Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021): Sony and Marvel’s Thrilling, Emotional Love Letter to Three Generations of the Webhead *SPOILER-FREE*

Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) - IMDb

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” is directed by Jon Watts, who also directed the previous two MCU-set “Spider-Man” installments, which also have home in the title. I’m assuming if they make a fourth movie, it’s gonna be called “Grand Slam?” You know, instead of home run? Four?

Anybody?

Who cares?

Anyway, this film stars Tom Holland (Cherry, Onward), Zendaya (Space Jam: A New Legacy, Dune), Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek: Into Darkness, Sherlock), Jacob Batalon (Blood Fest, Let it Snow) Jon Favreau (Chef, Solo: A Star Wars Story), Jamie Foxx (Soul, Ray), Willem Dafoe (The Lighthouse, Aquaman), Alfred Molina (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time), Benedict Wong (Annihilation, Raya and the Last Dragon), Tony Revolori (Dope, The Grand Budapest Hotel), and Marisa Tomei (Parental Guidance, Anger Management). This film revolves around Peter Parker, AKA Spider-Man, who has to deal with the newfound dangers that lie ahead now that his identity has been revealed, in addition to being connected to the recent event of Mysterio’s drone swarm in London, which has been interpreted differently by the general public. When Peter seeks Dr. Strange’s help to make everyone forget he was Spider-Man, the spell to make such a thing happen goes wrong, villains from other universes arrive, and it is up to Peter to do the right thing before the dangers of one universe then become the dangers of another.

Alright guys, it is that time again. A big movie in December. Although this time around, it’s not in the “Star Wars” franchise. Still huge. That being said, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is the biggest movie of the year. I should note the box office suggests that this film is enormous, but there are still people who have not seen the film. I know at least a couple. With that being said, I will note that this review is spoiler-free. I am going to talk about certain points in the film that stand out, but I’m not going to go into deeper plot points. If you have not seen this movie and plan to see it, I can tell you that this review is safe to read.

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” is a follow-up to “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Spider-Man: Far from Home.” I have to say that when it comes to the first film, it is slightly more enjoyable than I remember it being. But given Spider-Man’s excellent writing in “Captain America: Civil War,” the writing for that film felt like a step down. I really liked Vulture. Peter’s chemistry with Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) was charming. I even liked Liz in that film. I still think the film has logic issues when it comes to how Peter’s suit works and how Tony Stark would want it to work, but the film is still decent enough to pass the time. When it comes to “Spider-Man: Far from Home,” that film felt like a step up. Jake Gyllenhaal did a great job as Mysterio. I liked Ned a bit better this time around compared to the original. Plus it was nice to see Spider-Man somewhere other than New York for a change. Plus, the end of the film promised a fantastic setup for what would ultimately become “No Way Home.”

When it comes to “No Way Home,” is it a thumbs up or a thumbs down?

I think neither. I’d say TWO thumbs up.

Now, like almost everyone else, I should note that my anticipation and my excitement for “No Way Home” was high. Not as much as “Dune,” but still high. But I was also nervous. Because the film promised massive multiversal shenanigans, which sounds great. I should note… It SOUNDS great. During the fall as we built up to this film’s release, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” in my mind sounded like it could be one of two things. It’s either going to be the best movie ever, or the worst movie ever, and nowhere in between. In crossover-speak, is it going to be the next “Infinity War?” Or is it going to be the next “Space Jam: A New Legacy?” God that movie was awful. Thankfully, upon leaving the theater, I can confirm that I felt excited to go see the movie again in less than 24 hours, and my mind literally melted on the way home from how exciting this movie was to watch.

This film has a ton of villains ranging from Doc Ock to Electro, but it’s not like they’re just there for nostalgia purposes. Granted, at the end of the day, this film is sort of a tribute to the Spider-Man character and all the stories that came before this one. Anyone can put in a ton of cool characters and have them fight against Spider-Man. Heck, this movie could be Spider-Man vs. Godzilla vs. Agent Smith vs. Ron Burgundy, but it does not guarantee a good movie. It’s a basic case of concept vs. reality. The concept is great, but the reality could suck. But here’s the truth about all these villains…

Jamie Foxx’s Electro was written ten times better than he was written in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” Now, I will admit, they did kind of highlight a specific aspect about him from that film, specifically how Max was a nobody, which I thought had some okay setup before he was affected by a bunch of eels. But as we see him enter this universe, I could really tell that he was confused, he was concerned, and had no idea what was going on. They’ve even given him a new costume, which may be for story purposes, sure, but of course, who doesn’t want to sell more toys? Why do you think they gave 3PO a red arm in “The Force Awakens?”

My favorite villain of Raimi’s “Spider-Man” films was always Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock. I feel like even though his character was truly at the end of the day, an evil mastermind, he also had a heart. He went through tragedy the same way Peter did in those movies when he lost Uncle Ben. Only in the case of Doc Ock, he used his tragedy for evil, partially for a reason beyond his control. Even though he terrorized New York City, I feel bad for him, looking back. Plus, his arms are among some of the best practical effects ever. As for how he’s handled in this movie, I like the way they went about exploring his character’s newfound questions. After all, when you enter another universe, everything feels completely strange. Although when they first introduced him, they had a potential plot hole that could have affected how I viewed the entire movie that was corrected about ten to twenty minutes later. Glad they touched up on that. In this film, instead of his arms being practical, they were CGI, and I honestly could barely tell the difference. They did a really good job at making Doc Ock fit into a universe like this, even though it’s really the same character as another one.

But if you’re going to ask me who I think gives the single greatest performance out of all the film’s villains, I think that would have to be Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin. Now I always sensed that Dafoe enjoyed playing the character of Norman Osborn and being a part of the “Spider-Man” franchise. Even after his character died in “Spider-Man” (2002) he came back for the sequels, and there’s also a bonus feature where Alfred Molina is pranked by Dafoe, wearing the Doc Ock tentacles, trying to motivate Molina to give the greatest performance possible. Part of this movie centers around Osborn struggling with his inner self, which is not new for him, and I feel like we get so many layers to his character. We see his bewilderment of the world around him. We see him conflict over power and normalcy, and I think his dark side is more evident than ever. Whenever he does something truly horrific in this film, not only is it well written, I think it may deliver the best performance I have seen out of a Spider-Man villain in a long. Long. Long. Long time. I really liked the Green Goblin in the 2002 “Spider-Man” movie. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” arguably made him even better.

Now I will say that there are a couple other villains in this film, including Sandman and Lizard. Of the film’s villains, those two were the weakest, but they were still better than a lot of the villains we get in the MCU nowadays. I say that because a lot of the films in the MCU sometimes fail to heighten the villain and instead we get a cliche bad guy who just stands in the hero’s way. These are two are better than Ronan in “Guardians of the Galaxy.” And they’re especially better than Malekith in “Thor: The Dark World.” These two have some occasional funny lines, and I like Lizard’s reference to his master plan which Electro ended up making fun of. It’s not like they did not need to be in the movie, the movie is definitely cool with them and they do not end up doing anything offensive. But of all the villains in the film, Sandman and Lizard are the weakest links because they have the least depth. We get more time with Doc Ock and Goblin, therefore we have more opportunities to see depth for them, but for Sandman and Lizard, not so much.

But of course, this film belongs to the heroes. Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Ned, and MJ.

All of these actors who play the heroes are great and I think when it comes to Ned (center) in this movie, he’s kind of a bundle of joy. When I saw Ned for the first time in “Homecoming,” I thought he was annoying. I kind of grown to like him in that movie a little bit, because I kind of get the enthusiasm behind finding out your best friend is Spider-Man, but I think of these three movies, he had the worst writing because his questions can get excessive. To me, the writing in this film made the most sense of the three, although his storyline in “Far from Home” was hilarious. It’s one way to write teen love I guess. Although if I have one thing to say, it’s not a huge complaint, but it is something worth pointing out, something happens with Ned in this movie that is out of random chance. It was never something that was established that he could do, or something he learned. It just happened. I mean, if you watched the movie, they “teased” it a little, but kind of as a joke, nothing more. I guess foreshadowing is foreshadowing, even if it’s a throwaway joke.

Zendaya’s MJ is another character that to me evolved with time. In the first film, she felt overly snarky. In the second film, I got to know her a little better and I began to appreciate her as a character just a bit more. In this third film, we see her with Spider-Man from the start, and I think their chemistry has blossomed into something special. It is worth noting that all three live-action Spider-Men from Tobey Maguire to Andrew Garfield to Tom Holland all dated their character-based love interests at one point in real life. Maybe that’s why their chemistry all feels natural. There was a scene on a school rooftop, it’s in the trailer, that stood out to me as to why Holland and Zendaya work together. Although I was a bit surprised to see MJ reading a physical newspaper as opposed to some article on her phone. I dunno, just a stereotypical generational thing.

Doctor Strange is in this film as well, and judging by the trailers, his performance at first felt a little different from his previous outings in the MCU. Having seen the movie, and having remembered some of the other movies he’s been in, it actually feels somewhat consistent. Maybe it feels different because he’s communicating with teenagers, which may not be his forte. I may be making excuses, but I think if you’re an adult, you may have a way of communicating with teenagers in a slightly different tone than you would with your spouse or your boss. You know, unless your employer works at “LitDonald’s!” Keep it 100 with our Big Lit! Sauce me some of those yeet fries! Enjoy the LitRib for a limited time! Although when it comes to consistency, there is a one-liner out of Strange about birthday parties that feels wonderfully similar in tone to this exchange in “Infinity War.”

Dr. Stephen Strange: If we don’t do our jobs…

Tony Stark: What is your job, exactly, besides making balloon animals?

Dr. Stephen Strange: Protecting your reality, douchebag.

But of course, we need to talk about Tom Holland. Spider-Man stories have shown a balance between a hero struggling to maintain his friendships, his identity, while also trying to save the world. In the case of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” this balance is handled brilliantly. The film starts off right where the last one ended, and right off the bat we already see Spider-Man protecting what he has left of his identity, his love interest, and the people he knows. We already start off the movie with one of the worst possible things that could have happened to Peter Parker, and that’s just the beginning. We see him deal with controversy in school. Parker’s trying to find a lawyer. The people he loves are being hurt for reasons beyond their control. As we go through Spider-Man’s journey, the tragedy only builds up. And this is what makes Spider-Man a hero. When he goes to Doctor Strange to make everyone forget he’s Spider-Man, he’s not just looking out for himself, he’s looking out for the people around him. His friends, family, colleagues. There’s a subplot in the film where the trio are trying to get into college and that is only made harder through their connections to the battle in London.

I expected this film to be exciting. I expected this film to be fun. But part of me was not ready for how much emotion this movie packs. Now I figured there would be at least one emotional moment because it is the third film of a trilogy and that’s where certain ends are tied up for good and that sort of thing. This film has multiple powerful scenes and happenings that bring a balance between the expected excitement and the emotional weight. Tom Holland in this film honestly delivers one of the best performances of his career because of this. I don’t think he’ll be nominated for an Oscar, but by the end of the film, there’s a particular arc that is perfectly assembled and you don’t even need words for it. Just the expressions on his face alone make the scene perfect. You may know what I’m talking about when it comes around.

Although I do want to talk about one thing when it comes to the emotion. This is a spoiler-free review, so I will not go into detail. But the ending of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” despite its instant feeling of satisfaction, induction of a smile, and solid conclusiveness to certain characters, probably would have been made better if Peter did one thing to possibly prevent another thing from happening. If I did a spoiler review, I would expand on it. But again, I cannot. The point of me making this review is not to discuss every single plot point and detail. It is to convince my viewers as to whether they could make a formal decision on whether “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is worth seeing. I recommend you do, I think this is easily one of best “Spider-Man” films ever made. But I want my viewers to go into this film knowing as little as possible, but with enough details as to what I like, didn’t like, and maybe that will help them know whether or not this movie is for them. I would not instantly recommend this movie to my mom (although I would recommend Shang-Chi), but I do recommend a lot of you reading this should go check out “No Way Home” on the biggest screen you can.

I will also point out that this is Jon Watts’s third film in this trilogy, making him the first director to direct a complete trilogy in the MCU. Jon Favreau directed two installments for “Iron Man,” but Shane Black did the third. Joss Whedon did the first two “Avengers” films, but the next two ended up going to the Russo Brothers. When it comes to all three movies, they are solid. But the directing in these films do not really give him much of a chance to individualize himself. And as for this movie, I think Willem Dafoe’s face reveal, as exciting as it was, could have been handled slightly better. It was still exciting, but it was very quick. Although I think if you take into account the end of the film and the performances from just about everyone, this may be the best-directed film in the franchise. Everyone felt true to their characters and when came to Peter’s emotions, Watts likely knew exactly how to touch base with Tom Holland. I think after seeing this film, I am curious to see if there are any specific quirks Watts develops, but I nevertheless think he will do a good job with “Fantastic 4,” whenever that comes out.

One last thing before we move on, J.K. Simmons is back as J. Jonah Jameson. You saw the little snippet of him in the previous film, but now we have him here and the way they utilize him is perfect. For this modern era, his placement in the universe makes sense. He’s basically Alex Jones if he was trying to find a cure for his balding. After seeing this film, I am convinced that nobody else aside from J.K. Simmons can play J. Jonah Jameson. Debate over.

Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

In the end, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is the best film in the Jon Watts trilogy. It’s a triumph for Tom Holland. It’s at the end of the day, a love letter to the character. My favorite “Spider-Man” movie is “Spider-Man 2,” and right below that would have to be this one. It’s that good. The movie has its flaws, but no movie’s perfect. I think the best part about “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is that it doesn’t just use all these previous characters and actors just for the sake of marketing. Granted, it definitely helps. But each villain had at minimum, the slightest of reason to be there. Even Sandman and Lizard. The first two “Spider-Man” films in the MCU happen to be about teenage Spider-Man dealing with teenage situations from crushes to school dances. This film, in my imagination, is literally Spider-Man attempting to push back a giant boulder of inconveniences and tragedies. And by the end of the film, I felt enough of its weight to make me care for everyone. If you like “Spider-Man,” you will love this movie. I don’t know if you will like it more depending on whether you have seen the other villains before, but that’s another debate for another time. Please check this film out, take your friends, take your family, take everyone. It’s best experienced with an audience, and there are some are some epic potential applause break moments depending on when and where you see this film. I’m going to give “Spider-Man: No Way Home” a 9/10.

To me, this kind of reminds me of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood…” because despite the glaring issues that such a movie has, I ended up giving it a 9/10. The reason for that is because those issues barely get in the way of all the other crazy sequences and crowd-pleasers of this film. The fan part of me wants to give a perfect score, but again, there’s some issues that keep that from happening. There’s the fan side of me and the critic side of me. Today, I have to be the critic. The film is an experience that I want erased from my memory in order to go back and witness again. For those reasons alone, I highly recommend you go watch this film in a theater. But reserve your tickets in advance, you’re gonna want the best seats.

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” is now playing in theaters everywhere. Tickets are available now.

Thanks for reading this review! I want to let you guys know that I have more reviews coming up including one for “King Richard.” Stay tuned for that! If you want to see more from Scene Before, follow the blog either with an email or WordPress account! Also, check out the official Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Spider-Man: No Way Home?” What did you think about it? Or, which Jon Watts-directed “Spider-Man” movie is your favorite? 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!

Father Figures (2017): A Very Bastardizing Film

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“Father Figures” is directed by Lawrence Sher in his directorial debut. This guy has done cinematography for movies such as “The Hangover,” “War Dogs,” and the 2005 film adaptation of “The Dukes of Hazzard.” The film stars Owen Wilson (Cars, Wedding Crashers), Ed Helms (The Office, Vacation), JK Simmons (Whiplash, Juno), Katt Williams (Norbit, Scary Movie 5), Terry Bradshaw (The Cannonball Run, Failure to Launch), Ving Rhames (Mission: Impossible, Pulp Fiction), and also features Christopher Walken (The Jungle Book, The Deer Hunter), along with Glenn Close. This film’s about two fraternal twins who find out the truth about their allegedly dead father has been a lie. The information concerning this has been hidden by their mother for years, leading to the twins going out to seek their real father.

I first heard about this film back in 2016, and I was wondering for a while, “What happened to this film?” Well, here it is now. Why did I hear about it that early? Turns out there was a trailer for a comedy that was supposed to release in January of this year, AKA this exact film, and at the end, we see a title card with the word “Bastards.” The name does make sense considering the technical definition for a bastard is a child whose birthparents weren’t married at the time of the child’s birth, which is true to the twins in the movie. Although I’m willing to bet they changed the name to “Father Figures” because to some people it might be weird walking around and talking about a movie called “Bastards” since the word is associated with vulgarity. Who’s they? I don’t know. I’m willing to bet it’s either the director or the studio, one of those two. Nevertheless, I think this movie shouldn’t have been called “Father Figures.” I don’t even think it should be called “Bastards.” You know what it should be called? “Bastard.” Just “Bastard.” And that’s because this movie felt like a total bastard! This is probably the worst comedy I’ve seen all year! This movie brought almost two hours of inglorious bastardization into my life!

I would like to take a second to apologize to Quentin Tarantino, I just probably ingloriously bastardized him if you know what I mean.

I’ve seen a number of s*itty comedies in 2017, but even at the end of the year, I’m still coming across them. I think I found the pinnacle of s*it when it comes to this year in comedy. “Father Figures” is a f*cking bastard and I’m about to tell you why in just a second! But before I go into why, let me go over some of the other crap I’ve seen this year when it comes to comedy.

First off, we have “Snatched,” which I saw in May. The movie’s about a mother and daughter going away to paradise, which doesn’t end up going well because they get captured and some other s*it happens. I knew going into this particular film it was going to be bad, but there was one really funny scene and there was a character that I kind of liked.

Next we have “How to Be a Latin Lover,” which was just awkward as hell to watch. It’s about a guy who is dumped by his elderly wife. He has to move in with his sister, played by Salma Hayek, and adjust to normal society after living a spoiled life. I bought the movie used for $9.99 on Blu-ray, which isn’t too bad of a deal for a Blu-ray if you ask me, but I still suffered through the unfunny jokes and awkward story full of mostly unlikable characters.

I also saw “Fist Fight,” which admittedly, is nowhere near as unwatchable as the other two films I mentioned, but is still something I would say technically qualifies as a waste of time. What’s the plot? Just take the basic idea of “Three O’Clock High” and make the teachers fight instead of the students. I just thought it contained too many predictable attempts at humor and forced sex jokes.

I’d probably rather watch any of these comedies before “Father Figures.” “How to Be a Latin Lover” is a tad debatable but in reality, “Father Figures” is just a comedy that should have never been made. I will admit, when I saw the first trailer for the film released in 2016, part of me was looking forward to this movie. Sure, I like Owen Wilson. Sure, I like Ed Helms. There’s someone I admire more in this movie compared to them, specifically JK f*cking Simmons! JK’s one of my favorite actors of all time! And if you put him in, well, anything for that matter, I’ll watch it. You can even put him in a movie called “Don’t Watch This Piece of Crap,” it can be eight minutes including credits, it can be a guy bloodied up screaming for help on pavement, and I’ll still check it out because JK Simmons was in it. Granted, I don’t think his performance was that bad. In fact, I have to say it’s one of the more redeemable parts of the entire film.

Speaking of likable performances. Terry Bradshaw was playing himself in this film. It almost gave me a similar vibe to seeing Sam Jones in “Ted” based on the chemistry between him and the two main characters.

Moving onto our recently suggested main characters, we have Kyle, played by Owen Wilson, alongside Peter, played by Ed Helms. Seeing these two together, I can somewhat buy into them being twins, but the whole ride they take during the movie was just a wreck. Neither of them are funny, they have a couple of moments where they disagree with each other and get in arguments, I just wanted to leave at some points instead of watch the duo compare themselves to one another every now and then.

This movie just feels like it has too much going on in it. When we get to what almost feels like the climax, the movie just goes on like its jacked up on Red Bull. It’s just an absolute marathon of twists and turns and it’s just too much to process for a simple comedy! In fact I gotta say, one of the twists, which admittedly, reminded me of the original “Star Wars” trilogy, was actually ruined about ten or so minutes after it happens! So yeah, f*ck everything I guess!

Let’s also talk about Glenn Close’s character of Helen. At the beginning of the film, it’s established that Helen is the mother of both these boys. I’m just wondering, why would she lie about the father of her sons? First off, they’re adults, and I’m not adopted, but if I were, I’d want to know as soon as possible! As far as telling anyone else, I’d probably think to myself before whether or not I do that, but still. I also have to say that she mentioned that Terry Bradshaw was the actual father of the two kids, and Ed Helms’s reaction almost seemed like it could have been done differently. This is a man he idolized, someone he has high appreciation for, and he grew up during his youth never knowing Bradshaw was his dad?! I’ve grown up idolizing Howie Mandel, and if my mother kept a secret until a point such as this, or even longer for that matter, that Howie Mandel was my real father, you know what I’d do? I’d lose my f*cking mind! I might break a window! I might light my house on fire! I might slap my mother in the face! I’m not kidding! I would be in utter shock, and perhaps apalled upon why I had a secret like this kept from me for so long! I’d be happy to know Howie was my father but… why wait so long?

*SPOILERS IN THIS PARAGRAPH*

Speaking of idiocy, I’m gonna talk about a scene involving a train and an automobile. Sorry, planes, you have to sit out on this one. There’s one scene where the two main characters are in a car with each other, they’re still on their quest to find their dad, and at one point, they pick up a hitchhiker, played by Katt Williams. Due to Ed Helms being somewhat apprehensive about the fate of himself along with the fate of his brother, the hitchhiker is sitting in the back with his hands cuffed up. At one point, the car stops, and the two begin to argue. Moments later, we as an audience find out the car is stuck on a train track, but the two brothers are too focused on arguing back and forth so they don’t notice an approaching train. The one who does notice the train however is the hitchhiker, he’s trying to warn the two, but they don’t listen. As the light is coming closer, and the hitchhiker is still alerting the duo, they finally notice the train. So they attempt to escape. Ed Helms and Katt Williams make it out of the car, but the train slams the car, suggesting that it could have killed Owen Wilson. But it didn’t, he’s completely fine. WHAT THE F*CK?!

This is honestly just insulting! I get this is a comedy, but I would appreciate it more if it was logical. I don’t need another “Daddy’s Home” Ford Flex goes through the house and Will Ferrell isn’t badly hurt situation if you get what I’m saying. Remember “Paul Blart Mall Cop 2?” I honestly bought into the fact that Paul Blart could trap himself in a suitcase, slide downward on a bunch of steps, fall into a pool in said suitcase, have water come inside it, allow himself to exit the suitcase, and get out of the water alive more than this.

I do remember watching a movie in the past with a scene somewhat similar to this. There’s an extended cut to Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 2” referred to as “Spider-Man 2.1,” which might even be better than the original cut if you ask me. In that version of the film, part of the extended footage in that film is included on the train fight scene. Doc Ock and Spidey are going at it against each other, and Doc is holding onto the Web Slinger with his tentacles. Spider-Man has his feet on the side of one of the train cars, and he’s hit a bunch of closeby objects. Soon he turns his head, a train is quickly approaching him. Spider-Man gets hit by a train, but he instantly gets back to fighting like the hit was just a normal Tuesday in the office. Here’s the thing however. Spider-Man has superpowers, Kyle from “Father Figures” on the other hand, is an average human. Spider-Man has enough strength in him to walk something like this off, Kyle should have died. In fact, while Kyle dying may be somewhat abrupt, I almost thought that it would be kind of intriguing to see what would happen if Ed Helms had to continue the quest alone. I went to see the film with my mother, she and I discussed the film in the car after we watched it. I brought this up, and she figured I was thinking Ed Helms would continue the quest in Wilson’s honor, which almost sounds more like an adventure flick as opposed to a comedy, but quests are basically adventures.

The final moments of the film had some emotion packed into it, and in ways, I felt it. But ultimately, I felt that the movie didn’t earn its emotional ending on a technical level. For one thing, it’s a comedy, not a drama. Another thing is that I didn’t really care about a single character in this movie enough to say, “I like you. I stand with you. I’m on your side.” If I was able to care about any of the characters or if I had a logical reason to appreciate them more, then I might as well say that the movie earned it’s ending, but the movie itself dragged, it was full of unbearable characters, and it just wasn’t funny. So I can’t really say the end played out very well.

Let’s move onto marketing. I noticed the difference in the film’s marketing from when I first heard about it and when the film actually came out. There wasn’t much buzz about “Bastards” before January 2017, but now that we’re here in December, the movie, technically now referred to as “Father Figures,” was brought back to my attention, and I had the realization this was the same movie. Now that it’s here, I’m seeing Christmas related ads having to do with the film and a poster with red & green font. If one of the reasons for the movie releasing at this time was just to market it like it’s an experience related to the holidays, it just feels cheap! Oh yeah, did I mention this film was supposed to come out in January? I should have known what I was getting into. January movies usually suck! Last year, “The Fifth Wave” made my top 10 WORST movies of the year list. In general, when a movie comes out in January, critics are going to give it hell. I wonder why they moved it. Is it to market the film in a certain way? Possibly. Although part of me is willing to bet it’s to get more people in the theater. Given that a lot of people have breaks from school and work, they have more time to see a movie. January only has weekends, New Year’s Day, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Another part of me thinks that Warner Brothers, AKA the distributor of the film, or one of the production companies such as Alcon or Montecito, thought this would be a good tactic in order to get people to go see another movie when “The Last Jedi” sells out. Given the competition and the film’s box office return, I wouldn’t say this was the best idea. Just compare this film with “Pitch Perfect 3,” “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” plus family friendly animations such as “Coco” and “Ferdinand” and you’ll see the point. If last year’s “Assassin’s Creed” has taught moviegoers anything, it’s that you only market something in a Christmas related fashion when appropriate. Speaking of competition and “Star Wars,” I should also bring up another possible reason why all of this is happening. “Star Wars” is something that the world cares about. There’s barely anyone in this world who doesn’t know what “Star Wars” is. However, nobody knows about “Father Figures,” and it’s possible that Warner Brothers thought, “Eh, “Star Wars” is coming out in December, and that’s inevitably gonna be a big hit. What’s a movie that people want to avoid?” And someone said “What about that lame-ass comedy with Owen Wilson and Ed Helms?” Everyone agreed with that thought, and here we are. I was one of the people who saw it. But you know what? I survived, and that’s what matters.

In the end I have to say “Father Figures” is a really intolerable experience. While “How to Be a Latin Lover” was awkward and unfunny, I have to say that “Father Figures” was not just awkward and unfunny, but also boring, not to mention insultingly baffling. That train scene split my head open. It just f*cked me over. I’d rather spend an entire year watching a sloth pop bubble wrap from start to finish than watch this film a second time. Guys, this has a good chance of being this year’s worst comedy and I’m going to give “Father Figures” a 1/10. I went to see this film with my mother, she says it was good, so I gotta say this film does have an audience, so I can say that’s a plus. My mother and I also saw “Snatched” together and we both agreed that was total dogs*it. So this film has at least one thing going for it I guess.

Thanks for reading this review. This Saturday I’m going to see “The Disaster Artist,” which I’m truly stoked for. I can’t wait to see it and talk about it, it’s likely gonna be a blast! Also, speaking of fun things I have going on here on Scene Before, I will also soon have my top 10 BEST and WORST movies of 2017 lists. Meaning we can reflect on some of the milestones and trainwrecks I’ve sat through this year. I will have you know that depending on what happens, there’s a good chance that there’s at least one movie on either list that I saw and didn’t review, so if that ever comes up, that just means I didn’t have the time to sit down and write an analytical review of a certain film. Why? It’s the end of the year, and whenever time allows it, I’m trying to seek out as many of this year’s films as possible until I can no longer watch anymore. I’ve done this with “The Great Wall,” “American Assassin,” “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” “Crown Heights,” “Atomic Blonde,” and “The Only Living Boy in New York.” Anyway, stay tuned for more great content, including the recently mentioned review and countdowns! I want to know, if you saw “Father Figures,” what are your thoughts on it? What do you think is a better title for this film? “Father Figures” or “Bastards?” Also, what is the worst comedy of the year for you? Please leave a comment stating your responses to any of these questions, I’d be happy to look at them! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Justice League (2017): What Does This Mean for the DCEU? (PLUS TALK ABOUT THE MOVIE’S BOX OFFICE RETURN)

Before we get into my review for “Justice League,” let me remind you that the buildup for this movie has been objectively crazy. Regardless of whether you’re a fan of DC, you’re anti-DC, you’re a fan of Marvel, or you just aren’t into movies based on comic books, you might as well agree with me on how bonkers this movie’s buildup truly is. I cover all of that including the director change, the sexually suggestive events, the date of the review embargo lift, all in another post I’ve done titled “What the Heck is Up with Justice League (2017)?” If you want to check that out, click the link down below and that’ll take you to that post and you can discover the complete insanity of “Justice League’s” buildup.

WHAT THE HECK IS UP WITH JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017)?: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/11/09/what-the-heck-is-up-with-justice-league-2017/

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“Justice League” is directed Zack Snyder (300, Watchman) and stars Ben Affleck (The Town, Argo), Gal Gadot (Fast Five, Criminal), Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones, Conan the Barbarian), Ezra Miller (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Perks of Being a Wallflower), and Ray Fisher as the members of the league established in the title. Batman and Wonder Woman try to unite a bunch of beings with superpowers in order to defeat the evil Steppenwolf.

*MAJOR BOX OFFICE RANT AHEAD, IF UNINTERESTED, GO TO NEXT PARAGRAPH*

Before we actually go any further, part of me is glad that I’m not seeing this film on opening weekend. This is because I can now make a portion of this post dedicated to how nobody went to see this on opening weekend. If I were to see this on opening weekend, I would have. However it didn’t fit into the schedule of those who I was going to see this with. I will say this, if you have read the post I recently mentioned, you may recall I said essentially Marvel does better at the box office compared to DC, and to show that, I went through the results of 2016 comparing DC’s “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” with Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War.” To be fair, those movies had somewhat similar concepts, although “Batman v. Superman” is something that comic book junkies have been waiting to see on the big screen for years. Not to mention, “Batman v. Superman” released first. The thing I said must have brought more people into the theater has to have been the difference in tone and the reviews regarding the movie. Just look at Rotten Tomatoes! The box office results for both movies ended up being pretty high. I wouldn’t say they’re close, but it doesn’t mean they’re not high. Although I will say “Batman v. Superman” failed to make over $1 billion overall unlike “Captain America: Civil War.” Now fast forward to November 2017. This month, two big superhero movies come out. “Thor: Ragnarok” is scheduled to come out November 3rd, two weeks prior to “Justice League,” which comes out November 17th. So “Thor: Ragnarok” releases, and as expected, it won the box office on its opening weekend. The total “Thor: Ragnarok” earned on said weekend is around $427 million. In just a week, the movie has flown past $500 million. This is over $50 million greater than the combined total the original “Thor” made DURING ITS ENTIRE RUN! Also, just recently, specifically November 19th, reports came in that “Thor: Ragnarok” has now reached $739.2 million at the box office! This report suggests that “Thor: Ragnarok” has also made more money than “Thor: The Dark World” in just a couple of weeks! Also a little thing to keep in mind, the budget for “Thor: Ragnarok” was estimated to be $180 million. Suggesting that “Thor: Ragnarok” made its budget back on opening weekend. As for “Justice League,” that movie had an estimated budget of $300 million. Unfortunately, they couldn’t make it back. Some of you might be thinking, did they at least make as much as “Thor: Ragnarok?” Hate to point this out to you, but if you’ve been reading this whole paragraph, that’s a stupid question, because I said “I can now make a portion of this post dedicated to how nobody went to see this on opening weekend,” so if that doesn’t give you any hints I don’t know what will. Overall, the box office total is considerably high, but comparing it to a film like “The Avengers” would be like comparing the heights of the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. Both are high when you look at them, but compared to the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State is a whole new level of high. The specific worldwide total for “The Avengers” turned out to be $392.5 million dollars on the first weekend whereas this year’s “Justice League” came out to $278.8 million. “The Avengers,” a movie whose budget is estimated to have been $220 million, made its budget back on its opening weekend. Yes, that’s a shorter total, but I’m leaving that in. Interestingly, “Justice League” happened to make more overseas than “The Avengers” ($185.5 million vs. $185.1 million). Going off of “The Avengers,” just think about this. A technical action-comedy starring Chris Hemsworth as a short haired Thor, made more on opening weekend than “Justice League,” which has Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Aquaman, and The Flash. Strange, isn’t it? When it comes to international openings, this takes the #20 spot for the top openings in that category and when it comes to the worldwide rankings, this happens to be in the top 25 worldwide openings of all time. In reality, $278.8 million is a lot of money for a movie to make over a single weekend, although with a movie like this, it’s a tad odd that it wouldn’t end up making more.

Can somebody drop a coconut on my head? I think I’m going f*cking insane!

So, where was I? Oh yeah right, I have a whole review to do! This just goes to show you the absolute s*itshow this movie is regardless of my personal thoughts. Going into this film, I had similar feelings as I did with “Thor: Ragnarok.” Although with this particular movie there happened to be some differences. Like “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Justice League” had me going in with mixed thoughts. I honestly thought the trailers for this movie were better, although the TV spot marketing, at least from my memory, was barely noticeable. Visually, I thought this movie was somewhat superior, even though “Thor: Ragnarok” happened to be vivider. Based on this year’s movies released thus far from both DC and Marvel, you might as well say DC is kicking Marvel in the ass. “Wonder Woman” is currently at a spot somewhere as one of my top movies of the year. The other movies released in the MCU thus far, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” underwhelmed me. OK, maybe “Spider-Man: Homecoming” didn’t underwhelm, after seeing the trailers, especially the one that revealed way too much about the movie, the hype I had for the movie was not as high as I hoped it would be. Nevertheless, that movie could have been better. Although despite “Wonder Woman” being one of my favorite DC films ever made, the reception for that movie regarding the DCEU, or the Detective Comics Extended Universe, is pretty much a fluke. “Man of Steel,” while not liked by everyone, did get a number of positive reviews from critics and audiences. “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” in terms of reception, was one of the most controversial movies of 2016. In fact, “Suicide Squad,” also released in 2016, happened to be met with the same results. I had at least one thing that I enjoyed about every DCEU movie thus far. As of now I think “Suicide Squad” sucks, but at least some of the action was cool, the visuals were stunning, and the casting for Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) was stellar!

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Now we’re here, “Justice League” is out. While it currently has better results, at least according to Rotten Tomatoes, than “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad,” it’s not getting exactly what one would call positive reception. The big question is, does “Justice League” qualify as a film or not? I’d say it does. It’s got problems, but I’d say there’s still hope for the DCEU. It’s by no means as good as “Wonder Woman,” but I’d say it’s worth your money.

As mentioned, this movie has problems. So let’s begin our Negative Nancy segment of the post. This movie is an hour and fifty-nine minutes long. In all honesty, it could have been longer. I do believe this movie is going to get an extended cut for the home video release so my issue may be resolved there depending on what happens. The main reason why I wanted this to be longer is for characterization purposes. Let’s look at Cyborg in this movie.

Cyborg is played by Ray Fisher, who I imagine is a lovely guy. After all, while I never technically met him and shook his hand, I saw him at Comic Con as I was waiting in line for the person next to him. By the way, I’m referring to Gal Gadot, who’s also in this movie, and I’ll get to her later. While I did get some of his backstory, and I also happened to be introduced to a parent of his, I don’t really feel like I got to know Cyborg in full detail. If the movie was a bit longer much like some of the other installments in the DCEU then maybe we would have gotten a closer look at Cyborg. Also, this does bring one question to my mind. How long was this intended to be?

This film was directed by Zack Snyder, a man who had prior experience when it comes to films based on comic books or graphic novels. These films include “300,” “Watchman,” along with two movies in this film’s universe, “Man of Steel” and “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” However, he didn’t have complete control. For the record, that was his decision. An unexpected tragedy hit the Snyder family earlier this year when Zack’s daughter, Autumn, committed suicide. This caused Joss Whedon to take over.

Joss Whedon was added on in order to finish the movie and shoot some extra scenes. The movie also went through reshoots, which isn’t new for this universe considering “Suicide Squad” also went through reshoots which happened to be met with mixed opinions. Joss Whedon, much like Snyder, isn’t a stranger to comic book films. Whedon directed both “Avengers” 1 & 2 so as far as concept goes, this is almost like a trip down memory lane. I like Joss Whedon, but he almost might be a problem here. When it comes to directing, it might involve one person with a certain vision for their movie. It almost felt like Joss Whedon came in with a different vision and it kind of affected this particular movie. Part of that vision, from what I can tell, possibly came from a musical perspective. Snyder initially hired Junkie XL to do the movie’s music, but it turns out that he was eventually fired and replaced by Danny Elfman. After hearing Elfman’s score in this film, I wasn’t exactly impressed. Not only is it somewhat ordinary, but even borrowing themes from other superhero films with characters didn’t work out. I liked what he did with Wonder Woman’s theme, but that’s about it. This is rather unfortunate because I love Danny Elfman. Admittedly, I don’t think he’s the right guy for this project. Junkie XL was probably the better choice. I even saw a video on YouTube that showed Junkie XL’s real theme for this film, which was scrapped due to Elfman replacing him. After hearing that, I knew for sure Junkie XL was right for this. It’s not surprising Danny Elfman did the music if you think about it, because he worked with Joss Whedon in the past on “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” I didn’t even like the score for that film, maybe superhero crossover films aren’t for him. He did well on standalone superhero films though such as the “Spider-Man” trilogy, so if he were doing superhero films, that’s what he should be hired for. Who knows? It might not even be Whedon’s fault, because this movie, from a perspective regarding itself from a point of view that I imagine must be Zack Snyder’s, could have affected it as well.

I’ve seen news and trailers regarding this movie leading up to it. At times I heard this movie was going to have more humor than say, “Batman v. Superman.” Tell me guys, doesn’t that sound like Marvel to you? Maybe Zack Snyder thought if the movie was more like a Marvel movie, and by that I mean generally more comedic and happy go lucky, he’d receive more positive criticism. Granted, the movie was funny, and there were moments where the comedy happened to work. Although in general, let’s just say this. If a movie sets up a tone, it’s best that they stick with it. This movie starts out rather dark, in fact part of it has to do with the death of a major character in the DCEU. There’s still comedy throughout and it works. Some of the comedy, maybe not as much because I’ve seen it in the trailer, but overall it works. Then we progress throughout the movie, while some of the original vibe is still there, it’s starting to diminish. The movie’s getting tads lighter as we go. This may be due to the writing, the reshoots, anything. In fact, it could be Joss Whedon’s fault after all! He was credited for his work on the screenplay. Also when it comes to the screenplay, Whedon technically had possibly more credit than Snyder because while Snyder had a focus on the movie’s story, Whedon was given credit on the screenplay itself.

Some people might not notice this, but Whedon also likely decided on changing the climax of the movie. The idea is pretty much the same, there are scenes from multiple trailers (both before and after Snyder’s departure) that made it into the final cut, but you might notice the sky is red. I mentioned this in my “What the Heck is Up with Justice League (2017)” post comparing this result with one of the earlier trailers where we see identical moments with a dark blue sky. I thought the blue sky worked, the red was a little too much. I will give some credit because the sky wasn’t, say, pink, but I thought the dark blue was more fitting for the movie overall.

As far as the action goes in this movie, I’d say for the most part, it’s awesome. Zack Snyder has proven that he can direct great action scenes in previous movies and he just shows he’s not messing around in this one. There was one scene that for the most part, was great, but there was a time where I almost couldn’t tell what was happening. Just for the record, it wasn’t as bad as “Transformers 5.”

Another complaint I’ll give here is that Steppenwolf wasn’t exactly the strongest villain I’ve ever seen. Comic book movies in general, mainly the ones that have come out this decade, lack memorable villains. There are exceptions like “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming” but for the most part, they don’t exactly resemble greatness when it comes to antagonists. Steppenwolf was a serviceable villain with a somewhat clear motivation, however at the same time, he was rather cliche.

Now that that’s over, let’s move onto some positives. The cinematography in this movie is very solid for a comic book film. There are a number of scenes where it’s rather conventional, but at times, the camera is moving like crazy which goes along perfectly with the fast paced action. If you ask me, the DCEU’s best cinematography however comes from “Man of Steel.” Although that’s kind of a compliment since both movies were directed by Zack Snyder. At the same time however you can say I’m kind of insulting the cinematographer because the director of photography for “Justice League” and “Man of Steel” are two different people.

I also appreciated the film’s CGI. Did it go overboard? At times, but that’s not a first for comic book movies. Overall, you can say the effects were massive, somewhat colorful, and somewhat breathtaking. Seeing Aquaman stop water from reaching a further distance was spectacular to watch. Also, you might not know, but Cyborg’s costume is CGI, and I got to say it worked.

Speaking of things that are done digitally, Henry Cavill appeared in this movie. I won’t go into further detail about what he did, but he’s there. During the movie’s production, he had a mustache. Why was this? He was simultaneously working on “Mission: Impossible 6” where his role required him to have said mustache. Under regulation, Cavill couldn’t shave it off, so it was removed digitally. While you don’t really see much of it, it’s still visible. I don’t know how much of the movie-going population would catch something like this, but it caught my eye nevertheless.

Sticking with the topic of heroes and the actors who portray them, let’s talk about some in depth, except for Cyborg since we already went over him. Starting off with Batman, played by Ben Affleck, he’s basically one of the two people organizing the Justice League. Before “Batman v. Superman” I was somewhat skeptical about him as Batman but now that I’ve seen him multiple times as the Caped Crusader, I have to say he does a fine job portraying the character. As Bruce Wayne, Affleck seems to stay according to plan and as Batman he appears to remain deep voiced and alert.

The other person organizing the league is Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot. There is LITERALLY no other person that should be playing this role but Gal! I may be biased because I love Gal Gadot, I view her as my celebrity crush, I met her at Comic Con, but seriously! Just watch Gal Gadot in this movie and you’ll come to realize, she has this system down. Her battle cries are probably some of the best I’ve heard in a movie! The accent, which by the way, is actually the real way Gal talks, works for the character! Seeing her in action is such a treat! The list of positivity is extreme! Her character, once again, SHINES in this movie. I was able to buy into both Wonder Woman and Diana Prince. When a movie makes you do that, you know you have a great character. On a sidenote, there’s a point in the movie where Bruce and Diana are having a conversation and when “Steve Trevor” comes up, I was wowed. I can’t exactly recall the quote where Trevor’s name is mentioned, but it was a highlight in the movie’s screenplay for me.

This movie also has Barry Allen, AKA The Flash, played by Ezra Miller. Out of all the characters in the movie, this one was pretty much the comic relief. Sure, there’s funny lines given by multiple characters in the film, but if there was one person that stole scenes from a humor perspective, it had to have been The Flash. I didn’t really laugh as much as other people, but I did end up laughing. His character was hyperactive, excited, and rather fleshed out. I can also give kudos to Ezra Miller for giving a good performance.

The last hero I’ll bring up is Arthur Curry/Aquaman, played by Jason Momoa. If you have read the comic books and watched this movie, you may notice some differences when it comes to Aquaman here. His backstory is similar overall, but in terms of character traits, he’s not completely identical. One difference you may notice is the hair. When you compare the hairstyle to the comics, it’s similar to certain installments, signifying that the hair in the comics isn’t always the same. Although one thing you might notice here is that the hair isn’t blonde, it’s more on the darker side of the color spectrum. Overall, I bought into Aquaman, I enjoyed seeing him in Atlantis, and personality-wise, he’s kind of like a rockstar. That’s what I get from the way he talks. On a little sidenote, I made a post months back saying that footage was leaked for the upcoming “Aquaman” movie. Turns out that’s actually in this movie. If you want to read that, link’s down below.

https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/03/03/leaked-aquaman-footage-revealed-on-zack-snyders-twitter/

Speaking of characters in this movie, Commissioner Gordon also makes an appearance here. This is Gordon’s first appearance in the DCEU and the reason why I’m excited he’s here is not because I have a passion for the character but I have more of a passion towards the actor who plays him. That actor by the way is JK Simmons (Whiplash, Juno). When it comes to JK Simmons, if you put a picture down on a table with his face on it and do the same with other actors, there’s a good chance that I’m gonna tell you “Screw the others, this guy’s the man!” I say this because JK Simmons is probably my favorite actor when it comes to ability. There are actors who I personally idolize more, such as Curtis Armstrong, but JK Simmons usually never fails to impress me, and that continues in this movie. Granted it’s not his best performance, but it’s also not his worst. He convinces me as Commissioner Gordon and I hope to see more of him if this movie’s universe continues. One interesting fact you may or may not know, JK Simmons is also J Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy. So basically he went from doing movies under one comic book company onto another. Whether you prefer Marvel or DC, let’s just agree that JK Simmons rules!

Here’s a question you might be asking. Is this movie good enough for the DCEU to continue? Personally when it comes to watchability, yes. However, the critics seemed to give this mixed reviews, it did make tons of money despite how it could have made more, and I have a feeling that moviegoers will either compare it to Marvel saying it’s not as good or too much like Marvel. Do I think it’s like Marvel? In ways, but DC has seemed to develop it’s own characteristics that Marvel doesn’t traditionally use that makes it stand on its own. “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” another movie in the DCEU, was dark as hell. It could have worked if more character development came into play. If these movies find their own path in terms of vibe, whether it be light or dark, personally I prefer dark, depending on the movie, and they focus more on characterization, then this universe would be less flawed. My other suggestion is that they try to just release one cut in theaters and go with it. I don’t care if it’s long as long as it’s effective. The original cut for “Batman v. Superman” was 2 hours and 31 minutes and that didn’t work out. This is why audiences loved “Wonder Woman” when they saw it. It functioned as a story and it managed to work out as far as the runtime goes (2 hours 21 mins). If a movie doesn’t rush and makes sure it can tell its story in full detail, chances are it will be better. Also, it seems suspicious that they would make the runtime 1 hour and 59 minutes. It almost seems as if the movie happened to be longer, the studio would be worried about making less money. I don’t know, but I think it’s a good assumption. Although it’s not as suspicious as when a movie gets split into two parts (The Hunger Games, The Twilight Saga). But seriously, quality matters, not quantity.

In the end, I’d say “Justice League,” while not perfect, is an enjoyable ride and is certainly better than some of the other comic book films we’ve gotten this year. In fact, I’ll even go as far as to say, I’d rather watch this than “Thor: Ragnarok.” Am I a DC fanboy? Not really, I’m just a guy who likes good movies, and I had more fun watching this than I did watching “Thor: Ragnarok.” Is this movie as good as “Wonder Woman?” No, but I’d definitely say it’s worth watching if you’re into DC, you like action, and if you can get by the tones that clash throughout the film. I’m gonna give “Justice League” a 7/10. After watching a bunch of movies in both the Detective Comics Extended Universe and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve got to say that the Detective Comics Extended Universe is this year’s clear winner. While Marvel’s films had some neat effects, cool moments, and likable villains, they all tried to be funny, but ended up falling flat for me. The DCEU balanced heroism, action, and humor. “Wonder Woman” is one of the best directed superhero films I ever watched, “Justice League,” despite its imperfections, is a joyride. So I can’t wait to see what next year brings for both cinematic universes and find out which one comes out on top. Now I know I’ve been talking for awhile and believe it or not, I’m unfinished. Because I need to talk about Stardust!

Stardust is an app you can use to talk about movies and TV. I recently used this to talk about “Justice League” along with my quick thoughts on it and I recommend you do so as well. Although if you don’t want to talk about “Justice League,” you can choose from thousands of movies and TV shows to give your two cents towards. You talk about how much you like them, how much you hate them, you don’t even have to see them! Stardust also allows you to follow people and see what their latest reactions are. If you want to follow me, my handle is JackDrees. It’s kind of like Snapchat minus the risque elements of the app that Tinder is also known for. If you want to download Stardust go right ahead, I recommend doing so that way you can start sharing your thoughts on movies and TV shows.

Thanks for reading this extended review, I also hope you enjoyed the little piece I did on the movie’s box office return, I tried to put a good amount of effort into that. Part of me feels slightly crazier than I once was for doing it, but I also had some fun writing all of this s*it down. I’m going to see “Wonder” on Black Friday. I’ve heard great things about this movie so far, I loved Jacob Tremblay in “Room,” so I’m really looking forward to this. Stay tuned for my review for that, along with more reviews! I need to know, what is the best superhero movie you’ve seen this year? I can’t say I’ve seen “Logan” so I gotta go with “Wonder Woman.” Also what is the worst superhero movie you’ve seen this year? My pick would be “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” but each person will have their own opinion. Comment below, I’d love to hear your responses! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Top 10 BEST Movie Quotes

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here with another countdown! When I watch movies, one thing I pay a lot of attention to happens to be the characters. After all, in most movies, the characters are the one thing that can make you decide whether the movie is either good or bad. There are a lot of characters I like, some more than others, but there are some times in movies when you witness one character, and they give a quote to remember forever. Whether it’s funny, original, deep, or epic, certain characters can compel me when they speak. Today I’m gonna talk about my top 10 favorite quotes from movies. Now, keep in mind, these are my personal picks. If you don’t like these quotes, that’s totally OK, you can make your own list with your own quotes, or you can leave a comment displaying your personal favorite movie quotes or why you disagree with me. Although just don’t be a dick about it and then we’ll most likely be cool. Anyway, let’s start the list, and get counting down on my top 10 BEST movie quotes.

10: Jaws

“Jaws” is probably the most famous shark movie ever made. It was one of the first big summer movies, it came out before other summer movie hits like the original “Star Wars” and “Alien,” and many people say it still stands the test of time despite having a fake shark. What quote from the movie belongs on this list? If you’re asking this question, you either haven’t seen or heard of “Jaws,” or your brain isn’t wired properly. Anyway, here’s the quote:

BRODY: You’re gonna need a bigger boat.

The first time I heard this quote I was watching the movie with my dad, it set the stage for some of what was to come, I got a laugh out of it, and it almost felt like hearing something that a teacher would say to you that you’d never forget as long as you live. The line delivery given by Roy Schneider in this instance is fabulous. Not to mention, when you see him in frame, he’s got a perfect posture and the image seems to have no flaws when it comes to the quote, the quote just seems to fit with literally everything this moment of the movie has going for it. The delivery itself gives a sense of danger and it pulls you in, John Williams’s music building up along with it is also perfect. If you haven’t watched “Jaws,” you’re either lying, under a rock, or some talking shark told you to never watch the movie otherwise it would eat you.

9: The Terminator

I don’t usually watch the “Terminator” franchise all that often, however I do find enjoyment out of it every once in awhile. I consider “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” to be one of the best action films ever made, but it doesn’t mean I keep the others (mainly 1, 3, and 5, the 4th one was dull) in consideration. OK well, to be fair, the fifth actually wasn’t the best movie ever. In fact, despite “Judgment Day” being my favorite of the bunch, I still think the original had the best line in the franchise. Don’t get me wrong, the second one had cool lines including Schwarzenegger’s “Hasta la vista, baby,” and the exchange between John Conner and Schwarzenegger after a chase scene early on in the movie.

JOHN: Who brought you here?

THE TERMINATOR: You did.

The best line is one I’ve been saying a lot all my life, and I imagine a lot of other people have as well. If you have seen the first movie, you’d probably agree with me when I say this is the film’s best line.

THE TERMINATOR: I’ll be back.

If that line were used in any random conversation, it would most likely fly over people’s heads, but the execution of this line is perfect. It gives you a feeling of suspense, a wonder for what’s to come. THEN BAM! A car comes crashing into a building driven by The Terminator himself! The thing that makes the line perfect, isn’t necessarily how it’s written, it’s more towards how it’s delivered. Also, think about it, this almost feels like a line only people like Arnold could ace. Imagine if someone like Gilbert Gottfried was playing the Terminator, imagine how that would turn out! It wouldn’t work as much.

8: The LEGO Movie

I love “The LEGO Movie.” To me, it’s one of the best animations ever made, and one of the characters in that movie is Will Arnett’s interpretation of Batman. He’s by far the funniest part of the movie and a definite scene stealer. When I was making this list, I was trying to think of quotes that made me roll on the floor, then I thought about this movie. When it comes to the best quotes in the entire film, it’s a really tough competition because the film’s screenplay is probably one of the funniest I’ve witnessed in my life! Although I ended up picking one quote over everything else. But before I show you the quote, let me give you some buildup. So there’s one point in this movie where our heroes are stuck in an ocean, they pop out of the cushions of a double decker coach. So Batman interrupts the conversation at hand, and lets everyone know of reality.

“I don’t mean to spoil the party, but does anyone else notice we’re stuck in the middle of the ocean on this couch? I mean, it’s not like a big gigantic ship is just gonna come out of nowhere and save us. (suddenly a big gigantic ship becomes visible as it comes over to them) My, gosh!”

So the heroes get on the ship, Metal Beard, a character who we knew earlier from the film, is there too. Not too long after getting on, Emmett, the main character played by Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World), reveals his plan to save the world. Although, when it comes to a part involving a spaceship, the folks run into a problem. In order to complete the manufacturing of a spaceship, a hyperdrive is required, which none of the heroes have. At one point, Batman utters this:

“What do yo think, a spaceship’s just gonna appear out of the blue? (suddenly a spaceship appears behind them) Are you kidding me?! The same thing!”

I remember loving that when I first saw the film, but I recall watching it on HBO at one point and I laughed like a supervillain! There are few films I’ve watched that have the humor this film managed to deliver, and when I saw “The LEGO Batman Movie” a spinoff to “The LEGO Movie,” I knew this movie wasn’t a fluke. In fact, I love a quote from that movie which stands out as well, the one where Batman makes fun of the Suicide Squad. These movies are just factors behind why I’m excited to find out what “The LEGO Ninjago Movie” is going to be like.

7: Kingsman: The Secret Service

I love “Kingsman: The Secret Service.” As a movie, it knows it’s a ridiculous spy flick and it even sometimes compares itself to Bond. Not to mention there’s a dog in the movie whose name has the initials “JB,” when the main character of Gary “Eggsy” Unwin is talking with Michael Caine’s character of Arthur, Arthur asked if the initials meant “James Bond,” which they didn’t. He also asked if they meant “Jason Bourne,” which also wasn’t the case. By the way, they mean “Jack Bauer.” It has obvious product placement in one scene, but in ways it can probably bring chuckles. One of my favorite scenes in the entire movie takes place in a church. Colin Firth’s character of Harry Hart is there, this church is full of people in a hate group. The antagonist of the film, Valentine, played by Samuel L. Jackson is planning on initiating a test associated with the SIM cards introduced in the film. Harry gets up out of his seat, he tries getting by one lady, and she wonders where he’s going and what his problem is. Hart responds by uttering this:

HARRY HART: “I’m a Catholic whore, currently enjoying congress out of wedlock with my black, Jewish boyfriend who works at a military abortion clinic. So hail Satan, and have a lovely afternoon, madam.”

This is basically going against the ideas of this specific church and the way this line is delivered is pure quality. How often have you always wanted to say to anyone in a hate group, it could be anything, “You’re wrong, I’m right, everyone deserves to be happy, have a fine day.”? Not to mention this sets up one of my favorite action sequences in movie history. Valentine initiates the test, and then literally everyone in the church starts killing each other. It’s well shot, well choreographed, and the music choice, otherwise known as “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd was a great pick for this scenario. If you haven’t seen this movie, I’ll remind you it’s not for everyone, but the church scene alone is a work of art. The cinematography and music, combined with the shock value in that scene is amazing. I honestly CANNOT wait for “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” it’s gonna kill!

6: V For Vendetta

When it comes to some of my most recent discoveries throughout my movie watching experience, “V For Vendetta” is definitely up there with my favorites. This is a film that I bet some people don’t even realize is based on a DC Comics graphic novel. Maybe I’m wrong, but who knows really. There’s a lot I like about the movie, the characters, the effects, the story, the acting, and the score. Another thing that stood out to me is this quote near the end of the movie given by V, played by Hugo Weaving (The Matrix, Captain America: The First Avenger).

V: Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy. And ideas are bulletproof.

What I love about this quote is specifically the last sentence. Before the given quote, V is interacting with the character of Creedy, and by interacting I mean fighting. It’s V for himself against a bunch of other people trying to take him down. What makes the quote so lovable to me, given time to marinate, has not really too much to do with the character of V or even the film itself, it’s mainly about how one can take an idea, try to put it into action, and regardless of whether or not it works out, the idea itself will never go away. This even includes stupid ideas, and I’m not just saying that to make people feel better about a stupid idea.

5: Inception

I LOVE CHRISTOPHER NOLAN. He is one of my favorite directors of all time. He’s done some movies revered by many people such as “The Dark Knight,” “Memento,” and the movie I’m gonna be talking about here, “Inception.” There’s a lot of great moments in this film, from the first time Ariadne and Cobb are in a dream together, to the hotel hallway fight, and the AMAZING climax. I already mentioned Cobb is a character in this movie, in fact, he’s the lead character played by none other than Jack from “Titanic” himself, Leonardo DiCaprio. There’s another character in this movie who goes by the name of Mal, she’s played by Marion Cotillard, who eventually went on to play Miranda in “The Dark Knight Rises.” The two in this movie were once married, I won’t go into any further details than that, but that’s an important element during the film. Although let’s get into a quote which can associate with that. This quote is mentioned more than once throughout the picture, and here it is:

MAL: I’ll tell you a riddle. You’re waiting for a train. A train that will take you far away. You know where you hope this train will take you; but you don’t know for sure. But it doesn’t matter. How can it not matter to you where that train will take you?

As stated, this is not the only time it’s mentioned in the movie, but this is just one example. This is also mentioned during a scene towards the end of the film that’s pretty much a reversal of this. There’s also a time that Mal mentions it again that gets more haunting the more I think about it. What I love about this quote is how much it goes along with a motif that we witness during the movie. We start off the movie, Cobb is on a train, and he says “I don’t like trains.” Then we get this quote, which comes up again later, and we also have a scene where a locomotive is sliding through a city street, which by the way, sounds awesome on Blu-Ray. Not only that, but once again, I’ll mention, the quote itself is haunting, and that is during the time Mal is saying the quote and Cobb is shouting at her. The last time it’s stated, there’s actually a train in the frame as it’s being spoken. If you haven’t watched “Inception” I highly recommend it, one of the greatest movies ever made.

4: Whiplash

I know a lot of people have been talking about the movie “La La Land” which was directed by Damien Chazelle, but I feel that a lot of people are either forgetting about or just don’t know the work he did before that came out. To be more specific, the work I’m referring to is “Whiplash.” This movie’s about an aspiring drummer named Andrew Neimann, played by Miles Teller (Fantastic Four, Divergent), he goes to a school which is basically THE music school to attend, and he meets JK Simmons’s (Juno, Oz) character of Terence Fletcher. This is also the movie which gave JK Simmons his first Golden Globe, and his first Oscar, both of which in my book are amazingly beyond well deserved. I also have to give credit to how his character is written along with casting JK Simmons in the first place because not only was his character well written, this kind of seems like a role that only someone such as JK Simmons could really play. Think about it, JK Simmons has done more than one role playing someone arrogant or bossy. Just watch Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy or TBS’s “Men at Work.” This movie’s character, to me, feels like a tribute to JK Simmons. So what’s my favorite line from the character? Well, it’s this:

TERENCE FLETCHER: You are a worthless, friendless, faggot-lipped little piece of s*it whose mommy left daddy when she figured out he wasn’t Eugene O’Neill, and who is now weeping and slobbering all over my drum set like a f*cking nine-year old girl! So for the final, FATHER-F*CKING time, SAY IT LOUDER!

I bet some of you are wondering what the hell is happening when this line is coming out of this character’s mouth. Well, I’ll tell you. Terence is instructing the students to play a certain song, and they’re all playing it. Andrew is playing the drums, and Terence Fletcher keeps telling Andrew, in a polite tone, that he’s not playing the way he should. Then all of a sudden, no more interruptions are happening, but soon thereafter, Terence throws a chair at Andrew. Soon, they start getting into a rivalry with words. Andrew is just trying to cooperate and Terence is basically yelling at him! At one point, Andrew even starts tearing up, Terence is embarrassing Andrew in a way telling him to yell the fact that he’s upset, which he does multiple times. After saying it once more, the line shown above comes into play, and after Terence shouts “SAY IT LOUDER,” at the end, Terence says he’s upset one last time. The reason why I love this line so much is because it’s well acted, well written, and it shows how intense certain teachers can get. If you watch this movie, chances are you could relate to this line, because teachers like this exist. Terence sounds more like a drill sergeant as opposed to a jazz teacher. This is not even the only great line this movie has, Terence also gives a memorable line that I still think about today.

TERENCE FLETCHER: There’s no two words in the English language more harmful, than “good job”.

This almost sounds like a quote worthy of being on the list, but I’m only giving my focal points toward one quote per movie series unless I think there are multiple lines that I like equally, and I like the one I showed you first a bit better.

3: Risky Business

When it came to doing this list, I knew a quote from “Risky Business” HAD to be on here somewhere, but the problem I had was, which one was worthy? To confirm whether or not a quote from “Risky Business” would even make the list in the first place, I actually rewatched it since I own the DVD. “Risky Business” is about a guy named Joel, played by Tom Cruise (Mission Impossible, Jack Reacher) whose parents go away on a trip. Joel is left responsible for the house, but it doesn’t end up going so smoothly. Oh yeah and we also get scenes with the gorgeous Rebecca De Mornay (Wedding Crashers, Flipped). So which quote did I pick? The image at the top should give you a hint if you seen the movie before. This quote comes from the very beginning of the film, Joel and Miles, played by Curtis Armstrong (Revenge of the Nerds, Supernatural), are outside Joel’s house. Miles is about to leave, but before he goes, he says the following:

MILES: “Every now and then, say, “What the f*ck.” “What the f*ck” gives you freedom, freedom brings opportunity. Opportunity makes your future.”

OK, as much as swearing might not usually mean much of anything except for the fact that someone may be angry about something, Miles’s character has an incredible point. Let’s say that you have an idea, and you don’t know how it’ll turn out, but you want to go along for the ride, you might say “What the f*ck.” Then you get to your creative freedom, you get to execute an idea and see what happens with it. Maybe the idea will get you noticed somehow depending on what said idea is. If you get noticed or revered in some fashion for that idea, chances are you possibly just won your entire future. This feels like something that would happen if someone doesn’t know what the future holds but they want to see it play out in the best way possible, and to do that, they have to take a chance. Now that I think about it, this almost sounds like a game show such as “Press Your Luck” or “Deal or no Deal.” In fact, if there’s one quote that can associate with the movie’s overall intended idea, it might as well be this one. Why? The director of the film, Paul Brickman thought that it would be a good idea in this film to show that greed can bring consequences. Also, fun fact, the ending of the film wasn’t something he intended. His original ending stuck to a less upbeat tone. I’ve seen both the theatrical ending and the director’s preferred ending, and as of the moment, I personally prefer the director’s ending, the way it’s written feels more memorable and the other ending, while not exactly terrible, contains some dialogue almost sounds like something that one wouldn’t really say. If you ask me, the director’s cut did suit the vibe more, but the first one regardless of suitability wasn’t too bad to begin with.

Also before I move on, if you know me, I’m actually a mega-fan of Curtis Armstrong, I even talked to him multiple times, and you’d know that about me if you met me in real life. I say this because I have a feeling some of you might think I’m just putting this here because of my fanaticism, I’m not, and if you watch this scene, it’s kind of easy to see why. Anyway, let’s continue!

2: Interstellar (Two quotes tie because I can’t decide which is better) *SPOLIERS*

When it comes to the sci-fi genre, to me there’s no better film than “Interstellar,” this film is well written, well directed, well shot, well acted, and has the greatest ending to a film I’ve ever seen. We’re gonna talk about two lines here. They’re both kind of in spoiler territory, but one is in greater spoiler territory as opposed to the other. Let’s talk about the one that’s less spoilery first.

So if you’ve watched this movie you may know about the sequence which Matthew McConaughey’s character of Cooper observes the messages sent by his kids. He gets a number of messages from his son, Tom, but he barely gets any from his daughter, Murph. Cooper is in space, and time is flowing at a different pace for him as opposed to his kids back on Earth. He just got back on the ship after going to a planet which contains a crapload of water. When the ship is back in space, Romilly, one of the astronauts in this movie, wakes up, and he hasn’t seen the other characters for twenty-three years. This is how long the messages span. Cooper plays all of the messages, which many people consider to be the most emotional part of the movie, which I personally disagree with, and once all of Tom’s messages are over, Murph’s face shows up, she looks different than how she did before considering this is the first time we are seeing her as an adult. Here’s what basically goes down here.

MURPH: Hey Dad.
COOPER: Hey, Murph.
MURPH: You son of a bitch. I never made one of these when you were still responding because I was so mad at you for leaving. And then when you went quiet, it felt like I should live with that decision, and I have. But today is my birthday. And it’s a special one, because you told me… you once told me that when you come back we might be the same age. And today I’m the same age you were when you left.
(SHE BEGINS TO CRY)
MURPH: So it would be a real good time for you to come back.
(MURPH WIPES THE TEARS FROM HER EYES AND ENDS THE MESSAGE)

I love this entire moment, you can argue this isn’t technically a quote, but Murph is saying all of this in a pre-recorded message that Cooper is viewing, so he can’t really talk to Murph. Nevertheless, I love it. Just imagine how it feels to realize that your kid is back on Earth, you’re in space, time is moving differently for the both of you. Hearing this just shows the speed which time is moving, and it shows how much of a connection this father and daughter have with each other. In this scene you feel the emotion between these two, I mean for crying out loud, Cooper has been in this important mission which is the key to mankind’s survival, and the time he’s been in space is longer than the time spent in both World War I and World War II COMBINED, even if you take the spans of both wars, which comes out to a total of 1,567+2,193, which simplified is 3,760, and if you multiply it by two, it still wouldn’t be as long as the time these folks have been in space. I thought waiting from a Saturday morning to a Wednesday afternoon for my mother to get back from Arizona in October 2011 was long, this is a whole new level of long!

Now onto the second quote, while the first quote may have been in spoiler territory, this next one is probably going to ruin the entire movie for you, so if you haven’t seen “Interstellar,” go watch it, it’s a great film, and this is your warning.

The next quote takes place during the film’s final act, where everything is coming together, and we get to one of the only parts of a movie, if not the only part, where I cried while watching. Our heroes are near a black hole, and to shed some weight on the ship, Cooper thinks it would a good idea to send TARS straight into the black hole. Sounds cruel, I know, but TARS is a robot, so he doesn’t really care. Once TARS goes down, Cooper is about to do the same, Brand, one of the other astronauts, is freaking out, she is questioning why Cooper is doing this, but Cooper does it anyway. So he’s going down, meanwhile we see Earth drama, then we cut back to what’s going on from Cooper’s perspective, he’s falling, then he ejects his seatbelt, he’s out of his ship, he’s floating, and we see, something. It’s a tesseract, and Cooper is falling inside it. He wonders what’s going on, and I know I’ve been spoiling a lot, but this is important. Cooper is pushing something, it’s moving, and it falls, we see Cooper’s daughter, Murph, at the age of 10. I won’t go into COMPLETE detail, but I’ll spill some things here and there. Cooper is looking at his daughter and he’s watching her leave her room, which is in another dimension Cooper is looking at while he’s inside the black hole. It turns out this isn’t the only daughter observing Cooper is doing. He’s also looking at her in other moments in time, including moments we’ve seen in this movie, moments Cooper himself was involved in. Cooper, in a way, is communicating with Murph, which connects to an event that occurs in the movie’s beginning. Then, we get to listen to what Hans Zimmer does best, create epic music. We cut between a “current” moment on Earth, and Cooper looking at Murph from a time which she was younger. The editing is flawless. Soon, we get to this quote:

COOPER: Tell him Murph. Make him stay. Make… Make him stay Murph. Make him stay Murph! Don’t let me leave, Murph! Don’t, don’t let me leave Murph! (CRIES) NO, NO, NO, NO!

In case you have gone on this long and haven’t seen the film, I should let you know I’m being merciful and leaving out a huge part. If you have seen the film and paid close attention at the end, you’d know what I’m talking about. This is just part of an entire ending that after multiple watches, had me in tears. I love the quote for its emotional impact, how it’s delivered, and there’s really barely any words I can use in order to describe it. “Interstellar” is a movie you have to truly see to believe, there’s a reason why I talk about it all the time. Please, watch “Interstellar,” there’s a chance you will remember at least one quote from the movie after you watch it. Trust me.

1: Taken

My #1 movie quote comes from the movie “Taken.” “Taken” is a sick action flick. The sequels don’t live up to the original, but at least Liam Neeson has proven to be pretty kick-ass in the first installment. The plot of taken is that Bryan Mills, a retired CIA agent played by Liam Neeson, has a daughter, the daughter goes to Paris, and then she gets captured by someone who’s basically gonna turn her into some sort of sex slave. What quote gets me going when it comes to this movie? Well, it’s the one that is abridged on the poster above, which is also the one that Liam Neeson stated after his daughter got captured. Bryan Mills is on the phone, he hears his daughter screaming, and seconds later we hear this:

BRYAN MILLS: “I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”

This one quote sets the stage for whatever comes next. The rest of movie is a terrific thrill ride and has some action, especially when you compare it to “Taken 3.” That movie shouldn’t have even been called “Taken,” it’s just there to exist and make a trilogy. The plot almost has nobody being taken. In the first two movies, somebody was taken, not in the third one. Ah, whatever. This quote was mentioned by Bryan when his daughter was in Paris, he was instructing her to do all sorts of things in order to protect herself. As much as I love the quote based on its delivery, how its written, and simply the fact that it exists, it might just suggest one thing above all else, which is that Liam Neeson is a badass when it comes to action films. I haven’t really seen much of his other work, but seeing him in this film was enough to convince me he was a badass. Throughout the making of this list, it has been hard to decide what quotes should go where and even what quotes should appear on the list in the first place. This is #1 because of how memorable it is, how it set the tone for the movie, and made me root for Bryan Mills and his daugter, Kim, as characters. Other quotes from this list are either funny, intriguing, or important, but there’s something about this quote from “Taken” that makes it more than just words written on a script. You know, unlike how everything from “Taken 2” is just words written on a script.

Alright folks, these are my ten favorite movie quotes. Going through this list I realized how interesting my picks were considering how Michael Caine was in three of these films, a couple of these films have some sort of association with trains, and Christopher Nolan directed two of these films, by the way I almost included a quote from “The Dark Knight,” it almost made the cut. I want to know, what are your favorite movie quotes? Why do you like the quotes so much? Let me know in the comments! Pretty soon I’m going to have my review for “The Glass Castle,” I just got to get around to seeing it. Stay tuned for that review and more great content! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!