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.

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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!

CON ANNOUNCEMENT: I’m Going to Terrificon 2019!

Image result for terrificon

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! If you have followed my blog over the past couple of years, you’d know that I occasionally cover my experiences at conventions, and the first one I ever did was the annual Terrificon. Therefore, it should perhaps be no surprise that I am returning to the con for the third time in a row! If you have read my recent “halftime” post, you’d notice that one of my announcements for August is my return to this con. But for the sake of tradition, I thought I would provide a preview to this event in depth.

For those who don’t know about Terrificon, it is an annual event held every year in the state of Connecticut. In recent years, the event has taken place at the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, 15 minutes away from its main competitor, Foxwoods. This year, the event returns in Mohegan Sun’s Earth Expo & Convention Center, a venue where the convention happened to be held for the first time ever in 2018, making it one of the earliest events to have occurred in said spot. The con primarily focuses on comic books, comic artists, gaming, cosplay, sci-fi, fantasy, animation, and more. It is organized by Big Fedora Marketing, LLC and Mitch Hallock, who has spent years in design and marketing. They are also responsible for another Connecticut-based convention, CTGamerCon. I have never been, but I have been curious about it for awhile. Per usual, this convention is being held this August, but due to the actions one of the convention’s competitors, they have decided to hold this year’s con on the second weekend of August (9-11) as opposed to the third weekend of August (16-18). Why? Another New England con, specifically Fan Expo Boston, is being held on August’s third weekend instead of their usual spot, which is the second weekend.

Regardless of whatever time it is held, the organizers are definitely promising a fun time. There are multiple recognizable celebrity guests, a number of big comic artists, and tons of shops to visit for all your nerdy needs.

One notable celebrity crew uniting for Terrificon comes from the show “Animaniacs.” This con is said to have Rob Paulsen (Yakko), Jess Harnell (Wakko), and Maurice LaMarche (Ralph the Guard). All three guests will be showing up, signing autographs, and doing photo ops. They’ll also have the option to voice record for a certain price. I cannot say whether or not I’ll be meeting all three of these people, but Jess Harnell has recently gotten me curious because I just found out that he did the voice of Crash Bandicoot, the iconic video game character from the 1990s.

Other voiceover related guests include Larry Kenney (SilverHawks, ThunderCats), Tony Todd (Transformers, Justice League), Maile Flanagan (Ice Age, Naruto), and Phil LaMarr (Family Guy, Star Wars: The Clone Wars). Of all these voice actors, I’d be very likely to meet Phil LaMarr, for one thing, he plays Ollie on “Family Guy” and I would love to hear his character “see how things are looking” at the con. But he also played a smaller role in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction,” which I just watched for the first time and reviewed here on Scene Before. I would probably bring my “Pulp Fiction” Blu-ray for him to sign, maybe chat with him for at least a few minutes, because why not? Depends on the line though…

Although, if I had speculate from here, I am willing to bet LaMarr’s line will be considerably short compared to a guest like Val Kilmer. As some of you may know, he played Batman back in the 1990s when Joel Schumacher’s “Batman Forever” came out. So I am expecting at least one “Bat Nipple” Batman cosplay at this convention. It has to happen. Granted, George Clooney could have shown up and this would probably be much more likely, but Kilmer had the nips as well! But I am somewhat excited for him to be here, that way I have the opportunity to possibly ask some things about “Top Gun: Maverick,” a movie coming out next year that I am really excited for. Unfortunately however, I don’t know if I am going to get to do that, because I have no desire to get an autograph or photo op with Kilmer, especially when looking at the prices that he asks for. But I also looked at the panel schedule for this year and it appears, unless there is not enough specification or I am just completely missing something, there is going to be no panel for Kilmer.

Speaking of “Batman,” another guest related to the franchise, Robert Wuhl, AKA Alexander Knox in Tim Burton’s 1989 “Batman” movie, will also be showing up. However, even though I imagine a lot of people are desiring to stand near Wuhl, I think there is one guest I have yet to mention that will knock some people’s socks off.

BILLY.

DEE.

WILLIAMS.

That’s right, Harvey Dent himself, but much more importantly, LANDO F*CKING CALRISSIAN from the “Star Wars” franchise will be showing up to Terrificon. I would probably bet $1,000, and appropriately so since the con is taking place in a casino, that Billy Dee Williams will have the biggest line for all the con’s guests. He has set himself up as a geek icon! These two franchises are enough to get him some attention at this con. Plus, he is going to be in the upcoming “Star Wars” film, “The Rise of Skywalker,” which will easily generate some attention. I will definitely be going to Williams’ panel, which is being held on Saturday at 1PM. However, I do not think I’ll be getting a signature or photo op. Why? Just look at the prices! For personal items, a signature is $100. For an item at the table that happens to be 8 x 10 inches, it’s $105. For an item at the table that happens to be 11 x 17 inches, it’s $110! Granted, it would be nice to stand in line and make a commitment for Billy Dee Williams, but based on statistics, not only are the autographs expensive, but the website suggests that selfies at the table are not happening, and if you get an autograph, you cannot get a selfie with the purchase.

Plus… I already met him, so I’m good.

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Yeah, we talked back in 2016 when I stood in line for him at Rhode Island Comic Con. I asked how he was doing, he said he had a decent lobster meal recently, I got his autograph, and I showed him something that I thought he might appreciate. Before getting into Billy Dee Williams’ line, I ran into a shop at the con that sold drones. Believe it or not, it’s called Cloud City Drones, which if you know your “Star Wars” lore, Cloud City is the city where the climax of “The Empire Strikes Back” basically unfolds. I’m not sure if he heard what I said, because I showed him a piece of paper that was essentially an advertisement for the place. But the way he responded, and I’m not saying he’s a jerk, because I’ve seen him, I can say he’s calm and well-mannered, but he said “That’s… Star Wars.” The way I thought he said that almost made it sound like that maybe he thought I wanted to know what Cloud City was, but I got what I wanted so I was satisfied. But that’s not why I am not meeting him again, I just mentioned the whole overpriced autograph thingy. If anything, I’d enjoy talking to him for a second, ask how he’s doing, and maybe remind him that we have met once in the past. But when I already have an autograph from Williams, not to mention one that cost $50 for the signature, plus $8 more for a protector, I just gotta say, “Eh, I’m good.” There are certain celebrities that I wouldn’t mind having multiple autographs from, in fact, there has been a case where that has happened for me, but if Williams’ signature were cheaper, chances are I’d jump in line and pay up.

I will say however, when it comes to lesser known guests, there is one that I plan on interacting with at some point. I already met this guy at New York Comic Con last year by coincidence, but I barely got to talk with him. Although since he is on a list to visit Terrificon this year, I am putting out all the stops to meet Robert Franzese, AKA “Real Life Peter Griffin.” If I can’t meet Seth MacFarlane, this is the next best thing! I am subscribed to this guy’s YouTube channel, he’s hilarious, and I love how implements the “Grinds My Gears” gag into his videos. In fact, when he announced that he was coming to Terrificon, he implemented that very gag! Check out this video below!

I mean, the resemblance is uncanny! I will say, if they are serious about that live-action hybrid “Family Guy” movie and they want a realistic looking guy for Peter Griffin, we have your actor!

One of the things that I have personally noticed about Terrificon is that it is a good con for families, because if you have a child that wants to meet their favorite celebrities, and they are eight years of age or younger, they get free admission! That however only includes admission to the con itself and does not apply to any after con activities. But there is a thing that has been around last year called the Aw Yeah Comics Fun Zone. They have numerous guests music artists providing family friendly entertainment, various activities, magic shows, tons of things for kids to enjoy. So if you have a kid and you want to come to this con, why not bring them along? Just make sure you are an adult paying for your own ticket!

But what do kids also like? Games of course! Granted, this is also adult friendly too. This year Terrificon has a list of games lined up for everyone to enjoy. One game that I have noticed was there last year, but I did not play, was “Rock Band 4.” I enjoy “Rock Band” even though I don’t play it as often as I used to, but I’m still questioning whether or not I’d give this game a shot. But one game I will inevitably be playing at the con is “The Jackbox Party Pack.” When I was at this con last year, there was a session on Friday as the con was coming to a close where a bunch of people gathered in a room to play “Jackbox” games. For those who don’t know about “The Jackbox Party Pack,” it is a series of games meant to be played with friends or at parties, and they all have this humorous flair attached to them. Some of my favorite games from the packs include “Fibbage,” “Guesspionage,” and “Trivia Murder Party.” There is a good chance that there will be a decent crowd joining in to play these games, which will definitely make the experience all the more lively. This is all going down on Friday at 7PM, but that is not the only gaming-related event I’m planning to observe, because there are a couple of sessions dedicated to “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” which are being held on Saturday. I’d probably be interested in the second session (singles) because the doubles match is being held at 12PM, which depending on how long it should go on, could interfere with me seeing Billy Dee Williams’ panel.

But for those who also like tabletop gaming, they shouldn’t have to worry about missing out, because there are plenty of sessions involving “Magic: The Gathering.” These are all happening every day at various times. Other games that are to be seen include “Transformers: Turbo Sealed,” “Star Wars: X-Wing,” and “Warhammer: Underworlds.”

Another thing this convention has is after con events. One example is happening at Mohegan Sun’s Cabaret Theatre, where you can see John Barrowman (Arrow, Doctor Who) onstage. According to Terrificon’s site, the event is said to be “filled with spontaneous stories, music, and fabulous fun.” Tickets are on sale at prices ranging from $60 to $100 depending on which tier you select.

If you ever wanted to have dinner with a celebrity, now’s your chance! Because you can sit down with a man who has undoubtedly established himself. He’s a male model, art director, historian, magician, escape artist, musician, illustrator, pop-culture lecturer, publisher, designer, and sideshow fire-eater. I’m talking about Jim Steranko, or as my words probably suggest, the coolest person EVER. Except when he’s eating fire, then he’s flamin’ hot! In the realm of comics, he’s known as an artist-writer behind “S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Captain America,” and “X-Men.” And that doesn’t even cover all of what he has done! The dinner will be held in the Passamaquiddy/Brothertown room in the Sky Convention Center and will conclude with a conversation about Steranko’s life and career. However, tickets are limited and they are $125 a pop. I probably won’t be going because it will coincide with the “Jackbox” gaming session. After all, the event is from 8-12 on Friday.

One thing I must point out in case certain people don’t know, George Perez was scheduled to appear at this convention at a certain point as part of his ongoing retirement tour. He has announced his retirement back in January and soon thereafter, it was leaked that he would be appearing at Terrificon during said tour. However, fairly recently, it was announced that he couldn’t make it and he couldn’t cancel. But fear not, because there are still items up for grabs from Perez. This is suggested on a page from Terrificon’s website announcing Perez’s cancellation.

“We are working with Mr. Pérez to obtain 275 (the same amount of autograph tickets he was going to hand out at the show) limited edition prints that he will sign and ship to TERRIFICON to be handed out to fans on a first come, first serve basis.”

So while there certainly are people, who in my opinion may be understandably upset or disappointed to know that George Perez isn’t showing up, it is also worth noting that the con is still trying to pay respect to the artist as much as they can. While I’m not particularly interested in getting a signed print from him, I do recognize Perez’s importance in the comics industry. He has been involved with both Marvel and DC, he penciled Marvel’s “The Infinity Gauntlet,” he’s responsible for DC’s 50th anniversary event, “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” he rebooted “Wonder Woman” in 1987, and he has worked on several issues for Marvel’s “The Avengers.” He has done more than enough to solidify himself as a comic book icon. I almost wouldn’t be surprised if he starts taking notes from Stan Lee and begins appearing in more comic book movies during his free time. He’s had proper relationships with the big two, Marvel and DC, so it is possible that such a thing could happen. After all, with Stan Lee gone, we need new cameos! Plus, Perez is 65, he’s got a good portion of his life let from the way things seem, and despite how retirement can be fun, maybe he’ll eventually get tired of golfing.

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One last important thing. This is a reminder that the con is occurring at the Mohegan Sun casino, and with that in mind, I am willing to bet a number of guests will be spending time doing much more than going to the con. They may want to shop, stay in the hotel, and grab a bite to eat, so if you want to save some money for activities, I’d recommend taking a gander at this link down below that will provide a bunch of deals for con goers. Keep in mind that certain deals will apply to certain days and some of these won’t even be available on any day of the con. But a deal is a deal, so click the link below to keep things real!

DEALS FOR MOHEGAN SUN ATTENDEES

I am pretty excited to appear at this year’s Terrificon, and I am going to be heading down there with a friend of mine. She got her own tickets, and we are ready to go into the con with the intention of making all other activities look dumb. If anyone knows me, happens to be reading this post, and will be either at Mohegan Sun or the con this weekend, feel free to say hi, but don’t go looking in one of the casino areas because I am not gambling this weekend. The con will most likely be my “money-waster” for these few days.

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Thanks for reading this post! I hope to see you all at Terrificon, and I would like to just remind everyone that days before I go to Connecticut, I am hoping to go see at least one movie. I’m going to be without family for a few days before heading out, I’ll have some free time on my hands, so I may want to kill some of that time by going to see at least one movie. I’m not sure what I am going to see yet, but if things work out, I might do a double feature at an AMC because they have the $5 Tuesdays deal which I often like to take advantage of. After all, there are a decent number of movies that’ll be out that I want to see such as “Hobbs and Shaw,” “Midsommar,” “Crawl,” and “The Farewell.” I also have a couple 2019 movies that I just purchased on Blu-ray that I have yet to watch. Those include “Missing Link” and “Alita: Battle Angel,” so maybe I’ll shoehorn in a review of at least one of those films. Who knows? Maybe I’ll go check out “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” again! By the way, if you have yet to read my review of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” feel free to click the link at the end of the post to expose yourself to the latest piece of work Tarantino has to offer. 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, do you have tickets to 2019’s Terrificon? What kind of tickets did you get? What days are you going? Or, since it’s on topic, who is one celebrity that you wouldn’t mind paying a lot of money for more than one autograph or photo op? I’ll go with one I haven’t met yet, so I guess I’ll say Ana de Armas. I loved her in “Blade Runner 2049” and yeah, she’s good looking. I could brag to my pals back at home that she’s my new girlfriend.

I mean, look at her! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD REVIEW

Marvel Cinematic Universe PHASE 4 Plans Announced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rhode Island Comic Con 2018 Review/Haul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://muckychris.patternbyetsy.com/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New York Comic Con 2018 Review/Haul

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! It’s time to go over perhaps not just one of the biggest events I’ve attended all year, not just one of the biggest events I attended ever, but one of the biggest THINGS I’ve ever attended. A couple weeks ago I’ve been given the absolute privilege to go to New York Comic Con. A friend of mine who I have known for a few years decided to go all out for a graduation gift and give me the most badass thing ever. Given this post, you might be able to guess I got Comic-Con tickets. This is my first time at New York Comic Con, and my second time in New York throughout my life. My tickets were for Friday and Sunday, two out of four days the convention goes on for. As far as my Saturday went, I happened to go around New York City with my mother, but that’s irrelevant here. If you want my thoughts on that, it was fun, end of story. Now let’s focus on New York Comic Con.

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New York Comic Con is a yearly event held in New York, NY’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. As far as attendees go, these conventions usually get somewhere in the six digit range. According to Wikipedia, over 180,000 people attended this very convention in 2016. This year, many celebrities were present from ranges in entertainment, literature, gaming, and comics. The show’s basement has an ENORMOUS Artist Alley, but let me make it clear, I didn’t investigate any further into it. I also didn’t go to any panels, but there were some I would have gone to if I had the time or greater motivation. One was the “Mortal Engines” panel, but I couldn’t get in because once it started, I actually wasn’t in the convention center yet. However throughout my visit I did a bunch of other things that were definitely enjoyable. There is so much to go over when it comes to what New York Comic Con has that it is so easy to say that I am not gonna be able to hit all of it. But all of the highlights I did hit, I’ll document them here. Let’s start this off by going over some purchases.

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This first section relates heavily to what I do here at Scene Before. These con posts, I just do them as a hobby. I don’t get invited to cons. It would be nice if I had a chance to promote this site there at some booth or something though. As most of my followers probably already know, my main dedication goes toward movie reviewing. This is probably the con that I’ve gone to that relates closest to movies than any other. I say that because while some cons I go to I am well aware that they have those movies and TV shows that you can’t really buy in other stores (this con has that too), there is one space in this con that is actually a movie store, and that is FYE. I will say though, this is not my first time seeing an FYE at a con. At Rhode Island Comic Con, FYE actually happened to be present every year I went.

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In fact in 2016, I actually managed to buy a piece of wall art from there which had Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman on it. I got it signed the next day for very low price of $125. That is $15 cheaper than a professional photo op alongside her.

Although when I went to that FYE, movies were not a priority. Sure, last year I remember seeing a bunch of Japanese anime-related film material. Although I usually don’t seek out anime. This year at New York Comic Con, they decided to show off some Funko Pop Vinyls, including exclusives from FYE and believe it or not, San Diego Comic Con. They also had their exclusive food such as 10th Anniversary MCU cereal, Breaking Bad blue meth, and because the game apparently is still relevant enough to be a thing, Five Nights At Freddy’s cereal. I didn’t buy any food however. Instead, I did buy a few movies. One of the exclusive steelbooks they had happened to be an early purchase of mine on Friday, which was the “Iron Giant” steelbook. I have seen “The Iron Giant” before on TV, however I have never owned it. It’s a really good movie and definitely showcases the absolute talent of director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol). Speaking of exclusive steelbooks, I went back on Sunday and they still had plenty of steelbooks to choose from. They had a bunch of horror related ones, after all it is October, so I went in and got a couple. I picked up the FYE exclusive of John Carpenter’s “Halloween,” which I already watched, and it is pretty much like the 35th anniversary edition. They do have a 4K edition of the movie which came out recently around the same time as this copy did. I never got that, but I went to Best Buy the day after getting home from New York and they had it for a cheaper price. Wah. I also picked up “Halloween II,” more specifically, the Scream Factory steelbook for it. This is also my second possession from Scream Factory. My other Scream Factory product by the way is a steelbook copy of “They Live,” which I purchased a matter of months before I attended this event. Much like “They Live,” this steelbook has only 10,000 copies. It includes the theatrical cut and the TV cut. The TV cut has additional footage which has not been seen in the theatrical cut.

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Another purchase at FYE was an exclusive Funko, specifically one of Iron Man in “Avengers: Infinity War.” They had a decent selection of Funkos lined up, but Iron Man was the way to go for me. After all, when it comes to superheroes, “Iron Man” is easily up there as one of my all time favorites, Robert Downey Jr does a great job as the character and his screen presence is nothing short of a crowd pleaser. Although I’m surprised they didn’t make the label “Iron Man (Unmasked)” or “Iron Man/Tony Stark” because you can see his face. And like most of my other Pops, it’s still in the box. Speaking of which, I also happened to buy a Pop protector case. No, I am not using it for this Pop, because when I came home from the con, I went to the mall and stopped inside Thinkgeek. They had an E3 exclusive (also available in GameStop stores) of King Dice from the video game “Cuphead.” As of now, that is inside the protection case. For those of you who want to know more information about this FYE, I will have you know that the receipt actually lists the information for an actual FYE store out there. Similar to how at Rhode Island Comic Con I bought an item there and it tells me that the store happened to be from the Auburn Mall in Auburn, MA. This item is actually from the FYE at Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, NY. This mall is located on Long Island and is owned by Simon.

Speaking of places you can get movies, I actually happened to come upon a stand which I happened to recognize. It’s not a store, and it’s not for a particular person either. Instead, it was for a motion picture studio by the name of Magnet. For those of you who don’t know, Magnet Releasing is actually associated Magnolia Pictures, a studio founded in 2001. Magnet believe it or not is a name that is often associated with Magnolia’s genre and foreign films. I bought two movies at the stand, specifically “Marrowbone” and “RBG.” “Marrowbone,” or as it is referred to on IMDb, “The Secret of Marrowbone,” is about a man and three younger siblings who are cursed in a manor which they live. “RBG” is a documentary on the life of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. So one movie is about something that is haunting a house and the other is basically about a woman you can basically picture as a spirit in said haunted house.

I mean, just look at her! That open mouth will contribute to haunting your nightmares!

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Also, because I picked up two films, I got a free t-shirt that came with them. Yippee! As you can see, it has the Magnolia Pictures logo on a field of black. That was also the only t-shirt I picked up at the con. However I almost went ahead and picked up a New York Comic Con shirt because I feel like out of all the cons I’ve gone to in my life, this is the one that I would most likely buy a self-promoting t-shirt from. Not everybody wants to promote the fact that they went to Terrificon. Not many people have even heard of Terrificon! I’m not bashing against Terrificon, I went this year and I had more fun than I once expected to. By the way, if you haven’t thought about it already, go to Terrificon next year.

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My next purchase to go over is a Funko Pop Vinyl which happens to be retired. About a month I went into the New England-based nerd culture store Newbury Comics, they had a 25% off sale going around the store. I took heavy advantage of that. One of the purchases I made there was a Pac-Man Pop. Appropriately, when I saw that a place had a Pop for Ms. Pac-Man, I was intrigued. That place by the way was called Shorething Collectibles, which is based in Pennsylvania. They are a family owned business that sells Funko Pops, plush toys, and home goods.

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Moving onto another purchase I made, there was this one place that went by the name of Omakase Images. They can be found online at http://omakase-ltd.squarespace.com/, and they specialize in nerdy art with a slightly religious touch. My purchase happened to be a magnet that says “SAINT NEIL: THE INQUIRING.” As you can see in the picture above, it shows Neil DeGrasse Tyson, which I think is just plain cool because it kind of suggests that science and religion have come together. Two ideas that never seem to mesh together, happen to be completing a double-piece puzzle.

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That’s not all the purchases I’ve made. After all, I have gotten a couple autographs, which I will get to. Although one of the biggest praises I can give to New York Comic Con is how they handled crowd control. Given the size and popularity of the convention. The crowd control here is executed BRILLIANTLY. I don’t know exactly what went into everyone’s mind. But I arrived at the convention at sometime around 9:45 AM on Sunday. According to my badge, the doors didn’t open until 10 AM. I still was able to avoid a huge line through the security check. Keep in mind, the security gates are located outside, not too far from where you can enter the convention center. Part of me is willing to bet that maybe there’s something I am unaware of when it comes to this convention that I am truly missing. Although this convention actually manages to have some of it’s cool stuff outside. There’s an “American Gods” diner, some promotional stuff for shows like “Outlander” and “The Good Place.” There was some fun to be had outside. Maybe everyone lined up very early and were let in at 9 AM. Perhaps they all got to stay outside, because that is totally something nerds very often do. Either that or people with VIP tickets were scheduled to go in early and the staff didn’t care if anybody else walked in. It’s New York Comic Con! It’s a party! Some of you might not afford to go next year so let’s make this one count! Overall, it’s a pretty effective use of space and it gives you something to do when you want some breaths of fresh air.

Speaking of promotions, I also took a picture in front of a car promoting “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I will say something though regarding my picture. It was not taken on any personal camera of mine. It was taken on a camera already set up at the event. Unfortunately, I cannot find the picture of me alongside the vehicle. I will admit I got badges from a friend, and with that in mind, I was willing to imagine that they were linked to one of our emails. As far as I know, it has no link to mine (I checked, even in spam), I asked my friend if they had it just in case, but there was no sign of it. Aw, well. It’s just a picture. Experiencing is what counts.

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And this is the one thing that I can imagine is a negative to New York Comic Con. I didn’t really mind this, but I can imagine someone coming here, ready to have a good time, and all of a sudden, they are overwhelmed with one bit of promotional material after the other. All of the convention you can see stuff for Capcom, Marvel, Disney, Funko, and Starz. The badges that I had on me were actually advertising AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” There’s even a Syfy Wire Fan Lounge and a Syfy Wire Live show! It kind of makes sense when you think about it because this convention is organized by ReedPop, which organizes PAX, which I’ve been to. There’s video game advertising up the wazoo. Everybody there is just trying to show off their latest and greatest video game whether your name is Nintendo, Bethesda, Square Enix, or Blizzard. This all kind of reminded me of one convention my friend went to in Las Vegas, specifically the one that celebrated “Star Trek’s” 50th anniversary. My friend explained that she went and was just comparing it to Dragon Con and how she feels that Dragon Con caters more to fans whereas the “Star Trek” convention she went to was more of an advertising effort. New York Comic Con in my personal opinion takes every chance it gets to advertise something, but it also simultaneously keeps everything in balance by providing a good show for the fans. In fact, I’d say it was a wise choice for Syfy to advertise at this event given how they often use the slogan “It’s a fan thing.”

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Although, one of my favorite promotions in the entire con has to be for Amazon’s upcoming show “The Boys.” This was one of the first things I saw once I walked inside the convention center. F*cking brilliant.

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One of my favorite video game franchises is “Super Smash Brothers.” Apparently the con had an area full of flat screen TVs and Nintendo GameCubes which all had the game “Super Smash Bros.: Melee.” This is one of my most nostalgic games, not to mention one of my all-time faves. On Sunday, I had time to play a round of Smash with three other people. I don’t know who they are, I don’t know their names, chances are I might never see them again. But they are fine people. I played as Donkey Kong, who is one of my mains. I wouldn’t say I have a “main” in Smash, but Donkey Kong is one of my preferred characters. Although I will say I have been playing the 3DS version a lot recently and Lucina is kind of my main there. Also, if you want my goto main on Melee, I gotta say, it’s Roy. However, he wasn’t unlocked yet. Marth was, but Roy wasn’t. Whatever, I like Donkey Kong. I didn’t win, however I got pretty close in a position of second place. A worthy competitor playing as Falco ended up taking the top position.

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Moving onto autographs, I actually managed to get two of them. One of them was from Friday and the other was given to me on Sunday. On Friday, Zachary Levi (Shazam, Chuck) happened to be present in the building. I came to his line at a time when it happened to be rather short. Levi was just finishing up with photo ops, and now he was ready for his next adventure in autographing. So I chucked up $80, no pun intended, and got Levi’s signature on a photo of him as Shazam chewing bubble gum. It’s a true feast for the eyes. It is truly kick-ass until you run out of bubble gum. We happened to chit chat for a moment. Levi said he is enjoying the con so far, and he comes off as a genuine nice guy who at that moment, just became $80 richer by writing his name.

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The other celebrity I met is not as well known. The celebrities who were well known had lines in the basement. This one is not really known for a specific TV show or movie, she is actually known for cosplaying. She goes by the name Yaya Han. Now I don’t follow cosplay. I don’t partake in cosplay. I have massive respect for those who do happen to be involved, although I never took part in it. Keep in mind, I said some of those words to her face. So she must be thinking, “What is this schmuck doing talking to me?” Then I got to the point. For those of you who have known me for awhile, one of my all-time biggest obsessions is the TBS reality competition “King of the Nerds.” Yaya Han was not heavily involved with the show, but she was the only guest I met who had some sort of association with it. Sure, there was another guest, Curtis Armstrong, who was at the con for a panel, but that happened on a day which I didn’t have a ticket. Yaya Han however was there when I was. Therefore, I told her I remember her as a guest judge for all three seasons of the show. When I did, I also thanked her for being a part of something that heavily makes me an individual. She commented saying “King of the Nerds” is an excellent production and she has enjoyed it. Shortly afterwards, I got an autograph from Han on a photo displaying her as Batgirl. Besides her name, she also wrote, “Gotham needs you!” The autograph was only $15 and to me it was well worth the money. Afterwards, I took a picture alongside her.

One person I ended up meeting also happened to be someone I was subscribed to on YouTube. If you know me in person, chances are you’d be aware that I watch “Family Guy.” The thing is… I met Peter Griffin.

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No, not Seth MacFarlane! I met Robert Franzese. If you don’t know who this guy is, I don’t blame you. On YouTube, his channel name is known as Real Life Peter Griffin. He is known for talking, dressing, and sounding like Peter Griffin. On YouTube, you can find videos of him doing his own version of some of “Family Guy’s” popular bits (Grinds My Gears is a common example), and whatever other funny material he can come up with. I told him I was subscribed to his channel and he said that’s “Freakin’ sweet.” As you can tell, I didn’t get a picture with him.

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New York Comic Con is basically a giant compared to other cons that I went to that when you consider how much I DIDN’T get to do. It all makes sense. I never got a pro photo op. I never went into a panel. There was a bunch of interactive stuff I never really took part in. I never tried out any of the upcoming video games like “Megaman 11” or “Kingdom Hearts III.” There was even one thing that I was kind of curious to do, which was take part in a VR game based on the recent film “Skyscraper.” This had you attempt to make what is referred to as “the impossible jump” and if you make it from the crane to the skyscraper, you will be entered to win $10,000. But the area was cluttered, so I avoided pressing my luck. And I have to say that I have the same excuse for the panels. I’d try going down and checking on them, but the case is either that I am not interested in something, or I just don’t want to wait in line with tons of people and risk getting a bad seat. Only thing is there is only one seat I’d get on the “Skyscraper” game. Regardless of the endless list of things I DIDN’T get to do, it did not make me think I did nothing, because all of the stuff I ended up doing, I really enjoyed.

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Guys, New York Comic Con is literally not just one of the best cons out there, but quite possibly one of the best THINGS ever created! The staff is really nice, everyone seems to be enjoying themselves, the organizers know their audience, and it’s as big as Kanye West’s ridiculous ego! If I have any cons regarding this convention, I do want it to have slightly cheaper tickets (tickets are $50 for just a single-day admission), but there’s also probably an argument to be made that maybe all that is in store is totally worth the $50 ticket price. I must say though, as a nerd, it has kind of been an objective to hit one of the big two comic-cons before I die. Aside from this one, a con in particular I wanted to hit was San Diego Comic-Con. And now I am super glad to have one of the big two off my bucket list. Will I be back next year? Tough to say. Tickets may be easier to get than San Diego, but I don’t live in New York, I live in Massachusetts, traveling ain’t cheap. Plus, again, just one day at the convention is worth $50. Maybe. Maybe not. Who knows? Thanks for reading my thoughts on New York Comic Con! If you want to find out more about my con adventures, I should have you know that Rhode Island Comic Con is upon us and I’ll be attending all three days. This is my fourth time going to Rhode Island Comic Con in a row, and as much as I’m excited for it, let’s just get serious and hope that when it comes to organization, they succeed and don’t piss people off. Look that s*it up, that’s usually their biggest flaw. Be sure to follow Scene Before with your WordPress account or email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you go to New York Comic Con? What did you think about it? Or, what is an expensive con that is worth the money? Also, in the comments section, feel free to suggest future cons for me to visit in the future, I’d LOVE to hear them. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

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

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

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

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NBC Washington

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

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

*Cue “The People’s Court” theme*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terrificon 2018 Review/Haul

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! I just got back from Terrificon! Life feels good! The world is spinning (because it’s round, not flat)! And now I’m going to be going over my time at a convention which believe it or not exceeded my expectations entirely! I have been to Terrificon once and I will say I had a good time. I wouldn’t call it the holy grail of conventions or anything, it’s just a fun time. It’s not like I’m going to SDCC whatsoever (although the short lines at Terrificon make a positive difference). This year, just like last year, the lines certainly did not disappoint. I’ll get a little more into that down the road when I get into my celebrity encounters but nevertheless, I’ll get into it. Let me just continue saying that I thought this con was significantly better than last year’s! The guest lineup isn’t really that big, so that’s a similarity to last year, but what I love about this year is that the con took place in a new venue. It’s still on the same property, but for this year’s con, the people behind it have decided to place it in a recently built expo center.

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If you have been to Terrificon last year like I have, you may be aware that the last event took place in Mohegan Sun’s Sky Convention Center, but with the recent completion of the Earth tower and its expo center, events like this can now take place in that convention center. I like this convention center a little bit more as opposed to the other one mainly because this new one is bigger. Although, this may disappoint you, you may not care, I don’t know, decide for yourself, the floor is a bit more on the typical side for a convention center. Also, before we move on, look at this Thanos statue! Isn’t that epic?! I should also point out that next to it is a TV where you can hit a button and it’ll tell you if you survived Thanos’s snap!

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The last convention center is kind of elegant, but it almost feels like a large facility where you might as well hold an ambitious interview with the Queen of England. In fact, if you look at the floor, it almost screams “fancy bloated dinner party.” The new convention center feels somewhat normal. I don’t have a preference on design, although when it comes to which center itself I prefer, I gotta go with the new one because let’s face it, size matters.

One thing I went over in my promotion post is that there’s an attempt to make history at this convention. In honor of Superman’s 80th birthday, right near the entrance to the center, is a giant list of names written in Sharpie. All of those names are on what is being referred to as Superman’s birthday card. All of the names written down have been part of an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for most signatures on a birthday card. And yes, I wrote my name.

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This birthday card was located in the very nice entry way section of the center, right near where Terrificon exclusive merchandise was being sold. This is where all of the cosplay guests were tabling, it had a nice looking stand for fast-food products, which included Coca-Cola Freestyle machines. They also have an area which they can let you go outside, which is definitely nice if you want fresh air, but I avoided it because I’m not a smoker and I imagine some people could be out there just to smoke.

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One of the entry-ways from the recently mentioned wing leads into a gaming area. When I was here on Friday, I decided to go inside because I wanted to take part in the Jackbox Games session. While I was here, we played “Drawful 2,” “Trivia Murder Party,” “Survive the Internet,” “Quiplash 2,” and “Fakin’ It.” Jackbox Games has a fantastic sense a humor and I always play these games with my friends. And fun fact, the friends I play with are in the Nerd Army and the Knights of Nerdvana. If some of you don’t look at my header, you may not know that this blog is the “Official Blog of the #NerdArmy’s Film Critic.” And speaking of the Nerd Army, one of its members aside from myself actually happened to be in the same room as I. By the way, Adrian, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry we never got to say hello, I might be back next year though!

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Speaking of entry-ways that are close to the main lobby of the center, one of them leads to a ballroom where I attended three panels. There was only one of these that I had my eyes set on, but I ended up attending three. While I didn’t attend any panels on Friday, there was one on Saturday I attended. I never usually watch anything on AMC, which is kind of shocking considering how many people rave about “The Walking Dead,” but I attended a panel featuring AMC’s “Comic Book Men.” More specifically, two of them. They had three appear, but two were in the panel. Those two were Mike Zapcic and Ming Chen. I have never seen one episode of “Comic Book Men,” I was going to ask a question with that disclaimer, however there wasn’t enough time to get to it. Having seen this panel, it honestly just made me intrigued to watch the series. Unfortunately, one of the big things the panel had to go over is that the show was canceled. But I’ve heard that there are episodes on Amazon, so I can easily watch it on there. Although it’s not free so that’s the one downside. If they ever decide to come out with a DVD of the seasons with commentary, maybe I’ll pick it up. Plus, it has Kevin Smith. Why wouldn’t I check this thing out?

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Another panel I originally didn’t plan on attending but ended up going to anyway was for Michael Jai White. You may know this fellow from movies like “The Dark Knight,” “Spawn,” “Black Dynamite,” and “Arrow.” I happened to be sitting in the back of the room. There were plenty of seats available, but in the back they had these high top tables with white chairs. I figured I’d check em out. I almost asked a question about what it was like to work with Christopher Nolan, another person who was there asked a similar sounding question and White pretty much went over how Christopher Nolan did things. And hearing what he had to say about Nolan, my favorite director of all time, it only made me appreciate Nolan more. When I think of certain directors that are critically acclaimed, maybe they are somewhat obnoxious. Nolan, based on White’s words, seemed to be the exact opposite of that. Shortly after his panel, I stayed in the room, because another panel was about to start and it was for someone I was ready to see. I even move up to one of the seats in the third row near a mic because I did intend on asking questions.

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In case you can’t tell, this panel is for Pom Klementieff. You may know her best as Mantis in “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2” and most recently, “Avengers: Infinity War.” I still need to check out another movie she did, “Ingrid Goes West.” During the panel we talked about “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which partially included a little brush-over on the whole James Gunn fiasco, Klementieff’s journey as she became an actress, her fascination for “Oldboy,” which interestingly she just so happened to have a role in the 2013 adaptation made in America as opposed to South Korea. I was in line to ask a question. So I go on, introducing myself to Pom, saying that I might arguably have the most important question of the entire panel. The question, “Why is Gamora?” I repeated it so everyone could understand. Unfortunately, nobody laughed. Except Pom. At least that’s what I remember, if anyone else laughed I wouldn’t have been able to pick theirs up. So all of you guys who think I would amount to nothing in life, screw y’all! I made a celebrity laugh! What have you done? Jeff Bezos, you’re history! I made Pom Klementieff laugh! Mark Zuckerberg? You found a very popular social network? F*ck you, I got a celebrity to appreciate my joke! Elon Musk? Who the hell are you?! I made history! I got Pom Klementieff to burst in laughter! In all seriousness, my real question had to do with Klementieff’s personal favorite line she said in one of her films. Although, I don’t think she understood me, because she responded saying “I am Groot” is one of the best inventions ever. I thought it her answer close enough.

Now let’s move onto purchases. For this section we’re going to state the item(s) I purchased, where I got said item(s) from, and if I have anything to say about it/them, I’ll dive deeper.

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A few months before I went to this convention, I was not into the whole Pop vinyl figure thing. However, after an unexpected encounter with “Blade Runner” figures at Thinkgeek I had in May, my interest levels have increased. I’ve mainly looked for exclusives, as I’ve done in this convention, and once I set my eyes upon this Pop, I figured it was the perfect purchase. Granted, it was $25, and most of the Pops I get are on the cheaper side. The main reason why I got it, aside from liking the Hulk and “Thor: Ragnarok” despite having numerous complaints about it, is that it’s an exclusive from Toys R Us. As you may know, Toys R Us officially closed its doors for good here in the US at the end of June. When is the next time I am gonna buy something sold at Toys R Us? I don’t know, but I can guarantee it won’t be soon. I purchased this Bruce Banner Pop at Undiscovered Realm, which has a store located in White Plains, NY. Unfortunately, I will say that there was another one of these in a different store in the center that was available for $20, but hey, a Toys R Us exclusive is a Toys R Us exclusive.

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Speaking of exclusive Pops I could have gotten for a cheaper price, I also picked up a figure of Parzival from “Ready Player One.” I paid $15 for it at Wize Guys Collectibles and only bad luck occurred from this one. The day after I bought this Hot Topic Exclusive, I found another place selling it for $10! And as I went home, I don’t know how this happened, but the bottom must have opened itself! The figure was inside the whole time, so hopefully not much value will be lost. Ah well, I bought this with a couple of intentions however. I have an Art3mis figure on my shelf (GameStop exclusive), so I figured maybe I should put this next to my Art3mis since both are characters from “Ready Player One” and they lust after each other. Plus “Ready Player One” is one of my favorite movies of the year so you bet I had to get this.

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Sticking with Funko’s creations, we have a few more Pops to gloss over! These three I can’t recall exactly where I got them, and no, don’t say Target, because that’s false even though one of these is a Target exclusive! If I had to guess based on the map, it’s probably G and T Toys and More. I am happy with my picks. Captain Cassian Andor on the right is the second “Star Wars” Pop I purchased (first was Director Orson Krennic). I also have a Kylo Ren, but I got it from my sister. I also got Cable, because “Deadpool 2” is awesome, one of the best movies of 2018. Also, this was partially because there was a deal going on where if I bought three $10 Pops, the total would come out to $25. I’ll remind you, every Pop was $10, and there were three Doctor Strange Target exclusives. I had to pick up one of them. I later discovered some minor wear and tear on the Doctor Strange box, but whatever, I was glad to have it. Plus, it’s gold!

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The last of the Pops I got actually turned out to be the first Pop I ever owned to originate from a video game. One of my all time favorite companies in the video game industry is Valve, and every once in a while I might go on Steam and play a bit of “Team Fortress 2.” One class I occasionally play is the Heavy. It’s just fun to take his Russian mother load of a machine gun and go to town on people. Plus, the best part is that it was only $6! Not a bad deal if you ask me! This was actually purchased at Toytastik which sells toys online and seems to focus very much on comic book-based toys, so when it comes to comic-con, they know their customer base quite well. They were also selling a “Team Fortress 2” Medic, but since I MAY have damaged the box (not significantly, but still), I ended up getting the Heavy which I found shortly after finding the Medic. In fact, I’m actually satisfied with the Heavy. Aside for not damaging the item’s value, the big thing that makes me prefer the Heavy is that I don’t play as the Medic. When I play “TF2,” I do play a number of classes, but the Medic is not one of them. I just never found myself interested in playing a healer. But that’s just me.

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If you read last year’s review of Terrificon, you’d know that last year I picked up a couple license plates. The place where I did that was what I assumed to be “Fuzzy Fish Inc.” Based on what happened this year, I can probably say that’s where I got those other license plates. Because as you see above, I picked up a couple more plates and those were from Fuzzy Fish. The one above is from the movie “Blade Runner 2049.”

If you look closely in the image above which is a BEAUTIFUL shot from “Blade Runner 2049,” you may notice this license plate is located on K’s spinner. Once I saw this, I felt like Betty White thinking about the idea of never dying, I HAD TO HAVE IT. The shop happened to have a deal where you can get another plate which would make your total come out to $25.

The other license plate I’ve purchased comes from the movie “Spaceballs.” It’s not as cool as an “I ❤ Uranus” bumper sticker, but it’s not a bad purchase nonetheless. I do consider “Spaceballs” to be a fantastic parody so I am proud to own this.

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Moving onto t-shirts, one of my purchases took place at a stand operated by Robber Barons. I managed to purchase a shirt that contains the text “Ray & Egon & Peter & Winston,” otherwise known as the Ghostbusters. The stand had a great selection of shirts, in fact, I still remember seeing this stand last year with this same shirt. The operator was wearing one of the shirts on the stand, which said “POWERED BY PIZZA.” Personally, that sounds relatable. I got this shirt on Sunday and I had trouble deciding between this one and another shirt from a different shop. That other shirt by the way was a crossover between “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” and was mocking the “Solo” logo. Instead of “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” it said “Sulu: A Star Trek Story.” The other shirt is from 3D Printing by Muckychris. Both shirts were around the same price but the main reasons behind getting the “Ghostbusters” shirt was that some people think religiously that “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” are competitors that aren’t intended to be together and I’m more into “Ghostbusters” than I am into “Star Trek.” Heck, I have an Ecto-1 license plate in my room. What can I say? Although I did find out that Muckychris has an Etsy page so I can go ahead and buy the shirt anytime. I should buy it at some point, it could be like a peace demonstration for nerds. For those who are interested in Robber Barons, they design and print shirts in Simsbury, CT, which is located near the state capital of Hartford. They sell t-shirts, bandanas, and other sorts of stuff.

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I happened to get these next two shirts from the same place, specifically a shop called MTC Toys. Believe it or not, on the program I was handed at the con, it actually refers to the shop as MC Toys, so I apologize to all who get fooled by this error. They’ve been going to comic-cons for a long time, and they’ve got a crapton of apparel to pick from. They operate in North Tonawanda, NY, which is right near Canada. As you can see, I picked out a couple of shirts. The one on the left is the Seinfeld logo, and if you want to get into specifics, that is the Seinfeld logo which was presented on screen during season 3 and the first couple of episodes in season 4. On the right is a 2001: A Space Odyssey shirt. I figured I’d get it because for one thing I LOVE “2001” and I’m going to see the movie in IMAX next week. It’s gonna be dope! If you look at the shirt you’d notice that it contains a couple of images from the movie. One is of the space baby and the other is a shot of the monolith and the sun from the first encounter with the monolith where we see the apes. The only downside is the price (nearly $50 for both shirts after tax), but for the variety that’s in store, I guess MTC Toys is at least worth a gander.

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Sticking with the topic of “2001,” you can see I picked up three posters, and “2001” just so happened to be one of them. The other two are for “Ready Player One” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” I believe I got these at Rock N’ Reel Posters. I’m rather satisfied with my choices because I highly enjoy all three of these films, and I happen to have a quirky poster too with “Ferris Bueller” considering it’s meant to be hung sideways.

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Out of all the movies in the MCU’s first phase, “Thor” is definitely my favorite of the bunch. One of the best lines from that movie is on this glass you see above. Once I saw this, I had to get this! It was worthy! I got this thing from Go Geek, which sold nerdy candles with “Supernatural,” “Harry Potter,” “Pokemon,” and “Star Wars” themes, and some other cool stuff. When it came to getting this, I almost settled on one or two other glasses. Another glass that caught my attention was one that said “Wanna Smash?” One of the letters in that phrase had the “Super Smash Brothers” insignia, not to mention Samus from “Metriod.” And if you play “Super Smash Brothers,” you’d know Samus is one of the fighters in all of the games.

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This purchase here is not exactly one I originally made for myself. I was originally intending on sending this to my friend in Michigan, but he decided I should keep it, so therefore I’m keeping it. This piece of space Kirby awesomeness comes from Johnny Flid. Originally from Long Island, he is a master artist, muralist, fine painter, and illustrator. When I did a Facebook live from the con, I actually gave him a shoutout, so I hope he gets some attention!

And while I may be done with standard purchases that I’ve done at Terrificon, I have not gotten to a purchase that I made involving a celebrity. As you may know, on the Sunday for the con, I attended the panel for Pom Klementieff. However, the day before, I got in line to get her autograph. The line wasn’t long, but it wasn’t short either. It was however longer than I expected because I remember going to this con last year and lines were almost never a problem. In line, I got to glimpse at Henry Winkler (Happy Days, Arrested Development). I didn’t talk to him, but he was walking through and I tried say “ayyy” like he would as the Fonz on “Happy Days” and see if he would notice. I got no reaction however. Granted, I don’t watch “Happy Days” and I forgot to raise the thumbs! Dammit! Seeing Henry Winkler though, he does seem to be a nice guy, and definitely very interactive with fans. How often do you see a celebrity get out of their chair and move away from their table to get attention? They’re usually just sitting down!

So after somewhere between ten to twenty minutes, it is my turn to talk to Pom. I’m in my “You’re Not Groot” shirt that I got at this very con last year. From what I can tell, she didn’t notice it. We didn’t talk too much, mainly because I was busy with the assistant at her table. However, we did say a few words. Klementieff goes on and signs my free IMAX poster that I got when I saw “Avengers: Infinity War” on opening night. The biggest thing I can recall out of all of this was after we took a photo together.

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“Take names, kick ass.”

Once she heard that she kinda cheered in a way. I don’t know how often she’ll get that, and I bet there could be a point where she could be dead tired of hearing that. But with it being one of the best lines from “Avengers: Infinity War,” I had to spit that out. I did talk to a couple of other celebrities, specifically Sam Jones (Flash Gordon, Ted) and Lou Ferrigno, but I’m not gonna dive too much into that. Although I will say Sam Jones noticed my “You’re not Groot” shirt and we had an interesting exchange concerning it.

I could go on, but then I’d just end up babbling until the end of time. I really enjoyed Terrificon 2018, I thought this convention was an improvement over the previous one, I’m definitely looking forward to coming back next year. I gotta give a shoutout to the staff, some of the nicest staff I’ve encountered at a con. They know what they’re doing and they sound like they’re happy to be at the con as much as I am. Not only do they know their audience, but they also know how to put on a fantastic show. Thanks for reading this post! I’d like to thank everyone I encountered at the con, from Johnny Flid to Pom Klementieff and everyone I met during the Jackbox Games session, all of the people who took what could have been a decent con experience and turned it to something much greater. As for other cons, I actually do have plans to go to more down the road. This October I’ll be going to New York Comic Con. I’ll be going on Friday, October 5th, and Sunday, October 7th, it’ll be my first time at that convention, I’m very much looking forward to it. Also, the month after that, I’m gonna be in Providence for Rhode Island Comic Con. I’ll be there all three days on the first weekend of November, which is the 2nd through the 4th. Too bad I’m not going on the 5th, it could have been perfect timing to do a cosplay as V from “V For Vendetta.” These next couple of months are gonna be con heavy, which means you can assure yourself that you will be getting some great content coming your way. Be sure to follow so you can stay tuned for said content! You can either follow with your WordPress account or your email, nevertheless, make sure you click that follow button! I want to know, did you go to Terrificon this year? What was your experience like? Or, if you have any cons that you want me to go to in the future, leave a comment and maybe I’ll do some research on it. I will say, I’m in eastern Massachusetts so that will be a hint as to what maybe I can or can’t do. But nevertheless, leave your comments, I’d love to hear your suggestions! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

CON ANNOUNCEMENT: I’m Going to TerrifiCon 2018!

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! We are currently in the second half of 2018! And I’ve already stated to y’all that I’m going to Rhode Island Comic Con and New York Comic Con this year! Well guess what? That ain’t enough to please this guy! I’m the king of the nerds, what can I say? This August, I’ll be making my second trip to a convention down in Connecticut. Based on what I’ve been hearing, it’s not gonna be quite the same as it was last year. It might as well be said that this year’s upcoming TerrifiCon is more terrific than ever!

Having gone to this event only once, I gotta say it’s a fun time. In fact, it came with a couple perks that I’ve missed at other cons I’ve encountered. For one thing, it doesn’t have many crowds, which kind of shocks me because when I went last year, the space used for the con wasn’t really that big. It worked, but it wasn’t big. Another perk for me, and perhaps my mother, is that all my time spent at this con is actually free. Why? This is taking place at the Mohegan Sun casino, and she is a member of some sort of club there. The membership aided in her getting free tickets. Last year, she was actually able to get tickets for two out of the three days. This year however, she actually managed to get three free days. Thanks, mom! Judging by my recent comment, I’m going to be at the con from Friday August 17th, to Sunday August 19th.

TerrifiCon is going to be taking place in an all new venue this year! As a matter of fact, when I was leaving Mohegan Sun last year to go home, there was actually construction being done on the new center. The venue goes by the name of Earth Expo & Convention Center, and it’ll still be attached to the Mohegan Sun property, but it’s an addition to the all new Earth Tower. I haven’t gotten much of a look at the place, but I have seen progress on its assembly.

Guests at this year’s TerrifiCon range from media guests, cosplay guests, artists, and writers. Some standouts include Pom Klementieff (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Ingrid Goes West), Lou Feringno (King of Queens, The Incredible Hulk), Sam Jones (Flash Gordon, Ted), and Henry Winkler (Happy Days, Arrested Development).

However that’s not all the guests that stand out, because a there’s a couple a guests that I’d imagine would be getting a lot of attention, but they won’t because they canceled.

One of the biggest guests on the list, in fact what I think may be THE biggest guest on the list for this year’s TerrifiCon is Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead, The Wolf of Wall Street). His name was leaked on the guest list somewhere towards the second half of spring. Although recently, the unfortunate happened. Days ago, a representative for Jon Bernthal said this:

“I cannot even begin to express how sorry I am to inform you that Jon Bernthal will have to cancel his appearance at your show in August to do his filming schedule. It seems he will have wrapped “Punisher” and gone into production for his next film the week before. He really wanted to make it especially since it would’ve been perfect since it was so close, but after just receiving this new schedule, it’s not going to be possible.”

Speaking of canceled appearances, we have another from KISS member Vinnie Vincent. As the website suggests, this guest canceled due to a scheduling conflict. Similarly, Shannon Farnon, known for her work on the Hanna-Barbera “Wonder Woman,” couldn’t make it due to a scheduling conflict of her own.

Funny enough, since we’re talking about things that have been unfortunately canceled, let’s talk about “Comic Book Men.” I never really watched “Comic Book Men,” but there’s gonna be a trio of guests from the AMC TV show of that name. These guests include Mike Zapcic, Bryan Johnson, and Ming Chen. The thing I love about these guests is not necessarily their show, their personalities, the fact that they’re even at the con, none of that. It’s not that I don’t like them, but that’s not what I’m referring to here. What I truly appreciate about the announcement for these guests is how the writer is trying to project himself. It’s like he’s talking straight to the target audience given his statement, calling the trio from “Comic Book Men” “former stars of the wrongly cancelled AMC-TV show.” For the record, this convention is being presented by Mitch Hallock and Big Fedora Marketing. So this must be either Mitch Hallock himself or some guy we don’t even know behind Big Fedora Marketing who wrote this sort of thing. Funny enough, on Jon Bernthal’s cancellation notice, it says “We were looking forward to seeing him as well – I already bought a 1st appearance of the Punisher for him to sign. But its not happening this year.

And yes, for those of you paying close attention, there is no apostrophe in what I assume was supposed to be “it’s.”

I could go on talking about all of the guests, but it’s a small list so I don’t feel it is absolutely necessary. One thing I do want to talk about is if you are going to the con, there is a chance that you could be making history. As an attempt to make a Guinness World Record for “Most contributions to a greeting card,” Terrificon is going to have a 5×24 ft card featuring art from Jerry Ordway. Some of you might be thinking that this is one of those world records that might be looked at for a second by someone simply before they move on to find something more “valuable” or “important,” and maybe you’re right. However, it does not mean there is no purpose to this world record attempt. After all, this greeting card, is also a birthday card. Who’s birthday is it? It’s not a bird, it’s not a plane, but I can definitely guarantee it is Superman. How old is Superman? This year, it is eighty years since his first ever appearance in a comic book!

Also, I gotta say, he ain’t lookin’ too bad for his age. He’s gotta lose that mustache tho, it’s kinda distracting. A little digital effects in post production will take care of it, don’t ya think?

If you are into cons with activities, I will say, that sort of thing caters to all kinds of guests who enter the convention center looking for something to do. Aside from your traditional walking around, shopping, meeting celebrities, artists, going to panels, cosplay contests, etc, the con also has an after party. The after party takes place on Saturday, August 18th at 7:30 PM to midnight. This event goes by the name All-Ages* Super Terrific Retro After Party, and don’t take the all-ages thing too literally. Yes, even if you were just born in the casino minutes ago, you might not have a problem getting in. However, if you’re younger than twenty-one, you must have a parent or guardian accompanying you. There will be live music, a DJ, a trivia contest, karaoke, and cosplay is certainly permitted! To enter and get all of this cool s*it, it just costs $10! If you’re not a party-person, that’s OK, no one ever forced you to be. Because you know, nerds are born to avoid any social interaction possible. And one way they do such a thing is go in their soundproof room, turn on some console or computer, and play video games.

Throughout TerrifiCon, there will be tons of opportunities to play some of your favorite video games such as “Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite,” “Rock Band 4,” “Super Smash Bros. for Wii U,” “Injustice 2,” and “Fortnite.” This is part of what’s being called CTGamer Arena, and seeing some of these titles, I am somewhat curious to check this out. The schedule suggests that they’re going to be doing Jackbox Games at 7PM on Friday. I would love to play Jackbox Games with a large group of people, just hear all of the laughs! I play Jackbox Games with my friends several times a year! COUNT! ME! IN! But one rule, if we’re playin’, we gotta do Fibbage at some point.

And if video games aren’t your jam, there is certainly nothing wrong with doing tabletop, and this con has got that! Granted, it’s a smaller schedule, but they’ve got it covered! If you want to play “Magic: The Gathering” or “Warhammer,” go get your game on in The Dragon’s Lair!

When it comes to TerrifiCon, they’ve always come off to me as one of the more family-friendly conventions I’ve seen. When I usually think of conventions, I don’t usually think of family, I just think of a place where out of shape, nerdy men like myself go around and spend money on whatever makes people like me happy. TerrifiCon feels like a con that would be welcoming to families, and when it comes to family related events, the convention has that covered! If you want family fun, find out about the “Aw Yeah Comics Fun Zone.” This area is in a giant ballroom featuring artists, writers, musicians, arts and crafts, face painting, robotics, demonstrations, and magic shows.

If you are traveling to this con and are looking for a place to stay, you can always book a hotel room on the Mohegan Sun property, that way you don’t have to make much of a trek towards the convention center considering it’s just steps from the elevators of both hotel towers. If that doesn’t satisfy you however, there are also hotels in the area that can get you staying close to the Mohegan Sun property. There is also another casino in the area, for those who aren’t familiar, by the name of Foxwoods, although Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods are owned by different tribes, so if you’re looking to shuttle from one casino to another, tough luck kid. If you want a link for hotels in the area, click the link below!

MOHEGAN SUN & HOTELS: http://www.terrificon.com/mohegan-sun—hotels.html

I’ll be at TerrifiCon all three days of its run, I hope to see you there, and I’m willing to bet it’ll be a heck of a time. I’ll be sure to do a haul and review once I’m done, and with that being said, if you want to see that sort of thing, don’t forget to follow me on WordPress using your WordPress account or an email! Thanks for reading this post! While we are still talking about upcoming content, I should have you all know that tomorrow I’m going to see “Skyscraper,” I’ll have that review up as soon as possible, and I hope you can stay tuned for all of my future work here on Scene Before! I want to know, are you going to TerrifiCon? What days are you going? Have you been before? Tell me about your experience! Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

CON ANNOUNCEMENT: I’m Going to New York Comic Con 2018!

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Before we get any further and dive into any specifics I have associated with the main topic of this post, I’d just like to say that I hope everyone at San Diego Comic-Con is having a wonderful experience this weekend, but f*ck each and every one of you who didn’t bother giving this guy a ticket! I have feelings, ya know! I hope those long lines will show you what you’re worth, jerkfaces! Speaking of things that are long, let’s talk about a couple who had a long journey making their own baby. The couple goes by the names of Paul and Genevieve, and they have gone through literal hell trying to conceive. When it comes to editing videos or memorizing comic book knowledge, these two are OK. Making babies? Eh, forget about it! This is all explained… in “What the IVF?”

“What the IVF?” is a YouTube series featuring the recently mentioned couple. The premise of the series is pretty much what I said up above. These two are trying as hard as they can to have a baby, but to do it, they go through methods containing difficulty equal to winning the arcade game Stacker. In other words, Genevieve’s uterus is rigged and after each sexual act or IVF cycle, it must be game over. Witness the dynamic duo as they encounter problems in sex, math, appointments, tests, and pains in the ass–err I mean needles! You can find the latest content from “WTIVF?” on YouTube, including new episodes uploaded each and every Monday. The latest episode in the series, episode 19, goes over the couple’s first embryo transfer, and maybe there’s hope, a miracle on the rise. Watch to find out! Be sure to subscribe to the “What The IVF?” YouTube channel (link below), and speaking of social media, be sure to check out “What the IVF?” on other noteworthy places on the interwebs! All the links are down below, check em out, and be sure to tell them that Jack Drees sent ya over!

WTIVF? WEBSITE: http://www.whattheivf.com/

WTIVF? YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCILXSidkzWgwrQ5Oa1py78w/featured?disable_polymer=1

WTIVF? TWITTER: https://twitter.com/WTivF

WTIVF? INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/wtivf/

WTIVF? FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/What-The-IVF-288868031634125/

Now I’ve done a few con announcements here on Scene Before, specifically for Rhode Island Comic Con and Terrificon, and I’ve been to those and another convention (PAX East). But the thing about those conventions is that those are all in the New England region. This convention we’re gonna be talkin’ about, this is not just the first con I’m going to outside the New England area, it is one of the biggest and most revered conventions in all of history! That con, is New York Comic Con!

As far as my personal attendance there goes, I’ll say that you will be able to find me in the convention center for two out of the four days this convention goes on for. What days you ask? Those will be Friday and Sunday. Note how I didn’t say Saturday, my friend couldn’t get tickets for that day unfortunately. Doesn’t matter, that means I get a day to perhaps roam around New York City and see what’s what!

Sticking to the con itself, New York Comic Con has been around since 2006, and is held by the for-profit organization known as ReedPOP. Greg Topalian, former VP of Reed Exhibitions is credited as the founder of both New York Comic Con and ReedPOP. This organization is also behind conventions such as C2E2 (Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo), PAX (Penny Arcade Expo), Comic Con Seoul, Comic Con Africa, Hyderabad Comic Con, Comic Con Paris, Emerald City Comic Con, Star Wars Celebration, BookExpo, Oz Comic Con, Indonesia Comic Con, Mumbai Comic Con, ComplexCon, Bookcon, and more!

This convention is going to feature a bunch of faces, including some of your favorite celebrities from movies and TV, artists, and a few other people in the mix! Let’s go over some group guests that stand out!

The first group is a bunch of people that maybe years back that you’d wonder, HOW’D THEY GET ON TV? Now you just wonder, how do I survive without this show? This first batch out of the oven is a group of four folks I like to call the Impractical Jokers! Call em what you may, Impractical Jokers, The Tenderloins, four lifelong friends who compete to embarrass each other, whatever, I LOVE THESE GUYS. If you guys don’t watch “Impractical Jokers,” I’ll tell ya, it’s a riot! Turn on TruTV, go ahead and do yourself a favor and prepare to laugh, cringe, and question humanity. It’s one of those times where me cringing isn’t a negative towards something I watch! IT’S THAT GOOD. By the way, if you’re thinking that one or two of the Jokers will be at the con, that ain’t happening! All four are appearing! If you’re going to New York Comic Con, this is your chance to meet Murr, Sal, Joe, and Q! Then again, considering the fact that they live and film their show around the area, it’s not that surprising that they’ll be at a con like this. Although keep in mind, the New York Comic Con website suggests that they won’t be autographing, so you probably won’t be talking with them much. I will say though, from a personal perspective, that’s somewhat surprising. I can kind of understand Q, Sal, and Joe not autographing, but what about Murr? He actually just released his new book, “Awakened” so I was figuring with that out right now, it would be a grand opportunity to promote the book. Since they’re paneling, I can imagine there will be some talk about the book, but no signing? I’m not judging here, but I’m kinda surprised. Also, one more thing, to those who are attending, all four will be at the con THURSDAY ONLY, so if you’re going Thursday (which I’m not, :(), you can meet the Jokers.

As for other groups, we’ve got a bunch of folks from Critical Role joining in on the fun! We have Liam O’Brien, Laura Bailey, Marisha Ray, Matthew Mercer, Sam Riegel, Travis Willingham, Taliesin Jaffe, Ashley Johnson, and Brian W. Foster. If you had to ask me which of these folks I’d be most excited to meet, I’d personally pick Laura Bailey. I don’t watch a lot of “Critical Role,” but she’s Lucina in the “Fire Emblem” video game series, which I have played. She’s also one of my goto characters when I’m playing one of the newer “Super Smash Bros.” games.

Another group showing up is part of the cast of “Star Wars: Rebels!” Now that the series is over, it doesn’t mean that the cast’s con appearances are! This year at New York Comic Con, feast your eyes upon guests including Mary Elizabeth McGlynn and Steve Blum! If you are a “Star Wars” fan and that info doesn’t satisfy you enough, I’ll have you know that there are more “Star Wars” guests that I haven’t even gone over! One such guest is Grey DeLisle, or as she’s known on IMDb, Grey Griffin. She’s been in several pieces of “Star Wars” content, such as “Star Wars: The Old Republic,” “Star Wars: Battlefront II,” and even a couple of “Star Wars: Rebels” episodes now that we’re on that topic! Griffin is also known for tons of voiceover work in other material, just look at her IMDb, she’s got a ton of credits!

Got a few more groups to go over, one of which is “Boy Meets World,” or depending on which generation you grew up in, “Girl Meets World.” We have Ben Savage, Danielle Fishel, and Will Friedle, if you have watched either one of these shows, then you’re in luck at NYCC! You will get a chance to meet these three characters from the franchise (Fri-Sun)!

We also have a couple people from “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” specifically Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher, that way you can actually meet Lois and Clark in a big metropolis (New York)! Is it just me or has Dean Cain been going to a lot of cons recently? Seriously, I’ve been seeing his name on con guest lists a lot over the past year or so.

One of the more successful shows on Starz goes by the name of “Outlander,” and a number of its cast members will be appearing at the con. The list includes Caitriona Balfe (Claire Randall) and Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser). Both cast members have been present in the show’s entire series and play major roles.

Now in case you don’t already know, this is a BIG CON. But one thing that personally surprises me about it is that badges are still available for purchase. Saturday is sold out, but Thursday, Friday, and Sunday are all still available. Although my friend and I will tell you, getting the badges is not easy. It almost got to a point where she gave up. This was a graduation gift from her, so I can’t thank her enough. For example, before you can actually purchase any badges, you actually need to create an account that will allow you to purchase badges. That’s like going into some warehouse store like Costco and someone who works there tells you if you want to be a member, you need to go on your phone, go to Costco.com, and create a “Costco Confirmation” account, or as they call it “CC.” Once that’s done, you are eligible to be a member! And the tickets are not cheap! For the tickets that are on sale, you have to pay somewhere in the fifty dollar range, which funny enough, is almost the price of a Gold Star Costco membership! Also, for those of you who like to buy passes with multiple days for one price, I gotta tell ya, that’s not a thing. NYCC used to have that, however in 2017, that was discontinued. Why? I don’t know, probably to get more money.

In recent news, it has become apparent that New York Comic Con is partnered with Anime Expo. If you go to New York Comic Con this year and happen an anime junkie, you’re in luck! During NYCC, there is going to be a four day anime festival known by the name “Anime Fest @NYCC x Anime Expo.” Anime Expo, if you are not already aware is a large convention held annually in Los Angeles, CA. According to Wikipedia, the total number of attendees at these conventions have reached numbers in the six digit marks! You don’t necessarily need a badge to New York Comic Con to take advantage of an experience like this, but if you are curious about any sort of discount you could possibly get for possessing an NYCC badge, you can’t get one. All the discounts have been sold out. You can still however pay the standard price to attend this event on each day of its run.

New York Comic Con is from Thursday October 4th to Sunday October 7th in New York’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center! I hope to see you there, and I can guarantee that this will definitely be a unique con experience. This con is one of the biggest nerd celebrations in the world, and just for that alone, I am super stoked to see what this thing is all about! Over the next couple of months I’ll be asking myself, is NYCC worth the hype? And maybe when it comes time to do my review and haul of the convention, that question will be answered. Thanks for reading this post! Be sure to stay tuned for more great content coming to Scene Before, including my review for “Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again.” I just got tickets for a showing of the movie on Sunday, so expect a review of that movie sometime soon! Stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, are you going to New York Comic Con? Have you been before, tell me your thoughts on it! Also, is it worth the hype? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

CON ANNOUNCEMENT: I’m Going to Rhode Island Comic Con 2018!

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! This week is San Diego Comic-Con! Despite my gripe with them that I’ve held onto for the past number of months, I can still say with happiness and joy that the nerd celebration of the year is here! And to celebrate that, I’ve got con announcements incoming! Because I suck and can’t refresh my computer as fast as possible to get my San Diego Comic-Con tickets. Before we dive into this con announcement, let me just ask you something. Are comic-cons just for the nerds? I wouldn’t say they are. Nerds are definitely the target audience, but in reality, everyone is welcome! After all, I can imagine a lot of people want to meet an admirable celebrity, shake their hand, get their autograph, take a pic, all that jazz. Speaking of celebrities, there are a bunch of them that can be found on YouTube. And I know a lot of you viewing this might be thinking about people like PewDiePie or Shane Dawson or Smosh or Markiplier. Sure, those users are definitely popular. However, there are several communities and users on YouTube that aren’t necessarily talked about or brought up when thinking about YouTube celebrities. Today, we are going to change that. Ever since I discovered YouTube, I have been stalkin’ a group of people that make up the “elevator community.” One such member includes, its revered founder. In this post, I’d like to give a special shoutout and promotion to the YouTube user Dieselducy!

Dieselducy is a fairly popular YouTuber who happens to be a master of his craft, which simply put, is riding elevators. It takes hard work and dedication to find the finest and most presentable elevators on YouTube, and Dieselducy knows exactly what to do in order to show off the best of the best! Having shot many videos by himself and more alongside fellow elevator enthusiasts he met along the way, it’s easy to say that Dieselducy may be the most highly appreciated elevator photographer on the Internet. You can find all of Dieselducy’s content on YouTube, including this one of an elevator that’s shaped in a circular form, so you can say that it’s a lot like a “Star Trek” transporter. And seriously, this dude is a boss! He’s got over 50,000 subscribers! Thousands of videos to choose from for your viewing convenience! And as of recently, tons of livestreams, including one where he GETS A TICKET ON CAMERA! Please check out Dieselducy’s YouTube channel, be sure to subscribe, hit the notification bell, and check his other social media pages! Also, be sure to tell him that Jack Drees sent ya over!

DIESELDUCY’S YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/user/dieselducy

DIESELDUCY’S WEBSITE: http://www.dieselducy.com/

DIESELDUCY’S TWITTER: https://twitter.com/dieselducy

DIESELDUCY’S FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/DieselDucy/

DIESELDUCY’S INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/dieselducy/

DIESELDUCY’S FLICKR: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dieselducy

DIESELDUCY’S SNAPCHAT: Dieselducy

Now, as you can tell by the title of this post, you may be aware that I’m going to Rhode Island Comic Con this year. I’ve been running Scene Before for over two years now, and in that time, I’ve been to this con twice. Before I started this blog, I didn’t just go to that con, that was actually the first con I’ve ever gone to. I even documented my thoughts on the 2017 convention, which I thought was slightly clunky and disorganized, but despite that, it might have been the best con I’ve done in my life so far. I got to meet the cast of “Revenge of the Nerds,” I met a few people from Channel Awesome, I attended a couple panels, and I got a photo op alongside Christopher Lloyd. This upcoming con, doesn’t look like it’s going to disappoint. Some of the guests they’ve got lined up for this thing already impress me, and I can tell there will definitely be more impressive guests to come along the way. For the ones that are already listed, let’s dive into IT!

Take that last statement very lITerally, because “IT” seems to be playing a huge part in this con! And I’m talking about both the straight to TV miniseries and the recent hIT movie! As for the miniseries, one name you may recognize who will be showing up to Rhode Island is Tim Curry! You may know Curry as the famous clown, Pennywise. While “IT” is definitely partially responsible for Tim Curry’s fame, he has also appeared in such projects including “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “Clue,” “The Hunt For Red October,” “Home Alone 2: Lost In New York,” and “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” As of now, there is currently no announcement of Bill Skarsgård appearing, so you can’t really say you have two Pennywises coming together. Although there are people from the 2017 “IT” movie who will be making an appearance, specifically kids.

The appearing kids include Wylat Oleff (Stanley Uris) and Jaeden Lieberher (Bill Denbrough). I can’t really say that much about their performances in “IT” overall, because I haven’t actually watched the movie. I watched tons of movies in 2017, but “IT” was not one of them, which to be honest is kinda surprising when you think about the success IT had. Another thing to bear in mind with this post here, is that IT is published before all of the “IT” guests have been announced (probably, depends on how the people behind the con close out this week’s announcements).

Sticking with the topic of Tim Curry, he happens to be one of the guests currently listed in the “headliners” category. Now, if you look at the guest list for Rhode Island Comic Con on their website, that label doesn’t actually exist. But last year, they had several guests labeled as “headliners.” These guests would be on the first list you’d see on the guest page, and if RICC intends to do things similar to last year, they’ll all be in the Dunkin Donuts Center together (well, at least most of them), as opposed to the Rhode Island Convention Center, which is attached to that property. Rhode Island Comic Con currently has eighteen headliners listed on their site and they are…

Tim Curry (It, Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Alan Tudyk (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Moana)
Morena Baccarin (Deadpool, Gotham)
Karl Urban (Star Trek, Dredd)
Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy, The Walking Dead) He’s Mary Poppins, y’all.
Finn Jones (Game of Thrones, Iron Fist)
Jessica Henwick (Game of Thrones, Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Nestor Carbonell (The Dark Knight, Bates Motel)
Billy Boyd (Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Empty)
Danny Trejo (Sons of Anarchy, Machete)
Brianna Hildebrand (Deadpool, The Exorcist)
Stefan Kapičić (Deadpool, Counterpart)
Richard Dean Anderson (General Hospital, MacGyver)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Sons of Anarchy)
Billy Zane (Titanic, Back to the Future Part II)
Cassandra Peterson (Movie Macabre, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure)
Lou Diamond Phillips (Stand and Deliver, Young Guns)
Ben McKenzie (Gotham, Southland)

Since we’re on the topic, let’s talk about three of them specifically. The trio includes Brianna Hildebrand, Stefan Kapičić, and Morena Baccarin.

What do the recently mentioned trio have in common? They’re all in the “Deadpool” movies! You may know Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead, Stefan Kapičić is the voice of Colossus, and Morena Baccarin plays Vanessa, the love interest to “Deadpool.” I am SO excited for this trio! I actually met one of the people in this trio before, specifically Brianna Hildebrand, and it was fun meeting her. In fact, it was actually at this exact con in 2016. I didn’t talk to her much, although I did ask her how her time was in Providence, I told her she had the “coolest name ever,” to which she chuckled, and we went our separate ways. One thing you might be interested to know is that Stefan Kapičić was actually at the same convention that weekend. Although I didn’t meet him. So depending on what I do during this convention, I’ll have a chance of meeting three “Deadpool” cast members, one of which I’ve met before, and two I’d meet for the first time. If I can’t get to all three, I’d personally flock after Morena Baccarin. I mean, let me just say, I’m a white, straight, eighteen year old boy. Of course I f*cking love “Deadpool.” Morena Baccarin’s character is not only gorgeous, but my gosh, she is just one of the best and most charismatic love interests I’ve seen as far as recent movies go.

If you were going to ask me who I think might be the “best on-screen couple” in movie history, Vanessa and Wade from “Deadpool” are definitely in that conversation. While certain parts of their relationship feel somewhat fantastical, you just can’t help but appreciate their chemistry and dialogue throughout both “Deadpool” and “Deadpool 2.” I’m twenty years younger than Baccarin, but if she happened to ever be single and want a younger guy… I’m available. But in all seriousness, Baccarin at a con is definitely going to be interesting, but you know what would be even cooler? If they pull out all the stops and get Ryan motherf*cking Reynolds!

Another group of guests that is likely to get a lot of attention at Rhode Island Comic Con is the cast of “The Walking Dead.” Last year, they’ve had plenty of guests announced who happened to be “Walking Dead” cast members. Although, due to bad timing in their schedules, four of them couldn’t even make it. Let’s just hope for the sake of the fanbase’s personal joy that this doesn’t happen again this year. So far, when it comes to “The Walking Dead” guests this year, we have Steven Yeun, Michael Rooker, Laurie Holden, Lennie James, Jeremy Palko, and Cooper Andrews. This con is three and a half months away, so there could be potential for more “Walking Dead” guests to show up, however if there’s one that’s unlikely to show up, that’s Jeffery Dean Morgan. I remember hearing on YouTube he was rather dissatisfied with Rhode Island Comic Con due to its chaos and disorganization. Oh well, there are other people to look forward to meeting!

This con is not exactly a couple of months away, so I’m not gonna get into too many more guests, but some of the guests I’m noticing seem to be very well known for their voiceover work.

The first guest I’ll mention is Kevin Conroy. While some may argue about the best on-screen Batman and lean towards someone such as Adam West, Christian Bale, or Ben Affleck, some may lean towards Kevin Conroy. He has not just played Batman, you can make the argument at this point that this guy probably IS Batman! Seriously, let’s make a list of some of the s*it that he’s done as the character of Batman! “Batman: The Killing Joke,” “Batman: Arkham Asylum,” “Batman: Arkham City,” “Batman: Arkham Knight,” “Batman: The Animated Series,” “The New Batman Adventures,” “Injustice: Gods Among Us,” “Injustice 2,” “Batman and Harley Quinn,” “Batman: Vengeance,” “DC Universe Online,” “Batman: Mask of the Phantasm…”

Now let’s move onto our next voiceover artist, Tara Strong!

If the name Tara Strong does not sound familiar to you, than chances are you don’t do much research on “My Little Pony” or “The Fairly OddParents.” Tara Strong is very well known for years of voiceover work, having received several nominations in the Annie and Behind the Voice Actor awards shows. She also is known for her work as Bubbles on “The Powerpuff Girls.”

Another big voiceover name at this year’s Rhode Island Comic Con is John DiMaggio. You may know him from “Adventure Time,” “Gravity Falls,” the “Transformers” movies, and “Futurama,” otherwise known as that one show with a popular meme that is going to describe everyone attending Rhode Island Comic Con once they hear the word “autograph,” “ticket,” or “photo op.”

I don’t really have as much of an objective at this year’s Rhode Island Comic Con like I did other times I went, but then again, that could potentially change in the upcoming months. If there was an objective this year for me, the closest thing to it is to meet Morena Baccarin. As far as talking to her goes, that’s a different story, I don’t know how big or fast her line will be, but I can guarantee that it won’t be small. Maybe I can at least get a hello or some witty joke in or something jazzy. For the other three years I’ve gone to Rhode Island Comic Con, there was an objective I had in mind, and it has been accomplished each time. In 2015, I met Curtis Armstrong. In 2016, I met Gal Gadot. In 2017, I met the entire cast of “Revenge of the Nerds” who happened to appear for their reunion. When it comes to Rhode Island Comic Con, the thing that has always impressed me is the guest list. Not only is it big, but it includes people that probably rarely go to cons! The guest list and con is so big in fact, that it needs three venues to fit everything! For the past few conventions, it has been held inside the Rhode Island Convention Center, as it has every single year, but it has also been held in the attached Dunkin Donuts Center. In 2017, however, I was made aware that new ballroom space in the closeby Omni Providence Hotel was used for the con. I imagine that will continue this year, because that space was used for a traveling group that shows nerdy films called GeekFest Film Fests, and they are coming back this year.

Why is there so much space? If you haven’t followed this con or been to it, one big story that went down during the con’s run in 2014 is that the Rhode Island Convention Center was filled to capacity, which is the first time that’s happened in the building’s history. 20,000 people attended Rhode Island Comic Con that weekend, and this was kind of a hazard. The fire marshal temporarily shut down the con due to poor attendance flow. At least about 1,500 attendees couldn’t enter the convention and those who left the convention could not reenter. Luckily, those who wanted refunds likely had their wish granted, and precautions such as adding the Dunkin Donuts Center in 2015 helped this sort of thing become less likely to happen again. Then 2015 happened, and the line to get in the Rhode Island Convention Center from the Dunkin Donuts Center was longer than jury duty. Disorganization was also a key complaint uttered by some con-goers in 2016, one such complaint was towards the company issuing photo ops, which was resolved in 2017 by getting a new team. However, for whatever reason, that team is not back this year.

Now this con, as mentioned, is disorganized, and that was one of the big complaints that they MAYBE tried to avoid from happening again like it did in 2016. When I entered the con last year, something REALLY strange happened. The entry point of the con allows you to go straight into the Dunkin Donuts Center, and nearby to the right is a ramp that transports you onto a skybridge that goes over to the Rhode Island Convention Center. In 2017, however, that was not a thing. Apparently, as a method of “crowd control” everybody had to go around the circle that makes up the Dunkin Donuts Center before they can even enter the Rhode Island Convention Center! Is this an attack on nerds for not getting enough physical exercise? And if that’s the case, it’s good to know that an arena with a donut shop’s name is helping out! I don’t know if this will happen again in 2018, but as much as I look forward to this con, that might be the first or second biggest downfall of last year’s experience.

Much like last year, this con is going to have some nifty events tied into it. This year there’s going to be an after-party on Friday and Saturday, tattooing, gaming tournaments, Sci-fi Speed Dating (must be 18 and single to participate), and if you’re coming here with your kids, you may be happy to know that RICC will have certain things that cater to them at Kids Con!

I’ve been going to Rhode Island Comic Con, and while it’s definitely not a perfect convention, it has some weird quirks and bugs behind it, the con definitely does not disappoint and it’s a buttload of fun. I’ll be there as a patron all three days, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This starts on November 2nd and ends on November 4th. If you want to go to Rhode Island Comic Con, I do highly recommend you check it out, and if you’re staying somewhere overnight, click the link below and go check out the discount hotel rates you can get during your stay at Providence during this event. As of this post’s publication, you can still book a few nearby hotels such as The Hilton Providence or Courtyard Providence Downtown. If those are out of your budget, the list also includes a couple hotels near the airport in Warwick, which is towns away from Providence. I’m looking forward to Rhode Island Comic Con and I hope to see you there! Thanks for reading this post! Pretty soon I’ll have a couple “Mission: Impossible” reviews coming your way. I’m gonna soon have my review up for “Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation” and “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.” Stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, are you going to Rhode Island Comic Con this year? Have you gone before? Tell me your thoughts on it. Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

DISCOUNT HOTEL RATES DURING RICC 2018: http://www.ricomiccon.com/hotels