Why Newt Scamander is a Fantastic, Yet Underrated Hero

newt scamander in fantastic beasts where to find them crimes of grindelwald
Not the usual male protagonist, but my new favorite hero.

Not every hero has to fit the typical mold we’re so very used to in epic storytelling. It’s always either the manly man’s man who is the big, strong, authoritative handsome guy, like Thor and Captain Kirk. (This really doesn’t even have to be a man — look at fighters like Black Widow and Wonder Woman — but we’re going to focus this piece on men, because it’s specifically about Newt Scamander from the Wizarding World’s Fantastic Beasts series.)

Or the protagonistic hero is frequently The Chosen One, who is “Called to the Quest” by nature of birthright or a unique ability, like Harry Potter himself, Luke Skywalker of Tatooine, Paul Atreides of Dune, Neo from the Matrix, or even pint-sized Frodo of the Shire.

[pullquote]Some men like Thor, Hercules, and King Arthur fit both the strong fighting man and Chosen One categories. It’s a very well-worn premise.[/pullquote] These heroes fit the archetype most clearly defined by Joseph Campbell’s Journey of the Hero.

The third most common kind of male hero is a leader by nature of being the smartest, most talented guy in any room, like Captain Picard, Dumbledore, Gandalf, or Dr. Strange.

There’s also a fourth common heroic category: the lovable rogue with a heart of gold. Mal from Firefly, Han Solo of Star Wars, and Starlord from the Marvel Universe nestle right in there.  Iron Man may be more smartass than badass, but he fits the mold, along with being super smart like Dr. Strange (and to wit, in his words: genius, billionaire, philanthropist.)

I freely love these heroes, these ‘accepted’ stereotypes. I grew up adoring them and never thought much about it before.

[pullquote position=”right”]So what about the humble, good-natured, perhaps shy man, exhibiting gentleness and compassion?[/pullquote] His skill sets usually don’t include fighting; he isn’t of noble birth, and is actually not interested in the big events of the world except as they effect his personal goals: in Newt’s case, communing with and conserving the endangered magical creatures of the world first, and secondly, to find his girlfriend and help her (she is the one actually interested in fighting Grindelwald).  I’m not sure he even believes in evil at all: he says he doesn’t choose sides, and twice ignores Dumbledore’s behest to take the safe house card in Paris.

[pullquote]I think an attempt was made in Fantastic Beasts: the Crimes of Grindelwald to have Dumbledore retcon Newt into being a sort of Chosen One[/pullquote], in the mold of Frodo Baggins (“You’re a man with no lust for power, so you’re the only one who can do this…blah blah bah” I was pleased to see Newt still wanted none of it).

This video below by Pop Culture Detective came highly recommended to me by several RunPee fans, most of them, happily, from men. And it’s AWESOME.

If you read the comments, it’s clear there’s room out there for exactly this kind of protagonist among the male gender. I applaud every bit of it. I’ve loved Newt Scamander as a new kind of protagonist as soon as I realized his social awkwardness likely stemmed from a bit of Asperger’s Syndrome: he approaches people (save his very, very few friends) in the same way one would a dangerous animal, in a submissive posture with almost no eye contact. And yet he comes alive most when he’s loving on the fantastic beasts in both the magical suitcase and his wonderful zoo-like apartment. Freddy Redmayne is astounding as Newt. The video below shows a few clips that can’t not make you go Awwwwwww.

I hope Newt isn’t marginalized as the series plows on. We have three more films of which he is the intended main character. But from his unusual nature, even JK Rowling worries he might be pushed aside for more typical male heroes to assume the center spot.

Do you believe we have room in the world of epic genre entertainment for a gentle, quiet, and unassuming male figure to remain in the center of political intrigue, wizardly power plays and world-dominating plots? Do you like Newt at all? Please use the comments section below.

 

Everything Wrong With Jaws in 9 minutes or Less (video)

Have another cool set of pot shots at JAWS right here: Seven Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Jaws —

—————————-

Related, On RunPee: 

JAWS — RunPee’s Re-Watch Review

Every Stan Lee Cameo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

stan-lee-cameos-in-marvel
Stan Lee with his new Borg implants.

We all know about Stan Lee. He’s one of the big name co-creators of Marvel Comics, is a co-producer and co-writer for the movies,  and seems to be a little bit nuts. He’s been inducted into the Sci-Fi & Fantasy Hall of Fame.  He’s also, in one way or another, in every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie since Iron Man 1 introduced the modern superhero film. For a man who’s 95 years old, we’ve kind of got a wee crush on him and his wacky humor.

Just for fun, here’s the entire complication of Lee MCU cameos, from 1989-2018, plus a special appearance in the fabulous music video Guardians Inferno. [pullquote]You’ll have to sit back and enjoy all this as a sort of mini-movie, since it takes a half hour to view it all.[/pullquote] We’re not including his X-Men Marvel cameos here, or from any prior Marvel franchise (those other Spidermen, or the Fantastic Fours), or even the ones in Deadpool, since this article is long enough. We’ll pull those together for another time.

What’s cool about this Stan Lee mini-movie is that Marvel has confirmed Lee has an actual character within the MCU — as a Watcher Informant.

But, one of these is reportedly Lee’s absolutely favorite MCU cameo. Can you guess which one, before it comes up?

2008 – Iron Man

2008 – The Incredible Hulk

2010 – Iron Man 2

2011 – Captain America: The First Avenger

2011 – Thor

2013 – Iron Man 3

2013 – Thor 2: The Dark World

2012 – Avengers

2014 – Captain America  2: The Winter Soldier

2014 – Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 1

2015 – Avengers 2: Age of Ultron (THIS is Stan Lee’s favorite MCU cameo. The reason? It’s a subtle two scene event, where he asks Thor for a drink, who responds by saying it will kill him…and then is later seen being carried out. Blink and you’ll miss it.)

2015 – Ant Man

2016 – Captain America 3: Civil War (This is the infamous “Tony Stank” Fed Ex scene)

2016 – Dr. Strange

2017 – Lee’s two-part cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2 (Seeing both makes his ‘secret character‘ make sense.)

2017 – Taking place between GotG2 and Avenger’s Infinity War, this video is just plain fun, giving Lee his full celebrity due (not a canon part of the MCU).

2017 – Spiderman: Homecoming

2017 – Thor 3: Ragnarok

2018 – The Black Panther

2018 – Avengers 3: Infinity War.  This is leaked footage and pretty new, so it’s not as clear:

2018 – Ant Man and the Wasp  — JUST IN!….UPDATE, next day: this is no longer available…blame Disney, who went in and blocked it. Poopers.

Allrighty. Here’s another version. Let’s see how long this one lasts. The scene is short and cute.

Updated again: Really, Disney? You know we’re just going to keep posting these, so peace out! Here we go again:

More will be added as the saga continues and the clips become available. Sources say Lee hates to fly, and it’s getting harder for him to do these appearances, so he shoots a bunch of them back to back now. I hope he sticks around long enough to see the saga through. (Although at this point at the box office, it may never end. Everyone reading this could die before it’s done.)

Which is your favorite Stan Lee cameo? Comment below!

Stan Lee – His Marvel Cameos are a Secret Character

More Marvel Articles on RunPee:

Movie Review – Guardians of the Galaxy 

Movie Review – Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2

Deadpool is (sort of) a Cross-over Character Between Marvel Franchises

Everything Wrong With The Jurassic Movies (YouTube series)

YouTube has some ongoing series related to movies that are so clever and fun, like the Honest Trailers, or How It Should Have Ended. Here we have the Everything Wrong With shorts (each about 15 minutes). [pullquote]These are funny and insightful, and if some of the nits they pick are petty[/pullquote], even they admit some movies just don’t have much that went wrong. Like in the original Jurassic Park film — a classic that still holds up after all this time. (In our RunPee Rewatch, we gave it a rare A+).

In one place now, enjoy the whole Jurassic oeuvre and have a good-hearted laugh at What Went Wrong.

See, here, the first JP “Everything Wrong With” is only 3 minutes long (contrast with the 15 minutes for JP III). Not even these guys could pick a lot of fights with this truly good film:

With Jeff Goldblum headlining the show for The Lost World, the movie should have been a lot funnier. But it’s still the 2nd  best Jurassic film, and the plot mostly hold it together with a coherent story, super gymnastic dino fighting powers aside:

In this third movie, JP III, everything went wrong, and it killed off the series for about 15 years:

Jurassic World reinvigorated the franchise by going back to basics and hiring Chris Pratt, who brings a vitality and casual humor to everything he does:

For comparison, there’s also a Everything Great in Jurassic World.

Since the Everything Wrong guys haven’t released their video for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom yet, this will do for now:

(SPOILERS FROM HERE ON IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN FALLEN KINGDOM)

And for a bonus video, can you name every dinosaur that escaped in the end of Fallen Kingdom?

I nabbed them all. (But then, my nickname could have been DinoGeekGirl.) Which dinosaurs did you recognize?

 

 

Jeremy Renner filmed Tag with Two Broken Arms

I really enjoyed viewing Tag last night, a movie about a group of grownup men who spend every year in May reliving their childhood game of tag. Even while living cross-county from each other, these guys keep it up and plan the rest of the year for new ways to create elaborate and sneaky tagging hijinks. Why this movie didn’t come out in May seems like a wasted opportunity (it’s now mid-June). But it’s still a riotously fun time at the movies.

I hadn’t heard the hype for the film, which surprises me since I’m at the theater several times a week and see a ton of trailers. But word most definitely got out, as my opening show was packed and primed for a good time.

[pullquote]Another thing I didn’t realize was that Jeremy Renner, erstwhile Avenger, here as the elusive Jerry (who’s never been tagged in 30 years), played almost the entire film with two broken arms.[/pullquote] During the scene where he parkours down a flight of stacked plastic conference chairs, a hinge failed and he ended up broken as well. He reports that he didn’t know he even broke them, and kept on playing the scene.

He reported to Entertainment Weekly that there was only one scene with CGI arms (yep, we live in a world like this now), and you can’t even tell. During the rest of the film, he either wore jackets or long sleeves, and had a lot of shoulders-and-up closeups. It also helps that we don’t see much of him, fitting in with the character’s hard-to-find nature.  There are even some shots left in with splints on his arms, which eagle eyed viewers might catch. make sure you keep an eye out, and see if you notice anything at all.

So, “Hawkeye” broke BOTH arms on his second day of shooting? Alrighty then, Renner must really be an Avenger. I don’t think even Tony Stark could argue with that one.

Watch these clips talking about Renner’s experience while you get psyched to catch this frankly delightful film:

Related:

Movie Review – Tag

Tom Cruise Breaks Ankle in Mission Impossible: Fallout, and Keeps Running

Other movies with Jeremy Renner:

How Star Wars Should Have Ended (the entire series)

Here it is, in one place. Every Star Wars video made by HISHE (How It Should Have Ended), up through Star Wars: The Last Jedi, or maybe Solo, if it’s up yet. If you haven’t discovered this web series, you’re in for a treat. Keep in mind that their solutions would offer vastly shortened movies, with plot points that seem obvious in retrospect (ie – having the giant eagles drop the One Ring into Mount Doom, instead of having the Fellowship truck all over Middle Earth and, in some cases, die along the way)…But here they all are, in an in-universe chronological order (and not including the animated movie/show, or the dreaded Holiday Special).

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Star Wars: Attack of the Clones

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

Star Wars: Solo

Hey, this one’s not yet been made! So, like any good Star Wars fan, you’re going to have to wait. You still have a good half hour of HISHE videos here to enjoy.

Star Wars: Rogue One

Star Wars: A New Hope (Special Edition)

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Sand: A Star Wars Story (Darth Vader Hates This Song)

Too bad there’s so much sand in the Star Wars universe.

When I first heard this song about Star Wars and Sand, I played it a few times and realized it was way too catchy — impossible to tune out. But it’s so darn cute I don’t mind having the Force bouncing around in my skull for a spell.

The funny thing, in the wake of my post-bliss big-screen experience with Solo: A Star Wars Story, I decided to do an entire chronological re-watch of the entire Star Wars saga (excluding the animated movie and series for now). So two nights ago I saw Phantom Menace again (I’m more forgiving of it every time), then listened to the song. Huh. Really does fit in there.

Last night I watched Attack of the Clones, and then listened to the song a few more times, which really cracked me up. It’s so cringe-inducing listening to Anakin try to flirt with Padme by telling her his problem with sand getting everywhere. Not a romantic image. [pullquote]If your mind mentally replaces the original commonly used words in the prequels with SAND, it’s a bit of awesome.[/pullquote]

Tonite I’ll finish the prequels with Revenge of the Sith, and I expect the song to reach the highest heights of meme humor. Inserting the dread word SAND with almost any line by Anakin improves the experience immeasurably. We finally see why Anakin Force-choked his pregnant wife, fought Obi-Won, and turned the keeping of his soul over to the foul Emperor Palpatine (it was all because of Sand). Remember, in the words of young Ani, “Sand is very, very dangerous.”

And how does his son Luke beat him in Return of the Jedi? He had more Sand.

BTW, if you’re one of the Sandpeople on Tatooine, watch your back: Anakin will bust up your Sandy ways. Why? Because Sand is course, and rough, and irritating, and it gets everywhere. (Clearly, there’s no better reason to become a genocidal psychopath.) I think he only loved Padme for being soft and smooth. (Until she fell in love with the Sand.)

These lines are no more strange than the awkward ones Lucas gave us, so go with it. Where’s a sandworm when you need one?

Diane Keaton Kisses Kimmel, Talks Sex

Diane Keaton has been busy talking up her new comedy/drama Book Club, a film about four older but formidable women who want to take back their zest and their sex lives, starting with a group reading of the infamous soft-bondage novel 50 Shades of Grey.

The actresses on tap are all top caliber: besides Keaton, the film stars Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen. It’s kinda unfair – all these ladies look great, for any age. But this is still Hollywood, and even older actresses have to maintain their image.

Here are some cute Keaton videos from her recent interview on Jimmy Kimmel, followed by some neat moments from The Ellen Show, where Keaton reveals more funny and intimate things. She’s totally on a roll. I’m excited for this movie! [pullquote]Why can’t we have older women role models to help guide us into aging vibrantly? Hell to aging “gracefully”…let’s rock![/pullquote]

It seems Kimmel’s got a bit of a crush going: 

And here’s Keaton on Ellen’s show, doing her thing:

Book Club isn’t getting rave reviews, but I’l guessing the target audience is…older women. And super fans of 50 Shades of Grey. Or why not older couples — to laugh together and take notes for new sexy ideas… 😉

More: Read RunPee’s Movie Review for Book Club

Best Lego Deadpool Trailers and Shorts

We can’t help but love Deadpool when he’s in full mayhem mode, with a collective body toll he’s given up trying to count. [pullquote]Yes, we love Deadpool — even when he’s just a Lego.[/pullquote]

Beginning with a Lego version of Deadpool 1, we move quickly through the Lego trailers/teasers for Deadpool 2,  to Deadpool vs Wolverine, followed by his teaming up with Wolverine. (Which is fun and odd, since we know he hates Logan). Then Deadpool takes on the entire Marvel Universe, and finally killing the entire world.

Yep, Wade Wilson clearly has problems. But watching him wreck Lego mini-film havoc is a joy. Don’t you wish you thought of making these?

Here’s some Deadpool Legos if you want to make your own You Tube shorts: