Hey everyone! Jack Drees here! Ladies and gentlemen, we have a lot to talk about! I mean, wow! Before we dive into what has been happening lately at Warner Bros. Discovery, let me give you a recap of some of the events that went down during AT&T’s possession of Warner Bros..
If you asked me what I thought about the state of Warner Bros. a year ago, I would have said I was nervous. Warnermedia’s decision to put all of their big movies on HBO Max hurt most of those movies that already happened to be finished. This ultimately hurt their box office, not to mention potential word of mouth and longevity. Sure, it definitely seemed like a good idea to combat COVID-19 and certain titles like “Godzilla vs. Kong” and “Dune” had a halfway decent performance, but it does not change the fact that for the most part, the performance of most of these films were financially hindered. While some may argue that Warnermedia offered viewers a choice by putting their movies both in theaters and on streaming, they also had a long-term goal on prioritizing content for HBO Max, which was created through said ownership.
For the most part, HBO Max was not a bad idea. It contained a lot of the latest movies from studios like Universal, Fox, and Warner Brothers, the entire DC library, some of the shows from Turner networks like TBS and TNT. They had a good thing going. Then in 2020, it was announced that Warner Brothers’s entire slate of films for the next year would go to HBO Max in addition to theatres, as recently mentioned. This technically started with the 2020 film “Wonder Woman 1984.” The unexpected move led to the film’s star and director, Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins respectively, receiving more than $10 million as a result. Alternate stars on the other hand were not favored.
“Representatives for major Warner Bros. stars like Denzel Washington, Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Keanu Reeves, Hugh Jackman and Angelina Jolie wanted to know why their clients had been treated in a lesser manner than Ms. Gadot. Talk of a Warner Bros. boycott began circulating inside the Directors Guild of America. A partner at one talent agency spent part of the weekend meeting with litigators. Some people started to angrily refer to the studio as Former Bros.” –The New York Times
Legendary Pictures, the production company behind “Godzilla vs. Kong” and “Dune,” noted that they, like others, were not given advance notice on the move. On a nearly dated “Saturday Night Live” episode, host and “Dune” star Timothee Chalamet ended the show by unveiling a Legendary sweatshirt, symbolizing his support for the company.
While one perk of HBO Max is the freedom for viewers to watch the new films as many times as they want for 30 days, the caveat for the studio is that the films are free as long as the viewers subscribe. In addition to hurting the movie theaters that work alongside the studios, movies like “In the Heights,” “The Suicide Squad,” “Reminiscence,” “King Richard,” and “The Matrix Resurrections” did not even make their budgets back.
You could make the argument that HBO Max benefited from this. Sure, they had some subscribers come aboard. In fact the service topped their projections (70 million) by the end of 2021 by earning 73 million paid subscribers. But that is not enough. Warner Bros. lost one of their key filmmakers, specifically Christopher Nolan, and has damaged their trust with others as they felt backstabbed by these recent events. Denis Villeneuve, while he ultimately finished and released “Dune” in October 2021, found out about his movie’s simultaneous HBO Max release on the news long before the film ultimately came out. It is the studio’s project at the end of the day, but it does not mean Warner Bros. and AT&T can ignore common sense and decency with their fellow creators. This was a multi-million dollar collaborative effort, and it is very much Denis Villeneuve’s movie as much as it is Warnermedia’s. When Villeneuve promises he will bring forth a franchise, his mouth cannot be kept shut in situations like this.
Now that David Zaslav is responsible for the position of CEO, a position previously held by Jason Kilar, many big changes have come about in such a short time. As of now, there are no more day and date Warner Bros. movies. “The Batman,” “Elvis,” and “DC League of Super-Pets” all released in theaters exclusively for a period of time. There are still movies that have been released on HBO Max exclusively, like the romantic comedy “Moonshot,” but without the day and date option. But for the most part, the new administration has allowed their few theatrical exclusive films to shine.
Now, as a fan of the moviegoing experience, this is great. I am glad to know these movies are being seen the way the filmmakers intended. I do not know if Warner Bros. is going to restore its relationship with Christopher Nolan, but that is probably going to depend on how well “Oppenheimer” does for Universal. Although as someone who has found streaming convenient and messy, this month has demonstrated the messier elements on the HBO Max side of things.
Recent events have shown my slight lack of trust from streaming providers. Last week, HBO Max removed six films. It is normal for a streamer to get rid of their film or television content. Maybe the deal has expired and a project needs to move somewhere else, or maybe a property is under new ownership. These are perfectly valid reasons to remove a film from a service, despite disappointing the fans of that movie. What is unusual however is that a set of “Max Originals,” meaning that these projects were exclusive to HBO Max, were removed from the service. I emphasize, not HBO the channel, HBO Max. Despite being intended and marketed as exclusives, they were removed. Although if you look around, they are not QUITE exclusive. This is probably why they were called “Max Originals” and not “Max Exclusives.” These films are available for purchase on platforms like Google Play and Vudu, therefore they are not unwatchable. Well, except “Superintelligence,” you should never ever watch that movie even in your sleep. And there is also good news for physical media collectors. These movies, like the recently mentioned “Superintelligence,” are also available on DVD. So while these films may be gone from HBO Max, you can pay to watch them in other ways.
Nevertheless, an event like this shocks me as the films are technically Warner Brothers movies, which HBO Max would perhaps most likely try to maintain as they are a part of the brand. It is the same reason why you never saw “The Irishman” leave Netflix. It is the same reason why you never saw “Manchester by the Sea” leave Prime Video. It is the same reason why you never saw “LEGO Star Wars: The Holiday Special” leave Disney+. With the exception of that last one, these titles are available elsewhere such as DVD and Blu-ray, but these are ultimately the studio’s and streamer’s projects to control and maintain on their respective services. Or so I thought. They can practically do anything now and it is kind of unreal to think about.
So HBO Max got rid of six “exclusive” films. Fine. They can do that. People can still watch them elsewhere? Okay, that’s wonderful. I think it is a bit weird to not at least leave them on the service for people to at least watch, although at the same time I do not think people subscribe to HBO Max nowadays to watch “The Witches.” These films, or more specifically, where they ended up, are partially the result of the previous administration. “Superintelligence” was once supposed to release theatrically, but it was eventually dropped exclusively on HBO Max through Ben Falcone’s pitch. “The Witches,” directed by Robert Zemeckis, was supposed to be released theatrically, but was ultimately moved to HBO Max. However, it was released theatrically in international markets. I can understand why a move like this was made. In addition to promoting HBO Max, COVID-19 was still somewhat new and prominent in late 2020. But if there is something I can say “The Witches” and “Superintelligence” have in common other than their release, it is their lack of longevity. When you release a movie in theaters, you ultimately do more than simply release it for the big screen. If the movie is successful on the big screen, there is a chance it could also succeed when it comes to VOD and physical media. It already has word of mouth, and if enough people are curious, it could have a second wind. This is a tried and true method that works almost every time.
Despite my confidence, and we will dive more into that, in regard to David Zaslav as CEO, this is perhaps the one big conundrum that has come up during his time as the head of the company. If there is an outside force that is making these movies disappear, I wish I knew about it. But for now, this makes no sense.
Speaking of movies you will not be seeing anymore, let’s talk about “Batgirl.” During Jason Kilar’s run as CEO, it was announced that we would be seeing an HBO Max exclusive “Batgirl” movie set in the DCEU. The film was previously in development, partially under the creative juices of Joss Whedon, but he left the project a year after its 2017 announcement. The film would star Leslie Grace (In the Heights) and similar to “The Flash,” which we will be talking about later, viewers would be treated to Michael Keaton as he returns to play Batman. Before Zaslav became CEO, another DC film once set to hit HBO Max, “Blue Beetle,” was officially no longer an HBO Max exclusive and would instead play in theaters. This is how every other DCEU film, including the day and date-specific “Wonder Woman 1984” and “The Suicide Squad,” released.
“Batgirl,” both before and after Zaslav’s beginning as CEO, was never announced to receive the same treatment. In fact, one more announcement in this crazy week is that the release of “Batgirl” would be cancelled. Nobody in the viewing public would ever get to see the movie, no matter what. Not in theatres, not on HBO Max. No bat time, no bat channel.
Obviously this came as a shock given how the film finished shooting and happened to be in post-production. And not to ignore Leslie Grace’s titular character, who wouldn’t want to see Michael Keaton as Batman again? This could have been a good movie. But after seeing more information, I had my doubts as to whether it was actually good to begin with.
“Batgirl” was originally intended for HBO Max, and when you do not have to worry about the stakes of the big screen, there is, theoretically, less of a vision that encapsulates quality. I am not saying straight to streaming movies cannot work, but it comes with a major price tag from a viewer’s perspective as being “inferior.” “Batgirl” had a $90 million budget. In DC speak, this is about the same as 2019’s “Shazam!” although about half as much as Matt Reeves’s “The Batman.” While Leslie Grace may not have carried the star power of Robert Pattinson, the movie had plenty of big names alongside her including J.K. Simmons, Brendan Fraser, and as mentioned before, Michael Keaton. The directing team behind the film, Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah had experience with action films before, not to mention 2020’s biggest picture (not that there was much competition), “Bad Boys for Life.” The two even have experience at DC’s competitor, Marvel Studios. While they never made a Marvel film, the duo handled directing duties for two episodes of the Disney+ original series “Ms. Marvel.”
For all I know, these people gave 110% to every part of the production. Leslie Grace could have given the performance of the year. Michael Keaton could have given his best portrayal of Batman yet. And this would be a movie that could establish Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah as future in-house names at DC kind of like the Russo Brothers were to Marvel for some time. But given how “Batgirl,” is cancelled as a tax write-off as of last week, I, and the viewing public as a whole, will never know for sure.
There is a saying that actions speak louder than words, but given how I have never seen “Batgirl,” I unfortunately can only rely on words at this point. However, other people have seen the movie through test screenings, and the results are reportedly not great. While the movie is said to have scored similarly to “Shazam!: Fury of the Gods,” which is still set to release this December, one source says the consensus led to a verdict that indicated “Batgirl” is not big enough for theaters, nor appropriate enough for a platform like HBO Max, as revealed by Hollywood insider Matthew Belloni on an episode of his podcast, “The Town.”
“This is someone who was in the test screening a couple months ago where they were trying to figure out what to do with this movie and I called him and we chatted and he said that after the screening, the executives Walter Hamada of DC and some of the others there ask the audience, “Did this feel big?” and clearly they were trying to figure out whether it felt like it deserved a theatrical release and the consensus was absolutely not. He said it played like a TV pilot, the stakes were very small… He said it felt a little like Dark Phoenix.” -Matthew Belloni
Why are they releasing “Shazam!: Fury of the Gods” and not “Batgirl?” That is a great question. If you ask me, I think it is a somewhat marketable film that could do well around the holiday season, or in this case, well enough to compete with “Avatar: The Way of Water,” but nevertheless. Although “Shazam!: Fury of the Gods” was planned as a theatrical release this whole time, and may have been executed as such during the production. And the first trailer of the film promises some neat treats for those looking for a big screen experience. I reiterate, I have not seen “Batgirl,” but I think there is a reason why I am seeing material for “Shazam!: Fury of the Gods,” and nothing for “Batgirl.” While I genuinely feel terrible for everyone behind the film, I stand by David Zaslav’s decision to cancel “Batgirl.” I would rather have a genuinely great movie that will win over audiences as opposed to a terrible movie that could cause people to compare it to “Batman & Robin.” People are going to literally have to say that the best Batgirl movie is somehow “The LEGO Batman Movie!” Who thought we’d be saying that in this day and age?! And Zaslav cancelled the film for this reason. During a recent conference call, Zaslav was asked about the cancelation of “Batgirl,” which he stated was part of a restructuring of DC through a 10-year plan. This plan would be similar to what Alan Horn and Bob Iger established with producer Kevin Feige over at Disney’s Marvel Studios. In addition to that, Zaslav wants to make sure that audiences are not only getting good movies, but happen to be getting their money’s worth at the cinema similar to the studio itself through the box office as it releases its newer content.
“We’ve seen luckily by having access now to all the data, how direct-to-streaming movies perform. And our conclusion is that expensive direct-to-streaming movies in terms of how people are consuming them on the platform, how often people go there or buy it or buy a service for it and how it gets nourished over time is no comparison to what happens when you launch a film in the motion – in the theaters. And so this idea of expensive films going direct-to-streaming, we cannot find an economic case for it. We can’t find an economic value for it.” –David Zaslav
However, I am not saying the axing of “Batgirl” is not unfortunate for the audience. I was looking forward to potentially seeing the movie. This is also an unfortunate cancelation in terms of diversity. Because Leslie Grace is Afro-Latina, giving a fresh look to the DCEU’s main heroes. This means that most of the studio’s upcoming lineup, like “Shazam!: Fury of the Gods” and “The Flash” will continue to center around white male characters. While these films are likely to be successful, it avoids giving a particular audience a film they can call their own. While “Wonder Woman” and its vastly inferior sequel obviously happen to be anthems for women, it does not change the fact that there are still some audiences who probably have not seen themselves in the heroes DC is providing. Sure, the “Suicide Squad” movies feature two different African-American leads, but as far as non-team movies go, diversity has some ways to go. Superman is a white male. Shazam is a white male. The Flash, while played by an actor who currently identifies as non-binary, is as far as we know, a white male. Harley Quinn, while not a male, is more of an anti-hero as seen in projects like “Birds of Prey.” This could have been DC’s chance to give the audience a different kind of hero. And while this may be towards the villain or anti-hero route, DC is lucky that the Dwayne Johnson-starring “Black Adam” is set to come out as the iconic movie star happens to be Black and Samoan.
At the same time though, while this is unfortunate, I will reiterate, I agree with Zaslav’s decision to cancel the film. It is not a pleasant decision to make, but as a business move, it makes sense. I am not saying people are not interested in seeing a Latina superhero, but I think that if people want a character like Batgirl, such a character should receive better treatment than what she is getting at the moment. I have to remind everyone reading this that I am a straight white male, therefore it is my responsibility to acknowledge that a lot of the movies that have come out in the superhero genre revolves around people like me. Some are great like “Iron Man” while others are not so great like “Morbius.” This is the same thing I have said about “Ghostbusters” since I watched the 2016 Paul Feig-directed reboot. You cannot just remake the movie with women and call it a day. You have to have a good script, great chemistry amongst the cast, and solid humor. Now obviously every movie has its fans, but I saw the movie and felt that it failed on those recently mentioned objectives. Pitching and selling a “Batgirl” film to the audience is half the battle. The other half is delivering a great story or experience that will stand the test of time, and I can only assume that “Batgirl” did not meet certain standards to make that happen.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the cancelation of “Batgirl” has more to do with the reset plan in regard to DC and not as much to do with the talent behind the film like Leslie Grace.
“Leslie Grace is an incredibly talented actor and this decision is not a reflection of her performance. We are incredibly grateful to the filmmakers of “Batgirl” and “Scoob! Holiday Haunt” and their respective casts and we hope to collaborate with everyone again in the near future.” -WB Insider (The Hollywood Reporter)
On that note, I will remind you that “Batgirl” is not the only upcoming Warner Bros. film that was announced to be cancelled last week, as the quote suggests that “Scoob!: Holiday Haunt,” a Christmas-themed “Scooby-Doo” film, was also part of the chopping block. The film was set to come out on HBO Max this year, which does not surprise me as 2020’s “Scoob!” skipped theatres and went straight to VOD due to COVID-19. While I watched “Scoob!” a couple years ago and thought it was a trainwreck, I will note one thing that was not a problem was the look of the film or the animation style. Overall, it looked very polished. Once again, I can only use assumptions here, but I would not be surprised if this streaming-mindset affected production in terms of how polished the film could turn out. Once again, I feel bad for the crew, but I think that this is a proper business decision.
Although if I must be real, I find it shocking that “Batgirl” was cancelled at the time it was. I am less shocked after finding out that it probably was not that good. Although what I am saying is that there is another DC film that based on public outcry, probably should have been cancelled first. In fact, recent events further indicate the complications behind this film’s existence. That film being… “The Flash.”
The Flash is one of the more well-known DC superheroes, and the hero’s popularity has only jumped due to the success of CW’s original series that is soon to enter its final season. Although on the movie side, there has been extensive development in regard to bringing the red speedster to the big screen but for several reasons, they could not quite get it out before the end of the previous decade. Having seen both “Justice League” and its eventual “Snyder Cut” on HBO Max, I think Ezra Miller did a fine job bringing Barry Allen to life and I would not mind seeing more of the character. Unfortunately, if Miller continues to play the character, I may have second thoughts.
After seeing Ezra Miller’s shenanigans of choking a woman in a bar, assault, restraining orders, harrassing a woman in her own apartment, and most recently, burglary, this only makes Zaslav’s final decision on “The Flash” that much harder to make. You could say that releasing “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” is also hard because Amber Heard is in it, but that’s a cakewalk compared to this. For one thing, the public is divided on whether Heard is innocent or guilty after her recent trial with Johnny Depp. And not to undermine the events prior to or of said trial, many of Ezra Miller’s crimes or arrests have happened after they finished shooting “The Flash.” As time has shown, I believe in redemption. Since joining Marvel, James Gunn held back on making inappropriate jokes over the Internet, and even after his firing and rehiring, he kept his cool. But at this point, when Ezra Miller has already been cast, the movie is shot, and it is set to release next year. This is a dilemma if there ever was one. As a viewer who is not in charge of a substantial company or its products, it is easy for me to say that they should cancel the movie or recast Ezra Miller and reshoot every scene with the character of Barry Allen. But the film already has a budget of $200 million, and this requires a massive return of the crew, the actors, everybody.
…But in my own little fantasyland, I also think it is worth it. …Kind of. It’s not my money, and if it were, for all I know, I might not have said this.
Similar to “Spider-Man: No Way Home” where there were three Spider-Men on the lineup, “The Flash” is a movie where we are seeing the return of Michael Keaton as Batman, making “Batgirl” one of the two films where the iconic actor dons his cowl. That, alongside another Batman appearance from Ben Affleck, will obviously get butts in seats. This is certainly a film that people will want to see in theaters before streaming, making HBO Max a concept that must be left out of the equation. But this involves potential delays, recasting, and so on. The other alternative I can get behind at this point is releasing the film as is and announcing Ezra Miller’s firing beforehand. I could almost see there being a disclaimer before the film starts stating the wrongdoings of Ezra Miller and a note that Warner Bros. does not condone or approve of his actions. While it may not be comfortable to provide in a public setting, it is better to condemn this consistently inappropriate or incorrect behavior rather than continue to enable it. There is a good chance Ezra Miller is already canned and such a thing has not been announced, but I think this is a message that should be announced before the public starts a trend claiming Warner Bros. “defends assaulters” or something along those lines. They say there is no such thing as bad publicity, but this is exhibit A as to why that is not true. On the bright side, reports have surfaced that “The Flash” is apparently a good movie. Obviously, film is subjective, so if it comes out, we will see if that statement holds true. But it is nice to hear Warner Bros. Discovery has confidence in the film’s quality, unlike “Batgirl.” Some of the general audience more than likely will not care about what Ezra Miller has done in the past, but it does not change the fact that word gets around. Plus Miller is getting into trouble on a consistent basis. They have already been the subject of multiple negative events as of this year. My confidence in Miller or their image’s ability to change by next year, or even 2024, is quite low. What if they end up in prison for a year? What is Warner Bros. Discovery going to do then? Imagine if Ezra Miller shows up at the premiere and how awkward that could be given everything they have done. This is not exactly my idea, but one alternative is finding a way to remarket the film as a “Batman” movie. I do not know how much the script would warrant such a thing, but given the marketability of the “Batman” IP and the fact that there are two Batmen in the movie, it theoretically makes sense.
Until then, there is no easy answer to this ongoing problem. “Batgirl” may have had its reasons to be cancelled, but this only makes me wonder what is going to happen with “The Flash.” If the movie gets cancelled because of Ezra Miller, it is a solid publicity move in the short term, but this also ends up being a disservice to the rest of the people behind the film who had nothing to do with Ezra Miller other than working with them. But at the end of the day, filmmaking is a business. And if Ezra Miller keeps doing what they’re doing, or worse, the business of the film is only going to trickle bit by bit. “The Flash” is still set to come out, and I am glad to hear it is good. But is it worth it? Much like “Batgirl,” but for completely different reasons, “The Flash” at this stage is probably going to hit some landmines if the studio wants it to be released theatrically. But at the same time, the movie is too big, not to mention too expensive, for HBO Max.
Sticking with HBO Max, let’s ask a question… WHAT ON EARTH IS HAPPENING TO HBO MAX?!
Remember how HBO Max was supposed to be Warnermedia’s big streaming service? It was the thing that was going to make HBO Now look like HBO Then. Some not so surprising news that came out of last week’s events was the merging of HBO Max and Discovery+ into one streaming service. Now, that has not happened yet. You will not find “Property Brothers” on HBO Max, nor will you find “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” on Discovery+.
This is not the first time in recent years that Warner had one of its streaming services fold into another one, as DC Universe gradually dissolved in 2020 and all of its film and television content like “Titans” and “Harley Quinn” ended up on HBO Max, with the latter now airing its third season.
Now if you ask me, I like the fact that all of this content is merging. I am probably not going to watch all of it. But it is nice to know that the options are there. For all I know, there could be a new show that I could put on in the background one day. I think one big problem consumers face is that there are too many streaming services out there. I do not have Discovery+, as it is one of the few services I do not consider a priority. Slimming two services into one is not necessarily a bad concept. My one concern is how much more I’d be paying, that is if there is a price hike. I will revisit this issue later, because I need to talk about one of the most poorly guided comparisons I have seen in this day and age.
Remember how I said actions speak louder than words? Well, words are pretty powerful. Some people tend to take them seriously.
I understand that this may be an exaggeration, but it still must be pointed out. When talking about the differences between HBO Max and Discovery+, this was done through a side-by-side chart indicating that HBO Max’s content was male-skew and Discovery+’s content was female-skew. Now to be fair, I am a man and I have never watched Discovery+ on my own time. I rarely turn on any of Discovery’s channels. But this is a loose and stereotypical assumption to make in this day and age. Because this declares that gendered content is put into boxes. HBO is one of the most sought-after cable networks of all time by all genders. “Game of Thrones” was a huge hit over recent years. Recent series like “Scenes From a Marriage” have been met with acclaim. And APPARENTLY, women don’t watch “EUPHORIA?!” If anything, they’re the target audience! Literally every woman on this planet wants to be Zendaya! She is good-looking, she has an Emmy, and she is dating Spider-Man! You think women do not watch “Euphoria?”
I am not saying that some of these classifications do not make sense. HBO has a lot of scripted content, and that is their forte. Although HBO Max has plenty of unscripted or reality content like the original show “Legendary,” truTV’s “Impractical Jokers,” and the TBS reboot of “Wipeout.” It is very much a service for everyone in same way that Netflix or Prime Video is. Discovery+ is very much a comfort food network. Most of their content is within the reality genre like “90 Day Fiancé,” “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives,” and “Chopped.” Again, I am a man, and I do not know of many men, but I know they are out there, who lean into Discovery’s content more than they do with the type of content HBO provides, so Zaslav and the infographic are technically onto something. But it does not mean that this is the best analogy to give to the public.
Also, you are telling me “The Bachelor” is a male-skewed show?! Again, I imagine there are some men who watch. Although if you want to talk about HBO Max strictly having male-skewed content, I raise you “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette,” “Bachelor in Paradise,” “The Bachelor: Winter Games” and “Bachelor Pad!” The only guys watching these shows are those who are trying to impress their significant other that this show specifically targets! Obviously, there are others, but you get my point! What man turns on the television, looks at that night’s lineup, and thinks, I’m gonna pour myself some wine, and watch young women fight over a guy?! The majority would flip the channel in a heartbeat.
There are also plenty of HBO or HBO Max scripted shows that do not mainly target men. In addition to the recently mentioned “Euphoria,” look at shows like “Big Little Lies,” “Gossip Girl,” “Insecure,” “The Sex Lives of College Girls,” “Love Life,” and let me just remind you that HBO has a show literally called “Girls.” HBO and HBO Max apparently suggests that women do not watch shows like “Succession,” “Silicon Valley,” “Divorce,” “The White Lotus,” or “Mare of Easttown.”
The men/women analogy would have probably worked in the 1920s. More so in the 1820s. But definitely not in the 2020s. This was probably delivered with the best intention in mind, but it does not change the fact that the delivery was terrible. The infographic itself is helpful and for the most part, an accurate representation of both streaming services. HBO Max is definitely more lean in and Discovery+ is certainly more lean back. Those are good comparisons. Plus, while I did address that HBO Max is not short on unscripted content, it is no doubt that scripted content is their bread and butter in the same way that unscripted content is to Discovery+.
Now let’s go back to the price concern. While it is nice to know that I would not be paying for two different streaming services at the same time, one of the nice things about HBO Max is that while it is not the cheapest service out there, it offers a lot of great, sometimes award-winning content, for a reasonable price. HBO Max has two tiers, an ad-included tier at $9.99 and an ad-free tier at $14.99. Discovery+ also offers two tiers. An ad-included tier at $4.99 and an ad-free tier at $6.99. These prices make some sense given how Discovery+ is more of a niche service in the same way that the horror-based Shudder would be to a certain degree. Should we see these two services combine, I think it is perhaps likely that the service to be offered will have an increased price from HBO Max’s current price. If it increases by $1, I do not see much of a problem. $2? Okay, whatever. $3? Now you are pushing it. I understand that adding more content can justify a price increase, but there comes a tipping point. If I find out that this new streaming service costs $19.99/month or more, which is the current price for Netflix’s top tier, I would have to debate on ignoring the service and worry about my other subscriptions for the time being. There is plenty of great content being offered through services like Hulu and Prime Video that I’d rather flock to for a better value. I especially worry for those who have Discovery+ and not HBO Max, because their increase could be worse.
There is no official word as to what the name of the combined service is, and this presents a problem if they come up with a new name. The beauty of HBO Max is that the name HBO is one of the most coveted television brands ever conceived. No offense to Discovery, but when most people think of “television,” HBO is often seen as the gold standard nowadays. They could come up with a new name, let’s just use Warner Discovery as an example, but this could result in brand confusion. This could be HBO’s most bewildering matter since trying to explain the difference between HBO Go, HBO Now, and HBO Max. What makes HBO Max different? I don’t know, it’s purple! This could be a short term confusion once the audience collectively realizes where their preferred content ended up, but nevertheless.
Phew. We made it to the end. Just to recap, I still use and enjoy HBO Max. The third season of “Harley Quinn” is great fun and I cannot wait to see the rest of it. I am excited to see where David Zaslav takes the Warner Bros. brand in the future. I am curious about movies like Olivia Wilde’s “Don’t Worry Darling,” which looks like a trip if there ever was one. I just hope that Zaslav realizes within the mistakes that have been made recently, that this Warner Bros. Discovery ship remains as tight as possible. While I remain saddened for the crews behind the films, I think cancelling “Batgirl” and “Scoob!: Holiday Haunt” were the right moves. If the movies were not up to a certain standard, then why should they be put out to begin with? The main basis of the movie business is profit. This is part of why “Batgirl” was cancelled, but I am also glad to know that we will not potentially be seeing the next “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace” or the next “Catwoman” or the next “Morbius.” It is still NOT Morbin’ time! I don’t care who says it! Why is “The Flash” not cancelled? Sure, I hear it is a good movie, but the closer we get to its release, the more I worry about the film itself in addition to its star’s ability to not cause chaos. Is there a weird move will we see next from Zaslav and crew? Who knows? Until then, all I can do is sit back and wait for movies like “Shazam!: Fury of the Gods” and go back and watch the many hit movies and television shows on HBO Max like “Peacemaker,” “The Carbonaro Effect,” and “The Bachel–” Hahaha, never mind that last one.
Thanks for reading this post! If you liked this post and want to see more, follow the blog either with an email or a WordPress account! Also, check out the official Scene Before Facebook page! If you are interested in more of my long-form content, check out my five-thousand word analysis as to why I cannot stop watching “Belle,” the recent anime from Mamoru Hosoda. This is a movie which is by the way, as of this post’s debut, NOW STREAMING ON HBO MAX! Until then, I want to know your thoughts! What do you think about the recent events at Warner Bros. Discovery? Do you think the brand is in a good direction? Do you think cancelling “Batgirl” and “Scoob!: Holiday Haunt” was a wise decision? What do you think they should do with “The Flash” at this point? Also, about those six movies that were taken off HBO Max, did you watch any of them? Tell me your thoughts. If you ask me, I think “An American Pickle” is one of the most overlooked comedies in recent times and a hilarious parody on modern society. Leave your thoughts down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!
WARNING: Like 2020, this post is LONG. Like, over 14,000 words long. And that’s just written content! Feel free to take breaks in between, grab a drink once or twice, or do whatever you do to keep yourself sane. Enjoy the show!
Hello, everybody! This is the 3rd Annual Jackoff Awards, where winning is not cancelled! Per usual, this is not in front of a large audience. It is instead online with something that technically qualifies as a group of people gathering together to celebrate film. Not much had to be changed for this ceremony, and in a way, I would say that when it comes to the recent pandemic, I was somewhat ahead of my time. You never had to see my face. You didn’t have to actively boo at anything I did, while I stood around taking it all in. And as for the recipients and nominees, the people who worked on 2020’s films, they don’t have to leave their multi-million-dollar mansions in Los Angeles to sit in a chair for hours. They can sit in their own chair if they want to! The Jackoff Awards are the way of the future, and I will guarantee it is the perfect “new normal” material, as I’ve already had years to practice perfecting it.
Now, here are some rules for today’s ceremony. As usual, I will be presenting nominees in various categories. For instance, these include Best Animated Feature, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Director. All of these are appetizers as we go up the ladder, rung by rung, til we reach the top, where we reveal 2020’s Best Picture! Traditional rules apply, I must have seen the movie for it to officially be nominated, so if I missed one movie during this ceremony, there’s a good chance that I did not see it, I did not like it, or maybe I just forgot about it. I mean, it has been eleventy thousand years since the SECOND Jackoffs we’ve done here on Scene Before! So, you know, anything’s possible! Also, for Best Picture, this is once again going be done through the People’s Choice protocol, where I present ten films that I think are worthy of the nomination, of course I’ll have my personal #1 pick, but given how I do my Top 10 BEST films of the year countdowns and those sorts of things, it would be unfair for me to decide what gets Best Picture, and it will end up making things a bit predictable. If you voted for one of the ten films I selected for Best Picture, it counts!
Also, here’s a new rule that I have never thought I would have to implement, but we are implementing it for the first time ever. While it is tradition for the Jackoffs to mainly recognize films that are specifically brought to the big screen, whether it be 2D, 3D, IMAX, Dolby, drive-in, you name it, for this ceremony, I am going to accept nominations for films that have not hit theaters. Due to the fact that many cinema venues have closed in March 2020 and caused an alteration in terms of how people consume content, I am going to accept movies that have taken route toward direct to home platforms. Now keep in mind, just because of this, does not mean that I am going all in. Because again, if you want to be nominated for a Jackoff, you have to meet particular criteria. You must have had previous intentions of some kind to bring your movie to the big screen, either through a traditional 90-day theatrical release, a limited release, even just for one day! And unlike a ceremony such as the Oscars, you don’t just have to play your movie in Los Angeles, you can play it somewhere else. For example, if your movie was going to play at South by Southwest this year, which was canceled, and was eventually going to be seen in theaters, and never got that chance, you qualify for the 3rd Annual Jackoff Awards. But if your movie is produced for a direct-to-TV format without any intention to put it in the theater, such as a “Netflix-only” movie like “Extraction,” that will not qualify because it was never going to be put in the theater in the first place. Same can be said for a movie like “Bad Education,” which went directly to HBO this year. In this time of social distancing, we intend to bring some movies closer together.
All good everybody? I think we’re ready to start!
If you’ve seen awards ceremonies before, you may know that they often start with a monologue, and the Jackoffs, as proven in recent years, is no exception. Why do awards shows start with a monologue? Because bursting into laughter is the best medicine, and Hollywood needs something to burst that bubble they seem to be living in. So, this ought to do the trick! It is time for the third edition of “Jack Drees Tells Jokes to Others in Order to Please Himself.”
I am going to be stating facts about this year in film, and since there is no audience, there shall be no laughs. But if you are experiencing this ceremony right now, pretend you are in an auditorium, nobody else is there except you and me. You can be my cheerleader, you can be a heckler, you can be a critic, you can be a fanatic, you can even be an asshole! The point is, pretend I’m telling these jokes to you with the absolute intention of going at a particular pace to make you laugh. And when it comes to 2020 in film, let’s all be honest here. Even if you made a movie in 2020 that you were proud of, this year may have hurt you in some way. I will admit, there were some good films, but overall, and I’m sure a lot of my viewers can agree, this year could have been better, both in terms of quantity and quality. Nevertheless, there were some good times to be had in 2020. Unless you were stabbed by Wonder Woman, slammed by Russell Crowe’s truck, hit by Harley Quinn’s baseball bat, ran over by Sonic the Hedgehog, or killed in reverse.
Wait a minute, doesn’t that mean you come back to life? I don’t care! I stand by that joke!
Let’s start off with the obvious. 2020 SUCKED! Not just for me, but for anyone else you can imagine. 2020 is so bad that ABC is reportedly considering changing the name of the show “20/20” to “Who Gives a Crap!”
I mean in the United States you have yet another controversial election season, it’s the first year in forever without a “Star Wars” or MCU movie, every other day someone you love dies. Maybe they’re a part of your family, or a beloved celebrity you invited to be in your family. Seriously! Regis Philbin, Sean Connery, Max von Sydow, Wilford Brimley! Chadwick Boseman! Kobe Bryant of all people! Alex Trebek! 2020 even somehow managed to ruin “Jeopardy!” of all things! I would watch that show with my mother every night! I don’t even have an oddball remark to give, this is just sad!
Of course… We cannot go on without discussing the elephant in the room. COVID-19. You utter jerkface on a platter. COVID-19 turned the whole world upside down. Infections spreading everywhere. Businesses shutting down. A wonder if anything will ever return to normal. Yeah, it’s been crazy. Sony announced the title of their upcoming “Spider-Man” movie, “Spider-Man: Home Really Sucks.”
By the way, really looking forward to “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” It’s gonna kick butt!
Many films that were supposed to come out this year ended up getting delayed due to the pandemic. Some include “F9,” the latest “Fast & Furious” film, “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Godzilla vs. Kong,” and “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.” I wonder how the Ghostbusters have been navigating through the pandemic. Oh, I know! There is no Microsoft Teams, only Zoom!
Based on the hit truTV series of the same name, “Impractical Jokers: The Movie” became a hit early on in the year, because despite starting out with a limited release against “Call of the Wild,” the film had the highest per theater average on its opening weekend. The film went on to gross $10.7 million on a $3 million budget. Originally while budgeting the movie, they planned to give $1 million to three of the Jokers and the other one got punished and couldn’t be in the movie.
When COVID-19 started coming to the U.S., a lot of movie theaters shut down, but one of the big exceptions happened to be drive-in venues. This ultimately formed the biggest antagonist of the summer… Rainstorms.
“Sonic the Hedgehog” has officially become one of the biggest video game movies ever, receiving positive reviews and a decent box office total for the first half of 2020. Remember kids, looks don’t matter. But if you see hedgehogs without big eyes, share it over the Internet so everyone knows your opinion. It can pay off in the long run!
“Sonic the Hedgehog” was not only big fun at the movie theater, but big fun for everybody who loves product placement. That is, if there is… anyone who loves product placement.
Still, the movie was big fun for everybody who loves product placement. as that movie has references to Olive Garden, Amazon, and Zillow. Yeah. A lot of product placement. Feels like a Michael Bay movie. Also, since nobody else cares to do so, I’d like to thank the official sponsors of 2020. Charmin’, Purell, GrubHub, Zoom, Netflix, Bath and Body Works, and Walmart. Thank you for your service.
You sneaky morons.
“Tenet” became one of the biggest films of 2020. In fact, tonight it has a shattering 9 nominations including Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Editing, Best Original Score, Best Production Design, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Original Song, Best Director, and Best Picture. Once sought to be the savior of this year in cinema with a July 17th release date, it got pushed back a couple times until it finally arrived on varying dates depending on territories. Christopher Nolan wanted movie watchers to see the film on the biggest screen they can. Critics agree, “Tenet” is the greatest way to lose your hearing!
Hey, speaking of Christopher Nolan! The mega-hit movie “Inception,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, just turned 10 years old this year! “Inception” was recognized for its tenth anniversary by being brought back to theaters and IMAX. Critics are calling it, “Rick Dalton’s greatest performance in years.”
Here’s a joke. “Cats.”
Okay, that’s not the joke… In all seriousness, as 2020 struck, the 2019 movie “Cats” did not lose its relevance. Andrew Lloyd Webber, the composer for the “Cats” Broadway musical, was part of the crowd who continued to talk about it. And he didn’t have positive things to say. Webber called the movie “ridiculous” and he was not afraid to put some blame towards the film’s director, Tom Hooper. Until we have an Oscar category called “Best Picture featuring Cat-Like Human Licking a Plate,” I can’t say Andrew Lloyd Webber is objectively wrong.
“The New Mutants” FINALLY came out this year on August 28th in theaters. For those who don’t know, “The New Mutants” was supposed to come out seven thousand years ago… Only to get delayed FOUR TIMES over two and a half years! While Fox and Disney were trying to put this thing on the big screen, Sony kept running around in circles shouting, “We’ve made nineteen more Spider-Man movies!”
Even though streaming is rising, physical media has had a year to celebrate. Some big classics were finally released on 4K Blu-ray. Some include the entire “Star Wars” saga, the “Back to the Future” trilogy, and “Jaws.” Some said the “Jaws” 4K Blu-ray is so crystal clear that the shark looks four times as fake as before.
San Diego Comic-Con, which is usually a big hub for nerd culture and the latest news on big blockbuster movies, cancelled their in-person convention this year and did first ever “Comic Con @ Home” event. Comic-Con finally solved a problem for one core demographic. Going outside.
One big film pushback that really hit me where it hurts was for “Dune,” directed by Denis Villeneuve. The movie was supposed to come out December but got delayed to October 2021. Cinephiles like myself, felt very disappointed by this news. Although there happens to be someone who’s happy by the news, proud sand-hater, Anakin Skywalker.
Sand gets everywhere, man!
Ryan Reynolds had a tremendous year. They just debuted his new game show, “Don’t,” on ABC this past summer, he’s also in “The Croods: A New Age,” he was a clue presenter on the “Jeopardy: Greatest of All Time Tournament,” and get this! ACTING is technically his SIDE GIG! Ryan Reynolds, arguably one of the biggest movie stars working today, freakin’ Deadpool! Acting is not his highest paying job! Because Ryan Reynolds sold his stake in Aviation Gin (although he is going to maintain an “ongoing ownership interest”) to Diageo for somewhere up to $610 million! Ryan Reynolds has recently helped develop Aviation’s company motto, “Aviation Gin: The perfect drink to make you forget about ‘Green Lantern!’”
Pixar’s Soul became the first feature film from the critically acclaimed animation studio to debut on Disney+, the streaming service for everything Disney and nostalgia. And with evolving technology, the rumored “Toy Story 5” will debut exclusively on a jumping lamp you can purchase at Disney stores $1000 apiece!
It’s funny that “Soul” is debuting digitally. Not the most surprising news with everything going on, but if you remember, “Toy Story 2” was supposed to be a straight to home video release, but they put the film in theaters at the last minute. Remember how in that movie, Al has to go to work on a Saturday? He’s gets in his car, complains, but drives across the street and parks. Watching that today is kind of unsettling. If that movie took place in modern times, some would call Al a Karen, others would be jealous that they can’t get out of the house, and others may get a close look at Al and ask, “Why is he wearing pants?”
The answer, he can’t believe that he has to go all the way to work on a Saturday! All the way to work!
Speaking of history, the Academy Awards made history this year by announcing its first Best Picture winner for an international feature. Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite,” which was nominated for 7 Jackoffs last year, took home the gold, and Ho himself tied Walt Disney as the record-holder for most Oscars taken home in one ceremony. To me, 2020 is likely divided into two time frames. The first few months will be “The Celebration of ‘Parasite,’” but the rest of it will be “The Devastation of a Parasite.”
A lot of big bombshells dropped this year. Surprisingly none about Charlize Theron… But one of the big stories toward the end of the year was “Wonder Woman 1984” debuting simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters. It was eventually announced, much to the delight of shareholders, but to the dismay of movie theaters, that Warner Brothers was going to implement this method during the entirety of their 2021 release schedule. Now you can watch “Matrix 4” the way it was intended. In a glitchy digital machine that occasionally does a few cool tricks. It’s called a smart TV. …Or a phone.
“Over the Moon” was nominated for multiple Best Original Song awards, not to mention the honors of Best Animated Feature and Best Picture. “Over the Moon,” a Netflix animated musical from industry legend Glen Keane, follows a young girl named Fei Fei as she designs a rocket as part of her quest to find an ancient moon goddess. I personally find rockets amusing. They’re big, loud, and if they’re named Johnny they can make an excellent burger!
“Promising Young Woman” was nominated for Best Picture. “Promising Young Woman” is about a girl who seeks vengeance as she reflects on an event from her past. The film’s main character, Cassandra Thomas, is 26 and lives with her parents. Thanks, COVID!
Also nominated for Best Picture, “The Last Shift,” starring Richard Jenkins and Shane Paul McGhie as an unlikely pair who form a bond in a fast-food joint. Here’s what critics have to say about “The Last Shift.” New York Post says “The Last Shift” appreciates life’s banalities and the struggles of ordinary people. AARP Movies for Grownups calls “The Last Shift” a thoroughly entertaining take on race, class, age, retirement, and morality. Meanwhile, the fast-food chain Wendy’s says “Nobody ate a Baconater, one star!”
“Emma.” was nominated for this ceremony, receiving the honors of Best Makeup & Hairstyling, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, and Best Adapted Screenplay. According to director Autumn de Wilde, the film’s title has a period at the end of it, in order to symbolize that the movie is a period film. Originally, when I came up for the concept of the Jackoffs, I wanted the title to have an exclamation point at the end of it because I get to yell in your face all the time!
AND THIS STUPID AWARD GOES TO!… SHARKNADO 69: IT NEVER EVER EVER EVER ENDS!
Ladies and gentlemen, let me just take a moment to remind you that this is my 3rd year doing the Jackoffs here on Scene Before. And we are just beginning what is hopefully the most epic year for Scene Before yet. After all, this month, we have just reached five full years of the Scene Before name, and I am going big. We are going to gloss over a ton of movies, I’ll have some countdowns sprinkled here and there, I’ll discuss news when possible. All the basics will still be here, and to be quite frank, I don’t have a complete layout of how this year is going to go. I have concepts, which I’ll dive deeper into later on in the show, but still. After 2020, all I can say is that I have to expect the unexpected. For all I know, Elon Musk will release a robot army to destroy us all. But I have plans to debut a review series that I have been waiting to do for the longest time. The movies that I will be focusing on have been a part of my life since my childhood, and childhoods of many others. Generation after generation have celebrated these movies whenever possible, some would say that many hardcore fans not only enjoy these movies, they live them. Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great pleasure to introduce the trailer to my all new review series, “7 DAYS OF STAR WARS!”
That’s right! “7 Days of Star Wars!” This is a full week of “Star Wars” content. That means from May 2nd to May 8th, that is an all new Flicknerd.com exclusive review for an installment to the “Star Wars” franchise! Here’s how the schedule will go! “The Phantom Menace” on May 2nd! “Attack of the Clones” on May 3rd! “Revenge of the Sith” on May 4th! “A New Hope” on May 5th! “The Empire Strikes Back” on May 6th! “Return of the Jedi” on May 7th! And “The Force Awakens” on May 8th! All the main saga “Star Wars” movies that you may be wondering why I haven’t tackled yet will FINALLY be tackled! The month of May will rock your world! As a long follower of the “Star Wars” franchise, I assure you it will rock mine! Until then, MAY THE FLIPPIN’ FORCE BE WITH YOU! Emphasis, on the freaking MAY!
YEAH! But of course, we have a ceremony to get through. The year of March cannot be ignored. And a little sidenote before we move on, special thanks to Arvid Olson, he created the music used in the trailer, so shoutout to him. Well done, sir.
Before we dive into the awards, I do want to remind people, in case they are tuning into Flicknerd.com for the first time ever, or if they simply don’t know who I happen to be, I am a critic. Or at least that’s what I often call myself. But as a critic, one thing I’ve often forgotten is that it takes serious skill and effort from an ambitious crew to making a movie. That’s often the case, even for movies I don’t end up particularly liking. Per usual, as a way of honoring this entire year in film, let’s do a rundown of all the new movies I ended up seeing in 2020.
The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Sonic the Hedgehog
Impractical Jokers: The Movie
The Way Back
The Vast of Night
Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band
Gretel & Hansel
The Burnt Orange Heresy
Made in Italy
An American Pickle
Words on Bathroom Walls
The New Mutants
The Rhythm Section
All in: The Fight for Democracy
The Personal History of David Copperfield
You Should Have Left
The Last Shift
The War with Grandpa
Over the Moon
I Am Greta
Sound of Metal
Bill & Ted Face the Music
The Croods: A New Age
The Last Vermeer
The Call of the Wild
The Midnight Sky
Promising Young Woman
Wonder Woman 1984
Big Time Adolescence
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
I’m Your Woman
News of the World
The King of Staten Island
Death of Me
The High Note
The Jesus Rolls
One Night in Miami
Color Out of Space
With this out of the way, let the ceremony begin! The brawl for the best picture of 2020 is on!
We are, appropriately, going to be doing a first with our first category today. All the other categories being represented here today have been a part of the Jackoffs since year 1. Now it is year 3, it is time to expand the roster. There is no confirmation that this category will stick around for next year, but given the way my content lineup went down this year, this category is somewhat warranted. For this award, we will be looking at five documentaries that brought visual information on their respective subject matters. Here are the nominees for Best Documentary.
All In: The Fight For Democracy (Liz Garbuz, Lisa Cortés, Dan Cogan, Stacey Abrams)
Boys State (Jesse Moss, Amanda McBaine)
I Am Greta (Nathan Grossman, Fredrik Heinig, Cecilia Nessen)
Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band (Daniel Roher, Lana Belle Mauro, Andrew Munger, Stephen Paniccia, Sam Sutherland)
Time (Garrett Bradley, Lauren Domino, Kellen Quinn)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Not only do we have a first time for the Best Documentary category being presented, but we also have a first for Apple. One significant point about “Boys State” is that this is the first time that a film made for Apple TV+ was nominated, tied with “Wolfwalkers,” which is in the next category coming up. “Boys State” takes a story centered around a ton of guys in Texas who come together to form their own government. And all of those boys would likely agree that they see the government as a device for the people. Something where everyone involved hopefully gets what they need. In the same way, this movie listened to me, heard me, and delivered something that I asked for. Congratulations to “Boys State” for being the first documentary to win an award on the Jackoffs!
Moving onto the next genre-based category, let’s take a look at some of the films we have here without specifically naming them. A galactic tale. A magical story. A shapeshifting adventure. A family journey. And, this one’s my favorite… A film… For the SOUL. I sincerely apologize. These five films have made us laugh, made us sing, made us cheer, made us smile, and made us cry. Here are the nominees for Best Animated Feature.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
The Croods: A New Age (Joel Crawford, Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Paul Fisher, Bob Logan)
Onward (Dan Scanlon, Kori Rae)
Over the Moon (Glen Keane, John Kahrs, Gennie Rim, Peilin Chou)
Soul (Pete Docter, Kemp Powers, Dana Murray)
Wolfwalkers (Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart, Paul Young, Nora Twomey, Stéphan Roelants)
And the Jackoff goes to…
“Over the Moon!”
Sticking with more firsts, “Over the Moon” is the first Netflix animation to not only be nominated, but also win a Jackoff! And BOY does it deserve it! With the only 10/10 score I gave this year, two Best Original song nominations, and Best Picture, the only nomination of that kind I gave this year to an animation by the way, “Over the Moon” shines as one of the best animated films I have seen in years. The film follows a young girl named Fei Fei who must prove to her father that the moon goddess, Chang’e, of Chinese mythology, is real. With lessons about the importance of family, exploration, curiosity, and moving on, “Over the Moon” started off by moving me, then wowing me, then making me cry, all the way to the point where a part of me was able to smile again. Directors Glen Keane and John Kahrs alongside an all Asian cast helped bring this extraordinary adventure to life. Congratulations to “Over the Moon!”
If you want the truth, “Over the Moon” qualifies to be one of the more visually stunning films of the year. Both the earth and galactic environments add up for some of the most gorgeous eye candy of 2020. And speaking of eye candy, let’s talk about more of it. These five films have tremendous visual and practical effects of all kinds. Here are the nominees for Best Visual Effects.
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Color Out of Space
The Midnight Sky
Wonder Woman 1984
And the Jackoff goes to…
“Tenet” is the latest directorial effort of Christopher Nolan. And like his prior films including “The Dark Knight,” “Inception,” and “Interstellar,” there is a massive use of practical effects. As Nolan himself stated, some romantic comedies have special effects shots than “Tenet,” which when it comes to a massive blockbuster like the one discussed, that is an accomplishment. “Tenet” is a film where you can see a Boeing 747 wheel itself into a building set to explode, sedans flipping around forwards and backwards, and beautiful, rich environments on multiple continents. All I have for you is a word. Gorgeous.
It is now time to introduce our Best Pictures. They will not be awarded yet, but for those of you who want a reminder of how Best Picture will work, it is entirely based on the Top 10 BEST Movies of 2020 list posted earlier this year on Scene Before. 10 movies are selected and the one that receives the highest vote count based on the people’s choice, will win it all. We will introduce them one by one throughout the show, with a trailer included, starting with this one…
Our first Best Picture nominee is everything that movie theaters were designed to display. Shot on IMAX film, 70mm, directed by a master class filmmaker, a talented cast, and a complex plot that makes you want more. John David Washington and Robert Pattinson cycle through time, forward and backward, as they pull off one of the most boisterous spy missions in history. It is bold, daring, and pushes the limits of what film is able to pull off. A few examples supporting this were already mentioned, but they dared to name their main protagonist, well, the Protagonist. Guess that makes the writing process a little easier. This is yet another worthy addition to Christopher Nolan’s cinematic library. Nominated for 9 Jackoff awards, the highest total tonight, and it has already won one of them, this is “Tenet.”
Up next are the sound categories, for those of you who have tuned into the Jackoffs before, the sound categories are presented based on which aspect comes first. The little hint I’ll give as I found out myself, E comes before M, therefore editing comes before mixing. With that being said, here are the nominees for Best Sound Editing.
BEST SOUND EDITING
Over the Moon
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sound of Metal
And the award goes to…
When I saw “Tenet,” I was impressed by the vast library and execution of sounds coming out of the speakers. Gunshots, ticking time bombs, explosions, big doors, everything felt immersive and exciting, and I congratulate “Tenet” for supplying that library and putting it all to good use. The reason why I nominated this film for Sound Editing was because they were able to use all of these sounds and perhaps put me, the viewer, into every single scene. Part of me felt like I would have died in the opera house. Part of me felt like I could have heard an inverted bullet flying past my ear. Part of me felt like chunks of gold were falling in front of my seat. And speaking of gold, “Tenet” is 2 for 2 so far. If it racks up 7 more wins, including Best Picture, that is a clean sweep. Congratulations!
Onto the second sound category, here are the nominees for Best Sound Mixing.
BEST SOUND MIXING
Sound of Metal
The Way Back
And the Jackoff goes to…
“Sound of Metal!”
How could this NOT win? It literally has SOUND in the title! It was destined to win! Let me harken back to one thing I said during my top 10 best movies of 2020 list, specifically, that “Sound of Metal” does for audio what “Birdman” and “1917” do for camerawork. While that may be a stretch, that is what “Sound of Metal” felt like it was trying to go for. The reason why this film won is because while films like “Greenland” and “Unhinged” stood out for being wonderfully obnoxious, “Sound of Metal” does that at times, but also blends in peaceful silence, making the audio-filled points stand out. This is “Sound of Metal’s” first win of the night, and it while it will not win everything based on the previous category, the film may have a shot at Best Picture. We’ll have to see. Congratulations!
Our second Best Picture nominee comes from Great Britain. Like a few other great films that yours truly has talked about in recent years, this is a film that honors storytelling. It centers around an Englishwoman living in World War II who must take care of an evacuee. The two become friendly with each other, and we dive into the backgrounds of both characters. By the end of the journey, this film is one of the most emotional stories of the year. After all, stories have to come from somewhere. And if that’s the truth, this story must have come from a goldmine. Nominated for 4 Jackoff Awards, this is “Summerland.”
We will now move on to the first of two music categories. The second one will presented towards the other half of the show, which is Best Original Song, but for this category, we will dive into the instruments, the tunes, the bangs, and the notes that defined the movies this year. All crafted by talented and respected composers, here are the nominees for Best Original Score.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Michael Giacchino (An American Pickle)
Steven Price (Over the Moon)
Ludwig Göransson (Tenet)
Alan Silvestri (The Witches)
Hans Zimmer (Wonder Woman 1984)
And the award goes to…
Ludwig Göransson for “Tenet!”
The run for a sweep continues! “Tenet” is 3 for 3! This is Ludwig Göransson’s first nomination and win, but I have a feeling he will have many more. Göransson is known for his work not only on “Tenet,” but also on “Black Panther” and “The Mandalorian.” One factor that went into deciding the winner for this category was how often I ended up listening to the scores after watching the film. The scores for “Tenet” and “Over the Moon” are two that I would pop on every other day. “Tenet” is not only just a magnificent score on its own, but it showcases the gimmick of the entire film, time inversion. Some songs have a backwards vibe, making the film slightly more exciting. There are a couple tracks that are all over the place, and when it comes to the percussion, it is some of the best that has ever been executed for a musical lineup. Here is a track from Ludwig Göransson’s official score of “Tenet.”
And now we move onto Makeup & Hairstyling, one of the categories “Tenet” IS NOT mentioned for, but it’ll still win anyway because apparently it has magic powers now. It’s kind of like Meryl Streep. She might not even be in the movie but somehow she is still amazing in it! The five movies represented here have stylists who gave it their all and some looks that really pop. Here are the nominees for Best Makeup & Hairstyling.
BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (Deborah La Mia Denaver)
Emma. (Marese Langan)
Mank (Gigi Williams, Michelle Audrina Kim)
Promising Young Woman (Angie Wells, Daniel Crest)
Summerland (Lisa Cavalli-Green, Liberty Haynes)
And the award goes to…
Marese Langan for “Emma.!”
Before these unprecedented times went into full circle, I’ve personally had the privilege of attending a special screening of “Emma..” Now for those of you who know the story, you’d know that Jane Austen’s original book was published on December 23rd, 1815, making it over two centuries old. At this special screening, the director, Autumn de Wilde, came out with the film’s lead star, Anya-Taylor Joy, who recently won a Golden Globe for her role in Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit,” and talked about the film. One interesting point that was brought up was the title of the film. If you look at the title “Emma.” you’ll notice a period at the end. That is to highlight the film is a period piece. And when it comes to the film’s many hairstyles, no matter how pristine or funky they may appear, they all fit the time beautifully. It perhaps goes to show that beauty knows no age. It can stand the test of time. Congratulations to “Emma.!”
Our third Best Picture nominee is the first Netflix animated feature yours truly has seen. From legendary Disney animators Glen Keane and John Kahrs, comes a Netflix animated musical that feels like a true throwback to another era, despite the 3D animation. Featuring the likes of the young, bright Cathy Ang, unmasker Ken Jeong, and “Hamilton” star Phillipa Soo, this brings classic Disney to a new generation of viewers, and allows those who grew up watching such films to experience something of old, while really watching something new. Songs like “Hey Boy,” “Rocket to the Moon,” and “Ultraluminary” are all brilliantly executed by their respective vocalists. And I should note, two of those three pieces are nominated for Best Original Song. Despite there being a journey quite out of this world, the themes and messages presented here will bring viewers down to earth. Nominated for 6 Jackoff Awards, this is “Over the Moon.”
They say that no film is perfect. Well, they’re right. In fact, 2020 has proven that wholeheartedly. Many of this year’s films, especially in the first half, have given lackluster results across the board. And even the best films this year are by no means flawless, especially compared to 2018 and 2019. Although, even the most critically acclaimed films of all time, “The Dark Knight,” “Back to the Future,” “Forrest Gump,” “Halloween,” “Toy Story,” even “Citizen Kane,” they all can be improved in some way. So, I decided to look back at 2020’s films and see what adjustments I could make in order to improve them, whether they need these improvements or not. Ladies and gentlemen, it is time for the third edition of “Film Improvements.”
Wow! They aren’t stopping with those Spider-Man movies! Even Warner Bros. is making them now! They’ll never run out!
We’re now going to move onto the acting categories. Specifically, actors in a supporting role. Some of the roles these men play include a father who is highly against the work system in the United States, a successful singer who spent a night in Miami, and a crazy psychopath who is obsessed with killing an animated hedgehog. Did I just say that out loud? Here are the nominees for Best Supporting Actor.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Kevin James (Becky)
Shane Paul McGhie (The Last Shift)
Arliss Howard (Mank)
Leslie Odom Jr. (One Night in Miami)
Jim Carrey (Sonic the Hedgehog)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Leslie Odom Jr. in “One Night in Miami!”
Last year, Amazon made its presence in Jackoffs history. While the studio did receive a nomination in this exact category for Timothee Chalamet’s performance in “Beautiful Boy,” they had a ceremony until they got a win, which they did in the Best Original Song category for Sigrid’s piece, “Home to You,” which was featured in “The Aeronauts.” Today, Amazon now has TWO wins in the same ceremony! They are THAT MUCH CLOSER to ruling the world! But when it comes to Leslie Odom Jr.’s win, it is well-deserved. The four leads in the film all find a way to have an engaging presence and sense of chemistry with one another, but Odom Jr. has risen to the top and does so with a commanding vibe. He moves, he sings, he talks, he does it all. His portrayal of Sam Cooke is the definite highlight of the film. No shame here to the other actors. Shane Paul McGhie portrayed someone who is worried about the American class system with excellence. Kevin James took a unique role for his career in a smaller production and had fun with everything and everyone around him. Arliss Howard played a figure who demanded my attention at the beginning of “Mank,” and went on to become someone as a character who I go back and forth between. Jim Carrey, who was almost my winner, took on a character that comes off as a complete cartoon and brought him to life like no one else could. However, of the five, Odom Jr. is the winner and him being the highlight of “One Night of Miami” helped cement that. Congratulations to Leslie Odom Jr., and here is a clip from his performance in “One Night in Miami.”
Moving onto actresses, let’s take a look at a few characters they played this year. When it comes to the prestigious nominations, some of the roles these women play include a mother who is separated from her daughter by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the partner of a drummer who is losing a defining characteristic, and an actress. So, wait… Does that mean one of these women play themselves? I’m very confused. Here are the nominees for Best Supporting Actress.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Elizabeth Debicki (The Burnt Orange Heresy)
Amanda Seyfried (Mank)
Helena Zengel (News of the World)
Olivia Cooke (Sound of Metal)
Princess Punzalan (Yellow Rose)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Amanda Seyfried for “Mank!”
While actors including Arliss Howard and Gary Oldman had their fair of moments where they played their part well, the real star of the show could arguably be Amanda Seyfried. Not only does she look the part thanks to the film’s undoubtedly talented team of costume designers and stylists, but her looks are just a small part of why her character was the scene stealer. One of the best things about Amanda Seyfried’s performance, and this is nothing against her as an actor, because she is talented, is that this did not feel like Amanda Seyfried. Almost every time I glanced upon that big screen and saw Seyfried’s character, Marion Davies, I got a sense that I escaped into the Golden Age of Hollywood and she was there to greet me every time. For those of you who don’t know Marion Davies, she is an actress known for arguably being a piece of inspiration behind “Citizen Kane,” which the movie “Mank” centers around. She’s also known for her roles in “The Patsy,” “Going Hollywood,” and “Show People.” While Davies has been long gone, she may be looking down on Seyfried with pride. Congrats to Seyfried, and speaking of which, here is a clip of her performance in “Mank!”
Our fourth Best Picture nominee is one of the most important films in Scene Before history. To this day, I refer to it as the film that made me excited to review movies again. This film comes from Andrew Patterson, who brought some of the most exciting camerawork, environments, settings, and tricks that have been displayed on screens this year. They say that video killed the radio star, but this nominee not only makes for a good movie, but also for good radio. The film centers around a DJ and switchboard operator who discover a strange frequency that becomes the talk of the town, kind of like this film at one point became the talk through the curiosity and praise from several viewers like myself. Nominated for 3 Jackoff awards, this is “The Vast of Night.”
Now we will move into production design. Here we will recognize the extravagant sets, gorgeous locations, and distant time periods these movies took us to in 2020. Some locations include a hotel where no mouse or kid is safe, a vast environment where there is a very little sense of time, and enormous deserts as far as the eye can see. Here are the nominees for Best Production Design.
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
The Burnt Orange Heresy (Totoi Santoro)
Emma. (Kave Quinn)
News of the World (David Crank, Elizabeth Keenan)
Tenet (Nathan Crowley)
The Witches (Gary Freeman)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Nathan Crowley for “Tenet!”
The streak continues, and we have a record tie! We’ll get to that in a second, but this goes to show the magnificent craft that went into “Tenet” as a production. And that is where the film excels the most, behind the scenes. Although in this sense, you can technically say that you can see a lot of what this category is all about in the various shots of the film. “Tenet” was shot in seven countries on three continents, with each environment being as sweet as the last. While “Tenet” almost comes off as a grounded adventure at times, it has the excitement of a fantasy at other times. One of the more notable feats in the film are the sliding doors where they obnoxiously open and close like a freight elevator. The climax felt mysterious and exciting due to the weirdly authentic atmosphere of the deserted city and everything around it. This was a hard category to determine, because there are a few good picks here. “Tenet” was just the one that spoke to me the most. Congratulations to “Tenet,” which is 4 for 4 so far!
Also, unbelievable! We are not even halfway through the show, and a significant record has already been tied! For those of you who have followed the Jackoffs during its first two years, a couple films should stand out. Specifically “Roma,” which was represented during the first ceremony, and “1917,” which was represented during the second ceremony. Neither film won every category it was nominated for, that could be achieved depending on how “Tenet” keeps up the pace, but the film also tied “Roma” and “1917” as the winningest film in Jackoffs history. Here are the categories that remain for “Tenet.” Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Original Song, Best Director, and Best Picture. If it takes one more award, it beats “Roma” and “1917” as the winningest film in the show’s history. If it takes the rest of the categories it is nominated for tonight, then it is a clean sweep. Exciting stuff, guys! We’ll see what happens! But anything’s possible, look at the original Jackoffs! “Avengers: Infinity War” won Best Picture without taking another one of its nominated categories. Or even look at the 5th Academy Awards! “Grand Hotel” won Best Picture without even being nominated for another category! We’ll have to see! It all comes down to one man’s opinion and your votes!
Moving back to NON-“Tenet” categories, let’s talk about costumes. Production design and costume design seem to almost go hand-in-hand at times. They’re both aspects of the film you place in front of the camera to the point where one would hopefully be wowed. Whether they are dresses, military outfits, or fashionable superhero gear, the apparel worn by the characters presented in the following films stood out to the naked eye. Here are the nominees for Best Costume Design.
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (Erin Benach, Helen Huang)
Emma. (Alexandra Byrne)
Mulan (Bina Daigeler)
The Personal History of David Copperfield (Suzie Harman, Robert Worley)
The Witches (Joanna Johnston)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Joanna Johnston for “The Witches!”
Collectively, the costumes featured in “The Witches” feel like they come out of a children’s book, which is appropriate, given how “The Witches” originally was a Roald Dahl novel. The film goes to show that witches are not just evil, they know a good outfit when they see one. The film overall feels like it takes place in some backend portion of a Wes Anderson film like “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” which is appropriate because much of “The Witches” takes place in a hotel. When it comes to characters, the Grand High Witch played by Anne Hathaway is the biggest standout, rocking multiple dazzling outfits in a span of less than a couple hours. Everything in this movie despite having some darkish moments feels colorful and goes along that vibe of being safe enough to show children, but also horrific enough to have a balance. Joanna Johnston is a costume designer known for collaborating on many of Robert Zemeckis’s productions including “Back to the Future Part II,” “Allied,” and “Welcome to Marwen.” She also worked on 2016’s “The BFG” directed by Steven Spielberg, so she is no stranger to the Roald Dahl universe. Johnston whipped up some colorful, vibrant, and quirky outfits worn by regular people and witches alike. Congratulations to Joanna Johnston!
Our fifth Best Picture nominee encapsulates one of the most life-altering events a person can have, the loss of one of their senses. In this case, our lead character of Ruben loses his hearing, arguably his most essential sense as a drummer. Played with sheer brilliance by Riz Ahmed, Ruben as a character took a movie where its main character cannot hear anything, and executed a product that made me want to audibly shout from the rooftops. If you want to be stoked, watch a drum solo. If you want to be floored, watch our fifth Best Picture nominee. Nominated for 7 Jackoff Awards, this is “Sound of Metal.”
“Sound of Metal” is available right now exclusively on Prime, and no, it doesn’t come with free shipping, it’s a digital file.
This year, like the past years we have done the Jackoff Awards, we will not be giving a lifetime achievement, we’ll be giving two. One for someone who is currently alive, and for somebody who unfortunately is no longer with us. Per usual, we will start off by presenting the first award for the living individual. It is time for the Roger Deakins award.
This award has been presented in the honor of Roger Deakins, the acclaimed cinematographer behind films including “The Big Lebowski” and “Blade Runner 2049.” And Bill Murray, the iconic actor famous for his roles in “Ghostbusters,” “Charlie’s Angels,” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” Today, we’ll be honoring a well-known director who has been at the top of their craft for numerous decades. And yes, this person is still making movies today. The 3rd Roger Deakins award goes to a man who made his directorial debut with the short film “The Last Gun.” He shot, starred, and crafted the film at the young age of 13 years old. From then on, he crafted more shorts until his feature length directorial debut, “Firelight” released in 1964. And it certainly was not his last. The man ventured forth, creating some of the most iconic films of all time. “Jaws,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” “Jurassic Park,” “Schindler’s List,” “Minority Report,” “The Terminal,” “The Adventures of Tintin,” and “Lincoln” just to name a few. He has won 3 Oscars, 2 Golden Globes, 4 Primetime Emmys, and 3 BAFTAs. None of these include Lifetime Achievements or honorary awards. He is also a notable producer and executive who has continued to bring many big movies to the public, including “Back to the Future,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “Men in Black,” “Transformers,” “Super 8,” and even the record-holder for Jackoff nominations at a total of 10, “First Man.” He has collaborated with some of the most influential minds in the industry. Michael Bay, Robert Zemeckis, George Lucas, J.J. Abrams, and Kathleen Kennedy. The guy can do it all. Action, drama, thriller, sci-fi, horror, animation, period piece, adventure, you name it, there is a good chance he has done it. For filmmakers everywhere, he has been the pinnacle, the holy grail, the definition, the master of them all. Almost anyone who has ever watched or enjoyed a movie will know his name or something he did. Maybe it affected them personally, maybe it made them want to get into filmmaking, or it made them want more of his content. The 3rd Roger Deakins award goes to a deserving name, a man who despite receiving a steady stream of words, needs no introduction. Steven Spielberg.
Spielberg, you’re gonna need a bigger shelf! Because on top of all the other accolades you have received over the years, you are now the proud recipient of the Roger Deakins award! If he accepted this award and was honored to receive it, he’ll probably go home and put it in his office or something. If he took the award and didn’t want it, he’d probably feed it to a CGI dinosaur. Either way, he wins. Congrats to Steven Spielberg! The man, the myth, the blockbuster filmmaker!
Moving onto our next sketch, it’s no secret that we’ve all been stuck at home. We’ve been attached to our couches, our beds, our recliners, we’ve practically become slaves to our television sets. Sometimes we’re busy flipping channels to see what’s on. For all we know, if there’s nothing on, we’ll just put on a movie. Specifically, on a TV channel of some sort. Even the major networks like ABC and CBS have been getting into the game where they’ve aired movies from their particular studio to fill time slots. But you may flip to that channel and wonder what the movie’s about. That’s where the info button comes in. You click the button, you see the description, bingo! That’s what this next segment of the Jackoffs is about. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for a little bit I like to call “Infomovies.”
Our sixth Best picture nominee is a story takes an age gap, the problems of the old and young, and puts them together in a story that feels ageless. Aside from age, this deals with problems having to do with race, culture, and class. When one man is about to leave his job at a local fast-food restaurant, a new, lesser-aged individual is about to fill his shoes. The wise guy teaches the young man the ropes of working at a fast-food joint, all the while developing a seemingly unlikely friendship that stabilizes as much as it can despite some imperfections. This movie may be about fast-food, but the result is quite luxurious. Nominated for 3 Jackoff awards, this is “The Last Shift.”
We are now about to move onto the screenplay categories. This year, we will be starting with adapted screenplays and following it up with original screenplays. This year we have seen movies that have taken us to many worlds, including those from authors such as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, who told iconic tales of fiction. But you also have authors including Lauren Redniss and Jessica Bruder, who tell stories that have happened in history, only to have those stories be spun in a visionary direction for the screen. Here are the nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Emma. (Eleanor Catton)
News of the World (Paul Greengrass, Luke Davies)
The Personal History of David Copperfield (Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucchi)
Nomadland (Chloe Zhao)
Radioactive (Jack Thorne)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Chloe Zhao for “Nomadland!”
What makes “Nomadland” such an interesting film not only to watch, but to talk about, is that it is not really a story about someone who wants something bigger than themselves. There are characters, including the main one, who show that they want more, but what makes “Nomadland” fascinating is the showcasing of regular people trying to get by from day to day, enjoying what they have in their lives, and having fun even in the toughest of situations. “Nomadland” comes with one of the best lines of 2020, specifically spoken by Bob Wells, who plays himself in the film.
“You know, I’ve met hundreds of people out here and I don’t ever say a final goodbye. I always just say, ‘I’ll see you down the road’.”
That’s what I have been trying to say to normalcy for the past year. I do not think normalcy will go away, but I always hope it is only taking a temporary break. There is no goodbye. Plus, this film came out at the perfect time. It shows a story of people who are thankful and appreciative of what they have and the people in their lives. And I think during the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of people, including myself, can relate to that. Congratulations to Chloe Zhao, who is also nominated for Best Director! Will she win two awards tonight? We shall see!
Progressing onto the original screenplays, some of these written scripts showcase stories about a Korean family trying to live the American dream, a country singer trying to make it big in Texas, and an unlikely pair who bond while working the night shift. Here are the nominees for Best Original Screenplay.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
The Last Shift (Andrew Cohn)
Minari (Lee Isaac Chung)
Promising Young Woman (Emerald Fennell)
Sound of Metal (Darius Marder, Abraham Marder)
Yellow Rose (Diane Paragas, Annie Howell, Celena Cipriaso)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Lee Isaac Chung for “Minari!”
Well, here’s another first! This is the first year that no film nominated for Best Picture also won one of the two screenplay awards! That is despite having one of them be nominated for Adapted Screenplay and four of them be nominated for Original Screenplay. So why did “Minari” win despite having the fewest nominations of all these films? The answer is simple, when it comes to slice of life stories, this film excels. Some would say that the American dream is a myth. In “Minari,” not only do we see a tale of people who take the American dream by the balls and go to town with it, but a cute tale where a family bonds together even during what they may see as the most unsettling of times. Life for the characters in this film is like a see-saw. One side is happy go lucky, the other is not, and sometimes as a viewer, I could understand both sides. “Minari” is a wonderful film. Congratulations!
Our seventh Best Picture nominee is from the mind of Emerald Fennell, a name you may know from such projects including “Call the Midwife” and “The Crown.” Now she has created her own directorial debut with Carey Mulligan as the starring role. In this white-knuckle thriller, a character by the name of Cassandra stops at nothing to right the wrongs of an event in her past. Mulligan is joined by actors including the talented Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Adam Brody, and Bo Burnham, who earned a nomination during the 1st Annual Jackoffs for Best Original Screenplay, which he received on account of his work on “Eighth Grade.” Here, he not only proves he is a talented force behind the camera, but he is capable of compelling an audience in front as well. Nominated for 5 Jackoff awards, this is “Promising Young Woman.”
We are now going to focus on two of the most essential categories to filmmaking. Editing and cinematography. Without these two elements, movies would likely cease to exist. No scenes to splice together. No frames to cherish over the years. No lights to enhance a scene. The first five films we will discuss in this segment are the ones that are cut together to present a compilation for the ages. Here are the nominees for Best Film Editing.
BEST FILM EDITING
Mank (Kirk Baxter)
Nomadland (Chloe Zhao)
Radioactive (Stéphane Roche)
Tenet (Jennifer Lame)
The Vast of Night (Andrew Patterson)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new record. Jennifer Lame for “Tenet!”
5 for 5! While “Tenet” was not my favorite film of the year, it is the one that I did see the most times. And with each viewing I begun to appreciate it a little more. There is a sense of wonder as to how they did certain tricks in the film, which I say despite having seen behind the scenes footage, but one of my biggest wonders is how they got such a masterful edit. And you know what? I should not be surprised. After all, this is the second year in a row Jennifer Lame has received a Best Film Editing nomination, with the first one being for her work on Netflix’s “Marriage Story,” a wonderfully put together film that ended up winning two Jackoffs last year. “Tenet” earned its win for not only being a well-presented edit, but for doing so by taking a concept that is amazingly hard to execute on paper and having a field day with it. All the film’s action scenes are top-notch, everything on screen, forwards and backwards, falls within the boisterous vibe of the film, and this is a reminder that “Tenet” is not just a movie, it is a roller-coaster. The thrills can’t stop, the thrills won’t stop, and part of the reason is due to Jennifer Lame’s excellent bringing to life of the obnoxious concept at hand. Congratulations to Jennifer Lame, and we now have a record for the winningest film in Jackoffs history!
Now the next five nominations are dedicated to cinematography. These are the films that utilized cameras and lights to create works of magic. Whether the films were shot on digital, film, or IMAX, these five moving pictures literally moved audiences this year. Here are the nominees for Best Cinematography!
News of the World (Dariusz Wolski)
Nomadland (Joshua James Richards)
Summerland (Laurie Rose)
Tenet (Hoyte von Hoytema)
The Vast of Night (M.I. Littin-Menz)
And the Jackoff goes to…
M.I. Littin-Menz for “The Vast of Night!”
This is “The Vast of Night’s” first win of the show, making it one for two so far. The film is also nominated for Best Picture, so we’ll see what happens there. For those of you who have witnessed the Jackoffs in recent years, you’ll notice a common theme when it comes to the Best Cinematography category. The winners in past years, specifically “Roma” and “1917” have scenes that are not only beautifully presented on screen with rich environments in front of them, but they also have scenes that contain extensively long shots. In “The Vast of Night,” the film’s prime highlight is a four minute-long tracking shot that goes from place to place where the camera keeps moving and never stops. I said in my review, also earlier in the show, that “The Vast of Night” is the movie that made excited to review movies again, because after months of watching underwhelming movie after underwhelming movie that barely impressed at best, I finally found something that floored me, and it came in the form of “The Vast of Night!” Bravo to “The Vast of Night,” and as for “Tenet,” the film’s streak is over. Will it win anything else? It is possible! It had 9 nominations leading into the ceremony, anything could happen!
Our eighth Best Picture nomination is a story about two people, one an adult man, the other a young girl. Shortly after the main duo find each other one day, it is the adult man’s responsibility to bring the young girl to safety by bringing her to a place that she can call home. With all the excitement and action of a western tied in with all the drama and division that comes from the news, this duo must trek through woods, deserts, and towns while overcoming various obstacles. Directed by Paul Greengrass with stars Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel, this film is a fine western road trip. Nominated for 7 Jackoffs, this is “News of the World.”
It is now time for the second lifetime achievement award, otherwise known as the Stan Lee award.
Like the past couple years, this is a lifetime achievement award given to someone who has done something significant or left a tremendous impact on the film industry. Even if that impact is small, it can still influence the way films are produced today. The past two winners, Stan Lee and Syd Mead lived full lives doing one project after another. They’re no longer with us, but their long lives were spent endlessly entertaining millions, perhaps billions of people. The Jackoffs celebrated these two, whose lives were fully realized. Today, we are recognizing the accomplishments of an individual who also lived a full life and is celebrated by their fans, community, and even by those who took a second to look at their work and walked away. The winner of the 3rd Stan Lee Award is the creator of various musical tunes you hear today. Now I am not talking about rock, not hip hop, not rap, I am talking classical. You may wonder why I bring this up, because the winner of the 3rd Stan Lee Award has become one of the most iconic composers not just in film history, but in all of pop culture. This winner was born in Rome, and he also recently passed in Rome. Known for his work including “The Battle of Algiers,” “Once Upon a Time in the West,” and “The Untouchables,” this man set a standard for how movie scores should be done and how they should compel an audience even after the movie reaches its conclusion. From 1979 to 2001, he would be nominated for five Oscars, all in the category of Best Music, Original Score. A couple of the movies specifically include “Days of Heaven” and “The Mission.” He won a BAFTA for the former and a Golden Globe for the latter. When it comes to the Academy, it was not until his next score nomination for his work in 2015 that he would finally take home the gold for the category. The movie, Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight.” In between all of this, specifically 2007, Morricone would receive an| Honorary Award from the Academy “for his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music.” Aside from the two technical Oscars on his shelf, Morricone has officially won three Golden Globes, a Critics Choice Award, and all six of the BAFTAs for which he was nominated. His work is copied over today not just as a piece of inspiration for many, but his original songs have been moved over into various spots in our modern culture, including movies such as “Madagascar Escape 2 Africa,” “Kick-Ass,” and “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.” We shall also not forget TV shows including “The Simpsons,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to honor the maestro of westerns and as a result, our culture, Ennio Morricone!
Ennio Morricone may no longer be with us, but if time is on our side, we will continue to use his work in more media to come. Once Upon a Time at the Jackoffs, there lived a lifetime achievement award, and it went to one of the most iconic composers of all time. Congratulations to Ennio Morricone!
Time to give out some more awards! We are down to the final five. The Best Original Song category has honored artists including Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, and Sigrid. The question is, who will join them? These five songs have defined the movies in which they appear. In addition, they can make for a listenable tune down the road. Here are the nominees for Best Original Song.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Rocket to the Moon – Christopher Curtis, Marjorie Duffield, Helen Park (writers), Cathy Ang (vocals) (Over the Moon)
Ultraluminary – Christopher Curtis, Marjorie Duffield, Helen Park (writers), Phillipa Soo (vocals) (Over the Moon)
Speed Me Up – Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla Sign, Lil Yachty, Sueco the Child (Sonic the Hedgehog)
The Plan – Travis Scott (lyrics), Ludwig Göransson, WondaGurl (producers) (Tenet)
Square Peg – Eva Noblezada (lyrics), Christopher Hoyt Knight (writer) (Yellow Rose)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Christopher Curtis, Marjorie Duffield, Helen Park, and Cathy Ang for “Rocket to the Moon” in “Over the Moon!”
I’ll be honest, if I could give an award to both “Over the Moon” songs, I would, but in reality I just had to choose one. “Over the Moon” is a Netflix original, but this song along with a few others gave it the same spirit of the traditional Disney animation from beloved classics like “The Lion King” to recent hits like “Moana.” The song appears three times throughout the film. Once during the opening act, not too long after as a reprise, and once more during the credits where the original song and reprise are mixed together. Each time that I heard it, it always evoked the vibe of a proper “I want” song where a character aspires to achieve something and they have to belt out the right words to express their motivation, something which Cathy Ang’s character of Fei Fei does exquisitely. The reason why I have given “Over the Moon” so much love to the point where I do not know anyone else in my demographic that has raved about it as much as me is because of how much it took me back to a confusing, unsettling time in my teen years, even without copying every single note of that time. Hint: Both my parents are alive. Up next I have listed a music video for “Rocket to the Moon” along with the actual song. You can listen to one, neither, both, your choice, I do not make the rules. But either way, if you choose to listen, enjoy the original song… “Rocket to the Moon.”
I hope you enjoyed the song, but now we must get back to handing trophies to entitled celebrities. It’s very important!
This next category is what some suggest to be of the highest importance. This position is responsible for managing and creating the vision that they hope their audiences would see and hear. When they are face to face with actors, they must collaborate in order to achieve the performance that will most likely compel the viewer. But above all, they are… the director. Here are the nominees for Best Director.
Paul Greengrass (News of the World)
Chloe Zhao (Nomadland)
Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman)
Darius Marder (Sound of Metal)
Christopher Nolan (Tenet)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Chloe Zhao for “Nomadland!”
While “Nomadland” was not nominated for Best Picture, this win does speak volumes because it is not only the first film helmed by a woman to win the directing category at the Jackoff Awards, but it is also Chloe Zhao’s second win of the night! She also won Best Adapted Screenplay earlier in the show. I should also note that Chloe Zhao was also nominated for Best Film Editing, which means she had three nominations in this one ceremony! If I had to be completely real, I would give an award to all of these films if I could, because each one, in a way or another, feels special. But I had to choose one. “Nomadland” comes off as a rustic, realistic drama with hints of comedy in between. The film knows how to be serious, but it also knows how to have fun, and when you put those things together, you have an excellent film. Just a reminder to everybody that “Nomadland” is now available in theaters and on Hulu, so go support it if you can! Congrats to Chloe Zhao on her second Jackoffs win, both for this event and all-time.
Our ninth Best Picture nomination comes packed with surprises, thrills, and chills. From Gavin O’Connor, known for his touch on sports movies such as 2004’s “Miracle,” comes a drama where a basketball coach must take a team of high school players and lead them to victory. The only thing, this coach, who has been on the team when he was younger, is dealing with a name that has been on a massive losing streak since he left. The film is not just filled with excitement for basketball lovers, but slices in human drama with a moving story on alcoholism. Director O’Connor reunites with the captivating Ben Affleck, a pair who also previously worked together on 2016’s “The Accountant.” Nominated for 3 Jackoffs, this is “The Way Back.”
Three more categories to go until we reach the coveted Best Picture. The final nominee will be detailed soon. But now, let’s focus on acting. The star of the show is supposed to shine as the heart, nucleus, and reflection of one crew’s vision. These legendary actors have played characters including a newsman who read from the paper, a father who wants to provide a great life for his family, and a hyper basketball coach. Here are the nominees for Best Actor.
Steven Yeun (Minari)
Tom Hanks (News of the World)
Dev Patel (The Personal History of David Copperfield)
Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal)
Ben Affleck (The Way Back)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Riz Ahmed for “Sound of Metal!”
This is the second award of the night taken home by the crew behind “Sound of Metal,” with the first being for Best Sound Mixing. While I did say that “Sound of Metal” is an unprecedented accomplishment for audio, it is as equally triumphant from an acting perspective with stellar performances given by Paul Raci, Olivia Cooke, who was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress, and as you can tell, Riz Ahmed as the lead character of Ruben who constantly gives it his all to bring in the best drumming performance possible. Ahmed took it upon himself to learn how to play the drums, which is executed brilliantly throughout the film, but given the film’s plot, he also learned how to communicate in American Sign Language, which the actor embraced on set during filming. All of the actors in this category deserve to be here. Ben Affleck gave one of his most personal performances to date. Dev Patel brought the character from the book to the screen, and ultimately to life. Steven Yeun proves that he can be a good Korean-American dad, and Tom Hanks continues to prove that he may be everyone’s long lost dad. If his performance in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” did not show that already, then “News of the World” certainly did. Congratulations to all these actors, but Riz Ahmed is the winner of Best Actor this year. Keep breaking legs! Here is a clip of Riz Ahmed in “Sound of Metal!”
Now before we move onto Best Actress, sponsored by Meryl Streep, let’s take a look at some of the characters the nominees have played. These extraordinary actresses have played characters including a revered scientist who made an impact in her field, a recluse who adjusts to having a young boy enter her private life, and a killer and a victim at the same time. Here are the nominees for Best Actress.
Kathryn Newton (Freaky)
Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman)
Rosamund Pike (Radioactive)
Gemma Arterton (Summerland)
Eva Noblezada (Yellow Rose)
And the Jackoff goes to…
Eva Noblezada for “Yellow Rose!”
While “Yellow Rose” did make an impact at several film festivals in 2019, its official theatrical release was not until 2020. I ended up seeing the film in the theater, then I ended up buying the Blu-ray when that came out for home viewing. For the first viewing, I viewed it simply as opportunity to see a movie with my mother. For the second viewing, one big factor behind it was the compelling mix of dialogue and lyrics that came out of Eva Noblezada’s mouth. Eva Noblezada is a multitalented woman who already has a Grammy on her shelf for the play “Hadestown,” for which she also received a Tony nomination. She also earned a Tony nomination for “Miss Saigon,” and now she has a Jackoff for “Yellow Rose.” Sort of in the same way that “Over the Moon” took me back to a time in my teens, “Yellow Rose,” mostly due to the magnificent chops from Noblezada herself, has circled through reminders of who I have been throughout my entire life. I have aspirations, and sometimes they seem so far away. But in addition to that, Noblezada manages to capture the spirit of the American dream while also having to deal with a lack of citizenship. When I did my review for “Yellow Rose,” I noted Noblezada’s performance saying I do not think she will win Best Actress. I may be right when it comes to the Oscars, given how “Yellow Rose” is a smaller film, but not when it comes to the Jackoffs! “Yellow Rose” is up there for me as one of the greatest music films of all time. Up there with “Ray” and “Whiplash,” and Eva Noblezada defines why this film has a presence among the greats. Here is a clip of Eva Noblezada in “Yellow Rose!”
Eva Noblezada was also nominated for Best Original Song, and in this clip, the song you hear, “Square Peg” is the song for which she received the nomination. It is a great song, and you should check it out on its own.
We will get to Best Picture in just a moment, but before we do, I just want to remind everyone once again that the special review series, 7 Days of Star Wars will be exclusively available on Scene Before, with a new review popping up every day from May 2nd to May 8th. But what if I told you that is just a fraction of what I had planned for 2021? Because I have laid out 6 review series concepts I have planned for the upcoming months, all the way to December. I will still continue to review new movies, those will not be forgotten, but I am dedicating this year to talking about some films that fall in line with a theme, or films that I have wanted to talk about for a long time, but have yet to talk about for one reason or another. Here are the movies I will be talking about in 2021!
My first small series will be “Mortal Kombat: Finish the Reviews,” where I will touch upon two movies as we build our way to the all new “Mortal Kombat” film releasing in theaters and on HBO Max this April. I will be talking about “Mortal Kombat” on April 5th and “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation” on April 12th!
Up next, a series I have already talked about, “7 Days of Star Wars,” where I will dive into a new “Star Wars” film every day from May 2nd to May 8th. Again, the order will be “The Phantom Menace” on May 2nd, “Attack of the Clones” on May 3rd, “Revenge of the Sith” on May 4th, “A New Hope” on May 5th, “The Empire Strikes Back” on May 6th, “Return of the Jedi” on May 7th, and “The Force Awakens” on May 8th. May the force be with you until then.
In July, we will be talking pirates in a series called, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Movie Reviewing Moron’s Chest of Reviews.” Throughout the month of July, we will talk about all five “Pirates of the Caribbean” films in honor of Disney’s other upcoming theme park ride-based film, “Jungle Cruise.” We will start with “The Curse of the Black Pearl” on July 1st, move onto “Dead Man’s Chest” on July 8th, then “At World’s End” on July 15th, followed by “On Stranger Tides” on July 22nd, and finally “Dead Men Tell No Tales” on July 29th.
Then in August we will be talking one franchise I have been waiting to do for the longest time. We are doing a series titled “Revenge of the Nerds: Nerds in Review.” Judging by the name, we will obviously be touching upon the cult classic comedy franchise, “Revenge of the Nerds,” and yes, this also includes the two films made for television. So that means we will be discussing “Revenge of the Nerds,” the original film, on August 9th. The first sequel, “Nerds in Paradise” will be reviewed on August 16th. The first made for TV film, “The Next Generation,” will be talked about on August 23rd. My review for “Nerds in Love,” the most recent film in the franchise has a current release date of August 30th. To this day I have watched these films multiple times and I have met a good portion of the cast so I cannot wait to talk about it!
In October and November, we are going to be doing a Halloween special, tied in with a leadup to an upcoming film that is currently receiving high anticipation, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.” In the upcoming review series, “Ghostbusters: Before Afterlife,” we will spend Halloween 2021, that is October 31st, talking about the original “Ghostbusters,” followed by “Ghostbusters II” on November 7th. For those who are wondering about “Ghostbusters” 2016, we will not be talking about that film as I already reviewed it when it came out.
Our final review series, which will take place in December will be a buildup to the upcoming “Matrix 4” film. “The Matrix Reviewed” will focus on the three films that have come out in the iconic trilogy whose original film has set standards for modern sci-fi and helped Keanu Reeves, the most meme-worthy actor of this generation find work. All three films are amongst the highest-grossing R rated films of all time. We will discuss “The Matrix” on December 5th, “The Matrix Reloaded” on December 12th, and “The Matrix Revolutions” on December 19th! I may not know kung fu, but I do know how to talk about sci-fi! So I cannot wait to discuss these films!
All of these segments are being done in honor of Scene Before’s five full years of existence. Dates and reviews are subject to change. For all I know, they could be cancelled. Hopefully, they are not, but anything is possible at this point. Stay tuned, get excited, get ready!
Now, we all know about COVID-19, maybe a little too much. Even when we would try to relax this year, we could not catch a break. Even when we turn on the television, the news is all about coronavirus. Sometimes when I’m trying to watch “Jeopardy!” or “The Price is Right,” Gov. Baker of Massachusetts or Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston would come on and talk about coronavirus. There was no escaping this mess! And unfortunately, some scumbags, I don’t know their names. Might be Turd Ferguson, Ralph Bohner, Disfatt Bidge, I do not even know who is responsible for this, but apparently, they found a way to put all of this into our movies. If you go and watch a movie now, it is not the same as it used to be. Who is responsible for this? George Lucas?! Is he trying to get viruses to learn about CGI now? What is going on? Either way, we will dive into this in a bit that I like to call, “Shut Up, COVID! I’m Trying to Watch the Movie!”.
Our tenth and final Best Picture nomination is a compelling tale of the American dream and never backing down. This film was first screened in 2019 at a series of festivals, but publicly released in theatres last fall. The film follows a young girl who aspires to be a musician in Austin, Texas, who has to deal with complications of adjusting to a life she had never hoped to live. Featuring original songs like “Square Peg,” this film is not only a compelling drama on life turning upside down, but is also a musical treat. Eva Noblezada, known for her stage work, shines in her feature film debut as the lead character of Rose Garcia. Nominated for 5 Jackoff awards, this is “Yellow Rose.”
We’ve made it. We’ve done it. We’ve conquered it. Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. It is time to declare the Best Picture of the worst year. This is your ultimate reminder, no matter what struggles get in your way, no matter how hard life can get, no matter the barriers that lay in your path, winning cannot, should not, and most definitely, will not be cancelled! After a year unlike any other, it is time to honor ten films above all others. These are the films that moved me, got me excited, or in some cases, brought me to tears. Like the past two years, the people voted and made their voices heard. The most popular film of the bunch will take home the award. It is my great pleasure to introduce the nominees for Best Picture!
The Last Shift (Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa, Sam Bisbee, Alex Lipschultz, Bert Kern)
News of the World (Gary Goetzman, Gail Mutrux, Gregory Goodman)
Over the Moon (Gennie Rim, Peilin Chou)
Promising Young Woman (Margot Robbie, Josey McNamara, Tom Ackerley, Ben Browning, Ashley Fox, Emerald Fennell)
Sound of Metal (Bert Hamelinck, Sacha Ben Harroche, Bill Benz, Kathy Benz)
Summerland (Guy Heely, Adrian Sturges)
Tenet (Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan)
The Vast of Night (James Montague, Melissa Kirkendall, Adam Dietrich)
The Way Back (Gordon Gray, Jennifer Todd, Gavin O’Connor, Ravi Mehta)
Yellow Rose (Cecilia R. Mejia, Rey Cuerdo, Diane Paragas, Orian Williams, Jeremiah Abraham)
And the Jackoff goes to…
This is the sixth win and ninth nomination for “Tenet.” “Tenet” also won Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Editing, Best Original Score, Best Production Design, and Best Film Editing. The film was also nominated for Best Cinematography, Best Original Song, and Best Director. This is the first Best Picture win for a Warner Brothers film.
The record now stands at six wins! What a way to end the ceremony and this long, weird, crazy year in film. Christopher Nolan has had a long history as being an innovative, challenge-ready director. He’ll take crazy concepts such as presenting a movie in reverse, building dreams on top of dreams, being the first Hollywood filmmaker to do a big blockbuster with an IMAX camera in “The Dark Knight,” which he brought back for his latest outing in “Tenet.” The modern auteur known for his gargantuan scale represented in one film to the next went all-in and somehow ended up having to go bigger than he could have ever predicted. In a blockbuster-less summer that some would prefer to forget. One where we could not go see highly anticipated titles like “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” “Morbius,” “Jungle Cruise,” and so on, Nolan and Warner Bros. experimented to see if people would even show up to a movie in 2020. The experiment had mixed results. Box office-wise, it could have been more pleasing. Quality-wise, the results usually did not disappoint. As for myself, I watched “Tenet” three times in the cinema, once on 4K Blu-ray, and each time my eyes and ears were amazed. I originally gave the film an 8/10. Since then, it may have jumped to a 9/10. Despite not having a perfect score, “Tenet” is almost a technical masterpiece. If it were not for the boisterous sound mixing, it may have a complete chance. However, “Tenet” has my favorite score of the past few years, it is up there with “Blade Runner 2049” as one of my top bangers. “Tenet” has arguably my favorite first scene of the past few years, maybe even in film history. “Tenet” also packs in an action-filled climax that in terms of viewing it at the cinema, felt like a gritty, more adult-centered Universal theme park ride. John David Washington and Robert Pattinson are a pair fit for a king, and having seen them in this unbelievable thrill ride that is too good for words, I would love to see them do a buddy cop movie together. Let’s not forget the incredible talents of Dimple Kapadia, Kenneth Branagh, and Elizabeth Debicki who just happened to be nominated for Best Supporting Actress due to her performance in “The Burnt Orange Heresy.” Also making an appearance, like usual in a Christopher Nolan film, Michael Caine, this time as “Sir Michael.” He is a man truly deserving of that name. The film did not just impress me, it did not just impress other moviegoers, but critics as well. “Tenet” has a 70% on Rotten Tomatoes, a Best Original Score nomination at the Golden Globes, 5 Critics Choice nominations including a win for Visual Effects, and speaking of which, the film received a Special Visual Effects nomination at the BAFTAs, and 9 Saturn Award nominations, which for those who do not know, those are usually centered around sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. And now, it has won the Jackoff! Or, maybe it won it in the past and now it somehow it got taken away, I’m still figuring out how time inversion works… Congratulations to the producers, cast, crew, and everyone else behind “Tenet!” You have won Best Picture!
Thanks for reading the 3rd Annual Jackoff Awards! Wow! This show is almost as long as the usual quarantine! Either way, if you read this all the way through, pat yourself on the back! You earned it! Congratulations to all this year’s nominees and winners! Congrats to “Tenet” for its record-breaking six wins! A fourth edition may be coming next year depending on how many films I end up seeing, because 2020 taught me that seeing only a few films is an outright possibility. We’ll see what happens!
That’s our show! Hope you enjoyed this crazy long awards ceremony! Follow Scene Before through an email or WordPress account for content, like the Facebook page, and I have reviews coming for “Tom & Jerry,” “Raya and the Last Dragon,” and “Chaos Walking!” Stay tuned! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!
Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Earlier this week was Valentine’s Day, or as single people like me call it, February 14th. And that’s about it. When I watch movies, one of the main reasons why I glue myself to them is for all the well-developed and thought out characters. Sometimes, a movie can immerse me to the point where I feel like I am a part of their world. Sometimes the movie takes me from reality to fantasy, and in that fantasy, I sometimes see myself as a part of another character’s life. Maybe even to the point where I would want to hold hands with them. Perhaps even take things further. That is why I am taking this Valentine’s Day week to discuss my top 10 movie crushes. Now you may notice, unlike other top 10s, such as “Top 10 BEST Movies of 2020,” I am calling this “My Top 10 Movie Crushes.” There is a reason for that. Unlike my other countdowns, this is one where it is not only subjective, but perhaps one that could only be contained within my identity. I am a 21 year old straight white male, so do not interpret this as characters you should have a crush on as well. Even if you are a 21 year old straight white male, I am not saying you should agree with this. Your emotions and identity are your own and I am in no way trying to brainwash anyone.
Now let me just make one thing clear. These picks are on CHARACTERS specifically, not the ACTORS that play them, although as you’ll see, that may be a contributing factor. So instead of saying for example, #10 is Megan Fox, I would go with a character they play such as Mikayla from “Transformers.” Plus I should note that some of the actors who portray these characters are more distant from me in terms of age today, whereas a good portion of the characters are relatively close in one degree or another, so I hope this may end up making this list less awkward for some readers. Also, another rule, I need to have seen a movie the character is in from start to finish in order for their presence on this list to count. So, that eliminates a lot of “Bond” characters, Linda Barrett from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” and Madison from “Splash.” Also, even though I am a guy, I am not here to confuse anyone. This is not a list of the “Top 10 Sexiest Movie Characters.” We are not diving into that stereotype, although as you’ll see, looks will play a factor. With that being said, let’s get this list going! These are my top 10 movie crushes!
#10: Lorraine Baines/McFly (Back to the Future)
There has been a period over the past year that reminded me of how batcrap insane “Back to the Future” really is. It is a film where the protagonist goes back in time in a car, has to get his parents to fall in love, so they can f*ck, therefore having him and his siblings. The problem is, the protagonist’s mother lusts after him after he is hit by what just so happens to be his grandparent’s car. Holy freaking crap. I’ll admit, since my early teens, I’ve always had some attachment to Lorraine in “Back to the Future.” She’s attractive, somewhat nervous but also someone who knows what she wants, and from a fashion standpoint. Every outfit she wears suits her well. If I saw her in a room, I would immediately introduce myself as Calvin Klein. Now keep in mind, this list comes from someone who is 21 years old, therefore I should emphasize that when it comes to the “Back to the Future” timeline, I am mainly talking about 1955 Loraine. Although apocalyptic 1985 Lorraine is kind of sexy too, even though part of the reason for that is because Biff Tannen is practically going all Jabba the Hutt on her and giving her the most self-angering outfit in the world. But if I had to pick one to have by my side, it would be 1955 Elaine. I would take her to a dance if I had the opportunity. Plus unlike apocalyptic 1985 Lorraine, who again, is hella attractive, is perhaps somewhat brainwashed into a rich man’s lifestyle. Although part of me would want to help her escape it (because part of her maybe wants out from time to time).
#9: Tauriel (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug)
I love “The Lord of the Rings.” Want proof?
I just bought this bad boy in January. Well worth the $150.
But I was one of those people who happened to stumble upon “The Hobbit” prior to watching “Lord of the Rings.” To be fair, I was in my early teens, the films were PG-13, so I missed out on the hype train back in the day. However, when the “Hobbit” trilogy came out, I saw them all in IMAX 3D. I did it for the first film. I did it twice for the second film. And I also did it twice for the third film. I was hooked to the fantastical wonderland of Middle Earth at the time. So of course, since I repeatedly watched the trilogy, I easily got attached to Tauriel, played by Evangeline Lilly. If I had to pick one person to fight alongside on this list, there are a few that I would go with, but I assure you that Tauriel would be one of the top contenders. I will say, despite vastly enjoying “The Hobbit” as a trilogy, one of its problems through all three movies is that the dwarves are nearly disposable. Yes, they have their personalities and stories behind them, but it is almost difficult to keep track of all of them and remember them. So that’s why I’d say Kili is one of more attachable individuals in the group, due to his love connection to Tauriel. I buy their chemistry, even if it is somewhat comparable to say “Romeo & Juliet” at times. But it is not to say that she cannot be great on her own. She can rock a bow and arrow, her combat is sleek as much as it kicks butt, and technically speaking, based on one scene from “The Desolation of Smaug,” she’s arguably qualified enough to be a medical professional! Oh, did I mention that Elvish is such a fun language? Even though I don’t exactly know a word of it, I stand by that statement. Yeah, I think many “Lord of the Rings” fans would agree that for the most part, if you want a partner by your side, try to convince one of the elves to have lunch with you and see where it goes.
#8: Vanessa (Deadpool)
Morena Baccarin has been a frequent player in geek culture. She was in “Firefly,” “Serenity,” CW’s “The Flash,” Fox’s “Gotham.” But the role I’ll probably remember her for the most is Vanessa in “Deadpool.” The film is one of the rare attempts in the comic book movie genre to take things into R-rated territory, and it goes for it. Excessive language, graphic violence, and as for Vanessa and the film’s lead, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), the two are quite a couple. The two are cute, charming, and of course, horny. One scene of the film that stood out to me every time I watched it is the sex montage. For starters, it was the first R-rated hardcore sex scene I saw in a theater, not to mention an eight story IMAX. While the whole movie is not a sexual extravaganza, you know, all it is just a little violent, just a little heavy on language, just a little rambunctious on action, that scene defined the romantic tone that partially intertwined with the rest of what the movie had to offer. Vanessa is not just a stud that lusts after one of the sexy Ryans from Canada, she is charismatic, knows how to have fun (I’d take her to an arcade, personally), and when she was in pain, I felt for her. I wanted her to live. And even when she is in distress, she is notably capable of defending herself. Also, while this may be more of a compliment to Baccarin than anybody else, I love Vanessa’s hair. Even since I was young, I think I’ve had a thing for brunettes. Vanessa, or Morena Baccarin depending on how slice it, is just part of why.
#7: Lisa (Weird Science)
When I think of a mind in film that defined the 1980s, that would have to be John Hughes. The man wrote and directed several movies that continue to come up in conversations today. Movies like “The Breakfast Club,” “Home Alone,” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” When it comes to those last two, I cherish them to a high degree because of how much I can attach their personal concept to my life. I like privacy, even as a kid I enjoyed it. As for school, while education may be essential in some cases, I did not go because I wanted to, I went because that is how society works. But one film Hughes did that I thoroughly enjoyed was “Weird Science.” If you want a wacky 1980s comedy where life is whimsical and crazy, this has that vibe. And of course, there was Lisa. This pick is just the first in a recurring theme on this list. Women that do not have the same life experiences as a regular person. Look, I could start this description off with the obvious. Lisa wears slick outfits that can turn a guy on. But that’s only a sliver of why she is on the list. Yes, when she is introduced, she comes out wearing almost nothing, which as a result, gets our two main characters, Gary and Wyatt, rather excited. Then we move onto the next scene where they shower with her. I think every teenager to a degree has imagined something crazy like that at some point in their young lives. But all of what I just said revolves around looks, which if that were the case, Lisa would be either lower on the list, or off it entirely. So let’s talk about her personality. Well, this is almost everything a young boy would want in a girl. She is fun, not afraid to take risks, explorative, honest, although maybe a little too honest. Because there is a hilarious scene where Lisa lets herself loose and explains to Gary’s parents that he plans to party with a bunch of teenagers. She even goes into explicit detail about it!
You know, there’s going to be sex, drugs, rock-n-roll… chips, dips, chains, whips… You know, your basic high school orgy type of thing. I mean, uh, I’m not talking candlewax on the nipples, or witchcraft or anything like that, no, no, no. Just a couple of hundred kids running around in their underwear, acting like complete animals.
In this scene, Gary does everything he can to defend himself, say that he is not doing anything crazy, including trying to tell his parents that he does not masturbate in the bathroom, despite Lisa outright confirming it to their faces! The scene overall is just wild. I was not always like Gary. I was never the party type of person in high school, although I am proud to say I won “Best Dancer” in the yearbook. I was never invited, nor did I ever go. It was just never my thing. I felt like it would have people perceive me to be a type of person that I am not. Even though I just turned 21, I do not drink. I do not smoke. I do not do any drugs. But at the same time, this movie sort of makes me want to have someone in my life that could allow me to have some fun, let myself screw around, boost my popularity. I imagine this is sort of similar to the philosophy about “girls liking bad boys.” While I wouldn’t call Lisa dangerous, she is edgy. She has all the qualities of an admirable person if you ask me, but at the same time, she sort of pushes the envelope. Did I mention she’s attractive? Yeah, that too.
#6: Ava (Ex Machina)
“Ex Machina” is a fascinating film. Much like “2001: A Space Odyssey” was back when it came out, “Ex Machina” is an intriguing glance as to what could happen if we rely on computers and use them for purposes that practically make them our slaves. Except in this case, the movie specifies more as to what happens if we deeply humanized a computer to the point where it is almost a part of our kind. It has our emotions, our thoughts, our way of processing what is in front of us. In fact, we kind of achieved that in real life. In Saudi Arabia, they have a robot that has been given citizenship. While I am not at the point where I have yearned for a robot in real life, I can confirm that part of me would not mind getting to know Ava from “Ex Machina” on an intimate level. Now, while not all robots are capable of love, part of Ava’s many human-like traits is that she has an understanding of romance, the connection between one lover to another. She even ends up having feelings for the film’s lead, Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson). I can see myself falling for her in the same situation. We do a bunch of tests together, get to know each other, interact, it’s almost like a date to some capacity. Plus, as I am doing each test, I particularly happen to view Ava more as a subject than a friend, so if I keep coming back to her, it is sort of in the same way I keep coming back to a passion project. Part of the beauty of a romantic relationship is getting to explore life with someone else, getting to explore the world with someone else. In the case with Ava, I would not just be exploring my life with her if we were together, Ava would arguably be exploring the concept of life in general. After all, in this film’s timeline, she was recently built. She has never even been outdoors. While relationships are 50/50, I would not mind having a major dash of credibility by taking Ava outside for the first time. I know I am a guy, which kind of suggests that looks play a major factor into a relationship, but do I care that she goes through the film with nearly no skin? Heck no! In fact, the Academy seems to agree with me, because the film won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects! Ava sounds like someone I would take out to dinner, then explore the city with for hours. Then I would teach her everything joyous about humanity, although maybe I should watch myself before she forms an army with a plot for world domination. I guess that’s a good reason to keep her lower on the list.
#5: Art3mis/Samantha (Ready Player One)
Not everyone agrees with me, but I think “Ready Player One” is one of the best films of the past few years. It is a visual effects-heavy thrill ride through a virtual reality world in 2045. If I lived in 2045, I would totally flock after Samantha, otherwise known by her username, Art3mis (pronounced similar to Artemis). Early on in the film, we see Wade Watts, also known as Parzival, racing for a key to aid his quest to own the OASIS, the virtual reality world where everything seems to matter. So much so that real life is meaningless. After all, there is nowhere to go. Nevertheless, during the race, he gazes upon a woman riding on a bike from “Akira.” Turns out, through his personal observations, this girl is not just anyone, it is Art3mis. He knows everything about her, not exactly in a stalkerish way, but it comes pretty close. Their first encounter in the film is near the end of the race where Parzival forces Art3mis to bail out to avoid getting slaughtered by King Kong. The two eventually get to know each other, even discussing what they know about the founder of the OASIS, James Halliday. The reason why I love Art3mis as a character so much is because of what she represents in the realm of the Internet. I mean this is not only from a crush perspective, but from a perspective where two people can simply be friends. It is that you may not always know who other people actually are. They could end up being your best friend, but in reality, unless you somehow have met them in person or maybe over Skype or something, there is a chance that the person you’re talking to is of a completely different identity, or not even a person at all. Art3mis represents that Internet fantasy that somewhat feels legit, but also feels faraway because you either live nowhere near the person or you barely know them in real life. As for the character herself, I like my nerds, she knows her references, so personality-wise, Samantha checks the boxes. Plus, I really like the design of her avatar in the OASIS. The movie does a really good job at making me fall for someone that does not feel like anyone else I’d meet. It would be someone I would dream about that maybe is not even human. It takes me to another world. Plus, the dress she wears in the Distracted Globe scene is utter fire. Art3mis is the quintessential encapsulation of your basic Internet friend. You may not KNOW them, even when you feel like you know everything about them. Or in some ways, you just want to get to know more and more about them by the second.
#4: Joi (Blade Runner 2049)
This is one of the more unique entries to the list, because this character is technically not a woman. Nor is it a human. It is a hologram. I give you Joi, the love interest to Ryan Gosling’s K in “Blade Runner 2049.” After I watched “Blade Runner 2049” a couple times, part of me began to fall for the actress playing Joi, Ana de Armas, and part of it is not only because she looks attractive, but because she encapsulates a person that knows very little about the world around her. I am not saying she is stupid, but keep in mind, again, she is a hologram. She is programmed. She is manufactured. The movie makes it clear that Joi is in fact a product and K is only a consumer of said product. In some ways, Joi is like Fox News. She rarely does something because she sees it as beneficial to her. The way I look at Joi as a character, she is there to serve her partner, perhaps her master. Tell them what they want to hear. She is not just someone in their life, they are a cheerleader, a motivational speaker. At the same time, it feels like this character wants to go through a journey of self-discovery. There is a scene where she is seemingly amused by rain, while also enjoying the moment with her partner. Also in some cases, she’s practically the 2049 version of Seri.
(referring to Frank Sinatra’s “Summer Wind”) “Did you know this song was released in 1966 on Reprise Records? It was number 1 on the charts…”
Ana de Armas provides such an intimate, sensual, emotional, and all round cute performance that when she would fizzle, my jaw would drop a little. I have a couple concerns about her character, one long term concern being if I were in the “Blade Runner” universe, and if this product were successful, it would perhaps nearly antiquate the traditional human to human relationship, thus making the species die out overtime. Eh, we’re overpopulated now anyway. If there’s a balance between real and artificial, who knows? It might help. Although technically, the movie does show that one can make love with Joi while she syncs into someone else’s body, so reproduction may still be possible, as long as a third party is involved. My one question is this, are there male versions of Joi? Because thus far, Joi has mainly been marketed as an attractive, supportive woman, most likely for straight men. Can Joi transform into another gender? I kind of want to know more about this if we get another “Blade Runner” film in the future.
#3; Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Iron Man 2, Marvel Cinematic Universe)
Look, I’m a guy. And a lot of my picks partially base themselves around attractiveness. If you thought Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow would be an exception, then clearly you have never met the Movie Reviewing Moron. If there is one girl I would hang out with in a bar in the MCU, the answer would be Natasha Romanoff. I will admit, despite what I said about Vanessa and my potential thing for brunettes. Over the years, I think I have learned that I may also like redheads. Although I should note that even in “Avengers: Infinity War,” where she is blonde, Romanoff is a ticket. But my crush on Romanoff started pretty early when I saw her in “Iron Man 2.” I will admit, I watched 2012’s “The Avengers” before watching “Iron Man 2,” but my first actual attraction to her began in “Iron Man 2,” even though she probably looks her best in “The Avengers.” The fast-paced action scene in the white hallway towards the end of “Iron Man 2” is enough of a showstopper. Romanoff is incredibly kick-ass, sexy, and every outfit she wears suits her. Did I mention Scarlett Johansson’s voice? It is commanding and it makes you want to watch her do anything. Like… type a document. Or write in a diary. Or read a book out loud. If I were perhaps 13 and making this list, there is a solid chance that Romanoff could potentially be #1, because at that age, I am more about looks, whereas personality is just some added bonus points. I say this because even today, I cannot directly pinpoint much of her interests. She kicks people in the face and makes it look sexy. What else can I say? Plus her backstory is not really explored all that much until “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” meaning that it took 5 years and a phase in the cinematic universe to start exploring more about her character. And yeah, I know what she does for work. She’s with the Avengers, she’s a spy, but I also want to know more about what she does for fun. I mean, the MCU has 23 movies so far, with a 24th HOPEFULLY arriving in theaters this May, and that movie is a Black Widow-centered prequel. I got to know Black Widow over the years as an ass-kicking Avenger who looks like she’s way out of my league, can rock a bunch of different outfits, not to mention hairstyles. I want to know more about HER. Hopefully the upcoming “Black Widow” film can shine a light on the subject.
#2: Lana (Risky Business)
There are two movies starring Tom Cruise that I often debate as my favorites of all time, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” and “Risky Business.” While I will say Vanessa Kirby is quite good looking as The White Widow in the former, today we are going to be talking about the latter. We are going to be talking about Rebecca De Mornay’s character, Lana, from “Risky Business.” This film is one that gets better with every viewing, and as one who looks back at his high school years with mixed feelings, I sort of relate to this film. For those of you who have not seen the film, Joel Goodson, a teenager in his senior year of high school, is convinced that while his parents are away, he needs an excuse to let himself loose and have some fun. This gets to the point where he calls up Lana, a prostitute, who has sex with him all night. The next morning, after Joel fails to provide $300 for the services, she leaves before he can return to his house. Also missing, a Stueben glass egg. From the moment Joel tries to retrieve it, the moment he finds Lana and the two escape from Guido the Killer Pimp, they prove that they are a 5/5 in terms of chemistry. But also what makes Lana a fine entry to the list is De Mornay’s sensual performance. She always has this futuristic, other-worldly quality to her. She does a really good job at capturing the “girl out of my league” vibe that maybe Lana was supposed to represent. After all, when she is introduced, she is not just a girl, she is the listener to Joel’s demands. That is until he has to pay $300 and the two become friends and work together to overcome each other’s obstacles.
Oh yeah, and they make love on a subway. No big deal.
Will say though, the only turnoff I have about her is that even though she does feel somewhat sensually rebellious in various ways, is that she will occasionally smoke. If I were in the scene on the lake where all the characters get high, there’s a good chance I’d repeatedly tell everyone that I don’t smoke. It’s the same reason why I put Lorraine Baines lower on the list, because she does smoke in the scene where Marty is in the car with her. I don’t want to judge people for smoking, that is their choice after all, but for all I know, Lana could be a bad influence and get me to join in, and I do not want that. This is why I never had a chance with girls. I do not drink. I do not smoke. I do not party. Okay, enough with the self-deprecation, let’s move on.
#1: Wonder Woman/Diana Prince *Gal Gadot interpretation* (Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Detective Comics Extended Universe)
Here’s a question. Who won the fight in “Batman v. Superman?”
The answer, Wonder Woman!
Yeah, Wonder Woman is probably my favorite of the heroes in the current Detective Comics Extended Universe. She has a fleshed out backstory that is magical as it is intriguing, she can wield a sword like a boss, and her battle cry is just glorious. Let me just put it this way, there has rarely ever been a moment that a character in any movie has commanded my attention like she has just from thrusting into battle with an epic yell. Sticking with a recurring theme on this list, one reason why Wonder Woman is on here is likely because of her other-worldliness. She starts off in the mythical island of Themiscyra, comes to Earth with Steve Trevor, where she is the fish out of water, and she learns the ways of mankind overtime. She encounters some friends and foes along the way, making her into the wonderous being she is today. I did not have many thoughts on Gal Gadot originally being cast as the iconic heroine, but the moment I witnessed her on screen when I saw “Batman v. Superman” in IMAX, I was in love. First off, can we just admit that by herself, Gal Gadot may be one of the most gorgeous actresses working today? I’ll admit, in some of her earlier roles, including her first go as Wonder Woman in 2016, I was a little worried because her line delivery was occasionally flat, but her physical presence that I think many performers would vie for sort of makes up for it in parts. Sometimes I glance at her and she looks like someone who watched us from space for years, but somehow she decided to join us in the end. However, Gadot has definitely improved as a performer over the years, and she has nailed the role of Diana Prince harder with each attempt. Even in “Wonder Woman 1984,” which I will admit, was not my favorite of the DCEU movies to have come out. Going back to the character herself, the reason why I admire her as a heroine is despite her superpowers, despite being the pinnacle of all things mighty for women, she is not afraid to show her emotions. She is a god, but she is also quite personable. Kind of like how Chris Hemsworth’s Thor has been portrayed in recent years. But this all harkens back to the point that when it comes to a character like this, one that has the qualities of a human, one that has the qualities of an earthling, but also one who I can teach in a way or another, that is why Diana Prince is the wonder of it all. Plus, unlike Ava from “Ex Machina,” I would personally like to know more about Prince’s world. I would love to see Themiscyra, what the people there do for fun, maybe stay there for awhile. I cannot just one-side the entire relationship to just my planet. I have to show interest in where Diana Prince came from, how she grew up, what she appreciated about life before earth. And having seen all of her story in the DCEU so far, I do care. I think Diana Prince and I would get along fine, maybe more so than Chris Pine. To quote Vitruvius from “The LEGO Movie,” “All this is true because it rhymes.”
For those who want to know my opinion, I think Marvel makes better movies than DC right now. DC seemed like they were getting on the right track with “Aquaman” and “Shazam,” but then “Birds of Prey” and “Wonder Woman 1984” came along. but let me tell you the truth, if I wanted to spend the rest of my life with a character from one of those universes, I’d pick Diana Prince before anyone in the MCU. Let’s look at it this way. Part of the reason why Black Widow is on this list, not to mention part of why she is so high on it, is because of my attachment to her since my early teens that has not really gone away. And as I mentioned, I really do not know her as a person, although it is something to maybe get to know eventually depending on where things go. If I had to make this analogy any simpler, Natasha Romanoff may be fun to hang out with in a bar, maybe for a one night stand. Diana Prince has looks, she has personality, she seems to take life one day at a time, and she sounds like an optimist. And I’d say that Natasha Romanoff shares those qualities as well, but if I had to choose one person, I’d choose Diana because I’d probably end up liking her more for, well… her, than maybe I would for Natasha.
The only thing that I could think of that would keep me away from Diana is if I develop a habit of lying. Either to her or other people, because her lasso would probably bash my brains in. Other than that, I love her.
Thanks for reading this countdown! I hope you enjoyed this, well, pretty late to be a Valentine’s Day special, but you gotta do what ya gotta do. The best posts take time, not a Sonic the Hedgehog style rush! Speaking of posts that take time, I want to let you all know that on February 28th, I will be announcing the nominees for the 3rd Annual Jackoff Awards! The ceremony will take place two weeks after, on March 14th. I am also currently working on reviews for “Minari” and “Judas and the Black Messiah.” I will hopefully have both of those up soon. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account, also like the Facebook page so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, are there any characters in film that you desire? Remember, the key word is characters, not actors, this may provide a slight difference at the very least. Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!
Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Not only did 2020 suck, but we also had a fair share of movies this year that sucked as well. Now that I’m done talking about my top 10 favorite movies of 2020, we’re going to move onto the part that I sort of view as the therapy session when it comes to these countdowns. The top 10 worst movies of 2020! Keep in mind, even though 2020 is perhaps a bit more limited in its cinematic offerings than other years, I will confirm that I have not seen every single movie that came out this year. So, if you are wondering, “Where’s this crappy movie?” Make your own list, you’ll find it there! You just won’t find it here. Although I will say, I have more movies to pick from this year than I did during any other time I ranked my best and worst of the year. As of publishing this list, I saw 77 films released during the 2020 timeline. Little reminder, this list is based on subjectivity and doesn’t necessarily indicate that you’ll dislike the movies I picked or that you HAVE to dislike them. This list just identifies my personal thoughts and feelings. We don’t have to agree, we just have to respect each other, which is something I think the Internet in general needs to learn. Also, as mentioned in my top 10 best list, I am making an exception for this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike other years, where I would only count movies as long as they received a theatrical release, I am going to accept movies based on whether they once INTENDED to release theatrically. If they did release theatrically, great! If they were going to, but ended up somewhere else for whatever reason, I’ll include those films as well. However, if the intention for the film was to go to streaming or somewhere else like that from the get-go, those don’t count. Spoiler, a few films that were going to be in theaters at one point, but couldn’t for whatever reason, are on this list. Won’t say which ones, but you’ll find out. But with all this in mind, let’s dive into a few dishonorable mentions.
Dishonorable mention: Antebellum (available on VOD)
My first dishonorable mention is “Antebellum.” “Antebellum” has some good ideas, but it is somewhat unfortunate that these good ideas are tangled up in this mess of a film. Plus, there’s a point in the film that is supposed to come off as twisty, but almost feels out of place. Did I mention despite being a horror flick, it’s barely scary?
Dishonorable mention: The Jesus Rolls (available on Showtime)
“The Jesus Rolls” is a gutterball. This film takes place in the same universe as the iconic cult classic “The Big Lebowski,” although this time it completely centers around John Turturro’s character. He even directed this crap! “The Big Lebowski” has charisma, great chemistry amongst its cast, and iconic lines. This had none of that.
Dishonorable mention: Artemis Fowl (available on Disney+)
Finally for dishonorable mentions we have “Artemis Fowl.” I admittedly did not hate the film as much as other people. Maybe it is because I have never read the books, but it does not change the fact that the film feels sloppily edited and put together, and nearly uninspired perhaps. Not even big pretty things can change that! Also, Kenneth Branagh is lucky that he played Sator in “Tenet,” at least that’s something good for him this year.
Now, we’ve just had the worst year ever. Let’s talk about some of the worst pictures ever! These are my top 10 WORST movies of 2020.
Coming in at #10 is possibly my biggest disappointment of 2020. “Wonder Woman 1984!” I was rooting for you! You had the Christmas release date and everything! This film was originally supposed to come out a year ago, but it moved up a month originally due to avoiding competition with “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” and eventually moved back into 2020, then pushed itself back a couple more times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Was it worth the wait? Well, judging by its placement on this list, not really. The fact that I am putting this film on the worst list just saddens me because I LOVE the first “Wonder Woman.” It is one of the best DC films, cinematic universe or otherwise, I have seen. I also love Gal Gadot, I have a $125 autograph from her for crying out loud! I loved the directing job Patty Jenkins did on the first film! Plus you had some other talented people in the cast too! Chris Pine is back, and joining him you have Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal! These are well-known, respectable actors! This feels like “The Circle,” except it is a comic book movie! Does “Wonder Woman 1984” have cool action? Yes. But it is unfortunately surrounded by a lackluster script, characters I occasionally do not give a flying crap about, and one of the most disappointingly underwhelming first hours I have seen in a film. The opening scene in the Amazon games was spectacular! The mall scene that follows ain’t half bad either for popcorn action. Sadly, the film technically has two opening scenes, and those are oddly enough the most redeemable parts of it. Everything else is a far cry in comparison. I will admit the one improvement between this film and the original is Gal Gadot’s performance. I liked her in the original film, but here it almost seems like Gadot has done a better job at being more than just a goddess with a pretty face. Her execution feels more raw, more natural. Other than that, this film is the biggest disappointment of 2020.
I watched this film at home, but if I watched this film in a theater, I would have taken the title’s advice to heart. Up next is “You Should Have Left.” Say what you want about the actors in this movie, I have nothing against them. But the problem is not with them. It’s the script! My gosh! THE SCRIPT! When I saw this movie, it was just a few days before October, which is supposed to be the scariest month of the year. Turns out the horror show started rather early with this crap in the mix! This has the worst of the horror genre, period! Dream sequences! Cheap scares! Overused scares! I will admit that horror is a weaker genre for me as a film fan, but this is also a weak film, so it comes full circle! There are a couple good things I can say about this film! The house in it looks nice… It was the first movie I watched on Peacock… So, it’s a historic movie for me??? Worst of all, this movie is written and directed by David Koepp, who wrote some notable blockbusters over the years, and directed one of my favorite films of 2012, “Premium Rush!” What a disappointment this was!
Stereotypes! They’re everywhere! Sometimes they work, like they do in “The Simpsons!” Other times they don’t, like that little pile of malarkey some might call “Half Brothers.” This came out in theaters this year, although I did not see “Half Brothers” in the cinema. Instead, I saw it early online through a virtual link. Thankfully, I did not have to pay anything up for my experience. Unfortunately, my experience resulted in cringe, eye-rolling, sighs, and infuriation! So, there’s that! They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but when the titular characters of the movie, the two half-brothers, are annoying as hell, why should I care? We have the annoying, unbelievably crazy American alongside the main brother who happens to be Mexican, both add up for a s*itty combo. I know that sometimes comedy is not supposed to make sense, maybe the level of impracticality trickles up when you’re dealing with a comedy, but there are some choices in this movie that no sane person would make! I said in my top 10 favorite movies list that “The Last Shift” is a really good movie because it takes an unlikely pair and makes them watchable when put together. Despite “Half Brothers” being about two people who have kind of a bond, the characters are just imbeciles when they’re in the same place! “Half Brothers” is annoying, anger-inducing, and whatever stereotypes they have in this film just make the movie worse. Don’t watch it.
#7: Death of Me (available on VOD)
Up next, we have “Death of Me.” This movie stars Luke Hemsworth, otherwise known as the least relevant of the Hemsworths. Don’t worry man! Your brothers have had some bad days at the office as well! Remember Chris’s outing in “Thor: The Dark World?” Remember when Liam did “Independence Day: Resurgence?” Exactly. Even so, it does not change the fact that “Death of Me” is a wreck of a film. This film is just all over the place! It is a boring, unlikable movie featuring a couple vacationing on an island who must discover the mystical behind the scenes shenanigans of a video they happen to be in. After all, the guy is a vlogger, he’s recording all the interesting things that happen on the getaway, but the two have a heck of a night, they forget things, so they need to know what happened. I’ll tell you what happened! THEY WERE IN A CRAPFEST OF A MOVIE! That’s what happened! There is a turning point of the film, a “twist” if you will, that is mind-bogglingly wrong and almost an insult. Maybe it sounds good on paper, but when put on screen it simply feels off! It is kind of incredible that this film even made it to screens! Other than that, “Death of Me” is one of 2020’s most forgettable films, which says a lot considering I watched it for the first time just a couple days ago!
During the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, I did not watch many new movies. In fact, one of the few that I did watch was “Scoob!”. Wait a minute… Okay I’ve just remembered “Scoob!” is not a movie, it’s a nightmare. “Scoob!” is what happens when you take a classic intellectual property, try to update it for a trend-based crowd, and fail to realize what made this property what it happens to be. I like superhero movies; I like cinematic universes! The Marvel movies have been some of my favorites over the past decade. Basically, “Scoob!” tries to copy Marvel with Hanna-Barbera characters, but does so in the cheapest way possible. There’s even a joke where one of the characters is nicknamed “Hemsworth!” Now I would not mind this movie taking heavy inspiration from something else if it felt like it tried, but it didn’t! The only semblance of effort here is the animation, but keep in mind, I rented the movie in 4K! Of course it’s going to look detailed! The voice cast does the best they can with the material they have, although it is weird that they have the primary voice actor for Scooby-Doo, but they got somebody different for Shaggy. Whhhyyyyyyy? I barely grew up with “Scooby-Doo,” but regardless of my attachment to the franchise, this is a bland, slightly predictable, and badly written animated flick that was nowhere near worth a $19.99 rental. Wow, these quarantine prices SUCK, especially since I’m the only one watching a movie most of the time!
What’s your fantasy? Eternal riches? A smokin’ hot girl in your life? Maybe a Porsche? Well, here’s my fantasy. My fantasy is to never watch 2020’s “Fantasy Island” ever again. “Fantasy Island” is an adaptation of the older television series, and the one good thing about this movie is that I have not seen the source material, so I will not go around claiming that this new version tarnishes everything that the original idea stands for. It’s just a s*itty movie! This movie comes to us from Blumhouse, a fairly respectable studio in some ways, but in others, not so much. This falls under the moniker of “not so much.” Also, this comes from the same mind and lead actress that brought us 2018’s “Truth or Dare.” It’s a movie I skipped, but with a 16% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes, it must feel like a dare to put the film on to begin with. Unfortunately, “Fantasy Island” may be even worse as it received a Rotten Tomatoes critic score of 7%. The movie is rife with problems! Casting! Tone! Writing! I will say though, out of all the movies on this list, this was definitely the most fun to watch as I almost did not care about anything that was going on and I got to roast the crap out it. Although, if you want my advice, find something else to watch on Halloween. In fact, if you want an idea for a better Blumhouse movie, not to mention one that came out this year, watch “Freaky!” It’s scary, hilarious, and a fantastic combination of “Freaky Friday” and “Friday the 13th!” Your brain will thank you.
One movie I was kind of excited for in 2019 was “The Hunt.” I saw the trailer, and I was intrigued. Overall, the movie looked dark and kick-ass at the same time. Unfortunately, due to controversial events, the release was pushed back to March 2020. I skipped it in theaters, waited for the Blu-ray, and watched it around Halloween. It WAS NOT worth the wait. “The Hunt” killed my blood pressure! The film takes a lot of stereotypes from the modern world, many of which people would probably find to be negative, and hammer them down your throat. This sort of thing works in “Family Guy.” Here, it just sucks! I almost could not relate to a single individual on screen. Everyone in this movie made me roll my eyes incessantly! This film centers around twelve people who are captured, put in a field, and are just waiting to be potentially hunted for sport by elites. On the surface, this sounds like an intriguing concept, and if I had to relate it to anything right off the bat, it would be 2019’s best film, “Ready or Not,” because it’s another scenario of the rich killing the poor. If you are reading this right now, do yourself a favor. Watch “Ready or Not,” not this bulls*it. “The Hunt” can die!
Why Downey, why? Why would you do this? Why would you… Do little? Up next on this list is “Dolittle.” After the big, loud, popcorn extravaganza known as “Avengers: Endgame,” I think it has been made pretty clear that Robert Downey Jr. has kind of a clean slate ahead of him and he can do whatever he wants. As far as “Dolittle” is concerned, it turns out that one of the movie’s producers happens to be Robert Downey Jr.’s wife, Susan. And I imagine as a couple, their relationship is like bread and butter. And who knows? Maybe both of them believed in this project, but when it comes to how it turned out, it was overall just a mess. Sure, some of the casting is not really anything to complain about, and I mean that more in regard to the voiceover portion of the cast. Tom Holland, Rami Malek, Emma Thompson, they’ve got some good names. However, the story of the movie is far-fetched, even for fantasy standards if you ask me, Robert Downey Jr. gives a laughably bad performance as the title character. Michael Sheen is in this film, and if you want to see something good from 2020 with Michael Sheen in it, just go watch the miniseries “Quiz.” It’s about the “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire” Charles Ingram scandal. He plays Chris Tarrant, and it’s freakin’ great. Much better than “Dolittle,” don’t waste your time with “Dolittle.” Fun fact about “Dolittle,” even though I saw other movies in the theater already, this was the first film I saw in the theater during the year of 2020 that technically came out in said year. At least I had a feeling that things could only go up from here!
As we get towards the bottom of the list, we are going to enter a common theme. Familiar filmmakers. How so? Well, in this case, this next entry to the list is directed by the same person AND stars the same lead actress involved in the making of my least favorite film of 2018, “Life of the Party.” Turns out that they did not learn much since the making of that film, as evidenced by the crapfest that some might call “Superintelligence.” This film was originally going to hit theaters in 2019, but at the last minute, it was postponed and positioned as an HBO Max exclusive, and based on the results of the film, I can see why. OH MY GOD THIS WAS A NIGHTMARE! What is up with Melissa McCarthy?! This is the third yearly worst list of mine she’s been on! In 2016, she was in “Ghostbusters!” In 2018, she was in “Life of the Party!” In 2020, she’s in this s*it! And this is also the second movie in row that she has appeared in directed by Ben Falcone that made it to the worst list! Melissa, Ben, I hope you two are happy together. I mean that genuinely. But make better movies! Either that or just stop making movies as a couple! Melissa McCarthy was nominated for two Academy Awards! Neither of them were for movies directed by Ben Falcone! Speaking of actors who need to get their s*it together, let’s talk about James Corden! Why is he here? Why does he exist? Why does he have to ruin everything? I’ve seen the dude in a few movies now, but there is not one I can think of that I genuinely thought wasn’t a waste of time, or one where he even stood out positively as a performer. James Corden, if you’re reading this, pick better scripts! This is why I watch Conan O’Brien for crying out loud! “Superintelligence” has one of the most insufferable protagonists I have ever seen in the history of film. Sure, she could be more annoying, but my big problem with her is that she barely even does anything to determine her fate. Her fate is often determined by outside forces, mainly the superintelligence that the movie sort of centers around. Let’s talk about the comedy in this movie. Wait, sorry, what kind of question is that? There is no comedy! It took like forty something minutes for me to let out a genuine laugh regarding this film. So if you’re thinking of getting HBO Max for new content, all I can say is do not do so for this film. It is a waste of time; you will want to rip your eyes and ears out! It is not super intelligent; it is super dumb! That’s a fact!
2020 was the worst year of everyone’s lives, so it’s only fair that I talk about the worst movie that I’ve seen in said year! This is #1! Continuing down the route of familiar filmmakers, 2019 brought us a terrible spin on a famous murder story, “The Haunting of Sharon Tate,” directed by Daniel Farrands. That movie earned my #1 spot on my worst of 2019 list. Guess what? 2020 is the SECOND YEAR IN A ROW that he has earned the bottom spot of my countdown! My #1 worst movie of 2020 is “The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson.” Fun fact for you all, this is not only the worst movie of the year, this is not only the second time Daniel Farrands made the worst list on Scene Before in a row, but “The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson” is the first 2020 film I saw! We started this s*itty year off with an absolute bang! Thanks, guys! The United States didn’t even have COVID-19 yet, and we got this! Wonderful! Booyah! I don’t want to act too harsh though, because as I said in my review, I found out that the writer of this film, Michael Arter, has not written any other features. At the same time though, part of why this movie is absolutely abominable is because of him. There are many scenes in this film that are poorly realized, cringeworthy, and make you question humanity! If I were to blame anyone most of all, it would be the director, Daniel Farrands. He’s making terrible choices with these movies, and if I see another movie that is similarly titled to the last couple I saw from him, I am just going to assume right out of the gate that it is a disaster! Between “The Haunting of Sharon Tate” and “The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson,” this is starting to almost feel like a “Sharknado” type of franchise, if that makes any sense. Except that here, it feels like more people are trying. These films are not going straight to Syfy. Granted, they are barely getting theatrical releases, but the production value looks less like television! It doesn’t look good, it really doesn’t! But it looks more like a movie than it does television! Mena Suvari plays her part well… at times… And maybe aside from Nick Stahl, she may have the most competent performance in the film. Although, the acting, across the board, is almost unforgivable! There are several edits that feel like they are first take, people sound like they barely know their lines, and the movie all round does not resemble anything close to a respectable ensemble! Mena Suvari is unfortunately surrounded by a cast of characters who are either forgettable or annoying! They even have someone playing Kris Kardashian in this movie, because apparently people can’t get enough of her! I mean, sure she was associated with the O.J. Simpson incident, but holy crap! Her presence in this movie is why I continue to avoid that f*cking television show that shall not be named at all costs! There’s even a point where two characters are just chatting and having a drink, and I almost feel like the director, maybe the writer had some input, wanted to jokingly have the characters drink orange juice. YOU SEE WHAT WE DID THERE? ARE WE CLEVER? ARE WE THE KINGS OF COMEDY?!
No, if anything, you killed it. It don’t fit, and you must have quit a long time ago!
I can’t even believe I’m saying this, because “The Haunting of Sharon Tate” was bad enough, I think “The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson” might actually be worse. The production value is cheap, the writing is stale, the directing might occasionally be worse, and it is barely even a feature! The runtime comes out to 82 minutes, and a good portion of that runtime is not even footage created specifically for the film! A lot of it happens to be newsreel footage! If I had to ask myself which movie is worse, and the choices were this film and “The Haunting of Sharon Tate,” I would choose this one! Granted, I will admit, one slight improvement, if you can call it that, is that when it comes to the two films, “The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson” is “less” disturbing and off-putting, but other than that, it is unbelievably incompetent! It feels rushed, tacky, somewhat offensive, and it almost seems as if the only reason it exists is because someone working on one s*itty movie, wanted to make another s*itty movie with people from the crew from the original s*itty movie. “The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson” is an utter nuisance to humanity, and the fact that it is even here in society, feels like a crime. “The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson” is my least favorite movie of 2020, you son of bitch.
Thanks for reading this countdown! Once again, a big thank you to everybody, even if you are included on this list, for making a film that released this year. Even some of the bad movies, to some degree, managed to do something very important for me and a lot of other people this year. That my friends, is to provide an escape. We all needed one this year at one point or another, that is a guarantee. There have been some good things about 2020 amidst all the madness. I got to go back to LA, I had my first AMC Prime experience, I also got AMC A-List, and I really enjoyed doing my Top Movies of the 2010s series which I will admit I might want to get back to. But it is time to move on to 2021, with new movies, new plans, specifically plans that hopefully don’t get cancelled, and great ambitions for Scene Before. This March marks 5 full years since I have started Scene Before. And this year, I am going big. Tons of reviews for movies old and new, and more details about this will be revealed in the future, including one of my most ambitious review projects ever, which I plan to reveal at the 3rd Annual Jackoff Awards, which are set to take place sometime this winter. I plan to reveal the release date in the near future, but trust me, that is coming! If you want a tentative release date, I’m thinking anywhere between the middle of February to the middle of March. Depends on whether I want to see more movies from 2020. There’s a good chance that I’m going to catch up on some things I have not seen yet. “Nomadland,” “Minari,” “The Father.” Admittedly, I am still deciding on whether I should count films coming out in early 2021, so we will have to see. Nevertheless, The 3rd Annual Jackoffs is coming, and stay tuned! Speaking of which, make sure you follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account, maybe check out the Facebook page while you’re at it, so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, what are your least favorite movies of 2020? The selection may be slimmer for some people this year, but I would be happy to hear what your least favorites are nevertheless. Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!
“Wonder Woman 1984” is directed by Patty Jenkins, who also directed the first “Wonder Woman” film starring Gal Gadot (Keeping Up with the Joneses, Fast Five) back in 2017. Gadot returns to play the iconic heroine alongside a cast including Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian, Game of Thrones), Chris Pine (Star Trek, This Means War), Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live, Ghostbusters), Robin Wright (House of Cards, Forrest Gump), and Connie Nielsen (Gladiator, One Hour Photo). This film takes place many years after the original, which was set in World War I. This time, we journey to 1984, where Wonder Woman has to take on two new foes, Max Lord and the Cheetah. Also, Steve Trevor, reprised by Chris Pine, comes along for the ride.
It has been three and a half years since I first watched “Wonder Woman,” which I originally gave a 10/10. By the way, that 10/10 still stands. The film is somewhat cliché. It contains things that have been done before, there is no denying that. But it does so with excellence and in a way that feels fresh and exciting. Plus, you can also add on that we have not had many successes with comic book movies specifically centered around characters portrayed by women. This felt like not just a proper, but a *massive* step in the right direction. It was also my favorite film in the DCEU at the time. In my review for the original film, I go onto mention that when it comes to “origin stories,” “Wonder Woman” may be my all time favorite in regards to movies. Part of it has to do with the singular and stellar vision provided by director Patty Jenkins and all the performances from cast members including Gal Gadot and Chris Pine. The villians were… okay. However, each action sequence, even those that others say are heavy in CGI, are exciting and heart-pumping. I know some people find the final act to be clunky, I had a great time with it. Plus, Wonder Woman’s theme music, which was first introduced in “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” is arguably my favorite superhero theme of all time. Maybe except the one created for Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man.
Going into “Wonder Woman 1984,” it was hard to imagine that such a movie could surpass the original. However, based on early reviews, it seemed as if such a thing would be possible. After all, we’ve already gotten the been there done that origin story out of the way, if you want to call it that. It was time for something new, innovative. Going in, I already had my expectations blown away. I did not expect Chris Pine to return. Like, literally. At all. Then again, this takes place in a comic book universe where anything is possible. There were also some new things in regards to tech. Not that they haven’t been done before, just not in the original “Wonder Woman,” because this new flick was partially shot on IMAX film. And if you have read a number of my posts, you know I rave about IMAX film. By the way, while the movie is shot in the heavy duty format, there is barely any footage that will expand the frame in IMAX. However, it may be worth the extra few bucks if those theaters are open near you.
But is “Wonder Woman 1984” worth the hype? Absolutely not.
Well! Well! Well! 2020 strikes again! “Wonder Woman 1984” is not only a massive disappointment to one of the most anticipated films of the year. “Wonder Woman 1984” is not only a step down from the original 2017 film. “Wonder Woman 1984” is not only the worst comic book movie of the year. Yes, more than “Bloodshot” for crying out loud! But it is also the worst entry to DCEU thus far.
Now, let me just get one thing out of the way. I am a straight white male in his early twenties. I am not one of those people that is trying cancel Gal Gadot. After all, I met her in person, I have her autograph, and she is a decent actress. I am also not trying to cancel Patty Jenkins, which the Internet seems to be doing according to many people. If they come out with a “Wonder Woman 3” with these two at the front lines, I am there. Their work on the original film justifies such a thing, and Jenkins is a director that is completely capable of making something magical. In fact, most of the problems of the film do not have to do with how the movie is made. It instead has to do with the pacing, the editing, the way everything plays out, the characters, and the writing. Admittedly, Jenkins is responsible for that last mistake, given how she has a screenplay credit. I don’t know if I should blame her entirely given how she wrote the script with a couple other people, but I should also point out that she did not have a screenplay credit for the previous “Wonder Woman” installment. This time around, Jenkins collaborates with Dave Callaham, who wrote the script for one of last year’s best comedies, “Zombieland: Double Tap.” Also along for the ride is Geoff Johns who has plenty of experience of creating DC content. So, what went wrong? Was there not enough time to draft everything out? Were there so many ideas colliding from three different minds? I don’t know. Patty Jenkins seems very passionate about the Wonder Woman character. In fact, throughout the movie, Jenkins properly visualizes the character as a beacon of hope and inspiration for people, especially women.
This movie starts off pretty great. By the way, for those who want to see the film in IMAX, this is one of the two scenes that were actually filmed in the IMAX format. The scene not only looked articulate and felt immersive, but it may have ended up being the best part of the movie. It is action-packed, exciting, and lets you escape into the world Themyscira. Sadly, the movie kind of blows its load in the first ten minutes. Because it spends time showing you young Diana Prince (Lilly Aspell), progresses to a time where we see a matured Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), and in these initial scenes, the action never stops whether Diana is trying to win an athletic event for herself, or she saves the lives of others. Even so, it does kind of feel like action that does belong in the beginning of a superhero sequel. The main character kicks ass while you get reintroduced to them, and the movie sets a footprint for where the story is going to go. “Wonder Woman 1984” sets up a vibe that fits the title. You see people walking around in eccentric clothing, there’s record stores, CRT television sets, and a multi-story colorful mall. When it comes to the first hour of “Wonder Woman 1984,” these scenes were fine. What wasn’t fine in the first hour is perhaps just about everything else.
What do I mean? Let’s take a moment to talk about the worst “Lord of the Rings” film. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” I’ll be fair. I did have fun with the movie, but one of the worst things about “An Unexpected Journey” was the pacing. This may partially be due to the need to adapt one book into three parts, but the evidence comes in towards the beginning where we see the 13 dwarves coming into Bilbo Baggins’s home. A lot of the screentime almost feels extended and nearly tiresome. There are some decent moments, but it does not always make for a good time. It takes like 45 minutes to an hour to actually get the movie going. With “Wonder Woman 1984,” I got the same feeling. It just took forever to actually get into gear. Mainly because this film feels like a stockpile of exposition. “Batman v. Superman” sort of felt the same way, but I think I had more fun watching that, exposition included, than I did sitting through whatever the hell “Wonder Woman 1984” turned out to be. To add onto that, you have some cringe-worthy lines, less than stellar characters, and a surprisingly boring storyline, part of which includes a role reversal.
Chris Pine is back as Steve Trevor in this movie. I will not go into detail of his return, but this was heavily marketed, so if you’re considering this a spoiler, I’m sorry. In the 2017 “Wonder Woman” film, Gal Gadot’s character has to deal with the new sights of earth and learn the normalcies within. To do so, she had the assistance of Steve Trevor along the way. Diana Prince came off occasionally as eccentric, she said certain things that maybe would be better left unsaid, and there’s a montage where she’s trying on unfamiliar apparel. This time around, Diana assists Steve in 1984, because now he’s the fish out of water. Much like the last movie, there is a reversal where Steve is trying on different clothes that defined the 1980s. He occasionally had a fanny pack, “parachute pants,” and so on. That scene kind of entertained me. However, the rest of this storyline was mostly either boring or impractical. There is a scene where Diana and Steve are flying through the sky looking at fireworks. And sure, fireworks are a sight to be seen. There is reason why Disney World charges you your entire blood supply to see them up close. But this movie made me ask if Steve has never actually seen fireworks in his life. The way I viewed the scene made me wonder why he was actually as amazed as he was in those exact moments. Fireworks have been around for a long time. Many years, centuries even! Why is Chris Pine acting like he’s never seen fireworks before?
This movie features a couple respectable actors, you have Pedro Pascal who I liked in “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” he’s also in hit TV shows including “Game of Thrones” and “The Mandalorian.” The guy has been certain cores of nerd culture over the years. You also have Kristen Wiig, who I have rather mixed feelings on. I was not a fan of her in the 2016 “Ghostbusters” reboot. I don’t think I find her as funny as other people do. But I also am a fan her in other regards. I think she did a fine job in “The Martian” and her voiceover work in projects like “Sausage Party” and the “How to Train Your Dragon” franchise are highlights in her career. Sadly, their performances are very on and off here. I would not ease myself into saying that the actors themselves are specifically at fault, but these two portray their characters to a degree that feels cartoony and off-putting. “Wonder Woman 1984” gets into the problem that people have criticized movies like “Batman & Robin,” “Spider-Man 3,” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” for realizing. MULTIPLE MAJOR THREATS.
I am not saying you cannot make a movie with more than one villain. It has been done before with “Return of the Jedi,” “The Dark Knight,” and if you really think this counts, “Back to the Future Part II.” But the beauty of having one major threat in your movie is that you get to make them the source of everyone’s struggle. Time is taken to specifically focus on that one character and why they must stopped. We somewhat get that in “Wonder Woman 1984” with Max Lord (Pascal), but when it comes to Barbara Minerva (Wiig), the way she is handled is sort of similar to how they handled Eddie Brock in “Spider-Man 3.” Only thing is, I was actually entertained whenever Eddie Brock had a scene in “Spider-Man 3.” Topher Grace played the part well, even during lines that were not up to par. Wiig tries, but the problem is that some of the writing in “Wonder Woman 1984” makes some of the writing in “Spider-Man 3” look like Shakespeare. Maybe that’s not the best comparison, mainly because I am one of the few people who genuinely enjoyed “Spider-Man 3.” However, there are a few lines and storytelling methods in that film that do not fall into place.
But if you want me to compare “Wonder Woman 1984” to another film I did not enjoy, let’s use “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” In that film, you have Electro and the Green Goblin. There’s also the Rhino, but we’re gonna leave him out for this. The two major threats in “Wonder Woman 1984” are basically just like Electro and the Green Goblin in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” but instead of being exact carbon copies, they take various qualities of each character, but they are switched around to make something new. Like Electro, Barbara is eccentric, kind of shy, almost a nobody. But kind of like the Green Goblin, she barely has any screentime as Cheetah. And whatever screentime there is almost feels forced or nearly unmemorable. As for Max Lord, he’s got funky hair like Harry Osborn, he’s affiliated with a big company. And like Electro, he has a more significant screen presence when it comes to dealing with our main hero. This all adds up to an underwhelming evil duo in an underwhelming movie. But I do have to say one thing about Max Lord, and it kind of turned me off. He’s basically Donald Trump.
Think about it! This movie is painting a picture of an obsessive, failed businessman and kinda sorta television personality who has little time for their kids. In fact, my first impression of his son was that he was sort of a spoiled brat, which does not always seem to stick for the rest of the movie. Again, the hairstyle feels like something out of a meme. There is even a scene, and you saw this in the main trailer for this film, where he stands in front of a background representing the White House Press Room! Granted, having compared Pedro Pascal to his comic book counterpart, the casting and makeup departments did a good job at being faithful to the source material. But knowing that this was made in the late 2010s, and originally supposed to release in 2019, I could not help but make this comparison. And part of why I did not like this is because, and this may be a personal thing, it slightly ruined the escapism factor of the film. I’m not going to say whether I like Donald Trump, whether I dislike him. I am not here to get into politics. But Max Lord in “Wonder Woman 1984” feels like a Trump parody. The makeup department could have easily sprayed orange spray paint onto Pascal’s face and boom! Donald Trump impersonation!
I will say, there is one thing about “Wonder Woman 1984” that could be an improvement over the first one, and that is Gal Gadot’s performance. Gal Gadot, as much as I adore her as a person, as good-looking as she is, is not Meryl Streep. When it comes to “Wonder Woman,” she’s always looked the part, and she’s had good moments since her inception. Even though her character was the best part of “Batman v. Superman” for me, her acting ability was a far cry from what I saw out of Ben Affleck or Henry Cavill or Laurence Fishburne. When she shows up alongside the two titular characters in “Batman v. Superman,” she comes off as a badass, but there’s a line that she releases out of her mouth that feels like a first take. In “Wonder Woman 1984,” Gal Gadot has a commanding presence, she is charismatic, she is emotional, and occasionally witty. I liked Gadot’s performance in the original “Wonder Woman” because she did a good job at interpreting a goddess who has to adapt to a new normal, embracing the ups and downs along the way. But there were also signs that Gadot needed to work more on her craft and do a little more than be a pretty face in armor who can say words here and there. I will admit, her acting towards the end of “Wonder Woman” occasionally gave me chills, but I could tell that there was still work that needed to be done. “Wonder Woman 1984” is a sign that Gal Gadot is getting better, she deals with dialogue better than she used to, and her range is improving. I am looking forward to seeing Gal Gadot in “Death on the Nile” and if they come out with a “Wonder Woman 3,” count me in.
Gal Gadot’s performance is not the only positive here, because I will admit, even though I think Patty Jenkins and the other writers could have done a better job with the screenplay, she did alright with crafting the film. When it comes to her vision, I do not think it was as well represented as the original, but a crappy script can make that happen. Some of the cinematography is marvelous to look at. The visuals are just as good as the original film. Many scenes felt big and grand, and while I imagine some people will stick to watching “Wonder Woman 1984” on HBO Max for now, if you feel safe going to a theater right now, do not rule that option out. There are some cool scenes that look great on the big screen. Speaking of things that feel grand, they got Hans Zimmer to do the score, which I was onboard with from the beginning. I saw the first few minutes of “Wonder Woman 1984” on YouTube, and from that moment, I was excited to hear the rest of the score, and it is really good. There was a scene where I was completely taken out of the movie and I almost did not care about what would happen, but the one saving grace in that moment was the music composed by Hans Zimmer. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman has one of the best themes for an on-screen superhero, and I am glad that Zimmer got to work his magic to carry out his singular vision regarding it. I will likely listen to the soundtrack sometime in the future. The film had a passable ending. Granted there was some cringe surrounding it, but it good parts.
Too bad the movie’s boring, forgettable, and another big blow in 2020. F*ck. This. Year.
In the end, “Wonder Woman 1984” is a visually grand mess. Am I looking forward to what Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot have in store in the future? Yes. But does my anticipation take away from my thoughts on “Wonder Woman 1984?” No. I think “Wonder Woman 1984” is a gigantic misstep of a film. And the worst part is that it was not worth all the waits from the delays. I’ll be honest, and some of you may find this surprising, I would rather watch the live-action version of Disney’s “Mulan” again! Just to paint a picture of how much I did not like this film, let me just boil it down to a simple sentence. I did not have fun. Ironically, 2017’s “Wonder Woman” took place in World War I, where people are fighting, people are dying, times are desperate, but I managed to have fun. This sequel takes place in 1984. In real life, that year was much more lighthearted, at least from the perspective of the United States. Yes, there was the War on Drugs. AIDS broke out. Indira Gandhi was murdered. But there were plenty of big songs and movies that came out like “Jump” by Van Halen or “Ghostbusters.” People were having fun! “Wonder Woman 1984” manages to take a time that is significantly more fun than World War I, and makes it the most boring thing imaginable. The action sequences don’t save this movie. Gal Gadot’s improved performance doesn’t save this movie. A couple new and talented faces do not even save this travesty. “Wonder Woman 1984” is a gigantic disappointment, the worst film in the Detective Comics Extended Universe, and I am going to give it a 3/10.
“Wonder Woman 1984” is now playing in theaters wherever they are open. Due to the lockdown in the United Kingdom, the movie will debut on January 13th, 2021 on PVOD. If you live in the United States, you can also watch the film right now on HBO Max if you are a subscriber and it is available at no extra cost until the near end of January 2021, where it will finish it’s theatrical release, go to PVOD for a price, likely hit store shelves through DVD and Blu-ray, and eventually return to HBO and HBO Max sometime next year.
Thanks for reading this review! Who knew that in the SAME WEEKEND, we would get my least favorite Pixar film, and now, and perhaps on a more significant scale, my least favorite DCEU film! This year has kicked my ass, called me names, and made me eat dirt. We are approaching the end of 2020, THANK HEAVENS. So it is almost time for me to post my top 10 BEST movies of 2020 and my top 10 WORST movies of 2020. That will be up sometime early next year and I may have one or two more reviews coming your way if I can fit them in. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Wonder Woman 1984?” What did you think about it? Also, did you watch the movie in the theater? At home? Or both? Tell me about your experience! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!
CORRECTION: When I said, “There was a scene where I was completely taken out of the movie and I almost did not care about what would happen, but the one saving grace in that moment was the music composed by Hans Zimmer,” I was wrong. Turns out the music in that scene was Adagio in D Minor, originally composed by John Murphy for the film “Sunshine,” which has been used in several marketing pieces for “Ready Player One,” the “2010 Winter Olympics,” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” I will not spoil where it plays for those who have not seen the movie.
Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! As of right now, I am working on a couple reviews for Scene Before, but I had to make this because it is too important of a topic to ignore. But before we get on with this, I have two new reviews coming soon. My first review will be for “The Last Vermeer,” starring Guy Pearce which is in theaters now. Also, I will be reviewing “Half Brothers,” which opens this weekend. I saw the film early, so look forward to my reviews on those two films.
One of the few streaming services I have chosen to invest time and money into is AT&T’s HBO Max. Said investment has been… okay. Despite a decent lineup, things did not get off to a great start. But when I saw one of the service’s first exclusive films, “An American Pickle,” I could tell that movie-wise, this service had potential.
Although one hint of news that shocked the world back in November is that “Wonder Woman 1984” would come out this Christmas both in theaters and HBO Max at no additional cost to subscribers. While I would have loved for this film to get a traditional theatrical run, where it joins HBO Max a little less than a year after its release, I am personally glad we are getting the film to begin with, and that it is going to theaters at all. In a year where every other blockbuster aside from “Tenet” got delayed, it is nice to see a true experiential film come to the big screen wherever these screens are open. I was fine with this, because a lot of people are going to stay home for Christmas because they might think it is safe from bad weather and conditions, not to mention COVID-19, but you also have families and individuals who may want an excuse to leave the house. In fact, I’m a part of one of those families, because I already scored IMAX tickets to see “Wonder Woman 1984” with my father and sister on December 27th, two days after Christmas. There is no way that this new technique will stop me from going to the theater.
But now… We have an expansion of this idea.
What was going to be a one-time thing, is now going to be a repeated effort. Because throughout 2021, the entire Warner Brothers lineup will premiere in theaters and on HBO Max on the same day. Now, keep in mind, if you plan to watch these movies on HBO Max, read the fine print.
These films, and this also includes “Wonder Woman 1984,” will stream on HBO Max for 31 days after its debut, at which point it disappears, finishes its run in theaters, goes to PVOD and physical media, and eventually returns to HBO Max and related channels. So just because these movies will come to HBO Max, does not automatically mean they will stay on HBO Max. Also, like “Wonder Woman 1984,” the Warner Bros. 2021 films will not supply an additional charge. If you are a subscriber, you do not have to pay extra.
Again, this is for the entire 2021 lineup, so this is a lot of films. Part of the list includes “Tom & Jerry,” “The Suicide Squad,” “Matrix 4,” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In the Heights,” and Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune.”
A lot of people who follow the industry claim that this is the nail in the coffin for movie theaters. As one who unapologetically loves the movie theater industry, that is a sentiment I have never wanted to hear. It is still only hours after this news, it is not even a full day yet, but I have had some time to gather my thoughts on this.
There is a part of me that absolutely loves this idea, and there’s a part of me that absolutely hates this idea. But just like certain events in “Tenet,” this full love or hate has not happened yet. Right now, my mind is MOST LIKELY somewhere in the middle.
For starters, we are in the middle of a pandemic. Whether you believe it or not, it is the truth. Yes, I continue to go to the movie theater during a pandemic. Some people may question why I do that. That is a personal choice, and I will say that if I were not doing this blog, I may not stop going, but I’d probably go less. But for those people who want to stay home, they have likely been in front of their television for extended periods watching content like “Tiger King,” “The Boys,” “Raised by Wolves,” “The Mandalorian,” and “The Queen’s Gambit.” There have been several television programs watched throughout this pandemic, because people have been stuck at home in need of something to do. There has been plenty of television, but the same cannot be said for movies. Early on we got animations like “Trolls: World Tour” and “Scoob!” on premium video on demand services. These were serviceable options for families. And yes, we’ve gotten more options like “The Witches” and “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” but if you looked at the 2020 cinematic calendar pre-pandemic, you’d know that these two films probably would not crack the top 10 biggest films of 2020 list. “Wonder Woman 1984” is a perfect example of a big movie that will reach a wide audience. Comic book fans, families, women, and people who want to gaze at Gal Gadot for a couple hours. Admit it, come on.
You know you love her.
It’s Christmastime, families are together, even if it is in smaller groups, and they might want something to do. This is a great idea for consumer choice. If you want to stay home, or if regulations require you to remain at home, HBO Max is a great idea. Otherwise, it would not be a bad idea to experience “Wonder Woman 1984” the way in which director Patty Jenkins likely intended.
One reality that is becoming increasingly likely is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel regarding COVID-19. The answer as to when precisely the COVID-19 pandemic will end is a different story. We already have multiple vaccine candidates from outlets including Pfizer and Moderna. As to when they will be distributed to everyone, that is a mystery. Cases around the world are spiraling out of control, and humanity’s habits over the winter will likely determine whether we see a sharp increase or decrease in cases and deaths. So in a way, I understand Warner Brothers for wanting to cater to all markets at this time. But at this point, I think they are putting a lot of eggs into the HBO Max basket, and I honestly wonder if their investment will pay off. Having “Wonder Woman 1984” on the HBO Max service is a great way to get a bunch of new subscribers, and having new big movies every other week will only keep said subscriber base growing. However, this is only me theorizing at this point, because we have not seen how “Wonder Woman 1984” has done yet. Because I believe it is inevitable that “Wonder Woman 1984” will make less money at the box office than its predecessor. But how much less is another question. I do believe it will make at least $100 million worldwide. There are enough theaters open to warrant such returns, even with major areas such as Los Angeles county in California unlikely to fully reopen anytime soon. Despite how some will claim that “Tenet” is a movie *made for theaters*, which having seen it, it definitely is, “Wonder Woman 1984” is likely going to reach a wider demographic.
I should also point out, that even if the movie does not do well in the United States for whatever reason, not every country has HBO Max, so that might prompt more people to go the theater. But let’s talk about that. Because when this unprecedented release idea was announced solely for “Wonder Woman 1984,” chains like AMC, Regal, and Cinemark announced they were onboard. This is despite some outrage at a deal made earlier this year between AMC and Universal Pictures that allow their movies to play within a shortened theatrical window, at which point they make an early streaming debut.
Guess what? AMC does not approve. Here’s some words from the current CEO of AMC Theatres, Adam Aron.
“These coronavirus-impacted times are uncharted waters for all of us, which is why AMC signed on to an HBO Max exception to customary practices for one film only, Wonder Woman 1984, being released by Warner Brothers at Christmas when the pandemic appears that it will be at its height. However, Warner now hopes to do this for all their 2021 theatrical movies, despite the likelihood that with vaccines right around the corner the theatre business is expected to recover. Clearly, Warner Media intends to sacrifice a considerable portion of the profitability of its movie studio division, and that of its production partners and filmmakers, to subsidize its HBO Max start up. As for AMC, we will do all in our power to ensure that Warner does not do so at our expense. We will aggressively pursue economic terms that preserve our business.
We have already commenced an immediate and urgent dialogue with the leadership of Warner on this subject. As this issue gets sorted out, we are nonetheless encouraged that vaccines protecting society at large against the coronavirus are very much at hand. So, it is our expectation that moviegoers soon will be able once again to delight in coming to our theatres without any worry — viewing the world’s best movies safely in our big seats, with our big sound and on our big screens.“
Just to remind you, this is the same company that less than half a year ago made an asinine deal allowing Universal to avoid following the 90 day theatrical window. And sure, this deal may work right now with everything going on, but if we are to return to normalcy, this may not be finest policy to put in place. At this point I applaud AMC because not only does this go against the terms of the deal they made, but this new deal could take away a lot of money that could potentially go towards ticket sales that benefit both the studio and the theater to a degree. This will take away sales on concessions like popcorn and soda, which is where cinemas typically make their profits. In a way, I am a bit infuriated that despite Warnermedia’s previously announced commitment to theaters, they are more concerned about getting numbers on HBO Max.
And I get it, HBO Max, while its launch was not a complete failure, said launch was not necessarily a success either. The service was a bit laggy, they could not get the “Friends” reunion going, in fact they still have not been able to. I’ll also mention that it started off without being available on two of the main platforms, Amazon Fire and Roku, which by the way, IT IS STILL NOT AVAILABLE ON ROKU! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?! GET A DEAL STRAIGHTENED OUT! I do not use Roku that much, but a lot of people do! Do the deal for them!
Right now, HBO Max has 38 million subscribers. While that is more than Hulu and Peacock, it is significantly less than Disney+, which honestly shocks me to no end. Because all Disney+ has done for main content since launch is “The Mandalorian” and almost nothing else! Right now, Disney+, which has turned a year old recently, has 73.7 million subscribers. One thing HBO Max has been doing right is delivering a bunch of new content both from the HBO channel and Max’s personal library. Apparently that might not be enough. Maybe bringing big movies like “Wonder Woman 1984” is going to help the service get a boost. Plus, unlike Disney’s previous effort with “Mulan,” HBO Max will not charge $29.99 to watch the film.
In the short term, increased subscriptions sound amazing. Bigger followings are always better. And while it is highly unlikely that “Wonder Woman 1984” will make $1 billion at the box office, imagine if this sticks around. Do you think we will ever see a billion dollar film ever again? I almost wonder if we’ll even see a film make half as much as that. This may start a slippery slope where movies are cheapened and less experiential. In a way, they become more like television. In this supposed future, movies are not made for theaters, they’re made for home. To me, movies are experiences. Some of my most iconic memories have been through watching movies at the theater, and even though I can have fun watching a movie at home, the experience of doing so will likely fail to have a lasting impact. I may have dreaded every moment of watching “The Emoji Movie” in a theater, but at least some of the other people’s reactions were something to remember it by. I now get to remember just how much I hated that movie. Another good example, “Ghostbusters” 2016. I despise that film. More than most films if I have to be quite honest. But the 3D was incredible and even though the film itself was terrible, I at least still have the memory of going. If we have a future where all Warner Bros. movies go to HBO Max, we may simultaneously have a future where we watch one movie, digest it, then forget about it until we move onto the next thing.
So now I ask the big question, does this equate to the death of movie theaters? I cannot say yes. But I also cannot say no. I’ll bring in the overused phrase, it’s 2020, anything can happen. But more importantly, I do not know whether Warner Bros. is going to stick to this plan. After all, when the biggest movie theater chain in the United States arrogantly refuses these terms, that may be a sign that Warner Bros. may want to reconsider their actions.
Also, let me just say on a personal note, that one of my biggest aspirations in my life is to make a film for everyone to see together on the big screen. Either as a writer, director, producer, or a combination of those things. With an uncertain future ahead, if more people continue to stay home, and there is a greater studio effort to do duel releases or skip theaters, my dream may be dead. This is a personal aspiration, but I thought I would let you all know. The COVID-19 pandemic has canceled a lot. But I outright refuse to let it cancel my dreams.
But hey, if this new deal potentially means less people in theaters… That means less morons on their phones! There’s a silver lining to everything!
Let me be frank here, of all the studios operating today, Warner Brothers is arguably my favorite. When it comes to their older content, their library is enormous, while also maintaining a sense of quality. They have a steady relationship with some talented directors including Christopher Nolan, Patty Jenkins, Zack Snyder, and Todd Phillips. They own some of my favorite properties such as the DC Comics library, the LEGO movies, the “Lord of the Rings” saga, and “The Matrix.” Another reason why I love them is because they have shown they are committed to the theatrical experience, and when this pandemic started, I got a sense that they wanted to keep things the way they were when we had a return to normal, or at least a semblance of that.
Just because I unapologetically adore Warner Brothers, does not mean I cannot be honest. This HBO Max move is kind of scary. Movie theaters have shown they have taken enough pain in the last number of months. I see a recovery in 2021, but there is also a chance that the results of this deal, if it continues, could be cataclysmic for the exhibition industry. This eliminates many jobs, ends livelihoods, and destroys the fabric of many communities. I would love to see a future where moviegoing returns and we can enjoy it the way we did in 2019, but I do not think we can get there if we put a bunch of big movies onto streaming, even if they are in theaters. Admittedly, this is better than what Disney+ is doing with “Soul,” which is making it an exclusive on their service and nowhere else, but it is still kind of frightening as one who hopes to make movies one day.
Movies are not dead, nor are cinemas. But we live in a world where people are itching to get back to concerts, comedy clubs, and sporting events. If we can get those back with enough positive progress, I hope we can do the same for the moviegoing experience. When I saw “Wonder Woman” at a local AMC cinema back on opening Thursday in 2017, I was floored by the fact that Gal Gadot was able to carry such a big, epic, and most importantly, theatrical adventure from start to finish. That memory will stay with me until the end of time, and as we approach “Wonder Woman 1984,” I hope I will have an experience similar to three years ago, and I hope other viewers will get a significant feeling out of their experience as well.
Thanks for reading this post! By the way, just a reminder that “Wonder Woman 1984” will be available on HBO Max for free as long as you’re subscribed starting Christmas Day. However, if you want to leave the house, the film will be available wherever theaters are open. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, what are your thoughts on the HBO Max and theatrical duel release idea for the entirety of Warner Brothers’ 2021 lineup? Mine are quite mixed, but I am also curious to see how “Wonder Woman 1984” will do on HBO Max and the box office, as it may play a factor into making up my mind. Are you planning to watch “Wonder Woman 1984?” If so, where? At home? At the cinema? If you are watching at the cinema, which one are you going to? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!
Before we begin this post, I just want to remind you all that next month is going to have a movie-based theme. I will not go into it, but for the sake of having content and not having to worry about talking about how crappy the world is, that’s what’s happening. Also, while I do share my thoughts on HBO Max right here, you can also check out my half-hour long video of my first day with the service. If you want to check it out, click down below and if you like the video, feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel, which will have an all-new Blu-ray collection update coming this June!
PLEASE NOTE: If this is buggy, the video is currently being processed for copyright reasons.
Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Here’s a post you don’t see often! Me talking about a streaming service! As you know, I have a large physical media collection, one in which I don’t plan on getting rid of ANYTIME soon. But today, we are going to be talking about the new streaming service HBO Max.
HBO Max is marketed as a platform “where HBO meets so much more.” Essentially, if you have HBO Now, it’s basically that, but with more shows and a purple background! Heck, it’s even the same price at $14.99/month! Although I did find a discount that let me get it for $11.99/month, so yay! Discounts! By the way, that discount is no longer available as it is a pre-order offer.
You get all sorts of old and new HBO content including movies and TV series. From everything to the fantastical, dark realms of “Game of Thrones” to a display of our reality within “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” There are also new original shows on the service as well that you cannot get anywhere else. One of the most notable titles is “Love Life,” starring Anna Kendrick, which dropped three episodes to the service on day one. It still has more episodes remaining, all of which are supposed to drop later on. Also joining the club with “Love Life” is “Craftopia,” a competition where 9 to 15 year old contestants get creative and try to take home the “Craftrophia.” You also have all new “Looney Tunes Cartoons,” a staple of the Warner library for years with brand new episodes. Plus “On the Record,” which centers around Drew Dixon, a former A&R executive. When it comes to originals and exclusives, the lineup does not intrigue me. But there is plenty more coming in the future including “The Flight Attendant” starring Kaley Cuoco, “Raised by Wolves,” exectuive produced by Ridley Scott, and there’s even continuations of past IPs such as an all new season of “Search Party,” which started as a TBS original, but will now be releasing new episodes via HBO Max.
I like the selection of outside content this service is starting out with. It’s got all twelve seasons of “The Big Bang Theory,” four seasons of “Impractical Jokers,” the Without Borders specials of “Conan,” and even though I haven’t sat through a whole episode yet, “Rick and Morty” is also on the service, and I have always been wanting to check that out. Plus, for those of you who smashed your television set once “Friends” was taken off of Netflix, you are in luck as HBO Max now has the entire series on their service. However, if you were going to watch the planned “Friends” reunion special, well that’s impossible at this point as production was halted due to COVID-19.
The service has individual libraries including Crunchyroll, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Turner Classic Movies, and DC. For those of you who are DC fans, a lot of the big players are there when it comes to movies including “Wonder Woman,” “Aquaman,” “Shazam,” “Supergirl,” “Joker,” and “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” However, when it comes to missing titles, some big ones are unfortunately not on the service. Including “Man of Steel,” Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy, and “Superman: The Movie.” Keep in mind that other services have these movies including Netflix and the separate DC Universe streaming service. Given how this new HBO Max service has shows including “Doom Patrol” on it, it would not surprise me if DC Universe fizzles out and HBO Max picks up a lot of the load that DC Universe left over. It’ll probably take shows like “Harley Quinn” or “Titans” and maybe implement them in the DC section. Given how HBO Max is trying to be a colossal service full of content, why not have these DC shows, which are likely being presented to a somewhat niche market be given to a wider audience? I would like to watch the new “Harley Quinn” show, but I don’t need another subscription to do it. As for other DC TV shows, HBO Max also has CW’s “Batwoman,” Cartoon Newtork’s “Teen Titans,” and HBO’s own “Watchmen.”
As for movies, HBO originals make a presence, including the recently released “Bad Education” starring Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney. But a lot of the movies present are either from Warnermedia in some capacity including all the “Harry Potter” films, minus the first “Fantastic Beasts” installment, the “Lord of the Rings” franchise, “The LEGO Movie,” “King Kong,” and “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Also included are a bunch of movies that you can find airing on the HBO airwaves regardless of who owns it including “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw,” “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum,” “Die Hard,” “Alita: Battle Angel,” “American Pie,” “Madagascar,” and “Stuber.” So while this is basically a Warner Bros. streaming service, it is welcoming other distributors and outlets to join the party, which if you are going to have a variety of content like this, it kind of makes the $14.99/month price worthwhile. Disney+ is $6.99/month, which kind of makes sense as it only seems to be catering to particular demographics. If you are a fan of “Star Wars,” Marvel, Pixar, or if you have a kid, Disney+ is for you. But HBO is more on the side of Netflix where they have content for everybody, including some of the most adult media of all time. But if you want to put on say “Sesame Street” or “Adventure Time” or “Scooby-Doo” or “Happy Feet Two” for the kiddos, it’s good for that too.
Now for a few negatives, I will point out that a variety of platforms will be getting HBO Max including Chromecast, PS4, Xbox One, Apple TV, newer Samsung Smart TVs, as a YouTube TV addon, and so on. But of the range in platforms available for HBO Max viewing, two of them ARE NOT Amazon Fire and Roku. Keep in mind, the other HBO apps, specifically HBO Now and HBO Go are still availabe on these devices but HBO Max is not as there is currently no deal that will allow HBO Max onboard. I would also be willing to bet if there is ever a case where HBO Max does wind up on those platforms that it will go in HBO Now’s place given how the services are basically the same thing but one has more content. Also, I will point out that I get a lot of my media on my Sony Android 4K HDR television, which DOES get HBO Max, thankfully. But one of the things that I noticed that was missing at launch happened to be options for 4K. This sort of surprised me as a lot of the movies already on the service happen to be able on 4K elsewhere, including through physical media. Plus, while HBO does not necessarily have a 4K channel setup through regular television, they do have 4K content. A couple of seasons of “Game of Thrones” are available on 4K Blu-ray, and the same goes for “Westworld.” Going back to Disney+’s $6.99/month asking price, I will also point out that while the library is smaller and catering to a niche demographic, one of the pros of the service is that there’s plenty of 4K content available and there is no extra cost for it unlike services such as Netflix, in which you have to upgrade to their premium package if you have a lower tier. Maybe 4K will be a future implementation, but 4K TVs in general have been getting cheaper year after year so I figured HBO might want to start keeping up with these times a little bit. Again, as much as I think HBO Max will serve me well overtime, I see benefits to my physical media collection which I have spent years building. Yes, I can go watch “Wonder Woman” with the push of a button through HBO Max, but what if I want to watch it on 4K? Boom! I got the disc! That and I don’t need internet for it! Booyah! I will also point out, even though HBO Max has a variety of content that I am willing to watch, there’s a lot that I wish they had. Even though I already own it physically, I noticed that one of the key movies they were going to put on the service were those of the “Matrix” franchise. In fact, if you watch promos for HBO Max, you’d know that “The Matrix” was a core player in those promos. It’s kind of weird how it’s not on the service! The only “Matrix” property on HBO Max as of writing this is “Animatrix,” otherwise known as the one “Matrix” thing nobody talks about. It’s kind of bonkers!
Oh yeah, and I am looking forward to the Snyder Cut. If you asked me, I personally enjoyed the 2017 “Justice League” film more than most people and I will not deny that I had fun with it. But getting an alternate version of the film that may line up more with what the director could have originally put out does excite me. I wish it would also physically come out on Blu-ray and 4K as it would be nice to have on disc, but only time will tell.
I want to know, HBO Max just recently launched, but what are your thoughts on the service? Are you enjoying it so far? What have you watched on it? Why did you get HBO Max? To watch “Game of Thrones” again and be disappointed with the final season once more? To watch “Friends” in a time where you literally cannot hang out with friends? To watch real REAL CINEMA like “Casablanca” or “Citizen Kane?” Where does HBO Max rank for you in a world with seventy thousand streaming options available to buy? Let me know down below! Speaking of things down below, if you want to check out HBO Max for yourself and maybe sign up, go to the link below the paragraph!
Thanks for reading this post! Here’s a weird thing to talk about in a post about a brand new streaming service! Physical media! Coming soon, for my 400th post, I’m going to be providing an all new update on my Blu-ray collection, which will contain new movies, but the same movie reviewing moron talking about them all! I will be doing it in video form on my YouTube channel but I will also be talking about it on here and sharing the video for you all to watch. To check this out along with other great content, be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, maximize your time by liking my Facebook page, otherwise known as that thing you’ll be checking when you’re distracted from whatever you’re watching on HBO Max. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!
Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Never thought you’d see this again, did you? Well, I originally marketed the Top Movies of the 2010s countdowns as an event, so you know what? If I really want to give this the event treatment it deserves, let’s keep it going! This time, we are going to be focusing on the twenty-five films that I watched either with full attention, anticipation, or curiosity, and was flat-out let down in some way. It’s time for the disappointing 25! Before we go any further, this countdown is subjective. All these entries are based on my own experiences and opinions, and are therefore no way supposed to represent the thoughts and opinions of other individuals. Keep in mind, just because I think a certain movie is disappointing, doesn’t mean you have to agree. This world would be boring if that were the case. Although… I’ll take less fighting in the comment sections any day. Also, even though I have had lots of time during this period of isolation to go back and watch more films, I have not seen every single film that has come out during the 2010s. It’s too big of a task to handle. So movies that I’ve heard from others that were disappointing like “Battle Los Angeles,” “Terminator: Dark Fate,” and “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” do not qualify to be on the list. I will also add, if a movie is to be included on here, I must have watched it from beginning to end. So, as much as I could count a movie like “Frozen,” that’s not happening.
Also, keep in mind this is a list of the most DISAPPOINTING movies and it is not to be confused with the WORST movies. The worst movies are just movies that I flat out don’t like. Disappointing movies on the other hand are the movies that I have expectations for in some way and end up being let down. In fact, some of these entries are movies that I like. They just have qualities attached that make them underwhelming, or in some cases, just a plain bad movie. So with that being said, if you had high expectations for this countdown, prepare to hopefully not be let down! These are my top 25 DISAPPOINTING movies of the 2010s!
#25: The Aeronauts (2019)
Starting off this list is “The Aeronauts,” otherwise known as what was supposed to be Amazon’s first attempt at an IMAX run. Unfortunately, that never happened, and it makes the movie slightly more unwatchable the more I think about it. This is a movie that I would probably watch again, but there are scenes in it that are slower than others. There’s the main plot of the movie that involves two people on a hot air balloon, and there’s a sideplot on land. And when the movie takes place on land, it’s almost worth tuning out. Did I mention this movie is based on true events and yet the main characters are fundamentally changed? I like what this movie did with the aspect ratio, because whenever this movie took place up in the air, the picture stretches to fit a traditional TV screen, whereas when the movie is anywhere else, it’s in a scope aspect ratio. It reminds me of the vibe the movie is going for whenever it wants to be adventurous or just drop back to reality. The cinematography is not bad either. A lot of the framing is lovely to look at. Another reason why this is not higher on the list is because this is one of the few movies that I’ve seen that I can consider the end credits to be the best part. Why is that? Because while the credits don’t really have any special background compared to… say… what a lot of animated films have presented over the past number of years, they have what could be one of the best original songs I have EVER heard in a movie, titled “Home to You” by Sigrid. Not only does it completely fit the vibe of “The Aeronauts,” it’s just a good song. Honestly, once this world goes back to normal, and I don’t mean the new normal, I mean normal period, it might be the first song I play as a sigh of relief. Because I know it’s easy to stay home, but after all I’ve done all this time, the song would be a great reminder of the journey I have been through and whatever positivity could lie ahead. I don’t like a lot of modern music, so it REALLY says something that I am giving a thumbs up for a song like this. But if you do want to watch the movie, it’s free on Prime Video, see what you think.
#24: Coco (2017)
For the record, I like this film, but the reason why I am putting it on the list is probably because of the expectations I’ve had for it. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you “Coco.” Even though I constantly make fun of Disney for their greed and desire to dominate the world, Pixar is probably one of the best studios working today, because they always manage to put out quality content that not only makes money, but is fantastically made. “Coco” is yet another example of why Pixar might have the best looking modern animations. It is also another effective story in the Pixar collection of films, even if it does remind me of a better of a better film, specifically “Kubo and the Two Strings.” But the reason why this film is on the list to begin with is a similar reason why I found “Manchester by the Sea” to admittedly be somewhat disappointing. By the way, that movie is not on the list. I’d probably put it as an honorable mention though. One of the core elements of “Coco” that I’ve heard from viewers prior to seeing it is that it is emotionally charged. I expected something maybe towards the end that could get me to almost shed a tear. I did not really get any of that from my experience. I will also say that maybe I am not part of the target audience that would usually feel that. In fact, many of the people I know who happen to be related or close to me are still alive. My core grandparents on both sides have not passed away, and I feel lucky to have them in my life. If somebody I know, whether it be a friend or family member passes away, maybe this movie will hit me more the second time I watch it. And no, none of this disappointment has to do with the extended “Frozen” short film they presented in theaters prior to “Coco” as I only watched this movie at home on a 4K disc.
#23: Seventh Son (2014)
Out of all the movies on this list, “Seventh Son” is one of the few that I’ve had little attachment to before seeing it. I was into the marketing, and the fact that it had gotten an IMAX run also pleased me. Little did I know how short of a run it would have in theaters. In fact, I was pretty lucky that I got to see it at all, because I found a screening of it when I was in Florida, and that’s how I managed to check out this flick. Unlike the other two movies that I mentioned previously, “Seventh Son” made it onto my worst 25 list for this series, meaning that it is not just disappointing, it’s beyond terrible! In fact, I’ll mention something I uttered in the worst list, I went to see this movie with somebody else, and while the screen did have my attention the whole time, the same cannot be said for my partner, who at this point, I might as well apologize for taking to the movie because they fell asleep! “Seventh Son?” More like “Seventh Snore!” “Seventh Son” is honestly one of the worst fantasy movies I have seen in my life, but part of me wonders if part of it has more to do with my experience of watching the movie because I will admit that the sound in my theater could have been better. Maybe if the theater provided a more quality experience, I could have at least felt like I was watching something worthwhile. Does this invalidate the #23 spot on the list? Frankly, no. Because the movie from what I recall felt generic. And speaking of recalling things, recalling everything about this movie is harder than Minesweeper! Remember that game?
#22: Jupiter Ascending (2015)
Fun fact about this next movie, in regards to release dates in the United States, this next film came out the same weekend as the one I just talked about. What is this next film? “Jupiter Ascending!” That’s what it is! “Jupiter Ascending” is quite honestly a film that I was desperately looking forward to. I was very disappointed that it was delayed from its original July 2014 release date into February 2015. The trailers looked great, the effects were eye candy, and it looked like it would make for a fun theatrical experience. It had good actors attached like Mila Kunis (Family Guy, Ted) along with the directors behind “The Matrix,” AKA the Wachowskis, but this film becomes more disposable the more I think about it. While it was, admittedly, an AMAZING theater experience, watching it on a standard TV does not really provide the same effect. Because while the film has an awesome musical score and great visuals, the story and dialogue are not the finest at times. I would definitely watch this film again for the action scenes, but definitely not for any of the writing. Channing Tatum didn’t even promote this movie when it was coming out. It’s that bad! As for Jupiter Jones, she does not really do much to resemble a proper protagonist other than simply be the center of the film just… because. For someone who is such a core character in the film, it feels weird that she is in distress as much as she is. Again, the visuals are breathtaking, and I would watch this movie as part of a tech demo, but I’d rather watch the “Matrix” sequels again than whatever this is.
“I love dogs, I’ve always loved dogs.” -Jupiter Jones
Shut up, Meg.
#21: Suicide Squad (2016)
Much like “Jupiter Ascending,” “Suicide Squad” was a fun time at the movies, but a lackluster experience watching it at home. I will say though, having already watched this film at home, the only time I watched it at home was at the beginning of 2017 and I popped in the extended cut of the film. I didn’t really feel much of a difference in terms of content, but in regards to the main movie, I became angrier than I thought I would about it. While Viola Davis is a solid actress, her character, specifically Amanda Waller, is one that I did not really enjoy watching. I didn’t really approve of all her actions in the film and she just left a bad taste in my mouth. Harley Quinn steals the show due to Margot Robbie’s performance, making her a solid character. But unfortunately, when it comes to the main heroes, Quinn is almost the only one who happens to shine. Deadshot’s okay, Katana’s alright, Killer Croc… looks pretty cool. But if I were to tell you who my favorite character in “Suicide Squad” happened to be, I’d go straight to Harley Quinn because she was pretty much the only one who had any charisma. I will say, when it comes to The Joker, he was not that bad. Of the Jokers I’ve seen on screen, he’s definitely inferior to others, but he’s also not a travesty by any means. Jared Leto played the part well and when it comes to this universe, I’d say his portrayal worked fine. Although I do think the movie maybe could have been better if they’ve utilized him more. This is also one of those movies, again like “Jupiter Ascending,” that had fantastic marketing leading up to it. The early trailer for “Suicide Squad” with Bohemian Rhapsody playing in the background was worthy of two thumbs up and raised the bar of excitement for me. “Suicide Squad” to me is the worst of the Detective Comics Extended Universe films. At least it’s uphill from there with films like “Wonder Woman” and “Shazam!.”
#20: Grown Ups (2010)
I don’t have a magical crystal ball, so I cannot go back in time and see exactly how many people were looking forward to “Grown Ups” when it was coming out. While I did not go see this movie in the theater, it was one I was curious about. But as I watched it, it didn’t stick with me. Now, from what I’ve heard, when it comes to Adam Sandler movies, “Grown Ups” is not as bad as “Jack and Jill,” which I have not seen. But this is one of those movies that the more I think about it, isn’t really as funny as I would want it to be. When you have renowned comedians like Adam Sandler and Kevin James in the mix, I probably would want a little more. And this comes from someone who likes Sandler’s earlier movies like “Happy Gilmore” and “Big Daddy.” This also comes from someone who really enjoys “King of Queens,” the nine-season sitcom starring Kevin James. RIP Jerry Stiller. Arthur Spooner for life. These two comedians have provided some thumbs up-worthy content for me over the years, and it’s disappointing to see these two, along with other cast members such as Salma Hayek, in something like this. I will also point out, even though the sequel is probably not remembered as the greatest of all time, I honestly think I enjoyed “Grown Ups 2” more than the original. Feels weird to say that, but it’s true. I did catch the movie on TV a few times and it did catch my attention, but it’s not one I’ll always remember for its quality. At this point, I only remember one or two scenes being remotely comical and well executed, and it was fun to see Cape Cod on screen. I say that mainly because I was at the waterpark where they shot part of the movie almost around the same time when filming took place.
#19: Under the Skin (2013)
Kind of like “Coco,” I do have some respect for this movie. It has a likable lead actress, some of the music suits it very well, and the vibe is seemingly perfect. So when it comes to “Under the Skin,” I have to ask… What exactly went wrong? That is a tough question to answer. Because for one thing, there are positive aspects about this movie. It just however wasn’t enough to keep me entertained. It is a seductive, hypnotizing film, and it honestly goes on to reveal the proper acting chops of Scarlett Johansson. Although the more I reflect on the film, the less I remember. I remember scenes in the car, I remember all the trippy s*it, but can I describe it all in detail? Absolutely not. This is probably one of those films that I probably need to watch again to fully appreciate, but with so many other movies out there, I am going to have to debate on whether or not such a notion is a proper idea. And if you think I am one of those people who cannot watch a film that is “too slow,” ask me what I think about “2001: A Space Odyssey” and I’ll tell you that it is arguably in my top 5 sci-fi films of all time. At times I was bored during “Under the Skin,” there just wasn’t enough for me. And that’s really disappointing. The film has an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. It was nominated for a BAFTA! It was made by A24! It has the associations of what could mark the label of a solid movie. But it just wasn’t for me. But… Scarlett Johansson is dreamy, I’ll say that.
#18: New Year’s Eve (2011)
Before I saw this movie, I heard from others about how bad it was, but I went in with curiosity. I have not seen all of Garry Marshall’s holiday-themed movies, but they are not good, man. And “New Year’s Eve” is just a prime example of that! This movie takes a bunch of prominent actors who have perfected their craft and wastes all of them! Halle Berry is in this movie? You might as well be watching “Catwoman” at this point! Sofia Vergara showed up here? Just because she’s in an award-winning sitcom, doesn’t mean that will automatically make this movie good! Robert De Niro’s here?! Oh, the horror! There’s almost no redeemable, likable, or watchable scenes in this mess. Out of all the big holidays, New Year’s Eve is one of the few that I bend over for more than others. And honestly, this year, it’s gonna be pretty f*cking rad if you ask me, because I have never wanted to say goodbye to a year more. I’m just hoping we find a cure to COVID-19 by December, otherwise the ball drop would be just as boring as me dropping a ball from my hand to my bedroom floor. The problem with this movie is that there is no real center of the story to attach to. Yes, it’s called New Year’s Eve, and that’s what the movie is about, but it just doesn’t have one specific character that I can attach myself to more than any other. It’s kind of like “Dunkirk,” except that “Dunkirk” is a freaking awesome movie! “New Year’s Eve” is just a waste of time. And this comes from somebody who was really curious about this movie just from the title alone. I will also add, the scene where the ball actually drops is not even that great. Your movie is called New Year’s Eve, centers around the ball drop in Times Square, and you manage to f*ck that up out of everything! Unbelievable!
#17: Allegiant (2016)
If you ask me, I was never a huge fanatic when it comes to the young adult genre. If I had to pick what movies within the genre would have to be the best in regards to this previous decade, it would probably have to be “The Maze Runner,” although it doesn’t say much. One of the franchises that I thought had a lot of potential is “Divergent.” I went to see the first movie in the theater, enjoyed it. Saw the second one, liked that one even more. Then the dreaded third one, otherwise known as “Allegiant,” happened. Out of the three movies in this franchise, this one is easily the most forgettable. It had the worst box office total out of these movies, and it was also one that I will admit, was not the best in terms of marketing. When I saw marketing for the first movie in the franchise, “Divergent,” it felt badass, it felt raw in some ways. This however, just focused too much on the lovey dovey s*it. I didn’t really care about any of the characters, even though most of the actors give halfway serviceable performances. It’s not Oscar-worthy or anything, it just works. As for the visual effects, they feel like visual effects from 2007 that’s trying to gloss itself up for 2016 standards. It felt like everything was out of an overpolished Nintendo game! Even the people behind this movie must understand what exactly they’ve put out, because this movie we know today as “Allegiant” was once going to follow the footsteps of “Harry Potter” and “The Hunger Games” and get f*cking greddy by splitting the last film into two parts. For those of you who have read the “Divergent” books, which I have not done by the way if this adds anything to the table, “Allegiant” is the third and final installment to the franchise. Or, at least the original trilogy, because there is additional material afterwards. If you are wondering where that second part to “Allegiant” is, forget about it. It was supposed to go straight to TV, but it never got made! So this franchise remains unfinished! And don’t even get me started on how much they surprisingly succeeded on making Miles Teller the most annoying piece of s*it of all time. His character… Is something else. He’s honestly headache inducing, which is really sad as this movie truly does waste this actor who based on his performance in movies like “Whiplash,” has terrific chops. I may have alleged myself to the “Divergent” franchise at the beginning, but in the end, it crashed and burned. What else can I say?
#16: Sully (2016)
For the record, this is another movie that I honestly enjoyed. It is a film that I bought on Blu-ray and continue to own to this day, I just felt underwhelmed by it when I watched it. I’m talking about “Sully,” directed by Clint Eastwood, who honestly has not done his finest work in recent years, and this is just one example. There are essentials to a good flick here. Tom Hanks gives a solid performance, which should not be surprising at this point. Everything involving the plane crash had my attention. In fact, given how that is a major selling point of the movie, I applaud the crew for sticking the landing on that. No pun intended. Everything else in the movie is technically entertaining, but it doesn’t mean I was not almost bored with what was on screen. I think one of the main problems with this movie is that it starts with something that honestly feels kind of climactic, and as it goes, nothing really matches that or has that tremendous of an effect. A plane crash feels like something that would happen to symbolize an end of a movie rather than the beginning. But because everything else feels like it has the vibe of buildup when it is really what is supposed to come later, it just feels unfulfilling. I understood what was happening and the movie itself was competent, but it just did not give me an impact that felt happened to be gripping or enormous. The movie doesn’t crash land into disaster territory, it’s just not maybe as satisfying as I would have hoped.
#15: Flight (2012)
Speaking of movies with plane crashes that start out with perhaps the most climactic part of the movie, the next entry to the list is “Flight” starring Denzel Washington and directed by Robert Zemeckis. Honestly, even though I will forever credit Robert Zemeckis for directing the entire “Back to the Future” trilogy, I will also call him out because “Flight” might be his worst movie. And kind of like “Under the Skin,” this is a notion that I am disappointed to say, because this did get some awards buzz. And to be fair, the production value and acting is not that bad in this movie. I can see why Denzel Washington got an Oscar nomination. But this movie honestly bored me. I will admit, it has been years since I watched it. But all I remember is the plane crash and anything that happens after it is on a downward spiral in terms of pacing and enjoyability. I will say, I bought this movie on Blu-ray, and having paid $3.99 for it, I could have ended up with worse. At the same time, I expect more out of movie like this. Even though it did get a nomination for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards, it did not have my attention. Although it has been years since I popped it in my player and last watched it. Maybe it’s better the second time, but I don’t know for sure.
#14: The Revenant (2015)
Leonardo DiCaprio won his first Oscar for this movie… Which, yeah, he was great, even though I really wanted Matt Damon to win for “The Martian.” Just being honest. With that said, “The Revenant” is not as great as some make it out to be. Yes, it won Best Picture-Drama at the Golden Globes. It was nominated for get this, TWELVE Academy Awards! It had a pretty good trailer leading up to it. I really did have interest in this movie to get me to go see it in the theater. In fact, when I saw it in the theater, it was worth the price of admission because of how well presented it was. The cinematography is outstanding, which should not be surprising as it is directed and shot by the same duo who worked on “Birdman” together. “The Revenant” has some of best individual frames of the decade. The bear attack in this film was… alright, I guess. It was probably not as hyped up as I have heard from other people. At a runtime of two hours and thirty-six minutes, I kind of wish much of that runtime gave me something a little more epic. This movie is surprisingly slow at times. At times it works, but some of the time it doesn’t. I will admit, the effort put into the movie through performances by Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy plus the directing from Alejandro G. Iñárritu makes up for its faults. However, when it comes to movies nominated for Best Picture at the 88th Academy Awards, I’d rather go back and watch “The Martian,” I’d rather go back and watch “Room!” Those movies are killer, by the way!
#13: The Hunger Games (2012)
I was 12 years old and in middle school when this movie came out, and everyone in my classes DID. NOT. STOP. TALKING. ABOUT THIS FRANCHISE. I read the first book for the franchise and put it down, and while I enjoyed this movie the first time, it just got worse the more I thought about it. I’m talking about “The Hunger Games.” Now, was I looking forward to watching the movie based on “The Hunger Games” when it was coming out? Most likely. Because it was the big phenomenon of 2012. Thankfully, my cousin gave me the book to read. I didn’t even make it halfway. That should have been a sign of what was to come during the movie, which I nevertheless looked forward to. I was a little nervous going into the movie the first time I watched it because I didn’t finish the book (this was a couple months after I started reading it) and I probably had some sort of unfulfilled commitment. While I did enjoy the movie the first time I saw it, I watched it a couple more times and it really does not hold up. The dramatic portions of the film don’t feel as high as I’d want them to be, I don’t like the color grading at times, and some of the cinematography is not that great. Jennifer Lawrence is a likable actress. In fact, she’s in this movie with Stanley Tucci and Elizabeth Banks, who are also respectable names in the industry, but this film is dramatically overhyped. There was even a point where I wrote an entry specifically for my 25 worst films of the decade, but I did not use it mainly because I feel that this film is more overhyped than it is incompetent. In fact, I’ve used part of what I’ve written for that entry at the beginning of this specific entry. Want to know what I ended with? Well, here ya go!
I own the movie on Blu-ray, but perhaps the only reason why I still own it to this day is because a lot of my friends who have connected with me throughout my life know what “The Hunger Games” is, and if the opportunity strikes to just sit down and watch a movie, chances are they might choose that. Although I am not completely sure because knowing our disposable society, “The Hunger Games” was likely just a fad for the time being. I am honestly not even a fan of the franchise, I do like the second film, but I still have yet to see the third and fourth, and the reason is because I refuse to pay for two parts. Thanks a lot, Lionsgate!
#12: Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
“Ant-Man” is currently in my top 5 MCU films. When they announced a sequel to “Ant-Man,” I was pretty excited because the first one was a total surprise. I didn’t really expect much from it, I thought it had one good trailer, but I was not sure if that was going to translate to a great movie. However, it was brilliantly written, nicely weaved in one specific outside Marvel character, and Paul Rudd plays a really good “Ant-Man.” Now let’s jump to 2018. The first trailer for “Ant-Man and the Wasp” drops… Ehhhh… Then “Avengers: Infinity War” comes out, it’s my favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe movie yet, and then all of sudden, I’m excited for “Ant-Man and the Wasp” again. Then I saw the movie… The movie is not bad by any means, in fact, when it comes to 2018’s comic book movies, I’d rather watch this again than “Venom.” But “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is a massive step down from not just the recently mentioned “Avengers: Infinity War,” but also, and perhaps more importantly, the first “Ant-Man” film. The first “Ant-Man” was an exciting heist adventure with compelling characters and Paul Rudd at the center of it all. Here, Evangeline Lilly, who I happen to like as an actress, becomes more of a prominent character as she becomes The Wasp. Their chemistry is fine, but while the film is trying its hardest to be lighthearted fun, the stakes almost don’t even feel like they are there. And while this could be somewhat intentional due to “Avengers: Infinity War” probably being the biggest film Marvel has done in terms of stakes up to this point, it feels like a sacrifice as the film is fun, but nearly uneventful. Oddly enough, this film has what could be the most useless end credits scene in the history of the MCU, where a human-sized ant is playing the drums because… Paul Rudd did it in the movie, so it needs payoff for some reason. However, I will admit, this movie also has what could arguably be the best end credit scene in the MCU, where it basically teases where the movie’s characters are going to be and what they’ll be doing in “Avengers: Endgame.” In fact, I put up a tweet regarding the end credit scene shortly after going to see “Ant-Man and the Wasp” in the theater.
I love how the MCU is such a unique movie property trying to tie in so many characters and stories in at once, but when the main story is not as good as what comes after it, it’s kind of a weakness.
#11: Moonlight (2016)
Coming in at #11 is a movie that is probably going to piss a lot of people off, partially because it was not only nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, but it actually won it. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you “Moonlight.” The Best Picture? Of the Academy Awards? Are we sure it’s not “La La Land?” Now, I saw the movie after it won Best Picture, because it was still playing in theaters and I thought I’d give it a shot. While I did think the coming of age story was definitely watchable, I did not feel compelled the entire time. There’s one specific scene that I feel goes on for way too long, the movie starts out pretty solid, and while it continues to be pretty good, it’s on a downward slope in terms of quality. And I will admit, the movie is well made. The cinematography is beautiful. The color grading fits the tone quite well. The acting is top notch. Mahershala Ali earned his Oscar win for Best Supporting Actor. Also, it felt natural seeing Chiron’s character age, it did not feel like watching three different characters. Maybe I’m not in the right audience for this movie. I’m a straight white male. This movie deals with sexuality and identity, which are issues that I don’t struggle with. While can say I connected somewhat emotionally to the protagonist of the film, I cannot say I specifically embody the same traits as him. If you ask me, if the real Best Picture of 2016 was “La La Land” and that was not a mistake, I would approve, because I’d rather watch that movie again.
#10: Logan Lucky (2017)
Coming in at #10 is a film with a terrific cast, an acclaimed director, and a somewhat intriguing concept behind it. So, what went wrong? I don’t know! Nevertheless, “Logan Lucky” is probably one of the biggest drags of a film I have seen in recent memory. And it’s really sad to say that because this film has so many big names attached who are respectable in the industry, just from the cast alone! Channing Tatum! Adam Driver! Daniel Craig! Sebastian Stan! Seth MacFarlane for crying out loud! All these people are talented, but unfortunately, I could barely keep myself awake for whatever fresh hell this was. The funny thing about this movie, looking into the future, is that it is directed by Steven Soderbergh, who is known for films like “Ocean’s Eleven.” But what’s funny about that notion is that months later Soderbergh would come out with another movie by the name of “Unsane,” which by the way is free on Prime Video. Unlike “Logan Lucky,” which was beautifully photographed through a Red Epic Dragon camera, “Unsane” was shot primarily using an iPhone 7 Plus! Just goes to show that looks are not everything and without a good story, your movie is probably not going to be all that watchable. It was hard for me to connect with anybody, and it’s just as dull as watching paint dry. That’s even with the utterly wacky Daniel Craig performance somewhere in the mix! Kind of crazy if you ask me!
#9: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014)
One of my most nostalgic films is 2006’s “Night at the Museum,” it was one of the first films I have seen in the theater, and to this day, it is one of the more experiential films I have seen. As a comedy, it’s fun for all ages. It’s sequel, “Battle of the Smithsonian,” could arguably be better than the original due to Hank Azaria’s performance as Kahmunrah, and a good of number of the gags. I don’t know how many people would agree with me, but that’s just how I feel. “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” however is a film that quite honestly did not hit me the way I wanted it to. While I will say that the trailer for the film is not the finest in the world, I was still stoked because I love the property. Ben Stiller as Larry Daley is one of the better roles I’ve seen him in. The plot of “Secret of the Tomb” talks a good game, because it does that traditional sequel thing where you supposedly have to go bigger than the previous films. The first film took place entirely in New York. The second one expanded to Washington DC. As for this one, it’s out of the United States. Bigger doesn’t always mean better. And yes, much like the other two “Night at the Museum” films, this one has comedy that lands. There’s a great bit where the character Lancelot comes across a play of “Camelot” featuring Hugh Jackman and Alice Eve. Jedediah and Octavius spend some time on mini Pompeii before the volcano explodes. The movie does have some creative elements intact and some enjoyable aspects tied into it. But I’d rather go back and watch the first and second movies again. Oh, and Rebel Wilson is in this film too… Why is she here? Who invited her to this sham of a party?
#8: Transcendence (2014)
There are particular facts that you have to carry with you all your life. The only things that are certain happen to be death and taxes. In the event of a tornado, driving into a tornado is not the smartest idea to keep yourself safe. Also, “Transcendence” is f*cking boring! Johnny Depp is an enigma of an actor, because over the years, despite being credited with some solid performances, he’s had a good amount of bad days at the office. Maybe because he got too attached to Tim Burton for all I know. Out of all the bad days at the office, this is probably the one where the TPS reports make you want to break your computer. “Transcendence” is one of those movies that has a cool concept, but is executed in such a poor manner. The trailers leading up to “Transcendence” were attention-grabbing and seemed to promise something worth watching. While I did miss “Transcendence” in the theater, I bought the DVD and it’s safe to say that it is one of the least worthwhile purchases I’ve made in my life. I’ve popped the movie in once or twice and fell asleep. The time I did watch the film and I actually managed to make it through the whole thing, sleeping probably felt like the best option as this movie was a complete borefest and a trainwreck. I could barely tell you anything that happens in this movie past the second half. All I remember is that it takes place in a desert, things go crazy, and no semblance of quality exists. Plus, this movie is directed by Wally Pfister, the cinematographer of “The Dark Knight.” While this is his directorial debut, it is very disappointing to know that even after doing a few movies alongside Christopher Nolan, he cannot whip up a quality product himself. Nobody could save this movie! Not Johnny Depp! Not Rebecca Hall! Not Paul Bettany! Not Cillian Murphy! As for the screenplay written by Jack Paigen, it’s got the pacing of a turtle! Believe it or not, this is his first screenplay he’s officially credited for, so maybe I’m being a little harsh, but it’s not always the best indicator of fine art when you have this $100 million movie and both the screenwriter and director have never been credited for anything in this spectrum of their craft! GAH! …At least Pfister will forever have my respect for being the first cinematographer to shoot a major Hollywood movie with an IMAX camera, so there’s that.
#7: Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018)
“Pacific Rim” is a fun movie. It has the concept of “Power Rangers” and blends it excellently with the vibe of “Transformers.” I saw the film in IMAX, enjoyed it, and eventually got the 4K Blu-ray for Christmas, so I have fond memories of this film. Oh, wait did I say “Pacific Rim?” I’m sorry! That’s the good one! “Pacific Rim: Uprising” on the other hand is a total bitch of a movie! This is yet another movie that I was looking forward to simply from the concept, but what really got me onboard was the first trailer for it. Just like the first movie, it looked like it was trying to pack in as much fun as possible. And with a mega-star like John Boyega at the forefront, it must have been a recipe for excellence! Fun fact… This movie takes place ten years after the point where the original leaves off. Here’s another fun fact, it nearly feels as if it takes about ten years to get through this stinkin’ mess! Unlike the first “Pacific Rim” directed by Academy Award winner Guillermo del Toro, which had tons of soul put into it, this film was directed by Steven S. DeKnight, who has never directed a film prior to “Pacific Rim: Uprising.” He’s done TV shows like “Daredevil” and “Smallville,” but when it comes to films, this is his debut. “Pacific Rim: Uprising” honestly feels more like a movie that was a studio plot to start a franchise than anything else. Aside from that, Charlie Day’s character may be more annoying than Flo from Progressive trying to change every conversation at a party to be about insurance! “Pacific Rim: Uprising” reminds me a lot of “Independence Day: Resurgence,” which was a sequel that was perhaps more long-awaited, although maybe less wanted at the same time, but both movies make massive time jumps, yet cannot help but force reflections that tie into their original counterparts. Where did all my IQ points go? Guess a Kaiju destroyed all of them! That’s the only solution I can come up with at this point!
#6: Shrek Forever After (2010)
Coming in at #6, is the worst animated movie on this list, “Shrek Forever After!” Now “Shrek Forever After” is marketed as the fourth and final chapter in the “Shrek” franchise, that is unless you count the 2011 spinoff “Puss in Boots,” which is a pretty good movie. As for this one, it’s kind of like that TV show that your friend tells you to watch. It’s that show where your friend warns you, “The first couple seasons are good, but don’t watch the final one!” Although, “Shrek the Third” was not that well received either technically speaking, but I find that movie to be more watchable than this. It has been years since I watched “Shrek Forever After,” but I still remember being let down. When you market your movie as the final chapter, there has to be something that puts a bow on the franchise that makes the finale grand. This, honestly just didn’t work. And the ending, if you ask me, is rushed and barely even counts as climactic. The first couple of “Shrek” films had better endings than this travesty! Especially “Shrek 2,” which may have put have put out a cover song of Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out For A Hero” that might be twice as good as the original! The concept is interesting, seeing Shrek wanting to return to his roots at times was quite entertaining. But in a franchise full of happily ever afters, this movie is the one that brought me at the closest point to becoming an ogre than any other.
#5: The Favourite (2018)
Between massive awards potential, a stunning cast, and an acclaimed filmmaker, “The Favourite” may have had a formula for success. Guess what? It succeeded! …At failing to impress me. Given how this film was getting tons of awards buzz, I figured I’d give it a shot at the cinema. However, this movie tied me to a horse and dragged me across grass for a couple hours! It’s boring, it’s nearly feels pretentious, it’s horribly paced, and I couldn’t stop wondering when it would actually end. If you ask me, the performances are fine. Olivia Colman is alright, I wouldn’t say she was my pick to win an Oscar, in fact of the nominees listed for that specific ceremony, I probably would have picked Lady Gaga for “A Star is Born,” but that’s just me. Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz are also competent as their own characters. Technically speaking, “The Favourite” is a solid movie with detailed set design, gorgeous framing, well put-together costumes, and a somewhat neat score. Story-wise however, while I was compelled at times, it did not do much to leave me satisfied. As the movie went on, I began to tune out, just being honest. For a movie called “The Favourite,” it’s really ironic how this turned out to be one of my least favorite films of 2018. It nearly made it into my honorable mentions on my worst list for that year! This is also yet another example kind of like “Jupiter Ascending,” of how a movie can look visually appealing, but fail to deliver on the story. This movie nearly touches the two hour mark, but if you ask me, I think based on my experience, it felt like three hours! It’s a drag!
#4: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Coming in at #4 is “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2!” The original “Guardians of the Galaxy” is a FUN movie. It has comedy! It has a killer soundtrack! It has a likable group of characters from Starlord to Gamora to Rocket! When it comes to 2014, it might as well have been the movie of the summer, as it became the year’s highest grossing superhero film, not to mention the year’s third highest grossing film period. Since this was a big box office hit, a sequel was perhaps inevitable. And when the first main trailer came out, I was hyped, because much like the first film, the comedy stood out. There was one joke that was shown at the end that introduces Mantis that made me switch between the mood of simply checking the movie out “because, why not,” to “absolutely needing to see it now.” Aside from “Wonder Woman,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” was my most anticipated film of 2017. But when I saw it with 500 other people, I wondered if I was on drugs, or if everyone else was on drugs. I say so because the audience I was with pretty much laughed at every joke that came up, but I on the other hand remained silent for perhaps most of the film. And honestly, Baby Groot sucks. Even though inserting Baby Groot is technically appropriate for picking up where the Guardians left off, it almost feels something as simple as a ploy to get people to buy more toys. Now I understand that Marvel movies are expensive, it costs a lot to make them, but still! I didn’t find him cute, I didn’t find him that charming, maybe I’m just a horrible person! It feels like there are too many scenes in the film where the characters are doing something and Groot just is shoved in there because… Baby Groot’s gotta Baby Groot! I will admit, when I first saw this movie, it was at a sold out IMAX and I was in the front row, so I was not in the best mood. But if you must know, I did see it again on a separate occasion. I laughed more, but I also remembered how much I didn’t like Baby Groot, and how much of a step down this was compared to its original counterpart. Even though there is an argument to make that the original “Guardians of the Galaxy” is slightly overrated, it lives up to the hype. It’s hilarious, fun, and visually stunning. Sure, some of the fun is there in “Vol. 2,” but the comedy feels absent! The effects and shots in “Vol. 2” however are some of the finest I’ve witnessed in the MCU, so I’ll give credit where it’s due. I have respect for James Gunn, because he’s kind of a wacky director, and this does feel like a personal movie from his end, but in some ways, the movie failed to hit me. Sure, it had a great villain, which at some points, is rather odd to say in regards to the MCU, but it’s true! Still, if it were a Friday night and I had some friends around, I’d probably pop in the first film as opposed to its sequel.
#3: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Speaking of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one of the most anticipated films of 2015 for me was “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Now… Is it fun? Yes. Is it action-packed? Absolutely. …But it’s “The Avengers,” man! The freaking “Avengers” of all the heroes! Why is it that apparently “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” are some of the most solid films in phase 2 of the MCU and “Age of Ultron” is nearly the worst? Heck, even “Ant-Man,” which was the much smaller (in a literal sense) MCU installment to come out in 2015, is twice as good! I will say that this film is better than “Thor: The Dark World,” but when it comes to the MCU, that film is not hard to beat. This was a film that I felt an enormous need to see opening weekend. Every trailer captivated me and made me want to go see it. Joss Whedon, who did a solid job with the first “Avengers” film in 2012, is back in the chair again. The movie almost looked like it could be pretty dark as Robert Downey Jr.’s character of Tony Stark seemed to be going on a bit of a downward spiral from what I have seen in marketing. The trailers always caught my attention and promised something absolutely special. But instead, I got mediocrity shoved right in my face. Ultron is a slightly charismatic villain, but again, in Marvel’s first couple of phases, the villains did not always stand out. Also, you know how a lot of blockbusters are often defined as explosive popcorn movies? “Avengers: Age of Ultron” not only fits that bracket quite well, but to my surprise, it focuses way too much on being stylistic than effectively dramatic. It almost feels like Zack Snyder or Michael Bay could have directed this film at times. There are positives to it. It’s got funny at moments here and there. Some of the hero characters stand out, which they should. There’s a great gag involving mjolnir, AKA Thor’s hammer, and this also features one of the better Stan Lee cameos. Surprisingly, if you ask me what my thoughts are on the moments between Hulk and Black Widow, those did not annoy me as much as other people. In fact, “Age of Ultron” did little to annoy me, but I figured in a sequel as big and as highly anticipated as this, it could have lived up to a higher standard. I say this specifically not just regarding “Avengers,” but perhaps all Marvel movies, “Age of Ultron” has one of the weaker climaxes. While it is fun to look at, it doesn’t feel like there’s more to it than eye candy. This movie just feels like an excuse for Disney/Marvel to throw $365 million out the window. Which, in the end, probably wasn’t the worst idea as this movie joined the billion dollar club. Although I will admit, even though I think Joss Whedon, alongside everyone else involved, did a better job with the original “Avengers” movie, I do feel bad for some of the harsh feedback he got, because it’s a major factor that got the famous director to quit Twitter. Nevertheless, “Age of Ultron” is not only the worst “Avengers” movie, it is almost the worst movie of the MCU’s phase 2.
#2: Midsommar (2019)
These last two movies on the list are from 2019, which makes me even more satisfied that the year ended with a ton of solid movies from “Parasite” to “Ford v Ferrari” to “Knives Out” to “Uncut Gems.” In the middle of the year, specifically, July, my most anticipated film of the summer came out. While I did wait a month to see it and happened to be rather giddy when I finally got my chance, it was not even close to worthwhile! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the runner-up of the disappointing list, “Midsommar!” This is a disappointment if there ever was one. “Hereditary” is probably one of the best directorial debuts in recent memory. Ari Aster made me believe that he had a very bright future ahead… Then we got “Midsommar.” Leading up to this film, “Midsommar” was described by Ari Aster himself to be “a ‘Wizard of Oz’ for perverts.” Having seen the film, it’s not that! “The Wizard of Oz” is a story that takes place in a magical and mystical land! It’s all happy and colorful! Here, it tries to be colorful, it tries to be quirky, but it is perhaps almost the most annoying movie I have ever seen. While the cinematography is beautiful and the directing job from Aster is worthy of a thumbs up, the movie itself pisses me off to no end. Even though Florence Pugh is a likable actress, I cannot say that her character is as likable or charming as her. She honestly probably gives what could be the weirdest and one of the most unreal cries I have heard in a movie. If anybody has seen the first few minutes of “Midsommar” and remembers the cry that Florence Pugh gives, do you cry like that? Do you know anyone who cries like that? I don’t, personally. It’s a thing that I’ve noticed from Ari Aster, because I remember there was a scene from “Midsommar” where I noticed some weird crying as well. If anybody really does cry like this, I want to know because I may be keeping my head in somebody’s ass here, but… I just don’t have much experience hearing cries like the ones from Ari Aster’s films. As if Florence Pugh didn’t play a fine character, the supporting characters are also nearly unwatchable. Most specifically, Florence Pugh’s so-called friends. There was almost nobody I really rooted for in the film. And while this film tries to be pretty scary, it fails. Again, it’s more annoying than anything else! Even the delightfully strange moments don’t make up for its faults! Maybe if I had less anticipation for this film, it would either not make the list or be somewhere on it that’s lower. But again, this was one of my most anticipated films in regards to the summer of 2019. What was the most anticipated? Not sure. Could have been this, maybe “Ready or Not.” Because that had a kick-ass trailer! To add more disappointment, this opened around the same time as “Spider-Man: Far from Home,” which even though Spidey is my favorite superhero, the trailers for “Far from Home” were pretty terrible. Between an underwhelming first trailer, and unexpectedly dropping massive spoilers for “Avengers: Endgame” in a later trailer, it left a bad taste in my mouth. “Midsommar” was a film that felt like a pretty unique experience. Plus, it’s from A24, which is a studio I often respect. They helped put out some of my favorite movies from the past decade including “Room,” “The Disaster Artist,” and “Eighth Grade.” “Midsommar” is in competition with “The Witch” to perhaps be my least favorite A24 film. It’s kind of sad if you ask me. Again, this film is not scary. And I know some people have probably pointed out how “gross” it is. I never really found it to be disgusting or gross. I just found it to be an annoyance.
But you know what the sad part is? It’s not the most disappointing film of the decade! Not even the most disappointing of 2019 as a matter of fact! This past year came so close to being a lackluster year for film.
Alright, we’ve made it! #1! What could it be? Well, here’s some things I’ll say! This movie, as mentioned, came out in 2019. It’s a movie that has been featured on Top 10 WORST Movies of 2019, and in regards to this series, I put it in THE WORST 25 countdown. What is it exactly? Well, it’s not “The Aeronauts.” That did not make it on my top 10 worst, and it’s already #25 here. It’s not “Midsommar,” I just talked about that. It’s not “IT: Chapter Two,” it’s not “Serenity,” it’s not “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” it’s not “Dora and the Lost City of Gold,” and it’s DEFINITELY not “Cats” as I had no expectations going into it. My #1 most disappointing film of the 2010s is… FEATURED IN THE CLIP BELOW!
Oh my God. Zilla. I’ve said that before, but that saying has never made more sense than it does right now. Because my #1 most disappointing film of the 2010s is “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” I am not the biggest “Godzilla” fanatic, but even I was uber-excited for this movie. At 2018’s San Diego Comic-Con, they dropped the first trailer for this film and it pumped me up like a balloon! Aside from having stunning visuals and some cool monster action, it had a BEAUTIFUL redo of “Clair de Lune” playing in the background. But little did I know at the time, that distracted me from the reality that this movie was visually beautiful, but as a story, it is a complete wreck! Nearly none of the original human characters make a return. Instead, we get new characters played by some well-known actors including Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, Thomas Middleditch, and Charles Dance. All of these actors have experience and are culturally respected. Just because this movie has big names, does not mean it’ll be a big success. In fact, it’s a monster-sized failure! Even though it made about double it’s budget, it’s still a disappointment after raking in $386 million worldwide. The movie made less money than its predecessor from 2014, simply titled “Godzilla,” which took in $529 million worldwide against a slightly smaller budget than this dreaded sequel. Why did this movie fail? It’s hard to come up with one simple answer. It’s one of those movies, probably like “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” that did not sit well with critics, but for casual moviegoers and people who are simply fans of “Godzilla,” it was worth watching. After all, the audience score for “King of the Monsters” is 83%, nearly double of the critic score, which sits at 42%. Maybe the low critic score influenced the audience’s thinking patterns. But then again, “Aladdin” came out the week before, so maybe people were still into that.
When I come across a good number of positive thoughts for “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” they sometimes have one thing in common. People sometimes point out that in terms of characters, this movie is lackluster, and despite that, they still give it a positive score. Some would say that monsters fighting each other is entertaining enough. With that being said, I will admit one of the slight positives of “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” is that the monster fighting is expanded in this movie, but it’s also a negative because even though it was minimal in 2014’s “Godzilla,” it nevertheless felt special. In “King of the Monsters,” some of the camerawork during the fights is nothing to write home about, although some scenes are better than others. As for characterization, this is just like the “Transformers” movies where even though there are alternate subjects in the title, the movie chooses to focus primarily on disposable and one-dimensional human characters. They’re poorly written, they’re poorly realized, even though the actors do what they can with them. Even though an actress like Millie Bobby Brown was somewhat wasted in this film, she gave it her all, which is probably a sign that she is going to have a bright future that involves a lot more than “Godzilla” and “Stranger Things.” I have come to a point in my movie watching journey where I require more than flat characters and all pretty visuals. This is “Jupiter Ascending” all over again!
Speaking of these pretty visuals, even getting to say that they are pretty in the first place is kind of sad. Because there is a sign that people put some effort into this movie. In fact, I imagine everyone across the board did all they can to make the finest movie possible, but for some reason, when it was trying to stick the landing, it plummeted as hard as s*it! This is one of the few movies that from a visual and audio perspective, made me nearly leave the theater with a headache. I like obnoxious films that are incredibly immersive, but there was so much going on at once! It felt like I was at a concert where three bands where competing to see which one can get the crowd roaring the loudest! This movie honestly feels like that “Family Guy” cutaway where The Emperor from “Star Wars” is speaking through the formula for great dialogue in the franchise. Specifically, he says “Something something something dark side. Something something something complete.” While “Godzilla” is not “Star Wars,” replace “dark side” with “monsters,” and “complete” with “fight in Boston,” you have “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” Yes, it does have a standout story involving a major motivation from Vera Farmiga’s character, but again, all these characters feel incredibly disposable. I mean no harm, and people are allowed to like what they like, I don’t know how all the viewers who like “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” can get past the underwhelming characters who are played by big name actors, but have to deal with a s*itty ass script! It’s cheesy, boring, and forgettable! I can have fun with a big budget blockbuster, just not this one!
To add to the disappointment, this movie could have some unfortunate ramifications going forward. After all, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” is the third installment to the current Warner Bros. Monsterverse, which currently features prime titans Godzilla and King Kong. In fact, both titans are supposed to duke it out against each other in a future film that is supposedly coming out this year. The more I hear about that film, or more specifically, what little I even hear about that film, the less I manage to look forward to it. But when it comes to what could happen to it regarding “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” the poor box office total of that film could be a bad sign of what’s to come. Plus, it’s been a few years since people have seen “Kong: Skull Island,” which to be fair, was a success. “Godzilla vs. Kong” could although continue a trend of box office disappointment as it is part of a universe that might as well be shrinking in terms of relevance. One of the reasons why the Marvel Cinematic Universe is still working today is because they’re constantly cranking out films. It took a couple years between one “Iron Man” or “Avengers” film to get to the next one. Plus, in between those sorts of properties, we get other characters getting movies including Thor and Captain America. “Godzilla” took its time, and maybe was on less people’s minds. Plus, given the quality of “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” it sort of hit me in a way that made me less excited for what’s to come. Going back to Marvel, “Avengers: Infinity War” made me excited for future movies including “Ant-Man and the Wasp” and the then untitled “Avengers: Endgame.” A bad movie can do more than just leave a bad taste in the mouth. It can leave an aftertaste that might stick for years. This aftertaste makes me look into the future and ultimately feel a tad pessimistic.
As for what that future looks like specifically, it looks like everyone might not be learning from their mistakes. After all, Eiza Gonzalez, who is set to star alongside Millie Bobby Brown as a couple human characters in “Godzilla vs. Kong,” was intereviewed in March while promoting the all-new Vin Diesel film, “Bloodshot.” She said the following during an interview for The Hollywood Reporter…
“Yeah, everything’s been done. These movies take a long time because there’s a lot of CGI in them. But, yeah, we’ve done everything, and they’re just going through and creating these incredible characters. I’m just really excited to see it because it’s these two worlds colliding. The fan base for “Godzilla vs. Kong” is incredible. When I say I’m in the movie, people are like, “Oh my God.” Seeing that fanaticism and seeing how excited they are to see this movie makes me really excited; I think they’re going to be really happy. [Director] Adam Wingard is so talented. Both stories are going parallel, as you’ll see, without giving anything away. It’s a large cast as well, and it was really fun to be part of it. There’s so much going on, but the heart of it is two young girls as well, which is such a positive message for society nowadays. It’s just incredible.” -Eiza Gonzalez
So unless these two young girls are Godzilla vs. Kong bitchin’ it out against each other, I would imagine it involves Millie Bobby Brown and perhaps a character played by Gonzalez herself. Since this movie chooses to focus on humans again, I really hope there is a sense of strong effort put into the script. Because the last one made me want to go out and topple some skyscrapers!
Also, as someone who lives near Boston, this movie is an insult.
Thanks for reading this countdown! Kind of like the previous lists I’ve done in the Top Movies of the 2010s series, this could easily change as it does span an entire decade as opposed to an entire year. In fact, now that I’m in isolation, I have all the time in the world to watch more movies from the 2010s, so who knows? All these picks may be outdated in a month or two. However, if you are interested in seeing more of Top Movies of the 2010s, feel free to check out my other lists titled THE BEST 25 and THE WORST 25. Now that content becoming harder to make in these times, I am thinking of doing more of these. Maybe I’ll also do more than top 25s. Maybe I’ll go short and do top 11s or top 15s, or if I really want to cover such a massive topic, I’ll go for top 50 or top 100. I’ll have to think of a topic that can truly fit a hundred films if that’s the case, but it’s still a thought that I have. If you want to see more great content from Scene Before, follow this blog via an email or WordPress account! Also, be sure to check out my Facebook page if you are interested, I post content updates, random thoughts, and if you don’t want to follow the actual Scene Before blog, I also automatically post new content from Scene Before onto the page if you would like to check it out. But it’s your world and I just live in it! I want to know, what are your most disappointing movies of the 2010s? Is there a title I missed? Or, what other countdowns would you like to see come to life in the Top Movies of the 2010s series? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!
Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! It is now time for part 5 of the Scene Before series “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes.” This series describes the recent happenings, or in some cases, a lack of happenings, in the film industry as the world deals with the COVID-19 outbreak.
Per usual, real world matters first! Because life sucks! The United Kingdom is currently in a bit of trouble as evidenced from actions taken this past Thursday. Britain has confirmed they have extended their countrywide lockdown for a total of three more weeks. This was announced by foreign secretary Dominic Raab, who is taking on responsibilities in place of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was previously announced to have a positive case of COVID-19. With this extension, the country’s lockdown is likely going to last until the second week of May unless things change.
For the record, a good number of people in my country, specifically the United States, often point out that the economy is likely to collapse should we keep these restrictions going for any longer. One take that I found interesting mainly because I don’t hear it all that much, is the one given by the recently mentioned Dominic Raab. He suggests the opposite and thinks if we loosen these restrictions, the economy is going to go to hell. After all, since there’s always a chance of a second outbreak, there’s always a chance of a second economic downfall.
Although here in America, people clearly want the economy opened back up, including medical expert Anthony Fauci. The well-known director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was on the Snapchat show “Good Luck America,” which discusses the role young people have in spreading the virus. He explained on the show that he’s likely missing baseball season as he suggests, “I’m living in Washington, we have the world champion Washington Nationals. I want to see them play again.” He also thinks that sporting events like baseball and football could happen should there be a lack of an audience in stadiums.
President Donald J. Trump, who Fauci has been seen alongside for much of this crisis through cameras, wants the economy opened back up by May 1st, as I mentioned in part 4. As of suggesting that notion, certain states have declared the idea of opening back up on said day like Trump is opting for. One notable state is Ohio, which much like much of America, is planning to follow phases as to what exactly will open at supposed times. Restaurants may be more essential than bars, and bars may be more essential than football stadiums.
Speaking of U.S. states, one of the most talked about states in general regarding this crisis, has been New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose brother is a CNN reporter who has been tested positive for COVID-19, has been a significant voice in not only trying to pull his state into the right direction, but for the rest of the country as everybody deals with this. Although another voice that New Yorkers heard last week was former presidential candidate and current New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, who had some unfortunate news for the state. De Blasio suggested that all major gatherings for the month of May have been canceled except for certain events like farmers’ markets. So if you are expecting to attend a “Last Week Tonight” taping this May, sorry to say, you’re gonna have to continue staring at John Oliver in front of a white void.
Well, at least he got the rat painting he’s been searching a month to find.
Fun fact, when this whole crisis initiated, I was in Florida, which may be one of the worst hit states when it comes to this mess. For the record, Florida does not have the most cases for the virus, in fact none of them hold a candle to New York. In fact, my state, Massachusetts, has more cases to my surprise! But when it comes to properly closing everything in the state, those ends have not been met. In fact, Governor Rick DeSantis just opened a crucial element to what makes Florida Florida, the beaches. I should note that not all beaches have been opened, and they are NOT open for the purposes of bringing blankets, chairs, and coolers. They are specifically open for exercise-related purposes, plus taking care of pets. Individuals are still supposed to keep their distance from others and avoid gatherings of 50 people. Many of south Florida’s beaches, such as those in Miami, continue to remain closed, but if you live in Duval County (Jacksonville), there’s a good chance that you can find an open beach near you.
The beaches managed to receive a major turnout. However, not everyone is happy, as partially evidenced by the reaction that surfaced on social media. One of the top trending topics of the past weekend is #FloridaMorons. Here’s some of the tweets that surfaced.
I live in Florida and I don't want to die!
Yesterday we had the highest number of new cases of COVID-19, and what does GOP Governor DeSantis do? He opens beaches!
I just don't want to die. I don't want my friends or family to die! Is that too much to ask for GOP?#FloridaMorons
Now that we are done with our continuously depressing and ridiculous reality, let’s move onto movie topics. This first part is not a main topic since it may not have as much relevance as others, but I do feel it needs to be talked about. One of the topics I discussed last week is “Parasite’s” Hulu debut. Now Hulu has been a pretty popular streaming service that has been relevant for a few years. In fact, now that Disney oversees them, they are included in a bundle package with their other streaming services including Disney+ and ESPN+. But for a streaming service overseen by a company that does not make many independent features, “Parasite” has earned an ASTOUNDING success on the service so far. The movie dropped on Hulu Wednesday April 8th, where from then on, it was not long before the film immediately became the most streamed foreign or independent feature on the service in just a week. According to IndieWire, the film is also the second most watched film on the platform of all time. This beats the likes of mega-titles such as “Transformers: The Last Knight,” “A Quiet Place,” and “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.” Given the film’s Korean background, how Hulu does not even serve Korea, plus the necessity for non-Korean viewers to read subtitles, it should come as a surprise that “Parasite” is as popular as it is on Hulu. Although keep in mind, the film has already been a critical success in the states, not only having major buzz from reviews, but tons of award wins as well, including the Academy’s Best Picture, which no international feature has received prior to “Parasite.” The film has made over $50 million at the U.S. box office, indicating success. So either everybody wanted a chance to watch the film again, or there’s a possibility that a majority of Hulu users missed out on the theater experience but now have an opportunity to watch at home.
Speaking of theater experiences and watching something at home, Lionsgate is trying to recreate the communal theater atmosphere while keeping movie watchers on their couch. One of the best parts of going to the movies sometimes is the reactions people can blurt out during a presentation. If you have seen the last two “Avengers” movies, you’d understand. Lionsgate is attempting to get people together to react to their favorite movies without hearing anybody else and with the intention of keeping viewers behind closed doors.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIONSGATE MOVIES ON YOUTUBE
Throughout the series, I have often touched upon the goings on behind some of the bigger studios. Disney and Universal have shuttered theme parks, delayed films, and have decided to put some of their films like “Artemis Fowl” and “Trolls: World Tour” straight to a digital streaming service. Paramount delayed a ton of films, but some of their classics will be airing on CBS soon. Warner Bros. has stated in the past about its optimism to release “Tenet” in theaters on time, all the while delaying big films like “Wonder Woman 1984.” But one of the major studios I have not talked about all that much yet in this series is Lionsgate. While they don’t have the franchise power that a company like Disney has, they do possess the rights to iconic properties including “The Hunger Games” and “John Wick,” which are relevant to this topic.
Recently, specifically Friday April 17th, Lionsgate teamed up with Fandango, YouTube, and NATO (National Association of Theatre Owners) to get people to watch “The Hunger Games” on YouTube for free. This is part of an event called “Lionsgate Live! A Night at the Movies.” These are movie night events hosted by Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween, Scream Queens), will feature celebrity guests, special programming, and opportunities for fans to interact via YouTube live. While the odds of watching “The Hunger Games” on one of these Fridays will no longer be ever in your favor, there are still a few movies listed for this special occasion. These include…
DIRTY DANCING (APRIL 24)
LA LA LAND (MAY 1)
JOHN WICK (MAY 8)
Just a reminder, if you want to watch “John Wick” during this occasion on YouTube, there is an age restriction. For the record, “John Wick” is rated R whereas the other films listed are rated PG-13. So if you want to watch your fan favorites with OTHER PEOPLE, I never thought I’d say that ever again! go to the Movieclips YouTube channel, check to see if one of the movies is playing or will be playing, and enjoy! This event will benefit the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, a foundation dedicated to helping workers within the motion picture industry. This even includes the many theater employees affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Even companies behind food are getting in on this, which does make sense as cinemas and food go together like bread and butt–, sorry. Popcorn and butter. I don’t always agree with that statement, my apologies to all popcorn eaters who butter on their popcorn at the movies, but still, it makes sense here. So feel free to amuse yourselves over my forced statement all damn day.
Popcornopolis, which judging by the name, you can probably tell makes popcorn, will be donating 10% of its sales to the cause. Meanwhile, SnackNation, typically known for being a healthy snack delivery service for offices and homes, will be giving away a specially priced box of goodies for these movie nights. The box will include fruity candy, chips, puffs, popcorn, and more. The box is priced at $9.95 and shipping is free. So if you are tired of going to Target to get some Sour Patch Kids while also buying tons of toilet paper, give this snack box a shot, and if you don’t use it for one of these movie nights, it could always work for something else you pop on at home. “Tiger King” is pretty hip right now, why not give that a shot? If you wanted to get some grub from SnackNation for “Dirty Dancing,” there is a solid chance that you might not get it on time. But if you wanted something for “La La Land” or “John Wick,” by all means place your order!
Also in on this are major movie theater chains including AMC Theatres (Please make it through this!), Regal Entertainment Group, and Cinemark Theatres.
SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON CANCELLED FOR FIRST TIME EVER
Alright, my fellow nerds. Buckle up. This is possibly the most dissatisfying news any comic convention fanatic will ever hear. San Diego Comic-Con, known for pioneering the comic con name and blueprint has officially been cancelled for the first time ever. The event started out small and has grown ever since. It has achieved fame for its success at bringing together communities of nerds of all kinds from comic book collectors, sci-fi fanatics, movie buffs, fantasy lovers, and TV junkies. It’s even gotten so big that “Conan” on TBS has done shows in San Diego as the con goes on! It’s an event so lively that even if you don’t get to go, you are guaranteed to hear something from it that is extravagant in the nerd world, mainly because there is heavy self-promotion going on in the sacred “Hall H,” where celebrities talk to fans, crews behind projects promote trailers, and the effort to get in is just as hard as it is to get through waiting at the DMV. Sadly, this year, there won’t be any of that. Last year, SDCC brought some great news to the nerd sphere, especially within Marvel, because that is where they laid the groundwork for phase 4, advertising plans for each theatrical movie set to release, and even the shows they’re planning to drop onto Disney+. Unfortunately, this news is already outdated as we won’t be seeing one of those projects, specifically “Black Widow,” this May and instead wait until November, which is when “Eternals” was originally supposed to release.
Who knows what could have happened this year? Would we finally get another trailer to “Godzilla vs. Kong?” Would we get a look at footage for James Gunn’s “The Suicide Squad?” Maybe we’d get word that Warner Bros. will release the Snyder Cut the same day that Universal plans on releasing the Butthole Cut for “Cats.” Who knows?
Not to get selfish here, but I go to a couple cons every year, and I don’t know if I’ll even get to go to one based on this information. San Diego Comic-Con is such a powerful name in this industry. So powerful in fact that they even felt it was necessary to call out another con for using their name, even when this has been a thing that has been done for years to the point where it has become commonplace. It’s a comic convention where people get together to be happy, not an international format of “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire!” But with the first sentence of this paragraph in mind, with a name San-Diego cancelling, I have a feeling that others may eventually follow in the con’s footsteps because of name power. For all I know, that could be different because every area of this Earth is dealing with COVID-19 in its own way, but I figured that the U.S., or at least most of it, would be done with this virus in a couple months that way we can gain a sense of normalcy. But who knows at this point?
By the way, I could go for a massive bucket of overpriced movie theater popcorn right now.
MOVIES THEATERS ON REOPENING
Remember how in part 3 I was talking about the possibility of AMC falling into its grave? Well, turns out they have a plan! To specify, a $500 million plan. Has a nice ring to it. Keep in mind, AMC has MASSIVE debts, so while $500 million does not cover everything, it’s likely to help during this time. Wall Street has officially parsed AMC, giving them the thumbs up. This will give AMC some time to prevent themselves from heading into dreaded Chapter 11 bankruptcy territory. Stock-wise, AMC is now at $3.20, up 31% reaching their highest level in a couple of weeks. Similarly, Cinemark, a nationwide chain whose subsidiaries include Rave Cinemas and Century Theatres, is also up. While not as high as the 31% for AMC, it bounced up 16% to achieve $13.48 per share.
Speaking of AMC and Cinemark, movie theater operators such as these have planned for a hopeful summer reboot. After all, the kids are out of school, you can only go to the beach so many times before getting sunburned all over, so the cinema is a great outing. Cinemark themselves stated that they are planning for an opening on July 1st, suggesting that they plan on spending June rehiring employees and will screen some classic films during the summer. How classic? I don’t know. Could be black and white, color, old, new, across the board. But I would kill to see “Endgame” in a theater again. I would love to take someone who hasn’t seen the movie just to see how’d they react to it in a theatrical environment, because that movie, plus the Jackoff-winning Best Picture “Infinity War” were literally built for audiences to come together. And while it is disappointing for a film like “Black Widow” to not come out until November instead of May, I would much prefer that, when I can likely see it with a crowd, then curling up in my room watching it as it goes straight to streaming. In fact, I still have no plans to get Disney+. HBO Max might be on my radar though (I’ll get back to that).
While I did talk about reality before, I should bring it up again. The Governor of Georgia, otherwise known as Brian Kemp, has recently announced that he gave the green light to businesses to reopen their doors beginning April 27th. Regardless of whether or not this is stupid, which I personally think it is, movie theater chains will likely need longer than a week to rehire and retrain people before opening doors again, as insiders suggest. As for local theaters, I don’t know what the case will be, but chains are likely to follow a structured process. Maybe they will open all their theaters at once, maybe vary state by state, do a few at a time, but who knows?
THESE DELAY STORIES ARE GETTING TIRESOME!
So… “Black Widow” has been delayed. “Eternals” has been delayed. “The New Mutants” has been delayed. “Top Gun: Maverick” has been delayed. “Infinite” has been delayed. “A Quiet Place Part II” has been delayed. Now the Caped Crusader has something he’d like to say to all of those movies.
That’s right guys! Unfortunately, Matt Reeves’ upcoming “The Batman,” starring Robert Pattinson (Twilight, The Lighthouse), has been pushed back from it’s original release date, June 25th, 2021, and will now hit theaters October 1st, 2021. If you had to ask me, here’s my response.
If you ask me, “The Batman” is a film that I am definitely looking forward to, and I am disappointed by the announcement. Despite the flack Pattinson sometimes gets for his past roles, most notably “Twilight,” he has generated an excellent acting method over the past number of years. Plus, it’s f*cking Batman, how could I not get excited over a movie with Batman in it?
Well, okay, maybe not all of them are that exciting. By the way, f*ck the convenient Bat Credit Card.
Although I will state, as disappointed as I am, it could still be worse. After all, movies like “Top Gun: Maverick,” which I’ve previously talked about had trailers and a marketing campaign all set up. “Batman” hasn’t even finished filming yet. In fact, production shut down earlier this year due to the virus. While I am underwhelmed and dissatisfied with the news, I cannot say I’m scarred for life. Although not having a “Batman” movie during summer blockbuster season does feel a little weird. Maybe this is a case, much like “Joker” where the delay to October can be favorable for “The Batman” as there COULD be an effort to get some awards buzz for the movie. There could be a possibility that “The Batman” is also intentionally made for mature audiences, perhaps the MPAA will give it an R rating, making the Dark Knight the DARKEST Knight. Even so, this is NOT the delay we deserve. NOR is it the one eager movie and comic book fans need right now.
“The Batman” is being put out by Warnermedia, which should not be surprising as DC Comics and Warner Bros. go together like peanut butter and jelly. Speaking of Warnermedia delays, a movie set in the universe of HBO’s hit series “The Sopranos,” originally set to release September 25th, 2020, is now coming out March 12th, 2021. The film is a prequel to the recently mentioned title and is currently going by the name of “The Many Saints of Newark.”
Also in DC Comics movie news, a couple more titles have been moved around. “Shazam 2,” which was supposed to release April 1st, 2022, is being pushed back seven months to a new November 4th release. I have no problem with this, because that just means I have probably already figured out what I might want to do on my 23rd birthday about 2.5 years before it even arrives.
Alright, kids. Buckle up. This movie deserves its own paragraph, because while I am busy bitching about all of these movies that have been pushed back like a skinny dude in a wrestling match, there’s one movie that has believe it or not, been pushed FORWARD. I’m talking about another DC movie, “The Flash!” The film was supposed to release July 1st, 2022 but has recently been pushed forward to its new June 2nd release date, also in 2022. I have NO IDEA if this movie will be out by this time, and to be honest, it’s almost wishful thinking. This film was supposed to come out in 2018 as the DCEU’s sixth installment. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, famous for movies including “21 Jump Street” and TV shows including “The Last Man on Earth” were supposed to get the ground running. They sent a treatment, but they couldn’t direct the film because they were busy. Seth-Grahame Smith was hired to direct, but he dropped out in 2016 due to creative differences. Then, Rick Famuyiwa said he was directing as of June 2016, and production was going to start in January 2017. But by the looks of things, that did not seem to last, as Screen Junkies reported that Robert Zemeckis was on a shortlist of directors to take on “The Flash.” Also on the shortlist, Sam Raimi and Matthew Vaughn, two famous directors within the comic movie realm. This comes three months after a Variety report that Joby Harold (Edge of Tomorrow, Underground) was going to rewrite the script. FLASH (see what I did there?) forward to June 2017, look who’s back! Lord and Miller, that’s who! While things did not seem to go far, the Wrap reported that the dynamic duo were in talks to direct the film again. Then in February 2018, another duo popped up, this time it was John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein. These two managed to create one of the best comedies of the past five years, “Game Night,” and they also acquired comic book movie experience through writing the Disney/Sony collaboration, “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” Then came July 2019, where the duo announced their departure from the project! As of now, the project is expected to be helmed by Andy Muschietti (It, Mama) and Christina Hodson (Birds of Prey, Bumblebee). Also joining the project as a producer is Barbara Muschietti, Andy’s sister. As for Ezra Miller, who plays The Flash in the DCEU, who knows what’ll happen to him after the recent controversial video of him released where he chokes a woman? This project is going GREAT so far!
Holy crap, that was a mouthful. You think “The New Mutants” is having trouble? At least that movie got f*cking shot! “The Flash” has not even reached “production” level! It’s insanity! I remain hopeful that this film comes out in June 2022, but this is one of those cases of where I’ll believe this movie when I see it.
Warnermedia has also delayed two movies to November 2021. One of which was the movie Tom Hanks was shooting in Australia when tested positive for COVID-19, an untitled Elvis film. The film was originally supposed to come out October of next year. However, one film got the “F9” treatment where it won’t even see the light of day this year. It was once set to come out this November, but that will not be happening.
Moving away from Warnermedia, let’s talk about Sony. Recently I discussed that the studio pretty much abandoned the summer of 2020, pushing back films including “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” and “Morbius.” But it just so appears that they have delayed one of their Fall projects as well, specifically “Venom 2,” which is now titled “Venom: Let There Be Carnage.” Based on the title, the film is likely to have the comic book villain Carnage as the main antagonist, information that has been teased since the first movie. I’ll be blunt here, I am not looking forward to “Venom 2.” This is a delay that I am not personally offended by. I will say, I do feel bad for the people behind the film, because the first one came out in an October as well and grossed over $800 million. Then again, that piece of crap people like to call “Venom” grossed over $800 million even though it is most likely the worst movie that I have seen which is related to “Spider-Man.” This sequel has one thing giving me mixed thoughts, and that is the director. I feel like the vision for the first “Venom” is entirely corporate and lacks soul. I still wonder why people even clapped at the end of the movie. Even though Ruben Fleischer did some decent stuff in the past, like “Zombieland,” this was an idea that felt rushed and underwhelming. And honestly, they should have gone for the R rating. But this time, it is being directed by Andy Serkis, who definitely has a knack for visual effects, both in terms of acting and behind the scenes. However, I’ve heard “Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle” was not the best work in the world. It has a 53% on Rotten Tomatoes, indicating that a majority of critics liked it, but it’s also not the finest number of all time. I like Andy Serkis, but I have vivid memories of the first “Venom” and they’re not pretty. I still have a bad taste in my mouth. The “Venom” sequel hits theaters June 25, 2021, which was “The Batman’s” former release date, as opposed to when “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” was supposed to hit theaters, October 2nd, 2020.
HBO MAX LAUNCH DATE ANNOUNCED
Now I love physical media, and I will likely continue to buy it even in a time where I cannot leave my house. It is by far the best way to watch a movie. Although if I were to invest in a streaming service anytime soon, one of my options is likely going to be HBO Max, which, yes, it will have HBO content. This service will be launching May 27th, as announced in a trailer down below.
Doesn’t HBO have a couple fancy streaming services already? Sure, but this is one may be worth your time. Aside from including bunches of HBO content including “Game of Thrones,” “Westworld,” and “The Sopranos,” they will also be shipping in content from alternate channels such as TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, and truTV, all of which are owned by Warnermedia. So this means in addition to all of the HBO programming available at launch, viewers will have access to content including “Conan,” “Impractical Jokers,” “Rick and Morty,” and “Miracle Workers.” Also available for TV are all the seasons of “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory,” two of the longest running situation comedies of all-time. Another really long series that you can invest some time in is “South Park,” the long-running animated series that caters to an adult demographic. That series in particular will join the service this June. They’re even using content from a streaming service that I don’t know how many of you knew existed, DC Universe. From this, it can be confirmed that one of the starters for this service is “Doom Patrol,” based on a previously established superhero team. One show I am still wondering about is DC’s “Harley Quinn,” which recently dropped season 2 on DC Universe, but who knows what’ll happen in regards to coming to HBO Max? But don’t worry, there’s movies too! Some of the upcoming titles are “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “A Star is Born,” “The Dark Knight,” “Joker,” “The Matrix,” “Pokemon: Detective Pikachu,” the DCEU movies, and the Studio Ghibli library. The service is likely to serve around 10,000 hours of content at launch, which is more than Disney+ and Comcast’s Peacock, which is now available for Xfinity customers, but will be available for everybody else starting July 15th.
The downside however, is the price. At $14.99/month, which is more than what one would pay for Hulu, which has significantly more content, it is not the cheapest service out there. However, HBO has been known for their premium programming, therefore it is no surprise that a premium price would be placed for HBO Max. But if you are a Charter customer, it is free as long as you are currently paying for HBO. Certain AT&T customers, specifically those paying premium prices for AT&T’s services, will also be given HBO Max for free. Nevertheless, even though I don’t stream much, I think I would get some use out of HBO Max if I were to buy a subscription. Warner Bros. is my favorite movie studio, HBO is a notable channel with a lot of content known for quality, and TBS, plus truTV, have done some originals I like, plus some that I have missed out on that I want to check out like “Wrecked.” I just hope that said originals make it to the service in the first place.
Speaking of originals, there is some original content coming to HBO Max. Season 3 of “Search Party,” which originally aired on TBS, will debut on the service. Anna Kendrick will be starring in a new comedy, “Love Life,” which comes from Lionsgate Television. But if you have kids, there will also be content related to “Sesame Street” and “Looney Tunes.” HBO Max was going to have a “Friends” reunion at launch, but it has been delayed due to COVID-19 complications. Sorry, they will not be there for you.
Going back to my original point, HBO Max launches May 27th on smart devices, so if you cut the cord but miss many of the cable-based shows, or you just want some acclaimed TV and movies to watch, HBO Max may get your seal of approval.
HOME VIDEO RELEASES
Going back to my comment on physical media, it is fun to collect, but not everyone does it anymore. In fact, it’s getting hard to do in these times now that places like the mall have basically shut their doors down. Walmart’s still open, so there’s that. And if you do want to know what new releases are on DVD and Blu-ray, some notable titles include “Bad Boys For Life,” “Ip Man 4: The Finale,” “The Gentlemen,” and “Like a Boss,” which already released on digital, but needed some time to come out on physical formats. Out of these films, the only one I’ve seen is “The Gentlemen,” which honestly underwhelmed me. Hopefully that won’t be the same case should some of you give it a shot.
As for digital media, there is not much new content to pick from. However, “Wendy,” a movie that takes place on an island and follows a young girl in world that is increasingly facing destruction, has just dropped on services as of April 17th. So if you are expecting me to talk about any blockbuster titles dropping, think again.
Thanks for reading the fifth part of the ongoing series “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes!” This was a long one to make, so I’ll try to wrap things up quick. If you’re wondering where my reviews are, I want to make them, but the apocalypse is currently my priority. Plus, “My Spy” hasn’t dropped on Prime yet, so there’s that. But should things still be hectic next week, which they most likely will, there’s a good chance you’ll see a part 6 to this series. Because life sucks! I have not left my house for *anything,* even a walk, for almost a month now. How did the country, no, the WORLD even get here?! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can tuned for more great content! Speaking of great content, why not check out my Facebook page? Give it a like and keep up with the latest info through Mark Zuckerberg’s wonderland! I want to know, did I miss anything for this past week? What are some your big points as of late regarding film and COVID-19? It could even be something I already mentioned! Or, what are you looking forward to seeing on HBO Max? Is there something you want to see that has not been fully announced? If they drop TBS’s “King of the Nerds” on the service, I’m sucking all my money into it. Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!
Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! It is now time for part 2 of the all new Scene Before series “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes.” This series describes the recent happenings, or in some cases, a lack of happenings, in the film industry as the world deals with the COVID-19 outbreak.
In the United States, which is where my main demographic happens to be, we unfortunately have more cases of COVID-19 than anybody else. Records are meant to be broken, but if only they were not broken like this. Although at the same time, there has been a significant increase in testing here in the United States, so while it does not make the record necessarily less disheartening, it still adds in a piece of needed information.
Now I do not typically talk about politics that much on Scene Before, but this is one of the rare instances where I have no choice. President Donald Trump has said that he wants the United States back in operation by Easter. The reason for this mostly has to do with Trump’s personal admiration towards the holiday, suggesting that it would be wonderful if the United States had “packed churches.” However, experts are saying that this would not be the best idea and Trump should wait longer.
Personally, I am still optimistic that we can get through this pandemic in a matter of a couple of a months, maybe a few even. But Easter Sunday is a bit too quick based on how many people are seemingly continuing to avoid the act of social distancing. I can possibly see certain portions of the economy putting lights back on in a matter of weeks, but it would not equate to a full-fledged, well-oiled machine. Maybe restaurants will be open again to an extent where people can sit down, but with a limited capacity, and takeout will continue to be highly encouraged. I do not know for sure, but anything’s possible. I said it part 1, I’ll say it again in part 2, I am not a doctor.
These are some general goings on during the COVID-19 situation, but for movies, things have been interesting. In fact, if you look at Box Office Mojo right now and notice the weekend totals, it’s kind of creepy. There’s not even a section for the previous weekend in regards to how much money each movie made. Should this go on for a long time, I wonder if the box office is going to partially change its ways and measure intake by monitoring how much is made by tracking how many rentals are purchased on cinema-specific sections on streaming services. I doubt that’ll be the case since there currently seems to be eager anticipation for the opening of movie theaters by sometime in the summer, but who knows? For all I know, this summer in movies for the most part will be cancelled. I am about to present some evidence as to why.
MAJOR MOVIES DELAYED: WONDER WOMAN 1984, GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE, MORBIUS, PETER RABBIT 2, ETC.
One of the biggest pieces of news in terms of movies getting delayed comes from Sony. The reason being is that when everybody found out about this, it didn’t involve just one movie. It involved Sony’s entire summer lineup. For those who don’t know, movies like “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” and “Morbius” put out trailers in anticipation of a summer release date this year. Guess what? Both have been moved to March 2021! And if that’s not enough, forget about “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway,” because you won’t be seeing that movie either! For the record, that movie was supposed to come out this upcoming weekend as of writing this post. That was until it was delayed to August, but now it is going to be a January 2021 movie! You honestly can’t write this! I was looking forward to these films (minus “Peter Rabbit”) but now I have to wait even longer! In fact, Sony’s delays doesn’t just affect current films set to come out that are either finished or nearly finished, but it also affects a heavily cursed movie, specifically “Uncharted!” Can that movie catch a break? What’s it on, like it’s SEVENTH director right now?! The film that has practically been in development hell for a long time and was set to come out on March 5th, 2021, which is now where “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” will be releasing. Instead, it will be coming out on October 8th, 2021.
In addition to Sony, Warner Bros. has been in a bit of trouble too, but at least their situation feels more of a semblance of optimism. For those who don’t know by now, “Wonder Woman 1984” is getting delayed, which is one of the movies I really didn’t want to see get pushed back, because part of me predicted that theaters would be open by the time this film is supposed to come out. Turns out that’s not the case, because the film’s previous release date of June 4th is no more. “Wonder Woman 1984” is now coming out on August 14th, which does disappoint me, but it does me hope that we will still be seeing a summer movie season in 2020. This also reinforces the crew’s commitment to theatrical experience, which may bring a sigh of a relief to major chains, smaller theaters, and an organization like NATO (National Association of Theater Owners), especially after Universal abruptly announced “Trolls: World Tour” was going to go to streaming as soon as it hit the minimal amount of theaters that would be open this April. Speaking of theatrical commitments, Warner Bros. is also optimistic in regards to releasing Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” which is scheduled to come out July 17th. First off, it’s a Christopher Nolan movie. If Warner Bros. announced that “Tenet” was going to go straight to streaming and skip theaters, there’s a good chance that Nolan would end his work relationship with Warner Bros. altogether. Second, if you want my personal thoughts on this matter, “Tenet” is my second most anticipated film of the year, right below “Dune” which is set to come out in December. If “Tenet” is not seen this summer, I am considering quitting movie watching altogether. Whether or not this situation goes away by July is still a mystery, but I would not be surprised if we reach the very beginning of July and hear that “Tenet” gets bumped to another release date. I think there’s an itty-bitty chance of that happening, but I am not too sure. Plus, the film cost $205 million to make. I do not think “Tenet” will join the billion dollar club, but if this is still around in July, part of me wonders if the film will break even.
Much like Sony, Warner Bros. is having notable production troubles regarding the ongoing crisis as well. “The Matrix 4” has officially shut down. Looks like that “Keanu Reeves Day” coming up in 2021 where “John Wick 4” and “The Matrix 4” release simultaneously will not be a thing anymore should these troubles keep up. Speaking of Warner Bros. productions, “The Batman” has shut down indefinitely. The film was scheduled to come in June 2021 and star Robert Pattinson (The Lighthouse, Good Time) as the Caped Crusader.
Sticking with the recently mentioned productions of “The Matrix 4” and “Uncharted,” both were in production in Germany, specifically in Studio Babelsberg. Termination of production of many on such property left them without pay and there is a current threat of legal action. But speaking of “The Matrix,” if this news has you down and you need your fix of the franchise, the original trilogy will be on Netflix starting this April.
“Top Gun: Maverick” is still coming out in June. Let’s just hope that stays put.
ESPN GETS CREATIVE WITH THEIR LINEUP
I don’t usually talk about sports on this blog, but this is a rare case where it is necessary. For those of you who don’t know, Disney owns you. It’s a fact. Also, for those of you who don’t know, Disney-owned ESPN is going to doing movie nights on Fridays for now on, specifically on movies revolving around sports. Not surprisingly, the movies that will be aired will all be Disney productions. Part of this goes into how the network recently aired “The Rookie,” a baseball film from 2002. For those of you who want to know, this upcoming Friday’s lineup will feature “Glory Road,” the 2006 title revolving around the 1966 NCAA basketball National Championship and the story of the first all-black starting lineup in this situation. Other films in the lineup include “Miracle,” “Secretariat,” and “The Greatest Game Ever Played.” Given how major sports like the regular seasons of NHL, NBA, and MLB have been affected by the outbreak, sports-related outlets have to get creative. 24 hours of SportsCenter on ESPN featuring the top 10 social distancing moments of the day is not going to cut it. I have no idea how long ESPN will be doing this, but just a reminder that Disney now owns Fox, and while I am not seeing any reports of them airing any Fox films, it doesn’t mean that there is no chance that Disney could allow ESPN to take Fox films and present them over the airwaves. This could allow the airing of films like “Rookie of the Year,” “Bend It Like Beckham,” “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story,” “Battle of the Sexes,” or even my personal favorite sports film of all time, “The Sandlot.” Such a good movie.
Also, if you don’t want to wait to watch these films on ESPN, or if you don’t want as many ad interruptions, they are currently available on Disney+, but if you are bored on a Friday night and the Internet is down, you may want to take advantage of watching your favorite sports movies on ESPN.
COVID-19 GETS A MOVIE
One of the things both my mother and I have been saying recently is that this virus is kind of like a movie. In fact, if you talked to me at in the past couple weeks and asked me what I could possibly be thinking about, my answer would be the “five years later” transition in “Avengers: Endgame.” I would not want to be in New York right now, because I can only imagine what it would be like to look at Lady Liberty! Although according to The Hollywood Reporter, it seems we are living in a movie world right now. Kind of. The Hollywood Reporter is suggesting that we are getting the first COVID-19 movie of this specific era. And it is a Canadian thriller shot on a soundstage in Vancouver, where a bunch of people are in an elevator and they quickly suspect that one Chinese individual who joins the ride happens to have the virus. “Corona” is shot handheld in order to be realistic, it’s an interesting move, and it could provide some tension, maybe in a way that could make the viewer a part of the story. The movie does not necessarily revolve around the virus as much it focuses on fear and racism. Plus, those two things will be taken into consideration and apply to how a group of people, varying in terms of walks of life and personality, could potentially react to a virus like this. By the way, if there is a company or organization out there that wants this movie, it is looking for a buyer. I am not surprised that we are getting a movie on COVID-19, but I am surprised that we are getting one this early.
If you want to view the trailer, click the video below.
NEW RELEASES GOING ON DEMAND
Last week, I discussed one of the big stories going on in the movie world is that the current theatrical releases, or in some cases, movies that haven’t even hit the big screen yet, have gone straight to VOD, or on digital services. These mainly include various cable-based On Demand channels, or streaming services like Prime Video, Google Play, and FandangoNOW. But over the past week, more things have happened in relation to this, and some new movies that barely seen the light of day are now being inserted to these On Demand services. By the time you’re reading this, “Impractical Jokers: The Movie,” which released in select theaters on February 21st, then eventually expanding on February 28th, will be available for digital viewing. It’s supposed to release April Fools Day, which makes sense since the movie heavily involves pranking. As for DVD and Blu-ray, that is not known at this point, especially considering how it has not been close to the ninety-day mark of the film’s official release. For all I know, it might not get a DVD, which I hope does not happen. But keep in mind the possibility is there considering how the last DVD for the show itself was for season 5, which aired in 2016. From season 6 and on, there are no plans to put out DVDs. As of March 31st, “Bad Boys For Life” and “Sonic the Hedgehog” are both available for digital purchase with a pop of $20. “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” which released in four theaters to make $16,825, will be hitting On Demand services starting April 3rd.
Thanks for reading the second part of the ongoing series “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes!” I can guarantee you that more is likely to come, especially when considering that the Massachusetts stay at home advisory has been extended to May 4th. I don’t know if this will be a weekly thing though, considering how I still have reviews to do, and I just started online classes for my university. Again, I am still committing to putting out a post a week, and it might be easy to do so given how much time this crisis is likely going to give me. And if you’re wondering about me personally, I am okay. I currently contain no symptoms or evidence of having COVID-19, and given how it has been fourteen days since I got back from the fantastically run state of Florida, I am most likely in the clear. I have not personally invited anyone into my home, and I rarely have gone outside for anything. In a way, my practice from when I was twelve years old and playing video games all day has paid off for this very moment. Outside is so overrated!
But man, I do miss the movie theater.
If you have time, which you do, let’s admit it, go ahead and follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account! And since you’re wasting time staying six feet away from others while only being trapped in your personal space, go ahead and follow the Scene Before Facebook page! I want to know, what is your biggest piece of recently seen news regarding films and COVID-19? I covered a number of topics today, but for all I know, maybe I missed something important. It happens. Let me know down below, and let’s get through this together! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!