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20 DC Characters Who Can Be In James Gunn’s Suicide Squad (And Who Should Play Them)

James Gunn may be off the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 project after being fired by Disney for some controversial tweets surfaced from long ago, but not only has he apologized and insisted that he’s a much different person than he was at that period in his life; he’s reportedly also getting another stab at creating a comic adaptation with the next Suicide Squad film.

While Marvel fans mourn the loss of the man behind some of the best movies in the MCU, it’s quite possible that Gunn will give the DC universe the boost it desperately needs to really compete with Marvel.

While we’ll have to wait and see what the actual film brings to the party, we have plenty of time to speculate about what its plot might be, what kind of tone to expect and above all, which characters might be included and who might be cast in those roles. While many of us are hoping to see some members of the Squad from the first film return, we’re also crossing our fingers, wishing for a chance to meet more members who weren’t included in the first movie. There’s really an endless amount of speculation to enjoy here and many fans have already photoshopped their choices for the best portrayals of characters audiences have loved for decades.

Casting for these iconic personalities won’t be an easy task, but here are 20 DC Characters Who Can Be In James Gunn’s Suicide Squad (And Who Should Play Them).

20 Christina Ricci As Harley Quinn

Let’s be honest: Margot Robbie is a sure-in for Harley Quinn at this point. The star surprised many fans while proving others right with her incredible performance as the psychiatrist turned psychopath. Ensuring that Quinn not only shone as the premiere talent in a film with its problems, but that she would endure for her own film afterward, Robbie is a fan favorite, through and through.

We could definitely see this version of Harley in a Gunn movie.

If for some reason Robbie had to back out of the project, as much as it would pain fans, some have taken to casting other ideas for actresses who could play Harleen Quinzel. Artist D3SIGNMILTIA’s piece depicts an interesting version of the character that might work well with Christina Ricci.

19 Joaquin Phoenix As The Joker

We’ve seen so many incarnations of The Joker over the years that it’s getting more and more difficult to choose the perfect person to play an updated version of Batman’s most notorious foe. Whether or not he’ll be in the next Suicide Squad film is unclear. Who can measure up to Jack Nicholson’s chilling Joker and Heath Ledger’s perfect monster?

Joaquin Phoenix, currently starring in Todd Phillips’ solo Joker, is certainly one candidate. Phoenix, who’s also utilized some unorthodox acting methods in the past, might give us a bit more grave swagger as the criminal mastermind. His ongoing presence in the DCEU will likely depend on the success of Joker, due out in October 2019.

18 Neil Patrick Harris As The Riddler

Everyone’s favorite child doctor has grown up to become a much beloved singer, showman, and nemesis of the Baudelaire children. Neil Patrick Harris shines in just about everything he’s in, so including him in the next installment of Suicide Squad makes perfect sense.

Harris as the Riddler is pure gold.

He’s got the chops to bring the perfect blend of humor and intelligence that the Riddler needs to truly succeed, which might hopefully replace the slapstick Riddler we got in Batman Forever years ago. Harris isn’t everyone’s favorite for the Riddler, though; stay tuned for more artist manipulations involving the Riddler later.

17 Manu Bennett As Deathstroke

Given the fact that the Arrowverse and TV adaptations of DC stories have proven so successful, it makes sense to borrow from that character pool to not only connect the universe but to help ensure the success of Suicide Squad 2. If Gunn and company are planning on including Deathstroke in the sequel, we think Manu Bennet would be a clear choice for the character.

While some fans speculate that Joe Manganiello will play the part, since he is Mr. Wilson in Justice League and has announced that he’s working on three more films featuring the character, his involvement in Suicide Squad 2 remains speculation at this point. Many believe that Deathstroke will indeed be a primary villain in the film, and Bennet has already proven that he would do the character justice.

16 Sophie Turner As Oracle

Lots of fans are imagining Marvel actors in DC roles, which is pretty delightful for those of us who Make Ours Marvel and DC. Sophie Turner, who gave us the Jean Grey that we were waiting for in X-Men: Apocalypse and is set to reprise the role in Dark Phoenix, would also make an excellent Oracle.

Barbara Gordon’s time as Oracle has included a gig as tech support for the Suicide Squad.

With Ruby Rose’s debut as Batwoman and a Batgirl movie announced, the inclusion of Oracle could provide some timeline intrigue. Plus, after decades of Batman saturation, this much Bat-women power would be so much fun.

15 Oprah Winfrey As Amanda Waller

Viola Davis was a pretty stellar Amanda Waller, which comes as no surprise to anyone who has ever seen Viola Davis in anything. Davis could read a grocery list and deserve an Oscar. That said, Kode Logic has imagined what Oprah might bring to the role and we have to say that it looks impressive. Firm, ruthless and beautiful, Oprah’s Waller seems to give the character a bit more experience points, which are conveyed in that hard gaze.

Davis has said that she loved playing Amanda Waller, who is aligned so well with her character Annalise Keating in the hit TV drama How to Get Away with Murder in many ways, but how much fun would it be to see Oprah bend the rules?

14 Will Smith As Deadshot

You don’t mess with what works, and Will Smith certainly worked as Deadshot in the original Suicide Squad. He did so well, in fact, that plenty of people thought that he deserved his own film and said that they’d have watched Suicide Squad again if it only starred Smith. This really isn’t a surprise, given Smith’s star power, and it’s been announced that he’s returning to the franchise in the role again.

It’s a good thing that we have some time before the movie’s released, too, since Smith is set to star in Bad Boys for Life and Bright 2 around the same time. Smith’s got three films releasing in 2019 alone, and while one is only a vocal role, he’s definitely going to be busy for the next couple of years.

13 Jeffrey Dean Morgan As Batman

Utter the words “Jeffrey Dean Morgan” in the same sentence as “The Batman” and you’re bound to get a room full of excited fans. He’s absolutely perfect for Wayne in an adaptation of something like Batman Beyond, but we could definitely see him as the Batman in just about any adaptation of the series, and DeviantArt user evelius has given us some visual art to really picture the idea.

Morgan has the darkness and the voice necessary for Batman to match this ragtag team of violent convicts.

While Bale and Affleck had their time in the cowl, it’s time for a new man behind the mask. Why not Negan?

12 Rila Fukushima As Katana

While Katana was featured in the first Suicide Squad film, most people believe her role was too small to really critique or appreciate. Japanese-American actress Karen Fukuhara wasn’t bad in the role; she just didn’t get much to do.

Adding Rila Fukushima in the second movie might lend Katana some traction given that she already portrays the character in the Arrowverse.

While Fukuhara, who is set to play Glimmer in the new She-Ra and the Princesses of Power TV series, is rumored to be reprising the role, Fukushima, star of last year’s Ghost in the Shell, was also fantastic as Yukio in The Wolverine, which would give us another fun link between the DC and Marvel universes.

11 Emma Stone As Poison Ivy

Who doesn’t love quirky, smart, and funny Emma Stone? The actress would be perfect for an updated role as Poison Ivy following Uma Thurman’s beautiful but wonky portrayal of Pamela Isley. One of BossLogic’s many creative manipulations, this artwork features Stone as the iconic plant-loving villain and it’s pretty impressive.

We already know that Ivy will be a big part of the upcoming Gotham City Sirens film, which will also feature Harley Quinn and Catwoman at its heart, so why not include her in the Suicide Squad movie as well? There are several other cool artist manipulations of actresses who might be great in the role, such as Jessica Chastain, so it’s going to be a tough one to cast.

10 Kristen Wiig As Cheetah

Many of us can’t stop celebrating Kristen Wiig being cast as Cheetah in Wonder Woman 1984. The strongest thing the DC movies have going for it right now is all the incredible female characters, most notably Harley Quinn and Wonder Woman, and we can’t wait to see where Aquaman takes us. If all goes well it would make perfect sense to include Wiig in Suicide Squad 2, especially since weaving in characters from multiple films would help provide better continuity for the DCEU.

Wiig is funny, smart, and beautiful, and we think she’s going to make an excellent foe for Wonder Woman.

In that case, her inclusion in another movie would also be fantastic to see.

9 Nathalie Emmanuelle As Vixen

DeviantArt artist farrou has created some truly amazing fanart of DC characters, and one of them, which features Nathalie Emmanuelle as Vixen, makes us believers. While we’re not sure if Emmanuelle has a Tantu Totem, we’re pretty sure she could make it work if Gunn and co. gave her one. The actress, best known for her role as Missandei on HBO’s Game of Thrones, is definitely ready for a a super suit and action in a big movie like this.

Then again, Jada Pinkett Smith has expressed interest in the role of Vixen, which would not only be interesting due to her husband’s presence in the movie but also due to her previous DC role as Fish Mooney in the TV series Gotham. Both actresses would be well-cast for the movie.

8 Jake Gyllenhaal As The Riddler

Do we really need the Riddler to come out and play in Suicide Squad 2? After the weirdness of Batman Forever and the sinister developments of Gotham, perhaps it’s time to reinvent the villain. Jake Gyllenhaal makes sense to play the villain not only because he was David Goyer’s original choice to play Batman in the Christopher Nolan movies, but because this fanart made by Vaskoho is something to behold.

While there are several people who could pull off the role, we think Donnie Darko has a fighting chance.

Fans point out that there were some Riddler Easter eggs in the Batman v Superman movie, so it’s possible that we’ll see The Riddler on film someday.

7 Dave Bautista As Bane

Can we all agree that, no matter the context, Dave Bautista must appear in Suicide Squad 2? Not only has the Drax actor delighted us all with his hilarious yet poignant portrayal in the Guardians of the Galaxy series, but he’s also publicly stated that he supports Gunn and wants to be involved in his next project.

We’re pretty sure any role could be molded to make room for such a beloved actor, but as as BossLogic has pointed out, he’d make an excellent Bane. After having two Banes that didn’t work so well in the Batman universe, we could definitely use a fresh face for the role. If he’s not Bane, Bautista would make a fantastic Solomon Grundy, too. We’re not too picky on this one.

6 Michael K. Williams As Black Manta

Could Black Manta make an appearance in Suicide Squad 2? It’s too early to rule anything out and many fans think he’d make a good inclusion, particularly following the Aquaman movie. While the majority of his screen time might simply have his head shrouded in a big bubble, his casting would be nonetheless important. Artist diamondking13 suggests actor Michael K. Williams for the job and we love the idea.

It would be cool to see how Gunn and co, would update the suit for a more modern, movie-friendly look.

Famous for his critically acclaimed roles in The Wire and Boardwalk Empire, Williams was just cast in Jordan Peele and Misha Green’s Lovecraft Country, but Suicide Squad 2 is far enough in the future to give him time for both gigs.

5 Bill Skarsgård As The Joker

This one is a no-brainer. Many of us just don’t care to see Jared Leto return as The Joker and it’s quite possible that The Joker won’t even see a second of footage in the second film. While we’d all probably be okay with that, if a new Joker is cast, Bill Skarsgård is a fantastic choice.

Skarsgård is hot right now following his success as Pennywise in the new adaptation of Stephen King’s It. He also played a less troubling character in Castle Rock over the summer, proving his mettle yet again in King’s world. Considered one of the good things to come out of Netfix’s Hemlock Grove, Skarsgård could probably do the Joker justice, as artist aikoaiham has shown.

4 Teresa Palmer As Killer Frost

After witnessing Killer Frost in the Arrowverse, many fans are calling for her inclusion in Suicide Squad 2. DeviantArt creator farrou has imagined what it might look like if Teresa Palmer played the villain and it’s a pretty spot-on representation.

The Australian actress is no stranger to action movies and could do well in the role.

Kristin Bauer van Straten has already voiced Killer Frost in the animated Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay, while Danica McKellar voices her in Lego DC Superhero Girls. She’s also been in 2009’s Public Enemies animated feature between Batman and Superman, but she’s never been in a live action movie before. Danielle Panabaker portrays the character in The Flash, but she hasn’t made a film in a few years.

3 Jon Bernthal as Rick Flag

Jon Bernthal is another actor already present in the MCU, portraying the most accurate and adept version of the Punisher we could ever hope for, so tossing the talented actor into the DC mix would just be plain fun. It’s not that Joel Kinneman was terrible as Rick Flag, and he’s done a great job standing up for the original film and its purpose, but Jon Bernthal would just be better.

The skill Bernthal has in striking that tricky sweet spot between ruthlessness and gravitas while still being a compelling, empathetic human being isn’t something anyone can do. Artist Riku7kun shows us what Bernthal as Flag might look like. It’s a little bare in comparison to Kinneman’s look, but that might actually work with Bernthal.

2 Josh Gad As The Penguin

It’s no secret that Josh Gad wants the role of The Penguin, having pushed for it himself in social media, and fans are clamoring for the opportunity to see the voice of the snowman, Olaf, and Gaston’s buddy LaFou in a much more sinister role.

Whether or not Gad will show up in The Batman remains to be seen but he definitely has the flippers to play the beloved villain.

BossLogic has given us some art imagining what he might look like in the role and it can only get better from here. In March, Gad started hilariously trolling Matt Reeves on Twitter, sending him animated penguin GIFs and hinting at what he could bring to the Batman franchise.

1 Margot Robbie As Harley Quinn

It’s an obvious inclusion, but it’s necessary. While the original Suicide Squad, hyped up to be the most incredible DC movie of all time, had plenty of problems, most fans and critics agree that the shining star of the whole production was Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. Robbie’s portrayal was everything we hoped for– brutal, nuanced, and a delicate balance between her joker obsession and Harley coming into her own person without being too over-the-top.

Who isn’t excited to see Robbie return as Harley in theBirds Of Prey adaptation featuring the awesome women of DC, which is so ardently anticipated that it pushed Suicide 2 to the back burner? After this much love, Robbie has to be in this universe.

Who do you most want to see in a new Suicide Squad movie? Let us know in the comments!





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2018-10-11 02:10:45 – Sara Schmidt

18 Best Sequels, According To Rotten Tomatoes (And 8 Stuck With 0%)

We live in an age where sequels are all the rage. Every major studio is chasing those franchises that can keep their cash flow healthy for years to come. Sometimes, they’re exhausting. Other times, they can be our most anticipated movies. Maybe we could do without more Transformers movies, but Marvel and Mission: Impossible sequels are event movies that drive us to the theater in droves.

Sequels are tricky and unpredictable, though. On one hand, they’re often necessary for expanding stories and the good ones continue sagas we want to see progress. On the other, some are soulless cash grabs that shouldn’t exist. In the worst cases, some of them completely derail promising franchises by failing to deliver the goods. Then again, in some instances, sequels can get a series back up and running after they’ve experienced setbacks.

This list will look at those rare sequels that are considered worthy — and even superior — follow-ups. Those rare beasts that make us grateful for multiple movies in a series. Furthermore, we’ll also be discussing the most maligned sequels that brought no critical good will to their respective franchises whatsoever. It’s more fun this way. In order to fully appreciate the best of the best, we also must acknowledge the worst of the worst. Without evil, we wouldn’t be able to understand all that’s good and pure. Without terrible movies, we wouldn’t be grateful for the good ones.

With this in mind, here are 18 Best Sequels According To Rotten Tomatoes (And 8 Stuck With 0%).

26 Best: Captain America: Civil War (91%)

The decision to keep the same team of writers for all three Captain America films paid off in the end. The trilogy just went from strength to strength with each passing entry, though some would argue that The Winter Soldier is equally as good — if not better — than Civil War. Either way, they’re both prime examples of how to do sequels right.

Civil War tackles the same themes you’d expect from a movie about a do-gooder like Cap, but where the film truly soars is during its wild third act. The airport showdown is the best action showdown in the MCU, and that’s saying something.

25 Worst: The Bad News Bears Go To Japan (0%)

If you didn’t know that sequels to The Bad News Bears exist then no one would think any less of you. While the first movie is a cult classic about an underdog baseball team, the sequels have faded from the collective memory with the passing of time, lost like tears in the rain. That’s for good reason.

None of the sequels are good, but The Bad News Bears Go To Japan is especially bad.

While the idea to relocate to Japan for a big game is good on paper, the sequel is just bland, forgettable, and was made to cash in on the brand name.

24 Best: Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (93%)

Some fans argue that The Force Awakens is essentially a retread of A New Hope in many ways. However, clearly the critics and audiences didn’t necessarily agree, given its stellar Rotten Tomatoes score and its audience score of 87%, not to mention its impressive box office haul.

As far as Star Wars movies go, it hits the spot. The new characters are great, the return of some old faces is a trip down memory lane, and the story still made significant effort to push the franchise forward. In those regards, the film definitely succeeded.

23 Best: War for the Planet of the Apes (93%)

Anyone who has a problem with classics being rebooted needs to watch the most recent Planet of the Apes trilogy.  The finale pits the apes in a brutal battle against the humans, which leads to an epic confrontation between the Caesar the Ape and humanity’s ruthless colonel (played by an utterly wicked Woody Harrelson). As far as concluding trilogies goes, War for the Planet of the Apes has everything.

By no means is this a pleasant movie, but it is rewarding. And not only does it wrap up an epic story, but the film boasts some of the great CGI wizardry out there. The action is also ridiculously impressive and compelling, which is crazy considering it’s a movie about people versus monkeys.

22 Best: Logan (93%)

James Mangold’s Logan, the gloriously violent and heartbreaking farewell to Patrick Stewart’s Professor X and Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, is an all-timer. Taking cues from the Old Man Logan comics, the movie has just as much in common with neo-westerns as it does with superhero yarns, which makes for a gritty, character-driven elegy to characters many of us grew up with.

Logan deserves praise for going R-rated and taking some stylistic risks.

The movie is proof that audiences will still flock to see superhero movies with some edge. If you’re going to send off some icons, this is the way to do it.

21 Worst: Return to the Blue Lagoon (0%)

Considering that no one liked The Blue Lagoon (it currently holds a 9% rating on RT), why anyone would want to return to the franchise is beyond comprehension. Of course, every sequel is a perfect opportunity to right some old wrongs if handled with care. Unfortunately, this was not. The story follows two children who are marooned on a tropical island as the grow up and fall in love, etc. The characters don’t wear enough clothes either, which makes for some weird, uncomfortable viewing.

There are some unintentional laughs to be had at the poor script and performances.

Otherwise the Blue Lagoon isn’t a scenic cinematic paradise worth spending time in unless you want to punish yourself for some reason.

20 Best: The Dark Knight (94%)

Few superhero movies are ever regarded as anything more than popcorn fare. However, if there were ever a superhero movie that proved the genre could be prestige cinema, it would be The Dark Knight. Christopher Nolan’s take on Batman is an exploration of chaos and just how far people are willing to go to achieve their goal.

The Dark Knight — for better or worse when you consider how devoid of fun some DC movies have been since — also brought a gritty, realistic touch to the genre. The movie feels more like a Michael Mann crime saga than it does a story about superheroes versus their outlandishly evil counterparts.

19 Best: Finding Dory (94%)

In recent times, Pixar has been criticized for relying too heavily on sequels, but if it ain’t broke… Finding Dory was released 13 years after Finding Nemo, and it was a smash with critics and audiences alike.

Its 94% on Rotten Tomatoes is complemented by an 84% audience score.

Upon release Finding Dory was praised for being as funny and thought-provoking as the first movie, while also adding a new dimension to the story. As with any Pixar movie, Finding Dory can be appreciated by audiences of all ages. 

18 Worst: Staying Alive (0%)

No other actor on the planet has experienced a career of ups and downs like John Travolta has. When he broke out he had the world at his dancing feet. After that, his career experienced a downturn until it was resurrected briefly following Pulp Fiction until it ultimately plummeted when he started starring in movies like Battlefield Earth. Staying Alive was released in 1983 when Travolta was experiencing his first fall from grace. Following up a classic like Saturday Night Fever was never going to be easy, but it shouldn’t have been this difficult, either.

The sequel lacks the gritty realism of its predecessor, and instead tries to get by on dance sequences. What’s the point in dancing when we don’t care about who’s doing it?

17 Best: Creed (95%)

No franchise tends to remain compelling seven sequels in, but Creed is proof that the Rocky franchise is the rare exception. Granted, some Rocky movies aren’t exactly knockouts, but Creed got things back on track and showed that it’s game for a few more rounds.

By serving as both a sequel and a spin-off/soft reboot, Creed gave the franchise a breath of new life.

It passed the gloves on to Michael B. Jordan as the eponymous character.  Creed 2 is right around the corner. Let’s see if it can do what the original saga failed to do and deliver a second outing that’s as good as the inaugural entry.

16 Worst: Leprechaun 2 (0%)

The first Leprechaun movie doesn’t come close to being certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, so it should come as no surprise that the sequels didn’t receive any critical acclaim. Especially not the second movie, which no critic seemed to enjoy at all.

Here, the infamous critter resurfaces in Los Angeles to find a bride, which leads to him abducting a young woman and trying to claim her as his own. This isn’t high art by any means, nor does it try to be.

15 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (96%)

The Harry Potter books were an emotional roller coaster that affected millions of readers worldwide. Reliving those adventures on the big screen was also a great time to be alive, and the grand finale lived up to expectations. In the final installment of the saga about the Boy Who Lived and his fight against the forces of darkness, the ultimate showdown finally happens as our hero and his pals face off against Voldemort in Hogwarts castle.

It’s a true epic in every sense of the word.

As far as wrapping up the story goes, Death Hallows: Part 2 delivered the goods and gave us cinematic closure in style.

14 Worst: Looking Who’s Talking Now (0%)

Look Who’s Talking is a perfectly serviceable comedy that should never have received any sequels. In a bid to end to the trilogy on a high following the disappointing previous sequel, Look Who’s Talking Too, someone thought it would be a good idea to introduce talking dogs to the mix for the series’ swan song. 

Needless to say, Look Who’s Talking Now wasn’t the glorious goodbye the series was looking for, but at least the film did cast some cute dogs.

13 Best: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (97%)

The third installment of Sergio Leone’s influential Dollars trilogy, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly is the creme de la creme of spaghetti westerns. 

The story centers around two men who form an uneasy alliance following a scam.

This leads them on a quest as it turns out there’s money buried in the desert and they want to find it. However, they have to compete against another who won’t hesitate to put a bullet in them to claim the prize. On top of being one of the most acclaimed movies out there, the film has been hailed as a major influence on directors like Quentin Tarantino.

12 Best: The Godfather: Part II (97%)

The continuation of Francis Ford Coppola’s Best Picture-winning 1972 crime saga, The Godfather: Part II chronicles Michael Corleone’s further ascendency in organized crime while simultaneously taking us back to the past to explore his dad’s humble beginnings.

Like its predecessor, the sequel also won Best Picture and is hailed by many a critic and film buff as one of the best movies ever made. Whether it’s better than the original is up for debate, but they’re like two sides of the same coin. These movies set the bar for mob pictures, and to this day, other directors are still trying to recreate the formula.

11 Mad Max: Fury Road (97%)

Director George Miller was in his seventies when he unleashed Mad Max: Fury Road, but the energy and madness imbued in every frame of this extravaganza suggest a man half his age.

Maybe we’ll never see another Mad Max movie, but the world needs a Furiosa spin-off eventually.

Fury Road is essentially one non-stop chase that barely lets up from the get-go all the way to the climactic ending. Furthermore, it’s a movie that defied expectation by taking the focus away from the titular character and making Charlize Theron’s Furiosa the real hero of the adventure. 

10 Worst: Jaws: The Revenge (0%)

Is Jaws: the Revenge a good movie? Definitely not. Is it an entertaining movie, though? Definitely yes.

How many other movies have sharks that make a conscious decision to get revenge on the humans that wronged them? Not only that, but the shark here followed its target to the Bahamas from Massachusetts. And why would someone who wants to avoid sharks go to an island surrounded by ocean? The movie is illogical, silly, nonsense, but it does offer sheer entertainment value for bad movie buffs.

9 Best: Aliens (98%)

Alien and Aliens are quite different in some regards, but they complement each other perfectly. The first is an exercise in pure suspense and terror. The sequel, on the other hand, retains the horror elements but adds a lot more action to proceedings.

Aliens shows how to make a successful sequel: acknowledge what came before but don’t be afraid to bring some fresh ideas to the table.

James Cameron was on fire in the ’80s and he wasn’t afraid to make Ridley Scott’s baby his own.

8 Best: Mad Max 2: Road Warrior (98%)

While George Miller’s inaugural Mad Max caper is a cult classic, most film buffs would agree that a couple of the sequels are slightly superior. Taking nothing away from the first movie, Road Warrior is a vast improvement when it comes to world building and sheer action spectacle. The story follows the eponymous character as he helps a group of people steal oil from a tyrannical madman and his band of goons.

As far as cinematic thrill rides go, few movies are on par with Road Warrior. Here, Miller turned up the volume significantly by making the post-apocalyptic terrains feel more dangerous and the action sequences more gung-ho and grander in scale.

7 Best: Evil Dead 2 (98%)

Sam Raimi’s first Evil Dead movie was a huge achievement for independent filmmaking when it was released back in 1981. The movie still holds up to this day with its innovative camera work, effective scares, and excellent cast as well.

The sequel is a triumph in its own right.

While the first movie contained moments of dark comedy, the sequel amps up the zaniness to become what is essentially the splatter flick equivalent of a Laurel and Hardy flick. For 90 minutes, Bruce Campbell is tormented by laughing ornaments and his own severed hand. As silly as that sounds, Evil Dead 2 still manages to pack more punch than your average MMA fighter.

6 Worst: Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (0%)

In the third installment of the Police Academy franchise, the cops are understaffed and in need of some help. Naturally, the force turns to America’s civilians to help aid in their mission. Things don’t go smoothly, for the characters in the film and the movie itself.

Rotten Tomatoes describes Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol as “Utterly, completely, thoroughly and astonishingly unfunny” and  a movie which sent “a once-innocuous franchise plummeting to agonizing new depths.” That sounds about right.

5 Toy Story 3 (99%)

Few franchises manage to strike three home runs in a row. Even The Godfather stuttered when it came to the third outing. Toy Story, on the other hand, never ceases to replicate the magic time and time again.

This emotional installment sees Andy get ready to leave for college and neglect his old toys.

He’s all grown up and has no use for them anymore, and what ensues is what is by far the most heartfelt movie in the series.

4 Worst: Highlander II: The Quickening (0%)

As far as pure entertaining action-fantasy goes, the first Highlander movie is a fun slice of popcorn entertainment that aficionados of cult cinema lose their head over. The sequel, meanwhile, is an incomprehensible mess.

Highlander II is too overplotted to explain, but the cusp of the story revolves around the hero from the first movie taking on a corporation after being led to believe that they don’t have the world’s best interests in mind. In this one, our hero is a defender of the ozone as well. What makes Highlander II so awful is that it completely retcons everything good about the original film and the mythology it introduced.

3 Best: The Bride of Frankenstein (100%)

We all desire to be loved by someone special– even bolt-head monsters made up of the remains of other people. But to find them a mate, one must dig up some more corpses and create a suitable partner that’s similar in genetic make-up. This is also the storyline behind James Whale’s 1935 masterpiece, Bride of Frankenstein.

There are too many Frankenstein movies to keep track of at this point, but this sequel remains the pinnacle of the original series.

The movie is a masterpiece that successfully blends campy fun with Gothic beauty and genuine chills that’s stood the test of time as a result.

2 Paddington 2 (100%)

No one expected the the first Paddington to be as good as it is. That movie is a bona fide classic in the making in its own right, but the sequel is some next-next level brilliance.

Paddington 2 sees the lovable bear go to prison and, unsurprisingly, all the mean criminals fall in love with him as well. Critics, like the fictional convicts, were also full of praise for the titular bear and his second big onscreen adventure as well. At one point, Paddington 2 was even the best reviewed movie in history.

1 Best: Toy Story 2 (100%)

Following up a movie like Toy Story was never going to be easy, but that didn’t stop Pixar from trying and succeeding. In this one, we find out that Woody is a collectible when he’s discovered and stolen by a greedy museum owner. Naturally this prompts Buzz Lightyear, Mr. Potato, and the rest of the gang into action and they set out to save their friend.

General consensus on Rotten Tomatoes states that Toy Story 2 is that rare sequel that improves upon its predecessor.

The sequel raises the stakes and ups the element of adventure while retaining the humor and heart that made audiences fall in love with the franchise in the first place.

What’s your favorite sequel? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-10 04:10:39 – Kieran Fisher

20 Storylines Shameless Wants Everyone To Forget

With the announcement that Emmy Rossum and Cameron Monaghan will leave the series following the ninth season of Shameless, the Gallagher household is prepping for a major shake-up on the casting front. The creator of the Showtime series John Wells has remained open about a future Fiona return, though he has also stated that there are many more dysfunctional tales left to be told for the Gallagher clan.

For eight seasons, Shameless has remained consistent in the deplorable decision-making skills of its characters, though the series’ depiction of a low-income family living below the poverty line has always been at the forefront. As the strong matriarch who single-handedly raised her siblings while her father wasn’t around, Fiona’s absence is sure to shift more focus towards the show’s younger stars as writers hope fans will soon forget her. Ian’s storyline in season 9 drove much of the action, so Monaghan’s exit will surely leave a whole as well.

Whether they’re dealing with the changing gentrification of their community or watching as another beloved character takes their leave, the Gallaghers have proven time and again that they can adapt better than anyone. From the show’s debut back in 2011 until now, the stars of the series have been forced to mature, sometimes faster than they wanted to. Along the way, there have been many entertaining or even head-scratching subplots which have since been left behind. Although the changes are nothing new to the Gallaghers, they have left many questions up in the air for fans.

Join us as we take a look back at 20 Storylines Shameless Wants Everyone to Forget.

20 Frank and Bianca

After Sammi shoots Frank in the arm to teach him a valuable lesson about courtesy, she forces him to visit the hospital to have his wound checked. During his stay, he begins bonding with his distraught doctor Bianca, whose diagnosis of stage three pancreatic cancer has left her with a new lease on life. Attempting to persuade her to live life to the fullest, Frank offers to teach her how to live carelessly, which includes a copious amount of substance abuse.

Although Frank’s time with Bianca was intended as a heart-wrenching moment which left him reeling the following season, it was never clear why the successful, young doctor would choose to spend her remaining days with him. With her money, she could seemingly spend her days anywhere. There’s little reason to believe Frank would appear as an enticing option.

19 Lip’s Sports Gambling Internship

With an exceptionally high IQ, Lip isn’t the standard member of the Gallagher household, though his self-sabotaging personality has prevented him from achieving a legitimate career. Accepted into the University of Chicago, he threw away his future after an assault on a campus guard led to his expulsion. Following a stint in rehab, Lip secured an internship with a tech start-up, thanks to his friend, Professor Youens.  Soon, however, he discovered the truth behind the company. His co-workers were using proxy servers to hide illegal sports gambling activities.

Although the crooked start-up appeared as a perfect match, nothing would come of it.

He temporarily used a wire fraud scheme to steal cash from the company, but in due time, the start-up went under and Lip was left without a career goal once again.

18 Kevin Discovers His Kentucky Heritage

Season eight concluded with a strange hodgepodge of storylines for Kevin, which included a search for self-identity as he tracked down his biological parents and found himself in Kentucky. Once he arrived, he was introduced to Aunt Ronnie and the rest of the family, immediately settling in and recalling his past as Little Barty. Unfortunately, V immediately sensed something wrong about the group, apart from their offhanded racist remarks.

As a small child, the low-income family struggled to properly raise Kev, resorting to abandoning him at a roadside gas station. He eventually learned to accept his heritage, although he seemed to quickly forget all about it soon after. Kev would have other moments of a self-identity crisis in season eight, including exploring his possible attraction to men, but his Kentucky lineage would ultimately become an afterthought.

17 Fiona Marries Gus, Then Immediately Cheats on Him

Speaking of his character on Shameless, star Steve Kazee said Fiona’s former husband Gus Pfender “got a really raw deal” over the way his storyline ended. After meeting the eldest Gallagher sibling, the two went from strangers to married seemingly overnight.

When Jimmy’s return visit catches Fiona off guard, she’s faced with an ultimatum.

Either run away with Jimmy or stay with Gus, whom she’s known for a few days. Her reaction is to throw away her newfound relationship for the temptation of her ex-boyfriend. She cheats on Gus then immediately regrets it, but by then it’s too late. Her marriage to Gus is over and any remnants of it are completely forgotten by the writing staff.

16 Debbie Steals a Baby

Before Debbie was doing crazy things like stealing expensive baby strollers to support Frances or having Liam amputate her toes to avoid undergoing a pricey surgery on her crushed foot, she was just a lonely girl looking for a playmate.

In the episode “Casey Casden”, Debbie grows tired of playing with a sack of potatoes decorated to look like a baby.

Rather than asking for a new doll, she takes matters into her own hands when she lures a three year old boy back to the Gallagher residence. The Gallaghers then spend the episode concocting a plan to call in false sightings of the child with the cops finally finding him with Debbie, who acts like she found him wandering around Chicago. Needless to say, it was a crazy storyline that the show’s producers haven’t attempted since.

15 Anything Involving Sammi or Chuckie

Frank’s estranged daughter Sammi is first introduced in season four after Frank discovers his liver in failing. Posing as a Good Samaritan, he begins dating her to grow closer before dropping the devastating bombshell. Oddly enough, however, she’s not disgusted at all by the news and even embraces her new father figure, despite his countless shortcomings.

By season five, Sammi has acquainted herself enough with the Gallaghers to move into the household, though she was never invited. When her son Chuckie is later arrested and sent to juvenile detention for possession, she blames Carl, later ratting him out to the authorities. As a result, a dispute breaks out which ends with Mickey locking her inside a shipping container and Sammi later shooting at him, presumably leading to her arrest and the end of her story.

14 Fiona Cheats on Mike with His Brother

With her recent investments in Patsy’s Pies as well as a laundromat and an apartment complex, Fiona’s newfound entrepreneurial spirit has only recent become a central part of her storyline. Prior to becoming a property owner, she was a down on her luck South Side girl who constantly found herself in failing relationships.

In season four, Fiona’s downward spiral of relationships hit another low.

She was in desperate need of a rebound following Jimmy’s disappearance. After securing a job at Worldwide Cup, she began having a fling with her boss Mike. When Mike’s brother Robbie comes into the picture after his release from rehab, Fiona’s attraction to danger takes ahold. Putting her career in jeopardy, she has an unwise affair which culminates in her arrest at the end of the season.

13 Frank Uses Liam as Collateral

Scouring Chicago for enough money to support his many dirty habits, Frank has attracted the attentions of enough bad guys that it’s a miracle that he’s manage to run around carelessly for so long. In the season two premiere, he again backed himself into a corner when he drunkenly bet a bar patron at the Alibi Room that he couldn’t remain conscious after two taser blasts. After the customer manages to remain on two feet, Frank’s $10,000 gamble comes at the expense of the Gallagher household.

Unable to come up with the dough, the patron threatens Frank with a blowtorch, to which he responds by offering up Liam as collateral. Luckily, the Gallagher clan rallies together to get him back. Frank would later develop a bonding relationship with his youngest son, completely erasing all memory of the incident.

12 Kevin and Veronica’s Foster Child

With twins Amy and Jemma, Kevin and Veronica finally settled down to have children of their own after V became pregnant in season four. Prior to having their own kids, the couple were experimenting with parenthood in the form of a money scheme which saw them taking in a foster child in order to collect money from the government.

In season one, Kev and V welcome Ethel, a teen saved from a polygamist colony where she was married to an elderly man named Clyde.

They also took in Ethel’s son Jonah, who was born as a result of the marriage. Over the course of her stay, she struggles to grow accustomed to the modern world, but eventually settles in, until she runs away with her boyfriend Malik in season two, disappearing forever.

11 Anything Involving Sheila

Remember Sheila? The agoraphobic housewife with a proclivity for cooking was a former love interest of Frank’s, who welcomed him into her home to take advantage of her disability checks. For five seasons, she played the picture-perfect example of a housewife, though her repressed emotions would occasionally rear their ugly head.

Throughout the series, Joan Cusack would receive considerable acclaim for her turn as the wacky, subservient Sheila, earning an Emmy nomination for each season she appeared in. Although she would never receive more than a guest credit, her most memorable storylines would include dealing with her troubled daughter Karen, having an affair with Karen’s boyfriend Jody, and marrying Frank. Her storyline came to a rather abrupt end after her house exploded in season five, resulting in her driving off in an RV, never to be seen again.

10 Frank Hires a Hitman

Always the deadbeat father, Frank experienced a slight morality check when he wasn’t invited toFiona’s wedding to Sean in season six. As a way to make up for all his shortcomings, he offered to pay for all of Fiona’s wedding expenses. Everything came to a head, however, when Sean began sleeping over at the Gallagher residence, resulting in a brutal confrontation between Fiona’s fiance and the lousy patriarch of the household. After days of Frank wearing Sean’s underwear and drinking his milk, Sean’s frustration boiled over, resulting in a fight between the two.

Frank is seen on a train attempting to pay a random guy to dispose of Sean permanently.

Although nothing would come of the exchange, the attempted assassination was out of the ordinary, even for the lowly Frank.

9 Debbie Purposely Gets Pregnant

The third youngest Gallagher, Debbie began the series as the well-intention, younger sister who still held high hopes for Frank and cared for her family, though she often found it difficult to socialize in school. In due time, she transformed from the innocent girl wise beyond her years to one of the most troublesome characters on the show, using her hardened attitude to deceive her way to whatever she desired.

In season five, Debbie’s manipulative personality crossed a line when she became enamored with Derek, a boy who taught her how to box. Wanting a perfect life with her newfound boyfriend, she purposely lies to him about being on birth control in order to become pregnant and force him into a marriage. Unfortunately, her plans fall through when Derek leaves to live with his grandmother, leaving Debs a single mother.

8 Frank Tells Carl He Has Cancer

As the delinquent troublemaker whose interests include weapons, explosives, and various money-making schemes, Carl has proven to be the most like his dear deadbeat father Frank. As a faithful member of the Gallagher family, he’s the unfortunate product of a dysfunctional upbringing, but none of his regrettable actions were deserving of the scare Frank gave him in season five.

After seeing a cancer patient receive an autographed Bulls basketball on television, Frank decides to extort the Make-A-Wish Foundation by giving them a sob story.

Shaving Carl’s head, he convinces him that he has cancer and tries to get him an autographed basketball of his own, that he can later sell for a profit. Instead, Carl is offered a free summer away at a camp for cancer patients, ruining Frank’s plans and giving Carl his own mini vacation.

7 Carl Marries Kassidi

As a way of coming up with enough cash for military school in season eight, Carl sets up his own rehabilitation center in the basement of the Gallagher home, hosting neighborhood addicts for days of withdrawal. It’s here where he first encounters Kassidi, a seemingly sociopathic teen who concocts a plan to extort money from her rich father to pay Carl’s expenses.

Soon after sparking a relationship, Kassidi’s wildly chaotic personality begins threatening Carl’s career goals. As she wanders about Chicago’s South Side doing things like Snapchatting drive-by shooting victims, Carl becomes more wary of her actions, which makes it all the more confusing that he marries her at the end of the season. The season nine premiere seems to have ended her story, however, as the character’s recent disappearance suggests that she may now be deceased.

6 Mandy Hurts Karen

As the manipulative former girlfriend of Lip, Karen was the incessantly rude daughter of the agoraphobic Sheila, who would go to extreme lengths to get her way. After she stops seeing Lip due to her marriage to Jody as well as the birth of her down syndrome son Hymie, Karen decides to start things back up with her former lover, only for Lip rejects her for Mandy.

After brazenly attempting to meddle with Lip and Mandy’s relationship, Karen receives a rude awakening when she receives a text from Lip, which is later revealed to be Mandy using Lip’s phone. Showing up to a park to meet, Karen is struck by an SUV driven by Mandy, leaving her permanently brain damaged, effectively ending her story on the series.

5 Frank Has a Twin Brother

With so many siblings running around and Frank constantly inviting himself in with his various trouble-making shenanigans, it’s impossible for the Gallaghers to keep track of everyone’s comings and goings. That’s why the existence of more Gallaghers seems completely absurd, but as the early seasons have shown, there are more family members out there.

Of all the odd Gallagher members forgotten from the early seasons, none were crazier than Jerry, Frank’s twin brother.

Ian and Lip visit Jery after their grandmother Peggy claims he owes the family $5,000. Looking just like Frank, he threatens to shoot his nephews shortly after realizing they’re after money. Since his appearance, little mention has been made of Frank’s twin or of Frank’s other siblings Clayton and Wyatt.

4 Jimmy’s Return

First appearing as Fiona’s love interest in season one, Jimmy introduced himself to the Gallagher household as Steve, a hotshot businessman who comes from money. Soon afterward, his real personality begins to shine through as Fiona discovers that he makes his money through various illegal activities. In due time, he gets engaged to the daughter of a crime lord, which leads to his supposed demise in the season three finale.

Jimmy returns at the end of season four, becoming a recurring cast member for a brief time.

In an attempt to flatter Fiona, he tries to persuade her to leave her husband Gus for him. Although his return answered questions about his fate, it still left his future up in the air, leaving many to believe his story should have ended with the season three cliffhanger.

3 Frank Lies to Butterface About Her Heart Transplant

Of all the lowdown plans Frank has concocted, perhaps nothing is more despicable than the time he began hanging out with Dottie, a former good-time girl with a heart condition. Nicknamed Butterface for her less than stellar looks, Frank discovers that Dottie is in serious need of a heart transplant, rewarding him the opportunity to weasel his way into her good graces and work his way into her will before she passes away.

Although Frank’s decision proves to be flawed, he fully commits to the scheme. While Dottie is in the shower, she gets a phone call telling her a new heart has arrived which could save her life, only Frank decides to tell the hospital that Dottie has already passed away. Later, Dottie loses her life during an intimate moment with Frank, making his actions even more awful.

2 Kev has a Baby with Veronica’s Mother

As the Gallaghers’ longtime friends, Kevin and Veronica are often the supporting comic relief of the series, though they have also proven to be the strongest lasting couple. In season three, after repeatedly failing to have a baby, V enlists her bubbly mother Carol to act as a surrogate. When Carol also fails to become pregnant, Veronica to suggests her mom and Kevin actually get intimate with each other to possibly improve their results.

In due time, Carol warms up to the idea, becoming pregnant with Kevin’s child. By happenstance, Veronica soon discovers that she too is pregnant, with twins. Nine months later, the couple are the proud parents to three newborns, only Carol decides to single-handedly raise her child on her own. After a few brief appearances, Kevin and Carol’s child is forgotten and never shown again.

1 Everything Positive About Ian and Mickey’s Relationship

As a violent street thug, Mickey Milkovich is the antithesis of the gay stereotype. Ian, whose storied history with Mickey makes up a large portion of his story in the early seasons, is the more sensitive of the couple, but his rebellious nature and struggles with bipolar disorder make him an equally multi-dimensional character.

As one of the best-written gay relationships on television in recent memory, Ian and Mickey’s story was at times chaotic. 

After his imprisonment at the end of season five, Mikey escaped from prison and fled to Mexico, tearfully leaving Ian behind. Since then, the positives of their relationship have been largely dismissed and Mickey’s absence has left a void on the show which has yet to be filled.

What other storylines does Shameless want to bury? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-09 03:10:17 – Turner Minton

Super Mario Party Review: The Best Mario Party in Years

Super Mario Party isn’t just a return to the classic gameplay, bringing back the board game format and forgoing the controversial car. It’s the best entry in the Mario Party franchise in years though admittedly, Nintendo hasn’t set the bar very high. The last time there was a halfway decent Mario Party was back in 2007 with Mario Party 8 and to find a truly great addition you need to go even further back in time. Super Mario Party makes up for some of that, finally.

The newest first party title for Nintendo Switch isn’t without flaws. In their effort to bring back Mario Party to relevance Nintendo went overboard. Super Mario Party spreads itself very thin, adding too many extraneous modes. And sadly, Nintendo also hasn’t managed to capitalize on the obvious when it comes to online multiplayer and Mario Party. Overall though Super Mario Party is a celebration worth throwing especially with three friends along for the (now metaphorical) ride.

Related: Best Multiplayer Games To Play At A Party

Super Mario Party should be viewed as an apology for the absolute rubbish that was Mario Party 9 and 10. The failed experiment that was all four Mario Party players being stuffed into the same car with no autonomy is over. The classic Mario Party mode has the four partiers move about a colorful board game map, snagging stars and playing mini games at the end of each turn. It’s glorious. The board game’s return and the pleasing ways it can be used to screw over opponents with random chance would be enough of a victory. Super Mario Party goes further with the board game mechanic and adds exciting new layers of strategy.

There are several little changes to board game play. Stars cost just 10 coins now, not the customary 20. Bowser and other villains are now playable characters and maps are much smaller than before. The biggest change concerns dice rolls. They’re still completely random but Super Mario Party has added some dice rolls by giving every playable character their own dice block. The choice of playable character now means more than simple Mario franchise favoritism. There is a regular dice block and going along with the smaller maps it only has 6 sides as opposed to the previous 10 but with the character dice blocks, this mechanic can get wacky and interesting.

For example, Shy Guy’s die has 5 sides of 4 and 1 side of 0. This means that if a player wants to move just 4 spaces on the board to get to a star or avoid a trap, they’re best off using Shy Guy’s dice but there is a chance that they might not move at all. Similarly, Bowser has a 10 on his dice but also two sides where he can lose coins if he’s unlucky enough to hit them. These new special dice might sound strange but in practice they add in a surprising amount of depth.

The special dice don’t just end at the playable characters either. In a holdover from Mario Party: Star Rush for the 3DS it’s now possible to recruit allies. These allies will loan out their special dice and in certain mini games even help out as a part of a team. Allies are always computer controlled but they can turn a player’s game around. Allies seem like they could over-complicate play but they add just enough to the game without becoming too distracting or that big of an advantage. Even though ridiculous RNG is part of the charm of Mario Party it does sting when a computer ally wins a tense minigame but that’s a relatively minor quibble. Nintendo has nailed the board game dynamic with their first Mario Party on the Switch even though it’s disappointing that there’s only four boards at launch with no more coming (as of right now).

Minigames are another area where Super Mario Party succeeds … for the most part anyway. There are 80 minigames in all and they switch between standard and motion controls. It’s impossible though to play Super Mario Party with anything but a single joy-con which prevents prevents Super Mario Party from being played in the Switch’s handheld mode. Some of Super Mario Party‘s best games use the joy-con’s stellar motion control and HD rumble features so it becomes an understandable sacrifice, and of course, tabletop mode is still available. There are still a couple of stinkers in the minigame department but Super Mario Party might just have the most consistent overall collection of the series.

Everything else in Super Mario Party is a a mixed bag. In an effort to live up to the Super part of the title, Nintendo has added a bunch of new modes to the game and would have been better off leaving them alone. They aren’t all terrible though. For instance, ‘River Survival’ has four players working together to paddle down a raft on mountain rapids and playing in cooperative minigames is pretty interesting. So is Partner Party which is the standard Mario Party mode but in teams of two. The other modes are lot less successful.

The worst of the bunch is ‘Sound Stage.’ This is a collection of rhythm-based motion control minigames where the player who triumphs at the most minigames wins. The minigames themselves are surprisingly solid with a good mix of rhythm and motion, but there’s no reason for them to exist in their own separate section. It’s a waste of space.

Sound Stage isn’t the only time that Super Mario Party allows you to just play minigames either. There’s also Minigame Mode which is a hit or miss. The one and only highlight of Minigame Mode is Square Off. Here, laying minigames is still the main focus but the real winner is chosen by how much territory a player steals on a square board (one minigame usually equates to one territory). Everything else in Minigame Mode takes out all the strategy of Mario Party for just boring minigame brawls. This is particularly true in Mariothon where whoever wins the most of a collection of five minigames is crowned the champion.

Mariothon being a bust stings because this is the one and only mode Super Mario Party has chosen to make available for online multiplayer. Super Mario Party is the first Mario Party to include online play but there’s no way of playing a board game in the mode. One could argue the commitment (a 10 turn board game can take up to an hour) would be a problem in online matchmaking, but there being no option is disappointing, especially the only available mode is Mariothon where the Minigames have little stakes. Online play even shrinks down the available games in Mariothon to just 10 random ones not the full 80. It’s terrible.

There are other features in Super Mario Party like a lackluster single player campaign called Challenge Road, but playing the standard board game mode with computer opponents is a much more satisfying single player experience. There’s also Toad’s Rec Room which can use two switches to play special minigames. It’s an interesting tech demo but not much more than that. The bulk of Super Mario Party‘s successes and failures can be found in the other modes. Overall, those positives do outweigh the negatives.

Super Mario Party isn’t perfect. It doesn’t even supplant Mario Party 2 or Mario Party 4 as the best Mario Party game ever. It does, however, get very close. Super Mario Party would’ve been stronger if it did away with some of the extra game modes and focused on quality more than quantity. Toad’s Rec Room or Sound Stage could’ve easily been swapped out for three to four new board game maps. As it stands, Super Mario Party is a solid rebirth for what has become the redheaded stepchild of Nintendo franchises. Hopefully there will be many more and impressive sequels to come building off what it does right and ignoring what it does wrong.

More: Nintendo Switch 2 is Already Going to Release in 2019

Super Mario Party is available now for $59.99 on Nintendo Switch.



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2018-10-08 05:10:06 – Derek Stauffer

20 Crazy Details Behind The Making Of The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Roger Ebert once wrote that The Rocky Horror Picture Show was less a movie and more of a “social phenomenon.” This is probably the most accurate way to describe the 1975 rock musical, as it just isn’t an ordinary film. First released to a less-than-stellar reception, Rocky Horror eventually found long-lasting fame from an unlikely source: audience participation. Its original theatrical run didn’t garner much praise, but the film came into its own when theaters began showing it at midnight screenings, now infamous for the almost ritualistic ways the audience dresses, shouts, and flings objects at the screen.

Rocky Horror is a legend of cult cinema– one of the few movies that has earned that title again and again. The film follows what appears to be a whole married couple, Brad and Janet (Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon), as they stay the night at a spooky old mansion owned by Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry, in the performance that rocketed him to stardom). What ensues is a celebration of kitsch, camp, horror, and science fiction cinema, a musical that makes very little logical sense but is a ton of fun.

Naturally, a film like that has to have a riveting story behind the scenes. Written by Richard O’Brien and directed by Jim Sharman, The Rocky Horror Picture Show has just as many crazy details behind the camera as in front of it. Those details will be counted down here, and we’ll get straight to it, as we can see you tremble with antici…

Pation. This is 20 Crazy Details Behind The Making Of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

20 It originally had a different title

The original stage version of the movie had a whirlwind creative process, with Richard O’Brien whipping up the show with his artist and actor friends fairly quickly. As it happens, they were originally rehearsing the show under a different title.

It was called They Came From Denton High due to the story being set somewhere near Denton, Texas.

Obviously, that didn’t last, but O’Brien and director Jim Sharman didn’t change it until the very last minute. Sharman suggested the name change just before previews of the stage show, based on the genres they were spoofing. Thus was “The Rocky Horror Show” born (only the movie had the extra “Picture” in the title, naturally).

19 Brad and Janet were replaced

The cast of Rocky Horror is mostly unchanged from the stage show to the movie. Richard O’Brien and Jim Sharman kept their creative team mostly intact, too, so when you’re watching the movie it should really feel like you’re just seeing a filmed version of the stage show. Well, except for a few roles.

Aside from the high-profile cameo from Meat Loaf and a few other replacements, the protagonists were also switched out.

The original actors for Brad and Janet wanted to reprise their roles, but studio executives at Fox felt they needed two US actors in those parts to help sell the movie. Rocky Horror fans can’t complain, as Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon did a great job as Brad and Janet, but we feel for those two original actors whose roles were taken from them.

18 The story behind the lips

Everyone who has seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show– not to mention plenty of people who have only seen the poster– are familiar with the lips that open the film. This iconic image is actually the product of several people working together, rather than just one actress.

The lips that appear in the film are Patricia Quinn’s (who also played Magenta), but she’s only lip-syncing the song “Science Fiction/Double Feature” even though she did in the stage show. The singer is actually creator Richard O’Brien. And the lips on that famous poster are those of somebody else entirely, former model Lorelei Shark.

17 The costume designer didn’t want to do it

Costume designer Sue Blane is credited with much of The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s lasting appeal thanks to her designs that spoofed the traditions of cinema and leaned heavily into camp. The movie wouldn’t be the same without her, but it almost had to do just that, as she wasn’t interested in the project at first.

In fact, Blane herself says that it took director Jim Sharman meeting with her personally and getting her tipsy before she saw the light. Blane didn’t like the idea of doing a silly project for very little money, but when she found out Tim Curry and a bunch of her other favorite colleagues and friends were already committed to the show, she relented. Thank goodness for that.

16 Tim Curry wasn’t new to corsets

Tim Curry has a long and storied career on the stage and screen, and his rise to prominence came largely thanks to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Given that it was his first hit movie role, people tend to forget that Curry wasn’t a complete rookie. Case in point: Curry had actually starred in a similar stage show before originating the role of Frank N. Furter in Rocky Horror’s stage incarnation.

Curry had also worn a corset in a production of The Maids.

Costume designer Sue Blane had worked that same production. For Rocky Horror, Blane says she simply asked the theater for the same corset for Curry to wear. Naturally, Blane remarked that Curry took to the corset “like a duck to water.”

15 Susan Sarandon’s sickness

Cinema can be a fickle thing– while you’d expect film sets to be glamorous affairs, with every possible amenity available to the actors, you would occasionally be very wrong. The Rocky Horror Picture Show was no picnic to make, as the cast and crew had to endure unheated sets while filming scenes in pools.

This might not sound like a big deal, but it was for Susan Sarandon, who fell ill during production. The filmmakers had nothing but kind words for her after her gritty effort to push through with the work, as they mentioned that she was literally “shaking with fever” on set but kept on going in spite of that.

14 Rocky was supposed to talk

Sometimes you’ve just gotta improvise when you’re making a film. While the creative team behind The Rocky Horror Picture Show might have thought they had the perfect casting when they got Peter Hinwood to play the character of Rocky Horror, they changed their minds when they found out he was a model who had zero acting experience. Rocky Horror originally had dialogue in the film, but after watching Hinwood act, Sharman and O’Brien elected to remove all his speaking parts.

Another singer dubbed over the character’s singing parts, so Hinwood’s voice never actually shows up in the film.

Clearly, they were in love with his looks, but not the way he sounded.

13 You can book a room where it was filmed

The Rocky Horror Picture Show was filmed at Oakley Court in England, a castle that had been host to several horror films in its past. While it may not have been the most welcoming place for the film crew in 1975 (at the time, it had no heating and few bathrooms), it’s doing a better job of that nowadays.

Oakley Court is now a ritzy hotel, allowing guests to stay in the location that was the home to many of their favorite spooky movies from days gone by. Nowadays, of course, the hotel advertises its proximity to LEGOLAND more than it does its connection to film history, but we’d like to think there are still a few Rocky Horror fans who make the trip.

12 The David Bowie connection

This might seem unrelated to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but it isn’t.

Pierre LaRoche was one of the creative forces behind David Bowie’s now-iconic Ziggy Stardust look, but that wasn’t the only influential job the makeup artist held.

LaRoche was also the person film producers turned to when they wanted a makeup redesign for the characters in Rocky Horror. While Sue Blane gets the lion’s share of the credit for the character designs in the film, we shouldn’t forget that it was Pierre LaRoche who actually came up with the makeup designs. Though the make-up is a touch more subtle than costumes, it’s still one of the main reasons the visuals of the film are so fun to watch.

11 Meat Loaf didn’t actually drive the motorcycle

Singer and occasional actor Meat Loaf has a memorable turn in Rocky Horror as Eddie, the delivery boy and partial brain donor to Rocky, who is tragically stabbed by Frank N. Furter. Eddie gets a fun entrance, bursting out of a freezer on a motorcycle, but the problem is that Meat Loaf didn’t actually ride that motorcycle. Aside from a few less dangerous wide shots, Meat Loaf left the actual driving to a stunt man as he says he didn’t feel comfortable doing anything risky on it.

For the close-up shots that needed to look like Eddie was on the motorcycle, the crew rigged up a wheelchair for Meat Loaf to ride.

That way, safety didn’t need to be sacrificed. Or that was the theory, anyway, as the wheelchair didn’t turn out to be that safe anyway.

10 The on-set injuries

Though it wasn’t Jim Sharman’s debut feature, The Rocky Horror Picture Show was not a film staffed by the most experienced team. This is perhaps reflected best by the apparently high number of on-set injuries that occurred– even ignoring the on-set illnesses, including Sarandon’s.

In the same interview, Meat Loaf describes an incident that happened while he was sitting in his wheelchair, where it fell off a ramp on the set, shattered a camera, caused a few cuts on Meat Loaf’s face and arm, and snapped a stand-in’s leg in two. While some efforts were made for safety, injuries ran rampant even with the wheelchair.

9 The skeleton inside the clock was real

One of the single most famous props in all of Rocky Horror is the skeleton clock; a coffin that has a clock face set on the front. The reveal that there is a skeleton inside the coffin is a fun moment in the movie, but the filmmakers dropped another bombshell in later years: the skeleton inside was real.

The skeleton clock actually lived on past the film.

In 2002, Sotheby’s auction house in London sold the clock for an exorbitant sum, 35,000 pounds. Adjusting for inflation, that would be approximately $63,000 today. Even true Rocky Horror fans might balk at that price, if the real human remains inside weren’t a turn-off.

8 Steve Martin auditioned for Brad

Whatever you think of Barry Bostwick’s performance as Brad in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, have you ever considered how different it might have been if another actor had taken on the role? Well, according to rumors and stories even repeated by the likes of Newsday, the role almost went to Steve Martin.

Given that Martin went on to star in a fairly similar movie musical, Little Shop of Horrors, this shouldn’t be too big a surprise.

Martin apparently auditioned for the role of Brad, but lost out to Bostwick. Maybe he played the antagonist in Little Shop of Horrors as a way to soothe the hurt of rejection.

7 It got terrible reviews when it first came out

Nowadays, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is viewed as one of the greatest classics of midnight cult cinema, as its popularity has only grown amongst its fans since its release. But to become a cult hit, you usually have to be a theatrical flop, and Rocky Horror was exactly that, both critically and commercially.

Some critics straight-up hated the film when it was first released, and others simply ignored it. Partially because of the counter-culture the film represented and the lack of a conventional plot structure, some seemed offended it even existed. Even today, many critics view the film more as an audience experience than a genuinely good movie.

6 Frank N. Furter’s villainous inspiration

The unquestionable star of The Rocky Horror Picture Show is Dr. Frank N. Furter, the role Tim Curry originated on the London stage and reprised in the film. Even critics who didn’t like the film enjoyed Curry’s assured and magnetic performance. That makes sense, given all the larger-than-life figures Curry took inspiration from to create the character.

Writer Richard O’Brien describes Frank as a combination of Vlad the Impaler and Cruella De Vil, which makes a lot of sense, but Curry didn’t stop there. On top of those villainous ancestors, he added a posh accent, said to be modeled on both Elizabeth II and Curry’s own mother. That’s one doozy of a mixture for the role, and obviously it worked to perfection.

5 It was a stage show first

When Richard O’Brien first set out to tell his story, it was a work of theater, as that was his primary area of expertise. Thus, The Rocky Horror Picture Show started out as The Rocky Horror Show– the “Picture” part was added for the film. O’Brien wrote the play in his spare time, then gathered some of his friends in London to help him make it.

The play premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1973, and it was an immediate hit, moving to larger venues soon after. The show ran for weeks and weeks and eventually attracted the notice of producers, even Hollywood. This is the origin story for Rocky Horror— we wouldn’t have the film is the London stage show hadn’t been so popular.

4 The writer is Riff Raff

Given its reputation as one of the true classics of cult cinema, viewers today may not know that the original writer– playwright of the stage show, co-screenwriter of the movie, and Riff Raff in both, Richard O’Brien had never professionally written anything before the script for The Rocky Horror Show and its film adaptation The Rocky Horror Picture Show. That’s right, Rocky Horror is a debut work, by a person who never even wanted to be a writer.

O’Brien was living in London as an actor, struggling to make ends meet, and mostly wrote it just to keep himself occupied.

Luckily for him, the project resonated with his artistic friends, and they helped him turn it into the phenomenon it became.

3 O’Brien never thought it would be a big deal

Even when The Rocky Horror Show was making waves on the London theater circuit, it never registered with Richard O’Brien that he might have created a real hit. In an interview, O’Brien recalls when producer Michael White told him he thought this would be something big. “I said, ‘Oh, that’s nice,’ and walked away. It just didn’t register.”

For a while, it seemed like O’Brien was right to think it wouldn’t be a big deal. The film didn’t do well commercially when it came out, despite the popularity of the play, and it looked like that would be the end of the Rocky Horror story. But midnight viewers began to flock to the showings known for audience participation, and the film’s long-lasting appeal proved to be its greatest strength.

2 The writer thinks it was successful because it’s childish

The Rocky Horror Picture Show was originally written by a young actor with no writing experience, who just wanted something fun to occupy his time. Richard O’Brien, the writer in question, thinks that this process lent the show a quality of childlike naïveté, which contributed to its eventual popularity. In an interview, O’Brien said the show’s innocence is “very endearing and not threatening.” Continuing, he mentioned that every character in the show may appear to be intelligent or “sophisticated, but they’re really not.”

This quality allows young viewers to identify with the energy of the film, making it appeal to adolescent viewers.

O’Brien think this might be the key behind the social phenomenon that is Rocky Horror.

1 Originally, it started in black and white

The writing and directing team of Richard O’Brien and Jim Sharman had a lot of grand ideas for the film adaption of Rocky Horror, but not all of them were allowed to come to pass. Chief among these was the plan to film the opening section of the movie in black and white.

The film would have burst into color when Frank N. Furter made his entrance.

Everyone who has seen the movie remembers that scene– now imagine if it had this added bit of pizzaz, with the first frame of color coming on a shot of Tim Curry’s lips. Susan Sarandon lamented that they weren’t allowed to make this vision a reality, as studio executives rejected the idea due to budgetary concerns.

Do you have any The Rocky Horror Picture Show trivia to share? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-08 05:10:06 – Eric McAdams

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

Rel Series Premiere Review: A Stellar Supporting Cast Highlights A Funny Premiere

In 2017, Lil Rel Howery made a splash in Jordan Peele’s Oscar-winning Get Out as TSA agent Rod Williams, in which he stole just about every scene he was in. In addition to starring in the summer comedy Uncle Drew and putting in a funny appearance in Tag, Howery has managed to parlay his recent successes into Rel, a self-titled sitcom on FOX the premiere of which is getting a deserved post-NFL ratings boots by the network. The series opener offers up a funny, likable pilot that quickly establishes its basic premise before letting its star and supporting cast — which includes Sinbad as Rel’s father — go about the business of making the audience laugh. 

Howery’s no stranger to sitcoms; he played Jarrod Carmichael’s brother on NBC’s The Carmichael Show (Carmichael is credited as an executive producer on Rel), but here he gets to take center stage as a recently divorced man trying to put his life back together after his wife cheated on him with his barber, and while trying to be a long-distance father to his two kids. Rel doesn’t put too much emphasis on its lead character’s wife or kids, both remain off camera throughout the pilot. Rel engages with his children via FaceTime, which feels mostly like narrative spackle, or heading off questions related to his being a father down the road. It’s akin to Friends when Ross and Rachel’s child was handed to other characters offscreen so the series didn’t have to deal with a baby or writing lines for a child actor. Rel isn’t that kind of series, anyway; its focus is on its title character and the people who are there for him — in varying degrees — as he suffers through the pain of losing his wife to the man who cuts his hair and, more crucially, learns he bears a certain responsibility for his own misfortune. 

More: It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia Review: The Dennis Problem Gets Resolved

Rel’s support group begins with his best friend Brittany (Jessica ‘Jess Hilarious’ Moore) and his little brother Nat (Jordan L. Jones), who was formerly incarcerated for dealing ecstasy. Their father, who, after a lengthy, exposition-filled introduction scene set in Rel’s now-unfurnished apartment, is introduced when the brothers attend church, comes very close to stealing the show, by delivering a barrage of acidic lines and expressing his disappointment in his boys by refusing to sit with them during the service. 

Though Sinbad immediately establishes himself as a reliable source of the show’s biggest laughs, church is largely in service to Howery’s other role as a boisterous preacher who sets his sights on Rel’s misfortune as the topic of the day while addressing his flock. Given the circumstances of his personal life, the dual role actually serves as an opportunity for Rel to offer up an even more lively performance and join in on the running gag of everyone finding humor in Rel’s personal misery. 

Despite the jokes had at his expense, the pilot episode doesn’t lean on mean spirited humor for laughs. Instead, Rel sees its character’s tribulations as both an opportunity for some introspection and an opening for a lot more ribbing at his expense. The pilot’s second half largely involves Rel’s attempts to get back at his barber by dating a woman he had set his sights on and who Rel previously rejected on account of her wearing “loose boots.” The inanity of this superficial dismissal has a Seinfeld-like quality that continues all the way through Rel’s further public humiliation once “loose boots” gets wind of his scheme. 

Those indignities are, oddly, part of what makes Rel tick. The show delivers a community where seemingly random people are intimately aware one man’s personal setbacks. A scene on a city bus underlines this idea as Rel is roasted by Jaymo (D.C. Young Fly), whose cracks not only go unchallenged by Nat, but they are the start of a friendship between the two. The idea that Rel has unwittingly achieved some sort of notoriety within his community is funny enough, but the series displays a deft hand in turning it into a running gag without undermining its lead character’s likability. 

In all, it’s easy to see why FOX would hand Rel its post double-header slot, as the new sitcom delivers an impressive pilot that gets over its expository hurdle early and manages to introduce a stellar supporting cast that makes this an entertaining bright spot in the network’s fall lineup. 

Next: Iron Fist Season 2 Review: The Series Still Struggles To Land A Satisfying Punch

Rel will begin its season in its regular time slot on Sunday, September 30.



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2018-09-09 09:09:32 – Kevin Yeoman