Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Review: "Bad Boys For Life" is a surprisingly rowdy third entry in this series.

Bad Boys For Life Review
Color me shocked.

This series has gone three for three, in the most unlikely trilogy I can imagine.

I guess I shouldn't be that excited, because I have been enjoying the "Bad Boys" series since its beginning. I know its cool for some people to rip on Michael Bay, but the honest truth is that I've enjoyed Michael Bay's work much more often then the average critic. Hey, what can I say? I watch certain movies for specific reasons. I see no fault in just turning your brain off for awhile to enjoy some glorified trash. Out of all the director's working in film right now, it's always seemed like Michael Bay was the most fun to play action figures with when he was a little kid, and he never quite grew up. Well, he may have learned all there was to know about sex, but other than that, he never grew up. That comes loud and clear in the movies he makes. There is nobody better at making things go boom in the stupidest ways then Mr. Bay.

"Bad Boys For Life" was not directed by Michael Bay, even though he does appear as a Wedding MC in the movie. This third entry is directed by the team Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah, I am unfamiliar with this team but they sure do a good job. You'll notice the action in this movie is, shall we say, tamer. Do you remember the action in Michael Bay's first two movies? Do you know Bay's action in anything he's ever created? It gets to be a little relentless after awhile. The scene in "Bad Boys 2" during the car chase near the end where Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are just banging their Humvee through a small Cuban town and everything is just blowing up. Man. It's fun stuff, but it feels like stuff manufactured by a 10-year-old. I hope using the word tamer doesn't automatically dull your interest in this. "Bad Boys For Life" is still packed with fun and there is plenty of action. There's plenty of stupid action too. I mean, a man tackles a giant, heavy pillar by himself.

The movie begins with the typical banter between Smith's Mike Lowry and Lawrence's Marcus Burnett is pretty classic. Lowry is driving a nice car really fast, and Marcus feels like throwing up. But he can't throw up in Lowry's nice car. They are going to a hospital, turns out Marcus' daughter has just had her first child. Guess who the father is? Just guess. It's Reggie. You know the guy who took her out on a date when they were teenagers and Lowry and Marcus gave a hard time to? Yep, Reggie is back, despite everything that happened to him. Played by the exact same actor. It made me laugh out loud.

That's definitely the reoccurring theme in this movie. Getting old, getting ready to retire, even though you love your work so much. Getting to the time where you are a ready to settle down. No matter how mighty we think we are, we can only go so hard for so long. Marcus is ready to retire, in fact Chief Howard (Joe Pantoliano is back!) is pretty much pushing for it. But when Lowry says they are bad boys for life, they are bad boys for life. Lowry continues to live life in the fast lane, never planning on slowing down, never wanting something constant, someone to share things with in a meaningful fashion. It's starting to strain their friendship a bit.

Things get even more complicated when Lowry almost dies. He is shot by a mysterious assailant. The same assailant just broke his mother out of prison. Jacob Scilio plays Armando Amas, and he is the main villain of the movie. He's got a past with Lowry and he's quickly bringing the entire Miami underworld under his control. Will Lowry find this guy? Will Marcus get out of retirement to help him?

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are as perfect as ever. They are continually funny, continually thrilling and they also sell the material that aims to be more serious toned. What I was surprised by was Vanessa Hudgens shows up as a new officer and she actually does good work here. Good enough that it never derails the movie in any sort of fashion. Alexander Ludwig of "Vikings" fame also is very funny playing a new star-studded officer on the good guy team. Who knew. Everybody here does solid work, and roll with the fun of it all.

If I had one reservation, it that the movie gets a little wacky with its reveals near the end of the movie. I don't want to give anything away, but when the movie gets into exposition overdrive, I am not sure it lands every single punch. I think the ending tries a little bit too hard to be clever, and goes a little out of its way to try and be shocking. The movie is framed around a mystery, which can be fun when it is properly crafted. I just didn't find the big reveals at the end to be all that exciting and it hurt what would have been a fun picture. Michael Bay may not put lots of intellectual thought into any of his movies, but the "Bad Boys" movies in particular are the definition of stupid fun. I certainly don't mind that this movie is trying something new, I applaud the effort. I just don't know if they quite stuck the landing, it just feels like an information pile-up that's too little, too late.

Well, buckle up folks. We have an entire trilogy of this big ball of awesome and I can't believe it a real thing. I hope that we can check in on Lowry and Marcus at least once a decade, since that seems to be the trend. There is no stopping this bunch apparently. 


Monday, January 27, 2020

Too Late To Make New Years Resolutions?

Do you remember April 4th 2013?

To most, it was probably an inconsequential date, but for me personally, it's a date I won't forget. It certainly felt like a normal day at first though. I had just gotten home from work. It was from a job I was still fairly new to, but I was certainly liking it and making the most of it every single day. It was a normal day, not much out of the ordinary. When I returned to the my home, the TV was already turned on, and there were tons of stories about Roger Ebert. He seemed like he was everywhere. I suddenly got a very bad feeling in the pit of my stomach and I was hoping what I was thinking wasn't going to come true. Sadly, it had. Roger Ebert had passed away.

I had felt like I knew who Roger was at a very young age. As far back as I can remember, there are memories of watching his program on television, with Gene Siskel by his side, rating the movies. Talking about the films that were coming out. Giving them the thumbs up or thumbs down or some kind of combination in between, then the debates began. It was never short of captivating and I feel like it made me appreciate film criticism at a young age. Anybody can have an opinion and all those opinions are valid. But that doesn't automatically make everybody a critic. I began to learn the history of film, what inspired who and how it all became important.

I certainly wouldn't call myself a critic. I'm just another guy spewing his opinion everywhere, and I definitely like the website I've created. The evening of April 4th, that was what my girlfriend (now my wife) were discussing all night. The passing of Roger and how cool it would be if I did something like that. So I just decided that I would. Thus, You, Me and Movies was born. A place where I could jot down my opinions on movies, write reviews and thoughts on trailers and news. Roger Ebert inspired me and I just thought that my opinion should be part of the mix, whatever that mix might be. Plus, after college, many of my friends were gathering hobbies. It was kind of weird in those days after college when you had no more homework, not tons of text to read, not anymore tests to study for or long papers to write. I was bored at night most of the time, so I thought this would help that a little bit.

I would be lying though if I didn't think, deep down, that I'd love to make the thing monetary somehow. I just didn't quite know how. I tried adding Google Addcents to my blog, but since most of my readers hail from the same general area, Google thought I was making some kind of get-rich-quick scheme and not even a month after I installed it, Google took it down. I tried to repeal, but it didn't work. I remember in the early days of the blog, I was writing quite a bit, all the time, usually two or three posts a night. I loved doing it, but I did want to get notice somehow. Even though I didn't really get how to do it.

It's a new year, its a new decade. This blog isn't quite ten years old yet. But I have to say that I am not commercially minded anymore. I like the writing that I do, and I like the audience I have. Your words of encouragement have easily kept me going. I don't write nearly as much as I did when I first started, simply because my life has changed, and I am not trying to do the things I tried to do earlier. For one thing, entertainment sites are about a dime a dozen these days. In addition to Ebert, I read several online movie review sites growing up, and I thought if some Joe Schmoe can build a site, I probably can to. The thing is, most of those sites were born in the 90's. Do we remember what was happening in the 90's? The internet was booming then and it was a very different place back then compared to now. The internet doesn't particularly need any more entertainment sites and the studios have really taken a hold of what gets released as news. Plus, most newspapers and websites pay new writers by exposure. As in, you're hired, you have a job, but you get no money, just a platform to write words for. I can't imagine doing something like that. I'm not a teenager anymore. I have a wife and a daughter and another one on the way. I can't even think about doing something like that.

Not that I care. For the last few years, I've let this hobby of mine become very familiar to most other sites on the web. That wasn't exactly what I had in mind. So now, in 2020, I am going to begin to go back to what I wanted this hobby of mine to be. You, Me and Movies isn't going to be just a rundown of what is being released now, because those aren't the only movies I care about. I plan to deep dive into a huge host of movies. A year ago, I teased my Top 1000 movies of all time. That list is still coming. It's a big list, obviously, and just thinking about what does and does not qualify has taken longer than I thought it would. But that's okay. I don't have deadlines. I didn't set one. I am slowly having fun putting it together. The good news is that its getting closer to being finished. That's key, because its going to be the lynch-pin for the future of this site. There are movies from all sorts of years and decades on that list, and once the list is published, we are going to slowly break the list apart and talk about each movie that appears on the list.

It's not just the new that is terribly important to me anymore. It's sad that we have a popular culture right now that is only obsessed with what is coming out right now. We are constantly fed, and fed, and fed information and trailers and casting news and TV spots for a big event movie up until its released. Once its released, it feels like its put out of our memories to make way for the next big thing. It's like Hollywood looks at us like we are a bunch of junkies just constantly looking for the next high. I think that's really weird. I think there's value in looking at movies of all years and throughout all of cinema's history. There's limitless experience to behold there.

Now, if you are laughing at this article right now and thinking "Okay, boomer" in your head right now. Don't worry. I still plan to review as many new movies as possible each year. Just like always. I also am planning to find fun ways to tie older stuff to the new. Case in point, we have a new James Bond movie coming out later this year. (Later, try in the next few months!) So to celebrate, I am going to go through the entire franchise, one movie at a time, and review them all. I have the whole James Bond set that was released on Blu-Ray in 2012. We also have a new Batman movie coming in 2021. So to celebrate that, I will also publish a series looking back at all the Batman movies up to this point, and even some other media. The Burton era, The Schumaker era, The Nolan era, The Snyder era, the animated series, I will write about it all. I plan to do the same
for "Mission: Impossible" and Spider-Man as well (Mission: Impossible in particular was a very weird franchise overall prior to 2011). This is really what I mean by writing about it all, talking about the new while also looking over the history of the medium.

I've also begun practicing editing videos again. I started a YouTube Channel and made a grand total of three videos. I haven't touched it since. That's going to change. They won't just follow TV stuff, just whatever really comes to my mind pertaining to entertainment. I am going to be doing some experimenting. I am going to try to be informative and maybe even funny (yes, I am going to attempt comedy, be patient with me!)

Heck, even my end-of-the-year lists moving forward aren't going to be quite the same. Why? Well, here's a dirty little secret: those lists aren't set in stone. Never were and never have been. Art is subjective and sometimes things move up or down in stature based on how your life changes you. None of my end-of-the-year lists have remained 100% concrete over the years. I am going to let you in on another dirty little secret: Every time I love a movie, it gets added to my mental shelf of all the art and entertainment I love. Whether its movies or TV shows or books or comics or video games or albums, if I love it, it goes on that shelf of things I need to remember, things I need to get. I can't pretend anymore that there's some kind of hierarchy to the movies I like. For me a great movie comes down to what type of mood I am in when I want to watch something. Sure, I usually have one very favorite of each year. Sure, I can recognize that some movies are more influential than others. The most fun I have recently had making a list was in 2018 where I dissected 30 films and wrote about them in alphabetical order. I can't pretend anymore that 10 movies is all that it takes to define a year of movies. It's not. Not in this climate. More movies are being made now than ever before and we have access to so much more than we used to. So why not celebrate that. This is my website and boiling down entire years of movies to just 10 seems arbitrary to say the least.

Have you noticed the Amazon adds on my website yet? Cool! I decided to become an affiliate marketer with Amazon. So any time you want to do some shopping, click on those adds and through my website. It would really help me and the family I am creating right now!

So this is my game plan for You, Me and Movies moving forward into the new year. I like this plan a lot. I hope you dig it too. For now, I gotta finish my last part of my look back at 2010's TV and then I am going to hit the ground running on this plan. I hope you continue to read along with me!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

2010's TV: THE ESSAY (According to Shawn) PART IV

2010's TV



We are just pushing right along here. Here's Part OneHere's Part Two and Here's Part Three

Chapter 9: Comedy is everywhere
I know I mentioned this when I was writing my Top 100 of the Decade list at the beginning of the month, but there was a huge surge of comedy movies that came out between 2004-2009 and they sort of revitalized the crazy, slapstick, raunchy comedy a bit in Hollywood. Into the 2010's that seemed to slowdown a bit. I didn't quite understand why either, since many of those comedies I am thinking of made lots of money in that time period. Maybe, just maybe that because there was so much comedy on TV, and many of the actors that made those classic movies appeared on television that we ended up seeing less in the movies.

Truth be told, I could have talked about Atlanta yesterday. It's a show that has had two seasons on FX so far and it does have some dramedy involved in some of its writing. I guess also that the show is kind of hard to categorize. It's mostly a dark comedy, but sometimes the show will take a break on the action, focus on a supporting character on a random adventure of theirs. Sometimes the tone would shift to drama, something inspiring and even horror (Teddy Perkins was probably the creepiest character in all of the decades pop culture). No matter how you would categorize Atlanta, the show is an instant classic.

If you were wondering what happened to Danny McBride this decade, he had two great comedies you could find on HBO. The first was Eastbound and Down, where he played a washed-up baseball player trying to get relevant again, something I feel like McBride could do in his sleep, and make no mistake he did. My favorite of the two was definitely Vice Principals. In this show, McBride plays a vice principal who is trying to manipulate anyway he can to be THE principal, and usually coming up short. He bounces of Walt Groggins is such a hilarious way, and they made an unforgettable funny team this decade. I would have done anything for a third season of the show.

Comedy was ripe within primetime. I wish we got more The Last Man on Earth on Fox, because I think it really showcased what Will Forte is capable of as a comic performer and the parade of cameos was always fun. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which started life on Fox and eventually moved to NBC was absolutely hilarious and has been my favorite for awhile now. NBC also has The Good Place a mind-boggling comedy where they mix subjects like faith and religion without shoving an agenda down your throat. Modern Family and The Goldbergs on ABC have kept the modern sitcom alive and well. Black-ish has also been very funny with some amazing insight on certain subjects. Superstore on NBC is wildly underrated. The New Girl on Fox surprisingly appealed to me. Parks and Recreation stayed strong for a majority of the decade as well.

Nathan For You on Comedy Central made my stomach hurt with all the laughter that on display. Oh my God, what a strange yet brilliant show. Key and Peele also on Comedy Central had some funny moments as well. Also, there was also Schitt's Creek. The name says it all.

Chapter 10: The One Hit Wonders
You know how many shows that I really liked over the decade that only got one season? More than I'd care to admit. I was so off-base on some shows compared to others that sometimes it boggles my mind.

Enlisted was a military comedy on Fox was something you all REALLY missed out on. In fact, Fox had lots of One Hit Wonders that really blew my mind. Almost Human was pretty freaking cool. Rake was also on Fox, which was the coolest thing Greg Kinnear had done in awhile. Fox also delivered the gritty Gang Related with a refreshingly diverse cast, and it only got one season. Intelligence on CBS was a technological action show with Josh Holloway that was really cool. Ghosted was a pretty goofy fun time too. On Netflix Everything Sucks! is one of the few shows on the streaming service that did not get a second season, and it blows my mind. Compared to other stuff that did. Also, I wish Amazon Video's Comrade Detective would have been a wonderful series.

So pour one out to the shows that deserved a second season and didn't get one.

Chapter 11: Mini-Series
Probably my second favorite thing on TV in the 2010's if I were making a huge, rule-less list, would be HBO's The Night Of. This is something that HBO is seemingly able to do in their sleep. They are good at programming gritty, moral-challenging cop stuff for television. They seem to have pioneered it and have just kept doing well ever since. The Night Of is so amazing, so absolutely, crazy amazing. It's got an amazing cast, wild atmosphere and it works from start to finish. It keeps you engaged from start to finish. I loved every waking moment of it. Over at AMC, I loved pretty much every moment of The Night Manager with Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston. I thought History's Texas Rising was wildly underrated, and had probably one of the best casts of the entire decade in anything. I was also quite fond at just how funny Netflix's Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp was. Why Netflix decided to invest so heavily in this cult classic is beyond me but I am so glad they did it. 

Now that its been made official that there will not be a second season. I think it is safe to say that HBO's Watchmen is a mini-series. I loved how it was able to take the comic book, ignore the Zak Snyder movie and successfully continue the story and make it feel in the vein of Alan Moore's book. I know Moore is has always been pretty "hands-off" with his work, but I don't get how he couldn't watch all of Watchen with a smile from ear to ear. This is amazing continuation and one of the biggest surprises all decade long.

This entry was shorter by design. We've got one more of these and that will wrap up my look back in the decade in TV. Tomorrow we will discuss the giant dragon in the room...that was Game of Thrones. Then I'll discuss some miscellaneous stuff I liked in a final thoughts blurb

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

2010's TV: The Essay (According to Shawn) Part III

2010's TV

The Essay

Part Three

 My extravagant look back at 2010's TV continues. Part II is here and Part I is here

Chapter 6: Which revivals worked?
As much as the 2010's in television was a time of continued experimentation and defining what TV could really do, it also took some ques to what was happening in the movies. Whether we like it or not, it's clear that the 2010's was a decade of nostalgia and even television took time to revive several popular shows from yester-year to see if they could capture that lightning in a bottle again. More often than not, that didn't happen. I had very high hopes for The X-Files, but that was sadly a disappointing couple of seasons. 24 brought Jack Bauer back for one more mediocre season then tried to cash in on the name with a different character, which felt clumsy and awkward. Fuller House was nothing but a nostalgia rally. Heroes:Reborn came and went like a fart in the wind. Despite these few failings, some revivals ended up being more than they had any right to be.

I think my favorite thing that was on TV in all of the 2010's, was Twin Peaks: The Return. I was glad Showtime took a chance on David Lynch. Honestly, no matter what anybody says, that's what any studio does when they allow Lynch to work under them, they are taking a chance. David Lynch is one of the few artists working today whose work is completely unfiltered. Somehow is one of the few artists who has been allowed to be themselves every single time they go to create something. Much like...just about everything Lynch has ever made...Twin Peaks: The Return was weird and surreal and strange and still very much in the vein of the original show. Much like his other work, it depends on how much you invest personally on what type of experience you are going to have with it. I have to imagine hardcore "Twin Peaks" fans had a ball in the summer of 2017. Much like the final "Where's Anne?" line which ended season 2 back in the 90's, the scream heard around the world that ended The Return will probably be talked about and debated about for many, many years to come.

I don't know what inspired Netflix to make more seasons of Canada's Trailer Park Boys. Maybe it was because it became an unexpected hit through the service, but the other seasons ended up being just as funny as the older seasons of the show. Not to mention the spin-offs and the animated show that ended up on the service as well. I was also quite fond of Netflix's revival of Mystery Science Theater 3000. I haven't watched all of the episodes, but Patton Oswalt is amazing in it, and seeing all the robots again has been a treat. Even though it got cancelled after two seasons, it was still fun to bring this back even in a short while.

 Chapter 7: A Generous supply of Dramedy
I am always fond when anybody can take an idea that is generally treated as drama and are able to shake out a couple of laughs. That to me is impressive. I mean, think real life. You laugh at a funeral, and you will get shunned and dirty looked up and down faster than you can get up and run. But any time a show or a movie can you make you laugh in the middle of a taboo situation, that's something special. It really does teach us that even in the worst times, life is unexpected and we shouldn't take it so serious all the time. And the bad times, like all times, shall pass in time too.

HBO had two of my favorite "drameties" and I highly recommend both Divorce and Crashing. Divorce is...exactly what it sounds like. Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Hayden Church give the performances of their careers as a couple slowly coming apart. The show takes a humorous look at how a couple separating effects the children, how family friends are divied up, figuring out when its okay to date again, and really whose fault it is. Is it the dumper's fault or the dumpees fault? Or is it each person's fault? Looking at all of that and throwing in a humorous situation is genius. As is Crashing, about an inspiring comedian who finds out his girlfriend cheated on him and then decided to keep their place. With no place to live and still unsettled in his career, its a time in the life of this poor man where he has let fate take the wheel a bit. Now, its a show about comedians, so the show is naturally funny. But the situations also squeeze some comedy out of them as well, without ever overdoing it. Even though it only lasted for two season's HBO's Togetherness  had subtly funny look at couple friends and their lives together. 

Netflix's own Master of None also had some dramatic bits to it and wasn't all the way funny, although I guess it had more laughs than not, so I am actually not sure it counts. I guess I would call it a dramedy. The Kominsky Method is another addiction, with some of the best work by Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin

Possibly my favorite dramety was FX's Better Things. About a divorced mother who is constantly trying to keep her life together for her three daughters, while also living with her mom and doing everything she can to simply stay afloat. It's a show that is funny and inspiring and uplifting and even sad at some times. Pamela Aldon is to die for in this show. To. Die. For as are her three children and all the other actors who come by and say hello.

In speaking of FX...

Chapter 8: FX becomes my favorite channel
We've already talked about Archer and Legion we just got done talking about Better Things and while I loved all of those shows, it only really scratched the surface of what FX offered last decade. Whether you wanted to be thrilled, whether you wanted to watch something dramatic, whether you wanted to laugh at just about every style of comedy, FX was there for you. Not to mention that they had some very good access to a host of different types of movies. But since 2004 or so, they've been working hard to become a channel full of unique original programming. 

Do you like to laugh? Yeah? What type of humor do you like? Are you not in the mood for Archer or Better Things? That's fine. If you like raunchy comedy, you can look to It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia. I am both shocked and pleasantly surprised that this show has been on the air since 2005. Much like with South Park, I am just blown away more than anything else that It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia hasn't been attacked by the Politically Correct mob. This is a deranged comedy about deranged people, and it doesn't care if you are offended by what it has to say or not. If that is a little too raunchy for you, maybe something like Baskets or The League would be more your style, both of whom are so full of humor. If you like offbeat humor, I hope you enjoy the two seasons of the blissfully weird Man Seeking Woman. Seriously, there is nothing else like it. Or you'll like the drull You're The Worst.

If you like police stories with a little bit more umph in their step, there is Justified an amazing mixture of action and drama. If you like gritty stories of cops and robbers, there is the anthology Fargo. Every single season has been absolutely amazing and it ended up being one of my very favorites of the decade. I may have said that I wasn't crazy about Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story but his other anthology American Crime Story has had two superb seasons, and I can't wait to see what's next. If you like your drama with a little political angst, there is The Americans. And I didn't even mention the mini-series Taboo.

Like I said the channel has been stacked.

Tomorrow, I'll return to discuss more comedy, some great shows that were cancelled after one season and some mini-series.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

2010's TV: THE ESSAY (According to Shawn) Part II

2010's TV


For the intents and purposes of these articles, as well as the first part, click here.

Let's dive back in.

Chapter Three: Horror-On-TV
Maybe I didn't know any better or maybe I just didn't notice, but I don't really remember a time on television where there was so much horror on television. There was the Treehouse of Horror episodes of "The Simpsons," There was stuff like "Are You Afraid of the Dark" and "Goosebumps" all geared towards kids. Perhaps due to budget or the content, I don't remember any real or raw horror shows on television. But since the 2010's in TV really became a decade of experimentation, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that we got some this decade. Even though I am a huge horror fan in general, how the horror on TV we got ranged from mediocre to bad in the end.

I spent many of the opening years of the decade fixated on The Walking Dead. Not only was I a fan of the show, but I was also very much into the graphic novel series being written by Robert Kirkman. I liked that blended the survivalism of typical zombie fare but also really focused upon the human nature element. What would happen to us if we weren't bound by law anymore and it was every man for himself? How would we behave? Would we choose to remain moral people or what would we take what we wanted when we wanted? Its a fair question to ask in these sort of stories. I liked the cast brought together and liked the few characters who were independent of the comic book. Alas, I eventually called it quits on The Walking Dead, both the show and the comics, for pretty much the same reason. They just started doing the same thing over and over again. Rick's group of survivors would find a safe haven they really liked, they'd start building a new normal around the zombie apocalypse, then some psycho would come along and ruin it for them. It even makes smaller sense on the small screen. Plus, the newer stuff not in the comics the show invented seemed too wacky to even take seriously (a group of cops hiding in an apartment complex? What?) At least the comic series was smart enough to never kill Rick or Carl. Because, you know, it's their fucking story maybe. That's the same problem that happened to Homeland. Its not edgy to kill the main character, its stupid. I watched only a mere handful of episodes of Fear The Walking Dead, which was a spin-off, but never could really get into that.

I feel like that was the general consensus for my personal taste when it came to Horror-on-TV in the 2010's, it was just never as great as it could have been. I originally loved the idea of Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story, because the possibilities to dissect how America approaches the genre and how urban legends have sprung up in our own country was ripe for something unique. Usually though, I'd watch the first half a cycle of the show, and after that halfway mark, it always went downhill. Every single time. There isn't a season that I watched that I liked all the way through. "Hotel" was the season I hated all the way through though. It seemed like missed opportunity after missed opportunity. I also really enjoyed The Following when it began airing on Fox, and I think the acting chops of Kevin Bacon, James Purfoy and Shawn Ashmore made it watchable. But there were just too many instances where things that would never happen in real life would just happen to simply move the plot forward and it eventually got me to tune out. I think the show could have lasted longer than three seasons if the scripts were just a tad smarter. The Exorcist on Fox tries, but I could never get into it either.

It wasn't all that bad though. I still can't believe Hannibal on NBC was a real thing. I loved every moment of it. Much like "Twin Peaks" in the 90's, it felt like an art film somehow got on national television. Looking at the violence and content of the series, I can't believe NBC got away with the things they did on that show. I also like the supernatural and creepy elements of the police procedural Sleepy Hollow and I was glad that it lasted as long as it did. I also was engaged in every moment of Showtime's Penny Dreadful and fell for the style of the whole thing. Probably the creepiest thing I liked on TV was Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House and the docu-series Haunted, both of those got under my skin in some pretty raw ways. There was also Cinemax's Outcast that was pretty unnerving.

Chapter 4: Reality TV Mostly Stays The Same from the 2000's.
In the 2000's, television changed in all ways and that includes reality TV. To go from "The Real World" to everything that we got in the 2000's, was just so ridiculously amazing because somehow it made itself relevant. Matchmaking shows, cooking competitions, singing competitions, reality-style game shows and also just people getting TV and doing stupid shit. You could find anything in the realm of reality TV and it helped the surge of changing dynamics in 2000's TV really define itself.

The thing about the 2010's is, reality TV mostly stays the same. Sure, there were brand new matchmaking shows, cooking competitions, singing competitions, reality-style game shows and people getting on TV to do stupid shit, but I am not sure we got the next big reality show, not quite I should say. Because we will discuss a couple that stuck out, its just that many didn't stick out the way you'd think. American Idol may had stopped for a bit, but it came back. Chopped, Kitchen Nightmares, Hell's Kitchen and Top Chef remained popular in the cooking competition circuit. The Amazing Race has remained on the air. Pawn Stars remained popular throughout the 2010's. Even though some Real Housewives spin-offs started in the 2010's, a majority of them began in the 2000's and they only added onto each other. We also have to mention how The Bachelor/The Bachelorette shows have remained popular. There really wasn't the next big reality thing to come across. Sure, Fox tried with Utopia, but man what a freaking trainwreck that was.

There were two new reality shows that helped define the 2010's that added some new blood to the reality realm. I didn't think another singing competition could exist in the realm of American Idol but NBC proved that wrong with The Voice. That's one that my wife and I continue to enjoy and we watched from the beginning. Sure, none of the winners have actually become as famous as Kelly Clarkson, and it feels like its mostly exist so the coach's can stroke their egos. But the singers that do come along are strong, they put on a good show. Plus the coaches over the years, including Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Shakira, Usher, Pharrell, Alicia Keys, Gwen Stefani, John Legend, Cee-Lo Green and Kelly Clarkson herself, all have made the show worthwhile with how they feed off each other. The other reality show that made a big splash was A&E's Storage Wars. For the same reasons, the personalities were so out there that it made it fun to watch. Even though there may be some controversy of how much the show was "reality."

Survivor, even twenty years later has remained one I constantly watch. I've been a fan of the show since I was in 5th grade. Even though this second decade the show just ended was vastly different from the first. Also, its hard not to mention that despite my constant watching, I have to admit that their second decade featured some of the worst seasons in the shows run so far. "Nicaragua" was boring until the merge, "Redemption Island" was a blowjob to Boston Rob, "South Pacific" was forgettable, "One World" was mostly hard-to-watch, "Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers" was a mouthful to say and a blatant rigging for Ben. "Game Changers" was the worst all-star season in the shows run. "Edge of Extinction" was an interesting twist that was managed poorly. Despite all of that, there were some notable personalities that made some of those seasons tolerable. "Cagayan," "Philippines" and "David vs. Goliath" were so amazing that it made it easy to forget the bad seasons. "Cambodia" was fun because the fans finally got to choose which all-stars got a second chance, and the fan vote was filled with hype. So it wasn't all bad. Gone though, are the days of new locations, survivalist aspects, exploring cultures, and what to do with the boredom of being marooned. In is the hidden immunity idols, advantages, constant twists, deceit and manipulation. While it does make the show cool, it never was my favorite material. But a new type of fan emerged last decade who loves those things too, so it is just a new show now. I just hope it can continue to build on what works in the future.

Chapter 5: Superheroes...superheroes everywhere
 In the 2000's, superheroes began to rule the big screen in a big way. In the 2010's, superheroes were everywhere that you probably felt like you couldn't escape them. No matter how hard you tried. There were all sorts of superhero and comic book shows on television throughout the 2010's. There were DC comics shows, there were Marvel shows, there were shows based on obscure comic books, and there were a couple of originals that never quite gained traction.

It was the Arrowverse that really got superheroes-on-TV going in the 2010's. We got Arrow in 2012, and that got the ball rolling in a big way. It was a breakout for Stephen Amell, it was badass and engaging and full of adventure. In the second season, there was a backdoor pilot for The Flash and his show followed soon after. Eventually Supergirl from CBS eventually molded into the fold and spin-off after spin-off was created (Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning and the most recent Batwoman) There were amazing crossover events between the shows, and those were always fun. The franchise even had its own "Avengers: Endgame" event in the recent Crisis on Infinite Earths, all the cameos from previous DC shows and even the movies was staggering. (Never would have guessed that I'd see Ezra Miller show up, seriously, they went all out).

Just because I was impressed by what the Arrowverse (or is it Flarrowverse) accomplished, I overall wasn't in love with every show. Arrow had two goddamn amazing seasons, but it quickly slumped into circular plots. Laurel dated Ollie, then they broke up, they'd get back together, they'd break up. Felicity would date Ollie, they'd break up, they'd get back together, they'd get engaged, they'd break it off. Laurel's father would hunt down Green Arrow, then be his ally, then hunt for him then become his ally. Green Arrow's team of superheroes would come together, break apart, come together, break apart...catch my drift? I think 2020 is a great stopping point for the show. I think Legends of Tomorrow and Black Lightning are both hot and cold, but ultimately fun shows. Not great shows, fun shows. I never watched Supergirl. I will say my favorite of the bunch has been The Flash. It seems like every season gives Barry Allen a new challenge and they've been vigilant in being different each season.

The 2010's felt like a decade where Marvel was unavoidable and the biggest piece of fun they introduced was the idea of TV shows taking place in their movie universe. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. definitely had a shaky start, feeling more like NCIS with superpowers. Once "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" happened, and the show became what it always should had been. Still, the show was riddled with missed opportunities, and I never think it quite touched the greatness it could have. (Agent Carter, also on ABC, was a really cool show and I wish we got more than two seasons of it.) Ultimately, same can be said with the Netflix Marvel shows. When Daredevil came out in 2015, it was like a bomb going off and represented a measure of greatness to come, which continued with the first season of Jessica Jones. As Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Punisher came along though, the flaws of the Netflix shows became easier to see. Pacing was the biggest problem these shows had, as they dragged more often then not. The team-up mini-series entitled The Defenders featuring all the title characters from the Netflix shows should have been the biggest slam dunk ever, but it just didn't live up the hype, and end up being surprisingly disappointing. I think out of all the Netflix shows, Daredevil was the best of them. The Inhumans was also on ABC, but the one and only season was dumpster fire, and I never watched enough The Runaways or Cloak and Dagger to make an informed opinion on them.

Easily the coolest show of the 2010's comic book era was Legion. It was such a farcry from anything we could expect from a typical comic book show. It was so strange, so quirky, so experimental and yet, seemingly played by the same rules as the other comic book shows. It stood out in a big way and it remained my favorite. I think The Gifted tried to do the same but didn't do it on the level that "Legion" did. DC created their own app exclusively for DC-related movies and shows and they created some original content. I haven't really dug into that content yet, except for Harley Quinn. Oh my freaking god I love that show. Remember, adult animation is my Achilles Heal, and I love this warped DC world the cartoon takes place in. I know Disney probably won't but I'd love a warped version of a Marvel universe in adult animation form. Ever read "Old Man Logan?" There is some material in that storyline that is ripe for some dark humor. Imagine if Spider-Man cheated on Mary Jane and that love child married Hawkeye. Imagine if Hulk had an incestuous relationship with She-Hulk and their family became some backwoods hicks. I can see it happening, and I'd love to see if Marvel tries to do anything more adult on Hulu or FX in the new decade, Harley Quinn proves it can be done.

There were a couple shows that didn't belong to either big comic book company that definitely stood out to me. They both can be found on Amazon Video. The Boys and The Tick were two of the best comic book shows of the decade. I've been a fan of the Tick since the cartoon in the 90's. I loved that this version was a bit darker, but still retained that quirky sweetness that the cartoon had. I can't believe it only got two seasons, I would have killed for more. The Boys though will have to do though, a pure deconstructionist look at what if the heroes we see protecting us were actually protected by a corrupt company? It's an interesting idea, never been done before and the first season was amazing.

That's it for this part. I'll be back tomorrow to discuss Revivals, Dramedy, and why FX was my favorite channel in the 2010's.

Monday, January 20, 2020

2010s TV: THE ESSAY (According To Shawn) PART ONE

2010's TV


There is a book I got for Christmas that I've been powering through all month and am nearly finished with. It's called The Revolution Was Televised by Rolling Stone TV critic Alan Sepinwall. In the book, he details how a handful of TV dramas from the mid-2000's changed television forever. I can certainly relate with my own relationship with TV. Growing up, I didn't really do TV, I watched movies. If I was sitting in front of a screen, I more than likely had a movie on. I never committed to TV shows and if I didn't have a movie on, then the TV wasn't on. If you asked me in grade school what I thought TV was, I thought it was just a haven for afternoon kids learning programs, soap operas, hospital shows, family sitcoms and police procedurals. It was clear to me that movies were the superior medium.

When I got to high school, I heard people talk about certain things on TV. I began to see an episode or two of "The Sopranos." I still wasn't committed to any television programs in high school, although I did love me some "Family Guy." But it did feel like television was beginning to change. Once I got to college, at the tailend of the 2000's as a decade, I really began to see how it was changing and the shows that Sepinwall highlights in his book are hard to ignore. A show where we empathize with a family of mobsters? It had never been done before. A cop show that felt like a novel come to life? It had never been done before. A show that so accurately portrayed our post-9/11 anxieties so soon after the attack. It was hard to imagine that it could be done. The 2000's changed TV forever.

Into the 2010's, the change continued. As movies were pushing the nostalgia, pushing the past, trying to jumpstart any shared universe they could, TV was experimenting. They were constantly challenging what could and could not be done on television. It got to a point where you couldn't tell TV apart from the movies. There was a time when TV was secondary to movies and when an actor went out to Hollywood, they went out to be a MOVIE ACTOR not a TV ACTOR. That day is officially done. So many actors have crossed over from movies to TV and back, and vice versa, because the quality in TV is there. Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Terrance Howard, Michael Pena...nothing like it had ever been done before. If the 2000's was the decade in which TV matured, then the 2010's was the decade in which TV tried to see how far they could push the definition of maturity. This was also the first decade where I really began to pay attention to TV.

Back in November, I teased writing a Best TV of the 2010's list and recently I've been running into much writers block around it. Like I said when I teased the list, TV is such a different animal compared to movies. TV required many hours of attention and time. When you watch a movie, you know how you feel about it after its over, sometimes it can take a few seasons to find out if you like a show, or from a good show to become a bad show. Even though this was the decade of binge, there's a bunch of shows I have either not watched yet or I'm right in the middle of them, since I'm in the middle, I have no idea where I'd put them on an actual list. So this end-of-the-decade list isn't going to be a list. This is going to be more of an essay. I am going talk my way through the TV I digested this decade. The stuff I loved, the stuff that I possibly didn't, and everything in between. It all added to the flavor of a decade where I was front and center and TV for the first time. I've broken this essay into "chapters," and in each chapter I will discuss things within the same topic.

So why don't we get started.

Chapter One: Adult Animation is my Achilles' Heel.
Possibly my favorite thing on TV this decade was the overwhelming wealth of adult animation. When we talk about animation, it is always treated as something that is exclusive to kids. But in movies, with stuff like "Sausage Party" and "I Lost My Body," animation is merely expression. That's it. You can pretty much do anything with it. While all the adult animation that came out over the 2010's was pretty much rooted in comedy, what could and could not be done with adult animation comedy was challenged this decade. Even on shows that had already set the bar for adult animation from previous decades.

Shows like South Park, The Simpsons and my personal favorite, Family Guy stayed strong this decade. Hell, even Beavis and Butthead came back for a brief stint, it felt like it had never left. I am amazed by the longevity of South Park, especially after how the 2010s manifested into the PC-SJW wokeness that we are living in right now. The show has certainly benefited from telling a season-wide story each season. But for the show that literally makes fun of everything, I am so delighted that it has remained on the air and will be moving into its third decade.

Family Guy remaining on the air into the 2020's is definitely a little surprising, mainly because sometimes the show feels like its phoning it in. I would definitely say that the funniest episodes came from the late-90's and 2000's era of the show. Many of the show's biggest episodes fell flat in some ways. The last two "Star Wars" parody's weren't nearly as funny as "Blue Harvest." The episodes making fun rom-coms and Grimm fairy tales could have been better. The episode where The Griffins finally meet The Simpsons should have been a watershed for adult animation history, but it ended up being astonishingly safe. Despite these hiccups, there were still some classic episodes in this decade. The episode where Brian and Stewie get locked in the bank is a classic. I love the two-part Agatha Christie spoof and I loved their various Christmas episodes. The show is still very lovingly weird and still feature moments where I belly-laugh for hours.

Adding Bob's Burgers to Fox's animation domination Sundays was the icing on the cake along with The Simpsons, Family Guy and whatever else Fox chose to align them with (Possibly the best Animation Domination run in my opinion was Family Guy, The Simpsons, Bobs Burgers and Brooklyn Nine-Nine). There were lots of shows like Alan Gregory and Napoleon Dynamite and BorderTown that went in and out of the line-up. I am just glad that Bob's Burgers had the power to excel throughout the decade. It's a wildly funny show, a nice mix of offbeat, quirky and slapstick humor. For as long as The Simpsons and Family Guy have been on the air, I hope Bob's Burgers can stay for many more years to come.

We can't talk much more about animation involving H. Jon Benjamin any further without discussing Archer. I fucking love this show. I love that there is a show that so merrily pays homage to the old James Bond movies and the old "Mission: Impossible" serials while also tearing down those things to their exposed id. It's almost like an exaggerated look at James Bond, that just so happens to be absolutely hilarious. Even when you thought the show was running out of steam, and Archer goes into a coma, the seasons of "Dreamland," "Danger Island" and the one that takes place in space is another fun look at old exaggerated iconography of pop culture's past. The crews really do their homework before each new season. The payoffs have really been revelatory since. I am going to miss Sterling Archer once he's gone.

Then there is Netflix, and even though we are going to get into a much deeper dive of the streaming platform, I cannot go further without mentioning their huge slue of adult animated entertainment. They've got a lot to choose from. I think my absolute favorite show on the entire platform was easily BoJack Horseman. I know some people that watched the first season and couldn't get into it. That's fair. Its a pretty weird first season. A world where humanoid animals and humans live together and it chooses to focus on a washed-up actor who is passed their prime. But when you keep going with it, it reveals itself to be more real about getting your life together, relationships, failing families, depression and anxiety better than any live action show. Even as early as season two, the show is already experimenting with what it could do. (The silent underwater episode is oddly beautiful) and the episode where BoJack speaks at his mother's funeral was simply amazing. F is For Family is possibly the best Netflix cartoon nobody is talking about, and much like BoJack, gets pretty realer than real at moments. I am on the fence as to if Big Mouth should exist at all, but while sometimes I am pretty uncomfortable watching it, I do appreciate how challenging it can be. Then there is Disenchantment, which looks to be another winner for Matt Groening. One thing I watched last winter that wasn't comedy but totally adult animation was Love & Robots on Netflix, and oh man its amazing. I think the first season of Paradise P.D. will be its last on the platform.

While they are not necessarily "adult animation," I have had so much fun watching both Regular Show and Adventure Time on Cartoon Network. Anything that has a funny and weird world is a pretty safe bet for me and while those shows aim mostly for kids, there is something universal around them. These are two shows that I am confident could work for the whole family if they sat down to watch together and that's rare. Something that isn't for the whole family though, Rick & Morty. Yes, I am  huge, huge fan of this warped "Back To The Future" riff. Its so wonderful, too wonderful for words.

Chapter Two: World War Stream continues into the 2020's
We just can't talk about TV in the 2010's without getting into streaming services, because they have been a game changer. More and more, people are cutting their cords (my household included) and opting to invest in a handful of these streaming services. Its been a very lucrative business, but as we've been seeing, now every company and studio wants to own their own content. Understandable. Definitely. But the thing is, paying for ten streaming services all at $5.99/each ($9.99/each if you really can't stand commercials) and at that point, you might as well just pay for cable. Each of these streaming services comes with its own slue of original programming though, most of which doesn't go out on blu-ray (Which I think is absolute bullshit and bad for business.) These companies just want us to buy up all these services without much remorse.

My wife and I own subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video and CBS All Access. We have Disney+ through a friend and I like CW Seed because its honest-to-God absolutely free. So these are the services we will be discussing in this chapter. We already got into Netflix in the previous chapter, and like we stated in that chapter, they have a great slate of adult animation programming. Netflix is significant because they were the pioneer. It all started with House of Cards. The show had to be a hit, or the significance of the streaming service would drop considerably. Thankfully House of Cards was hit and for many years, it was my favorite show on television. I thought it was fun, rousing little political thriller for those years. I thought it featured some of the best acting by Kevin Spacey in his whole career. But the last two seasons saw a significant drop in quality and it had one of the most anti-climatic endings to a show I can think of. Plus, after what happened with Spacey, its kind of disgusting to discuss anymore. Stranger Things seems to be the next big thing that is really appealing to me and since BoJack Horseman is sadly ending its run this year, it might just be my new favorite from the service. Netflix excels with their true crime docu-series'. The Staircase, The Keepers, Flint Town, Evil Genius and The Ted Bundy Tapes are all absolutely flawless and frightening looks at real crime and corruption in our own backyard and I found all of them riveting in some way. Even though I only saw bits and pieces of Making The Murderer, I'd say that was riveting as well. Black Mirror aka Technological Twilight Zone was a massive addiction, telling out small tales that made me laugh (Miley Cyrus last season) and even made me cry (seriously, "Arkangel" from season four, dear god, it broke me) and it had so much to say about the 21st Century that it would have made Rod Sterling weep. I also can forget the awesomness that was Ozark and Mindhunters both excellent and gritty crime dramas. As well as the criminally (pun intended) underrated Bloodline. After its first season though, The Witcher is a big question mark for me going forward. It didn't capture my attention like I thought it would.

That might sound like lots of amazing content on one streaming service, but honestly, Amazon Video is an unsung hero with great content as well. I haven't cracked into everything that Amazon has to offer quite yet, I feel like I've sampled enough to let you know that it is a worthwhile streaming service and if you take the time to roam, you'll find something to love. Everything you've heard about Fleabag is true. All of it. It's one of the greatest things I've laid eyes on, honest and warm and charming and hilarious in equal measure. A total delight. As is The Marvelous Ms. Maisel. Both are shows you wouldn't think would appeal to 30-year-old guy like myself, but I hope that highlights just how powerful they both are as shows. I haven't dug into season three of "Maisel" yet, but its on the to-do list. Jack Ryan has had two wonderful seasons, action-packed without being exaggerated and hyper-realized like the movies were and just plain cool in general. Homecoming is a show that I am absolutely rabid for a second season, I loved everything about it. Forever is also a show I can't wait to see a second season of, simply because of how fun and unique it is. I also highly recommend The Romanoffs even though with each episode about a new family and each episode being the length of a movie, its a hard show to binge watch. I have just now started to scratch the surface of The Man In The High Castle, yes I am late but I like what I see so far.

Hulu has been late getting into the original content game and there isn't nearly as many choices as both Netflix and Amazon Video have. That is soon beginning to change, and if Bob Iger is to be believed, then Disney has some big plans for the streaming service. Really, I've only actively watched two of their originals so far. The Handmaid's Tale was a show I loved for the first two seasons, but the middle of the third, I gave up. It's very dark, its very bold and aggressively told. Its got a knockout cast. Its got everything needed for a riveting drama. But, within the rules established in this world where a far-right fundamentalist Christian group takes over the American government, our hero Offred, should be dead. She's escaped her captors several times and somehow still remains alive, even though characters die (or are granted punishments worse than death) for much lesser offenses. Its the most obvious example of Plot Armor in a show I can think of, even worse than The Walking Dead. The way Offred leaves her captors, then sneaks back into enemy territory to rescue her daughter...only to not do any of that. Seriously, how is she still alive? Stuff like that took me out of the show, so after two and a half seasons, I've broken up with the show. Castle Rock had a cool first season, but it was tough to binge. I am not sold on the J.J. Abrams Mystery Box belonging in the world of Stephen King. In season two, with a really young Anne Wilkes, it just seems weird. I am going to start watching season two as soon as possible and I hope I enjoy it. I am just looking forward to what this service could possibly become.

CBS All-Access doesn't have much yet but its a fairly young service so far. I am very much looking forward to Picard, but since we are talking 2010's, Jordan Peele's The Twilight Zone was everything I was hoping for with the revival. A show that respects and acknowledges the old show, but has taken an identity of its own in the process. I don't have AppleTV+ and I am not sure I am going to get it. An app that only has original content is ballsy if anything else, but it sounds like they really haven't made a significant splash with what they've offered so far. That's always in line to change, so we shall see. Disney+ is another fairly young app, but The Mandalorian is worth every single penny. Everything a Star Wars fan would want and even more. It's rougher around the edges than I thought it would be and featured some fun actors and cameos. The World According to Jeff Goldblum has been a surprising addiction as well. Encore! seemed like a good idea, but a show I got bored with in the middle of the first episode. The Mandalorian is a great start, but I can't wait to see the Disney+ Marvel shows.

There are plenty more shows on each of these services that I will be discussing in future chapters (they simply tie into other chapters in a better way). The bottom line is this though, these streaming services aren't going anywhere. The 2020's will serve how much livespan is left before the bubble bursts and it will see who lives after the dust settles afterward. But in the upcoming months, get ready to re-manage your entertainment budget.

That's all for now. Tomorrow, I will publish chapters on Horror-On-TV, Reality TV and yes, Superheroes-On-TV. So come back then as this look back at the 2010's in TV continues...

Friday, January 17, 2020

First Annual Roger Ebert Awards: Picking The Best Original Score Nominees

For an idea of what this is all about, click here.

I wanted to make a separate post for the potential Best Original Score nominees, just so you guys had another chance to listen to the scores before deciding. Like the instructions in the other post, you can choose FIVE nominees from the list given and NO WRITE-INS. Have a nice listen

1. "Us" Michael Abels

2. Joker-Main Theme

3. Midsommar- Fire Temple

4. Avengers: Endgame: Portals

5. The LEGO Movie 2: Second Part

6. Uncut Gems

7. Knives Out

8. Spider-Man: Far From Home

9. The Angry Birds Movie 2

10. Booksmart

11. The Lighthouse

12. Ad Astra

Wanna Participate In The First Annual Roger Ebert Awards?

Still reeling from your maddening reaction to the 2020 Academy Award Nominations? Wouldn't it be cool if there was an award show that steered toward your taste? What if you got to choose the winners you wanted instead of relying on an out-of-touch, pompous, smug Academy? Well, now you can.

I can't believe I have never done this before but, I am going to host my own award show on this website. I thought for awhile on what to call them. Then I remembered, it was the tragic death of Roger Ebert that inspired me to start this blog in the first place. So I thought, why not just land on The Roger Ebert Awards. Each winner will be getting their very own "Golden Ebert." (Well, I mean they won't actually receive a golden statue of Ebert, I don't have the money for that. They will win in spirit.)

Below are just some of the nominees. There are a bunch of potential nominees in each category. Your job is to dwindle down those potential nominees to five apiece. Finally, you get to choose the nominees. Do you want more women in the Best Director category? Vote, because I put about 5 women in the category. Did you think Adam Sandler got snubbed in the Best Actor category? Vote and put him on there! Or do you think The Academy got it perfectly right the first time? Well, you will be able to partially vote that into existence because I did make some differences in order to try and make it fun and different from the other award shows. I know it looks like I am throwing lots of information at you all, that is why you will have until February 1st to vote. You can vote by simply listing which five nominees you want in each category in the comment section. Or you can email them to me (bloggershawn@gmail.com). Hopefully same day as February 1st, I will tally the votes and set the official nominees. I will also be adding some categories that the award shows ignore, but those I will reveal after the votes have been tallied.

Once we have our final nominees in each category, you will then get to vote for the final winner. Then I will announce the winners, and to make it more fun, I plan to make a video of the winner's reading. I will tell you the official dates once I get all the nominees and we start chipping away at that.

Let's have some fun with this and see what the world and the fans think should be nominated and who should win the big prizes. I tried to mix it up as best as possible, but just so we have some concrete rules here...ABSOLUTELY NO WRITE-INS. Sorry not sorry, but it will get too confusing. I will return with the Original Score Category, but I am putting YouTube videos on that so you have a chance to actually listen to the songs.

Here are the categories...again...PICK FIVE NOMINEES IN EACH CATEGORY. Again, use the comment section or email me.

2019 Lead Performances (Actors)
1.       Adam Driver, “Marriage Story”
2.       Adam Driver, “The Report”
3.       Adam Sandler, “Uncut Gems”
4.       Ben Affleck, “Triple Frontier”
5.       Daniel Craig, “Knives Out”
6.       Eddie Murphy, “Dolemite is my Name”
7.       Ewan McGregor, “Doctor Sleep”
8.       Himesh Patel, “Yesterday”
9.       Jackson A. Dunn, “Brightburn”
10.   Jacob Tremblay, “Good Boys”
11.   Jimmy Fails, “The Last Black Man In San Fransisco”
12.   Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”
13.   Keanu Reeves, “John Wick 3”
14.   Leonardo DiCaprio, “Once Upon A Time..In Hollywood”
15.   Randall Park, “Always Be My Maybe”
16.   Robert De Niro, “The Irishman”
17.   Robert Downey Jr. “Avengers: Endgame”
18.   Robert Pattinson, “The Lighthouse”
19.   Roman Griffin Davis, “Jojo Rabbit”
20.   Samuel L. Jackson, “Shaft”
21.   Shia Labeouf, “The Peanut Butter Falcon”
22.   Taron Egerton, “Rocketman”
23.   Timothee Chalamet, “The King”
24.   Tom Hanks, “A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood”
25.   Zachary Levi, “Shazam!”

Lead Actress 2019
1.       Ali Wong, “Always Be My Maybe”
2.       Ana de Armas, “Knives Out”
3.       Annette Bening, “The Report”
4.       Awkwafina, “The Farewell”
5.       Beanie Feldstein, “Booksmart”
6.       Charlize Theron, “Bombshell”
7.       Constance Wu, “Hustlers”
8.       Cynthia Erivo, “Harriet”
9.       Dakota Johnson, “The Peanut Butter Falcon”
10.   Felicity Jones, “The Aeronauts”
11.   Florence Pugh, “Midsommar”
12.   Honor Swinton Byrne, “The Souvenir”
13.   Idina Menzel, “Uncut Gems”
14.   Isabelle Huppert, “Greta”
15.   Jessica Chastain, “It: Chapter 2”
16.   Jillian Bell, “Brittany Runs A Marathon”
17.   Julianne Nicholson, “Monos”
18.   Kaitlyn Dever, “Booksmart”
19.   Lupita Nyong’o “Us”
20.   Rebecca Ferguson, “Doctor Sleep”
21.   Rosa Salazar, “Alita: Battle Angel”
22.   Samara Weaving, “Ready Or Not”
23.   Sasha Luss, “Anna”
24.   Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story”
25.   Thomasin McKenzie, “Jojo Rabbit”

Supporting Actor 2019
1.       Al Pacino, “The Irishman”
2.       Bill Hader, “Noelle”
3.       Bill Skarsgaard, “It: Chapter 2”
4.       Brad Pitt, “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood”
5.       Chris Evans, “Knives Out”
6.       Christian Bale, “Ford vs. Ferrari”
7.       Colin Firth, “1917”
8.       Jake Gyllenhaal, “Spider-Man: Far From Home”
9.       Jamie Bell, “Rocketman”
10.   Joe Pesci, “The Irishman”
11.   Joel Edgerton, “The King”
12.   John Lithgow, “Bombshell”
13.   Jonathon Majors, “The Last Black Man In San Francisco”
14.   Josh Brolin, “Avengers: Endgame”
15.   Kevin Garnett, “Uncut Gems”
16.   Kevin Hart, “Jumanji: The Next Level”
17.   Kyle Chandler, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”
18.   Lakeith Stanfield, “Uncut Gems”
19.   Mark Strong, “Shazam!”
20.   Sam Rockwell, “Jojo Rabbit”
21.   Taika Waititi, “Jojo Rabbit”
22.   Vilhelm Blomgren, “Midsommar”
23.   Wesley Snipes, “Dolemite Is My Name”
24.   Will Smith, “Aladdin”
25.   Willem Dafoe, “The Lighthouse”

Supporting Actress, 2019
1.       Alexandra Shipp, “Shaft”
2.       Cherry Jones, “Motherless Brooklyn”
3.       Da’Vine Joy Randolph, “Dolemite is my Name”
4.       Elizabeth Banks, “Brightburn”
5.       Gemma Jones, “Rocketman”
6.       Jamie Lee Curtis, “Knives Out”
7.       Janelle Monae, “Harriet”
8.       Jennifer Lopez, “Hustlers”
9.       Julia Fox, “Uncut Gems”
10.   Julie Hagerty, “Marriage Story”
11.   Karen Gillen, “Avengers: Endgame”
12.   Kyliegh Curran, “Doctor Sleep”
13.   Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”
14.   Liv Tyler, “Ad Astra”
15.   Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”
16.   Margot Robbie, “Bombshell”
17.   Marisa Tomei, “Spider-Man: Far From Home”
18.   Maura Tierney, “The Report”
19.   Nicole Kidman, “Bombshell”
20.   Rebel Wilson, “Jojo Rabbit”
21.   Rosario Dawson, “Zombieland: Double Tap”
22.   Scarlet Johansson, “Jojo Rabbit”
23.   Toni Collette, “Knives Out”
24.   Vera Farminga, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”
25.   Zhao Shuzhen, “The Farewell”

1.       1917
2.       A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood
3.       Ad Astra
4.       Avengers: Endgame”
5.       Booksmart
6.       Brightburn
7.       Doctor Sleep
8.       Dolemite Is My Name
9.       Ford vs Ferrari
10.   Godzilla: King of the Monsters
11.   Hustlers
12.   John Wick 3
13.   Jojo Rabbit
14.   Knives Out
15.   Marriage Story
16.   Midsommar
17.   Monos
18.   Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
19.   Parasite
20.   Rocketman
21.   Shazam!
22.   The Farewell
23.   The Irishman
24.   The Last Black Man In San Francisco
25.   The Lighthouse
26.   The Nightingale
27.   The Report
28.   The Souvenir
29.   Uncut Gems
30.   Us

Best Director
1.       Ari Aster, “Midsommar”
2.       Bong Joon-ho, “Parasite”
3.       Craig Brewer, “Dolemite is my Name”
4.       David Sandberg, “Shazam!”
5.       Dexter Fletcher, “Rocketman”
6.       James Mangold, “Ford v. Ferrari”
7.       Jennifer Kent, “The Nightingale”
8.       Joe & Anthony Russo, “Avengers: Endgame”
9.       Joe Talbot, “The Last Black Man In San Francisco”
10.   Jordan Peele, “Us”
11.   Josh & Benny Safdie, “Uncut Gems”
12.   Lorene Scafaria, “Hustlers”
13.   Lulu Wang, “The Farewell”
14.   Marielle Heller, “A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood”
15.   Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman”
16.   Michael Dougherty, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”
17.   Mike Flanagan, “Doctor Sleep”
18.   Noah Baumbach, “Marriage Story”
19.   Olivia Wilde, “Booksmart”
20.   Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood”
21.   Rian Johnson, “Knives Out”
22.   Robert Eggers, “The Lighthouse”
23.   Sam Mendes, “1917”
24.   Scott Z. Burns, “The Report”
25.   Taika Waititi, “Jojo Rabbit”

Best Visual Effects
1.       Ad Astra
2.       Aladdin
3.       Alita: Battle Angel
4.       Avengers: Endgame
5.       Dumbo
6.       Gemini Man
7.       Godzilla: King of the Monsters
8.       Pokemon: Detective Pikachu
9.       Shazam!
10.   Spider-Man: Far From Home
11.   Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
12.   The Irishman

Best Animated Movie
1.       Angry Birds Movie 2
2.       Frozen 2
3.       How To Train Your Dragon 3
4.       I Lost My Body
5.       Missing Link
6.       Noel
7.       Spies In Disguise
8.       The Addams Family
9.       The LEGO Movie 2
10.   Toy Story 4

Original Screenplay
1.       1917
2.       Bombshell
3.       Knives Out
4.       Marriage Story
5.       Midsommar
6.       Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
7.       The Farewell
8.       The Lighthouse
9.       Uncut Gems
10.   Us

Adapted Screenplay
1.       Alita: Battle Angel
2.       Avengers: Endgame
3.       Downton Abbey
4.       Jojo Rabbit
5.       Motherless Brooklyn
6.       Shazam!
7.       Spider-Man: Far From Home
8.       The Addams Family
9.       The Angry Birds Movie 2
10.   The Irishman

You have until February 1st. Any questions or comments let me know!