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!

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!

Jojo Rabbit (2019): Hitler Can Be Fun

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“Jojo Rabbit” is directed by Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, The Hunt For the Wilderpeople), who also plays the character of Adolf Hitler in this movie. Alongside Waititi, the film stars Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Scarlett Johansson, Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, Alfie Allen, and Sam Rockwell. This film is about a young boy living in Nazi Germany by the name of Jojo. We see him at the start of the movie, trying to become part of Hitler’s force. However, he is eventually revealed to be wimpy compared to those around him, which partially inspires the titular nickname “Jojo Rabbit.” The film also explores Jojo’s life at home, when he eventually finds himself in a situation where he is living with an enemy of many Nazi Germans, a Jew.

I have not seen much of Taika Waititi’s work. Admittedly, as much as it makes me look like a bad moviegoer, the only film of his (specifically, the ones he hasn’t had an acting role in) I managed to see happens to be “Thor: Ragnarok.” Judging from that, Waititi definitely has his own style when it comes to his movies. Granted, judging from the fact that “Thor: Ragnarok” is a Marvel movie, it follows a lot of the beats to fulfill the requirements of what makes one of those films possible. If you ask me, I think “Thor: Ragnarok” is almost the most overrated Marvel movie. It’s good, but I really think they should have toned down on the humor, and the vibe should have fit with a lot of the dark ideas the movie seemed to have going for it. I mean, THE CITY OF ASGARD IS IN DEEP S*IT! Now that “Ragnarok” is in the past, Waititi went on to direct this film, which if I had to be honest, is better than “Thor: Ragnarok.”

Now that I had a week to think about “Jojo Rabbit,” I just realized that this film and “Ragnarok” manage to have something kinda sorta in common that I could not quite grasp at first. Both of them feel like parodies. Granted, “Jojo Rabbit” IS a parody, but that’s not the point. When I watched “Thor: Ragnarok,” I was not able to appreciate the humor that they were trying to hammer inside my head. I thought it was quite unnecessary. But there are various parts of “Thor: Ragnarok,” and I won’t get into them, that might as well be part of a rather effective big budget “Saturday Night Live” sketch. I have not gone back into the past to view Waititi’s earlier work, but it does make me curious as to what he has up his sleeve in the future. How far will he go with the humor? If he goes on to direct “Thor: Love and Thunder,” is he going to make it a pure comedy? I don’t know, but it would at least be interesting to see.

And speaking of long, deep thoughts, this movie managed to do something quite extraordinary and rather unexpected. Once again, this is a parody film. Keep that in mind. But Nazism is one of the most serious subjects that one could talk about or put in a motion picture. As someone who knows the Nazis were objectively evil, I cannot help but point out that this film made Nazis look fun. Based on pure entertainment value, I wouldn’t say that’s an entirely bad thing. I don’t mean any offense when I say this, but between Hitler, a book burning scene, and a few funny moments here and there, “Jojo Rabbit” managed to surprise me immensely.

Keep in mind, for those of you who are thinking this movie is about Hitler, guess what? It’s not. Adolf Hitler in this movie plays an important role, but if you are expecting this to be a movie about Hitler, you MIGHT be disappointed. Personally, the real concept behind this movie is one that I would love to shout from the rooftops. As mentioned, this movie is about a young kid, who goes by the name Jojo. There are various scenes in the film where Hitler appears, but each time, it’s all a figment of Jojo’s imagination. Basically, Adolf Hitler in this film is Jojo’s imaginary friend.

AWESOME.

Staying on the topic of Hitler, Taika Waititi does a really good job at playing him. The movie also somehow did a good job at making him a charming, relatable character. One of the first scenes where I see him talking to Jojo, he talks about how people made fun of him in the past. He then advises Jojo to “Be the rabbit,” which is a suggestion to take a nickname that is seemingly derogatory, but use it to make yourself a better human being.

I will also say that the kid who plays Jojo, otherwise known as Roman Griffin Davis, did a pretty good job. For the record, as I write this review, I have looked at both his Wikipedia page and his IMDb page. According to both sources, “Jojo Rabbit” is the dude’s only acting credit. The only other piece of media, at least according to IMDb, featuring Roman Griffin Davis in some way, shape, or form is an episode of “Entertainment Tonight Canada.” I am not sure how much training or practice Jojo had before taking on this film, but for a first time performance, this was nothing short of a job well done. Personally, despite being a actor of his particular experience level and age range, this didn’t feel like a first time performance, which may be the best compliment I can give.

Overall, the cast of “Jojo Rabbit” completely stands out in the best possible way. Again, I mentioned that despite the evils of Nazism, certain elements of the film made it look like a party, which made the final product particularly interesting. This is why I liked the performance from Rebel Wilson’s character, which I’m glad to say because if you know me in real life, I am not that big of a fan of her. To be honest, her acting job in “Jojo Rabbit” may be the first likable performance I have seen from her. This may be the first movie I liked featuring her too. “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” comes close, but it just misses the mark.

I think one of the best parts of the movie, even though it ended up going in a direction I did not think it was going to go, is the screenplay. When I saw this film being marketed, I thought it was going to be a full-on satire. Imagine “Spaceballs” but with Nazis. And in a way, I kind of got that, the movie wasn’t as funny as I was originally anticipating it to be. That’s a small problem of mine, but the movie also has a serious plot to it that I can kind of get behind. There is a scene, about two thirds of the way through the movie, that has an enormous amount of tension that I really dug. When I walked into “Jojo Rabbit” I was expecting to laugh myself to death. I cannot say I did that. Instead, this movie managed to bring a surprising smile to my face. I felt utterly alive.

In the end, I had a good old time with “Jojo Rabbit.” It’s probably not the gutbuster I was expecting it to be, but it is still a damn good couple of hours. This is a movie that manages to make Nazis look fun, while also reminding me of their evils and what terrible things they have done. The movie kind of concludes on a surprisingly less than pleasant note. I say that because this film starts out with a clear humorous vibe. It’s kind of wacky and silly overall. Is it perfect? I wouldn’t say so, there are some minor issues. But I think there is enough in the film for me to think to myself that I’d want to watch it again. I’m going to give “Jojo Rabbit” an 8/10. Thanks for reading this review! My next review is gonna be up very soon, which is for the new Amazon movie “Honey Boy.” I was just recently at a free screening at a local arthouse theater for the film, so I will have my thoughts on that very soon. Also, I just saw a new movie this weekend at my local IMAX, specifically James Mangold’s “Ford v Ferrari.” A review for that will soon hit the interwebs, and I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts on it. If you want to see my thoughts on either of these movies, or other content from the Movie Reviewing Moron, be sure to follow Scene Before with an email or WordPress account! If you are on Facebook, be sure to check out my page and give it a like, it really helps me out! I want to know, did you see “Jojo Rabbit?” What did you think about it? Or, what is a movie that you went to see, not to mention liked, that you were expecting to be funny, but turned out to be serious? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Marvel Cinematic Universe PHASE 4 Plans Announced

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Hey everyone! Jack Drees here! You thought we were in the endgame? Think again, because, to my lack of surprise, as well as others perhaps, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is not going anywhere, and as part of this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Kevin Feige and crew have officially announced their gameplan going forward in regards to movies and television. While I could not make it to San Diego this year (just like every other year), I had the pleasure of receiving a number of these announcements through social media, which is something Captain Marvel should have brushed up on by now.

This first announcement, doesn’t relate to what some would call “phase 4,” but it happens around that certain timeline and takes place in the same universe, so why not leave it in? Anyway, as you may or may not know, Marvel is finishing up their series “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..” It’s a series that I tried watching when it first started, but for one reason or another, I just couldn’t latch onto it. It just didn’t work for me. The show will begin its seventh season during the 2019-20 television season, and will air for 13 episodes. However, if you are caught up with the series, you’d know that season 6 is still in progress, so the show still has time left before ABC dusts it away from its current lineup.

Speaking of television, Marvel in general is seemingly changing the norm of how they release their television programming. Before now, they would release various MCU-related content on ABC such as the recently mentioned “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Agent Carter,” and the short-lived “Inhumans.” Netflix also had a fair share of content, all of which was recently cancelled such as “Iron Fist,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage,” and to what I believe is to a lot of people’s surprise, “Daredevil.” These platforms, for all I know, could lose the ability to air new Marvel content for awhile whereas the TV channel Freeform, and streaming services Hulu and the yet to be released Disney+ are going to be the big three for some time. Speaking of Disney+, Marvel announced a plethora of shows to be exclusively released on the upcoming service.

For the record, Disney+ is expected to be released during the fall. So just a reminder, none of these shows will be available on day one.

The first show to premiere on Disney+ is going to be “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” As you can tell by the title, the series revolves around the known characters played by actors Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan. It is expected to start filming October 2019 and premiere in August 2020. While there are not many details about the series just yet, Mackie and Stan have previously wanted to do their own spinoff film at some point, particularly in the style of a buddy cop story. So who knows? Maybe this series could have some sort of comedic buddy vibe. But only time will tell.

Moving onto 2021 programming, up next we have “WandaVision,” which is short for the characters Wanda Maximoff and Vision meshed together. This series is going to star actors Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany as the characters we have previously come to know throughout the Infinity Saga. Although I must point out. This takes place after “Avengers: Endgame,” and Vision died in “Infinity War” only to never come back to life. So my question is… How will they allow him to return? Let me guess, time travel. Because now if the Marvel universe has a problem. Boop! You got a time machine! Want to save Nick Fury from losing an eye? Boom! You got a a time machine! Want to stop Tony Stark’s home from being destroyed like it was in “Iron Man 3?” Boom! You got a time machine! Want to give Captain America the most advanced pop culture lessons of his life? Boom! You got a time machine! Granted, there’s probably more to it, but a time travel element would not be surprising. The show will hit Disney+ in Spring 2021.

Also coming in Spring 2021 is a “Loki” series. Without going into much detail, because this does involve a spoiler for “Avengers: Endgame,” which as of writing this, is still in theaters, it will involve a Loki of the past. That’s all I’ll say. The series will of course star Tom Hiddleston. I don’t know if I am going to watch any of these series, but I think out of all the series on this list, I feel like this is the one I’d be least likely to watch. It almost seems like an idea from a think tank meeting (even though a number of these shows feel the same way). “Remember that mysterious guy from ‘Thor’ who keeps dying and coming back to life? Nobody knows if he’s good or evil? Let’s not deal with any new characters, let’s use this guy some more! Yay!” The way I wrote that sounds generous, but when I imagine it, it sounds like a business meeting all involving out of shape guys in suits smoking cigars.

OK… I take my last statement back, this is a series I’d probably watch. Granted, I don’t want to pay for Disney+, I don’t see any reason to. Plus, as someone who wants to avoid witnessing Disney’s plan for world domination put into action, I want to spend as little money towards them as possible. Although I kinda do want to go to Disneyland to see Galaxy’s Edge the more I think about it. Nevertheless, the next series is “What If…?” For those of you who don’t know, “What If…?” is a franchise that creates and realizes perhaps unlikely or alternate scenarios related to Marvel characters. Some examples from comics include: “What if the Fantastic Four all had the same power?,” “What if Captain America had been elected president?,” and “What if Jane Foster had found the hammer of Thor?.” While I’m not getting Disney+, if they are ever to release any of these shows on DVD or Blu-ray I am very likely to pick up “What If…?” simply for the concept. The stories presented in the show will not affect the MCU’s timeline, but merely exist just to answer questions through the power of imagination. It is simply something that just provides a unique take of some sort.

Hawkeye in the MCU is an “interesting” character to say the least, because just about every time he appeared in an MCU movie when he first started, I did not care about him as much as the other characters. Then I saw “Endgame” and thought he was one of the best characters of the whole thing. Coincidentally, of the upcoming shows on Disney+, “Hawkeye” is one of them. Also, according to what I have gathered, this series will introduce Kate Bishop, who in the comics is the first woman to earn the Hawkeye title. She’s also a member of the Young Avengers. Here, this show will seemingly spend some time on allowing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye to pass the torch to this younger character. The question is… Will I care about her? Or will she just be another boring bow and arrow fetishist?

That’s it for TV shows. I’ll probably watch NONE of them. Mainly because I feel that the way that everyone is trying to push streaming service upon streaming service towards the consumers is going to eventually make streaming as a whole a significantly worse deal than cable. My family and I have not cut the cord, and honestly, I’m happy. Especially considering how I still have my game shows (streaming IS NOT a good alternative if you are a game show fan for the most part), plus it’s nice to watch a new episode of a show and have it feel like an event, whereas an episode or two of a show, or a whole season, drops on Amazon or Hulu and it’s almost like you unintentionally DVRed something. Plus, I enjoy my livetweeting. It makes me feel like I am part of a community. Another reason why I’ll probably miss out on all these shows is because I REVIEW MOVIES DAMMIT! Movies are a top priority of mine and because I watch and review them excessively, I barely have time for TV. And speaking of movies, let’s reveal what Marvel has planned for that realm of entertainment in phase 4.

First up for movies is a project that I think a good number of people know has been in full swing, “Black Widow.” The plot and details are mostly unknown at this time, but Scarlett Johansson, the woman that I have a crush on who says she should be allowed to play trees, well then, if that’s the case… Vin Diesel? Watch out, you might be fired soon! She is returning as the title character who we have seen in several parts of the MCU such as the “Iron Man,” “Avengers,” and “Captain America” franchises. From speculation, I would imagine this would take place long before the main events of the MCU, kind of like in “Captain Marvel.” I am also willing to bet this will be a grittier film in the franchise (even though they aren’t going for an R rating), while also trying to be fun. After all, Black Widow isn’t really a superhero, kind of like Iron Man, she just plays with toys. And based on what we have seen from her character in comics and movies, this is very likely to be a spy flick. If you ask me, this is not my most anticipated spy-related film of next year, I’d reserve that spot to “Tenet,” directed by Christopher Nolan, but I’ve been eager to see a “Black Widow” solo film for quite some time, so I’m excited!

Plus, ScarJo is a dream girl. Just saying. The film will be released on May 1st, 2020.

Up next is a newcomer to the MCU, specifically, “Eternals.” Some big name actors in the film include Salma Hayek (Grown Ups, Desparado), Kumail Nanjiani (Stuber, Silicon Valley), Angelina Jolie (Kung Fu Panda, Mr. and Mrs. Smith), Richard Madden (Rocketman, Game of Thrones), among others. It is going to be about a bunch of eternally living beings who have spent infinite portions of their lives fighting a force of evil referred to as The Deviants. One character, Makkari, played by Lauren Ridloff is going to be the MCU’s first deaf hero. The film will be released on November 6th, 2020.

The third movie is one that I personally think will be a mega hit at the box office. It’s not to say the others won’t be, but if “Black Panther” from phase 3 has proven anything, it’s that if you put a “visually different” person at the forefront of a superhero project, people will see it. That’s because this movie we’re talking about is “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” I don’t know if the final product will have a title this long, but only time will tell. Then again, it’s not as much of a mouthful as say “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.” The main reason why I’d say this film has a bonkers chance of success is because Shang-Chi is Chinese, and in this film, he is going to be played by Chinese Canadian actor Simu Liu. Not to mention, based on comic-related images I have seen, this movie could be a visual treat. Another thing to consider is the Chinese movie market. If this movie is as visually impressive as I think it will be, not to mention as honorable to the Chinese culture as I think some would want it to be, I think a lot of people will go see this in the theater. China, at least to my knowledge, seems to go to a lot of spectacle type films. Some historical examples that come to mind include “Transformers; Age of Extinction,” which to be fair, was partially shot in China, and “Warcraft.” While “Transformers” is popular in the United States, “Warcraft’s” domestic returns led to its underwhelming final box office total despite making more than twice its budget. But it couldn’t reach the total $450 million needed to completely break even. But if anything has been proven, Marvel is an automatic success in the United States. In the US and Canada, “Black Panther,” a culturally significant film for the African community, managed to make over $700 million, which for those countries specifically, is actually more than “Infinity War.” But with the massive potential for winning over China and perhaps other somewhat related Asian communities, plus Marvel’s domestic success, it has a chance of being possibly a bigger success than “Black Panther.” The movie is scheduled for a February 12th, 2021 release.

Another film I saw coming was “Doctor Strange 2,” and we got it! But it technically has a more specific title, “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.” Based on what I’ve heard, Scott Derrickson could be coming back to direct this sequel. It is also suggested that Benedict Cumberbatch and Benedict Wong, or in this case, just for fun, I’ll call them Team Benedict, will be returning to reprise their roles. One thing that I found interesting though is that Wanda Maximoff will be in the be in the movie as well, and it will be tied directly to the Disney+ series “WandaVision.”

OK… You gotta be kidding me. I know people give flak to DC for how they do their movies, but at least you don’t have to watch a freaking TV show to perhaps understand or comprehend what is happening in one of the DCEU’s films! Guess I’ll just read the Wikipedia entries for the WandaVision episodes, because I ain’t paying for Disney+. But one thing that does intrigue me, is the notion that this is going to be a more horror-esque movie compared to a lot of the other MCU installments. So who knows? Maybe this could have a wacky funhouse vibe, or maybe be the MCU’s version of “The New Mutants.” Although now that I think about it, “The New Mutants” could possibly end up being another version of this movie depending on how many more times it gets pushed back. Man, that movie premiere is gonna be one big realistic version of a FaceApp demo. This is definitely a movie I would want to see on an IMAX screen, maybe in 3D. Because I saw the original “Doctor Strange” in IMAX 3D, which made for one of the best visual trips of 2016. This film is expected to drop into theaters May 7th, 2021.

But my one request for this movie. JUST GIVE A MORE MEMORABLE VILLAIN. Then again, it’s Marvel, it’s not their strong suit.

When 2015 first started, the YouTube channel RedLetterMedia made a video where they jokingly predicted that we’d eventually get a fourth “Thor” movie called “Thor 4: More Thor.” Believe it or not, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” used that title in their show. Unfortunately, we’re not getting “Thor 4: More Thor.” But we are getting a fourth “Thor” movie titled “Thor: Love and Thunder.” I have mixed thoughts on this movie, because I REALLY enjoy 2011’s “Thor,” probably more than I should. I know some people don’t like it, but I enjoyed Thor’s character arch and Loki was a solid villain. Granted, the followup in 2013, “Thor: The Dark World,” is in the conversation to be my least favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. And even though “Thor: Ragnarok” was… “better,” it’s not what I wanted. I thought it was too comedic, and some of the jokes didn’t land. While it is visually stunning, somewhat appealing from a story perspective, the tone just didn’t work. Basically, Asgard is in a state beyond repair in this film. It could have been dark, gritty, maybe a little funny, but not like it was “Deadpool” for kids. I don’t think Taika Waititi is a bad director, in fact, I thought he would be a better suit for something like “Guardians of the Galaxy,” but he did a “Thor” film instead. It just didn’t stick the landing for me. I’m hoping “Thor: Love and Lightning” will be better, but from what I can imagine, it could be tonally similar to the previous “Thor” installment, which if that’s the case, I’m just hoping that the story actually fits the tone.

One thing that could be interesting is that Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman, is making a comeback. And similar to a comics storyline, Foster is going to be taking on the mantle of Thor. And based on visuals presented from San Diego Comic-Con, it looks like her character will be holding Mjölnir at some point during the film. As long as Kat Dennings doesn’t show up to play her character from “2 Broke Girls” everything should be rather fine and dandy. The film is predicted to be out November 5th, 2021, so I demand there should be at least one reference to “V For Vendetta,” ESPECIALLY since Natalie Portman is returning!

Now let me just say, I have no idea when these next films are going to be released, part of me is willing to bet that one or two of them, are not even in phase 4, but Marvel Studios chairman Kevin Feige has confirmed that these movies are in development, therefore we are going to cover them. So let’s continue!

Remember the 1998 film “Blade?” Guess what? Marvel is getting to do another project with the character. I personally can’t say I have seen “Blade,” but part of me is willing to imagine that this will be a somewhat different take on the character because the original trilogy was rated R, whereas all the MCU films so far have gotten a PG-13. If you ask me, I would not mind seeing an R version of the character in the MCU, kind of like with Black Widow, but you cannot have everything. One thing that does intrigue me though is that Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, Green Book) is attached to playing the lead role. He’s a fantastic actor who has a ton of range, and he actually pitched this sort of idea to Marvel Studios through a call. Coincidentally, Ali has been attached to a couple of alternate recent comic book-based products including Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and Netflix’s own MCU show, “Luke Cage.”

There’s not much to say on this next film, but I KNEW this was gonna be made at some point, perhaps soon. Why? Because again, it made SO MUCH money. I guess this is what happens when Disney remakes “The Lion King” for a new generation. Wait… I’m talking about “Black Panther 2.” There’s not much to say about this movie yet, but Ryan Coogler suggested that he’d write and direct this film, which does intrigue me because I thought he did a rather decent job with the first one despite its flaws. So… what Disney movie are they gonna retread next? Are they gonna do “Dumbo” because Black Panther is learning to fly for some reason? Are they gonna do a film in the style of “Wreck-It Ralph” where it is revealed that Wakanda is in an arcade cabinet? Are they gonna do one like “Frozen” where Shuri or Okoye just breaks out into an annoying catchy tune? By the way, screw “Frozen,” that movie can rot in hell!

Up next is a film that was supposed to come out in 2020, but based on recent controversy, that’s not happening anymore. Specifically, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” This is a film that I am honestly curious to see, because while I imagine this could potentially be a capper for a trilogy, director James Gunn has previously exposed that this installment is not meant to be a powerhouse of emotion. It is still going to be fun and lively. But if you have been following the news in terms of film recently, you’d know that Gunn was fired by Disney/Marvel over the resurfacing of less than family friendly tweets. Tweets that even he admits, he’s not proud of. If you ask me, I believe James Gunn is a competent director, who may have deserved the criticism that he received, but I’m not sure if Disney should have gone as far as firing him, especially when you consider how much he has changed over the years in terms of his outlook. Nevertheless, I am quite curious to see how this upcoming “Guardians” film turns out, and I do have a shortlist of soundtrack ideas, but I think I should save that for another time. The movie is not expected to begin filming until 2020, but that’s because James Gunn is currently doing a DC movie, specifically “The Suicide Squad.”

Here’s another no-brainer, “Captain Marvel 2.” When your film has the sixth biggest opening of all time, you know you have to make a followup. I’ll be honest, the first “Captain Marvel” did not work for me. I thought the chemistry between Fury and Danvers was kind of hit and miss. The scene where “Just a Girl” plays honestly, while I guess it was trying to be empowering, felt really off for an action scene that was most likely trying to be kick-ass. The final fight, which I imagine was trying to be funny, just ended up being questionable to me. And don’t even get me started on Goose the Cat! But, we are getting another movie, and I’m honestly hoping it is better than this one, but only time will tell. I like Brie Larson as an actress, but when she plays Captain Marvel, she honestly sounds like she’s only been in straight to DVD content. Come on, Brie! You won an Oscar for “Room!” Show me the magic! She did alright in “Endgame,” but she was not in the movie that much so there is that to consider. Then again, I’m a straight white male. So is my opinion even valid to begin with?

Another film on the list of “in development” is a third “Spider-Man” movie. By the way, by the time you finish reading this post, five more “Spider-Man” movies will be released, because they keep cranking them out! I finally saw “Spider-Man: Far From Home” the other day, and honestly, after seeing that film, I’d say a third one HAS to be made. And without going into detail, Kevin Feige suggested that the mid-credits scene from that film implies the third film will involve “a Peter Parker story that has never been done before on film.” And it does not surprise me that this is happening. I believe Sony is already satisfied with making their own “Spider-Man” movies in their universe and still enjoys the success they can get from spinning their webs in the MCU. Nevertheless, can’t wait. But if I had any requests, make sure the word “home” is in the title. That way I don’t have to end up confusing “Spider-Man” trilogies and can refer to this as the “Home” trilogy. Seriously! Even if it simply means that there is a minute of the two of the film where we find Peter Parker watching a Mets game, and for that reason it is called “Home Run,” it would still work because the other two movies have the word “home” in their titles too!

The next two films are a couple of projects that I think a lot of people have been asking for. Why? Because Disney just acquired 21st Century Fox recently, meaning they have retained the rights to a couple of big name franchises. One example is “X-Men.” I have no idea how the film will present itself. If anything, it is definitely going to be a complete reboot, staying away from the timeline Fox originally showcased to audiences since the early 2000s. After all, while I didn’t go see “Dark Phoenix,” probably just like everyone else in the world, maybe that movie tarnished the franchise enough to say, “Screw it, it’s over.” But some movie franchises or IPs are like Jenga, you can end the game by collapsing the tower, but you can always start a new one by rebuilding it. Maybe “X-Men” has a place in the MCU. And honestly, if a couple of the phase 1 heroes are going away, I think this is the perfect time to add in new heroes, because if they were still there, I’d honestly worry about clutter in the MCU. Granted, even with them showing up now, that is still a worry. But I also have a slight intrigue as to what this mega franchise can bring to the cinematic universe.

Speaking of Fox, one other franchise they once had, not to mention wasted, is “Fantastic Four.” Since Marvel has the rights to them, they can now possibly… NOT screw it up this time… Hopefully? I imagine it’ll be good, but I’m keeping experience in my back pocket. It’s in different hands, but for all I know, despite its popularity in the comic book world, maybe “Fantastic Four” is simply cursed as a movie franchise. But I am curious about this film and how it’ll turn out, and perhaps a little more excited about this than “X-Men.” Will Dr. Doom be the main villain again? Will the movie have the four in the middle of its title? Or… How about this? How about we get Chris Evans to play Johnny Storm again? Do it just to get some other character in the movie for a second. Maybe the group will be going around New York City grabbing lunch or something and they run into Peter Parker walking with Ned, which leads to Peter pointing at Johnny saying, “Hey! You look like someone I know!” I highly doubt that will happen, but it certainly would make for a proper more realistic “What If…?” scenario. Plus, with Stan Lee gone we’re gonna need new cameo ideas.

That’ll probably do it for all of the MCU-related announcements for phase 4, and again, a lot of these films and TV shows are in development. So who knows? One could get pushed back, maybe one gets cancelled. Perhaps it ends up being a part of an eventual phase 5. Nevertheless, I’m excited for a large number of these projects, and hopefully they will all end up being good! Also, James Gunn, I know it is a little late, but welcome back. I want to know, is there something I’m missing from this list? I think I’ve covered all the ground, after all I have 4,000 words inserted into this thing! Or, what is something that you want to see from the MCU as a TV series, as a movie, as a concept? It doesn’t even have to be for phase 4 if you want it someplace else. Let me know down below! Thanks for reading this post! Pretty soon I am going to be reviewing Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” which is out this upcoming weekend. I’m going to one of my local theaters for their first screening of the film in 35mm, can’t wait! Also, speaking of Tarantino, be sure to stay tuned for my final installment in my Quentin Tarantino review series, “The Hateful Eight.” 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 could do me a favor, like this post, share it around with those you know, it really helps me out. And speaking of that, like my Facebook Page! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Avengers: Endgame (2019): The MCU’s Lifetime Achievement

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WARNING: The following post is a spoiler-free review for “Avengers: Endgame.” If you came to this post expecting a spoiler talk, go elsewhere. If you have yet to see the movie, you are safe. Why is this spoiler-free? Let’s sum this up in a GIF.

This would be what I’d witness outside my front window should I even provide one single solitary important secret detail about the film. So Mark Ruffalo, Tom Holland, if you guys are reading this, please use this as a guide for your future interviews and press tours. LET’S GET THIS STARTED!

#DontSpoilTheEndgame

“Avengers: Endgame” is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo and stars Robert Downey Jr. (Chef, The Judge), Chris Evans (Gifted, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), Chris Hemsworth (Rush, Ghostbusters), Scarlett Johansson (Her, The Jungle Book), Brie Larson (Room, The Glass Castle), Jeremy Renner (Tag, Arrival), Karen Gillian (Doctor Who, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born, Joy), Don Cheadle (Crash, Hotel Rwanda), Paul Rudd (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Dinner For Schmucks), Danai Gurira (All Eyez On Me, The Walking Dead), with Josh Brolin (Deadpool 2, No Country For Old Men). This film is the sequel to the unbelievably enormous, not to mention, amazing masterpiece known as “Avengers: Infinity War.” Following the events of the film’s climax, the remaining Avengers have to undo the universal effects of Thanos’ snap.

I have to say, when it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are two sides to my thought process on the franchise. There is one side of me that is a fanboy for this big and loud nerd extravaganza from a story and visual effects perspective, and there’s also another side of me, the movie reviewing moron side of me that says this is some of the most corporate bullcrap I’ve seen. In reality, it depends on my mood and the movie we’re talking about. If you take “Avengers: Infinity War” or “Ant-Man” for example, I grin like an idiot. If we are talking about “Thor: The Dark World” or “Captain Marvel,” I honestly facepalm. And between those two, going into “Endgame,” I thought this was going to be more on the “grin like an idiot” side. The trailers and marketing have been very good so far, they seemed to hide a lot of secrets during my glances, and it all happened to make me very excited for the film, which is the job of marketing. In fact, part of “Infinity War’s” story and conclusion, most likely went into my anticipation for “Endgame.” Basically, a lot was at stake going into this film. If this film sucked, I would probably punch holes in a wall with my bare hands. I wasn’t asking for the best movie ever… OK, maybe I was, I dunno. I wanted to see a compelling, immersive, and emotional experience. And guess what? The movie was good! Yay! My life isn’t over! The only question I still have on my mind is this… How good was the movie? I mean, I would definitely consider it above average, but the fact is, as I continue to think about this movie, I am flipping through possible final verdicts because the reality is there’s a lot to process. And because I am not a dick who will spoil everything, I’ll do the same with my final score and just say that there’s a lot that I’m thinking about. I’m thinking about the way everyone’s storylines were interwoven, I’m thinking about the action, I’m thinking about the technical aspects. Although I will point out, I didn’t see the movie in IMAX, so I cannot talk about how the Russo used IMAX technology in this film to their advantage, although based on what I have seen from “Infinity War,” which I did see in IMAX, I imagine they did a very good job in that realm of the cinematography department.

Image may contain: night and screen

The biggest positive that I can give to “Avengers: Endgame” is also one of the biggest positives I can give to “Avengers: Infinity War.” This movie was literally made to be a gladiator-like event. I cheered, I applauded, I nearly cried. In fact, I think I came close to being the most obnoxious person in the entire theater. There’s a moment somewhere in the film that takes a turn that some might find epic, and shortly afterwards, after seconds of cheering, we just cut to another moment where I am in a sold out theater of a tad less than 200 people as I exclaim “YESSS!” This movie is literally the cinematic equivalent of sex, and I’ll show you what I mean.

This movie starts off with an opening scene that simply put, got me in the mood to see what’s next. Practically speaking, it was like lighting a candle. When the title shows up, I went from being in the mood to craving every last drop of this movie. While this movie has many standout moments, including multiple love letters to the previous films that came before it, I would say that the first couple of hours of this movie, which I’ll call the building block hours, were a bit on the slow side. Granted, I don’t mind slow, as long as its good, and this actually was good slow so I will give the filmmakers credit where its due. But nevertheless, it does kind of slip into that territory where there are pacing issues. But it is balanced out by fan service, great looking shots, and even fantastic writing. I think one of the right moves for this film production-wise was getting the Russo Brothers to direct, since they already have background knowledge for “Infinity War.” As far as I know, these movies were shot back to back, which must allowed them to process both films and treat them as one. After all, I remember back when “Infinity War” was announced, it was marketed as “Part 1” and “Part 2.” So in reality, the fact that these two movies play out the way they do is less surprising having “Infinity War’s” background knowledge. And it actually just hit me, because Anthony and Joe Russo have now directed four comic book movies, all of which are in the MCU. Coincidentally, even though not all of them are centered around Captain America, his character manages to make an appearance in each movie they have done. In fact, without giving my grade for this movie, when it comes to the comic book movie genre, they’re probably in the debate right now for “greatest comic book movie director(s) of all time.” For me, I would have to think about that for awhile but based on their batting average prior to this film, I think that notion is certainly in consideration. “The Winter Soldier” is a fun and engaging action thriller. “Civil War” is a great mini-Avengers story. “Avengers: Infinity War” is… the f*cking bomb, by definition.

Sticking to my main point however, this is like riding a roller-coaster (or sex). The beginning is a bit down the fast lane, almost like riding an Amtrak train. Then you trek up the heights, and the movie does that for a long time. Then… the final hour begins. And you begin squealing with enjoyment upon the adrenaline rush you are about to go through. It is literally the geek equivalent of getting the best deals at Target on Black Friday before everybody else. If you have ever seen the movie “Ready Player One,” you know how epic that last big battle was? It was almost like watching that! This is yet another achievement for the Russos, somehow from one movie to the next, there’s always a big battle, and the game is stepped up each time. The climax of “The Winter Soldier” was very compelling and exciting. “Civil War” had the airport fight, which was freaking sick. “Avengers: Infinity War” had the awesome fight on Wakanda where most of the Avengers happened to be present. Out of every throwdown or fight that was done, this was not just the greatest throwdown in the MCU. This is not just the greatest throwdown done by the Russos, it is up there with some of the best action sequences in comic book movie history, not to mention, film history itself.

Remember, “Star Wars: Episode I?”

“It’s so dense. Every single image has so many things going on.”

Yyeeeah… It’s kinda like that, but it’s actually a quality product.

Oh yeah, Hawkeye. Let’s talk about him. For those of you who don’t know, I manage to share a popular opinion with others that Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye is not even close to being the being the best character in the MCU. I mean, what do you expect when your superhero identity is someone shooting with a bow and arrow as the definition of “Generic White Dude?” For years, I have considered Hawkeye to be that “other Avenger” who just shows up. Well, guess what? Forget about that in this movie! Because… HAWKEYE IS AMAZING IN THIS MOVIE! His story, his motivation for being in his current state, everything about him! There is literally not even that much I can say about what happens on screen during “Avengers: Endgame,” but one of the things I can say is that Hawkeye, or in this case, Ronin, changed my perception on his usefulness as character! Let me just remind you of something I said in a post I made last year.

“Sure, you can also make the point that not every Marvel superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe had their own film released before “The Avengers.” Although judging by the time, did you really think putting out a Hawkeye film before “The Avengers” would have gotten everyone flocking to the theater? Everyone would probably go see it now, including me even though I think Hawkeye’s as useless as a rock paper scissors match to determine what time it is.” –What the Heck is Up With Justice League (2017)? *PART 2*

Yeah, I said that. And I would have still gone to see the movie if he sucked, but now I actually would WANT to see a movie with him.

Distracted Boyfriend Meme | RONIN MOVIE REVIWING MORON HAWKEYE | image tagged in memes,distracted boyfriend | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

And by the way, I made a meme, I hope you like it.

Let’s continue this lovely discussion by talking about Thanos, which if you’re unfamiliar with Marvel…

He loves the word “kill” so much that he would do anything to make it the definition for literally every word in the dictionary. He also may be an ass, but he’s pretty f*cking kickass. I think I made it pretty clear in previous posts that I consider Thanos to be the best Marvel Cinematic Universe villain ever. And in this movie, while it doesn’t display him to be as cool as he was in “Infinity War,” he’s still sick. And I will say, part of that may be due to how everyone was motivated to tell this story. “Infinity War,” if you think about it, was a Thanos movie. Yes, it is has Avengers. Yes, it is called “Avengers.” But it’s about Thanos’ quest and the Avengers are trying to stop him. It does not treat the Avengers as the villain, but it makes them feel like they fall into the territory of less important or secondary characters. After all, when you have a large heroic team taking on a guy who must have survived some tragic Purple People Eater massacres, along with his children, not to mention minions, someone has to be the main character. And I think this was a good idea because it allowed every hero in “Infinity War” to have their moment. Now, this movie is about the heroes, and I cared about them more than I ever have before. 22 movies in, I better give a s*it for all of these heroes. And again, Hawkeye… HOW?!

Also, I don’t have much else to say, but if I had to add in anything else I would need to point out Captain Marvel, because she does have her own movie which came out a month ago, but now she is here as a part of the Avengers team. Let me just say, I didn’t have the best things to say about the “Captain Marvel” film, but I kept an open mind going into “Endgame” and maybe things will turn around, which personally, things did. One skepticism I had however was triggered prior to watching “Endgame.” I say so because I found out how Captain Marvel’s scenes in “Endgame” were shot before Brie Larson actually started working on her solo film. It just felt weird to know considering “Captain Marvel” is an origin story and in terms of production, it is done after a big story involving her now established character. I guess there is an excuse to make here because while Brie Larson might have gotten a feel for her character while shooting for “Endgame,” this movie and “Captain Marvel” took place during different time frames. “Captain Marvel” took place in the 1990’s, and this film is a little more modern in terms of its setting. As time moves on, we may change our attitudes, so more I think about it, maybe I should provide some definite leeway to Brie Larson.

One other great part about this film is that it really does feel like as its title suggests, the freaking endgame. I honestly think it is fair to compare the Marvel Cinematic Universe film series to one gigantic TV show. If this were a TV show, it wouldn’t be hard to doubt that this is the series finale. Granted, there are still plans for the MCU after this film, including some TV shows coincidentally, but it really does feel like an end. I know we’re getting “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” I know we’re getting “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” I know we’re getting a “Black Widow” solo film, but if the MCU were to end here and not make a single movie in its series ever again, I’d be fine, because as of now, I feel satisfied.

In the end, “Avengers: Endgame” is a fantastic conclusion to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we currently know it. I got emotional, I got cheery, and I got an epic thrill ride. Despite reading several theories on the Internet, and having various predictions of my own, this movie does manage to have some surprises, kind of like “Infinity War.” And just like “Infinity War,” I won’t dive into a single one of them. And if I had to be honest with you, when I saw “Infinity War,” that was my favorite MCU film. This film is definitely up there with the best, but it is not my favorite. But if you know my typical verdicts for MCU films, you’d know that they are usually above average. In fact, my lowest grade is currently a 4/10, which this movie is not. And I honestly still need time to marinate all of my thoughts on this film. Part of me feels like I need to watch it once more just to provide the best verdict possible. But for now, I really enjoyed “Endgame,” and think its a great finale to a series I’ve been attached to for years. I’m going to give “Avengers: Endgame” an 8/10. The fanboy side of me is saying this film is a masterpiece, but there is that other side of me that remembers the film’s pacing. I don’t mind three hour films, but there are a couple moments, not many, but a couple, where I felt this film’s pacing slow down. Maybe it’s because I was seeing this film at 9PM, which I never do for films in the cinema, but the pacing is worth noting. Nevertheless, I do want to see “Avengers: Endgame” a second time, and buy the 4K when it comes out. We’ll meet again, one day.

Thanks for reading this review! I actually wanted to publish a couple pieces of content before this, but based on timing, motivation, and college finals, it just wasn’t the best time. However, over the next week or so, you guys can look forward to some new content including reviews for “Apollo 11,” “Shazam,” and “Long Shot.” However, I am about to finish my first year of college, which means I’ll have some more time on my hands for this blog and going to see movies. I promise you (at least I’m trying) that I will deliver you some excellent work over the summer! Bring on blockbuster season! Let’s do this! If you’re new around here, be sure to follow Scene Before with a WordPress account or email before I snap you out of existence! I want to know, did you see “Avengers: Endgame?” Stupid question, I know, chances are you did, but still, what did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite series finale? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Captain Marvel (2019): Not That Marvelous

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“Captain Marvel” is directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Sugar, Half Nelson) and stars Brie Larson (Room, The Glass Castle), Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, Snakes On a Plane), Ben Mendelsohn (Ready Player One, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), Djimon Hounsou (Gladiator, Blood Diamond), Lee Pace (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Lincoln), Lashana Lynch (Fast Girls, Brotherhood), Gemma Chan (Mary Queen of Scots, Crazy Rich Asians), Annette Bening (American Beauty, 20th Century Women), Clark Gregg (The New Adventures of Old Christine, 500 Days of Summer), and Jude Law (Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Closer). This film is the 21st installment in the cinematic universe. Good luck with your marathons, newcomers! “Captain Marvel” is about a soldier from another world who has memories of her past on Earth. As she is sent down to Earth, or as her planet’s kind calls it, “C-53,” she must combat a foreign force who can disguise themselves into other people and save the universe from further destruction.

OK… Here we go. I went into this movie rather excited. I must point out though, it is not because I am seeing the movie, but because I got to see it in the historic Chinese Theatre. This was kind of a dream of mine and I was waiting to go away to see this movie instead of seeing it on its first two nights just to make the experience special. And it was! When it comes to my familiarity with Captain Marvel, it is admittedly lower compared to other superheroes. But regardless of how familiar audiences and I are with this character, Disney and Marvel had an excellent marketing opportunity on their hands. They have never done a movie with a woman in the lead role before, so after almost eleven years of making MCU films, this is the first time this was being done. Unfortunately, it was not good.

Let me just get some things out of the way. I’m straight, I’m white, and I am a male. I am well aware that my physical and internal qualities that I can’t change, unless I go through surgery, puts me in the position of associating with the most hated type of person on the planet. So… reviewing this movie is hard. But I will say some things that I actually found to be good about the movie. This movie is kind of a crowd-pleaser. Much like a bunch of other MCU films, it had many attempts at humor, some of which totally worked. Some of the action is flashy and the visuals are very colorful. Speaking of that, the deaging done on Samuel L. Jackson is top-notch. And there are tons of callbacks to the 1990s that take up a portion of screentime.

Blockbuster Video, as seen in the trailer, plays a big role in the film. There’s a couple moments where people were laughing because of how 1990s technology worked. There was the use of Dial-up, CD-ROM had its share of screentime, and as I imagine some people expected, pagers were used in the movie.

But as a story, the movie is cliche, which would be fine because “Wonder Woman” was actually cliche and that film was actually pretty kick-ass, but the thing about “Wonder Woman” which made me not care for “Captain Marvel” is the difference in pacing. “Captain Marvel,” in reality, was a somewhat boring movie. Granted, there were parts that were exciting and entertaining, but there was a part of me that didn’t care about what was going on, I didn’t give a crap about the Kree, and after watching the movie, there are perhaps some parts that I feel like I am going to forget about in less than a month.

Let’s talk about Brie Larson in this film. I like Brie Larson as an actress. She’s very talented, she’s won awards, and she is in one of my favorite movies of 2015, “Room.” Also, I just watched “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” a movie featuring said actress, and that was one of the best films I’ve seen in recent memory. Brie Larson has a tendency to sign on to play good roles. Granted, this doesn’t always happen (watch “The Glass Castle”), but she usually has a keen eye for her roles. In fact she joined a movie that I am rather excited for the more I hear about it, “Just Mercy.” Knowing how the world of Hollywood tends to work, or at least having an illusion as to thinking I know how it works, Brie Larson definitely saw potential in a role as her particular character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Based on the legacy of said universe, I could definitely see potential. However, the execution of her performance was… I don’t know how to say this… Very off and on. The elements are all there for a decent Captain Marvel performance at the very least. A lot of the mannerisms done in the movie are all right for said character, and there is some range presented in terms of personality. But I feel like Brie Larson was at times directed to act a certain way that just didn’t work. It felt like watching multiple characters in one to the point where it is almost easy to assume Captain Marvel had multiple personality disorder. The performance just kind of didn’t work for me, which is absolutely disappointing because Brie Larson is practically an A-list actress. She won an Oscar for crying out loud! There are some moments where I found Captain Marvel to have some charisma behind her, some emotions to display, and others where she is just stoic. While there are times where such emotions (or lack thereof) can work for the movie, it is hard to tell exactly if everything flows as properly as I would hope. Speaking of proper flow…

One of the best movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Not only did it make a rather unknown comic book IP become known and loved by millions, but when the first movie came out, it was actually pretty unique as far as comic book movies go. And one way that statement can be supported is through the movie’s soundtrack. Not only is it fun to listen to, but it has practically had an association with the movie in a way that many other soundtracks don’t. While “Captain Marvel,” unlike “Guardians,” doesn’t rely on a soundtrack for music all that much (maybe except for 90s’ references), there is this one moment where a pop song can be heard. I won’t go into much detail, but it is during a fight. If the crew behind this film was trying to capitalize on the success of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” then I can totally see that. But it didn’t f*cking work. In fact, that “Guardians”-esque moment, might just be the most cringeworthy part of the entire movie. And for those of you who know what I am talking about, I don’t know if you will agree with me, but this is just how I feel. In fact, it totally wouldn’t surprise me if some of these songs were put in because of “Guardians of the Galaxy’s” popularity because Nicole Perlman worked on this movie, earning herself a story credit. For the record, she was a writer behind “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

I will give some credit to Samuel L. Jackson however because like usual, he did a fine job as Nick Fury. And I will give even more credit to whoever deaged him. Sticking with the “Guardians of the Galaxy” theme, one of the highlights of the truly disappointing “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” was the deaging CGI done on Kurt Russell. It was nice to see Nick Fury not only have hair, but believable looking hair. Jackson’s performance as Fury was definitely worth buying for how such a character would behave in the 1990s. However, without going into spoilers, there is something that happens in this film that references something in the future, and it takes place during the end of the film (no, not during the credits, around the climax). It is absolutely crucial to Fury’s character. The way that this film manages to go about it, managed to get a big laugh from the audience, but I thought this GIF would sum up my thoughts on this whole situation.

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Now imagine a part of my brain saying that for an eternity, and you have my thoughts on this moment towards the end of the climax.

And I gotta say, I feel like I am in a weird place as I review this movie. I am a straight white male. I have nothing against women having their own superhero. What I am against however is when people think take the idea of gender equality and twist it to make one gender look better than the other, and I will say, despite “Captain Marvel’s” numerous flaws, not to mention its overall lack of memorability, one of its strengths is that it made a woman look good as a role model, while not exactly putting guys down. If you have ever seen me talk about the 2016 “Ghostbusters,” chances are you know my thoughts on that movie, and none of them are good. One thing I absolutely hated about the 2016 “Ghostbusters” movie is that it went out of its way to display moments that practically make just about every man in the movie look like idiots. There’s a secretary played by Chris Hemsworth who literally makes Patrick Star look like a genius. They ruin the reputation of Bill Murray. And there’s a scene where the ladies shoot a giant ghost in the nuts. There are no moments where I feel like if I had a place in the “Captain Marvel” movie’s universe where I’d have an IQ below 40. Thanks, “Captain Marvel!”

I don’t really have too much more to say in terms of my own originally gathered thoughts, but I will point out that when it comes to “Captain Marvel,” I feel like this movie manages to disappoint me in more ways than I would imagine. While the villain in this film could definitely be worse, I feel like we are going back to phase 1 and even phase 2 MCU, because the villain here was just not memorable. And speaking of villains I don’t really find to be all that great, Ronan the Accuser apparently had a few moments in this film! Like… OK… More “Guardians of the Galaxy” stuff, whoppity do! I have no idea why you even needed much of Ronan’s presence in the movie, but somehow he’s here! Then again, his appearance, much like the film’s main antagonist, could definitely be worse.

Also, another thing to consider about “Captain Marvel” is that this is the 21st film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now that we have gotten to this point, it is getting harder to impress me because a viewer, it almost feels like I’ve seen everything. Granted, there are some unseen things in “Captain Marvel.” This is the first female-led film in the franchise, this is the first film to take place mainly in the 1990s, and it is also the first film where we get to see a cat play a significant role.

By the way, if anyone wants to know my thoughts on Goose the Cat, I thought he was funny, but I don’t think I liked him as much as other people. Although I imagine this character is going to inspire some people to create some funky, psychedelic t-shirts, which if that is the case, I can’t wait.

However, going back to my main point, I have been a follower of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for years. And with following, comes knowledge, and having a competent knowledge of the MCU, to MAYBE hold my own in a related trivia competition, makes me realize that a lot has happened over the years. There are times when material might just seem like something we’ve seen in the past, but with a different name attached. “Captain Marvel,” the more I think about it, just seems like a newer, inferior version of “Thor” with elements of “Captain America: The First Avenger” intact. You have this god-like being who is trying to find their identity or place in the universe, and part of it takes place in space, while another portion is set on Earth. Plus, it is another fish out of water story.

Also, before we get into the verdict section, I will point out a statement from MCU executive Kevin Feige.

“Captain Marvel, she is as powerful a character as we’ve ever put in a movie. Her powers are off the charts, and when she’s introduced, she will be by far the strongest character we’ve ever had.”

Having now seen “Captain Marvel,” I am definitely not going to deny that Captain Marvel is powerful as hell. However, as far as her character being the most powerful of all, that is still up for debate. At least from my point of view. And speaking of which, there is a climactic moment towards the movie that was probably played for comic relief, but it also made a certain moment feel rushed and kind of cheap. More powerful does not always mean more exciting. And I say this whole “power” thing is up for debate for one reason and one reason only.

Can Captain Marvel do this? I’ll wait… I’ve got years of my life left, which give tons of time to provide an answer.

In the end, I hate to say it, but “Captain Marvel is one of the worst movies of the MCU. Granted, that statement might not say all too much as very few have actually gotten a low score from me. I go to the movies for memorable experiences, and many of the MCU’s installments have provided said experiences. I basically put my money on the table for “Captain Marvel,” because again, I went to the Chinese Theatre, which is MILES from where I live, and I literally mean MILES, because I am from Massachusetts. The Chinese Theatre is states away! I had a good time, and I would love to come back. After all… There is a “Star Wars” movie coming out soon… But the whole experience would have been perfect if I went to see a better movie, and “Captain Marvel” was just not that great. I am happy for women who are getting a hero they want to look up to, but I am not judging “Captain Marvel” completely as a feminist piece, I am judging it as a film. As a film, “Captain Marvel” is visually appealing, which is not surprising at this point for a comic book movie. It is pacing-wise, perhaps the worst of the twenty-one films presented in this series. And I felt that I wouldn’t pop this in my Blu-ray player right away if I had the chance. There is a mid-credits scene worth staying for, and there is another scene that happens towards the end. It is honestly unneeded, but if you like your end credits scenes, there’s your update. I’m going to give “Captain Marvel” a 4/10. I honestly don’t know if this grade is going to stay where it is. Because I honestly didn’t like this movie, but part of me had glimmers of enjoyment. And part of me also wonders if I am being generous because this movie stars a woman. I didn’t find myself to be angry throughout the film, so maybe this is technically a 4/10 for me. Only time will tell if this grade manages to stay where it is. And I gotta point out something regarding this “Captain Marvel,” DC did this type of film better! How often do I get to say that? Maybe they screwed up on “Suicide Squad,” the effects on “Justice League,” and keeping a singular vision alive, but they managed to do a female-led film better than Marvel, and that is an accomplishment for DC if I have ever seen one. “Wonder Woman” over “Captain Marvel” for sure, if you ask me! Thanks for reading this review! I actually wanted to make an announcement regarding April, while most of the month is uncertain in terms of content (although an “Avengers: Endgame” review is a undoubted guarantee), I do have a confirmation for you all. For those you who follow the director Terry Gilliam, you may be familiar that he worked on films such as “Brazil” and “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Recently however talk has been going around regarding his new film, “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.” For those who have ever heard of this film, you may be aware that production for it actually took decades to complete. Why? Total and utter disaster, that’s why! Anyway, here in the US, it is playing in several theaters for one night. Courtesy of Fathom Events, I have scored a ticket to one of these shows on April 10th! Next month, expect a review from “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” and if it takes forever to complete… Who knows? It could be just like the movie and go through several failures regarding production! Be sure to follow Scene Before with your WordPress account or email to catch that review and more great content! I want to know, did you see “Captain Marvel?” What did you think about it? Or, have you been to the Chinese Theatre? What did you see? What was your experience like? I personally enjoyed it, minus the movie. But I want to hear about your experience! Let me know about it in the comments section! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Avengers: Endgame (2019) Official Trailer 1: You Happy, Marvel Fans? Here’s Your Stinkin’ Trailer! *SPOILERS FOR INFINITY WAR*

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! This has been an interesting week to be a Marvel fan. Not only did we get a “Captain Marvel” trailer just a few days ago, but today we also got our first look at “Avengers 4,” now titled, “Avengers: Endgame.” To be completely honest, I would have been fine not having an official title to “Avengers 4,” and I would have felt the same way about a trailer. Sure, a trailer would be nice, but I want to know as little as possible going into this seemingly epic thrill ride. I would have been fine with maybe a TV spot or two, but I could have done without trailers. I will say though, without giving anything away, I’d say the guys behind the trailer did a pretty good job of hiding all the key details. We get some things we’d come to expect, while not having too much shoved in our faces. Then again, there’s also that part of me that’s thinking… Where’s the juice? This, to me, is ultimately a middle of the road trailer. It does a good job at providing “necessary” material, but there is literally nothing that will set a huge spark get me in the theater. Then again, I am definitely gonna be in the theater to see this opening night anyway, so why should I care? Anywho, on with the trailer.

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We start off by getting a glimpse of Tony Stark being a crazy person. He is now talking to an inanimate object, making him according to my diagnosis, insane. In all seriousness though, Stark is actually sending a message to Pepper, his longtime partner, notifying her that he is adrift in space and everything is starting to become bleak. He’s already run out of food and water, and he is soon going to run out of oxygen. One standout quote from here is “part of the journey is the end.” It’s clear as crystal that Stark is thinking that his last moments are right in his face. He thinks he might not survive long enough to see him and Pepper get married. He’s worried about his own future. No happy go lucky thoughts seem to be coming from Mr. Stark. He soon finishes the message and to make things seem more unhappy, we get a look at his helmet slowly shutting down. How could things get more dark and depressing?

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Oooo-kay! Forget I asked that. Let’s make this purple instead! Because we get a look at Thanos’s armor from the last movie.

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Speaking of which, we sort of get a look at Thanos himself, which if you’re unfamiliar with Marvel…

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…he takes the word dickweeb as a compliment. Because in reality, he’s Marvel’s biggest douchebag stuck inside Adolf Hitler’s asshole. This glimpse of Thanos walking in the fields is pretty much all we see of him. I should also note that his gauntlet, which was part of the fatal snap in “Infinity War,” is now damaged.

Throughout the rest of the trailer we get a look at the rest of our heroes. You have Steve Rogers/Captain America, Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow who again, for some reason, has blonde hair, Thor, and Nebula. Also, let’s get a look at this quote from Black Widow.

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“Thanos did exactly what he said what he was gonna do. He wiped out 50% of all living creatures.”

HEY! SPOILERS! YOU JUST RUINED EVERYBODY’S LIVES!

This is where the trailer gets a tad more uplifting. While everyone in these scenes, for the most part, are down or sad, they are trying to talk about how they are going to kill Thanos. They realize they lost the battle, they lost friends, but the war is not over yet. Believe it or not, I was watching a new episode of “The Big Bang Theory” which aired on December 6th. It was a crossover between that show and “Young Sheldon.” We get a look at a high school football game, and a part of that episode showed a “halftime speech” that is supposed to get everybody motivated. The rest of this trailer reminds me of that cliche yet effective motivational speech that a coach would give to his team as an effort to push them all the way to victory. Granted, there is no screaming, no yelling, none of that, in fact, it doesn’t even come as close to being as great as the one given in “Braveheart.” That’s not a sports movie, but if you have seen that movie, you’d understand my point.

Also, we get a look at someone who was not in the last movie.

The mystery person is…

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Eh… whatever. It’s Hawkeye. I’ll be honest, if I had to pick one fellow in the MCU that I really don’t care about, it’s Hawkeye. Just how I feel. I’m looking forward to seeing what he would do in this movie, but from past experience, Hawkeye is just not my favorite character in this universe. I like Jeremy Renner, he’s a good actor, but still.

We soon get to a defining exchange…

NATASHA: This is gonna work, Steve.

STEVE: I know it is, cause I don’t know what I’m gonna do if it doesn’t.

HOLY S*IT.

NOW we know how high the stakes are at this point. Seriously though, that quote is amazing. I can imagine a lot of soldiers who fight in war probably have that thought on the back of their mind. If they don’t succeed, what point is there to life?

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Then we get the logo, and I love how it’s purple, which basically reminds me of how crucial Thanos’ story could be in this movie. The buildup in the music here has some serious chills behind it.

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Then we cut to the only lighthearted moment in the entire trailer. We see Scott Lang/Ant-Man asking to be let in. Steve and Natasha are observing said message with the following dialogue:

STEVE: Is this an old message?

NATASHA: It’s the front door.

Honestly, I’m stoked to see Ant-Man in this movie, and hopefully he can redeem himself after the mediocre waste of time, “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” After all, he has been in a teamup Marvel film before, “Captain America: Civil War,” and he was a standout in that movie to me. Hopefully he will have one or two scenes that can rival his moments in that movie.

Again, I gotta be real, this is not the best trailer I have ever seen. It’s a good trailer, and it highlights what I need to know going into the movie, but I really have nothing much to say except, ah, here’s what I need. There’s no key details that strike as bright as the sun to me, but there are a couple moments that I thought were decent. Overall, I’m looking forward to “Avengers 4,” looking at the Wikipedia page for 2019 in film, it’s one of the films I’m looking forward to. I don’t think it’s my most anticipated film of the year. It’s a competitor, but I’m also looking forward to “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “You Are My Friend,” “John Wick 3,” “The LEGO Movie 2,” “Toy Story 4,” and “Shazam.”

When it comes to predictions, I think a couple stand out in my mind, especially one that suggests Captain America dying. Think about it, back in October, Chris Evans went on his Twitter saying he’s thankful for playing Captain America:

This tweet can have multiple meanings behind it. Maybe Chris Evans realized how big this movie was going to be. Maybe he realized something about his character’s arch. OR, his character his dead, and he realized that this is the last time the audience will ever see his interpretation of said character, and he wanted to show his appreciation to the audience because of that. The directors of “Avengers: Endgame,” Anthony and Joe Russo, suggested recently that Evans is not done. I honestly think that is a stunt to make people happy. I honestly think he’s dead in this movie. In fact, maybe he sacrifices himself for the greater good. Maybe Iron Man or Thor would do the same, but based on how things seem to be playing out at this point, Cap is the most likely to do such a thing.

Although I gotta be real, Iron Man is a close contender to self-sacrifice. What if the fight between him and Thanos on Titan was a foreshadow towards a moment in the future where Tony has to sacrifice himself? Not to mention, if we are getting another “Spider-Man” movie a couple months after this fourth “Avengers” installment, Iron Man dying would play a huge role into Peter Parker’s story. It’ll affect him emotionally at one point or another during the film. In fact, this film, like the last “Avengers” movie, is pretty much a culmination. This culmination all started with Iron Man. Why not have it end with Iron Man?

Also, if we want to talk about death related to story, let’s talk about Thor. In “Avengers: Infinity War,” we start out with Thor and we end with Thor. In the beginning we see a few people, including Thor and Thanos. Thor sees the people he knows die in front of him. At the end, we see that emotionally charged scene where Scarlet Witch is trying to kill Vision for the greater good. Simultaneously, she is trying to defend herself from Thanos. She succeeds at killing Vision, also removing the powers of the stone on his head. But Thanos uses the time stone to get Vision’s stone while it is still working. He wins. Or does he?

BECAUSE THOR IS HERE TO SEND CHILLS DOWN EVERYBODY’S SPINE!

Despite nearly annihilating Thanos, Thor fails once Thanos snaps his fingers. Half of the universe goes away. Sure, Thor was still alive after that moment, but had he aimed for Thanos’ head as opposed to his chest, this would have made a positive mark on Thor’s arch for the film. What if “Avengers: Endgame” ends with a one-on-one duel between Thor and Thanos? This whole combined “Avengers” culmination leads up to where it began. Holy crap.

Plus, when it comes to Thor and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, his part of the spectrum seems to be the one that seems to associate with death all the time. You have Thor’s mother, his father, his brother (multiple times), Heimdall, and maybe even his hammer. Thor is not the god of thunder, he’s the god of mourning. Let’s have Thor die and complete the cycle!

Enough with the predictions, I think I have said all I needed to get out of my pie hole. I can’t wait for “Avengers: Endgame,” it looks like it will be a good time. And I can already tell that everyone will be “undusted,” but if Gamora, Vision, Loki, and Heimdall all come back, screw yourselves! I came to see an epic, I don’t want to be insulted! If there is one complaint I have with Marvel, it’s fake deaths!

STOP IT!

Thanks for reading this post! Right now it is December, so that means that I too, am in the endgame. I’m already gathering some nomination ideas for my first annual awards show, which is supposed to be up sometime early next year. I just saw “Red Sparrow” on 4K Blu-ray the other day, I MIGHT review it, I MIGHT NOT review it, my decision isn’t final yet. I’m also looking for a movie to review this weekend, I might go see “Widows,” but I’m not quite sure yet. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with a WordPress account or email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see the new “Avengers: Endgame” trailer? What did you think about it? Or, what are your “Avengers: Endgame” predictions? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Terrificon 2018 Review/Haul

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! I just got back from Terrificon! Life feels good! The world is spinning (because it’s round, not flat)! And now I’m going to be going over my time at a convention which believe it or not exceeded my expectations entirely! I have been to Terrificon once and I will say I had a good time. I wouldn’t call it the holy grail of conventions or anything, it’s just a fun time. It’s not like I’m going to SDCC whatsoever (although the short lines at Terrificon make a positive difference). This year, just like last year, the lines certainly did not disappoint. I’ll get a little more into that down the road when I get into my celebrity encounters but nevertheless, I’ll get into it. Let me just continue saying that I thought this con was significantly better than last year’s! The guest lineup isn’t really that big, so that’s a similarity to last year, but what I love about this year is that the con took place in a new venue. It’s still on the same property, but for this year’s con, the people behind it have decided to place it in a recently built expo center.

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If you have been to Terrificon last year like I have, you may be aware that the last event took place in Mohegan Sun’s Sky Convention Center, but with the recent completion of the Earth tower and its expo center, events like this can now take place in that convention center. I like this convention center a little bit more as opposed to the other one mainly because this new one is bigger. Although, this may disappoint you, you may not care, I don’t know, decide for yourself, the floor is a bit more on the typical side for a convention center. Also, before we move on, look at this Thanos statue! Isn’t that epic?! I should also point out that next to it is a TV where you can hit a button and it’ll tell you if you survived Thanos’s snap!

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The last convention center is kind of elegant, but it almost feels like a large facility where you might as well hold an ambitious interview with the Queen of England. In fact, if you look at the floor, it almost screams “fancy bloated dinner party.” The new convention center feels somewhat normal. I don’t have a preference on design, although when it comes to which center itself I prefer, I gotta go with the new one because let’s face it, size matters.

One thing I went over in my promotion post is that there’s an attempt to make history at this convention. In honor of Superman’s 80th birthday, right near the entrance to the center, is a giant list of names written in Sharpie. All of those names are on what is being referred to as Superman’s birthday card. All of the names written down have been part of an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for most signatures on a birthday card. And yes, I wrote my name.

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This birthday card was located in the very nice entry way section of the center, right near where Terrificon exclusive merchandise was being sold. This is where all of the cosplay guests were tabling, it had a nice looking stand for fast-food products, which included Coca-Cola Freestyle machines. They also have an area which they can let you go outside, which is definitely nice if you want fresh air, but I avoided it because I’m not a smoker and I imagine some people could be out there just to smoke.

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One of the entry-ways from the recently mentioned wing leads into a gaming area. When I was here on Friday, I decided to go inside because I wanted to take part in the Jackbox Games session. While I was here, we played “Drawful 2,” “Trivia Murder Party,” “Survive the Internet,” “Quiplash 2,” and “Fakin’ It.” Jackbox Games has a fantastic sense a humor and I always play these games with my friends. And fun fact, the friends I play with are in the Nerd Army and the Knights of Nerdvana. If some of you don’t look at my header, you may not know that this blog is the “Official Blog of the #NerdArmy’s Film Critic.” And speaking of the Nerd Army, one of its members aside from myself actually happened to be in the same room as I. By the way, Adrian, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry we never got to say hello, I might be back next year though!

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Speaking of entry-ways that are close to the main lobby of the center, one of them leads to a ballroom where I attended three panels. There was only one of these that I had my eyes set on, but I ended up attending three. While I didn’t attend any panels on Friday, there was one on Saturday I attended. I never usually watch anything on AMC, which is kind of shocking considering how many people rave about “The Walking Dead,” but I attended a panel featuring AMC’s “Comic Book Men.” More specifically, two of them. They had three appear, but two were in the panel. Those two were Mike Zapcic and Ming Chen. I have never seen one episode of “Comic Book Men,” I was going to ask a question with that disclaimer, however there wasn’t enough time to get to it. Having seen this panel, it honestly just made me intrigued to watch the series. Unfortunately, one of the big things the panel had to go over is that the show was canceled. But I’ve heard that there are episodes on Amazon, so I can easily watch it on there. Although it’s not free so that’s the one downside. If they ever decide to come out with a DVD of the seasons with commentary, maybe I’ll pick it up. Plus, it has Kevin Smith. Why wouldn’t I check this thing out?

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Another panel I originally didn’t plan on attending but ended up going to anyway was for Michael Jai White. You may know this fellow from movies like “The Dark Knight,” “Spawn,” “Black Dynamite,” and “Arrow.” I happened to be sitting in the back of the room. There were plenty of seats available, but in the back they had these high top tables with white chairs. I figured I’d check em out. I almost asked a question about what it was like to work with Christopher Nolan, another person who was there asked a similar sounding question and White pretty much went over how Christopher Nolan did things. And hearing what he had to say about Nolan, my favorite director of all time, it only made me appreciate Nolan more. When I think of certain directors that are critically acclaimed, maybe they are somewhat obnoxious. Nolan, based on White’s words, seemed to be the exact opposite of that. Shortly after his panel, I stayed in the room, because another panel was about to start and it was for someone I was ready to see. I even move up to one of the seats in the third row near a mic because I did intend on asking questions.

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In case you can’t tell, this panel is for Pom Klementieff. You may know her best as Mantis in “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2” and most recently, “Avengers: Infinity War.” I still need to check out another movie she did, “Ingrid Goes West.” During the panel we talked about “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which partially included a little brush-over on the whole James Gunn fiasco, Klementieff’s journey as she became an actress, her fascination for “Oldboy,” which interestingly she just so happened to have a role in the 2013 adaptation made in America as opposed to South Korea. I was in line to ask a question. So I go on, introducing myself to Pom, saying that I might arguably have the most important question of the entire panel. The question, “Why is Gamora?” I repeated it so everyone could understand. Unfortunately, nobody laughed. Except Pom. At least that’s what I remember, if anyone else laughed I wouldn’t have been able to pick theirs up. So all of you guys who think I would amount to nothing in life, screw y’all! I made a celebrity laugh! What have you done? Jeff Bezos, you’re history! I made Pom Klementieff laugh! Mark Zuckerberg? You found a very popular social network? F*ck you, I got a celebrity to appreciate my joke! Elon Musk? Who the hell are you?! I made history! I got Pom Klementieff to burst in laughter! In all seriousness, my real question had to do with Klementieff’s personal favorite line she said in one of her films. Although, I don’t think she understood me, because she responded saying “I am Groot” is one of the best inventions ever. I thought it her answer close enough.

Now let’s move onto purchases. For this section we’re going to state the item(s) I purchased, where I got said item(s) from, and if I have anything to say about it/them, I’ll dive deeper.

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A few months before I went to this convention, I was not into the whole Pop vinyl figure thing. However, after an unexpected encounter with “Blade Runner” figures at Thinkgeek I had in May, my interest levels have increased. I’ve mainly looked for exclusives, as I’ve done in this convention, and once I set my eyes upon this Pop, I figured it was the perfect purchase. Granted, it was $25, and most of the Pops I get are on the cheaper side. The main reason why I got it, aside from liking the Hulk and “Thor: Ragnarok” despite having numerous complaints about it, is that it’s an exclusive from Toys R Us. As you may know, Toys R Us officially closed its doors for good here in the US at the end of June. When is the next time I am gonna buy something sold at Toys R Us? I don’t know, but I can guarantee it won’t be soon. I purchased this Bruce Banner Pop at Undiscovered Realm, which has a store located in White Plains, NY. Unfortunately, I will say that there was another one of these in a different store in the center that was available for $20, but hey, a Toys R Us exclusive is a Toys R Us exclusive.

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Speaking of exclusive Pops I could have gotten for a cheaper price, I also picked up a figure of Parzival from “Ready Player One.” I paid $15 for it at Wize Guys Collectibles and only bad luck occurred from this one. The day after I bought this Hot Topic Exclusive, I found another place selling it for $10! And as I went home, I don’t know how this happened, but the bottom must have opened itself! The figure was inside the whole time, so hopefully not much value will be lost. Ah well, I bought this with a couple of intentions however. I have an Art3mis figure on my shelf (GameStop exclusive), so I figured maybe I should put this next to my Art3mis since both are characters from “Ready Player One” and they lust after each other. Plus “Ready Player One” is one of my favorite movies of the year so you bet I had to get this.

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Sticking with Funko’s creations, we have a few more Pops to gloss over! These three I can’t recall exactly where I got them, and no, don’t say Target, because that’s false even though one of these is a Target exclusive! If I had to guess based on the map, it’s probably G and T Toys and More. I am happy with my picks. Captain Cassian Andor on the right is the second “Star Wars” Pop I purchased (first was Director Orson Krennic). I also have a Kylo Ren, but I got it from my sister. I also got Cable, because “Deadpool 2” is awesome, one of the best movies of 2018. Also, this was partially because there was a deal going on where if I bought three $10 Pops, the total would come out to $25. I’ll remind you, every Pop was $10, and there were three Doctor Strange Target exclusives. I had to pick up one of them. I later discovered some minor wear and tear on the Doctor Strange box, but whatever, I was glad to have it. Plus, it’s gold!

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The last of the Pops I got actually turned out to be the first Pop I ever owned to originate from a video game. One of my all time favorite companies in the video game industry is Valve, and every once in a while I might go on Steam and play a bit of “Team Fortress 2.” One class I occasionally play is the Heavy. It’s just fun to take his Russian mother load of a machine gun and go to town on people. Plus, the best part is that it was only $6! Not a bad deal if you ask me! This was actually purchased at Toytastik which sells toys online and seems to focus very much on comic book-based toys, so when it comes to comic-con, they know their customer base quite well. They were also selling a “Team Fortress 2” Medic, but since I MAY have damaged the box (not significantly, but still), I ended up getting the Heavy which I found shortly after finding the Medic. In fact, I’m actually satisfied with the Heavy. Aside for not damaging the item’s value, the big thing that makes me prefer the Heavy is that I don’t play as the Medic. When I play “TF2,” I do play a number of classes, but the Medic is not one of them. I just never found myself interested in playing a healer. But that’s just me.

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If you read last year’s review of Terrificon, you’d know that last year I picked up a couple license plates. The place where I did that was what I assumed to be “Fuzzy Fish Inc.” Based on what happened this year, I can probably say that’s where I got those other license plates. Because as you see above, I picked up a couple more plates and those were from Fuzzy Fish. The one above is from the movie “Blade Runner 2049.”

If you look closely in the image above which is a BEAUTIFUL shot from “Blade Runner 2049,” you may notice this license plate is located on K’s spinner. Once I saw this, I felt like Betty White thinking about the idea of never dying, I HAD TO HAVE IT. The shop happened to have a deal where you can get another plate which would make your total come out to $25.

The other license plate I’ve purchased comes from the movie “Spaceballs.” It’s not as cool as an “I ❤ Uranus” bumper sticker, but it’s not a bad purchase nonetheless. I do consider “Spaceballs” to be a fantastic parody so I am proud to own this.

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Moving onto t-shirts, one of my purchases took place at a stand operated by Robber Barons. I managed to purchase a shirt that contains the text “Ray & Egon & Peter & Winston,” otherwise known as the Ghostbusters. The stand had a great selection of shirts, in fact, I still remember seeing this stand last year with this same shirt. The operator was wearing one of the shirts on the stand, which said “POWERED BY PIZZA.” Personally, that sounds relatable. I got this shirt on Sunday and I had trouble deciding between this one and another shirt from a different shop. That other shirt by the way was a crossover between “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” and was mocking the “Solo” logo. Instead of “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” it said “Sulu: A Star Trek Story.” The other shirt is from 3D Printing by Muckychris. Both shirts were around the same price but the main reasons behind getting the “Ghostbusters” shirt was that some people think religiously that “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” are competitors that aren’t intended to be together and I’m more into “Ghostbusters” than I am into “Star Trek.” Heck, I have an Ecto-1 license plate in my room. What can I say? Although I did find out that Muckychris has an Etsy page so I can go ahead and buy the shirt anytime. I should buy it at some point, it could be like a peace demonstration for nerds. For those who are interested in Robber Barons, they design and print shirts in Simsbury, CT, which is located near the state capital of Hartford. They sell t-shirts, bandanas, and other sorts of stuff.

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I happened to get these next two shirts from the same place, specifically a shop called MTC Toys. Believe it or not, on the program I was handed at the con, it actually refers to the shop as MC Toys, so I apologize to all who get fooled by this error. They’ve been going to comic-cons for a long time, and they’ve got a crapton of apparel to pick from. They operate in North Tonawanda, NY, which is right near Canada. As you can see, I picked out a couple of shirts. The one on the left is the Seinfeld logo, and if you want to get into specifics, that is the Seinfeld logo which was presented on screen during season 3 and the first couple of episodes in season 4. On the right is a 2001: A Space Odyssey shirt. I figured I’d get it because for one thing I LOVE “2001” and I’m going to see the movie in IMAX next week. It’s gonna be dope! If you look at the shirt you’d notice that it contains a couple of images from the movie. One is of the space baby and the other is a shot of the monolith and the sun from the first encounter with the monolith where we see the apes. The only downside is the price (nearly $50 for both shirts after tax), but for the variety that’s in store, I guess MTC Toys is at least worth a gander.

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Sticking with the topic of “2001,” you can see I picked up three posters, and “2001” just so happened to be one of them. The other two are for “Ready Player One” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” I believe I got these at Rock N’ Reel Posters. I’m rather satisfied with my choices because I highly enjoy all three of these films, and I happen to have a quirky poster too with “Ferris Bueller” considering it’s meant to be hung sideways.

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Out of all the movies in the MCU’s first phase, “Thor” is definitely my favorite of the bunch. One of the best lines from that movie is on this glass you see above. Once I saw this, I had to get this! It was worthy! I got this thing from Go Geek, which sold nerdy candles with “Supernatural,” “Harry Potter,” “Pokemon,” and “Star Wars” themes, and some other cool stuff. When it came to getting this, I almost settled on one or two other glasses. Another glass that caught my attention was one that said “Wanna Smash?” One of the letters in that phrase had the “Super Smash Brothers” insignia, not to mention Samus from “Metriod.” And if you play “Super Smash Brothers,” you’d know Samus is one of the fighters in all of the games.

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This purchase here is not exactly one I originally made for myself. I was originally intending on sending this to my friend in Michigan, but he decided I should keep it, so therefore I’m keeping it. This piece of space Kirby awesomeness comes from Johnny Flid. Originally from Long Island, he is a master artist, muralist, fine painter, and illustrator. When I did a Facebook live from the con, I actually gave him a shoutout, so I hope he gets some attention!

And while I may be done with standard purchases that I’ve done at Terrificon, I have not gotten to a purchase that I made involving a celebrity. As you may know, on the Sunday for the con, I attended the panel for Pom Klementieff. However, the day before, I got in line to get her autograph. The line wasn’t long, but it wasn’t short either. It was however longer than I expected because I remember going to this con last year and lines were almost never a problem. In line, I got to glimpse at Henry Winkler (Happy Days, Arrested Development). I didn’t talk to him, but he was walking through and I tried say “ayyy” like he would as the Fonz on “Happy Days” and see if he would notice. I got no reaction however. Granted, I don’t watch “Happy Days” and I forgot to raise the thumbs! Dammit! Seeing Henry Winkler though, he does seem to be a nice guy, and definitely very interactive with fans. How often do you see a celebrity get out of their chair and move away from their table to get attention? They’re usually just sitting down!

So after somewhere between ten to twenty minutes, it is my turn to talk to Pom. I’m in my “You’re Not Groot” shirt that I got at this very con last year. From what I can tell, she didn’t notice it. We didn’t talk too much, mainly because I was busy with the assistant at her table. However, we did say a few words. Klementieff goes on and signs my free IMAX poster that I got when I saw “Avengers: Infinity War” on opening night. The biggest thing I can recall out of all of this was after we took a photo together.

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“Take names, kick ass.”

Once she heard that she kinda cheered in a way. I don’t know how often she’ll get that, and I bet there could be a point where she could be dead tired of hearing that. But with it being one of the best lines from “Avengers: Infinity War,” I had to spit that out. I did talk to a couple of other celebrities, specifically Sam Jones (Flash Gordon, Ted) and Lou Ferrigno, but I’m not gonna dive too much into that. Although I will say Sam Jones noticed my “You’re not Groot” shirt and we had an interesting exchange concerning it.

I could go on, but then I’d just end up babbling until the end of time. I really enjoyed Terrificon 2018, I thought this convention was an improvement over the previous one, I’m definitely looking forward to coming back next year. I gotta give a shoutout to the staff, some of the nicest staff I’ve encountered at a con. They know what they’re doing and they sound like they’re happy to be at the con as much as I am. Not only do they know their audience, but they also know how to put on a fantastic show. Thanks for reading this post! I’d like to thank everyone I encountered at the con, from Johnny Flid to Pom Klementieff and everyone I met during the Jackbox Games session, all of the people who took what could have been a decent con experience and turned it to something much greater. As for other cons, I actually do have plans to go to more down the road. This October I’ll be going to New York Comic Con. I’ll be going on Friday, October 5th, and Sunday, October 7th, it’ll be my first time at that convention, I’m very much looking forward to it. Also, the month after that, I’m gonna be in Providence for Rhode Island Comic Con. I’ll be there all three days on the first weekend of November, which is the 2nd through the 4th. Too bad I’m not going on the 5th, it could have been perfect timing to do a cosplay as V from “V For Vendetta.” These next couple of months are gonna be con heavy, which means you can assure yourself that you will be getting some great content coming your way. Be sure to follow so you can stay tuned for said content! You can either follow with your WordPress account or your email, nevertheless, make sure you click that follow button! I want to know, did you go to Terrificon this year? What was your experience like? Or, if you have any cons that you want me to go to in the future, leave a comment and maybe I’ll do some research on it. I will say, I’m in eastern Massachusetts so that will be a hint as to what maybe I can or can’t do. But nevertheless, leave your comments, I’d love to hear your suggestions! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

James Gunn FIRED From Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?! Who Should Replace Him?

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! I’ve got some very big movie news I want to go over very quickly here. When it comes to recent movies, a lot of people seem to think that Marvel has been killing it lately. With installments added to the Marvel Cinematic Universe such as “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Black Panther,” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” audiences have had something new from Marvel to rave about every few months. But something in particular could affect the future movies, mainly ones containing the “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

If you have watched “Guardians of the Galaxy” or “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” you may or may not be aware that a guy by the name of James Gunn wrote and directed both of those films. Some may say that “Guardians of the Galaxy” may be what it is as a movie because of James Gunn, so therefore a lot of people praise him. I can personally agree, it almost seems that he knows the style of the film and that really pops off the screen right into my eyes whenever I watch both installments. I may not have enjoyed the second installment, but the first one is definitely one of the better Marvel Cinematic Universe films.

Given the schedule of the MCU and success of both “Guardians of the Galaxy” installments, it just seems natural that the filmmaker suggested he was set to tackle a third installment in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise. He seems to have made progress on a script, recent talks between him and “Star Wars” god Mark Hamill got fans wondering if he would be taking on a role in the upcoming film, everything seemed to be going according to plan. That is… until July 20th, 2018.

It has now become apparent that James Gunn has made some controversial jokes on his Twitter account. Some of these older tweets were reported by Fox News, which to me is false advertising, because there are rarely any foxes on Fox News. You think CNN is fake news? At least their name is accurate! They’re a cable news channel! Fox News may call itself what it wants, but the day they get a bunch of foxes running around the studio would be the day that they’d win the Internet! Anyway, Fox News reported some of these tweets, eventually earning Disney’s attention. Once Disney’s attention had been earned, they severed their business relationship with James Gunn.

Now we are in a bit of a sticky situation here, because there are two sides to this very story that I can personally get. Some of you may be expecting me to say, THAT JAMES GUNN IS A F*CKING CREEP! HE DESERVES NOTHING! And trust me, now that this has been brought to my attention, I’m on your side. If this means that James Gunn is actually a pedophile (which I highly doubt), then wow! As much as I appreciate dark humor, I can personally understand why some people would be offended or upset by this. If these tweets were maybe put in a movie script for a dark comedy then maybe I’d appreciate this just a little more, but this is real life, where there are consequences for actions such as this. But there’s also another hand that really makes me wonder what the future for “Guardians of the Galaxy” will truly be. Gunn has basically made the franchise his own and he seems to have a particular sense of style that can not only be closely associated with himself, but the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise. Having seen this, I seriously wonder if this situation has a bigger impact on moviegoers than say Mel Gibson’s controversy. Granted I was only ten years old when he made that rude remark towards his girlfriend. I think this may be bigger because I imagine some kids may look up to James Gunn or really appreciate the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise, and it’s part of a big and relevant cinematic universe that gets brought up in conversation somewhere every single day now. Then again, let me just say, kids probably look up to James Gunn. They may not know who he is, but maybe without even knowing it, they look up to him. It wouldn’t be pretty for a kid to find out that their idol has been making rape jokes.

Plus, this has a bigger impact on me than a recent Disney affiliated firing that occurred. Some of you may know, FOR SOME REASON, they brought back “Roseanne,” with the forever lazy tagline “Same cast. New episodes.” Just a couple of months after the show started its revival season on ABC, the show’s star, Roseanne Barr, goes on Twitter and spits out a bunch of mumbo jumbo towards a senior advisor to former US President Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett. This tweet ended up being controversial, and ABC therefore canceled “Roseanne,” which is something I’ve been asking them to do with “The Bachelor” for a very long time but apparently they won’t listen! Nevertheless, “Roseanne” was pulled off of ABC’s schedule, and any content related to it has been removed from the ABC website. The thing about “Roseanne’s” cancellation however is that I was never a fan of “Roseanne” to begin with. One of the first thoughts I had about “Roseanne” coming back to ABC was “Why?” Granted, once I saw the ratings for the premiere episode, I could kind of see the point, but still, why? “Guardians of the Galaxy” isn’t anywhere near my favorite movie of all time. I thought it was one of the better movies to have come out in 2014, I gave it a 9/10 when I reviewed it, and I thought it was a very fun time. Judging by that, you might as well say I find “Guardians of the Galaxy” a lot more amusing than “Roseanne.” Heck! I found “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” a lot more amusing than “Roseanne” and that says something!

I wouldn’t say Disney’s wrong for what they did, but at the same time, I imagine it could be a sacrifice in quality towards “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” But, I will say, Disney, if you’re reading this, I will give a list of directors I think are qualified to helm “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” and for some of them, I’ll go into a bit of detail behind why I chose them.

  • Kay Cannon (Blockers, Pitch Perfect)
  • Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation)
  • Anthony & Joe Russo (Avengers: Infinity War, Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
  • Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, Hunt for the Wilderpeople)
  • Brad Brad (The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol)

Starting my discussion portion of these directors, we have Kay Cannon. I’ve been exposed to some of this girl’s work. I saw “Pitch Perfect,” which personally I hated, I wasn’t really that fond of it for the attempts at humor coming off as typical Hollywood studio comedy jokes that you’ve seen before, and it just didn’t feel like anything I’d write home about. Although, that movie is probably not made for me, I’m definitely not in the target audience. There is one thing however that made me go from HATING Kay Cannon to LOVING Kay Cannon, and that is “Blockers!” Based on the trailers, “Blockers” looks like your typical studio comedy, although in this case it’s really trying to be the next “American Pie,” but I ended up loving it after seeing it in the theater because of how relatable it came off not only to me, but from what I imagine, a number of parents who have teenagers. And most of all, it was funny! Another thing to consider about “Blockers” is that Kay Cannon had to tie together all of these characters, all of their storylines, and give them all their own individual beginning, middle, and end. Cannon didn’t write the screenplay for the movie, but given the amount of characters that may be aruged as being the “main character” of the movie, she did a spectacular job with what was given to her. Given the size of the character list in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” she’s probably gonna have to deal with just as many storylines while simultaneously having to make sure all of the humor in the movie works. Plus, “Blockers” is Cannon’s only directing credit. Since that movie came out, I wanted to see more work from her, and this is a good opportunity.

Next up is Alex Garland. Thus far he has directed two films, “Ex Machina” and “Annihilation.” While both don’t really have as big of a budget as “Guardians of the Galaxy,” they have been well received by critics. I personally thought both weren’t at the tippity top of my movie ratings scale, but VERY HIGHLY ENJOYABLE. Just a few weeks ago, I went back and watched “Ex Machina” for the fourth time, it’s that good. I’ve seen “Annihilation” twice, and while I don’t think it’s the best movie ever, I thought it was conceptually and visually beautiful. I will say though, according to IMDb, Garland’s directorial debut, “Ex Machina,” has an estimated budget of $15 million, and his next film he directed, “Annihilation,” has an estimated budget of $40 million. If he takes on “Guardians 3,” you might as well consider those past two films stepping stones towards the big guns. Plus, both films, kind of like “Guardians,” are in the sci-fi genre, so if Garland does well with “Guardians 3,” he would have three well received sci-fi films.

Up next, we have Anthony and Joe Russo. While these two may be known to some as the creators of the situational comedies “Community” and “Arrested Development,” fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe know them as co-directors of three films in the series that have been currently released, and another that’s set for a release next year. To me, the Russo brothers have directed the two best MCU films to date, “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Captain America: Civil War.” Both films, kind of like “Blockers,” involved a ton of characters that could potentially clutter the film. Personally, the way both of them turned out were phenomenal to me. Plus, let me say again, these guys have already directed four MCU films, one of which hasn’t been released yet. In fact, two of them have the Guardians in it! So not only do they have experience with superhero movies, comic book movies, Marvel movies, films with a ton of characters, but also characters from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise! From what I know, none of the actors from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise seem to have any major gripes with either director, so maybe that will allow the experience of making “Guardians 3” to be somewhat of a breeze.

Another director who has already helmed a movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Taika Waititi, as much as I personally found “Thor: Ragnarok” enjoyable, I wasn’t afraid to criticize it. Can any of you guess what my main complaint with “Thor: Ragnarok” is?

Anyone?

Hello, anybody home? Think McFly, think!

The main problem I had with “Thor: Ragnarok” is that it’s too much like “Guardians of the Galaxy!” As much as audiences found the attempts at humor in “Thor: Ragnarok” to be hysterical, I was just sitting down thinking, this is not “Thor.” It’s just a weird change of pace towards his character and it’s kind of ridiculous. And maybe it’s not because of Taika Waititi. After all, he didn’t even have a writing credit on the film. In fact, what I think should be done is if the director “Guardians 3,” whoever it may be, doesn’t want to write the film, Marvel should try getting the trio that wrote “Thor: Ragnarok,” otherwise known as Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost to work on the script. This could be especially useful towards Alex Garland, because he doesn’t put much humor into his movies. Then again this is the same guy who had a writing credit on DMC: Devil May Cry, a video game with this exchange:

MUNDUS: I am Mundus.

DANTE: You’re an asshole!

Given the script of “Thor: Ragnarok,” Waititi’s direction must have worked well enough lead to this “Guardians of the Galaxy” wannabe, and if they really wanted to take “Thor: Ragnarok” and make it a “Guardians of the Galaxy” film, someone could have just told them, “Hey! Want to make ‘Guardians 3?'” Well, that movie is happening now, so now is this crew’s chance to take it on!

The last director suggestion I have listed here is Brad Bird. When it comes to animation, Brad Bird is probably my favorite director of all time. He’s done both “Incredibles” installments, “Ratatouille,” and “The Iron Giant.” If you ask me, if Brad Bird happened to work on the screenplay of the film, that would be great too, because I feel that Bird’s best films are ones that not only he directs, but also writes. As much as I liked “Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” that’s a film he directed, but didn’t write. One of my other comments towards Brad Bird that may sound odd, is that I feel he does better with animated movies than live action movies. While I will consider “Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol” and “Tomorrowland” solid movies, they’re not anywhere near masterpieces. Some of you may be questioning why I am saying this because “Guardians of the Galaxy” is live action. You’re right there, but another thing to consider is how much green screen that film has. It’s all on computerized backgrounds! Plus, Brad Bird seems to have a good relationship with Disney, having done multiple films with them, which is something that James Gunn apparently doesn’t have anymore.

Now before I close this off, I want to share a true story with all of you. James Gunn is not exactly my favorite director, however I do find him to be one of the bigger standouts when it comes to the directors who have done recent film work. But James Gunn, despite how I feel about him, was apparently worthy enough, to have earned something that I think you all as an audience might want me to change. Just over a month ago, I graduated high school, and around that time, I got my yearbook. In the process of making the yearbook, I was encouraged to put something in as a senior quote. So after some searching on the Internet, I found what I thought was the perfect quote. Taken directly from IMDb, this is the quote I used in my yearbook:

“I have a very strong imagination and have since I was a little kid. That is where a lot of my world comes from. It’s like I’m off somewhere else. And I can have a problem in life because of that, because I’m always off in some other world thinking about something else. It’s constant.”

Guess what? JAMES GUNN SAID THAT!

I made a post on my Instagram with photo proof that James Gunn is the speaker of my quote in my high school yearbook! If anyone that’s affiliated with the making of the yearbook is reading this, I gotta ask… Is it too late to change my senior quote now that everyone is calling this guy a creep? Jostens, if you’re reading this, let me know! I mean, it’s only been a month since I graduated high school, I haven’t even started college, and I already have an excuse to change my senior quote!

Guys, thanks for reading this post that goes over a life-altering moment I never thought I’d have to face. James Gunn is a creep apparently, who knew? I love the first “Guardians of the Galaxy,” I’ll miss James Gunn’s unique and somewhat quirky style, and while I heard that Disney never confirmed Gunn was going to direct “Guardians 3” in the first place, it would have been easily predictable for him to do such a thing. With that being said, I hope an official director is announced soon, maybe one of my suggested candidates. As for upcoming content, tomorrow I’m going to see “Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again,” stay tuned for that review once it comes time to show it off, and also stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, what do you think about this whole James Gunn situation? Also, if you were to find a director or writer for “Guardians 3,” what would your pick be? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018): A Small Step Into the Ant Hill of Mediocrity

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“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is directed by Peyton Reed (Yes Man, Bring It On) and stars Paul Rudd (Dinner For Schmucks, The 40-Year-Old Virgin), Evangeline Lilly (Lost, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug), Michael Peña (American Hustle, End of Watch), Walton Goggins (The Shield, The Hateful Eight), Hannah John-Kamen (Ready Player One, Killjoys), with Michelle Pfeiffer (Batman Returns, What Lies Beneath), Laurence Fishburne (John Wick: Chapter 2, The Matrix), and Michael Douglas (Fatal Attraction, Wall Street). After the epic, destructive, game-changing events audiences have witnessed in “Avengers: Infinity War,” we might as well ask ourselves, what is next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe??? The answer… something much smaller. Take that last sentence in whatever way you want. In this newest addition to the series, we once again see Scott Lang, otherwise known as Ant-Man, having to deal with home life on house arrest, not to mention his own daughter. At the same time, he is recruited on a new mission alongside Hope van Dyne, who is also referred to as the Wasp, that requires an uncovering of secrets involving the past.

This movie is the sequel to 2015’s “Ant-Man,” one of my personal favorite movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As much as I might complain that some of the more recent Marvel movies try too hard with comedy to the point where it gets annoying, “Ant-Man” is quite possibly the funniest movie in its universe. Speaking of the MCU, this movie is the twentieth installment in the saga. Just a year ago I said there were fifteen of these since “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” came out. WOW. When it comes to “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” I honestly had low expectations for it. If you asked me where my expectations were in 2017, I would probably told you I’m really looking forward to “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” especially when you consider how much I enjoyed the first movie. And after seeing this movie, I’d say I had fun throughout my experience. Although I wouldn’t say I had enough fun to go see the movie again. While this is not my least favorite movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it certainly isn’t my pick to watch on a Friday night at home.

I kind of had a similar experience during this movie to what I had during my time watching “Uncle Drew.” I had a few laughs here and there, but it wasn’t enough. Granted, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” isn’t really a comedy, but those numerous laughs may have been one of the few highlights of my experience. Now with what I just said, I will state, with an enormous smile on my face, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is FAR SUPERIOR to “Uncle Drew.” “Uncle Drew” is not even a movie. To call “Uncle Drew” a movie is pretty much the same as calling Pizza Hut a restaurant. I’d even say calling “Uncle Drew” a movie is pretty much the same as calling Pizza Hut a fast-food restaurant! By the way, drink Pepsi! The Movie Reviewing Moron says that Pepsi is good for you and will help you live longer! Therefore, it just makes sense that Pepsi is good for you and will help you live longer! Also, be sure to enjoy that nice, cool, refreshing Pepsi, while reading my review for “Uncle Drew,” the most ambitious Pepsi commercial of all motherf*cking time!

UNCLE DREW REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/07/02/uncle-drew-2018-worst-pepsi-commercial-ever/

In all seriousness, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” qualifies to me as a movie. I never said however that it qualifies as a good movie. There are elements of goodness sprinkled throughout. It has some decent performances for the most part, especially from Michael Douglas. Some of the action is rather creative and fun, although personally it can’t beat the climactic fight during the first “Ant-Man.” The effects in this movie are really good, and you get to see a lot of them, especially when you consider how big of a role the quantum realm plays. All of the positive elements however are unfortunately clashing with another side of negative elements, ultimately leading to what I would consider a relatively average or mediocre experience.

I know that in comic book movies, suspending your disbelief is not only natural, but expected to the tenth degree. There were many moments where I was able to do that. I almost lost it on a building having wheels, but OK, it could be stranger. There is one moment however towards the end involving Ant-Man trying to jump over a vehicle, that almost looked fake as hell that some student who hasn’t even graduated high school could have created it!

I won’t get too much deeper into that, although I do want to talk about the characterization here. For the most part, everyone on the hero side seems to have some sort of dimension to them. There aren’t many complaints I can point out as far as that side is concerned, but when it comes to our villain side, you have multiple plot lines going on including one involving the security that’s supposed to keep Ant-Man inside his house, and another involving the main antagonist of Ghost. When it comes to Ghost, there wasn’t really much to her character (at first), she came off to me more like a bad guy who just wanted to do bad guy things. She didn’t have the depth or charisma that some of the other recent Marvel villains had. And just when I thought we were starting to get an epic streak of fantastic MCU villains (starting with Guardians 2), we’re suddenly back to this bulls*it. I know a good number of people weren’t particularly fond of Yellow Jacket from the first “Ant-Man,” but to me, Ghost made Yellow Jacket look amazing. I will say towards the end of the film, Ghost improves slightly, but for the most part, she was a lackluster villain.

Let’s talk about Ant-Man here. When it comes to his story, he is placed on house arrest. That is because his actions during the events of “Captain America: Civil War” was enough to be considered a crime. This prevents Ant-Man from exploring the outside world, which allows him to spend more time trying to entertain his daughter in creative ways, and master songs in “Guitar Hero.” I gotta say one of the biggest positives I’ll give Paul Rudd when it comes to his interpretation of Ant-Man, and maybe I should give kudos to the writing and directing as well, is how well encapsulated the chemistry between him and his daughter is. I think that is definitely one of the best parts of this entire movie. Seeing the two go through a cardboard maze at the start of the film seemed to capture that needed sense of togetherness. When it comes to Rudd’s overall performance, I thought it was good for the most part, but there is one scene in particular, where he was rather mother-like, which kind of felt out of place.

Alongside Ant-Man, you of course have the Wasp, played by Evangeline Lilly. I think most of the cool stuff you see with her character, maybe except a few lines of dialogue some might find funny, is already revealed in the promotional material, which ultimately diminishes her character in a sense. Although she was fun to watch in certain action scenes and I totally buy Evangeline Lilly as her character. Her chemistry with Ant-Man, while not exactly a shining star in the movie, doesn’t exactly disappoint.

I already talked about the main antagonist and I do consider her to be one of the major flaws of the movie. When it comes to other problems, I’m gonna blame it on the pacing. I am eighteen years old. Once I walked out of the theater, entered my house, and proceeded to my bedroom to start cranking out this review, I imagined myself as if I were a ten year old kid going to see this movie. After all, a lot of ten year kids probably like superheroes, and maybe if I were that ten year old kid, I might walk out of the movie saying I enjoyed myself, but that’s most likely to be due to seeing superheros on moving pictures projected onto a giant screen. Even if I wanted to fall asleep, I’ll still say I had a good time. My brain can’t process what a bad movie is. Heck, I went to see three live-action “Alvin and the Chipmunks” movies in theaters as a kid and enjoyed them. What kind of person was I? Hint, it rhymes with stupid! When breaking down this movie, I couldn’t help but think to myself that maybe all the pieces in there made sense. But maybe it was a tad more convoluted than it should have been. The pacing overall just felt like speed bumps, and I especially say this specifically when it comes to the halfway point. At one moment you’re kinda sorta enjoying yourself… maybe. Then boom! The boredom kicks in.

And honestly, part of me feels like this movie is not going to be stuck in my memory as much as some of the other Marvel movies unless I watch it again. This might actually be the most forgettable Marvel movie I’ve seen since “Thor: The Dark World,” and that is saying something because that movie is S*IT. This film is nowhere near as objectively terrible as “Thor: The Dark World.” Sure, the villain here is pretty bad, but I still think the villain from “The Dark World” is probably the worst in the MCU. Let’s also not forget (no pun intended) how hard this film tried to be funny. When I watched that movie for review purposes, I might have only laughed twice. Here, I laughed a lot more than I did there. In fact, one thing that surprises me about “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is how much funnier I found it to be than “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” And as I think to myself, I believe the reasoning comes down to one word I had going into “Guardians 2” but lacked for “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” Expectations.

If it were the beginning of 2017, I would have watched the first trailer (not the teaser, but the trailer) to “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” multiple times. I was really looking forward to that film, and part of me thought it was actually going to surpass the original movie because it looked HILARIOUS. But it wasn’t. It wasn’t even that fun. I mean, it was trying to be, but I didn’t feel like I was having fun. I was instead feeling like I was going through a two and a half hour long toy commercial for Baby Groot with attempts at humor that seemed to land with most of the audience, but not me. I will have you know, I watched that movie twice, and the second time I laughed more than the first one. Maybe I was in a better mood the second time because I wasn’t sitting towards the end of the front row of a crowded IMAX, but it just didn’t impress me. Also, my original 6/10 score went down to a 5/10. The first “Ant-Man” was a movie that I thought was one of the funnier ones in the MCU, but the thing about the first “Ant-Man” is that it’s not really marketed to be comedic. OK, maybe it technically is, but it’s more focused on delivering action than anything else. It’s not the full scale balls to the wall action-comedy that “Guardians of the Galaxy” is. Both “Ant-Man” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp” are pretty hilarious at times, and you do get the light vibe you might find in certain comedies in the marketing for both films. Although for both films, I didn’t exactly come for the comedy, I came for the action and superhero stuff. This might make the comedy somewhat funnier because you as an audience member don’t expect humor all that much. In fact, this may be why I find “Avengers: Infinity War” to be one of the funniest movies in the MCU and possibly the funniest comic book movie ever made. In a movie that is advertised to be super dark and the exact opposite of happy-go-lucky, a part of you might come in and expect some lightheartedness or comedy to take a back seat. No way hosay! When it’s delivered in that movie, it totally blends in with the moment despite having a story that is meant to be dark. Maybe it’s also because I as an audience member have been following the storyline for the MCU for a long time therefore allowing me to care more about everyone in the film, but it’s just an interesting blend of light and dark. Also, sticking to “Ant-Man and the Wasp” and expectations, let me just remind you that those were something which I lacked prior to and during my experience of watching the movie.

Before we get into my verdict there is one thing I want to go over, and that is the end credits. There is a mid-credits scene and a post-credits scene. The mid-credits scene is more important if you’re a follower of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its overall story. In fact the post-credit scene is probably so pointless that it only exists for the sake of putting on that “Such and such will return” thing at the end of every Marvel movie, but in case you feel that end credits scenes are a necessity to sit through, this is your notification to stay for them. One more thing, I think personally that the mid-credits scene might be better than the entirety of this movie. I felt more emotion (maybe for the most part) for everyone in that scene than I did during “Ant-Man and the Wasp” itself, so that says something right there.

In the end, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is not really up to the quality I would expect for a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. It’s not to say that “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is an abomination, but it’s certainly not a movie I would think about for days. I thought it was more fun than “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” but keep in mind, I had high expectations for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” While there are definitely movies that I thought would blow more than “Ant-Man and the Wasp” would this year, I didn’t think this particular film would be all that great. The trailers underwhelmed me, and it just didn’t have the same epic feel that the first movie’s trailers provided at various points. Would I recommend “Ant-Man and the Wasp?” Despite having some fun here and there, I wouldn’t say rush out immediately, but I do recommend the mid-credits scene. That’s just me though. I’m gonna give “Ant-Man and the Wasp” a 6/10. Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I’m gonna have my review up for “Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation,” I just watched the movie for the second time and I’m gonna be going over my thoughts on it in preparation for the franchise’s new movie coming out on July 27th, “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.” Stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Ant-Man and the Wasp?” What did you think about it? Or, which of the two “Ant-Man” movies do you like better? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!