So it’s no secret that the summer blockbusters of 2019 have been underperforming at the box office this year, unless you’re a Marvel movie there’s a good chance you just ain’t makin’ the boatloads of easy cash off of eager hungry consumers like you used to!! So far we’ve had some big flops and under performers in theaters this summer, Hellboy, X-men: Dark Phoenix, Men In Black International, Godzilla: King of The Monsters, Shaft and I’m sure a few more flops to come.
It almost seems that after the extravaganza of ‘Avengers: Endgame’ people just ain’t that impressed with what Hollywood’s a pushin’! So what the heck gives here? I’ve got 5 reasons why I think people just ain’t buyin’ what big ol’ Hollywood’s selling!
Bland, Soulless, Predictable & Safe Storytelling
One thing I’ve noticed over the recent years is that these big ass summer blockbusters don’t bring much new to the table, instead of setting trends they now play off of what’s trending on social media etc to try and ensure they make maximum profit. It’s clear to audiences that they’re being marketed to and a lot of the themes we see in current movies feel a bit forced into the narrative. The plot lines feel predictable & safe, being very careful not to push the boundaries. However, nobody likes to feel pandered to, especially just to make a quick buck. Today Hollywood blockbusters feel a bit too calculated, like a Mcdonald’s happy meal version of a movie. It tastes good for a moment but doesn’t provide much real nourishment. These huge movies need to set trends again and take more risks. Most of these stories being told on the big screen now follow a rigid formula, it’s time to shake things up a bit and develop some compelling content that will blow audiences minds & keep them thinking long after they leave the theater.
Cinematic Politics & Social Media Movie Battles
Sure social media can be a cool way to connect with friends all over the world but it’s also caused a major political rift in movie fans, especially online. Everyone has a damn platform and everyone’s ready to state their opinion for the whole world to hear. The landscape of politics (here in the USA at least) is a gigantic mess, people are more than ready to call each other names and insult each others political beliefs any chance they can and then some. If you’ve noticed now there’re Youtube channels whose main focus is to tear down movies that they feel promote left leaning agendas and vice versa. Now we’ve got boycotts & petitions galore that are raging against movies from angry fans who think they’re promoting a threatening political views. We’ve got Hollywood directors & industry people arguing with angry fans on twitter about their movies and political leanings. When a movie’s released people immediately jump in to examine what side of the political spectrum it falls upon & then get bent out of shape about it on their social media platforms. Most claim they want to go to the movies to escape from the worries of today’s society, but people are so divided (and making good profit off that anger on their platforms) these days and I’m not seeing this trend dying down any time soon. At least until we get a new damn President!
Poorly Planned Franchise Reboots & Sequels
There’s a lot of bad, uninspired franchise sequels and reboots out there these days making their way into theaters. Hollywood is trying their hardest to capitalize off of nostalgia these days. It seems they think that if they simply slap say ‘Star Wars’ brand on a movie that it’s gonna mean butts in seats at the cinema. Not the case, people are clearly smarter these days when it comes to their choice of entertainment. Lots of franchises attempting to reboot with younger “hip” stars and leaving the old actors in the dust. I mean what really is ‘Men in Black’ without Will Smith? How about Star Wars with crusty old grumpy Luke Skywalker that barely lifts a finger in the movie? Or the Ghostbusters without any of the original characters starring in it to properly pass the torch? Hollywood is a bit clueless when it comes to how to execute these sequels, fans want to see a respectful portrayal of classic older characters who’re set to pass the torch to younger generation. Some of these reboots/sequels actually seem downright disrespectful to the original characters, sweeping them under the rug as quickly as possible to usher in the new characters. There needs to be a class taught to all of these clueless Hollywood executives on how to successfully pass the torch in a franchise. If you take a crap on a beloved franchise the fans of it will roast your ass on social media. The fans today have more power than ever and it’s a new angle that’s got Hollywood baffled.
Spectacle over Story
It’s kinda crazy now, almost every blockbuster movie franchise has been trying to set up a cinematic universe because they think they can reap the same benefits as the MCU does. However what most of these franchises get wrong is that they simply haven’t spent the time worldbuilding building the way Marvel has over the the last 10 plus years. Most of these failing franchises spend their movie’s runtime trying to set up the next sequels rather than telling a compelling story with top notch character development. Instead they simply litter the movie with a bunch of shiny, glossy CGI & flashy explosions convinced that lone is enough to entice movie goers to get all amped up for their planned spinoffs. Well listen up Hollywood, going to the theaters is expensive and people just aren’t as dumb as you seem to think they are, yeah we got options these days with all the streaming content out there. Movies better step it with their storytelling otherwise we’re gonna stay home! So many of these franchise are dumbed down to a level that just won’t entice the masses like they used to. We want original stories, not rehashed plots from previous movies in the franchise. Sure the spectacle can be fun, but there’s a certain over saturation of mind numbing movies out there now and yours better be more than just fluff. Stop trying to predict what the masses are going to eat up and spend some time writing stories we haven’t already heard. Most of the movies feel like they’ve been looking at what’s trending on twitter and writing a story around that. I’ll say it again, Hollywood needs to set the trends again rather than blindly trying to follow them.
Star Power Ain’t What it Used to Be
Back in the 1980’s blockbusters were a just as big a deal but they usually had one thing going for them that’s missing today-star power. People would rush to the movies just to see Stallone or Schwarzennegar do their thing. It was an event. Not so much today, the days of larger than life celebs has somehow died, putting one of the stars of say the Avengers franchise in one doesn’t automatically equally box office gold. I’m not sure what changed over the years but people are far less starstruck than ever before. This means Hollywood has got try even harder to put something out that feels fresh and original, a good cast is still important but it’s clearly NOT a deal breaker anymore.
I’m going to voice my opinion here quick on The Oscars this year, there’s been a lot of complaints and controversy about it this time because of it’s lack of racial diversity in it’s list of nominees. Here though at Universal Dork the awards are a simple process. I’ve seen a LOT of movies this year and there were some damn good ones, but when we think of the Oscars there’s certainly a “type” of movie that’s normally the winner. For instance I’d probably include ‘Krampus’ or ‘What We Do In Shadows’ on a list if I were in charge of shit. Well we all know that THOSE types of movies aren’t Oscar material so looking on to the big major heartfelt/drama flicks of 2015 one movie comes to mind that just feels right to me, without even having to consider race and really solves all the problems people are having this year with the Oscars. That movie is ‘Creed’.
Yep I honestly don’t think there’s any movie in 2015 that fits the bill of deserving best picture. This movie was the only flick that actually caused me to well up in tears more than once. Yeah and it’s a Rocky movie! I’d go on to say that this one is just as powerful as the first. It brings the movie full circle but isn’t a carbon copy of the original, it delivers quite an interesting story and continues the saga of the Rocky franchise in a truly realistic and heart wrenching/warming tale.
Heck, director Ryan Coogler should most definitely be up for best director too, seriously, they need to give this film a ton more love for everything he put into it. Writer, director, screen play, he made it happen and did a brilliant job. So I’m baffled Coogler & the movie weren’t even nominated. Both should be on the nominations list and it should win best picture. Period.
Next I think it’s main star Michael B. Jordan should undeniably be up for best actor this year. It’s a crime he didn’t make the list. He’s come a long long way as an actor and in the case of Creed he’s the perfect actor to play Apollo Creed’s son. He’s so convincing in the role I think any other actor may have made this movie feel like an inside joke. Jordan takes the franchise and runs with it in his own direction and gives us all a completely new breed of underdog to root for. So yeah everyone bitching about the “Oscars so white” should be demanding Jordan’s presence instead of whining about Ice Cube Jr. in the bland retelling of N.W.A.’s “real story” in ‘Straight Outta Compton’. Performances don’t come much better than Jordan’s. So yeah the Oscar’s fucked up big time.
Lastly if Stallone at least doesn’t take home the “Best Supporting Actor” award home with him for his portrayal of Rocky Balboa in Creed then we’ll have another crime on our hands! At least he got a nomination, the fact that he didn’t win best actor for Rocky back in 1977 is ridiculous. Hell, Sly should have won best actor for First Blood and his role of Balboa in 2006. Let’s face it ‘Rocky Balboa’ was a fantastic movie as well, but somehow Stallone topped his performance there in last year’s Creed. He goes well beyond the distance here giving his best performance perhaps of his career. Stallone brings the legacy of Rocky Balboa here to new heights and it’s clear his heart was in it 110%. Sly’s is an incredible actor, director and writer. It’s a shame he’s not given more real cred by so called film critics. Perhaps this year at least he’ll get what he deserves finally, an Oscar. You messed up big time this year Hollywood….
I’ve been doing little movie nights at my shop Hollywood Babylon here in Portland, Oregon quite regularly now and I thought it’d be cool to start doing reviews of the flicks that we watch. I’ve gotta say investing in a projector is really one of the best things you can do if you’re a movie buff! The shop transforms into a mini theater and we can get as rowdy as we want! Often we try to pair an old and new movie together in hopes of ultimate cinematic bliss which is a hard task when you’re often trying to view something that’s new to everyone there. So last night seemed promising as we started off with a rare french flick from 1989 called:
“3615 CODE PERE NOEL” aka DEADLY GAMES, GAME OVER
What a treat this one was, I had meant to get this one this year for Christmas but it’s a hard one to track down at least with English subtitles or in real physical form. I don’t do the whole online downloading very often so I went to Ioffer.com which is your best bet for finding really rare movies “on DVD” unfortunately it didn’t arrive quite in time for Christmas this year.
3615 code Pere Noel or as it’s also known as “Deadly Games” is a total gem of a basically lost and forgotten 1980’s french holiday horror movie. The movies plot is simple and awesome. There’s a poor weird bearded guy who’s wandering the streets looking for children to “play” with during Christmas time and he lands himself a job at big time department store as their Santa Claus. Bad move because this dude is bat shit crazy and it’s not long before some little kid sitting on his lap tells him him she “doesn’t like his face”.
This sends him into an abusive rage which ends up getting the weird dude fired and sets him on course to our protagonist’s giant castle mansion. Yep the hero of this film is one cool ass nine year old kid who lives in a crazy mansion that’d make Ricky Schroder from Silver Spoons jealous! Continue reading
Been really digging what I have seen lately on the the upcoming “Automata” trailer starring Antonio Banderas! Can you believe it? I have a bit of a soft spot now for Antonio after seeing him in the latest Expendables movie, where he totally stole the show. Now we all can officially forget about the terrible pile of robotic bull shit that was I, Robot from 2004, you know the one with The Fresh Prince prancin’ around like a wise ass dipshit?! Here we have something that really looks quite a bit closer to Isaac Asimov’s vision, at least by the trailer, which is quite impressive.
It for starters blends some amazing special fx both digital and practical the way that it should have been done in the first place. Second it looks like it’s got a bit more heart and mind to it as well and even reminds me a bit of Blade Runner in the best ways possible. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet for this check it out, this looks like Sci-Fi done just the way I like it…
So Guardians of the Galaxy is all the rage suddenly! The movie is on it’s way to being a HUGE hit for Marvel. Well I’m sure that’s got all the big wigs in Hollywood and at Marvel thinking about what the next big thing is gonna be. It seems that the characters in these movies really don’t have to be A-list characters to hit it big time. Maybe you Avengers aren’t quite as special as you thought you were huh?! Well listen up Marvel and Hollywood, fear not, because I’ve got the 5 superhero teams who who got the muscle to score you another blockbuster! Forget about the X-men, forget about the Justice League, The Avengers? Ha! old fucking news! There’s really only so much of Captain America, Thor and Iron Man that we can take! Here are five lesser known teams that could be the next big thing on the big screen!
5. The Defenders: This is Marvel’s safest bet, The Defenders are the B-list Avengers and always have been. But through time they’ve embarked on some of the most downright bizarre adventures in comic book history. This is because of one character in particular, at the core of the group is Doctor Strange, who Marvel is already getting ready to cast into his own feature film. Also in the group is The Hulk, an Avenger who people now are demanding more of on the big screen, ad on The Silver Surfer, who’s one of the coolest characters ever and lastly Namor, the first Marvel Mutant and you’ve got the perfect team to head into truly Strange territory in the movies.
This movie I have no doubt will at some point be made and if you have any doubt that this could be a great big screen adventure take a moment to read The Defenders mini series from 2005 it’s the perfect reference point to success! It’s jam packed with action and some really great comedy, mostly revolving around the Hulk’s sex life!
4. The Exiles: This was a great series that was designed as a “What If?” comic for X-men fans, it involved the team traveling to different dimensions, times and alternate realities. It was kinda like Quantum Leap with superheroes. We have already seen that the alternate timeline stuff works quite well for movie fanatics lately so why not give this team a shot at some big screen glory? You get some weird mashed up versions of popular characters that would sure to quite interesting as well. The Exiles were hired to fix broken realities and the team originally consisted of Blink (Clarice Ferguson, from the Age of Apocalypse), Mimic (Calvin Rankin), Magnus Lensherr (son of Magneto and Rogue),Thunderbird (John Proudstar), Nocturne (Talia Josephine “T.J.” Wagner, daughter of Nightcrawler and Scarlet Witch), and Morph. How’s that for a stellar line up?
3. The Invaders: Ok, how cool was it that the first Captain America movie took place in the 1940’s? Let’s face it this is an awesome era to tell comic book stories-and with the backdrop of WWII it’s the perfect place to kick some Nazi ass-something people never get tired of seeing! We already got a tease of a loose version of the team in the first Captain America movie, but sadly the team didn’t sport costumes or get much development. JJ Field was even cast in the movie as Montgomery Falsworth, who becomes “Union jack” one the most prominent and awesome members of the team.
The movie version could be a mix of The Howling Commandos who had some of it’s members in the Cap movie as well(Dum Dum Dugan!). The movie could take place after Cap’s death and maybe even be developed in the “Agent Carter” Tv series before it hit the big screen. This one would be huge and could take them on an Indiana Jones-esque type of adventure battling the likes of, Baron Zemo, The Hate Monger, Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker, The Master Man & Baron Blood!
2. Alpha Flight: I’m not sure how many times I have to say it-Alpha Flight is just begging to be a big screen smash!! These guys have been a fave of mine since I was a little kid. They’re the Canadian X-men for cryin’ out loud! The movie could have strong ties with the X-films, heck Hugh Jackman could even be in it when Wolverine was a member of the team! The finale of the flick could be when Wolverine goes a-wall and the Flight chases him down ultimately clashing with our very favorite movie X-men! How awesome would that be?
Also visually seeing Sasquatch in action alone would be worth it! Plus Marvel could be the first to introduce the most bad ass first full-on gay superhero to the silver screen-Northstar! This one has success written all over it and the team is always filled with a ton of drama-just read the first 12 issues of the original 1980’s John Byrne run, it’s golden…
1. The Great Lakes Avengers: This one is the one. The Great Lakes Avengers has all the ingredients of big time hit. It’s got heart, drama, a ton of comedy and one other thing going for it the word “AVENGERS” in it’s title. So who are these guys you might ask? Well they are a midwest superhero team that forms in Milwaukee Wisconsin!! They’re huge fans of the Avengers and decide they want to give the superhero stuff a shot themselves. The only problem is that this team is band of regular joe type people with weird superpowers who’ve got zero cred and really zero experience in costumed crimefighting. Think of the movie as a cross between Kick-Ass and Mystery Men. This would be a great one for Edgar Wright or someone who could write something truly hilarious with some well cast comedic actors.
We could get a few cameos from the other real Avengers as well, unintentionally blowing these guys off on the street. Then, the team who we follow from the beginning, as leader Mister Immortal (who no matter how badly he’s injured, can’t die) assembles them all from ads on telephone poles and Craig’s List . He eventually gets them all in to deep with a major Marvel villain, this is where things get serious. This could be one of the most funny superhero movies ever and at the same time have some good serious drama and action as well. Plus it seems that one of it’s members Squirrel Girl already has quite a cult following-To not jump on this now would be a crime Marvel-make it happen!!! Still don’t believe me check out The Great Lakes Avengers trade “Misassembled” from 2005 it’s proof of my claims!
We keep hearing about how worried Hollywood is that the huge blockbusters are going to flop since the mega poop bomb “The Lone Ranger” dropped into theaters. What’s the deal I wonder? Is all this worry for nothing? Is Pacific Rim going to be the the next big thing or the next big monster turd?! I can only really speak for myself and that’s that I’m kinda all blockbustered out already. For me Iron Man 3 was the cream of the crop and after seeing a few more big glossed over CG stuffed over hyped films I’m currently not feeling that there’s anymore room in my stomach for more fluff!
Could it be that I’m not the only one? Because I feel as if maybe, just maybe people might be looking for a bit more from their summer movies? Even a movie like Pacific Rim, done by my man Del Toro for some reason hasn’t really gotten me fully amped up and at this point I’m not really sure I’ll even see it at the big theater. That movie should technically should have me salivating at the mouth but for some reason it hasn’t quite ignited the spark, even with all the hype. Now maybe what I’m really saying is that a lot of these blockbusters simply have no soul and are purely there to feed the cash cow. However, early reviews of Pacific Rim seem to be pointing to the opposite of my assumptions.
Perhaps I shouldn’t second guess Guillermo? From what I have heard in the last couple days it’s got more than a bunch of big shiny CG (though it’s got it’s fair share of that) it’s got heart. So perhaps I’ll jump back in the blockbuster game again or hell maybe I’ll see The Conjuring instead? It’s gotten some great reviews thus far from a ton of horror sites..It might be a breath of fresh air to see a great little horror flick in the midst of rubbery cg monsters and explosions….then again? Hmmm….
I just saw Iron Man 3 last night and I loved it! I would go as far to say that it’s as good as or better than the first movie. I’m quite certain you don’t need a full report from me about what I loved about the film, as there’s more than enough online about the movie that could end up being the highest grossing film of all time. Instead I would like to address something that kinda floored me about the film. That being number one, The Mandarin. So if you haven’t seen the movie, STOP right here.
Major spoilers ahead!
I was completely taken by surprise with the film’s big twist. The Mandarin was not The Mandarin at all. Instead it was shockingly revealed he was a bumbling drunken actor that was hired to play the part of the worlds most hated and feared terrorist. This was an incredible twist which immediately had me thinking. What was Hollywood trying to tell us? Was Shane Black letting us in on the big secret? For years I have had my doubts about the events surrounding 9/11. I wouldn’t say I am a conspiracy theorist but I would say I do believe a conspiracy was and still is afoot regarding that tragic day in American history. One thing which I’ve always been skeptical about was Osama Bin Laden.
Everything about the man and his relation to the USA in the past, his family relations to our Gov’t and his “Death” a couple years back. I always felt something was off with the official story of his demise. There are so many interesting theories about the man, mainly that he died in 2001 of kidney failure. This also combined with strange inconsistencies in his recorded messages over the years have lead many people wonder if Bin Laden was really an evil mastermind in a cave in Afganistan. You add the fact that there is absolutely zero proof he was actually killed by Navy Seal Team Six. No body. No pictures. No video of the raid. Nothing. not even one solid story of “what went down” at “the raid”. Just the official word from Obama that it happened. The most dangerous enemy of the United States would have been worth so much more alive if he was who they claimed he was yet we’re supposed to believe we just killed him with no questioning? The guy was never even indicted for 9/11. So Who really was Bin laden?! Was he a manufactured comic book style villain? The ultimate “evil doer”? or was he merely a man just like The Mandarin?
The Iron Man 3 Mandarin was clearly based on Osama Bin Laden and to me the reveal felt like a message to the people that mirrors perhaps our own reality. Governments all thru history use their own propaganda to push forward their agendas. Some may even manufacture real life “villains” for the public to hate & fear. Iron Man 3 gave a some food for thought to the mainstream. Revealing that many times villains can be made on a small sound stage, that governments and corporations can have a hand in orchestrating events to move along agendas and keep the public scared. Even though we didn’t get the legendary evil Mandarin from the pages of the comic books we got a Mandarin who’s far, far more chilling than any super villain. We got a glimpse into our own possible reality here in the real world….
Here’s an excellent excerpt from the BBC’s “The Power of Nightmares” perhaps Shane Black was a fan?