Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021): The Most 2021 Movie Ever

“Space Jam: A New Legacy” is directed by Malcom D. Lee (Girls Trip, Night School) and stars LeBron James (The Wall, Smallfoot), Don Cheadle (Iron Man 2, Crash), Khris Davis (The Blacklist, Judas and the Black Messiah), Sonequa Martin-Green (Star Trek: Discovery, The Walking Dead), Jeff Bergman (The Looney Tunes Show, Teen Titans Go!), Eric Bauza (DuckTales, Ben 10: Omniverse), and Zendaya (Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Greatest Showman). This film is the sequel to the 1996… Cult classic? I don’t know what else to call it. I really didn’t like the film. Just gonna say it. Either this film is the sequel to the 1996 film “Space Jam,” a movie where Michael Jordan joins forces with the Looney Tunes to fulfill both their destinies through a game of basketball. In this 2021 sequel, LeBron James’s son is trapped in the Warner 3000 server and to save his son, James must compete in a basketball game with the Looney Tunes against Al-G Rhythm and the Goon Squad. If LeBron and his team win, he gets his son back. If Al-G and his team win, LeBron will lose his son and the Looney Tunes will be erased.

I did not grow up in the 1990s. In fact I was born a few years after “Space Jam” came out. So it was never a part of my childhood in a way that it may have been for some people. I would hear the name come up every now and then and part of me wanted to know what I was missing. The whole idea behind it sounded like something from another universe. I for one do not usually put two and two together, but as peculiar as it sounded, it also came off as intriguing. I for one wanted to keep my eyes peeled as to how such a crazy idea that sounds like it could have been designed by an eight year old would rise to fruition. Well… it definitely sounded like something an eight year old would come up with, that’s for sure. Between Michael Jordan’s below par acting, the usually unfunny and campy writing, and occasionally lackluster camerawork, the film just didn’t click with me. And much like “Uncle Drew” in 2018, which I ended up claiming that it “didn’t do much of anything except chop my head off,” “Space Jam” is not even an original idea! They took the idea from an ad campaign!

As much as I would love to one day see the GEICO cinematic universe, where 90 minutes at the AMC won’t exactly save you 15% or more on concessions, “Space Jam” to me, was not quite a commercial failure, but it had a ton of flaws. Although I will say that it truly is a product of its time and embraces the 1990s cheese.

Now we have this part live-action, part animation, part heavy modern CGI animation “Space Jam” sequel. Is it better than the original?

Kinda? I don’t know. Let’s just put it this way, the original “Space Jam” was a product of its time and does not really hold up as much today as it did when it came out. I feel like “Space Jam: A New Legacy” is going to suffer the same fate overtime. Between the pricy yet somewhat unrealistic visuals, the cinematic universe element, and a heavy reliance on computers and sci-fi, “Space Jam: A New Legacy” is probably the most 2021 movie to ever 2021.

Going back to the recently mentioned “Uncle Drew,” one of the things I hated about that movie is how much they seemed to shoehorn Pepsi product placement into every other scene. The plot of “Space Jam: A New Legacy” is a bit more in your face with product placement because it relies on LeBron James teaming up with the Looney Tunes to find a bunch of a different characters from the Warner Brothers library. The whole movie is basically a promotion for Warner Brothers. This begs the question… Is “Space Jam: A New Legacy” even a movie in the first place? In fact, one of the big things people have been talking about at the end of the movie is that a majority of the audience in the big game happen to be Warner Bros. characters or characters from a variety of properties. People even brought up characters from “A Clockwork Orange” and asked why they’re in a family-friendly movie. I don’t really have that complaint because “The LEGO Batman Movie” had characters from “The Matrix” which is also rated R. So that’s just me. Either way, “Space Jam: A New Legacy” feels like it is trying harder to get people to attach themselves to other Warner Brothers properties more than they are to Looney Tunes or LeBron James. I understand that the Looney Tunes has had a history of pop culture references. Heck, one of the moments I recall often from the original “Space Jam” is a reference to “Pulp Fiction.” But this movie barely feels like it has a clear identity at times and uses alternate properties in your face to move the story along.

Let’s talk about LeBron James. I know he’s had a few acting credits. Frankly I have not seen any of them. I still have not seen “Trainwreck,” “Smallfoot,” or any other movie or show he’s been in. I’ve seen some of the TV shows he produces including “The Wall,” but I cannot recall ever seeing him act. And I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that “Space Jam: A New Legacy” showcases more of a semblance of acting talent from LeBron James than the original “Space Jam” did from Michael Jordan. The difference at times feels night and day. The bad news is that the good news does not really say much because LeBron is not that great of an actor. In fact, at times he’s very flat, especially at the beginning of the movie. I’ll defend James in one area. I think he could have a reputable career in voiceovers if he chooses to go down that path. But he is nevertheless not the greatest actor. Nor is he the greatest character in this movie. In fact at times, LeBron James is kind of an asshole. Now, I know that movies are supposed to get you to like assholes as they progressively change into better people. But the way that LeBron treats his son in the movie kind of left a bad taste in my mouth as far as my first impression goes and sort of made James himself lack dimension.

Also, I know that this is a kids movie, and I’m trying my best to judge with the notion in mind that someone younger could end up watching this film and calling it the best thing ever. I think that scenario is entirely plausible. If you have kids, I think they will end up really liking the film. It’s got the Looney Tunes in it, it’s got a bunch of other Warner Brothers properties in it. But at the end of the day, “Space Jam: A New Legacy” feels like it could end up brainwashing kids to buy more Warner Brothers stuff just because they saw it in this movie. If anything, this reminded me of “The Emoji Movie” where the characters jump from one world to another and every other plot thread is utilized through existing properties or companies from Candy Crush Saga to YouTube! Thankfully, “Space Jam: A New Legacy” is nowhere near as annoying. But if I left the movie saying to myself… Hmm, I wanna go watch “Wonder Woman.” I think it is ultimately a slight detractor on “Space Jam: A New Legacy” because well, unlike “Wonder Woman,” I do not want to go back and watch “Space Jam: A New Legacy” again.

I also want to address the Lola Bunny controversy… I’m not talking about the way she looks. I don’t care if they desexualized her. Although weirdly enough, the Granny character feels borderline sexualized at times. Take that as you want. What I do want to talk about is Zendaya playing the character. I get it, Zendaya is becoming an increasingly iconic actor. In fact, she recently won a Primetime Emmy. So that proves that she has talent. As far as her being in this movie, her voice kinda fits the character, but I want to talk about a trend that is somewhat becoming a growing concern. Taking film actors who are not primarily voiceover artists, and giving them voiceover roles just for the sake of having big names. That would be fine if they could find anyone else, but between Zendaya not feeling like she has the spark I would have expected from a character like this (although I liked her in the beginning) and the fact that this takes a role away from a voiceover professional, it is kind of a turnoff. I’m not against big actors getting voiceover roles. I’ve seen a lot of big actors have voiceover talent and it pays off. But the more I see roles like this given to actors of Zendaya’s caliber with diminishing room for actual VO artists, the more it worries me.

I will also say that Don Cheadle is surprisingly okay in the film. He’s not great. I think part of it is due to the somewhat on the nose writing, but I think Cheadle did an okay job playing a cartoony villain that really is not a cartoon. I didn’t like the voice deepening they gave him, I think that at times was a bit of a turnoff, but he was decently cast and Cheadle brought some swagger to the role.

In the end, as far as Warner Brothers commercials go, “Space Jam: A New Legacy” is inferior to any of the “LEGO” films and “Ready Player One.” At least in “Ready Player One,” they utilize all the Warner characters in a way that has them fascinatingly contributing to the story and they have some outside characters from other properties coming together to affect the way things go. In the end, that film felt like a pop culture celebration while also being a ridiculously fun movie, hence why it became one of my favorites of 2018. “Space Jam: A New Legacy” comes off as a bunch of studio executives trying to sound cool and connected with audiences but failing in the process. LeBron James as a character gets better in the movie despite leaving me with a poor taste at first. Although I found it somewhat funny how there’s a scene where he claims he does not have time to work with Warner Brothers because he’s hyper-focused on basketball, but at the same time, he’s had a history of production on the side. “The Wall” would not have had four seasons on NBC if were not for you! You literally were involved in the production and marketing of “Million Dollar Mile!” Heck, you had time to do this movie! Either way, I’m going to give “Space Jam: A New Legacy” a 4/10.

Will kids like this movie? Yes, they would. But as an adult, I can never watch this movie again, and part of me fears that this movie could have the same effect on children that maybe “The Emoji Movie” may or may not have been shooting for.

“Space Jam: A New Legacy” is now playing in theaters everywhere and now you can stream it exclusively on the ad-free version of HBO Max until 31 days after its theatrical release.

Thanks for reading this review! Stay tuned for Thursday, July 22nd because I will be spilling my thoughts on Jack Sparrow’s most expensive adventure yet, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” in my ongoing “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Chest of Reviews” review series! Stay tuned for that and more on Scene Before, and you can do so by following the blog either with an email or WordPress account! Also, be sure to like the official Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Space Jam: A New Legacy?” What did you think about it? Or, which movie is better? “Space Jam” or “Space Jam: A New Legacy?” Frankly, I’m torn. But leave your thoughts down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Isn’t It Romantic? (2019): When Jack Met Natalie

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“Isn’t It Romantic?” is directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson and stars Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect, How to Be Single), Liam Hemsworth (Independence Day: Resurgence, The Hunger Games), Adam Devine (Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Modern Family), and Priyanka Chopra (Baywatch, A Kid Like Jake). This film revolves around a woman named Natalie, who we first see in this movie as a young kid watching “Pretty Woman.” In this scene we hear her mother tell her that she’ll probably never see a romantic comedy about her, or she’ll never truly experience a fantasy worth living. Keeping this in mind, she grows up and questions the purpose and value of the rom com. Meanwhile, she eventually gets trapped in a PG-13 romantic comedy and now she has to deal with a new reality she never experienced before. Meanwhile, we as an audience, get to experience a parody that pokes fun at the rom com genre. AND IT F*CKING BLOWS, and I’ll explain why in just a sec!

Romantic comedies are not my preferred genre of film. In fact, the only two reasons why I am reviewing this film is because I found a Blu-ray copy of it at Newbury Comics for $5.99, which is probably the cheapest price this movie could be right now in the United States. Plus, in school, I have to do a project on something that I, a straight white male, happen to find “gendered,” so I figured this was a good opportunity. I almost considered watching “The Bachelor,” which frankly, probably would have been a better idea. Why? Because it’s free! I probably could have found an episode or two On Demand or something and just gotten it out of the way. It involves entitled brats fighting over a flower, but it still wouldn’t mean I’d be typing this crap away! F*ck this reality!

And in fact, speaking of realities, this movie has an alternate reality that’s less s*itty, less of an increasing everyday wasteland, everything is happy go lucky. I have nothing against this reality, except that nothing entertaining happens in it. I’m just going to have you all know, “Isn’t It Romantic?” is PG-13, and because of that supposedly intended rating, it tends to make jokes about how the movie can’t push the envelope to the tenth degree.

Remember that “Family Guy” episode, PTV? The one where the FCC starts censoring real life? One of the big jokes of this film is that Rebel Wilson is in this universe, and while she’s here, she cannot swear, she cannot have sex, and the only way she can enjoy an actual man’s genitalia is by sneaking a peek when the male’s getting dressed or something. “Family Guy” did something like this ten times better. The way the characters in “Family Guy” question this reality (for the most part) and overall the writing there much more clever. Here, it’s like an overstretched “Saturday Night Live” sketch. This is especially true when Liam Hemsworth’s character says “Good morning beautiful,” to Rebel Wilson’s character for the third freaking time in a minute!

Also, guys? Can we just agree that Chris Hemsworth is a much more relevant Hemsworth?

This movie attempts to parody the style and traditions of numerous romantic comedies. There’s the gay best friend who is incredibly hyperactive. There’s the big, hunky billionaire that someone lusts after. The movie has a joke about the lead character having a voiceover moment. I honestly think the biggest problem about a movie like this is that it not only is self-aware, but even the characters in the movie know about the self-awareness that’s ensuing. It kind of makes me feel unintelligent as a viewer!

I cannot say I watched a plethora of parody films, but do you guys remember “Spaceballs?” That’s a parody, but that was never talking down to its audience! The closest thing in that movie to letting the audience know that someone had the knowledge that they were in a parody was during the scene where they show all the merchandise. Oh and let’s not forget, “Spaceballs” is hilarious. The most generous thing I can say about “Isn’t It Romantic?” is that it got a laugh out of me out of at a couple of points, but 99.9% of the moments dedicated to this film have irritated me to no end. I think the fact that the main character has almost no knowledge of how a romantic comedy works made me end up not liking her. Just about every single choice from a screenwriting perspective pissed me off.

And I’ll be honest, I never fell in love with Rebel Wilson as a performer. She’s never been that funny, she happens to be put in roles that don’t exactly appeal to me. Her movies are not usually in my demographic, so therefore I can’t entirely blame her. Although at the same time she was in “Night of the Museum: Secret of the Tomb,” and she just goes to show how this happens to be the worst “Night of the Museum” movie. In fact, I just saw her in a couple Match.com commercials recently and I cannot say that I was happy to see her. They were obviously trying to be funny, not to mention real about the dating game. They failed miserably. I pretty much already established my displeasure with her performance here in “Isn’t It Romantic?,” but like another movie Rebel happens to be in, “Pitch Perfect,” she certainly gives effort in her performance. But for some reason, the execution leads to a result that doesn’t sit well with me. And if Rebel’s character was supposed to symbolize how stupid lead characters can be in these types of movies. Maybe I could understand, but it still made me want to throw up on the Blu-ray copy I bought for this film.

Remember how in the abomination against humanity some like to call “Uncle Drew” there’s a dance sequence? In my review for that film, this is what I had to say about it… “Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… THE MOST. POINTLESS. DANCE SEQUENCE. IN HISTORY!”

Now, “Isn’t It Romantic?” fortunately does not have a pointless dance sequence. OK, technically it does, but it doesn’t exactly hurt the movie as much as such a thing hurt “Uncle Drew.” But, ladies and gentlemen, I give you… THE MOST. POINTLESS. KARAOKE SEQUENCE! IN HISTORY!

I cannot recall the last time I got so angry towards a sequence like this. I was in fumes as this happened! I had a bunch of questions! What did this have to do with the plot? How does this benefit the characters? Why is this happening? Granted, it does address an “important” rivalry in the film. But as the scene went on, I thought… WHY?!

As for the movie’s ending, it is perhaps one of the most convoluted things I have seen in recent memory. A lot happens in a few minutes, I feel like there’s not much that I care about, and I continued hating my life. It also tries to tack on this lesson that feels amazingly forced and is a complete twist on almost everything that has been built up. This movie broke me! If I put this movie in my Xbox 360, it might just flash the red ring of death as a sign of begging for mercy.

In the end, “Isn’t It Romantic?” has destroyed every fiber of my being, tarnished my dignity, and it feels like the writers bitch slapped me in the face like I’m on reality TV! And you know what? This may not be my type of movie, but seeing the low IMDb ratings from both genders make me wonder if this movie was for anyone to begin with. “Isn’t It Romantic?” is almost the most anger-inducing movie I have witnessed all year. It might actually be more intolerable than “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” which if you have seen that review, says A LOT. I did not expect to love this movie, but I also did not expect to have the urge to bury it in the ground either. But, it’s time to bury! Good riddance! I’m going to give “Isn’t It Romantic?” a 1/10. Thanks for reading this review! This Tuesday I’m going to be heading to an advance screening of “Zombieland: Double Tap.” I have no idea if I am going to like this movie, if I won’t like this movie, but I enjoyed the first one, so anything’s possible! I’m also interested in seeing Ang Lee’s “Gemini Man” starring Will Smith, and if I have time, I might be able to catch it in the high frame rate edition. It will give me a film to review plus something else to talk about! If you want to see these new movies get talked about, or other great content, follow Scene Before with an email address to get notifications in your inbox. Or, you can use a WordPress account to like and comment on all my posts past or present. While you’re at it, give a like to my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Isn’t It Romantic?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite Rebel Wilson movie? Seriously! I need a good one to watch to turn my opinion around regarding her! Please comment to save my life! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Scene Before 2019 HALFTIME REPORT (And Glance Into the Future)

WARNING: The following post is over 8,000 words long. Disappointingly, it’s not over 9,000.

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! 2019 is midway through and this year is going by fast! As far as my personal life goes, I’m in between my first and second year of college, I am enjoying my time off, and I’m the same movie reviewing moron as usual. Things have changed, but at the same time, I’m still the same flick nerd I have always been. And I mean that literally, but we’ll get to that later. However, I wanted to try something I haven’t done before on this blog. At the end of the year, I tend to do some reflective work, most notably countdowns. And while I am not going to do that at this current midway point, I would at least like to sit myself down and go over some recent highlights related to Scene Before. At the same time, I’d like to also look into the future. Admittedly, some of this is still in planning stages, but still.

I’d like to start off with something I’d like to call “TERRIFIC 3” and “TERRIBLE 3.” I am going to list 3 movies that I have watched this year that I would recommend to people and 3 other movies that I would tell people to avoid. Now, of course, these picks are subjective, if you think differently about these films than I, it might be slightly harder to talk to each other, but you are nevertheless entitled to your different thoughts. In fact, these are not supposed to be my top 3 best or worst of the year so far. If I like a film, I’ll list it, if I don’t like a film, I’ll also list it. These are not meant to be in any particular order. Anyway, let’s begin!

TERRIFIC 3!

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Starting off the Terrific 3 is “John Wick: Chapter 3!” I went to see this film in Dolby Cinema alongside my dad, who might be a bigger “John Wick” fan than anyone else I know. He and I walked out agreeing that the action in the film is absolutely top-notch. The action in “John Wick” films is certainly the aspect that would grab my attention more than any other. Long takes, innovative setpieces, gritty violence, all of it adds up to make some of my favorite action scenes of all time. When it comes to current action franchises, I am having some slight trouble deciding whether I prefer this or “Mission: Impossible.” It’s that good!

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Up next is a stellar DreamWorks animation whose franchise I never watched religiously, but always liked, “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.” If you have ever seen the game show “Deal or No Deal,” the show always highlights the phrase “timing is everything,” and when it comes to “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” that phrase becomes more relevant than ever. This movie came out in the middle of my second semester of college, and I could not help but feel like the people behind the movie were trying to consider me in its target audience. After all, while “How To Train Your Dragon” may be a franchise directed towards families and children, this growing adult could not help but feel like a kid again. In fact, to add more to this true masterpiece of an animated film, I became more emotional during this movie than I did during perhaps more than any other. Even more than “Toy Story 3.”

Last but not least for the Terrific 3 is a movie that I decided to list because it’s on a slightly different end of the spectrum. Because let’s face it, I’m kind of recommending movies to you, and why recommend “Avengers: Endgame” when almost everyone went to see it? So let’s recommend a smaller movie, such as Terry Gilliam’s “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.” Now some would argue that this is a 2018 flick, but in the United States, which is where I live, this didn’t come out until 2019. For those of you who don’t know this movie, “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” took decades to make, and it’s about a guy who reunites with someone he worked with during a production. This person he meets with is convinced that he is Don Quixote. This did not get that big of a release in theaters, but it is worth seeing just because of its history, because despite going through “development hell,” it managed to turn out quite well! The movie is now available on home video including various VOD options.

Now let’s move onto something that probably doesn’t deserve any attention, but because I believe in equality, we’re talking about it anyway, the Terrible 3!

TERRIBLE 3!

First up is a movie that I want to put on here because what’s the harm with having an unpopular opinion? Oh wait, everything. Who cares? One of the most successful movies of the year, “Captain Marvel,” just didn’t stick the landing for me. This had a lot of hype building up to it, but I personally just couldn’t relate. And when I saw the final product, I felt like… Wait, why’s everybody laughing and cheering? Yes, there are a couple of cool moments in the movie. For example, I dug the 90’s references such as Blockbuster Video and Dial-Up Internet. Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson have some good chemistry, but when it comes to Larson in general, her performance was kind of mediocre. Granted, I know grade-A acting isn’t the biggest component of a comic book movie, but Brie Larson, an Academy Award winner, felt more like she was in a couple straight to DVD films and that’s it. Granted, I think she did a slightly better job in “Avengers: Endgame,” but her performance here simply underwhelmed me. Plus, there’s a moment in this movie that references a significant part of the MCU lore (having to do with Samuel L. Jackson) and quite honestly, the way they go about it just killed my brain.

Up next is a movie that could have been great but was simply wasted. From the creators of NOT “Firefly” comes “Serenity.” “Serenity” could be somewhat fun, not to mention a great “thinker” movie, but it manages to become more boring the more I think about it. I love the movie “Interstellar,” so I was somewhat excited to see Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway unite once again for another project. Both have talent as actors and they’ve proven they have great chemistry. Honestly, I’d just go back to watching “Interstellar” if this is the movie we’re getting. Although this movie came out in January so it should not be surprising that we would get a movie of this quality.

And finally, we have what may be my worst movie of the year should nothing surpass it, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” The sad thing about “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” is that I was actually desperately anticipating this movie. When I went to see it, I was ready for what was about to happen. Or was I? Seeing movies in IMAX may be great because it feels so big, but when they’re a big mess, what is the point? Maybe the monster fights could be fun, but if I wanted to watch this movie again, I’d probably have to be heavily drugged. Because let’s face it, as cool as big monsters are, the unforgivable part of “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” are the one-dimensional human characters. This could be slightly less intolerable if the human characters were less of a focal point during the movie, but they made me want to go back and check out some of the “Transformers” movies again! They’re THAT horrible!

I just showed you all my terrific and terrible picks, now let’s go over a few recent highlights from my blogging journey.

As usual, I kicked off my 2019 with my traditional countdowns to reflect on the year of 2018 in film. I went over the best of the year along with the worst of the year. Some of my top picks included “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “Eighth Grade,” and “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.” Some of my bottom picks included “The 15:17 To Paris,” “Uncle Drew,” and “Life of the Party.” I enjoy doing these countdowns every year and this is the first year that I started writing what I would put in the countdowns as early as August. I did not do this for every single movie, but I visualized the lists a long time prior to actually releasing them. This does not suggest that I avoided considering movies released past August, as evidenced by some of my picks.

After I did my lists, I saw my first 2019 release, which according to IMDb, is actually a 2017 release. Based on my experience and research, I’d call it a 2019 release, but still. That film by the way is “The Upside,” which is a remake of 2011’s “The Intouchables.” I personally have not seen “The Intouchables,” and while “The Upside” from my perspective is not really anything special when it comes to cinema, it is still a fun time. I went to see it at a press screening, and there were tons of laughs to be heard.

A couple weeks later I went to one of my local arthouse theatres to see a flick that I almost ended up passing on. Specifically, “Roma.” Why? Because when it comes to today’s media, Netflix is a company that I traditionally tend to avoid. But one of my local theaters managed to get access to a 70mm film print of “Roma,” which would be presented for a limited time. I took advantage of the opportunity and purchased a few tickets for a matinee show. Not only was the experience breathtaking, but the movie was one of the best of the past year. If I had to redo my top 10 lists of 2018, this would be on the best list, but I saw “Roma” after completing said lists.

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I also decided to try out a new concept this year which I have decided to make an annual tradition, the Jackoff Awards. For awhile, over the past year, I have grown to admire the Oscars based on how much respect they tend to pay towards the film industry. Granted, they’re not perfect, but what they’ve done over the years is absolutely intriguing. I thought to myself, why not do a big awards related post? Present similar categories to other major shows, I do my own comedy bits, and it was perhaps the most ambitious post I have ever done. As for Best Picture, I decided to present what was then my top 10 of 2018, which DID include “Roma,” and instead of having me choose Best Picture, I would allow my audience to choose the winner. I figured it would allow for diversity in terms of opinions, and I managed to get a surprisingly diverse number of votes. I got some votes for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “First Man,” “Ready Player One,” but the winner turned out to be last year’s biggest comic book movie, “Avengers: Infinity War.” Honestly, if there were any movie to put in my Blu-ray player on a Friday night at this point, it would most certainly be that one.

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I then continued my journey in March by going to the place that I would associate with film more than any other, Los Angeles. My family and I stayed right near Hollywood Boulevard and I got to visit a few media-related sights including Warner Brothers Studios, the TCL Chinese Theatre (where I saw “Captain Marvel”), and Universal Studios Hollywood. I also got the chance to witness a live taping of “Conan.” While I didn’t make a big post related to this, I managed to briefly discuss some of my highlights here and there.

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For those of you who are curious about my “Conan” taping experience, I managed to witness almost two full shows. Why? Conan O’Brien had to be somewhere when his Thursday show would air, so naturally, he had a demand, he wanted us, Thursday’s audience, to “make Tuesday’s audience look like s*it.” We got see all of Tuesday’s show, which had a couple comedy bits and an interview with Timothy Olyphant (Live Free or Die Hard, Santa Clarita Diet) and a good fraction of a Thursday night show which featured comedian Moses Storm, who joked about cell phone users, “Shark Tank,” and revealed a story where he would tape episodes of Conan O’Brien’s older talk show episodes over his religion-related educational programming. By the way, Conan in person looks like a real life action figure. Maybe it’s the makeup. Maybe it’s the lighting in the studio, but my gosh.

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I also got to visit an RPX venue for the first time. For those who don’t know about RPX, they are a premium format that can be found exclusively in cinemas under Regal Entertainment Group ownership. I didn’t plan on attending RPX when I did, but I managed to get something off my list of movie-related things to do before I died. After all, “Us” just came out, and I was in the Boston area. I figured just to save time, I’d go for the earlier, but more expensive show that Regal Cinemas Fenway was providing, as opposed to another show which would be starting a half hour later. For your information, I was aware that I was going into an RPX screen. I didn’t mind my decision, I figured if I wanted to see “Us,” I’d go see it in full scale glory because I was really anticipating it. While I have still yet to see “Get Out” to this day, I have heard about its overwhelmingly positive reception and I was expecting that Jordan Peele would deliver another sick movie. While “Us” was not perfect, it was definitely worth seeing, and I wouldn’t mind watching it again. As for the RPX experience itself, I thought the seats were not too bad. The capacity was through the roof, the screen, while not entirely wall to wall, was huge. As for the sound… It is undeniably better than a standard theater, but I was a little underwhelmed. Maybe I went to see the wrong movie, maybe the employees turned the speakers down, but when I compare the sound to something like IMAX or Dolby Cinema at AMC, I would go back to both of those places first.

Moving onto April, I managed to survive the whole “Avengers: Endgame” ticket buying craze. For those not fully immersed into what I just stated, I must point out that “Avengers: Endgame” tickets went on sale April 2nd, and the Internet went balls to the wall nuts when it came to snagging tickets. I had to wait in Fandango’s line, AMC was having problems, and it got to the point where I had to buy tickets from a somewhat local cinema chain, on their own, slightly buggy website, just to make sure I could get into school on time. I almost took the train to one of my local AMCs because I could stop by there on the way to school. If I did that, I am willing to bet I would have missed out on opening night of “Endgame,” which was the day I was shooting for. After all I did want to get my review out as soon as possible, and I did manage to score a couple tickets on remaining good seats for a 9PM show. Not at an AMC, but at a Showcase Cinemas. While it was not my first choice, I don’t regret going there, because an hour before going into the cinema, I got a glimpse at everyone leaving the 22 MCU movie marathon the theater was showing over a few days. Everyone was being applauded, and they left with some merch. I recorded this aftermath on Facebook Live, and despite my camera’s focusing problems and poor cellular service, I managed to get some respectable footage. Also as a Bostonian, I was proud of myself to catch a reporter from one of my local news channels, WBZ, or CBS Channel 4. To be specific, Tashanea Whitlow. As for the premiere itself, the movie was fun, and the three hour runtime was rather justified given what we as an audience received. I didn’t think it was perfect, I’d much rather watch “Infinity War,” but it was a great finale to over ten years of films. I will also say, this may be due to where I went to see the movie, seeing “Infinity War” was also a better experience. Because I went to see it at a 7PM show on opening Thursday on an eight story IMAX screen. If you have ever gone to see an event-type film in India, that is one of the most solid comparisons I could make to my experience. It was like going to a Stanley Cup game or something. “Endgame,” which was in a sold out theater in regular 2D, had barely any applause (although some reactions here and there), and out of everyone in the theater, I may have been the most obnoxious. If I had to make a sports comparison, I’d probably say it was like going to a slightly more competitive golf tournament. It was lively at times, but not like the roof was being blown off the place. I know some people are not particularly fans of going to theaters where everyone is reacting to the film’s key moments, but as a fan of the MCU, it’s something that I considered to be a privilege during my “Infinity War” experience.

May was an interesting month for me, because I just finished my first year of college, so I got a little more active on the Scene Before side of things. I’m now trying to earn revenue with the blog, I saw more movies than I did in months such as March or February, and I even changed my domain name. Unfortunately, scenebefore.com was taken, so I wanted to make sure I can fit something that would associate with me, but also be precise. I thought something like moviereviewingmoron.com, while definitely appropriate, is a tad too long. Luckily, after some searching, I found out that flicknerd.com was available. Did I ever call myself “flick nerd” on this blog? No, but I figured it would be a cool name to have because its simplicity will probably gain enough traction overtime. It’s hard to tell though, because this advanced blogging journey, at least from my point of view, is just getting started. I’m looking for sponsors, more potential viewers, but I’m also trying to be the same movie reviewing moron that everyone has come to know.

One of my highlight posts of the month is titled “What THE BIG BANG THEORY Has Meant To Me: A Nerd’s Perspective.” For those who are unaware, CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” just finished it’s twelfth and final season on the air, so I figured I’d take some time to remind the world of what the show has meant to me as a fan, as someone who would constantly tune in to new episodes, and most of all, as a nerd on the autism spectrum. I probably won’t have time to give a detailed description of everything I said, so if you want to read the post, click this link!

I also saw another one of my favorite films so far this year, “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum!” Not only that, but like I mentioned earlier, I managed to catch a Dolby Cinema presentation of it, which surprisingly, didn’t make me feel like I was getting shot in the head, which may be a good thing. Seriously though, “John Wick: Chapter 3” is probably the best installment of the franchise yet, and Keanu Reeves might now just have a better trilogy than “The Matrix!”

But I cannot say the end of the month was great, because “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” happened. Sad day. Even though I went to see the film in full scale IMAX glory, it didn’t feel like something worth my time.

Moving onto June, I managed to do something pretty cool with my dad. He and I go to the movies together a lot because for the most part we have similar tastes. We match together when it comes to sci-fi, action, comic book-based material, comedy, etc. However he has never been to an advance press screening, so I thought just for fun he and I could do so for the new movie, “Men In Black: International.” It’s a movie that I probably would have checked out had I waited for it to release everywhere. After all, “Men In Black 3” is my favorite movie of 2012. However, since this was free, not to mention, early, I thought dad and I could trek to the theater and see what this movie had in store. I personally enjoyed it. I know some people were scared of how this movie would turn out based on the marketing (Then again, it’s a Sony film, whaddya expect these days?). I thought the first trailer was alright, but not great. The second trailer was an improvement and actually got me more interested in the film. As for the film itself, it is not Shakespeare, but it’s a fun time at the movies. Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson have great chemistry together and I think Kumail Nanjiani’s character is a fantastic comic relief.

The best movie I saw this month was “Toy Story 4,” which I must point out, I probably was not even looking forward to back when it was announced. Boy, times do change! Unfortunately, I had to witness brain cell erasers such as “Replicas,” which I bought on Blu-ray since I had some Best Buy rewards to waste. I also saw “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” which is worse than getting scratched in the eye by a cat. Yes, Harrison Ford is in it. Yes, he is the best part of the movie. But I might as well be at the point where I would rather have a dog sniff my butt then go so that film again!

Now that I have recapped my highlights, I just want to remind everyone of what’s being planned for the future. Here is my unofficial schedule for the second half of 2019!

JULY:

Throughout the month of July, there are not that many movies coming out compared to other months in the year (at least according to Wikipedia), but I am planning on catching a few blockbuster highlights such as “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” despite how little anticipation I have for it. I also really want to catch Disney’s live-action remake of “The Lion King.” I am not a fan of the Disney live-action remake trend, but I feel that this movie will be a great theater experience and also rather compelling. I don’t know how much it is going to be a carbon copy of the original or how much it’ll go in its own direction, but I am somewhat curious as to what will come of it. I know it is longer than the original, which slightly worries me, because it could add something that perhaps the 1990s film didn’t even need, therefore ruining my experience. Plus, it’s being directed by Jon Faverau, who also worked on 2016’s “The Jungle Book,” another Disney live-action remake, which was one of my favorite movies of said year. I also really want to check out “Crawl.” The trailer didn’t have me fully onboard, but I am still curious as to how this film will turn out. Plus, it’s being produced by Sam Raimi, who is known for his work in the horror industry, and one of my favorite comic book movie directors.

This does not mean that I want to ignore independent work, because on the same weekend as “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” A24 is releasing one of my most anticipated movies of the summer. Specifically, “Midsommar.” When your movie is A: Directed by Ari Aster, who had a phenomenal feature-length directorial debut last year with “Hereditary,” another A24 film, and B: Described by Aster as “a Wizard of Oz for perverts,” I am instantly intrigued. “Midsommar” takes place in rural Sweden as a young couple takes a vacation and settles in the area. Alongside their friends, they eventually discover that this area has a festival that takes place once every ninety years, which creeps them all out. I want to see Ari Aster succeed, so hopefully this film does well.

Speaking of successful filmmakers, another well-known director in the industry, specifically Quentin Tarantino, is going to be releasing his ninth film, “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood.” And to be honest, as anticipated as I am to see this film, I have to let something out. I have not seen much of Tarantino’s work. I will most likely be going to see “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood” when it comes out, maybe in 35mm, but before I do that, I am going to be doing a small series of reviews for Quentin Tarantino movies. In fact, I already have a few lined up. Specifically, “Pulp Fiction,” “Django Unchained,” and “The Hateful Eight.” Those reviews will be done as weekly projects and they should all be up before the official release date of “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood,” July 26th.

 

AUGUST:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESRemember how I would occasionally announce I am going to cons from time to time? For some reason I have failed to do that this year. It’s not like I am not going anywhere, but I have just failed to put myself in front of my keyboard and try to say, “Hey guys, here’s where I’m going, stalk me!” Not that don’t mind the attention, I’m just saying. But if you really want to know about my next con, I do have it booked, and I will be going to Terrificon, which for those of you who have been following me for some time, you’d know that is also the first con I ever documented on this blog. And I am thinking of doing something a little different this time, just to spice things up. I’m trying to push more video content into my posts, maybe I’ll insert a compilation of the con’s highlights. I’ll record it on my camera, maybe my phone, whichever has more memory at the time. Maybe I’ll post it on YouTube and link it here. Who knows? But here on Scene Before I am trying find ways to innovate, and maybe this could be one of them.

Speaking of cons, this is NO GUARANTEE, partially because I have not even bought tickets, but there is one convention that is about a half hour away from my house that I kind of want to go to. Whether or not I am going, that’s a different story, but should things go in a certain direction, I may end up going to Fan Expo Boston, which is a con I have surprisingly never been to. And the guest list this year, aside from a couple big cancellations, is solid so far. You’ve got Zachary Levi (Shazam!, Tangled), who I will say, even if you are not into his work, he is a fun guy to meet, he is upbeat and has a massive sense of charm. Part of the cast of “Blade Runner” is going to be there including Sean Young, Rutger Hauer, and Edward James Olmos. I have a feeling there are more guest announcements coming our way, and if there are, I cannot wait to hear them, because there have been a lot of cool names who were there over the years to the point where I almost have slight regrets on missing out. If I were to get tickets to Fan Expo, I’d probably just go for one day. After all, Terrificon is the week prior, and I am staying overnight during that weekend, so my budget might be slightly higher at that event compared to Fan Expo.

Moving away from cons, I will say that my biggest film catches for August right now have to be “Hobbs & Shaw,” “Dora and the Lost City of Gold,” “Good Boys,” “Where’d You Go Bernadette?,” and “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.” There is not much from August that I am truly anticipating, but I will inevitably go see a few things here and there. And if you want to know something, I only put down “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” because let’s face it, “Dora the Explorer” was a part of my childhood, and nostalgia equals money nowadays. Granted, this movie looks a tad more adult-friendly than the cartoon. But am I looking forward to it? Hell no. In fact, I am thinking it is only going to ruin my childhood, but I might as well give it a chance just because I am a nice guy. I saw the recent “Power Rangers” film partially out of nostalgia and that worked for me, might as well do it with “Dora” and see if that works.

 

SEPTEMBER:
If I had to predict my least active month for the rest of the year, I have to call it right now, September is certainly a contender. For one thing, I’m going back to college, so I need to adjust to a new routine. I’m still going to keep my promise of doing at least one post within every 7 days or so, that way you can keep witnessing my constant dedication to this blog. I’m probably not gonna go see “IT: Chapter Two” mainly because I still have not seen the first one. Although the cast is pretty nifty from what I have experienced. But I am interested in “The Goldfinch,” I have some slight intrigue towards “The Report,” and maybe I’ll check out “Abominable.” I saw one of the trailers for it, and it looks like it might not be a new animated classic or anything, but I am somewhat curious to check it out, partially because even as an adult, I still have a slight need to check out animations from time to time. Plus, it is from DreamWorks, and I’m currently trying to seek out their next big thing. “Kung Fu Panda” is done, “How to Train Your Dragon” seems to be done, maybe this, or something else, can be their next kickstarter to a solid franchise. Then again, apparently they’re making sequels to “The Boss Baby,” “The Croods,” and “Trolls,” so why should I expect absolute quality? Nevertheless, it’s worth a shot.

Although if you had to ask me what my most anticipated movie would be for the month of September, it’s a no brainer, “Ad Astra.” I love space, I love compelling, dramatic stories involving space travel, even if it is close to Earth. Plus, the second half of the year for numerous ages of my life have typically contained at least one epic space movie. Maybe “Ad Astra” will be the next to join the ranks with other movies from this decade like “The Martian” and “Interstellar.”

 

OCTOBER:

This October is pretty interesting to me, because there will be a weekend where my mother and sister are out of the house and I will quite honestly, need something to do. I can’t just stay trapped behind walls! I have to see the world! Nevertheless, that particular weekend is the release of “Joker,” which I am inevitably going to check out no matter what, but for the sake of having an early review, I’m going to check it out as soon as possible. I have Fridays off from school this upcoming semester, maybe I’ll do it then. The following week is the release of Will Smith’s “Gemini Man,” directed by Ang Lee, so I might see that. And the week after is slightly bigger because Taika Waititi is coming out with his latest directorial feature, “Jojo Rabbit,” where believe it or not, Waititi himself plays Hitler. I never pictured that, but this film certainly has my attention. That same week is also the release of “Zombieland: Double Tap.” I had fun with the first “Zombieland.” I enjoyed the chemistry between Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson, and it has, at least to me, a pure highlight from Bill Murray’s acting career. And to my surprise, he’s coming back for this movie! I also want to check out “The Aeronauts” which is being released by Amazon, and the reason why I want to check it out is because it is Amazon’s first attempt at an IMAX run and it is also being released a week early in that format. The film will technically be in standard theaters in November after it’s week-long IMAX run. And if this is the case, this reminds me of the excitement I had for Robert Zemeckis’ “The Walk,” because that released a week early in IMAX and that was quite an experience.

Speaking of lesser known films, one other thing I want to check out is the South Korean flick “Parasite.” It’s getting tons of buzz at film festivals, having earned Palme d’Or at Cannes, winning the Sydney Film Festival, and already making tons of money in Korea. The film’s US release is this October, which would put it in a reasonable spot to be remembered by Academy and Golden Globe voters.

 

NOVEMBER:
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This November is particularly interesting. Because November 1st is the day I’m heading off to Providence for Rhode Island Comic Con, and that’s the day after Halloween! I’m not cosplaying (at least I have no plans to right now) at this con, but I just want to walk around the convention floor for hours and stumble upon every costumed individual and wish them a Happy Halloween. Nevertheless, I am staying true to my annual tradition of going to Rhode Island Comic Con. The guest list is usually filled to the brim, so I cannot wait to hear more announcements over these upcoming months. Even so, the convention has had some huge announcements for guests thus far. Some guests include Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy, Blade Runner 2049), William Shatner (Star Trek: The Original Series, Boston Legal), George Takei (Star Trek: The Original Series, Kim Possible), Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead, Final Space), and to my utter surprise, and possible delight, Chevy Chase. By the way, Chase made an announcement about his upcoming appearance online and the video he made for it is very funny.

Sticking to the announcement wishlist concept, I recently made a submission on the con’s website suggesting names of five possible guests that I want to see. They include: James Murray, Curtis Armstrong, Kunal Nayyar, Doug Walker, and James Holzhauer. I could be mistaking Doug Walker for somebody else, but even if I am, he would be fun to see at the con. Of all these names, the one that really stands out to me is James Holzhauer. Out of all the people on this list, he is the least “celebrity-like” of all of them. James Murray comes close, but barely misses the mark. For those who are unaware, Holzhauer is the name of the recent “Jeopardy!” contestant who wouldn’t stop taking the show’s money. He has nearly broken Ken Jennings’ regular winnings record, only to be stopped by an opponent who beat him by more than double his final total for the game he lost. I think Holzhauer appearing at Rhode Island Comic Con would not just be unique, but also entirely appropriate. After all, it would probably bring in a new audience of people who would otherwise skip out on cons. Plus, as a game show enthusiast, I cannot help but keep talking about Holzhauer like he’s my own child. It’s almost as if being able to catch the latest “Jeopardy!” episode or at least reading up on the latest stats was the ultimate bragging right. Also, this year I’m going with a VIP ticket, which comes with various perks.

VIP Ticket Perks:

  • 3 day admission
  • Early bird admission (9AM Sat & Sun)
  • Private VIP Entrance
  • Private VIP Lounge
  • 3 Exclusive RI Comic Con Show Prints
  • Rhode Island Comic Con Swag Bag
  • 20% off RICC Branded Merchandise
  • Exclusive VIP 2019 RI Comic Con Badge
  • Exclusive RICC AR Comics-Comic Book
  • Exclusive RICC Comic Book
  • VIP Autograph Fast Pass Line
  • VIP Photo Op Fast Pass Line
  • Chance to Win 2020 VIP Pass
  • One Exclusive Mystery Item

I am personally excited for the con, and believe it or not, it is not the first time I’m getting a VIP badge, because the first time I went, which was in 2015, I managed to get said badge as well.

That same weekend is also the release of the new “Terminator” film, “Terminator: Dark Fate.” It is a cliche title, but its first trailer, personally had me intrigued. I’m excited to see what Tim Miller has up his sleeve in terms of direction. I am somewhat excited to see James Cameron involved again, although I am slightly worried because we now have more disposable “Terminator” movies than memorable “Terminator” movies. Let’s just hope we can change that.

Some of my other most anticipated films of the month include “Ford v. Ferrari,” “Knives Out,” and “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” “Ford v. Ferrari” takes place during a race to determine which of the two recently specified car brands will dominate. “Knives Out” is an upcoming mystery crime film directed by Rian Johnson. I did not like his interpretation of the “Star Wars” universe, but it does not mean I am not willing to check out his future work. Plus, this movie has a number of big names that I imagine a lot of people would like to see. Some include Daniel Craig (Casino Royale, Logan Lucky), Chris Evans (Captain America: The First Avenger, Gifted), Lakeith Stanfield (Black Panther, Sorry To Bother You), Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049, War Dogs), Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween, Scream Queens), the world’s best Kevin Spacey impersonator, Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World, A Beautiful Mind), and recent Jackoff winner Toni Collette (Hereditary, The Sixth Sense). As for “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” it is in the current conversation to be my most anticipated film for the remainder of the year. For one thing, I saw “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” last year, which much like “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” is about Mister Rogers. That documentary not only compelled me, but reminded me of my personal flaws in my childhood, and maybe inspired me to be a better person. I still rage out on this blog a lot, but it’s something that I don’t really do for me, I do it for the entertainment of others, so that’s different. But it reminded me of how much it pays to respect those around you. Plus, TOM HANKS IS PLAYING THE STARRING ROLE?! Who else could do that?! He’s practically the nicest guy in Hollywood! SIGN ME UP! Believe it or not, that comes out the same weekend as “Frozen II,” but who cares about that?! Rogers for life!

 

DECEMBER:

The end of the year is always a crazy time for me, but just like last year, it’ll perhaps be less busy than it has been in other years. My fall semester will end during the month, and I’ll be in the cycle of watching previous movies from the year at home. This does not mean that I’ll be skipping theatrical releases, because award season is in full swing. This means I’ll be paying extra close attention to films that receive Golden Globe nominations, and as for reviewing movies I watch at home, the chances of that are very slim. But this does not mean that big blockbusters are entirely off the table. For one thing, they tend to sometimes do pretty well in certain technical categories, and we have another “Star Wars” film this year. I have intentions to go see “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” opening Thursday night, mainly because I want to buy tickets as early as possible. If I can’t do that, I am going to try extra hard to find an available press screening, because aside from “Endgame,” “The Rise of Skywalker” is perhaps the biggest movie of 2019. Aside from being titled “Star Wars,” it is supposed to end “The Skywalker Saga,” and J.J. Abrams is directing again. I was not a huge fan of “The Last Jedi,” but I love “The Force Awakens” like it is my own brother. I am honestly more excited for “The Rise of Skywalker” than I was for “The Last Jedi” before that came out because I was somewhat worried that “The Last Jedi” would be a carbon copy of “The Empire Strikes Back.” Turns out it wasn’t, despite similarities to older films in the saga. And I even say this knowing how some things in “The Last Jedi” turned out. Having seen the trailer back in April, knowing certain plot points that could play out, and realizing J.J. Abrams could save this sequel trilogy, I am rather giddy for this December. But despite my excitement, I gotta ask. HOW IS PALPATINE STILL ALIVE?! I am excited to possibly see him in this film, but really?! When he was thrown down the pit in “Return of the Jedi,” yeeaah, HE F*CKING DIED. There is no coming back from that. I’m intrigued, I just need to be convinced.

When it comes to smaller films, one such film I am very excited for is “Little Women.” The film is supposed to explore the lives of sisters as they live in 1860s Massachusetts. It may not be my type of movie on paper, but one reason why I am excited is because the film is being directed by Greta Gerwig, who also helmed one of the best coming of age stories I have seen in recent years, “Lady Bird.” In addition to that, the cast is killer! This movie’s got Meryl Streep (Sophie’s Choice, The Iron Lady), Emma Watson (Beauty and the Beast, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone), Laura Dern (Big Little Lies, Jurassic Park), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird, Mary Queen of Scots), and Timothée Chalamet (Interstellar, Beautiful Boy)! I am also probably going to be looking into “1917,” which is a war film. Those tend to often go for awards, which is why I have my sights set on it. There are a couple films that I might check out that I would probably regret seeing, but the only real film that I’d struggle with reviewing is “Fair and Balanced.” Granted, this does not mean I am not looking forward to the film, nor am I expecting to be underwhelmed with it, in fact it sounds rather intriguing from a storytelling point of view. But the movie is about relationships between women and Fox News owner Roger Ailes, and I feel that it is going to be rather hard to keep my political opinions out of the review. I’m not saying I am a core conservative that keeps a closed mind, I try to see all sides and then form my own opinion. I have made various political jokes here and there on Scene Before, but politics is not my top priority, especially when you consider how divided we are as a country right now. Although I did manage to check out “Vice” last year, which was pretty good, but part of it had to do with the buzz it has been getting. Who knows? Maybe I’ll check out “Fair and Balanced,” for all I know it could be the best movie of the year, but I feel like it would be hard to review if I’m going to have to inject my experience with how the world operates in terms of politics. We’ll just have to see.

And of course, I’ll be finishing off the year, or perhaps more likely, kicking off next year, by recapping my top 10 BEST and WORST movies of 2019. I enjoy doing these countdowns every year, because I get to honor films one more time, and also give myself a minor stress release.

Although I must remind you, it is 2019, and here on Scene Before I am trying to constantly find new ways to deliver exciting content to you all. In 2017, I did a couple of cutaway style parodies, in 2018 I did a post talking about my Blu-ray collection, and just this year I introduced the world to the Jackoff Awards. The question is, where I do I go next? I’ve done tons of countdowns, reviews of the past, reviews of the present, what could be next? I know! ALL OF IT IN ONE. Ladies and gentlemen, if you have been following Scene Before and saw one of my posts in April, you’d know that I put out a trailer for something I once referred to as “Project 2020.” Although, based on statistics, I doubt many of you have even glanced at that post. But for those of you who know what I’m talking about, good for you. You get a “good job” sticker! But for those of you who don’t know, watch this trailer down below!

*ALL COPYRIGHTS BELONG TO THEIR RESPECTIVE OWNERS*

That’s right! I am going to be crafting a list of my highlight movies of the 2010’s, and I must have you know, I am setting this list up to be bigger than the lists I traditionally do at the end of the year. While this is still in planning stages, I will be intending to make this list perhaps a top 25, maybe a top 50. I was also debating on a top 100 as well. Depends on how much time I have. I am honestly MORE THAN EXCITED to work on this list, and release it to you all. I started Scene Before in 2016, which means I did not get too many chances to talk about films from years prior, so not only is this a personal reflection of various films I watched during my blogging journey, but a reflection of an entire ten year span that I lived through before becoming this active on the Internet. I’m not gonna say anything, but 2014 was a great year for film as far I’m concerned, so depending on how the rest of 2019 plays out, we might see a good number of films I’m passionate about from that year make the list. This is not to put down any other year from this decade, I’m just giddy of what’s to come…

And by the way, a worst list is in the works too.

At home I am making an effort to watch various films that have come out this decade just to catch up, and maybe add something to the best or worst list at the end of the year. I’m not gonna get into too much detail, because I do want to save some secrets for when the list comes out, but I am stoked just to be working on this.

Thanks for reading this post! If you like Scene Before and want to see more content, consider following me either with an email or WordPress account! As for upcoming content, I want to remind everyone, in case they forgot by now, I will soon be starting my Quentin Tarantino review series, which will eventually culminate with a review either at the end of July or beginning of August with my thoughts on “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” I cannot wait to get started on this, Tarantino is a filmmaker I have often admired behind the scenes, but I have barely seen any of his material. Now is a good time to start! Also, be sure to check out my Facebook page! Get your latest updates from the movie reviewing moron by using Facebook, the home of some of the all-time laziest efforts at wishing someone a happy birthday. Be sure to stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, is there something that you would like to see be done here on Scene Before, perhaps for this half of 2019? Or, what is your favorite Scene Before moment, post, anything that I have done so far this year? It can even be this one for all I care! Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

The 1st Annual JACKOFF Awards

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WARNING: The following post is nearly 11,000 words long. If you are able to make it through this entire post, I applaud you. However, your life is under your control, and you should decide how long you can read this for. I am not the judge of you, nor am I your boss. You should be able to decide how long you should gloss. Enjoy!

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INTRO SEQUENCE!

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! You have now entered the Cinema Zone. You are now about to witness the most important awards ceremony of all time. An event so grand that every celebrity earning such an award will brag about it to their friends and family. *Drumroll* The Movie Reviewing Moron presents… The Jackoffs!

*SEES NO AUDIENCE*

Disappointing.

But the show must go on! Today we are going to be celebrating and reflecting on what the Movie Reviewing Moron seems to see as the best in film. Similar to other awards ceremonies related to movies, there will categories dedicated to acting, directing, music, categories such as those. Also, much like those award shows, these are all appetizers for Best Picture, which I can guarantee you, will be the TRUE best picture this year. All of those other fake award ceremonies? Forget them! This is serious business! There’s also going to be some stuff on the side as well, so stay tuned. However, if you have seen my top 10 BEST movies of 2018, you’d already know what my best picture is. With that in mind, I decided to do something a little different than me picking a Best Picture winner. Given how my mind can change on what the top 10 movies of 2018 are, and I have an audience who also goes out to support film, I decided to reveal my top 10 best movies as of the point where I announce the nominees, and have others pick the best movie of the year. And for those who are curious to look back at my top 10 list from this past year, I will spoil the fact that the list has changed slightly since I’ve completed it. As for other categories, every other category from Best Actor to Best Original Song to Best Sound Editing to Best Original Screenplay is all from my mind.

Before we get to the nominees and winners however, I would like to point out that I have not seen every single film in 2018, therefore some of the nominations probably would be something where you’d beg to differ. One movie that has been getting a ton of buzz this Winter for example is Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns.” Many people have enjoyed the movie, noted Emily Blunt’s performance, not to mention its music. I can’t say I’ve seen that movie, and I haven’t seen the original either. With that in mind, it just makes no sense for me to see this movie at this point for sake of putting it in any of the categories.

So, before we start revealing who was nominated and who won, I have to remind everyone, this IS an award ceremony. Most award ceremonies tend to be lighthearted, fun, and have some random jabs intact. This is a segment brought on despite no demand, “Jack Drees Tells Jokes to Nobody in Order to Please Himself.”

I’m going to state some facts about this year in film, and since there is no audience here, there will be no laughs. But since I want people in my life, I guess I will have to imagine there will be people laughing at my jokes, no matter how stupid the jokes really are. And I must say, 2018 really has been an excellent year for film, and I’m not just saying that. It’s one of the best years for film ever, as long as you weren’t dusted by Thanos, Tom Cruise’s broken leg, eaten by a Megalodon, or Tom Hardy attached to a parasite.

In January, the final installment of the “Maze Runner” trilogy, “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” released to the public. The main antagonistic side of the movie involves a corporation called “WCKD,” which is pronounced similarly to “wicked.” Viewers haven’t heard the word “wicked” so much since that one trip they took to Boston. Coincidentally, that last trip some of you might have taken was to see grown men and a supposed cheater hold a properly inflated trophy.

Emily Blunt appeared in a couple movies this past year, specifically “A Quiet Place” and “Mary Poppins Returns.” Both movies have a notable segment involving a bathtub. So far, Blunt has no movies scheduled for 2019, but I have a thought on the title of the movie Blunt will take on next. It’s called “The Shower.”

“First Man” released this year in October. While not everyone found it to be great, I found it personally to be one of the best films of the year. This film is partially about the Apollo 11 moon landing, and it is confirmed in this movie, that Ryan Gosling and Damien Chazelle fake the moon landing. IT WAS SHOT ON EARTH! IT’S A FAKE! IT WAS ON A FILM SET THE WHOLE TIME!

AMC Theatres introduced a new subscription service as part of their Stubs membership lineup. For $19.95 a month you can see 3 movies a week without charge in any format at an AMC location. The plan is called AMC Stubs A-List. This would be great for juvenile delinquents, because now you can sneak in the back of the theater in a slightly more sophisticated manner.

This recently mentioned plan was known to be a competitor to cheaper organizations such as MoviePass and Sinemia. I gotta give some props to MoviePass though, because the company’s CEO also happened to once be an executive at Netflix, so it’s possible they secretly have partial rights to the word “chill.” Imagine you’re a guy texting your girlfriend, “Hey, MoviePass and chill? ;)” You two decide to go to the cinema and see a romantic comedy. Then the sex scene arrives, and it’s time to take off your clothes and make physical contact with each other! The guy is probably going, “I have never been so immersed in a movie in my life!”

The guy’s probably young and got an uncontrollable sex drive.

However, it is also true that MoviePass has had some struggles this year. Their stock kept decreasing, they did a reverse stock split, the app crashed, and there were occasionally limited options of movies you were allowed to see. In other news, sneaking in the back of the theater is still free.

One of the later releases of December was “Holmes & Watson.” The movie earned low scores from critics, with many giving it the final verdict of “S*it, Sherlock.”

John Cena was in a couple films this year, including “Blockers” and “Bumblebee.” While both films aren’t widely regarded as horrible, the biggest problem is that we could actually see John Cena.

One of the releases we’ve gotten over the summer is a movie called “Billionaire Boys Club,” starring Ansel Elgort, Taron Egerton, Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irvine, Cary Elwes, Emma Roberts, Billie Lourd, Suki Waterhouse, and Judd Nelson. This movie earned $126 on opening day, making it the worst thing Kevin Spacey’s ever d—whoops! Sorry! Did I really just say that?! I sincerely apologize!

Unsane,” a rather unique flick, released this year. What makes it unique? It was shot using an iPhone 7 Plus. It’s a good movie, but the problem is that every time it is shown in a movie theater, there would always be at least one person who wouldn’t turn off their phone.

Here is a fact some people might not know about. As of last year, Tom Cruise has starred in two films which are at the very least, partially named after Bethesda video games, Cruise did “Oblivion” in 2013, and just last year he did “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.” Neither of those movies are linked to the video game franchises, they just borrow the name. But in all seriousness, I just can’t wait for one of his future films, “The Mummy 2: The Evil Within.”

James Gunn, director of the two recent “Guardians of the Galaxy” flicks, was fired by Disney and prevented from directing the third installment in the franchise. He was eventually hired by Warner Bros. to work on “Suicide Squad 2,” which he is going to improve by adding in one thousand talking trees. Each one of them is going to say “Hodor.”

So it’s a “Game of Thrones” crossover. It’s gonna be great.

One of the more successful movies of the year, both critically and financially, is Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born.”

It featured Lady Gaga’s most brilliant performance since her portrayal of the crazy lady hanging on wires from the Super Bowl 51 Pepsi Halftime Show.

“Black Panther” was a huge success this year, making the second highest box office total worldwide for 2018, not to mention, more money in the United States than “Avengers: Infinity War.” In other words, “Black Panther” is the most popular creation associated with the “What Are Those?” meme of all time.

One film that unfortunately cancelled production this year is a graphic novel-based project called “Cowboy Ninja Viking.” This movie was originally supposed to be called “The Overpolished Halloween Costume.”

Speaking of Halloween, A new “Halloween” movie came out this year, which simply went by the title, “Halloween.” Keep in mind, while some might call this lazy marketing, this just goes to show that nothing is superior to the original.

“Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again, came out this year, featuring Meryl Streep, and just for having a job this year, Streep automatically gets an award!

“Incredibles 2” came out this June after a 14 year wait from the release of the original installment. For the parents raising kids who grew up with the first movie, you didn’t have to teach them patience. Disney and Pixar had that covered.

I remember as a kid, one of the movies I rented from Blockbuster multiple times was the original installment of the “The Incredibles.” Sadly, the store I frequented has been closed for over a decade now. And as of this point, there is only one Blockbuster Video still open. When there were three open this year, two of them were located in Alaska. A state whose stores surprisingly, seemed to have disappeared faster than the ice caps.

Hey, I said in the preview this wouldn’t be politically heavy! This is a human issue! Also, one for polar bears.

The HBO show “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” tried to help keep the Alaskan Blockbuster stores in business by buying items from Russell Crowe’s divorce auction and donating the purchases to the stores. One of the notable purchases was a jockstrap worn by Crowe during Ron Howard’s “Cinderella Man.” Imagine if somebody wanted to rent that thing! “I’ll take this for five days, I just need it to win a contest at Comic-Con, and I’ll give it back.”

Speaking of Blockbuster, the company’s one remaining store is located in Bend, Oregon. This store managed to create its own beer to celebrate its lonely status. I didn’t do any research, but I’m pretty sure it gets you drunk really fast. So fast in fact for those who drank it, the biggest side effect was renting all the “Sharknado” movies.

It has been announced earlier this year that Illumination, the creators of “Despicable Me,” plan to make an animated “Super Mario Bros.” movie. In this movie, two brothers will show off their secret weapon, jumping.

“The Favourite” was one of the best reviewed films of the year, containing praise-worthy performances from actors including Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone. The movie is also an accurate description of everyone’s worst experience while riding a horse.

One of the final releases from 2018 is the highly-praised “Vice,” directed by Adam McKay. This movie is about Dick Cheney, making it one of the longest dick pics in history. 

“If Beale Street Could Talk” was also a big hit this year with critics. For those of you who don’t know, “If Beale Street Could Talk” is directed by Barry Jenkins, the same guy who helmed 2016’s “Moonlight.” Today, in honor of that, I’m going to announce who won Best Picture, and give a special, honorary participation trophy for reading the wrong card.

Now since this is an award ceremony dedicated to honoring film, I might as well recognize movies everywhere, no matter what genre, franchise, time length, or even overall quality rating. Before we get to our first set of nominees, let’s take a look back what Jack Drees saw in 2018.

  1. Maze Runner: The Death Cure
  2. The 15:17 to Paris
  3. Black Panther
  4. Annihilation
  5. Tomb Raider
  6. Ready Player One
  7. Blockers
  8. Pacific Rim: Uprising
  9. A Quiet Place
  10. Avengers: Infinity War
  11. Isle of Dogs
  12. The Commuter
  13. Life of the Party
  14. I Feel Pretty
  15. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  16. Revenge
  17. Adrift
  18. Tag
  19. Incredibles 2
  20. Deadpool 2
  21. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
  22. Uncle Drew
  23. A Wrinkle in Time
  24. Ant-Man and the Wasp
  25. Hereditary
  26. Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again
  27. Skyscraper
  28. Mission: Impossible: Fallout
  29. The Last Movie Star
  30. How to Talk to Girls at Parties
  31. The Hurricane Heist
  32. Gringo
  33. Eighth Grade
  34. Love, Simon
  35. Game Night
  36. Kin
  37. Peppermint
  38. The Meg
  39. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
  40. Venom
  41. A Star Is Born
  42. First Man
  43. Marrowbone/The Secret of Marrowbone (same movie)
  44. Bohemian Rhapsody
  45. The Grinch
  46. Second Act
  47. The Spy Who Dumped Me
  48. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  49. Red Sparrow
  50. Sorry to Bother You
  51. Operation Finale
  52. 12 Strong
  53. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  54. Gotti
  55. Welcome to Marwen
  56. First Reformed
  57. Unsane
  58. Vice
  59. The Favourite
  60. Aquaman
  61. Hotel Artemis
  62. The Mule
  63. Instant Family
  64. Beautiful Boy
  65. Green Book
  66. Roma
  67. Cold War
  68. BlacKkKlansman

Let’s announce some winners!

First up, is Best Supporting Actor. In the world of superheroes, they’d be the sidekick. In the world of gaming, they’d be player two. In the world of driving, they’d be in the passenger seat. However, in the world of acting, they are compelling characters who have come to enlighten generations. These five nominees are likely to do the same. Here are the nominees for Best Supporting Actor.

  • Sam Elliot (A Star Is Born)
  • Timothée Chalamet (Beautiful Boy)
  • Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther)
  • Mahershala Ali (Green Book)
  • Sam Rockwell (Vice)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Mahershala Ali in “Green Book!”

Deciding on a winning nominee for this category was not easy. When you compare Ali to the other performers on the list, Chalamet is a brilliant, young performer who has a bright future ahead. Rockwell did a terrific portrayal as George W. Bush in “Vice.” For awhile I thought Sam Elliott could take the cake because he was perhaps my favorite part of “A Star Is Born” in the acting department when I think about the film sometimes. However, Ali is a fine actor, as proven already in 2016’s “Moonlight,” and once again in “Green Book.” He has played a character who starts out as stoic and emotionless to occasionally belting out a mix of feelings as the film continues. As the first winner of the very prestigious and important Jackoff Awards, Ali should feel proud of himself, congrats! Here is a clip of Mahershala Ali in “Green Book.”

Our next couple of categories involve sound. One understandable question that can be looked up on Google is the difference between sound EDITING and sound MIXING. The sound editing involves the incorporation of sound in general, but the sound mixing involves determining how exactly an audience will hear all of the movie’s sound. The hint to remember all of this, E comes before M. Appropriately, the award for sound editing will be done first. Here are the nominees for Best Sound Editing.

  • A Quiet Place
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • First Man
  • Mission: Impossible: Fallout
  • Ready Player One

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Ready Player One!”

“Ready Player One” is a movie that to me, excelled in just about every technical category imaginable. When it comes to sound editing, “Ready Player One” shines for having some of the most unique sounds of the year. Some of my favorites include the coins, the automobiles, and the Holy Hand Grenade. “Ready Player One” made my top 10 list of 2018 marking my personal best spot this year for sci-fi, and based on how the sound can immerse a viewer like me, it is easy to see why. Congrats to “Ready Player One,” hopefully its sound crew will be able to buy some bottles of wine with some nifty in-game coins as an indulgence for this award.

Let’s take a break from awards and focus on something that totally isn’t deceiving. Marketing.

For each Best Picture nominee, we are going to give them a special preview. I have copied and pasted a trailer for each movie directly from YouTube, so feel free to watch for your own pleasure.

Our first Best Picture nominee is proof that sometimes, sequels can be better than the original. Having seen several movies this year, many of the experiences of watching them have been great, but there were little to none that would get me to say to myself, “holy crap,” once the movie concluded. The film’s star, Tom Cruise, has gone through tremendous obstacles including a broken leg, helicopter flight training, real-life HALO jumping, and one of the most ambitious running scenes put on screen. The director, Christopher McQuarrie, has worked with the star before, delivering sick action, a continuation of what audiences have come to witness before, and perhaps one of the best sixth installments in a franchise ever made. Nominated for 5 Jackoff awards, THIS is “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.”

Going back to nominees, and moving away from the totally not deceptive concept of marketing, I have nearly decided to skip the sound mixing category, but that would make me more deceptive than a lot of movie trailers coming out today. Nevertheless, the sound mixing department in film is the group of people that not only lets an audience hear magic, but a certain level of magic. Here are the nominees for Best Sound Mixing.

  • Annihilation
  • A Star Is Born
  • First Man
  • Mission: Impossible: Fallout
  • Ready Player One

And the award goes to…

“Mission: Impossible: Fallout!”

“Mission: Impossible: Fallout” manages to immerse me into the movie by not only having a great, up-to-date sound selection, but by making me feel like my ears are occasionally being pierced by a bullet hole. The helicopter scene puts you right in the middle of the action with an obnoxious machine, followed by a feast of flying bullets at a magnificent volume. While it is nowhere near as loud or obnoxious as last year’s “Dunkirk,” it is a feast for the ears. Well done to the “MI” team and congrats on the award, should you choose to accept it!

Up next is an award that honors all who assemble the film’s cast. They say that it does not matter what is on the outside, it’s on the inside that counts. However, some feeling inside me has decided to award a certain group of people who have dedicated their time and effort to making sure one’s outside is as presentable as possible. Here are the nominees for Best Makeup & Hairstyling.

  • Aquaman
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • The Favourite
  • Operation Finale
  • Vice

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Vice!”

“Vice” is a movie about Dick Cheney and how he practically oversaw the operations of the US government while W. Bush was in charge. This movie actually partially took place during the 2000s, but I gotta say, you know that meme going around now that tells others how you look now compared to a decade ago? I would love to do a post on Twitter or Instagram or something for these people in real life and their film counterparts just to show how identical they look to each other. Plus, regardless of how Cheney even turned out, whether this is really a Cheney look-a-like or not, and this movie’s Cheney IS a look-a-like, don’t argue with me. I will give enormous props to the makeup department for taking Christian Bale, a guy who is in his forties, and making him look like an uppity grandad! It kind of reminds me of “Darkest Hour” which takes Gary Oldman and turns him into Winston Churchill. Overall, “Vice” is a polished film and made up for whatever faults it made before.

Our second Best Picture nominee, if you think about it, took ten years to actually complete and release to the public. Maybe six depending on who you talk to. This film is based on a comic book franchise, so if you think about it, it’s like the “Boyhood” of comic book movies. This is a film that has been built up for a decade, for nearly twenty installments in a single series, with two of them having the identical franchise name. For many comic book fans and general audiences alike, this film managed to go in a different direction as opposed to what some would traditionally expect. Many of the characters people have come to love in this film series have returned for an epic showdown against the no good, terrible, absolutely revolting, Barney the Dinosaur who wears a glove all the time. Nominated for 4 Jackoffs, THIS is “Avengers: Infinity War.”

I honestly think this movie’s crew should feel sympathetic. It stole all the money that other movies may have deserved. But then again, it’s nice to call something the highest grossing comic book film of all time so this is also something I find to be cool.

Anyway, going back to acting, here are the nominees for Best Supporting Actress!

  • Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place)
  • Claire Foy (First Man)
  • Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)
  • Amy Adams (Vice)
  • Leslie Mann (Welcome to Marwen)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Claire Foy in “First Man!”

Claire Foy is an actress who has been gaining tons of momentum in recent years. She is well known already for her lead role in Netflix’s “The Crown.” She starred in last year’s “Breathe” alongside Andrew Garfield. And she appeared in three films this year alone, with two having Foy as the star. I have actually seen Claire Foy this year in “Unsane,” which is a creepy, intriguing thrill-ride where she shines. But Foy is a different kind of shiny in “First Man.” Captivating, emotional, and a great description of everything I felt as an audience member during the experience, not to mention everyone who grew up in the 1960s. Congratulations to Claire Foy! Here is a clip of Claire Foy in her role as Neil Armstrong’s wife, Janet, in “First Man.”

The next category of nominations is dedicated to the makers of magnificently crafted, well-realized apparel of all sorts. These pieces of clothing are all worn on set during recording and behind the scenes. No matter how beautiful, glorious, or in some cases, how hard it is to actually wear, these pieces are all created by minds who have put time and effort into letting someone have a fashionable outlook for a given motion picture. Here are the nominees for Best Costume Design.

  • Kym Barrett (Aquaman)
  • Julian Day (Bohemian Rhapsody)
  • Sandy Powell (The Favourite)
  • Marlene Stewart (The House with a Clock in Its Walls)
  • Trish Summerville (Red Sparrow)

And the award goes to…

“The Favourite!”

No matter how the movie turned out, “The Favourite” has a plethora of costumes capable enough to take me into a time of old British royalty. The level of detail of just about every outfit was astounding and very fitting for the time period involved. “The Favourite” actually got a low score for me this year, specifically a 4/10. Said score still stands, but it does not mean I was unable to recognize whatever effort was actually put into the film. Olivia Colman actually felt like an entitled, reclusive, and occasionally helpless queen in her outfit. Kudos. Well done, and congrats to “The Favourite!”

Our third Best Picture nominee is a movie that comes from the mind of a legend in the filmmaking industry, Steven Spielberg. Based on the hit book of the same name, this movie tells a story set in 2045, where people have studied pop culture of the past as they try to win a special prize. Going through a virtual world created by a Steve Jobs-like nerd, the film’s characters and audience can gaze in wonder as they notice pop culture icons including the Iron Giant, King Kong, the Back to the Future DeLorean, the Akira bike, the Rubik’s Cube, and even Chucky. As one of this year’s most visually appealing films, not to mention one of the best sounding films, both in a pitch meeting and literally, it excels to please audiences looking for an immersive experience. Nominated for 4 Jackoffs, THIS is “Ready Player One.”

Our next award category is dedicated to the makers of the sets, the builders of dreams, and the masters of visual atmosphere. It is a production designer’s job to make sure a film presents itself in the best looking way possible. Here are the nominees for Best Production Design!

  • Bill Brzeski (Aquaman)
  • Curt Beech (BlacKkKlansman)
  • Fiona Crombie (The Favourite)
  • Nathan Crowley, Katherine Lucas (First Man)
  • Eugenio Caballero (Roma)

And the award goes to…

Nathan Crowley and Katherine Lucas for “First Man!”

The biggest praise I can give to “First Man” overall is its seemingly real vibe. When it comes to the filming locations and set design, that is shown off to the tenth degree. The interior scenes in the space center felt raw, and maybe even contributed to the feeling of danger and creeps throughout the film. A house was built in Georgia just for this movie alone, which may be unneeded, but also kind of interesting. Everything in the film had not only the appropriate feel for a space movie based on true events, but a movie that took place during the 1960s. Congratulations to “First Man” for the film’s SECOND win!

While production design may be the art that allows audiences to see pure joy. There is another category to be touched upon that allows audiences to hear pure joy. These five nominees have all created music to set the mood, set the tone, set the vibe, and remind us that a world without music is a world without emotion. Here are the nominees for Best Original Score.

  • Geoff Barrow, Ben Salisbury (Annihilation)
  • Marco Beltrami (A Quiet Place)
  • Justin Hurwitz (First Man)
  • Alexandre Desplat (Isle of Dogs)
  • Lorne Balfe (Mission: Impossible: Fallout)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury for “Annihilation!”

Wow! Another team win! Part of the reason why “Annihilation” won in the first place has to do with the overall experience of watching the movie. I was very much looking forward to the film’s release, but I wondered what the music would be like. In fact, during the trailer for the film, one of the film’s iconic tunes, “The Alien” can be heard. This sounded a bit odd at first. Not life-ending, but odd. In the film however, I cannot imagine any other song replacing it when it plays. It was literally an experience of endless vibrations when I first heard this thing of beauty in the theater! This film also manages to have a nice blend of calm, joyful music, alongside a mix of creepy-crawly music. It’s this mix, and the amount of talent behind the crew that lead to this win. Congrats to “Annihilation!”

Our fourth Best Picture nominee comes from a rather strange place, Netflix. This film comes from the mind of acclaimed director Alfonso Caurón. He has had experience working with a popular IP, such as “Harry Potter,” while simultaneously producing well done original material such as “Gravity.” After those big, boisterous films, Caurón has decided to make a project that apparently people would want to watch in a select number of theaters, and for others, on cell phones. This is a film that takes place near Mexico City as a family and their housemaid go through their daily lives. We also witness joy, drama, and heartbreak in a compelling story about life itself, and how difficult it can be. Nominated for 7 Jackoffs, THIS is “Roma.”

As I have previously exposed, I have seen a lot of movies in the year of 2018. A lot of them by the way, were great! In fact, I’d say the positives for 2018 definitely outweigh the negatives. However, there is a saying for movies, much like a ton of other art forms, there is no such thing as the “perfect movie.” Even the best movie ever, like “The Godfather,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Dark Knight,” “Star Wars,” “Pulp Fiction,” even “Jaws,” all of those movies don’t have what it takes to be technically perfect. You know what? Maybe that saying is right. That’s why I decided to take some movies I saw this past year and tweak them just a little bit to make them a more quality product. Enjoy.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE SLIGHTLY IMPROVED VERSIONS OF SOME 2018 FILMS!

The next category belongs to the makers of computerized and practical effects. No matter how complex, how flashy, how realistic, the five artists and crews behind the visual effects of their respective films have all demonstrated excellence in allowing an audience to be dazzled, wowed, and in awe. From taking them to new worlds, to providing them with previously unknown feelings, and introducing them to concepts beyond one’s imagination, all of the nominees should feel proud of themselves. Here are the nominees for Best Visual Effects.

  • Annihilation
  • Aquaman
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • First Man
  • Ready Player One

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Ready Player One!”

To me, there was literally no other movie that even held a candle to “Ready Player One” this year from a visual perspective. Watching “Ready Player One” was like watching two different movies in one because you have this story that takes place in an entirely digital universe and you have the other one which is in the real world. While there are certain effects to be seen in the real world, it is the digital world that shines as bright as Albert Einstein. The amount of time that must have taken to actually blend a feel of realism while simultaneously feeling like a video game is seemingly unfathomable. Steven Spielberg said this movie was one of the harder ones he had to create, and understandably so. I have to give massive credit to the other contenders. “Avengers: Infinity War” is a visual effects extravaganza that looks great on the big screen. The same can also be said for “Aquaman.” “First Man” actually took me to the moon and back. F*cking well done if you ask me. And for “Annihilation,” the visual effects not only looked great, but they fit the crazy feel of the film which gave it a “2001” vibe at times. However, congrats to “Ready Player One,” and its effects are a hi-five/hi-five.

As mentioned in my nomination announcements, I didn’t announce EVERYTHING that was going to be in this post. I wanted to leave some surprises to my viewers. One of which includes TWO lifetime achievement awards.

But, before we announce the winners, I have to ask one question. What is the meaning of life? That is a question all of us seem to ask at least once. To some, life may be an overrated board game. Life could be the reason for anything. The ups, the downs, even the mediocrity. Here and now, it is my honor as mentioned, to present not one, but two lifetime achievement awards. For those of you who are wondering, I did not plan some in memorium video or line of text for this ceremony. Maybe I’ll do that in years to come, but that was not my original intention. Instead, I figured what I’d do is for one of my lifetime achievement awards, I’d figure honoring someone who is currently still with us, and someone who is no longer with us. The first prize is going to be given to the living soul, because as Agent Smith once said, in “The Matrix: Revolutions,” “Everything with a beginning has an end.” We start off with life, and finish with an inevitable death.

The winner of the first ever Jackoff Lifetime Achievement Award is a cameraman known for his work which has been around since 1975. Since then, he has collaborated with actors including Ryan Gosling, Morgan Freeman, Emily Blunt, Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Daniel Craig, Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones, Ana De Armas, Amanda Seyfried, Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, Tim Robbins, and Adrien Brody. His resume consists of works of art directed by Frank Darabont, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Denis Villeneuve, M. Night Shyamalan, Sam Mendes, Angelina Jolie, Ron Howard, and Martin Scorsese. He has been nominated and recognized for several prestigious awards, 9 BAFTAs, an AFI, 6 Critics’ Choices, and 14 Oscars. And for those of you who don’t know his story, it’s not like he is part of the New York Yankees and he keeps on winning Academy Awards. This man was nominated for 14, and out of all of them, he only won one. Also, it’s not like he could get one off the bat, because guess how long he had to wait? FOURTEEN TIMES! Now keep in mind, this is the very first Jackoff Awards ceremony. For all I know it could be the only one, we’ll just have to see. But no matter the number of award shows we have, if it is one, two, fourteen, over a thousand, I dunno, I am proud to present the first ever Jackoff Lifetime Achievement Award to Roger Deakins.

Congratulations to Roger Deakins, had he known he was getting this award, he would probably have something to say. But I have to say, I love his camerawork, his style never ceases to amaze, and I hope his future work will continue showcasing his excellence!

Our fifth Best Picture nominee is a documentary. Given how I have seen very little documentary titles this year, there will be no category for Best Documentary, but this film managed to stand out to me. They say the world is full of ridiculous people who are idiotic, lacking care, and selfish. This movie manages to show a man who only wanted to spread joy to the world and all of its children, Mister Fred Rogers. It also shows a man who is the perfect embodiment of a friendly, loving, and caring person. Revealing steps forward in diversity, tolerance towards minorities and sexual orientation, and proof that silence can be a great gift, this documentary succeeds to please its audience and deliver an emotionally charging feel good story. Best Picture happens to be the only nomination this film is receiving during this ceremony, but keep in mind, this is a documentary, and had I done a documentary category, this movie would win it. For the record, this is the only documentary I have seen this year. THIS is “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?.”

Before moving onto the rest of the show, I would just like to have everyone know in case they are reading this at a time that is later than February 10th, 2019 or if they aren’t from the US, the Super Bowl happened a week prior to this. Now, the Super Bowl is often regarded as one of the biggest televised events ever. However, this year, some people would call it a failure, including myself. Maybe everyone is getting bored of the New England Patriots constantly being involved, but one fact to take into consideration regardless is that the ratings for this year’s Super Bowl is the lowest its been in a decade. To be fair though, this has applied to various types of live broadcasts all over as time has progressed. For those who did watch though, they got to watch what many to be found a boring game, with only 3 points scored by one team in the first half. The final score was the lowest in Super Bowl history (13-3), with only one touchdown executed during the entire game. However, if you’re me. One thing that I found absolutely atrocious and ridiculous this year was the Pepsi Halftime Show. For those who don’t know me, the Halftime Show is something I don’t tend to care about. Don’t get me wrong, even though I don’t care, some of the shows were pretty well done. Part of me was surprised that I actually liked the Lady Gaga Halftime Show from a couple years ago. No, I’m being serious, I’m not saying that only because I nominated her for Best Actress. She was pretty good! This year however, a petition was going around to get “Sweet Victory,” a song made famous from the “Spongebob Squarepants” episode “Band Geeks,” to be performed at this year’s halftime show as a tribute to the recently deceased Stephen Hillenburg, the show’s creator. The petition actually gained quite a bit of traction. So much in fact that it currently has over a million signatures. In fact, I signed it when it first came up. For the record, this song was performed during the show’s version of the Super Bowl, making it more than appropriate for this type of setting.

After awhile, it seems that the crew behind the Super Bowl responded. Just look at this tweet right here.

After all the teasing and announcements that lead to the absolute possibility of this happening… It did.

Well, sort of.

(Video unavailable to WordPress, click Watch on YouTube to view video)

Some time into Maroon 5’s performance, audiences saw a clip of Squidward Tentacles introducing “a true musical genius who needs no introduction.” We then see the opening horn fanfare of the song. This was getting EPIC. Then… It stopped. Instead of “Sweet Victory,” we get Travis Scott performing “Sicko Mode.”

What. The. Actual. Ass?

As a “Spongebob” fan, and someone who NEVER watches the Super Bowl for the Halftime Show, NOT EVEN FOR THE FOOTBALL, I cannot possibly feel more ashamed to have witnessed this in my lifetime, and I think the crew behind the next Super Bowl ought to make it a TOP PRIORITY to REDO “Sweet Victory” and actually PERFORM the song to millions of people! How about that? Well, I’m just a nobody. I have no power. But I do have editing skills. I don’t think I’ll ever do this again, but in honor of Stephen Hillenburg, the legendary creator of “Spongebob Squarepants,” a Nickelodeon cartoon which defined many childhoods of my generation… THIS… IS THE JACKOFF AWARDS HALFTIME MONTAGE!

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE HALFTIME MONTAGE!

And THAT… NFL and Pepsi, is how you pay tribute to a legend!

The next nominees are the ones who have taken the work of writers and directors, and realized them even further than they previously been realized. With constant time and effort on computers, software, flipping through video files, and more, these five nominees have taken moving images and audio, then eventually turned them into ambitious compilations. These are the nominees for Best Film Editing.

  • Barry Alexander Brown (BlacKkKlansman)
  • Tom Cross (First Man)
  • Benjamin Rodriguez Jr. (First Reformed)
  • Alfonso Caurón, Adam Gough (Roma)
  • Hank Corwin (Vice)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Alfonso Caurón and Adam Gough for “Roma!”

Another team win! Who knew? The nominees here were all equally excellent, making this one of the harder categories which I had to determine a winner. The reason why I chose “Roma” is a reason I feel could also associate with direction, screenplay, and cinematography. Keep in mind, this movie is nominated for all three of those other categories. With the excellence of those other categories in mind, the way those were executed in an editing job such as this, honestly makes this movie better as a whole. Another thing to keep in mind is how personal of a project this is for Alfonso Caurón, because all those things I just mentioned: the screenplay, cinematography, and direction. He did all those things for this one movie. I have a soft spot for people who are willing to take on projects with personal values. Granted, that is something Tommy Wiseau tried with “The Room,” but still. Congrats to “Roma” and its editors!

We live in a world where an apple can fall on one man’s had and enable him to create the “laws of motion.” However, in cinematic environments, not everyone comes from the same place. Sometimes there are worlds entirely dedicated to a religious holiday. Sometimes there is a world of heroes desperately waiting for work. Sometimes there is a multiverse of a Spider-people waiting to unite. Sometimes there is a world where arcade game characters can interact with each other and even go inside each other’s games. Sometimes there is a world where believe it or not, dogs talk and often like saying the word “I.” These five nominees have shown excellence in animated film and have inspired many to think outside the box. Here are the nominees for Best Animated Feature.

  • The Grinch (Yarrow Cheney, Scott Mosier)
  • Incredibles 2 (Brad Bird)
  • Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson)
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet (Phil Johnston, Rich Moore)
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman)

And the award goes to…

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse!”

If you were thinking anything else, I want you to think again. Because out of every movie that I’ve seen this year that’s animated, this was the only one which I gave a Best Picture nom to. In fact, one of these films is a dishonorable mention on my worst list. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is not only a surprisingly great film during such a fantastic time for comic books and superheroes, but also a unique take on the typical superhero flick. This is the film debut of the Miles Morales Spider-Man, and it is easy to say, I want more. Aside from the likable story and acid-trippy experience, this movie manages to separate itself from every other animated film this year based on its style alone. Literally every frame resembles a comic book! This is the 2nd best standalone “Spider-Man” film I’ve seen to date, so congrats to “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse!”

Our sixth Best Picture nominee is a little independent film that tackles big topics. To me, I found it to be the perfect combination of science and religion coming together. This film begs the questions, should we stop having children? Is having children a sin in this current age? How much longer do we have before the Earth is no more? From a technical perspective, this film delivers excellent cinematography and images, all of which are presented in a full screen aspect ratio. With stellar performances from actors including Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried, this film manages to have a place in a constantly changing world that may not be around forever. Nominated for 3 Jackoff awards, THIS is “First Reformed.”

These next two categories involve something a film can’t live without. A screenplay. Having gone through years of movie-watching, the screenplay has always been one of the most crucial elements to whether or not a movie could succeed. A comedy can’t succeed without humorous lines. A horror flick can’t succeed without outrageous scares. An action film can’t succeed without thrilling sequences. The nominees represented in these two categories have brought visions from the pages to the screen. Here are the nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay!

  • A Star Is Born (Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, and Will Fetters)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely)
  • BlacKkKlansman (Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmot, Spike Lee)
  • First Man (Josh Singer)
  • Welcome to Marwen (Robert Zemeckis, Caroline Thompson)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, and Will Fetters for “A Star Is Born!”

Yet another category that could have been won by almost any of its nominees. I will admit, when I did my review for “A Star Is Born,” one of my minor criticisms involves some of the song lyrics. The same can be said about Lady Gaga’s nose, which I was not able to buy. But let’s be real about the movie. It’s a damn good story. It’s a story about two singers who find each other, make each other’s careers better, never back down from each other, and find love. It’s basically a perfect analogy for what happens when you become super popular and end up becoming a product as opposed to someone who just wants to share their visions with the world. Also, I got to give kudos to Bradley Cooper because he’s more known for acting, which he does in this movie, but now I am curious to see more of his writing material in the near future. Congrats to the writers of “A Star Is Born!”

Moving right along and sticking with the screenplay motif, here are the nominees for Best Original Screenplay!

  • A Quiet Place (Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, and John Krasinski)
  • Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham)
  • First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
  • Roma (Alfonso Caurón)
  • Vice (Adam McKay)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Alfonso Caurón for “Roma!”

Thought I was done talking about Caurón? Think again. While all five screenplays were worthy of a nomination, while some made me laugh, while some got me intrigued, there is not one screenplay to display the intensity and shock that I’ve seen this year than what I’ve received with “Roma.” There’s a lot of lines that make you want to feel like a part of the family in the movie. Some lines make you feel like you are along for the ride in this slice of life. And then there’s other moments where I almost wanted to crawl into the fetal position. There are many elements that go into the screenplay of “Roma.” Insanity, unexpected moments, complexity of life, tearjerkers, humor, sensuality, and perhaps even moments that nearly qualify as ones that can fulfill thrills. Congratulations to “Roma!”

Our seventh Best Picture nominee is a film that may be, to me, under a lot of people’s radars. Or, maybe I’m just plain stupid, and this nomination is an unpopular opinion. Steve Carell has shown himself to be one of 2018’s hardest working and overall best performing actors. His performances in “Beautiful Boy” and “Vice” were great, but there is one other film he was heavily involved in aside from those two. With his unique performance and collaboration with critically acclaimed director Robert Zemeckis, Carell manages to tell the true story of a grown man who plays an expansive version of dollhouse, and is absolutely proud of it. Nominated for 3 Jackoffs, THIS is “Welcome to Marwen.”

The next set of nominees have demonstrated excellence in camerawork. From wides done brilliantly to mediums done well and close-ups done extreme, the five nominees have all put in a tremendous amount of effort into their craft. Similar to how a movie’s story cannot exist without a screenplay, a movie’s display of a story cannot exist without camerawork. Here’s to those who have taken their best shots. Here are the nominees for Best Cinematography!

  • Cold War (Lukasz Zal)
  • First Reformed (Alexander Dynan)
  • Hereditary (Pawel Pogorzelski)
  • Mission: Impossible: Fallout (Rob Hardy)
  • Roma (Alfonso Caurón)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Alfonso Caurón for “Roma!”

And Alfonso strikes once more! If you ask me, one talent I find amazing in films is when one can produce a very long shot. Granted, there are times in “Roma” where they make it look easy. In fact, if you want to see a film that makes it look hard, I recommend “Mission: Impossible: Fallout!” However, there are several sequences where the camera never cuts and it is really just a thing of beauty. Part of me even wonders how they came up with a good amount of the material presented in the film. Plus, the rehearsals must have been tedious, but worth it. This is especially considering the fact that the star actually had no prior acting experience up to this point. Well done, “Roma!” Congratulations!

While a film’s score may often be recognized as its signature music, it does not mean that it is the only kind of signature music. While a film’s score can develop a reputation for being catchy, iconic, or magnificently crafted, it is the original songs that will likely receive many downloads on iTunes. These five songs have been partially synonymous with their specific films this year. Here are the nominees for Best Original Song!

  • I’ll Never Love Again- Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
  • Shallow- Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
  • Ashes- Celine Deon (Deadpool 2)
  • A Place Called Slaughter Race– Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot (Ralph Breaks the Internet)
  • What’s Up Danger- Blackway & Black Caviar (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Shallow” from “A Star Is Born!”

Did I mention in my review that I had lyric problems when it comes to the songs shown in “A Star Is Born?” Yes. However, this song was actually perfect. Not only was it a well crafted song, but the way it was executed during the movie was brilliant. You have a song written by the character of Ally, who has never performed live before. When she actually has the guts to perform live, the way Lady Gaga portrays her character is unbelievable when you remember that Lady Gaga herself has actually been singing for years. The song has perhaps been in association with this movie more than any other song, and honestly, I think it deserves to be that way. Congratulations to Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga!

Our eighth Best Picture nominee is a film that either tells a true story that took place in outer space, or a faked attempt meant to fool TV viewers on a soundstage. This film is a look into the buildup, drama, and execution of one of the most ambitious scientific projects of the 1960s. Helmed by “Whiplash” and “La La Land” director, Damien Chazelle, one man and his crew prepare forever for a life-changing mission that takes them into the stars, and it is almost seemingly impossible that they’ll ever return home. It is a story of hope, aspiration, courage, and danger. Nominated for a shattering 10 Jackoff awards, THIS is “First Man.”

If you remember the bit I did earlier with the three movies where I slightly improve them, let me remind you, that was just the beginning. Because I really only improved one minor portion of the film. However, there is one film where I decided to improve a good chunk of it. If you have ever seen the movie “Ready Player One,” it is seemingly regarded as one of the nerdiest movies of 2018. Tons of Easter eggs, references, and inclusions of various IPs are seen throughout. Honestly, despite being one of my favorite movies of 2018, part of me is willing to argue that it’s not nerdy enough. Some of you might be thinking, “Hey, Jackass! Are you out of your mind?” No. Because I just made it nerdier! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… “Ready Player One: NERDVANA EDITION!” Take a look!

CLICK HERE TO VIEW READY PLAYER ONE: NERDVANA EDITION!

Going back to the nominees, we have got some heavy hitters remaining, it is only a matter of time until Best Picture, but let’s just build up to it. Starting with Best Director. The director of the film is the one responsible for overseeing the key components of production. It is the director’s duty to guide, aid, and encourage people to complete a project. These five nominees have all created cinematic achievements that are likely to stand the test of time. Here are the nominees for Best Director!

  • John Krasinski (A Quiet Place)
  • Damien Chazelle (First Man)
  • Ari Aster (Hereditary)
  • Alfonso Caurón (Roma)
  • Adam McKay (Vice)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Alfonso Caurón for “Roma!”

Unreal! This is the FOURTH win during the same ceremony by Alfonso Caurón! Can you guys tell this is a passion project? “Roma” was one of the final movies I saw before I announced my nominations, and I knew before going in that some considered it to be a wonderful piece of art. Those people who have made those claims are absolutely right! Not only is this one of the most moving, emotional movies of 2018, it is also one of the most well put together movies of 2018! Again, with the efforts of Caurón in multiple positions, this movie just shows a little passion goes a long way. When I saw “Gravity” a few years ago, also directed by Alfonso Caurón, I was wowed. When I saw “Roma,” I wondered how Caruón still had a hint of sanity left in him. Congratulations, once again, to Alfonso Caurón!

Our ninth Best Picture nominee is a film that is filled to the brim with truth. It’s a film that shows how truly awful middle school can be. It’s a film that shows how truly stressful making friends can be. It’s a film that shows how truly confusing talking to your first crush can be. With the breakout performance given by the young Elsie Fisher, not to mention the brilliant screenplay and direction delivered by Bo Burnham, the two crew members and many more reveal the horrors of being a teenage girl in the 2010s. It also successfully showcases the pressure and stress of being a small YouTuber, who may be delivering positive content meant to please everyone, but doesn’t get enough attention in return. Nominated for 3 Jackoff awards, THIS is “Eighth Grade.”

Let’s move onto the final acting categories!

Each and every day on set, it is an actor’s job to obey the director, follow the script, and break a leg. From playing pretend as a kid to being a part of a production crew, acting is a universal pasttime. For actresses in 2018, some highlights include a singer who won’t sing her own songs, a teenager trapped in a world of social media and pleas for popularitya queen who requires assistance maintaining the thronea mother who must deal with the worst events of her family’s lives, and a housemaid who may be an employee, but also a welcome member to an alternate family. Here are the nominees for Best Actress!

  • Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)
  • Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade)
  • Olivia Colman (The Favourite)
  • Toni Collette (Hereditary)
  • Yalitza Aparicio (Roma)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Toni Collette in “Hereditary!”

“Hereditary” is a movie that is mainly solid due to its execution of technical genius. The opening shot is a thing of beauty. However, with technical stuff aside, Toni Collette doesn’t fail to impress in the realm of acting. In “Hereditary,” Collette plays a mother to a couple of kids. This is not to say her life as a mother is normal, which could be explained, but that would involve spoiling the movie. There are several scenes where I still recall Collette’s excellence as a performer since my first viewing of “Hereditary” in July. One example is during a scene where she, along with her husband and son, are sitting together at the dinner table. Such a scene can remind you of how to talk to your mother, not to mention how awkward family dinners truly can be. In fact, I have the scene down below! Here’s a glance at Toni Collette in “Hereditary!”

And now… after watching that clip, you have been hypnotized to NEVER sit at a table full of food with your family ever again.

Sticking with acting, it would be impossible to forget 5 more nominees who have dedicated their voice, physicality, and time into their respective roles. For actors in 2018, some highlights include a music star who finds lovea talented showman and vocalist who has inspired millionsa cop who tracked down white supremacistsa priest who is concerned for future generations of the Earth, and an artist who developed his own village of dolls. Here are the nominees for Best Actor!

  • Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
  • John David Washington (BlackKkKlansman)
  • Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
  • Ethan Hawke (First Reformed)
  • Steve Carell (Welcome to Marwen)

And the Jackoff goes to…

Rami Malek in “Bohemian Rhapsody!”

Well well well, well well. Yet another tough category! All of these actors are deserving of their nomination and have all killed it in their respective roles, but at the end of the day, I have to pick one. The reason why I chose Rami Malek is because he took someone who I have known about, I even did a project heavily involving him in sixth grade, and the actor transformed himself into this other person with excellence. “Bohemian Rhapsody” may not have made me look at all of its characters as much as Mercury, although that may just be a personal issue more than anything else, but I have to give it respect because it turned Malek into Mercury in the blink of an eye. Another thing I must point out, that might be significantly underrated is Malek’s ability to recreate Mercury’s movements. There is a comparison video online that can show the difference between Mercury and Malek during the Live Aid concert. Rami Malek, well done! Here is a clip of Rami Malek in “Bohemian Rhapsody!”

Our tenth and final Best Picture nominee is a film about what it means to be a hero. Well, guess what? It is what everybody asked for. ANOTHER “Spider-Man” movie! But this time, it’s animated. In a year of great superhero movies, this is one of the definite highlights. As one of the few movies this year featuring “Spider-Man” or characters related to his franchise, this film not only shows that Spider-Man is a role model type of hero that can truly take names, but that there is more than one “Spider-Man” out there. As the film debut of the Miles Morales “Spider-Man,” I personally almost couldn’t be giddier about how this film turned out. It has a unique animation style resembling a comic book, whacky action scenes, and fast-paced writing with smart humor that is delivered with excellence. Nominated for 3 Jackoffs, THIS is “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”

All that remains for movie award giving tonight is Best Picture, however, we are not there just yet. First things first, I am handing out the second Lifetime Achievement Award of the ceremony.

The Jackoff Posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award is appropriately, being given towards the ceremony’s conclusion. While this year’s recipient is no longer with us, their legacy shall live on. The winner of the award is a man who has dedicated his life to inspiring millions, and unleashing his own imagination to share with the world. While he may not primarily be known for film, his inspiration over the years has translated into the art form, including a modern trend of comic book-based films, an innovative and successful cinematic universe, and a plethora of memorable cameos. Some of his notable movie lines include “I think I know that guy,” “I thought he’d be taller,” and “Oh man, I am so fired.” This winner is known for creating many of the characters that readers, TV and movie watchers, gamers, and nerd culture junkies have followed as time has passed. From Spider-Man to Iron Man. From The Incredible Hulk to the Fantastic Four. From Captain America to Captain Marvel. From Black Panther to Black Widow. All of these characters have established a legacy under one similar brand name, much like the creator himself. To this day, all of these characters have a place in popular culture, and are constantly changing the game in various art forms. It is my honor to declare the first winner of the Jackoff Posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award, is Stan Lee.

If Stan Lee were here today, he probably wouldn’t give two craps about this award unless I did a video of him doing a walk-on cameo. However, Stan Lee has proven to the world that he has had a magnificent life to share with mankind. Lee has given a tremendous gift to millions, so why not have someone hand a gift to him? Congratulations to Stan Lee, and should there be a second Jackoff Awards next year, this award will be named after him!

And finally, the moment you have probably all skipped to by endlessly scrolling down, Best Picture. These ten movies have all made an impact on me personally this year, however, it is not my decision to declare one of these films the best of the best under this current scenario. The reality is, all of these films are great, but to determine which film is the best, I left it up to the people to decide, and you guys decided! These are YOUR votes, not mine! According to the results, the poll for Best Picture has received 17 responses, and luckily, there is a true winner without any sort of tie. These ten movies were created for audiences everywhere to think, be entertained, enjoy themselves, and escape from reality. Through the hard work and ideas of crews of all sorts, it is hard to imagine another ten movies worthy of replacing this lineup. Here are the nominees for Best Picture!

  • Avengers: Infinity War (Kevin Feige)
  • Eighth Grade (Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, Lila Yacoub, Christopher Storer)
  • First Man (Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, Isaac Klausner, Damien Chazelle)
  • First Reformed (Jack Binder, Greg Clark, Victoria Hill, Gary Hamilton, Deepak Sikka, Christine Vachon, David Hinojosa, Frank Murray)
  • Mission: Impossible: Fallout (J.J. Abrams, Tom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie, Jake Myers)
  • Ready Player One (Steven Spielberg, Donald De Line, Dan Farah, Kristie Macosko Krieger)
  • Roma (Alfonso Caurón, Gabriela Rodriguez, Nicolas Celis)
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Avi Arad, Amy Pascal, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Christina Steinberg)
  • Welcome to Marwen (Jack Rapke, Steve Starkey, Robert Zemeckis)
  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (Morgan Neville, Caryn Capotosto, Nicholas Ma)

And the Jackoff goes to…

“Avengers: Infinity War!”

“Avengers: Infinity War” has gathered its first and sole win of the ceremony. The movie was also nominated for three other Jackoffs including Best Sound Editing, Best Visual Effects, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

It just goes to show, when you give an audience the power to choose a movie to win Best Picture, chances are they’re going to snap their fingers and dust the other films away. This is a film that has been in development for a long, but effectively put together time. It takes the iterations of characters people have followed for a decade and puts them all in a love letter to blockbusters and comic book films. The screenplay is one of the most unique ever written for a comic book film, to the point where people in my life were shocked and dismayed by it, but based on their final verdicts of the film, they felt such feelings were delivered in a positive way. My review for the film was also unique, because I had to hide SO MANY THINGS from the eyes of the public because the reality is that “Avengers: Infinity War” has details that are meant to be witnessed for the sake of shock or surprise. Even now, almost a full year after the release of “Avengers: Infinity War,” there is a chance that someone would want to end my life, or at least threaten to do so over the Internet depending on what I say about “Avengers: Infinity War.” I personally to this day, find the film to be a game-changer. Sure, it is the nineteenth installment of a comic book-based movie series that has been going on for years, but that is part of the point. There are many movies out there that can succeed for being an original hit. There are many movies that can have stellar technical aspects or acting. However, how often can you say that we have a cinematic universe which has been built for ten years, with about twenty films, with the nineteenth being an ambitious culmination that made billions of dollars, became the highest grossing comic book film ever, and somehow manages to be a new favorite film for many people? Should Marvel Studios continue their efforts, is it possible that their cinematic universe could become more important than the “Star Wars” franchise? And if it is, that is certainly saying a lot. Congratulations to Kevin Feige and everybody else who worked on “Avengers: Infinity War!” You have won Best Picture!

Thanks for reading whatever this is! If you made it to the end of the post, I congratulate you for doing so. Well done. If you felt bored the entire time, I will remind you, there are worse things out there: jury duty, root canals, losing all your gambling money! This is the most experimental post I have ever done, I would appreciate any and all feedback if you feel it is necessary. If I listen to said feedback is currently a mystery, but I’ll certainly at least keep it in mind. I personally enjoyed doing this, despite how much time it actually took to complete the damn thing, but I found myself having a ball nonetheless. Will I do another one of these in the future? It MIGHT depend on the response, but I already have ideas for what I am going to do should I do a second year. Thanks to everyone for reading this! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with a WordPress account or email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, do you agree with my picks for the Jackoff Awards? What would you change, if anything? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Top 10 WORST Movies of 2018

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! It is time to talk s*it about s*itty movies! Now that I have done my top 10 BEST movies of 2018, it’s time to count down my top 10 WORST movies of 2018. In complete honesty, the movies this year have been fantastic for the most part. The number of positive verdicts I had this year were high compared to the negative. So while I will say my list this year definitely has some stinkers, it’s nowhere near as awful as last year. Speaking of opinions, this is a reminder that this is my countdown, therefore everything on this post is strictly my opinion. I am not trying to tell anyone that these are the OBJECTIVELY WORST movies of the year. Art does not work that way. If you like a film on here, that’s cool. Also, I have not seen every single film to have come out in 2018, meaning certain notable titles like “Fifty Shades Freed,” “Mile 22,” or “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” do not appear on the list. Speaking of which, like the last couple of years I have seen a new “Sharknado” movie, but another rule that applies here is that the movie has to be theatrically released, otherwise it does not qualify to make the list. That means certain films like “Zoe” (straight to Prime Video), “The Cloverfield Paradox” (straight to Netflix), and of course, “The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time” (straight to Syfy) do not qualify for this list. Before we count down my ten worst of the year, I am going to announce three dishonorable mentions that were quite bad, but they are the kind of bad that makes them slightly more watchable than the ten movies below them.

Dishonorable Mention: Peppermint

The first dishonorable mention spot goes to “Peppermint.” There are some decent qualities about “Peppermint.” Jennifer Garner is a decent action star at times, I liked some of the editing, and there were one or two laughable lines. But overall, “Peppermint” was kind of disposable and something I wouldn’t really want to watch again in the near future.

Dishonorable Mention: I Feel Pretty

My second dishonorable mention is “I Feel Pretty.” I know it’s kind of “cool” to hate Amy Schumer right now, but the reality is, when it comes to this movie, Amy Schumer is not the main part I hate. I’m not saying she was the best part, but still. I hated the way her character was written, but given her material, she did what she could with her character despite how much I hated said character. Plus, this movie’s overall message, the notion that people can be beautiful just the way they are, is a good message. But sadly, from my viewpoint, based on the movie’s script, that message is SHATTERED.

Dishonorable Mention: The Grinch

And finally for dishonorable mentions, we have “The Grinch.” This is a terrible animation which despite Benedict Cumberbatch’s decent voiceover performance and some stunning visuals, turned me into a green, vile being. Kenan Thompson’s character made me cringe, some of the writing didn’t make sense, and honestly, that narrator DID NOT WORK. I know it’s a narrator, to some people it might be weird to bring up a narrator as a problem in a movie, but the voice just didn’t come off the way I would have preferred.

Without any more dilly-dallying, let’s talk some s*it about certain movies that are in fact, the opposite of the s*it. These are my top 10 WORST movies of 2018.

#10: The 15:17 To Paris

Coming in at #10 is “The 15:17 To Paris!” Clint Eastwood came out with a couple of films this year. He released this one and “The Mule.” I actually just saw “The Mule” and it was, alright, I guess. Disappointing, but alright. This movie? Don’t even bother, it’s basically unwatchable. I will admit, from an experimental point of view, it was kind of cool to see a visual story of a few men reenacting a significant event from their lives. But the reality is that we have “actors” for a reason. Plus, if you consider what this movie is, a majority of it almost makes it feel like a road trip movie. Granted, this movie mainly involves intercontinental travel as opposed to cross-country travel, but I almost felt more like I was experiencing an European tour as opposed to a story. I’ve been talking quite a bit to my family recently, and they seem to LOVE Clint Eastwood. I would love to sit down with them one day in perhaps my living room and we all watch this movie together to see if anyone changes their mind. Eastwood, you’re a household name, but this was a seriously mediocre year for you! Just stating the facts.

#9: Adrift

Some of my favorite movies of all time tell their stories in a way that stays away from the word “conventional.” This movie however tells its story in a less than conventional way that just makes me question the filmmakers, studios, and everyone who actually thought this was a good movie. “Adrift” can go to hell! I’m a sucker for non-linear storytelling, where everything comes together in the end. But what whackjob actually thought constantly going back and forth between the main couple’s story would make the movie better? I didn’t care for anything, anyone, at anytime. There are certain movies out there that feel like puzzles, and puzzles can be fun sometimes. When you finish a puzzle, that can give you some sort of sense of accomplishment. But this is like going through a puzzle of a clear sky during the day. Literally everything is the same color and it’s just plain irritating! I’ll be honest and say that I have never walked out of a movie, but if movies were like puzzles, this is probably a movie I’d eventually give up on. This movie had some alright marketing, I was somewhat sold, but the final product was truly abominable, as explained here in this countdown.

#8: Pacific Rim: Uprising

This entry on my list might just be not only one of the worst movies I’ve seen this year, but also one of the most disappointing movies too. I’m talking about “Pacific Rim: Uprising.” I enjoyed the first “Pacific Rim.” I find it to almost be a throwaway movie, but at the same time, it’s better than most of “Transformers” movies that Michael Bay has put out, which if anything, is nothing short of a compliment. “Pacific Rim: Uprising” on the other hand is a letdown! John Boyega himself performed well in the movie, but his character just had nothing for me to write home about. I mean, he wasn’t even the worst character there! That obsessive fangirl got on my nerves REAL fast, and I just couldn’t stop wanting to eliminate her from society. I was curious to see a “Pacific Rim” sequel, but in reality this turned out to be “Independence Day: Resurgence” all over again. This movie takes place YEARS after the first one, lacks the characters we’ve gotten from the first one, and might as well just exist to continue a franchise. It just feels really uninspired and just a reason to grab some cash. Oh and Charlie Day! HOLY F*CK I forgot about Charlie Day. I won’t go into spoilers, but his character in this film is like watching Doc Brown from “Back To the Future” in the most poorly written of remakes! But to avoid being a complete Negative Nancy, there were some neat battle sequences and some nice shots at times. But in all seriousness, avoid “Pacific Rim: Uprising.” Watch the first one though.

#7: Second Act

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From STX Entertainment comes their latest film, “Jennifer Lopez Is a Showoff.” That’s not the actual title of the movie, but it might as well be my personal nickname title for “Second Act.” “Second Act” is about a girl who is not that educated, she has more street smarts than book smarts, but she wants to show Madison Ave in New York City that she’s the f*cking boss. And in reality, the movie felt like an abusive boss at times. I went to see this movie with a friend of mine and we basically talked about it on the way home just in ways that simply associate with trashing it. Leah Remini is in the movie and I like her because she’s in “King of Queens” and that’s one of my preferred sitcoms. But that’s like saying Kate McKinnon, who I happen to like from “Saturday Night Live,” is in the 2016 “Ghostbusters” film. Good actress, terrible movie, boom! Mediocre combo. On the bright side, I didn’t even owe the theater a cent for this film! I saw this at an early screening, so I didn’t have to pay up! Jennifer Lopez cannot be bought as her character, her outfits sometimes are questionable, and the comedy in this film either goes one or two ways. It’s either crap everyone’s seen before, or it’s just plain stupid!

#6: Gringo

On Amazon’s quest against Disney, Apple, Google, Walmart, McDonald’s, Netflix, Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, Comcast, all of the big corporations out there, their mission to take over the world and make all of the consumers out there their slaves, did they ever think distributing “Gringo” was the best way to keep this quest going? I sure hope not, because 1, Amazon’s growth in society is kinda scary, and 2, “Gringo” is just terrible! “Gringo” stars David Oyelowo, who played Martin Luther King for crying out loud, and while I wouldn’t say his performance here was abysmal, it’s just cringeworthy realizing you have this talented actor in a position like this. That’s not the only talented actor here, because Charlize Theron was admittedly, great at playing a character I absolutely hated, but I can also look at this movie saying, “Oh, s*it, Charlize Theron’s in here.” To me, “Gringo” just felt like an excuse for Joel and Nash Edgerton to work together and to give each other some attention. Joel stars in the movie while Nash is directing, and I must say it’s nice to see family members come together on a project. But I have a sister and if I’m making a movie, she’s begging to be in it, and I agree to let her be in it perhaps playing the starring role or something, not only would that be nepotism, but let’s say I’m a thousand times more well known then her in the film industry, people would automatically question my casting choice! I mean, I’m not saying no family members can work on a professionally made or widely released movie together. Just look at what the Francos did with “The Disaster Artist!” Also, this won’t be the last you hear of me talking about family members or a couple of people that have some sort of relation to each other working on a project together on this list. Just you wait…

#5: Venom

Spider-Man is my favorite superhero of all time. He is such a relatable character and totally has some great movies which he happens to appear. Now Sony wants to cash in on the name without exactly using Spider-Man and it f*cking sucked! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you “Venom.” I’m not joking with you when I say this is not only one of the worst comic book movies of the year, but it makes a comic book movie like “Batman & Robin” almost look watchable. At least that movie was cheesy fun. This piece of crap? I felt it wasn’t dark enough. OK, well, lighting-wise and when it comes to costume design, sure, it’s pretty dark, but I’m talking about the vibe. This movie should have been rated R. Maybe it didn’t need as much language as “Deadpool,” but it certainly needs more blood! This movie is essentially about a guy who merges together with a monster who has a desire to eat tons of people. Let us see more of the action! Don’t cut away from the good stuff! I don’t care about how many children are watching, the fact is this movie would have been a quality product had it been R rated. But no, let’s make it corporate. Let’s just make it a cash cow. Let’s make this thing as studio-oriented as possible, with little to no passion whatsoever. I still remember when I saw this in theaters when I was staying in New York. When the movie ended, I heard everybody applauding and I just turned into the snobby critic in the room. I basically did a Peter Griffin impression saying, “That sucked.” Also, seriously? This movie made more money than “Spider-Verse” on its first weekend? Are you kidding me?

#4: Uncle Drew

Hey guys, you want a Pepsi? How about a Gatorade? Maybe some Tropicana juice? After seeing “Uncle Drew,” I’ve nearly decided that I’m giving all mine up. I saw “Uncle Drew” on one of the first shows on its opening Friday, and having seen this movie, it made me realize how long I’ve been hiding under a rock. I like basketball, but I don’t follow sports as much as I did as a youngster, and when I saw the movie, I purely saw it because I had time to kill. Unfortunately, time seemingly killed ME in the process. Going into this mess, I had no idea that this was an intellectual property that already exists! I had no idea that this was based on a web-series, but somehow it is, and seeing this movie only made me want to avoid the web-series. The Shaq wasn’t even funny in “Uncle Drew.” My gosh. Remember “Grown-Ups 2?” Not many people would consider that a quality movie, but at least the Shaq was pretty cool in it. But seriously though, guys, watch “Uncle Drew” and I dare you to tell me that it’s not a commercial for Pepsi, just go do it and report back to me telling me it’s not a Pepsi ad.

#3: Gotti

Coming in at this next spot is “Gotti,” starring the classically trained actor, John Travolta. Why the f*ck do I watch his movies after what he did in “Battlefield Earth?” This film is about the life of John Gotti, a crime boss who was a very… very much talked about man. What do I remember from this film? Well nothing good to be completely honest. I will give some kudos to this film however because there is an argument to be made that this is one of those movies to watch with your friends and poke fun at it. After a short amount of time of being on my screen, I wanted to get into “Mystery Science Theater” mode. How bad is this movie you ask? Well guess what? When it started, a part of me thought I was watching Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room.” Granted, in terms of production value, this movie exceeds “The Room.” But in all seriousness, I heard “Gotti” was terrible before watching it, and I heard the same about “The Room” before I watched that, but in terms of establishing shots, “Gotti” doesn’t blow into full-fledged carbon copy mode, but it did remind me of Tommy Wiseau’s disasterpiece. Even the music choices are a thing of beauty. One music choice during an action scene made me compare an attempt at murder to a lively party. If you have Prime Video, this movie is probably free for you at the time this list goes up, but brace for either hilarity, cringe, creeps, boredom, or perhaps some combination of those things.

#2: The Hurricane Heist

If you thought “Sharknado” was bad, let me just keep it simple with “The Hurricane Heist,” it’s not any better. What the hell did I watch?! This movie was directed by Rob Cohen, and he is relatively known for directing other movies that either have huge followings, fall into the guilty pleasure category, but this movie didn’t even fall into one of those categories! It fell into category -10, because ya know, it ended up on my top 10 worst list! This wasn’t even fun, it was just boring. The characters were bland, the writing was stale, the directing had nothing to write home about, and even the ADR was seemingly cringeworthy! When you market your movie saying it is from the director of “The Fast and the Furious,” and with the song “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” is it wrong to expect some corny, stupid fun? Also, Toby Kebbell is in this film and I am starting to get worried about his track record. He has done “Fant4stic,” “Warcraft,” the “Ben-Hur” remake, “Wrath of the Titans,” and now this! Then again, he’s also in the newer “Planet of the Apes” films and many people seem to like those. I didn’t expect Shakespeare material from “The Hurricane Heist,” but can we at least get fun material? Is that too much to ask for?

#1: Life of the Party

And finally, #1! They say that a story is only as good as its villain. We have now arrived to the ultimate antagonist of the list! I don’t go to parties all that often, and I will point out, I am not a party person. I’m probably not even the most fun person on the planet, but in a world where movies are people, this movie is the ultimate party pooper. Melissa McCarthy? Ben Falcone? F*ck y’all! My worst movie of 2018 is “Life of the Party.” One recent trend that I have been doing for the past few years is that I would go see a movie on Mother’s Day. Sadly, all of those movies have been nothing but hot trash! The trend continues here and it sucks! Melissa McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone work on yet another movie together and while I have not seen Ben Falcone’s other movies that he directed, I have been given another reason to continuously avoid checking them out. 2018 may have been the one of the best years for comedy I’ve personally been through, but this abomination stood out as that, well, abomination. Melissa McCarthy plays the cliche mother who tries to be goofy, but really comes off as one of the most corny individuals of all time! This feels more like a bad episode of a situation comedy on ABC as opposed to something that is trying to be a movie. Some of the scenes between the mother and daughter were awkward, the characters were uninteresting, almost none of the comedy landed for me. I distinctly remember one scene from my theatrical experience on Mother’s Day where I was hearing everyone react to what was happening on screen either with shock, laughter, or faint applause. I already checked out. I legit did not care about anyone in the film and throughout my experience I wanted to die. The fact that this flick even got made is probably funnier than what happens in “Life of the Party” as a comedy. Aside from that, the movie is cliche, both predictable and unpredictable in the worst possible ways, and overall the movie just made me feel dumber as I walked out of it. And HOLY CRAP! I almost forgot! Christina Aguilera plays herself in this film, and it might just be the ALL TIME WORST occurrence of someone playing him or herself, that I’ve ever seen. NOTE: I have not seen Adam Sandler’s “Jack and Jill.” This is a spoiler, and you know what? I don’t care, this movie ruined my brain, so I might as well ruin it. As mentioned, Christina Aguilera is in the film, and she happens to be a cousin to one of the more prominent characters. I knew this movie was dumb, but at no point did I think it would be, nor did I ask for, a complete eradication of my own brain cells! Also, just a fun fact, when I saw “Ghostbusters” in 2016 that actually made my worst movie of the year when I saw it. That was a couple years ago. McCarthy has done public work in 2017, but none of it involved theatrically released movies. Out of the three years I’ve done these countdowns, Melissa McCarthy has now been in TWO of the #1 worst films of the year! Congratulations! You won the award! …For making me feel like I wasted hours of my life multiple times! And apparently, Maya Rudolph was in this too, making this HER second time being attached to the worst movie of the year on here, with the first one being last year’s “The Emoji Movie.” Don’t see “Life of the Party,” and if you do, I AM SORRY FOR YOU, and I hope you somehow liked it better than I did. But for me, “Life of the Party” is my worst movie of 2018.

Thanks for reading this countdown! You guys are now aware of my very objective and totally not at all opinionated list! I want to thank you all for coming along with me on an epic journey through 2018 in film, and I hope 2019 goes well for you as it does for me! I will say, I’ve got a ton of big plans for this year, including my own awards ceremony, more reviews, from old movies to new movies, I’m going to be going to Hollywood this year, and since that is a movie-oriented city, maybe I’ll do a post related to it. I’ve got plans to do an update on my Blu-ray collection. I can’t guarantee it, but there’s a good chance I’ll do a series of “Star Wars” movie reviews sometime this year. Maybe I’ll continue to be that crazy IMAX guy, who knows? But I gotta be real. Part of me is gonna miss 2018. Sure, I won’t miss the continuation of Trump being in office. Sure, I won’t miss a couple of my local Sears stores going out of business. Sure, and I know a lot of people value education, but truth be told, I will not miss high school (or at least certain parts of it). But this was seriously a good year. Despite what I said about high school, I actually graduated this year. My favorite game show of all time, “Deal or No Deal” is now airing new episodes on CNBC. I went to New York Comic Con for the first time. Speaking of which, this year I went to New York City for the first time! Also, this year, as far as film goes, possibly might be the best I’ve experienced all decade. I saw a lot of movies, not to mention a lot of good movies! But it’s time to forget 2018 and move onto 2019! Let’s grab this year by the balls and make something good out of it! Happy new year everyone, and let’s make it a fun one! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with a WordPress account or email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, what are your worst movies of 2018? Do you have a countdown? A select few? Just one you want to point out? Do you agree with my picks? Do you disagree? But let’s be real, what is the Internet without a little disagreement? Feel free to share your honest thoughts! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Uncle Drew (2018): Worst Pepsi Commercial Ever

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“Uncle Drew,” otherwise known as my latest near death experience is “directed” by Charles Stone III (Mr. 3000, Drumline) and stars Kyrie Irving, Lil Rel Howrey, Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, Nate Robinson, Erica Ash, JB Smoove, Mike Epps, with Tiffany Haddish and Nick Kroll. This “film” is about a character named Dax who doesn’t play basketball anymore due to a personally embarrassing moment that happened to him as a youngster. However, he’s not done with the sport in its entirety, because he still finds fun in coaching. One day, he convinces the legendary Uncle Drew to play basketball one more time, thus helping him win a tournament along with Drew’s squad. I’ll be completely honest with you, I’m actually getting a headache as I write this description. That’s what this movie did to me! YOU DID THIS, MOVIE!

Upon research, I managed to find out that the character of Uncle Drew is actually not an original character made for this very film. Turns out this is based on an episodic web-series which also stars Kyrie Irving. As I found out on IMDb, this web series was originally conceived by Pepsi. That’s right. Pepsi. You know, that thing that Cindy Crawford hypnotized people to drink? Yeah, that one! When I watched this movie and I saw that Pepsi was actually a producer of the film in the opening credits, I thought the sky was falling. NO! THIS IS REAL! AND NOW I KNOW THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR YEARS! And this is probably the biggest negative I have with this movie, it’s not a movie, it’s a commercial. There are a few movies that work as commercials I’ve seen. Movies like “The Internship,” “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,” and I may be cheating since I haven’t seen this but I know a good number of people like “The Wizard,” which if you break it down is essentially a commercial for Nintendo. The sad thing is, when it comes to all of the product placement, and trust me, there is A LOT, of Pepsi in this movie or any product made by Pepsico, none of it stands out as funny, entertaining, anything like that. People give a lot of flak towards movies like “Transformers: Age of Extinction” for having lots of product placement and coming off more like a commercial than anything else. At least in that, you get a rather badass scene with Bud Light. It’s forced, in some cases it may be considered cringeworthy, but it just makes you want to crack a drink open with force. So, I’m gonna be doing something special for this review…

This review is unofficially sponsored by Pepsi!

Drink it!

Share it!

Love it!

And most importantly… shake it to play a prank on your friend who will eventually open it and get delightful taste of Pepsi all over their precious pants!

Now back to the review, had I known that this movie is not completely original and partially responsible because of Pepsi, I may have possibly enjoyed it just a bit more. Not to mention, maybe if I were a different person with a different mindset, that could contribute as well. This movie is being advertised towards maybe a couple audiences. These audiences are probably really into basketball, maybe know what the character of Uncle Drew is, and maybe they’re black. As I bought my ticket for this movie at the box office, I recall being the first person to possess a ticket based on the seating options. That didn’t last, you know, like the good old-fashioned Pepsi everybody seems to be drinkin’ because it just tastes so freakin’ good. When I entered the theater however, I was the first one in, and I thought to myself I was gonna get to watch the movie alone, in silence. Oh how awesome that would have been. Instead, I get a lot of people laughing. And you know what? It’s fine. It’s a comedy, it’s expected, not to mention encouraged. Although there were some people, this includes someone a couple seats away from me, who seemed to laugh at just about everything that was on screen. Now I am not revoking their right to laugh, but they are either easily impressed or have a completely different sense of humor than I. Either that or they drank enough Pepsi to enjoy the movie! Out of everyone in the auditorium, I probably was the most out of place person there. I was the only one of a few people who actually happened to be white in the theater. Oh, there were like, three people around me who I can see using their phones during points of the film. If this was out of absolute boredom, than something like this is understandable, but for the sake of a theater environment that doesn’t associate with chaos, would putting the phone away really be that hard?

Let’s talk about some of the characters in “Uncle Drew.” They all suck. They don’t drink enough Pepsi in the movie!

In all seriousness, let’s talk about Dax, played by Lil Del Howery. If this movie as a whole were a tad more competent, I would honestly like Dax better. Because the movie does try at making him looking like a lot is being taken away from him. And you know what? I almost feel bad for him. Although at the same time, I feel like the main thing that I’m supposed to feel bad about concerning him is just one enormous overreaction. Dax gets a shot blocked and loses a game. That was one time. Apparently the fact that the blocker was a white guy makes it extra embarrassing. Maybe in some ways, this kinda makes sense, but wow. I feel bad for him, and makes me hate the crowd of people against them, because they’re a mob against him for a reason having to with something so minor. Maybe I’m overreacting, maybe I have to pump the hate brakes, but I feel like some people in this movie are just mean-spirited to the point of annoyance. You know they need? Pepsi!

PEPSI IS THE CURE TO F*CKING EVERYTHING!

Kyrie Irving is one of the many basketball stars in this film, and it is clear that maybe he wanted to do this film more than anybody else. I do buy him as this elderly, wise man. I will admit, as much as I didn’t enjoy this movie as a whole, I thought Irving’s character was definitely one of the stronger highlights. I didn’t expect grade A range acting from him, nor should I. He did a fine job given his stance in the realm of acting. In this movie, I’ll give some credit and say that Irving at times is kind of funny, but the problem with his character, much like some others in the film, is that it’s not funny enough for me to exactly recall what was funny about them. It’s not like it’s “Anchorman” where you recall Ron Burgundy is funny because he said things such as “Go f*ck yourself, San Diego.” Then again, it’s comedy, it’s art, it’s subjective. And my subjective thoughts towards this movie is that it just didn’t do much of anything except chop my head off.

Let’s talk about Shaq in this movie. This guy has had quite a lifetime. He’s been in the NBA for a very long time, won a few championships, made albums, movies, appeared on TV in several shows and commercials, and even has the pleasure of making a fighting game that even he realizes was terrible. Yeah, he made a game called “Shaq Fu” which released in 1994 for multiple platforms. This is highly regarded as one of the worst video games ever made. And somehow it recently got a sequel which is currently pumping out downloadable content, including a piece containing former president Barack Obama! Not to mention, I’m not alone on this sort of thing, but I consider him to be one of the funniest basketball players on the planet. And since this is a comedy with Shaq in it, you expect him to deliver the goods. And it’s just a f*cking shame that the movie wastes this guy! I could tell Shaq was trying, but it didn’t feel like the aspect of trying lifted through all the way. This could have been a result due to bad direction, lackluster writing, maybe a combination of those two things. Either way, Shaq is not funny here. The first scene of Shaq is him teaching martial arts, which funny enough, is kind of what he does in “Shaq Fu.” That was one of the only memorable parts of not just Shaq in the movie, but the movie itself. And that’s most likely because a part of me was going “Oh, it’s Shaq! Can’t wait to see what he does!”

*hands planted on cheeks* My gosh, I need a Pepsi.

Oh, and you know what? I have not even gotten to the absolute biggest piece of s*it this movie has! This movie takes a second to turn into every single animated movie that is trying to sell an album! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… THE MOST. POINTLESS. DANCE SEQUENCE. IN HISTORY!

You know how a lot of people don’t like “Spider-Man 3?” For those of you who don’t know, part of the endless reasons some people dislike that movie has to do with a song and dance sequence in a jazz club. I gotta say, at least that sequence helped a bit in telling us the current state of Peter Parker’s character, at least that sort of helped with the movie’s overall story. This sequence, it feels like it was just done for s*its and giggles. I never thought I’d say this, but this scene makes “The Emoji Movie” look like “Back to the Future!” Who ever thought I’d need to use “The Emoji Movie” as the positive in a comparison JUST UNDER A YEAR AFTER IT RELEASED?! Seriously! This is an actual quote from my “Emoji Movie” review!

“The Emoji Movie” is nothing but a rip off of better animations, a s*itty idea which became a s*itty movie, and a poorly written, anger-inducing f*ckpile of a film created by a bunch of c*cksucking jackasses that just want to capitialize on a trend!”

To have a comparison like this is a true feat! Because around the halfway point in “The Emoji Movie,” there’s this sequence that’s basically trying to promote “Just Dance.” And it’s just abysmal! But, at the same time, for the very few people who would be invested in the story, our “heroes” have to run away from particular enemies who are also in the area. To get to their destination, part of it involves dancing. It’s full of cringe, but at least if you actually have the urge to care, you can root for the heroes to make it to where they need to go! The dance sequence here isn’t really trying to promote a song (at least I hope that’s the case), but it just doesn’t feel like it has a place in this movie! You could literally remove this entire sequence and it would make NO DIFFERENCE on the overall product! This movie is an hour and forty-three minutes long. This dance sequence can be removed and still provide a decent runtime! WHAT WAS THAT FOR?! Listen to me movie! You’re “Uncle Drew,” not “Family Guy,” you’re not getting a giant chicken to fight some dumbass on the streets! That doesn’t work for you! Just focus! And you know what? I guess if you’re going to this movie just to laugh, maybe this sequence might ultimately work for you. That is, if you’re not me. I was watching this scene, imagining how much better it would be to put a gun on my head, while everybody else was just dying laughing. I probably died too. Maybe after imagining what it would be like to take that gun on my head and kill myself. But if I just drank more Pepsi I think I would have been just fine!

In the end, “Uncle Drew” is worse than Coca-Cola on its best day! Pepsi rules! “Uncle Drew” is a very unfunny comedy which ultimately says something about this year’s movies, because there’s one comedy that I saw this year, that was actually worse than this. This is almost my worst movie of the year so far. If it hadn’t been for a few laughs then I really would have pulled out all the stops, push people out of the way at the theater, demand a refund on my food, drink, and ticket, and call the news about the plague this movie is bound to spread. Let me just tell you something. One of my favorite drinks is Diet Pepsi. Having seen this movie, it almost made me never want to buy another Pepsi product again. While this personally isn’t my worst movie of the year overall, it is certainly the worst I’ve seen in terms of product placement. Also, I would like to congratulate this movie for something.

This possibly made the extended video with Kendall Jenner promoting world peace the 2ND worst Pepsi ad of all time! Congrats, “Uncle Drew!” I’m gonna give “Uncle Drew” a Pepsi/10, whoops! I mean, I’m gonna give it a 2/10! There, that’s better! Thanks for reading this commercialized review! Be sure to go out to your local grocer and buy yourself some Pepsi! The Movie Reviewing Moron’s personal choice of beverage to drink to make him forget about “Uncle Drew.” You know, because bleach is a bit extreme. I do have another review coming up, and it is for a movie that I’m honestly surprised at the amount of people who went out to watch it when it was in theaters (or lack thereof). That movie is “A Wrinkle In Time,” so be sure to stay tuned for my thoughts on that! I want to know, did you see “Uncle Drew?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite Pepsi product? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks, and have a Pepsi day!