“Sonic the Hedgehog 2” is directed by Jeff Fowler, who also directed the 2020 “Sonic the Hedgehog” film. This film stars Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation, BoJack Horseman), James Marsden (Westworld, Hop), Tika Sumpter (Ride Along, The Old Man and the Gun), Natasha Rothwell (The White Lotus, Insecure), Adam Pally (Dirty Grandpa, Iron Man 3), Shemar Moore (S.W.A.T., Criminal Minds), Colleen O’Shaughnessey (Danny Phantom, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes), Lee Majdoub (The 100, Supernatural), Idris Elba (The Suicide Squad, Pacific Rim), and Jim Carrey (Batman Forever, The Mask). This film follows Sonic, who as of the last movie has trapped Doctor Robotnik in a world filled with nothing except mushrooms. However, Robotnik escapes from “The Mushroom Planet” and attempts to possess the Master Emerald, which would allow him to control the world at his will. Now, it is up to Sonic, and his new sidekick Tails to defend civilization and stop Robotnik, who has joined forces with Knuckles the Echidna, from changing reality for the worse.
There was a saying not too long ago that “video game movies suck,” and I can attest to that. A couple of my least favorite films ever, “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation” and “Super Mario Bros.” are based on video games. They are poorly written, poorly acted, and poorly executed. But I must say that the first “Sonic the Hedgehog” maintains the throne for the best video game movie ever made, not that this is a high mountain to climb, but still, I liked the movie. When I wrote my review a couple of years ago, one of my immediate thoughts was, “I want a sequel,” because the movie ends in such a way that is satisfying, but also leaves enough open to make you want more. I frankly did not expect that with the first “Sonic,” but if that first movie were not good, I probably would not have been as excited for this movie as I was before I went in.
Part of me wonders if we would even have this movie if it were not for people on the Internet, perhaps justifiably, expressing their rage over the design of Sonic, because before the first movie came out, and before Paramount went back and spent money on redesigning the character, he did look butt ugly for an adaptation, but I also was conflicted as to whether they were going for a grittier, grounded story. Turns out they were not, the movie almost felt like a Saturday morning cartoon, but that is also why in the end, I am glad they went back to redesigning it. And as a result, I think we found a look that not just matches the first movie, but also its sequel, which also maintains this Saturday morning cartoon vibe from start to finish.
The heart of the first movie for me was the unexpected bond between Sonic and Tom Wachowski, which given cinematic history with movies like 2011’s “The Smurfs,” could have gone completely sideways. By the end of the movie, the two felt like genuine pals, and that is hard to do with a human and CGI hedgehog, so credit where it is due. In this movie, that is kind of replaced, because Tails ends up being Sonic’s sidekick for most of the picture. In fact, the formula the two seem to have together feels almost reminiscent of the first movie, even to the point where the film excuses itself to blast a once popular top 40 song that may have been slightly overplayed. Not Crush 40, no no no. Top 40. “Live and Learn” is not in the movie, sorry for spoiling in advance for those who really did not want to know.
While Tails serves his part in the movie, the movie also finds a reason to implement Tom Wachowski into the mix, but this allows for a completely separate subplot to commence… (sigh) …The goddamn wedding.
I think “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” can easily be watched at any age. I think if you are five, you’re fine. And if you’re ninety, you’re nifty. But let’s be real, some could argue that “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” is made for children to enjoy. This is not a bad thing, I do not mind children’s content, but I also prefer that children receive content that does not insult their intelligence. The first movie, while not quite as mature as what we have gotten from Pixar over the years, has a certain flair to it that makes you feel like a kid again. This sequel is consistent in that way. But one consistency that does not exist from one film to the next is the pacing. The first film is extremely tight in its 99 minute story, but this film is 23 minutes longer, and therefore, it suffers from an obnoxious and almost unnecessary subplot at a wedding. Granted, one story is means to an end where it lines up with another, but the journey to get from one place to another in the wedding was probably the most boring segment of the film. And I will add, the one moment where everything lines up makes absolutely no sense. Going back to what I said, I do not mind children’s content, but I want it to treat its audience as if they were smart. This does not. You know your “moment” is bad when you have the characters spinning their heads and then one person realizes that “the Olive Garden guy” from the first movie is here to spew out another advertisement for the company.
By the way, Olive Garden kinda sucks. I said it.
The first movie, while definitely not my favorite of the year, was fairly palatable because of a narrative that is as quick as its titular hedgehog. This movie relies way too much on over the top gags that feel tired by the end. That is not to say the movie does not have its occasional laugh, but let’s just say that the writing for Dr. Robotnik, who is marvelously portrayed by Jim Carrey, is not as much of a highlight as it was in the predecessor.
Now I do want to be clear, I liked Dr. Robotnik in this film, but the first film gave us a perfect blend of Jim Carrey’s zaniness mashed together with some of the best screenwriting I have witnessed for a villain in a children’s film. Robotnik is written similarly to how he is presented in the original film, but the original film takes the cake for perhaps a larger collection of memorable lines and moments. NOTHING beats the scene where Sonic sneaks up to Tom and Robotnik, exclaims to Robotnik not to hurt Tom, and Robotnik emits the most obnoxious, cartoon-like scream I have heard in a long time. I cannot remember a single line in this sequel that was “awful,” but I also cannot recall one line in the film that was on the level of the original. Not offensive, but also not as good.
In fact, I would like to go back to the compliment I gave this film about it making you feel like a kid again. I think that is a compliment I can give to certain comic book movies that have come out in recent years. Those films, while definitely mature, make me feel young, and I always love to maintain a youthful spirit. And there were moments during my theater experience where instead of a bunch of manchildren, including myself, admired everything on screen and uttered sounds of excitement, actual children got to be similarly wowed during key moments that trigger such immediate reactions. This is why THE CINEMA is the way to watch a movie. It’s a community.
Let me just remind you, the week before I saw “Sonic the Hedgehog 2,” I saw “Morbius” in a theater that wasn’t quite full, but had a decent crowd. No one uttered a sound for the entire runtime. There were points during “Sonic 2” where people gasped, they cheered, they clapped. This is one reason why I love going to the movies. I stand by the rule where no one should be talking during the movie, but I also think some experiences can qualify for a rock concert vibe. If you are excited, why not embrace it? The movie is certainly one that could get you excited by the end of it.
Now much like Robotnik, I would have to say that Sonic is once again, fabulously portrayed by Ben Schwartz, but the problem I have with this film when it comes to Sonic is that despite his personality being on point, especially when lining things up with the first movie, Sonic’s jokes, kind of like in the first film, come off as fairly cheap pop cultural references or forced quips. Those jokes could work, but they kind of fall flat here. Now, I will 100% contend with Sonic’s sentiments from the first movie about Keanu Reeves being a national treasure, but I think when it comes to referencing the pop cultural mojo, I think he needs to calm down just a tad. Although Ben Schwartz is a perfect interpretation for Sonic and his over the top pitch sells the character for me. I think the lesson this character has to face in this film is one of its saving graces, because even though this movie has quite a few notable flaws from the wedding scene to the disposable humor, I think if you are going to watch this movie at a certain age, I think it would be a positive influence. In a world where we have tons of movies with violence and explosions, it is nice to see one that occasionally gives slight objections to those ideas despite them being in it.
This film introduces a couple new CGI characters into the mix, Miles “Tails” Power and Knuckles. One of my big complaints about movies that have voiceover characters nowadays like the upcoming “Super Mario Bros.” movie for example is that they tend to rely on big names to get people in the theater. Granted, I like Chris Pratt, I dig Charlie Day, and I adore Anya Taylor-Joy, so we’ll see what happens there. But I am glad that this movie tended to give an opportunity to not just an actual pro voice actor to voice Tails, but give that opportunity to a voice actor who has literally voiced the character in other creations. Colleen O’Shaughnessy is a delight in this film. But at the same time, this film is the best of both worlds, because they also allowed Idris Elba to voice Knuckles the Echidna, which I thought was a great choice. He’s a terrific actor, his voice is iconic, and it matches the grit such a character can promise. Elba’s interpretation of Knuckles allowed him to arguably become the most hysterical character of the entire film. Basically he has the personality of a fantasy narrator and a fantasy protagonist rolled into one person. It’s perfect. Unlike Sonic, Knuckles appears to have less of a hang of things when it comes to knowing about the rituals of mankind. Each joke related to his developing knowledge or lack of knowledge on the subject matter hits hard every time. I won’t spoil anything, but the moment you hear “Dot, dot, dot…” You’re in for a treat.
But if I had to be honest, this movie is not as solid as the original. Sure, it has fan service that lovers of the games will appreciate, the effects and sound are utterly amazing, and it is definitely one of the less offensive video game movies to exist compared to some others. But the first movie had a foundation that felt properly structured and put into place. It was a building that was functional and served its purpose. This movie took that same building and added way too many more floors to it. The wedding gag was utterly atrocious and ultimately sullies what could have been a fantastic movie. And if I were a kid watching “Sonic the Hedgehog 2,” I probably would be saying the same thing. I liked the action, I liked the dynamic between Eggman and Knuckles, but the wedding scene made me want to break up with this film. I will also say that some of the supporting characters from the first film like Wade and Rachel make an appearance here, and they feel wasted by the end. They don’t do much to make their appearances feel worthwhile.
Also, can we talk about something? I want to remind you of the fact that Sonic, a hedgehog, not a human, but a HEDGEHOG. I know it speaks English, but still. This HEDGEHOG has technically been adopted as the Wachowski family’s son? I mean, literally, the movie makes references to Sonic calling Tom “dad.” It’s really weird! Look, I know they developed a relationship, but… That’s kinda freaky. I KNOW it’s a movie… But it is somewhat unsettling! It’s an odd taste in the mouth!
In the end, “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” was fun when I saw it, and the positives do outweigh the negatives, but the more I think about the film, the less I like it. The first “Sonic the Hedgehog” felt like that next step for video game movies, maybe we’ll be getting some great ones soon. Unfortunately, this sequel cannot acquire the same luster as that first one. The voice-work is great, the effects are top-notch, and the sound is unbelievable. But if I learned something about video games it is that not everyone cares about the story, they care more about how the game looks, how it plays. The movie looks incredible, and had they gone with that original Sonic introduced in spring 2019, I do not think that would have been the case. But the story in “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” feels like it is not as important as it was in its predecessor, and that is despite having a great lesson intertwined. I feel like children can learn something from this movie. But as an adult, I don’t know when I will be watching this movie again. I’ll probably go back to the original at some point, but this will probably have to wait. I’m going to give “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” a 6/10.
“Sonic the Hedgehog 2” is now playing in theaters everywhere. Tickets are available now.
Thanks for reading this review! My next review is going to be for the brand new DreamWorks Animation flick, “The Bad Guys!” Also coming soon, stay tuned for my review of “The Northman!” In addition, I am seeing “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” next week, so I will have a review coming for that movie too! Stay tuned! If you want to see more from Scene Before, follow the blog either with an email or WordPress account! Also, check out the official Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Sonic the Hedgehog 2?” What did you think about it? Or, which movie did you like better? “Sonic the Hedgehog” or “Sonic the Hedgehog 2?” Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!
WARNING: Like 2020, this post is LONG. Like, over 14,000 words long. And that’s just written content! Feel free to take breaks in between, grab a drink once or twice, or do whatever you do to keep yourself sane. Enjoy the show!
Hello, everybody! This is the 3rd Annual Jackoff Awards, where winning is not cancelled! Per usual, this is not in front of a large audience. It is instead online with something that technically qualifies as a group of people gathering together to celebrate film. Not much had to be changed for this ceremony, and in a way, I would say that when it comes to the recent pandemic, I was somewhat ahead of my time. You never had to see my face. You didn’t have to actively boo at anything I did, while I stood around taking it all in. And as for the recipients and nominees, the people who worked on 2020’s films, they don’t have to leave their multi-million-dollar mansions in Los Angeles to sit in a chair for hours. They can sit in their own chair if they want to! The Jackoff Awards are the way of the future, and I will guarantee it is the perfect “new normal” material, as I’ve already had years to practice perfecting it.
Now, here are some rules for today’s ceremony. As usual, I will be presenting nominees in various categories. For instance, these include Best Animated Feature, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Director. All of these are appetizers as we go up the ladder, rung by rung, til we reach the top, where we reveal 2020’s Best Picture! Traditional rules apply, I must have seen the movie for it to officially be nominated, so if I missed one movie during this ceremony, there’s a good chance that I did not see it, I did not like it, or maybe I just forgot about it. I mean, it has been eleventy thousand years since the SECOND Jackoffs we’ve done here on Scene Before! So, you know, anything’s possible! Also, for Best Picture, this is once again going be done through the People’s Choice protocol, where I present ten films that I think are worthy of the nomination, of course I’ll have my personal #1 pick, but given how I do my Top 10 BEST films of the year countdowns and those sorts of things, it would be unfair for me to decide what gets Best Picture, and it will end up making things a bit predictable. If you voted for one of the ten films I selected for Best Picture, it counts!
Also, here’s a new rule that I have never thought I would have to implement, but we are implementing it for the first time ever. While it is tradition for the Jackoffs to mainly recognize films that are specifically brought to the big screen, whether it be 2D, 3D, IMAX, Dolby, drive-in, you name it, for this ceremony, I am going to accept nominations for films that have not hit theaters. Due to the fact that many cinema venues have closed in March 2020 and caused an alteration in terms of how people consume content, I am going to accept movies that have taken route toward direct to home platforms. Now keep in mind, just because of this, does not mean that I am going all in. Because again, if you want to be nominated for a Jackoff, you have to meet particular criteria. You must have had previous intentions of some kind to bring your movie to the big screen, either through a traditional 90-day theatrical release, a limited release, even just for one day! And unlike a ceremony such as the Oscars, you don’t just have to play your movie in Los Angeles, you can play it somewhere else. For example, if your movie was going to play at South by Southwest this year, which was canceled, and was eventually going to be seen in theaters, and never got that chance, you qualify for the 3rd Annual Jackoff Awards. But if your movie is produced for a direct-to-TV format without any intention to put it in the theater, such as a “Netflix-only” movie like “Extraction,” that will not qualify because it was never going to be put in the theater in the first place. Same can be said for a movie like “Bad Education,” which went directly to HBO this year. In this time of social distancing, we intend to bring some movies closer together.
All good everybody? I think we’re ready to start!
If you’ve seen awards ceremonies before, you may know that they often start with a monologue, and the Jackoffs, as proven in recent years, is no exception. Why do awards shows start with a monologue? Because bursting into laughter is the best medicine, and Hollywood needs something to burst that bubble they seem to be living in. So, this ought to do the trick! It is time for the third edition of “Jack Drees Tells Jokes to Others in Order to Please Himself.”
I am going to be stating facts about this year in film, and since there is no audience, there shall be no laughs. But if you are experiencing this ceremony right now, pretend you are in an auditorium, nobody else is there except you and me. You can be my cheerleader, you can be a heckler, you can be a critic, you can be a fanatic, you can even be an asshole! The point is, pretend I’m telling these jokes to you with the absolute intention of going at a particular pace to make you laugh. And when it comes to 2020 in film, let’s all be honest here. Even if you made a movie in 2020 that you were proud of, this year may have hurt you in some way. I will admit, there were some good films, but overall, and I’m sure a lot of my viewers can agree, this year could have been better, both in terms of quantity and quality. Nevertheless, there were some good times to be had in 2020. Unless you were stabbed by Wonder Woman, slammed by Russell Crowe’s truck, hit by Harley Quinn’s baseball bat, ran over by Sonic the Hedgehog, or killed in reverse.
Wait a minute, doesn’t that mean you come back to life? I don’t care! I stand by that joke!
Let’s start off with the obvious. 2020 SUCKED! Not just for me, but for anyone else you can imagine. 2020 is so bad that ABC is reportedly considering changing the name of the show “20/20” to “Who Gives a Crap!”
I mean in the United States you have yet another controversial election season, it’s the first year in forever without a “Star Wars” or MCU movie, every other day someone you love dies. Maybe they’re a part of your family, or a beloved celebrity you invited to be in your family. Seriously! Regis Philbin, Sean Connery, Max von Sydow, Wilford Brimley! Chadwick Boseman! Kobe Bryant of all people! Alex Trebek! 2020 even somehow managed to ruin “Jeopardy!” of all things! I would watch that show with my mother every night! I don’t even have an oddball remark to give, this is just sad!
Of course… We cannot go on without discussing the elephant in the room. COVID-19. You utter jerkface on a platter. COVID-19 turned the whole world upside down. Infections spreading everywhere. Businesses shutting down. A wonder if anything will ever return to normal. Yeah, it’s been crazy. Sony announced the title of their upcoming “Spider-Man” movie, “Spider-Man: Home Really Sucks.”
By the way, really looking forward to “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” It’s gonna kick butt!
Many films that were supposed to come out this year ended up getting delayed due to the pandemic. Some include “F9,” the latest “Fast & Furious” film, “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Godzilla vs. Kong,” and “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.” I wonder how the Ghostbusters have been navigating through the pandemic. Oh, I know! There is no Microsoft Teams, only Zoom!
Based on the hit truTV series of the same name, “Impractical Jokers: The Movie” became a hit early on in the year, because despite starting out with a limited release against “Call of the Wild,” the film had the highest per theater average on its opening weekend. The film went on to gross $10.7 million on a $3 million budget. Originally while budgeting the movie, they planned to give $1 million to three of the Jokers and the other one got punished and couldn’t be in the movie.
When COVID-19 started coming to the U.S., a lot of movie theaters shut down, but one of the big exceptions happened to be drive-in venues. This ultimately formed the biggest antagonist of the summer… Rainstorms.
“Sonic the Hedgehog” has officially become one of the biggest video game movies ever, receiving positive reviews and a decent box office total for the first half of 2020. Remember kids, looks don’t matter. But if you see hedgehogs without big eyes, share it over the Internet so everyone knows your opinion. It can pay off in the long run!
“Sonic the Hedgehog” was not only big fun at the movie theater, but big fun for everybody who loves product placement. That is, if there is… anyone who loves product placement.
Still, the movie was big fun for everybody who loves product placement. as that movie has references to Olive Garden, Amazon, and Zillow. Yeah. A lot of product placement. Feels like a Michael Bay movie. Also, since nobody else cares to do so, I’d like to thank the official sponsors of 2020. Charmin’, Purell, GrubHub, Zoom, Netflix, Bath and Body Works, and Walmart. Thank you for your service.
You sneaky morons.
“Tenet” became one of the biggest films of 2020. In fact, tonight it has a shattering 9 nominations including Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Editing, Best Original Score, Best Production Design, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Original Song, Best Director, and Best Picture. Once sought to be the savior of this year in cinema with a July 17th release date, it got pushed back a couple times until it finally arrived on varying dates depending on territories. Christopher Nolan wanted movie watchers to see the film on the biggest screen they can. Critics agree, “Tenet” is the greatest way to lose your hearing!
Hey, speaking of Christopher Nolan! The mega-hit movie “Inception,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, just turned 10 years old this year! “Inception” was recognized for its tenth anniversary by being brought back to theaters and IMAX. Critics are calling it, “Rick Dalton’s greatest performance in years.”
Here’s a joke. “Cats.”
Okay, that’s not the joke… In all seriousness, as 2020 struck, the 2019 movie “Cats” did not lose its relevance. Andrew Lloyd Webber, the composer for the “Cats” Broadway musical, was part of the crowd who continued to talk about it. And he didn’t have positive things to say. Webber called the movie “ridiculous” and he was not afraid to put some blame towards the film’s director, Tom Hooper. Until we have an Oscar category called “Best Picture featuring Cat-Like Human Licking a Plate,” I can’t say Andrew Lloyd Webber is objectively wrong.
“The New Mutants” FINALLY came out this year on August 28th in theaters. For those who don’t know, “The New Mutants” was supposed to come out seven thousand years ago… Only to get delayed FOUR TIMES over two and a half years! While Fox and Disney were trying to put this thing on the big screen, Sony kept running around in circles shouting, “We’ve made nineteen more Spider-Man movies!”
Even though streaming is rising, physical media has had a year to celebrate. Some big classics were finally released on 4K Blu-ray. Some include the entire “Star Wars” saga, the “Back to the Future” trilogy, and “Jaws.” Some said the “Jaws” 4K Blu-ray is so crystal clear that the shark looks four times as fake as before.
San Diego Comic-Con, which is usually a big hub for nerd culture and the latest news on big blockbuster movies, cancelled their in-person convention this year and did first ever “Comic Con @ Home” event. Comic-Con finally solved a problem for one core demographic. Going outside.
One big film pushback that really hit me where it hurts was for “Dune,” directed by Denis Villeneuve. The movie was supposed to come out December but got delayed to October 2021. Cinephiles like myself, felt very disappointed by this news. Although there happens to be someone who’s happy by the news, proud sand-hater, Anakin Skywalker.
Sand gets everywhere, man!
Ryan Reynolds had a tremendous year. They just debuted his new game show, “Don’t,” on ABC this past summer, he’s also in “The Croods: A New Age,” he was a clue presenter on the “Jeopardy: Greatest of All Time Tournament,” and get this! ACTING is technically his SIDE GIG! Ryan Reynolds, arguably one of the biggest movie stars working today, freakin’ Deadpool! Acting is not his highest paying job! Because Ryan Reynolds sold his stake in Aviation Gin (although he is going to maintain an “ongoing ownership interest”) to Diageo for somewhere up to $610 million! Ryan Reynolds has recently helped develop Aviation’s company motto, “Aviation Gin: The perfect drink to make you forget about ‘Green Lantern!’”
Pixar’s Soul became the first feature film from the critically acclaimed animation studio to debut on Disney+, the streaming service for everything Disney and nostalgia. And with evolving technology, the rumored “Toy Story 5” will debut exclusively on a jumping lamp you can purchase at Disney stores $1000 apiece!
It’s funny that “Soul” is debuting digitally. Not the most surprising news with everything going on, but if you remember, “Toy Story 2” was supposed to be a straight to home video release, but they put the film in theaters at the last minute. Remember how in that movie, Al has to go to work on a Saturday? He’s gets in his car, complains, but drives across the street and parks. Watching that today is kind of unsettling. If that movie took place in modern times, some would call Al a Karen, others would be jealous that they can’t get out of the house, and others may get a close look at Al and ask, “Why is he wearing pants?”
The answer, he can’t believe that he has to go all the way to work on a Saturday! All the way to work!
Speaking of history, the Academy Awards made history this year by announcing its first Best Picture winner for an international feature. Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite,” which was nominated for 7 Jackoffs last year, took home the gold, and Ho himself tied Walt Disney as the record-holder for most Oscars taken home in one ceremony. To me, 2020 is likely divided into two time frames. The first few months will be “The Celebration of ‘Parasite,’” but the rest of it will be “The Devastation of a Parasite.”
A lot of big bombshells dropped this year. Surprisingly none about Charlize Theron… But one of the big stories toward the end of the year was “Wonder Woman 1984” debuting simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters. It was eventually announced, much to the delight of shareholders, but to the dismay of movie theaters, that Warner Brothers was going to implement this method during the entirety of their 2021 release schedule. Now you can watch “Matrix 4” the way it was intended. In a glitchy digital machine that occasionally does a few cool tricks. It’s called a smart TV. …Or a phone.
“Over the Moon” was nominated for multiple Best Original Song awards, not to mention the honors of Best Animated Feature and Best Picture. “Over the Moon,” a Netflix animated musical from industry legend Glen Keane, follows a young girl named Fei Fei as she designs a rocket as part of her quest to find an ancient moon goddess. I personally find rockets amusing. They’re big, loud, and if they’re named Johnny they can make an excellent burger!
“Promising Young Woman” was nominated for Best Picture. “Promising Young Woman” is about a girl who seeks vengeance as she reflects on an event from her past. The film’s main character, Cassandra Thomas, is 26 and lives with her parents. Thanks, COVID!
Also nominated for Best Picture, “The Last Shift,” starring Richard Jenkins and Shane Paul McGhie as an unlikely pair who form a bond in a fast-food joint. Here’s what critics have to say about “The Last Shift.” New York Post says “The Last Shift” appreciates life’s banalities and the struggles of ordinary people. AARP Movies for Grownups calls “The Last Shift” a thoroughly entertaining take on race, class, age, retirement, and morality. Meanwhile, the fast-food chain Wendy’s says “Nobody ate a Baconater, one star!”
“Emma.” was nominated for this ceremony, receiving the honors of Best Makeup & Hairstyling, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, and Best Adapted Screenplay. According to director Autumn de Wilde, the film’s title has a period at the end of it, in order to symbolize that the movie is a period film. Originally, when I came up for the concept of the Jackoffs, I wanted the title to have an exclamation point at the end of it because I get to yell in your face all the time!
AND THIS STUPID AWARD GOES TO!… SHARKNADO 69: IT NEVER EVER EVER EVER ENDS!
Ladies and gentlemen, let me just take a moment to remind you that this is my 3rd year doing the Jackoffs here on Scene Before. And we are just beginning what is hopefully the most epic year for Scene Before yet. After all, this month, we have just reached five full years of the Scene Before name, and I am going big. We are going to gloss over a ton of movies, I’ll have some countdowns sprinkled here and there, I’ll discuss news when possible. All the basics will still be here, and to be quite frank, I don’t have a complete layout of how this year is going to go. I have concepts, which I’ll dive deeper into later on in the show, but still. After 2020, all I can say is that I have to expect the unexpected. For all I know, Elon Musk will release a robot army to destroy us all. But I have plans to debut a review series that I have been waiting to do for the longest time. The movies that I will be focusing on have been a part of my life since my childhood, and childhoods of many others. Generation after generation have celebrated these movies whenever possible, some would say that many hardcore fans not only enjoy these movies, they live them. Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great pleasure to introduce the trailer to my all new review series, “7 DAYS OF STAR WARS!”
That’s right! “7 Days of Star Wars!” This is a full week of “Star Wars” content. That means from May 2nd to May 8th, that is an all new Flicknerd.com exclusive review for an installment to the “Star Wars” franchise! Here’s how the schedule will go! “The Phantom Menace” on May 2nd! “Attack of the Clones” on May 3rd! “Revenge of the Sith” on May 4th! “A New Hope” on May 5th! “The Empire Strikes Back” on May 6th! “Return of the Jedi” on May 7th! And “The Force Awakens” on May 8th! All the main saga “Star Wars” movies that you may be wondering why I haven’t tackled yet will FINALLY be tackled! The month of May will rock your world! As a long follower of the “Star Wars” franchise, I assure you it will rock mine! Until then, MAY THE FLIPPIN’ FORCE BE WITH YOU! Emphasis, on the freaking MAY!
YEAH! But of course, we have a ceremony to get through. The year of March cannot be ignored. And a little sidenote before we move on, special thanks to Arvid Olson, he created the music used in the trailer, so shoutout to him. Well done, sir.
Before we dive into the awards, I do want to remind people, in case they are tuning into Flicknerd.com for the first time ever, or if they simply don’t know who I happen to be, I am a critic. Or at least that’s what I often call myself. But as a critic, one thing I’ve often forgotten is that it takes serious skill and effort from an ambitious crew to making a movie. That’s often the case, even for movies I don’t end up particularly liking. Per usual, as a way of honoring this entire year in film, let’s do a rundown of all the new movies I ended up seeing in 2020.
The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Sonic the Hedgehog
Impractical Jokers: The Movie
The Way Back
The Vast of Night
Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band
Gretel & Hansel
The Burnt Orange Heresy
Made in Italy
An American Pickle
Words on Bathroom Walls
The New Mutants
The Rhythm Section
All in: The Fight for Democracy
The Personal History of David Copperfield
You Should Have Left
The Last Shift
The War with Grandpa
Over the Moon
I Am Greta
Sound of Metal
Bill & Ted Face the Music
The Croods: A New Age
The Last Vermeer
The Call of the Wild
The Midnight Sky
Promising Young Woman
Wonder Woman 1984
Big Time Adolescence
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
I’m Your Woman
News of the World
The King of Staten Island
Death of Me
The High Note
The Jesus Rolls
One Night in Miami
Color Out of Space
With this out of the way, let the ceremony begin! The brawl for the best picture of 2020 is on!
We are, appropriately, going to be doing a first with our first category today. All the other categories being represented here today have been a part of the Jackoffs since year 1. Now it is year 3, it is time to expand the roster. There is no confirmation that this category will stick around for next year, but given the way my content lineup went down this year, this category is somewhat warranted. For this award, we will be looking at five documentaries that brought visual information on their respective subject matters. Here are the nominees for Best Documentary.
All In: The Fight For Democracy (Liz Garbuz, Lisa Cortés, Dan Cogan, Stacey Abrams)
Boys State (Jesse Moss, Amanda McBaine)
I Am Greta (Nathan Grossman, Fredrik Heinig, Cecilia Nessen)
Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band (Daniel Roher, Lana Belle Mauro, Andrew Munger, Stephen Paniccia, Sam Sutherland)
Time (Garrett Bradley, Lauren Domino, Kellen Quinn)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Not only do we have a first time for the Best Documentary category being presented, but we also have a first for Apple. One significant point about “Boys State” is that this is the first time that a film made for Apple TV+ was nominated, tied with “Wolfwalkers,” which is in the next category coming up. “Boys State” takes a story centered around a ton of guys in Texas who come together to form their own government. And all of those boys would likely agree that they see the government as a device for the people. Something where everyone involved hopefully gets what they need. In the same way, this movie listened to me, heard me, and delivered something that I asked for. Congratulations to “Boys State” for being the first documentary to win an award on the Jackoffs!
Moving onto the next genre-based category, let’s take a look at some of the films we have here without specifically naming them. A galactic tale. A magical story. A shapeshifting adventure. A family journey. And, this one’s my favorite… A film… For the SOUL. I sincerely apologize. These five films have made us laugh, made us sing, made us cheer, made us smile, and made us cry. Here are the nominees for Best Animated Feature.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
The Croods: A New Age (Joel Crawford, Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Paul Fisher, Bob Logan)
Onward (Dan Scanlon, Kori Rae)
Over the Moon (Glen Keane, John Kahrs, Gennie Rim, Peilin Chou)
Soul (Pete Docter, Kemp Powers, Dana Murray)
Wolfwalkers (Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart, Paul Young, Nora Twomey, Stéphan Roelants)
And the Jackoff goes to…
“Over the Moon!”
Sticking with more firsts, “Over the Moon” is the first Netflix animation to not only be nominated, but also win a Jackoff! And BOY does it deserve it! With the only 10/10 score I gave this year, two Best Original song nominations, and Best Picture, the only nomination of that kind I gave this year to an animation by the way, “Over the Moon” shines as one of the best animated films I have seen in years. The film follows a young girl named Fei Fei who must prove to her father that the moon goddess, Chang’e, of Chinese mythology, is real. With lessons about the importance of family, exploration, curiosity, and moving on, “Over the Moon” started off by moving me, then wowing me, then making me cry, all the way to the point where a part of me was able to smile again. Directors Glen Keane and John Kahrs alongside an all Asian cast helped bring this extraordinary adventure to life. Congratulations to “Over the Moon!”
If you want the truth, “Over the Moon” qualifies to be one of the more visually stunning films of the year. Both the earth and galactic environments add up for some of the most gorgeous eye candy of 2020. And speaking of eye candy, let’s talk about more of it. These five films have tremendous visual and practical effects of all kinds. Here are the nominees for Best Visual Effects.
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Color Out of Space
The Midnight Sky
Wonder Woman 1984
And the Jackoff goes to…
“Tenet” is the latest directorial effort of Christopher Nolan. And like his prior films including “The Dark Knight,” “Inception,” and “Interstellar,” there is a massive use of practical effects. As Nolan himself stated, some romantic comedies have special effects shots than “Tenet,” which when it comes to a massive blockbuster like the one discussed, that is an accomplishment. “Tenet” is a film where you can see a Boeing 747 wheel itself into a building set to explode, sedans flipping around forwards and backwards, and beautiful, rich environments on multiple continents. All I have for you is a word. Gorgeous.
It is now time to introduce our Best Pictures. They will not be awarded yet, but for those of you who want a reminder of how Best Picture will work, it is entirely based on the Top 10 BEST Movies of 2020 list posted earlier this year on Scene Before. 10 movies are selected and the one that receives the highest vote count based on the people’s choice, will win it all. We will introduce them one by one throughout the show, with a trailer included, starting with this one…
Our first Best Picture nominee is everything that movie theaters were designed to display. Shot on IMAX film, 70mm, directed by a master class filmmaker, a talented cast, and a complex plot that makes you want more. John David Washington and Robert Pattinson cycle through time, forward and backward, as they pull off one of the most boisterous spy missions in history. It is bold, daring, and pushes the limits of what film is able to pull off. A few examples supporting this were already mentioned, but they dared to name their main protagonist, well, the Protagonist. Guess that makes the writing process a little easier. This is yet another worthy addition to Christopher Nolan’s cinematic library. Nominated for 9 Jackoff awards, the highest total tonight, and it has already won one of them, this is “Tenet.”
Up next are the sound categories, for those of you who have tuned into the Jackoffs before, the sound categories are presented based on which aspect comes first. The little hint I’ll give as I found out myself, E comes before M, therefore editing comes before mixing. With that being said, here are the nominees for Best Sound Editing.
BEST SOUND EDITING
Over the Moon
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sound of Metal
And the award goes to…
When I saw “Tenet,” I was impressed by the vast library and execution of sounds coming out of the speakers. Gunshots, ticking time bombs, explosions, big doors, everything felt immersive and exciting, and I congratulate “Tenet” for supplying that library and putting it all to good use. The reason why I nominated this film for Sound Editing was because they were able to use all of these sounds and perhaps put me, the viewer, into every single scene. Part of me felt like I would have died in the opera house. Part of me felt like I could have heard an inverted bullet flying past my ear. Part of me felt like chunks of gold were falling in front of my seat. And speaking of gold, “Tenet” is 2 for 2 so far. If it racks up 7 more wins, including Best Picture, that is a clean sweep. Congratulations!
Onto the second sound category, here are the nominees for Best Sound Mixing.
BEST SOUND MIXING
Sound of Metal
The Way Back
And the Jackoff goes to…
“Sound of Metal!”
How could this NOT win? It literally has SOUND in the title! It was destined to win! Let me harken back to one thing I said during my top 10 best movies of 2020 list, specifically, that “Sound of Metal” does for audio what “Birdman” and “1917” do for camerawork. While that may be a stretch, that is what “Sound of Metal” felt like it was trying to go for. The reason why this film won is because while films like “Greenland” and “Unhinged” stood out for being wonderfully obnoxious, “Sound of Metal” does that at times, but also blends in peaceful silence, making the audio-filled points stand out. This is “Sound of Metal’s” first win of the night, and it while it will not win everything based on the previous category, the film may have a shot at Best Picture. We’ll have to see. Congratulations!
Our second Best Picture nominee comes from Great Britain. Like a few other great films that yours truly has talked about in recent years, this is a film that honors storytelling. It centers around an Englishwoman living in World War II who must take care of an evacuee. The two become friendly with each other, and we dive into the backgrounds of both characters. By the end of the journey, this film is one of the most emotional stories of the year. After all, stories have to come from somewhere. And if that’s the truth, this story must have come from a goldmine. Nominated for 4 Jackoff Awards, this is “Summerland.”
We will now move on to the first of two music categories. The second one will presented towards the other half of the show, which is Best Original Song, but for this category, we will dive into the instruments, the tunes, the bangs, and the notes that defined the movies this year. All crafted by talented and respected composers, here are the nominees for Best Original Score.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Michael Giacchino (An American Pickle)
Steven Price (Over the Moon)
Ludwig Göransson (Tenet)
Alan Silvestri (The Witches)
Hans Zimmer (Wonder Woman 1984)
And the award goes to…
Ludwig Göransson for “Tenet!”
The run for a sweep continues! “Tenet” is 3 for 3! This is Ludwig Göransson’s first nomination and win, but I have a feeling he will have many more. Göransson is known for his work not only on “Tenet,” but also on “Black Panther” and “The Mandalorian.” One factor that went into deciding the winner for this category was how often I ended up listening to the scores after watching the film. The scores for “Tenet” and “Over the Moon” are two that I would pop on every other day. “Tenet” is not only just a magnificent score on its own, but it showcases the gimmick of the entire film, time inversion. Some songs have a backwards vibe, making the film slightly more exciting. There are a couple tracks that are all over the place, and when it comes to the percussion, it is some of the best that has ever been executed for a musical lineup. Here is a track from Ludwig Göransson’s official score of “Tenet.”
And now we move onto Makeup & Hairstyling, one of the categories “Tenet” IS NOT mentioned for, but it’ll still win anyway because apparently it has magic powers now. It’s kind of like Meryl Streep. She might not even be in the movie but somehow she is still amazing in it! The five movies represented here have stylists who gave it their all and some looks that really pop. Here are the nominees for Best Makeup & Hairstyling.
BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (Deborah La Mia Denaver)
Emma. (Marese Langan)
Mank (Gigi Williams, Michelle Audrina Kim)
Promising Young Woman (Angie Wells, Daniel Crest)
Summerland (Lisa Cavalli-Green, Liberty Haynes)
And the award goes to…
Marese Langan for “Emma.!”
Before these unprecedented times went into full circle, I’ve personally had the privilege of attending a special screening of “Emma..” Now for those of you who know the story, you’d know that Jane Austen’s original book was published on December 23rd, 1815, making it over two centuries old. At this special screening, the director, Autumn de Wilde, came out with the film’s lead star, Anya-Taylor Joy, who recently won a Golden Globe for her role in Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit,” and talked about the film. One interesting point that was brought up was the title of the film. If you look at the title “Emma.” you’ll notice a period at the end. That is to highlight the film is a period piece. And when it comes to the film’s many hairstyles, no matter how pristine or funky they may appear, they all fit the time beautifully. It perhaps goes to show that beauty knows no age. It can stand the test of time. Congratulations to “Emma.!”
Our third Best Picture nominee is the first Netflix animated feature yours truly has seen. From legendary Disney animators Glen Keane and John Kahrs, comes a Netflix animated musical that feels like a true throwback to another era, despite the 3D animation. Featuring the likes of the young, bright Cathy Ang, unmasker Ken Jeong, and “Hamilton” star Phillipa Soo, this brings classic Disney to a new generation of viewers, and allows those who grew up watching such films to experience something of old, while really watching something new. Songs like “Hey Boy,” “Rocket to the Moon,” and “Ultraluminary” are all brilliantly executed by their respective vocalists. And I should note, two of those three pieces are nominated for Best Original Song. Despite there being a journey quite out of this world, the themes and messages presented here will bring viewers down to earth. Nominated for 6 Jackoff Awards, this is “Over the Moon.”
They say that no film is perfect. Well, they’re right. In fact, 2020 has proven that wholeheartedly. Many of this year’s films, especially in the first half, have given lackluster results across the board. And even the best films this year are by no means flawless, especially compared to 2018 and 2019. Although, even the most critically acclaimed films of all time, “The Dark Knight,” “Back to the Future,” “Forrest Gump,” “Halloween,” “Toy Story,” even “Citizen Kane,” they all can be improved in some way. So, I decided to look back at 2020’s films and see what adjustments I could make in order to improve them, whether they need these improvements or not. Ladies and gentlemen, it is time for the third edition of “Film Improvements.”
Wow! They aren’t stopping with those Spider-Man movies! Even Warner Bros. is making them now! They’ll never run out!
We’re now going to move onto the acting categories. Specifically, actors in a supporting role. Some of the roles these men play include a father who is highly against the work system in the United States, a successful singer who spent a night in Miami, and a crazy psychopath who is obsessed with killing an animated hedgehog. Did I just say that out loud? Here are the nominees for Best Supporting Actor.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Kevin James (Becky)
Shane Paul McGhie (The Last Shift)
Arliss Howard (Mank)
Leslie Odom Jr. (One Night in Miami)
Jim Carrey (Sonic the Hedgehog)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Leslie Odom Jr. in “One Night in Miami!”
Last year, Amazon made its presence in Jackoffs history. While the studio did receive a nomination in this exact category for Timothee Chalamet’s performance in “Beautiful Boy,” they had a ceremony until they got a win, which they did in the Best Original Song category for Sigrid’s piece, “Home to You,” which was featured in “The Aeronauts.” Today, Amazon now has TWO wins in the same ceremony! They are THAT MUCH CLOSER to ruling the world! But when it comes to Leslie Odom Jr.’s win, it is well-deserved. The four leads in the film all find a way to have an engaging presence and sense of chemistry with one another, but Odom Jr. has risen to the top and does so with a commanding vibe. He moves, he sings, he talks, he does it all. His portrayal of Sam Cooke is the definite highlight of the film. No shame here to the other actors. Shane Paul McGhie portrayed someone who is worried about the American class system with excellence. Kevin James took a unique role for his career in a smaller production and had fun with everything and everyone around him. Arliss Howard played a figure who demanded my attention at the beginning of “Mank,” and went on to become someone as a character who I go back and forth between. Jim Carrey, who was almost my winner, took on a character that comes off as a complete cartoon and brought him to life like no one else could. However, of the five, Odom Jr. is the winner and him being the highlight of “One Night of Miami” helped cement that. Congratulations to Leslie Odom Jr., and here is a clip from his performance in “One Night in Miami.”
Moving onto actresses, let’s take a look at a few characters they played this year. When it comes to the prestigious nominations, some of the roles these women play include a mother who is separated from her daughter by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the partner of a drummer who is losing a defining characteristic, and an actress. So, wait… Does that mean one of these women play themselves? I’m very confused. Here are the nominees for Best Supporting Actress.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Elizabeth Debicki (The Burnt Orange Heresy)
Amanda Seyfried (Mank)
Helena Zengel (News of the World)
Olivia Cooke (Sound of Metal)
Princess Punzalan (Yellow Rose)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Amanda Seyfried for “Mank!”
While actors including Arliss Howard and Gary Oldman had their fair of moments where they played their part well, the real star of the show could arguably be Amanda Seyfried. Not only does she look the part thanks to the film’s undoubtedly talented team of costume designers and stylists, but her looks are just a small part of why her character was the scene stealer. One of the best things about Amanda Seyfried’s performance, and this is nothing against her as an actor, because she is talented, is that this did not feel like Amanda Seyfried. Almost every time I glanced upon that big screen and saw Seyfried’s character, Marion Davies, I got a sense that I escaped into the Golden Age of Hollywood and she was there to greet me every time. For those of you who don’t know Marion Davies, she is an actress known for arguably being a piece of inspiration behind “Citizen Kane,” which the movie “Mank” centers around. She’s also known for her roles in “The Patsy,” “Going Hollywood,” and “Show People.” While Davies has been long gone, she may be looking down on Seyfried with pride. Congrats to Seyfried, and speaking of which, here is a clip of her performance in “Mank!”
Our fourth Best Picture nominee is one of the most important films in Scene Before history. To this day, I refer to it as the film that made me excited to review movies again. This film comes from Andrew Patterson, who brought some of the most exciting camerawork, environments, settings, and tricks that have been displayed on screens this year. They say that video killed the radio star, but this nominee not only makes for a good movie, but also for good radio. The film centers around a DJ and switchboard operator who discover a strange frequency that becomes the talk of the town, kind of like this film at one point became the talk through the curiosity and praise from several viewers like myself. Nominated for 3 Jackoff awards, this is “The Vast of Night.”
Now we will move into production design. Here we will recognize the extravagant sets, gorgeous locations, and distant time periods these movies took us to in 2020. Some locations include a hotel where no mouse or kid is safe, a vast environment where there is a very little sense of time, and enormous deserts as far as the eye can see. Here are the nominees for Best Production Design.
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
The Burnt Orange Heresy (Totoi Santoro)
Emma. (Kave Quinn)
News of the World (David Crank, Elizabeth Keenan)
Tenet (Nathan Crowley)
The Witches (Gary Freeman)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Nathan Crowley for “Tenet!”
The streak continues, and we have a record tie! We’ll get to that in a second, but this goes to show the magnificent craft that went into “Tenet” as a production. And that is where the film excels the most, behind the scenes. Although in this sense, you can technically say that you can see a lot of what this category is all about in the various shots of the film. “Tenet” was shot in seven countries on three continents, with each environment being as sweet as the last. While “Tenet” almost comes off as a grounded adventure at times, it has the excitement of a fantasy at other times. One of the more notable feats in the film are the sliding doors where they obnoxiously open and close like a freight elevator. The climax felt mysterious and exciting due to the weirdly authentic atmosphere of the deserted city and everything around it. This was a hard category to determine, because there are a few good picks here. “Tenet” was just the one that spoke to me the most. Congratulations to “Tenet,” which is 4 for 4 so far!
Also, unbelievable! We are not even halfway through the show, and a significant record has already been tied! For those of you who have followed the Jackoffs during its first two years, a couple films should stand out. Specifically “Roma,” which was represented during the first ceremony, and “1917,” which was represented during the second ceremony. Neither film won every category it was nominated for, that could be achieved depending on how “Tenet” keeps up the pace, but the film also tied “Roma” and “1917” as the winningest film in Jackoffs history. Here are the categories that remain for “Tenet.” Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Original Song, Best Director, and Best Picture. If it takes one more award, it beats “Roma” and “1917” as the winningest film in the show’s history. If it takes the rest of the categories it is nominated for tonight, then it is a clean sweep. Exciting stuff, guys! We’ll see what happens! But anything’s possible, look at the original Jackoffs! “Avengers: Infinity War” won Best Picture without taking another one of its nominated categories. Or even look at the 5th Academy Awards! “Grand Hotel” won Best Picture without even being nominated for another category! We’ll have to see! It all comes down to one man’s opinion and your votes!
Moving back to NON-“Tenet” categories, let’s talk about costumes. Production design and costume design seem to almost go hand-in-hand at times. They’re both aspects of the film you place in front of the camera to the point where one would hopefully be wowed. Whether they are dresses, military outfits, or fashionable superhero gear, the apparel worn by the characters presented in the following films stood out to the naked eye. Here are the nominees for Best Costume Design.
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (Erin Benach, Helen Huang)
Emma. (Alexandra Byrne)
Mulan (Bina Daigeler)
The Personal History of David Copperfield (Suzie Harman, Robert Worley)
The Witches (Joanna Johnston)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Joanna Johnston for “The Witches!”
Collectively, the costumes featured in “The Witches” feel like they come out of a children’s book, which is appropriate, given how “The Witches” originally was a Roald Dahl novel. The film goes to show that witches are not just evil, they know a good outfit when they see one. The film overall feels like it takes place in some backend portion of a Wes Anderson film like “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” which is appropriate because much of “The Witches” takes place in a hotel. When it comes to characters, the Grand High Witch played by Anne Hathaway is the biggest standout, rocking multiple dazzling outfits in a span of less than a couple hours. Everything in this movie despite having some darkish moments feels colorful and goes along that vibe of being safe enough to show children, but also horrific enough to have a balance. Joanna Johnston is a costume designer known for collaborating on many of Robert Zemeckis’s productions including “Back to the Future Part II,” “Allied,” and “Welcome to Marwen.” She also worked on 2016’s “The BFG” directed by Steven Spielberg, so she is no stranger to the Roald Dahl universe. Johnston whipped up some colorful, vibrant, and quirky outfits worn by regular people and witches alike. Congratulations to Joanna Johnston!
Our fifth Best Picture nominee encapsulates one of the most life-altering events a person can have, the loss of one of their senses. In this case, our lead character of Ruben loses his hearing, arguably his most essential sense as a drummer. Played with sheer brilliance by Riz Ahmed, Ruben as a character took a movie where its main character cannot hear anything, and executed a product that made me want to audibly shout from the rooftops. If you want to be stoked, watch a drum solo. If you want to be floored, watch our fifth Best Picture nominee. Nominated for 7 Jackoff Awards, this is “Sound of Metal.”
“Sound of Metal” is available right now exclusively on Prime, and no, it doesn’t come with free shipping, it’s a digital file.
This year, like the past years we have done the Jackoff Awards, we will not be giving a lifetime achievement, we’ll be giving two. One for someone who is currently alive, and for somebody who unfortunately is no longer with us. Per usual, we will start off by presenting the first award for the living individual. It is time for the Roger Deakins award.
This award has been presented in the honor of Roger Deakins, the acclaimed cinematographer behind films including “The Big Lebowski” and “Blade Runner 2049.” And Bill Murray, the iconic actor famous for his roles in “Ghostbusters,” “Charlie’s Angels,” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” Today, we’ll be honoring a well-known director who has been at the top of their craft for numerous decades. And yes, this person is still making movies today. The 3rd Roger Deakins award goes to a man who made his directorial debut with the short film “The Last Gun.” He shot, starred, and crafted the film at the young age of 13 years old. From then on, he crafted more shorts until his feature length directorial debut, “Firelight” released in 1964. And it certainly was not his last. The man ventured forth, creating some of the most iconic films of all time. “Jaws,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” “Jurassic Park,” “Schindler’s List,” “Minority Report,” “The Terminal,” “The Adventures of Tintin,” and “Lincoln” just to name a few. He has won 3 Oscars, 2 Golden Globes, 4 Primetime Emmys, and 3 BAFTAs. None of these include Lifetime Achievements or honorary awards. He is also a notable producer and executive who has continued to bring many big movies to the public, including “Back to the Future,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “Men in Black,” “Transformers,” “Super 8,” and even the record-holder for Jackoff nominations at a total of 10, “First Man.” He has collaborated with some of the most influential minds in the industry. Michael Bay, Robert Zemeckis, George Lucas, J.J. Abrams, and Kathleen Kennedy. The guy can do it all. Action, drama, thriller, sci-fi, horror, animation, period piece, adventure, you name it, there is a good chance he has done it. For filmmakers everywhere, he has been the pinnacle, the holy grail, the definition, the master of them all. Almost anyone who has ever watched or enjoyed a movie will know his name or something he did. Maybe it affected them personally, maybe it made them want to get into filmmaking, or it made them want more of his content. The 3rd Roger Deakins award goes to a deserving name, a man who despite receiving a steady stream of words, needs no introduction. Steven Spielberg.
Spielberg, you’re gonna need a bigger shelf! Because on top of all the other accolades you have received over the years, you are now the proud recipient of the Roger Deakins award! If he accepted this award and was honored to receive it, he’ll probably go home and put it in his office or something. If he took the award and didn’t want it, he’d probably feed it to a CGI dinosaur. Either way, he wins. Congrats to Steven Spielberg! The man, the myth, the blockbuster filmmaker!
Moving onto our next sketch, it’s no secret that we’ve all been stuck at home. We’ve been attached to our couches, our beds, our recliners, we’ve practically become slaves to our television sets. Sometimes we’re busy flipping channels to see what’s on. For all we know, if there’s nothing on, we’ll just put on a movie. Specifically, on a TV channel of some sort. Even the major networks like ABC and CBS have been getting into the game where they’ve aired movies from their particular studio to fill time slots. But you may flip to that channel and wonder what the movie’s about. That’s where the info button comes in. You click the button, you see the description, bingo! That’s what this next segment of the Jackoffs is about. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for a little bit I like to call “Infomovies.”
Our sixth Best picture nominee is a story takes an age gap, the problems of the old and young, and puts them together in a story that feels ageless. Aside from age, this deals with problems having to do with race, culture, and class. When one man is about to leave his job at a local fast-food restaurant, a new, lesser-aged individual is about to fill his shoes. The wise guy teaches the young man the ropes of working at a fast-food joint, all the while developing a seemingly unlikely friendship that stabilizes as much as it can despite some imperfections. This movie may be about fast-food, but the result is quite luxurious. Nominated for 3 Jackoff awards, this is “The Last Shift.”
We are now about to move onto the screenplay categories. This year, we will be starting with adapted screenplays and following it up with original screenplays. This year we have seen movies that have taken us to many worlds, including those from authors such as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, who told iconic tales of fiction. But you also have authors including Lauren Redniss and Jessica Bruder, who tell stories that have happened in history, only to have those stories be spun in a visionary direction for the screen. Here are the nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Emma. (Eleanor Catton)
News of the World (Paul Greengrass, Luke Davies)
The Personal History of David Copperfield (Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucchi)
Nomadland (Chloe Zhao)
Radioactive (Jack Thorne)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Chloe Zhao for “Nomadland!”
What makes “Nomadland” such an interesting film not only to watch, but to talk about, is that it is not really a story about someone who wants something bigger than themselves. There are characters, including the main one, who show that they want more, but what makes “Nomadland” fascinating is the showcasing of regular people trying to get by from day to day, enjoying what they have in their lives, and having fun even in the toughest of situations. “Nomadland” comes with one of the best lines of 2020, specifically spoken by Bob Wells, who plays himself in the film.
“You know, I’ve met hundreds of people out here and I don’t ever say a final goodbye. I always just say, ‘I’ll see you down the road’.”
That’s what I have been trying to say to normalcy for the past year. I do not think normalcy will go away, but I always hope it is only taking a temporary break. There is no goodbye. Plus, this film came out at the perfect time. It shows a story of people who are thankful and appreciative of what they have and the people in their lives. And I think during the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of people, including myself, can relate to that. Congratulations to Chloe Zhao, who is also nominated for Best Director! Will she win two awards tonight? We shall see!
Progressing onto the original screenplays, some of these written scripts showcase stories about a Korean family trying to live the American dream, a country singer trying to make it big in Texas, and an unlikely pair who bond while working the night shift. Here are the nominees for Best Original Screenplay.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
The Last Shift (Andrew Cohn)
Minari (Lee Isaac Chung)
Promising Young Woman (Emerald Fennell)
Sound of Metal (Darius Marder, Abraham Marder)
Yellow Rose (Diane Paragas, Annie Howell, Celena Cipriaso)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Lee Isaac Chung for “Minari!”
Well, here’s another first! This is the first year that no film nominated for Best Picture also won one of the two screenplay awards! That is despite having one of them be nominated for Adapted Screenplay and four of them be nominated for Original Screenplay. So why did “Minari” win despite having the fewest nominations of all these films? The answer is simple, when it comes to slice of life stories, this film excels. Some would say that the American dream is a myth. In “Minari,” not only do we see a tale of people who take the American dream by the balls and go to town with it, but a cute tale where a family bonds together even during what they may see as the most unsettling of times. Life for the characters in this film is like a see-saw. One side is happy go lucky, the other is not, and sometimes as a viewer, I could understand both sides. “Minari” is a wonderful film. Congratulations!
Our seventh Best Picture nominee is from the mind of Emerald Fennell, a name you may know from such projects including “Call the Midwife” and “The Crown.” Now she has created her own directorial debut with Carey Mulligan as the starring role. In this white-knuckle thriller, a character by the name of Cassandra stops at nothing to right the wrongs of an event in her past. Mulligan is joined by actors including the talented Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Adam Brody, and Bo Burnham, who earned a nomination during the 1st Annual Jackoffs for Best Original Screenplay, which he received on account of his work on “Eighth Grade.” Here, he not only proves he is a talented force behind the camera, but he is capable of compelling an audience in front as well. Nominated for 5 Jackoff awards, this is “Promising Young Woman.”
We are now going to focus on two of the most essential categories to filmmaking. Editing and cinematography. Without these two elements, movies would likely cease to exist. No scenes to splice together. No frames to cherish over the years. No lights to enhance a scene. The first five films we will discuss in this segment are the ones that are cut together to present a compilation for the ages. Here are the nominees for Best Film Editing.
BEST FILM EDITING
Mank (Kirk Baxter)
Nomadland (Chloe Zhao)
Radioactive (Stéphane Roche)
Tenet (Jennifer Lame)
The Vast of Night (Andrew Patterson)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new record. Jennifer Lame for “Tenet!”
5 for 5! While “Tenet” was not my favorite film of the year, it is the one that I did see the most times. And with each viewing I begun to appreciate it a little more. There is a sense of wonder as to how they did certain tricks in the film, which I say despite having seen behind the scenes footage, but one of my biggest wonders is how they got such a masterful edit. And you know what? I should not be surprised. After all, this is the second year in a row Jennifer Lame has received a Best Film Editing nomination, with the first one being for her work on Netflix’s “Marriage Story,” a wonderfully put together film that ended up winning two Jackoffs last year. “Tenet” earned its win for not only being a well-presented edit, but for doing so by taking a concept that is amazingly hard to execute on paper and having a field day with it. All the film’s action scenes are top-notch, everything on screen, forwards and backwards, falls within the boisterous vibe of the film, and this is a reminder that “Tenet” is not just a movie, it is a roller-coaster. The thrills can’t stop, the thrills won’t stop, and part of the reason is due to Jennifer Lame’s excellent bringing to life of the obnoxious concept at hand. Congratulations to Jennifer Lame, and we now have a record for the winningest film in Jackoffs history!
Now the next five nominations are dedicated to cinematography. These are the films that utilized cameras and lights to create works of magic. Whether the films were shot on digital, film, or IMAX, these five moving pictures literally moved audiences this year. Here are the nominees for Best Cinematography!
News of the World (Dariusz Wolski)
Nomadland (Joshua James Richards)
Summerland (Laurie Rose)
Tenet (Hoyte von Hoytema)
The Vast of Night (M.I. Littin-Menz)
And the Jackoff goes to…
M.I. Littin-Menz for “The Vast of Night!”
This is “The Vast of Night’s” first win of the show, making it one for two so far. The film is also nominated for Best Picture, so we’ll see what happens there. For those of you who have witnessed the Jackoffs in recent years, you’ll notice a common theme when it comes to the Best Cinematography category. The winners in past years, specifically “Roma” and “1917” have scenes that are not only beautifully presented on screen with rich environments in front of them, but they also have scenes that contain extensively long shots. In “The Vast of Night,” the film’s prime highlight is a four minute-long tracking shot that goes from place to place where the camera keeps moving and never stops. I said in my review, also earlier in the show, that “The Vast of Night” is the movie that made excited to review movies again, because after months of watching underwhelming movie after underwhelming movie that barely impressed at best, I finally found something that floored me, and it came in the form of “The Vast of Night!” Bravo to “The Vast of Night,” and as for “Tenet,” the film’s streak is over. Will it win anything else? It is possible! It had 9 nominations leading into the ceremony, anything could happen!
Our eighth Best Picture nomination is a story about two people, one an adult man, the other a young girl. Shortly after the main duo find each other one day, it is the adult man’s responsibility to bring the young girl to safety by bringing her to a place that she can call home. With all the excitement and action of a western tied in with all the drama and division that comes from the news, this duo must trek through woods, deserts, and towns while overcoming various obstacles. Directed by Paul Greengrass with stars Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel, this film is a fine western road trip. Nominated for 7 Jackoffs, this is “News of the World.”
It is now time for the second lifetime achievement award, otherwise known as the Stan Lee award.
Like the past couple years, this is a lifetime achievement award given to someone who has done something significant or left a tremendous impact on the film industry. Even if that impact is small, it can still influence the way films are produced today. The past two winners, Stan Lee and Syd Mead lived full lives doing one project after another. They’re no longer with us, but their long lives were spent endlessly entertaining millions, perhaps billions of people. The Jackoffs celebrated these two, whose lives were fully realized. Today, we are recognizing the accomplishments of an individual who also lived a full life and is celebrated by their fans, community, and even by those who took a second to look at their work and walked away. The winner of the 3rd Stan Lee Award is the creator of various musical tunes you hear today. Now I am not talking about rock, not hip hop, not rap, I am talking classical. You may wonder why I bring this up, because the winner of the 3rd Stan Lee Award has become one of the most iconic composers not just in film history, but in all of pop culture. This winner was born in Rome, and he also recently passed in Rome. Known for his work including “The Battle of Algiers,” “Once Upon a Time in the West,” and “The Untouchables,” this man set a standard for how movie scores should be done and how they should compel an audience even after the movie reaches its conclusion. From 1979 to 2001, he would be nominated for five Oscars, all in the category of Best Music, Original Score. A couple of the movies specifically include “Days of Heaven” and “The Mission.” He won a BAFTA for the former and a Golden Globe for the latter. When it comes to the Academy, it was not until his next score nomination for his work in 2015 that he would finally take home the gold for the category. The movie, Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight.” In between all of this, specifically 2007, Morricone would receive an| Honorary Award from the Academy “for his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music.” Aside from the two technical Oscars on his shelf, Morricone has officially won three Golden Globes, a Critics Choice Award, and all six of the BAFTAs for which he was nominated. His work is copied over today not just as a piece of inspiration for many, but his original songs have been moved over into various spots in our modern culture, including movies such as “Madagascar Escape 2 Africa,” “Kick-Ass,” and “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.” We shall also not forget TV shows including “The Simpsons,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to honor the maestro of westerns and as a result, our culture, Ennio Morricone!
Ennio Morricone may no longer be with us, but if time is on our side, we will continue to use his work in more media to come. Once Upon a Time at the Jackoffs, there lived a lifetime achievement award, and it went to one of the most iconic composers of all time. Congratulations to Ennio Morricone!
Time to give out some more awards! We are down to the final five. The Best Original Song category has honored artists including Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, and Sigrid. The question is, who will join them? These five songs have defined the movies in which they appear. In addition, they can make for a listenable tune down the road. Here are the nominees for Best Original Song.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Rocket to the Moon – Christopher Curtis, Marjorie Duffield, Helen Park (writers), Cathy Ang (vocals) (Over the Moon)
Ultraluminary – Christopher Curtis, Marjorie Duffield, Helen Park (writers), Phillipa Soo (vocals) (Over the Moon)
Speed Me Up – Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla Sign, Lil Yachty, Sueco the Child (Sonic the Hedgehog)
The Plan – Travis Scott (lyrics), Ludwig Göransson, WondaGurl (producers) (Tenet)
Square Peg – Eva Noblezada (lyrics), Christopher Hoyt Knight (writer) (Yellow Rose)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Christopher Curtis, Marjorie Duffield, Helen Park, and Cathy Ang for “Rocket to the Moon” in “Over the Moon!”
I’ll be honest, if I could give an award to both “Over the Moon” songs, I would, but in reality I just had to choose one. “Over the Moon” is a Netflix original, but this song along with a few others gave it the same spirit of the traditional Disney animation from beloved classics like “The Lion King” to recent hits like “Moana.” The song appears three times throughout the film. Once during the opening act, not too long after as a reprise, and once more during the credits where the original song and reprise are mixed together. Each time that I heard it, it always evoked the vibe of a proper “I want” song where a character aspires to achieve something and they have to belt out the right words to express their motivation, something which Cathy Ang’s character of Fei Fei does exquisitely. The reason why I have given “Over the Moon” so much love to the point where I do not know anyone else in my demographic that has raved about it as much as me is because of how much it took me back to a confusing, unsettling time in my teen years, even without copying every single note of that time. Hint: Both my parents are alive. Up next I have listed a music video for “Rocket to the Moon” along with the actual song. You can listen to one, neither, both, your choice, I do not make the rules. But either way, if you choose to listen, enjoy the original song… “Rocket to the Moon.”
I hope you enjoyed the song, but now we must get back to handing trophies to entitled celebrities. It’s very important!
This next category is what some suggest to be of the highest importance. This position is responsible for managing and creating the vision that they hope their audiences would see and hear. When they are face to face with actors, they must collaborate in order to achieve the performance that will most likely compel the viewer. But above all, they are… the director. Here are the nominees for Best Director.
Paul Greengrass (News of the World)
Chloe Zhao (Nomadland)
Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman)
Darius Marder (Sound of Metal)
Christopher Nolan (Tenet)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Chloe Zhao for “Nomadland!”
While “Nomadland” was not nominated for Best Picture, this win does speak volumes because it is not only the first film helmed by a woman to win the directing category at the Jackoff Awards, but it is also Chloe Zhao’s second win of the night! She also won Best Adapted Screenplay earlier in the show. I should also note that Chloe Zhao was also nominated for Best Film Editing, which means she had three nominations in this one ceremony! If I had to be completely real, I would give an award to all of these films if I could, because each one, in a way or another, feels special. But I had to choose one. “Nomadland” comes off as a rustic, realistic drama with hints of comedy in between. The film knows how to be serious, but it also knows how to have fun, and when you put those things together, you have an excellent film. Just a reminder to everybody that “Nomadland” is now available in theaters and on Hulu, so go support it if you can! Congrats to Chloe Zhao on her second Jackoffs win, both for this event and all-time.
Our ninth Best Picture nomination comes packed with surprises, thrills, and chills. From Gavin O’Connor, known for his touch on sports movies such as 2004’s “Miracle,” comes a drama where a basketball coach must take a team of high school players and lead them to victory. The only thing, this coach, who has been on the team when he was younger, is dealing with a name that has been on a massive losing streak since he left. The film is not just filled with excitement for basketball lovers, but slices in human drama with a moving story on alcoholism. Director O’Connor reunites with the captivating Ben Affleck, a pair who also previously worked together on 2016’s “The Accountant.” Nominated for 3 Jackoffs, this is “The Way Back.”
Three more categories to go until we reach the coveted Best Picture. The final nominee will be detailed soon. But now, let’s focus on acting. The star of the show is supposed to shine as the heart, nucleus, and reflection of one crew’s vision. These legendary actors have played characters including a newsman who read from the paper, a father who wants to provide a great life for his family, and a hyper basketball coach. Here are the nominees for Best Actor.
Steven Yeun (Minari)
Tom Hanks (News of the World)
Dev Patel (The Personal History of David Copperfield)
Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal)
Ben Affleck (The Way Back)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Riz Ahmed for “Sound of Metal!”
This is the second award of the night taken home by the crew behind “Sound of Metal,” with the first being for Best Sound Mixing. While I did say that “Sound of Metal” is an unprecedented accomplishment for audio, it is as equally triumphant from an acting perspective with stellar performances given by Paul Raci, Olivia Cooke, who was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress, and as you can tell, Riz Ahmed as the lead character of Ruben who constantly gives it his all to bring in the best drumming performance possible. Ahmed took it upon himself to learn how to play the drums, which is executed brilliantly throughout the film, but given the film’s plot, he also learned how to communicate in American Sign Language, which the actor embraced on set during filming. All of the actors in this category deserve to be here. Ben Affleck gave one of his most personal performances to date. Dev Patel brought the character from the book to the screen, and ultimately to life. Steven Yeun proves that he can be a good Korean-American dad, and Tom Hanks continues to prove that he may be everyone’s long lost dad. If his performance in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” did not show that already, then “News of the World” certainly did. Congratulations to all these actors, but Riz Ahmed is the winner of Best Actor this year. Keep breaking legs! Here is a clip of Riz Ahmed in “Sound of Metal!”
Now before we move onto Best Actress, sponsored by Meryl Streep, let’s take a look at some of the characters the nominees have played. These extraordinary actresses have played characters including a revered scientist who made an impact in her field, a recluse who adjusts to having a young boy enter her private life, and a killer and a victim at the same time. Here are the nominees for Best Actress.
Kathryn Newton (Freaky)
Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman)
Rosamund Pike (Radioactive)
Gemma Arterton (Summerland)
Eva Noblezada (Yellow Rose)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Eva Noblezada for “Yellow Rose!”
While “Yellow Rose” did make an impact at several film festivals in 2019, its official theatrical release was not until 2020. I ended up seeing the film in the theater, then I ended up buying the Blu-ray when that came out for home viewing. For the first viewing, I viewed it simply as opportunity to see a movie with my mother. For the second viewing, one big factor behind it was the compelling mix of dialogue and lyrics that came out of Eva Noblezada’s mouth. Eva Noblezada is a multitalented woman who already has a Grammy on her shelf for the play “Hadestown,” for which she also received a Tony nomination. She also earned a Tony nomination for “Miss Saigon,” and now she has a Jackoff for “Yellow Rose.” Sort of in the same way that “Over the Moon” took me back to a time in my teens, “Yellow Rose,” mostly due to the magnificent chops from Noblezada herself, has circled through reminders of who I have been throughout my entire life. I have aspirations, and sometimes they seem so far away. But in addition to that, Noblezada manages to capture the spirit of the American dream while also having to deal with a lack of citizenship. When I did my review for “Yellow Rose,” I noted Noblezada’s performance saying I do not think she will win Best Actress. I may be right when it comes to the Oscars, given how “Yellow Rose” is a smaller film, but not when it comes to the Jackoffs! “Yellow Rose” is up there for me as one of the greatest music films of all time. Up there with “Ray” and “Whiplash,” and Eva Noblezada defines why this film has a presence among the greats. Here is a clip of Eva Noblezada in “Yellow Rose!”
Eva Noblezada was also nominated for Best Original Song, and in this clip, the song you hear, “Square Peg” is the song for which she received the nomination. It is a great song, and you should check it out on its own.
We will get to Best Picture in just a moment, but before we do, I just want to remind everyone once again that the special review series, 7 Days of Star Wars will be exclusively available on Scene Before, with a new review popping up every day from May 2nd to May 8th. But what if I told you that is just a fraction of what I had planned for 2021? Because I have laid out 6 review series concepts I have planned for the upcoming months, all the way to December. I will still continue to review new movies, those will not be forgotten, but I am dedicating this year to talking about some films that fall in line with a theme, or films that I have wanted to talk about for a long time, but have yet to talk about for one reason or another. Here are the movies I will be talking about in 2021!
My first small series will be “Mortal Kombat: Finish the Reviews,” where I will touch upon two movies as we build our way to the all new “Mortal Kombat” film releasing in theaters and on HBO Max this April. I will be talking about “Mortal Kombat” on April 5th and “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation” on April 12th!
Up next, a series I have already talked about, “7 Days of Star Wars,” where I will dive into a new “Star Wars” film every day from May 2nd to May 8th. Again, the order will be “The Phantom Menace” on May 2nd, “Attack of the Clones” on May 3rd, “Revenge of the Sith” on May 4th, “A New Hope” on May 5th, “The Empire Strikes Back” on May 6th, “Return of the Jedi” on May 7th, and “The Force Awakens” on May 8th. May the force be with you until then.
In July, we will be talking pirates in a series called, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Movie Reviewing Moron’s Chest of Reviews.” Throughout the month of July, we will talk about all five “Pirates of the Caribbean” films in honor of Disney’s other upcoming theme park ride-based film, “Jungle Cruise.” We will start with “The Curse of the Black Pearl” on July 1st, move onto “Dead Man’s Chest” on July 8th, then “At World’s End” on July 15th, followed by “On Stranger Tides” on July 22nd, and finally “Dead Men Tell No Tales” on July 29th.
Then in August we will be talking one franchise I have been waiting to do for the longest time. We are doing a series titled “Revenge of the Nerds: Nerds in Review.” Judging by the name, we will obviously be touching upon the cult classic comedy franchise, “Revenge of the Nerds,” and yes, this also includes the two films made for television. So that means we will be discussing “Revenge of the Nerds,” the original film, on August 9th. The first sequel, “Nerds in Paradise” will be reviewed on August 16th. The first made for TV film, “The Next Generation,” will be talked about on August 23rd. My review for “Nerds in Love,” the most recent film in the franchise has a current release date of August 30th. To this day I have watched these films multiple times and I have met a good portion of the cast so I cannot wait to talk about it!
In October and November, we are going to be doing a Halloween special, tied in with a leadup to an upcoming film that is currently receiving high anticipation, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.” In the upcoming review series, “Ghostbusters: Before Afterlife,” we will spend Halloween 2021, that is October 31st, talking about the original “Ghostbusters,” followed by “Ghostbusters II” on November 7th. For those who are wondering about “Ghostbusters” 2016, we will not be talking about that film as I already reviewed it when it came out.
Our final review series, which will take place in December will be a buildup to the upcoming “Matrix 4” film. “The Matrix Reviewed” will focus on the three films that have come out in the iconic trilogy whose original film has set standards for modern sci-fi and helped Keanu Reeves, the most meme-worthy actor of this generation find work. All three films are amongst the highest-grossing R rated films of all time. We will discuss “The Matrix” on December 5th, “The Matrix Reloaded” on December 12th, and “The Matrix Revolutions” on December 19th! I may not know kung fu, but I do know how to talk about sci-fi! So I cannot wait to discuss these films!
All of these segments are being done in honor of Scene Before’s five full years of existence. Dates and reviews are subject to change. For all I know, they could be cancelled. Hopefully, they are not, but anything is possible at this point. Stay tuned, get excited, get ready!
Now, we all know about COVID-19, maybe a little too much. Even when we would try to relax this year, we could not catch a break. Even when we turn on the television, the news is all about coronavirus. Sometimes when I’m trying to watch “Jeopardy!” or “The Price is Right,” Gov. Baker of Massachusetts or Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston would come on and talk about coronavirus. There was no escaping this mess! And unfortunately, some scumbags, I don’t know their names. Might be Turd Ferguson, Ralph Bohner, Disfatt Bidge, I do not even know who is responsible for this, but apparently, they found a way to put all of this into our movies. If you go and watch a movie now, it is not the same as it used to be. Who is responsible for this? George Lucas?! Is he trying to get viruses to learn about CGI now? What is going on? Either way, we will dive into this in a bit that I like to call, “Shut Up, COVID! I’m Trying to Watch the Movie!”.
Our tenth and final Best Picture nomination is a compelling tale of the American dream and never backing down. This film was first screened in 2019 at a series of festivals, but publicly released in theatres last fall. The film follows a young girl who aspires to be a musician in Austin, Texas, who has to deal with complications of adjusting to a life she had never hoped to live. Featuring original songs like “Square Peg,” this film is not only a compelling drama on life turning upside down, but is also a musical treat. Eva Noblezada, known for her stage work, shines in her feature film debut as the lead character of Rose Garcia. Nominated for 5 Jackoff awards, this is “Yellow Rose.”
We’ve made it. We’ve done it. We’ve conquered it. Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. It is time to declare the Best Picture of the worst year. This is your ultimate reminder, no matter what struggles get in your way, no matter how hard life can get, no matter the barriers that lay in your path, winning cannot, should not, and most definitely, will not be cancelled! After a year unlike any other, it is time to honor ten films above all others. These are the films that moved me, got me excited, or in some cases, brought me to tears. Like the past two years, the people voted and made their voices heard. The most popular film of the bunch will take home the award. It is my great pleasure to introduce the nominees for Best Picture!
The Last Shift (Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa, Sam Bisbee, Alex Lipschultz, Bert Kern)
News of the World (Gary Goetzman, Gail Mutrux, Gregory Goodman)
Over the Moon (Gennie Rim, Peilin Chou)
Promising Young Woman (Margot Robbie, Josey McNamara, Tom Ackerley, Ben Browning, Ashley Fox, Emerald Fennell)
Sound of Metal (Bert Hamelinck, Sacha Ben Harroche, Bill Benz, Kathy Benz)
Summerland (Guy Heely, Adrian Sturges)
Tenet (Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan)
The Vast of Night (James Montague, Melissa Kirkendall, Adam Dietrich)
The Way Back (Gordon Gray, Jennifer Todd, Gavin O’Connor, Ravi Mehta)
Yellow Rose (Cecilia R. Mejia, Rey Cuerdo, Diane Paragas, Orian Williams, Jeremiah Abraham)
And the Jackoff goes to…
This is the sixth win and ninth nomination for “Tenet.” “Tenet” also won Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Editing, Best Original Score, Best Production Design, and Best Film Editing. The film was also nominated for Best Cinematography, Best Original Song, and Best Director. This is the first Best Picture win for a Warner Brothers film.
The record now stands at six wins! What a way to end the ceremony and this long, weird, crazy year in film. Christopher Nolan has had a long history as being an innovative, challenge-ready director. He’ll take crazy concepts such as presenting a movie in reverse, building dreams on top of dreams, being the first Hollywood filmmaker to do a big blockbuster with an IMAX camera in “The Dark Knight,” which he brought back for his latest outing in “Tenet.” The modern auteur known for his gargantuan scale represented in one film to the next went all-in and somehow ended up having to go bigger than he could have ever predicted. In a blockbuster-less summer that some would prefer to forget. One where we could not go see highly anticipated titles like “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” “Morbius,” “Jungle Cruise,” and so on, Nolan and Warner Bros. experimented to see if people would even show up to a movie in 2020. The experiment had mixed results. Box office-wise, it could have been more pleasing. Quality-wise, the results usually did not disappoint. As for myself, I watched “Tenet” three times in the cinema, once on 4K Blu-ray, and each time my eyes and ears were amazed. I originally gave the film an 8/10. Since then, it may have jumped to a 9/10. Despite not having a perfect score, “Tenet” is almost a technical masterpiece. If it were not for the boisterous sound mixing, it may have a complete chance. However, “Tenet” has my favorite score of the past few years, it is up there with “Blade Runner 2049” as one of my top bangers. “Tenet” has arguably my favorite first scene of the past few years, maybe even in film history. “Tenet” also packs in an action-filled climax that in terms of viewing it at the cinema, felt like a gritty, more adult-centered Universal theme park ride. John David Washington and Robert Pattinson are a pair fit for a king, and having seen them in this unbelievable thrill ride that is too good for words, I would love to see them do a buddy cop movie together. Let’s not forget the incredible talents of Dimple Kapadia, Kenneth Branagh, and Elizabeth Debicki who just happened to be nominated for Best Supporting Actress due to her performance in “The Burnt Orange Heresy.” Also making an appearance, like usual in a Christopher Nolan film, Michael Caine, this time as “Sir Michael.” He is a man truly deserving of that name. The film did not just impress me, it did not just impress other moviegoers, but critics as well. “Tenet” has a 70% on Rotten Tomatoes, a Best Original Score nomination at the Golden Globes, 5 Critics Choice nominations including a win for Visual Effects, and speaking of which, the film received a Special Visual Effects nomination at the BAFTAs, and 9 Saturn Award nominations, which for those who do not know, those are usually centered around sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. And now, it has won the Jackoff! Or, maybe it won it in the past and now it somehow it got taken away, I’m still figuring out how time inversion works… Congratulations to the producers, cast, crew, and everyone else behind “Tenet!” You have won Best Picture!
Thanks for reading the 3rd Annual Jackoff Awards! Wow! This show is almost as long as the usual quarantine! Either way, if you read this all the way through, pat yourself on the back! You earned it! Congratulations to all this year’s nominees and winners! Congrats to “Tenet” for its record-breaking six wins! A fourth edition may be coming next year depending on how many films I end up seeing, because 2020 taught me that seeing only a few films is an outright possibility. We’ll see what happens!
That’s our show! Hope you enjoyed this crazy long awards ceremony! Follow Scene Before through an email or WordPress account for content, like the Facebook page, and I have reviews coming for “Tom & Jerry,” “Raya and the Last Dragon,” and “Chaos Walking!” Stay tuned! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!
Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! 2020 is over and I think we all agree that when it comes to 2020, the best part of the year is when it ended. Why? Because you can probably come up with any moment this year, perhaps in the middle of it, and it could arguably be one of the worst moments of your life. And as for the beginning of the year, remember when we were all going THIS IS GONNA BE OUR YEAR! IT’S GONNA KILL! Look where that all went! Thank you, 2020! FOR NOTHING! With that rage fit out of the way, let’s stay positive, because we have, thankfully, reached the end of the year, or more specifically the start of 2021, and we’re celebrating like we usually do, by counting down my top 10 BEST movies of the past year, this case it’s 2020. Couple rules before we go any further… First off, to have a movie qualify for the list it needs to have either played in theaters at least once OR, given the unusual circumstances of 2020, be made for a theatrical format, even if the movie ended up going somewhere else like DVD or Prime Video or HBO Max. This means movies like “An American Pickle,” which was made for theaters but ended up going to streaming instead, DO QUALIFY, but if your movie was specifically made for a format that is not theatrical, that means you’re off the list. Movies like “Bad Education” and “Troop Zero” are unfortunately off the list. Obviously, I must have seen the movies we’re talking about, otherwise I’d be talking nonsense. Also, reminder, like I say every year, this is a subjective list. It’s completely my opinion, and as a result, it may be different than your list purely based on personal thoughts. This list does completely not dive into what the DEFINITIVE BEST MOVIES are, these are just my faves! These are all the rules, hopefully I’m not complicating things too much. And with that being said, let’s start off like we usually do and point out some honorable mentions. Although, I should point out, 2020 was a rough year, so I want to spread some positivity going into 2021 by giving TEN honorable mentions, so this is going to be more like a top 20 list if anything. The main 10 movies will get the most recognition, but we will be going over 20.
Honorable mention: Ava (available on Netflix)
Kicking off our honorable mentions is “Ava,” starring Jessica Chastain as a badass assassin who must deal with her job and family issues on the side. Am I a little biased since I am a Bostonian? Maybe, but this was a damn fine action flick with some solid editing here and there.
I’ll admit, “Impractical Jokers: The Movie” is a bit a biased pick for me, I’m a big fan of the show. But as a fan of the show, I must say that they did a really good job of taking what is great about the show and translating it to film. And as I mentioned in my review, I find “Impractical Jokers: The Movie” to be funnier than a lot of comedies. A couple of the big punishment scenes had me DYING. Joe, Q, Sal, and Murr for life!
“Sonic the Hedgehog” got a couple watches from me this year. Not only is it arguably the finest movie adaptation of a video game we’ve seen to date, but out of the movies on this list, it is one of the few that I’d probably pay millions of dollars just to see a sequel! Also, massive props to the everyone who worked on the visual effects! You used the hate of the Internet to make yourselves stronger and you came out on top! Well done!
Honorable mention: Radioactive (available on Prime Video)
“Radioactive” is one of the most beautiful-looking films of the year in terms of aesthetics and set design. Rosamund Pike also delivers one of the most compelling performances of the year as revered scientist Marie Curie.
Honorable mention: Wolfwalkers (available on Apple TV+)
“Wolfwalkers” is Apple TV+’s first exclusive animated feature, and when it comes to the animation genre, it is also one of 2020’s best. It features a distinct, rustic-looking design and admirable chemistry all around.
Honorable mention: Freaky (available on VOD, in theaters)
“Freaky” supplies a terrific mashup of “Freaky Friday” and “Friday the 13th.” Vince Vaughn is great as always and this movie supports that Kathryn Newton is easily becoming one of my favorite performers.
While we dudes cannot party on all the time in 2020, I can assure you that “Bill & Ted Face the Music” is one of this year’s most excellent films. Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves return as their respective roles in a sequel that feels very similar, but much more mature compared to “Excellent Adventure” and “Bogus Journey.” I’m not dissing on the film, but I think that is a solid evolution point in the franchise if anything.
And finally, we have “Greenland.” This is a fun, explosive disaster movie that had me on the edge of my seat with some likable characters in the center of it all. It also goes to show that humans will literally do anything for their own survival, even if it is costly for someone else.
With that out of the way, it is time to talk about the best films of the worst year! These are my top 10 BEST movies of 2020!
Starting off this list is one of the last films I saw before everything started shutting down due to COVID-19, and that is “The Way Back.” One of the best things about “The Way Back” is how personal it feels. The film stars Ben Affleck as a newly established basketball coach of a team he aided to victory back in high school. Only thing is, they suck now, and Affleck has to help them in getting a good footing towards the gold. But there is more to the story than just a basketball team that needs a bit of work. I say so because the film’s character, Jack Cunnigham, suffers from alcoholism, which Ben Affleck has been through in his life. You can truly tell based on the performance that Affleck cares about how this particular character is presented. I have not seen all of Affleck’s films, but “The Way Back” contains one of the best performances I have seen from him. While “The Way Back” may not be the big winner for cinematography this year, the film contains one of my top 10, maybe top 20 favorite final shots I have seen in cinematic history. It is a glorious representation of a subject matter the film partially focuses on while displaying a beautiful environment. I liked “The Way Back” when I saw it in the theater, but I began to appreciate it a little more during my rewatch at home. Dribble your way to the couch and check out “The Way Back!”
Coming in at #9 is the most recent film I reviewed on Scene Before, “News of the World.” This film stars Tom Hanks as a man who goes around reading newspapers for people willing to listen. While that is clearly an obsolete occupation, that is a cool job! The movie displays a story with said job to highlight how we consume media in modern times and how we manage to accept media through what we “want” to hear as opposed to what we “need” to hear. Although that is not all the film has to offer, because the center of the story is Tom Hanks’s character, Captain Kidd, alongside a young girl he has named Johanna (Helena Zengel). Their chemistry is charming and is a fine example of how some unlikely bonds lead to the best on-screen relationships. Also, this film just goes to show that Tom Hanks is not only a great actor, but he often feels like a dude you just want to hang out with for a day. Much of the movie is Tom Hanks and the young girl moving along in a carriage trying to get where they need to go. I felt like I was on a road trip with Hanks himself for some of the time, and if there were any celebrity I would want to take a road trip with, it might be him. There’s also a great shootout scene somewhere before the halfway point of the film. It was intense, somewhat slow, but steady. All of the pieces fell into place! Paul Greengrass directs one of the most exquisite looking films of the year, and it may be worth a rewatch at some point!
Coming in at #8 is the movie that made me excited to review movies again, “The Vast of Night.” For a while in 2020, I had seen a number of movies, but it took some time to actually get that one movie that made me feel something. It took months to get that one movie that sort of hit me where I live. Thanks to all who revived the spark for me! While I will admit, this movie sort of gets clunky towards the climax, this is a BRILLIANTLY made debut. Andrew Patterson is a director I may be looking forward to in the near future if he comes out with another project. “The Vast of Night” feels personal, innovative, while also having traces of nostalgia. Partially because this takes place during the 1950s, but I must also acknowledge that this has a very similar vibe to “The Twilight Zone.” Everything feels mysterious, occasionally spooky, and it was hard for me to dart my eyes anywhere that did not happen to be my television screen. I will also point out, if you are a fan of great cinematography and camerawork, this movie may be a fantastic watch for you. “The Vast of Night” is free on Prime Video, check it out!
#7 is “Promising Young Woman.” This film came out at the tail end of the year, and usually that is when all the good stuff comes out. Past years have proven this on Scene Before with “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” in 2016, “The Disaster Artist” in 2017, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” in 2018, “Marriage Story” in 2019, and now, “Promising Young Woman” in 2020. This is a revenge thriller this not afraid to get dark. Not afraid to get serious. And it seriously packs a punch! Carey Mulligan may be a frontrunner for Best Actress, Bo Burnham deserves a shoutout for his performance and chemistry with Mulligan as well, and it is very well directed by Emerald Fennell. “Promising Young Woman” is her feature-length directorial debut and she kills it! The cinematography and sets are both beautiful to look at and make for some of the finest images I have seen on a screen this year.
You ever work in fast-food? Yeah, this movie is proof that I don’t want to get myself involved in that. “The Last Shift” is another level of excellence. This movie, despite having fast food take up much of the screentime, feels like a nice meal at a high-end restaurant. The two leads played by Richard Jenkins and Shane Paul McGhie are two vastly different people, but for some reason, they feel like best friends. I mentioned in my review that “The Last Shift” is basically “Green Book” but better. The plot is not exactly the same and there’s no road trip, but like that film, “The Last Shift” takes an unlikely bond and plays it out brilliantly. This movie dives into a lot of things at once. Having a low-paying job. Wanting more. Wishing you could do something with your life. At times it deals with death and old age. It handles all these issues very well. Also, I know there are times where this movie sort of hammers what’s wrong with the fast-food industry, but thinking about it kind of makes me want a cheeseburger. Yeah, that sounds good.
Get ready for the boldest statement of the countdown. “Sound of Metal” does for audio what “Birdman” and “1917” do for camerawork. Now, what they do is not exactly the same, but “Sound of Metal” revolves around a drummer who is rapidly losing his hearing, and one of the things I love about this movie is how it occasionally puts you in the eyes of its main character, almost as if you yourself were deaf. You know how movies like “Saving Private Ryan” and “Dunkirk” are often claimed to be so experiential that they can put you in a war zone? Well, sort of in the same way, “Sound of Metal” occasionally felt rather unsettling that it put me in the mind of someone who was deaf. Before watching “Sound of Metal,” I liked Riz Ahmed. Now I think he is a powerhouse who may have great days ahead of him. I seriously hope he is nominated for an Oscar, and whatever his next movie is, I hope to see it.
#4 is “Yellow Rose!” There is so much to like about “Yellow Rose,” I almost don’t even know where to start. “Yellow Rose” is a film that centers around a couple illegal immigrants living in the United States. It goes over their struggles, and just like those living in the U.S. legally, the film manages to emphasize the reason why these people stick around. It’s for a dream. It’s for a positive path. It’s for the hope that life will be good. Our main character is an aspiring country singer who based on the way this movie goes, presents themselves as quite the talented individual, and her journey makes for one of the most fascinating screenplays of the year. It also goes into the dark times of dealing with I.C.E. and what they can take away from you. Also, I must point out that “Square Peg” is a really good song, and our lead actress, Eva Noblezada, performs it beautifully. I cannot wait to see what else she does as an actress. As a music-based film, this is great. As a drama, it’s stellar. As a piece of art, it is defiant of our time.
Before this film finally came out, there was a point or two where I thought this movie could have been my #1 pick on this countdown. Turns out, it’s not, but it’s still pretty amazing. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you “Tenet.” In regards to exhibition and movie theaters, “Tenet” is arguably one of the most important movies put out in years. This was a movie that was originally supposed to be an event film, according to director Christopher Nolan, only thing is, turns out the big event was not the movie itself, it’s that all events imaginable happened to be canceled or postponed. But this movie was ultimately put out as a reminder of why movie theaters are built. Why they are a part of society, art, and culture. This is easily one of the best experiences that I’ve had in a cinema in the past couple of years. “Tenet” also contains my favorite score of the year, composed by Ludwig Göransson, also known for his work on “Black Panther,” another film with a tremendous score. I also saw this film three times in the theater, and I will say that each time was as exciting as the next. I was stoked for “Tenet” ever since I saw the prologue in IMAX. Each time a new trailer came out, that excitement meter trickled up even more. I cannot say I was all that disappointed. The only tremendous thing I will say that is wrong with the movie is the sound mix, and part of why this is not #1 is because of that. Audio is one of the most important parts of a film, and when I can’t make out important dialogue, that’s kind of a problem. Although during my third screening, I went to a theater that provided subtitles, which certainly helped a lot. At times the movie is so obnoxious that it shakes the auditorium, which provides for an experience that is beyond incredible. But overall, the sound was just a little too loud at times. I will say though, despite “Tenet” not being #1 on this list, “Tenet” did one thing for me that no other movie managed to do. I had more excitement going into “Tenet,” balanced by alike excitement during and upon leaving the movie compared to any other film that came out this year. Kudos, seriously! Everyone involved in the marketing for this film and making it, they should be proud. It’s rare that I go see a movie in a theater three times!
I said earlier in the year that “The Vast of Night” made me legitimately excited to review movies once again. But if anything, this is the movie that made me have faith that I will have something to remember by the time we hit 2021. Up next on this list is “Summerland!” For a couple of months, I assumed that this would be the #1 movie of the year for me, which would have brought a first to Scene Before history, a movie with a 9/10 score taking the top spot on the countdown. This film was a surprise for me, partially because all I knew about the movie was the poster, a description the theater provided, and that’s it. Gemma Arterton and Lucas Bond are incredible together. Kind of like “The Last Shift,” this takes a rather unlikely pair and meshes them together with precision. Out of the many experiences I’ve had watching new movies this year, this was by far one of the most unique, especially considering the end result. If you asked me where I thought I would put this film in my rankings for the year after watching the first ten minutes, I would have said it belongs somewhere on the worst list, because when I was first introduced to Gemma Arterton’s character, I was extremely turned off. She was closed-minded, and she did not have the greatest attitude. Thankfully, that does improve quite a bit as the movie continues. If 2020 has proven one thing, even though “Tenet” sort of lived up to the hype, a lot of the best movies to have come out are those that really come out of nowhere. “The Vast of Night” played at a selection of festivals, but I have not heard much about it until it dropped onto Prime Video around the midpoint of the year. Other movies like “The Last Shift” or “Yellow Rose” are really just titles I’ve heard almost nothing about, but they turned out to be some of the best movies of the year! If anything, this movie is also just so sweet! 2020 has been such a cruel year from start to finish that it is ridiculously hard to get through it all. The best way to kill 2020? Honestly, don’t kill it with fire! Kill it with kindness! One way to do that, watch “Summerland!” Give it a rental! Buy the DVD! Buy the Blu-ray! Do what you can to support it because it is a movie that is truly worth your time! Because as the movie suggests, stories have to come from somewhere!
Oh my gosh! We’re finally here! Something positive in 2020! This is #1! This next movie not only redeemed 2020 for me, as if I thought other movies did that already, it achieved a level of greatness I never thought I’d get to see again. I thought 2019 would be the end of great movies. Nope! I never thought I’d say this.
THANK YOU NETFLIX!
This movie took me far beyond the moon and back! My #1 movie of 2020 is… “Over the Moon!” Where do I even start? Remember the live-action “Mulan” remake that was supposed to come out in March but somehow ended up on Disney+ with a $30 price tag on top of everyone’s subscription? Yeah, not only was “Over the Moon” a better movie, but it ended up in theaters, on Netflix for free as long as you’re a subscriber, and I would argue this does more for Chinese heritage than that movie did! I am not of Chinese descent, nor am I of any nearby Asian descent, so I cannot say much, but it does not change the fact that “Over the Moon” managed to accomplish every goal it set out to do! Tell a relatable story that hinges around an entire demographic, create catchy and iconic original songs, unveil a protagonist whose pain you can feel throughout, and most of all, have some fun with everything that’s going on, all the while making you cry! Seriously! I walked out this movie needing to ask myself whether what I just saw actually happened! Well guess what? It’s 2020! If this year has gone on to show anything, it’s that even the unimaginable can happen! Hang on, let my pinch myself! *YOW!* Yep! Still here! I’m not dreaming! Just so you know, I am a straight white male born in Massachusetts. Even if you were born on Neptune, you will relate to this movie. The movie has an all-Asian cast which includes notable names such as Ken Jeong, Sandra Oh, and John Cho. Each one of these people play their characters well and I love them for being part of what I am proud to call a new animated classic. But the heart of this film is Phillipa Soo as Chang’e and Hollywood newcomer Cathy Ang as Fei Fei, who I learned is in her twenties right now, but I’ll say this. I can only predict Ang will have an ultra-luminary future. There is a song in this movie that Ang sang which I eventually learned was only done in one take. Bravo, girl! Her chops as a voiceover artist and a singer are enormous. This movie is like a Disney throwback. Epic songs, beautiful animation, and they even have the dead parent cliché, which in the case of “Over the Moon” was handled BRILLIANTLY. Both of my parents are alive, but this movie used the dead parent storyline, and somehow managed to interweave it into a defining portion of my life. I say this because the movie partially handles a situation that I lived through, and it sort of took me back. That may be part of why I cried at the end. This movie was more emotional than “Toy Story 3!” And that says something! And it really goes to show how unpredictable this year truly is! We got two movies from arguably the most talented and revered animation studio, Pixar. I honestly thought neither was up to the standards the studio usually provides. I have avoided the Netflix brand for years simply because as someone who goes to the theater, and as someone who buys physical media, Netflix is a company that does not often affiliate with what I invest in. But this movie made me consider getting a Netflix subscription, probably just to watch it again. And as much as I liked “Roma,” it never got me to think that.
This film, like quite a few other Netflix movies, barely had a presence in theaters, but I’m noticing a lot of theaters now are doing private screenings, so if I have enough money to give to a theater to rent an auditorium for a couple hours, where I could pick whatever movie I want, I would go just to watch “Over the Moon” in a theatrical environment again. I have not watched this film since the theater, I should note I rarely watch Netflix in general. But I can guarantee that when it comes to animated films, this was an utter trip and was worth the $12 I paid to see it. I think if Netflix can work out an agreement with the IMAX brand, I think they could possibly get a very limited engagement of “Over the Moon” in IMAX, that sort of thing would win me over!
Seriously! How cool were the songs? Ultraluminary! Rocket to the Moon! Hey Boy! Even the Mooncakes song, which from a storytelling perspective, not just as a jam, is probably one of the most effective numbers I’ve heard in a film. Not only are the songs great, but they made for some stunning sequences! The colors in this film are transcendently glossy and beautiful! I could go on forever talking about this movie, but I have to stop at some point, although I must add that I hope more people give it a chance. IT’S ON NETFLIX! WATCH IT! “Over the Moon” is a gift. It’s one of the biggest surprises, perhaps THE biggest surprise I’ve had this year in terms of movies. It is an epic adventure, a fun thrill ride, a technical beast, it’s got a killer soundtrack and score, and it is one of the few movies that made this man cry. Netflix, thank you. Glen Keane, John Kahrs. Thank you! Cathy Ang, Phillipa Soo, Ken Jeong! The rest of the cast! Thank you! And I shall not forget, an individual we lost too soon. Audrey Wells. Without your ideas, we would have never seen this new animated classic. Rest not only in peace, but in perfection. Rest in perfection, Audrey Wells. Your masterpiece is here, and it is my #1 film of 2020.
Thanks for reading this countdown! First off, I want to give a huge thank you to the entertainers, producers, and filmmakers who all gave us an escape in 2020. I think this year, more than any other, we needed an escape. An escape from reality. An escape from COVID-19. An escape from everything. There is no doubt that 2020 was one of the most stressful years that people today have gone through. Before COVID-19 shut down movie theaters for the most part, movies happened to be something I cared about. And I still care about them today, and as a mortal, 2020 sort of taught me to be thankful for what I have, and I for one am quite thankful for movies. I cannot thank everyone enough for simply working on a film production, not to mention releasing it. Even if I didn’t like the film, guess what? It just shows what’s great about humanity. What we can do. What we can accomplish. Bravo! Speaking of films that I don’t like, tomorrow I will be releasing the virus-infused list! Oh dear, here we go. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing my top 10 WORST movies of 2020. Trust me, we had plenty of bad ones this year. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account, and please like the Facebook page so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, what are your favorite movies of 2020? I know the selection may be tighter for some people this year, but I still want to know, what are some of the movies you liked this year? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!
Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! It is now time for part 2 of the all new Scene Before series “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes.” This series describes the recent happenings, or in some cases, a lack of happenings, in the film industry as the world deals with the COVID-19 outbreak.
In the United States, which is where my main demographic happens to be, we unfortunately have more cases of COVID-19 than anybody else. Records are meant to be broken, but if only they were not broken like this. Although at the same time, there has been a significant increase in testing here in the United States, so while it does not make the record necessarily less disheartening, it still adds in a piece of needed information.
Now I do not typically talk about politics that much on Scene Before, but this is one of the rare instances where I have no choice. President Donald Trump has said that he wants the United States back in operation by Easter. The reason for this mostly has to do with Trump’s personal admiration towards the holiday, suggesting that it would be wonderful if the United States had “packed churches.” However, experts are saying that this would not be the best idea and Trump should wait longer.
Personally, I am still optimistic that we can get through this pandemic in a matter of a couple of a months, maybe a few even. But Easter Sunday is a bit too quick based on how many people are seemingly continuing to avoid the act of social distancing. I can possibly see certain portions of the economy putting lights back on in a matter of weeks, but it would not equate to a full-fledged, well-oiled machine. Maybe restaurants will be open again to an extent where people can sit down, but with a limited capacity, and takeout will continue to be highly encouraged. I do not know for sure, but anything’s possible. I said it part 1, I’ll say it again in part 2, I am not a doctor.
These are some general goings on during the COVID-19 situation, but for movies, things have been interesting. In fact, if you look at Box Office Mojo right now and notice the weekend totals, it’s kind of creepy. There’s not even a section for the previous weekend in regards to how much money each movie made. Should this go on for a long time, I wonder if the box office is going to partially change its ways and measure intake by monitoring how much is made by tracking how many rentals are purchased on cinema-specific sections on streaming services. I doubt that’ll be the case since there currently seems to be eager anticipation for the opening of movie theaters by sometime in the summer, but who knows? For all I know, this summer in movies for the most part will be cancelled. I am about to present some evidence as to why.
MAJOR MOVIES DELAYED: WONDER WOMAN 1984, GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE, MORBIUS, PETER RABBIT 2, ETC.
One of the biggest pieces of news in terms of movies getting delayed comes from Sony. The reason being is that when everybody found out about this, it didn’t involve just one movie. It involved Sony’s entire summer lineup. For those who don’t know, movies like “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” and “Morbius” put out trailers in anticipation of a summer release date this year. Guess what? Both have been moved to March 2021! And if that’s not enough, forget about “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway,” because you won’t be seeing that movie either! For the record, that movie was supposed to come out this upcoming weekend as of writing this post. That was until it was delayed to August, but now it is going to be a January 2021 movie! You honestly can’t write this! I was looking forward to these films (minus “Peter Rabbit”) but now I have to wait even longer! In fact, Sony’s delays doesn’t just affect current films set to come out that are either finished or nearly finished, but it also affects a heavily cursed movie, specifically “Uncharted!” Can that movie catch a break? What’s it on, like it’s SEVENTH director right now?! The film that has practically been in development hell for a long time and was set to come out on March 5th, 2021, which is now where “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” will be releasing. Instead, it will be coming out on October 8th, 2021.
In addition to Sony, Warner Bros. has been in a bit of trouble too, but at least their situation feels more of a semblance of optimism. For those who don’t know by now, “Wonder Woman 1984” is getting delayed, which is one of the movies I really didn’t want to see get pushed back, because part of me predicted that theaters would be open by the time this film is supposed to come out. Turns out that’s not the case, because the film’s previous release date of June 4th is no more. “Wonder Woman 1984” is now coming out on August 14th, which does disappoint me, but it does me hope that we will still be seeing a summer movie season in 2020. This also reinforces the crew’s commitment to theatrical experience, which may bring a sigh of a relief to major chains, smaller theaters, and an organization like NATO (National Association of Theater Owners), especially after Universal abruptly announced “Trolls: World Tour” was going to go to streaming as soon as it hit the minimal amount of theaters that would be open this April. Speaking of theatrical commitments, Warner Bros. is also optimistic in regards to releasing Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” which is scheduled to come out July 17th. First off, it’s a Christopher Nolan movie. If Warner Bros. announced that “Tenet” was going to go straight to streaming and skip theaters, there’s a good chance that Nolan would end his work relationship with Warner Bros. altogether. Second, if you want my personal thoughts on this matter, “Tenet” is my second most anticipated film of the year, right below “Dune” which is set to come out in December. If “Tenet” is not seen this summer, I am considering quitting movie watching altogether. Whether or not this situation goes away by July is still a mystery, but I would not be surprised if we reach the very beginning of July and hear that “Tenet” gets bumped to another release date. I think there’s an itty-bitty chance of that happening, but I am not too sure. Plus, the film cost $205 million to make. I do not think “Tenet” will join the billion dollar club, but if this is still around in July, part of me wonders if the film will break even.
Much like Sony, Warner Bros. is having notable production troubles regarding the ongoing crisis as well. “The Matrix 4” has officially shut down. Looks like that “Keanu Reeves Day” coming up in 2021 where “John Wick 4” and “The Matrix 4” release simultaneously will not be a thing anymore should these troubles keep up. Speaking of Warner Bros. productions, “The Batman” has shut down indefinitely. The film was scheduled to come in June 2021 and star Robert Pattinson (The Lighthouse, Good Time) as the Caped Crusader.
Sticking with the recently mentioned productions of “The Matrix 4” and “Uncharted,” both were in production in Germany, specifically in Studio Babelsberg. Termination of production of many on such property left them without pay and there is a current threat of legal action. But speaking of “The Matrix,” if this news has you down and you need your fix of the franchise, the original trilogy will be on Netflix starting this April.
“Top Gun: Maverick” is still coming out in June. Let’s just hope that stays put.
ESPN GETS CREATIVE WITH THEIR LINEUP
I don’t usually talk about sports on this blog, but this is a rare case where it is necessary. For those of you who don’t know, Disney owns you. It’s a fact. Also, for those of you who don’t know, Disney-owned ESPN is going to doing movie nights on Fridays for now on, specifically on movies revolving around sports. Not surprisingly, the movies that will be aired will all be Disney productions. Part of this goes into how the network recently aired “The Rookie,” a baseball film from 2002. For those of you who want to know, this upcoming Friday’s lineup will feature “Glory Road,” the 2006 title revolving around the 1966 NCAA basketball National Championship and the story of the first all-black starting lineup in this situation. Other films in the lineup include “Miracle,” “Secretariat,” and “The Greatest Game Ever Played.” Given how major sports like the regular seasons of NHL, NBA, and MLB have been affected by the outbreak, sports-related outlets have to get creative. 24 hours of SportsCenter on ESPN featuring the top 10 social distancing moments of the day is not going to cut it. I have no idea how long ESPN will be doing this, but just a reminder that Disney now owns Fox, and while I am not seeing any reports of them airing any Fox films, it doesn’t mean that there is no chance that Disney could allow ESPN to take Fox films and present them over the airwaves. This could allow the airing of films like “Rookie of the Year,” “Bend It Like Beckham,” “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story,” “Battle of the Sexes,” or even my personal favorite sports film of all time, “The Sandlot.” Such a good movie.
Also, if you don’t want to wait to watch these films on ESPN, or if you don’t want as many ad interruptions, they are currently available on Disney+, but if you are bored on a Friday night and the Internet is down, you may want to take advantage of watching your favorite sports movies on ESPN.
COVID-19 GETS A MOVIE
One of the things both my mother and I have been saying recently is that this virus is kind of like a movie. In fact, if you talked to me at in the past couple weeks and asked me what I could possibly be thinking about, my answer would be the “five years later” transition in “Avengers: Endgame.” I would not want to be in New York right now, because I can only imagine what it would be like to look at Lady Liberty! Although according to The Hollywood Reporter, it seems we are living in a movie world right now. Kind of. The Hollywood Reporter is suggesting that we are getting the first COVID-19 movie of this specific era. And it is a Canadian thriller shot on a soundstage in Vancouver, where a bunch of people are in an elevator and they quickly suspect that one Chinese individual who joins the ride happens to have the virus. “Corona” is shot handheld in order to be realistic, it’s an interesting move, and it could provide some tension, maybe in a way that could make the viewer a part of the story. The movie does not necessarily revolve around the virus as much it focuses on fear and racism. Plus, those two things will be taken into consideration and apply to how a group of people, varying in terms of walks of life and personality, could potentially react to a virus like this. By the way, if there is a company or organization out there that wants this movie, it is looking for a buyer. I am not surprised that we are getting a movie on COVID-19, but I am surprised that we are getting one this early.
If you want to view the trailer, click the video below.
NEW RELEASES GOING ON DEMAND
Last week, I discussed one of the big stories going on in the movie world is that the current theatrical releases, or in some cases, movies that haven’t even hit the big screen yet, have gone straight to VOD, or on digital services. These mainly include various cable-based On Demand channels, or streaming services like Prime Video, Google Play, and FandangoNOW. But over the past week, more things have happened in relation to this, and some new movies that barely seen the light of day are now being inserted to these On Demand services. By the time you’re reading this, “Impractical Jokers: The Movie,” which released in select theaters on February 21st, then eventually expanding on February 28th, will be available for digital viewing. It’s supposed to release April Fools Day, which makes sense since the movie heavily involves pranking. As for DVD and Blu-ray, that is not known at this point, especially considering how it has not been close to the ninety-day mark of the film’s official release. For all I know, it might not get a DVD, which I hope does not happen. But keep in mind the possibility is there considering how the last DVD for the show itself was for season 5, which aired in 2016. From season 6 and on, there are no plans to put out DVDs. As of March 31st, “Bad Boys For Life” and “Sonic the Hedgehog” are both available for digital purchase with a pop of $20. “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” which released in four theaters to make $16,825, will be hitting On Demand services starting April 3rd.
Thanks for reading the second part of the ongoing series “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes!” I can guarantee you that more is likely to come, especially when considering that the Massachusetts stay at home advisory has been extended to May 4th. I don’t know if this will be a weekly thing though, considering how I still have reviews to do, and I just started online classes for my university. Again, I am still committing to putting out a post a week, and it might be easy to do so given how much time this crisis is likely going to give me. And if you’re wondering about me personally, I am okay. I currently contain no symptoms or evidence of having COVID-19, and given how it has been fourteen days since I got back from the fantastically run state of Florida, I am most likely in the clear. I have not personally invited anyone into my home, and I rarely have gone outside for anything. In a way, my practice from when I was twelve years old and playing video games all day has paid off for this very moment. Outside is so overrated!
But man, I do miss the movie theater.
If you have time, which you do, let’s admit it, go ahead and follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account! And since you’re wasting time staying six feet away from others while only being trapped in your personal space, go ahead and follow the Scene Before Facebook page! I want to know, what is your biggest piece of recently seen news regarding films and COVID-19? I covered a number of topics today, but for all I know, maybe I missed something important. It happens. Let me know down below, and let’s get through this together! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!
Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Last week on Scene Before I addressed what my blog would be doing in regards to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. As you may know, I type and upload all my posts via WordPress.com, and as long as that does not go down, I should be fine. I can also easily do some of the work I do for this blog at home, but given how this virus has taken a toll on the film industry as a whole, it has prevented me from doing my main goal for Scene Before, which is to go out and see new releases in the theater. Granted, I was able to go see “Bloodshot” during the previous week at an AMC Prime, so I did get my precious theater time before everything shut down. So I will have reviews coming. That’s a guarantee.
But a couple things are for sure. 1. I am not a doctor, so if I were to tell you that this virus were to go away by tomorrow, I’d probably be lying to you. 2. Even if I was a doctor, I would most certainly be aware that there is a lot of confusion going on when it comes to COVID-19, so I might not be able to pinpoint an exact moment when society would return to normal. It could be April, May, June, July, August, who knows? If I had to guess, we would still have SOME restrictions in April, but we would continue to grow from that point. That depends on how seriously precautions are taken. Will people go out? Will people stay home? How many essential or non-essential activities will we engage in? Will testing improve? These are questions that need answering, and they will likely be answered overtime. But it doesn’t look like this virus will be eradicated as long as things like this continue happening.
Just drove by the beach in Malibu and it’s packed. Busier than I’ve ever seen it in March. I know people are stir crazy but damn. This isn’t going well. 😳
And I will admit, I did travel recently. In fact I went to LA and Fort Lauderdale, but this was sort of in the unraveling of the “social distancing” trend. I stayed in LA for the three nights I had scheduled, but my mother and I went home two days early from Fort Lauderdale. We may have realized that we made the right decision.
But I don’t want to make this post, or this series, depending on how often I update this, all about me. Instead, I want to focus towards the movie industry and how it is being impacted by the coronavirus. Because right now, it’s not lookin’ pretty, like at all. Sorry, but it’s true. Here are some reasons why.
THEATERS SHUT DOWN:
I already mentioned this briefly, but theaters pretty much everywhere have either been forced to shut down or voluntarily shut down. There are a few that are still open, most notably drive-ins, but the traditional movie theater just about as a whole, has closed doors until further notice. Sadly, not only does this include big chains like AMC Theatres, Regal Entertainment Group, and Cinemark, but also some of my favorite local cinemas who do not belong to a bigger name, and some need help now more than ever. One of the first notable closings I bat an eye towards was for the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, MA.
Although I will respect some people in the industry such as acclaimed director Edgar Wright (Baby Driver, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) for making a call to action when it comes to these smaller cinemas.
Have a favourite cinema that you want to support in this (literally) dark time? Then become a member and make sure your nearest and dearest church of cinema stays open at the end of this tunnel. Share the membership details of fav cinemas below. I'll start…
I will admit, at this time, I am trying to save my money in case this apocalypse becomes bigger than I can ever imagine, but this is an informative tweet and it has had me considering pulling some support towards theaters like the Coolidge. It’s a lovely theater that plays many films that are not traditionally found in typical venues, and they even have special events where industry professionals make appearances. Remember how I did my review for “Emma?” Well, when I saw the movie at the Coolidge, the film’s star Anya Taylor-Joy and its director, Autumn de Wilde, appeared together to talk about the film. I am still considering becoming a member in support of the theater. Maybe I’d make more visits to it as a result.
But speaking of which, I do feel bad not just for the establishments themselves, but their employees who work hard to keep the theaters running. Surprisingly, despite going to the theater a lot, I have never really developed a complex relationship with the employees who work there, but at the same time, I don’t want keep them from doing their job. With the recent closings of theaters, this automatically means that thousands of people cannot work. I could end this statement here and call it a day. However I have been reading from various users online who worked at outlets like Regal, and they said that they have been fired along with the rest of their staff. In fact, check out this little exchange I had on Twitter just the other day…
I looked into this and I saw a bunch of tweets from people who worked at Regal, reporting how poorly this situation has been handled by the company. In fact, as I right this, Cinemark employees seem to be going through the same deal.
Yes they lied to their customers for good face. And didn’t even contact their employees under management that they were getting fired. pic.twitter.com/4ZI2DxL3c9
Now I have heard about Regal’s situation much earlier, but I have not seen much news about this from major outlets. So I don’t know if I am planning to take this matter on any further, but I do want to know something. If anybody from a major movie theater chain like Cinemark or Regal was terminated, thought they were terminated and then corrected to not be terminated, or something else along those lines, feel free to send me an email, just go to my contact page and leave your information there. I also have a public Twitter, so if you want to DM me @JackDrees, feel free to let me know about what happened that either got you fired or even if you weren’t fired. How did your movie theater handle this matter? Were they justified? Unjustified? Let me know! I don’t know how far I might take this matter, but maybe, JUST MAYBE, I’ll address all of this in a future post.
NEW RELEASES COME HOME
I feel rather lucky that I got to see a number of 2020’s films prior to the big hit of COVID-19 here in the U.S.. Films like “Sonic the Hedgehog,” “Onward,” and “Emma.” However, these movies unfortunately all face a common problem. An extended chance at a theatrical experience will be missed for all of them. After all, since theaters are shut down, how is everyone going to see those movies? ON DEMAND TO THE RESCUE! Even though some films have recently released, studios happened to be kind enough to put their new releases onto VOD as soon as possible. Sony has done this with “Bloodshot,” Paramount has done this “Sonic the Hedgehog,” STX is going to do this with “The Gentlemen,” Warnermedia is doing this with “The Way Back,” and Comcast’s studios is not only putting out films like “Emma” or “The Hunt” on VOD, they are separating themselves from various studios such as Disney, who happen to be delaying all their future films until further notice, and putting DreamWorks’ newest film, “Trolls: World Tour” onto VOD the same day it is scheduled to release in theaters. Now I am willing to assume that some theaters, not all, but some, will be open around the time “Trolls: World Tour” comes out, specifically April 10th. So with that in mind, families can still go to the theater and maybe watch the movie together. But this also brings a unique opportunity for home viewing. And it’s not like it’s a new thing, because there have been movies that released through VOD around the same time that it has been put out in the theater, but given the type of movie that “Trolls: World Tour” happens to be, it’s somewhat unprecedented. Man, I hate that word! For the record, the movies that have recently been put on VOD early are only available to rent right now, specifically for $19.99. This is slightly less than one would pay for an individual IMAX ticket at some multiplexes during an evening or night show. When it comes to a film like “Onward” or “Trolls: World Tour,” $19.99 is not the worst of prices because if you are stuck with a family, it will make for time well spent compared to taking a group of four to the theater in the evening and spending $50 on tickets alone.
Then you add popcorn and candy into the mix. That crap full of calories ain’t cheap!
If you’re watching one of these new movies by yourself, it could be worth the price, but keep in mind that there happens to be little to no alternative right now. Let’s face it, ANY movie is better in the theater. But if you have a solid sound or screen setup, take advantage of it! Or if you want to brag to some socially distant friends that you saw the latest big film on TV as early as possible, give some of these films a rent! In fact, I have yet to see “The Hunt” in theaters, so maybe I’ll take advantage of the current situation and either rent it through services like FandangoNOW or Prime Video. In fact, if you have Prime Video, they just added a new section labeled “Prime Video Cinema” just in case you need help finding movies like these.
One of the bigger surprises to me when it comes to all of this is how much Disney seems to be getting involved. Granted, it doesn’t surprise me a ton that “Onward” did not take long to find a new home on VOD, but what did surprise me is how early it was declared that “Onward” would be on Disney’s new streaming service “Disney+.” Seriously! Not only is “Onward” now available digitally through various services, but it is coming to Disney+ on April 3rd. In fact, if you have young girls, chances are that their lives are about to be significantly better, while you are probably going to suffer through a tremendous meltdown, because Disney+ currently has “Frozen 2,” which I would have expected to appear on the service eventually, but due to its recent digital and physical media release, it sort of comes as a shock.
But one question still stands. How long will this crisis go on? Because if this goes on past August, then some trouble could be afoot. “Wonder Woman 1984” is coming out, and I have recently heard reports that the film could go straight to streaming. If it was still coming out in June and the crisis was still happening, it’s bad enough, but this film needs to see the light of day! There is a case to make for this streaming scenario, maybe the crisis will get out of hand, people will still spread the disease, and theaters need to keep their doors closed as a result. But my gosh, if my only option in August to watch “Wonder Woman 1984” is through streaming services, I will set my house on fire. Will I still watch “Wonder Woman 1984?” Probably. The review for it will probably be necessary given how comic book movies continue to be the big thing. If anything, I am optimistic enough that this abnormality could pass before “Wonder Woman 1984” comes out, but my question is, what will the people behind the movie do? I mean, think about it! There’s a lot of money to be made on this movie! It’s highly anticipated, the first one was Warner Brothers’ highest-grossing film of 2017, and speaking of the first movie, it pretty much set the basis of how you make a superhero film with a female lead. Sorry, “Captain Marvel!” “Wonder Woman” did this idea ten times better! I think if they stick with the rental route, the theatricality factor of the film will be lost and therefore make less money as a result. “Wonder Woman 1984” was also shot using IMAX cameras, so if anything, I am HOPING that the movie gets shown in IMAX theaters at least once! I think Disney and Marvel kind of made a solid call by delaying “Black Widow.” While it does disappoint me that we are not getting to see it as soon as possible, I am still looking forward to the theatrical experience to be had by all. Now as I write this, Warner Brothers has stated that they are going to plan on putting “Wonder Woman 1984” in theaters instead of streaming, but for all I know, maybe people are clumsy enough to prevent that from happening. Granted, it was already delayed once from June to August, but should this go on any longer than expected, I have every right to worry. Oh, and if they EVEN THINK about delaying “Tenet,” I will most likely be quitting movie watching for the rest of my life! I NEED THIS MOVIE NOW! IN IMAX 70MM FILM!
This crisis has brought a stunning reversal that maybe made me a little more surprised than I should have been. When one door closes, another one opens. In this case, the door slammed on movie theaters, but the doors seemed to have unlocked for drive-ins, and this kind of shocks me given how much we seem to forget about the drive-in based on everything else in our culture. Yes, every now and then, a conversation will come up and the drive-in will be part of the discussion and there will be talk about how cool it is, but not everybody goes. In fact, I have never been to a drive-in myself. Even the closest one to my house is a bit of a hike. But according to Deadline Hollywood, many of the more prominent exhibitors to continue operations in states like Arizona over the past weekend happened to be drive-ins. According to the article…
“Among Onward‘s top 30-grossing theaters this past weekend, drive-ins repped 25 of them. For Invisible Man, 20 out of its 30 theaters earned money from drive-ins, Call of the Wild‘s saw 15 out of 30, and Bloodshot 14 out of 30. All of Onward‘s top 20 theaters were drive-ins, led by the Glendale 9 in Glendale, AZ with close to $10K. Invisible Man‘s top 17 theaters were drive-ins, led by the Starlight 4 in Atlanta, GA with $11K. Bloodshot‘s top venue was also Atlanta’s Starlight with just over $7K, while Call of the Wild‘s top theater was the Swan drive-in Blue Ridge, GA with just under $5K.”
And should movie theaters remain closed for a few more weeks, maybe six, this will bring a greater opportunity for those who run drive-ins or have a drive-in near where they live. I live in New England, where the weather is not the most pleasant as we speak, but more drive-ins will open as we get closer to eventual warmer weather. This can be a great alternative to the movie theater, while allowing customers to practice social distancing in the surroundings of their vehicle. And if you have a large family, it could make for a fun, not to mention relatively inexpensive night out, at least compared to a traditional theater where you pay per ticket as opposed to per car. Should this crisis eventually develop a fear of socializing or being close to others, maybe drive-ins could get an uptick overtime. This does not mean the traditional theaters could suffer, because they often have the advantage of not having to worry about weather, and a proper sound system.
BIG QUESTION: Are movie theaters in deep trouble?
There has been a conversation going on for years as for when movie theaters could potentially shut down for good. Sort of in the same way that some would wonder when physical media could go away. I already mentioned that movie theaters are closing their doors for the time being, yada yada yada, but I must not forget one more important notion. This crisis could be costly. A lot of studios are thinking in a certain direction, and it has somewhat paid off. They are losing money as a result. But what else are they gonna do? Release big movies to limited theaters? Have these movies be left in the dust? But if this crisis never happened, Paramount could have hit it big with “A Quiet Place Part II.” Disney could have another live-action remake monster hit with “Mulan,” and if Universal avoided postponing “F9,” their upcoming “Fast & Furious” flick, I would probably be willing to bet that the movie would be this year’s most precious piece of box office gold. If movie theaters open back up any time soon, there’s a solid chance that a lot of titles could be playing, but they wouldn’t make much money. Would we be going back to seeing “Bloodshot” again? For all I know, they could open back up in time for “Wonder Woman 1984” to have a solid start to the industry’s revitalization. Or, what if they simply waited until the middle of July to open “Tenet?” I doubt that the movie theater industry would intend on doing this, but “Tenet” is a movie that is being labeled as an “event.” Why not bring back the moviegoing experience with an event? I would immediately flock to it! Especially in this case if they have a nearby IMAX playing this movie in 70mm film. Granted… I also desperately want to see “Top Gun: Maverick” so… I will simply be looking forward to that. I think the business given to movie theaters once this is all ends is going to mostly depend on the films being presented. How many big movies are being pushed back towards eternity? What movies will remain once the movie theaters open? But if people don’t show up, and if the corporations don’t have enough money to pay workers or keep lights on, then there’s where trouble swoops in.
The ongoing COVID-19 crisis is continuously reminding me of the beginning of “Avengers: Endgame.” It almost feels like five years have passed in just a matter of a few days and everything is desolate, and completely abandoned. How much longer will this go on? It’s hard to tell. Countries like South Korea seemed to curb the spread, but Italy seems to be spiraling out of control. One light at the end of the tunnel is that China has recently reopened hundreds of movie theaters. Granted, it’s probably going to take some time for its people to return to the dark rooms of movie magic, but it at least provides some positivity to this negative crisis.
If you have a proper account setup, be sure to like this post if you want to see more of this series, specifically titled “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes,” that I am setting up for the time being. Also, be sure to follow Scene Before if you want to stay up to date on the latest posts provided by the Movie Reviewing Moron. To follow Scene Before, use an email or WordPress account! It really helps me out! Also, speaking of helping me out, be sure to like my Facebook page, because let’s face it. Life is boring right now! Scrolling through sites that are full of cat videos, epic fails, or jokes about toilet paper is exactly what we need! Get crackin’!
Thanks for reading this post! Again, if you want to see more of this content, follow the instructions above, and remember to stay safe and we’ll get through this together! In other words, I’m trying to come up with phrases that do not rhyme with “We’re all gonna die” so I can stay sane. Let’s just elbow bump our way through this crisis and let it pass! We’ve got this! In other news, my next review is going to be for Pixar’s “Onward” which is now available on digital! I hope to have the review up by the end of the week, and if not, maybe it’ll be up at the end of the month. Who knows? Be sure to follow Scene Before, like this post, and stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, how are you currently going about the COVID-19 crisis? Is it no big deal to you right now? Is it not in your county, your state, your province, your country? Or is it affecting you in some way? Or, what was the last movie you saw in the theater? ALSO, when was the last time you went to a drive-in? What did you see? How was your experience? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!
“Sonic the Hedgehog” is the feature-length debut of director Jeff Fowler and stars Ben Schwartz (DuckTales, Parks and Recreation), James Marsden (Westworld, X-Men), Jim Carrey (Batman Forever, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective), and Tika Sumpter (One Life to Live, Ride Along). This movie is based on the hit SEGA video game franchise of the same name, which has officially become one of the biggest titles in the industry. The film follows Sonic, who is sent to Earth from his home world, and eventually adapts to his current lifestyle. But when one thing leads to another, he needs to go to San Francisco all the while keeping the evil Dr. Robotnik from conquering the universe. So Sonic teams up with Tom Wachowski, AKA “Donut Lord,” in order to get to his destination.
I have never dove deep into the realm of “Sonic the Hedgehog.” I know about the games and its characters, but I have barely played them. Although, if “Super Smash Bros.” counts, I have played a lot of that. But I do know a bit about the film’s source material. Sonic is a witty, upbeat character that likes to go fast, because let’s face it. If he were slow, this movie might go on longer than “The Irishman.” But one I thing I think many people going into this movie knew about waaas…
This f*cking face right here graced the Internet with all the memes possible! People thought it looked creepy, revolting, and an insult to humanity! Now I’m going to be completely honest with you. I do not create content to please people, I create it to enforce my personal asshat opinions. Speaking of asshat opinions, I did not think the original design was all that bad. Now, is it great? Maybe not. But it’s not like it is the end of the world! The reality is that this is a live-action movie, and you have this cartoony character in the middle of all of it. There are a number of possibilities they could have gone with. Hell, I would have been fine if they went down the “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” route and made Sonic 2D. Would it have been weird? Sure! But again, this is an over the top animated hedgehog! I will say when I saw the first trailer, I was not as skeptical about the film as most people. It’s just a design. There have been plenty of good movies with lackluster visual effects. Look at “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” they CGIed Tarkin’s face, and it was choppy at times, but it didn’t take me out of the movie. In fact that movie’s GREAT. And say what you want about removing Henry Cavill’s mustache in “Justice League,” I enjoyed the movie. I thought it was fun. It felt rushed, it sorta clashed in tones, but it was still a fun ride.
Now to be fair, it is refreshing to have a film’s crew and the parties alongside them to respond to the fan backlash, because let’s face it. Fans can be rowdy. And the newer design that unfortunately shut down the visual effects company who worked on it, paid off. For putting in the effort and doing whatever’s possible to make the best movie you can, thank you. Movies are hard to make, I get it.
To be honest though, this does bring up something very important. I saw the first trailer and ended up feeling somewhat confident that this movie COULD work. It had the essentials for a solid story of its kind. Then I saw the second trailer with the design. Sonic looked dope, but the movie itself looked like s*it. There’s a saying that looks aren’t everything, and that is the truth about the second “Sonic the Hedgehog” trailer. A lot of comedy gags looked cheesy and weird, Sonic almost sounded kind of annoying, and it kind of had a similar vibe to “The Smurfs.” I mean what do you expect when you have a blue, animated creature from the middle of nowhere transporting themselves to our planet, uniting with a newfound human acquaintance, and unraveling a plot that affects both sides?
Cannot believe I’m saying this. Sonic freaking rocks! In fact, DARE I SAY IT. I want a sequel! This is the best video game-based film I have seen to date. Granted, I am missing a couple core titles like “Mortal Kombat” and “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” but still, this is the best video game movie I have ever seen not counting specific partially unrelated titles like “Tron,” “Ready Player One,” or “Wreck-it Ralph,” a movie which Sonic actually happened to be in.
Is it the best movie I have ever seen? Absolutely not. It doesn’t even come close, but it has pretty much what it needs to fulfill the requirements of a film of its kind. This film is for kids, there is no hiding that. But the thing I noticed is that for the most part, it doesn’t feel like it is treating kids like morons. Granted, it is not Pixar quality, but it doesn’t spend every other minute trying to make Sonic fart in Dr. Robotnik’s face. This movie has some nice nods to Sonic’s power, specifically super speed. There’s an occurrence where Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” is playing, Sonic has a comic book collection and pretty much every copy in said collection is from “The Flash,” and they even make a joke about “The Fast and the Furious.” More speed jokes, less fart jokes, I know I’m happy! My one complaint here though is that the baseball scene that is shown in the trailers is a little far-fetched, but it’s not a terrible scene, so I can kind of live with it.
Let’s be real, the Sonic character in this film is pretty much what I would want him to be. He is upbeat, he is lively, he is wild, he is fast, he is Sonic. Part of me thought that his constant hyperactivity would be a detractor of the film, and I will say that there are a couple moments where that does not help the product. There’s a moment in the trailer that is just as flat in the movie as it is there, specifically where Sonic and his newfound human acquaintance, Tom Wachowski, are passing by a sign that is advertising the world’s largest rubber band ball. It’s gags like that which don’t work. But the Sonic character is a ball of fun. He’s cute, but occasionally not cuddly. He’s almost one-dimensional, but one thing I will say about that is that the recent games from what I have seen, pretty much portray Sonic in a similar manner. He feels like a brother somebody has and they’re often annoyed by, but everyone else who knows the guy loves this brother. Sonic is my annoying brother, and I love him. Great job, Ben Schwartz!
Speaking of annoyance, Sonic is definitely annoying somebody, and that somebody is the recently mentioned Tom Wachowski who is wonderfully played by James Marsden. James Marsden is the main human character in the film, he is a cop in rural Montana, and the movie partially focuses on Wachowski’s acceptance to the police department in San Francisco, California. This partially plays into the hedgehog’s overall story, where they have to travel to San Francisco to avoid a deadly situation. The chemistry between the two here is surprisingly decent, I was never turned off. I also enjoyed his cop sideplot a little bit, but going back to unfunny jokes, there was one joke that I was able to predict pretty much what was happening right off the bat. Granted, if a kid sees it, it might be pretty funny, but not for me. I won’t go much into it, but it involves a tiny donut. Although, Tom Wachowski does earn a rather slick nickname from Sonic, specifically “Donut Lord.” Technically speaking that’s wrong, Homer Simpson is the REAL donut lord, but it is nevertheless a cool nickname.
But let’s talk about the best character in this movie, and I think a lot of people will agree with me on this, Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik. When I saw the first trailer for this film, Robotnik almost felt like a flat, beyond cartoony, madman. Having seen the film, just remove the word flat, and you get Robotnik. I watched that recently mentioned trailer thinking Robotnik could be the worst character in this movie, turns out he is probably one of the best villains I have seen in a film made for children and families! Seriously! Carrey’s portrayal is incredibly zany and electric! And this partially has to do with how well written Robotnik is. He has the stereotypical villain mindset where he thinks he is better than anybody else, but that’s what makes him so great. There’s a moment where he delivers a line to another character having to do with him being the smartest man in the world, therefore everybody else is stupid. It is one of the best executed villain lines I have ever seen! Robotnik is such a great over the top villain that he has a lightshow dance party in his lab as he does his evil deeds. There’s a screen that allows him to simulate getting his head chopped off by a dinosaur! It’s bonkers! This feels like something Robotnik would do every day after smoking a couple joints! Robotnik had the finest lines, he was in on the best jokes, and as of right now, I don’t know if anybody else could play him.
HOW AM I– WHAT IS HAPPENING?! This was supposed to suck!
Now, this movie is a surprise if there ever was one. It’s a video game movie, meaning that it is filed under a kind of movie that does not usually do well critically or financially. Time will tell how much of a financial success “Sonic the Hedgehog” will be, but I did not expect so much positivity with this film. It sort of reminds me of what people must have thought before seeing “The LEGO Movie.” But, I will admit, unlike “The LEGO Movie,” “Sonic” is not flawless.
I’m pretty sure some of you reading this know that one of the staples of filmmaking is product placement. Some movies like to fill themselves up to the brim with an effort to make commercials within the film. The “Transformers” movies are an obvious example. 2017’s “Power Rangers” wanted to remind its audience that when they think “Power Rangers,” they also think Krispy Kreme! You also have movies like “Uncle Drew” that is literally produced by Pepsi! Honestly, product placement is one of the most annoying necessities in a film. When it’s obvious, it is sometimes cringeworthy. When it’s bloated, it’s embarrassing. The reality is that I came to watch a movie, not a commercial. If I wanted commercials, I’d just watch the Super Bowl.
But hey! After watching “Sonic the Hedgehog,” why don’t you take your family to Olive Garden and get a taste of their neverending pasta bowl? IT NEVER ENDS! Maybe afterwards, you guys can look at houses on Zillow and never buy anything because your kids will miss their friends in school! Seriously! There’s like, two or three mentions of Olive Garden in this film at different times! And each time feels as commercialized as the next. I remember seeing “Blockers” a couple years ago where the main girls are making a sex pact and they reference Olive Garden, say what you want about that in terms of how obvious it is that such a mention is there to be product placement, it nevertheless feels more natural than what this movie provides!
Also, as well done as the movie is from a visual perspective, even if a little extra complaining was needed to put in more effort, there are a couple of scenes in the film where I am looking at the laser sensors from Robotnik’s minion machines where they did come off a little more cartoon-like than I would have preferred. It could have been worse, but still. There are also a couple of moments where the effects looked a little TOO GOOD, as if they were too clean and glossy. Maybe it’s just me, but a LITTLE grit could have gone a long way.
But this does not take away from “Sonic the Hedgehog’s” positives. It pays tribute to the games, while also realizing that in order to stand out, it needs to be its own thing. The performances are good and fit the characters well. Robotnik is one of the most well-written villains I have ever seen, at least in a movie for families. There is a chase towards the end that is up there with some of my favorites I have seen on screen. I am not going to go into much detail, but one more notion I want to provide about “Sonic the Hedgehog,” I THINK the writers behind “Sonic the Hedgehog” took a moment to make fun of alternate video icon, “Super Mario,” OR… THEY TEASED A VIDEO GAME CINEMATIC UNIVERSE. Overall, this kind of makes sense, Mario has crossed over with Sonic in the past, Nintendo has put Sonic in a number of games also featuring Mario characters like “Super Smash Brothers” and “Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games.” Why not bring that crossover to the realm of film? As far as I know, that might not be happening because Universal and Illumination are seemingly working on an animated “Super Mario” film and that would probably interfere with “Sonic the Hedgehog’s” universe, because it is live-action. Plus, “Sonic the Hedgehog” is under the Paramount name, so the two characters are probably under exclusive maintenance from different studios. But, you never know! Disney owns Marvel and yet they’re letting Sony collaborate with them on “Spider-Man.” Plus, Universal also has the Hulk, and yet he’s been in several of Disney’s MCU films. Anything’s possible in the money-grabbing, magical, bonkers wonderland of Hollywood! Don’t take this as news, the movie has been out for two weeks and I am not confirming anything about this.
In the end, “Sonic the Hedgehog” is fast, vast, and an utter blast! This feels like a movie that if I were a kid, it would get me more into movies, potentially even into how they’re made. Maybe it would even get me into gaming a little bit more if I were not already into that. Then again, what young boy doesn’t like a good video game? Depending on how 2020 pans out, “Sonic the Hedgehog” is highly unlikely to reach the top 10 movies of the year for me, but for now, it is easily one I’d go back and watch. While this does not say much, “Sonic the Hedgehog” is the best video game movie I have seen in my life. The competition against it is not really that stiff, but it’s the truth! With that being said, I’m going to give “Sonic the Hedgehog” a 7/10!
Thanks for reading this review! My next review I am going to be doing is for the all-new film based on truTV’s biggest show currently on the air, “Impractical Jokers: The Movie.” I love the “Impractical Jokers” TV show, so naturally I just had to check this movie out and see what it is all about. Does the show translate well to film? You’ll find out in my review! I just want to take an opportunity to wish everyone who was born on Leap Year Day a very happy birthday! It must feel great next year, for those of you who have just turned 5, to finally drink at the legal age of 5 and a fourth! In other words, happy birthday on this rare occurrence of a day! Happy Leap Year! If you want to follow Scene Before and see more great content, do so using an email or WordPress account! If you want to go all the way and support Mark Zuckerberg’s mission for social media domination, check out my Facebook page and give it a like! I want to know, did you see “Sonic the Hedgehog?” What did you think about it? Or, have you played any “Sonic” games? What was that like for you? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!
WARNING: The following post is nearly 11,000 words long. If you are able to make it through this entire post, I applaud you. However, your life is under your control, and you should decide how long you can read this for. I am not the judge of you, nor am I your boss. You should be able to decide how long you should gloss. Enjoy!
*All copyrights belong to their respective owners*
Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! You have now entered the Cinema Zone. You are now about to witness the most important awards ceremony of all time. An event so grand that every celebrity earning such an award will brag about it to their friends and family. *Drumroll* The Movie Reviewing Moron presents… The Jackoffs!
*SEES NO AUDIENCE*
But the show must go on! Today we are going to be celebrating and reflecting on what the Movie Reviewing Moron seems to see as the best in film. Similar to other awards ceremonies related to movies, there will categories dedicated to acting, directing, music, categories such as those. Also, much like those award shows, these are all appetizers for Best Picture, which I can guarantee you, will be the TRUE best picture this year. All of those other fake award ceremonies? Forget them! This is serious business! There’s also going to be some stuff on the side as well, so stay tuned. However, if you have seen my top 10 BEST movies of 2018, you’d already know what my best picture is. With that in mind, I decided to do something a little different than me picking a Best Picture winner. Given how my mind can change on what the top 10 movies of 2018 are, and I have an audience who also goes out to support film, I decided to reveal my top 10 best movies as of the point where I announce the nominees, and have others pick the best movie of the year. And for those who are curious to look back at my top 10 list from this past year, I will spoil the fact that the list has changed slightly since I’ve completed it. As for other categories, every other category from Best Actor to Best Original Song to Best Sound Editing to Best Original Screenplay is all from my mind.
Before we get to the nominees and winners however, I would like to point out that I have not seen every single film in 2018, therefore some of the nominations probably would be something where you’d beg to differ. One movie that has been getting a ton of buzz this Winter for example is Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns.” Many people have enjoyed the movie, noted Emily Blunt’s performance, not to mention its music. I can’t say I’ve seen that movie, and I haven’t seen the original either. With that in mind, it just makes no sense for me to see this movie at this point for sake of putting it in any of the categories.
So, before we start revealing who was nominated and who won, I have to remind everyone, this IS an award ceremony. Most award ceremonies tend to be lighthearted, fun, and have some random jabs intact. This is a segment brought on despite no demand, “Jack Drees Tells Jokes to Nobody in Order to Please Himself.”
I’m going to state some facts about this year in film, and since there is no audience here, there will be no laughs. But since I want people in my life, I guess I will have to imagine there will be people laughing at my jokes, no matter how stupid the jokes really are. And I must say, 2018 really has been an excellent year for film, and I’m not just saying that. It’s one of the best years for film ever, as long as you weren’t dusted by Thanos, Tom Cruise’s broken leg, eaten by a Megalodon, or Tom Hardy attached to a parasite.
In January, the final installment of the “Maze Runner” trilogy, “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” released to the public. The main antagonistic side of the movie involves a corporation called “WCKD,” which is pronounced similarly to “wicked.” Viewers haven’t heard the word “wicked” so much since that one trip they took to Boston. Coincidentally, that last trip some of you might have taken was to see grown men and a supposed cheater hold a properly inflated trophy.
Emily Blunt appeared in a couple movies this past year, specifically “A Quiet Place” and “Mary Poppins Returns.” Both movies have a notable segment involving a bathtub. So far, Blunt has no movies scheduled for 2019, but I have a thought on the title of the movie Blunt will take on next. It’s called “The Shower.”
“First Man” released this year in October. While not everyone found it to be great, I found it personally to be one of the best films of the year. This film is partially about the Apollo 11 moon landing, and it is confirmed in this movie, that Ryan Gosling and Damien Chazelle fake the moon landing. IT WAS SHOT ON EARTH! IT’S A FAKE! IT WAS ON A FILM SET THE WHOLE TIME!
AMC Theatres introduced a new subscription service as part of their Stubs membership lineup. For $19.95 a month you can see 3 movies a week without charge in any format at an AMC location. The plan is called AMC Stubs A-List. This would be great for juvenile delinquents, because now you can sneak in the back of the theater in a slightly more sophisticated manner.
This recently mentioned plan was known to be a competitor to cheaper organizations such as MoviePass and Sinemia. I gotta give some props to MoviePass though, because the company’s CEO also happened to once be an executive at Netflix, so it’s possible they secretly have partial rights to the word “chill.” Imagine you’re a guy texting your girlfriend, “Hey, MoviePass and chill? ;)” You two decide to go to the cinema and see a romantic comedy. Then the sex scene arrives, and it’s time to take off your clothes and make physical contact with each other! The guy is probably going, “I have never been so immersed in a movie in my life!”
The guy’s probably young and got an uncontrollable sex drive.
However, it is also true that MoviePass has had some struggles this year. Their stock kept decreasing, they did a reverse stock split, the app crashed, and there were occasionally limited options of movies you were allowed to see. In other news, sneaking in the back of the theater is still free.
One of the later releases of December was “Holmes & Watson.” The movie earned lowscores from critics, with many giving it the final verdict of “S*it, Sherlock.”
John Cena was in a couple films this year, including “Blockers” and “Bumblebee.” While both films aren’t widely regarded as horrible, the biggest problem is that we could actually see John Cena.
One of the releases we’ve gotten over the summer is a movie called “Billionaire Boys Club,” starring Ansel Elgort, Taron Egerton, Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irvine, Cary Elwes, Emma Roberts, Billie Lourd, Suki Waterhouse, and Judd Nelson. This movie earned $126 on opening day, making it the worst thing Kevin Spacey’s ever d—whoops! Sorry! Did I really just say that?! I sincerely apologize!
“Unsane,” a rather unique flick, released this year. What makes it unique? It was shot using an iPhone 7 Plus. It’s a good movie, but the problem is that every time it is shown in a movie theater, there would always be at least one person who wouldn’t turn off their phone.
Here is a fact some people might not know about. As of last year, Tom Cruise has starred in two films which are at the very least, partially named after Bethesda video games, Cruise did “Oblivion” in 2013, and just last year he did “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.” Neither of those movies are linked to the video game franchises, they just borrow the name. But in all seriousness, I just can’t wait for one of his future films, “The Mummy 2: The Evil Within.”
James Gunn, director of the two recent “Guardians of the Galaxy” flicks, was fired by Disney and prevented from directing the third installment in the franchise. He was eventually hired by Warner Bros. to work on “Suicide Squad 2,” which he is going to improve by adding in one thousand talking trees. Each one of them is going to say “Hodor.”
So it’s a “Game of Thrones” crossover. It’s gonna be great.
One of the more successful movies of the year, both critically and financially, is Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born.”
It featured Lady Gaga’s most brilliant performance since her portrayal of the crazy lady hanging on wires from the Super Bowl 51 Pepsi Halftime Show.
“Black Panther” was a huge success this year, making the second highest box office total worldwide for 2018, not to mention, more money in the United States than “Avengers: Infinity War.” In other words, “Black Panther” is the most popular creation associated with the “What Are Those?” meme of all time.
One film that unfortunately cancelled production this year is a graphic novel-based project called “Cowboy Ninja Viking.” This movie was originally supposed to be called “The Overpolished Halloween Costume.”
Speaking of Halloween, A new “Halloween” movie came out this year, which simply went by the title, “Halloween.” Keep in mind, while some might call this lazy marketing, this just goes to show that nothing is superior to the original.
“Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again,”came out this year, featuring Meryl Streep, and just for having a job this year, Streep automatically gets an award!
“Incredibles 2” came out this June after a 14 year wait from the release of the original installment. For the parents raising kids who grew up with the first movie, you didn’t have to teach them patience. Disney and Pixar had that covered.
I remember as a kid, one of the movies I rented from Blockbuster multiple times was the original installment of the “The Incredibles.” Sadly, the store I frequented has been closed for over a decade now. And as of this point, there is only one Blockbuster Video still open. When there were three open this year, two of them were located in Alaska. A state whose stores surprisingly, seemed to have disappeared faster than the ice caps.
Hey, I said in the preview this wouldn’t be politically heavy! This is a human issue! Also, one for polar bears.
The HBO show “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” tried to help keep the Alaskan Blockbuster stores in business by buying items from Russell Crowe’s divorce auction and donating the purchases to the stores. One of the notable purchases was a jockstrap worn by Crowe during Ron Howard’s “Cinderella Man.” Imagine if somebody wanted to rent that thing! “I’ll take this for five days, I just need it to win a contest at Comic-Con, and I’ll give it back.”
Speaking of Blockbuster, the company’s one remaining store is located in Bend, Oregon. This store managed to create its own beer to celebrate its lonely status. I didn’t do any research, but I’m pretty sure it gets you drunk really fast. So fast in fact for those who drank it, the biggest side effect was renting all the “Sharknado” movies.
It has been announced earlier this year that Illumination, the creators of “Despicable Me,” plan to make an animated “Super Mario Bros.” movie. In this movie, two brothers will show off their secret weapon, jumping.
“The Favourite” was one of the best reviewed films of the year, containing praise-worthy performances from actors including Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone. The movie is also an accurate description of everyone’s worst experience while riding a horse.
One of the final releases from 2018 is the highly-praised “Vice,” directed by Adam McKay. This movie is about Dick Cheney, making it one of the longest dick pics in history.
“If Beale Street Could Talk” was also a big hit this year with critics. For those of you who don’t know, “If Beale Street Could Talk” is directed by Barry Jenkins, the same guy who helmed 2016’s “Moonlight.” Today, in honor of that, I’m going to announce who won Best Picture, and give a special, honorary participation trophy for reading the wrong card.
Now since this is an award ceremony dedicated to honoring film, I might as well recognize movies everywhere, no matter what genre, franchise, time length, or even overall quality rating. Before we get to our first set of nominees, let’s take a look back what Jack Drees saw in 2018.
Maze Runner: The Death Cure
The 15:17 to Paris
Ready Player One
Pacific Rim: Uprising
A Quiet Place
Avengers: Infinity War
Isle of Dogs
Life of the Party
I Feel Pretty
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
A Wrinkle in Time
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again
Mission: Impossible: Fallout
The Last Movie Star
How to Talk to Girls at Parties
The Hurricane Heist
The House with a Clock in Its Walls
A Star Is Born
Marrowbone/The Secret of Marrowbone (same movie)
The Spy Who Dumped Me
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Sorry to Bother You
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Welcome to Marwen
Let’s announce some winners!
First up, is Best Supporting Actor. In the world of superheroes, they’d be the sidekick. In the world of gaming, they’d be player two. In the world of driving, they’d be in the passenger seat. However, in the world of acting, they are compelling characters who have come to enlighten generations. These five nominees are likely to do the same. Here are the nominees for Best Supporting Actor.
Sam Elliot (A Star Is Born)
Timothée Chalamet (Beautiful Boy)
Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther)
Mahershala Ali (Green Book)
Sam Rockwell (Vice)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Mahershala Ali in “Green Book!”
Deciding on a winning nominee for this category was not easy. When you compare Ali to the other performers on the list, Chalamet is a brilliant, young performer who has a bright future ahead. Rockwell did a terrific portrayal as George W. Bush in “Vice.” For awhile I thought Sam Elliott could take the cake because he was perhaps my favorite part of “A Star Is Born” in the acting department when I think about the film sometimes. However, Ali is a fine actor, as proven already in 2016’s “Moonlight,” and once again in “Green Book.” He has played a character who starts out as stoic and emotionless to occasionally belting out a mix of feelings as the film continues. As the first winner of the very prestigious and important Jackoff Awards, Ali should feel proud of himself, congrats! Here is a clip of Mahershala Ali in “Green Book.”
Our next couple of categories involve sound. One understandable question that can be looked up on Google is the difference between sound EDITING and sound MIXING. The sound editing involves the incorporation of sound in general, but the sound mixing involves determining how exactly an audience will hear all of the movie’s sound. The hint to remember all of this, E comes before M. Appropriately, the award for sound editing will be done first. Here are the nominees for Best Sound Editing.
A Quiet Place
Avengers: Infinity War
Mission: Impossible: Fallout
Ready Player One
And the Jackoff goes to…
“Ready Player One!”
“Ready Player One” is a movie that to me, excelled in just about every technical category imaginable. When it comes to sound editing, “Ready Player One” shines for having some of the most unique sounds of the year. Some of my favorites include the coins, the automobiles, and the Holy Hand Grenade. “Ready Player One” made my top 10 list of 2018 marking my personal best spot this year for sci-fi, and based on how the sound can immerse a viewer like me, it is easy to see why. Congrats to “Ready Player One,” hopefully its sound crew will be able to buy some bottles of wine with some nifty in-game coins as an indulgence for this award.
Let’s take a break from awards and focus on something that totally isn’t deceiving. Marketing.
For each Best Picture nominee, we are going to give them a special preview. I have copied and pasted a trailer for each movie directly from YouTube, so feel free to watch for your own pleasure.
Our first Best Picture nominee is proof that sometimes, sequels can be better than the original. Having seen several movies this year, many of the experiences of watching them have been great, but there were little to none that would get me to say to myself, “holy crap,” once the movie concluded. The film’s star, Tom Cruise, has gone through tremendous obstacles including a broken leg, helicopter flight training, real-life HALO jumping, and one of the most ambitious running scenes put on screen. The director, Christopher McQuarrie, has worked with the star before, delivering sick action, a continuation of what audiences have come to witness before, and perhaps one of the best sixth installments in a franchise ever made. Nominated for 5 Jackoff awards, THIS is “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.”
Going back to nominees, and moving away from the totally not deceptive concept of marketing, I have nearly decided to skip the sound mixing category, but that would make me more deceptive than a lot of movie trailers coming out today. Nevertheless, the sound mixing department in film is the group of people that not only lets an audience hear magic, but a certain level of magic. Here are the nominees for Best Sound Mixing.
A Star Is Born
Mission: Impossible: Fallout
Ready Player One
And the award goes to…
“Mission: Impossible: Fallout!”
“Mission: Impossible: Fallout” manages to immerse me into the movie by not only having a great, up-to-date sound selection, but by making me feel like my ears are occasionally being pierced by a bullet hole. The helicopter scene puts you right in the middle of the action with an obnoxious machine, followed by a feast of flying bullets at a magnificent volume. While it is nowhere near as loud or obnoxious as last year’s “Dunkirk,” it is a feast for the ears. Well done to the “MI” team and congrats on the award, should you choose to accept it!
Up next is an award that honors all who assemble the film’s cast. They say that it does not matter what is on the outside, it’s on the inside that counts. However, some feeling inside me has decided to award a certain group of people who have dedicated their time and effort to making sure one’s outside is as presentable as possible. Here are the nominees for Best Makeup & Hairstyling.
And the Jackoff goes to…
“Vice” is a movie about Dick Cheney and how he practically oversaw the operations of the US government while W. Bush was in charge. This movie actually partially took place during the 2000s, but I gotta say, you know that meme going around now that tells others how you look now compared to a decade ago? I would love to do a post on Twitter or Instagram or something for these people in real life and their film counterparts just to show how identical they look to each other. Plus, regardless of how Cheney even turned out, whether this is really a Cheney look-a-like or not, and this movie’s Cheney IS a look-a-like, don’t argue with me. I will give enormous props to the makeup department for taking Christian Bale, a guy who is in his forties, and making him look like an uppity grandad! It kind of reminds me of “Darkest Hour” which takes Gary Oldman and turns him into Winston Churchill. Overall, “Vice” is a polished film and made up for whatever faults it made before.
Our second Best Picture nominee, if you think about it, took ten years to actually complete and release to the public. Maybe six depending on who you talk to. This film is based on a comic book franchise, so if you think about it, it’s like the “Boyhood” of comic book movies. This is a film that has been built up for a decade, for nearly twenty installments in a single series, with two of them having the identical franchise name. For many comic book fans and general audiences alike, this film managed to go in a different direction as opposed to what some would traditionally expect. Many of the characters people have come to love in this film series have returned for an epic showdown against the no good, terrible, absolutely revolting, Barney the Dinosaur who wears a glove all the time. Nominated for 4 Jackoffs, THIS is “Avengers: Infinity War.”
I honestly think this movie’s crew should feel sympathetic. It stole all the money that other movies may have deserved. But then again, it’s nice to call something the highest grossing comic book film of all time so this is also something I find to be cool.
Anyway, going back to acting, here are the nominees for Best Supporting Actress!
Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place)
Claire Foy (First Man)
Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)
Amy Adams (Vice)
Leslie Mann (Welcome to Marwen)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Claire Foy in “First Man!”
Claire Foy is an actress who has been gaining tons of momentum in recent years. She is well known already for her lead role in Netflix’s “The Crown.” She starred in last year’s “Breathe” alongside Andrew Garfield. And she appeared in three films this year alone, with two having Foy as the star. I have actually seen Claire Foy this year in “Unsane,” which is a creepy, intriguing thrill-ride where she shines. But Foy is a different kind of shiny in “First Man.” Captivating, emotional, and a great description of everything I felt as an audience member during the experience, not to mention everyone who grew up in the 1960s. Congratulations to Claire Foy! Here is a clip of Claire Foy in her role as Neil Armstrong’s wife, Janet, in “First Man.”
The next category of nominations is dedicated to the makers of magnificently crafted, well-realized apparel of all sorts. These pieces of clothing are all worn on set during recording and behind the scenes. No matter how beautiful, glorious, or in some cases, how hard it is to actually wear, these pieces are all created by minds who have put time and effort into letting someone have a fashionable outlook for a given motion picture. Here are the nominees for Best Costume Design.
Kym Barrett (Aquaman)
Julian Day (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Sandy Powell (The Favourite)
Marlene Stewart (The House with a Clock in Its Walls)
Trish Summerville (Red Sparrow)
And the award goes to…
No matter how the movie turned out, “The Favourite” has a plethora of costumes capable enough to take me into a time of old British royalty. The level of detail of just about every outfit was astounding and very fitting for the time period involved. “The Favourite” actually got a low score for me this year, specifically a 4/10. Said score still stands, but it does not mean I was unable to recognize whatever effort was actually put into the film. Olivia Colman actually felt like an entitled, reclusive, and occasionally helpless queen in her outfit. Kudos. Well done, and congrats to “The Favourite!”
Our third Best Picture nominee is a movie that comes from the mind of a legend in the filmmaking industry, Steven Spielberg. Based on the hit book of the same name, this movie tells a story set in 2045, where people have studied pop culture of the past as they try to win a special prize. Going through a virtual world created by a Steve Jobs-like nerd, the film’s characters and audience can gaze in wonder as they notice pop culture icons including the Iron Giant, King Kong, the Back to the Future DeLorean, the Akira bike, the Rubik’s Cube, and even Chucky. As one of this year’s most visually appealing films, not to mention one of the best sounding films, both in a pitch meeting and literally, it excels to please audiences looking for an immersive experience. Nominated for 4 Jackoffs, THIS is “Ready Player One.”
Our next award category is dedicated to the makers of the sets, the builders of dreams, and the masters of visual atmosphere. It is a production designer’s job to make sure a film presents itself in the best looking way possible. Here are the nominees for Best Production Design!
Bill Brzeski (Aquaman)
Curt Beech (BlacKkKlansman)
Fiona Crombie (The Favourite)
Nathan Crowley, Katherine Lucas (First Man)
Eugenio Caballero (Roma)
And the award goes to…
Nathan Crowley and Katherine Lucas for “First Man!”
The biggest praise I can give to “First Man” overall is its seemingly real vibe. When it comes to the filming locations and set design, that is shown off to the tenth degree. The interior scenes in the space center felt raw, and maybe even contributed to the feeling of danger and creeps throughout the film. A house was built in Georgia just for this movie alone, which may be unneeded, but also kind of interesting. Everything in the film had not only the appropriate feel for a space movie based on true events, but a movie that took place during the 1960s. Congratulations to “First Man” for the film’s SECOND win!
While production design may be the art that allows audiences to see pure joy. There is another category to be touched upon that allows audiences to hear pure joy. These five nominees have all created music to set the mood, set the tone, set the vibe, and remind us that a world without music is a world without emotion. Here are the nominees for Best Original Score.
Geoff Barrow, Ben Salisbury (Annihilation)
Marco Beltrami (A Quiet Place)
Justin Hurwitz (First Man)
Alexandre Desplat (Isle of Dogs)
Lorne Balfe (Mission: Impossible: Fallout)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury for “Annihilation!”
Wow! Another team win! Part of the reason why “Annihilation” won in the first place has to do with the overall experience of watching the movie. I was very much looking forward to the film’s release, but I wondered what the music would be like. In fact, during the trailer for the film, one of the film’s iconic tunes, “The Alien” can be heard. This sounded a bit odd at first. Not life-ending, but odd. In the film however, I cannot imagine any other song replacing it when it plays. It was literally an experience of endless vibrations when I first heard this thing of beauty in the theater! This film also manages to have a nice blend of calm, joyful music, alongside a mix of creepy-crawly music. It’s this mix, and the amount of talent behind the crew that lead to this win. Congrats to “Annihilation!”
Our fourth Best Picture nominee comes from a rather strange place, Netflix. This film comes from the mind of acclaimed director Alfonso Caurón. He has had experience working with a popular IP, such as “Harry Potter,” while simultaneously producing well done original material such as “Gravity.” After those big, boisterous films, Caurón has decided to make a project that apparently people would want to watch in a select number of theaters, and for others, on cell phones. This is a film that takes place near Mexico City as a family and their housemaid go through their daily lives. We also witness joy, drama, and heartbreak in a compelling story about life itself, and how difficult it can be. Nominated for 7 Jackoffs, THIS is “Roma.”
As I have previously exposed, I have seen a lot of movies in the year of 2018. A lot of them by the way, were great! In fact, I’d say the positives for 2018 definitely outweigh the negatives. However, there is a saying for movies, much like a ton of other art forms, there is no such thing as the “perfect movie.” Even the best movie ever, like “The Godfather,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Dark Knight,” “Star Wars,” “Pulp Fiction,” even “Jaws,” all of those movies don’t have what it takes to be technically perfect. You know what? Maybe that saying is right. That’s why I decided to take some movies I saw this past year and tweak them just a little bit to make them a more quality product. Enjoy.
The next category belongs to the makers of computerized and practical effects. No matter how complex, how flashy, how realistic, the five artists and crews behind the visual effects of their respective films have all demonstrated excellence in allowing an audience to be dazzled, wowed, and in awe. From taking them to new worlds, to providing them with previously unknown feelings, and introducing them to concepts beyond one’s imagination, all of the nominees should feel proud of themselves. Here are the nominees for Best Visual Effects.
Avengers: Infinity War
Ready Player One
And the Jackoff goes to…
“Ready Player One!”
To me, there was literally no other movie that even held a candle to “Ready Player One” this year from a visual perspective. Watching “Ready Player One” was like watching two different movies in one because you have this story that takes place in an entirely digital universe and you have the other one which is in the real world. While there are certain effects to be seen in the real world, it is the digital world that shines as bright as Albert Einstein. The amount of time that must have taken to actually blend a feel of realism while simultaneously feeling like a video game is seemingly unfathomable. Steven Spielberg said this movie was one of the harder ones he had to create, and understandably so. I have to give massive credit to the other contenders. “Avengers: Infinity War” is a visual effects extravaganza that looks great on the big screen. The same can also be said for “Aquaman.” “First Man” actually took me to the moon and back. F*cking well done if you ask me. And for “Annihilation,” the visual effects not only looked great, but they fit the crazy feel of the film which gave it a “2001” vibe at times. However, congrats to “Ready Player One,” and its effects are a hi-five/hi-five.
As mentioned in my nomination announcements, I didn’t announce EVERYTHING that was going to be in this post. I wanted to leave some surprises to my viewers. One of which includes TWO lifetime achievement awards.
But, before we announce the winners, I have to ask one question. What is the meaning of life? That is a question all of us seem to ask at least once. To some, life may be an overrated board game. Life could be the reason for anything. The ups, the downs, even the mediocrity. Here and now, it is my honor as mentioned, to present not one, but two lifetime achievement awards. For those of you who are wondering, I did not plan some in memorium video or line of text for this ceremony. Maybe I’ll do that in years to come, but that was not my original intention. Instead, I figured what I’d do is for one of my lifetime achievement awards, I’d figure honoring someone who is currently still with us, and someone who is no longer with us. The first prize is going to be given to the living soul, because as Agent Smith once said, in “The Matrix: Revolutions,” “Everything with a beginning has an end.” We start off with life, and finish with an inevitable death.
The winner of the first ever Jackoff Lifetime Achievement Award is a cameraman known for his work which has been around since 1975. Since then, he has collaborated with actors including Ryan Gosling, Morgan Freeman, Emily Blunt, Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Daniel Craig, Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones, Ana De Armas, Amanda Seyfried, Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, Tim Robbins, and Adrien Brody. His resume consists of works of art directed by Frank Darabont, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Denis Villeneuve, M. Night Shyamalan, Sam Mendes, Angelina Jolie, Ron Howard, and Martin Scorsese. He has been nominated and recognized for several prestigious awards, 9 BAFTAs, an AFI, 6 Critics’ Choices, and 14 Oscars. And for those of you who don’t know his story, it’s not like he is part of the New York Yankees and he keeps on winning Academy Awards. This man was nominated for 14, and out of all of them, he only won one. Also, it’s not like he could get one off the bat, because guess how long he had to wait? FOURTEEN TIMES! Now keep in mind, this is the very first Jackoff Awards ceremony. For all I know it could be the only one, we’ll just have to see. But no matter the number of award shows we have, if it is one, two, fourteen, over a thousand, I dunno, I am proud to present the first ever Jackoff Lifetime Achievement Award to Roger Deakins.
Congratulations to Roger Deakins, had he known he was getting this award, he would probably have something to say. But I have to say, I love his camerawork, his style never ceases to amaze, and I hope his future work will continue showcasing his excellence!
Our fifth Best Picture nominee is a documentary. Given how I have seen very little documentary titles this year, there will be no category for Best Documentary, but this film managed to stand out to me. They say the world is full of ridiculous people who are idiotic, lacking care, and selfish. This movie manages to show a man who only wanted to spread joy to the world and all of its children, Mister Fred Rogers. It also shows a man who is the perfect embodiment of a friendly, loving, and caring person. Revealing steps forward in diversity, tolerance towards minorities and sexual orientation, and proof that silence can be a great gift, this documentary succeeds to please its audience and deliver an emotionally charging feel good story. Best Picture happens to be the only nomination this film is receiving during this ceremony, but keep in mind, this is a documentary, and had I done a documentary category, this movie would win it. For the record, this is the only documentary I have seen this year. THIS is “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?.”
Before moving onto the rest of the show, I would just like to have everyone know in case they are reading this at a time that is later than February 10th, 2019 or if they aren’t from the US, the Super Bowl happened a week prior to this. Now, the Super Bowl is often regarded as one of the biggest televised events ever. However, this year, some people would call it a failure, including myself. Maybe everyone is getting bored of the New England Patriots constantly being involved, but one fact to take into consideration regardless is that the ratings for this year’s Super Bowl is the lowest its been in a decade. To be fair though, this has applied to various types of live broadcasts all over as time has progressed. For those who did watch though, they got to watch what many to be found a boring game, with only 3 points scored by one team in the first half. The final score was the lowest in Super Bowl history (13-3), with only one touchdown executed during the entire game. However, if you’re me. One thing that I found absolutely atrocious and ridiculous this year was the Pepsi Halftime Show. For those who don’t know me, the Halftime Show is something I don’t tend to care about. Don’t get me wrong, even though I don’t care, some of the shows were pretty well done. Part of me was surprised that I actually liked the Lady Gaga Halftime Show from a couple years ago. No, I’m being serious, I’m not saying that only because I nominated her for Best Actress. She was pretty good! This year however, a petition was going around to get “Sweet Victory,” a song made famous from the “Spongebob Squarepants” episode “Band Geeks,” to be performed at this year’s halftime show as a tribute to the recently deceased Stephen Hillenburg, the show’s creator. The petition actually gained quite a bit of traction. So much in fact that it currently has over a million signatures. In fact, I signed it when it first came up. For the record, this song was performed during the show’s version of the Super Bowl, making it more than appropriate for this type of setting.
After awhile, it seems that the crew behind the Super Bowl responded. Just look at this tweet right here.
After all the teasing and announcements that lead to the absolute possibility of this happening… It did.
Well, sort of.
(Video unavailable to WordPress, click Watch on YouTube to view video)
Some time into Maroon 5’s performance, audiences saw a clip of Squidward Tentacles introducing “a true musical genius who needs no introduction.” We then see the opening horn fanfare of the song. This was getting EPIC. Then… It stopped. Instead of “Sweet Victory,” we get Travis Scott performing “Sicko Mode.”
What. The. Actual. Ass?
As a “Spongebob” fan, and someone who NEVER watches the Super Bowl for the Halftime Show, NOT EVEN FOR THE FOOTBALL, I cannot possibly feel more ashamed to have witnessed this in my lifetime, and I think the crew behind the next Super Bowl ought to make it a TOP PRIORITY to REDO “Sweet Victory” and actually PERFORM the song to millions of people! How about that? Well, I’m just a nobody. I have no power. But I do have editing skills. I don’t think I’ll ever do this again, but in honor of Stephen Hillenburg, the legendary creator of “Spongebob Squarepants,” a Nickelodeon cartoon which defined many childhoods of my generation… THIS… IS THE JACKOFF AWARDS HALFTIME MONTAGE!
And THAT… NFL and Pepsi, is how you pay tribute to a legend!
The next nominees are the ones who have taken the work of writers and directors, and realized them even further than they previously been realized. With constant time and effort on computers, software, flipping through video files, and more, these five nominees have taken moving images and audio, then eventually turned them into ambitious compilations. These are the nominees for Best Film Editing.
Barry Alexander Brown (BlacKkKlansman)
Tom Cross (First Man)
Benjamin Rodriguez Jr. (First Reformed)
Alfonso Caurón, Adam Gough (Roma)
Hank Corwin (Vice)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Alfonso Caurón and Adam Gough for “Roma!”
Another team win! Who knew? The nominees here were all equally excellent, making this one of the harder categories which I had to determine a winner. The reason why I chose “Roma” is a reason I feel could also associate with direction, screenplay, and cinematography. Keep in mind, this movie is nominated for all three of those other categories. With the excellence of those other categories in mind, the way those were executed in an editing job such as this, honestly makes this movie better as a whole. Another thing to keep in mind is how personal of a project this is for Alfonso Caurón, because all those things I just mentioned: the screenplay, cinematography, and direction. He did all those things for this one movie. I have a soft spot for people who are willing to take on projects with personal values. Granted, that is something Tommy Wiseau tried with “The Room,” but still. Congrats to “Roma” and its editors!
We live in a world where an apple can fall on one man’s had and enable him to create the “laws of motion.” However, in cinematic environments, not everyone comes from the same place. Sometimes there are worlds entirely dedicated to a religious holiday. Sometimes there is a world of heroes desperately waiting for work. Sometimes there is a multiverse of a Spider-people waiting to unite. Sometimes there is a world where arcade game characters can interact with each other and even go inside each other’s games. Sometimes there is a world where believe it or not, dogs talk and often like saying the word “I.” These five nominees have shown excellence in animated film and have inspired many to think outside the box. Here are the nominees for Best Animated Feature.
The Grinch (Yarrow Cheney, Scott Mosier)
Incredibles 2 (Brad Bird)
Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson)
Ralph Breaks the Internet (Phil Johnston, Rich Moore)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman)
And the award goes to…
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse!”
If you were thinking anything else, I want you to think again. Because out of every movie that I’ve seen this year that’s animated, this was the only one which I gave a Best Picture nom to. In fact, one of these films is a dishonorable mention on my worst list. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is not only a surprisingly great film during such a fantastic time for comic books and superheroes, but also a unique take on the typical superhero flick. This is the film debut of the Miles Morales Spider-Man, and it is easy to say, I want more. Aside from the likable story and acid-trippy experience, this movie manages to separate itself from every other animated film this year based on its style alone. Literally every frame resembles a comic book! This is the 2nd best standalone “Spider-Man” film I’ve seen to date, so congrats to “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse!”
Our sixth Best Picture nominee is a little independent film that tackles big topics. To me, I found it to be the perfect combination of science and religion coming together. This film begs the questions, should we stop having children? Is having children a sin in this current age? How much longer do we have before the Earth is no more? From a technical perspective, this film delivers excellent cinematography and images, all of which are presented in a full screen aspect ratio. With stellar performances from actors including Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried, this film manages to have a place in a constantly changing world that may not be around forever. Nominated for 3 Jackoff awards, THIS is “First Reformed.”
These next two categories involve something a film can’t live without. A screenplay. Having gone through years of movie-watching, the screenplay has always been one of the most crucial elements to whether or not a movie could succeed. A comedy can’t succeed without humorous lines. A horror flick can’t succeed without outrageous scares. An action film can’t succeed without thrilling sequences. The nominees represented in these two categories have brought visions from the pages to the screen. Here are the nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay!
A Star Is Born (Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, and Will Fetters)
Avengers: Infinity War (Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely)
BlacKkKlansman (Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmot, Spike Lee)
First Man (Josh Singer)
Welcome to Marwen (Robert Zemeckis, Caroline Thompson)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, and Will Fetters for “A Star Is Born!”
Yet another category that could have been won by almost any of its nominees. I will admit, when I did my review for “A Star Is Born,” one of my minor criticisms involves some of the song lyrics. The same can be said about Lady Gaga’s nose, which I was not able to buy. But let’s be real about the movie. It’s a damn good story. It’s a story about two singers who find each other, make each other’s careers better, never back down from each other, and find love. It’s basically a perfect analogy for what happens when you become super popular and end up becoming a product as opposed to someone who just wants to share their visions with the world. Also, I got to give kudos to Bradley Cooper because he’s more known for acting, which he does in this movie, but now I am curious to see more of his writing material in the near future. Congrats to the writers of “A Star Is Born!”
Moving right along and sticking with the screenplay motif, here are the nominees for Best Original Screenplay!
A Quiet Place (Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, and John Krasinski)
Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham)
First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
Roma (Alfonso Caurón)
Vice (Adam McKay)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Alfonso Caurón for “Roma!”
Thought I was done talking about Caurón? Think again. While all five screenplays were worthy of a nomination, while some made me laugh, while some got me intrigued, there is not one screenplay to display the intensity and shock that I’ve seen this year than what I’ve received with “Roma.” There’s a lot of lines that make you want to feel like a part of the family in the movie. Some lines make you feel like you are along for the ride in this slice of life. And then there’s other moments where I almost wanted to crawl into the fetal position. There are many elements that go into the screenplay of “Roma.” Insanity, unexpected moments, complexity of life, tearjerkers, humor, sensuality, and perhaps even moments that nearly qualify as ones that can fulfill thrills. Congratulations to “Roma!”
Our seventh Best Picture nominee is a film that may be, to me, under a lot of people’s radars. Or, maybe I’m just plain stupid, and this nomination is an unpopular opinion. Steve Carell has shown himself to be one of 2018’s hardest working and overall best performing actors. His performances in “Beautiful Boy” and “Vice” were great, but there is one other film he was heavily involved in aside from those two. With his unique performance and collaboration with critically acclaimed director Robert Zemeckis, Carell manages to tell the true story of a grown man who plays an expansive version of dollhouse, and is absolutely proud of it. Nominated for 3 Jackoffs, THIS is “Welcome to Marwen.”
The next set of nominees have demonstrated excellence in camerawork. From wides done brilliantly to mediums done well and close-ups done extreme, the five nominees have all put in a tremendous amount of effort into their craft. Similar to how a movie’s story cannot exist without a screenplay, a movie’s display of a story cannot exist without camerawork. Here’s to those who have taken their best shots. Here are the nominees for Best Cinematography!
Cold War (Lukasz Zal)
First Reformed (Alexander Dynan)
Hereditary (Pawel Pogorzelski)
Mission: Impossible: Fallout (Rob Hardy)
Roma (Alfonso Caurón)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Alfonso Caurón for “Roma!”
And Alfonso strikes once more! If you ask me, one talent I find amazing in films is when one can produce a very long shot. Granted, there are times in “Roma” where they make it look easy. In fact, if you want to see a film that makes it look hard, I recommend “Mission: Impossible: Fallout!” However, there are several sequences where the camera never cuts and it is really just a thing of beauty. Part of me even wonders how they came up with a good amount of the material presented in the film. Plus, the rehearsals must have been tedious, but worth it. This is especially considering the fact that the star actually had no prior acting experience up to this point. Well done, “Roma!” Congratulations!
While a film’s score may often be recognized as its signature music, it does not mean that it is the only kind of signature music. While a film’s score can develop a reputation for being catchy, iconic, or magnificently crafted, it is the original songs that will likely receive many downloads on iTunes. These five songs have been partially synonymous with their specific films this year. Here are the nominees for Best Original Song!
I’ll Never Love Again- Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
Shallow- Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
Ashes- Celine Deon (Deadpool 2)
A Place Called Slaughter Race– Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot (Ralph Breaks the Internet)
What’s Up Danger- Blackway & Black Caviar (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)
And the Jackoff goes to…
“Shallow” from “A Star Is Born!”
Did I mention in my review that I had lyric problems when it comes to the songs shown in “A Star Is Born?” Yes. However, this song was actually perfect. Not only was it a well crafted song, but the way it was executed during the movie was brilliant. You have a song written by the character of Ally, who has never performed live before. When she actually has the guts to perform live, the way Lady Gaga portrays her character is unbelievable when you remember that Lady Gaga herself has actually been singing for years. The song has perhaps been in association with this movie more than any other song, and honestly, I think it deserves to be that way. Congratulations to Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga!
Our eighth Best Picture nominee is a film that either tells a true story that took place in outer space, or a faked attempt meant to fool TV viewers on a soundstage. This film is a look into the buildup, drama, and execution of one of the most ambitious scientific projects of the 1960s. Helmed by “Whiplash” and “La La Land” director, Damien Chazelle, one man and his crew prepare forever for a life-changing mission that takes them into the stars, and it is almost seemingly impossible that they’ll ever return home. It is a story of hope, aspiration, courage, and danger. Nominated for a shattering 10 Jackoff awards, THIS is “First Man.”
If you remember the bit I did earlier with the three movies where I slightly improve them, let me remind you, that was just the beginning. Because I really only improved one minor portion of the film. However, there is one film where I decided to improve a good chunk of it. If you have ever seen the movie “Ready Player One,” it is seemingly regarded as one of the nerdiest movies of 2018. Tons of Easter eggs, references, and inclusions of various IPs are seen throughout. Honestly, despite being one of my favorite movies of 2018, part of me is willing to argue that it’s not nerdy enough. Some of you might be thinking, “Hey, Jackass! Are you out of your mind?” No. Because I just made it nerdier! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… “Ready Player One: NERDVANA EDITION!” Take a look!
Going back to the nominees, we have got some heavy hitters remaining, it is only a matter of time until Best Picture, but let’s just build up to it. Starting with Best Director. The director of the film is the one responsible for overseeing the key components of production. It is the director’s duty to guide, aid, and encourage people to complete a project. These five nominees have all created cinematic achievements that are likely to stand the test of time. Here are the nominees for Best Director!
John Krasinski (A Quiet Place)
Damien Chazelle (First Man)
Ari Aster (Hereditary)
Alfonso Caurón (Roma)
Adam McKay (Vice)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Alfonso Caurón for “Roma!”
Unreal! This is the FOURTH win during the same ceremony by Alfonso Caurón! Can you guys tell this is a passion project? “Roma” was one of the final movies I saw before I announced my nominations, and I knew before going in that some considered it to be a wonderful piece of art. Those people who have made those claims are absolutely right! Not only is this one of the most moving, emotional movies of 2018, it is also one of the most well put together movies of 2018! Again, with the efforts of Caurón in multiple positions, this movie just shows a little passion goes a long way. When I saw “Gravity” a few years ago, also directed by Alfonso Caurón, I was wowed. When I saw “Roma,” I wondered how Caruón still had a hint of sanity left in him. Congratulations, once again, to Alfonso Caurón!
Our ninth Best Picture nominee is a film that is filled to the brim with truth. It’s a film that shows how truly awful middle school can be. It’s a film that shows how truly stressful making friends can be. It’s a film that shows how truly confusing talking to your first crush can be. With the breakout performance given by the young Elsie Fisher, not to mention the brilliant screenplay and direction delivered by Bo Burnham, the two crew members and many more reveal the horrors of being a teenage girl in the 2010s. It also successfully showcases the pressure and stress of being a small YouTuber, who may be delivering positive content meant to please everyone, but doesn’t get enough attention in return. Nominated for 3 Jackoff awards, THIS is “Eighth Grade.”
Let’s move onto the final acting categories!
Each and every day on set, it is an actor’s job to obey the director, follow the script, and break a leg. From playing pretend as a kid to being a part of a production crew, acting is a universal pasttime. For actresses in 2018, some highlights include a singer who won’t sing her own songs, a teenager trapped in a world of social media and pleas for popularity, a queen who requires assistance maintaining the throne, a mother who must deal with the worst events of her family’s lives, and a housemaid who may be an employee, but also a welcome member to an alternate family. Here are the nominees for Best Actress!
Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)
Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade)
Olivia Colman (The Favourite)
Toni Collette (Hereditary)
Yalitza Aparicio (Roma)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Toni Collette in “Hereditary!”
“Hereditary” is a movie that is mainly solid due to its execution of technical genius. The opening shot is a thing of beauty. However, with technical stuff aside, Toni Collette doesn’t fail to impress in the realm of acting. In “Hereditary,” Collette plays a mother to a couple of kids. This is not to say her life as a mother is normal, which could be explained, but that would involve spoiling the movie. There are several scenes where I still recall Collette’s excellence as a performer since my first viewing of “Hereditary” in July. One example is during a scene where she, along with her husband and son, are sitting together at the dinner table. Such a scene can remind you of how to talk to your mother, not to mention how awkward family dinners truly can be. In fact, I have the scene down below! Here’s a glance at Toni Collette in “Hereditary!”
And now… after watching that clip, you have been hypnotized to NEVER sit at a table full of food with your family ever again.
Sticking with acting, it would be impossible to forget 5 more nominees who have dedicated their voice, physicality, and time into their respective roles. For actors in 2018, some highlights include a music star who finds love, a talented showman and vocalist who has inspired millions, a cop who tracked down white supremacists, a priest who is concerned for future generations of the Earth, and an artist who developed his own village of dolls. Here are the nominees for Best Actor!
Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
John David Washington (BlackKkKlansman)
Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Ethan Hawke (First Reformed)
Steve Carell (Welcome to Marwen)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Rami Malek in “Bohemian Rhapsody!”
Well well well, well well. Yet another tough category! All of these actors are deserving of their nomination and have all killed it in their respective roles, but at the end of the day, I have to pick one. The reason why I chose Rami Malek is because he took someone who I have known about, I even did a project heavily involving him in sixth grade, and the actor transformed himself into this other person with excellence. “Bohemian Rhapsody” may not have made me look at all of its characters as much as Mercury, although that may just be a personal issue more than anything else, but I have to give it respect because it turned Malek into Mercury in the blink of an eye. Another thing I must point out, that might be significantly underrated is Malek’s ability to recreate Mercury’s movements. There is a comparison video online that can show the difference between Mercury and Malek during the Live Aid concert. Rami Malek, well done! Here is a clip of Rami Malek in “Bohemian Rhapsody!”
Our tenth and final Best Picture nominee is a film about what it means to be a hero. Well, guess what? It is what everybody asked for. ANOTHER “Spider-Man” movie! But this time, it’s animated. In a year of great superhero movies, this is one of the definite highlights. As one of the few movies this year featuring “Spider-Man” or characters related to his franchise, this film not only shows that Spider-Man is a role model type of hero that can truly take names, but that there is more than one “Spider-Man” out there. As the film debut of the Miles Morales “Spider-Man,” I personally almost couldn’t be giddier about how this film turned out. It has a unique animation style resembling a comic book, whacky action scenes, and fast-paced writing with smart humor that is delivered with excellence. Nominated for 3 Jackoffs, THIS is “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”
All that remains for movie award giving tonight is Best Picture, however, we are not there just yet. First things first, I am handing out the second Lifetime Achievement Award of the ceremony.
The Jackoff Posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award is appropriately, being given towards the ceremony’s conclusion. While this year’s recipient is no longer with us, their legacy shall live on. The winner of the award is a man who has dedicated his life to inspiring millions, and unleashing his own imagination to share with the world. While he may not primarily be known for film, his inspiration over the years has translated into the art form, including a modern trend of comic book-based films, an innovative and successful cinematic universe, and a plethora of memorable cameos. Some of his notable movie lines include “I think I know that guy,” “I thought he’d be taller,” and “Oh man, I am so fired.” This winner is known for creating many of the characters that readers, TV and movie watchers, gamers, and nerd culture junkies have followed as time has passed. From Spider-Man to Iron Man. From The Incredible Hulk to the Fantastic Four. From Captain America to Captain Marvel. From Black Panther to Black Widow. All of these characters have established a legacy under one similar brand name, much like the creator himself. To this day, all of these characters have a place in popular culture, and are constantly changing the game in various art forms. It is my honor to declare the first winner of the Jackoff Posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award, is Stan Lee.
If Stan Lee were here today, he probably wouldn’t give two craps about this award unless I did a video of him doing a walk-on cameo. However, Stan Lee has proven to the world that he has had a magnificent life to share with mankind. Lee has given a tremendous gift to millions, so why not have someone hand a gift to him? Congratulations to Stan Lee, and should there be a second Jackoff Awards next year, this award will be named after him!
And finally, the moment you have probably all skipped to by endlessly scrolling down, Best Picture. These ten movies have all made an impact on me personally this year, however, it is not my decision to declare one of these films the best of the best under this current scenario. The reality is, all of these films are great, but to determine which film is the best, I left it up to the people to decide, and you guys decided! These are YOUR votes, not mine! According to the results, the poll for Best Picture has received 17 responses, and luckily, there is a true winner without any sort of tie. These ten movies were created for audiences everywhere to think, be entertained, enjoy themselves, and escape from reality. Through the hard work and ideas of crews of all sorts, it is hard to imagine another ten movies worthy of replacing this lineup. Here are the nominees for Best Picture!
Avengers: Infinity War (Kevin Feige)
Eighth Grade (Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, Lila Yacoub, Christopher Storer)
First Man (Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, Isaac Klausner, Damien Chazelle)
First Reformed (Jack Binder, Greg Clark, Victoria Hill, Gary Hamilton, Deepak Sikka, Christine Vachon, David Hinojosa, Frank Murray)
Mission: Impossible: Fallout (J.J. Abrams, Tom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie, Jake Myers)
Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, Donald De Line, Dan Farah, Kristie Macosko Krieger)
Roma (Alfonso Caurón, Gabriela Rodriguez, Nicolas Celis)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Avi Arad, Amy Pascal, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Christina Steinberg)
Welcome to Marwen (Jack Rapke, Steve Starkey, Robert Zemeckis)
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (Morgan Neville, Caryn Capotosto, Nicholas Ma)
And the Jackoff goes to…
“Avengers: Infinity War!”
“Avengers: Infinity War” has gathered its first and sole win of the ceremony. The movie was also nominated for three other Jackoffs including Best Sound Editing, Best Visual Effects, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
It just goes to show, when you give an audience the power to choose a movie to win Best Picture, chances are they’re going to snap their fingers and dust the other films away. This is a film that has been in development for a long, but effectively put together time. It takes the iterations of characters people have followed for a decade and puts them all in a love letter to blockbusters and comic book films. The screenplay is one of the most unique ever written for a comic book film, to the point where people in my life were shocked and dismayed by it, but based on their final verdicts of the film, they felt such feelings were delivered in a positive way. My review for the film was also unique, because I had to hide SO MANY THINGS from the eyes of the public because the reality is that “Avengers: Infinity War” has details that are meant to be witnessed for the sake of shock or surprise. Even now, almost a full year after the release of “Avengers: Infinity War,” there is a chance that someone would want to end my life, or at least threaten to do so over the Internet depending on what I say about “Avengers: Infinity War.” I personally to this day, find the film to be a game-changer. Sure, it is the nineteenth installment of a comic book-based movie series that has been going on for years, but that is part of the point. There are many movies out there that can succeed for being an original hit. There are many movies that can have stellar technical aspects or acting. However, how often can you say that we have a cinematic universe which has been built for ten years, with about twenty films, with the nineteenth being an ambitious culmination that made billions of dollars, became the highest grossing comic book film ever, and somehow manages to be a new favorite film for many people? Should Marvel Studios continue their efforts, is it possible that their cinematic universe could become more important than the “Star Wars” franchise? And if it is, that is certainly saying a lot. Congratulations to Kevin Feige and everybody else who worked on “Avengers: Infinity War!” You have won Best Picture!
Thanks for reading whatever this is! If you made it to the end of the post, I congratulate you for doing so. Well done. If you felt bored the entire time, I will remind you, there are worse things out there: jury duty, root canals, losing all your gambling money! This is the most experimental post I have ever done, I would appreciate any and all feedback if you feel it is necessary. If I listen to said feedback is currently a mystery, but I’ll certainly at least keep it in mind. I personally enjoyed doing this, despite how much time it actually took to complete the damn thing, but I found myself having a ball nonetheless. Will I do another one of these in the future? It MIGHT depend on the response, but I already have ideas for what I am going to do should I do a second year. Thanks to everyone for reading this! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with a WordPress account or email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, do you agree with my picks for the Jackoff Awards? What would you change, if anything? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!