The 1st Annual JACKOFF Awards

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

*All copyrights belong to their respective owners*

INTRO SEQUENCE!

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

*SEES NO AUDIENCE*

Disappointing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s announce some winners!

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Mahershala Ali in “Green Book!”

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Ready Player One!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the award goes to…

“Mission: Impossible: Fallout!”

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Vice!”

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

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

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Claire Foy in “First Man!”

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

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

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

And the award goes to…

“The Favourite!”

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

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

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

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

And the award goes to…

Nathan Crowley and Katherine Lucas for “First Man!”

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury for “Annihilation!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Ready Player One!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, sort of.

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

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

What. The. Actual. Ass?

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

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE HALFTIME MONTAGE!

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Alfonso Caurón and Adam Gough for “Roma!”

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

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

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

And the award goes to…

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse!”

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

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

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

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Alfonso Caurón for “Roma!”

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

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Alfonso Caurón for “Roma!”

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Shallow” from “A Star Is Born!”

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

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

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

CLICK HERE TO VIEW READY PLAYER ONE: NERDVANA EDITION!

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Alfonso Caurón for “Roma!”

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

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

Let’s move onto the final acting categories!

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Toni Collette in “Hereditary!”

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

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Rami Malek in “Bohemian Rhapsody!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Avengers: Infinity War!”

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

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

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

The Secret To 3D Movies You May Have Never Known (Post-Conversion)

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! I have a serious question. Is 3D still relevant? Don’t get me wrong, at times it can add a bit to several movie experiences. I remember going to see all three “Hobbit” films in IMAX 3D, all of them were epic and thrilling. Although nowadays 3D has become at times this thing you have to accept when going to see a film at the theater.

3D in a way is like prescription pills. There are a number of cases where you never really asked to take them for your personal amusement, but since you want to get on with your life, you just move along. When I go to the movies, I don’t traditionally care what show I get, but if I were making every executive decision, I’d probably choose to see a film in 2D. If the movie’s in IMAX and 3D’s the only option, chances are I’d go for that. Although when it comes to 3D, it’s something I never wanted, but it has always been around. It was very popular at the at the end of the 2000s leading into 2010. That’s because James Cameron’s “Avatar” was released all over and praised for the theatrical experience when watched in 3D. However since then, audiences have been thinking to themselves that 3D movies are becoming more and more bland. While there are those people who think 3D is awesome and think it’s one of the greatest things in cinematic history, 3D has increasingly resembled a fad as opposed to a game-changer.

One question some of you may have until looking at this post is this: How does the 3D come to be? It varies from movie to movie, but in most circumstances nowadays it’s fake. How is this? Unlike a number of films shot on cameras and rigs meant for 3D, most movies are currently shot on 2D cameras. It doesn’t even matter if the movie’s shot on film or digital, it’s just shot in 2D. Nowadays it is very rare to find a film coming out which is shot in actual 3D. This current year is 2018, let’s take a look at the list of movies that have been revealed to have been shot in actual 3D.

  • Mission: Impossible: Fallout
  • 2.0

There you go! That’s the whole list! Note that there are no animated films since those are made on computers.  Now let’s take a look at the rest of the 3D films labeled to have 2018 releases. Note once again that there are no animated movies.

  • Maze Runner: The Death Cure
  • Black Panther
  • A Wrinkle in Time
  • Pacific Rim: Uprising
  • Tomb Raider
  • Ready Player One
  • Rampage
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp
  • Alita: Battle Angel
  • Alpha

There are more films coming out in 2018 to be released in 3D. However, I can’t confirm or deny whether they’re real or fake. These results just goes to show when you look at the movies playing and you notice that there’s something playing in 3D, chances are that movie isn’t actually 3D.

Post-converted 3D is something that’s not really talked about when it comes to older movies nowadays such as those that were in 3D during the fifties, but it got some severe attention in 2010. In 1981, a movie known as “Clash of the Titans” was released to the public. The movie provided a fun family adventure for an hour and fifty-eight minutes and received a number of positive verdicts. Since studios love remaking everything, it’s no surprise that “Clash of the Titans” was one of those movies that got the remake treatment. And according to many people, it’s a f*ck-up on S*itshow Valley. Release the Kraken? More like Release the Crapen! Aside from the eye-covering CGI, the one-dimensional characters, and how people see it in comparison to the original film and mythology, this film was despised by critics and audiences for its use of 3D. Perhaps even more hilarious is a marketing tagline used by this movie. The tagline being, “Titans Will Clash.” No. F*cking. S*it. It’s like if “The Emoji Movie” had a tagline that said “This movie will suck, and you’ll hate your life while watching it.” THANKS, CAPTAIN OBVIOUS!

As for the movie’s use of 3D, the film was originally shot on 2D film cameras, and the director of the film, Louis Leterrier, went to the studio early on asking about a 3D conversion. However, this process was new and expensive. When “Avatar” was released, Leterrier was pressured to do a 3D post-conversion. He gave into it after seeing what he thought was a rather convincing View-D conversion process. The man even stated that it was essential for audiences to view the movie in 3D as an enhancement as opposed to a gimmick regarding the overall experience. Let me just tell you right now, the audience didn’t view it as an enhancement, they didn’t even view it as a gimmick, they viewed it… as crap. Three years after the film’s release to the public, Leterrier came out and said this about the 3D:

“It was famously rushed and famously horrible. It was absolutely horrible, the 3D. Nothing was working, it was just a gimmick to steal money from the audience. I’m a good boy and I rolled with the punches and everything, but it’s not my movie.”

And this just goes to show that studios can sometimes get in the way of movies. This isn’t the first time this has happened. Just look at films such as “Spider-Man 3,” “Risky Business,” and “Blade Runner.” Studios might force directors to do something concerning their movie that they ultimately don’t want to do. In this case, the studio wanted a 3D conversion. Had the movie just been in 2D, everyone would have probably been a little more happy. They’d still get a bad movie, but they’d have one less terrible aspect related to it. In fact, part of me thinks that Warner Brothers would end up making just a tad more money. After all, so many people were complaining about the 3D, so some folks would avoid 3D showings like the plague.

This isn’t to say that all post-converted 3D sucks. Some of the most highly appreciated 3D experiences are post-converted. After all, it is the norm now, so there has to be a gem somewhere. I went to see “Jurassic World” and the 3D was probably one of the best parts of the IMAX experience I was given. It was dinosaur-sized fun! “Mad Max: Fury Road” was also an experience worth the extra number of bucks, seeing all of the practicality and CGI come together at times really made you feel like your face was on fire or cars were running you over. One of the best experiences of all, is “Gravity.” I saw “Gravity” the weekend it came out in IMAX 3D, and it was f*cking worth it. The movie itself doesn’t have much replay value, but between the sound editing, sound mixing, score, cinematography, CGI, everything came together, and there were certain scenes where I truly felt like I was in space. Even better, trying my absolute hardest to survive in space. Just goes to show, even fake stuff can be real!

If anything, the improvement of post-production 3D is most likely due to commitment, and advances in technology. When it comes to “Gravity,” CG Effects Supervisor Alexis Wajsbrot has this to say:

“It was rendered in stereo, then we post-converted the faces with a very accurate track. It was a very precise rendition. That’s why the stereo works so well because it was thought about a long time before the movie was made.”

As suggested, the way “Gravity” was rendered gave it a 3D effect. The rest was work. Stereoscopic 3D is a very useful process if you’re shooting in 2D instead of 3D, if you’re maybe trying to save some cash and back pain, or if you are just looking for a way to cash in on a film even though you’re doing it in an effective manner. It won’t be real 3D, but it may give your brain the thought that you’re actually looking at 3D. While I do prefer authenticity, technology and commitment can help in making a proper product.

…Although in reality I prefer seeing movies in 2D.

Thanks for reading this post! I actually believe it or not had trouble doing this post, because I was working on another post I thought of last week, it was stuck in my head like how much I love pizza, the brand of the TV in my room, and the fact that with TurboTax, at least your taxes are free. Seriously though, thanks for reading! Tomorrow a new trailer for “Solo: A Star Wars Story” is arriving and we also got some trailers coming out tonight during the Super Bowl, trailers like “Mission: Impossible: Fallout,” “Skyscraper,” and “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” I might review one of those trailers, and as far as newer movies go, I can confirm that at some point soon I’m going to see “The 15:17 To Paris.” That movie’s coming out February 9th, so I’ll be seeing that not long from now. Also, if you want more exciting content to take a gander at, I’ll have links down below to my “Maze Runner” reviews. Please check those out, I enjoyed a couple of those movies, and I have my thoughts summed up, whether they are positive or negative. Stay tuned for more great content! In 2D. I want to know, what is the best experience you had watching a movie in 3D? Yes, I’ll even count IMAX documentaries or something along those lines. Doesn’t even matter if the 3D’s real or not. Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

“THE MAZE RUNNER” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/the-maze-runner-2014-the-continuation-of-teen-angst-starring-dylan-obrien/

“MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/01/25/maze-runner-the-scorch-trials-the-continuation-of-teen-angst-starring-dylan-obrien-part-2-to-be-concluded-in-almost-2-5-years-also-this-is-wckd-boring/

“MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/maze-runner-the-death-cure-2018-the-continuation-of-teen-angst-starring-dylan-obrien-part-3-to-be-rebooted-once-hollywood-runs-out-of-young-adult-dystopian-books-to-base-movies-on-still-bett/

Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018): The Continuation of Teen Angst, Starring Dylan O’Brien- PART 3, To Be Rebooted Once Hollywood Runs Out of Young Adult Dystopian Books To Base Movies On, Still Better Than Twilight

Before we begin my review for “Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” I wanted to give a shoutout to someone I know. This person I’m talking about just created an account here on WordPress. She’s a good companion of mine, who goes by the name of Millie. This companion just initiated an all new blog by the name of “Movie Reviews and More!”. The overall intention of “Movie Reviews and More” is to provide movie reviews, rumors related to the entertainment industry, and just talk about movies regardless of whether or not they’ve been released. Millie began her blogging journey days prior to the publication of this post you’re reading as of this moment. If you could do her a favor by checking out her blog and following her, that would be much appreciated. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s start my review!

MOVIE REVIEWS AND MORE!: https://moviereviewsandmore780585661.wordpress.com/

“Maze Runner: The Death Cure” is directed by Wes Ball, the director of the previous two “Maze Runner” movies, and stars Dylan O’Brien (American Assassin, Teen Wolf), Ki Hong Lee (The Nine Lives of Chloe King, Wish Upon), Kaya Scodelario (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, The Truth About Emanuel), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Love Actually, Nanny McPhee), Dexter Darden (Geography Club, Joyful Noise), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad, Once Upon a Time), and Rosa Salazar (Insurgent, Parenthood). This film is being advertised as the final “Maze Runner” installment, and in this one, Thomas goes on a mission to find a cure for a disease that’s spreading all over civilization.

It hasn’t been until recently that I watched the prior two “Maze Runner” installments. After watching both from beginning to end, I have to say I enjoyed the first one, but the second one felt like Melatonin in the form of moving images, which is another way of saying the second movie made me almost fall asleep at times. Going into the third film, I didn’t have truly high expectations. The movie had a low score on Rotten Tomatoes, not to mention a January release date. Let’s face it. Movies+January=Begging for mercy. It’s simple math! It’s still January as I’m writing this and I’ll have you know that this is the first 2018 release I’m focusing on. There’s a saying known as “worst for first,” although I can tell you right now that’s not true because last year I saw “The Emoji Movie” and that was the twentieth movie I’ve seen released that year. Depending on what happens in 2018, I don’t think that’s going to be the case here either, because “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” surprised me in terms of its positivity. As I walked into the theater to watch this movie, not to mention, prior to even going there, I had one thought to myself. I thought, “Please be better than the second movie!” Not only did I get a film that’s better than the second movie, to me it has around the same praise I have for the first movie. If you read my review for the first movie, you’d already know that I’m not saying this movie’s perfect. We’ll get to that, but let’s go on by stating some positives.

This movie was directed by Wes Ball, and as mentioned, he directed both the first and second installments to this series. The fact that he’s come back to direct this third movie is just unbelievable, and I mean that in a good way. Although then again you have Michael Bay coming back to direct every single “Transformers” film and look how those have turned out. I say this is positively unbelievable because you have several films out now based on young adult adaptations. These young adult adaptations have come from books that have gotten multiple installments. The “Maze Runner” franchise is one example of that. Let’s compare this statistic with other similar films. As for “Twilight,” every single movie in the franchise has a different director making the picture. Well, that is if “Breaking Dawn” wasn’t split into two parts so in that case, the same guy directed both of those movies. “The Hunger Games” started off with direction from Gary Ross, and every film after that was directed by Francis Lawrence. “Divergent” was directed by Neil Burger, but that didn’t last because the next two films in the franchise were to be directed by Robert Schwentke. “Fifty Shades of Grey,” YES, THIS COUNTS, because it’s based on “Twilight” fanfiction, even though its target demographic is middle-aged women, was directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson. Then once that movie came out, it had two more scheduled to be released. “Fifty Shades Darker,” the sequel to “Fifty Shades of Grey,” was directed by James Foley, who also directed “Fifty Shades Freed,” which will, unfortunately, be out soon. It just goes to show that with these young adult adaptations and the sole young adult adaptation wannabe, nobody can commit to these movies. With the existence of “Maze Runner” and Wes Ball, we have an exception on our hands. Not only did he direct these movies just for the sake of having a job, he actually tried on all three. He failed on the second one despite looking nice at times, but he tried on all of them. Ball now has a trilogy to look back on as an accomplishment. As for this film, Ball once again delivers by executing solid performances out of the actors along with neat location choices. According to IMDb, the movie was done in South Africa, and it fit the post-apocalyptic vibe quite well. A lot of the cinematography done by Gyula Pados, who also did the cinematography for the previous “Maze Runner” installment, was very proper and it I could easily tell what was going on. So for overall direction, this movie’s solid.

Moving onto the actors, let’s talk about Dylan O’Brien. After seeing Dylan O’Brien in this movie and hearing a little more about him, I have massive respect for him. While all of the actors here commit to their roles, I have to say that O’Brien did an exceptional job committing to the one for which he was responsible. In 2016, it was reported that O’Brien was injured on set while filming “The Death Cure,” suspending production indefinitely. Turns out the injury came from a car making contact with him. Production resumed about a year after the injury happened. The fact is, they got it done. O’Brien survived, everyone’s fine, and the movie was made. Having said that, I want to write my own movies, I might even want to direct them, and I’ve had an idea for one for some time and I’ve often thought to myself for this one I’m thinking of in particular, Dylan O’Brien would be the lead role. Now that I’ve seen O’Brien and what he’s done as far as this movie goes, I want to work with him even more. O’Brien plays the character of Thomas once again, and he’s definitely got some charisma here, much like some other characters.

Another notably fine character is Newt, played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster. I thought Brodie-Sangster’s performance was solid and the way his character was written, along with Dylan O’Brien’s, brought out some great chemistry between the two. I’d probably have to watch the other two movies again, but I don’t think I felt as much of a connection to him as I did here. Maybe it’s because this is the last installment, maybe it’s because I watched this in a theater, not to mention an IMAX theater, I don’t know, but the point is, I like Newt here.

Another character worth talking about is Kaya Scodelario’s character of Teresa. In this movie, we first see her on the side of WCKD, which if can’t tell by what that acronym sounds like, is this franchise’s evil organization. I’m not gonna go into supreme detail about Teresa, but just about every single action from this character was something I was able to believe.

This movie, to me, was full of surprises, and I think I made that somewhat clear. Another surprise that caught my attention was that I actually cared about Rosa Salazar’s character of Brenda. She was introduced in “The Scorch Trials” as a character I didn’t really have much of a connection towards and since the movie itself was a near-snoozefest, that pretty much explains my thoughts towards her character. Brenda actually had a standout scene to me at one point during this movie. She’s driving a bus, and she has to escape, and the way she attempts to escape is pretty awesome. Actually, you know what, I take that back. It was aMAZEing.

As mentioned, this movie isn’t flawless, and as a movie reviewing moron, I gotta be fair here. Going into this film, I will have you know that I was actually at a restaurant beforehand having breakfast. My sister, who wasn’t going to see the movie, was receiving explanation from my father as to what the movie we were going to see was like. He described it as a combination of “The Hunger Games” and “Resident Evil,” at least that’s what my mind suggests. As for that second insertion, I’m not talking about the video games, he’s never played those. He’s talking about the movie adaptations. I haven’t seen one of those films, but I heard they’re abysmal, but having heard various things about them, I think I can make that connection now. The “Resident Evil” movies have a number of moments where you basically have to suspend your disbelief like crazy. This movie has that too, you just wonder how some of the stuff in this film actually happens. It’s not “Batman & Robin” bad, but it’s still a thing that occurs. One more issue I had was the first part of the film. I honestly thought it was a tad draggy but it quickly recovered as the movie went on.

If this movie, at least in my book, could trim up those issues, it might just be the best “Maze Runner” movie yet. Not only that, but it might make this the most solid based on dystopian young adult adaptation movie series I’ve seen to date. In my rankings, it’s tied with “Divergent,” but “The Maze Runner” is actually better because it could actually finish its own story. Based on what I’m saying about “The Scorch Trials,” that’s not really saying all that much. Others would disagree with me, and I’m not lying. Germain Lussier from io9 Reviews made an article titled “The Death Cure Doesn’t Give The Maze Runner the Ending It Deserves.” Not only that, but David Sims from The Atlantic calls this movie a “grim, half-hearted farewell.” I never read the “Maze Runner” books, so maybe my opinion is little different than others. Although Sims never says whether or not he’s read the books so that fact stands here. Nevertheless, maybe I’d like this movie a little less if I have actually read the books, but only time will tell. I might not ever read the books. This isn’t my first time saying this, but movies are more fun! By the way, sorry, books.

In the end, I was rather satisfied with “Maze Runner: The Death Cure.” Wes Ball once again proves to be an effective director who I personally think should get more work in the realm of action movies. Dylan O’Brien nails yet another performance as the lead character of Thomas. I thought a lot of the characters were great. The sound editing was a joy. The set pieces were amazing as well. Also, one of the best parts about all of this, we have a solid January movie! Whether or not this third installment is better than the second one requires no contest. As for being better than the first one, that’s a hard judgment to make, it could be slightly better, slightly worse, or equal. With that being said, I’m going to give “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” a 7/10. One last thing I’m wondering about this movie is this. Why do so many franchises like this have a fetish for needles? Just put this side by side with “The Hunger Games,” “The Giver,” and “Divergent” to see what I mean! Oh yeah, and even more hilarious, “The Hunger Games” has a character called Nessie Needle! Thanks for reading this review, be sure to check out my friend’s blog, and also be sure to check out my past “Maze Runner” reviews. I have reviews for “The Maze Runner” and “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials,” so take a look at those if you’re interested. Also, as for upcoming content, I’m not sure what I’ll see next. Maybe “The Commuter” or “12 Strong” will be my next review. We’ll find out when time allows it. Stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Maze Runner: The Death Cure?” What are your thoughts? What is your favorite “Maze Runner” installment in the movie trilogy? What is your favorite “Maze Runner” book? How would you rank either saga? Do you think either the books or movies are better? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

“THE MAZE RUNNER” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/the-maze-runner-2014-the-continuation-of-teen-angst-starring-dylan-obrien/

“MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/01/25/maze-runner-the-scorch-trials-the-continuation-of-teen-angst-starring-dylan-obrien-part-2-to-be-concluded-in-almost-2-5-years-also-this-is-wckd-boring/

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015): The Continuation of Teen Angst, Starring Dylan O’Brien- PART 2, To Be Concluded In Almost 2.5 Years. Also, This is WCKD Boring

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Last week I reviewed “The Maze Runner,” and I’m letting you know about this because one, it feels appropriate, and two, just about nobody saw it. Sure, people saw “The Maze Runner” as in they saw the movie, but nobody clicked on my review. I’ll have a link down below to my review for “The Maze Runner,” and if you’re lucky enough, you’ll be one of the first people to check it out! This week, I’m going to be following up on my “Maze Runner” review I did last week and I’ll be showing you all my thoughts on “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials,” as suggested in the title of this post. A title so stupid that it’s nearly a copypaste of the title to my first “Maze Runner” review, but with more s*it sprinkled into it. Enough with that, let’s start the review!

“THE MAZE RUNNER” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/the-maze-runner-2014-the-continuation-of-teen-angst-starring-dylan-obrien/

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“Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” is directed by Wes Ball, who also directed the first “Maze Runner” installment, and stars Dylan O’Brien (The Internship, Teen Wolf), Kaya Scodelario (Now Is Good, The Truth About Emanuel), and Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Love, Actually, Phineas and Ferb) and is the sequel to “The Maze Runner,” which came out one year prior to this installment, and is based on a popular teen angst book by James Dashner. Now that the Gladers we know from the first movie are out of the maze, they have to deal with a new landscape, with new obstacles. And this landscape looks like it’s seen some s*it.

When it comes to the first “Maze Runner,” I really enjoyed the movie for what it was. It’s a lighthearted teen angst movie with a bunch of folks trapped in a maze, trying to get out. Several moments had me glued to the screen, and now that these people are out of the maze, the question is, what’s next? This movie goes into that. In honest truth, I can barely tell you what comes next, because this movie. Was. Boring as f*ck! The first “Maze Runner” was engaging and entertaining, and while the first forty minutes of this thing is quite the same way, although maybe not as much, it just didn’t work out in the end. I actually saw ads for this film in 2015, and I haven’t seen the first installment to this series yet, but I knew about it and everything. Compared to the first film, this looked uninspired, and looked like it was there to have something happen as filler before the last film. I’m not entirely against the young adult genre, there is some good stuff that has come out of it. Although this is one major example of the bad. While not as intolerable as “The Fifth Wave,” I certainly can’t say this had a likable feel to it.

Don’t get me wrong, the vibe that’s present for the movie kind of works. Most of it is in a desolate landscape and given the music, story, not to leave out the motivations and attitudes of the characters, I’d say everything was logical. Although as far as the movie’s progression goes, that’s where the weaknesses start to pour in. This movie honestly, as I watched it, felt like a cash-in. I don’t know how much planning went into this particular installment, nor do I know how much planning went into writing the book for it, but if the book was lazy, the laziness of this movie therefore wouldn’t be all that surprising. I mean, I know the sequel was planned because of the semi-cliffhanger ending the first film gave, but it doesn’t change how poor the execution here was.

The first forty minutes, as mentioned, were entertaining to me. In fact, you know how this movie is called “The Scorch Trials?” Basically the Scorch is what the desolate landscape is called. Everything that happens prior to getting towards the scorch scenes was the entertaining chunk of the movie. As I got to the Scorch portion of the film, I wanted to take out my phone and do something on there instead of watch the movie. I assure you whatever it was I did on my phone, was ten times as fun as the movie. You might as well say that as we got to the scorch scenes, my mind was instantly “scorched” by Dullivan, the god of boredom. Even one or two fast paced chase scenes couldn’t keep me intrigued. I tried my best not to fall asleep, and while I succeeded, I can’t say I feel like I benefited from this experience.

I was however engaged by the ending. While part of it was predictable, I was constantly thinking to myself, when was this s*it going to conclude? I wanted to do something that would have been worth my time. I won’t go into much detail, but it was a big turnaround for my interest towards the film. I got engaged for a moment, but it wasn’t enough for me to say this film is competent.

This film once again stars Dylan O’Brien, or for this movie to make sense, Dullen O’Brien. He’s not a bad actor and once again, I buy him as this teenager. He does a fine job playing Thomas and the transition from one movie to the next was very fluid. During the first forty minutes, I was able to root for this guy not to mention with those alongside him. Even though this movie is wicked boring. Whoops! Sorry, I meant, WCKD boring.

I can’t even talk about this movie anymore! I honestly want to have more to say, but in the long run, I have to stop here! I’ve been running this maze too long and it’s time to collapse in fetal position! If you think that I’m lazy for not going on, let me just remind you that this movie felt lazy so it all comes together! So yeah, this movie sucked, it was boring, and that’s pretty much the gist of it. Badabing badabang badaboom.

Guys, if you can’t tell by how much I wanted to get this review off my belt, I hated this movie. “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” is yet another flop in the young adult genre and I just hope that when it comes to “The Death Cure,” I don’t have a similar experience. When it comes to teen angst movies, this may not be the most horrible of every single one I watched, but it might be the most boring. I only described one character! You know why I did that? Because this movie f*cking sucks and I hate talking about it! Part of me doesn’t even want to rate it! But rules are rules, I gotta rate this bitch. I’m gonna give “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” a 3/10. Once again, if you watch this movie, chances are you won’t be totally bored through the whole thing, but there’s barely any good parts in it. I have never read the “Scorch Trials” book, but I imagine it’s better than this junk. Thanks for reading perhaps one of my most intentionally lazy reviews ever despite having a descriptive title. I barely survived the horrendous killer maze that was “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials,” and in the end, that’s what really matters. This weekend, I hope to see “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” and I just hope for humanity that it’s better than this movie, or at the very least, just a good movie. Although this is a January film and if you know how movies are, January is a s*itshow. Stay tuned for that review and more great content! I want to know, did you see “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials?” What did you think about it? Did you read the book? What did you think about that? How would you compare the two pieces of work alongside each other? Let me know in the comments! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Maze Runner (2014): The Continuation of Teen Angst, Starring Dylan O’Brien

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! In 2014, one movie I kind of wanted to see was “The Maze Runner,” unfortunately, I never got around to watching it. Although a few months ago I was buying a number of Blu-rays at one of my personal favorite shops around the mall, AKA Newbury Comics, and I managed to come across “The Maze Runner” and “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. I still went on for months after buying them without watching either one of the films. That however, has changed. On January 26th, “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” will hit theaters. Appropriately, I felt I should review the first “Maze Runner” and the second “Maze Runner.” Since I’m a chronological type of person, we’re gonna kick this series off by talking about the first “Maze Runner.” Without further ado, let’s start the review.

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“The Maze Runner” is directed by Wes Ball who has mainly done work in the film industry in the realms of art and visual effects. Aside from a few short films, this is pretty much the guy’s directorial debut. This movie stars Dylan O’Brien (Teen Wolf, The Internship), Kaya Scoldelario (Now Is Good, The Truth About Emanuel), and Will Poulter (We’re the Millers, Son of Rambow). “The Maze Runner” is about a youngish boy who is brought into this green, limited realm. He meets a group of men who tries to get him to adapt to the way things are. However, there is a way out (sort of). There is a maze separating this realm from the outside world. “Runners” are searching inside it every day, trying to find a way out. It’s at a point when this youngish boy learns about all of this, when he desires to join the runners.

This movie came out in 2014, it’s based on a book by James Dashner, and one thing I noticed about not only the 2010s decade, but perhaps slightly before this particular decade began, is how many popular young adult teen angst novels were being adapted into movies. Some examples include “Twilight,” “The Hunger Games,” “Harry Potter,” “Percy Jackson,” “The Chronicles of Narnia,” etc. I’ve seen a number of these, and no, “Twilight” wasn’t one of them. Thank goodness! While some of these young adult novels might fall under say the romance or fantasy genres, one concept that has applied a lot to recently popularized young adult books is the sci-fi dystopian element. This has been extremely evident with the worldwide phenomenon known as “The Hunger Games.”

I’ll be honest with you, I read the first “Hunger Games” book in the summer of 2012, and I don’t even recall making it a quarter of the way through the whole thing. I watched the movie, and while it wasn’t bad the first time watching it, the film got worse over more watches and the more I thought about it. The second film’s good, but I’ve yet to see “Mockingjay” parts 1 & 2, because as of now, I no desire to pay for two parts.

There’s a series that relates to this called “Divergent,” and I haven’t read the books for that. I enjoyed the first movie, I thought the second one was slightly better, but the third one sucked. As for the third movie, this is yet another case of splitting a book into two parts, and I’m wondering if that’s partially why the movie didn’t do well in terms of reactions and returns at the box office. Oh yeah, also don’t forget the rather dull story, annoying characters, and crappy CGI. One of the biggest problems I have with the movies however is that Tris keeps changing her hair. What’s up with that?!

People often consider “Divergent” a ripoff of “The Hunger Games,” but that’s simply not true. Both have corrupt governments and are futuristic, but just tinker around with them a little bit and you’ll see the differences underneath. “The Hunger Games” is an event that involves fighting to the death whereas “Divergent” is simply about a girl in a certain class that society doesn’t like. As for “The Maze Runner,” it’s got some similarities to both “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent.” However, as far as the book goes, “The Maze Runner” came out before “Divergent,” so you can technically say “Divergent” has similarities to “The Maze Runner” and “The Hunger Games.” All three books involve a post-apocalyptic world with a nasty regime, there’s a teen who has to fight against the overlords, and they’re all tested. The similarities are significant in all three films. However, I think out of “The Hunger Games,” “Divergent,” and “The Maze Runner,” I have to say I think “The Maze Runner” may be the best film of the three. This doesn’t say much about the book, but as a film, this one likely reigns supreme.

What I just said doesn’t mean “The Maze Runner” is a masterpiece, I just think it’s an enjoyable flick that could help you pass the time for a couple of hours. Since I have that out of the way, let’s get into some problems.

Pacing wise, this movie is mostly competent, you can follow everything quite well, and your eyes will be stuck to the screen for a long time.  However, as the movie gets towards the end, I have to say that there’s a point, specifically when a screen comes on and everybody’s listening, that the pacing just goes off for a second. I don’t know how others feel about that but that’s how I feel. I will say though, without spoiling much of anything, the movie has to do something in particular, and that thing in particular is what caused the drag for me.

One little nitpick, and I don’t know if this was an idea that the book’s author had, or if it was a director, or an editor, or who it could have possibly been that had this vision, but there are these enemies that you see in the film. They’re called Grievers. As enemies, they are serviceable and I don’t really have much that’s significantly wrong with them, but thinking about them, they almost look like ripoffs of the Xenomorphs from the “Alien” franchise. I’m surprised I’ve even said that because believe it or not I haven’t watched one “Alien” movie.

Dylan O’Brien plays the main character of Thomas throughout “The Maze Runner,” and I’d say that the character was well written, and I’d say having gone through the movie, O’Brien’s a nice pick to play the character. Granted, I can tell they probably cast Dylan O’Brien mainly because girls have a crush on him since he’s on “Teen Wolf” and if you know what the show is, you’d understand my point. To my happiness, the script focused less on his physique and more on his hope to become a runner and leave the maze. That remains true for every single one of the movies characters, which is just rather refreshing. Speaking of refreshing, there’s not much romance in this film. There is friendship, there is interaction, but there’s never any romance. And in a world where that is prominent in both the “Hunger Games” and “Divergent” franchises, that is awesome.

I really like the scene in the film where we first meet Thomas and he forgets his real name. The way he finds out is kind of hilarious. Basically, we meet him, it’s daytime, we are introduced to the Gladers, and soon, night arrives, we see a bunch of boys around a campfire. Thomas is in a fight, and as he is fighting, he’s getting his butt kicked, and all of a sudden, he remembers his name is Thomas, announces it in front of all the boys, and everyone is just exclaiming to the tenth degree. Pure hilarity.

As for another standout character, we have the big bad bully, Gally, played by Will Poulter. While Thomas is just trying to save everyone, Gally would occasionally interfere, saying that Thomas needs to be punished. I must say, this is good choice from a casting perspective, and I’m not saying this is a negative despite coming off as repetitive, he kind of looks like bullies we’ve seen in the past in terms of what’s happened in TV and movies. Just compare him with characters such as Biff from “Back to the Future” or Buzz from “Home Alone” and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

In the end, I’d say “The Maze Runner” is a really enjoyable film for what it is. It has some of the teen angst cliches, but at the same time, is a little more lighthearted in ways making it feel like you can have fun watching the movie. I have nothing against dark and gritty films, but in reality, that’s how a majority of teen angst films seem to come off. If you have never seen “The Maze Runner,” I do recommend it. I don’t know what to say about the book, or how much you’ll like the movie if you’ve read the book. I just know they’re not exactly the same. I’m going to give “The Maze Runner” a 7/10. Thanks for reading this review! I’m going to have my review up for the second part of the “Maze Runner” trilogy next Thursday, January 25th, which is also the night of the early screenings of the final installment, “Maze Runner: The Death Cure.” So stay tuned for my review of “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials,” along with more exciting content coming your way. I want to know, did you watch “The Maze Runner?” What are your thoughts? Did you read the book? Which is better? The book or the movie? Let me know your thoughts down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Molly’s Game (2017): Passable, but with “High MIstakes”

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“Molly’s Game” is directed by Aaron Sorkin (Steve Jobs, The Social Network) and stars Jessica Chastain (Interstellar, Zero Dark Thirty), Idris Elba (Pacific Rim, Thor), and Kevin Costner (Man of Steel, Dances with Wolves) in a movie based on a book of the same name. It’s about the true story of Molly Bloom, a former poker entrepreneur and Olympic-class skier who was charged with running the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game.

I haven’t really followed much of Aaron Sorkin’s previous work. This movie is actually his directorial debut, and if you have followed Sorkin’s work, you’d know he’s typically known for his writing. Sorkin is responsible for creating “The West Wing,” which he often wrote. As far as movies go, he has written “Moneyball,” “Steve Jobs,” “The Social Network,” “A Few Good Men,” and “Charlie Wilson’s War.” I was actually going to watch “Steve Jobs” in 2015 during its theatrical run, but I never got around to it. Nevertheless, I heard the fellow can write. Having seen this movie, I’d say he can direct too. I can appreciate the vision this movie contained. Going at a quick pace, all the while providing a serious tone. There were a couple of moments that I really liked from a lighting perspective as well. The colors just meshed together almost like a very small lens flare that didn’t feel obnoxious in any sort of way. As far as writing and editing goes, here are my thoughts.

I totally see what people are talking about when it comes to Aaron Sorkin and writing, the two go together like FedEx and that arrow between the “E” and the “x.” What’s that? You didn’t know about the FedEx arrow? Google the FedEx logo and observe it closely. The opening sequence of this film has Molly Bloom talking like I’m listening to what happens when an auctioneer and a motivational speaker combine into a single person. Not only was the diction well done, it was funny, it was informative, and it set a proper tone for the movie. This movie’s based on a book, and I apologize to books, but I never read the book for this film. I don’t know how similar this movie’s introduction is to the book, but if the writing resembles the book here, I’d say this is great writing in general. Props to both Bloom and Sorkin if that’s the case. Still, at the very least, props to Sorkin. I’ve heard a saying that the best directors make the best editors. As far as directing ability goes, this was mostly competent. I have a couple of issues, but this can apply to either the script or the editing instead of just directing.

A couple of shows that really make me uncomfortable are “The Office” and “Modern Family.” I heard a lot of people like both programs. Personally, I can’t watch them. Maybe I’ll give “The Office” a try because I hear a lot of folks talking about it like it’s the greatest thing between Netflix and the idea of Netflix and chill. Also, f*ck Netflix. However I don’t think I can watch “Modern Family” ever again. It’s not only unfunny despite how many people watch it and revered it is, but it’s also shot in a style that tries to make you feel like you’re there, but it just comes off like a student film to me. It almost reminds me of the shaky cam from “The Hunger Games!” “Molly’s Game” is not as bad, it’s not as shaky, it’s not as handheld, it works for what it’s doing. …For the most part. When it comes to editing, this movie cuts way too quickly sometimes. It tries to maintain this very quick style of filmmaking, and it just doesn’t work. I noticed one or two jumpcuts here as well. As far as writing goes, it’s tonally inconsistent. While most of the movie is fast and stays fast, it sometimes just slows down to a point where it’s horribly slow. Throughout the entire film, Jessica Chastain is narrating as Molly Bloom and it almost feels like something that should keep you going towards the edge of your seat. There are moments here that just don’t match what the movie feels like the entire time. It feels like a couple movies meshed into one. It’s like combining one movie, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” with another movie, “Manchester by the Sea,” although it’s a million times happier. The editing combined with the screenplay is like a hotel room with a comfortable bed, no bugs, it’s got a clean carpet, the TV is 4K, everything looks nice, but the toilet isn’t working, the shower’s water system is screwed up, and the sink handles for hot and cold are grungy and hard to operate. It just all needs minor tweaking on perhaps major flaws before absolute perfection.

However let’s move our attention to the best part of the movie, Jessica Chastain as Molly Bloom. Some people may go see this movie for a number of reasons. Some people are interested in the story of Molly Bloom, some people like Aaron Sorkin’s writing, and some will say that the cast looks promising. I’ve observed Idris Elba and Kevin Costner in this film, and while both give competent performances, Jessica Chastain trumped them both. If the writing wasn’t excellent enough, this movie had an amazing actress to go off of it. I must say, despite my love for Jessica Chastain, I haven’t seen too many performances from her. However, much like the other movies where I saw Jessica Chastain performing, this is another fine example of how someone should act in a movie. They transform into a different person, and they allow the audience to see them as more than someone on a screen.

In the end, I got to say that “Molly’s Game” is not really a movie that I’d recommend to everyone, but I wouldn’t say to shy away from it either. It’s one of those movies that can impress you in a number of ways, but isn’t entirely screwed together to the point of perfection. I like the acting. I like the directing. I like the writing. However, the movie itself is sloppy when it comes to pacing. At times it wants to accelerate, and at others it wants to drag. There are times where I just nearly wanted to fall asleep, and I must have felt that during the fast parts due to the inconsistency of pacing. Although I will say this, Jessica Chastain f*cking rocks. I’m going to give “Molly’s Game” a 6/10. Thanks for reading this review! On Thursday, I’m going to start off my “Maze Runner” review series by talking about the first installment in the movie franchise, “The Maze Runner,” so look forward to that. Also, depending on what happens, tomorrow I’m going to upload a surprise post. I won’t tell what it is. But January 17th is a special day in my heart. That’ll be your hint. I might not post this, but that’s if I don’t finish it in a certain amount of time. Stay tuned for more reviews and other great content! Did you see “Molly’s Game?” What are your thoughts? How do you think Aaron Sorkin did as a first-time director? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

2017 Box Office: Little Room For Originality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You get the point by now…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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