Comparing Dirty Rotten Scoundrels to 2019 Remake The Hustle

So, how does the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels of 1988 compare with femme remake The Hustle in 2019?

That’s the thing.  One is a tight, lovely little tale. The other is a sad ripoff.

The Hustle might seem fresh if you’ve never seen Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with Steve Martin and Michael Cain. But for anyone who has enjoyed this great con tale, The Hustle is a shock to the system. The Hustle took Scoundrels note by note, gender flipped it with Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson, removed most of the charm, and called it a wrap.

There are remakes that work. There are re-imaginings that surpass the original. And then there is THIS mess.

The Hustle is the exact same movie as Scoundrels with a weaker plot, less accomplished actors, and an irksome roteness. It’s like they wrote the script for The Hustle with a checklist from Scoundrels: the first scene features a priceless diamond bracelet as part of a scam — check. The grifter low-rent con worms her way into the classy con’s life, an early train sequence, a corrupt cop on the payroll — checkity. There’s the same bet about who has to leave town…the hapless mark is a sweet young thing that comes between their greed and a grudging compassion….checkcheckcheck.

And Ruprecht becomes Hortenze…okkkkay? Sorry, Wilson, but Martin did it better. His fool was cool, and yours hurts the senses.

Then there’s the ending. Holy hell. It retroactively cheapens the payoff in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels to have it be Exactly. The. Same. Thing.

Why not just call it Dirty Rotten Scoundrels outright if they can’t be bothered to change the script? Ghostbusters did just that in 2016, but at least they bothered to write a new story.

Who got conned in the end? We did. Movie tickets aren’t exactly cheap.

Please don’t encourage the producers of The Hustle. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is available entirely free on You Tube, and remains a polished jewel. The Hustle is a polished turd…which is still a turd, after all.

Movie Review – The Hustle – Rewatch Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Instead

Quiz – Rebel Wilson – The Newest Funny Gal in Show Business

Movie Review – Ghostbusters (2016 reboot)

Each Dog Death in A Dog’s Journey

As the member of the RunPee Family subjected to this “family-friendly” horror-series of doggy deaths and near-deaths that I lovingly/dismissively term The Dog Trilogy, I thought I’d recount the ways that “Bailey” — the St Bernard mix that survives the end of A Dog’s Purpose — dies repeatedly in A Dog’s Journey. (This isn’t a spoiler, BTW: it’s the entire film’s premise, picking up right where A Dog’s Purpose ends off.)

a dogs way home by w bruce cameron
It’s sort of a sequel and definitely a reboot.

Note: A Dog’s Way Home  is part of this trilogy, but isn’t about Bailey — it’s considered part of a shared universe of the unbreakable bonds of love for dogs and their people.

 

Warning – Spoilers Ahead for A Dog’s Journey

I’ll start by saying I refuse to rewatch A Dog’s Purpose to list the very frequent and often gruesome deaths Bailey experiences there. Honestly, why anyone thought that was supposed to be uplifting and inspiring enough to make two more similarly-themed films mystifies me. But, as I wrote about them elsewhere (follow the links above), I won’t go into that.

Bear with me as I recount Bailey and his kinder, gentler deaths in A Dog’s Journey — the finale and cherry on the cake of this manipulatively sentimental/cathartic dog celluloid extravaganza.

How Often Does Bailey Die in A Dog’s Journey?

Well, only four times on this outing…with all indications the poor canine soul finally ends his long existence. At last he deserves to cross the Rainbow Bridge to live forever with his best friend Ethan.

  1. Bailey as Bailey, the St. Bernard Mix — Pleasingly, he lives a long life with his (now older) man Ethan, played by Dennis Quaid. He’s gently euthanized in Ethan’s arms after falling ill to (presumably) cancer. Unfortunately, he’s tasked with ‘saving’ granddaughter CJ, prompting a new series of reincarnations.
  2. Bailey as Molly, the Beagle. She dies in a harrowing car wreck as CJ, now a teenager, is rear-ended by a vicious ex-boyfriend.
  3. Bailey as Big Dog, the Mastiff-Mix. Not much time is spent with Big Dog, who peacefully wanders off to die in the woods, after a long and peaceful life in a rural countryside with Joe.
  4. Bailey as Max, the Yorkie. Max dies a natural death after a long and happy life with adult CJ. This ending is the best-case scenario we hope for with any beloved pet. It’s apparently the fulfillment of Bailey’s ‘purpose’ and ‘journey’.

Along the way, the dog is menaced by scary things like a horse-kicking, being put down in an overcrowded dog shelter,  running alone in city streets and getting run over (but not hit), and most heart-wrenching: getting nearly strangled when his leash gets caught in an elevator going up. (That last one really had me panicking.)

But to be honest, this movie lets the audience off most easily of the three films. I only cried a few times, even though I was prepared, bringing tissues and a stern message to myself not to blubber.

Should you see this movie?

Sure, if you’re an adult and don’t mind a few tears. But think twice about taking the kids if they’re sensitive and love dogs. The canine poop humor won’t make up for the amount of trauma the film subjects them to. Read a lot of other reviews before sending them off alone with ticket money.

Is A Dog’s Way Home a Sequel to A Dog’s Purpose?

Movie Review – A Dog’s Purpose – A Brutal Experience in Non-Stop Crying

Movie Review – A Dog’s Way Home – A Brutal Experience for Dog Lovers

Movie Review – A Dog’s Journey – Manipulatively Emotional, But The Least Heart-Rending of the Dog Trilogy

Movie Review – A Dog’s Journey – Manipulatively Emotional, But The Least Heart-Rending of the Dog Trilogy

Movie Review - A Dog's JourneyI’m relieved to say this heartrending three-movie schmaltz-fest is over. I did the Peetimes for each movie in the semi-trilogy, and was relieved that A Dog’s Journey made me cry the least. By which I mean I cried only three or four times, and these were little teary moments, not the big gulping ugly cries I endured in A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Way Home. (Links go to my reviews. Yes, I’m a masochist and saw all three.)

I was prepared, though. I brought tissues! This marks the first time in ten years of RunPee movie-going that I preemptively (one fan said I should call it ‘pee-emptively’) came prepared to cry. So, if you’re curious, YES, the dog dies in this movie.

Many times. Confused? Read on.

A Dog’s Purpose

In A Dog’s Purpose, Bailey the dog dies and reincarnates. A LOT. I cried a river for  about hours. It was brutal.

A Dog’s Way Home

In A Dog’s Way Home, it’s no longer about Bailey or reincarnation (it’s actually a remake of The Incredible Journey), but the film is considered Bailey-adjacent. Call it a Shared Universe.

That doesn’t let you off the emotional hook, though. All kinds of fresh torture awaits the sensitive dog lover, most tellingly in a devastating scene with Edward James Olmos as a homeless vet who dies alone in the wilderness…with the titular dog chained to his body, a few feet too far from the river to drink. FOR DAYS. Imagine taking your kids to this. Or rather, don’t.

There’s also a scene where the dog gets hit by a car trying to cross a busy freeway…and just lies there…consider this a PSA. I was twitching during that entire sequence, and I think everyone else was too. If you’re a sensitive sort, you can skip the middle movie entirely and just focus on Bailey’s bookend films.

A Dog’s Journey

Which brings us back to A Dog’s Journey. Or, rather, the end of his journey. I’m telling you these things so you’ll be prepared. This isn’t a spoiler — even under the best conditions, dogs don’t live much longer than a decade. This last flick returns to the theme of reincarnation, but somehow is a lot easier on the heart-strings overall. I have to wonder if writer W. Bruce Cameron took pity on his audience and eased up on the heartbreak on purpose.

Should you see a A Dog’s Journey?

Ultimately, A Dog’s Journey is actually a good movie to take your kids to (although you’ll have to explain a few things about dog souls and the Rainbow Bridge).

I’m pleased to say this film is a good evening out — more sentimental than sad. I don’t have a headache from crying, and feel reasonably stable. Can’t expect more than that, right? I mean, it’s a DOG MOVIE. Are there any movies about pets that aren’t tear-jerkers? Even John Wick lost it when his dog was [redacted]. Is it a cooincidence that John Wick Chapter 3 came out today as well…?

Overall, A Dog’s Journey was nicely filmed. The acting (aside from the reliable Quaid) wasn’t very exciting, but the movie is well paced, looks good, and delivers some affably low-key doggy humor. No canine actors were in mortal peril this time, unlike in the first film. The dogs do great work, especially “Molly” — but then, I have a soft spot for beagles.

If you love dogs — and why would you see this kind of thing if you don’t? — you’ll know you’re being emotionally manipulated, but the tale’s more sweet than tragic. Thankfully.

Grade: B-

PS: As per your requests, we are adding an Alert Warning to the Peetimes this film on the RunPee app re: traumatizing dog moments. (But at this point we’re pretty sure you know this about W. Bruce Cameron and his canine oeuvre. This film is the gentlest of the three. Relatively speaking.)

About The Peetimes: This was a fairly simple film to get Peetimes for. Here are 3 evenly spaced Peetimes that don’t feature any big emotional moments or plot points.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of A Dog’s Journey. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG) for thematic content, some peril and rude humor
Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Is A Dog’s Way Home a Sequel to A Dog’s Purpose?

Movie Review – A Dog’s Purpose

Movie Review – A Dog’s Way Home

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Does It Better than The Hustle – A Rewatch Review

Although Dirty Rotten Scoundrels came out 30 years ago, it’s still the movie to beat when compared with the 2019 female-led remake The Hustle. Starring Steve Martin, Michael Cain, and Glenne Headley (who died last year — RIP), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels provides a witty journey with a pair of cons who are as likely to team up as turn on each other. In fact, in Scoundrels, they do both. And it’s glorious.

I’m not saying Scoundrels isn’t super silly at times (ie – “Ruprecht” — see video and catch an immortal “Pee” reference) – but these guys make it work. Mention this movie to people and they invariably quote, “Excuse me, may I go to the bathroom first?”

Or here, just watch the entire Ruprecht sequence on video:

Cain is the cool, suave, and smooth straight-man; Martin frolics, bumbles, and gleefully goofs his way across the Riviera. A young Glenne Headly is the ideal ingenue. Plus — bonus —  Emperor Palpatine gets to say, “Welcome to Hell.” (You can’t mistake Ian McDiarmid here as the butler, pre-Star Wars.)

In Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, nothing is exactly what it seems, and it’s the wacky, unexpected payoff that makes this truly memorable. People my age remember this film, and young folk still take to it. It holds up nicely, with only a few earmarks to indicate an 80s timestamp. When I re-watched this last night, I was “relieved” (ha — no pun intended) to see it was as playful and clever as I recalled.

True to the nature of the Big Con, Scoundrels looks expensive, with locations sets on the French Riviera, at high end hotels, with a luxe villa to drool over. The scenery, cars, and bespoke suits add the perfect touches — in all ways, the producers did Dirty Rotten Scoundrels right  This silly comedy earns an A- in my book, even now.

Lots of laughs and a fun-filled farce with A listers on their A game? Yes, please.

Movie Review – Tolkien – Biography of the Master of Middle Earth

Movie Review - TolkienI don’t normally watch biographies. We don’t usually get Peetimes for them either, but this was TOLKIEN. The author of my favorite novel, movie, and world: The Lord of the Rings. So it wasn’t just any biopic to me, and Tolkien wasn’t just any author. Lord of the Rings (or LOTR) is a magnificent 1000+ page work of high fantasy, penned by JRR Tolkien as a sequel to the shorter, more youth-oriented The Hobbit.

With The Hobbit published and successful in 1937 (which the movie gets around to in a fantastic end moment that made me literally weep with joy), Tolkien was tasked with creating a ‘hobbit sequel’. This is a case where the sequel outshines its original by a great magnitude, and is literally Tolkien’s life’s work. (Let’s not discuss The Silmarillion here.) [/CanOfWorms] 😉

A new form of world-building fantasy

According to the Wikipedia, LOTR was “written in stages between 1937 and 1949, and is one of the best selling novels ever written, with over 150 million copies sold.”

LOTR also established the groundwork for nearly every novel, series, and film franchise in the fantasy genre to follow, introducing readers to a form of world-building never accomplished before. Tolkien invented entire languages and thousands of years of backstories, timelines and genealogical histories for his handful of mythological races, which he called the Free Peoples of Middle-Earth.

Before Tolkien, we had ancient ballads, plays, and operas to give us fantasy worlds, yet works like Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Beowulf, Shakespeare’s plays, The Iliad and the Odyssey, and the collected stories in Greek/Norse Mythology are very grandiose and quite a bit remote.

LOTR gave readers a story about fallible, often funny individuals who weren’t princes or warriors. In fact, the two main heroes of LOTR are a bookish young man and a gardener. The warriors, kings, and even wizards and dragons appear, of course (it’s still a high fantasy saga), but mostly as supporting characters. You didn’t need a professor to explain the plot to you. You could relate to the heroes. No one had seen anything like this before.

Legacy of the Lord of the Rings

There wouldn’t be any Harry Potter without The Hobbit and LOTR. The Star Wars Saga, Game of Thrones, modern Disney, Pixar and even the 23+ movie spanning Marvel Cinematic Universe owe a huge debt to Tolkien. Name any memorable work of fantasy or space opera, and you’ll find roots buried deep in Middle Earth.

Tolkien – the LOTR author’s biographical movie

Okay. So, I just went off on a long, rambling tangent, not unlike the super long novel in question, and the great films of Peter Jackson that finally paid justice to the source. But was Tolkien, by itself, a good movie?

Yes, very much yes. You have to be a Middle-Earth fan to appreciate it, but I loved seeing JRR — Ronald to his friends — in his early life, full of experiences that informed his creations. Tolkien has said he “cordially despises allegory in all forms”, but it’s hard not to see Mordor and the works of Sauron in the No Man’s Land of World War 1. Ronald is a sort of proto-Frodo, with a young Sam, in the trench scenes. Flames, ash, and great black clouds recall the fumes of Mount Doom.

I don’t think I’ve ever really understood the horror of The War to End All Wars before. It must have felt like the end of an Age. And in many ways, it was. (Compare: World War 2 offered a modern battle tableau, although it wasn’t long after WW1.)

One movie scene in particular, where Ronald lies unconscious in a hole full of the dead by a pool of noisome toxicity, recalls almost precisely Frodo’s fretful sleep before the Black Gates of Mordor.

Other ways The Lord of the Rings is hinted at in Tolkien

What else? Edith has an otherworldly personality and intellect — clearly the basis of Arwen Evenstar. The ‘Cellar Door’ courting scene is exquisite, and Ronald waited as long for Edith as poor Aragorn did for Arwen.

The pastoral countryside of England is very like The Shire, and Ronald’s passionate literary friends had obvious nods to The Fellowship  of The Ring (as explicitly noted in the trailers).

One of Ronald’s buddies had an immortal line where the audience barked in laughter: “It shouldn’t take six hours to tell a story about a magic ring.”

He was talking about Wagner, but Tolkien must have took that as a personal challenge. I’d love to know if his friend actually said that. (In another note, I did attend a showing of Wagner’s Ring Cycle Opera in Vienna once, and it IS incredibly long. Too long. Especially if you don’t speak German.)

A trip to Oxford, and The Inklings

The Oxford scenes had especial meaning to me, as I lived and worked at Oxford University in a post-college internship, and personally wandered through many on-location settings in the film. It was a vast treat to return there cinematically, making me long for an extended visit these many decades later. I even frequented The Eagle and the Child, a pub where Tolkien and The Inklings — who are fated to only appear after the movie ends — sat and shared literary chapters as they wrote them. It thrilled me to quaff a pint at the same table where JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis discussed Lord of the Rings and the Narnia stories, working out the kinks of their epics.

Summarizing Tolkien as a movie experience

So, I’m a total geek with an encyclopedic working knowledge of Tolkien…but I think this biography is accessible to anyone who’s ever read the books or seen Peter Jackson’s movies. I was engaged, moved and thrilled, and though no Hobbits nor Rings of Power appear, Tolkien the film is still a very good time. I’m glad I expanded my horizons enough to look at the author as a real man, and not just a random shadowy figure recording the journeys of Frodo, Gandalf, Strider, Gollum, and Samwise Gamgee.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: This was a hard movie to find Peetimes for. The movie cuts back and forth between war action, “Fellowship” character building, and important scenes at Oxford University. Both Peetimes center on the romance in Tolkien’s life: while they are nice, they are the least crucial bits building up to Tolkien’s masterpiece. The 2nd Peetime is recommended. Note: There are no Peetimes in the second hour, so plan accordingly.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Tolkien. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for some sequences of war violence
Genres: Biography, Drama, War

Are Modern Movies Too Long?

How RunPee Began – A Retrospective on Peter Jackson’s 2005 King Kong

Movie Review – The Hustle – Rewatch Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Instead

Movie Review - The HustleAh, The Hustle. It looked so winsome from the trailers. I like Rebel Wilson most of the time, and Anne Hathaway almost all the time. The promising premise: a comedy with two completely different brands of women, running high-stakes scams on rich men in Europe. I was excited to do the Peetimes for this film, expecting an evening of clever fun.

But then it entirely fell down in the execution, with a big old tiresome pratfall.

The Hustle was so very much like Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, but a whole lot less amusing, and oftentimes outright silly. And honestly, I like silly movies when I’m in the mood for it, but The Hustle is the bad kind of silly. I even wrote in my notes (during the last Peetime) “More of the stupid continues for several minutes.”

I’m not saying this is a bad movie. It’s just relentlessly mediocre, often tiresome, frequently awkward, and not as funny as it should be. Sometimes I cringed at the lazy incompetence of the script. I don’t think I laughed out loud once, although I did smile here and there. The plot has a few minor payoffs that do work, especially in the beginning, but by the time the main con is underway, the fails start rolling in.

What else? The Hustle looks good, with sun-drenched sea-side location shots, luxurious outfits, and a boyishly cute male lead (Alex Sharp). There’s good pacing, and some snappy banter. If you want to watch Wilson and Hathaway bicker and snipe at each other for an hour and a half, this might be your film.

Personally, I’d rather re-watch Steve Martin in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. I’d have to view it again to see how it holds up with the passage of the years, but that’s a film I have fond feelings for.

Grade: C-

About The Peetimes: This was an easy movie to find Peetimes. My 3 Peetimes are nicely spaced out, and equally good, although short. If you can hold out for the final Peetime at 1:07, it’s the best one with the least humor.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Hustle. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for crude sexual content and language
Genres: Comedy, Caper/Heist

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Does It Better: A re-watch review, with comparisons to The Hustle

Quiz – Rebel Wilson – The Newest Funny Gal in Show Business

Movie Review – Pokemon Detective Pikachu

Movie Review - Pokemon Detective PikachuPokemon Detective Pikachu is a strange little movie. It’s beautifully done, and a great send up of the Poke-Verse…while also being a mad-cap whodunnit story, albeit one that fizzles a bit. But whether you’ll enjoy this outing depends on your relationship to this particular pop-culture gaming phenomenon.

If you know your Pokemon, you’ll revel in the seamless imagery of beloved creatures, smile a whole lot, laugh at their charm, and marvel at the delight of seeing your favorites come to life. Pikachu himself is a scene-stealer. You can’t beat the engaging Ryan Reynolds as the voice of anything; he gives the pint-sized yellow electric mouse a frenzied, fit-for-the-kids Deadpool sort of energy. This isn’t how I pictured my Pikachu sounding, but Reynolds makes it work with style.

Is the story-line coherent? Barely. It comes together well enough in the end. But that’s not the point. This is a great wish fulfillment film for fans.

If you’re NOT a Pokemon buff, you might want to give Pokemon Detective Pikachu a pass. Most of the pleasure derives from seeing favorites like Charazid, Bulbasaurus (so freaking cute!), Squirtle, Ditto, Eevee, Charmander, Jigglypuff — and even useless old Magicarp — interact with their humans in the real world.

If your eyes glazed over in that last sentence, Pokemon Detective Pikachu will assuredly go over your head. It’s still a cute time at the movies, but it won’t make sense. The story doesn’t stop to explain who or what Pokemon are about — it just tosses you into this world and hopes you’ll swim.

However, kids will take to this movie like a Psyduck to water just for the amazingly creative critters and their antics. They’ll definitely want to start catching Pokemon if they’re new to the game. Be warned: it’s incredibly addictive, but if you can get them playing Pokemon Go, they’ll also get a lot of exercise as a bonus.

As for adults, I still recommend playing Pokemon Go. Chasing Mons took over my life at a particularly rough point, giving me a way to climb out of a sad little hole. I still have a tremendous fondness for the entire enterprise…seeing these guys on the big screen filled my heart with happy little beats.

I didn’t care that the plot was a bit loose, or that the humans were a bit dull, because I had a good time on the journey. Bill Nighy did what he could with the material, and I normally am a HUGE Nighy fan, but he couldn’t elevate the actual plot. Again, not the point. You either bought your ticket to see cute Pokemon scamper in the real world, or because you wanted to hear Ryan Reynolds voicing the iconic Pikachu. In those areas, Pokemon Detective Pikachu delivers nicely.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: I recommend the 2nd Peetime. The plot is straightforward, and I assume anyone who goes see it is there for the Pokemons. So I tried to avoid cool Pokemon scenes in the Peetimes.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Pokemon Detective Pikachu. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG) for action/peril, some rude and suggestive humor, and thematic elements
Genres: Action, Adventure, Animation

Captain Marvel – Video and Lyrics to Just a Girl by No Doubt

Captain Marvel is a girl. We kind of all knew that in advance.  But while her origin story sends the girl power message a bit over the top, Just A Girl by No Doubt still really works, cinematically. It’s a fun, feel-good movie moment.

The entire film’s 90s sound track is a great trip down memory lane, and this song, obvious as it is, deserves to highlight Carol Danver’s heroic journey.

So here to send you back to grungy 1995 are the video and lyrics to No Doubt’s Just A Girl. It’s still as catchy as it was a few decades ago. (Has it really been that long?)

Video to Just A Girl – No Doubt

Lyrics to Just a Girl

Take this pink ribbon off my eyes
I’m exposed
And it’s no big surprise
Don’t you think I know
Exactly where I stand
This world is forcing me
To hold your hand
‘Cause I’m just a girl, little ol’ me
Well don’t let me out of your sight
Oh, I’m just a girl, all pretty and petite
So don’t let me have any rights
Oh, I’ve had it up to here!

The moment that I step outside
So many reasons
For me to run and hide
I can’t do the little things
I hold so dear
‘Cause it’s all those little things
That I fear

‘Cause I’m just a girl
I’d rather not be
‘Cause they won’t let me drive
Late at night
Oh I’m just a girl
Guess I’m some kind of freak
‘Cause they all sit and stare
With their eyes
Oh I’m just a girl
Take a good look at me
Just your typical prototype
Oh, I’ve had it up to here!

Oh, am I making myself clear?

I’m just a girl
I’m just a girl in the world
That’s all that you’ll let me be!

Oh I’m just a girl, living in captivity
Your rule of thumb
Make me worry some
Oh I’m just a girl, what’s my destiny?
What I’ve succumbed to
Is making me numb
Oh I’m just a girl, my apologies
What I’ve become is so burdensome
Oh I’m just a girl, lucky me
Twiddle-dum there’s no comparison

Oh, I’ve had it up to!
Oh, I’ve had it up to!!
Oh, I’ve had it up to here…

{Songwriters: Gwen Stefani / Thomas Dumont, 1995. 
Just a Girl lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.}

 

Avengers Cameo – That random kid in Endgame is someone we’ve seen before

Ty Simpkins as Harley Keener from iron man 3

Who is that teenager from Avengers Endgame standing there at the end with our heroes — but a little apart —  looking vaguely familiar? With no explanation given? It’s like Broom Boy from The Last Jedi, all over again. Who is that kid?

Want to try to guess where you’ve seen him before in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Shave off a few years. Make him around ten. Do you remember which movie he had a MAJOR role in?

It’s okay if you can’t remember, because his movie came out in the early days of the MCU, and his character was promptly forgotten. The MCU has a literal cast of thousands by now, especially if you include everyone in the Wakandan army from Avengers Infinity War. If you’re not a real die-hard MCU fan, it can be hard to keep all those faces and names straight.

So, who’s the kid in Endgame?

It’s 17-year-old actor Ty Simpkins, reprising his role of Harley Keener: the kid from Iron Man 3 who gave Tony Stark a little sanctuary — and a lot of geeky help — when Stark needed it.  The two made a good connection, and the kid character was enjoyable to watch, instead of precociously irritating. (Although I think Robert Downey Jr could have chemistry with a mailbox if the role called for it.)

Harley is a forgotten hero in the MCU, but that doesn’t mean he won’t come back for Phase 4. He made one half of a great team with Stark, and has a bright scientific mind of his own. And don’t forget, Stark left him some goodies to play with that he might have put to good use by now.

Stark seems to slip effortlessly into mentor roles. Just look at his relationship with Spider-Man. It might be because of the way Stark begins his journey as an overgrown kid, and naturally doesn’t want to see bright young people make the mistakes he did. Stark has come a long way after 11 years in the hero profession. Remember the days when he amused himself onstage by peeing in his Iron Man suit?

Will Harley make another appearance after Avengers Endgame?

Harley’s old enough to help our heroes in a meaningful way now, should they choose to take him on for the new generation of Avengers.  Get that boy a shield! Or maybe his own Mark V Iron Man special.

There’s no reason not to see this kid again after Endgame, since we know Phase 4 of the MCU begins next. Also, now that Earth knows a gazillion intergalactic beings exist, you can’t have too many heroes to help keep them safe.

Iron Man 3 – movie review

Avenger Superhero Powers, by Category

The entire MCU Movie Order – Several Options for your pre-Avengers Endgame Watch or Rewatch

Avengers Infinity War – Whose Fault is the Snap?

So…let’s think a bit. Whose fault is the Avengers Infinity War Snap? Why am I, and half the universe, dead? Gone to ashes.

The Avengers most to blame, who come to mind right away are:

  • Star Lord — Mainly just a normal human with specialized combat melee skills. Peter Quill is just a petty thief trying to be a better person. He’s only slightly better at being ‘good’ than Rocket or Drax, after all.
  • Thor — God of Thunder — Should know better than to gloat after 1500 years of Godhood. You’re still not worthy yet, are you?
  • Dr. Strange  — The jury is out til Endgame resolves. Next.
  • Captain America — WTF dude! YOU! J’accuse!
  • Hulk — The Big Green Guy who let us all all down. Just because you have issues with Banner doesn’t excuse toddler tantrums, big guy.

Breaking this down a bit more. Each of these heroes, and a few others, have some big burdens to bear.

  1. Star Lord —  Everyone blames him for the events on Titan. Peter Quill isn’t the sharpest crayon in the Crayola box, but I don’t blame him. It looked like he totally screwed the pooch in Infinity War, didn’t it? He really lost it for our guys on Titan..but, remember, Dr. Strange had to make it look good for his ONE future they would win. That means whatever “Mr. Lord” did was part of the plan.  Also, Peter Quill never set out to be a hero — he just wants his girlfriend back. His investment strategy — Gamora: everything. Universe: whatever.
  2. Hey, THOR — He just HAD to gloat. Not only should he have gone for the head, he should have gone for the arm. But Thor, mighty and all, isn’t the smartest Avenger. Maybe being cute is a liability. A god should do better. Head, arm…you haven’t learned a thing in 1500 years, have you?
  3. Dr. Strange — I don’t blame him at all. He spent what — hundreds of years looking at alternate realities? I’m sure he knew what he was doing when he gave Thanos the time stone. He’s not stupid and we know he made it clear to Stark what his priorities were. There were no mistakes made here. Place your bets with Strange.
  4. Cap — I blame him, really, mostly. We don’t trade lives??? Really? Much as I  love Vision, this should have been a non-starter. Get that Stone out of Vision  now, K? Even Wanda knew this had to happen. Shuri could have fixed this much earlier, and the ending would have been different. We DO trade lives, Cap. Have you not been watching all these movies? Sacrifice is part of the game. You don’t get to win everything just because you want it enough.
  5. Hulk. He couldn’t be bothered to help Earth, or the universe, for that matter. Poor Banner. Poor us. He has a lot to make up for. I know: Hulk is the mental equivalent of a toddler, but that’s no excuse. #HulkSmash… #Smash??? Where did he go? Why leave Banner in a Hulkbuster suit? We better find out why.
  6. Gamora — Thanos never would have found the soul stone without Gamora just giving it to him. I know he was torturing Nebula…but look at the result. I know it’s not nice to talk ill of the departed, but if there’s blame to go around, she should shoulder one infinity stone’s worth.
  7. While we’re talking about about the stones, what about Loki? He gave Thanos the Tesseract for the same reason Gamora gave him the soul stone — to prevent more sibling torture. Also, remember Asgard getting munched during Ragnarok? Loki probably should have left the Tesseract in the vault.

So, who is to blame, besides (obviously) Thanos?

I know a lot of people blame Star Lord and Thor, but really, Cap made the worst call with the fate of the universe at stake. Vision could just go hide in the the internet like JARVIS did before. And Hulk is still basically an infant. Peter Quill is only a dude in love for the first time. Dr. Strange has a plan, and that is where I will place my bets.

Hollywood Celebrities Mourn Stan Lee on Twitter

RIP Stan Lee – you will be missed

Hollywood Celebrities Mourn Stan Lee on Twitter