Monday, December 31, 2018

The Breakdown of the Worst of 2018


Another year is coming to an end and we want to thank you for listening to The Movie Breakdown for the last 12 months (or for some, the last 6 years). To show our appreciation, we are going to talk about steaming piles of crap. That is right, it is part one of our two episode series looking back at the past year in movies, and since we believe in saving the best for last, we kick it off with our The Breakdown of the Worst of 2018 episode.

This week both Scott and I reveal our top ten worst movies of 2018. It was a great year in movies but we still had to suffer through some awful pictures. This week we pan the really bad stuff for one last time. Then in order to end on a positive note, we both reveal our top ten most anticipated movies of 2019. As always, we are so thankful for you listening to our show and if you loved this week's episode, please share it on social media and tell another movie fan about us.

Reminder that you can now subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes (if you enjoy the show, please help us by giving us a five star review).



This week are asking you to share your favourite movie of 2018. You can contact us at our email themoviebreakdown@gmail.com, on Twitter @moviebreakdown1 or on The Movie Breakdown Facebook page.

Top Ten Worst Movies of 2018

Christopher:

10. Venom
9. Mute
8. The Strangers: Prey at Night
7. The Titan
6. Truth or Dare
5. Game Over, Man
4. Peppermint
3. The Outsider
2. The Open House
1. Robin Hood

Scott:

10. The Titan
9. Escape Plan 2: Hades
8. Father of the Year
7. The Package
6. Death Wish
5. The Open House
4. Show Dogs
3. The Princess Switch
2. Gotti
1. Game Over, Man

Top Ten Most Anticipated Movies of 2019

Christopher:

10. Ad Astra
9. Glass
8. Spider-Man: Far from Home
7. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
6. Us
5. Captain Marvel
4. It: Chapter 2
3. Avengers: Endgame
2. Toy Story 4
1. Star Wars Episode IX

Scott:

10. The New Mutants
9. Happy Death Day 2U
8. Star Wars Episode IX
7. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
6. Avengers: Endgame
5. The Lion King
4. Glass
3. John Wick Chapter 3
2. It: Chapter 2
1. Us

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Netflix Won't Just Buy Everything


How bad does a studio's movie have to be if Netflix doesn't even want to buy it off them? Apparently, Holmes and Watson bad. Netflix has happily dropped money on studio rejects like Spectral, Step Sisters, Mowgli, Extinctionand Cloverfield Paradox. I haven't recommended a single Netflix Original that was initially supposed to be released theatrically by another studio, and most of them have turned out to be borderline awful. Every time Netflix must have been aware they had something no one would want to spend money to see on the big screen, but tried to pass off as a big event on their streaming service.

Yet a movie starring big names in Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly who play recognizable characters was considered not worth blowing money on. I actually believed until today that Netflix would buy anything that was up for sale if they could slap the Netflix Original label on it. Even Netflix has standards, but their rejection point would have to below such gems as The Ridiculous Six and The Open House. The Etan Cohen directed Holmes and Watson did have a 42 million dollar price tag, and that may have been the reason that both Sony wanted to unload it and Netflix balked on the offer. Though during the time they announced the Adam Sandler movie deal, Netflix promised he would be getting the same budget that he had for his theatrical releases that often would be almost double the budget of Holmes and Watson.  

Apparently, Sony got anxious after the test screenings got a very poor audience response. You'd also think audience dissatisfaction was a reason The Cloverfield Paradox or Spectral landed on Netflix's lap, yet the feedback was bad enough for this movie that the names of Ferrell and Reilly wasn't enough to entice the streaming giant.

It is also clear Sony's apprehension was warranted because during one of the biggest movie going times of the year, the movie only grossed 6.4 million opening on Christmas and got a staggering horrible Cinemascore of D+ (meaning people who came excited to see Ferrell and Reilly ended up hating their time).

It looks like this movie could have won a slot on my Worst of 2018 list, but I apologize if I don't want to see the latest offering from the man who helmed the not very good Get Hard. I'll have to skip this easy lay-up and suffer through spending my time watching stuff like Vice and BlacKKKlansman (movies I hope could make another year end list).

Today's lesson is that Netflix will not buy anything and actually knows how to say 'no. thanks.' Maybe this is the result of Netflix making a few purchases that they now regret and learned some movies aren't worth it. They don't reveal their viewing numbers but there is a chance that The Titan or Father of the Year proved to be flops by whatever standard they have, so they now choosing to be a bit pickier. Though they still release about twelve movies a month, so about over four times as many movies as a big movie studio.

This also means the Will Ferrell name has careened to Vince Vaughn or gasp! Rob Schneider levels when it comes to selling a movie. The comedian is still very funny and talented, but it is hard to not take some dings and scratches when your recent filmography consists of the two Daddy's Home. The House, Get Hard, and Zoolander 2. It is time for some reinvention and to steer away from doing the type of movies that once worked. He needs to look at the comedies that hit this year like Game Night, Love, Simon, Crazy Rich Asians and To All the Boys I Loved Before to see audience tastes have changed and the quality standard has been raised. Apparently, his usual act isn't even good enough for the current home of Adam Sandler pictures.

The next time I see a bad movie that was dumped on Netflix by an antsy studio. I'll know it was more sellable than Holmes and Watson.

Monday, December 24, 2018

The Breakdown of 'Aquaman', 'Bumblebee', 'Mary Poppins Returns', 'Roma', 'Dumplin' and Remembering Penny Marshall


It is Christmas Eve and the day we all eagerly await the jolly man in red to deliver joy and gifts. The Movie Breakdown has its own sack of presents in reviews for five new movies. It is a diverse array of pictures including the latest superhero tentpole in Aquaman and we also zoom back into the Transformers universe in Bumblebee. We also have a sequel to a family musical classic with the aptly titled Mary Poppins Returns. You want some Netflix originals, well we have two of those. The big one is the major Oscar content in Roma, and then we have a coming of age comedy in Dumplin'. After all the movie review, we pay tribute to the talented comedic actor and director Penny Marshall. It is our final traditional movie review show of 2018 and we end with a packed 90 minutes plus. Thank you so much for listening to us every week this year, and we hope you love the show. If you do, then the greatest way to show your appreciation is spread the word on social media or tell other movie fans about us so we can grow to be something even greater in 2019.

Reminder that you can now subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes (if you enjoy the show, please help us by giving us a five star review).



Four Star Ratings:

Roma **** (CS & SM)
Aquaman *** (CS)
Dumplin' *** (CS & SM)
Mary Poppins Returns *** (CS)
Bumblebee *** (CS)

Monday, December 17, 2018

The Breakdown of 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse', 'Mowgli', 'Mortal Engine', 'The Mule', 'The Christmas Chronicles', 'A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding' and 'Robin Hood'


Christmas is right around the corner and The Movie Breakdown has a giant present for you in the form of seven movie reviews. It is one of our biggest shows we've done and we have some big talk for some big movies. The most anticipated of the bunch is the latest superhero feature but this one is animated and a new telling of a classic hero in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. We also have some retellings of classic tales in the Andy Serkis directed Mowgli and yet another Robin Hood. We also have our second Clint Eastwood directed movie of 2018 in The Mule. We have a big special effects adaptation of a popular novel in Mortal Engines. Finally, we have two Christmas movies in The Christmas Chronicles and A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding. We had a blast recording this week's episode and if you have fun then please spread the word to other movie fans, because it really helps us out.

Reminder that you can now subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes (if you enjoy the show, please help us by giving us a five star review).



Four Star Rating:

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse **** (CS)
Mowgli ** (CS & SM)
Mortal Engines ** (CS)
The Christmas Chronicles **½ (CS & SM)
The Mule ** (CS)
A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding *½ (CS) & ** (SM)
Robin Hood * (CS)

Monday, December 10, 2018

'Godzilla: King of the Monsters' Promises a Giant Monster Mash


Last summer, there were a few 'Daddy and Everett Movie Nights' where we watched some films that were a step up in mature content when compared Frozen or Zootopia, and he was thrilled he got to see stuff that had to be screened after Danika went to bed. The Indiana Jones movies  were the biggest hits and he still goes around the house wearing a cowboy hat (closest thing to a fedora), a brown vest, and a yellow rope (his whip) while he calls me Sallah and his sister, Marion, while searching for lost ancient idols and treasures. He also really dug Pirates of the Caribbean, Guardians of the Galaxy and of course, he adores Star Wars (he had to, in order to be my child). One of the other things that he really likes is playing with dinosaur toys, so when he asked to see Jurassic World, I thought we had another hit on our hands. After about 30 minutes, he started asking if one of the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels was on Netflix.

How could a boy who loves reading books about dinosaurs or spends hours playing with dinosaur toys couldn't remain hooked watching them in Jurassic World? I think, the problem is it took too long to get to the dinos and after watching him play with the toys, I think the movie just had too many humans for what he was expecting.

Now, there isn't a single dinosaur in the Godzilla: King of the Monsters trailer, but my guess is this is closer to Everett's vision of what he wanted from Jurassic World. A big giant monster battle royal. The humans seem to be an afterthought (even though they still filled it with a talented cast like Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, Sally Hawkins, Kyle Chandler and Ken Watanabe) and the focus on big giant beasties challenging Godzilla for the throne of ultimate monster. What this movie lacks in real dinosaurs is made up with huge beasts ready to throw-down, which I now realize is probably what my young son was demanding from the bottom of his heart.

For some reason, I thought this movie was supposed to be a prequel to Gareth Edwards' 2014 Godzilla, but I must have got it confused with Bumblebee (robots and kaiju -- same thing right?). This looks to be set in a world where monsters wrecking stuff is the norm, and Watanabe and Hawkins are back from the first where they learned about the kaiju, so this is a definite sequel. Maybe I also just got confused by Kong: Skull Island, I confess that was an 'I watched it and then forgot it' type of movie, but I am positive it was set right after the Vietnam War. The point is that this isn't about creating an origin story but rather Godzilla seems to be right in the thick of some monster bashing.

Speaking of Kong, is it too much to hope that this doesn't have a bunch of set-up to the Godzilla vs. King Kong movie, but rather keep that cinematic universe gobbledy gook to a stinger?

I know there were some critics towards the last movie hiding Godzilla for most of the run time and building anticipation for the big battle at the end. I was not one of those people and just like in Jaws, I think keeping the creature hidden for most of it makes for a better movie. But I do think that now that Godzilla is established in this series, it is time to just give us some big glorious monsters matches. This one seems like it is going to be all about the slams and smashes and chaos. If it is done right and there is even an ounce of story, this could be some awesome summer popcorn movie mayhem.

They really are dishing out the monsters here too. I know there is Rodan and Mothra, and I think I may have caught a glimpse of a few other monsters too. For a guy who was once a boy who loved his creature features on a Sunday afternoon and feels like I've seen most of the old Godzilla movies, this is hitting the right nostalgia button. Now, I have about seven months to decide if Everett gets to join in on the mayhem on the big screen.

The Breakdown of Nostalgia


It is another special episode this week, and this time we are calling it the 'Breakdown of Nostalgia.' We've done similar shows like this a few years ago, but it is fun to sometimes get a bit more personal and look at how movies have shaped us into the movie fans and critics that we are now. The discussions includes memories of the video rental store, movies that made us want to play out those adventures when we got home, the hype built on the playground, and the anticipation of one day seeing that bloody horror or action movie. As a father, I've had the pleasure of seeing my kids have some of the same excitement for movies that I had as a kid, especially in how they love to pretend to be their favourite characters and play out new adventures throughout the house (or castle or jungles as they've decided it has become). We had a lot of fun going down memory lane and we hope you really love it, and if you do, please help us out by spreading the word to other movie fans.

Reminder that you can now subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes (if you enjoy the show, please help us by giving us a five star review).

Saturday, December 08, 2018

For Those Curious About 'Powder' Thanks to 'The Movie Breakdown'. . .


As is tradition, the end of The Movie Breakdown means we randomly shoehorn a reference to an older movie and this week Scott decided to bestow that honour on 1995's Powder. I am not even sure if Scott has ever seen Powder and he probably endorses it as much as he does Dr. Giggles and Down Periscope. I think I've seen it but I need to confess that the teen drama meets Beauty and the Beast mash-up isn't one of the 1990s era movies that have stuck to me. Maybe the mention of the movie has given you an itch for renting it on YouTube (where it is available) or iTunes (where maybe it is?), but you should know that Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert weren't fans. Apparently, a story about an albino boy birthed by lightning and can make spoons stick together lacks believable characters or a well-crafted message. I know, I am shocked as much as you.

If you want more reasons to skip Powder, the director was convicted in 1988 of child pornography and sexually assaulting a 12 year old boy on the set of one of his movies. You may question why a major studio would hire this guy to film a movie, especially one about teenagers, but welcome to Hollywood. He also went on to do Jeepers Creepers, so talent doesn't seem to be the reason for constant work.

Anyway, watching Siskel and Ebert trash Powder is likely more entertaining than the movie, so check that out instead.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Are These Sequels Really Better Than The Original?


A few days ago. Collider listed 19 sequels that they claim are better than the original. Sequels tend to get a bad rap, and to be honest, I think they are often unnecessary. But there are many great sequels, and they often have to be pretty extraordinary to be able to not only meet expectations but surpass the original in the eyes of huge fans. Here is the Collider list along with my thoughts on if the sequel really is better or not.

Evil Dead 2: I've always considered it more of a remake of the original but with better special effects, a stronger cast, and a better blend of dark humour with horror. So yes, this definitely surpasses the original and when people call Evil Dead a classic, I think they are often thinking about this one.

Before Sunset: The Before trilogy is one of the best in movie history. It is a classic love story driven by flawed and real characters. All three are masterpieces, and it is hard for me to say one is better than the other. It is hard for a sequel to be as good as the original, because there is the risk of just being a retread or failing to justify coming back to the world and characters. This one is distinctly its own movies while honouring and enhancing what happened in the first one. Not sure if it is better, but it is as equally great.

Toy Story 2: Another all-time great trilogy, with each one being a powerful but fun exploration into childhood and growing up. I think the original is a classic and this one may be a slight step down, but still a magnificent follow-up. I'd actually say Toy Story 3 is the best of the series.

Batman Returns: Confession time, I haven't seen this one since it first came out, and I was not a fan. I remember thinking it really dragged and lacked the energy of the original. I will have to finally revisit this one someday, but I can't see this besting the classic that is 1989's Batman.

Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban: Time for another confession. I didn't want to see all the Harry Potter movies until I read all the books. I finally finished the series back in 2011, but by that time, all the movies had been released and I was overwhelmed by being so behind. I actually haven't had a chance to track them all down yet. I will say that Prisoner is one of the best of the books in the series, so if the movie stays true, I can see why it made the list.

Christmas Vacation: I get this movie has its huge fans and people watch it every holiday season. But no way is this funnier or better than the original. Not a chance.

Gremlins 2: A New Batch: I hated this when I saw it theatres as a kid. I wasn't ready for it to be an outright parody and a huge departure from the original. I also at the time didn't clue in that the original was a horror comedy and always saw it as a straight horror. I've since rewatched this one a few times, and I really do find it funny and love how different it is from the original. But the original is a classic and all-time favourite, so this one is a step down.

Captain America: Winter Soldier: Easily one of the best Marvel Studio movies, so this one is a no-brainer. Another one that is very different in tone than the original, as the first seemed to be a call back to an uplifting campy superhero movies of the past while Winter Soldier was a dark, spy-thriller that captures some of the vibes of 1970s espionage thrillers.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: Easily the best of the series and did a great job of becoming its own movie rather than trying to do what worked in the original. It has some great twists and brings in some really interesting characters. Too bad the next two couldn't even come close to comparing to its brilliance.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day: This is an all-time great action movie, but the original is an all-time great horror movie. Much like the Alien and Aliens, I feel like they shifted genres here and become very different kind of movies. I get why this often makes lists like this and it is an amazing movie, but I always will have a very special place for the original and it will remain my favourite of the series.

Skyfall: I said it in my original review and I will say it here, this is my all-time favourite James Bond movie.

The Godfather Part II: They are both masterpieces. I am fine putting them as equals. It is pretty incredible that the sequel was able to be just as epic and sumptuous as the original. Two of the best movies ever made.

Empire Strikes Back: This is the stock answer to what sequel is better than the original. It is amazing because it maintain the excitement and imagination, but is such a different movie in tone and direction. It has so much depth of character and has one of the most gut punching finales ever. I always will hold to Star Wars being my favourite movie ever, because how much it affected me when I first saw it as a kid. Empire is proof that sequels can surpass their original when it has the right story and passions behind it.

Friday the 13th Part 2: This slasher series has never been my thing. I think, Part 4 actually might be my favourite though.

Mad Max: Fury Road: Thanks Collider, I now remember another thing I wanted on my Christmas list. How do I not own this movie? Another modern day classic and a masterpiece in pure action cinema.

X2: X-Men United: This is another one that it is widely accepted fact among movie geeks as being better. It has some pretty amazing action sequences and adds a lot more depth to the characters. If we accept all X-Men movies in the same series, then X-Men: Days of Future Past is probably my favourite,

The Dark Knight: Duh.

Superman Returns: Wait, what? Is this April 1st? How is anyone in the world thinking that this was better than the original? Or are they just considering this a sequels to Superman IV: The Quest for Peace for some reason. Superman and Superman II are near perfect comic book movies and are absolutely groundbreaking. Superman Returns is a movie that I barely remembered existed until this list.

Thor: Ragnarok: It ended the streak of "I like Thor but his movies. . . " by being absolutely awesome and adding a totally new aesthetic and charm to the Marvel Universe. It has got better on every rewatching and I'd now rank this even higher than I did when I first saw it. Easily the best Thor and climbing the list of best Marvel movies.

'Avengers: Endgame' Trailer Makes Me Giddy About Our Heroes Being Dour and Sad


What is Twitter going to do now that they can't keep begging for the new Avengers trailer to be dropped? Marvel has finally released the first trailer along with the reveal that title will be Avengers: Endgame (what about that title would be a spoiler to Avengers: Infinity War, by the way?), and that the release date is once again bumping up to the last weekend of April.

I am a massive Star Wars fan that has up until this year, put each of the Disney Star Wars movies on my best of the year list, but even I will confess that Avengers: Endgame is probably the biggest movie event of 2019. Marvel has shaped the big blockbuster landscape the past decade and every Marvel movie has been building to this motion picture.

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has promised that this will be the final chapter of the current several movie spanning story and the kick-off to a new phase (Phase 4) of Marvel movies. My guess, is that Thanos gets conquered here and a new villain will pop in every single Marvel Studios movie stinger. Everyone assumes this also means the death of some major Marvel superheroes, especially since the contracts Chris Evan (Captain America), Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man) and Chris Hemsworth (Thor) end with this movie. If they don't die, there will at least to be a passing of the torch to heroes like Spider-Man, Black Panther and Captain Marvel who will be the new faces of the franchise.

I remember Feige also saying the new phase will have a new tone and look. The movies will be often set in space and other dimensions, but also Guardian of the Galaxy were supposed to be the major part of the new direction and that series is currently in limbo. I'd say stuff like Doctor Strange and Captain Marvel show that space and different dimensions is the way the movies look to be heading towards.

But what about the new trailer?

I love that it shows very little other than the Avengers still reeling from the major events from the previous movie. Half of civilization has been snapped into extinction and this means each of the remaining members have lost a loved one. It looks like the movie will have a darker and more somber tone, and hopefully, delve into some of the more dramatic ideas it played with in the last movie. Thanos is almost entirely absent from the trailer, but he did his job, so he is probably just sipping fruity drinks on a beach now.

I was a bit surprised to not see any sign of Captain Marvel, but they may be intentionally holding off on any hints of her role until after her movie is released. I think, Black Panther was absent from Infinity War marketing until after his movie came out. The previous movies' stinger hints that she will have a major role in this movie, and maybe she is chilling in the van that Scott Lang brought with him.

Hawkeye fans are cheering everywhere as he has not been forgotten. My guess, is that he will get a substantial role and maybe this will be his swan song as well, as I can't think a stand-alone movie is planned. He looks pretty batter, and my guess is that he lost his family to the 'dust snap.' He also seems to have become a ninja?

The team looks really fractured and the trailer is great at keeping up with the tone that we were left with at the end of the last movie. Poor Stark is floating in space, and maybe that is where Captain Marvel comes in and rescues home. We all know that drifting in space isn't going to be how you write out Stark, he will Gravity it if he has to. There were some little shots of Wakanda, so I hope that means that Shuri or Okoye get some shine here rather than just some opening act crying. Nebula is the remaining character from Guardians and she has lost a lot, so my hope is she gets some major time to be developed. Captain America, Bruce Banner and Black Widow seem to be doing their own thing, while maybe Thor will go battle off in some other realms. Thor has also had a bad run lately losing his entire family and kingdom, maybe he needs some alone time or be cheered up by playing Mario Odyssey with Nebula (my son says it is the greatest).

It does look like they will be keeping some of the characters separate and juggling different stories again, if I am right that the trailer shots of Nebula and Okoye mean they are stuff to do this time.

Very little is shown here and that is exactly how Marvel should have played it. Everyone is hyped for this movie and they nailed us with a huge cliffhanger, so hold off on as much of the good stuff as you can. We just need to be teased a little and get a small sampling, and that is exactly what we got here. If they have some massive story turns or big character reveals, then I'd like to be shocked by it come opening night.

So, now time for the six months of speculation and anticipation. My big question is do you think a major character is going to be killed off and if so, who will it be? I am almost positive Iron Man sacrifices himself for the team and allows Downey to go make Judge 2: The Final Gavel.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Follow-up to Sequel and Nostalgia Discussion on This Week's 'The Movie Breakdown' Podcast


I hope everyone has had a chance to listen to (and enjoyed) yesterday's episode, 'The Breakdown of Modern Movie Trends.' We talked about a lot of the things that we keep seeing be done by major studios and were able to analyze some of the studio's strategies. I wanted to expand slightly on two things that we talked about.

The first one is major studios' obsession with having a final scene or stinger to set up a sequel. Now, I realize that studios since the time of the cave people have had hopes of making sequels with dreams of filling up all their caverns with cash. As I said on the show, I have appreciated that more movies recently seem to have a stand-alone feel and have left the sequel stuff to the very end of the movie, so the narrative doesn't get bogged down with teasers that don't get paid off in the two hour run time. But teases not being paid off is still an issue.

The problem with having a cliffhanger ending or making the movie feel more like a 'chapter one' or leaving heavy hints towards a second movie is that there is no guarantee of a sequel. As I said before, studios have always had their eyes on sequels but it is in the last decade where they've become so open about it that they will pencil in dates for a part two and three before the first movie is even released. I'm all for confidence, but sometimes I wish they'd be more focused on making sure the original is actually worthy of making more.

While Terminator Genisys doesn't fit the whole 'stand-alone' feel that I attributed to this year's movies with eyes on sequels, but we mentioned this movie enough on the podcast that I think it is a worthy example to explore. There was so much confidence that Genisys would be a hit because who hasn't once jokingly bellowed "I'll be back!' that not only did they slot out dates for the next two sequels but it was a movie that necessitated a sequel to make sense out of the plot. Not only was the movie littered with hints towards the next instalments, but most of the story points were left ambiguous or dangling with the idea that it would be resolved in the next movies. Except Genisys flopped domestically and wasn't the huge hit it expected to be overseas, so they scrapped the sequels and we are now blessed with an upcoming reboot (because despite a tepid box office, fans are demanding more, I guess).

The biggest issue with the Genisys failure is that for those who actually dug the movie and were intrigued by all the mysteries, it will never be resolved for them. All they have is the barely comprehensible movie that was designed to set-up further stories.

Genisys isn't the only culprit. There has been a bazillion movies in the last few years that have had either cliffhangers, mysteries or giant teases towards a second movie that will never be paid off due to failing in the box office. Off the top of my head some of the biggest examples of movies that will fail on their promises for more are Independence Day: Resurgence, The Darkest Minds, Gods of Egypt, Fantastic Four, Allegiant, Pan, The 5th Wave, The Snowman, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, The Mummy (and the ending the Dark Universe), The Dark Tower, and Robin Hood. I am missing a bunch but that is a lot of movies leaving its fans unsatisfied with incomplete stories.

I am sure that when the original Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Gremlins and Ghostbusters were made that there was an eye on being able to make more. But all those movies are completely stand-alone and tie up major story points, and are still great if no other movie was ever made. Many of the previously mentioned movies rely on a second film to complete the story that is now not being made. Some of the box office failures of these movies may come from the fact that some interested movie goers will notice that the opening weekend is tanking and heard the movie is just set up for more, so why bother if the payoff is clearly never going to come now. I'm not saying that if those movies resolved everything they would have suddenly become hits, but knowing the resolution will never come may be enough to convince some to make it a Netflix night instead.

The second thing that I want to elaborate on from the podcast is movie studios banking on recognizable characters or stories that the general public isn't that interested in seeing. I forgot to mention on the show that this isn't just a movie problem. It is something that is becoming very prevalent in TV too. I think the problem is that both mediums have so much content that studios believe they need well-known names to break through the pack and get eyeballs on their movie or series. Television has had success like The Connors, Fargo and Riverdale, but they've also seen just as many failures in stuff like Murphy Brown, Charlie's Angels, Magnum PI, Limitless, Minority Report and Taken. I think in every case that what Scott said on the show stands true, it needs to be a blend of nostalgia with something captivating for new audiences.

Movies that fail to have those sequels often suffer from leaning too heavy on nostalgia rather than crafting a new and exciting story that is enhanced by tidbits of the past. Nostalgia has to be the icing, and storytelling is always the cake.

Monday, December 03, 2018

The Breakdown of Modern Movie Trends


The new releases were sparse this week, so instead we are doing a very special episode that we are calling The Breakdown of Modern Movie Trends. We are looking at a variety things that are frequently showing up at the cinemas including the rise of the stinger, dramatizing of comedies and horror and retconning sequels to beloved classics. We will discuss how some of these latest strategies are great and how others really need to be reworked. Even though this is a very in the moment episode, we will also look at where we think these trends are heading and what we can expect in the future of movies. As always we had a blast recording today's show, and we really hope you love it as well. If you do, then please spread the word to other movies fans.

Reminder that you can now subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes (if you enjoy the show, please help us by giving us a five star review).




Friday, November 30, 2018

Remembering Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan


Yesterday, I inexplicably turned a post about Hugh Jackman's recent announcement into one focused on wrestling, so it seems about the right time to finally write a piece that I've needed to do for over a year. A tribute to one of the all-time wrestling greats, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan.

I would easily rank Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan as one of the top ten most significant figures in 1980s WWF wrestling. He was the top manager who was often in the corner of the headlining heel, he was a hilarious commentator with an amazing chemistry with co-announcer Gorilla Monsoon, and even occasionally wrestled in some of the more prominent matches.

When I first started watching wrestling back in late 1987, I was afraid of Heenan. The main reasons were likely that he managed some of the more intimidating wrestlers in monsters King Kong Bundy and Andre Giant, he constantly insulted the fans by calling us humanoids or ham n' eggers and tried to push around interviewers like Mean Gene Okerlund and Craig DeGeorge. I was too young at the time to appreciate Heenan's great slapstick skills and his incredible comic timing, but also his ability to really enhance the act of all his wrestlers. 'The King' Harley Race, 'Ravishing' Rick Rude and the Brainbusters were great wrestlers and characters, but Heenan accompanying them took them to the next level.

The longer I watched wrestling and the older that I got, I really started appreciating the genius of Heenan. He was great as part of a comic duo with Okerlund or Monsoon, where he'd berate them or try to make himself look better, but often end up being the punchline at the end. He often had the persona of a guy who talked tough and thought he was better than everyone else, and so it made it more satisfying when the face beat him up or he ran away like a coward. While he was very charismatic and a great interview, he always knew that the focus should be on the wrestlers and he enhanced rather than upstaged the guys he managed. He also was very sly at making his insults and dress-downs of his enemies framed in a way that made them look better and made you salivate for the moment they'd get their revenge.

He was involved in some of the most famous moments in WWF history. The biggest actually happened right before I got into wrestling but I've now seen several times, which was the famous Piper's Pit where Andre the Giant turned heel by challenging Hulk Hogan for the WWF World Heavyweight title at Wrestlemania 3 while also aligning with his one-time enemy, Heenan. The good guys blamed Heenan for poisoning the mind of Andre and making him jealous of the champ. It is still one of the greatest angles ever conceived and was the reason why Wrestlemania 3 is still considered one of the biggest and greatest wrestling events ever.

Other major Bobby Heenan moments included when he couldn't stop insulting The Big Boss Man's mom, which then lead to him being handcuffed to the railing at ringside for the remainder of the show. An entire feud constructed from mom jokes in theory is really stupid, but Heenan's acting while be stuck at ringside was one of the great comedy moments.

Heenan had a habit of insulting, as another big moment was when for months he would berate one of his wrestlers, The Red Rooster, for not being good enough until one day the poultry-inspired wrestler had enough and turned on him. Heenan then declared that he could turn any loser into a winner, and transformed long time jobber Steve Lombardi into tough street fighter, The Brooklyn Brawler, whose character debuted by sneak attacking the Rooster after Heenan provided the distraction by pretending to apologize for abusing him in the past.

During Heenan's run, the WWF was mostly a live-action cartoon with many silly storylines but Heenan made dognapping Matilda from the British Bulldogs or having a coronation to make a wrestler a king or trying to sell a wrestler into slavery (the wrestler was white) all entertaining because he made you believe and his charisma made the moments memorable.

He also had a few running gags like in 1987 where he wore a neck brace for most of the year saying the top face did serious damage and his colleague Monsoon kept accusing him of goldbricking. Heenan would then get all upset and then suddenly remember he is supposed to have a bad neck.

The thing that Monsoon teased Heenan the most about was the inability to get any of his men to win championships. That all changed in 1989 at Wrestlemania 5 when Heenan cheated to help Ravishing Rick Rude win the Intercontinental Championship from the then undefeated The Ultimate Warrior. A few months later, his Brainbusters broke Demolitions' year and half WWF World Tag Titles reign by winning the titles (by cheating again, of course) on a summer episode of Saturday Night's Main Event. Heenan then for the next several months wouldn't stop bragging about his accomplishments.

Heenan then would go on to manage two more champions in the WWF by leading  the Colossal Connection (Andre the Giant and Haku) to the WWF World Tag Team Titles at the end of 1989.and Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig to the Intercontinental Title in May 1990 (and again at the end of 1990). Heenan always did a great job at making his title wins feel like huge deals. Though he never led a guy to the WWF World Title despite being the main manager who sent monsters and heels after Hulk Hogan for several years.

Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan was a legend. He was a colourful personality that knew how to entertain crowds but was never selfish and used his act to make others look good. I've read that many felt he had the charm and wit to have been a great sitcom star or the comic relief in a major movie, but I'm glad he gave me so many years of entertainment in professional wrestling. He was an all-time great and one of my favourite wrestling personalities ever.

RIP Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan (November 1, 1944 - September 17, 2017)

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Hugh Jackman's Non-Wolverine Announcement is the Latest Example of the Dangers of Over-Analyzing a Promised 'Surprise'


Apparently, there was a significant amount of buzz on social media this week over Hugh Jackman potentially announcing he was returning to his most famous role, Wolverine. A few days ago, Jackman promised a huge surprise on this morning's Today show, and many jumped to the conclusion that huge announcement had to mean the return of his famous superhero, because comic books movies is all anyone could possibly want to talk about, right?

This assumptions was made by many despite the fact that on several occasions that Jackman has sworn he was done with Wolverine, Disney not owning the property yet means such a big deal would likely be held off, if Fox was greenlighting a new Wolverine before acquisition then they would have promoted the appearance too, and the biggest one, didn't people see the ending of Logan?

Then Jackman announced a one man arena touring musical show called "The Man. The Music. The Show' where he will be performing songs from The Greatest Showman on Earth, Les Miserables, and other musicals.

I haven't bothered checking out the Twitter or Facebook, so I don't know if the pitchforks are being sharpened over that reveal. I assume this was not the project that many comic book movie fans were dying to hear. Maybe he will do a set about adamantium to appease them?

I would have declared this one of the greatest internet troll jobs ever, except it was the movie news sites and social media that suggested it could be Wolverine. Jackman never even hinted at it. Plus his first love is clearly the musical, and this is the stuff that he is passionate about. A big, glitzy musical tour would be a huge deal for him. I wouldn't be surprised if Wolverine didn't even cross his mind nor has he thought about it much since Logan was released.

This reminds me of a few years back when Robert Downey Jr promised to release something on Twitter and everyone jumped to the conclusion that it had to be a trailer for the upcoming Avengers movies. Instead, we got a trailer for The Judge. Surprisingly, Downey's life wasn't just Iron Man and he wanted to use his star power to promote his other works. I remember the internet was baffled.

Here is a little secret for you all, when a star or company promises a surprise, they aren't obligated to reveal what you want or expect. A surprise is actually allowed to be anything, and there is a chance you could be disappointed. If you are set on it being a specific thing, then you are actually almost guaranteed to be disappointed.

Being a lifelong wrestling fan, may have helped me learn to lower expectations when celebrities or companies promise a huge surprise. Or at least, make me well aware that what I am envisioning may be entirely different then what is being concocted by the presenter.

Throughout wrestling history, wrestling has promoted a 'mystery partner' or a 'mystery opponent.' What it almost always has meant, is the company does not have a big draw for an upcoming match but if they promote it as a 'surprise' that may get people to tune in or buy a ticket on the hope it is the person they are imagining. The rule is that if a wrestling company has a real draw then they would promote that draw rather than promise a surprise. The reveal is almost never worth even doing a five second little happy jig over it.

Leading up to the 1996 Survivor Series, the WWF promoted a mystery partner in one of the eight man elimination tag matches. I remember reading heavy speculation that it may be the glorious return of Macho Man Randy Savage who recently disappeared from WCW television. Some lowered their expectation to think it was Ahmed Johnson who had been injured in the summer but was a relatively big star in the company at the time (most of you now are probably yelling, 'Who?'). Instead, we got a way past his prime and semi-retired Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka for a one night only return. By 1996, he was about a decade removed from when he was an actual top star.

Two years later at another Survivor Series, Mankind had a mystery opponent in the first round of the WWF World title tournament and everyone I know was excited about it being the return of Shawn Michaels. It ended up being early 90s, formerly mulleted (but now bald) jobber, Duane Gill, someone who probably was only recognizable to big wrestling fans like me. He was a few rungs below Iron Mike Sharpe and SD Jones on the jobber ladder. It was about an Everest step down from Shawn Michaels.

It wasn't just the Survivor Series that taught me to not get excited about a mystery. In 1999, there was a several week storyline about a Higher Power who the evil Undertaker was following and the mystery figure was out to destroy Stone Cold Steve Austin. I remember reading online about how it would be Mankind turning heel, but instead it was just Vince McMahon, who had already spent over a year feuding with Austin. We were just getting the exact same storyline over again.

I did not mean for this to suddenly become an article about wrestling, but my point is that it has a long history of delivering farts in church surprises. In 1993 WCW, Sting promised a mystery partner that would shock the world and some hoped it would be the Ultimate Warrior debuting in WCW. Instead, we got WWF cast-off Tugboat wearing a Stormtrooper helmet covered in tin foil being called the Shockmaster (who you could say really stumbled in his debut).

There was the 2000 storyline of Austin hunting down the evil villain that ran him over with a car a year earlier. Who would be this vicious villain that would become the top heel in the company? Of course, it had to be the obese Rikishi who loved to dance and shove his bare ass in people's faces. Now, that screams main event heel.

This is not to make you so jaded to give up on a surprise delivering the goods. At Halloween Havoc '91 the Halloween Phantom was revealed to be a debuting in WCW Ravishing Rick Rude and kicked off a storyline that could be considered a precursor to the very successful NWO. In Survivor Series 1990, the mystery partner paid off with the debut of The Undertaker, one of the biggest stars in WWF/WWE history. So, sometimes a surprise is what you hope or maybe even better than you expected.

Of course, Survivor Series 1990 also had a giant egg that WWF promoted for weeks would hatch a huge surprise. Leading up to the event, I would debate with my friends what awesome wrestler would come out of that egg. Was it a returning King Kong Bundy? Maybe Ric Flair was finally coming? Nope. It was a giant dancing turkey called the Gobbledy Gooker.

So yeah, have fun guessing and debating what a huge surprise could be. But always assume that it isn't what you hope or want. It almost always is going to more likely be a guy in a turkey suit.

Monday, November 26, 2018

The Breakdown of 'Ralph Breaks the Internet', 'Creed 2', 'The Ballad of Buster Scruggs', 'The Princess Switch' and 'Cam'


This past weekend is considered the big kick-off to the Christmas shopping season and The Movie Breakdown have some shiny gifts for you in the form of big reviews for five 2018 releases. The long weekend in the United States means some big event movies, including two big sequels. We have a huge animated movie that is a follow-up to hit from six years ago in the new adventure of Wreck-It Ralph and his friend Vanellope in Ralph Breaks the Internet. We have a big boxing movie event in the sequel to one of the best movies of 2015 in Creed 2. Speaking of big event, it is always exciting when there is a new Coen Brothers movie and we have one in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, We also have a new Christmas movie in the romantic comedy, The Princess Switch. We also have a new twisty thriller in Cam. It is a huge show and we hope you really love it, and if you do, please help us out by spreading the word to other movie fans.

Reminder that you can now subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes (if you enjoy the show, please help us by giving us a five star review).



The Movie Ratings:

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs *** (CS) & **** (SM)
Ralph Breaks the Internet **** (CS)
The Prince Switch *½ (CS) & ½* (SM)
Creed 2 *** (CS)
Cam ** (CS & SM)

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Oh Baby, I Really Hurt Scott This Time


Scott has written a review for the second movie that he was forced to see due to losing the Summer Box Office Challenge. According to his review, Baby Geniuses may be the most gruelling torture he has ever experienced for losing the annual contest. That is pretty impressive, because he loses every year, so I've forced him to see a lot of crap. So, go over to his site and read a review of what sounds like it is barely a movie.

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Breakdown of 'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald', 'Outlaw King', 'Instant Family'. 'They'll Love Me When I'm Dead' and Remembering Stan Lee and William Goldman


We lost two pop culture icons this week in comic book legend Stan Lee and acclaimed screenwriter and novelist William Goldman. Both writers were creative forces behind beloved entertainment like Spider-Man and The Princess Bride respectively. This week we fondly discuss the personal and bigger impact of both men. But we also review movies and we have a highly anticipated one in the latest film set in the Harry Potter world in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. We also have a dramatic feel-good comedy in Instant Family, a historical epic in Outlaw King and a documentary about Orson Welles' last film in They'll Love Me When I'm Dead. We also get distracted by talking about stars and movies that have nothing to do with this episode, because that is our superpower. As always, we hope you love the show and if you do, please spread the word to other movie fans.

Reminder that you can now subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes (if you enjoy the show, please help us by giving us a five star review).



Four Star Rating:

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald **½ (CS)
Outlaw King ** (CS) & *** (SM)
Instant Family *** (CS)
They'll Love Me When I'm Dead *** (CS & SM)

Friday, November 16, 2018

The Movie Event of the Year . . . for Someone. . .Maybe


You know that Scott has been counting down the days for this one. Last year on our The Breakdown of the Worst of 2017 show, he gave his number one spot of the worst of the year to A Christmas Prince beating out stuff like The Emoji Movie and The Bye Bye Man. Now we all get to return to the kingdom of Aldovia for A Christmas Prince: A Royal Wedding.

Last year, we both declared that we didn't know who the original movie was targeted towards and thought it even failed at being a Hallmark movie. Well, a year later, I can confess that even though I still don't think it was a good movie that it did know its audience and was a bona fide hit on Netflix. It seems some people want hammy acting, cheesy dialogue, contrived plots twists, a world less realistic than Narnia and diabetic inducing sentimentality in a cheaply made Holiday romance movie.

Netflix looks to be committed to making a few of these every year to be released around the Christmas season. Scott and I will be just as committed to torturing ourselves every year as we pull out these lump of coals for our listener's enjoyment.

The latest trailer shows that this one may be even more painful and eye-roll inducing than the first. Considering how popular actual royal weddings are on TV, I think this is a pretty genius idea for a sequel, even if it is 90 minutes that I'd rather use plucking my unibrow with a monkey wrench. You can't fault them for going all in on this schlock. I know at least one of you is pumped to the heavens for this, and you can keep it to yourself if you want.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Remembering Stan Lee


Stan Lee passed away at age 95. As a kid who collected comic books, I looked up to Lee as an inspiration. My skill level as an artist was one where you could make out that I drew a bird by it having wings. It was an inspiration to me that Lee was an icon in the comic book world mostly through his writing and imagination. It was encouraging to know that comic books needed more than just great artwork but people who can craft compelling stories and complex characters.

He played a huge role as the co-creator of many of the most iconic superheroes including Spider-Man, Iron Man, Black Panther, Incredible Hulk, Thor, Ant-Man, Daredevil, Fantastic Four and the X-Men. As a kid, I always wrongfully assumed that he was the owner of Marvel comics, because he had his monthly column, Stan's Soapbox, in every issue of Marvel's comic books. His editorials were a balance of humour and social discussion, and often were some of the most entertaining and informative parts of the comics. Even though he was not the owner or founder of the company, he did become the face of Marvel.

There is some dispute over how much he did creatively, but despite that, he is credited for shaping Marvel into its own distinct comic book powerhouse. Those editorial made it clear that he was imaginative and passionate, and he saw the medium of comic books as more than just child entertainment. He wanted them to say something and even drive positive change in society. He was one of the first where I learned that mainstream entertainment can both be exciting but have deeper meaning and be about important issues.

I was never part of the DC Comics vs. Marvel Comics divide as a young collector, and I was a big fan of Batman and Superman. It is pretty hard to argue that people like Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby reshaped how people saw comic book storytelling and played a role by indirectly improving DC Comics. Prior to the 1960s, the superheroes were mostly one dimensional and straight-forward unshakeable virtuous heroes. Lee and company created heroes who not only had cool superpowers but were complicated and nuanced.

The characters were often allegories and metaphors for deeper issues. Spider-man and his powers represented puberty and the challenges of a teenager. The X-Men symbolized the civil rights movement that was growing at the time. Professor X and Magneto helped represent the real divide that existed among factions that were seeking justice and equality.  But these comic books were nuanced and challenging even without any of the symbolism or metaphors.

Lee created heroes that had struggles that the average person faced. Peter Parker was a hero that battled evil super villains but he also was worried about asking a date to the first dance or dealing with acne. Tony Stark struggled with alcoholism, and Bruce Banner has more issues than just turning green and monstrous. None of the new heroes were purely good, but wrestled with their egos or depression or anxiety or various problems that every person encounters. I connected with these characters because there was authenticity to them even if they had powers that were pure fantasy. It was through comic books as a kid that I learned about layers in storytelling and deeper characterizations.

It was Marvel's gamble on more complicated stories that I think forced DC Comics to really add depth and create some of their most interesting story arcs in the 1970s and 1980s. Lee played a huge part in changing perceptions of comic books and crafted stories that eventually would be the inspiration for the big blockbusters that flood the big screens today.

Of course, even if you are not a reader of the comic books, then you know Stan Lee as the older gentleman who has a fun cameo in every Marvel movie. I know that is something many movie fans will miss.

I will always be thankful for Stan Lee being one of my first major creative inspirations and giving me the power to dream and think big/

RIP Stan Lee (December 28, 1922 - November 12, 2018) and Excelsior!

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Breakdown of 'The Girl in the Spider's Web', 'The Grinch', 'The Other Side of the Wind', 'The Holiday Calendar', and 'Shirkers'


This week on The Movie Breakdown we've got reviews for some long awaited movies. If we're talking about long waits then how about a movie that was filmed before I was born and has finally been released now with legendary filmmaker Orson Welles' final movie, The Other Side of the Wind. We have a soft-reboot quasi sequel to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with the now Claire Foy starring The Girl in the Spider's Web. Who hasn't been saying that we need more remakes of holiday specials stretched out to feature length, and we have that in The Grinch. It is finally that time of the year when Netflix starts rolling out their Hallmark-esque purposefully (I think) cheesy romantic holiday movie in The Holiday Calendar. Then we have a documentary of a small indy film that went missing for over a decade in Shirkers. As always we really hope you love the show, and if you do then please spread the word to other new movie fans.

Reminder that you can now subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes (if you enjoy the show, please help us by giving us a five star review).



Four Star Rating:

The Other Side of the Wind ***½ (CS & SM)
The Girl in the Spider's Web **½ (CS)
The Holiday Calendar *½ (CS) & * (SM)
The Grinch **½ (CS)
Shirkers ***½ (CS) & *** (SM)

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

The Breakdown of 'Bohemian Rhapsody', 'The Nutcracker and the Four Realms', 'Hunter Killer', 'Apostle', 'The Night Comes For Us', and 'Gnome Alone'


It is jam-packed episode of The Movie Breakdown with reviews for six new releases. The biggest movie this week is the rock biopic of iconic frontman Freddie Mercury and his band Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody. We also look at two kid pictures including the retelling of a classic short story turned ballet in The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and the animated adventure feature, Gnome Alone. We then discuss some thrillers in the violent Indonesian gangster picture The Nights Comes for Us, the submarine flick Hunter Killer, and the story of a man trying to save his sister from a cult in Apostle. As always, we had a blast recording this week's episode, and we hope you have just as much fun. If you enjoy the show then please help us out by spreading the word to other movie fans.

Reminder that you can now subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes (if you enjoy the show, please help us by giving us a five star review).



Star Ratings:

Bohemian Rhapsody **½ (CS)
Apostle *** (CS & SM)
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms *** (CS)
The Night Comes For Us **½ (CS) & ** (SM)
Hunter Killer ** (CS)
Gnome Alone ** (CS) & *½ (SM)

Scott Goes to War with His First Punishment Movie


As any long time listener of The Movie Breakdown knows, we have an annual Summer Box Office Challenge where Scott and I each draft ten summer movies that we think will have the highest grossing opening weekend. The winner of the contest then gets to pick three movies that the loser has to watch and write a review. Another thing long time listeners will know is that I've won every year.

Scott has written the review for his first 'punishment' movie in the faith based picture, War Room. Apparently, this is a Christian production that actually looks like a real movie. That is also about the only positive that Scott is able to come up with, as it appears he really hated this one. I've already been told that this is the worst movie that I've forced him to see. I say that is yet another win for me.

The review actually has some pretty good insight in why it doesn't work and the problem with most faith-based movies. Please check out Scott's pain in his latest review over at his site.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Best Movie vs. Favourite Movie: Is There a Difference?


It is the time of year that the studios start releasing their big Oscar hopefuls. It is also around this time that film reviewers and critics start reflecting on all the movies that they've seen in preparation for their annual top ten movies lists. Most of those movies are still to be seen, unless the critic hit most of the festivals. Many of the lists tend to skew heavy with movies released in the last two months, though they are some critics that prefer to scatter then with the big summer adventures. No matter who makes the lists, they tend to stir a lot of comments from readers complaining how wrong the critic was to leave off a certain movie or to rank another so high.

In a vain attempt to stop these comments, the list maker will often inform their reader or listener or viewer that the lists are subjective. Just like I've written a thousand times on here, all movie reviews or even any critiquing on art is subjective and just the view of the person who is declaring it. Often the reviewer will mention how star ratings don't matter for lists and sometimes a movie that got a lower score will rank higher than a movie that scored better in their initial reviews. The reason is often because the person rewatched the movies and their opinions were altered or one movie turned out to age better in the person's mind. A movie that didn't leave much of an impression at first can continue to haunt the reviewer for the remainder of the year. Opinions can change and sometimes a movie becomes gold on that second or third rewatching (Get Out got better and better each time that I revisited it, which is why it ended up ranking higher at the end of the year compared to the mid-year).

Some reviewers and critics will start their lists by saying that the movie may not necessarily be the best movies but rather their favourite movies. I have also seen some critics and reviewers rebrand their list to Favourite Movies of the Year rather than Best of the Year.

I call shenanigans.

When looking at something subjective like art and in this case specifically movies, I don't believe there is any difference between best and favourite. The best movies for a specific person happens to also be their favourite movies. When I list my Best Movies of 2018, I will also be listing my favourite movies, and I am well aware that my list will be different than every other critic. If that wasn't the case and the best movies of 2018 was objective and provable then there would be no point of Scott and I having separate lists for our end of the year shows.

Now, you can determine what is great cinematography or a great acting performance or even a well-written script, but as a whole a package, it is much harder deciding what is the best movie. You can even admit a movie is well-directed or have amazing acting, but it still did not resonate with you. If a well-made movie falls flat or doesn't connect, then you're not going to call it one of the best of the year. The best movies for a person is one that emotionally connects with them and affects them in a deep way that they are still thinking about it days later. One person's best can be another person's slog.

This also comes with star ratings. If I give four stars to a movie, I am not saying it has perfect cinematography or the best acting but rather the movie that left an unshakeable impact on me. It was movie that I loved and is one of the best. The criteria can and does change from movie to movie. There is no formula that makes a movie get four stars and land on a best of the year. It just does, and as a reviewer, it is my job to try to communicate the journey to how it got there for me personally.

This is also why I hate labels like 'guilty pleasure' or 'so bad that it is good', because they just come off as someone embarrassed that they liked something that others have deemed garbage. For me, if you like it then you like it. If you want to rewatch it, then it has some type of value. It is the job of the critic to figure out why a movie worked. I stand by liking The Lone Ranger or Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets even when no one else seemed to agree. I am not feeling guilty about it though.

Now, favourite does not have to mean fun or enjoyable. I have connected with movies that are dark or even depressing, but they've spoke to me in some way and have made a deep connection. Usually movies like that have challenged me or given me new perspective, and for those reasons, I feel they are one of the best movies. Movies like mother!, 13th, The Revenant, Under the Skin, or 12 Years a Slave were not feel-good movies, but they were powerful movies that left a mark on me and I thought were important. I am glad I have seen each of them and still think about them often, which is why all of them made my Best of the Year lists from their respective years.

When my best of the year list arrive for 2018, realize that what I am saying is that these are my favourite movies, but also, that they are favourites because I think they are the best for what I want out of a movie.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Pictorial Tale of the 2018 Spicer Halloween

You may have heard, there was this thing called Halloween yesterday. It made its way to the Spicer Compound. This is how we handled it.




I take great joy in knowing Danika is channeling young Christopher who loved digging into pumpkin guts. She is also about as messy too.


Everett wanted 'his jack-o'-lantern to be Groot. Emily drew the face and Everett carved it out. I would say it was a mighty fine job by my ambitious six year old (turning seven).


I asked Danika what she wanted her pumpkin to be carved into. She said 'make it an ugly monster that will scare the people and eat them all up.' This is what I settled on. This particular pumpkin was really bumpy and looked like melted wax, and it was really hard to carve. I ended up not using the typical pumpkin carver and had to resort to a steak knife.




Up until the Halloween, Everett was being a dragon. He then decided that day that he wanted to be a creature riding a dragon. We didn't have time to find additions to his costume, but he decided to take his treat bucket and turn it into the head of his 'Pumpkin Knight.' So, this was his creation and surprisingly he didn't walk into too many walls or trees.



Danika was dressed up as Disney Junior character Fancy Nancy. But if you asked her, she was Fancy Dancy, then would give you a short dance to accompany that announcement.





Monday, October 29, 2018

'Sixteen Candles' Not Enough? How About 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom'?


I'm not sure if I should be pimping 80s All Over so hard, because I am risking you replacing The Movie Breakdown in your podcast listening diet. But the latest episode not only had an insightful argument over Sixteen Candles, but there is an even hotter disagreement over another major movie from May 1984, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

I think both hosts do a great job in arguing their sides. One being it is an ugly and racist movie that has its thrilling moments but a major step down for the series compared to the perfect Raiders of the Lost Ark. The other one being that it is a homage to classic pulp and a great insight into the personal lives of the filmmakers and producers of the time, and aghast, better than Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. They even get a guest to appear and articulate the merits of the movie. It is all really fascinating, and to me shows the value in film criticism is getting different perspectives rather than being convinced one is right.

I recently rewatched Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom with Everett, and I have to say that I appreciate it a lot more as something that attempted to be very different from the previous movie. It is best seen as a dark fantasy rather than anything grounded in reality. Though the depiction of India is problematic, no matter how you want to frame it.

Since we are talking about Indiana Jones, I must ask: 'What ever happened to Short Round by the time Raider of the Lost Ark happens?" This bothered as a kid ever since I discovered it was a prequel.

'The Movie Breakdown' Podcast Is Not Enough? Check Out the '80's All Over' Podcast


The latest episode of The Movie Breakdown released this morning and I hope you loved or will love it. If you have listened to every episode of our movie review podcast, then you now have many hours that could be filled with another movie review podcast. That is right, as shocking as this may be, Scott and I appear to not be the only two people in the world that talk about movies. One of the very best movie review podcasts is 80s All Over. It is hosted by long-time movie critics and lifetime movie fanatics, Drew McWeeny and Scott Weinberg, They really know their movie history and have some really great insight, plus they have a pretty fun sense of humour.

The series aims to review every major release of the decade that is the 1980s, and their first episode is January 1980, then they go in chronological order from there. I've listened to every episode, and it is great as a nostalgia kick for someone who saw many of these movies as a kid but also great as a pop culture history lesson. Please check out the show, because it is a must-listen for any movie buff.

I would definitely say this works best for the person who loves movies. If you are more of a casual fan or not as aware of film history, you may want to keep Google handle as they assume you know some of the big names of the era. But they are entertaining enough that you'd still get a lot from the show even if you haven't seen too many movies from the 1980s/

The most recent episode is May 1984 and contains a hot debate and argument over the controversial but still beloved Sixteen Candles. The discussion gives a lot of great perspective and allows for two different views of a movie many consider a classic. Check it out and support yet another great podcast. But you know, don't forget us every Monday either.