SPOILERS: Andrew Ghai is Awesome- Live Schmoedown

This post contains spoilers for the live Movie Trivia Schmoedown so if you have not yet seen it, you may want to skip this post.

 

Okay, the most recent Movie Trivia Schmoedown is in the record books and it was a most epic night.  We had an exciting and somewhat shocking Star Wars number one contender match and a great team match up between the Shirewolves and Team Action.  There was a controversial call at the end of the team match that had people talking.

 

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However, the end of the show was what really set the Schmoedown world a buzzing.  The reveal of the 4 Horsemen… or should i say… 5 Horsemen.

When the lights went out, and the four men showed up on stage in robes, slowly unveiling themselves to the sold out crowd, the energy in the room was out of sight.

horsemen

Matt Knost, John “The Outlaw” Rocha, Innergeekdom Champion Jason Inman and returning from retirement Mark Reilly should have been enough.  The crowd was already out of their minds.  Then, the unthinkable happened.  Each man, following the lead of Rocha, changed their four on their fingers to five.  And we got a fifth Horseman.

5horsemen

“Dangerous” Dan Murrell, the G.O.A.T, joined the Horsemen.  Murrell was back and the crowd lost their collective minds.

Now, I love Dan Murrell.  He is my favorite Movie Trivia Schmoedown competitor of all time.  But this article is not about him.  His return was so dramatic and epic partially because of a single individual.  And his name is Andrew Ghai, from Team Action.

Andrew Ghai has been trolling Murrell since the Free 4-All.  Murrell’s music played, making everyone expect that Dan was making his return.  Instead, Ghai came through the curtain in a classic pro wrestling move.  The old bait and switch.  Ghai then claimed to have killed Murrell, and he continued to make that claim for the next several weeks in several backstage vignettes.

It was a storyline that we believed might not ever be paid off since Dan was retired.  Still, Andrew kept it up and this lead to several great moments for the Team Action member.  It allowed Ghai, who previously was best known for the “Tackle” against John Rocha, to get a chance to show off his ability on the mike.  He showed that he was a tremendous promo guy, knowing how to deliver a message through words.  And it was more than just the “Where’s the Belt” catchphrase that Team Action uses.

tapromo.pngThen, after his Team Action was defeated by the Shirewolves in controversial fashion, Ghai showed his ability even more.  He shined in the interview with Jenn Sterger.  The gimmick of always using the wrong names of people involved is a tried and true heel move, used by everyone from Y2J Chris Jericho to Kevin Owens in the WWE.  This is also the first time where Andrew Ghai overshadowed his teammate, Ben Bateman, int he promo department.  Taking nothing away from Bateman, but Ghai was on fire.

GhaipromoYet, Team Action and, specifically Andrew Ghai, was not done yet.    He started this off by cutting a tremendous heel promo on the stage, stomping around with a cane, pounding it into the stage.  The inflection in his voice told the story too.  He was angry, and he was going to gather some heat on himself.  He called the audience “nerds,” said the audience should thank Team Action for giving them something to do on a Saturday night,

Heat is a wrestling term for getting the audience to hate you.  Ghai was out there for a specific purpose.  He was building heat on himself and Team Action because of what was to follow.  Team Action is the cool heels and they have a pretty strong following among the fans of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown.  He wanted to make sure that everyone knew the lines that were about to be drawn and which side he was on.

notdanmurrell.pngHe called out Dan Murrell. It was at this point that he pulled yet another classic heel wrestling move, one pulled by Shawn Michaels in Canada among many others.  He called out Dan Murrell, only to have a fake Dan Murrell show up (Ben Bateman in flannel shirt and Dan Murrell cap), giving Ghai a chance to make fun of the former 2-time champion.  He asked him questions, to which Bateman responded with incorrect answers.  He improvised a line which took a shot at one of the questions asked to the Shirewolves during their match that he thought was way too easy.

He continued to berate the pretend Dan Murrell until the music of the Horsemen started playing and we got that epic reveal.  After the real Dan Murrell was shown as a member of the 5 Horsemen, he approached Andrew Ghai to challenge him for a match, one-on-one, at the Collision.

Watch Andrew Ghai during this time.  He has amazing facial expressions going on.  Reportedly, Ghai was not a big fan of wrestling, but, despite that, he seems to be a natural at it.  He showed fear, frustration, anger, confusion, insulted, hurt, shock all on his face as Dan Murrell was challenging him.  Many heels who have worked for years have trouble emoting the way Andrew Ghai did at this show.  Sure, some of the emotion is real having had the controversial finish to the show and any time you can talk from the heart, your promos are better, but this part with Murrell was obviously set up prior to the show.  All of the performers knew what was going to happen, and Andrew Ghai played his part perfectly.

Most people will always remember this live event because of the return of Dan Murrell and Mark Reilly from retirement and the massive reveal of the 5 Horsemen.  The reveal was spectacular, with an amazing crowd reaction.  But do not forget that a great heel helps create these moments and Andrew Ghai showed how valuable he is in this role.  Thank you Andrew for your work here.

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Let’s Talk About the Internet

I was watching Movie Fights Live early this morning (not “live” unfortunately) and I heard them talk about another video that they had on Screen Junkies Universe from that day featuring Roth Cornet, Dan Murrell, Danielle Radford, and Roxy Striar. It was a video detailing a discussion involving the situation surrounding Star Wars and Kelly Marie Tran.

Related imageAccording to Variety, Kelly Marie Tran, who played Rose in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, deleted her Instagram account on Monday night because of the constant harassment and criticism of her role in the Rian Johnson directed Star Wars film.  It would be one thing if they were simply talking about disliking the character and her place in the Star Wars film, but the Internet did not stop there. They went after her looks, her appearance, her ethnicity.  As Cornet reported, Alt-Right YouTuber Paul Ray Ramsey attacked Tran about her weight and her looks, sparking some really sick and cruel comments from the followers.

Looking back at my own review of The Last Jedi, I wrote this about Kelly Marie Tran: ” She was fresh and engaging and I liked seeing her.”  I was not thrilled with what they did with the character, whom they put into the worst part of that movie, but to go out of your way to specifically target someone because of how they look is just shameful.

Why do people feel the need to target someone playing a role when they do not like what is being done.  There is no excuse for there being racism, sexism, any  bigotry in the online community.  I do not understand why that is acceptable.

Star Wars fandom has been the latest with this trouble, but they are far from the first.  The Marvel vs. DC fanboys have fought back and forth for years.  Star Wars vs. Star Trek.  The geek community has always been known to choose sides and passionately argue their sides of those arguments.  Heck, the idea of the Geek fights is where my characters of Westley and Nigel Grimm from The Brothers Geek came from.  I wanted them to be the personification of that Geek Argument on each side of the subject.  And I loved writing those two.

But Wesley and Nigel are good people.  They do not attacks on other people just because they don’t like what they look like, act like or their skin color.

Our nation has moved more to the side of racial hatred recently.  I do not want to get into politics here, but the world seems to be less empathic lately.  I know there has always been racism, but there is a general feel that we are slipping back on it. The Internet is a way for this hatred to fester.

The goal here at EYG has always been for the site to be a safe place for Geeks to share their opinions on whatever area that they love.  A few weeks ago, I had posted my Top 10 Star Wars Movies list and I had someone post a disagreement to what I had listed.  He was perfectly reasonable and listed what he believed in.  I responded with a thank you for posting and stating that lists can be subjective and, paraphrasing, said that no opinions are wrong.  The poster was pleased with the response and said so.

There is no reason why anyone should consider different opinions as a problem.  The world would be a dull place if we all had the same likes and dislikes.  The great thing about Westley and Nigel was that they could argue about what they thought and still love each other as brothers.

You can do that too, Internet.

 

Avengers: Infinity War Spoiler Discussion

Hey.  I wasn’t going to do this, but then I saw something on Twitter that changed my mind.  I want to go into some details on the major scenes and events from Avengers: Infinity War, without worrying about spoilers.  So be aware that there will be spoilers in this blog.

So, I was on Twitter and I saw a review of Avengers: Infinity War posted from the New Yorker. The article was written by Richard Brody, and the whole thing felt like he either did not understand the film or that he fell into the category of those pretentious critics or movie folks who look down upon comic book movies.

Image result for james cameron avengersYou know, like James Cameron, who wished that the movie going public would get “Avengers Fatigue” and stop going to these types of film.  What an arrogant asshole comment that was.  To wish someone else’s franchise failure because… what reasons could there be except for his own pitiful selfishness on how Black Panther has surpassed his own films domestically.

But this is not about Cameron (who should stay focused on his 4 sequels to Avatar…hypocrite), but about the New Yorker.  The quote from the article that specifically attracted me to the review was this one:

In “Avengers: Infinity War,” characters aren’t introduced; they just show up, and their behavior is entirely defined by the template set for them in other movies

Um… yeah, duh.  That is the whole purpose.  Mr. Brody looks down his nose at this style, which is exactly what Marvel Studios has been striving to do for ten years.  We know these characters because we have seen them in their own films over the last ten years.  He treats this as a negative.

Image result for frodo baggins mt doomOf course, in his attack, he completely ignores things like trilogies.  Do we have to re-introduce Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi as Luke’s father?  Doesn’t Luke’s quest to redeem Vader stem from behavior “defined by the template set for them in other movies.”  What about Frodo Baggins’s effort to get the ring of power to Mount Doom?  Isn’t that set up in a previous film?  How are we supposed to understand it?  Are we expected to watch these previous films?

Brody took this area and used it to air his own opinions on comic book movies.  and how he dislikes the genre.  He even takes a silly stance and says that the film…

“feels, inescapably, like an allusively emotional transcription of the current American political landscape. (Even the title suggests a comment on the current state of American foreign policy.)”

which is, of course, ridiculous, considering the film is based on a classic comic series that Image result for infinity gauntlet serieswas written in 1991, decades before the current political landscape.  With his lack of understanding, I can believe that these types of films do not appeal to him.  I went quickly through his movie reviews at Rotten Tomatoes and, while I may have missed some, the only super hero movies that I could find was a rotten review of Spider-man: Homecoming and a fresh review of Wonder Woman.  That was it.  Again, this does not feel like the kind of guy the New Yorker should be turning to for their Infinity War review.

Of course, everyone has their right to an opinion and, because all film is subjective, opinions can vary drastically among individuals and that is okay.  However, when it feels that someone enters the review with a preconceived notion, that is not fair to the film or the New Yorker’s readers whom may be swayed by it.

Image result for avengers infinity warWhat Richard Brody fails to understand, despite mentioning it in the beginning of the article, is that the MCU is like a long form television/serialized story and this film is the season finale.  We already know these characters.  That is why they can pop up and act in ways that they have already established.

Honestly, Infinity War feels like a “event” comic.  A series where a group of heroes show up to stop the villain over a course of several issues.  Some of the heroes are more to the front while others are there but are on the back burner.  That is exactly how this film is supposed to be like.  Those complaining about some of the characters not getting as much of an arch as others, that is absolutely on purpose.  Captain America, Black Panther (as well as most of Wakanda), Drax, Groot, Falcon, War Machine, Bucky, Black Widow are all there and get a moment to shine, but are not the focused characters.  The characters with story arcs here are Thanos, Gamora, Iron Man, Dr. Strange, Star Lord, Thor, Bruce Banner and Spider-man.  In next year’s Avengers 4, that may be different.

I have seen Avengers: Infinity War three times now and I have enjoyed it more each time that I saw it. The first night, I had so many expectations and thoughts in my head, I almost could not process what I saw.  The second time I was able to focus in on the story and enjoy what I was watching.  I was much more emotional the second and third time than I was the first time, where I was basically just shocked (I actually described myself as ‘scarred’ in my review).

Image result for spiderman and tony stark infinity warOne of the things that hit me more the second time was the death of Spider-man.  First time I saw it, I was not as emotional because I was thinking more about the fact that I knew this (and the Black Panther death) would not stick.  Clearly, a sequel to Homecoming and Black Panther are coming so these characters are not going to remain dead.  That was a thought in my head on the first viewing so it colored the ending of the film.  The second time, I was able to put that out of my head and just watch it as a story and I found myself heart broken by the powerful performance of Tom Holland as he begged Tony Stark that “I don’t want to go.”  Spider-man is a 15/16 year old kid who hasn’t lived his life.  His response is perfectly reasonable and crushes you, if you allow yourself to not be thinking that it is only temporary.

Image result for peter quill ego fightAnother complaint I have seen is the reaction of Peter Quill to discovering that Thanos had to kill Gamora and how that caused the plan on Titan to fail.  Spider-man, Iron Man, Mantis, Drax, Dr. Strange had nearly removed the gauntlet from Thanos’s hand and it was Quill’s freak out that broke Mantis’s grasp on the Mad Titan and allowed him to snap back to reality.  Why would Quill react that way?  Because that is who Peter Quill is.  In Guardians Vol. 2, he reacted the same way when Ego told him that he had given his mother cancer.  He immediately attacked Ego despite the group not wanting him to.  Star Lord is a hothead and does not always think things through.  Here, it cost them huge.

I did not understand at first why Dr. Strange gave Thanos the Time stone in exchange for Tony Stark’s life.  It sure looked like this was Stark’s end as he had been stabbed by Thanos and was being prepped to be finished off.  Then, Strange interjected, saving Stark’s life after, earlier in the film, specifically telling him that he would protect the Time stone first and, if it came down to saving Stark or the kid or protecting the stone, he would choose the stone.  This contradiction confused me for a bit, but now it seemed clear that when Strange looked at the possible futures and saw only one in which they win, it had something to do with Stark, and Strange had to save him because of it.  Or, I guess, the future depended on Thanos getting all six stones which meant that Strange had to let him get it.  Even though Strange was one of the heroes who were reduced to dust, this will clearly be an important threadline through next year’s Avengers 4.

Image result for loki infinity warThere have been questions about the Asgardians.  People wonder where Valkyrie was at the beginning of the film.  I believe that she is on a ship with half of the Asgardians that Thanos allowed to live.  Thor does say later in the film that Thanos killed half his people.  It makes sense that she (and maybe Korg) got some away while Thor and Loki stayed behind.  As for Loki, ah Tom Hiddleston, we love you.  It was a sad moment when the Trickster God played his final trick, but it absolutely set the tone for who Thanos was and just what kind of a threat he would be.  Tom Hiddleston is a treasure and I want to thank him for the years of his brilliance as Loki.  Once more…”SAY MY NAME”- LOKI!!!!

Related imageI also should say goodbye to Heimdall (Idris Elba) who died in those first five minutes.  Gamora dies in a tremendously emotional scene (although I kind of think that maybe she has a way back- could her soul be inside the Soul Stone?).  And Vision dies…TWICE!  Both Cap and Iron Man, heavily speculated that one or both would die here, survived.  It looks like the original cast of Avengers all made it through for one final run before some die or head off to the retirement home.

I loved how the Hulk suddenly is too scared to come out of Banner, no matter how much Banner tries to get him out.  Hulk had been beaten badly by Thanos at the beginning of the movie and that was something that had never happened before.  In Thor: Ragnarok, Hulk was acting more like a little kid and this fits exactly with this.  How will Hulk learn that “the madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets?”  I don’t know, but I enjoyed the performance from Mark Ruffalo here and look forward to the continuing saga of the Hulk, a storyline that continues throughout the different films he appears in (since they can not do a stand alone Hulk film).

The whole arc with Peter Dinklage as Eitri, the dwarf leader of Nidavellir was my least favorite part, but I did like it more the second time I saw it.  I liked the idea of casting Dinklage as the giant dwarf, but I thought his CGI was the worst of the bunch.  Some thought he was just too much like his Game of Thrones character, but since I do not watch Game of Thrones, that did not bother me at all.  And the scenes did include the greatness that is the Thor-Rocket combo.  The Thor and “Rabbit” pairing is absolute GOLD!  I also thought it was great that teenage Groot spent almost the entire movie on that damn video game.  How perfect.

I would like to see Drax get to be Drax “THE DESTROYER” again, but Dave Bautista has brought such a perfect comedic timing to the character that he is one of the funniest characters in the film and he has one-liners galore.

Related imageThe appearance of the Red Skull was brilliant and very welcome.  In the opening night showing, my crowd applauded his appearance.  Sure, he may not be returning to the MCU in a regular capacity any time soon, but just the knowledge that he is there is awesome.  I also appreciated the unexpected cameo from the Collector (Benecio del Toro) here.  I hope he was able to escape from Knowhere with his life, but I am afraid that the film hinted that he was killed by Thanos off-screen.  I still want the Collector/Grandmaster road film through space.  Del Toro and Jeff Goldblum would be amazing.

I have rambled on here quite a bit and I could probably go one for a lot more, but I think you get the point.  I loved Avengers: Infinity War and I have loved it even more each time I saw it.  It is a difficult movie, one with a lot of emotional baggage, but it does a brilliant job moving the story toward next year’s Avengers 4.  Plus, the tag at the end for Captain Marvel tells you that you cannot miss that film next March.

I for one cannot wait until the season premiere….

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Oscar Predictions

Image result for oscars 2018

I have decided that I was going to give my predictions for Sunday night’s Oscar broadcast.  I am going to give my prediction of what I think is winning, and I am adding the one that I would give the Oscar to, if I had a choice.

 

Best Picture:

“Call Me by Your Name”
“Darkest Hour”
“Dunkirk”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Prediction:  The Shape of Water

Image result for get outMy EYG Oscar:  Get Out.

I almost gave “My EYG Oscar” to The Shape of Water because I did love that too, but Get Out is a really great film with a real cultural significance.  Jordan Peele does such a remarkable job here in his first directorial film and that is amazing.

 

Lead Actor:

Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

Image result for gary oldmanPrediction:  Gary Oldman

My EYG Oscar:  Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman is amazing as Winston Churchill and, while I do not think the film itself is Oscar deserving, Oldman certainly is.  My runner up is Timothee Chalamet.

Lead Actress:

Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”

Image result for frances mcdormandPrediction:  Frances McDormand

My EYG Oscar: Margot Robbie

McDormand seems to be everybody’s first choice, but Margot Robbie gets my award since she is so fantastic in I, Tonya and Three Billboards has slipped down with my opinion since seeing it.

Supporting Actor:

Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Related imagePrediction: Sam Rockwell

My EYG Oscar: PATRICK STEWART!!!

Sir Patrick Stewart should be on this list for his portrayal of Charles Xavier as Logan and I am not hearing any arguments about it.  He is an easy replacement for Christopher Plummer who only got this nomination for speed of performance.  Patrick Stewart provided such humanity to this beloved character and we saw the pain of what he had done.  His death scene breaks me up every time.  The fact that he is not nominated is a travesty and he will receive my EYG Oscar right now.

 

Supporting Actress:

Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

Image result for allison janney i tonyaPrediction:  Allison Janney

My EYG Oscar:  Laurie Metcalf

Laurie Metcalf is tremendous in Lady Bird.  She was the best thing in that film, in my opinion.  Nothing works in Lady Bird without her, whereas more works in I, Tonya even though I think Allison Janney is awesome.  I considered Mary J. Blige as well since I was really impressed with her in Mudbound, but Laurie Metcalf heads back to Roseanne with her EYG Oscar in hand.

 

Director:

“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro

Image result for del toroPrediction: Guillermo del Toro

My EYG Oscar: Guillermo del Toro

I loved Shape of Water and del Toro does a magnificent job creating that film that should have been a joke.  He took chances (like with the dance number) and they all paid off.  I thought about Jordan Peele, but I think the direction of del Toro is a step beyond what Peele does.  And, by all accounts, Guillermo is a great guy and he deserves this.  Peele will be back again.

Related imageAnd as an off shoot, can we get Greta Gerwig to sign on for a Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel movie for Marvel Studios.  How perfect would that be?  Get G. Willow Wilson to write it and you have another major Marvel tent pole.

 

Animated Feature:

“The Boss Baby,” Tom McGrath, Ramsey Ann Naito
“The Breadwinner,” Nora Twomey, Anthony Leo
“Coco,” Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson
“Ferdinand,” Carlos Saldanha
“Loving Vincent,” Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Sean Bobbitt, Ivan Mactaggart, Hugh Welchman

Image result for cocoPrediction:  Coco

My EYG Oscar: Coco

Easy one.  It sure ain’t Boss Baby.  Coco was Pixar back at the height of their powers.  I liked Ferdinand, but the fact that it was nominated tells you how weak the animated crop of films were this year.  Coco was one of the best films, animated or not, of the year.

 

Animated Short:

“Dear Basketball,” Glen Keane, Kobe Bryant
“Garden Party,” Victor Caire, Gabriel Grapperon
“Lou,” Dave Mullins, Dana Murray
“Negative Space,” Max Porter, Ru Kuwahata
“Revolting Rhymes,” Jakob Schuh, Jan Lachauer

Prediction:  Lou

My EYG Oscar: Lou

Wrote about this one earlier today.

 

Adapted Screenplay:

“Call Me by Your Name,” James Ivory
“The Disaster Artist,” Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
“Logan,” Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green
“Molly’s Game,” Aaron Sorkin
“Mudbound,” Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

Related imagePrediction: Call Me By My Name

My EYG Oscar: Logan

Call Me By Your Name was fine, and I know there is a huge push for it, but Logan is the best movie of last year, in my opinion and, even though I know it won’t win this, I wish it would.

 

Original Screenplay:

“The Big Sick,” Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin McDonagh

Image result for the big sickPrediction:  Get Out

My EYG Oscar: The Big Sick

This is a strong category.  I think they give it to Get Out here because they do not give the film the best movie award, but I give it to Big Sick which is a criminally undervalued film that was funny and poignant.

 

Cinematography:

“Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins
“Darkest Hour,” Bruno Delbonnel
“Dunkirk,” Hoyte van Hoytema
“Mudbound,” Rachel Morrison
“The Shape of Water,” Dan Laustsen

Image result for blade runner 2049 cinematographyPrediction: Roger Deakins

My EYG Oscar: Roger Deakins

It is time for Roger Deakins to win this award and Blade Runner 2049, which I may not have loved (liked it), but there is no denying the cinematography is gorgeous.

 

Best Documentary Feature:

Best Documentary Short Subject:

“Edith+Eddie,” Laura Checkoway, Thomas Lee Wright
“Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405,” Frank Stiefel
“Heroin(e),” Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Kerrin Sheldon
“Knife Skills,” Thomas Lennon
“Traffic Stop,” Kate Davis, David Heilbroner

Just guessing here…

Prediction:  Heroin(e)

My EYG Oscar:  Didn’t see any of them…

 

Best Live Action Short Film:

“DeKalb Elementary,” Reed Van Dyk
“The Eleven O’Clock,” Derin Seale, Josh Lawson
“My Nephew Emmett,” Kevin Wilson, Jr.
“The Silent Child,” Chris Overton, Rachel Shenton
“Watu Wote/All of Us,” Katja Benrath, Tobias Rosen

Prediction:  Watu Wote

My EYG Oscar:  DeKalb Elementary

Talked about this one earlier too…

 

Best Foreign Language Film:

“A Fantastic Woman” (Chile)
“The Insult” (Lebanon)
“Loveless” (Russia)
“On Body and Soul (Hungary)
“The Square” (Sweden)

Prediction: Loveless.

No idea… maybe Russians hack into the vote and win this one too.

 

Film Editing:

“Baby Driver,” Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss
“Dunkirk,” Lee Smith
“I, Tonya,” Tatiana S. Riegel
“The Shape of Water,” Sidney Wolinsky
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Jon Gregory

Prediction: Dunkirk

My EYG Oscar:  Dunkirk

Did not like Dunkirk but can not argue against was a marvelously put together film it was.

 

Sound Editing:

“Baby Driver,” Julian Slater
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mark Mangini, Theo Green
“Dunkirk,” Alex Gibson, Richard King
“The Shape of Water,” Nathan Robitaille, Nelson Ferreira
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Ren Klyce, Matthew Wood

Prediction: Dunkirk

My EYG Oscar: Dunkirk

See above.

Sound Mixing:

“Baby Driver,” Mary H. Ellis, Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mac Ruth, Ron Bartlett, Doug Hephill
“Dunkirk,” Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo
“The Shape of Water,” Glen Gauthier, Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Stuart Wilson, Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick

Prediction: Dunkirk

My EYG Oscar:  Dunkirk

Yep

Production Design:

“Beauty and the Beast,” Sarah Greenwood; Katie Spencer
“Blade Runner 2049,” Dennis Gassner, Alessandra Querzola
“Darkest Hour,” Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
“Dunkirk,” Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
“The Shape of Water,” Paul D. Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin, Shane Vieau

Prediction: Blade Runner 2049

My EYG Oscar: Blade Runner 2049

 

Original Score:

“Dunkirk,” Hans Zimmer
“Phantom Thread,” Jonny Greenwood
“The Shape of Water,” Alexandre Desplat
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” John Williams
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Carter Burwell

Prediction:  Phantom Thread

My EYG Oscar: The Shape of Water.

Though I hate Phantom Thread, the score was wonderful, but I am giving it to The Shape of Water because how important the music was in that film.

 

Original Song:

“Mighty River” from “Mudbound,” Mary J. Blige
“Mystery of Love” from “Call Me by Your Name,” Sufjan Stevens
“Remember Me” from “Coco,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez
“Stand Up for Something” from “Marshall,” Diane Warren, Common
“This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman,” Benj Pasek, Justin Paul

Image result for remember me cocoPrediction: “This is Me,” Greatest Showman

My EYG Oscar: “Remember Me,” Coco

I will not be happy here, because I do not like The Greatest Showman much and Remember Me is transcendent in Coco.  I just think the Academy will be giving it to that overrated music.

 

Makeup and Hair:

“Darkest Hour,” Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick
“Victoria and Abdul,” Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard
“Wonder,” Arjen Tuiten

Image result for guardians of the galaxy makeupPrediction:  Darkest Hour

My EYG Oscar:  Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. 

How about honoring a Marvel Studio film once?  Suicide Squad won an Oscar for God’s sake.  It is time to give one to Marvel Studios and this would even be a deserving one.  Nebula.  Drax.  Gamora.  Yondu.

 

Costume Design:

“Beauty and the Beast,” Jacqueline Durran
“Darkest Hour,” Jacqueline Durran
“Phantom Thread,” Mark Bridges
“The Shape of Water,” Luis Sequeira
“Victoria and Abdul,” Consolata Boyle

Prediction:  The Shape of Water

My EYG Oscar:  The Shape of Water

 

Visual Effects:

Oscar Shorts

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I just came back from getting a chance to see the Oscar nominated shorts in Live Action and Animated categories and I had a really good time with them.  I spent 3 and a half ours in my local Cinemark watching them, but I did not regret it.

 

The nominated films were… in animation…

Animated Short:

“Dear Basketball,” Glen Keane, Kobe Bryant
“Garden Party,” Victor Caire, Gabriel Grapperon
“Lou,” Dave Mullins, Dana Murray
“Negative Space,” Max Porter, Ru Kuwahata
“Revolting Rhymes,” Jakob Schuh, Jan Lachauer

and in Live-Action…

Best Live Action Short Film:

“DeKalb Elementary,” Reed Van Dyk
“The Eleven O’Clock,” Derin Seale, Josh Lawson
“My Nephew Emmett,” Kevin Wilson, Jr.
“The Silent Child,” Chris Overton, Rachel Shenton
“Watu Wote/All of Us,” Katja Benrath, Tobias Rosen

Let’s talk about them.

First, in animation, there were some really well done shorts that I really enjoyed.

“Dear Basketball,” Glen Keane, Kobe Bryant

This one was beautiful.  I loved the animated style of the basketball action and the poem, written by Kobe Bryant, was inspirational.  I am not even someone who liked Kobe Bryant (even a little bit), but I came to respect the effort he gave.  Grade :Solid A
“Garden Party,” Victor Caire, Gabriel Grapperon

This one was weird.  There are a bunch of frogs arriving at a house with a big backyard pool, where, as the short continues, becomes clear that something bad has happened here.  The ending of the short showed how dark this was.  I dug it.  Grade: B+
“Negative Space,” Max Porter, Ru Kuwahata

This one had some touching aspects to it as an adult son reflected back upon his relationship with his father and how he could only ever really connect with him when they were packing a bag for a trip.  A touching moment at the end that brought the whole short together.  Grade:  B
“Revolting Rhymes,” Jakob Schuh, Jan Lachauer

This was really good, but it has the advantage of adapting a work of Roald Dahl, who I really enjoy.  This was easily the longest of the shorts and tells a different story of Snow White, Red Riding Hood and the Wolf.  This one becomes pretty dark as well.  Great stuff here.  Grade: A

“Lou,” Dave Mullins, Dana Murray

Image result for lou pixarThis is the Pixar short that was at the beginning of Cars 3 and was easily the peak of that movie going experience.  This is so clever and entertaining, dealing with a bully on the playground and a creature from the Lost and Found.  The design of Lou the character is brilliant and the story is sweet and real.  Grade: A+

Among the animation, I believe that Pixar will win again.  I really did love the Roald Dahl short, but I do not expect it to win.  The only one that has a chance to defeat Pixar would Be Kobe Bryant’s love letter to the game of basketball.  I still say your winner is Lou.

 

LIVE-ACTION. 

The five films in live-action shorts were heavily based on true events.  I really enjoyed three of the these and the other two were fine, but not as engaging for me.

“Watu Wote/All of Us,” Katja Benrath, Tobias Rosen

This was my least favorite of the five live-action nominees.  It told the story of a 2015 bus attack in Kenya by a militant group.  The Muslims and Christians on the bus were able to overcome the situation through the power of their faith.  It would not surprise me if this one wins, but I found it to be the least engaging of the bunch.  Grade:  B-
“The Eleven O’Clock,” Derin Seale, Josh Lawson

This one was funny, but desperately predictable.  A psychiatrist arrives at his office to find a temp receptionist who did not know the procedures.  Then, his 11 o’clock shows up and he believes that he is actually the psychiatrist and not the patient.  Hilarity ensues.  It was well written and funny,but I knew what was going to happen almost immediately.  Grade B+
“My Nephew Emmett,” Kevin Wilson, Jr.

This was a powerful short dealing with a murder of a young black man in Mississippi in 1955.  The film is shown through the eyes of his uncle and it continues to show the brutality and the downright cruelty imposed upon the African-American population even a hundred years after slavery ended.  Very powerful and heartbreaking. Grade: A-
“The Silent Child,” Chris Overton, Rachel Shenton

A young British girl who is deaf struggles to learn until a wonderful aid comes to her rescue.  Unfortunately, the young girl’s mother does not want to accept the ideas or techniques of the aid.  Good performances here but I did not like the ending of this one.  Grade: B

Image result for dekalb Elementary short“DeKalb Elementary,” Reed Van Dyk

This was my personal favorite of the five and it was the first one they showed.  Based on a real 9-1-1 call, DaKalb Elementary tells the story of a gunman who comes into a school with the intentions of killing only to start questioning himself.  The man meets a lady in the office who treats him with compassion and humanity.  This film was really tense and I kept waiting for it to so sideways.  I was filled with anxiety throughout it.  Perhaps the current world of school shooting played on those fears, but this created emotions within me.   Grade: A+

 

Though I will be rooting for DeKalb Elementary, I think either Watu Woke or My Nephew Emmett will take the prize Sunday night.  I would guess that Silent Child has an outside chance while The Eleven O’clock is not winning, though it is a fun short.

 

This is the first year that I have seen all of the shorts and that is cool.  Oscars are Sunday night on ABC.

MCU Villain Problem More Myth Than Truth

Honestly, there are a couple of issues that I get real tired of hearing.  One of those is the “comic book fatigue” that all of the online movie “experts” want to claim is happening.  I am so tired of this.  Where is your evidence of this?  Black Panther is preparing to blow away all expectations at the box office as did Thor:Ragnarok before it.  The evidence shows that if you make a good/great comic book movie, the audience will come see it.  No fatigue there.

But, that deserves its own column at another time.  This column is about the other easy slight that people lay at the feet of Marvel Studios which is “Marvel does not have any great villains.”  Again, I call BS.

First of all, if we want to be divisive about it, how many great DC villains have we had?  Outside of the Joker in Dark Knight and Zod in Man of Steel, who are they?  Jared Leto’s Joker?  He was completely wasted.  Batman v. Superman’s Lex Luthor? He was one of the most hated aspects of that film.  Suicide Squad’s Enchantress or her CGI brother?  Horrible.  Justice League’s Steppenwolf?  Come on.  Even Wonder Woman’s Ares was probably the weakest part of that great film.

But I do not want to engage in the DC vs. Marvel argument because it is counterproductive.  Instead, I want to focus in on the Marvel villains that have appeared in their 18 movies during the age of the MCU.  Marvel Studio head Kevin Feige had said the following:

“Well, I mean, it always varies, but it always starts with what serves the story the most and what serves the hero the most. We’ve been criticized, if a big criticism of ours is that we focus on the heroes more than the villains, I think that’s probably true.”

Now, looking that that quote, Feige is saying that there is only so much time available in a movie and that they are looking to focus on the hero.  We have all seen movies that spend too much time on the villains where it feels like the hero is not even in the movie (Batman Returns?).  Feige understands that you look to your hero and the story first, and then you develop the villain.  Feige has also stated that the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War will be Thanos’s movie, so that might change.

This focus is also the reason why Netflix’s Marvel villains such as Wilson Fisk, Copperhead, Jigsaw and Killgrave were such amazing villains.  The time allotted to their development is greater since the time available is more.  You can do more in 13 hour TV seasons than you can in 120-130 minute movies.

Image result for malekith dark worldEven with this, I would argue there have been very few weak Marvel villains.  The first one everyone brings up is Malekith from Thor: Dark World.  This, I would agree, is the worst of the Marvel villains because of how much of a waste the character was.  In the comics, Malekith is one of Thor’s most vicious villains, manipulative and monstrous.  The film failed to portray him in such a way and the movie counterpart has become completely forgettable.

Whiplash from Iron Man 2 was also a step down for Marvel.  Like much of Iron Man 2, the villain was lost among set up for future movies.  There was an adequate performance from Mickey Rourke in the film, but it felt too rushed.  As if the movie was hurried into production after a huge success of the original.  I believe that Marvel Studios learned from their mistakes in Iron Man 2 because most of these errors have not been done at this level again.  Even with the errors, Whiplash was not terrible, and Iron Man 2 brought us Justin Hammer.

Related imageHammer fits into a category of Marvel villains that would be non-powered villains who manipulate for their own advantage. Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) from Iron Man was a great villain that showed the opposite of Tony Stark.  Stane was a power hungry man who was willing to have his friend killed in order to take over his friend’s company.  Robert Redford became a leader of Hydra in Captain America: Winter Soldier and was tremendous in the role.  Daniel Bruhl’s Baron Zemo is much maligned from Captain America: Civil War, but I contend that he is one of the best villains Marvel has had.  He has realistic motivations that you can relate to and he basically wins at the end of Civil War.  An argument could be made that the villain of Civil War is actually Tony Stark, but Zemo does not get the credit he deserves.  Civil War felt like an origin story for the Baron Zemo from the comics and I expect to see more of him in the future of the MCU.

Image result for loki killmongerOf course, you can’t talk about the MCU villains without talking about the one that practically everyone agrees is the standard bearer.  Tom Hiddleston’s Loki has sat on top of the mountain since he slithered his way onto our screens in Thor.  However, as of today, some people might claim that Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger from Image result for loki killmongerBlack Panther has replaced the “puny god” at the top.  Both of these villains are amazing and the performances from these charismatic actors are a big reason.  Loki has benefited from appearing in three Thor movies as well as the Avengers, giving more time to develop him as a character.  Killmonger’s motivation is just so relatable to the movie going audience that you can’t help but root for him.  Despite the terrible acts he perpetrates, Killmonger is someone we like seeing on our screen.

There are villains that some say are underused, and they may be.  Ronin from Guardians of the Galaxy may have been little more than a plot point, he was a very effective plot point. He brought an intimidating presence to the film and served as a perfect foil to the dance off at the end.  Lee Pace does everything that is needed of him to make the Guardians of the Galaxy such an epic trip.  Kurt Russell’s Ego the Living Planet from Guardians Vol 2. was another great villain with a wonderful performance.  He brought the story of Peter Quill’s parentage to a close and was able to bring to the screen a Marvel villain that you never thought would be there.  Plus, it is Kurt f’n Russell.

Image result for hela ragnarokI’m not sure how, but we have gone this long into the column without mentioning Hela, played by the exquisite Cate Blanchett.   Hela was also well developed, considering all she wanted was her birthright as the Queen of Asgard.  She had been cast out into the Underworld by her father Odin because he feared who she was, despite riding into violent battle at her side. Odin struck her from the history of Asgard, completely covering up the record of her existence, even from her brothers Thor and Loki.  I’d be a little unhappy as well.

Image result for vulture keaton in car with peterWho am I leaving out here? Red Skull?  A great villain in Captain America First Avenger and I think we will see Red Skull again one day.  Hugo Weaving was perfect as the Red Skull.  The biggest issue with Red Skull is that Weaving was not a fan of the role.  Dormammu from Dr. Strange.  The film’s main villain was really Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelson) and was also spent setting up Baron Mordo as a future villain for Stephen Strange.  However, Dormammu is involved in one of the most original super hero endings in the entire MCU with the “I’ve come to bargain” tactic.  Abomination?  The Incredible Hulk is a very good movie that does not get much recognition and the Abomination is great.  Tim Roth certainly provides us with a strong character prior to his transformation into the raging giant green creature.  Yellowjacket?  I found Darren Cross to be the perfect foil for the first Ant Man film and I really liked the look of the character.  His defeat at the end of that film was a great one.  Michael Keaton was amazing in Spider-man: Homecoming as the Vulture.  One of the most compelling and frightening scenes with him was out of costume, as he talked to Peter Parker in the back of his car.

Image result for yonduThere have been a couple of Marvel villains so good that they wind up becoming heroes.  Loki has fought with the heroes before, though usually because of his own selfish motives.  Nebula is the daughter of Thanos and had a grudge with her sister Gamora.  Still, the Guardians films have shown how she took the pain of her childhood and misdirected it so much that she was seen as a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy.  Yondu is another example of this as the former Ravager head become a father figure to Star Lord and his death at the end of Vol. 2 was one of the best, most emotional moments in any MCU film.  The Winter Soldier is the main villain of Captain America 2, but his reveal as Bucky Barnes showed that this villain would one day become a hero.  It looks like Bucky is just about there after his appearance in Civil War and his appearance in (SPOILERS) the post credit scene of Black Panther. (END OF SPOILERS).

How about Ultron?  Some people did not enjoy the presentation of Ultron in Avenergs: Age of Ultron, but I was not on of them. I found the character to be outstanding, especially with the voice work of James Spader.  Perhaps the final fight with Ultron was not at a level it should have been, but the film Age of Ultron was a victim of its own expectations more than anything else.

Image result for iron man 3 mandarinMandarin from Iron Man 3 is one of the most divisive characters of all time.  Marvel simply could not provide the world with a Mandarin as he is in the comics.  The Mandarin is a walking racial stereotype and would have been rejected.  Instead, they pulled off one of the best twist surprises ever, revealing that Trevor was not the Mandarin, but in actuality an actor who was hired to be the face of the role.  I think Marvel understood that making Guy Pearce the Mandarin at the end was an error and they retconned that out with one of their short films. That does not mean that Marvel did not show tremendous guts in pulling off the twist.  I am sure they expected a backlash, but they did it anyway and created a moment for all MCU.

Before you immediately dismiss the MCU villains, think about what they are meant to be, what they have accomplished, and the amazing group of actors that have taken these mantels up and understand that, for what they have been given, they have exceeded expectations.

 

 

 

Schmoedown Awards

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There will be spoilers in this article for the 2017 Movie Trivia Schmoedown Awards Show so if you have not yet seen it, please give yourself a treat, go watch it, and then come back.

 

One of the most consistently entertaining program on YouTube is the Movie Trivia Schmoedown, on Collider Video.  The brainchild for the series came from creators Kristian Harloff and Mark Ellis, known collectively as The Schmoes.  They have created a movie trivia league using the backstage concepts and storylines like that of the WWE and UFC.

The show is currently in its off season with season five scheduled to begin on Friday, February 2nd with a triple threat number one contenders match between Rachel Cushing, JTE and Mike Kalinowski for the right to take on Movie Trivia Schmoedown Champion Samm Levine.

But that is in the future.  Today, Collider dropped a video dedicated to the past, the past year that is.  They gave us an awards show, the 2017 Movie Trivia Schmoedown Awards.

ModokA list of categories were voted on by members of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown Facebook page.  I am unsure if this was the sole voting or if there were more included.

The show was a spoof on the award shows as well.  There were some pre-show interviews with several of the competitors and presenters.  Collider writer and on-screen personality, Perri Nemiroff handling the interviews.  The highlight was clearly the hat shaped like a hand worn by Grae Drake from team Modok, who presented an award later in the show.

babycarrotsIt started with a monologue from host Mark Ellis, and he roasted several of the competitors with his funny zings.  Ellis is a stand up comedian who has great timing and a sharp wit and his monologue was vastly entertaining…almost as entertaining as the orange suit he was wearing.  The audience was filled with a large group of the members of the league as well as some notable podcasters and actors.

They presented a series of awards through the 2 and a half + hour show.  Those awards include the following:

Singles Entrance of the Year:  Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing, “Lord of the Rings”

Team Entrance of the Year:  The Wolves of Steel, “It movie”

Innergeekdom/Star Wars Player of the Year: Jason “Justice” Inman

Upset of the Year:  Late to the Party defeated Critically Acclaimed.

Podcast/Aftershow of the Year:  Schmoedown Rundown

Manager of the Year: Tom Dagnino of the Lion’s Den

Heel Team of the Year:  Team Action

Team Babyface of the Year:  Above the Line

Heel of the Year:  Tom Dagnino

Babyface of the Year: Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing

The Yodi Award:  Mark “Yodi” Reilly

Celebrity Match of the Year:  The It Losers Club match

Rookie Team of the Year: Above the Line

Singles Rookie of the Year: Rachel “The Crusher” Cushing

Comeback Player of the Year: JTE

Moment of the Year:  Marc Andreyko cleared the table at the Free 4 All.

Match of the Year:  Sam Witwer vs. Ken Napzok, Star Wars Iron Man Match

Team of the Year:  The Patriots

Singles Player of the Year: Samm Levine

Overall Player of the Year: Samm Levine

Thoughts:

babyfaceRachel Cushing was a highlight of the night for sure.  Everybody expected her to win the Rookie of the Year, because she was clearly the standout of the group (heck Lon Harris was in the category with only one game played).  However, she also won the singles entrance of the year and the Babyface of the Year.  According to the presenter Ken Napzok, “the term ‘babyface’ comes from the great American art form of professional wrestling.  It is a term that describes the people that connect with the audience, that inspire the audience, that chase their dreams and chase down gold.”  Rachel cemented this position late in 2017 napzokwhen Napzok himself turned on her and left her to face the team of Blofeld’s Cat by herself.  The Crusher nearly pulled the upset in the handicap match.  That match took Rachel to another level.  She is not yet a champion, but I cannot believe that she won’t hold some championship in 2018.

 

inmemorumThey ran an In Memoriam section, again as a spoof of the award show.  This section is presented by Screen Junkie Hal Rudnick, dressed in black.  Rudnick was hilarious here, talking about the things we will never hear about again… including no one talking about their podcasts, uploading spoiler free reviews, getting their opinions on a still photograph, and whose Loot Crate mash up Tees we’ll never see again.  They then rolled a clip video featuring mainly teams that have been broken up (Megapowers, Etc, Six Degrees, Nerd Watch), teams who have changed their team name (Modok, IGN), and other fun things such as JTE’s Losing Streak, Fantasy Updates, Finstock, the old wheel and ending with the Dark Universe.  Solute those fallen warriors!

jaywashJay Washington presenting the Moment of the Year (with Stacy Howard), after losing several awards himself showed his talent at the mike.  A former pro wrestler, Jay Washington is very comfortable doing the promos, and this was one of the best speaking moments of the show.  Jay has slowly began getting more air time and he is delivering entertainment each time.  Jay Washington could be one of the break out stars of the next year because he knows how to create, sustain and develop a character.

nocomebackJTE was full of vinegar this year.  After he won the Comeback Player of the Year Award, he threw it down to the ground, claiming that the award would only remind him of the bad year.  He said that all his losses were really close and that he was not a loser.  Following this, JTE was as arrogant as you could be when the Patriots won the Team of the Year.  As JTE said, “We sammlevinesingleplayerwon, big f***ing surprise.”  JTE was then announced by “The Outlaw” John Rocha as the winner of the Singles Player of the Year, but (spoofing the La La Land incident from last year) it was actually Samm Levine who won.  Then, when Samm Levine won the Overall Player of the Year, JTE raged about the unfairness of the situation.

realwildberriesThe Wildberries made some great appearances in the awards show.  This fairly new team looks to be a huge team in the upcoming year.  Here, they presented the celebrity match of the year (The It Losers Club) and they spent several minutes yelling about everything.  They were really funny and these two seem to really be embracing these characters.

KoMissMoviesThere are some moments here that are being teased for season five.  You can see some of the new characters (such as Lon Harris) beginning to see some screen time.  Perhaps the biggest storyline was hinted at with Mike “K.O.” Kalinowski and “Miss Movies” Brianne Chandler arriving together after leaving the Schmoedown Spectacular 2 together.  There was nothing new presented, but it is clear this will be a major storyline moving forward.

dagninoOh, and Tom Dagnino is gold.  Evil gold, but gold, nonetheless.

The Movie Trivia Schmoedown continues to increase its brand and improve each year.  2018 looks to be the best year yet.  Congrats to the entire crew over at Collider for presenting such an intriguing and enjoyable program.

yodiaward

 

 

SPOILERS-The Last Jedi

Image result for the last jedi

I had written a movie review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and I found it pretty difficult because I did not want to spoil anything.  There are reviews that were released prior to the film being released (hello Variety) that told too much about the twists and the story.  I did not want any part of that.  So it made the review difficult.

However, now, with the specific title of this piece including the big word -SPOILERS- I decided to write my thoughts about the movie with full impunity.

Image result for Luke and LeiaI want to start with my favorite scene in this movie, which was the face-to-“face” meeting between Leia and Luke.  When Luke arrived to see Leia, they spoke, Leia made a joke about her hair and it was as if these two characters had been together since day one.  Luke gave a kiss on the forehead to his sister before heading out to confront her son/his nephew.  It was meant to show Luke saying “goodbye” to Leia before he met his end.  However at this point, a year after the loss of our beloved Princess, it played more like Mark Hamill getting a chance to say goodbye to Carrie Fisher.  I know that is not what the scene was meant to do, since Carrie Fisher survived the filming of this movie, but with her devastating untimely passing, it brought on a different layer.  And it was so beautiful.

Some people have complained about the new powers that the Jedis seem to have gained that have never been their before, but that does not bother me in the slightest.  We do not know the powers that a Jedi can muster, and, just because we had not seen it happen before, doesn’t mean that they couldn’t have done it.  The Force projection ability certainly seemed to be one that was going to take its tole on the Jedi and, thus, made sense as to why it is something that has not been used.  Meanwhile, it was used extremely well to further the connection between Rey and Kylo and perfectly at the end to have Luke face off with Kylo.

Speaking of that fight at the end, I LOVED it.  The way Luke was “trolling” his nephew during that whole encounter was just tremendous.  I did not see it coming, but, if you look back, there are hints here.  For example, Luke, when walking on the salt planet surface, did not make the red marks that everyone else made, including Kylo.  When Luke walked out of the barrage of cannon fire unharmed, I thought to myself, wait, how did he do that?  I was extremely pleased by the answer.  Plus, the end of the scene, when Force projection Luke disappeared, he gave the line “See ya around, kid,” to Kylo, just like Han Solo, sticking it to the young Ben Solo once more.  It was a perfect end to that confrontation.

Image result for poe star warsI was not as huge of a fan of the storyline involving Poe.  There was a running plot thread that seemed to be trying to teach Poe a lesson of not being such a “jump in an X-Wing and blow stuff up” guy and, instead, be more of a leader.  The first time I saw The Last Jedi, that storyline bugged me a bit, but it was better in the second viewing.  The problem was, so much of the troubles that happened aboard the ship came directly from this attempt to teach Poe how to be a leader that it was hardly worth it.  Had Laura Dern just told Poe that she had a plan and had given him a heads up about it, nothing would have come from it.  Poe would not have mutinied.  Finn and Rose would not have headed off to find a Master Code breaker to sneak aboard the Star Destroyer, they would have never met up with DJ (Benicio Del Toro), and the First Order would never have gotten wind of their plan because DJ would not have given them up.  Because she refused to trust Poe, one of the greatest pilots in the Rebellion, nearly the entire Rebellion had been blown up before they ever got to the planet’s surface.  Leia had criticized Poe for not turning around at the beginning of the movie when he wanted to try to finish the plan to blow up the Dreadnought and had told him that the loss was too great, but doesn’t that same philosophy include her old friend Laura Dern?

I have to say as well that despite being one of my favorite parts of The Force Awakens, I was not a fan of BB-8 in this movie.  I thought the droid lost most of its charisma and humor and was replaced by a killing machine.

One thing I really loved was how the film took two of the biggest, most debated mysteries among the Star Wars fans and gave answers to them that were anything but memorable.  The first one was “Who is Snope?”  That was made perfectly irrelevant after the Supreme Leader was cut in half by the lightsaber.  Who was he really?  It did not matter in the story.  The second one was “Who are Rey’s parents?”  It turns out that Rey’s parents were nobodies, drunkards who had sold her off as a child.  I was very pleased at this twist considering how much everyone debated about Rey’s parents (Obi-Wan, Han and Leia, Luke etc).  The fact that they were nobodies (from Nowhere, as Rey had said herself earlier in the film) means that anybody can become a special person, someone at one with the Force.  It did not just have to be a Skywalker or a descendant of a Jedi.  It kind of took away that clubhouse that the Jedis had owned for so long.  I loved that.

Image result for boy looking to stars in Last JediI think I did mention this in the main review, but I hated the trip to Crait.  It was the biggest waste of time in the entire film, and it was also the point when I was originally watching it that I thought to myself, “Is this going to be it?”  I had a moment when I thought that maybe the Last Jedi would underwhelm me as some other movies have done.  Fortunately, the film picks up BIG time after this, but the entire sequence on Crait could have been cut out.  That included everything with DJ, whom I really disliked.  The coincidence alone was hard to handle, as Finn and Rose, who had come to Crait in search of a Master Code Breaker (directed there in a wasted cameo from Maz Kanata), wound up getting arrested and thrown into a prison cell with… you guessed it… a thief who could help them anyway.  I thought maybe this was the guy Maz was referring to, but they made it clear that he was not.

The only redeeming part of the entire trip to Crait was the final shot of the film.  The final shot with the young boy and his broom looking toward the sky, much like the young Luke did so many years prior, was a beautiful ending to the film.  The boy also had used the Force to grab his broom (something I hadn’t noticed on the first viewing).  The boy was wearing the Resistance ring given to him by Rose.  That was the only good thing to come out of the entire sequence on Crait.

I loved just about everything involving Kylo Renn, Rey and Luke Skywalker.  These were easily the most entertaining arcs of the film.  Mark Hamill was just amazing as his iconic character.  However, he was not playing the Luke Skywalker that we were used to seeing.  This Luke Skywalker was a broken, sad, battered man who had hidden himself away to die because of his ultimate failure in training Kylo Renn.  Hamill, who had publicly criticized some of the choices about Luke, brought his best work in years, if not ever.  You could see the pain, anger and anguish in every word or look.  And yet, he still broke back into the old Luke when he first saw R2-D2, his old friend.

One of Luke’s best scenes came with the film’s best cameo.  We got to see Yoda, as a Force Ghost, show up to give Luke one more lesson.  This was puppet Yoda from Empire, not the pristine Yoda from the prequels, and the way this Yoda carried himself was wonderful.  The return of Frank Oz to voice the iconic green character was another treat.  The dynamic between Luke and Yoda brought you right back to the days of Empire Strikes Back and Dagobah.

I also did not mind the end of the road for Luke Skywalker.  When he died on the island planet, I was sad, but the idea that he went out with purpose and peace is a good way to go.  He does not end up being violently killed by anyone.  Instead, he decides that it is just time.  Of course, one could argue that the Force projection is what was eventually what led to his death, and that would be alright with me too.  My guess is that we see Force Ghost Luke in the final Episode IX.

Rian Johnson does an incredible job of setting up our story for the future of the franchise, I sure hope that JJ Abrams is able to take some of the ideas that Johnson began with and create a satisfactory conclusion to the Skywalker saga.

Image result for last jedi photos

 

MCU Timeline

Source:  http://collider.com/mcu-timeline-explained/#infinity-stones-celestials-frost-giants

 

 

Before the Universe Began:

  • Six singularities existed: Space, Mind, Reality, Power, Time, Soul
  • Dark Elves arose from the darkness before traveling to the Nine Realms to rule over them all from Svartalfheim, the Dark World.

After the Universe Began:

  • Cosmic Entities Death, Entropy, Infinity, and Eternity created the Infinity Stones from these singularities.
  • Elders of the Universe: The Collector and the Grandmaster come into being.

Several Million Years Ago:

  • Ego the Living Planet comes into being as a Celestial, a member of a powerful, primordial race.

Thousands of Years Ago:

  • Asgardian, Kree, and Human civilizations emerge.
  • Kree experiments on Earth give rise to Inhumans whose genetic abilities are triggered by Terrigen Mist, causing Terrigenesis.
  • Agamotto founds the Masters of the Mystic Arts and constructs three sanctuaries on Earth.

2988 BCE

  • Convergence, or the alignment of the Nine Realms of Yggdrasil, occurs. This happens once every 5,000 years.
  • First Battle of Svartalfheim: Malekith leads the Dark Elves in an attempt to destroy the Nine Realms using the Aether (Reality Stone). The Asgardian army, led by Odin’s father Bor, defeat Malekith and secure the Aether, hiding it away.
  • Some time later, Odin and his firstborn Hela, acting as his executioner, wage war across the Nine Realms, conquering them all. When Hela’s ambition grows too great, their forces battle against each other and many Valkyries are killed in the combat. Odin, victorious, seals Hela away in a prison and banishers her memory from history.

mcu-timeline-explained

965 CE:

  • Battle of Tønsberg: Jotunheim’s Frost Giants invade Tøsberg, Norway in an attempt to conquer Midgard, a.k.a. Earth.
  • Battle of Jotunheim: Odin leads the Asgardian army against the Frost Giants to defend Midgard. Odin also discovers an abandoned Jotunheim infant, adopting him, and raising him alongside his own son Thor with the given name, Loki.
  • Odin negotiates a truce with the Frost Giant king, Lufey.

1014 CE:

  • Kree and Nova Empires fight a war that lasts thousands of years.

1197 CE:

  • A defector from Asgard’s Berserker Army flees to Earth and breaks his strength-enhancing weapon–the Berserker Staff–into three pieces which he hides across Europe.

1342 CE: 

  • mcu-timeline-explained

    The Ancient One is born.

1409 CE:

  • Odin hides the Tesseract in Tønsberg, Norway.

1413 CE:

  • Lorelei enslaves hundreds of men across the Nine Realms by enthralling them before being defeated by Sif and being imprisoned in Asgard’s dungeons.

1839 CE:

  • Members of HYDRA meet to determine who among them will pass through the Kree Monolith.

1876 CE:

  • Ulysses Klaue’s great-grandfather is killed by Wakanda’s Black Panther

1901:

  • The Council of Nine orchestrates the assassination of President McKinley.

1906:

  • The Council’s headquarters The Arena Club is founded.

1914:

  • July 28th – World War I begins.

1917:

  • March 10th – James Buchanan “Bucky’ Barnes is born.
  • August 15th – Howard Stark is born.

1918:

  • May 8th – Joseph Rogers dies while fighting in the war with the 107th as a consequence of a mustard gas attack. He received a posthumous Purple Heart.
  • July 4th – Steve Rogers is born.
  • November 11th – World War I ends.

1921:

  • April 9th – Margaret “Peggy” Carter is born.

1929:

  • October 24th – Council member Thomas Gloucester orchestrates the Wall Street Crash.

mcu-timeline-explained

1930:

  • January 10th – Dr. Abraham Erskine begins experimentation on a Super Soldier Serum.
  • September 6th – Steve Rogers meets Bucky Barnes in New York City.

1933:

  • Johann Schmidt begins searching for the Tesseract.

1936:

  • October 15th – Sarah Rogers dies of tuberculosis.

1937:

  • April 24th – Dottie Underwood and other Soviet girls train to become master assassins in the Red Room program.

1939:

  • September 1st – World War II begins.
  • September 30th – Howard Star founds Stark Industries.

1940:

  • August 7th
    • Peggy Carter calls off her wedding and enlists in the British counter-intelligence and security agency, MI5.
  • October
    • Peggy Carter becomes an advisor to American agency Strategic Scientific Reserve.
  • November 11th
    • Johann Schmidt injects himself with the Super Soldier Serum, transforming him into the Red Skull.
  • December 24th
    • Bucky Barnes and Steve Rogers enlist while visiting New York City’s U.S. Recruiting and Induction Center, but Steve is designated 4F and rejected. He tries four more times in four different cities but meets the same fate each time.
  • December 25th
    • Led by Dr. Erskine along with Howard Stark, Peggy Carter, and Colonel Chester Phillips, the Strategic Scientific Reserve’s Project Rebirth chamber is completed and ready to transform volunteers into super-soldiers.

mcu-timeline-explained

1942:

  • March 3rd
    • Red Skull discovers and secures the Tesseract.
  • August
    • HYDRA General Warner Reinhardt’s team, tasked with discovering more artifacts related to the Tesseract, find the corpse of a blue-skinned extraterrestrial, a Kree soldier they dub G.H.

1943:

  • June 14th
    • Steve Rogers is recruited by Dr. Erskine for Project Rebirth.
  • June 22nd
    • Steve Rogers is successfully transformed through the use of the super-soldier serum. However, Dr. Erskine is assassinated by HYDRA operative, Heinz Kruger.
  • June 23rd
    • Steve Rogers refuses to be kept in a lab as a research specimen and goes on a USO tour instead as Captain America.
  • November 3rd
    • Captain America leads an assault on a HYDRA facility in Austria to liberate  Dum Dum Dugan, Gabe Jones, Jim Morita, James Montgomery Falsworth, Jacques Dernier, Bucky, and the rest of the 107th, some of whom will form the Howling Commandos.
  • November 5th
    • Howard Stark’s research of HYDRA’s mysterious power source leads him down the path to developing a New Element. Tony Stark later completes this research to improve upon his arc reactor.

1944:

  • June – General John McGinnis’ soldiers raid Howard Starks lab and steal his research along with Midnight Oil, a combat drug originally designed to keep its users awake and alert, but which had the side effect of causing the user to go mad.

1945:

  • January
    • The Howling Commandos capture Arnim Zola but Bucky Barnes falls from the HYDRA train in the process and is presumed dead.
  • January
    • Werner Reinhardt discovers the “Obelisk”, a Kree Diviner used to contain Terrigen Crystals which would release Terrigen Mist upon exposure.
  • mcu-timeline-explained

    March 4th

    • Captain America and the Howling Commandos defeat Red Skull, who uses the Tesseract and subsequently vanishes, never to be seen again. Captain America crashes the HYDRA plane Valkyrie off the coast of Greenland and is presumed dead.
    • Reinhardt tests the Obelisk on an unwilling Chinese woman named Jiaying. She survived the experiment but was locked up in a cage while Reinhardt moved his base of operations upon hearing of Red Skull’s presumed death.
  • May 7th
    • Soldiers encounter a mysterious phenomenon known as Zero Matter or the Darkforce while on the battlefields of Europe.
  • May 21st
    • Reinhardt is interrogated by Peggy Carter and sentenced to life imprisonment, despite him attempting to share information on the Obelisk and Kree.
  • September 2nd – World War II ends.

1946:

  • April
    • Howard Stark is tried by the United States Congress to determine whether or not he’s a traitor when some of his inventions show up for sale on the black market. Stark flees the country, believing he will be convicted, and tasks his butler Edwin Jarvis with assisting Peggy Carter on her mission. He becomes the SSR’s most-wanted target.
  • April 16th
    • Soviet scientist Anton Vanko tells Carter and Jarvis that Roxxon is the only company with the means of weaponizing Stark’s dangerous chemical compound, Nitramene. The Roxxon Refinery explodes that same night.

1947:

  • The Cold War begins.
  • mcu-timeline-explained

    July 11th – Peggy Carter arrives in Los Angeles where an exonerated Howard Stark has opened up a new estate and started a motion picture company.

1948:

  • An unidentified Iron Fist is caught on film by the Chinese Government while defending a secret passage into K’un-Lun from soldiers who had become lost in the jungle.
  • September – Howard Stark and Peggy Carter plan to form S.H.I.E.L.D., which they launch in January of 1949.

1949:

  • Zola, now recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D., begins to rebuild HYDRA from within the agency. He and former HYDRA agents track down Bucky Barnes, who had survived his fall and was in the custody of Soviet authorities. Bucky’s memory is wiped and modified, as is his body; he’d lost an arm but was outfitted with a metal prosthetic. HYDRA kept Bucky cryogenically frozen, thawed out only when needed as the elite assassin, Winter Soldier.

1951:

  • December 21st – Nick Fury is born.

1953:

  • June 21st – Peggy Carter is interviewed about her experiences with Captain America during World War II.

1954:

  • January 1st – The year-long Stark Exposition kicks off.

1955:

  • February 15th – Yondu Udonta is sold into Kree slavery as an infant.

1959:

  • April 25th – The Winter Soldier conducts an operation, as documented by the KGB.

1960:

  • September – Meredith Quill is born.

1962:

  • Vietnam War begins, orchestrated by HYDRA.
  • August 10th – Midtown School of Science and Technology is founded. (Peter Parker will later attend.)
  • October 14th – 28th – Cuban Missile Crisis, manipulated by HYDRA.

mcu-timeline-explained

1963:

  • March 13th – Anton Vanko defects to the U.S. to develop Arc Reactor technology with Howard Stark as part of The Unity Project.
  • November 22nd – The assassination of President John F. Kennedy is orchestrated by HYDRA and carried out by the Winter Soldier.

1964:

  • January 1st – Stark World Exposition held alongside the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York City.
  • July 8th – Phil Coulson is born.
  • October 12th – Trevor Slattery performs his first theatrical role as Boatswain #1 in William Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest.’

1967:

  • October 17th – Anton Vanko is accused of espionage, deported as a spy, and exiled to Siberia for 20 years. Howard Stark assumes full credit for the Arc Reactor technology. Obadiah Stane convinces Stark to once again focus his efforts on weapons technology.

1968:

  • February 15th – Anton Vanko’s son Ivan is born.
  • October 8th – James Rupert Rhodes is born.

1969:

  • December 18th – Bruce Banner is born.

1970:

  • May 29th – Tony Stark is born.

1971:

  • January 7th – Clinton “Clint” Barton is born.

mcu-timeline-explained

1972:

  • Arnim Zola dies of a terminal illness, but his consciousness is uploaded into a computer system in a S.H.I.E.L.D. bunker in Camp Lehigh, New Jersey.

1973:

  • November 8th – A young Wilson Fisk kills his father with a hammer to stop him from beating Wilson’s mother, Marlene. Wilson and his mother cut up the body and dump it into the river over a few days. Marlene soon sends Wilson to live on a farm with his relatives.

1974:

  • April 1st – The last Stark World Exposition until 2011. Howard Stark’s video advertising the expo cleverly disguises a clue to perfecting the Arc Reactor technology, one which only his son Tony Stark will recognize.

1975:

  • April 2nd – Yondu Udonta is freed from Kree slavery by Stakar Ogord and becomes a Ravager. Yondu goes against the code by working for Ego and delivering children gathered from across the universe to Ego’s planet.
  • April 30th – Vietname War ends.

1976:

  • July – Misty Knight is born.

1978:

  • September 23rd – Sam Wilson is born.
  • September 24th – Howard Stark unveils his Arc Reactor technology but does not explore the tech’s profitability.
  • mcu-timeline-explained

    November 7th – Ego comes to Earth to plant a seedling and falls in love with Meredith Quill. He leaves on December 23rd, but returns multiple times over the months ahead.

1980:

  • Hope Van Dyne is born.
  • October 27th – Peter Quill is born.

1984:

  • April 7th – Hank Pym uses his Ant-Man suit to test his EMP communication device by shrinking down to the size of Bullet Ants.
  • October 22nd – Natasha Romanoff is born.

1985: 

  • November – Matt Murdock is born.

1987:

  • January – Anton Vanko returns from Siberian exile.
  • April 2nd – Thanos kills Gamora and Nebula’s families, and then adopts them as his daughters. They become skilled assassins and fighters under Ronan the Accuser.
  • May 28th – During a training scenario, Gamora tosses Nebula over a cliff, injuring her to the point that she requires cybernetic augmentations which disappoint her adopted father.
  • July – Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne try to disarm a Soviet ICBM as Ant-Man and the Wasp. Janet presumably dies after turning off her suit’s regulator in order to shrink down small enough to enter the missile and disable it, though she may be lost in the quantum realm.
  • August 19th – Leo Fitz is born.
  • September 11th – Jemma Simmons is born.

mcu-timeline-explained

1988:

  • July 2nd – Daisy Johnson is born.
  • November 10th – Meredith Quill dies and Peter is abducted by Yondu’s Ravagers under orders from Ego.

1989:

  • March – Reinhardt is set free by Alexander Pierce and returns to Austria to resume experimentation on Jiaying, using his discoveries to restore his own youth.
  • June – Hank Pym resigns from S.H.I.E.L.D. upon discovering that the organization attempted to replicate his size-changing technology.

1990: 

  • March 17th – John Garrett becomes the first test subject for HYDRA’s Project Deathlok after becoming mortally wounded by an IED in Sarajevo.

1991:

  • April 1st – Danny Rand is born.
  • December 16th – Howard and Maria Stark assassinated by the Winter Soldier. Obadiah Stane assumes interim CEO duties of Stark Industries.
  • December 25th – Soviet Union dissolved and the Cold War ends.

1993: 

  • mcu-timeline-explained

    May 5th – Ivan Vanko receives 15-year prison sentence for selling Soviet-era weapons grade plutonium to Pakistan.

  • October – While attempting to save a bystander from being hit by a truck, Matt Murdock is doused in hazardous chemicals. He loses his sight, but his other senses become enhanced.

1994:

  • February – Jack Murdock is assassinated for failing to throw a boxing match.
  • May – Stick introduces himself to Matt Murdock at the St. Agnes Orphanage, offering to train him.

1995: 

  • May 5th – Bruce Banner and Betty Ross begin dating as undergraduate students at Harvard.
  • July 24th – Natasha Romanoff joins Russia’s covert espionage program, emerging three years later as the Black Widow.

1996: 

  • June 6th – Stick was also training another pupil, Elektra. Rather than following orders to kill her once it became clear that she was the latest incarnation of the Black Sky, Stick placed her with a wealthy adoptive family in Greece for her own safety.

mcu-timeline-explained

1997:

  • April – In attempting to reconcile the death of his wife Adria, Kaecillius is brought to Kamar-Taj by Karl Mordo and meets with The Ancient One, joining the Masters of the Mystic Arts.

1998: 

  • January 27th – Nick Fury sends Clint Barton to eliminate Natasha Romanoff in Russia, seeing her as a threat to global security. Instead, she’s given a chance to join S.H.I.E.L.D., which she takes.

1999: 

  • July – Jessica Jones is the sole survivor of a car crash during a family road trip. Chemicals spilled during the crash grant Jessica Jones her abilities.
  • December 31st – Tony Stark travels to Bern, Switzerland for a New Year’s Eve party where he meets Maya Hansen and Ho Yinsen. Disabled scientist Aldrich Killian requests funding from Stark for his think tank Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.), but is rudely rebuffed. Hansen later reveals her work on the Extremis virus to Stark.

 

2000:

  • January 3rd – A rejected Killian accepts a jilted Hansen into A.I.M. where they work on Extremis together.

2001:

  • June 28th – Under HYDRA’s influence, NASA sends astronauts through the Monolith to survey the planet on the other side.
  • September 12th – Frank Castle enlists in the Marine Corps following the September 11th attacks.
  • September 13th – General Thaddeus Ross starts the Bio-Tech Force Enhancement Project through the U.S. Armed Forces in order to replicate Project Rebirth.

2003:

  • March 20th – Iraq War begins, orchestrated by HYDRA.
  • August 29th – Matt Murdock meets his college roommate, Foggy Nelson.

2005: 

  • mcu-timeline-explained

    February 25th – Bruce Banner joins the Bio-Tech Force Enhancement Project under false pretenses of Thaddeus Ross and earnest convictions of Betty Ross.

  • April 16th – Testing his experiment on himself, Bruce Banner is exposed to a combination of Gamma radiation and Betty’s formula derived from Dr. Erskine’s super-soldier serum, accidentally becoming the Hulk.
  • April 19th – Learning that the Army wants to use him as a weapon, Banner runs, starting a six-year chase across the globe.

2006:

  • November 14th – Microsoft releases the Zune 30. Peter Quill later obtains one.

2007:

  • January 3rd – S.H.I.E.L.D. assists Thaddeus Ross in the quest to bring down the Hulk until 2011. Stark also provides Humvee-mounted sonic cannons.
  • October 31st – Aldrich Killian injects himself with the Extremis virus, healing his disabilities and allowing him to walk without a cane.

2008: 

  • February 19th – Killian exposes willing subjects, mostly seriously injured military veterans, to Extremis. Those who survive heal and regrow lost limbs.
  • May 15th – S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Melinda May earns her nickname “The Cavalry” during the Rescue in Bahrain.

mcu-timeline-explained

2009: 

  • December 18th – Nick Fury places Phil Coulson in charge of Project T.A.H.I.T.I. with the aim of using the Kree corpse to potentially revive a fallen Avenger.

2010:

  • January 12th
    • Tony Stark demonstrates his Accelerated Wave Explosion (A.W.E.) weaponry to the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • January 24th
    • Christine Everhart is kicked out of the Stark Mansion by Pepper Potts after a one-night stand; she later becomes an anchor for WHIH World News. Later, during a weapons demonstration in Afghanistan, Tony Stark is kidnapped by the Ten Rings, who are working for Obadiah Stane.
  • January 25th
    • Under Fury’s orders, Phil Coulson questions Obadiah Stane as to whether or not Stark could have sold weapons to terrorists. Fury refuses Coulson’s request to go search for Stark himself.
  • April 21st
    • Project T.A.H.I.T.I. test subjects go insane and are given new memories to cope with the effects of the trauma.
  • April 26th
    • Stark and fellow captive Ho Yinsen, who saves Stark’s life multiple times, construct Tony’s Mark I suit of armor, allowing him to escape; Yinsen does not survive. Stark’s first flight as Iron Man is picked up by S.H.I.E.L.D.’s radar and Nick Fury contacts the U.S. Department of Defense with the intel.
  • mcu-timeline-explained

    July 16th

    • Having returned to the U.S., after pulling out of the weapons business and cancelling all military contracts, Stark turns his attention to his Arc Reactor and Iron Man tech.
  • October 24th
    • Pepper Potts and Phil Coulson discover the Iron Monger Armor and Stark uses his Mark III armor to battle the power-hungry Stane, who dies in an explosion of the industrial Arc Reactor.
  • October 25th
    • Stark publicly claims his new nickname as Iron Man, rejecting S.H.I.E.L.D.’s cover story; he’s later approached by Nick Fury to join the “Avengers Initiative.” That same day, Anton Ivanko dies and his son Ivan vows to take revenge on Stark by developing his own powered-armor tech.
  • November 17th
    • Emil Blonsky and his team track Bruce Banner to South America

2011:

  • April 23rd
    • Tony Stark appears before the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Weaponized Suit Defense Program Hearings.
  • May 22nd
    • Natalia Rushman, a.k.a. Natasha Romanoff, joins Stark Industries as Tony’s new personal assistant, on Fury’s orders.
  • May 24th
    • Ivan Vanko crashes the Circuit de Monaco, battling Tony Stark, who equips his lightweight Mark V armor and defeats Vanko’s Whiplash tech.
  • mcu-timeline-explained

    May 30th

    • While Fury confines Tony Stark to house arrest after helping to slow his palladium poisoning, Rhodes delivers the stolen Mark II armor to the military, where it’s upgraded by Justin Hammer.
    • At the same time, Jane Foster and Erik Selvig monitor strange atmospheric disturbances in New Mexico, landing them on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s radar.
    • Meanwhile, Thor’s coronation is interrupted by the Frost Giants breaking into Odin’s treasure room; the Asgardian quickly brings the battle to Jotunheim before Odin puts a stop to it.
  • May 31st
    • Iron Man, War Machine, Black Widow, and Happy Hogan defeat the Hammer Drones when Vanko hacks them to attack the Stark Expo. During this battle, a young boy (now confirmed to be Peter Parker) stands up to a Hammer Drone, assisted by Iron Man himself.
    • Coulson arrives in New Mexico and Thor crashes to Earth while Bruce Banner arrives at Culver University.
  • June 1st
    • Odin enters Odinsleep and Loki begins to move against his brother when his true parentage is revealed.
    • Romanoff begins spying on Banner while Blonsky receives an unauthorized dose of enhancement serum.
  • June 2nd
    • Sif and the Warriors Three arrive on Earth with the Destroyer following them on Loki’s orders. It attacks S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and citizens at Puente Antiguo, but Thor proves himself worthy and, with his powers restored, defeats it.
    • mcu-timeline-explained

      Later that day, Thor and Loki duel at the Rainbow Bridge. Thor destroys the Bifrost Bridge to prevent Loki from destroying Jotunheim, but that restricts Thor to Asgard and sends Loki into space. After a time, he arrived at the asteroid-strewn area known as Sanctuary, presided over by Thanos.

    • An enhanced Blonsky battles the Hulk on Culver University’s campus while Romanoff reports her findings to Fury.
    • Stark accepts an advisory role with S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers Initiative.
  • June 4th
    • Blonsky mutates into Abomination when injected with products derived from Banner’s blood. Hulk defeats the Abomination after a destructive battle in Harlem.
    • Samuel Sterns, who attempted to cure Banner, ends up mutating due to exposure to Banner’s blood. Romanoff finds him and takes him into custody.
  • June 5th
    • Fury receives the necessary funds to study the Tesseract and launch the Avengers Initiative.
  • June 7th
    • Fury approaches Selvig with an offer to join S.H.I.E.L.D. in an advisory role, while the first “Mandarin bombing” occurs.
  • June 9th
    • Tony Stark approaches Ross with a plan to put a team together, inquiring about Blonsky. His attitude rubs Ross the wrong way and the General refuses to release the Abomination, thus fulfilling Coulson and Agent Sitwell’s plan to keep Blonsky imprisoned.
  • November 13th
    • The second “Mandarin bombing” occurs.

mcu-timeline-explained

2012:

  • January 11th
    • Aldrich Killian hires Trevor Slattery to pose as the terrorist known as the Mandarin in order to provide a cover for his explosive Extremis side effects which continue to make the news as “suicide bombings.”
  • April 15th
    • S.H.I.E.L.D. continues research on Vanko’s “Whiplash” technology, the Tesseract, Samuel Sterns’ mutation, Jane Foster’s Nine Realms theory, and manage to thaw out a recently recovered Steve Rogers. The Darkhold also comes to their attention.
  • April 22nd
    • The Fifth Street Locos shoot up Eli Morrow’s car, which Robbie and Gabe Reyes had recently stolen. The car flips and Robbie is killed while Gabe is paralyzed. The Ghost Rider appears and saves Gabe’s life as well as Robbie’s, though the later is transformed into the new Ghost Rider.
  • May 1st
    • Loki, aided by Thanos and The Other, uses the Tesseract energy to teleport him to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Joint Dark Energy Mission Facility where he steals the Tesseract and controls the minds of Selvig and Hawkeye. Heimdall alerts Thor and Odin of Loki’s arrival on Earth.
    • Meanwhile, Romanoff is undercover and interrogating weapons-dealer Georgi Luchkov; her mission is cut short by a call from Coulson, telling her Hawkeye’s been compromised.
  • May 3rd
    • Thor arrives back on Earth thanks to Odin’s use of dark energy to transport him. He has a brief skirmish with Iron Man and Captain America that ends with the agreement to take Loki into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody.
  • May 4th
    • mcu-timeline-explained

      Loki manages to escape captivity aboard a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier when his mind-controlled agents take it over and the Hulk goes on a rampage. Phil Coulson is killed in the process.

    • The Battle proceeds to New York where Loki opens a wormhole to allow the invading Chitauri army to swarm into the city. The Avengers unite, defeat Loki, and manage to prevent a missile from wiping out New York City. The invasion is ended and the Tesseract is reclaimed; Thor takes it to Asgard for safe keeping.
    • Many media outlets and private citizens record video of the invasion that show off both the heroic and destructive effects of the battle, in which the mother of Audrey Eastman and the mother of Ellen Nadeer and Vijay Nadeer died.
  • May 6th
    • The cleanup from the Battle of New York begins. Citizens begin to gather bits and pieces of the alien tech, taking it either as trophies or for other purposes. To prevent this, Tony Stark and the federal government reformed the U.S. Department of Damage Control, Spider-Man: Homecoming spoiler: which puts private salvage contractors like Adrian Toomes out of business. Toomes, however, takes this opportunity to pilfer more alien technology and put it to criminal purposes.
  • May 9th
    • Phil Coulson is resurrected at the Guest House, though the painful process has the agent begging the surgeons to let him die and necessitating the implantation of false memories, like Tahiti.
  • July 10th
    • Scott Lang is fired from Vistacorp for fixing what he believed was a code error that was illegally overcharging customers.
  • July 12th
    • Lang then breaks into Vistacorp Headquarters to return $4 million of the ill-gotten money to customers. He also breaks into his former boss’ mansion to steal his possessions and drive his car into the pool.
  • mcu-timeline-explained

    July 13th

    • Lang is arrested and sentenced to five years in San Quentin.
  • August 19th
    • A fourth “Mandarin bombing” occurs.
  • December 18th
    • The fifth “Mandarin bombing” occurs. Tony Stark tests his Mark XLII armor as his Iron Legion project causes friction between him and Pepper.
  • December 19th
    • The Mandarin bombs both Ali Al Salem Air Base and the TCL Chinese Theater, which explodes when Jack Taggert succumbs to Extremis’ effects. Happy Hogan is caught in the blast but survives.
  • December 22nd
    • Stark’s mansion is destroyed by the Mandarin.
  • December 25th
    • After discovering Killian’s plan, Stark and his Iron Legion save an Extremis-infected Pepper Potts (who didn’t need much saving after all) while Rhodes rescues the kidnapped President.
  • December 27th
    • Pepper’s Extremis effects are neutralized while Stark has the last of the shrapnel near his heart surgically removed, throwing the old, obsolete Arc Reactor into the sea. Stark has the Iron Legion destroyed.

Screen Junkies Controversy

Image result for andy signore

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write about this, but I decided that the issue was too important to ignore.

Andy Signore, the creator of Honest Trailers and one of the driving forces behind Screen Junkies, has been suspended by Screen Junkies’ parent company Defy Media this past Friday for reported sexual harassment.  Several women have come forward over the last few days claiming that Signore harassed them, which included one woman who claimed that Sigmore tried to sexually assault her.

April Dawn claimed on Twitter that Signore attempted to sexually assault her and tried to keep her quiet by threatening to fire her boyfriend, Screen Junkies’ employee Josh Tapia (known as JTE).

In a statement, Defy Media said: “We at Defy Media have no tolerance for harassment or retaliation of any kind. We have been conducting a thorough investigation into allegations made against Andy Signore and are preparing to respond to those allegations and take appropriate action. Given the additional statements that were made [Friday], we feel it is necessary to suspend Andy’s employment while we continue our investigation. We will take all necessary action once the investigation is fully complete.”

This was a difficult story to hear.  I am a fan of Screen Junkies and their content.  I have been watching Movie Fights for over two years now, and I was a subscriber to their attempted streaming service.  I have followed them to YouTube after that service ended. Andy Signore was the judge on the Movie Fights show and that is how I was introduced to him, before I knew of his power behind the scenes.  I did not always agree with Signore in his judgment on the show, but I always respected his opinions.

Then this news broke.

Reading tweets from other employees of Screen Junkies was heartbreaking.  Dan Murrell, Roth Cornet , Lon Harris, Billy “Business” Patterson, Spencer Gilbert, and Joe Starr all had tweets that reflected their shock and disgust over the allegations.  Some of them went as far as saying they would not return to work until something was done.  We also saw tweets from Screen Junkies guests such as Scott Mantz, Roger Barr, Steven Rocha, Josh Macuga weighed in with their thoughts.

I had missed the Movie Fights show Thursday night and I watched it today.  It featured Andy as a judge with Murrell on the panel against JTE.  It was surreal.  Watching the show, I couldn’t help but think about how this was recorded live the night before the story broke on Friday and how awkward some of this must have been.  Plus, it is very possible that this was the final Movie Fights appearance for Signore.

What does all of this mean for Screen Junkies?  I have enjoyed their work for many years now, but how will this affect them?  I hope the channel can survive this controversy.

However, there is no room in the world for this type of behavior.  You are innocent until proven guilty, but it sounds as if the evidence is pretty damning.  No woman should be trivialized or assaulted, physically or verbally, by a man under any circumstances, though someone using their position of power to lord over them is even worse.

I want to state that I respect these women for their bravery and their honesty coming forward to tell their stories.  Too many times in our society, the victims are seen as the villains and are criticized or attacked.  That is unfair, but it is a sad truth of the world we live in.  These women have been supported by many, including Dan Murrell, who wrote on Twitter that “I hear you and I believe you.”

I can’t imagine what these men and women are feeling.  It is a tough situation.  We, as fans, feel like we know these people whom we watch and connect.  This is a reminder that these people are still truly strangers to us, no matter how much we feel like we know them.  It is impossible to know them fully from just their on-screen persona.

To anyone who feels as if they are being victimized, don’t take it.  Speak up.  Come forward.  It is the only way it can get better.

As for the Screen Junkies, I will continue to support your work because I am not going to hold Andy Signore’s alleged impropriety against you.  That would not be fair.

I love live tweeting during Movie Fights Live or TV Fights Live and one of my favorite things is when either Dan Murrell or Billy Business reads one of my tweets from the Embrace Your Geekness account.  I hope that this new does not finish that enjoyment, but I am happy that these women may get their justice as well.

 

 

Site News

Just wanted to touch on some things…

EYGHoF

Most importantly, the ballot for the 2017 EYG Hall of Fame is up and active on the front page of the website.  We have a good list of potential HoF inductees again this year with people like Steve Irwin,  Stephen King, Josh Gates, and Billy Nye, characters such as King Kong, The Joker, Dick Tracy, Iron Man, C3PO/R2D2, BB-8, and Frankenstein’s Monster, movies and TV shows including The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Wizard of Oz, Game of Thrones, The Six Million Dollar Man, Jeopardy and SNL, and other various items including the flux capacitor (from Back to the Future), Starlog Magazine, Mad Magazine, ghosts, Barbie, NASA, the Rubik’s Cube and YouTube.  Your votes do count and you may vote as many times as you would like until the poll ends on September 19th (Talk Like A Pirate Day).  I only ask that you vote responsibly. Do not just sit and vote over and over again to unbalance the poll.  You want to vote multiple times…please do so.  Just keep it in mind to be reasonable.

I am trying to continue to write the “classic” reviews but I do not want to just do reviews of all my favorite former films.  That was why I did Batman and Robin.  I want to try and space out those all-time greats (Princess Bride, Raiders, Star Wars, etc) so it doesn’t just look like the best of the best.  Any suggestions?  Next week, Bonnie and Clyde will be shown at Cinemark and I might make my way to see and review that one.  The Princess Bride is going to be shown in October at Cinemark, so I will probably hold off with that film until then.  If you haven’t guessed, The Princess Bride is my favorite film of all time.

I’m hoping to get to Detroit either tomorrow or early next week.  School will be starting up again very soon, so the time available is going to shorten.  I have a lot of curriculum to get ready for school as well.

I am so excited for It in September.  I hope that I am not disappointed in the film.  The trailers have looked just tremendous.  It is right near the top of my most anticipated remaining films of the year.  I would say that Thor: Ragnarok is number one right now and It is probably number two.  Others include Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Justice League, Annabelle: Creation, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, The Battle of the Sexes, Blade Runner 2049,.

I am not looking forward to Flatliners.  That reboot just looks dumb and unnecessary.  Maybe I am wrong.

I love the Gong Show.  It’s just surreal fun with some of the silliest to stupidest things you’ll ever see on TV.  Last year, I loved ABC’s reboot of the Match Game and this year, The Gong Show.

I am a Dodger fan and as of my writing today, they have won 43 of their last 50 games.  That is just insane.  I also just about peed myself when they made the big deal at the trading deadline and brought in Yu Darvish.  It was like the head office is all-in as well.  The Dodgers have not won the World Series since 1988, the year of Orel Hershsier and Kirk Gibson’s home run.  I will never forget that home run moment.  One of the greatest baseball moments in my life.

Okay, that will do it.  Remember, cast those votes for the EYG Hall of Fame.  Every vote matters.

2017 Emmy Nominations

Drama Series
“Better Call Saul” (AMC)
“The Crown” (Netflix)
“The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)
“House of Cards” (Netflix)
“Stranger Things” (Netflix)
“This Is Us” (NBC)
“Westworld” (HBO)

Comedy Series
“Atlanta” (FX)
“Black-ish” (ABC)
“Master of None” (Netflix)
“Modern Family” (ABC)
“Silicon Valley” (HBO)
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (Netflix)
“Veep” (HBO)

Drama Actress
Viola Davis (“How to Get Away with Murder”)
Claire Foy (“The Crown”)
Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Keri Russell (“The Americans”)
Evan Rachel Wood (“Westworld”)
Robin Wright (“House of Cards”)

Drama Actor
Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”)
Anthony Hopkins (“Westworld”)
Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”)
Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”)
Liev Schreiber (“Ray Donovan”)
Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”)
Milo Ventimiglia (“This Is Us”)

Comedy Actor
Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”)
Aziz Ansari (“Master of None”)
Zach Galifianakis (“Baskets”)
Donald Glover (“Atlanta”)
William H. Macy (“Shameless”)
Jeffrey Tambor (“Transparent”)

Comedy Actress
Pamela Adlon (“Better Things”)
Tracee Ellis-Ross (“black-ish”)
Jane Fonda (“Grace and Frankie”)
Lily Tomlin (“Grace and Frankie”)
Allison Janney (“Mom”)
Ellie Kemper (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”)

Limited Series
“Big Little Lies” (HBO)
“Fargo” (FX)
“Feud: Bette and Joan” (FX)
“The Night Of” (HBO)
“Genius” (National Geographic)

Limited Series Actor
Riz Ahmed (“The Night Of”)
Benedict Cumberbatch (“Sherlock: The Lying Detective”)
Robert De Niro (“The Wizard of Lies”)
Ewan McGregor (“Fargo”)
Geoffrey Rush (“Genius”)
John Turturro (“The Night Of”)

Limited Series Actress
Carrie Coon (“Fargo”)
Felicity Huffman (“American Crime”)
Nicole Kidman (“Big Little Lies”)
Jessica Lange (“Feud”)
Susan Sarandon (“Feud”)
Reese Witherspoon (“Big Little Lies”)

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
John Lithgow (“The Crown”)
Jonathan Banks (“Better Call Saul”)
Mandy Patinkin (“Homeland”)
Michael Kelly (“House of Cards”)
David Harbour (“Stranger Things”)
Ron Cephas Jones (“This Is Us”)
Jeffrey Wright (“Westworld”)

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Ann Dowde (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Samira Wiley (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Uzo Aduba (“Orange Is the New Black”)
Millie Bobby Brown (“Stranger Things”)
Chrissy Metz (“This Is Us”)
Thandie Newton (“Westworld”)

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin (“Saturday Night Live”)
Louie Anderson (“Baskets”)
Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”)
Tituss Burgess (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”)
Tony Hale (“Veep”)
Matt Walsh (“Veep”)

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Kate McKinnon (“Saturday Night Live”)
Vanessa Beyer (“Saturday Night Live”)
Leslie Jones (“Saturday Night Live”)
Anna Chlumsky (“Veep”)
Judith Light (“Transparent”)
Katheryn Hahn (“Transparent”)

Variety Talk Series
“Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” (TBS)
“Jimmy Kimmel Live!” (ABC)
“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” (HBO)
“Late Late Show With James Corden” (CBS)
“Real Time With Bill Maher” (HBO)

Reality Competition
“The Amazing Race” (CBS)
“American Ninja Warrior” (NBC)
“Project Runway” (Lifetime)
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” (vh1)
“Top Chef” (Bravo)
“The Voice” (NBC)

Television Movie
“Black Mirror: San Junipero”
“Dolly Parton’s Christmas Of Many Colors: Circle Of Love”
“The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks”
“Sherlock: The Lying Detective (Masterpiece)”
“The Wizard Of Lies”

Variety Sketch Series
“Billy On The Street” (truTV)
“Documentary Now!” (IFC)
“Drunk History” (Comedy Central)
“Portlandia” (IFC)
“Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
“Tracey Ullman’s Show” (HBO)

Structured Reality Program
“Antiques Roadshow” (PBS)
“Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” (Food Network)
“Fixer Upper” (HGTV)
“Lip Sync Battle” (Spike TV)
“Shark Tank” (ABC)
“Who Do You Think You Are” (TLC)

Unstructured Reality Program
“Born This Way” (A&E)
“Deadliest Catch” (Discovery Channel)
“Gaycation With Ellen Page” (Viceland)
“Intervention” (A&E)
“RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked” (YouTube)
“United Shades Of America: With W. Kamau Bell” (CNN)

Host for a Reality/Reality-Competition Program
Alec Baldwin (“Match Game”)
W. Kamau Bell (“United Shades Of America With W. Kamau Bell)
RuPaul Charles (“RuPaul’s Drag Race)
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn (“Project Runway)
Gordon Ramsay (“MasterChef Junior)
Martha Stewart & Snoop Dogg (“Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party”)

Directing for a Comedy Series
Donald Glover (“Atlanta”)
Jamie Babbit (“Silicon Valley”)
Morgan Sackett (“Veep”)
David Mandel (“Veep”)
Dale Stern (“Veep”)

Directing for a Drama Series
Vince Gilligan (“Better Call Saul”)
Stephen Daldry (“The Crown”)
Reed Morano (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Kate Dennis (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Lesli Linka Glatter (“Homeland”)
The Duffer Brothers (“Stranger Things”)
Jonathan Nolan (“Westworld”)

Directing for a Variety Series
Derek Waters & Jeremy Konner (“Drunk History”)
Andy Fisher (Jimmy Kimmel Live”)
Paul Pennolino (“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”)
Jim Hoskinson (“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”)
Don Roy King (“Saturday Night Live”)

Directing for a Variety Special 
Paul Pennolino (“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee Presents Not The White House Correspondents’ Dinner”)
Glenn Weiss (“The Oscars”)
Jim Hiskinson (“Stephen Colbert’s Live Election Night Democracy’s Series Finale: Who’s Going to Clean Up This S—?”)
Jerry Foley (“Tony Bennett Celebrates 90: The Best is Yet to Come”)

Directing for a Nonfiction Program
Alexis Bloom & Fisher Stevens (“Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds”)
Ezra Edelman (“O.J.: Made in America”)
Fredi Devas (“Planet Earth II”)
Elizabeth White (“Planet Earth II”)
Ava DuVernay (“13th”)

Writing for a Comedy Series
Donald Glover (“Atlanta”)
Stephen Glover (“Atlanta”)
Aziz Ansari & Lena Waithe (“Master of None”)
Alec Berg (“Silicon Valley”)
Billy Kimball (“Veep”)
David Mandel (“Veep”)

Writing for a Drama Series
Joe Weisberg & Joel Fields (“The Americans”)
Gordon Smith (“Better Call Saul”)
Peter Morgan (“The Crown”)
Bruce Miller (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
The Duffer Brothers (“Stranger Things”)
Lisa Joy & Jonathan Nolan (“Westworld”)

Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Drama
David E. Kelley (“Big Little Lies”)
Charlie Brooker (“Black Mirror: San Junipero”)
Noah Hawley (“Fargo”)
Ryan Murphy (“Feud: Bette and Joan”)
Jaffe Cohen, Michael, Michael Zam & Ryan Murphy (“Feud: Bette and Joan”)
Richard Price & Steven Zaillian (“The Night Of”)

Writing for a Variety Series 
“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” (TBS)
“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (HBO)
“Late Night with Seth Meyers” (NBC)
“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” (CBS)
“Saturday Night Live” (NBC)

Writing for a Variety Special
“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee Presents Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner” (TBS)
“Louis C.K. 2017” (Netflix)
“Sarah Silverman: A Speck of Dust” (Netflix)
“Stephen Colbert’s Live Election Night Democracy’s Series Finale: Who’s Going to Clean Up This S—?” (Showtime)
“70th Annual Tony Awards” (CBS)

Writing for a Nonfiction Program
Brian McGinn (“Amanda Knox”)
Anthony Bourdain (“Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown”)
Mark Monroe (“The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years”)
Prashanth Venkataramanujam, CeCe Pleasants, Sanden Totten, Mike Drucker & Flora Lichtman (“Bill Nye Saves the World”)
Ava DuVernay & Spencer Averick (“13th”)

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