Top 10 WORST Movies of 2018

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

Dishonorable Mention: Peppermint

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

Dishonorable Mention: I Feel Pretty

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

Dishonorable Mention: The Grinch

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

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

#10: The 15:17 To Paris

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

#9: Adrift

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

#8: Pacific Rim: Uprising

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

#7: Second Act

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

#6: Gringo

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

#5: Venom

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

#4: Uncle Drew

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

#3: Gotti

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

#2: The Hurricane Heist

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

#1: Life of the Party

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

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

The Grinch (2018): Two Sizes Too Small In Quality

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“The Grinch” is directed by Yarrow Cheney (The Secret Life of Pets) and Scott Mosier (Clerks). This movie stars Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek: Into Darkness, Sherlock) as the title character who hates Christmas and everything associated with the holiday. There have been multiple on-screen adaptations of Dr. Seuss’ children’s book, and now Illumination (Despicable Me, Sing) has attempted to create their own version of the famous story.

One strange thing about my life is how I have no memory of seeing the Jim Carrey adaptation of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”, despite how it released a year after I was born. However, I do recall watching the rather well known animated edition which took the drawing style of Seuss himself. That version was short, sweet, and very much got the point across. The Grinch is a dick and shall never be tolerated. In this new, slightly more lighthearted adaptation of the popular children’s story, The Grinch is a bit more relatable than his 1966 on-screen counterpart voiced by Boris Karloff. And to be honest, when it comes to tone, that’s where this movie sometimes fails. I know it’s a kids movie and kids movies are supposed to be less frightening than some made for adults, but I really wanted a darker tone here. I will say though, some of the music in this film, created by Danny Elfman (Spider-Man, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) actually matches that dark tone I want from a movie like this.

However, with 2018’s “The Grinch,” we get less of an emphasis of The Grinch as a monster and make him more like Squidward Tentacles from “Spongebob Squarepants.” He despises life, he lives without wanting company, and much like Squidward, hates Christmas. There’s some parts of this new Grinch that totally work. For example, Benedict Cumberbatch seems to make the Grinch his own character. If anybody can pull off The Grinch from a voice perspective, it might as well be Cumberbatch. After all, he did give one of my all time favorite voiceover performances as Smaug in “The Hobbit.” Cumberbatch comes off as depressed yet sinister, which I can tell is what the crew behind “The Grinch” was going for. Although despite mastering this Grinch, I gotta say that it didn’t equate to a quality movie. I know the formula for family movies nowadays is to inject as many silly gags as possible while still maintaining a lesson for children, and the movie does succeed at both things. However when it comes to the silly gags, some of these just felt off-putting, awkward, or just forgettable. I remember explicitly putting my hand on my head in disdain during certain parts of the film. I don’t recall which parts, but that brings two negatives to the table. Maybe a positive because now I don’t have to recall what moments made me dissatisfied. There’s this one moment during the first half of the film where The Grinch is in preparation mode, his dog notices him, and we get a shot with The Grinch’s butt going directly in our face. Keep in mind, I saw “The Grinch” in IMAX. The screen was eight stories high. So I got to see eight stories of The Grinch’s ass right in my face (including black bars, which reduces the size a ton in all technicality)! At least it wasn’t in 3D, that would be worse!

One side of the story that I honestly cannot stand involves a family in Whoville. This family has a heavy involvement with the film’s plot and even triggers in a couple of other Whos. The main thing I want to bring up is the relationship between a mother (Donna Who) and a daughter (Cindy-Loo Who). Both actresses behind these roles (Rashida Jones and Cameron Seely) did a fine job with their performances. My problem doesn’t involve their acting abilities. The big problem however is their chemistry. I know this is a kids movie. I know kids are a target audience. But keep in mind, adults are watching these films too. Who do you think happens to be taking the kids to these movies? As a technical adult at 19 years of age, I honestly felt like some of my intelligence was insulted. I can suspend my disbelief during movies. I enjoy the “Fast & Furious” franchise, and there’s a lot of other animations that wouldn’t work in the real world which I happen to admire. There are some things however, regardless of whether they are written to be animated or put into live-action, in this very movie, that I thought were an insult as soon as I saw them. The chemistry between the mother and daughter is one of those things. The mother came off as this individual who seems to know she has a daughter, but it’s like she’s viewing her as someone she doesn’t even need to protect. Keep in mind, based on her IMDb profile, I can definitely tell Cameron Seely, the voice of Cindy-Loo, is younger than me. Wouldn’t the mother be a little more worried about some of the things she does? That’s not the only suspension of disbelief I couldn’t achieve, I also couldn’t buy into the fact that one character in particular, without giving a name away, was able to find The Grinch’s house without really knowing a thing about him or where he lives. And if you think about it, it’s somewhat easy to find, but still, my complaint stands. Maybe I missed something earlier on in the movie, but when you’re in an auditorium with somebody who literally had their tablet on for pretty much the entire first half of the film, you can get distracted at times. And yes, I said TABLET. NOT A PHONE! A TABLET! And even worse, there was lots of time wasted when the kid using the device and not even doing a thing on it! It was just on the home screen! If it were being used as a closed captioning device then that’s a different story (not sure how the technology works entirely).

Let’s also talk about Kenan Thompson (Snakes On a Plane, Saturday Night Live) in this film.

What the f*ck?

His character might be the biggest stereotype for a black person I’ve seen in a film since Patty from the “Ghostbusters” remake. My f*cking gosh, I HATED this guy! One of the worst casting decisions I’ve seen in my entire life. Kenan Thompson is not a bad actor, I’ve seen him do some fine roles on “SNL.” He’s especially fantastic as Steve Harvey on all of the show’s “Family Feud” parodies. But I feel like the biggest problem with this role is that I could especially tell that Kenan Thompson’s voice is involved. Thompson has such a recognizable voice in my mind that out of every voice given in the movie, his was the most obvious. I knew Benedict Cumberbatch was playing The Grinch before going to see the movie, but had I not seen any stories or marketing related to this film, I could potentially think to myself, “Wait, that was Benedict Cumberbatch?” Kenan Thompson to my knowledge cannot alter his voice enough to make me think he’s playing someone other than himself. Part of me is willing to bet the people casting everyone into the movie wanted to cast Kenan Thompson just to say they’ve put a black guy in the film. And that is sad, because while it does bring diversity to the table, his performance just blows! The narrator for this film is black as well (Pharrell Williams). As a narrator, I felt like his voice didn’t work entirely, but it could have been worse. You know, it could have been Kenan Thompson. I’m guessing Morgan Freeman wasn’t available to narrate this bitch?

I’ll give some credit to the movie though on a few positives before I give my final verdict. This film is very well animated. It comes off as polished and some of the images from the film are some of the better ones I’ve witnessed from Illumination. Some of the voice acting worked, except for of course, Kenan Thompson. And this movie is short enough to avoid inducing a feeling of a snail’s pace. After all, it is only an hour and a half, which can be a good thing because of what I just mentioned, but to me it also makes this movie feel like even more of a cash grab than it already is. I don’t feel like I’m going to remember this “Grinch” adaptation all that much, and maybe it will be played a lot around Christmastime in years to come. Heck, “Christmas with the Kranks” is going to be on FX during the 24th of this month and the reviews of that movie certainly weren’t praising it. Anything’s possible.

In the end, “The Grinch” is certainly a mean one, and it made me feel like a Scrooge. If this movie does one thing well, it’s making The Grinch’s character relatable. Sure, he hates his life sometimes even though life for him is the complete opposite of pain and suffering. Yes, he might be out of shape. But thanks to this movie, it made me hate Christmas a little bit more than I once did! Because now we have another bad Christmas movie! Kids who watch “The Grinch” might enjoy it, but the film might end up making them dumber without said kids even realizing such a thing. Aside from some neat animation and decent voicework, there’s nothing that stands out or appears to be excellent regarding “The Grinch.” Parents, if your kids drag you this movie, do them a favor and put coal in their stocking on Christmas morning. Please? Also, tell them Santa isn’t real. I’m going to give “The Grinch” a 3/10. Thanks for reading this review! Tomorrow night I’m going to see “Second Act,” which comes out on December 21st, a little over a month from the time I’m finishing this post. I got passes for an early screening of the film, so therefore I’m gonna see “Second Act” a month early. My review will most likely be up sometime around December. Also, while I don’t really know my plans for the rest of the week or this upcoming weekend, I do have aspirations to see the new Julius Avery film “Overlord.” I heard “Overlord” flopped this weekend, so this might affect me even being able seeing it in the theater, but if it’s still there this next weekend, I should hopefully have an opportunity to check it out. Plus, I’m too behind on “Harry Potter” to see the new “Fantastic Beasts” movie. Be sure to follow me on Scene Before either with a WordPress account or an email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “The Grinch?” What did you think about it? Or, which on-screen adaptation of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” is your personal favorite? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

2017 Box Office: Little Room For Originality

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! As it is the beginning of 2018, I feel it is appropriate to leave links to two posts down below for you to read in case you haven’t read them. My top 10 BEST movies of 2017, and my top 10 WORST movies of 2017. I’ve had fun making these lists, I’m sure you’ll have fun reading them, and I’m also interested in hearing what your best and worst films of the year are. So, read the posts, leave a like, comment, add Scene Before to your subscriptions through email or WordPress, and keep life going!

TOP 10 BEST MOVIES OF 2017: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/top-10-best-movies-of-2017-2/

TOP 10 WORST MOVIES OF 2017: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/top-10-worst-movies-of-2017/

Staying on topic, the end of the year and the start of a new one has a meaning when it comes to film. From one perspective it means January is here and a lot of crap is being put in theaters that people are gonna suffer through if all the award winning movies are high in ticket sales. Another perspective goes along the lines of what I just did with the posts above which I have links to, my top 10 best and worst movies of the year. Not only that, but we also have a bunch of award shows that are on the rise. January has the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the BAFTA awards, and the Critics’ Choice Awards. In February you got some stuff here and there, but when it comes to film, many people say the Academy Awards might be the only thing that matters (unless you’re that one guy who handed Warren Beatty the wrong card). When it comes to reflection, that’s not the limit to what’s been done this year so far. I’m pretty active on Twitter, and one account I occasionally surf is Collider. They posted a tweet which contained the five highest grossing films at the box office for 2017. This tweet had a link which lead to the highest grossing films of the year, looking over 2017’s box office winners and losers. Here’s the tweet:

This list reveals the top five for the specific category, and as I looked at the results, I’d say that it all makes a lick of sense. How do I feel about it? Honestly, not too good. Because a some time ago, I asked something about the future of movies, and so far nothing has been done about it. Although then again, it wasn’t that long ago that I asked. The question I asked was also the title of a post I did, the post is called “Where Are The Original Movies?” The answer, not here.

Of the top five films mentioned on this list, THREE are superhero films based on comic books, ONE is from a franchise that people recognize instantaneously once you put a picture of a lightsaber in front of them, and ONE is a live action remake that only adds a couple new things in of a Disney animation which is considered a classic by a lot of people. By the way, those aren’t the only two adaptations of the story! Oh yeah, did I mention FOUR of these have Disney at least partially associated with them? I will admit that I personally am at fault. I managed to see four of these films. These include “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” and “Wonder Woman.” I review movies, and it feels like a job where I don’t get paid because I don’t monetize my site at the moment, and I actually legit wanted to see all of these films.

Out of the four I saw, I only found one to be great, in fact it made my top five of the year, specifically “Wonder Woman.” I gave it a 10/10 in my review and while it’s not technically flawless, given the villain side of the story, I thought it was an amazing ride with Gal Gadot proving to the world that she is this kick-ass superhero. Plus I felt for the most part this seemed like it was not a studio-type film unlike 2016’s “Batman v. Superman,” it was more like one person (Patty Jenkins) unleashing their vision and sharing it with everyone.

When it comes to “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” it tried to be a different “Spider-Man” movie, but in the end, the execution could have been better. The script had Spidey cracking jokes all over the place. And I think that’s fine, this is Tom Holland playing him, and he played the character in “Captain America: Civil War,” another movie where Spidey cracks jokes. Not to mention, BRILLIANT jokes. Unfortunately, the brilliance wasn’t repeated in “Homecoming.” In my review, I gave it a 7/10, but right now it’s borderline 6-7/10. Speaking of failed attempts at humor, let’s talk about “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.”

When I saw the first trailer for “Guardians 2,” I was in instant hype mode. Granted, I don’t consider the first installment to be the best movie in the MCU, but I also think it is definitely one of the better ones. Not to mention, I consider it to be the most fun out of all the movies released in said cinematic universe. This second installment however wasn’t exactly terrible, but it should have been WAY better than it was. It shoves too much into one movie, kind of like “Age of Ultron,” and at the same time, it feels like it doesn’t feel it inserts too little. No pun intended, but BABY GROOT SUCKS! The humor seemed to land with just about the five-hundred other people watching the film alongside me, but I only laughed at various times. It just wasn’t that funny. The first one is lovable, quotable, and memorable. This one isn’t lovable, but you can say it’s quotable and memorable. I remember a turd joke. I remember a conversation about male genitalia. I will say that for the most part, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” at least tried to be one thing. I can’t exactly say the same for the conundrum that is “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”

I love “Star Wars.” There are so many days where I think about “Star Wars” and how much it has brought a tremendous influence on our culture. When it comes to “The Last Jedi,” it’s a very weird installment when it comes to the “Star Wars” saga, and I don’t mean that in a good way. I say that because you can look at a movie like “Colossal,” think of it as weird, and praise it for being weird. The way I’m using “weird” when it comes to this movie is not a good kind. I mean that as in, this movie is “not ‘Star Wars.'” I do appreciate it for not ripping off “The Empire Strikes Back,” but the way they’re taking a lot of the stuff shown in the movie made the whole experience more of a wreck the more I think about it. Also, I’m glad Porgs aren’t in the film for that long, but seriously, they can go to hell.

For the record, the results I talked about are domestic. These results make me wonder what the rest of the decade will look like for box office returns. In the 2010s decade, there have been a small number of original films making the top five for box office returns. These include “The Secret Life of Pets,” “Inside Out,” and “Frozen.” I will give credit to “Inside Out” because I do feel it deserved every penny it made. I watched that and it was extremely emotional. I did watch “The Secret Life of Pets” in the theater, and while it was a technically passable animation, it wasn’t exactly something I would ever want to watch again or show to a kid. I also watched a portion of “Frozen,” and it made me want to die. Beautiful animation, but what else does it have going for it?! The further we go in terms of cinematic history, the more I’ll probably miss 2009 because in that year, “Avatar” came out, and it shut the door on other movies at the box office. And while I do consider that movie to be overrated, and already somewhat dated, I do have to give credit because at the very least, it’s a property that nobody’s heard of.  People have picked up on how much it can be compared to movies like “Pocahontas,” but still. Although I wonder how many people confused it for “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” Sure, it’s from a well known director, but it’s still better than paying money to see “The Hunger Games.” Why did it make so much money? IT’S F*CKING POPULAR! But wait, there are other films on this list too. Just for the sake of letting out information, let’s add on the other top films at the 2017 box office. Just to tell you which ones are actually original ideas, I have those in bold.

6. IT
7. Thor: Ragnarok
8. Despicable Me 3
9. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
10. Justice League
11. Logan
12. The Fate of the Furious
13. Coco
14. Dunkirk
15. The LEGO Batman Movie
16. Get Out
17. The Boss Baby
18. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
19. Kong: Skull Island
20. Cars 3

As you can see, only TWO original films are in the top 20 for the 2017 box office numbers. Just a fun fact, I saw neither one of those, and I’m deeply disappointed in myself. I never got around to watching “Coco” because I don’t know anyone who would want to watch animations, but I heard so many great things about it. As for “Get Out,” I was in a similar situation, I don’t know many people who would want to watch a horror film. I almost picked it up on Blu-ray based on thoughts I had in the past, but I never got to it. Although for those who actually did manage to go see those films, I have tremendous respect for you. Admittedly, I saw five of these fifteen films from beginning to end. I saw another one, “Kong: Skull Island” for the first ten minutes, but my 4K Blu-ray player was having problems therefore not allowing me to watch the rest of the picture. Of the five I saw, I loved two of them. This seriously does beg a question I asked in the past. Why do people watch these movies?

If you want my theory, it’s because everyone is familiar with a particular property. This is why “Star Wars” has owned the box office for the past three years. Main saga installments such as “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi” broke box office records because a large number of people wanted to see these films since it’s part of a well known franchise that a lot of people admire. They didn’t really know what the verdict was from critics who saw the film early, in fact many people, including myself, bought tickets as early as about two or so months prior to release. People went to see “Thor: Ragnarok” because it’s Marvel, the same can be said for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” Also, you can consider how both of those movies received positive ratings from critics. People saw “Logan” because the Wolverine’s in it. People saw “Justice League” because it’s DC, although in reality you can say that’s why some folks skipped this movie. You can also say because it has Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Cyborg, Aquaman, those people. People saw “The Fate of the Furious” because it’s “Fast and Furious.” Not to mention, it’s not that complicated of a movie, it’s not one of those films where you have to sit down and think. You just eat popcorn and let time go by. People saw “The LEGO Batman Movie” because it’s animated so it’s good for the kids, it has Batman, and “The LEGO Movie” was not only popular, but well received. People saw “Cars 3” because it’s animated, it’s from Pixar, there are a couple of installments leading up to it, and there’s a good chance your kid dragged you to it. You see my point?

I also have to say that studios are partially responsible for this craze. When studios like Disney put out another “Star Wars” movie or another Marvel movie, do you think they’re doing it because they want to put out a quality movie that will be talked about generations to come? It’s possible, however it’s also possible that they’re thinking with their wallet, or in this case their Scrooge McDuck money vault. Yes, I’m still talking about “The Force Awakens” today, and I think it’s an amazing movie. One of my biggest problems with it is that they played it safe, but it’s a very minor issue. There’s a good chance I’ll probably still be talking about “The Last Jedi” too, but I might not be talking about it saying that it’s a great movie. The name “Star Wars” will put almost anyone in the theater. If “The Phantom Menace” didn’t prove that already, these past few years certainly have. Disney also released “Beauty and the Beast,” which I heard is visually dazzling, but ultimately just the same story as the animated version, just told in live action, with a couple songs added in, and changing someone’s traits to make them homosexual. I’m not saying live action remakes from Disney are terrible, after all I really enjoyed “The Jungle Book.” I will blurt that I actually might not have the right to say what I’m saying because I didn’t see any version of “Beauty and the Beast.” This is the problem. Hollywood is just redoing old ideas and passing them off as new. It works for “Super Mario Bros,” not for Disney movies.

As for 2018, originality isn’t looking too great for Disney either. Let’s see what movies they have lined up:

  • A Wrinkle in Time (based on a book by Madeleine L’Engle)
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story (Star Wars)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (Marvel)
  • Black Panther (Marvel)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (Marvel)
  • Incredibles 2 (Pixar sequel)
  • The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (Based on a story and ballet)
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 (Disney animation sequel)
  • Mary Poppins Returns (Title pretty much says it all)

It’s not just Disney to blame here. Let’s talk about some other unoriginal films coming out in 2018!

  • Deadpool 2
  • X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  • Ready Player One
  • Pacific Rim: Uprising
  • Rampage
  • Tomb Raider
  • Fifty Shades Freed
  • Creed 2
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  • Bumblebee: The Movie
  • Aquaman
  • Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindenwald
  • Venom
  • Slender Man
  • The New Mutants
  • Sicario 2: Soldado
  • Johnny English 3
  • Goosebumps: Horror Land
  • The Grinch
  • Super Troopers 2
  • Scarface
  • The Equalizer 2
  • Barbie
  • Mission: Impossible 6
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
  • Maze Runner: The Death Cure
  • Insidious: The Last Key
  • Animal Crackers
  • Ocean’s 8
  • The Purge: The Island
  • Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
  • Teen Titans Go! to the Movies
  • Robin Hood
  • The Predator
  • God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness

You get the point by now…

I get that filmmaking is technically a business, and people use it to make money, but they have to realize what they’re doing to people who watch the films. They could walk in, walk out, and say that they had an experience. It could be good, it could be bad. The real question is: How many experiences like the ones I just described will have a good chunk of people who felt like they experienced something new? Granted, storytelling has been around for a long time. The oldest written story passed down to us, The “Epic of Gilgamesh,” was introduced to the world around 2100 BC. We’ve been telling stories for as long as time can stand. It’s quite possible that original stories are going the way of the woolly mammoth. In fact a lot of original stuff we’re actually getting now borrows elements from other pieces of work. At this point, I don’t really care if we get a new franchise or a new movie from something we haven’t technically watched in the past, but I want to see more of that and less sequels each and every day. I may be a picky eater, I always have been since I was a kid, but my tastes in film go like this: As long as the film’s good in any way possible, it’s cool. Do I like unoriginal work? Yes, as long as it’s good. I’m not saying every original film is good either. Heck, 2017 gave a ton of original crap! Films like “Gifted,” “Downsizing,” and “The Space Between Us.”

I’m also not saying every unoriginal film did well at the box office in 2017. Films like “Blade Runner 2049,” “xXx: Return of Xander Cage,” “Ghost in the Shell,” “Underworld: Blood Wars,” “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter,” “A Bad Moms Christmas,” “The Mummy,” and “The LEGO Ninjago Movie” didn’t appear to be as successful as other films during the year. By the way, for those of you who skipped out on “Blade Runner 2049,” you missed a work of art.

What I want studios and filmmakers to learn is this: It’s OK to take risks, it’s OK to be different, that’s what storytelling is about. Showing a unique vision to the world, not grabbing everyone’s wallet and swallowing it because of something they already know getting a new installment. How do you think Quentin Tarantino is popular today? How do you think he got popular in the first place? Is he doing the same thing as everyone else? Is he recycling old ideas? Sure, he definitely has influence from others, but his ideas are usually original so people usually view his movies as refreshing. Christopher Nolan has borrowed ideas from others, including his own brother, but at least he has done some stuff of his own like “Inception.” Not to mention, he stays away from traditional Hollywood conventions, even in unoriginal content like “The Dark Knight.” Another director I have my eyes on now is Nacho Vigolando. He wrote and directed “Colossal,” one of my top films of 2017.

The concept of “Colossal” itself, takes a number of elements from other movies, but in end, it’s truly its own thing. A girl named Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is kicked out of her apartment by her boyfriend who goes by the name Tim (Dan Stevens). Gloria moves back to her hometown where she reunites with a childhood friend, Oscar (Jason Sudeikis). As the movie progresses, we are shown that a monster recently attacked Seoul, South Korea. The thing that everyone has yet to realize, Gloria is responsible for the monstrous actions. You can do so many things with this, and what they did with it was just imaginative. It tries to be a lot of things at once, and believe it or not, it actually works! Films like this are something that I could imagine inspiring a generation of filmmakers. The problem is that it’s not all that popular, it’s an independent film, and was never really marketed all that well. In fact, I never really anticipated “Colossal” to be the absolute masterpiece that it is. People never really talked about it much before or even during the release. The same can’t really be said for a chunk of unoriginal content.

One of the movies I’m really looking forward to in 2018 is “Incredibles 2.” Not much has been shown for it yet, but regardless, I want to see it. Why? Because the original film is my favorite animation ever made! This just really makes me wonder, how rare is it for someone to actually go on for a long time, hyping for something totally original? Hype is something that people usually have for unoriginal content for no other reason other than because what they’re hyping for IS that unoriginal content. I’ve hyped for original content, but the more I look around, that’s not the case with everyone else. Look at all the hype “Avengers: Infinity War” is getting right now! This based on comic book story has been built up for quite some time through the release of a ton of films, and now that it’s almost here, there’s an enormous craze regarding it.

I’m not saying all unoriginal ideas are bad, I think I’ve made that clear already. In fact, I want to say one of them could be a future masterpiece. This year I was one of those people who actually got off their ass, went to the theater, and saw “Blade Runner 2049.” Just about everyone who saw the film would agree with me when I say it’s good. I’d bet not everyone would say they enjoyed it as much as I did. There will inevitably be those people who were bored out of their minds due to the movie’s slow pace, but in the end, this movie is just a testament to cinema. From a technical perspective, I was blown away. Roger Deakins’s cinematography was some of the best I’ve seen all year. The visual effects were eye candy that you’d want in your mouth instantly. Watching every single frame pass by was like looking at neon Heaven. Story-wise, I was also impressed, especially for a sequel like this. It develops all of its characters perfectly, continues in a future that probably will not happen entirely, but based on the world of “Blade Runner,” it does seem like something that would make sense from a certain angle. I’ll remind you that the original film came out in 1982 and took place in 2019, this sequel released thirty five years after, 2017, and took place in 2049. Sadly, not many people saw this when you compare the results this movie got against others. Although you might as well consider that not many people left their houses to go and see the first “Blade Runner” either. One of the biggest things I appreciated out of this sequel is how it didn’t set the stage for endless sequels or a cinematic universe. It felt like a movie, not a neverending TV series.

As interesting as cinematic universes are, they are becoming more and more common and the concept is just becoming rather boring. I will say, I have an idea for a cinematic universe, I think it could work, but as far as standalone franchises, I’m only incorporating two of them. It’s simple and effective. Standalone sequels have a beginning, middle, and end. They can give a sense of satisfaction. I’m not saying cinematic universe movies don’t have a beginning, middle, and end, but meshed in there is setup. Sometimes it works, sometimes it just comes off like a kid trying to get attention. Despite how much “Avengers: Infinity War” may sound like a finale for the MCU, trust me when I say it’s not. For one thing, there’s going to be a fourth “Avengers” film the following year, and Marvel still has more plans for films afterwards. They have another “Spider-Man” movie and another “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie! According to James Gunn, writer and director of the first two “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, not to mention the possible writer and director of the upcoming third installment, he says that “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” will expand the cosmic universe. Honestly, I don’t know how to feel. At least “Two and a Half Men” had a conclusion! It took about twelve or so years to get to it, but it happened! Although you know what could happen once this cinematic universe ends? One word. Reboot. And you know what? It’ll probably make some f*cking money!

You know what else could be true? I don’t know, we’re probably just reaching the bottom of the barrel and running out of ideas. Although I can’t say that’s true because I have an idea for an original film. I won’t say what it is, but if any major Hollywood studio wants in on it, I’d be happy to send it to them. I don’t have the script finished yet, but I can definitely work on it if you want to see this idea realized in the future.

I’m not against unoriginal content, but from my personal viewpoint on society, these results make it seem like that’s all anyone watches now. Is it a popular thing? Someone watched it. Is it based on something that happened before? Someone watched it. I just want to see a future where at least some original content gets to shine as much as unoriginal content. Well, as long as said original content is good. I want to say to both studios and audiences, take some steps off the beaten path. I did that when I saw “Colossal,” I was originally planning to see “Kong: Skull Island,” but “Colossal” was the movie I ultimately had time for, and it was f*cking worth the ride.

Thanks for reading this post! As far as upcoming reviews go, I do plan on seeing this film called “The Commuter,” there’s a chance you may have heard of it on TV. It stars Liam Neeson as a person on a train who’s caught in a criminal conspiracy. The director who’s doing this film directed “The Shallows,” which was pretty great, but it’s January, so anything could happen.

Also I want to inform you that pretty soon I’ll be starting a new mini-series of reviews, specifically for the “Maze Runner” movies. I’m gonna watch “The Maze Runner” and “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trails,” and I’ll review the first film one week, and follow up with a review for the second film the week afterwards. This is all being done in preparation for “Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” which comes out January 26th. Stay tuned for those reviews and more great content! I want to know, which movies did you see in 2017? Did you see any that made the top results at the box office? Do you think we need more original content? Would you watch more original content? Leave your comments below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!