When talking hits and misses of Summer 2021, one of the biggest unknowns for me is Free Guy. The trailers look fun, Ryan Reynolds is fun, the near live-action Lego Movie feel to it is fun. So why do I have doubts? Quite simply, the landscape is so volatile right now it's difficult to put a finger on it. Lingering pandemic related aspects are still in play with some closed theaters, shifting dates and lack of momentum. A question worth posing too is around saturation: Can a new franchise launch in this climate? A Quiet Place Part II, even as fresh as it feels, launched off the heels of Part I's success. If one can land outside of the major, major tentpoles (Marvel, DC) I do feel that this is one that can bring in some fun and entertainment to a puzzling, bumpy summer movie season even with the August release date.
I will be the first one to say that I had superhero fatigue as End Game hit theaters a couple years ago and quite frankly still do to a degree. However, as the behemoth that is Marvel heads into a new phase I do initially like where it looks like it is heading with Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings, as well as Eternals and Chloe Zhao leading the way.
The superhero movies feel like the equivalent to the scene in Moneyball where Brad Pitt throws his hands up and say, "Adapt or die." I'm here to say I'm adapting, reinvested and looking forward to these sure-fire entries as The Next Big One.
It's almost time. You feel it. I feel it. The temperatures go up, nights blend in to each other, alarms sometimes come and go, shoes get ditched for sandals. Somehow, summer is creeping back around already and we will be helping the Movie Crews out over the next few weeks by breaking down the movies through a few different lenses:
1. The Little Ones: Those little roommates who love a good flick and parents enjoy the reprieve just as much.
This week we'll do the heavy lifting to pull together some post-camp, pool time or What in the heck do we do when it's 98 out picks as we get ready for some of the best times of the year. The Little Ones guide is up this week on Movie Night Mix.
The Little Ones' Summer Movie guide starts off with parental favorites: PLAY THE HITS!!!! Sometimes going into known. Crowd pleasers for the five year-old crew is the way to go because the week has been F-U-L-L of surprises.
This summer a couple of familiar titles get sequalized and revamped - Spirit Untamed (June 4) and Peter Rabbit 2 (June 18).
There are two ways to look at this: 1. Nothing super original with the reboot, sequel route OR 2. Remember last year when we would have LOVED to take the crew out to the theatre, grab some popcorn and relax for 1.5 hours? Yep. We went with the second choice, too.
SOME WEEKS JUST WRITE THEMSELVES WHEN IT COMES TO THE THEME, IDEAS OR MOVIES WE TEE UP FOR THE WEEK AHEAD. THIS WEEK MORTAL KOMBAT ROLLS INTO THEATRES AND @HBOMAX WITH ANOTHER SHOT OF ADRENALIN TO THE BOX-OFFICE. LIKE ANY GOOD WARRIOR WE CAN ALL START OUR TRAINING EARLY AND OFTEN AS WE GEAR UP FOR BATTLE IN WHAT LOOKS LIKE A PRETTY FUN RIDE LATER THIS WEEK. HOWEVER, WHEN OUR BELOVED GAMES HIT THE BIG SCREEN OR STREAMING PLATFORMS OVER THE YEARS, NOT ALL WEEKS FEEL AS HOPEFUL AS THIS ONE. WE'LL LOOK AT IT ALLLLLLLL THIS WEEK FROM THE GOOD, BAD AND WHAT IN THE ACTUAL HELLLLLL IS GOING ON HERE? GAMING WEEK IS UP ON MOVIE NIGHT MIX.
The hustle. Can't stop it and gotta respect the hell out of it. Taking a pause from the here and now, crossing fingers, rolling up sleeves, I got to thinking about what drives us outside of our comfort zone and selling a crazy idea to those out in the ether. "Always Be Closing" is an iconic line from an iconic scene in Glen Gary, Glenn Ross. However, what other movies personify what it is like in the pit, on the sales floor, smiling and dialing. If your week is full of left clicking your life away, don't worry because it could always be worse.
If you're hustling, cold-calling, hitting your numbers or like I've been before - on the complete other side of the Champions Diamond Emerald club, scrambling for a new sale - the world of sales is something to behold. Two under the radar picks are here to draw some inspiration or possibly a night where misery joins you right alongside your couch and bills. Sorry to Bother You, a wild ride of thought-provoking, mind bending, you gotta see it to believe it filmmaking, gives us LaKeith Stanfield AND Tessa Thompson together. Isn't that enough? Then, Boiler Room rolls along from 2000 to give you those a pit vibes that might feel all too familiar. Plus, hey, it's Vin Diesel not in a car!
Like we do each week, thinking about ways to introduce something old to go find something new to the younger members of our movie crews a couple of picks seemed to be obvious choices for Always Be Closing week.
The Pursuit of Happyness may feel like an emotional ride with nothing to do with selling but in itself, the perseverance and grut it takes to defy the odds is front and center, as well as the straightforward elements Will Smith's character pursues. Next up is The Founder, which has obvious connections into the art of the deals, origins of blue chip brands of today and sometimes it just comes down to this: Michael Keaton. Nuff said, right? Will Smith, too, right?
Stars ✅ Inspiration ✅ Message for the Crew ✅ Budding sales rockstars❓❓❓❓
This week on Movie Night Masters it's time to lay down some bets for 2021: Which movie is the next big thing, hot on the heels of Godzilla vs. Kong? Will anyone move up into May for a big swing at the box-office pie (looking at you Ghostbusters Afterlife). There are movies slated for April and May that will bring the crowds in but the slate is still a little limited. We will look at the locks and toss out some wishlist picks to bump up after being moved aside in 2020.
Heading back to theatres, although some of us have been lucky enough to keep our toe in that water thanks to a variety of options, it is clear that the appetite for options and fun, entertaining blockbusters is as big as ever. Given the past year, one could even argue that now more than ever (and in the next six months as more people get vaccinated) the demand could grow even more. Theatres aren't dead but the product being sold has to improve, right alongside the experience of going out. Maybe it is a creative night of curating movies and the experience or subscription models, VIP access to @WB movies for @hbomax subscribers.
Tossing the opinions out into the void of the Internet - Is there really anything else to do - to start wrapping up The Next Big One week. Two holdover from 2020 and the mouse house's replacement May movie.
A Quiet Place II and Spiral head to theaters in hopes of scares, jumps and continuations of hits being the driver of executives crossing their fingers that audiences will want to go for a ride in a creepy vehicle. For me, I think AQII lands really well with audiences and Spiral is a mild success at best. Although the involvement of Chris Rock is intriguing but are wide audiences looking for a grim, bloody ride from the book of Saw? I could quickly be proven wrong here when simple supply meets demand from new release starved audiences.
Cruella takes the place of Black Widow - now that would be an interesting addition to The Avengers. With nice looking trailers and a huge void at theatres for families as it will already be 2+ months since Raya and the Last Dragon, Cruella rides the supply and demand wave to possibly being the biggest next one up.
March Madness, busted brackets, spring training, free agency, sprints to the playoffs and majors. This time of year is great for sports fans and there's no better time to ride the wave than right now as those good time spring vibes push us right into April, Easter and championship time. If you're tired of the madness, you might be a little perturbed at us for finding more reasons to watch sports but it's just something we've been looking forward to for quite a while. Here's hoping we all get our one shining moment soon, but if we don't this week is for you.
Next up during Championship Mix week, our favorite baseball movie, a 90s college basketball flick with Shaq, Penny and Nolte, and the 🐐 and Bugs. Not sure if anyone has the energy for a triple feature but how about the notion of Barad Pitt waxing poetic about baseball, Shaq trying on his first acting role and MJ fighting the Monstars, setting up one of our most anticipated flicks of the summer Space Jam 2. Take a little break from trying to fix the bracket, root, root, rooting for the home team and the final stretch for your NBA teams to dip your toe in the Movie Night Masters Championship Mix.
As Nobody and Godzilla vs. Kong look to add some life to this month's box-office, this week the movie crew can look back at how good this month has historically been. Ideally, we head out of March and into April with some box-office hope as an indicator of things to come, event movies, big releases and the buzz of of a must-see flick. Until then, some reminders of what once was and hopefully what will soon be again.
Our week-long look at March is up with a surprisingly moving sports flick starring Ben Affleck. Lost and buried in March, 2020, The Way Back toes the line between two tough spots: Alcoholism and Sports. Two tough spots because if they are done wrong, melodrama, schmaltz and sappiness are sure to follow. Gavin O'Connor and Affleck avoid the pitfalls and clichés, delivering a terrific mix of authenticity, drama and on-the-court action. One to go back and catch, whether you are a sports fan or not as it is much, much more than just that.
300. Zack Snyder. March 2007. As the Snyder Cut has finally seen the day of light, going back to the visual experience which was 300, already 14 years ago, it was clear that a blockbuster maker was here. Double-feature with 300 & The Way Back - who would come up with that? Movie Night Masters, that's who. Got a March release from years ago that we should add to the list, drop them in the comments.
The monthly look back opens up a world of possibilities and this March remix is one of the most eclectic in recent memory. Whether it was the arrival of Katness Everdeen on the big screen, what felt like 1,000 ways to die with Final Destination, Spielberg being Spielberg once again with Ready Player One and a goofy, raunchy trip in a Hot Tub Time Machine. It's March with a twist, turn and nod back to some of our favorites for a one-of-a-kind mashup.
The epic road trip to end all road trips is upon us: Spring Break. Sure, this year it's still a dicey out, so we will keep it virtual but that opens up something fun: Spring Break Buddies. You. The open road. Your favorite movie character you'd want to party with all the way to Daytona. We've got some good ones in mind but we want to hear from you. Who is your wingman gonna be? Ride or die sister - let us know? Grab the keys to the Chevy Astro and let's get this trip rolling.
Against our better judgment we picked up a couple of companions late to head down to Daytona. You know, I really don't think anything has ever turned put well when you go against your better judgment. 🤔🤔🤔
Tonight, we've picked up Slater from Dazed and Confused, as well as Frank the Tank from Old School. I'm pretty sure both know a thing or two about partying and making a road trip one hell of a ride.
What movie character are you bringing along with you on a road trip for spring break? Don't have one . . . it'd be a lot cooler if you did.
Pit stop alert!!!!! We needed to refuel and try to make it on the home stretch of our virtual spring break trip. First up, Dina, from Girls Trip played by the one and only Tiffany Haddish is sure to bring the most shy wallflower or for some fun. Never one to not make it weird, how about adding Tom Green from Road Trip into the mix just to see what happens next.
Tomorrow, we'll stop and grab some food for the weekend with these party animals. Drop your road trip buddy below. Who is making the cut on your next road trip?
We honored some of the tongue-in-cheek goodness of action movies earlier in the week with nods to Van Damme, Segal and Stallone. Tonight, let's up the game a bit with some great action and a little less cheese. F. Gary Gray's remake of The Italian Job is a fun little heist movie with top-tier talent. Finish off the night with the maestro of mayhem, Tarantino, and Kill Bill Vol. I and bow at the altar of the baddest around, Uma Thurman. Cocktails ✅ for any KC Movie Night Masters, go loooooocccaalll with some good spirits @madeinkc_ . Grub. You know how to do it: Burnt Ends baaaabbbyyyy. So as to not start a BBQ battle, go wherever you would like. Boom. Rinse. Repeat.
Weather related disasters, COVID, nearing the year of staying in mostly just one place. Yeahhhhhhhhhh, February 2021 isn't probably going to make a top 10 list either. However, in order to look at the glass from a different perspective, let me reposition and look for something coming from a place of gratitude: February is historically a great month for movies. To my therapist, yes, I am able to find the positive. So, here we go looking at the 80s, 90s and beyond with all of the goodness that has been offered up by movie studios- all in the jokes of brightening up a near blank slate of releases outside of the factory churning content - see there I go again. Here are our picks from February's of yore to help get us through the home stretch of February, 2021.