HBO Max: First Thoughts

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Before we begin this post, I just want to remind you all that next month is going to have a movie-based theme. I will not go into it, but for the sake of having content and not having to worry about talking about how crappy the world is, that’s what’s happening. Also, while I do share my thoughts on HBO Max right here, you can also check out my half-hour long video of my first day with the service. If you want to check it out, click down below and if you like the video, feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel, which will have an all-new Blu-ray collection update coming this June!

PLEASE NOTE: If this is buggy, the video is currently being processed for copyright reasons.

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Here’s a post you don’t see often! Me talking about a streaming service! As you know, I have a large physical media collection, one in which I don’t plan on getting rid of ANYTIME soon. But today, we are going to be talking about the new streaming service HBO Max.

HBO Max is marketed as a platform “where HBO meets so much more.” Essentially, if you have HBO Now, it’s basically that, but with more shows and a purple background! Heck, it’s even the same price at $14.99/month! Although I did find a discount that let me get it for $11.99/month, so yay! Discounts! By the way, that discount is no longer available as it is a pre-order offer.

You get all sorts of old and new HBO content including movies and TV series. From everything to the fantastical, dark realms of “Game of Thrones” to a display of our reality within “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” There are also new original shows on the service as well that you cannot get anywhere else. One of the most notable titles is “Love Life,” starring Anna Kendrick, which dropped three episodes to the service on day one. It still has more episodes remaining, all of which are supposed to drop later on. Also joining the club with “Love Life” is “Craftopia,” a competition where 9 to 15 year old contestants get creative and try to take home the “Craftrophia.” You also have all new “Looney Tunes Cartoons,” a staple of the Warner library for years with brand new episodes. Plus “On the Record,” which centers around Drew Dixon, a former A&R executive. When it comes to originals and exclusives, the lineup does not intrigue me. But there is plenty more coming in the future including “The Flight Attendant” starring Kaley Cuoco, “Raised by Wolves,” exectuive produced by Ridley Scott, and there’s even continuations of past IPs such as an all new season of “Search Party,” which started as a TBS original, but will now be releasing new episodes via HBO Max.

I like the selection of outside content this service is starting out with. It’s got all twelve seasons of “The Big Bang Theory,” four seasons of “Impractical Jokers,” the Without Borders specials of “Conan,” and even though I haven’t sat through a whole episode yet, “Rick and Morty” is also on the service, and I have always been wanting to check that out. Plus, for those of you who smashed your television set once “Friends” was taken off of Netflix, you are in luck as HBO Max now has the entire series on their service. However, if you were going to watch the planned “Friends” reunion special, well that’s impossible at this point as production was halted due to COVID-19.

The service has individual libraries including Crunchyroll, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Turner Classic Movies, and DC. For those of you who are DC fans, a lot of the big players are there when it comes to movies including “Wonder Woman,” “Aquaman,” “Shazam,” “Supergirl,” “Joker,” and “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” However, when it comes to missing titles, some big ones are unfortunately not on the service. Including “Man of Steel,” Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy, and “Superman: The Movie.” Keep in mind that other services have these movies including Netflix and the separate DC Universe streaming service. Given how this new HBO Max service has shows including “Doom Patrol” on it, it would not surprise me if DC Universe fizzles out and HBO Max picks up a lot of the load that DC Universe left over. It’ll probably take shows like “Harley Quinn” or “Titans” and maybe implement them in the DC section. Given how HBO Max is trying to be a colossal service full of content, why not have these DC shows, which are likely being presented to a somewhat niche market be given to a wider audience? I would like to watch the new “Harley Quinn” show, but I don’t need another subscription to do it. As for other DC TV shows, HBO Max also has CW’s “Batwoman,” Cartoon Newtork’s “Teen Titans,” and HBO’s own “Watchmen.”

As for movies, HBO originals make a presence, including the recently released “Bad Education” starring Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney. But a lot of the movies present are either from Warnermedia in some capacity including all the “Harry Potter” films, minus the first “Fantastic Beasts” installment, the “Lord of the Rings” franchise, “The LEGO Movie,” “King Kong,” and “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Also included are a bunch of movies that you can find airing on the HBO airwaves regardless of who owns it including “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw,” “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum,” “Die Hard,” “Alita: Battle Angel,” “American Pie,” “Madagascar,” and “Stuber.” So while this is basically a Warner Bros. streaming service, it is welcoming other distributors and outlets to join the party, which if you are going to have a variety of content like this, it kind of makes the $14.99/month price worthwhile. Disney+ is $6.99/month, which kind of makes sense as it only seems to be catering to particular demographics. If you are a fan of “Star Wars,” Marvel, Pixar, or if you have a kid, Disney+ is for you. But HBO is more on the side of Netflix where they have content for everybody, including some of the most adult media of all time. But if you want to put on say “Sesame Street” or “Adventure Time” or “Scooby-Doo” or “Happy Feet Two” for the kiddos, it’s good for that too.

Now for a few negatives, I will point out that a variety of platforms will be getting HBO Max including Chromecast, PS4, Xbox One, Apple TV, newer Samsung Smart TVs, as a YouTube TV addon, and so on. But of the range in platforms available for HBO Max viewing, two of them ARE NOT Amazon Fire and Roku. Keep in mind, the other HBO apps, specifically HBO Now and HBO Go are still availabe on these devices but HBO Max is not as there is currently no deal that will allow HBO Max onboard. I would also be willing to bet if there is ever a case where HBO Max does wind up on those platforms that it will go in HBO Now’s place given how the services are basically the same thing but one has more content. Also, I will point out that I get a lot of my media on my Sony Android 4K HDR television, which DOES get HBO Max, thankfully. But one of the things that I noticed that was missing at launch happened to be options for 4K. This sort of surprised me as a lot of the movies already on the service happen to be able on 4K elsewhere, including through physical media. Plus, while HBO does not necessarily have a 4K channel setup through regular television, they do have 4K content. A couple of seasons of “Game of Thrones” are available on 4K Blu-ray, and the same goes for “Westworld.” Going back to Disney+’s $6.99/month asking price, I will also point out that while the library is smaller and catering to a niche demographic, one of the pros of the service is that there’s plenty of 4K content available and there is no extra cost for it unlike services such as Netflix, in which you have to upgrade to their premium package if you have a lower tier. Maybe 4K will be a future implementation, but 4K TVs in general have been getting cheaper year after year so I figured HBO might want to start keeping up with these times a little bit. Again, as much as I think HBO Max will serve me well overtime, I see benefits to my physical media collection which I have spent years building. Yes, I can go watch “Wonder Woman” with the push of a button through HBO Max, but what if I want to watch it on 4K? Boom! I got the disc! That and I don’t need internet for it! Booyah! I will also point out, even though HBO Max has a variety of content that I am willing to watch, there’s a lot that I wish they had. Even though I already own it physically, I noticed that one of the key movies they were going to put on the service were those of the “Matrix” franchise. In fact, if you watch promos for HBO Max, you’d know that “The Matrix” was a core player in those promos. It’s kind of weird how it’s not on the service! The only “Matrix” property on HBO Max as of writing this is “Animatrix,” otherwise known as the one “Matrix” thing nobody talks about. It’s kind of bonkers!

Oh yeah, and I am looking forward to the Snyder Cut. If you asked me, I personally enjoyed the 2017 “Justice League” film more than most people and I will not deny that I had fun with it. But getting an alternate version of the film that may line up more with what the director could have originally put out does excite me. I wish it would also physically come out on Blu-ray and 4K as it would be nice to have on disc, but only time will tell.

I want to know, HBO Max just recently launched, but what are your thoughts on the service? Are you enjoying it so far? What have you watched on it? Why did you get HBO Max? To watch “Game of Thrones” again and be disappointed with the final season once more? To watch “Friends” in a time where you literally cannot hang out with friends? To watch real REAL CINEMA like “Casablanca” or “Citizen Kane?” Where does HBO Max rank for you in a world with seventy thousand streaming options available to buy? Let me know down below! Speaking of things down below, if you want to check out HBO Max for yourself and maybe sign up, go to the link below the paragraph!

HBO Max

Thanks for reading this post! Here’s a weird thing to talk about in a post about a brand new streaming service! Physical media! Coming soon, for my 400th post, I’m going to be providing an all new update on my Blu-ray collection, which will contain new movies, but the same movie reviewing moron talking about them all! I will be doing it in video form on my YouTube channel but I will also be talking about it on here and sharing the video for you all to watch. To check this out along with other great content, be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, maximize your time by liking my Facebook page, otherwise known as that thing you’ll be checking when you’re distracted from whatever you’re watching on HBO Max. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Impractical Jokers: The Movie (2020): All Other Movies Can Suck It

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WARNING: The following blog post contains paragraphs of graphic fanaticism among a Movie Reviewing Moron who writes to avoid embarrassing himself.

Da-na-du-dun!

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“Impractical Jokers: The Movie” is directed by Chris Henchy, a name behind the scenes on various Will Ferrell titles and co-creator of the website, Funny or Die, one of the production companies behind this movie. The film stars Joe Gatto, James Murray, Brian Quinn, and Sal Vulcano as the four Jokers that pull pranks on unsuspecting people all the while trying to embarrass each other. Joining them is Paula Abdul, who is throwing a party in Miami. She invites the Jokers to come down to the party, but due to how they are missing an extra ticket, the four lifelong friends compete against each other to see who will and who won’t go to the party. Given how there’s four people, the one big loser sits out.

If you know me, it would not be that much of a secret that I adore the “Impractical Jokers” TV show. It is probably the best thing on TV right now that is not a game show. I’ve watched the show, I’ve been to their live comedy gigs, I’ve bought their merch, and I have personally talked to one of them up close. These humble gentlemen honestly deserve every solitary speck of success they can get. They may play cruel boys on TV, but trust me, they are some of the finest men I have seen in my life.

With this in mind, this brings up a problem that I will continue to highlight in this review. Not with the movie specifically, but with me reviewing the movie. Although my review process could admittedly, end up translating to what I think of the film. I am an “Impractical Jokers” fan. As a fan, there are certain expectations that I am waiting to have fulfilled. I want fun challenges that are purely hilarious. I want the four guys interacting with each other, maybe having a good time, or getting angry at one another. But I was honestly curious not only how an “Impractical Jokers” movie could work, but if it will work. After all, the equipment they use for television works for what it is, but I wondered if that is what they’d use for the movie. I have no idea what the movie is shot with, but they did a good job in terms of differentiating this film in terms of appearance from the TV show. It looks bolder, the color grading looks really good, and it still maintains a similar feel to the show itself. After all, the aspect ratio looks similar and the on-screen graphics are within the same barrier, while having some differences.

Speaking of similarities, I think like the TV show, the movie is really good. Now, there are several episodes of the show I’d probably rather watch again before this movie, but “Impractical Jokers: The Movie” is a fun trip from start to finish. “Impractical Jokers: The Movie” is a film that knows exactly what the fans want. Great challenges, a fine display of chemistry between the four Jokers, and “in the moment” stakes. Honestly, it’s funnier than a good portion of the recent comedies to have come out. Why? Because like the show, this movie tries its best to be raw. During the challenges, I felt a connection to the guys. The reason why “Impractical Jokers” as a concept works so well is because these guys are not pranking because they want to be jerks. Scour them in real life, they’re wonderful! but they highlight how scary pranking unsuspecting people really is.

However, this also brings a flaw into play. I will admit, even though I did enjoy the road trip bits, that is the inferior portion of the film. The reason being is because “Impractical Jokers” becomes reliant on a written script. “Impractical Jokers” is at its best when it is spontaneous, because I cannot see exactly what is coming. The best thing about the real lives of Joe, Q, Sal, and Murr is that you cannot write what happens next, making you willing to go along with what is happening as if everything was improv. When I was watching “Impractical Jokers: The Movie,” I noticed a few scenes that took place in hotels, and they specifically focused on Murr. The movie basically could have left out those scenes and barely affect the final product perhaps.

I will probably end up remembering this movie for how far it goes with its challenges. I am not going to go into all of them, because you know, spoilers. But they teased one scene online involving a tiger. INSANELY AWESOME. I cannot go into specific detail about it, but it is one of those things you kind of have to see to believe.

Speaking of things you have to see to believe, Murr faces a challenge that he called the most embarrassing moment of his life. All I can say is that it takes place in a club. That scene alone is worth the price of admission, because I lost my ability to breathe from laughing so hard at such a scene.

And of course, the guys are charismatic and relatable. They are legit best friends and this movie made me feel like the fifth Joker joining the ride alongside them. Each Joker has their moment, especially considering how this movie takes the time to insert multiple dedicated punishments. Each one of these is as great as the next and some of these I cannot even talk about because I need to guarantee that everyone going into the theater will laugh as uncontrollably as I did while watching it.

I will also mention once again, I am an “Impractical Jokers” fan, and as a fan, I have been impressed by what I saw. I enjoyed myself from beginning to end. But that brings a question… How much would this movie appeal to people who have never seen the show?

One of the things about “Impractical Jokers: The Movie” that I personally enjoyed is its tendency to deliver on inside jokes. There are cameos from people who are heavily affiliated with the show, there’s a “Where’s Larry?” joke, and even a mention of “Up your ass, and to the left,” one of the show’s commonly used phrases.

But this movie, based on what I have heard, was mainly made for the “Impractical Jokers” fanbase, which I believe is quite honestly an underestimated fanbase. One of the issues that can come from that is the fact that there seems to be an inserted sense of exclusivity. As a fan, I had fun with this tribute of sorts, but I still wondered what the average Joe (whose last name is not Gatto) would think of it. I think if you are not familiar with the “Impractical Jokers” show, you can have a good time with this movie. The guys are likable, but the road trip elements could be a little bit iffy. Plus, Paula Abdul is someone in this film that I am surprised I am not talking about more. It is at its core, FUN. And of course, pranks are not for everybody. I have grandparents who probably won’t watch stuff like this. I get it, no biggie. I think if you go into this movie expecting to chill with four friends on screen who maybe you’ll want to befriend yourself, this could be a movie for you. If you have never seen the show, some things could fly over your head, but the movie does stick to a story that many can enjoy. Maybe this movie will end up being swell enough for you to want to check out the show on television. It’s on literally all the time on truTV, so if this film is good enough in the theater, it could translate to how much you’d like the show on television.

I will say though, as much as I enjoyed how “Impractical Jokers: The Movie” differentiates itself from the show instead of just simply being an extended episode of the property, although ultimately brought to the big screen, it’s also a detractor. If I were to make another movie in this franchise, which I do want to see, I wish there was a tremendous focus that goes to what makes the show great, and if they were to have a subplot again that steers away from challenges, I wish it just had a little more dimension. Granted, the concept is intriguing. Having the jokers resolve an incident from high school was a pretty good idea, but for some reason, based on the sudden steer from reality at certain times, it just didn’t pay off every once in a while. I don’t know why. Again, when I think “Impractical Jokers,” I think of “in the moment” challenges, I don’t think of extended plots. Speaking of which, I get that this movie does have to make money, and I’m not suggesting “Don’t support it,” but there was one scene that felt like it was made for television. Why? Because it censors nudity. “Impractical Jokers: The Movie” is PG-13, and has some language to back it up. But there is a scene shown in the marketing where Murr is getting on a boat and his butt is revealed. Only thing is, it is censored by a graphic of Murr’s face. Should “Impractical Jokers: The Movie” have been rated R? I’m not so sure, but it would make some parts of this movie somewhat juicier. But again, gotta make that money! Besides, the show itself is TV-14, so by the movie being PG-13, it sort of does attract a similar audience. Maybe they ultimately made the right move. Does this take away from the buttload of fun I had with the movie? HELL NO! I dug this film! That my friends, is no joke!

In the end, “Impractical Jokers: The Movie” is a fun film. In fact as of this review, I saw it twice! Is the road trip plot a little lackluster? Sort of, but the guys make up for the lackluster plot by being themselves. Four breathtaking dudes who have a connection. The movie does a good job at adapting the source material for the big screen, allowing it to feel like a separate entity from truTV’s long-running program. The challenges are gutbustingly funny, there is a sense of replay value that could be achieved with this film over time (again, I saw it twice), and there seems to be a lot of passion put into the final product. Now, the movie would definitely be better if they heightened the situations a A LITTLE LESS, and if I cared more about the recently mentioned road trip stuff, but I can probably confirm that when I look back at 2020 in film, this will be one of the year’s funniest flicks. I’m going to give “Impractical Jokers: The Movie” a 7/10.

Thanks for reading this review! Just want to let you all know that my next review is going to be for “Emma,” directed by Autumn de Wilde and starring Anya Taylor-Joy. The film is based on a Jane Austen novel and is being marketed as a new vision of the classic tale. What do I think of it? Find out in my next review by following Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account! Another way to find out is by liking my Facebook page, and supporting Mark Zuckerberg’s quest for world domination of all mankind. I want to know, did you see “Impractical Jokers: The Movie?” What did you think about it? Or, who is your favorite Joker? You know, what the hell? I’ll even count Batman Jokers! Who is your favorite Impractical Joker? Or who is your favorite on-screen interpretation of the Joker character from DC’s Batman? Let me know down below, or you’ll be tonight’s big loser! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019): Dumb Dora Is So Dumb…

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“Dora and the Lost City of Gold” is directed by James Bobin (The Muppets, Alice Through the Looking Glass) and stars Isabela Moner (Transformers: The Last Knight, Instant Family), Eugenio Derbez (How to Be a Latin Lover, Overboard), Michael Peña (Ant-Man, End of Watch), Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives, The Sentinel), and Danny Trejo (Machete, Spy Kids). This film is based on the Nickelodeon cartoon “Dora the Explorer,” where a young girl and her monkey companion, Boots, go on adventures together, sing, encounter obstacles, including a fox named Swiper (played here by Benicio Del Toro). All the while, there are fourth wall breaks that involve encouraging children to talk to the screen, occasionally in Spanish. In this film, we get to know Dora as a teenager who lives in the jungle, but she recently learns she has to adapt to a more urbanized lifestyle and go to high school. This eventually leads to an adventure with her newfound friends and her cousin, Diego.

I was born at the tail end of the 1990s, I was raised through the 2000s. It was perhaps inevitable that “Dora the Explorer” would be a part of my childhood in some way, shape, or form. Granted, it was not my goto program at the time. That was more of my sister’s thing, but I did have some interest here and there at the very least. Therefore, I would say, while not calling it the epitome of my nostalgic roots, it did sort of fit somewhere into some of my more prominent childhood memories and experiences. So when I saw the trailers for this film, and granted, even before that, when I was hearing news about this film’s production, part of me was even wondering how it was getting made. Yes, “Dora” is an iconic IP and it does well with children, but I honestly wondered how this could even work as a film. Granted, upon seeing updates, I would say the crew got some things right. They did cast an OK Dora and she looked pretty similar to her cartoon counterpart. But I gotta be honest, the trailers did nothing for me. It all felt like a warning sign for the death of my childhood. And ultimately, that’s what this movie kind of is. It took something I knew from my childhood and split its head open.

Remember “Transformers?” Remember “The Smurfs?” Remember “Alvin and the Chipmunks?” None of those IPs were ever a part of my life before I watched their live-action film adaptations. Therefore when I first checked them out, I never had a part of my life affected. I never felt offended through a link to nostalgia by these types of films. I did however feel offended as to how bad “The Smurfs” turned out, but still. “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” was a movie where I knew the source material behind it, so basically I was taking a trip back in time. And this is sort of what the movie felt like at times. There are tons of homages to the original material, there are a couple fourth wall breaks, and some of the songs that they use in the movie are from the TV show. But let me just say this, there are certain parts of the show, core elements in fact, where I look back on them, I somehow cringe. The theme song is fitting, but catchy to the point that I would rather listen to “Baby Shark” or some other crap. As an adult, it is somewhat weird to go back to such a phase of my childhood where I was learning Spanish from a girl who doesn’t even use a map by herself. This is why when Dora would break the fourth wall, I would cringe and put my head in my large popcorn bucket! Granted, this is somewhat more adult-friendly than the cartoon, but nevertheless, the movie’s pretty stinkin’ cringeworthy!

It’s almost like “Batman & Robin” merged together with a Michael Bay movie. Between the stale humor and one-dimensional characters, that sort of statement makes sense. In fact, what adds even more sense into the mix is that when this movie was in development, news sites have reported about Michael Bay’s involvement.

None of this is true, by the way.

However, this film was directed by James Bobin, who has some other family-oriented entertainment on his resume including 2011’s “The Muppets,” its 2014 sequel, “Muppets: Most Wanted,” and “Alice Through the Looking Glass.” Now collective reactions would suggest that Bobin didn’t stick the landing 100% of the time, but nevertheless, he’s at least had experience. And to be fair, I saw “Muppets: Most Wanted” back in 2014, directed by Bobin, and I was impressed with what I saw. It was wacky, hilarious, and fun. I’ll give credit to Bobin because I think he did the best he could with the directing job. The movie is upbeat, has a quick pace, and it never feels like anyone has an off performance. Sadly, when you put the script into play, that’s a different story. While the film is a homage to the source material, it doesn’t mean it comes off as compelling or interesting. I will say, the script does have some excellent lines from Dora’s character that make her look like an absolute savage. Dora in this movie at times is almost like a female Sheldon Cooper, it’s bonkers! But aside from a few funny lines here and there, the script does nothing to justify its existence. I buy into the plot for the most part, I think as far as the story itself goes, there are barely any problematic complaints I could make. But various characters we get to know throughout the film feel like they have no chemistry. I’ll also mention that some characters have unearned moments I won’t get into.

Sure, I just mentioned the movie can be funny. But it doesn’t mean it’s always funny, in some cases, it’s really freaking annoying! There’s this one joke where Michael Peña talks to Dora about city life, which leads him to bringing up the concept of dancing. This leads to an explanation of the music they play during community dances where a DJ tends to get involved, and the joke becomes as old as dirt because Peña’s character won’t stop rambling about the subject matter! We get it! Move on! Stop torturing me!

By the way, this movie establishes that Dora likes to sing. Ultimately, this isn’t surprising. After all, there’s a ton of singing in the cartoon. In this movie, Dora sings… A LOT, and it gets annoying. Not only does she take part in singing songs from the cartoon that certain frequent viewers have come to recognize over the years, but there is also this one song that is shown in the movie. Guess what it’s about? Well, what do kids think is the ultimate joke in comedy? Poop jokes of course! There is a song in this movie about taking dumps! Holy s*it! No pun intended! This… I want to–My brain–…Just freaking kill me! This movie sucks! OK? This takes a lack of intelligence to a whole new level! GAH!

And this brings me to something that this movie has in common with a movie like “The Smurfs.” “Dora the Explorer” has always taken place in a somewhat fantastical setting, but we never really see her in a world that comes off as realistic. The original source material for “The Smurfs” has been the same way, but in the live-action movie Sony made in 2011, it was decided that they would come to our world, making New York City the epicenter of the entire film. Seeing “The Smurfs” interact with normal people in New York, including Neil Patrick Harris, was off-putting to say the least. In this movie, I kind of got a similar vibe. Dora states she’s from “the jungle,” a jungle which according to this movie, is still on Earth. But her interactions with fellow high schoolers and others are kind of weird and full of cringe at times. But hey! If the kids like it, why change it?

Because then the movie will be smart? Bah! Screw that!

Although I will say, there was one interesting moment of the movie that was sort of a homage to the original material that I dug. It was kind of weird, but also intriguing. I won’t go into it, but if you have seen the movie “Booksmart” and know about the scene where the two main girls have to climb a bureau, this reminded me a little bit of that. It’s wacky, but it’s also a tribute to what “Dora” followers have come to recognize over the years. It doesn’t make up for the rest of crap this movie makes me go through, but it’s there.

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There’s a scene where Swiper’s pretty badass. The movie’s got that going for it. But what else? What have we done to deserve this filth?!

In the end, “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” put me in what I like to call a “torture chamber of my childhood.” “Dora the Explorer” was not my goto show as a child, but this movie did take me back to my childhood. Doesn’t mean it didn’t sully my childhood at times! I think the cast did the best they could, I think the direction was somewhat tolerable, but the screenplay is less than satisfactory, the singing got on my nerves at times, and there are a couple of moments where I almost dozed off due to near boredom. I may not be in the right demographic for a film like this, but it doesn’t mean I cannot judge the film the way I see it. And the way I see it, would not happen to be through the best lens. I’m going to give “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” a 3/10. Thanks for reading this review! This weekend is the release of “It: Chapter Two,” I’m hoping to see it before the end of Sunday, but only time will tell as to whether or not I get around to such a thing. If you want to see more of my content, consider following Scene Before through an email or WordPress account, or even checking out the Scene Before Facebook page! Or, just browse for free! I don’t care, it’s your life. You do you. I want to know, did you see “Dora and the Lost City of Gold?” What did you think about it? Or, did you ever watch “Dora the Explorer?” Were you a young child? A parent? A critic? Whoever you may be, tell me your thoughts on the series! 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!

Who Should Host the 91st Academy Awards?

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! If you have been following some recent news lately, you may have been made aware that Kevin Hart was set to host the Oscars this year. However, that’s not the case anymore. This is due to his recent encounter with his own past, thanks to other people bringing it up. Hart once tweeted jokes that were considered anti-gay and homophobic, thus he decided it would be best to avoid letting himself be a distraction on Oscar night.

As for my thoughts on this, I am personally disappointed. I wanted to see Hart host the Oscars. Not only is he a likable movie personality, but he’s an effective comedian too so he probably could have executed some of the monologues with ease. Not to mention, he’s had hosting experience with CBS’s “TKO: In the Zone.” Also, the departure from the Academy hosting role reminds me of a similar case that happened this year, specifically with “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn. If you remember, James Gunn had old tweets which resurfaced, causeing his business relationship with Disney to be severed. I want people to be the best person they can be, but the fact is, everyone makes mistakes. Why are we not allowed to reflect on our own mistakes? Nevertheless, the Oscars needs a new host, so I figured since I have time to kill, I wanted to whip up a list of five (or six depending on my mood) capable people, regardless of their past actions, who have the potential to host this year’s Academy Awards show.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

My first pick on this list is, appropriately, someone who has worked with Kevin Hart in the past on “Central Intelligence” and “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” Dwayne Johnson. As far as hosting experience goes, he has hosted “Saturday Night Live” five times, and he has a new show coming up on NBC in January called “The Titan Games.” If a new host is not decided by the time “The Titan Games” is on TV, and Dwayne Johnson gets kudos for stellar hosting skills, the chances of him taking on the Oscars is only going to skyrocket. Not to mention, when I see him do any sort of project, I always have this sense that he is not only doing it for himself, but doing it for other people. He clearly is a happy man, even when he does s*it like “Skyscraper.” I think Johnson would add a shred of enthusiasm and deliver some excellent comedy with smile on the Academy stage.

Patton Oswalt

This next pick is more of a jump on a bandwagon than anything else, but it’s my list, so I’m going with it. I’m talkin’ about Patton Oswalt. Not only has Patton Oswalt been a legitimate movie personality for his work in films like “Ratatouille,” “Young Adult,” and “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” but he’s had some excellent roots in comedy as well. He has appeared in multiple episodes of situation comedies including “Two and a Half Men,” “King of Queens,” and now he’s a regular on NBC’s “A.P. Bio.” To add onto his comedy background, he has done several stand-up specials on HBO and Comedy Central. As far as hosting, he has taken on numerous award shows in the past. The Oscars is a step further from what he’s hosted, but I think Oswalt’s got the guts to step up to the plate.

Howie Mandel

Up next, we have Howie Mandel. Known for his comedy since the 1980s, this guy has had experience in both the film industry and hosting. When it comes to hosting, he has done “Deal or No Deal” from 2005 to 2010, that is until it has been recently brought back this year, and the 2009 Game Show Awards on GSN. When it comes to the films he’s done, he is known for “Gremlins,” “Little Monsters,” and “Walk Like a Man.” I think Mandel has the comedy chops to deliver excellent monologues, funny jokes, and a lovable stage presence. He could probably joke about how hard it is to host the Oscars compared to a game where he has to stare at beautiful women opening cases. Plus, when it comes to politics, this is something I never tended to associate with Howie. This may be just me talking, but even if Howie had to joke about politics onstage, I don’t know if they would tend to associate with his political views since he never usually tends to reveal them, at least according to my experience.

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It has been a trend that talk show hosts have been stepping up to the plate for hosting big award shows. Just this year alone, Seth Meyers hosted the 75th Golden Globes, Jimmy Kimmel hosted the 90th Academy Awards, Stephen Colbert hosted the celebration of Julia Louis-Dreyfus as she received the Mark Twain prize, and James Corden hosted the 60th Grammys. Why not have a talk show host duo? I would like to not only see Conan O’Brien host the Oscars, which would be an awesome thought by itself, but it would also be cool if Andy Richter was there alongside him. The two work flawlessly together, and it is easy to see after so many years. The possibilities are endless for comedy with these two. Also, when Seth Meyers hosted the Golden Globes, he actually took a bit from his own show, “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell,” which takes jokes that wouldn’t be funny coming from Seth Meyers, and lets them fly out of the mouths of other people. I think there are tons of bits that can be taken from Conan’s show and put into the Oscars. I wonder if there would be a rights issue since “Conan” airs on TBS and the Oscars airs on ABC, but I would love it if this were to happen. One bit could be “What Am I Watching?,” which takes TV shows and gives them fake descriptions that can be found with a click of the “info button.” Although instead of TV shows, it could be movie themed. Another one could be “Celebrity Survey,” which takes simple questions about a celebrity’s life, and there are a number of goofy answers that stand out compared to the normal answers. An example for the case of the Oscars would be:

“I don’t want to stop _______”

STEVEN SPIELBERG: Showing off my imagination to moviegoers.

GAL GADOT: Inspiring my fans.

MERYL STREEP: Stealing well-deserved wins and nominations from my fellow acting peers.

One other idea I have for Conan and Andy is at one point, they can come out as Batman and Robin. Conan is Batman while Andy is Robin, and given how Andy is often viewed as nothing more than Conan’s sidekick, that can make for some excellent comedy.

Alec Baldwin

And finally, we have Alec Baldwin. This guy is a triple threat. He does comedy. He does film. He does hosting. In fact, if it weren’t for “Deal or No Deal” coming back on CNBC, Baldwin would be hosting my favorite game show on TV right now, specifically “Match Game.” He has also been a significant part of “Saturday Night Live,” especially in recent years now that Donald Trump is in office. This does bring in my minor concern that maybe the politics will go overboard, but knowing Baldwin, he is able to make politics funny. When it comes to movies, Baldwin’s résumé includes notable credits from “The Departed,” a couple of “Mission: Impossible” films, “The Boss Baby,” and “It’s Complicated.” In fact, of all the potential hosts I listed here, Baldwin is the only one who has been nominated for an Oscar. So it would only be fitting for him to host since he’s had partial experience with the ceremony before.

These are just my picks, and chances are that some of you will disagree me. All of these are just one crazy moron’s opinion, so I want to know, do you have any ideas on who should host the next Oscars? Or, what or who do you think will be nominated this year and for which categories will such a thing or person be nominated? Let me know down below! Thanks for reading this post! This weekend I am gonna try planning to go see a movie, either “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” or “Mortal Engines.” I will also say, this is my last week in my first semester of college, so I currently have a good amount of time on my hands to go see movie. Since it’s December, I have absolute intentions to see a lot of them. I actually wanted to see “The Favourite” yesterday since it was playing at a couple theaters near me on the way home but I passed up on the opportunity. Oh well. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with your email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Oscars Best Popular Film Category CONFIRMED To Be Implemented To Boost Ratings

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! I usually don’t talk much about TV, but today is one of those once in a blue moon occasions where I have to bring it up. Although this one is especially appropriate because it heavily involves movies, celebrating movies, and perhaps the future of how film itself is viewed. In August, The Academy came up with some ideas to spice up the upcoming Oscars ceremonies. Two of them were ideas I thought would have little to no effect on how the show is run (earlier airdate, commitment to three hour telecast). I still question them to this day, but at the same time, they are nowhere near as questionable as the one we are going to talk about today. As you may or may not know, one recent idea that has come out of at least a single brain of The Academy is the introduction of a category based on “Popular Film.”

What does that mean? Well, the answer isn’t exactly 100% clear. But in all likelihood it has to do with films that have a huge fan followings prior to or after its release. Box office may be a huge determining factor so the Marvel movies are one true example of the films that can get nominated. And one thing about this that seems very obvious, it might be an excuse to say that a certain movie that wasn’t “good enough” can get nominated, or even win an Academy Award. Let’s take “Black Panther” for example. It’s a superhero movie, based on a comic book, with a diverse cast, it made more money than most of the movies released in 2018. Critics loved it, and so did fans. Keep in mind, there is not one single film released in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that has ever won an Academy Award. There have been several nominations over the years, but not one movie was ever victorious. So one of these movies finally wins, and it happens to be “Black Panther.” Well, what does it win? Best Visual Effects? Best Sound Mixing? Best Cinematography? No! Nothing of excellence! Best Popular Picture!

ME: But that truly doesn’t measure how good a movie is!

THE ACADEMY: But it’s popular!

ME: Doesn’t make a difference!

THE ACADEMY: But they won!

ME: How do you think the Chicago Cubs would feel or be measured if they won “Most Popular Team” in 2016 instead of the World Series?

THE ACADEMY: But “Black Panther’s” a great superhero movie!

ME: Listen to me, measure FILM AS A WHOLE, or die!

This Best Popular Film category is literally going against all that the Oscars is about! It basically takes the idea of excellence, and literally meshes it into something along the lines of the Teen Choice Awards or the MTV Movie Awards! I’m bringing this up today mainly because there was a recent piece written by Vanity Fair that I feel needs to be talked about. Let’s take a look at this first statement from a suggestion.

“The best-popular-film category might not be presented at next year’s Oscars, but the Academy is still keeping the idea in its back pocket.”

Is that another way to say you’re keeping it alongside your ass? Because while you may not be doing such a thing intentionally, this sure as hell feels like such a thing is happening. That’s not the statement we’re going to dive into supreme detail about however, because we haven’t even taken a look at the next statement.

“Bailey also confirmed that the award was designed as a direct response to the ceremony’s disappointing ratings, which have fallen steadily over the last few years. Drawing viewers in by catering to mainstream hits “seemed like a good idea” to the board at the time, he said, but the pushback against the proposed new category was strong enough that the Academy ultimately announced that it would no longer introduce the prize at the 2019 ceremony. However, that is “not to say that the idea is dead,” he added. “Even after a stake was driven through its heart, there’s still interest.””

With that in mind, let me just remind you that I was one of the people who sat down for the most recent Oscars ceremony, which received the lowest ratings out of any of its telecasts. Some choose to blame the long runtime, while others will speak towards the political talk, and a certain orange individual will point out the following:

All opinions aside, the Oscars had its lowest ratings this year with 26.5 million viewers tuning in, which does not include people watching through digital or mobile platforms. Slight digression here, but this is just one of the event programs airing this year which has just hit a new low. The Emmys and Country Music Awards have both suffered to the point where they too have received the lowest ratings of all their telecasts. The Super Bowl just received its lowest ratings since 2009. The MTV VMAs also had their lowest rated show this year, which believe it or not, means they went two years in a row having their lowest rated show. This is a problem for sure, and I’m willing to bet part of it has to do with politics, a lack of attention span, and maybe the fact that streaming doesn’t always get tracked in ratings (although Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV are slight exceptions).

But speaking of ratings, I cannot see into the future, but I don’t see how this popular award is going to help! The fact that you guys are even still thinking about it NOW is baffling to me. I remember it was said that this award was going to be “postponed” from the next ceremony, but now that conversations about it have resurfaced, I feel the need to add in my two cents about it. The fact that the Oscars is considering doing this is just sad. It’s sad because I’m a movie fan, and as a movie fan, I watch the Oscars not because I’m saluting movies that make lots of money, but because I’m saluting movies in terms of brilliance and the very idea of film as a whole. In fact, this category, Best Popular Film, is an insult to moneymaking films. I said it once before, this reminds me of the Best Animated Feature category. It’s a category for movies that MIGHT NOT BE GOOD ENOUGH for Best Picture or other categories, but hey! We have more nominations to gloss over! Maybe there’s an argument to be made that the Oscars is already somewhat of a popularity contest because you have a group of people voting on movies that they’ve experienced in the past and everything on the nomination list is from their perspective. My response, try making your own award show, where you are the control center of all operations, and avoid putting your opinion into one thing related to it.

With that in mind, let’s move onto another part of the article.

“Bailey pointed out that there is Oscar precedent for handing out two different sorts of best-picture awards. At the very first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929, the best-picture category was split into two sections, with one recognizing the best-box-office hit (“Wings”), and the other the best artistic production (“Sunrise”).”

You understand the meaning of “worst for first,” right? This somewhat reminds me of what the Golden Globes tends to do every year, because for their awards, they seem to split the awards by genre. For certain awards in both movies and TV, we see the label towards the end, “Comedy or Musical” or “Drama.” While that may make the awards somewhat less prestigious, it still works better than the Academy’s popular film idea because at least it has nothing to do with how much money a film makes, or the amount of people who follow it simply because it is either trendy or in the moment. I’ll be honest, while to some people this might be a stretch, should “Avengers: Infinity War” be nominated for Best Picture, I’d be very happy for it. We are getting towards the end of the year, I don’t know how long such a thought will stay in my mind, but still. If it were nominated for Best Popular Picture, it would be an insult to the movie. Hey, movie! You’ve got a fan following! Ignore the critics! The fans love you! Here’s your kiddie table!

And speaking of fans, let’s take one word in the first quote and talk about it in depth. Catering.

Catering is fine when you’re having a special event such as a party or a wedding. Other than that, catering sucks! The fact that the Oscars might ignore their previous ways and CATER to mainstream audiences is just abysmal! You know who does that? The MTV Movie Awards! Most of the awards are for films that mainstream audiences know! That’s not always a bad thing, but what if there’s a year that all the mainstream audiences watch whatever happens to be disposable garbage? To the mainstream audiences, watching films is entertaining, not a job. Not only that, but some of the movies you’ll find are ones that critics are not even giving deep attention towards! When you have Kristen Stewart winning THREE awards for her performance in the “Twilight” franchise, that is a not a positive sign.

Now this is the part where things get a whole lot worse:

“Bailey also tipped off some of the Academy’s ongoing conversations about the future of the organization and the televised Oscar ceremony, noting that Disney, which owns ABC, is trying to “expand the awards to millennials,” in order to help the telecast thrive through ABC’s 2028 contract.”

I KNEW IT! DISNEY WAS BEHIND THIS ALL ALONG! HOLY F*CKING MICKEY MOUSE I WAS RIGHT!

OK, well, maybe not entirely. I’m not sure if Disney has a hand in the Best Popular Film category or not, it’s hard to say. But the fact that the Oscars is going from the most prestigious award show in movie history to a yearly event that solely depends on ratings means that it is basically going through a humongous downfall. This is an issue that is worse than the politics! This is an issue that is worse than the long hours that I’ll honestly sit through but others can’t take! This is an issue that relates heavily to one of the biggest complaints associated with sports for younger athletes, especially some in the millennial generation. The participation trophy. What’s going on here is that the Best Popular Film award is the kiddie table award that says a movie wins something but in reality, wins nothing. They get the award equivalent of a sticker. Yay! You voted in the election! Chances are you just killed us all! But hey, here’s a sticker for your valuable efforts!

I got to ask a serious question though, how exactly is the Oscars going to target millennials? What are they, going to advertise the show with glossy backgrounds and everyone has Snapchat dog filters on their heads? Are they going to go nostalgic and celebrate the movies the nineties’ kids used to watch? Maybe put all of the older Oscars telecasts on Netflix or the new Disney streaming service? But if you are only trying to force voters to vote for movies that mostly millennials watch, then the Academy has crossed the line. I could go into catering, but I’ve already done enough of that, haven’t I?

I may have calmed down about this a couple of months ago, especially when you consider that it was announced that this award was postponed. But to me this is something the movie nerd community is likely to talk about. It’s like the comic book nerd community trying so hard to talk about the latest updates on the supposed “Gambit” movie that should be happening sometime soon. Maybe never, I don’t know. I thought the reason the Oscars was going to implement this was to boost ratings, and boosting ratings is not a bad idea considering what their audience consisted of this year, but this is not the way to do such a thing. The Oscars, is about prestige. It’s about celebrating the best in film. Let’s keep it that way.

Thanks for reading this post! If you are interested in more of my content be sure to check out my review for this year’s Rhode Island Comic Con! I went for the fourth year in a row and there are so many reasons to love it! Please check out my post! I will say I have no scheduled reviews for this weekend (that could change though), but there is a movie I did see on Monday called “Second Act.” I’m not going into detail about it whatsoever, my lips are sealed, it doesn’t even come out until December 21st. I don’t know when the review embargo lifts, but I can guarantee you’ll see my review when the Rotten Tomatoes ratings are revealed. There’s already verdicts on Facebook, but let’s face it, it’s Facebook. Who really cares at this point? Be sure to follow Scene Before with your email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you read the Vanity Fair article or hear about this whole fiasco somewhere else? Or, since we are taking shots at the Oscars, what do you think is the worst thing about the Academy or the Oscars? Let me know down below, and speaking of down below, if you want to read the Vanity Fair article I’m talking about, click the link at the end of the post! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

VANITY FAIR ARTICLE: https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2018/11/best-popular-oscar-ratings-john-bailey

RHODE ISLAND COMIC CON 2018 REVIEW/HAUL https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/11/11/rhode-island-comic-con-2018-review-haul/

New York Comic Con 2018 Review/Haul

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! It’s time to go over perhaps not just one of the biggest events I’ve attended all year, not just one of the biggest events I attended ever, but one of the biggest THINGS I’ve ever attended. A couple weeks ago I’ve been given the absolute privilege to go to New York Comic Con. A friend of mine who I have known for a few years decided to go all out for a graduation gift and give me the most badass thing ever. Given this post, you might be able to guess I got Comic-Con tickets. This is my first time at New York Comic Con, and my second time in New York throughout my life. My tickets were for Friday and Sunday, two out of four days the convention goes on for. As far as my Saturday went, I happened to go around New York City with my mother, but that’s irrelevant here. If you want my thoughts on that, it was fun, end of story. Now let’s focus on New York Comic Con.

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New York Comic Con is a yearly event held in New York, NY’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. As far as attendees go, these conventions usually get somewhere in the six digit range. According to Wikipedia, over 180,000 people attended this very convention in 2016. This year, many celebrities were present from ranges in entertainment, literature, gaming, and comics. The show’s basement has an ENORMOUS Artist Alley, but let me make it clear, I didn’t investigate any further into it. I also didn’t go to any panels, but there were some I would have gone to if I had the time or greater motivation. One was the “Mortal Engines” panel, but I couldn’t get in because once it started, I actually wasn’t in the convention center yet. However throughout my visit I did a bunch of other things that were definitely enjoyable. There is so much to go over when it comes to what New York Comic Con has that it is so easy to say that I am not gonna be able to hit all of it. But all of the highlights I did hit, I’ll document them here. Let’s start this off by going over some purchases.

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This first section relates heavily to what I do here at Scene Before. These con posts, I just do them as a hobby. I don’t get invited to cons. It would be nice if I had a chance to promote this site there at some booth or something though. As most of my followers probably already know, my main dedication goes toward movie reviewing. This is probably the con that I’ve gone to that relates closest to movies than any other. I say that because while some cons I go to I am well aware that they have those movies and TV shows that you can’t really buy in other stores (this con has that too), there is one space in this con that is actually a movie store, and that is FYE. I will say though, this is not my first time seeing an FYE at a con. At Rhode Island Comic Con, FYE actually happened to be present every year I went.

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In fact in 2016, I actually managed to buy a piece of wall art from there which had Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman on it. I got it signed the next day for very low price of $125. That is $15 cheaper than a professional photo op alongside her.

Although when I went to that FYE, movies were not a priority. Sure, last year I remember seeing a bunch of Japanese anime-related film material. Although I usually don’t seek out anime. This year at New York Comic Con, they decided to show off some Funko Pop Vinyls, including exclusives from FYE and believe it or not, San Diego Comic Con. They also had their exclusive food such as 10th Anniversary MCU cereal, Breaking Bad blue meth, and because the game apparently is still relevant enough to be a thing, Five Nights At Freddy’s cereal. I didn’t buy any food however. Instead, I did buy a few movies. One of the exclusive steelbooks they had happened to be an early purchase of mine on Friday, which was the “Iron Giant” steelbook. I have seen “The Iron Giant” before on TV, however I have never owned it. It’s a really good movie and definitely showcases the absolute talent of director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol). Speaking of exclusive steelbooks, I went back on Sunday and they still had plenty of steelbooks to choose from. They had a bunch of horror related ones, after all it is October, so I went in and got a couple. I picked up the FYE exclusive of John Carpenter’s “Halloween,” which I already watched, and it is pretty much like the 35th anniversary edition. They do have a 4K edition of the movie which came out recently around the same time as this copy did. I never got that, but I went to Best Buy the day after getting home from New York and they had it for a cheaper price. Wah. I also picked up “Halloween II,” more specifically, the Scream Factory steelbook for it. This is also my second possession from Scream Factory. My other Scream Factory product by the way is a steelbook copy of “They Live,” which I purchased a matter of months before I attended this event. Much like “They Live,” this steelbook has only 10,000 copies. It includes the theatrical cut and the TV cut. The TV cut has additional footage which has not been seen in the theatrical cut.

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Another purchase at FYE was an exclusive Funko, specifically one of Iron Man in “Avengers: Infinity War.” They had a decent selection of Funkos lined up, but Iron Man was the way to go for me. After all, when it comes to superheroes, “Iron Man” is easily up there as one of my all time favorites, Robert Downey Jr does a great job as the character and his screen presence is nothing short of a crowd pleaser. Although I’m surprised they didn’t make the label “Iron Man (Unmasked)” or “Iron Man/Tony Stark” because you can see his face. And like most of my other Pops, it’s still in the box. Speaking of which, I also happened to buy a Pop protector case. No, I am not using it for this Pop, because when I came home from the con, I went to the mall and stopped inside Thinkgeek. They had an E3 exclusive (also available in GameStop stores) of King Dice from the video game “Cuphead.” As of now, that is inside the protection case. For those of you who want to know more information about this FYE, I will have you know that the receipt actually lists the information for an actual FYE store out there. Similar to how at Rhode Island Comic Con I bought an item there and it tells me that the store happened to be from the Auburn Mall in Auburn, MA. This item is actually from the FYE at Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, NY. This mall is located on Long Island and is owned by Simon.

Speaking of places you can get movies, I actually happened to come upon a stand which I happened to recognize. It’s not a store, and it’s not for a particular person either. Instead, it was for a motion picture studio by the name of Magnet. For those of you who don’t know, Magnet Releasing is actually associated Magnolia Pictures, a studio founded in 2001. Magnet believe it or not is a name that is often associated with Magnolia’s genre and foreign films. I bought two movies at the stand, specifically “Marrowbone” and “RBG.” “Marrowbone,” or as it is referred to on IMDb, “The Secret of Marrowbone,” is about a man and three younger siblings who are cursed in a manor which they live. “RBG” is a documentary on the life of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. So one movie is about something that is haunting a house and the other is basically about a woman you can basically picture as a spirit in said haunted house.

I mean, just look at her! That open mouth will contribute to haunting your nightmares!

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Also, because I picked up two films, I got a free t-shirt that came with them. Yippee! As you can see, it has the Magnolia Pictures logo on a field of black. That was also the only t-shirt I picked up at the con. However I almost went ahead and picked up a New York Comic Con shirt because I feel like out of all the cons I’ve gone to in my life, this is the one that I would most likely buy a self-promoting t-shirt from. Not everybody wants to promote the fact that they went to Terrificon. Not many people have even heard of Terrificon! I’m not bashing against Terrificon, I went this year and I had more fun than I once expected to. By the way, if you haven’t thought about it already, go to Terrificon next year.

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My next purchase to go over is a Funko Pop Vinyl which happens to be retired. About a month I went into the New England-based nerd culture store Newbury Comics, they had a 25% off sale going around the store. I took heavy advantage of that. One of the purchases I made there was a Pac-Man Pop. Appropriately, when I saw that a place had a Pop for Ms. Pac-Man, I was intrigued. That place by the way was called Shorething Collectibles, which is based in Pennsylvania. They are a family owned business that sells Funko Pops, plush toys, and home goods.

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Moving onto another purchase I made, there was this one place that went by the name of Omakase Images. They can be found online at http://omakase-ltd.squarespace.com/, and they specialize in nerdy art with a slightly religious touch. My purchase happened to be a magnet that says “SAINT NEIL: THE INQUIRING.” As you can see in the picture above, it shows Neil DeGrasse Tyson, which I think is just plain cool because it kind of suggests that science and religion have come together. Two ideas that never seem to mesh together, happen to be completing a double-piece puzzle.

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That’s not all the purchases I’ve made. After all, I have gotten a couple autographs, which I will get to. Although one of the biggest praises I can give to New York Comic Con is how they handled crowd control. Given the size and popularity of the convention. The crowd control here is executed BRILLIANTLY. I don’t know exactly what went into everyone’s mind. But I arrived at the convention at sometime around 9:45 AM on Sunday. According to my badge, the doors didn’t open until 10 AM. I still was able to avoid a huge line through the security check. Keep in mind, the security gates are located outside, not too far from where you can enter the convention center. Part of me is willing to bet that maybe there’s something I am unaware of when it comes to this convention that I am truly missing. Although this convention actually manages to have some of it’s cool stuff outside. There’s an “American Gods” diner, some promotional stuff for shows like “Outlander” and “The Good Place.” There was some fun to be had outside. Maybe everyone lined up very early and were let in at 9 AM. Perhaps they all got to stay outside, because that is totally something nerds very often do. Either that or people with VIP tickets were scheduled to go in early and the staff didn’t care if anybody else walked in. It’s New York Comic Con! It’s a party! Some of you might not afford to go next year so let’s make this one count! Overall, it’s a pretty effective use of space and it gives you something to do when you want some breaths of fresh air.

Speaking of promotions, I also took a picture in front of a car promoting “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I will say something though regarding my picture. It was not taken on any personal camera of mine. It was taken on a camera already set up at the event. Unfortunately, I cannot find the picture of me alongside the vehicle. I will admit I got badges from a friend, and with that in mind, I was willing to imagine that they were linked to one of our emails. As far as I know, it has no link to mine (I checked, even in spam), I asked my friend if they had it just in case, but there was no sign of it. Aw, well. It’s just a picture. Experiencing is what counts.

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And this is the one thing that I can imagine is a negative to New York Comic Con. I didn’t really mind this, but I can imagine someone coming here, ready to have a good time, and all of a sudden, they are overwhelmed with one bit of promotional material after the other. All of the convention you can see stuff for Capcom, Marvel, Disney, Funko, and Starz. The badges that I had on me were actually advertising AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” There’s even a Syfy Wire Fan Lounge and a Syfy Wire Live show! It kind of makes sense when you think about it because this convention is organized by ReedPop, which organizes PAX, which I’ve been to. There’s video game advertising up the wazoo. Everybody there is just trying to show off their latest and greatest video game whether your name is Nintendo, Bethesda, Square Enix, or Blizzard. This all kind of reminded me of one convention my friend went to in Las Vegas, specifically the one that celebrated “Star Trek’s” 50th anniversary. My friend explained that she went and was just comparing it to Dragon Con and how she feels that Dragon Con caters more to fans whereas the “Star Trek” convention she went to was more of an advertising effort. New York Comic Con in my personal opinion takes every chance it gets to advertise something, but it also simultaneously keeps everything in balance by providing a good show for the fans. In fact, I’d say it was a wise choice for Syfy to advertise at this event given how they often use the slogan “It’s a fan thing.”

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Although, one of my favorite promotions in the entire con has to be for Amazon’s upcoming show “The Boys.” This was one of the first things I saw once I walked inside the convention center. F*cking brilliant.

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One of my favorite video game franchises is “Super Smash Brothers.” Apparently the con had an area full of flat screen TVs and Nintendo GameCubes which all had the game “Super Smash Bros.: Melee.” This is one of my most nostalgic games, not to mention one of my all-time faves. On Sunday, I had time to play a round of Smash with three other people. I don’t know who they are, I don’t know their names, chances are I might never see them again. But they are fine people. I played as Donkey Kong, who is one of my mains. I wouldn’t say I have a “main” in Smash, but Donkey Kong is one of my preferred characters. Although I will say I have been playing the 3DS version a lot recently and Lucina is kind of my main there. Also, if you want my goto main on Melee, I gotta say, it’s Roy. However, he wasn’t unlocked yet. Marth was, but Roy wasn’t. Whatever, I like Donkey Kong. I didn’t win, however I got pretty close in a position of second place. A worthy competitor playing as Falco ended up taking the top position.

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Moving onto autographs, I actually managed to get two of them. One of them was from Friday and the other was given to me on Sunday. On Friday, Zachary Levi (Shazam, Chuck) happened to be present in the building. I came to his line at a time when it happened to be rather short. Levi was just finishing up with photo ops, and now he was ready for his next adventure in autographing. So I chucked up $80, no pun intended, and got Levi’s signature on a photo of him as Shazam chewing bubble gum. It’s a true feast for the eyes. It is truly kick-ass until you run out of bubble gum. We happened to chit chat for a moment. Levi said he is enjoying the con so far, and he comes off as a genuine nice guy who at that moment, just became $80 richer by writing his name.

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The other celebrity I met is not as well known. The celebrities who were well known had lines in the basement. This one is not really known for a specific TV show or movie, she is actually known for cosplaying. She goes by the name Yaya Han. Now I don’t follow cosplay. I don’t partake in cosplay. I have massive respect for those who do happen to be involved, although I never took part in it. Keep in mind, I said some of those words to her face. So she must be thinking, “What is this schmuck doing talking to me?” Then I got to the point. For those of you who have known me for awhile, one of my all-time biggest obsessions is the TBS reality competition “King of the Nerds.” Yaya Han was not heavily involved with the show, but she was the only guest I met who had some sort of association with it. Sure, there was another guest, Curtis Armstrong, who was at the con for a panel, but that happened on a day which I didn’t have a ticket. Yaya Han however was there when I was. Therefore, I told her I remember her as a guest judge for all three seasons of the show. When I did, I also thanked her for being a part of something that heavily makes me an individual. She commented saying “King of the Nerds” is an excellent production and she has enjoyed it. Shortly afterwards, I got an autograph from Han on a photo displaying her as Batgirl. Besides her name, she also wrote, “Gotham needs you!” The autograph was only $15 and to me it was well worth the money. Afterwards, I took a picture alongside her.

One person I ended up meeting also happened to be someone I was subscribed to on YouTube. If you know me in person, chances are you’d be aware that I watch “Family Guy.” The thing is… I met Peter Griffin.

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No, not Seth MacFarlane! I met Robert Franzese. If you don’t know who this guy is, I don’t blame you. On YouTube, his channel name is known as Real Life Peter Griffin. He is known for talking, dressing, and sounding like Peter Griffin. On YouTube, you can find videos of him doing his own version of some of “Family Guy’s” popular bits (Grinds My Gears is a common example), and whatever other funny material he can come up with. I told him I was subscribed to his channel and he said that’s “Freakin’ sweet.” As you can tell, I didn’t get a picture with him.

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New York Comic Con is basically a giant compared to other cons that I went to that when you consider how much I DIDN’T get to do. It all makes sense. I never got a pro photo op. I never went into a panel. There was a bunch of interactive stuff I never really took part in. I never tried out any of the upcoming video games like “Megaman 11” or “Kingdom Hearts III.” There was even one thing that I was kind of curious to do, which was take part in a VR game based on the recent film “Skyscraper.” This had you attempt to make what is referred to as “the impossible jump” and if you make it from the crane to the skyscraper, you will be entered to win $10,000. But the area was cluttered, so I avoided pressing my luck. And I have to say that I have the same excuse for the panels. I’d try going down and checking on them, but the case is either that I am not interested in something, or I just don’t want to wait in line with tons of people and risk getting a bad seat. Only thing is there is only one seat I’d get on the “Skyscraper” game. Regardless of the endless list of things I DIDN’T get to do, it did not make me think I did nothing, because all of the stuff I ended up doing, I really enjoyed.

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Guys, New York Comic Con is literally not just one of the best cons out there, but quite possibly one of the best THINGS ever created! The staff is really nice, everyone seems to be enjoying themselves, the organizers know their audience, and it’s as big as Kanye West’s ridiculous ego! If I have any cons regarding this convention, I do want it to have slightly cheaper tickets (tickets are $50 for just a single-day admission), but there’s also probably an argument to be made that maybe all that is in store is totally worth the $50 ticket price. I must say though, as a nerd, it has kind of been an objective to hit one of the big two comic-cons before I die. Aside from this one, a con in particular I wanted to hit was San Diego Comic-Con. And now I am super glad to have one of the big two off my bucket list. Will I be back next year? Tough to say. Tickets may be easier to get than San Diego, but I don’t live in New York, I live in Massachusetts, traveling ain’t cheap. Plus, again, just one day at the convention is worth $50. Maybe. Maybe not. Who knows? Thanks for reading my thoughts on New York Comic Con! If you want to find out more about my con adventures, I should have you know that Rhode Island Comic Con is upon us and I’ll be attending all three days. This is my fourth time going to Rhode Island Comic Con in a row, and as much as I’m excited for it, let’s just get serious and hope that when it comes to organization, they succeed and don’t piss people off. Look that s*it up, that’s usually their biggest flaw. Be sure to follow Scene Before with your WordPress account or email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you go to New York Comic Con? What did you think about it? Or, what is an expensive con that is worth the money? Also, in the comments section, feel free to suggest future cons for me to visit in the future, I’d LOVE to hear them. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The Academy Postpones BEST POPULAR FILM: Thank Heavens!

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Last month I talked about perhaps the all-time dumbest idea that has ever come about in the history of the Academy Awards, that idea being the introduction of an all new award that celebrates POPULAR FILM. Like, why? As if the idea was bad enough, part of me wondered why it was even introduced in the first place. Yes, the Academy Awards had its least watched show ever this year, and they are trying to find ways to get its ratings higher next year and years down the road. But part of me wondered if ABC, the channel that airs the Oscars, stepped in and said, PRAISE US! And I don’t mean that literally, because ABC doesn’t make movies set to release in theaters. What I mean is that ABC is owned by Disney, the creator of the animated film “Dumbo,” which is just an understatement for how ridiculous this popular film award idea truly is. Disney has had a pretty successful year so far, releasing three films this that have surpassed $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office, and one of those films actually reached the $2 billion mark (“Avengers: Infinity War”). And it’s not just money that talks here, it’s also the critics and moviegoers. “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” happened to be two of the best reviewed comic book movies in recent memory. It’s possible that Disney wants an Oscar, just to say they’ve won an Oscar. “Black Panther,” which is getting tons of phrase left and right, seems to be a big contender, and certainly would also have that title attached to it if this category were to exist, but if you nominate “Black Panther,” or if that movie WINS the Oscar for “Best Popular Film,” I just see it as an insult. It makes the Oscars look like a popularity contest, and it somewhat diminishes the value of the movie itself. Maybe “Black Panther” ended up not taking Best Picture, but hey! It’s popular!

Gimmie a f*cking break.

Luckily, after about a month of a storm that is almost on the disaster level of a sharknado, The Academy answered the prayers of many in the movie community by saying that the award WILL NOT be presented in the 2019 Oscars telecast.

*APPLAUSE FROM SELF*

Now let me just say, from what I’ve read, I wouldn’t say this concept of an award is gone for good, because I’m hearing from various sources like The Wrap and Indie Wire that it’s been delayed, but still, IT’S NOT GONNA BE A THING! For those of you who have read my post that I completed last month about this, I must say, I had a wish to pick the host of the 2020 Oscars if this award idea was still going to be executed, and as much as I wanted either Mark Hamill, Conan O’Brien, or Howie Mandel to host the Oscars, the eradication (sort of) that this popular award idea has received is certainly something I’ll take.

And it’s not just me who has been raging about this whole Oscar popular award fiasco, people in the industry such as Steven Spielberg (Ready Player One, Schindler’s List), Laura Dern (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Big Little Lies), were highly against this idea. Not just them, but movie bloggers, vloggers, websites everywhere just so happened to be calling this a s*itshow! Another notable celebrity included Rob Lowe (Parks and Recreation, St. Elmo’s Fire), who tweeted saying that this idea was the worst thing the Oscars has done since he was supposed to come on the show and sing onstage with Snow White, which did happen by the way, as I was writing this, I watched a video of what exactly went down (below). It says it’s just over eleven minutes, which is a total lie, allow me to declare, IT NEVER ENDS! And if you were to ask me which Oscars idea was the worst, having seen this Snow White bulls*it, it’s close, but this popular award frenzy would CERTAINLY be my answer.

Let me once again state, this award is DOWN, not OUT. I gotta ask though, WHY THE F*CK IS THAT THE CASE?! Before I get too selfish here, I ought to calm down and realize that sometimes a little experimentation can’t do all that much harm. Because if you have been following this site and read that other post I did about this, you may remember I went over a couple of other new ideas the Academy has come up with. These include a commitment to making the show a three hour telecast, and setting an earlier airdate for the 92nd Oscars. And while I do have minor concerns related to both the first and second idea, my concern level isn’t as enormous as it is for the main topic. While I’m relieved that we’re not getting this award, it almost makes me think in a couple different ways. Does the Oscars have an idea related to this award that maybe the general public and reporters are absolutely missing? Because the way I see this idea is that it’s just an excuse to make the Oscars a popularity contest for a moment. F*ck craftsmanship! F*ck hard work! F*ck not putting how much money something makes into a situation like this!

To me, Best Popular Film, is basically the same thing as Best Animated Feature, only dumber. It’s an exclusive category for films that MIGHT not be good enough for Best Picture, or other prestigious categories, but hey, at least they’re nominated. If a film like “Thor: Ragnarok” won this award at the most recent Academy Awards, it’s just gonna be that one kid at the small table, stuck with his juice box and grilled cheese sandwich, whereas the grown-ups like “The Shape of Water,” “Dunkirk,” and “Call Me by Your Name” all get to enjoy the liquor at the bar while simultaneously chowing down on some fresh steak.

One highlight from all of this is some of the words spoken by Dawn Hudson, the CEO of The Academy.

“There has been a wide range of reactions to the introduction of a new award, and we recognize the need for further discussion with our members.”

Wide range? OK, I’ve talked to a number of people I know about this, but I’m pretty sure only ONE of them thought it was a good idea. In fact, if I remember correctly, this person could have changed their mind! But for the most part, the reactions all over have been “F*ck this idea!” So this, “wide range” that apparently is on your mind right now, forget about it, f*ck it!

And let me just say one thing, should the Academy decide to bring this award back to life, they should pay attention to my statement. Just because something is popular, it doesn’t make it good or Oscar-worthy. “Twilight” is popular, doesn’t make it good or Oscar-worthy. “Fifty Shades of Grey” is popular, doesn’t make it good or Oscar-worthy. “Mission: Impossible II” was the highest worldwide grossing movie of 2000, but was it good or Oscar-worthy? No. And you could make a case saying by stating fantastic popular films to come out in the years the other, inferior popular films came out. “Twilight” came out in 2008, but so did “The Dark Knight.” It was nominated for eight Oscars and ended up taking home two. “Fifty Shades of Grey” came out in 2015, but so did “Mad Max: Fury Road.” It was nominated for ten Oscars, including Best Picture, and ended up taking home six. And yes, “Fifty Shades of Grey” was nominated for an Oscar, but it’s for Best Original Song,” so who cares? “Mission: Impossible II” came out in 2000, but so did “Gladiator.”  It was nominated for twelve Oscars, and ended up taking home five, including Best Picture. I’ll just remind everyone that there is a place for popular films, but it’s not the Oscars, you know, unless it was masterfully created and executed. If someone were to create a show that celebrated everything that people know or follow, then OK, at least it’s honest. “Black Panther” will probably end up taking home a ton of awards, it’ll be a close race between that and “Infinity War” for Best Picture. But if you are creating a show that’s meant to celebrate the best of the best, don’t bring popularity into it.

And going back to Best Animated Feature, let’s consider that for a second. What if we find ourselves in a year which there are no good animated films? Some of the animations we’re getting next year include “Toy Story 4,” “Wonder Park,” “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” “UglyDolls,” “The Addams Family,” “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” “Farmageddon: A Shaun the Sheep Movie,” and “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.” Based on the trailer for that last movie I mentioned, I’d say we’re gonna have at least one good animated feature next year, but what if in future years, all of the animated features suck? So, what if the future popular movies are simply phenomenons? They just make money, and therefore they are popular. It would take a kiddy table award and just shrink it into a baby table. So, Academy, listen to me, if you don’t want me getting closer to choosing a future Oscars host again, ERASE THE IDEA COMPLETELY. YOU GET IT?!

If you want to find out more of my thoughts on this whole fiasco, I have a link to my other post that I did on this, be sure to check it out, back when life was harder and I wasn’t jumping for joy. This award may not be dead, but the progress of a full disappearance may be near completion. Let’s just hope it goes away as soon as possible.

Academy Awards Adds Popularity Contest?! *AN UNACCEPTANCE SPEECH*

Thanks for reading this post! I also want to invite you to check out some of my recent movie reviews. Be sure to click the links down below if you’re interested! Be sure to follow Scene Before with your email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, what are your thoughts on the Best Popular Film Oscar being postponed? Or, do you think they should have kept it? Is there any reason why? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

“KIN” (2018) REVIEW

“EIGHTH GRADE” (2018) REVIEW

“GRINGO” (2018) REVIEW

The Marvel Cinematic Universe vs. TV Shows

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Before we dive into my post which actually may be my most TV-oriented post thus far here on Scene Before, we’re gonna talk about something to me, that’s a bit closer to home. Nope, not movies, but the Internet! That’s because this is yet another week going by, and another time to promote an episode of an all new web series. Meet Paul and Genevieve. They live in California and have a cat named Cordelia. Their lives were once happy, and full of recently accomplished goals, and they had some goals down the road they wanted to conquer. One goal in particular, is having a child. Unfortunately, that reality, to them, is extremely difficult to meet. This is all explained in “What the IVF?!”

“What the IVF?” is about Paul and Genevieve’s journey to conception. And trust me, the journey’s not short! In fact, it takes about two years! Throughout this two year period Genevieve and Paul suffer through unfortunate realities while still realizing they still are able to earn some happy victories. Although to them, the unfortunate realities come in close, like Aaron, the close talker from “Seinfeld.” These realities include problematic sex, cringeworthy apps, creepy exams, and devastating needles. The latest episode of “WTIVF?” is for Genevieve and Paul, what may qualify as one of, if not the only egg hunt, they’ve done on a day that is not Easter. That is if they’ve ever celebrated Easter, I dunno. After taking their best shots, the IVF retrieval is in full swing! So the question is, how will it go? You can watch this episode and all of the other episodes in the “WTIVF?” series on YouTube. They are all posted on their specifically dedicated channel, and new episodes arrive every Monday. Be sure to subscribe, ring the bell, like, comment, and check out the “WTIVF?” website along with the series’ other social media profiles. Also be sure to tell them that Jack Drees sent you over!

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

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

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

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

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

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“Avengers: Infinity War” has released in all of its markets, a lot of people have seen it, and it is, for overwhelmingly the most part, getting positive reviews. Now that this movie is out, and it’s been a heavy topic of conversation lately, a thought has been spinning around my mind, like the rotors of a helicopter, desperate for attention. I’m willing to bet that overtime, more people will begin to argue that all of the movies that we’re getting in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, are not in fact movies. They’re all part of a TV show. Now I don’t say that literally, but if you take the Marvel Cinematic Universe and divide each movie in the series. Each one is a very long TV episode, and the universe so far is in its third season (phase). We’re soon getting to this season’s finale with “Avengers 4,” and maybe we’ll be getting, depending on what happens and what people say, a “spin-off” with two movies after it. I figured today I’d compare the Marvel Cinematic Universe to a bunch of TV shows. I’m not saying whether or not the MCU is better than each show, but I thought just for fun, I’d go ahead and point out the fact that the MCU is actually longer than individual series.

Before we begin, let me just state that the current combined approximate runtimes of all the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies comes out to 2,445 minutes, which if you translate that, is 40.75 hours, and if you aren’t a fan of decimal points, THAT IS FORTY HOURS AND FORTY-FIVE MINUTES! That is longer than a day! No! THAT IS LONGER THAN A DAY AND A HALF! In fact, if you take out the runtimes of the two latest MCU films, “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” that BARELY goes over the day and a half mark! So you know what? Without much more time to waste, I’m going to list a bunch of TV shows, and there will be no key to tell how long they are, because they are already all shorter than “Avengers: Infinity War.” If any of these TV shows listed here do not belong here, please let me know, my results come from online research. I will state that these all have a certain number of episodes and seasons listed next to the title. Once again, I said seasons, I live in America, it’s how I roll. So, let’s begin!

*THESE RESULTS ARE AS OF MAY 19TH, 2018, IF YOU FIND ANY TO BE FALSE, LET ME KNOW*

  1. Kevin Can Wait (48 episodes, 2 seasons)
  2. King of the Nerds (24 episodes, 3 seasons)
  3. The Orville (12 episodes, 1 season)
  4. Stranger Things (17 episodes, 2 seasons)
  5. 500 Questions (12 episodes, 2 seasons)
  6. Fresh Off the Boat (79 episodes, 4 seasons)
  7. The Last Man on Earth (67 episodes, 4 seasons)
  8. This Is Us (36 episodes, 2 seasons)
  9. The Carbonaro Effect (72 episodes, 4 seasons)
  10. Son of Zorn (13 episodes, 1 season)
  11. Ash vs Evil Dead (30 episodes, 3 seasons)
  12. Veep (58 episodes, 6 seasons)
  13. Orphan Black (50 episodes, 5 seasons)
  14. Men at Work (30 episodes, 3 seasons)
  15. Falling Skies (52 episodes, 5 seasons)
  16. Freaks and Geeks (18 episodes, 1 season)
  17. Revolution (42 episodes, 2 seasons)
  18. Firefly (14 episodes, 1 season)
  19. Wayward Pines (20 episodes, 2 seasons)
  20. Adam Ruins Everything (49 episodes, 2 seasons)
  21. Under the Dome (39 episodes, 3 seasons)
  22. Cougar Town (102 episodes, 6 seasons)
  23. The Last Ship (46 episodes, 4 seasons)
  24. Life in Pieces (66 episodes, 3 seasons)
  25. The Event (22 episodes, 1 season)
  26. BoJack Horseman (49 episodes, 4 seasons)
  27. The Carmichael Show (32 episodes, 3 seasons)
  28. Black-ish (95 episodes, 4 seasons)
  29. Rick and Morty (31 episodes, 3 seasons)
  30. Gravity Falls (40 episodes, 2 seasons)
  31. Angie Tribeca (30 episodes, 3 seasons)
  32. Mysteries of Laura (38 episodes, 2 seasons)
  33. Skin Wars (28 episodes, 3 seasons)
  34. Speechless (41 episodes, 2 seasons)
  35. The Affair (32 episodes, 3 seasons)
  36. Dan Vs. (53 episodes, 3 seasons)
  37. Riverdale (35 episodes, 2 seasons)
  38. American Housewife (47 episodes, 2 seasons)
  39. Younger (48 episodes, 4 seasons)
  40. The Librarians (42 episodes, 4 seasons)
  41. Caroline in the City (97 episodes, 4 seasons)
  42. The Leftovers (28 episodes, 3 seasons)
  43. True Detective (16 episodes, 2 seasons)
  44. The Good Place (26 episodes, 2 seasons)
  45. Better Call Saul (30 episodes, 3 seasons)
  46. Raising Hope (88 episodes, 4 seasons)
  47. The Crown (20 episodes, 2 seasons)
  48. Wilfred (49 episodes, 4 seasons)
  49. Luke Cage (13 episodes, 1 season)
  50. Wrecked (20 episodes, 2 seasons)
  51. Sullivan & Son (33 episodes, 3 seasons)
  52. Ballers (30 episodes, 3 seasons)
  53. Hannibal (39 episodes, 3 seasons)
  54. 13 Reasons Why (26 episodes, 2 seasons)
  55. Master of None (20 episodes, 2 seasons)
  56. The Cleveland Show (88 episodes, 4 seasons)
  57. Atlanta (21 episodes, 2 seasons)
  58. Anger Management (100 episodes, 2 seasons)
  59. The Man in the High Castle (20 episodes, 2 seasons)
  60. V (23 episodes, 2 seasons)
  61. Scream Queens (23 episodes, 2 seasons)
  62. Black Mirror (19 episodes, 4 seasons)
  63. Narcos (30 episodes, 3 seasons)
  64. Superstore (55 episodes, 3 seasons)
  65. Sneaky Pete (20 episodes, 2 seasons)
  66. Transparent (40 episodes, 4 seasons)
  67. Silicon Valley (46 episodes, 5 seasons)
  68. The Royals (40 episodes, 4 seasons)
  69. Daredevil (26 episodes, 2 seasons)
  70. Mr. Robot (32 episodes, 3 seasons)
  71. Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (60 episodes, 9 seasons)
  72. Lizzie McGuire (65 episodes, 2 seasons)
  73. Star Wars: Rebels (75 episodes, 4 seasons)
  74. The American Bible Challenge (27 episodes, 3 seasons)
  75. Blunt Talk (20 episodes, 2 seasons)
  76. Happily Divorced (34 episodes, 2 seasons)
  77. The Exes (64 episodes, 4 seasons)
  78. The Detour (32 episodes, 3 seasons)
  79. Beauty and the Geek (48 episodes, 5 seasons)
  80. Kim Possible (86 episodes, 4 seasons)
  81. Dog Eat Dog (26 episodes, 2 seasons)
  82. Billions (32 episodes, 3 seasons)
  83. Jessica Jones (27 episodes, 2 seasons)
  84. NewsRadio (98 episodes, 5 seasons)
  85. Mozart in the Jungle (40 episodes, 4 seasons)
  86. Alpha House (21 episodes, 2 seasons)
  87. The Grand Tour (24 episodes, 2 seasons)
  88. Batman: The Animated Series (85 episodes, 2 seasons)
  89. Teen Titans (65 episodes, 5 seasons)
  90. All Grown Up! (55 episodes, 5 seasons)
  91. The Expanse (29 episodes, 3 seasons)
  92. The Magicians (39 episodes, 3 seasons)
  93. Workaholics (86 episodes, 7 seasons)
  94. Travelers (24 episodes, 2 seasons)
  95. Continuum (42 episodes, 4 seasons)
  96. Power (39 episodes, 3 seasons)
  97. People of Earth (20 episodes, 2 seasons)
  98. Preacher (23 episodes, 2 seasons)
  99. Comedy Knockout (58 episodes, 2 seasons)
  100. Witchblade (23 episodes, 2 seasons)
  101. Monty Python’s Flying Circus (45 episodes, 4 seasons)
  102. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (81 episodes, 3 seasons)
  103. The Mick (37 episodes, 2 seasons)
  104. Avatar: The Last Airbender (61 episodes, 3 seasons)
  105. The Legend of Korra (52 episodes, 4 seasons)
  106. Batman: The Brave and the Bold (65 episodes, 3 seasons)
  107. Bachelor Pad (20 episodes, 3 seasons)
  108. Better Things (20 episodes, 2 seasons)
  109. Inside Amy Schumer (39 episodes, 4 seasons)
  110. Broad City (40 episodes, 4 seasons)
  111. Teachers (30 episodes, 2 seasons)
  112. The Pete Holmes Show (80 episodes, 2 seasons)
  113. Bill Nye Saves the World (25 episodes, 3 seasons)
  114. Living with Fran (26 episodes, 2 seasons)
  115. The Wall (30 episodes, 2 seasons)
  116. Deal With It (28 episodes, 3 seasons)
  117. Dark Angel (43 episodes, 2 seasons)
  118. The Lying Game (30 episodes, 2 seasons)
  119. Killjoys (30 episodes, 3 seasons)
  120. Bosch (40 episodes, 4 seasons)
  121. Fuller House (44 episodes, 3 seasons)
  122. The New Adventures of Old Christine (88 episodes, 5 seasons)
  123. Killer Karaoke (16 episodes, 2 seasons)
  124. The Good Fight (21 episodes, 2 seasons)
  125. Designated Survivor (43 episodes, 2 seasons)
  126. American Grit (20 episodes, 2 seasons)
  127. Red Oaks (26 episodes, 3 seasons)
  128. Difficult People (28 episodes, 3 seasons)
  129. Animaniacs (99 episodes, 5 seasons)
  130. Rules of Engagement (100 episodes, 7 seasons)
  131. Ed, Ed n Eddy (70 episodes, 6 seasons)
  132. 8 Simple Rules (76 episodes, 3 seasons)
  133. Hand of God (20 episodes, 2 seasons)
  134. Liv and Maddie (80 episodes, 4 seasons)
  135. Angie (36 episodes, 2 seasons)
  136. Divorce (18 episodes, 2 seasons)
  137. The Millers (34 episodes, 2 seasons)
  138. The Taste (23 episodes, 3 seasons)
  139. The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (61 episodes, 3 seasons)
  140. Are You Afraid of the Dark? (91 episodes, 7 seasons)
  141. Storage Hunters (73 episodes, 3 seasons)
  142. Man with a Plan (42 episodes, 2 seasons)

Up above is 142 recently stated TV shows, all of these (at least from speculations I’ve gotten due to online research) are shorter than the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. So next time you binge “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” or “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” or “Batman: The Animated Series,” you may think to yourself, “My gosh! I want to sit down and watch this show, but I need so much time to get through it all!”, try getting through 19 Marvel movies in one sitting! I dare you!

Thanks for reading this post! Pretty soon I’ll have my review up for “Mission: Impossible III,” be sure to stay tuned for that. This review will continue my series of Tom Cruise “Mission: Impossible” reviews leading up to a movie I’m honestly getting increasingly excited for, “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.”

Also, be sure to stay tuned for my review for “Deadpool 2,” which may just be one of the best, if not the best marketed movie I’ve ever seen. There’s a high chance I won’t be able to catch it this weekend, I really wanted to, but there’s just not enough time in the world for everyone.

Although one movie I will not only be catching, but will also be catching on its opening Thursday night, is “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” This is a movie I never asked for, never wanted, and was somewhat sold on recently. However, the more I hear about it as we get to the film’s theatrical release date, the more worried and skeptical I get about it. But hey, I’m seeing it anyway, on opening Thursday night, which is my new “Star Wars” tradition! Not only is it beneficial for me, so I can see the movie early, but I also consider it a benefit to you that way you can read my review in a short amount of time after the film’s release! Expect my review Friday, May 25th! Stay tuned for that along with other great content! I want to know, have you seen any of the 142 TV shows I mentioned above? If so, which ones are your favorites or your least favorites? Also, if you make a top 142 list of the above shows in the comment section I will like your comment, and reply to you saying “YOU’RE A WINNER!” Also, since it’s relevant, have you seen “Avengers: Infinity War?” If so, tell me what you thought about that. Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Mission: Impossible (1996): This Movie Review Will Self-Destruct In Five Seconds

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read through the first of the “Mission: Impossible” reviews from Scene Before. More are on the way, such as “Mission: Impossible 2,” a movie whose review shall be published a month after this one. As always, should you or any of your Force be caught or killed, the Movie Reviewing Moron will disavow any of your actions. This message will self-destruct in five seconds.

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“Mission: Impossible” is directed by Brian De Palma (The Untouchables, Dressed to Kill) and stars Tom Cruise (Top Gun, Risky Business) as an American agent who goes by the name Ethan Hunt. In this movie which is inspired by the television series of the same name, Hunt must find out who framed him for murder of the entire Impossible Missions Force.

This is the first movie of the ongoing Tom Cruise “Mission: Impossible” series, and I imagine there’s a good number of people out there like myself who has seen this movie or another movie in the series and couldn’t compare it to the original TV series. As far as which incarnation is better, I can’t say, but I can say that this movie is super thrilling! Let’s dive into it a bit deeper.

The movie starts off with the crew on a mission. One character, Jack, played by Emilio Estevez (Young Guns, Repo Man), is watching the surveillance, doing his job, and we see one guy in a white tank top being interrogated. The guy asking all the questions is Tom Cruise who eventually reveals his true self, Ethan Hunt by taking his snobby, Spanish-looking Agent Smith mask off. We see Tom Cruise going over to Claire, played by Emmanuelle Béart (Nelly & Monsieur Arnaud, 8 Women), injecting a needle, then we hear Claire, all bloodied up, asking Ethan, “Did we get it?” Ethan responds, “We got it.” Great exchange, great timing, and a great transition to the title sequence featuring the endlessly famous “Mission: Impossible” theme song. Just… perfect. That’s all I gotta say. The intro doesn’t really show all too much except for major characters, but the transition from the intro to the main events of the movie probably couldn’t have been done better.

The “Mission: Impossible” theme used for this movie by the way, was composed by none other than Danny Elfman, and if you have known me, I love Danny Elfman. I will say that sometimes his scores are somewhat underwhelming and don’t deliver the goods that they should (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Justice League), but when his scores are well done from my personal view, they stand out like Marilyn Monroe in a beauty pageant. Elfman from my personal view did a fine job on the movie’s score and this is definitely one of his better ones. Although one interesting thing about it is that it wasn’t supposed to be his.

Alan Silvestri, another terrific composer who has new work coming out in films such as “Ready Player One,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” and “The Women of Marwen,” was originally supposed to do the score, but his was ultimately rejected. That’s not to say that Danny Elfman made a bad score, I think it is very well done. But I listened to Alan Silvestri’s “Mission: Impossible” theme, and I think it is an interesting rival to Elfman’s. For how this movie turned out, I gotta say that Elfman’s is a bit more appropriate for something like this, but Silvestri’s is just killer. The reason why Elfman’s theme works for this movie is because the movie had an intro that made it feel like we were watching TV, and his song was short and effective. Silvestri’s felt really grand and epic at times, especially with the drums. I’ve been looking around online and I don’t think there’s been a single announcement as to who will officially score “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.” Silvestri’s got some stuff up his sleeve as we speak, but I would love to see him come back and score this upcoming movie with the use of his own theme that would have been inserted back in 1996 if no conflict got in the way. By the way, be sure to let me know which of the two “Mission: Impossible” themes you prefer: Elfman’s or Silvestri’s.

Funny thing about these themes is, I gave a compliment to the Elfman one for feeling like a TV show and that is something I usually DON’T want in my movies. The rest of the movie feels like a film, but with this TV-like theme, I can’t help but praise it.

Now I talked a little bit about Tom Cruise here, but I can’t really say I’ve dived into too much depth about him. Tom Cruise’s character of Ethan Hunt has defined the movie and Cruise probably had no idea how much this character would make a newfound path in his acting career. Cruise delivers a fine performance as Hunt in this movie. It’s believable, you feel his pain, you buy him as this agent and his performance maintains a fine line between fun and serious which totally worked for the movie. A couple of other standout characters include Luther, played by Ving Rhames (Pulp Fiction, ER) and Jim Phelps, played by Jon Voight.

Fun fact about Jon Voight by the way, he would have never been in this movie if it weren’t for one thing. Believe it or not, Voight wasn’t the goto as for who would be cast as this character. If you watch the original show and its revival (where he appears as only original cast member to return), you’d know that the character of Phelps is played by none other than Peter Graves and there was a point where he found out about some actions that his character did in the movie. Once he found out about them, he didn’t want to be a part of the project.

Now let’s get to the best part of the movie, and it is probably the part that you all know about if you’ve seen the film, or maybe even if you haven’t seen it, and it’s the wire sequence. Like, holy crap! This is my second time watching this movie, and my jaw literally dropped! Tom’s performance in here is pristine! He’s silent, he’s mentally terrified, but also somewhat determined. The suspense levels during this scene just happens to be unbelievable! It has the environment, if you can call it that, of a library, but it also has the feel of a boxing match! I talked about the music in this movie and how well done it was, but there’s barely any music during this sequence and the movie as a whole is all the better for it! Just… wow! My favorite Tom Cruise movie is “Risky Business,” but if you ask me which scene from a Tom Cruise movie might be the best, this one, I cannot guarantee is my favorite, but it’s certainly a contender, I need to probably make a conclusive list before I decide whether or not it is my favorite.

Also, it’s not just Tom Cruise who has the spotlight here in this scene, some of it is given to a minor character by the name of William Donloe, played by Rolf Saxon (Saving Private Ryan, Woman in Gold). In this scene, he headed to the secure area where Cruise is downloading files, but the fact that he pretty much had a bad meal allows Cruise, conveniently, to carry on the mission with slightly less worries.

In the end, “Mission: Impossible” the second time around actually turned out to be better than the first time. I didn’t hate it the first time, but I’m just saying. “Mission: Impossible” is certainly a fun movie, but at the same time, somewhat dramatic. The tone works overall. On one hand you have a story where the main character has to deal with his crew dying, and on the other hand, you have a story where that same character fights someone on a train with a wind machine going at 140 miles per hour so his face gets distorted, a speed so fast that Tom Cruise himself approved of it because wind at that speed could possibly knock him off the train. The more I find out about this movie and the more I think about it, the more interesting it gets. I’m gonna give “Mission: Impossible” an 8/10. This in my mind, is currently a low 8 on a scale of 1-10, but this could increase overtime. It would probably be a 7 though if less passion were injected and less standout moments and characters were inserted into the final product. I’m honestly willing to bet that next time I’ll watch it, I’ll like it even more. And speaking of products…

*SPONSORSHIP ALERT* (although I’m not getting paid)

Call kids what you may. You can call them what I just said, or you can call them children, offspring, products of two parents, etcetera. You might as well say these products are newly realized each and every day. And one day, the realization will arrive to a male and a female. For example, a gal named Genevieve, and a guy named Paul, will achieve that realization in a number of months. But before that, they had to suffer through the seemingly neverending process, which might as well now be a neverending story, of something that their child will ultimately thank them for. Making them. This is all explained… in “What the IVF?!”

“What the IVF?” is a relatively new series and channel on YouTube, where Genevieve and Paul document their time trying to have a baby. To them, the journey is hard, but they “keep effing trying” as they face tiny victories, but also enormous losses. Get ready for the drama between the two as they encounter problematic situations in sex, testing, wasting money on everything that’s needed for impregnation, and needles so sharp they might as well kill you! Their latest episode listed above is the fourth episode in the series and it is a deep dive on trying to conceive! You see the couple going to Dollar Tree and buying pregnancy tests, Genevieve utilizing an app that might as well be a diary she never wanted, and a shoutout to the drink Surge! By the way, this is a late announcement, but if you haven’t heard, they actually brought the drink back! Just a fun fact because I’m not sure if everyone is aware! To catch up on the latest episodes regarding Genevieve and Paul’s adventure to conception, click the link below to their YouTube channel, be sure to subscribe, like, click the bell, whatever it takes to make them happy without buying something for their baby. Also, be sure to check out their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and their website! All the links are down below, and if check all of this stuff out, be sure to let them know that Jack Drees sent you over!

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading this review! April is on the way! “Ready Player One” is out! I’m probably gonna catch it in 70mm! Quite a time to be alive! Not only that, but April will also be the month where I continue this series of reviews and focus on “Mission: Impossible II!” Stay tuned for that, and also I want to let everyone know that I made a part 2 to a post I made back in November which got a decent amount of hits, “What the Heck Is Up with Justice League?” In this new post, I talk about the movie’s box office total, how it is shockingly low for the kind of movie it is, and I even give a sense of wonder as to where the Detective Comics Extended Universe could be going from here. The link to that is down below, be sure to check it out, and be sure to follow me here on WordPress so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see the 1996 “Mission: Impossible?” Let me know your thoughts if you did! Do you think the movies or the TV shows are superior? I actually kinda really want to know since I never watched the show on TV. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

WHAT THE HECK IS UP WITH JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017)? *PART 2*: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/03/24/what-the-heck-is-up-with-justice-league-2017-part-2/