Army of the Dead (2021): A Stellar Cast Risk Their Lives Against Zombies in Quarantined Vegas

“Army of the Dead” is directed by Zack Snyder (Man of Steel, 300) and stars Dave Bautista (My Spy, Guardians of the Galaxy), Ella Purnell (Never Let Me Go, Sweetbitter), Omari Hardwick (Kick-Ass, Sorry to Bother You), Ana de la Reguera (Goliath, Narcos), Theo Rossi (Luke Cage, Sons of Anarchy), Matthias Schweighöfer (The Most Beautiful Day, You Are Wanted), Nora Arnezeder (Mozart in the Jungle, Safe House), Hiroyuki Sanada (Mortal Kombat, The Last Samurai), Tig Notaro (Transparent, Star Trek: Discovery), Raúl Castillo (Wrath of Man, Atypical), Huma Qureshi (Gangs of Wasseypur, Dedh Ishqiya), and Garret Dillahunt (The Mindy Project, Fear the Walking Dead). This film is about a group of people living in the future where Las Vegas has been taken over by zombies. These people unite together for one purpose, to get stinkin’ rich. To do that, they venture into Las Vegas, which is now a quarantine zone, to acquire a sinfully delicious amount of money.

I remember during the 2010s there was a huge zombie craze with shows like “The Walking Dead.” To be frank, as cool as zombies happen to be conceptually, I never fell into the rabbit hole of the craze. I mean I like “World War Z,” I like “Zombieland,” but I have not even gone back to watch many of the classic zombie stories. I still have not seen George Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead.” Admittedly, horror is one of my Achilles heels as a movie fan. I barely have any entries from that genre in my movie collection and of the genres that I imagine would “cater” to me, it is the one that I watch the least. I’m more of an action fan. I’m more of a comedy fan. I’m more of a sci-fi and fantasy fan. But there was something about “Army of the Dead” that sounded really intriguing. And I say this as someone who skipped the trailers. I just thought between the cast, Zack Snyder at the helm, and the environment, specifically a post-apocalyptic Vegas, it was a recipe for greatness. Now I did not think this would be a masterpiece, but it would at the very least be fun.

And fun it WAS.

I have not seen this movie since the theater last month. Yes, it released in theaters. But it’s also on Netflix if you want to watch it right now. Either way, I will just say, if you want something to watch where you can just shove tons of popcorn in your mouth, I think “Army of the Dead” is your answer. It is a film that, while well-crafted from start to finish, does not always take itself seriously, although I will admit it sometimes has an identity crisis that reminds me of the “Transformers” movies just a little. And for those reasons, it works like a charm.

If you want to know how not so serious this movie actually is, just watch the news segments during the film and listen to the quotes of the President of the United States. I do not want to spoil the film for those who have not watched it yet, but the President, who we do not necessarily see, does something that maybe in the world of this movie would make just a tiny tad of sense, but only to a certain demographic of people that would define themselves as uber-Patriotic perhaps. I don’t know, let’s just say that it is something that plays into the climax of the film and it is one of the highlights without giving anything away.

Going back to what I said about this film being like a “Transformers” movie, I am not necessarily lying. Because it is action-packed, there’s guns and explosions, and unfortunately, the characters, even though they have brief moments of charisma, leave a little to be desired. I did not think about this when watching the movie, but the main relationship between Dave Bautista and his daughter kind of gave me the same vibe of the relationship presented between the father and daughter in “Transformers: Age of Extinction.” In fact, walking out of the movie, and as I reflect on it, I barely even remember the names of the father and daughter when being forced to think about them without assistance from the Internet. The same can be said for all the other characters in the movie as well. I will say, the cast in the film is great, although there were quite a few characters I liked more than others. I was not necessarily a fan of Lily (Nora Arnezeder), as well portrayed as she was, but that has more to do with the plot and how things unfold than anything else.

Although if you want to know my favorite character in the film, I would say that honor goes to Tig Notaro’s character of Marianne Peters. If I have learned one thing in life, almost nothing matters more than a good first impression. And it when it comes to good first impressions, Peters’s first utterances in this film absolutely slap. On top of being one of the more wonderfully snarky characters in the entire film, Notaro did all of her footage on a green screen. For the record, her role was originally going to be played by Chris D’Elia but that changed in the middle of 2020 when sexual misconduct allegations surfaced regarding his name. From that point, Zack Snyder had to redo D’Elia’s scenes with someone new and that someone happened to be Notaro. I had no idea about this until after I watched the movie and I have to admit, having watched the film on the big screen, I did not notice any subtleties of an actor change.

After watching the movie, it is somewhat easier to pick up on this information, but it nevertheless looks nearly seamless. Well done.

In the previous film I reviewed, specifically “Wrath of Man,” I talked about the Johnny Cash song “Folsom Prison Blues” and how effectively used it was in that film. Since seeing the film, I have had little inklings of it in my head. I did not listen to that song much, but this film arguably has an even better use of a song that I do listen to from time to time. That song to be specific, is “Suspicious Minds” by Elvis Presley. I will not say too much other than the fact that this song plays in both the beginning and end of the film, but this once again goes to show the power of a film that can utilize a song to its fullest potential, because if executed right, it can ingrain itself into one’s head, kind of like it did with mine. I often point out the excellent use of film scores, but rarely do I point out written songs made prior to the movie that are then implemented later, and I figured now would be a good time.

In the end, “Army of the Dead” is not gonna win too many awards, it’s not gonna take Best Picture this year. I would be surprised if it is in my top 10 movies of the year in December, but it is a damn good time and one you certainly should check out. I often hear complaints from people who watch the movie that it is too long. Admittedly, I did not experience that fatigue. Maybe it is because I saw it in Cinemark XD and there were certain scenes that really popped that let me keep my chin up, but even though this film is almost two and a half hours, it felt like it was twenty to thirty minutes shorter than it actually was. The movie is just fun and that is all that I could ask for. I might be curious to watch it on Netflix one day, because I remember, speaking of Zack Snyder, when I watched the four hour “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” on HBO Max I had one or two brief pauses in between. I want to know if I would make it through “Army of the Dead” in one sitting, if I would need to pause, or if I would tap out at a certain point. That would be an interesting experiment, but it is not one I plan to do at the moment. Nevertheless, I *really* enjoyed myself with “Army of the Dead,” which by the way, I would now say has one of the more memorable opening credits sequences in film history. It sets the tone, it’s hypnotic, and presents everything you need to know. It was just the start of a straight up good time. I’m going to give “Army of the Dead” a 7/10.

“Army of the Dead” released in theaters on May 14th, although it is unlikely to be playing anywhere near you at the moment. So if you want to watch the film right now, it is available exclusively on Netflix.

Thanks for reading this review! My next review is going to be for John Krasinski’s brand new sequel, “A Quiet Place Part II.” Just crazy to think, that film was supposed to come out LAST YEAR. I will tell you if it is worth the wait very soon, just stay tuned! Speaking of staying tuned, be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account and check out the Facebook page so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Army of the Dead?” What did you think about it? Or, what are some movies that you think are too long? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

News of the World (2020): The Beauty of the Hanks News Media

“News of the World” is directed by Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy, United 93), bases itself upon the 2016 Paulette Jiles western novel of the same name, and stars Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Toy Story) alongside Helena Zengel (Dark Blue Girl, System Crasher). This film is about a widowed Civil War veteran who goes around the world reading the news from various papers to those willing to listen for ten cents. In this film, he ventures with a young girl taken by the Kiowa people in an attempt to bring her to a place she can call home.

“News of the World” was one of the movies I was genuinely looking forward to over the Christmas season. Usually, when there is a movie that comes out near the end of the second half of the year that stars Tom Hanks, that’s usually a good sign. Last year we had “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” which frankly did not deliver the goods I was anticipating, but there is no denying that Hanks was perfect casting as Fred Rogers. One film that I sometimes forget about, “Saving Mr. Banks,” which came out towards the end of 2013, features Hanks as a charismatic Walt Disney. Plus, Hanks is just a likable dude. People often claim him to be the nicest guy in Hollywood, and I often get that vibe just by looking at him. He kind of sounds like a fun dude to take on a cross-country road trip. Speaking of trips, “News of the World” centers around two characters who take a trip through the old west to find a home for a young girl, and I must say that the main duo makes for a delightful and charming heart of the story.

Speaking of delightful and charming, those are two words I can use to describe “News of the World.” I do not watch many westerns, but this film, despite taking place in the old west, did not always feel like a western. Yes, it has many of the staples between an excessive amount of horses and carriages, accents, tons of men with crazy amounts of hair, but it also sort of speaks to our world today. It speaks to the climate of our media and how people flock to what they “want” to hear as opposed to what they need to hear, and maybe how the things our media spit out can influence how people think, what people say. That is only a small portion of the film, but I sort of like how the film handled this subject matter because it speaks to our time. Maybe where you live and the people around you can also play a part in that. I live in the Boston area, and we have two big papers. The Boston Globe and Boston Herald, and while both are highly recognized, it is sometimes declared that each paper seems to cater to alternate demographics. If you read The Boston Globe, chances are you are reading something from a liberal mindset. If you read Boston Herald, you may be reading something from a conservative mindset. This subject matter makes for one of the more compelling moments of the movie. It does not handle it in complete relation to the example I just mentioned, but it did remind me of that.

In some of my recent posts, I have been talking about the Oscars and awards season, partially because we are approaching that time, and some of the recent films like “Promising Young Woman” and “Soul” may have a shot at making some rounds as we get closer to some big ceremonies. “News of the World” is another one of those films, and part of that is due to Tom Hanks as Captain Kidd. I’ve already mentioned he’s good in the movie, but I should point out that he should be a fairly presentable talking point when the Oscars come around. Not only does Tom Hanks look the part, kind of like he did for Fred Rogers last year, but he encapsulates the main character beautifully. For me, my top 3 candidates for Best Actor this awards season are, in no particular order, Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal), Ben Affleck (The Way Back), and now, Tom Hanks (News of the World). I must also say, Hanks’s character in “News of the World” has a fascinating occupation. He goes around reading newspapers for an audience. Honestly, if I lived in the 19th century, that may be what I would do. Well, if I wasn’t writing for the papers myself. Either that or trying to invent videography if there were some way I could do that.

I must not forget, Hanks spends a great portion of the movie journeying with the young girl, played by Helena Zengel. Her name, or at least it’s the name that Captain Kidd calls her by, is Johanna. One thing I really like about their connection is that there is a language barrier between the two, but despite that, you could still get along, you can still have joyous times together, and as far as this story goes, it still feels like a universal story (and not just because Universal distributed this movie). One guy speaks English, the other person speaks Kiowan, but despite their differences, they can get along just fine. Then again, I am terrible at learning foreign languages, despite being good at doing a lot of other things and following several other subjects, so if I were in Captain Kidd’s shoes, who knows? Maybe I’d constantly throw a fit. Even so, “News of the World” presents a universal story, even though our two leads do not seem to have the ease of instantly understanding each other. One more thing to add, it is hard to tell where Zengel will end up in the long run, but I would watch her in a film again for sure, she did a great job here.

When it comes to my complaints for films, it usually involves pacing. I would not say that “News of the World” is an exception to this idea. Because in reality, the film is very well paced until the end. I say that because the heart of the story is between Hanks and Zengel, and once that concludes for the most part, the rest of the movie, while still slightly entertaining and compelling, not to mention slightly emotional, almost feels like borderline filler. Granted, if you know about the backstory of the main character, it truly is not. But that is almost what it feels like at times. At the same time however, one of the perks of “News of the World” is that in every other scene, there is a sense of conflict. There almost always feels like there is a sense of danger, and when a movie can do that, it makes it more watchable. This movie is kind of a slow burn, and as I have said prior on Scene Before, slow does not mean bad. Like a fast movie, slow only means bad if it feels like there’s no control. “News of the World” comes with a little more action than I thought there would be. I know this is technically a western, but it sort of surprised me that we would all of a sudden have this bloody intense shootout, it was really fun to watch and made for one of the more suspenseful and fun parts of the movie.

I went to see “News of the World” with a couple family members, and one in particular seemed a tad skeptical about the film, mainly because it is not their type of movie. They are not usually into period pieces. They walked out of the movie somewhat delighted. They would not consider the film an all time favorite, but they also were not against the film either. Maybe “News of the World” has the potential to reach a wide audience in the future. Sure, many theaters are closed right now, but this film will be heading to VOD soon, so for those who do not have a theater open in their area, this film may come on their radar rather quickly. Although if you do live near a theater, I’d recommend checking it out. Paul Greengrass directed this film, and he does so with what I imagine was a smile. It looks stunning and the cinematography from Dariusz Wolski is also a highlight that heightens Greengrass’s vision.

In the end, “News of the World” is a charmingly beautiful western. Tom Hanks excels as the film’s lead. Helena Zengel is solid in her role. I think the duo has great chemistry. If you take out the fact that this takes place in the old west, set it in modern times, it would still be a worthy allegory of how people view the media while also establishing two likable characters on a journey together. Granted, you’d probably have to change a lot, but this is a story from the 19th century that handles 21st century problems gorgeously. I’m going to give “News of the World” an 8/10.

“News of the World” is now playing in theaters across the United States wherever they are open. Due to a recent deal struck between AMC Theatres and Universal, the film will soon stream on video on demand. In several international territories, the film is now streaming on Netflix.

Thanks for reading this review! Guys, I am pleased to announce that it is officially 2021! Happy New Year! And oh, boooyyyyyyy do we need one. Is it just the passage of time? Technically, yes. But it is also, a new hope. And as for 2020, suck it! We don’t need you here anymore! But tomorrow and next day, we are acknowledging both the good and bad of the past year in my top 10 BEST movies of 2020 (dropping Jan 3) and my top 10 WORST movies of 2020 (dropping Jan 4). I am super excited to release these lists because yes, I enjoy doing them. For my best list, it is actually something positive about 2020, and with the worst list, I can burn this year to the ground where it belongs. In all seriousness, congrats to the filmmakers and studios who released a film this year. Your work has hopefully delighted, entertained, and amused audiences either in a theater, maybe on the subway, on a small screen on a plane, or at home. But most importantly, you provided an escape, which may be the most important thing about film right now. We all need a trip away from reality, and these films have helped me and many others take journeys to many magnificent places, real or fictional. I’m excited to reveal my top picks, they’ll be up next week, stay tuned! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account, check out the Facebook page, and stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “News of the World?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite Tom Hanks film? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Midnight Sky (2020): George Clooney Helms a Visually Stunning Journey Through Space and Ground

“The Midnight Sky” is directed by George Clooney (Gravity, Batman & Robin) and he also stars in the film as Augustine Lofthouse. Clooney is surrounded by a cast of characters played by Felicity Jones (The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), David Oyelowo (Gringo, Selma), Tiffany Boone (The Chi, Hunters), Demián Bichir (Grand Hotel, The Hateful Eight), Kyle Chandler (Game Night, Godzilla: King of the Monsters), and Caoilinn Springall in her film debut. This film is based on the novel “Good Morning, Midnight,” by Lily Brooks-Dalton and takes place in post-apocalyptic times as Augustine, a scientist, attempts to bring a group of astronauts home while also avoiding unfortunate events.

LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 29: Actor George Clooney arrives at The 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards broadcast on TNT/TBS at The Shrine Auditorium on January 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/WireImage) 22005_012_JS2_0735.JPG

George Clooney has directed a few films so far including “The Ides of March,” which I have not seen. “The Monuments Men,” which I have also not seen despite owning it on Blu-ray. And let’s not forget “Suburbicon,” which seems to have a cool concept, but having seen poor verdicts from others, I wonder if it is even worth checking out at this point. Nevertheless, George Clooney’s latest directorial effort is the first one I’ve had the opportunity to check out. Before I went to the theater to see this film, I saw a trailer for it somewhere else, and I was immediately in just from knowing this was a space film, and those have been some of my favorites over the years. This was also my first Cinemark XD experience, so I was getting a unique flavor alongside the film. Without going into much detail, this movie was worth the extra few bucks on the ticket, and I will probably be back for that specific auditorium soon. But how was the movie itself?

First and foremost, “The Midnight Sky” is a visually stunning adventure. This movie is distributed by Netflix, which as many of you may know, traditionally releases their content for the small screen. However, in recent years with movies like “Mudbound,” “Roma,” and “The Irishman,” they have been stepping up their theatrical efforts, perhaps mainly to outline themselves as a major force during the Oscars. If I were a voting member of the Academy and I had the opportunity to nominate a film for the Best Visual Effects category, “The Midnight Sky” would be a contender. Although at the same time, there are some points in the film where the effects look obviously artificial and less than realistic. Even with that in mind, it did not take away from the film’s flair. “The Midnight Sky” is easy on the eyes, and at various times, it’s the same on the ears. Like many other space films, the sound in this movie is magic. Although I will say compared to movies like “Gravity,” “First Man,” and even ones I did not enjoy such as “Ad Astra,” it is not as memorable in the sound department as those.

Story-wise, “The Midnight Sky” kicks off rather slow. I do not mind slow movies. Some of my favorite movies are slow. However, “The Midnight Sky” sort of failed to keep me at a proper pace during certain points. I have no idea why, but for whatever reason, this movie did not click with me instantaneously. As for later points, those were the definite highlights.

This film takes place both on earth and in outer space, and we see the two alternate perspectives and the people within them as they go about their ways and goals. The story on earth shows a bearded George Clooney trekking through the ice and bonding with a young girl. In space, there is a crew attempting to make their way home from Jupiter and we see these two stories play out and how they connect with one another. I liked certain fragments of both stories, but if you told me before I saw this movie that I’d end up digging the story on earth a little more, I’d be surprised.

My favorite parts of the movie are between George Clooney’s character, Augustine Lofthouse, and a young girl he meets by the name of Iris, played by first time actress Caoilinn Springall. First off, sticking on the topic of Caolinn Springall, I think she is going to have a very bright future ahead of her. This first role of hers has minimal dialogue, which makes it a good pick for a first time actress, but what sold this role more than anything else is the physicality aspect. Films are all about visual storytelling, and when you can use the visual movements of a person as much as possible to heighten the story, your film is guaranteed to work. Springall gives one of the most visually competent performances of the year, regardless of age. Plus, the journey between her and Clooney make for some of the grittier moments of the movie. The duo’s trek through the stormy snow makes for a definite highlight.

I will say, if there is a flaw that I have picked up, it’s that the side characters of the film do not really leave me with much to write home about. While there are only a couple of characters on earth, there are a few more in space. Some highlights include Sully Rembshire (Felicity Jones) and Commander Gordon Adewole (David Oyelowo). However, when it comes to these characters in space, it was a little bit harder for me to get attached to them compared to those remaining on earth. Maybe it is because of a matter of quantity and quality. There are more characters in space, but fewer on earth, so the time spent with those on earth maybe feels more intimate and special. Although I will say, kind of like the story on earth, the story in space got better with time. The pacing went faster, the stakes went higher, and the Movie Reviewing Moron ended up being happier!

Speaking of quick pace and high stakes, the way this film ends makes for one of my favorite climaxes of the year. It feels so somber yet so relaxing. With a film maintaining the tone it has, it is a perfect way for everything to go down. I do not think George Clooney is up there with the greats in regards to filmmakers, but “The Midnight Sky” proves itself to be a watchable space to ground drama with a series of heavy visual effects, despite a feeling of intimacy here and there. I will say, I do not watch Netflix, but I would not mind if I started to use Netflix to watch this film again, because it sort of does play out like a puzzle, and maybe a second watch will allow me to appreciate it more. I am curious to see if Clooney wants to continue his directing career, because if he keeps making movies like this, he could be well-rounded amongst his Hollywood peers.

In the end, “The Midnight Sky” is a wonderous trip through a post-apocalypse. George Clooney gives it his all as a performer and behind the scenes. I do need some time to process the film, but I would not mind it contending during awards season for the visual effects category. If anything else, I really like the way they do the credits. It is vastly different from many other films you see, and it kept me around for a few minutes. I recommend this film, give it a watch! I’m going to give “The Midnight Sky” a 7/10.

“The Midnight Sky” is now playing in theaters and will stream on Netflix for subscribers starting Wednesday December 23rd.

Thanks for reading this review! Just want to let you all know that my next review is going to be for the STX movie “Greenland,” which premieres on VOD services starting December 18th. Also, this Sunday, I’m going to see Sony’s latest attempt at a video game film… “Monster Hunter.”

Don’t cry Jack, don’t cry. You’re gonna get through this! Big monsters cannot hurt anyone! That review will be up next week. Stay tuned! Speaking of staying tuned for more great content, be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account! Also, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “The Midnight Sky?” What did you think about it? Or, have you seen any of the other films George Clooney directed? Tell me your thoughts! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Mank (2020): Yeah, Mank Almost Stank…

“Mank” is directed by David Fincher (Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and stars Gary Oldman (The Darkest Hour, The Dark Knight), Amanda Seyfried (Ted 2, First Reformed), Lily Collins (Mirror Mirror, Abduction), Arliss Howard (Medium, True Blood), Tom Pelphrey (Guiding Light, Iron Fist), Sam Troughton (Alien vs. Predator, Chernobyl), Ferdinand Kingsley (Victoria, Dracula Untold), Tuppence Middleton (Jupiter Ascending, Sense8), Tom Burke (Only God Forgives, The Musketeers), Joseph Cross (Running with Scissors, Big Little Lies), Jamie McShane (Sons of Anarchy, Bloodline), Tony Leonard Moore (Daredevil, Billions), Monika Gossman (Maximum Impact, Iron Sky), and Charles Dance (Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Game of Thrones). Holy CRAP that’s a lot of people! This film takes place in 1930s Hollywood as we see a manipulative and striking piece of history play out all the while screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz tries to finish the screenplay for “Citizen Kane.”

David Fincher - IMDb

I’m gonna let you guys in on a little truth I need to spit out. I have not seen any of David Fincher’s films. Not “Fight Club,” not “Gone Girl,” not even “Alien 3.” Therefore, “Mank” is officially taking my David Fincher virginity. I have seen a lot of the work from heavy hitters over the years. Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg, and Guillermo Del Toro. David Fincher for whatever reason was just one of those names I continued to avoid. So, what are my thoughts on my first encounter with David Fincher’s work?

If you want the truth, “Mank” is marvelous to the naked eye. Granted, this is a less than traditional looking film for the modern age. It’s presented in black and white, there are several scenes that are presented back and forth in time, and to establish such time frames, the film gives you a screenplay perspective where it tells you whether the scene takes place inside or outside, where specifically the scene is located, and when. I think that is a nice quirk that I have not seen in any other film. The cinematography is breathtaking and if it were not for “Tenet,” it could arguably be top dog for the year. The film has this throwback feel and there’s some echo-like sounds you can hear from one moment to the next. Fincher directs the crap out of this thing and each scene feels like it could only be put together by a true craftsman. There are a diverse amount of appealing sets that enlightened me as a viewer and allowed me to keep my eyes on the screen.

If only the story were significantly more interesting. Because “Mank” is forgettable, kind of a blur at this point, and certainly… BORING!

Now, let me just say, I like the concept of this movie. For starters, I am a lover of film history, which “Mank” centers around. And there have been examples of movies about film history that have been done well. A few recent examples include Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks,” which dives into the production of “Mary Poppins,” and A24’s “The Disaster Artist,” which goes over the production and release of Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room,” one of the most hilariously awful movies to ever exist. In the case of “Mank,” part of what this film is about is the making of “Citizen Kane,” which many consider to be the most important film ever made. Although unlike those previous two examples, which go over the production of the film, this film centers a lot around pre-production and little bit more. There is so much to tackle and analyze in a couple of hours.

If 2020 has taught us anything just with the release of HBO Max’s “Superintelligence,” created by husband and wife team Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy, it’s that family projects do not always work. “Mank” is directed by David Fincher and written by his father, Jack Fincher, who passed away in 2003. Said father wrote the script in the 1990s but it never came into fruition until today. As happy as I am to see a family dream fulfilled, my time was nevertheless wasted.

Much of this film involves an election, which sort of makes today the perfect time to release this film considering how we just had a presidential election in the United States. I will say that such a part of film intrigued me, and that is somewhat surprising because as a film buff, that is not really what I was going into “Mank” to see. Even so, it delves into the concept of fake news, which is a relevant term nowadays, and if you think Hollywood is political today, as some people claim it to be, this movie paints a picture of Hollywood perhaps slightly manipulating the minds of people to have an election go their way. I just wish the impact of this subject matter, along with the rest of the movie hit me a tad more. I did not really feel anything except for my reclined seat throughout the film.

Although, some of the performances in “Mank” makes the feature worth the watch. For example, Arliss Howard does a fantastic job playing Louis B. Mayer, and I would not mind seeing him receive a Best Supporting Actor nomination in the future for the role. Although my favorite performance in “Mank” is from Amanda Seyfried. Prior to watching “Mank,” I liked Amanda Seyfried. That’s the case even in movies that I did not necessarily enjoy like “You Should Have Left.” Regardless of how much I wanted that movie to end as I watched it, I still think Seyfried gives it her all each time she performs. When it comes to her performance in “Mank,” this is easily her best yet. Part of it may have to do with the efforts from the costuming and makeup department, because whenever I am looking at her character, I do not feel like I am looking at Seyfried herself. On that note, she, along with “Mank” itself, does an alright job at providing a sense of immersion. I wish I left this film with a sense of being able to remember everything within a few days, but still.

And of course, you have Gary Oldman, who gives another great performance here. Oldman is a fine actor, although he is not my favorite of all time. Even so, I respect the man because he traditionally commits to his craft. While I would not consider his performance as Mankiewicz to be his best, Oldman does a great job in “Mank,” he has solid chemistry with Lily Collins during scenes they’re in together, and I do think he will be in a number of conversations during the awards season.

There are many films like “Dunkirk,” “Blade Runner,” and “Tenet” that I have been willing to give more than one watch because for all I know maybe I missed something the first time, or maybe my appreciation for those films could grow with each watch. I do not think “Mank,” as attractive as it is to the pupil, will end up being one of those films. It feels like a one and done deal. That’s really sad because I feel like this is the film, more than any other, that Netflix is going to hype up for the awards season. And it is deserving of nominations in a number of regards. Unfortunately, story and characterization might not be one of them, at least for me.

In the end, “Mank” almost stank. It was halfway decent, but could not quite stick the landing. If you want my recommendation, I will say as someone who has watched “Citizen Kane,” I think that it would be a better idea to watch that film, which “Mank” sort of bases its story around, instead of David Fincher’s latest directorial effort. I hope to maybe watch some of Fincher’s other films in the future when I have the motivation, but I do not know if I will have the motivation to watch “Mank” anytime soon. I’m going to give “Mank” a 5/10.

“Mank” is now playing in select theaters and is available on Netflix for all subscribers.

Thanks for reading this review! My next review is going to be for another Netflix original film, “The Midnight Sky,” directed by George Clooney. Before I saw this film, I was pretty excited to watch it as I am a sucker for space movies. As for my final thoughts, you’ll have to wait on those. Stay tuned! Speaking of staying tuned, if you want to stay tuned for more great content, follow Scene Before either with an email or a WordPress account! Also, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Mank?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite David Fincher movie? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Over the Moon (2020): FINALLY.

This review is specifically dedicated to Audrey Wells. For the record, I have no personal connection with Audrey Wells, but she wrote the screenplay for this film, only to pass away in late 2018, two years before this film officially released to the public. This may end up being one of the few times I do a dedication to somebody during a review, but this is incredibly deserved. You’ll see why. On with the review!

“Over the Moon” is directed by Glen Keane and John Kahrs and stars Cathy Ang, Phillipa Soo (Hamilton, The Broken Hearts Gallery), Ken Jeong (The Masked Singer, The Hangover), John Cho (Star Trek, Total Recall), Ruthie Ann Miles (All Rise, The Americans), Margaret Cho (All-American Girl, 30 Rock), and Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy, Killing Eve). This film centers around a young girl named Fei Fei, who is forced to adapt to the alterations of her life following the death of her mother. The young girl aspires to go to the moon to find the ancient goddess, Chang’e.

Now if you know me in person, you know I love the theatrical experience, and part of the reason why I refuse to buy a subscription to certain streaming services like Netflix is because they do not really have a presence in the theatrical light. I feel that it is an art that must be preserved for years to come, and streaming is something that is getting in the way of that. It’s not that I do not stream at all, in fact I’ve been using the hell out of Peacock recently, but I have my preferences. And when you basically annihilate Blockbuster, that’s another gripe to add to the equation.

Thankfully, “Over the Moon” has been slated to come out theatrically in select locations, so I took the opportunity to support it. The trailer looked… okay… It kind of looked like a typical 3D animated feature that took place in space. Maybe it’ll be more fun for kids than anyone else. But of course, I love space movies, and I will admit, I somewhat obligate myself to seeing at least 5 animated movies a year now. I figured “Over the Moon” would join the list.

You want to know something? This might shock some of you, after watching this movie, I almost considered buying a Netflix subscription. It’s… THAT GOOD! I did not expect this movie to pack as satisfyingly brutal of a punch as it has. Remember a few days ago when I said “Yellow Rose” may be the best movie of the year? Yeah, I think we have a new sheriff in town! “Over the Moon” is one of the best animated films I have seen in a theater. It’s powerful from start to finish. Not just in terms of being a feast for the eyes, but going full Pixar and letting you experience a story that represents the best of the human condition! I’m not gonna lie, towards the end of this movie, man tears. I will admit it.

Speaking of Pixar and movies that make you cry, remember “Coco?” Remember the movie that came out a few Novembers ago? I’ll be honest, even though I know quite a few people who lost their grandparents and saw this movie, I consider myself lucky. At the time I watched this movie, and this stands true today, because I watched it again a week ago when it was on ABC, all my grandparents on both sides were still alive. But I feel like when it comes to “Over the Moon,” it sort of spoke to me. I felt like I was in Fei Fei’s shoes, even though I am a twenty-year-old pasty white dude who does not engage in traditions like the Moon Festival.

Now I do not mean that literally, because one of the major plot points in this film is that we see Fei Fei with her family, and they’re clearly happy together. This is not a spoiler, but the mother dies. So much of the movie takes place in times where the effects of the death take place. We see Fei Fei’s struggle to accept the reality, her father meets someone new and she has to deal with their child who according to her, is quite annoying. When the father lets Fei Fei know that he plans to marry this new woman in his life, Fei Fei does not know what to think of it. …I’ve been through this.

You may be wondering, how is this possible? Hey, Jackass! You just said your mother is still alive! What about your father?

He’s still alive! Both parents, thankfully, are still living today, and I am glad to have both in my life. But I went down a similar path in life, and like Fei Fei, the decision to go down this path was not one of my own, it was beyond my control. During the 2010s, my parents separated. At this time, my mother started seeing new people. At first it didn’t seem like anything, but as more people came in, I became incredibly uneasy. Because, not to sound like a manipulative moron, but I really wanted my dad back. My mother remains single to this day. And you know what? I have learned to live my reality, but it does not mean I don’t want him back anymore. If anything, I want him back in a heartbeat. I still see him often, but as someone who still lives with a parent, I would love it if he were still around because I spent years growing without a father figure.

This probably comes down to a basic, repetitive thought process I have. I hate change. There are exceptions, for example, I don’t always want to eat at the same restaurant every week, but I am one of those people who does not see the need to have something shift every so often, or have a bunch of things shift at once. This is part of why 2020 has literally been the Michael Bay dumpster fire explosion that it is for me. And this is also something that the movie dives into, and it explores that idea beautifully. This is why I love Fei Fei as a character, and admittedly, this is why I liked the antagonist. Honestly, some of my favorite movies like “Point Break,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Ready or Not,” and “2001: A Space Odyssey” stand where they happen to be because I am not only rooting for the hero, but the antagonistic side is fleshed out, and presents themselves as likable. I do not always have to agree with them, but I at least understand them. The antagonist here works because they are written with the intention to make you feel bad for them. They present an issue that feels down to earth and They are not perfect, they’re just like us.

…I… Have I made it clear as to how much I adore this masterpiece? This was supposed to be a time waster at best! I LOVE THIS MOVIE.

I have read some other reviews for this movie, and according to Metacritic, this film is getting mixed or average reviews so far. I’ll be honest, this film is beyond average. For all I know, maybe I am overhyping the film a little, but you also have to consider, I have been through remarkably familiar situations that this movie presents in regard to the main character’s journey. And I will say that is probably why this got tears out of me, similar to how “Coco” managed to get tears out of others.

“Over the Moon” is a Netflix original, but it feels very much like a Disney classic. In fact, this film is helmed by two people who do not have many directing credits, but they are veterans in the animation genre, tackling revered films like “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” “The Incredibles,” and “Wreck-It Ralph.” Now I cannot claim I have watched many of Disney’s older animated films, but having watched “Over the Moon,” this is what it felt like all the way. A brilliant score, beautiful images, hyperactive and likable characters, touching moments, and EPIC numbers. There is one that I have been playing on a loop not only during this review, but as I wrote my review for Liam Neeson’s “Honest Thief.” Remember how “Frozen” became that movie where you have songs from it play on loop? “Let It Go?” More like “Let It Stop!” Honestly, those songs are annoying as hell. I could barely even get past that first movie. “Over the Moon” trounces “Frozen” in every way. And I do sort of apologize to John Kahrs, one of the directors for this film, as he was an animator for “Frozen,” but I am just being honest.

I mentioned that score, and I’ll say that Steven Price composed said score. Price already has an Oscar under his belt for his score that he did for “Gravity.” This score is just as epic. Time will tell as to whether I’ll end up listening to the musical score for this film repeatedly, but it was boisterous in the theater. It really fit the adventure feel this film was going for.

The vibe for this movie is perfect. It fits the wondrous animation style, where everything looks like it’s a wacky world in “Tron” if it were on acid. I have a feeling that part of the space world in this film, where much of it takes place, looks like what a child would imagine Disney World looks like in a crazy dream before they set foot there. Little sidenote, if you’re of age and want to drop acid during this movie, I won’t stop you. This looks like a TRIP. “Over the Moon” is fast paced to the point where many kids will watch it and enjoy it, and I think some adults will get a kick out of it too. There are a couple kiddy jokes here and there, but they did work every once in a while and felt more charming than annoying for the most part. And again, this movie does what Pixar has often set out to do. Take an adult issue, put it in a kids movie, and make you cry about it. I cried more during this movie than I did during “Up,” and I think a little more than I did during “Inside Out,” and THAT says something. “Over the Moon’s” third act is probably my favorite this year, maybe aside from “Tenet,” as it is probably the most satisfying. It is the one that made me let out the most emotion. I walked out of the auditorium once the movie ended and started asking myself what it was I just saw. I could barely even concentrate driving home because I was in such disbelief. Usually when I use that word, disbelief, it is about something atrocious. This time the opposite is true. I cannot believe how exceptional “Over the Moon” is, and I feel like I am one of the few people who even knows what this movie is. I do not know how well it will do once it stays on Netflix for awhile, but I really hope for those families who have the service, it becomes part of their family movie night, because this movie took this twenty-year-old, and made him feel like he was five. If the spectacular images and music did not do that already, the emotional writing certainly did.

With that said, I know Netflix is more about the home viewing business, but I really hope Netflix considers leaving this film in whatever theaters it can for a while, because it is such a spectacle on the big screen that is better than almost any other movie I watched this year. Again, “Tenet” is the only other the competes with it in terms of visuals. I have a feeling this will inspire young children not only to reach for the stars, but maybe some will want to become animators. This feels carefully crafted, and I’m gonna use that analogy again. This reminds me of a better Pixar film. Honestly, this film is better than most of the content that we’ve gotten from Pixar in the past 4 or 5 years.

I do not know if this film will be remembered in the same way that many other animated films are, but I will not forget it. That is for sure.

In the end, “Over the Moon” accomplished every goal it set out to do. Create likable characters, fulfill each character’s arch, write and unleash epic songs and music, show off marvelous animation, and create something that both kids and adults will adore. This movie made me feel like a kid again. Sometimes like a baby. The cast from Cathy Ang to Phillipa Soo to Ken Jeong are all incredible. This is a movie that I thought would be watchable, but SO GOOD that I would consider subscribing to Netflix? That’s another level! “Roma” and “Marriage Story” were great movies. Masterpieces in fact! But I do not remember saying that I would want to subscribe to Netflix to watch them again afterwards. I am already paying for a few services, but I might actually subscribe to Netflix JUST to watch this again. “Stranger Things?” “House of Cards?” “The Witcher?” Who cares? I just want to cue that “Over the Moon” movie again! I do not know if I will let out man tears during another movie this year like I did for this one.

Throughout the year 2020, I watched movies like “The Vast of Night,” “Tenet,” “The Last Shift,” and “Yellow Rose,” all of them are great. But as I reviewed each one, I can’t say that they’ve earned what I’m going to give “Over the Moon.” For the first time in 2020, I’m going to give “Over the Moon” a 10/10!

FINALLY. That’s all I can say. FINALLY. I cannot even believe that it took me 10 months to find a movie that I would consider to be within my top grade. Let me just say, 10/10 does not always mean perfect, because no movie is perfect. But when your movie is this imaginative, marvelously put together, and as big of a surprise as it is, it prompts you to grade it with a 10. This started off feeling like a generic kids movie, with a little something else added to it, by the end it is one of the greatest stories I’ve had the pleasure to experience myself.

Once again, this review is dedicated to Audrey Wells, who previously had credits for films including “The Game Plan,” “The Hate U Give,” and “A Dog’s Purpose.” I will say that I have not seen all those films. But “Over the Moon” honestly moved me to a point where I was shook. I was glued to my chair. It made me want to dream bigger, aim higher, and as someone who had to face new people come into a parent’s love life, I related to this movie 100%. Audrey Wells, if you read this from above, other people finished your masterpiece, and I also want to throw in some praise for Jennifer Yee McDevitt for her work on the screenplay as well, but you deserve all the credit from the moon and back. To everyone who reads this. Dream. Dream young, dream old, dream on your deathbed, and dream even in the afterlife. Wells, your movie is here, and people are going to love it. Mark my words.

Rest in peace.

Thanks for reading this review! FINALLY a 10/10 movie in 2020! I never thought I would see that! I never thought we’d get movies period! But here we are! All I can say is that if everyone’s giving Pixar’s “Soul” high praise right now, I can only imagine how that movie would turn out in comparison to “Over the Moon” because this is by far my favorite movie of 2020. There have been a bunch of movies that I have debated would fit the top spot by the end of the year. That debate is over, “Over the Moon” trounces the other candidates. As far as my next review goes, that is likely still being decided, but I will make sure I can see something and write about it as quick as possible. Maybe I’ll watch “The Witches” on HBO Max, who knows? If you want to see more great content from Scene Before, follow the blog either with an email or a WordPress account! Be sure to check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Over the Moon?” What did you think about it? Also, what is your favorite movie of 2020 so far? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

TENET Gets Delayed to July 31st, INCEPTION Returns to Theatres July 17th

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! This is a post that I never wanted to make, but feared one day that I would have to put out. It is an entry to Scene Before that I wish had never been thought of, prophecized, or conceptualized. But here we are. It is that day. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the worst movie news of 2020…

That’s… WHAT I THOUGHT I WOULD HAVE SAID.

Instead, we get some rather unfortunate news. Followed by SOME INFORMATION THAT MADE MY BRAIN RUN ON A HAMSTER WHEEL!

But first, the bad news, and man is it ugly. As described by the title, the Warner Bros. film “Tenet,” directed by Christopher Nolan, my second most anticipated movie of the year, which we just got a trailer for by the way, has officially been delayed. But only by two weeks. To add fuel to the fire, guess what? “Wonder Woman 1984” is pushed back to October! “Unhinged,” which was supposed to come out early July, has been delayed, kind of like “Tenet,” not far into the future, but July 10th. “Matrix 4” has been delayed again, “Godzilla vs. Kong” was delayed as well and it will be going into “Matrix 4’s” spot on the release calendar. Although oddly enough, “Bill & Ted Face the Music,” from MGM/Orion, will be releasing August 14th, a week earlier than originally anticipated. By the way, August 14th is also the date “Wonder Woman 1984” was originally pushed back to when this COVID-19 frenzy started.

I said to myself a couple times during this pandemic that if “Tenet” gets pushed back by like a week or two, maybe somewhere in early August, I’d be fine. Having realized this delay as of now, I am admittedly, a little peeved, especially considering how there seemed to be some recent commitment across the United States at the very least to reopening the economy. After that latest trailer from the previous month, I thought it was a lock that we would be seeing “Tenet” on July 17th. Granted, the trailer itself never suggested it, but if you go to YouTube and check the description of the trailer, it would have suggested a July 17th release date. There seemed to be some sort of commitment! I’m glad it’s not going past July, but “Tenet” looked like it would be the savior of cinema. My big question is… Will “Mulan” be the new savior? After all, it is scheduled to release on July 24th. I would not be surprised if Disney either sticks to it or releases it via On Demand. That movie should be fine as long as it doesn’t go to Disney+, kind of “Artemis Fowl,” which I am hearing is probably one of the worst Disney movies ever made. Will this change the game in terms of how people return to the theater and see new movies?

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One of the big draw-ins for “Tenet” is the massive potential to be had with a theatrical experience, and I will say if that element of the marketing goes away, it’s gonna be a little harder to get me to watch the film, because such news of it going onto VOD could leave a bad taste in my mouth, thus making me want to avoid it at least for some time. Christopher Nolan has always been a director that relies on story, but also immersion. A lot of his films have been shot with 70mm, IMAX cameras, or made specifically for the IMAX experience.

But… This does not mean all hope is lost.

While Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” is no longer available to be seen on July 17th, one of Nolan’s older films… will.

One of my favorite Christopher Nolan films is the very successful 2010 flick, “Inception.” That film is so mind-twisting, so visually brilliant, so masterfully produced, I love it. It even made it into my 25 favorite films of the past decade! As suggested, this film turns ten this year, and what a better way to celebrate than to bring it back into theaters, where it ended up earning a whopping $829.9 million at the box office, which many original titles nowadays would have to break an arm and a leg to earn.

The film will be returning to theaters on July 17th, however there is currently no absolute specification as to where it will be playing. I am willing to bet, considering how Christopher Nolan is involved, there will be IMAX screenings of some sort. Maybe there are a few 70mm prints from 2010 lying around that have neither fully deteriorated or been destroyed, perhaps they could be played at some of the bigger chain venues like the AMC Metreon in San Francisco, California. Maybe one or two museums can pitch in. Either that or they can make a few new prints. Maybe some screens will do 35mm, the possibilities are endless! “Inception” is a movie I missed in the theater. For the record, “Inception” was PG-13, I was ten years old, and quite honestly, I have little memory of ever truly knowing about it to a large extent at such a young age. I didn’t really discover who Christopher Nolan was until I was say 12 or 13 years old, which is when I watched his “Batman” movies for the first time. I would be truly excited to go see “Inception” in a way that it is perhaps meant to be seen. I will admit, when it comes to the story, even though it is coherent, it still takes a minor toll on my brain as I witness everything happen. But it doesn’t take away from all the glory that is to be seen.

This was just recently announced, so there are currently no tickets on sale as of yet. But I would suspect that they would be on sale during the beginning of July at the latest, maybe Independence Day. After all, Christopher Nolan’s last film he directed, “Dunkirk,” had its advance tickets go on sale about two weeks in advance. Maybe this would be the case for “Inception,” unless Warner Bros. thinks it would not matter because this is a ten year old movie that a lot of people have already seen.

And no, “Inception” is not a ten year old movie. It’s a ten year old work of art. Learn your facts, everyone. Okay… well, it’s still nine years old, actually… It released on July the 16th. So it TURNS ten literally in a month! I’m sticking with what I said!

Nevertheless, I must say, if it were not for this I am your father-esque plot twist where “Inception” swoops in at the last minute to announce its presence, I probably would have destroyed my entire neighborhood at this point. Now, I would not be lying if I told you there was another movie I was looking forward to more that I think will be better than “Tenet.” By the way, that one movie, and one movie only, at least for the moment, is “Dune.” I will also point out however, when it comes to “Tenet,” it has come to this point that when it comes to all the movies I have ever known, there is not one I would want to see more right now than “Tenet.” Not only is this due to the fact that I’ve been staying inside my house for eternity upon eternity, but Christopher Nolan is honestly the holy grail of modern filmmakers for me at this point. I want just about every movie to succeed, but when it comes to “Tenet,” a movie helmed by my favorite director, from my favorite film studio, that is going to be, and I apologize for nerding out here, my favorite theatrical format in IMAX 70mm, I don’t think there is a better time for what I would call the Hollywood happy ending. Yes, “Tenet” was delayed, but part of me doubts that the delay was going to hurt the industry, nor was it a sign of a complete lack of confidence either in the film itself or how well it will do financially.

My question is this… Is this a test? To maybe get moviegoers to speak with their wallet? Is there enough reason for the average moviegoer, or even the movie buff to show up at the cinema in a pandemic like this? If “Inception” makes less than a million bucks, will “Tenet” still come out on July 31st? If you know me, you’d know I’d be there day one, even if I have to go out of state. But I am just one movie reviewing moron. There are so many other people out there.

I will also point out that this reinstates something I have thought about for some time, specifically the theory that “Tenet” is secretly an “Inception” sequel, or at least a story taking place in the “Inception” universe. Yes, these screenings that are coming up could be a tenth anniversary celebration, but at the same time, this could be a marketing technique. This could be a way to get “Inception” fresh in everybody’s minds again that way the impact of being in the same universe would be that much greater. Then again, if you do want to refresh your memory on “Inception” right now, a month before July 2020, it is available on Netflix. Although it is also available on other streaming platforms and physical media through DVD, Blu-ray, and my preferred option, because I’m a snob, 4K Blu-ray.

Nevertheless, I am glad “Inception” is coming back for more screenings. I will happily show up in a mask, wearing a hazmat suit, and bring my own hand sanitizer if necessary! As for “Tenet,” I will be seeing it as early as possible, when it comes out on July 31st, unless of course there is a press screening, which I kind of doubt there will be since that occasionally involves a heavy crowd. That and… (whispers) “Tenet” sounds like a movie where you can’t say anything about it before the spoiler police knock you out.

“Inception” will return to theaters July 17th, hopefully that date is a lock and it won’t get changed, and “Tenet” will be in theaters in digital, 35mm, 70mm, and ALL IMAX formats July 31st. Tickets are not on sale yet, but hopefully there will be tickets soon. Thanks for reading this post! This is my 399th post on Scene Before, unless you count one that was deleted. Keeping with the tradition of the past, my next post, which is my 400th, will be a Blu-ray collection update. I’m going to be going over my entire movie-based collection. I could do TV, but that would divert from the movie theme of Scene Before and I would only show like three items if that were the case. I will have this up sometime next week, same with my review for “Days of Thunder,” starring Tom Cruise, as I continue June’s theme for the blog, Tom Cruise month. I also plan to review “The King of Staten Island” pretty soon, maybe I’ll watch something else and review it as well. Who knows? Like I said before, although in an alternate context, the possibilities are endless. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Check out my Facebook page and give it a like, and speaking of likes, if you have the proper account credentials, give this post a like! Otherwise, just share with your friends who probably are just like me and really want an excuse to go back to a flippin’ movie theater. I want to know, what are your thoughts on “Tenet” getting delayed? Are you willing to go into a theater to see this movie? I know I am! Also, what are your thoughts on “Inception” coming back to theaters? I’ve been waiting for a train for a long time, and I hope it takes me to the cinema! Let’s go already! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes – Part 7

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! It is now time for part 7 of the Scene Before series “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes.” This series describes the recent happenings, or in some cases, a lack of happenings, in the film industry as the world deals with the COVID-19 outbreak.

As much as I want to continue to create informative content, I’m getting to the point where this series has become an annoyance. But I continue to do it anyway because historians can look back on this and remember it as a dire time for the film industry, which it really is. And those reviews I’ve been saving for months cannot go to waste. So Scene Before is STILL your place for the apocalypse! But who knows how much longer this will last? If I have to do more than twelve or thirteen, I might shove an aluminum soda can down my throat. In other news, I still know how to put on pants, I have not been going outside, and if I’m not back in the cinema by the end of July, I am going to throw all my DVDs and Blu-rays out the window like I’m a stubborn child!

And since we are still on a downward spiral, let’s get to the news of the world!

Starting in New York, we have news regarding what could be the United States’ most famous public transportation system, the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority). Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York state, made a major change to the system. The MTA is known for having a 24/7 schedule, so they never stop running. However, under Cuomo’s order, the system will be shutting down from 1 AM to 5 AM. This is likely a financially responsible decision, as nightlife in New York is nonexistent at this point. Plus, ridership is down 90% as far as the system goes. With less money, there’s more of a willingness to engage in the system’s preservation. This is also part of an effort to properly disinfect MTA property and machines, making a safer and cleaner ride for customers.

While some states are going to have to wait a bit longer to reopen, some like Georgia and Texas have begun easing on restrictions. Another state that has announced some easing on restrictions is the New England state of New Hampshire. The state plans to partially reopen starting May 11th. Certain pieces of economic industry including golf courses, campgrounds, and hair salons are permitted to reopen. Outdoor dining is also permitted to take place. Strict guidelines are still in place however as there is still a tendency to keep people 6 feet apart. New Hampshire currently has over twenty-five hundred confirmed COVID-19 cases so far. That is more than neighboring states Maine and Vermont, but is significantly less than its other neighboring state, Massachusetts, which has over seventy thousand cases.

Let’s go over to the United Kingdom and talk about Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Previously diagnosed with COVID-19, Johnson spent time in intensive care and was monitored health-wise. As he gets back into his routine, he stated that doctors were ready to announce his death in an event that he refers to as a “death of Stalin’-type scenario.” Johnson told UK newspaper The Sun that he required “liters and liters of oxygen.” During hospitalization, the Prime Minister kept asking himself: “How am I going to get out of this?” In other news, Johnson and his wife recently named their newborn son Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson. The “Nicholas” in this full name is chosen in honor of a doctor who helped aid Johnson.

Before we dive into our main topics, here’s a conglomerate of news that I ought to share because it can be packaged into a little box. While most theaters in the United States seem to have a plan on opening back up in the summer, because nothing’s out until then, some theaters are already opening their doors. For example, in Rhode Island, the Rustic Tri-View Drive-In, located in North Smithfield, is now part of the state’s reopen plan according to Governor Gina Raimondo. As for non-drive ins, Texas has three Santikos theaters reopening with a $5 ticket deal. For the record, this is a third of the company’s locations. Honestly, while it is good news for business that these theaters are reopening, I think it is also good news for health that they are taking it slow. The major chains like AMC and Cinemark still plan on a July reopening, which I think is fine, because it builds up anticipation and there’s nothing really new playing until then. Outside the U.S., Norway is reopening its theaters starting May 7th, capping the limit at 50 people per screening. The movie theater to me is a place beyond the imagination. It’s also a place where I occasionally get to see masterpieces. These masterpieces often get awards, such as Oscars. Speaking of the Oscars, let’s talk about them!

THE ACADEMY CHANGES RULES FOR THE 93RD ANNUAL OSCARS

One of my favorite days of the year is Oscar Sunday. When this crisis first started, I was a little worried that would not even be able to see an Academy Awards show next year, much less get more movies that could potentially be nominated. After all, when you are a studio or crew and cannot come out with your movie, it’s kind of a struggle. However, The Academy may have something planned next year. One indicator of this is them announcing changes to their rules and layout. Most notably, the Academy is putting its traditional rule of its nominees needing to have a theatrical release on hold. Specifically, the rule that a movie must play in Los Angeles county cinemas for at least a week with daily screenings taking place at least thrice. So if you play your movie in cities such as Los Angeles, Burbank, Santa Monica, Long Beach, Glendale, Pasadena, Culver City, or anywhere else in Los Angeles county that may have a movie theater under certain requirements, it could potentially be nominated for an Academy Award. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Academy is making an exception for this year. The following quote is taken from The Academy’s website, oscars.org.

“Until further notice, and for the 93rd Awards year only, films that had a previously planned theatrical release but are initially made available on a commercial streaming or VOD service may qualify in the Best Picture, general entry and specialty categories for the 93rd Academy Awards under these provisions:

  1. The film must be made available on the secure Academy Screening Room member-only streaming site within 60 days of the film’s streaming or VOD release;
  2. The film must meet all other eligibility requirements.”

So this means that films like “Trolls: World Tour,” “Scoob!,” and “The King of Staten Island,” which are either already On Demand or will be dropping towards On Demand soon, are considered eligible for the Academy Awards. Films that barely even got a theatrical release like “Bloodshot” or “The Hunt” also qualify. I’m willing to imagine to some extent that this *may* count a film such as “The Lovebirds,” which was going to theatrically release this year and make a debut at South by Southwest. Although the festival was canceled and Paramount is no longer putting the film out in cinemas. But unlike films such as “Trolls: World Tour,” which is available on platforms including Prime Video, Google Play, Vudu, FandangoNOW, AMC Theatres On-Demand, iTunes, and cable outlets such as Xfinity and Fios, “The Lovebirds” is going straight to Netflix. Given how Netflix has made a major presence at the Academy Awards in past years, films like “The Lovebirds” could be considered eligible, but is the Academy only considering certain platforms? Are exclusive platform deals going to tie in somehow? What about “Artemis Fowl” on Disney+? That movie was supposed to come out this month, but unfortunately that’s not happening.

Also keeping fine print in mind, these rules pertain to films that were once planning on theatrically releasing. So films like Netflix’s “Extraction,” which was intended for a streaming platform, or HBO’s “Bad Education,” which went straight to television, will not qualify. This policy is also not permanent, as the Academy intends to make this only apply for this year’s ceremony, and anticipates an end date in the future when there is a sense of normalcy, not to mention when theaters re-open. However, the Academy is also planning on expanding qualifying theaters to U.S. areas including New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, Atlanta, Chicago, and Miami. As one who lives fairly close to Boston, I am disappointed, but we can’t have everything, even if sports prove otherwise. By the way, I hate football. I said it.

PHYSICAL MEDIA (and other electronic) SALES GO UP

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Now I imagine some people will flat out not care about this, but to me, physical media is the best way to watch a movie at home. Because when you buy a movie on Prime Video for example, you don’t own it. Yes, you possess the film digitally, but if the service goes down, crashes, or the company behind it closes its doors forever, you’ll probably never be able to watch it again. With physical media, it is all up to you. Now it is not a surprise that we have had more time on our hands to go on Netflix and watch “Extraction,” to flock over to Disney+ and watch “Star Wars,” to jump on over to FandangoNOW and give “Trolls: World Tour” a rent. But what KIND OF surprises me, and I say kind of, is how much of a presence physical media has in this pandemic. According to recent statistics, DVD and Blu-ray players went up 27% during the pandemic. Keep in mind, this is a market that Samsung recently abandoned.

Another thing to keep in mind is that DVD and Blu-ray players, which went up by 27% is not the only winner here, in fact, the increase is not as big as other categories such as TV mounts (41%), printers (61%), and streaming players (67%). So rather than just being a great boost for physical media, it is also a great boost for tech. TVs have been doing well, and so have computers. As for where the actual total of sales for DVD and Blu-ray DISCS stand, that’s another question. Although, based on this quote from NPD’s Tom Baker, that type of electronic may be doing just fine.

“Sales are up as consumers stay at home and look for multiple forms of entertainment. These include DVDs and Blu-ray discs to entertain children while their parents are working, backup access devices if Internet access is challenged by streaming, or simply the consumers’ realization that they may need a physical disc player as an alternative to streaming and either they didn’t already have one or the one they do have needs an upgrade.”

Honestly, in a time like this, I think some people are going to want physical media. Sure, it involves getting up and putting in a disc, but one of the reasons why I am such an advocate for it is the technical side of it. Outlets like YouTube and Netflix have lowered the default quality of content to standard definition. With Blu-ray, the default quality is 1080p, or if you have a smaller setup, it’ll work in 720p. Yes, standard definition is the quality of DVD, which is 480p, but again, I’ll bring up the fact that you have control over your content. Netflix, or more specifically, Warnermedia, is not going to snatch “Friends” away whenever the year ends like they did months ago. If you don’t want it, just sell it and get some money back! Plus, you get all the bonus features which can help you pass the time. I just got the “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” 4K Blu-ray last month, I still need to watch the bonus content! So I still have something to do! Also, what if the Internet goes down? You don’t need any Internet to watch a DVD! If I had to come up with any downsides, maybe it involves a little more activity, but since we refuse to go outside, it could be worth taking a couple steps to the collection and popping a disc in. Or, since places like Walmart sells them, there’s always a chance, given how grocery stores are becoming petri dishes right now, that other people touched the DVDs or Blu-rays and spread their germs, which may not be the most pleasant happening for a time like this. But of course, worst case scenario, you can always order these things online. Although I can also imagine that some people are buying these devices because they have smart capabilities as well, allowing them to contain apps like Netflix, YouTube, and Prime Video.

NO MORE KEANU DAY, BUT HERE’S MORE DELAYS!

One of the actors who arguably was the “winner” of 2019 is Keanu Reeves. His year in acting brought him success through films like “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” and “Toy Story 4.” He did films like “Replicas,” which honestly sucked, but he also became a heavy hitting piece of promotion for the upcoming game “Cyberpunk 2077,” by making a surprise appearance at E3 last year. And honestly, this might have spawned my favorite slice of all the content that went viral on the Internet last year.

In fact this year, the Keanussance is likely going to continue. After all, he is making an appearance in the third “SpongeBob SquarePants” movie in a minor role. The movie by the way for those who don’t know is titled “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run.” Speaking of known properties, Reeves is also going to be reuniting with Alex Winter to star in “Bill & Ted Face the Music.” Although, if you are a fan of one of Keanu Reeves’ most popular franchises, specifically “John Wick,” prepare to be disappointed. “John Wick: Chapter 4,” once scheduled to come out May 21st, 2021, will now be releasing May 27th, 2022, a full year later. Taking the spot of “John Wick” is the “Saw” reboot titled “Spiral,” which was supposed to be out May 15th of this year. Speaking of Lionsgate films, “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard,” which is a sequel to 2017’s “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” will be hitting theaters August 20th, 2021, as opposed to its prior date of August 28th, 2020. An upcoming horror drama, “Antebellum,” is set to release August 21st, 2020, as opposed to its original date which has already passed, April 24th, 2020.

However, sticking with “John Wick: Chapter 4,” this delay is a particularly interesting one. Not just because it involves a meme-worthy actor and a hit action franchise, but this film was originally supposed to come out the same day as another Keanu Reeves movie. And it’s not some indie film made by a studio like A24 or Neon. It’s not, THANKFULLY, a sequel to “Replicas,” a film Reeves starred in that turned out to be one of the worst films of 2019. It’s “The Matrix 4.” Now if you asked me five years ago about the possibility of a “Matrix 4,” I’d probably toss the idea behind my head. There didn’t seem to be much place else that the story could go. But hey, everything’s getting a reboot and a remake now, so why not “The Matrix?” I honestly don’t know what to expect from it, but the fact that this is a reboot and not a remake pleases me. Nevertheless, both films prior to the delay of “John Wick: Chapter 4” were scheduled to come out May 21st, 2021. The Internet has often called this “Keanu Day.” I will say that the delay of “John Wick: Chapter 4” is both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because it avoids having the crew rush on making the film, but it’s also unfortunate because as a Keanu Reeves follower, I figured it would be fun to go to the theater and do a Keanu Reeves double feature. However, if more good news needs to be said, I should also point out it’s perhaps likely that these films, which by the way, are from different companies, will be marketed to similar groups of people, and maybe both could lose their respective studios money as a result. Both films debuting on their own release dates could not only benefit Lionsgate, who is delaying “John Wick: Chapter 4,” but also Warner Bros., who is responsible for “Matrix 4.” Not everyone has the money and time to go see two seemingly similar movies. While “John Wick” fans may have to wait, this could give Lionsgate a greater chance of creating a “John Wick: Chapter 5,” because what if “John Wick: Chapter 4” doesn’t warrant a sequel after losing lots of money to “Matrix 4?” At least the studio has a “Hunger Games” prequel and “Knives Out 2” potentially coming soon so it’s not like they’ll spend years losing money from here on out.

AMC THEATRES AND REGAL ENTERTAINMENT GROUP BAN UNIVERSAL FILMS

Can I get some popcorn?! Because I’d say it’s time to enjoy the greatest battle in cinematic history, and it’s not even in a movie! Tonight’s fighters are… movie theaters and Universal Pictures! Now, “Trolls: World Tour” is a one of a kind movie, mainly because Universal decided that it should be released directly onto VOD. Universal bragged about the film’s progress so far to the point where they thought it would be a good idea to release more of their films On Demand while also putting them into theaters.

Now, I’m going to have to be very careful here, because several different outlets have reported similar sounding items that might contextualize something different.

The story here begins by bringing the mega-chain AMC Theatres into the mix. AMC Theatres saw Universal’s plan to simultaneously release movies theatrically and at home and responded by saying that they will not play any of Universal’s movies if that’s the case. While a source like The Hollywood Reporter did a story on this and cited from AMC CEO Adam Aron that the company will no longer play any of Universal’s films in its theaters worldwide, one quote from Deadline’s article suggests, also from Adam Aron, that they will not do so “on these terms.” By that, it likely means that AMC will not release Universal’s films if they just follow a simultaneous home video rollout. Keep in mind, it is traditional for films to follow a strict theatrical window. While there have been cases of films like “Black Panther” that you can still see in some theaters while it becomes available at home, tradition has suggested that a movie released for theaters must be out for about ninty days before it comes home. Universal doing a release like this not only ignores the theatrical window, but it also makes the theater potentially lose money because people could just stay home and put the movie on their TV. In fact, movie theaters were against Universal since this pandemic started. While they did manage to have a rather solid idea of making “Trolls: World Tour” a straight to On Demand movie, other studios seemingly have concretely laid out their plans and avoided giving such a last minute notice like Universal appeared to. NATO (National Association of Theater Owners) head John Fithian was against this from day one.

“Only Universal, and only on ‘Trolls,’ did one studio skip the theatrical model and go straight to the home. Universal continues to advertise to consumers that ‘Trolls’ will be released simultaneously to theaters and the home on April 10. And they are lying to consumers. Universal knows that theaters will still be closed on April 10, so unlike every other distributor who must simply delay their releases in that time period, but still understand that theatrical release is essential to their business model, Universal on ‘Trolls’ didn’t make that decision. Exhibitors will not forget this.”

Fithian also shares his thoughts on the current matter of AMC abandoning Universal films with this quote…

“Universal does not have reason to use unusual circumstances in an unprecedented environment as a springboard to bypass true theatrical releases. Theaters provide a beloved immersive, shared experience that cannot be replicated — an experience that many of the VOD viewers of this film would have participated in had the world not been sequestered at home, desperate for something new to watch with their families. We are confident that when theaters reopen, studios will continue to benefit from the global theatrical box office, followed by traditional home release.”

Let me just say that if Universal is planning on releasing “F9” through VOD the same day as in theaters, that might be one of the worst decisions they’ve ever made. People go to those movies because they provide adrenaline rushes, the effect is not as great if watched on a TV, tablet, phone, or computer. This is why before this whole pandemic, I bought opening Thursday tickets. Luckily, I did get my money back. So if all Universal films are never coming to AMC again, it’s going to make it harder for me to review them as AMC locations are easy for me to access. The theater is a huge money-maker for Universal, to have hundreds of screens lost is not a great investment in the long run. People are inevitably going to get back into routines, and part of that routine is the movie theater. It might take awhile for some people, but if you’re someone like me who sees a difference in the experience from watching at home and in the theater, I’m going to choose the theater by a long mile. This is why I want to see “Tenet” in July. Heck, before this all happened, I probably had little to no intention of going to see the remake for “Mulan,” but I’ll show up because I want to support movie theaters.

But just you wait! There’s more! Universal, if you do nothing, cinema chains will double the offer! That’s two cinema chains not playing your movies, for a chance to lose more money! Cineworld, which currently owns the U.S. staple, Regal Entertainment Group, also said that they “will not be showing movies that fail to respect the windows.” So, should Universal continue to release movies On Demand early, Regal, along with AMC, will not be playing those films in their venues. Alternate chains like Showcase Cinemas, Alamo Drafthouse, and Arclight for example have not really said much about this matter. But remember, the theatrical window is a sacred bond of trust. If you’re putting a movie in theaters, chances are you have to follow it or face consequences.

Also, I wonder how much longer this will go on for, because guess what? If you go to Universal Studios Hollywood, you’ll notice on the CityWalk that there is a movie theater that currently goes by the name Universal Cinema. The theater has reserved seating, recliners, a Director’s Lounge, and an IMAX with Laser. By the way, that IMAX is also equipped with a 70mm projector, which if the theaters open back up in time for “Tenet,” will probably be used. Guess who owns that theater? AMC of all possible names! Who knows what is going to happen there?! As for Universal Orlando Resort, they’re safer in this circumstance as they currently have a Cinemark. They had an AMC at one point, but that has now closed. Gotta love drama.

NEW HOME VIDEO RELEASES

First off, it is Tuesday, May the 5th! Meaning it is the day after “Star Wars Day,” AKA May the 4th! For those who have not heard it already, May the 4th be with you and as for today, enjoy your Revenge of the Fifth! With that being said, there’s some new “Star Wars” content on Disney+, including a documentary on “The Mandalorian,” the series finale of “The Clone Wars,” and since we talk about movies on here, one of the new additions is “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” the conclusion to “The Skywalker Saga.” As of now, the full “Skywalker Saga” is available on the service. The only theatrically released “Star Wars” movie not available on Disney+ at the moment is “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” However, the movie is currently on Netflix. If you are wondering when “Solo” will be coming to Disney+, it will be available starting July 9th, 2020. As for what’s coming On Demand, one example is “The Lodge,” which is about a soon-to-be-stepmom who is staying with her finace’s children at a holiday village, where strange events begin to occur. The film is available today, May 5th, on DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital. Another film getting such a release on May 5th is “Arkansas” starring Liam Hemsworth and Vince Vaughn. It is the directorial debut of Clark Duke and was supposed to be shown at this year’s South by Southwest Festival. The film is a thriller about two men who live under the orders of a kingpin whom they’ve never met. Unfortunately, a deal goes wrong, meaning they could end up facing harsh consequences. “Arkansas” was supposed to theatrically release on May 1st, the same day that “Black Widow” would have hit theaters had it not been delayed. However, it is now available physically and digitally starting today, May 5th. One more film to avoid skipping over is “I Still Believe,” which is now out on DVD and Blu-ray as of today. The film is based on the true story and journey of Christian music star Jeremy Camp.

Thanks for reading the seventh part of the ongoing series “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes!” Happy Revenge of the Fifth, hope all the “Star Wars” fanatics in the world are happily going about their lives and not getting into fights in comments sections, because that’s impossible, right? Also, Happy Cinco de Mayo, on a Taco Tuesday coincidentally! Two days that go together quite well! Also, if you want remind yourself of a simpler time when movie theaters were open, be sure to check out my latest YouTube video where I document my experience of going to see “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” on opening night. Disney has already put copyright claims on it, but I really don’t care as I enjoyed making the video. Also, if you like the video, leave a like, if you want to subscribe, go ahead! Speaking of leaving likes, be sure to check out my Facebook page and immerse yourself to posts much shorter than these while also getting the latest updates from Scene Before! Since we’re still on the topic of likes, be sure to like this post if you’re enjoying the content, and as we’re continuing promotion, why not give this blog a follow either with a WordPress account or your email? I want to know, what is the biggest piece of movie news for you in regards to the COVID-19 crisis this past week or so? Did I miss anything? Also, how did you celebrate “Star Wars” day? Me personally, I started on May 3rd! TBS had a marathon and I watched for hours! Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes – Part 6

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! It is now time for part 6 of the Scene Before series “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes.” This series describes the recent happenings, or in some cases, a lack of happenings, in the film industry as the world deals with the COVID-19 outbreak.

I’m telling you guys, this is getting annoying! We now have as many entries to this series, as “Sharknado” does within its own series! This is wrong! And honestly, this may be the biggest post yet, because a lot has happened in the entertainment realm! But of course, let’s get to the real world news first! By the way, if you’re asking, none of it has to do with Kim Jung Un. I’m only counting COVID-19 matters.

Today we’ll start in a film capital, California. Last week, Florida’s Duval County was in the news because people spent time at the area’s beaches that were recently reopened. This was referenced a ton on social media, which lead to the trend #FloridaMorons. While I never found #CaliforniaMorons to be trending on Twitter, some people did make tweets with that hashtag inserted. Before we go any further, here’s some highlights related to this subject, even if all of them don’t use the hashtag.

Once again, I did not see #CaliforniaMorons trending, but just to prove that I am not the only person who is noticing this…

I know, right?! I love California! I was just there a month ago! But, holy crap! This weekend, California was hit with warm weather, reaching 80 and 90 degrees. Since it is so warm, a lot of people thought it would be a good time to go to the beach. But of course, because COVID-19 ruins fun, there is a massive chance of spreading the infection. Naturally, much of the response on social media to this matter has been particularly negative. Speaking of beaches getting traffic, San Diego officially reopened their beaches starting Monday April 27th. However, this does come with restrictions. People cannot gather in groups, park, or lie down to get some rays. Question about parking, does Uber count? Drivers need to get by in these times! Plus, Fiesta Island, piers, and boardwalks will be closed. However, you can still swim, you can still fish, you can still surf. This is part of phase 1 rules in regards to San Diego beaches. California Governor Gavin Newsom had this to say about the matter…

“This virus doesn’t go home because it’s a beautiful sunny day around our coasts.”

Although, California is not done with announcing closures, because the Orange County Fair will officially be shut down for this year. This year’s fair was supposed to last for 23 days, on every day of the week except for Mondays and Tuesdays starting July 17th and ending August 16th. The fair, held in Costa Mesa, California, has previously seen over a million visitors in a year.

Two of the celebrities who have been taking up lots of spotlight in this time of a pandemic are Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, both of whom previously been tested positive for COVID-19. However, time has passed, and the two seem to be better then they were a month ago. Although they are back in the news for better reasons. Hanks and Wilson agreed to donate blood and plasma for a possible vaccine. After all, both individuals carry needed antibodies. I will be real, I f*cking hate needles. Even if they are necessary. I feel as if I’m gonna make it out of a burning building should a vaccine be injected into me in order to avoid getting COVID-19. However, if you want to convince an anti-vaxxer to get a vaccine, tell them that Tom Hanks will now be a part of you.

Speaking of Tom Hanks, the man known for such films like “Cast Away” and “Bridge of Spies” defended a child the other day. While he was not able to get physically involved, partially because of physical distancing limitations, he did take action. When Hanks and his wife, Wilson, were diagnosed with coronavirus, an 8-year-old male Australian student by the name of Corona De Vries wrote a letter to the couple saying he loved his own name, but he was often called the coronavirus, making him “sad and angry.” Hanks saw the letter and responded back suggesting “You got a friend in me,” a phrase inspired by “Toy Story,” another film Hanks is famous for.

Say what you want about celebrities being selfish and entitled, even in these times. Tom Hanks suggests otherwise.

Now I’ve talked quite a bit about Donald Trump, who as of recently, just invented the “Noble Prizes!”

By the way, if you are wondering why I am not using Trump’s tweet for this, it no longer exists!

Last week, after Trump suggested that the coronavirus “may not come back at all” for a second time, Dr. Anthony Fauci begs to differ. He suggested the possibility of a second outbreak after having a discussion with Robert Redfield, director of the CDC. This outbreak could hit in the fall, and be more complexing considering how the flu pops up at the end of the year.

Speaking of Trump, time for some bleach drinking! In the ambitious search for a COVID-19 cure, Donald Trump has suggested the possibility of injecting disinfectant in order to rid one’s body of COVID-19. Let me just start off by saying, yes, injecting disinfectant will VERY LIKELY get rid of COVID-19, because you’re about to f*cking go down along with it. Putting bleach in the body is good for a lot of things. Erasing the lyrics of “Baby Shark” from your head! Forgetting whatever the “Cats” movie was! Oh, and trying to become a f*cking ghost! The COVID-19 crisis is not going to be solved through disinfectant going inside you! Besides, everyone’s afraid to go to the supermarket right now! You think everyone’s gonna want to pile on top of each other in the same aisle grabbing Clorox?!

I’m done! I’m really just done! I just want to go to a restaurant and the movies, is that too much to ask?! Wait…

Before we go any further, I’m going to remind everyone that in my post from last week, I documented that Georgia was planning to reopen on April 27th. Well, that was yesterday. But when it comes to movie theaters, those are not reopening. I mentioned this specific before, but I thought I’d bring it up as a refresher. Georgia Theater Company, otherwise known as GTC Movies, is not planning on reopening theaters anytime soon. They intend on waiting until July, when Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” comes out, a movie which we’ll talk about later. Speaking of which, Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, has given theaters the green light to open starting Friday with 25% capacity. Chains like AMC and Cinemark do not plan on opening until the summer. Although in addition to that, a movie theater chain that is absolutely critical to Texas is taking similar actions. Specifically, Alamo Drafthouse. For the record, these theaters are not entirely shuttered, as some are open for takeout and delivery. After all, Alamo Drafthouse is known for its food selection. However, an Alamo Drafthouse spokesperson had this to say in regards to possibly reopening…

“Opening safely is a very complex project that involves countless new procedures and equipment, all of which require extensive training. This is something we cannot and will not do casually or quickly. We will not be opening this weekend. But know this, when we do open, we will be providing the safest possible experience for both our staff and our guests and we can’t wait to see you all again!”

It seems that Alamo going to follow the footsteps of other chains and maybe reopen during mid-summer. That is, should COVID-19 not affect the safety of theater patrons. Besides, not much material is coming out in theaters these days, including a movie I am going to talk about right now.

SCOOB! GOES STRAIGHT TO DIGITAL

One of the family films that was set to come out this year is “Scoob!,” which if you cannot tell, belongs to the “Scooby-Doo” IP. Now “Scooby-Doo” has had a lot of content over the years, but in May 2020 the franchise was about to have its latest theatrically released title. A couple of films within the IP have been presented this way already, and they were written by James Gunn, who of course is now famous for his work on the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films. This film was set to release May 15th, 2020, but Warner Bros. took it off the release calendar in response to the pandemic. Turns out, it will be coming out that day all along, BUT it won’t be in theaters, given how none are practically open right now. Instead, it is going to follow in the footsteps of “Trolls: World Tour,” the animated sequel by DreamWorks, now owned by Comcast, and release onto VOD. Meaning that services including Prime Video, Vudu, FandangoNOW, and Google Play will be getting the film. I’ll be honest, had this pandemic not been going on this year, there’s a solid chance that I might miss out on “Scoob!” if it were in the theater. The only reason why I would even consider seeing it, is because I feel the need to see five animated flicks by the end of the year, because I need enough nominees at the Jackoff Awards that I do in the winter. Although, it definitely does have a market. Families would probably have gone to see it. Generations who grew up with “Scooby-Doo” will recognize the movie and pass the torch to their children. Had it stayed in theaters, it could have made for a fun outing. But of course, it’s not in theaters.

“Trolls: World Tour” was not the worst option of all the movies that could go straight to VOD instead of theaters. A lot of younger kids recognize the film, and since sometimes bringing kids to the movies can be obnoxious, putting it in a home environment is not the worst idea. That is until Amazon’s 48 hour rental period expires and they beg for the parents to spend another $20. “Trolls: World Tour” landed one of the biggest digital debuts ever, and “Scoob!” could do the same, but that is going to depend on how many kids are looking forward to it. I think there was more of an appetite for a “Trolls” sequel among children than there was for a “Scooby-Doo” movie. At the same time however, “Scooby-Doo” has had a long history of being a product for the home environment. I grew up having a piece “Scooby-Doo” media in my collection. A lot of television shows and cartoons have been a part of the “Scooby-Doo” brand. From a production standpoint, this could come off as something that was meant for theaters, but may be remembered as another fine entry to the “Scooby-Doo” home media collection.

THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND GOES STRAIGHT TO DIGITAL

Had South by Southwest happened this year, one of the films that I would have been eager to see was Judd Apatow’s “The King of Staten Island.” The film had an advantage of being a higher-profile title, alongside such movies including “The Lovebirds,” which is now going to Netflix. This film had a bright future on the big screen. Aside from a SXSW debut this March, it was supposed to come out June 19th of this year in theaters. I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that “The King of Staten Island” is getting bumped up a week to June 12th, 2020. So it’ll come out a week earlier. The bad news is, if you were looking forward to seeing Judd Apatow’s latest film in theaters, that’s not happening, and this does not come as a surprise. I have a feeling that part of this not only has to do with analyzing the potential box office results ahead, but maybe it has a bit to do with “Tenet,” which I think is going to be a better example of a film that is going to try to entice people to get back in the theaters (again, more on that later). However, starting June 12th, “The King of Staten Island,” a semi-autobiographical comedy-drama starring Pete Davidson will be available On Demand through various services. This is a release technique similar to the recently mentioned “Scoob!.” The film also features notable names including Marisa Tomei (Spider-Man: Homecoming, My Cousin Vinny), Pamela Adlon (Bob’s Burgers, Better Things), Steve Buscemi (Miracle Workers, Fargo), and Bill Burr (Breaking Bad, Date Night).

While this technique has been done for a film like “Trolls: World Tour,” which again, was fairly successful. A film with this much name power that was supposed to be in theaters has not really gotten this treatment all that much during the pandemic. I see at light at the end of the tunnel, but as of now, “The King of Staten Island” is perhaps an adult version of the “Trolls: World Tour” experiment. I honestly don’t know how this is going to go, as “Trolls: World Tour” likely had several advantages. First, that movie was going for a wider audience including children, families, etc. “The King of Staten Island” is an R rated picture. No kids allowed on this flick! Plus, since this film probably won’t be heading to a platform like Netflix, where you can watch the movie for free as long as you have a monthly subscription, it could suffer from less views because people are cheap and they’d rather watch something free than pay a rental price. “Trolls: World Tour” might as well be a product that can be put on bunches of times just to shut kids up on some occasions. It may be expensive, but the peace and quiet could be worth it. Although, Comcast’s streaming service, Peacock, which is now available for Xfinity customers, is hoping to expand its customer base starting July 15th. Maybe “The King of Staten Island” will end up on the service as soon as possible for everyone to enjoy.

Also, side note, this movie is incorrect. Pete Davidson IS NOT the king of Staten Island. The Impractical Jokers are the kings of Staten Island. That’s a fact. Prove. Me. Wrong. I dare you.

A SURPRISING SUCCESS FOR TROLLS: WORLD TOUR

Thought I was done talking about “Trolls: World Tour?” Well, I’m not! Because according to The Wall Street Journal, it turns out “Trolls: World Tour” has officially made over $100 million in a matter of just a few weeks! This ultimately means that this digital experiment Universal was trying out happened to be relatively successful so far. Again, I think part of this mainly has to do with “Trolls: World Tour” being a family movie that kids will probably be watching over and over again to the point of becoming annoying. However, it’s an interesting success story as movies like this, including “Trolls: World Tour’s” predecessor, happen to gain massive successes from big theatrical runs. I should also point out that the first film currently has made more money at the domestic box office, specifically $153.7 million. But who knows? Maybe that will be broken. Will this mean Universal does more straight-to-digital releases in the future? Honestly, I hope not. While this may have worked for a film like “Trolls: World Tour,” which I think kids were going to watch no matter what, movies in general are often built up best by word of mouth in an attempt to get people out of the house. I just hope for the love of Pete that the ninth “Fast & Furious” DOES NOT get a straight to digital treatment. As for other factors to consider, “Trolls: World Tour” is also one of the only new films to watch right now, and since we can’t leave our house, maybe that has a contributing factor to how willing we are to stay in and pay a rental price on the movie. If we were in normalcy, who knows how this would have played out? But if you ask me, EVERY MOVIE is better in a theater. Mark my words.

SPIDER-DELAY! SPIDER-DELAY! DOES WHATEVER A SPIDER-DELAY DOES!

In part 5, I’ve practically given DC Comics its own section to talk about in terms of delays. This time, I’m going to be doing this for Marvel, both on the sides of Disney and Sony. Starting off with Sony, one of their hit movies, the Academy Award-winning “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” was supposed to get a sequel released on April 8th, 2022. That’s not happening anymore as the sequel has officially been pushed back to October 7th, 2022. It is hard to know what could come of “Spider-Verse 2” from this release date. Maybe it could do what “Venom” did and be able to separate itself in a month full of horror movies, not that “Venom” didn’t have some elements of the genre. For all I know this could work, because the first film won an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a Critics’ Choice, and seven Annies. The first film by the way released in December. I feel like the Best Animated Feature category is the least important one when it comes to releasing a film at a certain time, but experience has suggested that when a film releases later in the year, it usually gets some awards buzz. “Spider-Verse 2” could not just be a big hit, but another award winner.

Speaking of “Spider-Man,” the third Tom Holland “Spider-Man” movie was delayed! This third “Spider-Man” film was supposed to be connected to the MCU and release in theaters July 16th, 2021 as part of Marvel’s fourth phase of films. However, the film now sits in the month of November, taking a spot on the fifth day of the month. I am disappointed that I have to wait for the film, but the film opens on my birthday weekend, so I’ll take the wins as they come along. This news may have ties to how filming has not really been happening, and I am willing to bet that the delay for Sony’s “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” now coming out on June 25th, 2021, plays a bit into this. After all, that too is technically a “Spider-Man” property. Having these two movies very close to each other could potentially be weird. Speaking of Marvel…

THOUGHT SPIDEY WAS ALONE? THE MARVEL RELEASE CHANGES SHALL ASSEMBLE!

One of the most complex questions right now in regards to the pandemic is the wonder of what is going to happen to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was not that long ago that “Black Widow” was delayed from this May to November, taking “Eternals'” spot on the release calendar. This resulted in pushback upon pushback upon pushback. Guess what? “Spider-Man” is not the only Marvel character affected this week. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” which was supposed to release the same weekend as “Spider-Man 3,” is now getting pushed back to March 25th, 2022. Interestingly however, “Thor: Love and Thunder,” which was supposed to come out February 18th, 2022 as of recent times, is getting bumped up a week and is now coming out February 11th, 2022. Why is that? I don’t know for sure, but maybe to get couples to go see it on Valentine’s Day. With a title like “Love and Thunder,” that’s probably the reason. And now, for everything else!

THE DELAYS NEVER END!

Going back to Sony, one of the interesting projects that they have held onto for some time is a movie based on the popular video game franchise “Uncharted,” which, appropriately, is a Playstation exclusive. Even though Tom Holland’s “Spider-Man 3” is getting pushed back to November 2021, “Uncharted,” which he is set star in, is getting bumped up. Finally! Some positive news about this movie! I have never played the video games, even though I have heard solid things about them, but as for the movie, it just goes to show that even in development, video game movies are cursed. However, “Uncharted,” which was supposed to release October 16th, 2021, is moving up to the summer of that year! As of now, it is taking the spot where “Spider-Man 3” once was! Hopefully, this optimistic bump means that production will be happening as soon as possible, considering how filming was shut down due to COVID-19 on day one. Who knows what’ll happen? This movie is an enigma! As for other projects under Sony’s control, “Fatherhood,” a new comedy starring Kevin Hart is being pushed back from October 23rd, 2020 to April 2nd, 2021. Speaking of Kevin Hart, another movie where he’ll appear, “Man From Toronto,” once set for a September 17th, 2021 release, is now coming out November 20th, 2021. And if you thought “Spider-Verse 2” was going to be the only affected animated title, you’re wrong. “Connected,” the upcoming film produced by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, was delayed a month. The film, which was previously expected September 18th, 2020, will now be coming out October 23rd, 2020. “Vivo,” featuring songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda of “Hamilton” fame, was supposed to release April 26, 2021, but now is getting pushed back to June 4, 2021. Can’t believe this is a thing, “Hotel Transylvania 4!” I guess this is also known as, “Adam Sandler needs an excuse be in a movie that won’t go straight to Netflix.” By the way, “Uncut Gems” is brilliant and you should watch it if you haven’t done so already. That is even if it does try to convince an audience that the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut has a sportsbook. Anyway, “Hotel Transylvania 4” is yet another movie that is not going down the calendar, but up! Originally set for a December 22nd, 2021 release, the animated sequel will now take the August 6th, 2021 spot. This could be a strategic move as it could give families something to do over the summer, while not having to compete with Universal’s “Sing 2,” which is set to release the same day “Hotel Transylvania 4” was once supposed to come out.

Also getting delayed, Tom Cruise is gonna have to wait a little bit longer before he attempts to kill himself once more, or more specifically, twice more. The seventh and eighth installments to the “Mission: Impossible” franchise, which will be directed by Christopher McQuarrie, also known for helming the fifth and sixth installments in the franchise, both have previous release dates set to self-destruct. The seventh “Mission: Impossible” installment was supposed to come out July 23rd, 2021, once again standing out as a summer staple. As of now, the film is coming out November 19th, 2021, just before Thanksgiving. As for the eighth installment, once planned to release August 5th, 2022, that is now set for a release date that I am personally digging, November 4th, 2022. Why am I stoked? Because it’s my birthday. From what I could imagine however, these two movies may have quite a bit to do with each other and could probably go well together in back to back viewings. Kind of similar to putting “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame” together. There is always a chance that “Mission: Impossible 7” could suck more than anything that has sucked before, thus lowering my hype levels for the eighth installment. However, “Mission: Impossible” is a peculiar series that honestly has gotten better with each installment, so anything is possible.

NEW HOME RELEASES

I usually save this for last, but this time, my next post has more of a climactic vibe, so this is going to be my penultimate section. When it comes to digital releases, perhaps one of the most notable titles coming out this week is “The Photograph.” This debuted in theaters last February, stars LaKeith Stanfield (Sorry To Bother You, Knives Out) alongside Chelsea Peretti and features intertwining love stories. This seems appropriate, because, again, this movie came out in February. Although for Netflix, one movie that just came out is “Extraction,” starring Chris Hemsworth (Thor, Ghostbusters) as a black market mercenary. The film is not one that I plan to review, however it is also one that I am hearing solid things about. Granted, the story is nothing to write home about, but if this film were to be solely judged based on action, I’m hearing it slaps. And this honestly does not surprise me as it is written by Anthony and Joe Russo and directed by Sam Hargrave, a stunt coordinator behind “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “Atomic Blonde,” and “Avengers: Endgame.” As for whether or not this is the next “John Wick” is something that you will have to decide for yourself. Also, if you have any plans to tune into Amazon, the SXSW lineup is now available, which was made in response to the cancellation of the ambitious annual event held in Austin, TX. If you have Disney+, your inner “Star Wars” nerd is going to be happy, because not only are you soon going to be getting more of “The Clone Wars,” you’re not only getting a documentary on “The Mandalorian,” but “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” will be available on Disney+ starting May 4th, known by the fan community as “Star Wars Day.” From then on, the complete “Skywalker Saga” will be available on the service. Speaking of action-packed films…

TENET IS LOCKED FOR JULY 17TH

This is going to be the main topic of this entire post. For those of you who don’t know, Christopher Nolan is coming out with his latest blockbuster title, “Tenet,” which had a trailer release this past winter. At the same time, a short preview attached to IMAX screenings of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” was shown for a limited time. This film, among all others, HAS NOT been delayed. And if you have talked to me at all recently, it is a film that is almost my most anticipated of the year. It’s just one spot under “Dune” if you are all curious. “Tenet” is a film that has literally been designed for the movie theater experience. It was shot using film stock through IMAX and 70mm cameras, it’s got a labyrinth of a concept similar to Nolan’s other films, and the cast looks promising. Some attached names include John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Kenneth Branagh, and of course, the one and only Michael Caine. I have been worried for the longest time that this film would get gravitated from this summer, taking away yet another big movie. It’s happened with “Top Gun: Maverick,” it’s happened with “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” it’s also happened with “Morbius.” However, “Tenet” happens to be one of the last men standing in this battle against the invisible enemy. That’s also what it will continue to be going forward, because IndieWire suggests that “Tenet” will be ready to open July 17th of THIS YEAR unless theaters are closed. Is this wishful thinking? It’s possible, but this article gives me hope, and I will state, this is not the first time I am hearing this statement. However, just to hear this be reinforced a month later, is extremely fulfilling. One of my big worries when it comes to “Tenet” is the possibility of it being a lone wolf in the movie theater, there is not much of a reason for the film to play in seemingly dead space. But at the same time, Christopher Nolan has constantly marketed “Tenet” as an event film. It’s an expensive blockbuster clearly meant for the summer. It’s got a similar vibe to Nolan’s own “Inception.” I will also point out that should quarantine end around the country starting July, Christopher Nolan can utilize a huge marketing push at the end of the game, maybe reminding people how exciting it is to go see a movie in a theater. Nolan is all about that atmosphere. Nolan is not a streaming guy. In fact, when this all started in the US, Nolan wrote an opinion article in The Washington Post where he called movie theaters “a vital part of American social life.” Before hearing what IndieWire suggests in their article, I had a rather bleak thought process as to what theaters would look like only being able to show “Tenet.” A few screens would be open, while every other one is some classic title that maybe not everybody is gonna pay $12 to see when they can they rent it on Amazon. Turns out, IndieWire sees a much more optimistic point of view. IndieWire suggests the following:

“Even if theaters start opening in June (Georgia’s aggressive early plan could permit openings in early May, but NATO has stated it prefers a nationwide, concerted rollout), few will attend without new films. Going before other big films would allow “Tenet” to play on virtually every screen in the country.”

Think about it. How many films have been delayed? From smaller titles that nobody has even heard of to the big blockbusters like those that Marvel cranks out every few months, despite their differences, they have something in common. They got delayed. A few got delayed not too far up calendar while others got kicked into another year, but nevertheless, they got delayed. “Tenet,” as the last man standing, could literally possess every auditorium in every theater, at least in the United States. This is something that during NORMAL times, I would be scared of a movie doing, but now, it makes sense and I am flat out encouraging it, because something needs to light the spark. Plus, should theaters reduce capacity for safety concerns, “Tenet” has themselves covered. They have more theaters and auditoriums that could supply everybody. If you have an AMC near you that has a bunch of standard screens, an IMAX screen, a Dolby Cinema screen all in one place, there’s a solid chance that they’ll use one or two, maybe another auditorium for standard screenings of a blockbuster. In addition, the IMAX or Dolby, depending on the deal they’ve made regarding the film, will also feature said blockbuster. If you have a decent-sized theater, for all I know, “Tenet” could take every screening possible. Can you imagine a 25 screen theater with “Tenet” on virtually every single one? It’s going to be the State of the Union Address of movies. There’s no alternate program you can resort to, it’s “Tenet” or bust! And if this were a film that could easily fit in for a streaming environment, had a small budget, or lacked some of name recognition, I’d probably say maybe this theater project is overblown and a bit beyond one’s reach. However, the film was designed for the theatrical experience, is a blockbuster, and is helmed by the man who I personally think is my favorite director of all time. For all I know, he could get another Oscar nomination for this film depending on how this year pans out.

The slogan of “Tenet” by the way, and hopefully I am not scaring anybody, is “time runs out.” Let’s just hope that time will not run out on this film and our chances of seeing it as early as possible, in as lively of an environment as possible. In a season of movies getting delayed like flights for United Airlines, “Tenet” is possibly going to be the last man standing. The fight against the invisible enemy shall continue, and we shall not stop until we can successfully get millions of butts sitting in cinema seats. Warner Bros., Christopher Nolan, the entire cast and crew of “Tenet,” to say I am rooting for you is an understatement. For all I know, if “Tenet” successfully enters theaters in July, I will be there opening night for IMAX 70mm. This virus is ruining Hollywood, and now we need to give it the Hollywood ending it absolutely deserves.

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Thanks for reading the sixth part of the ongoing series “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes!” Look, I love doing Scene Before, but if this is what I’ll be talking about for the rest of my life, it’s going to get tiresome. I will point out that I left the house for the first time all month on the 25th. There’s that. I just want to go see a movie. If movie theaters collectively do not survive this crisis, I think I might almost be done with movies. One of the reasons why I love movies is because they are experiences, and these experiences are best had in a distraction-free environment either by myself, a few other people, or even a full house. Are the tickets and food sometimes overpriced? Sure, but moviegoing is a staple of the economy and I would flat out scream up to sky if they disappeared. PLEASE… Stay home as much as you can. Do *your* part if you want a better chance of me giving my thoughts on movies for you to possibly see. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! While it may not cure the coronavirus, if you want a better use of your time than drinking bleach, check out the Scene Before Facebook page! I want to know, did I miss anything related to COVID-19 and film? What big piece of news stands out to you? Or, since it relates to this post, what do you think are the odds of “Tenet” getting delayed? At this point, it’s a competitive and strategic game of chess. Who knows at this point? Leave your thoughts down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes – Part 5

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! It is now time for part 5 of the Scene Before series “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes.” This series describes the recent happenings, or in some cases, a lack of happenings, in the film industry as the world deals with the COVID-19 outbreak.

Per usual, real world matters first! Because life sucks! The United Kingdom is currently in a bit of trouble as evidenced from actions taken this past Thursday. Britain has confirmed they have extended their countrywide lockdown for a total of three more weeks. This was announced by foreign secretary Dominic Raab, who is taking on responsibilities in place of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was previously announced to have a positive case of COVID-19. With this extension, the country’s lockdown is likely going to last until the second week of May unless things change.

For the record, a good number of people in my country, specifically the United States, often point out that the economy is likely to collapse should we keep these restrictions going for any longer. One take that I found interesting mainly because I don’t hear it all that much, is the one given by the recently mentioned Dominic Raab. He suggests the opposite and thinks if we loosen these restrictions, the economy is going to go to hell. After all, since there’s always a chance of a second outbreak, there’s always a chance of a second economic downfall.

Although here in America, people clearly want the economy opened back up, including medical expert Anthony Fauci. The well-known director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was on the Snapchat show “Good Luck America,” which discusses the role young people have in spreading the virus. He explained on the show that he’s likely missing baseball season as he suggests, “I’m living in Washington, we have the world champion Washington Nationals. I want to see them play again.” He also thinks that sporting events like baseball and football could happen should there be a lack of an audience in stadiums.

President Donald J. Trump, who Fauci has been seen alongside for much of this crisis through cameras, wants the economy opened back up by May 1st, as I mentioned in part 4. As of suggesting that notion, certain states have declared the idea of opening back up on said day like Trump is opting for. One notable state is Ohio, which much like much of America, is planning to follow phases as to what exactly will open at supposed times. Restaurants may be more essential than bars, and bars may be more essential than football stadiums.

Speaking of U.S. states, one of the most talked about states in general regarding this crisis, has been New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose brother is a CNN reporter who has been tested positive for COVID-19, has been a significant voice in not only trying to pull his state into the right direction, but for the rest of the country as everybody deals with this. Although another voice that New Yorkers heard last week was former presidential candidate and current New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, who had some unfortunate news for the state. De Blasio suggested that all major gatherings for the month of May have been canceled except for certain events like farmers’ markets. So if you are expecting to attend a “Last Week Tonight” taping this May, sorry to say, you’re gonna have to continue staring at John Oliver in front of a white void.

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Well, at least he got the rat painting he’s been searching a month to find.

Fun fact, when this whole crisis initiated, I was in Florida, which may be one of the worst hit states when it comes to this mess. For the record, Florida does not have the most cases for the virus, in fact none of them hold a candle to New York. In fact, my state, Massachusetts, has more cases to my surprise! But when it comes to properly closing everything in the state, those ends have not been met. In fact, Governor Rick DeSantis just opened a crucial element to what makes Florida Florida, the beaches. I should note that not all beaches have been opened, and they are NOT open for the purposes of bringing blankets, chairs, and coolers. They are specifically open for exercise-related purposes, plus taking care of pets. Individuals are still supposed to keep their distance from others and avoid gatherings of 50 people. Many of south Florida’s beaches, such as those in Miami, continue to remain closed, but if you live in Duval County (Jacksonville), there’s a good chance that you can find an open beach near you.

The beaches managed to receive a major turnout. However, not everyone is happy, as partially evidenced by the reaction that surfaced on social media. One of the top trending topics of the past weekend is #FloridaMorons. Here’s some of the tweets that surfaced.

Just because we talk about movies here…

Also, one man wanted to drop a public service announcement…

Thank you, sir! Very informative!

Now that we are done with our continuously depressing and ridiculous reality, let’s move onto movie topics. This first part is not a main topic since it may not have as much relevance as others, but I do feel it needs to be talked about. One of the topics I discussed last week is “Parasite’s” Hulu debut. Now Hulu has been a pretty popular streaming service that has been relevant for a few years. In fact, now that Disney oversees them, they are included in a bundle package with their other streaming services including Disney+ and ESPN+. But for a streaming service overseen by a company that does not make many independent features, “Parasite” has earned an ASTOUNDING success on the service so far. The movie dropped on Hulu Wednesday April 8th, where from then on, it was not long before the film immediately became the most streamed foreign or independent feature on the service in just a week. According to IndieWire, the film is also the second most watched film on the platform of all time. This beats the likes of mega-titles such as “Transformers: The Last Knight,” “A Quiet Place,” and “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.” Given the film’s Korean background, how Hulu does not even serve Korea, plus the necessity for non-Korean viewers to read subtitles, it should come as a surprise that “Parasite” is as popular as it is on Hulu. Although keep in mind, the film has already been a critical success in the states, not only having major buzz from reviews, but tons of award wins as well, including the Academy’s Best Picture, which no international feature has received prior to “Parasite.” The film has made over $50 million at the U.S. box office, indicating success. So either everybody wanted a chance to watch the film again, or there’s a possibility that a majority of Hulu users missed out on the theater experience but now have an opportunity to watch at home.

Speaking of theater experiences and watching something at home, Lionsgate is trying to recreate the communal theater atmosphere while keeping movie watchers on their couch. One of the best parts of going to the movies sometimes is the reactions people can blurt out during a presentation. If you have seen the last two “Avengers” movies, you’d understand. Lionsgate is attempting to get people together to react to their favorite movies without hearing anybody else and with the intention of keeping viewers behind closed doors.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIONSGATE MOVIES ON YOUTUBE

Throughout the series, I have often touched upon the goings on behind some of the bigger studios. Disney and Universal have shuttered theme parks, delayed films, and have decided to put some of their films like “Artemis Fowl” and “Trolls: World Tour” straight to a digital streaming service. Paramount delayed a ton of films, but some of their classics will be airing on CBS soon. Warner Bros. has stated in the past about its optimism to release “Tenet” in theaters on time, all the while delaying big films like “Wonder Woman 1984.” But one of the major studios I have not talked about all that much yet in this series is Lionsgate. While they don’t have the franchise power that a company like Disney has, they do possess the rights to iconic properties including “The Hunger Games” and “John Wick,” which are relevant to this topic.

Recently, specifically Friday April 17th, Lionsgate teamed up with Fandango, YouTube, and NATO (National Association of Theatre Owners) to get people to watch “The Hunger Games” on YouTube for free. This is part of an event called “Lionsgate Live! A Night at the Movies.” These are movie night events hosted by Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween, Scream Queens), will feature celebrity guests, special programming, and opportunities for fans to interact via YouTube live. While the odds of watching “The Hunger Games” on one of these Fridays will no longer be ever in your favor, there are still a few movies listed for this special occasion. These include…

  • DIRTY DANCING (APRIL 24)
  • LA LA LAND (MAY 1)
  • JOHN WICK (MAY 8)

Just a reminder, if you want to watch “John Wick” during this occasion on YouTube, there is an age restriction. For the record, “John Wick” is rated R whereas the other films listed are rated PG-13. So if you want to watch your fan favorites with OTHER PEOPLE, I never thought I’d say that ever again! go to the Movieclips YouTube channel, check to see if one of the movies is playing or will be playing, and enjoy! This event will benefit the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, a foundation dedicated to helping workers within the motion picture industry. This even includes the many theater employees affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Even companies behind food are getting in on this, which does make sense as cinemas and food go together like bread and butt–, sorry. Popcorn and butter. I don’t always agree with that statement, my apologies to all popcorn eaters who butter on their popcorn at the movies, but still, it makes sense here. So feel free to amuse yourselves over my forced statement all damn day.

Popcornopolis, which judging by the name, you can probably tell makes popcorn, will be donating 10% of its sales to the cause. Meanwhile, SnackNation, typically known for being a healthy snack delivery service for offices and homes, will be giving away a specially priced box of goodies for these movie nights. The box will include fruity candy, chips, puffs, popcorn, and more. The box is priced at $9.95 and shipping is free. So if you are tired of going to Target to get some Sour Patch Kids while also buying tons of toilet paper, give this snack box a shot, and if you don’t use it for one of these movie nights, it could always work for something else you pop on at home. “Tiger King” is pretty hip right now, why not give that a shot? If you wanted to get some grub from SnackNation for “Dirty Dancing,” there is a solid chance that you might not get it on time. But if you wanted something for “La La Land” or “John Wick,” by all means place your order!

Also in on this are major movie theater chains including AMC Theatres (Please make it through this!), Regal Entertainment Group, and Cinemark Theatres.

SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON CANCELLED FOR FIRST TIME EVER

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Alright, my fellow nerds. Buckle up. This is possibly the most dissatisfying news any comic convention fanatic will ever hear. San Diego Comic-Con, known for pioneering the comic con name and blueprint has officially been cancelled for the first time ever. The event started out small and has grown ever since. It has achieved fame for its success at bringing together communities of nerds of all kinds from comic book collectors, sci-fi fanatics, movie buffs, fantasy lovers, and TV junkies. It’s even gotten so big that “Conan” on TBS has done shows in San Diego as the con goes on! It’s an event so lively that even if you don’t get to go, you are guaranteed to hear something from it that is extravagant in the nerd world, mainly because there is heavy self-promotion going on in the sacred “Hall H,” where celebrities talk to fans, crews behind projects promote trailers, and the effort to get in is just as hard as it is to get through waiting at the DMV. Sadly, this year, there won’t be any of that. Last year, SDCC brought some great news to the nerd sphere, especially within Marvel, because that is where they laid the groundwork for phase 4, advertising plans for each theatrical movie set to release, and even the shows they’re planning to drop onto Disney+. Unfortunately, this news is already outdated as we won’t be seeing one of those projects, specifically “Black Widow,” this May and instead wait until November, which is when “Eternals” was originally supposed to release.

Who knows what could have happened this year? Would we finally get another trailer to “Godzilla vs. Kong?” Would we get a look at footage for James Gunn’s “The Suicide Squad?” Maybe we’d get word that Warner Bros. will release the Snyder Cut the same day that Universal plans on releasing the Butthole Cut for “Cats.” Who knows?

Not to get selfish here, but I go to a couple cons every year, and I don’t know if I’ll even get to go to one based on this information. San Diego Comic-Con is such a powerful name in this industry. So powerful in fact that they even felt it was necessary to call out another con for using their name, even when this has been a thing that has been done for years to the point where it has become commonplace. It’s a comic convention where people get together to be happy, not an international format of “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire!” But with the first sentence of this paragraph in mind, with a name San-Diego cancelling, I have a feeling that others may eventually follow in the con’s footsteps because of name power. For all I know, that could be different because every area of this Earth is dealing with COVID-19 in its own way, but I figured that the U.S., or at least most of it, would be done with this virus in a couple months that way we can gain a sense of normalcy. But who knows at this point?

By the way, I could go for a massive bucket of overpriced movie theater popcorn right now.

MOVIES THEATERS ON REOPENING

AMC Shore 8 - Huntington, New York 11743 - AMC Theatres

Remember how in part 3 I was talking about the possibility of AMC falling into its grave? Well, turns out they have a plan! To specify, a $500 million plan. Has a nice ring to it. Keep in mind, AMC has MASSIVE debts, so while $500 million does not cover everything, it’s likely to help during this time. Wall Street has officially parsed AMC, giving them the thumbs up. This will give AMC some time to prevent themselves from heading into dreaded Chapter 11 bankruptcy territory. Stock-wise, AMC is now at $3.20, up 31% reaching their highest level in a couple of weeks. Similarly, Cinemark, a nationwide chain whose subsidiaries include Rave Cinemas and Century Theatres, is also up. While not as high as the 31% for AMC, it bounced up 16% to achieve $13.48 per share.

Speaking of AMC and Cinemark, movie theater operators such as these have planned for a hopeful summer reboot. After all, the kids are out of school, you can only go to the beach so many times before getting sunburned all over, so the cinema is a great outing. Cinemark themselves stated that they are planning for an opening on July 1st, suggesting that they plan on spending June rehiring employees and will screen some classic films during the summer. How classic? I don’t know. Could be black and white, color, old, new, across the board. But I would kill to see “Endgame” in a theater again. I would love to take someone who hasn’t seen the movie just to see how’d they react to it in a theatrical environment, because that movie, plus the Jackoff-winning Best Picture “Infinity War” were literally built for audiences to come together. And while it is disappointing for a film like “Black Widow” to not come out until November instead of May, I would much prefer that, when I can likely see it with a crowd, then curling up in my room watching it as it goes straight to streaming. In fact, I still have no plans to get Disney+. HBO Max might be on my radar though (I’ll get back to that).

While I did talk about reality before, I should bring it up again. The Governor of Georgia, otherwise known as Brian Kemp, has recently announced that he gave the green light to businesses to reopen their doors beginning April 27th. Regardless of whether or not this is stupid, which I personally think it is, movie theater chains will likely need longer than a week to rehire and retrain people before opening doors again, as insiders suggest. As for local theaters, I don’t know what the case will be, but chains are likely to follow a structured process. Maybe they will open all their theaters at once, maybe vary state by state, do a few at a time, but who knows?

THESE DELAY STORIES ARE GETTING TIRESOME!

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So… “Black Widow” has been delayed. “Eternals” has been delayed. “The New Mutants” has been delayed. “Top Gun: Maverick” has been delayed. “Infinite” has been delayed. “A Quiet Place Part II” has been delayed. Now the Caped Crusader has something he’d like to say to all of those movies.

That’s right guys! Unfortunately, Matt Reeves’ upcoming “The Batman,” starring Robert Pattinson (Twilight, The Lighthouse), has been pushed back from it’s original release date, June 25th, 2021, and will now hit theaters October 1st, 2021. If you had to ask me, here’s my response.

If you ask me, “The Batman” is a film that I am definitely looking forward to, and I am disappointed by the announcement. Despite the flack Pattinson sometimes gets for his past roles, most notably “Twilight,” he has generated an excellent acting method over the past number of years. Plus, it’s f*cking Batman, how could I not get excited over a movie with Batman in it?

Well, okay, maybe not all of them are that exciting. By the way, f*ck the convenient Bat Credit Card.

Although I will state, as disappointed as I am, it could still be worse. After all, movies like “Top Gun: Maverick,” which I’ve previously talked about had trailers and a marketing campaign all set up. “Batman” hasn’t even finished filming yet. In fact, production shut down earlier this year due to the virus. While I am underwhelmed and dissatisfied with the news, I cannot say I’m scarred for life. Although not having a “Batman” movie during summer blockbuster season does feel a little weird. Maybe this is a case, much like “Joker” where the delay to October can be favorable for “The Batman” as there COULD be an effort to get some awards buzz for the movie. There could be a possibility that “The Batman” is also intentionally made for mature audiences, perhaps the MPAA will give it an R rating, making the Dark Knight the DARKEST Knight. Even so, this is NOT the delay we deserve. NOR is it the one eager movie and comic book fans need right now.

“The Batman” is being put out by Warnermedia, which should not be surprising as DC Comics and Warner Bros. go together like peanut butter and jelly. Speaking of Warnermedia delays, a movie set in the universe of HBO’s hit series “The Sopranos,” originally set to release September 25th, 2020, is now coming out March 12th, 2021. The film is a prequel to the recently mentioned title and is currently going by the name of “The Many Saints of Newark.”

Also in DC Comics movie news, a couple more titles have been moved around. “Shazam 2,” which was supposed to release April 1st, 2022, is being pushed back seven months to a new November 4th release. I have no problem with this, because that just means I have probably already figured out what I might want to do on my 23rd birthday about 2.5 years before it even arrives.

Alright, kids. Buckle up. This movie deserves its own paragraph, because while I am busy bitching about all of these movies that have been pushed back like a skinny dude in a wrestling match, there’s one movie that has believe it or not, been pushed FORWARD. I’m talking about another DC movie, “The Flash!” The film was supposed to release July 1st, 2022 but has recently been pushed forward to its new June 2nd release date, also in 2022. I have NO IDEA if this movie will be out by this time, and to be honest, it’s almost wishful thinking. This film was supposed to come out in 2018 as the DCEU’s sixth installment. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, famous for movies including “21 Jump Street” and TV shows including “The Last Man on Earth” were supposed to get the ground running. They sent a treatment, but they couldn’t direct the film because they were busy. Seth-Grahame Smith was hired to direct, but he dropped out in 2016 due to creative differences. Then, Rick Famuyiwa said he was directing as of June 2016, and production was going to start in January 2017. But by the looks of things, that did not seem to last, as Screen Junkies reported that Robert Zemeckis was on a shortlist of directors to take on “The Flash.” Also on the shortlist, Sam Raimi and Matthew Vaughn, two famous directors within the comic movie realm. This comes three months after a Variety report that Joby Harold (Edge of Tomorrow, Underground) was going to rewrite the script. FLASH (see what I did there?) forward to June 2017, look who’s back! Lord and Miller, that’s who! While things did not seem to go far, the Wrap reported that the dynamic duo were in talks to direct the film again. Then in February 2018, another duo popped up, this time it was John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein. These two managed to create one of the best comedies of the past five years, “Game Night,” and they also acquired comic book movie experience through writing the Disney/Sony collaboration, “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” Then came July 2019, where the duo announced their departure from the project! As of now, the project is expected to be helmed by Andy Muschietti (It, Mama) and Christina Hodson (Birds of Prey, Bumblebee). Also joining the project as a producer is Barbara Muschietti, Andy’s sister. As for Ezra Miller, who plays The Flash in the DCEU, who knows what’ll happen to him after the recent controversial video of him released where he chokes a woman? This project is going GREAT so far!

Holy crap, that was a mouthful. You think “The New Mutants” is having trouble? At least that movie got f*cking shot! “The Flash” has not even reached “production” level! It’s insanity! I remain hopeful that this film comes out in June 2022, but this is one of those cases of where I’ll believe this movie when I see it.

Warnermedia has also delayed two movies to November 2021. One of which was the movie Tom Hanks was shooting in Australia when tested positive for COVID-19, an untitled Elvis film. The film was originally supposed to come out October of next year. However, one film got the “F9” treatment where it won’t even see the light of day this year. It was once set to come out this November, but that will not be happening.

Moving away from Warnermedia, let’s talk about Sony. Recently I discussed that the studio pretty much abandoned the summer of 2020, pushing back films including “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” and “Morbius.” But it just so appears that they have delayed one of their Fall projects as well, specifically “Venom 2,” which is now titled “Venom: Let There Be Carnage.” Based on the title, the film is likely to have the comic book villain Carnage as the main antagonist, information that has been teased since the first movie. I’ll be blunt here, I am not looking forward to “Venom 2.” This is a delay that I am not personally offended by. I will say, I do feel bad for the people behind the film, because the first one came out in an October as well and grossed over $800 million. Then again, that piece of crap people like to call “Venom” grossed over $800 million even though it is most likely the worst movie that I have seen which is related to “Spider-Man.” This sequel has one thing giving me mixed thoughts, and that is the director. I feel like the vision for the first “Venom” is entirely corporate and lacks soul. I still wonder why people even clapped at the end of the movie. Even though Ruben Fleischer did some decent stuff in the past, like “Zombieland,” this was an idea that felt rushed and underwhelming. And honestly, they should have gone for the R rating. But this time, it is being directed by Andy Serkis, who definitely has a knack for visual effects, both in terms of acting and behind the scenes. However, I’ve heard “Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle” was not the best work in the world. It has a 53% on Rotten Tomatoes, indicating that a majority of critics liked it, but it’s also not the finest number of all time. I like Andy Serkis, but I have vivid memories of the first “Venom” and they’re not pretty. I still have a bad taste in my mouth. The “Venom” sequel hits theaters June 25, 2021, which was “The Batman’s” former release date, as opposed to when “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” was supposed to hit theaters, October 2nd, 2020.

HBO MAX LAUNCH DATE ANNOUNCED

Now I love physical media, and I will likely continue to buy it even in a time where I cannot leave my house. It is by far the best way to watch a movie. Although if I were to invest in a streaming service anytime soon, one of my options is likely going to be HBO Max, which, yes, it will have HBO content. This service will be launching May 27th, as announced in a trailer down below.

Doesn’t HBO have a couple fancy streaming services already? Sure, but this is one may be worth your time. Aside from including bunches of HBO content including “Game of Thrones,” “Westworld,” and “The Sopranos,” they will also be shipping in content from alternate channels such as TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, and truTV, all of which are owned by Warnermedia. So this means in addition to all of the HBO programming available at launch, viewers will have access to content including “Conan,” “Impractical Jokers,” “Rick and Morty,” and “Miracle Workers.” Also available for TV are all the seasons of “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory,” two of the longest running situation comedies of all-time. Another really long series that you can invest some time in is “South Park,” the long-running animated series that caters to an adult demographic. That series in particular will join the service this June. They’re even using content from a streaming service that I don’t know how many of you knew existed, DC Universe. From this, it can be confirmed that one of the starters for this service is “Doom Patrol,” based on a previously established superhero team. One show I am still wondering about is DC’s “Harley Quinn,” which recently dropped season 2 on DC Universe, but who knows what’ll happen in regards to coming to HBO Max? But don’t worry, there’s movies too! Some of the upcoming titles are “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “A Star is Born,” “The Dark Knight,” “Joker,” “The Matrix,” “Pokemon: Detective Pikachu,” the DCEU movies, and the Studio Ghibli library. The service is likely to serve around 10,000 hours of content at launch, which is more than Disney+ and Comcast’s Peacock, which is now available for Xfinity customers, but will be available for everybody else starting July 15th.

The downside however, is the price. At $14.99/month, which is more than what one would pay for Hulu, which has significantly more content, it is not the cheapest service out there. However, HBO has been known for their premium programming, therefore it is no surprise that a premium price would be placed for HBO Max. But if you are a Charter customer, it is free as long as you are currently paying for HBO. Certain AT&T customers, specifically those paying premium prices for AT&T’s services, will also be given HBO Max for free. Nevertheless, even though I don’t stream much, I think I would get some use out of HBO Max if I were to buy a subscription. Warner Bros. is my favorite movie studio, HBO is a notable channel with a lot of content known for quality, and TBS, plus truTV, have done some originals I like, plus some that I have missed out on that I want to check out like “Wrecked.” I just hope that said originals make it to the service in the first place.

Speaking of originals, there is some original content coming to HBO Max. Season 3 of “Search Party,” which originally aired on TBS, will debut on the service. Anna Kendrick will be starring in a new comedy, “Love Life,” which comes from Lionsgate Television. But if you have kids, there will also be content related to “Sesame Street” and “Looney Tunes.” HBO Max was going to have a “Friends” reunion at launch, but it has been delayed due to COVID-19 complications. Sorry, they will not be there for you.

Going back to my original point, HBO Max launches May 27th on smart devices, so if you cut the cord but miss many of the cable-based shows, or you just want some acclaimed TV and movies to watch, HBO Max may get your seal of approval.

HOME VIDEO RELEASES

Going back to my comment on physical media, it is fun to collect, but not everyone does it anymore. In fact, it’s getting hard to do in these times now that places like the mall have basically shut their doors down. Walmart’s still open, so there’s that. And if you do want to know what new releases are on DVD and Blu-ray, some notable titles include “Bad Boys For Life,” “Ip Man 4: The Finale,” “The Gentlemen,” and “Like a Boss,” which already released on digital, but needed some time to come out on physical formats. Out of these films, the only one I’ve seen is “The Gentlemen,” which honestly underwhelmed me. Hopefully that won’t be the same case should some of you give it a shot.

As for digital media, there is not much new content to pick from. However, “Wendy,” a movie that takes place on an island and follows a young girl in world that is increasingly facing destruction, has just dropped on services as of April 17th. So if you are expecting me to talk about any blockbuster titles dropping, think again.

Thanks for reading the fifth part of the ongoing series “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes!” This was a long one to make, so I’ll try to wrap things up quick. If you’re wondering where my reviews are, I want to make them, but the apocalypse is currently my priority. Plus, “My Spy” hasn’t dropped on Prime yet, so there’s that. But should things still be hectic next week, which they most likely will, there’s a good chance you’ll see a part 6 to this series. Because life sucks! I have not left my house for *anything,* even a walk, for almost a month now. How did the country, no, the WORLD even get here?! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can tuned for more great content! Speaking of great content, why not check out my Facebook page? Give it a like and keep up with the latest info through Mark Zuckerberg’s wonderland! I want to know, did I miss anything for this past week? What are some your big points as of late regarding film and COVID-19? It could even be something I already mentioned! Or, what are you looking forward to seeing on HBO Max? Is there something you want to see that has not been fully announced? If they drop TBS’s “King of the Nerds” on the service, I’m sucking all my money into it. Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The 2nd Annual JACKOFF Awards

WARNING: They said it couldn’t be done. They said it shouldn’t be done. BUT I DID IT ANYWAY! The 2nd Annual Jackoffs is officially longer than The 1st Annual Jackoff Awards. Clocking in with a word count between 12,000 to 13,000. Feel free to take breaks and pauses and come back later if this is a stretch. Enjoy, and happy Jackoffs!

Hey everyone, how you all doing? I’m Jack Drees and it is time for the 2nd Annual Jackoff Awards, the most important blog awards show in history, because it is run by one man with many opinions! Last year, yours truly started a tradition, and this year, it is carried on with new nominees, specifically the best of 2019’s film lineup! And since this thing goes on as long as “The Irishman,” you are all in for a ride!

How does this show work? Each of the movies represented here are all films that I saw in 2019. Keep in mind, if there is a movie here that I did not nominate, there’s a possible chance that I did not see it. Much like many other award shows, individual categories will be presented including Best Sound Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Cinematography, all the way to the pinnacle of the show, Best Picture. A list of nominees will be presented and one will be victorious while others may or may not go home with the shirt on their back. Speaking of which, while all the other award winners will be chosen by me, I have decided once again to let the people speak for the Best Picture category. Upon announcing the nominees, I have decided to put out a poll and have you all choose what you think should win. After all, this list is mostly based on my Top 10 BEST Movies of 2019, therefore if I were choosing Best Picture, it would be partially predictable, and it might not be as significant of a win as opposed to the people’s choice option. The people choice’s last year has led to Disney’s “Avengers: Infinity War” taking home Best Picture last year! So the question is, who will win this year? That will be revealed at the end! Until then, I have to get through the rest of the ceremony, and to do so I am going to start by doing a monologue. Many award shows have one, because without them they would not be as funny or joyful. I am here today to chew bubble gum, and spread some laughs. And I’m all out of bubble gum. It is now time for “Jack Drees Tells Jokes to Others in Order to Please Himself.”

I’m going to state some facts about the year in film, and since there is no audience here, there shall be no laughs. With that in mind, I encourage you to imagine yourself as my only attendee in the crowd. Feel free to laugh, chuckle, boo, fall asleep, even heckle if you please. And I must say, when it comes to 2019 in film, I personally have been impressed with a majority of the films that I have witnessed over these past number of months. Overall, 2019 has been a fine year for movies. Unless you are a wasted spork, killed by the Joker, scared s*itless by Pennywise, stuck in a hurricane in Florida, or trying to run for your life while playing hide and seek.

 

This first thing should surprise some of you if you lived under a rock these past number of years. The 2010s are now over! Throughout that time you’ve seen, let’s see… um… what was it? SIX “Sharknado” movies? Yeah, it was. Crazy! Also, there was 5 “Spider-Man” movies. 5 “Fast & Furious” movies. 4 “Transformers” movies. 5 “Star Wars” movies. 4 “Avengers” movies. Surprisingly, no “Avatar” sequels. Feels strange.

 

During last year’s Jackoffs, I talked a little bit about Blockbuster Video and how they have very few stores left. Turns out, I was missing an important piece of the puzzle, because I only talked about Blockbusters in the United States. However, this March, the final Blockbuster in Australia shut their doors for good, making the Blockbuster in Bend, Oregon the last Blockbuster in the world. I would not mind making a trip to that Blockbuster, I’ll probably rent the video game “The Last of Us.”

 

This year is not just a big year in cinematic history, but it is also a big year for home viewing. Netflix just recently dropped “The Irishman,” which has been nominated for awards including Best Supporting Actor and Best Makeup & Hairstyling. Martin Scorsese does not care if you like or dislike the movie as long as you follow the one rule. Call it “cinema.”

 

It was suggested that a streaming service floodgate is opening at this point. There’s going to be a new streaming service called Peacock, which is going to be put out by Comcast, which owns NBC and Universal. So if you still have cable, think twice before getting rid of Comcast.

Cause ya might be stuck with them.

 

HBO Max is going to hit app stores and smart devices this May, which despite having HBO in the name, will partially be focusing on content from other divisions of AT&T-owned Warnermedia. Content from TV channels like TBS, TNT, truTV, along with other divisions of Warnermedia will have a presence on the service. Once again, AT&T owns the platform, so don’t be surprised if the “service” eventually goes down.

 

One of the biggest entertainment stories of the year is the launch of Disney+, which just came out in November. The service contains old Disney, new Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, Pixar, and more. Their slogan: We know you want to exterminate mice, but why not invite one into your home for $6.99? A-ha!

 

Marvel announced plans for phase 4 and onward in the MCU. Some highlights include: “Blade,” “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” “Thor: Love and Thunder,” and “Eternals.” Based on details regarding the film’s plot, “Eternals” is going to take place over 7000 years. So… Just short of how long the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been going on in real life!

 

Speaking of Marvel Studios, Sony, alongside Marvel, will be making a third standalone “Spider-Man” movie starring Tom Holland. It’s going to be called “Spider-Man: With Unlimited Reboots and Sequels Come Unlimited Possibilities.”

 

Speaking of “Spider-Man,” otherwise known as the real-life movie equivalent of “The Neverending Story,” A sequel to the 2018 critically acclaimed animated film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” was announced to release in April of 2022. Just in the time that it has taken for me to announce all of this, Sony has already announced ten sequels, a reboot, and a crossover with Tom Hardy’s “Venom.”

 

“Spider-Man: Far from Home” is now officially the highest-grossing Sony film of all time! Just in the time that it has taken for me to announce this, Sony has already announced a “Spider-Gwen” film, a Tobey Maguire/Andrew Garfield crossover, and a “Night Monkey” spinoff!

 

“Avengers: Endgame” became one of the biggest box office hits in history, earning over $2 billion, being the fastest film to reach $1 billion, the fastest to reach $2 billion, and having the biggest worldwide opening weekend. As of right now, they are ahead of James Cameron’s “Avatar” as the highest-grossing film of all time. How did they do that? I’m pretty sure Bob Iger and everyone at Disney snapped the Infinity Gauntlet to generate money. Gotta pay those electric bills.

 

Speaking of Disney and Bob Iger, one of the highlights for amusement parks this year is the new “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge,” which just opened this May at Disneyland and also this August at Disney World. And because it’s Disney, it can cost some an arm and a leg to get in. But don’t worry, just find the nearest lightsaber and you’re good to go!

 

If you are an adult, don’t like “Star Wars,” or hate going to amusement parks in general, let me just remind you, “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” is alcohol-friendly. But don’t drink too much, because some side effects include: a willingness to force choke others, NOT TO MENTION yourself, and a willingness to watch “Star Wars: The Holiday Special.” Also, based on recent events, Disney has also outlawed drunk pod-racing.

 

Upon the opening of the attraction, Deadline Hollywood has pointed out that “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” is a “wildly immersive experience.” Now I can’t say I have been there myself, but this probably suggests one thing. The Stormtroopers there always try to shoot you, but don’t worry! THEY MISS EVERY TIME!

 

To say Disney did not have record-breaking year would be an absolute lie. From their performance in 2020, Disney’s the first studio to achieve a combined box office return of $10 billion on all of their released films.  Who knows what they’ll do with that money? Probably something that highly associates with the company… Maybe they’ll scientifically create a genie. Maybe they’ll build a Mickey Mouse-shaped Death Star. Maybe they’ll just let it go.

I did not see “Frozen 2” by the way, just saying. You know, in case it matters.

 

Even though Netflix is a popular choice for home viewers, they have recently been expanding their cinematic palette. In fact, just this year, plans were announced to buy a movie theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, California! Yeah, in April, it was announced that Netflix was seeking a purchase of Grauman’s Egyptian Theater! And with Netflix being Netflix, they will put a movie in there for about a year, only to have everyone complain once they finally get rid of it!

 

Following in the steps of programs like AMC Stubs A-List, Cinemark Movie Club, and Showcase Subscribe, one of the popular movie theater chains in the United States, Regal Entertainment Group has just unveiled their new moviegoing subscription service called Regal Unlimited. And by Unlimited, Regal means unlimited trailers. Maybe you’ll get a movie or two.

 

In all seriousness though, the program comes with various perks. For somewhere between $18 to $23.50 per month, you can watch as many movies as you want in Regal locations nationwide. And from anywhere between $0 to a $250,000 fine plus jail time, you can PIRATE as many movies as you want. You decide for yourself.

 

If you are a Regal Unlimited customer, chances are you used it to go see a flick or two, maybe even three. One such example… is “Cats.” “Cats,” a $95 million film, struggled at the box office. Many people have been disappointed with “Cats,” making this a loss for Universal, but a win for mice.

 

According to Taylor Swift, who plays a role in “Cats,” the cast attended “Cat School,” where you would learn the ways of a cat and how to behave like a cat. This is real! Apparently the “Cats” cast would adapt to crawling on fours, and get this, I think this is the best part… SNIFFING AND LICKING EACH OTHER! That’s one way to see if your senses work.

 

Also, apparently Taylor Swift graduated early compared to other actors. According to Rolling Stone, alternate cast members Francesca Hayward and Robbie Fairchild attended for six weeks whereas Taylor Swift attended for one week because based on the words given by, get this… Cat School professor Sarah Dowling, “Taylor is a natural cat.” Now that’s a breakup worth singing about!

 

When it comes to actors, one person who has had a hit year is Scarlett Johansson, who had appeared early on in the record-breaking “Avengers: Endgame,” and was eventually shown in other acclaimed films including “Jojo Rabbit” and “Marriage Story.” I personally love her in “Marriage Story,” I think she gave a great performance in that film. The film makes you feel like Black Widow is divorcing you! It’s that good! All she needs to do is kick her potential ex-husband in the face, maybe change her hair once or twice, and boom! Black Widow movie!

 

Scarlett Johansson also made a controversial comment earlier this year saying “You know, as an actor I should be able to play any person, or any tree, or any animal, because as an actor, that’s my job and the requirements of my job.” Never thought I’d say this, but if anybody is looking to reboot “Guardians of the Galaxy,” you now know who to contact for an audition. She is Groot! #SheIsGroot!

 

“1917” has received several nominations including Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, and Best Picture. Have any of you seen that movie? The film is designed to look like it is all done in one shot. Yeah, one shot is also the number of chances I have tell you that “Moonlight” won Best Picture tonight.

 

“Joker,” a case study on the iconic “Batman” villain is the first R-rated film to surpass the $1 billion mark. It has received a number of nominations including Best Film Editing, Best Actor, Best Costume Design, and Best Production Design. Think twice before showing this comic book movie to your kids, because the film is “rated R for strong bloody violence, disturbing behavior, language and brief sexual images.” Those are all solid reasons, but they also forgot to list the fact that the Joker suggests that it is okay to dance like crazy down the stairs! “Mom! Look at me! I’m doing the Joker dance!” “That’s great kiddo, now do it with scissors!”

 

In “Joker,” there is a scene where the title character dances on an exterior stairwell. This scene was shot on an actual stairwell on West 167th street in the Bronx area of New York City. Due to the success of “Joker,” tourists have come to visit the iconic stairs, leaving locals in dismay. One local resident said in regards to this matter, “we feel disrespected.” The only way residents would be more disrespected by this, is if it were revealed that the tourists were all Red Sox fans.

 

“The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” released last February, which has received a Best Animated Feature nomination for this ceremony! If “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” loses the Best Animated Feature award during the show, they will have bricked it.

Too soon? Too soon.

 

“Toy Story 4” was also nominated for Best Animated Feature! “Toy Story 4” introduces a disposable spork character named Forky, who desires to end up in the trash. If “Toy Story 4” wins tonight, in honor of this, I’ll congratulate all the other nominees, but then note that when compared to “Toy Story 4,” they are TRRRRAAAASH!

 

“Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” was one of the biggest box office hits of the past year! “Hobbs & Shaw” is also the title of the anticipated remake “Dude, Where’s My Flying Car?”

Although speaking of “Hobbs and Shaw,” some of you may have gathered that the crew behind the film worked very hard to give audiences the most bombastic and enjoyable popcorn flick of the summer. Between Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, director David Leitch, among others, they brought their A game to delivering a proper blockbuster. The film definitely does its best to be an entertaining ride, but there was something I couldn’t help but notice. A lot of vehicles get destroyed. Now this would have made for a really good collaborative ad campaign. In fact, one company in particular, unbeknownst to the public, approached the fine folks behind “Hobbs and Shaw” and agreed to make a commercial partially using footage from the movie that would air on television. Unfortunately, however, that commercial never made it on the air. And honestly, I’m kinda disappointed, because I had a chance to witness the ad and it was almost Super Bowl-worthy. In fact, courtesy of the people who made the ad, I was able to get ahold of it to reveal what you all have been missing! Guys, I hope you enjoy the commercial, take a look.

This is a ceremony dedicated to honoring film as a collective realm. As one who has been a part of multiple productions, I understand how hard it is to make a film. This is why I wanted to take this time to at least shout out each film from 2019 I have seen as of nominating all of the films for this current ceremony. Let’s take a look back at what Jack Drees saw in 2019.

  1. The Upside
  2. Serenity
  3. The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
  4. Fighting with My Family
  5. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
  6. Captain Marvel
  7. Us
  8. The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
  9. Shazam!
  10. Apollo 11
  11. Avengers: Endgame
  12. Long Shot
  13. Pokemon: Detective Pikachu
  14. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
  15. Cold Pursuit
  16. Booksmart
  17. The Kid Who Would be King
  18. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
  19. Rocketman
  20. Men in Black: International
  21. Replicas
  22. Toy Story 4
  23. The Secret Life of Pets 2
  24. Stuber
  25. Spider-Man: Far from Home
  26. Yesterday
  27. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  28. Alita: Battle Angel
  29. Missing Link
  30. Midsommar
  31. Crawl
  32. Ready or Not
  33. The Haunting of Sharon Tate
  34. Blinded by the Light
  35. Dora and the Lost City of Gold
  36. IT: Chapter Two
  37. Brightburn
  38. Ad Astra
  39. Black and Blue
  40. The Fanatic
  41. Joker
  42. Isn’t It Romantic?
  43. Zombieland: Double Tap
  44. Countdown
  45. Jexi
  46. Parasite
  47. The Lighthouse
  48. Last Christmas
  49. Honey Boy
  50. Jojo Rabbit
  51. Ford v Ferrari
  52. Knives Out
  53. Dark Waters
  54. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  55. Uncut Gems
  56. Jumanji: The Next Level
  57. The Peanut Butter Falcon
  58. Cats
  59. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
  60. The Aeronauts
  61. The Irishman
  62. Marriage Story
  63. Late Night
  64. Spies in Disguise
  65. 1917
  66. Little Women
  67. The Farewell
  68. Judy
  69. The Report

A big and hearty congratulations to those who made the films audiences everywhere went to see in 2019. Apologies if I missed something, but I am pretty sure I got all of the movies I saw. Without further ado, let’s announce some winners!

First up, is Best Animated Feature. These are the films that many families went to see to escape from reality, and I mean that in every sense of the word. After all, with these films, once the lights go down, you instantly leave your own big wide world, to enter alternate vast worlds of talking branded plastic pieces, living toys, and high-flying dragons. Within each one of these worlds, it is the lessons that we take, both as kids and adults that will have these stories stand the test of time. Maybe in some ways, their worlds of imagination, are just like our reality. Here are the nominees for Best Animated Feature!

  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (Dean DeBlois, Bradford Lewis, Bonnie Arnold)
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (Jinko Gotoh, Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller)
  • Missing Link (Chris Butler, Travis Knight, Arianne Sutner)
  • Spies in Disguise (Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Michael J. Travers)
  • Toy Story 4 (Josh Cooley, Mark Nielsen, Jonas Rivera)

And the Jackoff goes to…

“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World!”

“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” is an animated masterpiece. Director Dean DeBlois has officially closed the book on the “How to Train Your Dragon” trilogy with an absolute bang and it shows with the everlasting fun this film can deliver. One thing that makes movies what they are is the experiences they can provide. DreamWorks animated films have been around for about two full decades now, and they have had a number of hits. “Shrek,” “Shrek 2,” “Madagascar,” “Kung Fu Panda,” “Megamind,” “Kung Fu Panda 2,” but if you ask a lot of people what they think the best DreamWorks franchise is, there is a chance that “How to Train Your Dragon” will be a contender. As this franchise has evolved, so have details in the animation, the hidden world sequence in this film shows off a dragon land beyond the imagination. Ending off everything with an emotionally satisfying note, “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” is a movie that made this guy cry, but just like a dragon, he was ready to fly. Congrats to “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” the third, and maybe final, “How to Train Your Dragon” flick.

Speaking of visual animation, one of the most controversial subject matters that has been addressed in the film cycle of 2019 is the art of visual effects. In July, Disney’s live-action remake of “The Lion King” has lead many of its viewers scratching their heads because despite often being labeled as a live-action remake, others would say that since almost everything in that film has been made on a computer, it is within the animation genre. I did not see “The Lion King” this year, but regardless, it is something to think about. Similarly, Paramount’s “Sonic the Hedgehog” received criticism for its visual design of the titular speedy character, which prompted the crew behind that film to get back to work after the first trailer dropped. But one thing that is not controversial is that these are the nominees for Best Visual Effects. And they are…

  • Ad Astra
  • Alita: Battle Angel
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • Spider-Man: Far from Home
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Alita: Battle Angel!”

The film “Alita: Battle Angel” is based off a manga series, and like the live-action redo of “Ghost in the Shell,” which comes from similar origins, “Alita: Battle Angel” as a visual story jumps off the screen to the point where its own future feels not only possible, but in some ways, desirable. “Alita: Battle Angel” does what films of its kind do best, immerse the audience with an experience that is as glamorous as much as it fills a hole by providing good old fast-paced entertainment. James Cameron has a credit for this film, and it is no surprise considering how much he is revered in the visual effects space of film. “Alita: Battle Angel” is as visually compelling as an intense game of Motorball. To all who have visually designed this film to its finest detail, pat yourselves on the back. Well done!

Now it is time for a segment that will be occurring ten times throughout the show, where we take a break from awarding, and show trailers for this year’s Best Picture nominees. The first one shall be revealed in just one second, but here is a description of what this first movie encompasses.

Marriage. Dealing with in-laws. Graphic violence. These are core elements of some of the Best Picture nominees here at this current ceremony. Although, this film has all three of those things. As Fox Searchlight celebrated its 25th anniversary, these characters celebrated togetherness in one moment, and then engaged in a hunt to kill within the next. Yours truly dubbed this film as “The Greatest Hide and Seek Story Ever Told.” After all, the film follows a newly married woman as she is forced to play Hide and Seek, with a sinister twist. Starring Samara Weaving as Grace, it is her objective to survive to the end while avoiding her recently established tradition-based in-laws who must eliminate their newcomer to the family if they too want to continue their own lives. Nominated for 5 Jackoff awards, THIS is “Ready or Not!”

“Ready or Not:” the perfect film to watch with your in-laws.

The next two categories are dedicated to sound. To specify, sound editing and sound mixing. Just like last year, sound editing will be presented first considering how sound editing is a process that comes earlier when making a film. As mentioned in 2019, one way to remember this is that E comes before M. These five movies have the best overall sound collections of the past year, and whether they are explosions, gunshots, or lightsabers, each one pulled the audience into the world of their respective films with ease. Here are the nominees for Best Sound Editing.

  • 1917
  • Alita: Battle Angel
  • Ford v Ferrari
  • John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Ford v Ferrari!”

It’s official, “Ford v Ferrari” has received its first award show equivalent to the first sight of a checkered flag during a race! Personally, I experienced “Ford v Ferrari” in a large IMAX theater, allowing me to put myself in an atmosphere full of fast cars, Coca-Cola everywhere, and if you had to ask me what the best part of my experience was, it was undoubtedly the eargasmic sound work put into the film. Some people will tell you to wait for a movie to come out on DVD or On Demand and skip out on the theatrical experience, which I disagree with because the theater makes ANY movie better. That’s just a fact. With that being said, if you all have not seen “Ford v Ferrari” in a theatrical setting, you’re doing yourself a disservice and missing out on some of the most energetic racing scenes ever, and part of it has to do with the killer audio. “Ford v Ferrari” may be a rivalry story, but your ears will not be rivaled by the contents of this film!

Piggybacking off of sound editing, it is now time to move onto sound mixing. This category is dedicated to the artists who have turned up the volume, raised the decibel levels, and blown the roof off the place. These are the nominees for Best Sound Mixing.

  • 1917
  • Alita: Battle Angel
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • Ford v Ferrari
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Ford v Ferrari!”

This is “Ford v Ferrari’s” second win meaning a couple things. First off, it has officially dominated the sound categories! Quite honestly, this should not come off as that big of a shocker. This is a film that is clearly designed for the big screen, meant to be obnoxious and immersive in every way, and it is beautifully pulled off. I have never been to a NASCAR race in my life, and I have no intention on going to one in the near future, but I am not going to deny that “Ford v Ferrari” absolutely feels like a NASCAR experience in a cinema. Not only are sounds for this film wonderfully implemented through conceptual thinking, but they also are leveled properly and add to the film’s fast pace. Congratulations to “Ford v Ferrari,” how many more awards will it get? It is too early to tell, but it has currently two of the awards it was nominated for. If it wins Best Supporting Actor and Best Picture, it will have won all the awards it was recognized for. But for now, a hearty congrats to “Ford v Ferrari,” the overall sound king of 2019.

Our second Best Picture nominee is a tale of class. Not only is it a classy motion picture from start to finish, but it highlights the differences between the thriving rich and barely surviving poor. The film follows a family who is trying to make ends meet, and miraculously manages to do so each and every day. As they begin to become a centerpiece of a rich family’s life, their own lives begin to alter. It is a twisty and turny ride to the very end. Brilliantly directed by Bong Joon Ho, it is a film that makes you, as an audience member wonder, how much planning went into it from the first draft, to the final cut. But for all we know, maybe there was not much planning in the first place. As Kang Ho-Song’s character Kim Ki-taek suggests, there is one kind of plan that never fails at all. The plan being… “No plan. No plan at all.” Nominated for 7 Jackoff awards, THIS is “Parasite.”

When a concept falls into place, it must be met with a proper setting. Similarly, when a design of an area or structure on paper or on a computer falls into place, it must be met with a proper set. They say that in life, looks are not everything, but a proper background and utilized sense of surroundings will always pack an extra punch into making a great film. Here are the nominees for Best Production Design.

  • 1917 (Dennis Gassner)
  • Joker (Mark Friedberg, Kris Moran)
  • Knives Out (David Crank)
  • Parasite (Ha-jun Lee)
  • Ready or Not (Andrew M. Stearn)

And the award goes to…

Dennis Gassner for “1917!”

Now, if this were a film that was presented like any other, this would probably have a decrease in its chances of winning, but keep in mind that not only did set design matter in terms of how compelling the movie itself could turn out, but how it was shot. “1917” is meant to look as if it is all done in one shot, making set design that much harder to accomplish and perfect. The main purpose of a set like this, at least if I were to build it, is to provoke a sense of detail and believability. If I as a viewer am not able to buy the “1917” set, then why am I watching the movie? However, the designers pulled it off and put yours truly into war. This is a sentence meant to be stated in the best possible way. Well done to Dennis Gassner, the production designer of “1917!”

Moving onto costume design, fun for Halloween, but a lifestyle for the makers of films. These five nominated costume designers have taken the following traits into account: Authenticity, detail, and glamour. It is the work of the costume designer that allows an actor to embody their character, because without them, there’s a good chance we’d be just be watching pornography. It’s the truth. Here are the nominees for Best Costume Design.

  • The Aeronauts (Alexandra Byrne)
  • Joker (Mark Bridges)
  • Knives Out (Jenny Eagan)
  • Little Women (Jacqueline Durran)
  • Ready or Not (Avery Plewes)

And the Jackoff award goes to…

Jacqueline Durran for “Little Women!”

Durran has been recognized over the years for many of her costume-related achievements. Some include 2017’s “Beauty and the Beast,” 2006’s “Pride and Prejudice,” 2017’s “Darkest Hour,” and she even did another noteworthy film this year, “1917,” which to be fair, did fairly well in this category, but only five films can make the cut. “Little Women” has had many media adaptations over the years, meaning there have been multiple interpretations of the cultural hit many would call a book. From Greta Gerwig’s personal touch to the well-thought-out filming locations to the chemistry provided between actors like Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, and Emma Watson, it is no surprise that “Little Women” is a film that is fairly attentive to detail, which also shows in the realistic and gorgeous costumes worn by many of the film’s actors. Congratulations to Jacqueline Durran!

Our third Best Picture nominee is a love letter and tribute to the film industry of old, created from the visionary mind of Quentin Tarantino, one of film’s most ecstatic fans. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as an actor, and Brad Pitt as his stunt double, it is a film displaying the decline of said actor, not to mention the alteration of his own industry. Taking place in the 1960s era of Hollywood, the film is a lively, fine display of Californian culture that is slightly interrupted with gory violence and bloody scenes. Above all, the film is a reminder of friendship, ageism, and the fact that Quentin Tarantino… REALLY likes feet. Nominated for 6 Jackoff awards, THIS is “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”

Just a fair warning before I present the next category, two of the movies represented here feature main characters who happen to be clowns. So if you want to avoid having night terrors, look away now in case one of those movies win. But believe me, they look good in make up, alongside three other films. Here are the nominees for Best Makeup & Hairstyling!

  • The Aeronauts (Jacqueline Bhavnani)
  • The Irishman (Sean Flanigan, Nicki Ledermann)
  • Joker (Nicki Ledermann and Kay Georgiou)
  • Judy (Jeremy Woodhead)
  • IT: Chapter Two (Sean Sansom, Shane Zander, Iantha Goldberg)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Nicki Ledermann and Kay Georgiou for “Joker!”

Fun fact, “Joker” is the first R-rated film to gross over $1 billion at the box office! Based on the iconic DC Comics character, he has been through multiple visions over the years from numerous actors, and given how this film takes place in a depressing time where nobody has hope, Joker himself can not be more appropriately designed. Now, “IT: Chapter Two” was nominated, which is an earned nomination. Pennywise’s makeup is incredibly well done and I will say other characters like Beverly looked appealing. Then again, it’s Jessica Chastain, she looks appealing no matter the situation. But between the two clown movies, “Joker” pops the balloons with gunshots and comes out on top. Ledermann and Georgiou, clown around!

Our next category is for Best Original Score, where by the way, John Williams has been nominated for the one millionth, five-hundred fifty-seventh thousandth, and second time in any of the award shows that he has been in! This should not however take away from the other artists who have created their own pieces of modern music people listen to not containing Taylor Swift’s breakups or what happened after you took a DNA test. Here are the nominees for Best Original Score.

  • Avengers: Endgame (Alan Silvestri)
  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (John Powell)
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (John Williams)
  • Uncut Gems (Daniel Lopatin)
  • Us (Michael Abels)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Alan Silvestri for “Avengers: Endgame!”

Here’s the truth about the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. Over the years, yours truly has praised the MCU for the visual effects, the action, and its tendency to properly develop the stories of many of its characters. One lackluster element of many MCU films in my personal opinion has been the original score. While sometimes effective, it’s often nothing I want to listen to by myself the next day. Although in the past, films like “Iron Man 3” have been an exception with a hum-worthy and grand theme. And with Alan Silverstri in command, his work on both “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame” are both some of his absolute best, not to mention some of the all-time best in Marvel’s respective universe. If the Detective Comics Extended Universe had done one thing better than its Marvel competitor, it’s creating great original music from artists like Hans Zimmer (Man of Steel) and Rupert Gregson-Williams (Wonder Woman). However, with Silvestri’s previous efforts given in “Infinity War” and “Endgame,” it makes me think the scores have potential to be more memorable down the road. Will they be? We’ll have to see with films like “Black Widow” and “Eternals” hitting theaters this year. Congratulations to Alan Silvestri, your achievement must have been inevitable!

I have one shot to tell you what this fourth Best Picture nominee is, so I am not going to waste any time. It is a simple story involving two men at war who need to get from point A to point B with one thought in mind. Just don’t die. For these two, it is their mission to send a message in order to save sixteen-hundred men. Shot by last year’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner Roger Deakins, this film presents a concept lacking complexity, but fully displaying brutality. Perhaps one of the most innovative additions to the war film genre, Sam Mendes has written, directed, and produced a technical masterpiece that may, like World War I was supposed to, end all technical masterpieces. I personally hope there’s more to come, but you cannot deny how much work went into this piece of art. Nominated for 6 Jackoff awards, THIS is “1917.”

During last year’s Jackoffs, one of the pieces of work introduced was something I like to call “Film Improvements,” it is where I take a piece or a clip of a movie, in last year’s case it would involve films from 2018, and slightly alter it to maybe make it better or more meaningful than it already is. This year I have decided to revisit the concept given how no film is perfect. “Jaws” has a fake looking shark, “The Wizard of Oz” has a random bucket of water that can take out the Wicked Witch, and “Star Wars,” ironically, does not have stars fighting for supremacy. No film is perfect, but why not make the imperfect better? Here is my latest edition of “Film Improvements.”

Last year, I presented THIS award first, but now I need reasons to SUPPORT why I am putting this award here. Why am I doing this? Because it is my show and I can do whatever the hell I want! That’s a reason to support my statement! But let’s talk about supporting actors. Just because they are not at the forefront does not suggest they are any less important compared to other characters on screen. Between helping our main characters further unravel the story and meaning of the film and delivering a sense of charisma I would like to see from those who supported me in my life, the supporting actors of 2019 have broken their legs while audiences everywhere settle their legs on a chair. Here are the nominees for Best Supporting Actor!

  • Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood)
  • Tracy Letts (Ford v Ferrari)
  • Shia LeBeouf (Honey Boy)
  • Al Pacino (The Irishman)
  • Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Brad Pitt for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood!”

Pitt excels in his performance to a degree that I am unable to comprehend. Adding quirky flair and tons of personality, Brad Pitt plays one of the best characters who killed their wife I have ever seen, all the while having me in stitches and in an everlasting smile! What really sells Pitt’s character is his tendency to be charismatic and well-paced. Between the chemistry he brings to the table as Cliff Booth alongside main character Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and the perfect delivery of lines given to him in the scene where he trips on acid, Booth plays one of this year’s funniest characters and does so in true Quentin Tarantino fashion. There is a reason why additional supporting actor Timothy Olyphant suggested, “I’d never leave my wife for another woman. But there’s a chance, I might leave her for Brad Pitt.” Congratulations to Brad Pitt, and because he won the award, here is a clip of Brad Pitt’s performance in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”

But of course, you cannot have a Best Supporting Actor category without a Best Supporting Actress category. The five supporting actresses represented here have delivered lines with excellence, portrayed their characters with proficiency, and fulfilled the director’s vision by embodying the spirit of the film. Here are the nominees for Best Supporting Actress!

  • Shuzhen Zhao (The Farewell)
  • Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit)
  • Toni Collette (Knives Out)
  • Laura Dern (Marriage Story)
  • Annette Bening (The Report)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Laura Dern for “Marriage Story!”

Dern has been a prolific actor in recent years appearing in films such as “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Downsizing,” “The Founder,” and she’s even done some notable TV work as well including “Big Little Lies” and “F Is for Family.” However, there is no denying that when it comes to “Marriage Story,” Dern provides an overall fantastic presence as her character of Nora Fanshaw. A lawyer who needs to defend her client, Nicole, who is currently going through her divorce. Not only does Dern play an appropriate character for the role at hand, but she does so with the most proper of possible mannerisms and her attitude is top notch to the point where it matches the character’s personality. If there is one strong point to talk about in “Marriage Story,” it is in all likelihood, the acting. Three of the film’s actors are nominated as part of this ceremony, and tying in with “Knives Out,” “Marriage Story” has the most acting nominations at this year’s ceremony! To be specific, 3 in total. Congrats to Laura Dern, and with that being said, here is a clip of Laura Dern in “Marriage Story.”

Our fifth Best Picture nominee is inspired by true events and stars its own writer, Shia LeBeouf. Originally conceived during Shia LeBeouf’s personal experience in rehab, the film goes over the struggles of having an abusive parent. It not only dives into a series of hard times during childhood, but it reveals the after effects once the abused child reaches a certain age. As the feature-length debut given to us by Alma Har’el, this first-time directorial effort comes off like a culmination of somebody’s life’s work. Slight digression, but I will also make the argument that this nominee may have the all-time greatest film shot featuring pie. Nominated for 4 Jackoffs, THIS is “Honey Boy.” 

It is now time for this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. As promised last year, the recipient of last year’s Lifetime Achievement Award will officially have future Lifetime Achievement Awards named after them, so this year, I am going to be presenting the Roger Deakins Lifetime Achievement Award! Also like last year, I did not plan a video in advance for the winner. In fact, this is as spontaneous as a Lifetime Achievement Award can possibly get. Of course, there will also be another Lifetime Achievement Award, specifically presented to someone who is no longer with us, but has been graceful through the many years of the art of filmmaking.

The winner of the 2020 Roger Deakins Award is a BAFTA Winner, a Golden Globe Winner, an Emmy winner, and an Oscar nominee. He is an actor who has been in the business since the 1970s, making his prominent field debut in a short known as “The Hat Act.” He would eventually go on to embody iconic characters in many classic films. Some include Carl Specklar in “Caddyshack,” John from “Stripes,” Dr. Peter Venkman from “Ghostbusters,” and eventually recapturing the magic of a character like Bosley in “Charlie’s Angels,” not to mention Baloo in 2016’s “The Jungle Book.” He also played Phil in “Groundhog Day.” He also played Phil in “Groundhog Day.” He also played Phil in “Groundhog Day.” He also played Phil in “Groundhog Day.” He also played Phil in “Groundhog Day.” It’s a movie where Phil lives the same day over and over again. The man has lived long enough to play himself in films like “Space Jam” and “Zombieland,” where he was not afraid to suck the brains out of his own work in “Garfield,” which he must hate more than Mondays. He has a proper relationship in the business with director Wes Anderson, appearing in all of his films with the exception of “Bottle Rocket,” Anderson’s independent debut. Films like “Rushmore,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” and “Isle of Dogs.” If there’s something gold, and it really looks good, who ya gonna call? BILL MURR-AY! This year’s Roger Deakins award is given to the one, the only, Bill Murray!

If this were a Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award, Bill Murray would definitely be slimed, but since it is the Jackoffs, it is my pleasure to simply hand over the gold. Congratulations to Bill Murray, a man of talent, humor, and charisma. This year he is appearing in “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” so hopefully his work will continue to represent an amazing level of quality.

One of the most popular types of films over the previous decade has been the superhero and comic book movie. I am willing to bet that a lot of people who go to see these movies enjoy them, but don’t read the comic books. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. Comic book movies have been, and with the ongoing success of say the Marvel Cinematic Universe, will continue to be a major force in the industry. This past fall, I took a trip to one of my local comic book shops by the name of Harrison’s Comics, located in the historic and spooky Salem, MA, and interviewed the owner. I figured, comic book films are the thing right now, but why not get in touch with someone who surrounds himself with more than just the movies, more than just the TV shows on networks like CW. Here is my interview with Larry Harrison, the owner of Harrison’s Comics.

I just want to continue on from this with a true story. Before I even did the interview, I figured I’d get Larry a gift card to thank him for his participation. I had no clue what he would say to the questions I gave him, but he clearly represented himself as someone who does not buy anything digitally. I should have thought of that before giving him a card from Amazon. I swear to you this is true, I told him I got him a gift card, I had an envelope prepared and everything. I told him to just be prepared for what I’m about to give him, because based on recent utterances, he might throw the gift out the window! I even took the liberty of OPENING THE ENVELOPE FOR LARRY instead of letting him do it himself! I felt like a “Price is Right” model! I then take the letter out, open it, reveal the gift card, and being a classy dude and good sport, he just goes, “You know who’d like this, my wife.” Special thanks to Larry Harrison, and let me know if you need a new gift card in the future.

Our sixth Best Picture nominee is the only animated film on the list and the concluding chapter to one of DreamWorks’ most beloved franchises. When a city full of humans and dragons becomes overpopulated, it is up to its citizens to find a new home where everyone can thrive. At the same time, the vicious dragon hunter Grimmel will not stop until he captures the Night Fury audiences everywhere have come to know over the years. Throughout, viewers witnessed a story of companionship and growth, to the point where the film reveals that sometimes it is best to let things go. Stunningly animated and full of emotion, it is a step in the right direction for DreamWorks, not to mention their new parent company, Universal, who made this film together to kick off their partnership. Nominated for 5 Jackoff awards, THIS is “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.”

Our next two categories of awards belong to screenplays. Specifically, adaptations and originals. Starting off with the adaptation category, it is the job of the writers behind these screenplays to take preexisting material and define it for a specific era. It is also their job to continue the stories and traditions that may go far back from generation to generation, bringing said material to the forefront for our current generation. These five nominees have put a little originality or vision into the works of several storytelling gods. Here are the nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay!

  • A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Micah Fitzerman-Blue, Noah Harpster)
  • Blinded by the Light (Sarfraz Manzoor, Gurinder Chadha, Paul Mayeda Berges)
  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (Dean DeBlois)
  • Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi)
  • Joker (Todd Phillips, Scott Silver)

And the award goes to…

Taika Waititi for “Jojo Rabbit!”

One of the most prolific people in the film industry right now is Taika Waititi. The dude can act, he can direct, he can write, he can do all sorts of things! “Jojo Rabbit” earned its nomination, not to mention its win for basically packing in all sorts of genres within one movie and doing so effectively. It’s a satirical comedy where Adolf Hitler just happens to be a scene stealer! It’s a coming of age tale about a young boy who is raised in Nazi Germany! It’s a tragic war story! And if none of those elements came together and worked like a charm, this movie would not be getting the praise it deserves. Taika Waititi, you have outdone yourself! And even though I failed to nominate you for your performance as Hitler, that was a killer portrayal! Well done!

As for original screenplays, it is the job of the writer of said projects to create something innovative, magical, and something beyond the imagination. But much like adapted screenplays, it is also the job of the writer to trigger emotion, reactions, and attention. These five nominees have adapted a style to be original. Here are the nominees for Best Original Screenplay!

  • Honey Boy (Shia LeBeouf)
  • Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach)
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino)
  • Parasite (Bong Joon Ho, Jin Won Han)
  • Ready or Not (Guy Busick, R. Christopher Murphy)

And the award goes to…

Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy for “Ready or Not!”

“Ready or Not” is my #1 favorite film of the year 2019 for many reasons, and part of it has to do with the bonkers script that takes a crazy concept and turns it into gold! How many times have all of you seen a movie where a couple gets married and has to play a game to get the newcomer to join the family? The game, hide and seek! As a horror, the movie is suspenseful and scary! As a comedy, it’s hilarious! As something that falls in the mystery genre, it is absolutely brilliant! “Ready or Not” has a sense of consistency to the end, making my second viewing of the film very fun. The characters all have phenomenal chemistry, even when there is absolute hell going down. Well done to the writers of “Ready or Not,” you kept me on the edge of my seat in a way very few films this year did!

Our seventh Best Picture nominee is the perfect film to watch with your family. I say so because it does highlight a lot of what can go on during a family gathering. Maybe you’ll fight to the point where you want to murder somebody…  Maybe you’ll want to leave with somebody else to avoid all sorts of chaos… Maybe you’ll tell everyone around you to eat s*it because you hate them so much, there’s so much truth to this film! Anyway, helmed by Rian Johnson, this original murder mystery is likely to entertain the many viewers who tune in, but let’s just hope it does not make them hate time with their loved ones. With an ensemble including Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer, and Chris Evans, this film contains many actors who have established their name, all the while making this film as SHARP as it could be. Nominated for 7 Jackoff awards, THIS is “Knives Out.”

The Jackoff Awards are meant to be a celebratory event. With that being said, one of the biggest film news stories of 2019 is that the Academy Awards was going to potentially avoid presenting Best Film Editing and Best Cinematography live and instead, present them during the commercial breaks and show them to home viewers later on. That did not sit well with people, especially those in the industry, so the Academy quickly backtracked on the idea. I can officially confirm that at this year’s Jackoffs, all categories are presented equally. This even includes my next categories, the recently mentioned Best Film Editing and Best Cinematography. As for these next five nominees, they have officially established themselves… as cut gems. Here are the nominees for Best Film Editing.

  • Joker (Jeff Groth)
  • John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (Evan Schiff)
  • Marriage Story (Jennifer Lame)
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Fred Raskin)
  • Parasite (Jinmo Yang)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Jinmo Yang for “Parasite!”

The movie “Parasite” is no joke whatsoever. It is EVERYTHING that you all have heard. It’s creative, brilliant, and top-notch! As for the editing, this is something I failed to appreciate for a little bit, but the reality is that this contains one of the most well-put-together scenes of its respective year. There is an extended montage in the film about a third of the way through that not only contains great shots and stellar ideas brought to the screen that are executed well, but it even has a great score behind it! Scenes like this, and many others, that easily manage to implement proper timing in lines, dialogue, music, and cinematography, are why “Parasite” deserves as much praise as it is getting. It’s not too fast, not too slow, it’s just a masterpiece. “Parasite” is cut out to be the winner!

Continuing on, we dive to a category that is fairly exclusive to the art of film, not to mention television, Best Cinematography. Whether a movie is shot conventionally, as if it were ongoing, or in old timey black and white and full screen, the cinematographer behind each of these five nominees have not only helped the director carry out their vision, but let us, as an audience, visualize the surroundings of each story. Here are the nominees for Best Cinematography!

  • 1917 (Roger Deakins)
  • Ad Astra (Hoyte Van Hoytema)
  • The Lighthouse (Jarin Blaschke)
  • Parasite (Kyung-pyo Hong)
  • Us (Mike Gioulakis)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Roger Deakins for “1917!”

This is “1917’s” second win of the ceremony! Good news for Roger Deakins, not only did he get a Lifetime Achievement Award here named after him, but he does not have to wait ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen times to finally possess a respective award like this. “1917” is some of Deakins’ most innovative and groundbreaking work. Yours truly would probably consider “1917” up there with films like “Birdman” in the top 5 cinematography-related achievements of all time. Knowing Deakins’ achievements like “The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Big Lebowski,” and “Skyfall,” this certainly suggests something. Universal Pictures is responsible for “1917,” if Universal ever wanted to make a war themed ride to put out at one of their amusement parks, “1917” would be a great piece of inspiration for the product, and maybe it could be heavily based on the movie. Deakins, you are a god, and so is this spiritual experience of a film.

Our eighth Best Picture nominee is a glimpse into something that I myself have been through… Divorce. While I personally have never been married, as a child of divorce, I was able to emulate the emotions of at least what one person was going through during this motion picture. Featuring some of the year’s finest chemistry between leads Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, director Noah Baumbach has taken a concept often associated with struggle and turned it all into a slice of life roller coaster. It is a film that reminds us that we all have our own paths in life and they may not be easy to follow. Plus, even though they often say divorce is hardest on the children, the film displays hardships on the divorcing couple of Titanic-level tragedy. Nominated for 6 Jackoffs, THIS is “Marriage Story.”

One of the biggest film stories of 2019 is Disney’s finalized takeover of their recently purchased Fox assets. This included notable film studio names including 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight, and Fox 2000 (officially no more). They also have ownership of FOX-related networks like FX, FXX, and National Geographic. The Walt Disney Company now owns current movie franchises like “X-Men,” “Kingsman,” “Planet of the Apes,” and “Avatar.” They also own current TV shows like “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” “Bob’s Burgers,” and “9-1-1.” These additions have increased Disney’s empire-like presence over the media industry, leaving certain cinephiles worried about the history of film itself. In fact, one of my worries was that Disney was going to prevent making any R rated films in the future. I’m still scared that we may be getting a PG-13 “Deadpool” (despite various pieces of evidence that we are not), I am scared of the lack of diverse voices and types of films we could get down the line, and I am also scared of how Disney is going to be handling Fox’s past work. And with the new Disney+ app being successful, the company’s growth is definitely not grinding to a halt. Much to my surprise, Disney has since become less family-friendly, because they decided to go full George Lucas and change some Fox films of the past slightly. These changes are not the best for your next family movie night. For the record, I am one of the only people who has actually seen these changes, so it is my pleasure to share these with you. Here are some surprising changes Disney has made to Fox films of the past in a bit I like to call “Disbleep.”

Songs are more than music. Songs are more than just those tunes that get inside your head while on your way to work. To some, songs are a way of life and just a simple lyric can define the path one will ultimately take. These five songs here and now have demonstrated excellence through the combination of vocals and instruments. Here are the nominees for Best Original Song.

  • The Hide and Seek Song- Headquarters Music (Ready or Not)
  • Home to You- Sigrid (The Aeronauts)
  • I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away- Randy Newman (Toy Story 4)
  • I’m Gonna Love Me Again- Elton John, Taron Egerton (Rocketman)
  • Together From Afar- Jónsi (How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World)

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Home to You” by Sigrid, featured in “The Aeronauts!”

Fun fact about this particular win, this is the first win ever at the Jackoffs for an Amazon movie. Last year, “Cold War” was nominated for cinematography, which it ended up losing to one of the frontrunners, “Roma!” This year, Amazon has multiple movies represented including “The Report,” “Honey Boy,” and as of now, the Jackoff-winning film “The Aeronauts.” Amazon’s “The Aeronauts” never really sat well with yours truly as a story, partially because it involved a huge alteration regarding the main characters. However, once the movie ended and Sigrid’s “Home to You” began playing during the end credits, it sort of the captured the spirit the film seemed to be going for. The film does have an advantage compared to films like “Toy Story 4” and “Rocketman,” where I watched those films only once earlier on in the year. But the original songs from those films, as charming and well done as they are, never stuck with me. “Home to You” sounds like what I would want to hear out of a film presented in the style of what “The Aeronauts” was trying to be. Plus, “Home to You” in general comes off like a solid example of what an end credits song should be. It sort of adds a satisfying feeling to the table that I as a viewer probably did not think I would have needed. Sigrid sang her notes with serious skills, the song overall is soft, yet sweet, but because of the way it is presented, I personally cannot imagine a song like “Home to You” being done differently. Congratulations to Sigrid and to Amazon for earning their first ever Jackoff award! Don’t worry, the shipping’s free! If you want to listen to “Home to You” click the video below!

If actors are puppets, then directors are puppet masters. In case you all have recently lost track of time, it is the year 2020. Many people have put this year together with “20/20 vision.” As far as year the goes for 2019, its predecessor, specifically in films, these five directors have officially realized their own visions before a year of solid eyesight. Speaking of eyesight, it is through our eyes that we see these visions come to life on the big screen, and it is through future generations’ eyes where they see these visions on small screens. Here are the nominees for Best Director.

  • Sam Mendes (1917)
  • Alma Har’el (Honey Boy)
  • Rian Johnson (Knives Out)
  • Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)
  • Bong Joon Ho (Parasite)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Sam Mendes for “1917!”

Earlier in the decade, Mendes helmed two James Bond titles, “Skyfall,” and “Spectre.” At the end of this decade, Mendes took on the ambitious project of “1917,” the story of two soldiers who need to hand-deliver an important message. Mendes, through the power of solid directing, delivered a message too. The message that he does not mess around! All five nominees are incredibly deserving of being credited here, but Mendes delivered something with “1917” that was not only the product of a vision, but something that appears to be incredibly hard to make. Lucky for Mendes, he surrounded himself with solid talent including recently crowned cinematographer Roger Deakins, well-known actors including Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch, not to mention some solid artists behind sound and visuals. “1917” is a jaw-dropping epic from aspects including the stellar chemistry between characters to the groundbreaking “one-shot” idea that has been done before, but there is no denying that it is deserving of applause based on how well-executed it is here. One of the main goals of many war films is to make the audience feel as if they are a part of the action, maybe in a near-uncomfortable way. “1917” does that, and a lot more to satisfy someone like me. A hearty congratulations to Sam Mendes, and if Bong Joon Ho is reading this, sorry if this keeps you from having a drink. But nobody’s stopping you! So go party!

Our ninth Best Picture nominee is not a goodbye, nor a departure, but more of a welcoming to its audience to experience a story centered around tradition. Set mostly in China, it is the story of a woman who is terminally ill unbeknownst to her while she is surrounded by the family she has come to know, including a “stupid child.” Starring Awkwafina of “Crazy Rich Asians” fame, this film reveals the tragedy of loss while also reminding us that our own lives are beautiful in each of their own ways. In a year of phenomenal endings, this film delivers one of the most emotionally satisfying conclusions to a flick that yours truly has watched in 2019. Nominated for 3 Jackoff awards, THIS is the “The Farewell.”

This, like many awards shows, has probably taken as long as “Avengers: Endgame,” but three categories remain until you can all be disappointed that there is no end credit scene and just move yourselves away from here.

While it is certainly the director’s job convey the actions and emotions of a film, the job of a director, much like many other positions would likely not be possible in the film industry if it were not for the actors who show up to set, ready to interact with their ensemble. Actors can disappear in one moment from their real life persona, and magically reappear as a fictional character, or an icon that is about to deliver grace to the screen through the power of showmanship. These five actors, not to mention actresses, who we’ll get to in a second, have embodied well-contrived characters with proper execution. Here are the nominees for best actor!

  • Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)
  • Daniel Craig (Knives Out)
  • Adam Driver (Marriage Story)
  • Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)
  • Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Joaquin Phoenix for “Joker!”

This may be the single-hardest category of the ceremony, sort of like last year. Sandler delivered what may have been a career-best performance that can make a viewer have a heart attack. DiCaprio portrayed a fine character and matched through great chemistry with supporting actor Brad Pitt. Speaking of chemistry, Driver killed it in the film “Marriage Story,” where his chemistry with Scarlett Johansson delivered one of the best argument scenes of the past few years. Craig helped craft something special with his performance of Benoit Blanc in Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out,” where he develops a southern accent and ignites the quirky fun to be had. But a Phoenix has risen. One reason why Rami Malek won last year for his performance as “Bohemian Rhapsody’s” Freddie Mercury is because of not only his ability to deliver lines, but to also be physically convincing. I cannot think about the “Joker” without directing mental attention to the “stairs” scene. It is something so simple, but it is also weirdly magical. The performance has everything from dramatic delivery of lines to convincing physical motions and endless laughter! As a comic book movie fan, I have noticed that throughout many performances given by those who played the villainous clown by the name of “The Joker,” they all feel like they belong in their respective environment. Even though I and many others are not particularly fond of Jared Leto’s “Joker” introduced in “Suicide Squad,” it is a decent representation of the character when considering its surroundings. “Joker” takes place in a depressing 1981, and Arthur Fleck is a fine embodiment to portray what could be an opposite for those meant to represent said time. Many of the characters in “Joker” are either serious or down. While Fleck definitely shows signs of being down, he is slightly more hyperactive, a little more upbeat. I left “Joker” feeling like I witnessed something kind of nuts, and part of it has to do with the bonkers, but serious portrayal of Batman’s arch nemesis. Here is a clip of Joaquin Phoenix in “Joker!”

And with a Best Actor win, also comes a Best Actress win. Here are the nominees for Best Actress!

  • Awkwafina (The Farewell)
  • Ana de Armas (Knives Out)
  • Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story)
  • Yeo-jeong Jo (Parasite)
  • Lupita Nyong’o (Us)

And the award goes to…

Scarlett Johansson for “Marriage Story!”

I was not lying earlier! The acting in “Marriage Story” is easily the best part of the movie. When it comes to actors, I have been debating who exactly this has been the year of. Is it Keanu Reeves? Is it Tom Holland? Is it Brad Pitt? Tom Hanks? Adam Driver? Chris Hemsworth, maybe? Let me direct your attention to an actress who may have had one of, if not her best year yet, official Jackoff winner Scarlett Johansson. While her first appearance in a film this year was uncredited, specifically in “Captain Marvel,” she quickly found a presence in the MCU’s next film, “Avengers: Endgame,” which without spoilers, she had a crucial role in. The film went on to gross over not one, but two billion bucks, eventually leading to its official crowning of the biggest film of all-time, beating James Cameron’s “Avatar.” Then she gives one of the finest supporting performances this year in Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit,” which she was also nominated for. But nothing beats “Marriage Story.” The film is not only a great look inside what happens when a divorce-bound couple is driving themselves up a wall, but it is enhanced through its performances, including Johansson’s. The actress portrays Nicole, who wants to make a life for herself in LA, as opposed to New York, a location where her husband (Adam Driver) seems to be more fond of. Partially through the excellent writing and direction, Johansson plays her character with absolute power, especially during the argument scenes. I felt the pain of this couple as they broke themselves down, mocking each other, and eventually setting themselves on fire internally. Here is a quick glance at Scarlett Johansson in “Marriage Story.”

We are nearing the very end of the ceremony, and we still have one more award to present, Best Picture. But before we get to that, we need to continue on with the show by awarding tonight’s second Lifetime Achievement Award. Specifically, the Stan Lee Award. For those of you unfamiliar with the Stan Lee Award, I gave myself the opportunity to award a posthumous Lifetime Achievement to one individual, which in the previous show’s case happened to be Stan Lee. Much like the Roger Deakins award, this award will forever remain named after the legendary comic book creator. Given how Stan Lee passed in 2018, it is now time to honor someone who passed in 2019. After all, we are the reaching the end of the road. Why not end said road… with the end? This year’s Stan Lee award is given to an influential name throughout the film industry. Born July 18th, 1933 in St. Paul, Minnesota, this individual was about to make a mark on movies like few ever would in terms of how they are presented. Given what he would do later in the realm of filmmaking, it should be no surprise that his father would read him pulp magazines like “Flash Gordon.” After graduating high school, he served in the U.S. Army, and went to Art Center School in California. Soon thereafter, he worked with Ford Motor Co.’s Advanced Styling Studio, and eventually started his own company in 1970. Phillips was a grand supporter of this fellow, becoming an early client who would receive designs down the road. Did I mention books yet? Yes, in an illustrious life of his, he took time to illustrate books too! This illustrious career also led to him providing architectural renderings for establishments including Intercontinental Hotels. It is no surprise that in a career that involves visuals, he would use those for the art of filmmaking. Providing an outlook for films including “Aliens,” “Tron,” “2010: The Year We Make Contact,” “Mission: Impossible III,” and “Tomorrowland,” the man has built quite the resume. Many of his credits come from the Art Department, including one of his finest achievements, “Blade Runner,” the influential noir flick from “1982” that would become a cult classic. He even came back for the sequel, “Blade Runner 2049,” thirty-five years later. Speaking of influence, while the man himself never had a credit for any portion of “Star Wars,” George Lucas suggested the design for the AT-AT is inspired by this gentleman’s art. Said gentleman released his autobiography in 2018 titled “A Future Remembered.” I’m sure your work, as far as the future goes, will be remembered for generations. This year’s Stan Lee award goes to Syd Mead!

In “Back to the Future Part III,” Doc Brown said “Your future is whatever you make it.” For Syd Mead, not only was he determined to make his future a great one, but develop many other futures along the way. From “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” to “Blade Runner 2049” these written futures would not be possible if it were not for Mead. Congratulations, and may you forever rest in peace.

Our tenth and final Best Picture is a triumphant story for the American car industry. During an unfortunate time for the Ford Motor Co., the organization must come up with a plan to remain relevant and avoid running out of gas. It is eventually thought out that the company must make a racecar to beat Italy’s Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans of 1966. With such thoughts in a drivers’ seat position, engineer Caroll Shelby, portrayed with excellence by Matt Damon alongside car driver Ken Miles come together to build the ultimate racing machine. The film dives deep into a revolutionary story for driving, but it does not take away from the just as revolutionary sound and overall theatrical experience such a film can deliver. Nominated for 4 Jackoff awards, THIS is “Ford v Ferrari.”

We are now in the final moments of the ceremony. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway can now say with pride that they DO NOT have to present Best Picture. So guess what? The Movie Reviewing Moron will do so himself! 2019 has been a haven for film fans everywhere. We were introduced to some fascinating titles like “Just Mercy,” “Richard Jewell,” “Queen & Slim,” and “The Two Popes.” How are they fascinating? I don’t know! I have not seen any of them! But, these ten films I am about to present to you right now have defined my film cycle of 2019. These are the films that I walked into with curiosity, watched with attention, and left with satisfaction, or maybe the desire for more. Although, this is not all about me, because these are YOUR VOTES, even though these ten movies are my personal faves, 13 of you got to choose which of these was your fave. Here are the nominees for Best Picture!

  • 1917 (Pippa Harris, Callum McDougal, Sam Mendes, Brian Oliver, Jayne-Ann Tengren)
  • The Farewell (Anita Gou, Daniele Melia, Andrew Miano, Peter Saraf, Marc Turtletaub, Lulu Wang, Chris Weitz, Jane Zheng)
  • Ford v Ferrari (Peter Chernin, James Mangold, Jenno Topping)
  • Honey Boy (Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Christopher Legget, Daniela Taplin Lundberg)
  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (Dean DeBlois, Bradford Lewis, Bonnie Arnold)
  • Knives Out (Ram Bergman, Rian Johnson)
  • Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, David Heyman)
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (David Heyman, Shannon McIntosh, Quentin Tarantino)
  • Parasite (Sin-ae Kwak, Bong Joon Ho)
  • Ready or Not (Bradley J. Fischer, Willem Sherak, James Vanderbilt, Tripp Vinson)

And the Jackoff goes to…

“1917!”

This is “1917’s” FOURTH win of the ceremony! Of the six nominations “1917” has received prior to today’s show, it has also won Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, and Best Director. The film has also been nominated for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. It is also the first Best Picture winner distributed by Universal Pictures.

Films tell you a lot of things based on what is visually represented. But they can be provide great emphasis on the meaning of life. The reality of life is that you only live once, you have one opportunity to make your life the best it can be. YOU GET ONE SHOT. No do-overs. No mulligans. Just one shot. “1917” is a film that put me into a war zone by literally making the camera another set of eyes for about a couple of hours. With virtual reality becoming increasingly popular, it is safe to say that “1917” is one of the closest attempts in regards to filmmaking of getting to the scale and scope of virtual reality without goggles. One weird fact about “1917” is that despite being what one would technically refer to as a 2019 film, it released in most areas, at least most areas in the United States, in 2020. It’s safe to say that good things do come to those who wait. Stories involving war have always been a target for award shows. “Schindler’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Dunkirk,” and now “1917.” Other Best Picture competitors such as “Knives Out” or “Ready or Not” mostly made me have fun and ignited my willingness to cheer at the screen at least once. “1917” on the other hand left me in silence as I tried to process whatever in the ever-living f*ck I just witnessed. Because the reality is that “1917” is one of the most competently made films I have seen from a technical perspective. I left the auditorium, after being in awe of what I just witnessed, applauding as a sign of respect to the crew who made the best possible movie they could, feeling as numb as a tooth in its last moments before getting a cavity filled. Critics have responded to this film with positive reviews, leading to its 78 on Metacritic and 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences have also responded to this film with a current score of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes and a decent run at the box office so far. Therefore it is no surprise that “1917” has won the popular vote! The film really has had quite the run in regards to this year’s award season. It spun the Golden Globes to receive Best Picture-Drama. Not only did it win the DGA, but also the PGA! It flocked across the pond to take home a BAFTA. And now, it has received the most important movie blogging award in history, the Jackoff! Congratulations to the producers, cast, crew, and all others behind “1917!” You have won Best Picture!

Thanks for tuning to the 2nd Annual Jackoff Awards! An epic as stretched out as “Avengers: Endgame!” If you made it to the end, I love you 3,000! You’re unbelievable! I hope you enjoyed this one of a kind style of award shows that maybe unintentionally puts a person to sleep, and I will hopefully be doing a third edition come 2021. I should point out, I’m thinking of changing the name, but that is not a certainty at this point. Congratulations to “1917!” for winning Best Picture, plus the other four victories it snatched at this point! Congratulations to “Parasite” and “Knives Out” for receiving the most nominations for tonight’s ceremony! Congrats to all the other nominees! You’re all breathtaking!

That’s the show! Follow Scene Before through an email or WordPress account, check out the blog’s Facebook page, and my personal Twitter account (@JackDrees) for the latest shenanigans from the Movie Reviewing Moron! Peace out! Stay tuned for more great content! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!