Long Shot (2019): The Hillary Clinton Story


“Long Shot” is directed by Jonathan Levine (Snatched, Warm Bodies) and stars Seth Rogen (Sausage Party, The Disaster Artist) and Charlize Theron (The Fate of the Furious, Atomic Blonde) as the two work together while one of them, specifically Charlize Theron, tries to become President of the United States, although in reality this would actually never happen because Theron was born in South Africa, but still. While Theron is busy with her work in trying to promote herself as a likable candidate, Rogen joins alongside her as her speechwriter. Unfortunately for Rogen however, his journalistic background does not mix with serious politics.

I saw some bits of marketing for this movie before checking it out and honestly, it looked charming. The two leads are extremely likable so if you put them together, OF COURSE I would be there to see them on screen. If anything has been proven in recent years, if your name is “Seth,” you have a knack for comedy. Seth MacFarlane, Seth Green, Seth Meyers, and the main guy here, Seth Rogen, just because of your name, you are all SETH for life!

Aaaand, since my name is Jack, it appears that I’m not.

In fact, part of me actually forgets sometimes how much I really appreciate Seth Rogen. To me, it’s hard to point out a bad project from him. I even liked “The Guilt Trip!” I’m sorry, but it’s true! Even a formulaic and repetitive sequel such as “Neighbors 2: Sorority Uprising” worked for me. I love his tendency to push the barrier when it comes to comedy, as seen in movies like “Sausage Party.” I liked that movie so much that I saw it twice in theaters! I kind of regret not buying the Blu-ray when it came out, especially considering how I still don’t own the darn thing. In fact, his name helps me for his projects now, because Amazon has a show coming out called “The Boys.” I’ve seen and heard what it is about, but since I have a high dedication to movies, I don’t have much time for TV. Then I saw Seth Rogen’s name attached just recently, and now I want more of this project. It’s similar to another Seth, specifically MacFarlane. I am not much of a Trekkie. I like “Star Trek,” but I am not that religious to the franchise. Once I saw Seth MacFarlane attached to “The Orville,” the series had me hooked.

But we’re not here to talk about TV, we’re here to talk about film. So how was “Long Shot?” It certainly lived up to my expectations. I have to say that it certainly has a vibe of a Seth Rogen film while also being its own thing. Going into “Long Shot,” I have heard somewhere, I can’t remember the exact source, that this is a good date movie. I didn’t go to this movie with my girlfriend, in fact, to this day I can never say I’ve had one. Not that it matters, but having seen “Long Shot,” this is certainly a perfect way to describe it. “Long Shot” is a hip, cool, funny romantic comedy that really puts a lot of emphasis on the comedy. And by romantic comedy I don’t mean chick flick, it has a flair that feels very unisex going on masculine. Sex jokes galore, but luckily just about none of them feel cringeworthy or forced, which as a movie critic, is something that I tend to appreciate nowadays, especially when it feels like you have seen everything when it comes to comedy. Because comedy in movies, at least to me, has either become all sex jokes all the time, or physical mishaps that no pun intended, fall flat, or just plain cringe. “Long Shot,” much like some comedies from last year such as “Game Night” and “Tag,” sort of quenches my thirst like Gatorade.

I already dived into Seth Rogen as a person, but let’s dive into his character. I really like the direction which they took him, he’s a barrier-crossing journalist that leaves his job, which eventually leads to his working relationship with Charlize Theron. He’s not really that formal, which is something that he has to get used to overtime, which leads to a hilarious outfit change when his character, specifically named Fred Flarsky, travels to a foreign country and has to look presentable to a foreign audience.

As for Charlize Theron, I have to give a lot of credit, not necessarily to her performance, but everyone behind the makeup and costume departments of production. It seems like they had a lot of fun trying to come up with how Charlize Theron would present herself if she ever got into politics. It kind of feels like a stereotype, which really works for her character.

Speaking of politics, the president we see in the start of this movie (Bob Odenkirk) is actually kind of hilarious. Granted, there is not much to say about him, and he is sort of one-dimensional, but when he is shown early on in the film, his character reveals what he wants to do with his life. He wants to become a TV star, which makes sense as he was watching himself on TV early on. The more I think about it, the more I enjoy this idea for a singular motivation because you see all of these people acting in one thing or another and they play a president. You never think they are going to become the President of the United States, and now you have a president who wants to go in the realm of television. The more I think about it the more I go, “Yeah, that thing from the movie. Dope.”

And to be honest, I did not have many theories about “Long Shot” going into it. You know, aside from it pleasing me. Why’s that? Well, the movie’s title does not rhyme with “Avengers: Endgame.” But let’s say I had to go back and analyze any previous thoughts I had going into “Long Shot.” I didn’t think that this movie would become as serious as it did. I won’t say when, and I won’t say how, but this movie does become a fantastic parody of how politics works. In some ways, it really is all down to the marketing, and you can’t please everyone, sometimes including yourself. Charlize Theron has this plan to save the planet and not everyone in the world is onboard with it. As a viewer, I was onboard with the idea, but that has probably nothing to do with the movie and maybe more to do with my worldview. And speaking of worldviews…

This movie manages to parody on our media. It doesn’t dive too deep into MSNBC and CNN, but as for Fox News, it hits the organization hard. Granted, I don’t like Fox News, and I think what they did to Fox News in this movie is hilarious, but it also makes me think that this movie is going to piss some people off. I know some Republicans and they are nice people, but I wouldn’t take them to see this movie. Not that this movie is propaganda, but I would rather take someone who doesn’t watch Fox News everyday and bashes on the “fake news media.” And as for my thoughts on that, let’s just admit it, everyone has an agenda and no matter what organization you belong to, there are always guidelines and you are not always going to knock each report out of the park, let’s just be honest about that. Yes, there is a lady that is trying to run for president. And you know what? That’s not even the real propaganda of the movie, which I actually really appreciate. Although it does occasionally attack the Republican Party, the political system as a whole, and even Donald Trump. Because there is a line in the beginning of the film that I actually found rather funny when it came to Charlize Theron’s character wanting to run for president and guy pointed out that nobody wants to know what the president does to their hair, shortly after, he takes that statement back. I kinda like that joke.

In the end, “Long Shot” is a fun movie. In a time where President Orange is in office and he’s trying to get people to see less work from Hollywood, he ain’t stoppin’ me from prompting you guys to check this out. Well, then there’s “Endgame,” in which case, I truly wish this movie luck. The movie brought in a billion bucks for Disney, so yeah. I seriously wonder how much money it’ll lose, if anything. In all seriousness though, if all of your theater’s showtimes for “Endgame” are sold out and you don’t have any kids in your party, consider giving “Long Shot” a chance. I’m going to give “Long Shot” a 7/10. Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I am going to have my review up for “Shazam” and for those of you who don’t know, I got the opportunity to watch “Long Shot” for free, and the same goes with another film that is set to come out next week called “The Hustle.” For those of you who have seen the film “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” this is a remake of that film and I have passes on me for that film. I might go see it next week depending on whether someone decides to come along with me. Be sure to follow Scene Before with a WordPress account or email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Long Shot?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite Seth Rogen or Charlize Theron movie? For Rogen, it would probably be “Kung Fu Panda,” which until recently, I might have never known he had a voice in, and for Theron it might be “Kubo and the Two Strings.” Let me know your picks down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Cold War (2018): The Colorful Technology of Amazon Meets Black and White


“Cold War” is directed by Pawel Pawlikowski (Ida, My Summer of Love) and stars Joanna Kulig and Tomasz Kot as a music director and a singer who eventually find themselves in an unlikely romance. The music director is also trying to get the singer to flee Poland and enter France alongside him.

I actually heard some things about “Cold War” before going into it, but my prior knowledge didn’t really encompass of much. The main thing I did know however is something that I imagine a number of people don’t truly care about, which is the fact that this movie, at least in the United States, released on the infamous December weekend of death. It was released alongside big features including “Aquaman,” “Bumblebee,” and “Mary Poppins Returns.” Not to mention, another disadvantage this movie had is that it is a foreign film. And as much as everybody hates America right now for how it is being run as a country, many Americans can’t turn down a Hollywood film. I am usually the type of person who doesn’t care what country a film comes from. As long as a film is properly executed or well done, I can approve of it. And regardless of where this film in particular comes from, I enjoyed it.

From a technical perspective, “Cold War” shines. The film is presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio, which is rare for a film nowadays, but at the same time, has happened in the past with recent films like “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” It successfully provides an old-timey feel. Speaking of old-timey things, the film is also in black and white. Artistically speaking, I can approve of such a choice because this film does take place between the 1940s to 1960s, when not everything has been put in color yet. Speaking of things that are quirky by today’s standards, one thing I found interesting is that if the film makes a time jump, it cuts to black and goes back to providing images in a snap. There are also various shots containing a plethora of information and it is just f*cking beautiful. I won’t go into detail, but the ending shot reminded me of Orson Welles’ “The Third Man” and Robert Zemeckis’ “Cast Away.” And I’m surprised to say that because this movie, again, is entirely shot in 4:3. Although at the same time, the more square-like images can make the information provided feel crammed, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. It almost reminds me of when I go to see certain movies in IMAX like “First Man” or “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” because those have scenes shot in IMAX and when you go into the IMAX theater to see the movie, the screen fills up for a period of time, taking a break from the scope aspect ratio.

Moving onto our two main characters, Zula and Wiktor, the best thing I can say about them is that they actually feel like a real couple at times. Not all the time, but there are many times where their relationship feels extremely authentic. I will say however, I did see the movie earlier this week, specifically Tuesday, and to give you a sense as to how I feel about this film as a story, I will remind you that I saw this in an art-deco theater. If you live in the Boston area, there’s a possibility you may have heard of the Coolidge Corner Theatre. It’s probably one of the most gorgeous and state of the art cinemas I’ve ever set foot in. I saw this movie in their largest auditorium, which has the old-timey red curtain, and I found myself to enjoy it. But days after viewing the movie, I almost don’t even recall a good portion of it. Whereas just the other day, specifically Saturday, January 19th, I just saw “Roma” at that same theater. I still remember it, I can’t stop thinking about it, and I can’t recommend it enough. “Cold War” on the other hand is a good movie, but really stands out more from a technical point of view as opposed to a character point of view.

When it comes to “Cold War” as a movie, it sort of reminds me of “Hail, Caesar!” directed by the Coen Brothers. “Hail, Caesar!” is a beautifully shot movie, which is not that surprising since it was done by Roger Deakins, who recently, FINALLY won an Academy Award for his work on “Blade Runner 2049.” Hell, both movies even have great moments of music and choreography! However, in terms of overall quality from characterization and other parts related to the story, that’s where the movie leaves a little bit to be desired. Granted, on paper, the movie sounds like a good, intriguing story, but the fact is, much of it is actually not that memorable. “Cold War” is kind of the same thing. It sort of attempts to harken back to a certain time period with as much purposeful authenticity intact. Granted, there is fiction inserted throughout the entire runtime, but said fiction is taking place in a time that realistically happened, and such a thing manages to provide a quirky vibe for both films. They aren’t exactly the same considering how “Hail, Caesar!” is sort of marketed to be more fun, but “Cold War” is advertised as a more serious, compelling drama.

I’m not saying I have the inability to sit through movies like “Cold War” that are sometimes slow in terms of pacing, which coincidentally is a minor problem at times. Although what I am saying is that this movie just kind of underwhelmed me. Granted, it didn’t underwhelm me all that much. When I watched it, I had a certain positive score for it in my mind once I left the theater, which by the way still stands. Plus, this movie is not even that long. The total runtime comes out to an hour and twenty-nine minutes. Although at the same time, maybe it did feel long because I did something I am somewhat ashamed to have done.

*Clears throat*

Forgive me father for I have sinned.

I had my phone on during the movie. Now don’t worry, the ringer was off! I often leave my phone on with my ringer silent during many of my moviegoing experiences. But given how I don’t have a watch on me, and since I don’t have an iPhone, nor do I care to possess an iPhone, meaning I never wasted hundreds of bucks on an Apple Watch, I put my hand in my pocket, took my phone out, and checked the time. If I recall correctly, the brightness was low. Also, don’t worry that much! There were a few other people in the cinema alongside me, I only had it on for a few seconds to check the time, the screen was hidden from everyone’s sight, then I shut it down and put it away!

Man, that felt good and horrible at the same time.

In the end, “Cold War” is kind of an enigma. I don’t really hate the movie, but over the past few days, bits and pieces of it are continually being erased from my mind. Granted, now that I am back in college, certain assignments and classes are affecting my time to keep this blog up to date, but still. Although on the bright side, the fact that I am reviewing this now as opposed to immediately once I get home from the theater might actually be a positive thing because I reviewed certain movies like “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” I gave that film a 9/10 when I first saw it. Why did I give it a 9/10? Because I was a crazy fanboy that had certain requests I wanted fulfilled with the film. And while at the time, I had those requests fulfilled, little did I realize how much I would come to hate the movie in the very end. To sum it up, “Cold War” is one of the best-looking movies of the year, but story-wise, needs a boost, at least for me. I don’t know if this grade will make sense, or surprise some of you, but this movie was still enjoyable enough, and likable enough, that I’m going to ultimately give “Cold War” a 7/10. And who knows? Maybe the second time watching this will be better. It is coming to Prime pretty soon since it is an Amazon movie, so I can watch it for free in the future if need be. For all I know, maybe it will somehow be worse. It’s hard to tell. We’ll just have to see what happens. Thanks for reading this review! And if you have made it to the end of this post when it was released, congratulations! You picked a good post to read! Because this Sunday, I am planning to release my ultimate list of my nominees for the upcoming Scene Before Jackoff Awards ceremony. I am not going to say whether “Cold War” actually is nominated or not, but I will point out that this might be the last 2018 movie I watch before the nominees are announced. I might be going to see “On the Basis of Sex” this weekend, I don’t know for sure, but it is a possibility. But speaking of movies, I will admit that I have seen a 2019 movie recently by the name of “Serenity.” And no, this is not attached to the “Firefly” franchise, this is entirely different. My review for that will be up very soon, I’m not sure if I’ll release my “Serenity” review before or after the nominations, but it is a 2019 movie so it won’t even count in this current ceremony. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with a WordPress account or an email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Cold War?” What did you think about it? Or, since I can praise this movie’s final shot, what is your favorite concluding shot to a movie? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Second Act (2018): Jennifer Lopez Is Stunning, This Film Is the Opposite


“Second Act” is directed by Peter Segal (50 First Dates, Grudge Match) and stars Jennifer Lopez (World of Dance, Maid in Manhattan), Leah Remini (King of Queens, The Exes), Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical, Powerless), Treat Williams (127 Hours, A Streetcar Named Desire), and Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us, Gilmore Girls). This film is about a girl who works in a big box store, ends up no longer working there, and decides to seek out another job opportunity. Having received less education than other people in particular and relying on street smarts as opposed to book smarts, Maya wants to prove to Madison Ave that she is worth something.

I got passes to an early screening of “Second Act.” The passes were used by a friend and I as we both individually trekked to the movie theater. For those of you who don’t attend advance screenings, I’ll just have you know that these passes, like others, happen to be free for those who can get their hands on them. Not that you need to know, but I’m an AMC Stubs member. I also just had a birthday in November, which meant I got to get a free large popcorn. That was the best part of this whole experience, not just because I saved tons of money, but also because “Second Act” is a disposable mess. 2018 is a very positive year in film for me, but it has some stinkers in there, and this is certainly one of them.

“Second Act” is a film about believing in yourself, no matter where you stand in society. While that may be a positive thing, one thing that is also positive is the amount of negativity I’ve had going through my mind just having to sit through this film. The release date for “Second Act” is December 21st. It honestly feels like a January movie. The only thing that seems to save it is that it seems to be targeting a different audience than all the award film junkies and big budget films. “Second Act” reminded me of a Lifetime movie without commercials. And it doesn’t surprise me that my mother wants to see this film at some point. Having seen the film, she MIGHT like it. I don’t know if she’ll remember it afterwards, but she might enjoy herself for almost a couple of hours.

How forgettable is this movie? I probably happen to be cheating with this statement because I have the ability to work on this movie review for a month, but the comedy was not only unmemorable, it was some of the stalest material I’ve suffered through all year! It’s not “Life of the Party” bad, but the humor was repetitive, awkward, and it is all s*it I’ve heard before! Speaking of s*it, one running joke happened to come from Leah Remini’s kid, and the joke is that he’s a pottymouth.


A+ material.


Eat your heart out, Will Ferrell.

This movie makes me think that I’ve almost seen it all when it comes to comedy. If I were to make a comedy movie, and I were trying to think of new material, nothing would come to mind. Swearing and sex rule while all other walks of life, ultimately walk away.

Let’s also talk about Jennifer Lopez in this film. She did a fine job with her lines that were given to her, and her character wasn’t all that unlikable. However, as I left the theater, my friend and I were in a car together. As we were in the car, she thought Jennifer Lopez’s ultimate goal in this movie was to show herself off, show her body, show her inner fashionista as much as possible.

I mean, come on!

Jennifer Lopez made the top of the list on For Him Magazine’s 100 Sexiest Women twice. She was named the most lustable celebrity of the past twenty years according to Vibe magazine. In 2011, Lopez was named “The Most Beautiful Woman” by People. Jennifer Lopez did not direct this movie, but there is no denying that a film’s actors can have some power in the direction the vision tends to go. Where does the vision go?

Her figure.

Hey, jackasses! HER EYES ARE UP THERE!

As far as other characters go, they’re really just disposable trash. What is there to remember about them that’s noteworthy, nifty, or cool? I didn’t care about many of them, I don’t want to hang out with them had I been given any opportunity to face them in real life, and I just want to annihilate everybody. There’s a scene containing these dumbasses that is one of the most awkward things I’ve had to watch all year! I’d rather watch the sex scene from “Deadpool” with a room full of seven year-old kids than have to sit through that all over again. There’s a part of the movie that takes place in Grand Central, we see the main character’s friends, who might as well be as street smart as her, disguised and dressed up as intellectual snobs. Get that out of here, out of my sight, NOW!

There’s only one funny scene in the film that I can actually recall, and guess what? It’s in the trailer! I don’t care if I go into detail about this scene, I don’t want you to watch this film anyway so why should I care?! Jennifer Bombshell has to go to a fancy dinner and speak to a guy in Mandarin. After all, she’s the only person who can actually do such a thing. Well, sort of. Lopez goes into the dinner with an earpiece and she’s listening to a vet say all that needs to be said. She hears something that she doesn’t understand, but it comes off as rather raunchy. That was actually pretty funny. But who am I kidding? THIS MOVIE SUCKED!

Also, I gotta say, this is probably not up in my worst cliches just yet, but I feel like I’m getting to the point where I weep for humanity every time I see a certain scene that happens to be in “Second Act.” That scene to be specific, is when a character is trying to decide what they should wear and their friends have to judge them. I’ve seen that for the umpteenth time this year alone, and the only time it really worked for me might have been in “Ready Player One.” I’ve seen it in that movie, “Life of the Party,” and “Love, Simon.”

In the end, “Second Act” is not just one of the worst movies of the year, it feels like it doesn’t even belong in December. It feels like a release the studio would attempt to dump into January or February. Jennifer f*cking Lopez is nothing more than a walking line uttering robot who has some capabilities of understanding human emotion, perhaps sexuality. The supporting characters, wait, WHAT supporting characters? My gosh I hate this movie! I’ve seen a number of new releases this year from the studio which associate with this movie. STX to be specific. NONE OF THEM have been higher than a 3. Sadly, this doesn’t even surpass that. I’m going to give “Second Act” a 2/10. Thanks for reading this review, be sure to stay tuned for my top 10 best and worst movies of 2018! Those will be up on New Years Day as separate posts. Look forward to those posts coming soon! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with a WordPress account or an email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Second Act?” What did you think about it? Or, who is your celebrity crush? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

A Star is Born (2018): Lady Gaga Can Act?!


“A Star is Born” is directed by Bradley Cooper (Guardians of the Galaxy, Joy), who also stars in the film as well, alongside Lady Gaga (Machete Kills, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For) as two singers who have both of their individual problems in life. Bradley Cooper plays a country vocalist who has a drinking problem and Lady Gaga plays someone who writes her own songs but lacks the courage to sing those songs. Both meet each other, fall in love, and go on a journey together as they sing.

This was a movie I was looking forward to this year. Bradley Cooper is not a bad actor, and judging by the idea of this movie alone, it seemed like a good idea on paper to get a singer (Lady Gaga) to act in a role that primarily involves singing. Also, one thing that really interested me was the fact that Bradley Cooper, someone who is usually known for acting, actually decided to write and direct this film. Granted, this just shows his range in the film industry, especially when you begin to consider how great this film truly is. But you know what? I gotta get something out of the way, it has problems, so just to scratch those off the board, I’m gonna tackle those first.

One problem that I imagine is going to get some controversy is the songs in this movie. This may be just me, but the main song in the movie, “Maybe It’s Time,” just didn’t work for me. I don’t know, the fact that the same lyrics are used more than a single time in a row just felt slightly off-putting. Granted, it might almost make me look like a hypocrite because there’s a song that has nothing to do with this movie, known by the name “Roadhouse Blues,” which has a similar tactic. Then again, I find this movie’s song to be a bit more serious, and I found the tactic in “Roadhouse Blues” perhaps a bit funnier. Speaking of songs, I don’t feel like there’s going to be many songs from this movie that I’m either going to remember or want to listen to again. And that’s kind of sad because this movie revolves around music and singing. I imagine the studio wanted to sell an album based off this movie. Chances are they just lost a customer! It’s not like I walked out of “La La Land,” where I not only remembered songs from the movie, but I had some of urge inside of me that made me want to listen to certain songs again.

I’ll say once again, this film is directed by Bradley Cooper. This is actually his directorial debut and I gotta say, this is a pretty good debut. Not as good as it could have been. I will say there could have been some improvements. But as far as lighting goes, I really like the bar scene. The lighting of the bar really stood out to me. I don’t know why, but it just felt like something you’d probably encounter in a big city. Cinematography wise, some of the shots sometimes immersed you into concerts, maybe even toward’s Bradley Cooper’s typical everyday life. As decent as the directing may have been, especially for a debut, it doesn’t hold a candle to the fantastic acting. Bradley Cooper’s performance as Jack was believable and had some emotion beneath it. You can see this broken singer who is still chugging along with his life. Also, for those who don’t know, the singing in the movie is Bradley Cooper’s actual voice. It kind of reminded me of Tim McGraw if he happened to combine with Rick Deckard from “Blade Runner.”

The best performance in the movie however, hands down, is Lady Gaga. While this movie is mainly about Bradley Cooper’s character’s life, I gotta say, character and acting-wise, Lady Gaga dominates as the character of Ally. Casting-wise, I gotta say, it may almost feel cheap on paper getting a singer to do an acting gig. Why not give it to an actor? But when you consider the fact that Lady Gaga is playing a singer, you know why she was chosen for her specific role. And it’s not like Lady Gaga is new to the world of acting. Just look at her IMDb! Seriously though, great casting! Although my one problem with the character, despite Lady Gaga’s killer performance, is the nose story. I seriously have to ask, is this based on true events? I can understand people being insecure about their looks. But not only am I not aware of people being insecure of how their nose appears, but when it comes to Lady Gaga, she didn’t make that story believable. I sort of said this before, and I’ll say it again This is like getting Mila Kunis, who was then recently nominated at the Teen Choice Awards in the Female Hottie category, earned the #2 spot on AskMen’s Top 99 Women list, and earned Esquire’s Sexiest Woman Alive in 2012 to play a stay at home mom who wears “typical mom clothes.” Maybe this statement is technically a little invalid because I’m a guy, and it seems to be a gender-oriented stereotype that guys don’t usually care about their own looks as much as women do, but I usually don’t see people complain about their nose, or say someone’s nose looks ugly. That idea is almost cheesy at this point. But in reality, despite the weird writing, Lady Gaga hit it home with her performance and made the movie.

Another highlight performance comes from Sam Elliot (Road House, Mission: Impossible), who plays the brother of the main character. This character goes by the name of Bobby and he seems to know that something is up with his brother. He’s trying to get the message across to his brother that he shouldn’t be drinking as much as he is. Clearly the brother is not listening. His performance is maybe a little more quiet than some of the others in the movie, but in the end that’s what makes it great.

Also, for those who are curious to know, there is a dog that plays a role in the movie and believe it or not, that dog actually happens to be Bradley Cooper’s own pet. When I first heard about this, I thought that little factoid was rather interesting. I went to see this movie with my mother and sister, they thought the dog was cute, but I’ll be honest with you, and if Bradley Cooper is reading this, I love your work, I apologize, it looks like a canine Fozzie Bear, and not in a good way. This does not affect the score, and my opinion of the dog has nothing really to do with how I feel about the movie, but I just thought I’d let you know about the little factoid if you were curious.

In the end, “A Star Is Born” is awesome, and if you are planning on seeing this, don’t wait for streaming, don’t wait for the DVD, don’t wait for On Demand, go see it in the theater. I actually went to see this movie in Dolby Cinema at AMC, there were literally parts where I felt like I was in a concert. I have my gripes with the movie, but this movie certainly had enough to admire to the point where I consider it one of the better flicks I’ve seen this year. As far as Bradley Cooper as a director goes, I’d like to see more of his work, and given how he also has a screenplay credit for this movie, I’d like to see more from him in that field as well. I’m going to give “A Star is Born” an 8/10. Thanks for reading this review! Tomorrow I’m going out to see the new movie directed by Damien Chazelle, “First Man,” which is based on the events of the Apollo 11 mission. Be on the lookout for that. Sticking on that topic, I’m not sure, but depending on my work load this week and how I feel, I’m going to do an extra post related to “First Man” aside from the review. I’m not gonna give any details as to what it is, but please stay tuned. Speaking of things of to be on the lookout for, I am also going to have my analysis of my time at New York Comic Con, so stay tuned for that. Be sure to follow Scene Before with your WordPress account or email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “A Star is Born?” What did you think about it? Or, just out of curiosity, not that it’s going to happen, but do you see Bradley Cooper potentially being able to direct “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?” Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Love, Simon (2018): A Movie About Emails, Love, and the Weirdest Principal Ever


“Love, Simon” is directed by Greg Berlanti, who you may know as a producer for a lot of content that’s coming out in relation to DC Comics and this movie stars Nick Robinson (The Fifth Wave, Jurassic World), Jennifer Garner (Juno, Daredevil), and Josh Duhamel (Transformers, Safe Haven). This movie is about a teenage boy who is nearly done with high school and all of his life he’s been hiding the fact that he’s gay. His parents don’t know, his friends don’t know, his family doesn’t know, nobody knows. One day, Simon comes across something online about someone who has never come out, seeing this, he begins communicating with the individual who happens to be just like him. This leads STRAIGHT into this coming of GAYGE story.

I bought this movie on Blu-ray for 25% less than the sticker price (originally $34.99), and I will bring up the fact that despite its recent release date, I missed “Love, Simon” in the theater. My sister saw it, but on the same day, she was with her own demographic and I was off with someone else seeing another movie at a different theater, specifically “Tomb Raider.” However, when I saw a couple of Blu-ray copies available at a store I went to multiple times while on vacation, I asked my sister if she thought I should pick up this movie, mainly considering how she’s one of the few people I know who saw it. Once I got her seal of approval, I thought I should take a gander at what this was. Having seen this movie now, it’s fine. Just fine. Did I expect it to be great? Not really. I thought it was gonna be really good, and while it didn’t quite MEET my expectations, I can’t say my disappointment levels are enormous, because “Love, Simon” is an entertaining, somewhat fast-moving, enjoyable experience I guess.

Let me just get something straight. I’m straight. I can’t say I completely relate to Simon entirely because I’m not gay, but with ways not having to do with sexual orientation, the writers did a really fine job at making the character of Simon feel like a normal everyday person just like he himself says he is at the start of the flick in narration form. And that is one of the biggest compliments I can give to “Love, Simon,” as a coming of age story, the script does its job (FOR THE MOST PART, THE FLAT-OUT ODD AND OVERUSED SEX JOKES, NOT TO MENTION OTHER CRINGE GOT IN THE WAY). Not only that, but all of the characters around Simon’s age seem to come off as authentic high-schoolers. And I will say, that if I were talking about the first half of this movie, I probably would have a gun to my head while threatened to say what somebody else wanted. I’m not saying the first half was terrible, but certain parts of the first half were not really as lovable the other half. There is some cringe to be had throughout the movie that was rather unexpected.

One such moment comes into play during a scene in a Waffle House. While everyone is reading a play script, A character by the name of Martin, who might as well be young Lex Luthor in “Batman v. Superman,” has a crush on Abby, and it just leads to one of the weirdest exchanges of dialogue I’ve seen in a movie this entire year.

Speaking of cringe, let’s talk about the principal. Ooooh the principal. You know how sometimes maybe you’d think of a school principal as a big, tough, menacing figure? I wouldn’t say that’s who this guy is, I’d say he’s a combination of a clown without makeup, and a f*cking whackjob! Listen, I would sometimes consider myself a horrible person who doesn’t mind talking about sex, I’ll admit it. But in what universe does a principal go up to students and talk about their Tinder date in detail? And this movie also goes to show how ridiculous it’s gotten in terms of people not being able to have control of their own phones in school in perhaps the creepiest way possible! It’s like watching a really bad episode of a cheesy sitcom on ABC. If you remember the movie “Fist Fight,” which I’d honestly be surprised if you do at this point, at least they made the phone controversy that’s going on in schools all over today rather funny!

I already talked about Simon, but when it comes to the way Nick Robinson portrayed this character, I’d say he did a fine job at being authentic, not putting himself over the top, and just acting like a typical teenager. I’ve seen a few other flicks where Nick Robinson happened to be present, but “Love, Simon” is the first one where I happen to see him stand out. I remember bits and pieces of him in “Jurassic World,” I’ll admit it’s been awhile since I’ve watched that movie. I also watched him in “The Fifth Wave,” which was just AWFUL, but his few seconds in that movie worked for me. “Love, Simon” took me from being intrigued into looking for more of Robinson’s work to keeping a good eye on him now.

One thing I’m kind of surprised by when it comes to this movie, and I wouldn’t consider this a huge negative is how tolerant this movie’s list of characters appear to be about alternate orientations. I say this because in real life there’s probably gonna be that one person who either thinks differently than everyone else, or just two sides clashing with each other. While I’m not complaining, this does come off as a shock to me. Although at the same time, considering how much more open-minded we get as a society each and every day, that sort of idea becomes a tad less surprising. When I was in high school, I never really ran into anyone who was flat-out AGAINST homosexuality or the LGBT community, and if there were anyone that falls into that class, no names related to that come to mind. My parents seem to have nothing against said community, some people related to me I can probably tell have nothing against them. I can’t speak for everyone in my family, I don’t discuss this sort of thing with them. Even so, I didn’t expect the world of “Love, Simon” to be so one-sided. Granted, it could be to establish that there are more people that are accepting of the LGBT community than one would think, but still. And also, I will say, despite how many people appear to be on one specific side altogether during this movie, one character, specifically the character Simon is emailing all the time happens to have people who would disapprove of his ways in his family, but other than them, nobody else stands out in that side of the spectrum.

In the end, I gotta say “Love, Simon,” while it did make a neat turnaround in quality as the movie progressed still didn’t have enough in order to make me go “wow.” In fact, while I’ll mention again, the screenplay is one of the better parts of what make up “Love, Simon,” it had too many moments of cringe mixed into all of the decent parts. I didn’t even get into the football field scene which I’m avoiding for the sake of possible spoilers. As a coming of age story, it does its job, but I wouldn’t go all out in saying it does its job well. Plus considering what might be a small potential replay value, an ending that could have worked but had some dissatisfying elements mixed in, and some moments of the movie that might feel forgettable, I wouldn’t say I loved, “Love, Simon.” I’m gonna give “Love, Simon” a 7/10. I have a feeling however based on some thoughts spinning around in my head that I am gonna eventually change “Love, Simon” to a 6. I dunno, only time will tell. Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I’m going to post my review for “Game Night,” which I do intend on watching sometime this week. Be sure to look out for that, make sure you follow me here on Scene Before that way you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Love, Simon?” What did you think about it? Or, what is one of the most cringeworthy movies you’ve watched in recent memory? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

How to Talk to Girls at Parties (2017): What the Punk?


Before we get into this movie review, I need to ask something to all of my viewers, specifically those at least eighteen years of age. How is adulting? I will tell you right now, I have been an adult for only nine months, and I honestly don’t feel much of a difference than I did before that turning point. Then again, I spent most of my adulthood in high school, which is where I spent most of my teen years. Although I must say, while I do find certain things about being an adult rather fun and nifty, there are those days where I realize adulting is not all that enjoyable. To be honest, I don’t even think I am gonna end up wanting kids in the years to come. However, it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with having them. If you want to judge me, go ahead, I judge movies all the time, so I can take whatever you’ve got. This even includes a couple by the name of Paul and Genevieve. These two can judge me as they realize how difficult their journey to conception has truly been. And while I do certainly recognize that raising a child is not the easiest thing in the world. Paul and Genevieve’s actions for years almost contend to be up there in the same levels of difficulty. This is all explained… in “What the IVF?!”

“What the IVF?” is a YouTube series where Paul and Genevieve “keep effin’ trying” to have a baby they have always been trying to make. New adventures pop up on the show’s specifically dedicated YouTube channel each and every Monday. These adventures dive into the latest in Paul and Genevieve’s quest to parenthood, focusing on topics like appointments, curse breaking, cycles, sex, “trying everything,” and objectively painful needles. IT’S A FACT! NEEDLES SUCK! Apparently it is a societal norm that you pay professionals to inject points that make you hate your life! IT’S THE TRUTH! Anyway, the latest episode, much like the one before it, is a bit on the rather calm side of things. Join Paul and Genevieve as they give a tour of the baby’s nursery! If you want to see other videos or be caught up on the latest content, be sure to visit the “WTIVF?” YouTube channel, subscribe, and hit the notification bell. If you want to find out where else you can find “WTIVF?” on the internet, click the links below which will take you to the show’s personal website and social media pages. Also, be sure to tell them that Jack Drees sent ya over!


“How to Talk to Girls at Parties,” otherwise known as something I kinda need to learn, is directed by John Cameron Mitchell (Rabbit Hole, Shortbus) and stars Elle Fanning (Maleficent, The Neon Demon), Alex Sharp (Better Start Running, To the Bone), Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge!, The Hours), Ruth Locke (Saving Mr. Banks, Jane Eyre), and Matt Lucas (Alice in Wonderland, Bridesmaids). This film is about an alien who separates from a group she’s with as she is touring the galaxy. She just so happens to be in the London-suburb of Croydon where she meets young inhabitants.

When it comes to “How to Talk to Girls at Parties,” the marketing for it overall just comes off as somewhat quirky. The vibe of this movie when watching the trailers is a little hard to exactly recall because I have a feeling I watched a trailer a long time ago but I could be dead wrong. But if I were to watch a trailer to this, there’s a good chance I would have had some sort of fascination towards what this movie was trying to be. But as I got into the movie, it was starting out and the vibe happened to be what I expected, with a little more punk rock in the mix. What I didn’t expect from this movie though, is that this is one of those movies that turned out to be an overall surprise. From the very beginning, I was intrigued, but then start to notice a change in the footage. For some reason, the shutter speed slows down. I’ve seen this on a student film, that probably occurred by accident, but this film is not being directed by a student! Heck, the cinematographer has credits in the “cinematographer” category on IMDb going back to 1992! That’s two and a half decades before this movie released to the public! That’s not even the only time that happens during this film.

In fact, when it happens later during the film, I actually think it’s forgivable. And you know what? I take that back, I don’t think it’s forgivable. Because something like this probably would be a creative choice. Granted, that creative choice personally came off as ridiculous in the beginning, but as I saw more of it, I grew to admire it. And I saw that because from my point of view, the slower shutter speed seems to fit the later footage more than it does for the earlier footage. This is one of those movies that seems to start out lame then blows out this giant explosion of holy crap on a Ritz crackerjack! I probably should have seen my instant admiration for this movie coming especially considering it’s an A24 movie, but given some statistics that I’ve been made aware of prior to watching this damn thing, it almost felt like I was supposed to sit down and just take this movie and just try to survive. I mean, this has a 5.9/10 on IMDb! Not the best of signs if you ask me.

I will say though, when it comes to technical aspects, that’s probably one of the bigger problems of this movie. For the most part, I can’t complain about the lighting, the cinematography, or the editing. But there was one major occurrance in the movie’s footage aside from the shutter speed that kind of threw me off. There’s one scene that’s rather significant for the movie’s events, so I won’t get into spoilers. But the thing is about this scene, as much as I can approve of it moving the story along, and providing the correct feeling I’m supposed to have out of a scene like this, it just felt rather clunky in terms of cinematography. This is a sequence where you can tell that this was done handheld, and it almost feels like this was shot on a GoPro or something. According to IMDb, this movie was shot on an Arri Amira. As far as I’m aware, there’s no word of it being shot on a GoPro, even though that’s how the footage comes off to me. You can say to me a thousand times that the scene was shot with an Arri Amira, but at the end of the day, it feels like a GoPro. It felt like “Hardcore Henry” if it weren’t entirely in first-person.

Let’s talk about the characters of Enn (Alex Sharp) and Zan (Elle Fanning). First off, both names are pretty dope if you ask me! Enn is essentially the movie’s main character and he happens to build a bond with Zan. He also happens to be really into punk rock, and since this takes place around London during the 1970s, you certainly get to see lots of that in the movie! When it comes to the other character in the picture, Zan, she just so happens to be an alien. As I watched this movie, realizing what was happening and what was to come, I thought to myself, “Ohhhh no.” Why? Because I saw a movie last year by the name of “The Space Between Us” and simply put, it was one of the worst sci-fi films ever put on the big screen. One big reason for that was the unfathomably terrible relationship between the main character (Martian) and his love interest (Earthling). The chemistry was so horrible that not even the fact that the guy playing the Martian happened to be my personal choice to play the MCU’s Spider-Man (Asa Butterfield) saved the movie! Luckily, this film is smart. It has great writing, quirkiness, and lots of charm. When it came to the relationship, I totally bought into it. As the movie progressed, I grew to perhaps admire the couple even more. By the end of the movie I was deeply rooting for both characters given their situation! TAKE NOTES, “THE SPACE BETWEEN US!” THIS IS HOW A MOVIE IS DONE!

Speaking of the aliens, I think this is another thing that the movie surprisingly nailed. Because my first impression of them, once I saw one of the aliens, was that they looked very cheap or cliche. At times I wondered if I happened to be watching “Flash Gordon.” But then I saw more of them, what they did with each other, and even what they did with some of the humans they encountered, I grew attached to them as time went on. Not to mention, they also have some behavior that I think us humans would find peculiar, which does add to that alien feel. There’s a scene that Zan is talking to someone, I won’t say who, but they’re having a conversation and Zan is saying to this person that she had pancakes, she’s currently sitting on a toilet, and “excreting” them.

In fact, going back to the couple, I think the thing that really makes them likable, and this is kind of something that “The Space Between Us” should have been aware of, is that they weren’t robots or uncharismatic. If the aliens were robotic, I guess this could have worked in its own little way, but if we want to like characters from our own world, there’s a good chance that we’d want a character that either has personality, isn’t an asshole (unless you’re someone like Deadpool), and isn’t mopey. The couple, not only together, but as individuals, just so happen to come off as somewhat quirky. And I like quirky. You might as well have a quirky couple in a quirky movie.

In the end, I don’t really have much else to say about “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” because I went into the movie not having much information related to it on my mind. I feel like if you were to see this movie, you shouldn’t have too many details revealed about it in order to provide yourself with the best possible viewing experience. Also, I’ve gotta bring up the tagline for the movie, “Talk to the girl. Save the world.” NOW THAT’S A TAGLINE. I’m gonna give “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” an 8/10. Thanks for reading this review! Be sure to look forward to more reviews very soon, and also be sure to check out some of my older reviews such as my thoughts on “Mission: Impossible: Fallout,” which by the way, if you have not seen that movie, I seriously have to ask what you’re doing with your life. Make sure to follow me here on Scene Before, like this post, and stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “How to Talk to Girls at Parties?” What did you think about it? Or, if you have a fantasy of falling in love with an alien, what would the alien look like? Let me know, even if it is extreme, I’d love to hear what you have to say! Also, one more thing, if you watch this movie, stay tuned for the credits because they have a line of text saying “NO ALIENS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS FILM.” Just… Genius. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/08/01/mission-impossible-fallout-2018-tom-cruise-is-a-madman/

Adrift (2018): Weirdest Non-Linear Movie Ever?

Before we dive into the sea from our sailboats and talk about the total shipwreck that is “Adrift,” allow me to just introduce to two fish in said sea who once found love. Their names are Paul and Genevieve. The two knew each other for a long time, happened to be relaxing one day, and suddenly decided to have a kid. Unfortunately for the couple, they might as well have suffered some massive shark bites along the way, because as they say, “trying to have a baby is freakin’ hard, man!” This is all explained… in “What the IVF?!”

“What the IVF?” is a new series on YouTube revolving around the recently mentioned couple as they attempt to have a baby. They eventually realize that having a baby isn’t the easiest thing in the world, and it is for them, possibly harder than RAISING the child. The couple stick and suffer together in tests, procedures, math, sexual activity, and of course, needles. You can find the latest content from the “WTIVF?” YouTube channel and also be sure to subscribe and ring the bell if you haven’t already. Their latest episode actually drifts away from the normal series because as Paul explains in the beginning, the bathroom inside his and Genevieve’s house is being renovated. Instead, they are showing the first movie Paul and Genevieve made together as they attended film school. Be sure to check that out if that’s your thing! Also, speaking of checking things out, be sure to check out the “WTIVF?” website, along with with the show’s social media profiles, including their recently mentioned YouTube channel, where all of their latest content is uploaded! Also be sure to tell them that Jack Drees sent ya over!

WTIVF? WEBSITE: http://www.whattheivf.com/

WTIVF? YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCILXSidkzWgwrQ5Oa1py78w/featured?disable_polymer=1

WTIVF? TWITTER: https://twitter.com/WTivF

WTIVF? INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/wtivf/

WTIVF? FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/What-The-IVF-288868031634125/


“Adrift” is directed by Baltasar Kormákur (2 Guns, Everest) and stars Shailene Woodley (Divergent, Big Little Lies) alongside Sam Clafin (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Me Before You) and is based on a true story, which has a book on it written by Tami Oldham Ashcraft and Susea McGearhart. This true story is about a couple who meet each other, fall in love, and soon find themselves adrift at sea.

I saw this movie yesterday, and for those of you who are reading this the day this post is up, that means you can tell I saw this on Monday, June 4th, 2018. I had some time on my hands, so I figured I’d catch a 12PM show at one of my local theaters. And you know what? It was a nice theater! It’s an AMC, and as far as my area is concerned (eastern Massachusetts) if you are a movie theater that happens to be under the AMC brand name, there’s a good chance I already like you. I like the AMC cinema chain, but I can’t say I like this movie. In all honestly, this is one of the weirdest movies I’ve watched in recent memory. And no, I don’t mean in a Wes Anderson-esque type of way where the movie is an enjoyable quirk-fest like “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” If the movie were enjoyable, I’d be in a somewhat happier state of mind.

Having heard about this movie, I am well aware this is based on both a true story and a book. Going into the movie, I didn’t have complete familiarity with either two parts to this material, so I was heading into the auditorium rather blind. And for those of you who don’t have the brain capacity or IQ to determine what I mean, I say that in a sense of not knowing anything. My sight was still intact. Although with this movie, at times I kind of wanted to not only be blind in a literal sense. But also deaf. Maybe dead too.

You might be asking based on what I’m uttering to you all, “Is this the worst movie of the year?” No. I won’t give my final verdict yet, but it’s not the worst movie of the year. It’s not even the worst movie of the decade. There are still some things I can truly appreciate about “Adrift” so let’s get some positives out of the way before I lose my sanity.

“Adrift,” to my lack of surprise, has extremely well thought out location choices. Most of the movie takes place at sea, so you can often gaze at the beauty of the blue water shown in the film if that’s your thing. Everything fit a rather exotic/sea-like vibe very well. Too bad the movie wasn’t worth SEAing.

Also, to help you at viewing the movie’s locations, there are cameras to assist in that sort of job. The cinematography in “Adrift” was certainly not bad for the most part. Everything was very well shot, not Oscar-worthy or anything, although in some cases I guess it can come close, but it’s very competent and can certainly make you feel like you’re at sea, getting shipwrecked, or jumping into water.

The biggest positive this movie has however is that Shailene Woodley is f*cking awesome. Her lead performance in this movie is everything that this movie needed if all anyone ever appreciated in Hollywood is acting. There were several scenes where Shailene Woodley would speak, yell, commit to some sort of action, and it would be believable. Her character is Tami Oldham, one of the two people who get shipwrecked in the story, and she is a combination of charming, curious, but also scared. This is especially when consider some of the movie’s scenes and one key trait she has that separates her from other people. Turns out she is a vegetarian, and if you’re at sea and you don’t have anything to eat, you’re kind of out of luck.

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Woodley’s co-star, Sam Clafin, plays Richard Sharp. And while Clafin doesn’t necessarily give the worst performance I’ve seen. There are a couple times in this movie that somewhat stick out to me where it almost seems that he’s unenthusiastic or he’s desperately begging for a paycheck, a break, or an opportunity to leave. To be fair though, I heard that shooting days were not the shortest for this movie, plus most of it is at sea. I don’t know for sure, so don’t take my word on this, but maybe Clafin gets seasick real easy. Although, there were just times where instead of feeling like I was watching a professional actor, I felt more like I was watching an employee at the DMV who never acted once in his life, who just wanted a step up from his job so he can get out of his rathole.

Speaking of things people want to get out of, I wanted to get out of this movie! Part of it had to do with perhaps the biggest problem I’ve faced throughout the movie’s entire runtime. You know how some movies are told in a non-linear fashion? Some of my favorite movies do this because in one way or another, it adds to the overall greatness of the product. Here, they go back and forth between the wreck and whatever sort of happenings occur before the wreck. My question about all of this is: Why the f*ck would you do this s*it?

Unlike a number of movies I’ve seen, movies including “Memento,” “Arrival,” “Deadpool,” these are all told in such a fascinating non-linear way that is so brilliant and in ways, makes the movie more engaging. This however, LITERALLY DOES NOTHING FOR THE MOVIE. There’s another movie that’s somewhat similar to this, Disney’s “The Finest Hours,” which released in 2016. That movie, while not good, was told in a very conventional linear order and made the movie stable. If “Adrift” was done in a linear fashion, the movie would have been better! It would have a slightly higher purpose of even existing!

This is not the worst movie I’ve ever seen, but it is quite possibly the biggest mish-mash of a movie I’ve ever seen. Have you seen the YouTube series “Will It Blend?” It’s a viral marketing campaign where a guy attempts to blend unusual things with a Blendtec blender and see how they turn out. I wonder if the writers had a mindset similar to the ideas of that show, but ultimately, this does not blend.

This almost makes this movie feel like there are just a bunch of random scenes put together. In fact, I actually once watched one review online before going to see the movie, by the way, the reviewer was YouTuber Chris Stuckmann. He talked about the non-linear storytelling and when I heard about this, my hopes for this movie dwindled a bit. But I saw it anyway. He makes a point that this makes you care less about the two leads of the film through the way the story is told. I’m not sure how much better this will be had they gone in linear order, but Stuckmann certainly makes a terrific point that I can side with. Let me ask you something about a different disaster movie/love story. Did “Titanic” need to be told in a non-linear perspective? LET THAT SINK IN. I mean, sure, it kind of was told in a non-linear order since it was all a flashback, but for the most part, you are seeing a story from beginning to end. You care about Jack and Rose in “Titanic” because you see them develop their journeys as characters from beginning to end. And you know what? It’s kind of sad that when it comes to the realm of film that I more care about two fictionalized characters in a real-life disaster shown on screen as opposed to two actual characters in a real-life disaster shown on screen. Just… LET THAT SINK IN.

In the end I gotta say that “Adrift” felt like an extended drift to get through, if you catch my drift. This is one of the most disappointingly odd movies I’ve watched in my entire life. I mean, it has some good things about it, but the negatives seriously outweigh the positives this movie has to offer. I wouldn’t say this is Shailene Woodley’s worst work yet, however, this is one of those movies I will not be coming back to, even if I was stranded at sea, had a working portable DVD player, and a DVD copy of the film. I’m going to give “Adrift” a 3/10. Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I’m going to have my review up for “Tag” which is in theaters everywhere on Friday, June 15th. I’m going to see it tonight courtesy of Warner Brothers, and I kinda sorta just found out about the movie’s review embargo. While I don’t know the official date quite yet, I won’t be able to review it right after I see it, so there’s a good chance that I won’t be able to give a detailed review until say, sometime next week. I’ll definitely make the review this week, but I’m gonna probably schedule it to be up RIGHT when the embargo lifts.

Also, for those of you who follow or care to know about my personal Twitter (@JackDrees) I made a poll yesterday. I would like to thank the four people who responded to it. I asked you all what I should do for a new post given that that I’ve now seen “2001: A Space Odyssey” in the 70mm format. The top pick was the fourth option, “Combo/other.” So you know what? The majority spoke, and the majority will get what they want!

That’s what I would say if I didn’t know what sarcasm was.

Because out of the two people who said the fourth option was their preference, they both failed at following ONE SIMPLE RULE.

Since character limits are bitches, I stated in the choice “(comment plz),” because I wanted you people to specify what exactly it was that you wanted me to do. Neither of you did. And now for your brutal, deadly, lesson-filled punishment, I’m gonna make the decision myself! It’s my blog, I can do what I want! I have the creative freedom around here! And to add onto the punishment, I will state that I’m not even going to tell what exactly I plan to do! OK… I will say though… I’m kinda still deciding. Something’s coming. It’ll be a surprise. And you’ll find out soon. Be sure to look out for my mysterious “2001: A Space Odyssey” post! Stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Adrift?” What did you think about it? Or what is the worst movie you’ve seen that has some form of non-linear storytelling? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Space Between Us (2017): I Need More Space


“The Space Between Us” is directed by Peter Chelsom who also directed “Hannah Montana: The Movie” and “Serendipity” and stars Asa Butterfield, Carla Gugino, Gary Oldman, and Britt Robinson. This movie revolves around a guy who was born a Martian, he travels to Earth and hangs with a girl which leads to eventual self-discovery.

I’ve heard about this movie months ago when it released in theaters, but I’m reviewing it now considering I found it for ten bucks at Newbury Comics, which if you’re from New England or Long Island, you’d probably already know they’re a chain of stores whose main focus happens to be products in the realm of nerd culture. Interestingly enough, it’s where I buy a good portion of my movies. I also know someone who saw this movie. If you ever notice the header of my blog, you may notice this blog’s operated by “the #NerdArmy’s film critic.” The Nerd Army is a social media group I’m a part of, and one of my pals in that group, Kayla, saw this movie too. She thought it was horrible, so maybe I wasted ten bucks on a piece of crap. Guess what? Kayla was right! I honestly think “The Space Between Us” might just be up there with movies like “Star Wars Episode I” and “Battlefield Earth” as one of the worst science fiction movies ever made.

On paper, this sounds like a cool concept. You’ve seen movies with Earthlings on Mars like “John Carter,” now we have a Martian on Earth. Now, that has been done before generally speaking, just look at all the alien invasion movies we’ve gotten over the years. And I will say this film does look nice at times. Not as nice as Ridley Scott’s “The Martian,” that’s a whole different ballgame. While I may be praising this film from a cinematography perspective, it’s not perfect, because there are jumpcuts in this film and I have seen films like “Manchester by the Sea” where you might just find one and let it slide. Here however, I found three of them. They were all quickly paced and they aggravated the crap out me! Going back to the concept, if you take out the whole interplanetary idea and have the two main characters on the same planet, you might as well have a love story as cringeworthy as Anakin and Padme’s love story when they’re in “Star Wars Episode II.” Although I will say, the movie’s tone had been set far before the romance.

As mentioned, this movie is about the first person born on Mars, or Asa Butterfield’s character of Gardner, who we will get to. It’s established in the very beginning that one character is pregnant with him. The birth of Gardner is soon shown for us all in order to prepare ourselves for what we’re about to suffer through. And speaking of which, we as an audience aren’t the only folks suffering, because the mother dies. By the way, a pregnant woman has never been in space, so I can’t talk about any scientific inaccuracies there. Also, the mother’s death is not a spoiler because this is less than ten minutes into the film. It’s almost as if the mother dying instantly is a signal for how either this movie will make you want to die or the movie itself feeling like it’s going to die.

Asa Butterfield plays the character of Gardner Elliot, the character isn’t exactly someone I hate, in fact that would be directed towards the next character I’m gonna talk about, but the script makes him look like someone I will be eternally ashamed to hang out with. Granted he’s from Mars, but regardless of wherever the heck he’s from, seeing his character was the equivalent of a mom that tries to sound enthusiastic about something when she’s really not as enthusiastic as she sounds. …Or Tyra Banks when she hosts “America’s Got Talent.” By the way, if anyone from NBC or “America’s Got Talent” is reading this, please replace Tyra Banks in season 13 of the show.

Britt Robinson plays Tulsa and as suggested in the recent paragraph, I don’t like her. Sometimes she’s rather annoyed by Gardner which I can understand because they’re from different planets so they wouldn’t behave identically. However as I got to see more of her character, I became irritated with her for a brief period. I wouldn’t say she’s one of the worst characters of all time, but seriously, she was a nutjob!

Also in this movie you have Gary Oldman, or as I like to call him, Robert Carradine with long hair. I don’t even know if that’s all that good of a comparison, but as I watched the movie I thought that was what he looked like at a point. So Bobby–err I mean Gary plays Nathaniel Shepard. Now Oldman probably gave the best performance out of everyone in the movie, but despite what I said, it doesn’t really make the movie that much better. Because I’ve seen good performances in bad movies, such as Emily Blunt in “The Girl on the Train.” For the record, that performance was better than this one, how much better you ask? Well that one would have probably been nominated for a Golden Globe or an Oscar in my book had the movie been better! Oldman’s performance is alright, but there’s not much of anything all that redeeming about it.

Now the love story could definitely be worse. This isn’t like, love at first sight, the movie seemed to establish that the two grew a connection between each other. But the way the movie in general plays out when the love story builds is that it goes from random conversations on videochat to the point when the character of Gardner Elliot travels to Earth making the movie develop a fish out of water story. There was a movie that released this year that actually came out after this one, that being “Wonder Woman.” The fish out of water cliche worked in “Wonder Woman,” but it didn’t work in “The Space Between Us.” In this movie, the fish out of water segment was just awkward, it made me engage in untypical body movements, so based on that you can tell it was just plain awful. There are also moments when I can easily tell it’s supposed to be funny, and maybe it got some chuckles in theater auditoriums, but I watched this movie alone in my room, the only laughs that are going off in here are… actually none. I have not much else to say there. And when we get to a moment when the love takes full effect, guess what happens? Cheesy dialogue! WHO SAYS THE STUFF THAT IS SAID IN THIS MOVIE?! Granted, I’ve never been in love nor have I gone out with anyone with the exception of a prom night, but in real life, this isn’t how people talk! For the record, the guy from Mars is actually saying this mumbo jumbo, but it’s still cringeworthy as hell! I said part of this before, but I’ll say it again! When it comes to the Earthling, I hated her. She reminded me of that teenage girl from “Independence Day: Resurgence” who I actually recall more than a good number of the characters from that movie. Annoying, angry, and unfriendly. This was just a relationship that was just hard to watch, and when the love is in the air, you can’t just help but think about putting a gun in your mouth.

In the end, “The Space Between Us” is simply a movie I’d never want to watch again unless I was being paid. My friend Kayla wasn’t lying after she saw this movie, this really was a meteor that was about to destroy a planet. This movie was originally scheduled to come out December 16, 2016, which is the same day that “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” came out, although STX pushed it back to February 3, 2017. While it may be good for STX because they didn’t have to compete with a much bigger film, it might just be bad for the viewing public because this probably increased chances of people suffering. By the way, when I said this movie didn’t have to compete with a much bigger film I might as well be lying to you because it competed against “Rings,” which made over thirteen million dollars in the United States as opposed to this movie which made over three million dollars in the United States. Granted the ratings for “Rings” on IMDb at least are lower than “The Space Between Us,” but it doesn’t change the fact that this was pure s*it. I’m gonna give “The Space Between Us” a 1/10. As an idea, this movie sounded cool in ways, but so did “The Girl on the Train.” My next mission is to find a t-shirt that says I survived “The Space Between Us.” One last thing is that there’s an alternate ending to this film. I was watching the Blu-Ray and it was in the bonus features. I’d probably have to watch the original ending again to compare completely, but for now I gotta say the alternate ending’s better. Thanks for reading this review. On the subject of sci-fi, I am planning to see “Blade Runner 2049” sometime soon, I think that’ll be, without argument, a better movie than this crap. Also, if you are currently in a “Blade Runner” frenzy, be sure to check out a post where I talk about what “Blade Runner” has gotten right about the future ahead of its release. Stay tuned for more reviews, and also, I have a couple questions, what is your favorite movie involving Mars? Or, what is the worst science fiction film you’ve ever seen? Answer those questions in the comments! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

WHAT “BLADE RUNNER” GOT RIGHT ABOUT THE FUTURE: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/10/06/what-blade-runner-got-right-about-the-future/

The Firm (1993): Life’s a Mitch

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! This Friday, there will be a new movie out called “American Made.” It stars Tom Cruise, it’s directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Jumper), and it’s not the first time these two are teaming up together. They worked on “Edge of Tomorrow” together. By the way, an “Edge of Tomorrow” review isn’t going to be done now or anytime soon, if I had the movie I’d probably look at it and review it, but I don’t. Also, good movie, check it out. Anyway, this review is the last installment of my past Tom Cruise movie series, so far I’ve done reviews for “The Last Samurai” and “Risky Business.” What’s my last movie? If you’re seriously asking that, look at the freaking title! But seriously, today I’ll be reviewing “The Firm.” After watching this movie, I have a good number of things to talk about, so let’s get to it!


“The Firm” is directed by Sydney Pollock (Tootsie, Out of Africa), and stars Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn (Waterworld, Basic Instinct), and Gene Hackman (Superman, The French Connection), and revolves around the character of Mitch McDeere, a young lawyer who went to Harvard who goes to work at a firm which he soon discovers has a dark side.

For the record, this is the first time I watched “The Firm.” Last month I got a Triple Feature Blu-Ray pack featuring three Tom Cruise flicks: “Collateral,” “Days of Thunder,” and this one. When I told my mother I was watching this movie, her reaction almost sounded like she founded the Fountain of Youth. She loves this movie, and she also loves the book. By the way, the book is written by John Grisham, writer of novels such as “The Chamber,” “Skipping Christmas,” and “A Time to Kill.” After watching “The Firm.” I don’t know what to think. Part of me feels the need to read the book, and I don’t mean that in a positive way. “The Firm” made me rather want to take a bar exam as opposed to watching the movie. Before we dive into negatives, let’s dive into some positives.

The cast for “The Firm” is undoubtedly outstanding. Tom Cruise is, well, Tom Cruise. This isn’t really his best performance, you can still see a bit of Tom Cruise himself while watching this, but you can totally buy into his character. Jeanne Tripplehorn as Cruise’s wife, Abby, does her job well, the chemistry between the two is believable and there’s a scene that personally stands out. Although admittedly I didn’t really care about their relationship in the end, which I will come back to. Gene Hackman was also pretty good as the character of Avery. Also, some of the supporting characters are played by respectable actors who gave good performances throughout the picture. For example, Holly Hunter (Raising Arizona, The Incredibles), she played he character of Tammy Hemphill, Hunter’s performance delivered a lot of charm. It almost sounded fantastical and was almost shot up the sky high enough to reach over the top territory, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t charming. Hunter’s performance was also nominated for an Academy Award by the way. One of my biggest surprises I encountered during the movie’s runtime is that Gary Busey (Point Break, Lethal Weapon) has a role in it. His performance is definitely one of the best in the entire movie and it was aced from scene one. He’s barely in it, but if you check this movie out, look forward to Busey.

The cinematography for this film, while somewhat conventional, was pretty good. This was shown during the scene towards the end of the movie with Tom Cruise running, which I personally like because it doesn’t really do any quick cutting or jumpcutting or anything like that.

Now let’s dive into my first negative of the film, and this is something which if you have seen the film, you’ll probably disagree with me on, and that is the music. Here’s the thing about the movie’s music, at times, it meshes well with the movie, but at other times, it could have been altered. In fact, the film is using a piano in a lot of it’s music, the way the piano’s being used almost reminds me of a silent film. If you like the movie’s music, that’s great! You’re allowed to like it, but it really just didn’t flow that well at times. On a sidenote, one reason why I brought up the possibility of you disagreeing with me on the music is because it received an Oscar nomination. By the way, the composer of this movie’s music, Dave Grusin, is also the composer of music featured in various films which came out before this one such as “The Goonies” and “Tootsie” and Grusin also happens to be the musical composer of various films which came out after this one such as “Hope Floats” and “Selena.”

Also, the pacing of this film seems to be all over the place. I don’t know about you, but I felt like I was watching a completely different movie than my mother (refer to third paragraph). While this is mainly a thriller, it almost felt like it wanted to focus a lot as a romance film. It almost felt like it wanted to be two different movies at once. Now don’t get me wrong, films that are about something in particular can have romances interjected in there, but this romance almost felt like unnecessary filler at times. Not to mention, I almost didn’t care for anyone because the movie itself bored me at times. There’s a moment where it becomes interesting, then it just goes back to the slow-paced borefest I was already used to. The runtime is 2 hours and 34 minutes long, I’ve witnessed longer films that are better than this, also to be fair I witnessed longer films that are worse than this. As someone who hasn’t read the book, this makes me kinda curious, why is the movie this long? I did a Google search and I found out that the book is 412 pages long, and part of me wonders how much of this movie was taken from the book. Was everything taken from the book? Was everything that was considered “necessary” taken from the book while other stuff was left behind? I kind of want to know. Although with school and everything I don’t really have much time to sit down and read right now, not to mention, movies are more fun! Sorry, books! I’m not saying the movie should completely eliminate the romance which is included in it, but the movie honestly, as a whole, feels convoluted. If it removes various things from the film, things I can’t really come up with right now due to my boredom making my brain lack material from this movie, it might be a better movie.

Before we get into the section where I deliver my verdict, I have a rather humorous story to tell you. I only watched “The Firm” once, meaning I only watched it for this review. I have a Twitter account, by the way, the handle is @JackDrees if you’re interested. On that account, one thing I do occasionally is promote my upcoming material here on Scene Before. When I promote my upcoming material, one thing I would usually do is search for GIFs, otherwise known as the video file that might as well have started a pronunciation war. When I search for GIFs, I try to find footage of something that correlates to the focal point of a post. For example, when I reviewed “Risky Business” as part of this Tom Cruise series, I searched for GIFs related to that, and in a couple promotions I went with a GIF which had Tom Cruise sliding across the floor in his underwear. Now when I decided to review “The Firm,” I went searching for GIFs right away. I typed in “the firm” and “the firm tom cruise.” Both times, I got GIFs featuring Tom Cruise, then I chose the first result. I didn’t even know what it was, it had Tom Cruise in it though, I thought it was good enough because I needed something to promote my review for “The Firm” which you are reading right now. So I inserted the GIF, tweeted, and soon started watching the movie. About an hour or so in, I go to Twitter, and I have a notification waiting for me. Some user I don’t even know who goes by the handle @MrsPetitions replies to me saying “This is from Rain Man though 😂.” First, I’d like to thank @MrsPetitions for the little factoid. Second, I’ve never seen “Rain Man,” so if you’re going to accuse me for my lack of movie knowledge, just be glad it’s not from a movie I’ve seen or a movie that doesn’t have Tom Cruise in it. Third, upon review, there were barely any GIFs I saw for “The Firm” whatsoever. Fourth, this almost set the tone for the movie. It’s almost like Twitter suffered brain damage and immediately forgot what “The Firm” was, you know, kind of like me right now. This movie is forgettable.

In the end, “The Firm” was disappointing. I went into it with, not necessarily high expectations, but based on my mother’s thoughts towards the movie, I was expecting it to be good. I like the cast of the movie, sometimes the dialogue works, the cinematography isn’t all that bad, the film does look presentable, but there aren’t really many qualities that stand out about this film. “The Firm” got some things right, but ultimately needs some improvement. Is the book any better? I don’t know, I never read it, but it will be some time before I come back to this film unless I need something to fall asleep to. I’m gonna give “The Firm” a 5/10. Thanks for reading this review, that’s the end of this Tom Cruise series, I hope to see “American Made” this weekend or some other time soon. I’ll also have you know this Wednesday I’ll be seeing “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” which I’m really excited for. As far as other upcoming movies go, I’m desperately hoping to catch “Blade Runner: 2049” on opening weekend, but I don’t know whether or not that’ll happen.

Also, I want to let you know that in the future I do have other reviews in mind for past movies, for example, next month I’ll probably review “Thor” and “Thor: The Dark World” in preparation for “Thor: Ragnarok” which comes out November 3rd. If you have any movies in mind that I should review for one reason or another, let me know about it and I’ll keep it in mind. Also, if you want to check out my other entries in this Tom Cruise review series, links to those are down below if you want to read those posts! Stay tuned for more reviews! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

“THE LAST SAMURAI” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/09/11/the-last-samurai-2003-not-a-perfect-blossom-but-not-a-bad-one-either/

“RISKY BUSINESS” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/risky-business-there-is-no-substitute/

Risky Business (1983): There Is No Substitute

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Today I’m continuing my series of Tom Cruise movie reviews. Tom Cruise is one of the most revered actors working today. Over his lifetime, he’s had a lot of movies under his belt, no Oscars, but he was nominated for three of those bad boys. His film acting career began in 1981 with the romantic comedy “Endless Love,” and on September 29, 2017, as far as the United States goes, a new film starring Cruise will be released, which is called “American Made.” Leading up to that film, we’re gonna dive into some of Cruise’s earlier work. To start off the series, I did my review for “The Last Samurai,” which came out in 2003. Today, we’re going back to 1983, to review “Risky Business.” So without further ado, let’s start the review!


“Risky Business” is directed Paul Brickman, stars Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay (Flipped, Wedding Crashers), and is about a teenage boy whose parents go away and leave him alone at his house. While this happens, the boy is looking for chances to have fun, but this situation gets out of hand soon.

I own the DVD for “Risky Business” and when I actually first got the DVD, my mother said I’d love this movie, and love it I did. This movie seems to be one of those films a lot of people like for one reason or another. It features iconic scenes such as when Tom Cruise is sliding on the floor and dancing in his house to “Old School Rock and Roll.” It has a stellar cast, they all seem to ace their role and pull you into the movie. It feels realistic, it doesn’t feel like a cartoon like “Blues Brothers,” which works as a cartoon-like film, but if you put “Risky Business” side-by-side with “Blues Brothers” right in front of me, chances are I’m gonna say “Blues Brothers” is a fun ride with interesting characters and great humor, but I’m also gonna say “Risky Business” is an art film. It’s not complete goofiness, it’s not absolute absurdity, it’s unquestionable authenticity. Granted there are moments in the film that feel like they can’t be done in real life, but the whole vibe of the movie and the scenes it has can be convincing enough to let you know that this can happen. In some ways this almost feels like a John Hughes film, which is kind of interesting to me because this came out around a time before a lot of his famous movies which he wrote were released. Movies like “The Breakfast Club,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Weird Science,” and “Home Alone,” that is if any of those films were rated R, so this is more like “The Edge of Seventeen,” in some ways when it comes to the mood, which came out in 2016.

Let’s talk about the main character of Joel Goodsen, played by Tom Cruise. Joel is the character that is staying home while his parents are away. While this happens, we see him taking on various responsibilities, hanging with his friends, dancing in his underwear, trying to increase his chances of getting into a high-achieving college, shaping his future, and screwing around with a chick, we’ll get to her in a second. If you ever saw the movie “Home Alone” and ever felt that Kevin in that movie was having the time of his life because his family was away, that is something these two had in common at a point in this movie. The two characters also find themselves in troublesome situations. If you put these two movies alongside each other and tweak them a little bit, you get almost the exact same movie. Joel is simply just a kid trying his best to succeed and at the same time he’s just trying to have some fun, I can relate to that. I might not call a sex worker, I’m 17 after all so I can’t really do that. I live in an area where the age of consent is 16 years old, but still I can’t really do that.

Rebecca De Mornay plays Lana, when we first witness her in the film, she’s actually a call girl who Joel calls one night, and their one night interaction eventually turns into something more. When it comes to casting, there COULD NOT have been a better pick when this movie was in production back in 1982. If you look at De Mornay, she’s basically a dream girl. I’ve gathered this based on her seductive attitude that is executed throughout the film, in terms of overall acting ability, I never really discovered a moment when she was out of character, and JUST LOOK AT HER! She’s also rather funny at times, there’s one line in particular given by her that I find laughable, not sure how many of you agree, but if you watch the movie and hear the tone which it’s delivered and have a realization of the situation at hand, it’s probably gonna make some people laugh. I personally think it’s humorous, so I don’t see why someone else wouldn’t.

JOEL: Don’t steal anything. If I come back here and anything’s missing, I’m going straight to the police. I mean it.

LANA: Joel, go to school. Go learn something.

As far as their relationship goes, this is a relationship that almost seems like it can’t happen in real life, but when watching this movie, you can totally buy into it. This is one of multiple reasons why I’d say this is one of my favorite relationships in all of cinema. Not to mention, how the relationship itself begins is interesting. You see, Lana is a call girl, and she’s someone who Joel calls one night when he has nothing better to do while his parents are gone. When Joel calls Lana, Joel doesn’t even say his actual name to her. Instead of referring to himself as Joel, he says his name is Ralph. Unfortunately for Joel, he failed to realize the cost of what was originally meant to be a one-night stand, which happened to be $300. The acting was perfect during the scene, Joel was questioning Lana, getting a little nervous, and tries to find a way to pay her.

There are a number of supporting characters in “Risky Business,” however my personal favorite would have to be the one in the red shirt you can see in the image above on the left. If you don’t know who I’m talking about, that’s Miles, played by Curtis Armstrong (Revenge of the Nerds, Better Off Dead). And speaking of favoritism, I’m actually going to be talking about something in association with the topic in just a moment, but for now, let’s focus on Miles. Miles is basically a bad influence to Joel, and out of all the supporting characters shown throughout the movie, Miles definitely moved the story along more than any other. One of the redeeming qualities of “Risky Business,” at least to me, is the screenplay. In fact, if you have seen my recent countdown, “Top 10 BEST Movie Quotes,” one of the quotes from this movie, given specifically by Miles himself, is on that list, in fact, let’s reveal that quote once more.

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

In my countdown I described the quote as something that can apply a lot to reality. Think about it. In life, people have ideas, doesn’t matter how brilliant or dumb said ideas are, they’re just around. When it comes to certain ideas, one may be uncertain of how it’ll turn out, it could work out, it might not. But some people might say “What the f*ck,” or “What the hell,” or “What the heck,” because while they have no idea where this idea will lead to or how it will turn out, they feel the show must go on. This is not the only great line Miles gives in this movie, there’s more, including this one early on in the film.

MILES: “I don’t believe this! I’ve got a trig midterm tomorrow, and I’m being chased by Guido the killer pimp.”

That line actually took place during a chase scene, and this took place in a Porsche, speaking of which, let’s talk about this exchange between Miles and Joel once the chase ends.

JOEL: Porsche. There is no substitute.
MILES: (Face peeps from back seat of the car) F*ck you.

Curtis Armstrong literally nailed his performance, and keep in mind, this was his first movie. Then again he has done stage work prior to the making of this film. Much like Tom Cruise, if Curtis wasn’t in this movie, he probably wouldn’t have a film career the size he does today. If Tom weren’t in this movie and showed himself off in a breakout role, it’s possible the chance of Cruise starring in the “Mission: Impossible” movies would be impossible, we would have never seen him ask Goose to talk to him in “Top Gun,” we would have never witnessed him live the same day over and over again in “Groundhog Da–err I mean “Edge of Tomorrow.” Regardless of how much you might end up enjoying this film, this film set the stage for both of these careers to take off. The film was a big hit when it came out, film enthusiasts admired it, both actors played likable characters while giving off good performances. Armstrong may have played the character he was most well known for in the next movie he did, “Revenge of the Nerds,” but if it weren’t for “Risky Business,” it’s quite possible that Armstrong would have never had roles in various pieces of work including “Better Off Dead” and “Moonlighting.” Now let’s bring the subject of favoritism back into play here.

I mentioned this before, and I’ll mention this again. From a fanatical standpoint, I admire Curtis Armstrong. You guys may be thinking that I’m just talking about all of this because of my admiration for the man himself, and while my admiration has encouraged me to discover more about him, he has proven from a critical standpoint, not just in my mind, but in other people’s minds, to be a respectable actor. If you watch some of his work you’d understand. Just watch this movie, “Revenge of the Nerds,” “Ray,” or even some of his voiceover work in shows like “American Dad!.”

Anyway, back to the review. One thing I don’t want to forget is the perhaps slightly overlooked performances given by Joel’s parents. Part of this may have to do with some of the movie’s writing, but as I watched this movie more and more, I’ve grown in terms of admiration towards these two characters. The mother is played by Janet Carroll and the father is played by Nicolas Pryor. While these two barely have any screentime, they certainly serve their purpose. The father comes off as stern, although he never really goes over the top with it with obnoxious yelling and the mother seems to be rather worried. She doesn’t really show it emotionally, but it’s something I picked up on while Joel was with her and the father in the airport as she handed money to Joel. If you watch “Risky Business,” listen very carefully to the dialogue in that scene to see what I mean. A line that’s somehow funny to me that comes out of the father’s mouth is “Do I hear others there?” If this line were given in some other way as opposed to how it sounds in this movie than it wouldn’t be funny, but the delivery here is what makes it humorous to me.

There are a lot of things that I like about this movie, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have flaws. One of the most interesting things I discovered concerning the movie’s production is how the ending turned out. The ending that everyone who has watched the film from beginning to end witnessed was not the ending that director Paul Brickman had in mind. His original ending was mostly similar to the one you see in the movie. However when we get to a conversation which takes place in a restaurant Joel and Lana are eating in, we don’t cut away from it. We do get the same cutaways to a couple of young folks giving speeches about their products and the profits they made. Although in the theatrical ending, we cut away from the restaurant and the two are in a park, they’re talking to each other. The talking consists of lines reminiscent of a conversation the two had earlier in the film. Soon we hear this line:

JOEL: “My name is Joel Goodsen. I deal in human fulfillment. I grossed over eight thousand dollars in one night. Time of your life, huh kid?”

The alternate ending is basically the same thing without the cutaway, we see a continuation given to Joel and Lana’s conversation, then Lana sits on Joel’s lap as the two begin to show affection for each other. Then we hear this line:

JOEL: “My name is Joel Goodsen. I deal in human fulfillment. I grossed over eight thousand dollars in one night. Isn’t life grand?”

I personally prefer the alternate ending, and so does Brickman. I prefer it because the original ending feels very tacked on. It doesn’t entirely fit with the movie itself. That’s not to say the ending’s an abomination, it’s not as bad as say, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” but it just feels like something that would belong in a different movie. The original ending has a rather comedic vibe, and yes, the movie is funny, but the dramatic tone of the alternate ending seems to fit the movie better and highlight how life isn’t always going to be pretty. Not only that, but it also makes Joel and Lana’s relationship more believable. Now, I mentioned before, there are parts that feel fantastical, but this ending makes this relationship feel more like a relationship. It’s not often that you are in a boyfriend/girlfriend status and talk about bonds in the bank twice in a short period of time. I mean, heck, I can’t recall many times in my life where I hear people talk about bonds in any sort of perspective! Unless we’re talking about possibly Daniel Craig, Sean Connery, Roger Moore, David Niven, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, Barry Nelson, or George Lazenby.

If there’s one common genre of movies to come out during the eighties whose movies still hold up today according to many people, that is in fact, the coming of age genre. One guy who has mastered this is John Hughes. Now “Risky Business” came out in 1983, John Hughes has done some work before it came out, including “National Lampoon’s Vacation” which actually came out the week prior to “Risky Business.” Although a lot of John Hughes’s movies came out after “Risky Business” and when I watch this movie, I can’t help but connect them together sometimes with comparisons. Between this movie and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” both have an incident involving a valuable car. Based on my memory, the movie also has a similar vibe to “Sixteen Candles” at various times. Another John Hughes film I like is “Weird Science,” and much like this movie, that one has a fast-paced scene in a car, a rather seductive woman, and younger people doing things that their parents would find troublesome. So in a way, it’s possible that John Hughes’s writing may have been inspired by this movie.

Speaking of kids getting into trouble, part of this movie’s conclusion involves Joel having to own up to actions which occurred earlier in the movie. I love this because it shows the imperfections of Joel, he doesn’t exactly earn complete victory. There are lots of movies where we see someone go down, then go completely up. In this movie, we see someone fluctuating up and down as time goes on.

Another part of the movie I’ve found out others admire is the music. The music in this movie is done by Tangerine Dream, who you may also know as the composer of the music heard in 1984’s “Flashpoint,” the 2013 video game “Grand Theft Auto V,” and the 1987 movie “Three O’Clock High.” The score in this movie overall flows naturally and at times it really takes the movie from being a movie and turns it into art. This is shown during the train scene when Joel and Lana are removing each other’s clothes and are about to make love to each other. Not to mention, when it comes to the movie’s music from a general perspective, it’s kinda catchy. Also the inclusion of outside songs worked too for the scenes they were in. A lot of people say that the “Old School Rock and Roll” scene is iconic, but one scene that I personally feel is overlooked is the scene featuring the song “In the Air Tonight.” This is in the same scene towards the end of the movie that Joel and Lana are about to make love to each other on a train. I love how this music blends into this scene. This just screams sensual. The song is not only groovy, but it does a good job at providing the perfect vibe to the scene that’s at hand, and when it comes to Tangerine Dream’s score, that’s something I can say for that too.

In the end, “Risky Business” is a movie that gets better the more I think about it. There are multiple great characters in the movie. Joel, Lana, Joel’s parents, Miles, Guido, a lot of people shine here. From an editing perspective, this film is amazing. The music blends perfectly with every scene it’s featured in, and the screenplay has numerous quotable lines. On IMDb, this film has less than a 7/10. I think this is a little bit underappreciated as far as entertainment value goes, and as far as moviemaking goes. I’m kind of disappointed that Paul Brickman didn’t do much other work after this movie because this is something I’d watch over and over again. I’m gonna give “Risky Business” a 10/10. But wait! Some of you might be thinking, “Jack! You imbecile! You said this movie had flaws!” A movie can still be a 10/10 and contain flaws. YouTube user Chris Stuckmann reviewed “Batman Begins” and said it had an editing problem but ended up giving it an A+, another YouTuber named Jeremy Jahns reviewed “Baby Driver” and said it was ten minutes too long and ended giving it an “awesometacular,” which is his highest grade. I love “Star Wars Episode VII,” I currently have that as a 10/10 movie, but that movie borrows a lot from the original “Star Wars” trilogy. I loved that movie so much in fact that it was my favorite movie of 2015! So yeah, for now I stand by my 10, it could change, who knows? I originally had this movie at a 9/10. This doesn’t mean the movie’s perfect, it just needs a little extra pieces to complete the puzzle and than I’d say bingo. But seriously, this movie’s underrated and depending on what happens, might be my favorite movie I review in this series of Tom Cruise reviews. Thanks for reading this review, I would like to let you know that next week we will be looking at the final entry in the Tom Cruise series, I’m still deciding on what that movie should be, but if you have any suggestions, leave a comment as to what that movie should be down below and who knows, I might review it. If you want to check out my previous entry to the Tom Cruise series, be sure to check out my review for “The Last Samurai.” If you want to read that review, you’ll either find a red box down below that will take you to it or if you’re on my page where all my posts are in order, it’s the post right below this one. Stay tuned for more reviews! Also, I want to know, what are some interesting stories you have about being home alone without your parents? Or if you are someone who is still living with their parents, perhaps a teenager, what are some interesting things you would do if your parents are gone? Let me know all that down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!