The 1st Annual JACKOFF Awards (NOMINATIONS)

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Today is a big day in Scene Before history! As some of you may be aware, last year I announced something called the “Jackoff” awards. I described it as an award show that is not quite noteworthy enough to be on TV. For one thing, Scene Before does not have the same power that the rest of Hollywood does. Not to mention, I have not developed my own TV station. So unfortunately, you’re gonna have to settle for the lack of my voice, and the less entertaining platform, WordPress.com. But then again, they say that the Internet is the future, so maybe this ceremony will grow with time. Nevertheless, today is the day that I announce the nominees for this future event. I should note, that all of these were picked by me, and me alone. However, this is not completely under my authority, as I will explain further down the road. This year alone, I saw 68 new releases. Many of them are deserving of recognition. Some would argue I saw 69 (not making a sex joke, just stating the facts), but I am only counting films that had some sort of theatrical run, therefore “The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time” does not qualify for any nominations. I am also only counting films I have seen. One movie that was sort of on my radar was “On the Basis of Sex,” but I have a deadline with this thing, so I missed out on that movie. Same goes with other titles that are getting some buzz including “If Beale Street Could Talk,” “Mary Poppins Returns,” “Mary Queen of Scots,” and “Can You Ever Forgive Me?.”

For each category, I am going to announce five nominees. This excludes the final category, Best Picture, which will be receiving ten.

Just a warning, you may notice that the announcements may look a tad jumbly, and what I mean specifically is the fact that sometimes I’ll share a person’s name before a movie title, or a movie’s title before a person’s name with such a formula alternating. I wouldn’t call this disorganized, but at the same time I feel it is worth pointing out before someone else does. For the record, I don’t have OCD, so I don’t care.

Anyways, let’s get the show on the road! Here are the nominees!

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

  • Sam Elliot (A Star Is Born)
  • Timothée Chalamet (Beautiful Boy)
  • Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther)
  • Mahershala Ali (Green Book)
  • Sam Rockwell (Vice)

BEST SOUND EDITING

  • A Quiet Place
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • First Man
  • Mission: Impossible: Fallout
  • Ready Player One

BEST SOUND MIXING

  • Annihilation
  • A Star Is Born
  • First Man
  • Mission: Impossible: Fallout
  • Ready Player One

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

  • Aquaman
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • The Favourite
  • Operation Finale
  • Vice

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

  • Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place)
  • Claire Foy (First Man)
  • Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)
  • Amy Adams (Vice)
  • Leslie Mann (Welcome to Marwen)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

  • Kym Barrett (Aquaman)
  • Julian Day (Bohemian Rhapsody)
  • Sandy Powell (The Favourite)
  • Marlene Stewart (The House with a Clock in Its Walls)
  • Trish Summerville (Red Sparrow)

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • Bill Brzeski (Aquaman)
  • Curt Beech (BlacKkKlansman)
  • Fiona Crombie (The Favourite)
  • Nathan Crowley, Katherine Lucas (First Man)
  • Eugenio Caballero (Roma)

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

  • Geoff Barrow, Ben Salisbury (Annihilation)
  • Marco Beltrami (A Quiet Place)
  • Justin Hurwitz (First Man)
  • Alexandre Desplat (Isle of Dogs)
  • Lorne Balfe (Mission: Impossible: Fallout)

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

  • Annihilation
  • Aquaman
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • First Man
  • Ready Player One

BEST FILM EDITING

  • Barry Alexander Brown (BlacKkKlansman)
  • Tom Cross (First Man)
  • Benjamin Rodriguez Jr. (First Reformed)
  • Alfonso Caurón, Adam Gough (Roma)
  • Hank Corwin (Vice)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

  • The Grinch (Yarrow Cheney, Scott Mosier)
  • Incredibles 2 (Brad Bird)
  • Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson)
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet (Phil Johnston, Rich Moore)
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • A Star Is Born (Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, and Will Fetters)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely)
  • BlacKkKlansman (Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmot, Spike Lee)
  • First Man (Josh Singer)
  • Welcome to Marwen (Robert Zemeckis, Caroline Thompson)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • A Quiet Place (Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, and John Krasinski)
  • Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham)
  • First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
  • Roma (Alfonso Caurón)
  • Vice (Adam McKay)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Cold War (Lukasz Zal)
  • First Reformed (Alexander Dynan)
  • Hereditary (Pawel Pogorzelski)
  • Mission: Impossible: Fallout (Rob Hardy)
  • Roma (Alfonso Caurón)

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

  • I’ll Never Love Again- Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
  • Shallow- Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
  • Ashes- Celine Deon (Deadpool 2)
  • A Place Called Slaughter Race– Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot (Ralph Breaks the Internet)
  • What’s Up Danger- Blackway & Black Caviar (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)

BEST DIRECTOR

  • John Krasinski (A Quiet Place)
  • Damien Chazelle (First Man)
  • Ari Aster (Hereditary)
  • Alfonso Caurón (Roma)
  • Adam McKay (Vice)

BEST ACTRESS

  • Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)
  • Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade)
  • Olivia Colman (The Favourite)
  • Toni Collette (Hereditary)
  • Yalitza Aparicio (Roma)

BEST ACTOR

  • Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
  • Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
  • John David Washington (BlackKkKlansman)
  • Ethan Hawke (First Reformed)
  • Steve Carell (Welcome to Marwen)

Before we get into Best Picture, I must have everybody reading this know a couple of facts. Despite how this is my ceremony, and I am choosing what awards will be given to which movies, I am only going to ANNOUNCE the nominations for Best Picture. This award in particular is going to be chosen by viewers, friends, people I know, anyone who has access to a computer who doesn’t happen to be me. These categories are based on my CURRENT list for my top 10 BEST movies of 2018. Without further ado, here are the nominees along with their producers!

BEST PICTURE

  • Mission: Impossible: Fallout (J.J. Abrams, Tom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie, Jake Myers)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (Kevin Feige)
  • Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, Donald De Line, Dan Farah, Kristie Macosko Krieger)
  • Roma (Alfonso Caurón, Gabriela Rodriguez, Nicolas Celis)
  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (Morgan Neville, Caryn Capotosto, Nicholas Ma)
  • First Reformed (Jack Binder, Greg Clark, Victoria Hill, Gary Hamilton, Deepak Sikka, Christine Vachon, David Hinojosa, Frank Murray)
  • Welcome to Marwen (Jack Rapke, Steve Starkey, Robert Zemeckis)
  • First Man (Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, Isaac Klausner, Damien Chazelle)
  • Eighth Grade (Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, Lila Yacoub, Christopher Storer)
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Avi Arad, Amy Pascal, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Christina Steinberg)

BEST PICTURE VOTING FORM

If YOU want to vote for best picture, click this link right here! You can choose from one of these ten movies, and maybe your pick will end up as the king of the Jackoffs! In the event of a tie, multiple movies will claim Best Picture together. Voting is open until February 10th at 12AM. Once the clock hits the start of February 10th, boom, the votes are locked and loaded! Believe it or not, these are actually not all of the awards, there will be a select couple of awards I am choosing to reveal once the ceremony is published, because it would probably have a greater effect on my viewers. Be sure to stay tuned for the 1st Annual Jackoff Awards, coming February 10th, on Scene Before! Thanks for reading this post! If you want to keep looking forward to more movie-related posts down the line, I should have you know that I will soon have my review up for “Serenity” starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. 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, do you agree with any of my picks for this ceremony? Do you disagree? Let me know in the comments down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks, and just for the sake of further promoting this event, in case you haven’t seen it already, I have posted down below my trailer for the 1st Annual Jackoff Awards, featuring a good portion of the movies to be recognized and honored during the ceremony.

If you’re watching, please enjoy.

NOTE FOR VIDEO: All copyrights belong to their respective owners

The 1st Annual Jackoff Awards PREVIEW and RELEASE ANNOUNCEMENT

Cold War (2018): The Colorful Technology of Amazon Meets Black and White

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“Cold War” is directed by Pawel Pawlikowski (Ida, My Summer of Love) and stars Joanna Kulig and Tomasz Kot as a music director and a singer who eventually find themselves in an unlikely romance. The music director is also trying to get the singer to flee Poland and enter France alongside him.

I actually heard some things about “Cold War” before going into it, but my prior knowledge didn’t really encompass of much. The main thing I did know however is something that I imagine a number of people don’t truly care about, which is the fact that this movie, at least in the United States, released on the infamous December weekend of death. It was released alongside big features including “Aquaman,” “Bumblebee,” and “Mary Poppins Returns.” Not to mention, another disadvantage this movie had is that it is a foreign film. And as much as everybody hates America right now for how it is being run as a country, many Americans can’t turn down a Hollywood film. I am usually the type of person who doesn’t care what country a film comes from. As long as a film is properly executed or well done, I can approve of it. And regardless of where this film in particular comes from, I enjoyed it.

From a technical perspective, “Cold War” shines. The film is presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio, which is rare for a film nowadays, but at the same time, has happened in the past with recent films like “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” It successfully provides an old-timey feel. Speaking of old-timey things, the film is also in black and white. Artistically speaking, I can approve of such a choice because this film does take place between the 1940s to 1960s, when not everything has been put in color yet. Speaking of things that are quirky by today’s standards, one thing I found interesting is that if the film makes a time jump, it cuts to black and goes back to providing images in a snap. There are also various shots containing a plethora of information and it is just f*cking beautiful. I won’t go into detail, but the ending shot reminded me of Orson Welles’ “The Third Man” and Robert Zemeckis’ “Cast Away.” And I’m surprised to say that because this movie, again, is entirely shot in 4:3. Although at the same time, the more square-like images can make the information provided feel crammed, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. It almost reminds me of when I go to see certain movies in IMAX like “First Man” or “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” because those have scenes shot in IMAX and when you go into the IMAX theater to see the movie, the screen fills up for a period of time, taking a break from the scope aspect ratio.

Moving onto our two main characters, Zula and Wiktor, the best thing I can say about them is that they actually feel like a real couple at times. Not all the time, but there are many times where their relationship feels extremely authentic. I will say however, I did see the movie earlier this week, specifically Tuesday, and to give you a sense as to how I feel about this film as a story, I will remind you that I saw this in an art-deco theater. If you live in the Boston area, there’s a possibility you may have heard of the Coolidge Corner Theatre. It’s probably one of the most gorgeous and state of the art cinemas I’ve ever set foot in. I saw this movie in their largest auditorium, which has the old-timey red curtain, and I found myself to enjoy it. But days after viewing the movie, I almost don’t even recall a good portion of it. Whereas just the other day, specifically Saturday, January 19th, I just saw “Roma” at that same theater. I still remember it, I can’t stop thinking about it, and I can’t recommend it enough. “Cold War” on the other hand is a good movie, but really stands out more from a technical point of view as opposed to a character point of view.

When it comes to “Cold War” as a movie, it sort of reminds me of “Hail, Caesar!” directed by the Coen Brothers. “Hail, Caesar!” is a beautifully shot movie, which is not that surprising since it was done by Roger Deakins, who recently, FINALLY won an Academy Award for his work on “Blade Runner 2049.” Hell, both movies even have great moments of music and choreography! However, in terms of overall quality from characterization and other parts related to the story, that’s where the movie leaves a little bit to be desired. Granted, on paper, the movie sounds like a good, intriguing story, but the fact is, much of it is actually not that memorable. “Cold War” is kind of the same thing. It sort of attempts to harken back to a certain time period with as much purposeful authenticity intact. Granted, there is fiction inserted throughout the entire runtime, but said fiction is taking place in a time that realistically happened, and such a thing manages to provide a quirky vibe for both films. They aren’t exactly the same considering how “Hail, Caesar!” is sort of marketed to be more fun, but “Cold War” is advertised as a more serious, compelling drama.

I’m not saying I have the inability to sit through movies like “Cold War” that are sometimes slow in terms of pacing, which coincidentally is a minor problem at times. Although what I am saying is that this movie just kind of underwhelmed me. Granted, it didn’t underwhelm me all that much. When I watched it, I had a certain positive score for it in my mind once I left the theater, which by the way still stands. Plus, this movie is not even that long. The total runtime comes out to an hour and twenty-nine minutes. Although at the same time, maybe it did feel long because I did something I am somewhat ashamed to have done.

*Clears throat*

Forgive me father for I have sinned.

I had my phone on during the movie. Now don’t worry, the ringer was off! I often leave my phone on with my ringer silent during many of my moviegoing experiences. But given how I don’t have a watch on me, and since I don’t have an iPhone, nor do I care to possess an iPhone, meaning I never wasted hundreds of bucks on an Apple Watch, I put my hand in my pocket, took my phone out, and checked the time. If I recall correctly, the brightness was low. Also, don’t worry that much! There were a few other people in the cinema alongside me, I only had it on for a few seconds to check the time, the screen was hidden from everyone’s sight, then I shut it down and put it away!

Man, that felt good and horrible at the same time.

In the end, “Cold War” is kind of an enigma. I don’t really hate the movie, but over the past few days, bits and pieces of it are continually being erased from my mind. Granted, now that I am back in college, certain assignments and classes are affecting my time to keep this blog up to date, but still. Although on the bright side, the fact that I am reviewing this now as opposed to immediately once I get home from the theater might actually be a positive thing because I reviewed certain movies like “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” I gave that film a 9/10 when I first saw it. Why did I give it a 9/10? Because I was a crazy fanboy that had certain requests I wanted fulfilled with the film. And while at the time, I had those requests fulfilled, little did I realize how much I would come to hate the movie in the very end. To sum it up, “Cold War” is one of the best-looking movies of the year, but story-wise, needs a boost, at least for me. I don’t know if this grade will make sense, or surprise some of you, but this movie was still enjoyable enough, and likable enough, that I’m going to ultimately give “Cold War” a 7/10. And who knows? Maybe the second time watching this will be better. It is coming to Prime pretty soon since it is an Amazon movie, so I can watch it for free in the future if need be. For all I know, maybe it will somehow be worse. It’s hard to tell. We’ll just have to see what happens. Thanks for reading this review! And if you have made it to the end of this post when it was released, congratulations! You picked a good post to read! Because this Sunday, I am planning to release my ultimate list of my nominees for the upcoming Scene Before Jackoff Awards ceremony. I am not going to say whether “Cold War” actually is nominated or not, but I will point out that this might be the last 2018 movie I watch before the nominees are announced. I might be going to see “On the Basis of Sex” this weekend, I don’t know for sure, but it is a possibility. But speaking of movies, I will admit that I have seen a 2019 movie recently by the name of “Serenity.” And no, this is not attached to the “Firefly” franchise, this is entirely different. My review for that will be up very soon, I’m not sure if I’ll release my “Serenity” review before or after the nominations, but it is a 2019 movie so it won’t even count in this current ceremony. 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 see “Cold War?” What did you think about it? Or, since I can praise this movie’s final shot, what is your favorite concluding shot to a movie? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Roma (2018): My First Netflix Movie Review (Now The World Has Seen Everything!)

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“Roma” is directed by Alfonso Caurón (Gravity, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), stars Yalitiza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira and takes place during the early 1970s in Mexico City. The movie focuses on a house maid, alongside the owners of said house as they go through their daily lives.

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This movie actually is kind of special to me, because it is a certain type of movie that I have refused to see for years, and that is a Netflix movie. I make fun of Disney all the time, to the point where I wonder if someone dressed as Mickey Mouse would show up at my house and decide to strangle me. But the thing I can respect about Disney is they seem to be willing to keep the movie theater industry alive, even if all they do now consists of sequels, live-action remakes, Marvel movies, “Star Wars” movies, and an occasional based on book adaptation here and there. But the thing about Netflix that drives me nuts is that they already decided to kill the movie rental industry, the physical media industry, and they are still taking some money out of the movie theater industry. Come watch Sandra Bullock execute her most blinding role to date! …IN “BIRD BOX!” Now playing on a headphone jackless iPhone 7 near you! To this day, I have never chosen to sat down to watch a Netflix film, but if you have viewed my last post, I mentioned that this film was playing near me in 70mm, making Netflix look like a slightly bigger force in the cinema industry than I once witnessed. For that reason alone, I was able to forget about my Netflix avoidance for a couple of hours.

And I gotta say, on Netflix, aside from whatever you pay in advance per month, this movie is actually free. I looked at the tickets and found out they were nearly $20 each. But I gotta be real, it was worth every penny. This is one of the best 2018 movies I’ve seen! THE HYPE IS REAL! Alfonso Caurón, the director, writer, producer, cinematographer, and editor behind this film gave his 110% effort on this amazing thing they call a movie. I’ve heard prior to going into “Roma” that the movie happened to be Caurón’s most personal project to date, and it shows! This movie starts out with the camera endlessly gazing upon a floor, and we see water flowing back and forth. I imagine some people would find that as boring as watching paint dry (plus it is in black and white), after all titles are finished, the camera pans up as we see water inserting a drain. Without going into spoilers, and trust me, this is a common theme here, we see the movie end in a similar manner.

I first heard about “Roma” in December, and I’ve heard some people in the industry have found this film to be a true delight. And again, had I not known this was a Netflix movie, I probably would have looked for tickets immediately. But if I stayed away from this movie, chances are I wouldn’t have been able to experience its utter beauty both from a story and technical perspective. The film is shot digitally on an Arri Alexa 65, which is actually kind of interesting to me because the filmmaker chose to present this film in black and white, which is somewhat unique in my eyes for a widescreen movie, usually I think of the full frame aspect ratio when it comes to black and white. Not to mention in certain places, it got a 70mm release as mentioned. This movie managed to blend the feeling of old Hollywood together with new Hollywood in the best of ways.

I will say though, on paper, this movie reminds me of “Schindler’s List.” I say on paper only because I have yet to check out “Schindler’s List” and heard enough about it to realize how traumatizing of an experience it can be to watch such a movie. “Roma” was THAT movie. And I will warn everyone, I have not seen a single trailer for this film. I’ve seen posters, images, but no trailers as far as marketing goes. Aside from those little tiny glimmers of marketing and reviews from other people, I have heard practically nothing about “Roma” itself prior to going out and watching it in the theater. I figured for the sake of getting this review out as early as possible, while also trying to aid in providing the best possible experience for “Roma’s” potential audience, I don’t give a shred of the plot away. If you are curious, there is a synopsis on IMDb, and while I did know about certain things about this film going in, I didn’t know EXACTLY what was going to happen.

I will say though, one of the absolute best parts of the film is undoubtedly the main character of Cleo. For starters, she is played by Yalitiza Aparicio, and if that name does not sound familiar to you, I can understand why. After all, this movie was her debut as an actress, which honestly makes her performance more compelling than it already is. On IMDb, Aparicio is listed to be in “Roma” under “actress” and “soundtrack” and she only has two other credits overall, specifically her appearance at this year’s Golden Globes ceremony and her appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” during one of 2018’s final episodes. The way that Aparicio in this film is able to convey happiness, sadness, regret, calmness, and pain in just a single performance is amazing to me.

Speaking of Cleo’s character, one thing I found interesting is the way she was written in this film, because the character is a housemaid, and while she always has to be forced to do work all the time, she is almost like another member of the family. There are certain scenes where I get a vibe where she is treated like a servant to royalty and others where I get a sense that she is treated like someone who is higher up on the ladder for opportunity. I won’t go into detail, because, again, I have to be vague.

Technically speaking, “Roma” is one of the best films of the year, because it manages to execute a couple of things I don’t traditionally see in a film. From the black and white presentation to the beautiful cinematography to the stellar direction, I was wholeheartedly impressed. Aside from the once mentioned opening and closing shots in the film, “Roma” has numerous scenes which go on for a long time, and they are actually more impressive than said opening and closing. Like, mind-blowing impressive. I honestly have to thank Netflix for actually keeping my people in mind, because if it weren’t for your actions of actually showing this movie in theaters, I would have avoided it at all costs.

In the end, “Roma” is the best Netflix movie I have seen to date!

NOTE: It’s also the only one, so it is also the worst.

Will “Roma” actually get me to buy Netflix’s service? Maybe encourage me to seek out more Netflix content? Perhaps get me to choose Netflix over chilling? No. Maybe the second part would happen should more content from Netflix be put in theaters, but this movie was a surprise if there ever was one. It is nice to see movies that can provide a personal touch, the director of this movie had such a large amount of control over the project to the point where no studio could basically interfere with his work. And what do we get? This. “Roma” had not even a singular, solitary flaw present. Maybe the pacing could turn off some people, but once we get to the twenty minute or thirty minute mark, this movie starts getting GOOD. I also wouldn’t say I’d recommend for everyone to go see this movie. After all, it’s already on your cell phone. But in all seriousness, “Roma” was worth every penny, and it is deserving of a 10/10! Also, Netflix, not to sound demanding, I know physical media isn’t your first idea of a hoot, but I would be willing to buy your movie on Blu-ray should you decide to put in that format. You hear that Netflix? I’m actually willing to buy something from you! Take that into consideration while you can! Thanks for reading this rare Netflix movie review! Speaking of streaming services releasing movies in theaters, Amazon just came out with a film recently and I happened to go see it. Be sure to stay tuned for my review of “Cold War,” coming soon. Also, next week, I am planning to release my nominees list for the 1st Annual Jackoff Awards, the most serious and prestigious awards ceremony of all time! Eat your heart out, Academy! Be sure to follow Scene Before for free with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Roma?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite Netflix movie? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Netflix FINALLY Wins Me Over! *By Theatrically Releasing Roma in 70mm*

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! If you have seen my recent post on the Scene Before Facebook page or if you have seen my recently posted “Green Book” review (check it out if you haven’t already), you may have noticed I have announced a “surprise post” coming your way. Well, surprise! Today we are going to talk about a company I am kind of opposed against, Netflix.

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My history with Netflix is pretty simple. I don’t use them. If you are the prime killer of one of my all time most prominent childhood memories (Blockbuster Video), chances are I’m gonna have to resist you. Plus, I still collect physical media to this day and that also seems to be a market Netflix is sort of killing, much like how iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, and Pandora seem to be killing physical media for music. Although if I am correct, I could be wrong because vinyl seems to be making a comeback in some ways. I have watched things on Netflix, but I never technically had a Netflix account. For a film studies class in high school, I watched “Moana” and “Altered Carbon” on Netflix with my class. My sister, who uses Netflix, was watching “Family Guy” and I happened to be in the room with her while it was playing on the service. Netflix also produces their own original content, none of which I have watched religiously, no matter how many good things I’ve heard about “Stranger Things,” “The Crown,” or even “House of Cards.” It’s not just TV shows, they even produce and distribute movies. A couple notable Netflix movie titles include “Death Note,” “The Cloverfield Paradox,” “Mowgli,” “Bright,” “The Ridiculous 6,” and motherf*cking “Bird Box.” When is everybody gonna stop talking about “Bird Box?!” These movies have gone straight to Netflix’s service for anyone to stream if they have an account. Some of these movies, kind of to my surprise, have done pretty well. Seemingly well enough to keep a number of people out of the movie theater, yet another industry I don’t want to see taken away because of these hooligans. This not to say that they haven’t done theatrical releases through these years. Orson Welles had a lost film in the vault which has been recently distributed by Netflix, which did play in theaters for a limited run. “Mudbound” is another film that comes to mind, which actually received four Oscar nominations in the 90th Academy Awards. But if I were to watch one of these movies, part of me would hate myself, because I feel like I partially killed the movie theater industry.

However, there has been a single exception to this list that I’m aware of (well, sort of). Last year, I watched “Annihilation” on its second weekend. Part of me was excited for that film because I saw it was directed by Alex Garland, who directed “Ex Machina,” an artsy, well put together sci-fi flick that shows what happens when we try to get robots to be as realistic and lifelike as possible, and perhaps contain emotional thoughts, including ones related to sexuality. I saw “Annihilation” because where I live, specifically the United States, they released the film in theaters. But I also took into consideration that the film is also a straight to Netflix flick in other countries. I even know someone who attended my high school film studies class I mentioned earlier who said they went to Brazil and they had “Annihilation” running on their Netflix service so that person watched the movie. I will also say, for the record, Netflix didn’t technically release the film in the United States, Paramount did. So from my point of view, I am supporting Paramount, not Netflix. If I saw Netflix was doing a complete worldwide distribution, chances are I would have skipped seeing “Annihilation.”

This leads me to my next point, which is actually going to be the main topic of this post, one of the most recent releases from Netflix, “Roma” has been getting a lot of buzz lately. It has a 96% on both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. Popular and notable sources like Time, Variety, Rolling Stone, Vulture, and Vanity Fair have all considered it to be the Best Picture of the year. Not to mention, it won Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globes, and happened to be nominated for two other awards, including Best Director, which the movie took home. At the Critics Choice Awards, the movie was nominated for eight awards and ended up taking home four, including Best Picture. I heard a lot regarding this film, and even some people in the industry have noted this film’s excellence. Once I saw the Netflix brand name though, I took a step back and ignored all possible opportunities of trying to watch “Roma.” By the way, for those who have a Netflix account, the movie is free to watch at the moment. Hey, I said I’m against Netflix! Not their customer base!

I would love to be able and sit back, turn on Netflix, watch “Roma,” but based on personal values, I can’t. But something happened recently that caught my attention.

If you know me in real life, chances are I try to catch as many movie screenings on film as I can. Most of the movie theater industry has now settled for digital projection, which may be easier to operate, but the reality is that film projection is kind of an art form, and some would even point out differences in detail between film and digital with film being better. I’m on the side that says film is typically more detailed. “Roma” is taking advantage of film stock to my surprise. Now, the film was shot digitally on an Arri Alexa, so in terms of filmmaking, the advantage wasn’t present there, although the film is presented in black and white so that could add an old-timey touch. But the thing that stood out to me is that Netflix is surprisingly trying to put this in more theaters than I’d expect, INCLUDING ones with 70mm equipment.

Article from Last December on Roma’s 70mm Locations (Published by IndieWire)

When I first heard about this, I thought this was very cool. There is actually a list of theaters to be doing this online, but none of them were closeby. For the record, I live in eastern Massachusetts, and the closest theater to me was in Hartford, Connecticut. While I would have LOVED to go all the way to Hartford, I don’t have my own car, nor do I have a license. Plus, if I were to make the trek there with anyone else, they’d probably be bored driving out of their minds. But who knows? Maybe the trip would have been worth it. We could have grabbed some food on the way, watched the movie, maybe even stay in Hartford overnight and see some notable sights the following day. That is… if it already happened, but it didn’t. So I still have the opportunity to go to Hartford.

But I am not taking it. I just got back to college and I want to make sure I stay as close to home as possible on various occasions. I’ll still go out and see movies, I mean, why wouldn’t I? But just not in Hartford. Maybe in Providence if something is playing there in IMAX 70mm.

I am not suggesting or implying that there are no 70mm equipped theaters less than an hour or so away from me, even 35mm equipped theaters for that matter. In fact, there are a couple. In the Boston area, they have the Somerville Theatre and the Coolidge Corner Theatre. I went to both theaters last year and they are nothing short of fantastic. This brings me to another main point. I have a Twitter account.

*SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION ALERT*

Follow me on Twitter! If you want to see more of my moronic thoughts, go to Twitter, type JackDrees in the search bar, find my account, which as mentioned, has the handle “@JackDrees” and let the magic happen! Over there you’ll find crazy statements, livetweets (beware of spoilers), my quick two cents on things that I decided not to post on here, and occasional appearances in hashtag games. DO IT NOW!

MY TWITTER

Anyway, on Twitter, I was typing away, trying to look over more grammatical mistakes than my current president tends to look over. One of my final posts of 2018 was this:

I tweeted this back on December 21st, and I don’t know whether or not Netflix, Alfonso Caurón, or someone else behind this movie happened to be stalking my account, but several days later, this could be found on Coolidge Corner Theatre’s Twitter feed.

Once I saw this, I knew there was a treat, and I was likely just about to be in for it.

AND I AM!

This Saturday, I’m actually going to see this movie at the Coolidge Corner in 70mm. I never thought that Netflix would actually consider being at least a minor force in the movie theater business, but now, they seem to be teaming up with theaters more often. Granted, they still have ways to go before they can become a true force, they need to do more releases in multiplexes as opposed to just doing limited releases. In fact, maybe what they could do is operate like Amazon. While Amazon is yet another one of those companies I can’t stand, I can tolerate them compared to Netflix because their business model is to come out with a movie in theaters, and after awhile, it becomes free on their service, while still managing to release physical media. The point is, Netflix won me over for once. I’m actually going to see “Roma.” I said some time ago that perhaps the only way that Netflix will get me to subscribe to their service is if they revive “King of the Nerds” for a fourth season. This will not get me to subscribe to their service, but it’s getting me to see Netflix content, which to me, is a true feat.

Again, I am seeing “Roma” on Saturday, and my review for it will be up maybe a day or two after. I am admittedly busy on Saturday and Sunday, but Monday is Martin Luther King Day so I may have some free time to do things like blogging. Only time will tell. Nevertheless, I want to thank Netflix for keeping moviegoers in mind in an age where digital streaming, not to mention digital projection, is seeming to trump other ways which we consume media. Thanks for reading this post! I don’t know how “surprised” you guys are, but to me, this felt like a surprise, so this is why I marketed the post as such a thing. But still, hope you enjoyed the post and look forward to my review for “Roma!” Speaking of movies, I might be going to see “On the Basis of Sex” pretty soon, so if I do, my review for that will be up as soon as possible. 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, have you checked out, or are you going to check out “Roma” in 70mm? I’m actually quite curious about it because the movie was actually shot digitally from start to finish so I don’t know what it will be like on the screen. Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Green Book (2018): Deserving of Green Marks

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“Green Book” is directed by Peter Farrelly (There’s Something About Mary, Hall Pass) and stars Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic, Lord of the Rings) and Mahershala Ali (House of Cards, Moonlight) as an Italian guy who is down on his luck and a black guy who seems to have ten times the luck the Italian guy has. These two eventually meet each other, get to know each other, drive around the country together while simultaneously making stops for the black guy’s trio tour. Throughout we see the bits and pieces of 1960s racism, a bond between two men which at the time, seemed unlikely, and the development of our main characters to adapt into alternate versions of themselves by teaching each other hallmark traits associating with one person or the other.

This movie is based on the true story of Tony Vallelonga and Don Shirley, who surprisingly I don’t know much about. To be completely clear, I am not surprised I don’t know about Don Shirley, I am not that much of a loyal follower when it comes to the music industry. However, it has recently come to my attention that Vallelonga has done acting jobs over a few points of his life. He appeared in eleven episodes of “The Sopranos,” and by an enormous coincidence, he played a character in “Goodfellas.” I say enormous coincidence because I recently purchased the 4K edition of the film. Not that it matters entirely, just saying. Nevertheless, despite my lack of knowledge towards these two individuals, I gotta say this movie was really quite enjoyable. In fact, a part of me shouldn’t be surprised that is the case. After all, I just watched the Golden Globes and this movie was nominated for five awards, taking home three, including Best Musical or Comedy.

I saw “Green Book” last Friday, and to be honest, I probably would have still watched this movie at some point, regardless of whether or not it actually took home Best Picture. I’ve pondered over seeing it for months, but now is the time when I finally get around to it. One of my highest expectations was towards the performances by our two leads, Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. Those two performances did not disappoint. One thing that almost sounds crazy at first is the thought of them having decent chemistry because one person (Mortensen) is rather dynamic and the other person (Ali) is almost robotic. My first sight of Ali in this film made me think of him as a robotic religious figure.

One of the best parts of the movie to me is something that I perhaps started thinking about a little more as I age. A question that sometimes comes up in my mind is: How many people have to follow their own market? As my brain has developed over the years, I realize I am coming across more and more stereotypes as days go by. In this film, one of the scenes where the duo are in the car together shows them listening to music and one of the songs is done by an artist who according to Mortensen is “Ali’s people.” It almost makes me think about my own life. I am going to name a number of movies I still have not seen and chances are that I am going to make you mad once I tell you what those said movies are.

  • Rocky
  • A Fistful of Dollars
  • The Godfather
  • Goodfellas
  • The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Forrest Gump
  • The Green Mile
  • Gremlins
  • 12 Angry Men
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • The Departed
  • Get Out
  • Airplane

You guys mad? I could go on, but I’ll spare you all from getting any angrier.

The point is, with that scene in mind, I was reminded that you don’t HAVE to like something just because society tells you to. Just because I’m a straight white male, doesn’t mean I have to love Nickelback. Just because I live in the United States, where Donald Trump is currently president, it does not mean I have to like Donald Trump. Just because I don’t like Donald Trump, it does not mean I have to like Hillary Clinton even though that is apparently how some members of society like to put things into perspective.

Also, this movie is surprisingly funny. Sure, there is a comedy aspect to this film from the way it is marketed. But I didn’t think it would be as funny as it was. Granted, it’s not roll on the floor laughing funny like “Anchorman” or “Game Night” or “The Hangover.” However, when considering the number of lines that gave me a happy go lucky feeling, it sort of felt surprising. I mean, when I found out this was directed by one of the guys who did “There’s Something About Mary” it kind of makes sense. Nevertheless, this movie, while it was definitely intended to be comedic, was surprisingly, well, comedic. It’s especially surprising when you consider the storyline, the vibe, and the time period which this movie takes place. I figured some serious s*it would be going down at a certain point. And it does, but it does not take away the fact that this movie delivered comedy effectively while simultaneously being kind of a shocker.

But really, at its heart, what “Green Book” truly is from my point of view, is a feel good story. It almost feels like that end of the day story you’d hear on CBS Evening News. With the formation of a friendship that seemed rather unlikely at the time, and some laughable moments, it is easy to call this film something that associates with feeling fulfilled. I talk a lot about comic book movies and how I sometimes wish the script sometimes has more dark moments as opposed to moments that come off as safe or kid-friendly. But in a movie about two different races interacting with each other, trying to change who they are, or in some cases, the other person, I wouldn’t settle for anything else but a feel good story. More specifically, in this particular case I wouldn’t settle for anything else.

Also, without spoiling anything, there is this one moment in the film involving a green rock. It’s actually surprisingly funny and also kind of clever. I won’t go into detail, I’ll just say, see the movie for yourself to find out what I’m talking about.

In the end, “Green Book” is a well done, well put together, and overall interesting flick. It blends comedy and drama with excellence, the chemistry between the two leads almost couldn’t be any better, and the story was very fascinating to observe. I also must point out, there are a couple scenes involving Kentucky Fried Chicken in this film, and while the movie didn’t exactly make me hungry for KFC, it did however make me think that this is actually pretty effective product placement. It doesn’t feel over the top, and it’s actually kind of hilarious. This movie is based on a true story, but the product placement feels incredibly well done to the point where I didn’t even care whether or not the KFC bit actually happened in real life. As someone who had to suffer through “Uncle Drew” months back, I truly appreciate this. I’m going to give “Green Book” an 8/10. Thanks for reading this review! I just want everyone to know that I am going to see a movie this weekend, but I’m not going to reveal what it is, because I would prefer to reveal it in a surprise post which will be up by the end of the week. Speaking of posts, I will have everyone know that I decided on the EARLIEST POSSIBLE DATE for the announcements of my personal nominations of my first annual Jackoff Awards ceremony. That earliest date is going to be Sunday, January 27th. If something happens before then, I’ll probably postpone the announcements to maybe a day or two after, perhaps even into the month of February depending on how things work out. Nevertheless, look forward to that and more great content coming soon! If you want to see such great content, be sure to follow Scene Before either with a WordPress account or email! I want to know, did you see “Green Book?” What did you think about it? Or, what is a movie you enjoy involving long car trips? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Upside (2017): Breaking Hart

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“The Upside” is directed by Neil Burger (Divergent, Limitless) and stars Kevin Hart (Ride Along, The Wedding Ringer) and Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Godzilla) as a seemingly unlikely pair who meet each other, develop a friendship, and therefore we have our movie. Cranston plays a paraplegic and Hart plays an ex-con who also manages to become Cranston’s caretaker. The movie is based on the true story of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo, who suffered from a paragliding accident, therefore giving him unfortunate injuries.

Does this movie sound familiar to you? Well guess what? It exists, not just in the form of “The Upside,” but it also exists in the form of “The Intouchables,” an early 2010s French film. The film was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, but lost to an Austrian film by the name of “Amour.” However, this didn’t deteriorate the overall quality of “The Intouchables” because on IMDb, it made the #40 spot on the site’s “Top 250” list. However, when it comes to my experience with “The Intouchables,” I can say it is very limited given how I never sat down and watched it. I might as well say that the main reason why I even went to the theater and watched “The Upside” in the first place is because it was a free movie. I subscribe to alerts of free screenings, and this is one of the things I got in my inbox. And knowing how my mother tends to enjoy comedies, not to mention Kevin Hart, I thought this would be good for us to see together.

But one thing got in the way, the ratings. Prior to going to the screening, I looked at the movie from a research perspective and one thing that stood out to me was its low IMDb score. In fact, as of doing this review, it’s still pretty low, it’s actually less than a 4! Why is that the case? I have no idea. For all I know, the low scores may have come from hardcore supporters of “The Intouchables,” people who hate remakes, or those who don’t want Kevin Hart hosting the Oscars. However, this movie released in 2017 at TIFF, and part of me wonders if the low verdicts came from negative reviews at the festival. Either that, or another thing that is highly possible is a bit of information that may not be on everyone’s mind. If anyone is curious as to what movies Harvey Weinstein’s production company would have been associated with in 2018, “The Upside” was supposed to be one of them. However, with the destruction of Harvey Weinstein’s film career, this movie was given to STX, which is a newer studio known for films such as “I Feel Pretty,” “Hardcore Henry,” “Bad Moms,” and “The Circle.” Maybe the verdicts had to do with that, I don’t know the full story. But the reality is I personally enjoyed myself while watching “The Upside.”

This is the first 2019 release I have watched. Some may argue it is a 2017 release, but as far as I am concerned, it’s a 2019 flick. And I got to say, this was a good way to kick off the year in film. Is it perfect? No it’s not. In fact, part of me wonders if I am overhyping it. This movie had heart, it had good chemistry, and a surprising amount of laughs packed into it. I walked out of the movie alongside my mother, moments later we talked about it, and she pointed out my laughing. If you have seen a couple of my posts or know me in real life, you’d probably get the gist that when it comes to comedy, there are times where I feel like I’ve seen it all. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that “The Upside” brings anything new to the table, but despite some cliche moments, all of them seem to be delivered with a sense of passion. There’s a good amount of physical comedy, sexual humor, and some occasional yells. Speaking of which, let’s talk about Kevin Hart.

When I think of annoying, crazy, loud comedians who occasionally pop up in movies, I think of Melissa McCarthy. Kevin Hart is pretty much the same person, although he’s a black male. Wait did I really just say that? I take that back, because I assure you, Kevin Hart is the complete opposite of annoying. Hart is always that comedian that raises his voice, but manages to do it with charm. He’s basically Tyler Perry with a superior agent. One minor critique I’d give to Kevin Hart as an actor is his range. He always tends to be the very person I described. He always manages to play himself or someone that has identical qualities to Hart: An arrogant loudmouth who likes to joke around. However, when it comes to his performance in “The Upside,” this slightly made me rethink my critique, partially because this may be the best performance I’ve seen from Kevin Hart yet. If you have seen a Kevin Hart movie, you’re probably familiar with his shtick. Just watch “Ride Along,” “Central Intelligence,” even “The Secret Life of Pets.” He yells A LOT. He’s even like that in real life, go on YouTube and watch Kevin Hart’s 2013 appearance on SportsCenter as he does the top 10. It’s one of the funniest things to ever exist. Seriously. The reason why I consider this to be the best Kevin Hart performance is because it tends to shy away from the cliches we see from him. Hart seems to tone down his voice a little more often, not to mention he’s more serious as opposed to a joker. Granted, it’s not the best performance I’ve seen from an actor, but it made me look at Kevin Hart in a whole new light. His strength will always be full-fledged comedy, but if someone asked me whether or not Hart has the potential to land some serious roles in the future, I wouldn’t say Hart can’t do such a thing. His performance as Dell is done with serious skill.

When it comes to Cranston, I must say he performed with excellence too. Compared to Hart, Cranston seemed to deliver drier humor. He seems to have less emotion than a good number of characters in the film, but at the same time, it is hard to display emotion when you are seriously injured. This does not suggest his character lacks personality, as we see one of the most commonly exposed gags of the film happens to be Cranston’s extreme obsession with opera.

I will say one thing though about the movie, as heartfelt and funny as this movie may be, it has a glaring problem in my opinion. I can sit for a couple of hours in a dark room with images on a screen at moving on a screen at twenty-four frames per second. But there are times when I felt there was nothing happening. There is an argument to be made that the entire movie revolves around the friendship of the two leads, but one of the things that might as well be an important part of any movie is a central problem. There are moments of conflict in the film, but they are resolved quickly and sort of feel rushed. Remember how in “Spider-Man 2” Peter Parker decided to quit being Spider-Man? It almost felt like if there was a complete change in that movie, where Parker puts his suit in the garbage, walks through the alley, then scoots back around only to put it on again. The conflict in this film just feels like something small, when you can’t find the TV remote and are looking all over the place for it, as opposed to something huge, such as the loss of your life savings or your identity. However, this critique is highly forgivable due to the admirable chemistry between the leads, the humor, and the performances.

In the end, “The Upside” was a surprise if there ever was one. And it just goes to show that not all remakes suck. Granted, this is coming from someone who has still yet to see “The Intouchables,” so maybe my opinion could change over time, but if you want a funny movie with heart, I do recommend “The Upside.” Is it a tad cliche? At times. Is it somewhat forgettable? Certainly. But it is also a good time at the movies. If you want to see Kevin Hart at his best, I must declare that “The Upside” is definitely for you. I am going to give “The Upside” a 6/10. Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I am going to be announcing the nominees for my upcoming awards ceremony, the Jackoff Awards, but before I do that, I have a few more 2018 films to watch including “Roma,” “Green Book,” and “On the Basis of Sex.” 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 Upside?” What did you think about it? Or, did you see “The Intouchables?” What did you think about that? Which is the better movie? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Top 10 WORST Movies of 2018

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! It is time to talk s*it about s*itty movies! Now that I have done my top 10 BEST movies of 2018, it’s time to count down my top 10 WORST movies of 2018. In complete honesty, the movies this year have been fantastic for the most part. The number of positive verdicts I had this year were high compared to the negative. So while I will say my list this year definitely has some stinkers, it’s nowhere near as awful as last year. Speaking of opinions, this is a reminder that this is my countdown, therefore everything on this post is strictly my opinion. I am not trying to tell anyone that these are the OBJECTIVELY WORST movies of the year. Art does not work that way. If you like a film on here, that’s cool. Also, I have not seen every single film to have come out in 2018, meaning certain notable titles like “Fifty Shades Freed,” “Mile 22,” or “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” do not appear on the list. Speaking of which, like the last couple of years I have seen a new “Sharknado” movie, but another rule that applies here is that the movie has to be theatrically released, otherwise it does not qualify to make the list. That means certain films like “Zoe” (straight to Prime Video), “The Cloverfield Paradox” (straight to Netflix), and of course, “The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time” (straight to Syfy) do not qualify for this list. Before we count down my ten worst of the year, I am going to announce three dishonorable mentions that were quite bad, but they are the kind of bad that makes them slightly more watchable than the ten movies below them.

Dishonorable Mention: Peppermint

The first dishonorable mention spot goes to “Peppermint.” There are some decent qualities about “Peppermint.” Jennifer Garner is a decent action star at times, I liked some of the editing, and there were one or two laughable lines. But overall, “Peppermint” was kind of disposable and something I wouldn’t really want to watch again in the near future.

Dishonorable Mention: I Feel Pretty

My second dishonorable mention is “I Feel Pretty.” I know it’s kind of “cool” to hate Amy Schumer right now, but the reality is, when it comes to this movie, Amy Schumer is not the main part I hate. I’m not saying she was the best part, but still. I hated the way her character was written, but given her material, she did what she could with her character despite how much I hated said character. Plus, this movie’s overall message, the notion that people can be beautiful just the way they are, is a good message. But sadly, from my viewpoint, based on the movie’s script, that message is SHATTERED.

Dishonorable Mention: The Grinch

And finally for dishonorable mentions, we have “The Grinch.” This is a terrible animation which despite Benedict Cumberbatch’s decent voiceover performance and some stunning visuals, turned me into a green, vile being. Kenan Thompson’s character made me cringe, some of the writing didn’t make sense, and honestly, that narrator DID NOT WORK. I know it’s a narrator, to some people it might be weird to bring up a narrator as a problem in a movie, but the voice just didn’t come off the way I would have preferred.

Without any more dilly-dallying, let’s talk some s*it about certain movies that are in fact, the opposite of the s*it. These are my top 10 WORST movies of 2018.

#10: The 15:17 To Paris

Coming in at #10 is “The 15:17 To Paris!” Clint Eastwood came out with a couple of films this year. He released this one and “The Mule.” I actually just saw “The Mule” and it was, alright, I guess. Disappointing, but alright. This movie? Don’t even bother, it’s basically unwatchable. I will admit, from an experimental point of view, it was kind of cool to see a visual story of a few men reenacting a significant event from their lives. But the reality is that we have “actors” for a reason. Plus, if you consider what this movie is, a majority of it almost makes it feel like a road trip movie. Granted, this movie mainly involves intercontinental travel as opposed to cross-country travel, but I almost felt more like I was experiencing an European tour as opposed to a story. I’ve been talking quite a bit to my family recently, and they seem to LOVE Clint Eastwood. I would love to sit down with them one day in perhaps my living room and we all watch this movie together to see if anyone changes their mind. Eastwood, you’re a household name, but this was a seriously mediocre year for you! Just stating the facts.

#9: Adrift

Some of my favorite movies of all time tell their stories in a way that stays away from the word “conventional.” This movie however tells its story in a less than conventional way that just makes me question the filmmakers, studios, and everyone who actually thought this was a good movie. “Adrift” can go to hell! I’m a sucker for non-linear storytelling, where everything comes together in the end. But what whackjob actually thought constantly going back and forth between the main couple’s story would make the movie better? I didn’t care for anything, anyone, at anytime. There are certain movies out there that feel like puzzles, and puzzles can be fun sometimes. When you finish a puzzle, that can give you some sort of sense of accomplishment. But this is like going through a puzzle of a clear sky during the day. Literally everything is the same color and it’s just plain irritating! I’ll be honest and say that I have never walked out of a movie, but if movies were like puzzles, this is probably a movie I’d eventually give up on. This movie had some alright marketing, I was somewhat sold, but the final product was truly abominable, as explained here in this countdown.

#8: Pacific Rim: Uprising

This entry on my list might just be not only one of the worst movies I’ve seen this year, but also one of the most disappointing movies too. I’m talking about “Pacific Rim: Uprising.” I enjoyed the first “Pacific Rim.” I find it to almost be a throwaway movie, but at the same time, it’s better than most of “Transformers” movies that Michael Bay has put out, which if anything, is nothing short of a compliment. “Pacific Rim: Uprising” on the other hand is a letdown! John Boyega himself performed well in the movie, but his character just had nothing for me to write home about. I mean, he wasn’t even the worst character there! That obsessive fangirl got on my nerves REAL fast, and I just couldn’t stop wanting to eliminate her from society. I was curious to see a “Pacific Rim” sequel, but in reality this turned out to be “Independence Day: Resurgence” all over again. This movie takes place YEARS after the first one, lacks the characters we’ve gotten from the first one, and might as well just exist to continue a franchise. It just feels really uninspired and just a reason to grab some cash. Oh and Charlie Day! HOLY F*CK I forgot about Charlie Day. I won’t go into spoilers, but his character in this film is like watching Doc Brown from “Back To the Future” in the most poorly written of remakes! But to avoid being a complete Negative Nancy, there were some neat battle sequences and some nice shots at times. But in all seriousness, avoid “Pacific Rim: Uprising.” Watch the first one though.

#7: Second Act

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From STX Entertainment comes their latest film, “Jennifer Lopez Is a Showoff.” That’s not the actual title of the movie, but it might as well be my personal nickname title for “Second Act.” “Second Act” is about a girl who is not that educated, she has more street smarts than book smarts, but she wants to show Madison Ave in New York City that she’s the f*cking boss. And in reality, the movie felt like an abusive boss at times. I went to see this movie with a friend of mine and we basically talked about it on the way home just in ways that simply associate with trashing it. Leah Remini is in the movie and I like her because she’s in “King of Queens” and that’s one of my preferred sitcoms. But that’s like saying Kate McKinnon, who I happen to like from “Saturday Night Live,” is in the 2016 “Ghostbusters” film. Good actress, terrible movie, boom! Mediocre combo. On the bright side, I didn’t even owe the theater a cent for this film! I saw this at an early screening, so I didn’t have to pay up! Jennifer Lopez cannot be bought as her character, her outfits sometimes are questionable, and the comedy in this film either goes one or two ways. It’s either crap everyone’s seen before, or it’s just plain stupid!

#6: Gringo

On Amazon’s quest against Disney, Apple, Google, Walmart, McDonald’s, Netflix, Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, Comcast, all of the big corporations out there, their mission to take over the world and make all of the consumers out there their slaves, did they ever think distributing “Gringo” was the best way to keep this quest going? I sure hope not, because 1, Amazon’s growth in society is kinda scary, and 2, “Gringo” is just terrible! “Gringo” stars David Oyelowo, who played Martin Luther King for crying out loud, and while I wouldn’t say his performance here was abysmal, it’s just cringeworthy realizing you have this talented actor in a position like this. That’s not the only talented actor here, because Charlize Theron was admittedly, great at playing a character I absolutely hated, but I can also look at this movie saying, “Oh, s*it, Charlize Theron’s in here.” To me, “Gringo” just felt like an excuse for Joel and Nash Edgerton to work together and to give each other some attention. Joel stars in the movie while Nash is directing, and I must say it’s nice to see family members come together on a project. But I have a sister and if I’m making a movie, she’s begging to be in it, and I agree to let her be in it perhaps playing the starring role or something, not only would that be nepotism, but let’s say I’m a thousand times more well known then her in the film industry, people would automatically question my casting choice! I mean, I’m not saying no family members can work on a professionally made or widely released movie together. Just look at what the Francos did with “The Disaster Artist!” Also, this won’t be the last you hear of me talking about family members or a couple of people that have some sort of relation to each other working on a project together on this list. Just you wait…

#5: Venom

Spider-Man is my favorite superhero of all time. He is such a relatable character and totally has some great movies which he happens to appear. Now Sony wants to cash in on the name without exactly using Spider-Man and it f*cking sucked! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you “Venom.” I’m not joking with you when I say this is not only one of the worst comic book movies of the year, but it makes a comic book movie like “Batman & Robin” almost look watchable. At least that movie was cheesy fun. This piece of crap? I felt it wasn’t dark enough. OK, well, lighting-wise and when it comes to costume design, sure, it’s pretty dark, but I’m talking about the vibe. This movie should have been rated R. Maybe it didn’t need as much language as “Deadpool,” but it certainly needs more blood! This movie is essentially about a guy who merges together with a monster who has a desire to eat tons of people. Let us see more of the action! Don’t cut away from the good stuff! I don’t care about how many children are watching, the fact is this movie would have been a quality product had it been R rated. But no, let’s make it corporate. Let’s just make it a cash cow. Let’s make this thing as studio-oriented as possible, with little to no passion whatsoever. I still remember when I saw this in theaters when I was staying in New York. When the movie ended, I heard everybody applauding and I just turned into the snobby critic in the room. I basically did a Peter Griffin impression saying, “That sucked.” Also, seriously? This movie made more money than “Spider-Verse” on its first weekend? Are you kidding me?

#4: Uncle Drew

Hey guys, you want a Pepsi? How about a Gatorade? Maybe some Tropicana juice? After seeing “Uncle Drew,” I’ve nearly decided that I’m giving all mine up. I saw “Uncle Drew” on one of the first shows on its opening Friday, and having seen this movie, it made me realize how long I’ve been hiding under a rock. I like basketball, but I don’t follow sports as much as I did as a youngster, and when I saw the movie, I purely saw it because I had time to kill. Unfortunately, time seemingly killed ME in the process. Going into this mess, I had no idea that this was an intellectual property that already exists! I had no idea that this was based on a web-series, but somehow it is, and seeing this movie only made me want to avoid the web-series. The Shaq wasn’t even funny in “Uncle Drew.” My gosh. Remember “Grown-Ups 2?” Not many people would consider that a quality movie, but at least the Shaq was pretty cool in it. But seriously though, guys, watch “Uncle Drew” and I dare you to tell me that it’s not a commercial for Pepsi, just go do it and report back to me telling me it’s not a Pepsi ad.

#3: Gotti

Coming in at this next spot is “Gotti,” starring the classically trained actor, John Travolta. Why the f*ck do I watch his movies after what he did in “Battlefield Earth?” This film is about the life of John Gotti, a crime boss who was a very… very much talked about man. What do I remember from this film? Well nothing good to be completely honest. I will give some kudos to this film however because there is an argument to be made that this is one of those movies to watch with your friends and poke fun at it. After a short amount of time of being on my screen, I wanted to get into “Mystery Science Theater” mode. How bad is this movie you ask? Well guess what? When it started, a part of me thought I was watching Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room.” Granted, in terms of production value, this movie exceeds “The Room.” But in all seriousness, I heard “Gotti” was terrible before watching it, and I heard the same about “The Room” before I watched that, but in terms of establishing shots, “Gotti” doesn’t blow into full-fledged carbon copy mode, but it did remind me of Tommy Wiseau’s disasterpiece. Even the music choices are a thing of beauty. One music choice during an action scene made me compare an attempt at murder to a lively party. If you have Prime Video, this movie is probably free for you at the time this list goes up, but brace for either hilarity, cringe, creeps, boredom, or perhaps some combination of those things.

#2: The Hurricane Heist

If you thought “Sharknado” was bad, let me just keep it simple with “The Hurricane Heist,” it’s not any better. What the hell did I watch?! This movie was directed by Rob Cohen, and he is relatively known for directing other movies that either have huge followings, fall into the guilty pleasure category, but this movie didn’t even fall into one of those categories! It fell into category -10, because ya know, it ended up on my top 10 worst list! This wasn’t even fun, it was just boring. The characters were bland, the writing was stale, the directing had nothing to write home about, and even the ADR was seemingly cringeworthy! When you market your movie saying it is from the director of “The Fast and the Furious,” and with the song “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” is it wrong to expect some corny, stupid fun? Also, Toby Kebbell is in this film and I am starting to get worried about his track record. He has done “Fant4stic,” “Warcraft,” the “Ben-Hur” remake, “Wrath of the Titans,” and now this! Then again, he’s also in the newer “Planet of the Apes” films and many people seem to like those. I didn’t expect Shakespeare material from “The Hurricane Heist,” but can we at least get fun material? Is that too much to ask for?

#1: Life of the Party

And finally, #1! They say that a story is only as good as its villain. We have now arrived to the ultimate antagonist of the list! I don’t go to parties all that often, and I will point out, I am not a party person. I’m probably not even the most fun person on the planet, but in a world where movies are people, this movie is the ultimate party pooper. Melissa McCarthy? Ben Falcone? F*ck y’all! My worst movie of 2018 is “Life of the Party.” One recent trend that I have been doing for the past few years is that I would go see a movie on Mother’s Day. Sadly, all of those movies have been nothing but hot trash! The trend continues here and it sucks! Melissa McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone work on yet another movie together and while I have not seen Ben Falcone’s other movies that he directed, I have been given another reason to continuously avoid checking them out. 2018 may have been the one of the best years for comedy I’ve personally been through, but this abomination stood out as that, well, abomination. Melissa McCarthy plays the cliche mother who tries to be goofy, but really comes off as one of the most corny individuals of all time! This feels more like a bad episode of a situation comedy on ABC as opposed to something that is trying to be a movie. Some of the scenes between the mother and daughter were awkward, the characters were uninteresting, almost none of the comedy landed for me. I distinctly remember one scene from my theatrical experience on Mother’s Day where I was hearing everyone react to what was happening on screen either with shock, laughter, or faint applause. I already checked out. I legit did not care about anyone in the film and throughout my experience I wanted to die. The fact that this flick even got made is probably funnier than what happens in “Life of the Party” as a comedy. Aside from that, the movie is cliche, both predictable and unpredictable in the worst possible ways, and overall the movie just made me feel dumber as I walked out of it. And HOLY CRAP! I almost forgot! Christina Aguilera plays herself in this film, and it might just be the ALL TIME WORST occurrence of someone playing him or herself, that I’ve ever seen. NOTE: I have not seen Adam Sandler’s “Jack and Jill.” This is a spoiler, and you know what? I don’t care, this movie ruined my brain, so I might as well ruin it. As mentioned, Christina Aguilera is in the film, and she happens to be a cousin to one of the more prominent characters. I knew this movie was dumb, but at no point did I think it would be, nor did I ask for, a complete eradication of my own brain cells! Also, just a fun fact, when I saw “Ghostbusters” in 2016 that actually made my worst movie of the year when I saw it. That was a couple years ago. McCarthy has done public work in 2017, but none of it involved theatrically released movies. Out of the three years I’ve done these countdowns, Melissa McCarthy has now been in TWO of the #1 worst films of the year! Congratulations! You won the award! …For making me feel like I wasted hours of my life multiple times! And apparently, Maya Rudolph was in this too, making this HER second time being attached to the worst movie of the year on here, with the first one being last year’s “The Emoji Movie.” Don’t see “Life of the Party,” and if you do, I AM SORRY FOR YOU, and I hope you somehow liked it better than I did. But for me, “Life of the Party” is my worst movie of 2018.

Thanks for reading this countdown! You guys are now aware of my very objective and totally not at all opinionated list! I want to thank you all for coming along with me on an epic journey through 2018 in film, and I hope 2019 goes well for you as it does for me! I will say, I’ve got a ton of big plans for this year, including my own awards ceremony, more reviews, from old movies to new movies, I’m going to be going to Hollywood this year, and since that is a movie-oriented city, maybe I’ll do a post related to it. I’ve got plans to do an update on my Blu-ray collection. I can’t guarantee it, but there’s a good chance I’ll do a series of “Star Wars” movie reviews sometime this year. Maybe I’ll continue to be that crazy IMAX guy, who knows? But I gotta be real. Part of me is gonna miss 2018. Sure, I won’t miss the continuation of Trump being in office. Sure, I won’t miss a couple of my local Sears stores going out of business. Sure, and I know a lot of people value education, but truth be told, I will not miss high school (or at least certain parts of it). But this was seriously a good year. Despite what I said about high school, I actually graduated this year. My favorite game show of all time, “Deal or No Deal” is now airing new episodes on CNBC. I went to New York Comic Con for the first time. Speaking of which, this year I went to New York City for the first time! Also, this year, as far as film goes, possibly might be the best I’ve experienced all decade. I saw a lot of movies, not to mention a lot of good movies! But it’s time to forget 2018 and move onto 2019! Let’s grab this year by the balls and make something good out of it! Happy new year everyone, and let’s make it a fun one! 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, what are your worst movies of 2018? Do you have a countdown? A select few? Just one you want to point out? Do you agree with my picks? Do you disagree? But let’s be real, what is the Internet without a little disagreement? Feel free to share your honest thoughts! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Top 10 BEST Movies of 2018

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! We have reached that time! The year is over, which means we get to one of my favorite parts of doing Scene Before, my annual countdowns! That’s right, it’s time to count down my top 10 BEST movies of 2018! Before we get into the countdown however, let me just have you know that when it comes to this year in film, just like every other, there are movies that I have missed. If there is a certain movie you thought might have been on my list that is not on my list, I have a newsflash for you. I either didn’t see it or I just didn’t like it enough to call it top 10 list worthy. One example is “Mary Poppins Returns.” Not only is it not my type of movie, but I also never saw the original film, so I missed out on that. When it comes to bigger budget films to come out in December, “Aquaman” was more important. Also, this is a subjective list. Art creates all sorts of opinions across the board, therefore it is subjective. If you think that a certain movie on this list is your least favorite movie of the year, you are entitled to that opinion and I respect you completely. However, maybe this will encourage you to make your own top 10 list when it comes to this year in film. In my countdowns last year, I stated a couple of honorable mentions before I got on to doing my top ten. However, this year, I’ve seen a few more movies compared to last year, so I decided instead of two honorable mentions, I’d include three. Let’s state them right now.

Honorable Mention: Blockers

My first honorable mention is “Blockers.” 2018 was admittedly a surprisingly great year for comedy. This movie is basically a female-oriented “American Pie” for a new generation. There is also an argument to be made that this is also “Revenge of the Nerds” for a new generation because of how many layers this movie surprisingly manages to pack in despite being marketed as what looks like a disposable comedy. Overall, I ate this movie up.

Honorable Mention: Deadpool 2

My next honorable mention is “Deadpool 2.” I saw this film when I was staying in Disney World, which is basically a combination of two polar opposites, and I don’t regret it in the least. “Deadpool 2” is a sequel that is not as good as the first, but still manages to deliver quality action, humor, and possibly even better opening titles than the original! I’d like to give a special shoutout to one of the two guys who killed the dog in “John Wick!”

Honorable Mention: Hereditary

And finally for honorable mentions, we have “Hereditary.” A24 manages to deliver an excellent horror story with quality directing, cinematography, a killer performance by Toni Collette, and some of the most disturbing scenes of the year! Speaking of scenes, it’s possible that “Hereditary” contains my favorite standalone scene of the year, specifically the one towards the middle to end, at the dinner table.

Without further ado, let’s start the annual tradition with a bang! These are my 10 BEST movies of 2018!

#10: Incredibles 2

2018 is FINALLY the year we get a sequel to my favorite animation of all time, “The Incredibles,” and I must say that “Incredibles 2” did not disappoint! Brad Bird returns once again, both with his own screenplay and in the director’s chair! And I must say, animation is where Bird excels. I’ve seen a couple of movies he directed in live-action form, specifically “Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol” and “Tomorrowland,” and while they were decent, they were nowhere near as masterfully done as say, “The Incredibles” or “Ratatoullie.” Most of the original cast made a return to play their roles they’ve portrayed in the first film (it’s hard to keep Dash’s young and hyper-sounding voice going on forever), and I’ll say while I do consider “The Incredibles” to be better than “Incredibles 2,” I will personally add that I find “Incredibles 2” to be the funniest of both films. Jack-Jack is a scene stealer, the part where the family is at the restaurant is a gutbuster considering what Violet has to go through, and while this movie displays the harsh reality of being a stay-at-home parent, it’s just done with charm and wit. “Incredibles 2” just goes to show that Pixar played their cards right, not only with marketing, but with waiting to make a sequel that could potentially rival the original film in terms of likability.

#9: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Coming in at #9 is “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse!” One of my favorite movies of all time is 2004’s “Spider-Man 2,” directed by the very talented Sam Raimi. “Spider-Verse” does not quite match “Spider-Man 2,” however, it is the second best “Spider-Man” film I’ve ever seen. It is also one of the trippiest movies I have seen all year, and I mean that in the absolute best possible way. When I first heard about this movie, I kind of thought it was mainly trying to cash in on the name Spider-Man. Boy was I wrong! This is a movie that has heart, humor, action, and likable characters! Usually I’m used to seeing Peter Parker on screen, but it was interesting to see a different Spidey behind the mask for one film. Granted, Peter Parker is in the movie, but he’s not the main character. Also, Aunt May in “Spider-Verse” might just be the best Aunt May I’ve ever seen. I mean, holy f*ck! All the characters here were awesome, Kingpin is an excellent villain, the animation style, while it seemed to be tacky at first when seeing trailers, paid off and was only a benefit to the final product!

#8: Eighth Grade

John Hughes gave us some great coming of age stories revolving around teenagers like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Unfortunately, he passed away in 2009, so his wonderful writing can only be a reflection. However, Bo Burnham is still alive and we have a new coming of age story to remember. I’m talking about “Eighth Grade!” There are still days where I look at my life in middle school and realize that in some ways that my life is a hell lot better than it was back then. I’ve met nicer people, more mature people, people who want to get to know me better. “Eighth Grade” reminded me of the horrors of middle school, of not only presenting experiences that were relatable, but by also showcasing other happenings that I can’t really say I’ve had. One of my lesser preferred genres when it comes to film is horror, only because I don’t get terrified all that easily therefore destroying the purpose of the genre. This is not a horror movie, but seeing Kayla, played by the amazingly talented Elsie Fisher, in various situations, was almost heart-stopping based on the potential horrors that could be unleashed.

#7: First Man

I was never alive back in the 1960s, so I never got to experience the space race or the moon landing, but it’s always been a subject I’ve personally been fascinated with. With that being said, it’s no surprise that I adored “First Man.” This movie has always been something I’ve personally been looking forward to since it was announced, and when it came out, I was extremely pleased. Nobody went to see it, but this guy did and he doesn’t regret it in the least. In terms of directing, this movie shines. There are several scenes where shaky cam is used, and if you know me, I’m kind of anti-shaky cam. When I watch something such as an action movie, I find it much more preferable for all of the action scenes to be played out with a much more standstill approach. This movie, while it didn’t make me pro-shaky cam for all of eternity, made me reconsider my anti-shaky cam motives. When it comes to the score, the cinematography, the atmosphere, the vibe was perfect. It was a somewhat terrifying and jaw-dropping adventure. One of my favorite scenes in the film involves a conversation before Neil Armstrong leaves his family to go to the moon. The pacing of all the dialogue which happened to be given and the acting was 100% spot on!

#6: Welcome To Marwen

I can usually agree with a majority of people that a certain movie is good or bad. However there are times when I fall into a minority. That is the case with my next pick, “Welcome To Marwen.” PLEASE DON’T SHOOT ME! This is a movie that I went to see early, and when I saw it, it was truly revolutionary. One of the best animated franchises of all time is “Toy Story.” “Welcome To Marwen” is essentially a live-action version of that, featuring someone who has PTSD. The performances are top notch, the directing is beautiful, the concept is wonderful to tenth degree! I stand by my statements, even if that means I’m going to die within the next few days. But this is a film that is HATED by critics. I can probably say the same applies to moviegoers as well given how the film has a 5.5/10 on IMDb. Then again, the Cinemascore rating was a B-, so it does have some positive reviews from audience members. Nevertheless, this is a film that is not only original, but reminded me of why I love telling stories and listening to stories. Well done, Robert Zemeckis!

#5: First Reformed

Coming in at #5 is a film I actually didn’t get around to reviewing this year but enjoyed watching nevertheless, “First Reformed.” One of the most pressing issues of my time is climate change, this movie paints a picture of climate change like I’ve never seen before. There is one scene in the film where the main character, a priest, sits down with somebody whose wife is currently pregnant. He wants his future child aborted so it does not have to live in a nearly or perhaps inevitably uninhabitable world. I said to myself before that when I grow to be a certain age, specifically the time when perhaps most people would want kids, I’d probably pass up on that opportunity. I’d usually say that I just don’t want to screw up someone’s life because I’d be nervous about the responsibility at hand, I’d possibly even screw up my own life. Now, this movie made me think, I’d feel deeply sorry if I had to bring a child into this world. Granted, having children is not a bad thing necessarily, but I would feel more than terrible bringing in someone who has to deal with constantly changing normality in terms of climate and weather, decreasing resources, and the fact that ways we try to amuse ourselves and survive affects our very own planet. In fact, part of me wonders if I’ll be one of the last generations to survive on Earth. Part of me wonders if we’ll ever even see a shift to another planet to start a new way of life. “First Reformed” truly got me thinking about my own future. Not only that, but it manages to make a Christian priest skeptical about his own beliefs, which is something I never tend to think about when someone has a high religious position. The acting in this movie from performers like Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried is simply lovable. The directing by Paul Schrader is basically the definition of a vision. It kind of reminded me of “No Country For Old Men” meets “La La Land” meets “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Bravo!

#4: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Who says people don’t go out to see documentaries nowadays? Well guess what, this guy did, and this guy saw “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?.” Talk about an amazing, sweet, memorable experience. I never had Mr. Rogers in my childhood, however my grandmother always sang the opening song to “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” to me. This movie made me want more of him in my life. I was reminded of how a lot of shows that children are subjected to are flashy and noisy and all other sorts of stuff. As a child I watched “Power Rangers,” where grown people are flipping around uttering random sounds as they annihilate others. Had I watched “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” however, I would probably have had a better childhood, by which I mean, I would have been a smarter, and perhaps a more well-behaved child. This movie must be seen by every individual in the universe, even if you are the toughest manly man out there with tons of facial hair who rides a motorcycle across the country occasionally stopping to chow down the biggest baddest burgers and steaks in the world, you will enjoy this documentary!

#3: Ready Player One

I’ve read the book for “Ready Player One,” it was awesome! Then I saw the movie for “Ready Player One,” that was awesome too! While there are many changes from the book, I will say that I’m not complaining about it. What we’ve got with “Ready Player One” is nothing short of just a plain old epic adventure with a bunch of people who wish they grew up in the 1980s. I will say, I am not a psychic, but if “Ready Player One” wins Best Visual Effects at the Academy Awards, that would be killer! Also, may I add, if you like Chucky or “Child’s Play,” do yourself a favor and check this movie out just for the thirty seconds Chucky happens to be on screen! Do I have problems with the movie? Yes, I have problems with many movies I see and some like this one that happened to make it on the list, but it does not change the fact that this movie not only was fun, glorious, and all-around just immersive, but it also had a chase sequence towards the end that is sitting somewhere in my top 10 of all time.

#2: Avengers: Infinity War

Coming in at #2 is the movie event of the year, and some of you might be thinking like the last couple of years, it’s a “Star Wars” movie. Nope, this year’s “Star Wars” flick was painfully average so that’s not making the list. Instead, I’m talking about “Avengers: Infinity War!” I remember a couple years ago I saw “Captain America: Civil War” and I once declared it to be my favorite movie of 2016. Not only that, but it was also my favorite MCU movie. Forget I said that, because this movie is not just a good comic book movie. It’s a good MOVIE. While I might have my gripes for Marvel for seeming to never want to end their cinematic universe at any given point, it also allows us to see something truly groundbreaking. Because the reality is that “Avengers: Infinity War” is a culmination to a franchise that has been built up for ten years. It’s almost like watching a nearly conclusive TV show finale. I mean, originally, “Infinity War” was supposed to be marketed as a two part thing, but that’s not happening anymore. Not to mention, it provided one of the most epic experiences I’ve had at the movies this year. It was basically like watching a big sporting event as opposed to a movie in the theater, especially on opening Thursday night in a sold out IMAX. Another reason why I love this movie so much is because without getting into spoilers, is because it did a couple of things that I wouldn’t really see in something like a Marvel movie or some film featuring superheroes. Other than that, it’s really just a fun yet emotional ride. I don’t run the Oscars, but if the voters happened to pay more attention to big blockbusters, this would possibly get nominated, or even win Best Picture. Did I mention Thanos? Oh my gosh! Thanos! THANOS IS ONE OF THE GREATEST VILLAINS EVER PUT ON SCREEN! I am not sure how 2019’s list of films to come out is going to be compared to 2018, but hopefully, “Avengers: Endgame” does not suck, or even ruin “Avengers: Infinity War.”

#1: Mission: Impossible: Fallout

Alright, we have reached the #1 spot! We finally made it! This is the movie that I had the most fun watching, I had a great time reviewing, and once it finished, my first words were “HOLY CRAP.” What movie could get me to say that? How about Tom Cruise’s latest attempt at killing himself? At the #1 spot, we have “Mission: Impossible: Fallout!” The latest installment to the “Mission: Impossible” franchise was something I was looking forward to as its release got closer and closer. Little did I know how much I’d love it! If “First Reformed” is the definition of a vision for an independent film, then “Mission: Impossible: Fallout” is the definition of a vision for a big blockbuster film. Much like the MCU, the “Mission: Impossible” movies have been going on for a long time. “Mission: Impossible: Fallout” is not necessarily a culmination, but it takes a lot of the characters you know from previous “Mission: Impossible” films and inserts them in one epic story. Not only that, but Tom Cruise provides the best stunt performance I’ve ever seen from him. If you ever thought there was no way he would ever top hanging on the side of an airplane in “Rogue Nation,” I personally thought he topped it 110% in “Fallout!” The cinematography, the score, the sound, the editing, HOLY CRAP the editing. There is a scene towards the end of the movie that I remember being in awe watching it during my second viewing! Seeing this film in a theater was an experience. Twists, turns, craziness, the action scenes in this film are all memorable! The helicopter scene is a thing of f*cking beauty! When your lead actor breaks his leg during a stunt, and chooses to go on with a scene like nothing happened, you know you have a movie worth watching. Tom Cruise has still got the goods when it comes to action and stuntwork! This is possibly the best Tom Cruise movie I have seen personally since 1983’s “Risky Business!” I would like to thank Tom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie, Paramount, Bad Robot for making an action-packed extravaganza that I will probably watch many years to come! I’m glad to call “Mission: Impossible: Fallout” my favorite movie of 2018!

Thanks for reading this countdown! Tomorrow I am gonna have a new post for you all to read, and I know it is a new year and it is time to celebrate, but the reality is, sometimes it is reasonable to relieve some stress. That is why tomorrow I’m switching my mood, and I’m going to be talking about my top 10 WORST movies of 2018. I will admit, this year for movies has been awesome. I’ve seen A LOT of movies that have come out this year, a third of which I currently consider to be at least an 8/10. I’m serious. I will say that with at the very least, a majority of these movies, and possibly others that I’ve yet to see, these are going to apply in a future event I’m going to unveil to you all here on Scene Before. In my first awards show that I’m doing here weeks from now, I’m going to be including my top 10 movies for my Best Picture category. Instead of having me choose the Best Picture, partially due to already revealing my personal favorite film of the year, I’m going to have viewers and followers vote for what they think should win Best Picture of the year. Once the nominees are announced, voting will be open. My nominees are to be announced in a few weeks from now or so, and I officially have no date for the awards ceremony to be posted, but trust me when I say that it is going to be one of the most ambitious posts I’ve ever done. 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, what are your favorite movies of 2018? Feel free to count down your picks, or if you want to be exclusive and only include one film, feel free to do that too. The top 10 WORST is coming tomorrow, stay tuned! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Instant Family (2018): An Emotionally Confusing, Wannabe Feel Good Rollercoaster

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“Instant Family” is directed by Sean Anders (Daddy’s Home, That’s My Boy) and stars Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne (Neighbors, Insidious), Isabella Moner (Transformers: The Last Knight, 100 Things To Do Before High School), Margo Martindale (The Americans, Justified), Julie Hagerty (Family Guy, Airplane!), Tig Notaro (In a World…, One Mississippi), and Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures, Gifted). This movie is inspired by true events experienced by director Sean Anders. It’s about a couple who decided to adopt three children who have no idea what exactly they’ve signed up for.

This movie is directed and co-written by Sean Anders, who actually wrote the screenplay basing it upon his own experiences and before I tell you whether or not this is actually a good movie, this notion gave me the urge to dive deeper into Anders as a person. He, much like the main couple in the movie, appeared to be against the idea of adopting at first, but he eventually adapted to the idea, which seems to have lead to him making this movie a reality. Regardless of the overall quality of “Instant Family,” it is an interesting motive to make a movie based on something that significantly changed your life. That being said, I REALLY don’t know how to feel about this movie.

They say that some movies and stories can be “emotional rollercoasters.” Movies that, logically speaking, can provide multiple feelings throughout such as happiness, sadness, gladness, disappointment, etc. This is that movie, and I don’t think I can say it is quite the emotional rollercoaster I would traditionally ask for. Because this movie manages to make my heart warm, make me laugh, but also question whatever is happening on screen.

One movie I saw in 2018 was “Eighth Grade,” part of why I loved that movie so much is because of how that made me cringe. The idea of cringe is such a strange word in that scenario because in reality, cringing can be seen as a synonym for getting embarrassed. Maybe I have a slight bias towards “Eighth Grade” as an idea and a script because for one thing, I don’t have adopted children. I’m not even a parent for crying out loud. I’ve been through “Eighth Grade,” much like a good portion of other people. The cringe I’ve gotten out of that movie was reminiscent of how I would feel getting scared during certain horror movies. “Instant Family” seemingly tries to replicate an uncomfortable feeling of being a parent, not to mention, being a part of a family, but that’s all I get sometimes during scenes, discomfort. I don’t relate to what is happening to the fullest like I’d want to, or maybe I do, but I just felt more like I was watching “How To Be a Latin Lover,” one of the worst attempts at a comedy of the decade, as opposed to a compelling story.

“Instant Family” started out in a pretty solid manner, it could have been funnier, it could have been better, but it was serviceable. Then somewhere in the middle of the movie, I start to feel uncomfortable. Granted, I will say, the discomfort overall could be a lot worse, because I have a strong feeling that was what the writers happened to be going for. The way this movie this movie plays out is kind of like playing a nearly lucky game of bingo. You have your free space taken, the first three numbers called are all in a row which includes the free space, then for the rest of the game, it does not go the way you planned. All the rest of the numbers either don’t connect the way you want to, or are not even on your board.

I will say though, I gotta give credit to the performances, and when it comes to comedies, that is something that I feel may occasionally be overlooked. Granted, I sometimes make the excuse that a comedy has to make an effort at delivering humor before anything else. I stand by my statement, but performances are an important part of any film regardless of whether it is a drama going for an Academy Award, a horror flick trying to scare audiences everywhere, or in this case, a comedy made specifically to get people to laugh. Granted, compared to some other comedies I’ve seen recently, this seems to have more layers and substance attached to it. The two parents in the movie actually feel like a married couple who are trying to adopt children. The children feel like they act their age, and are quite charming. There’s also a grandmother in the movie that personality-wise, is kind of hyperactive, and while I do consider the character to be rather cliche in ways, I thought she was portrayed and written well for a film like this.

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Mark Wahlberg plays Pete in the movie, and as mentioned, he’s portrayed with excellence. Granted, it’s not worthy of awards, but Wahlberg did well with the provided material. With that in mind, it is also worth mentioning that Wahlberg kind of already played this character before. In fact, you can also say that Sean Anders, the director of this film, also directed this character before, played by the exact same person. Anders directed “Daddy’s Home,” which stars Mark Wahlberg as a biological father to multiple kids. The children are living with their stepdad (Will Ferrell), but for some time, Wahlberg is in town so the two raise the kids together. Aside from being a father, one thing that really stood out to me about Mark Wahlberg’s character is that he would teach his kids to be tough and stand up to others. Thinking back on “Instant Family,” I must have achieved a similar vibe during one scene. There is one scene that I thought was completely entertaining where Wahlberg is with his adopted teenage daughter and they break s*it with a hammer.

One minor issue I have with the movie is actually something I’ve been experiencing a lot lately. While this movie has a solid runtime to avoid complete agitation, the pacing could have been better. There are a couple moments where this movie feels climactic, where it feels like it could have a solid ending, but it just chooses to go on. It’s just like the climax to “Deadpool 2” although much less interesting and entertaining.

Let’s be real, “Instant Family” is no masterpiece, and part of me thinks that this movie isn’t for everyone. Sure, it’s heartwarming. Sure, it’s funny. Sure, it’s raw. But it almost at times feels like a surface level movie in certain aspects. The humor at times is barely passable, and the does have that studio feel I bring up from time to time. I feel like a number of people are gonna sit down, watch this movie, and probably enjoy themselves for a couple of hours. However, due to my lack of relatibility to the movie, not to mention my personal critiques, I can’t say it’s a movie for me. I wouldn’t say however to avoid it, but I feel like some people will have more fun than others.

In the end, “Instant Family” is an alright attempt at a feel good comedy. However, it feels more like a reality check on parenting that focuses more on crazy visions of realistic situations than a story that’s supposed to make you smile. I appreciate the vision, but it just didn’t work for me. Plus, if I’m not at that point already, I seem to be getting to the point where I’ve practically seen it all when it comes to comedy. Nothing feels new or fresh. “Instant Family” is by no means 2018’s worst attempt at a comedy, but it adds cliches I have already seen and just doesn’t feel like the best possible product it can truly be. I am going to give “Instant Family” a 5/10. I will say once again, this is an emotional rollercoaster. When I began to leave the theater, the one word I could use to describe my experience was “confusing.” Don’t get me wrong, I understood the movie, it’s not like I watched a deep puzzle-like flick or something, it’s a simple attempt at comedy. But I had a mix of positive and negative emotions throughout the film, and while I had fun watching the movie, I don’t think I have any desire to watch it again anytime soon. There’s a good chance this score could change in the future. What will it change to? I honestly don’t know. Only time will tell. Thanks for reading this review! Next week I’ll be going to see an advance screening of “The Upside.” This movie is a remake of 2011’s “The Intouchables” and I’ll have my review of “The Upside” on the web as early as possible. Also, I’ve talked about them for sometime, I’ve been building them up like Thanos, and now they are going to arrive! My next two posts are going to be my top 10 BEST movies of 2018 and my top 10 WORST movies of 2018! I’m so excited to release these to you all, and I’m looking forward to a great 2019, happy new year everyone! 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 “Instant Family?” What did you think about it? Or, what is a movie where you cringed due to a relatable moment, scene, or segment? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Mule (2018): Clint Eastwood’s Second Disappointment of 2018

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“The Mule” is directed by Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby, Sully) and stars himself alongside Bradley Cooper (Guardians of the Galaxy, A Star Is Born), Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice), Michael Peña (American Hustle, Crash), Dianne Wiest (Life in Pieces, Law & Order), and Andy Garcia (Geostorm, Ocean’s Eleven). This movie is based on a true story and an article from The New York Time called “The Sinaloa Cartel’s 90-Year-Old Drug Mule.” It’s a about a guy by the name of Earl Stone, who is a war veteran, and he claims that he made the mistake of putting work before family. He missed a couple of important events, he cared for his plants more than his children, and he seems to be always doing something that will keep him from his family. Throughout the film, we see Stone trying to get cash for transporting loads on his truck under the responsibility of a Mexican drug cartel.

I haven’t seen much of Clint Eastwood’s work. As a film buff, or at least that’s what I like to call myself, part of me is slightly surprised that I have not looked into more of his stuff. I have seen “Sully,” “The 15:17 to Paris,” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” Now that “The Mule” is in cinemas everywhere, it allows me to dive deeper into seeing how talented Clint Eastwood really is, not only as an actor, but as a director. What I’ve seen from him acting-wise is pretty serviceable, including what I’ve seen from him in this movie. However, thus far, I have seen him direct competently, but there are other directors I prefer compared to him. I much prefer the work of filmmakers like Christopher Nolan (Interstellar, Memento), Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Isle of Dogs), and Damien Chazelle (Whiplash, La La Land). While this is at times, a nice looking, and rather well done film from a technical and acting perspective, the fact is that I was honestly disappointed.

When I saw “The 15:17 To Paris” this year, I felt the same way as I do now. Clint Eastwood is a household name in Hollywood. But throughout a portion of the year, a part of me thought that was just Eastwood’s appetizer to get to the real film he wants to tackle in 2018. After all, the movie was released in February, which is one of the dumpster fire months for movies, so there’s a good chance that either the studio or Eastwood himself may have been dissatisfied over the outcome of what eventually became “The 15:17 To Paris.” The good news was that this was not the only film to be released in 2018 that is directed by Clint Eastwood. Maybe “The Mule” would be better than “The 15:17 To Paris.” Well, it was, but that’s not saying much because, again, I was disappointed.

Let’s talk about Clint Eastwood in this film, he does a good job performance-wise, but when it comes to his character, I have mixed thoughts about him. I can understand the way he felt at certain times. The way the character manages to develop is also charming. But there are certain qualities attached to him that are kind of off-putting. He would occasionally tell people they are stupid for using cell phones and the Internet, and there’s actually a scene that makes him come off as a less likable version of Hugh Hefner. I say that because Clint Eastwood is in his eighties, he’s playing a character around his age range. There’s a scene where we see him with some chicks in a bedroom, they’re all seducing him and removing his clothes, it’s not traditionally something that I would pay to see. Granted, “The Mule” is not a family movie, and I never asked for it to be. But I can’t recall the last time I said, I’m gonna go see Clint Eastwood f*ck someone twice as young as him. I also will say, age is just a number, and I’m not against someone dating a person much younger or older than them as long as it makes both partners of the relationship happy, but seeing an eighty-something year old Clint Eastwood engaging in sexual behavior with women that are much younger then him is not even close to my cup of tea. I don’t hate sex in movies, and this is based on a true story, so it could be worse, but it is cringeworthy as an idea.

I will say, despite my gripes with Eastwood’s character, I wouldn’t consider him the worst character in the movie, because a good portion of the film involves us as an audience getting a glance at the DEA investigators played by Bradley Cooper, Michael Peña, and Laurence Fishburne. I really didn’t care for any of these people. After all, the only time I legit gave a flying f*ck about them was towards the end of the movie. Oh yeah, I even completely forgot Laurence Fishburne’s character was even in the movie! Why are we here?!

This movie seems to pack in the moral that family is more important than work. It seems to suggest that being a part of a group of people you are attached to by relation is more important than being famous or busy. I will say, as a freshman in college, I did not choose to be busy for five days a week, other classmates who got to submit class choices before me did. But that’s not the point, my biggest wonder about the film is if Clint Eastwood has ever applied this moral that he seems to be hammering in towards his daily life. Granted, Eastwood did not write “The Mule” or the source material which it is based on, so therefore it cannot completely be his vision, but I wonder if someone as famous as Eastwood has been through his life making a similar mistake to this movie’s main character. Part of me wonders if Eastwood even relates to him. The regret of not seeing your family as much as one would desire can make for a compelling character, but the thing about Clint Eastwood is that he is such a famous actor and director. Not to mention he’s cheated many times. Granted, things are not as always as they seem, people change, and Eastwood is portraying a “character,” not himself. Nevertheless, despite a fine performance, part of me doesn’t completely buy Eastwood as his character.

I will say though, while I may be bashing this movie a little bit, one of the biggest positives I will point out is that there is one scene, I won’t specify, that has to do with death. It shows how people come together in a time of need, the fear of not knowing what’s going to happen when you’re going to die, not to mention the fear of dying itself. That is the best part of the movie and is probably the part I’ll admire the most as I reflect on “The Mule.”

In the end, “The Mule” is yet another dissatisfying attempt at a film from Clint Eastwood this year. I was talking with some family members as the year was coming to a close, and there are a few people I know who were anticipating and excited for “The Mule” to come out. I don’t know how many of them saw the movie by now, but in all seriousness, I don’t think got much good out of seeing “The Mule.” It’s not the worst movie of the year, not even close to be completely honest, but for a movie with Eastwood’s name on it, it seems that there could have been a lot more delivered to provide satisfaction than what was given to me as an audience member. I will say though, the acting is five times better than “The 15:17 To Paris” so that’s a plus! I’m gonna give “The 15:17 To Paris” a 6/10. Thanks for reading this review, pretty soon I’m gonna have my review up for “Instant Family,” a comedy starring Mark Wahlberg and from the same director who did “Daddy’s Home,” also starring Mark Wahlberg. Also, after I finish that review, be sure to stay tuned for my top 10 BEST movies of 2018 and my top 10 WORST movies of 2018! I will also say that the Golden Globes are on this Sunday, so if you want to see me talk about them, I might do a recap, but if I don’t, there’s a high chance I’ll be livetweeting throughout the show. To see my potential livetweets to the Golden Globes this Sunday, follow me on Twitter at @JackDrees, and feel free to hit the notification bell if you want Golden Globes tweets shoved right in your face. 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 see “The Mule?” What did you think about it? Or, since Clint Eastwood has worked on both “The 15:17 To Paris” and “The Mule,” which of these two movies do you prefer? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!