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Could Alec Baldwin Face Accidential Death Lawsuit in ‘Rust’ Shooting?

I would hate to be Alec Baldwin right now. He has has to live with accidentally killing Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. More than that, he may be subject to an accidental death lawsuit.

Baldwin is listed as one of the producers of Rust. It’s not hard at all to see Hutchins’ family sue Baldwin and the production company for liability.

Rust Movie Productions LLC appears to be the production company for Rust. Every production company should carry forms of liability insurance to protect against these exact types of accidents (using “accident” here lightly, knowing that someone’s death is more than just an accident).

Rust wasn’t a major movie production, so there didn’t’ seem to be a big budget. Per LA Times:

The low-budget production was not a major studio project but an independent film financed by BondIt Media Capital, with CAA Media Finance on board for domestic sales rights and Highland Film Group handling international sales.

It’s possible that the production company may have skimped on certain responsibilities due to a smaller budget. Not saying they did, but this is based on various news reports. Already, we’ve seen news that camera crew walked off the set to protest poor safety.

Insurance comes in many types for production companies: general liability, workers’ comp, etc. Each covers a specific area. For instance, general liability covers bodily injury and property damage. Workers’ comp covers on-set accidents.

Anyone who’s bought insurance knows the more you cover, the more you pay. If Rust‘s production company had a smaller budget, it’s not hard to see that certain coverage may be lacking, possibly exposing every principal of the production company, such as Alex Baldwin, to liability.

Where could Baldwin avoid liability?

While a wrongful death or negligence lawsuit might seem like obvious recourse for people injured on set or for families of loved ones killed, employees who are harmed by other employees fall under workers’ compensation laws, which bar most workers from suing. There are exceptions, such as if the person injured is an independent contractor or a third-party non-employee is blamed for the mishap.

There could be a similar roadmap ahead for Baldwin and Rust‘s production company, and the accidental death of a stuntman on the set of The Walking Dead in 2017.

Stuntman John Bernecker died from an accidental, on-set fall 25 feet high in 2017. During rehearsals, Bernecker missed a safety cushion by inches and landed on his head. Sadly, Bernecker died the next day.

Bernecker’s parents, Susan and Hagen Bernecker, sued “AMC Networks, production company Stalwart Films and others.” According to their attorney:

[Bernecker’s parents] argued those producing the show skimped on safety measures for financial and scheduling concerns. Lawyers for the defendants said the stuntman’s death was an unforeseeable accident.

This sounds very familiar to Rust. A possible smaller budget that leads to possibly cutting corners and poor safety measures. Lax safety measures due to budgeting that then lead to an accidental on-site death.

Initially, Bernecker’s parents were rewarded $8 million in December 2019. Interesting that the courts didn’t find AMC liable, but did find the production company liable.

However, this past March 2021, the Georgia Court of Appeals overturned the civil verdict. They reasoned that the death was barred by Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation Act because Bernecker was considered an employee, not an independent contractor. As an employee, Bernecker was subject to the Workers’ Compensation Act. As a result, the act released the production company from negligence claims.

Something similar could happen in the future for Rust Movie Productions LLC. Hutchins’ parents may file an accidental death lawsuit based on negligence. It could then depend on whether or not Hutchins is considered an independent contractor or employee. Most film crew members, which Hutchins as cinematographer would be considered crew, appear to be employees.

The IRS view is that most crew members, actors, and others working on a film production should be classified as employees, not independent contractors…

New Mexico, where the accident happened, also has a similar Workers’ Compensation Act to Georgia. The kicker is the exclusive remedy portion of the act:

This provision states that a worker injured on the job may only recover compensation through the procedures outlined in the Act.  Upon hiring, the employee surrenders the right to seek restitution against the employer for work injuries through a personal injury lawsuit.

Workers’ comp payouts are way less than civil claims. Anyone who’s dealt with an employers knows how eager they are to give injured people more money.

Another consideration would be if Hutchins’ death resulted from a co-worker or third party. New Mexico law states you can settle with third parties for any sum. However, any accident caused by a co-worker falls under workers’ compensation. Since actors appear to be employees and Hutchins was accidentally injured by Baldwin the actor, Baldwin the producer and his production may not have liability.

Yet, people sue whoever has the deepest pockets. Plus, people sue whoever they want. Whether or not Baldwin is liable, he’ll be sued.

Consider the PR part though. Baldwin won’t want this lawsuit to go on forever, unresolved, always coming up in the headlines. Like a lot of lawsuits, this looks like it’ll be headed for a private settlement.

The post Could Alec Baldwin Face Accidential Death Lawsuit in ‘Rust’ Shooting? appeared first on The Blemish.

Whatever Happened to Raunchy Sex Comedies?

Twenty years ago, American Pie hit theaters and became an iconic film for Xennials, leading to something of a boom of teen sex comedies. You really couldn’t even turn around without bumping into a film like Road Trip or Van Wilder, and American Pie itself had three direct sequels and five spin-offs under the American Pie brand.

The early 2000s is not the only time raunchy teen sex comedies were popular, though; the genre was huge in the 80s with films like Revenge of the Nerds, Weird Science and Fast Times at Ridgemont High and then 2007’s Superbad led to another minor revival.

But two recent moderately successful sex comedies, Blockers and Booksmart, haven’t really resulted in anything. Booksmart was a critical darling with a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes but it failed to really connect with audiences. This is also arguably the case with Ladybird The Edge of Seventeen; R-rated coming-of-age comedy-drama films that were loved by critics and got a lukewarm reception from audiences.

So how did these raunchy comedies go from being one of the biggest film genres in the 1980s to being essentially indie films that are only seen by critics today? Let’s take a look at some of the best films in the genre over the years and see if we can find an answer.

Fast Times in the 80s

Fast Times at Ridgemont High might be the most classic example of teen sex comedy. At age 22, Rolling Stone writer Cameron Crowe enrolled in a local high school, undercover as a teen, and wrote a book about the experience. He then adapted that book into the screenplay for Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Much like today’s teen sex comedies, Fast Times at Ridgemont High wasn’t a big success at first, though it was far from a critical darling. Roger Ebert called the film a “scuz-pit” and thought the frank nature that the film discussed sex crossed from funny to uncomfortable, noting the audience he was the film with, a sneak-preview held by a rock radio station, appeared uncomfortable as well, and he compared it unfavorably to National Lampoon’s Animal House. Here’s a particularly insightful portion of his review:

The movie’s cast struggles valiantly through all this dreck. Rarely have I seen so many attractive young performers invited to appear in so many unattractive scenes. Leigh, for example, plays a virginal young student at Ridgemont High. She’s curious about sex, so the script immediately turns her into a promiscuous sex machine who will go to bed with anybody. And then her sexual experiences all turn out to have an unnecessary element of realism, so that we have to see her humiliated, disappointed, and embarrassed. Whatever happened to upbeat sex? Whatever happened to love and lust and romance, and scenes where good-looking kids had a little joy and excitement in life, insteadof all this grungy downbeat humiliation? Why does someone as pretty as Leigh have to have her nudity exploited in shots where the only point is to show her ill-at-ease?

That sounds a lot like the modern attempts at teen sex comedies to me. Writer Crowe and director Amy Heckerling set out to make a movie that showed teens acting the way they really acted while still having the fun of previous hits like Porky’s. It largely succeeded, and like today’s raunch-coms, fell flat at the box office, but became a cult classic thanks to the emerging VHS market and the ability to pause and rewind that scene of Phoebe Cates taking her top off in slow motion.

After Fast Times, the genre chugged forward with more films in the vein of previous hits Porky’s and Meatballs. We got films you’ve definitely heard of if you haven’t seen them, like Revenge of the Nerds, Risky Business and Weird Science. These films leaned more into sex as a fantasy than the realism of growing up Fast Times strove for and were much more successful.

Today people look back at films like Porky’s and Revenge of the Nerds and wonder how people missed the sexism and borderline sexual assault that they were steeped in, but the truth is people did realize that at times. Roger Ebert’s review of Porky’s doesn’t say much aside from calling it a bad movie that hates women.

Still, people really liked some of these movies because they were genuinely funny or charming. Siskel and Ebert both liked Revenge of the Nerds despite being tired of the gross-out sex comedies by that time; the idea that the nerds got even with the bullies and the performances by the actors made the film enjoyable and appealing; sometimes it’s okay to just enjoy something stupid.

Jason Biggs Fucks a Pie

In the late 80s and 90s, teen coming-of-age films got a lot less smutty. She’s All That, Clueless, Can’t Hardly Wait and 10 Things I Hate About You were all great films but they all kept it PG-13, getting away from nudity and profanity and centering romance over sex. Even legendary flop Trojan War, which paired Boy Meets World hottie Will Friedel with Party of Five hottie Jennifer Love Hewitt and centered on Friedel’s character’s desperate search for a condom opted for a PG-13 script.

And then Jason Biggs fucked a pie and Alyson Hannigan stuck a flute in her pussy.

American Pie came out of nowhere in the summer of 1999 and reignited the market for teen comedies that acknowledges that teenagers are basically obsessed with sex. Especially the ones who aren’t having it, which is the kind of teenagers that American Pie and most of these movies are about.

American Pie focused less on realism or gross humor (though it did have its moments) and more on embarrassment. The main characters were, essentially, idiots who made fools of themselves at every turn doing things like getting caught by their father having sex with a pie.

The films that followed in this second wave largely focused on lovable losers who set out to get laid and ended up falling in love, usually not with the girl they spent the movie pining for but instead a new love interest who is more suitable and likes their quirks. Pretty standard stuff.

The most important and successful of the post-American Pie sex comedies was The 40-Year-Old Virgin, which was not only a massive hit but cleverly applied the formula of a teen coming-of-age film to a group of adults who had not yet grown up. This would basically be the only sort of movie Judd Apatow would make for the rest of his career.

The End of an Era

2007’s Superbad made Jonah Hill and Michael Cera into stars, but people actually really like it anyway. It had a lot of classic gags, like one of the characters buying a fake ID with a name that just says “McLovin’” but it’s pretty much the last sex comedy to be anything resembling a mainstream success.

Booksmart drew a lot of comparisons to Superbad when it debuted in 2019 and it was beloved by critics, but failed to do much business at the box office. There have been a number of similar stories recently, rated-R teen romps, mostly starring women, that critics loved and audiences didn’t see. So what is causing the death of this genre that was once a staple of the movie-going experience? In my opinion, there are three things contributing to this.

The first, and probably the smallest factor, is that we’re in a pretty conservative, puritanical time when it comes to sex. There’s so much discussion about the changing social mores around sex that it just doesn’t seem like a fun topic. This is especially true when it comes to teenagers, traditionally the only group of people who are horny enough to do really stupid and entertaining things to get laid. But look at how many people say Leonardo DiCaprio is some creepy pedophile for dating women in their 20s, any movie that’s honest about teen sexuality, especially for laughs, is going to get lambasted sight-unseen by a certain sections of Twitter.

The elephant in the room, though, is that four-quadrant blockbusters are pushing everything else out of the cineplex. That’s something that’s been going on since the 70s but it gets truer every year. There’s basically always a Marvel movie in cinemas and Marvel films aren’t the only blockbusters that get produced. People have limited entertainment budgets and if they’re going to go to the theater to see a movie, they’re going to see what everyone else is seeing and be part of the conversation.

I did say there were three reasons we weren’t seeing these sorts of films as much, though, and the final reason is just that the popularity of any film genre is cyclical. The sex comedy genre has waxed and waned before, and that’s what it’s doing now. Studios are still trying them here and there, and one of them is bound to come around at the right time and take off, leading to another boom in the genre.

Personally, I love these sorts of movies. When you’re younger, something about seeing them feels a bit naughty, like you’re doing something wrong but that thing is very small. As an adult, it’s fun to look back and remember how stupid  you were as a teenager. We’ll eventually see another golden age of raunchy comedies, maybe on streaming services since theaters seem to be an increasingly closed avenue. Until then, there are plenty of classics to go back and revisit.

The post Whatever Happened to Raunchy Sex Comedies? appeared first on The Blemish.

Do People Really Like Comic Book Adaptations, or Do They Just Like Marvel?

Comic book adaptations are everywhere these days. Invincible, Jupiter’s Legacy and The Sandman have all been in the news recently and Loki just started airing on Disney+, basically sucking all the air out of the room from all of those other shows.

Netflix spent a fortune on Jupiter’s Legacy, and more broadly on comic book writer Mark Millar, the man who created Kick-Ass, Wanted and Kingsmen, who they hoped would create a bunch of successful new properties for them under his MillarWorld imprint.

They canceled it after one season because while it was successful, it wasn’t a runaway hit. Netflix is clearly looking for a big franchise property, something to compete with the Marvel Universe and Game of Thrones before it ran out of books to adapt and turned to s**t.

This is also probably why they’re creating a live-action version of One Piece. One Piece is essentially a cross between superheroes and pirates that follows Luffy D. Monkey on his quest to find the One Piece and become king of the pirates. It’s also the most popular comic book in the entire world and is massively successful everywhere but the US, where a terrible Saturday morning adaptation of the anime series by 4Kids was a lot of kids’ first exposure to it.

The point is that everyone wants to build the next Marvel Cinematic Universe, and they all think that comic books are the place they’re going to find it. And that leads to a world where we can’t throw a rock without hitting a hot take that we’re making too many comic book movies or someone comparing them to Westerns.

But I honestly don’t think comic book movies or superhero movies have actually become their own popular genres. I think people just like Marvel.

I know that when I say this, the first thing you’re about to say is “What about Batman?” Well yes, Batman, along with Superman and Wonder Woman, have always been pretty popular. Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe came along, if you asked someone to name a superhero, their response was pretty likely to be one of those three or one of Marvel’s three most famous characters, Spider-Man, Wolverine or The Incredible Hulk.

Comic book characters have always had some presence in pop culture. Aside from Wolverine, all the characters I just mentioned had a live-action, prime-time network TV show well before Marvel Studios was making movies. There have actually been five live-action Superman shows. Six if you count Krypton, so five.

My point is that while Marvel isn’t making the only comic book movies and TV shows that people are watching, we’ve had some amount of comic book adaptations almost as long as we’ve had comic books. There was a theatrical Batman serial in the 1940s and Little Nemo, widely regarded as the first animated movie, is from 1911 and based on the characters in Windsor McKay’s comic strip Little Nemo in Dreamland.

There isn’t really a boom in these adaptations and comic book movies, they’ve always been there. Even the adaptations of indie comics: remember Judge Dredd, Mystery Men and Men and Black? All based on comic books. And cartoons like Ultraforce, Gen 13, WildC.A.T.S. and Savage Dragon were big in the 90s.

Marvel’s movies are very popular and for good reason. I know that I tend to s**t on them, and I honestly didn’t think Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame were that great, but in general, Marvel’s movies are all pretty good. They increasingly follow a cookie-cutter formula that really prevents them from being bad. It also kinds of prevents them from being great and it’s no coincidence that the most hype they’ve gotten in a long time was for WandaVision, a show that at least tried to break out of the mold.

Disney has also been experimenting with how much they can exploit the Marvel brand. The first six Marvel movies came out over a period of almost exactly 4 years. Seriously, Avengers came out 4 years and 2 days after Iron Man launched the MCU. This increased to two movies a year, the three, and now there are four Marvel movies scheduled to release in 2022. Plus they’ve got TV shows on Disney+ now. There have been three Marvel shows on Disney+ this year, counting the currently-running Loki, and two more, What If…? and Ms. Marvel slated to debut by the end of the year. Plus they have M.O.D.O.K. on Hulu, which isn’t part of the MCU but is still pretty good.

Marvel is more popular than ever, and a franchise putting out four movies and five TV shows a year is pretty much unheard of. Even NBC only has three Chicago shows and three Law and Order shows. And people are engaged with Marvel. You see a few recaps here and there for shows like Riverdale but basically every site on the internet covered WandaVision because it was so popular and so much fun to speculate about.

When people talk about “superhero fatigue” or complain about how there are too many comic book movies coming out, they’re really just talking about Marvel movies. DC has somewhat increased their theatrical output, but they’ve been putting movies out pretty steadily since Superman came out in 1978.

The flip side of that is that your attempt to make the next Marvel Cinematic Universe is probably going to fail. People aren’t rushing out to see anything comic book-related, they’re mostly just excited for Marvel. Jupiter’s Legacy failed. Justice League failed. They weren’t bad (okay, Whedon’s Justice League was pretty bad, but so was Age of Ultron) but they weren’t the next MCU either.

Marvel found the perfect formula for a summer blockbuster basically by accident when they let Robert Downey Jr.’s natural charm define Tony Stark and leaned into the campy fun the comic book industry has been trying to shake off since the 1960s Batman series.

DC tried to build their own cinematic universe by doing what most comic book movies were doing before Marvel came along, by being darker and more serious. This might work for Batman but it doesn’t work that well for Superman.

Man of Steel was a mess and you can’t point the finger at Joss Whedon for that. The washed-out colors, the depressing story and Superman killing Zod all went over like a wet fart with fans. Zack Snyder had a really interesting idea for Superman’s story arc in the would-be DCEU: turning Superman into the monster Lex Luther thought he would become after being corrupted by Darkseid and then showing how he redeems himself.

That would be a really good DC Comics miniseries, but it’s not a great idea for a series of four-quadrant summer blockbuster studio tentpole films. One of the things Marvel does really well is giving the audience the most iconic version of their characters. Mostly. Tobey McGuire’s Spider-Man was so much closer to the iconic depiction of the character than Tom Holland’s Iron Man Jr.

There’s a limit on how many Superman movies we can make, so people don’t really want them to be about his turn to evil and redemption. They want the classic Superman fighting for truth, justice and the American way and facing off with Wall Street douchebag Lex Luthor.

This is why DC’s planned Black Superman movie is probably going to fail as well. The Elseworlds “what if Superman was different” movies aren’t what people are looking for. I’m sure it’ll be a good movie when you do cider it for what it is, but when people go to see Superman, they want to see Superman, not an interpretation of how Superman might be in different circumstances.

But boy did Zack Snyder and Amy Adams absolutely nail Lois Lane. That’s the best version of Lois Lane that’s ever been on the big screen. Get your Superman as close to the classic as you got Lois Lane and you’ve solved it.

DC arguably has more brand recognition than Marvel, especially before the release of Iron Man, and they have had some successful movies, but not enough to be another Marvel. People don’t want something too different from Marvel, there’s a reason they like those movies. But they also don’t want something too similar because they could just watch Marvel’s films instead. That puts them in a really tough spot.

And then there’s Jupiter’s Legacy. Mark Millar is an excellent comic book writer. He’s created some really amazing properties, and arguably wrote the comics that inspired the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Nick Fury looking suspiciously like Sam Jackson? That was Millar and artist Bryan Hitch. Marvel smartly used a lot of his ideas but ditched the ones that strayed too far from the core of the characters, like ignoring his Captain America being the super-soldier version of your Fox News-watching Grandpa in favor of the classic, wholesome moral compass Cap Chris Evans played.

Mark Millar had a lot to say in Jupiter’s Legacy the comic, it was very tied to his political beliefs. I’ve actually talked to Mark Millar about politics on Twitter, the man is not shy about sharing his beliefs and he’s incredibly well-informed and passionate.

The comic and the show are about the idea of the second generation of superheroes growing up in the shadows of their parents, trying to live up to their ideals and exploring whether they’re outdated. It’s a sort of meta-commentary on comic book tropes as well as what those superheroes would look like in the current world of late-stage capitalism.

Ever since Alan Moore wrote Watchmen, he’s been endlessly imitated. Millar is the first person to really capture the energy Moore had in that book because his look at the meaning of superheroes in the real world realized that Watchmen was written in 1985 and Millar wrote a book for the 2010s.

Still, as good as Jupiter’s Legacy was, Netflix didn’t want a good show, they want a franchise. They want a superhero universe they can build into a franchise, and so they canceled Jupiter’s Legacy in favor of other stories set in the same world. They also want to build a Marvel-sized franchise without the Marvel-sized budget, which probably isn’t feasible.

Speaking of Watchmen, HBO attempted to make a sequel to the beloved comic and failed miserably. While the show was acclaimed by critics, it was pretty clear those critics weren’t familiar with the source material. Of course, neither were the creators of the show, so it worked.

Watchmen had incredibly low ratings, to which HBO said “no, like 8 million people watched it. They just all watched it online and that’s why Nielsen said it had like a third as many viewers as Westwood. But people were totally watching it.” And that’s why they didn’t renew it for another season, because too many people watched it. I don’t think that anyone really believes for a second that HBO paid for a property as high-profile as Watchmen with the intent of only doing nine episodes.

So why have all of these would-be franchises failed to take off? Is it superhero fatigue? Have comic book movies finally gone the way of the Western? Well, no, Loki launched recently and the buzz for it is huge. It was also Disney+’s biggest debut to date. Marvel has three films coming out in the second half of this year and four films next year. No one is getting tired of Marvel, even with the last two Avengers films acting as something of an ending.

There has never been a franchise like Marvel before. By the end of the year, there will be more Marvel movies released in 13 years as there have been James Bond movies released in 60 years. It’s essentially a genre in and of itself. And the assumption has been that if Marvel is so popular then other, similar things must also be popular. But that really hasn’t turned out to be the case.

It’s probably not the healthiest thing in the world for one movie studio to control so much of the blockbuster market share, but Marvel’s consistent quality and “no such thing as too much” attitude to their films has really pushed out their competition. And it would probably be in the best interest of other studios looking to create their own franchises to try to find a different niche because Marvel has theirs pretty well-covered.

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‘Pulp Fiction’ Would Have Been a Very Different Movie if Quentin Tarantino Got His First Choice For the Cast

Pulp Fiction is one of my favorite movies of all time. Every choice Quentin Tarantino made works together to produce a film that’s smart, funny, intriguing and above all else showcase incredibly performances from perfectly-cast actors.

But it turns out that a lot of the stars of the film weren’t Tarantino’s first choices.

Right off the bat, imagining anyone other Sam Jackson as Jules just seems insane, but Tarantino actually wrote the role for Lawrence Fishburn. Considering Pulp Fiction was Jackson’s big break, we could live in a very different world if QT got his first choice here. It was only a few years after Pulp Fiction that Bryan Hitch drew Jackson as Nick Fury in The Ultimates, something that directly lead to Jackson being cast as the character in Iron Man and subsequent MCU films.

It really wasn’t a secret that Vincent Vega was written for Michael Madsen, who had played Vic Vega in Reservoir Dogs. Tarantino had John Travolta as his second choice and it was certainly an inspired second choice. His on-screen chemistry with Jackson was off the charts and without them opening the movie I don’t know if the audience would have been drawn in the same way.

One interesting thing is that Tarantino didn’t seem to have any real idea who he wanted to play Mia Wallace, a pretty important character who would eventually be played by Uma Thurman. Uma wasn’t even on the list for Mia, but Tarantino liked her so much he wrote the part of The Bride in Kill Bill for her.

Same for Bruce Willis, who wasn’t on the list as Butch, which was written for Matt Dillon. Bruce Willis seems like a casting coup in comparison.

Pulp Fiction could have been a very different movie if Tarantino had his first picks, and it’s hard to imagine what it would have been like, but I think in the end he’d have still made a great movie. Just David Hasselhoff would be playing Nick Fury in the MCU.

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Disney Was Allegedly Pretty Pissed at Taika Waititi’s Threesome

Disney owns half the world now, give or take, but that doesn’t mean they’ve gotten less prudish. I know, they’re woke now because that’s the popular position to take with advertiser-friendly demographics, but this is still Disney; they didn’t let men with long hair into the park as guests until almost 1970.

They still want to be a “family” brand, even if they do put just enough swearing in Marvel movies to get a PG-13 rating for what are clearly otherwise PG movies. It turns out that Disney’s public embrace of liberal values doesn’t include polyamory.

Taika Waititi was recently photographed with girlfriend Rita Ora and Marvel Star Tessa Thompson, who is technically Waititi’s employee, and there three of them were having a very good time together indeed.

The Internet may have loved it but Disney’s bigwigs we’re reportedly less enthusiastic. The Daily Mail reports Waititi was “reprimanded” by Marvel over the display.

‘Not exactly the image they’re looking to project in relation to one of their biggest franchises,’ a Thor: Love and Thunder production insider told the publication.

The insider claimed that, while Taika is known for being a ‘party animal’, the photos ‘crossed a line’ for company bosses.

Yeah, see, conservatives whining about Disney firing Gina Carano and liberals gloating about Disney firing Gina Carano, Disney isn’t taking any sides politically, they’re just squashing anything that might bring them bad press or hurt their bottom line. It’s not about politics, it’s just about money.

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J.J. Abrams Realizes He Maybe Shouldn’t Have Haphazardly Thrown Together a ‘Star Wars’ Trilogy With No Plan

The Star Wars sequel trilogy had a number of problems. Aside from a major lack of Billy Dee Williams in the first two movies, the biggest of these problems is that it was obvious there was no plan for these movies at all, and that caused all sorts of smaller problems.

Now, obviously, George Lucas didn’t have a plan for Star Wars when he wrote the first movie, but he was as surprised as anyone that the film was successful enough to to warrant a sequel, much less that it would become an unstoppable behemoth of nerd culture. That’s why you have things like Obi-Wan calling Darth Vader “Darth” and telling Luke that Vader killed his father; Lucas hadn’t decided on those plot points yet, and a potential low-budget sequel, published as Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, had an entirely different plot.

But everyone knew that these movies were going to be a trilogy from day one. There’s not a reality in the multiverse where Disney paid four billion dollars for Lucasfilm, made one Star Wars movie and said “well, that’s it, we’re done, I guess people are over Star Wars.”

What ended up happening, though, is that Disney put J.J. Abrams in charge and he took a look at the massive responsibility he had been given and said f**k it, let’s wing it. Seriously, here’s why he told Collider.

“I’ve been involved in a number of projects that have been – in most cases, series – that have ideas that begin the thing where you feel like you know where it’s gonna go, and sometimes it’s an actor who comes in, other times it’s a relationship that as-written doesn’t quite work, and things that you think are gonna just be so well-received just crash and burn and other things that you think like, ‘Oh that’s a small moment’ or ‘That’s a one-episode character’ suddenly become a hugely important part of the story. I feel like what I’ve learned as a lesson a few times now, and it’s something that especially in this pandemic year working with writers [has become clear], the lesson is that you have to plan things as best you can, and you always need to be able to respond to the unexpected. And the unexpected can come in all sorts of forms, and I do think that there’s nothing more important than knowing where you’re going.”

Look, I get it, you want shows to be able to go where they go and not be tied to an idea you had eight years ago. Like maybe How I Met Your Mother should have changed gears instead of sticking with the ending they used. I liked that ending, but it would have worked a lot better after season two than season nine.

Really, J.J. should have learned this lesson with Lost, which was right on the cusp of shows being based on a premise with no intention of moving forward, like a police procedural, to audiences demanding coherent narratives with stories that move towards a resolution like prestige TV was giving them.

The approach Abrams took, not having a plan for the story of the movies or the arcs of the characters, lead to a lot of problems, especially when he turned over the middle of the trilogy to someone who said “okay, but what if we make a movie that just shows utter disdain for anyone who likes Star Wars and call anyone who complains about it sexist on the nightly news?” If they had sat down and at least decided on story beats for the films, maybe they wouldn’t have had to pull a third movie from quite so deep in their collective asses.

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Jeff Tremaine, Director of New ‘Jackass’ Movie, Had to File a Restraining Order Against Bam Margera

You might think that is silly, but people were playing the Bolas checklist card as the real thing in draft. On a scale of one to Artie Lang, I think he might be at an Ally McBeal-era Robert Downey Jr. He recently went on a not-entirely-hinged rant about Johnny Knoxville and Jeff Tremaine, to which Steve-O replied, telling Bam everyone loves him but he needs to get clean.

Johnny Knoxville also came out and said he wants Bam to get help. Via The Huffington Post:

“I think each of us was responsible for his own actions,” Knoxville told GQ. “And when someone’s struggling, everyone tries to help that person. And at the end of the day, that person has to want help. Sometimes they don’t. Yet.”

GQ then asked Knoxville if he was referring to anyone specific in the Jackass franchise, alluding to Margera.

In response to this question, the magazine noted, Knoxville “looked away, visibly emotional. Half a minute passed.”

“We want Bam to be happy and healthy and get the help he needs,” Knoxville eventually told GQ. “We tried to push that along. I think that’s all I really want to say about it.”

Whatever they tried is clearly not working because TMZ reported that Jeff Tremaine, one of the focuses of Bam’s ire and the director of Jackass 4, filed for a restraining order against Margera.

It’s unclear at this point what exactly he claims might’ve happened now to warrant a judge’s intervention, but we know this … it comes on the heels of Bam going on a fuming rantagainst Tremaine and Johnny Knoxville.

Yeah, it’s not great. Hopefully, Bam will realize he needs to get himself straight and find some help and the boys can put this behind them.

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Kevin Spacey is About to Film His Comeback Movie

We haven’t seen much of Kevin Spacey since Anthony Rapp accused the actor of trying to have sex with him when he was 14. He’s periodically emerged in strange videos where he appears to be in character as Frank Underhill from House of Cards, but aside from that he’s kept a pretty low profile.

That’s about to change as Spacey has been cast in his first film role since getting #metoo’d.

ANC News confirmed that Spacey will appear in L’uomo Che Disegno Dio, a film by Django himself, Franco Nero. The English title is The Man Who Drew God and it’s about a wrongly accused pedophile, which is surprisingly not the role Spacey was cast in. I guess he didn’t want to be typecast.

“I’m very happy Kevin agreed to participate in my film,” Nero told ABC News. “I consider him a great actor and I can’t wait to start the movie.”

I’m sure he is because whatever else he may be, Kevin Spacey is in fact a great actor and I doubt he would be performing in Italian indy films if he could other work, regardless of how awesome the Spaghetti Western the director starred in was. Vanessa Redgrave is also attached to the project, and if you’re wondering how that happened, she’s married to Franco Nero.

If you’re reading this and you’re mad that Spacey is making a comeback and you don’t think he deserves to be in films anymore because of the allegations against him, I have great news for you: you get to decide that. If you don’t see this movie and enough people agree with you, then Spacey likely won’t get any more roles, especially not from big studios the way he used to.

”But wait, what if the movie is a success and people do go see the movie?” Well, then that’s what people want. That’s how capitalism works.

Personally, I don’t think Spacey will have a big comeback. The Oscars are already on thin ice with the public, and after NBC pulled the Golden Globes, those voters aren’t going to stick their neck out for Spacey. And this is absolutely the kind of movie that’s only made as Oscar bait, it’ll probably open in limited release two weeks before Christmas. The only way this movie will generate buzz is by people getting mad and wildly overreacting on Twitter.

Yeah, like that.

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Here’s How Marvel Could Recast Drax After ‘Guardians of the Galaxy 3’

I was and to an extent still am shocked that Marvel killed Tony Stark and replaced Steve Rogers as Captain America when Robert Downey, Jr. and Chris Evans decided to move on from the films. I was expecting those characters to be recast the way Hulk and War Machine had.

Now that Dave Bautista has said Guardians of the Galaxy 3 will be his last appearance as Drax the Destroyer, it leaves fans wondering if the character will be recast or if we’ll be saying goodbye to him for the time being.

Bautista himself seemed to imply he’s in favor of a recast, tweeting “Drax isn’t going anywhere. He just won’t be played by this dude! By the time G3 comes out I’ll be 54 yrs old for gods sake! I’m expecting everything to start sagging any second now.”

Unlike Tony Stark or Steve Rogers, though, Drax has a built-in explanation for why he might look different, not unlike The Doctor of BBC’s Doctor Who.
Back before most people had ever heard of Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel relaunched their flagging cosmic line with Annihilation, a storyline that brought their characters together and gave a lot of them new, more modern storylines. The very prelude to the event was a Drax the Destroyer miniseries which saw Drax, in the very first pages, killed and reborn as a somewhat smaller but more agile and more intelligent version of himself. At his core he was the same character, but a version more suited for the stories that were being told, including the formation of the Guardians of the Galaxy at the end of the event.
This is certainly an option Marvel has going forward, where they can keep Drax but also distance him enough so that whoever steps into the role doesn’t need to try and copy what Bautista did, which as James Gunn pointed out is inimitable.
If Drax was reborn in the films the way Groot was, it would allow Marvel to keep the popular character and give a new actor a chance to make their mark outside of Bautista’s shadow. I recommend David Tennant, he’s been pretty good at handling that sort of role in the past.

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It Looks Like Seth Rogen Turned His Back on James Franco

The allegations of inappropriate behavior against James Franco make for an interesting case to look at through the lens of cancel culture and the post #metoo world. James Franco isn’t Harvey Weinstein or Bill Cosby and nothing he’s been accused of doing is actually illegal.

The allegations against Franco are mostly that he used his fame to get laid, his acting school was too sexual and he tried to sleep with a 17-year-old, which is not illegal in New York. Still, some people are very mad about it.

So seeing Seth Rogen publicly turn his back on his old friend and collaborator shows which way the winds are blowing.

Here’s what Rogen said about Franco, via The Daily Dot.

Speaking to the Sunday Times this week, Seth Rogen said, “I do look back at a joke I made on Saturday Night Live in 2014 and I very much regret making that joke. It was a terrible joke, honestly.” In the monologue, Rogen joked about pretending to be a teenage girl to catfish Franco, who would continue to be his friend and creative collaborator for years to come.

In the same Sunday Times interview, Rogen said, “I also look back to that interview in 2018 where I comment that I would keep working with James, and the truth is that I have not and I do not plan to right now.” This likely referred to a Vulture profile where Rogen equivocated about the #MeToo movement, saying he would continue to work with Franco despite his increasingly numerous sexual misconduct allegations.

The thing is, James Franco doesn’t work much these days anyway, by choice. He had already slowed down before these allegations.  Rogen might not be the one deciding not to work Franco here, and saying you don’t have any plans to work with someone who is semi-retired is a pretty quick way to save face here.

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Tom Cruise is Giving Back His Golden Globes

I knew when the Golden Globes came under fire by every major player in Hollywood that it was only a matter of time before someone performatively gave back their Golden Globe awards. It’s not a huge surprise that the first person in line was Scientology poster boy Tom Cruise. That dude is always looking for some good press to get people to forget all the times he went on TV and ranted about psychologists.

Here’s what Deadline reported about Cruise’s trophies.

The trophies just sent to HFPA headquarters are the Best Actor prize he won for Jerry Maguire, the Best Actor prize he won for Born on the Fourth of July and the Best Supporting Actor prize he won for Magnolia. This is a new tack, but I wouldn’t be surprised if others follow his lead and that the reception area of the HFPA could be crammed with golden trophies.

NBC also announced they won’t be broadcasting the 2022 Golden Globes Ceremony. That’s pretty much the end of the grift for the HFPA. The organization pretty much makes all of its money from NBC airing the awards show, to the tune of $60 million a year. They’re still going to get that money through 2026 because what NBC actually paid for was the rights to broadcast the ceremony.

The flip side of that is the HFPA can’t shop the ceremony to other networks, and if no one sees the ceremony for 4 years, it’s unlikely they’ll tune back into the show in 2027.

But hey, a tiny group of nerds got to hang out with Hollywood celebrities by bribing them with gold statues and that worked for 78 years. Not a bad run.

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Scarlett Johansson Wants the Golden Globes to Be More Diverse, Like the Movie Roles She Takes

Scarlett Johansson isn’t a trans woman of color, but she plays one in movies. This is why she’s very concerned that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the body behind the Golden Globes, isn’t diverse enough.

Now, the HFPA started as a group of foreign journalists who covered Hollywood for publications outside the United States, which is what you’d expect something called the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to be. Today, that doesn’t seem to be the case and the 86-member “non-profit” is primarily in the business of giving out Golden Globes, getting paid to air the Golden Globes ceremony, not doing journalism and, well, the old saying is “You win an Oscar, you buy a Golden Globe.”

After the LA Times investigated the organization and its membership, all of Hollywood is outraged. They’re not exactly a hard target here, there’s less than a hundred people and they basically have no power other than to give out trophies they made up. My high school principle did that at assembly once a year, too, and no one kissed his ass for it.

ScarJo has taken the opportunity to shoot a fiery salvo at the organization, with The Guardian reporting she said that dealing with the HFPA “has often meant facing sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on sexual harassment.”

She also said “Unless there is necessary fundamental reform within the organization, I believe it is time that we take a step back from the HFPA,” which is a really good point. Why have you given these people, these 86 people, all this money and power? Because you want to get little statues with your name on?

There are stores that make trophies, you know. You can just go out and buy a trophy if you need one that badly, and it’s probably cheaper than “winning” a Golden Globe.

That’s part of the reason Netflix and Amazon aren’t working with the group anymore. They’re framing it as putting pressure on the group to add more diverse membership (seriously, there’s not one black person in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association? You didn’t know they have newspapers in Africa?), but no one cares about awards shows anymore and it’s not because of lack of diversity, it’s lack of relevancy. Netflix and Amazon loved the HFPA and the Oscar voters (nearly 10,000, basically anyone who has worked on a film in a category they give awards for is eligible) when they wanted to establish themselves as serious players in the field of film and television, but they don’t need the statues anymore. We’ve all heard about Mrs. Maisel without it winning an award.

You know what would happen if the Golden Globes went away? Nothing, it’s not even the G in EGOT. Hollywood would survive with a slimmed-down 37 annual awards shows, I’m sure.

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Do The Oscars’ Record-Low Ratings Mean We’re Finally Over Awards Ceremonies?

I wouldn’t say no one is watching awards shows anymore, but the audience is much smaller than it used to be. This past Sunday’s Oscars, with a record-low viewership of about 10 million, was the least-watched ceremony in the history of televised Oscar broadcasts. Have we finally turned the corner and put our long national nightmare of caring about these awards ceremonies behind us?

I honestly can’t see people being more inclined to tune in next year after this year’s ceremony.

The biggest issue I can think of is the way the ceremony moved Best Picture, which is traditionally the last award for the night, forward so that they could save Best Actor for last. A lot of people were expecting this to be because the award would be going to the late Chadwick Boseman, and were very displeased with what feels a lot like a bait and switch.

Joyce Eng told The New York Post Hopkins win was down to the fact that The Father released just before the eligibility deadline and, like so many Oscar-bait films before it, was fresh in the mind of voters who had already moved on from Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Is this really what people have been getting all excited about for the last 90-some years? Not only is it just people giving each other gold statues for playing pretend, but apparently they’re just giving them to the film they’ve seen the most recently. You know, as long as it’s depressing and obscure or at least makes the old white people who vote for these sorts of things feel less racist.

And keep in mind that all the weirdness with this year’s ceremony isn’t why people didn’t tune in; how could they have known in advance it would be a weird disaster of a ceremony? No, everything people hated about the ceremony was only compounded by the fact that people don’t care anymore to begin with.

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Oscar Recap: Another Big Night For Movies You’ll Totally Get Around to Watching. Eventually. Is That on Netflix?

Ahh, the Oscars. Hollywood’s biggest night when all the stars come out and pat themselves for a job well done. It’s a hard life, what with memorizing almost a hundred pages of dialogue, standing up into frame after your stunt double does something really cool and having sex with supermodels half your age in your mansion between shoots. That’s why we need a night to honor these people who bring us so much joy making the movies we love.

Of course, we have like twenty nights where Hollywood stars give each other statues and mostly for films no one watched about finding love during the Holocaust that turns out to be bittersweet or the time a racist white guy from the South made a black friend.

This year’s big winner is Chloé Zhao, the first Asian woman to win the Oscar for Best Director, proving that anyone of any race can achieve their dream of making a sad movie about a disheveled white lady. Nomadland also took home Best Picture and Frances McDormand won Best Disheveled White Lady Lead Actress for the film.

My Octopus Teacher won Best Documentary, and boy was I disappointed to find out it was about some hippie who made friends with an octopus and not, as I assumed, a live-action adaptation of Assassination Classroom.

Anthony Hopkins won Best Leading Actor for The Father, a film about dementia that made a whopping $5 million in the global box office. It actually sounds like a great, intelligently filmed and superbly acted film that I’m sure you’re going to see. Right after you catch up on the new season of Nailed It!

Supporting Actor and Actress went to Youn Yuh-jung for Minari and Daniel Kaluuya for Judas and the Black Messiah, because diversity is important but only in the smaller acting categories. These are both totally great movies to read the plot summaries for on Wikipedia and pretend you’ve seen the way you did with Get Out.

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Here’s How Marvel is Screwing The Creators Who Have Made Them Billions

Lots of nerds grew up wanting to either write or draw comic books. This is a bad idea and should be avoided at all costs unless you want to spend your entire life getting fucked by huge corporations that are making billions off of your work while you die poor and without healthcare.

A few Marvel creators have spoken out recently about just how little Marvel pays the creators who created the characters and stories that they’ve adapted into one of the ten highest-grossing media franchises in the history of the world.

Most notable was Ed Brubaker, who created The Winter Solider. Kind of. It’s complicated because Bucky Barnes was created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon in 1941, but his updated persona of The Winter Soldier and the story of him surviving WWII was created by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting. You might think that their work being the basis of two successful movies and now a TV series that’s good but not as good as WandaVision means they’re sitting pretty on residuals and royalties, right?

They definitely are not.

Brubaker was on Kevin Smith’s comic book-themed podcast Fatman on Batman and he told Kevin just how poorly he feels he’s been treated by Marvel. He didn’t even get to go to the premier of Captain America: Civil War, which was mostly based on his comics, in the main theater with the stars, he had to watch in an overflow theater.

“I remember sitting in that movie and just remembering this Jack Kirby ulcer growing in my stomach going, ‘This is what it felt like, kid.’”

“When I see ads for the show, it actually makes me feel sick to my stomach.”

Kevin Feige’s assistant wouldn’t even let him into the after-party, he had to call Sebastian Stan to come and vouch for him.

Brubaker even mentioned that he made more from SAG residuals for a cameo in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that I never noticed and I’ve seen that film four times.

“It’s just weird that they’re so ungenerous to me. It’s especially weird because a lot of them are friends of mine. Or people that I thought were friends of mine.”

“There is a corporate mentality. Right now someone inside marvel publishing somewhere is watching this and laughing that I think I got ripped off. There are people that think it’s funny that I’m unhappy about it. I know for a fact because I’ve watched them be that way about other people in person.”

“I look at those credits and there’s all these other executive producers [of] people who were just at the publishing level who had nothing to do with it. I know how much that EP credit actually makes you in a TV show at Disney. These people have made so much money on stuff that Steve and I did.”

In 2017, Jim Starlin, the grandfather of Cosmic Marvel who created Thanos, Gamora, Drax and the Infinity Gauntlet, has similarly said Marvel has absolutely not done right by him. In fact, he got a larger check from DC in 2017 for their used of KGBeast in Batman v Superman than he received from Marvel for all their movies combined at that point.

In fact, literally the only person I’ve ever heard defend the way Marvel treats their creators was Mike Mantlo, the brother of Rocket Raccoon creator Bill Mantlo, who had to beg for money on GoFundMe like a panhandler to pay his brother’s medical bills. Funny story, Mike actually threatened to sue us for libel for saying Marvel should have given Bill Mantlo more royalties for Rocket Raccoon considering they’ve made billions on the character. But Mike is dead now and you can’t defame the dead, as you know. So I could say something like Mike Mantlo used to piss into his own mouth in the shower while saying “please let me kiss your ass more, Marvel, I love to carry water for giant corporations who are actively fucking me,” and no one could do anything about it.

Marvel is making billions of dollars on the work of people they aren’t compensating well enough to make them happy. They may want to rethink if only so the next generation of writers who write the books they’ll adapt into billion films will actually show up to work.

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Now We Know What Joss Whedon Did to Gal Gadot

We recently found out that Joss Whedon was a huge asshole to basically everyone he ever worked with. It was a typical Hollywood story. Whedon had the tiniest bit of success and thought he was a god, and his ego continued to get more and more out of control.

Even directing Avengers: Age of Ultron wasn’t enough to pop his bubble, as evidenced by his behavior on the set of Justice League, .which appears to have gotten him fired from his new series, The Nevers. That’s probably going to reinforce his ego when it gets canceled after 12 episodes and he goes “Yeah, but if I was there, it would have been a huge success that ran for six seasons, minimum. You know, like Firefly and Doll House.”

Gal Gadot had previously mentioned that she had her own issue with Whedon in the set of Justice League but didn’t elaborate on what happened and why, courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter.

Fisher was not the only Justice League star who was unhappy. Sources say Whedon clashed with all the stars of the film, including Jeremy Irons. And one Justice League star ended up taking her complaints not only to the head of the film studio but also to the chairman of Warner Bros. A knowledgeable source says Gadot had multiple concerns with the revised version of the film, including “issues about her character being more aggressive than her character in Wonder Woman. She wanted to make the character flow from one movie to the next.”

The biggest clash, sources say, came when Whedon pushed Gadot to record lines she didn’t like, threatened to harm Gadot’s career and disparaged Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins. While Fisher declines to discuss any of what transpired with Gadot, a witness on the production who later spoke to investigators says that after one clash, “Joss was bragging that he’s had it out with Gal. He told her he’s the writer and she’s going to shut up and say the lines and he can make her look incredibly stupid in this movie.”

Yes, Joss Whedon, like Harvey Weinstein, was going to ruin Gal Gadot’s career is she didn’t give him what he wanted. Of course, Harv wanted his dick sucked whether you wanted to suck it or not and Joss just wanted her to make a terrible movie and tell him how great he is, so he’s not as bad as Harvey Weinstein.

But Whedon does come off as cartoonishly evil. Like he’s the villain in every movie about a self-indulgent dickhead director. Like if they made a movie about this incident he’d be played by Russell Brand.

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There Have Been Some Massive Marvel Spoilers Lately

Marvel has been riding high lately because of the success of their original programming on Disney+, but The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has failed to generate nearly as much buzz as WandaVision. To be fair, not much is going to generate that kind of buzz, WandaVision was the perfect show at the perfect time and everyone was invested in the secrets the show had on offer. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is perfectly fine, but it doesn’t have the same hooks to keep people talking from week to week.

What does have people talking, however, is a few major reported leaks from Marvel; and if you read on, you may get a big load of spoilers Eternals in particular.

In fact, the entire plot of the movie has leaked with “undeniable evidence” of its veracity, if you believe the moderators of Reddit’s r/MarvelStudiosSpoilers.

There are a lot of details, but the main thrust of the plot is summarized in one paragraph.

Sersi learns that the Celestials created both races and that the Eternals are basically just very advanced robots. They seed young planets with a Celestial “egg” that takes eons to mature. The evolving intelligent life on these planets feeds the Celestial’s growth, so the Eternals are sent to protect the evolving life forms and kill the Deviants. After the emergence, the Eternals are ” rebooted” and sent to another world (this is the cause of Thena’s memory issue, as she knows that the planet is doomed) – this cycle has gone on for millions of years. Earth was seeded and Tiamut is about to emerge (this was the cause of the earthquake earlier). Once awakened, the entire planet and all life will be destroyed.

That is one of the most comic book things I’ve ever heard in my life.

It doesn’t look like this film is setting up the Eternals to be a major presence going forward like the Avengers or the Guardians of the Galaxy. The synopsis makes it sound more like a one-off with Ikaris (Richard Madden) possibly not surviving to the end of the film.

What does seem certain is that it’s setting up Kit Harrington to be a major player in the MCU. Which is funny because he’s playing Dane Whitman, the Black Knight, one of the lamest Avengers ever. And keep in mind that The Avengers comic featured Hawkeye in little purple booties.

The two end credit stingers: 1) Dane is looking at an old box and pulls out a sword that is wrapped up. Just as he is about to touch it, an off screen voice stops him. 2) On the Eternals’ ship, Pip the Troll appears and introduces Starfox.

To be fair, Iron Man was like Marvel’s 58th most popular character, just in front of that X-Men character who has giant slugs for a stomach until he was played by Robert Downey, Jr. Kit Harrington could absolutely make Black Knight a major player in the MCU.

Where will they use him? Another leak claims Marvel is developing a number of Avengers spin-offs, including Young Avengers, Dark Avengers and West Coast Avengers, the latter being the place Dane Whitman seems the most likely to show up.

Marvel has been slowly putting the pieces in place for Young Avengers, with Billy and Tommy Maximoff showing up in WandaVision (and the ending’s cryptic hint that they’re still alive somewhere), Ant-Man’s Cassie Lang being all grown up now and Hawkeye set to introduce Kate Bishop, the actually cool Hawkeye. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier also introduced a piece of Young Avengers lore when Bucky took Sam to meet Isaiah Bradley, a test subject for the Super Soldier Serum Steve Rogers was given and grandfather to Eli Bradley, the Young Avengers’ Captain America analogue Patriot. Be on the lookout for Teddy Altman, aka Hulkling, to show up in Secret Invasion.

Dark Avengers is also something fans have been speculating on for a while. I’ve never been a fan of this theory, but this leak says it’s in development. William Hurt’s Thunderbolt Ross, who becomes the Red Hulk in the comics, is about the only character I can think of who might be a member. Possibly U.S. Agent, currently appearing in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and the white Vision and new Black Widow, I guess?

Finally, what is The West Coast Avengers, the team almost certain to include Jon Snow? Well, if The Avengers was Marvel’s way of showcasing all the characters who weren’t popular enough to carry their own title (and it was for about 40 years), West Coast Avengers is the book for characters not popular enough to be in The Avengers. Lead by Hawkeye, the team featured such notable characters as Wonder Man, Tigra, U. S. Agent and Machine Man. Nextwave had a more recognizable line-up.

Make a Nextwave movie instead, you cowards!

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Zack Snyder’s Fans Are Officially Back on Their Bullshit

Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League has been available on HBO Max for just over a week, which is almost enough time to watch it from beginning to end. But his fans are already back online complaining about Warner not understanding the brilliance of Zack Snyder.

Warner has indicated that even though they did cough up quite a chunk of change to get the Snyder cut finished they have no plans to films Snyder’s planned sequels that would detail Superman’s fall to evil and eventual redemption.

One can’t really blame Warner for wanting to move on to other things; despite the success of The Snyder Cut, it still didn’t do as well on HBO Max as Wonder Woman 84, a film that was by all accounts terrible, and they made over a billion dollars on Joker, a movie nobody wanted completely disconnected from any type of continuity.

The MCU works for Marvel, but the DCEU hasn’t really worked for DC. The biggest success they had was probably Shazam!, which was technically part of the DCEU but a big departure in tone and with basically no connection other than talking about the existence of other DC characters.

Back before Marvel was the cinematic powerhouse it is today, both Marvel and DC primarily stepped outside of comic books through direct-to-video animated features. DC was leagues ahead of Marvel with the quality of their features. The strategy they used looks a lot like the one that Warner is interested in pursuing cinematically now; a mix of original stories and adaptations of their biggest comic books, with some movies forming universes with each other and some being entirely stand-alone.

Zack Snyder’s fans have taken this all in stride and are eyeing totally reasonable with their disappointment. Just kidding, they’re review-bombing Godzilla vs Kong with one-star reviews.

As I’ve said before, I don’t find Snyder’s fans to be toxic or bad people like some have claimed, they’re just really annoying.

I mean, I get the disappointment, we live in a world of broken hopes and dreams of entertainment that was not to be, like a good Star Wars movie made after 1983 or a Jenji Kohan series that maintains a consistent level of quality instead of getting sucked inside its own asshole and losing all the charm it once had about halfway through the third season.

Whether you’re a fan of Snyder’s work or not, it’s clear after seeing his version of Justice League that he has a grand vision that a lot of people would enjoy. It’s also clear that his vision is more than a little indulgent and would cost huge amounts of money to bring to life with potentially mixed returns. In an increasingly competitive movie market with an increasingly uncertain future, even an industry giant like Warner Brothers doesn’t want to take that kind of risk, especially when they can potentially make more money on smaller projects like Joker or The Suicide Squad.

I know it’s disappointing, but being able to say you did a better job than Joss Whedon on Justice League just doesn’t mean that much to studios these days.

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Disney Threw in Towel, COVID Won, ‘Black Widow’ Will Debut on Disney+

Disney, and especially Marvel, have been going on about how committed they are to the “theatrical experience” and how they needed to be experienced on the big screen as we watch the movie theater industry die in flames around us thanks to the COVID pandemic showing us how much the theatrical experience sucks if you really think about it.

I think that we all knew that what they meant was “these movies make a billion dollars and we think they’ll make less than that if we sell them on Disney+ instead.

But it’s been a year and a half since there have been a Marvel movie and movie theaters aren’t really any closer to opening so Disney is doing what I predicted they’d do and they’re trying to get as much money as they can in whatever way they can.

That means Black Widow is coming to Disney+ for $30, just like Mulan, only with a movie people actually want to see.

Their statement to Variety on the matter could not have been more full of corporate-speak and buzzwords.

Kareem Daniel, the chairman of Disney Media and Entertainment distribution, says the announcement “reflects our focus on providing consumer choice and serving the evolving preferences of audiences.”

“By leveraging a flexible distribution strategy in a dynamic marketplace that is beginning to recover from the global pandemic, we will continue to employ the best options to deliver The Walt Disney Company’s unparalleled storytelling to fans and families around the world,” he said.

Yeah, they’re really synergizing their visibility to impact their core competency there.

Black Widow is also being pushed back to July and Shang-Chi is moving to September, where it will supposedly have a traditional theatrical release but I wouldn’t bet on it if people are still claiming vaccines are a communist plot to inject people with pedophile DNA or whatever. It probably depends a lot more on how many people pay for Black Widow.

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It’s Hard to Believe How Much Crap Sharon Stone Has Had to Put Up With

On-screen chemistry can make or break a movie. Take for example this year’s attempt at a big ensemble Christmas movie, Happiest Season. It was a pretty enjoyable film, but any review will tell you the same thing you were bound to notice if you watched it: Kristen Stewart has absolutely no chemistry with her love interest Mackenzie Davis but there are sparks all over the place in her scenes with Aubrey Plaza, in a way that derails the film.

Needless to say, producers and directors will go to great lengths to ensure their leads have chemistry. Sharon Stone was not willing to go to the lengths one producer suggested to her, and I absolutely cannot blame her for that.

Here’s what she said about it in her upcoming memoir, via Deadline:

Among the most striking revelations to come out of the excerpt was the fact that a producer had once approached the actress, suggesting that she sleep with her male costar. “He explained to me why I should f**k my costar so that we could have onscreen chemistry. Why, in his day, he made love to Ava Gardner onscreen and it was so sensational!” Stone wrote. “Now just the creepy thought of him in the same room with Ava Gardner gave me pause.”

The actress remembered thinking at the time that inadequate chemistry between herself and her costar had nothing to do with her. “I felt they could have just hired a costar with talent, someone who could deliver a scene and remember his lines. I also felt they could f**k him themselves and leave me out of it,” she wrote. “It was my job to act and I said so.”

Have you ever seen Community? You know it’s a running gag that Pierce tells everyone he had sex with Eartha Kitt? That is the energy I feel coming from this producer in this story here.

She also said she was blindsided when she saw her vagina in Basic Instinct.

“After we shot Basic Instinct, I got called in to see it. Not on my own with the director, as one would anticipate…but with a room full of agents and lawyers, most of whom had nothing to do with the project,” she recalled. “That was how I saw my vagina shot for the first time, long after I’d been told, ‘We can’t see anything—I just need you to remove your panties, as the white is reflecting the light, so we know you have panties on.’”

Following the screening, Stone says she headed into the projection booth, “slapped Paul across the face, left, went to my car, and called my lawyer, Marty Singer.” Singer advised her that the film could not be released in its current form—at the time, the interrogation scene would have landed Basic Instinct an X rating—and that if she wished, she could “get an injunction” to stop its release.

Eventually, she decided to let the film go out because it was the right move for the film. Director Paul Verhoeven says he was up-front with Stone about showing the world her lady bits.

Most of the time when an actress does a nude scene in a Hollywood film, the studio will have her wear a merkin, or a pubic wig, precisely so it looks like she’s naked but the vagina is still covered, despite this going against, let’s say, current grooming trends. So it was certainly possible for Stone’s assets not to be on full display, but I think she’s right that the scene does make it a better film. I mean, can you name one other thing that happened in Basic Instinct?

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The 2021 Oscars Nominees Honor More Movies You Haven’t Seen Than Ever

Normally the Oscars are packed full of nominations for films no one saw because they’re all Holocaust or AIDS dramas that released the last week of December to six theaters in West Covina and spent three times the films’ budgets on “For Your Consideration” campaigns.

This year, however, movie theaters were closed all year because if you designed the ideal place to spread COVID-19 to large groups of people as efficiently as possible from the ground up, you’d probably just get a movie theater. The Oscars had to do something they have been loathe to do before now and allow films that debuted on streaming services to be eligible for awards. This includes Netflix’s prestige film Mank, a black and white period piece about the making of Citizen Kane. You can hear the Academy voters having an orgasm just reading that sentence.

The late Chadwick Boseman was nominated for his role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and he’s almost certain to win. This probably wasn’t the best performance of the year, and it probably wasn’t Chadwick Boseman’s best performance, but clearly voters are going to want to show how much he’s missed, and I don’t blame them.

But I also feel that you could accomplish everything worthwhile that this year’s Oscars will accomplish by just having a tribute show for Chadwick Boseman.

Here’s a list of all the major-category nominations (the full list of nominations is here). Take out a piece of paper and make a mark on it every time you see the name of a movie you’ve actually seen. Then when you’re done, do whatever you want with your blank piece of paper.

Best Picture

The Father
Judas and the Black Messiah
Mank
Minari
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Director

Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round
David Fincher, Mank
Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
Chloe Zhao, Nomadland
Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins, The Father
Gary Oldman, Mank
Steven Yeun, Minari

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Andra Day, United States vs. Billie Holiday
Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman
Frances McDormand, Nomadland
Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7
Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
Leslie Odom, Jr., One Night in Miami
Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
LaKeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy
Olivia Colman, The Father
Amanda Seyfried, Mank
Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari

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What Does it Actually Mean That ‘Avatar’ is the Top-Grossing Film Again

When Avengers: Endgame released, it surpassed Avatar as the movie with the highest worldwide box office gross of all time, but just barely. Avatar’s recent re-release in China gave that film enough additional revenue to retake the top spot as the highest-grossing movie of all time, but does that achievement even mean anything?

The most popular movie of all time is still Gone With the Wind. Neither Avatar nor Endgame came close to selling as many tickets as Gone With the Wind or Star Wars, for that matter.

Money loses value over time, and we call that phenomenon inflation. What used to cost a nickel costs a dime, then a quarter, then a dollar. Because a movie ticket in 1939 cost 23 cents and that same movie ticket today is almost $10, the amount of money the film made tells us very little other than how rich studio executives are.

Box Office Mojo projects that over 200 million people in the United States saw Gone With the Wind and 175 million saw Star Wars; Avatar and Avengers: Endgame were both around 96 million, with Avatar already having sold more tickets than Endgame before it was re-released.

Now I did say in the United States and let’s talk about that. When Gone With the Wind released in 1939, the US population was 130 million people; by the time Star Wars released in 1977, there were 220 million Americans. That number climbed to over 300 million by the time Avatar and Endgame came along. Gone With the Wind actually sold more tickets in the US than there were people living in the country at the time, while Endgame’s ticket sales were less than a third of the total population.

Of course, population and inflation aren’t the only changes that have happened since 1939. There’s a lot more to do now than there was then. The first modern smartphone, Apple’s iPhone, released in 2007. 1939 was the year of the first television broadcast, and televisions weren’t widely adopted until the 1950s. There just wasn’t much competing with movie theaters for people’s entertainment budget and leisure time.

That isn’t the whole story either, though. 1939’s second-highest-grossing film, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, grossed about 1/6th of Gone With the Wind’s take, placing it somewhere close to Ghostbusters on the all-time adjusted domestic gross list. And I don’t mean the good Ghostbusters, I mean the Paul Feig Ghostbusters.

And so far, I’ve only been talking about US box office numbers, and that’s because films like Gone With the Wind didn’t have global releases. We weren’t exactly on great terms with Germany in 1939 and most countries only showed movies made in those countries at the time. There have been movie theaters in China as long as there have been movie theaters in the US, but they didn’t start showing foreign films until 1997. It’s a much more global marketplace today than it was 80 years ago.

The point is, and congratulations for making it through all of those statistics, but the point is that it’s nearly impossible to gauge the relative level of success of films across time. We can account for inflation, but not so much for inflation and population growth and changing market conditions and increased competition all at once.

Do we really need to, though? All the movies I mentioned are great movies (except Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters), so do we need a list to tell us mathematically which one is better? I like Star Wars better than the other movies I mentioned, and I’m sure every employee at Turner Classic Movies prefers Gone With the Wind. A lot of people clearly love Avatar and Avengers: Endgame, as well, too. Box office gross, even adjusted gross, just doesn’t tell us that much anymore.

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Marvel Dropped T.I. From ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania’

T.I. and Tiny are about to have a lot of free time on their hands. It turns out that being accused of drugging and raping and trafficking like a dozen women is not great for your image.

You know who really cares about their image? Disney. And Disney really doesn’t want someone accused of being a prolific rapist in any of their movies.

Basically, what I’m saying is T.I. will not be reprising his role from Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania.

T.I. had played Dave, one of Scott Lang’s compatriots, in those movies, but he won’t be back for the latest outing. Which is kind of a shame, he was good in the movie, Ant-Man had one of Marvel’s best supporting casts.

Now, according to Variety, Marvel had cut his role before the allegations against him and his wife came out.

Insiders close to the Disney project said T.I. was never slated to return, despite the implication that recent and grave allegations against him had to do with the decision.

The Marvel universe has changed in the wake of Avengers: Endgame, and Quantamania looks like it’ll be introducing Scott’s daughter Cassie to the world of superheroics (in the comics, she is a Young Avenger with Scarlet Witch’s twins Billy and Tommy and Kate Bishop, the new Hawkeye) so maybe there wasn’t room for the character anymore.

But I’m not so sure I buy it. Disney likes to avoid controversy. When they fired Gina Carano, they just took advantage of the fact that she wasn’t technically a contracted employee to go “We didn’t really fire her, she isn’t an employee.” Quantamania is still in pre-production, I’m guessing they hadn’t gotten around to signing actors for it and have just decided to cut his role because of the whole alleged human trafficking thing.

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Did Amber Heard Really Get Fired From ‘Aquaman 2’?

If rumors are to be believed, Warner Brothers fired Amber Heard from Aquaman 2 because she’s too fat, violating her contractual requirement to be in superhero shape for the film. The rumor appears to have started with Australian gossip site Sausageroll, who said that a source told them “Amber Heard did not pass her physical examination. She’s put on some pounds and is in terrible shape. There is a clause in her contract which says she is required to be in good form ahead of shooting and she violated that.”

They added that Warner was hoping that Heard would be in shape in time to start filming, but had signed Emilia Clarke to step into the part in the event Heard wasn’t in shape by then.

It’s probably not true.

Even if the reports are accurate, then Heard hasn’t been fired so much as Warner has secured a back-up plan in case she fails to make weight, so to speak.

But that’s probably not even the case, as THR reporter Ryan Parker tweeted that the reports of her firing were “inaccurate.”

Could it be the case that Heard hasn’t been fired but has been told she will be if she’s not in shape by the time filming begins? Sure, but even that seems unlikely.

It’s not unreasonable to expect someone in a superhero movie to be in superhero shape, even Kumail Nanjiani did it. But Warner has mostly been concerned with avoiding bad press and oh boy would they get bad press for essentially telling Amber Heard “sorry, no fat chicks” in 2021. The think pieces on how Warner execs were fat-shaming Heard and unrealistic superhero body types would be even more endless than they’ve been for the past 40 years. They’re going to digitally edit every frame of this movie anyway, if Heard is a little out of shape they can just slim her down in post and avoid all the controversy.

If Warner fires Heard, it’ll be because her court cases against Johnny Depp, as well as public opinion, have taken a huge swing against her from where they stand today. And I don’t see that happening, at least not on a time frame that leads to changes being made to the film.

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‘Spider-Man 3’ Has a Name and Only Spider-Man… Or Does It?

There have been a lot of rumors about Spider-Man 3 involving titles and plot and which actors will be in it, and we’ve finally gotten some solid answers about what is actually going on.

It started when Tom Holland posted the title to his Instagram, confirming that the film would be called Spider-Man: Phone Home.

Wait, what? That title sucks. Are they seriously going to call it that?

Of course not. The actual name, as revealed by Kevin Feige, is Spider-Man: No Way Home. That certainly sounds pretty multiversal to me.

Marvel has been trying to deny the multiverse aspect of the film, though. We know that Jamie Foxx and Alfred Molina are in this film, playing Electro and Doctor Octopus, the same characters they played in the Andrew Garfield and Toby Maguire films. And there have been rumors that Garfield and Maguire will be showing up in this film as, well, alternate versions of Spider-Man. Sony has wanted to cross their different Spider-Man movie series forever before Marvel Studios stepped in to make them.

Tom Holland has been insisting, however, that he’s the only Spider-Man we’ll be seeing. Via Entertainment Weekly:

“It would be amazing if they were because they [meaning Marvel] haven’t told me that yet, and I am Spider-Man and I’ve read the script from the beginning to the end,” Holland told Fallon. “So, it would be a miracle if they could’ve kept that from me, but at the moment there is no cameo from the two boys.”

I don’t think every Spider-Man film needs to involve the multiverse, but Marvel seems to be leaning into it as a concept for Phase Four. The next Dr. Strange film even has it right in the title and Spider-Man: No Way Home is to form a loose trilogy with that film and WandaVision.
Of course, you can explore the multiverse without putting those particular actors in your film, but if Spider-Man does go multiversal, I expect at least a cameo for the other theatrical Spider-Men.

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Warner Execs Thought Joss Whedon’s ‘Justice League’ Was a ‘Piece of S**t’

Joss Whedon’s bad behavior on the set of Justice League and his other projects seemingly stems from his incredibly massive, Kanye Westian ego. It wasn’t entirely unearned, either, Whedon didn’t become geek royalty by accident; Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a classic and Firefly made a huge impact with just a few episodes. Joss even did a great job with the first Avengers movie, I’ve probably watched that movie ten times.

And then there’s Justice League.

Joss Whedon was at the height of his egotism and did not come close to showing enough talent to back it up.  Now, he didn’t have an enviable task of coming into a movie that was already in production, but he rewrote and reshot a huge amount of the movie, trying to give it the same tone that had served the Marvel movies so well.

Here’s how far Whedon missed the mark: even Warner Brothers hated the movie, but at that point, they had spent a ton of money and had to put something in theaters. Hell, it had Batman in it, people are going to go see it.

Zack Snyder talked to Vanity Fair about just what the reaction to Whedon’s version of the film was.

First, there was Christopher Nolan, EP of the project and director of the Dark Knight trilogy, who had a private screening with Snyder’s wife Deborah.

“They came and they just said, ‘You can never see that movie,’” Zack Snyder says during lunch at his Pasadena office, a modernist series of cubes jutting from a hillside that overlooks the Rose Bowl.

“Because I knew it would break his heart,” his wife adds.

Keep in mind that the Snyder’s had just lost their daughter.

They weren’t the only ones who hated the movie.

Worst of all, for Warner Bros., Whedon didn’t exactly save the movie. “When we got to see what Joss actually did, it was stupefying,” says a studio executive, who requested anonymity. “The robber on the rooftop—so goofy and awful. The Russian family—so useless and pointless. Everyone knew it. It was so awkward because nobody wanted to admit what a piece of s**t it was.”

And even then, they didn’t actually want to pay to finish Snyder’s version of the film.

Initially, says Snyder, Warner Bros. just wanted to release the raw footage on his laptop. “I was like, ‘That’s a no, that’s a hard no,’” he says. “And they’re like, ‘But why? You can just put up the rough cut.’” Snyder didn’t trust their motivations. “I go, ‘Here’s why. Three reasons: One, you get the internet off your back, which is probably your main reason for wanting to do this. Two, you get to feel vindicated for making things right, I guess, on some level. And then three, you get a shitty version of the movie that you can point at and go, ‘See? It’s not that good anyway. So maybe I was right.’ I was like, No chance. I would rather just have the Snyder cut be a mythical unicorn for all time.”

Eventually, the studio shelled out the $70 million to finish Snyder’s version of the film and it’ll be on HBO Max in March. It’s not like it could actually be worse, right?

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Brett Ratner is Directing Again and Time’s Up is Pissed About It

Does “cancel culture” have any actual power? Ask Justine Sacco. But does it have any power to stop the rich and famous? No, not really. Ellen DeGeneres has been cancelled by both sides of the political spectrum and she still lives in a mansion with her hot wife who’s 15 years younger than her (back of the net). And I’ve heard more from Gina Carano since Disney announced they won’t be bringing her back for any more guest spots than I did during the entirety of The Mandalorian’s first season.

When Time’s Up and the #MeToo movement launched, critics referred to it as a witch hunt that was going to end people’s careers with unproven allegations of sexual misconduct. That hasn’t really panned out, the only people to suffer any consequences have been Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, who were both convicted by a jury of their peers. Lori Laughlin has suffered more consequences in Hollywood than most people accused of wrongdoing in the wake of #MeToo.

Rose McGowan, one of the first people to publicly accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct, essentially called the group a bunch of cowards with no ability or inclination to effect real change.

Brett Ratner is directing a biopic about Milli Vanilli he’s been working on for about a decade, his first directing job since being accused of sexual harassment by several women, including Olivia Munn.

Time’s Up issued a strongly-worded statement essentially asking why people weren’t listening to them. Via Variety:

“TIME’S UP was born out of the national reckoning on workplace sexual harassment,” said Tina Tchen, president and CEO of the Time’s Up Foundation in response to news that Ratner is set to direct the upcoming movie. “Our movement is a product of countless courageous acts by many survivors, including those who spoke out about what they endured at the hands of Brett Ratner.”

“Not only did Ratner never acknowledge or apologize for the harm he caused, but he also filed lawsuits in an attempt to silence the voices of survivors who came forward – a tactic right out of the predator’s playbook. You don’t get to go away for a couple years and then resurface and act like nothing happened. We have not – and will not – forget. And Millennium Media shouldn’t either. There should be no comeback. #wewontforgetbrett.”

Apparently, you do get to go away for a few years and then come back like nothing happened, especially if you make money. I mean, Ratner directed arguably the worst non-Wolverine: Origins X-Men movie and he’s still getting work, did we really think allegedly sexually harassing multiple women would stop him? It’s not like he hired someone to help him navigate the college admissions process who turned out to HBO be entirely on the up-and-up.

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Is Keanu Reeves Going to Play An Iconic Spider-Man Villain?

Kraven the Hunter is a bit of an anachronism in Spider-Man’s rogue’s gallery. He’s often portrayed as a famous big-game hunter who people kind of love when he shows up to hunt Spider-Man, the most dangerous game. The issue is that in 2021 people hate big game hunters. Lions killed by big game hunters have Wikipedia pages.

In the most recent Spider-Man cartoon, Spider-Man, Kraven is a reality TV star which kind of makes sense but I still can’t imagine people watching a show about a big game hunter on TLC or whatever.

At the same time, Kraven is the central character in one of the best Spider-Man stories ever, Kraven’s Last Hunt. Kraven does something that comic book villains don’t often do and he defeats Spider-Man. It ends with Kraven killing himself, essentially because he has nothing left to accomplish in life. It leaves adaptations in a rough spot because Kraven is a big part of Spider-Man’s mythology but he also has a concept that doesn’t really fit in today’s world.

So when I saw the rumors that Keanu Reeves was being approached by Sony to play Kraven in a stand-alone movie (sort of like Tom Hardy’s Venom), I was skeptical.

Sony definitely wants to milk the Spider-Man license for everything they can get from it, so the idea that they would look at Kraven for a spin-off isn’t surprising. CBR says the project is “a ‘mashup’ between Logan and Man on Fire,” which says to me it’ll have Kraven with a little kid sidekick.

One of the problems with adapting Kraven’s Last Hunt is that Kraven had been fighting the old Webhead for like 25 years when it came out. They had a history between them and it meant something for Kraven to finally defeat him. It needs build-up and space to breathe, which Logan also needed. That wouldn’t have worked as the first appearance of Logan or Professor Xavier.

But it is believable because Sony is pretty bad at making superhero movies. Really, Spider-Man 2 was a high point for superhero films, but they followed that up with Spider-Man 3 and the Amazing Spider-Man movies. Based on their track record and the leaks we’ve seen of their internal discussions, this is just the sort of thing they’d think was great.

Let’s just hope it falls apart like that Sinister Six movie they were planning.

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Zack Snyder Says His Fans Aren’t Toxic, ‘Have Done More Good Than Any Other Group’

For one reason or another, fans of Zack Snyder’s cinematic vision of the DC Universe have been vilified on the Internet. I will admit I found them a little annoying and I don’t think Man of Steel was a good movie, and I say that as a longtime Superman fan.

Still, I don’t think that liking a few bad movies and being kind of annoying about wanting to see Zack Snyder’s Justice League cut is “toxic.”

There have been endless essays (and essays that feel endless) about how Zack Snyder’s fans are terrible and releasing the Snyder Cut, which is coming to HBO Max in about a month, would be immoral and “rewarding toxic behavior.”

Those narratives mostly went away for some reason and all of the stars joined in the chorus to release the Snyder Cut.

Zack Snyder has his fans back, though, implying to CinemaBlend that the narrative that they were toxic was pushed to protect Joss Whedon.

I just think that’s sour grapes. There’s really no other way to say it. We know the people who were the architects of that narrative, and it’s pretty obvious what their agenda is. Those are people that I’ve been held back from confronting, by wiser people in the room. Because I’d love to get at some of these characters. Some direct conversation would be nice.

Whedon was a darling of feminist circles until very recently, and so I can believe people would come out of the woodwork to smear anyone implying Snyder would have done a better job.

Snyder had some really nice things to say about his fans.

And so, in what world do you have any credibility anywhere, to any- one? I would love the opportunity to just say to the world, and to fandom in general, who these fakers are and what should be done to them, or with them. It’s just a bunch of BS. In regards to that toxic fandom, or it’s ‘a win for toxic fandom,’ again, in what world does this ‘toxic fandom’ raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for suicide prevention? How is that toxic fandom? They’ve probably achieved more than any other fan base, [and done more] good than any other group. So I don’t understand.

The reason Snyder left the project is his 20-year-old daughter committed suicide. His fans stuck by him and fought for him to have the opportunity to finish what he started after he had time to heal from his personal tragedy.  He’s clearly noticed and appreciates it.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan, but I do think there’s room for superhero films that don’t follow the Marvel formula. And like I’ve said before it’s not like the Snyder Cut could possibly be worse than Whedon’s version of Justice League.

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Awards Season Starts Today, the Golden Globe Nominations are Here

It’s not unusual for most people not to have seen or even heard of most of the movies nominated for awards in any given year; the Oscars even considered adding a category for movies people had actually seen in addition to their current top honor, “Best Holocaust Drama Released in Late December on 12 Screens in Brentwood.”

This year, however, you’ve really never heard of the nominated films because even those twelve screens were closed for most of the year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s a look at what dramas are nominated.

BEST MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA

  • THE FATHER (Trademark Films; Sony Pictures Classics)
  • MANK (Netflix; Netflix)
  • NOMADLAND  (Highwayman / Hear/Say / Cor Cordium; Searchlight Pictures)
  • PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (LuckyChap Entertainment / FilmNation Entertainment; Focus Features)
  • THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 (Marc Platt Productions / Dreamworks Pictures; Netflix)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA

  • VIOLA DAVIS    MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
  • ANDRA DAY    THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY
  • VANESSA KIRBY    PIECES OF A WOMAN
  • FRANCES MCDORMAND    NOMADLAND
  • CAREY MULLIGAN    PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA

  • RIZ AHMED    SOUND OF METAL
  • CHADWICK BOSEMAN    MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
  • ANTHONY HOPKINS    THE FATHER
  • GARY OLDMAN    MANK
  • TAHAR RAHIM    THE MAURITANIAN

Even the movies that were on Netflix don’t sound familiar, and you can’t go five minutes without seeing an ad for something on Netflix. I do recall hearing about The Trial of the Chicago 7 at one point, but I’m still assuming Mank will win because it’s the sort of “Hollywood are the real heroes” stories that awards voters love.

There were so few movies released this year that the Golden Globes had to nominate comedies for Best Comedy or Musical.

BEST MOTION PICTURE – MUSICAL OR COMEDY

  • BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM (Four By Two Films; Amazon Studios)
  • HAMILTON (Walt Disney Pictures / RadicalMedia / 5000 Broadway Productions / NEVIS Productions / Old 320 Sycamore Pictures; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
  • MUSIC (Pineapple Lasagne Productions / Landay Entertainment; Vertical Entertainment / IMAX)
  • PALM SPRINGS (Party Over Here / Limelight Productions; NEON / Hulu)
  • THE PROM (Netflix / Dramatic Forces / Storykey Entertainment; Netflix)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – MUSICAL OR COMEDY

  • MARIA BAKALOVA    BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM
  • KATE HUDSON    MUSIC
  • MICHELLE PFEIFFER    FRENCH EXIT
  • ROSAMUND PIKE    I CARE A LOT
  • ANYA TAYLOR-JOY    EMMA.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – MUSICAL OR COMEDY

  • SACHA BARON COHEN    BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM
  • JAMES CORDEN    THE PROM
  • LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA    HAMILTON
  • DEV PATEL    THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD
  • ANDY SAMBERG    PALM SPRINGS

Of course Hamilton is going to win. There’s nothing in the world rich white people like more than Hamilton. Personally, I would probably give it to Palm Springs, which managed to be a funny and deep tale on a premise you probably rolled your eyes at when you heard it.

BEST TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA

  • THE CROWN – NETFLIX (Left Bank Pictures / Sony Pictures Television)
  • LOVECRAFT COUNTRY – HBO (HBO / Afemme / Monkeypaw / Bad Robot / Warner Bros. Television)
  • THE MANDALORIAN – DISNEY+ (Lucasfilm Ltd.)
  • OZARK – NETFLIX (MRC Television)
  • RATCHED – NETFLIX (Fox21 Television Studios)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA

  • OLIVIA COLMAN    THE CROWN
  • JODIE COMER    KILLING EVE
  • EMMA CORRIN    THE CROWN
  • LAURA LINNEY    OZARK
  • SARAH PAULSON    RATCHED

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA

  • JASON BATEMAN    OZARK
  • JOSH O’CONNOR    THE CROWN
  • BOB ODENKIRK    BETTER CALL SAUL
  • AL PACINO    HUNTERS
  • MATTHEW RHYS    PERRY MASON

I think this comes down to Ozark and The Crown, even though neither of those shows thought to go “Hey, remember Boba Fett and Luke Skywalker. They were pretty cool. What if we make them even cooler so adults watching with their kids feel like kids again?”

BEST TELEVISION SERIES – MUSICAL OR COMEDY

  • EMILY IN PARIS – NETFLIX (Darren Star Productions / Jax Media / MTV Studios)
  • THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT – HBO MAX (HBO Max / Berlanti Productions / Yes, Norman Productions / Warner Bros. Television)
  • THE GREAT – HULU (Hulu / Civic Center Media / MRC)
  • SCHITT’S CREEK – POP TV (Not A Real Company Productions / Canadian Broadcast Company / Pop TV)
  • TED LASSO – APPLE TV+ (Apple / Doozer Productions / Warner Bros. Television / Universal Television)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES – MUSICAL OR COMEDY

  • LILY COLLINS    EMILY IN PARIS
  • KALEY CUOCO    THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT
  • ELLE FANNING    THE GREAT
  • JANE LEVY    ZOEY’S EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST
  • CATHERINE O’HARA    SCHITT’S CREEK

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – MUSICAL OR COMEDY

  • DON CHEADLE    BLACK MONDAY
  • NICHOLAS HOULT    THE GREAT
  • EUGENE LEVY    SCHITT’S CREEK
  • JASON SUDEIKIS    TED LASSO
  • RAMY YOUSSEF    RAMY

Schitt’s Creek is going to sweep everything this year. That show became a cultural phenomenon and they’re going to reward the final season with bags full of award statues. And I get that you love Jane Levy but you’re going to have to live with the fact that you nominated Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist for an award for the rest of human existence. Hope it was worth it.

Of course, the old expression in Hollywood is “you win and Oscar, you buy a Golden Globe,” so it might come down to who has the best “For Your Consideration” campaign. So don’t count out Emily in Paris, Netflix loves to spend money on awards.

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