Chris Rock’s Top Five is the Movie You Need to Watch Before the Oscars

As of the publishing of this post, the 88th annual Academy Awards are two days away. This means that a lot of people are either a) predicting who will win what, b) talking about who should have been nominated c) watching nominated movies they hadn’t gotten around to watching yet, or d) talking about why they aren’t going to watch the Oscars.

This article is not about any of those things.

This is about one of my favorite films of 2014, Top Five, which was overlooked by both the 2015 Academy Awards and audiences worldwide. The reason its relevant is because, one year before #OscarsSoWhite became a concept, it was another black movie (black writer, black director, black producers, black music, black cast, black soundtrack) completely ignored by the “Academy,” and because it was written and director by, and starred, this year’s Oscars host: comedian, actor, writer and director Chris Rock.


This is not going to be a long blog post. You’re almost halfway done reading it. But I urge you to watch this film. The film contains multitudes.

In honor of one of the film’s theme, these are the top five reasons you should watch it:

The cast is amazing.

This movie feels like a reward for watching quality television: Wee Bay from The Wire, JB Smoove from Curb Your Enthusiasm, Ders from Workaholics, Carter from the first few seasons of Weeds. Plus Rosaria Dawson and Tracy Morgan. Oh, and small roles by comedians Cedric the Entertainer and Kevin Hart. And cameo performances (as themselves) by Jerry Seinfeld, Whoopi Goldberg, Adam Sandler, and DMX. Continue reading “Chris Rock’s Top Five is the Movie You Need to Watch Before the Oscars”

Made Fun Of, For Liking Superheroes…

Yes, this blog post has an unusual title.

That’s because this blog post has unusual content, especially for this blog.

Captain America.  Not a real person, but not someone you should get mocked for admiring.
Captain America. Not a real person, but not someone you should get mocked for admiring.

I often use this blog in critical or cynical ways.  Mocking things like Ocean’s Eleven, Fast and/or Furious films, House of Cards, etc.  I call things dumb or bad.  The specific article that I previously wrote about this was “Guys, Let’s Take it Easy on the Superhero Shaming Concept.”  And I still do agree with my concept in that, which is we should be careful about creating buzzphrases like “superhero shaming” and that the director of Guardians of the Galaxy probably isn’t really getting “shamed,” whether he wins an Oscar or not.

But I recently saw, when reading through the search terms that have lead people to this blog, that someone stumbled across it as the result of searching “made fun of for liking superheroes.”   Because of the possibility that someone might end up on this site as a result of searching for help after getting made fun of for liking superheroes, I felt obligated to write a blog post to assist the next person who might end up here for that reason. Continue reading “Made Fun Of, For Liking Superheroes…”

Guys, Let’s Take it Easy on the “Superhero Shaming” Concept

I watched only a little bit of the Oscars, mostly because I didn’t really want to watch the Oscars.  But it’s hard to miss all the things people talk about afterward.  The biggest topics seem to be a) Birdman is good, but maybe it’s not as good as some people say, or maybe it’s better  b) Neil Patrick Harris wasn’t that funny, or maybe he was  c) it was too white, d) it was very very very white  e) etc.

I'm not sure who the person singing is, but I am distracted about how the floor under her kinda looks like it has a Star Wars theme going.
I’m not sure who the person singing is, but I am distracted about how the floor under her kinda looks like it has a Star Wars theme going.

So all of that seems pretty standard.  No major surprises.  What surprised, and annoyed, and irritated, and flabbergasted me is one of the ideas that seems to have floated out of the mess, which is the concept of “superhero shaming.”  Apparently, in addition to the racism, sexism, and classism, the Oscars are guilty of a very bad crime: making fun of superhero movies. And yes, the label of specifically referring to this as “superhero shaming” has happened multiple times. Continue reading “Guys, Let’s Take it Easy on the “Superhero Shaming” Concept”

The Fighter vs. The Town vs. The Departed

For whatever reason, it seems that 80% of people cannot discuss the films The Town or The Fighter without mentioning The Departed.  With the recent arrest of Whitey Bulger, it also seems that people have started talking about The Departed even more than before.  I suppose that the temptation is overwhelming: The Fighter and The Departed beg comparison because Mark Wahlberg is in both of them, while The Town and The Departed are obvious rivals because one stars Matt Damon and the other stars Ben Affleck.  Critics and audiences seem to love comparing Affleck and Damon, and, for whatever reason, 90% of people believe that Matt Damon is a better actor.  Even The Onion seems to think that Affleck’s career is so much worse-off than Damon’s that they joked that Affleck wished he was in a Bourne Situation sequel.  (Yes, I realize that article is several years old, but it seems the opinion has little changed). Furthermore, all three films  a) were made within the last several years, b) set in Boston, or the surrounding area, c) were Academy Award contenders or winners, and d) have “The” in the title.

I have had enough of hearing about how The Town is a worse version of The Departed, or that The Fighter didn’t compare to The Departed, which is why I am explaining why The Departed deserves the least amount of respect out of the three films.  An easy obvious solution would be to make excuses for The Town and The Fighter: neither of them were directed by Martin Scorcese, so one might argue that it’s unfair to compare them to the film that earned him a Best Picture.  I will not take that easy route.

Continue reading “The Fighter vs. The Town vs. The Departed”

He won… but what’s next?

How do you follow the success of an Academy Award win?   The answer is simple: Do what the Coen Brothers do.  After receiving the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Fargo, Joel and Ethan Coen made The Big Lebowski, a film that had nearly nothing in common with their last film, aside from involving Steve Buscemi and kidnapping.  Or consider that after receiving Best Picture for the intense thriller No Country for Old Men, they immediately made the comedy Burn After Reading.  

 The question is… what now?

The point is that Bale must approach his career in the same way as the Coens.  It’s time for a game changer.  Something light, comedic, and goofy.  Something entirely unlike the somber, tear-jerking, “based on a true story” The Fighter.   More specifically: a long-awaited sequel to the 1994 Disney live-action family film, Blank Check.  That’s right.  It’s time for pre-production to begin on Blank Check 2: Checks and Balances.