What Movies Do You Love That People Hate?

Fear and John Carter

The “Good-Bad Movie” is a special piece of art. Sometimes, a movie can be so bad that it’s actually good. Other times, it feels as if you’re the only person in the world who loves and appreciates the true meaning of the film. In fact, these movies may not bad at all and receive unnecessary hate.

Not every movie can be The Godfather and that’s okay. I love plenty of movies that people hate. I call these my guilty pleasures. There’s no better feeling than flipping through the channels and picking up one of these movies during a great scene. This is exactly why I love cable and haven’t cut the cord. Loving certain movies that most people hate makes me feel part of an exclusive club. It’s like wearing a badge of honor, or from the opposite viewpoint, a badge of dishonor.

It’s more fun to embrace hatred than join the crowd. Here are some of the movies I love that people hate.

We Are Your Friends

I will go to battle for We Are Your Friends. In fact, I’m going to write an entire article on this film for its five-year anniversary next week. I’ll only touch on the “Zac Efron DJ movie.” I rewatched this movie for the first time the other night and I had an absolute blast. The first hour is so funny and enjoyable. From the soundtrack to the core group of friends, this film made me want to book a flight to California and eat sushi in the San Fernando Valley. Efron is such a charismatic guy. We know he’s A-list but still seems like an approachable and relatable guy. I’m arguably one of the only humans to see We Are Your Friends, one biggest box office bombs ever, in theaters. I had the same reaction in the theater as I did last Friday night. Once this movie decided to take itself seriously, it lost its magic. Killing Squirrel was the film’s downfall. Take out Squirrel’s death and the film becomes a staple in every college house in America.

Fear

Before Mark Wahlberg became the guy who does his job, he was an up-and-coming actor trying to distance himself from a rap career. After playing the bad boy in Basketball Diaries, Wahlberg went full stalker and pyscho in Fear, one of my guilty pleasures. Wahlberg plays David McCall, the mysterious older boy who dates Nicole Walker, played by a young Reese Witherspoon. Fear is a teenage erotic thriller that steals a few pages from Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct. As evidenced by the gif, the film gets pretty ridiculous at times. However, Wahlberg’s over-the-top performance is why I keep coming back. At the very least, you can watch a film with two actors, Wahlberg and Witherspoon, who would dominate Hollywood in the future. My only advice: Do NOT watch this movie with your parents. If they stick around, tell them to walk out of the room when David and Nicole go on the roller coaster. You’ll never hear “Wild Horses” the same way again.

John Carter

Disney

Do you remember John Carter from 2012? It was supposed to be the next big franchise from Disney. It was supposed to be Taylor Kitsch’s entry into movie stardom as the Friday Night Lights alum traded a helmet and case of beer for superhuman strength and jumping. If the main character in Avatar stayed in his human form while receiving alien powers, the result would be John Carter. Not only did John Carter become one of the biggest box office bombs ever, but it nearly killed Kitsch due to the strenuous filming schedule. The only similarity John Carter has to Avatar is its price tag with a rumored cost of $350 million. The plot is flimsy, and frankly, loses its way especially in the second act. John Carter is not Citizen Kane, but it’s not as bad as its reputation makes it seem. Kitsch unfairly received the majority of the blame for the movie’s failure when in actuality, he gives a believable performance as a grieving war veteran who accidentally becomes a hero to a new world. Our guy Tim Riggins deserves better from us. Next time you have a chance to watch Kitsch save the kingdoms of Barsoom, give it a shot.

Dances with Wolves

Hear me out. If Dances with Wolves doesn’t beat Goodfellas for Best Picture, fewer people hate it. Goodfellas is the defining moment of Martin Scorsese’s illustrious career. It’s my favorite mafia/gangster movie ever and Scorsese should have walked away from the Oscars with Best Director and Best Picture. Instead, Kevin Costner’s directorial debut took home the top prizes of the night. Dances with Wolves is very long. There are multiple scenes that showcase Costner’s ability to shave and tidy up around the house. But, it’s an astounding epic western with beautiful cinematography. The plot is simple, but Costner’s attention to detail and visual direction elevates the film to grand heights. At a time when westerns were nowhere to be found, Dances with Wolves helped revitalize the genre. If you’ll excuse me, I have some buffalo to catch.

What movies do you love that people hate? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

The Top Five Summer Movies Of All Time

Dazed and Confused, Jaws, and The Sandlot

The summer box office may be on hold, but summer movies can still be enjoyed in the comfort of our own homes. What makes a good summer movie? For starters, the plot has to take place during the summer months. The summer should be its own theme and play an integral part in the plot. Camp and the last day of school are two popular settings for summer movies.

This is not a list of movies that are typically released during the summer. So blockbusters and sequels that are released during the summer months are disqualified unless the story revolves around the summer. Avengers: Endgame is a great summer blockbuster, but the film doesn’t specify it takes place during the summer so it’s off the list.

With that being said, here are my top five summer movies of all time.

5. Heavyweights

Oh, look! A deli meat! Sleepaway camp is a good setting for a summer movie. Good luck finding a funnier kids movie than Heavyweights. I will go to bat for Heavyweights. Critics hate it, but fans including myself love it. It features an all-time, over-the-top performance from Ben Stiller as Tony Perkis, the fitness guru who takes over the weight loss camp. Everything Stiller does is laugh out loud hilarious. From his one-liners (“Tonight’s lecture: liposuction, option or obsession?”) to his obsessive mannerisms (“Come on you devil log!”), Tony Perkis walked so Tugg Speedman could run. If you don’t agree, then lunch is canceled due to a lack of hustle.

4. Wet Hot American Summer

Wet Hot American Summer is a cult classic that’s frankly not for everyone. For example, there’s a storyline that revolves around a chef, who’s a Vietnam vet, that gets advice from a talking-can of mixed vegetables. Once again, it’s not for everyone, but it successfully spoofs the teen sex comedy genre. More importantly, the cast is stacked and includes a lot of little-known actors at the time who went on to become huge stars. Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, and Bradley Cooper are the standouts, but the cast also includes Christopher Meloni, Janeane Garofalo, Molly Shannon, Michael Showalter, Marguerite Moreau, Ken Marino, Michael Ian Black, David Hyde Pierce, Joe Lo Truglio, and H. Jon Benjamin. Wet Hot American Summer is the 2011-2012 Oklahoma City Thunder. The cast just needed some more time before reaching their max potential.

3. The Sandlot

Play ball! Where do I even begin? The Sandlot is one of the rare movies where you don’t have to love the sport in order to enjoy the movie. The Sandlot is a film about friendship and childhood just as much as it is a love letter to baseball. The Sandlot’s characters all represent a specific stereotype in each person’s friend group. Every group, both male and female, has some version of the following people: the new kid, the loudmouth, the annoying one, the sibling, the trash talker, the little guy, and the hotshot. Finally, every group has the alpha aka their Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez. The best part of The Sandlot is nostalgia. The film takes you back to when you were 12 and only cared about playing with your friends every summer. The film also has Wendy Peffercorn so there’s that, too.

The Sandlot / 20th Century Fox

2. Jaws

I recently called Jaws the “most important summer blockbuster ever.” 45 years since its release, the film still holds up. It’s a masterpiece from start to finish. Not much more to say about a film that changed the film industry forever.

1.Dazed and Confused

Dazed and Confused / Universal Pictures

That’s the thing about these high school girls. As I get… Nope, we’re not going to finish that line even though we ALL know someone from our hometown who lives in the past and still thinks he’s in high school. Regardless of how you feel about Dave Wooderson’s taste in women, the fact is the Dazed and Confused remains the greatest summer movie of all time. It also happens to be the greatest hangout movie of all time. Every single person who went to school can relate to the last day of school and the first day of summer. It’s what kids live for and continue to live for even as we age. Cruising around with your friends, looking for parties, and pondering the future are all tasks that every teenager undertakes as they grow up. As soon as “Sweet Emotion” hits, it takes me back to a time where all I cared about was hanging out with my friends and finding dumb shit to do. In the words of Wooderson, “Just keep livin’ man.”

What are your top summer movies? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

The One Problem I Have With Inception

Inception

In the 2010 blockbuster, Inception, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this week, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Dom Cobb, says, “Dreams feel real while we’re in them. It’s only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange.” I’d like to believe that 2020 is a dream.

We may not be able to plant ideas in our minds for a better year, but we can reminisce about Inception. The Dark Knight may be Christopher Nolan’s best movie, but Inception is his most important movie. After the success of The Dark Knight, Nolan could literally (say ‘literally’ with the voice of a 15-year-old teenager) do anything he wanted. Not only did Nolan write and direct the greatest superhero film ever made, but helped create the most memorable character of the 21st century, Heath Ledger’s Joker. The Dark Knight was so influential that the Academy increased their number of Best Picture nominees from five to ten because the film was noticeably absent in that category.

Nolan had all the juice in the world. He could have completed the trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises as his next move. In 2020, where Marvel, Disney, and well-known IP like Mission Impossible dominate the box office, producing an original blockbuster is not only risky, but it’s a death sentence. Instead, Nolan decided to create a summer blockbuster from an original concept. I’m not an expert, but I think Nolan made the right decision since the film grossed $825 million-plus worldwide and received 8 Academy Award nominations (4 wins) including Best Picture.

Warner Bros. Pictures

In simplest terms, Inception is a mind-fuck. It’s straight out of the Christopher Nolan playbook. The film is a high-concept idea with huge set pieces, visually-stunning action sequences, and a signature twist to keep the audience guessing. Everyone recognizes Nolan’s talent as a filmmaker. However, with many of his films, there are some fans that will go to the ends of the Earth to defend Inception and then there are those who will do whatever it takes to prove that Inception is a terrible movie. For a director that consistently grosses hundreds of millions at the box office, Nolan is extremely polarizing.

Now would be a good time to say that I’m a huge Nolan fan who believes Inception was one of the ten best films of the decade. I don’t need everything in Inception to make sense. I don’t always need the science to match up. I’m ok with suspending reality for two and a half hours to watch Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, and the rest of the gang travel through dream levels. Was Leo still stuck inside his dream at the end? The answer is no. Move on, Internet.

Despite my love for Inception, I’ve always had one major problem with the film. It has nothing to do with the logistics of dreams and the moral effects it can have on the world. It also has nothing to do with any technical aspects of the film. My one problem with Inception is the scene with Mal’s death.

For reasons I can’t fully comprehend, this scene makes me laugh every time. This is not the time for a laugh whatsoever. It’s actually pretty tragic. Cobb’s wife, Mal, could not face reality after 50 years in the dream world. Mal thought she was still dreaming so in order to wake up, she decided to commit suicide by jumping out of her hotel room. Mal also framed Cobb for her death with the hopes that Cobb would commit suicide, too. Mal’s death tortures Cobb throughout the entire movie because he’s responsible for her introduction to the dream world. Cobb achieved inception with Mal, which ruined her life. This guilt and failure to move on are why Mal shows up to thwart every one of Cobb’s plans on each level. And yet, I’m the asshole who laughs when Cobb screams, “Mal no!”

In a movie about traveling within dreams and ideas that go against the laws of nature, Mal’s tragic death is the storyline I found to be the most ridiculousness. It’s heartbreaking that Mal died, but I find it hard to believe that Cobb, a criminal mastermind and innovative thinker, could be so easily outsmarted and framed for a death he did not commit. However, the real reason for my laughter is Leo’s reaction. Leo is on my Mount Rushmore of actors I love and adore, but there’s something about a dramatic and over-the-top Leo scream that makes me smile.

This problem is truly a “me problem,” but thankfully, it does not ruin the movie. Inception hive, stand up!

The Five Best Things In Palm Springs

Palm Springs

In the film Palm Springs, Andy Samberg’s character, Nyles, says, “This is today. Today is yesterday. And tomorrow is also today. Today, yesterday, tomorrow — they’re all the same.” Had you not watched Palm Springs, you would think that Samberg’s quote was used in reference to the quarantine and living situation in the United States.

That being said, Palm Springs may end up being one of the best movies of summer. Samberg plays Nyles, a laid-back slacker who gets stuck in a time loop at a Palm Springs wedding. When Nyles accidentally brings Sarah, played by Cristin Milioti, into the time loop, the two must learn to embrace the harsh reality that they’re stuck in the same day forever. When Sarah decides she wants to try and leave the loop, both Sarah and Nyles must face their worst fears and decide if they want to return to a world full of imperfections and responsibilities.

In a year where movies continue to be pushed back and delayed indefinitely, Palm Springs could not have premiered at a better time. It’s a fresh, fun rom-com with two likable stars in Samberg and Milioti. It’s the perfect 90-minute movie to fire up on Hulu this weekend while you’re stuck inside.

Here are the five best things from Palm Springs.

5. Pool Beers

Cristin Milioti and Andy Samberg in Palm Springs / Hulu

It’s a known fact that beers taste better in certain situations. The Friday after-work beer, the golf course beer, the stadium beer, and the tailgate beer are all in the upper echelon of beers. However, Samberg made a strong case for the pool beer in Palm Springs. There’s nothing better than cracking open a nice cold one while lounging in the pool. It’s beyond relaxing. As someone who has been doing a lot of floating in the pool this summer, a beer only elevates the overall experience. Plus, if you have a float with a cup holder, you don’t have to worry about holding onto your beer the entire time. Pool beers for the win.

4. Andy Samberg Dancing In A Hawaiian Shirt

Honestly, I could see myself wearing this shirt and dancing exactly like Samberg.

3. Andy Samberg

Speak of the devil, Samberg is great, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Samberg is an insanely talented actor, writer, and producer. He’s always great in roles where he’s the most likable guy in the room. Samberg’s comedic wit, natural charisma, and charming personality make him the perfect leading man in a rom-com. Not every leading man has to look like Tom Cruise or Leonardo DiCaprio. Some can be sarcastic, hilarious, and have great taste when it comes to Hawaiin shirts. I look forward to Samberg headlining more movies in the future.

2. The Time Loop

Are we in the Golden Age of time loops? Obviously, the most famous time loop movie is Groundhog Day, which is a genius work of comedy. Within the last three years, The Happy Death Day franchise, Before I Fall, and Russian Doll all carved out their version of Groundhog Day and found some success. Now, add Palm Springs to the list, which carved out its own niche in the genre by perfectly balancing romantic, comedic humor with dark, depressing realizations. Everything is great when Nyles and Sarah can share a few beers, dance at the wedding, and not suffer from daily responsibilities or consequences. However, Palm Springs also examines the darker side of the time loop. No matter how many times you die, you can’t escape the time loop. In Sarah’s case, relieving the worst mistake of her life is her version of hell. Nyles has lost his sense of reality and his carefree lifestyle is incapable of feeling emotions, which turns out to be a major problem in his relationship with Sarah. Palm Springs is a film about two people falling in love just as much as it is about two people suffering from an existential crisis.

1. Cristin Milioti 

Palm Springs / Hulu

Samberg may have top billing, but Palm Springs is Milioti’s movie to shine. She ends up stealing the show as Sarah. Milioti will make you laugh when she shows up to the wedding with an eyepatch, pirate’s hook, and wacky accent as well as her choreographed dance routine with Samberg in the bar. However, she’ll make you cry when she comes to the devastating realization that she’s an emotional wreck who can’t put her past mistakes behind her in order to move on. Milioti is probably best known for her role as The Mother in How I Met Your Mother. For all of the problems that the final season had including its ending, Milioti was so likable and soothing that her presence was one of the lone bright spots of Barney’s and Robin’s wedding. I’m excited to see Milioti in more roles where she can balance comedy with being a badass who studies quantum physics.

Did you enjoy Palm Springs? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

Why Back To The Future Is A Perfect Movie

Back to the Future

What is the perfect movie? Citizen Kane, Casablanca, or The Godfather are among the greatest movies of all time, but they are far from perfect. I doubt everyone is interested in a gangster epic or the story of a publishing tycoon. However, the adventures of a charming and charismatic teenager who travels back in time via a DeLorean in Back to the Future can be fun for everyone.

Today, July 3, marks the 35th anniversary of Back to the Future. 35 years ago, Marty McFly went to the year 1955, made his parents fall in love, repaired the DeLorean with Doc Brown, and traveled back to the year 1985 to save the space-time continuum. In other words, it’s a perfect movie.

To be perfect, there are certain criteria that a film must meet.

What Elements Make Up A Perfect Movie?

  • Appeals to almost every age range and every type of person
  • Elite protagonist
  • Easy-to-explain story with minimal plot holes
  • Critically and financially successful
  • Great beginning, great middle, and a great ending

Does Back to the Future appeal to almost every age range and every type of person? Absolutely. I saw Back to the Future for the first time when I was about 10 or 11 and it blew my mind. It’s so damn enjoyable from start to finish. An 11-year-old boy and a 53-year-old woman can sit down, watch Back to the Future, and accumulate the same levels of enjoyment. It’s as fun for the whole family as it gets.

Does Back to the Future have an elite protagonist? 100%. Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly is one of the most iconic protagonists in movie history. Fox is a charming, witty, and most importantly, likable protagonist. People can relate to Marty in so many ways. He’s not tall or buff and he doesn’t fight crime like a superhero. He’s a regular guy who gives off a larger-than-life vibe. Fox perfectly balances the humor with the drama, which is something Eric Stolz failed to do and it’s why Fox replaced him after five weeks of filming. It’s one of the biggest sliding doors moment ever.

Is Back to the Future easy to explain? Does it have minimal plot holes? Yes and yes. The science of time travel is confusing, but the film is able to explain it in such a way that even a kid could understand. It’s like Doc Brown is a walking “Time Travel for Dummies” book. Plus, I personally believe there are little to no plot holes. A few weeks ago, James Gunn called Back to the Future perfect, but he questioned why Lorraine and George did not remember Marty in the year 1985. Bob Gale, one of the film’s screenwriters, answered Gunn’s question by saying, “Bear in mind that George and Lorraine only knew Marty/Calvin for eight days when they were 17, and they did not even see him every one of those eight days.” Without pictures, it would be very difficult to remember what someone looks like from 30 years prior.

Was Back to the Future both critically and financially successful? Are three Academy Award nominations (1 win) and $389 million at the box office enough proof? It’s hard to comprehend an original concept dominating the box office in 2020 with Marvel and Star Wars at every turn. However, Back to the Future, which is based on an original idea and script, was the highest-grossing film of 1985.

Does Back to the Future have a great beginning, great middle, and a great ending? That’s an easy yes to all the above. The beginning scene sets the stage that the film will revolve around time thanks to all of the ticking clocks. The middle follows Marty’s attempt to set George up with Lorraine while simultaneously helping Doc repair the DeLorean and create a plan to return to 1985. The ending is perfect in its own right. From the Enchantment Under The Sea dance to Doc, Marty, and Jennifer flying away, it’s as entertaining of 20+ minute stretch as you’ll ever see.

So I encourage you all to sit down with your families, fire up Back to the Future on Netflix, and bask in its perfection. Remember, where we’re going, we don’t need roads.

Is Back to the Future a perfect movie? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

Jaws 45th Anniversary: The Most Important Summer Blockbuster

Jaws

What is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Jaws? Here’s mine: Duunnn dunnn… duuuunnnn duun… duuunnnnnnnn dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnn dunnnn.

45 years ago, Jaws hit theaters, and little did it know, it would change the film industry forever. There’s a case to be made that in terms of blockbusters, Jaws is the defining blockbuster of the modern era. There are films before it and after. Let’s start with the film itself. In layman’s terms, Jaws is about three dudes (Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw) who hunt down a killer great white shark that’s been terrorizing a local beach town. Except it’s so much more than that. It’s an edge-of-your-seat thriller that requires a Xanax after the end credits. A killer, man-eating shark makes it a horror, but Jaws also highlights masculinity and the power struggle between men. The political decisions in Jaws mirror the political choices during the coronavirus pandemic as local governments battle unruly residents on how to reopen the economy. Should we listen to the experts or hit the beaches for the Fourth of July?

Jaws is a masterclass in how to create suspense without revealing your villain too early. It’s fucking terrifying especially the first time you see it. Think about this. The shark doesn’t fully appear onscreen for one hour and 21 minutes into the film. A lot of that had to do with mechanical problems with the shark so director Steven Spielberg had to find ways to shoot around these deficiencies. The anticipation and ominous presence only heighten because of John Williams’ Academy Award-winning score.

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to talk about Spielberg. At the time of its release, Spielberg was an unknown 27-year-old kid with little studio experience. Part of what makes Jaws so legendary is the behind-the-scenes drama. There are so many documentaries about how the production of Jaws was like hell on earth. The shoot was supposed to last 55 days, but it ended up being 159 days. With mechanical shark malfunctions, a budget that ballooned from $4 million to $9 million, and onset drama between Dreyfuss and Shaw, Spielberg believed Jaws would be the end of his career.

Well, Mr. Spielberg, Jaws did not ruin your career. In fact, Jaws turned Spielberg from an unknown to a superstar in one summer. “Jawsmania” was a real thing during the summer of 1975. Jaws made over $490 million at the box office, which was a record at the time until Star Wars passed it two years later. My parents, who both saw the film in theaters, talked about how people were afraid to go into the ocean that entire summer. Speaking from experience, before I dive into the water, I check the horizon to see if a shark fin is on the horizon. I can thank Jaws for that.

Jaws poster

More importantly, Jaws set the precedent for summer blockbusters. Up until then, studios would release films of lesser quality in the summer because they were of the thought that only teenagers went to the movies during those months. Winter was seen as a more profitable month for big studio releases. However, Jaws made the summer the most important time for blockbusters. Jaws spent more than $2 million on marketing in the lead up to the release. Network television spots created a sense of familiarity with audiences because they knew the premise and heard William’s suspenseful score before going to theaters. Plus, Jaws opened in over 400 theaters on the first weekend, which was unheard of at the time. Spending huge money on marketing and opening in hundreds of theaters is the blueprint that studios still follow to this day.

Despite poorly-received sequels, Jaws has still survived the test of time. It was selected by the Library of Congress I’ve rewatched parts from Jaws dozens of times and the fear in the pit of my stomach still remains as if it’s my first viewing experience. No matter what happens, always remember that Hooper drives the boat, chief.

Will you watch this classic on the 45th anniversary? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

Oscars 2021: Predictions For Da 5 Bloods And The King of Staten Island

Da 5 Bloods and The King of Staten Island

It’s never too early to start thinking about the Oscars even if the ceremony’s date was pushed back to the Spring. Last week, the Academy decided to push back the Oscar ceremony to April 25, 2021. More importantly, the eligibility requirements moved from Dec. 31, 2020, to the end Feb. 28, 2021. Due to COVID-19, delaying the ceremony was expected, but still surprising. This change will likely set off a domino effect for the dates of other awards shows like the Golden Globes, which usually convenes at the beginning of January.

Despite being 10 months away, there are two films from the last week that should Oscar aspirations with one being a serious contender for multiple awards. The two movies are Da 5 Bloods and The King of Staten Island. Da 5 Bloods jumps off the page as an Oscar contender because of its subject matter, stellar performances, and direction from Spike Lee. In turn, The King of Staten Island is the type of film that’s typically not represented at the Oscars, but in a perfect world, there should be Oscars’ consideration for one performance in particular.

Da 5 Bloods

It’s June 18 and Netflix’s Da 5 Bloods is the leader in the clubhouse for Best Picture. In Da 5 Bloods, four African American veterans (Delroy Lindo, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr.) return to Vietnam to find the remains of their heroic squad leader, Stormin’ Norman (Chadwick Boseman) and collect a treasure they buried during the war. Da 5 Bloods is half war drama/half crime thriller that frames the Vietnam War entirely through the eyes of black veterans, which is a first for films about that specific war. Like many of Lee’s films, it’s equally compelling as it is informational as the film references historical moments such as the assassination of Martin Luther King, the resignation of President Richard Nixon, and the Civil Rights Movement in the late 1960s. It’s a film that presents a war on two fronts: the war in Vietnam and the fight against oppression in the United States. At its core, Da 5 Bloods depicts how the traumas of our past stay with us today.

Lee’s passionate storytelling and careful direction are on full display in Da 5 Bloods, but will it lead to Oscar nominations? It’s hard to believe that up until 2019, Lee received only two individual nominations*: a screenplay nomination for the iconic, Do the Right Thing, and a documentary nomination for 4 Little Girls. It wasn’t until 2018’s BlacKkKlansman when Lee finally received his long-awaited competitive Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

*Lee received an honorary Oscar in 2016.

With what’s going on in this country, from the Black Lives Matters movement to protests over police brutality, it will be hard to find a more culturally relevant film in 2020 than Da 5 Bloods. Now that Lee won an Oscar, momentum is on his side with the Academy. It’s clearly at the top of the shortlist for best film of the year up to this point. Plus, the fact that it’s on Netflix could help the film remain on the public’s radar for the rest of the year. All of these components could make up the perfect storm for Lee to win Best Director, which has never been won by a black man or black woman. In addition to Lee, don’t sleep on Lindo, who gives an emotional tour-de-force of performance that’s so raw and moving. It’s still early, but Da 5 Bloods could be in for a historic night next April.

Oscars 2021: Nomination Predictions For Da 5 Bloods

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director, Spike Lee
  • Best Actor, Delroy Lindo
  • Best Supporting Actor, Clarke Peters
  • Best Orginal Screenplay, Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, Spike Lee, and Kevin Willmott
  • Best Cinematography, Newton Thomas Sigel
  • Best Score, Terence Oliver Blanchard

The King of Staten Island

Time and time again, Judd Apatow finds a rising talent and turns them into a superstar. Add with Pete Davidson to the long list of Apatow’s muses thanks to The King of Staten Island, Apatow’s first non-documentary since 2015’s Trainwreck. In The King of Staten Island, Davidson stars as Scott, an unmotivated stoner that failed to move on from his firefighter father’s passing as a child. When his mother (Marisa Tomei) begins to date another fireman (Bill Burr), Scott must get his life together and figure out his future before it’s too late.

Like many of Apatow’s previous films, The King of Staten Island‘s strength is a well-balanced combination of hilarity with sincerity. It’s an unofficial autobiography of Davidson’s life, from his Staten Island roots to the passing of his real firefighter father on 9/11. Davidson’s heartfelt, nuanced, and somewhat dark performance is the complete opposite of the comedian he plays on Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update. Frankly, Davidson, the actor, is my favorite version of the 26-year-old. I rarely tune into SNL and standup specials from comedians not named Dave Chappelle so my opinions on Davidson before 2020 were limited. After his performances in Big Time Adolescence and The King of Staten Island, I hope that Davidson continues to go down this road of complicated, comedic characters. If he teams with the right directors, there’s no reason why Davidson can’t be the next Seth Rogen or Jonah Hill.

The King of Staten Island benefits from its supporting cast with standout performances from Bel Powley, Marisa Tomei, and most notably, Bill Burr. All three characters call Scott out on his bullshit not because they don’t love him. In fact, all three challenge Scott to start a new life because they do care. Powley and Tomei are more tender with their approach while Burr shows Scott tough love in the firehouse and forces Scott to face the demons that have haunted him since his father’s passing. Burr’s Ray Bishop is hard-nosed, caring, and the perfect counterpoint to Davidson’s Scott. The interactions between those two characters are the strongest points in the film with Burr stealing most of those scenes.

When it comes to the Oscars, why are comedies rarely recognized? It’s an age-old question with no clear answer. Comedies are one of the most popular genres in film, and yet, they barely breakthrough in the Best Picture category. Birdman in 2014 and The Artist in 2011 both have comedic moments, but both films are a far cry from a typical comedy. Before that, 1977’s Annie Hall is the last true comedy to win Best Picture. With acting, comedic wins happen more often, but like Best Picture, it’s a performance with comedic moments in a drama. Brad Pitt, Olivia Colman, and Frances McDormand played characters with humorous moments and all won acting Oscars within the last three years. However, Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood, The Favourite, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri do not have the same comedic undertones as The King of Staten Island.

The King of Staten Island may not have your typical Oscar performances, but Tomei and Burr should each receive consideration in the supporting categories. If there’s anyone who can win a surprise Oscar for a comedy, it’s Tomei, who won Best Supporting Actress for My Cousin Vinny. With all due respect, as good as Tomei is, it’s Burr’s performance that stood above the rest. Selfishly, I hope more studios hire Burr to star in more films because his raw, comedic persona is refreshing to see onscreen.

With all that being said, I can’t sit here with a straight face and predict any Oscar nominations for The King of Staten Island. Believe me, I’d love to be wrong about this! If there’s any consolation, Davidson could nab a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical.

What are your thoughts on Da 5 Bloods and The King of Staten Island? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

Judd Apatow: Five Best Moments From His Legendary Filmography

Knocked Up Judd Apatow

Judd Apatow has a gift. He has a true eye for talent. Apatow can spot up-and-coming stars and underutilized talent better than anyone in the film industry. Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Jason Segel, Steve Carrell, Linda Cardellini, and Amy Schumer are a few names that come to mind. Now, it’s time to add Pete Davidson to the list with The King of Staten Island.

Between writing, producing, and directing, Apatow’s filmography is beyond impressive because it includes some of the most important comedies of the 21st century. Apatow helped shaped influential films such as The 40-Year-Old-Virgin, Anchorman, Knocked Up, Superbad, Step Brothers, and Bridesmaids. That’s a hall of fame run for just one man.

With his return to directing non-documentaries, I broke down my favorite moments from Apatow’s films. This was an impossible task so I only went with what popped into my head right away. I know I missed a lot of important scenes so (please) forgive me. I also only used scenes from movies so that disqualified television shows like Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared.

Judd Apatow: Five Best Moments From His Legendary Filmography

“Josh Birnbaum, Step On The Scale, Son!” – Heavyweights

Imagine having Heavyweights as your first screenwriting credit for a feature film? Apatow came out swinging with Heavyweights, the story of a fat camp that’s taken over by a fitness junkie, Tony Perkis (Ben Stiller). There’s a real argument to be made that Heavyweights is my favorite Ben Stiller performance. It’s without a doubt his most underrated, but Tony Perkis is one of the greatest villains in a family movie ever. He’s so evil and conniving and expertly parodies the larger than life fitness guru. On Rotten Tomatoes, it’s has a score of 29% on the Tomatometer, but 77% with audiences. In this round of critics vs. the audience, the audience clearly wins. There are so many one-liners from this film, but I’ll go with Josh Birnbaum stepping on the scale. And remember, muscle weighs more than fat!

Family Health Clinic – The 40-Year-Old Virgin

It’s hard to believe that Apatow’s first trip to the director’s chair in a feature film was for The 40-Year-Old-Virgin. Do I think it’s the funniest Apatow movie? No, but it’s pretty damn hilarious. However, in 2004-2005, Apatow helped turn Steve Carell into a household name. Between Anchorman and The 40-Year-Old-Virgin, Apatow showcased Carrell’s leading-man potential. Between those two movies, Carell debuted as Michael Scott on The Office, and the rest is history. Carrell’s awkward, confused, and somewhat charming portrayal of Andy helped The 40-Year-Old-Virgin become a comedic classic. I wanted to put the egg salad sandwich scene, but I couldn’t have people think I’m the 40-year-old-virgin in real life so I’ll go with sex-ed for a 40-year-old.

These Eyes Are Crying/Blood Brothers – Superbad

This is my pick for the reigning, defending, and undisputed champion of the world. Superbad is not only my favorite Apatow film but my favorite comedy of all time. The entire sequence from Seth getting hit by the car to leaving the party after the brawl is absolutely perfect. Superbad is probably the most quotable comedy of all time. Go to any party and if someone is singing, drop “you’re Jimmy’s brother, the singer” and you’ll get a reaction. Always remember that these eyes are crying.

First Dinner Scene, Step Brothers

Your honor, objection to “Superbad is probably the most quotable comedy of all time. The real answer is Step Brothers.” Step Brothers is not as good as Superbad, but it’s so ridiculousness in nature that it’s hilarious to watch Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in their element. Most people will point to the nutsack on the drumset or the final song as their favorite scene, but this four-minute dinner makes me laugh the hardest. It’s so passive-aggressive and cringeworthy. I say, “I like it,” the way Dale does all the time. My brother and I hug like Brendan and Robert whenever we see each other. I remember my first beer.

Red’s House, Pineapple Express

If you’re looking to play a comedic asshole down the road, study Danny McBride’s character, Red. From his physical comedy to his sarcastic tone, McBride rules in this scene. Pineapple Express had no business becoming this funny. A weed movie combined with an action movie should not work on paper, but Apatow, Rogen, and Evan Goldberg turned it into a cult classic. I mean James Franco received a best acting nomination at the Golden Globes for this performance, which is almost unfathomable. Here’s to the cross joint.

What is your favorite moment from a Judd Apatow movie? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

Build Your Own Avengers: Which Superheroes Will You Choose?

Avengers Endgame

Avengers, assemble. The year is 2020 and there have been zero movies released in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That’s such a weird sentence to read considering the Marvel films have been a staple in pop culture since 2008.

Since we miss our superhero and making lists is the go-to activity during quarantine, Entertainment Weekly tweeted this out the other day.

I understand that these exercises are supposed to spawn thousands of different combinations, but I can only think of two combinations that make sense. Here’s mine.

$15 – Build Your Own Avengers

$5 Captain America – For me, selecting Captain America was a no-brainer. I mean he has the word “captain” in his title. Steve Rogers is the guy you want to be in a foxhole with when shit hits the fan. With Cap, giving up is not an option. Besides his leadership and positive attitude, Cap also happens to be the strongest “human” on this list. It takes a special type of person to lift Mjolnir and what Cap did in Endgame was beyond special. My team won’t lose with Captain America leading us into battle.

$5 Thor – Instead of dropping down a slot, I’m choosing to spend the five dollars in the first category again to select Thor. First of all, on Earth, Thor is a God. That’s a good start when building a team of Avengers. Superhuman strength, speed, injury resistance, and endurance would have been enough of a selling point for me, but thanks to Mjolnir, Thor can control thunder and lightning. He’s the God of Thunder who can fly. How are you going to stop him? You can’t. Welcome to the team, Thor.

https://youtu.be/Z68MRjRpwdo

$2 Scarlet Witch – With these next three picks, it’s like I’m stealing. Their value is insane. My first value pick is Scarlet Witch. In Infinity War, besides Thor, Scarlet Witch went toe-to-toe with Thanos and held her own. She walked away with minimal injuries, which is almost impossible. Scarlet Witch can generate force fields, fly, and manipulate energy. Plus, she can invade your thoughts and plant ideas in your mind. I want someone with the powers of telepathy and telekinesis on my side.

Marvel

$1 Vision – Vision should NOT be $1. He’s an android! That should bump him up to $3 at the very least. Vision has superhuman speed, strength, and reflexes to go along with his ability to compute large data quantities and equations. His love for Scarlet Witch may blur his motives, but if she’s in trouble, no one is going to fight harder than Vision.

Marvel

$1 Bucky – Everyone needs a friend to fight with and Captain America’s best friend is Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier. However, Bucky is making the team not only for his friendship with Steve but for his skills as an assassin. Besides the superhuman strength and stamina, Bucky is a stone-cold killer with elite skills as a marksman and spy. Winter Soldier, welcome to the squad.

https://youtu.be/4JcSmCSgi24

Look at that, I didn’t even need the full $15. I did mention that there was only one other combination I was considering. If you wanted to sub in Dr. Strange for Thor or Captain America, I don’t hate it. However, my squad of Avengers will dominate. Good luck my squad.

What would be your picks for your team of Avengers? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

Portrait Of A Lady On Fire Review: Beautiful Story Of Forbidden Love

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire is one of the most powerful portrayals of forbidden love you will ever see. Winner of Best Screenplay at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, the film begins with the titular portrait of a lady on fire. Marianne, played by Noémie Merlant, is visibly moved when her art students bring out the portrait unbeknownst to her. There’s significant meaning behind this vivid painting, and director Céline Sciamma expertly fills in the details, one stroke at a time

Portrait of a Lady on Fire chronicles Marianne, an 18th-century French painter hired to paint the portrait of Héloïse, played by Adèle Haenel. Marianne travels to a remote island in Brittany at the orders of Héloïse’s mom, The Countess, played by Valeria Golino, to paint the portrait. Héloïse, who was abruptly removed from the convent, will soon be forced into a marriage with a nobleman from Milan. The Countess explains to Marianne how Héloïse refuses to sit for her portrait so she must paint in secret and go on daily walks with Héloïse in order to memorize her features. The finished portrait will be a gift to Héloïse’s future husband that she will marry soon enough.

Adèle Haenel in Portrait of a Lady on Fire / Neon

At first, Marianne and Héloïse struggle to bond as they both err on the side of caution. Héloïse feels trapped in a marriage she wants nothing to do with and Marianne wants to act on her desires but hesitates in her initial encounters. It’s a game of chicken as Marianne and Héloïse hesitate to make the first move. However, as the two women spend more time together, their chemistry is magnetic and the sexual tension is palpable. The “will they, won’t they” narrative builds whenever Marianne and Héloïse look into each other’s eyes. There’s a time constraint that lingers over the love story, but Sciamma meticulously crafts a slow burn that is in no rush to end.

For a film that uses little music, the silence speaks volumes. It’s the quiet moments that Marianne and Héloïse spend together on the beach and in bed that the audience will cherish. On this island, these women express themselves in any way they please. Forbidden love can’t last, but the freedom to love is more important because it’s their choice. They are not bogged down by the restraints of society and the orders of powerful men. Marianne and Héloïse challenge each other intellectually just as much as they embrace romantically. Whether debating the tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice with Sophie (Luàna Bajrami), a maid, or pondering their impending futures, Marianne and Héloïse create a world to themselves even if it’s only for a few days.

Thanks to stunning imagery and a brilliant script, Portrait of a Lady on Fire will move you in ways you didn’t think were possible. The final scene will leave you motionless and short of breath. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and Portrait of a Lady on Fire is as beautiful as it gets.

4.5/5 Stars

Note: My goal is to see more foreign films in 2020. I absolutely loved Parasite, which was my favorite film in 2019. As Bong Joon-ho said, “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” Neon produced Parasite as well as Portrait of a Lady on Fire so it’s clear the studio has good taste. I encourage everyone reading this to at least go into 2020 with an open mind when it comes to movies. See anything and everything, but at the end of the day, just see something.