Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes Part 3

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! It is now time for part 3 of the all new 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.

The spread continues! The United States is still the most affected country by this virus and one can only wonder when collective optimism will set in. What is happening? Masks weren’t safe then but they’re safe now? The New England Patriots sent protective equipment to New York? Speaking of New York, apparently it is just recently reported that the state has suffered its highest death toll yet. Although at the same time, Gov. Andrew Cuomo feels that the decrease in hospitalizations could bring hope. Speaking of hope, the death toll in Italy and Spain seem to be falling.

There’s also continuous talk about about a drug. President Trump is suggesting to use hydroxychloroquine in order to stop the virus. For the record, this is a drug that is used to cure malaria and mosquito bites. Trump has a financial interest in Sanofi, which is a French drugmaker that makes a brand-name edition of the drug. He also suggested that if the drug is combined with azithromycin, an antibiotic, it could be “a game-changer.” However, not everyone is onboard, including expert Anthony Fauci, who has stood alongside Trump from day to day during this crisis. Fauci suggests that there is only “anecdotal evidence” of the drug helping people.

Also, Easter is this Sunday, and given how there are strong recommendations for people to stay home nowadays, there is a high likelihood that family gatherings will be avoided. I often visit relatives out of town on Easter Sunday, but given the current situation, that does not seem to be happening. But, if you live in New Zealand and you have kids that are feeling down, feel free to cheer them up by letting them know that the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, considers the Easter Bunny an essential worker.

As stated in the video, it may be tough for the bunny to get everywhere, but if you want to spread some positivity to your children, here you go. Also, remind them that the Tooth Fairy is essential as well. Although if that Tooth Fairy shows up as The Rock, then reconsider what I just said.

Once again, this has been a rather uneventful weekend for the box office, and one of the biggest concerns as far as box office goes has to do with AMC Theatres, which I’ll get to eventually. But as a continual substitute to the theater, many movies are constantly being dropped onto VOD services early. Some recent highlights include “Bad Boys For Life,” the highest grossing January film of all time, and “Impractical Jokers: The Movie,” which appropriately dropped on April Fools Day. But with physical life in abandonment for the time being, there may be some concerns about big festivals. San Diego Comic-Con, arguably the most important comic convention in relation to film, is still on. However, weeks ago, Cannes, the annual festival held in France, has been postponed from May to sometime in June or July. And it was just announced from festival director Thierry Fremaux that there are no plans to digitally transform the event, suggesting that “it’s a model that won’t work.” And this doesn’t even cover all of the festival news that is relevant for this post. Here’s more!

SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST IS BACK ON (Sort of)

SXSW Conference & Festivals | March 13-22, 2020

One of the benefits of a large gathering like South by Southwest is the ability to mix the intention of interacting with other people, networking, while also putting the idea of entertainment into the mix. In fact, I was going to go to South by Southwest this year, but unfortunately, it got canceled the week I was supposed to depart. I also highly detest the recent actions of South by Southwest, because even though they are allowing people to move their purchased tickets to an alternate date in an upcoming year (which my mother did do for 2021), there is no option for a refund. While I am all for making money, SXSW is the kind of organization to me that purely resembles greed. In fact, they didn’t even cancel their event, the city of Austin did!  However, they do seem to be somewhat sympathetic to their vendors. According to various sources, Amazon Prime Video is going to be digitally showcasing various projects that were supposed to play at the festival last month. All the people behind the projects need to present a fee in order to let their work shine. Keep in mind that the revealing of work that was supposed to be presented in person in front of the masses on Prime is optional, so if you were expecting to see something in particular at the festival, maybe it won’t make it to Amazon’s service. Also keep in mind, if you are planning seeing on these pieces of work, you do not need to pay for Amazon Prime, but you do need an Amazon account. As long as you have that, you’re good to go.

VENICE FILM FESTIVAL DENIES GOING DIGITAL

Last year, the Venice Film Festival honored Todd Phillips’ “Joker” with the Golden Lion, which is the festival’s highest honor. This year, there is perhaps some wonder if it would be a joke to keep the festival running in September. Keep in mind that Italy has the second highest count of COVID-19 cases to date and who knows about a second wave and if that’s a possibility? However, according to Variety, a Venice spokesperson reported “The Venice Film Festival cannot be replaced by an online event.” This is in response to a recent interview between festival director Alberto Barbera and Italian news agency ANSA who said he is not weighing digital options. That by the way, is in response to what is happening with the Toronto International Film Festival, where there is consideration for both physical and digital aspects. At this point, it may be too early to tell given how the festival is about five months into the future. We’ll have to see if Italy is stable by then, and if there is enough reason to keep the festival on in person.

DELAYED MOVIES AND NEW RELEASE DATES

Well, it appears that COVID-19 is doing its own stunts now. “Top Gun: Maverick” has officially been delayed, which honestly disappoints me because it was one of my most anticipated films of the summer. It looked like another one of those films, kind of like the recent “Mission: Impossible” movies, where Tom Cruise does everything he can to nearly kill himself. Instead, the film is now coming out in December, which really has me scared, because this puts my most anticipated film of the year, “Dune” in a tough position. While I have no real idea how much money “Dune” will make, this is giving me the creeps because while I cannot exactly anticipate how well of a marketing campaign “Dune” is going to have, if it weren’t for a nostalgic, somewhat recognizable property stepping in, I figured “Dune” would have a massive chance at succeeding. Plus, I recall early reports of one person suggesting that the footage that has already been seen of “Dune” is on the level that matches “Lord of the Rings” and “Star Wars.” Can the praise get any better than that?! The 2020 adaptation of “Dune” could arguably be the greatest story ever told if the movie matches this previous word of mouth! Although at the same time, I’ll mention it again, as far as this summer goes, “Top Gun: Maverick” is one of my most anticipated films. Don’t think I’m trying to take it out behind the barn and shoot it. If anything, I want the movie to succeed, but I also want “Dune” to succeed. Maybe this could be a case where “Dune” heavily succeeds, thus leaving “Top Gun: Maverick” in the dust, which would also be disappointing. It feels like there’s no winning in this case. Speaking of Paramount films, they are also delaying “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run,” the third “SpongeBob SquarePants” idea that will ultimately be brought to the big screen. The movie will follow the titular sponge as he goes on a quest with Patrick Star to find his missing snail, Gary. Also in Paramount movie news, “A Quiet Place Part II” has a new release date, specifically September 4th, giving it a Labor Day weekend slot. For the record, the movie has already been delayed as of March 12th from its original release date, March 20th, but has not received a new date until now. I am beyond thankful that “A Quiet Place Part II” is not considering the streaming route, because having seen the original installment, it is one of those movies that you have to be in the theater to truly feel its impact. At least that’s what I got with the first one. When I saw “A Quiet Place” a couple years back, it was a highlight in my movie experience journey because it was one of the few movies that FORCED me to be quiet to fully enjoy the product. I could barely chew my popcorn, I almost couldn’t even take as big of sips of my drink as I usually would, it was a one of a kind time at the movies. I’m willing to bet that John Krasinski made “A Quiet Place Part II” with the same thoughts in mind that he had for the first one. SILENCE THE AUDITORIUM AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. I’m looking forward to September, let’s just hope that there are enough reasons to go to the movies by then.

While “A Quiet Place Part II” is sticking to a theatrical release, one movie that I was kind of looking forward to seeing in theaters is no longer going to be there, and will end up heading straight to that tenth streaming service you guys have, Disney+. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m talking about “Artemis Fowl.” For those of you who don’t know, “Artemis Fowl” is based on a book about a 12-year-old criminal mastermind who must find his father while facing underground fairies. I was kind of looking forward to seeing “Artemis Fowl” even though I have not read the book personally. The movie sort of looked like a visual trip, and if successful, could have spawned the next big fantasy franchise. I wonder if this is a sign that Disney may end up throwing in the towel on the franchise before it even starts. After all, the film was made on a $125 million budget, so I guess they were expecting a return of hundreds of millions. The real question is, could the film have broken even? Who knows? I have not heard much word of mouth about “Artemis Fowl” from anybody else, but the trailers do intrigue me. It at least had my attention.

Speaking of Disney+, one of the suggestions people happened to make is to release “Black Widow” early on the service. Quite honestly, I think that is a ridiculous idea that could cost Disney a lot of money, and it seems that we are sharing a thinking cap because Disney has officially pushed back the MCU timeline, and placed “Black Widow” on the November 6 release slot. When I say the MCU timeline, I mean it almost 100%. Every movie that is supposed to eventually come out in the MCU has been delayed except “Black Panther 2.” Even “Captain Marvel 2,” originally set to release in June 2022, is moving up a couple weeks for a new July 8th release during the year. For those who don’t know, “Eternals” was originally supposed to come out November of this year, but having two MCU films come out at once is a little extreme, so now it is coming out February 12th, 2021. At this point, November is looking like a respectable month for popular nerd culture. Between “Black Widow,” a movie that Marvel fans are FINALLY getting to see. “No Time to Die,” the 25th Bond film that is supposed to be Daniel Craig’s final outing as the character. Plus, “Godzilla vs. Kong,” which I am curious to hear more about. I think one of these is going to get bumped to a different release date to guarantee avoidance of being a box office bomb, because November is a pretty big month for movies, and even though there are blockbusters at the time, a lot of focus from those who are heavily invested is going to be leaning towards the Oscar bait films.

As far Disney’s live-action “Mulan” remake goes, that is now coming out on July 24th. Should it get delayed again, I think that is another film that Disney is going to keep in theaters with all their might, because part of the marketing emphasizes the big battles of the film, and those could be stellar to see on the silver screen. The one thing that I think will be diminished though is its IMAX run. Because unless Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” gets delayed and “Mulan” still comes out, “Tenet” is going to have a long run in many IMAX theaters. It was shot on IMAX cameras after all! “Mulan” now takes the place of theme park ride-inspired “Jungle Cruise,” starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, which has now been pushed back to July 30th, 2021. Another big pushback comes from the Lucasfilm side of things, specifically for “Indiana Jones 5,” which is kind of unfortunate because Harrison Ford ain’t getting any younger. At this point with a film like “Indiana Jones 5,” I will believe it when I see it.

Remember how Disney bought Fox? Guess what? Their slate is getting kicked in the ass too! Wes Anderson was supposed to come out with “The French Dispatch” on July 24th, but now it is being pushed back to October. This could be some good news for Wes Anderson as the director behind the film has a history of being acclaimed, and having a unique style to his films. This unique style can be reinserted into everyone’s heads and perhaps bring up a reason for this film to contend for awards. If this came out in the summer, maybe it would have as much of a chance, but keep in mind. Award season pretty much gets into full swing in the fall. Summer is mainly for blockbusters and popcorn movies. Those movies don’t usually rack up the Oscars.

Universal is also in the news, because they recently pushed back Illumination Entertainment’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru.” That film was supposed to come out July 3rd this year, but it has been pushed back to July 2nd of next year. In addition, “Sing 2,” which is a sequel to a well-liked film starring Matthew McConaughey as a mouse who runs a theater, is also getting pushed back. “Minions: The Rise of Gru” is currently sitting where “Sing 2” was originally going to be, but much like the situation I mentioned earlier with Marvel, it could be weird to have two of the same types of movies releasing at once. Therefore, “Sing 2” will be coming out December 22nd, 2021. Keep in mind, the film was supposed to come out this year in December, but was delayed to its previous July spot. Honestly, this delay is not that bad, because the original “Sing” came out in December 2016, and ended up being a hit for Illumination. Maybe this sequel will do the same. Speaking of keeping things in mind, Universal was making a movie based on the popular play “Wicked,” which was set to release in the current spot where “Sing 2” resides. Due to “Sing 2’s” recent pushback, it could be possible that “Wicked” will be out in 2022. By the way, not steering away from animated features, this week is interesting for film, because remember “Trolls: World Tour?” It’s in the middle of its marketing campaign and if you are a parent who wants to torture yourself in order to please your kids, it comes out digitally this Friday, April 10th. Advertisements have suggested that the movie will also be playing in theaters. But the real question is, what theater in the United States is still open at this point? When you are increasingly going to get shamed for not wearing a mask outside, what theater is open?

AMC MAY NOT SURVIVE

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Now I understand that there are more important things in life than film. There’s health, happiness, and safety. Unfortunately, the news makes me feel ill, unhappy, and like I’ll never ever be safe again. If you all know me, you’d be aware that my safe place in life is the movie theater, and one of my regular stops for my experiences happen to be AMC locations. It’s where I often go for my press screenings, as an excuse to use Stubs points, and on occasion, for Dolby and IMAX. Depending on where you live in the United States, there is a solid chance that you have at least one AMC location near you. In fact, I recently went to downtown Burbank, California and they have three locations within minutes of each other, and this is walking distance I’m talking about! Even though AMC technically is a large chain that owns a lot of theaters, they do a good job at giving a sense of prioritization on the moviegoing experience. In fact, in recent years, they’ve been expanding their fleet, renovating theaters, putting in new seats (which admittedly, sometimes underwhelmed me), implementing reserved seating options, and one of their most notable innovations to the American movie market was their Stubs A-List program, which is basically their response to MoviePass as it began to die down. They even have an On Demand service now! In fact, even though I am a physical media junkie, that is probably a place where I’ll consider renting a movie one night (as long as Sony Android TVs) can get it. AMC just recently used to be the biggest chain in North America, but has recently been dethroned since Europe’s Cineworld bought the Canadian chain Cineplex. Now that Cineworld owns both Cineplex and Regal Entertainment Group, they are now the largest theater chain in regards to the continent.

Having said that, AMC Theatres is a pretty big chain. But the bigger they are, the harder they fall. AMC Theatres has spent a lot of money on changes in recent years, recently laid off a ton of employees, and is currently in debt. To make matters worse, S&P Global has recently downgraded AMC Theatres to a CCC-. The association to insert here is “Default imminent, with little prospect for recovery.” Keep in mind, that if you live in the United States, that means if AMC Theatres closes down for good, you are likely to lose a country-wide total of over six hundred cinemas. Just a couple weeks ago, I was reminding people that the smaller, indie theaters might be in a bit of trouble right now. They’re making AMC look like RadioShack! In fact, one of the cool ideas I have been seeing recently is that theaters are doing pop-up sales, where they are selling popcorn to paying customers even though there are no movies going on. This has happened at a couple locations near my house, specifically the Somerville Theatre and Capitol Theatre, both of which are in Massachusetts and owned by Frame One Theatres. I don’t know if a chain like AMC would do that, because I think they are more concerned about protecting what they have by letting people go than continuing operations and getting mocked. But, again, if any theater wants to take up my suggestion on a popcorn or candy delivery service, be my guest! I’ll probably order from it twice a day just to provide some support. That, and I love my movie theater popcorn. It could be through the organization itself, maybe through Uber Eats, maybe Grubhub could be a good idea. After all, pretty much the only thing I can do in life right now is stay inside and put on a movie. I need decent popcorn to go with it! But sticking with the main idea, the loss of AMC, can bring a tremendously dark impact to the industry. Because that means no more Prime Theatres, no more specifically branded Dolby Cinema, and no more A-List. But also, keep in mind the large theater count the chain has and how much of a reduction this truly can provide. There will be significantly less places to go to watch a movie. If you’re lucky enough to have somewhere like a Regal or Cinemark nearby, then you’re probably in luck. I’ve got Showcase Cinemas. Even though I’ve been to their theaters a number of times, I really think they are overhyped and their setup is occasionally bonkers (although their Providence location might have my favorite IMAX theater). And I don’t know if another chain is going to swoop in and take all the AMC locations that could die as a result of this. AMC is not the only chain hurting here. For all I know, maybe one of the big toilet paper companies can come in and start something new. Come on in to “Angel Soft Theater!” Your ass is safe on both our toilets and our auditorium chairs!

One YouTuber I regularly watch goes by the name of John Campea (Collider Movie Talk, The John Campea Show) and he suggested that studios should step in and help AMC financially during this dire time. If the studios have enough money, this is a swell idea. After all, there is a strong bond between movie theaters and studios. One cannot essentially exist without the other. And given how studios are perhaps likely to lose money should they rely on digital sales for their films, they are probably well off giving some of what they have to a chain that has given them tons of strength over the years. I often make fun of how much money Disney has, but wouldn’t it be a great story if Disney gave some money to AMC? I’d dig it. Time will tell when it comes determining the fate of AMC Theatres, but that is largely going to depend on when this crisis diminishes or ends, if people are not too scared to go out into the masses again, and if movies are even going to release by the time this ends. Again, if “Tenet” is not in theaters this July, I think I can officially call it quits on this year for film. Because that news will break me. Pixar’s “Soul” hasn’t been delayed yet. Maybe that will come out in June. Again, it’s hard to tell at this point given how confusing this virus really is.

NEW RELEASES GOING ON DEMAND

I did do this last week, and to be honest, I don’t know if I’ll continue this trend, but given how On Demand is becoming more of a core element to the movie-viewing experience given the current situation, I figured I’d share some new releases that are out On Demand this week. First off is “Ip Man 4: The Finale.” I have not seen any of these movies, but one things that intrigues me is that it stars Donnie Yen, who has been brought to my attention in recent years. The actor is probably one of the more badass men I have seen in an action film as far as newer material goes. While I will declare that “xXx: Return of Xander Cage” is not exactly the “Citizen Kane” of action, Donnie Yen may have been the best part of the movie. Up next is “Like a Boss,” which came out in January. This does not look or feel like my type of movie, but I believe I almost went to a press screening for it. Not sure though. The film stars Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne, alongside Salma Hayek and it is about friends who are trying to start a beauty company. The film clocks in with a total of an hour and twenty-three minutes. Did the editor want to finish their job as soon as possible or something? By the way, for those of you who prefer buying the physical copy, both films are scheduled to come out on DVD and Blu-ray on April 21st. If you have Disney+, there is heavy promotion going on right now to get people to watch Pixar’s “Onward,” and if you have the service, it is now watchable any time you want.

Thanks for reading the third part of the ongoing series “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes!” As long as this crisis is unfortunately still with us, this series is going to continue, and maybe even get me to delay my scheduled film reviews. Although, for all I know, my review of “My Spy” might not even come out until next year given how I would probably be shoved into an abyss by STX executives if I open my mouth about it right now. As for myself, I have not left my house in awhile, and I continue to remain healthy. If you want to use your time wisely, be sure to follow Scene Before either through an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Since we’re all online right now, why not take a break from learning how to use Zoom for a quick second and check out the Scene Before Facebook page! You won’t regret it! I want to know, is there any COVID-19 movie news that happens to be significant that I missed? What have you been doing during this crazy time? Any movies you want to recommend? TV shows maybe? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Top Movies of the 2010s (THE BEST 25)

Top Movies of the 2010s OFFICIAL POSTER

*WARNING: This post is over 11,000 words long…*

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! This is it! We have arrived! Second upon second, minute upon minute, hour upon hour, week upon week, month upon month, year upon year, has led to this very moment. It is time to dive into the best and the worst movies of the 2010s! For this initial installment of the multi-part series, I will be diving into the best movies of the decade. If you have followed this blog for some time, there is a good chance that you know that I usually like to cap off my years by reflecting on the best and worst in film through short countdowns. This however, is going to be bigger. I’ll not only explain movies, what they’re about, why I did or did not like them, but I will also show clips of the movies as well, so you can get a taste of the cinematic flavor. Plus, instead of top 10, this countdown is going to be a top 25, more films, more fun! I am going to continue being as descriptive about these movies as I can without providing any spoilers about them. And per usual, rules apply. This is a completely subjective and personal countdown. All of these entries are strictly my opinion, and in no way factual. I am not being paid money to put a film in a certain place, I am not sponsoring any of these films, I have not even worked on a single one, I am just a viewer. Also, the 2010s is a span of ten years and thousands of movies, for all I know the final outcome could be much more because it is getting easier to make a film nowadays. People do it on iPhones for crying out loud! With that being said, I have not seen every single film this decade. I still haven’t gotten around to films like “Despicable Me” (2010), “The Artist” (2011), “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012), “This is the End” (2013), “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” (2014), “Bridge of Spies” (2015), “The Nice Guys” (2016), “Logan” (2017) “If Beale Street Could Talk” (2018), and “The Two Popes” (2019). Films like those will not be on the list. I will also point out, if the film does not have a theatrical release of any kind, it will not be allowed on here. That means all movies that have gone straight to DVD, TV, or streaming are not qualified and will be off the list unless the public was able to see it in a theater during its prime release schedule. So with that being said, let’s dive into a countdown to ultimately define the past ten years. This is the big one, let’s do this! These are my top 25 BEST movies of the 2010s!

#25: Honey Boy (2019)

Out of all the movies that I am putting on this list, this one is one of the most recent to have come out. Specifically, “Honey Boy.” This movie is written by, of all people, Shia LeBeouf (Transformers, The Peanut Butter Falcon). And I have to say, as an observer, I think LeBeouf might be a better writer than he is an actor! LeBeouf wrote this movie while he was in rehab and I think the turnout result on screen is nothing short of fantastic. This is the first feature-length script written for the screen by LeBeouf himself, and if he is ever up to the task, I would love to see more from him. Speaking of debuts, this film is also the feature-length debut of director Alma Har’el, who I think personally created one of the best directorial debuts of all-time. This is a film that hit me when I saw it in the theater. I was never able to fully relate to the situations at hand. But that’s because I never grew up with an abusive parent, I have very loving parents, but I cannot deny that I felt something for the movie’s lead kid character, Otis, who is played marvelously by Noah Jupe. Speaking of which, we also manage to see some rather unfortunate effects that have been eventually attached to this character as he ages into a 22-year-old. The only problem I have with this movie are a couple nitpicky comments I have with shot choices. Other than that, it’s perfection.

#24: Birdman (2014)

You ever watch a certain movie and ask yourself, “HOW THE F*CK DID THEY MAKE THAT?!” Admittedly, I knew one or two things going into “Birdman,” but having seen that movie, I have to reiterate that question to myself from time to time. Seriously! This is  a film that quite literally, never stops. It is one of the most innovative films of our time, specifically because the shots never cut. I just saw “1917” before concluding this list, which is a great movie. And that too has a non-stop, one shot take represented for an extended period of time. But this movie was a game-changer for me. This movie also could have sucked as a story, and still work for me in regards to how it represents itself visually. But guess what, it doesn’t suck as a story! The movie revolves around an actor who is well known for his role as a superhero in a film franchise. He’s sort of becoming increasingly irrelevant, and he is trying to revitalize his career on Broadway. The film gets surprisingly intense and delivers some of the best acting of the decade. This movie may represent Emma Stone’s best performance to date, which says a lot because I like her as an actress even in movies that I didn’t enjoy overall. Even though I didn’t entirely dig films like “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” she was a highlight. If Stone keeps kicking ass in Hollywood and taking names for years to come, maybe she’ll be the next Meryl Streep. That’s another thing, what really makes this film all the more intense as a production is the fact that the camera is literally never stopping. There’s a shot that goes on for fifteen minutes, suggesting that there is a clear sense of needing to remember literally everything you have to do. Somehow, everyone pulled this ambitious project off! To me, it’s one of the greatest cinematic achievements of all time. Good story, good cast, good cinematography, GREAT film.

#23: Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)

One of my favorite DreamWorks franchises is “Kung Fu Panda,” so it should not be surprising that one of the films from the franchise end up on here. Well… except the first one, that came out in 2008, therefore it doesn’t count. Instead, why not put the second one on the list? “Kung Fu Panda 2” is too awesome for words. If you ask me, this is an animated sequel that is visually stunning, fun, and continues directly where the original left off and gives itself a reason to exist. It also, to my surprise, does a really good job with world-building and providing some decent backstory material as well. Much like many other sequels that come to mind, this references the original in clever ways, the most notable instance that comes to mind is the “stairs” scene, which continues to get a kick out of me conceptually. I will also say that much like the original “Kung Fu Panda” movie, the climax of this film is one of the best in animation history. It is compelling, it is attention-grabbing, it is flashy, it is epic, it’s everything I want out of a movie like this. The animation itself is pristine, clean, and overall very marvelous to glance upon. It’s easily one of DreamWorks’ best-looking films! If “Kung Fu Panda 2” ever comes out on 4K, I would not mind going to the store and picking it up! The original “Kung Fu Panda” will always have a place in my heart, both as a childhood film, and as one of my favorite films in general. But this sequel, along with the third installment in the trilogy, both bring smiles to my face. Spoiler by the way, the third installment, as much I adore it, is not on this list!

#22: Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)

Coming in at #22 is an entry that I feel is going to strike some controversy, but what is the Internet without a little disagreement? So, hear me out. Here’s the thing about “The Wizard of Oz,” many people seem to know it to be one of the most beloved, iconic films of all time, and I can see why. Having seen the film myself, I think it is definitely worthy of utter appreciation even eighty years after its release. However, if you ask me, one of the best films of my time, personally, comes from the same universe, “Oz the Great and Powerful.” This is one of those films that I am surprised I do not talk about more often. While the visuals at times may not look realistic and maybe like something out of a TV movie, that honestly adds to the charm of this film a little bit. I think James Franco does a pretty decent job with the lead Role. Mila Kunis adds her slice of charisma and comes off like she’s having fun with the movie. When I saw the marketing for this film originally, I was expecting something epic, fun, and flashy, and I got all three of those things. Did I mention Sam Raimi directed this film? I think he did a pretty swell job at not only giving us a solid story, but the way they utilized 3D in this film was honestly done to levels that I did not expect. Is it gimmicky? I guess you can definitely make an argument for it being gimmicky, but that sort of adds to the fantastical charm of it all. I also have to give a shoutout to Danny Elfman for creating the fantastic score. As soon as I was introduced to the film and I was going through the opening titles, I knew that this movie was going to be rad. There are times where, dare I say it… *whispering* think this could be more entertaining than “The Wizard of Oz…” Does that mean it’s technically better? Probably not, but still.

#21: Roma (2018):

I think this film is pretty unique in terms of where it stands. After all, it is the only black and white movie on this list. I give you all the movie that made me start taking Netflix just a tad more seriously as brand, “Roma!” This is one of those films that I went in blind for, and as I watched whatever was happening, it made for one of the best theater experiences of the past few years. Plus, getting to see this movie in 70mm was a treat. This film is directed by Alfonso Cuarón, who also made another enjoyable flick from this decade, “Gravity.” Now I liked “Gravity” when I saw it, and as a theater experience, it was better than “Roma,” which says something because “Roma” is great on its own. But having said that, “Roma” is ultimately the superior film. It’s a story revolving around a maid to a family in Mexico who becomes pregnant. Essentially, this is one of those “slice of life” films that is not always happy go lucky. There was a moment during the film, probably through shot composition, direction, and acting, where I almost let a tear go. The beach scene in this film is one of the most emotionally powerful moments I had the privilege of witnessing in a cinema. When it comes to this list, there is almost no other film that I can think of, except a few, that can rival this one in terms of cinematography. If you want to watch it right now it is free on Netflix, but it is also getting a physical release as part of the Criterion Collection which REALLY makes me happy. I will say though, I am not sure how audiences, specifically Americans, will continue to respond to it overtime. It is black and white and has subtitles. I don’t care about subtitles personally, but it is, as “Parasite” director Bong Joon Ho suggests, a one-inch tall barrier that some viewers have yet to overcome. 

#20: The Disaster Artist (2017)

I did not make this list, it’s not true, it’s bulls*it! I did not make this list! I did nawt! Oh, hi viewers! This film is one of the best comedies I have seen, which is tremendous praise on my part because if you are making a comedy specifically for me, it is HARD to make a good one. What comedy am I talking about? That first pile of sentences should be a hint. “The Disaster Artist!” This is a film that is about a lot of things. Friendship, sticking up for one another when one is trying their hardest to make something special, and how MIND-NUMBINGLY DIFFICULT it is to make a good movie. This movie is basically a telling of how Tommy Wiseau and others went about making the early 2000s cult classic “The Room.” For those of you who haven’t seen “The Room,” this film basically tells you the behind the scenes mayhem and chaos that went into that movie. It’s one of those movies, kind of similar to films like “Batman & Robin” or last year’s “The Fanatic” starring John Travolta that is so incredibly hysterical that it would probably leave some viewers wondering how it even was conceived, made, and released! This film dives deep into all of that. James Franco also gives one of the best performances I have seen from him. Yes, he was definitely great in films like “127 Hours.” To me, that’s nothing compared to “The Disaster Artist,” and I can tell that it was rather simple for Franco to put a lot of passion into this performance considering how he not only starred in the film, but he also directed it. At the end of 2017, I told pals of mine that I was looking forward to watching this more than “The Last Jedi.” I cannot say I was disappointed walking out of it. In fact, the tail end of the film has that feel good vibe that I did not even think I would have needed. Do you have to watch “The Room” to understand “The Disaster Artist?” Not really, no. You can go watch this film, and once it ends, I think you may be able to fully understand everything. Does it help? Sure it does, because it goes into some of Tommy’s mannerisms, quirks, and even pays homage to certain choices and dialogue that had ultimately been put in “The Room” itself. Also, shoutout to Tommy Wiseau. I love you, man. You’re kinda crazy, but I love ya!

#19: Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

Some people say that Pixar may be the biggest force today that will allow the animation industry to thrive. I would not say they’re wrong, but if you ask me, I think the animation industry also has a place for another particular company, Laika, the creators of “Coraline.” Speaking of Laika, they also created my favorite animated film of 2016, “Kubo and the Two Strings.” When I went through 2016 as a year in film, there were plenty of good ones like “Captain America: Civil War,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” and “Patriots Day.” However, if there happened to be one genre that dominated the year for me, it has to be animation. With the exception of maybe “Moana” and DEFINITELY “Ice Age: Collision Course,” I don’t think there is a single animated film from 2016 I did not enjoy. For the record, I missed out on “Norm of the North,” so I have no comments regarding that. “Finding Dory, “Zootopia,” “Sing,” “Kung Fu Panda 3,” and even the raunchy adult animation “Sausage Party” all were worthy of a thumbs up. However, “Kubo” came out on top. It is a film that is visually creative and stunning, colorful, and an amazing tribute to everyone who’s got a story to tell. The film’s cast also has some notable names including Charlize Theron (Hancock, A Million Ways to Die in the West), Matthew McConaughey (Mud, Dallas Buyers Club), and even George Takei (Star Trek, Kim Possible). The film has various scenes that make me personally wish that I was the one responsible behind the screenplay or the overall production due to the brilliant ideas being presented. “Kubo and the Two Strings” is one of those films that is worth just about every second of my time. Out of all the films to come out in its particular year, it’s probably the one that most resembles a video game. I guess if you change some character names, maybe one or two pieces of the plot, and have a side gag dedicated to breaking pottery, this would make for one fine “Legend of Zelda” movie.

#18: Inside Out (2015)

I have only seen this movie once, but even so, it is still one of the most charming animated films out there today. I’m talking about “Inside Out!” The concept behind it is one that I personally wish I originated. Essentially, it dives into the “voices inside your head.” These voices include Joy, Anger, Disgust, Fear, and Sadness. One of the biggest surprises that I have with “Inside Out” is its expansive world. And I say it’s surprising because of where exactly the world takes place, specifically inside the head of a young girl going through puberty. Even though this movie is made for families and children, it deals with some heavy topics. Moving, adapting to a new lifestyle, growing up, and handling yourself emotionally regardless of the situation. This movie does a really good job at displaying the human condition by reminding you that there are times when your feelings take over and you lose a sense of control in a way. I liked all the characters in this film, some of the human characters are admittedly a little generic, but the movie is not about them, they are ultimately pawns in this story, it’s really about the main human character, Riley, and the voices in her head. Speaking of said voices, I also want to give massive props to Lewis Black for his terrific voiceover performance as Anger, and part of it has to do with the golden script that allows these emotions to shine. But out of all of them, Anger is by far the best of the bunch because of how raw he feels. Whenever he gets mad, he literally erupts like a volcano. It’s f*cking great. Much like some other Pixar films such as “Coco” or “Up,” this film is powerful in its impact. That’s probably the best part of it because you have these five core emotions and all of them make you feel emotions. This movie does its job well, and even though I have not watched it since my initial viewing in 2016 when it came to Starz, I cannot wait to watch it again.

#17: Room (2015)

HOOO-LY CRRRAAAAP. THIS MOVIE. I cannot even begin to describe what is like to watch this for the first time. For those of you who don’t know what I am referring to, just watch “Room.” Not, “THE ROOM,” “ROOM.” “Room” is a film that is based on a book that I have personally never read, but even so, the movie delivers. Between the remarkable performances between Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, the film packs a brutal punch in every possible method imaginable. It is emotional, it is heart-pumping, it is disturbing in the best way I can possibly describe the word. I read a review on IMDb for “Room” before watching it and somebody said that this movie made them a better person. Having seen “Room” myself, I can see why. This film is almost on the edge to where it drags in the middle of it, but it does not mean the movie has that many flaws whatsoever. This is not a horror movie, perhaps in any sense of the word. But after watching this film, there is an argument to make that “Room” could be scarier than a vast number of horror flicks out there. “Room” is a film that kind of ends up being cute, but to have it end up being cute, it cannot be cuddly. This is especially true when you take the brilliant screenplay and the way that actor Jacob Tremblay, who get this, WAS NOT EVEN TEN YEARS OLD during the production or release of the film, executes all of his beautiful lines. The story is told from his perspective, and that made the movie just slightly better, because the idea was to have a child who knew nothing about the outside world, and getting that perspective made me feel for the mother and son duo. Just watch this movie, you will not regret it. If I need to say anything else about it, A24 helped get this film out there. They are easily one of the best studios working today, so if you want to support independent, not to mention compelling filmmaking, go buy this movie.

#16: Toy Story 3 (2010)

This entry is one of the best Pixar films I have ever seen. Let’s just be clear, it is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT for something to top “The Incredibles” as far as my opinions are concerned. I’m talking about “Toy Story 3.” This is a film that I think hit every single level that not only an animated film need to hit, but also every level a trilogy capper needed to hit. Yes, “Toy Story 4” exists, but to me, that’s just additional DLC at this point. “Toy Story” was never one of my big franchises growing up, even though I do admire its technological achievements for the film industry as a whole. The reason why “Toy Story 3” is such a great movie overall is because despite how it does feel like something kids can enjoy, it can ultimately connect with anyone, no matter what age they just so happen to be. The whole trilogy seems to present a tiny little structure of Andy, the owner of a majority of the toys seen in the franchise, growing up, and now we have come to this third installment where he is now an adult and he’s off to college. If you know me in person, I tend to be extremely sentimental. I still have various items from when I was a kid that I imagine other people would get rid of if they had them at a particular age. I still have a stuffed duck, a ton of DVDs I possessed at a young age, all the game consoles that I have ever owned (that still at least partially work). I didn’t even get rid of my childhood twin bed until it broke at the age of nineteen! This movie basically reminded me to cherish the memories of childhood, and while not everything lasts forever, you can still cherish the legacy of something or pass it down to future generations. Also, the ending of this film may be the best Pixar has ever done. It has numerous emotions attached to it that make it all work. It is perhaps one of the saddest, yet happiest endings I have seen in a film. This is why I didn’t want a “Toy Story 4.” Granted, I will admit, I was utterly surprised with how good “Toy Story 4” was when I saw it, but compared to the original trilogy, it is just a bonus.

#15: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)

You know that movie that might as well match up with where you are in life? One of those films that reminds you of an event you are currently tackling? Well at the beginning of 2019, I was in my second semester of college and to my surprise, “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” spoke to me on every level that it could. This third installment to the “How to Train Your Dragon” franchise is the perfect ending to its particular trilogy. It dives deep into the character of Toothless, goes through a major change in how the character thinks, not to mention feels. With the recent introduction of a “Light Fury,” Toothless finds love. This side of the story, along with various other elements reminded me of the man that I am trying to become. I still live with my mother, mainly because despite being in college, I do not want to lose the family connection I have right now. I still go to my grandparents every week. I still talk to my parents just about every chance I get. Even though I do plan to eventually develop my own path in life, move out, etc, I do not want to lose the connection of family quite just yet. But with that being said, this reminded me of how some parents want to protect their children, which means that the children perhaps have a helicopter over them at times. This movie highlights the connection between Hiccup and Toothless, and builds off the terrific chemistry the two had before. I will also say, of the numerous DreamWorks animated films that I’ve watched over the years, this is one of the more stunning ones. And it definitely shows when we get to The Hidden World. It’s flashy, colorful, vast, and if I imagined myself there in person, I’d be overwhelmed by the scope of everything around me. The only problem that comes to mind with this film might as well be the cliché villain, but even with that, everything else is A+ material. To this day, it is the only film I watched in the theater that made me cry. It is one hell of an experience overall.

#14: Inception (2010)

Christopher Nolan is my favorite director of all time. He can take a comic book concept like “Batman” and deliver on it 110%. He can put you directly in a war zone like he did in “Dunkirk.” He can also take you back in time for an epic thrill in “Memento.” But one movie that is better than all of those is one of my personal favorite flicks of 2010. “Inception.” This movie has everything a sci-fi action flick is supposed to have! Great characters! A brilliant concept! Cool looking visual effects! A lovable story! AMAZING screenwriting! Epic music, kudos to Hans Zimmer by the way! Everything in this movie builds up to what I consider to be one of my favorite climaxes in film history. I’m not talking about the very end, but the final act itself is a true display of why I continue to watch movies to this day. It delivers on spectacle, stakes, and you care about the characters! At least I did. The relationship between Leo DiCaprio and Marion Cottillard? HOLY F*CK! Not only did I buy them the way they were together, the movie does everything it can to make you get emotional about them. Speaking of DiCaprio, his chemistry with Ellen Page was great, I thought they were terrific partners, and I almost cannot imagine anybody else in that duo. And again, the concept! The idea of someone going from dream to dream and trying to plant an idea in someone’s head?! Freaking rad! This movie is literally what dreams are made of.

#13: Ready Player One (2018)

Continuing down this list, we have, “Ready Player One.” I’m putting this on the list in reference to the great year that I personally believe 2018 has been for the film industry as a whole. There are more 2018 films on here, and this is just one of them. Before the movie came out, I read the book, and I’ll be honest, I love the book to death. It’s pretty much everything I would want out of a book of its kind. The author’s kind of a cool guy too, Google Ernest Cline, he’s awesome. But here’s the thing about books and movies, I don’t always WANT the book to be exactly the same as the movie. If they make the movie and book identical, great! Maybe it works out, but there are a few things in the book like the “Pac-Man” scene that I do think could have ended up being pretty cool to see, but it would make the film itself lose some of that theatricality factor. It’s one of those films that I love because of how much of a true adventure it is. It feels like that from start to finish, when we are introduced to the OASIS virtual reality system, I instantly wanted to be a part of that world. Even though the real world ended up kind of being in deep s*it in the film’s vision of 2045, I still wanted this VR system in front of me because of all the unlimited capabilities that come with it. Plus, despite how this movie is filled with all of these pop culture associations like a digitized version of “The Shining,” “Batman,” a “Minecraft” world, and even a ton of time spent with the DeLorean, I still cared about the main characters in front of me. As for the visual effects, they are quirky, they are different, they look like something out of a 3D anime, but that’s something that makes them work. After all, a good portion of this movie takes place in a virtual universe with Avatars, so it is kind of cool to see all the customized beings walking around with all their digitized swagger. And of course, I cannot end this without mentioning two things. One, the amazing score by Alan Silvestri. It’s epic in every way. It’s grand, it’s big, and it fits this nostalgic fantasy realm to the tenth degree! Also, the final chase between the main heroes and villain is one of the most creative scenes I have witnessed on film. Between all of this and being one of my most rewatched movies of 2018, I just had to put this somewhere on the list. 

#12: Ready or Not (2019)

I think I said what needs to be said about “Ready or Not” in my best movies of 2019 list, but let’s be real, I can’t stop talking about it! “Ready or Not” is one of those movies that may sound silly on paper, even though it had one of my favorite trailers of the year. The concept of “Ready or Not” is that a woman is getting married into a family that traditionally plays a game before someone new joins the family. Turns out they have to play hide and seek, which ultimately means that the family has to let the newcomer hide, before they have go on a quest to kill her. It’s f*cking nuts. This is one of those movies, according to many people, that has a trailer with more information to reveal than necessary. I wouldn’t say people are wrong to say that. But I will say that this movie gave me EXACTLY what I would have expected, not to mention wanted, after witnessing its trailer. I saw this at an advance screening in Boston, and the communal experience that was had during this movie was one to remember. Everybody gasped, applauded, and while I am not a fan of people talking during films, there was an older woman next to me who would provide some hilarious commentary on what’s happening. Also, everything from the production design to the writing to the pacing just works 100%. I will also mention, again, hiding spoilers, the ending. If 2019 has done anything for me in terms of films, it has given some of the best endings ever. From “Avengers: Endgame” to “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and even the recently mentioned “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” the endings were all a collection of perfection. I am going to keep myself from talking about the ending, because it is something that you seriously have to see for yourself, but it’s pure movie Heaven. I rarely go see movies twice in the theater at this point, but if I had more time on my hands (and less movies to pick from in the cinema), I would have gone to see this a second time. I mean, HOLY CRAP.

#11: Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)

Up next, is one of the best action movies I have witnessed in my life, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout.” “Mission: Impossible” is a very interesting franchise as far as movies go because it has been going on since 1996, it has had no reboots since then, Tom Cruise is always a guaranteed badass, and with the exception of “Mission: Impossible II,” all the movies have been pretty good. In fact, if it weren’t for “Risky Business,” this would probably be my all-time favorite Tom Cruise film. I mean, seriously! I cared about everyone, every action sequence was done to perfection, and I will forever be in Tom Cruise’s debt just because he learned how to fly a helicopter for this movie. And remember how in “Justice League” Henry Cavill had his beard erased by digital effects? Like, to the point where certain people could notice certain particles on his face? After seeing this movie, it’s completely worth it! Between the cinematography, location choices, directing, score, editing, sound, and overall immersion factor, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” is easily one of those action flicks that puts a smile on my face. There are certain movies that I have watched in the past like “Atomic Blonde” or “John Wick” that have one memorable action scene and I often sometimes perhaps equate that to how much I enjoy those movies. For “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” If they ever put this back in theaters, I will come for the movie, but STAY for the helicopter scene, because holy f*ck! Thank you, Tom Cruise, for nearly giving up your life making this masterpiece!

#10: Arrival (2016)

I’ve seen a lot of movies from 2016, including the one where Donald Trump becomes president. That movie by the way is called “Real Life” and is often getting mixed critical responses. Trump becoming president, to me at least, was practically a “holy f*ck” moment. I’m not gonna talk about politics, I’m not saying I like or dislike him, I’m just saying that this is something I would have never predicted to have happened ten years ago. Speaking of “holy f*ck” moments, that term can also apply to one of the last movies I saw in 2016, which by coincidence, came out the same week Trump was announced as President-Elect, specifically “Arrival.” This movie is about a group of people who are investigating the actions of alien life forms as they try to interpret their language and communicate with them. I like that concept, because the movie starts off as if it were an alien invasion summer blockbuster, but in reality, it fits right in with a thinker just in time for award season. I’ll remind you, this is a November movie, so it is technically just in time for award season. In fact, it won an Oscar, and happened to be nominated for Best Picture! Although it ended up losing to “Moonlight”–wait wait wait, was it “La La Land?” Which one was it? Could have been a tie for all I know. The plot overall was fascinating, I loved Denis Villeneuve’s direction, the sound work was some of the best of the year, and the score at times was awesome. In fact, when I watched the movie at home once, I nearly shed a tear! I never cry during movies, that’s personally an achievement on this film’s part!

#9: The LEGO Movie (2014)

This next spot is dedicated to one of the biggest surprises of the decade. I saw the trailer for this film long before it came out, and while I did not hate it, there might have been a part of me that thought that this film could not have possibly worked whatsoever, but it did! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you perhaps the funniest animated movie of the decade, “The LEGO Movie!” This is a film that gets better every time I watch it. Because I watched it when it came out, and I found it to be delightful, charming, and witty. Then as I continued watching it when it came to HBO and cable networks like TBS, I have observed the dialogue, which was already fantastic to begin with, and so many other lines popped up and busted my guts. This movie’s Batman is perfect for its own world! He’s an egotistical man who’s always about himself. He’s basically what would happen if you took Kevin O’Leary from “Shark Tank” and made him “Batman,” because both people seem to think that they are the best person alive. There’s no competing against them! Anything out of his mouth is pure gold. This is why I also thought 2017’s “The LEGO Batman Movie” was just as pleasing as this specific film. The movie has an advantage of playing off of iconic properties, because there’s a scene dedicated to how many characters from preexisting material they can fit into one area. They managed to get Gandalf, Dumbledore, more DC characters aside from Batman himself, NBA basketball players including the Shaq, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and they have Abraham Lincoln in a flying space chair! Holy f*ck this movie is a trip! And speaking of trips, the climax in this movie introduces something that you do not really see in this genre of film. I cannot go into it because, well, spoilers, but it is the stuff of absolute genius! As for the other leads, they are funny, they are well-written, and provide some of the best comedic material of 2014. The movie does follow beats of other films, with there being a prophecy and all, but it does it so well that I just don’t care. And before we move on, can we just talk about Good Cop/Bad Cop? Yeah, it’s two characters in one, and it makes for one of the most hysterical questioning scenes I have ever witnessed. GENIUS! Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are powerhouse filmmakers and I would to love to see more from them! 

#8: Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

What do you get when you build a story up for a decade, over tens of films across different IPs, with all of them making millions to billions of dollars? According to many, I’d say you’d get “the most ambitious crossover in history.” “Avengers: Infinity War!” You know those movies that are so good, so iconic, so life-changing, and so experiential that they define a generation? Yeah, this is one of them. Earlier on in the decade, “Star Wars” was seen to many as the important franchise to remember for a long time. Well guess what? Everyone at Marvel glanced at “Star Wars” saying, “Hold our beer!” The reason why I love this movie so much is because of how much it changed the game for movies of its kind. Sort of in the same manner that a film like “The Dark Knight” managed to do so. To be honest, before this movie came out, I was getting worried about what the Marvel Cinematic Universe would become. The Marvel movies in 2017 were not up to par with what I would want out of a flick in its particular genre, but when 2018 arrived, “Avengers: Infinity War” gave me EXACTLY what I wanted. A ton of visually stunning action scenes, a compelling story of good vs. evil, all the while putting much more emphasis on evil than usual. Honestly, Thanos may be the greatest movie villain ever written. His motivation to “balance” the universe is something I can buy into. His relationship with Gamora and Nebula during the film brought some attention-grabbing moments, including a scene that involves sacrifice in order to achieve what you desire. While I didn’t exactly root for Thanos, I understood why he did what he did, and in various ways, I almost feel bad for him. And let me just say, I won’t name names, but this is a film where A LOT of people die, including many on the good side. One of my complaints involving the Marvel Cinematic Universe has to do with the lack of deaths on the good side, and when they do happen, they mean nothing to me because the character either comes back or the death comes from a character who I happen to find irrelevant. This is part of why I felt an impact from various scenes in the film’s sequel, “Avengers: Endgame.” By the way, “Endgame’s” not on the list. Sorry guys!

#7: Whiplash (2014)

Coming in at #7, is “Whiplash!” “There are no two words in the English language more harmful than good job.” This quote will forever stick with me, partially because “Whiplash” makes jazz look like the greatest art form ever created just from how brutal it appears. I have heard some comments from certain jazz enthusiasts and students saying that the idea behind this film is flawed because jazz doesn’t work the way it does here. I am in no way trying to invalidate their prior experiences, but I think the movie is all the better for what it does in regards to how jazz is being taught, being enforced among students. I say that because it makes the movie completely relatable to those who have taken on a class, it could be a subject of interest or one that you are forced into for some reason, and the person teaching the class is just the biggest dickface on the planet and now you have to put up with them. But I will say, JK Simmons plays this dickface very well. JK Simmons is one of my favorite actors working today and he deserved his Oscar upon finishing this film. His chemistry with Miles Teller is some of the best I have ever seen. This is also one of the earlier films directed by Damien Chazelle, who would go on to direct “La La Land” and “First Man,” both of which were also great movies. I can tell the guy really has a passion for the jazz genre of music, and it shows through several moments of the screenplay, which is why it is also no surprise that he made it a centerpiece of the story in “La La Land.” Damien Chazelle is still a young filmmaker and time will tell if his productions will continue to be worthy of conversation and preservation, but with films like this, he is off to a flying start if you ask me.

#6: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Out of everyone in my family, it goes without saying that I am probably the geekiest. So naturally, this next movie was almost made for a geek like me. I’m talking about the live-action resurrection of a popular saga! “Star Wars: The Force Awakens!” The things that really cement this movie’s presence on the list is my history with it. I already really enjoyed “Star Wars” before this movie came out, therefore, how I could I NOT be excited for this film? I went to see it four times in the theater and twice in IMAX! It’s the first steelbook I’ve ever owned! And I used to have a joke I would think about in my mind from time to time. Remember how George Lucas went back and changed the original trilogy and rereleased every installment from said trilogy as “Special Editions?” Well, people often point out this movie, Episode VII, being pretty similar to Episode IV. If that is truly the case, allow me to declare that Episode VII is without a doubt, the best special edition in the entire “Star Wars” saga! I will say, the trilogy that this belongs to itself is a bit of a mixed bag. I liked “The Rise of Skywalker,” I thought it just good old-fashioned “Star Wars” fun, but still a little messy. But “The Last Jedi” is what I think hurt this trilogy most, because a lot of things were set up in “The Force Awakens” and the payoff to all of those things happen to be either ignored or off-putting. However, it does not take away from how much I love this movie. It’s great seeing old faces like Han and Chewie again, 3PO and his red arm, the lightsaber battles are as fun and exciting as they’ve ever been. The film has possibly the most eye-candy-esque color palette in a “Star Wars” film yet. Then again, with newer tech, it probably helps. But keep in mind, this movie was also shot on film, and it looks great! I will also mention Adam Driver’s character of Kylo Ren being one of the best things that has EVER happened to the “Star Wars” franchise. I love him because he’s ultimately trying to carry on the legacy of Darth Vader and the Empire, but as this villain who is supposed to be evil, he is clearly conflicted and broken, which adds a lot to his character. There is an argument to make that stuff like this can make a villain look weak, but I feel that this is what this sequel trilogy needed. A different kind of villain who can kick ass, while also being able to release themselves and reveal how they feel emotionally. As for other lead characters, I think Rey and Finn have great chemistry, and seeing them together after they finish their first fight onboard the Millennium Falcon is like watching two kids discover they have unbelievable talent in a video game. Poe Dameron is also a fresh and exciting addition to the franchise. I’m just mad of the direction they took his character in “The Last Jedi.” As much as I am scared of a future where Disney rules the entire media universe, “The Force Awakens” is most certainly worth watching. And watching again. And again. No seriously, when this thing came out, the replay value for me was bonkers! 

#5: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

Up next, we have one of the best comic book movies of the decade. Is it in the DC universe? No. Is it in the Marvel universe? No. It’s a little film directed by Edgar Wright, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World! THE FREAKING WORLD! This movie, to me, was perhaps everything I would have wanted it to be and more! FLASHY! OBNOXIOUS! CREATIVE! VISUALLY STUNNING! HILARIOUS! OH MY GOSH THIS MOVIE’S AWESOME! As far as comic book movies go, this has some of the best directing, not to mention, some of the best writing I have seen. It goes for that ridiculous, absurd fast pace that will allow you as a viewer to keep your eyes on the screen. In fact, you know what? You know that stereotype about video game movies? You know how a lot of people are perhaps still waiting for that “excellent” video game movie that they have yet to see in their life? If they perhaps changed a few things about the characters, a small number of visuals, things like that, then I might as well say that this would have made for an EPIC “Guitar Hero” movie or something. In fact, I’d compare this movie to something along the lines of “Ready Player One,” because there is a sign of at least one or two characters having an obsession with pop culture and both movies seem to have a unique visual style. Granted, “Scott Pilgrim” is a lot less reliant on preexisting IPs, but still. It talks about things like the history of “Pac-Man,” it has a scene that might as well take place in a “Seinfeld” episode, and the band’s name is “Sex Bob-Omb,” which is “sex bomb” mixed with the name of the bombs from “Super Mario.” Plus, both feel like cinematic video games if you truly break them down. They feel not only immersive, but like they have this visual aesthetic that has a larger than life aspect to them. And I must say, if this film was not already exciting enough, not only are the fights with the exes stunning to watch, each one is perhaps creative in its own way. There is a bass battle, a fight where an ex breaks out into song, there’s one where gigantic visual creatures are spawned out of nowhere! It’s the stuff of magic, really! So if you ask me, “Jack, what’s your favorite comic book movie of the 2010s? Is it “Infinity War?” “Endgame?” “Logan?” “Deadpool?” “The Winter Soldier?” “The Dark Knight Rises?” “Man of Steel?” Forget Marvel and DC! I direct you, to “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.”

#4: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

When I was first introduced to “The Hobbit,” specifically the movies, I had no idea that it was attached the “Lord of the Rings” franchise (I haven’t read any of the books or seen any of the movies). But if you had to ask me right now, it feels weird to say, but “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” is arguably my favorite “Lord of the Rings” film. “Fellowship” is up there, but still. I walked out of the theater LOVING this movie, and I still do. I think it is one of 2013’s best, and the villain, Smaug, may be one of the greatest given to my generation. MASSIVE KUDOS to Benedict Cumberbatch for his fantastic portrayal and voicework. As creepy as this may sound, I would not mind it if Smaug was the narrator of my life. That’s how much I love his voice. As for everyone else, I liked Martin Freeman and Bilbo Baggins, Ian McKellan as Gandalf, per usual, is great. The visuals, as expected, are top notch. And that final chase between Bilbo, the dwarves, Smaug, was an adrenaline rush brought up to 9,000! Speaking of adrenaline rushes, I also really enjoyed the barrel scene, where they all fight in the forest river, which by the way, more props have to be given, Howard Shore, you are a musically gifted man. Go listen to The Forest River on the official soundtrack for the movie. You won’t be disappointed! And one of the best things I can say about this movie is that it feels like an improvement over its predecessor. I say that because the first “Hobbit” movie, even there are some coolish things in it, was overall kind of a mixed bag. Still good, watchable, but it’s the worst movie in the “Lord of the Rings” franchise for sure. This is especially true when it comes the pacing. This sequel is fast paced from start to finish, with a short little breather in the middle of it all. I also admittedly like the introduction of Tauriel, who was never in the books, but she honestly added something to the movie for me. This movie can be summed up in one word. Epic. That’s all you need. It is one of the best fantasy movies I have ever seen, and one of the best sequels I’ve ever seen. One of the best prequels too if you want to get technical.

#3: Colossal (2016)

Monster movies can be fun, but have you ever heard of a film where a woman reunites with a childhood friend, occasionally get drunk together, whilst Seoul is being attacked by a kaiju, and that kaiju is the girl herself? No? Well, you have been missing out! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you “Colossal,” the greatest monster movie ever made. I did not hear much about “Colossal” before going into it. In fact, I never recalled watching any trailers. And I honestly feel bad for those who did, because I read reviews from people thinking this is was going to be heavy on comedy. Not really, it’s got comedy in it, in fact with an actor like Jason Sudeikis comedy almost feels like a guarantee, but it’s not trying to be a comedy. It’s more of a drama if you ask me. It’s a drama about a group of pals who live in a small town and while one girl is adjusting to her new social group, she is also a killer monster (under certain conditions). “Colossal,” starring Anne Hathaway, takes that killer monster concept and avoids making it the main part of the story, while still using it to develop every action our characters take. In fact, you know how some big blockbusters or monster movies tend to show the despair and downfall of a city as everyone is trying to save themselves from danger? Oh… WOW. I HAVE NEVER SEEN IT DONE THE WAY IT IS DONE IN “COLOSSAL.” Not only is it creative, imaginative, and original, but it’s also to my surprise, almost shell-shocking. Not to mention, some of you might not feel the same way as I do, but I don’t think I would spend much of my adult life drinking alcohol, and this movie reminds me of why I tend to avoid it. The film is pleasant, unique, and most of all, exciting! It’s a film, kind of like “Whiplash,” that feels very big by being very small. When I saw this movie in the theater, I walked out feeling like a changed man. I remember texting a friend about the film some time after seeing it and telling them I don’t recall the last time I felt the way did walking out of “Colossal” since perhaps “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” What a f*cking movie.

#2: Blade Runner 2049

#2, is one of the best science fiction and noir flicks of my generation. It is a long-awaited and ambitious sequel. It is yet another return to a franchise starring Harrison Ford, now accompanied by the Canadian boy toy, Ryan Gosling, “Blade Runner 2049.” I am a major advocate for the theatrical experience. I believe streaming services like Netflix have some sort of purpose in society. You can pop on a movie whenever you wish, you can watch a movie practically wherever you want, but if you ask me, films like this is why the movie theater has been established. It is big, loud, and it looks DOPE. If you had to ask me, if I had to choose which film has the best cinematography ever, “Blade Runner 2049” might be somewhere on that list. It is a film that I believe would be an inspiration to future filmmakers, fans of sci-fi, and maybe even film composers, because Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch made the score together and it is FANTASTIC. I remember my senior year of high school and one of the highlights of said time period is not particularly doing homework, but playing the soundtrack of “Blade Runner 2049” while I do my homework. It put me in the mood to get my work done, and made homework just a little more epic. In fact, I have immense respect to this sequel compared to a ton of others, because unlike a lot of sequels that come out today, this doesn’t try to force any setup of future installments or cinematic universes. It feels like its own story, sort of like the first “Blade Runner.” Would I love to see a third “Blade Runner?” Absolutely. I think a third “Blade Runner” could end up being one of the better films of its particular year depending on how they execute it. The question is, how much money would it make? Because despite how much I love “Blade Runner 2049,” I do have to acknowledge that not everyone went out to see it. Maybe it will gain a following in future years, but for now, I have to be knowledgeable about its past. As for how they handle the story of “Blade Runner 2049,” I loved everyone in the film. The returning characters, the new characters, and if I had to be honest, Harrison Ford gave the best performance I have seen from him in this particular film. I should also point out… Ana de Armas… Yeehaw. I had a crush on her after this movie for a number of reasons. But if I had to be honest, her character is quite honestly, spectacular, mainly because of how Armas herself handled the role. If a movie makes me, the viewer, fall in love with a holographic being, it has done its job, and more. “Blade Runner 2049” is one of those films that will end up defining the decade for me as a reflect on it further. And if you haven’t seen it yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!

#1: ??? (2014)
Here we are my friends, we have made it this far! This is #1! As far as this decade goes, if I were to use sports-related terms, when it comes to this countdown, 24 movies enter, one movie leaves. This is the one to leave. Speaking of leaving, this is the film that admittedly I do not think left that significant of an impact on me until one of my many rewatches. This is a film that I admired going into it, not to mention leaving it for what it was able to do from a technical perspective. As time went on, I found every single element of this movie worthy of two thumbs up. Just to let you all know, this is a 2014 film. Take a look at this clip from my #1 film of the 2010s.

Christopher Nolan is a god among men. My #1 movie of the 2010s is “Interstellar!” Everything about this film is done to unimaginable levels. In terms of important achievements in mankind, the pyramid goes something like this: Somewhere on the list, you have clay tablets, next on that list is medicine, then comes the wheel, maybe democracy gets one of those slots too, but at the top of that list, to me, is the movie “Interstellar.” When it comes to movie theater experiences, there is almost no competition when it comes to trying to rival the time I had watching this in IMAX 70mm. Even if I did not like the movie, I would probably still give it kudos for being a great time at the cinema. On that topic, it’s visually stunning, in fact it even won an Oscar for said visual effects. The cinematography is great no matter what, but if you watch it in a way that allows for the IMAX scenes to shine, it becomes ten times better than it already is, which says a lot. Seriously, if you are watching the film on DVD, do yourself a favor and upgrade to the Blu-ray, it’s GREAT. The film also has some of the best sound I have ever heard in a movie. I mean that in terms of volume, the specific sounds chosen, and even lack thereof (because ya know, space). Hans Zimmer also created what may be my personal favorite film score of all time. It’s one of those scores that I cannot stop listening to simply for motivation. If there’s ever a future event where they do “Interstellar” with a live orchestra playing the music, I don’t care where it is, I’ll travel out of the country for it if I have to, I’m game. And now you might be thinking, “Hey, Jackass! This may sound great and all, but how’s the story? How are the characters?”

Whoops! My bad! I forgot!

When it comes to the film’s story, it displays a future that is relevant and one that could happen very soon. It’s another one of those dire and somewhat depressing future films kind of like “Wall-E.” The film revolves around a bunch of characters who are currently dealing with the effects of a dying Earth. Every now and then they get dust storms, resources are dwindling, plants are going away. In fact, corn, which is almost extinct in this movie, is all humanity seems to rely on when it comes to fulfilling their hunger. Meanwhile, NASA, which is kind of a point of controversy because younger generations are being taught in school that the Apollo missions are fake, is trying to set up a mission to find another inhabitable planet for humanity. This is something that I think could happen in real life. Maybe not exactly the same as this film suggests, because let’s face it, I don’t think the moon landing conspiracy is going to get that many more supporters, but who knows? My point however, is that humanity is becoming more aware of their environmental impact on this planet, which may suggest a need to perhaps abandon it and find a new one. There are some films that mess around with time, and Christopher Nolan as a filmmaker is no stranger to this concept. After all, when you’re known for doing films like “Memento” and “Inception,” you obviously have some experience. “Interstellar” to me does a phenomenal job in terms of how it handles time and plays around with it. There’s a situation where they have to get things done very quickly because on one planet the span of an hour is seven years, we see the result of Cooper’s kids growing up and becoming adults and how that plays into the film’s impact, the film’s score, I’ll mention once more, FANTASTICALLY composed by Hans Zimmer, goes at 60 beats per minute to match with the “tick tock” that is often associated with time. After all, there are 60 seconds in a minute, so why not have 60 beats per minute? Plus, this is a film that gets better with every rewatch. There was a point where I kept rewatching it and maybe I’d discover something new or retain something amazing that maybe I’ve forgotten before. I will also point out that the performances, across the board, are stellar! No pun intended! You’ve got decently chosen actors including Matthew McConaughey (The Wolf of Wall Street, Dallas Buyers Club), Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises, Rio), Jessica Chastain (Take Shelter, The Help), Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone, Out of the Furnace), and unsurprisingly, Michael Caine (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Batman Begins). All of them give performances that embody the proper emotions of the situations at hand, and this is the film where I started to admire Chastain as an actress. There’s a chilling moment towards the end of the film, I will not go into it, but she does something that occasionally sends a tear down my cheek. There’s a line of spoken dialogue in that moment that is PERFECTION. That moment could not have been executed any better through a different vision or a rewrite. Even the child actors kill it in their roles! Timothée Chalamet as Tom is a more limited role in the film, but I feel like it is limited for a reason. He’s mainly there to suggest that he’s “fine” in whatever situation he’s in. He’s sort of a settler who never complains. He likes being a farmer, which does eventually play into the film’s script, and when Cooper leaves to go to space, Tom does not seem that upset or emotional over the situation. Obviously, he is rooting for his dad on his mission, but he is always fine, which makes sense in regards to his character development. As for young Murph, played wonderfully by Mackenzie Foy by the way, who might arguably give my favorite child actor performance to date. There was a very touching scene before (HEY! SEE WHAT I DID THERE? AREN’T I A SMART COOKIE?) Cooper left for his mission that highlights such an opinion for me.

I also cannot talk about how much I dig “Interstellar” without discussing the ending. Don’t worry, I will not spoil a thing. But when it comes to endings, “Interstellar” may be my all-time favorite film in the category. Again, I mentioned that moment with Jessica Chastain, but that’s not all. It’s weird, I did not see it coming, and it’s incredibly emotional. It’s as rewarding as it is unfortunate. To add onto that, Hans Zimmer’s score continues to shine here as well. A movie like “Interstellar” sort of makes me consider whether or not the church organ is the greatest instrumental achievement ever. This is an ending that made me appreciate this film the more that I watched it. When I saw it in the theater, I did not have too many thoughts on it, but I liked it more with rewatch upon rewatch. But then one such rewatch, it struck me like a lightning bolt somehow. It became an ending I liked, and somehow turned into one of the greatest endings in film history. It’s charming and also leaves me to question who exactly came up with it. Was it Christopher Nolan’s brother, Jonathan? Maybe I should give him some credit here!

I think the big thing for “Interstellar” to me, both before and after watching it, is how much it made admire the filmmaking process. Keep in mind, I admired it before, but “Interstellar” helped me further appreciate it. Films like this and “The Dark Knight,” basically Christopher Nolan as a filmmaker in general, has given me a dream, a reason to want to pursue work in the film industry. While there was a point that I wanted to be a filmmaker, I now know which filmmaker I look up to the most. And I would love to do what he does. While I have my own scripts that I plan to do, I would love to shoot a movie in the IMAX format one day and present the movie on film stock. I think film is the best possible cinematic presentation and whenever there’s an opportunity to go watch a movie on film, I cannot help but take it.

Throughout my journey as a film viewer, there is no other film, at least over the past ten years, that gave me a remarkable impact like this one did. It involves an increasingly relevant concept that I think will continuously be developed over the years, it’s an original property, and technically, it’s a masterpiece. This film is very similar to another sci-fi classic, “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and I imagine there are some people out there who would consider this movie too similar. To me, “Interstellar” stands on its own because “2001” does not make particular characters the centerpiece of the film. It takes a bunch of random elements and scenes and manages to develop a story out of all of it, whereas “Interstellar” comes off as an adventure story from beginning to end, with various fiddles with time connected along the way. This is nothing against “2001,” which is one of my favorite films of all time, but “Interstellar” does something to relate to “2001” while also being its own movie, at least to me. Nevertheless, “Interstellar” is a master work of art, one of the best sci-fi films ever made, and earns the crown as the best movie of the 2010s!

Thanks for reading this post! This is a list that was admittedly, very hard to make. Part of me wonders if I should have spent a year on this. There’s a very good chance that I will be changing this list in the next few days because unlike most of these lists, which spans over a year, this spans over a much longer period of time, so I don’t even think this list is going to be that definitive. There’s a good chance that “Interstellar” will remain at #1 for a very long time, but for everything else, who knows? But with that being said, it’s time to forget the good and move on to the bad! Maybe even the ugly! I say that because tomorrow I am going to be releasing my top 25 WORST movies of the 2010s. These are movies that are 2,010 times as horrible as anything else! JUST YOU WAIT! With that being said, be sure to look forward to that post tomorrow, and if you are reading this early and wanted to be notified about my worst list and other exciting content here on Scene Before, click the follow button! If you have a proper account up and running, be sure to like and comment if possible, it definitely helps me out! Speaking of helping me out, like my Facebook page, I want to get more people to follow me on that side of things, it would probably help spread the word a bit on social, so please, help a guy out! I want to know, what are your favorite movies of the 2010s? Do you have a favorite year this decade for film? For me, I’d say mine are 2014 and 2018. Do you think I missed a film? Seriously, there may have been a film that I liked that I completely forgot about, and I say this as someone who has worked on this countdown series for literally MONTHS. Nevertheless, leave your comments down below, and stay tuned for the worst list! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The 1st Annual JACKOFF Awards

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

*All copyrights belong to their respective owners*

INTRO SEQUENCE!

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

*SEES NO AUDIENCE*

Disappointing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s announce some winners!

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Mahershala Ali in “Green Book!”

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Ready Player One!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the award goes to…

“Mission: Impossible: Fallout!”

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Vice!”

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

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

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Claire Foy in “First Man!”

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

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

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

And the award goes to…

“The Favourite!”

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

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

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

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

And the award goes to…

Nathan Crowley and Katherine Lucas for “First Man!”

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury for “Annihilation!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Ready Player One!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, sort of.

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

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

What. The. Actual. Ass?

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

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE HALFTIME MONTAGE!

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Alfonso Caurón and Adam Gough for “Roma!”

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

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

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

And the award goes to…

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse!”

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

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

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

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

Moving right along and sticking with the screenplay motif, here are the nominees for Best Original Screenplay!

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Alfonso Caurón for “Roma!”

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

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Alfonso Caurón for “Roma!”

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Shallow” from “A Star Is Born!”

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

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

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

CLICK HERE TO VIEW READY PLAYER ONE: NERDVANA EDITION!

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Alfonso Caurón for “Roma!”

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

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

Let’s move onto the final acting categories!

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Toni Collette in “Hereditary!”

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

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Rami Malek in “Bohemian Rhapsody!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Avengers: Infinity War!”

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

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

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

New Animated Super Mario Bros. Movie in the Works and Why I Have Mixed Thoughts On It

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! A couple weeks back, I found out that Illumination Entertainment is working on a new “Super Mario Bros.” movie and there was a part of me that thought that was cool. Another part of me however, was trying to set my body on fire. Part of me wanted to make a “Mario” movie at an older age, but that’s not the main reason I’m worried.

Let’s remain rather positive for now and talk about what I think might as well be considered “the good.” The best thing about this new “Mario” project is that it might turn out fine. I know, this sounds VERY LIMITED, but you have to realize the history moviegoers have with video game movies and how much of a tragedy it has been in said genre for the most part. Sure, there are a number of people who say they enjoyed movies such as “Mortal Kombat,” “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” and even “Warcraft.” I’m willing to bet that last one may be due to its faithfulness towards the game, but people enjoyed it nonetheless. As for “Super Mario Bros.,” if you weren’t aware already, there already has been two movies based on the games. Yes, two. If you know about only one of them or even none for that matter, I wouldn’t be that surprised considering the earlier one only released in Japan in 1986 and it was called “Super Mario Brothers: Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach.” The American version, released in 1993, known as “Super Mario Bros.,” was met with negative reception once it came out and is still remembered as an abomination. As for my reaction towards the film, I completely concur with the enormous number of people who were enslaved by a couple of plumbers for over an hour and a half. I even consider that garbage pile of a film to be my least favorite film of all time. I didn’t know it when watching it in 2013, but as time marched on, I began to realize, the complete and utter bullcrap shoved in front of me. I saw news of this film happening and I thought, filmmakers can only go up from here.

The 1993 s*itshow known as “Super Mario Bros.” was made in live-action, and while I have not much of a problem with a “Mario” movie being in live-action, “Mario’s” universe comes off as this magical place that would make as much sense as defying gravity. This brings in some news that the new “Mario” movie will be in animation form as opposed to live-action. Given what I just stated about logic and “Mario,” I’m not opposed to this. In fact, based on results I saw from IMDb, the Japanese “Mario” movie from 1986 was actually an anime and that got mostly positive verdicts, giving it a barely passable rating. I’ll remind you though, not many people rated the film. I’ll also remind you that this barely passable rating of 6.0 is greater than the failure of a rating that the American “Mario” film has, which is a 4.0. Most of the verdicts for the Japanese film came in around the 6 and 7 spots and the American flick has ratings mostly ending up as a 4. Try playing one of the newer “Super Mario” games. Try playing “Super Mario Galaxy” or “Super Mario 3D World” and tell me the textures in those games won’t work well in an animated movie. Or at the very least, a live-action movie with tons of CGI.

Now with the news I just stated, some of you “Mario” fans might be thinking, this might turn out well. Let me just remind you that one studio stands in the way of this movie’s ultimate fate. And that studio, as mentioned, is Illumination Entertainment, or as I like to call them, Making Minion Cash-Ins Forever Entertainment.

I’ve seen a few pieces of Illumination’s work, and while I will say, they are well animated, they can’t even compete with works from other animated studios. I give a lot of flak for Disney making repetitive content based on some works they’ve done in recent years along with works that will be out in years to come, but at least they’ve done glimmers of brilliance in the animation department recently! Have you seen “Wreck-it Ralph?” If you haven’t, go out and buy it right now on Blu-ray if you don’t have it! Have you seen “Zootopia?” If you haven’t, stop wasting time and find a copy! Don’t get me wrong, I do think they’ve done terribly overrated pieces of dogs*it in the animation department in recent times as well. If you like “Frozen,” that’s fine, but I’m glad that I’m not a father, because if I was, I probably would have been dragged by the ear to that film if I had a daughter instantly. I haven’t watched the film in its entirety, but based on what I’ve seen, I don’t want to. Speaking of that, I haven’t seen all of “Moana,” but I’ve seen enough to say, despite the stellar animation, I can’t say I can get past an annoying chicken and brain damaging musical numbers. As for Illumination, I’ve seen a portion of “Despicable Me 2,” “The Secret Life of Pets,” and “Sing.” The portion I saw of “Despicable Me 2” didn’t please me, and as for the other two films, they were passable, but not that memorable. To me, Illumination is just that animated studio that tries to make serviceable content that could potentially entertain kids, and maybe some adults, but mainly kids. Yes, kids are a target demographic in animations, but to say that the animations are just for the kids is baloney. Think about what adults want, mature stories with proper life lessons, something that the kids can think about in order to be a good person. And while I have seen films from Illumination that showcase those things, it must be kept in mind that those are probably films that are only good for one watch. I know a friend who reads this blog who has watched “Despicable Me 3” and she says its awesome, but I haven’t seen it so I can’t make any judgment of it whatsoever.

The more I think about it, the more I want this to be perhaps a Dreamworks movie, maybe a Blue Sky movie even. Both of those studios have created GREAT animations I have watched over and over again. “Kung Fu Panda” is one of my favorite animations of all time. Not just the first one, but all three to me, qualify as animated tour de forces. Blue Sky’s first two “Ice Age” films are terrific in my personal book. Yeah, the franchise has declined to a point of utter insanity at this point, but it doesn’t mean Blue Sky hasn’t made other enjoyable pieces of work such as “Epic.”

I mean, the more I think about those things, the more worried I get because those studios have been around for awhile. Sure, they’ve both had their share of original and unoriginal ideas that have been effective films, there are points where people run out of ideas and thus start creating whatever cash-in is necessary. Have you guys seen “Ice Age: Collision Course?” If you haven’t, LUCKY YOU! If anything, this Mario movie can only work if people tried to make an effective product. By that I mean, instead of thinking of it as something based off of something that people like that you have to make, think of it as something that has been loved by many for years, and go on to create something those people will either love equally or perhaps more than the original product. Given their track record, I wouldn’t mind seeing Laika taking on this project. I saw two Laika films and both of them were absolute pieces of genius! I still remember going to see “Coraline” in the theater, and the animation not only looked amazing, but it was well written, well voiced, and it had a terrific story. “Kubo and the Two Strings” is another film I saw from Laika, and that somehow managed to be better than “Coraline!” Laika is well known for its stop-motion work, so it would be rather interesting to see what they can do with “Mario.” Although this might bring some problems given the traditional design of “Mario’s” world. If gravity could be defied, this might work 100%.

Sticking with Illumination, I’m also worried about one other thing, marketing and handling of the product. Are they gonna use an unoriginal character or create some new character that might as well be an excuse to stock toy shelves? That’s basically what they did with the Minions in “Despicable Me,” so that wouldn’t be surprising here. This also makes me think if they will just make “Mario” less like “Mario” and more like a cliche animation. If they don’t take time to actually have Mario do several missions like he does in the games, I will rage. “Mario” is famous for its missions where you either have to touch a flag or collect a star. If they don’t pay much respect to the game in that regard, perhaps numerous times, I might be disappointed. I don’t want the characters taking too many breaks to sit around and have a conversation. I don’t mind conversations being in there, but they can’t be in there the entire time. Also, PLEASE, don’t make the missions have a popular song with lyrics, and don’t do another version of “Happy.” Either take the music from the games or establish your own score and keep it that way. You can make the movie feel like a movie, but also blend in a high number of elements from the video game, I imagine some people will go nuts.

At this point, I’m just rambling. I wouldn’t doubt that this would be a step up from “Super Mario Bros.” released in 1993, but the question is, how much of a step up can it be? Video game movies in general are not that great, but if this were under a different studio such as DreamWorks or an independent studio, I’d have more faith in it. Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to face that boss when we get to it.

Thanks for reading this post! This weekend, “Black Panther” is out, meaning I’ll definitely have a review up sometime soon because I do have intentions to see it. You know, unlike “Fifty Shades Freed.” I probably won’t be seeing that unless I manage to find a date in a matter of days and they end up dragging me to it. As for other movies, I want to go see “Game Night,” a comedy starring Rachel McAdams, Jesse Plemons, and Jason Bateman. That movie comes out February 23rd, so maybe I’ll catch that a little later. Speaking of films coming out that day, I’m also going to try and catch “Annihilation,” which is directed by Alex Garland and that name alone is enough to get me in the theater because he directed “Ex Machina,” and that movie is, well, “Ex Machina.” Stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, do you have any thoughts on the upcoming “Mario” movie? Also, did you see “Super Mario Bros.” from 1993? If you haven’t, chances are you haven’t been locked in the closet for a period of time by a couple plumbers. Let me know your responses! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!