Thank you, Jon, for being our 300th subscriber

In bowling, 300 is a perfect score. Twelve strikes in a row. Much harder than it sounds, even for professional bowlers that average over 220 a game.

300 subscribers might be tiny potatoes for a blog, but it is a milestone we’ve now passed, thanks to Jons Movie Reviews. I don’t know you, Jon, but thank you for subscribing. And hey, anybody who likes Doctor Sleep is A-OK in my book. I’ll forgive you for digging Ad Astra (I’m teasing).

Last did this at 100 subscribers at the end of November (curious coincidence: that subscriber’s name also started with a “J” — Jerome), so that gives readers an idea of the subscriber growth over time. Here is what our traffic growth patterns looks like by month, for those who care about this meta stuff.

As noted before, I don’t care that much for the term “follower” as that sounds cultish, so I’m using the term subscriber instead. The WordPress plugin and text refers to it as followers, however. Just so it’s clear what’s being discussed.

Want to recognize another reader, one who is active in the comments area, which is greatly appreciated: The Conductor from Lighttrain Reviews. Be sure to subscribe/follow/whatever term you like both these blogs (Jon’s and The Conductor’s), link ’em up and leave a comment once in a while if/when you find interesting what they have to say.

Believe me, it means something when someone leaves a thoughtful comment and/or links in with a pullquote.

When I ran my first ever blog, I personally measured a post’s success by comment activity. Am not sure how relevant that still is in 2020 (social media has spread commenting across multiple different platforms), but from 2003-2009 it sure mattered. Still does for me, so even though the comments area here is moderated — for at least your first ever comment here — I hope some (many!) of you reading will leave comments.

Also, props to Stuart, who likes just about every post made. Make sure to get back over there and recip like a bunch of his. tensecondsfrom now at the Film-Authority blog is an active post liker, particularly posts with reviews (see him out there with likes on plenty of movie review blogs). Thank you!

Just some other random stats here for historical reference since August 2019:

  • 471+ total movies reviews
  • 40+ TV Series reviews (we’re much more about movies than TV, but there are some really good TV shows worth talking about, watching and reviewing)
  • 60+ video reviews (new movies in theaters via YouTube)
  • 432+ blog posts

For new readers especially, it’s all good if we disagree on movies here and there. If my wife and I can disagree sometimes — and we’re the best of best friends — than our friendly readers (new, old, passerbys) are welcome and encouraged to disagree sometimes, too.

I enjoy reading others talking about movies they like, even if those movies are ones I didn’t. We all have our own likes and dislikes and there will never be any other reviewer you agree with 100% of the time.

This month of March I’m taking two vacations — both to Las Vegas. First one is over already and the next one begins this Sunday.

Chilling with the Paw Patrol on the Vegas strip (March 2020)

Am renting a car for the upcoming vacation so we can cover more ground. If it’s even remotely TV or movie-oriented, surely it will appear in a post or more here.

Beatleshow is a great show at the Sak theater inside the Miracle Mile at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas

We caught a couple live Beatles tribute shows. Man, there are some talented people with shows in Vegas.

My last meta blogging thought until/if this blog reaches the next milestone: be good to each other out there!

FIRST LOOK: My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising

Have enjoyed some Japanese anime and videogames, but I’m not very knowledgeable or well-versed in the scene. That makes this FIRST LOOK particularly educational (for me). Also, like Impractical Jokers, this movie is already in theaters. Typically, we only do FIRST LOOK profiles on movies that haven’t come out yet.

If you’re reading and enjoy the TV series and have seen the first movie in 2017: My Hero Academia: Two Heroes — then you’re ahead of us. Am interested if you like this series, so please say something in the comments below. Let’s see what Wikipedia says about My Hero Academia.

The story follows Izuku Midoriya, a boy born without superpowers (called Quirks) in a world where they have become commonplace, but who still dreams of becoming a hero himself. He is scouted by All Might, Japan’s greatest hero, who shares his quirk with Izuku after recognizing his potential, and later helps to enroll him in a prestigious high school for heroes in training.

My Hero Academia – Wikipedia

From this description, I’m getting an X-Men academy vibe. Only instead of mutants, it’s people without super powers.

If you, like us, don’t speak Japanese, then here’s a subbed and dubbed clip:

Japanese animation talent is very good. The gigantic eyes, explosions, smoke and character electricity powers look intriguing. We’re planning to watch, rate later this week in 4DX format at the Regal Red Rock in Las Vegas.

This is playing multiple times in 4DX while we’re down there, these are showtimes for the 3/4/2020

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising opened in LIMITED theaters on February 26, 2020.

How To Better Promote Your Next Films, Elizabeth Banks and Tim Miller

Some directors might best be advised not to promote (torpedo) their films. I’m thinking of two directors specifically in this post, but this can be applied to any directors trying to emphasize causes rather than promoting entertaining stories. After all, most moviegoers want to see a great film first and foremost.

First up, the guy who is wondering whether or not he wants to work with James Cameron again. Yes, that guy.

Tim Miller put his foot in his mouth more than once when marketing Terminator: Dark Fate⭐️⭐️½

Then there’s Elizabeth Banks.

The marketing campaign for Charlie’s Angels ⭐️½ was worse than the movie. Elizabeth Banks has been out there making excuses for why it sucked. And some of her excuses are beyond bizarre.

Sometimes damage control is worse than the damage.

Just accept failure, criticism and go back to work. Make something better next time. It’s a creative work and not all of them are winners, even for the best creative people who have ever lived. Making strange excuses for why people didn’t go see/support your movie is lame and counterproductive. Charlie’s Angels (2019) was disappointing, but hey, just move onto your next project, Liz.

Good news, she already has!

Banks and her company with her husband have already inked a deal with Universal: a remake with Banks directing and starring in the Universal monster movie remake, The Invisible Woman (1941):

Plot details are being kept under wraps, but sources say Banks’ pitch is very different from the “Invisible Man” film coming out in February that stars Elisabeth Moss, and there is no crossover potential on either film.

Elizabeth Banks to Direct, Star in ‘Invisible Woman’ for Universal
Universal The Invisible Woman (1940) trailer

Seems like a safe time to discuss future marketing.

Drop the hyper-feminism marketing. Just make a great movie, but don’t try and tell us how awesome it is for some cause, for women or ____, show it inside the film through the story.

And we’re much too smart not to see women and minorities shoehorned unnecessarily into stories. Instead, choose or create source material that is all about women empowerment from the get-go, There are many great stories tailor-made for that topic!

In fact, I’m looking forward to seeing one of those: Bombshell.

Maybe, Banks should pick a topic more along the lines of family-oriented topics? She is disclosing an unusual amount of personal information about her family.

In the interview, Banks also admitted that she’s “a little traditional when it comes to marriage. I think there are people that go into marriage thinking: ‘If it doesn’t work, I’ll get divorced.’ That’s not me. You’re going to have bad moments. You’ve committed to something. Do you value it or don’t you?”

Elizabeth Banks Is ‘Most Proud Of’ 27-Year Relationship | PEOPLE.com

I like rooting for good people. At least that’s my perception of Elizabeth Banks, based on her interviews and other publicity. Congrats to her and husband Max Handelman on 27 years together!

This September Kara and I celebrated 30 years of marriage. Being together this long in any day and age is much more satisfying than making (or seeing) a good movie.

I wish both Miller (executive producer for the new Sonic The Hedgehog movie — who seems to be staying quiet at the moment) and Banks success with The Invisible Woman.

It should be easier for both to do better films next time.

Thank you, Jerome, for being 100th follower

Jerome Reviews became the 100th follower to this blog on 11/23/2019 — Thank you, Jerome!

A quick shout out and thank you to Jerome Reviews for being the 100th follower to this blog. Much appreciated! I like the term “subscriber” better than follower because it sounds more friendly, but rolling with the terminology that the blog software uses.

Meta posts like this I promise to keep to a minimum, but have always believed in celebrating moments and thanking others who help. A blog without readers is like a ship without a sail, a car on blocks without tires, and a book or movie growing dust on shelves.

I also realize 100 is a very tiny number for anything on the internet, but every blog has to start somewhere. Milestone markers are useful from a historical standpoint as well as somewhat self-motivational.

Blogs are nothing without readers, so thanks to anybody who subscribes and follows and/or stops by and takes a minute or two to leave a comment. The comments are moderated here, yes, which I know kind of sucks, but that’s primarily for spam protection, not because I want to limit dissenting opinion or discussion.

We celebrated 100 posts to the blog (10/28/2019) and 100 movies reviewed (9/28/2019) and will celebrate 1000 reviews when/if it happens in 2020. Around 300 reviews at the time of this writing and growing every single day. Have also seen every single wide release in the theater since August 2019.

Really love that the Regal Unlimited plan exists and allows my wife and I to see more movies in the theater. While we could financially see all the movies at full theater price, we would have been less adventuresome in watching movies we weren’t totally anticipating. Together, that was probably a couple dozen at the most films per year. Last night we saw the 54th new movie in the theater since August 12, 2019.

Individually, I would see more than her, but together, we have a very difficult time picking movies that we both (think we’ll) enjoy. Now, we just see whatever we haven’t seen that is showing at Regal Cinemas in our area, it’s a very a different dynamic for choosing what movies to watch. Selection isn’t filtered by collective desires, it’s filtered by have/have not seen. And goal is to see every new wide release. We or at least I will see some of the limited release films, too. There have already been several films neither of us would have chosen to see without this monthly subscription.

What if the program goes away? Gasp. Don’t go there!

Recently, I changed to show myself as the full author of these posts, moving away from our username “TJSNK” because I’ve always written them anyway, so might as well accept full ownership of them.

Anyway, back to regular blog programming.

Thank you, again, Jerome. Don’t know who you are, but am following your blog as well and am sure I’ll be reading more of your movie reviews going forward. If you have a Twitter handle posted prominently on your blog, I’ll follow that soon, too, if not already by the time you might read this.

$100+ Million Movie Budgets Are Stupid

Hollywood must have a burning money fetish.

Wonder if the people who finance and set the budgets for big budget movies are masochists.

No, seriously.

They must like the torture of seeing underwhelming box office returns on opening weekend.

Am looking forward to seeing Ford vs. Ferrari but what geniuses decided this should be a $100 million movie? It’s almost like they setup some movies for failure because you know after the ad budget is put on top of that, it’s forced to generate $250-300 million to turn a profit. Maybe, it will, but ….

Crazy.

Writer-director James Mangold plays the Hollywood studio game well enough to build allies who believe in him. While at Fox, studio chief Emma Watts backed X-Men installments “Wolverine” and “Logan” and Oscar-winner “Walk the Line.” That made greenlighting $100-million sports saga “Ford v Ferrari” less of a risk, but it’s the kind of movie that studios don’t care to bank these days.

James Mangold: Risk in Ford v Ferrari is a Race-Car Movie For Adults | IndieWire

Are they paying Christian Bale and Matt Damon like $30 million combined or something to act in this movie? I don’t get what is taking all this money to make a race car movie. Did Carroll Shelby make cars out of gold?

Doctor Sleep ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ had around a $55 million budget. For a horror movie. In 1978 Halloween ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ was made for way less than $1 million. Why is a horror movie budget over $50 million dollars? Did the studios believe that it would generate $150 million in November (!!!) for a horror movie sequel?

Call in Anne Wilson to belt, “Crazy on you!”

Charlie’s Angels the second reboot? $48 million dollar budget. If you’re saying “no way!” then look it up yourself. I am rooting for Elizabeth Banks, really I am, but … well, $150 – $200 million (to turn a profit, presumably) in the 2019 business climate for this second reboot — yes, even in the #metoo women-powered era — movie seems way more than optimistic.

Let me go crazy on you!

Look, it’s not my money, but if it was, I’d say: make more films vs. spending more on a single film. Spread the risk around. How about more adaptations of really good books? (of which there are many!) Make more films with budgets under $10 million.

These actors and actresses don’t need to be paid risk-free double digit millions to star in movies for a few month’s work. Make them wealthy by risk sharing in the success of the film. Give them points on profitability in their contract. They won’t be in your film for less money? So what. Then make stars out of new actors and actresses. Supply and demand. When their fifth house tax bill is due, I’m sure at least some of them will accept a cut in pay. Now there is a movement worth getting behind.

Talk to the woman or man in the factory busting their butt in the real world to put food on the table and ask any of them if they give a crap about some wealthy actor/actress getting overpaid to act in a movie.

Too bad nobody financing these films is asking for my input.

They’ll keep making movies with stupid budgets. We’ll see the same clickbait headlines on opening weekend Saturday declaring movies have “bombed” already.

An industry which douses itself in gasoline and then runs through flaming box offices.

And, just so it’s clear, I’m not saying that studios should never make big budget films, but when you have a race car movie like Ford vs. Ferrari costing over $100 million and a second reboot of a modestly successful 70s TV show costing nearly $50 million and that’s without marketing, somebody needs a mental health checkup.

But hey, if you get the green light for $100 million for your film, flame on!

Ranking Movie Genres – What are YOUR Favorite Genres?

Most popular genre movies by adults in USA as of December 2018 (via statista.com)

We all have movie genre likes and dislikes. The above chart breaks out by adults in the United States favorite genre since December 2018., separated by women (dark blue) and men (light blue).

Other than #1, my favorite genres don’t match up to the graph above. How do yours? If you’re taking someone on a date, without any advance knowledge, you want to suggest a comedy, adventure or action movie.

Since I provide ratings and reviews, it seems fair game to discuss and disclose the specifics for both historical reference and a guide to understanding somewhat how movies are chosen to watch every day. At the end, I also explain why for me this does not apply to brand new movies.

My top favorite movie genres haven’t changed too much, but I’ve become more interested in some genres and subgenres that I used to rarely watch as I’ve gotten older. Below is how I would currently rank my interest in each genre from most interested to least interested.

  1. Comedy
  2. Horror
  3. Action
  4. Thriller
  5. Science Fiction
  6. Mystery
  7. Historical / Biographical / Alternative Time
  8. Documentary
  9. Romance
  10. Adventure
  11. Drama
  12. Crime
  13. Animated / Children’s Movies
  14. Fantasy
  15. Western
  16. Political

Comedy

Movies that make me laugh out loud will always be my most favorite go-to film experience. These movies make me feel good. Laughing is good.

Horror

Following laughter, #2 is fear, movies that scare me, and (good) horror movies provide that nervous anxiety. I do have to moderate the volume of horror films watched (the 74 horror movies I watched in October 2019 was enjoyable, and yet not something I could mentally sustain with my watching habits every single month — and yet fits in perfectly with Halloween time of year).

Action

This probably should be further down the list than #3, but I tend to enjoy movies that maintain my interest and excitement. I’d put martial arts as a subgenre of action. It is this high on the list because if you add action to pretty much any other genre, my interest goes up. For example, a drama with a lot of action is more desirable than a drama by itself (would probably label that as a thriller). I don’t like movies that are all action with no other plot or substance, however. I think too many action sequences keeps the viewer on a breathless note and begins to feel like, who should I care about?

Thriller

Historically my watching habits have included a lot of thrillers. Plenty of subgenres here, too, particularly legal thrillers. I really like courtroom drama. The legal-thriller-mystery is one of my favorite hybrids. Movies like Presumed Innocent, The Firm (and pretty much every film based on the books by John Grisham).

Science Fiction

Robot stories fascinate me. Space is interesting, but it needs to have a moving plat (this was what my problem was with Ad Astra). I am not as into hard science fiction as more lighter sci-fi. Movies like Terminator, which I would classify originally as sci-fi horror, but the second movie and beyond as action-science-fiction.

Mystery

A good whodunit is very attractive to me. All things Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and so on. Courtroom mysteries like the TV show Perry Mason are really interesting. Love it when the dramatic twist ending happens inside a courtroom.

Historical / Biography / Alternative Timeline

Generally speaking, the further back in time we go, the less interested I am in the film. Anything prior to the 1900s is going to be a tough sell to maintain my interest unless it involves some other subgenre, a really fascinating (aka famous) historical figure, for example I enjoy most biopics, especially those that involve music, artists, bands and the like. In 2018 and 2019 we’ve seen a growth in this sector based on successful box office movies like Bohemian Rhapsody. Am excited to see more of these.

Documentary

Conspiracy theories like documentaries on who really killed JFK, aliens & UFOs (do they really exist?), bands with turbulent histories (like Lynyrd Skynyrd and their tragic plane crash) or bands that are super popular but quiet in the media (Van Halen comes immediately to mind — Eddie, what’s going on?)

Romance

Straight romance would go even further down the list. I’m not much of a romance fan as the primary topic, however, I tend to enjoy many romcoms. Also, adding a love story subplot to pretty much any other genre film will often improve my enjoyment. I just don’t like watching movies that are entirely focused on romance. Add in a murder or thriller component, for example? Yeah, I’m there.

Adventure

This is almost a subgenre to me and depending on what it’s grouped with, I’m probably interested in watching it. Action-adventure, definitely. Adventure-comedy, yes. Science fiction-adventure? Hmm, maybe.

Drama

This one probably should be further up the list, because I do enjoy a good drama. The problem I have with many dramas is they are slow-paced. I like movies to move at least a little bit and some dramas by their very nature are slow to unfold. Some just never pick up the pace, which is going to be difficult for me to enjoy watching. And forget about rewatching. Most dramas I’ll watch once — maybe — and then never want to watch again.

Crime

This is another one I feel more like it’s a subcategory of mystery. I realize it’s standalone, technically, but when put with mystery I’m more interested in it.

Animated / Children’s Movies

Except for the classics and adult animated films like Heavy Metal, watching with my grandchildren is pretty much the only way I enjoy watching animated children movies. This is also a genre I am surprised that I end up enjoying, because some of these animated films are very action-oriented, which I appreciate. I’d be interested in watching more animated horror movies, so there is a subgenre I haven’t explored. Anime is another area of interest. There are some truly awesome animated films, so while I’m not as interested in watching an animated film because it’s animated, I’m still open-minded to watching pretty much any animated film. And if it’s adult-oriented like The Simpsons and Beavis & Butthead, I’m so there.

Fantasy

This one is usually mixed with science fiction, which is a subgenre that I enjoy. By itself, pure fantasy is much less desirable. A pure fantasy world is hard for me to relate to and warm up to. It might work, if it’s really creative, but it’s going to be difficult for me to stay engaged. I’ve never read or seen any Harry Potter.

Westerns

Some types of westerns I find appealing. It’s not a broad brush, but in general the whole west of the mid-1800s isn’t very interesting to me. Cowboys vs. indians stories? Not really. With that said, if westerns are mixed with other genres, my interest level increases exponentially: Give me more films likeWestworld.

Politics

The hardest movie for me to watch is often a straight political movie. I don’t care for politics in movies. Political figures? Different story, but when movies become or are by their very nature too political? My interest level wanes considerably. Caveat is, of course, as a subgenre. A political thriller could be very interesting. The HBO political drama Game Change⭐️⭐️⭐️ and based on the 2008 John McCain Presidential campaign VP pick: Sarah Palin was entertaining.

Subgenres of Interest

Adaptations. Even though the old adage applies: the book is almost always better than the movie, it’s always at the very least interesting to see how a director and screenwriters distill down the words from a great novel.

Sports is another subgenre I enjoy watching, but it depends (often greatly) on the type of sport. I’m more interested typically in boxing, baseball and football movies than say more obscure sports like running, archery, rowing, etc. However, if you throw in some other type of drama like say biographical sports and the historical sports figure has a very interesting past, than that ups the interest factor.

All Movie Genres Can Be Interesting – Give EVERYTHING a Chance

Since becoming Regal Unlimited members, which means we can see any new movie in standard 2D format, I vowed to see everything new, regardless of genre, as long as it is screened in a Regal Cinema. New movies that don’t have theatrical screenings and/or are very limited screenings like The Irishman, I’ll still try to watch on Netflix or whatever other streaming channels these movies show up on, but I’m going to go by my genre interest if I have to hunt them down and/or subscribe to a streaming channel we don’t have. This is more a question of convenience than genre interest, however.

What are YOUR most and least liked movie genres?

Your turn. What movie genres do you like most? Use the comments section and tell me about it. If you already have written something or made a vlog about it, feel free to drop me a link in the comments to read, but be a good netizen and explain the link too. Don’t drop a link and provide no other context (in that case, just trackback/ping from your blog post).

The Shining on Sale at Amazon Prime for $6.99 (was $14.99) — LIMITED TIME

Own The Shining in HD for $6.99 on Amazon Prime Video for a limited time offer

With Doctor Sleep in theaters 11/8/19 and those scant few horror fans that have not seen The Shining, Amazon Prime just dropped the price to buy it from $14.99 to $6.99. It was $9.99 not too long ago, so these prices to buy movies really move around.

In other horror news, I learned recently that the urban anthology Tales from The Hood 3 has begun shooting:

According to the online mag, shooting is looking to take place late September through October in Winnipeg. It would release in 2020 and mark the original film’s 25th anniversary!

There a Third ‘Tales from the Hood’ Movie in the Works! – Bloody Disgusting

The original Tales from The Hood ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ is one of my most favorite anthology movies. Tales form The Hood 2 ⭐️⭐️ didn’t have as strong stories as the first, but it was made by the same people. Sounds like the third one is going to have the same crew back again.