Cinema Pancakes: Why Every Pancake Lover Should Watch This Scene

“YOU SHOULD SEE THE TOAST I COULDN’T EVEN GET IT THROUGH THE DOOR!”

Another day. Another national “fill in the blank” day. Today just happens to be National Pancake Day.

I love pancakes. I mean, I LOVE pancakes. I order them every time I go to a sit down breakfast restaurant. I grew up on them as my mom used to make us these GREAT breakfasts and pancakes were the centerpeice. Even during the week when she had work and she couldn’t make the weekend breakfast featuring those delicious cakes I found myself still being able to satisfy my pancake addiction with microwavable pancakes. So I know a thing or two about pancakes and I think I know a thing or two about movies. So let me tell you as not only a pancake lover but also a film lover…

THAT YOU NEED TO WATCH THE BIRTHDAY PARTY SCENE IN UNCLE BUCK.

Now look, obviously you need to just watch UNCLE BUCK period. It’s a classic in my opinion and one I grew up watching. John Candy is his typical brilliant self and it’s a very funny and warm movie with a great message. It also happens to feature the best looking, most outrageous pancakes in cinema history.

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JUST LOOK AT THESE PANCAKES (Image courtesy of Movie Clips on YouTube and UNCLE BUCK)

I was always fascinated with these scene. I mean, how does he make those pancakes THAT big. The patience it took, the ingredients, the flipping off the pancakes without making a huge mess. It is truly a sight to behold. This scene was always so much fun and told you something about the character of Buck. He may have his flaws, may make mistakes but he really wanted to be there for those kids and give them some incredible birthday memories. I believe if I was a kid, running down those stairs, seeing THESE pancakes, that I would definitely appreciate it. I know I still appreciate the breakfasts I grew up with and thus started my love for pancakes. It’s cool when two things you love can be combined like this. A love of pancakes + A love of film = Always remembering this scene from Uncle Buck. Now, pass the maple syrup and let’s eat!

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JUSTIN BURDEN

I Am All In On READY PLAYER ONE

“That looks alright.”

Those were my exact words to my brother after seeing the FIRST trailer for READY PLAYER ONE. The big budget sci-fi epic based on the best selling book by Ernest Cline and directed by the inventor of Summer blockbusters himself, Steven Spielberg.

The trailer didn’t work for me. Focused too much on exposition and world building than it did about feeling and tone. Don’t get me wrong I still wanted to see it mainly because of Steven Spielberg directing a Steven Spielberg movie again. Also, because I knew it had Olivia Cooke in it but for some reason she wasn’t featured at all in the first trailer.

Fast forward to my screening of BLACK PANTHER (which is amazing by the way) and the newest trailer was attached. After getting home and rewatching it I realized this trailer on YouTube was titled: COME WITH ME. That couldn’t of been a more fitting title because I believe this trailer is how the film should of been marketed all along. It made me feel something. It gave me that sense of wonder and excitement that the classic Steven Spielberg movies did. The trailer featured amazing imagery, great action set pieces, nostalgic pop culture references, Olivia Cooke’s character, and most importantly the amazing rendition of PURE IMAGINATION by GHOSTWRITER MUSIC. All the feels and I haven’t even read the book! I know, I know but I just haven’t and after the film I’m sure I might but I am excited to go into the film knowing about the film only what the trailers have shown me.

It’s hard to identify what makes a great trailer work. There are so many great trailers. Sometimes for great movies. Sometimes for good movies. And, sadly, sometimes for bad movies. I am not sure how the actual movie READY PLAYER ONE will turn out to be but I must say that the COME WITH ME trailer has me giddy excited for the film. So, in my opinion, this is a great trailer.

I could write an entire blog (honestly probably multiple) on how important Steven Spielberg films are to not only myself but to cinema. That’s actually not a bad idea, let me know in the comments if you would read that. I digress, anyway, this trailer made me feel like I was a kid again. It made me feel the same feels and vibes I would get from the great Spielberg films I grew up watching. The trailer worked on an emotional level for me and not because of the amazing tracking shot in the Deloreon, or the presence of the Iron Giant, or the reference to Mario Kart. It resonated with me and worked because of the emotional stakes this trailer finally showed us. With the earlier trailers it seemed they were trying to set up the world too much, telling you about Oasis and showing you all the pop culture easter eggs in hopes of bringing along new fans as well as pop culture afficianodos. What it was lacking, however, was a spirit. An identity. A purpose. With this newest trailer I felt that it captured that and it finally captured the tone, vibe, and heart of the film that made you think “THAT’S a Steven Spielberg film!” At least that’s what it did for me.

Moments ranging from Olivia Cooke’s “No, No, No, No” and “This isn’t just a game, I’m talking about actual life and death stuff.” to Tye Sheridan’s voiceover saying “I just came here to escape but I found something much bigger than myself. I found my friends. I found love.”. These moments not only establish our two lead characters but also establish the stakes and what the film is hopefully going to focus on the most which is finding yourself and caring for your friends and the ones you love all while being set in an incredible virtual world with high life or death stakes, villains, and set peices. Shots throughout the trailer of the different people using the VR style headsets looking on in wonder, going into Oasis and showing this incredible world, and even going back to the present Inception style with chase sequences and more grounded, realistic scenes, show the potential for a heartfelt, emotional, fun and engaging story. These are the types of films I want to see more of. As much as I love superhero films I miss the days of the blockbusters from the 80’s where it was about regular kids and people that are thrown into unbelievable circumstances and have to band together to overcome something. It’s the reason we love BACK TO THE FUTURE, THE GOONIES, E.T., etc.. I know I’m leaving out a ton of movies with these themes and other classic Spielberg films but just wanted to use these as examples about adventure films about regular kids/teenagers up against incredible odds and figuring out how to overcome them together. At the heart of these films is about finding yourself, facing your fears, relying on friends and family, and working together. All of these films have wonder and adventure and I miss these types of movies and I really hope READY PLAYER ONE achieves that level of care and feeling. If this trailer is any indication of the type of film we are going to get and the actual film captures what this trailer did I think we are in for a great blockbuster film. If it doesn’t, then it could in danger of being another film that has incredible effects and huge ideas but fails on the emotional human level.

I think 2018 is going to be a great year for Olivia Cooke, not only with this, but also with THOROUGHBREDS. I feel she is going to be the heart and soul of this film and I left this trailer even more excited that she is involved. I say this as someone who loved her work in BATES MOTEL and think she is a superstar in the making. That was another smart move by the marketing team is to focus on the other characters that will shape Wade played by Tye Sheridan in this film. It gives you that sense of unity that the 80’s Spielberg films captured so well.

I just loved this trailer and feel if this would of been the marketing from the get go, there would be even MORE interest in the film. I hope this film picks up steam, is a great film, and makes money. I want more of these films. I hope my gut instinct is right in being all in on this film now. I can’t wait to see it and I truly think it is going to be a great sci-fi adventure film for the whole family to enjoy! I’m going to trust my gut on this one and say it will achieve that. We will find out soon enough, and until then, lets enjoy the hype and build up. All I know is that I am ALL IN on READY PLAYER ONE. Are you?!

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JUSTIN BURDEN

A Performance Deserving Of More LUV

 

They often say a villain is the hero of their own story…

If that is the case then I think in 2017 we witnessed the BEST performance of 2017 in film. That performance is SYLVIA HOEKS as LUV in BLADE RUNNER 2049. I think Luv was the best villain of 2017 and one of the best villains in cinematic history. Let me explain:

Let me first just say that I loved BLADE RUNNER 2049. I think it was the rare blockbuster that made you think, feel, and ask questions. That immersed you with astonishing visuals, great performances, and with intelligence. A big budget film with A list stars that has patience and trusts the audience. These types of films are rare and with the disappointing Box Office results, they may become even more rare.

But, most people have discussed how fantastic a film this is. How much they enjoyed it. They talk about the cinematography, they talk about the direction, the nostalgia, etc.. and rightfully so, those things are what makes this film special. But the thing that stuck with me personally while watching this film, and even days and weeks later was Sylvia Hoeks’ performance in this film as Luv.

To put it simply, she was brilliant.

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Sylvia Hoeks showing incredible range as Luv in Blade Runner 2049. Official still from the movie. Property of Warner Bros.

It was an intelligent and dedicated performance. Her presence on screen was felt throughout the entire film. Any time she appeared on screen I feel the movie was at it’s very best. From her movements, to her stature, to her line deliveries, everything about her performance was so nuanced and controlled. Which made the moments of underlying rage brewing within her that much more effective. Luv was such a complex character and one I was completely fascinated by. As good as the entire cast is in this film, Luv sticks out to me for not only the above reasons but because you find yourself after the film realizing the many layers of her performance and character.

Moments that really stick out, and we are going in to SPOILER ALERT territory here if you still haven’t seen the film, are not only the scene where she is trying to get information on the location of Officer K from Lieutenant Joshi in an incredible scene. Robin Wright is very effective here and Sylvia Hoeks once again shows her incredible range in this scene alone. Going from assertive and calm, to the underlying rage finally coming out in violent ways. Throughout the film she shows this type of range and her character has such a great arc but also one that has mystery of her character that you desperately want to know more about and with repeated viewings try to figure out. Her subtle actions that give a peek into her humanity and who she is, whether it be a tear streaming down her stoic face, a look of giddy excitement when she emerges from the water with a sense joy seeing Deckard knowing (thinking) she has won, and her fight scene with Officer K has so many layers.

LET’S TALK ABOUT THAT FIGHT SCENE.

It was such an insanely beautiful scene and probably my favorite action scene of 2017. How abrupt it is when it begins, how the two characters fight in emerging water, there is something going on there that director Denis Villenueve does such an incredible job doing in his films and that is trusting the audience to notice these moments without having to explain it or overdo it. He presents this fight scene in an almost poetic and visceral sense. The fighting style of Luv in contrast to the fighting style of Officer K is a microcosm of the conflict in the entire film. The entire performance is just perfect in every sense in my opninion. My favorite moment and one I would love to know if it was scripted or improvised is the moment, SPOILER ALERT, when Luv puts the dagger in Officer K and twisting it, knowing at the time she is superior and looking at him, grabbing him, and kissing him. Emerging from him as he falls to his knees, and she backtracks with blood underneath her nose, and water streaming down her face, with the incredible line of “I’m the best one.” I still get goosebumps thinking about that moment and how I constantly remembered it as I think back on this gorgeous film. Even the way she delivers the moment of being chocked out by Officer K and her struggle and her eventual demise, the look on her face and the way Sylvia delivers so many different emotions in just one scene, and with one look.

This is incredible acting and a superstar in the making. I could go on and on about this performance and character. I can’t wait to watch the film a few more times and find even more subtle moments that can be discussed further. I wish this performance would of received more love in the supporting actor categories at all the major awards shows. I think she was extremely deserving and with the films of 2017 over with and the last major awards show coming up, The Oscars, I wanted to just one more time give support to this performance and this actress. I think it was an absolute brilliant, powerhouse of a performance and my favorite performance of 2017. I keep going back to this performance over and over and it stuck with me. Sylvia Hoeks is the real deal, and one day, I hope the awards voters recognize it.

If you enjoyed this blog it would mean a lot to me if you LIKED it and COMMENTED about it! If you want to read daily blogs about movies, tv, and pop culture FOLLOW ME! Also, if you are on Medium you can find me on there @thejustinburden. Thank you so much for taking the time to read!

JUSTIN BURDEN

Netflix Stresses Me Out

I can’t help it. Every time I log in to NETFLIX I know what’s coming. I know I will browse titles for well over 30 minutes trying to decide what I want to watch. I will keep going back to the same titles over and over kind of like when you keep opening up your refrigerator hoping new food will miraculously appear.

Now look, I’m not saying Netflix doesn’t have options. They do. They have a ton of options. Good options.

AND THAT’S THE PROBLEM!

There are times I go in to the app knowing what is on there and what I want to watch and that is a great feeling. I open it up, pick the movie, and sit back and am taken to a new world for a few hours.

However, more often than not when I open up the app, I have no idea what I want to watch. What am I in the mood for? Haven’t I already seen this one? Why am I being recommended Herbie Fully Loaded? Things like this are avoidable every time I try to find something to watch on Netflix. It becomes this stressful endeavor where nothing is popping out at me as “WATCH ME!” Or maybe it’s the fact I see something I like but then think to myself “Don’t settle, see what else is out there.” Before I know it I am on the 3rd column of “Cerebral Dark Comedies” and I don’t even remember what it was I wanted to watch in the first place. Plus, now with so much great television how do I commit to a single show? Do I start a few shows at once and alternate or do I go all in on one show and binge the shit out of it? But if I do that then the show is over and I have to wait a whole year for Season 2 so I should space it out. I guess I could start Supernatural but OMG there is over 12 seasons of that show?! I will never catch up!

I’M EXHAUSTED AND STRESSED OUT EVEN TYPING ALL THIS.

Okay, the moral of this rant is simple. I love Netflix. I love all the choices and I love how I have a huge library of movies & tv at my fingertips. I don’t, however, enjoy the fact that I become a stressed out mess while navigating the app and usually decide just to close the application! But I will come back, and Netflix knows this. Netflix knows I am too weak to stay away from all the amazing choices and I will go through it all once again in an attempt to find a way to spend my Saturday evening. I hear a lot about “Netflix and Chill” but what about people like me where it’s more like “Netflix and Stress”. Is there something wrong with me? Am I the only one who feels this way? Please let e know in the comments if Netflix has stressed you out as well, and maybe we can band together and be more decisive in our streaming movie choices from here on out! I believe in us, I believe in our decision making, I believe in film. Don’t become me, don’t stress out, pick a movie and stick with it. There is always tomorrow, and tomorrow you can watch that 80’s action flick you never watched or that new Netflix original series in one setting. Trust yourself movie fans, and learn from me.

JUSTIN BURDEN

Video Store Memories: Why Every Friday Night I Want To Go Back To the 90’s.

Streaming services killed the video store.

This is just a fact. I am not hating on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and countless other streaming services where you can rent & buy new releases from the comfort of your own home. It is convenience at it’s finest but there is one night a week where I truly, madly, desperately want to go back to the days of the video stores like Blockbuster to rent a movie. That night is FRIDAY NIGHT.

I didn’t realize it then but going to a Blockbuster or any video store was an absolute adventure filled with excitement, intrigue, and sometimes disappointment and sadness. It was just like a movie.

I grew up on watching movies with my family. Our preferred family language is movie quotes and not a sentence can be uttered without replying with some variation of a movie quote. It’s who we are, it’s what we do. The fond memories I have of that time are nostalgic, yes, but they were also an important part of growing up. There were life lessons in those video stores. On certain Friday nights we would go up to our local Blockbuster, Hastings, or even the little video store that was inside of a Wal-Mart and look for a movie to watch. The rules were usually pretty simple. We would go for a new release for the entire family to watch (this usually meant my parents decide and we enjoy) and we usually got to get a one or two from the “favorites” section which were usually 5 night rentals for .99 cents.

Friday nights in the 90’s were great. Not only did I have TGIF to watch but I also got to rent a couple of movies? It was an exciting time for a kid and an exciting time for a movie lover. You never knew what you would find at the video store. New movie releases where you had to look at the back of the cover to see what the movie was about. You scanned to see if you recognized an actor you admired “Hey, it’s the new Harrison Ford movie”. Sometimes you would even go up there with the intent of getting a new release and heading straight to the alphabetical area to rent that movie. The catch was: IT’S FRIDAY NIGHT and everyone is there to rent movies.

Friday Nights at Blockbuster was like a night club for families. You had to have a Blockbuster card to get in essentially and you had to wait in line. Every so often, if we were feeling brave, we would venture to the “horror” section. My parents were wise to this so they kept a pretty close eye on us but just going through the different aisles and discovering different movies for the first time was a very exciting endeavor.

There was a social aspect about going to the video store that I feel like we all kind of need in today’s society. Yes, it is utterly convenient to be able to stream any night of the week any movie you want. BUT, there was something cool about being at a place with other people and families doing the same thing you were doing. Sharing a smile, even if they did take the last copy of LIAR, LIAR. It was just a fun little movie adventure and there was a sense of community at the local video stores. A sense of everyone sharing this same goal of renting a movie to watch with their families after a long week of school and work. Picking out the type of candy and soft drinks you wanted while holding the movie you picked out like a maguffin in a Steven Speilberg film.

I know nostalgia has a lot to do with things like this and it is actually a lot easier on families now to just go straight home from work and stream a video all in the comfort of your home but I love that I grew up in a time where video stores were at their peak. Where I discovered new films, new actors, new candies all while sharing this space with other like minded individuals. That no matter the differences in our lives, cultures, or movie tastes that in that moment. At that Blockbuster. On that Friday night, we were all there to share an adventure of renting movies and watching them with our families that night.

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The Cinematic Rain Scene All Filmmakers Should Watch.

It wont stop raining. It is relentless.

Those are my exact thoughts as I see my front yard becoming an Olympic sized swimming pool. As I look outside at the torrential downpour I am always picturing myself in a powerful scene from a film. Rain after all is a powerful dramatic tool that filmmakers have used in their work for the longest time. If you were to ask someone “Which rain scene from the 90’s sticks out to you the most?” I am sure a lot of people would tell you “Dude, Jurassic Park! Are you kidding me? Epic scene.”

They wouldn’t be wrong that is for sure. That is one of the most legendary scenes in all of cinema. Speilberg is a master craftsman and the way he directs that scene is utter brilliance.

But I am not here to talk about that scene. I am here to talk about a scene I feel goes overlooked when it comes to great cinematic rain scenes. That scene of course, coming from the brilliant POINT BREAK. I am not talking about that bullshit abomination of a remake that I refuse to watch because the trailer alone damaged the incredible reputation that has been earned by Kathryn Bigelow’s action masterpiece POINT BREAK (1991). Having to put the year by this movie is why I hate remakes, reboots, etc.. Point Break is one of the best action films of the 90’s (which was a great decade for fun action films and before the CGI shit fest took over) and one that still holds up beautifully today.

The entire film is gripping and I could go on and on about the film as a whole but I am here today writing this blog while still listening to the rain drops on my window to talk about the incredible ending scene all set during the 50 year storm. SPOILERS AHEAD if you havent seen a film that came out in 1991.

The ending scene alone is a scene that all filmmakers should watch and study. Even without the context of the entire film it works as almost a short film, giving you details about what has come before, details that weren’t shown on screen, and details about each characters motivations and inner turmoil.

WITH the context, it becomes an essential rain scene in cinematic history. Rain should be an addition to a scene. There needs to be a reason for the rain. How many times have we seen rain in scenes where you are wondering why the hell the characters just won’t go inside. Why can’t they just have that conversation in the car. There is really no need for them to be out in the rain. All great rain scenes use rain as a necessity in the story. They use it to create atmosphere. To create drama. To create symbolism. POINT BREAK uses rain as a culmination of the entire film and in a way, symbolizing that the downpour of this storm, this rain, this moment, has been brewing throughout the entire film is now unleashed on our two lead characters. Finally having to face the cinematic downpour of their actions throughout the film.

That’s a deep way to look at it I know. In the simplest terms its raining because Patrick Swayze’s Bodhi (his best performance ever) is getting ready to catch a wave during the 50 year storm he has referenced throughout the film. If we look deeper though at how Kathryn Bigelow uses rain in this scene we can see that it not only adds drama and danger to the scene but it also adds a layer of symbolism to me that I mentioned earlier. The entire film is sunny, vibrant and bright during the day. A true summer movie. Even when the film shifts to the night sequences there is still this campfire essence to the scenes where you feel you are at a summer beach. But in this scene, we see the characters are older. Time has passed and they seem hardened, weakened, and flat out exhausted from all of the events over the course of the film. I talked about building up this moment as the “storm brewing” and to me that is not only in terms of plot, but in terms of these two men’s friendship. Their brotherhood. Their bond.

Bodhi has learned a ton from Utah throughout the film, and Utah has learned just as much and even more from Bodhi. These two man aren’t so different with how they see the world but circumstances and actions have defined them. Their relationship was built on a respect between men. A respect between ideals. A respect of one another. Utah doesn’t want to kill Bodhi, and he doesn’t even want to arrest him. He has been searching for him this whole time (the events we don’t see but are referenced in the ending between the two) not for his job, but for himself, for closure. It’s made even more evident when Utah screams to Bodhi “YOU HAVE TO GO DOWN, IT HAS TO BE THIS WAY.”

Bodhi wants to die a free man. Utah wants to be a free man.

This, to me, is the essence of this entire scene and the character arc for each of them reaching a culmination. The storm has arrived. No longer can these two men get what they want and stay friends. Stay brothers (metaphorically speaking).

That’s why this scene is so great. At this point of the film we like both of these characters. We understand them. We know why they are having this moment in the rain. It’s not just a plot device to add drama, it is where the two men had to meet up and had to have this moment. The 50 year storm was a metaphor on these men’s lives the entire film. Swayze plays it so damn brilliantly here. I truly believe he should of been nominated for an Oscar. The pain in his eyes when he realizes that maybe he is going to be put in a cage and not die a free man. When he flat out begs Utah to let him go. We see the wheels turning in Utah’s mind. A man who has been forever changed during this undercover job and realizing he doesn’t want to be controlled by this job and if he is just locking Bodhi up because that is what he has been told to do. I believe Utah went out there to catch Bodhi, but seeing him again, in person, is almost like seeing an old flame or someone you love for the first time in years. Those feelings came back and he had that realization. It’s a beautiful, tense, funny, and heartbreaking scene. The rain was part of the story and part of the characters.

I encourage all filmmakers or just fans of film to watch this film and analyze this scene in particular. Not only to show you how to build character moments but how to add things like rain and other effects to your film in a natural way and not just say “How can I get my characters in the rain for a great scene.”

And if you are ever in the rain again, and you are wanting to have an incredibly dramatic walk off from the person you are talking to, simply walk away, throw whatever it is in your hand on the floor, and as Special Agent Johnny Utah says, say “VAYA CON DIOS.”

Justin Burden

When will the last AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR trailer be released and what should be in it?

Avengers Infinity War New Trailer - Medium Post

When can we expect the last trailer and what should be in it?

I can’t believe we are only a few months out from the most anticipated superhero film of all time. For me personally, my most anticipated film EVER.

Marvel has everyone’s attention right now with the huge opening for the amazing BLACK PANTHER and the digital release and upcoming blu ray home video release of the also amazing THOR: RAGNAROK. The way they are going to keep your attention in March is by releasing the last official trailer for AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. Now look, I am not sure when the next trailer is going to come out so I don’t have some release date or some insider information that is going to be able to predict that. I do however know when the last “team up” Marvel movies have released their 2nd trailers. So before we get into what the last trailer needs to show and do lets look at when we can expect the final trailer to be released by looking back at some patterns Marvel has used in their marketing.

Let’s take a look at MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS released in 2012. According to its publication date on YouTube, the first trailer for that film was released on October 11th, 2011. The second trailer was released on, again according to YouTube, March 1st, 2012. In between those two trailers was a Super Bowl spot.

Let’s fast forward a few years to the first trailer for AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON. The first official trailer for that film was released on October 22nd, 2014. The second trailer was released on January 12th, 2015 foregoing the Super Bowl spot this time and instead releasing a short new trailer during the College Football Playoff. Then the third and final trailer was released on March 4th, 2015. See the pattern here yet?

And let’s look closely at the most recent “team up” film to get a better understanding of when we will probably see the final trailer for Infinity War. CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR released it’s first trailer on November 24th, 2015. Then released a Super Bowl spot in February and then finally released the last official trailer on March 10th, 2016.

So far Infinity War has followed these trends closely and has released its first trailer on November 29th, 2017. Then recently released a Super Bowl spot this month. If we follow the trajectory of CIVIL WAR then we can assume that the last official trailer for Infinity War will come out probably the second week of March. Most likely attached to Disney’s family friendly tentpole A WRINKLE IN TIME. So my best guess is that the final official trailer for will be released online the a few days before that film’s release and then be attached to that film throughout the weekend. Another strategy they could implement is by having a special footage trailer in IMAX screens kind of like Christopher Nolan has done with his DARK KNIGHT sequels. I feel they should maybe do something special like this considering it is a once in a lifetime type of opportunity from a marketing standpoint. How cool would it be if during the 10 year cast photo they also had an introduction to the trailer by all the major cast members at certain theaters? Or even if they had a mini documentary about 20 minutes long talking to all the people who have worked on the Marvel films up to this point and their favorite memories and moments? That would be seriously cool and would help promote the movie in a way I think the final trailer should promote the film…

NOW, TO THE FUN PART: WHAT WILL AND SHOULD BE IN THE FINAL TRAILER FOR MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR?

Let me just say that the initial footage and trailer was great and focused mainly on introducing Thanos. With his voiceover and looming presence the main focal point of the first trailer. The super bowl spot was an extension of scenes we already saw in the first trailer so what can the final trailer do to market it the film the best way possible, satisfy hardcore fans and casual fans alike, show what the story will be without spoiling anything, and living up to the incredibly high bar set by the first trailer?

My opinion: FOCUS ON THE FOUNDING MEMBERS OF THE AVENGERS.

I think the way the trailer can maximize on its impact is to double and triple down on the fact that this film has been 10 YEARS IN THE MAKING and that its all been leading to this. Really focus on Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Thor, and Bruce Banner, Natasha and Clint! This is where it all started and where its all been leading to so show the evolution of these characters throughout the films in a quick montage with some new voiceover or text referencing how monumental of a moment this is in cinematic history. Thanos needs to take a back seat in this trailer. The heroes need to be at the forefront. We need to see quick shots of all the heroes and maybe some expository dialogue by the characters explaining what Thanos is doing and how he plans to do it. That should be enough to satisfy the plot points for the casual fans. Show one or two new moments of action and character moments both on Earth, in Space, and in Wakanda to satisfy fans of all the movies, and for the hardcore fans hammer home the fact of the years and movies you have watched and committed to that its all been leading to THIS MOMENT. I think Marvel has an opportunity to not show us everything in the trailer. In fact, I hope they don’t even show that much more in terms of the action sequences and big plot points. Instead focusing on all these characters we have come to know and love.

The reason I think they should focus on the core members is simply because it is the culmination of THEIR STORIES and it all started with that post credit scene back in 2008 in the firs IRON MAN. Reward the people who have been watching these movies in theaters since then and who love them endlessly. Not by showing so much of the film in the trailer they feel they have seen it, but giving them just enough new information and scenes that will keep us talking and satisfied until release day. The beauty of it all is that we are only a few months out. In the grand scheme of things that isn’t THAT long of a wait. Remind us where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. Highlight each of the characters but don’t just do a montage of everyone who will be in it, and PLEASE show Hawkeye, Ant-Man & The Wasp, and Nick Fury. I want to see and understand the stakes of all this in the trailer. I want them to present it in a dramatic, exciting way. I want to see our favorite heroes in peril, looking concerned but without showing why they are feeling this way. Honestly, I want it to be hyped the way a movie like this should be hyped. 2 and a half minutes of memories, moments, love, fear, and excitement. I know that’s a lot to ask but that’s what I personally want to see and hope they do not give away too much of the film in the upcoming trailer and tv spots.

Finally, I just hope they treat this like the huge summer blockbuster it is. This is something we have never seen before and something I think we will all always remember and so with the big marketing push coming for this movie, with product tie ins, tv spots, a new trailer, and anything else you can think of…it all starts with THIS TRAILER. So, Marvel, make us proud and please don’t give the entire movie away and please remind everyone of how monumental a moment this is in cinematic history.

JUSTIN BURDEN

Why I am glad I still haven’t seen the Infinity War Trailer.

I want to enjoy the ride.
Look. I get it. Everyone who has attended D23 and SDCC this year were treated to an unbelievable treat if you are a Marvel Cinematic Universe fan. They showed off the first footage/trailer for the film that has been 10+ years in the making AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR.
I want to see it. Badly.
The reason I am glad I haven’t seen it yet is simple. I do not want my first experience of the footage to be from a leaked cell phone video. I have waited for this film for what seems like the longest time and I don’t want my first experience of the film to be that. Yeah you get to see the trailer, you get to join in on the conversation, and you no longer have to hear people say “MAN, IF ONLY YOU WERE THERE TO SEE THAT AMAZING TRAILER!”
So again… I get it.
I still remember when THE DARK KNIGHT was coming out and I couldn’t wait to see the footage for that film. They were promoting the first 6-8 minutes of footage (The opening scene from the film) in front of Will Smith’s zombie utopian thriller I AM LEGEND (that film should still thank Nolan and The Dark Knight for their B.O. numbers) to be played in IMAX showings. I knew I wasn’t going to see that film in IMAX and even though the official trailer was shown in regular screenings… it still wasn’t enough! I HAD TO SEE THAT FOOTAGE WITH THE JOKER!
So I searched online, and searched online until I finally found it. A leaked version taken on someone’s phone. I was disappointed. Massively so. Not because you couldn’t see the epic ness this film would be, not because the late Heath Ledger’s brilliant line “Whatever doesn’t kill us simply makes us…STRANGER.”, no. I was disappointed because I knew that I would never see that scene fresh for the first time ever again. That my FIRST impression of the opening scene would always be on that shaky cell phone footage.
This brings me to Marvel and the Infinity War Trailer. I have made no secret of letting everyone know that THIS is my most anticipated movie of all time. ALL-TIME! I have loved all of these films so much and love these characters and these stories. From seeing the evolution of Tony Stark/Iron Man through these 10 years. To watch Cap, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye grow as characters throughout this whole process has been amazing. This is unprecedented stuff here. This will never happen again. Marvel was the first company to start with the “shared universe” and they have intertwined all of these films over the past 10 years to build up to an incredible cinematic event. A conclusion to those “founding members” of the Avengers in a culmination that is going to be unlike anything we have ever experienced in a movie theater. From Phase 1 to now. Through films from Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America all the way to Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, Spider-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, all the way to the Avengers team up films… it has been an incredible journey as a fan of not only the MCU but as event films in general.
Think about it. How many EVENT films are truly left. The type of film that MUST be experienced in a movie theater. The type of film where the build up and promotion of the film is almost just as fun as the film itself. Films that they make theme park rides out of, that fast food restaurants sell toys of, where everyone from ages 5-95 know about the film. A film that will last throughout time and be talked about the same way the first Star Wars was talked about. A pop culture phenomenon featuring all the characters that have been introduced in the MCU at this point. Characters you have grown to love. Characters whose stories you are invested in. Actors, writers, directors, & producers who have brought these amazing stories and films to life. FOR THE PAST 10 years. When do films allow you to become this invested in characters for this long? This is like television seasons on the big screen. Spending this much time with these amazing characters. I am in awe of this. I am in awe of the work that has gone into the MCU and the dedication from everyone involved. For this to be the final chapter, the conclusion, the epic finale of some of these characters stories we must enjoy the hype. The build up. The promotion. The fun.
Part of that is trusting Marvel Studios to deliver the most epic film experience they can. Because once Infinity War and Avengers 4 (still untitled) come out… that’s it. The ride is over. The anticipation is gone. We would have seen the film and it becomes a memory. I trust Marvel, I trust when they say that they will release the first trailer to the public when it’s ready and want it to be perfect. I also understand the fans, trust me I am a massive MCU fan and get the frustration and impatience. I want to see it badly too. But I am also glad the people who attended got to experience it on the big screen.
No longer are movie trailers events. I used to go to the movies and was surprised when certain trailers were played and that was the only way to see a trailer for a film you were anticipating. Now everything is online. Everything is instant. Everything is streaming. Everything is now. So I may be in the minority on this, but I am enjoying the ride. I am enjoying the build up. I am enjoying the conversations. Just like I’ve enjoyed every MCU film up to this point.
I told myself when I watched the leaked The Dark Knight IMAX footage in 2008 that I wasn’t going to do that again. That I would at the very least experience the first trailer of a highly anticipated movie in full HD through my big screen tv at home. I’m going to stand by this. Everyone is different and I don’t fault you for watching the leaked trailer/footage. Me wanting to do it this way in no way is meant to imply that I am more of a pure movie fan. It simply means that I am going to enjoy this amazing journey that Marvel Studios has put us on, savoring every single moment of build up to these films, and watching the first trailer to INFINITY WAR the way the directors, cast, & crew designed it to be seen. It’s hard not to know everything about a film before it comes out in today’s digital age. With Netflix, YouTube, and other streaming services dominating the landscape right now its become easier and easier to consume movies on our phones and tablets. I want to cherish the true event films that are meant to be seen on the biggest screen possible. I want to see the trailer in the best resolution possible.
Whether Marvel should have released the footage online by now is completely up to discussion. As things stand right now, they haven’t, and the only way to see it if you weren’t there is to see a leaked version or read about someone telling you about it who has seen it. Those are our options. My choice is simple:
I am going to enjoy the ride. Are you?
Justin Burden

The brilliant Tom Cruise performance people have forgotten.

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The 2010 MTV Music Awards wasn’t your typical awards show…

That’s because it was sort of hosted by Tom Cruise.

Well… kinda.

Technically, Aziz Ansari hosted the 2010 MTV Movie Awards but if you remember the advertisements and the show itself, you know that Les Grossman was the real host that night. I’m not even sure if Tom Cruise was there that night because he embodied this character in the same way he embodied him in August of 2008 when Tropic Thunder was released. Les Grossman was one of the highlights of that hilarious film. I personally think Tropic Thunder is one of the smartest, funniest, and flat-out fun comedies I have seen in the past decade. In a film where Robert Downey, Jr. plays an Australian actor who surgically becomes the black Sargeant Lincoln Osiris because he is that dedicated to the role (he doesn’t drop character until he has done the DVD commentary) it would have been tough for another performance to stand out.

But there was another performance in that film that stood out. Big time.

Tom Cruise played the greedy studio executive Les Grossman in such a brilliant way and under so much prosthetic makeup that a ton of people didn’t even realize it was him until the ending credits. This is what I love about Tom Cruise as an actor. As an artist. As a performer. He gives 100% every film. Say what you will about his films, his performances, his off-screen behavior you cannot deny the fact that this man gives everything to the craft of acting and for the history of film.

Legend has it that it was Tom Cruise’s idea for Les Grossman and that once the character was established, Cruise couldn’t get the script out of his mind. So he called Ben Stiller to play the role of Les. Not only was it his idea for the role, but he wanted Les to have GIANT hands. When the film finally came out people were left talking about the brilliant comedic turn that Cruise gave in the film. Praise for his performance was everywhere and there were even discussions from the studio to make a Les Grossman spin-off film.

But there was a performance 2 years later that would be overlooked. That most do not remember, talk about, and is very hard to find clips of it online for (I searched on YouTube for a bit and could only find a clip or two).

That performance was when it was announced Les Grossman would be at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards. Not Tom Cruise, but Les Grossman. (seriously I remember all the advertisements featuring Cruise as Grossman and the opening number was Cruise as Grossman). As hilarious as Aziz Ansari is it seemed as Grossman was the true host of the night.

Think about that for a second. At the time the MTV Movie Awards was one of the biggest pop culture staples of the summer. The biggest stars attend to receive awards as voted on by the fans and to promote their new films. The past hosts have been anyone from Lindsay Lohan, to Justin Timberlake/Sean William Scott, to Jimmy Fallon and I am leaving out the mega stars that hosted when the first MTV Movie Awards were broadcast. But in 2010 they give the stage to a supporting character in a film released in 2008. That is fascinating.

Grossman did not disappoint. I wasn’t able to find the footage online but I remember vividly during the opening sketch, that Les is training the new karate kid (Jaden Smith) with father Will Smith looking on. Les proceeds to teach the student to finally get him in an arm hold, and Les says, again maybe this isn’t the exact quote but along the lines of, “FINISH IT!” Will nods is head. Young Jaden breaks Les’ arm! It was this kind of opening that proved that Tom Cruise would not be making an appearance tonight, instead, giving 100 percent in to the role just like he always does, it was the night of Les.

Not once did he break character. He was not only heavily involved in the marketing of the event (ads included his interactions with celebrities such as Robert Pattinson) but in the performances as well. He got on stage to do his famous Tropic Thunder dance, then shortly after joined by Jennifer Lopez for a dance routine for her song “Get Right”. He even showed up on the big video screen to yell at the guys from the Hangover singing “Stu’s Song”. He was everywhere and was the highlight of the entire evening.

I don’t remember any of the awards handed out that night. I do not remember who else presented or performed. Hell, I didn’t even realize until writing this that Aziz was the “host” of the awards. That’s because Tom Cruise did what he has done his entire career… GAVE 100% EFFORT AND DEDICATION TO THE ROLE FOR THE AUDIENCE. 

I respect that so much about Tom Cruise. He gives so much to the art form that is filmmaking. He loves making movies and loves his fans. You see that with every single film he makes. This night at the MTV Movie Awards was no different. He treated this night as he would the next installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise. That is something to celebrate and admire.

I hope more people remember the 2010 MTV Movie Awards but maybe this is the way Les would want it. The legend lives on with people like myself who can say “I was there! I saw Les, did you see what he did, let me tell you about!”. With the spin-off film off the table we may never see another Les Grossman performance. Ever. So, it’s important, almost necessary, for people who have had the pleasure of seeing the brilliance that is Les Grossman, to shout it from the rooftops. Thank you Les, for the incredible & memorable performances, I truly remember them and the 2010 MTV Movie Awards was one of my favorites because of you!

…and thank you Tom Cruise. For the impact you have made on film. Tell Les I said hello.

Written & Published by Justin Burden

https://justinburden.com

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