RunPee Guest Post Guidelines – Write for RunPee.com (and be as opinionated as you like)

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The RunPee Family is happy to publish posts from movie geeks with interesting entertainment opinions on RunPee.com. Or even non-geeks with thoughtful reviews of any movie category are welcome – we have a lot of film coverage blind spots. Here are our submission guidelines:

What you get from RunPee

  • Your own linked Byline to the RunPee blog, social media promotion on our sites, and links to your projects/emails choice in your bio. We’ll help promote your personal interests for free, as well. Any really timely articles will get Featured Content status on the RunPee app itself!
  • You get Author privileges on RunPee: an author photo of your choice, a bio blurb, a full biography page with any links you want to promote — which also automatically lists all the articles you post on RunPee.com.
  • A entry volunteer association in a fun, world-wide acknowledged app boasting millions of downloads. Plus professional article editing, experienced writer mentoring, and the possibility of learning to make Peetimes to see free movies, along with the rest of the RunPee Family.

What RunPee Wants from You

  • Just pitch us your topic ideas and potential titles, and we can see if we’d like to publish your piece. Send ideas to [email protected] (Editor in Chief) and post Guest Article in the subject heading.
  • Articles should be no shorter than 300 words, but can be as long as you like. No need to be brief if you’ve got a lot to say.
  • Your personally taken photos are welcome and will include your Byline, if we use them.
  • Tell us your favorite movie genres and mention a few possible titles you’d suggest as an idea on how your mind works.
  • Really, nothing about movies, actors, directors, or entertainment might be too out there to write about. This is your chance to be creative and show off.
  • We even accept reviews of movie theaters themselves, and  would love to blanket the world with details about the different cinemas near people. (Ask us for our Movie Theater review template.)

Interested? Re-read what I wrote above to be sure, and send your ideas to [email protected], or address your interest to Jill at [email protected].

Origin of RunPee

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The Four Films You Need To Watch To Understand Captain Marvel (Speculation, Pre-Movie Release)

gregg clarke as agent coulson in captain marvel
A digitally de-aged Agent Coulson. They de-aged Nick Fury too. Can they do this for me?

Right, I know, Captain Marvel hasn’t come out yet — but I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest a few films you should watch to understand what the deal is with Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel, and the state of the MCU. If you’re not a rabid Marvel fan, or just need a refresher, you can get ready with just four MCU films. (Or three films and two short videos, if you’re short on time.)

In a real way, audiences are lucky with Captain Marvel — it’s a relatively painless entry point for an MCU movie.

By this, I mean you don’t need to sit down this week and watch the 20+ movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Captain Marvel (the film) goes back in time to the 90s, making it essentially the chronologically first film in the Avenger timeline. (Ignore for now that Captain America – The First Avenger started around World War 2…)

So, you’re off the hook for this film in a way you CAN’T be for the spring 2019 release of Avengers 4 – End Game. End Game will require audiences to be on their toes and completely up to date. As the title suggests, it’s the culmination of a long ranging plan. Ten years of movies! And it will be over three hours long, so you’ll need our Peetimes for it.

For Captain Marvel, these are my guesses to understand the events we’re about to see (links go to RunPee’s movie reviews):

  1. Avengers 1 – Avengers Assemble – This movie best establishes the characters of Nick Fury and Agent Phil Coulson, who should have major roles in the Captain Marvel story. Also, this movie is a great entry point to explain who the Avengers are without having to watch every individual origin story. And there’s this: where was Captain Marvel during the Battle of New York? I’m hoping the upcoming film explains why Fury didn’t see fit contact her then, or ever, until Infinity War.
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 1 – You need to see Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 1 to understand the cosmic end of the Marvel universe, see who the Kree  are, what Xandar is about, and get a proper introduction to Ronan The Accuser. Of all the movies on this list, GOTG 1 is probably the most crucial to view. Fortunately, this kick-ass film is always a crowd-pleaser.
  3. Avengers 3 – Infinity War – Why does Fury carry that pager around for decades and only use it now? This is the only story that refers to Captain Marvel explicitly. We still don’t know how she fits in. I’m going to warn you: Infinity War is a HUGE film, with its own list of must-preview movies. I dithered about putting this on the list, to be honest. If you’re a complete novice to the MCU, I recommend you skip it. You’d be hopelessly lost. Just watch the end credit scene, provided here (a MUST):
  4. Ant-Man & The Wasp – This one contains the most speculation on my part. Will Ant Man and crew even show up in Captain Marvel? Probably not. But since Time Vortices are mentioned, and the Quantum Realm might play a role in Captain Marvel’s story, this might be worth watching. It’s still on Netflix, so grab it while you can (before Disney pulls all the Marvel films off onto their own subscription streaming channel). Captain Marvel is supposed to have time travel in it. If you can’t get your hands on the Time Stone, the Quantum Realm is the next best place place to look, and only the guys in Ant-Man know about it. So far.

I also have another movie in mind worth viewing, but mentioning it would be a complete spoiler if the rumors are true. This particular superhero is covered in Infinity War anyway, so it’s fine to skip it. I think. (Remember, this is a speculation article.)

UPDATE after seeing Captain Marvel: I was thinking above that the Dr. Strange movie would be a part of the Captain Marvel story. It wasn’t. But it’s one of the Marvel films that has time travel as a major component…so it’s possible that Strange and Marvel get together to save the day in Avengers – Endgame. Actually, who are we kidding? Let’s just say it’s going to happen. 

Update: Watch a Short MCU Video About Agent Phil Coulson for Free, Now

  • A Funny Thing Happened…I found a handful of super short Marvel Cinematic Universe one-offs this week, and sat down to watch them all. It didn’t take long, and they don’t offer many hints on the MCU, to be honest. But there’s one you MUST see before Captain Marvel if you don’t know much about the main characters. Watch these few fun minutes of Agent Phil Coulson in his Thor years, in a short called A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer: 

After Captain Marvel comes out, we can see how close my guesses are. What do you think?

Coming Soon – Peetimes for Captain Marvel

Quiz – Brie Larson – The New Captain Marvel and Beyond

1st Captain Marvel Trailer Finally Drops – Comments and Speculation

The Quantum Realm in Ant-Man 2 Offers Answers for Avengers 4

10 Ways Ant Man Could Escape the Quantum Realm

Pi Day Movies – the Best Math (or Pie) Films to Watch on March 14

the symbol for pi in blue
Pi (π) is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. There might be a few numbers involved.

Mid-march, three unusual holidays rear their heads for movie rewatch fun: Pi Day, The Ides of March, and St Patrick’s Day. It all starts on March 13 with Pi Day. That’s the 14th day of the third month: 3.14. If you pay enough attention, you can even celebrate Pi Minutes and Pi Seconds. (1:59:26 comes around the clock twice, unless you use Military Time.)

If you scroll down, you’ll see every Pi and math movie we consider crucial for your home entertainment curriculum. But first, you have to understand what Pi is, then prepare some actual pies for feasting. On Pi Day, both sweet and savory pies count. More on that soon.

Do you know what Pi is?

long string of Pi numbers
Just memorize this and you’ll be fine.

This is a big topic. You can start by thinking about Pi as the ratio of a circle’s circumference, related to its diameter. Do you consider yourself smart? Apparently you can spend the rest of your life digging into the mysteries of this transcendental,  irrational number. (WIRED gives it a relatively simple whack, while the Wikipedia offers more Pi detail than most people actually want.)

Feast with Pies on Pi Day

Whatever your feelings about Pi, math, and advanced mathematics, I’ve long considered March 13 Pi Day. It’s a holiday that’s picking up more pop-culture steam every year.  For decades, my husband and I used to rewatch a classic math movie each year, feasting on Chicken Pot Pie, Pumpkin Pie, or sometimes Pizza Pie.  Even a Calzone or Omelette is a pie, albeit half of one.  We’d use fractions to eat them, as one does with flat, round food. 🙂 Make a meal with lots of circular edibles. Maybe Pita Bread. Be creative.

Announce the fractions you cut from the whole. Eat like math is your passion for one day a year!

We celebrated Pi Day this way because we’re geeks. RunPee loves weird holidays where you can watch movies, dress for the occasion, and plan an appropriately themed meal.

So. Pull on your geekiest science tee shirt and pick something from this list of great Pi adjacent films.

Make Pi Day 3.14 Times as Nice

It’s a good idea to phone your favorite ‘pie’ place and ask for the Pi Day Special: it’s fun to spread the word, and many places will give you an off the menu deal just for choosing them for your Pi needs. At the very least, you might encourage them to make a Pi Deal for next March.

Oh, please tell them RunPee sent you.

the first few numbers in the Pi string
Pi, looking friendly and fun and not at all intimidating.

Here’s RunPee’s list of favorite math, Pi, and pie movies for Pi Day, in no particular order, with release dates, and a few thoughts to help you select the perfect film to celebrate an irrational number.

Linked titles go to RunPee’s own movie reviews, where we have them. Eventually, we’ll review them all. It’s an easier task than calculating the exact value of Pi.

16.5 Movies To Enjoy in Honor of Pi Day

    1. Pi (1998) – Pure numbers, baby.
    2. Life of Pi (2001) — Not about math, or even pie, but a man named Pi. It’s a great, quietly gripping story, where you’re not sure what’s going on. Pay attention to the details, whether this is your first, or Nth viewing. It’s a very worthwhile film and almost Inception-lite. And BTW, that’s not a spoiler. Just enjoy the rhythm of the film.
    3. Good Will Hunting (1997) – Matt Damon makes this list twice, because he’s got a lock on that understated, funny, and too-pretty-to-be-so-smart look that perfectly bellies his mad science skills.
    4. Hidden Figures (2016) – This recent feel-good film centers around three black women hired by NASA as human computers during the 1960s events of Project Mercury, and its fabulous. (‘Sheldon Cooper’ even has a small role.) Award-winning and based on real people, including John Glen, who was apparently a great guy. If his computers said not to go, he stayed put. Smart man.
    5. The Theory of Everything (2014) – If you adored Stephen Hawking, like we did at RunPee, you probably found news of his death so very, very sad. But from all indications, he loved his life, had joy, family, a great career, and  unfettered commitment to allow his fine brain to roam the cosmos. We saw his sense of humor was as extraordinary as his mind. Not a bad legacy at all. Eddie Redmayne did an A+ job saluting Hawking’s contributions to our understanding of the universe.
    6. A Beautiful Mind (2001) –  I honestly don’t remember much about this film (it was too upsetting and sad for my tastes), but realize it would be a big snub to leave this inspired-by-a-true-life-story it off the list. The IMDb writes this: “From the heights of notoriety to the depths of depravity, John Forbes Nash Jr. experienced it all. A mathematical genius, he made an astonishing discovery early in his career and stood on the brink of international acclaim. But the handsome and arrogant Nash soon found himself on a painful and harrowing journey of self-discovery.
    7. The Imitation Game (2014) – Benedict Cumberbatch plays a lot of geniuses, or at least men smarter than the average bloke. If you like Alan Turning and enjoy cracking impossible Nazi codes, this movie was made for you. It’s also a drama with a message. 
    8. Gifted (2017) – I enjoyed this light film about how a normal brained single Dad (Chris Evans) learns to beat to the system to keep and raise his young, brilliant protegee. This scene is a standout — be sure to watch the whole segment:
    9. x and y (UK)/A Brilliant Young Mind (US) (2014) – A kid with ‘special powers’ in math learns to navigate childhood.
    10. Apollo 13 (1995) – First of all, it’s a space mission that really happened, and through massive sciencing, everybody makes it home alive. Not a spoiler; this is history. Also, Apollo 13 is has Tom Hanks as Captain Jim Lovell,  and those men are gods to me. I think the inspiration for Legos must have come from that scene with the square filter an the round vent — “Work the problem, people!” (Ed Harris is a god too. Godhoods for everyone in Apollo 13!)
    11. The Martian (2105) – Matt Damon’s character scienced the SHIT out of this movie.  A pure joy to watch and rewatch, and I have to remind myself this, unlike Apollo 13, hasn’t actually happened. Yet. 🙂
    12. Contact (1997) – This one happened in real life too, didn’t it? Didn’t it?  Damn. Watching this movie just makes me happy, and yes, it’s full of life, death, and MATH. The scene where we’re contacted with Prime Numbers is a standout. It’s one of those scenes that makes me tear up without a single line of dialog, or even much facial expression. Remember in The Return of the King, when we saw the lighting of the fire beacons above Gondor, calling to Rohan for aid? Same thing. When you saw Contact for the first time, how long did it take you realize those pulses were primes? I expect the universal  language of math will prove yet again that fiction pre-dates fact. This is the best segment in an already outstanding film. I had to add two videos to catch the whole scene:
    13. The Accountant (2106) – Ben Affleck gave a surprisingly charming and understated performance as a certain kind of savant specialist who learns to relate to people in his own, sometimes deadly way.
    14. Stand and Deliver (1988) – What is Calculus? Why should we care, unless we’re lucky enough to have someone like Edward James Olmos teach it? I need to re-watch Stand and Deliver, as I’ve forgotten much of this classic 80s film.  Here’s a summary:  A Los Angeles high school teacher opts to immerse his students in higher math. After intensive study, his students ace California’s calculus test, only to learn their scores are being questioned.
    15. The Cold Equations (1996) – This short, harrowing film details to the Nth degree how important math is – specifically, down to milligrams of weight in space.  Are there any space movies where weight limits aren’t a thing? In this one, math is the whole plot. As the pilot and young stowaway work frantically against the clock, we’re reminded how dangerous space is, how fragile spaceships are, and how very, very much math matters. It’s only 40 minutes and it’s worth a watch, even if the effects are a bit dated. The story is still a good one. Here’s the entire video for The Cold Equations:
    16. Real Genius (1985)  – Taking a trip in the way back machine, Real Genius makes this list by pure force of fun. In fact, you can watch the entire feature film right here. I’ll leave this up until someone takes it down — it’s clearly a film taped on a cell phone. Enjoy this blast from the nerdy past!

…Aaaaand the promised .5 movie: American Pie (1999, the original):

Don’t worry if you hate numbers.  Lock yourself alone in the bedroom with a warm apple pie, and try out just how good it feels. Or, less weirdly, rewatch one of the movies in the American Pie franchise with friends, compare Band Camp Stories, and laugh again at the awkwardness of being young and inexperienced. Beware: this scene is suggestive, and  is clearly intended to be. You can’t unsee it. It’s the PIE scene. On Pi Day. Have fun.

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Quick question: How many numbers in a string can you list for Pi? Write them out in the comments below, and no cheating! Surely there must be some out-of-the-closet geeks out there.

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Just below: a brilliant Pi video for those of you who are too smart for Pi itself. Just peruse this movie list on Tau Day, and you’ll be set.

Super Pi Geeks Argue About how Tau is Better…

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RunPee Movie Reviews Related to Math and Pi

Movie Review – Hidden Figures

Movie Review – The Theory of Everything – More About Stephen Hawking Than Math

Movie Review – Gifted

Movie Review – The Accountant

Black Panther – Does Killmonger Have a Point?

black panther and king T'Challa
If you can help, are you morally obligated to do so?  What is better: peaceful existence with a whiff of moral cowardice, or committing purposeful acts of brutality, to achieve real cultural equality?

[Spoilers ahead for everything Black Panther but not Infinity War]

For Black Panther Week, and before the 2019 Oscars, I’d like to give this gorgeous and exciting film a shoutout. Black Panther is up for no less than SEVEN Academy Awards, so beyond being yet another fantastic Marvel Universe superhero film, the tone struck a cord with audiences everywhere. And the more you dig into the narrative, the more story layers are revealed.

From the website Shadow and Act comes this thoughtful and possibly inflammatory piece (depending on your point of view). Do you believe the ends justifies the means? Can we ethically pursue freedom while co-signing on acts of inhumanity, in order to arrive at a more enlightened state?

Here’s the aforementioned article, which goes into some detail on Killmonger’s anti-heroic, yet not entirely misguided journey:

If you don’t agree with anything here, that’s fine too.  But it’s clear within Black Panther that some of our ostensible heroes are either committing their own foul acts (at worst), or turning a blind eye to them (at best).

(Remember, spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen Black Panther, but you are safe if you haven’t seen Avengers: Infinity War.)

Who’s Right? Who’s Wrong?

It’s really only T’Challa’s (Chadwick Boseman) spy girlfriend Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o )who takes a strong stance on this issue. The entire royal family is otherwise quite comfortable in their position of prestige and luxury in the hidden Utopia of Wakanda.

I would say T’Chaka  — the kingly father of T’Challa — in his seemingly casual decision to abandon young Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) to the streets of Los Angeles, and by extension, the rest of the children lost from the diaspora, is cowardly and wrong-thinking (especially after killing his brother/Erik’s father!). But even the most noble kings have flaws. The movie takes great pains to point this out. Killmonger is beyond awful in his methods, yet is full of righteous rage, worthy of consideration.

In the above linked article, this line seems to stand out: “Swirling in constant reminders of worthlessness, of the specific anti-Black-American toxicity experienced by Black folk in the U.S.A., Killmonger is angry—not just at white supremacist oppressors or systemic racism, but also the Black Elite who left him behind. And he has every right to want vengeance.”

It’s a little risky to place your eponymous superhero in a morally questionable stance, but the movie and T’Challa himself (eventually) rise to the challenge. After the events of Avengers: Infinity War, we are forced to see how this might play out between Wakanda and the outside world.

All the Stars song and end credit image from black panther
What is the true role of a leader? Are you responsible for a nation, a race, a world, or even (within the MCU) the galaxy?

What Can We Take Away From Killmonger and His End Goal for Wakanda?

I asked our RunPeep Shani Ogilve  (see her previous post on A Black Perspective On Black Panther) for a few words about the Forgotten Children of Wakanda, and how sympathetically we can view Killmonger, his mission, and the central lesson of the Black Panther film:

Ogilve writes: “This is a great piece. To start, #TeamKilmonger with a caveat — there is no other team to be on. Killmonger can be compared to other figures in fiction and history — Malcolm X and Magneto come to mind. Though their methods also are extreme, they are justified. I usually go for the MLK and Professor X route, but in Black Panther’s case T’Challa wasn’t even any type of activist. Maybe Killmonger was the martyr for the diaspora. His hurt brought enlightenment to T’Challa, to hopefully step up and make meaningful changes to other black communities.

“I also would say that the blame doesn’t fall on Wakanda or T’Challa completely. Though Wakandans aren’t completely ignorant of how Black people outside of Wakanda are living, they aren’t all-knowing of the Black experience in America or elsewhere. That is honestly an experience that you must experience yourself to actually understand.

“Additionally, it’s not fair to say that because they are doing better than other Black communities, they should be the ones to help them. I don’t hate Wakanda for not helping, because I don’t actually believe that anything they do will make an impact big enough to change systematic injustices. I believe the only way to fix the injustice in our society — and hopefully prevent future Killmongers —  is for the colonizing bodies of the world to do what they must, to reverse the effects of colonization and slavery. By any means necessary.”

Things Black Panther Still Makes Us Think About

Who is really a true villain in the MCU, and who is better termed an ‘anti-villain’? Would you say you understand and sympathize with Killmonger in some way, or his stance? Are all methods fair — even through deliberate murder, casual brutality, and the possibility of inciting a world war — in the name of the greater good?

And on the other hand, as with T’Challa’s choice, if you CAN help others, are you morally obliged to do so? These aren’t easy questions. Feel free to sound off in the comments below. I won’t rip your heads off for your opinion. 🙂

#BlackPantherWeek #WakandaForever #IHaveADream

More RunPee Posts About Black Panther:

A Black Perspective on Marvel’s Black Panther

All The Stars – End Credits Song from Black Panther – Video and Lyrics

Movie Review – Black Panther – One Incredible Party

The 5 Movies You Need To Watch Before Infinity War

How to Dress Like You’re From Wakanda in Black Panther

New Black Panther Trailer is Fantastic – Watch the Video Show Off Wakanda

Best Movies to Watch Over President’s Day Weekend

presidents day weekend movies
Sit back and enjoy some presidential movies!

Presidents Day Weekend! Time to get presidential and enjoy some flicks worthy of this American holiday. We’ve got movies listed here that are historical, comical, romantic, sci-fi-esque, or even just totally wacky — there’s something for everyone.

Not in any particular order, here are the greatest movies to get you into the presidential spirit of this weekend in the USA:

Vice (2018) — Still in theaters if you can catch it, Vice is up for several Oscars film trophies — of which it won some other big awards already:

  • Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
  • Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Actor
  • Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Actor in a Comedy
  • BAFTA Award for Best Editing
  • Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Makeup

 Lincoln (2012) — According to my research, Lincoln was listed as the #1 movie about American presidents more consistently than any other presidential movie, even though it covers only the last few months of Lincoln’s presidency. The movie won two Oscars and was nominated for an additional 10 Oscars. According to my research, Lincoln, was listed as the #1 movie about American presidents more consistently than any other presidential movie. The movie won two Oscars and was nominated for an additional 10 Oscars.

  • Daniel Day-Lewis: won for Best Actor.
  • Tommy Lee Jones: nominated for Best Supporting Actor.
  • Sally Field: nominated for Best Supporting Actress.
  • Steven Spielberg: nominated for Best Motion Picture and Best Director.

In total, Lincoln has 110 wins and 245 nominations. It’s worth a watch, or a rewatch.

W — Oliver Stone did a fine job of showing the ups and downs of belonging to the Bush clan. It covered not only his political life, but also that of a spoiled rich kid, which made it non-stop entertainment. Josh Brolin will go down in cinematic history as one of the best presidential actors. I find it interesting that this great movie was snubbed by the American press.

Nixon — Again, this is an Oliver Stone film about the early days, and right up to the disgraceful end of Richard Nixon’s presidency. It was nominated for 4 Oscars: Anthony Hopkins for Best Actor, Joan Allen for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Writing and Best Music, and Original Dramatic Score.


 

Here are some more fun categories to choose from: 

Best Fictional President

Fail Safe —
If you’ve never seen this movie, now is a good time with all the trigger happy despots out there in the world who would love to blow us to smithereens. The final scene of the movie will stay with you for a while.

Primary Colors —
We all know that this is an unauthorized bio of Bill Clinton so just sit back and enjoy the trip on the campaign trail.  Kathy Bates won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Libby Holden, and Elaine May was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Deep Impact —
This film is one of the best, “Oh my god, we’re all gonna die”, movies ever made…and a big reason for that is Morgan Freeman as President Beck. One might say he was…impactful. 😉


 

Best Comedy about a President

Dave (1993) — Kevin Kline was nominated for Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture, and Charles Grodin won for Funniest Supporting Actor by the American Comedy Awards for Dave. It’s great fun and even a little touching at times.

The American President (1995) — This movie was nominated for an Oscar for Best Music or Comedy Score and nominated for 5 Golden Globes: Best motion Picture, Rob Reiner for Best Director, Annette Bening for Best Actress, Michael Douglas for Best Actor, and Aaron Sorkin for Best Screenplay. This movie is a classic.

My Fellow Americans (1996) — In my opinion, this is the funniest presidential movie ever made, and the two stars, James Garner and Jack Lemmon, have great on-screen chemistry.

Wag the Dog (1997) — Shortly before the election a spin doctor and a Hollywood producer fabricate a war to cover up a Presidential sex scandal. Dustin Hoffman was nominated for an Oscar for Lead Actor, and nominated for 3 Golden Globes: Best Motion Picture, Dustin Hoffman for Lead Actor and Best Screenplay.

Dick (1999)  — A fun little film worth catching, even though it’s from the point of two silly teens watching the Nixon controversy from a unique point of view. Lots of fun!


 

Movies About the Presidency (In General)

All the President’s Men (1976) —
Without a doubt, this is the definitive movie about the inner workings of a presidency. It’s an old movie – 1976 – but still very pertinent in today’s world. The movie earned 4 Oscars: Jason Robards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Writing, Best Art Direction and Best Sound, and was nominated for an additional four Oscars.

JFK (1991) —
As far as conspiracy movies, nothing can top JFK. We’ll never tire of speculating about this American tragedy, and therefore, never tire of making movies or documentaries that tend to sensationalize this event. JFK won 2 Oscars for Best Cinematography and for Best Film Editing, and was nominated for an additional 6 Oscars: Best Picture,  Tommy Lee Jones for Best Actor, Oliver Stone for Best Director, Best Sound, Best Music and Oliver Stone again for Best Screenplay.

Thirteen Days —
In 1962 America came close to another World War when the Kennedy Administration struggled to contain the Cuban Missile Crisis. Even though we know the outcome of this crisis, observing the path the administration took during this standoff is extraordinary.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012) — Definitely not your typical presidential bio, it’s funny, entertaining and maybe just a little bit scary. Also, despite a funny title, this one is NOT a comedy. You’ve been warned! 🙂

Movie Review – Vice – Deeply Funny But Tonally Strange

Movie Review – Abraham Lincoln – Vampire Hunter

Movie Review – Lincoln – An A+ Presidential Biography

Highlights from the 2019 Sundance Film Festival

This year’s Sundance Film Festival recently concluded.  [pullquote]The celebration of independent cinema has been going strong for 41 years[/pullquote].  Even though the Oscars for 2019 haven’t been handed out yet, the Oscar race for 2020 has officially begun.  Past Oscar nominees and winners Little Miss Sunshine, Manchester By the Sea, and The Big Sick, among others, have premiered at Sundance.  This year, 121 films were screened over ten days in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah.

Here are some of the highlights from this year’s Sundance Film Festival:  

The festival opened with After the Wedding, director Bart Freundlich’s adaptation of the 2006 foreign film of the same name.  The drama starring Julianne Moore and Michelle Moore got disappointing reviews.

Chinonye Chukwu became the first black woman to win the Grand Jury Prize for her film Clemency.  In the movie, Alfre Woodard plays a prison warden haunted by all the death row executions she’s carried out.    

The Souvenir won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize.  The movie is about a film student finding her voice, while dealing with a complicated relationship that threatens her future.  Written and directed by Joanna Hogg, the movie stars Tilda Swinton and her daughter Honor Swinton Byrne. A sequel is already planned that will add Twilight star Robert Pattinson.    

One Child Nation, directed by Zhang Lynn and Nanfu Wang, won the U.S. Grand Jury Prize for Documentary.  The movie focuses on China’s one-child policy and the effect it had on generations of families.

Honeyland (not to be confused with the drama Honey Boy) won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for Documentary.  It focuses on the last female bee hunter in Europe who must save the bees and restore natural balance when something goes wrong.   The movie was directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov.

Brittany Runs a Marathon won the Audience Award for U.S. Dramatic film.  The inspirational comedy, written and directed by Paul Downs Colaizzo, stars Jillian Bell as a woman trying to take control of her life by running.  

 Queen of Hearts, directed by May el-Toukhy, won the Audience Award for World Cinema Dramatic film.  The movie is a tragedy about a woman who seduces her stepson.

Knock Down the House, directed by Rachel Lears, won the Audience Award for U.S. Documentary.  The movie follows four young women, most notably Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who dare to challenge incumbent candidates for their seats in Congress.  Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was not able to attend the screening of Knock Down the House due to complications with the government reopening.  However, she surprised the audience by joining a Q & A after the film, via web conference.  The movie provoked an emotional response from the audience and received a standing ovation. 

 Sea of Shadows, directed by Richard Ladkani,  won the Audience Award for World Documentary. The film is about efforts to save the vaquita, the world’s smallest whale, and end criminal practices that are damaging its habitat.  

The most anticipated film going into the festival was Joe Berlinger’s Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile, a biopic of serial killer Ted Bundy starring Zac Efron and told from the POV of Bundy’s girlfriend.  Although the movie received mixed reviews, Netflix purchased it for $9 million dollars after the festival.

Blinded by the Light was this year’s most expensive acquisition.  It was sold to New Line for $15 million and set a new festival record for the most money spent on a film.  The movie is about a teenage Pakistani boy in England in the ‘80s who’s obsessed with Bruce Springsteen. The film was directed by Gurinder Chadha, who directed the feel-good hit Bend It Like Beckham.    

Amazon spent the most money, setting a record with $46 million dollars total.  Amazon bought one of the movies with the most buzz going into the festival, The Report, for $14 million.  The Report is about an investigation into the CIA’s torture practices following 9/11. It stars Adam Driver, Jon Hamm, and Annette Bening, and was written and directed by Scott Z. Burns.  

Amazon also bought two of the biggest comedies at the fest: Brittany Runs a Marathon, acquired for $14 million, and Late Night, acquired for $13 million. Late Night, directed by Nisha Ganatra,  stars Emma Thompson as a TV talk show host who clashes with a new writer, played by actual writer-producer of the film, Mindy Kaling.

In addition, Amazon paid around $5 million for the Shia LaBeouf film Honey Boy, directed by Alma Ha’rel.  LaBeouf wrote the autobiographical film, in which he plays his own father, as a way of exorcising his demons.  The movie got a standing ovation at its premiere.

The most controversial film at the festival was the documentary Leaving Neverland, a four-hour two-part documentary about two men who claim to have been sexually abused by the late pop star Michael Jackson, as children.  After death threats and talks of protest, extra security and police presence were added to the screening. There were also counselors available at the screening. The premiere only attracted two protesters.  A premiere in Salt Lake City the next day attracted eight.  In early January, Jackson’s family decried the film as “just another rehash of dated and discredited allegations.”  After the screenings, they released an official statement speaking out against the film.  Leaving Neverland, directed by Dan Reed, will air on HBO this spring.  

The dramedy The Farewell, written and directed by Lulu Wang, was one of the most popular films at the festival.  It was acquired by A24 for an amount rumored to be around six or seven million dollars. The movie stars Awkwafina from Crazy Rich Asians.  It’s about a family that decides to keep a matriarch’s cancer diagnosis from her, to lessen the sting of death. The movie will probably get a theatrical release this summer.

Documentaries did well at the festival, too.  

Ava DuVernay’s company ARRAY acquired the documentary MERATA, about the Maori filmmaker Merata Mita, who was the first indigenous woman to direct her own movie.  Hulu acquired The Untitled Amazing Johnathan Documentary from director Ben Berman. The film focuses on the stand-up comic/magician of the title.

Sony Pictures Classics acquired the documentary “David Crosby: Remember My Name.”  A.J. Eaton is the director. Cameron Crowe, director of Almost Famous and Singles, known for his love of rock and roll, is a producer.  Crosby is best known for his work with the band Crosby, Stills, and Nash.

Hail Satan? was acquired by Magnolia Pictures in November and is planning a spring release in the U.S.  The humorous documentary follows The Satanic Temple as they try to uphold religious pluralism.

Magnolia Pictures is also the distributor for the documentary Ask Dr. Ruth.  Ask Dr. Ruth may not have made as big a splash as expected.  I could not find much reporting on it from the festival.  We will have to wait and see if it becomes as popular as RBG and Won’t You Be My Neighbor? 

Liza Mandelup won a special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker for Jawline, a documentary about social media fame.

Mads Brügger won  the Directing Award for World Cinema Documentary for Cold Case Hammarskjöld.  The twisty documentary focuses on the investigation of the death of Dag Hammarskjöld, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Warning: This trailer is a little bit graphic.

Jacqueline Olive was presented with a U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Moral Urgency for her film Always in Season.  The film deals with the subject of lynching.

Warning: disturbing content.

Luke Lorentzen received a U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematography for Midnight Family.  The documentary follows a Mexican family who run a private ambulance service, as they struggle to make ends meet in a competitive market.  

Netflix acquired American Factory for $3 million dollars.  The documentary is about a Chinese company that opens a factory in a shuttered General Motors plant.  The movie follows the culture clash of Chinese and American workers working together, as well as the American workers trying to adapt to newer technology.  

Ursula Macfarlane’s documentary Untouchable, which chronicles Harvey Weinstein’s years of alleged sexual abuse of women, also debuted at Sundance.  The festival is where Weinstein picked up many of Miramax’s hits including Clerks, Reservoir Dogs, and Sex, Lies, and Videotape. However, he is now no longer welcome there.    

Todd Douglas Miller’s documentary Apollo 11 got a Special Jury Award for Editing.  The film recreates the space mission, including audio and video the public has never experienced before.  

 

Alexandre O. Phillipe screened his film Memory: The Origin of Alien which examined Ridley Scott’s horror classic.   I couldn’t find any information on whether this film has a distributor or not. However, Phillipe is an established director who made 78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene about Psycho a few years ago.  I predict this movie will be playing on the big or small screen by the end of the year.

Showtime acquired the four-part documentary Wu-Tang: Of Mics and Men ahead of the festival.  

Directed by Sacha Jenkins, the docu-series tells the history of the rap group Wu-Tang Clan.  The first two parts of the series premiered at the fest. The living members of the group were in attendance.  

Warning: adult language.

Netflix premiered The Great Hack as a work-in-progress. The documentary from directors Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer focuses on the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data breach.  

Sony Picture Classics acquired the documentary Where Is My Roy Cohn? about the lawyer whose clients included Joseph McCarthy and even Donald Trump.  The movie was directed by Matt Tyrnauer.

Halston, a documentary about the American fashion designer, and sold to the company formerly known as The Orchard Film Group, has yet to be renamed.  The film will get a theatrical release this spring, be broadcast on CNN in the third quarter of the year, and later stream on Amazon.  The movie was directed by Frédéric Tcheng.  

Other notable Sundance films include:

Patrick Brice premiered the horror movie Corporate Animals, starring Demi Moore and Ed Helms. Polygon described it as “The Office, but gory.”  It does not appear to have a distributor yet.

Neon and Topic Films went in together to acquire the film Luce.  Luce was directed by Julius Onah and adapted from JC Lee’s play. The psychological thriller stars Naomi Watts and Tim Roth, as parents whose adopted child’s identity is called into question.  

Netflix premiered the new Dan Gilroy film Velvet Buzzsaw.  Like his critically acclaimed movie Nightcrawler, it stars Jake Gyllenhaal.  It’s a horror movie set in the art world. It got mixed reviews at the festival, but now that it’s available on Netflix, Twitter is having fun with it.  

Warning: graphic images and disturbing content.

Apple bought its first film, writer-director Minhal Baig’s Hala.  It is unclear whether the movie is going straight to iTunes or will have a theatrical release.  The film is a coming of age story about a teenage girl trying to reconcile her Muslim faith with her love of skateboarding, and her crush on the boy next door.  

Harmony Korine’s latest film, the much-anticipated Beach Bum starring Matthew McConaughey as a Florida poet who seems too busy drinking and doing drugs to write, screened at the festival.  It has a cool lineup of a supporting cast, including Snoop Dogg and Jimmy Buffett. I could not find any reviews of the film, however. It entered the festival with a distributor already (Neon), and will hit theaters in March.  That’s when we’ll find out if the McConaissance continues.

Warning: contains language, drug use, and naked McConaughey butt.

Pete Davidson of Saturday Night Live fame got rave reviews for his performance in Big Time Adolescence, written and directed by Jason Orley.  Unfortunately, the film has not been picked up for distribution.

HBO bought the movie Native Son ahead of its premiere at Sundance.  The movie was directed by visual artist Rashid Johnson, and adapted from Richard Wright’s classic novel by playwright Susan Lori-Parks (best known for her Broadway play Topdog/Underdog).  It updates the tragic story of Bigger Thomas to a modern setting.  Native Son will play on HBO sometime later this year.  

A24 premiered Joe Talbot’s film The Last Black Man in San Francisco.  The movie stars Talbot’s friend Jimmie Fails. The two of them wrote the film together, loosely basing it on Fails’ attempt to move back into and restore his childhood home.  The movie deals with the theme of gentrification. It received a standing ovation at its premiere and won the Directing Award for U.S. Dramatic film.

Neon acquired the horror film The Lodge for around $2 million.  It is the English language debut for directors Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz.  The pair previously made the movie Goodnight Mommy (which is creepy as hell and one of the best horror movies I’ve ever seen).  The movie stars Riley Keough from American Honey and will be released later this year.  The movie is about two children trapped in a cabin with their future stepmother, the survivor of a religious cult.  

Neon and Hulu acquired Abe Forsythe’s Little Monsters in a mid-seven-figure deal.  The horror comedy stars Lupita Nyong’o as a kindergarten teacher defending her class against zombies.  

Neon also acquired the U.S. rights for Monos,  a thriller about a group of Latin American rebels and their American hostage.  The movie was directed by Alejandro Landes and stars Julianne Nicholson.  It received a World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award.  

HBO acquired Share, for seven figures.  It was written and directed by Pippa Bianco, who received the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.  The film is about a cellphone video that appears to show a sexual assault, which gets widely shared.  The movie was also honored with a U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Achievement in Acting.

IFC Films bought the drama Official Secrets, directed by Gavin Hood.  The movie stars Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes, and is based on British secret service officer/whistle blower Katherine Gunn, who tried to stop the 2003 invasion of Iraq.  

Babak Anvari premiered his new horror film Wounds, starring Armie Hammer and Dakota Johnson.  It’s about a bartender who starts to suffer from supernatural phenomena once he picks up a stranger’s cellphone.  Some reviewers hate it. Some hate the ending, but like the mood of it. All agree it is deeply weird. So was Hammer’s way of promoting the film: dropping fake dead cockroaches on the floor at parties around the festival.    

Amazon premiered crowd-pleaser Troop Zero starring Viola Davis, Allison Janney, and Jim Gaffigan.  Directed by Bert & Bertie, the movie is an underdog story about a girl who wants to win a national competition to get her voice on NASA’s golden record, and rallies her scout troop to help her.  

Paradise Hills might be the most surreal movie to come out of the festival.  It sounds like pure eye candy.  Vulture called it this year’s “most bonkers” Sundance movie.  It stars Emma Roberts, and features Awkwafina in a dystopian world.  

Which of these films will make it to next year’s Oscars ceremony?  

Check this blog to find out. We’ll have more news and reviews of 2019’s hottest films.  In the meantime, you can check out our coverage of this year’s Golden Globes and see how well I did at predicting the Oscar nominees.  And always remember to use the RunPee app to get Peetimes for the latest movies.

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

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

Full List (and comments) for the 2019 76th Annual Golden Globes Nominees & Winners

Golden Man’s Top Ten Films List for 2018

Are the Four Lego Movies Sequels or Prequel Films?

chris prat is emmet brickowski in the lego universe
Emmet and his awesome Lego world.

As an adult, I’m surprised at how fun these Lego movies are. Are Legos considered kids’ toys? Or are Legos  nostalgic and expensive boxed kits for adults who refuse grow up?

Let’s take a look at how each Lego movie fits into the series so far. They all have adult humor mixed in with exciting kiddy fun. Some are better than the others, narratively.

So there are four Lego movies in total, right now. But do you need to see each of the previous three to appreciate the “official sequel”? Here’s what you should know:

 

  1. The Lego Movie — This film introduces the characters in the main Lego storyline.  You need to know Emmet, Lucy, Lego Batman, Benny the Spaceman, Unikitty, and Metal Beard. This film is so much fun that you won’t regret making a watch happen to prep for the sequel. This is technically the ‘origin story.’
  2. The Lego Batman Movie – Although this seems like a standalone film about Batman and the Bat Crew, it’s difficult to place, since Will Arnett does the Lego Batman voicing in three films. Before Lego 2 came out, I was wondering how this would fit in, or if it would just be a confusing mess that viewers would have to ignore/live with. I was happy to note Lego Batman had a nice little throw-away line early in The Lego Movie 2, about how he went through love and loss in his own movie (thus being available to continue his story in the “Second” part). I’ll take anything to help me determine continuity, because my geekhood knows no bounds. If this seems confusing, just think about it this way: after Batman’s first appearance with Emmet in Lego 1, he goes on to have his own side-film. Then canonically, he returns in Lego 2, which is either the 3rd or 4th Lego movie in the series, depending on whether you include the Ninjago film. This flick can go either way – you can see it as a stand-alone ‘spin-off’ film about the earlier Batman character, or a sort of side-story that squeezes between Lego 1 and 2. 
  3. The Lego Ninjago Movie – This is the most problematic entry. Not one character from before or after appears in the other flicks (at least on the big screen; apparently there are small-screen Ninjago shows for the fans on Netflix). I’d say this is a stand-alone in the movie franchise, unless future films add the Ninjagos to the larger arc with Emmet and friends. Another note: The Lego Ninjas are teenagers, and the characters in the other films are adults. And they all live on different continents. Just saying – I’m not sure the Ninjas will be brought into the fold. A stand-alone film.
  4. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part – This picks up immediately after the original Lego film with Emmet and Lucy (and yes, Batman)…then quickly makes a five-year jump into an apocalyptic future, with our Bricksburg characters battling the super sweet, creepy Duplos from space. The official Lego sequel.

So, what Lego Movies do you need to watch before Lego 2: The Second Part?

  • You have to watch The Lego Movie (the original) to understand what’s happening with the Lego crew in 2. You just do. I’m not sure you’d understand the sequel at all if you don’t know the backgrounds of Emmet’s pals. There are so many in-jokes and half-hidden Easter Eggs; it was so full of visual gags that we had trouble finding good Peetimes. [pullquote]This is the only previous film you NEED to be up to date on in the Lego series. So that’s okay — you can safely ignore the next two.[/pullquote]
  • You can skip the Lego Batman Movie, since it has no relation to the main narrative…although if you CAN see this, you should. It’s hugely amusing, and Lego Batman’s story does continue in the Lego 2 film. Will Arnett voices all of the Batman roles, and does a bang-up job in his three films. The meta Batman voiceover during the opening logo credits is worth the ticket price right there! Good fun.
  • You can pass on The Lego Ninjago Movie entirely, since it has zero to do with the main arc, and is quite a bit more juvenile in tone, characterization, and plot. I’d say it lies within the Lego Universe, but only loosely.
[pullquote position=”right”]Altogether, all you NEED to see is the first Lego movie to understand Lego 2. [/pullquote]You can watch Lego Batman to fill in some extremely minor gaps, or miss it completely and be fine. Lego Ninjago doesn’t fit at all into the main  narrative, so feel free to ignore it entirely.

So, easy peasy. Just watch the first Lego film at the minimum to get ready. Do you agree with our assessment?

Movie Review – The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

Chris Pratt and the Lego Cast go to Space Camp

The Cast of Voices for The Lego Movie 2 – The Second Part

Lego Movie 2 Holiday Short – Christmas is Awesome

Movie Review – The LEGO Ninjago Movie (the least exciting Lego film for adults)

Quiz – The Lego Ninjago Movie – Fun kid action in the shared Lego movie universe

Golden Man’s Top Ten Films List for 2018

avengers infinity war cast
The superhero movie that broke our hearts.

2018 has been an interesting year for movies. It’s the year superheroes inspired us and broke our hearts like never before. It’s a year where diversity was celebrated at the box office. It’s also a year devoid of the usual award bait: no war movies, no Holocaust dramas, and hardly any movies about royalty. (Sadly, no romances between fish creatures and mute girls either.)

Out of all the original and unusual films that have come out this year, these are my ten favorite films, on my personal movie blog Etched in Gold: 

Golden Man’s Top Ten of 2018

And that is a wrap on 2018. Check back here to stay up to date on the latest movies of 2019. With Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, Alita: Battle Angel, Happy Death Day 2 U, and Toy Story 4 all coming up, and my Top 10 list for 2019 is already half written. 😉

Stay tuned for reviews and blog posts about those upcoming films, and remember to get Peetimes for them from the RunPee app.

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

Happy Death Day – Every “Day” We Watch, and Rewatch (Spoilers)

Happy Death Day – All the Clues to the Killer (SPOILERS)

Happy Death Day – Every “Day” We Watch, and Rewatch (Spoilers)

happy death day 2 U is a horror sequel
Live to die another day. Wait, isn’t that also from a James Bond film?

In the movie Happy Death Day, Tree is murdered on her birthday.  Instead of dying, she wakes up and has to relive the day all over again.  Tree relives the same day (and gets murdered) seventeen times. (We only see eleven of the murders because a montage is used to compress time.  We only get bits and pieces of those days.)

Here is a summary of all seventeen days and eleven murders (okay, technically one’s a suicide):

 

Tree wakes up hungover in Carter’s dorm room.  

 

During the walk of shame back to her sorority house, Tree is confronted by creepy stalker Tim.

 

When Tree gets to her room, she changes clothes and grabs her book for the class she’s running late for.  Her roommate Lori gives her a cupcake with a birthday candle in it.  Tree blows out the candle and trashes the cupcake.  “Too many carbs.”  

 

After class, Tree goes to the hospital to see the doctor she’s having an affair with.  She runs into Lori who is working a double shift as a nurse and who tries to warn her about the consequences of her actions. 

 

At the sorority meeting at lunch, Danielle and Tree embarass Becky for bringing a huge tray of food.  Carter accidentally bumps into Becky, sloshing chocolate milk all over Tree.  He further embarrasses Tree by giving her back her bracelet, confirming he’s the boy she “slept with” last night.  

 

Tree and Gregory (the sexy doctor) are almost caught when his wife makes a surprise visit to his office. 

 

That night, Tree watches TV and paints her toes while Danielle quizzes here on when she’s coming to the party.  

 

On her way to the party, Tree gets distracted by a birthday music box.  It’s a trap set by a killer wearing the school mascot mask (a creepy baby) who chases her and stabs her. 

 

Tree wakes up and is confused to be in Carter’s room again.  She does the walk of shame again.  When Tim pops out this time, she asks him what day it is.  

 

Tree leaves Lori’s cupcake on the dresser this time, the breeze from the closing door blowing the candle out. 

 

At lunch, Tree is too lost in thought to pile on Becky.  She is distracted by the spooky mascot masks for sale nearby.  Catching on that everything is repeating, Tree tries to warn Becky to look out but it’s too late.  Tree ends up covered in chocolate milk again.  This time, Carter forgets he has the bracelet and Tree has to prompt him to give it to her. 

 

At the hospital, Tree locks the door to Gregory’s office.  She tries to tell him what’s happening to her.  He starts kissing her instead.  And his wife interrupts on cue.  “Thank God you locked the door,” Gregory says.

 

That night, Tree avoids the music box and takes another path.  When she gets to the frat house, the party is a surprise party for her.  She goes to Nick’s room where he plays loud music in a dumb frat boy attempt at seduction.  While Tree’s distracted on her phone, the killer kills Nick behind her.  After a struggle with the killer, Tree is stabbed with a bong shard.  

 

Tree wakes up screaming.  She does a run of shame.  She confesses to Lori she thinks she’s going crazy.  She has already lived through this day twice.  And someone is going to kill her.  Lori convinces her to skip class and relax.  

 

That night, Tree barricades the windows and the door to her room.  Danielle’s conversation with her is from the other side of the door this time instead of face to face.  

 

Tree looks for the TV remote and finds a creepy birthday card instead.  When she looks up the TV is off.  She turns it back on.  It turns off again.  The killer sneaks up on her and stabs her.  

 

Tree wakes up screaming again.  She runs out the door.  The world is a confusing blur.  Carter comes out to give her the things she left behind, she clings to him for dear life.  

 

Tree tells Carter what’s happening.  He tells her to make a list of suspects and use her unlimited number of lives to narrow them down.  

 

This leads to a montage.

 

Tree stalks Tim for a change.  She stands outside his window and sees him watching gay porn.  Then she gets stabbed by the killer.

 

Tree wakes up and throws her phone in the trash can.  

 

Tree experiments with some pink highlights.  

 

Tree spies on Gregory’s wife from a fountain with a pair of night vision goggles.  

The killer drowns Tree in the fountain.   

 

Tree wakes up and spits out water.  

 

Tree finds the incriminating birthday card from day 3 in Danielle’s things when a passerby knocks her books out of her hands.  Tree grabs Danielle’s hair and starts a catfight.  The two girls end up in the street and a bus runs them over Final Destination style.   

 

Tree wakes up screaming.  

  

Tree does the walk of shame shameless and naked.  

 

Tree accidentally hits Becky with a bat instead of the killer.  The killer hits Tree with the bat when she leans down to check on Becky.

 

Tree wakes up in a lot of pain and has trouble standing.  She passes out before she can get out the door this time.  

 

At the hospital, Gregory tells her she should be dead from the amount of injury she’s sustained.  

 

Tree steals Gregory’s car keys, outruns the killer in the garage, and drives away.  Until she’s stopped by the police for speeding.  Thinking she’ll be safe in jail, she tells the cop she’s drunk and high so he’ll lock her up.  When she’s cuffed and trapped in the back of the cruiser, another car speeds past, killing the policeman.  Guess who’s driving?  The cop car is leaking gasoline.  The killer drops a single candle to set off an explosion.  

 

Tree takes an entire bottle of Tylenol. 

 

Carter follows her on the walk of shame and she does the Groundhog Day thing where she calls everything right before it happens.  

 

A news story about a murderer named Tombs comes on the TV while Carter and Tree are at a restaurant.  He’s at the same hospital where Gregory works.  

 

Tree rushes to the hospital.  Tombs has already killed the security guard and has a gun.  Tombs ends up cornering Tree and has her at point blank range.  Until Carter tackles him.  Tombs breaks Carter’s neck then chases Tree.  She has a chance to kill him, but then Carter will be dead forever.  So she hangs herself and resets the day one last time.  

 

Redemption Day

Tree greets Carter with a big hug. 

She borrows his pillow to cushion the fall of the frat boy who passes out from hazing every morning. 

She finally signs the petition to stop global warming.  

She tells Tim it’s okay to be gay. 

She waves back to the girl in front of the sorority house.  

She apologizes to Lori for not being a good roommate. 

She dumps Gregory. 

She brings a huge tray of food to lunch too.  And pours chocolate milk on Danielle for being a bully.  

She kisses Carter and asks him out.  

She has lunch with her father who she has stood up for the entire movie. 

 

That night at the hospital, Tree holds a knife to the throat of the guard outside Tomb’s room in order to take his gun.  

 

“This is a really bad idea,” he tells her.

 

” So is dying for the sixteenth time.”

 

Tree shoots Tombs.  

 

Then she finally eats Lori’s cupcake with Carter.  

 

Tree is distraught to find herself stuck in the same day again. 

 

Tree starts packing her things.  She’s going as far away as possible.  When Lori offers her the cupcake, Tree realizes it’s poisoned.  She died in her sleep.  Lori had access to Tombs and he was the perfect scapegoat.  Lori reveals she’s been killing Tree out of jealousy over Gregory.  

 

Tree forces the cupcake in Lori’s mouth and pushes her out the window. 

 

Carter fakes Tree out and makes her think it’s the same day again.  

 

It is Tuesday the 19th.  She made it!

 

Happy Death Day is one of my favorite recent horror films.  It’s a movie that has a lot of fun with its concept. And it rewards repeat viewings.  The scenes with Lori are a lot of fun when you know what’s going on beneath the surface.  Happy Death Day 2 U will be wicked fun with the whole cast vulnerable this time, not just Tree.  Remember to check this blog for a movie review when it comes out. And use the RunPee app to get Peetimes! 

Happy Death Day – All the Clues to the Killer (SPOILERS)

Movie Review – Happy Death Day – Very Fun, Almost Cute Horror Film

Happy Death Day – All the Clues to the Killer (SPOILERS)

happy death day 2 U is a horror sequel
Who’s the masked killer? I don’t care — just stop wearing that hideous thing…

On first viewing, the twist in Happy Death Day seems to come from nowhere.  But the filmmakers have played fair all along.  If you watch it a second time, all the clues are there for an observant audience member to piece together what’s happening.

(I’ve said it in the the title and this should be clear by now, but be aware this article contains spoilers for Happy Death Day 1.)

1.  The Killer:  There are two big moments in the movie that hint at who the killer is. 

 

On day 4, Carter tries to help Tree narrow down the list of suspects.  He asks her who knows it’s her birthday.  Thinking of the surprise party later that night, she says the whole campus.  But the only person who’s made a big deal about her birthday is Lori. 

 

Later, the killer uses a candle (or is it the whole cupcake?) to light the fire that blows up the cop car Tree is trapped in.  The only person we’ve seen in the entire movie with a birthday candle is Lori. There wasn’t even cake at Tree’s party.

2. The Motive

Lori tries to warn Tree away from Gregory when she visits him the first time.  She tells Tree her affair with the married doctor is bound to have “some pretty serious consequences.” 

 

At the surprise party, Danielle tells Tree Lori’s “boning” some mystery guy. 

 

Later, when Tree apologizes to Lori for being a bad roommate, she says she wants to hear about Lori’s mystery guy. 

 

All of Lori’s scenes are either in the dorm room or at the hospital.  And the only hot guy at the hospital is Gregory.

 

Lori’s affair with Gregory is all but spelled out.  The filmmakers make sure to bring up the “mystery guy” the second time because it’s close to the end.  That way we’ll make the connection when Gregory’s named is dropped at the climax. 

3. The Weapon

So it was Lori in the dorm room with the cupcake all along!  (And my money was on Colonel Mustard in the study with the lead pipe.  Drats!) 

 

Tree throws the cupcake away on day 1, sets it aside on day 2 without even blowing the candle out, and unwraps it on day 3 but sets it down to look for the remote.  (In a deleted scene, she drops it when she gets startled during the blackout before she has a chance to eat it.)  It’s only on Tree’s next-to-last day in that Sixteen Candles tribute scene that she finally eats the poisoned cupcake.  Who doesn’t eat a cupcake the moment it’s presented to them? A careful observer would catch on that something suspect is going on with the cupcake.

 

Happy Death Day is one of my favorite recent horror films and I love analyzing it and seeing how they put it together with a horror spin on the Groundhogs Day theme.  Stay tuned to this blog for a review of Happy Death Day 2 U, coming out on Valentine’s Day this year.  Remember to get the Peetimes for it from the RunPee app!

Movie Review – Happy Death Day – Very Fun, Almost Cute Horror Film

20 Groundhog Day Type Movies – The Ultimate Repeating Day Film List