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10 Hysterical Star Wars Logic Memes Only True Fans Understand

Star There’s no denying the creative genius of George Lucas and his epic space opera Star Wars. The Star Wars Saga has spanned almost a dozen films, countless animated and live-action television series, not to mention an avalanche of other media like comic books and video games. The heroic journeys of the dynamic characters in his universe have enraptured fans for decades and will continue to do so for future generations.

That being said, even true Star Wars fans know that during the development of all of his film projects, Lucas didn’t always stay consistent with his brainchild. Plotholes and logical inconsistencies were so numerous that fans couldn’t help but shrug them off and say, “Star Wars logic” when an event or character choice seemed to inevitably occur without making any sense. Here are 10 logic memes to celebrate these inconsistencies, that only true Star Warriors can appreciate.

10 ANYONE CAN BE THE CHOSEN ONE

The only basis established in Episode I: The Phantom Menace for Anakin Skywalker being the prophesied “Chosen One” is based on 1) Qui-Gon Jinn’s “feeling” that he’s special, and 2) Obi-Wan Kenobi’s data that his midichlorian count is higher than Master Yoda’s. He races pods very well on Tatooine, but is that enough to be accepted by the Jedi Order?

RELATED: 10 Hilarious Star Wars Prequel Memes That’ll Make You Love The Movies Again

When he’s taken to Coruscant and presented before the Jedi Council, he’s made to undergo a series of “tests” to sense his aptitude with the Force. This amounts to a digital game of “memory,” where he guesses what’s on Master Windu’s view screen correctly. Ergo, he must be the Chosen One.

9 AN ODDLY SPECIFIC REQUEST

When you break down the reasons why Anakin Skywalker turned to the Dark Side, it’s not just the fact that he collapsed under the weight of expectations placed upon him, or that being the Chosen One gave him delusions of grandeur. It can be traced back to the fact that the Jedi Code made it nearly impossible to live in harmony with the woman he loved, and the Dark Side did.

When Anakin finds Master Windu about to destroy Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious, they might have been able to strike a bargain like this meme entails; Windu can kill without impunity, and Anakin can be allowed to marry Padme Amidala, and have his child safely. Unfortunately, that would have robbed us of Darth Vader and the original trilogy.

8 ALL IS FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR, RIGHT?

Most of the plot of any of the Star Wars films heavily relies on certain characters not knowing certain key pieces of information. The Emperor has just Frankenstein-ed himself a Sith Lord at the concluding moments of Revenge of the Sith, and means to keep him on as Darth Vader, his dreaded scourge of the Rebel Alliance.

To accomplish this, the Emperor knows he needs to keep Vader upset, because only his feelings of hate and anger will make him powerful enough in the Dark Side to blindly do his bidding. He, therefore, explains that Vader killed Padme himself, conveniently leaving out that she wasn’t dead until giving birth later to two healthy babies Vader also doesn’t know about.

7 FROM A CERTAIN POINT OF VIEW

Poor Luke Skywalker had no way of knowing that Darth Vader, the fearsome enforcer of the Emperor’s will, had at one time been Anakin Skywalker, a powerful Jedi Knight and apprentice to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Ol’ Ben decided to leave out that bit of information, instead planting in Luke’s head that Darth Vader killed Anakin Skywalker in combat.

RELATED: Star Wars: Obi-Wan’s 10 Wisest Quotes

Luke didn’t learn the truth about his father until The Empire Strikes Back, when Darth Vader himself told Luke the truth about their connection. But by that point, Luke was already prepared to hunt him down and kill him, which was awfully convenient for Ol’ Ben who got him involved in the Alliance fight against the Empire, to begin with.

6 GUILT, IT DOES A JEDI GOOD

There are a lot of plotholes and inconsistencies within the Star Wars Saga, mostly attributed to so much information being interpreted by so many different creative minds. George Lucas himself didn’t even know if the franchise was going to take off, and had to adjust the storyline with each film he helmed. He didn’t know he would get to oversee a trilogy of prequels when he made the original trilogy.

This results in scenes like in Episode IV: A New Hope, when Ben Kenobi tells Luke that his father wanted him to have his lightsaber when he was old enough. Well, Ol’ Ben also deprived Luke’s dad of three of his limbs and left him a Cajun dish on Mustafar, so we can only guess it was guilt that made him tell Luke that.

5 DID YOU JUST SAY MASTER?

Aside from Anakin Skywalker being upset that the Jedi Order prohibited him from openly marrying Padme Amidala, he was also continuously upset that it wouldn’t permit him the rank of Jedi Master. He had been fed a mantra for half his life that he was the “Chosen One,” yet he didn’t outrank the Jedi Council.

In a harrowing scene in Revenge of the Sith, Anakin marches on the Jedi Temple with orders from Chancellor Palpatine to wipe out the Jedi traitors there. One of the younglings addresses him innocently as “Master Skywalker.” If that was all it took to assuage his aggression, it would have been a really short movie.

4 JOB FAIR

Palpatine has been looking out for Number One for six films. As both a politician and as his alter ego, Darth Sidious, he’s only had his best interests in mind. As Darth Sidious, when one apprentice became a liability (or died), he moved on to obtaining another one. From Darth Maul, to Count Dooku, and finally to Darth Vader, he upgraded like a Sith hermit crab.

He finally decided by The Empire Strikes Back that Darth Vader was outmoded, and turned his attention to Vader’s son, Luke Skywalker, the farm boy from Tatooine who blew up his super weapon. Yep, that was the kid who he decided should take his father’s place as his new apprentice.

3 DEATH BY THE SADS

One of the greatest mysteries of the Star Wars Saga is why Padme Skywalker unexpectedly died after giving birth to healthy twins. Yes, Anakin Skywalker had Force Choked her on Mustafar, but she’d only passed out, and Obi-Wan Kenobi was able to transport her to a proper medical facility where she was well enough to give birth.

Anakin, on the other hand, was left a smoking husk of a man, half dead, with third-degree burns all over his body. The medical droids in Palpatine’s employ were able to fix him up just fine, but the medical droids tending to Padme shrugged their little metal shoulders and gave up.

2 ET TU, UNCLE LUKE?

One of the major problems Star Wars fans had with The Last Jedi was the character development for Luke Skywalker. Luke had been the last of the Jedi Order at the time of Return of the Jedi, an aptly named film considering after that (according to The Force Awakens) Luke had spent his time revitalizing the Jedi Order by beefing up its ranks.

He accepted his nephew Ben Solo, who he recognized had a strong connection to the Force through his mother’s side (Luke’s sister, Leia). He sensed a possible connection to the Dark Side as well, and a potential for another Darth Vader, which was apparently enough to make him try to kill him, despite having tried to redeem Vader 20 years earlier.

1 PICK UP LINES IN THE STAR WARS UNIVERSE

There’s been a “will they won’t they” sort of tension between Kylo Ren and Rey ever since The Force Awakens when Kylo sensed how special Rey was and she sensed how much of an entitled brat he was. In The Last Jedi, they took their “relationship” to the next level, with him murdering Supreme Leader Snoke and offering her a piece of the pie.

In typical Kylo fashion, he exaggerated his own self worth in her life, explaining to her that her parents were junk traders that sold her for drinking money. This was his lame attempt at making her realize only he could provide security for her, and agree to rule the galaxy with him.

NEXT: 10 Hilarious Star Trek Memes That Only Trekkies Will Love


2019-07-14 07:07:00

Kayleena Pierce-Bohen

10 Mel Brooks Jokes Modern Audiences Wouldn’t Understand

Without Mel Brooks, comedy simply wouldn’t be the same. His works turned low-brow humor and vulgarity into sophisticated art. From the early years growing up in Brooklyn, Mel always had a knack for making people laugh. He also had a penchant for music, having worked as a drummer in his teens. After serving in the US army disarming landmines during World War II, he took on comedy full time, working in clubs and an occasional radio stint before becoming a writer on Your Show of Shows. Then, he created the slapstick spy comedy series Get Smart.

It wasn’t long after that when he wrote and directed The Producers, a comedy about two men trying to get rich from creating the worst, most offensive Broadway musical ever made. It was a bold, daring, and risky form of comedy, but audiences embraced it and Brooks even won an academy award for Best Original Screenplay. The 1967 masterpiece marked the beginning of a long career that spawned some of the funniest films to grace screens such as Blazing Saddles, History of the World, Part 1, and Spaceballs.

Comedy is a weird beast, though, and not every joke is universal. When one parodies pop culture, understanding gets lost to time. This list will point out ten jokes from Mel Brooks films most modern viewers wouldn’t understand. Some of these jokes are still funny without the context because of how downright absurd they are, and there is still plenty to laugh at in each movie even if some of the references go above people’s heads.

RELATED: 10 Best Westerns On Netflix

10 A Laurel, And Hardy Handshake – Blazing Saddles

Blazing Saddles is a western about a black man appointed sheriff of a small town. When the town is getting ready to greet their new officer of the law, and before they know how he looks, the chairman of the welcoming committee is preparing his speech and saying “we’d like to offer you a Laurel, And Hearty Handshake.”

This is a direct reference to the legendary comedy duo, Laurel and Hardy. The man rehearsing the speech extends a literal laurel, giving people something to laugh at if they don’t understand the deeper allusion.

9 Frau Blucher – Young Frankenstein

One of the characters in Young Frankenstein is Frau Blucher, played by Cloris Leachman. Every time someone utters her name, horses start wildly neighing.

RELATED: 10 Classic Comedies That Have Aged Poorly

This is erroneously attributed to her name allegedly sounding like the German word for glue, but it doesn’t bear a resemblance. Instead, it’s a joke about old villains in old melodramas. A sound effect or dramatic cue would play whenever the villain appeared or their name was said.

8 Walter Raleigh Reference – History Of The World Part 1

Walter Raleigh published one book before his execution called The Historie of the World. It was only the first volume in what was meant to have several additions, but he couldn’t keep his head on long enough to write anymore.

RELATED: 10 Great Comedies You Forgot Were Directed By Women

The name of Mel Brook’s classic historical epic comedy is taken directly from Walter’s book, save for a small change in spelling. The fact that only one movie exists despite the “Part 1” in the title could also be a gag based on the writer’s circumstances.

7 Frankie Laine Singing The Blazing Saddles Theme

Frankie Laine made a name for himself singing the themes to several famous westerns like 3:10 to Yuma. What good fortune, then, that Mel Brooks managed to get the singer for Blazing Saddles.

Frankie didn’t know it was a parody when recording the song, either, and Brooks didn’t have the heart to tell him.

6 Xenomorph Doing The Michigan Rag – Spaceballs

Alien just celebrated its fortieth anniversary, but all generations are familiar with that horror masterpiece. It’s what the Xenomorph does in Spaceballs after he bursts out of John Hurt’s chest again that leaves people scratching their heads.

RELATED: South Park’s 11 Best Movie Parodies

The song and dance routing is “The Michigan Rag”, taken from a legendary animated short called One Froggy Evening.

5 Leo Bloom’s Name – The Producers

Leo Bloom is an innocuous name for a protagonist, especially for a comedy.

RELATED: 10 Movie Parodies We Hope To See In Season 4 Of Rick And Morty

It’s not immediately outlandish or funny, but bibliophiles will quickly point out the name as a reference to the main character in Jame’s Joyce’s Ulysses.

4 Jews In Space Is A Battlestar Galactica Parody

The fake teaser for Jews In Space is a fantastic gag at the end of History of the World, Part 1. The joke gets better when one realizes the connection to Battlestar Galactica. The science-fiction miniseries takes inspiration from the Mormon faith, and the faux trailer’s direct usage of the Jewish faith parodies this.

3 For My Next Impression, Jesse Owens – Blazing Saddles

After Sheriff Bart and Jim’s KKK disguises are blown after Bart shows his hand to sign some papers,Bart says “and now for my next impression – Jesse Owens.”

Related: Ranking The Top 10 Underrated Comedy Sequels

For those not up on their sports history, Jesse Owens was an Olympic runner who competed in the 1936 games.

2 Bird Poop – High Anxiety

High Anxiety is a parody of Alfred Hitchcock films. It’s one thing to parody a genre, but it’s a bolder move to parody the style of one particular director. To be fair, Hitchcock could be considered its own genre.

The genius of the film is how funny it still is even without knowledge of the legendary filmmaker. The famous bird poop scene, for example, mirrors a scene from The Birds, but is still grossly hilarious for those who have no idea what The Birds is.

1 Orson Wells Narrating History Of The World, Part 1

Orson Wells was one of the greatest filmmakers of the twentieth century. He also has one heck of an iconic voice. Mel Brooks managed to get him to record the narration for History of the World, Part 1, which would be like getting Johnny Cash to narrate Walk Hard.

The movie’s intro also uses the music from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and mirrors the idea of starting the movie out with the dawn of man.

NEXT: 10 Best Comedy Movies Of All Time, According To IMDB


2019-07-14 03:07:54

Jason Wojnar

10 Mel Brooks Jokes Modern Audiences Wouldn’t Understand

Without Mel Brooks, comedy simply wouldn’t be the same. His works turned low-brow humor and vulgarity into sophisticated art. From the early years growing up in Brooklyn, Mel always had a knack for making people laugh. He also had a penchant for music, having worked as a drummer in his teens. After serving in the US army disarming landmines during World War II, he took on comedy full time, working in clubs and an occasional radio stint before becoming a writer on Your Show of Shows. Then, he created the slapstick spy comedy series Get Smart.

It wasn’t long after that when he wrote and directed The Producers, a comedy about two men trying to get rich from creating the worst, most offensive Broadway musical ever made. It was a bold, daring, and risky form of comedy, but audiences embraced it and Brooks even won an academy award for Best Original Screenplay. The 1967 masterpiece marked the beginning of a long career that spawned some of the funniest films to grace screens such as Blazing Saddles, History of the World, Part 1, and Spaceballs.

Comedy is a weird beast, though, and not every joke is universal. When one parodies pop culture, understanding gets lost to time. This list will point out ten jokes from Mel Brooks films most modern viewers wouldn’t understand. Some of these jokes are still funny without the context because of how downright absurd they are, and there is still plenty to laugh at in each movie even if some of the references go above people’s heads.

RELATED: 10 Best Westerns On Netflix

10 A Laurel, And Hardy Handshake – Blazing Saddles

Blazing Saddles is a western about a black man appointed sheriff of a small town. When the town is getting ready to greet their new officer of the law, and before they know how he looks, the chairman of the welcoming committee is preparing his speech and saying “we’d like to offer you a Laurel, And Hearty Handshake.”

This is a direct reference to the legendary comedy duo, Laurel and Hardy. The man rehearsing the speech extends a literal laurel, giving people something to laugh at if they don’t understand the deeper allusion.

9 Frau Blucher – Young Frankenstein

One of the characters in Young Frankenstein is Frau Blucher, played by Cloris Leachman. Every time someone utters her name, horses start wildly neighing.

RELATED: 10 Classic Comedies That Have Aged Poorly

This is erroneously attributed to her name allegedly sounding like the German word for glue, but it doesn’t bear a resemblance. Instead, it’s a joke about old villains in old melodramas. A sound effect or dramatic cue would play whenever the villain appeared or their name was said.

8 Walter Raleigh Reference – History Of The World Part 1

Walter Raleigh published one book before his execution called The Historie of the World. It was only the first volume in what was meant to have several additions, but he couldn’t keep his head on long enough to write anymore.

RELATED: 10 Great Comedies You Forgot Were Directed By Women

The name of Mel Brook’s classic historical epic comedy is taken directly from Walter’s book, save for a small change in spelling. The fact that only one movie exists despite the “Part 1” in the title could also be a gag based on the writer’s circumstances.

7 Frankie Laine Singing The Blazing Saddles Theme

Frankie Laine made a name for himself singing the themes to several famous westerns like 3:10 to Yuma. What good fortune, then, that Mel Brooks managed to get the singer for Blazing Saddles.

Frankie didn’t know it was a parody when recording the song, either, and Brooks didn’t have the heart to tell him.

6 Xenomorph Doing The Michigan Rag – Spaceballs

Alien just celebrated its fortieth anniversary, but all generations are familiar with that horror masterpiece. It’s what the Xenomorph does in Spaceballs after he bursts out of John Hurt’s chest again that leaves people scratching their heads.

RELATED: South Park’s 11 Best Movie Parodies

The song and dance routing is “The Michigan Rag”, taken from a legendary animated short called One Froggy Evening.

5 Leo Bloom’s Name – The Producers

Leo Bloom is an innocuous name for a protagonist, especially for a comedy.

RELATED: 10 Movie Parodies We Hope To See In Season 4 Of Rick And Morty

It’s not immediately outlandish or funny, but bibliophiles will quickly point out the name as a reference to the main character in Jame’s Joyce’s Ulysses.

4 Jews In Space Is A Battlestar Galactica Parody

The fake teaser for Jews In Space is a fantastic gag at the end of History of the World, Part 1. The joke gets better when one realizes the connection to Battlestar Galactica. The science-fiction miniseries takes inspiration from the Mormon faith, and the faux trailer’s direct usage of the Jewish faith parodies this.

3 For My Next Impression, Jesse Owens – Blazing Saddles

After Sheriff Bart and Jim’s KKK disguises are blown after Bart shows his hand to sign some papers,Bart says “and now for my next impression – Jesse Owens.”

Related: Ranking The Top 10 Underrated Comedy Sequels

For those not up on their sports history, Jesse Owens was an Olympic runner who competed in the 1936 games.

2 Bird Poop – High Anxiety

High Anxiety is a parody of Alfred Hitchcock films. It’s one thing to parody a genre, but it’s a bolder move to parody the style of one particular director. To be fair, Hitchcock could be considered its own genre.

The genius of the film is how funny it still is even without knowledge of the legendary filmmaker. The famous bird poop scene, for example, mirrors a scene from The Birds, but is still grossly hilarious for those who have no idea what The Birds is.

1 Orson Wells Narrating History Of The World, Part 1

Orson Wells was one of the greatest filmmakers of the twentieth century. He also has one heck of an iconic voice. Mel Brooks managed to get him to record the narration for History of the World, Part 1, which would be like getting Johnny Cash to narrate Walk Hard.

The movie’s intro also uses the music from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and mirrors the idea of starting the movie out with the dawn of man.

NEXT: 10 Best Comedy Movies Of All Time, According To IMDB


2019-07-14 03:07:54

Jason Wojnar

You Only Need To Rewatch ONE Marvel Movie To Understand Avengers: Endgame

There’s only one MCU movie you absolutely need to rewatch before seeing Avengers: Endgame. In its decade-plus existence, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become an unruly franchise to follow. With so many heroes and disparate story threads, taking in both Earth and the cosmos themselves, there’s a lot to take in and remember for each passing installment.

Every crossover so far, from The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron to Thor: Ragnarok, has demanded some amount of fore-knowledge to really understand where the characters are and why the story being told matters. Sure, they don’t go out of their way to alienate audience members not totally up-to-date, but to really get a sense of theme, character arcs, and stakes, it helps to have previous MCU movies fresh in your mind. For Avengers: Endgame, the culmination of all three phases of the MCU, the idea would be to rewatch everything from Iron Man in 2008 onward to soak in the journey to this point. That’s two dozen movies, so not exactly an easy thing to carve out time for, and although Avengers: Endgame is the big showdown between the Avengers and Thanos, it’s not altogether necessary.

Related: Avengers: Endgame Recap: The Most Important Things To Remember From Each Movie

The only film necessary to rewatch before Endgame is Avengers: Infinity War, the direct prequel from last year. Infinity War brings Thanos into the fold, fleshes out what the Infinity Stones are and why they matter, and gives a satisfactory refresher on newer heroes like Doctor Strange and Black Panther, with half the film taking place in the latter’s home country of Wakanda. More importantly, it ends with Thanos perpetrating the snap, the event that wiped out half of all life in the universe that our heroes are now working to reverse. Avengers: Endgame is part two of this story – in fact, the initial plan was for these to be titled Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 and Part 2 – and they were filmed back-to-back, so they’ve always been intended as a double-feature.

Of course, Thanos and the Infinity Stones have had a lingering presence going right back to the early days of the franchise. The Tesseract, containing the Space Stone and recently seen again in Captain Marvel, was introduced in the post-credits scene of Thor and was a pivotal aspect of The Avengers, where we got our first look at Thanos as the franchise’s main villain. Throughout the MCU, there have been all sorts of hints, nods, and references – some more direct than others – to these mysterious, all-powerful objects as well as Thanos’ plan.

It helps to understand what the protagonists have been through up to this point, too. Captain America: Civil War, directed by Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo, shows why Steve Rogers and Tony Stark aren’t on speaking terms anymore, and Thor: Ragnarok explains Thor, Hulk, and the remaining Asgardians being on a spaceship at the start of Infinity War. Both Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 deal with Thanos as a cruel, abusive father-figure, and explore the scale of cosmic Marvel, while Thor: The Dark World and The Avengers are also important for introducing Infinity Stones.

Watching even select films couches the events of Avengers: Endgame in a wide context that’s been slowly built-out over time, but none are crucial to the exact plot of this final showdown for the original six members of the Avengers Initiative. For that, only one is absolutely a must-see, and that’s Avengers: Infinity War.

Next: The Best MCU Rewatch Order For Before Avengers: Endgame


2019-04-25 05:04:24

Anthony McGlynn

The 5 Movies You Have To Watch To Understand Avengers: Endgame

Here are the five most important movies to watch ahead of Avengers: Endgame so you’ll be up to speed on the state of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There’s only a few weeks left until the conclusion of the Infinity Saga, as Kevin Feige has now called it, wraps up eleven years worth of story, although we’re here with a shortcut.

Avengers: Endgame will be the 22nd film in Marvel Studios shared universe. The franchise’s popularity has only continued to grow in recent years, with many of their more recent releases breaking plenty of box office records. This success is one of many ways to tell that the MCU’s fanbase just keeps getting bigger as the years go on, but that also could mean that some may not be completely caught up.

Related: The Best MCU Rewatch Order For Before Avengers: Endgame

If you didn’t do a full MCU rewatch, don’t fret. Not all 21 of the already released MCU films may be required viewing to understand what Avengers: Endgame will present. So, here are the core, most necessary MCU movies to catch up on (or do a refresher of) before heading to the theater.

Iron Man

There’s no better place to start than right at the beginning with 2008’s Iron Man. The movie is responsible for kicking off the MCU and introduced the lead character in many ways with Tony Stark aka Iron Man – played by Robert Downey Jr. Iron Man helped establish Marvel Studios’ approach to superhero movies, with charismatic leads, quippy dialogue, and a world that, at its core, closely resembled the one we live in – just without aliens and superheroes (at least at this point). Given that Avengers: Endgame is expected to be Robert Downey, Jr’s final film in the role, it’s a must-watch.

The Avengers

While the rest of Marvel’s Phase 1 movies are (mostly) entertaining and set up key characters, The Avengers is the next necessary film to check out. It brings together the core characters of the MCU – Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hulk, and Hawkeye – and pits them against their first world-ending threat. Since this is the first time any of these characters interact on screen, it is especially necessary given they will be at the heart of Avengers: Endgame. Plus, the movie’s mid-credits scene is the first appearance of Thanos too.

We are not including Avengers: Age of Ultron in this essential watch, it’s still worth mentioning how it furthers these relationships and the differing views, while also continuing to establish the importance of the Infinity Stones. If you want a full picture, reading a short summary will help.

Captain America: Civil War

We’re jumping all the way to start of Phase 3 with Captain America: Civil War as the next necessary watch. It focuses on Endgame‘s other key hero, Captain America, but also brings together even more MCU characters… only to break them apart. The Sokovia Accords end the Avengers team as we know it, putting Steve Rogers, Black Widow, and others on the run, while Iron Man retakes his spot leading the Avengers. It also serves as the introduction to Black Panther and Spider-Man. This is also the second directorial effort by Anthony and Joe Russo, and in many ways is them proving they can handle an even larger scope…

Avengers: Infinity War

When we’re talking about essential viewings before Avengers: Endgame, there is no more important film to see than Avengers: Infinity War. This is where Thanos properly arrives and begins his quest to gather all six Infinity Stones so that he can wipe out half of all life across the universe. The film features nearly every MCU character in some fashion, including highly anticipated crossovers between the Guardians of the Galaxy and some Earth-based heroes. Most importantly, though, Infinity War ends with Thanos’ snap wiping out half of all life in the universe, directly leading into Avengers: Endgame, with the surviving heroes trying to figure out how to undo this and bring back those they lost.

Captain Marvel

Finally, it’s the MCU’s most recent movie, Captain Marvel, that should be considered essential viewing. It introduces Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers, the most powerful character the universe has ever seen, who will be key to helping the Avengers defeat Thanos. Be sure to stay through the credits on this one too, as it directly sets up how Captain Marvel is going to be involved in Avengers: Endgame.

Related: How Captain Marvel Connects To Avengers: Endgame

BONUS: Ant-Man & The Wasp (Mid-Credits)

While that’s the end of the full movies, we do have one more bonus entry that deserves a mention: Ant-Man & The Wasp, but just the post-credits scene. The main movie’s story is entirely standalone but the mid-credits scene establishes where Scott Lang is at the start of Avengers: Endgame and sets up the Quantum Realm, a microverse that could be very important.

Next: How To Watch Every MCU Movie Online


2019-04-12 01:04:01

Cooper Hood

20 Things Wrong With American Horror Story We All Choose To Ignore

The horror anthology hit TV show American Horror Story just might be the magnum opus of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuck. Scarier and more riveting than any of the duo’s other projects, the spine-tingling series features a new theme and characters every season that are all still linked to each other’s universe. From the casting announcements to the series hints, theme reveals, and each season’s unique introductory visuals, it’s riveting entertainment all around. Even so, some seasons fall further off the mark than others, with many episodes barely even registering on the “horror” radar while others left us scratching our heads wondering what the heck just happened.

The thing is, we tend to give glaring errors, plot flops, and other things wrong with the show a pass because we love it so much. From intriguing horror to irresistible characters, from unexpected plot twists to some of the best storytelling on TV, American Horror Story keeps us coming back, not because it’s flawless but because it’s still addictive despite, and sometimes because of, its many flaws.

We might love a character and conveniently forget that he or she is a monster. We’ll keep tuning in even after an entire sequence left us feeling disgusted, embarrassed for the actress who had to play out the scene, or even angry at the creators themselves. It’s just that addictive.

We love it and we’ll keep coming back for me, even with these 20 Things Wrong With American Horror Story We All Choose To Ignore.

20 Some Seasons Aren’t Scary

With a name like American Horror Story, you might expect every episode to be a scream-fest. That’s just not the case, especially in seasons four and five. While there’s no shortage of horror-inducing characters in these seasons, they didn’t really give us nightmares like previous and subsequent seasons were able to do.

Were we jaded from all the mutants, ghosts, zombies, and other creatures in previous seasons?

Both Freak Show and Hotel fell short on promises of terror, often vying for more intense drama (a calling card of Falchuck and Murphy) instead. While we still received interesting stories, Gaga’s vampire and Twisty the Clown just weren’t all that scary.

19 There’s No Reason Given For All The Hotel Vampire Kids

In season five, Hotel, Lady Gaga’s character, The Countess Elizabeth, is a little less fabulous than we expected her to be. Perhaps she couldn’t live up to the Gaga we all know and love already. One of the things that just made zero sense about the character was her propensity to collect children and turn them into little vampires. Does Elizabeth have an old woman in the shoe complex? Is she just that bored? What is the point?

Here’s the thing about kids in horror movies: they add instant scare-factor. Take a look at most scary film kids, from Village of the Damned to The Others and you’ll see the scariest moments. The fact that the vampire kid collection wasn’t even scary was a pretty big letdown.

18 Teeth Fall From The Sky For No Reason

Season six of AHS, Roanoke, was able to recover some of the lost ground from the previous two less-scary seasons but still suffered from the lack of the one and only Jessica Lang. The season saw a return to the haunted house theme, always popular in AHS history, and wove in some new elements, like the whole “based on a true story” theme.  Between Deliverance-like hillbillies and more incredible Kathy Bates, Roanake was much better-received than Hotel, but it had some weird unexplained moments, like teeth randomly falling from the sky.

Not only do the teeth inexplicably fall while Matt is at work, but they also disappear.

The reason why is never given, prompting us to chalk this one up to “random scare tactic.”

17 Queenie Tried To Hook Up With A Minotaur

While we definitely applaud Murphy and Falchuck’s use of mythology throughout American Horror Story, it often makes no sense. Gabourey Sidibe was fantastic as Queenie, the young and lonely witch who gave as well as she got, used LaLaurie as her own personal racist slave, and really deserved main credits billing. But there was that one time she tried to hook up with a grotesque Minotaur…

While the inclusion of adult content is pretty standard in AHS, getting involved with a man who has bull’s head sewed over his own is pretty far out there. It didn’t make any sense, nor did Queenie’s own survival following the incident (or anything else including the Minotaur, really), so we just move along and say that there’s nothing to see here.

16 Zoe’s Hell Is Just Life Without Kyle

Zoe Benson, portrayed by Taissa Farmiga, starts out as a compelling character in the third season of American Horror Story, Coven. She has unique powers that pay homage to classic horror and a long journey ahead.

Tossing in a love interest is a great way to derail a personal growth story.

That’s what happened to Zoe with Kyle, her resurrected boyfriend played by Evan Peters. While we’re glad that Murphy and Falchuck used Kyle to illustrate that mothers can be abusive to their sons just as much as fathers can, “life without Kyle” as Zoe’s own personal hell is really stupid and overly angst-ridden.

15 Aliens In Asylum Makes No Sense

When it comes to American Horror Story, many fans reacted to the inclusion of aliens in season two, Asylum, in the same way that fans of Indiana Jones reacted to the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. For many horror fans, aliens don’t enter the territory without very specific rules, and you certainly don’t add aliens into an already-existing story for a scare factor.

The aliens of AHS also just weren’t scary. Sure, they made Pepper more interesting and gave convenient explanations for a few weird happenings, but at the end of the day mixing aliens in with mutants, a mean nun, demons, and war criminals just doesn’t work. It’s a hodgepodge of plot devices tossed together like a salad with too many kinds of dressing. Sometimes simpler is just better.

14 The Musical Sequences

We get that Sister Jude is losing her mind in this tenth episode of season two, Asylum, but must we lose ours as well? The episode itself was gripping, but watching Jessica Lange sashay through “The Name Game” wasn’t nearly as eerie as it should have been. It played off as more of an homage to the creators’ Glee in a way that didn’t work.

While some critics enjoyed the mind-boggling number, many of us like to pretend it never happened.

It’s not the last time the showrunners implemented a bit of music and dance, either. Season four, Freak Show, featured several ditties, including a rendition of “Come As You Are” by Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson’s “Dream a Little Dream of Me”, and Lange singing David Bowie’s “Life on Mars”.

13 What Happens To Dr. Arden’s Experiments?

The mutants created in Dr. Arden’s horrific experiments are the stuff of nightmares, and they definitely present an interesting side story among the rest of the godawful happenings at Briarwood Manor in season two of American Horror Story, Asylum. Their issue, of course, is that they disappear off the radar without much of a peep.

Once turned into a mutant and taken to a hospital, Shelley, played by Chloë Sevigny as a homage to the many women unjustly committed to asylums throughout history, seems as if she may be able to lead the authorities toward Arden, but alas, Joseph Fiennes’ conflicted yet greedy Monsignor Timothy Howard takes her out instead. We don’t hear much about them afterward. What happened to the mutants?

12 The Messed-Up Historical Figures

Anne Frank was lobotomized by the evil Dr. Arden from Briarcliff Manor in season two, Asylum. Not only does this make zero sense, but it also really does a disservice to Anne Frank’s memory. There is a lot of artistic license taken with historical figures throughout American Horror Story, from Delphine Lalaurie to James March. Even characters used as backgrounds for new characters, like Nellie Bly’s inspiration for Lana Winters, often seems a bit much, especially when the representation is so loose.

The misrepresentation or grand re-representation of historical figures is nothing new.

Our own history books present complete falsehoods about everyone from Christopher Columbus to Paul Revere. Perhaps it’s just so glaring because we acknowledge that now, particularly during an age of “fake news” awareness.

11 The Opening Sequence And Spoilers Promise More Than We Get

One of the most exciting elements of a new season of American Horror Story is always the opening sequence and the slowly-revealed spoilers. Cast announcements and cool visuals trickle in until we finally get to see that first episode with its incredible casting graphics. The creepy opening sequence does much more than announce the cast: it revs us up like the announcer for a really scary joust about to take place.

The only problem is that it often goes downhill from there. While season 1 typically delivered, the casting graphics in seasons like Freak Show were actually scarier than the episodes themselves. That’s a real problem if we are supposed to be watching a horror program.

10 We Have No Idea What Happened To The Pig Boys

They were a successful execution of “the scary children” in a way that the little vampire entourage of the previous season just couldn’t seem to manage, so maybe that’s why Murphy and Falchuck decided to never let the “pig boys” of season six be seen again.

Aside from the fact that the boys could have made for some truly scary storytelling, the problem here isn’t just that they had no deeper involvement in the story than “check out these creepy kids” but that they don’t even have a resolution. Why the kids say, “Croatoan!” and why they drink pig milk remains unknown, and we may never know what happened to the charming little tykes.

9 No Consequences for the bad things the “good guys” do

As fans of American Horror Story, we sure do forgive a lot of murderers, don’t we? When someone bad finally goes good, all of their wicked deeds don’t seem to be as problematic. Even sweet Nan takes out Joan. Misty Day, otherwise a kind hippie, offs a couple of guys with alligators.

Were these warranted attacks? Maybe, but that doesn’t erase the fact that many characters end the lives of others and we pretty much turn a blind eye toward it like we wouldn’t if they occurred in real life. Of course, from people returning from the grave to mutant attacks near an asylum, there’s really not a lot in the show that applies to real life.

8 There’s Really No War Between The Coven And The Voodoo Witches

During season three, Coven, there’s a big build up about an oncoming war between the coven and the voodoo witches of the area. Both are led by powerful women, and who wasn’t excited to see Fiona, played by Jessica Lange, and Marie Laveau, played by Angela Bassett, go up against one another?

While there was plenty of tension and a zombie attack, it pretty much stopped there, especially after the witch hunters came to town.

AHS often builds up to something we’re expecting and completely abandon it for another plot instead. While we get that they want to keep us on our toes, broken promises do leave us unsatisfied and underwhelmed.

7 Zoe And Madison Gave Their Souls To Azaezel And It Never Came Up Again

When the bus full of frat boys who assaulted Madison wrecks, taking out all of the monsters on board on Madison’s whim, it’s satisfying. Even seeing Kyle taken out doesn’t bother some of us, given that we’ve already seen Evan Peters return from the grave before and wouldn’t be surprised if he returned. He may have stopped his “brothers” but he certainly tried to help them not get caught, making him complicit in the attack.

When Zoe and Madison decide to put “boy parts” together to resurrect Kyle as the perfect Frankenstein boyfriend, they sell their souls to Azaezel in order to do so, and yet it never comes up again. Given that both girls bite the dust during the show, shouldn’t that at least be an issue?

6 Roanoke’s Reality Show Inception

It was one of the most pointless plot points to ever be inserted into a season of American Horror Story. During season six, Roanoke, we’re treated to a reality show type of setting where re-enactors help us understand what happened to the Millers in “My Roanoke Nightmare”, an obvious play on so many other popular reality-based ghost hunting and experience shows. That’s an intriguing concept that works well for much of the season, but then we’re hit with reality-ception.

Getting all of the actors and people involved in actual events together for the blood moon event is one thing, but what about the disclaimer that nobody even survived the ordeal? If that’s true (which makes sense, since this is Roanoke), how did we get the footage in the first place?

5 There’s No Point To Scathach

Scathach, the mythical warrior from the Isle of Skye in Irish folklore, is an incredible character. It’s too bad we didn’t really get to know her in season six, Roanoke.

Lady Gaga’s Scathnach has a plethora of powers, is said to be the first Supreme and yet has no real point in the series.

The witch does a few nefarious things here and there, from purchasing souls to rendering people evil and insane, but in the grand scheme of things she has no real point except to serve as one of those random elements of horror woven in to just be spooky. Given the history of the traditional character, it would be amazing to see Murphy and Falchuck to use this as a tie-in for a more myth-heavy season.

4 People Are Constantly Offed Only To Be Brought Back

Character losses in the American Horror Story realm are pretty much like those in any comic book series: you don’t ever count them as permanent. Even when an entire series ends and you believe a character to be truly gone, they may return in another season! It’s definitely not a new tactic to have characters return from the grave; it’s a strategy used in everything from Dallas to Supernatural.

It makes us feel a little more jaded and a little less invested when tragedy does strike.

Oh, Fiona is sick? Oh, Ethel’s not going to make it? It’s too often meaningless. We want to feel affected, and we can’t help but worry a bit because we do love these characters, but deep down we’re always still wondering when they’ll return.

3 Twisty’s “Resolution” Is Basically A Deus Ex Machina

Season four’s big villain, Twisty the Clown, turned out to be much more Bozo than Pennywise. Sure, he was scary-looking, and he had the tragic backstory to boot, but Twisty’s crimes felt more garden variety scary movie than the monstrous panache we’d expect from AHS.

Twisty, played by John Carroll Lynch, even had a disappointing resolution as a character. Not only was he never really sorted out by a main character or a victim bent on revenge, but he was literally yanked out of the show to join Edward Mordrake’s nightmarish troupe, collecting the clown’s soul after hearing his tale of woe.

2 Misty Day Was Unjustly Lost

One of the characters fans most resonated with in season three, Coven, was Misty Day, played by the talented Lily Rabe. Misty’s character screamed Supreme, from her unique abilities to her lack of really caring about the position.

Misty was all about fairness, being kind to animals, and protecting the vulnerable, making her a fantastic character to root for.

Unfortunately she was also a red herring. Falchuck and Murphy offed her in such a terrible way in a Hell made up of her own personal vivisection nightmare, which made zero sense given her ability to bring things back to life so easily. Misty didn’t deserve her ending, but neither did Nan and many other characters.

1 Tate Is A School Shooter

Tate Langdon is one of the most romanticized characters in the history of AHS. The season 1 character is a doting friend, devoted boyfriend who would do anything for Violet, and speaks volumes of teen angst to many a smitten heart. It doesn’t hurt that Evan Peters, who plays Tate, is easy on the eyes as well. Is that why it’s so hard to remember that Langdon is such a deplorable character?

Tate is a school shooter. He took the lives of several classmates and should represent what we most despise and do not condone in this nation right now. He also assaulted Violet’s mother, Vivian, causing her to become pregnant with his Antichrist baby. How can anyone still crush on this guy knowing what harm he’s done?

What other problems with American Horror Story do fans overlook? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-10 08:10:37 – 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

15 Rules The Cast Of Counting Cars Is Forced To Obey

The guys working at Count’s Kustoms may not seem like a the type who are keen on rule-following, and, for the most part, that is true. There really aren’t all that many stated rules in the domain of Danny Koker and crew, but everyone has lines that they would prefer remain uncrossed.

That said, Danny and the crew of Counting Cars do have a few unstated laws that must be adhered to on the set. While the History network may not be as interested in staging dramatics and scenarios as their competitors, that isn’t to say that they haven’t laid out a few orders which need to be followed in order to keep the show interesting for the viewer. It may betray the tough guy bravado of the show, but rules are rules, no matter how many hot rods you’ve restored.

Some of these rules are relatively petty and simple, while others might raise an eyebrow or two and hint at a darker history behind these Las Vegas-based body shop workers. Danny, Mike and company haven’t caused all that many controversies when compared to some other big-name reality TV stars out there, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a couple of skeletons in their closet. Again, there don’t appear to be all that many hard-and-fast rules on the set of Counting Cars, but there are at least a few things that cast members know to keep an eye out for.

Here are the 15 Rules The Cast Of Counting Cars Is Forced To Obey.

15 Only Approach Certain People About Their Cars

A major focal point of many Counting Cars episodes is Danny’s frequent run-ins with random car owners. He’s often been filmed approaching people on the street or following someone home in order to track them down and make a deal for their car. These moments are, as most viewers may have guessed, almost always staged.

This is a pretty important rule for the cast to follow, however, as following hot rod owners home and offering to buy their cars is a pretty good way to creep out your clientele and make viewers think you’re a huge weirdo.

While Danny may have done something like this once or twice in his private life, these instances are commonly pre-arranged for the show. Stalking someone with the intent of bartering for their car is probably illegal anyway, though it does make for some interesting TV. Most of the Counting Cars guys aren’t actors by trade, either, and their performance sort of ruins the facade at times.

14 Get Every Fact Straight

If there’s one rule that Danny Koker does his best to follow, it is this one. Danny and the rest of the Counting Cars crew have frequently been called out and ridiculed by trivia-loving car aficionados for small mistakes they have made on air. Event the smallest of inaccuracies get pointed out, and it may call the integrity of Count’s Kustoms into question for the hardest of the hardcore.

For instance, Danny was once noted to have been incorrect about the year in which Chevy first started producing the Corvette: he said it was 1954, but it was actually 1952. It is a mistake he has yet to live down in some circles, and he’s since been sure to get his facts straight when he’s on camera.

13 Keep an Eye Out

Again, this isn’t necessarily a written rule, and it may seem like common sense for most business owners, but Danny and the rest of the guys working at Count’s Kustoms need to do their best to make sure burglary and theft aren’t taking place under their noses. This may sound like a no-brainer, but these things have happened more than once in the autoshop’s history.

From stolen trailers to ransacked houses and full-on employee embezzlement cases, Counting Cars hasn’t had a totally spotless run.

As a result, the guys at Count’s Kustoms need to keep an eye on their surroundings as well as on their co-workers, which doesn’t exactly create grounds for a healthy work environment.

12 The Customer is Always Right

The guys at Count’s Kustoms have taken on some pretty ludicrous jobs over the years, and this is partially because, as a rule, they try not to refuse any customization requests. This definitely isn’t something that’s been set in stone, as Koker and his employees have certainly turned some people away over the course of the show’s history, but it rarely ever happens.

Though they specialize in motorcycles and cars, the Counting Cars crew has accepted vans, busses, and even boats in the past, which certainly made for some interesting TV. It probably isn’t in Danny’s best interest to take on literally every project which comes through his door, but they certainly seem to try.

11 Keep Them Coming

Time is money, and the crew working behind the scenes at Count’s Kustoms sure like to keep busy. Though Counting Cars never really gets into the inner workings of the shop, Danny has said that they never have fewer than fifteen projects going at one time.

Given that each project is a pretty hefty investment in terms of time and resources, this is a pretty major commitment.

As a result, Count’s Kustoms has taken on a bunch of new employees over the years, and they don’t seem to show any signs of slowing down any time soon. Though the show’s popularity may eventually fade, Danny and his employee’s work probably won’t.

10 Stick to the Budget

Danny Koker is known to be very conservative both politically and fiscally. He is extremely protective of his money despite the fact that he has plenty of it to spare, and he never overspends except in very particular situations. Though it may not be an explicitly laid out rule in his shop, Danny’s employees are doubtlessly aware of the fact that they really need to stick to a budget.

The Count himself has shown his financially conservative nature when haggling, and he has been known to walk away from deals he finds unfair. This doesn’t show up all that often in the show, of course, because most of the drama is scripted and most of the bartering has already been pre-arranged. Those close to Danny, however, will know the truth.

9 Don’t Rush It

Count’s Kustoms may take on no fewer than fifteen projects at a time, but most of these projects take quite a while to complete. This is never really shown on the show, though, as the Counting Cars producers like to expedite things for the sake of viewer interest, but customization jobs are known to take 12 to 24 months to complete on average.

This may sound like an insane amount of time, but there really aren’t many places in the world that offer customization options like Count’s Kustoms.

Though some projects cruise through the shop in as little as ninety days, most employees know not to rush things.

8 Don’t Mention Danny’s Dad

Danny Koker’s father, a well-respected man who taught Danny everything he knows about autobody customization, bequeathed his extensive collection of rare cars to his son when he passed away. These vehicles hold an incredible amount of sentimental value to the Count’s Kustoms owner, and, though he has shown parts of the collection off in recent years, he doesn’t like to work on them.

Danny has said that his father’s passing is still a tough subject for him, and, as a result, most of his employees know better than to bring it up. In fact, even Counting Cars regulars should know better than to mention those cars or suggest working on them. While this may one day change, it remains a point of contention in Danny’s garage.

7 Don’t Bring up the Bandana

This really isn’t an unspoken rule, as Danny’s look has been the subject of occasional workplace antics over the years, but it should be said that Danny doesn’t seem all that keen to reveal what’s going on underneath his iconic bandana.

Many have speculated that he is covering some sort of facial deformity or unsightly tattoo, while others believe that he is abnormally committed to his rock-and-roll look.

The most likely explanation is that he isn’t eager to show off his receding hairline. Though this is little more than speculation, it does explain why Danny is often pretty defensive in regards to his dress. Those close to him might poke fun, but fans may want to avoid the subject.

6 Be Careful When Haggling

Danny Koker has stated on multiple occasions that the success of his show has made haggling at car shows much more difficult. As a typical enthusiast, the Count never seemed to have a problem getting his way on the showroom floor.

However, once his profile was raised, sellers began recognizing him more often and attempting to upsell him. This has become a major headache to the penny-pinching autobody overhauler, and anyone working with him should ensure that they don’t overpay when bartering. Danny is most likely very grateful for all of the good that the show has done his business over the years, though he could almost certainly go without this one annoying quirk.

5 Don’t Mention Danny’s Family

In keeping with his conservative values, Danny Koker typically doesn’t like to reveal all that much about his family or his private life. This is completely fair, and most Counting Cars fans will understand that his reality TV star status doesn’t require him to relay all of his personal matters to the public.

That said, Danny is abnormally protective of his loved ones, and very little is known about his wife and kids.

His wife, Korie Koker, co-owns Count’s Vamp’d Rock Bar & Grill with her husband, though her private life remains largely undisclosed. Counting Cars cast members should almost certainly know better than to go prying into Danny’s personal life while the cameras are rolling.

4 Don’t Break The Fourth Wall

The guys on Counting Cars may seem like larger-than-life celebrities at times, but it is important to remember that they are actually people, and Count’s Kustoms is an actual business that will continue to operate independently of the show once the production crew heads home.

That said, though it may be an actual business, much of the situations covered on the show aren’t genuine. Whether played up for the sake of drama or totally fictional, much of the on-air hijinx covered on Counting Cars is dramatized. The Counting Cars cast is careful not to break the illusion, though, and everyone seems pretty eager to play along. There seems to be a rule against fourth wall breaks while on set, and it seems to have gone pretty much unbroken over the years.

3 Politics Are a No-Go

In today’s radically partisan climate, few shows are all that eager to take sides or show any sort of political bias at all. That said, Counting Cars star Danny Koker was an avid supporter of the current leader of the United States during his campaign in 2016. This should come as no surprise given his conservative background, but it remains a major point of contention among many viewers.

Rather than bring up a potentially costly political debate on-air, the Counting Cars crew is pretty careful to keep their lips sealed concerning the subject.

The time may well come when things of that nature can be discussed more freely, but Count’s Kustoms is better off free of political drama for the time being.

2 Forget About Scott Jones

Scott Jones, the ornery store manager featured in the first and second seasons of Counting Cars, isn’t brought up all that much these days. He was hardly mentioned at all in the third season, and he seems to have been totally absent from every subsequent episode since then.

Fans have speculated that he was actually fired as a result of an embezzlement scheme, while others believe he simply grew tired of the daily grind and returned to his hometown. It’s tough to know exactly what happened to Jones, though none of the Counting Cars cast members seem all that eager to bring it up. This probably isn’t an explicitly stated rule, but most will know better than to bring up Scott on camera.

1 Don’t Deal With Vince Neil

Show lead and shop owner Danny Koker has met quite a few celebrities through his business, and his rock-and-roll band side project has also put him in contact with some pretty interesting characters. Koker has, in one way or another, come to be pretty good friends with ex-Motley Crue vocalist Vince Neil.

Though it started out as a pretty lucrative relationship for Koker and his show, the Counting Cars cast soon decided that their relationship with Neil was detrimental to the show’s good standing.

After that, they by-and-large disbanded any professional connections to the singer, though Koker and Neil are said to have remained friends. Even so, it isn’t likely that the ex-rocker will be making any appearances on the show any time soon. The bottom line is that Vince is bad news, and the cast can’t mention him anymore.

Are there any other rules that the cast of Counting Cars has to follow? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-09 05:10:54 – Tanner Fox

James Gunn Is A Better Fit For Suicide Squad Than Guardians of the Galaxy

Controversial writer and director James Gunn is perfectly suited for Suicide Squad 2; in fact, it’s a far better fit for him than Guardians of the Galaxy ever was. Gunn certainly has form transforming a band of misfits into a superhero family/team, and Suicide Squad 2 should give him the ideal opportunity to demonstrate his skills yet again, although the story goes a little deeper than that.

Gunn’s career with Disney came to a shocking end back in July, when some of his old social media posts went viral. Gunn had fancied himself as something of a provocateur prior to working for Disney, and these posts included off-key jokes on everything from rape to pedophilia. Disney responded by swiftly firing him from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Within a month, there were reports that Gunn had been approached by Disney’s rival Warner Bros. potentially with the option of producing a DC superhero movie.

Related: Why Rehiring James Gunn Was Harder For Disney Than Fans Realize

DC Films has expressed interest in Gunn before. Back in 2016, he admitted that he’d “had opportunities to make DC films,” but had turned them down; he reeled off a list of heroes he’d quite enjoy tackling, ranging from Swamp Thing to Jonah Hex, from the Metal Men to Shazam. Now, though, there have been reports that Gunn is on board to write, and possibly even direct, Suicide Squad 2.

  • This Page: Why James Gunn Is Perfect For Suicide Squad 2
  • Next Page: Why This Is A Better Fit Than Guardians of the Galaxy

Why James Gunn Is Perfect For Suicide Squad 2

It’s not hard to see what Warner Bros. want James Gunn on board. He’s a writer and director with a proven history of turning even the most unlikely franchises into box office hits. Back when Marvel Studios announced the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, everybody assumed this would be their first misstep; the Guardians had a low profile even among comic book fans, and their members including a walking tree and a talking raccoon. A series of tremendously effective trailers immediately changed that, and the movie grossed $773 million worldwide. Not bad for a bunch of “a**-holes.

Ironically, David Ayer’s Suicide Squad suffered as a result of Guardians of the Galaxy‘s success. Warner Bros. attempted to make their dark movie fit Gunn’s tone, with the trailers showing a strong Guardians of the Galaxy vibe. Viewers responded well to the trailers, and as a result there are reports Warner Bros. lost faith in Ayer’s approach, attempting to make the franchise as Guardians-like as possible. The result was a strange hybrid of a finished production, critically panned, which nevertheless managed to gross $747 million worldwide off the back of its strong marketing campaign. A sequel was always on the cards, but nobody was quite sure who could make it work. So why not bring in the man who made Guardians of the Galaxy work in the first place?

Suicide Squad 2 Matches James Gunn’s Earlier Movies

It’s important not to assume Suicide Squad 2 would just be a rehash of Guardians of the Galaxy, though. In truth, the comic book franchise is tonally similar to some of Gunn’s earlier works, most notably Super. This was a black comedy-drama centered around the character of Frank Darbo, a cook who took up the identity of the “Crimson Bolt” in order to rescue his wife from a drug dealer. Although critics weren’t impressed by the movie, it built a strong fanbase and put Gunn on Disney’s radar. Super rejoices in its confusing characters, who are filled to the brim with flaws and conflicting character traits – and gore ready to be spilled. Frank, for example, was a religious pacifist who made the world a better place through merciless violence. It was only after he began hearing warped messages “from God” that he began to understand the real world at all.

Related: Disney’s Decision On James Gunn Will Define The MCU

This is just the kind of crazy, conflicted approach that would work so well for Suicide Squad 2. After all, this is a team who are defined by their contradiction. They’re a group of super-villains who are forced to save the world; they deeply resent the fact they’re being forced to work together, and yet somehow consider one another a family. The best Suicide Squad stories are a blend of light and dark, tinged with anger and joy, betrayal and redemption.

And the characters in Suicide Squad are so very three-dimensional. Take Harley Quinn; although it didn’t quite make it through to David Ayer’s film, at heart she’s an abuse victim who’s struggling to find herself, and the relationship between Harley and the Joker is most definitely not intended to be some sort of “relationship goal“. Killer Croc is a brutal murderer who eats his foes, and yet develops such a fondness for his team-mates that he becomes dangerously protective of them. Boomerang wants to live a life of crime, and yet vaguely enjoys the idea he’s achieving something when he saves the world. These “villains” are three-dimensional in a way few superheroes are, with aspects of their own natures in direct conflict, pulling them this way and that. They’re every bit as mercurial and inconsistent as real people. And they’re just the kind of characters James Gunn has a form for developing, back in his pre-Guardians of the Galaxy days.

Page 2 of 2: Why This Is A Better Fit Than Guardians of the Galaxy

James Gunn Made Great Guardians of the Galaxy Movies – But He Changed Them To Do So

The truth is that, although James Gunn made tremendous Guardians of the Galaxy movies, he did so by taking major liberties with the comic canon. Gunn took the most basic concept underlying the franchise, and then made his own version of it. Gunn’s genius was that he saw the potential, he realized why it wouldn’t connect with audiences, and then he made it work. Even the tone and style of the Guardians movies was nothing like the original comics, which had typically gone for cosmic melodrama rather than ’80s nostalgia.

Characters, too, were completely rewritten in order to become the versions Gunn needed. Take Peter Quill as the classic example. Steve Englehart created the character back in 1976, and he described the original Star-Lord as “an unpleasant, introverted jerk.” Englehart planned to develop him into the most cosmic hero ever, but left Marvel before he’d even begun that character arc. As a result, the comic book version remained in that pattern, although he gradually transformed into a leader. James Gunn looked at the comic character, and decided to completely rework him. Star-Lord remained something of a jerk, but he was much more charismatic and extroverted; a revised origin explained that he was a child who’d run away from home after his mother’s death, and had never really grown up as a result. It made Quill a deeply empathetic character, viewed with affection in spite of his many flaws.

Related: Avengers Fans Are Being Too Hard On Star-Lord

Comic book readers traditionally complain when movies diverge from the comic book canon they grew up reading. In the case of Guardians of the Galaxy, though, James Gunn made his changes work so well that precious few objected. Marvel Comics, inspired by the surprise box office success of a previously-third-tier superhero franchise, quickly redesigned their own characters to align with Gunn’s versions. In the case of Peter Quill, they even retconned some of his previous appearances to say they’d taken place in another reality. Gunn won’t need to go the same lengths to make Suicide Squad 2 his own. As we’ve already pointed out, the characters are tailor-made for Gunn’s kind of character-work, and the themes and concepts that run through the comics fit perfectly with the kind of ideas he likes to work with.

Meanwhile, Gunn’s looser approach to canon and continuity will flourish in the DCEU. Although most viewers hadn’t picked up on it, Gunn’s maverick attitude towards continuity was never perfectly suited to the tighter, more intensely-scrutinized MCU; occasionally there were signs Gunn felt the pressure of it, and indeed rebelled against it. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 rendered a tie-in comic non-canon, for example, and Gunn admitted he contemplated breaking his own personal canon for the third film. “Marvel Canon – MCU – is crazy,” Gunn admitted. “I have a really good storytelling reason for breaking the canon, and I stayed up last night figuring out if I’m gonna do it or not. I still don’t know.” Given the complexity of the MCU and the degree to which fans take note of every detail, sooner or later that would have caused problems. Warner Bros., however, won’t particularly care; their view of continuity is very much that it should serve the director. That will give Gunn all the flexibility he needs to tell the best stories he can.

The latest reports confirm that James Gunn is on board as the writer of Suicide Squad 2, and he should breathe new life into the project. It remains to be seen whether or not Gunn will go on to become director as well; if he does, then he’d definitely be an effective choice, and the film would surely be guaranteed a success.

More: All 26 Upcoming & In-Development DC Films



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2018-10-09 03:10:13 – Thomas Bacon

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

WARNING: Major spoilers for A Star Is Born

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

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

Related: Read Our A Star Is Born Review

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

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

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

What Happens In A Star Is Born’s Ending

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

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

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

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

Why A Star Is Born’s Ending Is Bad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How The Remakes Have Tried To “Fix” The Ending

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

Related: Watch the Trailer For A Star Is Born

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

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

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

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

Why Bradley Cooper Can’t Fix A Star Is Born

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

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

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

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

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

A Star Is Born Only Exists Because Of Ego

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

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

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

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

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

A Star Is Born Is No Longer Needed

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

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

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

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



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2018-10-06 01:10:52 – Alex Leadbeater