The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018): Meg Griffin and Hillary Clinton Go On Vacation

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“The Spy Who Dumped Me” is directed by Susanna Fogel (Chasing Life, Life Partners) and stars Mila Kunis (Family Guy, That ’70s Show) and Kate McKinnon (Ghostbusters, Saturday Night Live) as two besties who get caught in an international conspiracy after a discovery that one of their ex-boyfriends happened to be a spy.

2018 is one of the best years for comedy I have ever witnessed. While I will say, there is no technical “comedy” to surpass last year’s “The Disaster Artist.” The amount of comedy I’ve seen this year to have been wholeheartedly impressed by is actually surprising. Let’s talk about a few movies in depth. One movie I really enjoyed is “Tag.” I did go see this movie before it released to the public, I’m not being paid to say this, I’m just a fan. Between a great cast, a story that’s funny because it’s true, and lots of heart, “Tag” knows how to deliver a hilarious and joyful ride about a childhood game. Another standout to me is “Game Night.” I missed this one in the theater, and having seen it, I kind of regret missing it. As a close contender for me for “Best Comedy of 2018,” “Game Night” is a well written, well acted, well directed, and well edited flick. “Game Night” is technically a comedy, but it has some elements of a horror movie mixed into it. Then again, it involves a murder mystery so that makes sense. However, one advantage from my perspective regarding both comedies is the marketing. The marketing for “Tag” and “Game Night” completely worked for me. I was convinced if I were to check either of those movies out, I would feel a sense of satisfaction from watching them. On the other hand, you have “Blockers.” This movie to me had a less than satisfying marketing campaign, and I was not convinced it was going to be funny. Honestly, once I saw “Blockers,” not only did I walk out having laughed my ass off, but feeling like I watched a movie with layers. “Blockers” is not just a movie about teenage girls who want to have sex. It’s a film about growing up, the double standard between boys and girls having intercourse, and how parents and their children react to each other when it comes to the idea of sex. This can also pertain to the idea of parents finding out about their kids losing their virginity or engaging in sexual activity.

So we have a couple of great films and a surprise.

There are some stinkers like “I Feel Pretty” and “Life of the Party,” but even with those, I feel 2018, especially when compared to other recent years, is a gem when it comes to comedy.

As for “The Spy Who Dumped Me.” I saw the trailer a few months ago, but I missed the movie when it was in theaters. I didn’t think “The Spy Who Dumped Me” would be good or bad, just alright. It’s got a couple cast members I like, so cool. And to be honest, I almost nailed my prediction. A good number of hilarious moments are found in the marketing, Kunis and McKinnon play the best friend pair while adding in their own personalities. Kunis seems to be more serious, but McKinnon is a bit more goofy. I gotta say though, my biggest praise that I got to give the movie at various points is not the comedy, but the action. This is an action comedy, but at times, and by times, I probably mainly mean one time during the opening sequence, it felt like a straight-up action flick. Speaking of which, let’s talk about marketing.

When it comes to marketing, “The Spy Who Dumped Me” seems to know its audience. It’s advertising itself as a comedy, and while there is action inserted, that’s not the main ingredient. And no, it’s not advertising towards anyone specifically into “Austin Powers.” This movie released on the first weekend of August this year. I do find that somewhat interesting because the weekend prior, “Mission: Impossible: Fallout” was put into theaters. While this movie seemingly would have gathered all the comedy junkies, the action and spy junkies would have probably gone to see “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.” Either because it’s the spy franchise that all spy lovers seem to bow down to nowadays, or people saw it, loved it, and said they were going to see it again on its second weekend. Did I mention Tom Cruise?

And I feel that the poor release slot contributed to this movie’s final box office total, racking in just a little more than $42 million. Keep in mind, “The Spy Who Dumped Me” had a budget of $40 million. While $42 million is greater than $40 million, it’s still a slight loss for the studio, and it questions whether a sequel should happen or not. It’s almost like getting a $5 scratch ticket and finding out you won $5. Yay! I got my money back!

Let’s talk about the two leads, starting with Mila Kunis. Out of the two leads on this mission, she seems to be the one who wants to partake in it the least. At times, she’s apprehensive but she’s calm at other times. She does not seem to have as much fun as her sidekick, Kate McKinnon. And having seen Mila Kunis play other characters such as Meg from “Family Guy” or Theodora in “Oz the Great and Powerful” or Lori Collins in “Ted,” I just don’t think I want to, or will remember this character, Audrey, who she happens to play in “The Spy Who Dumped Me.”

Moving onto Kate McKinnon’s character, Morgan, I have to say the highest comment of praise I’ll give her is the amount of charisma her character provides. At times, it reminded me of why Kate McKinnon is my personal favorite female Ghostbuster. Keep in mind, I think all of the female Ghostbusters in the 2016 “Ghostbusters” film suck balls, but if I had to choose one of the Ghostbusters to pick as the one I hate the least, Kate McKinnon would get the trophy. Her lines are sometimes fun and add light to this comedy, but at other times they are a hindrance because the more I thought about them over time, the more awkward they became.

I know I said I gave praise to “The Spy Who Dumped Me” for some stellar action, and that praise still stands, but the fact is when it comes to most of the action, it’s not even in my brain at this point. The only thing I truly remember at this point is the opening sequence. It’s not like “Mad Max: Fury Road” or “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” or heck, even the recent “Mission: Impossible: Fallout” where there are multiple action sequences that I still have locked in my memory because of the enjoyment I have gotten out of watching them. I am not going to deny I had fun watching said action scenes which are not in my memory now, but it does not change the fact that the movie would be better had I remembered more action.

In the end, “The Spy Who Dumped Me” was pretty much as I predicted. Mediocre. Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon have some good scenes and decent chemistry together. There are some laughs along the way, nothing that will make you slap your knees though. If you want a spy movie from this year to watch, go watch “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.” If you want a comedy from this year to watch, go check out “Game Night.” It’s on HBO right now so check it out when you can! I’m gonna give “The Spy Who Dumped Me” a 5/10. Thanks for reading this review! Last Monday I went to the movie theater to go see “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” meaning I’ll have my review for it up sometime soon. I just haven’t gone around to it because school likes to do things to me. Also, sometime maybe next week or the weekend after, I might be going out to see the movie “Widows.” I’ve heard good things about it, plus it is from director Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave, Shame) so it must be good, right? I hope so! Be sure to follow 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 Spy Who Dumped Me?” What did you think about it? Or what is your favorite thing on TV or as a movie that either Mila Kunis or Kate McKinnon happens to be in? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

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Black Friday 2018 4K and Blu-ray Pickups!

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! To all who live in the United States, I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving, or as turkeys may see it, genocide. To be honest, I have no personal vendetta against Thanksgiving as a holiday. It’s a good time of year to eat lots of food, talk with your family, and see the Detroit Lions lose yet another football game. Although to be honest, I’m more of a fan of the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday. For one thing, I don’t currently work in a crappy, overcrowded retail store, with idiotic overlords, so I have no real reason to hate Black Friday. After all, this Black Friday, much like others, I have been in the position of the consumer. Unlike a couple years ago, when I ventured out to a nearby mall for Black Friday to mainly shop for others, I self-indulged this year because I was on top of things when it came to Christmas shopping for the most part. I’m not saying that I completely self-indulged, but still.

I live in the Boston area, so I went to the Cambridgeside Galleria, a mall just about a half-hour away from my house, but in reality it took longer because I took public transportation and the train was stuck in the middle of the track for some time. I could have gone to other malls, but more than anything, I wanted to hit a Best Buy. And Cambridgeside happens to have one of those stores. Cambridgeside is also a home to a local nerd shop, Newbury Comics, which is basically Boston’s slightly tweaked version of FYE. Although in reality I wouldn’t say Newbury is quite as stellar as FYE. However, Cambridgeside has my personal least favorite of all the Newbury stores because they don’t even have a movie section. But even if they had a movie section, I probably wouldn’t have shopped there anyway, because I went to Newbury on Black Friday for the past couple of years and they never had movie deals if my memory is correct. Nevertheless, Cambridgeside has Best Buy, which aside from Burger King, happened to be the only place at the mall where I purchased something.

Let’s get into the movies, starting off with the standard Blu-rays!

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First off, we have “Battle of the Sexes!” I’ve heard a lot about this movie, I’ve heard positive reviews regarding the film itself. Plus, judging by the cover, the two leads are probably phenomenal. You’ve got Emma Stone (La La Land, Easy A) and Steve Carell (The Office, Despicable Me) playing two pro tennis players who have to duke it out against each other? I’m sold! As a nerd, it is probably somewhat expected that I’m not really into sports. However, tennis is one of the few sports which I actually happen to appreciate. Plus, if my memory serves me right, there are not many tennis movies out there that I’ve been exposed to. To actually own a sport-related film that revolves around tennis is actually kind of a treat. It would be a better treat if the movie is good, just saying. I haven’t watched it yet.

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Next we move onto my cheapest purchase, Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” When I first saw the marketing for this movie, I wasn’t really sold on it. Then again, my tastes probably weren’t mature enough to appreciate the overall quirkiness of the film. Because I saw the film a few years after it released and I found it to be very enjoyable. The film has a fine list of actors including Bill Murray (Ghostbusters, Zombieland), Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park, Independence Day), Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man, xXx: State of the Union), and many others. The color palette of the film gives the feeling that I’m attending an authentic Italian restaurant inside an art museum. I also thought one interesting thing about this film from a cinematography perspective was the decision to shoot and present a good portion of the film in 4:3, which is the aspect ratio on an old school TV. By the way, I mentioned this was my cheapest purchase, and if you are curious, it was $3.99.

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The last three pickups I have are all 4Ks, one copy I have is significantly different from all the others, which means we’re saving that one for last. This next purchase, as you can tell, is “Patriots Day.” I reviewed this movie back in 2016 and I REALLY enjoyed it. It was not my favorite movie of the year, but at the time of watching, I thought it was one of 2016’s best. Again, I’ll mention, I’m near Boston, so this kind of hit me where I live, but even if I weren’t from Boston, chances are I’d see this as a movie where a community comes together in a time of crisis. I still remember where I was during the moment I heard about the bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon. I was leaving a movie theater after going to see Dreamworks’ “The Croods” with my father and sister, and I believe I got in the car and this was what was all that was being talked about on the radio. Some call it propaganda, and maybe it is. I have only watched the movie once, so I was only able to judge it after my first viewing. Maybe my brain was locked and loaded into thinking a certain way. But maybe my mind will change after viewing #2. I’m not sure, but we’ll see what happens. Also, upon reviewing my receipt, this was a fantastic deal. This movie was originally $29.99, but when I bought it, it was $7.99! Unbelievable!

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I wanted to get some 2018 releases into my collection, and I managed to get one, which was “The Spy Who Dumped Me.” This is a movie I would have checked out in the theater had I been given the opportunity. I’m not saying it would have been my first choice, but if someone said to me that they wanted to see a review of “The Spy Who Dumped Me” I wouldn’t have denied that person’s request. This movie stars Mila Kunis (Family Guy, Bad Moms) and Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live, The Angry Birds Movie) as a couple of besties who get involved in an international conspiracy. Although to add more weight, one of the two best friends has an ex-boyfriend who turns out to be a spy. The trailers do kind of resemble a typical studio comedy, but comedy this year for me has been a goldmine. I’m not saying this year’s comedies are perfect, but we’ve gotten a number of surprises, and even one that I can highly relate to. “The Spy Who Dumped Me” may be pretty good, it could even suck. For all I know it could be the worst movie of the year, but I hope to watch it at some point before the end of 2018. I need to rack up more nominees for my end of the year top 10 lists!

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Last but not least we actually have an appropriate title considering another movie that just came out. Specifically, “Wreck-It Ralph.” I often make fun of Disney for being all about showering them with money, but when they make something good, I gotta give credit where it is due. “Wreck-It Ralph” is not just a good movie, but it is one of the best movies out there related to video games. While “Wreck-It Ralph” itself is technically not based off of a video game, it still manages to utilize its own arcade game universe where a bunch of characters from arcade games and video games interact with each other. Certain cameos come from franchises like “Pac-Man,” “Super Mario,” “Street Fighter,” “Sonic the Hedgehog,” and “Q*bert.” Also, may I add, this was also a 4K steelbook. I got it for $11 off its original price, making it a $23.99 purchase, which I will say is a swell deal. This is especially true when you consider the regular 4K’s price. It was originally $29.99, bumped to $22.99 after a $7 subtraction. This collector’s item is literally just a buck more. It reminds me of one time I found “Red Sparrow” either in the “Best Buy” store or online and the 4K steelbook was $5 cheaper than the regular 4K. Let’s say I got a, STEEL.

I would have gone to other stores had I had the time, there was a Target that was about a mile walk down the road but also the more I think about it, I’m glad I didn’t go there because for some reason almost every time I walked through a scanner at the entry of a store during the day, the alarm would beep even though I had nothing that was stolen or not purchased. The worst part was in Sears because I was waiting for the elevator and they actually have scanners at the outside doors. The employees didn’t care and one told me to explain the situation when I left. I’m rather glad I avoided any accusations. But then again, had I unintentionally stole something, that is… A TRUE… BLACK FRIDAY DEAL.

Thanks for reading this post! As far as some future posts go, my next review is rather uncertain, however I’m trying to make sure I can get something in next week at the latest. Part of me wants to talk about how big of a month December is going to be in terms of new releases. Sure, it’s award season, but that’s not the point. The point is that when it comes to big budget films, the quality may not be the big debate, but the real debate on my mind is, how much money will each big budget movie make? I won’t answer that question here because it is incredibly complicated to complete. However, should I make a post related to that topic, I can tell you it will have a crapload of detail. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with a WordPress account or email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you go out Black Friday shopping this year? What did you buy? Doesn’t have to be movies, it can be anything. But don’t reveal what Christmas gifts you purchased for others! Or, since I got three 4Ks on Black Friday, what is your favorite movie that has gotten a 4K Blu-ray release? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Is Toy Story 4’s Teaser Symbolizing Death?

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Not too long ago, we’ve gotten a recent teaser trailer for Pixar’s “Toy Story 4.” Leading up to where are at this point, I was a bit skeptical of even having “Toy Story 4” be a thing in the first place. As a matter of fact, for those of you haven’t seen “Toy Story 3,” without giving spoilers away, let’s just say the ending of that movie is like having the world’s greatest pizza, but it can only be made once. If it is ever to be made again, then it is perhaps inevitable that society will be cursed for eternity. It leaves me, as an audience member, with a sense of satisfaction and no particular need to see what’s next. But somehow, we’re getting a new chapter. I was confused on why this would be. I DID NOT think this would live up to any of the previous “Toy Story” installments, but the more I hear about it, the more I think it could live up to, or POSSIBLY surpass all three of them. It’s normal for a movie’s crew member to promote whatever he or she happens to be working on. If they say something negative about their movie, chances are there will be consequences for the crew member in terms of where they stand job-wise, or maybe the audience won’t rush out to see it. But based on some recent comments from actors Tim Allen (Last Man Standing, Home Improvement) and Tom Hanks (The Green Mile, Cast Away), I had a feeling that I should take whatever hate I had for this movie out the window, and open my eyes for whatever shall be laid upon me. Both actors have called the movie emotional and there is a scene in particular that is hard to get through. I almost want to watch “Toy Story 3” and see the difference between that and this movie when it comes out!

Nevertheless, I saw this recent teaser, and I feel like there is something I’m seeing here that needs to pointed out. All these toys might f*ckin’ die.

I know, this is a kids movie, but my mind is literally going into such a direction. Maybe I’m a little twisted and weird, but hear me out.

If you watch this teaser, maybe you’ll agree with me in saying that it’s almost something made for the druggie market. I can seriously imagine myself being convinced that I just smoked some weed before seeing all of the toys moving across the screen the way they do. I also want to talk about the way they are moving, and that is them going to their right as they are holding onto each other’s hands. Just so you know, we see each toy more than once, so unless there is some sort of advanced technology that can keep the toys infinitely moving in a straight line, this seems purely impractical.

Although, maybe they are not in a straight line, and without us noticing, they are moving in a circle. And at the serious risk of sounding like a so-called “conspiracy theorist,” it is quite possible, they are partaking in the children’s nursery rhyme “Ring Around the Rosie.” For those who have once dived deep into the lore of “Ring Around the Rosie,” there is no one true origin behind it, but there are theories of its overall relation to plague and death. According to an article up on Snopes, scholars saw similarities from the lyrics to the nursery rhyme and the Black Death, which killed millions of Europeans during medieval times. These scholars thought “ring around the rosie” was a way of pointing out red marks that can be found in plague. Just to point out, I’m American, so we’re doing the American version of Ring Around the Rosie. When you have a song with four lines and the second to last line includes the words “Ashes! Ashes!,” how do you not compare that to an illness or dying? And, much like in a traditional go-round of Ring Around the Rosie, everyone falls down. In the teaser, all the toys manage to fall (sort of), but not in the way that everyone should be. For one thing, the characters are all floating, which does sort of fit, because we are looking at a background of a sky with clouds. Also, there’s a newcomer to the “Toy Story” universe, a spork who is referred to as “Forky.” His comment, “I don’t belong here!,” plus his departure from handholding causes Woody to get distracted, and cause a cataclysmic mess while everyone defies gravity. By the way, this comment, not to mention his next comment, “I’m not a toy!,” leads me to thinking he might be the antagonist of the film, if not having a small link to the film’s overall antagonist. And possibly, have a hand in killing toys.

Another thing outside of the trailer that could be leading to some unexpected deaths is a recent trend I’ve noticed when it comes to Pixar’s films. Since 2015, every film released by Pixar, with the exception of “Cars 3,” has gotten a PG rating. While PG may not be high on the rating spectrum, it is a minor jump compared to what “Toy Story” has seen for ratings in the past. The only other films to have gotten such a rating in regards to Pixar are “The Incredibles” (2004) and “Brave” (2012). Who knows? For all I know, “Toy Story 4” will be exclusively adult and earn a PG-13 rating. After all, the first showings are probably going to have nineties kids. Nobody’s stopping them from getting in the theater. I’m not saying that’s going to happen. If anything, it’s not, but what if it did?

I also want to bring up this poster right here. Is this Woody saying goodbye to the audience? Is this a sign that Woody will die? Here’s Woody with a hand on his hat. Is he about to walk into the depths? Never to be seen again? The one thing that will make me slightly kept from thinking that all the major toys die is that Buzz Lightyear can be seen in a poster with the same background, and he actually looks like he’s fine. He looks like his usual self, prepared for battle. That is unless he’s going against some swarm so enormous he cannot handle himself, in which case he actually happens to be totally f*cked.

Will all the major toys die in “Toy Story 4?” Based on how family-oriented films seem to work, that seems very unlikely, but this is certainly an idea I’m keeping in my back pocket. In fact, even if they do die, it probably wouldn’t be in a dark way. It could be emotional, but in a way that wouldn’t make people want to cover their eyes. But Pixar is part of the Disney family and Disney probably wants Pixar to make a “Toy Story 5” to add more stuff in their theme parks, so there is that. However, when I watched the “Toy Story 4” teaser, I couldn’t help but point out something that could be crucial to the movie as a whole.

Thanks for reading this post! I just want to wish everyone in the United States a happy Thanksgiving! Please feel free to avoid discussing politics, eat too much food, and slam the door on whatever in-law is probably going to kill you. Also, we have December coming up and I will have you all know that I have not done a countdown in a long time. It’s not that I’m not interested, but they’re not always easy to make. That is unless I happen to be processing everything on a conveyor belt like Watch Mojo. However, the year is almost coming to an end and I will be soon counting down my top 10 BEST and WORST movies of 2018. I still got plenty more movies to watch and review before the year’s end to the point where I might not even be able to cover all of them on here. I might be getting some movies on Black Friday, I’ll probably review a very small amount should I get to watching them, but at the very least, they’ll be added to my collection. Maybe I’ll do a Black Friday collection update, I might not, but we’ll see. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you watch the “Toy Story 4” teaser? What did you think about it? Or, what do you think will be the ending to “Toy Story 4?” Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Oscars Best Popular Film Category CONFIRMED To Be Implemented To Boost Ratings

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! I usually don’t talk much about TV, but today is one of those once in a blue moon occasions where I have to bring it up. Although this one is especially appropriate because it heavily involves movies, celebrating movies, and perhaps the future of how film itself is viewed. In August, The Academy came up with some ideas to spice up the upcoming Oscars ceremonies. Two of them were ideas I thought would have little to no effect on how the show is run (earlier airdate, commitment to three hour telecast). I still question them to this day, but at the same time, they are nowhere near as questionable as the one we are going to talk about today. As you may or may not know, one recent idea that has come out of at least a single brain of The Academy is the introduction of a category based on “Popular Film.”

What does that mean? Well, the answer isn’t exactly 100% clear. But in all likelihood it has to do with films that have a huge fan followings prior to or after its release. Box office may be a huge determining factor so the Marvel movies are one true example of the films that can get nominated. And one thing about this that seems very obvious, it might be an excuse to say that a certain movie that wasn’t “good enough” can get nominated, or even win an Academy Award. Let’s take “Black Panther” for example. It’s a superhero movie, based on a comic book, with a diverse cast, it made more money than most of the movies released in 2018. Critics loved it, and so did fans. Keep in mind, there is not one single film released in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that has ever won an Academy Award. There have been several nominations over the years, but not one movie was ever victorious. So one of these movies finally wins, and it happens to be “Black Panther.” Well, what does it win? Best Visual Effects? Best Sound Mixing? Best Cinematography? No! Nothing of excellence! Best Popular Picture!

ME: But that truly doesn’t measure how good a movie is!

THE ACADEMY: But it’s popular!

ME: Doesn’t make a difference!

THE ACADEMY: But they won!

ME: How do you think the Chicago Cubs would feel or be measured if they won “Most Popular Team” in 2016 instead of the World Series?

THE ACADEMY: But “Black Panther’s” a great superhero movie!

ME: Listen to me, measure FILM AS A WHOLE, or die!

This Best Popular Film category is literally going against all that the Oscars is about! It basically takes the idea of excellence, and literally meshes it into something along the lines of the Teen Choice Awards or the MTV Movie Awards! I’m bringing this up today mainly because there was a recent piece written by Vanity Fair that I feel needs to be talked about. Let’s take a look at this first statement from a suggestion.

“The best-popular-film category might not be presented at next year’s Oscars, but the Academy is still keeping the idea in its back pocket.”

Is that another way to say you’re keeping it alongside your ass? Because while you may not be doing such a thing intentionally, this sure as hell feels like such a thing is happening. That’s not the statement we’re going to dive into supreme detail about however, because we haven’t even taken a look at the next statement.

“Bailey also confirmed that the award was designed as a direct response to the ceremony’s disappointing ratings, which have fallen steadily over the last few years. Drawing viewers in by catering to mainstream hits “seemed like a good idea” to the board at the time, he said, but the pushback against the proposed new category was strong enough that the Academy ultimately announced that it would no longer introduce the prize at the 2019 ceremony. However, that is “not to say that the idea is dead,” he added. “Even after a stake was driven through its heart, there’s still interest.””

With that in mind, let me just remind you that I was one of the people who sat down for the most recent Oscars ceremony, which received the lowest ratings out of any of its telecasts. Some choose to blame the long runtime, while others will speak towards the political talk, and a certain orange individual will point out the following:

All opinions aside, the Oscars had its lowest ratings this year with 26.5 million viewers tuning in, which does not include people watching through digital or mobile platforms. Slight digression here, but this is just one of the event programs airing this year which has just hit a new low. The Emmys and Country Music Awards have both suffered to the point where they too have received the lowest ratings of all their telecasts. The Super Bowl just received its lowest ratings since 2009. The MTV VMAs also had their lowest rated show this year, which believe it or not, means they went two years in a row having their lowest rated show. This is a problem for sure, and I’m willing to bet part of it has to do with politics, a lack of attention span, and maybe the fact that streaming doesn’t always get tracked in ratings (although Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV are slight exceptions).

But speaking of ratings, I cannot see into the future, but I don’t see how this popular award is going to help! The fact that you guys are even still thinking about it NOW is baffling to me. I remember it was said that this award was going to be “postponed” from the next ceremony, but now that conversations about it have resurfaced, I feel the need to add in my two cents about it. The fact that the Oscars is considering doing this is just sad. It’s sad because I’m a movie fan, and as a movie fan, I watch the Oscars not because I’m saluting movies that make lots of money, but because I’m saluting movies in terms of brilliance and the very idea of film as a whole. In fact, this category, Best Popular Film, is an insult to moneymaking films. I said it once before, this reminds me of the Best Animated Feature category. It’s a category for movies that MIGHT NOT BE GOOD ENOUGH for Best Picture or other categories, but hey! We have more nominations to gloss over! Maybe there’s an argument to be made that the Oscars is already somewhat of a popularity contest because you have a group of people voting on movies that they’ve experienced in the past and everything on the nomination list is from their perspective. My response, try making your own award show, where you are the control center of all operations, and avoid putting your opinion into one thing related to it.

With that in mind, let’s move onto another part of the article.

“Bailey pointed out that there is Oscar precedent for handing out two different sorts of best-picture awards. At the very first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929, the best-picture category was split into two sections, with one recognizing the best-box-office hit (“Wings”), and the other the best artistic production (“Sunrise”).”

You understand the meaning of “worst for first,” right? This somewhat reminds me of what the Golden Globes tends to do every year, because for their awards, they seem to split the awards by genre. For certain awards in both movies and TV, we see the label towards the end, “Comedy or Musical” or “Drama.” While that may make the awards somewhat less prestigious, it still works better than the Academy’s popular film idea because at least it has nothing to do with how much money a film makes, or the amount of people who follow it simply because it is either trendy or in the moment. I’ll be honest, while to some people this might be a stretch, should “Avengers: Infinity War” be nominated for Best Picture, I’d be very happy for it. We are getting towards the end of the year, I don’t know how long such a thought will stay in my mind, but still. If it were nominated for Best Popular Picture, it would be an insult to the movie. Hey, movie! You’ve got a fan following! Ignore the critics! The fans love you! Here’s your kiddie table!

And speaking of fans, let’s take one word in the first quote and talk about it in depth. Catering.

Catering is fine when you’re having a special event such as a party or a wedding. Other than that, catering sucks! The fact that the Oscars might ignore their previous ways and CATER to mainstream audiences is just abysmal! You know who does that? The MTV Movie Awards! Most of the awards are for films that mainstream audiences know! That’s not always a bad thing, but what if there’s a year that all the mainstream audiences watch whatever happens to be disposable garbage? To the mainstream audiences, watching films is entertaining, not a job. Not only that, but some of the movies you’ll find are ones that critics are not even giving deep attention towards! When you have Kristen Stewart winning THREE awards for her performance in the “Twilight” franchise, that is a not a positive sign.

Now this is the part where things get a whole lot worse:

“Bailey also tipped off some of the Academy’s ongoing conversations about the future of the organization and the televised Oscar ceremony, noting that Disney, which owns ABC, is trying to “expand the awards to millennials,” in order to help the telecast thrive through ABC’s 2028 contract.”

I KNEW IT! DISNEY WAS BEHIND THIS ALL ALONG! HOLY F*CKING MICKEY MOUSE I WAS RIGHT!

OK, well, maybe not entirely. I’m not sure if Disney has a hand in the Best Popular Film category or not, it’s hard to say. But the fact that the Oscars is going from the most prestigious award show in movie history to a yearly event that solely depends on ratings means that it is basically going through a humongous downfall. This is an issue that is worse than the politics! This is an issue that is worse than the long hours that I’ll honestly sit through but others can’t take! This is an issue that relates heavily to one of the biggest complaints associated with sports for younger athletes, especially some in the millennial generation. The participation trophy. What’s going on here is that the Best Popular Film award is the kiddie table award that says a movie wins something but in reality, wins nothing. They get the award equivalent of a sticker. Yay! You voted in the election! Chances are you just killed us all! But hey, here’s a sticker for your valuable efforts!

I got to ask a serious question though, how exactly is the Oscars going to target millennials? What are they, going to advertise the show with glossy backgrounds and everyone has Snapchat dog filters on their heads? Are they going to go nostalgic and celebrate the movies the nineties’ kids used to watch? Maybe put all of the older Oscars telecasts on Netflix or the new Disney streaming service? But if you are only trying to force voters to vote for movies that mostly millennials watch, then the Academy has crossed the line. I could go into catering, but I’ve already done enough of that, haven’t I?

I may have calmed down about this a couple of months ago, especially when you consider that it was announced that this award was postponed. But to me this is something the movie nerd community is likely to talk about. It’s like the comic book nerd community trying so hard to talk about the latest updates on the supposed “Gambit” movie that should be happening sometime soon. Maybe never, I don’t know. I thought the reason the Oscars was going to implement this was to boost ratings, and boosting ratings is not a bad idea considering what their audience consisted of this year, but this is not the way to do such a thing. The Oscars, is about prestige. It’s about celebrating the best in film. Let’s keep it that way.

Thanks for reading this post! If you are interested in more of my content be sure to check out my review for this year’s Rhode Island Comic Con! I went for the fourth year in a row and there are so many reasons to love it! Please check out my post! I will say I have no scheduled reviews for this weekend (that could change though), but there is a movie I did see on Monday called “Second Act.” I’m not going into detail about it whatsoever, my lips are sealed, it doesn’t even come out until December 21st. I don’t know when the review embargo lifts, but I can guarantee you’ll see my review when the Rotten Tomatoes ratings are revealed. There’s already verdicts on Facebook, but let’s face it, it’s Facebook. Who really cares at this point? 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, did you read the Vanity Fair article or hear about this whole fiasco somewhere else? Or, since we are taking shots at the Oscars, what do you think is the worst thing about the Academy or the Oscars? Let me know down below, and speaking of down below, if you want to read the Vanity Fair article I’m talking about, click the link at the end of the post! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

VANITY FAIR ARTICLE: https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2018/11/best-popular-oscar-ratings-john-bailey

RHODE ISLAND COMIC CON 2018 REVIEW/HAUL https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/11/11/rhode-island-comic-con-2018-review-haul/

The Grinch (2018): Two Sizes Too Small In Quality

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“The Grinch” is directed by Yarrow Cheney (The Secret Life of Pets) and Scott Mosier (Clerks). This movie stars Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek: Into Darkness, Sherlock) as the title character who hates Christmas and everything associated with the holiday. There have been multiple on-screen adaptations of Dr. Seuss’ children’s book, and now Illumination (Despicable Me, Sing) has attempted to create their own version of the famous story.

One strange thing about my life is how I have no memory of seeing the Jim Carrey adaptation of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”, despite how it released a year after I was born. However, I do recall watching the rather well known animated edition which took the drawing style of Seuss himself. That version was short, sweet, and very much got the point across. The Grinch is a dick and shall never be tolerated. In this new, slightly more lighthearted adaptation of the popular children’s story, The Grinch is a bit more relatable than his 1966 on-screen counterpart voiced by Boris Karloff. And to be honest, when it comes to tone, that’s where this movie sometimes fails. I know it’s a kids movie and kids movies are supposed to be less frightening than some made for adults, but I really wanted a darker tone here. I will say though, some of the music in this film, created by Danny Elfman (Spider-Man, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) actually matches that dark tone I want from a movie like this.

However, with 2018’s “The Grinch,” we get less of an emphasis of The Grinch as a monster and make him more like Squidward Tentacles from “Spongebob Squarepants.” He despises life, he lives without wanting company, and much like Squidward, hates Christmas. There’s some parts of this new Grinch that totally work. For example, Benedict Cumberbatch seems to make the Grinch his own character. If anybody can pull off The Grinch from a voice perspective, it might as well be Cumberbatch. After all, he did give one of my all time favorite voiceover performances as Smaug in “The Hobbit.” Cumberbatch comes off as depressed yet sinister, which I can tell is what the crew behind “The Grinch” was going for. Although despite mastering this Grinch, I gotta say that it didn’t equate to a quality movie. I know the formula for family movies nowadays is to inject as many silly gags as possible while still maintaining a lesson for children, and the movie does succeed at both things. However when it comes to the silly gags, some of these just felt off-putting, awkward, or just forgettable. I remember explicitly putting my hand on my head in disdain during certain parts of the film. I don’t recall which parts, but that brings two negatives to the table. Maybe a positive because now I don’t have to recall what moments made me dissatisfied. There’s this one moment during the first half of the film where The Grinch is in preparation mode, his dog notices him, and we get a shot with The Grinch’s butt going directly in our face. Keep in mind, I saw “The Grinch” in IMAX. The screen was eight stories high. So I got to see eight stories of The Grinch’s ass right in my face (including black bars, which reduces the size a ton in all technicality)! At least it wasn’t in 3D, that would be worse!

One side of the story that I honestly cannot stand involves a family in Whoville. This family has a heavy involvement with the film’s plot and even triggers in a couple of other Whos. The main thing I want to bring up is the relationship between a mother (Donna Who) and a daughter (Cindy-Loo Who). Both actresses behind these roles (Rashida Jones and Cameron Seely) did a fine job with their performances. My problem doesn’t involve their acting abilities. The big problem however is their chemistry. I know this is a kids movie. I know kids are a target audience. But keep in mind, adults are watching these films too. Who do you think happens to be taking the kids to these movies? As a technical adult at 19 years of age, I honestly felt like some of my intelligence was insulted. I can suspend my disbelief during movies. I enjoy the “Fast & Furious” franchise, and there’s a lot of other animations that wouldn’t work in the real world which I happen to admire. There are some things however, regardless of whether they are written to be animated or put into live-action, in this very movie, that I thought were an insult as soon as I saw them. The chemistry between the mother and daughter is one of those things. The mother came off as this individual who seems to know she has a daughter, but it’s like she’s viewing her as someone she doesn’t even need to protect. Keep in mind, based on her IMDb profile, I can definitely tell Cameron Seely, the voice of Cindy-Loo, is younger than me. Wouldn’t the mother be a little more worried about some of the things she does? That’s not the only suspension of disbelief I couldn’t achieve, I also couldn’t buy into the fact that one character in particular, without giving a name away, was able to find The Grinch’s house without really knowing a thing about him or where he lives. And if you think about it, it’s somewhat easy to find, but still, my complaint stands. Maybe I missed something earlier on in the movie, but when you’re in an auditorium with somebody who literally had their tablet on for pretty much the entire first half of the film, you can get distracted at times. And yes, I said TABLET. NOT A PHONE! A TABLET! And even worse, there was lots of time wasted when the kid using the device and not even doing a thing on it! It was just on the home screen! If it were being used as a closed captioning device then that’s a different story (not sure how the technology works entirely).

Let’s also talk about Kenan Thompson (Snakes On a Plane, Saturday Night Live) in this film.

What the f*ck?

His character might be the biggest stereotype for a black person I’ve seen in a film since Patty from the “Ghostbusters” remake. My f*cking gosh, I HATED this guy! One of the worst casting decisions I’ve seen in my entire life. Kenan Thompson is not a bad actor, I’ve seen him do some fine roles on “SNL.” He’s especially fantastic as Steve Harvey on all of the show’s “Family Feud” parodies. But I feel like the biggest problem with this role is that I could especially tell that Kenan Thompson’s voice is involved. Thompson has such a recognizable voice in my mind that out of every voice given in the movie, his was the most obvious. I knew Benedict Cumberbatch was playing The Grinch before going to see the movie, but had I not seen any stories or marketing related to this film, I could potentially think to myself, “Wait, that was Benedict Cumberbatch?” Kenan Thompson to my knowledge cannot alter his voice enough to make me think he’s playing someone other than himself. Part of me is willing to bet the people casting everyone into the movie wanted to cast Kenan Thompson just to say they’ve put a black guy in the film. And that is sad, because while it does bring diversity to the table, his performance just blows! The narrator for this film is black as well (Pharrell Williams). As a narrator, I felt like his voice didn’t work entirely, but it could have been worse. You know, it could have been Kenan Thompson. I’m guessing Morgan Freeman wasn’t available to narrate this bitch?

I’ll give some credit to the movie though on a few positives before I give my final verdict. This film is very well animated. It comes off as polished and some of the images from the film are some of the better ones I’ve witnessed from Illumination. Some of the voice acting worked, except for of course, Kenan Thompson. And this movie is short enough to avoid inducing a feeling of a snail’s pace. After all, it is only an hour and a half, which can be a good thing because of what I just mentioned, but to me it also makes this movie feel like even more of a cash grab than it already is. I don’t feel like I’m going to remember this “Grinch” adaptation all that much, and maybe it will be played a lot around Christmastime in years to come. Heck, “Christmas with the Kranks” is going to be on FX during the 24th of this month and the reviews of that movie certainly weren’t praising it. Anything’s possible.

In the end, “The Grinch” is certainly a mean one, and it made me feel like a Scrooge. If this movie does one thing well, it’s making The Grinch’s character relatable. Sure, he hates his life sometimes even though life for him is the complete opposite of pain and suffering. Yes, he might be out of shape. But thanks to this movie, it made me hate Christmas a little bit more than I once did! Because now we have another bad Christmas movie! Kids who watch “The Grinch” might enjoy it, but the film might end up making them dumber without said kids even realizing such a thing. Aside from some neat animation and decent voicework, there’s nothing that stands out or appears to be excellent regarding “The Grinch.” Parents, if your kids drag you this movie, do them a favor and put coal in their stocking on Christmas morning. Please? Also, tell them Santa isn’t real. I’m going to give “The Grinch” a 3/10. Thanks for reading this review! Tomorrow night I’m going to see “Second Act,” which comes out on December 21st, a little over a month from the time I’m finishing this post. I got passes for an early screening of the film, so therefore I’m gonna see “Second Act” a month early. My review will most likely be up sometime around December. Also, while I don’t really know my plans for the rest of the week or this upcoming weekend, I do have aspirations to see the new Julius Avery film “Overlord.” I heard “Overlord” flopped this weekend, so this might affect me even being able seeing it in the theater, but if it’s still there this next weekend, I should hopefully have an opportunity to check it out. Plus, I’m too behind on “Harry Potter” to see the new “Fantastic Beasts” movie. Be sure to follow me on Scene Before either with a WordPress account or an email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “The Grinch?” What did you think about it? Or, which on-screen adaptation of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” is your personal favorite? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Rhode Island Comic Con 2018 Review/Haul

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! This is the fourth year in a row I have gone to an event that pretty much defines who I am at this point, Rhode Island Comic Con! Over the years I have met some fantastic guests there including Charles Martinet (Super Mario Bros., The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman, Keeping Up with the Joneses), Brianna Hildebrand (Deadpool, The Exorcist), Curtis Armstrong (Revenge of the Nerds, Supernatural), and Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit). This year, the guest lineup continued to not disappoint. The lineup featured guests from all walks of nerd life, from “Star Wars” to “Deadpool” to “It” to “The Walking Dead” to even “Impractical Jokers.” Not only that, but this year, while I will say guest-wise is probably not #1 for RICC (which says something based on how fantastic this year’s lineup is), is the best in terms of one thing many customers have talked about as their pet peeve with the con. Organization.

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Let’s take this from the top. In 2014, RICC has its third convention ever. They get shut down by the fire marshal on their first day, Saturday, due to poor attendance flow. Capacity exceeded by over three thousand people. As for those who left the convention, they couldn’t reenter, and there were also people who simply couldn’t enter no matter what. Rhode Island Comic Con f*cked up. In 2015, the first year I went, it started out well, then my father and I decide to go from the Dunkin Donuts Center to the Rhode Island Convention Center. I wanted to catch a panel. Turns out the time spent getting from one place to another took forever and a half. This year, I had a slightly similar, but MUCH LESS worrisome issue. In 2016, the convention decided to try out their eventual continued method of having some headlining or popular guests on the Dunkin Donuts Center floor. A few of these guests included Millie Bobby Brown, Stan Lee, and the one I wanted to see the most, Gal Gadot. One of the advantages of Stan Lee and Millie Bobby Brown in regards to the customers is that they had multiple opportunities to see them. However, Gal Gadot was only at the convention for one day. Despite getting in somewhat early, I had to end up waiting in line for five hours, with an unusual twist and turn brought into the mix. This caused me to miss Gal Gadot’s panel too. How unfortunate. In 2017, I had trouble getting into a panel for Channel Awesome, there was no real line for Channel Awesome’s room. Even employees didn’t know all of what to do in this sort of situation. Also, one of the biggest downfalls of 2017’s Rhode Island Comic Con is after walking in, chances are some people are going to want to go into the Rhode Island Convention Center portion of the event. That’s where many of the guests, vendors, and panels happen to be located. To do that, you basically have to go around the entire Dunkin Donuts center in a circle. Should I say donut? Speaking of limited options regarding travel, the skybridge between the Rhode Island Convention Center for 2016 and 2017 was a one way. Want to switch back to the Dunkin Donuts Center from the Rhode Island Convention Center? Well, go down an escalator, leave the building, go find a small entry, get scanned by someone, and you can party all you want from there. This year however, NONE OF THAT WAS THERE! YAY!

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I love Rhode Island Comic Con, but when it comes to placing all of their event’s vendors, celebrities, and crowds, this is where they fail. This year, I cannot even believe that I was on a two-way skybridge at Rhode Island Comic Con. Guys, it’s not that hard! It all worked out! One interesting thing about this year though is that most of the celebrities who resided in the Rhode Island Convention Center were not on the usual floor that a majority of the celebrities of previous shows happened to be on. Instead, they were on the fifth floor. Many of them were in a ballroom which has also been used for several of the event’s panels in the past. This pretty much meant the main floor was completely dedicated to shopping, charity, sponsors, contests, and artists. The Dunkin Donuts Center is about the same as it has been since 2016. You’ve got your vendors, you have some places to grab food court-style grub, including of course, Dunkin Donuts. Downstairs contains some celebrities on the show floor, and more vendors. The one big difference this year however is that the photo ops are not organized down in the Dunkin Donuts Center. Instead, it’s inside the main area of the Rhode Island Convention Center. It’s located in a region where for the past couple of years, celebrity guests would have been sitting down signing autographs as customers wait in line. There’s a different organizer this year as well. Last year was Celeb Photo Ops whereas this year is Epic Photo Ops. I can’t compare the service between the two, mainly because I didn’t get a professional photo op this year. I took photos alongside celebrities at their table, which I actually think has more value attached to it because pro photo ops usually consist of fast-paced lines and limited interaction. In some cases with photos at the table, the lines to get to the celebrity may be on the slower side, but it’s worth it because you get to have a higher chance at an actual face-to-face conversation.

Speaking of face-to-face conversations, I’ve gotten to have one at a panel this year. No, I wasn’t onstage talking to someone, but the whole panel was essentially a Q&A. With that in mind, one of the questions that was taken happened to be mine. This panel I’m referring to is “Impractical Jokes from Murr with Special Guest Joey Fatone!” In other words, the panel was for guests James Murray (Impractical Jokers) and Joey Fatone (Impractical Jokers: After Party). My question for the panel regarded the “Impractical Jokers” show asking what might be the best fake names the guys have ever came up with. James and I seem to agree that “Disfatt Bidge” is brilliant.

On the topic of James Murray: Pet Cremator and Grandparent Divorce Attorney, I happened to meet and talk to him when he was at the con on Sunday. He was there for Saturday and Sunday, and to my surprise, his line was actually capped for much of the time I was there. I know that having someone from “Impractical Jokers” show up to the con can make that particular guest stand out because at least in my book, “Impractical Jokers” isn’t all that nerdy. It has individuals who have done nerdy things and are interested in said things as well, but still. That status, believe it or not, actually may have helped Murr. Many guests have showed up to Rhode Island Comic Con this year. Most of the guests are from movies and TV. For the most part, the movie or TV show would have a nerdy connotation to it. For TV shows, these include “Star Trek,” “The Walking Dead,” “Smallville,” “Power Rangers,” and “Batman: The Animated Series.” For movies, these include “Star Wars,” “It,” “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “Shazam,” and “Deadpool.” Having a less than nerdy individual from a less than nerdy show might add some diversity to Rhode Island Comic Con and maybe bring in a different audience or for the nerds, show to others that they enjoy things that don’t have superheroes, lightsabers, blasters, or explosions. When it comes to meeting James Murray, I got him to sign my copy of “Awakened.” This is a book he wrote alongside Darren Wearmouth, which will soon be getting a sequel called “The Brink.” I also got a selfie alongside him, which is a bit different from what people usually do at these cons, which is allow somebody around the table to snap a pic of the celebrity simply standing next to you. Interesting approach, but I feel bad for those customers who don’t have a front-facing camera or a cell phone because then it slightly alters the tradition. Also, out of the celebrities I’ve met at a con, I found Murr to be perhaps the most outgoing of all of them. When I was in line for him on Sunday, he’s coming out of this private area and without me even looking at him, he pats me on the shoulder like a champ. Not only that, but he just starts hi-fiving and greeting everyone, it’s like the most charismatic game show host ever. Although then again, I guess Murr is the most charismatic game show host ever because he will be hosting a game show with the other Jokers called “Misery Index” which is set to air on TBS.

Also, I couldn’t get a picture, but Murr’s banner at one point had a sticky note with the words “FERRETS RULE!” and his eyebrows and facial hair was censored out by more sticky doohickeys. Some of you reading might be aware that James has a ferret tattoo on his leg, which by the way he did show. However when it was revealed, it was not in the best of situations. Murray explained that he was in the process of flipping over his mattress, as one does. Long story short, he hit his bedside and now there’s a bruise on his tattoo. Things happen I guess. By the way, that driver’s license photo where Murray has no eyebrows. IT’S REAL AND HE BROUGHT IT WITH HIM.

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Another guest I met was Tara Strong (The Fairly Oddparents, Teen Titans Go!). If you have ever been a modern day kid, chances are you have been exposed to her work somewhere. I’ve seen her as Timmy Turner on Nickelodeon’s “The Fairly Oddparents,” she’s been some numerous voices on “Family Guy,” she can be found as a voice on “My Little Pony,” she even had an uncredited role as “Bellybutton” in “Ted.” I got her autograph, not for me, but a friend. And I assure you all right now reading this that what I’m about to tell you is a true story. I met Tara Strong on Friday, November 2nd. Nice gal, she managed to ask me if I was voting the midterm elections. I didn’t. Part of me wanted to, but when you have to take an hour and a half train commute from one town to the other and back, it affects such a thing really. However, she handed me a sticker promoting “Nerds Who Vote” as a sign of encouragement. That night however, I was going through my stuff and realized that I left my autograph in the building! I went back the next day, cutting the line to get into the convention without even knowing. But it was my birthday weekend so in my book it’s OK. I go inside and rush to Tara Strong’s table. She’s not there yet, and I’m not the first in line. Once everything’s all situated there, one person asks me what I’m there for. I was expecting them to disregard my comment saying I left an autograph behind. Turns out it was in front of Tara waiting for me!

There’s good people in this world! Thank gosh! If I was told I had to cough up money for another autograph, I would have. I promised my friend I’d bring this to her. However, I have such massive respect for those working at Rhode Island Comic Con and Tara Strong herself for saving this autograph for me as opposed to leaving it hanging somewhere mysterious.

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Another item I got autographed was my “Deadpool 2” steelbook. This bad boy is a Best Buy exclusive which came with a 4K, Blu-ray, and digital copy code. It also has an extended director’s cut marketed as the “Super Duper $@%!#& Cut.” Interestingly, it also came with a slipcover featuring a bubble quote from “Deadpool” saying “I like to be on top. Obviously.” There were a number of “Deadpool” related guests announced including Stefan Kapicic, Morena Baccarin, Brianna Hildebrand, and creator Rob Liefeld. Believe it or not, Liefeld’s appearance kind of flew over my head. Plus, I was more interested the people from the movie side of things. Also, Brianna Hildebrand unfortunately cancelled her appearance, which ultimately wasn’t too big of a deal to me, because I already met her back at the same con in 2016. Nice lady if you ask me. But I gotta be honest, meeting Stefan Kapicic was very interesting. It’s almost like he was more excited to meet me than I was to meet him. I presented my steelbook to him and just calmly loses his mind. It’s easy to tell Kapicic has a passion for what he’s doing. I think he almost gave me a free autograph because I asked how much it was and the timing between signing and all of the words and phrases mentioned in our talk made Kapicic or his assistant either forget this is a job or become so infatuated with my product that signing it was a privilege. Speaking of infatuation, when it comes to Morena Baccarin, I spent a tad less time with her, but to be fair, she had a longer line. She didn’t have too much to say, but she was very nice.

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Oh yeah, I also got a pic with her. We make a great 20 year age difference couple. Sorry if her husband has to see this.

Another celebrity I met happened to be Meat Loaf. To be honest, I never really listened to his music, so there’s not much I can say about that. The only thing I’ve really seen him in was “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” which coincidentally, had another celebrity who appeared at the con the same weekend, Tim Curry, AKA Dr. Frank-N-Furter. The biggest highlight of the interactions has to be the introduction. I introduce myself, and he just mocks me for acting like I forgot my own name.

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That’s all the celebrities I met, but I also managed to encounter some awesome items for purchase as well! Well, mostly for purchase.

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This first item was actually free. I played a game where I happened to have a chance at winning an inexpensive item. The one I ended up winning was a wristband. Judging by the band, you might be able to guess that Dave & Busters was a sponsor this year of Rhode Island Comic Con. The items on the table basically consisted of whatever cheap merchandise could be produced and have a slapping of Dave & Busters’s own name on it.

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Moving onto more expensive items, I stopped at this one shop I’ve actually already visited this year at New York Comic Con and Terrificon. The shop goes by the name 3D Printing by Muckychris. They’ve had some nice 3D printed materials, with some standouts inluding the “Fight Club” soap bar and Darth Vader’s damaged mask as it was seen in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” However my item of choice at this year’s Rhode Island Comic Con happened to be a t-shirt. When I saw this shirt at Terrificon, I wanted to desperately get said shirt. I didn’t. When I went to New York Comic Con, I noticed the store, but they apparently weren’t advertising the shirt I wanted. To be fair, they had another cool shirt that stood out to me, but I ended up passing on it. However, when they arrived at Rhode Island Comic Con and I saw my shirt of choice, I felt like I scored. Well, almost scored, in all technicality. Turns out they didn’t have a large! I ended up settling for an extra large however, which isn’t a bad thing. The shirt, as suggested in the picture, is a parody of the “Solo: A Star Wars Story” logo, and instead says “Sulu: A Star Trek Story.” Many people know Han Solo as a “Star Wars” character. For this shirt, the logo was switched up to cater to a “Star Trek” character. And you know what? I don’t know how big these fights are nowadays, but if they are still around, I should literally be going around wearing this shirt to whatever “Star Wars” or “Star Trek” convention I come across. I say that because this shirt can almost resemble a demonstration for sci-fi franchise peace. While people continuously fight over which franchise is superior, I’ll just be walking around in this $20 t-shirt saying, let’s come together! May the force live long and prosper! Also, 3D Printing by Muckychris handmakes products in New Jersey and can be found on this website below.

https://muckychris.patternbyetsy.com/

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Speaking of t-shirts, I went by one shop I’ve gone to at Terrificon and actually purchased something from, MTC Toys. However, this time, instead of getting two t-shirts, I ended up getting one. The variety in the store is certainly something to get excited about, but the prices are a little less exciting at times. However, with as much variety as this store has, you can basically argue that the price doesn’t really matter. The shirt that really stood out to me, as you see in the picture above, is one that resembles the guys from “The Big Bang Theory” as DC superheroes. For the record, I have a strong feeling this t-shirt is completely based on the “Justice League” cosplay the show’s characters had to do for a contest at the comic book store on New Years Eve. Sheldon was The Flash, Leonard was Green Lantern, Howard was Batman, Raj, to his everlasting shame, was Aquaman. Even Penny and a guy she knew, Zack, joined the party as Wonder Woman and Superman. Based on their names, you can probably guess who is who. As you can also see, the shirt also has the saying “The Big Bang Theory” has popularized over the years, “BAZINGA!” MTC Toys is from North Tonawanda, NY. They have been to many comic cons for over two decades, selling lots of t-shirts and fan merch.

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Lastly for clothing is a sweatshirt I’ve actually worn not long after I got it. As you can see, it is for Marvel’s “Iron Man.” I consider Iron Man to be one of my favorite superheroes, and his interpretation by Robert Downey Jr. is unbelievable. But I gotta say, while this sweatshirt is certainly nice-looking, I don’t think it was worth the “on-sale” price of $39.99. It didn’t take long for the front zipper of this thing to stop working (yes, there’s a front and back zipper). To be honest, while I might end up wearing this sweatshirt again, it REALLY could be better. However, what is better than this sweatshirt is the store where I got it from, FYE. FYE has actually been a part of Rhode Island Comic Con every year since I went, and each year they seem to switch up the merchandise to spice things up in one way or another. Some standouts included an FYE exclusive “Hocus Pocus” Blu-ray which came with four glow in the dark postcards. There were a lot of Funko Pops, including exclusives from FYE itself and seasonal conventions. The store even had some of the items you’d find at the FYE booth in New York Comic Con. Some of these items included eight “Friday the 13th” movies inside a steel lunchbox, a Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years blanket, and I believe they had cereal as well, because FYE is somewhat known for selling food. If I had to go back in time and give up this sweatshirt though, I probably wouldn’t mind doing such a thing. After all, FYE also had a jacket resembling the one Finn wore in the “Star Wars” franchise. Although at the same time, part of me might be safer not getting it so I don’t get any criticism for dressing up like a black guy. Still, cool jacket.

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As you guys know, I am a movie nerd, so therefore, this next purchase satisfied my hunger. There’s one store I went to whose name I actually don’t know which had a bunch of wine glasses. I don’t drink so that’s none of my concern. However, I did manage to pick up something else they had, ceramic coasters. These things were $7 each, but I managed to get four coasters for $25. As you can see, these coasters are for “Blade Runner 2049,” “John Wick,” “Justice League,” (2017 film) and “The Thing.” (John Carpenter) I enjoyed all of these movies so these purchases were certainly done without regret.

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One of my cheapest purchases at the con comes from Mad Mike’s Emporium. Mad Mike’s is a shop from East Greenwich, RI, selling new and used toys, video games, collectibles, and rare findings. I ignored the toys here, however there was one video game that absolutely caught my eye. One of my childhood games is “Need For Speed: Underground 2.” I have played its predecessor, “Need For Speed: Underground.” However, the most complex platform I’ve ever played it on is the Game Boy Advance. Therefore, some might argue I’ve never played the game for real. I believe I first saw the game at the shop on Sunday. If that’s the case, I didn’t buy it because I had overpriced food in my hand and I was looking for a place to sit down. Once I heard the price, $5, I was dead-on intrigued. I just started playing the game, and I see some of the differences between this game and its sequel, but I’m enjoying it so far.

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The last purchases I’ll go over come from a shop called Horror Decor. Their catchphrase is “Make every day a living nightmare.” One of my everlasting nightmares is the fact that Blockbuster Video is on its last legs. Speaking of which, the store managed to have two items that truly stood out to me. The first one is a Blockbuster tote bag and the other is a pillow that resembles a Blockbuster Membership Card. Before I found these gems of badassery, I always wanted some sort of merchandise related to Blockbuster. I go to stores like Newbury Comics and Thinkgeek and find a shirt that says “Blockbuster and Chill” from time to time. However I never officially got my hands on it either due to a lack of intrigue or the sleeves not really being the ones a man should have. These two items however, are just plain awesome. There’s a good chance that around Christmas time I’ll be using that tote bag to carry in gifts that hopefully are delivered by December 24th or 25th, that way I don’t have to give late fees to my recipients. And the pillow, while it may not be the all time most comfortable thing I’ve laid on, will certainly be a fantastic addition to my mancave. Also, just so you know, Blockbuster is not completely dead. There is still a location in Bend, Oregon. So if I were to make a trek there sometime, I’d probably ask if I could use my pillow as a valid membership card. I’d probably get a no, but I’d rather get that “no” than lose physical media altogether.

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If you read my post for last year’s Rhode Island Comic Con and what I did there, chances are you may know that one of my purchases was for the original “Star Wars” trilogy. For the record, when I say original “Star Wars” trilogy, that means the original trilogy before all of the special editions. One reason why I value that purchase so much is because it takes away some of what made the special editions somewhat cringeworthy. It removes some of the added CGI, Darth Vader’s “No” at the end of “Return of the Jedi,” and the infamous moment where Han Solo doesn’t shoot Greedo first. However, on Friday, November 2nd, I think I made the 2018 special edition of “Star Wars,” and that is partially in thanks to the 501st Legion, who has partnered with charities such as The Jimmy Fund and Make-A-Wish. In this special edition, not only does Han not shoot first, Han is not even involved in the duel whatsoever. Instead, the dorky Earthling who lacks some people skills named Jack Drees is doing all of the work. “Star Wars” fans will never get to see the final cut, but they get to savor over this image.

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When it comes to Rhode Island Comic Con, this has been another great year. And it is probably likely the year where I’ve had the least complaints about how things are run. The vendors are lively and know their audience. There is so much to do and see. The celebrity lineup this year, again, is full to the brim and brings tons of variety. The skybridge IS ACTUALLY TWO WAY! THANK GOSH! I’ll probably be coming back to Rhode Island Comic Con next year mainly because it is a tradition at this point. I’ve been four years in a row, might as well make it five! I will also say that Altered Reality, the company that organizes Rhode Island Comic Con does have some other conventions I want to check out. There’s one convention that goes on during the summer called ComiCONN that goes down every year. It takes place at the Foxwoods casino in Ledyard, CT. It’s smaller than Rhode Island Comic Con, but it would be fun to go at least for a day. Altered Reality is also expanding their lineup, because they have a new con on the weekend of May 3rd through May 5th. It is called Epic Comic Con. It’s set to take place at the Showboat Atlantic City. The Showboat is a casino which opened in 1987, closed in 2014, and reopened in 2016. I don’t know if I’ll be going there, because school might be serious at that time. Plus, if plans don’t change, May 3rd is also the release date for “Avengers 4,” so my priority that weekend would be to shove my review for that on the Internet as soon as possible. Although I will say, I visited the website for Epic Comic Con and it says that the con is supposed to be set for June 21st through the 23rd. So at this point, planning for the con is a mystery to me. As far as my next con goes, I don’t know what it will be. There’s PAX East coming up in March. That’s also the same month as CTGamerCon, which is set at the Mohegan Sun casino. Maybe I’ll go to that. Winter however is not the busiest time for cons, so I don’t think I’ll be going to any cons during the winter. We’ll see if anything comes up though. Thanks to Rhode Island Comic Con for another spectacular year and I hope to see the con again in 2019!

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Thanks for reading this post! Pretty soon I’m going to have my review for “The Grinch” which is in theaters now. It’s definitely making lots of money. My friend and I planned on seeing it at an IMAX, so we’re going to see what this is all about. Also, on Monday, I’m going to see “Second Act” starring Jennifer Lopez. For the record, the movie does not release until December 21st, which means it will ultimately be crushed by “Aquaman,” “Mary Poppins Returns,” and “Bumblebee.” However, I have reserved passes for an early screening so I’ll be getting to see the movie early. I don’t know when the review embargo lifts, but there’s a good chance you’ll probably have to wait about a month to see my review on the film. I don’t know. Be sure to stay tuned for that review, and a review you’ll see perhaps much earlier. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with a WordPress account or an email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you go to Rhode Island Comic Con this year? What are your thoughts? Did you go before? What did you think then? Or, if you have any suggestions of future cons, near or far, that I should visit, what are they? Please list your suggestions in the comments! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018): This Movie Will Rock You, and Occasionally Drop a Rock Over You

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“Bohemian Rhapsody” is directed by Bryan Singer (X-Men, Jack the Giant Slayer) and stars Rami Malek (Night at the Museum, BoJack Horseman) and is about the story of Queen and its singer, Freddie Mercury. We get glimpses into the formation of Queen itself, Mercury’s personal life, and how the band went on to become the huge success and inspiration powerhouse that it is.

If you ask me what my favorite genres of music are, chances are that one of my answers would be rock. Queen formed during a time of rock and roll bands being pretty much in their prime. As we look back on them today, they’ve helped shape the genre with iconic beats, lyrics, and how their music has blended into our pop culture. One of my all time favorite scenes from a comedy that’s not necessarily funny is the pep rally scene during “Revenge of the Nerds” where “We Are the Champions” is playing as the nerds achieve victory against the jocks. One of my favorite songs that I often don’t typically quote as being a favorite song happens to be the movie’s title, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” There so many elements to that song that separates it as its own thing whereas all the other songs follow a certain formulaic rhythm. While some may consider songs not following a rhythm a giant flaw, “Bohemian Rhapsody” manages to make such an odd quality work extremely well. Speaking of which, the creation of this song basically highlights something I’ve noticed while watching this movie, and something that I often think about when it comes to the movie industry.

One of my favorite movies of all time is “Blade Runner 2049.” Much like its predecessor, it failed at the box office. As far as the domestic total goes, it didn’t make its budget back. One reason behind this is probably likely due to the movie’s runtime coming in around two hours and forty-three minutes. There’s a part of the movie where we see “Bohemian Rhapsody” coming to life, and the executive is basically denying permission to let the public hear the song. Queen’s band members think their song is nothing short of a masterpiece, but as we all know, corporations are about money. This is where the phrase “time equals money/money equals time” comes into play. The executive thinks the song is too long, six minutes to be specific, which leads to a fantastic sex joke by the way. When it comes to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” I assume a lot of people can look at a song like that today and say that it was created with a purpose to stand out from other songs. This is why I think modern music sucks. Most of the modern music I hear, especially those songs that play on loop on the radio for all of eternity, all seem to have similar patterns or formulas. It’s almost as if every song is an obvious remix of each other. Oh yeah, and with most modern music, technology has basically ruined a lot of it. Moments like this shows that it is sometimes OK to take risks and throw money out the window for the chance of an everlasting success. In terms of scenes, this was most certainly the highlight of the movie for me. As far as characters go, it’s gotta be Freddie Mercury.

Freddie Mercury is played by Rami Malek, but in reality, to say Malek “played” Freddie Mercury is a bit of understatement. In my book, Malek transformed into Mercury. In terms of singing, it is a slight disappointment that Malek is lip-syncing, but at the same time, I can’t help but praise him for everything else. Everything from the mannerisms, the moves, and while this may be more of a compliment towards costume design, I have enormous praise for the outfits he’s got on. As far as his performance goes, I don’t know if it will win him an Oscar, but he certainly comes close as far as this year is concerned. In fact, I will admit, funny enough, when it comes to my overall knowledge of Queen, the way I view Freddie Mercury’s performance in this film is somewhat similar to how I view Queen in general. I for one definitely know Freddie Mercury and who he is. The other band members, I don’t really know their names, so why should I give a f*ck? That’s not to say that they aren’t good in this movie. All of their actors have done a great job at delivering effective performances, but they don’t stand out that much compared to Malek’s. Then again, that could be because “Bohemian Rhapsody” is more of a Freddie Mercury movie than anything else. Sure, it has Queen. Yes, it has songs from Queen in it. Although it gets through the life of Freddie Mercury in terms of seemingly important plot points. And the more I think about it, it does make sense, the only original member of Queen to have passed away was Mercury himself. Not to mention, the marketing seems to make the movie a lot about Mercury. In the first trailer for this film, it explicity states in text form: “The only thing more extraordinary than their music is his story.” Boom, now you know it’s a Freddie Mercury movie. I will say though, this brings me to some slight confusion about the title. I know Freddie Mercury sings “Bohemian Rhapsody,” but in reality, it is a QUEEN song, executed by multiple members. If you really wanted to smack-dab a sticker on this movie saying “THIS IS UNARGUABLY A FREDDIE MERCURY STORY,” just call it “Mercury.” Sounds kind of epic if you ask me. The more I think about the “Bohemian Rhapsody” movie, the more I think about Freddie Mercury. The other members of Queen just aren’t sticking out to me. It would be like the 2004 movie “Ray.” What’s the movie about? Ray Charles. Granted when I think of Ray Charles, I don’t think of any particular band, but still, if you are going to have your movie revolve around maybe one character as opposed to a band, take my suggestion into consideration. I’m not saying “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a terrible name. It’s an awesome name no matter where you slap it. Not to mention, for a movie like this, it’s still more than marketable. As far as any other performances go, the only one to me that truly stands out is Mike Myers (Shrek, Austin Powers) as the executive I talked about earlier.

If there was one big criticism I had with the movie however, it is some of the writing. This movie is obviously going for some Academy Awards, but I think screenplay is not one that will be achieved. While most of the writing is actually pretty decent, there are a couple of moments I just wasn’t able to believe. These moments just felt rather Hollywoodized. Granted, it’s a movie, and not everything has be crystal clear to reality, but these moments just felt like something I wouldn’t be able to believe. If this movie were pure fiction or a fantasy than maybe I’d buy into a couple of these moments I’m talking about, but I just don’t buy them here. Other than that, I’d say “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a fine movie and certainly worth watching in the theater. If you thought watching “A Star Is Born” is awesome in the theater, it might become somewhat obvious that watching “Bohemian Rhapsody” in the theater would have a similar effect.

Speaking of the theater, I want to go back to what I said earlier about the production of the “Bohemian Rhapsody” song. One of the complaints the executive had in the movie is that the song goes on forever. Let’s face it, a movie about Queen and Freddie Mercury is very likely something people would go out and see. And to prove it even more, IT BEAT A DISNEY MOVIE on its opening weekend. That same weekend by the way, it made less than a million dollars under its overall budget in the US alone! This film is two hours and fourteen minutes long. I wouldn’t consider this film to be a “long” movie, but once I walked out of the auditorium, I heard someone’s conversation calling the movie a bit long as far as they are concerned. I managed to find it hilarious, and maybe a little less than satisfying, to discover that the story to the “Bohemian Rhapsody” song would actually apply to the results of the “Bohemian Rhapsody” movie. To me, this movie reminded me of why I usually choose to enjoy every little moment of what I watch, as opposed to putting my head down waiting for the third hour to pass.

In the end, “Bohemian Rhapsody” had the exhilaration of a concert and at times, the joy of looking at a wax museum. Rami Malek shines as Freddie Mercury. The cinematography really immersed me into the story. The concert scenes were wild and fun. The costume design also deserves tremendous kudos. Is it a little over the top? At times, sure. But it doesn’t take away from the true spirit of Freddie Mercury and Queen itself. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is definitely worth your time, especially for a watch in the theater. I’m going to give “Bohemian Rhapsody” a 7/10. One last thing before I go, when I saw this movie, I witnessed it at an IMAX, and those theaters have given me some of my all time best experiences, but this time the trailers were playing and all of sudden the footage stopped and we were staring at a green frame for maybe five minutes. I have never had so much fun with a movie experience going wrong in my life. Thanks for reading this review! Please stay tuned for more content coming down the road because sometime soon I will be posting my thoughts on this year’s Rhode Island Comic Con! I’ve gone for the fourth year in a row, had a great time, and as someone who has gone for multiple years, I am excited to point out something that has probably been done differently than years before that counts as a complaint from the years prior that has now been somewhat resolved. Those of you who attend the con might know what I’m referring to. Without giving any hints, I’d just like to remind everyone to follow Scene Before either with a WordPress account or an email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Bohemian Rhapsody?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite Queen song? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!