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    Why Movies are Underperforming — The Obvious Answer

    This is more of an addendum to my earlier rant about why all media feels disappointing these days. But focused on movies. But that’s a big chunk because pretty much all eyes are on movies these days. Aren’t you sick of headlines that say “XYZ Underperforms at the box office”? Napoleon was out for two days and it was labeled as underperforming. I don’t know if these movies are good or bad or simply not interesting, they’re just underperforming and I don’t know what I’m supposed to take from that. The Marvels, Trolls: Band Together, The Little Mermaid, Fast X, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, Elemental, Oppenheimer, Killers of the…

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    Maybe It’s Us (Why Is Recent Movies and TV So Disappointing)

    Are my expectations too high? Is it wrong to have high expectations of media? They can make magic… so why aren’t they? Why does it feel like everything anticipated in the last year/year and a half has been a disappointment? Why are they filling the void with Space Jam 2 and Trolls 3 and Five Nights at Freddy’s and another Saw movie and another Fast and Furious movie and Blue Beetle and Shazam 2 and another Indiana Jones and Disney live-action remakes and, of course, anything from Marvel. MOVIES Avatar 2 was more of the same, another bloated military rah-rah explosions and gunsfest. Lightyear puts its message before the story.…

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    I Read the Short Circuit Novel So You Don’t Have To (and here are the differences)

    Did you know there was a novelization of Short Circuit? I didn’t. And if you’ve been paying any kind of attention to this blog, you’d know that Short Circuit is my favorite movie. Has been since I was a kid. So when I found this on a used book site, I jumped at the shopping cart. Maybe I’d find some deleted scenes or altered information. Because novelizations are based on the shooting script, not the final product. For instance, the Independence Day novel includes more scenes of Randy Quaid and his family, enduring them to the audience. I’m sure these are deleted scenes on the DVD, but back in 1996,…

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    Diagnosing the Problem with Ant-Man: Quantumania

    “Explaining humor is a lot like dissecting a frog. You learn a lot in the process, but in the end you kill it.” Mark Twain In my never-ending quest to dissect stories to the point where they resemble so much fleshy bits on a slab (if this is Marvel, would this be Throg?), I just saw Ant-Man: Quantumania, the first of Marvel’s Phase Five, where we stop dealing with the consequences of Infinity War/Endgame and start getting real with the multiverse and Kang the Conqueror. Quantumania was universally panned for being “just another Marvel movie.” Another notch in the interminably average fare Disney/Marvel has been churning out since Avengers: Endgame.…

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    The Truth About the Mario Movie That We Need to Acknowledge

    Look, the truth is, I didn’t much care for the new Mario movie. Granted, it’s for a different audience than a forty-year-old cis white software developer. It’s for the kids who think Minions are the shizznit and that the cops are like Paw Patrol. It’ll be on in the background of daycares for years to come with its bright and colorful visuals and catchy sound. But its storytelling is thinner than Kate Moss standing next to Cara Delevingne. Bowser does nothing but sing “peaches” over and over again. The maguffin has less of a purpose than the briefcase in Pulp Fiction. Why do the Penguins have it? Why are there…

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    My Kindertrauma: The Cinemax “CHILLS” Hand

    So when I was a kid we had cable and we got a few premium channels. One of them was HBO, which was a blessing of movies. Not only did it have Fraggle Rock (and woe to anyone who could not partake of this divine show), but it also had that legendary promo before its feature presentations. The other channels had similar sequences, one of which was Cinemax, which would come on a free preview weekend. My father taped Short Circuit, my favorite movie, during one of these instances before I was old enough to remember. Cinemax’s movie announcement wasn’t as epic as HBO’s, but it was more, shall we…

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    We Have Passed Peak Movie Theater

    With the underperformance of every Summer and Winter blockbuster this year (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Strange World, Avatar: The Way of Water), it’s clear the movie theater is dying. You will never see another blockbuster box-office banger like Avatar or Avengers: Endgame or Titanic or The Dark Knight, even though most of those are recent movies (which might just be because of inflation, giving you an idea of how big 1997’s Titanic was). And that’s because of two reasons. 1. People are crowd shy since the pandemic. It’s baked into us now — six feet, superspreader events, wash your hands. Any event with crowds comes with an implicit warning sticker…

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    Predator: Earth is “Hunting for Dummies”

    I love Predator movies, but the more I see them, the more I become convinced of my fan theory that Earth is their planet for “remedial hunters”. It’s where they take the Predators that are “a little slow”. The ones who need more training. Of course, the stupidest Predator is still more than a match for any human, but that’s also why they keep getting killed by us. Sure, it makes for good cinema, but it doesn’t make sense in-universe. 1. Humans are easy to kill. We have no defensive mechanisms–no armor, no plates on our backs, no spiked tails, no blood shooting from our eyes, no acid blasting out…

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    The Slap Heard Round the World

    Let’s be clear. On Sunday night, two bad things happened. When I saw it, I knew A) it was all anyone was going to be talking about next morning (the memes must flow) and B) it was going to split the nation down the middle. The question now is which was worse. The buzz seems to be that Will Smith was wrong and should have been escorted out. But I’m also seeing lots of women saying they liked his defense of his wife and thought he was justified. Here are the two big questions I had–Was Chris Rock’s joke worth it? Was Will Smith “White Knight“ing? First, let’s look at…

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    Eternals: The Follow-Up

    Since I talked about Eternals when the trailer first came out, I figured I’d circle back now that I’ve seen the movie. I’ve got to admit, it was better than I expected, but it’s not without faults. Does it deserve to be the lowest-rated Marvel movie? (48% on Rotten Tomatoes) It should live in that pool, but lowest doesn’t mean worst. The Good I was surprised at how good the storytelling was for an ensemble cast. I knew everyone’s names and identities and personalities. I know it’s hard to tell a story with more than one main character. That’s why so few stories do it. X-Men was able to do…