This Is Us Season 6 Episode 2 Recap: Awkward Dinners

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 2

To the writers on This Is Us, you did it again. I call it “the swerve.” You set us up thinking Nicky will end up with one woman, only to hit us with the swerve and introduce us to a new character. I’m tipping my hat right now.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 2 Recap: “One Giant Leap”

Deja Heads To Harvard

On the road again, just can’t wait to get on the road again. Sing it!

Deja is off to visit a friend, but it’s not the friend she discussed with Randall and Beth. Instead, Deja heads to Cambridge to visit Malik at Harvard. As someone who once visited his significant other at college via bus, it’s a commitment. You’re lucky if the Wifi works. Good luck going to the bathroom because it smells bad. The things we do when we’re young…

After arriving at the bus station, Deja unexpectedly meets Jennifer, Malik’s ex and mother of his child. After the awkward encounter, Deja quickly learns that Malik is tired and stressed from balancing his studies along with fatherhood. In a typical Pearson move, Deja lets Malik finish his paper on Russian literature before heading out to a party.

Their time at the party doesn’t last long because Deja tells Malik she’s ready to have sex. The young lovers eventually go back to Malik’s apartment to have sex. Although nervous at first, Deja and Malik lovingly embrace and do the deed. Afterward, a glowing Deja tells Malik that she wants to feel this way forever with him.

Will this love story have a happy ending? More importantly, will Malik be the father of Deja’s child in the future?

The Awkward Dinner

After last week’s demand from Rebecca, she, Nicky, and Miguel go on a road trip to visit Sally, Nicky’s love from the 60s. After stopping at a vintage shop to purchase an old camera for Sally, Nicky starts to get cold feet, and in the process, reveals he never connected with his long-lost love and has no idea if this is “his” Sally. Showing up unannounced at the doorstep of a woman you haven’t seen in over 50 years is bold!

Nicky arrives at Sally’s house, and it turns out that it’s really her! Although she barely remembers the 60s, the camera triggers Sally’s memory, and she embraces Nicky. However, the happy reunion comes to an abrupt end when Sally’s husband, Eric, enters the living room. Nicky panics and asks to leave, but Miguel and Rebecca agree to stay for dinner.

If you thought Malik’s encounter with Jennifer was awkward, then this dinner scene puts that meeting to shame. Where to even begin? Nicky’s clearly upset about Sally’s marriage and he tries to insult Eric by saying Sally deflowered (LOL) him. When Sally forgets a detail from a story, she makes a remark about early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Yikes.

To make things even more awkward, Rebecca tells Sally and Eric about her Alzheimer’s, stating that memory loss makes you care more about the small stuff. Everyone goes around the table with trivial confessions about things they care too much about. Nicky tells Sally about how he’s thought about her for decades, and Sally responds by discussing her marital problems.

Big Yikes!

Things blow over (eventually), and Sally and Rebecca have a sweet moment about how they shouldn’t care about what people think. These insecurities made Sally give up posing for pictures while Rebecca stopped salsa dancing with Miguel. As the night comes to a close, Nicky finds a picture of himself on Sally’s wall, which reassures him that the trip was a success. The love of his life still cared about him despite her memory lapses.

Finally, Rebecca, Miguel, and Nicky leave (thank god!), but not before Nicky kisses Sally on the cheek and Rebecca agrees to salsa dance again with her husband. The happy ending we were all looking for!

Flash-Forward

For the first time in Season 6, we got a flash-forward! In the clip, Randall and Deja greet the person in the white car at the cabin. A woman named Edie steps out and consoles both Randall and Deja. Edie then walks up to Nicky and kisses him, but not before flashing a wedding ring on her finger.

Back to the present day, Nicky is on a flight and playfully chats up the flight attendant. The flight attendant is, you guessed it, Frank Stallone!

Or Edie.

Edie, not Sally, is Nicky’s future wife. The swerve got us again!

Tune in next week for an episode about fatherhood. Hopefully, it’s not as awkward as the dinner table!

Did you enjoy this week’s episode of This Is Us? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 1 Recap: Can’t Save Everyone

This Is Us Season 6

This Is Us is going to build us up, break us down, and then try to build us up back again. Between Rebecca’s devasting diagnosis to the downfall of Kate and Toby’s marriage, there are going to be a lot of heartbreaking moments this season. Here’s to the good times!

This Is Us Season 6 Episode 1 Recap: “The Challenger”

Rebecca’s Devastating News

Rebecca’s health is the overarching storyline of Season 6. Kevin, Kate, and Randall’s decisions from here on out will all consider their mother’s health.

In the past, Jack and Rebecca confront the Big Three about the Challenger explosion after the children watch it on television. Kate tries to find the silver lining, saying the astronauts are now closer to heaven. Randall takes the sympathetic route, wondering who will feed the children of the teacher on board. Kevin chooses to hide his pain and pretend it wasn’t real.

Later that night, Rebecca and Jack rationalize their children’s decisions. Jack believes Kevin is protecting himself from getting hurt while Rebecca compares Randall to Holden Caulfield and how he’ll eventually realize that he can’t save everyone.

Did they nail those comparisons or what?

In the present day, Rebecca, Nicky, and Miguel take Kevin’s kids to the park and ride a kiddie train. Rebecca starts to reminisce about how she loved going on trains with her father, but she struggles to remember her favorite cart. At Kate and Kevin’s party, Rebecca reveals her PET scan revealed plaque building in her brain. In other words, early-onset Alzheimer’s. At the end of the episode, Rebecca tearfully remembers the word, “caboose.”

The Downfall Of Marriage

That headline may be harsh, but it’s true. Kate and Toby are heading towards a divorce whether you like it or not. Kate is going to marry Phillip at age 45, but her marriage to Toby has to crumble first and foremost.

Damn. Have a soul, Dan.

Toby video chats with Kate to wish her a happy birthday, but ends the call abruptly to get back to work, much to Kate’s dismay. After a birthday massage, Phillip texts Kate to come to the school due to an emergency. Before entering the office, Kate eavesdrops on Phillip’s brutal breakup with his partner. I’m not a romantic expert like Mystery, but calling someone “boring” is grounds for a nice slap across the face. After the awkward breakup, Phillip surprises Kate with a performance of “Time After Time” from her students.

Later that night, Kate views pictures of the day when she stops to text Toby, who ends up surprising her in person for her birthday.

Calling my shot: One of the pictures will be of Phillip admiring Kate.

The Manny Reboot?

If I were left at the altar, I would move out the next day. Kevin, on the other hand, decides his best course of action is to move into the garage to be closer to the babies. Good idea? Hold that thought.

It’s easy to forget that Kevin is an actor considering how many projects he’s left. Kevin heads to the studio to meet with Casey, the former producer of The Manny, who offers him a role as the father in the reboot of the same show he walked off of in Season 1. Due to Kevin’s outbursts and sporadic behavior, Hollywood isn’t exactly clamoring to cast Kevin as the lead in a movie. Although Kevin would rather die than go back to The Manny, he decides to take the job so he can stay in Los Angeles to be closer to his kids and mother.

Also, Madison connects with Elijah, a friend from the book club. Jealousy gets the best of Kevin and leads to him leaving the garage in favor of Kate’s couch.

Randall Can’t Save Everyone

Spider-Man learned that he can’t save everyone, which is a lesson Randall tackles head-on. Randall receives news that the burglar who broke into his house has been caught and arraigned that day. Instead of spending the birthday with the beautiful, awesome, and charismatic wife, Beth, Randall opts for a day in court.

When Randall confronts the burglar, he soon notices the burglar’s mental health problems along with drug addiction. Randall decides to bail the burglar out and offer him a bed at a local homeless shelter. When the burglar never shows up, Randall reveals to Beth that he must help out more people in the city.

Randall can’t save everyone, but he’s going to try.

That’s it for now. Tune in next week when we get to see Nicky stalk Sally in real life!

What are your thoughts on the last night’s This Is Us? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet me, @danny_giro.

This Is Us Season 6 Preview And Predictions: The End Is Near

This Is Us / NBC

To quote Phoebe Bridgers, “The end is near” for the Pearson family. Tonight marks the beginning of the sixth and final season of NBC’s This Is Us.

It’s hard to believe that this show has been in our lives since 2016. My dad deserves all the credit for my fandom as it was him who suggested that I would like the show after a few episodes into Season 1. The old man knows what I like so golf clap to him.

Speaking of family, we last saw the Pearsons sitting down in Adirondack chairs after Madison called off her wedding with Kevin. For one of the worst moments in someone’s life, Kevin handled it quite well and even smiled which leads me to believe it was for the best.

With Season 6 upon us, the journey to Kevin’s house begins tonight. Like the previous four seasons, I will be recapping every episode on Wednesdays. Before that, here’s a quick season preview with some predictions of what lies ahead on This Is Us.

*Optional: Listen to “I Know the End” while reading the preview and predictions. Be prepared to scream at the top of your lungs by the end of the article. Playing the air-sax is also optional.

Season 6 Preview

“Sometimes you’ve got to go back, to move forward.” – Matthew McConaughey

Let’s follow Matthew’s advice and briefly recap the Season 5 finale.

  • Madison and Kevin agree to call off the wedding.
  • Rebecca asks Kevin to build her the house she always wanted.
  • Kate agrees to try a long-distance relationship after Toby receives a job offer in San Francisco.
  • Rebecca aplogizes to Randall for witholding knowldge about William for upwards of 30 years.

Flash-forward from Season 5 finale:

  • Kevin is at a wedding in the future. He’s practicing a speech in the mirror, but it’s not for him.
  • Big Three Construction is a real thing.
  • Kevin has a girlfriend (women’s clothes in his room), but who?
  • Randall has a “Rising Star” profile in a magazine.
  • Uncle Nicky is alive and married.
  • Beth and Madison are still alive.
  • Kevin is 45 so this flash-forward is about five years into the future.
  • Madison and Kevin seem to be on good terms. I did not spot wedding rings on their fingers, but both seem to be cordial and happy.
  • The location is Kate’s second wedding.
  • Kate is marrying… PHILLIP FROM MUSIC SCHOOL.
  • Kate and Toby are divorced.

The stage is set for Season 6. We’ve seen five years into the future when the Big Three are 45. We’ve seen 10 (?) or so years into the future at Kevin’s house. Now, it’s time for Season 6 to fill in all the details of how the characters reach those two checkpoints.

I encourage every fan to read Dan Fogelman’s interview with Entertainment Weekly about how Season 6 will be the show’s “most ambitious” season to date. Fogelman mentioned family, time, and memory as the show’s core themes. Using those themes, there are four major storylines to address before the series ends.

  1. Rebecca’s battle with Alzheimer’s 
  2. The dissolution of Kate and Toby’s marriage as well as the journey to Kate’s remarriage to Phillip
  3. Kevin’s career and love life
  4. Randall’s political rise and how it affects his family

If there’s a fifth bullet point, it would revolve around Miguel and his relationship with Rebecca especially in the early days of their courtship.

Safe to say there’s a lot of ground to cover for Fogelman and the writers. It’s very ambitious to resolve all of these storylines that will leave fans satisfied so I’m expecting some discourse, especially around Kate and Phillip. I highly doubt infidelity will lead to the dissolution of their marriage. Imagine Kate stayed after class one day and Phillip went in for a kiss after they sang a Fleetwood Mac song. I’ll save that for the soap opera spinoff.

Hopefully, you’ve reached the third verse of “I Know the End” so it’s time to make predictions as the song speeds up. I’d like to think I have a good track record of predictions on This Is Us. I correctly predicted the brotherly feud would end around the birth of Kevin’s twins, and I’m very confident that Rebecca will die in the series finale. However, it might be time to take the L on my “Kate will die” theory.

Season 6 Predictions

Miguel Dies: Chrissy Metz teased that this season will mark the end for “two very important characters.” One of these characters has to be Rebecca. I’m predicting that the other character will be Miguel. It would be fitting for Miguel to finally get his episode in the spotlight, only for it to be revealed in a flash-forward that he died.

Kevin Meets His Eventual Wife During The Construction Of Rebecca’s House: Kevin is going to be the leading force behind “Big Three Construction.” He’s also going to find love. Rekindling with Sophie or Madison are the easy choices so I’m predicting that we haven’t met his wife just yet. Perhaps Kevin meets her while building the house and asks her to eventually move in.

Predictions I previously made that could come true:

Nicky Pretends To Be Married To Rebecca: This is my outrageous prediction. In the flash-forward, Nicky is wearing a wedding ring while sitting next to a dying Rebecca. There’s no chance in hell that Nicky marries Rebecca. However, since Rebecca’s memory is shot, Nicky pretends to be Jack on the surface since most of her memories are gone and she only remembers Jack. Nicky wears the wedding ring and acts like Jack even though he’s serving as Rebecca’s caretaker. It’s an odd prediction, but a spicy take.

Rebecca Will Die In The Series Finale: Rebecca will die in the bed surrounded by her loved ones in the series finale. Rebecca’s death will complete the circle of life.

Here’s to one last season with the Pearson family. To quote Bridgers for the last time, “Yeah, I guess the end is here.”

What are your predictions for the final season of This Is Us? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

Favorite TV And Movie Performances Of 2021

We did it, everyone. We made it to the end of 2021. Movie theaters aren’t dead, television continues to thrive, and the Knicks made the playoffs for the first time since 2013. It wasn’t such a bad year, all things considered.

Optimism, baby!

For movies and television, 2021 was far superior to 2020. A lot of the 2020 movie releases that were pushed to 2021 because of the pandemic finally hit theaters (yes, theaters). Prestige television is still rocking thanks to hits like Succession and Mare of Easttown.

Below is a list of my favorite performances of 2021. It’s a mix of Oscar buzz with underrated performances. Enjoy!

Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman, Licorice Pizza

As one of the most prolific filmmakers of his generation, Paul Thomas Anderson can work with anyone he wants. In 2021, PTA chose two first-time actors, Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman, to headline his movie, Licorice Pizza. Haim, known for her work in the band, HAIM, and Hoffman, the son of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, were stunning revelations. Whenever the two interacted, I couldn’t look away. Their chemistry was magnetic, and these were two movie-star performances.

Kieran Culkin, Succession

Jeremy Strong gives the best performance on Succession. However, the MVP of Season 3 was Kieran Culkin. I’m sure most of his one-liners are in the script, but Culkin’s comedic delivery and improvisation are superb. Throughout the season, Roman went from an immature suckup to one of Logan’s most trustworthy allies. It’s why Roman’s revelation that Logan will do anything to win even if it means fucking over his children was so heartbreaking to watch. Also, his face after sending the dick pic to Logan is a first-ballot meme hall of fame.

Frank Grillo, Boss Level

I want to give a shoutout to my favorite “B” action movie of the year, Boss Level. The film is a fun, thrilling addition to the time-loop genre. I found it on Hulu on a random Sunday night in the Spring and loved it. I didn’t know Frank Grillo could be this witty and charming. I hope to see him in more of these half-asshole/half-good guy roles aka the Ryan Reynolds.

Rachel Zegler, Mike Faist, And Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

West Side Story / 20th Century Studios

We, as a society, look silly for every doubting Steven Spielberg. The legendary director loves musicals, and yet most people had doubts about his reimagined West Side Story. The egg is on our face because Spielberg crafted one of the five best movies of 2021. For a story set in the 1950s, Spielberg made it feel modern and injected a new energy and fresh reinterpretation of a classic. The three standout performances come from Rachel Zegler as Maria, Mike Faist as Riff, and Ariana DeBose as Anita. These three actors jump off the screen thanks to their charisma and confidence. I can’t wait to watch this again.

CT, The Challenge

CT is pulling a Tom Brady, winning challenges in the latter part of his career. Bananas is still the GOAT with 7 season wins, but things are starting to get very interesting has won 3 of the last 5 challenges, bringing his total to 5 season wins. Does Bananas come out of retirement to put an end to CT’s dominance? MTV, pay CT and Bananas whatever they want because the fans need to see this epic showdown.

Jason Momoa, Dune

Jason Momoa in Dune / Warner Bros.

To quote the kids, Jason Momoa “knew the assignment.” Momoa is having so much fun in Dune. While most of the characters are doom and gloom, Momoa’s Duncan Idaho will put a smile on your face.

Rapid Fire

  • Tom Hiddleston and Sophia Di Martino in Loki
  • Florence Pugh in Black Widow and Hawkeye
  • Ana de Armas in No Time to Die
  • Andrew Garfield in Spider-Man: No Way Home
  • Anthony Ramos and Melissa Barrera in In The Heights
  • Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Power of the Dog
  • Leonardo DiCaprio in Don’t Look Up
  • Evan Peters in Mare of Easttown
  • William Zabka in Cobra Kai
  • Tom Thibodeau on the sidelines at Knicks games

What were your favorite performances this year? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet me, @Danny_giro.

Spider-Man: No Way Home Spoiler-Packed Discussion

Spider-Man: No Way Home

If you’re reading this, then it’s too late. There’s no turning back now. The biggest movie of the year is Spider-Man: No Way Home, and I’m ready to talk about it. Spoilers are on the way. You have been warned.

Seriously, turn around if you haven’t seen the film yet.

I’m running out of videos so this is your final warning.

Spider-Man: No Way Home Thoughts And Reactions

– Wow.

– Where do I even begin? Let’s start with the most obvious talking point. We got the meme.

I knew this moment was coming and it still surprised me. When Ned opened a portal and Spider-Man ran closer to it, you knew it was Andrew Garfield or Tobey Maguire. Once Garfield removed his mask, my theater exploded like it was a buzzer-beater in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. People were screaming with joy, jumping out of their seats with huge smiles on their faces. As Ned tried to open the second portal, the same murmur began as the entire theater waited for Tobey Maguire to enter. Tobey enters the screen, and the theater once again broke the sound barrier. These reactions are exactly why Sony and Marvel choose not to reveal these former heroes in the trailer.

– One of the first swerves of the film occurred when Doctor Strange agreed to cast the spell for Peter, which would make the entire world forget about his identity. However, Strange decided to stop the spell when Peter asked for multiple exceptions as to who would remember him.

Here’s my issue. Doctor Strange is supposed to be one of the smartest and most powerful sorcerers in the world. This is the same guy who went forward in time to view alternate futures to see all the possible outcomes of the battle with Thanos. I’m supposed to believe that Peter’s requests would distract Doctor Strange from completing the spell? Peter asked for MJ, Ned, Aunt May, and Happy to remember his identity as well as anyone else who previously knew his identity. It’s not like he named his entire high school by name. There’s no way Doctor Strange messes this spell up. I refuse to believe it.

– The best part of this trilogy is the relationship between Peter, MJ, and Ned. No Way Home went out of their way to emphasize this three-way friendship. From the college decisions to their final goodbye, you could argue that Ned is just as important to Peter as MJ. These three young stars have such good chemistry that I would love to explore these characters in another film. Perhaps they go to MIT and Peter tries to be Spider-Man in Boston.

– The villains. For me, superhero films are only as strong as their villains. The Dark Knight went from great to iconic because of Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker. In No Way Home. The film had five supervillains from previous iterations of Spider-Man including Electro, Lizard, and Sandman. But, the two that deserve the most praise are Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin and Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus. In my opinion, these two performances are on the Mount Rushmore of Supervillains in the 21st century. When highly-trained actors like Dafoe and Molina get to play in the comic book sandbox, great things will happen.

Dafoe’s over-the-top and downright evil performance as Green Goblin is so effective that it works as the main antagonist of the film. Another swerve I enjoyed involved Molina’s Doctor Octopus. The trailer sets up Doc Ock as a true villain, but once Peter cures the harness, he becomes an ally of the Spider-Men. (Can we call them the “Spider-Men?”)

– Everything about the Spider-Men team-up worked. The inside jokes, the speeches about grief, the interactions during the fight, etc. It was all executed to perfection. Jokes about Tobey’s back and Peter 1’s inclusion in the Avengers were crowdpleasers. I couldn’t stop smiling when the three Peters’ were onscreen.

– Garfield’s dive to save MJ as a callback to when Gwen died absolutely wrecked me.

– Speaking of Garfield, he probably channels the essence of Peter Parker the best out of the three actors. Peter is supposed to be this witty and charming persona and Garfield’s the best when it comes to these characteristics. Tobey had the tough job of going first while Holland played teenage Parker admirably, but Garfield is the best actor to play the role. He stole the show out of the three Spideys. I just wish he had better superhero movies to showcase his talents. As it turns out, he may get the chance!

– Tom Holland is a really good Spider-Man. I’m excited to see where he goes from here since he’s now an A-list actor.

– I liked the ending of this film. I’m a fan of conclusions, and this felt like the ending of a successful trilogy. However, it does leave the door open to see how Peter has moved on in a world post-spell. Did he make new friendships? Did he make new enemies? Can he win back MJ and Ned? I’d be interested in a fourth film.

Overall, No Way Home lived up to the hype. It’s a theater experience that I will never forget.

My official rankings:

What are your thoughts on No Way Home? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me, @danny_giro.

Succession Finale: Thoughts From Someone Who Watched S3 In Two Days

Succession / HBO

Hand up, I was late to Succession.

Super late, actually.

I watched the first four episodes of Season 1 almost two years ago and walked away thinking it was just OK. The story of the show intrigued me, but I didn’t get a “must-watch” feeling like I immediately felt with Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones.

This past Fall, I decided to give the show another chance. I found that it drastically improved in the back half of Season 1, finding its stride in the final two episodes of the season. I completed Season 2 one week ago, and it blew me out of the water. A tremendous season headlined by an all-time performance from Jeremy Strong as Kendall. He brought so much nuance to a smug character that should be so unlikeable, but Strong had me rooting for Ken by the end of the season.

Fast forward to Friday afternoon when I finished the first episode of Season 3. I had an important life-or-death decision to make. Do I complete seven more episodes to watch the finale on time or go at my own pace and risk spoilers?

A weaker man might have gone at their own pace, but I’m a (mentally) tough specimen. I binged the rest of the season over the next two days and made it in time for the finale.

Who better to give immediate thoughts about the finale than someone with every detail of Season 3 still fresh in his mind?

SPOILER ALERT. STOP READING IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE FINALE.

– It was only a matter of time before the Roy siblings teamed up to face their father. Up until now, Kendall was the only child who went against his father and failed. Shiv made small moves against Logan when he refused to publicly name her CEO (suggesting Logan steps down in “Argestes”) while Roman never went against his father. But once Roman and Shiv showed compassion towards Kendall, the wheels for a team-up were in motion.

– Speaking of Kendall, that entire scene on the dirt road where Kendall confessed to the murder was an acting clinic from Jeremy Strong. The actor has been in the news all week because of the profile in the New Yorker. Frankly, I walked away from the piece thinking that Strong was a genius, not difficult to work with. Episodes like tonight prove that there’s a method to the madness.

– In that same piece, Strong stated how he treats the life and death stakes of Kendall as seriously as he takes his own life. Kendall’s confession to Roman and Shiv perfectly illustrates the debate over Succession‘s genre. Is it a tragedy or is it a comedy? Kendall is pouring his heart out, looking for forgiveness and sympathy for anyone who will listen. He’s hit rock bottom, and desperately needs a life preserver (or pool float) to save him from drowning. And yet all Roman can do is brush it off with humor, saying things like “we’ve all killed a kid, no big deal!” Shiv even supports Roman’s dark humor, saying that they’ve all killed before, too. At this moment, Shiv and Roman are incapable of human decency and compassion because they’ve never felt what it’s like to feel powerless like Kendall. The Roy family name is a suit of armor so there are no life and death stakes like Kendall has faced time and time again.

– Brian fucking Cox!

– The final scene. Holy shit was that terrific to watch. This was the Shakespearean tragedy playing out in real-time. Kendall, Shiv, and Roman were left out of the GoJo negotiations so they decide to finally join forces to take down Logan. They spend the car ride getting their affairs in order, confirming the legality of the clause they prepare to invoke on their father. Logan and Caroline’s divorce agreement granted the children a vote over any change in company control so if Logan sold Waystar RoyCo and gave control to Lukas Matsson, Logan would need a supermajority vote to make it official. The children can invoke the clause to form an opposing majority to stop the deal.

Once again, Logan was three steps ahead of his children. Logan tried to explain why selling the company to GoJo would be good for the children because they can go out and earn their own worth, but they insist on invoking the clause. It turns out he renegotiated the divorce settlement with Caroline to remove the clause, making the Roy children powerless.

Everything about this scene was perfect. Logan always wins (which I’ll talk about later as well) and he will stop at nothing to make sure he comes out victorious even if it means going against his kids. The entire season was one long explanation as to why the Roy children are not ready to become the new face of WayStar. As Logan repeatedly says, he needs a killer. Shiv embarrassed her father time and time again with her words, highlighted by the deal with Sandy and Stewie where she compromised much more than Logan would ever consider. Roman made some key introductions especially with GoJo, but sending the dick pic to Gerri proved he was too immature to be CEO. Kendall is the only one to ever get a semi-nod of approval from Logan thanks to his powerplay at the end of Season 2, but his addictions and mental health make him an unreliable successor to the throne. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to the children that Logan made his own deal. He only trusts himself so the kids were naive to think he would ever consider their opinion.

Roman and Shiv finally experienced what it’s like to get the shitty end of the stick. Roman confessed his love to his Dad and Logan returned the favor by calling him a moron. A moron! A desperate Roman tried to plead to Gerri, but she knows that Logan holds the keys to her future and therefore can’t help her friend. The puppy dog eyes broke me if we’re being honest.

For Kendall, he already knows what it feels like to have nothing so, therefore, why beg for anything? He can’t beat his dad alone and now, he learned it’s tough to beat him with numbers on your side. All Kendall could do was console his siblings since Roman and Shiv can finally empathize with their older brother after the shared experiences of being fucked over by their father.

– Then there’s Shiv, who was a villain lurking in the shadows but stepped into the evil spotlight last week with her threat to Gerri. Shiv thought she could have it all. CEO of Waystar, an obedient husband, power, money, etc. It turns out she’s just as naive and inexperienced as her brothers. Her own husband knew this, too, so it’s time to talk about the man, the myth, the midwest legend himself, Tom Wambsgans.

THE HEEL TURN FROM TOM!

Jesse Armstrong you sneaky bastard! Tom FINALLY took a stand and did something for himself. Shiv deserves all the hate in the world for how she treats Tom. From requesting an open marriage on their wedding night to the meanest dirty talk ever recorded, it’s clear that Shiv married Tom so she could feel like the man of the family, the one who holds all of the power. Shiv doesn’t care about Tom. She proved that many times this season. Tom was most likely going to prison and she couldn’t give two shits.

Tom may look like a doofus, but he understands the one thing the Roy children refuse to accept; Logan always wins. If you side with Logan, he’ll be your best ally. If you go against Logan, he’ll gut you like a pig. Tom literally told this to Kendall at the diner. It’s why Tom offered himself up as the one to fall on the sword for the company. Tom understands that Logan appreciates loyalty so when the company learned no one would go to prison, Logan went out of his way to tell Tom that he’d always remember his sacrifice.

Tom was done riding Shiv’s coattails. It was time to get in the game and cash in his ticket. He alerted Logan of the coup, and Logan will return the favor in the form of power and positing within the company. Neuro and Sporus. Chef’s kiss on the payoff.

I could talk forever about this finale so I’ll try to wrap it up. Tom, Greg, Gerri, and Logan all realize that actions have consequences. They’ve all come from small beginnings. Nothing was handed to them. They can’t afford to take a loss because if they lose, it’s over. It’s why they naturally will side with the winning side aka Logan, and they’ll do whatever it takes to stay in the game.

Kendall, Roman, and Shiv never had to take huge risks because they could always fall back on their inheritance and family name. Kendall learned the hard way about what it’s like to go against the family and now Roman and Shiv got their slices of humble pie. Do you know what happens when Logan leaves you behind? You become Connor Roy, and the blowout from Connor at the beginning of the episode was another example of beautiful foreshadowing. Connor knows to stay on his Dad’s good side because once you cross him, it’s over. Connor knows what it feels like to be passed over for new blood, and if Logan’s maca root and almond butter smoothies work, the remaining Roy siblings will be passed over, too.

Remember, betrayals are always sealed with a kiss.

I can’t wait for Season 4. Jesse Armstrong has now crafted three perfect season finales. He pushed all his chips into the center in each finale, and the payouts were huge. Here’s to King Greg!

What are your thoughts on the Succession finale? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

2022 Oscars Discussion, Vol. 2: Licorice Pizza And West Side Story Arrive In Style

Licorice Pizza

In my first column for the 2022 Oscars, I talked about how Belfast and The Power of the Dog were 1 and 1A in the Best Picture race with a lot of unknowns trailing behind. Two of those unknowns arrived this past week and became legit contenders. Buckle up.

Licorice Pizza And West Side Story Have Arrived

Never count out the power of well-respected directors. Coming into the Fall, very little was known about Licorice Pizza and West Side Story besides the two powerhouses behind the camera, Paul Thomas Anderson and Steven Spielberg. Projects from two of the best directors of their respective generations will garner a lot of attention.

In both cases, the hype was real.

Licorice Pizza landed the best debut at the independent box office during the pandemic with $335,000. PTA’s coming-of-age story set in the 1970s San Fernando Valley received overwhelmingly positive reviews, with RogerEbert.com calling it the “best movie of the year.

Fittingly, another organization called it the best film of the year. The National Board of Review named Licorice Pizza the Best Film of 2021. In addition to the top prize, PTA won Best Director, and Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman won breakthrough performance.

The win at the NBR foreshadows an Oscar nomination. Since 2010, only two films* that won Best Film did not go on to receive a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars. With a Best Picture nomination all but guaranteed, PTA should receive at least one more nomination for screenplay or direction with the former being his best chance to win.

*2014’s A Most Violent Year and 2020’s Da 5 Bloods

While PTA searches for his first Oscar, Spielberg is trying to win his fourth Oscar with West Side Story. When Spielberg first announced he would remake one of the greatest musicals of all time, many questioned why take on this legendary work of art.

Not this guy!

We should know better than to question a 17-time Oscar nominee.

According to the first reactions, West Side Story is a “true Spielberg classic.”

West Side Story quickly inserted itself into the Best Picture race with its inclusion on NBR’s 10 Best Films of the Year. The film is a lock for nominations in Best Picture and Best Director. Expect newcomer Rachel Zegler (Best Actress), who won Best Actress at NBR, Ariana DeBose (Supporting), and Rita Moreno (Supporting) to be major players in their respective races.

Gotham Awards And National Board of Review Results

This past week, the Gotham Awards gave out some hardware. The biggest winner was Netflix’s The Lost Daughter, which won four awards: Best Feature, Breakthrough Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Actress. Will it translate to Oscar nominations? It will be difficult for Maggie Gyllenhaal to crack the directing category, but she’s a shoo-in for an Adapted Screenplay nomination. Olivia Colman is a guarantee for a Best Actress nomination while the film still has some work to do for Best Picture.

As for the rest of the NBR winners, Will Smith began his “I’m going to win every award in site” campaign with a victory for King Richard.

Until next time, my friends.

After strong premieres, Licorice Pizza and West Side Story are now contenders in the race for Best Picture at the 2022 Oscars.

Previous Discussions:

Tweet me, @danny_giro, with your best Oscar predictions!

Spider-Man: No Way Home Trailer Shows Just Enough To Keep Us Guessing

Spider Man: No Way Home

So that Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer looks pretty awesome, huh.

It’s hard to put into words how much of grip No Way Home has on pop culture. It’s easily the most anticipated film of the year, and not since Avengers: Endgame have we seen a film dominate the conversation on the Internet to this extent. Between spoilers, leaks, predictions, you can’t go a few hours without another writer or publication posting an article about No Way Home.

The film’s first trailer smashed the record for the most viewed trailer in 24 hours with 355.5 million views. That record will be hard to beat, but the second trailer served more as a preview of what’s to come.

“We started getting visitors… from every universe.”

The big reveal for this trailer revolved around the return of previous villains from multiple movies in different universes. Doctor Octopus, Sandman, and the Green Goblin returned from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films while the Lizard and Electro arrived from Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man films. These five supervillains could form the Sinister Six, but that begs the question about the sixth and final member. Will there be a sixth villain?

*A working title.

More importantly, who is the true villain of No Way Home? Perhaps it’s Ned, who arrives from another universe as the Hobgoblin. Maybe, Kang, the Conquerer, shows up to wreak havoc on the timeline once again as he did in Loki. It’s crazy to say this, but could Doctor Strange be the “bad guy” since he’ll do anything to shut the door on the multiverse even if that means taking out Peter Parker?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Here’s what I do know. The trailer revealed just enough to satisfy the audience without giving away too much. Most of the villains appeared, but not every villain. The main idea of the plot is known, and yet there’s still so much on its way.

If No Way Home is a game of Texas Hold ’em, then we just saw the flop. The river, or the fifth and final card, is the end of the movie and how it sets up the future of the MCU. Every fan including myself is focused on the fourth card known as “the turn.” That’s the moment went Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield show up to give us our three Spider-MEN.

Look, it’s going to happen. Do not believe anything that Tom Holland, Tobey Maguire, and Andrew Garfield are saying. They are paid to deny this earth-shattering reveal. It’s going to be an awesome moment in the theaters that might rival the moment when Doctor Strange opened the portals to form the Avengers Army in Endgame.

For those still skeptical, the moment when Doctor Octopus pins Spider-Man to the wall and says, “You’re not Peter Parker” is a dead giveaway that Maguire and Garfield will appear at some point. He’s looking for “his” Peter. Marvel will make sure to pay off this moment. Would it have been cool to see the reunion in the trailer? Of course, but this special moment will fucking rule on the big screen.

I can’t wait for December 17. Say your prayer that no leaks or spoilers hit the Internet. I’m looking at you, critics.

Leave your predictions for Spider-Man: No Way Home in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Taste Is His Best Quality

Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood

Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the best actors of his generation and one of the most desirable men in Hollywood. In other news, the sky is blue and the grass is green.

We know Leo is great at what he does. With six Oscar nominations including one win for Best Actor, the proof is in the pudding. Countless actors who have worked with Leo have praised his talent, with Carey Mulligan calling him “the most incredible actor on the planet.

It also helps to be one of the most attractive men ever, but that’s neither here, nor there.

On November 11, Leo turned 47. First of all, happy birthday to one of my acting heroes. Second, I started to reflect on Leo’s career, and one thing stood above the rest.

It wasn’t his acting ability or good looks or legendary paparazzi photos. All of those things are important, but it’s not his best quality.

Leo’s taste is his best quality.

No, I’m not referring to the time he ate raw bison liver in The Revenant.

I’m referring to his taste in projects. Leo arguably has the best taste in all of Hollywood. He consistently chooses great project after great project with very little misses on his filmography. In a time where superhero movies dominate the box office and streamers churn out new movies every week, DiCaprio continues to play by his rules and only participates in movies that he wants to make.

Leo is one of the last true movie stars in Hollywood. Leo hasn’t made the jump to prestige television just yet and up until this year, never headlined a movie for a streamer. (This will change with Netflix’s Don’t Look Up.) Every Leo movie feels like an event, which is rare. The days of actors being able to generate high box office returns based on their name alone is a thing of the past, and yet DiCaprio still has that power.

I view Leo’s career in two phases. B.S. and A.S. – Before Scorsese and After Scorsese. Leo rarely misses, meaning the film is either received negative reviews or flopped at the box office. Most of his “misses” came before his first collaboration with Martin Scorsese, which occurred in 2002 with Gangs of New York.

Below are Leo’s movies B.S.

Is The Man in the Iron Mask or Celebrity going to be shown on DiCaprio’s highlight tape? Probably not. I haven’t even seen Total Eclipse, but I’d imagine it won’t be on the tape, either. However, most actors would kill for an 11-year span that includes a supporting acting nomination at age 19, a leading role in the highest-grossing movie ever at the time, and a starring role beside Tom Hanks in a Steven Spielberg movie.

Leo had a lot of juice in 2002 and can headline any movie he wants. But he does the smart thing and pairs himself with one of the greatest directors ever, Martin Scorsese. Aligning himself with Scorsese was the smartest thing Leo could have ever done.

Below are Leo’s movies A.S.

Look at this success rate. Time and time again, DiCaprio chose movies that succeeded both critically and financially. The run of Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, and Blood Diamond is better than Murderers’ Row. There are no bad misses on this list. I’m not a fan of J. Edgar, but that movie was still named as one of the top ten films in 2011 by the National Board of Review.

The man doesn’t miss, and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

Long live Leo.

2022 Oscars Discussion, Vol. 1: The Race For Best Picture

Belfast / Focus Features

Gentlemen, start your engines. We’re on a one-way trip to the 2022 Oscars.

Right now, we’re about five months away from the 2022 Oscars, which airs on March 27, 2022. That may seem like a long time away, but the races are starting to take off in each major category. “Oscar movies” will be released every single week until the end of the year. which means it’s time to start up the “2022 Oscars Discussion” column.

The first and (probably) last column in this discussion will cover the ceremony’s top prize, Best Picture. Will this year’s winner be the next Parasite or The Artist?

Early Breakdown Of The Race For Best Picture

As of November 5, there is no clear-cut Best Picture frontrunner, which is a change from last year after many experts predicted Nomadland would win the top prize after its victory at the Venice Film Festival in Sept. 2021. Having no true frontrunner isn’t a bad thing. I’m all for a competitive race with a variety of films trading wins at major guilds and festivals throughout awards season. Those tight races lead to wonderful surprises like Parasite‘s win back in 2019.

As of Nov. 5, the favorites to win Best Picture are Belfast and The Power of the Dog. Belfast is a black-and-white period piece from Kenneth Branagh about a working-class family from Northern Ireland in the 1960s. I haven’t seen the film yet, but it’s giving me major “Roma in Northern Ireland” vibes.

Some critics have cited the film as Branagh’s most personal film ever, a personal love letter to his childhood. Belfast features performances from Caitríona Balfe, Jamie Dornan, Judi Dench, Ciarán Hinds, and great child performance from Jude Hill, the latter campaigning for Best Actor. It’s currently tied with The Power of the Dog for the best odds (15/2) to win Best Picture via Goldderby.

Belfast has history on its side thanks to its People’s Choice Award win at TIFF. Since 2012, every film that won this award received a Best Picture nomination and three of those films went on to win at the Oscars. In other words, Belfast is guaranteed to be in contention for Best Picture.

Belfast premieres in the U.S on November 17.

Speaking of The Power of the Dog, Jane Campion’s western starring Benedict Cumberbatch is the other frontrunner for Best Picture. Without giving too much away, Cumberbatch plays a domineering rancher who torments his brother’s new wife and son, until a secret may tear him apart.

Campion has a good history with the Academy as she was the second woman ever to be nominated for Best Director for 1993’s The Piano. She’ll probably become the first two-time female nominee at this year’s ceremony. Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst are shoe-ins for nominations in Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress. Plus, The Power of the Dog was second-runner up at TIFF.

Just like Belfast, The Power of the Dog will be a Best Picture nominee come March.

The Power of the Dog streams on Netflix starting Dec. 1.

The Contenders

After those two films, there’s a bit of a drop-off. Some of that has to do with the fact that no one has seen the film yet. I haven’t seen one word from a critic about Licorice Pizza, West Side Story, Nightmare Alley, House of Gucci, and Don’t Look Up. Seriously, not one single word about five films from Oscar-nominated and Oscar-winning directors.

King Richard and Dune should make the final list of Best Picture nominees. The Tragedy of Macbeth from Oscar-winner Joel Coen has six Academy Awards between the two stars, Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand, so expect the film to be in the mix. Other than that, a few smaller films like The Lost Daughter and CODA will try to claw their way into the contention.

My prediction for Best Picture nominees as of 11/5.

  • Belfast
  • The Power of the Dog
  • Nightmare Alley
  • House of Gucci
  • King Richard
  • Dune
  • The Tragedy of Macbeth
  • Licorice Pizza
  • West Side Story
  • Don’t Look Up

Let the games begin.

Tell us your predictions for Best Picture in the comments below or tweet us, @danny_giro.