Monster Hunter (2020): Paul W.S. Anderson and Milla Jovovich’s Latest Attempt at Alternating Video Game History

“Monster Hunter” is directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil, Mortal Kombat) and stars Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element, The Fourth Kind), Tony Jaa (Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior, xXx: Return of Xander Cage), Tip “T.I.” Harris (Ant-Man, Get Hard), Meagan Good (Think Like a Man, Shazam!), Diego Boneta (Terminator: Dark Fate, Scream Queens), John Helman (X-Men: Days of Future Past, Mad Max: Fury Road), Jin Au-Yeung (The Man with the Iron Fists, 2 Fast 2 Furious), and Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy, Hellboy). This film is based on the Capcom video game franchise of the same name, where you go on quests to slay or capture monsters. In this 2020 film adaptation, Lt. Artemis and her fellow soldiers transport themselves to an unfamiliar world where they meet The Hunter (Tony Jaa). Together, the crew must survive against giant monsters in an attempt to return home.

First off, I just want to say, just because this is being published on the week of Christmas, Merry Christmas to those who celebrate! Second, “Monster Hunter” is the latest film put out theatrically from Sony. From my experience, Sony has been one of the studios that has been rather reserved during the pandemic. They have yet to put many of their films straight to streaming, although “Greyhound” and “An American Pickle” stand out as a couple exceptions. Although, when “Tenet” came out to somewhat underwhelming statistics, most notably in the United States, which is usually a key market for film, they said they “won’t make the mistake” of releasing a film of that size during the pandemic.

For the record, “Tenet” cost $205 million to make. Box office-wise, the film did well financially given the circumstances of the pandemic, but in normal times, it would not have been considered a success. “Monster Hunter,” to Sony’s benefit, is much less expensive. That film in particular cost $60 million to make. While that is not necessarily the biggest budget in the world, especially compared to the latest Marvel and “Star Wars” fare we have been getting, it is still not exactly cheap. However, it is more expensive than what Sony has been putting out, “The Broken Hearts Gallery” as one such example, since most theatres have been allowed to reopen. This made me wonder… “Why?”

After all, even though I never saw Paul W.S. Anderson’s “Resident Evil,” I am familiar with many of the franchise’s entries being dishonored by critics and even fans of the games. Part of me wondered if Sony just wanted to dump this film into theaters just to get it off its back, and if “Monster Hunter” was just another video game adaptation that felt nothing like the game itself.

Having now seen the film, my expectations were kind of met. Although at the same time, it is still better than I anticipated. Unlike myself, my dad has seen the “Resident Evil” movies, so I figured for this circumstance, I’d invite him to this screening considering it is from the same people. According to him, this movie has a very similar vibe and structure to the “Resident Evil” films. They are not Shakespeare in the least, but they most certainly fall into the guilty pleasure category. It’s not all bad, but holy hell it is not good. Simultaneously, particular points of the film felt like a blast.

I am going to get some negative points out of the way. This movie is definitely not going to win an editing Oscar. Of all the films to have come out this year, this is by far the LEAST qualified to possibly win Best Film Editing. The film manages to revisit a lot of the common problems we face in action films today. Specifically, quick cutting, not being able to tell who is who, and there also seems to be a little more slow-mo than I’d prefer. It’s almost like watching “The Matrix” if they couldn’t tell a story. There is a scene in the film where two people are fighting, and while they do kind of look alike, there was a point where I wondered who was who. If we learned anything from… I dunno, “Taken 3,” it’s that quick cutting is headache-inducing and should be avoided at all costs!

Liam Neeson deserves better!

Another big problem, and I was kind of expecting this from the get go, characterization is not really put at the forefront. Not only do we have a bunch of military soldiers who have nothing to do with the source material at the center of the story, but nearly every character in this film felt disposable. I did not care about anyone, they could get massacred, lose everything and everyone they know, and I still wouldn’t give a crap. That may partially be because the movie does not give us time to get to know anyone. We have these generic soldiers on a mission together, but nobody has a personality, nobody has any special quirks. They all sing together from time to time, but they do not really do anything else that stands out. They’re just these generic soldiers with their generic dialogue in a movie with a world that really should not feel generic! This is a movie with a world where someone fights gigantic monsters as part of a quest! Or… At least that’s what should be happening according to the video games. I do not need all film adaptations to follow the source material 100%, but this almost goes too far away from the original material at times.

This film is 1 hour and 39 minutes long. Thankfully, I never once felt bored throughout that time. I will say though, one surprising critique I will give the film is that I wish it were a minute longer in the runtime. Maybe two or three, but still. I know it does not seem like much, but again, the film failed to impress me character-wise, but if it took just a few more minutes just to have us get to know something about some of the others in the film, “Monster Hunter” might just garner my interest more as it progressed.

Although, thankfully, there is one relationship that defined the film and made it worth my time, and that is the relationship between Lt. Artemis (Milla Jovovich) and the Hunter (Tony Jaa). What made their relationship intriguing is the foreign aspect that came with each side. For Lt. Artemis, she spends much of the film in a world she has never once thought would be possible. When she tries to adapt to this unusual reality, she comes across the Hunter, and she tries to befriend him. Granted, it is through blatantly obvious Hershey’s product placement, but it is true that chocolate wins people over, even if they have never seen or heard of it. Why do you think “The Big Bang Theory” made an entire episode revolving around chocolate being used as positive reinforcement?

If you are a fan of the “Monster Hunter” games, I cannot guarantee that you will walk out of this movie saying it is just like the games. This sort of feels like a Michael Bay “Transformers” movie, where it is less about Transformers and more about the military and the government and how they deal with Transformers. Granted, this has a significantly tinier budget, a smaller cast, and I would even say that the military emphasis in this film is greater, because it never cuts away from the military to average civilians to Transformers doing their own s*it. One positive about the film, even though the story and characterization is lackluster, is that the film does not convolute itself with too many things going on. There is a certain beauty in the simplicity, albeit small, but it is there. If anything, this feels like “Predator” meets “Pacific Rim.” You have two worlds, one side enters the other one, and you have these soldiers trying to survive against giant creatures. Granted, both of those movies are much more watchable, but I rest my case.

In the end, “Monster Hunter” just reinforces what we have learned from “Superintelligence,” directed by Ben Falcone and starring Melissa McCarthy. If a husband and wife team direct and star in a film. Maybe it is not worth watching. I have not seen this duo’s bunch of “Resident Evil” films they did together, but I have heard from my dad that “Monster Hunter” falls in the same realm. If you want big action that falls into the guilty pleasure category, “Monster Hunter” may be for you. If you like the games and expect this film to be a solid “adaptation” of the source material, I am not sure if you will be satisfied. Yes, the effects look nice. There is some cool action. But is not enough to make a good movie. If you want to have a good time at the movies, just wait for “Wonder Woman 1984.” I have not seen it, so I cannot confirm if it is good, but it sure looks it! I’m going to give “Monster Hunter” a 4/10.

“Monster Hunter” is now playing in theaters in 2D, and is also available in premium large formats including Dolby Cinema, Cinemark XD, and IMAX.

Thanks for reading this review! Next week I will have my review up for “Wonder Woman 1984,” which will be in theatres and on HBO Max this Christmas. I also plan to watch and review “Soul” on Disney+, but I also do not plan to leave out “I’m Your Woman” on Prime Video, and “Wolfwalkers” on Apple TV+. There are also films exclusively in theaters I want to tackle such as “News of the World” starring Tom Hanks. There is a lot to watch through the holiday season so I cannot guarantee I will get to everything. But we shall see! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Monster Hunter?” What did you think about it? Or, have you seen any of the other video game to movie adaptations directed by Paul W.S. Anderson? Tell me your thoughts on those! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Last Vermeer (2019): A Carefully Crafted, Yet Forgettable Portrait of an Artistic WWII Conspiracy

“The Last Vermeer” is directed by Dan Friedkin, a producer of films including “The Mule,” “Hot Summer Nights,” and “All the Money in the World.” This film in particular is Friedkin’s directorial debut. It received positive reactions at festivals, and now it is getting a long-awaited theatrical release.

“The Last Vermeer” stars Guy Pearce (Memento, Iron Man 3) and Claes Bang (The Girl in the Spider’s Web, The Square) in a story about an artist who is suspected of selling a valuable painting to the Nazis during World War II.

Going into this movie, this was a rare case where I was fairly blind in regard to the goings on. I did watch a trailer prior to leaving my house, and I do think I have caught said trailer at the theater once or twice during other presentations. But this is a film that I went into knowing very little. One of the questions I am constantly asking myself as I type this review is how vague I should be in regard to my overall thoughts. I will do my best to give a summary of my experience.

Let’s start with the easy part. This movie kicks off and maintains a pace that does not feel quite satisfying. However, it is also a story that becomes more investing of my time and attention as it progresses. It has been some time since I watched this movie, but I would not be surprised if this goes down the route of say “Bloodshot,” which coincidentally also has Guy Pearce playing a character, to become one of my most forgotten movies of 2020. Although based on how it concludes, it is not all bad.

They say that bad endings can ruin good movies. Personally, that is a phrase that I have not continuously realized myself. Whenever I watch a good movie, it is usually consistent from start to finish. This year however, I will admit that I did catch one movie that started horribly but ended up being one of the most charming experiences I have sat through in recent memory. That movie by the way, is “Summerland,” starring Gemma Arterton, and it is available on DVD and for rent. While “The Last Vermeer” is not on the same level of “Summerland” in terms of quality for me, it plays out in a similar manner. “The Last Vermeer” starts off rather dull. In fact, as of writing this review, it has almost been a couple weeks since first experiencing “The Last Vermeer” and I almost barely even remember the beginning. Where it picks up is around the second half, because we get into the nitty gritty of the story and we get to witness quite the court case. Towards the end of the film, I was hooked, and it made this true event worth telling on the screen. The journey to get there however might end up being forgotten.

Let’s talk about Claes Bang (left). Claes Bang is not the most well known actor working today, but I want to emphasize him in this review partially because he’s one of the two leads, and this movie may signify a rabbit hole for the actor. One of the concerns I have for this movie is how it could outline Bang’s future. Claes Bang is not a bad actor by any means. I say this despite having only seen him in one other project aside from this one, specifically “The Burnt Orange Heresy.” Now, “The Burnt Orange Heresy” for those of you who do not know is a film about an art critic (Bang) recruited by a dealer to steal a painting. Now I do not know Claes Bang personally, and maybe he enjoys doing these art-centered movies, but I feel like if he continues having roles like the ones he’s getting, he could risk getting typecast in the future. Granted, we have examples of typecasting that work. Samuel L. Jackson often gets cast in roles that encourage him to shout the word “motherf*cker” so all the people of Uranus can hear it. Maybe I am overreacting, but as solid of an actor I think Claes Bang is, I think it would be interesting to see him take in another type of project. Yes, he’s done stuff like “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” in the past, and he’s even played Dracula in the BBC/Netflix series “Dracula.” I just wonder what Bang’s future holds because for all I know, it could continuously involve art movies. But if you want me to be frank about Bang’s performance in “The Last Vermeer,” I liked his character at times, I think he did a good job as his respective role, and he has great chemistry with Guy Pearce.

Speaking of Guy Pearce, I think the makeup and costuming department did a phenomenal job at making Pearce’s character jump off the screen. I have not seen all of Guy Pearce’s work, but I have witnessed some of it like “Memento,” “Iron Man 3,” and “Bedtime Stories.” This is not Guy Pearce, it is another… guy.

*rimshot*

Guy Pearce in this film feels less like Guy Pearce and more like an artist trying to pull of a lifelong Albert Einstein impression, and he does a pretty good job with it. Again, major props have to go to the costuming and makeup departments for pulling off how the character looks. Guy Pearce portrays the art dealer known as Han van Meegeren, and having searched for older photos of him, he looks the part. The Oscars, should they happen next year, is probably going to take place during April. We still have some time to determine whether this performance will hold up, but I would not mind seeing Pearce get an acting nomination.

Unfortunately, however, this movie is probably going to suffer from a lack of replay value, at least from me. It will probably get more than one watch from others, but this feels like a one and done flick, despite how there are some good things in it. But a barely investing beginning and exciting climax did not do it for me. I will say, this is a fascinating story, but I wonder if I would have had more fun researching it through Google as opposed to watching it in a film like this. This is Dan Friedkin’s directorial debut, so I am curious to see what he does in the future in regards to directing, but I just hope it has a greater oomph factor than “The Last Vermeer.”

In the end, “The Last Vermeer” is not half bad. You can watch it, but I would say there are better options out there if a theater is open near you. Go watch “Freaky.” Go watch “Honest Thief.” These may not be the best movies ever, but they are fun times. I liked “The Last Vermeer,” but I just wish it had a greater impact on me. Pearce and Bang are great actors and I would not mind seeing them collaborate on another project in the future, but I hope it is more investing than this one. I am going to give “The Last Vermeer” a 6/10.

“The Last Vermeer” is now playing exclusively in theaters wherever they are open.

Thanks for reading this review! I have some more reviews coming your way including for “Half Brothers,” now playing in theaters, and “Mank,” which is available in select cinemas and Netflix. I am also planning on watching “The Midnight Sky,” directed by George Clooney, which is now in theaters, but will be available on Netflix starting December 23rd. Also, I have obtained a pass to an online screening of STX’s upcoming film, “Greenland,” starring Gerard Butler. That film will be available on premium VOD starting December 18th, and I plan to have my review up sometime around the film’s release. If you want to see all this content and more, follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account, and give my Facebook page a like! I want to know, did you see “The Last Vermeer?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite example of typecasting? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Fantasy Island (2020): Fantasy F***ing Island

“Fantasy Island” is directed by Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2, Truth or Dare) and stars Michael Peña (Ant-Man, Dora and the Lost City of Gold), Maggie Q, Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars, Truth or Dare), Austin Stowell (Bridge of Spies, Dolphin Tale), Portia Doubleday (Mr. Robot, Carrie), Jimmy O. Yang (Silicon Valley, Fresh Off the Boat), Ryan Hansen (Friday the 13th, Party Down), and Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy, Days of Thunder). This film is based the television series of the same name, and takes place on an island where visitors see their fantasies come to life. However, as time passes, those fantasies lead to nightmares.

If you’re wondering how I spent my Halloween, I did not really do much. I watched “The Simpsons” on FXX, which was airing a Treehouse of Horror marathon, I had more food than usual, and my mother and I hunkered down to watch this disposable film in the living room. I have never been exposed to any previous material related to the “Fantasy Island” IP. I am aware that previous material exists, in fact my mother pointed out some details about the movie that harkens back to older material. Unfortunately, regardless of whatever faithfulness toward older material this film provides, it is not enough to make a good movie.

This film is tonally inconsistent, structurally discombobulated, and all around just forgettable. Without looking them up on IMDb, I cannot tell you almost a single character’s name from memory. This is how bad the movie is.

This movie is an hour and forty-nine minutes long, it did not need to be that long. Honestly, if this movie took out some of the over the top exposition, they could have trimmed the runtime down by like a few minutes, maybe ten. Short and sweet wins the race! “Fantasy Island” shows that there is a fantasy out there for everyone. If your fantasy is to be treated like an idiot while being overexposed, then this is the movie for you. There are barely any scenes where one can appreciate the sound of silence, embrace the visual art of filmmaking. It’s almost like words are being hammered over your head and you have no choice but to stand by and take it.

One of the core aspects of “Fantasy Island” is seeing these different personalities come together. They originate from alternate walks of life, they have separate fantasies, and it is cool to see some of them in action. But this is also where the movie suffers in a way. It is great to see these ideas and personalities mesh together. However, the movie also suffers because you have all these characters with different backgrounds and aspirations, that there is no one tone that defines the final product. Is it supposed to be lively? Depressing? Hardcore? Sensual? You could make an argument that it is all those things in one, but as a result, the movie sort of suffers from an identity problem. It’s just weird having to jump back and forth to see something vastly different every scene. There are even moments where we linger on one character for so long that I forget somebody else in this film even exists.

Let’s talk about the script of “Fantasy Island.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but I am pretty sure this was written in crayon. This is an actual line from the movie.

“Oh, I feel just like Jodie Foster in that Jodie Foster movie.”

“Fantasy Island” is a classic for the ages!

The script for “Fantasy Island” comes off as a punishment for those who ever thought of paying money to see it. There is almost nothing noteworthy about this film. It is a sorry excuse of a script. Not one character will be remembered, not one line stands out as iconic, not one idea feels bold. All around, it feels lazy. It’s almost as if Sony wanted to make this movie so bad they didn’t care how many drafts the script took. It’s colossally terrible! The movie is from the horror-based studio, Blumhouse. And naturally, they took the iconic property of “Fantasy Island” with an intention of fitting in a horror twist. But it doesn’t come off that way. The film is not that scary! If anything, it’s more hilarious than it is terrifying!

Fantasy Fucking Island Jimmy OYang GIF - FantasyFuckingIsland JimmyOYang BraxWeaver GIFs

“Fantasy f*cking island.” -Brax Weaver

Me too brother. I feel the same way. How did we get here?

I saw a lot of movies in 2018, and one movie that came out that year is “Truth or Dare,” another Blumhouse production. I missed that film, and I still have not seen it to this day. In fact part of me is glad I still have not seen it as it has received mostly negative reviews and has garnered a 5.2/10 on IMDb. Turns out that “Fantasy Island” is from the same director, writer, producer, and has even brought back Lucy Hale as a cast member for this film. Have we learned nothing?

Wait… “Truth or Dare” almost made a $100 million on a small budget?

“Truth or Dare” is getting a sequel?

Take me to FANTASY. F*CKING. ISLAND.

Unlike some other bad movies I have seen this year though, “Fantasy Island” has one advantage compared to its competition. I watched this film alongside my mother, and we had no regrets. This is the kind of film that if you want to get flat out wasted while watching, I would not object, because it definitely has that vibe. So if you invite your friends to your fantasy island to watch the disaster known as “Fantasy Island,” I can guarantee you all will be on Fantasy f*cking Island.

I said earlier in this review that not one character will be remembered. While I still sort of stand by that, I will say one of my big wonders for this film, is how the casting for JD and Brax came to fruition. Because I watched this movie and I don’t know if this was coincidental, it’s like looking at Bill and Ted, except that Bill and Ted had genuine charisma and chemistry. I did not watch this in the theater so thankfully I got to shout as loud as I want, but every other scene I would say something like “Duuuude” or “Excellent!” They feel like carbon copies of a much more compelling duo! Some of their dialogue represents that too!

Speaking of casting, this movie originally offered the role of Mr. Roarke, which ultimately went to Michael Peña, to Nicolas Cage.

Have you seen his resume in recent years? Also, Cage! You made a mistake! If they got Nicolas Cage, I would argue that this could have been the greatest bad movie ever made. I could just imagine the zaniness all over! What a missed opportunity! Michael Peña does what he can here, and I could tell that he is giving it his all, but his performance does not hide some recent complaints. Overexplaining, too much reliance on dialogue, and horrible writing. I can also imagine the direction in this film.

“Quiet on set! Lucy Hale, explain everything to the audience like they don’t have brains! Take 57! Action!”

Did I mention one of the three guys who wrote this movie, Jeff Wadlow, also has a screenplay credit for “Bloodshot?” I did not review that film, mainly due to a lack of motivation, but I am getting concerned for Wadlow’s life choices.

I will also say, one thing that is different about this movie compared to a few other bad films this year is that when it comes to a recent bad movie I saw, specifically “The Hunt,” is that I felt more emotionally attached to the film upon leaving it. By that I mean I felt complete and total anger, but I still felt something. “Fantasy Island” did not really let me feel much of anything. Yes, I was shouting at the screen, laughing, maybe getting a little angry here and there. However, upon leaving the film I started to forget about it. All my emotions separated from my head and went to its own little island. That can be a good thing because “Fantasy Island” is not a good movie, and the sooner I can forget about it, the better. But it also shows that there is no lasting impact. “The Hunt” made me genuinely fill myself with rage, and that was kind of the point of the film at times. “Fantasy Island” tries to be entertaining and scary, but fails at every step of the way. As a result, we have a forgettable mess.

In the end, “Fantasy Island” is a major waste of valuable time. You can probably watch this movie if you’re drunk. But I would rather preserve my liver. The cast, while somewhat competent, are all wasted. Not one person in this schlock added anything of value. All that happened to added were endless streams of exposition. At one moment this movie is a poppy wonderland, the next moment we’re at war, the next moment we’re having date night, it’s just a lot happening at once. The movie has too many characters that all feel disposable. These tones would be fine if the characters were fine. However, that’s not the case. I’m going to give “Fantasy f*cking Island” a 2/10.

Thanks for reading this review! I am hoping to get back to the theater sometime soon to watch something new. The past couple films I reviewed were stuff I watched at home, but if I have time, maybe I’ll check something out like “The Empty Man,” “Come Play,” or “Synchronic.” I will say though, the film I am looking forward to this month more than any other is another Blumhouse production, and that is “Freaky” starring Kathryn Newton and Vince Vaughn. It’s a horror twist on “Freaky Friday.” They just had an early screening in my area, but I did not go as I was watching “Alita: Battle Angel” at the AMC that night. Such a good movie. I will be sure to buy a ticket, watch the movie, and share my thoughts with you all. I think this is going to be absolute fun. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Fantasy Island?” What did you think about it? Or, what did you do for Halloween 2020? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Yellow Rose (2019): Bigger Than Texas, Bigger Than Gold

“Yellow Rose” is directed by Diane Paragas (NextWorld, Brooklyn Boheme) and stars Eva Noblezada, Dale Watson, Princess Punzalan, and Lea Salonga (Aladdin, Mulan). This film follows a 17-year-old Filipina, who also happens to be part of a family of undocumented immigrants living in the United States. When Rose Garcia’s mother gets picked up by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, she runs off and attempts to adapt to a new life and new reality as she aspires to become a country singer in Austin, Texas.

This movie played at a plethora of film festivals in 2019. Not only did this film get to play at these film festivals, but it did something else. WIN. On IMDb, there is a list of the many festivals in which this movie played. At almost every single one, it took home whatever each festival’s equivalent to Best Picture happens to be. It’s that good. Simply from the awards potential and what it has racked up so far, I had high expectations for this film. At the same time, it’s 2020, the year where each day I wonder if the next one is going to be less intolerable than the one before. For those who must know, it’s not like we have not had any good films this year. “Tenet,” “Summerland,” and “The Last Shift” are incredible. I’ll also happily defend “Impractical Jokers: The Movie” until the day I die! It’s worth a watch, trust me! Check it out on HBO Max!

In all seriousness, I saw “Yellow Rose” in an empty theater, given how cinemas are the only way you can watch this movie. Over the past couple year, we’ve had quite a few music-based movies that became popular, including “A Star is Born,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and “Yesterday.” Honestly, I’d rather forget that last one, it’s terrible. Here’s some good news. “Yellow Rose” is not as bad as yesterday.

Here’s some GREAT news… “Yellow Rose” is one of the best movies of the year!

This year in general started off fine, became bad, it’s gotten worse, and it hasn’t stopped progressing down the rabbit hole in terms of how terrible it truly is. For movies, it’s kind of the opposite point of view. We started off with a couple duds, got some good movies here and there, but overall, this year has been nothing special. We were so spoiled in 2019 with movies like “Parasite,” “Knives Out,” “Marriage Story,” and “Ready or Not.” But I will say one thing about this year, that’s kind of like last year. The sweet stuff comes later. And trust me, “Yellow Rose” is, in the words of Peter Griffin, freakin’ sweet.

Now I don’t know if this movie will be for everyone, specifically because the main character and her mother are living in the United States illegally, so I imagine some people will look at this movie, witness the main character, and simply ignore it. Movies are not made for everybody, that is the subjectivity of film. But when it comes to how this film tells this story, you cannot deny its power. You cannot deny its impact. I honestly don’t care about the status of our main character, because overall she is incredibly likable. I am a legal citizen of the United States. That is something which I will admit I have not been proud to say in recent years, but that’s not the point. Nevertheless, I enjoyed how the film deals with its issues, themes, and overall conflict.

Not only is “Yellow Rose” a great film about an aspiring artist, but it is a fantastic film about being an illegal in the United States. You’re trying to get by, you may not have the best accommodations, although you’re managing, and when it comes to dealing with I.C.E., it’s a brutal game of hardball. At the same time, even WITHOUT that, this film is still a lively presentation of how someone aspires to be something bigger than themselves, which is a story I enjoy from time to time. Minus the legality factor, I related to the character Rose. From the first five or so minutes of the film, I was instantly hooked from just seeing her on screen. And I’ll tell ya why. Like her, I have enormous aspirations. I spend all my time in my room. I’m a creative type. And there’s even a scene where I got the sense that she hides her creative self from other people. My eyes lit up from that very moment, and I knew I was in for what could possibly be the best movie of the year. By the way, Rose is played by Eva Noblezada, this is her first role that is not on a stage, and it is PERFECT. I do not think she will win Best Actress, but for a first performance, I could not be happier.

Speaking of songs, there are a lot of them in this movie, and there is a good chance that I’ll listen to some of them again. I will say though, one of the few cons, and there are not that many, that I have with “Yellow Rose” is despite the fact that “Yellow Rose” heavily centers around music, I don’t remember many of the songs in the film or the lyrics of said songs. At the same time, this stands true for much of the music I enjoy, so I could debunk this. Nevertheless, no movie’s perfect. This is a philosophy that has stood true for years, and I am willing to abide by it. This is not to say the songs suck, and I will say that many of them are spectacular, but a flaw’s a flaw.

If I had to say anything else about this movie, this came out at the perfect time for me. I still live with a parent, but I can see myself starting my own life pretty soon. This girl, embodies me as someone who sees their future and even a little bit of their present, and it ain’t always pretty. I can’t always rely on the best transportation, I make things up as I go along, and the living conditions may not always be great. I am very thankful to have such an incredible life right now where I can get three meals a day, and maybe a little more. This movie made me appreciate what people, regardless of their legality, go through just to survive. This movie is not only relatable, but emotionally gripping. My eyes and ears were engaged from start to finish, and it never let me go. In this wreck of a year, we need more movies like “Yellow Rose.”

In the end, “Yellow Rose” is quite high on my must see list! The film is only available in theaters now, which I will say, as usual, I get it, not everyone wants to go to the movies. But, if you are one of those people who wants to go see a movie, “Yellow Rose” is mandatory viewing. If you don’t enjoy the movie, maybe you’ll enjoy the songs. Who knows? This movie deals with multiple stories and issues, with each one coming out to top notch perfection. “Tenet” is one of the big movies out right now, and it has gotten a lot of attention, but if you want to support something with a smaller budget, I implore you to watch “Yellow Rose.” Again, some of the songs are not that memorable, but that could change upon listening to the album or a second viewing. And you bet I will want to participate in a second viewing because I’m going to give “Yellow Rose” a 9/10!

Now, IMDb technically lists this as a 2019 movie, but it came out for a public theatrical release in 2020, so I am going to count this as a 2020 film. With that being said, this may be my favorite film of 2020. I’m a little torn between this and a couple other films, but I am glad that 2020 has picked up the pace movie-wise. I’m really hoping we can get a 10/10 movie by the end of the year, but I’m so happy. By the way, about that 10/10. THIS MOVIE CAME SO CLOSE that I almost gave it that score. Maybe things will change with a second viewing! We’ll have to see!

Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I’m going to have my review up for “Honest Thief” starring Liam Neeson. I hope to publish my thoughts on that film by the end of next week. School may be keeping me a little busy during these times. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or a WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Yellow Rose?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite piece of music, either song or score, from a movie this year? For me, it has to be the “Tenet” score, Ludwig Göransson created a banger! Leave your thoughts down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Last Shift (2020): Green Book, But Better

“The Last Shift” is directed by Andrew Cohn, who has directed a bunch of documentaries, but this is his feature-length debut for a narrative film. This movie stars Richard Jenkins (Kajillionaire, The Shape of Water), Shane Paul McGhie (Unbelievable, What Men Want), Da’Vine Joy Randolph (People of Earth, Selfie), Birgundi Baker (Empire, Black Lightning), Allison Tolman (Fargo, Good Girls), and Ed O’Neill (Modern Family, Finding Dory). This film follows a fast food restaurant worker who has done the graveyard shift for 38 years. His last shift is coming up, he’s training his replacement, the two have nothing in common, but they’re brought together by circumstance. The film dives into a developing relationship between the two as they spend night hours together at Oscar’s Chicken and Fish.

Over recent years, I have learned how much humanity truly has evolved as a culture of eating. With the invention of GrubHub, it has occasionally allowed me to order a large ice cream sundae from a place 3 towns over and have it be delivered to my place at 9:45 at night if I want it. Even though there are many complaints I have about society in 2020, the vast number of eating options is not one of them. Well, unless you count the fact that Massachusetts hasn’t allowed people to eat in a movie theater even though it is literally how they make their money! Stupid.

This movie, in one way or another, reminds me of how much our country “relies” on restaurants, specifically fast food, to get us through an assortment of times. It’s usually inexpensive, and gets the job done. Keep in mind, this movie mainly involves the behind the scenes aspect of people working at a restaurant, but this movie, from the very beginning let me know about how relevant we have made this industry today. Big chains like McDonald’s, KFC, and Wendy’s dominate, but it doesn’t mean regional chains can’t compete. Kind of like the chain represented in this film, Oscar’s Chicken and Fish. The vibe of this movie was partially infused from this reminder that sticks throughout the runtime. But that’s not all this film is.

You know what this film also is? FREAKING GREAT! That’s what it is! Honestly, this is one of my favorite films of 2020 so far! Granted, the only competitors for the #1 spot this year it really has in my opinion are “Summerland” and “Tenet.” Is this film better than those? I’ll address that notion later, until then, keep this in mind. The film is one of the closest things we as an audience will receive as a work of art this entire year.

In case you guys acknowledged the subtitle for this review, I should let you know that I saw the movie “Green Book” and enjoyed it. Keep in mind, this was during a time before any controversy related to said movie surfaced. If you ask me what I think about it today, I think as a film it is well done, charming, and delightful. It wouldn’t be my pick for best picture, I personally would have selected “Roma,” but still.

For those who live under a rock, the problem many have with “Green Book” is despite the film’s charm, or at least that’s what I got from it during my initial viewing. It revolves around people who actually exist, but tells a story that supposedly bends reality too much. Thankfully, “The Last Shift” is not based on anything. It’s an original script, no relation to true events, even though it takes place in present day. More specifically, present day where nobody wears masks. That way, there’s more that this movie can get away with in regard to how it tells it story.

I will say, the story in this movie is fascinating because it takes two people who are completely different, in fact they only have one, two, three things in common, and yet they play off each other perfectly. Their chemistry is spot on and they feel like real people living in a real world. In fact, I’ll say Richard Jenkins and Shane Paul McGhie give two of my favorite performances this year. If anything, I’d say they also have what technically qualifies as my favorite bromance of sorts this year. There are a couple scenes with these two together, the only way I can describe their interactions are by using words like “fun,” “joy,” and “charm.” But with it being a movie, of course there are bumps in the road. Because an unproblematic movie is futuristically speaking, problematic for how people view it.

This movie deals with a lot of issues from both characters. Marriage. Job stability. Getting by. This movie deals with issues that struggling men of different ages have to go through. Regardless of the specific issue, I ended up feeling for both of them.

I have never worked in the fast food industry. I haven’t worked with food period. But one of the things I love this movie for is that it addresses the entitlement of fast food customers. Guys, I get it. You want food the way you ask for it. BE NICE. RESPECT YOUR RESTAURANT. Look, I know the whole saying that “the customer’s always right,” therefore suggesting that they are the most important person in the room. I’m not denying that, but if you are that pissed over cheap food, just calm down a little bit. Mistakes happen. This is why every time I go to the movies, I try to put myself in the workers’ shoes. Are they having a good day? If not, what can I do to make it better? Maybe strike up an interesting conversation? I try to lighten the mood of everyone that I come across. If I go to a fast food restaurant, I expect good service. I expect good service everywhere I go! But fast food workers, like myself, are human! We all have feelings! I don’t want to call somebody a jerk without knowing their backstory! Now if there are times where somebody can cross a line like call me a nasty name or swear in my face, I will speak up and let them know that customer service should be taken as a priority. But still, what I’m saying is that fast food workers are people. Just like us. So let’s not try to tear them down.There’s a scene in this movie where a woman comes in suggesting her order was messed up, and she rages out against the two people working at the restaurant! I… Get that. I will be completely honest, I don’t work in customer service, in fact there has not been a point to this day where I have worked in customer service, but I understood the workers’ perspective here.

Although this movie excels in not just displaying the reality of having a low-paying job and trying to get by from not just one, but two individual perspectives, but it excels as a movie where an unlikely friendship develops. It’s about the bumps of life, all the hurdles that comes with it, and the desire to aim higher. You know that saying that no job is beneath you? I am not saying that statement is false, but this movie dives into the want for more. More money, a better job, a better life. At the same time it deals with the cons, and the sprinkled-in pros of the lives of our two main characters.

It’s still September as I write this, so for all I know things can change when movies like “Soul” and “Nomadland” come out, but “The Last Shift” is arguably the finest encapsulation of the human condition we have seen this year. Two Americans of different ages, of different backgrounds, of different identities, come together for a reason. Honestly, if you have ever worked part-time, you may relate to this movie. If you are of old age, you may relate to this movie. This movie dives into some serious issues, but at its heart, it’s just charming. It’s a good time, and that’s what movies are meant to be! Will it be my favorite of the year? Hard to tell at this point. We shall see.

In the end, “The Last Shift” is incredible. It’s an intimate tale of two vastly different people dealing with their own problems who despite some complications, still manage to get along. It’s a movie about a friendship that seems fine and charming, but the two have their separate views that collide. It’s sort of a broken friendship, which is cool. It goes to show that nobody is perfect! It’s about living in a suburban town where nothing goes on, the only thing that it has going for it is some local fast food restaurant that makes certain people happy. I get that. I come from the suburbs. I feel like one of those people who despite living there for 20 years, just wants to move away from it all and start a new life somewhere else, most likely Los Angeles. “The Last Shift” is one of the best movies of the year and I’m going to give it a 9/10! Do I like this movie better than “Tenet” and “Summerland?” I think as a story, it’s a little more compelling than “Tenet,” but “Summerland” has more of a surprise factor for me. I am not saying I was not looking forward to that movie, but I did not expect it to be as good as it turned out to be. Plus, “Tenet” has the benefit of practically being designed for the theatrical experience. This movie, even though it was great in the theater (and every movie is better in a theater), probably could have gotten away with a direct to On Demand release or something given what’s been going on with the pandemic. Even so, I’d put “The Last Shift” in my top 3 movies of 2020 at the very least because it is a really well done film. Check it out!

Remember how I said this is a better version of “Green Book?” Yeah, I’m not lying! I gave that movie an 8/10 during my original review. So regardless of controversy that has developed surrounding the movie, I am likely not lying about my statement. I have no idea how the rest of 2020 is going to play out. I’ve learned to expect the unexpected, but this is certainly a contender for my favorite film of the year! This is a great narrative directorial debut and as for everyone else who collaborated on the movie, I’d say they did an outstanding job.

Thanks for reading this review! Be sure to check out my next post which will probably involve… Something. I don’t know. I really wish I could tell you. “Wonder Woman 1984” would have come out this weekend if it for weren’t a mix of disappointing box office results for “Tenet,” other movies, or people being stupid. Also, New York and Los Angeles are two key markets that still need to open if the movie is going to succeed. I’m hoping they open by sometime next month, because I REALLY don’t want “Soul” and “No Time to Die” to get bumped. This year has been a screwball! You don’t know where it’s going! You’re spinning along with it! And in the end, it tires you out! Let’s just get through these trying times together, and if you are going to see a movie at a theater this weekend, remember to be safe, wash your hands, and take care of those around you. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Speaking of great content, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “The Last Shift?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite place to get fast food? Chain-wise, I’m a Burger King guy. I always have been. But if you’re ever in my area, be sure to check out Billy’s Famous Roast Beef in Wakefield, Mass. They make a mean chicken finger plate. Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

An American Pickle (2020): More Seths, More Fun!

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“An American Pickle” is directed by Brandon Trost (The Disaster Artist, This Is the End) and stars Seth Rogen (Neighbors, Sausage Party) and Sarah Snook (Predestination, Steve Jobs) in a film that takes place over a span of a century. We start off by seeing a character by the name of Herschel Greenbaum. He’s immigrating to the United States, he’s got a wife, but when a factory gets condemned, Greenbaum falls into a vat of pickles and stays there for a hundred years. After escaping, he meets up with his only remaining descendant, Ben Greenbaum, also played by Seth Rogen. From here on out, the two get to know each other and slowly reveal their notable differences of how they go about daily life.

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This movie was originally supposed to come out in theaters. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sony, who produced the movie, gave the distribution rights to Warner Bros., which lead to the film going straight to HBO Max, the new streaming service that has been around since May. “An American Pickle” is the first original movie to hit the service, although the film has been theatrically released in countries outside the United States.

The concept of “An American Pickle” honestly intrigues me, partially because I admire Seth Rogen as an entertainer. Whether he’s doing voices, maybe working behind the camera or in front of it, Seth Rogen can do no wrong. So getting to see two characters played by Seth Rogen was an oddly charming idea to say the least. Granted, the world has seen two Adam Sandlers on screen before in 2011’s “Jack and Jill,” which ended up being one of the most critically panned films of the past decade. Let me just say, I have not seen “Jack and Jill,” although I’ve heard enough about it to know that I should never witness it. But I am glad I saw “An American Pickle.” From the very first scene, this movie has this weird charm to it. It’s almost as if Tim Burton, Wes Anderson, and the directors behind “The Wizard of Oz” had a lovechild of some sorts. Of course you get some of the modern comedy flair in “An American Pickle” as well, but as I watched the movie, I felt like I was watching something that I couldn’t really get anywhere else. There seems to be an odd, but interesting blend of satire, heart, and informative messages about the importance of family and modern culture.

I got to admit, for a film that has Seth Rogen involved in one way or another, this is surprisingly light and sweet. It has its moments of commentary and controversial humor here and there, but nevertheless. Having seen some of Seth Rogen’s other work (for the most part), there doesn’t really seem to be much that warms the heart if you will. Not really much that feels calming. “Long Shot” comes close to being in that category though. In fact, a lot of Seth’s films seem to have a quick and snappy pace to them. And this one is no exception. Maybe that’s a Seth Rogen trademark, and I kinda like it. Although when it comes to “An American Pickle” I should not have been too surprised given how the film clocks in at around 89 minutes.

They say that if you talk to yourself, that is perhaps a sign that you’re crazy, right? Well, if Seth Rogen happens to fall into a pit of craziness, I’d say it’s worth it because he gives not one, but two likable performances. The two characters he plays can easily be differentiated even though they come from the same bloodline. They also feel like they have easily detectable individual personalities. I will say, Seth Rogen’s voice that he does for Herschel, the older character he plays, is almost on the goofy side, but it works for what it is. It’s like the rest of the movie, simply charming. It’s not supposed to be real, it embraces the fantasy factor, even though it does involve some things that are happening in our world right now. Such as our attachment to technology, vlogging, political controversy, and so on.

This movie is directed by Brandon Trost, who is a name that I am sort of surprised I have not heard so much about. Trost has worked with Seth Rogen for some time because he is a cinematographer on a lot of his movies including “Neighbors,” “The Interview,” and one of my all time favorite comedies, “The Disaster Artist.” However, “An American Pickle” is Trost’s feature-length solo debut. For the record, he has a brother by the name of Jason Trost who co-directed 2011’s “The FP” alongside him. “An American Pickle” on the other hand is a solo project. I really like Trost’s vision of this film. It’s incredibly wacky, super fast-paced, and it almost feels like a live-action cartoon, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. I say that because if turn on something like “Bob’s Burgers” or “Family Guy,” there’s a good chance that they don’t waste a second using dead air. This may be a huge exaggeration, but “An American Pickle” almost feels like it belongs in that category when it comes to how it is paced. Granted, given how this is live-action, there’s a lot of time spent where dead air or beats are perhaps used, but once the movie starts, it feels like it refuses to stop. In fact, there are various portions of the score, composed by the legendary Michael Giacchino (The Incredibles, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) that accompany this movie’s quick pace.

Looking back on this movie though, I will admit, I don’t know if all the commentary portions of the film will sit in my memory forever. I’m probably going to remember “An American Pickle” more for how good of a production it was despite being done by a first time director doing a movie without somebody else, and Seth Rogen doing two likable performances. Even though this movie does touch upon a lot of commentary that I liked in the moment, I don’t know if it will be something to be permanently implanted in my memory. I will also say though, even though the movie itself is fast-paced, and I kind of like that, there’s a lot that happens in a certain twenty minute period that feels like we’re getting to the end of the film’s second act lickety split. It’s almost as if the movie wants to end without diving into what could possibly be a moment to breathe. Although in all seriousness, I definitely recommend an “An American Pickle” and if you like Seth Rogen, you’ll like this movie. If you have a Roku or Amazon Fire player, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to get HBO Max, but it is available on other platforms including cable, Android TV, Samsung Smart TVs, Apple TV, and game consoles. There are ways to watch this movie, but because society is insane, we can’t have all of them.

In the end, “An American Pickle” is ridiculous fun, but it’s hard to tell at this point if I will remember it by the end of the year. Granted, it has the benefit of being the only original film on HBO Max right now, but still. I really liked Brandon Trost’s vision, and if he has any more solo projects he wants to tackle as a director, sign me up! Seth Rogen, per usual, is really good here. He’s a delight on screen as not just one, but two characters. Bravo! I’m going to give “An American Pickle” a 7/10.

Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I will be reviewing the movie “Summerland,” which I just saw in the theater. It is playing in some places, but it is also available on VOD if you want to give it a rent. I can’t say much about this movie, but something interesting might happen in my review. Just letting ya know… Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, if you are interested, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “An American Pickle?” What did you think about it? Or, did you get HBO Max? What are your thoughts on the service so far? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SCOOB! GOES STRAIGHT TO DIGITAL

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

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

THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND GOES STRAIGHT TO DIGITAL

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

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

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

A SURPRISING SUCCESS FOR TROLLS: WORLD TOUR

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE DELAYS NEVER END!

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

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

NEW HOME RELEASES

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

TENET IS LOCKED FOR JULY 17TH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just because we talk about movies here…

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

Thank you, sir! Very informative!

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

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

FRIDAY NIGHT LIONSGATE MOVIES ON YOUTUBE

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

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

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

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

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

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

SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON CANCELLED FOR FIRST TIME EVER

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

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

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

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

MOVIES THEATERS ON REOPENING

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

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

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

THESE DELAY STORIES ARE GETTING TIRESOME!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HBO MAX LAUNCH DATE ANNOUNCED

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

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

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

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

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

HOME VIDEO RELEASES

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

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

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

Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes – Part 2

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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!

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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!

The 2nd Annual JACKOFF Awards

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Cause ya might be stuck with them.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Too soon? Too soon.

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

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

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Alita: Battle Angel!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Ford v Ferrari!”

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Ford v Ferrari!”

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

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

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

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

And the award goes to…

Dennis Gassner for “1917!”

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

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

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

And the Jackoff award goes to…

Jacqueline Durran for “Little Women!”

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

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Nicki Ledermann and Kay Georgiou for “Joker!”

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Alan Silvestri for “Avengers: Endgame!”

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

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

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

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

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Laura Dern for “Marriage Story!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the award goes to…

Taika Waititi for “Jojo Rabbit!”

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

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

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

And the award goes to…

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

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

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Jinmo Yang for “Parasite!”

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Roger Deakins for “1917!”

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

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

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

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

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Sam Mendes for “1917!”

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

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

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

Joaquin Phoenix for “Joker!”

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

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

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

And the award goes to…

Scarlett Johansson for “Marriage Story!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the Jackoff goes to…

“1917!”

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

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

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

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