Avengers 4 Theory

There are spoilers here for Avengers: Infinity War. If you haven’t seen it, stop reading and go see it. It came out a month ago. 

Now that I have your attention, I would like to propose an exercise not unlike the brilliant geniuses at Warner Brothers who came up with the idea of the 1996 classic Space Jam:

Imagine if you will that next summer the Avengers movie takes up after the dusting of half the world and instead of the many “Gamora is trapped in the Soul Stone” theories running around the internet, you found out that Iron Man and the rest of the Avengers challenged Thanos to a baseball game. Why do I think this would be cool? I enjoy the MCU and really love baseball. I also like chocolate and peanut butter, and Reese’s makes a damn fine candy.

Baseball nerds/coaches/softball players/Pinterest lovers have seen memes like the one below. This will be useful as I try and build the perfect lineup for this galactic baseball game.

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At the conclusion of Infinity War, these were the non-dust Avengers: Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Rocket Raccoon, The Hulk (but really just Bruce Banner), Thor, War Machine, Nebula and Okoye. That is 9 by my count and there are 9 players on a team. We also “know” that Ant-Man, The Wasp, Hawkeye and Captain Marvel are set to appear in the 4th Avengers film. Thus I give you the Avengers Baseball Lineup guaranteed to defeat Thanos.

Leading off would be my Shortstop Black Widow. She is the most acrobatic player on the team and can change direction at any moment (just like in Civil War). As someone who has been in 6 films in the MCU, you need her at the top of the order.

Batting second will be Centerfielder and Joe DiMaggio contemporary Captain America. We know he is fast from the time he met Falcon running laps around DC. And you know he could use his shield to help catch fly balls.

In the 3 spot we need the best all around hitter and this is where I go with Iron Man. He’s a 3rd Baseman type with an erratic arm, and I am sure he will do his best to hit the ball beating any shifts with the help of his IT.

Captain Marvel is perhaps the most powerful hero alive in the MCU. The 4 spot is perfect for her power as Designated Hitter.

Were Groot to have survived, he would be the First Baseman. Who can stretch better than him? Thor is the tallest remaining Avenger (not the most powerful… not when your nickname is Point Break), so he will play first and hit with his new Groot inspired axe, Stormbreaker.

Batting 6th would be the Catcher Okoye. No balls will get past her as she defends home plate like she would Wakanda.

Unlike the Little League meme that has the outfielders are more valuable than in Tball, I am going to put The Wasp in Left Field as she can clearly catch anything. She will cover the ground well while Ant-Man handles Right Field, sometimes up to 65 feet tall.

You need communication and chemistry between your second baseperson and shortstop. Nebula showed the willingness to work Gamora in GoG2 and will hopefully do the same with Black Widow up the middle.

Rocket Raccoon is the starting pitcher who would be willing to do anything to doctor a ball and get an advantage. He would never get rattled and has the irrational confidence necessary to succeed as a pitcher in a game with this magnitude.

Hawkeye is the left handed reliever ready to come out of the bullpen and neutralize a rally.

At the end of Civil War, War Machine lost the use of his legs. With this situation, it makes sense to have him as the old manager to hobbles out to the mound to make a pitching change or talk with his team.

Hollywood has been toying with us about a Space Jam sequel for years built around LeBron James. This would definitely appease the Space Jammers and make for a perfect summer movie.

Order Avenger Position
1 Black Widow SS
2 Captain America CF
3 Iron Man 3B
4 Captain Marvel DH
5 Thor 1B
6 Okoye C
7 The Wasp LF
8 Ant Man RF
9 Nebula 2B
Bench Rocket Raccoon Starting Pitcher
Bench Hawkeye Left Handed reliever
Bench War Machine Manager

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She’s Gone

No this is not a tribute to Hall & Oates, but if you like a palette cleanser before we get going, please enjoy some 70’s Philadelphia soul.

One more thought before I really get into this…. Why hasn’t James Gunn used any Hall & Oates in a Guardians of the Galaxy film yet? Volume III? You know, the one Mark Hamill is going to be cast?

But I digress, this post is the quick reaction to the news of the hour? minute? day?

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If  you managed to ignore social media over the Memorial Day Weekend, congratulations. But this morning, failed National Anthem singer (Kaepernick has done nothing so vile as this), and professional train wreck,  Roseanne Barr tweeted herself into unemployment. I didn’t see the tweet this morning, (helps when you don’t follow her), but I did see plenty of vitriol and calling for ABC to cancel the first #1 rated show they’ve had since *Joanie loved Chachi.

*slight exaggeration

Roseanne tweeted about one of former President Barack Obama’s senior advisers as the offspring of the “Muslim Brotherhood & Planet of the Apes.” This attack on Valerie Jarrett was so unexpected, and yet it wasn’t. She immediately attempted to apologize, when it was brought to her attention that she was flat out racist. In the end, ABC must have decided she would lose them more money than they were making with her. That is clearly what the NFL would have decided.

I watched the pilot episode in the rebooted 2018 season. It had tremendous buzz the following day as Roseanne played a voice of the disenfranchised middle American who was upset with the way Washington DC has neglected the middle class. It showed family repercussions that have been left in the wake of the 2016 presidential election. It introduced new characters including her gender fluid and questioning grandson, which continues Roseanne’s groundbreaking commitment to telling stories of the LGBTQ community. The show was interesting, highly rated and even President Trump found time to watch it. I didn’t really watch it in the 80’s or 90’s so I wasn’t drawn to the storytelling or nostalgia.

The sad part is that within three minutes I was concerned about the cast and crew that were preparing to work on the upcoming season. For some this was their return to television after long gaps in their IMDB.com. Laurie Metcalf just earned an Oscar nomination and John Goodman is in every 4th movie, so they will be fine. But this was a break for newcomers and we never think about the lighting people, the costumers, craft service, etc. when a show goes down. Surely Roseanne didn’t think about it while she blasted a respected advisor to a functional government.

I am sure the President will have a tweet about this in between afternoon Diet Cokes, so stay tuned.

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“Solo: A Star Wars Story” Review

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” provides a fun and unique spin on the legendary smuggler as it emerges as one of the surprise movies of the year…

When “Solo: A Star Wars Story” first announced Alden Ehrenreich as the young casting of the Han Solo, I could not describe the anxiety I felt over this casting. I hated the selection and felt this movie would be doomed from the start, regardless if it was a Star Wars movie. I had questions on the entire cast, and the trailers for the spinoff cast an eerie shadow on the scruffy-headed nerf-herder’s standalone movie.

Well, I’m delighted to report that all my fears were quelled after walking out of this movie. Solo provides a movie that is genuinely fun to watch from start to finish.

Ehrenreich proves to be one of the strongest points of the entire movie with his representation of a young Han Solo. The pressure of portraying the fan-favorite character never weighed down Ehrenreich’s performance. He takes on the character of Solo and makes it his own, while still offering glimpses that remind us of Han from the original trilogy. His relationship with Chewbacca is enjoyable to watch develop through the course of this movie, and the legendary bromance receives a plethora of fan service.

The only downside to Ehrenreich’s Solo is that there is no arc for the character to develop on. The story leads Solo to be basically the same person that started the movie, minus a few things he learned from smugglers over the course of the movie. This isn’t Ehrenreich’s fault, as this is a writing issue more than anything. Still, this is a fun and fresh take on Han Solo that will be enjoyed by Star Wars enthusiasts everywhere.

Now, even though Ehrenreich steals the show (as he should), the supporting cast is no slouch, neither. Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian and Emily Clarke as Qira provide life to quality characters in this movie. They help add value and incentive as to show why Solo has the motivations that he does. Woody Harrelson also provides a good role as Beckett, the mentor to Solo in the movie. His introduction to the story and connection to Han Solo is a tad rushed and lacks some depth, but it can be overlooked as the story fleshes the relationship out over the course of the movie. Paul Bettany serves as a decent villain with Dryden Vos but the character himself is mainly a driving point to give motivation to the protagonists. There isn’t a ton of depth to his character.

After these major characters, the rest of the cast suffers from underwhelming story arcs and purposes. Thandie Newton as Val and Jon Favreau as Rio serve as Beckett’s co-smugglers, while Phoebe Waller-Bridge as L3-37 provides the constant droid presence that is a commonality in Star Wars movies. L3 will be a mixed bag for some fans in what has been an incredible lineup of droids over the span of all Star Wars movies. Ultimately, I didn’t care much for any of these characters, and this was due to a lack of fleshing out in writing.

The characters provide unique additions to the universe, but the writing ultimately fails to support any of these characters as they all underwhelm in the film. In addition, the tone of the movies causes confusion amongst some of these characters in certain scenes. One scene started a common Star Wars joke with a character and led the crowd to believe it was a light-hearted moment every time this topic came up, only to immediately change direction with a traumatic moment in the film on the same idea. Some may like the twist, but I was ultimately not a fan.

The film offers plenty of fan service to Star Wars junkies. There are still plenty of twists that make the movie enjoyable, in addition to one massive plot twist that had my entire theatre gasping and squealing upon unveiling. The writing lets your mind wander down one path only to psych you out on another twist. The story doesn’t end as you’d think, which keeps the movie refreshing and enjoyable to put a twist on what was expected.

The movie ultimately exceeds expectations and vaults it’s way towards one of my favorite Star Wars movies. If you’re a Star Wars fan, see this movie sooner rather than later, as the massive plot twist in the movie will eventually be leaked online.

Wait, why am I saying for just Star Wars fans only? You should just go see this movie, period.

Still the King of Late Night

If you are like me, you spent a great deal of time watching the legend David Letterman in the late evening/early morning sharing the absurdities of the world like Stupid Human Tricks and introducing us to characters like Larry Bud Melman or Rupert Jee. Dave retired from the grind of five weekly shows in 2015. He grew a tremendous beard, began to really speak his mind about politics (I’m talking about you President Trump), and like most people in the entertainment industry, signed a deal with Netflix.

So far he has delivered five episodes of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with for Netflix with President Obama, George Clooney, Malala Yousafzai, Jay-Z and Tina Fey. They are wonderful long form conversations with interesting people. The guests are not there looking to plug their new film, tv show or album. They are there to converse with Dave. When he wanted to, Dave was an engaging host who occasionally irritated his guests by asking uncomfortable questions, (Oprah?) and this format flows well.  One of my favorite interviews of all time is when he had the late Richard Harris on, telling stories of drunken ribaldry with Peter O’Toole. Dave introduced his guest, set them up and knew when to stay out of the way. He is unleashed by the tethers of CBS and mainstream media and his closer to a curmudgeon version of the guy we remember from 30+ years ago.

Early in his career he gave a tremendous opportunities for people to build their celebrity. His platform helped launch the careers of Andy Kaufman, Howard Stern and some real estate guy in New York. Dave’s next episode of MNGNNI will feature a conversation with Stern and the early internet buzz says the Tweeter in Chief will be a highpoint of conversation. This should be a free flowing conversation that will not disappoint.

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Howard and Dave have always been a great duo, but knowing they plan to dissect their connected history with the President of the United States has me captivated. It is easily the most important coming to Netflix next week. Even more than this….

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Solo rhymes with #YOLO…

which is close to Yoda, who is green and so is money, which I think this movie may make a lot of. And with these opening crimes against grammar, I have to get on the hype train of the most anticipated movie of next weekend.

If 11 year old me knew that 35 years from now I would be getting to see the 4th STAR WARS movie in the past 4 years, my head would have exploded. Of course if there was a movie about young Han Solo meeting Chewie, I would have thought for sure that Harrison Ford and Peter Mayhew would definitely be in it. 11 year old me was stuck in a 3 year debate with anyone who would have it, that Darth Vader was definitely not Luke Skywalker’s father because Luke was good and Darth was evil. Only when I saw Jedi did I believe it. But to have so many STAR WARS movies coming out at this time is a wonderful thing.

Since we now live in this time, I admit to tracking casting and story rumors of this film for the past couple of years. I was pumped with the news of Donald Glover, “the king of all media 2018” taking the smooth role of Lando Calrissian. Even after seeing Alden Ehrenreich in Hail Caesar, I was barely whelmed about him as Han. I was excited that the guys who brought you the Lego Movie were brought on to direct and bummed when they were fired mid-shoot. Disney/Lucasfilms did the brilliant thing and hired #ProfessionalMovieDirector Ron Howard to come in and fix the movie. Michael K. Williams was replaced by Paul Bettany was one of the casting changes due to scheduling conflicts, but Woody Harrelson remains as the sage veteran smuggler. The buzz is that this will be an entertaining film. I really like what Kevin Smith has to say.

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That is all of the endorsement I need to see this, although I was going anyways. We are one week away. Watch this again and get hype(rspace)d.

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Sitcom inventory

If you follow a lot of the same people that I do on Twitter, you were probably surprised to see the news that Fox is cancelling Brooklyn 99, the 5th year sitcom starring Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher amid a terrific ensemble. Although this is disappointing to say the least, there is hope for fans that Hulu or Netflix will meet with the creative team and finish out their storytelling.

As the internet decries the passing of another quality show, Arrested Development is about to return for season 5 May 29 on Netflix. The uneven season 4 has been remixed and revised and is now showing on Netflix as well as the 3 original seasons (which coincidentally originally were on Fox before cancellation in 2006). If fans of the Bluth family can wait nearly a decade to see a return, the #99ers can wait a few months to see if there will be a different outcome. You never know when Larry David will want to do another season of Curb either.

Newsflash… there are still quality comedies to look forward to: Veep, Silicon Valley, blackish, The Goldbergs, Roseanne, and You’re the Worst. If you watched any amount of the NCAA Mens Basketball tournament you were made aware of The Last O.G. starring Tracy Morgan and Tiffany Haddish. If you are not watching this show, you should fix that. And any fan of debauchery, baseball or both can not miss watching Brockmire.

One little sidebar is the notion that shows that are less than an hour are eligible for acting awards in the comedy genre at the Emmys or Golden Globes. My wife and I questioned this while watching The Big C or Nurse Jackie on Showtime. I think we need a unique category for shorter drama, because I am captivated by Atlanta, Orange is the New Black and Master of None.

And yet at the same time, my 14 year old son decided to start watching Friends on Netflix and has powered through Season 1. There is never a shortage of television to find, revisit or discover. If you haven’t seen the shows listed above they all get my recommendation. Or go outside. It’s nice out there.

 

 

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‘The Predator’ Drops a New Poster, First Trailer

It’s been nearly 10 years since we got our last look at our favorite dreadlocked alien, but that finally changes today.

In the alien’s first appearance since 2010’s Predators, the newest addition to the Yautja (the actual name of the alien species) film series, ‘The Predator’, released the movie’s first trailer in addition to an electrifying new poster for the movie. This movie will be the 4th movie in the Predator movie saga. Check out the poster below:

See what I did there? Electrifying? Terrible pun, I know. But there is nothing terrible about this poster. Now, as a massive fan of the Predator, I must admit that the trailer is not terrific. Obviously, there still is a lot we don’t know about the movie. So we’re hoping the theatrical product will come out better than this trailer.

In addition to a poster and trailer, we were treated to stills from the movie as well as a release date, September 14th of this year. The trailer for the film can be found at the end of this article.

The story for this next movie takes place between 1990’s Predator 2 and 2010’s Predators. It’s important to note that Keegan-Michael Key, one of the main stars of the film, stated that this is not a sequel. This confirms early rumors of the film that it was meant to be a standalone addition to the Predator film franchise.

Check out the trailer for the newest movie below:

Stay tuned to Popcorn Culture for more news and thoughts on ‘The Predator’ as we draw closer to the September 14th release date.