Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes – Part 5

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! It is now time for part 5 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.

Per usual, real world matters first! Because life sucks! The United Kingdom is currently in a bit of trouble as evidenced from actions taken this past Thursday. Britain has confirmed they have extended their countrywide lockdown for a total of three more weeks. This was announced by foreign secretary Dominic Raab, who is taking on responsibilities in place of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was previously announced to have a positive case of COVID-19. With this extension, the country’s lockdown is likely going to last until the second week of May unless things change.

For the record, a good number of people in my country, specifically the United States, often point out that the economy is likely to collapse should we keep these restrictions going for any longer. One take that I found interesting mainly because I don’t hear it all that much, is the one given by the recently mentioned Dominic Raab. He suggests the opposite and thinks if we loosen these restrictions, the economy is going to go to hell. After all, since there’s always a chance of a second outbreak, there’s always a chance of a second economic downfall.

Although here in America, people clearly want the economy opened back up, including medical expert Anthony Fauci. The well-known director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was on the Snapchat show “Good Luck America,” which discusses the role young people have in spreading the virus. He explained on the show that he’s likely missing baseball season as he suggests, “I’m living in Washington, we have the world champion Washington Nationals. I want to see them play again.” He also thinks that sporting events like baseball and football could happen should there be a lack of an audience in stadiums.

President Donald J. Trump, who Fauci has been seen alongside for much of this crisis through cameras, wants the economy opened back up by May 1st, as I mentioned in part 4. As of suggesting that notion, certain states have declared the idea of opening back up on said day like Trump is opting for. One notable state is Ohio, which much like much of America, is planning to follow phases as to what exactly will open at supposed times. Restaurants may be more essential than bars, and bars may be more essential than football stadiums.

Speaking of U.S. states, one of the most talked about states in general regarding this crisis, has been New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose brother is a CNN reporter who has been tested positive for COVID-19, has been a significant voice in not only trying to pull his state into the right direction, but for the rest of the country as everybody deals with this. Although another voice that New Yorkers heard last week was former presidential candidate and current New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, who had some unfortunate news for the state. De Blasio suggested that all major gatherings for the month of May have been canceled except for certain events like farmers’ markets. So if you are expecting to attend a “Last Week Tonight” taping this May, sorry to say, you’re gonna have to continue staring at John Oliver in front of a white void.

Screenshot (59)

Well, at least he got the rat painting he’s been searching a month to find.

Fun fact, when this whole crisis initiated, I was in Florida, which may be one of the worst hit states when it comes to this mess. For the record, Florida does not have the most cases for the virus, in fact none of them hold a candle to New York. In fact, my state, Massachusetts, has more cases to my surprise! But when it comes to properly closing everything in the state, those ends have not been met. In fact, Governor Rick DeSantis just opened a crucial element to what makes Florida Florida, the beaches. I should note that not all beaches have been opened, and they are NOT open for the purposes of bringing blankets, chairs, and coolers. They are specifically open for exercise-related purposes, plus taking care of pets. Individuals are still supposed to keep their distance from others and avoid gatherings of 50 people. Many of south Florida’s beaches, such as those in Miami, continue to remain closed, but if you live in Duval County (Jacksonville), there’s a good chance that you can find an open beach near you.

The beaches managed to receive a major turnout. However, not everyone is happy, as partially evidenced by the reaction that surfaced on social media. One of the top trending topics of the past weekend is #FloridaMorons. Here’s some of the tweets that surfaced.

Just because we talk about movies here…

Also, one man wanted to drop a public service announcement…

Thank you, sir! Very informative!

Now that we are done with our continuously depressing and ridiculous reality, let’s move onto movie topics. This first part is not a main topic since it may not have as much relevance as others, but I do feel it needs to be talked about. One of the topics I discussed last week is “Parasite’s” Hulu debut. Now Hulu has been a pretty popular streaming service that has been relevant for a few years. In fact, now that Disney oversees them, they are included in a bundle package with their other streaming services including Disney+ and ESPN+. But for a streaming service overseen by a company that does not make many independent features, “Parasite” has earned an ASTOUNDING success on the service so far. The movie dropped on Hulu Wednesday April 8th, where from then on, it was not long before the film immediately became the most streamed foreign or independent feature on the service in just a week. According to IndieWire, the film is also the second most watched film on the platform of all time. This beats the likes of mega-titles such as “Transformers: The Last Knight,” “A Quiet Place,” and “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.” Given the film’s Korean background, how Hulu does not even serve Korea, plus the necessity for non-Korean viewers to read subtitles, it should come as a surprise that “Parasite” is as popular as it is on Hulu. Although keep in mind, the film has already been a critical success in the states, not only having major buzz from reviews, but tons of award wins as well, including the Academy’s Best Picture, which no international feature has received prior to “Parasite.” The film has made over $50 million at the U.S. box office, indicating success. So either everybody wanted a chance to watch the film again, or there’s a possibility that a majority of Hulu users missed out on the theater experience but now have an opportunity to watch at home.

Speaking of theater experiences and watching something at home, Lionsgate is trying to recreate the communal theater atmosphere while keeping movie watchers on their couch. One of the best parts of going to the movies sometimes is the reactions people can blurt out during a presentation. If you have seen the last two “Avengers” movies, you’d understand. Lionsgate is attempting to get people together to react to their favorite movies without hearing anybody else and with the intention of keeping viewers behind closed doors.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIONSGATE MOVIES ON YOUTUBE

Throughout the series, I have often touched upon the goings on behind some of the bigger studios. Disney and Universal have shuttered theme parks, delayed films, and have decided to put some of their films like “Artemis Fowl” and “Trolls: World Tour” straight to a digital streaming service. Paramount delayed a ton of films, but some of their classics will be airing on CBS soon. Warner Bros. has stated in the past about its optimism to release “Tenet” in theaters on time, all the while delaying big films like “Wonder Woman 1984.” But one of the major studios I have not talked about all that much yet in this series is Lionsgate. While they don’t have the franchise power that a company like Disney has, they do possess the rights to iconic properties including “The Hunger Games” and “John Wick,” which are relevant to this topic.

Recently, specifically Friday April 17th, Lionsgate teamed up with Fandango, YouTube, and NATO (National Association of Theatre Owners) to get people to watch “The Hunger Games” on YouTube for free. This is part of an event called “Lionsgate Live! A Night at the Movies.” These are movie night events hosted by Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween, Scream Queens), will feature celebrity guests, special programming, and opportunities for fans to interact via YouTube live. While the odds of watching “The Hunger Games” on one of these Fridays will no longer be ever in your favor, there are still a few movies listed for this special occasion. These include…

  • DIRTY DANCING (APRIL 24)
  • LA LA LAND (MAY 1)
  • JOHN WICK (MAY 8)

Just a reminder, if you want to watch “John Wick” during this occasion on YouTube, there is an age restriction. For the record, “John Wick” is rated R whereas the other films listed are rated PG-13. So if you want to watch your fan favorites with OTHER PEOPLE, I never thought I’d say that ever again! go to the Movieclips YouTube channel, check to see if one of the movies is playing or will be playing, and enjoy! This event will benefit the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, a foundation dedicated to helping workers within the motion picture industry. This even includes the many theater employees affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Even companies behind food are getting in on this, which does make sense as cinemas and food go together like bread and butt–, sorry. Popcorn and butter. I don’t always agree with that statement, my apologies to all popcorn eaters who butter on their popcorn at the movies, but still, it makes sense here. So feel free to amuse yourselves over my forced statement all damn day.

Popcornopolis, which judging by the name, you can probably tell makes popcorn, will be donating 10% of its sales to the cause. Meanwhile, SnackNation, typically known for being a healthy snack delivery service for offices and homes, will be giving away a specially priced box of goodies for these movie nights. The box will include fruity candy, chips, puffs, popcorn, and more. The box is priced at $9.95 and shipping is free. So if you are tired of going to Target to get some Sour Patch Kids while also buying tons of toilet paper, give this snack box a shot, and if you don’t use it for one of these movie nights, it could always work for something else you pop on at home. “Tiger King” is pretty hip right now, why not give that a shot? If you wanted to get some grub from SnackNation for “Dirty Dancing,” there is a solid chance that you might not get it on time. But if you wanted something for “La La Land” or “John Wick,” by all means place your order!

Also in on this are major movie theater chains including AMC Theatres (Please make it through this!), Regal Entertainment Group, and Cinemark Theatres.

SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON CANCELLED FOR FIRST TIME EVER

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Alright, my fellow nerds. Buckle up. This is possibly the most dissatisfying news any comic convention fanatic will ever hear. San Diego Comic-Con, known for pioneering the comic con name and blueprint has officially been cancelled for the first time ever. The event started out small and has grown ever since. It has achieved fame for its success at bringing together communities of nerds of all kinds from comic book collectors, sci-fi fanatics, movie buffs, fantasy lovers, and TV junkies. It’s even gotten so big that “Conan” on TBS has done shows in San Diego as the con goes on! It’s an event so lively that even if you don’t get to go, you are guaranteed to hear something from it that is extravagant in the nerd world, mainly because there is heavy self-promotion going on in the sacred “Hall H,” where celebrities talk to fans, crews behind projects promote trailers, and the effort to get in is just as hard as it is to get through waiting at the DMV. Sadly, this year, there won’t be any of that. Last year, SDCC brought some great news to the nerd sphere, especially within Marvel, because that is where they laid the groundwork for phase 4, advertising plans for each theatrical movie set to release, and even the shows they’re planning to drop onto Disney+. Unfortunately, this news is already outdated as we won’t be seeing one of those projects, specifically “Black Widow,” this May and instead wait until November, which is when “Eternals” was originally supposed to release.

Who knows what could have happened this year? Would we finally get another trailer to “Godzilla vs. Kong?” Would we get a look at footage for James Gunn’s “The Suicide Squad?” Maybe we’d get word that Warner Bros. will release the Snyder Cut the same day that Universal plans on releasing the Butthole Cut for “Cats.” Who knows?

Not to get selfish here, but I go to a couple cons every year, and I don’t know if I’ll even get to go to one based on this information. San Diego Comic-Con is such a powerful name in this industry. So powerful in fact that they even felt it was necessary to call out another con for using their name, even when this has been a thing that has been done for years to the point where it has become commonplace. It’s a comic convention where people get together to be happy, not an international format of “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire!” But with the first sentence of this paragraph in mind, with a name San-Diego cancelling, I have a feeling that others may eventually follow in the con’s footsteps because of name power. For all I know, that could be different because every area of this Earth is dealing with COVID-19 in its own way, but I figured that the U.S., or at least most of it, would be done with this virus in a couple months that way we can gain a sense of normalcy. But who knows at this point?

By the way, I could go for a massive bucket of overpriced movie theater popcorn right now.

MOVIES THEATERS ON REOPENING

AMC Shore 8 - Huntington, New York 11743 - AMC Theatres

Remember how in part 3 I was talking about the possibility of AMC falling into its grave? Well, turns out they have a plan! To specify, a $500 million plan. Has a nice ring to it. Keep in mind, AMC has MASSIVE debts, so while $500 million does not cover everything, it’s likely to help during this time. Wall Street has officially parsed AMC, giving them the thumbs up. This will give AMC some time to prevent themselves from heading into dreaded Chapter 11 bankruptcy territory. Stock-wise, AMC is now at $3.20, up 31% reaching their highest level in a couple of weeks. Similarly, Cinemark, a nationwide chain whose subsidiaries include Rave Cinemas and Century Theatres, is also up. While not as high as the 31% for AMC, it bounced up 16% to achieve $13.48 per share.

Speaking of AMC and Cinemark, movie theater operators such as these have planned for a hopeful summer reboot. After all, the kids are out of school, you can only go to the beach so many times before getting sunburned all over, so the cinema is a great outing. Cinemark themselves stated that they are planning for an opening on July 1st, suggesting that they plan on spending June rehiring employees and will screen some classic films during the summer. How classic? I don’t know. Could be black and white, color, old, new, across the board. But I would kill to see “Endgame” in a theater again. I would love to take someone who hasn’t seen the movie just to see how’d they react to it in a theatrical environment, because that movie, plus the Jackoff-winning Best Picture “Infinity War” were literally built for audiences to come together. And while it is disappointing for a film like “Black Widow” to not come out until November instead of May, I would much prefer that, when I can likely see it with a crowd, then curling up in my room watching it as it goes straight to streaming. In fact, I still have no plans to get Disney+. HBO Max might be on my radar though (I’ll get back to that).

While I did talk about reality before, I should bring it up again. The Governor of Georgia, otherwise known as Brian Kemp, has recently announced that he gave the green light to businesses to reopen their doors beginning April 27th. Regardless of whether or not this is stupid, which I personally think it is, movie theater chains will likely need longer than a week to rehire and retrain people before opening doors again, as insiders suggest. As for local theaters, I don’t know what the case will be, but chains are likely to follow a structured process. Maybe they will open all their theaters at once, maybe vary state by state, do a few at a time, but who knows?

THESE DELAY STORIES ARE GETTING TIRESOME!

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So… “Black Widow” has been delayed. “Eternals” has been delayed. “The New Mutants” has been delayed. “Top Gun: Maverick” has been delayed. “Infinite” has been delayed. “A Quiet Place Part II” has been delayed. Now the Caped Crusader has something he’d like to say to all of those movies.

That’s right guys! Unfortunately, Matt Reeves’ upcoming “The Batman,” starring Robert Pattinson (Twilight, The Lighthouse), has been pushed back from it’s original release date, June 25th, 2021, and will now hit theaters October 1st, 2021. If you had to ask me, here’s my response.

If you ask me, “The Batman” is a film that I am definitely looking forward to, and I am disappointed by the announcement. Despite the flack Pattinson sometimes gets for his past roles, most notably “Twilight,” he has generated an excellent acting method over the past number of years. Plus, it’s f*cking Batman, how could I not get excited over a movie with Batman in it?

Well, okay, maybe not all of them are that exciting. By the way, f*ck the convenient Bat Credit Card.

Although I will state, as disappointed as I am, it could still be worse. After all, movies like “Top Gun: Maverick,” which I’ve previously talked about had trailers and a marketing campaign all set up. “Batman” hasn’t even finished filming yet. In fact, production shut down earlier this year due to the virus. While I am underwhelmed and dissatisfied with the news, I cannot say I’m scarred for life. Although not having a “Batman” movie during summer blockbuster season does feel a little weird. Maybe this is a case, much like “Joker” where the delay to October can be favorable for “The Batman” as there COULD be an effort to get some awards buzz for the movie. There could be a possibility that “The Batman” is also intentionally made for mature audiences, perhaps the MPAA will give it an R rating, making the Dark Knight the DARKEST Knight. Even so, this is NOT the delay we deserve. NOR is it the one eager movie and comic book fans need right now.

“The Batman” is being put out by Warnermedia, which should not be surprising as DC Comics and Warner Bros. go together like peanut butter and jelly. Speaking of Warnermedia delays, a movie set in the universe of HBO’s hit series “The Sopranos,” originally set to release September 25th, 2020, is now coming out March 12th, 2021. The film is a prequel to the recently mentioned title and is currently going by the name of “The Many Saints of Newark.”

Also in DC Comics movie news, a couple more titles have been moved around. “Shazam 2,” which was supposed to release April 1st, 2022, is being pushed back seven months to a new November 4th release. I have no problem with this, because that just means I have probably already figured out what I might want to do on my 23rd birthday about 2.5 years before it even arrives.

Alright, kids. Buckle up. This movie deserves its own paragraph, because while I am busy bitching about all of these movies that have been pushed back like a skinny dude in a wrestling match, there’s one movie that has believe it or not, been pushed FORWARD. I’m talking about another DC movie, “The Flash!” The film was supposed to release July 1st, 2022 but has recently been pushed forward to its new June 2nd release date, also in 2022. I have NO IDEA if this movie will be out by this time, and to be honest, it’s almost wishful thinking. This film was supposed to come out in 2018 as the DCEU’s sixth installment. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, famous for movies including “21 Jump Street” and TV shows including “The Last Man on Earth” were supposed to get the ground running. They sent a treatment, but they couldn’t direct the film because they were busy. Seth-Grahame Smith was hired to direct, but he dropped out in 2016 due to creative differences. Then, Rick Famuyiwa said he was directing as of June 2016, and production was going to start in January 2017. But by the looks of things, that did not seem to last, as Screen Junkies reported that Robert Zemeckis was on a shortlist of directors to take on “The Flash.” Also on the shortlist, Sam Raimi and Matthew Vaughn, two famous directors within the comic movie realm. This comes three months after a Variety report that Joby Harold (Edge of Tomorrow, Underground) was going to rewrite the script. FLASH (see what I did there?) forward to June 2017, look who’s back! Lord and Miller, that’s who! While things did not seem to go far, the Wrap reported that the dynamic duo were in talks to direct the film again. Then in February 2018, another duo popped up, this time it was John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein. These two managed to create one of the best comedies of the past five years, “Game Night,” and they also acquired comic book movie experience through writing the Disney/Sony collaboration, “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” Then came July 2019, where the duo announced their departure from the project! As of now, the project is expected to be helmed by Andy Muschietti (It, Mama) and Christina Hodson (Birds of Prey, Bumblebee). Also joining the project as a producer is Barbara Muschietti, Andy’s sister. As for Ezra Miller, who plays The Flash in the DCEU, who knows what’ll happen to him after the recent controversial video of him released where he chokes a woman? This project is going GREAT so far!

Holy crap, that was a mouthful. You think “The New Mutants” is having trouble? At least that movie got f*cking shot! “The Flash” has not even reached “production” level! It’s insanity! I remain hopeful that this film comes out in June 2022, but this is one of those cases of where I’ll believe this movie when I see it.

Warnermedia has also delayed two movies to November 2021. One of which was the movie Tom Hanks was shooting in Australia when tested positive for COVID-19, an untitled Elvis film. The film was originally supposed to come out October of next year. However, one film got the “F9” treatment where it won’t even see the light of day this year. It was once set to come out this November, but that will not be happening.

Moving away from Warnermedia, let’s talk about Sony. Recently I discussed that the studio pretty much abandoned the summer of 2020, pushing back films including “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” and “Morbius.” But it just so appears that they have delayed one of their Fall projects as well, specifically “Venom 2,” which is now titled “Venom: Let There Be Carnage.” Based on the title, the film is likely to have the comic book villain Carnage as the main antagonist, information that has been teased since the first movie. I’ll be blunt here, I am not looking forward to “Venom 2.” This is a delay that I am not personally offended by. I will say, I do feel bad for the people behind the film, because the first one came out in an October as well and grossed over $800 million. Then again, that piece of crap people like to call “Venom” grossed over $800 million even though it is most likely the worst movie that I have seen which is related to “Spider-Man.” This sequel has one thing giving me mixed thoughts, and that is the director. I feel like the vision for the first “Venom” is entirely corporate and lacks soul. I still wonder why people even clapped at the end of the movie. Even though Ruben Fleischer did some decent stuff in the past, like “Zombieland,” this was an idea that felt rushed and underwhelming. And honestly, they should have gone for the R rating. But this time, it is being directed by Andy Serkis, who definitely has a knack for visual effects, both in terms of acting and behind the scenes. However, I’ve heard “Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle” was not the best work in the world. It has a 53% on Rotten Tomatoes, indicating that a majority of critics liked it, but it’s also not the finest number of all time. I like Andy Serkis, but I have vivid memories of the first “Venom” and they’re not pretty. I still have a bad taste in my mouth. The “Venom” sequel hits theaters June 25, 2021, which was “The Batman’s” former release date, as opposed to when “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” was supposed to hit theaters, October 2nd, 2020.

HBO MAX LAUNCH DATE ANNOUNCED

Now I love physical media, and I will likely continue to buy it even in a time where I cannot leave my house. It is by far the best way to watch a movie. Although if I were to invest in a streaming service anytime soon, one of my options is likely going to be HBO Max, which, yes, it will have HBO content. This service will be launching May 27th, as announced in a trailer down below.

Doesn’t HBO have a couple fancy streaming services already? Sure, but this is one may be worth your time. Aside from including bunches of HBO content including “Game of Thrones,” “Westworld,” and “The Sopranos,” they will also be shipping in content from alternate channels such as TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, and truTV, all of which are owned by Warnermedia. So this means in addition to all of the HBO programming available at launch, viewers will have access to content including “Conan,” “Impractical Jokers,” “Rick and Morty,” and “Miracle Workers.” Also available for TV are all the seasons of “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory,” two of the longest running situation comedies of all-time. Another really long series that you can invest some time in is “South Park,” the long-running animated series that caters to an adult demographic. That series in particular will join the service this June. They’re even using content from a streaming service that I don’t know how many of you knew existed, DC Universe. From this, it can be confirmed that one of the starters for this service is “Doom Patrol,” based on a previously established superhero team. One show I am still wondering about is DC’s “Harley Quinn,” which recently dropped season 2 on DC Universe, but who knows what’ll happen in regards to coming to HBO Max? But don’t worry, there’s movies too! Some of the upcoming titles are “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “A Star is Born,” “The Dark Knight,” “Joker,” “The Matrix,” “Pokemon: Detective Pikachu,” the DCEU movies, and the Studio Ghibli library. The service is likely to serve around 10,000 hours of content at launch, which is more than Disney+ and Comcast’s Peacock, which is now available for Xfinity customers, but will be available for everybody else starting July 15th.

The downside however, is the price. At $14.99/month, which is more than what one would pay for Hulu, which has significantly more content, it is not the cheapest service out there. However, HBO has been known for their premium programming, therefore it is no surprise that a premium price would be placed for HBO Max. But if you are a Charter customer, it is free as long as you are currently paying for HBO. Certain AT&T customers, specifically those paying premium prices for AT&T’s services, will also be given HBO Max for free. Nevertheless, even though I don’t stream much, I think I would get some use out of HBO Max if I were to buy a subscription. Warner Bros. is my favorite movie studio, HBO is a notable channel with a lot of content known for quality, and TBS, plus truTV, have done some originals I like, plus some that I have missed out on that I want to check out like “Wrecked.” I just hope that said originals make it to the service in the first place.

Speaking of originals, there is some original content coming to HBO Max. Season 3 of “Search Party,” which originally aired on TBS, will debut on the service. Anna Kendrick will be starring in a new comedy, “Love Life,” which comes from Lionsgate Television. But if you have kids, there will also be content related to “Sesame Street” and “Looney Tunes.” HBO Max was going to have a “Friends” reunion at launch, but it has been delayed due to COVID-19 complications. Sorry, they will not be there for you.

Going back to my original point, HBO Max launches May 27th on smart devices, so if you cut the cord but miss many of the cable-based shows, or you just want some acclaimed TV and movies to watch, HBO Max may get your seal of approval.

HOME VIDEO RELEASES

Going back to my comment on physical media, it is fun to collect, but not everyone does it anymore. In fact, it’s getting hard to do in these times now that places like the mall have basically shut their doors down. Walmart’s still open, so there’s that. And if you do want to know what new releases are on DVD and Blu-ray, some notable titles include “Bad Boys For Life,” “Ip Man 4: The Finale,” “The Gentlemen,” and “Like a Boss,” which already released on digital, but needed some time to come out on physical formats. Out of these films, the only one I’ve seen is “The Gentlemen,” which honestly underwhelmed me. Hopefully that won’t be the same case should some of you give it a shot.

As for digital media, there is not much new content to pick from. However, “Wendy,” a movie that takes place on an island and follows a young girl in world that is increasingly facing destruction, has just dropped on services as of April 17th. So if you are expecting me to talk about any blockbuster titles dropping, think again.

Thanks for reading the fifth part of the ongoing series “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes!” This was a long one to make, so I’ll try to wrap things up quick. If you’re wondering where my reviews are, I want to make them, but the apocalypse is currently my priority. Plus, “My Spy” hasn’t dropped on Prime yet, so there’s that. But should things still be hectic next week, which they most likely will, there’s a good chance you’ll see a part 6 to this series. Because life sucks! I have not left my house for *anything,* even a walk, for almost a month now. How did the country, no, the WORLD even get here?! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can tuned for more great content! Speaking of great content, why not check out my Facebook page? Give it a like and keep up with the latest info through Mark Zuckerberg’s wonderland! I want to know, did I miss anything for this past week? What are some your big points as of late regarding film and COVID-19? It could even be something I already mentioned! Or, what are you looking forward to seeing on HBO Max? Is there something you want to see that has not been fully announced? If they drop TBS’s “King of the Nerds” on the service, I’m sucking all my money into it. Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The 2nd Annual JACKOFF Awards

WARNING: They said it couldn’t be done. They said it shouldn’t be done. BUT I DID IT ANYWAY! The 2nd Annual Jackoffs is officially longer than The 1st Annual Jackoff Awards. Clocking in with a word count between 12,000 to 13,000. Feel free to take breaks and pauses and come back later if this is a stretch. Enjoy, and happy Jackoffs!

Hey everyone, how you all doing? I’m Jack Drees and it is time for the 2nd Annual Jackoff Awards, the most important blog awards show in history, because it is run by one man with many opinions! Last year, yours truly started a tradition, and this year, it is carried on with new nominees, specifically the best of 2019’s film lineup! And since this thing goes on as long as “The Irishman,” you are all in for a ride!

How does this show work? Each of the movies represented here are all films that I saw in 2019. Keep in mind, if there is a movie here that I did not nominate, there’s a possible chance that I did not see it. Much like many other award shows, individual categories will be presented including Best Sound Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Cinematography, all the way to the pinnacle of the show, Best Picture. A list of nominees will be presented and one will be victorious while others may or may not go home with the shirt on their back. Speaking of which, while all the other award winners will be chosen by me, I have decided once again to let the people speak for the Best Picture category. Upon announcing the nominees, I have decided to put out a poll and have you all choose what you think should win. After all, this list is mostly based on my Top 10 BEST Movies of 2019, therefore if I were choosing Best Picture, it would be partially predictable, and it might not be as significant of a win as opposed to the people’s choice option. The people choice’s last year has led to Disney’s “Avengers: Infinity War” taking home Best Picture last year! So the question is, who will win this year? That will be revealed at the end! Until then, I have to get through the rest of the ceremony, and to do so I am going to start by doing a monologue. Many award shows have one, because without them they would not be as funny or joyful. I am here today to chew bubble gum, and spread some laughs. And I’m all out of bubble gum. It is now time for “Jack Drees Tells Jokes to Others in Order to Please Himself.”

I’m going to state some facts about the year in film, and since there is no audience here, there shall be no laughs. With that in mind, I encourage you to imagine yourself as my only attendee in the crowd. Feel free to laugh, chuckle, boo, fall asleep, even heckle if you please. And I must say, when it comes to 2019 in film, I personally have been impressed with a majority of the films that I have witnessed over these past number of months. Overall, 2019 has been a fine year for movies. Unless you are a wasted spork, killed by the Joker, scared s*itless by Pennywise, stuck in a hurricane in Florida, or trying to run for your life while playing hide and seek.

 

This first thing should surprise some of you if you lived under a rock these past number of years. The 2010s are now over! Throughout that time you’ve seen, let’s see… um… what was it? SIX “Sharknado” movies? Yeah, it was. Crazy! Also, there was 5 “Spider-Man” movies. 5 “Fast & Furious” movies. 4 “Transformers” movies. 5 “Star Wars” movies. 4 “Avengers” movies. Surprisingly, no “Avatar” sequels. Feels strange.

 

During last year’s Jackoffs, I talked a little bit about Blockbuster Video and how they have very few stores left. Turns out, I was missing an important piece of the puzzle, because I only talked about Blockbusters in the United States. However, this March, the final Blockbuster in Australia shut their doors for good, making the Blockbuster in Bend, Oregon the last Blockbuster in the world. I would not mind making a trip to that Blockbuster, I’ll probably rent the video game “The Last of Us.”

 

This year is not just a big year in cinematic history, but it is also a big year for home viewing. Netflix just recently dropped “The Irishman,” which has been nominated for awards including Best Supporting Actor and Best Makeup & Hairstyling. Martin Scorsese does not care if you like or dislike the movie as long as you follow the one rule. Call it “cinema.”

 

It was suggested that a streaming service floodgate is opening at this point. There’s going to be a new streaming service called Peacock, which is going to be put out by Comcast, which owns NBC and Universal. So if you still have cable, think twice before getting rid of Comcast.

Cause ya might be stuck with them.

 

HBO Max is going to hit app stores and smart devices this May, which despite having HBO in the name, will partially be focusing on content from other divisions of AT&T-owned Warnermedia. Content from TV channels like TBS, TNT, truTV, along with other divisions of Warnermedia will have a presence on the service. Once again, AT&T owns the platform, so don’t be surprised if the “service” eventually goes down.

 

One of the biggest entertainment stories of the year is the launch of Disney+, which just came out in November. The service contains old Disney, new Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, Pixar, and more. Their slogan: We know you want to exterminate mice, but why not invite one into your home for $6.99? A-ha!

 

Marvel announced plans for phase 4 and onward in the MCU. Some highlights include: “Blade,” “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” “Thor: Love and Thunder,” and “Eternals.” Based on details regarding the film’s plot, “Eternals” is going to take place over 7000 years. So… Just short of how long the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been going on in real life!

 

Speaking of Marvel Studios, Sony, alongside Marvel, will be making a third standalone “Spider-Man” movie starring Tom Holland. It’s going to be called “Spider-Man: With Unlimited Reboots and Sequels Come Unlimited Possibilities.”

 

Speaking of “Spider-Man,” otherwise known as the real-life movie equivalent of “The Neverending Story,” A sequel to the 2018 critically acclaimed animated film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” was announced to release in April of 2022. Just in the time that it has taken for me to announce all of this, Sony has already announced ten sequels, a reboot, and a crossover with Tom Hardy’s “Venom.”

 

“Spider-Man: Far from Home” is now officially the highest-grossing Sony film of all time! Just in the time that it has taken for me to announce this, Sony has already announced a “Spider-Gwen” film, a Tobey Maguire/Andrew Garfield crossover, and a “Night Monkey” spinoff!

 

“Avengers: Endgame” became one of the biggest box office hits in history, earning over $2 billion, being the fastest film to reach $1 billion, the fastest to reach $2 billion, and having the biggest worldwide opening weekend. As of right now, they are ahead of James Cameron’s “Avatar” as the highest-grossing film of all time. How did they do that? I’m pretty sure Bob Iger and everyone at Disney snapped the Infinity Gauntlet to generate money. Gotta pay those electric bills.

 

Speaking of Disney and Bob Iger, one of the highlights for amusement parks this year is the new “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge,” which just opened this May at Disneyland and also this August at Disney World. And because it’s Disney, it can cost some an arm and a leg to get in. But don’t worry, just find the nearest lightsaber and you’re good to go!

 

If you are an adult, don’t like “Star Wars,” or hate going to amusement parks in general, let me just remind you, “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” is alcohol-friendly. But don’t drink too much, because some side effects include: a willingness to force choke others, NOT TO MENTION yourself, and a willingness to watch “Star Wars: The Holiday Special.” Also, based on recent events, Disney has also outlawed drunk pod-racing.

 

Upon the opening of the attraction, Deadline Hollywood has pointed out that “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” is a “wildly immersive experience.” Now I can’t say I have been there myself, but this probably suggests one thing. The Stormtroopers there always try to shoot you, but don’t worry! THEY MISS EVERY TIME!

 

To say Disney did not have record-breaking year would be an absolute lie. From their performance in 2020, Disney’s the first studio to achieve a combined box office return of $10 billion on all of their released films.  Who knows what they’ll do with that money? Probably something that highly associates with the company… Maybe they’ll scientifically create a genie. Maybe they’ll build a Mickey Mouse-shaped Death Star. Maybe they’ll just let it go.

I did not see “Frozen 2” by the way, just saying. You know, in case it matters.

 

Even though Netflix is a popular choice for home viewers, they have recently been expanding their cinematic palette. In fact, just this year, plans were announced to buy a movie theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, California! Yeah, in April, it was announced that Netflix was seeking a purchase of Grauman’s Egyptian Theater! And with Netflix being Netflix, they will put a movie in there for about a year, only to have everyone complain once they finally get rid of it!

 

Following in the steps of programs like AMC Stubs A-List, Cinemark Movie Club, and Showcase Subscribe, one of the popular movie theater chains in the United States, Regal Entertainment Group has just unveiled their new moviegoing subscription service called Regal Unlimited. And by Unlimited, Regal means unlimited trailers. Maybe you’ll get a movie or two.

 

In all seriousness though, the program comes with various perks. For somewhere between $18 to $23.50 per month, you can watch as many movies as you want in Regal locations nationwide. And from anywhere between $0 to a $250,000 fine plus jail time, you can PIRATE as many movies as you want. You decide for yourself.

 

If you are a Regal Unlimited customer, chances are you used it to go see a flick or two, maybe even three. One such example… is “Cats.” “Cats,” a $95 million film, struggled at the box office. Many people have been disappointed with “Cats,” making this a loss for Universal, but a win for mice.

 

According to Taylor Swift, who plays a role in “Cats,” the cast attended “Cat School,” where you would learn the ways of a cat and how to behave like a cat. This is real! Apparently the “Cats” cast would adapt to crawling on fours, and get this, I think this is the best part… SNIFFING AND LICKING EACH OTHER! That’s one way to see if your senses work.

 

Also, apparently Taylor Swift graduated early compared to other actors. According to Rolling Stone, alternate cast members Francesca Hayward and Robbie Fairchild attended for six weeks whereas Taylor Swift attended for one week because based on the words given by, get this… Cat School professor Sarah Dowling, “Taylor is a natural cat.” Now that’s a breakup worth singing about!

 

When it comes to actors, one person who has had a hit year is Scarlett Johansson, who had appeared early on in the record-breaking “Avengers: Endgame,” and was eventually shown in other acclaimed films including “Jojo Rabbit” and “Marriage Story.” I personally love her in “Marriage Story,” I think she gave a great performance in that film. The film makes you feel like Black Widow is divorcing you! It’s that good! All she needs to do is kick her potential ex-husband in the face, maybe change her hair once or twice, and boom! Black Widow movie!

 

Scarlett Johansson also made a controversial comment earlier this year saying “You know, as an actor I should be able to play any person, or any tree, or any animal, because as an actor, that’s my job and the requirements of my job.” Never thought I’d say this, but if anybody is looking to reboot “Guardians of the Galaxy,” you now know who to contact for an audition. She is Groot! #SheIsGroot!

 

“1917” has received several nominations including Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, and Best Picture. Have any of you seen that movie? The film is designed to look like it is all done in one shot. Yeah, one shot is also the number of chances I have tell you that “Moonlight” won Best Picture tonight.

 

“Joker,” a case study on the iconic “Batman” villain is the first R-rated film to surpass the $1 billion mark. It has received a number of nominations including Best Film Editing, Best Actor, Best Costume Design, and Best Production Design. Think twice before showing this comic book movie to your kids, because the film is “rated R for strong bloody violence, disturbing behavior, language and brief sexual images.” Those are all solid reasons, but they also forgot to list the fact that the Joker suggests that it is okay to dance like crazy down the stairs! “Mom! Look at me! I’m doing the Joker dance!” “That’s great kiddo, now do it with scissors!”

 

In “Joker,” there is a scene where the title character dances on an exterior stairwell. This scene was shot on an actual stairwell on West 167th street in the Bronx area of New York City. Due to the success of “Joker,” tourists have come to visit the iconic stairs, leaving locals in dismay. One local resident said in regards to this matter, “we feel disrespected.” The only way residents would be more disrespected by this, is if it were revealed that the tourists were all Red Sox fans.

 

“The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” released last February, which has received a Best Animated Feature nomination for this ceremony! If “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” loses the Best Animated Feature award during the show, they will have bricked it.

Too soon? Too soon.

 

“Toy Story 4” was also nominated for Best Animated Feature! “Toy Story 4” introduces a disposable spork character named Forky, who desires to end up in the trash. If “Toy Story 4” wins tonight, in honor of this, I’ll congratulate all the other nominees, but then note that when compared to “Toy Story 4,” they are TRRRRAAAASH!

 

“Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” was one of the biggest box office hits of the past year! “Hobbs & Shaw” is also the title of the anticipated remake “Dude, Where’s My Flying Car?”

Although speaking of “Hobbs and Shaw,” some of you may have gathered that the crew behind the film worked very hard to give audiences the most bombastic and enjoyable popcorn flick of the summer. Between Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, director David Leitch, among others, they brought their A game to delivering a proper blockbuster. The film definitely does its best to be an entertaining ride, but there was something I couldn’t help but notice. A lot of vehicles get destroyed. Now this would have made for a really good collaborative ad campaign. In fact, one company in particular, unbeknownst to the public, approached the fine folks behind “Hobbs and Shaw” and agreed to make a commercial partially using footage from the movie that would air on television. Unfortunately, however, that commercial never made it on the air. And honestly, I’m kinda disappointed, because I had a chance to witness the ad and it was almost Super Bowl-worthy. In fact, courtesy of the people who made the ad, I was able to get ahold of it to reveal what you all have been missing! Guys, I hope you enjoy the commercial, take a look.

This is a ceremony dedicated to honoring film as a collective realm. As one who has been a part of multiple productions, I understand how hard it is to make a film. This is why I wanted to take this time to at least shout out each film from 2019 I have seen as of nominating all of the films for this current ceremony. Let’s take a look back at what Jack Drees saw in 2019.

  1. The Upside
  2. Serenity
  3. The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
  4. Fighting with My Family
  5. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
  6. Captain Marvel
  7. Us
  8. The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
  9. Shazam!
  10. Apollo 11
  11. Avengers: Endgame
  12. Long Shot
  13. Pokemon: Detective Pikachu
  14. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
  15. Cold Pursuit
  16. Booksmart
  17. The Kid Who Would be King
  18. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
  19. Rocketman
  20. Men in Black: International
  21. Replicas
  22. Toy Story 4
  23. The Secret Life of Pets 2
  24. Stuber
  25. Spider-Man: Far from Home
  26. Yesterday
  27. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  28. Alita: Battle Angel
  29. Missing Link
  30. Midsommar
  31. Crawl
  32. Ready or Not
  33. The Haunting of Sharon Tate
  34. Blinded by the Light
  35. Dora and the Lost City of Gold
  36. IT: Chapter Two
  37. Brightburn
  38. Ad Astra
  39. Black and Blue
  40. The Fanatic
  41. Joker
  42. Isn’t It Romantic?
  43. Zombieland: Double Tap
  44. Countdown
  45. Jexi
  46. Parasite
  47. The Lighthouse
  48. Last Christmas
  49. Honey Boy
  50. Jojo Rabbit
  51. Ford v Ferrari
  52. Knives Out
  53. Dark Waters
  54. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  55. Uncut Gems
  56. Jumanji: The Next Level
  57. The Peanut Butter Falcon
  58. Cats
  59. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
  60. The Aeronauts
  61. The Irishman
  62. Marriage Story
  63. Late Night
  64. Spies in Disguise
  65. 1917
  66. Little Women
  67. The Farewell
  68. Judy
  69. The Report

A big and hearty congratulations to those who made the films audiences everywhere went to see in 2019. Apologies if I missed something, but I am pretty sure I got all of the movies I saw. Without further ado, let’s announce some winners!

First up, is Best Animated Feature. These are the films that many families went to see to escape from reality, and I mean that in every sense of the word. After all, with these films, once the lights go down, you instantly leave your own big wide world, to enter alternate vast worlds of talking branded plastic pieces, living toys, and high-flying dragons. Within each one of these worlds, it is the lessons that we take, both as kids and adults that will have these stories stand the test of time. Maybe in some ways, their worlds of imagination, are just like our reality. Here are the nominees for Best Animated Feature!

  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (Dean DeBlois, Bradford Lewis, Bonnie Arnold)
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (Jinko Gotoh, Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller)
  • Missing Link (Chris Butler, Travis Knight, Arianne Sutner)
  • Spies in Disguise (Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Michael J. Travers)
  • Toy Story 4 (Josh Cooley, Mark Nielsen, Jonas Rivera)

And the Jackoff goes to…

“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World!”

“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” is an animated masterpiece. Director Dean DeBlois has officially closed the book on the “How to Train Your Dragon” trilogy with an absolute bang and it shows with the everlasting fun this film can deliver. One thing that makes movies what they are is the experiences they can provide. DreamWorks animated films have been around for about two full decades now, and they have had a number of hits. “Shrek,” “Shrek 2,” “Madagascar,” “Kung Fu Panda,” “Megamind,” “Kung Fu Panda 2,” but if you ask a lot of people what they think the best DreamWorks franchise is, there is a chance that “How to Train Your Dragon” will be a contender. As this franchise has evolved, so have details in the animation, the hidden world sequence in this film shows off a dragon land beyond the imagination. Ending off everything with an emotionally satisfying note, “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” is a movie that made this guy cry, but just like a dragon, he was ready to fly. Congrats to “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” the third, and maybe final, “How to Train Your Dragon” flick.

Speaking of visual animation, one of the most controversial subject matters that has been addressed in the film cycle of 2019 is the art of visual effects. In July, Disney’s live-action remake of “The Lion King” has lead many of its viewers scratching their heads because despite often being labeled as a live-action remake, others would say that since almost everything in that film has been made on a computer, it is within the animation genre. I did not see “The Lion King” this year, but regardless, it is something to think about. Similarly, Paramount’s “Sonic the Hedgehog” received criticism for its visual design of the titular speedy character, which prompted the crew behind that film to get back to work after the first trailer dropped. But one thing that is not controversial is that these are the nominees for Best Visual Effects. And they are…

  • Ad Astra
  • Alita: Battle Angel
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • Spider-Man: Far from Home
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Alita: Battle Angel!”

The film “Alita: Battle Angel” is based off a manga series, and like the live-action redo of “Ghost in the Shell,” which comes from similar origins, “Alita: Battle Angel” as a visual story jumps off the screen to the point where its own future feels not only possible, but in some ways, desirable. “Alita: Battle Angel” does what films of its kind do best, immerse the audience with an experience that is as glamorous as much as it fills a hole by providing good old fast-paced entertainment. James Cameron has a credit for this film, and it is no surprise considering how much he is revered in the visual effects space of film. “Alita: Battle Angel” is as visually compelling as an intense game of Motorball. To all who have visually designed this film to its finest detail, pat yourselves on the back. Well done!

Now it is time for a segment that will be occurring ten times throughout the show, where we take a break from awarding, and show trailers for this year’s Best Picture nominees. The first one shall be revealed in just one second, but here is a description of what this first movie encompasses.

Marriage. Dealing with in-laws. Graphic violence. These are core elements of some of the Best Picture nominees here at this current ceremony. Although, this film has all three of those things. As Fox Searchlight celebrated its 25th anniversary, these characters celebrated togetherness in one moment, and then engaged in a hunt to kill within the next. Yours truly dubbed this film as “The Greatest Hide and Seek Story Ever Told.” After all, the film follows a newly married woman as she is forced to play Hide and Seek, with a sinister twist. Starring Samara Weaving as Grace, it is her objective to survive to the end while avoiding her recently established tradition-based in-laws who must eliminate their newcomer to the family if they too want to continue their own lives. Nominated for 5 Jackoff awards, THIS is “Ready or Not!”

“Ready or Not:” the perfect film to watch with your in-laws.

The next two categories are dedicated to sound. To specify, sound editing and sound mixing. Just like last year, sound editing will be presented first considering how sound editing is a process that comes earlier when making a film. As mentioned in 2019, one way to remember this is that E comes before M. These five movies have the best overall sound collections of the past year, and whether they are explosions, gunshots, or lightsabers, each one pulled the audience into the world of their respective films with ease. Here are the nominees for Best Sound Editing.

  • 1917
  • Alita: Battle Angel
  • Ford v Ferrari
  • John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Ford v Ferrari!”

It’s official, “Ford v Ferrari” has received its first award show equivalent to the first sight of a checkered flag during a race! Personally, I experienced “Ford v Ferrari” in a large IMAX theater, allowing me to put myself in an atmosphere full of fast cars, Coca-Cola everywhere, and if you had to ask me what the best part of my experience was, it was undoubtedly the eargasmic sound work put into the film. Some people will tell you to wait for a movie to come out on DVD or On Demand and skip out on the theatrical experience, which I disagree with because the theater makes ANY movie better. That’s just a fact. With that being said, if you all have not seen “Ford v Ferrari” in a theatrical setting, you’re doing yourself a disservice and missing out on some of the most energetic racing scenes ever, and part of it has to do with the killer audio. “Ford v Ferrari” may be a rivalry story, but your ears will not be rivaled by the contents of this film!

Piggybacking off of sound editing, it is now time to move onto sound mixing. This category is dedicated to the artists who have turned up the volume, raised the decibel levels, and blown the roof off the place. These are the nominees for Best Sound Mixing.

  • 1917
  • Alita: Battle Angel
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • Ford v Ferrari
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Ford v Ferrari!”

This is “Ford v Ferrari’s” second win meaning a couple things. First off, it has officially dominated the sound categories! Quite honestly, this should not come off as that big of a shocker. This is a film that is clearly designed for the big screen, meant to be obnoxious and immersive in every way, and it is beautifully pulled off. I have never been to a NASCAR race in my life, and I have no intention on going to one in the near future, but I am not going to deny that “Ford v Ferrari” absolutely feels like a NASCAR experience in a cinema. Not only are sounds for this film wonderfully implemented through conceptual thinking, but they also are leveled properly and add to the film’s fast pace. Congratulations to “Ford v Ferrari,” how many more awards will it get? It is too early to tell, but it has currently two of the awards it was nominated for. If it wins Best Supporting Actor and Best Picture, it will have won all the awards it was recognized for. But for now, a hearty congrats to “Ford v Ferrari,” the overall sound king of 2019.

Our second Best Picture nominee is a tale of class. Not only is it a classy motion picture from start to finish, but it highlights the differences between the thriving rich and barely surviving poor. The film follows a family who is trying to make ends meet, and miraculously manages to do so each and every day. As they begin to become a centerpiece of a rich family’s life, their own lives begin to alter. It is a twisty and turny ride to the very end. Brilliantly directed by Bong Joon Ho, it is a film that makes you, as an audience member wonder, how much planning went into it from the first draft, to the final cut. But for all we know, maybe there was not much planning in the first place. As Kang Ho-Song’s character Kim Ki-taek suggests, there is one kind of plan that never fails at all. The plan being… “No plan. No plan at all.” Nominated for 7 Jackoff awards, THIS is “Parasite.”

When a concept falls into place, it must be met with a proper setting. Similarly, when a design of an area or structure on paper or on a computer falls into place, it must be met with a proper set. They say that in life, looks are not everything, but a proper background and utilized sense of surroundings will always pack an extra punch into making a great film. Here are the nominees for Best Production Design.

  • 1917 (Dennis Gassner)
  • Joker (Mark Friedberg, Kris Moran)
  • Knives Out (David Crank)
  • Parasite (Ha-jun Lee)
  • Ready or Not (Andrew M. Stearn)

And the award goes to…

Dennis Gassner for “1917!”

Now, if this were a film that was presented like any other, this would probably have a decrease in its chances of winning, but keep in mind that not only did set design matter in terms of how compelling the movie itself could turn out, but how it was shot. “1917” is meant to look as if it is all done in one shot, making set design that much harder to accomplish and perfect. The main purpose of a set like this, at least if I were to build it, is to provoke a sense of detail and believability. If I as a viewer am not able to buy the “1917” set, then why am I watching the movie? However, the designers pulled it off and put yours truly into war. This is a sentence meant to be stated in the best possible way. Well done to Dennis Gassner, the production designer of “1917!”

Moving onto costume design, fun for Halloween, but a lifestyle for the makers of films. These five nominated costume designers have taken the following traits into account: Authenticity, detail, and glamour. It is the work of the costume designer that allows an actor to embody their character, because without them, there’s a good chance we’d be just be watching pornography. It’s the truth. Here are the nominees for Best Costume Design.

  • The Aeronauts (Alexandra Byrne)
  • Joker (Mark Bridges)
  • Knives Out (Jenny Eagan)
  • Little Women (Jacqueline Durran)
  • Ready or Not (Avery Plewes)

And the Jackoff award goes to…

Jacqueline Durran for “Little Women!”

Durran has been recognized over the years for many of her costume-related achievements. Some include 2017’s “Beauty and the Beast,” 2006’s “Pride and Prejudice,” 2017’s “Darkest Hour,” and she even did another noteworthy film this year, “1917,” which to be fair, did fairly well in this category, but only five films can make the cut. “Little Women” has had many media adaptations over the years, meaning there have been multiple interpretations of the cultural hit many would call a book. From Greta Gerwig’s personal touch to the well-thought-out filming locations to the chemistry provided between actors like Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, and Emma Watson, it is no surprise that “Little Women” is a film that is fairly attentive to detail, which also shows in the realistic and gorgeous costumes worn by many of the film’s actors. Congratulations to Jacqueline Durran!

Our third Best Picture nominee is a love letter and tribute to the film industry of old, created from the visionary mind of Quentin Tarantino, one of film’s most ecstatic fans. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as an actor, and Brad Pitt as his stunt double, it is a film displaying the decline of said actor, not to mention the alteration of his own industry. Taking place in the 1960s era of Hollywood, the film is a lively, fine display of Californian culture that is slightly interrupted with gory violence and bloody scenes. Above all, the film is a reminder of friendship, ageism, and the fact that Quentin Tarantino… REALLY likes feet. Nominated for 6 Jackoff awards, THIS is “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”

Just a fair warning before I present the next category, two of the movies represented here feature main characters who happen to be clowns. So if you want to avoid having night terrors, look away now in case one of those movies win. But believe me, they look good in make up, alongside three other films. Here are the nominees for Best Makeup & Hairstyling!

  • The Aeronauts (Jacqueline Bhavnani)
  • The Irishman (Sean Flanigan, Nicki Ledermann)
  • Joker (Nicki Ledermann and Kay Georgiou)
  • Judy (Jeremy Woodhead)
  • IT: Chapter Two (Sean Sansom, Shane Zander, Iantha Goldberg)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Nicki Ledermann and Kay Georgiou for “Joker!”

Fun fact, “Joker” is the first R-rated film to gross over $1 billion at the box office! Based on the iconic DC Comics character, he has been through multiple visions over the years from numerous actors, and given how this film takes place in a depressing time where nobody has hope, Joker himself can not be more appropriately designed. Now, “IT: Chapter Two” was nominated, which is an earned nomination. Pennywise’s makeup is incredibly well done and I will say other characters like Beverly looked appealing. Then again, it’s Jessica Chastain, she looks appealing no matter the situation. But between the two clown movies, “Joker” pops the balloons with gunshots and comes out on top. Ledermann and Georgiou, clown around!

Our next category is for Best Original Score, where by the way, John Williams has been nominated for the one millionth, five-hundred fifty-seventh thousandth, and second time in any of the award shows that he has been in! This should not however take away from the other artists who have created their own pieces of modern music people listen to not containing Taylor Swift’s breakups or what happened after you took a DNA test. Here are the nominees for Best Original Score.

  • Avengers: Endgame (Alan Silvestri)
  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (John Powell)
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (John Williams)
  • Uncut Gems (Daniel Lopatin)
  • Us (Michael Abels)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Alan Silvestri for “Avengers: Endgame!”

Here’s the truth about the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. Over the years, yours truly has praised the MCU for the visual effects, the action, and its tendency to properly develop the stories of many of its characters. One lackluster element of many MCU films in my personal opinion has been the original score. While sometimes effective, it’s often nothing I want to listen to by myself the next day. Although in the past, films like “Iron Man 3” have been an exception with a hum-worthy and grand theme. And with Alan Silverstri in command, his work on both “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame” are both some of his absolute best, not to mention some of the all-time best in Marvel’s respective universe. If the Detective Comics Extended Universe had done one thing better than its Marvel competitor, it’s creating great original music from artists like Hans Zimmer (Man of Steel) and Rupert Gregson-Williams (Wonder Woman). However, with Silvestri’s previous efforts given in “Infinity War” and “Endgame,” it makes me think the scores have potential to be more memorable down the road. Will they be? We’ll have to see with films like “Black Widow” and “Eternals” hitting theaters this year. Congratulations to Alan Silvestri, your achievement must have been inevitable!

I have one shot to tell you what this fourth Best Picture nominee is, so I am not going to waste any time. It is a simple story involving two men at war who need to get from point A to point B with one thought in mind. Just don’t die. For these two, it is their mission to send a message in order to save sixteen-hundred men. Shot by last year’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner Roger Deakins, this film presents a concept lacking complexity, but fully displaying brutality. Perhaps one of the most innovative additions to the war film genre, Sam Mendes has written, directed, and produced a technical masterpiece that may, like World War I was supposed to, end all technical masterpieces. I personally hope there’s more to come, but you cannot deny how much work went into this piece of art. Nominated for 6 Jackoff awards, THIS is “1917.”

During last year’s Jackoffs, one of the pieces of work introduced was something I like to call “Film Improvements,” it is where I take a piece or a clip of a movie, in last year’s case it would involve films from 2018, and slightly alter it to maybe make it better or more meaningful than it already is. This year I have decided to revisit the concept given how no film is perfect. “Jaws” has a fake looking shark, “The Wizard of Oz” has a random bucket of water that can take out the Wicked Witch, and “Star Wars,” ironically, does not have stars fighting for supremacy. No film is perfect, but why not make the imperfect better? Here is my latest edition of “Film Improvements.”

Last year, I presented THIS award first, but now I need reasons to SUPPORT why I am putting this award here. Why am I doing this? Because it is my show and I can do whatever the hell I want! That’s a reason to support my statement! But let’s talk about supporting actors. Just because they are not at the forefront does not suggest they are any less important compared to other characters on screen. Between helping our main characters further unravel the story and meaning of the film and delivering a sense of charisma I would like to see from those who supported me in my life, the supporting actors of 2019 have broken their legs while audiences everywhere settle their legs on a chair. Here are the nominees for Best Supporting Actor!

  • Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood)
  • Tracy Letts (Ford v Ferrari)
  • Shia LeBeouf (Honey Boy)
  • Al Pacino (The Irishman)
  • Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Brad Pitt for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood!”

Pitt excels in his performance to a degree that I am unable to comprehend. Adding quirky flair and tons of personality, Brad Pitt plays one of the best characters who killed their wife I have ever seen, all the while having me in stitches and in an everlasting smile! What really sells Pitt’s character is his tendency to be charismatic and well-paced. Between the chemistry he brings to the table as Cliff Booth alongside main character Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and the perfect delivery of lines given to him in the scene where he trips on acid, Booth plays one of this year’s funniest characters and does so in true Quentin Tarantino fashion. There is a reason why additional supporting actor Timothy Olyphant suggested, “I’d never leave my wife for another woman. But there’s a chance, I might leave her for Brad Pitt.” Congratulations to Brad Pitt, and because he won the award, here is a clip of Brad Pitt’s performance in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”

But of course, you cannot have a Best Supporting Actor category without a Best Supporting Actress category. The five supporting actresses represented here have delivered lines with excellence, portrayed their characters with proficiency, and fulfilled the director’s vision by embodying the spirit of the film. Here are the nominees for Best Supporting Actress!

  • Shuzhen Zhao (The Farewell)
  • Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit)
  • Toni Collette (Knives Out)
  • Laura Dern (Marriage Story)
  • Annette Bening (The Report)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Laura Dern for “Marriage Story!”

Dern has been a prolific actor in recent years appearing in films such as “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Downsizing,” “The Founder,” and she’s even done some notable TV work as well including “Big Little Lies” and “F Is for Family.” However, there is no denying that when it comes to “Marriage Story,” Dern provides an overall fantastic presence as her character of Nora Fanshaw. A lawyer who needs to defend her client, Nicole, who is currently going through her divorce. Not only does Dern play an appropriate character for the role at hand, but she does so with the most proper of possible mannerisms and her attitude is top notch to the point where it matches the character’s personality. If there is one strong point to talk about in “Marriage Story,” it is in all likelihood, the acting. Three of the film’s actors are nominated as part of this ceremony, and tying in with “Knives Out,” “Marriage Story” has the most acting nominations at this year’s ceremony! To be specific, 3 in total. Congrats to Laura Dern, and with that being said, here is a clip of Laura Dern in “Marriage Story.”

Our fifth Best Picture nominee is inspired by true events and stars its own writer, Shia LeBeouf. Originally conceived during Shia LeBeouf’s personal experience in rehab, the film goes over the struggles of having an abusive parent. It not only dives into a series of hard times during childhood, but it reveals the after effects once the abused child reaches a certain age. As the feature-length debut given to us by Alma Har’el, this first-time directorial effort comes off like a culmination of somebody’s life’s work. Slight digression, but I will also make the argument that this nominee may have the all-time greatest film shot featuring pie. Nominated for 4 Jackoffs, THIS is “Honey Boy.” 

It is now time for this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. As promised last year, the recipient of last year’s Lifetime Achievement Award will officially have future Lifetime Achievement Awards named after them, so this year, I am going to be presenting the Roger Deakins Lifetime Achievement Award! Also like last year, I did not plan a video in advance for the winner. In fact, this is as spontaneous as a Lifetime Achievement Award can possibly get. Of course, there will also be another Lifetime Achievement Award, specifically presented to someone who is no longer with us, but has been graceful through the many years of the art of filmmaking.

The winner of the 2020 Roger Deakins Award is a BAFTA Winner, a Golden Globe Winner, an Emmy winner, and an Oscar nominee. He is an actor who has been in the business since the 1970s, making his prominent field debut in a short known as “The Hat Act.” He would eventually go on to embody iconic characters in many classic films. Some include Carl Specklar in “Caddyshack,” John from “Stripes,” Dr. Peter Venkman from “Ghostbusters,” and eventually recapturing the magic of a character like Bosley in “Charlie’s Angels,” not to mention Baloo in 2016’s “The Jungle Book.” He also played Phil in “Groundhog Day.” He also played Phil in “Groundhog Day.” He also played Phil in “Groundhog Day.” He also played Phil in “Groundhog Day.” He also played Phil in “Groundhog Day.” It’s a movie where Phil lives the same day over and over again. The man has lived long enough to play himself in films like “Space Jam” and “Zombieland,” where he was not afraid to suck the brains out of his own work in “Garfield,” which he must hate more than Mondays. He has a proper relationship in the business with director Wes Anderson, appearing in all of his films with the exception of “Bottle Rocket,” Anderson’s independent debut. Films like “Rushmore,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” and “Isle of Dogs.” If there’s something gold, and it really looks good, who ya gonna call? BILL MURR-AY! This year’s Roger Deakins award is given to the one, the only, Bill Murray!

If this were a Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award, Bill Murray would definitely be slimed, but since it is the Jackoffs, it is my pleasure to simply hand over the gold. Congratulations to Bill Murray, a man of talent, humor, and charisma. This year he is appearing in “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” so hopefully his work will continue to represent an amazing level of quality.

One of the most popular types of films over the previous decade has been the superhero and comic book movie. I am willing to bet that a lot of people who go to see these movies enjoy them, but don’t read the comic books. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. Comic book movies have been, and with the ongoing success of say the Marvel Cinematic Universe, will continue to be a major force in the industry. This past fall, I took a trip to one of my local comic book shops by the name of Harrison’s Comics, located in the historic and spooky Salem, MA, and interviewed the owner. I figured, comic book films are the thing right now, but why not get in touch with someone who surrounds himself with more than just the movies, more than just the TV shows on networks like CW. Here is my interview with Larry Harrison, the owner of Harrison’s Comics.

I just want to continue on from this with a true story. Before I even did the interview, I figured I’d get Larry a gift card to thank him for his participation. I had no clue what he would say to the questions I gave him, but he clearly represented himself as someone who does not buy anything digitally. I should have thought of that before giving him a card from Amazon. I swear to you this is true, I told him I got him a gift card, I had an envelope prepared and everything. I told him to just be prepared for what I’m about to give him, because based on recent utterances, he might throw the gift out the window! I even took the liberty of OPENING THE ENVELOPE FOR LARRY instead of letting him do it himself! I felt like a “Price is Right” model! I then take the letter out, open it, reveal the gift card, and being a classy dude and good sport, he just goes, “You know who’d like this, my wife.” Special thanks to Larry Harrison, and let me know if you need a new gift card in the future.

Our sixth Best Picture nominee is the only animated film on the list and the concluding chapter to one of DreamWorks’ most beloved franchises. When a city full of humans and dragons becomes overpopulated, it is up to its citizens to find a new home where everyone can thrive. At the same time, the vicious dragon hunter Grimmel will not stop until he captures the Night Fury audiences everywhere have come to know over the years. Throughout, viewers witnessed a story of companionship and growth, to the point where the film reveals that sometimes it is best to let things go. Stunningly animated and full of emotion, it is a step in the right direction for DreamWorks, not to mention their new parent company, Universal, who made this film together to kick off their partnership. Nominated for 5 Jackoff awards, THIS is “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.”

Our next two categories of awards belong to screenplays. Specifically, adaptations and originals. Starting off with the adaptation category, it is the job of the writers behind these screenplays to take preexisting material and define it for a specific era. It is also their job to continue the stories and traditions that may go far back from generation to generation, bringing said material to the forefront for our current generation. These five nominees have put a little originality or vision into the works of several storytelling gods. Here are the nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay!

  • A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Micah Fitzerman-Blue, Noah Harpster)
  • Blinded by the Light (Sarfraz Manzoor, Gurinder Chadha, Paul Mayeda Berges)
  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (Dean DeBlois)
  • Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi)
  • Joker (Todd Phillips, Scott Silver)

And the award goes to…

Taika Waititi for “Jojo Rabbit!”

One of the most prolific people in the film industry right now is Taika Waititi. The dude can act, he can direct, he can write, he can do all sorts of things! “Jojo Rabbit” earned its nomination, not to mention its win for basically packing in all sorts of genres within one movie and doing so effectively. It’s a satirical comedy where Adolf Hitler just happens to be a scene stealer! It’s a coming of age tale about a young boy who is raised in Nazi Germany! It’s a tragic war story! And if none of those elements came together and worked like a charm, this movie would not be getting the praise it deserves. Taika Waititi, you have outdone yourself! And even though I failed to nominate you for your performance as Hitler, that was a killer portrayal! Well done!

As for original screenplays, it is the job of the writer of said projects to create something innovative, magical, and something beyond the imagination. But much like adapted screenplays, it is also the job of the writer to trigger emotion, reactions, and attention. These five nominees have adapted a style to be original. Here are the nominees for Best Original Screenplay!

  • Honey Boy (Shia LeBeouf)
  • Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach)
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino)
  • Parasite (Bong Joon Ho, Jin Won Han)
  • Ready or Not (Guy Busick, R. Christopher Murphy)

And the award goes to…

Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy for “Ready or Not!”

“Ready or Not” is my #1 favorite film of the year 2019 for many reasons, and part of it has to do with the bonkers script that takes a crazy concept and turns it into gold! How many times have all of you seen a movie where a couple gets married and has to play a game to get the newcomer to join the family? The game, hide and seek! As a horror, the movie is suspenseful and scary! As a comedy, it’s hilarious! As something that falls in the mystery genre, it is absolutely brilliant! “Ready or Not” has a sense of consistency to the end, making my second viewing of the film very fun. The characters all have phenomenal chemistry, even when there is absolute hell going down. Well done to the writers of “Ready or Not,” you kept me on the edge of my seat in a way very few films this year did!

Our seventh Best Picture nominee is the perfect film to watch with your family. I say so because it does highlight a lot of what can go on during a family gathering. Maybe you’ll fight to the point where you want to murder somebody…  Maybe you’ll want to leave with somebody else to avoid all sorts of chaos… Maybe you’ll tell everyone around you to eat s*it because you hate them so much, there’s so much truth to this film! Anyway, helmed by Rian Johnson, this original murder mystery is likely to entertain the many viewers who tune in, but let’s just hope it does not make them hate time with their loved ones. With an ensemble including Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer, and Chris Evans, this film contains many actors who have established their name, all the while making this film as SHARP as it could be. Nominated for 7 Jackoff awards, THIS is “Knives Out.”

The Jackoff Awards are meant to be a celebratory event. With that being said, one of the biggest film news stories of 2019 is that the Academy Awards was going to potentially avoid presenting Best Film Editing and Best Cinematography live and instead, present them during the commercial breaks and show them to home viewers later on. That did not sit well with people, especially those in the industry, so the Academy quickly backtracked on the idea. I can officially confirm that at this year’s Jackoffs, all categories are presented equally. This even includes my next categories, the recently mentioned Best Film Editing and Best Cinematography. As for these next five nominees, they have officially established themselves… as cut gems. Here are the nominees for Best Film Editing.

  • Joker (Jeff Groth)
  • John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (Evan Schiff)
  • Marriage Story (Jennifer Lame)
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Fred Raskin)
  • Parasite (Jinmo Yang)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Jinmo Yang for “Parasite!”

The movie “Parasite” is no joke whatsoever. It is EVERYTHING that you all have heard. It’s creative, brilliant, and top-notch! As for the editing, this is something I failed to appreciate for a little bit, but the reality is that this contains one of the most well-put-together scenes of its respective year. There is an extended montage in the film about a third of the way through that not only contains great shots and stellar ideas brought to the screen that are executed well, but it even has a great score behind it! Scenes like this, and many others, that easily manage to implement proper timing in lines, dialogue, music, and cinematography, are why “Parasite” deserves as much praise as it is getting. It’s not too fast, not too slow, it’s just a masterpiece. “Parasite” is cut out to be the winner!

Continuing on, we dive to a category that is fairly exclusive to the art of film, not to mention television, Best Cinematography. Whether a movie is shot conventionally, as if it were ongoing, or in old timey black and white and full screen, the cinematographer behind each of these five nominees have not only helped the director carry out their vision, but let us, as an audience, visualize the surroundings of each story. Here are the nominees for Best Cinematography!

  • 1917 (Roger Deakins)
  • Ad Astra (Hoyte Van Hoytema)
  • The Lighthouse (Jarin Blaschke)
  • Parasite (Kyung-pyo Hong)
  • Us (Mike Gioulakis)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Roger Deakins for “1917!”

This is “1917’s” second win of the ceremony! Good news for Roger Deakins, not only did he get a Lifetime Achievement Award here named after him, but he does not have to wait ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen times to finally possess a respective award like this. “1917” is some of Deakins’ most innovative and groundbreaking work. Yours truly would probably consider “1917” up there with films like “Birdman” in the top 5 cinematography-related achievements of all time. Knowing Deakins’ achievements like “The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Big Lebowski,” and “Skyfall,” this certainly suggests something. Universal Pictures is responsible for “1917,” if Universal ever wanted to make a war themed ride to put out at one of their amusement parks, “1917” would be a great piece of inspiration for the product, and maybe it could be heavily based on the movie. Deakins, you are a god, and so is this spiritual experience of a film.

Our eighth Best Picture nominee is a glimpse into something that I myself have been through… Divorce. While I personally have never been married, as a child of divorce, I was able to emulate the emotions of at least what one person was going through during this motion picture. Featuring some of the year’s finest chemistry between leads Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, director Noah Baumbach has taken a concept often associated with struggle and turned it all into a slice of life roller coaster. It is a film that reminds us that we all have our own paths in life and they may not be easy to follow. Plus, even though they often say divorce is hardest on the children, the film displays hardships on the divorcing couple of Titanic-level tragedy. Nominated for 6 Jackoffs, THIS is “Marriage Story.”

One of the biggest film stories of 2019 is Disney’s finalized takeover of their recently purchased Fox assets. This included notable film studio names including 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight, and Fox 2000 (officially no more). They also have ownership of FOX-related networks like FX, FXX, and National Geographic. The Walt Disney Company now owns current movie franchises like “X-Men,” “Kingsman,” “Planet of the Apes,” and “Avatar.” They also own current TV shows like “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” “Bob’s Burgers,” and “9-1-1.” These additions have increased Disney’s empire-like presence over the media industry, leaving certain cinephiles worried about the history of film itself. In fact, one of my worries was that Disney was going to prevent making any R rated films in the future. I’m still scared that we may be getting a PG-13 “Deadpool” (despite various pieces of evidence that we are not), I am scared of the lack of diverse voices and types of films we could get down the line, and I am also scared of how Disney is going to be handling Fox’s past work. And with the new Disney+ app being successful, the company’s growth is definitely not grinding to a halt. Much to my surprise, Disney has since become less family-friendly, because they decided to go full George Lucas and change some Fox films of the past slightly. These changes are not the best for your next family movie night. For the record, I am one of the only people who has actually seen these changes, so it is my pleasure to share these with you. Here are some surprising changes Disney has made to Fox films of the past in a bit I like to call “Disbleep.”

Songs are more than music. Songs are more than just those tunes that get inside your head while on your way to work. To some, songs are a way of life and just a simple lyric can define the path one will ultimately take. These five songs here and now have demonstrated excellence through the combination of vocals and instruments. Here are the nominees for Best Original Song.

  • The Hide and Seek Song- Headquarters Music (Ready or Not)
  • Home to You- Sigrid (The Aeronauts)
  • I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away- Randy Newman (Toy Story 4)
  • I’m Gonna Love Me Again- Elton John, Taron Egerton (Rocketman)
  • Together From Afar- Jónsi (How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World)

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Home to You” by Sigrid, featured in “The Aeronauts!”

Fun fact about this particular win, this is the first win ever at the Jackoffs for an Amazon movie. Last year, “Cold War” was nominated for cinematography, which it ended up losing to one of the frontrunners, “Roma!” This year, Amazon has multiple movies represented including “The Report,” “Honey Boy,” and as of now, the Jackoff-winning film “The Aeronauts.” Amazon’s “The Aeronauts” never really sat well with yours truly as a story, partially because it involved a huge alteration regarding the main characters. However, once the movie ended and Sigrid’s “Home to You” began playing during the end credits, it sort of the captured the spirit the film seemed to be going for. The film does have an advantage compared to films like “Toy Story 4” and “Rocketman,” where I watched those films only once earlier on in the year. But the original songs from those films, as charming and well done as they are, never stuck with me. “Home to You” sounds like what I would want to hear out of a film presented in the style of what “The Aeronauts” was trying to be. Plus, “Home to You” in general comes off like a solid example of what an end credits song should be. It sort of adds a satisfying feeling to the table that I as a viewer probably did not think I would have needed. Sigrid sang her notes with serious skills, the song overall is soft, yet sweet, but because of the way it is presented, I personally cannot imagine a song like “Home to You” being done differently. Congratulations to Sigrid and to Amazon for earning their first ever Jackoff award! Don’t worry, the shipping’s free! If you want to listen to “Home to You” click the video below!

If actors are puppets, then directors are puppet masters. In case you all have recently lost track of time, it is the year 2020. Many people have put this year together with “20/20 vision.” As far as year the goes for 2019, its predecessor, specifically in films, these five directors have officially realized their own visions before a year of solid eyesight. Speaking of eyesight, it is through our eyes that we see these visions come to life on the big screen, and it is through future generations’ eyes where they see these visions on small screens. Here are the nominees for Best Director.

  • Sam Mendes (1917)
  • Alma Har’el (Honey Boy)
  • Rian Johnson (Knives Out)
  • Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)
  • Bong Joon Ho (Parasite)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Sam Mendes for “1917!”

Earlier in the decade, Mendes helmed two James Bond titles, “Skyfall,” and “Spectre.” At the end of this decade, Mendes took on the ambitious project of “1917,” the story of two soldiers who need to hand-deliver an important message. Mendes, through the power of solid directing, delivered a message too. The message that he does not mess around! All five nominees are incredibly deserving of being credited here, but Mendes delivered something with “1917” that was not only the product of a vision, but something that appears to be incredibly hard to make. Lucky for Mendes, he surrounded himself with solid talent including recently crowned cinematographer Roger Deakins, well-known actors including Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch, not to mention some solid artists behind sound and visuals. “1917” is a jaw-dropping epic from aspects including the stellar chemistry between characters to the groundbreaking “one-shot” idea that has been done before, but there is no denying that it is deserving of applause based on how well-executed it is here. One of the main goals of many war films is to make the audience feel as if they are a part of the action, maybe in a near-uncomfortable way. “1917” does that, and a lot more to satisfy someone like me. A hearty congratulations to Sam Mendes, and if Bong Joon Ho is reading this, sorry if this keeps you from having a drink. But nobody’s stopping you! So go party!

Our ninth Best Picture nominee is not a goodbye, nor a departure, but more of a welcoming to its audience to experience a story centered around tradition. Set mostly in China, it is the story of a woman who is terminally ill unbeknownst to her while she is surrounded by the family she has come to know, including a “stupid child.” Starring Awkwafina of “Crazy Rich Asians” fame, this film reveals the tragedy of loss while also reminding us that our own lives are beautiful in each of their own ways. In a year of phenomenal endings, this film delivers one of the most emotionally satisfying conclusions to a flick that yours truly has watched in 2019. Nominated for 3 Jackoff awards, THIS is the “The Farewell.”

This, like many awards shows, has probably taken as long as “Avengers: Endgame,” but three categories remain until you can all be disappointed that there is no end credit scene and just move yourselves away from here.

While it is certainly the director’s job convey the actions and emotions of a film, the job of a director, much like many other positions would likely not be possible in the film industry if it were not for the actors who show up to set, ready to interact with their ensemble. Actors can disappear in one moment from their real life persona, and magically reappear as a fictional character, or an icon that is about to deliver grace to the screen through the power of showmanship. These five actors, not to mention actresses, who we’ll get to in a second, have embodied well-contrived characters with proper execution. Here are the nominees for best actor!

  • Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)
  • Daniel Craig (Knives Out)
  • Adam Driver (Marriage Story)
  • Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)
  • Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Joaquin Phoenix for “Joker!”

This may be the single-hardest category of the ceremony, sort of like last year. Sandler delivered what may have been a career-best performance that can make a viewer have a heart attack. DiCaprio portrayed a fine character and matched through great chemistry with supporting actor Brad Pitt. Speaking of chemistry, Driver killed it in the film “Marriage Story,” where his chemistry with Scarlett Johansson delivered one of the best argument scenes of the past few years. Craig helped craft something special with his performance of Benoit Blanc in Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out,” where he develops a southern accent and ignites the quirky fun to be had. But a Phoenix has risen. One reason why Rami Malek won last year for his performance as “Bohemian Rhapsody’s” Freddie Mercury is because of not only his ability to deliver lines, but to also be physically convincing. I cannot think about the “Joker” without directing mental attention to the “stairs” scene. It is something so simple, but it is also weirdly magical. The performance has everything from dramatic delivery of lines to convincing physical motions and endless laughter! As a comic book movie fan, I have noticed that throughout many performances given by those who played the villainous clown by the name of “The Joker,” they all feel like they belong in their respective environment. Even though I and many others are not particularly fond of Jared Leto’s “Joker” introduced in “Suicide Squad,” it is a decent representation of the character when considering its surroundings. “Joker” takes place in a depressing 1981, and Arthur Fleck is a fine embodiment to portray what could be an opposite for those meant to represent said time. Many of the characters in “Joker” are either serious or down. While Fleck definitely shows signs of being down, he is slightly more hyperactive, a little more upbeat. I left “Joker” feeling like I witnessed something kind of nuts, and part of it has to do with the bonkers, but serious portrayal of Batman’s arch nemesis. Here is a clip of Joaquin Phoenix in “Joker!”

And with a Best Actor win, also comes a Best Actress win. Here are the nominees for Best Actress!

  • Awkwafina (The Farewell)
  • Ana de Armas (Knives Out)
  • Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story)
  • Yeo-jeong Jo (Parasite)
  • Lupita Nyong’o (Us)

And the award goes to…

Scarlett Johansson for “Marriage Story!”

I was not lying earlier! The acting in “Marriage Story” is easily the best part of the movie. When it comes to actors, I have been debating who exactly this has been the year of. Is it Keanu Reeves? Is it Tom Holland? Is it Brad Pitt? Tom Hanks? Adam Driver? Chris Hemsworth, maybe? Let me direct your attention to an actress who may have had one of, if not her best year yet, official Jackoff winner Scarlett Johansson. While her first appearance in a film this year was uncredited, specifically in “Captain Marvel,” she quickly found a presence in the MCU’s next film, “Avengers: Endgame,” which without spoilers, she had a crucial role in. The film went on to gross over not one, but two billion bucks, eventually leading to its official crowning of the biggest film of all-time, beating James Cameron’s “Avatar.” Then she gives one of the finest supporting performances this year in Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit,” which she was also nominated for. But nothing beats “Marriage Story.” The film is not only a great look inside what happens when a divorce-bound couple is driving themselves up a wall, but it is enhanced through its performances, including Johansson’s. The actress portrays Nicole, who wants to make a life for herself in LA, as opposed to New York, a location where her husband (Adam Driver) seems to be more fond of. Partially through the excellent writing and direction, Johansson plays her character with absolute power, especially during the argument scenes. I felt the pain of this couple as they broke themselves down, mocking each other, and eventually setting themselves on fire internally. Here is a quick glance at Scarlett Johansson in “Marriage Story.”

We are nearing the very end of the ceremony, and we still have one more award to present, Best Picture. But before we get to that, we need to continue on with the show by awarding tonight’s second Lifetime Achievement Award. Specifically, the Stan Lee Award. For those of you unfamiliar with the Stan Lee Award, I gave myself the opportunity to award a posthumous Lifetime Achievement to one individual, which in the previous show’s case happened to be Stan Lee. Much like the Roger Deakins award, this award will forever remain named after the legendary comic book creator. Given how Stan Lee passed in 2018, it is now time to honor someone who passed in 2019. After all, we are the reaching the end of the road. Why not end said road… with the end? This year’s Stan Lee award is given to an influential name throughout the film industry. Born July 18th, 1933 in St. Paul, Minnesota, this individual was about to make a mark on movies like few ever would in terms of how they are presented. Given what he would do later in the realm of filmmaking, it should be no surprise that his father would read him pulp magazines like “Flash Gordon.” After graduating high school, he served in the U.S. Army, and went to Art Center School in California. Soon thereafter, he worked with Ford Motor Co.’s Advanced Styling Studio, and eventually started his own company in 1970. Phillips was a grand supporter of this fellow, becoming an early client who would receive designs down the road. Did I mention books yet? Yes, in an illustrious life of his, he took time to illustrate books too! This illustrious career also led to him providing architectural renderings for establishments including Intercontinental Hotels. It is no surprise that in a career that involves visuals, he would use those for the art of filmmaking. Providing an outlook for films including “Aliens,” “Tron,” “2010: The Year We Make Contact,” “Mission: Impossible III,” and “Tomorrowland,” the man has built quite the resume. Many of his credits come from the Art Department, including one of his finest achievements, “Blade Runner,” the influential noir flick from “1982” that would become a cult classic. He even came back for the sequel, “Blade Runner 2049,” thirty-five years later. Speaking of influence, while the man himself never had a credit for any portion of “Star Wars,” George Lucas suggested the design for the AT-AT is inspired by this gentleman’s art. Said gentleman released his autobiography in 2018 titled “A Future Remembered.” I’m sure your work, as far as the future goes, will be remembered for generations. This year’s Stan Lee award goes to Syd Mead!

In “Back to the Future Part III,” Doc Brown said “Your future is whatever you make it.” For Syd Mead, not only was he determined to make his future a great one, but develop many other futures along the way. From “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” to “Blade Runner 2049” these written futures would not be possible if it were not for Mead. Congratulations, and may you forever rest in peace.

Our tenth and final Best Picture is a triumphant story for the American car industry. During an unfortunate time for the Ford Motor Co., the organization must come up with a plan to remain relevant and avoid running out of gas. It is eventually thought out that the company must make a racecar to beat Italy’s Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans of 1966. With such thoughts in a drivers’ seat position, engineer Caroll Shelby, portrayed with excellence by Matt Damon alongside car driver Ken Miles come together to build the ultimate racing machine. The film dives deep into a revolutionary story for driving, but it does not take away from the just as revolutionary sound and overall theatrical experience such a film can deliver. Nominated for 4 Jackoff awards, THIS is “Ford v Ferrari.”

We are now in the final moments of the ceremony. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway can now say with pride that they DO NOT have to present Best Picture. So guess what? The Movie Reviewing Moron will do so himself! 2019 has been a haven for film fans everywhere. We were introduced to some fascinating titles like “Just Mercy,” “Richard Jewell,” “Queen & Slim,” and “The Two Popes.” How are they fascinating? I don’t know! I have not seen any of them! But, these ten films I am about to present to you right now have defined my film cycle of 2019. These are the films that I walked into with curiosity, watched with attention, and left with satisfaction, or maybe the desire for more. Although, this is not all about me, because these are YOUR VOTES, even though these ten movies are my personal faves, 13 of you got to choose which of these was your fave. Here are the nominees for Best Picture!

  • 1917 (Pippa Harris, Callum McDougal, Sam Mendes, Brian Oliver, Jayne-Ann Tengren)
  • The Farewell (Anita Gou, Daniele Melia, Andrew Miano, Peter Saraf, Marc Turtletaub, Lulu Wang, Chris Weitz, Jane Zheng)
  • Ford v Ferrari (Peter Chernin, James Mangold, Jenno Topping)
  • Honey Boy (Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Christopher Legget, Daniela Taplin Lundberg)
  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (Dean DeBlois, Bradford Lewis, Bonnie Arnold)
  • Knives Out (Ram Bergman, Rian Johnson)
  • Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, David Heyman)
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (David Heyman, Shannon McIntosh, Quentin Tarantino)
  • Parasite (Sin-ae Kwak, Bong Joon Ho)
  • Ready or Not (Bradley J. Fischer, Willem Sherak, James Vanderbilt, Tripp Vinson)

And the Jackoff goes to…

“1917!”

This is “1917’s” FOURTH win of the ceremony! Of the six nominations “1917” has received prior to today’s show, it has also won Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, and Best Director. The film has also been nominated for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. It is also the first Best Picture winner distributed by Universal Pictures.

Films tell you a lot of things based on what is visually represented. But they can be provide great emphasis on the meaning of life. The reality of life is that you only live once, you have one opportunity to make your life the best it can be. YOU GET ONE SHOT. No do-overs. No mulligans. Just one shot. “1917” is a film that put me into a war zone by literally making the camera another set of eyes for about a couple of hours. With virtual reality becoming increasingly popular, it is safe to say that “1917” is one of the closest attempts in regards to filmmaking of getting to the scale and scope of virtual reality without goggles. One weird fact about “1917” is that despite being what one would technically refer to as a 2019 film, it released in most areas, at least most areas in the United States, in 2020. It’s safe to say that good things do come to those who wait. Stories involving war have always been a target for award shows. “Schindler’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Dunkirk,” and now “1917.” Other Best Picture competitors such as “Knives Out” or “Ready or Not” mostly made me have fun and ignited my willingness to cheer at the screen at least once. “1917” on the other hand left me in silence as I tried to process whatever in the ever-living f*ck I just witnessed. Because the reality is that “1917” is one of the most competently made films I have seen from a technical perspective. I left the auditorium, after being in awe of what I just witnessed, applauding as a sign of respect to the crew who made the best possible movie they could, feeling as numb as a tooth in its last moments before getting a cavity filled. Critics have responded to this film with positive reviews, leading to its 78 on Metacritic and 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences have also responded to this film with a current score of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes and a decent run at the box office so far. Therefore it is no surprise that “1917” has won the popular vote! The film really has had quite the run in regards to this year’s award season. It spun the Golden Globes to receive Best Picture-Drama. Not only did it win the DGA, but also the PGA! It flocked across the pond to take home a BAFTA. And now, it has received the most important movie blogging award in history, the Jackoff! Congratulations to the producers, cast, crew, and all others behind “1917!” You have won Best Picture!

Thanks for tuning to the 2nd Annual Jackoff Awards! An epic as stretched out as “Avengers: Endgame!” If you made it to the end, I love you 3,000! You’re unbelievable! I hope you enjoyed this one of a kind style of award shows that maybe unintentionally puts a person to sleep, and I will hopefully be doing a third edition come 2021. I should point out, I’m thinking of changing the name, but that is not a certainty at this point. Congratulations to “1917!” for winning Best Picture, plus the other four victories it snatched at this point! Congratulations to “Parasite” and “Knives Out” for receiving the most nominations for tonight’s ceremony! Congrats to all the other nominees! You’re all breathtaking!

That’s the show! Follow Scene Before through an email or WordPress account, check out the blog’s Facebook page, and my personal Twitter account (@JackDrees) for the latest shenanigans from the Movie Reviewing Moron! Peace out! Stay tuned for more great content! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Jumanji: The Next Level (2019): The Kinda Sorta Freaky Friday Holiday Special

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“Jumanji: The Next Level” is directed by Jake Kasdan, who also directed this film’s predecessor, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.” This film stars Dwayne Johnson (Rampage, San Andreas), Kevin Hart (Ride Along, The Wedding Ringer), Jack Black (Kung Fu Panda, Goosebumps), and Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Who). This film is the sequel to the recently mentioned “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” and it continues following the characters we got to know from the last film, a group of young adults who get sucked into a video game and become the the avatars they chose. And in this followup, the main young adult, specifically Spencer, returns home from studying in New York around Christmastime. He eventually goes into his basement and decides to play the “Jumanji” video game once more. This leaves Spencer’s friends bewildered of where he’s gone and leads to their eventual return to the virtual world.

I have been on this blog since 2016, and I have reviewed a good number of movies every year since then, but one of them was not “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.” For one thing, I had little time on my hands for it, there were other movies I was more focused on such as “The Disaster Artist,” I was trying to get started on 2018 in film, I had my end of year countdowns (by the way, stay tuned for my BEST & WORST movies lists of 2019 once the New Year arrives), and I will also add that I saw the trailer for “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and before that, I heard about the movie’s plot. I wasn’t particular fond with it. I grew up admiring the “Jumanji” film from the 1990s, the one with the horrific board game that brought havoc upon humanity, I loved that movie from a story and spectacle perspective. The ending still gives me chills just thinking about it. When it comes to “Welcome to the Jungle,” the 2017 reboot, I was scared for how it would turn out because it felt like there was going to be significantly less at stake compared to its 1990s counterpart. After all, the movie took place inside a video game as opposed to the real world, where ACTUAL things happen. But to my surprise, I had a rather fun time with “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.” The main cast has terrific chemistry, a lot of jokes inside the video game worked, Jack Black’s performance is up there with some of the finest I’ve seen in a popcorn movie, and here’s a shocker, it felt like there were stakes! Surprisingly, anything that took place in the real world was boring compared to the video game. Granted, when the movie kicks itself into gear and I start seeing lots of Sony product placement everywhere, I cannot help but get irritated.

Speaking of surprises, I honestly think “Jumanji: The Next Level” may be better than its predecessor. I think it has better writing, the ideas are just about as clever as they were in 2017, it’s crowd-pleasing, and I will say that a couple new characters bring a bit to the table as well. Most notably, Danny DeVito (Batman Returns, The Lorax).

In this movie, Danny DeVito plays Spencer’s grandfather, Eddie, and I don’t know how many of you saw the trailers, but without giving much detail, he ends up getting sucked into the “Jumanji” video game, so he manages to become an avatar. To be as blind as possible, the avatar he happens to portray is why I found it hilarious when he asks “Are we in Florida?” Yes, the trailer reveals who he becomes, but I went into this movie fairly blind so I am just trying to go off of my experience.

Now I mentioned that in the last “Jumanji” movie, “Welcome to the Jungle,” I never really liked anything that happened in the real world, and I say this because anything that was spoken or acted out in the real world was never funny, somewhat generic, and it did not have much glamour to it if you wil. All I saw were four stereotypical teens not knowing they were going to escape their boring everyday lives and that’s about it. Granted, I grew to like them, but still. But what made the real world events interesting was catching up with our past characters, because they were reuniting, and even though I have known them for less than a week, I feel like I have grown up with them. After all, they were in high school in the first film, and now they are following their own paths in life. I have a feeling I will have some sort of reunion with somebody down the road that I have known from high school in the future, after all, the holidays are here, making this a good time for it. Plus, I’ll mention once again, speaking of reality, Danny DeVito’s real life character is honestly a highlight of the movie for me. I am honestly surprised at how much I enjoyed watching him, especially when he has a little reunion of his own. This movie goes into a little sideplot (if you can call it that), about a restaurant that he and someone else operated together. This is just a fraction of the interactions DeVito has with the character of Milo, who is wonderfully played by Danny Glover. Both of them have great chemistry and I honestly would not mind a spinoff mini-series on Crackle or something just listening to them have conversations.

But let’s be serious, real life is overrated, and sometimes it’s a video game, it’s just a fact. I do like how the video game manages to go in different directions with its characters and storyline, this time there is a new plot where the characters are after a different object. It’s sort of got similar beats to the previous installment, but it has enough to not feel like a ripoff. As for the villain, Jurgen the Brutal, I thought he was just going to be this cliche bad guy who wants to do bad guy things upon one or two early impressions of him, but even though he may resemble someone with cliches, the way the movie goes about executing his character, specifically towards the end, is a thing of beauty. There is an ongoing scene where our characters are interacting with him and his cronies, it’s not only intense, but also pretty funny. That’s the thing that I will say is amazing about this movie. I know it’s got comedic talent, but to have TWO “Jumanji” movies that aren’t exactly the within the realm of “Jumanji” I have come to know and have BOTH be funny and charming is one of the best surprises I have gotten during my recent moviewatching experiences.

But even though I will point out that this film is better than the original, it doesn’t mean it’s flawless. As much as I really like the climax, it does get a little off the rails towards the end. Granted, there is a bit of that off the rails factor that I like, but there’s also a tad that I found to be too insane. It is a video game though, which often distorts itself from reality so maybe I’ll retract this error eventually. I think some of the pacing could have been fixed, and once again, this is not that big of an issue, but there are some scenes that take place in the real world that feel like they are just inserted at a random point and it almost doesn’t flow. This movie is not that much longer than its predecessor, and even though I found certain portions dull, the pacing is a bit better in that film. The last film felt shorter than what it actually was, but this one just felt a tad longer. There’s also one scene with ostriches that is most certainly trying to get a laugh out of people, but feels like something out of a a horror movie where every character does not know the first thing about common sense. I get it, jokes bring smiles to people’s faces, but so do characters with brains. Nevertheless, “Jumanji: The Next Level” is funny and I would not mind watching it again on a rainy day at home.

In the end, “Jumanji: The Next Level” is exactly as the title suggests, “The Next Level.” The last movie was good, this one is a step up. I think I’ll end up having a little more replay value with this one, but we’ll have to see. The characters, both real and fake, are all a joy to watch. The movie itself is pretty mindless, but also works because it is so mindless. In fact, portions of its creativity perhaps comes from mindlessness. I know “The Rock” is not a GREAT actor, just a muscular man who has a somewhat engaging screen presence, but if I had to compare the performance he gave in “Jumanji: The Next Level” to pretty much anything else he’s done, this may be the best he’s been in terms of solid acting ability. I mean, when you are playing someone that is literally portraying somebody else in avatar form, it requires a little bit of extra effort to maybe be convincing. For that, props to Dwayne Johnson. I’m going to give “Jumanji: The Next Level” a 7/10.

Thanks for reading this review! My next review is most likely going to be for “Uncut Gems,” which I saw before reviewing this movie, but I wanted to get this “Jumanji” review out first because it felt like a higher priority. Also stay tuned in about a week and a half, where I will have my review for the biggest movie event of the season, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account for greater access and posts brought directly to your personal feed! Please leave a like on this post, and if you like liking, like… a lot, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Jumanji: The Next Level?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite video game of all time? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Zombieland: Double Tap (2019): A Presidential Zombie Flick

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“Zombieland: Double Tap” is directed by Ruben Fleischer, who also directed the original “Zombieland” back in 2009. The film stars Woody Harrelson (Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Edge of Seventeen), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice), Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine, Scream Queens), Emma Stone (Easy A, The Amazing Spider-Man), Rosario Dawson (Sin City, Men In Black II), Zoey Deutch (The Year of Spectacular Men, Dirty Grandpa), and Luke Wilson (Concussion, Enlightened). This film takes place, appropriately, ten years after the original “Zombieland.” Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita, and Little Rock are back and they have survived in an America that has basically become zombified. We see them in the White House, continuously living with their current reality as an imaginary dysfunctional family. Meanwhile, Little Rock flees away with a guy which prompts the remainder of the White Household, plus a new teammate, to go find her. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget, there’s zombies.

I first saw “Zombieland” back in 2016, which happens to be 7 years after it came out. While it was not the best comedy of its particular year, I found it to be rather funny. Granted, it also tries emphasize various horror elements, but the more I think about it, it almost feels like a pure comedy. That’s not to say that “Zombieland” is a bad horror movie, but it just feels like it was meant to be funny more than it is meant to be scary. This is why when I saw the marketing a couple times, I was a tad turned off, because it didn’t seem that funny.

Although at the same time, one thing I didn’t consider is a common complaint among various moviegoers. You know how there are a lot of comedies out there that show all the funny parts in the trailer? This movie, at least from my experience, saved a great portion of the funniest parts for the final product. By the way, if you have NOT seen the recent red band trailer for “Zombieland: Double Tap.” DON’T. There’s a moment that is not in the main film, but instead, during the credits. I didn’t watch this red band marketing piece until after watching the movie, but I saw something in there that I would have preferred the marketing team to leave out because I would rather have it be a surprise. Granted, it involves something I knew about going in, but it involves a specific moment that should have been unmentioned for a greater effect.

This is also a warning to all of you who are going to see “Zombieland: Double Tap,” stay for the entirety of the credits. You will not regret your decision.

One of the best parts of the film is perhaps the characters. I say that because they all have lovable chemistry. I mean, it shouldn’t be too surprising. The main cast consists of great actors, all of whom were at least nominated for an Academy Award. Granted, “Zombieland: Double Tap” is not the type of movie that would be going for any acting awards, but it is hard to deny when it comes to being together as a team, the characters tend to shine. You’ve got Tallahassee who is the same quirky, gun-loving redneck we have seen from the first film. There’s Columbus who will stop at nothing to follow his own rules. Little Rock shows up and while she does not have as much screentime as the others, her story in the film is rather interesting. Wichita’s here too, and there’s a subplot in this film involving her and Columbus, it gets nuts. Also, I don’t know how anyone else feels, but to me it feels kind of weird to see Emma Stone in this movie. I say that because I thought based on her last few choices of work, it seems she has increasingly made a transition to Oscar bait material or smaller budget films. Guess she just wanted a change of pace, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Based on how much I enjoyed this film, I should rephrase myself… There’s ABSOLUTELY NOTHING wrong with that.

Much like the first film, I must warn everyone, this is a horror comedy. Although I feel just like the first one, this is more funny than scary. I will also state, personally, this isn’t really a bad thing. Because of level of humor in “Zombieland: Double Tap” is freaking unbelievable. I was with a relatively active crowd, and there’s a good mix of chuckle-worthy, burst out laughing, and kneeslapping moments. There’s even a couple of moments where the crowd managed to applaud.

Sticking with the theme of things that worried me slightly when I was going into this film, let’s talk about Zoey Deutch’s character, Madison. We first see Madison in a surprise moment for Columbus. Specifically, he’s in an abandoned mall and he’s trying to defend himself. From this moment, I’ve gotten the impression that she is a talkative teenager in an adult’s body. I thought as soon as I saw her, she was going to be the reason for me wanting to slap someone in the face as a way of taking out anger towards this movie. I WAS DEAD WRONG. She’s also associated with the dumb blonde stereotype, which gave for PLENTY of laughs. Speaking of funny scenes with her, she is involved with perhaps the most hysterical sex scene I have witnessed in recent memory. I will not go into detail about it, but look forward to it.

The film is incredibly well paced, finely written, and while I’m not sure if this film will get many nominations for cinematography, there is one kick-ass action scene that is all done in one take. The set used for it is incredibly vibrant, which only adds to the overall sense of satisfaction I achieved from watching the particular clip. This movie happens to be shot by Chung-hoon Chung, who also shot 2017’s “IT.” To me, “IT” has good cinematography. After seeing “Zombieland: Double Tap,” there’s a good chance “IT” might as well eat its own heart out. Or in this case, its brains out.

If I had any flaws with “Zombieland: Double Tap,” there are a couple lines that don’t exactly land, and there is a line that happens to be a callback that feels kind of awkward as one particular character responds to said callback. Also, there are certain portions that do become slightly predictable. But even with that, it pretty much fails to detract from the overall fun to be had watching this movie. And again, this is mostly a comedy. I don’t consider it a “flaw” per se that this feels more comedic than horrifying, but if you are going in expecting pure scares or dark vibes, look elsewhere. Then again, I guess I couldn’t go wrong with a fun zombie movie every now and then. Nothing wrong with that in my book.

In the end, “Zombieland: Double Tap” is a sequel worthy of the “Zombieland” name. It may be as good as the original, if not better. It’s fun, crazy, and hilarious. Halloween is coming so there’s a lot of horror material right now in theaters, so if you want your horror fix while also slapping your knees, “Zombieland: Double Tap” is worth seeing. In fact, if you just saw “Joker” and need something light to watch, I would probably recommend this movie even more because you have a transition from something incredibly disturbing and depressing to something absolutely bonkers and energizing. It would probably be a pretty good double feature if you ask me. I’m not sure on my final rating yet, but I enjoyed “Zombieland: Double Tap” just about as much as its predecessor, so I’m going to give it a rather high 7/10. Thanks for reading this review! I just want to let everyone know that next Wednesday, I have an advance pass to the upcoming film “Countdown.” This film is about a nurse who downloads an app that predicts when people would die, only to find out she has three days left before she bites the dust. This sounds like a neat concept, so I am absolutely curious as to how it will be executed. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email if you want notifications about the blog in your inbox, or with a WordPress account to like, comment, and get notifications in your WordPress feed. Stay tuned for more great content, and check out my Facebook page! I want to know, as of this review, there have been a number of advance screenings that have taken place. So, did you see “Zombieland: Double Tap?” What did you think about it? Are you looking forward to it? How does it compare to the original for you? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Spider-Man Is BACK IN THE MCU!

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! So next week, I’ve been thinking about seeing “Joker,” the latest of the neverending trend that we like to call “comic book movies.” And I’ll tell you, the movie looks pretty freakin–WAIT A MINUTE! HOLD THE PHONE! SPIDER-MAN JUST RETURNED TO THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE!

This information, to me, came completely out of the blue. I was just enjoying my Friday off from school, summing up my thoughts on the latest movie I’ve gone out to see, when all of a sudden, I’m on social media, and a Variety article comes up with a headline that at this point looks too good to be true. Once I saw the headline “Spider-Man Will Stay in the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” there was only one thing to do.

DO SOME CARTWHEELS AND ALERT THE FREAKING MASSES!

I try to maintain a level of professionalism on this website. There are definitely signs that may suggest otherwise, but that’s because I want my blog to be fun, not boring, not unoriginal. I want everything to stand out. So with that in mind, THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS I’VE HEARD IN MY LIFE! HELL TO THE FREAKING YEAH! BOOM!

Now, let me just say, Spider-Man is my favorite superhero of all time, and if you have not been following my favorite superhero of all time in the news recently, you’d know that Disney and Sony had a little scrap. For some years now, Sony had the ability to spend money on a new Spider-Man movie, but Marvel Studios (owned by Disney) helps out in making those movies come to life and in return, their side gets a portion of the money, all of the merchandising rights, and a couple of chances to show Spider-Man off in other movies they happen to be making. Sony also gets the chances to retain rights to solo Spider-Man filmmaking as they have already come out with films like “Venom” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” But this was recently interrupted because Disney asked Sony for greater permission on the content, but Sony said no.

The original deal had Sony making 95% of the box office totals on films that would eventually be known as “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” This means for those movies, Disney would gain 5% of the box office. After the exciting news of “Spider-Man: Far From Home” becoming Sony’s highest grossing movie ever, it was a great sign that the deal seemed to have worked out. Both Disney and Sony are making money on Marvel Studios films, Disney is getting merch money, and Sony gets to make money on their own “Spider-Man” films outside the MCU. But Disney asked for Sony to co-finance and split profits on upcoming “Spider-Man” films. Sony wasn’t satisfied with Disney’s new proposal, so they were no longer involved with the MCU. But, a “Spider-Man 3” was still planned. So they were going to make the movie on their own, without Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige’s involvement, which seemed kind of difficult because if you ask me, Spider-Man currently represents an enormous part of the MCU’s current storyline. With several main characters we currently know having disappeared, Spider-Man may be the next crucial main character for Marvel’s phase 4 and on. He was taken under the wing of Tony Stark, he tried to make him proud from time to time, and now he is trying let Stark’s legacy live on. This separation would have been bad because Sony probably couldn’t use any of Marvel Studios’ other properties or characters if they needed to, and future Marvel Studios films would probably have to come up with some lame or cheesy excuse as to why Spider-Man is not with the Avengers.

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Did he have too much homework?

Is he busy with The Daily Bugle?

Did he not feel so good? I mean, come on!

Nevertheless, as of Friday, Sony and Disney have reunited with new terms that may seem to work out for both of them. And that was one thing that I personally was worried about, because as much as I want Spider-Man in the MCU, I understand why Sony left, and I would have rather had Sony leave the way they did as opposed to having them go along with the 50/50 terms because that means they lose control, or at least partial control of their biggest property, and let’s face it, if this were a game of Film Studio Monopoly, Disney would be winning. They own Boardwalk (most of Marvel), they own Park Place (Lucasfilm), there are hotels on both properties, and you might as well say that they own Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Pacific Avenues, all of which represents the remains of 21st Century Fox, and they are starting to build on those properties as we speak. If Sony were playing this game, they’d be better off landing on the go to jail spot over and over again. I’m not saying they are in danger of going out of business, but still. Luckily, things are being kept in check, because while the deal is no longer a 95/5% difference between sides, it is now 75/25%, with Sony gaining most of the profits. And while this may seem like a significant increase right now for Disney, it may be worth it in the end. Because Sony is still putting some of their eggs into the basket of their own Spidey content, including “Venom 2” which is currently in development.

Despite how much I may point out how Disney is making “too much money,” there’s not much wrong here with Disney wanting more money for these “Spider-Man” films. They’ve done their part when it comes to inserting soul into the character. But I think this deal should probably not go much higher, because Sony is the one distributing the film, and they are the ones paying for it to be made. I personally think 25% is the highest that I would be OK with Disney earning for these movies. Because if they are allowed to earn anything greater, then they might as well be snatching “Spider-Man” from Sony. Yes, Disney technically owns Marvel, but Sony is also in a position where Spider-Man movies are “their thing” and will probably end up being their greatest asset for the time being. It would be like Universal giving up “Fast & Furious” or Paramount giving up “Mission: Impossible” or STX Entertainment giving up “Bad Moms.”

I should also point out that in addition to this whole reunion, the spreading of joy and good news across the movie fandom, Sony put out a post recently of a little announcement that I think you all might enjoy.

One word. Hype.

I honestly almost couldn’t be happier because while Disney is still increasing their control on Spidey, it’s not like they’re hogging the entire plate. Sony gets to keep the rights, and Marvel Studios gets to keep Spider-Man in the MCU. And even if it is just for one more movie, it would help me as an audience member in getting some closure after the AMAZING mid-credits scene of “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” What mood am I in right now? Well, look down below!

I feel like dancin’ like I just don’t care! Booyah!

Thanks for reading this post! I just want to remind everyone that “Joker” comes out next weekend. Now, I want to go see it next weekend. I have time to go see it next weekend. But chances are, I’m not going to. I will say though, I do have tickets booked for the second weekend! I’m going to see “Joker” on Friday, October 11th in 70mm! Hopefully I can get a review up by the end of Columbus Day if I go see it then for the first time, or Indigenous Peoples’ Day depending on your preference, I cannot wait to check it out! As for this next weekend, I am not sure what’s going on. Maybe I’ll watch “The Fanatic,” the new John Travolta movie that just came out, because I kind of want to talk about it. It just seems like it would make for good material, so we’ll see what happens. Be sure to follow Scene Before with a WordPress account if you want to see new posts in your WordPress feed, or if you just want to subscribe with an email, you will be notified of new posts immediately through email. Stay tuned for more great content, and check out my Facebook page! I want to know, what are your thoughts on the latest news regarding Sony, Disney, Marvel, and Spider-Man? Are you happy to see him back in the MCU? Do you think a better deal could have been made? Or are you disappointed? Did you want to see what Sony could have done with Spider-Man without Marvel Studios? Leave your thoughts and opinions down below and I’m not sure about you guys, but bring on “Spider-Man 3!” I want it now! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

“This is terrific, Peter Parker’s story took a dramatic turn in ‘Far From Home’ and I could not be happier we will all be working together as we see where his journey goes.” -Amy Pascal (Producer, SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING and SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME)

Spider-Man Out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?!

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Sony? Disney? I don’t feel so good.

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! This past Tuesday has been one of the most peculiar days of my life. I scraped my knee pretty bad and I broke my bed. But that might not even be the biggest piece of news that I have to share with you all, because this past Tuesday I have heard that Spider-Man, my favorite superhero of all time, is leaving the hands of Disney! Now when I say that, I mean whatever hands of Disney it has, because if you are not familiar with what’s going on, a few years back, Sony (who owns rights to make Spider-Man movies) negotiated a deal with Disney to put Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At the same time, Sony would still be allowed to produce and distribute their own “Spider-Man” films with the same iteration of the character in the MCU. So far, they have come out with “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” both of which were critically and financially successful.

This deal was working very well for both sides. Disney would get some of the money made for the Sony-owned “Spider-Man” films, specifically 5%. Spider-Man would also be included in various Disney projects including “Captain America: Civil War,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” and “Avengers: Endgame.” Much like the recently mentioned “Spider-Man” movies, those Disney projects also received positive reviews and each one went on to gross over $1 billion, with two of them reaching past $2 billion. Disney and Marvel also had 100% of the merchandising rights to the character. This means, Sony is making money through making “Spider-Man” movies, along with titles such as “Venom” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and Disney is getting some or all of the money depending on the occasion from live-action movies with Tom Holland as the webhead. Plus, Disney is getting money from toys, clothes, etc.

In fact, Sony just hit a nifty little achievement from receiving their all-time highest grossing film, “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” which grossed $1.109 billion, beating out 2012’s “Skyfall.” Sony’s making money! Disney’s making money! Everyone’s making money! And since it makes the world go round, it should not be surprising that money is the reason why Sony and Disney are separating! Sony has decided to back Spidey out of the hands of producer Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios! Why? Disney’s side wanted a raise!

Now let me just say, if they went to Sony and asked them for 10% of the money earned on the next “Spider-Man” film, maybe 20% or 25%. That would be a different story. But Disney, otherwise known as the box office kings of 2019, said “MORE! We want more!” And wanting more is not a bad thing. But ten times more? This is easily comparable to Spongebob asking Mr. Krabs for a raise because he has recently shown to be doing such quality work for him. Of course, being the krabby snob he is, he’d probably say no. But if Krabs were a gentleman, he would definitely raise Spongebob’s pay just a little bit. I’m fine with Disney getting a little more because financially speaking, this situation has been working out for both sides to the point where they can both give themselves a pat on the back. But the fact that Disney literally wants half of the box office intake for the next “Spider-Man” film reveals their true colors to me. Let’s face it, all movies, in some way, are made for the purpose of profit, but Disney is a different animal when it comes to this. They recently remade one of their most popular films, “The Lion King,” an animated classic which I happen to adore. But the new one is exactly the same as the original! It has little to no differences, and whatever differences do exist don’t seem to stand out. And let me just remind you, it has the same formula as “Hamlet” and “Kimba the White Lion.” Let me just remind you all, it is now in the top 10 films in terms of box office of all time. That happened. Granted, I also feel bad for Disney because as much as I *HATE* them for buying Fox, they have to deal with a slew of several finished films that will barely see the light of day. Plus, they laid off tons of employees and shut down Fox 2000. Although at the same time, they made “Avengers: Endgame,” which is now the Mount Everest of box office champions so there is a hint of achievement in sprinkled somewhere.

Is Disney doing this because of the recent failures of Fox? I have no idea, but based on their recent achievements, I don’t know if it is necessary. I understand the desire to go bigger, be bolder, but with Disney, they already have such a stronghold on the film industry to the point where I feel the need to remind them that they need to calm down. This is one reason why I get Sony backed out of the deal. “Spider-Man” is their highest-grossing property. And for Disney to come in and ask, “Hey, you know that ‘Spidey’ thing, can we take half the money?” It is the literal definition of unexpected and it makes them look like a giant s*ithead of a jerk. As a kid, one important lesson some people are taught is that “sharing is caring.” Both companies have hands in about a half of the deal. Why does one want the high ground?

Wait…

Image result for i have the high ground gif

This is Disney right now. I don’t know if they intentionally want to dismantle or destroy Sony, but the only way that I could see a deal like this working is if not only both companies earn 50/50 on box office, but they put 50/50 into the budget. But as far as I know, Sony is the one spending money on the film to begin with. I don’t want to point any fingers, but if I had to make an assumption, I am pretty sure this one could be on the money.

Now some of you might be thinking of past experience when it comes to Spidey and how Sony would usually tend to screw it up at a certain point. Let me just say first off, I LIKE “Spider-Man 3.” Sorry, it’s true. As for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” however, that is a different story. But if this is a matter of Disney wanting more money, I would say that this is a sacrifice worth taking. Disney has enough. They have merchandising rights to the character, they have two to three Marvel films every year now. They have the profitable live-action remakes. They have “Star Wars.” They have the entirety of some people’s childhoods. AND… they have most of Fox. They are literally the Veruca Salt of entertainment. Granted, I imagine everyone at Disney is MUCH more well behaved (for the most part, I don’t have enough insider information). But this is honestly a reminder to Disney to sometimes be thankful for what you have, otherwise there will be consequences.

And let’s address another big issue, getting Spidey out of the MCU’s relevance. One of the biggest problems for this dealbreaker when it comes to both Sony and Disney is trying to get Spider-Man to not interact or have connections with the Avengers anymore. This begs a question. Is he still going to be part of the team but without mention towards said connection? Will either side try to find a way to get rid of his “Avenger” status? A few movies ago, he was just declared an Avenger. From “Avengers: Infinity War” to “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” there was an important story in Peter Parker’s arch to allow him to emphasize his importance as an Avenger. Granted, that arch has come a long way since “Infinity War,” but at least from my view, there is still more to be explored regarding Parker and this story of his.

Oh, let’s not forget this…

*IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN “SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME,” THIS IS AN END CREDIT SCENE FROM THE FILM, DO NOT WATCH IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS*

Yeah… I want answers. Now.

So in all honesty, this breakup may end up being good for nobody. Granted, Sony agreeing to Disney’s terms would be be bad too, but this reminds me of divorce. You know how they say divorce is hardest on the children? This is hard on all fans of “Spider-Man” who happen to be enjoy both his solo films and MCU crossovers. It’s hard for Disney because they lost an interesting character, and as for Sony, we’ll just have to wait and see what kind of movie they end up making in order to determine how hard this is for them. The MCU will very likely survive without Spider-Man. After all, they have a bunch of other characters they can work with, and since Disney owns Fox, this now gives them the opportunity to insert “Fantastic Four” and “X-Men” into the mix. This leave may hurt them a little bit, because in a future project they’ll probably have to come up with some sort of excuse as to why Parker would be out of the realm. And for all I know, we may never see another Tom Holland “Spider-Man” story again, which would be disappointing, because, again, I want answers. Maybe Sony will do another reboot where Uncle Ben dies, which, I’ll say, I don’t mind seeing again. I get why people wouldn’t want to see it again, but seeing it can highlight the pain Parker goes through and it could emphasize the drive the character will have down the road.

Do I want Spider-Man in the MCU? Sure, he’s a cool character and I like Tom Holland’s portrayal. I think it is very well done, and when it comes to how the character is written in films like “Avengers: Infinity War,” he had my seal of approval. But I understand why Sony did what they did. I personally think “Homecoming” could have been slightly better when comparing it to other “Spider-Man” films, but I ended up loving “Far From Home” even more than “Endgame.” I have very mixed thoughts, but this is a tough time in the trendy comic book movie genre.

AND JUST BECAUSE SONY AND DISNEY ARE NOT GIVING YOU WHAT YOU WANT, DOES NOT MEAN YOU CAN RAID THE STUDIOS! IF THERE IS GOING TO BE A BIG RAID AGAINST EITHER STUDIO, MY FAITH IN THE HUMAN RACE IS GOING TO GO DOWN THE CRAPPER! DON’T. EVEN. THINK. ABOUT IT. CAPICHE?!

I’m just about done. I have nothing else to say except… Disney, stop your plan for world domination. This is the same corporation that gobbled up Fox for Pete’s sake! Give Sony a reason to be with you, or move on. Thanks for reading this post! I just want to remind everyone that I just recently saw “Ready or Not” which just opened in theaters a few days ago. This is the first full weekend the movie will be shown and I imagine a lot of its money will be earned over the course of said period of time. If you want to check out my review for that film, click the red box below and see what I have to say! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! And if you want, check out my Facebook page! Go to my Facebook page for the latest info from the Movie Reviewing Moron cluttered inside a space full of “friends.” I want to know, what are your thoughts on this whole “Spider-Man” fiasco? Do you want him in the MCU? Do you want Sony to keep making movies with him outside the MCU? Do you think there should be some sort of reboot? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019): There Lived an Actor and His Stunt Double

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is directed by Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained) and stars Leonardo DiCaprio (Inception, Titanic), Brad Pitt (World War Z, Allied), Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad, The Wolf of Wall Street), Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild, Speed Racer), Margaret Qualley (The Leftovers, Death Note), Timothy Olyphant (Santa Clarita Diet, Live Free or Die Hard), Austin Butler (Switched at Birth, Arrow), Dakota Fanning (Coraline, The Twilight Saga: New Moon), Bruce Dern (The Hateful Eight, The ‘Burbs), and Al Pacino (Scent of a Woman, Heat). This film takes place in Hollywood around the time of the Manson murders during 1969. The story focuses on the dynamic duo of the characters played by Leonardo DiCaprio (Rick Dalton) and Brad Pitt (Cliff Booth). Dalton is an actor and Booth is Dalton’s stunt double. Together, they have a hunger for fame and fortune as the Golden Age of Hollywood comes to a close.

If you have been following this blog in recent weeks, you may have gotten the implication that I have just recently introduced myself to the masterful works of Quentin Tarantino, a director known for his quirky style, gritty scripts, and his enthusiasm to deliver a rather nostalgic vibe to his films. And this film is no exception. It is shot using 35mm film, it takes place in 1969, and it is designed to be presented as a love letter to ancient Hollywood. It has callbacks to real life Hollywood figures including Roman Polanski, Bruce Lee, James Stacy, and Sharon Tate. There are tons of throwback cars that can be seen that truly highlight the automobile culture of California that seems to continue to exist today. It kind of reminded me of “Amercian Graffiti” a little bit.

My excitement for this film was through the roof as soon as the tickets went on sale. I called my dad, he and I agreed to go on opening Thursday, I picked to go to the 7:30 show at the Somerville Theatre, which if you are not from Massachusetts, it is a 100 year old theatre that has a few screens, but one of them is in a grand auditorium that shows a lot of event-type films. I was there last year for the 70mm film festival, more specifically, for when they showed John Carpenter’s “The Thing.” It was my second time watching the film, and the atmosphere was turned up to an 11 when it came to how lively the crowd happened to be. I thought we were going to get a few people to show up for this film, because let’s face it, “The Lion King” is out right now, everyone’s going to see that, and unlike “The Thing,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” was playing for more than one night. Plus, it didn’t have reserved or reclined seating. People seem to flock to those two things nowadays.

And I’ll let you in on a little something about “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” It’s the single best movie experience I had this year. Yes, better than “Endgame.” The atmosphere was almost dead during “Endgame,” there are several moments in this movie where people would shout, yell, laugh, applaud, it felt like I went to the world premiere of a “Star Wars” film. It was the very definition of exhilerating! The theater might have been sold out, if not super close to being sold out. I got to chat to a guy in the row in front of me about Tarantino films, there was a lovely lady I got to talk to about his work and other people’s films. This was clearly going to be an experience to remember. OK… maybe this has to do with the atmosphere of the film. But how was the movie you ask? F*cking nuts! It’s a special kind of awesome! I mean, could you expect anything less from Tarantino? This is the fourth movie I have seen from him, and this is probably my 2nd favorite. This film is full of excellent scenes with great characters, lines of dialogue that made me laugh and cheer, and fantastic setpieces.

For those of you who don’t know, part of the production of this movie involved transforming Hollywood as if it were presented in the 1960s, and I think the movie did a really good job with it. All of the neon lights shining everywhere and the plethora of signs set the mood, I dug the driving scenes that really had that flair of fun attached to it, and I felt immersed into the world that happened to be presented almost to the point that I imagined myself as a part of it, and I think from watching “Pulp Fiction” and this film, that is something that I think Tarantino can do very well. And this may be a big reason why I enjoyed this film so much. No matter what movie I have seen from Tarantino so far, the appropriate vibe is automatically set. But I feel that Tarantino, from what I have seen so far, has done a better job with his films when they are slightly more grounded in reality. Even though I saw “The Hateful Eight” and there can be a definite argument that that film grounds itself in reality a little bit, it doesn’t really have characters that I can latch onto. The characters in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” feel raw, they feel like people I would probably run into at one point in my life. Maybe I’m biased since this takes place in Hollywood and I am an aspiring filmmaker and I can picture myself working with people who are similar in some ways to these characters, but my case still stands. “The Hateful Eight” has characters that at times are interesting, but for one reason or another, I just can’t relate to all of them.

And this is why I really enjoyed the main characters of the film, Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth. The two legitimately feel like a best friend pair, and seeing a number of scenes with the two together happened to be entertaining. Whether they were working or hanging out, they just made the movie worth watching. If I had to be honest, when it comes to acting, it’s almost difficult declaring whether DiCaprio or Pitt had the better performance because for one thing they’re both great actors. Not to mention, when you put the two together, they have the perfect recipe for a friendship. Plus, it kind of makes sense since in the movie Booth has to emulate Dalton in productions together, so in a way they have to act like they’re the same person. I’m not saying they are in real life. Both have their individual characteristics and storylines and they hypnotized me. I’ll also point out that the proper execution and quirkiness of said storylines are part of why I would want to go see this in the theater a second time.

And you want to know the best part about this movie? I can’t speak for everybody, but pretty much the entire theater, and this is a lot of people, happened to be dying laughing. This is why I enjoy going to movies with crowds, not to mention in cities (which I did technically for this film) because recent experiences have shown that my urban movie experiences (mainly during early access screenings) have usually gotten better reactions than ones I’d traditionally experience elsewhere. It felt like I was part of the worldwide Tarantino cult, they just accepted me after introducing me to their rituals, and we all came together for an experience of a lifetime.

As for myself, I am kind of in an unfortunate position because I have been exposed to tons of content, and as much as I enjoy watching certain comedies, I often feel like I have “seen it all” or seen enough to know what to expect. Here, I was laughing through a number of scenes, I was appreciating a lot of the dialogue that has been uttered, and it never felt like the movie lost its groove. It was one interesting moment after another. And this all builds up to the big. F*cking. Climax of a lifetime! It is quite literally a Tarantinogasm of super f*cked-up awesomeness on a stick! Is it the best climax or ending in movie history? No, it’s not, but it is by far one of the wildest. I cannot recall the last time, or at least the last recent time, that I laughed as hard as I did during this climax with all the s*it that was going down. I cannot go into it, but the climax alone is worth the price of admission, everything else feels like an appetizer. I, like pretty much everyone else in the world, saw “Avengers: Endgame” this year, and I thought the climax to that, especially as a geek, was fantastic. This ending, to me, wasn’t fantastic. It was bloody phenomenal!

And by the way, speaking of movies I saw this year, one of my other highlights happens to be “John Wick: Chapter 3.” That franchise, as you may know, has a lot of emphasis put on dogs, and the most recent installment manages to continue highlighting their importance to everything that’s going on. In my review for that film, I said it had my favorite dog-related scene of the year. That thought has since changed because “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” has a scene that I really cannot go into involving a dog. If you have seen the movie, you may know what I am talking about. It’s almost out of left field in the best possible way. Talking about it feels like a sin because it’s something I really want to do, but it feels wrong because, well in this case, spoilers could flood out of my mouth.

Just… See this movie, my gosh it’s f*cking ride.

I will say though…

The film is not perfect.

Yes, I have raved about this movie to death. Both in person and on here, but there is one single, solitary flaw that I have with the film.

And to my disappointment, it kind of involves Margot Robbie’s character of Sharon Tate, because despite how she may have cool scenes, and how she has a relation to one of the film’s characters who is mentioned by name, she almost had no real part in this movie, or at least one that contributes to the bigger picture of what is happening. And I will admit, it was sad to see her in this film after realizing she is watching the last film she will be alive to see herself in. But even with that, her character could have had more depth to her. She didn’t feel lifeless, Robbie portrayed the character very well, and she was charming. Kind of like how in “Suicide Squad,” the movie itself wasn’t the greatest, but Robbie did an excellent job portraying Harley Quinn. I’d probably have to watch the movie again to decide whether or not this storyline was necessary because there is a part of me that does think it is compelling and is a part of this old Hollywood love letter, but also begs to question how needed it really is.

Nevertheless, the movie is still an excitement bomb. It is still one of my favorite movies of the year, and I would INSTANTLY go back to the theater and watch this film again because I saw this film with my dad, we couldn’t stop talking about it on the way home, and he made an interesting comment. He was laughing so hard that he must have missed something. When your film is good enough to possibly allow that to happen, a repeat viewing is inevitable. Will I go back and see the film one more time? Hopefully, but only time will tell. And if I do, I will be really damn excited.

In the end, the hype is real for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Tarantino once again presents himself as the cinematic mastermind he has always been made out to be. The film utilizes a lot of practical effects to turn Hollywood back fifty years, to say the acting is solid is an understatement, and there are several scenes I will be looking forward to viewing once I see this movie again, because it is absolutely phenomenal. And again, the Sharon Tate thing, I liked certain scenes she was in, but her character almost felt tacked on. I could grow in appreciation for her. After all she’s played by Margot Robbie, who is one of the most beautiful women working in film right now, so who knows? This is not to say she can’t act, because again, she was charming. And there are several films that I have seen this year that are funny. A couple of examples include “Long Shot” and “Fighting with My Family.” But when it comes to comedic timing and writing, this film is most likely going to be the absolute best we are going to get this year in terms of comedy. Between the awesome and brilliantly written final act, the investing opening scenes where we get to know our lovely main duo, and a gag involving dog food, there is so much to enjoy in this one film. I cannot wait to talk more about this film with other people and I cannot wait for this film to come out on Blu-ray. I’m going to give “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” a very high 9/10. I have a feeling, and it’s just a feeling for now, depending on replay value and how I feel about certain aspects of this film over time, this could increase to a 10. I’m not sure, but this was one of the best looking films of the year, one of the most well shot movies of the year, one of the most interestingly written scripts of the year despite my flak given to Sharon Tate, and one of the most compelling ensembles of the year. But seriously, Tarantino, you are a god and we do not deserve you. Thank you for this orgasmic movie! And if it means anything, I’m pretty sure this has to be the best “9” movie of the decade so far. So a score change may be possible, who knows?

Thanks for reading this review! I just want to let everyone know that next weekend is the release of the “Fast & Furious” spinoff, “Hobbs and Shaw.” I probably won’t see the film right away because I’m going out of state for a night, but I will likely make a commitment to get my ass in the theater at some point. It is a movie that I am looking forward to simply because it looks absurd for all the right reasons, so once I can see it, I will take that opportunity. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Do you have a Facebook? Check out my Facebook page! You can get all the latest info from your favorite movie reviewing moron regarding upcoming content, new posts, and more! I want to know, did you see “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite Quentin Tarantino movie? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019): The Truth Is… I Am Spider-Man

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Well, I waited over two weeks, I finally get to say it. “Spider-Man: Far From Home” is directed by Jon Watts (Cop Car, The Onion News Network), who also was the director and one of the writers behind the preceding film in this franchise, “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” This film stars Tom Holland (The Lost City of Z, In the Heart of the Sea), Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, Snakes on a Plane), Zendaya (The Greatest Showman, Shake It Up), Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother, Safe Haven), Jon Favreau (The Jungle Book, Chef), Jacob Batalon (Blood Fest, Every Day), Martin Starr (Silicon Valley, Knocked Up), J.B. Smoove (Uncle Drew, Hall Pass) with Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny, Chaplin) and Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler, Stronger). This is the 23rd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the second Spider-Man film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the eighth big screen “Spider-Man” film of the 21st century. So much for originality! Yay! This film continues the adventures of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker in a post universe-wide snappening setting. As everyone adapts to a world that has changed forever, Peter Parker and his classmates are going on a field trip to Europe, only to run into chaos through unexpected encounters including Mysterio, and Nick Fury himself.

When it comes to Spider-Man, he is by far my favorite superhero of all time. Spider-Man is the perfect embodiment of your average teenager trying to live a normal life, but various struggles and obstacles beyond their control manage to get in their way. As for Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, my love for him is unbelievable. While I wasn’t the biggest fan of “Homecoming,” I really enjoyed him in other films including “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War.” If I had to a superhero to relate to more than any other, Spider-Man is definitely number one. This is a reason why I really enjoyed a movie like Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 2,” because it emphasizes the internal conflict of what Peter wants vs. what he needs. That film by the way, is my favorite comic book flick of all time. And in some ways, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” sort of takes me back to the time frame of Sam Raimi’s films.

Mary Jane has a screen presence in this film that I personally did not expect.

This movie has the result of Sandman getting a makeover due to incoming tides.

Not to mention, the film is freaking awesome!

In fact, you know how “Avengers: Endgame” perhaps stands as the most anticipated film? Like, ever? As the release for “Endgame” got closer and closer, my hype levels increased. Can’t say that for “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” I saw the first trailer, thought it sucked, and while going into the film, I appreciated this film’s efforts to try reminding everyone of the effects of “Endgame,” I was still somewhat nervous. Then I came out of the film, got home, and made the following tweet.

For all I know, this could be due to just seeing the film, my opinion could change, but I felt a bigger impact through the smaller and slightly more individualistic story of “Spider-Man: Far From Home” than I did for perhaps what has been marketed as the biggest geekfest in history. But much like that giant nerdgasm-inducing experience, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” is not perfect.

Much like “Avengers: Endgame,” “Spider-Man: Far From Home” suffers from minor pacing issues, but similar to “Endgame,” “Far From Home” has pacing issues which I can live with simply because of everything else that is happening. And this is not an issue in every sense of the word, but this movie has a lot of moments in its script that are incredibly convenient to what is happening on screen. But at the same time, I feel like that is one of the big improvements I can give to “Far From Home” when comparing it to “Homecoming.” Why? One of my biggest issues with “Homecoming” had to do with the script in a crapton of ways, one of which included the unbelievable amount of comedy inserted. And honestly, there was not a lot that landed. When it comes to Spidey’s quips and one-liners in “Homecoming,” they don’t feel as hysterical as they could be. I could tell that Tom Holland was trying his hardest with the material that may have sounded great on paper, but for one reason or another, the jokes just didn’t stick the landing for me. Here however, there seems to be a lot less comedy, and the bits of comedy they have in this film, when present, completely works. Because let’s face it, this movie is the first installment in the MCU that has to reflect on the past couple of “Avengers” flicks, which honestly would present the need for a slightly more serious script. Plus, Sony’s distributing this film instead of Disney. When the mouse is away, the spiders will play!

Also, while I keep talking about “Spider-Man: Homecoming” as if it happens to be the last “Spider-Man” film to be released, keep in mind that we just got “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” which many consider to be the best “Spider-Man” film to date. While I don’t know whether or not I enjoyed this film or “Spider-Verse” more, I can confirm that when I saw “Spider-Verse,” it was perhaps the biggest acid trip of a superhero film I have ever watched. Guess what? I might need to rethink that statement, and I won’t go into why, BUT LET ME HAVE YOU KNOW THAT “SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME” IS ONE HELL OF A DRUG! If you drop acid before this movie, I wish you luck on getting out of the movie theater when the film ends because there are a couple of head-spinning moments that kind of left me speechless.

And you know something? Another shocker for this film to me is MJ, because when I saw her in “Homecoming,” I did not like her, I thought she some clowny individual who barely had a personality. This time there is depth to her, and even though I was nervous back in 2016 when they announced who was playing MJ, specifically Zendaya, she pulled it off in this movie! Mainly because she had a take on it that made the character her own. After all, her name isn’t really Mary Jane, it’s actually Michelle. If she was a redhead, I’d want the character a certain way. But I appreciate Zendaya’s take not only because her character was well written, not just because she did her part with excellence, but because it did not feel like the type of MJ I thought she would be, which would be a black person trying to playing the typical white Mary Jane, almost as if it were a s*itty impression. Zendaya has her individual flair which brought some pizzazz to the final product. Rock on! Granted, seeing her in the beginning of the film was a little sloppy, in fact, that’s not the only issue I have with the start of the film (there are a couple minor moments leaning towards cringe), but as it went on, I began to admire her.

And the surprises don’t even end there, because this time around I actually liked Ned! If you don’t remember my “Homecoming” review, this is what I said about Ned.

“One character in this movie goes by the name of Ned Leeds, he was played by Jacob Batalon, and there was a point in this movie where I wanted some sort of technology that existed which could allow me to jump into a movie’s universe. I could go into this one, find Ned, and give him the finger!”

You know what? Forget about that statement, f*ck it! Because in this movie, Ned is the opposite of annoying. In fact, he’s pretty charming at certain times. There’s this portion of the film dedicated to this relationship he has with this one girl, which honestly, had its ups and downs, but there are moments when I can approve of it.

Also, if anything, it reminded me of the Schmoopie relationship from “Seinfeld.”

And while I won’t dive too deep into this, another problem I had with “Homecoming” that somehow gets fixed here is my displeasure with the AI from that film. Remember Karen? I do. And I don’t like her. While she could have been charming in that film, she had a few quirks that did not sit well with me. Karen does not make a return here and I won’t go into detail, but there’s an AI here that is honestly charming, and even sets up an entertaining and thrilling sequence on a bus.

Moving onto our main character, Peter Parker is back and now the important question is this: What would be a bigger feat for him than going to space? Europe? That’s nothing! Any idiot can fly a plane to Europe! But nevertheless, Parker is vacationing in Europe, and now he has to deal with a side mission, which takes away from whatever relaxation he can get. This is why I really enjoy the character of Spider-Man, because other heroes, specifcally in the MCU, always seem to be built with this sort of drive to save the world. Granted, with an interpretation such as Tony Stark, maybe he’d get a little drained from it and prefer to lay low for awhile like he did in “Iron Man 3,” but there are not many moments where I have seen an MCU hero flat out refuse to do hero work. When the Avengers got together, just about everyone showed up. Thor always seemed to have a knack for defending Asgard with a hammer by his side. Captain America would always be willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good. But Spider-Man… Needs his alone time. While in some instances, I imagine this would make a hero look like a dick or a coward, it works for Peter Parker because he’s just a normal, likable, not to mention, relatable kid. He just wants a normal life despite various perks of being a superhero. In fact, Peter’s story and actions in this film kind of remind me of what is like to be me when I was younger. I had my crushes, perhaps constantly imagined plans to get together with said crushes, and if you know me, they did not work out, and I’m fine with that. By the way ladies, I’m single! Plus, Peter in this film has to deal with following in the footsteps of those above him, which is something that I did think about out sometimes when I was younger. Granted, probably not a lot, but the thought definitely did come up in my head once or twice.

I also really liked Mysterio in this film, they managed to go in a direction with the character that I for one personally did not expect, and as for Jake Gyllenhaal, he was basically perfect casting for this role. I remember back in the day I wanted him to be the next Batman if Affleck were to leave. Granted, he’s not, but still. But even though I never imagined Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio, I cannot help but dig him. He did a really good job, and I love his costume! It’s amazing!

Now despite what the box office can make me think, there are still people out there who have yet to see “Avengers: Endgame.” But in “Endgame,” there is a lot that happens that leads to this film’s events. In fact, the beginning of this film is a tribute to a couple of major characters who have encountered a common barrier in “Endgame.” And this movie, while I won’t go into context, shows off perhaps the most heart-wrenching footage of the snappening I’ll ever see in my life. If you thought that collection of deaths on Wakanda was disturbing, I’ll remind you, the effects to me were personally diminished (although still slightly powerful) because going into “Infinity War,” I kinda knew we were going to see people die. Granted, I didn’t know who, how, or when, but I knew something was coming. What made it really disturbing is that it was just a bunch of innocent people going through their everyday lives. Granted, that was sort of already shown during “Infinity War’s” end credits, but this movie did it better because for all I know it was shot on somebody’s phone or some other everyday camera. It almost reminds me of the found footage movie “Cloverfield” the more I think about it, because in a way, I felt immersed into such a disturbing situation, not to mention from a rather shaky first person perspective.

In the end, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” can be summed up in one word. Fun. It has a vibe that is almost reminiscent of Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” films while also managing to be a product of its own. The movie, in more ways than one, made me feel young again. I talked to death about the relatable teen year experiences this film provided, but I grew up watching Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” films and in some ways, this film managed to take me back to when I was somewhere between 6 to 14 years old. “Spider-Man 2” still stands as my favorite comic book movie ever, but I cannot deny that this is definitely another solid second “Spider-Man” movie. As I was writing this review, I’ve been having a constant debate in my head on whether or not this is better than “Spider-Verse,” and this debate is far from over. I’m willing to bet that this won’t end for awhile. I’d probably have to rewatch both films to know for sure. But if I had to make my thoughts on this film as finalized as possible, I’d say that unlike “Spider-Verse,” I felt that “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” while just as entertaining, if not more, had a greater quantity of issues that stood out to me. So with that being said, “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” despite “Endgame” being a more conclusive chapter to the entire three phase saga of the MCU, is a damn fine way for Marvel to cap off their third phase. I’m going to give “Spider-Man: Far From Home” a high 8/10. I love the constant joke about how we are getting too many “Spider-Man” movies or movies that have Spidey in them. Well, if we’re getting films that are this good, why should they stop making them? I’ll wait for the next “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and then we’ll revisit this topic later. And I also will say, I almost forgot to consider this about “Spider-Verse,” it basically was a game-changer for the comic book genre in cinema. The animation style was unlike anything I have seen on the big screen up until that point. How many live-action “Spider-Man” films do we have right now? I don’t care about real numbers at this point. Let’s just go with umpteen because it sounds kind of fun. Thanks for reading this review! I just want to let everyone know that next Monday, July 22nd, will be the release date for my final Quentin Tarantino review series installment, specifically, “The Hateful Eight.” I’ll be reviewing this film just in time for Tarantino’s new film coming out next week, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Stay tuned!

Also, if you love “Spider-Man” like I do, or if you simply want to know more of my thoughts on the “Spider-Man” movies, I posted a review for every big screen “Spider-Man” film since the original Sam Raimi flick from 2002. If you want to check these out, click the links down below! Be sure to follow Scene Before through a WordPress account or email so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, I have a Facebook page, if you could do me a favor and give it a like or follow it would be very much appreciated! I want to know, did you see “Spider-Man: Far From Home?” What did you think about it? Or, as painful of a reminder as it may be, this is the first MCU film without a Stan Lee cameo. RIP, by the way. So with that being said, what is your personal favorite Stan Lee cameo? If you ask me, I’d go with the one where he tries to get into Reed and Susan’s wedding in “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,” Tony Stank from “Captain America: Civil War,” the bus driving scene from “Avengers: Infinity War,” or even though it’s not Marvel, “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies,” which basically takes the Stan Lee cameo and manages fetishize it to the core. Nevertheless, let me know your pick, that way your name will make a random appearance as a cameo in this post! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Spider-Man (2002)

Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Spider-Man 3 (2007)

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

Scene Before 2019 HALFTIME REPORT (And Glance Into the Future)

WARNING: The following post is over 8,000 words long. Disappointingly, it’s not over 9,000.

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! 2019 is midway through and this year is going by fast! As far as my personal life goes, I’m in between my first and second year of college, I am enjoying my time off, and I’m the same movie reviewing moron as usual. Things have changed, but at the same time, I’m still the same flick nerd I have always been. And I mean that literally, but we’ll get to that later. However, I wanted to try something I haven’t done before on this blog. At the end of the year, I tend to do some reflective work, most notably countdowns. And while I am not going to do that at this current midway point, I would at least like to sit myself down and go over some recent highlights related to Scene Before. At the same time, I’d like to also look into the future. Admittedly, some of this is still in planning stages, but still.

I’d like to start off with something I’d like to call “TERRIFIC 3” and “TERRIBLE 3.” I am going to list 3 movies that I have watched this year that I would recommend to people and 3 other movies that I would tell people to avoid. Now, of course, these picks are subjective, if you think differently about these films than I, it might be slightly harder to talk to each other, but you are nevertheless entitled to your different thoughts. In fact, these are not supposed to be my top 3 best or worst of the year so far. If I like a film, I’ll list it, if I don’t like a film, I’ll also list it. These are not meant to be in any particular order. Anyway, let’s begin!

TERRIFIC 3!

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Starting off the Terrific 3 is “John Wick: Chapter 3!” I went to see this film in Dolby Cinema alongside my dad, who might be a bigger “John Wick” fan than anyone else I know. He and I walked out agreeing that the action in the film is absolutely top-notch. The action in “John Wick” films is certainly the aspect that would grab my attention more than any other. Long takes, innovative setpieces, gritty violence, all of it adds up to make some of my favorite action scenes of all time. When it comes to current action franchises, I am having some slight trouble deciding whether I prefer this or “Mission: Impossible.” It’s that good!

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Up next is a stellar DreamWorks animation whose franchise I never watched religiously, but always liked, “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.” If you have ever seen the game show “Deal or No Deal,” the show always highlights the phrase “timing is everything,” and when it comes to “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” that phrase becomes more relevant than ever. This movie came out in the middle of my second semester of college, and I could not help but feel like the people behind the movie were trying to consider me in its target audience. After all, while “How To Train Your Dragon” may be a franchise directed towards families and children, this growing adult could not help but feel like a kid again. In fact, to add more to this true masterpiece of an animated film, I became more emotional during this movie than I did during perhaps more than any other. Even more than “Toy Story 3.”

Last but not least for the Terrific 3 is a movie that I decided to list because it’s on a slightly different end of the spectrum. Because let’s face it, I’m kind of recommending movies to you, and why recommend “Avengers: Endgame” when almost everyone went to see it? So let’s recommend a smaller movie, such as Terry Gilliam’s “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.” Now some would argue that this is a 2018 flick, but in the United States, which is where I live, this didn’t come out until 2019. For those of you who don’t know this movie, “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” took decades to make, and it’s about a guy who reunites with someone he worked with during a production. This person he meets with is convinced that he is Don Quixote. This did not get that big of a release in theaters, but it is worth seeing just because of its history, because despite going through “development hell,” it managed to turn out quite well! The movie is now available on home video including various VOD options.

Now let’s move onto something that probably doesn’t deserve any attention, but because I believe in equality, we’re talking about it anyway, the Terrible 3!

TERRIBLE 3!

First up is a movie that I want to put on here because what’s the harm with having an unpopular opinion? Oh wait, everything. Who cares? One of the most successful movies of the year, “Captain Marvel,” just didn’t stick the landing for me. This had a lot of hype building up to it, but I personally just couldn’t relate. And when I saw the final product, I felt like… Wait, why’s everybody laughing and cheering? Yes, there are a couple of cool moments in the movie. For example, I dug the 90’s references such as Blockbuster Video and Dial-Up Internet. Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson have some good chemistry, but when it comes to Larson in general, her performance was kind of mediocre. Granted, I know grade-A acting isn’t the biggest component of a comic book movie, but Brie Larson, an Academy Award winner, felt more like she was in a couple straight to DVD films and that’s it. Granted, I think she did a slightly better job in “Avengers: Endgame,” but her performance here simply underwhelmed me. Plus, there’s a moment in this movie that references a significant part of the MCU lore (having to do with Samuel L. Jackson) and quite honestly, the way they go about it just killed my brain.

Up next is a movie that could have been great but was simply wasted. From the creators of NOT “Firefly” comes “Serenity.” “Serenity” could be somewhat fun, not to mention a great “thinker” movie, but it manages to become more boring the more I think about it. I love the movie “Interstellar,” so I was somewhat excited to see Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway unite once again for another project. Both have talent as actors and they’ve proven they have great chemistry. Honestly, I’d just go back to watching “Interstellar” if this is the movie we’re getting. Although this movie came out in January so it should not be surprising that we would get a movie of this quality.

And finally, we have what may be my worst movie of the year should nothing surpass it, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” The sad thing about “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” is that I was actually desperately anticipating this movie. When I went to see it, I was ready for what was about to happen. Or was I? Seeing movies in IMAX may be great because it feels so big, but when they’re a big mess, what is the point? Maybe the monster fights could be fun, but if I wanted to watch this movie again, I’d probably have to be heavily drugged. Because let’s face it, as cool as big monsters are, the unforgivable part of “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” are the one-dimensional human characters. This could be slightly less intolerable if the human characters were less of a focal point during the movie, but they made me want to go back and check out some of the “Transformers” movies again! They’re THAT horrible!

I just showed you all my terrific and terrible picks, now let’s go over a few recent highlights from my blogging journey.

As usual, I kicked off my 2019 with my traditional countdowns to reflect on the year of 2018 in film. I went over the best of the year along with the worst of the year. Some of my top picks included “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “Eighth Grade,” and “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.” Some of my bottom picks included “The 15:17 To Paris,” “Uncle Drew,” and “Life of the Party.” I enjoy doing these countdowns every year and this is the first year that I started writing what I would put in the countdowns as early as August. I did not do this for every single movie, but I visualized the lists a long time prior to actually releasing them. This does not suggest that I avoided considering movies released past August, as evidenced by some of my picks.

After I did my lists, I saw my first 2019 release, which according to IMDb, is actually a 2017 release. Based on my experience and research, I’d call it a 2019 release, but still. That film by the way is “The Upside,” which is a remake of 2011’s “The Intouchables.” I personally have not seen “The Intouchables,” and while “The Upside” from my perspective is not really anything special when it comes to cinema, it is still a fun time. I went to see it at a press screening, and there were tons of laughs to be heard.

A couple weeks later I went to one of my local arthouse theatres to see a flick that I almost ended up passing on. Specifically, “Roma.” Why? Because when it comes to today’s media, Netflix is a company that I traditionally tend to avoid. But one of my local theaters managed to get access to a 70mm film print of “Roma,” which would be presented for a limited time. I took advantage of the opportunity and purchased a few tickets for a matinee show. Not only was the experience breathtaking, but the movie was one of the best of the past year. If I had to redo my top 10 lists of 2018, this would be on the best list, but I saw “Roma” after completing said lists.

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I also decided to try out a new concept this year which I have decided to make an annual tradition, the Jackoff Awards. For awhile, over the past year, I have grown to admire the Oscars based on how much respect they tend to pay towards the film industry. Granted, they’re not perfect, but what they’ve done over the years is absolutely intriguing. I thought to myself, why not do a big awards related post? Present similar categories to other major shows, I do my own comedy bits, and it was perhaps the most ambitious post I have ever done. As for Best Picture, I decided to present what was then my top 10 of 2018, which DID include “Roma,” and instead of having me choose Best Picture, I would allow my audience to choose the winner. I figured it would allow for diversity in terms of opinions, and I managed to get a surprisingly diverse number of votes. I got some votes for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “First Man,” “Ready Player One,” but the winner turned out to be last year’s biggest comic book movie, “Avengers: Infinity War.” Honestly, if there were any movie to put in my Blu-ray player on a Friday night at this point, it would most certainly be that one.

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I then continued my journey in March by going to the place that I would associate with film more than any other, Los Angeles. My family and I stayed right near Hollywood Boulevard and I got to visit a few media-related sights including Warner Brothers Studios, the TCL Chinese Theatre (where I saw “Captain Marvel”), and Universal Studios Hollywood. I also got the chance to witness a live taping of “Conan.” While I didn’t make a big post related to this, I managed to briefly discuss some of my highlights here and there.

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For those of you who are curious about my “Conan” taping experience, I managed to witness almost two full shows. Why? Conan O’Brien had to be somewhere when his Thursday show would air, so naturally, he had a demand, he wanted us, Thursday’s audience, to “make Tuesday’s audience look like s*it.” We got see all of Tuesday’s show, which had a couple comedy bits and an interview with Timothy Olyphant (Live Free or Die Hard, Santa Clarita Diet) and a good fraction of a Thursday night show which featured comedian Moses Storm, who joked about cell phone users, “Shark Tank,” and revealed a story where he would tape episodes of Conan O’Brien’s older talk show episodes over his religion-related educational programming. By the way, Conan in person looks like a real life action figure. Maybe it’s the makeup. Maybe it’s the lighting in the studio, but my gosh.

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I also got to visit an RPX venue for the first time. For those who don’t know about RPX, they are a premium format that can be found exclusively in cinemas under Regal Entertainment Group ownership. I didn’t plan on attending RPX when I did, but I managed to get something off my list of movie-related things to do before I died. After all, “Us” just came out, and I was in the Boston area. I figured just to save time, I’d go for the earlier, but more expensive show that Regal Cinemas Fenway was providing, as opposed to another show which would be starting a half hour later. For your information, I was aware that I was going into an RPX screen. I didn’t mind my decision, I figured if I wanted to see “Us,” I’d go see it in full scale glory because I was really anticipating it. While I have still yet to see “Get Out” to this day, I have heard about its overwhelmingly positive reception and I was expecting that Jordan Peele would deliver another sick movie. While “Us” was not perfect, it was definitely worth seeing, and I wouldn’t mind watching it again. As for the RPX experience itself, I thought the seats were not too bad. The capacity was through the roof, the screen, while not entirely wall to wall, was huge. As for the sound… It is undeniably better than a standard theater, but I was a little underwhelmed. Maybe I went to see the wrong movie, maybe the employees turned the speakers down, but when I compare the sound to something like IMAX or Dolby Cinema at AMC, I would go back to both of those places first.

Moving onto April, I managed to survive the whole “Avengers: Endgame” ticket buying craze. For those not fully immersed into what I just stated, I must point out that “Avengers: Endgame” tickets went on sale April 2nd, and the Internet went balls to the wall nuts when it came to snagging tickets. I had to wait in Fandango’s line, AMC was having problems, and it got to the point where I had to buy tickets from a somewhat local cinema chain, on their own, slightly buggy website, just to make sure I could get into school on time. I almost took the train to one of my local AMCs because I could stop by there on the way to school. If I did that, I am willing to bet I would have missed out on opening night of “Endgame,” which was the day I was shooting for. After all I did want to get my review out as soon as possible, and I did manage to score a couple tickets on remaining good seats for a 9PM show. Not at an AMC, but at a Showcase Cinemas. While it was not my first choice, I don’t regret going there, because an hour before going into the cinema, I got a glimpse at everyone leaving the 22 MCU movie marathon the theater was showing over a few days. Everyone was being applauded, and they left with some merch. I recorded this aftermath on Facebook Live, and despite my camera’s focusing problems and poor cellular service, I managed to get some respectable footage. Also as a Bostonian, I was proud of myself to catch a reporter from one of my local news channels, WBZ, or CBS Channel 4. To be specific, Tashanea Whitlow. As for the premiere itself, the movie was fun, and the three hour runtime was rather justified given what we as an audience received. I didn’t think it was perfect, I’d much rather watch “Infinity War,” but it was a great finale to over ten years of films. I will also say, this may be due to where I went to see the movie, seeing “Infinity War” was also a better experience. Because I went to see it at a 7PM show on opening Thursday on an eight story IMAX screen. If you have ever gone to see an event-type film in India, that is one of the most solid comparisons I could make to my experience. It was like going to a Stanley Cup game or something. “Endgame,” which was in a sold out theater in regular 2D, had barely any applause (although some reactions here and there), and out of everyone in the theater, I may have been the most obnoxious. If I had to make a sports comparison, I’d probably say it was like going to a slightly more competitive golf tournament. It was lively at times, but not like the roof was being blown off the place. I know some people are not particularly fans of going to theaters where everyone is reacting to the film’s key moments, but as a fan of the MCU, it’s something that I considered to be a privilege during my “Infinity War” experience.

May was an interesting month for me, because I just finished my first year of college, so I got a little more active on the Scene Before side of things. I’m now trying to earn revenue with the blog, I saw more movies than I did in months such as March or February, and I even changed my domain name. Unfortunately, scenebefore.com was taken, so I wanted to make sure I can fit something that would associate with me, but also be precise. I thought something like moviereviewingmoron.com, while definitely appropriate, is a tad too long. Luckily, after some searching, I found out that flicknerd.com was available. Did I ever call myself “flick nerd” on this blog? No, but I figured it would be a cool name to have because its simplicity will probably gain enough traction overtime. It’s hard to tell though, because this advanced blogging journey, at least from my point of view, is just getting started. I’m looking for sponsors, more potential viewers, but I’m also trying to be the same movie reviewing moron that everyone has come to know.

One of my highlight posts of the month is titled “What THE BIG BANG THEORY Has Meant To Me: A Nerd’s Perspective.” For those who are unaware, CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” just finished it’s twelfth and final season on the air, so I figured I’d take some time to remind the world of what the show has meant to me as a fan, as someone who would constantly tune in to new episodes, and most of all, as a nerd on the autism spectrum. I probably won’t have time to give a detailed description of everything I said, so if you want to read the post, click this link!

I also saw another one of my favorite films so far this year, “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum!” Not only that, but like I mentioned earlier, I managed to catch a Dolby Cinema presentation of it, which surprisingly, didn’t make me feel like I was getting shot in the head, which may be a good thing. Seriously though, “John Wick: Chapter 3” is probably the best installment of the franchise yet, and Keanu Reeves might now just have a better trilogy than “The Matrix!”

But I cannot say the end of the month was great, because “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” happened. Sad day. Even though I went to see the film in full scale IMAX glory, it didn’t feel like something worth my time.

Moving onto June, I managed to do something pretty cool with my dad. He and I go to the movies together a lot because for the most part we have similar tastes. We match together when it comes to sci-fi, action, comic book-based material, comedy, etc. However he has never been to an advance press screening, so I thought just for fun he and I could do so for the new movie, “Men In Black: International.” It’s a movie that I probably would have checked out had I waited for it to release everywhere. After all, “Men In Black 3” is my favorite movie of 2012. However, since this was free, not to mention, early, I thought dad and I could trek to the theater and see what this movie had in store. I personally enjoyed it. I know some people were scared of how this movie would turn out based on the marketing (Then again, it’s a Sony film, whaddya expect these days?). I thought the first trailer was alright, but not great. The second trailer was an improvement and actually got me more interested in the film. As for the film itself, it is not Shakespeare, but it’s a fun time at the movies. Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson have great chemistry together and I think Kumail Nanjiani’s character is a fantastic comic relief.

The best movie I saw this month was “Toy Story 4,” which I must point out, I probably was not even looking forward to back when it was announced. Boy, times do change! Unfortunately, I had to witness brain cell erasers such as “Replicas,” which I bought on Blu-ray since I had some Best Buy rewards to waste. I also saw “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” which is worse than getting scratched in the eye by a cat. Yes, Harrison Ford is in it. Yes, he is the best part of the movie. But I might as well be at the point where I would rather have a dog sniff my butt then go so that film again!

Now that I have recapped my highlights, I just want to remind everyone of what’s being planned for the future. Here is my unofficial schedule for the second half of 2019!

JULY:

Throughout the month of July, there are not that many movies coming out compared to other months in the year (at least according to Wikipedia), but I am planning on catching a few blockbuster highlights such as “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” despite how little anticipation I have for it. I also really want to catch Disney’s live-action remake of “The Lion King.” I am not a fan of the Disney live-action remake trend, but I feel that this movie will be a great theater experience and also rather compelling. I don’t know how much it is going to be a carbon copy of the original or how much it’ll go in its own direction, but I am somewhat curious as to what will come of it. I know it is longer than the original, which slightly worries me, because it could add something that perhaps the 1990s film didn’t even need, therefore ruining my experience. Plus, it’s being directed by Jon Faverau, who also worked on 2016’s “The Jungle Book,” another Disney live-action remake, which was one of my favorite movies of said year. I also really want to check out “Crawl.” The trailer didn’t have me fully onboard, but I am still curious as to how this film will turn out. Plus, it’s being produced by Sam Raimi, who is known for his work in the horror industry, and one of my favorite comic book movie directors.

This does not mean that I want to ignore independent work, because on the same weekend as “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” A24 is releasing one of my most anticipated movies of the summer. Specifically, “Midsommar.” When your movie is A: Directed by Ari Aster, who had a phenomenal feature-length directorial debut last year with “Hereditary,” another A24 film, and B: Described by Aster as “a Wizard of Oz for perverts,” I am instantly intrigued. “Midsommar” takes place in rural Sweden as a young couple takes a vacation and settles in the area. Alongside their friends, they eventually discover that this area has a festival that takes place once every ninety years, which creeps them all out. I want to see Ari Aster succeed, so hopefully this film does well.

Speaking of successful filmmakers, another well-known director in the industry, specifically Quentin Tarantino, is going to be releasing his ninth film, “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood.” And to be honest, as anticipated as I am to see this film, I have to let something out. I have not seen much of Tarantino’s work. I will most likely be going to see “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood” when it comes out, maybe in 35mm, but before I do that, I am going to be doing a small series of reviews for Quentin Tarantino movies. In fact, I already have a few lined up. Specifically, “Pulp Fiction,” “Django Unchained,” and “The Hateful Eight.” Those reviews will be done as weekly projects and they should all be up before the official release date of “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood,” July 26th.

 

AUGUST:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESRemember how I would occasionally announce I am going to cons from time to time? For some reason I have failed to do that this year. It’s not like I am not going anywhere, but I have just failed to put myself in front of my keyboard and try to say, “Hey guys, here’s where I’m going, stalk me!” Not that don’t mind the attention, I’m just saying. But if you really want to know about my next con, I do have it booked, and I will be going to Terrificon, which for those of you who have been following me for some time, you’d know that is also the first con I ever documented on this blog. And I am thinking of doing something a little different this time, just to spice things up. I’m trying to push more video content into my posts, maybe I’ll insert a compilation of the con’s highlights. I’ll record it on my camera, maybe my phone, whichever has more memory at the time. Maybe I’ll post it on YouTube and link it here. Who knows? But here on Scene Before I am trying find ways to innovate, and maybe this could be one of them.

Speaking of cons, this is NO GUARANTEE, partially because I have not even bought tickets, but there is one convention that is about a half hour away from my house that I kind of want to go to. Whether or not I am going, that’s a different story, but should things go in a certain direction, I may end up going to Fan Expo Boston, which is a con I have surprisingly never been to. And the guest list this year, aside from a couple big cancellations, is solid so far. You’ve got Zachary Levi (Shazam!, Tangled), who I will say, even if you are not into his work, he is a fun guy to meet, he is upbeat and has a massive sense of charm. Part of the cast of “Blade Runner” is going to be there including Sean Young, Rutger Hauer, and Edward James Olmos. I have a feeling there are more guest announcements coming our way, and if there are, I cannot wait to hear them, because there have been a lot of cool names who were there over the years to the point where I almost have slight regrets on missing out. If I were to get tickets to Fan Expo, I’d probably just go for one day. After all, Terrificon is the week prior, and I am staying overnight during that weekend, so my budget might be slightly higher at that event compared to Fan Expo.

Moving away from cons, I will say that my biggest film catches for August right now have to be “Hobbs & Shaw,” “Dora and the Lost City of Gold,” “Good Boys,” “Where’d You Go Bernadette?,” and “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.” There is not much from August that I am truly anticipating, but I will inevitably go see a few things here and there. And if you want to know something, I only put down “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” because let’s face it, “Dora the Explorer” was a part of my childhood, and nostalgia equals money nowadays. Granted, this movie looks a tad more adult-friendly than the cartoon. But am I looking forward to it? Hell no. In fact, I am thinking it is only going to ruin my childhood, but I might as well give it a chance just because I am a nice guy. I saw the recent “Power Rangers” film partially out of nostalgia and that worked for me, might as well do it with “Dora” and see if that works.

 

SEPTEMBER:
If I had to predict my least active month for the rest of the year, I have to call it right now, September is certainly a contender. For one thing, I’m going back to college, so I need to adjust to a new routine. I’m still going to keep my promise of doing at least one post within every 7 days or so, that way you can keep witnessing my constant dedication to this blog. I’m probably not gonna go see “IT: Chapter Two” mainly because I still have not seen the first one. Although the cast is pretty nifty from what I have experienced. But I am interested in “The Goldfinch,” I have some slight intrigue towards “The Report,” and maybe I’ll check out “Abominable.” I saw one of the trailers for it, and it looks like it might not be a new animated classic or anything, but I am somewhat curious to check it out, partially because even as an adult, I still have a slight need to check out animations from time to time. Plus, it is from DreamWorks, and I’m currently trying to seek out their next big thing. “Kung Fu Panda” is done, “How to Train Your Dragon” seems to be done, maybe this, or something else, can be their next kickstarter to a solid franchise. Then again, apparently they’re making sequels to “The Boss Baby,” “The Croods,” and “Trolls,” so why should I expect absolute quality? Nevertheless, it’s worth a shot.

Although if you had to ask me what my most anticipated movie would be for the month of September, it’s a no brainer, “Ad Astra.” I love space, I love compelling, dramatic stories involving space travel, even if it is close to Earth. Plus, the second half of the year for numerous ages of my life have typically contained at least one epic space movie. Maybe “Ad Astra” will be the next to join the ranks with other movies from this decade like “The Martian” and “Interstellar.”

 

OCTOBER:

This October is pretty interesting to me, because there will be a weekend where my mother and sister are out of the house and I will quite honestly, need something to do. I can’t just stay trapped behind walls! I have to see the world! Nevertheless, that particular weekend is the release of “Joker,” which I am inevitably going to check out no matter what, but for the sake of having an early review, I’m going to check it out as soon as possible. I have Fridays off from school this upcoming semester, maybe I’ll do it then. The following week is the release of Will Smith’s “Gemini Man,” directed by Ang Lee, so I might see that. And the week after is slightly bigger because Taika Waititi is coming out with his latest directorial feature, “Jojo Rabbit,” where believe it or not, Waititi himself plays Hitler. I never pictured that, but this film certainly has my attention. That same week is also the release of “Zombieland: Double Tap.” I had fun with the first “Zombieland.” I enjoyed the chemistry between Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson, and it has, at least to me, a pure highlight from Bill Murray’s acting career. And to my surprise, he’s coming back for this movie! I also want to check out “The Aeronauts” which is being released by Amazon, and the reason why I want to check it out is because it is Amazon’s first attempt at an IMAX run and it is also being released a week early in that format. The film will technically be in standard theaters in November after it’s week-long IMAX run. And if this is the case, this reminds me of the excitement I had for Robert Zemeckis’ “The Walk,” because that released a week early in IMAX and that was quite an experience.

Speaking of lesser known films, one other thing I want to check out is the South Korean flick “Parasite.” It’s getting tons of buzz at film festivals, having earned Palme d’Or at Cannes, winning the Sydney Film Festival, and already making tons of money in Korea. The film’s US release is this October, which would put it in a reasonable spot to be remembered by Academy and Golden Globe voters.

 

NOVEMBER:
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This November is particularly interesting. Because November 1st is the day I’m heading off to Providence for Rhode Island Comic Con, and that’s the day after Halloween! I’m not cosplaying (at least I have no plans to right now) at this con, but I just want to walk around the convention floor for hours and stumble upon every costumed individual and wish them a Happy Halloween. Nevertheless, I am staying true to my annual tradition of going to Rhode Island Comic Con. The guest list is usually filled to the brim, so I cannot wait to hear more announcements over these upcoming months. Even so, the convention has had some huge announcements for guests thus far. Some guests include Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy, Blade Runner 2049), William Shatner (Star Trek: The Original Series, Boston Legal), George Takei (Star Trek: The Original Series, Kim Possible), Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead, Final Space), and to my utter surprise, and possible delight, Chevy Chase. By the way, Chase made an announcement about his upcoming appearance online and the video he made for it is very funny.

Sticking to the announcement wishlist concept, I recently made a submission on the con’s website suggesting names of five possible guests that I want to see. They include: James Murray, Curtis Armstrong, Kunal Nayyar, Doug Walker, and James Holzhauer. I could be mistaking Doug Walker for somebody else, but even if I am, he would be fun to see at the con. Of all these names, the one that really stands out to me is James Holzhauer. Out of all the people on this list, he is the least “celebrity-like” of all of them. James Murray comes close, but barely misses the mark. For those who are unaware, Holzhauer is the name of the recent “Jeopardy!” contestant who wouldn’t stop taking the show’s money. He has nearly broken Ken Jennings’ regular winnings record, only to be stopped by an opponent who beat him by more than double his final total for the game he lost. I think Holzhauer appearing at Rhode Island Comic Con would not just be unique, but also entirely appropriate. After all, it would probably bring in a new audience of people who would otherwise skip out on cons. Plus, as a game show enthusiast, I cannot help but keep talking about Holzhauer like he’s my own child. It’s almost as if being able to catch the latest “Jeopardy!” episode or at least reading up on the latest stats was the ultimate bragging right. Also, this year I’m going with a VIP ticket, which comes with various perks.

VIP Ticket Perks:

  • 3 day admission
  • Early bird admission (9AM Sat & Sun)
  • Private VIP Entrance
  • Private VIP Lounge
  • 3 Exclusive RI Comic Con Show Prints
  • Rhode Island Comic Con Swag Bag
  • 20% off RICC Branded Merchandise
  • Exclusive VIP 2019 RI Comic Con Badge
  • Exclusive RICC AR Comics-Comic Book
  • Exclusive RICC Comic Book
  • VIP Autograph Fast Pass Line
  • VIP Photo Op Fast Pass Line
  • Chance to Win 2020 VIP Pass
  • One Exclusive Mystery Item

I am personally excited for the con, and believe it or not, it is not the first time I’m getting a VIP badge, because the first time I went, which was in 2015, I managed to get said badge as well.

That same weekend is also the release of the new “Terminator” film, “Terminator: Dark Fate.” It is a cliche title, but its first trailer, personally had me intrigued. I’m excited to see what Tim Miller has up his sleeve in terms of direction. I am somewhat excited to see James Cameron involved again, although I am slightly worried because we now have more disposable “Terminator” movies than memorable “Terminator” movies. Let’s just hope we can change that.

Some of my other most anticipated films of the month include “Ford v. Ferrari,” “Knives Out,” and “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” “Ford v. Ferrari” takes place during a race to determine which of the two recently specified car brands will dominate. “Knives Out” is an upcoming mystery crime film directed by Rian Johnson. I did not like his interpretation of the “Star Wars” universe, but it does not mean I am not willing to check out his future work. Plus, this movie has a number of big names that I imagine a lot of people would like to see. Some include Daniel Craig (Casino Royale, Logan Lucky), Chris Evans (Captain America: The First Avenger, Gifted), Lakeith Stanfield (Black Panther, Sorry To Bother You), Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049, War Dogs), Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween, Scream Queens), the world’s best Kevin Spacey impersonator, Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World, A Beautiful Mind), and recent Jackoff winner Toni Collette (Hereditary, The Sixth Sense). As for “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” it is in the current conversation to be my most anticipated film for the remainder of the year. For one thing, I saw “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” last year, which much like “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” is about Mister Rogers. That documentary not only compelled me, but reminded me of my personal flaws in my childhood, and maybe inspired me to be a better person. I still rage out on this blog a lot, but it’s something that I don’t really do for me, I do it for the entertainment of others, so that’s different. But it reminded me of how much it pays to respect those around you. Plus, TOM HANKS IS PLAYING THE STARRING ROLE?! Who else could do that?! He’s practically the nicest guy in Hollywood! SIGN ME UP! Believe it or not, that comes out the same weekend as “Frozen II,” but who cares about that?! Rogers for life!

 

DECEMBER:

The end of the year is always a crazy time for me, but just like last year, it’ll perhaps be less busy than it has been in other years. My fall semester will end during the month, and I’ll be in the cycle of watching previous movies from the year at home. This does not mean that I’ll be skipping theatrical releases, because award season is in full swing. This means I’ll be paying extra close attention to films that receive Golden Globe nominations, and as for reviewing movies I watch at home, the chances of that are very slim. But this does not mean that big blockbusters are entirely off the table. For one thing, they tend to sometimes do pretty well in certain technical categories, and we have another “Star Wars” film this year. I have intentions to go see “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” opening Thursday night, mainly because I want to buy tickets as early as possible. If I can’t do that, I am going to try extra hard to find an available press screening, because aside from “Endgame,” “The Rise of Skywalker” is perhaps the biggest movie of 2019. Aside from being titled “Star Wars,” it is supposed to end “The Skywalker Saga,” and J.J. Abrams is directing again. I was not a huge fan of “The Last Jedi,” but I love “The Force Awakens” like it is my own brother. I am honestly more excited for “The Rise of Skywalker” than I was for “The Last Jedi” before that came out because I was somewhat worried that “The Last Jedi” would be a carbon copy of “The Empire Strikes Back.” Turns out it wasn’t, despite similarities to older films in the saga. And I even say this knowing how some things in “The Last Jedi” turned out. Having seen the trailer back in April, knowing certain plot points that could play out, and realizing J.J. Abrams could save this sequel trilogy, I am rather giddy for this December. But despite my excitement, I gotta ask. HOW IS PALPATINE STILL ALIVE?! I am excited to possibly see him in this film, but really?! When he was thrown down the pit in “Return of the Jedi,” yeeaah, HE F*CKING DIED. There is no coming back from that. I’m intrigued, I just need to be convinced.

When it comes to smaller films, one such film I am very excited for is “Little Women.” The film is supposed to explore the lives of sisters as they live in 1860s Massachusetts. It may not be my type of movie on paper, but one reason why I am excited is because the film is being directed by Greta Gerwig, who also helmed one of the best coming of age stories I have seen in recent years, “Lady Bird.” In addition to that, the cast is killer! This movie’s got Meryl Streep (Sophie’s Choice, The Iron Lady), Emma Watson (Beauty and the Beast, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone), Laura Dern (Big Little Lies, Jurassic Park), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird, Mary Queen of Scots), and Timothée Chalamet (Interstellar, Beautiful Boy)! I am also probably going to be looking into “1917,” which is a war film. Those tend to often go for awards, which is why I have my sights set on it. There are a couple films that I might check out that I would probably regret seeing, but the only real film that I’d struggle with reviewing is “Fair and Balanced.” Granted, this does not mean I am not looking forward to the film, nor am I expecting to be underwhelmed with it, in fact it sounds rather intriguing from a storytelling point of view. But the movie is about relationships between women and Fox News owner Roger Ailes, and I feel that it is going to be rather hard to keep my political opinions out of the review. I’m not saying I am a core conservative that keeps a closed mind, I try to see all sides and then form my own opinion. I have made various political jokes here and there on Scene Before, but politics is not my top priority, especially when you consider how divided we are as a country right now. Although I did manage to check out “Vice” last year, which was pretty good, but part of it had to do with the buzz it has been getting. Who knows? Maybe I’ll check out “Fair and Balanced,” for all I know it could be the best movie of the year, but I feel like it would be hard to review if I’m going to have to inject my experience with how the world operates in terms of politics. We’ll just have to see.

And of course, I’ll be finishing off the year, or perhaps more likely, kicking off next year, by recapping my top 10 BEST and WORST movies of 2019. I enjoy doing these countdowns every year, because I get to honor films one more time, and also give myself a minor stress release.

Although I must remind you, it is 2019, and here on Scene Before I am trying to constantly find new ways to deliver exciting content to you all. In 2017, I did a couple of cutaway style parodies, in 2018 I did a post talking about my Blu-ray collection, and just this year I introduced the world to the Jackoff Awards. The question is, where I do I go next? I’ve done tons of countdowns, reviews of the past, reviews of the present, what could be next? I know! ALL OF IT IN ONE. Ladies and gentlemen, if you have been following Scene Before and saw one of my posts in April, you’d know that I put out a trailer for something I once referred to as “Project 2020.” Although, based on statistics, I doubt many of you have even glanced at that post. But for those of you who know what I’m talking about, good for you. You get a “good job” sticker! But for those of you who don’t know, watch this trailer down below!

*ALL COPYRIGHTS BELONG TO THEIR RESPECTIVE OWNERS*

That’s right! I am going to be crafting a list of my highlight movies of the 2010’s, and I must have you know, I am setting this list up to be bigger than the lists I traditionally do at the end of the year. While this is still in planning stages, I will be intending to make this list perhaps a top 25, maybe a top 50. I was also debating on a top 100 as well. Depends on how much time I have. I am honestly MORE THAN EXCITED to work on this list, and release it to you all. I started Scene Before in 2016, which means I did not get too many chances to talk about films from years prior, so not only is this a personal reflection of various films I watched during my blogging journey, but a reflection of an entire ten year span that I lived through before becoming this active on the Internet. I’m not gonna say anything, but 2014 was a great year for film as far I’m concerned, so depending on how the rest of 2019 plays out, we might see a good number of films I’m passionate about from that year make the list. This is not to put down any other year from this decade, I’m just giddy of what’s to come…

And by the way, a worst list is in the works too.

At home I am making an effort to watch various films that have come out this decade just to catch up, and maybe add something to the best or worst list at the end of the year. I’m not gonna get into too much detail, because I do want to save some secrets for when the list comes out, but I am stoked just to be working on this.

Thanks for reading this post! If you like Scene Before and want to see more content, consider following me either with an email or WordPress account! As for upcoming content, I want to remind everyone, in case they forgot by now, I will soon be starting my Quentin Tarantino review series, which will eventually culminate with a review either at the end of July or beginning of August with my thoughts on “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” I cannot wait to get started on this, Tarantino is a filmmaker I have often admired behind the scenes, but I have barely seen any of his material. Now is a good time to start! Also, be sure to check out my Facebook page! Get your latest updates from the movie reviewing moron by using Facebook, the home of some of the all-time laziest efforts at wishing someone a happy birthday. Be sure to stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, is there something that you would like to see be done here on Scene Before, perhaps for this half of 2019? Or, what is your favorite Scene Before moment, post, anything that I have done so far this year? It can even be this one for all I care! Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Men In Black: International (2019): Thor and Valkyrie Play with Toys

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“Men In Black: International” is directed by F. Gary Gray (The Fate of the Furious, Friday) and stars Chris Hemsworth (Thor, Rush), Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok, Creed), Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation, The Girl On the Train), Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick, Silicon Valley), Rafe Spall (The Big Short, Life of Pi), Les Twins, Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks, Love Actually), Liam Neeson (Non-Stop, Cold Pursuit), and Tim Blaney (Muppets Tonight, Guild Wars 2). This film is a spinoff that takes place in the popular “Men In Black” franchise, which would traditionally star Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, but this time, as you can assume by the recently mentioned word “spinoff,” the story is diverging away from its usual storytelling methods. Although Frank the Pug is back, which is awesome. This spinoff revolves around agents H and M (coincidence?) as they save the planet from alien-related attacks.

Going into this movie, I had my expectations set somewhere around the middle. I enjoy the “Men In Black” movies. I own the first one on DVD, and I have seen the second and third films as well. When it comes to the second film, I thought it was decent. Just another case of the sequel not surpassing the original, but still a good time. Surprisingly, probably not just for me, but this might surprise a lot of you, of Will Smith’s trilogy, my favorite of them all is “Men In Black 3.” There was one point where I would watch Starz all the time, and throughout the year of 2013, “Men In Black 3” was probably the thing I rewatched the most on that channel. I admired the film for its use of time travel, some of the dialogue, and the surprisingly emotional ending. When I first heard they were doing a “Men In Black” spinoff, I didn’t particularly know what to think. I also remember there once being an idea for a crossover between “21 Jump Street” and “Men In Black.” I have not seen “21 Jump Street,” so I can’t fully give my thoughts on how much sense this idea would make. However, despite my slight apprehensions, which I still had after witnessing the first trailer for “Men In Black: International,” I still went in with some hopes that this movie would be worthy of the franchise name. I will say though, the final trailer, is actually a pretty good piece of marketing. It got me a bit more interested in the movie than I was before.

So, how was the movie? It’s the best “Men In Black” spinoff ever!

It’s also the only one.

Seriously though, how was the movie? It was pretty good. If you ask me, I think “Men In Black: International” has all the ingredients for a cliche, but effective, summer blockbuster. Cool action, witty dialogue, charming characters, neat effects (for the most part), and some nifty concepts here and there. It’s good enough for you to go with a few friends and forget about reality for a couple hours, and then, I dunno, maybe catch on cable one day. And I say that with all seriousness, because it is probably the most “fun” I’ve had in a theater this year. It’s not the best movie of 2019. In fact, there are other “fun” movies that I saw that I would technically consider better than this, but if you if you ask me which movie made me grin like an idiot for most of the runtime in 2019, “Men In Black: International” is certainly a contender.

The “Men In Black” franchise has always seemed to have mastered the art of comedy, and “Men In Black: International” is no exception to this rule. Unfortunately, while Frank the Pug does make a brief appearance in this film, he’s not a critical character. But we do manage to get an equally as awesome comic relief character by the name of Pawny, played by the likable and talented Kumail Nanjiani. His backstory, which is explained during the film, made me care for him, and he had a number of gutbusting lines here and there. Speaking of gutbusters, Pawny’s charisma does suggest that all the other characters are less funny or less interesting, because Chris Hemsworth is the bomb.

My respect for Chris Hemsworth has grown so much over the past few years, even though I hated “Ghostbusters,” even though “Thor: Ragnarok” was not what I wanted it to be, I still had respect for Chris Hemsworth because in general, he makes the idea of being charming the exact opposite of a chore. And when it comes to “Men In Black: International,” I think Hemsworth was one word: charismatic. He had fantastic lines, he truly feels like an expert in his field, maybe a bit of a goofy smart-ass who simultaneously takes his job seriously, and a guy who I would not mind having lunch with. Also, I mentioned the excellence of this film’s comedic elements, and I will certainly link an inside joke involving Hemsworth’s character. If you have ever heard of Marvel or Thor, there is a shot that will have you dying. Prepare for it if you ever see this movie.

Speaking of Hemsworth, I’d say he also had great chemistry with the film’s other lead, Tessa Thompson, but then again, that should not be too surprising since they have worked together before in multiple Marvel films, most notably “Thor: Ragnarok.” In fact, if I had to be honest, I think the duo’s chemistry here in “Men In Black: International” is better than it was in “Thor: Ragnarok,” because I feel the actors’ personalities meshed together when it comes to collective line delivery and interactions. I was able to buy into their partnership, and they worked together quite well.

I also really liked the big gun the marketing revealed at one point. If you remember the final trailer where our main characters test a gun in a desert, that makes for a couple highlights in the film. The gun does not get heavy usage, but it is probably the most admirable weapon in the film, which is saying a lot.

However, like most movies, “Men In Black: International” comes with its imperfections. Like a number of films I have seen recently, this movie suffers from some minor pacing issues, which almost made me lose interest in the story. Also, compared to a couple other “Men In Black” films, this installment feels a tad disposable. I’d watch it again, but I would not call it the holy grail of summer blockbusters. And as mentioned earlier in the post, a lot of the effects worked, but it doesn’t mean all of them did. When the movie started, I got a glimpse at a creature who was in front of young Agent M. It looked like something out of a B-rate “Avatar” film or perhaps live-action “Sonic the Hedgehog,” although, probably much more competent than that. It didn’t look revolting, but absolutely artificial. There was also almost no real threat. While various baddies appear throughout the film, it’s almost impossible to pinpoint the most threatening of them all, at least for a period of time, and it almost took me out of the movie. Another aspect I didn’t like is the Lexus product placement, but at the same time, compared to “Hitman: Agent 47” and that film’s relationship with Audi, I can tolerate Lexus in this film by MILES. Pun most certainly intended. Then again, this film had a decent amount of positives to which point, the negatives almost don’t even matter. I had enough fun with “Men In Black: International” that I felt in the zone. Do I want to see another story with Chris Hemsworth or Tessa Thompson? That’s still up for debate from my perspective, but I still managed to enjoy what I saw.

In the end, “Men In Black: International” had me smiling, laughing, and immersed. If there is one aspect of movies that I personally felt has improved since I first started Scene Before in 2016, it is comedy, and movies like “Men In Black: International” support that sentiment. Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson make a good team, I enjoyed the humor, and it made me, surprisingly, appreciate a “Men In Black” story that didn’t have Will Smith in it. Although technically speaking, he does appear at one point, I won’t say how. Also, part of me may be wondering however if my positive, “smile on my face” thoughts related to this film, may be due to the collective atmosphere in the theater. Because just about everyone was laughing from one point to the next and the cinema was nearly full. Then again, I saw “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” in a full cinema where everyone was laughing and I hated that piece of crap. Part of me wonders if my thoughts as of now, are simply fueled by what the collective vibe must have been. Maybe if I watch the film again, said thoughts could end up changing. But I don’t care, because I’m going to give “Men In Black: International” a 7/10. Thanks for reading this review! I just want to let everyone know that I just recently reached my 300 post mark on Scene Before, so if you want to check it out, click this link! The post involves me going over my complete Blu-ray collection, which features a video I uploaded to YouTube, partially because WordPress would not let me upload it directly. 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 “Men In Black: International?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite “Men In Black” movie? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!