Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017): Another Year, Another Star Wars Movie

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“Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi” is directed by Rian Johnson (Looper, Brick) and has a cast including Daisy Ridley (Only Yesterday, Murder on the Orient Express), Mark Hamill (Batman: The Animated Series, Kingsman: The Secret Service), John Boyega (The Circle, Detroit), Adam Driver (Logan Lucky, Girls), Domhnall Gleeson (American Made, Ex Machina), Carrie Fisher (Family Guy, The Blues Brothers), Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina, Drive), Gwendoline Christie (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Game of Thrones), Laura Dern (The Founder, Jurassic Park), Billie Lourd (Scream Queens, American Horror Story), and Benicio Del Toro (Snatch, Sicario) and continues the journey of Rey, Finn, Poe, all of those people in the second installment of the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy.

Before we go any further, I’m just gonna give a little information towards the reality of this movie. The movie just came out, there are some films that maybe some people would care about that others wouldn’t, and there are also films that people just don’t care about at all. As far as I’m aware, a significant portion of the world’s population cares about “The Last Jedi.” So let me have everyone know, for the sake of the world’s population, this review is SPOILER-FREE for those who haven’t gotten a chance to see this film yet. If I spoil anything in the movie, perhaps regardless of whether I warn anyone or not, the Internet, and by that I mean pretty much the ENTIRE INTERNET will want to kill me.

This film is a follow-up to “The Force Awakens,” I love that movie, I saw it in the theater four times, I think it’s the best movie released in 2015 despite it being a rip-off the 1977 “Star Wars.” Although there is a positive to that, specifically that this may be the best “special edition” of “A New Hope.” In this brand new sequel, I was hoping for one thing. It’s no ripoff! I wouldn’t mind them tinkering around with certain ideas from “The Empire Strikes Back,” after all, this is the second installment in the sequel trilogy, much like how “Empire” is the second installment in the original trilogy. Does this movie take some ideas from “The Empire Strikes Back?” It does, but having seen this, I wouldn’t say it goes overboard. In fact, I’d even say it takes an idea from “Return of the Jedi.” Going back to “The Force Awakens,” I wouldn’t say it’s a complete ripoff of “A New Hope,” because it borrowed a trait shared by multiple characters from “The Empire Strikes Back.” In a way, you can say the two movies are similar that way.

Going into this film, I couldn’t help but think to myself “They better not freaking redo “Empire,” which as mentioned, didn’t happen. Walking out of it, it exceeded my expectations. This film continues to show why “Star Wars” is one of the greatest franchises ever. Is it as good as “The Force Awakens?” In my personal opinion, no. Some people will probably say it’s better given it’s less of a copy-paste type film, even though elements of that do exist here. However, there are those that will probably appreciate this film based on what it does with its characters. There are flaws, and I will touch upon them right now.

In the movie, there’s a subplot involving the character of Finn. There’s a point in the movie’s first act where Finn meets this girl named Rose, played by Kelly Marie Tran (Hot Girls on the Beach, Untouchable). There were a couple moments that I wasn’t really all that invested, and as far as the rest of the film goes, their relationship builds to a point where I thought their current status wasn’t exactly earned. It didn’t affect much of the movie, although it is a problem.

Next up we have Porgs. Say what you want about them. You think they’re cute, annoying, unneeded, whatever. My thoughts: They added NOTHING to the film! All they really are, to my lack of surprise, are a bunch of puny guinea pig-esque creatures that turned this movie into a toy commercial for a brief moment! On a positive note, it’s NOWHERE near as bad as what “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” did with Baby Groot! The Porgs weren’t even in the movie that much! It’s not like they’re the next Jar Jar Binks or something! Seriously though, as much as I’m surprisingly not annoyed by the Porgs, I am still unhappy they had no real use character-wise. But what do you expect? This is a Disney product after all…

Everything else in the movie however, was excellent. The progression of the characters was pretty much perfect! Seeing Luke again was a treat, and Mark Hamill didn’t fail to impress me at all! The visuals, whether they’re practical or not, as usual, are spectacular! The movie managed to convince me with its darkness, I’m so amazed that this came out as well as it did!

As mentioned, I consider “The Last Jedi” to be an effective character movie. For example, you have the character of Rey. You may remember in “The Force Awakens” she has a strong connection with the force, and she went off to meet Luke Skywalker. This sequel continues right where the last film left off, the two talk and they seem to have different attitudes and mindsets. Daisy Ridley as an actress is absolutely impressive, I want to see more of her in other movies. I’d probably have to wait a bit to get that because “Star Wars Episode IX” is happening. I will also say, there’s one scene where she’s on the island, there are Reys in a line, just prepare yourself for that scene because it’s awesome.

Speaking of characters who make a return in this film, Adam Driver is back as the evil Kylo Ren. In the last movie, Adam played a very convincing villain, I loved his performance as Kylo, and his relationship to Han Solo made the movie better. Now he’s here in this movie and he’s just awesome. I will say though, I do have a minor complaint, and it’s a continuity error. At the beginning of the movie, we see Kylo with his mask on. If you remember Kylo in “The Force Awakens,” we last see him with his mask off. This is on Starkiller Base, where he takes his mask off in a different part of the planet-wide facility. Based on what this movie suggests, and you can say this is suggested in the last movie as well, Kylo made it off the planet just in time before it completely exploded. They never really showed Kylo going back for his mask. Maybe General Hux, who played a part of the First Order in the last film, got it as the planet was collapsing. Given Kylo’s condition, it’s unlikely he went back, so what happened in all actuality? Nevertheless, Kylo was an absolute beast and he continues to prove his effectiveness as a villain. One more thing before I move on, in “The Force Awakens,” Rey roasts Kylo with this line:

“You. You’re afraid. That you’ll never be as strong as Darth Vader.”

In that film, the line literally made Kylo at a loss not only for words, but for actions. The roast party isn’t over, because there’s another one in “The Last Jedi” that regardless of which one I technically like better, I thought had greater execution. Instead of making Kylo speechless, we got to see him rage out like a five year old who wants to run away from home. I won’t say who says the roast, but it’s amazing.

Speaking of characters on the Dark Side, let’s talk about Andy Serkis’s character of Supreme Leader Snoke. In “The Force Awakens,” we’ve only seen Snoke through a hologram. Since his first appearance, fans have developed theories about Snoke’s true identity, some of which I found interesting. Is he Jar Jar? Is he Mace Windu? Is he Boba Fett? And this last one that absolutely intrigues me, is he Darth Plagueis the Wise? Heck! There’s even a Ranker list called “12 Theories About The Identity of Supreme Leader Snoke In Star Wars.” All theories aside, Snoke was awesome! He was as evil as he needed to be and there’s one scene with him that’s a huge highlight of the film for me.

John Boyega also returns here as Finn and I mentioned how Finn meets a certain character whose relationship I couldn’t appreciate as much as I would have wanted, but there’s more to Finn in this movie than just meeting someone. For example, he has a more active role in the Resistance, he’s fighting more than he did in the last movie and comes off as more confident, and speaking of fights, he reunites with Captain Phasma, who is a character that has gained a fan following in the last movie, and the two have a duel.

Speaking of characters from the last movie, Poe Dameron returns here. I see Poe as the “new Han Solo.” I say this based on his hairstyle, his mannerisms, and his ability to pilot a ship. Granted it’s not a freighter and it’s a simple X-Wing, but he reminds me of Han Solo. I’ve seen many people on social media saying they love this character. I don’t think he’s terrible, but I also would say the reactions to the character happened to be a little overhyped. OK, yes, he did take out a bunch of fighters in one sick shot, but there’s not really much that made Poe stand out there compared to other characters. I’d say after watching this movie, I’d say Poe was better here than he was in “The Force Awakens.” He added more to the story, and seeing him struggle at a point in the film made him stick out. As you can see in the image above, Poe is running alongside BB-8, who was once again, charming. One of my favorite scenes in the film is actually when BB-8 is “disguised” as an MSE-6 droid. Don’t know what that is? It’s basically this tiny car that is often something that rolls around any floor that is the property of the Imperial forces. BB-8 is copying the sounds it makes and I love it!

I cannot explain Mark Hamill’s role as Luke in “The Force Awakens” better than the movie’s Honest Trailer did:

“THE EASIEST MONEY MARK HAMILL EVER MADE.”

Basically, it’s just him standing on an island, looking at Rey. Here in “The Last Jedi,” Mark Hamill does a lot more as the character of Luke. I don’t know how many people will agree with me when I say this, but this must be my all time favorite performance when it comes to Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker. As if the writing wasn’t great enough already, Hamill aced his character as an old hermit. Luke has become a regretful, anti-social, and broken person after a long period of time. The transition is extremely fluid and made me truly care for Luke. You know how in the teaser for the movie, it’s exposed that Luke wants the Jedi to end? That’s explained in this film, and the explanation just made me feel sorry for Luke in general.

On the topic of original trilogy characters, let’s move on to the saddest thing about the movie, Carrie Fisher. Her final “Star Wars” performance was a thing of beauty. Much like in the previous film, she didn’t have too much to do, but for what she had, it kept me interested. There’s one scene that’s actually kind of exposed in the trailers, and it’s one of the best parts of the entire film. The one where Kylo Ren is flying in his ship, Leia’s aboard another ship, and the two notice each through the power of the force. Also, much like the other “Star Wars” films, there’s no credit scenes, however, during the credits, right before the scrolling segment begins, there’s a text stating “In loving memory of CARRIE FISHER.”

Let’s take a look at two previous “Star Wars” installments, “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Attack of the Clones.” This film, like those, was advertised to be dark. “The Empire Strikes Back,” to me, was dark based on the conflicts going on and the upper hand which the Empire has during the film. “Attack of the Clones” tries to be dark but ends up failing by not making you believe in what’s going on and focusing on the romance between Anakin and Padme that just makes the movie feel like a fantasy novel of some kind. The darkness of this film was present and I felt it deeply. The Resistance is getting wiped out all over the place, Luke is broken, and the climax isn’t all that fortunate either. It gives a similar feeling to the climax of “Empire,” which ends on a cliffhanger. After seeing this movie, I’m just eager to see the ninth installment!

John Williams (right) returns in this film as the composer. He’s done all the main films in the saga, but he didn’t do last year’s spinoff, “Rogue One.” Out of all the scores I’ve heard from John Williams in the “Star Wars” saga, I didn’t really think this one impressed me as much as the others. I’ll probably have to either watch the movie again or listen to the soundtrack to be sure, but the soundtrack just sounded repetitive, there was nothing really new. At least that’s what I recall. Granted, there were times where the music was awesome, but it just felt like stuff I’ve heard before. Speaking of that, the opening song from “The Last Jedi” has a similarity to the opening song from “A New Hope.”

Staying on that topic, not to put the movie down or anything, but the opening felt, well, unexpectedly fast paced. I mean, none of the “Star Wars” openings ever felt “slow,” but the movie quickly got to dialogue which was unexpected.

I won’t really go on for too much longer, but another highlight from the film is the sound editing. Out of any “Star Wars” film I’ve seen, I have to say, this might be the best when it comes to sound. There were moments when the sound literally made me feel tense. It reminds me of “Interstellar” during the docking scene and the sound literally just goes out.

In the end, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is a terrific ride, I loved every minute. This was one of the most engaging movie experiences I’ve had all year, and after seeing this, I cannot wait for “Episode IX!” The characters continue to progress to points where I appreciate them more than ever, there are multiple scenes I want to go back and watch again, and again, I’ll mention, the sound work is unbelievable in this film, some of the best I’ve heard all year! I’m gonna give “Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi” a 9/10. This movie is not as good as “The Force Awakens” in my personal opinion, but it’s slightly better than “Rogue One.” Part of me just wants to time travel into the future, just so I can see “Episode IX,” but until then, I’ll just have to wait. I really enjoyed this movie, I think you guys will feel the same way, and I’m just glad this isn’t a total ripoff of another great “Star Wars” film. Thanks for reading this review, if you are interested in seeing “The Last Jedi,” there’s a good chance you can go see it anywhere, but I have a link below that will take you to a list of some of the best possible ways to view the movie. “The Last Jedi” is playing in eleven theaters that contain IMAX 70mm equipment. To find out which theaters are on the list, click the link below and read the post. Stay tuned for more reviews and other content! I want to know, did you see “The Last Jedi?” What are your thoughts? Are you going to see it? Also, where does this movie rank in the “Star Wars” universe for you? Let me know all of that down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi is Getting the IMAX 70mm Treatment and a History of Star Wars in IMAX!: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/10/17/star-wars-episode-viii-the-last-jedi-is-getting-the-imax-70mm-treatment-and-a-history-of-star-wars-in-imax/

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Salt Lake Comic Con Violated Copyright Law For Using “COMIC CON” *FOUL LANGUAGE AHEAD*

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Occasionally on Scene Before I talk about conventions. To be specific I talk about my experiences at certain cons that I go to or I simply announce that I’ll be present at a particular con. This post will have a focus on conventions, but it’s a bit more law based as opposed to what I usually do. Recently, there was a lawsuit involving two conventions, and even more recently, there was a court case for this. Let’s introduce both sides of the situation.

*Cue “The People’s Court theme*

First off we have San Diego Comic-Con, AKA the original Comic Con. Established in 1970 as the Golden State Comic Book Convention, this event became the one of the largest and most well known fan conventions in the US and on the planet. The event has gone by multiple names aside from Golden State Comic Book Convention since its inception. These names include San Diego Comic Book Convention and a name that the convention goes by today, Comic-Con International: San Diego. Despite mentioning that recent name, the convention often goes by the names Comic-Con, San Diego Comic-Con, and SDCC. This convention has a focus on comics, sci-fi, fantasy, TV, movies, etc. In fact, this convention often features celebrities you wouldn’t usually find in many other conventions and considering its popularity, this con is known for revealing material such as trailers for upcoming content at panels. When tickets go on sale for this, there’s no messing around. They sell out pretty much instantly. This year they sold out a little over an hour of going on sale. The organizers of SDCC, Comic-Con International, are also the organizers of Wondercon, held annually in Anaheim, CA.

Next up we have Salt Lake Comic Con. First held in September of 2013, this convention is held semi-annually. The convention goes by two names and one event in terms of when it’s being held comes before the other, Salt Lake Comic Con, as recently mentioned, and the Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience. What’s the difference? Salt Lake Comic Con tends to focus more towards science fiction, fantasy, comic books, and superheroes whereas FanXperience tends to focus on fandoms that aren’t traditionally found at most comic book conventions. This event is so outside the box to my knowledge that in 2016, Buzz Aldrin, the 2nd man to walk on the moon, appeared as a guest! These events, regardless of whether it’s just a traditional comic con or FanX, brings in tons of people whenever it’s held and it shows no sign of slipping in the future. Interesting fact, on September 25, 2015, when the third Salt Lake Comic Con was held, a world record was broken here. That record by the way happened to be the most costumed comic book cosplay characters in one location.

These two recently had a battle in court. How did this all start? On July 25, 2014, San Diego Comic-Con International sent a cease and desist letter to Salt Lake City Comic Con over its use of the words “comic con.” Dan Farr Productions, the organizers of Salt Lake City Comic Con, responded saying that this can affect tons of other conventions. Salt Lake was unwilling to go through with the cease and desist letter thus beginning a legal battle. I wouldn’t say Salt Lake is wrong when it comes to this case possibly affecting other “comic cons.” Just look at how many “comic cons” there are:

  • Rhode Island Comic Con
  • Boston Comic Con
  • Granite State Comicon
  • Emerald City Comicon
  • New York Comic Con
  • ComiCONN
  • Delhi Comic Con
  • Colorado Springs Comic Con
  • Phoenix Comicon
  • Motor City Comic Con
  • Denver Comic Con
  • Alamo City Comic Con
  • Silicon Valley Comic Con
  • Baltimore Comic-Con
  • Tampa Bay Comic Con
  • Nottingham Comic Con
  • Wildcat Comic Con
  • Big Apple Comic Con
  • Comic-Con Russia
  • Wales Comic Con
  • Oz Comic Con
  • Mumbai Comic Con
  • Bangalore Comic Con

Yes, some of these events are referred to as Comicon and are altered slightly in terms of name to separate themselves from other events, but the point is, the use of comic con is pretty much as common as putting cheese on a pizza!

Leading up to the court case, Salt Lake Comic Con pointed out the same statement I recently made, “comic con” is a popular term used in names of conventions around the world, and they pointed to more than one hundred events in the US which use the term.

Once the case concluded, San Diego Comic-Con International released the following statement which I happened to find in an article for FOX 13 Salt Lake City:

“San Diego Comic Convention has used the Comic-Con trademarks in connection with our comics and popular arts conventions for almost 50 years.  We have invested substantial time, talent and resources in our brand resulting in world-wide recognition of the Comic-Con convention held annually in San Diego.   The jury today upheld San Diego Comic Convention’s trademarks as valid.  The jury also found that Dan Farr Productions, Daniel Farr and Bryan Brandenburg each infringed San Diego Comic Convention’s marks.  San Diego Comic Convention respects the decision of the jury.  From the beginning all that we asked of the defendants was to stop using our Comic-Con trademarks.  Today we obtained a verdict that will allow us to achieve this.  For that we are grateful.”

Let’s dissect this from each important point. First, they point out that they “used the Comic-Con trademarks,” which I’ll mention once again, is used on tons of other conventions, which leads me to a serious question. Wanna trade? Oops, sorry, I mean, when did you f*cking trademark the term?! Next, let’s talk about the jury’s decision to verify the “comic-con” trademark as valid. Who was in this jury? Was it people who have only been to San Diego Comic-Con and not other conventions? Was it a bunch of jocks who have never gone to a con? Was Mike Pence in that jury? Was Casper the Friendly Ghost in that jury? Was Mr. Burns from “The Simpsons” in that jury? Was Ogre from “Revenge of the Nerds” in that jury? I don’t know if it was all nerds, in fact, based on the results, I don’t think that would have been possible, because I talk to nerds on Thursday nights and we were discussing this legal battle, they thought comic con is a term used in so many conventions now that it’s absolutely pointless for San Diego to do what they’re doing. One of the last parts of the statement contained this: “all that we asked of the defendants was to stop using our Comic-Con trademarks.” Sure, maybe in one way that’s not asking a lot, because it was a simple request, but following up on that request is an absolute impossibility in all reality. It’s almost like saying, despite being a convention that has similarities to San Diego, not to mention just about ANY comic book convention that has ever existed, it can have a name that a high fraction of these types of conventions use. Also, my biggest question is this: If San Diego is so upset about their f*cking trademarks being used by someone else, why are they so concerned about Salt Lake? Not to mention, Salt Lake isn’t completely identical to San Diego in terms of their trademark. Note the difference: San Diego Comic-Con and Salt Like Comic Con. Can’t see it? San Diego has a dash, Salt Lake doesn’t. Let’s also observe the last sentence concerning San Diego’s response to the verdict: “For that we are grateful.” Allow me to respond with eloquence…

*Clears throat*

*Taps microphone*

OK good, this thing’s on.

F*ck you!

You may be grateful, but you may have just turned the entire convention game upside down! If you are the convention that everybody loves, you would be supportive of the influence you have on the convention community! At the time of San Diego’s inception, there was nothing like what they had going for themselves. Now they’ve spawned an enormous number of conventions to the point that it’s extremely hard to visit them all. You know one reason why I go to Rhode Island Comic Con more often than San Diego Comic-Con? It’s closer to me! These conventions have expanded to the point where anyone in the world can conveniently go to them. Granted, nerds everywhere may consider going to San Diego Comic-Con their version of a pilgrimage, but in all seriousness, you’ve got to consider how we don’t have the time, gas, money, or complete motivation to go to your convention. There are other options out there! This is why they make multiple brands of soda. Coca-Cola isn’t the only thing around, there’s also Pepsi! In fact, this is why they make multiple flavors of soda! It doesn’t have to be plain, it can be cherry, vanilla, or orange!

One of the biggest purposes of conventions (aside from loading celebrities up with cash) is to unite people together in one place. This isn’t just applicable to only “comic-cons,” but also gaming conventions, anime conventions, brony conventions, all of that stuff. We’ve gotten to this point where San Diego is saying that they literally started this craze (to be fair, they did technically) and for that, they think they can get away with taking LITERAL OWNERSHIP of a name that’s so popular around the world that doesn’t just apply to them. It’s like if the Beach Boys said that “Boys” was a trademark to them forty years after they started performing. Groups like the Backstreet Boys, Boys II Men, and the Beastie Boys are would have freaked the f*ck out if this happened! If this were between San Diego Comic-Con and another convention that has the EXACT SAME NAME, I’d be more understanding of this, but as far as this goes now, this is ludicrous.

One big question behind how this all came about is literally, how did this come about? I will remind you that Salt Lake was sued on July 25, 2014, which is almost a year after the first Salt Lake Comic Con happened, and also a few months after the first Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience happened. Is this all because of the FanX event occurring? After all the primary focus of FanX is to think outside the box and include other aspects to a convention other than anything that’s comic related. The event is technically called the Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience, maybe instead of telling Salt Lake to change its name entirely, just tell them to eliminate the “comic con” from their FanX title. However I wouldn’t do that, I’m not an asshole that forces people to do things that they probably don’t want to do.

Another thing I’ll mention is that according to the FOX 13 article that I’m using as a reference for this post is that Salt Lake Comic Con used SDCC’s trademark “without permission.” Is the article stretching this statement? Possibly, I can’t be sure, I wasn’t one of the people doing jury duty as this case was going on, but this s*it is bonkers! What other “comic con” needed “permission” from SDCC or Comic-Con International to give their specific event an identical name to San Diego’s? This is determining a convention’s name, not asking a student’s parents through a slip they have to sign if they allow their kid to watch a R rated film in class for educational purposes!

To sum it up, San Diego Comic-Con started out as a place for nerds to unite. Now, they’ve become the jocks that are stepping on the territory of other conventions that are trying to do the same thing. Being a nerd is about inclusion, it’s about tolerance, it’s about respect for yourself and those around you. To say that you are the kings of conventions isn’t exactly an improper thing to say, but to say that someone can’t be like you NAME-WISE on something as basic as a small part of your name that’s used WORLDWIDE, is a load of crap. For a portion of my life, there was a part of me that always wanted to attend San Diego Comic-Con, because it has always come off as the ultimate nerd convention, now that they’re essentially being an asshole to another convention that probably wouldn’t have even existed today if it weren’t for SDCC, I wouldn’t say I’m off their radar entirely, but I’m skeptical of whether I truly want to take a trip there in the future. I love conventions, I love nerdy things, I love sci-fi, superheroes, fantasy, all that stuff, but I’m not sure I’m loving San Diego Comic-Con as much as I once was, which leads me to this…

San Diego Comic-Con, why do they call you a con? Oh yeah, because you’re a f*cking cheap con! You know what? After my experience of watching “Anchorman,” I’d say Ron Burgundy was right about the origin of San Diego, let’s change your name to A Whale’s Vagina Comic-Con! It almost seems that this naming fiasco has you out of line, but don’t worry, if there actually is a line in this circumstance, I’m sure it’s not as long as any of the lines during your convention! Also, I’ll remind you to get back in line, and once you do, there’s no cutting allowed, you already did that to Salt Lake Comic Con’s name! I wonder what’s next for you and changing things around, perhaps making certain celebrities not show up because they may have heard about the name situation and they disagree with the final verdict? Well I guess that means we have our next “Star Wars” movie! San Diego Comic-Con, I’m a huge nerd, I have been all my life. All I want to do is make things the best they can be, and to do that I have to sometimes be tough, so if you think you can exclude me from your convention in the future just because I said some stuff you might find to be harsh, I’m sorry, you can’t do that “without permission.” Whose permission you ask? My f*cking permission, you morons!

If I don’t go to San Diego Comic-Con in the future, that’s fine, I’ve got plenty of other conventions to go to that are cheaper, closer, and perhaps even less crowded. New York Comic Con is a beast in terms of size which kind of intrigues me, so maybe I’ll go there in the future. Thanks for reading this post! Later this week I will have my review for “Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi,” which I will be seeing opening night, so I’ll have the review up not long after it releases. Look forward to that and stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, have you been to San Diego Comic-Con? What are your thoughts on it? Have you been to either Salt Lake Comic Con or the Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience? What are your thoughts on either of those? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Top 10 WORST Star Wars Original Trilogy Special Edition Changes *SPOILERS*

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! In 1977, George Lucas released “Star Wars.” It became an instant hit with critics, audiences, and has spawned a fandom that has lasted for decades. Years ahead, two sequels which have also been met with positive reception have been released. I have just watched Harmy’s Despecialized Edition of the original “Star Wars” trilogy, and going through all three movies in HD quality was an utter blast. These editions eliminate the changes provided over the years to the original trilogy by George Lucas since 1997 which have been bashed by fans over the years, and I wholeheartedly approve of these editions. As much as I appreciate George Lucas for starting the “Star Wars” craze, he has also brought tons of chaos tons of chaos to the franchise from making notable changes to it in the series’s so-called “Special Editions” in 1997, again in 2004, and once more in 2011. Today, we’re going to look at the worst of these changes, specifically the top 10 WORST of these changes. If you like these changes, that’s your opinion, not mine. You’re allowed to have that thought, even though we are on opposite sides of the spectrum. Just because I have a certain change listed here that you like, it doesn’t make your opinion invalid. If you like these changes, rock on. Also, just in case you didn’t look hard enough, these changes pertain towards the original trilogy only. There have been changes made overtime in the prequel trilogy as well, but that’s not what this list is about. So let’s dive into it, these are the top 10 WORST “Star Wars” original trilogy “Special Edition” changes.

#10: Echo Change (Episode IV: A New Hope)

This change here is one that I’m surprised I don’t hear more people don’t talk about. Maybe it doesn’t bother other people all that much, but in reality, it kind of irks me. As our heroes are escaping from the Death Star, we see them running around in various directions. We also see Luke and Leia together, they pass through a door, and they almost fall into an abyss. It’s at this point that Luke says “I think we took a wrong turn!” A few lines of dialogue are spoken by Luke and Leia as they try to find their way through to the opposite side, because after all, you can’t get there by foot. In the original version, as this dialogue is uttered, we hear echos. Although in 2004, this has been redone. According to Wookiepedia, AKA Wikipedia for “Star Wars,” this has been “redone more realistically.” Regardless of realism, the original echo had an effect that felt rather chilling. There was something about that echo when I watched the movie that just felt like it was irreplaceable. This echo, doesn’t even feel like it’s there. When I watched the movie and I heard what I heard, I just wondered, where’s the echo? I don’t even hear an echo. This is an early spot on the list as I’m able to tolerate this and it doesn’t really have much an effect on what I’m watching. Speaking of this spot, I almost put the “Jedi Rocks” song on here, but it barely lost because there was some music playing before it that wasn’t in the original cut of the film that sounded fine. These two could change, but you never know.

#9: “It’s all right, I can see a lot better!” (Episode VI: Return of the Jedi)

It was established in “The Empire Strikes Back” that Han Solo has a relationship with Lando Calrissian. Unfortunately, in “Return of the Jedi,” the relationship was nearing an end. During the battle that takes place on Tatooine during the movie, the Sarlacc which has been introduced during around said time frame, snatches Lando. He’s about to be consumed, but luckily, Han Solo’s here to save the day! In the original movie, the way it goes down is pretty much how I explained it, Han is aiming at the creature with his body upside down. At one point, Lando shouts “No, wait! I thought you were blind!” Han replies saying “It’s all right, trust me!” Han soon pulls the trigger of his blaster thus saving Lando. The 1997 Special Edition didn’t exactly play out the same way. Instead of Han saying “It’s all right, trust me” he said “It’s all right, I can see a lot better!” For those of you who forgot or haven’t seen the movie, the beginning of “Return of the Jedi” is when Han Solo was released from the carbonite which kept him frozen. He couldn’t see a thing, but according to Leia, who at that point was dressed as a bounty hunter, his eyesight would return in time. This is one of those moments on this list, where a line happened to be changed when it didn’t need to be because it was already good enough. I’m not entirely against line changing as long as it’s effective, but in my view, the first line was good, but this wasn’t. Speaking of Han Solo…

#8: Greedo Shoots First (Episode IV: A New Hope)

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This is a change that pretty much every single “Star Wars” fan has known about if they’ve paid close enough attention. I have three words for you: HAN SHOT FIRST! Although according to the first Special Edition, he didn’t. Instead, the bounty hunter referred to as Greedo pulls his trigger first. For those of you who don’t know, the first “Star Wars” film had a scene where we get information that Han Solo was being searched by bounty hunters all over. This is because he hasn’t yet paid Jabba the Hutt. So in the scene where we find this out, one bounty hunter by the name of Greedo stops him and Han Solo tells him that he doesn’t have money at the moment to pay Jabba. Their conversation goes down until a point where Greedo is shot by Han. Greedo getting shot doesn’t change, but the execution of the scene has gone through multiple changes. Let’s go through them one by one.

In 1997, when the first Special Editions released, most of the dialogue in the scene is the same as the original, but there’s one piece that’s missing. The line last line given by Greedo here is this: “That’s the idea… I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time.” That line wasn’t changed, however the following line given by Han Solo, which was originally “Yeah, I’ll bet you have,” changed in the first Special Edition to “I’ll bet you have.” Here we see a shot fired not only by Han, but also by Greedo. Also, if you observe closely in the shot, you can see Greedo’s shot coming out of his blaster before Han’s! This is a change which from a general perspective, has probably outraged more fans than any other when it comes to the “Star Wars” saga. In fact, it doesn’t end there!

In 2004, when the original trilogy released on DVD, George Lucas decided to change it again! He took the 1997 “I’ll bet you have” and altered it back to the way it was in 1977 which was “Yeah, I’ll bet you have.” After that, Greedo still shoots first, but Han pulls his trigger faster than he did in the 1997 version, not to mention he dodges Greedo’s shot. Guess what? THIS TRAIN KEEPS ON ROLLING!

We then get to 2011, which is the year the entire saga came out on Blu-Ray. The change here is minor, no lines have been altered this time around, but the scene is shorter.

What’s so striking to me about these changes is that George can’t even make up his mind. The scene has been changed not once, not twice, but thrice! The change in general also makes Han Solo look like less of a badass. In the original cut, you see him talking and you get this sense that he’s just capable of handling himself in battle or in near death experiences. And while he was still able to handle himself, this almost feels like a lighter version of the scene we’ve gotten before, the other one just had a feel that made Han Solo Han Solo. He took no nonsense and you don’t want to mess around with him. Let me just say, if someone asks me, “Who shot first?” I’d always respond with, “Han Solo.”

#7: “You were lucky to get out of there.” (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)

When it comes to “The Empire Strikes Back,” I own both the 2004 and original edition, but I watched the 2004 version many more times, so this was one of those changes I either didn’t notice or didn’t care about for awhile. So, Luke is in his X-Wing, he’s entering the Dagobah system, which he assures to the droid alongside him, R2-D2, is “perfectly safe for droids.” Yeeeeah. Totally safe. It’s so safe that R2-D2 drowns in water moments upon entering the planet! To be accurate, he didn’t drown due to not being suited to being in water, he was still able to to move just fine. Although his disappearance was due to a dragonsnake swallowing him. Apparently R2 wasn’t down for that long because he’s spat out and goes flying. Luke moves over to R2 as he lands on the ground. At one point he helps get R2 back on his “feet.” It’s here when Luke says “You’re lucky you don’t taste very good.” That was what many audiences may have heard for the first time until 1997. When 1997’s Special Editions came out, the line was changed to “You were lucky to get out of there.” It’s a change that dwindles a chuckle from viewers and ultimately makes the moment feel a little more cliche. Let me ask you something. You are in the ocean, and a great white shark is approaching, you are the one that’s almost about to get eaten as everyone is escaping. Somehow you make it out, but you wasted a lot more time getting out. Would you feel more satisfaction hearing “You’re lucky you don’t taste very good” or “You were lucky to get out of there?” Not to mention, the way these two phrases are uttered kind of make a difference. Luke almost sounds more depressed when he says the “Special Edition” quote. Luke seems a little more optimistic when he says the original quote. Sure, he is in a strange situation, but you can still be in a strange situation and provide at least a glass half full tone.

#6: Boba Fett Voice Change (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)

Many people who watched “The Empire Strikes Back” were introduced to the character of Boba Fett, a bounty hunter who is contacted by Darth Vader in order to help in the pursuit for Han Solo. Believe it or not, this wasn’t the fellow’s first appearance. Those who were unfortunate enough to watch “Star Wars: The Holiday Special” on TV back in 1978 got a glimpse of Boba Fett before he appeared in “Empire.” Also, if you watch the newer editions of “A New Hope,” he appears in that too after being digitally remastered. In 1980, people may not have been curious to know who did the voice for Boba Fett. By the way, that person is Jason Wingreen. Although in George Lucas’s universe, that’s false. In 2004, he changed the voice in order to match with how Boba Fett was portrayed in “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.” This didn’t just apply to Boba Fett in that movie, but also his father, Jango Fett. In “Attack of the Clones,” it is established that Boba Fett is an unaltered clone raised by Jango. This lead to a change that involved replacing the execution of four lines given by Boba considering those four lines happen to be all the dialogue he said. Who did the talking for this? Temuera Morrison, AKA the guy who played Jango Fett in “Attack of the Clones.” I wouldn’t mind this if it were done with a sense of enthusiasm or a lack of robotic talking. The original voiceover artist for Boba Fett seemed to display more emotion in terms of their delivery. These newer voiceovers done by Morrison, just feel like the actor went into a booth, didn’t care about what they were doing, maybe they either never saw “Empire” or its been awhile since they’ve seen it to understand the character of Boba Fett, and it just turned a great voiceover to a crappy voiceover. The original voice sounded like Boba Fett was constantly on the hunt, always on the move. This new voice just sounded like a guy who just served people of higher power. I will say, if George Lucas actually got Gilbert Gottfried to do the voice of Boba Fett as a Special Edition change, I’d actually watch that non-stop, because Gilbert Gottfried’s f*cking awesome! Gilbert Gottfried can appear in “Super Mario Bros.: The Movie” and I’d probably watch it just for him. Maybe not the whole movie, but the scenes featuring Gilbert Gottfried as long as he’s not in the whole picture.

#5: Jabba the Hutt (Episode IV: A New Hope)

In 1983, audiences everywhere were introduced to the chubby slug known as Jabba the Hutt. These viewers may have heard Jabba’s name before, specifically in 1977 during the Han and Greedo conversation, but they never saw Jabba on screen in that film, nor did they see him in “The Empire Strikes Back.” Well, that all changed in 1997. Turns out prior to our heroes escaping Mos Eisley in the Millennium Falcon, Han Solo has a conversation with Jabba. Harrison Ford didn’t come back to shoot this, the scene was actually done while the film was originally in production, and Jabba wasn’t even a slug. He was actually human. Although when the 1997 release came out, the Jabba and Solo conversation was added on and Jabba received CGI achievement. For those of you who don’t know, CGI is short for computer-generated imagery. In this circumstance, I think CGI actually stands for completely gruesome insanity! LOOK AT THIS CRAP (top image)! To be fair, it was 1997, but it’s still revolting! So the two have a conversation that has similar dialogue given in the Han and Greedo scene, which just contributes to redundancy. At one point, Han steps on Jabba’s tail, making him utter a sound the world would have never heard had he been a human. Han says he’ll pay Jabba back with extra, to which Jabba is happy to hear, but if Han fails, he would be searched for and the price on his head would be significantly enormous. The thing that really makes this scene fail is Han’s final line. “Jabba, you’re a wonderful human being.” If this were the original movie in 1977 and they kept this scene in, it would have worked better. Not completely, but it would work. George Lucas would have kept human Jabba, that way we don’t have to see terrible CGI and Han stepping on a tail. This would have still failed as a scene due to what’s written in the script, but it still would have been better. The final line given by Han Solo would have worked better too. After all, why would A SLUG be called A HUMAN BEING?! Not to mention, a WONDERFUL HUMAN BEING?! So basically, Jabba says that he’d put a price on Han’s head, and the conversation ends by saying “You’re a wonderful human being?!” Oy vey! Not to mention, this change takes away some of the suspense people originally had about Jabba the Hutt. Imagine if someone who watched this movie a lot prior to the Special Editions showed these flicks to their kids, and that person ends up showing an unoriginal version. The kid would know what Jabba looks like before progressing into “Return of the Jedi!” It just takes away some of the mystery of Jabba as a character and now he’s just shoved in your face. You know, like pie. Unfortunately, this change has not been erased in any of the newer versions, although in 2004, the CGI for Jabba was redone (bottom image) and it looks a lot better.

#4: R2-D2 Behind Rocks (Episode IV: A New Hope)

One thing that has been changed more than once throughout the original “Star Wars” film is the scream given when Obi-Wan appears to scare off the Tusken Raiders. For the record, neither of those on the list. A change that IS however on this list takes place around the same time. In the 2011 Blu-Ray release, you might notice R2 before and after the scream occurs. Although guess what? He’s covered behind lots of rocks! I hate this change because it basically insults your intelligence! Sure, Han not shooting first is irritating to see because of how it diminishes the character in terms of how badass he is, but in reality, you can show Han shooting first to someone that’s observant enough and they won’t question the realism or accuracy of what’s happening on screen. Here with this, you just question humanity itself! How does R2, a droid the size he is with the capabilities he’s got, get in that hiding spot? There was no establishment behind how he got there! If you look at the hole, it’s smaller than R2 itself! In the original scene, you can see R2 near some rocks, but it’s not enough to create a shadow upon him! I have one thing to say about this scene, it doesn’t ROCK!

#3: Luke Screams Down the Pit (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)

A lot of people consider “The Empire Strikes Back” the best “Star Wars” film and one of the best sequels of all time. Part of this is due to its iconic scenes, how its characters develop. it’s emotional score, and how it brought a twist that not many people saw coming, the fact that Darth Vader is Luke’s father. Interesting fact by the way, the Dutch word for father is vader (fah-der), and the German word is vater (pronounced similarly to Dutch word), so as much as audiences may have been shocked by this reveal, this does leave me to wonder, how shocked were the Dutch and Germans? Anyway, if you’ve seen the movie, chances are you’d be familiar with this reveal. Luke and Vader are in a duel, Luke’s hand gets sliced off by Vader’s lightsaber, Vader is trying to convince Luke to join the Dark Side, and he also tells Luke the truth about his father, the fact that Vader himself, is Luke’s father. Moments later, Luke falls down a pit. In the original version, Luke is just falling, he isn’t really making any random noises. However in the 1997 version, he is. After Darth Vader says “Come with me, it is the only way,” Luke makes his dissent down the pit, and at one point, comes out this strange, peculiar, ridiculous noise. If you want to be more simplistic, that noise was a scream. That scream by the way, wasn’t even Mark Hamill’s voice. That voice, was Ian McDiarmid’s. If you don’t know who Ian McDiarmid is, he plays the Emperor and Palpatine in the saga. For the record, McDiarmid didn’t come in to let out a scream, they actually took the scream from when he died in “Return of the Jedi.” This moment might as well be called “Return of the Scream.” I for one, admittedly, haven’t watched the 1997 Special Edition all the way through, but I’ve seen a clip on YouTube where this all goes down. Luckily, when George Lucas was making more changes to the trilogy in 2004, this scream of insanity has been removed. And no, it has not been brought back when the Blu-Ray release came out in 2011.

#2: Get Out of the Way, Dinosaur! (Episode IV: A New Hope)

This is a change that starts out as somewhat tolerable. Just a little extra bits to introduce Mos Eisley. Granted it’s unnecessary, but it’s not like we’re watching a couple of Stormtroopers engage in intercourse or something. Then we get to footage audiences have seen prior to the Special Editions’ arrival. As the four Stormtroopers from the mind-trick scene gather around Luke’s speeder, we get one of the worst uses of CGI of all time! While these four troops are moving, a giant dinosaur is literally blocking EVERYTHING on the screen! What’s going on?! Let us see the damn movie! We don’t want to see some random green piece of s*it covering the frame! It’s abominable! If I wanted to see a movie where there was CGI covering the frame, I’d go watch “Guardians of the Galaxy!” The whole dinosaur placement just doesn’t make sense in general because it doesn’t let you observe the landscape of Mos Eisley unlike the original scene. There’s not really much to say about this except that it just makes you want more than one galaxy to have its dinosaurs extinct.

#1: Darth Vader Yells “No!” (Episode VI: Return of the Jedi)

Before we get into my #1 pick, let me just have you know that I don’t own the 2011 Blu-Ray for “Return of the Jedi,” however I have seen this online and when it played on TV once on Halloween in the year of 2016 on TBS. If I owned the Blu-Ray, I’d feel like a completionist, although at the same time, I’d be ashamed because that means I own the version where Darth Vader screams “no” at the end of the movie! I’ve watched “Return of the Jedi” countless times as a kid. Both the original and 2004 edition since I possessed the 2006 limited release. I’ve never had to deal with this crap then. It wasn’t awhile til I found out this change existed and it literally just changed everything. I could tolerate minor dialogue changes! I could tolerate random CGI moments! I could tolerate Han shooting second! But this! THIS! I’ll be back, I just gotta go jump out a window!

*OPENS WINDOW*

*JUMPS*

*FALLS FLAT ON THE GROUND WITH BLOOD EVERYWHERE, SCREAMS IN PAIN, SWEARING, TAKING THE LORD’S NAME IN VAIN, GETS WEAKER BY THE SECOND. SOMEONE SEES ME, THE NARRATOR, TRUST ME, THE NARRATOR, ON THIS STATEMENT, AND USES MAGICAL POWERS TO REHABILITATE ME, THE NARRATOR, BACK TO NORMAL*

(CATCHES BREATH) OK, I’m back! Just so you know, one of my favorite scenes in the original trilogy is in “Return of the Jedi” where Luke is being electrocuted by The Emperor. Before that, Darth Vader’s hand is cut off by Luke, almost as if it were revenge from when Vader cut Luke’s off in “Empire.” We see through symbolism that Luke has a line between the light and dark sides. We see one hand that’s without a glove and one that’s with a black glove. The Emperor is telling Luke to fulfill his destiny and join the Dark Side. Luke then decides that he won’t turn. This leaves the Emperor to start killing him with his bare hands (and the lightning coming out of them). Darth Vader is standing up, watching all of this go down. The Emperor is just brutally striking him down (literally) and Luke is begging to Darth Vader for help. There’s a brief pause, we see The Emperor’s face and he says, “Now young Skywalker, you will die.” Seconds later, The Emperor’s hands are releasing lightning again and Luke is screaming like crazy. We see Darth Vader moving his helmet back and forth toward Skywalker and the Emperor, the music achieves cinematic bliss levels as if it weren’t at those levels to begin with, and Darth Vader uses the strength he has left to lift up the Emperor and throw him down a pit where he screams like a wimp. We then see tons of smoke signifying he died from an explosion after hitting a core and it’s just a small portion of what I consider to be one of the most powerful scenes in the “Star Wars” saga, and possibly cinematic history. It’s a scene that I feel covers conflict, not to mention resolving it and choosing to do good. The music is one of the greatest musical achievements (as far as my opinion is concerned, in all of cinema). The explosion sends chills down my spine whenever I see it. Unfortunately, Lucas had to ruin a defining scene in the saga. Just. F*ck. My. Life.

Leading up to the electrocution, the scene is similar to how it was in previous versions, but as soon as we get to the part after the brief pause, we see Darth Vader once again, glancing in one direction and switching to the other, then we hear this:

DARTH VADER: No. (Turns to The Emperor) NOOOOOOOOOO!

As the second, everlasting “no” is uttered by Vader, he lifts up the Emperor, and like in the original scene, throws him down the pit.

As if changing the movies in 1997 and 2004 weren’t crazy enough, Lucas had this “brilliant” idea to screw it up just a tad more. Here’s the thing about that scene, not only is it, like these movies, somewhat nostalgic, but also powerful. That power is lost because Vader spoke, ruining the scene’s dramatic and chilling effect. You hear that music swell up from one level to another, you realize, this is the moment Darth Vader changed his ways, he’s now a good soul. Now, the movie shoves it in your face. During this scene, we KNOW Darth Vader isn’t happy about this situation, we KNOW how he feels! This whole change, I imagine, not only erases history, but it also just vandalizes a moment where we can all see what’s going down, and get the point. Here on the Blu-Ray, it feels like we are viewed as unintelligent and need something as simple as pressing a button explained to us. Not to mention, it reminds a lot of fans the time Darth Vader yelled “no” at the end of “Revenge of the Sith,” which a lot of those folks didn’t like. There have been multiple scenes that have been altered in any way, shape, or form, and when that has been done in 1997 and 2004, I imagine some people thought “Hey, at least the last moments before The Emperor dies is fine!” Well according to George Lucas, it wasn’t. He’s an interesting man. He spent the seventies establishing childhoods, and went on later in life to ruin them.

That’s all for this post. Thanks for reading this countdown! Please stay tuned for more content as I will have you know if you didn’t already that I’m going to see “Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi” on December 14th, which is the night it opens. While I am admittedly, worried for how this film will turn out, I am also stoked because this is the first main film in the “Star Wars” universe that I’m seeing it the night it comes out. Also, for those of you who are planning to go see the new “Star Wars” movie in theaters, I’ll remind you that yes, it’s playing just about anywhere, but there are ELEVEN special theaters, which is technically TEN in the United States and ONE in the United Kingdom, that will be playing “Star Wars Episode VIII” in IMAX 70mm. You don’t want to miss out on this one of a kind experience, so if you want more information on that plus a history of “Star Wars” in IMAX, click the link below and that’ll take you right where you need to go. Stay tuned for more reviews and posts! Also, what do you think is the worst change in the original “Star Wars” trilogy? Why do you despise it? Do you like any of the changes? If so, tell me why you do. Leave your thoughts in the comments below and let’s see if we can agree with each other! Scene Before is your click to the flicks, and to conclude this post, here’s a line from “Blade Runner” that describes how I feel about these Special Edition changes.

I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-Beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain… Time to die. –Batty

“STAR WARS EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI IS GETTING THE IMAX 70MM TREATMENT AND A HISTORY OF STAR WARS IN IMAX https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/10/17/star-wars-episode-viii-the-last-jedi-is-getting-the-imax-70mm-treatment-and-a-history-of-star-wars-in-imax/

How to Be a Latin Lover (2017): Perhaps 2017’s Most Awkward Event Since the US Presidential Inauguration

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“How to Be a Latin Lover” is directed by Ken Marino, an actor with a ton of credits who also directed episodes of various TV shows such as “Children’s Hospital” and “Burning Love.” This movie stars Eugenio Derbez (La familia P. Luche, Jack and Jill), Salma Hayek (Grown Ups, Once Upon a Time in Mexico), Raphael Alejandro (Olympus, Once Upon a Time), Rob Lowe (Parks and Recreation, Wayne’s World), Kristen Bell (Frozen, The Good Place), Raquel Welch (The Three Musketeers, Legally Blonde) Rob Corddry (Hot Tub Time Machine, Children’s Hospital), and Rob Riggle (The Daily Show, The Hangover). The plot for “How to Be a Latin Lover” is that Eugenio Derbez’s character of Maximo is dumped by his 80-year old wife. Because of that, he has to move in with his sister and nephew which leads to the rest of the movie’s events.

I did not see this film in the theater, I managed to find it used on Blu-ray in a store. I knew about this film beforehand, but it didn’t catch my interest. Ah, simpler times. I wasted ten bucks on this film and after watching this, I felt that I’d feel better watching another film that came out this year, “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Why’s that? BECAUSE I GOT TO SEE THAT FOR FREE! “How to Be a Latin Lover” is the epitome of a comedy that doesn’t impress. Rather cliche jokes, a fish out of water segment that was done better in movies like “Elf,” and a tale that at times, makes you question mankind itself. Seriously! There is a point in this movie, where the main character is with a kid he’s formed a bond with throughout the runtime, and he’s teaching the kid how to be sexually attractive. This story wouldn’t be as awkward if the kid were in, say, the teen years, but he’s f*cking ten! TEN! Essentially this kid has a crush on a girl, and I don’t think it’s entirely wrong for the kid to learn to IMPRESS the girl, but not to get her to have sex with him! In a way, it might associate well with the main character’s personality, after all, he was a gold-digger who admired women for their money and physical figure. It doesn’t change the fact that this movie was as awkward as going to a Super Bowl party and thinking it’s soccer.

Eugenio Derebez plays the main character in this movie, well, that is if you can call it a movie. His name is Maximo and he’s basically the s*ittier version of Derek Zoolander. Think about it, he basically has some of the mannerisms, although it’s not exactly the same because his voice isn’t as robotic or striking, but that’s just who he reminds me of. Maximo’s not really a male model either. He’s more of a guy who cares about no one but himself, doesn’t contribute to society as much as other people, and just seems to have sex on his mind a lot. Granted, there’s a stereotype that’s all that men think about, but I can guarantee you not all men show their thoughts on sex. So in a way, you can say he’s also the s*ittier version of Donald Trump (I can’t believe I’m saying that), because Donald Trump actually does s*it. He fired people! He licensed his name to things! And there’s a possibility that he’s part of what’s making Twitter thrive today.

Staying on the topic of things that men often think about, let’s talk about Salma Hayek. Salma Hayek plays the character of Sara, who is Maximo’s sister. Her character is overall, pretty pissed that Maximo is staying with her, after all, she has a job, Maximo doesn’t. She’s got money, Maximo doesn’t. I didn’t find her to be the worst character on screen, although she a has a job where she’s just trying to move up from where she stands in the company, but she just can’t get there. This brings perhaps, one of the most forced, moments of comedy, I’ve seen all year! She’s talking with this woman, and the woman says that Sara’s a fine person but she wants someone with “more experience” to take a certain occupational task of discussion. Although before this woman says “more experience,” Sara interrupts her assuming she’s about to say “more experience.” This causes the other woman to say that she must finish her sentence and she needs to get out what she needs to say. When your movie plummets down to a level of comedy as low as that, you know you have a s*itshow on your hands!

There are two kids in this photo as you can see, the one we’re gonna be focusing on is the one on the left, which is the son of Salma Hayek’s character, who happens to be played by Raphael Alejandro. This kid’s name is Hugo. I will say one thing, I did care for this kid more than I did for the main character, but you also have to consider how much of an influence the main character was on him. There was a point in the movie where I felt bad for him in a way, but at the same time, I just couldn’t bear seeing him, or anybody else in this stinking picture for that matter. Also, he did this one science experiment that I saw in his room that basically took up the entire space! For what I recall, this was something he was going to present at a science fair, and I just questioned why it would be in his room given what the experiment was and if it would even make it to the show. It almost crushed Maximo, who was sleeping on an air mattress laid out in this room. It almost reminded of “Daddy’s Home” when the Ford Flex goes through the house. I get the movie’s a ridiculous comedy, but the mind can only go so far in suspending disbelief. Just… have some sanity in this universe.

Kristen Bell is also in this film as a character who appears in a number of scenes. I mean… Why? Is “The Good Place” not giving her enough money? Her character is named Cindy, and she’s a crazy cat lady who works at a yogurt place. Her character reminded me a lot of Holly from “King of Queens,” which if you’ve never seen the show, she’s a dog walker with blonde hair. So both have some sort of connection with animals but the big difference between these characters is that the one in the movie we’re focusing on annoyed the living crap out of me. She felt like a cartoon! She may as well be a female Ghostbuster! This character just felt one dimensional, and I didn’t care about her enough to get to a point where I come across her buttload of cats later on in the picture.

These two characters above are enemies that Maximo meets along the way during this film, as if divorce and a lack of money weren’t enough. The one on the left is named Nick and the one on the right is named Scott. The pair remind me of the henchmen from “Super Mario Bros.: The Movie,” a movie that if you never watched, pretty much suggests that you didn’t have your childhood ruined by a dumbass and his equally stupid sidekick who both go by the last name “Mario” for some reason. The good news is, as characters, I think these two are better than the henchmen. They’re less cartoony. The bad news is, they aren’t good enough. They just spit out standard jokes and they just sound like something that are written by a three year old!

I know that I’m being hard on this film. Although there is a part of me that thinks this movie really could have worked… If it were Opposite Day. I don’t even think there is a way something like this could work. At least one that I can think of. Gosh! This movie probably just made my IQ shrink to a new low! “How to Be a Latin Lover” relies way too much on sexual humor, a lack of realism at times, and things that happen in the movie that could come off as a bonding experience between a wise person and a young person, but just come off as awkward in the end. You guys ever seen “Big Daddy?” The Adam Sandler movie? That movie displays a similar relationship between a wise person and a child. The experienced man wasn’t exactly teaching what’s right to do towards the child, but simultaneously you couldn’t help but admire what’s going on because it was funny and it wasn’t as awkward. He wasn’t teaching “the joys of getting into a girl’s pants,” it was letting the kid make his own decisions, being a brat at the park, how to get Halloween candy in unpredictable manners, stuff like that! Sure, it’s somewhat immature humor but ultimately I can’t help but admire it for working and making me laugh. In fact, if getting a girl to have sex was taught to the child in “Big Daddy,” it would have been even more awkward considering the child in that film was five!

In the end, “How to Be a Latin Lover” has a new hater. As time as passed, I wonder if I’ve seen a lot when it comes to comedy and I just don’t find much of anything funny anymore. Heck! I was one of the people who barely laughed during “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2!” Nevertheless, I think this movie’s crap and I’m going to give “How to Be a Latin Lover” a 2/10. There have been films, like this one, where I’ve seen sexual comedy work. This doesn’t associate with the ones that work. Part of me even wonders why I bought this movie, oh right! It came out this year! I’m seeing as many 2017 movies as I can by the end of the year! What a stupid question! Agh, thanks for reading this review. If you want to see reviews to better movies, I’ll post links to those down below. Be sure to check out my reviews for “Justice League” and “Wonder.” Stay tuned for more reviews! Also, I want to know, did you see “How to Be a Latin Lover?” What are your thoughts? Or what is the most awkward comedy you’ve ever seen? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

“JUSTICE LEAGUE” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/11/23/justice-league-2017-what-does-this-mean-for-the-dceu-plus-talk-about-the-movies-box-office-return/

“WONDER” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/11/25/wonder-2017-face-the-facts/

Avengers: Infinity War (2017) Official Trailer: Revived Hope For Marvel Studios?

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Today I have a trailer review for you all, and it’s a trailer that pretty much everyone who is a Marvel fan has been asking to receive for quite some time. Now that it’s here, I imagine they’re all excited. Am I a Marvel fanboy? Sort of. I don’t read the comics but I enjoy the movies, and despite how I mainly watch the movies, I do actually sometimes discover information that has been covered in various comic books, and the same can be said for DC. Do I really like Marvel more than DC? From a movie perspective, you can say I do, but quite honestly after seeing DC’s movies this year, they’ve not only created better content movie-wise this year as a whole, but they’ve also given me the thought that they could create content that can compete and surpass the content we’ve gotten with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As far as next year goes, Marvel has more movies coming out than DC, and one of them is “Avengers: Infinity War,” whose trailer we’ll be talking about today. For those of you who don’t know, “Avengers: Infinity War” will be the nineteenth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In this movie, the Avengers have to stop Thanos, played by Josh Brolin (The Goonies, No Country for Old Men) before he collects six Infinity Stones, and if this madness isn’t stopped, he will inflict his wicked will on reality itself. So without further ado, let’s talk about the trailer.

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So the trailer starts off and you hear a bunch of voices. These voices all come from members of the Avengers, and they all come together to form a phrase, saying that the Avengers was formed in order to take down people that the ordinary couldn’t defeat themselves. Throughout we get a bunch of shots of the Avengers, some of which look colorful by the way. We also get one where we see one of the Infinity Stones inside Vision’s head, which should set up some of what we get in this upcoming film.

Then we get one of the most unexpectedly long logo introductions I’ve ever seen in a trailer. It’s basically similar to the Marvel Studios logo you’d get in the MCU films that have come out since “Doctor Strange.” It’s not a bad logo, but it’s just a tad long for a trailer. Although I did see reactions to this trailer and people were geeking out over this, which I can respect.

Then we get something that I admire this trailer for showing, despair. We see a bunch of heroes together, a shake comes along, and next thing I notice, Tony Stark is walking out of a door. One criticism I have here is the shot arrangement as he does this. We see him walking, the camera is close to Tony from behind, and then all of a sudden, the shot changes to basically the same thing, except instead of being a close-up, it’s more like a medium shot. As this is going down, we begin to hear Thanos’s voice.

THANOS: “In time, you will know what it’s like to lose. To feel so desperately that you’re right. Yet to fail all the same. Dread it. Run from it. Destiny still arrives.

As Thanos is saying all of this, we get a shot of Spider-Man’s hairs raising, we also see the heroes looking at all of the s*it that’s going down, and we also see Loki holding the Tesseract, which you may remember as an important entity from the first “Avengers” movie. We then see Thanos exit the portal. Who is Thanos? If you’re unfamiliar with Marvel…

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He’s basically the Marvel villain equivalent of that one kid who stole your candy on Halloween, only he’s not wearing a poorly realized Barney the Dinosaur costume.

Seeing Thanos the way he is at this point is rather weird to me, because up until now, we’ve seen him in his armor. We still see armor, but one thing that’s noticeably gone is his helmet. According to Joe Russo, one of the two directors of “Avengers: Infinity War,” he has a more “casual” and “spiritual” look, Russo explained during his time at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con that this costume is symbolic for the character throughout his journey attempting to collect the stones. We then hear Black Panther speaking for the first time in this trailer, all the while getting some more cool looking shots.

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Afterwards, we get some action, and even a scene where Tony’s in his Hulkbuster suit, which was used in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” in a fight against the Hulk. One of the most important shots in this which I feel adds drama to the entire trailer is one shot where we see vision’s Infinity Stone removed from his head by Thanos’s staff. He places a stone in a compartment located on the armor which is on his person, right next to another stone. This signifies he has two stones and he still has more to look for.

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There aren’t that many shots left before the trailer comes to an end, but one shot I heard others talk about that I will bring to your attention is the one you see above. You can see a bunch of the Avengers running towards the camera fighting with all they’ve got in a field of grass. I watched one reaction video saying this looks like the new “team shot,” although I disagree considering how the team has Iron Man who looks like he’s out of this shot, and I don’t see Vision anywhere. Maybe he was killed as the stone was taken from him. I don’t know, what do you think?

After we see the logo for this upcoming film, we then get one final moment of footage. We see Thor, he has one eye, and he asks “Who the hell are you guys?” The next thing we see after that, a shot of the Guardians of the Galaxy! This means that for the first time, the Guardians will now cross into a Marvel film that isn’t standalone! The release date for this film, according to the trailer, is May 2018, although to be more technical it’s May 4th, 2018, which sounds more like a proper release date for a “Star Wars” film considering that’s what us geeks refer to as “Star Wars Day.”

So now we made it here, we’ve made it to the point that this whole cinematic universe was leading up to, Thanos. Regardless how the movie will be, this trailer was amazing. It does exactly what a trailer needs to do and unfortunately, a tad more, which we will get to. As far as shot composition, I’m pretty impressed. There’s a nice variety of shots all over the trailer, some of which show off neat CGI, granted I feel the color grading can be adjusted a little bit, but for the most part, they’re great shots. In fact, one thing that somewhat surprises me is the aspect ratio of the trailer. This movie is using the Arri Alexa IMAX camera to shoot the entire film. This means when the film is shown in all IMAX theaters, more of the screen will be covered by an image. My assumption is that this will only apply to when the film is shown in IMAX, and when it’s shown in other theaters, the aspect ratio will come off as it does here, which does lead me to some questions regarding the Blu-ray. Also, one thing that makes me wonder why they’re going with a 2.39:1 aspect ratio for this trailer is that it’s not shot with one other camera. Also, when this movie comes to theaters, it’s unlikely that it’ll change aspect ratios, so why’s it like this?

This movie is being directed by the Anthony and Joe Russo, the two have also directed prior MCU films including “Capatin America: The Winter Solider” and “Captain America: Civil War.” After seeing those films, I’m convinced that the two can create an excellent “Avengers” film. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is one of my favorite movies from 2014 and when I did my top 10 best movies list for 2016, “Captain America: Civil War” ended up being on the top spot. Quite honestly, I think that spot now belongs to “Arrival,” a conclusion which I’ve come to after watching it multiple times on Blu-ray. Nevertheless, to go two years this decade with top movies directed by the same people is an achievement worth appreciating. “Captain America: Civil War” also felt like a mini-“Avengers”-film, all the while focusing on Captain America. So based on what I’ve seen in that film from a directing standpoint, especially when it comes to action, I have confidence that these two directors can deliver a watchable product.

Paul Bettany, who you may know as Vision in this upcoming movie, was just at Rhode Island Comic Con, and while he was there, he was at a panel alongside Sebastian Stan, who you may know as Bucky Barnes in this film as well. While he was there, he described it as “badass” and “amazing.” If I were a total fanboy, I’d probably be saying the same thing. Am I right now? I wouldn’t say I am as much as I want to. The main reason is because of Marvel’s past work, specifically “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “Thor: Ragnarok.” Those two movies, while passable, weren’t satisfying. The main reason I thought this way was that the comedy given in both movies just didn’t work. There were times where it did work in both films, but for the most part, it fell flat and as the movie went on, I couldn’t help but think “Stop trying! Take a break!” That comment can apply to both movies, but just a bit more for “Thor: Ragnarok.” For “Guardians,” I wanted the comedy to go on, because the comedy is what makes me think of “Guardians” as “Guardians,” but none of the attempts worked. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” took the original movie’s humor that sounds like something you’d hear in perhaps “Ghostbusters” or something and replaced it with humor you’d hear in some cheap animation from Sony Pictures Animation shoved down our throats. Let’s just say that you know that your movie is starting to lose me once you insert a joke about how big someone’s turds are. I don’t mind those sorts of jokes, but that made that installment suffer because of how much it felt like a different movie compared to the first one. The first one felt like a comedy with mature humor, not like “Deadpool,” but you’d get my point if you’ve seen the movie. The second one felt like a family comedy combined with “Fast & Furious.” And I say “Fast & Furious” not only because of how often comedy occurs and the fact that this film is explosive at times, but also because of this conversation from “GotG Vol. 2” that sounds like something you’d hear in “F & F.”

NEBULA: (to Gamora) All any of you do is yell at each other. You’re not friends.

DRAX: You’re right… we’re family.

The Guardians are also appearing in this movie, so as much as I’m kind of looking forward to what they’ll do here, I wonder if their constant joking that’s signature to them will bring clashing tones to the final product. “The Avengers,” much like “Guardians” and a bunch of other Marvel movies, has comedy of its own, but simultaneously, it remains serious, and as much as I appreciate good comedy, I want this to be one of the most serious Marvel movies of all time. Comedy can be interjected here and there, but all in all, having a being like Thanos in this movie means there needs to be some dark moments, and if you think I’m joking, I’m not.

And going on with my point, let me just say that this franchise hasn’t had ONE major character death yet. Despite my praise for “Captain America: Civil War,” one problem I have with it is that nobody dies. All of the Avengers fight each other and everyone turns out OK! The movie was so close to having Rhodes die, but it didn’t go all the way. If this movie goes all the way, I might consider it to be the best “Avengers” film yet. Now I’m not saying, at least at this point, that ANY Avenger has to die, I’m thinking if you pull out one such as the Hulk, Thor, or even Black Widow, I’ll care more. If you pull out Hawkeye, I seriously won’t care. All he’s done in these films is use a bow and arrow to partially impersonate Robin Hood and pretty much nothing else! From what I can tell, the Guardians of the Galaxy are going to survive in this movie. After all, not only is this their first “Avengers” installment, but they are also getting a standalone sequel in 2020. If there are any characters from that side of Marvel that will die, it wouldn’t be all of them. It would probably also piss off a good portion of younger audiences watching since they are probably the most family-friendly of the MCU characters. When it comes to Vision, it’s possible that he could die based on what we’ve seen from the trailer, while Thanos is getting the stone from his head, he could lose his life in the process. Would I care much if Vision dies? It’s hard to tell, I liked JARVIS, who is played by the same actor, but in order to get Vision, JARVIS had to go away. Has Vision really done that much as a character? Sure, he had one of the best scenes in “Age of Ultron” where he picks up Thor’s hammer, but other than that, what has he really done? His character has only been in a couple of films, he accidentally hurt War Machine, and he fell in love with Scarlet Witch. I’d care more if she died considering I felt more of a connection to her character in “Age of Ultron.” Not to mention she came off as slightly more kick-ass! But seriously, SOMEONE HAS TO DIE IN THIS MOVIE, OR IT’S POSSIBLE THAT MY SCORE WILL BE REDUCED! I am rather convinced that someone will die in this movie, but I don’t know if it’ll happen because it’s the nineteenth installment and we haven’t seen one person die, Marvel’s owned by Disney, and according to Kevin Feige, he says that there are 20 more films planned for the MCU after a fourth “Avengers” installment! MY F*CKING GOSH! At least James Bond USUALLY waits a few years until the release of another movie in the franchise. As far as Marvel’s neverending expansion, I don’t feel like talking about that, but as far as “Avengers: Infinity War,” it makes me think that we’ll finally see another great Marvel film. It has a lot going for it, and hopefully it can deliver. So we’ll just have to wait!

One last complaint I have is the whole dramatic moment of the trailer I was talking about earlier, as much as it may be great trailer material, it almost feels like a spoiler. Thanks for reading this post! I’ll have you know once again that “Avengers: Infinity War” is in theaters May 4th, 2018, and so far, things are looking pretty good for the movie. Part of me can’t wait to see it. I also want you to know that I’m currently working on my countdown pertaining to what I consider to be the worst changes made the original “Star Wars” trilogy. I don’t know when that’ll be out, but the new movie, “The Last Jedi,” opens in the middle of next month so I’ve got some time to finish it. I don’t know if I’ll be seeing this right away, but next week, “The Disaster Artist” comes out, and you guys probably don’t even know how much I want to see that! I’m not sure what will be going on this particular weekend, but I don’t know I’ll be going to see any movies this time around. Maybe I’ll watch a movie at home and review it, only time will tell! Stay tuned for more great content! And did you see the “Infinity War” trailer? What are your thoughts? Or, are there any major heroic characters in the MCU that you think will die in this upcoming movie? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Wonder (2017): Face the Facts

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“Wonder” is directed by Stephen Chbosky, and stars Jacob Tremblay (Room, The Smurfs 2), Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman, Ocean’s Eleven), Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers, Cars), Izabela Vidovic (About a Boy, The Fosters), and the movie revolves around a young boy named August Pullman. He is what one would consider unique, and if you watch this film and observe his face, you’d understand why. The movie covers what’s going on as this boy enters the fifth grade and goes to a regular elementary school for the first time.

This movie is based on a New York Times Bestselling Novel. Now, I’m gonna restate something I said about books in a review I made prior to this one, specifically in my review for “The Firm.”

“…movies are more fun! Sorry, books!”

As a movie reviewing moron, you might already know I enjoy watching movies as opposed to reading books. Even though I imagine this book is very good, I just haven’t gotten around to reading it. Although as for the movie, I’d say it was enjoyable, but not perfect. It has a great cast, I like Owen Wilson in a lot of the stuff he’s in and he’s great here. In fact when it comes to casting, the resemblance between him and the young main character is hard to top! Just look at their hairstyles! Julia Roberts was also on her A-game, I haven’t really seen much of her work, but I know how much others praise her. Jacob Tremblay proves that he means business. I honestly think he’s one of the best child actors working today. Months before going to see this, I’ll have you know I watched “Room” and I thought that was one of the best movies of 2015. It’s in my top 3 with “The Martian” and “Star Wars Episode VII.” That movie had one of the best screenplays of the decade, Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay had some of the greatest chemistry in a movie released that year, and there’s a part of me that wants to talk about it with everybody. Seriously! If you haven’t watched “Room,” see it now! If you have Amazon Prime then it’s free to watch!

This movie also has an intriguing screenplay that offers moments of happiness, sadness, and laughs. However, it also offers moments that I just want written off entirely. I remember having my verdict in mind as the movie was coming to an end and I hear this one line given by Owen Wilson’s character given to Jacob Tremblay’s character and it took that grade I had and I shrunk it down. I won’t say what it is, but it made me think of the line as unrealistic not only by the standards of what’s happening in the film but it also made me think that if I were the age of Jacob Tremblay’s character, I’d go through the scene reacting in a much different way. Let’s just say it starts with Jacob Tremblay freaking out over something and then he suddenly is calmed down by a line I assume that was supposed to get the audience to remember what this movie’s main point is. Speaking of Jacob Tremblay, let’s move onto him.

Jacob Tremblay plays the film’s main character, August Pullman. He has a facial deformity, which triggers a bunch of reactions from various characters. While his family seems to understand what happened to his face, after all, it’s his family I’m talking about, I don’t know why they wouldn’t understand, other people are either freaked out by it, think he’s a loser, or simply different. I honestly don’t know many people with facial deformities, but I’d say for younger viewers watching, this character can be important for those who have deformities or even if they don’t, regardless of whether or not they know someone with deformities. Luckily this movie is PG, so I’d say parents would be more likely to bring their kid to the movie theater to see this than some other films. I will also say I can relate to this character, and it kind of has to do with the part that makes him a kid. I say this because legally speaking, I’m an adult, but simultaneously, I still have childish traits, mainly the fact that I have a deep fanaticism for “Star Wars.” Yes, many adults enjoy “Star Wars,” but George Lucas, director of several installments of the “Star Wars” saga once said “it’s a film for 12-year-olds.”

Speaking of “Star Wars,” this film also interjects brief appearances from multiple “Star Wars” characters, including Darth Sidious and Chewbacca. I can only wonder how much this cost because this film is from Lionsgate, and “Star Wars” is owned by Disney. I never read the book, and it’s possible that this is faithful to the source material, maybe it cost nothing and Disney thought this was cool. By the way, the guy who plays Chewbacca (Michael Alan Healy) actually pretty much only plays him and nobody else. I checked his IMDb and that’s the only character that would show up on his page. He played Chewbacca on the “Today” show, he was on two “Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards” shows as the character, he was Chewie on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” and he was even on “Deal or no Deal” as the same wookie. In fact, I remember the episode he was on because I’ve seen it, and it was a special episode with a “Star Wars” theme where it was a “Winner Take All” match between two contestants. Chewbacca appeared alongside R2-D2 to support the contestant. Also, the other contestant actually had Carrie Fisher rooting for her! Not only that, but for the Carrie Fisher contestant, she was playing a game where the models were Stormtroopers. And Darth Vader was the banker for both contestants!

Alright, those are my “Star Wars” and “Deal or no Deal” rants for now, sorry if those inconvenienced you. Anyway, back to business.

As far as the parents go in this movie, I already said a few things about them, but in all seriousness, their chemistry with each other was completely believable. I also bought into the chemistry between them and August. This is an interesting moment when you have a child actor playing a major character in the movie and instead of the traditional situation where the child can’t act and the adults can, the adults tend to be more of a highlight than a downfall, everyone here however tends to shine. It doesn’t really surprise me. All of these people have received positive criticism as time passed, and honestly, Jacob Tremblay might even be a better actor than a lot of adults. Although to be fair you can put any kid up against Tommy Wiseau from “The Room” and consider them to be a better actor.

JOHNNY (played by Tommy Wiseau): (GOING THROUGH DOOR ONTO ROOFTOP) I did not hit her, it’s not true! It’s bulls*it! I did not hit her! (WHILE THROWING WATER BOTTLE ONTO GROUND) I did *not*. Oh hi, Mark.

August also has a sister in this movie named Olivia, or Via for short. There weren’t too many good images I could find of this character, so I hope this poster isn’t too bad. What kind of surprised me about her character is how nice and considerate she was to others, even to her own brother. I often come across and imagine many relationships where siblings fight each other. In reality, this would be rather odd considering Via’s age, but still. I liked her story, for the most part. I say for the most part because she does interact someone in the movie and at times I felt that the way their relationship was going just came off as a bit forced. Not to mention, some of the dialogue regarding this relationship was rather cheesy, not as bad as say “Star Wars Episode II” but it felt like I was reading some crappy fanfiction written on someone’s Blackberry. No, not “Fifty Shades of Grey,” I’m thinking of something imaginary and a lot less on the mature side of the spectrum.

There are a number of kids August meets in the movie, one of the first ones he talks to when he enters school goes by the name of Julian, who you may know as Herman from “Walk the Prank,” and there was one moment of the movie that just caught my eye. There was a point where the film basically villainized him and he was talking with the school’s principal. Speaking of the principal, his character goes by the name of Mr. Tushman, played by Mandy Patinkin, who you may know from “The Princess Bride” and “Homeland.” His character honestly brought some very forced humor that just didn’t land. Going back to Julian, he was talking with the principal and his parents are there. The focal point of the conversation is August, and Julian is basically saying that he is against August and his parents side with him. They even say there’s a reason to be against him just because of the way he looks. It just makes me wonder, how many people are like this? It might as well show that either parents will defend their children no matter what, maybe they think their kid is “always right,” the parents might have a bias because their kid says something, and not everyone has the same experiences with certain people. It also sometimes just goes to show how people will judge you based on your appearance. I can’t really say I’m male model material, but I imagine some people think I look presentable. How often do people get past what they see and just focus on what they learn through basic conversation? What if Meg from “Family Guy,” a character usually considered ugly not only by society, but also by her own family, had more friends just because they were interested in what she had to say? By the way, it’s always interested me she’s that way because she’s played by Mila Kunis and she’s f*cking gorgeous!

In the end, “Wonder” is a film that I believe many people wouldn’t mind watching at least once. I’d say it’s got problems, but at the same time, I don’t think people should stay away from it completely because it is a good story for families and children. I really do think that younger audiences can enjoy and take something from this movie, and not just because it partially involves “Star Wars” but because the movie’s about inclusion, fitting in, and how certain friends can surprise you in both pleasant and unfortunate ways. Upon looking at his IMDb, this is the third thing I’ve seen featuring Jacob Tremblay, the other two things were “Room” and one episode of “American Dad!,” I can’t wait to see him in future works if I get the chance. I’m gonna give “Wonder” a 7/10. Thanks for reading this review, I just want you to know if you haven’t already, you should try checking out Stardust.

Stardust is a free app you can download on the App Store and Google Play. It can be used by people to provide reactions to movies and TV shows. Let’s say you finished watching the latest episode of “Game of Thrones,” you can record a thirty second video (at maximum) where you reveal your thoughts and you can provide a rating from 1-5 stars towards the episode you’re focusing on. Worried about revealing spoilers? Keep those worries away! Stardust has an option that can warn others that your video contains spoilers! In fact, you don’t even have to see whatever it is you’re watching. If you haven’t seen “Revenge of the Nerds,” by the way, watch it, you can still talk about it. Maybe you’re about to watch it and you decide to give your thoughts going into it, or maybe you’ve seen the trailer or something, I don’t know. You can do all of that and you can also follow other people to see their latest reactions, by the way, follow my handle, JackDrees! Be sure to download the app, I recommend it, the app’s free, which makes it even better, and I hope to see you there!

I just want you to know that I’m a nerd, I might even be king of the nerds, and as the possible ruler, I want you to know that I recently posted a piece of nerdy material, otherwise known as my post documenting my time at 2017’s Rhode Island Comic Con. I went there, met more people than I’ve met at any other con I went to. I met someone who I’ve met in the past, and I even confused one guest for another! So if you’re interested in reading that post, I’ll have the link down below, that way you can go to the post and enjoy it! Stay tuned for more great content! Also, I want to know, what are your thoughts on Jacob Tremblay? Do you like him as an actor? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

RHODE ISLAND COMIC CON 2017 REVIEW AND HAUL: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/11/15/rhode-island-comic-con-2017-review-and-haul/

Justice League (2017): What Does This Mean for the DCEU? (PLUS TALK ABOUT THE MOVIE’S BOX OFFICE RETURN)

Before we get into my review for “Justice League,” let me remind you that the buildup for this movie has been objectively crazy. Regardless of whether you’re a fan of DC, you’re anti-DC, you’re a fan of Marvel, or you just aren’t into movies based on comic books, you might as well agree with me on how bonkers this movie’s buildup truly is. I cover all of that including the director change, the sexually suggestive events, the date of the review embargo lift, all in another post I’ve done titled “What the Heck is Up with Justice League (2017)?” If you want to check that out, click the link down below and that’ll take you to that post and you can discover the complete insanity of “Justice League’s” buildup.

WHAT THE HECK IS UP WITH JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017)?: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/11/09/what-the-heck-is-up-with-justice-league-2017/

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“Justice League” is directed Zack Snyder (300, Watchman) and stars Ben Affleck (The Town, Argo), Gal Gadot (Fast Five, Criminal), Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones, Conan the Barbarian), Ezra Miller (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Perks of Being a Wallflower), and Ray Fisher as the members of the league established in the title. Batman and Wonder Woman try to unite a bunch of beings with superpowers in order to defeat the evil Steppenwolf.

*MAJOR BOX OFFICE RANT AHEAD, IF UNINTERESTED, GO TO NEXT PARAGRAPH*

Before we actually go any further, part of me is glad that I’m not seeing this film on opening weekend. This is because I can now make a portion of this post dedicated to how nobody went to see this on opening weekend. If I were to see this on opening weekend, I would have. However it didn’t fit into the schedule of those who I was going to see this with. I will say this, if you have read the post I recently mentioned, you may recall I said essentially Marvel does better at the box office compared to DC, and to show that, I went through the results of 2016 comparing DC’s “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” with Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War.” To be fair, those movies had somewhat similar concepts, although “Batman v. Superman” is something that comic book junkies have been waiting to see on the big screen for years. Not to mention, “Batman v. Superman” released first. The thing I said must have brought more people into the theater has to have been the difference in tone and the reviews regarding the movie. Just look at Rotten Tomatoes! The box office results for both movies ended up being pretty high. I wouldn’t say they’re close, but it doesn’t mean they’re not high. Although I will say “Batman v. Superman” failed to make over $1 billion overall unlike “Captain America: Civil War.” Now fast forward to November 2017. This month, two big superhero movies come out. “Thor: Ragnarok” is scheduled to come out November 3rd, two weeks prior to “Justice League,” which comes out November 17th. So “Thor: Ragnarok” releases, and as expected, it won the box office on its opening weekend. The total “Thor: Ragnarok” earned on said weekend is around $427 million. In just a week, the movie has flown past $500 million. This is over $50 million greater than the combined total the original “Thor” made DURING ITS ENTIRE RUN! Also, just recently, specifically November 19th, reports came in that “Thor: Ragnarok” has now reached $739.2 million at the box office! This report suggests that “Thor: Ragnarok” has also made more money than “Thor: The Dark World” in just a couple of weeks! Also a little thing to keep in mind, the budget for “Thor: Ragnarok” was estimated to be $180 million. Suggesting that “Thor: Ragnarok” made its budget back on opening weekend. As for “Justice League,” that movie had an estimated budget of $300 million. Unfortunately, they couldn’t make it back. Some of you might be thinking, did they at least make as much as “Thor: Ragnarok?” Hate to point this out to you, but if you’ve been reading this whole paragraph, that’s a stupid question, because I said “I can now make a portion of this post dedicated to how nobody went to see this on opening weekend,” so if that doesn’t give you any hints I don’t know what will. Overall, the box office total is considerably high, but comparing it to a film like “The Avengers” would be like comparing the heights of the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. Both are high when you look at them, but compared to the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State is a whole new level of high. The specific worldwide total for “The Avengers” turned out to be $392.5 million dollars on the first weekend whereas this year’s “Justice League” came out to $278.8 million. “The Avengers,” a movie whose budget is estimated to have been $220 million, made its budget back on its opening weekend. Yes, that’s a shorter total, but I’m leaving that in. Interestingly, “Justice League” happened to make more overseas than “The Avengers” ($185.5 million vs. $185.1 million). Going off of “The Avengers,” just think about this. A technical action-comedy starring Chris Hemsworth as a short haired Thor, made more on opening weekend than “Justice League,” which has Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Aquaman, and The Flash. Strange, isn’t it? When it comes to international openings, this takes the #20 spot for the top openings in that category and when it comes to the worldwide rankings, this happens to be in the top 25 worldwide openings of all time. In reality, $278.8 million is a lot of money for a movie to make over a single weekend, although with a movie like this, it’s a tad odd that it wouldn’t end up making more.

Can somebody drop a coconut on my head? I think I’m going f*cking insane!

So, where was I? Oh yeah right, I have a whole review to do! This just goes to show you the absolute s*itshow this movie is regardless of my personal thoughts. Going into this film, I had similar feelings as I did with “Thor: Ragnarok.” Although with this particular movie there happened to be some differences. Like “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Justice League” had me going in with mixed thoughts. I honestly thought the trailers for this movie were better, although the TV spot marketing, at least from my memory, was barely noticeable. Visually, I thought this movie was somewhat superior, even though “Thor: Ragnarok” happened to be vivider. Based on this year’s movies released thus far from both DC and Marvel, you might as well say DC is kicking Marvel in the ass. “Wonder Woman” is currently at a spot somewhere as one of my top movies of the year. The other movies released in the MCU thus far, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” underwhelmed me. OK, maybe “Spider-Man: Homecoming” didn’t underwhelm, after seeing the trailers, especially the one that revealed way too much about the movie, the hype I had for the movie was not as high as I hoped it would be. Nevertheless, that movie could have been better. Although despite “Wonder Woman” being one of my favorite DC films ever made, the reception for that movie regarding the DCEU, or the Detective Comics Extended Universe, is pretty much a fluke. “Man of Steel,” while not liked by everyone, did get a number of positive reviews from critics and audiences. “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” in terms of reception, was one of the most controversial movies of 2016. In fact, “Suicide Squad,” also released in 2016, happened to be met with the same results. I had at least one thing that I enjoyed about every DCEU movie thus far. As of now I think “Suicide Squad” sucks, but at least some of the action was cool, the visuals were stunning, and the casting for Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) was stellar!

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Now we’re here, “Justice League” is out. While it currently has better results, at least according to Rotten Tomatoes, than “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad,” it’s not getting exactly what one would call positive reception. The big question is, does “Justice League” qualify as a film or not? I’d say it does. It’s got problems, but I’d say there’s still hope for the DCEU. It’s by no means as good as “Wonder Woman,” but I’d say it’s worth your money.

As mentioned, this movie has problems. So let’s begin our Negative Nancy segment of the post. This movie is an hour and fifty-nine minutes long. In all honesty, it could have been longer. I do believe this movie is going to get an extended cut for the home video release so my issue may be resolved there depending on what happens. The main reason why I wanted this to be longer is for characterization purposes. Let’s look at Cyborg in this movie.

Cyborg is played by Ray Fisher, who I imagine is a lovely guy. After all, while I never technically met him and shook his hand, I saw him at Comic Con as I was waiting in line for the person next to him. By the way, I’m referring to Gal Gadot, who’s also in this movie, and I’ll get to her later. While I did get some of his backstory, and I also happened to be introduced to a parent of his, I don’t really feel like I got to know Cyborg in full detail. If the movie was a bit longer much like some of the other installments in the DCEU then maybe we would have gotten a closer look at Cyborg. Also, this does bring one question to my mind. How long was this intended to be?

This film was directed by Zack Snyder, a man who had prior experience when it comes to films based on comic books or graphic novels. These films include “300,” “Watchman,” along with two movies in this film’s universe, “Man of Steel” and “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” However, he didn’t have complete control. For the record, that was his decision. An unexpected tragedy hit the Snyder family earlier this year when Zack’s daughter, Autumn, committed suicide. This caused Joss Whedon to take over.

Joss Whedon was added on in order to finish the movie and shoot some extra scenes. The movie also went through reshoots, which isn’t new for this universe considering “Suicide Squad” also went through reshoots which happened to be met with mixed opinions. Joss Whedon, much like Snyder, isn’t a stranger to comic book films. Whedon directed both “Avengers” 1 & 2 so as far as concept goes, this is almost like a trip down memory lane. I like Joss Whedon, but he almost might be a problem here. When it comes to directing, it might involve one person with a certain vision for their movie. It almost felt like Joss Whedon came in with a different vision and it kind of affected this particular movie. Part of that vision, from what I can tell, possibly came from a musical perspective. Snyder initially hired Junkie XL to do the movie’s music, but it turns out that he was eventually fired and replaced by Danny Elfman. After hearing Elfman’s score in this film, I wasn’t exactly impressed. Not only is it somewhat ordinary, but even borrowing themes from other superhero films with characters didn’t work out. I liked what he did with Wonder Woman’s theme, but that’s about it. This is rather unfortunate because I love Danny Elfman. Admittedly, I don’t think he’s the right guy for this project. Junkie XL was probably the better choice. I even saw a video on YouTube that showed Junkie XL’s real theme for this film, which was scrapped due to Elfman replacing him. After hearing that, I knew for sure Junkie XL was right for this. It’s not surprising Danny Elfman did the music if you think about it, because he worked with Joss Whedon in the past on “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” I didn’t even like the score for that film, maybe superhero crossover films aren’t for him. He did well on standalone superhero films though such as the “Spider-Man” trilogy, so if he were doing superhero films, that’s what he should be hired for. Who knows? It might not even be Whedon’s fault, because this movie, from a perspective regarding itself from a point of view that I imagine must be Zack Snyder’s, could have affected it as well.

I’ve seen news and trailers regarding this movie leading up to it. At times I heard this movie was going to have more humor than say, “Batman v. Superman.” Tell me guys, doesn’t that sound like Marvel to you? Maybe Zack Snyder thought if the movie was more like a Marvel movie, and by that I mean generally more comedic and happy go lucky, he’d receive more positive criticism. Granted, the movie was funny, and there were moments where the comedy happened to work. Although in general, let’s just say this. If a movie sets up a tone, it’s best that they stick with it. This movie starts out rather dark, in fact part of it has to do with the death of a major character in the DCEU. There’s still comedy throughout and it works. Some of the comedy, maybe not as much because I’ve seen it in the trailer, but overall it works. Then we progress throughout the movie, while some of the original vibe is still there, it’s starting to diminish. The movie’s getting tads lighter as we go. This may be due to the writing, the reshoots, anything. In fact, it could be Joss Whedon’s fault after all! He was credited for his work on the screenplay. Also when it comes to the screenplay, Whedon technically had possibly more credit than Snyder because while Snyder had a focus on the movie’s story, Whedon was given credit on the screenplay itself.

Some people might not notice this, but Whedon also likely decided on changing the climax of the movie. The idea is pretty much the same, there are scenes from multiple trailers (both before and after Snyder’s departure) that made it into the final cut, but you might notice the sky is red. I mentioned this in my “What the Heck is Up with Justice League (2017)” post comparing this result with one of the earlier trailers where we see identical moments with a dark blue sky. I thought the blue sky worked, the red was a little too much. I will give some credit because the sky wasn’t, say, pink, but I thought the dark blue was more fitting for the movie overall.

As far as the action goes in this movie, I’d say for the most part, it’s awesome. Zack Snyder has proven that he can direct great action scenes in previous movies and he just shows he’s not messing around in this one. There was one scene that for the most part, was great, but there was a time where I almost couldn’t tell what was happening. Just for the record, it wasn’t as bad as “Transformers 5.”

Another complaint I’ll give here is that Steppenwolf wasn’t exactly the strongest villain I’ve ever seen. Comic book movies in general, mainly the ones that have come out this decade, lack memorable villains. There are exceptions like “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming” but for the most part, they don’t exactly resemble greatness when it comes to antagonists. Steppenwolf was a serviceable villain with a somewhat clear motivation, however at the same time, he was rather cliche.

Now that that’s over, let’s move onto some positives. The cinematography in this movie is very solid for a comic book film. There are a number of scenes where it’s rather conventional, but at times, the camera is moving like crazy which goes along perfectly with the fast paced action. If you ask me, the DCEU’s best cinematography however comes from “Man of Steel.” Although that’s kind of a compliment since both movies were directed by Zack Snyder. At the same time however you can say I’m kind of insulting the cinematographer because the director of photography for “Justice League” and “Man of Steel” are two different people.

I also appreciated the film’s CGI. Did it go overboard? At times, but that’s not a first for comic book movies. Overall, you can say the effects were massive, somewhat colorful, and somewhat breathtaking. Seeing Aquaman stop water from reaching a further distance was spectacular to watch. Also, you might not know, but Cyborg’s costume is CGI, and I got to say it worked.

Speaking of things that are done digitally, Henry Cavill appeared in this movie. I won’t go into further detail about what he did, but he’s there. During the movie’s production, he had a mustache. Why was this? He was simultaneously working on “Mission: Impossible 6” where his role required him to have said mustache. Under regulation, Cavill couldn’t shave it off, so it was removed digitally. While you don’t really see much of it, it’s still visible. I don’t know how much of the movie-going population would catch something like this, but it caught my eye nevertheless.

Sticking with the topic of heroes and the actors who portray them, let’s talk about some in depth, except for Cyborg since we already went over him. Starting off with Batman, played by Ben Affleck, he’s basically one of the two people organizing the Justice League. Before “Batman v. Superman” I was somewhat skeptical about him as Batman but now that I’ve seen him multiple times as the Caped Crusader, I have to say he does a fine job portraying the character. As Bruce Wayne, Affleck seems to stay according to plan and as Batman he appears to remain deep voiced and alert.

The other person organizing the league is Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot. There is LITERALLY no other person that should be playing this role but Gal! I may be biased because I love Gal Gadot, I view her as my celebrity crush, I met her at Comic Con, but seriously! Just watch Gal Gadot in this movie and you’ll come to realize, she has this system down. Her battle cries are probably some of the best I’ve heard in a movie! The accent, which by the way, is actually the real way Gal talks, works for the character! Seeing her in action is such a treat! The list of positivity is extreme! Her character, once again, SHINES in this movie. I was able to buy into both Wonder Woman and Diana Prince. When a movie makes you do that, you know you have a great character. On a sidenote, there’s a point in the movie where Bruce and Diana are having a conversation and when “Steve Trevor” comes up, I was wowed. I can’t exactly recall the quote where Trevor’s name is mentioned, but it was a highlight in the movie’s screenplay for me.

This movie also has Barry Allen, AKA The Flash, played by Ezra Miller. Out of all the characters in the movie, this one was pretty much the comic relief. Sure, there’s funny lines given by multiple characters in the film, but if there was one person that stole scenes from a humor perspective, it had to have been The Flash. I didn’t really laugh as much as other people, but I did end up laughing. His character was hyperactive, excited, and rather fleshed out. I can also give kudos to Ezra Miller for giving a good performance.

The last hero I’ll bring up is Arthur Curry/Aquaman, played by Jason Momoa. If you have read the comic books and watched this movie, you may notice some differences when it comes to Aquaman here. His backstory is similar overall, but in terms of character traits, he’s not completely identical. One difference you may notice is the hair. When you compare the hairstyle to the comics, it’s similar to certain installments, signifying that the hair in the comics isn’t always the same. Although one thing you might notice here is that the hair isn’t blonde, it’s more on the darker side of the color spectrum. Overall, I bought into Aquaman, I enjoyed seeing him in Atlantis, and personality-wise, he’s kind of like a rockstar. That’s what I get from the way he talks. On a little sidenote, I made a post months back saying that footage was leaked for the upcoming “Aquaman” movie. Turns out that’s actually in this movie. If you want to read that, link’s down below.

https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/03/03/leaked-aquaman-footage-revealed-on-zack-snyders-twitter/

Speaking of characters in this movie, Commissioner Gordon also makes an appearance here. This is Gordon’s first appearance in the DCEU and the reason why I’m excited he’s here is not because I have a passion for the character but I have more of a passion towards the actor who plays him. That actor by the way is JK Simmons (Whiplash, Juno). When it comes to JK Simmons, if you put a picture down on a table with his face on it and do the same with other actors, there’s a good chance that I’m gonna tell you “Screw the others, this guy’s the man!” I say this because JK Simmons is probably my favorite actor when it comes to ability. There are actors who I personally idolize more, such as Curtis Armstrong, but JK Simmons usually never fails to impress me, and that continues in this movie. Granted it’s not his best performance, but it’s also not his worst. He convinces me as Commissioner Gordon and I hope to see more of him if this movie’s universe continues. One interesting fact you may or may not know, JK Simmons is also J Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy. So basically he went from doing movies under one comic book company onto another. Whether you prefer Marvel or DC, let’s just agree that JK Simmons rules!

Here’s a question you might be asking. Is this movie good enough for the DCEU to continue? Personally when it comes to watchability, yes. However, the critics seemed to give this mixed reviews, it did make tons of money despite how it could have made more, and I have a feeling that moviegoers will either compare it to Marvel saying it’s not as good or too much like Marvel. Do I think it’s like Marvel? In ways, but DC has seemed to develop it’s own characteristics that Marvel doesn’t traditionally use that makes it stand on its own. “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” another movie in the DCEU, was dark as hell. It could have worked if more character development came into play. If these movies find their own path in terms of vibe, whether it be light or dark, personally I prefer dark, depending on the movie, and they focus more on characterization, then this universe would be less flawed. My other suggestion is that they try to just release one cut in theaters and go with it. I don’t care if it’s long as long as it’s effective. The original cut for “Batman v. Superman” was 2 hours and 31 minutes and that didn’t work out. This is why audiences loved “Wonder Woman” when they saw it. It functioned as a story and it managed to work out as far as the runtime goes (2 hours 21 mins). If a movie doesn’t rush and makes sure it can tell its story in full detail, chances are it will be better. Also, it seems suspicious that they would make the runtime 1 hour and 59 minutes. It almost seems as if the movie happened to be longer, the studio would be worried about making less money. I don’t know, but I think it’s a good assumption. Although it’s not as suspicious as when a movie gets split into two parts (The Hunger Games, The Twilight Saga). But seriously, quality matters, not quantity.

In the end, I’d say “Justice League,” while not perfect, is an enjoyable ride and is certainly better than some of the other comic book films we’ve gotten this year. In fact, I’ll even go as far as to say, I’d rather watch this than “Thor: Ragnarok.” Am I a DC fanboy? Not really, I’m just a guy who likes good movies, and I had more fun watching this than I did watching “Thor: Ragnarok.” Is this movie as good as “Wonder Woman?” No, but I’d definitely say it’s worth watching if you’re into DC, you like action, and if you can get by the tones that clash throughout the film. I’m gonna give “Justice League” a 7/10. After watching a bunch of movies in both the Detective Comics Extended Universe and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve got to say that the Detective Comics Extended Universe is this year’s clear winner. While Marvel’s films had some neat effects, cool moments, and likable villains, they all tried to be funny, but ended up falling flat for me. The DCEU balanced heroism, action, and humor. “Wonder Woman” is one of the best directed superhero films I ever watched, “Justice League,” despite its imperfections, is a joyride. So I can’t wait to see what next year brings for both cinematic universes and find out which one comes out on top. Now I know I’ve been talking for awhile and believe it or not, I’m unfinished. Because I need to talk about Stardust!

Stardust is an app you can use to talk about movies and TV. I recently used this to talk about “Justice League” along with my quick thoughts on it and I recommend you do so as well. Although if you don’t want to talk about “Justice League,” you can choose from thousands of movies and TV shows to give your two cents towards. You talk about how much you like them, how much you hate them, you don’t even have to see them! Stardust also allows you to follow people and see what their latest reactions are. If you want to follow me, my handle is JackDrees. It’s kind of like Snapchat minus the risque elements of the app that Tinder is also known for. If you want to download Stardust go right ahead, I recommend doing so that way you can start sharing your thoughts on movies and TV shows.

Thanks for reading this extended review, I also hope you enjoyed the little piece I did on the movie’s box office return, I tried to put a good amount of effort into that. Part of me feels slightly crazier than I once was for doing it, but I also had some fun writing all of this s*it down. I’m going to see “Wonder” on Black Friday. I’ve heard great things about this movie so far, I loved Jacob Tremblay in “Room,” so I’m really looking forward to this. Stay tuned for my review for that, along with more reviews! I need to know, what is the best superhero movie you’ve seen this year? I can’t say I’ve seen “Logan” so I gotta go with “Wonder Woman.” Also what is the worst superhero movie you’ve seen this year? My pick would be “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” but each person will have their own opinion. Comment below, I’d love to hear your responses! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

International Men’s Day: Is This Holiday Worth Celebrating?

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Today is November 19th, 2017. Today is World Toilet Day, although there is another holiday that is getting a little more recognition than that and it’s International Men’s Day. This holiday was conceived on February 8th, 1991, and inaugurated on February 7th, 1992. The holiday is now observed annually on November 19th, much like how International Women’s Day is observed on March 8th. I’ve been thinking recently and a lot of other people have as well, what is the true significance of International Men’s Day?

To answer that, I was on Twitter earlier today and I managed to come across a variety of tweets. Many people are saying things along the lines of: More men have mental illnesses than women, you should recognize men who may as well be considered role models, and this day shouldn’t even be worth celebrating because “every day is International Men’s Day.” My response to that last one is this: Yes, it is true that men are more privileged than women. Men are traditionally paid more, they’re not sexually harassed as often, and they never had to ask for the right to vote (with exceptions). However, to say that every day is International Men’s Day is like saying that the Hulk is always incredible. That’s not true, the Hulk is sometimes angry too. While I was on Twitter, I came across a tweet from a user I follow who happens to work for Teen Vogue, @laurenduca, a user who I admire because basically she’s fighting for women’s rights and she’s written a great article I read in the past. However she recently crafted a tweet that personally, I disagree with:

Let’s get something straight here. I was going through some of the replies to this and some of them were rather chuckleworthy. They were talking about Louis CK and Harvey Weinstein. As I was reading this, I wasn’t necessarily “surprised” she would tweet something like this, but it made me question this very holiday. I already have questioned it in the past, but it brought the questioning back into my mind. Not to mention, it brought a new question into mind as well. That question is: How many women hate men? Also, how much do they hate them? I’m not saying Lauren Duca hates all men. If she did, there’s a good chance she wouldn’t have liked some of my tweets praising her. Although let’s dive a little deeper into this by talking about the concept of feminism, because a little birdie told me Donald Trump is a little too controversial.

Feminism by definition is the advocacy of women’s rights in the realm of gender equality. If you ask me, I believe women deserve an equal amount of rights as men. Although here’s the thing. We already have an International Women’s Day, and I actually happen to recognize that holiday more than I recognize International Men’s Day. International Women’s Day is recognized because women fought for rights, mainly the right to vote. I recognize this holiday more because I feel that men get a lot of credit, and there are times when women don’t really get much spotlight so I feel the need to give it to them. On Twitter, I give shoutouts to women in honor of this day. I literally search for random Twitter users who happen to be female or I choose from female users I already know and give them a shoutout. In 2015, I did this for a month. In 2016, I did it for a few days, and in 2017, I made a whole day out of it. My question is when it comes to these holidays, if you want gender equality, why can’t both genders get a holiday? Yes, women, throughout history, had more struggles, but both men and women deserve recognition. At the risk of sounding like Donald Trump, I’m referring to the good ones. We don’t need to recognize men like Adolf Hitler or Osama Bin Laden or Joseph Stalin, we can honor those who have done good for the world. People like John F. Kennedy, Benjamin Franklin, Martin Luther King Jr., or Alexander Graham Bell. The same goes with women on their day. Forget about people such as Abby Lee Miller, Kim Kardashian, or Irma Grese. Try to remember those who have brought positivity from your gender. People like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Amelia Earhart, or Oprah Winfrey.

Down below is an image I’ve seen from multiple Twitter users.

If you ask me, you could probably do without the domestic abuse victim statistics because when it comes to basic math, 40% is below the majority between the genders (I assume these stats possibly include men who identify as transgender). Also, the fact that men serve longer in prison isn’t exactly worth pointing out either. It’s almost like saying “Hey! We committed crimes! So give us more credit for our time!” Although at the same time maybe they’re talking about the average time spent for similar crimes committed by both genders so this kind of makes sense if that’s the case. Granted, prison is awful, plus there’s always a chance that someone might be there for a reason they don’t deserve. Let’s say that there’s a law broken that the majority of people disagree with, or there are people who have been falsely accused, etc. Nevertheless, these statistics are valid and are worth recognizing. Suicide is a major issue, it’s executed multiple times a day and it’s very unfortunate whenever it happens. I just want to say to everyone who’s thinking of committing suicide, don’t. You won’t know what you’re missing. Why not live life a bit longer? See if it turns around if it’s got you down. Homelessness is also a big issue, if I were homeless, I wouldn’t be writing this. I want people, regardless of gender to have a home that way they can be who they want to be. …As long as they don’t become an asshole. Pretty much all of these issues are important.

When it comes to mental health, that’s a focal point for this year’s International Men’s Day. Men are more likely than women to find themselves living with antisocial disorders or substance abuse. Also, there are men who have been raised to to become masculine, and there are also those folks who can’t join that club. They remain silent for themselves and don’t express their feelings as much as other people.

In reality, the real reason why I think people question the idea of International Men’s Day is the fact that men are often viewed as privileged compared to women (which is true) but the thing is, I feel that a number of people fail to recognize that there are good men out there. There are also men out there who need help. Going back to Lauren Duca, to “cancel” a holiday like this one is discrimination. Yes, men have done this to women for years. Although in reality, we all want equality. The whole idea of feminism is to not only make progress in terms of giving more rights to women, but to make sure they have AS MUCH, NOT MORE, rights and power aside men. Sure, there are different rights women can have as opposed to men, like rights having to do with being able to get abortions. After all, men can’t get pregnant, but I’m pretty sure my point is made. Stuff like this is why I hate the new “Ghostbusters” reboot, it’s saying “women are superior to men.” They’re not. Men aren’t superior to women either. As genders, we’re supposed to work together. We have our differences, but in the end, said differences are just in existence. Think of it this way. If a woman said the male gender doesn’t deserve International Men’s Day, imagine what would happen if a man said the female gender don’t deserve International Women’s Day! Also, what if we took away Father’s Day? It would also be fair to take away Mother’s Day. Actually, you know what? A small part of me wants those taken away that way Hallmark has less cash-cows on their hands. By the way, love you mom and dad! We have holidays for food, for f*cking food! National Cheeseburger Day is on September 18! National Lobster Day is on June 15! We even have… a holiday… FOR CROUTONS! CROUTONS! FOR F*CKING CROUTONS! I’M NOT MAKING THIS UP! We, a civilized society, have a holiday, for f*cking croutons! Look it up! I’m not kidding! National Crouton Day! Observed on May 13th! EVERY F*CKING YEAR! I mean, people like croutons. So… I better let them have their day.

Ultimately, I think International Men’s Day is not a bad idea. Sure, International Women’s Day is a day that I recognize more, but it doesn’t mean I just completely ignore the idea of International Men’s Day because there are men who deserve recognition. Whether it be the brains like Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, or Neil DeGrasse Tyson, or the brawn like Mahatma Gandhi, William Wallace, or Aron Ralston, or even those men who can’t speak for themselves. So people, if you think all men are bad or get too much attention, look further. Women are advancing up the charts in terms of achievement and recognition and part of me sees what the future will be like for them. Although while women will have their rights, part of me wonders if we’ll be seeing a role reversal in the future where women get all the rights and men don’t get as much. I’m not saying that this will happen, and I believe a good portion of us are capable of knowing what “equality” means, but it’s something that I wondered if it will ever happen. I don’t mind a future where mostly women have power, I just want a future where people of any gender will have rights as equal as the person next to them. So yeah, happy International Men’s Day.

Thanks for reading this post, and I want to know your thoughts. Do you think International Men’s Day is worth celebrating? Do you think it’s stupid? Let me know your thoughts down below! Also, as far as movie reviews go, I have tickets to see “Justice League,” I’m seeing it the day before Thanksgiving so look forward to that review and a couple days later I’m gonna be seeing “Wonder,” which stars Jacob Tremblay, who also starred in one of my favorite movies of the decade, “Room.” Stay tuned for those reviews and other great content! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

 

Rhode Island Comic Con 2017 Review and Haul

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! If you were in Providence, RI last weekend like I was, there’s a good chance you were there for Rhode Island Comic Con, which advertises itself to be “The BIGGEST show in the smallest state!” I went for my third year in a row, I had my reasons for going, and despite wanting to go right away just because I had a lot of fun at this event for the past two years I went, new enormous reasons developed along the way. Mainly the fact that a good number of the people who were in “Revenge of the Nerds” were showing up. Not to mention, you’ve also got the legends I like to call Curtis Armstrong (Booger) and Robert Carradine (Lewis), the hosts of “King of the Nerds,” which is perhaps one of the most overlooked shows I’ve ever watched in my entire life.

The convention had one of the biggest lineups for any con I’ve seen. If you want to come here for autographs or photo ops, you’ve got the whole day ahead of you because you’ve got a plethora of guests from various realms including movies, TV, and music. For movies, I’ve recently mentioned the cast of “Revenge of the Nerds” was having a reunion, but you’ve also got a couple folks from the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies including Dave Bautista, who you may know as Drax the Destroyer, Sebastian Stan, who you may know as the Winter Soldier, and Paul Bettany, who you may know as Vision and JARVIS. Not to mention you’ve even got a couple folks from “Back to the Future” including Tom Wilson (Biff Tannen) and Christopher Lloyd (Doc Emmett Brown). For TV, you’ve got a number of “Star Trek” cast members, mostly from “The Next Generation,” which includes Brent Spiner (Data), Michael Dorn (Worf), Gates McFadden (Beverly Crusher), Marina Sitris (Deanna Troi), and Jonathan Frakes (William Riker). You’ve also got a cast member from CBS All Access’s/CBS All Cash-Cow’s “Star Trek: Discovery,” Jason Isaacs (Gabriel Lorca) and a man who needs no introduction, but I’ll introduce him anyway, William f*cking Shatner (Kirk), who moderated a panel dedicated to the cast members of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” There also happened to be some cast members from “Married with Children” including Ted McGinley (Jefferson), Amanda Bearse (Marcy), and David Garrison (Steve). Also there were a couple of musical artists including Gene Simmons and Al Yankovic. This is just scratching the surface of the neverending guest list, I could write every single person’s name down, but for the sake of not killing my keyboard, I’m just gonna stop here.

There were a number of guests who also happened to be artists. I didn’t really take much of a gander at them, but I did notice that there were a lot of these people. A lot of them happened to be local, I actually happened to talk with one of them, in fact since we’re on that I actually will bring something in particular up to you all next.

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Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce, “The Overlords!” “The Overlords” is a book series written by J. Michael Squatrito Jr.. According to the website, it’s a “fantasy adventure set in the times of warriors and magic.” Seven men and a special dog embark on a journey to find the coveted treasure of the land, the bounty left behind by the ancient Four Kings. The main character is referred to as Harrison Cross, an orphaned warrior. There’s an antagonist who goes by the name of Lord Nigel Hammer, which by the way, badass name! That might even be a better name than Taserface! This antagonist has an army and often gains the upper hand which damages the adventurers. There’s also a humanoid race known as the Seynthians, who want to eliminate humanity as a whole. If you want to find out more about this, click the link below to find out about these books on their website. Also, if you’re reading this before December 2nd, the author of this book will be attending the 5th Annual Rhode Island Author Expo, where many Rhode Island authors show off their material. This takes place in Cranston, RI, so if you’re into that, check it out!

THE OVERLORDS WEBSITE: http://the-overlords.com/Default.aspx

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Moving onto the con itself, the con was more organized than I thought it would be. I say this because I’ve gone the past couple of years and they kind of f*cked up. I remember going in 2015 and it happened to be overcrowded, which interfered with me as I was simply attempting to go to a panel. In 2016, the autograph system was a little different than I was expecting it to be (in ways). The convention had multiple headliners including Millie Bobby Brown, Stan Lee, Frank Grillo, and Alice Cooper. They had you pay for your autograph at a box office before heading in line, which I didn’t even know about until the moment I was near a celebrity when I went. I don’t know how many other conventions are like this, but I don’t really think that’s a good idea, because for what I know, it’s non-refundable, which only benefits the con and not the customer, but also it prevents you from deciding whether or not getting an autograph from someone is actually a good plan. By the way, they had the same system this year for the headliners. Although one thing I did notice this year that I didn’t notice last year, is that for certain celebrities on the Dunkin Donuts Center floor, you don’t even have to pay at the box office, you can just give the money at the table. Sticking with last year’s headliners, the line for Gal Gadot was all over the place, and I know that because I was in that line. For what I know, none of the issues I encountered, including one I had this year which I’ll mention in a second, were as abysmal as 2014, a year I didn’t go. I first heard about this from a con-goer as I was facing my 2015 incident. Unlike the years I went, 2014’s Rhode Island Comic Con took place in the Rhode Island Convention Center. While it still happens there, 2015 has brought an expansion to the mix at the Dunkin Donuts Center. Although before that happened, 20,000 people had tickets, but the convention center could only hold 17,000. The convention center had to shut down due to overcapacity, making this a first in the building’s history. I had an issue where you had to literally make a loop around the Dunkin Donuts Center to get to the convention center, but that’s not the big problem I had. My main issue this year was the organization for a panel I was attending. Granted it was in a tiny room with people you’d probably only know if you were constantly surfing the web, but nevertheless, it irked me. A lot of people were in line for a panel, and when you hear what it is, you’d understand why. Apparently, around the time of my panel, which was for Channel Awesome, there was a “Game of Thrones” panel. There was almost no line whatsoever for Channel Awesome because “Game of Thrones” is more popular, but what really caught me off guard is that there were basically people next to the walls of the doors to the room which I was trying to reach happened to be located. They were in the “Game of Thrones” line. I guess size DOES matter. My suggestion is that you’d put down barriers for each panel room. When “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” came out, I went to a local theater and they had barriers for each auditorium dedicated to showing the movie so you can discern which auditorium is showing it and which line you should get into. The photo ops were organized and they didn’t even use barriers. Although it makes sense because they were in a tent which is covering the sky, and the lines happened to be drawn in yellow chalk. The staff was a mix between nice, unaware of various situations, or just there to organize. Some of the staff could have used a more pleasant tone when this happened, but still. Speaking of misunderstandings, I have a story for you, but we’ll dive into that later. For now, let’s talk about a purchase I made.

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If you like “Star Wars” but hate the changes George Lucas made to the original trilogy, you’ll love what you’re about to hear. This here is the original theatrical version reconstruction of what’s now commonly referred to as “Star Wars Episodes IV-VI.” This started out as a fan project which involved tons of Photoshopping, reconstructing, color correcting, and all sorts of other stuff in order to create an HD version of the original “Star Wars” trilogy. Hardcore fans are aware of this, but in case you don’t know, there was a time when “Star Wars” started releasing what became known as “special editions.” A name which nowadays a good number of people disapprove, because the only thing that could be considered special about the special editions is not watching them. Granted, they are still the original movies, but they’ve added some changes here and there. Pretty much all of them are unnecessary. Some of them have enraged fans, including me. What made many viewers outraged is the change made during the conversation Han Solo and Greedo have in the Cantina. Specifically, they changed Han shooting first and made Greedo shoot first. There was also a Blu-Ray release in 2011, which brought more changes, including a change to the Cantina scene where Han and Greedo shoot simultaneously. This also brought my least favorite change, which happens to be featured in “Return of the Jedi.” During the scene when Luke is being electrocuted by the Emperor, Darth Vader screams “No!” like he did at the end of “Revenge of the Sith.” So essentially, these three discs take that pile of unfortunate s*it, and throws it into a trash compactor, leaving it to die. I already have seen the original versions of the “Star Wars” original trilogy, but I can’t say I’ve seen them all in HD yet. I will say though, one complaint I have, and it’s rather minor for now, is that the discs are in 720p HD as opposed to what Blu-rays traditionally have, which is 1080p. Speaking of stars, let’s move onto some “stars” I ran into during my visit.

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Let’s start off with a guest I took a professional photo op with. This is also the first pro photo op I’ve ever done at a con. I’m pretty sure you’ll be impressed with my first choice, Christopher Lloyd. For those of you who haven’t been to conventions or don’t get to experience pro photo ops, these are very quick, so I never got to say hi to Christopher or engage in conversation with him. I did utter “Hey, man” as I was walking up to him however. One pro I will give to the entire staff behind the photo ops is that they seemed nicer than the con’s main staff. Also, for those of you who don’t know, the photo op company taking charge at this year’s convention is Celeb Photo Ops. Last year the convention had Froggy’s Photos, which I heard brought some issues last year, which is why Rhode Island Comic Con made the switch.

 

Before we get into other guests, I have a story that occurred during the con that quite honestly, will make you slap your knee harder than whenever a bitch slap occurs. So I was looking for a certain guest, and I run into this man, the man you see in the five photos above alongside me. That man is David Garrison. I don’t see anything on his table worth signing, but I notice the price for a posed photo, which happened to be $20, so I’m just going, OK, I’ll do that. I take my camera out, I give it to a guy sitting next to David, the guy is then referred to by David as a “great photographer.” The camera I was using happened to be a Samsung ST150F, which I don’t think is a bad camera for the money, but it’s by no means anything professional. I pointed out that unfortunately the camera he was using was probably not the greatest, I had more professional cameras in my mind. I tried to be humorous, calling the device “a camera that looks like something traditionally used by soccer moms.” We took five shots, then I headed away from David. Only thing is, when I headed off, I had no idea what I was in for. There was another guest two seats away from David, it’s Ted McGinley.

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The placement which was just recently described makes sense, because Ted McGinley, like David, happens to be from “Married With Children.” I actually walked up to him and I had something to say. “You say that guy (David)? I thought you were him.” I even told him “I took five photos! I paid $20!” Ted responded to me saying that he was in a similar situation when he was signing autographs for people while getting off a bus and someone asked what this was. They thought McGinley was someone else. My memory remembers him saying “George Michael” or something like that. Although it could have been David because he said he’d rub this story in David’s face if I had that worded correctly. Although when we were taking a photo I said “screw George.” Before we did that, we high-fived each other. Just a little fact about Ted, he’s known for playing Stan Gable in “Revenge of the Nerds.” When I was talking to David, I was unaware of the embarrassing situation, but he said “See you on the reruns,” obviously referring to “Married With Children” as I was walking away from him. I don’t think he quite made out what I said, but I replied back saying “And the “Nerds” movies.”

F*CK. ME.

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Here we have two autographs, one of them is from Ted McGinley, specifically the one the right. If you can read the left one clearly enough, that one was from Donald Gibb.

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Here we have a picture of me alongside Donald Gibb, a guy who some folks might refer to as Don Gibb, but also a guy who as of just recently, I personally refer to as “Surprisingly Not Santa Claus in a Live Action Movie or TV Show.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think I’m right. I scrolled through his IMDb. Gibb was fun to talk to, granted this was a day after a panel I attended featuring him so we had something to talk about, but we still had fun talking to each other.

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We’re not quite done with “Revenge of the Nerds” just yet, we’ll be coming back to it. For now, let’s focus on Channel Awesome. Channel Awesome, if you don’t know the name, is an online media production company. One of its popular series’ happens to be “Nostalgia Critic.” This is a series where Doug Walker, AKA the Nostalgia Critic (middle) gives a commentary on whatever random topic related to movies happens on his mind. Doug’s brother, Rob (left), and their father, Barney (right) also join in on Doug’s content. These folks have a pretty dedicated fanbase. I know someone who watches Channel Awesome’s material, and by the way, on Sunday, I went up to the trio and purchased an autograph for that friend. That wasn’t the only time I went up to them, because my sister was trying to get an autograph for her friend as well and this happened on Friday. When I went up on Friday, I informed the trio I wanted to help out someone who’s often shown in Channel Awesome material, Tamara Chambers. I had a DVD for “Point Break,” the original, not the remake. I figured I’d give it to them so they can give it to Tamara since she wasn’t at the con. Why was it exclusively for Tamara? I wasn’t sure if she saw “Point Break,” but if she didn’t, she could make this a part of her “Tamara’s Never Seen” series. I didn’t have the copy of the movie on me at the time, it was in my hotel room, I said I’d bring it over before the con ends. They said they have it and the movie can be an idea for Tamara to watch. I told them that was OK. I honestly figured Tamara just watches whatever she owns, I didn’t think she would take them from the Walkers or the Channel Awesome studio. Going back to Sunday, Rob noticed my shirt. You’ve already seen it in a few images, the one that says “Jar Jar Stinks.” By the way, remember the folks behind The Overlords? They thought it said “Star Wars Stinks” until I corrected them. Rob actually took a picture of it and sent it to his friend. I also attended their panel, which was advertised as a “Movies Everyone Disagrees With You On” panel, but was also, according to the panelists, a Q&A. Although it was mainly a “Movies Everyone Disagrees With You On” panel. The panel was fun, not to mention surprisingly calm, and Channel Awesome would agree because at one point, someone said they didn’t like “Napoleon Dynamite.” I own the Blu-ray for that film, but I haven’t seen it. Although it was mentioned that whenever Channel Awesome does these panels, “Napoleon Dynamite” has caused some violence in the past.

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Speaking of panels, let’s talk about one I attended on Friday. At 6:00, there was a panel for the “Revenge of the Nerds” cast called “Nerds on Stage.” This does make sense because two of the sequels in the series have similar subtitles. Those sequels are “Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise” and “Revenge of the Nerds IV: Nerds in Love.” The panel was moderated by Clare Kramer, who you may know from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” as Glory and “Bring It On” as Courtney. Each actor had something to say, Donald Gibb was trying to make everyone laugh saying that he can’t read. Curtis Armstrong was talking about how he got the role of Booger and how he didn’t want it. I heard that story multiple times and it never gets old, especially when I hear it from him because he delivers it with such passion. Julia Montgomery was saying that she didn’t appear on “Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise” because her character was cheating on Lewis, played by Robert Carradine. Speaking of Robert Carradine, someone asked him to do the laugh that you’d often hear in the series. Andrew Cassesse was talking about how he was much younger he was compared to the rest of the cast as the first film was in production. This was one of his earliest films, and it’s interesting to realize Andrew, who at the time, wasn’t even a teenager, appeared in a movie containing nudity, sex, and panty raids. At one point, Curtis Armstrong brings up what was originally thought of as an attempt to cash-in on “Revenge of the Nerds.” This is now known as “King of the Nerds.” He and I basically agree that it is a show that definitely deserved lots of praise, and its passing is mourned every day. I’m trying to get it back though, and Curtis is well aware of that. Curtis also pointed out a “King of the Nerds” contestant was here at the con and he happened to attend the panel. By the way, that contestant is Colby Burnett, he’s a “Jeopardy!” champion whose combined winnings come out to $375,000. He talked about his time on the show and what it was like. I actually interacted with him before the panel, and this isn’t the first time I actually had a conversation with him, because we were once on a Google Hangout together. We talked about “Jeopardy!,” Austin Rogers, and other contestants. I wanted to talk to him one more time by the end of the con, but by the time I came up with something that I really wanted to discuss with him (“500 Questions”), he was nowhere to be found. Oh well! Nevertheless, the panel was a blast and I loved seeing these cast members come together.

Staying on the topic of the “Revenge of the Nerds” cast, I happened to meet Julia Montgomery, and when we met, it was almost like we were long lost cousins. You may know Julia Montgomery from “Revenge of the Nerds” as Betty Childs, a cheerleader and head of the Pi Delta Pi’s. We talked to each other, I ask her to sign an autograph. I also mention that she may know me from Twitter, and I happen to mention my name. She knew who I was and she said she comes across my stuff a lot. Just for the record, she follows me. She even called me “famous.” Oh yeah, if you want to join Julia in that club, be sure to search my handle, @JackDrees! When I met her on Friday, I forgot to take a photo, so I did it on Sunday. Julia Montgomery was not only nice and beautiful, but she also had a great fashion sense. Just look at what she’s wearing in the photo where I stand alongside her.

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Some of you might be wondering what this is here. Well, it’s basically everyone from “Revenge of the Nerds” who happened to be part of the Lambda Lambda Lambda fraternity. I’ve already talked about a couple of these people while I was focusing on a panel I attended. I didn’t go into full detail however, when I talked with them in person.

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Starting off with Andrew Cassesse, you may know him as Wormser. Cassesse appeared to be a nice guy, we shook hands, he gave me an autograph, we talked a little bit about the con, and we took a picture. It’s interesting to see his progression into an adult. I wonder how many people who have watched the “Revenge of the Nerds” films would recognize him now because in that movie he was very young and looked a bit different than he does when I walked up to him.

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This here is me with Brian Tochi, who you may know as Takashi. For those of you who happen to be big “Star Trek” fans, you might also recognize this guy from two episodes in the franchise. His earliest appearance was in the third season of “The Original Series” where he played Ray in “And the Children Shall Lead” and he also appeared in the fourth season of “The Next Generation” as Ensign Kenny Lin in “Night Terrors.” We talked for a short amount of time, he gave me an autograph, we took a photo, and I went off. When I went off, I actually managed to receive a sheet of paper detailing what this guy has done throughout his career.

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Right here we have Larry B. Scott. I met this fellow on Saturday, and I consider him to be a nice guy. It was almost the end of the con (as far as Saturday goes), so he said “You came in at the bottom of the ninth!” If you watched “Revenge of the Nerds,” you might know him as Lamar. I had a chat with him, he gave an autograph, we took a photo, and before I headed off, he asked if I’m coming to the after-party. I said I couldn’t because I wasn’t 21. He said “That’s OK, you’re still my friend though!” To me, that’s great, because I could use more friends. We’ll see if we run into each other again as “newfound friends.”

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Before we dive into this next photo, I will remind you that Julia Montgomery recognized my name based on her experience on Twitter and she happened to call me “famous.” This next person who you may recognize said the same thing. Although I’ll remind you that this is the second guest I ran into during the entire con, Julia was the fourth. When I was talking to Julia, and she exclaimed “You’re famous!” I shouted in a voice in a pitch higher than what I usually give off, “He said that!” Who’s he, you ask? Well, he is Robert Carradine, although I personally call him Bobby. He is one of the two hosts of “King of the Nerds” and when I walked up to him, I asked how he was doing, he said he was good, I went on saying I had a story to tell him, and I assure you this is true. I was vacationing in Delray Beach, Florida. There are barely any times I leave the New England area, but this wasn’t one that I personally enjoyed. The main parts I enjoyed was watching “King of the Nerds” because season 3 was happening. So I mention that one night I’m at a restaurant, I’m looking at my phone, and a notification pops up saying something along the lines of “@bobbyislewis is following you.” If you don’t know what @bobbyislewis is, that’s Robert Carradine’s Twitter handle. The name does make sense since Bobby plays Lewis in “Revenge of the Nerds.” That moment made my vacation. Yes, you can argue that there’s more to life than Twitter, but I was 15, and my Twitter life was just getting started. Robert guesses who I am with two words that part of me still can’t believe he uttered… “Jack Drees?” I get that I’m super active on Twitter, but for what I know, he barely goes on there! I’m just amazed he knows my name! I confirm I’m the guy he’s thinking of, he says I’m famous, and he asks how far up I am. I say to him “30 minutes north of Boston.” Although maybe he meant followers, I probably didn’t understand what he was going for during the conversation. I got an autograph from Bobby on Friday, and I took a photo with him on Sunday. This just goes to show how much one person’s dedication towards something, even after perhaps a good number of people had it erased from their memory, can pay off. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, I’m speaking of “King of the Nerds.”

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If you have followed this blog, you might already know about how much I admire “King of the Nerds.” You’d know that me talking about it here on this post isn’t necessarily a once in a blue moon event. “King of the Nerds” not only introduced me to Robert Carradine, but it also introduced me to Curtis Armstrong. My memory goes back far enough to seeing material containing Armstrong prior to “King of the Nerds,” specifically “Jingle All the Way,” but I didn’t even find out he was in that until months ago. Since we’ve been on the topic of “Revenge of the Nerds” the whole time, I might as well state Curtis plays the character of Dudley Dawson, but you can call him Booger. Let me just remind you, this isn’t the first time I met Curtis. I went to this same con during November 6-8 2015, and Curtis happened to be there all three days. I first met him on the second day because this con is large and there was an entire area which happened to be open that I didn’t even know about. I went back to him the final day saying he was the best part of the con. Then came July 12th, 2017. Curtis releases his new memoir, “Revenge of the Nerd,” great read by the way! There happened to be an event dedicated to it where Curtis talked about the book, it took place at the Brookline Booksmith in Brookline, MA. I happen to run into Curtis there, and he’s signing books for everyone who wants a signature. I already purchased a book, so I brought mine in case the autographs were bound to happen. It took a moment for him, but he recognized me. Now we’re here during the time of November 2017, it’s been a year since Donald Trump was elected, and there are still two controversial sides related to this, the Houston Astros won the World Series, and “Will & Grace” is now back on the air making new episodes! It’s also the time of my next meetup with Curtis. Instead of having to remind him of who I was, he recognized me instantaneously. He recognized me because I was wearing the same shirt I wore every time we met. In fact, a little something extra that could’ve helped, but also possibly didn’t matter, is that I was wearing the same sweatshirt I wore when we met for the first time. When he saw who I was he got up and hugged me. We talked for a moment, I told him I recently watched “Ray,” a movie he’s in, and I thought it was great. Curtis said he loved that movie. I ask him to sign an autograph, which was free by the way, I’m not trying to brag, I’m stating the truth. No fake news here! We take a photo, and I leave telling him I’ll see him at his panel, you know, the one I recently talked about. There was a point in my life where I considered Curtis to be an idol. I still do by the way, although based on our recent meetups, I consider him a friend. We may not hang out all the time. In fact, if he wanted to be alone I’d respect his privacy, I need plenty of alone time so I can understand someone else feeling the same way. I can’t thank him enough for all he’s done. By the way, if you’re weirded out by the photo of me alongside him, let me just say that I have no idea what I’m doing either. I can just tell you I’m not impersonating Booger during the belching contest in “Revenge of the Nerds.”

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If I had any other disappointments to list, it would be that I didn’t get to meet John O’Hurley, who didn’t really show up all that much despite having his name on the guest list. Although overall, I’m inevitably coming back to Rhode Island Comic Con for another year. If there are any guests that I would suggest bringing to the con (that weren’t there this year), I’d say that a few of my requests are Kevin Sussman (The Big Bang Theory, Hitch), Ezra Miller (Justice League, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), and Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Stand by Me). This convention was organized by Altered Reality, who also does conventions including ComiCONN, which is a convention that occurs once a year in the state of Connecticut. They also do Terror Con, which also occurs in the Rhode Island Convention Center, but has a dedication towards horror as opposed to comics. There’s also Colorado Springs Comic Con, which takes place in Colorado Springs, CO. And a new convention will be popping up next year called Empire State Comic Con. This new convention will take place in the Albany Capital Center in Albany, NY. One guest has already been announced, Jason David Frank, and based on what these guys have done for Rhode Island Comic Con, I’d say for some folks this could be worth checking out.

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Thanks for reading this post and thanks to Rhode Island Comic Con for providing a wonderful experience for me. It wasn’t perfect, but I hope my criticisms would help you in next year’s organization. I would like to thank the cast of “Revenge of the Nerds,” Christopher Lloyd, some of the lovely people from Channel Awesome, all of those people for providing me a great time. What will the next con be? Who knows? The Empire State Comic Con I just mentioned sounds somewhat intriguing. Maybe PAX East, maybe when Super Megafest announces their next convention, we’ll have to see. Although a little note to conventions, I want to come to you, and I know you want me there. So if you want me there, leave a comment below, send me an Email (visit my contact page), and I’ll see what I can do. As far as upcoming reviews go, I am hopefully going to see “Justice League” this weekend, but it’s not a certainty yet. Only time will tell. Stay tuned for more great content! I want to ask, did YOU go to Rhode Island Comic Con? What did you think about it? What did you do there? Have you gone in years before this one? OR what conventions do you want me to cover in the future? Let me know down below in the comments! Scene Before is your click to the flicks, and with a thanks to @ClareKramer having this tweet up, let me leave this little moment from the “Revenge of the Nerds” panel down below for you all to look at.

 

What the Heck is Up with Justice League (2017)?

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Last weekend we got a new movie from Marvel Studios, specifically “Thor: Ragnarok,” and while many people, including myself, say that Marvel has proven to create excellent films, there are also many that say DC, isn’t like Marvel. Now, I will say this, I saw “Wonder Woman” in the theater this year, and as of now, I actually think I like that movie better than any of the movies released thus far in the MCU. Based on Marvel’s past records and reception, it’s guaranteed that “Thor: Ragnarok” will be a box office success and a likable movie according to many viewers. Now the real question I have is, can DC deliver on the same thing?

As much audiences and critics loved “Wonder Woman,” not everyone thought movies like “Man of Steel,” “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” and “Suicide Squad” were worth watching. Also, this upcoming “Justice League” movie is being directed by Zack Snyder, who I haven’t seen GREAT films from yet, but many people like him for his work on “Watchman” and “300.” I haven’t seen “Watchman,” but I have seen “300.” If you ask me, I enjoyed “300,” I thought it was a visually stunning movie with a very fitting vibe, some great music, but it ultimately rounded out to a 7/10 experience for me. I’ve also seen “Sucker Punch,” which like “300” is visually appealing, although not as good. However there’s one action sequence in that movie that was f*cking amazing! Zack Snyder’s films, from memory, don’t usually have much substance, but a good amount of style interjected into them. That style has worked for our eyes even in the DCEU (Detective Comics Extended Universe), the way the action is shot in “Man of Steel” is extremely exhilarating to the point that even Doug Walker, AKA Channel Awesome’s Nostalgia Critic, someone who in a video said “‘MAN OF STEEL’ SUCKS!”, said that the action in the movie was super awesome and felt like “Dragonball.” In “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” part of the movie was shot in the IMAX format, which looked great when presented on IMAX screens. Interestingly, when the movie came out on home video, the aspect ratio changes which were shown in IMAX theaters, weren’t shown on the home video version. The movie is also full of eye candy visuals all over the place. Not to mention, Wikipedia suggests “Batman v. Superman” is the 7th most expensive movie ever made, which is tied with “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince,” “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” “Captain America: Civil War,” and “The Fate of the Furious.” Zack Snyder isn’t the only one who has a major say in the production of “Justice League” however…

If you have seen or heard “The Avengers” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” you may know those movies were directed by Joss Whedon, who is also known for creating the TV shows “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Firefly,” both of which have received followings from nerds over the years. Whedon is also involved with “Justice League’s” post-production and that’s because Zack Snyder’s daughter died after committing suicide. This happened March 20th, 2017, and this lead to Snyder initially hiring Whedon to take over. Speaking of replacements, when it came to the movie’s score, Junkie XL (Mad Max: Fury Road, Deadpool), who also did part of the score with Hans Zimmer for “Batman v. Superman,” was originally hired to do “Justice League’s” score, however Joss Whedon hired Danny Elfman to take his place. This does make a lick of sense if you think about it, because Elfman has worked with Whedon in the past during “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” If you ask me, that score wasn’t very good. Nothing stood out about it except for the end of the movie when the theme you hear from the first “Avengers” film pops up, which wasn’t even an original piece from Elfman, that was done by Alan Silvestri, who also did another score I admire, specifically “Night at the Museum.” Now, I like Danny Elfman. The man’s done some of my favorite scores (Spider-Man trilogy, Oz the Great and Powerful), but given the vibe we’ve seen from this universe thus far, and having heard Elfman’s past scores, I seriously wonder how the music would go with the movie in terms of meshing together properly. Although this might be good for “Batman” fans, because reports have come up lately that his theme for Batman will be in the upcoming “Justice League” movie. You know, the one audiences first heard back in 1989. Also, this might be interesting for “Superman” fans as well because another report came out suggesting that his score will feature a dark twist on the iconic “Superman” theme, originally done by John Williams. As interesting as that is, the future, as far as this movie goes, seems shaky. But on a positive note, specifically for myself, the music we’ve gotten in the Detective Comics Extended Universe thus far is miles better than most of the music in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

It’s hard to know what to expect from this film, considering you have multiple minds taking control of it. You have Zack Snyder’s and you have Joss Whedon’s, whose mind came into play during post-production. In fact, I’ve seen a change in terms of the vision when it comes to the film’s look as a whole. I went to YouTube and took screenshots of a similar part of both the trailer released in March and the most recently released trailer. In the trailer released in March, the sky looks dark and blue, whereas in the latest trailer it looks fiery and red. Just compare the scene where Aquaman is car surfing and see what I mean. Two different visions might ruin the movie and affect it significantly. Not to mention, it just begs a ton of questions. These include “How much has changed?” “Why was there change?” “How will the changes affect the final product?” If you ask me, Joss Whedon can direct better stories than Zack Snyder whereas Zack Snyder is better with style. This movie has reportedly gotten reshoots since Whedon took over, so maybe the original product had not much story and it’s possible that Whedon could be changing that. Although there was another movie that has gotten reshoots in the DCEU that while it ended up pleasing certain people, it couldn’t make everyone happy, specifically “Suicide Squad.” There’s a good chance that the reshoots might not end up paying off and leaving certain people rather unsatisfied with the results. Also, what if these reshoots are making this movie a simple carbon copy of “The Avengers?” I ask that because Whedon directed that movie and if you think about it, in fact if you know the material you don’t even have to think about it, they’re very similar in terms of concept.

Speaking of shooting troubles, let’s talk about Henry Cavill. It was reported that he would be in the movie, but at the same time, it was also reported that he was shooting for “Mission: Impossible 6” which is set to come out in 2018. In fact when he was shooting “Mission: Impossible 6,” his role required him to have a beard. He had to go back and forth between productions, which by the way, different studios are behind the two films. Paramount is behind “Mission: Impossible” and Warner Bros. is behind Justice League. Cavill couldn’t shave his beard during his time working on “Justice League” so essentially it was removed digitally during post production. That’s pretty much all I’ll say about him because if I go on with certain thoughts related to Cavill, it would spoil “Batman v. Superman.”

Speaking of actors in this movie, let’s talk about Ben Affleck. A lot of people like Ben Affleck, both as an actor and a director. Here he’s acting as Batman, which going into “Batman v. Superman,” some people were worried about, but as audiences walked out, they actually didn’t mind his interpretation. Although some might wonder what the future is going to be for this man. You may be aware of the whole Harvey Weinstein fiasco going on at the moment. You know, the sexual harassment scandal. Turns out that Affleck is chums with Weinstein and he made a tweet containing the image below:

Fun fact about this tweet, someone noticed it, that someone being Rose McGowan, she called Affleck a liar, because he knew about Harvey Weinstein’s actions. She later tweeted “Ben Affleck fuck off.” I will say though, there is a time that she took this kind of case too far, when it came to another person who tweeted about this, Ryan Gosling. He tweeted saying he felt bad about everything that’s going on, and she quote tweeted Ryan’s tweet saying this: “you could at least do us the courtesy saying our names.” My response, just be thankful. Ryan Gosling is trying to remind people this is a serious issue and this is his way of doing it. It’s like saying every single birthday card must have a gift certificate inside it, otherwise it’s not a birthday card. Although in all seriousness, this is literally where we are at! A cinematic universe’s biggest star caught in a scandal that’s larger than the Mall of America! It doesn’t even end there, in the wake of this, several people have called out on Affleck for sexually harassing them. For example, in 2003, he groped Hilarie Burton’s breasts on MTV’s “TRL.” Another example is during a Golden Globes party in 2014 with Annamarie Tendler. On October 11 of this year, she made the following tweets:

As far as other cast members go, they’re not exactly involved in any of this Harvey Weinstein business, but this is a serious matter. Ben Affleck has such a major role in the DCEU, so he’ll either be kept around, which I think might result in slight controversy at the very least, or he’ll be fired, needing to find a new actor to play Batman. After all, this universe’s Batman is getting a standalone film directed by Matt Reeves, director of “Cloverfield” and this year’s “War for the Planet of the Apes.” Not to mention, Jason Momoa, the fellow playing Aquaman, was recently under a similar situation. You may or may not know he happened to be Khal Drogo on “Game of Thrones,” otherwise known as the one reason many people either subscribe to HBO, or the one reason some people pirate it. Jason Momoa attended a San Diego Comic-Con panel in 2011, which was for “Game of Thrones.” He said at one point that he loved the show because he got to “rape beautiful women.” Based on what I’ve read, this is a much smaller case than Harvey Weinstein’s super-sized scandal, but it is something that many would consider a distasteful comment. Although to be fair, he did apologize for it.

Next up, you have the release date. This film is being released on November 17, 2017, which is two weeks after “Thor: Ragnarok.” That movie owned the box office on its opening weekend. It soared past the first “Thor” at an 84% increase, and also flew by “Thor: The Dark World” at a 41% increase. As far as the US goes, this is the fourth largest opening of the year. There’s a chance that while this movie is out, people might still be thinking about “Thor: Ragnarok.” Plus, people in general have gone to see Marvel movies and liked Marvel movies as opposed to DC movies. This takes us into an interesting battle: “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” vs. “Captain America: Civil War.” Both movies had heroes fighting against each other and despite the fact that two of DC’s most popular heroes were duking it out in a fight that many fans have waited to see for years in a live action movie, “Captain America: Civil War” ended up making more money. According to Box Office Mojo, “Captain America: Civil War” is in the top 3 films, in terms of gross, released in 2016, with a total of $408,084,349 domestically and $1,153,304,495 worldwide. “Batman v. Superman” earned a spot as the highest grossing film released by Warner Bros. in 2016, and it made it to the #7 spot in terms of all films for the particular year. That film’s total gross came out to $330,360,194 domestically and $873,260,194 worldwide. Now there are multiple factors that could have contributed. People seemed to give more positive reception towards “Civil War,” which in my opinion it deserves. Although I will say the audience score for “Batman v. Superman” on Rotten Tomatoes is at 63%, which is a positive score. However the critic score is much lower at a total of 27%. Compared to “Captain America: Civil War,” both scores are lower. The audience score and critic score are nearly identical for “Civil War” with the audience one being 89% and the critic score being 90%. By the way, Rotten Tomatoes in general should be taken into consideration since it is a source that a good number of moviegoers seem to rely on before they decide whether or not a movie is worth their time and money. There’s a possible chance that more families went to see “Civil War” as well, which I wouldn’t be too surprised by considering Marvel has shown to advertise themselves as slightly more family friendly than some DC films. Also keep in mind there are more heroes in “Civil War.” While “Batman v. Superman” has two heroes in a fight, a mega-throwdown is a crucial part to “Captain America: Civil War.” “Batman v. Superman” has Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman interjected in there. “Captain America: Civil War” has Captain America, Iron Man, Ant-Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Falcon, Vision, Rhodes, Bucky (yes, he counts here), Scarlet Witch, plus the introductions of this universe’s interpretations of Black Panther and Spider-Man. The biggest thing that triggered people like me to go to this movie aside from being in the MCU is that Spider-Man was in the movie! Also, he was being played by a teenager! Plus, you gotta consider, Marvel’s owned by Disney, the creator of Scrooge McDuck, and as of now, a literal Scrooge McDuck. Maybe the world is used to Marvel movies, know they’re good according to personal opinions, and have less to say about DC. Also, there’s a possibility that certain individuals ended up seeing the movie more than once during its theatrical run. I will admit, I was one of those people. I went on opening night and I went again during its third weekend. I didn’t see “Batman v. Superman” twice in the theater, I did however watch it more times overall compared to “Captain America: Civil War” when I bought the Blu-ray. Speaking of weekends, “Batman v. Superman” also suffered a significant box office drop from its first to second weekend. The total drop happened to be 69.1% (not counting Thursday previews), compared to 1997’s “Batman & Robin,” which dropped 63.3% from the first to second weekend. I’ll remind you, “Batman & Robin” is a movie considered by an enormous number of people to be the worst “Batman” film ever made, and quite possibly the worst, if not one of the worst comic book films ever made. You never know what could happen. Maybe people will see it. Maybe people will like it. Although there is a good chance that if this movie fails to impress people, it could drop dramatically, in a result that’s possibly worse than “Batman v. Superman,” because if the world has taught us anything about movies and opening weekends, comic book movies are the bomb. Not to mention more money is given towards it if more than one hero is part of the story, unless we’re talking about a movie I’ll mention in just a moment. Also less people will go see it the more negativity they hear about it. In 2015, “Fantastic Four” was widely disliked and that also suffered a tremendous drop from the first to second weekend. To be specific, it turned out to be 68.2%. Also, I won’t go into much detail about this because it’s kind of in assumption territory, but I wonder how many people are avoiding this because they think we don’t need “another Marvel deal.”

Another thing that has some people worried, including myself, is that as of now, no reviews of this film have been put out yet, and there’s a reason for that. The review embargo doesn’t lift until the day before the movie comes out, specifically November 16th. Let’s compare this to other movies based on comic books. The “Logan” review embargo was lifted on February 15th, 2017, which was multiple weeks before the movie released and that movie is considered by many to be one of this year’s best films. “Thor: Ragnarok’s” release date was placed two weeks prior to the one for “Justice League,” specifically November 3, 2017. The embargo for that movie was lifted on October 19th, two weeks prior to opening night. Many people praised that film and commercials even stated by MCU standards, it’s the best reviewed movie yet. 2015’s “Fantastic Four” had its review embargo lifted August 6th, which was the day before the film came out. So “Justice League” ultimately has something in common with a film that was considered terrible by comic book fans, terrible by average moviegoers, and may as well have just been for Fox to just keep the rights to the franchise so it doesn’t go to Marvel Studios. There was a point this year where I thought based on my personal tastes, “Thor: Ragnarok” was going to be slaughtered by “Justice League,” but now I’m increasingly thinking the opposite. The production for this film is so clunky that it makes the production for “Suicide Squad” look like a walk in the park! The trailers have evidence of used footage which has been changed from one trailer to the other! And in the end it almost feels like some of this is just being rushed!

I can describe my current excitement for “Justice League” in the same way I did at a point for “Thor: Ragnarok.” I’m excited, but also worried. Part of me really wants to enjoy this movie because it’s “Justice League.” You’ve got all the DC heroes coming together, the effects look good, the casting choices are stellar! However the behind the scenes stuff and the review embargo news makes me apprehensive. I also wonder what certain theaters are going to do now that Ben Affleck is constantly being called out for his actions related to sexual abuse, not to mention I wonder how audiences will react to this movie now that this is going on. If this movie fails, the DCEU might die hard and that would personally be disappointing news because I wanted to see what Warner Brothers would do with a cinematic universe related to DC Comics. Also, I want to see more work from Gal Gadot. Although if I could make a suggestion, if Affleck is fired, I’d like Warner to ask Christian Bale if he would like to return as the caped crusader. On a lighter note, let’s talk about a convention.

This weekend, specifically November 10-12, I will be in Providence, RI for this year’s Rhode Island Comic Con! I will be going all three days, Friday through Sunday. This will be taking place at the Rhode Island Convention Center, the Dunkin Donuts Center, and a hint of the Omni Providence hotel. I’ll be walking around the convention, making purchases, attending panels, all that jazz. I’ll even make a post documenting my time at the convention for you all to read if you’re interested in checking that out. This convention is dedicated to comic books, movies, and TV. You’ll be seeing a good number of artists there, not to mention vendors, but you’ll also run into a ton of celebrities. Some of the headliners include William Shatner, Elijah Wood, Michael Colter, Mark Ruffalo, Ian McDiarmid, Jerome Flynn, Dave Bautista, and Norman Reedus. There will also be some music related guests including Gene Simmons and Al Yankovic. What I’m personally most excited for is the “Revenge of the Nerds” reunion, where several cast members from “Revenge of the Nerds” will be coming to the con, signing autographs, doing photo ops, and will be talking at a panel together. This is gonna be sick! If you want to find me at Rhode Island Comic Con, you do need a ticket to get in, they are still on sale by the way, and chances are you might see me in blue sunglasses. This is my third year in a row going to this event, it’s a lot of fun, I highly recommend it, and I hope to see you there!

Thanks for reading this post, hope to see you at the convention this weekend if you can make it and if you can’t make it, that’s fine. Also, if you are part of a convention or convention organization and want me to review a con related to it, either comment or email me! I do have a contact page so don’t be shy. Stay tuned for more reviews and posts! Also, how do you feel about this buildup to “Justice League?” Worried? Calm? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!