The Outlaw and his Journey that Changed the Movie Trivia Schmoedown

Outlaw

If you are not a Patreon for the Movie Trivia Schmoedown, you should immediately join up because you receive content like this documentary (as well as a ton of other awesome material).

SPOILER-FREE

Image result for The Outlaw John Rocha"John Rocha, known in the Movie Trivia Schmoedown as The Outlaw, is not only one of the greatest players in the history of the Schmoedown, but also one of the most impactful and influential performers to ever play the game.  So there are very few who deserve a documentary about their time int he Schmoedown more than John.

Personally, John Rocha is one of my favorite competitors.  He was one of the first to really embrace the character in the trivia contest.  It was not just answering the questions.  It was the promos, the character work, the intensity, the heel mannerisms of The Outlaw.  He is one of the most inspirational forces in the league and this new documentary, dropped on Patreon on Friday, January 31st for $10 tier and above members, does a remarkable job showing just how important John Rocha was to the evolution of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown.

I am not going to spoil anything about the documentary because I want everyone to see it on their own (join up at patreon.com/schmoedown).  Kristian Harloff, chairman of the Schmoedown, has said that he plans on keeping this documentary as a Patreon exclusive.  I know that I was very happy to have been one to see it today.

Image result for The Outlaw John Rocha"The documentary features all of the big names of the Schmoedown giving their honest thoughts and backstage impressions of John Rocha.  Such notable competitors as Ben Bateman, Dan Murrell, Samm Levine, Rachel Cushing, William Bibbiani, Kevin Smets, Mike Kalinowski… just to name a few talked about Rocha both in front of the camera and backstage and how he drove himself to become someone who would be found on the Mount Rushmore of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown.

The documentary did not shy away from some of the controversial moments of Rocha’s Schmoedown career either and the section on these moments where John faltered was one of the most inspirational parts of the doc.  I will say that, for a moment, I was worried that they were just going to brush past that without going into depth on the rochatopic, which would have felt as if there was a hole in the narrative.  However, they did these moments justice and, by looking at them, show how much perseverance John Rocha has.

Congratulations to everyone at the Schmoedown Entertainment Network (SEN) for this documentary.  It was 51 minutes long, directed by Eric Rodriguez, aka NerdChronic, and it was a wonderful analysis about a beloved figure in the show’s history, a man whose Schmoedown career helped to shape what the Schmoedown has become over the last four or five years.  Heel, face or tweener, John Rocha, ups and downs, never failed to be real or genuine.  It is why the audience of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown has gravitated toward John Rocha.  The Outlaw has gravitas.

 

MINOR SPOILERThe only thing I would have like to have had was some comments from John’s long time partner Matt Knost, from Top 10.  That felt as if it were the only thing missing here.  

Outlaw

The G.O.A.T- Schmoedown Season 7

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SPOILERS FOR MOVIE TRIVIA SCHMOEDOWN LIVE EVENT IN NEW YORK

Last night, the Movie Trivia Schmoedown kicked off their seventh season with a live show in New York with a pair of matches.  Drew Ghai defeated Robert Meyer Burnett in the undercard and, in the main event, there was a triple threat match with William “The Beast” Bibbiani vs. “The Kid” Brendan Meyer vs. “Dangerous” Dan Murrell.

Murrell1The greatest of all time (aka The Goat) Dan Murrell won what is arguably one of the greatest triple threat matches of all time, 27 points to 26 points (The Kid) to 25 points (Bibbs).

There is something truly special about Dan Murrell.  He is my personal favorite Schmoedown competitor among a group of wonderfully entertaining people, but it is more than my own like or dislike.  He exudes respect.  He is as honorable of a man as you are going to find.

MovieFightsI was introduced to Dan Murrell on Screen Junkies’ Movie Fights Live program.  This debate show took movie topics and the competitors would argue their choices for the topic.  Dan Murrell was the fact checker on the side couch.  He would keep the debates in control, filling in information for the audience.  Covering the social media as well, I would love every time that Dan Murrell would give me a shout out from my Tweet about the show.  He also would step in to fight some weeks and he became the Movie Fights Live Champion because of his intelligent, cohesive and complete arguments.

It is about this time when the Schmoedown started its expansion and the first match they promoted was Dan Murrell vs. John Campea.  They promoted this intriguing match as AMC vs. Screen Junkies and they did them with a series of trash talking videos, first from John Campea, and then by Dan Murrell.  I remember being very excited to watch this match, with my allegiances solidly with Dan.

Murrell dominated that match-up and he started his first run in the Schmoedown, becoming the Movie Trivia Schmoedown Champion.  Through some great rivalries with “The Outlaw” John Rocha and Mark Reilly, Murrell cemented himself as a champion.  He eventually stepped aside, going into a retirement that we all hoped would not be permanent.

Thankfully, it was not.

5horsemenMurrell was re-introduced as a new member of the Five Horsemen, along with former rivals Rocha and Reilly.  After a major shock of losing to Andrew Ghai, it seemed as if Dan might have had the Schmoedown pass him by.  However, he did not just step away again never to be seen again.  Instead, he began to figure out what it took to compete in the new world of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown.  It would not be wrong to say that Ghai’s heel antics disturbed and bothered Dan, and he had to figure a way to change the way he played the game.

ghaiwinsghaiwinsDan Murrell is always up for a challenge.

There were ups and downs in the next few months, but he found his footing and Dan defeated the seemingly unbeatable Edwin Erwin at the New York live event last year, scoring a perfect game.

Last year was hugely successful for Dan Murrell as he defended that title once, won the Free-4 -All, won the team titles with John Rocha and ended the year announcing a new challenge:  entering the Innergeekdom division of the Schmoedown.

However, fate entered the orbit of that man referred to as The GOAT.  Season 7 was scheduled to start with another live event in New York featuring the Innergeekdom championship on the line as champion Kevin “The Smasher” Smets defended against Dan’s lady love, Mara Knopic.  Unfortunately, health issues for Mara forced that match to be delayed.  Schmoedown Chairman Kristian Harloff approached Murrell to headline the event in a triple threat match.

finstockExchangeEven though it meant he had to delay his entry into Innergeekdom, Murrell accepted the challenge.  The winner of the match would be the number one contender for the Movie Trivia Schmoedown Championship and would receive a championship match in Atlanta on February 29th vs. current champ Ben “The Boss” Bateman, who happened to be a member of the Finstock Exchange along with Dan.

The level of play in this triple threat match was remarkably high, with each competitor only missing one question each.  Dan and The Kid missed theirs in the first round and William Bibbiani missed his in the second round.  The problem for Bibbs was that the question he missed could be stolen by his opponents.  Both Dan and the Kid got that steal and earned an extra two points.

That was the complete swing of the match.  Bibbiani had a perfect round one and was ahead 9-7-7 going into round two, but that steal gave Murrell the lead and put the entire game into his own hands.  All he had to do was answer his three questions in round three correctly and there would be nothing that Shazam (Bibbiani and The Kid’s team name) could do about it.

Not that there was not controversy and awkwardness in the match.  There was a series of challenges made that took away from the momentum of the match, but, many times, the strategy of the challenge is used as a way to change momentum, not for actually questioning the validity of a question.  Bateman is the current master of this strategy, something he criticized Bibbiani for on an episode of SEN Backstage.

challengeYou can see Dan get frustrated every time a challenge was made.  It made me think of the old days on Movie Fights when Angry Dan would come out and would blast whoever needed blasting with an epic rant.  But as the mind games were playing out around the stage, Dan did not let it get to him.  I kept saying to my screen, just answer your questions, Dan (not that he could hear me, but it was my way of supporting him).

There was one challenge in particular, coming from Bibbs, who I love by the way, about Dan’s answer for the actor who played the owner in Jurassic Park.  Dan answered Sir Richard Attenborough and Bibbs challenged that it should have been “Lord” Richard Attenborough instead.  This was the one time in the match that the crowd turned on Bibbs, but I believe he was being honest in his challenge.  However, there is no doubt that it was meant to try and shake Dan as well.  The challenge was denied and Dan got the points.  Interestingly enough, Dan turned out to be right, as Attenborough had not received the title “Lord” until about a month after Jurassic Park was released.

winnerDan weathered all the ridiculousness of the challenges without letting it knock him off his track and, coming down to his final 5 point question, if he answered it correctly, he would win.  It came in the dastardly category of Movie Quotes, one category that typically could be very difficult.  Not this time as Dan knew the answer and wound up winning the match.

In the post match interview, Bibbiani was asked if Dan Murrell was his Kryptonite. He responded that if that were so, it would only affect him, but Dan Murrell affects everyone. He compared Dan to a deadly weapon that should be registered with the government and only be used in self-defense, not against good, nice people like the Mouthy Mercs.  Then he turned, pointed to the Kid and said, “How could you Dan Murrell this?”

Dan always carries himself with such dignity and he clearly respects everybody involved in everything that he does, it is almost impossible not to root for the man.  He is the ultimate “face” character.  Actually, he is not a character.  “Dangerous” Dan Murrell is simply who he is.  A deeply competitive man who carries himself with class as every competitor, in whatever competition you are involved in, should.

The match next month: Ben Bateman vs. Dan Murrell for the Movie Trivia Schmoedown Singles Championship could be one of the best of all-time.  Dan has a chance to become a four-time Singles Champion and be double-belted. There is something about a live crowd that brings the best out of the GOAT.  He is currently undefeated at live shows.

It is as if every year, the GOAT adds to the list of accomplishments that only solidifies him as the greatest of all-time.  And that is not just movie trivia.

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Oscar Nominations 2020

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BEST PICTURE

“Ford v Ferrari”
“The Irishman”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Joker”
“Little Women”
“Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”
“Marriage Story”
“Parasite”
“1917”

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Kathy Bates, “Richard Jewell”
Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”
Scarlett Johansson, “Jojo Rabbit”
Florence Pugh, “Little Women”
Margot Robbie, “Bombshell”

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Tom Hanks, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”
Anthony Hopkins, “The Two Popes”
Al Pacino, “The Irishman”
Joe Pesci, “The Irishman”
Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

South Korea, “Parasite”
Spain, “Pain and Glory”
France, “Les Misérables”
North Macedonia, “Honeyland”
Poland, “Corpus Christi”

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT)

“In the Absence”
“Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)”
“Life Overtakes Me”
“St. Louis Superman”
“Walk Run Cha-Cha”

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

“American Factory”
“The Edge of Democracy”
“Honeyland”
“For Sama”
“The Cave”

ORIGINAL SONG

“I’m Standing With You,” “Breakthrough”
“Into the Unknown,” “Frozen II”
“Stand Up,” “Harriet”
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” “Rocketman”
“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” “Toy Story 4”

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”
“I Lost My Body”
“Klaus”
“Missing Link”
“Toy Story 4”

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

“The Irishman”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Little Women”
“The Two Popes”
“Joker”

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

“Marriage Story”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“Parasite”
“Knives Out”
“1917”

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”
Adam Driver, “Marriage Story”
Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”
Jonathan Pryce, “The Two Popes”

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Cynthia Erivo, “Harriet”
Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story”
Saoirse Ronan, “Little Women”
Renée Zellweger, “Judy”
Charlize Theron, “Bombshell”

DIRECTOR

Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman”
Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Bong Joon-ho, “Parasite”
Sam Mendes, “1917”
Todd Phillips, “Joker”

PRODUCTION DESIGN

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“The Irishman”
“1917”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Parasite”

CINEMATOGRAPHY

“1917”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“The Irishman”
“Joker”
“The Lighthouse”

COSTUME DESIGN

“Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”
“Little Women”
“The Irishman”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Joker”

SOUND EDITING

“1917”
“Ford v Ferrari”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
“Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”
“Joker”

SOUND MIXING

“1917”
“Ford v Ferrari”
“Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”
“Ad Astra”
“Joker”

ANIMATED SHORT FILM

“Dcera (Daughter)”
“Hair Love”
“Kitbull”
“Memorable”
“Sister”

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

“Brotherhood”
“Nefta Football Club”
“The Neighbors’ Window”
“Saria”
“A Sister”

ORIGINAL SCORE

“1917,” Thomas Newman
“Joker,” Hildur Guðnadóttir
“Little Women,” Alexandre Desplat
“Marriage Story,” Randy Newman
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” John Williams

VISUAL EFFECTS

“Avengers: Endgame”
“The Lion King”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
“The Irishman”
“1917”

FILM EDITING

“The Irishman”
“Ford v Ferrari”
“Parasite”
“Joker”
“Jojo Rabbit”

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

“Bombshell”
“Joker”
“Judy”
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”
“1917”

2019 EYG Hall of Fame Ballot

https://embraceyourgeeknesseyg.com/

EYGHoF

It is that time again everyone.  It is time to vote for the 2019 EYG Hall of Fame.  Yes, I know there have been a lot of inductees this year, but this is the official poll where YOU can add your voice.

You may vote as many times as you would like.  You may vote for as many nominees as you think is deserving.  Please, though, be reasonable with your votes.  Don’t just sit in front of the poll and vote over and over again.  Vote today, then come back later and vote again, but keep it in balance, please.

Here are the 2019 nominees

Pepsi-Cola.  Coke was inducted last year.  This year is Pepsi’s first chance.

Wakanda.  The fictional country of Black Panther.

Mel Brooks.  Movie director and producer.  Movies such as Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein and Spaceballs.

Lucasfilm.  The company that created Star Wars, among others.

Thor.  From Marvel Comics, the character of the Norse God of Thunder.

Avengers: Infinity War.  The first part of the closing of the Infinity Saga from Marvel Studios

Avengers: Endgame.  The top movie of all time in money, without adjusting for inflation.

Tom Holland.  Newest actor and arguably the best to play live action Spider-man.

vibranium.  Fictional metal from Wakanda.  Is what Cap’s shield is made out of.

NASA.  The organization involved in taking humans into space.

Mad Magazine.  Classic humor magazine currently being published by DC

Jurassic Park (movie).  Classic Spielberg film about dinosaurs on an island in present day.

Michael Jordan.  One of the greatest basketball players of all time.

Black Mirror.  The Netflix anthology series.

Jordan Peele.  Director of Us and Get Out.  Former partner in Key & Peele.

Fortnite.  Hugely popular online video game.

Hot Wheels.  One of the great toys of all time.  Cars, cars and more cars.

Popcorn.  Who doesn’t live popcorn?  Going to the movies?  Get some with butter.

Michael Burnham.  Fictional protagonist from Star Trek Discovery.

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog.  Online video short series from mind of Joss Whedon.

Letterkenny.  Canadian TV show that has since moved to Hulu.

Green Lantern.  DC super hero.  Hal Jordan gains a space ring of power to become GL.

The Goonies.  Movie form the 80s about group of kids looking for pirate treasure.

Monopoly.  One of the classic board games from Hasbro.

 

There they are.

Interestingly enough, this year, the only returning nominee from previous ballots is vibranium, which was on last year’s ballot and failed to receive enough votes.  Every other nominee is a brand new nominee.

 

 

The Art of Online Trolling

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I have grown so tired of the garbage being spewed from some of the trolls online about Captain Marvel, Marvel Studio’s latest film that was released to the public Thursday night.  There has been a targeted campaign by many to attempt to damage this film because there is a perceived feminist agenda in it and it seems as if the specific web site has a bone to pick with Marvel Comics.

Cosmic Book News has been posting negative articles about Captain Marvel for weeks.  Every chance it had to post an article that could be seen as divisive, this web site did it.  Using out of context quotes from film star Brie Larson to stir up anti-feminist rhetoric and drawing the worst possible conclusions from minor news bits, Cosmic Book News has specialized in hyperbole to misrepresent the state of this film and the overall health of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Most of the time, you look at this ridiculousness and laugh it off, but the review that they posted on their site written by Matt McGloin does not even pretend to be unbiased.

Let me state immediately that everyone has the right to dislike this movie if they do so.  However, when you spend more time trying to bring down a woman because she is not the kind of woman you want her to be, then there is a problem.

There will be Captain Marvel spoilers contain within this post.  Be aware.

Let’s look at the review itself.  He starts the review off by saying that placing Captain Marvel as the face of the MCU is not a good thing.  That is an opinion and he is welcome to it.  Then he states the following:  “Overall, Captain Marvel comes off as a rather dull and lackluster movie, and joining Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok, it is another spit in the face of Marvel Cosmic fans.”

Huh?  This is such spin that it is silly.  How exactly does James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok “spit in the face” of fans of Marvel Cosmic?  These are universally beloved MCU films.  On Rotten Tomatoes, Guardians of the Galaxy has a 91% critic rating and a 92% fan rating while Thor: Ragnarok has 92% critic and 87% fan ratings.  How do they spit in the face of the fans?  Is it because there is too much humor?  That is the criticism these movies face among the minority of people, but that is completely subjective as well.

The next point made is to make a quick comparison to Disney’s Star Wars.  The hatred from these trolls feels like the same kind of hatred Rey received in the Disney Star Wars.  What does Rey and Carol Danvers have in common?  Hm, they are strong women who are not using their sexuality as part of their character.  These are the same people who were mad when Ms. Marvel changed from her revealing costume into her current uniform.  That caused a lot of backlash too because how dare Marvel try to be SJW and give some respect to their characters.

Then the biggest criticism of the film comes in his review.  Of course, it is the “feminist male-bashing elements” of the film.  He then lists these horrible elements of the story that crush the poor male ego.  Let’s look at them:

“Carol’s dad is mean to her.”

Are you kidding me?  Carol’s dad is shown for maybe 20 seconds in the entire movie and this is male bashing.  How many super heroes had a perfect upbringing?  Most of them had troubles and problems with their parents, whether they have been killed or are abusive.  The Runaways parents were super villains!  Bruce Banner was abused by his father.  Daredevil’s mother deserted him.  I could go on.

Carol’s baseball teammates are mean to her (tried to beam her).

Another scene that might have been five seconds.  And the scene wasn’t about males trying to hurt her.  It was about her standing up and continuing on despite the challenge.  Everybody who has played baseball has been knocked down or hit by a pitch.  It is part of the game and being able to step back into the box shows the perseverance of the human spirit that the movie was going for.

When Carol crashed into the Blockbuster, she blew the head off Arnold Schwarzenegger (a male) of the True Lies standee, not Jamie Lee Curtis (a female).

This is a joke.  It is more to emphasize the connection to the 1990s than it is for any sort of male bashing.

Carol is hit on and insulted by the motorcycle guy.

And something like that never happens.  I will admit that this scene was a bit cliche and if that was what he was criticizing, I would not have a problem with it.  However, to use it to say that the movie is male bashing is a stretch.  

What is wrong with calling a girl a young lady? Talos calls Maria a young lady a couple of times, which she gets mad about. Huh?

I do not remember this scene, but perhaps she is upset about the freakin’ alien being who had arrived and made an implied threat against her.  Monica also is the one to convince her mother to go on this mission to help the Skrulls and Monica wanted the Skrulls to stay with them at the end of the movie so any problem she may have had with Talos and his family seem to have been worked out.  However,that does not support Mr. McGloin’s theory so he does not mention it. 

Also what about Maria, a single parent, leaving her young daughter to go and fight in space? She actually listens when her 11-year-old daughter tells her to go do it? Seriously?

How is this male bashing?  There should be more parents who listen to their children’s thoughts and concerns.  The world would be a better place if they did.

Nick Fury is scanned by the Kree and told he is not a threat and is basically worthless. The Kree actually says “human male.” Note: The Kree didn’t scan Maria Rambeau, a female, who was right next to him.

This was another joke.  You left out the part that just prior to the Kree scanning Fury, they scanned Goose the Cat and proclaimed him a high threat.  Had they really wanted to push the male bashing, wouldn’t they have scanned Maria and say that she was a threat when Fury was not?  This was a way to say that Flarkens were more dangerous than human beings.  So it is Human Bashing.  How dare they!!!  I am offended.

Update: Fury is shown washing dishes.

Really?  You’ve got to be sh_ting me.  Men can’t do dishes?  Why, cause that’s women’s work?  My guess is that Nick Fury had probably washed some dishes prior to this in his lifetime.  Not to mention that Captain Marvel was there with him washing the dishes too.  That part does not fit Mr. McGloin’s agenda so it is left out of the criticism.

The end sees Ronan (a male) state they are going to come back for that weapon. Emphasis on, “The Woman.”

Ronan was definitely not used well in this movie, but it could very well be setting him up for a sequel.  And him calling Carol “The Woman,” well, that did sound as if Ronan did look down at her because of her sex, but that is a character trait of Ronan.  He looked down on both Nebula and Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy so…oh, I forgot… that film was a spit in the face of the Marvel Cosmic fans.

Then, Mr. McGloin criticized Brie Larson for having no charisma.  While I do not agree with him on this, at least that is a critique that is not simply about the sex of the character and he has a right to make this criticism.  However, he then continued on to say that the fact that she barely smiled (which she did many times in the movie) made her look miserable.  Are you critical of Batman for never smiling?  How about Wolverine?  Does she have to smile because she is a woman and you want her to look more attractive?  That is pretty sexist.

Then he complains about making Mar-Vell female.  Annette Bening, who plays Mar-Vell in the film, is a magnificent actor and works fine in the role.  This Mar-Vell is different from the comic book character and, I am sorry, but when you adapt something for the movie screen, some things get changed.  I personally thought it was a neat switch to make Annette Bening Mar-Vell as I thought, as I am sure everyone thought, it was going to be Jude Law.

To be fair, the remainder of his review were ideas that, while I disagreed with, were reasonable criticisms and not just pulling the tiniest of facts and reshaping them to try and fit his agenda.  He does accuse the songs chosen of pushing an obvious agenda, and if anyone knows anything about pushing an agenda, it is Mr. McGloin.

He finished his review with a line stating that the MCU has one foot in the grave.  Really?  I mean, really?  Captain Marvel is heading toward a big opening weekend after making over 20 million on its Thursday night previews.  Avengers: Endgame has just been reported to be tracking around $282 million for opening weekend. It could go down $20 million and still set the all-time record for domestic opening weekend.  The MCU just received their first Oscars thanks to Black Panther.  The MCU is preparing to get back the Fantastic Four and the X-Men characters.  I do believe that they are a long way from having one foot in the grave.

I wonder if he intends to continue his barrage of negative articles into Avengers: Endgame.  The big criticism people have had is that Brie Larson said this movie is intended to be a feminist film.  SO what?  Carol Danvers is a powerful female character.  There is nothing wrong with making a movie that empowers a woman to be a hero.  Is she too powerful?  Maybe.  If you do not complain about Superman being too powerful, then you are a hypocrite for complaining about Carol.  I disagree wholeheartedly that this movie bashes males.  I am a proud male and I did not feel undervalued even once while watching the movie.  Some people are threatened with women and will not get over it.  I don’t know Mr. McGloin so I cannot comment on anything but his writing.  From that, it sure seems that he is trying to whip up the hatred for this film because of his own agenda.  That’s too bad.

I loved this movie.  I made up my own mind.  See Captain Marvel and make your own decisions.

 

EYG 2019 Oscar Predictions

Best Picture

BlacKkKlansman                                           

Black Panther       

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourite

Green Book

Roma

A Star Is Born

Vice

 

I am going with Black Panther as the surprise upset.  I really want Marvel Studios to win this award. At one point, I did not think it had a chance, but now I actually have a gut feeling.  My second pick is Roma.  

 

Best Director

Alfonso Cuarón – Roma

Spike Lee – BlacKkKlansman

Pawel Pawlikowski – Cold War

Yorgos Lanthimos – The Favourite

Adam McKay – Vice

Alfonso Cuarón wins this.  The Roma film is directed like crazy.  My second choice would be Spike Lee.

Best Actress                                                                                         

Yalitza Aparicio – Roma

Glenn Close – The Wife

Olivia Colman – The Favourite

Lady Gaga – A Star Is Born

Melissa McCarthy – Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Glenn Close is a lock for The Wife.  The movie is not that great, but Glenn is fantastic.  My back up pick is Olivia Colman.

 

Best Actor

Christian Bale – Vice

Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born

Willen Dafoe – At Eternity’s Gate

Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody

Viggo Mortensen – Green Book

I am picking Rami Malek from Bohemian Rhapsody.  He was amazing as Freddie Mercury.  If Rami does not win, I would say it will be Christian Bale.

 

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams – Vice

Marina de Tavira – Roma

Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk

Emma Stone – The Favourite

Rachel Weisz – The Favourite

Regina King is winning this one, for sure.  I do not think any other supporting actress has a chance.

 

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali – Green Book

Adam Driver – BlacKkKlansman

Sam Elliott – A Star Is Born

Richard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Sam Rockwell – Vice

Mahershala Ali wins his second consecutive best supporting actor award.  Richard E. Grant is by back-up choice.

 

Best Animated Feature

Incredibles 2

Isle of Dogs

Mirai

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

The only pick here is Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse.  Nothing else is acceptable.

 

 

Best Original Screenplay

The Favourite – Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara

First Reformed – Paul Schrader

Green Book – Nic Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly

Vice – Adam McKay

Roma – Alfonso Cuaron

This is a category that I am not sure about winning.  I will go with Vice as my back up pick. 

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

BlacKkKlansman – Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee

If Beale Street Could Talk – Barry Jenkins

Can You Ever Forgive Me? – Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty

A Star Is Born – Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper and Will Fetters

This is what I think goes to BlackKKlansman.  Back up pick is If Beale Street Could Talk.

Best Film Editing

BlacKkKlansman

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourite

Green Book

Vice

Film editing goes to Vice.  This is a wide open category.  I’ll give the back up pick being Bohemian Rhapsody.

Best Cinematography

Cold War

The Favourite

Never Look Away

Roma

A Star Is Born

Roma is a beautifully shot film. It wins here.

 

Best Original Score

Black Panther

BlacKkKlansman

If Beale Street Could Talk

Isle of Dogs

Mary Poppins Returns

The Black Panther score wins here.  

 

Best Original Song

“All the Stars” – Black Panther

“I’ll Fight” – RBG

“The Place Where Lost Things Go” – Mary Poppins Returns

“Shallow” – A Star Is Born

“When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

I would bet just about anything that Shallow wins this award.  Nothing comes even close.  As much of a lock as any award.

 

Best Production Design

Black Panther

The Favourite

First Man

Mary Poppins Returns

Roma

The sole win for First Man.

 

Best Costume Design                 

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Black Panther

The Favourite

Mary Poppins Returns

Mary Queen of Scots

I think Black Panther should win, but I am afraid that the Academy will give this to The Favourite.

 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Border

Mary Queen of Scots

Vice

Vice made Christian Bale look like Dick Cheney.  Easy winner here.  

 

Best Visual Effects

Avengers: Infinity War

Christopher Robin

First Man

Ready Player One

Solo: A Star Wars Story

This may be the official first Academy Award for Marvel Studios.  Avengers Infinity War’s Thanos is one of the best CGI character of all time.

 

Best Sound Editing

Black Panther

Bohemian Rhapsody

First Man

A Quiet Place

Roma

This is the only nom for A Quiet Place and it really deserves it.  

 

Best Sound Mixing

Black Panther

Bohemian Rhapsody

First Man

Roma

A Star Is Born

Live Aid.  Bohemian Rhapsody is this winner.  

 

Best Documentary Feature

Free Solo

Hale County, This Morning This Evening

Minding the Gap

Of Fathers and Sons

RBG

Where the HELL is Won’t You Be My Neighbor!!!!  Or even Three Identical Strangers!!!  ##$%^^&&**(((&^%$##.  Free Solo is okay and is gonna win.  I will cheer for RBG. 

 

Best Documentary Short Subject

Black Sheep

End Game

Lifeboat

A Night at the Garden

Period. End of Sentence.

Uh… did not see any of these.  I’ll pick End Game.  20% chance…

 

Best Foreign Language Film               

Capernaum – Lebanon

Cold War – Poland

Never Look Away – Germany

Roma – Mexico

Shoplifters – Japan

Duh.  Roma wins easily.

 

Best Short Film – Live Action

Detainment

Fauve

Marguerite

Mother

Skin

Detainment was really good.  Mother has a real chance.

 

Best Animated Short Film

Animal Behavior

Bao

Late Afternoon

One Small Step

Weekends

I do not like Bao, but it is winning this category because, you know, Pixar/Disney.  Not impressed by any of these.

Oscar Live Action and Animated Shorts 2019

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Had a chance to go see the Oscar nominated Shorts today at Cinemark.  They started with the live action shorts and finished with the animated.

After the live action shorts, I was looking to see if the concession stands sold any Zoloft.  To say that the live action shorts were a tad dark would be quite the underestimation.

However, I found the animation shorts quite underwhelming.  I found myself more engaged and emotionally moved by the live action ones.  Sure, I may never want to watch any of these ever again and I was considering self-medicating…. (just joking)… but the animation did not move me much at all.

Here are my choices in order from five to one.

Live Action Short.

#5.  Marguerite.  It is also most likely the least tragic of the five, which, since it falls at the bottom on my list, may speak more for me than it does for the film. The story the older lady whose body is slowly falling apart and who is being taken care of by a nurse is a heart wrenching story. The final shot of the characters was very sad.

#4.  Fauve.  This is the story of two boys who are out messing around when one of them causes the other one to get stuck in some kind of bog.  It is unclear if it were quicksand or wet cement (this was my original thought), but the second half really picked up the tension.  The beginning of the short confused me because I wasn’t sure if there was some kind of specialized setting going on with these two kids.   They were pretty annoying at the short’s beginning as well before the stakes kicked in.  Felix Grenier and Alexandre Perreault were the two actors and they were tremendous here.

#3.  Skin.  This film starred Georgie from It, Jackson Robert Scott, as the son of a skin head who, along with a group of his fellow skinheads, attacked an African American because he smiled at his son.  There were a couple of flaws that jumped out at me, which dropped this down the list.

#2.  Mother. The Spanish speaking short was the most controversial short of the five.  Another friend of mine saw it too and hated it, but I think I loved it for the same reasons why he hated it.  A mother gets a call from her six-year old son who has been left alone by his father on a beach somewhere in France (maybe?) and she desperately tries to save him before the child’s phone dies.  The anguish and building anxiety of what is going to happen to the boy was palatable through the short and Marta Nieto, who played the mother, was out of this world with her worry and slow descent into full fledged anxiety and panic.  The ending twist is even more horrific, and the uncertainty, which is what upset my friend, really highlighted the situation.  Although this could be divisive, the more I reflected on this short, the more exceptional I thought it was.

#1.  Detainment.  This is a true story of two Irish boys who murdered the littler child, James Bulger, in 1993.  These two young child actors, Ely Solan and Leon Hughes, were out of this world, one looking like a cold-blooded psychopath and one looking to be freaking out over everything but lying with each breath.  The story was desperately compelling and tragic and revealed each bit of the film as it went.  The shocking situation that occurred really did not have a reason and the film does not pretend to provide one.  These children both looked to be monsters.  Apparently the family of James Bulger was opposed to this short being filmed and are mad that it was nominated for an Oscar.  Despite this, I think this was the best of the shorts that I saw.

Oscars:

Should Win:  Detainment

Will Win:  Mother

I think the controversy behind the family of James Bulger may keep this from winning.  I do think it is the best of the shorts I saw today.

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Animation was not my favorite group of shorts this year.  I would not put any one of these five films ahead of the last of the live action shorts.

Animated Short:

#5.  Weekends.  I was bored during this film.  I was even dozing off during it.  Was not impressed at all.

#4.  Bao.  The Pixar short that lead Incredibles 2 was not a personal favorite of mine.  It was weird.  The woman whose dumpling comes to live and she raises it as a child.  Then to keep him from leaving, she eats him.  Now I know why that happened, but it did not mean that I had to like it.

#3.  Late Afternoon.  This is a story of an older woman who is flashing back to memories of her past and trying to remember them.  This might have been my favorite animation of the five.  It was beautifully drawn.  It was also a pretty sad show as the short really deals with the senility of age.

#2.  One Small Step.  I liked this short, the story of a young girl whose father is always there supporting her and fixing her shoes.  She wanted to be an astronaut and we see the struggles she faces as she grows and ages.

#1.  Animal Behavior.  This was the funniest of the shorts and was extremely clever as we saw a group of oddball animals together in a psychologist office having a support group.  It was very funny and clever.  The animation, however, was pretty average.

Oscars:

What Should Win: Animal Behavior

What Will Win:  Bao

Come on…it is Pixar.  I don’t love it, but the Academy does.

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Oscar Nominations 2019

 

Image result for oscars

The 91st Academy Awards will be telecast live on February 24, 2019 on ABC.

Best Picture

BlacKkKlansman

Black Panther                                      Image result for black panther

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourite

Green Book

Roma

A Star Is Born

Vice

Best Director

Alfonso Cuarón – Roma

Spike Lee – BlacKkKlansman

Pawel Pawlikowski – Cold War

Yorgos Lanthimos – The Favourite

Adam McKay – Vice

Best Actress                                                                                          Image result for lady gaga star is born

Yalitza Aparicio – Roma

Glenn Close – The Wife

Olivia Colman – The Favourite

Lady Gaga – A Star Is Born

Melissa McCarthy – Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Related imageBest Actor

Christian Bale – Vice

Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born

Willen Dafoe – At Eternity’s Gate

Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody

Viggo Mortensen – Green Book

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams – Vice

Marina de Tavira – Roma

Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk

Emma Stone – The Favourite

Rachel Weisz – The Favourite

Best Supporting ActorRelated image

Mahershala Ali – Green Book

Adam Driver – BlacKkKlansman

Sam Elliott – A Star Is Born

Richard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Sam Rockwell – Vice

Best Animated FeatureImage result for spiderman into the spider verse

Incredibles 2

Isle of Dogs

Mirai

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Best Original Screenplay

The Favourite – Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara

First Reformed – Paul Schrader

Green Book – Nic Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly

Vice – Adam McKay

Roma – Alfonso Cuaron

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

BlacKkKlansman – Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee

If Beale Street Could Talk – Barry Jenkins

Can You Ever Forgive Me? – Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty

A Star Is Born – Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper and Will Fetters

Best Film Editing

BlacKkKlansmanImage result for blackkklansman

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourite

Green Book

Vice

Best Cinematography

Cold War

The Favourite

Never Look Away

Roma

A Star Is Born

Best Original Score

Black Panther

BlacKkKlansman

If Beale Street Could Talk

Isle of Dogs

Mary Poppins Returns

Best Original Song

“All the Stars” – Black Panther

“I’ll Fight” – RBG

“The Place Where Lost Things Go” – Mary Poppins Returns

“Shallow” – A Star Is Born

“When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Best Production Design

Black Panther

The Favourite

First Man

Mary Poppins Returns

Roma

Best Costume Design                  Image result for ballad of buster scruggs

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Black Panther

The Favourite

Mary Poppins Returns

Mary Queen of Scots

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Border

Mary Queen of Scots

Vice

Best Visual EffectsImage result for thanos

Avengers: Infinity War

Christopher Robin

First Man

Ready Player One

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Best Sound Editing

Black Panther

Bohemian Rhapsody

First Man

A Quiet Place

Roma

Best Sound Mixing

Black Panther

Bohemian Rhapsody

First Man

Roma

A Star Is Born

Best Documentary FeatureImage result for rbg

Free Solo

Hale County, This Morning This Evening

Minding the Gap

Of Fathers and Sons

RBG

Best Documentary Short Subject

Black Sheep

End Game

Lifeboat

A Night at the Garden

Period. End of Sentence.

Best Foreign Language Film                Related image

Capernaum – Lebanon

Cold War – Poland

Never Look Away – Germany

Roma – Mexico

Shoplifters – Japan

Best Short Film – Live Action

Detainment

Fauve

Marguerite

Mother

Skin

Best Animated Short Film

Animal Behavior

Bao

Late Afternoon

One Small Step

Weekends

TV- Network 2018 Year in Review

My choice of programs on network television have been slowing over the last few years with most of the list being shows that come on for shortened runs and then go away.  I have very few full seasons of TV on here.

I truly believe that is the eventual way we will be moving, not only on cable and streaming but also network in the very near future.

Here are my choices for network TV

Related image#10. Scandal (ABC).  I used to love this show.  Now, I was very thankful that it ended when it did.  There was way too much character assassination going on around Scandal as characters were doing things that I did not believe they would have.  I am not sure the show ever recovered from Olivia Pope’s kidnapping.  There were still moments that kept it on this list, but certainly nowhere near where it once was.

 

Image result for riverdale season 3#9.  Riverdale (CW).  This is another show that has been falling down for me.  The second season was very hit and miss (with a big miss on the Black Hood storyline) but a fun musical episode.  I have not watched much in season three at this point and so it is hard for me to say if it has improved.  I saw one episode of season three and it was uneventful.

 

Image result for season 2 designated survivor#8.  Designated Survivor (ABC).  It started at ABC, but it was cancelled after a second season.  It was a decent show that I enjoyed.  Killing off FLOTUS was ballsy and lead to some good television.  However, the end is not the end as President Kirkman’s presidency has been saved by Netflix so we will continue to see the adventures of Kiefer Sutherland in the Oval Office.

 

Related image#7.  Gotham (FOX).  It was near the top of the list last season, but it slipped in the second half and the final season has yet to debut.  The whole Jeremiah story felt forced and just a way to shock us.  Bruce Wayne became even more of a jerk.  There was some decisions made that should have had more consequences than it had.  The fifth season coming up in 2019 is the final one and I think that is a positive thing.

 

Image result for x files season 11#6.  The X-Files (FOX).  The season 11 is reportedly the final season for the FBI most unwanted.  Or at least, it is the final season that Gillian Anderson is playing Dana Scully.  She told Mulder that she was pregnant in the finale of season 11, one of several true shocks…including the apparent death of their son, who wasn’t actually Mulder’s son.  He was created by the Cigarette Smoking Man in a lab.  Whoa.

 

Image result for nathan fillion the rookie#5.  The Rookie (ABC).  The only new network program to make the list is here mainly on the strength of Nathan Fillion’s return to TV.  I have been enjoying the story being told each week and Fillion is always charming and fun to watch.  The Rookie has a nice blend of humor and action and some interesting characters.  I am looking forward to how this continues on after the midseason break.

 

Image result for gong show season two acts#4.  The Gong Show.  I don’t know why I like this show so much.  It really is silliness, but I looked forward to it every week. Now they did make a terrible mistake by removing the Sing-a-long section with Albert (oh, how I missed Shaving Cream), but the acts were always amazing.  Michael Myers in his host costume does a great job and has a lot of fun.

 

Image result for whose line chip esten returns#3.  Whose Line is it Anyway (CW).  An all-time classic.  This past season continued with the great comedy made up on the spot.  It was great to see old favorite return (Chip Esten made an appearance) as well as our old favorites Colin, Ryan and Wayne.

 

 

Image result for match game 2018#2.  The Match Game (ABC).  Alec Baldwin is amazing as the host of Match Game.  This show is so much fun and Baldwin brings just the right amount of snark to the host gig.  The double entendres and euphemisms are really LOL but this year one contestant put Alec on the floor with her non-euphemism.  It was unbelievably hilarious.

 

Related image#1. Agents of SHIELD (ABC).  This show just keeps going and getting better and better.  This year the agents found themselves in a horrific future where people believed that Quake tore the earth apart with her powers.  They had to find their way back to their world and then stop Graviton from doing just that.  Along the way, we get amazing team chemistry and the epic Phil Coulson.   With Phil and May being left off in Tahiti to await for Phil’s death, the upcoming season of SHIELD could be one that makes us all sad.

NXT Takeover: War Games

WWE Photo

Hanson launches himself onto O'Reilly and sends him crashing through the hardwood!

Tower of Doom!

Ricochet hits a double rotation moonsault from the top of the cage!

Dream goes for his second Purple Rainmaker, but Ciampa rolls out of the way...

WWE Photo

Photos from WWE.com

NXT Takeover WarGames 2 happened last night and one has to wonder why this show NEVER FAILS.  No mater what NXT performers are on the card, the show just is filled with amazing action, great drama and wrestling.

We see the main roster events and they, more often than not, are nowhere near as entertaining as NXT specials.  Now, there are few NXT events on the WWE Network than WWE PPVs.  That has to be taken into account, but still.  There has not been one Takeover special that has been a disappointment.

WarGames last night was insane with Ricochet, Pete Dunn and the War Raiders defeating the Undisputed ERA after Ricochet and Dunn co-pinned Adam Cole (Bay Bay).  This followed some fantastic storytelling inside the match as well as insane spots that looked amazing.

And an argument could be made that this brilliant WarGames was the third best match on the card.

Johnny Gargano vs. Aleister Black and Tommaso Ciampa vs. Velveteen Dream were perhaps the best back-to-back singles matches in history.  Both matches would be pushing five star classics.  Johnny Gargano has been in more Match of the Year candidates than any other performer in WWE.  By far.

Ciampa is maybe the best heel going today.  The Velveteen Dream is going to be a massive star, and he is only 23 years old.

Then the show kicked off with a quick squash match for the King of the Bros, Matt Riddle.  Plus, an entertaining women’s match with Shayna Baszler vs. Kairi Sane, what more could you want?

I think a major issue with WWE is how these unbelievably entertaining and remarkably talented performers get lost when they arrive on the main roster. They obviously thrive in the world of NXT,but the main roster seems to chew them up and spit them out.  Why is that?  Is it the performers fault?  I have a feeling that is what is being said backstage, but when there are more performers who were amazing at NXT but under-performing on the main roster, shouldn’t creative have their share of the blame?

Andrade “Cien”Almas is the latest example of a man who will be in the Top 10 matches of the year list on NXT but lost in the shuffle at Smackdown.  There really can’t be that big of difference is there?

It has taken Bayley years to recover (if she has) from the disastrous run on the main roster.  She was once one of the hottest acts on NXT.

Thankfully, it looks as if the Authors of Pain have been allowed now to become what they are instead of becoming the next Ascension.

There are too many to be coincidence.  Creative is the problem.  Vince is the problem.

One day, perhaps we could have WWE giving us one success after another.  Maybe.

Until then, we are NXT.

Excelsior

Image result for stan lee

We knew it had to happen sooner or later.  I mean, he was 95 years old.  And yet, with the news today that Stan Lee, the mighty creator behind so many of the amazing, fantastic, uncanny, incredible, invincible, spectacular characters of the Marvel Universe, had died, I was caught surprised and shocked.

He truly felt like an immortal.

Stan Lee brought me personally so much enjoyment and pleasure through his words, adventures and characters that I have no idea the kind of person I would be had it not been for Stan Lee.  He inspired me.  He enthralled me.  He entertained me.  He was one of a kind.

Image result for stans soapboxI can remember back when I would read the Stan’s Soapbox near the end of each comic that I bought.  I desperately hoped to find something worthy of a No-Prize.  I loved his voice every weekend on Spider-man and his Amazing Friends.  Right up to the present day when part of the fun of a Marvel movie included keeping your eyes peeled for the obligatory Stan Lee cameo.

It is amazing how much a man can mean to you whom you never met.  I would have loved to have met Stan Lee.  His enthusiasm was infectious.  He was easy to laugh and his wry wit was wonderful (he always loved a little alliteration).

While I came to comics after his main run as a writer was over, his presence as Marvel Editor-in-Chief and the Face of Marvel was all-consuming.  It was so complete that even after Stan no longer worked for Marvel, he was still whom I pictured when talking about them.  Stan Lee was larger than anyone else.

Of course he was not alone in creating the Marvel super-heroes that would make such an enduring impact on my life, but I saw it that way.  With all due respect to Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and the other amazing creators who co-created this new age mythology with “The Man,” Stan was such a powerful sun that his light cast a huge shadow on the others.

When Stan’s beloved wife of nearly 70 years, Joan Lee, passed away in 2017, there were fears that Stan may not be long for this plane of existence.  He made it another 16 months before he was gone.  I hope they are having a wonderful reunion.

Image result for stan lee marvelNothing was more inspiring to me than Spider-man.  Stan’s indelible contributions to the creation of and maintenance of Peter Parker is something that I will always be thankful for.  Peter Parker showed me what it meant to be a hero.  How to face your problems with humor despite the nearly constant bad luck that life heaps upon you.  How it is more important to transcend those around you.  How important life is…even for those who hate you and would do anything to hurt you.  I loved it every time Spider-man put his life on the line to save one of the villains because that is what a hero would do.  I learned so much from that character.  Thank you Stan for helping me grow to a man.

I am proud to have inducted Stan Lee into the EYG Hall of Fame way back in 2010 as one of my Wild Cards.  No one has ever deserved the tribute more.

And while it may never truly be ‘Nuff Said, I am going to end my tribute to “The Man” the way he ended so many Stan’s Soapboxes.

Excelsior!

RIP Stan Lee.  Thank you.  You will be missed.

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