Kids’ Camp movies are every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the summer. All tickets are just $2
Great Popcorn and candy! See you at the movies!
Kids’ Camp movies are every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the summer. All tickets are just $2
Great Popcorn and candy! See you at the movies!
Love is in the Air! This time of year we all enjoy snuggling up with a loved one around the fire, and enjoy a good rom-com. Punxsutawney Phil, over at Gobbler’s knob didn’t see his shadow, which as history explains it, Spring should just be right around the corner. But our beloved groundhog doesn’t have that great of a track record. With only six of Phil’s last 30 predictions being correct, it leaves him with only about a 20 percent accuracy. Maybe he should take up something a little more to his speed, like burrowing and sleep studies.
Until the snow is gone, we get to indulge a little with delicious warm soups and lagers, and a few movies. Here are some of the best upcoming romantic comedies to look forward to in 2019.
Natalie (Rebel Wilson) is a New York architect who works hard to get noticed at her job, but is more likely to deliver coffee and bagels than design the city’s next skyscraper. Things go from bad to weird when she gets knocked unconscious during a subway mugging and magically wakes up to find herself in an alternate universe. Always cynical about love, Natalie’s worst nightmare soon comes true when she suddenly discovers that she’s playing the leading lady in a real-life romantic comedy.
Passed up for a well-deserved promotion, sports agent Ali Davis wonders what else she needs to do to succeed in a man’s world. Hoping to find answers from a psychic, Ali drinks a weird concoction that suddenly allows her to hear what men are thinking. Using her newfound ability, Ali starts to turn the tables on her obnoxious male colleagues while racing to sign the next basketball superstar.
“Gully Boy” is a film about a 22-year-old boy “Murad” (Ranveer Singh) from a ghetto in Mumbai, India. The son of a driver, his parents worked hard to get him educated so that he could have a white collar job. Meanwhile, Murad realizes his calling to be a rapper. Authentic Hip Hop in India is a recent phenomenon and like anywhere else in the world, is rising from the streets. Art is a distant dream for the colonized poor of India and this story is about Murad’s journey from realizing his love for rap and chasing his dream to inadvertently transcending his class. The film showcases street rap from the crevices of Mumbai’s by lanes. The poetry is conscious of the city’s socio-economic fabric and highlights the challenges faced by the disenfranchised youth in the minority population.
In 1946 Rachael Morgan arrives in the ruins of Hamburg to be reunited with her husband, Lewis, who is a British colonel charged with rebuilding the shattered city. As they set off for their new home, Rachael is stunned to discover that Lewis has made an unexpected decision: They will be sharing the grand house with its previous owners, a German widower and his troubled daughter. In this charged atmosphere, enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal.
Seventeen-year-old Stella spends most of her time in the hospital as a cystic fibrosis patient. Her life is full of routines, boundaries and self-control — all of which get put to the test when she meets Will, an impossibly charming teen who has the same illness. There’s an instant flirtation, though restrictions dictate that they must maintain a safe distance between them. As their connection intensifies, so does the temptation to throw the rules out the window and embrace that attraction.
The Oscar nominations were out in full swing this past week from the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre in Beverly Hills, California. Twenty four categories are announced and numerous nominations. Here’s our Picks for those categories.
Roma is a 2018 drama film written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón, who also produced, shot, and co-edited it. It is a co-production of Mexico and the United States. Set in 1970 and 1971, Roma, which is a semi-autobiographical take on Cuarón’s upbringing in Mexico City, stars Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira and follows the life of a live-in housekeeper of a middle-class family. The title refers to the Colonia Roma district of Mexico City.
Adam McKay (born April 17, 1968) is an American screenwriter, director, comedian, and actor. McKay has a comedy partnership with Will Ferrell, with whom he co-wrote the films Anchorman, Talladega Nights, and The Other Guys. Ferrell and McKay also founded their comedy website Funny or Die through their production company Gary Sanchez Productions. He has been married to Shira Piven since 1999. They have two children.
Melissa McCarthy |Can You Ever Forgive Me? (R) | 1h 46m
Melissa McCarthy was born in Plainfield, Illinois, to Sandra and Michael McCarthy, and was raised on her family’s corn and soybean farm. She began her performing career as a stand-up comedian in New York where she appeared at the famous clubs, Stand Up New York and The Improv. She worked on her acting skills at The Actors Studio and appeared in many stage productions in the city before moving to Los Angeles in the late-1990s. She made a number of TV and movie appearances before making her big breakthrough as Sookie in Gilmore Girls (2000). A steady stream of comedy performances followed, leading to her starring role in the sitcom Mike & Molly (2010).
In September 2016, Buster’s Mal Heart, the first movie in which Malek plays a starring role, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival to positive reviews. In it, Malek plays one man with two lives, Jonah and Buster. In August 2016, it was announced that Malek will co-star with Charlie Hunnam as Louis Dega in a contemporary remake of the 1973 film Papillon. Papillon premiered September 2017 at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. In November 2016, it was announced that Malek will star as Freddie Mercury in the upcoming Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, to be released on November 2, 2018. In February 2017, Malek won the Young Alumnus Award from his alma mater, University of Evansville. In 2017, he was invited to become a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Peter Parker is the only Spider-Man, except there are other Spider-Men out there: in the multiverse known as ‘The Spider-Verse’. After down-on-his-luck teenager Miles Morales gets bitten by a radioactive spider, he sees Spider-Man stop the Kingpin’s dimension-crossing super-collider; only to be killed by the Kingpin afterwards. Seeing his hero die before him, Miles vows to avenge the wall-crawler and destroy the collider once and for all. Unknown to Morales, there’s another Peter Parker from another dimension.
These are just some of our picks. Tune in to the Oscars on February 24, 2019 at 8/7 central for the reveal of the 91st Winners of this star-studded event.
Today we take a look back and share our Christmas flashback movies of yesteryear. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The snow dusts the rooftops and Christmas lights are a glow. Families are donning their trees with tinsel and trimmings and ornaments from long ago. Which got me to reminisce about the days gone by and the most wonderful old Christmas movies from the Golden Days of film and television. Every year our family has A Christmas Story on while we open presents around the tree. Some of these old stories need to be remembered fondly and brought down through the generations.
George Bailey has spent his entire life giving of himself to the people of Bedford Falls. He has always longed to travel but never had the opportunity in order to prevent rich skinflint Mr. Potter from taking over the entire town. All that prevents him from doing so is George’s modest building and loan company, which was founded by his generous father. But on Christmas Eve, George’s Uncle Billy loses the business’s $8,000 while intending to deposit it in the bank. Potter finds the misplaced money and hides it from Billy. When the bank examiner discovers the shortage later that night, George realizes that he will be held responsible and sent to jail and the company will collapse, finally allowing Potter to take over the town. Thinking of his wife, their young children, and others he loves will be better off with him dead, he contemplates suicide. But the prayers of his loved ones result in a gentle angel named Clarence coming to earth to help George, with the promise of earning his wings. He shows George what things would have been like if he had never been born.
After World War II, song and dance men Bob Wallace and Phil Davis form a successful partnership, eventually becoming top Broadway producers. Bob agrees to take in a nightclub act by the Haynes sisters, Betty and Judy, as a favor, so he thinks, for their brother who served with Bob and Phil in the war. Phil has always been trying to get Bob interested in a girl, usually one in the show, but when he realizes that Bob is smitten with Betty, he arranges to accompany them to their show at a small Vermont Inn. Imagine their surprise when they learn that their old commanding officer, Major General Tom Waverley, is the owner. He’s sunk his savings and his pension into the venture but it has yet to snow and it looks like he’s on the verge of bankruptcy. They come up with a plan to help the General out, but a misunderstanding leads to a rift between Bob and Betty, leaving it to Phil and Judy to try and get them back together.
At the Macy’s Department Store Thanksgiving Day parade, the actor playing Santa is discovered to be drunk by a whiskered old man. Doris Walker, the no nonsense special events director, persuades the old man to take his place. The old man proves to be a sensation and is quickly recruited to be the store Santa at the main Macy’s outlet. While he is successful, Ms. Walker learns that he calls himself Kris Kringle and he claims to be the actual Santa Claus. Despite reassurances by Kringle’s doctor that he is harmless, Doris still has misgivings, especially when she has cynically trained herself, and especially her daughter, Susan, to reject all notions of belief and fantasy. And yet, people, especially Susan, begin to notice there is something special about Kris and his determination to advance the true spirit of Christmas amidst the rampant commercialism around him and succeeding in improbable ways. When a raucous conflict with the store’s cruelly incompetent psychologist erupts, Kris finds himself held at Bellevue where, in despair, he deliberately fails a mental examination to ensure his commitment. All seems lost until Doris’ friend, Fred Gaily, reassures Kris of his worth and agrees to represent him in the fight to secure his release. To achieve that, Fred arranges a formal hearing in which he argues that Kris is sane because he is in fact Santa Claus. What ensues is a bizarre hearing in which people’s beliefs are reexamined and put to the test, but even so, it’s going to take a miracle for Kris to win.
Sam the snowman tells us the story of a young red-nosed reindeer who, after being ousted from the reindeer games because of his beaming honker, teams up with Hermey, an elf who wants to be a dentist, and Yukon Cornelius, the prospector. They run into the Abominable Snowman and find a whole island of misfit toys. Rudolph vows to see if he can get Santa to help the toys, and he goes back to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. But Santa’s sleigh is fogged in. But when Santa looks over Rudolph, he gets a very bright idea…
Christmastime is here, and Charlie Brown knows that he should be happy, but he isn’t. He also knows that commercialism is the problem – even manifesting itself within his own family as seen by younger sister Sally’s Christmas letter to Santa, and Snoopy entering a Christmas decorating contest with a cash prize – but he doesn’t know what to do about it. When Lucy suggests that he direct the Christmas play, Charlie Brown hopes to find the true meaning of Christmas in the process. But that doesn’t seem to be working. One of the last pieces for the play is to get a Christmas tree as the set centerpiece. Charlie Brown, with Linus is tow, takes on the task himself, with all of his cast wanting him to pick out a nice aluminum tree. Instead, Charlie Brown chooses a small, sickly looking real tree that he believes needs some tender loving care. Although it is the exact opposite of what his cast asked him to get, it may act as that symbol to bring the true meaning of Christmas back into everyone lives, with a little help from a speech by Linus.
I love this time of year! The beautiful foliage has a wonderful array of magnificent colors in hues of golds and reds. The trees have started to shed last years leaves in order to welcome the first blanket of freshly white snow. Your clothes become a little bit warmer and everyone feels like cuddling up by a fire and sipping on cocoa. The holiday season is indeed upon us and that brings good food, good friends and the love and joy of family. Mom is busy making pies while dad tends to the turkey. Thanksgiving is a time of reflection and to give thanks for all the gifts that life has to offer. Sitting down to break bread and enjoy an overabundance of food is just one of the pleasures of the season. My favorite is relaxing with some hot cider and enjoying a Thanksgiving classic movie or two with the family. So what are some of the best family movies for Thanksgiving? See if yours made our top five.
Pugsley and Wednesday Addams aren’t very happy with the new addition to the family: their new baby brother, Pubert. Morticia is restless, and Gomez only wants her to be happy, so he tries to fix everyone’s problems by hiring a nanny. The Addams’ finally find the perfect nanny in Debbie: a seemingly innocent woman with an impeccable wardrobe and a way with her hands. She charms the family, especially Uncle Fester, who is head-over-heels for her. However, Wednesday and Pugsley see through her sensual facade: Debbie is only after Fester for his money. Before they can rat on her, she has the kids sent off to summer camp, as she and Fester get married. While she tries (several times) to kill Fester and make it look like an accident, Pugsley and Wednesday must battle ever-cheery camp directors and spoiled rich kids to get back to their family and warn them of Debbie’s plans.
Based on the true story of Leigh Anne Tuohy and Sean Tuohy who take in a homeless teenage African-American, Michael Oher. Michael has no idea who his father is and his mother is a drug addict. Michael has had little formal education and few skills to help him learn. Leigh Anne soon takes charge however, as is her nature, ensuring that the young man has every opportunity to succeed. When he expresses an interest in football, she goes all out to help him, including giving the coach a few ideas on how best to use Michael’s skills. They not only provide him with a loving home, but hire a tutor to help him improve his grades to the point where he would qualify for an NCAA Division I athletic scholarship. Michael Oher was the first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2009 NFL draft.
After years of fruitless warning of his farmyard brethren of the coming Thanksgiving doom, Reggie the Turkey finds himself spared as the annual Pardoned Turkey. However, Reggie’s easy life is disrupted by Jake, a fanatic turkey who drags him along with the insane idea of going back in time to make sure turkeys are not part of the first Thanksgiving. Through foolhardiness and luck, the pair manage to take an experimental time machine to do just that. Now in 1621 at the Plymouth colony, Reggie and Jake find themselves in the middle of a turkey clan’s struggle for survival. In doing so, their preconceptions of the world and themselves are challenged forever in a conflict from which the world will never be the same.
In New York the marketing executive Neal Page wants to travel home to Chicago for Thanksgiving. He has difficulties getting a taxi and his flight is cancelled. He meets in the airport the clumsy and talkative shower curtain ring salesman Del Griffith who has taken his cab and they travel side-by-side to Chicago. However the bad weather shuts down O’Hare Airport and they land at Wichita, Kansas. They both want to go to Chicago and they decide to travel together. Along their journey Neal changes his viewpoint about Del Griffith and his own behavior.
Working-class good guy Dutch Dooley is the current boyfriend of a wealthy, snobbish tycoon’s ex-wife. Volunteering to drive the woman’s son home for Thanksgiving to Chicago from his boarding school in Georgia, little does Dutch expect the picaresque adventures in store for him. When a blunt, down-to-earth construction worker takes to the road with an insufferable twelve-year-old snob (desperately insecure under the surface) who does not approve of him in the least, quite a little must happen before they can reach their destination as friends — or, for that matter, get home at all.
Halloween is right around the corner at what better way to get in the spirit is to go to a haunted house or better yet, from the safety of your own home some of the scariest from the Movies. These iconic homes seemingly might serve as a backdrop for the most part, however as Jamie Lee Curtis’s blood-curdling scream. Halloween, you can rest assured these homes have a vivid place in scary town.
Supposedly in the fictitious town of Haddonfield, Illinois, but actually in southern California. At the time the film was made in the Spring of 1978, the house was abandoned. This quaint little blue house was moved to its current location on the corner of Mission Street and the metro station after having served as the infamous suburban house in John Carpenter’s cult classic, Halloween.
Ok everyone, let’s go to expedia and start booking flights right now to see this beauty.. WAIT! Ok, I was pretty bummed to find out that this cool turn of the century mansion was indeed just fabricated for the film. All the scenes of the interior were shot in California. For whatever it’s worth, this fictitious house still has a ghostly feel and definitely makes our list.
In 1974, Ronald DeFeo, Jr. shot and killed his parents and four siblings in their five-bedroom Dutch Colonial house on Long Island. Thirteen months later, the Lutz family bought the three-story waterfront home along with its swimming pool and boathouse for a bargain $80,000. What transpired afterwards became the controversial and often contested subject of a 1977 best-selling book and multiple film adaptations. The first film was shot in 1979 in this Cape Cod-style home in Toms River, NJ, which was temporarily remodeled to include the original home’s iconic gambrel roof and chilling ‘eye windows.’
In case you were wondering, Bill Murray’s Hollywood estate in Zombieland isn’t his actual house. At the time of filming, it belonged to real estate developer Lee Najjar, ex-boyfriend of Real Housewives of Atlanta star, Kim Zolciak. What’s more, the house itself isn’t even in California, but in the residential neighborhood of Buckhead in Atlanta, Ga. Nevertheless, the sprawling, multi-million dollar mansion is pretty incredible and boasts some of the most awesome ceilings I’ve ever seen.
Hey mom and dad, it’s almost that time! No, don’t worry Christmas is still few months away. I’m talking about the single most awesome time for all parents, it’s back-to-school time! I can hear you cheering from your living rooms. Back-to-school can mean a lot of things to parents. Sure you might have to dust off the minivan and revise your role as a soccer mom for Suzie. Time to drop off little Mary to daily so she can dance in the Nutcracker for the one-billionth time. Oh but wait, what about the band outings for Kevin, football practices for Timmy? Don’t forget to bake for the PTA and OH GOD, Karl needs help with his math homework! Phew, ok back-to-school can be a juggling act! For a few short weeks, however, you have a little peace and quiet so enjoy it!
On the adverse of all this, your children, the love of your lives, your little bundles of joy, begin to have what I like to call, summer drag. They have no intention of ever letting summer end, and they certainly don’t have schooling on the brain. Instead, they have decided in their minds to drag it out, sitting hours in front of their video game console or watching movies on Netflix. So if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! Here are a few movies you can sneak in and let them watch while they get school mode.
To Greg Heffley, middle school is the dumbest idea ever invented. It’s a place rigged with hundreds of social landmines, not the least of which are morons, wedgies, swirlies, bullies, lunchtime banishment to the cafeteria floor – and a festering piece of cheese with nuclear cooties. To survive the never-ending ordeal and attain the recognition and status he feels he so richly deserves, Greg devises an endless series of can’t-miss schemes, all of which, of course, go awry. And he’s getting it all down on paper, via a diary – “it’s NOT a diary, it’s a journal!” Greg insists, preferring the less-sissyfied designation – filled with his opinions, thoughts, tales of family trials and tribulations, and (would-be) schoolyard triumphs. “One day when I’m famous,” writes Greg, “I’ll have better things to do than answer people’s stupid questions all day.” So was born the Wimpy Kid’s diary.
This is the tale of Harry Potter, an ordinary 11-year-old boy serving as a sort of slave for his aunt and uncle who learns that he is actually a wizard and has been invited to attend the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry is snatched away from his mundane existence by Rubeus Hagrid, the grounds keeper for Hogwarts, and quickly thrown into a world completely foreign to both him and the viewer. Famous for an incident that happened at his birth, Harry makes friends easily at his new school. He soon finds, however, that the wizarding world is far more dangerous for him than he would have imagined, and he quickly learns that not all wizards are ones to be trusted.
Set in an era where superheroes are commonly known and accepted, young William Stronghold, the son of the Commander and Jetstream, tries to find a balance between being a normal teenager and an extraordinary being. Loads of fun with superhero tropes featuring Kurt Russell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and a supremely well-cast Lynda Carter.
A boy with facial deformities enters a mainstream school for the first time as a fifth-grader, causing the community to grapple with issues of compassion and acceptance. Starring Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts and based on a true story.
Down and out rock star Dewey Finn gets fired from his band, and he faces a mountain of debts and depression. He takes a job as a 4th grade substitute teacher at an uptight private school where his attitude and hijinx have a powerful effect on his students. He also meets Zack, a 10-year-old guitar prodigy, who could help Dewey win a “battle of the bands” competition, which would solve his financial problems and put him back in the spotlight.
Max Fischer is a precocious 15-year-old whose reason for living is his attendance at Rushmore, a private school where he’s not doing well in any of his classes, but where he’s the king of extracurricular activities – from being in the beekeeping society to writing and producing plays, there’s very little after school he doesn’t do. His life begins to change, however, when he finds out he’s on academic probation, and when he stumbles into love with Miss Cross, a pretty teacher of the elementary school at Rushmore. Added to the mix is his friendship with Herman Blume, wealthy industrialist and father to boys who attend the school, and who also finds himself attracted to Miss Cross. Max’s fate becomes inextricably tied to this odd love triangle, and how he sets about resolving it is the story in the film.
Tracy Flick is running unopposed for this year’s high school student election. But school civics teacher Jim McAllister has a different plan. Partly to establish a more democratic election, and partly to satisfy some deep personal anger toward Tracy, Jim talks popular varsity football player Paul Metzler to run for president as well. Chaos ensues.
Cher is rich, pretty, blonde, popular and knows how to talk anyone into doing just about anything. When she can’t get a teacher to give her a better grade, she and her friend Dion match him up with another teacher to make him happier… and maybe a but laxer on his expectations. When a girl named Tai transfers to Cher’s school, she and Dion give her a makeover and attempt to find her a boyfriend. Cher soon realizes that she wants a boyfriend herself, but no one seems right. She goes through a spiritual makeover and realizes that there’s more to life than clothes and popularity before she finds the boy of her dreams.
A look at the lives and loves of a group of high school students. It’s the final year of high school for Brad Hamilton who decides he should break up with his longtime girlfriend. He’s at a loss however when she breaks up with him first. Jeff Spicoli continues to take delight in getting under the skin of his teacher, Mr. Hand. Others are looking for love, sex and just plain having a good time which, for the most part, they all seem to find though sometimes in unexpected places.
The Toro cheerleading squad from Rancho Carne High School in San Diego has got spirit, spunk, sass and a killer routine that’s sure to land them the national championship trophy for the sixth year in a row. But for newly-elected team captain Torrance, the Toros’ road to total cheer glory takes a shady turn when she discovers that their perfectly-choreographed routines were in fact stolen from the Clovers, a hip-hop squad from East Compton, by the Toro’s former captain. While the Toros scramble to come up with a new routine, the Clovers, led by squad captain Isis have their own problems – coming up with enough money to cover their travel expenses to the championships. With time running out and the pressure mounting, both captains drive their squads to the point of exhaustion: Torrance, hell bent on saving the Toros’ reputation, and Isis more determined than ever to see that the Clovers finally get the recognition that they deserve. But only one team can bring home the title, so may the best moves win.
Well it’s officially summer, and it’s hot, I mean it’s really hot. It’s like, fry an egg on the sidewalk hot. It’s no fun just going from one air conditioning room to the next, so we’ve compiled a list of things to do with the kids this summer to keep cool or by doing something cool.
Michigan State University
1 Chestnut Rd.
East Lansing, Michigan 48824
Public Skating Admission:
200 Museum Drive, Lansing, MI 48933
Sun: 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tues – Sat: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
In 1972, Marilynne Eichinger set out to create an open and free environment for children and families to learn together using their hands. She opened Impression 5 Science Center—a dynamic, interactive space for families to play, create, and challenge their understanding of science together—and, in so doing, opened one of the first hands-on science centers in the country! As it sounds, our very name “Impression 5” refers to our purpose: encouraging you to explore your world and make meaningful connections to science using all five senses.
6400 Abbot Road
East Lansing, MI 48823
Let’s face it, the world is changing and moving at a rapid pace all around us. With the advent of social media invading our homes and the emergence of the media whether it politics, today’s headlines, health or the economy what is a person to do but to become a cynical and closed-minded individual in order to protect our own sanity?
I’m writing this as the news just broke about CNN correspondent and chef Anthony Bourdain’s suicide. The number of suicide rates have increased over 25% since 1999 with such recent losses of fashion designer Kate Spade and Actor Verne Troyer, star of Austin Powers. No one knows the causes, but expanding use of social media and increased exposure to isolationism are heading the forefronts. Sure drugs and alcohol play their roles and on the quieter side, mental illness. As a society we need to break down the barriers that make talking about such a hard topic more comfortable so that we can help and intervene before it is too late.
The stress of the world seems heavy these days. It reminds me of the 80’s when the threat of nuclear war felt always in our grasp. Every morning we awake to another headline that almost seems unbearable, but we somehow muster on. Do you know what else I remember from the 1980’s? Being neighborly.
Remember when your mom would go next door and have coffee with the neighbor as you headed off for school? I remember getting paid a penny for every cigarette butt I could find in my then 90 year old neighbors rose bushes. I can remember sitting on the porch with him playing Gin Rummy while my brother attempted to cheat. But this wise and very sharp old man caught his every move, and laughed at his feeble attempts to trick him.
I remember climbing our neighbors tree and grabbing apples, and watching my brother get a little too close to a blue jay’s nest, and getting dive-bombed my a furious momma bird to protect her babies. I remember block parties and feeling a part of a community, no matter my race or gender, and feeling loved.
I think, what we all need is a little Mr. Rogers right now. I have been waiting for this movie, and subsequently waiting for a moment to travel back to my childhood where lessons were taught and social media consisted of Grandma’s refrigerator and telephone conversations. I remember being a neighbor, and I hope I’ve grown to be a good one. In the wake of all the bad that goes on in the world, let’s talk about some upcoming movies in 2018 that are bound to make you feel good.
Mary Poppins Returns (2018)
Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 (2018)
We’ve almost hit the halfway mark this year and have already been doused with a plethora of Superhero Movies. Superheroes got a boost starting out in February with the much anticipated movie by Marvel Studios, Black Panther. This laid the groundwork this year for a flood-gate of movies in the same genre. Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2, Ant-Man and The Wasp, Aquaman, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, and Incredibles 2 are all on their way. And that’s just this year.
In the past few years we have been pummeled with so many from the Comic universe the questions begs, when is too much, too much? Though subjectable, anything not in moderation could be considered too much. I for one, enjoy a piece of cake now and again. However, if I sat down and ate the whole thing in one setting, I’d probably throw up. So how do moviegoers and movie executives, maintain that gentle balance without, well throwing up?
The Black Panther movie did phenomenally well this year pulling in $1.338 billion worldwide. But they couldn’t have landed so well without a structured and systematic introduction to this new character to pique your interest. Marvel does the right thing and suggests new characters to the audience by mixing them in with popular and previously well-established theater-wrangling icons. For example, Black Panther is first spotted making a scene stealing debut in Captain America: Civil War. Captain America and Iron Man were already much beloved and rooted veterans of the universe allowing Marvel to dig deeper into T’Challa’s journey and creating an interest a new character that could stand alone in his own movie.
Marvel audiences come back time and time again, because their curiosity gets the better of them. How great was Spider-man in Civil War? His boyish charm and sense of timing instantly made me wish for more Spiderman screen time. I got my wish in 2017 with Spider-man: Homecoming that grossed over $880.2 million worldwide.
If you are making superhero movies just to make money at the box office, your audience will know. Trust me, this couldn’t have been more obvious to an audience as it was with Suicide Squad (Rotten Tomatoes 27%) and Justice League (Rotten Tomatoes 40%). In Suicide Squad there is a talented cast, but the movie fell victim to the plot, or lack thereof. The characters are distracting and disturbing and as a moviegoer you have a hard time caring about them. Yes they are the anti-superhero, however, if you can’t vest a little empathy into a character, you will have zero apprehension in letting their characters live or die.
Justice League was doomed from the start. After JUST establishing Wonder Woman as a box office smash, they decided to make an all encompassing movie and throw in Aquaman and The Flash. DC was hoping you’d dig it as just much as one of their competitors Avenger movies that Marvel seems to pump out so flawlessly. The sad part is, we might have have dug it; and all of its “superheroness”, if DC would have gotten their formula it in the right order. I had no vested interest in Aquaman or The Flash, but felt familiar with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Possibly, what would have worked is introduce The Flash or Aquaman into an end credit of Wonder Woman like they seamlessly added her into the ending of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Which by the way, Wonder Woman made $821.0 million at the box office because DC stuck to the superhero formula (see first paragraph, New + Old = Hit).
Diversity can be introduced in many ways into a superhero movie. Gender diversity is a great way to target a new audience that might not normally ventured out for a superhero flick. For years moviegoers had been told that only men could possibly save the universe. But with introductions of superheroines like Wonder Woman, Black Widow and Ms. Marvel they have completely upset the Meta.
The world’s population is almost half men (50.4%) and half women (49.6%) according to countrymeters.info. So why in a virtually split world would you limit an audience to just one gender? Women like movies just as much as men, and when they are able to feel empowered by them, it makes it all that more intriguing.
DC made the smart move of thrusting Diana Prince to the helm of her own movie, as will Marvel follow suit with Ms. Marvel. Paving the way for furthered gender diversity in film, not just limited to the comic world. Marvel saw the potential in Black Panther this year, making it the highest grossing film by any black film director ever. Wow. It still gives me goosebumps that the superhero movie genre is paving the way to help embolden americans young and old, persons of color and white, males and females to embrace diversity because it’s inherently who we are and where we all come from.
Diversity can also be thought of as a diversification of each sub movie genre within the grander Superhero Movie Genre. For example, Marvel does not make the same tired movie over and over again. Think of Ant-Man, at its core, it’s a heist movie. Captain America: Winter Solider is a classic spy film. Spiderman: Homecoming could even be compared to a John Hughes film like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, or a coming of age saga.
This style of diversification helps Marvel not throw all their eggs into one basket. Though each film has the feel of a Marvel film, they are all intrinsically different, making them more intriguing past first glance.
Knowing your target audience age and where to pull at the heartstrings is vital in achieving audience eagerness for the next superhero release. Weaving in a feeling of nostalgia, without becoming overwhelming is an art. Avenger’s: Infinity War masters this brilliantly.
Star-lord calls Thanos “Grimace.” For those who missed out on the glory days of McDonald’s commercials, Grimace is Ronald McDonald’s purple, milkshake-stealing frenemy. Tony isn’t pleased with the Peters constant pop culture-referencing ways, but that doesn’t stop him from using a nostalgic diss when he meets Star-Lord. He calls Star-Lord “Flash Gordon,” which was super appropriate since the ’80s hero was also abruptly sent to space. It seems Tony Stark likes to watch Nickelodeon in between babysitting Spider-man because the first time he sees Ebony Maw, Thanos’ herald, he calls him Squidward. Movies that subtly incorporate the old and the new keep the audience laughing and wanting more. (There’s that formula again, New + Old = Hit).
Just when you thought they might wear you out on Superhero movies, a movie comes along that makes you want to go back and review or study what you may have missed. I have to admit, after seeing Avengers: Infinity War on opening day I have rented or streamed Captain America: Civil War, Ant-man, and Guardians of the Galaxy . Why? Why did I go back and submit myself to possible superhero fatigue? It’s simple, Marvel made a movie that had so many direct connections with all of their films, I wanted, strike that, I NEEDED to make sure I didn’t miss a thing before the next installment of the storyline, possibly in Ant-man and The Wasp set to be released on July 6, 2018. It’s this level of writing that leaves the viewer speculating and wondering, if they’ve missed something that might be pertinent to the current storyline. In the week following Avengers: Infinity War release, Black Panther’s numbers had an uptick at the box office, and streaming services like Netflix and Amazon saw an increase of movie rentals for the Marvel movie franchise. This couldn’t have been by accident, but if it was, it’s a happy accident for Marvel Studios.
So there you have it. As I hear the call of the internet screaming, “I am so over superhero movies!” I can also hear the call for more. This genre isn’t going to die out just yet, it’s locked in there with Genre’s like: Thrillers, Comedy and Sci-Fi. The trick is delivering the overall story to the audience and keep them guessing, theorizing and uncovering new ways to keep those seats warm, the popcorn flowing and most of all avoiding burnout.