I’m just guessing that Ned Beatty wouldn’t want his role as Otis, Lex Luthor’s bumbling sidekick, in Superman: The Movie to be the first thing mentioned when looking back at his career. (I’m imagining Alec Guinness rolling his eyes when he was immediately attached to Obi-Wan Kenobi by so many when he passed away.)
But maybe Beatty wouldn’t have minded either. Generations of fans remember him fondly in that film and it provided much needed comic relief among Christopher Reeve’s big blue boy scout and Gene Hackman’s megalomanical villain (who bullied poor Otis a bit too much). There are worse legacies for an actor to leave behind.
Apparently, August 1 is Spider-Man Day? Not sure when that decision was made, but the internet tells me it’s because Spider-Man’s debut in Amazing Fantasy #15 was in August 1962.
It’s surely not a coincidence, then, that someone — somewhere — restored the original teaser for the 2001 Spider-Man movie in high-definition for the occasion.
What’s the big deal? Unfortunately, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center are prominently featured in the teaser. After what happened on 9/11, that just couldn’t be shown anymore. The teaser has been available since then, but the quality of the video wasn’t very good — until now.
So if you’ve never seen it, this is the first time Spider-Man appeared on the big screen. It was just enough to ignite excitement for the movie coming the next year:
Superhero movies were still an uphill climb for audiences in 2001, so clever teasers that looked like a different kind of movie were the gateway to win people over. No, this wasn’t a Michael Bay-esque helicopter heist film! It’s Spider-Man!
Anything was now possible! A guy crawling up walls! Swinging through New York City — between those skyscrapers — on his webs! This was no longer something comic book and movie nerds dreamed about for 20-plus years!
Now that we live in an era when four or five superhero movies are released each year, this seems like such a long time ago. Spider-Man has now appeared in 10 live-action films, including Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. It’s always special, but there can only be one first time, right?
And, uh, 18 years ago is indeed a long time ago, Old Man.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe keeps on rolling. Though one stage of Marvel’s superhero epic reached a conclusion of sorts with Avengers: Endgame, the overarching story continues with Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Far From Home. (Technically, Phase 3 of the MCU ends with this film, according to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige.)
If there was any question of where Far From Home fits in the MCU timeline, the movie’s new trailer makes that clear. (I speculated on the latest Amusement Park Podcast that it must take place between Spider-Man: Homecoming and Avengers: Infinity War, but was obviously wrong.) So clear, in fact, that Tom Holland issues a spoiler warning before the preview begins. If you haven’t seen Endgame, don’t watch this trailer because it gives away a major development from that film, one you won’t want spoiled.
Tastes may vary when it comes to Bill Simmons and his podcast, but I don’t think he gets enough credit as an interviewer. Even if you don’t like his sports opinions, Simmons shows great taste in who he brings on his show, particularly with writers and directors.
The most recent example of this is his chat with director Steven Soderbergh, who was at the Sundance Film Festival to promote his new movie, High Flying Bird, and was probably the best guy Simmons could’ve talked to about the current state of filmmaking and how that content can find an audience.
But the interview is also an opportunity to talk about Soderbergh’s 30 years of filmmaking — which began with Sex, Lies and Videotape showing at Sundance — and everything he’s learned about the industry during that span. The conversation begins at the 28:45 mark:
The Academy Award nominations are always an exciting morning, but the 2019 Oscars seem to have a bit less juice than in previous years. Maybe because there’s not one clear front-runner that many fans are rallying around? No clear critical darling?
Also, I think there are a lot of movies that people either simply haven’t seen. That’s always the case (and Oscar nominations can change that), but feels like it’s even more so this year. Also, one of the favorites was made for Netflix, an idea people will have to get used to.
Since I typically write something about the Oscars, I figured I’d do a quick overview of the big categories, picking the favorites and noting the snubs. And there were a lot of notable snubs this year.
I’ve seen five of the eight Best Picture nominees, but there are several contenders I need to watch. (That’s one reason why I dragged my ass on putting together a Best of 2018 list.) Those include Green Book, The Favourite, Roma, Shoplifters, Can You Ever Forgive Me and The Wife. (I know!) So my opinions on any of these could change before Feb. 24. If so, maybe we’ll have some predictions.