Star Trek: What Happened To The Original Series Enterprise

Here is what happened to Star Trek‘s original Starship Enterprise. One of pop culture’s most iconic vessels, the U.S.S. Enterprise is synonymous with the Star Trek franchise and Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner). And although there has been a long line of starships bearing the name “Enterprise,” the original is still the best known and arguably the most beloved.

Designated NCC-1701, the Constitution-class U.S.S. Enterprise was commissioned by Starfleet and launched in 2245 under the command of Captain Robert April. The Enterprise’s second Captain was Christopher Pike, who commanded her for 15 years, from 2250-2265. With Mr. Spock (Ethan Peck) as his Science Officer, Pike’s voyages were legendary; the captain and his starship were deemed so important by Starfleet that they were prevented from fighting in Star Trek: Discovery season 1’s Klingon War. Even when Pike temporarily took command of the U.S.S. Discovery, the Enterprise played a key role in the events of Star Trek: Discovery season 2. Finally, in 2265, James T. Kirk became Captain of the Enterprise and led her on his historic five-year mission with Spock (Leonard Nimoy) by his side. Kirk would go on to be command two different versions of the Enterprise throughout The Original Series, Star Trek: The Animated Series, and the first six Star Trek movies (as well as the three rebooted films by J.J. Abrams).

Related: Star Trek: Discovery Redesigned The Enterprise’s Bridge 

With its twin warp nacelles, saucer section, and radar dish, the original Enterprise is the most recognizable starship in Star Trek. Under Pike and Kirk, the Enterprise encountered dozens of alien species and took part in some of the most pivotal conflicts of the 23rd century. The Enterprise was badly damaged battling Control’s Section 31 fleet during the Star Trek: Discovery season 2 finale and received a major refit. Prior to Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the Starship Enterprise received an even more expansive refit that completely redesigned its warp core and interiors, including the bridge, and removed the infamous radar dish. Through it all, the beloved starship continued to serve Kirk and his crew until its destruction in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock.

The Original Enterprise Was Destroyed In Star Trek III

The original Enterprise was destroyed by Admiral Kirk in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock. Following Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan‘s fateful battle with Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalban) that led to the death of Spock, Kirk and his crew committed an insurrection by stealing the Enterprise; their goal was to return to the Genesis Planet and eventually reunite Spock with his katra (his Vulcan soul).

The Enterprise battled a Klingon Bird-of-Prey commanded by Kruge (Christopher Lloyd), who wanted the secrets of Genesis for himself. With only his rogue skeleton crew aboard, the Enterprise was mostly running on an automation program designed by Montgomery Scott (James Doohan) which wasn’t designed for combat. When the ship’s systems overloaded, Kirk activated the auto-destruct sequence so that the Enterprise wouldn’t fall into Klingon hands. Kirk and crew beamed to the Genesis Planet and, as they watched the Enterprise detonate and crash to the ground in flames, Kirk sadly remarked, “My God, Bones. What have I done?”

Star Trek IV Introduced The Enterprise-A

Instead of facing court-martial for stealing and destroying the Enterprise, Admiral Kirk and his crew were instead rewarded after they saved the Earth in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. All charges against them were dropped and only Kirk was ‘punished’; he was demoted to Captain and was given back his starship command. Expecting to be put in charge of the U.S.S. Excelsior, Captain and his loyal crew instead “came home” to the newly-commissioned U.S.S. Enterprise-A.

Kirk commanded the Enterprise-A from 2286, when they encountered ‘God’ in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier until the starship was decommissioned in 2293 following the events of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. It’s worth noting that in Star Trek Beyond, the Enterprise was also destroyed and the film ended with Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) taking command of the Enterprise-A, so that events in the Kelvin timeline echoed those of Star Trek‘s Prime Universe.

Next: Which Enterprise Is In Star Trek: Picard’s 25th Century?

2019-07-13 01:07:33

John Orquiola

Roswell: 5 Best Couples In The Original Series (& The 5 Worst)

Before the CW had Roswell, New Mexico, the WB had Roswell. Both series put their own spin on the book series Roswell High. The science fiction series saw alien-human hybrids from the alleged 1947 Roswell UFO crash just trying to survive high school in the late 90s. While the show was full of alien conspiracies and mystery, it also had a healthy dose of romantic relationships.

The central couple of the series included Liz, a normal teenage girl who loved science, and Max, the biologically engineered king of an alien species. As more of their friends found out the truth, the relationships amongst their friend group grew. Romance was frequently as central to the plot as the mysteries surrounding the aliens themselves. However, not all of the relationships fit well into the Roswell universe.

RELATED: Roswell: 5 Things They’re Keeping The Same (And 5 Changes They’re Making)

10 Best: Michael And Maria

Affectionately referred to as “candy” because of their M&M initials, Michael and Maria were one of the longest-running relationships on Roswell. They also happened to be one of the most volatile.

The duo had very different approaches to dealing with their feelings. Maria wanted to talk about everything, while Michael wanted to pretend they didn’t exist. Over time, Michael helped Maria learn to be calmer. Likewise, Maria helped him to open up. Their bickering and jealousy faded over time until they were one of the most supportive couples in the series.

9 Worst: Max And Tess

Max and Tess could have been a great pairing if Tess was actually who she presented herself as. While the two did have genuine feelings for one another, Tess was motivated to pursue a relationship with Max as a result of a deal made with an enemy.

Not only did Tess worm her way between Max and Liz, but she tricked Max into allowing her to take their child to their alien homeworld. All of her lies backfired on Tess as she eventually had to return to Earth with their fully human son. By that point, any trust Max had was gone.

RELATED: The 10 Best Episodes Of The Original Roswell Series, Ranked

8 Best: Isabel And Alex

This is one of the few couples amongst the original characters that were never fully realized. Though the two hung out and were friends, Isabel frequently pushed Alex away, trying to find a more mature match for herself.

Of course, by the time Isabel realized she wanted to be more than friends with Alex, it was too late. Alex lost his life as a result of Tess using her mind-warping abilities on his brain too many times. Showing how connected the two were despite his loss, Isabel continued to take advice from an Alex only she could see until she married someone else.

7 Worst: Kyle And Liz

Kyle was Liz’s first real boyfriend. Though she anticipated they would be casual after a summer apart, he had other plans when the Roswell series first began. In the later seasons, they were excellent and supportive friends, but their season one dynamic was not so great.

Liz was secretive with him, constantly using him as an alibi to avoid her new alien friends getting caught. She spent a lot of the early episodes outright lying to him. Kyle was clingy and jealous, even spying on her. They were not the stuff high school sweethearts were made of. 

6 Best: Liz And Sean

While Liz’s great love wasn’t Kyle, it also wasn’t Sean. That didn’t make their relationship any less fun to watch. Sean was Maria’s cousin who temporarily came to stay with his relatives in Roswell. He also happened to be a bit of a criminal, breaking into bowling alleys to show Liz how to have fun. His methods were questionable, but he certainly got Liz out of her funk. Sean reminded Liz how to be a teenager again instead of an aspiring molecular biologist obsessed with an alien secret. 

5 Worst: Isabel And Grant

Isabel had a habit of crushing on older guys while everyone was still in high school. She always considered herself far too mature for the rest of her classmates. As a result, she found herself attracted to the geologist Grant Sorenson when he came to town.

Considering Isabel turned 18 when she began dating him, the audience had to wonder what someone, who already had a geology degree, was doing hanging out with a high school student. Of course, it turned out that he was infected by an alien parasite, so maybe that had something to do with him getting close to her. It’s an all-around strange relationship.

4 Best: Jim And Amy

Jim Valenti and Amy Deluca were the two parents on the series that the audience spent the most time with. It’s only natural that it also turned out the two had a history.

Jim and Amy went to high school together before he went into law enforcement and she became an eccentric seller of alien memorabilia. Initially, they were both out of the loop when it came to the alien conspiracy, and they reconnected, much to the surprise of their kids. The sheriff was usually very stoic and intimidating in the early episodes of the show. Amy made him much more fun, as he acted like a teenager around her all over again. Sadly, their relationship didn’t seem to last.

3 Worst: Michael And Courtney

Like Tess before her, Courtney joined the show specifically to drive a wedge between a central couple. Courtney debuted in season two, while Michael and Maria went through a rough patch. There was an attraction between the two of them, but the introduction of the alien race the Skins meant it never went anywhere.

While Courtney claimed that not all of the Skins were the same, she spent an awfully long time hiding in plain sight amongst the royal four before even admitting that she was a member of a different alien race. Her entire plot thread revolved around her feelings for Michael instead of the more pressing matter of the Skins versus the Royal Four. She could have been a fascinating addition to the show if she had been used for more than making Maria jealous.

2 Best: Max And Liz

Roswell was quite literally built around the connection between Max Evans and Liz Parker. Though Max observed her from afar as her classmate, the two didn’t become close until he saved her life in the pilot episode. He couldn’t let her die, even though they hadn’t really interacted much in their childhoods.

Though the series found many creative ways to pull the two of them apart including the introduction of Tess, a visit from a future version of Max, and Liz’s father not trusting him, they always found their way back together. The series began with Max saving her life and ended with the duo getting married. What a way to bookend a sci-fi teen show.

RELATED: Which Teen Drama Are You Based On Your MBTI®

1 Worst: Isabel And Jesse

Isabel and Jesse were a complicated couple. In some ways, they’re very good for one another. In other ways, Jesse just fit Isabel’s pattern of looking for someone “better” than her small-town Roswell life.

Jesse was a lawyer who worked for Isabel’s father. That meant that, when she turned 19 in season three, he was at least in his mid to late twenties. The difference in their level of world experience was a little hard to stomach. The relationship between Jesse and Isabel in season three served to separate her from the larger storyline, detracting from the show instead of adding to it. It’s a shame because Jesse was a great character. Their relationship just felt shoehorned into the events of the season.

NEXT: Roswell Reboot, The 100 & More Renewed At The CW For Additional Seasons

2019-07-13 01:07:13

Amanda Bruce

The Best Disney Channel Original Movies, According To Rotten Tomatoes

When you think of Disney Channel Original Movies, you probably don’t think about how they stack up from a critical perspective. Lucky for you, we do.

While these direct-to-TV Disney films are full of cheesy lines and sweet stories, we were wondering how non-tweenage audiences felt about them. It lead us to ask, which Disney Channel Original Movie is rated highest by critics? We turned to Rotten Tomatoes to find some answers.

There are over one hundred Disney Channel Original Movies, and we combed through all of them so you don’t have to. While plenty of Disney Channel Original Movies didn’t get a tomatometer rating including The Color of Friendship, Princess Protection Program, and Cow Belles, there were nine popular films that earned themselves a score. We’re here to let you know how they all rank together.

RELATED: The 10 Best Disney Channel Original Movies, Ranked

Grab some popcorn and dim the lights. Here are the most highly rated Disney Channel Original Movies, according to Rotten Tomatoes.

9 Camp Rock (20%)

The original Camp Rock only pulled itself a 20% on the tomatometer based on five reviews. The consensus was that while the movie was enjoyable, it wasn’t anything spectacular. Furthermore, reviewers criticized it’s bland High School Musical knockoff-qualities, but praised its cast containing Demi Lovato and The Jonas Brothers.

RELATED: 16 Best Disney Channel Original Movies

Despite the low critic score, the average viewer loved this film, with the audience score ranking in at 75%. Yes, it was cheesy, but that was part of its charm.

8 Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam (40%)

While the follow-up to Camp Rock won over at least one more critic, earning itself a 40% tomatometer score, viewers found the second film to be a downgrade from the first. The film’s audience score landed at 55%.

Critics and casual viewers alike seemed to enjoy the soundtrack but found that the film promoted its music more than its music promoted the film.

The storyline may have been cliche, but the movie was full of tween-targeted energy. And of course, the Jo Bros are still in this one, so it might be worth a second look for that reason alone.

7 Jump In! (50%)

This 2007 Disney Channel Original Movie follows Corbin Bleu’s character Izzy, who trades in his boxing dreams for competitive jump roping. He also may or may not fall in love with his talented team member played by Keke Palmer along the way.

Three critics liked the movie for targeting the right crowd and keeping the energy up, while three others found the storyline to be too predictable and cliche to be enjoyable.

Audiences similarly scored it at 61%. This film was released right after Bleu’s success in the original High School Musical, so it definitely drew in a similar crowd.

6 High School Musical (56%)

Arguably the most iconic Disney Channel Original Movie of all time, High School Musical — while forever remembered by tweens of the 2000s — was not some perfect masterpiece. That being said, it hit all the right notes by combining the things Disney’s target-audience related to including school, music, and sports.

Let’s also not forget the film’s charming sort of cheesiness. The critics’ 56% tomatometer score came from all the films “pop fluff,” but the audience’s 74% came from the film’s likeability — and that was before all the nostalgia set in.

5 High School Musical 2 (57%)

Edging itself slightly above its predecessor is the summer country club follow-up to High School Musical. Critics praised it for its light-hearted magic, catchy songs, and cohesive narrative. Others believed the soundtrack didn’t soar quite as high as the original and that the overall hokiness of the film made it annoying. Audiences decently enjoyed this film, giving it a solid 72%.

RELATED: 17 Secrets Behind High School Musical

High School Musical 2 happened to break Disney Channel Original Movie records by getting itself 17.2 million views upon its first broadcast.

4 Twitches (60%)

Based on the book series of the same name, Twitches‘ story centers on a set of twin sisters with magic who were born to a witch on Halloween night. Although they were separated at birth, they find themselves reuniting on their twenty-first birthday.

Some critics called it magical and cheesy. Other found that it didn’t stand out among other Disney Channel Original Movies, and that it lacked the sparkle it was aiming for. Either way, the audience score is set at 65%. While most have fond memories of this twisted tale, not all share this positive opinion.

3 Descendants 2 (80%)

Descendants, which follows the children of Disney’s most popular villans, premiered to commercial success in 2015. Two years later, its sequel did the same.

The musical fantasy-comedy sequel was praised for its strong female roles, a better villain, and a clever setup. Although with less adult characters taking on critical roles as compared to its predecessor, the film cemented itself as a colorful tale for a younger demographic.

RELATED: 10 Disney Films That Actually Deserve A Remake

Descendants 2 has a 74% audience score, and the third installment in the franchise is due out in August.

2 Teen Beach Movie (86%)

Teen Beach Movie is what happens when you combine suffer kids with ’60s biker gangs and some crazy-catchy music. While not everyone loved its intentionally corny lines and quirky characters, its nod to classic beach films and entertaining musical numbers were well-praised. Additionally, the brightly colored aesthetics, dynamic relationships, and time-warp storyline were loved.

The film scored itself a 72% audience score based on 2,684 reviews. It also attracted a hefty Disney Channel Original Movie viewership, attracting 8.4 million viewers during its first run.

1 Kim Possible (100%)

The 2019-released Kim Possible received six critic reviews, all of which were overwhelmingly positive. The film acted as the live-action remake the original series deserved, and lead actress Sadie Stanley was praised for her performance.

The new film has Kim balancing high school and fighting crime alongside a cast of goofy and endearing characters. What more could we ask for?

While an audience score has not yet been released for the film, those have seen it have left glowing reviews despite its low viewership. In fact, its original broadcast attracted only 1.2 million viewers, making it the lowest-viewed Disney Channel Original Movie of all time. Pay no attention to those stats, though. If you liked Kim Possible growing up, you’ll be charmed by its newest companion film.

NEXT: 17 Disney Channel Original Movies You Completely Forgot About

2019-07-12 01:07:10

Brooke Bajgrowicz

Star Wars: Mark Hamill Shares Fan-Made Original Trilogy Reunion Image

Mark Hamill shares a fan-made image reuniting the beloved characters of the Star Wars original trilogy, wondering what might have been if the old guard went on another adventure together. By the time The Force Awakens picked up 30 years after Return of the Jedi, the heroes of the Rebellion had all gone their separate ways. Following the emergence of the First Order and Ben Solo’s turn to the dark side, Luke Skywalker fled to Ahch-To to die in isolation, Han Solo returned to a career of smuggling around the galaxy, and Princess Leia led the Resistance. The trio never saw each other again, due to Kylo Ren murdering his father at the end of Force Awakens.

For the sequel trilogy, the filmmakers created a new generation of heroes and villains that would carry the Skywalker saga towards its conclusion, introducing audiences to characters like Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron. The old guard of the originals was still a part of the new films, but they were all relegated to supporting roles. There are many fans out there who wish the veterans got one last hurrah together, and Hamill certainly sympathizes with that viewpoint.

Related: Star Wars 9 Theory: Snoke Was Actually Palpatine All Along

On Twitter, Hamill posted a fan-made image of the older versions of Han, Luke, Leia, and Lando Calrissian flying in the Millennium Falcon as they look to accomplish another mission. In his post, Hamill used the hashtag #MissedOpportunities. Check it out in the space below:

In the past, Hamill’s been vocal about his wish to see the original trilogy characters reunite, and even pitched a few ideas to J.J. Abrams. As fun as it might have been to see the band back together, an argument can be made the sequel trilogy is better because that didn’t happen. Luke, Han, and Leia already had their story told, and Star Wars needed fresh blood in order to be viable again. Additionally, the lack of a reunion made Han’s death all the more tragic. He never got an opportunity to patch things up with his best friend after it all went south. The closest fans got to seeing the original big three again was Luke and Leia’s tearful meeting on Crait, where Solo’s lucky gold dice symbolized his presence. Han’s death still would have been impactful if he saw Luke again, but knowing the two’s relationship (probably) was fractured and would never be repaired really tugged at the heartstrings.

Though Hamill made headlines for saying he fundamentally disagreed with The Last Jedi (comments he later regretted making), people should not take this as any sort of serious criticism of the modern movies. On social media, Hamill is a renowned prankster and enjoys trolling his followers – especially Star Wars fans. In all likelihood, this is tapping into that side of his personality, though it will be interesting to see if this actually turns out to be a tease of sorts. With The Rise of Skywalker set to definitively end the saga, people have their fingers crossed for some kind of flashback involving the big three.

More: Star Wars 9: Why Palpatine Can’t Be A Force Ghost

Source: Mark Hamill

2019-04-26 01:04:22

Chris Agar

The 10 Funniest Saturday Night Live Original Characters Ever, Ranked

NBC’s sketch variety series Saturday Night Live has been going strong for over 40 years now. Several generations of comedy legends have started out as SNL cast members – John Belushi, Eddie Murphy, Kristen Wiig, Will Ferrell, Dan Aykroyd, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Mike Myers, and many, many more – and it’s seen as a breeding ground for comic talent.

RELATED: SNL Parodies Jordan Peele’s Us With Fake Discover Card Commercial

During their tenures, each truly great cast member will play at least one or two really memorable characters in a series of recurring sketches. So, here are The 10 Funniest Saturday Night Live Original Characters Ever, Ranked.

10 Blizzard Man

Andy Samberg’s character Blizzard Man is a hilarious satire of white rappers. He looks just like Vanilla Ice and his lyrics are even worse. Over the years, he was shown making terrible lyric suggestions to such legendary rappers as Ludacris, P. Diddy, 2 Chainz, T-Pain, and Common, and they always ended up collaborating with him, despite his awful ideas.

Samberg has always said that the key to spoofing rap is respecting it, and that’s on clear display here. The fact that the SNL writers got Robert De Niro to dress up in drag and play Blizzard Man’s mother was just the icing on the cake.

9 MacGruber

The best SNL characters seem to be based on obscure satirical targets. If something weird and specific forms the basis of a comedy character, then the character itself will turn out weird and specific, and that is what a comedy character needs to be. This was the case with MacGruber, Will Forte’s delightfully absurd skewering of MacGyver.

Just like MacGyver, MacGruber is constantly expected to deactivate ticking bombs with creative methods. However, unlike MacGyver, MacGruber always fails to successfully deactivate the bomb and it detonates, yet it never kills him. This is consistent with the kind of ‘80s action show that the sketches parodied, which would often bend the laws of physics.

8 Gene Frenkle

Despite appearing in just one sketch, Gene Frenkle became a Saturday Night Live legend, because that one sketch was one of the most memorable SNL sketches – and it might even be the best of all time. The whole sketch was built around a really obscure idea: there’s a cowbell in Blue Oyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper.”

RELATED: SNL Cold Open Reenacts R. Kelly’s Emotional Interview

There’s a whole fake episode of VH1’s Behind the Music built around Christopher Walken’s Bruce Dickinson requesting that the cowbell be used more and more. It ends with a tribute and obituary to the “late” Gene Frenkle that was reportedly so convincing that people offered condolences to Blue Oyster Cult for their loss.

7 Stefon

Like Kate McKinnon in today’s cast, Bill Hader was the guy who stole every sketch and could play a wide range of characters. But the character that made him a star was Stefon, the New York City expert on Weekend Update who recommended weird nightclubs and had strange tastes.

Stefon was created by Hader and standup comic John Mulaney, who used to write for SNL back in the day. Everything about the character is hysterically absurd, from his father being David Bowie to his dog being called Bark Ruffalo. According to Hader, thanks to Stefon, Tom Cruise recognized him at the first table read for Tropic Thunder.

6 David S. Pumpkins

Tom Hanks’ David S. Pumpkins character started off as so weird and out-of-the-blue that it was hard to determine whether or not he was funny. But he was at least very interesting and curious, so he kept coming back. He was even given his own animated Halloween special. Comedy fans slowly caught on that this was, in fact, a hilarious character.

Writer Streeter Seidell, who co-created the character, has suggested the fact that David S. Pumpkins has no political affiliation while his first sketch aired in October 2016, right before the Presidential election, helped to fuel his popularity. This “Santa Claus for Halloween” was so weird and so harmlessly fun that he brought a divided America together very briefly.

5 The Blues Brothers

Being a variety show, each episode of Saturday Night Live features both comedic sketches and musical performances. The great thing about the Blues Brothers is that they can do both. They’re hilarious when they’re just talking to each other and they’re hilarious when they’re performing their music – but the music itself is great, too.

The characters were born out of Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi’s shared love of the blues, so they play the musical segments with a respect for the traditions of the genre and an impeccable authenticity. Jake and Elwood Blues are easily two of SNL’s most legendary characters.

4 The Church Lady

We all know the kind of church-going Christian woman who thinks she’s better than everyone else because she goes to church, and Dana Carvey captured their smug attitude perfectly in the character of Enid Strict, better known simply as “the Church Lady.”

RELATED: SNL Lampoons the Jussie Smollett Saga in Racially-Charged Sketch

Catchphrases don’t always work well for comedy, but in certain cases, the repetition works brilliantly as the lines become funnier each time. This is the case with the Church Lady, whose catchphrases “Well, isn’t that special?!” and “How convenient!” and “Could it be…Satan?” It worked, thanks to Carvey’s delivery of each of the lines, which stopped them from ever getting old.

3 Debbie Downer

Played by the great Rachel Dratch, who also created her, Debbie Downer was a personification of the idiom of the same name, which refers to someone who brings down an otherwise positive conversation with something mind-numbingly negative. That’s what the character always did.

She’d mention something really sad – usually the rate of feline AIDS, the number one killer of domestic cats – and then the camera would close in on Dratch’s awkward facial expression with a hilarious “wah-wah” sound effect. It’s no wonder that the other actors in the Debbie Downer sketches would often break. The first one was included on TV Land’s list of the Top 100 Most Unexpected Moments in TV History.

2 Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar

Okay, so this is technically two characters, but you can’t have one without the other. They work well on their own, as shown by their individual subplots in the wildly popular movies that were based on their sketches, but they work spectacularly as a duo.

Mike Myers and Dana Carvey have terrific chemistry, and they captured the airy spirit of both slackers and metalheads perfectly. At first, Myers got some push-back when he pitched the characters to the other writers, because the comedic target was thought to be too obscure, but they ended up becoming a pair of SNL greats.

1 Matt Foley

Matt Foley, the thrice-divorced motivational speaker who lives “in a van down by the river,” was the character that made Chris Farley a star. He was created by Bob Odenkirk and there’s a timeless quality to the absurdism of his dialogue. Ask any Farley-era SNL cast member who the funniest person on the cast was and they’re guaranteed to say it was him.

The Matt Foley sketches were among Farley’s most hilarious and most popular on the show. The character was so funny that David Spade could never keep a straight face. Unfortunately, he’s one of the comedy greats who have been taken from us at a tragically young age.

NEXT: SNL: Michael Keaton’s Julian Assange Meets Kate McKinnon’s Lori Loughlin

2019-04-25 07:04:47

Ben Sherlock

25 Crazy Things Fans Didn’t Know Behind The Making Of The Original Star Wars Movies

This December, the Skywalker saga at the core of the Star Wars franchise will be coming to a definitive end. Fans have been following the story of Luke and Leia’s bloodline for over 40 years now, so a lot is riding on the big finale.

Long before J.J. Abrams rebooted the saga for Disney, and long before George Lucas divided his own fan base with a trio of prequel movies, we had the original trilogy. Lucas came to 20th Century Fox as a young man with an idea for a weird little space movie – the fourth part of a six-part epic – and somehow managed to get it funded. But he faced an uphill battle, as the studio had very little faith in the film and even tried desperately to bury it. It was all but guaranteed to be a failure.

And then something incredible happened: it struck a chord with audiences across the world. By the second or third week of its release, people were lining up around the block to watch it for the tenth time. Two highly anticipated sequels followed and the rest is history – the Star Wars phenomenon continues to this day. It’s stronger than ever, actually. Here are 25 Crazy Things Fans Didn’t Know Behind The Making Of The Original Star Wars Movies.

25 The Producers Wanted A Movie Star To Cameo As Darth Vader

At the end of Return of the Jedi, when Darth Vader is unmasked and we see his true face for the first time ever, he’s played by Sebastian Shaw. Who? Exactly. Originally, the producers wanted a huge star like Laurence Olivier to cameo as Vader in the unmasking scene.

However, during story discussions, they scrapped the idea as they realized it would lessen the impact of the scene. It was probably the right call. It would take us out of the scene to have to say, “Oh, look, it’s Laurence Olivier!” This is the moment in which Anakin Skywalker looks upon his son with his own eyes for the first time. That’s important enough without a big movie star.

24 Lucas Didn’t Know Leia Was Luke’s Sister At The Time Of Their Kiss Scene

Everyone likes to joke about the incestuous overtones of The Empire Strikes Back’s kiss between Luke and Leia, since they were revealed to be twins one movie later. However, while George Lucas had plotted out the rough outline for all six movies from the start, he hadn’t ironed out all the details and was still making some things up as he went along.

The exact plot points in each movie were still being decided in each subsequent writing process. When they shot the kiss scene, he still hadn’t figured out that Leia was Luke’s sister. Thus, it’s not totally weird.

23 Harrison Ford Wanted Han To Be Written Out Early In Return Of The Jedi

We finally saw Han Solo breathe his final breath after being slashed down by his own son in The Force Awakens, but Harrison Ford actually wanted the character to meet his end much earlier. During the production of the original trilogy, he never signed on for more than one movie at a time.

That’s why Han was frozen in carbonite at the end of The Empire Strikes Back – in case Ford didn’t sign back on for the third movie. He did, but he really pushed for a scene where Han is terminated early on in the story. Lucas refused, because Han needed to complete his character arc for the trilogy.

22 Emperor Palpatine Was Originally Played By A Woman With Superimposed Chimpanzee Eyes

In the prequel trilogy and the Special Editions of the original trilogy (and in the upcoming The Rise of Skywalker,) Emperor Palpatine is played by Ian McDiarmid. However, in the original cut of The Empire Strikes Back, Palpatine only appears in a hologram scene and his character wasn’t fully fleshed out yet.

Back then, he was played by a female actor named Marjorie Eaton with chimpanzee eyes imposed on her face to give her a creepier look. It did successfully create the iconic Palpatine look, but future movies would just use makeup effects.

21 Mark Hamill And Carrie Fisher Didn’t Use Stunt Doubles In The Swinging Scene

The latest Star Wars movies – especially the prequels – can get around dangerous stunt work with CGI. But back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, every stunt had to be done practically (unless it involved miniatures). Most actors would just use a stunt double.

However, in A New Hope, during the Death Star escape, there’s a moment where Luke and Leia swing across a giant chasm. Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher didn’t use stunt doubles in this scene and actually performed the stunt themselves. In fact, they nailed it in one take.

20 Return Of The Jedi Was Filmed Under The Title Blue Harvest

Family Guy fans will be familiar with this fact, because Blue Harvest was used as the title of the show’s special episode parodying Star Wars. It’s a common practice now to use a fake title during the production of a much-anticipated blockbuster like The Avengers or The Dark Knight to avoid fans finding out where they’re shooting and leaking plot details from the set or interrupting filming.

But back then, it was a novel idea thought up by George Lucas to protect the set of Return of the Jedi. Blue Harvest is the most well-known fake working title used by a Hollywood production, because it started the trend.

19 Harrison Ford And Carrie Fisher Were Hungover While Shooting The Cloud City Scene

If you look closely at Han and Leia in the scene in The Empire Strikes Back where they arrive at Cloud City, you’ll notice that they look a little dazed and tired. That’s because they both had terrible hangovers from the night before.

Despite the fact they were in the middle of shooting a Star Wars movie, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher spent the night partying until six in the morning with the Rolling Stones and Monty Python’s Eric Idle – and then they had to shoot the Cloud City scene. It’s not like you’re going to turn down an invitation to party with Eric Idle and the Stones, even if you do have work in the morning.

18 George Lucas Wasn’t A Particularly Hands-On Director

A New Hope was the only movie in the original trilogy that George Lucas directed, and according to the actors, he wasn’t very attentive to their performances. Some directors, like Martin Scorsese, watch their actors intently and provide detailed feedback.

Scorsese reportedly even keeps an eye on all of his extras and gives them specific notes between takes. However, Lucas just said either “faster” or “more intense.” At one point during filming, Lucas lost his voice, so the cast gave him a board with just those two phrases on. It worked a charm!

17 Return Of The Jedi Originally Had A Much Darker Ending

After the downbeat cliffhanger ending of The Empire Strikes Back, it was a relief when Return of the Jedi ended the trilogy on a positive note – but it almost didn’t. In early story discussions, George Lucas suggested taking the plot in a much grimmer direction.

Lucas told his co-writer Lawrence Kasdan, “Luke takes [Vader’s] mask off. The mask is the very last thing – and then Luke puts it on and says, ‘Now, I am Vader.’” Kasdan replied, “That’s what I think should happen.” In the end, and probably for the best, this was scrapped in favor of the happier, more hopeful ending we got.

16 The Actors Only Stopped Goofing Around When Alec Guinness Was On-Set

According to Harrison Ford, he and Mark Hamill would goof around on the set of the original Star Wars movie, but only on the days when Alec Guinness wasn’t on the set. If Guinness, a behemoth in the acting community, was around, Ford and Hamill acted more professionally.

To be fair, back then, the Star Wars universe was completely unknown. It was up in the air if it was going to be a success or not, and the odds were against that. The actors were uttering words like “Jedi” and “lightsaber” and “Death Star,” which were nonsensical back then. They probably figured they might as well have fun while they were doing it.

15 The Lightsaber Sound Effect Was Achieved Creatively

Sound designer Ben Burtt is famous for using unusual items to create sound effects. For example, he got the sound of the lid being removed from the Ark of the Covenant from sliding the lid off the back of a toilet. In the Star Wars trilogy, he created the sound of a lightsaber by mixing the hum of an unused 35mm film projector and the feedback that comes from moving a stripped microphone cable past a TV set.

There are endless digital archives of the sound effect now that there are countless toys, video games, and TV shows it’s used in as well as the movies, but it all stems from that.

14 George Lucas Tried To Get Some Big-Name Directors To Helm Return Of The Jedi

While George Lucas directed every prequel movie from his own scripts, he only directed the first movie of the original trilogy. Irvin Kershner took on The Empire Strikes Back, while Richard Marquand handled directing duties on Return of the Jedi. But before Marquand was hired, Lucas tried to get some A-list directors on board.

He first asked his friend Steven Spielberg, who declined because Lucas was producing the movie outside the Directors Guild of America, before courting horror directors David Lynch and David Cronenberg, who both turned him down in favor of their own projects.

13 Harrison Ford Improvised The Intercom Exchange In A New Hope

Remember the scene in the original Star Wars movie in which Han Solo is on the Death Star, talking over an intercom system? He ends up shooting to intercom and saying, “Boring conversation anyway.” Apparently, Harrison Ford decided not to learn his lines for that scene and instead improvised it on the day, so that it would seem more spur-of-the-moment.

It’s rare that actors get to ad-lib in a Star Wars movie, since each one goes through a rigorous story-breaking process that ends with a pretty rigid and air-tight script, but this resulted in a nice touch of authenticity, so maybe it should be more common.

12 The Dagobah Swamp Scenes Were Partly Shot In George Lucas’ Pool

The Dagobah sequence in The Empire Strikes Back is one of the most important in Star Wars history. It introduced audiences around the world to Yoda, and also resulted in Luke being trained once and for all as a genuine Jedi. Obi-Wan had given him some pointers, but this was where he truly grappled with his Force powers.

At one point during the Dagobah scene, R2-D2 is consumed by a monster and then spat out into the swamp. He splashes into the water and starts to sink. This might look like a genuine swamp on-screen, but it was actually filmed – at least partly – in the swimming pool in George Lucas’ backyard.

11 Han Solo Is Frozen In Carbonite With A Different Shirt

When Han Solo is frozen in carbonite in The Empire Strikes Back, we see him in a white shirt with folded-over collars like what a chef would wear. But in his frozen form, as we see him for the rest of that movie and the beginning of Return of the Jedi, he’s wearing a regular shirt with a narrow, low-hanging V-neck.

This was a result of a lack of communication between the people dressing Harrison Ford for the freezing scene and the people making the carbonite prop. An important lesson was learned.

10 The Jawas’ Sandcrawler Was Mistaken For A Military Vehicle

While the original Star Wars movie was shooting in Tunisia, the Jawas’ Sandcrawler was parked a little close to the Libyan border – close enough that the Libyan government feared it was a military vehicle, and that military action was imminent. After some wacky political misunderstandings, the Tunisian government had to politely ask Lucas to move the Sandcrawler.

While Lucas and his crew were shooting the scene where Luke and Uncle Owen buy Artoo and Threepio, and the Jawas try to rip them off with a droid that has a “bad motivator,” some politicians were in a frenzy as they prepared for what they thought meant a coming war.

9 Return Of The Jedi Was The First Movie To Be Given THX Certification

We all know the THX logo that appears at the beginning of some blockbusters and blows out your eardrums with a slowly rising instrumental sound. These movies have been awarded “THX Certification” by Lucasfilm, and they come with a set of instructions for theaters, claiming each screening room “must be acoustically neutral – on-reverberant – to prevent sonic reflections from muddying dialogue; and [their] sound systems must reproduce substantial deep bass throughout the hall.”

The very first one was Return of the Jedi, and the certification was born when Lucas couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the movie’s audio. He realized it wasn’t an issue with the print, but rather the theater he was screening it in.

8 The Alien Skeleton On Tatooine In A New Hope Is Still There

In one of the scenes set on Tatooine in A New Hope, C-3PO is walking through the desert and a giant alien skeleton can be seen behind him. This skeleton was later identified as belonging to a greater krayt dragon. After the crew finished shooting in Tunisia, no one removed the skeleton and it was just left there.

Years later, when the same crew returned to the same area of Tunisia to shoot Attack of the Clones, they found that the skeleton was still there – and it still is today. Go and check it out!

7 Steven Spielberg Was The Only One Of George Lucas’ Friends Who Thought Star Wars Was Any Good

Upon completing his final cut of the first Star Wars movie, George Lucas screened it for all his director friends, like Francis Ford Coppola and Brian De Palma. He’d faced a disturbing lack of faith from the studio, the crew, and even some of the cast at this point.

And then his friends tore the movie apart. De Palma called it the “worst movie ever.” It can’t have been great for Lucas’ spirit. Spielberg was the only one of the bunch who thought it was good and would be successful – a beacon of hope, kind of like Luke in the movie.

6 George Lucas Hated Han Solo’s “I Know” Line

Towards the end of The Empire Strikes Back, right before Han Solo is frozen in carbonite and taken to Jabba the Hutt’s palace, Leia tells him, “I love you,” and Han simply replies, “I know.” It’s one of the most iconic moments in Star Wars history. But George Lucas hated the “I know” line.

Harrison Ford came up with the line himself and kept pushing for it, but Lucas thought it would be unsuitable for the film’s audience. Of course, Ford was right – it’s totally in character for Han and is remembered by every one of the saga’s fans.

5 The Big Empire Strikes Back Twist Was Kept Under Wraps

With the internet spreading any and all plot details that leak from the production of upcoming blockbusters these days, it’s tougher than ever to keep surprises and twists under wraps. But even back in 1980, it was difficult. George Lucas took some crazy precautions to keep the “I am your father” twist from leaking to the public.

In the script, the line claimed Obi-Wan eliminated Luke’s father, and this was also the line that David Prowse read (his lines as Vader were always redubbed with James Earl Jones’ voice) on the set. Mark Hamill was told the real twist seconds before the scene was shot so that he would react to the real twist, but aside from Lucas, he was the only one who knew before post-production.

4 Return Of The Jedi Was Called Revenge Of The Jedi Until The Last Minute

For most of its production, Return of the Jedi went by the title Revenge of the Jedi. George Lucas later changed it to Return of the Jedi when he realized that the Jedi would not seek vengeance. However, by this time, thousands of Revenge posters had been printed up with artwork by Drew Struzan.

Those posters even had a red twinge to reflect the darker-sounding Revenge title, which just goes to show how much a title can impact the feel of a movie. It still had Ewoks in it, but it was going to be marketed as a dark, gritty finale.

3 The Original Cut Of The Empire Strikes Back Already Identified It As “Episode V”

We know The Empire Strikes Back as the fifth chapter in the Star Wars saga now that we have the prequels and a bunch of home media releases that label the movies with the right episode numbers. However, back in 1980, as far as anyone knew, The Empire Strikes Back was the second part of the story.

Still, George Lucas put “Episode V” at the top of the opening crawl, figuring that fans would be invested enough to look into it. That’s easier to do now that we have Google, but back then, figuring this out would take some serious research.

2 George Lucas Took A Pay Cut In Exchange For Merchandising Rights

This one is actually quite widely known. When he was struggling to get funding for the original Star Wars movie, George Lucas took a pay cut in exchange for full merchandising rights. At the time, Fox executives thought he was a chump for taking the deal, since they didn’t think kids would want to buy space toys and film merchandising wasn’t that lucrative a business back then anyway.

Within a few short years, Star Wars merchandise would be a multi-billion-dollar industry, so Lucas got the last laugh and Fox executives were kicking themselves.

1 Everyone Hated The Ewoks Except George Lucas

It’s fair to say that the adorable Ewoks are not the most popular part of the Star Wars original trilogy. Very few fans really love the Ewoks, and some even wonder why they ended up in the film in the first place. Well, as it turns out, everyone in the cast and crew of Return of the Jedi absolutely despised the Ewoks.

Conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie even went as far as refusing to design them after George Lucas made it clear that he wanted them to look like teddy bears armed with primitive weapons. It’s a testament to Lucas’ resilience and commitment to his vision that he didn’t let this put him off and the Ewoks as he envisioned them made it to the final cut.

2019-04-25 05:04:52

Ben Sherlock

15 Best Netflix Original Movies

What are the best original movies to watch on Netflix? Now that the streaming service has become a legitimate awards season contender, subscribers are paying more attention to Netflix’s original content.

Until 2015, Netflix was just a popular destination for cord-cutters and streamers. And then everything changed, as Netflix began producing original films, marking a major shift in the film industry as high quality mid-budget movies became available to watch at home immediately upon release.

Related: The 25 Best Films on Netflix Right Now

Not all Netflix Originals will be awards season contenders, but most are entertaining. It all depends on what you’re looking for. A romantic comedy? An art house film? How about a movie that’s representative of 2019 culture? Check out our list of 15 Netflix Originals that you need to watch ASAP.

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15. Triple Frontier

As a throwback genre film, Triple Frontier checks all the boxes. For one, there’s an all-star cast led Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Pedro Pascal, Garrett Hedlund, and Ben Affleck. In addition, director J.C. Chandor provides numerous ridiculously awesome sequences as the former Special Ops crew pulls off a heist in South America – moments that you’ll need to text somebody about. Most importantly, however, Triple Frontier doesn’t take itself too seriously. 

From a critical point of view, Triple Frontier can be easily picked apart. There are blatant plot holes, and many viewers will surely laugh at the heightened sense of male bravado. But that’s part of the fun, as Triple Frontier is all about embracing the action, and how the characters react. Chandor and co-screenwriter Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty) infuse the military aspects with authenticity, while the male leads anchor the film with their puffed-chest camaraderie. Triple Frontier is a wild ride from beginning to end; a film that’s worthy of multiple re-watches, if only for pure popcorn entertainment. 

14. Someone Great

Starring Gina Rodriguez, Brittany Snow, and DeWanda Wise, Someone Great is perfect for the late-twenties crowd. While many romantic comedies target younger millennials with trendy dialogue and pop culture references, Jennifer Kaytin Robinson takes a more mature approach with Someone Great. Each of the female protagonists seem to understand that passion alone won’t get them through life; they have to work, and work hard. 

More: Someone Great Review: Gina Rodriguez’s Rom-Com Is A Win For Netflix

Aesthetically, Someone Great looks beautiful with its warm color palette, tinged with pinks and blues. Plus, the music alone elevates many scenes, most notably when Lorde’s “Supercut” hits. And while Lakeith Stanfield doesn’t receive much screen time, it works to the film’s advantage, as the female leads are indeed the primary focus. There’s substance behind all the style, as Someone Great’s characters back up the talk and walk the walk, at least in terms of how they approach their wants and needs.  

13. The Kindergarten Teacher

Directed by Sara Colangelo, The Kindergarten Teacher is the story of a well-meaning educator who crosses the line. Maggie Gyllenhaal stars as Lisa Spinelli, the titular character who recognizes that one of her young students, Jimmy, has a knack for poetry. Naturally, Lisa attempts to nurture Jimmy’s talent, though personal issues ultimately cloud her judgment. 

In The Kindergarten Teacher’s main role, Gyllenhaal delivers an unnerving performance as a woman who loses her sense of self. As a director, Colangelo keeps the audience off-guard, as the troubled Lisa manipulates the truth for self-serving reasons, only to progressively spiral out of control. The Kindergarten Teacher raises questions about mental health and emotional support, both in domestic and educational settings. And whereas some Netflix Originals invite the audience to contemplate different ways of life across the world, this particular film asks the viewer to look within, and to consider how feelings of inadequacy can affect one’s daily decisions.   

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12. Set It Up

When Set It Up released in June 2018, the fresh spin on romantic comedy tropes resonated with many viewers. Starring Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell, Claire Scanlon’s film effectively highlights the gap between young professionals and older, more experienced individuals who seem painfully out of touch. Incidentally, character charisma is crucial for Set It Up’s premise, and Deutch impressively leads the way as the endearing yet awkward female lead. Supporting players like Taye Diggs, Lucy Liu, Pete Davidson, and Meredith Hagner all have their moments, but Deutch is the most valuable scene-stealer.

More: Netflix Considering Set It Up Sequel as the Rom-Com’s Success Grows

For some viewers, Powell’s Set It Up character may be entirely unlikable, but that’s crucial to the dynamic with Deutch’s Harper Moore. They’re continuously at odds but invested in a mutual goal. In that sense, Set It Up presses hard on genre tropes, as there’s the usual hustle and bustle of big city life, and – surprise – Deutch’s character is an aspiring journalist (a major genre cliche), one who doesn’t seem to actually write much. As a whole, Set It Up works because it feels timely, fresh, and self-aware. For the collective characters, immediate happiness is more important than the next big promotion, and there’s value in appreciating the moment, along with the small, gradual changes that pave the way for a more mature outlook in life.

11. Shirkers

One one level, Shirkers is exhilarating for its depiction of three young women who make an indie film in Singapore. The production scenes offer insight into the Do-It-Yourself approach, along with all the compromises that must be made while executing a collective creative vision. However, Sandi Tan’s Shirkers isn’t focused on the absolute brilliance of the original “Shirkers,” but rather how a man named Georges Cardona took the production footage and never explained why.

Essentially, Shirkers is a dual character study about Cardona and Tan herself. Through interview footage, both subjects are presented as egotistical figures, in entirely different ways, with Cardona being the most enigmatic (and for a good reason). Whereas some film industry figures show no shame while taking advantage of others, Cardona’s documented behavior raises questions about his intent from the beginning. Above all, however, Shirkers celebrates the filmmaking process, and how moving pictures don’t necessarily need complementary audio to tell an effective story.

10. Gerald’s Game

Based on Stephen King’s 1992 novel, Gerald’s Game is a master class in suspense. Set mostly in a bedroom, the film’s narrative examines the plight of Jessie Burlingame (Carla Gugino), who is stuck handcuffed to a bed after her husband Gerald (Bruce Greenwood) dies from a heart attack after a sexual foreplay fail. Gerald’s Game succeeds for two big reasons: director Mike Flanagan’s ability to sustain a claustrophobic mood, thus immersing the audience into Jessie’s frame of mind; and Gugino’s rollercoaster performance. 

More: Gerald’s Game Ending Explained

By exploring Jessie’s worst fears in Gerald’s Game, Flanagan balances psychological horror with traditional gore. Gugino carries the load and sells the film with her facial expressions alone, however there’s nothing quite like a WTF moment to elevate a film to the next level. That comes when Jessie reaches the moment of truth, and must decide whether she’s going to die or live. Overall, Flanagan displays his virtuosity as a filmmaker via unnerving and apocalyptic images, thus foreshadowing the brilliance he would bring to the Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House the following year. 

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9. The Meyerowitz Stories

Right from the start, Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories has that New York cinéma vérité feel. Dustin Hoffman portrays the Meyerowitz family patriarch, an artist who seems more concerned about his creative legacy than being a good father. Meanwhile, Ben Stiller plays the successful son, a man who genuinely cares about his loved ones but appears to be emotionally detached. With all that in place, Adam Sandler steals the show as Danny Meyerowitz, an umemployed, self-loathing father who just can’t find any peace of mind. Whereas most Sandler performances are over-the-top and adhere to a specific brand of comedy, this one is subdued and entirely moving.

Baumbach directed and co-wrote both Frances Ha and Mistress America with his partner Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird), but he’s long been one of cinema’s most interesting indie auteurs. The Meyerowitz Stories represents another strong chapter in the filmmaker’s oeuvre, as he comments on NYC art culture and how posturing is so crucial to the game. Incidentally, Grace Van Patten’s performance as Danny’s daughter Eliza adds even more depth, as she’s a provocative young artist who hasn’t been through the wringer yet. However, the way that Eliza communicates with her father suggests that she may have the most emotional intelligence of the entire group.

8. Mudbound

Based on Hillary Jordan’s novel, Mudbound is heavy, challenging, and heart-warming. Set in the American south during World War II, the film explores the relationship between the McAllans (a white family) and the Jacksons (a black family). When Jamie McAllan (Garrett Hedlund) and Ronsel Jackson (Jason Mitchell) return home from war, they discover that they have a lot in common, despite their obvious differences. These two central performances ground Mudbound with heart, as the world around the two war veterans is full of racism and resentment. 

More: 9 Movies That Helped Netflix Change the Hollywood Game

In Mudbound, Rachel Morrison’s cinematography represents the connective tissue. She uses a strong green-brown color palette throughout, whether it’s in rural Mississippi or during the World War II aerial scenes. There’s an incredible amount of subtext in the color contrasts alone, and Morrison’s symmetrical framing emphasizes the powerful bond between Ronsel and Jamie, along with the inherent segregation of the south. For Mudbound, Morrison become the first female cinematographer to earn an Oscar nomination, and her visuals add a spectacular amount of depth to an already effective film. 

7. Cam

From a 2019 perspective, Cam represents a new school of progressive filmmaking. Directed by Daniel Goldhaber and written by Isa Mazzei, the Blumhouse psychological horror stars Madeline Brewer as Alice Ackerman aka Lola_Lola, a camgirl looking for a larger following and more income. Based on the premise, one might expect Cam to be full of graphic nudity and questionable dialogue, however it’s less about the sexual aspects of the camgirl experience and more about the psychological manipulation that equates to big tips. Based on Mazzei’s personal experience as a camgirl, she’s undoubtedly familiar with basic strategies, which allows her to then manipulate the audience by infusing horror elements into the script.

After appearing in Black Mirror and The Handmaid’s Tale, Brewer delivers another jaw-dropping performance in Cam. And despite the film’s relatively modest budget, the production design enhances Brewer’s camgirl interpretation, which makes it easier to buy into the premise and keep watching. Meaning, if Cam didn’t look great, then it most likely wouldn’t be on Netflix. Ultimately, the filmmakers take a simple premise and then subvert expectations to raise even more questions about Lola_Lola. Cam is the way of the future.

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6. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Directed by Susan Johnson, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before doesn’t fall into genre traps. The lead isn’t a quirky, insecure journalist, but rather a stylish teenager who writes in private. Lana Condor’s Lara Jean Covey doesn’t need a makeover, but rather a boyfriend who appreciates her as a woman. With its subtle nods to the cinematic past and understanding of modern culture, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’s narrative feels clever and progressive, but without feeling the need to shout it out loud. Condor’s character is a breath of fresh air, a diverse character who doesn’t seem interested in being The Cool Girl, The Manic Pixie Dream Girl, or a Mean Girl. She’s just Lara Jean.

More: To All the Boys Sequel Gets a New Director, Cast & Writer Returning

In contrast to Set It Up’s Charlie, Noah Centineo’s Peter is likable from the start in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Plus, he feels like a worthy boyfriend for Lara Jean, even if she can’t quite pinpoint his intentions. As a whole, the film’s use of social media is spot-on, and it seems to understand the day to day realities of high school life. Most teen romance films feel the need to overly explain cultural trends, but To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before understands its identity. And Condor’s natural charisma and star power will ultimately translate to various genres beyond this franchise.

5. Beasts of No Nation

Filmmaker Cary Joji Fukunaga set a high bar with Netflix’s first original film, Beasts of No Nation. Based on Uzodinma Iweala’s novel, the war drama is a relentless and fictional account of a young boy’s transformation into a child soldier. Early on, Abraham Attah’s Agu promotes an “imagination TV,” only to then be separated from his family and captured by a rebel group known as the NDF (Native Defense Forces). Not only did Fukunaga write and direct Beasts of No Nation, but he also shot the film, and it’s the frantic visual style that powerfully parallels the immediacy of the events unfolding. 

While Attah delivers a heartbreaking and education performance as Beasts of No Nation’s young rebel, Idris Elba is unforgettable as the unforgiving Commandant. In HBO’s iconic crime series The Wire, Elba’s Stringer Bell is both street smart and cognizant of the larger picture. Beasts of No Nation’s Commandant is similarly well-educated and dangerous, and he’s willing to figuratively make a scene in order to drive home a fundamental message about survival and politics. Overall, Beasts of No Nation will challenge viewers, and the experience isn’t always pleasant. However, the best films force audiences to consider alternate perspectives, and this Netflix Original gets the job done.  

4. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Directed by the Coen brothers, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and its unconventional narrative doesn’t necessarily align with the “Netflix and Chill” mantra. Still, it’s a wholly unique Netflix Original with universally relatable messages. Characters come and go in the six-chapter western anthology film, and patience is critical when processing the collective stories, and how they connect. Once again, the Coens introduce a new group of memorable characters, all of whom understand that death is around the corner. And it’s that dark comedy that speaks to what it means to be human, and to be flawed.

More: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs: All 6 Endings Explained

Visually, each vignette in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs offers something different. Some chapters have a touch of surrealism, while others are steeped in western traditions. It’s that visual flair from cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel that not only sets up classic Coen brothers monologues, but also informs the audience about the characters’ hopes and fear. With The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, the filmmakers show just how far they’ve come over the years, as they begin with an unforgettable, wise-talkin’ character but progressively tame down the wink-of-the-eye, in-your-face humor in favor of more traditional storytelling. And that’s what fans have come to love over the years: the Coens set the table with familiar faces and over-the-top moments, only to blaze a new trail and leave the answers blowin’ in the wind.

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3. The Other Side of the Wind

Recently, Netflix has made a splash in the film industry by enlisting major directors to helm original movies and television series. But none of them have the resume of the late Orson Welles, a Hollywood legend who passed away in 1985 without completing his last film, The Other Side of the Wind. Over the years, Welles’ friends worked together to complete the “New Hollywood” film, a Netflix Original whose turbulent production history is detailed in the complementary Netflix documentary They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead. As a piece of filmmaking, The Other Side of the Wind is provocative, innovative, and emblematic of Welles’ visionary mind.

Peter Bogdanovich and John Huston are the driving forces of The Other Side of the Wind. They didn’t necessarily know how the film would end, or even what it all meant, but they lended their talent anyways. Huston has all the bravado of a director whose seen it all, a man who maybe isn’t acting, per se. In a way, the same applies to Bogdanovich, a critic-turned-filmmaker who was relatively unknown when production began, but was quite accomplished and maybe a bit over-confident. At times, Welles appears to be trolling the performers during The Other Side of the Wind, all the while highlighting their best attributes. And the film’s meta-narrative allowed Welles to then shift gears by transitioning from a documentary-style approach to a commentary on the New Hollywood movement. The Other Side of the Wind will always be compared to Welles’ early classics, and that’s fair. Somehow, it feels relevant and edgy in 2019; quite the accomplishment for a respected filmmaker who struggled to get financial backing from Hollywood while he was alive.

2. Okja

In 2017, Bong Joon-ho’s Okja suggested that Netflix was on the verge of changing the film industry. Two years later, the film remains one of the best Netflix Originals, as it shifts from a family-friendly adventure movie to sociopolitical commentary about corporate greed. With a premise centered around a massive super pig, Okja is breathtaking in how Joon-ho films the outdoors sequences set in South Korea, along with the subsequent thriller scenes. In addition, both Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal provide a strange yet effective amount of comedic relief, as their characters’ personalities overshadow what lies beneath. 

More: Can Netflix Save Indie Filmmaking?

Just as social media can manipulate societal narratives and alter one’s sense of reality, Okja shows how well-meaning individuals can get caught up in a game they may not be ready to understand. The collective performances are superb across the board, and – at the time of release – Joon-ho’s inventive filmmaking teased what Netflix could accomplish with future productions. Okja will knock you down, lift you up, and leave you thinking about how the fictional narrative translates to the real world.

1. Roma

In the past, Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón directed films like Y Tu Mamá TambiénHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Gravity – all of which paved the way for the passion project Roma. Of course, the aforementioned films look nothing like Cuarón’s 2018 Netflix Original, a film that ultimately landed 10 Oscar nominations and won three awards for Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Cinematography. But Roma isn’t a cryptic art house film that was made for snobs, it was made for audiences to feel viscerally, and to connect with. While the narrative is distinctly Mexican, Roma is fundamentally about family.

Much like Italian Neorealism films that emerged after World War II, Roma features a non-professional cast. And just like French New Wave films of the late ’50s and early ’60s, Roma has a unique visual style, most notably in how Cuarón stages the characters and frames the cityscapes. For Netflix, Roma’s success implies that even more acclaimed international auteurs will join forces with the streaming service in the future, while the pending acquisition of the world-famous Egyptian Theatre suggests that future Netflix Originals may indeed have theatrical screenings on a regular basis, at least in Hollywood. Whatever happens, Roma is Netflix’s crowning achievement thus far; a film that will hopefully inspire passion projects across various genres.

Next: Netflix In Talks To Buy Its First Brick & Mortar Movie Theater

2019-04-24 02:04:58

Q.V. Hough

Who Is The Original Flash Jay Garrick?

Barry Allen is arguably the most famous version of the speedy superhero but who is the original Flash Jay Garrick? While he may not be quite as big a name as Batman or Wonder Woman, The Flash remains one of DC’s most popular heroes. A number of characters have held that mantle over the years too, including Barry Allen and Wally West.

The character found a whole new fanbase thanks to The Flash TV series from the 1990s, where John Wesley Shipp played Barry Allen. Mark Hamill (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) also guest starred on the show as villain The Trickster, a part he would later reprise on the CW Flash series that launched in 2014 and starred Grant Gustin as Allen. Ezra Miller most recently played the character in the DCEU Justice League movie.

Related: DCEU Complete Movie Timeline (From Man Of Steel To Shazam)

Fans may not know the character first appeared in 1940 in Golden Age Flash Comics #1. The character was created due to the popularity of the Superman comics, with original Flash Jay Garrick being a college student who gained his abilities in a very unconventional way. Garrick is depicted as a talented athlete, but his attempts to woo a fellow student named Joan are foiled because she believes he doesn’t apply himself.

Jay Garrick is later shown working in a lab with a professor on something dubbed hard water, but during a cigarette break, he accidentally knocks it over and inhales the vapors. These vapors bond with his genes and grant him superspeed abilities, which he first uses to help his football team so he can win Joan’s affections. He soon donned a costume that consisted of a red shirt with a lightning bolt, in addition to a helmet with wings, and became known as The Flash.

The Flash quickly became a popular hero during the Golden Age of comics, and alongside characters like Green Lantern and Sandman, he helped form Justice League precursor the Justice Society of America. The popularity of superhero comics started to wane following the end of World War II, however, and Flash Comics came to an end in 1949.

Barry Allen would then become the Silver Age Flash when the character was revived in 1956. Allen was a scientist who was struck by lightning in a freak accident, granting him superpowers. In a meta touch, he named himself after reading a Golden Age Flash comic featuring Jay Garrick. The comics would later reveal both Garrick and Allen exist in parallel universes, with 1961 comic Flash Of Two Worlds featuring a crossover between the two. The comic provided the explanation that Flash writer Gardner Fox must have dreamed of Garrick’s adventures in Allen’s universe and wrote down his various adventures in a comic.

Garrick has appeared in many comic stories in the decades since and was recently played by John Wesley Shipp on the CW Flash series, where he acts as mentor to Barry Allen. While the character may have been succeeded by Barry Allen and Wally West, original The Flash Jay Garrick remains a vital part of DC history and a fan favorite to this day.

Next: How The Flash Logo Changed Over Time

2019-04-24 01:04:59

Padraig Cotter

Original Batman Movie Series Returning to Theaters for DC 80th Anniversary

The original Batman movie quadrilogy – Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, and Batman & Robin – are returning to theaters for a big anniversary. 2019 marks the 80th anniversary of Batman’s debut in the pages of DC Comics, and it’s a momentous occasion indeed. Gotham’s protector is one of – if not the – most popular superheroes in the world, and while it’s been awhile since he’s really gotten his due on the big screen, The Caped Crusader certainly sports a colorful theatrical history.

Batman’s film debut came in 1966, in an unabashedly campy but still quite fun TV show spinoff of the classic Batman series starring Adam West as the titular hero and Burt Ward as Robin. Bruce Wayne’s alter ego wouldn’t return to theaters until 1989’s Batman, directed by Tim Burton, featuring Michael Keaton’s Bats squaring off against Jack Nicholson’s Joker. Keaton and Burton would come back for 1992’s Batman Returns, which added Danny DeVito’s Penguin and Michelle Pfieffer’s Catwoman to the mix. Unfortunately, Joel Schumacher’s 1995 Batman Forever and 1997 Batman & Robin were seen as big drops in quality by most.

Related: Zack Snyder’s Explanation For The DCEU’s Batman Killing Is All Wrong

In the decades since, Batman was resurrected via Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, and returned most recently via Batfleck’s involvement in the DCEU. He’ll soon be revitalized yet again for Matt Reeves’ The Batman. Next month, Fathom Events will give Bat-fans the chance to revisit the four 1980s and 1990s Batman films in theaters, likely representing the first chance many have ever had to see them on the big screen.

Batman (1989) will screen on Saturday, May 4 at more than 600 theaters in the US, at 1pm and 4pm local time. Batman Returns screens on Monday, May 6 at 4pm and 7pm, while Batman Forever shows on Sunday, May 12 at 1pm and 4pm. Finally, Batman & Robin graces theater screens on Tuesday, May 14 on 4pm and 7pm. Tickets are on sale now at Fathom Events’ website. While the prospect of people going to see the Schumacher films might seem odd, it’s important to remember that both have developed a cult fanbase in recent years due to their sheer silliness.

With Batman celebrating his 80th birthday this year, and no new Batman movies arriving until 2021, re-releasing these old school DC films to theaters offers dedicated fans an opportunity to celebrate Bruce Wayne’s anniversary in theaters. No disrespect intended to Ben Affleck’s portrayal, but here’s hoping that Reeves’ The Batman represents a proper Hollywood resurgence for The Dark Knight, in what will be his first big screen solo outing since 2012. In the meantime, fans can head to theaters and chill with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s quipping Mr. Freeze.

More: The Best (And Most Important) Batman Comics Of All-Time

Source: Fathom Events

2019-04-22 07:04:54

Michael Kennedy

Every Single Original TV Show & Movie Coming To Disney+

Disney is joining the streaming game with new service Disney+, set to launch on November 12, 2019, and the studio is bringing a big lineup of original TV shows and movies to the table. From Star Wars shows like The Mandalorian and The Clone Wars to Marvel Cinematic Universe spinoffs such as Falcon and Winter Soldier, Disney is planning to spend $500 million on original Disney+ content in 2019 alone.

With established competitors like Netflix and Amazon Prime to contend with, Disney is planning to draw Disney+ customers in with a low starting price point of $6.99 a month, and a large library of archived Disney content at launch. However, in order to succeed in the streaming game, Disney+ will also need to offer a wealth of exclusives within its first few years.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Disney+

Though the launch of Disney+ is still months away, Disney already has shows and movies lined up through to 2021. Here’s what’s coming to Disney+, and when to expect it.

  • This Page: Original TV Shows & Specials Coming to Disney Plus
  • Page 2: Original Movies Coming to Disney+

Release: First year of launch.

Two of Captain America’s best buds will be teaming up for Falcon and Winter Soldier, a live-action series starring Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie. Not much is known about the series yet, most likely because Marvel wants to avoid spoiling the events of Avengers: Endgame. However, Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson made a formidable (and funny) team in Captain America: Civil War, so it should be fun to see them exchanging banter and covering each other’s backs in their own show.

Related: These Marvel Shows Are Coming After Avengers: Endgame

Release: Second year after launch.

Thor’s trickster brother is getting his own live-action series in Loki, which will see Tom Hiddleston reprise his role. Rick and Morty writer Michael Waldron is in charge of developing the series and scripting the pilot, and according to an official synopsis the series will “follow Loki as the trickster and shapeshifter pops up throughout human history as [an] unlikely influencer on historical events.” This prequel approach gets around the rather sticky problem of Loki being killed off at the start of Avengers: Infinity War.

Release: Second year after launch.

The rather bizarrely titled WandaVision will follow romantic pairing of Scarlet Witch and the Vision, who are connected via the Mind Stone (it gave Wanda Maximoff her powers, and resided in Vision’s head until being rudely pried out by Thanos). Little is known about this series so far, except that Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen are expected to star and that, like the other series, it will intersect with the movie side of the MCU.

Release: First year after launch

An animated series inspired by the “What If…?” Marvel comics, Marvel’s What If…? is exactly what it sounds like – a series of stories based in alternate versions of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where one major element has been changed. The first episode of the series will explore what might have happened if Agent Peggy Carter became Captain America instead of Steve Rogers. Not to be left out, this universe’s version of Steve becomes the first ever Iron Man, with a suit built by Howard Stark.

Release: Episode 1 available at launch

Pedro Pascal leads the cast of The Mandalorian, the first ever live-action Star Wars series, which is set five years after the events of Return of the Jedi. The main character is a bounty hunter of questionable morals, whose identity will be a mystery at the start of the series. The Mandalorian will also star Gina Carano as Kara Dune, an ex-Rebel shock trooper, and Carl Weathers as Greef Marga, head of a branch of the Bounty Hunters Guild.

Related: Star Wars Theory Explains The Biggest Mandalorian Plot Hole

Release: First year after launch

Animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars is being revived for Disney+, with a trailer unveiled at Star Wars Celebration. The series focuses on Ahsoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan, and also features other characters from the movies like Yoda, Mace Windu, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Darth Maul. In season 7, Ahsoka has left the Jedi and is attempting to start a new life in the underworld of Coruscant.

Release: Second year after launch

Diego Luna’s ruthless Rebel spy Cassian Andor, who made his debut in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, will return in a live-action series alongside sardonic robot K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk). The Americans‘ Stephen Schiff will both produce the show and serve as showrunner. Set prior to the events of Rogue One, the show will explore Cassian’s history in espionage at the height of the Empire’s power.

Release: Available at launch

As you can possibly decipher from the tongue-in-cheek title, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is about a high school production of High School Musical. This is a ten-episode series set in East High, the real high school where High School Musical was filmed, and where students are now preparing to put on their high school’s first production of High School Musical. Got it?

Release: Second year after launch

Set six months after the end of Pixar classic Monsters, Inc., Disney Television Animation series Monsters at Work will follow a new monster character, Tylor Tuskmon (Ben Feldman), who works as a mechanic at the revamped Monsters, Inc. Tylor dreams of moving from his humble position up to the main team on the Laugh Floor (formerly the Scare Floor). The voice cast will feature several returning actors from the original movie, including Billy Crystal, John Goodman, John Ratzenberger, and Jennifer Tilly.

Release: First year after launch

Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez will be producing Diary of a Female President, a new series from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend writer Ilana Peña. The show will follow a 12 year-old Cuban-American girl with big dreams, “as she navigates the ups and downs of middle school and her journey to becoming the future president of the United States.”

Available at launch:

  • Encore! – Former high school musical castmates recreate their original performance.
  • Forky Asks a Question – 10 shorts featuring Toy Story 4 character Forky.
  • Marvel’s Hero Project – Show celebrating young real-life heroes.
  • SparkShorts – Short animated films from Pixar.
  • Untitled Walt Disney Imagineering Documentary Series – Docuseries about the history of Walt Dsney Imagineering.
  • The World According to Jeff Goldblum – Show hosted by Jeff Goldblum, offering his unique view on the world.

Released in first year after launch:

  • Be Our Chef – Cooking competition show.
  • Cinema Relics: Iconic Art of the Movies – Anthology show looking at the making of famous Disney movies.
  • Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2 – Behind the scenes look at Frozen 2.
  • Magic of Animal Kingdom – Behind-the-scenes look at the Animal Kingdom theme park.
  • Lamp Life – Animated short film featuring Toy Story 4‘s Bo Peep.
  • Marvel’s 616 – Docuseries about the history of Marvel.
  • (Re)Connect – Series where families work out the issues dividing them.
  • Rogue Trip – Travel series with journalist Bob Woodruff.
  • Shop Class – Competition series with teams creating contraptions.

Released in second year after launch:

  • Earthkeepers – Docuseries about conservationists and the animal kingdom.
  • Ink & Paint – Docuseries about the history of animation at Disney.

Page 2: Original Movies Coming to Disney+

Release: Available at launch

Disney’s trend of making live-action adaptations of its animated classics gets a smaller-scale venture in Lady and the Tramp, a new take on the 1955 film featuring real live doggies. The film was written by Andrew Bujalski and directed by Charlie Bean, and features Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux as the voices of Lady and the Tramp. The film tells the story of a pedigree house dog from a wealthy family who crosses paths with a cheerful street mutt, and the romance that blossoms between the two of them. Also featuring the voices of Kiersey Clemons, Yvette Nicole Brown, Thomas Mann, Janelle Monae, and Sam Elliot.

Release: First year after launch

Bill Hader stars in Disney+ original movie Noelle as Nick Kringle, the bumbling heir to the mantle of Santa Claus, who lets the pressure of Christmas get to him and vanishes in the lead-up to the holiday. The only hope to get Nick back and save Christmas is his little sister Noelle (Anna Kendrick), who has thus far lived a carefree life as a member of the Kringle family, but will have to take on some serious responsibility for the first time in getting her brother back. Also starring Kingsley Ben-Adir, Billy Eichner, Julie Hagerty and Shirley MacLaine.

Related: Every Fox Movie Disney Is Still Going To Release

Release: First year after launch

Based on the book by Jerry Spinelli and directed by Julia Hart, Stargirl is about a teenage boy called Leo (Graham Verchere) whose life is changed by the arrival of a girl called Stargirl Carraway (Grace Vanderwahl) at his high school. Stargirl’s unusual, conformist behavior baffles the student body, who are at first charmed by her weirdness but then start to turn on her.

Release: First year after launch

Disney cartoon series Phineas and Ferb is getting the movie treatment in The Phineas and Ferb Movie (though that’s only the working title), executive produced by show creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh. The movie will see stepbrothers Phineas (Vincent Martella) and Ferb (David Errigo Jr.) go on a galactic mission to rescue their sister Candace (Ashley Tisdale), who has been kidnapped by aliens and taken to a far-away planet.

Release: First year after launch

Based on Stephan Pastis’ book Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made and directed by Tom McCarthy, Timmy Failure is about a young boy called Timmy (Winslow Fegley) who runs a detective agency with the help of his imaginary polar bear friend and his sidekick, Rollo Tookus. The film also stars Craig Robinson, Wallace Shawn, and Ophelia Lovibond.

Release: First year after launch

Directed by Ericson Core, Togo is based on the true story of a diphtheria outbreak that threatened the lives of children in the remote town of Nome in Alaska in 1925. The movie follows musher Leonhard Seppala (Willem Dafoe) and his sled dog, Togo, as they travel almost 700 miles through the harsh Alaskan landscape to bring medicine to the children. The film is based on the same story as 1995 animated film Balto, with Balto and Togo being the two most famous sled dogs in the team that saved the children.

More: Everything Available On Disney+ At Launch

2019-04-22 04:04:33

Hannah Shaw-Williams