Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes – Part 7

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! It is now time for part 7 of the Scene Before series “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes.” This series describes the recent happenings, or in some cases, a lack of happenings, in the film industry as the world deals with the COVID-19 outbreak.

As much as I want to continue to create informative content, I’m getting to the point where this series has become an annoyance. But I continue to do it anyway because historians can look back on this and remember it as a dire time for the film industry, which it really is. And those reviews I’ve been saving for months cannot go to waste. So Scene Before is STILL your place for the apocalypse! But who knows how much longer this will last? If I have to do more than twelve or thirteen, I might shove an aluminum soda can down my throat. In other news, I still know how to put on pants, I have not been going outside, and if I’m not back in the cinema by the end of July, I am going to throw all my DVDs and Blu-rays out the window like I’m a stubborn child!

And since we are still on a downward spiral, let’s get to the news of the world!

Starting in New York, we have news regarding what could be the United States’ most famous public transportation system, the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority). Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York state, made a major change to the system. The MTA is known for having a 24/7 schedule, so they never stop running. However, under Cuomo’s order, the system will be shutting down from 1 AM to 5 AM. This is likely a financially responsible decision, as nightlife in New York is nonexistent at this point. Plus, ridership is down 90% as far as the system goes. With less money, there’s more of a willingness to engage in the system’s preservation. This is also part of an effort to properly disinfect MTA property and machines, making a safer and cleaner ride for customers.

While some states are going to have to wait a bit longer to reopen, some like Georgia and Texas have begun easing on restrictions. Another state that has announced some easing on restrictions is the New England state of New Hampshire. The state plans to partially reopen starting May 11th. Certain pieces of economic industry including golf courses, campgrounds, and hair salons are permitted to reopen. Outdoor dining is also permitted to take place. Strict guidelines are still in place however as there is still a tendency to keep people 6 feet apart. New Hampshire currently has over twenty-five hundred confirmed COVID-19 cases so far. That is more than neighboring states Maine and Vermont, but is significantly less than its other neighboring state, Massachusetts, which has over seventy thousand cases.

Let’s go over to the United Kingdom and talk about Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Previously diagnosed with COVID-19, Johnson spent time in intensive care and was monitored health-wise. As he gets back into his routine, he stated that doctors were ready to announce his death in an event that he refers to as a “death of Stalin’-type scenario.” Johnson told UK newspaper The Sun that he required “liters and liters of oxygen.” During hospitalization, the Prime Minister kept asking himself: “How am I going to get out of this?” In other news, Johnson and his wife recently named their newborn son Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson. The “Nicholas” in this full name is chosen in honor of a doctor who helped aid Johnson.

Before we dive into our main topics, here’s a conglomerate of news that I ought to share because it can be packaged into a little box. While most theaters in the United States seem to have a plan on opening back up in the summer, because nothing’s out until then, some theaters are already opening their doors. For example, in Rhode Island, the Rustic Tri-View Drive-In, located in North Smithfield, is now part of the state’s reopen plan according to Governor Gina Raimondo. As for non-drive ins, Texas has three Santikos theaters reopening with a $5 ticket deal. For the record, this is a third of the company’s locations. Honestly, while it is good news for business that these theaters are reopening, I think it is also good news for health that they are taking it slow. The major chains like AMC and Cinemark still plan on a July reopening, which I think is fine, because it builds up anticipation and there’s nothing really new playing until then. Outside the U.S., Norway is reopening its theaters starting May 7th, capping the limit at 50 people per screening. The movie theater to me is a place beyond the imagination. It’s also a place where I occasionally get to see masterpieces. These masterpieces often get awards, such as Oscars. Speaking of the Oscars, let’s talk about them!

THE ACADEMY CHANGES RULES FOR THE 93RD ANNUAL OSCARS

One of my favorite days of the year is Oscar Sunday. When this crisis first started, I was a little worried that would not even be able to see an Academy Awards show next year, much less get more movies that could potentially be nominated. After all, when you are a studio or crew and cannot come out with your movie, it’s kind of a struggle. However, The Academy may have something planned next year. One indicator of this is them announcing changes to their rules and layout. Most notably, the Academy is putting its traditional rule of its nominees needing to have a theatrical release on hold. Specifically, the rule that a movie must play in Los Angeles county cinemas for at least a week with daily screenings taking place at least thrice. So if you play your movie in cities such as Los Angeles, Burbank, Santa Monica, Long Beach, Glendale, Pasadena, Culver City, or anywhere else in Los Angeles county that may have a movie theater under certain requirements, it could potentially be nominated for an Academy Award. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Academy is making an exception for this year. The following quote is taken from The Academy’s website, oscars.org.

“Until further notice, and for the 93rd Awards year only, films that had a previously planned theatrical release but are initially made available on a commercial streaming or VOD service may qualify in the Best Picture, general entry and specialty categories for the 93rd Academy Awards under these provisions:

  1. The film must be made available on the secure Academy Screening Room member-only streaming site within 60 days of the film’s streaming or VOD release;
  2. The film must meet all other eligibility requirements.”

So this means that films like “Trolls: World Tour,” “Scoob!,” and “The King of Staten Island,” which are either already On Demand or will be dropping towards On Demand soon, are considered eligible for the Academy Awards. Films that barely even got a theatrical release like “Bloodshot” or “The Hunt” also qualify. I’m willing to imagine to some extent that this *may* count a film such as “The Lovebirds,” which was going to theatrically release this year and make a debut at South by Southwest. Although the festival was canceled and Paramount is no longer putting the film out in cinemas. But unlike films such as “Trolls: World Tour,” which is available on platforms including Prime Video, Google Play, Vudu, FandangoNOW, AMC Theatres On-Demand, iTunes, and cable outlets such as Xfinity and Fios, “The Lovebirds” is going straight to Netflix. Given how Netflix has made a major presence at the Academy Awards in past years, films like “The Lovebirds” could be considered eligible, but is the Academy only considering certain platforms? Are exclusive platform deals going to tie in somehow? What about “Artemis Fowl” on Disney+? That movie was supposed to come out this month, but unfortunately that’s not happening.

Also keeping fine print in mind, these rules pertain to films that were once planning on theatrically releasing. So films like Netflix’s “Extraction,” which was intended for a streaming platform, or HBO’s “Bad Education,” which went straight to television, will not qualify. This policy is also not permanent, as the Academy intends to make this only apply for this year’s ceremony, and anticipates an end date in the future when there is a sense of normalcy, not to mention when theaters re-open. However, the Academy is also planning on expanding qualifying theaters to U.S. areas including New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, Atlanta, Chicago, and Miami. As one who lives fairly close to Boston, I am disappointed, but we can’t have everything, even if sports prove otherwise. By the way, I hate football. I said it.

PHYSICAL MEDIA (and other electronic) SALES GO UP

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Now I imagine some people will flat out not care about this, but to me, physical media is the best way to watch a movie at home. Because when you buy a movie on Prime Video for example, you don’t own it. Yes, you possess the film digitally, but if the service goes down, crashes, or the company behind it closes its doors forever, you’ll probably never be able to watch it again. With physical media, it is all up to you. Now it is not a surprise that we have had more time on our hands to go on Netflix and watch “Extraction,” to flock over to Disney+ and watch “Star Wars,” to jump on over to FandangoNOW and give “Trolls: World Tour” a rent. But what KIND OF surprises me, and I say kind of, is how much of a presence physical media has in this pandemic. According to recent statistics, DVD and Blu-ray players went up 27% during the pandemic. Keep in mind, this is a market that Samsung recently abandoned.

Another thing to keep in mind is that DVD and Blu-ray players, which went up by 27% is not the only winner here, in fact, the increase is not as big as other categories such as TV mounts (41%), printers (61%), and streaming players (67%). So rather than just being a great boost for physical media, it is also a great boost for tech. TVs have been doing well, and so have computers. As for where the actual total of sales for DVD and Blu-ray DISCS stand, that’s another question. Although, based on this quote from NPD’s Tom Baker, that type of electronic may be doing just fine.

“Sales are up as consumers stay at home and look for multiple forms of entertainment. These include DVDs and Blu-ray discs to entertain children while their parents are working, backup access devices if Internet access is challenged by streaming, or simply the consumers’ realization that they may need a physical disc player as an alternative to streaming and either they didn’t already have one or the one they do have needs an upgrade.”

Honestly, in a time like this, I think some people are going to want physical media. Sure, it involves getting up and putting in a disc, but one of the reasons why I am such an advocate for it is the technical side of it. Outlets like YouTube and Netflix have lowered the default quality of content to standard definition. With Blu-ray, the default quality is 1080p, or if you have a smaller setup, it’ll work in 720p. Yes, standard definition is the quality of DVD, which is 480p, but again, I’ll bring up the fact that you have control over your content. Netflix, or more specifically, Warnermedia, is not going to snatch “Friends” away whenever the year ends like they did months ago. If you don’t want it, just sell it and get some money back! Plus, you get all the bonus features which can help you pass the time. I just got the “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” 4K Blu-ray last month, I still need to watch the bonus content! So I still have something to do! Also, what if the Internet goes down? You don’t need any Internet to watch a DVD! If I had to come up with any downsides, maybe it involves a little more activity, but since we refuse to go outside, it could be worth taking a couple steps to the collection and popping a disc in. Or, since places like Walmart sells them, there’s always a chance, given how grocery stores are becoming petri dishes right now, that other people touched the DVDs or Blu-rays and spread their germs, which may not be the most pleasant happening for a time like this. But of course, worst case scenario, you can always order these things online. Although I can also imagine that some people are buying these devices because they have smart capabilities as well, allowing them to contain apps like Netflix, YouTube, and Prime Video.

NO MORE KEANU DAY, BUT HERE’S MORE DELAYS!

One of the actors who arguably was the “winner” of 2019 is Keanu Reeves. His year in acting brought him success through films like “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” and “Toy Story 4.” He did films like “Replicas,” which honestly sucked, but he also became a heavy hitting piece of promotion for the upcoming game “Cyberpunk 2077,” by making a surprise appearance at E3 last year. And honestly, this might have spawned my favorite slice of all the content that went viral on the Internet last year.

In fact this year, the Keanussance is likely going to continue. After all, he is making an appearance in the third “SpongeBob SquarePants” movie in a minor role. The movie by the way for those who don’t know is titled “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run.” Speaking of known properties, Reeves is also going to be reuniting with Alex Winter to star in “Bill & Ted Face the Music.” Although, if you are a fan of one of Keanu Reeves’ most popular franchises, specifically “John Wick,” prepare to be disappointed. “John Wick: Chapter 4,” once scheduled to come out May 21st, 2021, will now be releasing May 27th, 2022, a full year later. Taking the spot of “John Wick” is the “Saw” reboot titled “Spiral,” which was supposed to be out May 15th of this year. Speaking of Lionsgate films, “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard,” which is a sequel to 2017’s “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” will be hitting theaters August 20th, 2021, as opposed to its prior date of August 28th, 2020. An upcoming horror drama, “Antebellum,” is set to release August 21st, 2020, as opposed to its original date which has already passed, April 24th, 2020.

However, sticking with “John Wick: Chapter 4,” this delay is a particularly interesting one. Not just because it involves a meme-worthy actor and a hit action franchise, but this film was originally supposed to come out the same day as another Keanu Reeves movie. And it’s not some indie film made by a studio like A24 or Neon. It’s not, THANKFULLY, a sequel to “Replicas,” a film Reeves starred in that turned out to be one of the worst films of 2019. It’s “The Matrix 4.” Now if you asked me five years ago about the possibility of a “Matrix 4,” I’d probably toss the idea behind my head. There didn’t seem to be much place else that the story could go. But hey, everything’s getting a reboot and a remake now, so why not “The Matrix?” I honestly don’t know what to expect from it, but the fact that this is a reboot and not a remake pleases me. Nevertheless, both films prior to the delay of “John Wick: Chapter 4” were scheduled to come out May 21st, 2021. The Internet has often called this “Keanu Day.” I will say that the delay of “John Wick: Chapter 4” is both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because it avoids having the crew rush on making the film, but it’s also unfortunate because as a Keanu Reeves follower, I figured it would be fun to go to the theater and do a Keanu Reeves double feature. However, if more good news needs to be said, I should also point out it’s perhaps likely that these films, which by the way, are from different companies, will be marketed to similar groups of people, and maybe both could lose their respective studios money as a result. Both films debuting on their own release dates could not only benefit Lionsgate, who is delaying “John Wick: Chapter 4,” but also Warner Bros., who is responsible for “Matrix 4.” Not everyone has the money and time to go see two seemingly similar movies. While “John Wick” fans may have to wait, this could give Lionsgate a greater chance of creating a “John Wick: Chapter 5,” because what if “John Wick: Chapter 4” doesn’t warrant a sequel after losing lots of money to “Matrix 4?” At least the studio has a “Hunger Games” prequel and “Knives Out 2” potentially coming soon so it’s not like they’ll spend years losing money from here on out.

AMC THEATRES AND REGAL ENTERTAINMENT GROUP BAN UNIVERSAL FILMS

Can I get some popcorn?! Because I’d say it’s time to enjoy the greatest battle in cinematic history, and it’s not even in a movie! Tonight’s fighters are… movie theaters and Universal Pictures! Now, “Trolls: World Tour” is a one of a kind movie, mainly because Universal decided that it should be released directly onto VOD. Universal bragged about the film’s progress so far to the point where they thought it would be a good idea to release more of their films On Demand while also putting them into theaters.

Now, I’m going to have to be very careful here, because several different outlets have reported similar sounding items that might contextualize something different.

The story here begins by bringing the mega-chain AMC Theatres into the mix. AMC Theatres saw Universal’s plan to simultaneously release movies theatrically and at home and responded by saying that they will not play any of Universal’s movies if that’s the case. While a source like The Hollywood Reporter did a story on this and cited from AMC CEO Adam Aron that the company will no longer play any of Universal’s films in its theaters worldwide, one quote from Deadline’s article suggests, also from Adam Aron, that they will not do so “on these terms.” By that, it likely means that AMC will not release Universal’s films if they just follow a simultaneous home video rollout. Keep in mind, it is traditional for films to follow a strict theatrical window. While there have been cases of films like “Black Panther” that you can still see in some theaters while it becomes available at home, tradition has suggested that a movie released for theaters must be out for about ninty days before it comes home. Universal doing a release like this not only ignores the theatrical window, but it also makes the theater potentially lose money because people could just stay home and put the movie on their TV. In fact, movie theaters were against Universal since this pandemic started. While they did manage to have a rather solid idea of making “Trolls: World Tour” a straight to On Demand movie, other studios seemingly have concretely laid out their plans and avoided giving such a last minute notice like Universal appeared to. NATO (National Association of Theater Owners) head John Fithian was against this from day one.

“Only Universal, and only on ‘Trolls,’ did one studio skip the theatrical model and go straight to the home. Universal continues to advertise to consumers that ‘Trolls’ will be released simultaneously to theaters and the home on April 10. And they are lying to consumers. Universal knows that theaters will still be closed on April 10, so unlike every other distributor who must simply delay their releases in that time period, but still understand that theatrical release is essential to their business model, Universal on ‘Trolls’ didn’t make that decision. Exhibitors will not forget this.”

Fithian also shares his thoughts on the current matter of AMC abandoning Universal films with this quote…

“Universal does not have reason to use unusual circumstances in an unprecedented environment as a springboard to bypass true theatrical releases. Theaters provide a beloved immersive, shared experience that cannot be replicated — an experience that many of the VOD viewers of this film would have participated in had the world not been sequestered at home, desperate for something new to watch with their families. We are confident that when theaters reopen, studios will continue to benefit from the global theatrical box office, followed by traditional home release.”

Let me just say that if Universal is planning on releasing “F9” through VOD the same day as in theaters, that might be one of the worst decisions they’ve ever made. People go to those movies because they provide adrenaline rushes, the effect is not as great if watched on a TV, tablet, phone, or computer. This is why before this whole pandemic, I bought opening Thursday tickets. Luckily, I did get my money back. So if all Universal films are never coming to AMC again, it’s going to make it harder for me to review them as AMC locations are easy for me to access. The theater is a huge money-maker for Universal, to have hundreds of screens lost is not a great investment in the long run. People are inevitably going to get back into routines, and part of that routine is the movie theater. It might take awhile for some people, but if you’re someone like me who sees a difference in the experience from watching at home and in the theater, I’m going to choose the theater by a long mile. This is why I want to see “Tenet” in July. Heck, before this all happened, I probably had little to no intention of going to see the remake for “Mulan,” but I’ll show up because I want to support movie theaters.

But just you wait! There’s more! Universal, if you do nothing, cinema chains will double the offer! That’s two cinema chains not playing your movies, for a chance to lose more money! Cineworld, which currently owns the U.S. staple, Regal Entertainment Group, also said that they “will not be showing movies that fail to respect the windows.” So, should Universal continue to release movies On Demand early, Regal, along with AMC, will not be playing those films in their venues. Alternate chains like Showcase Cinemas, Alamo Drafthouse, and Arclight for example have not really said much about this matter. But remember, the theatrical window is a sacred bond of trust. If you’re putting a movie in theaters, chances are you have to follow it or face consequences.

Also, I wonder how much longer this will go on for, because guess what? If you go to Universal Studios Hollywood, you’ll notice on the CityWalk that there is a movie theater that currently goes by the name Universal Cinema. The theater has reserved seating, recliners, a Director’s Lounge, and an IMAX with Laser. By the way, that IMAX is also equipped with a 70mm projector, which if the theaters open back up in time for “Tenet,” will probably be used. Guess who owns that theater? AMC of all possible names! Who knows what is going to happen there?! As for Universal Orlando Resort, they’re safer in this circumstance as they currently have a Cinemark. They had an AMC at one point, but that has now closed. Gotta love drama.

NEW HOME VIDEO RELEASES

First off, it is Tuesday, May the 5th! Meaning it is the day after “Star Wars Day,” AKA May the 4th! For those who have not heard it already, May the 4th be with you and as for today, enjoy your Revenge of the Fifth! With that being said, there’s some new “Star Wars” content on Disney+, including a documentary on “The Mandalorian,” the series finale of “The Clone Wars,” and since we talk about movies on here, one of the new additions is “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” the conclusion to “The Skywalker Saga.” As of now, the full “Skywalker Saga” is available on the service. The only theatrically released “Star Wars” movie not available on Disney+ at the moment is “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” However, the movie is currently on Netflix. If you are wondering when “Solo” will be coming to Disney+, it will be available starting July 9th, 2020. As for what’s coming On Demand, one example is “The Lodge,” which is about a soon-to-be-stepmom who is staying with her finace’s children at a holiday village, where strange events begin to occur. The film is available today, May 5th, on DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital. Another film getting such a release on May 5th is “Arkansas” starring Liam Hemsworth and Vince Vaughn. It is the directorial debut of Clark Duke and was supposed to be shown at this year’s South by Southwest Festival. The film is a thriller about two men who live under the orders of a kingpin whom they’ve never met. Unfortunately, a deal goes wrong, meaning they could end up facing harsh consequences. “Arkansas” was supposed to theatrically release on May 1st, the same day that “Black Widow” would have hit theaters had it not been delayed. However, it is now available physically and digitally starting today, May 5th. One more film to avoid skipping over is “I Still Believe,” which is now out on DVD and Blu-ray as of today. The film is based on the true story and journey of Christian music star Jeremy Camp.

Thanks for reading the seventh part of the ongoing series “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes!” Happy Revenge of the Fifth, hope all the “Star Wars” fanatics in the world are happily going about their lives and not getting into fights in comments sections, because that’s impossible, right? Also, Happy Cinco de Mayo, on a Taco Tuesday coincidentally! Two days that go together quite well! Also, if you want remind yourself of a simpler time when movie theaters were open, be sure to check out my latest YouTube video where I document my experience of going to see “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” on opening night. Disney has already put copyright claims on it, but I really don’t care as I enjoyed making the video. Also, if you like the video, leave a like, if you want to subscribe, go ahead! Speaking of leaving likes, be sure to check out my Facebook page and immerse yourself to posts much shorter than these while also getting the latest updates from Scene Before! Since we’re still on the topic of likes, be sure to like this post if you’re enjoying the content, and as we’re continuing promotion, why not give this blog a follow either with a WordPress account or your email? I want to know, what is the biggest piece of movie news for you in regards to the COVID-19 crisis this past week or so? Did I miss anything? Also, how did you celebrate “Star Wars” day? Me personally, I started on May 3rd! TBS had a marathon and I watched for hours! Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Marvel Cinematic Universe PHASE 4 Plans Announced

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Hey everyone! Jack Drees here! You thought we were in the endgame? Think again, because, to my lack of surprise, as well as others perhaps, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is not going anywhere, and as part of this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Kevin Feige and crew have officially announced their gameplan going forward in regards to movies and television. While I could not make it to San Diego this year (just like every other year), I had the pleasure of receiving a number of these announcements through social media, which is something Captain Marvel should have brushed up on by now.

This first announcement, doesn’t relate to what some would call “phase 4,” but it happens around that certain timeline and takes place in the same universe, so why not leave it in? Anyway, as you may or may not know, Marvel is finishing up their series “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..” It’s a series that I tried watching when it first started, but for one reason or another, I just couldn’t latch onto it. It just didn’t work for me. The show will begin its seventh season during the 2019-20 television season, and will air for 13 episodes. However, if you are caught up with the series, you’d know that season 6 is still in progress, so the show still has time left before ABC dusts it away from its current lineup.

Speaking of television, Marvel in general is seemingly changing the norm of how they release their television programming. Before now, they would release various MCU-related content on ABC such as the recently mentioned “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Agent Carter,” and the short-lived “Inhumans.” Netflix also had a fair share of content, all of which was recently cancelled such as “Iron Fist,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage,” and to what I believe is to a lot of people’s surprise, “Daredevil.” These platforms, for all I know, could lose the ability to air new Marvel content for awhile whereas the TV channel Freeform, and streaming services Hulu and the yet to be released Disney+ are going to be the big three for some time. Speaking of Disney+, Marvel announced a plethora of shows to be exclusively released on the upcoming service.

For the record, Disney+ is expected to be released during the fall. So just a reminder, none of these shows will be available on day one.

The first show to premiere on Disney+ is going to be “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” As you can tell by the title, the series revolves around the known characters played by actors Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan. It is expected to start filming October 2019 and premiere in August 2020. While there are not many details about the series just yet, Mackie and Stan have previously wanted to do their own spinoff film at some point, particularly in the style of a buddy cop story. So who knows? Maybe this series could have some sort of comedic buddy vibe. But only time will tell.

Moving onto 2021 programming, up next we have “WandaVision,” which is short for the characters Wanda Maximoff and Vision meshed together. This series is going to star actors Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany as the characters we have previously come to know throughout the Infinity Saga. Although I must point out. This takes place after “Avengers: Endgame,” and Vision died in “Infinity War” only to never come back to life. So my question is… How will they allow him to return? Let me guess, time travel. Because now if the Marvel universe has a problem. Boop! You got a time machine! Want to save Nick Fury from losing an eye? Boom! You got a a time machine! Want to stop Tony Stark’s home from being destroyed like it was in “Iron Man 3?” Boom! You got a time machine! Want to give Captain America the most advanced pop culture lessons of his life? Boom! You got a time machine! Granted, there’s probably more to it, but a time travel element would not be surprising. The show will hit Disney+ in Spring 2021.

Also coming in Spring 2021 is a “Loki” series. Without going into much detail, because this does involve a spoiler for “Avengers: Endgame,” which as of writing this, is still in theaters, it will involve a Loki of the past. That’s all I’ll say. The series will of course star Tom Hiddleston. I don’t know if I am going to watch any of these series, but I think out of all the series on this list, I feel like this is the one I’d be least likely to watch. It almost seems like an idea from a think tank meeting (even though a number of these shows feel the same way). “Remember that mysterious guy from ‘Thor’ who keeps dying and coming back to life? Nobody knows if he’s good or evil? Let’s not deal with any new characters, let’s use this guy some more! Yay!” The way I wrote that sounds generous, but when I imagine it, it sounds like a business meeting all involving out of shape guys in suits smoking cigars.

OK… I take my last statement back, this is a series I’d probably watch. Granted, I don’t want to pay for Disney+, I don’t see any reason to. Plus, as someone who wants to avoid witnessing Disney’s plan for world domination put into action, I want to spend as little money towards them as possible. Although I kinda do want to go to Disneyland to see Galaxy’s Edge the more I think about it. Nevertheless, the next series is “What If…?” For those of you who don’t know, “What If…?” is a franchise that creates and realizes perhaps unlikely or alternate scenarios related to Marvel characters. Some examples from comics include: “What if the Fantastic Four all had the same power?,” “What if Captain America had been elected president?,” and “What if Jane Foster had found the hammer of Thor?.” While I’m not getting Disney+, if they are ever to release any of these shows on DVD or Blu-ray I am very likely to pick up “What If…?” simply for the concept. The stories presented in the show will not affect the MCU’s timeline, but merely exist just to answer questions through the power of imagination. It is simply something that just provides a unique take of some sort.

Hawkeye in the MCU is an “interesting” character to say the least, because just about every time he appeared in an MCU movie when he first started, I did not care about him as much as the other characters. Then I saw “Endgame” and thought he was one of the best characters of the whole thing. Coincidentally, of the upcoming shows on Disney+, “Hawkeye” is one of them. Also, according to what I have gathered, this series will introduce Kate Bishop, who in the comics is the first woman to earn the Hawkeye title. She’s also a member of the Young Avengers. Here, this show will seemingly spend some time on allowing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye to pass the torch to this younger character. The question is… Will I care about her? Or will she just be another boring bow and arrow fetishist?

That’s it for TV shows. I’ll probably watch NONE of them. Mainly because I feel that the way that everyone is trying to push streaming service upon streaming service towards the consumers is going to eventually make streaming as a whole a significantly worse deal than cable. My family and I have not cut the cord, and honestly, I’m happy. Especially considering how I still have my game shows (streaming IS NOT a good alternative if you are a game show fan for the most part), plus it’s nice to watch a new episode of a show and have it feel like an event, whereas an episode or two of a show, or a whole season, drops on Amazon or Hulu and it’s almost like you unintentionally DVRed something. Plus, I enjoy my livetweeting. It makes me feel like I am part of a community. Another reason why I’ll probably miss out on all these shows is because I REVIEW MOVIES DAMMIT! Movies are a top priority of mine and because I watch and review them excessively, I barely have time for TV. And speaking of movies, let’s reveal what Marvel has planned for that realm of entertainment in phase 4.

First up for movies is a project that I think a good number of people know has been in full swing, “Black Widow.” The plot and details are mostly unknown at this time, but Scarlett Johansson, the woman that I have a crush on who says she should be allowed to play trees, well then, if that’s the case… Vin Diesel? Watch out, you might be fired soon! She is returning as the title character who we have seen in several parts of the MCU such as the “Iron Man,” “Avengers,” and “Captain America” franchises. From speculation, I would imagine this would take place long before the main events of the MCU, kind of like in “Captain Marvel.” I am also willing to bet this will be a grittier film in the franchise (even though they aren’t going for an R rating), while also trying to be fun. After all, Black Widow isn’t really a superhero, kind of like Iron Man, she just plays with toys. And based on what we have seen from her character in comics and movies, this is very likely to be a spy flick. If you ask me, this is not my most anticipated spy-related film of next year, I’d reserve that spot to “Tenet,” directed by Christopher Nolan, but I’ve been eager to see a “Black Widow” solo film for quite some time, so I’m excited!

Plus, ScarJo is a dream girl. Just saying. The film will be released on May 1st, 2020.

Up next is a newcomer to the MCU, specifically, “Eternals.” Some big name actors in the film include Salma Hayek (Grown Ups, Desparado), Kumail Nanjiani (Stuber, Silicon Valley), Angelina Jolie (Kung Fu Panda, Mr. and Mrs. Smith), Richard Madden (Rocketman, Game of Thrones), among others. It is going to be about a bunch of eternally living beings who have spent infinite portions of their lives fighting a force of evil referred to as The Deviants. One character, Makkari, played by Lauren Ridloff is going to be the MCU’s first deaf hero. The film will be released on November 6th, 2020.

The third movie is one that I personally think will be a mega hit at the box office. It’s not to say the others won’t be, but if “Black Panther” from phase 3 has proven anything, it’s that if you put a “visually different” person at the forefront of a superhero project, people will see it. That’s because this movie we’re talking about is “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” I don’t know if the final product will have a title this long, but only time will tell. Then again, it’s not as much of a mouthful as say “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.” The main reason why I’d say this film has a bonkers chance of success is because Shang-Chi is Chinese, and in this film, he is going to be played by Chinese Canadian actor Simu Liu. Not to mention, based on comic-related images I have seen, this movie could be a visual treat. Another thing to consider is the Chinese movie market. If this movie is as visually impressive as I think it will be, not to mention as honorable to the Chinese culture as I think some would want it to be, I think a lot of people will go see this in the theater. China, at least to my knowledge, seems to go to a lot of spectacle type films. Some historical examples that come to mind include “Transformers; Age of Extinction,” which to be fair, was partially shot in China, and “Warcraft.” While “Transformers” is popular in the United States, “Warcraft’s” domestic returns led to its underwhelming final box office total despite making more than twice its budget. But it couldn’t reach the total $450 million needed to completely break even. But if anything has been proven, Marvel is an automatic success in the United States. In the US and Canada, “Black Panther,” a culturally significant film for the African community, managed to make over $700 million, which for those countries specifically, is actually more than “Infinity War.” But with the massive potential for winning over China and perhaps other somewhat related Asian communities, plus Marvel’s domestic success, it has a chance of being possibly a bigger success than “Black Panther.” The movie is scheduled for a February 12th, 2021 release.

Another film I saw coming was “Doctor Strange 2,” and we got it! But it technically has a more specific title, “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.” Based on what I’ve heard, Scott Derrickson could be coming back to direct this sequel. It is also suggested that Benedict Cumberbatch and Benedict Wong, or in this case, just for fun, I’ll call them Team Benedict, will be returning to reprise their roles. One thing that I found interesting though is that Wanda Maximoff will be in the be in the movie as well, and it will be tied directly to the Disney+ series “WandaVision.”

OK… You gotta be kidding me. I know people give flak to DC for how they do their movies, but at least you don’t have to watch a freaking TV show to perhaps understand or comprehend what is happening in one of the DCEU’s films! Guess I’ll just read the Wikipedia entries for the WandaVision episodes, because I ain’t paying for Disney+. But one thing that does intrigue me, is the notion that this is going to be a more horror-esque movie compared to a lot of the other MCU installments. So who knows? Maybe this could have a wacky funhouse vibe, or maybe be the MCU’s version of “The New Mutants.” Although now that I think about it, “The New Mutants” could possibly end up being another version of this movie depending on how many more times it gets pushed back. Man, that movie premiere is gonna be one big realistic version of a FaceApp demo. This is definitely a movie I would want to see on an IMAX screen, maybe in 3D. Because I saw the original “Doctor Strange” in IMAX 3D, which made for one of the best visual trips of 2016. This film is expected to drop into theaters May 7th, 2021.

But my one request for this movie. JUST GIVE A MORE MEMORABLE VILLAIN. Then again, it’s Marvel, it’s not their strong suit.

When 2015 first started, the YouTube channel RedLetterMedia made a video where they jokingly predicted that we’d eventually get a fourth “Thor” movie called “Thor 4: More Thor.” Believe it or not, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” used that title in their show. Unfortunately, we’re not getting “Thor 4: More Thor.” But we are getting a fourth “Thor” movie titled “Thor: Love and Thunder.” I have mixed thoughts on this movie, because I REALLY enjoy 2011’s “Thor,” probably more than I should. I know some people don’t like it, but I enjoyed Thor’s character arch and Loki was a solid villain. Granted, the followup in 2013, “Thor: The Dark World,” is in the conversation to be my least favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. And even though “Thor: Ragnarok” was… “better,” it’s not what I wanted. I thought it was too comedic, and some of the jokes didn’t land. While it is visually stunning, somewhat appealing from a story perspective, the tone just didn’t work. Basically, Asgard is in a state beyond repair in this film. It could have been dark, gritty, maybe a little funny, but not like it was “Deadpool” for kids. I don’t think Taika Waititi is a bad director, in fact, I thought he would be a better suit for something like “Guardians of the Galaxy,” but he did a “Thor” film instead. It just didn’t stick the landing for me. I’m hoping “Thor: Love and Lightning” will be better, but from what I can imagine, it could be tonally similar to the previous “Thor” installment, which if that’s the case, I’m just hoping that the story actually fits the tone.

One thing that could be interesting is that Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman, is making a comeback. And similar to a comics storyline, Foster is going to be taking on the mantle of Thor. And based on visuals presented from San Diego Comic-Con, it looks like her character will be holding Mjölnir at some point during the film. As long as Kat Dennings doesn’t show up to play her character from “2 Broke Girls” everything should be rather fine and dandy. The film is predicted to be out November 5th, 2021, so I demand there should be at least one reference to “V For Vendetta,” ESPECIALLY since Natalie Portman is returning!

Now let me just say, I have no idea when these next films are going to be released, part of me is willing to bet that one or two of them, are not even in phase 4, but Marvel Studios chairman Kevin Feige has confirmed that these movies are in development, therefore we are going to cover them. So let’s continue!

Remember the 1998 film “Blade?” Guess what? Marvel is getting to do another project with the character. I personally can’t say I have seen “Blade,” but part of me is willing to imagine that this will be a somewhat different take on the character because the original trilogy was rated R, whereas all the MCU films so far have gotten a PG-13. If you ask me, I would not mind seeing an R version of the character in the MCU, kind of like with Black Widow, but you cannot have everything. One thing that does intrigue me though is that Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, Green Book) is attached to playing the lead role. He’s a fantastic actor who has a ton of range, and he actually pitched this sort of idea to Marvel Studios through a call. Coincidentally, Ali has been attached to a couple of alternate recent comic book-based products including Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and Netflix’s own MCU show, “Luke Cage.”

There’s not much to say on this next film, but I KNEW this was gonna be made at some point, perhaps soon. Why? Because again, it made SO MUCH money. I guess this is what happens when Disney remakes “The Lion King” for a new generation. Wait… I’m talking about “Black Panther 2.” There’s not much to say about this movie yet, but Ryan Coogler suggested that he’d write and direct this film, which does intrigue me because I thought he did a rather decent job with the first one despite its flaws. So… what Disney movie are they gonna retread next? Are they gonna do “Dumbo” because Black Panther is learning to fly for some reason? Are they gonna do a film in the style of “Wreck-It Ralph” where it is revealed that Wakanda is in an arcade cabinet? Are they gonna do one like “Frozen” where Shuri or Okoye just breaks out into an annoying catchy tune? By the way, screw “Frozen,” that movie can rot in hell!

Up next is a film that was supposed to come out in 2020, but based on recent controversy, that’s not happening anymore. Specifically, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” This is a film that I am honestly curious to see, because while I imagine this could potentially be a capper for a trilogy, director James Gunn has previously exposed that this installment is not meant to be a powerhouse of emotion. It is still going to be fun and lively. But if you have been following the news in terms of film recently, you’d know that Gunn was fired by Disney/Marvel over the resurfacing of less than family friendly tweets. Tweets that even he admits, he’s not proud of. If you ask me, I believe James Gunn is a competent director, who may have deserved the criticism that he received, but I’m not sure if Disney should have gone as far as firing him, especially when you consider how much he has changed over the years in terms of his outlook. Nevertheless, I am quite curious to see how this upcoming “Guardians” film turns out, and I do have a shortlist of soundtrack ideas, but I think I should save that for another time. The movie is not expected to begin filming until 2020, but that’s because James Gunn is currently doing a DC movie, specifically “The Suicide Squad.”

Here’s another no-brainer, “Captain Marvel 2.” When your film has the sixth biggest opening of all time, you know you have to make a followup. I’ll be honest, the first “Captain Marvel” did not work for me. I thought the chemistry between Fury and Danvers was kind of hit and miss. The scene where “Just a Girl” plays honestly, while I guess it was trying to be empowering, felt really off for an action scene that was most likely trying to be kick-ass. The final fight, which I imagine was trying to be funny, just ended up being questionable to me. And don’t even get me started on Goose the Cat! But, we are getting another movie, and I’m honestly hoping it is better than this one, but only time will tell. I like Brie Larson as an actress, but when she plays Captain Marvel, she honestly sounds like she’s only been in straight to DVD content. Come on, Brie! You won an Oscar for “Room!” Show me the magic! She did alright in “Endgame,” but she was not in the movie that much so there is that to consider. Then again, I’m a straight white male. So is my opinion even valid to begin with?

Another film on the list of “in development” is a third “Spider-Man” movie. By the way, by the time you finish reading this post, five more “Spider-Man” movies will be released, because they keep cranking them out! I finally saw “Spider-Man: Far From Home” the other day, and honestly, after seeing that film, I’d say a third one HAS to be made. And without going into detail, Kevin Feige suggested that the mid-credits scene from that film implies the third film will involve “a Peter Parker story that has never been done before on film.” And it does not surprise me that this is happening. I believe Sony is already satisfied with making their own “Spider-Man” movies in their universe and still enjoys the success they can get from spinning their webs in the MCU. Nevertheless, can’t wait. But if I had any requests, make sure the word “home” is in the title. That way I don’t have to end up confusing “Spider-Man” trilogies and can refer to this as the “Home” trilogy. Seriously! Even if it simply means that there is a minute of the two of the film where we find Peter Parker watching a Mets game, and for that reason it is called “Home Run,” it would still work because the other two movies have the word “home” in their titles too!

The next two films are a couple of projects that I think a lot of people have been asking for. Why? Because Disney just acquired 21st Century Fox recently, meaning they have retained the rights to a couple of big name franchises. One example is “X-Men.” I have no idea how the film will present itself. If anything, it is definitely going to be a complete reboot, staying away from the timeline Fox originally showcased to audiences since the early 2000s. After all, while I didn’t go see “Dark Phoenix,” probably just like everyone else in the world, maybe that movie tarnished the franchise enough to say, “Screw it, it’s over.” But some movie franchises or IPs are like Jenga, you can end the game by collapsing the tower, but you can always start a new one by rebuilding it. Maybe “X-Men” has a place in the MCU. And honestly, if a couple of the phase 1 heroes are going away, I think this is the perfect time to add in new heroes, because if they were still there, I’d honestly worry about clutter in the MCU. Granted, even with them showing up now, that is still a worry. But I also have a slight intrigue as to what this mega franchise can bring to the cinematic universe.

Speaking of Fox, one other franchise they once had, not to mention wasted, is “Fantastic Four.” Since Marvel has the rights to them, they can now possibly… NOT screw it up this time… Hopefully? I imagine it’ll be good, but I’m keeping experience in my back pocket. It’s in different hands, but for all I know, despite its popularity in the comic book world, maybe “Fantastic Four” is simply cursed as a movie franchise. But I am curious about this film and how it’ll turn out, and perhaps a little more excited about this than “X-Men.” Will Dr. Doom be the main villain again? Will the movie have the four in the middle of its title? Or… How about this? How about we get Chris Evans to play Johnny Storm again? Do it just to get some other character in the movie for a second. Maybe the group will be going around New York City grabbing lunch or something and they run into Peter Parker walking with Ned, which leads to Peter pointing at Johnny saying, “Hey! You look like someone I know!” I highly doubt that will happen, but it certainly would make for a proper more realistic “What If…?” scenario. Plus, with Stan Lee gone we’re gonna need new cameo ideas.

That’ll probably do it for all of the MCU-related announcements for phase 4, and again, a lot of these films and TV shows are in development. So who knows? One could get pushed back, maybe one gets cancelled. Perhaps it ends up being a part of an eventual phase 5. Nevertheless, I’m excited for a large number of these projects, and hopefully they will all end up being good! Also, James Gunn, I know it is a little late, but welcome back. I want to know, is there something I’m missing from this list? I think I’ve covered all the ground, after all I have 4,000 words inserted into this thing! Or, what is something that you want to see from the MCU as a TV series, as a movie, as a concept? It doesn’t even have to be for phase 4 if you want it someplace else. Let me know down below! Thanks for reading this post! Pretty soon I am going to be reviewing Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” which is out this upcoming weekend. I’m going to one of my local theaters for their first screening of the film in 35mm, can’t wait! Also, speaking of Tarantino, be sure to stay tuned for my final installment in my Quentin Tarantino review series, “The Hateful Eight.” Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, if you could do me a favor, like this post, share it around with those you know, it really helps me out. And speaking of that, like my Facebook Page! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

91st Academy Awards Recap

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Before we dive into this post, I would like to kick off by offering my sincere apologies. Part of me wanted to do a post on my hopes and predictions going into this year’s Academy Awards show, but unfortunately, I literally lacked any time in the world to do such a thing. Apparently paying for my education is not enough to make my head spin, I need to be handed a bloated supply of homework as well! I wasn’t given this during the Super Bowl (REALLY DON’T CARE ABOUT THAT SHOW), so why should I get it on Oscar weekend? Anyway, earlier this week, I watched the 91st edition of the Academy Awards. I went into it with a few expectations. However, there was a part of me that thought this show was going to SUCK, and I even say that with my picks winning. Fortunately, that was not the case!

The first red flag in my sights for this year’s show is that there was no host this year. You guys may already know that Kevin Hart opted out at a point and nobody else happened to sign on. They did however announce names for a bunch of celebrities who will be present to give random speeches and nominee presentations. While not all of them were great, they did have a number of them which I was actually able to appreciate. And I can’t even believe I’m saying this.

Melissa McCarthy actually made me laugh! Throughout my 3 year experience of blogging on Scene Before, McCarthy has appeared in the #1 spot for my worst films of the year lists not just once, but twice! Although sometimes I kind of fail to give her credit where it is due, because there are a couple of occasions where she did make me laugh. When she played former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on “Saturday Night Live,” it was literally a plethora of some of the most gutbusting moments that I’ve encountered in the show’s recent years. McCarthy’s appearance during the Academy Awards ceremony was perhaps on the Sean Spicer level of funny. McCarthy comes out to present the Costume Design award. Doing so in this costume that is quite possibly inspired by “The Favourite.” She gives this speech about some of the best costumes and how they are not meant to have distracting elements. It’s just spectacular. So spectacular in fact that I almost forgot that Melissa McCarthy was a recent Razzie winner!

I will admit, when it comes to other celebrities, there are not that many other speeches worth pointing out. Although there is one moment where I appreciated John Mulaney’s line “I want these people to like me to a degree which I find embarrassing.” It’s not to say that they were bad, but there was not many others which I happened to find as interesting as say Melissa McCarthy.

When it comes to having no host, I was somewhat surprised, because I was highly skeptical going in on whether or not such a thing was going to work out. Turns out it did! Before this recent Oscars show, I thought to myself that this was all going to be a trainwreck. Without a host, it’s toast! Not anymore! But if the Academy were to announce for the 92nd show that they aren’t getting anyone to host that year, I’d just say, “Fine, whatever, you do you.” I wouldn’t care if there’s a host. Would I want a host? Certainly, but I’d be open to another Oscars show where nobody hosts. Because a couple of benefits to having no host is that the show focuses more on the awards, and it allows a diverse amounts of celebrities to present themselves to an audience. Because let’s face it. Not everyone likes Jimmy Kimmel, not everyone likes Seth MacFarlane, not everyone likes Ellen DeGeneres. Having one of those people host puts them in a certain spotlight, and even though certain people like The Oscars, they might not be satisfied with the person who may as well be taking up the biggest portion of the show’s screentime. Almost every celebrity onstage had their moment, and it allowed for a quick pace that was respectful. Granted, I am the rare find in the wild that does not mind staying up for eternity while watching The Oscars. However, there is a part of me that realizes that The Oscars is being shown to “everyone.” And there is a vast majority of people who want to see certain things throughout the show. The hostless ceremony is a good way to keep time short, and have the awards delivered as immediate as possible.

By the way, I recently saw this killer tweet from recent Academy Awards host Jimmy Kimmel:

I love you, Jimmy.

Now let’s move onto the awards. Had I done a prediction post a little bit ago, this would definitely be the main focal point. I’m not going to dive into every single award, but I am going to go over the ones that I found to be highlights.

Believe it or not, I have actually managed to expand my award palette this year, because just recently, specifically on February 9th, I went to a local theater in the Boston area because they were showing all of the animated short films that earned a nomination this year. They showed the five potential winners, along with some others that the Academy found to be “highly commendable.” Now I actually had a favorite of these films, but before I do that, let’s give out the nominees.

  • Bao- Domee Shi, Becky Neiman (WINNER!)
  • Weekends- Trevor Jimenez
  • Animal Behaviour- Alison Snowden, David Fine
  • One Small Step- Andrew Chesworth, Bobby Pontillas
  • Late Afternoon- Louise Bagnall, Nuria González Blanco

Now keep in mind, I actually have watched all of these films from start to finish. I actually had been exposed to “Bao” prior to seeing all of the four other films. The reason why that is is due to how it was presented before Pixar’s “Incredibles 2,” making it Pixar’s short film to present this year. I kind of liked “Bao,” but it is something that I think would not appeal to everyone. I understand the message behind it, but in reality, there are a couple of animated shorts on this list that I found to be more interesting. For example, “One Small Step.” Granted, this may be coming with a little bit of bias since I am a nerd, and nerds like space. I still found the main character’s journey to be intriguing and sort of, pun intended, down to Earth. But my personal favorite out of all of these is without question, “Animal Behavior.” This film was made in Canada, and might I just say, this film reminds me of how awesome Canada is. It gave us Ryan Gosling, Ryan Reynolds, Alex Trebek, Howie Mandel, and now… “Animal Behavior.” “Animal Behavior” takes a bunch of different living creatures and puts them all in a therapy session. One of the main characters is a gorilla who is in extreme denial, and often gets very angry. The results of this film, hilarious. One of the best jokes has to do with the mantis, because for those who are unaware, praying mantises eat their mate during intercourse. There are certain parts of the short where we see that sort of thing come into play, and overall it left me feeling very impressed. Plus, one thing that made this film different compared to all of the others, is that they were all trying to be serious. This one, while still having some sort of message intact, it still goes for as much comedy as possible. Kudos to the brilliant writing! Granted, the Academy goes for more serious material, and I do respect that, but I feel like was more impressed by the comedic efforts of “Animal Behaviour” as opposed to the serious efforts of “Late Afternoon” or “Bao.”

Moving onto another category, it’s Best Documentary! Let’s look at the nominees!

  • Free Solo- Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin, Evan Hayes, Shannon Dill (WINNER!)
  • RBG- Betsy West, Julie Cohen
  • Hale County This Morning, This Evening- RaMell Ross, Joslyn Barnes, Su Kim
  • Of Fathers and Sons- Talal Derki, Ansgar Frerich, Eva Kemme, Tobias N. Siebert
  • Minding the Gap- Bing Liu, Diane Quon

Wait, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” wasn’t nominated?! F*ck this! Moving on!

Let’s try a different documentary category! Best Documentary Short! Let’s look at the nominees!

  • Period. End of Sentence.- Rayka Zehtabchi, Melissa Berton (WINNER!)
  • Black Sheep- Ed Perkins, Jonathan Chinn
  • End Game- Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
  • Lifeboat- Skye Fitzgerald, Bryn Mooser
  • A Night at the Garden- Marshall Curry

OK, these look much better. I haven’t seen any of these films, but they sound much better. Now I am not going to call one of these films superior to all of the others, all of my opinions related to such a thing would technically be invalid. But, the victory speech, holy f*ck. Quite possibly the best speech of the night!

“I’m not crying because I’m on my period or anything! I can’t believe a film about menstruation just won an Oscar!” -Rayka Zehtabchi

“A period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education!” -Melissa Berton

Enough said. Period. End of sentence.

Another category that stood out to me was Best Visual Effects, mainly because there was one movie that I felt should win, but didn’t win. Granted, the winner to me has extremely competent visuals, but the reality is, I had my pick. Here are the nominees.

Ryan Gosling in First Man (2018)

  • First Man- Paul LambertIan HunterTristan MylesJ.D. Schwalm (WINNER!)
  • Avengers: Infinity War- Dan DeLeeuwKelly PortRussell EarlDaniel Sudick
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story- Rob BredowPatrick TubachNeal ScanlanDominic Tuohy
  • Ready Player One- Roger GuyettGrady CoferMatthew E. ButlerDavid Shirk
  • Christopher Robin- Chris LawrenceMike EamesTheo JonesChris Corbould

Let’s take some things into perspective. While I kinda hated “Solo,” I could see it being nominated for visual effects. I didn’t want it to win, but still. “Christopher Robin” was an alright movie, nothing really that special. But then again, I have a bare attachment to “Winnie the Pooh.” The CGI characters were not bad though. “Avengers: Infinity War” was probably my second or third pick to win, right along with “First Man,” which did win. Aside from all of the huge scale glory happening everywhere on screen, you also have to give credit to the effects team for creating Thanos. To me, Thanos is up there with Smaug and Gollum as one of the greats when it comes to CGI character creations. Now with that being said, “READY PLAYER ONE” WAS SNUBBED! Granted, I already awarded “Ready Player One” myself because I now do the Jackoff Awards, but I would have given a thumbs up to the voters had they let “Ready Player One” win! Let’s take another set of ideas into perspective. “Avengers: Infinity War” has comic book style action, random computer effects flying everywhere, and a well done CGI character. I’ve seen that before. In fact, “Christopher Robin” had several of those. Granted, I liked “Infinity War’s” effects better, but still. “Solo” had several effects that I’ve seen in many other movies, and when it comes to the “Star Wars” franchise, it’s not even my favorite movie in terms of visuals. While I will say that “The Last Jedi” is actually worse than “Solo” as a movie, which I am honestly shocked to say. It actually looked nicer! “Solo” has its moments, but when comparing it to the rest of the franchise, it’s in between Obi-Wan and Anakin, because ya know, it kinda has the middle ground. For “Ready Player One,” I wanted that to win, because I felt it was the most visually unique movie of the year. Not only did it manage to visually create its own characters, but it actually recreated segments from other works of art! There is a scene in the film that actually takes place in a location from “The Shining.” Not only that, but you have two different worlds being dealt with in the movie, meaning there are two different places to insert various visuals. The effects team, personally, outdid themselves! I am not a crybaby over “First Man” getting the gold, but at the same time, I’m also wondering why it even got it because “Ready Player One” was just a unique trip. And this goes back to my recent statements. I’ve seen visuals like “First Man” in the past. I’ve seen it in “Apollo 13.” I’ve seen it in “Gravity.” I’ve seen it in “Interstellar.” Although at the same time, I said after I saw the movie that it was not my favorite movie of the year in terms of the story, but from a technical perspective, it was definitely the most well made movie of the year. So while it is not my #1 pick for visual effects, they are by NO MEANS incompetent. Granted, that comment I made after I saw “First Man,” that likely changed overtime after I saw “Roma,” but nevertheless.

Another highlight of the night, for anything but good reason (for the most part) is Best Makeup & Hairstyling. Here are the nominees.

  • Vice- Greg CannomKate BiscoePatricia Dehaney (WINNER!)
  • Mary Queen of Scots- Göran LundströmPamela Goldammer
  • Border- Jenny ShircoreMarc PilcherJessica Brooks

As I once predicted, “Vice” came out on top. The makeup might actually be the best part of the entire movie. So I was excited to see it win. Then… I saw the speech. The three winners practically did not even know what it was they were supposed to say. They had a paper in front of them, which is fine, I have nothing against that, but at least put a little preparation into your speech! At least, have a plan! Visualize! Get together on a Google Hangout or something! I mean, it was slow, it was like watching three people who had recently received amnesia! I’m just waiting for them to get hit in the head with coconuts and suddenly talk like they’re Peter Griffin after he drank Red Bull! They almost didn’t even remember anybody’s name! Ah well, still, congrats I guess.

Anyway, moving onto another category, which I guarantee has a better speech, let’s go onto Best Animated Feature. I do think it is a somewhat unnecessary category, given how it sort of diminishes the art of the animated movie as a whole, but I still want to talk about it. Here are the nominees!

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse- Bob PersichettiPeter RamseyRodney RothmanPhil LordChristopher Miller (WINNER!)
  • Incredibles 2- Brad BirdJohn WalkerNicole Paradis Grindle
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet- Rich MoorePhil JohnstonClark Spencer
  • Isle of Dogs- Wes AndersonScott RudinSteven RalesJeremy Dawson
  • Mirai- Mamoru HosodaYûichirô Saitô

Out of the five films listed, I have seen every single one except “Mirai,” but then again, it wasn’t really marketed around here so I don’t really have much to say about it overall. “Ralph Breaks the Internet” was not only enjoyable, but it honestly shocked me to no end. Because let’s be real, I thought the marketing was, *snobby voice* an abomination! I thought that movie was going to be the most obvious cash-in from Disney this past year (somehow I forgot about “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms”). Turns out that it is not only a good movie experience, but also a great parody on the Disney company! Just watch what Vanellope has to go through in the film to see what I mean! Then we have “Isle of Dogs” which is the only stop-motion film on the list. Over these last months, Wes Anderson has grown on me a bit as a director, and his work in this film supports my statement. Plus, I actually hate dogs, so the fact that I like this movie actually says something! “Incredibles 2” is a worthy sequel to what is, quite literally, my favorite animated film of all-time. Not only is it a part of my childhood, but it is just a well crafted movie. For awhile, it was my favorite film of the year, that is… until the release of “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse!” And might I just say, JUSTICE HAS BEEN SERVED! Because two people behind “Spider-Verse,” specifically as writers and producers, have also worked on “The LEGO Movie.” That is one of the best movies of 2014, and probably one of the best animations I’ve ever seen. And not only did that movie not win an Oscar, it didn’t even get nominated! Sure, it was nominated for Best Original Song due to the presence of “Everything Is Awesome,” but that’s not even the best part of the movie! Heck, that wasn’t even the best song in the movie! Ah well, catchy tunes can be catchy. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller get an Oscar! They didn’t have to wait as long as say Kevin O’Connell (sound mixer who waited 21 times), Roger Deakins (cinematographer who waited 14 times), or Glenn Close (actress nominated 7 times and still waiting), but they’ve each got one! “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is one of the best superhero movies of 2018, and I’d even say it’s better than “Black Panther,” which actually received more nominations than this movie! Speaking of which, let’s talk about that.

Based on the results of the recent Academy Awards show, “Black Panther,” my fourth place pick this year for superhero films, managed to take home three Academy Awards. None of them were in super major categories. Granted, one of them was score, which to me, is usually a major factor on whether or not your movie is in my top movies of the year for some reason. If I remember your music, chances are I’m going to like your movie. Now, “Black Panther” is nowhere close to being my favorite superhero flick of 2018. But with that in mind, I still gotta give the movie respect, because it did something for comic book movies that has never been done before. Over the years, several movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have received nominations for the Academy Awards. Some include “Doctor Strange,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “The Avengers,” “Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2,” and “Iron Man 3.” None of them have ever won an Oscar. Just this year, “Black Panther” changed that. Because it won 3. While I would say that for every of its categories for which the film was nominated, I was actually rooting for other films, including “The Favourite!” That actually says something because that film was nominated for best picture and I’m still not happy about it to this day! Nevertheless, it won three awards, which to me, shows that the Academy is getting more serious about the action movie genre and the comic book movie genre. They have progressively been doing such a thing in some of their more recent ceremonies with movies like “The Dark Knight” and “Logan.” Although, when it comes to comic-book based films, this is probably the best year Oscar-wise because with the MCU’s first three wins ever, they have another nomination on top of that (Avengers: Infinity War). Plus, as recently mentioned, “Spider-Verse” won Best Animated Feature. In fact, “Black Panther” was one of the eight movies nominated for Best Picture this year. I’m not saying I want more inclusion from comic-book movies, but I love how the Academy is recognizing that comic-book movies can be more than just entertainment. They can be works of art. Maybe I don’t see “Black Panther” the same way as they do, but I see where they may be coming from with it. Although I will say, I’m white. Just pointing that out. Congrats to the comic-book film genre.

Another highlight in terms of awards including some of the acting sections. Starting with Best Supporting Actor, here are the nominees!

  • Mahershala Ali- Green Book (WINNER!)
  • Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman)
  • Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
  • Sam Elliott (A Star Is Born)
  • Sam Rockwell (Vice)

Ah, seems very familiar. I nominated four of these people for the Jackoffs. If Timothée Chalamet was nominated here than that would be five. But whatever. And just like the Jackoffs, Mahershala Ali won! Ali to me is deserving of his win because of the range provided in his performance. Sam Elliott is great, the same can be said for someone like Sam Rockwell. But they seem to play the same character the whole movie. While Ali is technically one guy during the movie, he almost seems to play two. You have this robotic priest, and I won’t go into much more detail, but he reveals more emotion as he develops. Ali is well deserving of his award if you ask me.

Moving onto Best Supporting Actress!

  • Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)
  • Marina de Tavira (Roma)
  • Amy Adams (Vice)
  • Emma Stone (The Favourite)
  • Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

Out of all of these, I have interestingly witnessed all of these performances EXCEPT Regina King, which is too bad, because I heard good things about “If Beale Street Could Talk.” And I was watching the Red Carpet buildup before the Oscars started, and having seen people commentate on the broadcast, this made King’s win no surprise because it was practically a lock. Out of the ones I’ve seen, my personally favorite without a doubt has to be Amy Adams. She transformed into her character in “Vice!” I will give credit to “The Favourite” in the acting department, especially when you consider two of its actors are nominated in the same category, but it does not save “The Favourite” from being a less than satisfying movie. As far as Marina de Tavira goes, I almost wonder why she was nominated to begin with. I’m not saying she performed badly in “Roma,” in fact she did a great job. But it’s kind of surprising considering how she was never really nominated for the same role anywhere else during this award season.

Now onto Best Actress! Here are the nominees!

  • Olivia Colman (The Favourite)
  • Yalitza Aparicio (Roma)
  • Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)
  • Glenn Close (The Wife)
  • Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

Melissa McCarthy? What the?! It’s raining cats and dogs! I’ve seen three of these performances, and while there is a part of me that was able appreciate Olivia Colman as a performer in “The Favourite,” I found the performances from say Lady Gaga and Yalitza Aparicio a bit more compelling. And part of my reasoning behind such a statement may be because the two aren’t known for their acting. Gaga is primarily a singer, which also kind of means she has an advantage in her role. But what really wowed me is Yalitza Aparicio, because this is actually the first acting job she ever did in her entire life. For a first-time actor, you’d expect them to give a C performance, maybe a B performance at best. But this to me was no doubt, an A+ performance! And to be honest, part of me was expecting Glenn Close to win. Plus it would have been fascinating because she has been waiting awhile for her award. But if you have seen the Jackoffs, you might be able to gather my opinion on this. TONI COLLETTE WAS SNUBBED!

Lastly for acting, we have Best Actor. Here are the nominees!

  • Rami Malek- Bohemian Rhapsody (WINNER!)
  • Bradley Cooper- A Star Is Born
  • Viggo Mortensen- Green Book
  • Willem Dafoe- At Eternity’s Gate
  • Christian Bale- Vice

To me, Malek’s win was a no brainer. I was appreciative of this performance because of how it was able to transform this actor into a beloved celebrity of another kind. Granted, it is all him, because part of it was due to someone else doing his vocals and I think costume design and makeup go into play with my appreciation as well, but still, he was my pick to win. My second pick would have been Bradley Cooper because he had to learn to sing for his role, and it actually paid off! Out of these performances, I will point out that I’ve seen four of them, the one that I didn’t see is Willem Dafoe, but I also liked the performances from Bale and Mortensen. If I had to choose between them, I’d say Mortensen was the better performer, but if Bale had won, I would have loved to have seen his speech. Because when it comes to the crew on “Vice,” one terrible speech was already provided in the Makeup & Hairstyling category, but had he gone up, I would have been interested to see his speech. I say so because he gave perhaps my favorite speech at the Golden Globes this year, specifically where he says this:

“Thank you to Satan for giving me inspiration on how to play this role!”

HAHAHAHAHAHA! How often do you hear that?! While that might make certain people upset or offended, I thought personally that was one of the highlights of that show.

We have a few more categories to go over, a couple of which include the screenplay categories. Here are the original screenplay nominees!

  • Green Book- Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly (WINNER!)
  • First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
  • Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
  • Vice (Adam McKay)
  • The Favourite (Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara)

I’m sorry, “The Favourite,” while it has some memorable lines, the screenplay was not even close to being something special. In fact, that’s one of the biggest problems I have with the movie, because this story was trying its best to be compelling, but it felt more drawn out than I expected! And I will admit, I am guy who is willing to appreciate film no matter what kind of movie we are talking about, but even for me, this was too slow! I think the biggest problem was the chapter layout. Because when I first saw it, I thought the chapters represented a three or five act structure, if I recall correctly, it was like nine. I am with “Green Book” as  the winner however. It’s a good story with compelling characters, and some quirkiness behind it too. Then again, it is hard to avoid expecting a good script from a guy who worked on “There’s Something About Mary.” If it weren’t for “Green Book” winning, I would have either picked “Roma” or “Vice.” With “Roma,” it was a script that took a bit of time to get me fully intrigued, but once I was hooked, I was not able to let go. It was investing, emotionally charged, and is capable of showing the occasional unpredictably of life. “Vice” however is rather interesting to me because while it was based on true events, it was able to have some satirical fun. One of the best written scenes of the year comes during the middle of the film where the acts like it is about to end saying the characters live happily ever after and never get in politics ever again. GEN-I-US!

As for the adapted screenplays, here are the nominees!

  • BlacKkKlansman- Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmont, Spike Lee (WINNER!)
  • A Star Is Born- Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters
  • Can You Ever Forgive Me?- Nicole HolofcenerJeff Whitty
  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs- Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  • If Beale Street Could Talk- Barry Jenkins

Surprisingly, while I’ve seen a number of things in the listed this categories this year, this is a category where I’ve seen only two things. To be specific, “A Star Is Born” and “BlacKkKlansman.” I missed out on “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” and “If Beale Street Could Talk.” As far as “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” goes, it’s on Netflix and I have don’t Netflix, nor do I ever plan to get it. Enough said. Luckily, of the two I did see, I nominated both for the Jackoffs in this exact category. Granted, I gave the 1 up to “A Star Is Born,” but “BlacKkKansman” is also worthy of your support. Interestingly, and if you watch the movie, this shouldn’t really come as a shock, Spike Lee’s speech was rather critical of Donald Trump. Let’s see how President Orange responded.

REMINDER: This guy won multiple Razzies this year!

A couple more categories to go, let’s move onto Best Director!

  • Alfonso Cuarón (Roma)
  • Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)
  • Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War)
  • Adam McKay (Vice)
  • Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite)

“The Favourite” might just be one of the best worst movies of all time, because I can clearly tell people are giving their 110% effort throughout the production, but it just didn’t work for me. The directing in the film is actually not that bad and I see why it received a nomination. In fact, all of these directors are worthy of their nominations if you ask me. Although there is no questioning it. Cuarón directed the hell out of “Roma.” Based on how he did this movie, the project felt extremely personal, and the direction felt like everything came right out of his mind. Nothing felt like it came from an outsider or a studio. I am well aware that in life you can’t always get what you want, but it’s nice to get what you want when you are look at things from a directorial point of view. Plus, Cuarón had his hands full with this film. Not only did he have a credit for directing, but he also has a credit for the screenplay, the editing, the cinematography, and even as a producer. He did a lot for one film! He’s like Tommy Wiseau, only difference is that Cuarón was able to create a critically successful movie. I hate Netflix, like with a burning passion, but I will give them credit for quite possibly saying “You know what Alfonso, you’re so f*cking talented. Make whatever movie you want!” I’m imagining something like that went on behind the scenes.

Two more categories to go, let’s pay attention towards the Best Cinematography category! Here are the nominees!

  • Alfonso Cuarón- Roma (WINNER!)
  • Lukasz Zal- Cold War
  • Matthew Libatique- A Star Is Born
  • Robbie Ryan- The Favourite
  • Caleb Deschanel- Never Look Away

And to my lack of surprise, Cuarón takes this award too! If you have seen my last Academy Awards recap, chances are that you’d know that cinematography was probably the category I was most passionate about that year. The reason was due to how one of the nominees was Roger Deakins, who FINALLY won an Oscar for his work in “Blade Runner 2049!” This year, I don’t really have the same passion for that category, but I was able to appreciate a couple of the nominees. “Roma” is a movie that I thought was technically brilliant, and its cinematography absolutely showcases that. SUPER GLAD IT WON! That movie had many shots that made me wonder how they even came about! Netflix, PLEASE. Release a Blu-ray for “Roma!” I want my bonus features! In fact, for the Jackoffs, that movie also won Best Cinematography. Speaking of which, I also nominated “Cold War,” which is unique because it featured a 4:3 aspect ratio, and like “Roma,” it’s in black and white. When I reviewed “Cold War,” I felt that the film’s technical specs were something I could appreciate more than the film’s story, and the cinematography was the biggest standout to me. I can approve of “The Favourite” being nominated, but when it comes to “A Star Is Born.” Some of the shots were nice, but I don’t see why it is nominated. Maybe the set design and the lighting stood out to me, but standard shots are not the biggest standout when it comes to “A Star Is Born.” In fact, a similar movie, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” actually comes to mind when I think of this nomination. There are a number of shots that truly immerse me into the film. This is especially true during the Live Aid scene. The extended run through the audience set the mood entirely for that scene alone. There are certain shots that give you a sense of scope, it’s almost mind-boggling. As for “Never Look Away,” I never saw that movie, so I have nothing to say about it.

And now, for Best Picture. This year there were eight nominees. Out of all of them, I actually had something that I truly wanted to win. Last year I wanted “Dunkirk” to win, but I also missed out on many of last year’s Best Picture nominees. This year however, I actually saw all eight of them. If you wanted to know my pick for Best Picture this year, it was “Roma.” What a f*cking movie. Anyway, here are the nominees!

  • Green Book- Jim Burke, Charles B. Wessler, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga (WINNER!)
  • Black Panther- Kevin Feige
  • The Favourite- Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday and Yorgos Lanthimos
  • Bohemian Rhapsody- Graham King
  • A Star Is Born- Bill Gerber, Bradley Cooper and Lynette Howell Taylor
  • Vice- Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adam McKay and Kevin Messick
  • Roma- Gabriela Rodríguez and Alfonso Cuarón
  • BlacKkKlansman- Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Raymond Mansfield, Jordan Peele and Spike Lee

I’m gonna do this by talking about the movies that didn’t win first. “The Favourite” and “Black Panther?” You can honestly forget about those two! The pacing in “The Favourite” is horrible and “Black Panther” is not even the best comic book movie of the year! A lot of people go around saying that film is “socially important,” but that has nothing to do with how good a movie is. Just because your film has a black person in it, it doesn’t make it good. What matters is how it was executed. You know what comic book movie was socially important? “Wonder Woman!” And that’s a masterpiece compared to “Black Panther!” AND it wasn’t nominated for any Oscars for its respective year! When I like “Aquaman,” “Deadpool 2,” “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and “Avengers: Infinity War” more than “Black Panther,” you can probably tell what I’m trying to say here about it. “Vice” was pretty good, but ultimately lacking in some sort of substance that didn’t seem to be there as I watched the movie. I appreciate the work that went into it, but some parts of the movie were better than others. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is sort of interesting. I think it is a good tribute to Queen and Freddie Mercury, but it is ultimately just that, nothing more. Sure, there’s good cinematography and a rock solid performance from Rami Malek, but it doesn’t really change the game. Then there is “A Star Is Born.” I thought Bradley Cooper did a great job with that movie because he had a lot to do on it, and not just as a performer. Although when it comes to his performance skills on that film, that’s probably the best part because of how he needed to not just talk, but play an instrument and sing. “BlacKkKlansman” may have been a well written, well directed, and well acted film. But even if you remove all of those qualities from the table, you still have a great concept. An African-American police officer pretends he’s white and infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan! And it’s based on a true story!

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When it comes to the two films left to talk about, I already said what I need to say about “Roma.” It is such a masterful movie. Plus, it partially made me change my mind about how serious Netflix could possibly be in the movie theater industry. Granted, they still have some ways to go, just ask Steven Spielberg, but they’re making progress. I really wanted that film to win, and I actually had high confidence that it was going to win this year. Then Julia Roberts gets onstage, and says the words “Green Book.”

Did not expect that.

But you know what? It’s cool, that was my second pick anyway! I know there’s a lot of controversy surrounding “Green Book” right now, it almost reminds me of “The Greatest Showman.” Part of me might regret watching “Green Book” for that reason alone, but I also have to keep in mind that when I did see the film, I enjoyed what I saw. I thought the screenplay was well done. The chemistry between the main characters went together like bread and butter. And the acting is superb! “Green Book” may not be my pick for Best Picture, but it was certainly worth a watch. It’s got some serious parts in it, but it is almost like a feel good story at times. It’s nice to see the formation of two unlikely friends. Plus, it’s one of those rare times where product placement WORKS. Will I watch “Green Book” again sometime in the future? Most likely. It is a fun watch, and definitely worth your time. Congrats to “Green Book!” Congrats to all of the other nominees!

Thanks for reading this post! The 91st Academy Awards was definitely a surprise! I was expect a mediocre show at best, and it turned out to be pretty good. Would I like a host next year? Certainly. But I am also now open to the idea of a hostless Oscars ceremony. Now that I’ve seen it, it worked out! I gotta give massive respect for the Academy for including all of the awards, and I also want to give a shoutout to Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper for an awesome performance of “Shallow!” You guys rock! Speaking of which, Queen, great opening! Well done! When it comes to my future content, I will be doing a review of “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World!” And also, as of writing this, Scene Before is now three years old! It just turned three recently, I want to do something for the three year anniversary, but if I actually manage to do something, it probably won’t be up soon, because college is keeping me busy. Like, insanely busy. I have some ideas, who knows? Maybe I’ll do the same thing as the two year anniversary? But only time will tell! 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 91st Academy Awards? What are your thoughts? Any snubs? Great moments? Do you agree with everything? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Is the 91st Academy Awards the Least Anticipated In History?

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! I don’t know how this happened! But I have just discovered this year’s theme music for the Academy Awards! Check it out down below!

Welcome to the 91st Academy Awards! The most ambitious trainwreck in Hollywood history!

This Sunday is the night of the Academy Awards, and while I do have a golden vibe set inside my head, I cannot help but feel bronze. The Academy Awards is one of my favorite times of the year. It takes my favorite art form and celebrates it to the tenth degree! In fact, part of me wants to go back in time to last year’s show, because I had a GREAT time watching it. From the effective hosting job done by Jimmy Kimmel to seeing celebrities crash a movie screening to seeing Roger Deakins FINALLY get an Oscar, I had a fun time!

However, that show kind of made me wonder what was in store for The Academy’s future. Because a while after it aired, reports went around suggesting last year’s show, specifically the 90th Academy Awards, received the lowest ratings in the show’s history. I wouldn’t say this suggests that movies are dying. After all, several other awards shows suffered through the same situation. The VMAs had a massive ratings drop this year. Compared to 2017, the Primetime Emmys dropped 11% during its previous show. And according to The Hollywood Reporter, this year’s SAG Awards had ratings that were the lowest they’ve been in “at least eight years.”

Honestly, I would not be surprised if this year’s ratings for the Academy Awards were actually lower than last year.

Sure, there is a ton of competition now in the TV industry, and the entertainment industry in general. A lot more people would rather go online and find out who won either through YouTube, articles, or perhaps Wikipedia or IMDb. More people are settling for Netflix and other streaming services, all the kids are still somehow playing “Fortnite,” not everyone wants to spend a few hours watching people hold trophies, and in today’s politically heated climate, the Academy Awards might almost be unbearable to a certain number of people. Unless you’re James Woods, Gary Busey, or Clint Eastwood, chances are you can’t live/work in Hollywood and be a Trump supporter at the same time.

What I just stated is perhaps valid, but it is not all, because none of this has to do with the absolute enormous shop of horrors that can also be referred to as the buildup to the 91st Academy Awards.

Last year I did a few posts on the Academy Awards possibly implementing the stupidest idea for an award, possibly in history. They somehow thought it was a GRRREAAAAT idea to do a Best Popular Film category! How do we get more people to watch the show? Let’s f*ck excellence in the ass and just say a movie like “Black Panther” earned the all time greatest participation trophy! Thankfully, that is not happening this year, but the fact that the Academy even thought of it, and they are STILL CONSIDERING IT, gets me angry!

While that disaster may be averted (for now), then we get towards the end of the fall, and they begin announcing a host. Their choice, Kevin Hart. And I think he is a good choice to host the Oscars! He has comedy chops and he’s a big movie personality. What more is needed? However, because we live in an era where people’s lives apparently get ruined over something they said a long time ago, and seemingly done with no intentions to call anybody an idiot, Kevin Hart opted out. As time went on, the Academy never settled on a host. They couldn’t find anyone willing to take on such a position. But that didn’t stop them, because they decided to instead gather an ensemble of people to appear at random times during the ceremony. The names were recently announced through social media. Some notable names include Brie Larson, Chris Evans, Whoppi Goldberg, Maya Rudolph, Daniel Craig, and Charlize Theron. I’d be curious to see how this will work, but the idea of not having a host feels very weird. The host is that one person that will take viewers along for the ride, and now we’re hitting speed bumps. I’d honestly host the Oscars if I have a chance, even if that means someone having to dig up some big dark secret from my past. Who knows? Maybe it would make for good comedy material.

While hosting might make some Academy members apprehensive or perhaps in some cases, protective of their own past, there is something else that has recently made Academy members angry instead.

When I think of the average viewer of the Academy Awards, there is a good chance that they are going to only care about certain categories. These typically include Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Picture, and one or two others. Although the technical awards are not the ones I would usually see as categories general audiences would usually be intrigued by at first. However, as someone who reveres the film industry, I appreciate the technical awards. And I imagine other people, including some general audience members, feel the same way, even if that doesn’t mean everyone. There are perhaps some people who would prefer to see their favorite awards presented while some other awards are forgotten about. I personally would like to see all the awards presented if possible, but if not, at least keep the ones that are “important.”

With that in mind, the Academy recently decided to eliminate four categories, not from the ceremony, but from being presented live during the ceremony. These four categories were then given the intention to be presented during the commercial breaks and edited to be aired later during the broadcast. The categories included Live-Action Short, Makeup and Hairstyling, Film Editing, and Cinematography. I am honestly disappointed to see any category get pushed to the side, because I feel that everyone in their respective fields put a lot of hard work into their craft. However, EDITING AND CINEMATOGRAPHY ARE THE FOUNDATIONS OF CINEMA!

I am not alone on this argument, because you know who agrees with me? Roger Deakins (cinematographer), Christopher Nolan (director), Denis Villeneuve (director), Russel Crowe (actor), Patty Jenkins (director), Edgar Wright (director), Wally Pfister (cinematographer), and more! In fact, I was on Twitter recently, and I came across this one tweet which spoke to me, delivering immediate importance.

Holy f*ck, Elias Toufexis! That is the stuff of nightmares!

Donald Trump thinks the border wall situation is a national emergency? No! THIS IS THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY! Thankfully, for the sake of humanity, the Academy reversed their decision. Will this affect the ratings? I am honestly not sure. Because for all I know, there is a majority in agreement that this idea is complete bull, or I am just in my own little bubble. But if the Academy wanted me to watch their show, I would rather have them air all of the categories. We live in a world consisting of countries becoming more and more representative of minorities. And somehow the Academy is going through a process of ass-backwards thinking. I get that some people want the show shortened up. I get that not everyone can sit down and watch a three to four hour telecast where people say “thank you” every few minutes. But guess what? I’ve sat down to watch the Super Bowl for years, and part of me didn’t want to! In fact, after Super Bowl 53, part of me never wants to do such a thing ever again. GIVE ME MY SHOW! If I can’t have “King of the Nerds,” if I can’t have the old format of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?,” and if I can’t have “Wipeout,” then I might as well have my Oscars show!

In fact, this is not like I am hearing all of this news for the first time. Because when they first announced the Best Popular film, they also announced the commitment to a three hour show, and the idea of airing certain categories during commercial breaks. I’ll be honest, I was skeptical about the fates those categories even at that time! In my post titled “Academy Awards Adds Popularity Contest?! *AN UNACCEPTANCE SPEECH*,” I state that I don’t really know how I feel about this idea and I would have to wait until I actually see it through. I may have just been being nice at that time. The reality is that the Academy Awards is not just a show. It’s not just a chance for audience members at home to glance at all of their favorite stars, but it encapsulates the art of cinema as a whole. It is supposed to be a celebration of a whole year in film, not to mention those who worked in the industry during said year.

I am glad that the Academy listened to its members and followers and decided to remove the commercial break categories, much like when they removed the Best Popular Film category. But the buildup to the 91st Academy Awards has been a trainwreck. It’s like owning an older Xbox 360! Each one of these controversial moments is the Academy Awards equivalent to getting the red ring of death! These are unexpected, unwanted, unneeded, and most certainly, make you need anger management classes once setting your eyes upon them! I am honestly anticipating within the next few days, another cataclysmic and controversial thing coming out of the Academy’s butt. Who knows? Maybe that will be reversed too. But I honestly wouldn’t be surprised at this point. Part of me would not be surprised if some of the current showrunners behind the Academy Awards soon search for other work, perhaps even president John Bailey.

And if the Academy really wants to condense the ceremony and run it for three hours at max, I do have one recommendation. This might be controversial, because some people totally admire the speeches, but sometimes sacrifices have to be made. There is a parody of the Nobel Prizes called the Ig Nobel Prizes. The Ig Nobel Prizes have been held in the Boston area every year since 1991. If you watch recent ceremonies, you may see a young girl, specially one who is slightly different every year. She is often referred to as “Miss Sweetie Poo.” She walks up to recipients of the Ig Nobel Prize. The results? This. Just to warn you, this video is not short, feel free to stop watching at any time.

As the video suggests, Miss Sweetie Poo is easily bored by grown, professional adults, ast they give long acceptance speeches. If the Academy wanted to spice up their show, and for the sake of some general audience members, shorten it up so they can go to bed earlier, they show consider implementing their own version of Miss Sweetey Poo. And it doesn’t even have to be a young, eight year old girl. It could be a young, eight year old boy. Perhaps a teenager who won’t stop staring at their cell phone. It could even be a famous celebrity. Can you imagine an Academy Awards ceremony where someone like Steven Spielberg wins Best Director and a celebrity such as Liam Neeson manages to walk onstage either talking into Spielberg’s ear saying “You’re ruining everything!,” repeatedly, or perhaps loudly snoring like a stereotypical lazy fatass dad. Or, what if they got JK Simmons to dress up as Terrence Fletcher from “Whiplash” and either yell at the speaker, bang a cowbell, or have him be in front of a drum playing it at a designated time? I know the Oscars is a family friendly show so he can’t really go too far in terms of language, but it is certainly a solid idea. Although I am perhaps biased since I came up with it.

So, Academy, if you want to spice up your show for the better, and reduce time, I think you ought to consider what I just said. I will be watching your show on Sunday (from start to finish), I will be reacting to it through social media, and I will most likely be sharing my thoughts on it afterwards in a separate blog post. But in all seriousness, you guys have been demonstrating nothing but incompetence for the past few months! Incompetence so bad that it makes Wile E Coyote seem capable of actually catching the Road Runner for once! A Best Popular film category? What the hell?! Nobody is going to host this year? Oh, great.. Taking away categories and deeming them less important than others? INCLUDING CINEMATOGRAPHY AND EDITING?! YOU PEOPLE ARE SICK!

But I guess I’ll watch anyway…

Thanks for reading this post! If you want to see more on the Oscars, fear not my friends! I will be reacting to the show on social media as it airs (most likely through Twitter), and updates may be provided if I decide to post something on here before the show airs. Although I will guarantee you all that I have some content coming soon for this blog because I’m going to see a movie today, specifically Stephen Merchant’s “Fighting with My Family.” I’m actually seeing this film early considering there is a free screening in my area, so I shall have a review of that up very soon. Be sure to follow Scene Before with an email or WordPress account for content that is Oscar-worthy, and as of recently, Jackoff-worthy! I want to know, are you excited for the Oscars this year? I’m honestly a bit apprehensive about the show itself, but I’m still going to watch. Movies are my religion and the Oscars might as well be mass at church. Even if the show sucks, I would rather avoid any consequences for possible sins. Let’s just hope they don’t wreck the show! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The 1st Annual JACKOFF Awards

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WARNING: The following post is nearly 11,000 words long. If you are able to make it through this entire post, I applaud you. However, your life is under your control, and you should decide how long you can read this for. I am not the judge of you, nor am I your boss. You should be able to decide how long you should gloss. Enjoy!

*All copyrights belong to their respective owners*

INTRO SEQUENCE!

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! You have now entered the Cinema Zone. You are now about to witness the most important awards ceremony of all time. An event so grand that every celebrity earning such an award will brag about it to their friends and family. *Drumroll* The Movie Reviewing Moron presents… The Jackoffs!

*SEES NO AUDIENCE*

Disappointing.

But the show must go on! Today we are going to be celebrating and reflecting on what the Movie Reviewing Moron seems to see as the best in film. Similar to other awards ceremonies related to movies, there will categories dedicated to acting, directing, music, categories such as those. Also, much like those award shows, these are all appetizers for Best Picture, which I can guarantee you, will be the TRUE best picture this year. All of those other fake award ceremonies? Forget them! This is serious business! There’s also going to be some stuff on the side as well, so stay tuned. However, if you have seen my top 10 BEST movies of 2018, you’d already know what my best picture is. With that in mind, I decided to do something a little different than me picking a Best Picture winner. Given how my mind can change on what the top 10 movies of 2018 are, and I have an audience who also goes out to support film, I decided to reveal my top 10 best movies as of the point where I announce the nominees, and have others pick the best movie of the year. And for those who are curious to look back at my top 10 list from this past year, I will spoil the fact that the list has changed slightly since I’ve completed it. As for other categories, every other category from Best Actor to Best Original Song to Best Sound Editing to Best Original Screenplay is all from my mind.

Before we get to the nominees and winners however, I would like to point out that I have not seen every single film in 2018, therefore some of the nominations probably would be something where you’d beg to differ. One movie that has been getting a ton of buzz this Winter for example is Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns.” Many people have enjoyed the movie, noted Emily Blunt’s performance, not to mention its music. I can’t say I’ve seen that movie, and I haven’t seen the original either. With that in mind, it just makes no sense for me to see this movie at this point for sake of putting it in any of the categories.

So, before we start revealing who was nominated and who won, I have to remind everyone, this IS an award ceremony. Most award ceremonies tend to be lighthearted, fun, and have some random jabs intact. This is a segment brought on despite no demand, “Jack Drees Tells Jokes to Nobody in Order to Please Himself.”

I’m going to state some facts about this year in film, and since there is no audience here, there will be no laughs. But since I want people in my life, I guess I will have to imagine there will be people laughing at my jokes, no matter how stupid the jokes really are. And I must say, 2018 really has been an excellent year for film, and I’m not just saying that. It’s one of the best years for film ever, as long as you weren’t dusted by Thanos, Tom Cruise’s broken leg, eaten by a Megalodon, or Tom Hardy attached to a parasite.

In January, the final installment of the “Maze Runner” trilogy, “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” released to the public. The main antagonistic side of the movie involves a corporation called “WCKD,” which is pronounced similarly to “wicked.” Viewers haven’t heard the word “wicked” so much since that one trip they took to Boston. Coincidentally, that last trip some of you might have taken was to see grown men and a supposed cheater hold a properly inflated trophy.

Emily Blunt appeared in a couple movies this past year, specifically “A Quiet Place” and “Mary Poppins Returns.” Both movies have a notable segment involving a bathtub. So far, Blunt has no movies scheduled for 2019, but I have a thought on the title of the movie Blunt will take on next. It’s called “The Shower.”

“First Man” released this year in October. While not everyone found it to be great, I found it personally to be one of the best films of the year. This film is partially about the Apollo 11 moon landing, and it is confirmed in this movie, that Ryan Gosling and Damien Chazelle fake the moon landing. IT WAS SHOT ON EARTH! IT’S A FAKE! IT WAS ON A FILM SET THE WHOLE TIME!

AMC Theatres introduced a new subscription service as part of their Stubs membership lineup. For $19.95 a month you can see 3 movies a week without charge in any format at an AMC location. The plan is called AMC Stubs A-List. This would be great for juvenile delinquents, because now you can sneak in the back of the theater in a slightly more sophisticated manner.

This recently mentioned plan was known to be a competitor to cheaper organizations such as MoviePass and Sinemia. I gotta give some props to MoviePass though, because the company’s CEO also happened to once be an executive at Netflix, so it’s possible they secretly have partial rights to the word “chill.” Imagine you’re a guy texting your girlfriend, “Hey, MoviePass and chill? ;)” You two decide to go to the cinema and see a romantic comedy. Then the sex scene arrives, and it’s time to take off your clothes and make physical contact with each other! The guy is probably going, “I have never been so immersed in a movie in my life!”

The guy’s probably young and got an uncontrollable sex drive.

However, it is also true that MoviePass has had some struggles this year. Their stock kept decreasing, they did a reverse stock split, the app crashed, and there were occasionally limited options of movies you were allowed to see. In other news, sneaking in the back of the theater is still free.

One of the later releases of December was “Holmes & Watson.” The movie earned low scores from critics, with many giving it the final verdict of “S*it, Sherlock.”

John Cena was in a couple films this year, including “Blockers” and “Bumblebee.” While both films aren’t widely regarded as horrible, the biggest problem is that we could actually see John Cena.

One of the releases we’ve gotten over the summer is a movie called “Billionaire Boys Club,” starring Ansel Elgort, Taron Egerton, Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irvine, Cary Elwes, Emma Roberts, Billie Lourd, Suki Waterhouse, and Judd Nelson. This movie earned $126 on opening day, making it the worst thing Kevin Spacey’s ever d—whoops! Sorry! Did I really just say that?! I sincerely apologize!

Unsane,” a rather unique flick, released this year. What makes it unique? It was shot using an iPhone 7 Plus. It’s a good movie, but the problem is that every time it is shown in a movie theater, there would always be at least one person who wouldn’t turn off their phone.

Here is a fact some people might not know about. As of last year, Tom Cruise has starred in two films which are at the very least, partially named after Bethesda video games, Cruise did “Oblivion” in 2013, and just last year he did “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.” Neither of those movies are linked to the video game franchises, they just borrow the name. But in all seriousness, I just can’t wait for one of his future films, “The Mummy 2: The Evil Within.”

James Gunn, director of the two recent “Guardians of the Galaxy” flicks, was fired by Disney and prevented from directing the third installment in the franchise. He was eventually hired by Warner Bros. to work on “Suicide Squad 2,” which he is going to improve by adding in one thousand talking trees. Each one of them is going to say “Hodor.”

So it’s a “Game of Thrones” crossover. It’s gonna be great.

One of the more successful movies of the year, both critically and financially, is Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born.”

It featured Lady Gaga’s most brilliant performance since her portrayal of the crazy lady hanging on wires from the Super Bowl 51 Pepsi Halftime Show.

“Black Panther” was a huge success this year, making the second highest box office total worldwide for 2018, not to mention, more money in the United States than “Avengers: Infinity War.” In other words, “Black Panther” is the most popular creation associated with the “What Are Those?” meme of all time.

One film that unfortunately cancelled production this year is a graphic novel-based project called “Cowboy Ninja Viking.” This movie was originally supposed to be called “The Overpolished Halloween Costume.”

Speaking of Halloween, A new “Halloween” movie came out this year, which simply went by the title, “Halloween.” Keep in mind, while some might call this lazy marketing, this just goes to show that nothing is superior to the original.

“Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again, came out this year, featuring Meryl Streep, and just for having a job this year, Streep automatically gets an award!

“Incredibles 2” came out this June after a 14 year wait from the release of the original installment. For the parents raising kids who grew up with the first movie, you didn’t have to teach them patience. Disney and Pixar had that covered.

I remember as a kid, one of the movies I rented from Blockbuster multiple times was the original installment of the “The Incredibles.” Sadly, the store I frequented has been closed for over a decade now. And as of this point, there is only one Blockbuster Video still open. When there were three open this year, two of them were located in Alaska. A state whose stores surprisingly, seemed to have disappeared faster than the ice caps.

Hey, I said in the preview this wouldn’t be politically heavy! This is a human issue! Also, one for polar bears.

The HBO show “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” tried to help keep the Alaskan Blockbuster stores in business by buying items from Russell Crowe’s divorce auction and donating the purchases to the stores. One of the notable purchases was a jockstrap worn by Crowe during Ron Howard’s “Cinderella Man.” Imagine if somebody wanted to rent that thing! “I’ll take this for five days, I just need it to win a contest at Comic-Con, and I’ll give it back.”

Speaking of Blockbuster, the company’s one remaining store is located in Bend, Oregon. This store managed to create its own beer to celebrate its lonely status. I didn’t do any research, but I’m pretty sure it gets you drunk really fast. So fast in fact for those who drank it, the biggest side effect was renting all the “Sharknado” movies.

It has been announced earlier this year that Illumination, the creators of “Despicable Me,” plan to make an animated “Super Mario Bros.” movie. In this movie, two brothers will show off their secret weapon, jumping.

“The Favourite” was one of the best reviewed films of the year, containing praise-worthy performances from actors including Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone. The movie is also an accurate description of everyone’s worst experience while riding a horse.

One of the final releases from 2018 is the highly-praised “Vice,” directed by Adam McKay. This movie is about Dick Cheney, making it one of the longest dick pics in history. 

“If Beale Street Could Talk” was also a big hit this year with critics. For those of you who don’t know, “If Beale Street Could Talk” is directed by Barry Jenkins, the same guy who helmed 2016’s “Moonlight.” Today, in honor of that, I’m going to announce who won Best Picture, and give a special, honorary participation trophy for reading the wrong card.

Now since this is an award ceremony dedicated to honoring film, I might as well recognize movies everywhere, no matter what genre, franchise, time length, or even overall quality rating. Before we get to our first set of nominees, let’s take a look back what Jack Drees saw in 2018.

  1. Maze Runner: The Death Cure
  2. The 15:17 to Paris
  3. Black Panther
  4. Annihilation
  5. Tomb Raider
  6. Ready Player One
  7. Blockers
  8. Pacific Rim: Uprising
  9. A Quiet Place
  10. Avengers: Infinity War
  11. Isle of Dogs
  12. The Commuter
  13. Life of the Party
  14. I Feel Pretty
  15. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  16. Revenge
  17. Adrift
  18. Tag
  19. Incredibles 2
  20. Deadpool 2
  21. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
  22. Uncle Drew
  23. A Wrinkle in Time
  24. Ant-Man and the Wasp
  25. Hereditary
  26. Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again
  27. Skyscraper
  28. Mission: Impossible: Fallout
  29. The Last Movie Star
  30. How to Talk to Girls at Parties
  31. The Hurricane Heist
  32. Gringo
  33. Eighth Grade
  34. Love, Simon
  35. Game Night
  36. Kin
  37. Peppermint
  38. The Meg
  39. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
  40. Venom
  41. A Star Is Born
  42. First Man
  43. Marrowbone/The Secret of Marrowbone (same movie)
  44. Bohemian Rhapsody
  45. The Grinch
  46. Second Act
  47. The Spy Who Dumped Me
  48. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  49. Red Sparrow
  50. Sorry to Bother You
  51. Operation Finale
  52. 12 Strong
  53. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  54. Gotti
  55. Welcome to Marwen
  56. First Reformed
  57. Unsane
  58. Vice
  59. The Favourite
  60. Aquaman
  61. Hotel Artemis
  62. The Mule
  63. Instant Family
  64. Beautiful Boy
  65. Green Book
  66. Roma
  67. Cold War
  68. BlacKkKlansman

Let’s announce some winners!

First up, is Best Supporting Actor. In the world of superheroes, they’d be the sidekick. In the world of gaming, they’d be player two. In the world of driving, they’d be in the passenger seat. However, in the world of acting, they are compelling characters who have come to enlighten generations. These five nominees are likely to do the same. Here are the nominees for 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)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Mahershala Ali in “Green Book!”

Deciding on a winning nominee for this category was not easy. When you compare Ali to the other performers on the list, Chalamet is a brilliant, young performer who has a bright future ahead. Rockwell did a terrific portrayal as George W. Bush in “Vice.” For awhile I thought Sam Elliott could take the cake because he was perhaps my favorite part of “A Star Is Born” in the acting department when I think about the film sometimes. However, Ali is a fine actor, as proven already in 2016’s “Moonlight,” and once again in “Green Book.” He has played a character who starts out as stoic and emotionless to occasionally belting out a mix of feelings as the film continues. As the first winner of the very prestigious and important Jackoff Awards, Ali should feel proud of himself, congrats! Here is a clip of Mahershala Ali in “Green Book.”

Our next couple of categories involve sound. One understandable question that can be looked up on Google is the difference between sound EDITING and sound MIXING. The sound editing involves the incorporation of sound in general, but the sound mixing involves determining how exactly an audience will hear all of the movie’s sound. The hint to remember all of this, E comes before M. Appropriately, the award for sound editing will be done first. Here are the nominees for Best Sound Editing.

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Ready Player One!”

“Ready Player One” is a movie that to me, excelled in just about every technical category imaginable. When it comes to sound editing, “Ready Player One” shines for having some of the most unique sounds of the year. Some of my favorites include the coins, the automobiles, and the Holy Hand Grenade. “Ready Player One” made my top 10 list of 2018 marking my personal best spot this year for sci-fi, and based on how the sound can immerse a viewer like me, it is easy to see why. Congrats to “Ready Player One,” hopefully its sound crew will be able to buy some bottles of wine with some nifty in-game coins as an indulgence for this award.

Let’s take a break from awards and focus on something that totally isn’t deceiving. Marketing.

For each Best Picture nominee, we are going to give them a special preview. I have copied and pasted a trailer for each movie directly from YouTube, so feel free to watch for your own pleasure.

Our first Best Picture nominee is proof that sometimes, sequels can be better than the original. Having seen several movies this year, many of the experiences of watching them have been great, but there were little to none that would get me to say to myself, “holy crap,” once the movie concluded. The film’s star, Tom Cruise, has gone through tremendous obstacles including a broken leg, helicopter flight training, real-life HALO jumping, and one of the most ambitious running scenes put on screen. The director, Christopher McQuarrie, has worked with the star before, delivering sick action, a continuation of what audiences have come to witness before, and perhaps one of the best sixth installments in a franchise ever made. Nominated for 5 Jackoff awards, THIS is “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.”

Going back to nominees, and moving away from the totally not deceptive concept of marketing, I have nearly decided to skip the sound mixing category, but that would make me more deceptive than a lot of movie trailers coming out today. Nevertheless, the sound mixing department in film is the group of people that not only lets an audience hear magic, but a certain level of magic. Here are the nominees for Best Sound Mixing.

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

And the award goes to…

“Mission: Impossible: Fallout!”

“Mission: Impossible: Fallout” manages to immerse me into the movie by not only having a great, up-to-date sound selection, but by making me feel like my ears are occasionally being pierced by a bullet hole. The helicopter scene puts you right in the middle of the action with an obnoxious machine, followed by a feast of flying bullets at a magnificent volume. While it is nowhere near as loud or obnoxious as last year’s “Dunkirk,” it is a feast for the ears. Well done to the “MI” team and congrats on the award, should you choose to accept it!

Up next is an award that honors all who assemble the film’s cast. They say that it does not matter what is on the outside, it’s on the inside that counts. However, some feeling inside me has decided to award a certain group of people who have dedicated their time and effort to making sure one’s outside is as presentable as possible. Here are the nominees for Best Makeup & Hairstyling.

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Vice!”

“Vice” is a movie about Dick Cheney and how he practically oversaw the operations of the US government while W. Bush was in charge. This movie actually partially took place during the 2000s, but I gotta say, you know that meme going around now that tells others how you look now compared to a decade ago? I would love to do a post on Twitter or Instagram or something for these people in real life and their film counterparts just to show how identical they look to each other. Plus, regardless of how Cheney even turned out, whether this is really a Cheney look-a-like or not, and this movie’s Cheney IS a look-a-like, don’t argue with me. I will give enormous props to the makeup department for taking Christian Bale, a guy who is in his forties, and making him look like an uppity grandad! It kind of reminds me of “Darkest Hour” which takes Gary Oldman and turns him into Winston Churchill. Overall, “Vice” is a polished film and made up for whatever faults it made before.

Our second Best Picture nominee, if you think about it, took ten years to actually complete and release to the public. Maybe six depending on who you talk to. This film is based on a comic book franchise, so if you think about it, it’s like the “Boyhood” of comic book movies. This is a film that has been built up for a decade, for nearly twenty installments in a single series, with two of them having the identical franchise name. For many comic book fans and general audiences alike, this film managed to go in a different direction as opposed to what some would traditionally expect. Many of the characters people have come to love in this film series have returned for an epic showdown against the no good, terrible, absolutely revolting, Barney the Dinosaur who wears a glove all the time. Nominated for 4 Jackoffs, THIS is “Avengers: Infinity War.”

I honestly think this movie’s crew should feel sympathetic. It stole all the money that other movies may have deserved. But then again, it’s nice to call something the highest grossing comic book film of all time so this is also something I find to be cool.

Anyway, going back to acting, here are the nominees for Best Supporting Actress!

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Claire Foy in “First Man!”

Claire Foy is an actress who has been gaining tons of momentum in recent years. She is well known already for her lead role in Netflix’s “The Crown.” She starred in last year’s “Breathe” alongside Andrew Garfield. And she appeared in three films this year alone, with two having Foy as the star. I have actually seen Claire Foy this year in “Unsane,” which is a creepy, intriguing thrill-ride where she shines. But Foy is a different kind of shiny in “First Man.” Captivating, emotional, and a great description of everything I felt as an audience member during the experience, not to mention everyone who grew up in the 1960s. Congratulations to Claire Foy! Here is a clip of Claire Foy in her role as Neil Armstrong’s wife, Janet, in “First Man.”

The next category of nominations is dedicated to the makers of magnificently crafted, well-realized apparel of all sorts. These pieces of clothing are all worn on set during recording and behind the scenes. No matter how beautiful, glorious, or in some cases, how hard it is to actually wear, these pieces are all created by minds who have put time and effort into letting someone have a fashionable outlook for a given motion picture. Here are the nominees for 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)

And the award goes to…

“The Favourite!”

No matter how the movie turned out, “The Favourite” has a plethora of costumes capable enough to take me into a time of old British royalty. The level of detail of just about every outfit was astounding and very fitting for the time period involved. “The Favourite” actually got a low score for me this year, specifically a 4/10. Said score still stands, but it does not mean I was unable to recognize whatever effort was actually put into the film. Olivia Colman actually felt like an entitled, reclusive, and occasionally helpless queen in her outfit. Kudos. Well done, and congrats to “The Favourite!”

Our third Best Picture nominee is a movie that comes from the mind of a legend in the filmmaking industry, Steven Spielberg. Based on the hit book of the same name, this movie tells a story set in 2045, where people have studied pop culture of the past as they try to win a special prize. Going through a virtual world created by a Steve Jobs-like nerd, the film’s characters and audience can gaze in wonder as they notice pop culture icons including the Iron Giant, King Kong, the Back to the Future DeLorean, the Akira bike, the Rubik’s Cube, and even Chucky. As one of this year’s most visually appealing films, not to mention one of the best sounding films, both in a pitch meeting and literally, it excels to please audiences looking for an immersive experience. Nominated for 4 Jackoffs, THIS is “Ready Player One.”

Our next award category is dedicated to the makers of the sets, the builders of dreams, and the masters of visual atmosphere. It is a production designer’s job to make sure a film presents itself in the best looking way possible. Here are the nominees for Best Production Design!

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

And the award goes to…

Nathan Crowley and Katherine Lucas for “First Man!”

The biggest praise I can give to “First Man” overall is its seemingly real vibe. When it comes to the filming locations and set design, that is shown off to the tenth degree. The interior scenes in the space center felt raw, and maybe even contributed to the feeling of danger and creeps throughout the film. A house was built in Georgia just for this movie alone, which may be unneeded, but also kind of interesting. Everything in the film had not only the appropriate feel for a space movie based on true events, but a movie that took place during the 1960s. Congratulations to “First Man” for the film’s SECOND win!

While production design may be the art that allows audiences to see pure joy. There is another category to be touched upon that allows audiences to hear pure joy. These five nominees have all created music to set the mood, set the tone, set the vibe, and remind us that a world without music is a world without emotion. Here are the nominees for 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)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury for “Annihilation!”

Wow! Another team win! Part of the reason why “Annihilation” won in the first place has to do with the overall experience of watching the movie. I was very much looking forward to the film’s release, but I wondered what the music would be like. In fact, during the trailer for the film, one of the film’s iconic tunes, “The Alien” can be heard. This sounded a bit odd at first. Not life-ending, but odd. In the film however, I cannot imagine any other song replacing it when it plays. It was literally an experience of endless vibrations when I first heard this thing of beauty in the theater! This film also manages to have a nice blend of calm, joyful music, alongside a mix of creepy-crawly music. It’s this mix, and the amount of talent behind the crew that lead to this win. Congrats to “Annihilation!”

Our fourth Best Picture nominee comes from a rather strange place, Netflix. This film comes from the mind of acclaimed director Alfonso Caurón. He has had experience working with a popular IP, such as “Harry Potter,” while simultaneously producing well done original material such as “Gravity.” After those big, boisterous films, Caurón has decided to make a project that apparently people would want to watch in a select number of theaters, and for others, on cell phones. This is a film that takes place near Mexico City as a family and their housemaid go through their daily lives. We also witness joy, drama, and heartbreak in a compelling story about life itself, and how difficult it can be. Nominated for 7 Jackoffs, THIS is “Roma.”

As I have previously exposed, I have seen a lot of movies in the year of 2018. A lot of them by the way, were great! In fact, I’d say the positives for 2018 definitely outweigh the negatives. However, there is a saying for movies, much like a ton of other art forms, there is no such thing as the “perfect movie.” Even the best movie ever, like “The Godfather,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Dark Knight,” “Star Wars,” “Pulp Fiction,” even “Jaws,” all of those movies don’t have what it takes to be technically perfect. You know what? Maybe that saying is right. That’s why I decided to take some movies I saw this past year and tweak them just a little bit to make them a more quality product. Enjoy.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE SLIGHTLY IMPROVED VERSIONS OF SOME 2018 FILMS!

The next category belongs to the makers of computerized and practical effects. No matter how complex, how flashy, how realistic, the five artists and crews behind the visual effects of their respective films have all demonstrated excellence in allowing an audience to be dazzled, wowed, and in awe. From taking them to new worlds, to providing them with previously unknown feelings, and introducing them to concepts beyond one’s imagination, all of the nominees should feel proud of themselves. Here are the nominees for Best Visual Effects.

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Ready Player One!”

To me, there was literally no other movie that even held a candle to “Ready Player One” this year from a visual perspective. Watching “Ready Player One” was like watching two different movies in one because you have this story that takes place in an entirely digital universe and you have the other one which is in the real world. While there are certain effects to be seen in the real world, it is the digital world that shines as bright as Albert Einstein. The amount of time that must have taken to actually blend a feel of realism while simultaneously feeling like a video game is seemingly unfathomable. Steven Spielberg said this movie was one of the harder ones he had to create, and understandably so. I have to give massive credit to the other contenders. “Avengers: Infinity War” is a visual effects extravaganza that looks great on the big screen. The same can also be said for “Aquaman.” “First Man” actually took me to the moon and back. F*cking well done if you ask me. And for “Annihilation,” the visual effects not only looked great, but they fit the crazy feel of the film which gave it a “2001” vibe at times. However, congrats to “Ready Player One,” and its effects are a hi-five/hi-five.

As mentioned in my nomination announcements, I didn’t announce EVERYTHING that was going to be in this post. I wanted to leave some surprises to my viewers. One of which includes TWO lifetime achievement awards.

But, before we announce the winners, I have to ask one question. What is the meaning of life? That is a question all of us seem to ask at least once. To some, life may be an overrated board game. Life could be the reason for anything. The ups, the downs, even the mediocrity. Here and now, it is my honor as mentioned, to present not one, but two lifetime achievement awards. For those of you who are wondering, I did not plan some in memorium video or line of text for this ceremony. Maybe I’ll do that in years to come, but that was not my original intention. Instead, I figured what I’d do is for one of my lifetime achievement awards, I’d figure honoring someone who is currently still with us, and someone who is no longer with us. The first prize is going to be given to the living soul, because as Agent Smith once said, in “The Matrix: Revolutions,” “Everything with a beginning has an end.” We start off with life, and finish with an inevitable death.

The winner of the first ever Jackoff Lifetime Achievement Award is a cameraman known for his work which has been around since 1975. Since then, he has collaborated with actors including Ryan Gosling, Morgan Freeman, Emily Blunt, Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Daniel Craig, Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones, Ana De Armas, Amanda Seyfried, Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, Tim Robbins, and Adrien Brody. His resume consists of works of art directed by Frank Darabont, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Denis Villeneuve, M. Night Shyamalan, Sam Mendes, Angelina Jolie, Ron Howard, and Martin Scorsese. He has been nominated and recognized for several prestigious awards, 9 BAFTAs, an AFI, 6 Critics’ Choices, and 14 Oscars. And for those of you who don’t know his story, it’s not like he is part of the New York Yankees and he keeps on winning Academy Awards. This man was nominated for 14, and out of all of them, he only won one. Also, it’s not like he could get one off the bat, because guess how long he had to wait? FOURTEEN TIMES! Now keep in mind, this is the very first Jackoff Awards ceremony. For all I know it could be the only one, we’ll just have to see. But no matter the number of award shows we have, if it is one, two, fourteen, over a thousand, I dunno, I am proud to present the first ever Jackoff Lifetime Achievement Award to Roger Deakins.

Congratulations to Roger Deakins, had he known he was getting this award, he would probably have something to say. But I have to say, I love his camerawork, his style never ceases to amaze, and I hope his future work will continue showcasing his excellence!

Our fifth Best Picture nominee is a documentary. Given how I have seen very little documentary titles this year, there will be no category for Best Documentary, but this film managed to stand out to me. They say the world is full of ridiculous people who are idiotic, lacking care, and selfish. This movie manages to show a man who only wanted to spread joy to the world and all of its children, Mister Fred Rogers. It also shows a man who is the perfect embodiment of a friendly, loving, and caring person. Revealing steps forward in diversity, tolerance towards minorities and sexual orientation, and proof that silence can be a great gift, this documentary succeeds to please its audience and deliver an emotionally charging feel good story. Best Picture happens to be the only nomination this film is receiving during this ceremony, but keep in mind, this is a documentary, and had I done a documentary category, this movie would win it. For the record, this is the only documentary I have seen this year. THIS is “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?.”

Before moving onto the rest of the show, I would just like to have everyone know in case they are reading this at a time that is later than February 10th, 2019 or if they aren’t from the US, the Super Bowl happened a week prior to this. Now, the Super Bowl is often regarded as one of the biggest televised events ever. However, this year, some people would call it a failure, including myself. Maybe everyone is getting bored of the New England Patriots constantly being involved, but one fact to take into consideration regardless is that the ratings for this year’s Super Bowl is the lowest its been in a decade. To be fair though, this has applied to various types of live broadcasts all over as time has progressed. For those who did watch though, they got to watch what many to be found a boring game, with only 3 points scored by one team in the first half. The final score was the lowest in Super Bowl history (13-3), with only one touchdown executed during the entire game. However, if you’re me. One thing that I found absolutely atrocious and ridiculous this year was the Pepsi Halftime Show. For those who don’t know me, the Halftime Show is something I don’t tend to care about. Don’t get me wrong, even though I don’t care, some of the shows were pretty well done. Part of me was surprised that I actually liked the Lady Gaga Halftime Show from a couple years ago. No, I’m being serious, I’m not saying that only because I nominated her for Best Actress. She was pretty good! This year however, a petition was going around to get “Sweet Victory,” a song made famous from the “Spongebob Squarepants” episode “Band Geeks,” to be performed at this year’s halftime show as a tribute to the recently deceased Stephen Hillenburg, the show’s creator. The petition actually gained quite a bit of traction. So much in fact that it currently has over a million signatures. In fact, I signed it when it first came up. For the record, this song was performed during the show’s version of the Super Bowl, making it more than appropriate for this type of setting.

After awhile, it seems that the crew behind the Super Bowl responded. Just look at this tweet right here.

After all the teasing and announcements that lead to the absolute possibility of this happening… It did.

Well, sort of.

(Video unavailable to WordPress, click Watch on YouTube to view video)

Some time into Maroon 5’s performance, audiences saw a clip of Squidward Tentacles introducing “a true musical genius who needs no introduction.” We then see the opening horn fanfare of the song. This was getting EPIC. Then… It stopped. Instead of “Sweet Victory,” we get Travis Scott performing “Sicko Mode.”

What. The. Actual. Ass?

As a “Spongebob” fan, and someone who NEVER watches the Super Bowl for the Halftime Show, NOT EVEN FOR THE FOOTBALL, I cannot possibly feel more ashamed to have witnessed this in my lifetime, and I think the crew behind the next Super Bowl ought to make it a TOP PRIORITY to REDO “Sweet Victory” and actually PERFORM the song to millions of people! How about that? Well, I’m just a nobody. I have no power. But I do have editing skills. I don’t think I’ll ever do this again, but in honor of Stephen Hillenburg, the legendary creator of “Spongebob Squarepants,” a Nickelodeon cartoon which defined many childhoods of my generation… THIS… IS THE JACKOFF AWARDS HALFTIME MONTAGE!

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE HALFTIME MONTAGE!

And THAT… NFL and Pepsi, is how you pay tribute to a legend!

The next nominees are the ones who have taken the work of writers and directors, and realized them even further than they previously been realized. With constant time and effort on computers, software, flipping through video files, and more, these five nominees have taken moving images and audio, then eventually turned them into ambitious compilations. These are the nominees for Best Film Editing.

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Alfonso Caurón and Adam Gough for “Roma!”

Another team win! Who knew? The nominees here were all equally excellent, making this one of the harder categories which I had to determine a winner. The reason why I chose “Roma” is a reason I feel could also associate with direction, screenplay, and cinematography. Keep in mind, this movie is nominated for all three of those other categories. With the excellence of those other categories in mind, the way those were executed in an editing job such as this, honestly makes this movie better as a whole. Another thing to keep in mind is how personal of a project this is for Alfonso Caurón, because all those things I just mentioned: the screenplay, cinematography, and direction. He did all those things for this one movie. I have a soft spot for people who are willing to take on projects with personal values. Granted, that is something Tommy Wiseau tried with “The Room,” but still. Congrats to “Roma” and its editors!

We live in a world where an apple can fall on one man’s had and enable him to create the “laws of motion.” However, in cinematic environments, not everyone comes from the same place. Sometimes there are worlds entirely dedicated to a religious holiday. Sometimes there is a world of heroes desperately waiting for work. Sometimes there is a multiverse of a Spider-people waiting to unite. Sometimes there is a world where arcade game characters can interact with each other and even go inside each other’s games. Sometimes there is a world where believe it or not, dogs talk and often like saying the word “I.” These five nominees have shown excellence in animated film and have inspired many to think outside the box. Here are the nominees for 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)

And the award goes to…

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse!”

If you were thinking anything else, I want you to think again. Because out of every movie that I’ve seen this year that’s animated, this was the only one which I gave a Best Picture nom to. In fact, one of these films is a dishonorable mention on my worst list. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is not only a surprisingly great film during such a fantastic time for comic books and superheroes, but also a unique take on the typical superhero flick. This is the film debut of the Miles Morales Spider-Man, and it is easy to say, I want more. Aside from the likable story and acid-trippy experience, this movie manages to separate itself from every other animated film this year based on its style alone. Literally every frame resembles a comic book! This is the 2nd best standalone “Spider-Man” film I’ve seen to date, so congrats to “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse!”

Our sixth Best Picture nominee is a little independent film that tackles big topics. To me, I found it to be the perfect combination of science and religion coming together. This film begs the questions, should we stop having children? Is having children a sin in this current age? How much longer do we have before the Earth is no more? From a technical perspective, this film delivers excellent cinematography and images, all of which are presented in a full screen aspect ratio. With stellar performances from actors including Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried, this film manages to have a place in a constantly changing world that may not be around forever. Nominated for 3 Jackoff awards, THIS is “First Reformed.”

These next two categories involve something a film can’t live without. A screenplay. Having gone through years of movie-watching, the screenplay has always been one of the most crucial elements to whether or not a movie could succeed. A comedy can’t succeed without humorous lines. A horror flick can’t succeed without outrageous scares. An action film can’t succeed without thrilling sequences. The nominees represented in these two categories have brought visions from the pages to the screen. Here are the nominees for 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)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, and Will Fetters for “A Star Is Born!”

Yet another category that could have been won by almost any of its nominees. I will admit, when I did my review for “A Star Is Born,” one of my minor criticisms involves some of the song lyrics. The same can be said about Lady Gaga’s nose, which I was not able to buy. But let’s be real about the movie. It’s a damn good story. It’s a story about two singers who find each other, make each other’s careers better, never back down from each other, and find love. It’s basically a perfect analogy for what happens when you become super popular and end up becoming a product as opposed to someone who just wants to share their visions with the world. Also, I got to give kudos to Bradley Cooper because he’s more known for acting, which he does in this movie, but now I am curious to see more of his writing material in the near future. Congrats to the writers of “A Star Is Born!”

Moving right along and sticking with the screenplay motif, here are the nominees for 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)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Alfonso Caurón for “Roma!”

Thought I was done talking about Caurón? Think again. While all five screenplays were worthy of a nomination, while some made me laugh, while some got me intrigued, there is not one screenplay to display the intensity and shock that I’ve seen this year than what I’ve received with “Roma.” There’s a lot of lines that make you want to feel like a part of the family in the movie. Some lines make you feel like you are along for the ride in this slice of life. And then there’s other moments where I almost wanted to crawl into the fetal position. There are many elements that go into the screenplay of “Roma.” Insanity, unexpected moments, complexity of life, tearjerkers, humor, sensuality, and perhaps even moments that nearly qualify as ones that can fulfill thrills. Congratulations to “Roma!”

Our seventh Best Picture nominee is a film that may be, to me, under a lot of people’s radars. Or, maybe I’m just plain stupid, and this nomination is an unpopular opinion. Steve Carell has shown himself to be one of 2018’s hardest working and overall best performing actors. His performances in “Beautiful Boy” and “Vice” were great, but there is one other film he was heavily involved in aside from those two. With his unique performance and collaboration with critically acclaimed director Robert Zemeckis, Carell manages to tell the true story of a grown man who plays an expansive version of dollhouse, and is absolutely proud of it. Nominated for 3 Jackoffs, THIS is “Welcome to Marwen.”

The next set of nominees have demonstrated excellence in camerawork. From wides done brilliantly to mediums done well and close-ups done extreme, the five nominees have all put in a tremendous amount of effort into their craft. Similar to how a movie’s story cannot exist without a screenplay, a movie’s display of a story cannot exist without camerawork. Here’s to those who have taken their best shots. Here are the nominees for Best Cinematography!

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Alfonso Caurón for “Roma!”

And Alfonso strikes once more! If you ask me, one talent I find amazing in films is when one can produce a very long shot. Granted, there are times in “Roma” where they make it look easy. In fact, if you want to see a film that makes it look hard, I recommend “Mission: Impossible: Fallout!” However, there are several sequences where the camera never cuts and it is really just a thing of beauty. Part of me even wonders how they came up with a good amount of the material presented in the film. Plus, the rehearsals must have been tedious, but worth it. This is especially considering the fact that the star actually had no prior acting experience up to this point. Well done, “Roma!” Congratulations!

While a film’s score may often be recognized as its signature music, it does not mean that it is the only kind of signature music. While a film’s score can develop a reputation for being catchy, iconic, or magnificently crafted, it is the original songs that will likely receive many downloads on iTunes. These five songs have been partially synonymous with their specific films this year. Here are the nominees for 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)

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Shallow” from “A Star Is Born!”

Did I mention in my review that I had lyric problems when it comes to the songs shown in “A Star Is Born?” Yes. However, this song was actually perfect. Not only was it a well crafted song, but the way it was executed during the movie was brilliant. You have a song written by the character of Ally, who has never performed live before. When she actually has the guts to perform live, the way Lady Gaga portrays her character is unbelievable when you remember that Lady Gaga herself has actually been singing for years. The song has perhaps been in association with this movie more than any other song, and honestly, I think it deserves to be that way. Congratulations to Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga!

Our eighth Best Picture nominee is a film that either tells a true story that took place in outer space, or a faked attempt meant to fool TV viewers on a soundstage. This film is a look into the buildup, drama, and execution of one of the most ambitious scientific projects of the 1960s. Helmed by “Whiplash” and “La La Land” director, Damien Chazelle, one man and his crew prepare forever for a life-changing mission that takes them into the stars, and it is almost seemingly impossible that they’ll ever return home. It is a story of hope, aspiration, courage, and danger. Nominated for a shattering 10 Jackoff awards, THIS is “First Man.”

If you remember the bit I did earlier with the three movies where I slightly improve them, let me remind you, that was just the beginning. Because I really only improved one minor portion of the film. However, there is one film where I decided to improve a good chunk of it. If you have ever seen the movie “Ready Player One,” it is seemingly regarded as one of the nerdiest movies of 2018. Tons of Easter eggs, references, and inclusions of various IPs are seen throughout. Honestly, despite being one of my favorite movies of 2018, part of me is willing to argue that it’s not nerdy enough. Some of you might be thinking, “Hey, Jackass! Are you out of your mind?” No. Because I just made it nerdier! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… “Ready Player One: NERDVANA EDITION!” Take a look!

CLICK HERE TO VIEW READY PLAYER ONE: NERDVANA EDITION!

Going back to the nominees, we have got some heavy hitters remaining, it is only a matter of time until Best Picture, but let’s just build up to it. Starting with Best Director. The director of the film is the one responsible for overseeing the key components of production. It is the director’s duty to guide, aid, and encourage people to complete a project. These five nominees have all created cinematic achievements that are likely to stand the test of time. Here are the nominees for Best Director!

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Alfonso Caurón for “Roma!”

Unreal! This is the FOURTH win during the same ceremony by Alfonso Caurón! Can you guys tell this is a passion project? “Roma” was one of the final movies I saw before I announced my nominations, and I knew before going in that some considered it to be a wonderful piece of art. Those people who have made those claims are absolutely right! Not only is this one of the most moving, emotional movies of 2018, it is also one of the most well put together movies of 2018! Again, with the efforts of Caurón in multiple positions, this movie just shows a little passion goes a long way. When I saw “Gravity” a few years ago, also directed by Alfonso Caurón, I was wowed. When I saw “Roma,” I wondered how Caruón still had a hint of sanity left in him. Congratulations, once again, to Alfonso Caurón!

Our ninth Best Picture nominee is a film that is filled to the brim with truth. It’s a film that shows how truly awful middle school can be. It’s a film that shows how truly stressful making friends can be. It’s a film that shows how truly confusing talking to your first crush can be. With the breakout performance given by the young Elsie Fisher, not to mention the brilliant screenplay and direction delivered by Bo Burnham, the two crew members and many more reveal the horrors of being a teenage girl in the 2010s. It also successfully showcases the pressure and stress of being a small YouTuber, who may be delivering positive content meant to please everyone, but doesn’t get enough attention in return. Nominated for 3 Jackoff awards, THIS is “Eighth Grade.”

Let’s move onto the final acting categories!

Each and every day on set, it is an actor’s job to obey the director, follow the script, and break a leg. From playing pretend as a kid to being a part of a production crew, acting is a universal pasttime. For actresses in 2018, some highlights include a singer who won’t sing her own songs, a teenager trapped in a world of social media and pleas for popularitya queen who requires assistance maintaining the thronea mother who must deal with the worst events of her family’s lives, and a housemaid who may be an employee, but also a welcome member to an alternate family. Here are the nominees for Best Actress!

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Toni Collette in “Hereditary!”

“Hereditary” is a movie that is mainly solid due to its execution of technical genius. The opening shot is a thing of beauty. However, with technical stuff aside, Toni Collette doesn’t fail to impress in the realm of acting. In “Hereditary,” Collette plays a mother to a couple of kids. This is not to say her life as a mother is normal, which could be explained, but that would involve spoiling the movie. There are several scenes where I still recall Collette’s excellence as a performer since my first viewing of “Hereditary” in July. One example is during a scene where she, along with her husband and son, are sitting together at the dinner table. Such a scene can remind you of how to talk to your mother, not to mention how awkward family dinners truly can be. In fact, I have the scene down below! Here’s a glance at Toni Collette in “Hereditary!”

And now… after watching that clip, you have been hypnotized to NEVER sit at a table full of food with your family ever again.

Sticking with acting, it would be impossible to forget 5 more nominees who have dedicated their voice, physicality, and time into their respective roles. For actors in 2018, some highlights include a music star who finds lovea talented showman and vocalist who has inspired millionsa cop who tracked down white supremacistsa priest who is concerned for future generations of the Earth, and an artist who developed his own village of dolls. Here are the nominees for Best Actor!

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Rami Malek in “Bohemian Rhapsody!”

Well well well, well well. Yet another tough category! All of these actors are deserving of their nomination and have all killed it in their respective roles, but at the end of the day, I have to pick one. The reason why I chose Rami Malek is because he took someone who I have known about, I even did a project heavily involving him in sixth grade, and the actor transformed himself into this other person with excellence. “Bohemian Rhapsody” may not have made me look at all of its characters as much as Mercury, although that may just be a personal issue more than anything else, but I have to give it respect because it turned Malek into Mercury in the blink of an eye. Another thing I must point out, that might be significantly underrated is Malek’s ability to recreate Mercury’s movements. There is a comparison video online that can show the difference between Mercury and Malek during the Live Aid concert. Rami Malek, well done! Here is a clip of Rami Malek in “Bohemian Rhapsody!”

Our tenth and final Best Picture nominee is a film about what it means to be a hero. Well, guess what? It is what everybody asked for. ANOTHER “Spider-Man” movie! But this time, it’s animated. In a year of great superhero movies, this is one of the definite highlights. As one of the few movies this year featuring “Spider-Man” or characters related to his franchise, this film not only shows that Spider-Man is a role model type of hero that can truly take names, but that there is more than one “Spider-Man” out there. As the film debut of the Miles Morales “Spider-Man,” I personally almost couldn’t be giddier about how this film turned out. It has a unique animation style resembling a comic book, whacky action scenes, and fast-paced writing with smart humor that is delivered with excellence. Nominated for 3 Jackoffs, THIS is “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”

All that remains for movie award giving tonight is Best Picture, however, we are not there just yet. First things first, I am handing out the second Lifetime Achievement Award of the ceremony.

The Jackoff Posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award is appropriately, being given towards the ceremony’s conclusion. While this year’s recipient is no longer with us, their legacy shall live on. The winner of the award is a man who has dedicated his life to inspiring millions, and unleashing his own imagination to share with the world. While he may not primarily be known for film, his inspiration over the years has translated into the art form, including a modern trend of comic book-based films, an innovative and successful cinematic universe, and a plethora of memorable cameos. Some of his notable movie lines include “I think I know that guy,” “I thought he’d be taller,” and “Oh man, I am so fired.” This winner is known for creating many of the characters that readers, TV and movie watchers, gamers, and nerd culture junkies have followed as time has passed. From Spider-Man to Iron Man. From The Incredible Hulk to the Fantastic Four. From Captain America to Captain Marvel. From Black Panther to Black Widow. All of these characters have established a legacy under one similar brand name, much like the creator himself. To this day, all of these characters have a place in popular culture, and are constantly changing the game in various art forms. It is my honor to declare the first winner of the Jackoff Posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award, is Stan Lee.

If Stan Lee were here today, he probably wouldn’t give two craps about this award unless I did a video of him doing a walk-on cameo. However, Stan Lee has proven to the world that he has had a magnificent life to share with mankind. Lee has given a tremendous gift to millions, so why not have someone hand a gift to him? Congratulations to Stan Lee, and should there be a second Jackoff Awards next year, this award will be named after him!

And finally, the moment you have probably all skipped to by endlessly scrolling down, Best Picture. These ten movies have all made an impact on me personally this year, however, it is not my decision to declare one of these films the best of the best under this current scenario. The reality is, all of these films are great, but to determine which film is the best, I left it up to the people to decide, and you guys decided! These are YOUR votes, not mine! According to the results, the poll for Best Picture has received 17 responses, and luckily, there is a true winner without any sort of tie. These ten movies were created for audiences everywhere to think, be entertained, enjoy themselves, and escape from reality. Through the hard work and ideas of crews of all sorts, it is hard to imagine another ten movies worthy of replacing this lineup. Here are the nominees for Best Picture!

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Avengers: Infinity War!”

“Avengers: Infinity War” has gathered its first and sole win of the ceremony. The movie was also nominated for three other Jackoffs including Best Sound Editing, Best Visual Effects, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

It just goes to show, when you give an audience the power to choose a movie to win Best Picture, chances are they’re going to snap their fingers and dust the other films away. This is a film that has been in development for a long, but effectively put together time. It takes the iterations of characters people have followed for a decade and puts them all in a love letter to blockbusters and comic book films. The screenplay is one of the most unique ever written for a comic book film, to the point where people in my life were shocked and dismayed by it, but based on their final verdicts of the film, they felt such feelings were delivered in a positive way. My review for the film was also unique, because I had to hide SO MANY THINGS from the eyes of the public because the reality is that “Avengers: Infinity War” has details that are meant to be witnessed for the sake of shock or surprise. Even now, almost a full year after the release of “Avengers: Infinity War,” there is a chance that someone would want to end my life, or at least threaten to do so over the Internet depending on what I say about “Avengers: Infinity War.” I personally to this day, find the film to be a game-changer. Sure, it is the nineteenth installment of a comic book-based movie series that has been going on for years, but that is part of the point. There are many movies out there that can succeed for being an original hit. There are many movies that can have stellar technical aspects or acting. However, how often can you say that we have a cinematic universe which has been built for ten years, with about twenty films, with the nineteenth being an ambitious culmination that made billions of dollars, became the highest grossing comic book film ever, and somehow manages to be a new favorite film for many people? Should Marvel Studios continue their efforts, is it possible that their cinematic universe could become more important than the “Star Wars” franchise? And if it is, that is certainly saying a lot. Congratulations to Kevin Feige and everybody else who worked on “Avengers: Infinity War!” You have won Best Picture!

Thanks for reading whatever this is! If you made it to the end of the post, I congratulate you for doing so. Well done. If you felt bored the entire time, I will remind you, there are worse things out there: jury duty, root canals, losing all your gambling money! This is the most experimental post I have ever done, I would appreciate any and all feedback if you feel it is necessary. If I listen to said feedback is currently a mystery, but I’ll certainly at least keep it in mind. I personally enjoyed doing this, despite how much time it actually took to complete the damn thing, but I found myself having a ball nonetheless. Will I do another one of these in the future? It MIGHT depend on the response, but I already have ideas for what I am going to do should I do a second year. Thanks to everyone for reading this! 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 my picks for the Jackoff Awards? What would you change, if anything? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

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

Avengers: Endgame (2019) Official Trailer 1: You Happy, Marvel Fans? Here’s Your Stinkin’ Trailer! *SPOILERS FOR INFINITY WAR*

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! This has been an interesting week to be a Marvel fan. Not only did we get a “Captain Marvel” trailer just a few days ago, but today we also got our first look at “Avengers 4,” now titled, “Avengers: Endgame.” To be completely honest, I would have been fine not having an official title to “Avengers 4,” and I would have felt the same way about a trailer. Sure, a trailer would be nice, but I want to know as little as possible going into this seemingly epic thrill ride. I would have been fine with maybe a TV spot or two, but I could have done without trailers. I will say though, without giving anything away, I’d say the guys behind the trailer did a pretty good job of hiding all the key details. We get some things we’d come to expect, while not having too much shoved in our faces. Then again, there’s also that part of me that’s thinking… Where’s the juice? This, to me, is ultimately a middle of the road trailer. It does a good job at providing “necessary” material, but there is literally nothing that will set a huge spark get me in the theater. Then again, I am definitely gonna be in the theater to see this opening night anyway, so why should I care? Anywho, on with the trailer.

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We start off by getting a glimpse of Tony Stark being a crazy person. He is now talking to an inanimate object, making him according to my diagnosis, insane. In all seriousness though, Stark is actually sending a message to Pepper, his longtime partner, notifying her that he is adrift in space and everything is starting to become bleak. He’s already run out of food and water, and he is soon going to run out of oxygen. One standout quote from here is “part of the journey is the end.” It’s clear as crystal that Stark is thinking that his last moments are right in his face. He thinks he might not survive long enough to see him and Pepper get married. He’s worried about his own future. No happy go lucky thoughts seem to be coming from Mr. Stark. He soon finishes the message and to make things seem more unhappy, we get a look at his helmet slowly shutting down. How could things get more dark and depressing?

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Oooo-kay! Forget I asked that. Let’s make this purple instead! Because we get a look at Thanos’s armor from the last movie.

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Speaking of which, we sort of get a look at Thanos himself, which if you’re unfamiliar with Marvel…

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…he takes the word dickweeb as a compliment. Because in reality, he’s Marvel’s biggest douchebag stuck inside Adolf Hitler’s asshole. This glimpse of Thanos walking in the fields is pretty much all we see of him. I should also note that his gauntlet, which was part of the fatal snap in “Infinity War,” is now damaged.

Throughout the rest of the trailer we get a look at the rest of our heroes. You have Steve Rogers/Captain America, Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow who again, for some reason, has blonde hair, Thor, and Nebula. Also, let’s get a look at this quote from Black Widow.

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“Thanos did exactly what he said what he was gonna do. He wiped out 50% of all living creatures.”

HEY! SPOILERS! YOU JUST RUINED EVERYBODY’S LIVES!

This is where the trailer gets a tad more uplifting. While everyone in these scenes, for the most part, are down or sad, they are trying to talk about how they are going to kill Thanos. They realize they lost the battle, they lost friends, but the war is not over yet. Believe it or not, I was watching a new episode of “The Big Bang Theory” which aired on December 6th. It was a crossover between that show and “Young Sheldon.” We get a look at a high school football game, and a part of that episode showed a “halftime speech” that is supposed to get everybody motivated. The rest of this trailer reminds me of that cliche yet effective motivational speech that a coach would give to his team as an effort to push them all the way to victory. Granted, there is no screaming, no yelling, none of that, in fact, it doesn’t even come as close to being as great as the one given in “Braveheart.” That’s not a sports movie, but if you have seen that movie, you’d understand my point.

Also, we get a look at someone who was not in the last movie.

The mystery person is…

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Eh… whatever. It’s Hawkeye. I’ll be honest, if I had to pick one fellow in the MCU that I really don’t care about, it’s Hawkeye. Just how I feel. I’m looking forward to seeing what he would do in this movie, but from past experience, Hawkeye is just not my favorite character in this universe. I like Jeremy Renner, he’s a good actor, but still.

We soon get to a defining exchange…

NATASHA: This is gonna work, Steve.

STEVE: I know it is, cause I don’t know what I’m gonna do if it doesn’t.

HOLY S*IT.

NOW we know how high the stakes are at this point. Seriously though, that quote is amazing. I can imagine a lot of soldiers who fight in war probably have that thought on the back of their mind. If they don’t succeed, what point is there to life?

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Then we get the logo, and I love how it’s purple, which basically reminds me of how crucial Thanos’ story could be in this movie. The buildup in the music here has some serious chills behind it.

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Then we cut to the only lighthearted moment in the entire trailer. We see Scott Lang/Ant-Man asking to be let in. Steve and Natasha are observing said message with the following dialogue:

STEVE: Is this an old message?

NATASHA: It’s the front door.

Honestly, I’m stoked to see Ant-Man in this movie, and hopefully he can redeem himself after the mediocre waste of time, “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” After all, he has been in a teamup Marvel film before, “Captain America: Civil War,” and he was a standout in that movie to me. Hopefully he will have one or two scenes that can rival his moments in that movie.

Again, I gotta be real, this is not the best trailer I have ever seen. It’s a good trailer, and it highlights what I need to know going into the movie, but I really have nothing much to say except, ah, here’s what I need. There’s no key details that strike as bright as the sun to me, but there are a couple moments that I thought were decent. Overall, I’m looking forward to “Avengers 4,” looking at the Wikipedia page for 2019 in film, it’s one of the films I’m looking forward to. I don’t think it’s my most anticipated film of the year. It’s a competitor, but I’m also looking forward to “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “You Are My Friend,” “John Wick 3,” “The LEGO Movie 2,” “Toy Story 4,” and “Shazam.”

When it comes to predictions, I think a couple stand out in my mind, especially one that suggests Captain America dying. Think about it, back in October, Chris Evans went on his Twitter saying he’s thankful for playing Captain America:

This tweet can have multiple meanings behind it. Maybe Chris Evans realized how big this movie was going to be. Maybe he realized something about his character’s arch. OR, his character his dead, and he realized that this is the last time the audience will ever see his interpretation of said character, and he wanted to show his appreciation to the audience because of that. The directors of “Avengers: Endgame,” Anthony and Joe Russo, suggested recently that Evans is not done. I honestly think that is a stunt to make people happy. I honestly think he’s dead in this movie. In fact, maybe he sacrifices himself for the greater good. Maybe Iron Man or Thor would do the same, but based on how things seem to be playing out at this point, Cap is the most likely to do such a thing.

Although I gotta be real, Iron Man is a close contender to self-sacrifice. What if the fight between him and Thanos on Titan was a foreshadow towards a moment in the future where Tony has to sacrifice himself? Not to mention, if we are getting another “Spider-Man” movie a couple months after this fourth “Avengers” installment, Iron Man dying would play a huge role into Peter Parker’s story. It’ll affect him emotionally at one point or another during the film. In fact, this film, like the last “Avengers” movie, is pretty much a culmination. This culmination all started with Iron Man. Why not have it end with Iron Man?

Also, if we want to talk about death related to story, let’s talk about Thor. In “Avengers: Infinity War,” we start out with Thor and we end with Thor. In the beginning we see a few people, including Thor and Thanos. Thor sees the people he knows die in front of him. At the end, we see that emotionally charged scene where Scarlet Witch is trying to kill Vision for the greater good. Simultaneously, she is trying to defend herself from Thanos. She succeeds at killing Vision, also removing the powers of the stone on his head. But Thanos uses the time stone to get Vision’s stone while it is still working. He wins. Or does he?

BECAUSE THOR IS HERE TO SEND CHILLS DOWN EVERYBODY’S SPINE!

Despite nearly annihilating Thanos, Thor fails once Thanos snaps his fingers. Half of the universe goes away. Sure, Thor was still alive after that moment, but had he aimed for Thanos’ head as opposed to his chest, this would have made a positive mark on Thor’s arch for the film. What if “Avengers: Endgame” ends with a one-on-one duel between Thor and Thanos? This whole combined “Avengers” culmination leads up to where it began. Holy crap.

Plus, when it comes to Thor and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, his part of the spectrum seems to be the one that seems to associate with death all the time. You have Thor’s mother, his father, his brother (multiple times), Heimdall, and maybe even his hammer. Thor is not the god of thunder, he’s the god of mourning. Let’s have Thor die and complete the cycle!

Enough with the predictions, I think I have said all I needed to get out of my pie hole. I can’t wait for “Avengers: Endgame,” it looks like it will be a good time. And I can already tell that everyone will be “undusted,” but if Gamora, Vision, Loki, and Heimdall all come back, screw yourselves! I came to see an epic, I don’t want to be insulted! If there is one complaint I have with Marvel, it’s fake deaths!

STOP IT!

Thanks for reading this post! Right now it is December, so that means that I too, am in the endgame. I’m already gathering some nomination ideas for my first annual awards show, which is supposed to be up sometime early next year. I just saw “Red Sparrow” on 4K Blu-ray the other day, I MIGHT review it, I MIGHT NOT review it, my decision isn’t final yet. I’m also looking for a movie to review this weekend, I might go see “Widows,” but I’m not quite sure yet. 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 new “Avengers: Endgame” trailer? What did you think about it? Or, what are your “Avengers: Endgame” predictions? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

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

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

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

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

THE ACADEMY: But it’s popular!

ME: Doesn’t make a difference!

THE ACADEMY: But they won!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Academy Postpones BEST POPULAR FILM: Thank Heavens!

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

Gimmie a f*cking break.

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

*APPLAUSE FROM SELF*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“KIN” (2018) REVIEW

“EIGHTH GRADE” (2018) REVIEW

“GRINGO” (2018) REVIEW

James Gunn FIRED From Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?! Who Should Replace Him?

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! I’ve got some very big movie news I want to go over very quickly here. When it comes to recent movies, a lot of people seem to think that Marvel has been killing it lately. With installments added to the Marvel Cinematic Universe such as “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Black Panther,” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” audiences have had something new from Marvel to rave about every few months. But something in particular could affect the future movies, mainly ones containing the “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

If you have watched “Guardians of the Galaxy” or “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” you may or may not be aware that a guy by the name of James Gunn wrote and directed both of those films. Some may say that “Guardians of the Galaxy” may be what it is as a movie because of James Gunn, so therefore a lot of people praise him. I can personally agree, it almost seems that he knows the style of the film and that really pops off the screen right into my eyes whenever I watch both installments. I may not have enjoyed the second installment, but the first one is definitely one of the better Marvel Cinematic Universe films.

Given the schedule of the MCU and success of both “Guardians of the Galaxy” installments, it just seems natural that the filmmaker suggested he was set to tackle a third installment in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise. He seems to have made progress on a script, recent talks between him and “Star Wars” god Mark Hamill got fans wondering if he would be taking on a role in the upcoming film, everything seemed to be going according to plan. That is… until July 20th, 2018.

It has now become apparent that James Gunn has made some controversial jokes on his Twitter account. Some of these older tweets were reported by Fox News, which to me is false advertising, because there are rarely any foxes on Fox News. You think CNN is fake news? At least their name is accurate! They’re a cable news channel! Fox News may call itself what it wants, but the day they get a bunch of foxes running around the studio would be the day that they’d win the Internet! Anyway, Fox News reported some of these tweets, eventually earning Disney’s attention. Once Disney’s attention had been earned, they severed their business relationship with James Gunn.

Now we are in a bit of a sticky situation here, because there are two sides to this very story that I can personally get. Some of you may be expecting me to say, THAT JAMES GUNN IS A F*CKING CREEP! HE DESERVES NOTHING! And trust me, now that this has been brought to my attention, I’m on your side. If this means that James Gunn is actually a pedophile (which I highly doubt), then wow! As much as I appreciate dark humor, I can personally understand why some people would be offended or upset by this. If these tweets were maybe put in a movie script for a dark comedy then maybe I’d appreciate this just a little more, but this is real life, where there are consequences for actions such as this. But there’s also another hand that really makes me wonder what the future for “Guardians of the Galaxy” will truly be. Gunn has basically made the franchise his own and he seems to have a particular sense of style that can not only be closely associated with himself, but the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise. Having seen this, I seriously wonder if this situation has a bigger impact on moviegoers than say Mel Gibson’s controversy. Granted I was only ten years old when he made that rude remark towards his girlfriend. I think this may be bigger because I imagine some kids may look up to James Gunn or really appreciate the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise, and it’s part of a big and relevant cinematic universe that gets brought up in conversation somewhere every single day now. Then again, let me just say, kids probably look up to James Gunn. They may not know who he is, but maybe without even knowing it, they look up to him. It wouldn’t be pretty for a kid to find out that their idol has been making rape jokes.

Plus, this has a bigger impact on me than a recent Disney affiliated firing that occurred. Some of you may know, FOR SOME REASON, they brought back “Roseanne,” with the forever lazy tagline “Same cast. New episodes.” Just a couple of months after the show started its revival season on ABC, the show’s star, Roseanne Barr, goes on Twitter and spits out a bunch of mumbo jumbo towards a senior advisor to former US President Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett. This tweet ended up being controversial, and ABC therefore canceled “Roseanne,” which is something I’ve been asking them to do with “The Bachelor” for a very long time but apparently they won’t listen! Nevertheless, “Roseanne” was pulled off of ABC’s schedule, and any content related to it has been removed from the ABC website. The thing about “Roseanne’s” cancellation however is that I was never a fan of “Roseanne” to begin with. One of the first thoughts I had about “Roseanne” coming back to ABC was “Why?” Granted, once I saw the ratings for the premiere episode, I could kind of see the point, but still, why? “Guardians of the Galaxy” isn’t anywhere near my favorite movie of all time. I thought it was one of the better movies to have come out in 2014, I gave it a 9/10 when I reviewed it, and I thought it was a very fun time. Judging by that, you might as well say I find “Guardians of the Galaxy” a lot more amusing than “Roseanne.” Heck! I found “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” a lot more amusing than “Roseanne” and that says something!

I wouldn’t say Disney’s wrong for what they did, but at the same time, I imagine it could be a sacrifice in quality towards “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” But, I will say, Disney, if you’re reading this, I will give a list of directors I think are qualified to helm “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” and for some of them, I’ll go into a bit of detail behind why I chose them.

  • Kay Cannon (Blockers, Pitch Perfect)
  • Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation)
  • Anthony & Joe Russo (Avengers: Infinity War, Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
  • Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, Hunt for the Wilderpeople)
  • Brad Brad (The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol)

Starting my discussion portion of these directors, we have Kay Cannon. I’ve been exposed to some of this girl’s work. I saw “Pitch Perfect,” which personally I hated, I wasn’t really that fond of it for the attempts at humor coming off as typical Hollywood studio comedy jokes that you’ve seen before, and it just didn’t feel like anything I’d write home about. Although, that movie is probably not made for me, I’m definitely not in the target audience. There is one thing however that made me go from HATING Kay Cannon to LOVING Kay Cannon, and that is “Blockers!” Based on the trailers, “Blockers” looks like your typical studio comedy, although in this case it’s really trying to be the next “American Pie,” but I ended up loving it after seeing it in the theater because of how relatable it came off not only to me, but from what I imagine, a number of parents who have teenagers. And most of all, it was funny! Another thing to consider about “Blockers” is that Kay Cannon had to tie together all of these characters, all of their storylines, and give them all their own individual beginning, middle, and end. Cannon didn’t write the screenplay for the movie, but given the amount of characters that may be aruged as being the “main character” of the movie, she did a spectacular job with what was given to her. Given the size of the character list in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” she’s probably gonna have to deal with just as many storylines while simultaneously having to make sure all of the humor in the movie works. Plus, “Blockers” is Cannon’s only directing credit. Since that movie came out, I wanted to see more work from her, and this is a good opportunity.

Next up is Alex Garland. Thus far he has directed two films, “Ex Machina” and “Annihilation.” While both don’t really have as big of a budget as “Guardians of the Galaxy,” they have been well received by critics. I personally thought both weren’t at the tippity top of my movie ratings scale, but VERY HIGHLY ENJOYABLE. Just a few weeks ago, I went back and watched “Ex Machina” for the fourth time, it’s that good. I’ve seen “Annihilation” twice, and while I don’t think it’s the best movie ever, I thought it was conceptually and visually beautiful. I will say though, according to IMDb, Garland’s directorial debut, “Ex Machina,” has an estimated budget of $15 million, and his next film he directed, “Annihilation,” has an estimated budget of $40 million. If he takes on “Guardians 3,” you might as well consider those past two films stepping stones towards the big guns. Plus, both films, kind of like “Guardians,” are in the sci-fi genre, so if Garland does well with “Guardians 3,” he would have three well received sci-fi films.

Up next, we have Anthony and Joe Russo. While these two may be known to some as the creators of the situational comedies “Community” and “Arrested Development,” fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe know them as co-directors of three films in the series that have been currently released, and another that’s set for a release next year. To me, the Russo brothers have directed the two best MCU films to date, “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Captain America: Civil War.” Both films, kind of like “Blockers,” involved a ton of characters that could potentially clutter the film. Personally, the way both of them turned out were phenomenal to me. Plus, let me say again, these guys have already directed four MCU films, one of which hasn’t been released yet. In fact, two of them have the Guardians in it! So not only do they have experience with superhero movies, comic book movies, Marvel movies, films with a ton of characters, but also characters from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise! From what I know, none of the actors from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise seem to have any major gripes with either director, so maybe that will allow the experience of making “Guardians 3” to be somewhat of a breeze.

Another director who has already helmed a movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Taika Waititi, as much as I personally found “Thor: Ragnarok” enjoyable, I wasn’t afraid to criticize it. Can any of you guess what my main complaint with “Thor: Ragnarok” is?

Anyone?

Hello, anybody home? Think McFly, think!

The main problem I had with “Thor: Ragnarok” is that it’s too much like “Guardians of the Galaxy!” As much as audiences found the attempts at humor in “Thor: Ragnarok” to be hysterical, I was just sitting down thinking, this is not “Thor.” It’s just a weird change of pace towards his character and it’s kind of ridiculous. And maybe it’s not because of Taika Waititi. After all, he didn’t even have a writing credit on the film. In fact, what I think should be done is if the director “Guardians 3,” whoever it may be, doesn’t want to write the film, Marvel should try getting the trio that wrote “Thor: Ragnarok,” otherwise known as Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost to work on the script. This could be especially useful towards Alex Garland, because he doesn’t put much humor into his movies. Then again this is the same guy who had a writing credit on DMC: Devil May Cry, a video game with this exchange:

MUNDUS: I am Mundus.

DANTE: You’re an asshole!

Given the script of “Thor: Ragnarok,” Waititi’s direction must have worked well enough lead to this “Guardians of the Galaxy” wannabe, and if they really wanted to take “Thor: Ragnarok” and make it a “Guardians of the Galaxy” film, someone could have just told them, “Hey! Want to make ‘Guardians 3?'” Well, that movie is happening now, so now is this crew’s chance to take it on!

The last director suggestion I have listed here is Brad Bird. When it comes to animation, Brad Bird is probably my favorite director of all time. He’s done both “Incredibles” installments, “Ratatouille,” and “The Iron Giant.” If you ask me, if Brad Bird happened to work on the screenplay of the film, that would be great too, because I feel that Bird’s best films are ones that not only he directs, but also writes. As much as I liked “Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” that’s a film he directed, but didn’t write. One of my other comments towards Brad Bird that may sound odd, is that I feel he does better with animated movies than live action movies. While I will consider “Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol” and “Tomorrowland” solid movies, they’re not anywhere near masterpieces. Some of you may be questioning why I am saying this because “Guardians of the Galaxy” is live action. You’re right there, but another thing to consider is how much green screen that film has. It’s all on computerized backgrounds! Plus, Brad Bird seems to have a good relationship with Disney, having done multiple films with them, which is something that James Gunn apparently doesn’t have anymore.

Now before I close this off, I want to share a true story with all of you. James Gunn is not exactly my favorite director, however I do find him to be one of the bigger standouts when it comes to the directors who have done recent film work. But James Gunn, despite how I feel about him, was apparently worthy enough, to have earned something that I think you all as an audience might want me to change. Just over a month ago, I graduated high school, and around that time, I got my yearbook. In the process of making the yearbook, I was encouraged to put something in as a senior quote. So after some searching on the Internet, I found what I thought was the perfect quote. Taken directly from IMDb, this is the quote I used in my yearbook:

“I have a very strong imagination and have since I was a little kid. That is where a lot of my world comes from. It’s like I’m off somewhere else. And I can have a problem in life because of that, because I’m always off in some other world thinking about something else. It’s constant.”

Guess what? JAMES GUNN SAID THAT!

I made a post on my Instagram with photo proof that James Gunn is the speaker of my quote in my high school yearbook! If anyone that’s affiliated with the making of the yearbook is reading this, I gotta ask… Is it too late to change my senior quote now that everyone is calling this guy a creep? Jostens, if you’re reading this, let me know! I mean, it’s only been a month since I graduated high school, I haven’t even started college, and I already have an excuse to change my senior quote!

Guys, thanks for reading this post that goes over a life-altering moment I never thought I’d have to face. James Gunn is a creep apparently, who knew? I love the first “Guardians of the Galaxy,” I’ll miss James Gunn’s unique and somewhat quirky style, and while I heard that Disney never confirmed Gunn was going to direct “Guardians 3” in the first place, it would have been easily predictable for him to do such a thing. With that being said, I hope an official director is announced soon, maybe one of my suggested candidates. As for upcoming content, tomorrow I’m going to see “Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again,” stay tuned for that review once it comes time to show it off, and also stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, what do you think about this whole James Gunn situation? Also, if you were to find a director or writer for “Guardians 3,” what would your pick be? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!