*Extremely Staind voice* It’s been a while.
Also, because I’m weeks behind, several good trailers (mostly just John Wick) have to be compared to Star Wars which, lolz.
Instead of the typical rankings at the end of this post, I’m doing something a little bit different. Because the Star Wars trailer has me so hyped, it really felt like it dunked on any other movie that has the nerve to come out this year. So instead of summarizing my feelings on the trailer, I’m going to reference a real-life NBA dunk that is comparable to how badly the Star Wars trailer dunked on that particular trailer. I’m not super fluent in basketball, so all dunks referenced are either going to be pulled from the Disrespectful Dunk chapters of Shea Serrano’s 2017 book Basketball (And Other Things) which is an amazing book that everyone should own and read (here’s a link so that you can buy it right now, which you should, because it’s the best) or from one of the Disrespectful Dunk articles that Serrano has done on The Ringer.
Toy Story 4
I cannot begin to imagine (money) what could have possibly possessed (money) Disney/Pixar to make another Toy Story movie (money) when the third one so perfectly ended the arc of that franchise (money). It would feel excessive even if they weren’t trying to go back to the emotional well that is Andy, which is something that this trailer at least partially anchors itself in. I’m sure that it will be fine, because it’s rare that Pixar super whiffs, and I’d by lying if I said the emotional stuff doesn’t work at all in this trailer, but this movie does not need to exist, and it seems to b hitting on similar points to the original movies (“toy doesn’t understand that it’s a toy,” from the first movie and “Woody tries to save another toy and ends up feeling like he’s at home in a new location” from the second one).
Lucy In The Sky
Noah Hawley has shown himself to be an incredibly competent show runner of shows that really shouldn’t work, like Fargo and Legion. Here he is directing a script from Brian C. Crown, one of the producers of the first season of Legion, which feels like a spiritual sequel to Annihilation in that Natalie Portman goes to an amazing location and seems to be forever changed by it, and then gets interviewed by some government types to see if she is well (she is not). This movie looks like it can be the best kind of weird, and driven by some impressive performances from people like Portman, Jon Hamm and Legion star Dan Stevens (y’all work for Noah Hawley, as long as he has a job, you have a job).
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Quentin Tarantino is a creep, there’s no way to get around that idea. His scripts are filled with so many racists characters you have to wonder if the dude just enjoys writing racist stuff and being able to say “bUt It’S tHe ChArAcTeR.” He almost killed Uma Thurman while filming Kill Bill even though she voiced concerns with the way the stunt was set up and only apologized for it when Thurman called him out publicly and video was released. This movie, whose plot that reportedly includes the Manson Family’s murder of Sharon Tate, was originally set to be released on the 50th anniversary of the murder. Every time that I think about him as a person, I get some hardcore goosebumps. Which is why it bums me out when I admit that this movie looks great, which is pretty par for the him as a director. I still laugh whenever I think about Brad Pitt saying “It’s called manslaughter.” Dicaprio cheesing while dancing brings a smile to my face, and him crying at the end of this trailer is better than anything he did in The Revenant or The Wolf of Wall Street. I hate how much I want to see this movie.
John Wick Chapter 3 Parabellum
Like I’ve said before. Gun control is something our country is in desperate need of and movies like this don’t help, but I’d be lying if I said this trailer doesn’t give me the biggest rush of adrenaline. The highly choreographed nature of these action scenes goes a long way in making me feel like this movie is better than your other shoot-em-ups. Plus, did you see him throw all those knives in that guy’s chest!? And there’s a light and mirror sequence that makes me think of that dope scene in Skyfall and making me think of Skyfall is rarely a bad thing. This movie appeals to deeply conflicting parts of me in similar ways that Once Upon A Time In Hollywood but at least Keanu Reeves is the purest of pure.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
I so badly wish that Michael Pena were not in this so I could say that this trailer does literally nothing for me. But damnit, I love Michael Pena. He made me laugh at a Dora The Explorer trailer, which is a sentence I wish that I did not have to admit to. Like I’m sure this will be fine for what it is, which is inoffensive kids’ fare, but as someone who does not presently have a kid who watches this show, I am relieved that I won’t need to watch this entire movie. I word it that way because I will probably try to watch all of Michael Pena’s scenes, because it should be everyone’s duty to watch everything that Michael Pena has committed to film. I mean, he is going to one-punch Thanos to save the day in Endgame.
This idea of Latinx getting their very own vigilante to root for is an exciting one, even if the movie itself looks like the worst kind of shoot-em-up, where everything is dimly lit and the actual action is all very close-up and kind of hard to follow. I think it will check off all the boxes for people who are just looking for relatively mindless action fare, with the unfortunately uncommon perk of it starring someone who isn’t just a white dude, but style/choreography could make something like this really begin to stand out. I do have to admit though that “I am neither right nor good. I will make up the difference in blood” is like the perfect balance of obscenely over-the-top dialogue that I hate for making next to zero sense while also being kind of badash.
Angry Birds Movie 2
It’s gonna be a no from me, dawg. What a waste of a super stacked cast.
These things are not ugly! It makes me so absurdly mad that this entire movie is like anchored in the idea that the hero characters are meant to be so absurdly gross looking that they could never be loved, and how the real world would never accept them. Yes, they look odd, but like, they’re still adorable in how odd they are. And I know the whole movie is going to be about how beauty standards are insane, which is super dope and important, but like, these things are still cute. It’s stupid. (This movie again looks fine, and the songs will at least have talented singers like Kelly Clarkson and Janelle Monae, but the whole crux of it infuriates me).
Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark
I vaguely remember reading these books in school and enjoying their creepiness, and the movie certainly seems to capture that overall feeling, while bringing to life some of the more famous stories, all scored with a menacing sounding version of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” However, I’m not entirely sold on the idea that it’s all happening in one theoretically coherent narrative, instead of something more closely resembling an anthology. The use of the mysterious book feels like an easy-enough way to connect all of the stories, but I do not particularly foresee that really helping the creepy tone of the film, which, realistically, is all that this movie needs to do well. It certainly seems to be doing the creepiness well, and it’ll be a thrill to see these stories and designs come to life.
Annabelle Comes Home
Move over, MCU, the real Cinematic Universe is coming to fruition. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga’s Warrens are finally going to go toe-toe-toe with *checks notes* a weird ass doll that some idiot babysitter released from her cage. I’ve admittedly not seen either of the other Annabelle movies or The Nun because I think what has made these movies good are the direction of James Wan, who has not been in the rest of the franchise. Seeing Wilson and Farmiga, both of whom are very talented actors, does excite me a bit, but none of the scares particularly stand out here, nor do they feel like they were particularly well set up. If people have liked the other, non-Wan-directed films, I’m sure this one will check out of the same boxes, but there’s just not enough going on here to attract me.
Shaun The Sheep 2 Farmageddon
Anthropomorphized sheep are apparently a sweet spot for me because I find this trailer to be deeply endearing and funny to me. I think keeping the animals silent goes a long way to making me like it, because I think it stops them from ruining something that is genueinly funny with some stupid spoken pun or something like that. It’s just sheep doing human things while making grunting noises and it lets the human things stand out as gloriously weird. Add a pretty cure alien design and the fact that the film seems to make us empathize with the alien’s journey, and this could prove to be one of the best animated movies of the year.
The Dead Don’t Die
It’s rare that a movie with this big of a cast is able to work, but the idea of this big of a cast all being potential zombie bait does make me kind of laugh, especially when you thrown in the fact that Tilda Swinton has a samurai sword. Also, I was onboard as soon as Adam Driver said “Ghouls.” It’s exactly the way you want Adam Driver to say “Ghouls” and that should be enough to make everyone want to see this movie. Ghouls.
Sometimes less is more. And I think that is very much the case with Batman’s nemesis, this film’s titular Joker. I think the more we learn about him, the less interesting that he is, even if that background information is being performed by someone as talented as Joaquin Phoenix. My main concern with this movie is that the filmmakers are going to want us to in any way sympathize with the character, which, is, just, like, a total forking misread on what people like about him. Also, I can’t imagine that there’s a huge audience for “white man is tortured by inner and outer demons and decides to get revenge,” just because, well *gestures at world.* Also, it’s really weird that he puts his fingers in a kid’s mouth in order to make that kid smile. To make it even weirder, that kid is apparently Bruce Wayne, which means these two characters have a pretty wild age gap. 25-year old Batman is going to just wail on a frail 60-year old Joker.
The next two movies I’m going to discuss are Dave Bautista buddy comedies where he is a cop/military person who is paired up with someone who would not be ready to do police/military work, probably all while he learns to have a heart. And while I think it’s funny that these happen a few weeks after he made a whole interview where he talked about how he was different from The Rock because Johnson makes movies like Fast and the Furious while Bautsita makes films with Denis Villeneueve, I think Bautista is pretty-well suited for this type of movie. He’s proven he has comedic prowess in playing Drax for the last few years, and his work in Blade Runner 2049 is genuinely pretty impressive, so I think he can carry something like this. The humor and story might end up being run of the mill, but he seems to have good chemistry with his co-star, and I’ll always have a soft spot for giant people destroying kids in dodgeball.
It’s been two years since Kumail Nanjiani captured the hearts of people with his heartfelt and honest The Big Sick and now he is the fish out of water in another Dave Bautsita buddy comedy. Again, I’m not certain this movie is really going to break any real ground in this particular genre, but the two seem to play off of each other well. The whole Jaws bit is genuinely funny, as is the whole chain reaction after Nanjiani’s gun running out of bullets. Similar to My Spy when you have two endearing leads, you can really carry what might be a deeply ok movie into being something worth watching.
Secret Life Of Pets 2
Seeing a full version of a trailer for this movie makes their choice to release a bunch of character-specific trailers seem even stranger because so much of the footage is lifted directly from those. Also, this seems to have zero real plot. I mean which is fine, I guess a kid’s movie doesn’t necessarily need to have a plot, but, uh, yeah it absolutely should. Treat kids with more respect. I know it’s easy to just make a cute character do cute things, and that could be entertaining enough for children, but they can also follow stories, and kid’s movies can obviously have incredible stories. Maybe I’m wrong on this, but the advertising for this movie for sure feels like it’s just a very loose series of vignettes kinda of strewn together with a general through line of “animals love humans.” Try harder.
The Lion King
This movie 100% should not exist, nor does it do anything to really suggest it will do anything good in its own right, instead of just getting to benefit from how good the original movie was. Despite the animals being breathtakingly realistic, there are for sure moments when you can understand why movies like this work better when you can use the vibrant colors of animation instead of the dull photo-realistic colors they are using here. That said, it’s The Lion King. With Hans Zimmer’s incredible score. And James Earl Jones as Mufasa. And the rest of this incredible cast, including Donald Glover, Beyonce Knowles-Carter, John Oliver, etc. This movie will not do anything to really suggest that it needs to exist when they could have just re-released the animated version. But any version of The Lion King is still better than about half the stuff I reviewed for this post, so, suck it, losers.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
This was amazing. Yes, I hear your concerns about JJ Abrams again reaching back to the original trilogy to close our the sequel trilogy. Yes, I understand the concerns that he may retcon some of the least popular moments from Rian Johnson’s (amazing) The Last Jedi. This is still amazing. Rey does a forking flip over a speeder. Kylo clotheslines a dude into the ground. Poe and Finn are together and are 100% going to kiss. Lando is back behind the Falcon (the love of his life apparently, thanks to Solo). They still have Carrie Fisher footage! Everyone is together as they go to the remains of the last Death Star. The Emperor (aka, one of like, three worthwhile things in the prequels) is apparently still around somehow. I hear and understand your qualms, and I hope you know, that from the deepest part of my heart, I don’t forking care about your concerns. It’s new Star Wars babyyyyyyyy. Every other movie might as well quite while they’re ahead, cuz this movie is going to dunk on them so damn hard.
Ranking and Real-Life Dunk That Is Comparable To How Badly The Star Wars Trailer Dunked On It
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker– It can’t dunk on itself, so y’all can just watch Vince Carter’s dunk contest dunk when he hooked his arm in the rim.
- John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum– Shaq Dunk On Chris Dudley. This is the only one I will explain because this trailer does rule. Dudley tries his best to defend it and then throws the ball at Shaq afterwards. But, dude still got dunked on.
- Once Upon A Time In Hollywood- Michael Jordan on Dikembe Mutombo. Ok, one more explanation. This video starts with Mutombo basically saying that MJ has never dunked on him, and that kind of arrogance matches up with QT, so the pure rush of watching him get dunked on is pretty amazing.
- Lucy in the Sky*- Sam Dekker On Enes Kanter
- The Lion King- Kevin Johnson on Hakeem Olajuwon
- Stuber- DeAndre Jordan on Brandon Knight
- My Spy- Baron Davis On Andrei Kirilenko
- The Dead Don’t Die- Shawn Kemp on Chris Gatling
- Shaun The Sheep 2- Amar’e Stoudemire On Michael Olowokandi
- Toy Story 4- Tracy McGrady On Shawn Bradley
- Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark– Blake Griffin On Kendrick Perkins
- El Chicano- John Starks on the 1993 Bulls
- Joker- Darryl Dawkins On Backboards
- Uglydolls- LeBron James On Jason Terry
- Annabelle Comes Home- Dominique Wilkins On Larry Bird
- Dora and The Lost City of Gold- Dr. J On Michael Cooper
- Angry Birds Movie 2- Shawn Kemp On Alton Lister
- Secret Life Of Pets 2- Scottie Pippen on Patrick Ewing