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Read This Before You See “Black Panther”

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Black Panther Review

You’ve seen the buzz on Twitter and all the gorgeous photos from the royal-themed red carpet premiere. You’ve watched the trailer on repeat. None of that means anything without understanding its cultural and historical significance. You don’t have to be an avid Marvel fan to follow the “Black Panther” storyline. However, to fully enjoy the movie going experience it would be wise to educate yourself on the history of T’Challa, King of Wakanda, and his legacy.

From the basics of the groundbreaking comic book to the movies’ creators, here’s a starter kit to what you need to know before you see “Black Panther.”


It all started when Marvel creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby implemented the first-ever black superhero in a mainstream comic book. Black Panther first appeared in the 52nd issue of the Fantastic Four in July of 1966. Kirby later gave Black Panther his own series in 1977. Sadly, it only lasted 12 issues after Kirby grew tired of focusing on the same character and wanted to branch out.

Although Black Panther was a much-needed character during the Civil Rights movement, the myth of his character being named after the renowned Black Panther Party is just that — a myth. Think of it like a beautiful coincidence.

The main elements from the Black Panther comic series you need to be aware of are as follows:

1. He rules over the most advanced country in the world.
2. The source of his power.
3. He kicks total ass.

Another great victory from the Black Panther comic series is that he defeated the KKK. #HappyBlackHistoryMonth

Based on the setup in the comic series, before man walked on earth a meteor fell from the sky and created a mountain of ore. This ore was the element Vibranium, which is used throughout the Marvel universe. For example, it’s what Captain America’s shield is made from. Vibranium is also what the Black Panther’s suit is made out of causing bullets to not ricochet, but fall when coming in contact with the material.

The ancient people of Wakanda founded the cult of the Black Panther in efforts to shield their mountain from outside travelers who attempted to pillage and steal their main resource. The leader of the cult obtained the powers of the Black Panther by eating a heart-shaped herb that had been mutated by the vibranium meteor. This ceremonial herb gave the chief of the Panther clan enhanced strength, endurance and reflexes.

The herb can only be digested by Wakanda royalty and acts as a poison for anyone who does not belong to the royal blood line. This went on for the next 10,000 years, as the protecter of the Wakanda nation would hold the title of Black Panther and defend their people as King.

T’Challa, the main character of Marvel’s movie, is the son of previous Black Panther T’Chaka. The title of Black Panther is handed down by generation, and children are trained at a young age in preparation to take on the crown. Once a year, anyone in the nation of Wakanda is allowed to challenge the current Black Panther for their title.

The Black Panther is well known for beating up bad guys who are immensely stronger and bigger than he is. In that regard, he is a bit like Marvel’s Batman, except $90 trillion richer in net worth.

When it comes to on-screen time, Black Panther’s only appearance was in Marvel’s “Civil War” movie. The major takeaway, other than the clear evidence as to why Black Panther is one of the top superheroes in the Marvel Universe, is where his story begins as the successor of his father’s legacy.

With the “Black Panther” movie, one of the best attributes is what lies beneath the surface of the project: the all-black crew behind the scenes, and the fact that this movie was made for black people by black people. It’s no secret the real stars of this film are the masterminds who created it.


 Ryan Coogler is the mastermind director of “Black Panther,” and has created visionary African American-centered movies like “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed.” Most likely, “Black Panther” will focus on introspective themes of self discovery, if it follows the pattern of his body of work. It’s young directors like Coogler who are paving the way for proper African American representation in media. In a time where racism is rampant, shining a positive light on African and Black culture is more important than ever.

Ruth E. Carter is the mastermind costume designer. Her credits include groundbreaking films like “Malcolm X,” “Selma,” “Marshall” and “What’s Love Got to Do It.” She took inspiration from many ancient African tribes, as well as Afropunk culture.

Camille Friend is the mastermind behind the hair design. You may be familiar with her work already, as she has worked on “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Detroit” and “Captain America: Civil War,” among many others. Inspiration came from many places, like the images of tribal cultures compiled in Before They Pass Away by the photographer Jimmy Nelson, as well as the collection of Black hairstyles shot by the Nigerian photographer J. D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere. Friend employed a crew of 25 hairstylists along with a rotating team of braiders from Atlanta, where much of the movie was filmed.

And last, but certainly not least, Kendrick Lamar is the mastermind behind the music and arrangement of the official “Black Panther” soundtrack. Now, if you thought you were really about to go see this phenomenal piece of impeccable craftsmanship without listening to the entire album first, then you need to reevaluate your life right about now. Go on, I’ll wait…

I don’t care if you were holding out until the movie to be introduced to Kendrick’s best work to date, you should know while you’re swaying in your seat obliviously, every movie-goer around you will be singing along, hopefully, at the top of their lungs if they are truly educated.

None of the songs give anything away about the plot line of the movie — if anything, it builds anticipation like the steady climb to the top of a roller coaster. Every aspect of this star-studded piece of art Kendrick created, from the drums to the pacing to the socially-just lyrics, is musically flawless.

To highlight a few tracks from the project, I want to mention “Big Shot” and “I Am” as favorites. “Big Shot” has an eccentric switch up to Kendrick’s flow with the surprising-yet-perfect support of the flute.

“I Am” is one of the slower, more romantic songs on the soundtrack, and the intro is so moving. Each beat drop followed by Jorja Smith’s angelic vocal chords give that euphoric feeling of an eternal fall through the sky. Relax, take a deep breath, and let your body sink into her groove.

Just promise me you won’t even think about watching “Black Panther” if you have not at least indulged yourself in one of the deeply cultural aspects that created an instant classic.

Wakanda Forever Raised Fist: Medium-Dark Skin Tone on Apple iOS 10.0

Four Films with Very Misleading Titles

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Most of the time, we know exactly what to expect when a new film comes out. That is mostly thanks to social media, trailers, and zillions of reviews that come out way before the movie even premieres. Honestly, many of us avoid finding out too much about new films, because there is such a high risk of spoilers! I went and saw Baby Driver the week it came out, but I already knew so much about it because everyone talked about it in detail on my Facebook feed. That being said, had I not known about that film, would I even be able to figure it out based on the title alone? Probably not. It honestly sounds like a wacky, Pixar movie about a baby that can drive. In fact, there are many films that have very misleading titles just upon hearing them. So without further ado, here are my top 4 misleading movie titles:



Image Credit: Orion Pictures

This movie really has nothing to do with mermaids at all. In fact, the word “mermaid” is probably uttered about 3 times, and that is only because Cher dresses up as one for a New Year’s Party. There’s not even some metaphorical speech in the film where Cher tells her daughters that “All women are like mermaids,” …or something like that. Christina Ricci’s character is a swimmer, and she almost drowns in a scene. So I guess that kind of has to do with mermaids? I really don’t know why this movie has this title. That being said, this movie is a must-see. A ’90s classic.



Image Credit: Lions Gate Films

Judging from the title, this movie could either be a Monster’s Inc. spin-off, or possibly an action/thriller of some sort. Well, it is neither of these things. This film is actually about prison executions, loss, and racism. Very serious stuff…as well as a MUCH deserved Oscar award to Halle Berry for her performance.



Image Credit: New Line Cinema

Upon first hearing the title of this movie, it sounds like a Saturday Night Fever rip-off. It takes place in the ’70s and there are a few scenes in a disco club, but that is pretty much where the similarities end. This movie is full of stars (Mark Wahlberg, Don Cheadle, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Burt Reynolds, etc) and it explores the lives of people in the porn industry with a very…um…shocking ending. Just watch it.



Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Better Off Dead definitely sounds like a mobster movie or perhaps a high-suspense horror flick. You can almost hear the deep, gravelly voice in the trailer saying “If you get caught…you’re  better off dead. Coming this Summer.” This film is actually one of the funniest movies ever made. In the midst of the thousands of teen movies during the ’80s, this one slipped through the cracks a bit. That being said, if you have never seen this or heard of it, watch it ASAP. John Cusack is hilarious as he wanders through his teen years navigating a traumatic break-up and his insane family.


These films are actually four of my all-time favorite movies. There are lots more films with misleading titles that were not listed. I probably didn’t watch them because the titles threw me off. Perhaps, a part II to this article is in order. Stay tuned.

Main Image Credit: The Fedora Lounge

Where Marketing Becomes Art: Top 10 Mondo’s of the 2010’s

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Movies are art, well…in most cases. It’s difficult to compare a classic Bergman film with my personal guilty pleasure, Nacho Libre (it really is a great movie with plenty of quotable dialogue). Nonetheless, regardless of the amount of Jack Black,  all actors act, directors direct, and producers produce to more or less show off their artistic personalities.

However, when it comes to getting people to spend the $13+ for a movie ticket, don’t forget the $20 trip to the concession stand, marketing campaigns have followed tested guidelines. Make this actor this big, make this name this font, if we tint this orange/blue people will feel cool/energetic. It gets to be a little redundant, don’t you think?

That’s where Mondo posters come in. Since the late 90’s, Mondo has been collaborating with some of the world’s best graphic artists, creating unique posters of the some of films most iconic movies. Mondo literally means “something very striking or remarkable” and it’s easy to see why the name fits. There aren’t many better ways to connect with one of your favorite films than to view a purely artistic interpretation of it. Take a peak at my top 10 Mondo’s of the decade and feel every movies biggest moments flood your memory banks.

Get Out – Jay Shaw

Jay Shaw’s depiction of the racially charged horror flick, Get Out, reminds everyone of a few things: don’t trust psychiatrists, don’t trust anyone drinking tea with a metal spoon, and don’t sink.

The Hateful Eight – Jason Edmiston

Another Tarantino bloodfest and another Tarantino Mondo poster. When your movies dominate the cult classic genre like his, it’s hard to not have more than a few Mondo posters, and even a personal special 20th anniversary edition.

The Master – Laurent Durieux

Rest in peace to Philip Seymour Hoffman. The acting world sure does miss you. Hoffman’s supporting role as Lancaster Dodd in 2012’s World War II drama, The Master, brought in a number of accolades, and Durieux does him justice on this jarring poster.

Civil War: Captain America – Tyler Stout

Luckily, we don’t have to pick a side. We can all agree that this poster is dope, regardless of if you’re #TeamIronMan or #TeamCaptainAmerica. Is there anything Marvel can do wrong right now?

Les Misérables – Olly Moss

The music, the pageantry, the drama. Don’t we all wish we could have been lucky enough to live through the French Revolution? Les Misérables turns one of the most difficult times in world history into something utterly majestic and Moss is able to do the same thing.

Mad Max: Fury Road – Ken Taylor

“Oh what a lovely day!.” (Nux not Bill Withers). Taylor took a bleak post apocalyptic wasteland and colorized it into a vibrant, bleak, post apocalyptic wasteland. The bright colors don’t take away any of the stress I feel watching Tom Hardy strapped to a death mobile.

Kong: Skull Island – Francesco Francavilla

Fact: Samuel L. Jackson exists in all movie universes. From Tarantino films, to Marvel, to fighting giant gorilla in the middle of a deserted island, Jackson has the range to exist in all of them.

The Nice Guys – Matthew Woodson

Does it get more 70’s than this? The mustache, the cars, the overall vibe, The Nice Guys  is a joyous crime comedy and I would buy a ticket just from the fuzzy feelings I get looking at this old school scene. And let’s be honest, is there anyone that doesn’t like Ryan Gosling?

Deadpool – Rob Liefield

Have we ever had a superhero with more personality than Deadpool? Liefield’s Mondo looks like it could’ve been made by the Regenerating Degenerate himself, or at least he had a lot of input.

ParaNorman – DKNG

Kids movies usually don’t have the depth to be considered for a Mondo, but ParaNorman breaks the mold. Written and co-directed by Chris Butler, Norman Babcock uses his supernatural ability to talk to the dead to save his town. I’m sure he didn’t have any problems in history class.

Image Credits: Mondo Poster Archive

Baby Driver: The Musical

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When I first saw Baby Driver‘s trailer, I was immediately conflicted.

Heist movies are usually intriguing because of, ya know, the heist. The driver (and main character) almost has zero involvement in the tense, action-packed sequence of all the robberies. The characters don’t sneak through invisible lasers or get into life-threatening shootouts with the cops, so I had no clue what I was going to be looking at for the next few hours.

On the other hand, this movie has Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, and Jamie Foxx, so at worst, it’ll be an uninteresting plot line with some memorable acting. (Sorry that a 21 year old single guy didn’t get excited to see Ansel Elgort, but I don’t think The Fault in Our Stars was aimed at me anyways.)

After a flood of positive reviews, I dug deep into my barren college wallet and shelled out the money to see what Baby Driver had to offer. I was not disappointed. The stars that I assumed would take over the movie were merely supporting characters to the music of the movie itself. If soundtracks could win Best Actor, the Oscars would turn into the Grammys.

It wasn’t just that the soundtrack was well put together, it was the timing of the songs. They were perfectly incorporated into every scene. Heralded award winning actors had to play catch up for 2 hours. As they stepped, shot, and spoke on beat, you listened to the perfect playlist, generating whatever emotions the director wanted you to feel.

As I stepped out of the theater, I was taken aback by all the songs stuck in my head in tandem with flashes of the movie’s most memorable scenes. We’re taught to listen from the very first time we annoy our parents, and we finally have a good reason to. Sit back, relax, and let Baby and his mixtapes take you on a wild ride.

Here are a few favorite tracks that are featured in the movie:

Main Image Credit: Sony Pictures

Ranking the Dragon: Who is the Most Deadly Bruce Lee?

in film/videos

There are few things in this world better than watching the late-great-legendary martial arts master, THE Bruce Lee, dissemble opponents in any of his classic karate flicks. Since there is obviously no match for Lee, all that’s left to do is compare him against the only worthy adversary, himself.

Yes, this is a Zac personal indulgence piece. I am in no way, shape, or form writing this for any audience. This is 100% for my own enjoyment (and so I can watch Bruce Lee clips during work).

Ground Rules:

– This is not about the best movie, this is about the Bruce that you’d least want to see in a dark alley, or even in the middle of Times Square on NYE.

– Rankings are based off the whole movie, not just Bruce’s fighting scenes alone. Bruce Lee was a much more talented actor than most people realize and each of his characters have traits that effect just how likely he was to kill you.

– Bruce Lee would (and did) annihilate Chuck Norris. Don’t @ me.

– If I see a Chuck Norris joke in the comment section it will be deleted, and if I can’t delete it, I will delete this piece and post it again. That’s a promise.*

7. Winslow Wong – Marlowe (1969)

Winslow Wong died without even getting hit in Marlowe. Like, come on. At least toss somebody in there who could pretend to be on Lee’s level. Show the man some respect.

6. Cheung – The Kid (1950)

Bruce Lee was 10 years old. That’s how upset I am that Winslow went out by getting faked into a jump kick off a skyscraper. (To be fair to Cheung, he was part of a gang at 10 so I assume they saw some violent promise in him. He could also probably get you killed by his friends.)

Now we get into the real list. From here on out, this will be the most difficult thing I will ever have to do. I love all of these Bruce’s and each one of them would kill you pretty easily.

5. Tang Lung – Return of the Dragon (1974)

Yes, the movie where Tang Lung kills Colt (Chuck Norris) in the Coliseum. It is easily one of the most iconic moments in Lee’s film career and is competing for the top spot as best movie, but there were character traits that couldn’t allow me to move Lung higher up this list. His single kill was Walker Texas Ranger, but he was reluctant to end his life. Colt had to admit that he would rather die than live with the shame of defeat, before Tang Lung became the undertaker. We’re talking deadliest, and Tang’s hesitation means he might just let you live.

4. Cheng Chao‑an – The Big Boss (1971)

Chao-an spends about half of the movie unwilling to lash out at the oppressive masters of the salt factory where he, his family, and friends work (more like where they’re slaves). This changes quickly when his friends are murdered after they take it upon themselves to make some changes to the workplace environment. Chao-an quickly becomes incensed and starts bustin’ heads all around the office. The problem is, none of his kills were impressive. He was disposing of his bosses that probably didn’t have too many “fighting for their lives” experiences. Even the boss fight was against a guy that has a social security check in the mail.

3. Billy Lo – The Game of Death (1978)

I’ve addressed the Chuck Norris fan boys, now I have to address those that only know Bruce Lee through his most mimicked role, Billy Lo. Lee’s most famous movie (released 5 years after his death) should not have been made. If he didn’t look so damn cool in that yellow jumpsuit, then I’d say it was a complete disgrace. He’s in it for just a few minutes, and that’s not including THE FOOTAGE OF HIS OPEN CASKET AT HIS OWN, REAL-LIFE, FUNERAL. Let that sink in for a second.

Regardless, Billy Lo was a bad mf’er for those few scenes. He disposed of 2 enemies, one being LA Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who was a black belt and a foot and a half taller than Lee. He also does it with the utmost swagger, cracking jokes as he beats his opponents to a pulp.

2. Lee – Enter The Dragon (1973)

Lee is invited to a martial arts tournament on a secluded island school in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, with underlying intentions to find the murderer of his own sister, Su Lin.  Over the course of the movie, Lee is responsible for the murder of a fellow competitor and friend at the hands of Han, the school and tournament founder. The climactic final battle comes when Lee and another competitor team up to fight through the whole school. A school of future martial arts masters. A school with what seems like 100’s of students. On an island with no hope of backup. Escaping unscathed, Lee faces off against Han, in a room full of mirrors, while Han has a full on Wolverine hand. Literally, it comes with 4 almost foot long knives jutting from a hand piece where his actual hand used to be. This is by far Lee’s most impressive and genius fight scene. You can’t out wit a master and Bruce Lee was a legend.

1. Chen Zen – Fist of Fury (1972)

This is the only role that made me think, “Maybe I shouldn’t be rooting for Bruce in this flick.” Chen-Zen is the stuff of nightmares. After a rivaling Japanese martial arts school murder’s his own master, Zen’s eyes see only red and we get to see him take out his vengeance on any and every one that stands in his way. He is a complete psychopath and when the cops come around to make him pay for his ridiculous number of murders, he makes it clear he won’t go out without a fight. His bare hands were up against guns, guns that were 40 yards away from him in plain sight, and he still sprinted at them like he was going to run through a barrage of bullets and escape. I’m too soft to even go play paintball.

*If I’m allowed to do that


Main Image Credit: Shortlist

Dissect This Trailer: Moonlight

in film/trailers

Movies ask questions. What is under the water, who is robbing the bank, when will he notice me. An effective movie trailer reveals the core question of the movie but without going so far as to answer it. So Moonlight thrives because it’s weapons are sharp, let’s review the assets:

The film – This film is shot incredibly well, the reason the trailer is compelling is in large part because the footage is compelling. Bravo to the colorist, (trailer or/and film), who has been able to capture the dreamy southern gothic romance vibe perfectly.
Music – In this instance, using film score is a huge plus, it provides a tone that is intense and mysterious.
Graphics – They’re artfully done, they’re very legible and the choice of color speaks to title and tone of the film.
Narration – There is none, it doesn’t need any.

As far as I know there’s just one trailer for Moonlight. And this makes sense for a variety of reasons. First, no teaser because this film doesn’t fall into the highly anticipated category. There just weren’t tens of millions of people blowing up A24’s social pages to release a Moonlight trailer. Also, you probably reached your target audience with the first one, and why not save the money.  Lastly, I believe when you so completely and succinctly define the premise of the content of your film in a single trailer, there’s no point in going through the same exercise again.

The first thing I’m hit with is some somber oboe music and the sound of crickets, as two guys are walking through the night. Already you’re creating a world without saying anything, no dialogue, no cards. Act I of this trailer ends at about the 28 second mark. And all we’ve gotten is one character questioning why the other has driven down to wherever they are, but because of the quality of the performance, we’re immediately curious. Never underestimate the curiosity of the human mind. We want to know things, we want to discover things, if one character won’t reveal their motivations for being in a certain place at a certain time, then we as viewers are inherently curious as to why that is.

Act I tells me this is a movie about learning something about people. That something appears to be wrapped in mystery and tension, because of ACTING and SOUND DESIGN. The creative behind this trailer knew, it wasn’t necessary to jump in right away with a bunch of quick editorial cuts. Present the central theme of the story quickly, with elegance.

So let’s take a moment here to address one part of what makes this trailer so successful. The music the trailer is set to is incredible and award worthy. It’s haunting, impactful, and filled with longing. I do not know Nicholas Brittel, but after spending 20 seconds on his Wikipedia page it’s clear that I should. Seriously, just take 20 seconds, maybe a minute, and prepare to be impressed. So, they’re using score, which is incredibly fortunate. A lot of time the score isn’t ready in time for the trailer to be released so the creatives have to license an appropriate song. There isn’t any hard and fast rule for using score in the trailer or not. If it works and it’s better than what you can license, then you’re crazy not to, but composers aren’t thinking about the trailer when they’re doing their job. They’re scoring the whole 2 hour film. They may be a lock for an academy award, but that doesn’t mean their score necessarily works in 2 minutes.

Back to the trailer! See that “From Director Barry Jenkins” card that came up? That’s how you know we’re getting into Act II of the trailer, it’s a visual that means we’re moving to another time and place in the film. So what do we notice about this card? It’s an electric sort of blue, almost like a neon, but the typeface is very clear, very elegant. These aren’t big blobby cartoon neon letters, but the shade is unique. It speaks to title, if Moonlight were a color, it might be this shade of blue.  I’ll actually spend a decent amount of time on cards and graphics on these entries. As a creative these are your assets. You’ve got the film footage, you’ve got cards, you’ve got music, and you’ve got narration. These are the weapons that you wage the war for eyeballs with so every one of them must be sharp and used to the best of its abilities.

Now we’re into Act II, notice that we’re seeing several shots of the character as a youth but they’re from behind and he’s walking alone. Notice how the opening shots were from behind, but there were two characters? This editorial device of showing two grown ups versus one child immediately makes us feel empathy, we see a child walking alone where previously we saw two men together, one image is closeness, the other is isolation. Act II presents us with another core element of the film, “Who is you, Shawn?”. Visually we’re learning that this person is isolated, beaten, but also joyful. We’re seeing a character of extremes, a young boy being subjected to the best and the worst of life. Polarity is by nature, tension.

The middle of Act II shows us the adults in young Shawn’s life, and again, polarity. A woman is screaming and a man’s holding young Shawn gently in the water. Again we’re presented with the central theme of the film, deciding who he will be. The rest of Act II escalates the tension, the beatings becoming more violent, he refuses to discuss his situation with others, and he is emotionally shutting down.

But now we roll into Act III, where the trailer ends. We see Shawn as an adult again, and we arrive at the beginning, coming full circle with two important questions, “Who is you?” and “What did you expect?”.

Main Image Credit: The Atlantic

Look How Far We’ve .Com

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O.J. had his joy ride in his white Bronco and Tonya Harding became an American super villain. Forrest Gump, Shawshank Redemption, Pulp Fiction, and The Lion King, ruled the movie landscape, while the Sony Playstation took another step to trapping kids in front of their TV screens. 1994 feels like an eternity ago, partially because I am only 20 and I wasn’t even a thought in my parents mind at the moment. I guess I missed a lot, but I’m sure you missed a monumental moment in movie marketing too.

In 1994 MGM released Stargate, an intergalactic, human origin story, blockbuster. Although it enjoyed major success at the box office 23 years ago, it’d be hard to find too many fans lauding it as a testament to the art of film. Negative critical reviews has pushed it to the back of the ever-popular sci-fi genre, but it did introduce a model that almost every movie today employs. As the first movie franchise to create a website, Stargate laid down a model for the future of how to get a view extra butts in seats.

Unfortunately, Stargate doesn’t have their original 1994 site up and running, but there are a few old school movies sites that are still free to be explored. Let’s take a nostalgic trip back to the 90’s, revisiting some classic movie sites that are still kicking.

Mallrats (1995)

As far as I know, Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) ran the 90’s cult classic fad. Existential thought in the regular day of the average young adult was somewhere that film thought was way too boring to go to in the past. After Smith’s critically acclaimed Clerks made waves in 1994, he followed it up with Mallrats, a simple story about two friends going to the mall to get over their relationship issues. Snootie Bootchies!

Space Jam (1996)

“Everybody get up it’s time to slam now / We got a real jam goin’ down / Welcome to the Space Jam / Here’s your chance do your dance at the Space Jam / Alright”. Michael Jordan saving the Looney Tunes universe with the help of Bill Murray and Newman. Need I say more? This site needs to be bookmarked by everyone with access to a computer.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)

The Jurassic Park sequel, certainly didn’t compare to the original, but at least we got another site for the list. However, they take a completely different approach than the others. You enter Ingen as a park employee, which is cool concept, until you realize that it also provides one of the most boring promo experiences possible. At least the dinosaur section reminds me why I will never attend any live-prehistoric animal based theme parks.

Saving Private Ryan (1998) & You’ve Got Mail (1998)

I’m tossing these together for one glaring reason. In a matter of months, from July to December, Tom Hanks goes from World War II Captain John H. Miller, on a mission to get the last of four Ryan son’s home safely in the middle of war-torn Europe, to Joe Fox, a bookstore chain executive that falls in love with a woman he’s about to put out of business. Over the internet. The range of this guy is astounding.

The You’ve Got Mail site is extremely well done, even allowing visitors to read the emails Joe and Kathleen send back and forth, which makes sense since it is a movie about the internet. In defense of the Saving Private Ryan site, it’s simple, but did they really even need to convince anyone to go see it?

Wild, Wild, West (1999)

Willard Carroll Smith Jr., can do no wrong. America has been proving that since he started rapping in 1986 and especially since 1990 when The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air first aired on NBC. We will all accept his shortcomings, mainly anything that involves young adult Jaden Smith (kid Jaden was great in Pursuit of Happyness), because he is a national treasure. Wild, Wild, West, and its oddly designed website have been blessed with a get out of jail free card because we all want to be as cool as that kid from West Philly.

 Main Image Credit: Rolling Stone

4 Actors Who Tricked All of U.S.

in film/television

Over the years, American culture has seen a migration of foreign actors into primetime American roles. Christian Bale, Daniel Day-Lewis, and a slew of others have stunned us with their acting, then sent us into shock when we found out they were doing so in a fake accent. Let’s take a look at a few more movie and television stars that only sound like they bleed red, white, and blue.

Daniel Kaluuya

Kaluuya has burst onto the scene with Jordan Peele’s box office horror hit, Get Out, but who knew that the actor behind Chris Washington was born across the pond. The talented 27 year old was born in London and has made previous appearances in Sicario and Skins, where he also was a writer. Daniel is looking to make an even bigger splash in 2018, where he’ll be starring in Marvel’s Black Panther and in Steve McQueen’s star studded heist film Widows.

Joel Kinnaman

Love him or hate him, Joel Kinnaman’s, Governor Will Conway, is definitely giving President Underwood a run for his money in the Netflix political drama, House of Cards. However, the fictional presidential candidate may have trouble if he were to run in real life. Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Kinnaman has played a number of American roles, from Rick Flag in Suicide Squad to Alex Murphy in RoboCop. Make sure to look over some US policy, Governor Conway continues his campaign when House of Cards returns on May 30.

Damian Lewis

On this side of the world, we know Damian Lewis best as Homeland’s Nicholas Brody or NYC hedge fund king, Bobby Axelrod, in Billions. Despite a perfect American accent, Lewis hails from London, where he is considered one of the world’s greatest stage actors. Accolades from the playhouse to his TV accomplishments, highlight his outstanding range. Make sure to catch up on Showtime’s Billions before the next episode of season 2 on March 26.

Margot Robbie

At just 26, Margot Robbie is already one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood. Her thick New York accent made her perfect to play Naomi Lapaglia in 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street. Only problem is, she was born in Queensland, Australia, not the Big Apple. In her short US career, Robbie has played a number of big roles, from Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad to Jess in Focus. Robbie is currently working on a number of productions, including I, Tonya, about controversial US figure skater Tonya Harding and Harley Quinn’s Suicide Squad spinoff, Gotham City Sirens.


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The History of Film’s Most Famous Mountain

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The 20th Century Fox drums, the ferocious roar of the Metro Goldwyn Meyer lion, and the rest of the signatures of movie companies across the nation and globe all have Paramount Pictures to thank. The first majorly distributed films began much like many blockbusters today, even 103 years later. Glowing stars encompassing a majestic snow capped mountain, an immediate sign that, until recently (ex: Ben-Hur), that this movie will be worth the $20 you spent at the snack bar. But, what’s the story behind Paramount’s stars and mountain? Why is it so iconic and where did it come from?

The Man: W. W. Hodkinson

A lot can happen in 103 years. Two World Wars, changing climates, and somehow the beginning and end of the Cubs title drought, all graced this past century. But if you look all the way back to the year 1907, the landscape of American culture was about to shift in a brand new direction.

At the youthful age of 26, W.W. Hodkinson began his first film exchange in Ogden, Utah. Within a few short years — seven to be exact — Hodkinson revolutionized the film industry by starting one of the first major movie production companies: Paramount Pictures. Through his new system of film companies acting as distributors, funding independent filmmakers to create and providing the ability to get that product out to the masses, Hodkinson was a huge success, earning him the unofficial title as “The Man Who Invented Hollywood.”

The Logo

Paramount, mount, mountain… I always thought it was pretty obvious that the only logo that would make sense was a mountain. Myself, along with almost every casual movie fan I know, paid no mind to where it was or what significance it had. In all honesty, these intros are really just a reminder for me to turn my phone off (really on silent with the brightness turned down).

However this specific mountain held a special place in Hodkinson’s heart. As a special ode to his hometown, Hodkinson chose to jot down Ben Lomond Mountain, a prominent landmark of Ogden. Over time, Paramount has moved to a much larger representation of Ben Lomond, even possibly switching its inspiration to Peru’s Artesonraju.

The stars that surround the mountain represent the 24 actors who first signed on with Paramount Pictures. Since the inception of the logo in 1914, the number has been reduced to 22, even though it isn’t clear why. Some of the original stars included the likes of Rudolph Valentino and Marlene Dietrich, starring in classic films such as The Sheik and Shanghai Express.

It wasn’t until the Supreme Court’s 1948 Paramount Decree that got stars out of exclusive contracts with production companies, but the stars in the logo remain as a throwback to the times when companies had complete control over their employees.

The Legacy

Paramount has come out with some of America’s favorite movies over their century in the limelight. Forrest GumpRaiders of the Lost Ark, and my personal favorite, Coming to America (honorable mention: The Spongebob Squarepants Movie) have all come out of film’s first studio.

However, for all the success Paramount has had, things didn’t go so well for its founder. Although a genius in the film industry, Hodkinson wasn’t the savviest of negotiators. In 1916, just two years after its founding, two of Hodkinson’s partners — producers Jesse Lasky and Adolph Zukor — had combined to become majority shareholders and took over Paramount for themselves. The behind-the-scenes drama in the early days of Paramount would turn out to be a fitting ending for a man called “Mr. Hollywood.”

Main Image Credit: Paramount

Game On! Wayne’s World Turns 25

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Saturday Night Live has been the origin of so many hilarious characters. Dozens of movies have been made based on one 5 minute sketch from SNL. Possibly the most successful and well-known SNL sketch-made-movie is Wayne’s World. Starring Mike Myers and Dana Carvey, Wayne’s World celebrated its 25th anniversary on February 14th. It is very hard to believe that this film is as old as a person who can legally rent a car. To honor the birthday of this hysterical film, many theatres around the nation have re-released it.

As funny as SNL sketches are, it is common for movie renditions of a sketch to flop. This is typically because the joke tires out quickly. It is difficult to keep a joke that is hilarious for 5 minutes, go on and on for 90 more minutes. That being said, some sketch movies have been hugely successful like The Blues Brothers which topped the national box office at over $57 million. Wayne’s World set the SNL movie bar with $121 million at the box office. No other SNL movie has ever come close to topping that.

So what makes this movie so popular? Well, that scene with the car sing-a-long to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody is definitely one of the most iconic moments in film. Seeing all those metal heads laughing and head banging in their junky little car to such a monumental song was something that many people can relate to. It was truly a moment from the 90’s that everyone remembers.

Besides that scene, there was so much more that made Wayne’s World break the SNL movie mold. Mike Myers and Dana Carvey were able to take a funny little sketch and create a whole world. The used their characters and the setting to make social commentaries and satirize the entertainment culture.

Finally — and most importantly — this movie is STILL FUNNY. The jokes still work! Yes, it is definitely a ’90s flick, but it doesn’t feel dated. This is mostly because the movie was created by extremely talented writers who did not depend too much on ’90s trends or politics. Instead, it re-invented the movie soundtrack and coined new slang such as “Party On” or “Schwing!”

Wayne’s World was original, and it will forever be one of those movies that comes on TV that makes you stop changing the channel and say “I LOVE this movie!”

Happy Anniversary, Wayne’s World. May the party continue to go on and on.

Main Image Credit: NBC
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