RunPee and the 2019 Oscars – Predictions for the 2018 Movie Awards

oscars statue for the awards ceremony
The big one: this year’s Oscar Awards Ceremony

The 2019 Oscar nominees will be announced on Tuesday, January 22.  It has been a wild awards season full of uncertainty, surprises, upsets, and scandal.  The nominations from the 2018 movies may bring their own share of upsets and surprises. Here are my predictions for what Tuesday morning will bring. (NOTE: All links go to RunPee’s movie reviews. If there is no link, we didn’t review it.)

Best Picture  – Under the current rules, there can be up to ten Best Picture nominees.  I’m predicting nine for this year. These are my choices in no particular order.  

  1. Black Panther

Black Panther has been preordained as a Best Picture nominee since it came out last year.  Like Straight Outta Compton was, this is one of the most successful movies of the year, both financially and critically.  If it does not get nominated, the Academy needs to take a long, hard look at itself. After Straight Outta Compton‘s snub, the Academy has done a lot of work to increase the diversity of its membership.  This is an exciting year, because there may be multiple films by people of color eligible for a Best Picture nomination including BlacKkKlansman, Crazy Rich Asians, If Beale Street Could Talk, and my beloved dark horses The Hate U Give and Sorry to Bother You (go watch them!). 

 

  1. A Star Is Born

The belle of the ball.  The early front runner.  As RuPaul might say, “You are safe.  Step to the back of the stage.”  Everyone knows this one is getting nominated.  It doesn’t make it any less of an achievement for Bradley Cooper, who struck gold with his directorial debut. 

 

  1. Green Book

This is the crowd pleaser.  From the first screenings at film festivals, audiences have been in love with this comedy about reconciliation, based on a true story.  There’s no way this doesn’t get nominated.

 

  1. Bohemian Rhapsody

Whatever plays for 2-3 weeks at Thanksgiving at the local arthouse ALWAYS goes to the Oscars.  This year, it was Bohemian Rhapsody and Boy Erased.  If it weren’t for Mary Poppins opening, they would have played Bohemian Rhapsody for an extra month probably.  A Golden Globes win for Best Picture has guaranteed this nomination. 

 

  1. Boy Erased

See above.  Strong performances by Lucas Hedges and Nicole Kidman make this one of the most powerful films of the year. 

 

  1. Vice

With a Best Actor and Best Director nomination likely, a Best Picture nomination is a lock for this Dick Cheney biopic.

 

  1. The Favourite

Living up to its title, this has been a critical and Hollywood favorite, racking up praise, awards, and nominations.  It truly is a “favorite.”  While I personally am not a fan, I’d be surprised if it doesn’t make the list. 

 

  1. BlacKkKlansman

Spike Lee’s masterpiece is one of the few summer films that’s so undeniable Oscar still remembers it, come winter.  The epilogue is a punch in the gut I can still feel. 

 

  1. A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place is this year’s Get Out.  It’s not a socially conscious satire.  However, A Quiet Place is the most talked about (and least talked during) horror movie of the year.  Sorry, Hereditary.  It did well at the box office, and it’s been shortlisted for at least one Oscar: Best Original Score. 

 

If there is a rare tenth slot this year, it goes to Crazy Rich Asians.  It is the first major film to feature an Asian-American cast since The Joy Luck Club twenty-five years ago.  That’s something worth celebrating.   

 

Sadly, this leaves First Man, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and If Beale Street Could Talk on the sidelines.  

 

Best Actress

Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born

Glenn Close, The Wife

Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Olivia Colman, The Favourite

Saoirse Ronan, Mary Queen of Scots

 

Everyone has been whispering about an Oscar for Lady Gaga since A Star Is Born came out.  Glenn Close was a personal favorite before she won the Golden Globe. Just saying.  The Wife is a career highlight.  Melissa McCarthy showed the range of what she can do, from comedy to drama, in Can You Ever Forgive Me?  Olivia Colman will ride the praise for The Favourite to a nomination.  Mary Queen of Scots has been playing for over a month at the arthouse.  I’m going to go out on a limb, and say that audiences know something the odds makers don’t.  Maybe I’m blinded by my admiration for her, but I predict Saoirse Ronan is going to pull an upset and fill the fifth slot.  It’s not like she’s a stranger to the red carpet. 

 

Best Actor

Christian Bale, Vice

Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased

Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

 

Bale and Malek embody the men they are playing to a degree you forget you aren’t watching the real thing.  It would be a major upset if Bradley Cooper does not get a nomination for A Star is Born.  Lucas Hedges followed up Manchester By the Sea with another heartbreaking performance.  Viggo Mortensen makes it here by good will.  I like Green Book.  I liked Ryan Gosling in First Man, and Jonathan Pryce in The Wife better. 

 

Best Supporting Actress

Nicole Kidman , Boy Erased

Emma Stone, The Favourite

Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

Amy Adams, Vice

 

Kidman excels at sentimental mother roles.  And she has at least one great scene in Boy Erased.  Stone and Weisz have been seen as competitors in this race, much like they were on-screen.  For all the pairs that publicists hoped would get nominated together this year (Ali and Mortensen for Green Book, Carell and Chalamet for Beautiful Boy), these two are the surest thing this side of A Star is Born. Regina King is a character actress that is loved by her peers.  She won the Golden Globe.  She may well win the Oscar.  Amy Adams has one of the best scenes of the year early on in Vice.  She’s also an Oscar favorite with several nominations. 

 

Best Supporting Actor

Sam Elliott, A Star is Born

Mahershala Ali, Green Book

Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Timothy Chalamet, Beautiful Boy

Steve Carell, Vice

 

Despite being snubbed by the Globes, I’m confident Sam Elliott is going to get a nomination.  (Isn’t it time?)  Ali’s nomination is similarly a foregone conclusion.  Grant is a respected British character actor with a decent amount of buzz behind his performance.  Chalamet gave a powerful portrayal of drug addiction and recovery.  I’m going to throw a monkey wrench into the works by predicting it will be Steve Carell rather than Sam Rockwell who gets nominated for the movie Vice.  Rockwell’s portrayal of George W. Bush is featured in the trailer and has garnered more attention.  But it’s Carell as Donald Rumsfeld who really steals the movie.  This makes the race a bit awkward by pitting Carell against his Beautiful Boy co-star Chalamet.  I’m still holding out hope though that the Academy will surprise me though, and fill one of these slots (not Sam’s!) with Russell Hornsby from The Hate U Give or Josh Hamilton from Eighth Grade (Best. Dads. Ever.).

 

Best Director

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman

Peter Farrelly, Green Book

Adam McKay, Vice

 

Bradley Cooper nailed it with his first feature.  Not only did he make an entertaining film, he made a love story that feels authentic.  Alfonso Cuaron dug into his childhood memories to bring to life a similarly authentic story.  Spike Lee made a humorous, suspenseful, moving meditation about race in America.  Peter Farrelly took us on a road trip that changed the lives of two men.  Adam McKay made a brave film about politics and power.  There are no real surprises in my choices.  This is the same lineup as the Globes and the Directors Guild nominations.  If I had my druthers, Bo Burnham (Eighth Grade) or Damien Chazelle (First Man) would take Peter Farrelly’s slot. 

 

Best Original Song

Shallow,” A Star is Born

“A Place Called Slaughter Race,” Ralph Breaks the Internet

“Trip a Little Light Fantastic,” Mary Poppins Returns

“The Place Where Lost Things Go,” Mary Poppins Returns

“All the Stars,” Black Panther

 

Shallow” is a lock.  Of course, A Star Is Born is going to get a Best Song nomination.  If Ralph Breaks the Internet‘s side-splittingly funny, “A Place Called Slaughter Race” doesn’t get nominated, there is no justice.  It’s a send up of the classic Disney princess “I Want” song (“Part of Your World”, etc.) And I’m dying for a Randy Newman cover version.  Who do you think they’ll get to sing it at the Oscars? 

It’s not unusual for Disney to have more than one song nominated from the same film (The Lion King had three).  So I think both shortlisted Mary Poppins songs could make it through, though “Light Fantastic” is the ear worm.  I’m giving the final slot to “All the Stars” though it could go to “Girl in the Movies” by Dolly Parton from Dumplin’.  She has been nominated twice before.

 

Best Original Screenplay

Green Book, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, and Peter Farrelly

Vice, Adam McKay

Eighth Grade, Bo Burnham

First Reformed, Paul Schrader

A Quiet Place, Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, and John Krasinski

 

Green Book: how do you not nominate the crowd-pleaser?  For Vice, McKay not only had to do exhaustive research, he employs several unique narrative devices.  Bo Burnham managed to capture not only the awkwardness of middle school, but to tell it from the point of view of a teenage girl.  Paul Schrader wrote one of the two best movies about faith this year.  (Disobedience was the other one.  Watch them both.)  A Quiet Place was one of the most unique theatrical experiences of the year.  The first sequence is its own horror short film that should be used to teach would-be screenwriters how to tell a story visually. 

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins

Can You Ever Forgive Me?,  Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty

Black Panther, Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole

A Star Is Born, Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters

BlacKkKlansman, Spike Lee, Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott

 

Barry Jenkins didn’t just tell a story.  He found ways to add power to James Baldwin’s words through imagery.  Can You Ever Forgive Me? found the humanity in two hard to love people. 

Out of the comic books (Black Panther) came one of the most empowering films of all time.  The fourth version of A Star Is Born made us fall in love again.  BlacKkKlansman delivered a necessary message through an entertaining story. 

 

Best Animated Film

Incredibles 2

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Mirai

Isle of Dogs

 

This is the same lineup as the Globes, but these are simply the five best animated films that came out this year.  If I could find anything artier or weirder to put in Mirai‘s spot, I would have, because Oscar would too.  (See My Life As a Zuchini.)

 

Incredibles 2 was the sequel that goes bigger than the original.  It was huge summer fun and everything I love about Pixar.  Ralph Breaks the Internet was…a little less fun but still had lots of laughs and lots of heart and the ultimate song (see above).  Spider-Man was an unexpected roller-coaster ride full of surprises.  I’m pulling for it to win.  Mirai was a sweet anime about family and heritage.  Isle of Dogs was Wes Anderson’s tale of a boy in search of his dog, in a world where dogs have been banned. 

 

I’m predicting Mirai in the fifth slot but the Academy could go more commercial and choose Teen Titans Go to the Movies, Hotel Transylvania 3 (such a let-down after 2!), Sherlock Gnomes, or Smallfoot instead. 


 

Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick—amazing rom com!) and Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish) will announce the nominees live on Tuesday, January 22 at 8:20 am ET/5:20 am PT.  

You can live stream it at Oscar.com or watch the Oscars live on TV Sunday, Feb 24th. Check my predictions then, and find out if I was way off base or right on the money!  Feel free to make your own predictions in the comments below. Check back here for more awards coverage! And don’t forget to use the Run Pee app for those lengthy, bladder-busting awards bait movies.  

Highlights, Comments, and Acceptance Videos for the 76th Annual Golden Globes

Movie Review – Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen Will Rock You

Movie Review – Black Panther – One Incredible Party

Movie Review – A Star Is Born

Movie Review – BlacKkKlansman

Virgin Movie Review – 21 Jump Street

jonah hill and channing tatum as cops in high school for 21 jump street
They could have called this Prom Cops and I’d probably have seen it sooner.

21 Jump Street is a sweet little film that flew under my radar until last night. When my mother DVRed it (and subsequent sequel 22 Jump Street) to her TV for our movie night, I was confused. Wasn’t this a TV show? A cop procedural from the 80s?

She promised me it was definitely a movie and probably funny, so I agreed to watch it and make my notes for a virgin movie review. [pullquote]When I saw it had Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in it, I felt a whole lot better about sitting through it.[/pullquote]

21 Jump Street is actually not a cop procedural, although it’s certainly bookended as one. It’s more like a John Hughes teen angst comedy, with enough cop buddy-hood to keep things a little more grown-up. And yes, upon due investigation, this is a sort of remake/reinvisioned-sequel to the 1987 TV show of the same name. (Sometimes it’s hard to tell if a movie is a continued story or a reboot, but ultimately it doesn’t matter here.)

Was it funny? I’d say I smiled a whole lot throughout and even LOLed a few times. The constant meta-references to Tatum looking too old to be in high school landed well, as did the other funny self-aware bits, like when the police chief tells our guys he’s resurrecting an obsolete, defunct 80s undercover program. Which, yes, that’s exactly what’s happening in-story and outside the confines of 21 Jump Street. When the drama class director says, “And that’s the end of the second act,” it really was the end of the film’s second act. [pullquote position=”right”]For a fluff movie deriving laughs from a fish-out-of-water high school scenario, I found the meta humor more sophisticated than expected in this kind of genre.[/pullquote]

Self-aware joking aside, this movie had a lovely twist in it that I didn’t see coming. I expected things to more or less continue the old school hierarchies seen in the first three minutes, before Hill and Tatum’s characters entered the police academy.

If you haven’t seen 21 Jump Street (the movie, not the TV show), then you might want to stop reading here because I’m going to spoil the twist. Actually, it’s not a twist so much as the entire premise of the show, and I’m surprised I didn’t realize this going in. It made for a pleasant first time viewing to not know, so if you are a complete newbie to this like I was, go away now and come back later.  😉

Spoilers ahead!

When we learn the two boys accidentally took on each other’s fake names, I was prepared for a lot of cringe humor (which I cordially dislike). What I got instead was how Hill’s dweeby persona actually suited him in the brave new world of what is/isn’t cool at school seven years later…and how Tatum’s dim-witted turn as a kid enrolled in advanced placement classes actually leveled him up, to the point he could crack jokes about KNO3 (potassium nitrate), and learn to jail-break a phone with his new-found friendly, accepting nerd friends. [pullquote]It was nice to see a movie where role reversals don’t depend on being desperately out of one’s element.[/pullquote] (Haha, I just made a joke about elements, and wasn’t even trying. See? The film even made me smarter.)

Here’s the cute 21 Jump Street scene about KNO3 (it’s about a minute long):

Also, there’s this bit of rocket fun if you add sugar to potassium nitrate. What’s not to love about chemistry? Also, don’t go out now and blow your fool hands off:

Hill and Tatum have some good chemistry together, which looks like it surprised them as much as the viewer. It was all very playful, like two big puppies wrestling. At the prom.

Now that our next Jump Street sees the “brothers” leaving high school and entering college undercover in 22 Jump Street, I’m looking forward to tonight’s film.

Movie Grade: B

Virgin Review – 22 Jump Street (and that truly incredible end credits scene)

Movie Review – 22 Jump Street

A Discussion on Buddy Cop Movies

Why You Need to Care About Carol Danvers – Captain Marvel Facts and Film Updates

brie larson as captain marvel for the mcu
Who is this young woman, and how can she possibly fight Thanos?

Have you noticed the Captain Marvel trailers dropping for the upcoming March 8, 2019 film, set within the (admittedly large and dense) Marvel Cinematic Universe? There’s a lot of speculation on who exactly Ms. Marvel is, how she’s going to fit into the Avengers ongoing storyline, why the movie will be set in the past, and what we need to know before we see the flick. Rest assured, you don’t need to catch up on years of Captain Marvel comic books to follow along — we’ll tell you the few things we think will help get you up to speed.

There are some slight spoilers here, but nothing to fret over if you’ve seen the trailers at all. (Skip this post if you want to be completely in the dark.)

RunPee writer Golden Man, of the Oscar-awards oriented blog Etched In Gold, lists these cool details to help you better understand Carol Danvers (AKA Captain Marvel):

— In the comic books, Carol Danvers was known as Ms. Marvel, until taking over the mantle of Captain Marvel in 2012.

— The movie draws inspiration from the 1970s comic storyline The Kree-Skrull War.

— Skrulls are the villains in the movie. They have the ability to simulate other people (like the old lady on the train in the trailer).

— There are rumors this movie will plant the seeds for a future film based on the 2008 Secret Invasion storyline, where Skrulls impersonated many famous characters from the Marvel universe.

— The movie is set in the late ’90s. This basically makes it a prequel to the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.

— In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Samuel L. Jackson confirmed we will find out what happened to Nick Fury’s eye in this movie.

— A young Agent Coulson appears in the movie. (That is Clark Gregg taking off his sunglasses in the latest trailer.)

— This movie makes the first time Marvel Studios has used de-aging effects on actors for an entire film (for Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg).

— Lee Pace’s character Ronan the Accuser (who menaced the Guardians of the Galaxy in Volume 1) will reappear in this movie.

— Lashana Lynch plays Maria Rambeaux. In the comics, her daughter Monica also takes on the mantle of Captain Marvel at some point. (She is also known by other superhero names.)

— Captain Marvel is confirmed to be appearing in Avengers: Endgame.

— While a sequel is likely, Marvel is remaining super secretive about Phase Four and no movies have been officially announced beyond Spiderman: Far From Home.

Here’s the first Captain Marvel trailer to get you started. It’s less than two minutes long, but packed with great (albeit lightning-quick) details  — things you’ll understand better after reading our tips:

1st Captain Marvel Trailer Finally Drops – Comments and Speculation

Avengers 4 Endgame – First Trailer Review

A Slightly More Than Casual Fan’s Reaction to Avenger 4 Trailer 1

The 5 Movies You Need To Watch Before Infinity War

Movie Review – Guardians Of The Galaxy – The Marvel Movie that Changed Everything


Bio: Golden Man loves comedies, romantic films, superhero movies, and awards bait. He blogs about the Oscar race all year long at Etched In Gold.

Waking up to Deadpool – Lyrics and Opening Scene from Angel of the Morning

Ryan reynolds as deadpool with lyrics to angel of the morning
Good morning, Sunshine.

I’m not a morning person. That’s why I keep my Alexa unit close to the bed, so I can shake off the cobwebs by playing Juice Newtown’s Angel of the Morning. It’s a soft, gentle, sweet song that wonderfully belies the  gristly hilarious opening teaser for the the original film Deadpool. Each day I imagine the amazing cinematography sweeping around a suspended moment in time: zooming from a man with a cigarette lighter burn mark on his forehead, passing an ironic Green Lantern playing card and Hello Kitty lip balm, to Ryan Reynold’s red-suited crotch (and all sorts of other great Easter eggs). The camera pans through the car and out to the frozen falling car tableau. [pullquote]It’s a scene to relish, and re-watch, and deserves some kind of award for Best Movie Opening Ever.[/pullquote]

As we know, Deadpool is a love story. And all the best love stories begin with a murder. And possibly Juice Newton.

Here’s the brilliant opening scene with the not-to-be ignored title credits…followed with the lyrics for Angel of the Morning, so you too can awaken to the soft notes and violent Deadpool imagery for yourself:

Angel of the Morning

(Sang by Juice Newton – Songwriters: Chip Taylor/Angel of the Morning lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC (1968)

There’ll be no strings to bind your hands

Not if my love can’t bind your heart
And there’s no need to take a stand
For it was I who chose to start
I see no need to take me home
I’m old enough to face the dawn

Just call me angel of the morning, (angel)
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby
Just call me angel of the morning, (angel)
Then slowly turn away from me
Maybe the sun’s light will be dim
And it won’t matter anyhow
If morning’s echo says we’ve sinned
It was what I wanted now
And if we’re victims of the night
I won’t be blinded by the light

Just call me angel of the morning, (angel)
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby
Just call me angel of the morning, (angel)
Then slowly turn away
I won’t beg you to stay with me
Through the tears of the day, of the years
Baby, baby, baby

Just call me angel of the morning, (angel)
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby
Just call me angel of the morning, (angel)
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, darling
Just call me angel of the morning, angel
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, darling

Movie Rewatch Review – Deadpool

Movie Review – Deadpool 2

Movie Review – Once Upon A Deadpool

Movie Review – Deadpool

Making Models – the Jenny Haniver Airship from Mortal Engines

 

jenny haniver made from a ray or skate
An actual Jenny Haniver. I can totally see the airship design used in Mortal Engines.

Mortal Engines has the best models and miniatures I’ve seen in a movie outside of the original Star Wars movies and the Lord of the Rings. This should come as no surprise, since Mortal Engines came from WETA Workshop, the same crew who designed The Lord of the Rings. Remember all those rolling cities and fabulous airships? It’s kind of exciting to realize much of the film-work was done with actual scaled models that you can see and touch, reflecting light as only tangible things do.

As the model maker in this featurette (below) says, “People will always respond to more to a model.”

Alex Falkner making the jenny haniver for mortal engines
Alex Falkner working on the Jenny Haniver airship.

I’d tend to agree. Some movies make magic with CGI (as in Avatar), or transport the viewer through excellent 3D animation (like Into the Spider-Verse). But with the technology we have today, the best bet for creating a fantastical live-action universe lies in some sort of combination of masterful CGI and intricate, detailed, and lovingly created models.

design of a jenny haniver from mortal engines
A Jenny Haniver, seen from above. Very dragon-esque.

Here’s where something like the dystopian steampunk epic Mortal Engines comes into its own. Not everyone loved the story (it did have gaping plotholes and a darth of necessary backstory), but it’s nearly unanimous that the set-piece cities and fanciful airships, in terms of world-building, were very fine indeed.

This three minute featurette follows model maker and silicone caster Alex Falkner as he creates the Jenny Haniver, an airship he calls “the Millennium Falcon” of Mortal Engines. The name Jenny Haniver is quite interesting. It sounds a lady’s name — which would be rather boring, as the film doesn’t provide any backstory — but a quick search from the Wikipedia reveals this tidbit:

“A Jenny Haniver is the carcass of a ray or a skate that has been modified by hand then dried, resulting in a mummified specimen intended to resemble a fanciful fictional creature, such as a demon or dragon.”

So in essence, the design of this airship is intended to evoke a flying dragon. That’s just cool. Here’s the model maker video showing the Jenny Haniver in action:

Movie Review – Mortal Engines

What DC Can Learn from Marvel Movies

DC comics superheroes
Let’s bring some playfulness into DC, okay?

This awesome 10 minute video (below) by ScreenRant picks apart how and why the Marvel Cinematic Universe kills it over the DC Extended Universe. You may be a bigger DC fan over Marvel, but it’s hard to argue the MCU movies are  more inspiring, with strong character beats and good-natured humor…while DC limps along being largely morose. This might change with the Aquaman film (he was quite amusing in The Justice League, along with The Flash). And then there’s the really fun-looking trailers for the upcoming April 2019 release of Shazaam.

[pullquote]I think DC might be getting the picture: stop with the grim, and come in with the ability to transport fans to a place where they can let go of their worries and enjoy a couple of hours at the cinema.[/pullquote]

Marvel used humor way back in the beginning  (ten years ago) with Iron Man 1, and upped the comic ante with time and expertise — just look at Guardians of the Galaxy or Thor: Ragnarok, and most of the latter film entries. Those are beautiful films, and also carry important messages. Did “We Are Groot” make you tear up? How about as Peter Parker cried under the rubble, then realized no grown-up was going to swoop in and save him? Did you enjoy when Ant-Man ecstatically learned he could join the ‘real’ heroes in Captain America: Civil War as a certified Avenger, or when Black Widow asked Hawkeye, mid-fight, if they were still buddies?

There’s a lot to deconstruct with Marvel, and that’s not EVEN getting into the masterpiece that was X-Men’s Logan. (Which I have seen only once, because extra curricular crying is not  on my list of daily fun stuff.)

In any case, I think DC might be getting the message. When James Gunn was unceremoniously fired from Disney’s Marvel world, DC eagerly snapped him up, to do for Suicide Squad what he did for Guardians of the Galaxy. I’m sure this wasn’t a good move for Marvel, but hey — we’ll get what I expect to be a fantastic treatment for Suicide Squad, on a premise mostly squandered before.

So, enjoy this video about what Marvel does that DC needs to emulate:

Guardians of the Galaxy Ex-Director James Gunn to Direct Suicide Squad 2

Movie Review – Justice League (RunPee Jilly’s POV)

Movie Review – Justice League (RunPee Dan’s POV)

Yes, it’s about Dune – The Lyrics to Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice

sand dune weapon of choice
Yep. Here’s a Dune.

If you know anything at all about Dune, the grand brick-sized novel by Frank Herbert, you know there are gigantic, dangerous, and strangely helpful Sandworms featured in it. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan or hater of the Lynch movie version, Sy Fy’s mini-series, or the potential interpretation by Jodorowsky. One thing they all keep intact are the worms, and the use of the Bene Gesserit Voice.

Why Fatboy Slim made a top pop song about Dune remains a mystery (they must be fans, I guess. Like Led Zepplin and The Lord of the Rings). But the song is undeniably catchy, the lyrics are super fun…and the wacked out video with Christopher Walken FLYING around a hotel atrium is truly inspired.

If you haven’t deciphered all the lyrics of Weapon of Choice, we’ve faithfully recorded them here. And the sweet, sweet music video is on the bottom for your viewing enjoyment.

Weapon of Choice: Fatboy Slim (2001)

Come forward and get your teeth smoked, word
Come forward and get your teeth smoked, word
Come forward and get your teeth smoked, word
Come forward and get your
Come forward and get your
Come forward and get your
Come forward and get your
Come forward and get your
Don’t be shocked by tone of my voice
Check out my new weapon, weapon of choice
Don’t be shocked by tone of my voice
Check out my new weapon, weapon of choice yeah
Listen to the sound of my voice
You can check it on out, it’s the weapon of choice yeah
Don’t be shocked by tone of my voice (aah…)
It’s the new weapon, the weapon of choice yeah
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
Or you can blow wit’ us
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
You can blow wit’…
Walk without rhythm, it won’t attract the worm
Walk without rhythm, and it won’t attract the worm
Walk without rhythm, and it won’t attract the worm
if you walk without rhythm, huh, you’ll never learn
Don’t be shocked by the tone of my voice
Check out my new weapon, weapon of choice
Don’t be shocked by the tone of my voice
Check out my new weapon, weapon of choice
Be careful, we don’t know them
Be careful, we don’t know them
Be careful, we don’t know them
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
Or you can blow wit’ us
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
You can blow wit’…
Organically grown
Through the hemisphere I roam
To make love to the angels of life, yeah
and my girl …..
I guess you just don’t understand
It’s gone beyond being a man
As I drift off into the night
I’m in flight
She’s a boy’s scoundral gal
But I’m gonna hold my cool
Cause the music rules
Yeah, so move on baby, yeah
Halfway between the gutter and the stars
Yeah
Halfway between the gutter and the stars
Yeah
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
Or you can blow wit’ us
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
You can blow wit’…

A Very Harry Cruise – Hogwarts at Sea

Harry potter luxury cruise
A luxury Harry Potter cruise. It’s nicer than apparating.

I can’t put my jaw back in place. It dropped when I heard there was going to be a week-long luxury Harry Potter cruise. I want more information. Also, I want $4,000 to pay for this.

My dream Harry Potter cruise would have Hogwarts teachers, with classes in Defense Against The Dark Arts, Muggle Studies, Potions, and Caring for Magical Creatures. We’d play Quidditch above the pool. The last night would have a fancy formal Yule Ball. And I wouldn’t mind if a few actors from the movies made an appearance.

Ooh, and on the first night we could have a Sorting Hat ceremony-slash-feast! House Elves would make our beds and leave fantastic beast towels on our pillows. The shopping level would look like Diagon Alley; all meals would include Treacle Tarts and unlimited Butterbeer.

Honestly, I think this ship should hire me as a cruise director.  Like Julie McCoy from The Love Boat, except with magic.

 

The Deadpool Before Christmas

We’re beside ourselves with Christmas joy over this one: IT’S THE DEADPOOL BEFORE CHRISTMAS! 

What a fantastic gift for the fans. Ryan Reynolds is my new bestest friend. And then there’s Fred Savage, who’s just annoyed at the whole thing. He seriously needs to be booped on the nose. Really. Because what could be better than The Princess Bride mashed up with Deadpool?

Watch it for yourselves, little children:

You better be good this holiday season, or Deadpool will absolutely put something naughty in your stocking.

 

 

Can Dune be done? Should Dune be done? Bringing Long Books to the Screen

herbert sandworm dune
If you walk without rhythm, you won’t attract the worm.

Until the last generation, when Peter Jackson proved The Lord of the Rings could not only be made into a successful film — but be so off-the-charts good that it took home 11 Oscar Awards — it was unheard of to succeed at translating most of the great sci-fi and fantasy epics of literature to the big screen.

That’s not for lack of trying. Larry McMurtry’s  Lonesome Dove book-to-film effort was a grand feat, but it’s the mini-series scale that made it work. The book is too big and involved to be made into one cinema-length film. Nowadays it would be at least a film trilogy, but I don’t think it needs a reboot — the 1989 miniseries is already a flawless snapshot of the last gasps of the Western Expansion. So they could make a new movie with these characters, yes, but I’d say it’s time to move on and  tackle other works of genre literature. (Also, who’s going to try improve on Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duval?)

Watership Down is another epic tale in a brick-sized book, but it’s a hard sell, being entirely from the point of view of rabbits. And it’s absolutely not for children: the themes are mature and often mesmerizingly frightening. (The rabbits even have their own word for being stuck in a “mesmerizingly frightened” state — called Tharn –). The 1978 animated feature has its fans, but most people who’ve loved the book pretend the “movie” doesn’t exist. (Seriously, it’s like a long scary drug trip.) Hazel’s troop of rabbits could now be done with puppets, animatronics, or CGI — instead of animation —  but the question here is “Why?” [pullquote]We’ve seen entire CGI movies like Avatar, and they can be lush and sweeping films, but it still remains that Watership Down must be seen at rabbit-height and from rabbit-eyes. [/pullquote]It would take a very special studio or director to take that on. This is probably why nobody is chasing this particular story at the moment.

Here’s a full length video of Watership Down, if you’re curious:

In  the Post-LOTR and Harry Potter world,  the densest, longest, and most involving books can come alive on film…with inspired directing, gobs of studio money (and little studio interference), the right acting ensemble, and legions of dedicated crew members. Not to mention a crack PR team dropping hints and teaser trailers to excite the fans. (See: anything in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.)

The key to adapting epic novels to the big screen, it seems, is respecting the source story. Behind the sets, Sir Ian McKellen (as Gandalf) would pace around Peter Jackson with this LOTR novels, saying, essentially, “Peter!That’s not how Tolkien wrote it!” This is probably one of the many interconnected reasons why Lord of the Rings, previously considered unfilmable, worked so well.

[pullquote position=”right”]It’s not that a script can’t deviate from a source, but the result should clearly be recognizable from it. Book fans will be waiting for certain beats, beloved details, fantastic settings worthy of a grand story, and most of all: a faithfulness of essence to its literary origins.[/pullquote]

There’s a line between slavishly book-faithful recreations (as in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone), and movies that recalls its novel by name only (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, AKA Blade Runner, or Lynch’s Dune).

So, yes, finally. We get to Dune. It’s been tackled several times, although none were recent enough to benefit from the current seamless FX at our disposal. (Which doesn’t excuse anything at all. Look back on the practical effects of Star Wars: A New Hope, or Raiders of the Lost Ark, and tell me those films failed — they don’t.)

david lynch dune
Lynch’s Dune – looks good, tastes bad.

Lynch’s 1984 Dune remains a problem, and its not from poor effects. It’s mainly that Lynch took Herbert’s book, tore a few pages he liked from it, and threw away the rest. It’s only “Dune” because the characters have the same names, there are Fremen and there are Sandworms, and Arrakis, the desert planet, is still called Dune. Otherwise, it’s a sprawling, sometimes grotesque mess, bearing little likeness to the story they aim to tell. I admit they got to the story’s conclusion just fine, but the path to get there was completely unorthodox. I know Lynch’s Dune has its fans, so I’ll let it lie.

scy fy dune
SyFy gives Dune a try. Definitely more Herbert, but definitely still wrong.

When SyFy made Frank Herbert’s Dune (2000) into a television miniseries, you can see there were many attempts made to be faithful to the book…but Sy Fy also took liberties in the telling. The main arguments I’ve heard seem to coalesce around the casting, that the actors didn’t look like the part, or didn’t act like the part. I’d say in both versions they got Jessica right, and Chani, and Irulan, for that matter, but the men’s roles are hit or miss. I think they got a lot more right than wrong, and crafted a personable, sensible, enjoyable tale without a whisper of heart plugs.

In my grading system, I’d give Lynch’s Dune a D+. (While I thought it was overall atrocious, he got a few things right, and that’s where the + comes in.) I’d give SyFy’s Dune a nice fair B score. It crumples a little as time marches on, but at least it’s recognizably Dune. SyFy even went on to combine Dune Messiah and Children of Dune as a second mini-series, which was ambitious, welcome, and mostly effective.  That one gets a B as well; maybe a   B+ — I’d have to see it again.

jodorowksy dune
Jodorosky’s Dune. Third time’s a charm?

A lot of people mention Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013), which isn’t actually a movie. It’s more like an appetizer for a film, or a promise of Dune. You can watch the movie-length documentary for $3 on Amazon, or check out the free trailers on IMDb. However, if you watch the video, you can’t help but notice that it’s even stranger than Lynch’s version. There’s a lot of people who want to see this one picked up by the studios, but I’m not one of them. I want to see the story the way Herbert saw it in his mind’s eye.

The time is right to try Dune again, using a well-funded production studio, a director who is comfortable with an epic scale,  and detailed sets in grand desert locations. I want to see world-building. Toss in some smart humor, dynamic ensemble casting, and of course, magnificent sandworms: make me long to be a rider. [pullquote position=”left”]The movie should be a visual delight, engulfing the audience so much you’ll think you can smell the sietches, taste the spice, and feel the grit of sand, sand, sand.[/pullquote]

So, it’s exciting news that director Denis Villeneuve plans to try his hand at a multi-film Dune. He says he hopes to make Dune into the Star Wars movie he never saw. “Most of the main ideas of Star Wars are coming from Dune, so it’s going to be a challenge to [tackle] this,” Villeneuve said. “In a way, it’s Star Wars for adults. We’ll see.” (Read the Dune News page on IMDb.)

It ‘s a promising start. We’ll record the news for this Dune project as it comes along.

While you wait for the right version of Dune to thrill you, entertain yourself with Fatboy Slim’s song Weapon of Choice. The lyrics are definitely Dune-inspired, even if the setting isn’t. But watching Christopher Walken putzing  around an empty hotel is a whole lot of awesome by itself…

Which version of Dune is your favorite? Do you think it will be done right by Villeneuve?