IDs (upon research though I don’t think ALL clubs do that).

Anyway, they meet her at a strip club and what I love about this is not what any stereotypical teenager would go ahead and talk about. It’s not about how f*ckable she is or how hot she looks onstage. In fact, this movie is rated PG-13, so it’s not like you have to come in expecting anything hardcore. The thing I love about her is how the movie utilizes her character to make her actually have a personality. It’s not like she’s a sex object, she has a purpose in the film. There’s a point where I wouldn’t say she’s actually “doing s*it,” but she does happen to have heavy involvement in the plot. But then again, and this may be nitpicky, but this probably wouldn’t have happened if the dynamic duo didn’t get kicked out for having a CLEARLY underage kid in their party.

One of the movie’s biggest things it has going for it is the futuristic ray gun that seems to be getting a lot of attention when it comes to marketing. When it comes to that particular aspect, I’m both impressed and maybe a tad disappointed at the same time. On one hand, the ray gun was a nifty little tool and I thought it really served a purpose, not to mention a bit of fun, in the story. On the other hand, it might have gotten maybe somewhere near minimal use, which kind of underwhelmed me. If this movie gets a sequel, which I doubt will happen unless this movie makes a s*itton more money than it did during its first few days, I want to see more use out of the ray gun if there is time for it. I’ve been exposed to others’ reviews on “Kin” before publishing this one, and they’ve said that this film, tonally speaking, is way off. While I do happen to disagree on that point, I do agree that this film needs to hit the big guns. There is although a pretty cool side story involving a couple of people who actually had the gun before it was even found and taken by the two brothers. Also that reminds me, I wanted there to be perhaps a more memorable and fascinating discovery. I don’t even remember how it was found except for bits and pieces. In the “Jumanji” movie, specifically the one starring Robin Williams, I still remember the discovery of the Jumanji board game. I remember bits of the music, where it was, and it just felt like you were maybe in an adventure film. Maybe like “Indiana Jones” or something.

This film is actually based on a short film directed by the twin brothers Jonathan and Josh Baker. These two brothers eventually went on to direct this exact movie. I have not seen the short, but it is called “Bag Man,” so I have nothing to compare it to, but I do want to give a bit of credit to this film for at least raising my interest towards checking that out.

In the end, “Kin” is actually a bit of a surprise for me. I went in not expecting much at all. In fact, I walked out thinking, that wasn’t really that bad. This is like walking into a Kmart or Sears at this point seeing that they’re actually doing a somewhat decent business and keeping the stock flowing smoothly. Maybe it’s not perfect, but hey, it could definitely be a lot worse. I do have my problems with it, and trust me, some stand out. I don’t think I’ll remember “Kin” as much as I do with some other movies, but this was certainly something I couldn’t complain about. I’m gonna give “Kin” a 6/10. Thanks for reading this review! Right now it is September, and it is more than a month away until “First Man” releases in several countries, including the US. For those of you who don’t know, “First Man” stars Ryan Gosling (Blade Runner 2049, Crazy Stupid Love) and Claire Foy (The Crown, Breathe), it is directed by Academy Award-winning director Damien Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash), and happens to be, depending on how you look at things, based on the true story, or a fantasy with a hidden truth and meant to be shot in a studio, on the Apollo moon landing. In honor of that, starting sometime later this month, I’m planning to be reviewing a bunch of space-related movies. Be sure to stay tuned for that. I’ve got a number of options in my head. I’ll just say, that my first review is probably guaranteed to be “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Not only does it have some sort of relation to space, but this year is the movie’s 50th anniversary, and based on results from a Twitter poll, “2001” received the popular vote. Stay tuned for this, along with other great content! Also, be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or your WordPress account! I want to know, did you see “Kin?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite fictional weapon in a movie? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!