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30 Actors Who Regretted Superhero Roles

Landing a part in the latest major superhero movie release represents the pinnacle of many an acting career. Michael Keaton, Hugh Jackman, Chris Evans and, to some extent, Robert Downey Jr might not be the household names they are today were it not for their comic book exploits.

However, while headlining the latest cinematic effort involving a caped crusader of some kind represents a dream come true for many, it’s proven to be something of a nightmare for a rare few. Bad scripts, difficult directors and a toxic work environment are just some of the many myriad reasons cited by the actors and actresses in this list – yet that’s really only the tip of the iceberg. Studio politics, stalled contract negotiations or issues around costume, make-up and iffy computer effects have also played a role in making these superhero movies not-so-super for the stars involved.

More often than not, the resulting movie has been forgettable at best and downright terrible at worst – but there are exceptions to the rule. Sometimes, an actor ended up enduring a miserable time on an otherwise enjoyable project. Other times, far sinister things were going on, unbeknownst to many involved in the finished movie.

Plenty of flops feature on this countdown but some major moneymakers can be found too, with comic book movie properties tied to Marvel, 2000AD, DC and Titan Comics all present and not very correct. Yes, landing a part in the latest superhero movie blockbuster has represented the pinnacle of many an acting career down the years but for this lot, it represented the pits.

Here are 30 Actors Who Regretted Superhero Roles.

30 Hugo Weaving – Red Skull

Hugo Weaving originally signed a multi-picture deal to play the Red Skull across various future Captain America movies. However, when the character returned in Avengers: Infinity War the character had been recast with The Walking Dead’s Ross Marquand taking Weaving’s place. It wasn’t a huge shock.

A few years prior, The Matrix actor told Collider playing the Red Skull was “not something I would want to do again.”

“It’s not the sort of film I seek out and really am excited by,” he said. “I increasingly like to go back to what I used to always do, which is to get involved with projects that I really have a personal affiliation with.”

29 Ryan Reynolds – Green Lantern

Ryan Reynolds has made no secret of the fact things didn’t exactly go to plan with 2011’s Green Lantern. He even went as far as to include a gag, poking fun at the project, in Deadpool 2. Though it’s something he is able to laugh about now, it’s clear the actor regrets signing on that particular dotted line.

“When we shot Green Lantern, nobody auditioning for the role of Green Lantern was given the opportunity to read the script because the script didn’t exist,” Reynolds told The Hollywood Reporter. The experience did at least teach him some valuable lessons about making superhero movies which was good news for Deadpool fans.

28 Jessica Alba – Invisible Woman

Jessica Alba’s experience playing Sue Storm in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer was so bad it left her considering a career change. “I wanted to stop acting. I hated it. I really hated it,” Alba told Elle [via SyFy].

“I remember when I was dying in ‘Silver Surfer’. The director [Tim Story] was like, ‘It looks too real. It looks too painful. Can you be prettier when you cry? Cry pretty, Jessica.’ He was like, ‘Don’t do that thing with your face. Just make it flat. We can CGI the tears in.'” She continued: “It all got me thinking: Am I not good enough?”

27 Ben Affleck – Daredevil

Ben Affleck doesn’t just regret starring in the 2003 movie adaptation of Daredevil, he hates it. Affleck let his feelings be known to TimeTalks [via NME] during a discussion about why he signed on for Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. Affleck said: “Part of it was I wanted for once to get one of these movies and do it right – to do a good version. I hate Daredevil so much.”

“The Netflix show does really cool stuff,” he added.

“I feel like that was there for us to do with that character, and we never kind of got it right. I wanted to do one of those movies and sort of get it right,” Affleck stated.

26 Terrence Howard – War Machine

Terrence Howard has always blamed Robert Downey Jr for the fact he never got to reprise the role of James Rhodes in the Iron Man sequels. “It turns out that the person that I helped become Iron Man, when it was time to re-up for the second one, took the money that was supposed to go to me and pushed me out,” Howard told Watch What Happens Live [via Vulture].

Howard claims the studio offered to pay him “one-eighth of what we contractually had” and when he tried to call Downey Jr to talk about it “he didn’t call me back for three months.”

25 Idris Elba – Heimdall

Idris Elba’s experience working on Thor: The Dark World was so bad the actor described parts of it as “torture” to The Telegraph. In the interview, Elba recalled how he was forced to complete reshoots in London for the Thor sequel just days after return from filming the prestige biopic Mandela, in South Africa.

“In between takes I was stuck there [hanging from a harness], fake hair stuck on to my head with glue, this fucking helmet, while they reset, he said. “And I’m thinking: ‘24 hours ago, I was Mandela.’ … Then there I was, in this stupid harness, with this wig and this sword and these contact lenses. It ripped my heart out.”

24 Ryan Reynolds – Wolverine: X-Men Origins

Ryan Reynolds’ appearance as Deadpool in Wolverine: X-Men Origins was plagued with problems, starting with the character’s appearance. “He wound up being this abomination of Deadpool that was like Barakapool, with his mouth sewn shut and weird blades that came out of his hands and these strange tattoos and stuff like that,” he told GQ.

Though Reynolds objected, the studio pressed on.

“The conversation at the time was ‘If you want to play Deadpool, this is your chance to introduce him. And if you don’t want to introduce him in this fashion, we’ll have someone else play him.'”When the film leaked online and fans reacted angrily, Reynolds response was simple: “told you so”.

23 Ed Norton – Hulk

Ed Norton clashed with producers behind the scenes on The Incredible Hulk, having only agreed to play Bruce Banner on the proviso he could have a say on the script and direction of the film. Replaced by Mark Ruffalo in the MCU, Norton couldn’t resist having a dig at the film during an appearance on Comedy Central’s Roast of Bruce Willis.

“I tried to be like you,” he told Willis [via Indiewire]. “I did a big action movie called The Incredible Hulk. You know what went wrong? I wanted a better script…I thought we should make one Marvel movie as good as the worst Christopher Nolan movie, but what the hell was I thinking.”

22 George Clooney – Batman

Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin may have fallen flat with critics and fans alike but it proved to be a serious career wake-up call for its star, George Clooney. “Up until that moment, I was an actor only concerned with finding work,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “After the failure of that film creatively, I understood that I needed to take control of the films I made, not just the role.”

Clooney successfully banished memories of his time as Batman with next three films: Out of Sight, Three Kings and O Brother, Where Art Thou?

21 Tommy Lee Jones – Two-Face

Tommy Lee Jones hated working on Batman Forever or, rather, he hated working with co-star Jim Carrey. “I was the star and that was the problem,” Carrey explained on Norm MacDonald Live [via THR].

The situation came to a head when Carrey ended up in the same restaurant as Jones during filming.

“I went over and I said, ‘Hey Tommy, how are you doing?’ and the blood just drained from his face,” Carrey said. “He went to hug me and he said, ‘I hate you. I really don’t like you.’ And I said, ‘What’s the problem?’ and pulled up a chair, which probably wasn’t smart. And he said, ‘I cannot sanction your buffoonery.'”

20 Topher Grace – Venom

Topher Grace never felt entirely comfortable in the role of Eddie Brock/Venom having bagged the role in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3. “I was a huge fan of the character of Venom when I was a kid when Todd McFarlane brought him into the comic,” he told Michael Rosenbaum on the Inside of You podcast [via Cinemablend]. “And I was surprised and a little bit like ‘Huh?’ when they wanted me to play it.”

Not only does Grace accept he was miscast, but he also agrees Tom Hardy is perfect for the role. “When I look at it now… [at Tom Hardy’s Venom movie] I go ‘That’s the guy.'”

19 Mickey Rourke – Ivan Vanko

Micky Rourke trashed the bigwigs over at Marvel Studios for what they did to his character Ivan Vanko, in Iron Man 2. Rourke told Syfy that he had worked hard with writer Justin Theroux and director Jon Favreau to flesh out his Russian villain and turn him into a three-dimensional character. Someone behind-the-scenes had other ideas though.

“I wanted to bring some other layers and colors, not just make this Russian a complete murderous revenging bad guy,” he said. “Unfortunately, the [people] at Marvel just wanted a one-dimensional bad guy, so most of the performance ended up the floor.”

18 Alicia Silverstone – Batgirl

Alicia Silverstone was on the receiving end of some serious body shaming while working on Batman & Robin. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Silverstone, who was a huge star following the success of Clueless, was under intense scrutiny over her weight with one critic reportedly observing she “looked more Babe than babe.”

When rumor got out on set that she was having issues with her costume fittings, a storyboard artist ever put together a joke cartoon of Batgirl, mocking Silverstone’s issues.

The fake poster for Clueless 2: The Casting of Batgirl might have gone down well with the guys in the film’s art department but studio bosses were far from impressed.

17 Nicolas Cage – Ghost Rider

Nicolas Cage has previously spoken of his disappointment at his two Ghost Rider movies, which he felt played it too safe. Speaking to JoBlo [via Bloody Disgusting], Cage explained that he and writer David S. Goyer had always envisioned the films as being gritty and, most importantly, R-rated.

“Ghost Rider was a movie that always should’ve been an R-rated movie,” Cage said. “David Goyer had a brilliant script which I wanted to do with David, and for whatever reason, they just didn’t let us make the movie.” Though he believes there is the potential for someone else to take on the role and go down that dark path, Cage is done with the character.

16 Jim Carrey – Colonel Stars And Stripes

Jim Carrey stunned social media ahead of the release of Kick-Ass 2 by denouncing the film and its “level of violence” in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre. Carrey, who is an outspoken advocate for increased gun control, took to Twitter following the incident to explain that he could no longer support the film.

“I did Kick-Ass 2 a month b4 Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence,” he wrote [via The Guardian]. “My apologies to others involve[d] with the film. I am not ashamed of it but recent events have caused a change in my heart.”

15 Michael Jai White – Spawn

He may have been among the first African American actors to portray a major comic book superhero but Michael Jai White has little love for his sole outing as Spawn. In fact, White is a much bigger fan of his small but powerful role as the gangster Gambol in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.

He even went as far as to conduct an interview with The Hollywood Reporter revisiting his performance alongside Heath Ledger.

During the interview, White couldn’t resist having a dig at Spawn: “There is no footage of me ever saying that I liked Spawn. I have never said that I thought that was a good movie.” Ouch.

14 Jared Leto – The Joker

Jared Leto was left far from happy with the version of Suicide Squad that made it to the cinemas. Asked by IGN whether any scenes involving the Joker were cut from the film, Leto let rip.

“There were so many scenes that got cut from the movie, I couldn’t even start. I think that the Joker… we did a lot of experimentation on the set, we explored a lot. There’s so much that we shot that’s not in the film,” he said. “If I die anytime soon, it’s probably likely that it’ll surface somewhere. That’s the good news about the death of an actor is all that stuff seems to come out.”

13 Halle Berry – Catwoman

Halle Berry’s regret at signing up for Catwoman was clear to see when she decided to make an appearance at the annual Razzie Awards back in 2005. A celebration of the year’s worst films and performances, Berry ‘won’ the Worst Actress gong for her efforts in Catwoman and, in a surprising turn of events, was on hand to deliver a memorable acceptance speech.

“I want to thank Warner Bros. for casting me in this piece-of-sh**, god-awful movie,” she said [via MTV], going on to mock the rest of her cast. “I’d like to thank the rest of the cast. To give a really bad performance like mine, you need to have really bad actors.”

12 Alan Cumming – Nightcrawler

Back when Alan Cumming was still in the frame to reprise his role as Nightcrawler in X-Men: The Last Stand, the Scottish actor shocked journalists with his response to the news Bryan Singer would not be returning for the third installment.

“I’m not disappointed, I can’t deny it,” Cumming said [via Movieweb]. “I think he’s really talented. I’m very proud of the film. I think it’s a great film. I didn’t enjoy working with him on the film.”

Evidently, Singer and Cumming didn’t see eye to eye on X-Men 2 though the source of their fractious relationship has never been divulged.

11 Ellen Page – Kitty Pryde

Ellen Page took to Facebook in 2017 to accuse director Brett Ratner of harassment during their time together on 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand. According to Page, Ratner mocked her sexuality during promotional work for the film. Page was only 18 at the time.

“‘You should f*** her to make her realize she’s gay.’ He said this about me during a cast and crew ‘meet and greet’ before we began filming, X Men: The Last Stand,” Page wrote. “He looked at a woman standing next to me, ten years my senior, pointed to me and said: ‘You should f*** her to make her realize she’s gay.’”

10 Michael Fassbender – Magneto

Back in 2016, during the Toronto Film Festival’s pre-opening-night fundraising event, honoree Michael Fassbender surprised those in attendance by laying into his performance as Magneto in X-Men: Days of Future Past. According to Vulture, during a segment in which clips from several of Fassbender’s films were shown, Fassbender started “cringing and rubbing his face with embarrassment”.

“I don’t actually like that performance there, to be honest,” Fassbender said after the highlights reel finished. “I just think it’s me shouting. It’s just like [making a face and flailing his arms around] some dude shouting.”

9 Jamie Bell – Thing

Rumoured unrest on the set of Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four movie, coupled with the movie’s bad reviews left a bad taste in the mouth of its star, Jamie Bell. “There were several things on that movie I was clearly not privy to because I’m just an actor and I just do my stuff on set,” Bell told the Los Angeles Times.

“Everything starts with the best of intentions. A production begins with the idea to make something that’s unique and original and with integrity,” he said.

“I don’t know what happened between the launch of the voyage and the arrival. I think we were all bitterly disappointed with that film,” stated Bell.

8 Josh Brolin – Jonah Hex

Production delays, directorial changes, script rewrites, reshoots, and some pretty heavy-handed editing helped make Jonah Hex one of the most disappointing comic book movies of all time. It’s something the film’s star, Josh Brolin, is only too aware of. In fact, he revealed in an interview with the Nerdist that he hates it just as much as everyone else.

“Oh, ‘Jonah Hex,’ hated it. Hated it,” he said [via Collider]. “The experience of making it — that would have been a better movie based on what we did. As opposed to what ended up happening to it, which is going back and reshooting 66 pages in 12 days.”

7 Jennifer Garner – Elektra

While Ben Affleck bounced back from his Daredevil movie, Jennifer Garner never quite got going again after her spin-off effort, Elektra, bombed. Though Garner has never spoken openly about the film, her ex-boyfriend and close friend Michael Vartan revealed to Us Weekly [via SFGate] that the Alias actress was very unhappy with how the film turned out.

“I heard [Elektra] was awful. [Jennifer] called me and told me it was awful,” Vartan said. “She had to do it because of Daredevil. It was in her contract.” Garner has never denied Vartan’s claims.

6 Edward Furlong – The Crow

The Crow: Wicked Prayer is an absolute stinker of a comic book movie and currently boasts a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

It’s star, Edward Furlong, struggled to show much in the way of enthusiasm for the role during an interview with Movieweb.

Asked about how he prepared for the film’s starring role, Furlong said: “It’s sort of like a really slow process that Lance Mungia, the director, and I went through. Initially, I was just attracted to the script because it was The Crow and I got to put on some leather pants and kick people’s ass.” Given how it turned out, he must be regretting signing up for such flimsy reasons.

5 Chloë Grace Moretz – Hit-Girl

Chloe Moretz made her name as Hit Girl in Mark Millar’s original Kick-Ass but, despite the first film holding a special place in her heart, she’s always been less enthusiastic about the sequel.

During an appearance on a panel at the Provincetown Film Festival in 2018, Moretz made those feelings crystal clear. “I love the franchise, I think the first movie was really, really special. I wish the second one had been handled in a little bit of a different way,” she said [via Cinemablend]. “Because I think we were all kind of looking forward to something a little different than what happened with it all.”

4 Kate Mara – The Invisible Woman

Kate Mara played Sue Storm in Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four movie and, in an interview with The Times[via Yahoo] revealed the negative aura surrounding the film made her “a little gun-shy” about seeing the finished film.

“You don’t always have to learn some incredible life lesson when making a s*** movie. Sometimes it’s just what happens,” she said. “[Fantastic Four] was a tricky shoot but you know when you know when you’re shooting it that a film isn’t going to be what you want it to be? That was not the case at all.”

3 Jamie Kennedy – The Mask

Son of the Mask saw Jamie Kennedy replace Jim Carrey as the franchise’s star, with almost unwatchable results.

Though the movie is widely regarded as one of the worst ever made, Kennedy’s biggest regret may boil down to the make-up he had to wear on the film.

“I wore it 6 days in a row, and after that it gets rough,” he told Movieweb. “I had ears in this one, and Jim Carrey didn’t in the first one, so they would like press against my real ears and cut the circulation, so I would have to like rub my ears a bit after having on the makeup to get the blood flowing again.”

2 Sylvester Stallone – Judge Dredd

Despite starring in such turkeys as Over The Top, Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot and Oscar, Sylvester Stallone’s biggest regret was reserved for another movie. “The biggest mistake I ever made was with the sloppy handling of Judge Dredd” he once declared [via Den of Geek]. “The philosophy of the film was not set in stone – by that I mean, ‘Is this going to be a serious drama or with comic overtones’, like other science fiction films that were successful? So a lotta pieces just didn’t fit smoothly.”

“The design work on it was fantastic, and the sets were incredibly real, even standing two feet away, but there was just no communication,” he stated.

1 Lori Petty – Tank Girl

Lori Petty had a very particular gripe with the way things turned out for her Tank Girl movie: it was given an R rating. “There is nothing about that movie that is R. Nothing. Except there’s a woman talking s***. That’s why they rated it R. If they were going to rate it R I should have been butt-naked all the time, running around,” she told AV Club.

Tommy Boy came out that weekend, too, which is a hysterical movie, but it was rated PG-13. Do you know how many people bought Tommy Boy tickets and went to see Tank Girl? A billion.”

Are there any other superhero actors who regretted their roles? Sound off in the comments!



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2018-10-08 03:10:25 – Jack Beresford

10 Best Disney Movies According to Rotten Tomatoes (And 10 With Almost 0%)

After all these years, Disney movies remain the gold standard in family entertainment. Starting from the back of a realty office in Hollywood back in 1928, Disney is now a brand worth billions of dollars. But it’s not just money—Disney’s cultural influence is worldwide and manages to stay relevant with each subsequent generation. There’s no underestimating the power of nostalgia; chances are if someone grew up liking Disney movies, they’re probably a fan for life. Walt Disney pioneered the idea of feature-length animated movies, an idea considered ridiculous at the time. They would be too expensive to make, and what self-respecting adult would pay money to see a full-length animated film? Turns out everyone wanted to, especially those with kids. At the time, there was no such thing as a full-production studio dedicated to animated films—so with the profits of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Walt Disney built one. From there, it was only a short period of time before Disney branched out into producing live-action films, and before anyone knew it, Disney dominated the family entertainment market.

Since then, Disney has expanded its intellectual properties to include Marvel, Star Wars, ABC, and 20th Century Fox. This makes Disney virtually unstoppable. Some meme artists have even depicted Mickey Mouse as Thanos, with its individual properties the different gems in the Infinity Gauntlet. But there were a few hiccups along the way. Disney has had tremendous success with its films, but people tend to forget that even the mighty occasionally fall. Here are the 10 best Disney movies according to the ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, along with the 10 worst.

20 Best: Pinnochio (100%)

Pinnochio was Walt Disney’s second animated feature, released shortly after the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Like its predecessor, it had gorgeous visuals with a painstaking attention to every element of the production. Unlike Snow White, it initially flopped at the box office. Luckily, Walt Disney had faith in the movie and gave it a second release to recover production costs. The plan worked, and Pinocchio eventually earned enough money to put it back into the black.

The iconic “When You Wish Upon A Star” theme from the film is still synonymous with the Disney brand.

The artists of Pinnochio helped pioneered advances in effects animation, which specialized on non-character elements that move, such as water or fire. The animated ocean effects during the Monstro sequence were the most ambitious water effects ever achieved for its time.

19 Worst: That Darn Cat (13%)

If nobody remembers this movie, it’s partially because it came in and of the theatre pretty fast. A remake of Disney’s moderately successful live-action That Darn Cat from 1965, the 1997 version was not nearly as successful. Starring Cristina Ricci as Patti, the plot features a cat that becomes “witness” to a kidnapping gone wrong. Patti eventually convinces the authorities to investigate and she becomes central in helping to solve the details of the crime and eventual rescue.

The reviews of the film were dismal. One critic described it as “…a desperate dip into utter conventionality: dull car chases, explosions, inept slapstick.” Another says it is a “…disappointing, rather warmed over Disney offering.” Despite this, Cristina Ricci was nominated for two awards for her performance in the film, a Kid’s Choice Awards, and a Young Artist’s Ward.

18 Best: Mary Poppins (100%)

The mostly live-action Mary Poppins was a smash-hit. It earned 13 Academy Award film nominations and won five, including Best Actress, Best Original Score, and Best Visual Effects. It’s easy to see why. Julie Andrews brought her amazing charisma to the performance, dazzling audiences with her ability to sing, dance, and easily handle comedy intended for children. The songs are memorable, with several such as A Spoonful of Sugar and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious becoming part of the American culture.

Disney had experimented with combining live action with animation before, but never in such an ambitious way. For many, their favorite part of the film is where Mary Poppins, Burt the Chimney Sweep, and the Banks children jump into the chalk drawing and have a little adventure in an animated world. Disney is releasing the sequel, Mary Poppins Returns, in December of 2018.

17 Worst: My Favorite Martian (12%)

Based on the 1960’s television show of the same name, My Favorite Martian tells the story of a humanoid Martian (Christopher Lloyd) that crash lands on earth. He enlists the help of a reporter in a funk to put him up while he tries to repair his spaceship and get home.

Though reviews were generally kind to Christopher Lloyd, the movie as a whole was mostly disliked by critics.

Said one reviewer on Rotten Tomatoes, “An utterly pointless and unimaginative remake based on the classic ’60s sitcom…a meteoric misfire.” Another gets right to the point: “A terrible movie. Beware.” My Favorite Martian did earn three nominations…of The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards. It was nominated for Worst Resurrection of a TV Show, Most Botched Comic Relief and Most Painfully Unfunny Comedy.

16 Best: The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (100%)

Like most Disney movies, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh was adapted from existing source material. It’s based on characters from short stories from the author A. A. Milne. The film focuses on young Christopher Robin and his stuffed bear, and a menagerie of other stuffed animals come to life. The movie is a collection of animated shorts edited together into a feature-length film.

Surprisingly, the Winnie the Pooh franchise is worth much more than one might imagine. Variety estimated the sales of merchandise related to Winnie the Pooh topped over $5 billion, which among Disney properties, is second only to Mickey Mouse. Disney released a live action movie, Christopher Robin, based on an adult Christopher Robin rediscovering Winnie the Pooh and his friends in August of 2018.

15 Worst: Cinderella II: Dreams Come True (11%)

One would think that after one of the most stereotypical happy endings of all time, writers would have a hard time coming up with a good sequel for Cinderella. One would be right. Cinderella II: Dreams Come True is actually an anthology movie that ties together three Cinderella short stories into one film. The first story describes her struggle to be herself as a new princess. The second follows Jaq the mouse feeling left out. And the third shows how Cinderella tries to teach one of her step-sisters how to smile. Seriously.

This direct-to-video sequel wasn’t liked by critics. One top critic says simply, “Do not see this film.” Another, quite dramatically, announces, “A screaming black vortex of total, irredeemable awfulness.” A quick glance through other remarks reveals similarly negative responses. Nevertheless, Cinderella II: Dreams Come True still made approximately $120 million in sales.

14 Best: Toy Story (100%)

Toy Story was ambitious in scope, it being the first animated Disney feature that was fully animated with CGI. Audiences had never seen this kind of animated film before and impressed audiences made the movie a runaway hit. Though CGI animated movies have come a long way since then, Toy Story still holds up. The interplay between Woody the Cowboy (played by Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) is the highlight of the film. Though they have different perceptions of reality, they learn to work together to make sure they don’t get left behind in their boy Andy’s move.

Toy Story garnered three Academy Award nominations and won a Special Achievement Academy Award for being the first feature-length computer-animated film. It has two hit sequels, with a third in production.

13 Worst: Blank Check (11%)

What if a kid found a blank check that allowed him to spend a million dollars? That’s the intriguing premise behind Blank Check, a movie that didn’t really build a successful story out of this great idea. Through an implausible series of events, young Preston Waters is given a blank check to help pay for a bicycle accident involving a car. But he’s given the wrong check, and the person who gave it to him is a criminal. Preston spends the rest of the movie spending lavishly while trying to avoid the authorities and the criminal who is hot on his tail.

One top critic explains it’s “One of those smart-aleck kid adventures that manages to be entirely obnoxious with very little effort.” A Rotten Tomatoes super reviewer hilariously opined, “If you loved Home Alone, you’ll still gonna hate Blank Check!”

12 Best: Darby O’Gill and the Little People (100%)

Though many modern audiences have never heard of Darby O’Gill and the Little People, it probably remains the most successful movie ever made about Leprechauns. In the film, the aging laborer and caretaker Darby O’Gill has spent much of his life trying to catch the Leprechauns. One day, in his old age, he is actually caught by them. He spends the rest of the film strategizing how he will spend the three wishes granted upon him by Brian, the King of the Leprechauns.

The film also features a young and dashing Sean Connery as Michael McBride, the love interest to Darby O’Gill’s daughter.

Though it won no awards, it has been critically well-received over the years and had state-of-the-art special effects for its day.

11 Worst: Mr. Magoo (7%)

The character of Mr. Magoo was a successful cartoon character from the late 40’s through the 50’s. The running gag for each story was that millionaire Mr. Magoo was practically blind, which led him into comically dangerous situations. Mr. Magoo was also amazingly lucky, which seemed to save him every time.

The Disney adaptation starred Leslie Nielsen, an actor beloved for being able to handle silly comedy with a straight face. But it just wasn’t enough to save the film, which seemed to suffer from the repetitive and unfunny gags. Critics were beyond cruel to the film. One announced, “The movie is an insult to the intelligence of the entire human race.” Another agrees, “Mr. Magoo is transcendently bad. It soars above ordinary badness as the eagle outreaches the fly. There is not a laugh in it. Not one.”

10 Best: Toy Story 2 (100%)

After the runaway success of the first Toy Story, a sequel seemed inevitable. Somehow avoiding the curse of most sequels being inferior to the original, Toy Story 2 managed to be a moving story which many think is even better than the first. It also introduced a brand new character to the saga, Jesse the Cowgirl.

Toy Story 2 has one of the most heartbreaking songs in Disney’s collection, When She Loved Me, performed by Sarah McLachlan. The song describes being abandoned by the child she loved, a sequence that left hardly a dry eye in the house. It went on to become a smash hit, just like the first one. Though it won no academy awards, it won many independent awards and some argue it is the best Toy Story movie of the entire franchise.

9 Worst: A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (5%)

A Kid in King Arthur’s Court is very loosely based on Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, a story that has been adapted into several other films. Modern ’90s kid Calvin Fuller is playing baseball for his team when an earthquake hits. A chasm opens up on the field and he falls in. Calvin is inexplicably transported to England in the age of King Arthur, where he quickly wows the locals with his modern knowledge. While there, he also falls in love with the local princess.

Critics seemed to be surprised this was a Disney film. One critic laments, “Rarely do the well-financed wizards at Walt Disney Pictures cook up a movie this badly written, acted, and directed.” Another says, “Sitting through it, I found myself shuddering at what Disney may have in store for next summer.”

8 Best: Old Yeller (100%)

Old Yeller was famous for ruining many a childhood with a depressing plot twist, the on-screen demise of its titular dog. After saving his family multiple times over the years from bears, wild hogs, and wolves, Old Yeller finally seals his fate when he fought off a rabid wolf to protect his people. Not only did the the dog pass away, but its owner and best friend Travis had to put him down himself because he had been infected with rabies. This scene has become one of the most famous tear-jerking live-action scenes in all of Disney’s films.

Despite the bummer plot development, the film was still a critical and commercial hit. And it still managed to leave on a high note—by the end, Travis adopts Old Yeller’s puppy and names him Young Yeller.

7 West: Meet the Deedles (4%)

As handsome as Paul Walker was, even he couldn’t have saved Meet the Deedles. The story describes the hapless Phil and Stew Deedle, brothers who are in high school and avid surfers. Their father becomes disgusted with their lazy behavior and sends them off to a boot camp where they can learn some discipline.

In an extremely unlikely series of events, the Deedle brothers assume false identities as park rangers and…hilarity is supposed to ensue.

As with most movies received this badly, the Rotten Tomatoes reviews are hilarious to read. One critic announces dryly, “If all of this sounds ridiculous, it is.” Another is much more cruel, saying, “Dumb is one thing, but this sorry attempt at action-comedy from stuntman turned director Steve Boyum is in an intelligence-deprived class all its own.”

6 Best: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (98%)

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves was Disney’s first animated film feature and the first animated film to gain massive success. It was actually the profits from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves that allowed Disney to build its first full-fledged production studio in Burbank, California. From there, Disney was unleashed to produce dozens of huge hits.

Early forecasters predicted Snow White would be a huge flop, but Disney had the last laugh when the film was finally released. Critics, even the ones predicting its failure, absolutely loved it. Audiences flocked to it and children adored it. Walt Disney received a special Academy Honorary Award for making a “significant screen innovation.” The Honorary Oscar came with seven little miniature Oscars. As with Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella, Disney is producing a live-action adaptation of the film.

5 Worst: Mulan 2 (0%)

Did we ever even need a Mulan 2? According to critics, the answer is a resounding “no.” The original Mulan was a hit in 1998, following the adventures of the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, a woman who became a fearsome warrior against all odds. Mulan 2 features a convoluted plot wherein Mulan prepares to get married and go on an important mission at the same time, trying to prevent several kingdoms from collapsing against the Mongolian hordes.

The plot doesn’t sound terrible, but it didn’t deliver. Critics seemed to dislike it mainly for being bland. One explained, “If it were any more trivial, it’d be invisible. Mulan II is, rather, more conceptually offensive.” Another spoke bluntly, “It’s harmless, sure, but it’s also charmless.” Another sequel was planned but eventually shelved.

4 Best: 101 Dalmatians (98%)

With 101 Dalmatians, Disney opted to develop a somewhat obscure children’s story.  This was a bit different from the popular fairy-tale adaptations that Disney had been known for. After a bachelor and his new blushing bride get married, their respective male and female adult Dalmatians breed a large litter of puppies. An over the top villain, Cruella de Vil, steals them along with other Dalmatian puppies with plans to eventually turn them all into a fur coat. The adult Dalmatians and other animals lead efforts to rescue ALL the puppies and bring them back to safety.

101 Dalmatians cut costs by adopting a more minimal animation style but still was a critical and financial success.

The movie was adapted into two live-action movies in the ’90s and also had an animated sequel in 2003.

3 Worst: The Big Green (0%)

Not many Disney fans know this film even exists. The Big Green was released in 1995 and tells the story of a scrappy British teacher who introduces kids with low self-esteem in a small Texas town the game of soccer. Sort of a Bad News Bears for the soccer crowd, the movie follows these underdog kids as they go from losers to heroes.

However, according to critics, it’s derivative and not as good as either of those films. Perhaps the poster, which features a young kid getting hit in the groin by a soccer ball, is the first sign the “comedy” wasn’t up to par. One critic writes, “The Big Green is at its worst and most desperate when resorting to ridiculous hallucinations and silly sped-up photography to get laughs, and it’s at its best when… well, it’s over.” Yikes.

2 Best: Cinderella (97%)

It’s hard to believe, but Disney suffered a bit of a downturn during WWII and by the late 40s was financially doing poorly. Disney turned back to its classic roots and decided to produce Cinderella, an old story based on folklore and also told in a classic Grimm’s fairy tale. The movie not only brought Disney out of debt, but gave the studio enough capital to create its own film distribution company, begin production on other films, and start building Disneyland and Disney World.

The movie received critical praise not seen since Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Pinnochio. Many noted its rich colors and backgrounds, realistic human animation, and memorable music. It was later nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Original Song for Bippity Boppity Boo.

1 Worst: Kronk’s New Groove (0%)

The Emperor’s New Groove was a unique and charming Disney film that has become somewhat of a cult classic over the years, featuring the voices of the hilarious David Spade and Patrick Warburton. Its sequel, Kronk’s New Groove was not received nearly as well. Part of the problem may be the thin plot, which has something to do with Kronk running a restaurant, falling in love with a camp counselor, and trying to impress his father. Yzma returns as a villain but doesn’t really have much to do.

Voice talents notwithstanding, the resulting film was a dud with critics.

Pointed out one, “Great voice talents, but weak storyline and frankly not much groove.” Another astutely observed, “It’s just too generic, and generic is not what we want from a sequel to a film that managed to escape the Disney mold.”

Which of these films did you love most? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-07 06:10:17 – Gary Gunter

7 New Character Additions That Hurt Buffy The Vampire Slayer (And 13 That Saved It)

It’s been over twenty years since Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s groundbreaking pilot hit TV screens and it remains one the most beloved and influential shows of all time. The series subverted expectations, in the process shattering illusions of what people thought television was capable of. It forever altered the pop culture landscape, introducing audiences to a feminist icon they could truly identify with. The show popularized serialized storytelling at a time when TV programs were largely episodic and even changed the way that viewers talked by introducing them to “Buffy speak.”

By taking the idea that high school is Hell quite literally, Joss Whedon was able to use werewolves, witches, and vampires to explore themes of desire, female empowerment, and addiction. The writers personified feelings such as isolation, alienation and humiliation, using them to ground fantastical situations in those very real emotions.

Buffy was praised for a great many things, from snappy dialogue to clever plotting. However, one of the most vital elements of Whedon’s magnum opus was undoubtedly the amazing characters with which he chose to populate this world. These players were as lovable as they were relatable and the series continues to resonate with viewers of all ages. However, not all characters introduced to the series could be as awesome as Buffy, Willow, or Xander. While certain new additions had an undeniably positive effect on the series as a whole, there were also a few that BtVS would’ve been better off without.

Here are 7 New Character Additions That Hurt Buffy The Vampire Slayer (And 13 That Saved It).

20 Saved – Spike and Dru

Sunnydale got its very own Sid and Nancy when Spike and Drusilla showed up in season 2 episode “School Hard”, quickly establishing themselves as the new Big Bads in town. They were never meant to last as long as they did, but stellar performances from James Marsters and Juliet Landau gave both characters a stay of execution. These two didn’t just shake up Sunnydale, but the show’s entire mythology. They were living proof that vampires were capable of genuine emotion. Their intense bond and amazing chemistry made fans fall hard for the couple. 

Spike, of course, went on to play a much larger role in the series as a whole. Writers kept finding new ways to justify his continued existence and fans never complained, because no one wanted the vampire gone.

19 Hurt – Riley

Buffy needed to move on from Angel, but did she really have to take up with “Captain Cardboard”? Riley Finn (Mark Blucas) first appeared in the season 4 premiere, “The Freshman”, and went on to hurt the show in ways almost too numerous to list.

With him came the Initiative, which remains the storyline that most BtVS fans would rather forget.

Even after the organization was no longer part of the narrative, Riley continued to overstay his welcome. Viewers were forced to deal with his constant whining and eventually, his infidelity. These were all plot points that the show could’ve done without. It was sad when Riley helicoptered out of Buffy’s life, but only because we care about her feelings. Ultimately, no one really missed him.

18 Saved – Tara

Now this is how you create a new love interest. Oz and Willow had become one of the show’s most beloved couples and fans were as heartbroken as she was over his sudden departure. Replacing the werewolf was going to be just as difficult as finding a way for Buffy to get over Angel. However, the show chose to go in a new direction entirely with Tara Maclay, who debuted in season 4 episode “Hush”. Not only was she a woman, but she also complemented Willow in very different ways than Oz had.

Not all viewers embraced this storyline initially, but Amber Benson’s performance quickly won most of them over. Before long, fans became incredibly invested in Willow and Tara’s relationship. In many ways, they became the show’s central couple, as well as its emotional anchor.

17 Saved – Anya

Much like James Marsters, Emma Caulfield earned more time on the show through her impressive performance. Her arc wasn’t meant to last much past her first appearance in season 3 episode “The Wish”.  Anya Christina Emmanuella Jenkins went from human to vengeance demon and back again. She was over 1100 old, but had completely lost touch with her humanity before meeting the Scoobies.

It was more than Anya’s evolution that made her special, though. She was the character who posed the questions that most people want to ask but think that they shouldn’t. Whether ruminating on love, loss, or the simple cold truth of mortality, Anya always said exactly what she meant. Even her lack of tact was charming. The former demon brought a different perspective to the group, as well as some undeniable humor.

16 Hurt – Dawn

This is kind of a tough one, because the storyline surrounding Dawn’s existence was one of the show’s best. Her introduction in the season 5 premiere, “Buffy vs. Dracula”, was particularly genius. Dawn was dropped into the series as if she had always been there, leaving viewers wondering if they had missed earlier clues of Buffy having a sister.

Dawn herself was always little more than an annoyance to most fans.

It didn’t help that Michelle Trachtenberg played the character as younger than she was. This wasn’t all her fault, as Dawn was initially meant to be portrayed by a younger actress. The main problem wasn’t season 5 Dawn anyway. In later years, writers clearly weren’t sure what to do with her, giving Buffy’s sister one ludicrous plot line after another: “Dawn’s in trouble. Must be Tuesday.

15 Saved – Glory/Ben

Glory is one of the greatest Big Bads ever to appear on BtVS. Debuting in season 5 installment “There’s No Place Like Home”, she brought the season-long threat to a whole new level. Glory wasn’t just another demon. She was a literal god, just trying to get back to her home sweet Hell. However, it was more than just sheer power that made Glory such a great villain. Clare Kramer’s manic performance is what really set her apart.

Introduced an episode before Glory, Ben (Charlie Weber) was serviceable enough.

What really brought depth to the kind doctor was the revelation that he and Glorificus were sharing a body.

This was one of the show’s most successful twists. Seriously, no one saw it coming.

14 Saved – Wesley

While it can be argued that the character of Wesley Wyndam-Pryce was utilized far better on Angel, there’s no denying that the stuffy new Watcher was another great addition to the cast of BtVS. Debuting in season 3 installment “Bad Girls”, Alexis Denisof imbued Wesley with undeniable heart and humor, despite the character’s uptight personality.

Aside from Wesley himself, it was the dynamic between him and Giles that helped to elevate the series during season 3. We got to explore a whole new side Buffy’s Watcher. It was one thing to know about his “Ripper” past, but it was the juxtaposition of Rupert and Wesley that truly proved how awesome Giles actually was – not that we didn’t love him already.

13 Hurt – Warren

The Trio is kind of everyone’s least favorite Big Bad. However, while Jonathan and Andrew were both worthy additions to the series, Warren never had any redeeming qualities. He first appeared in season 5 episode “I Was Made to Love You” and proved himself a total creep immediately.

Although Warren started out as a punchline, he turned out to be a misogynistic monster.

Adam Busch did an excellent job of making the character incredibly unlikable, but it was Warren’s cruelty that brought season 6 to the lowest of places. “Dead Things” was one of the most brutal episodes of BtVS, and not in a good way. Plus, no Buffy fan will ever forgive him for firing the gun that took Tara’s life. Warren did a lot of damage and his character was never compelling or likable enough to outweigh that fact.

12 Saved – Oz

Fans fell in love with Daniel “Oz” Osbourne (Seth Green) around the same time that Willow did. From the moment he appeared in season 2 episode “Inca Mummy Girl”, he was pretty much smitten with her – even in her Hallowe’en costume. Unlike Xander, Oz actually realized how awesome Willow was and fans were overjoyed to see her finally properly appreciated.

Oz was so beloved, in fact, that even though he left under truly awful circumstances, many viewers were still torn when he came back for Willow. A lesser character could never have remained in fans’ hearts after such indiscretions. In the end, the writers found someone even better for Willow, but it speaks volumes that so many viewers were willing to forgive Oz after he locked himself in a cage with Veruca.

11 Hurt – Veruca

Veruca (Paige Moss) made her first appearance in season 4 episode “Living Conditions”. Oz may have thought that she was pretty cool, but viewers noticed that something was off about her.

Most Buffy fans are pretty protective of Willow and no one liked seeing her relationship with Oz threatened.

It’s not that it makes no sense that something would break up Willow and Oz. They dated in high school and many such relationships do not survive the transition to college. The main issue was the werewolf herself. Veruca was kind of over the top, from her musical performances to her evil machinations. Perhaps she was meant to be a two-dimensional mustache-twirling villain. Regardless, no one mourned Veruca after Oz ended her life.

10 Saved – Mayor Wilkins

Fans were introduced to Mayor Richard Wilkins in season 3 episode “Homecoming”. Sure, he was a major Big Bad whose ascension plans would’ve left the world in ruins, but he was also incredibly polite. BtVS has often excelled at creating villains that fans still kind of rooted for. The Mayor was one of the best, and not just because he was such a formidable opponent.

Richard’s relationship with Faith gave his character real depth. Much like the love that Spike and Dru shared with one another, the Mayor’s affections for his protégée made him much more human, which in turn made viewers care more about him. Plus, Harry Groener’s pitch-perfect performance made it impossible not to enjoy Mayor Wilkins.

9 Hurt – Kennedy

Kennedy was as much of an epic fail as Riley. The writers proved that they could craft more than one great love interest for Willow, so what happened with her? Introduced in season 7 episode “Bring on the Night”, Kennedy (Iyari Limon) was spoiled, argumentative and honestly, kind of bland. The key to a great TV relationship is making both characters compelling in their own right.

While fans came to love both Oz and Tara rather quickly, you’d be hard pressed to find many Kennedy fans out there.

There was nothing about Willow’s new girlfriend to even distinguish her from the other Potential Slayers, save her bad attitude. Willow deserved better and so did fans.

8 Saved – Faith

Shaking up things from the moment she arrived in season 3 installment “Faith, Hope and Trick”, Faith Lehane was Buffy’s dark reflection. The Slayers were incredibly different from one another and yet, undeniably two sides of the same coin. Eliza Dushku’s magnetic performance brought so much passion and energy to the role, and she had no trouble fitting in with the rest of the cast.

Faith provided new depth not only for the slayer line, but also to the idea of what it actually means to be Slayer. Before Faith’s arrival, fans had never seen a Slayer go rogue. However, it didn’t matter how far Faith went. Viewers were always hoping that she could somehow redeem herself. Thanks to her time on Angel, she was given that chance.

7 Saved – Robin

Robin Wood’s (D.B. Woodside) debut in season 7 premiere “Lessons” initially painted the new school principal as another villain lurking in the shadows. However, much like the rest of the characters on BtVS, appearances are often deceiving. Not only was Robin one of the good guys, but he was also the son of New York-based slayer, Nikki. The series teased this out slowly until fans realized the truth shortly before it was revealed.

It was a pretty genius move.

Although it’s easy to hate on Robin for his sneak attack on Spike, the vampire did off his mother, so his frustration can be understood. In the end, Robin turned out to be a great addition to the Scoobies, bringing both new perspective and an actual bag of tricks to the mix.

6 Hurt – Adam

Buffy almost always managed to deliver the goods when it came to the season-long Big Bad: compelling characters, with humor and even a bit of heart. The series excelled in that moral grey area, making viewers sympathize with villainous even as they committed unforgivable acts. Sadly, Adam (George Hertzberg) was a giant exception to this success.

The ersatz Frankenstein’s monster – or Walsh’s monster, as the case may have been – first appeared in season 4 episode “A New Man”. The only cool thing he ever really did was skewer his creator, Maggie, who was also not a great addition to the series. All in all, Adam was very powerful, but a boring villain. Defeating him required a major deus ex machina, which would’ve been fine if he had been a better character in the first place.

5 Saved – Andrew

Andrew Wells, aka Tucker’s brother, initially seemed as irredeemable as Warren Mears. When we met him in season 6 episode “Flooded”, he was a whiny coward with nothing even resembling a moral compass. After Andrew returned the following year, the first thing he did was take his best friend’s life.

Most fans weren’t happy to see him again, but somewhere over the course of season 7, this changed.

Like BtVS has done with the best of its characters – most of whom, let’s be real, have done some terrible things – the show found a way to endear him to viewers. Andrew may not have exactly been instrumental in Buffy’s battle with the First, but the former villain definitely brought some levity to a fairly dark season. He also provided an excellent example of the power of compassion.

4 Saved – Kendra

Interestingly, Bianca Lawson was originally cast in the role of Cordelia Chase. However, due to scheduling conflicts, the actress was forced to take a smaller part in BtVSIf we can all just put aside her painfully awful accent, everyone can probably admit that Kendra herself was a pretty cool addition to the series.

Fans were introduced to the other slayer in season 2 installment “What’s My Line Part 1”. She appeared initially to be another enemy, but instead proved vital in saving Angel’s life. Kendra’s existence answered important questions about the slayers and it was this new line, beginning with her, that later allowed for the introduction of Faith. The juxtaposition of Kendra and Buffy was also quite interesting, as they each approached their calling so differently. She also helped Buffy see that slaying was more than just a job.

3 Hurt – Forrest

Another irritating and useless season 4 addition, Forrest Gates (Leonard Roberts) was introduced in “The Initiative”.

He was little more than a foil for Riley and Buffy’s relationship.

Forrest’s feelings for his fellow soldier bordered on obsession and there was nothing interesting about him in his own right.Riley’s other pal Graham may have been boring, but at least he wasn’t so annoying. Forrest was self-righteous and obviously had very little going on in the way of an actual life. No one mourned him after he his passing. The worst part about Forrest’s demise was that it wasn’t even the last we saw of him, because Adam chose to reanimate his husk. Even then, he was still a total drag.

2 Saved – Jonathan

Jonathan Levinson (Danny Strong) had a continuing presence on Buffy the Vampire Slayer for years after his first appearance in season 2 installment “Inca Mummy Girl”. He was always on the periphery, being picked on, rescued or taken advantage of. Prior to joining the Trio, Jonathan was at the center of season 3 episode “Earshot” and season 4 installment “Superstar”. The former was incredibly poignant and the latter, a hilarious change of pace.

Many fans were surprised to see Jonathan pulled by the dark side, but he never fully committed like his cohorts did. Less obviously evil than Warren and not as easily manipulated as Andrew, he eventually saw the error of his ways. Sadly, by the time Jonathan made an effort to redeem himself, it was too late. That opportunity was stolen from him by his best friend.

1 Saved – Angelus

None of Buffy’s greatest Big Bads were quite as personal or painful to witness as Angelus. Aside from the unfortunate implications of essentially punishing Buffy for being intimate with her boyfriend, there is no denying that the second half of season 2 was the show at its best. This was due in large part to David Boreanaz’s villainous turn.

Two people who were so in love destroying each other was utterly brutal and completely gut-wrenching. It also led to some of BtVS’s most empowering moments. Buffy was just a teenage girl shouldering the weight of the entire world. Feeling as though she had lost everything led to the epiphany that she still possessed what mattered most. Much of the series is about surviving life on life’s terms. More than just enduring this pain, Buffy managed to recover from it.

What new characters do you feel hurt or saved Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-06 04:10:54 – Jamie Gerber

A Star Is Born’s Ending Is Bad (And Always Has Been)

WARNING: Major spoilers for A Star Is Born

A Star Is Born‘s ending undoes what could have been a Hollywood classic – but that’s not exactly Bradley Cooper’s fault. From its first version in 1937, A Star Is Born has always had a problematic resolution to its story, one that’s only got worse over the past century, and this latest version is no different.

A Star Is Born is a classic story that Hollywood loves so much it’s told it four times (with a suspiciously-similar earlier version, several failed attempts and many, many imitators). A top-of-his-game star (in 2018, Bradley Cooper’s rock star Jackson Maine) is suffering from alcoholism and in a stupor discovers a struggling artist (Lady Gaga as Ally, a waitress moonlighting in a drag bar), falling in love with both her and her talent. He provides her with a big break, sending her fame into the stratosphere just as his addictions begin to derail his career. The pair marry, but despite their love things begin to fray.

Related: Read Our A Star Is Born Review

It’s a tale of rags to riches, of falls from grace, of the power of love, and personal identity within all of that. And, for much of the runtime, A Star Is Born 2018 is genuinely a great version of all those stories. Gaga’s first major concert leaves you floating, Cooper shows mental affliction with grace, both perform their songs incredibly (to actual live crowds, no less), and are utterly believable as troubled lovers. It is, for much of its runtime, a very good film worthy of that deafening hype.

However, everything implodes into a black hole of pretentiousness as what could have been a great film its own right has to follow through on being called A Star Is Born

  • This Page: The Problem With A Star Is Born’s Ending
  • Page 2: A Star Is Born’s Ending Has Always Been Bad
  • Page 3: Why Bradley Cooper Couldn’t Fix A Star Is Born

What Happens In A Star Is Born’s Ending

We’ll stick with Cooper’s take for now before going deeper into the past. A Star Is Born‘s third act is kicked off by Ally winning the Grammy for Best New Artist – a major step for her career, undercut entirely by Jack drunkenly taking to the stage with her and relieving himself on live TV. He goes into rehab and she wrestles with where her focus should lie, eventually deciding to try and protect her recovering husband. She cancels her European tour when her agent, Rez, blocks the duo playing together.

As a result, Jack kills himself. He’s confronted by a seething Rez who has no sympathies or expectations of sobriety and states outright Jack’s ruining his wife’s career. When she matter-of-fact states the tour cancellation, he sees the impact of his actions and, while she plays a concert, he hangs himself in their garage.

Related: Every Song On A Star Is Born’s Soundtrack

This breaks Ally at first, leaving her emotionally distraught, before her understanding the meaning of Jack’s sacrifice – to enable her to truly become the star he always saw – helps her pull through. The film ends at a tribute concert in Jack’s memory. “My name is Ally Maine.” she declares before singing “I’ll Never Love Again”, a song based on their relationship they wrote together while he was recovering. A flashback shows the pair singing, she looks through the camera at the audience, the end.

Why A Star Is Born’s Ending Is Bad

Removing the ending of all presentation and self-imposed importance (a character looking into the camera at the end is an overused trope that Cooper simply doesn’t earn), in just writing down the events of A Star Is Born its problems should be obvious.

Jack decides to kill himself to save his wife, committing suicide because it’s the only way to set her free. This comes about two hours into a film which has slowly built up its numerous interpersonal relationships, and so comes as a drastic and rather unearned turn. Now, there is an argument to be made about accuracy to the unpredictability of mental illness, but given the intimacy audiences had with both Jack and Ally up until this moment, that doesn’t fit with the rest of the film. A Star Is Born, plainly, presents suicide as the only way out. It’s meant to come across as a selfless act but still values success as a true route to happiness, meaning anything emotional about the “gesture” is laced with hypocrisy.

But it’s what comes after and Ally’s coming to terms with her loss that’s so disquieting. For all her innate talent being the drive of the story and her freely made decision to step back what motivated Jack to kill himself, the final scene makes everything about Jack; the mononymous singer for the first time takes on her husband’s surname at his concert, where she performs a song that he helped her write in her original singer style. The suggestion is meant to be that Jack was holding her back, but in the shadow of the previous two hours the strange implication is that the act of a true star being born came from the adversity of Jack’s sacrifice. Making Ally’s success symbiotic to her dead husband is already heavily in the text of the film, but the final scene makes her final ascension even more indebted to his drastic act.

It’s hard to not read A Star Is Born‘s ending as trivializing suicide down to a plot point to give the fundamentally broken male lead the defining role in its female protagonist’s arc. It’s a weird move to make in 2018, although don’t believe this is just the product of an 80-year-old movie being remade. There’s something flawed at the heart of A Star Is Born.

Page 2: A Star Is Born’s Ending Has Always Been Bad

The True Story Behind A Star Is Born’s Ending Explains The Problem

There have been four versions of A Star Is Born: the 1937 Hollywood-skewering original starring Janet Gaynor and Frederick March, the 1954 musical starring Judy Garland and James Mason, the 1976 shift to the music industry with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, and the latest Cooper/Gaga release. Each one has its own quirks, but all endeavor to tell the same story of love and fame intertwined, and all have the same basic ending. But the 1937 version isn’t the start. While A Star Is Born‘s narrative is a fiction, it’s very much based on truth; each movie is rooted heavily in the entertainment industry of the time – Hollywood for the 1937 and 1954 versions, music for 1976 and 2018 – and aims to tell an encapsulating story. There are some real-life events that inspired it.

The established star falling for an unknown as she climbs to the top was seen in actors Barbara Stanwyck and Frank Fay’s relationship, with the pair marrying in 1928 when the former was an unknown after starring in a Broadway show together. Their marriage fell apart after she rose above him and he fell into alcoholism. They separated in 1935 after seven years of marriage, two years before A Star Is Born was released. This appears to have been composited with the death of silent film actor John Bowers, who died at sea in 1936 after failing to win a part (whether it was a suicide or not is unclear). There are others (as we’ll see) but these are regarded as the ones who powered the 1937 version.

Related: Lady Gaga Fans Are Trolling Venom With Fake Bad Reviews

Of course, there’s one key distinction between inspiration and movie: in real life, it was two unrelated stories. There are the famous lovers who piggyback success and the past-it star who takes his own life, but in all cases these two aspects are entirely independent; the woman goes on to greater success by cutting the man out, while elsewhere another man falls from grace. Both stories epitomize Hollywood together, and taken alongside each other rather than melded have an ingrained believability. A Star Is Born trades that for something more streamlined in having the suicide be the culmination of the romance, but it’s also idealistic and wistful, losing the real moral of either.

This is reflected in what is regarded as a proto-Star Is Born, the 1932 film What Price Hollywood? Released five years before the 1937 version and produced also by David O. Selznick (and directed by George Cukor, who was approached for the first A Star Is Born and directed the first remake), this is regarded as something of a dry run at the story. Obviously from the release year it can’t share the same real-life inspirations (although, because this is the Golden Age of Hollywood, there are others pointed to), but the core concept and even smaller story beats are there, albeit with one massive difference: the leads are not romantically involved. Lowell Sherman’s Max drunkenly finds Constance Bennett’s Mary and helps make her a star, eventually killing himself after he sees realizes how far he’s fallen and is hurting his friend, while Mary’s suffers an ill-fated marriage that breaks down due to her absences filming and is reconciled at the end.

Watched today, What Price Hollywood? has a cynicism about the film industry ahead of its time despite ultimately being a movie romanticizing Hollywood – and at the core of this is the tragic story of Max and its impact on Mary’s life. The title question is apt.

How The Remakes Have Tried To “Fix” The Ending

In contrast to What Price Hollywood?, A Star Is Born 1937 carries a self-awareness and charm, but in bridging the romantic and the career side of protagonist Esther creates the problematic suicide reading. It’s not helped by dated elements, including the defining part of Esther’s ascension being the actress known as Vicki Lester taking on her husband’s name with a declaration “This is Mrs. Norman Maine“. It works given the time period, but even 16 years later needed an update.

Related: Watch the Trailer For A Star Is Born

The 1954 version is, for the most part, a beat-for-beat remake, just with dance number expansion to make it a musical, but it does make some strides to justifying the ending. The toll that caring for a drunk has on Judy Garland’s Vicki Lester is shown gradually, most upsettingly in an off-stage breakdown she immediately returns to filming from: an unavoidable presentation of the line between art and performer. But, ultimately, it ends in the same way: Norman Maine overhears Vicki’s plans to quit acting to care for her husband, so he feigns going for a swim and drowns himself; after a traumatic period and being unmasked at her funeral (the invasion of the press), Vicki returns to the public eye where she declares herself “Mrs. Norman Maine“. Every issue discussed is here.

The 1976’s A Star Is Born is overall incredibly melodramatic, nowhere less than its handling of the ending. What it should be praised for is its attempts at giving the female lead a greater sense of autonomy: throughout Streisand’s Esther makes decisions that power the narrative, not just being led along by Kristoffersen as those who came before her, but that’s lost thuddingly in the finale. After his meltdown, John Howard has imposed isolation – not rehab – and when returning home immediately sleeps with a reporter wanting an interview for Esther. The couple tries to power past this, but John figures he’s still broken and crashes his car at high speeds. Again, Esther is sad before taking his name (and singing at a tribute event).

Like we’ve already explored with A Star Is Born 2018, all versions have tried to provide their own contemporary spin on the tale to iron out its kinks, yet all wind up having to repeat the same suicide-anger-name triple-tap that doesn’t belong. A degree can be accounted to the changing times, but that ignores that the original trio of movies released over nearly 40 years, and that Cooper wasn’t able to address it either.

Page 3: Why Bradley Cooper Couldn’t Fix A Star Is Born

Why Bradley Cooper Can’t Fix A Star Is Born

Bradley Cooper certainly tries to bring a modern slant to the worn tale of A Star Is Born. He invests heavily in making Jack and Ally’s opposite trajectories operate independently – Jack is suffering from tinnitus before he’s heard a note of “La Vie En Rose”, while Ally’s SNL appearance is deemed to contradict his advice – while making the love story more immediate. It’s a bigger story, more personal and considerably more consummately paced.

But, like all the others, the ending hits a snag. And some of his decisions make it worse. The method of final descent is different, with the awards show upset and rehab undone not by Maine going off the rails again as in every other take, but rather by Ally’s agent calling his supposed bluff. It’s implied from the British Rez knowing when exactly Jackson first toured across the pond that he was once a fan, now disillusioned with his hero, making him a millennial scapegoat to any affronting reading.

Related: 2018 Fall Movie Preview: The 30 Films to See

This generational push and pull could have been what sent A Star Is Born to greatness. Sam Elliott’s speech about there only being twelve notes played over and over, with the majesty coming from how the artist uses them is a beautiful sentiment that sees Cooper self-justifying another remake and appears like a zen view on the entertainment business that birthed it. Except it isn’t, because this idea is also trying to explain the ending, claiming that the music industry is cyclical and that stars are born and then new stars are born later; Jack’s death is enabling that. What the film seems to miss is that for one state to ever enter another, a star must always die. Ally will fall too. The raw textual argument is that the failures are as eternal as the successes, raising the question of worth, yet the film provides no further exploration and presents it as somehow immediately uplifting.

And that’s the hump that A Star Is Born 2018, like its predecessors, can’t get over. The story thinks it’s a biting, self-aware take on itself, but it’s too close to the subject to see that it’s really just propagating a harsh cycle. This isn’t helped by the film being weighted by so much – the casting of Lady Gaga, his writer-director-producer-actor whammy, even Sam Elliott as the Sam Elliott-type – although those concerns are also the key explanation for what’s really going on.

A Star Is Born Only Exists Because Of Ego

Throughout this article, there’s been one question dangling unspoken. Why are there four versions of A Star Is Born anyway? It’s a story that is flawed and dated, on a topic which has been tackled in more films than any other. Yes, each movie got serious Oscar nominations and wins, but that alone isn’t enough to justify going back. The true answer is enlightening.

1954’s A Star Is Born was conceived as a bid to restart Judy Garland’s career after it stalled over the 1940s. 1976’s A Star Is Born was Barbra Streisand’s attempt (along with then-husband Jon Peters) to boost her standing in Hollywood. And 2018’s A Star Is Born is Bradley Cooper’s grand attempt to win the Oscar that he believes he deserves (his entire post-Hangover career is a carefully played game of chess with a Golden Baldie the King). There are studio concerns too (before Cooper, Warner Bros had been attempting to get a remake off the ground since the early 2010s, although as a Beyonce vehicle has the same career expansion goals), but those are the primary purposes of each version. A Star Is Born is a vanity project on repeat.

Related: A Star Is Born Is An Oscar Favorite – But Could An Infamous Producer Hurt Its Chances?

Now, vanity projects needn’t be bad, and indeed a lot of good comes from each of these attempts. Indeed, each was ultimately successful in both their primary and commercial goals: Garland’s career was rejuvenated; Streisand won her second Oscar; and Cooper’s currently the front-runner in multiple categories for next year’s Academy Awards.

But this aspect appears to be why each version of A Star Is Born struggles to understand the real meaning of its ending. Each powering force believes this movie will be what takes them being a Norman/Jack Maine to a new Esther/Ally while missing that it’s built into the story to be impossible. They believe so much in the two contradictory Hollywood legends wholesale, so don’t see that the story is almost warning against such a thing.

A Star Is Born Is No Longer Needed

In recent years, we’ve seen Hollywood’s reliable rotation of movies about itself take a genuinely incisive slant. 2015’s Best Picture Winner Birdman was an ostentatious exploration of ego that too ended with the protagonist committing suicide, but there it was with the wry critique that fame and adoration are fleeting and that such a bold act was the only way for the self-involved hero to reach the heights he dreamed of. Then there’s 2017’s almost-Best Picture Winner La La Land, which was a celebration of Hollywood-gone-by looking at love in a city of stars, eventually concluding that success required the sacrifice of the central relationship.

Together, these take on all the ideas that A Star Is Born is playing with and apply them in a more thoughtful way. The messages are more widely applicable and their endnotes have considerably less of the hypocrisy. Birdman and La La Land may find joy in the arts, but they also uncover the trials of creativity and fame, keeping the brutal truths in earshot while presenting from a position of success.

A Star Is Born 2018 is a good movie, an undeniable achievement for both Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. But there is a flaw at the heart of the tale that just doesn’t ring true. Unless it’s made with a completely revisionist, ego-less eye, in twenty years we do not need another one.

More: Every Version Of A Star Is Born Ranked, From Garland To Gaga



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2018-10-06 01:10:52 – Alex Leadbeater

The Flash Season 5 Trailer: Cicada Brings War to Central City

A new trailer for The CW’s The Flash brings a new threat to Central City and gives fans a taste of what Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) will be up against when he takes on Cicada (Chris Klein) in season 5. Like season 4’s big bad, The Thinker, Cicada won’t need to be a speedster to pose a threat to Team Flash.

In the season 4 finale, Barry and Iris (Candice Patton) were hit with a shocking development when Jessica Parker Kennedy’s mystery girl arrived at Joe’s doorstep and revealed herself to be Nora, their daughter from the future. Due to Kennedy being a series regular for season 5, the character is expected to have a major role in the storyline for the upcoming season. Nora admitted in the finale that she made a “big mistake“. This “mistake” is most likely the setup for Cicada’s introduction.

Related: Elseworlds: Everything You Need To Know About The Arrowverse Crossover

The CW has released a new trailer for The Flash season 5, which premieres this Tuesday. The trailer highlights the relationship between Barry and Nora while touching on Barry’s fears about what will become of him in the future. Nora’s lack of a connection with Iris is also hinted at in the trailer. References are made to Cicada, but not by name. Cicada is played up as a mysterious and deadly enemy who wields a black lightning bolt-shaped dagger. Cicada’s methods threaten to cause a “war zone” in Central City, but his exact intentions aren’t revealed.

It appears that Cicada was defeated by the Flash in the original timeline, before it was inadvertently altered by Nora’s “big mistake“. Whatever Nora did seems to have impacted the timeline in a way that may shift the odds in Cicada’s favor. Team Flash may need Nora’s help to defeat him.

It was previously reported that Cicada will have a lot in common with his comic book counterpart, a semi-immortal villain who vows to kill those who have been saved by the Flash. Killing them gives him the life force he needs to stay alive. The show’s version of the character is a metahuman with the ability to disable the powers of others. He begins to target other metahumans because he blames them for his own suffering. It’s unclear what will prompt Cicada’s attacks on Central City, but it will be interesting to see how his battle with the Flash will play out over the course of the season.

More: What Elseworlds Means For The Arrowverse & Batwoman

The Flash season 5 premieres on October 9 on The CW.

Source: The CW



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2018-10-05 02:10:38 – Nicholas Raymond