Categories
Popular Culture

All 6 of the Best ‘Jurassic Park’ Movies, Ranked

It’s one of the best and most legendary film franchises ever; the Jurassic Park films have etched their names into cinematic history. While they don’t always produce the best movies, no one can deny the franchise’s talent for creating awe-inspiring moments that keep you glued to the big screen. But what are the best Jurassic Park movies? Here are our rankings of these grand dinosaur blockbusters.

6. ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’

The second entry in the Jurassic World trilogy is also, by far, the franchise’s lowest point. While most other films in this franchise range from bad to just fine, Fallen Kingdom is a terrible movie.

Returning to Isla Nublar to rescue the dinosaurs left behind following the events of Jurassic World, all before a volcano explodes, sounds like it should make for a good movie, right? Well, you’d be right, but unfortunately, in the case of Fallen Kingdom, the execution of that concept just wasn’t there.

The first half of the movie isn’t bad; any chance you get to return to an island full of dinosaurs can provide some excitement. However, the decision to leave the island behind and bring the troubles to the continental United States falls flat. The plot to auction off dinosaurs like they are illegal weapons is bizarre, and the third act taking place in a Victorian mansion, doesn’t provide the same thrills as an ordinary Jurassic Park movie.

watch on prime video
https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/0LH0A6Y5Y2QOHT8LUXA7PAK2VA/ref=atv_dl_rdr
5. ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’

Spoilers for Jurassic World: Dominion follow

While it is better than its predecessor, the finale of the Jurassic World trilogy, Dominion, again doesn’t generate the excitement that a movie in this franchise should.

Blockbuster franchises like Top Gun and Star Wars leaned on the feelings of nostalgia to drum up interest, which has worked to varying degrees. Jurassic World: Dominion attempted to do this by bringing back Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum, and it is fun seeing them together on screen again, but it doesn’t make the movie much better.

Put it this way, when the main villain of your dinosaur movie is a swarm of locusts, you might want to go back to the drawing board story-wise.

There are a few moments in the movie that help it out, most notably when Claire is forced to submerge herself in a pond as a dinosaur hunts her. The camera work is excellent as it splits between the hunter above and her underneath the surface, attempting not to move.

see in theaters
https://www.fandango.com/jurassic-world-dominion-2022-224884/movie-overview?cid=fandango_web_home_carousel
4. ‘Jurassic Park 3’

It goes to show just how poorly received the last two Jurassic World movies were that Jurassic Park III is higher than them on this list. What had once been seen as the worst film in the franchise, Jurassic Park III, was clunky and had script problems almost right up to the start of filming.

Bringing back Sam Neill and Laura Dern, who were not in the second film of the franchise, The Lost World, the movie was the first in the series not to involve Steven Spielberg and the first not based on a Michael Crichton novel.

The movie had various things working against it, and the messy production seemed destined for failure. However, in recent years critics and fans have warmed up to it, and it seems that its legacy isn’t as bad as one might have thought originally.

watch on hbo max
https://play.hbomax.com/feature/urn:hbo:feature:GYM1B1QloY6m0lwEAAAB1
3. ‘The Lost World: Jurassic Park’

Serving as the sequel to one of the greatest blockbusters of all time is no easy task, and, unfortunately, The Lost World wasn’t up to it. It’s not a very good movie, but when compared to some of the other films in this franchise, it is better than people give it credit for.

The Lost World attempts to double down on the chaos of the first movie by introducing a new island of dinosaurs, but it doesn’t quite hit the mark of Jurassic Park. It also tries to up the stakes by bringing dinosaurs to the mainland (a T-Rex in San Diego sounds pretty cool!), but the highs of Jurassic Park can’t be matched.

watch on hbo max
https://play.hbomax.com/feature/urn:hbo:feature:GYM1BXQbxDWqHwgEAAABv
2. ‘Jurassic World’

Jurassic World was just the reboot that the franchise needed. It might be incredibly similar to the original Jurassic Park in terms of stakes and plot, but as the saying goes: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Anchored by the leading duo of Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, Jurassic World was a fun introduction of the franchise to a new generation. It is a little concerning that scientists would continue to breed newer and more dangerous dinosaurs, which is not lost on our main characters. But then again, as Dr. Ian Malcolm once put it: “your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

After all, the true villain of these movies is not the dinosaurs but rather the hubris of mankind, and, as with the original, that’s on full display in Jurassic World.

watch on prime video
https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/0KEKSTSQLSZRHAQQDLF83OP4AO/ref=atv_dl_rdr
1. ‘Jurassic Park’

You cannot beat the original.

When a discussion of “best blockbuster films” comes up, Jurassic Park is always within the discussion as one of, if not the best ever. It’s one of Steven Spielberg’s best movies and an absolute masterclass when it comes to building a sense of wonder and spectacle. Compare that to the film being terrifying too, and the combination makes for a legendary blockbuster.

The CGI and practical effects were some of the best of that era, and Spielberg truly helped bring dinosaurs to life. The winner of three Academy Awards for Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Sound, and Best Visual Effects, Jurassic Park, in many ways, is still among the best regarding special effects.

This is all not to mention that Jurassic Park gave us some endlessly quotable lines too.

Life, uh, finds a way.

“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

Ian Malcolm: “God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs … ”
Ellie Satler: “Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth.”

And on and on the quotes go.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go watch Jurassic Park for the 100th time.

watch on hbo max
https://play.hbomax.com/feature/urn:hbo:feature:GYJlJDwG96Q_DwgEAAAA1
Categories
Popular Culture

Here’s 15 Classic Films To Watch This Independence Day

Happy Fourth of July! While some of you may be spending the entire day partying, others might be choosing to enjoy the much deserved day off. If you are in the latter group and are a lover of all things Old Hollywood, we’ve put together a list of classic vintage films that you can spend the day watching. If, however, you’ve never seen a classic Hollywood film, we hope this list encourages you to give it a try at some point, as there would be no current Hollywood if it wasn’t for its predecessors.

When watching these movies (especially for the first time), you’ll see the acting is among some of the finest in history, and you can even see the development of filmmaking, directing, and storytelling. Beyond that, these films are just plain entertaining and fun to watch. While not a comprehensive list of all the great films from the 1930s to let’s just say the 1960s (the 1970s sparked a couple of new eras in its entirety which we’ll definitely cover at some point), these are among our favorites. Here we go.

1. The Philadelphia Story (1940)

Starring: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart, Ruth Hussey

What a lineup. By 1940, Katharine Hepburn was one of the most profitable and booked actress in Hollywood, Cary Grant was the Mr. Suave ladies man that was in just about every film, and so was James Stewart. Ruth Hussey had a stellar career as well. Ladies and gents, this film was messy. In short, it was about a socialite on the verge of getting married when all of sudden her ex-husband decides to randomly show up. How does it turn out? You’ll have to watch and see.

WATCH NOW
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AOONxFn3Z4
2. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

Starring: Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds

If you are in an area that’s expecting rain this Fourth of July like we are, this Singin’ in the Rain is the perfect holiday movie. It’s got a great storyline, great music, and will definitely put a smile on your face. 

WATCH NOW
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMguleVWgcA
3. Carmen Jones- 1954

Starring: Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte

Dorothy Dandridge was a true trailblazer for African-American entertainers, and so was Harry Belafonte. For those that don’t know, Belafonte is the creator of the “Banana Boat Song (Day-O)”. You know the Day-O chants that happen at sporting events? That comes from the “Banana Boat Song.” Anyway, this film is great. Check it out.

WATCH NOW
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FhAAgp-VOU
4. Casablanca- 1942

Starring: Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman

We aren’t going to put The Godfather on here because it’s a little too close to the start of that new era of film that we referred to earlier, but Casablanca is sort of like The Godfather before The Godfather if you catch our drift. Definitely worth checking out in our opinion.

WATCH NOW
https://www.hulu.com/live-tv
5. Laura- 1944

Starring- Gene Tierney

In our humble opinion, Gene Tierney is one of the most captivating yet underrated actresses of all-time. Beautiful and talented, but lived a life that at times was a bit tumultuous. She never got the credit she deserved in our opinion, but the beauty of film is that it lasts forever.

WATCH NOW
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tf7XPqJr1b8
6. Breakfast at Tiffany’s-1961

Starring: Audrey Hepburn

You want to talk about luxury? Audrey Hepburn was the literal definition of all things luxurious. Elegance and royalty oozed out of her, and she was charming in every film she was in. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is perhaps her most beloved, as it’s about a café society who falls in love with a writer.

For those that don’t know, café society members were individuals (most of whom were wealthy or looking to be) that gathered at the most upscale cafes and restaurants in New York, Paris, and London. Miniature socialites if you will. Nowadays films in the romantic genres don’t really snag academy awards, but this one was good enough to nab two with five nominations overall.

WATCH NOW
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlZ4fYqjGJI
7. Gone With The Wind- 1939

Starring: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard, Hattie McDaniel, Olivia de Havilland 

At the very least you’ve heard of Gone With The Wind, but you need to see it to really get the full effect as it remains one of the most successful films of all-time (and at one point it was the highest earning film for 25 years). Unfortunately, with the film came controversy. Segregation was still very much a thing in the year 1939, and actress Hattie McDaniel who was nominated and subsequently won an Academy Award for her performance, was made to sit in the back of the auditorium, and couldn’t even go on stage to accept her award.

There was also the issue of the depiction of African-Americans. It’s a personal choice as to whether or not you want to see the film, but there is a reason why McDaniel won the Oscar as she was brilliant. The performances of everyone else were brilliant as well.

8. Some Like It Hot- 1959

Starring: Marilyn Monroe, Tony Jack, Curtis Lemon

This was an interesting plot for sure. A saxophone player (Tony Curtis) and his friend (Jack Lemmon) witness a mafia murder, and now they have to go on the run and hide their identities. They then devise a plan to dress up as women and join an all-female band. So where does Marilyn Monroe fit into all of this? You’ll have to watch and see.

WATCH NOW
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rI_lUHOCcbc
9. All About Eve- 1950

  Starring: Bette Davis

We’ve essentially seen different variations of All About Eve through the years, which is essentially about a 40-year-old Broadway actress worried about her future who has her life turned upside down by a young fan. All About Eve received a whopping fourteen Academy Award nominations, and was one of the first 50 films inducted into the Library of Congress.

WATCH NOW
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSntQerk8cQ
10. Stormy Weather- 1943

Starring: Lena Horne, Cab Calloway, Bill Robinson

An all-black cast in the year 1943 was essentially unheard of, making it one of the turning points of African-American cinema. This is a musical full of soulful bops that get stuck into your head instantly. The dance sequences were incredible as well, along with the fun fashion. Definitely a must-see.

WATCH NOW
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2q7SeiC_LZA
11. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof- 1958

Starring: Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman

Liz Taylor ladies and gentlemen. Based on a play with the same name, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is about a former high-school athlete who injures himself while trying to prove he’s still got it. Shortly afterwards, he and his wife (Liz Taylor) take a trip to visit his dad, who starts to aggressively butt into their personal lives. 

WATCH NOW
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzogcorjLOI
12. Woman of the Year- 1942

Starring: Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy

For some reason, we don’t really see actor couples starring in films together anymore. Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy were together for nearly thirty years, and in that time period they starred in multiple movies with one another. Woman of the Year was the first of nine, with 1967’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner being their last. It’s definitely interesting to see their on-screen evolution with each movie over the course of those 25 years, and Woman of the Year was a fun one.

WATCH NOW
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e25EgGHdNnQ
13. The Dark Mirror- 1946

Starring: Olivia de Havilland, Thomas Mitchell

There is absolutely nothing like a 1940s/50s detective film. The scenery and music, the fedora and trench coat outfit combinations from the fellas, the stormy/rainy nights. There is absolutely nothing like it. Check out The Dark Mirror when you have a chance. 

WATCH NOW
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkBfP_nTONA
14. Zouzou- 1934

Starring: Josephine Baker

If you don’t have Tubi, then you may have to wait for the classic movie channels to run again, but Zouzou is worth having on your list. Josephine Baker was a tremendous talent who sang, danced, and starred in films. We won’t spoil the plot, but that talent was on full display with this one.

WATCH NOW
https://tubitv.com/movies/632228/zouzou?start=true&utm_source=google-feed&tracking=google-feed
15. Born to Be Bad- 1950

Starring: Joan Fontaine

One of Old Hollywood’s biggest disappointments is sisters Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland feuding pretty much during the entire course of their lives/careers, and never collaborating on a film. These were two of the biggest actresses of their time, and never worked together (at least to our knowledge). Nonetheless, Joan Fontaine turned in an incredible performance in 1950’s Born to Be Bad. Another must-see vintage film for sure.

WATCH NOW
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUzeCpCqp8w

We could certainly go on and on about all of the amazing films from the heyday of Hollywood, but we’d be here all day. Hopefully you are inspired to checkout some of these movies and Google more. 

Categories
Popular Culture

ONE37pm’s Songs To Escape the Upside Down

Somehow, one of the most notable things that came out of the first volume of Stranger Things: Season 4 was a song written by Kate Bush in 1985. “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)” smashed the charts after being featured in the series as the song that pulled Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink) out of Vecna’s grip and outside of the Upside Down. Honestly, without Kate Bush, Max would still be flailing around down there.

In that same light, we’ve gathered up some of the ONE37pm staff to explain their picks for the songs that would bring them out of the Upside Down.

“Can I Kick It?” – A Tribe Called Quest

Anyone familiar with me knows that I consider A Tribe Called Quest to be the greatest hip-hop group of all time. It only makes sense that a song of theirs would be the one that pulls me out of the Upside Down and away from the clutches of Vecna (I’m not a fan of having my bones broken and eyes gouged out.)

“Can I Kick It?,” A Tribe Called Quest’s third single off of their debut album People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, begins with a sample from Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” and never lets up from there. Q-Tip and Phife Dawg trade bars from there on out, moving and grooving to the carefully curated beat. It’s the perfect song to shake you loose from Vecna’s grip and keep your body moving until it reaches our dimension once again.

Conor Sheeran, Senior Popular Culture Editor

“The Edge of Glory” – Lady Gaga

Listen, Vecna is a pretty big queen, but Lady Gaga is even bigger.

If there’s one person who could drag me out of the Upside Down, it’s most definitely going to be her. The very first sentence of “The Edge of Glory” is “there ain’t no reason you and me should be alone tonight,” and if I’m stuck in the Upside Down being ravaged by Demobats, stepping in unidentifiable gooey stuff, and having my limbs pulled every which way by some nasty vines, I’m going to take that sentence very literally.

Honestly, you could probably just throw on the saxophone solo alone and I’d be high-tailing it out of there.

Elizabeth Pagano, Staff Writer, Popular Culture

“I’m Shipping Up To Boston” – Dropkick Murphys

If I wanted a song to get me out of the Upside Down instantaneously, it would absolutely be “I’m Shipping Up To Boston.” Loud, aggressive, and passionate, this song not only gets me fired up, but I feel completely invincible when it’s ringing through my ears. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the greater Boston area, but this song just speaks to me. If you want to get me away from the menacing Vecna and back to the real world, play this song as loud as you possibly can.

Cole Keough, Editorial Intern

“The Night Me and Your Mama Met” – Childish Gambino

This song’s slow, mellow beginning lulls you into another world far from your own. It feels like cruising through the woods with your windows down without a care in the world, fully present in the moment. When you least expect it, a beautiful, distorted guitar solo enters the scene, and you know you’ve got a one-way ticket to an entirely new place. This song feels like it was born from another dimension, making it perfect for escaping the one you currently reside in.

Ezra Fuller, Twitter Manager

“Mr. Saxobeat” – Alexandra Stan

What is it the poet said? You make me dance / bring me up / bring me down / play it sweat/  make me move like a freak / Mr. Saxobeat. Underneath its glossy Eurodance sheen, Romanian singer Alexandra Stan’s 2010 bop “Mr. Saxobeat” is really evidence of the kindness of art—for 195 seconds, there’s nothing beyond the visceral, immediate thrill of being. Tellingly, the titular Mr. Saxobeat isn’t even given a real name—he’s only important in so far as what he makes us feel (i.e. like a freak). Amongst infinite uncertainty and discord, Stan clears—or maybe selects—a space where the only question is whether it’s better to be in love or in paradise. Here is a pastiche of fragile joys, a flight towards grace. Mr. Saxobeat dances us to deliverance.

Jack Tien-Dana, Staff Writer, Sports

“Big Iron” – Marty Robbins

If I had to choose one song to escape the Upside Down, it would undoubtedly have to be the 1960 Country Ballad classic “Big Iron” by Marty Robbins. I first heard this song while exploring the dystopian backdrop of Fallout: New Vegas. The song details the inevitable battle between a town’s sheriff and an outlaw known for having the fastest big iron on his hip. As they finally battle at the song’s climax and the townspeople are certain the outlaw will win, our sheriff emerges victorious. I can’t think of a better backdrop to escape the Upside Down than an epic underdog story between two of the fastest guns in the West.

Justin Cohen, Sports Writer

Categories
Popular Culture

The SlabStox Monthly Trading Card Market Report

Welcome to the SlabStox Monthly Trading Card Market Report!

A lot has changed since SlabStox began tracking the sports card market in 2018. And for a lot of you, we’re sure the market has evolved since you started collecting. Whether you’re new to the hobby or a long-time collector, you know things are moving fast. SlabStox Trading Card Market Report is the first of its kind—we’re going to break down key factors in the card market each month so you get a sense of what’s next. It’s for anyone who wants to understand the forces impacting card-buying and selling decisions.

Each month we’ll:

  • Present data and our takeaways that illustrate the current state of the card industry
  • Co-host a live podcast with @CardTalkPod breaking down the report and debating its findings
  • Encourage you to learn, comment on, debate and share it out with your card community

The SlabStox/Card Talk “State of the Card Market” podcast premieres soon! Stay tuned to our social media for updates.

If you want to get notified when the SlabStox Monthly Card Market Report gets published, subscribe to SlabStox’s Daily Slab newsletter, delivered to your inbox every morning at 7 a.m. ET. Besides the monthly report, you’ll get daily card market news, card-sales data on trending players, and a whole lot of SlabStox curated top-auction targets. 

Enjoy, learn and share. Give us feedback–it matters and will make each trading card market report even better.

June 2022: 5 Hot Takes On Today’s Card Market

How is the card market performing in a down economy? Which card categories are hot, and which are not? Whose recent performances are driving their card values up or down? What should card collectors be thinking about next? 

Here’s our takes on the current state of the card market, based on data provided by Card Ladder.

Two time periods are used in this first report to get a sense for the overall: 

  • Monthly (6/1/22 – 6/30/22)
  • Year to Date (1/1/22 – 6/30/22)

DISCLOSURES: All market data in this report is from Card Ladder. Card Ladder is a partner of SlabStox, but operates independently, providing card collectors and investors insights to make informed, up-to-date data-driven decisions. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research before making a decision. 

Takeaway 1: Sports card index down, but outperforming the “bear market” and “crypto winter”

There has been a lot written and reported on the current state of the U.S. economy:

  • Record gas and energy prices
  • Inflationary growth that hasn’t been seen for multiple decades
  • A shift from a “bull” to a “real bear” stock market
  • Rumblings of an oncoming recession 
  • Run-up of cryptocurrency and NFTs, and a prick of the bubble

So where does that leave the sports card market? 

Card Market Year-to-Date

According to Chris McGill, founder of Card Ladder, a data platform that tracks verified card transactions from 14 marketplaces (eBay, PWCC, etc.), sports cards have been fairly flat over the last year — but down 8% in June and it has dipped 13.76% year-to-date.

Card Ladder built the CL50 Index, an index of 50 highly transacted cards, to represent the overall market. Some of the cards included are the Wayne Gretzky 1979 O-Pee-Chee RC PSA 8, LeBron James 2003 Topps Chrome Base RC PSA 10, Patrick Mahomes 2017 Prizm Silver RC PSA 10 and the Hank Aaron 1954 Topps RC PSA 5. Here’s a look at how it changed over the last two years.

SlabStox

From January 2021 until March 2021, the CL50 Index doubled in value — from 16,120 (1/3/21) to 33,200 (3/7/21) in just two months. It didn’t take long to correct in value. From March to June 2021, the CL50 dropped back to 16,800 (6/27/21).

“The CL50 Index hasn’t moved much over the last year,” McGill says. “The card market had a mania in 2021–a bull run unlike ever seen before. All those gains were wiped away.

“The bear market we’re seeing in other sectors, whether it is Bitcoin or the S&P taking a hit, the card market had about 14 months ago,” he explains. “What I see happening in other markets I remember watching it real-time in the card market a while ago.”

Here’s how the CL50 Index performed to other standard market indicators:

Markets Year-to-Date (1/1/22 – 6/30/22)
SlabStox

Andy Albert, owner of Indy Card Exchange, says boots-on-the-ground metrics prove there is still energy in the card market. 

“The optimism is still there and holding something tangible to collect or invest in will never go away,” Albert says, who recently organized the “Midwest Monster” card show that attracted nearly 4,000 card collectors to its first show in Indianapolis, June 17-18. 

“At our shop, there hasn’t been any dip or downturn in the number of people walking in and out,” he adds. “Obviously, people are spending money more wisely. The market is still strong but people are more selective in what they are buying.”

June 2022: 30-Day Performance

When comparing the June CL50 trend to the other months so far in 2022, it comes as the second worst performing month (-8.07%), right behind May (-8.71%).

The cards in the CL50 that have gotten hit the hardest this month are the Mike Trout 2011 Topps RC PSA 10 (-20%), Charizard 1999 Pokémon 1st Edition Holo PSA 9 (-20%) and the Oscar Robertson 1961 Fleer RC PSA 6 (-20%).

SlabStox

Buying the “surefire thing” with Patrick Mahomes and Luka Doncic was praised for years, but rubber hit the road for two of their high-end cards in June, as both of them experienced a card that lost ~$500,000 since the last time it sold. Mahomes’ 2017 National Treasures Gold RC Patch Auto /10 BGS 9.5 sold for $1,080,000 on 9/18/21, but recently sold for $480,000 on 6/16/22. Luka’s 2018 National Treasures Emerald RC Patch Auto /5 BGS 9 sold for $1,000,000 on 8/2/21, but recently sold for $504,000 on 6/16/22.

SlabStox Bottom Line
SlabStox
  • Playoff misses. While -8% for the CL50 and -20% for the Mike Trout PSA 10 is a substantial monthly slide, it does understate how bad June has been for some of the cards in the market. Buying cards of players that rose in price due to playing at their peak performance proved to be an incredibly bad investment, as Jayson Tatum’s 2017 Prizm Blue RC /199 BGS 9.5 decreased 45% and Jordan Poole’s 2019 Prizm Fast Break Blue /175 RC PSA 10 decreased 52%.
  • The stalled flip. Buying cards to flip within a 30-day period was next to impossible in June, as your only luck would have come with capitalizing on a hot playoff flip.
  • What we’re feeling. People are selling if they: 
  1. Need money for living expenses/savings
  2. Are substantially in the green over the past three years or more
  3. Want cash flow to make stronger plays at the The National
  4. Don’t believe in a certain card long-term (generally base cards)
  5. Want to re-invest into a different “down” card.
Takeaway 2: Baseball’s upswing + F1 surge lead card market

While overall the card market is down this year, there are some standout bright spots—hockey up 2% in June with a Stanley Cup bounce, while baseball and racing have increased since the start of the year.

Card Market Comparisons
SlabStox

Baseball, while down 3% in June, has increased 3.5% for the year, outpacing other major sports—football (-8.28 / -13.40%) and basketball (-6.15% / -15.13%). 

Racing, fueled by the exponential growth of the F1 card market coming off the success of the first 2020 Topps Chrome F1 release last year, has grown the most this year (+19.22%). For June, F1 sales have leveled off, trending down a hair (-2.63%) as the season is well underway, with one team dominating (Red Bull).

“2022 feels like baseball’s turn in the spotlight,” McGill says. “2020 was the year of basketball, 2021 football exploded on the heels of Brady and the Bucs Championship. A lot of people seem to now be interested in baseball.”

Albert’s perspective is that the market, whether up or down, is largely driven by the strength of rookie classes in product sets. 

“Baseball is up because of how strong the rookie class is,” he says. “People are looking into baseball because they can buy affordable products and can get good rookie cards. Bobby Witt Jr. and Julio Rodriguez—those guys are studs and with huge upside.

“Quarterbacks dominate the (football) marketplace,” Albert adds. “People who held and invested in the QB class of 2020 are very happy.”

Some specific category highlights from June: 

Racing: All-Time High Sales for MULTIPLE drivers in June
SlabStox

Each of these drivers converted an all-time high sale for a card.

  1. Max Verstappen
    • 2020 Topps Chrome Red Auto /5 PSA 9/10 – $90,000 on 6/25/22 via Goldin
  2. Mick Schumacher
    • 2021 Topps Chrome Superfractor RC Auto 1/1 PSA 10/10 – $39,600 on 6/25/22 via Goldin
  3. Guanyu Zhou
    • 2021 Topps Chrome Superfractor Future Stars 1/1 PSA 8 – $18,000 on 6/4/22 via Goldin
  4. Team Logo: Mercedes
    • 2020 Topps Chrome Mercedes Superfractor 1/1 PSA 7 – $13,200 on 6/25/22 via Goldin
Baseball: High-End Bowman Chrome Rolls On
SlabStox

Some of the most important modern Bowman Chrome cards sold in June. Here are the 5 top selling players.

  1. Shohei Ohtani
    • 2018 Bowman Chrome Red Auto /5 PSA 9 – $240,000 on 6/16/22 via PWCC Premier Auction
  2. Mike Trout
    • 2009 Bowman Chrome Orange Auto /25 BGS 9.5 – $228,000 on 6/25/22 via Goldin
  3. Juan Soto
    1. 2016 Bowman Chrome Red Auto /5 PSA 7 – $144,000 on 6/16/22 via PWCC Premier Auction
  4. Christian Hernandez
    • 2021 Bowman Chrome Red Auto /5 PSA 10 – $58,200 on 6/25/22 via Goldin
  5. Marcelo Mayer
    • 2021 Bowman Chrome Red Auto /5 PSA 10/10 – $54,000 on 6/25/22 via Goldin
  • F1 benchmarks. Not only was the Topps Chrome Red Auto /5 the most expensive Max card ever, but it also was the most expensive Topps Chrome F1 Auto to ever sell. While Mick Schumacher’s sale was his “rookie,” he actually had a 2020 Topps Chrome Superfractor Auto 1/1 which was an F2 Future Stars card. The 2021 Guanyu Zhou is in the same boat as the Mick, except Zhou’s card isn’t a rookie, it’s his 2nd F2 Future Stars card. That fact combined with the sale price ($18,000) makes for a head scratcher. The Mercedes Superfractor was the first F1 Team Logo card to cross 5-figures, with the next closest sale being the Mercedes Sapphire Red /5 PSA 10 ($9,000 on 5/21/22).
  • Baseball slides. Bowman Chrome took a big hit from the peak prices, but not everything can go up forever, right? Ohtani’s Red decreased $72,000 (-23%) since the previous sale on 12/18/21. It was the exact same card (#3/5). Soto’s Red decreased $129,060 (-47%) since the previous sale 10/25/21. It was also the exact same card, and funny enough, matches the serial number on the Ohtani (#3/5).
  • Prospect prospectus. Bowman Chrome Red autos of Christian Hernandez ($58,200) and Marcelo Mayer ($54,000) sold for huge price tags. Both have only played in A-ball or below, and neither have put up impressive numbers. There were multiple bidders willing to pay $50K-plus for their red autos. Remember, just because a player is young and has tools doesn’t mean he is destined to be a star. This is a risky investment, but one that could pay off big. 
Takeaway 3: Like gold, vintage cards strong in a down market
SlabStox

New to Card Ladder are Pre-war Vintage, Vintage, Modern and Ultra-Modern card indexes. What do these new categories tell us about the market? 

  • Vintage cards are holding up in a down market
  • Vintage and Pre-War Vintage cards are significantly outperforming the CL50 Index
  • Modern cards overall have slipped dramatically in 2022 (-18.76%) 
  • Ultra Modern cards have dropped double-digits in June due to a correction (-10.17%)

Vintage runs hot 

Why are Vintage and Pre-War Vintage cards holding strong? One hypothesis is the icons of this era are historically proven out and their cards are a limited resource. This makes vintage cards less risky in collectors’ eyes. Does this equate to gold, which typically runs hot during market downturns?  

“The way I look at it, the card market consists of three types of buyers—collectors, investors and gamblers,” Albert explains. “Vintage appeals to two of those three buckets—collectors and investors—because it creates stability. Twenty-five years ago the vintage market was based on emotions, but now with grading it is quantifiable and vintage is constant and stable over time.”

He also thinks it goes deeper. Vintage cards connect on an emotional level with collectors. 

“The younger generation can see the impact these players had,” Albert adds. “Jackie Robinson–you can watch on YouTube and see the impact he made. He’s an exception in every way because of the fact he broke the color barrier and is so well loved across every generation. I never see that going away.”

Some trending vintage cards in June include:

  • 1955 Bowman Mickey Mantle PSA 4.5
  • 1981 O-Pee-Chee Paul Coffey PSA 8
  • 1957 Topps Bill Russell PSA 5
SlabStox

*Note: Vintage cards of the same grade can often vary in final sale price. Eye appeal is extremely important, and just because one grade sells for a certain amount does not mean the next sale of the same grade will match. That variance could contribute to certain cards rising in price quickly within one month.

A Deeper Look at Price Levels
SlabStox

Surface numbers don’t always tell the full story of what is happening in the current market. While Modern and Ultra-Modern cards are taking a hit overall, it isn’t indicative of the entire market in these categories. 

For example, the Base card market has been wiped out from its peaks. Players like Luka Doncic (-25%), Ronald Acuña Jr (-47%) and Kylian Mbappé (-47%) have all gotten crushed since the start of the year on their extremely high population Base RC PSA 10s. Keep in mind, cards like the Luka Doncic 2018 Prizm Base RC PSA 10 are still nearly triple the price they were three years ago.

SlabStox

Albert says these numbers reflect a market correction that was long overdue.

“There was nowhere to go from a year ago but down,” he says. “It comes back to the local card shops educating people and steering them away from Luka Doncic PSA base rookies and Zion Williamson base cards that were way overpriced. 

“​​People are spending money on the right things now, buying National Treasures, Flawless and low-number Prizm color,” he says. “They’re still spending money—what is dragging those categories down is the standard, everyday flagship stuff. It’s finding its level because it dropped so hard and so fast.”

SlabStox Bottom Line 

Where’s the floor? The Base PSA 10 market still has room to drop. While the Luka Doncic 2018 Prizm Base RC PSA 10 is $333, which could look like a deal from the peak price of $2,000, that same card used to be $40. When they were $40, there weren’t 20,000 PSA 10s flooding the market like there are now. The market is extremely smart compared to two years ago, and the trend will continue on the low supply, sought after brand cards taking all of the market money.

Takeaway 4: Big players, big performances, big rewards (and some misses)

If you follow the Ultra-Modern card market, there’s one rule worth remembering: Performance plays out. 

Here are some key players and cards we tracked and reported on in June that are outperforming the market and their competition. Likewise, we’re including some cards that have sputtered—often for the same reason: Underperformance.

Let us know in the comments what cards are your winners and losers in June.

Winners
Andrew Wiggins
SlabStox

Nine seasons after being picked No. 1 in the 2014 NBA Draft, Andrew Wiggins has made the most of his shot at redemption. He earned a starting spot on the Western Conference All-Star team (to the dismay of some fans), and in the Finals, he played a key role for the Golden State Warriors, including a team leading 26-point Game 5 on the way to the Warriors fourth title in 8 years.  For a player labeled as “lazy” and “lackadaisical” for most of his NBA career, Wiggins put on a playoff show on both ends of the court against some of the best players in the league. Now, he has a ring.

Paul Goldschmidt
SlabStox

Paul Goldschmidt ended May with a Cardinals record that eclipsed some of the best hitters in the game. He finished the month with 23 extra base hits, topping Stan Musial (1954) and Albert Pujols (2003), who each previously held the record with 20. In June, Goldy has continued his hot hitting with a team-leading and career-best slash line of .342/.424/.630 with a 1.054 OPS. Holders of Goldschmidt’s 2011 Topps Update Rookie PSA 10 have been rewarded with his strong performance. It’s increased 12.91% over the last 30 days, with the most recent sale at $175. (6/28/22).

Cale Makar
SlabStox

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar has been nothing short of amazing during the Avalanche playoff run. Back when they clinched a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals, he was praised by Wayne Gretzky. “The Great One” compared the 23-year-old Makar to Bobby Orr, considered the greatest defenseman of all-time. Makar has led the Avs throughout the playoffs with 29 points on 8 goals and 21 assists. Makar’s 2019 Upper Deck Young Guns Rookie PSA 10 has skyrocketed in the last year, growing 150.64%. Makar is already a Calder Trophy winner, as he was the top NHL rookie in 2019-20. He also won the Conn Smythe and Stanley Cup at age 23.

Losers
Juan Soto
SlabStox

Deebo Samuel
SlabStox

Jayson Tatum
SlabStox

SlabStox Bottom Line
  • Free falling. If you hold cards of players that are DOMINATING in the playoffs, you better be ready to sell if you’re looking to take profit. Once a playoff run ends (win or lose), oftentimes the cards come back to earth (or fall to the core in Tatum’s case).
  • Offseason moves. If you are extremely impressed by a player whose cards rise in the playoffs, take the offseason as the perfect opportunity to invest for the long-term. If you bought Giannis in the offseason after they blew a 2-0 series lead on the Raptors in 2019, you’d be a very happy buyer right now.
Takeaway 5: What’s Coming & What to Watch

We want to end our market report with a look ahead. Here is what’s on our mind for the coming months. Let us know what you’re thinking about—we just may cover it in our next SlabStox Monthly Card Market Report.

The Fanatics Effect

Where does Fanatics Collectibles, now holding the lion’s share of the card market including the Topps brand and most of the major sport licenses, lead the market during the second half 2022? It’s an unanswered question. 

The market has gotten a peek at some things Fanatics is rolling out—direct to consumer selling, blind dutch auctions for zerocool cards products, more transparent reporting on product runs (zerocool)—but there are many unanswered questions. 

  • When will new sports products be released? 
  • Will they be flagship brands (Topps, Bowman) or Fanatics? 
  • What is the timing of releases? 
  • What is the distribution model for local card shops? 

There are so many unknowns, but we’ll be watching.

Panini Quality

We’ve reported a number of quality issues coming out of Panini last month. Here are a few that we covered in June:

Imagine you buy a box of 2021 @paniniamerica Optic Contenders FOTL at the floor price of $675, you get your box in the mail, open it, and there’s NOTHING inside. Well, that just happened to @mikeybcards. The damaged cards are one thing, but no cards at all? Has anything like this ever happened to you? (NOTE: To Panini’s credit, they quickly replaced the empty box.)

A MONSTER Reece James Obsidian Dual Patch Auto 1/1 was hit on Obsidian Soccer release day by @tanpulls for @joeyc_cards… but @paniniamerica put the wrong autograph on it. Instead of it being an auto of the Chelsea superstar, it was Heung-Min Son’s autograph (forward for Tottenham Hotspur). Son was one of the best Premier League players this season (23 open play goals), but on such a huge card, it’s less than ideal. Would you request a replacement if you pulled this?

We’ve seen the back damage, we’ve seen the poor centering…but how about a missing corner?! @mjbreaks pulled this monster Ja’Marr Chase Prizm Gold RC /10 except the bottom right corner is chopped off. The QC on 2021 Prizm has lacked quality. What do you think this would grade?

With Fanatics Collectibles likely having more impact on the second half of the year, what does Panini need to do to step-up its game? More importantly, will they secure various sport license deals that are now running out?

The National and other shows

Some plan all year for The National. This year it returns to the East Coast—Atlantic City, N.J., July 27-July 31.

It’s SlabStox’s first time in AC (2020 was canceled due to COVID-19), so we really don’t know what to expect. Be sure to visit SlabStox at Booth 1461; @CardCollector2, Booth 1560; and @CardTalkPod Booth 1060, 961.

This is what we do know:

  • The market dynamics will be different than last year. Vendors will be picky with what they buy and attendees will be more budget conscious.
  • Shameless plug—SlabStox’s Camp Kesem Charity Night will be held through multiple online events leading up to The National and will culminate at the popular Trade Night hosted by @CardCollector2 and @RoadShowCards. To participate and contribute to Camp Kesem Charity, check out this video and watch here to see last year’s results
Card Shows Worth Checking Out
  • July 1-2
    • A-Z Cards and Collectibles, Clovis, CA
    • Fort Lauderdale Card Show, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  • July 7-10
    • (July 7-9) S&B Sports Promotions Sports Card & Memorabilia Show, North Wales, PA
    •  (July 9-10)  GG2 Sportscard Show, Springdale, AR 
    • Garden State Trading Card Show, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ
    • (July 9-10) Bay Area Sports Card Show, Clearwater, FL 
  • July 14-17
    • Dallas Card Show, Allen, TX
  • July 22-24
    • (July 22-23) Tampa Bay Sports Card Show, Tampa, FL
    • Battlefield Mall Sports Card Show, Springfield, MO
  • July 27-31
    • The National Sports Collectors Convention, Atlantic City, NJ
July Product Releases

Many product releases have been delayed by manufacturers due to supply chain issues. The release dates below are subject to change by the manufacturer. Dates provided by Cardboard Connection.

July 1: 2022 Select UFC 

July 6: 2021 Topps Chrome Bundesliga 

July 8: 2021 Prizm NBA; 2021 Finest Bundesliga 

July 13: 2021 Topps Finest UEFA 

July 15: 2022 Prizm WNBA 

July 20: 2021 National Treasures Basketball; 2021 Optic Football; 2022 Bowman Chrome Road to UEFA U21 Euros Soccer 

July 27: 2021 Select Football 

July 29: 2021 Impeccable Premier League Soccer

August Barometer for the Card Market

This time of year is funky for the card market. We’re in the middle of the baseball season, football camp begins at the end of the month and with the 2022 basketball draft complete, all eyes are on the NBA offseason and where players move.

McGill from Card Ladder perhaps summarized it best, and it is worth sharing: 

Chris McGill

It’s a very interesting time of the year in the hobby.  There isn’t a lot of sports news and sports headlines from the Big 3 sports that will fire people up to go out there and buy cards. It’s always interesting to watch and see how it unfolds. When we start ramping up to football season and basketball season coming back, and that overlaps with the playoffs in baseball, the lead up to that will be a good test of our market. Will we see prices climb up again or not? That’s going to be the real test—August will be a good indicator of where we’re at.

SlabStox Last Word
  • Reasons to sell. Just like other markets (stocks, crypto, NFTs), people are selling for a multitude of reasons. Maybe people need living expenses, maybe people are saving for The National to buy that grail when they find it on the dip, or maybe people just don’t believe in a certain card as a long-term investment anymore.
  • Buy on the dip. While selloffs create short-term price drops, it could also create opportunities that might not have presented themselves. If you have the disposable funds, it might be time to focus on a few cards you want to stash away long-term. If you believe in the hobby and collecting for the long haul, view this as a time to secure cards you may not otherwise see for sale.
  • The X-factor. The real barometer for hobby health is not the day-to-day fluctuations in price. It’s the excitement that collectors have for not only the cards themselves, but to be involved in a great hobby with others like themselves. We experienced a tremendous amount of excitement at the Midwest Monster in Indianapolis in June, and we cannot wait to see the amount of collectors that show up to Atlantic City in July!
Categories
Popular Culture

12 TV Shows and Movies to Watch in July

The beach is overrated.

I’m kidding, it’s not. Well, actually it depends on the beach: Point Pleasant, Long Branch, Manasquan, Spring Lake, and Belmar—not overrated. Seaside and Wildwood? Definitely overrated.

Anyway, my point here is that there’s a whole lot more to do this summer than just roast on the sand. We’ve rounded up 12 of the best TV shows and movies to catch this July when you’re not flapping around in the ocean, dripping ice cream on your shoelaces, or burning your thighs on an extremely hot bench.

1. ‘Stranger Things’: Season 4, Volume 2 (July 1)

…and we’re back! It’s only been five weeks since Season 4, Volume 1 of Stranger Things was released, but given how things ended, it’s been a tough five weeks to wait. With quite a bit up in the air following the end of Volume 1, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover with the two episodes coming our way.

Who’s in It: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Millie Bobby Brown, Sadie Sink, Finn Wolfhard, Natalia Dyer, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Joe Keery, Maya Hawke, Joseph Quinn, Priah Ferguson, Charlie Heaton, Noah Schnapp, Matthew Modine

Where to Watch: Netflix

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/80057281
2. ‘The Terminal List’ (July 1)

In The Terminal List, Chris Pratt plays James Reece, a Navy SEAL who returns home after his platoon is attacked, questioning how responsible he was for the ambush to occur. When more evidence from the attack is revealed, it leads Reece down an extreme mental journey within himself.

Who’s in It: Chris Pratt, Taylor Kitsch, Constance Wu, Patrick Schwarzenegger

Where to Watch: Prime Video

watch here
https://www.amazon.com/The-Terminal-List-Season-1/dp/B09HYNH8TK
3. ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ (July 8)

One of the most anticipated movies of the summer, Thor: Love and Thunder is finally making its way to theaters, and some are already saying that it’s better than Thor: Ragnarok. Impossible, right? This Thor film is all about the namesake character’s quest for tranquility, though he ends up having to balance that when Gorr the God Butcher (Bale) comes out of the woodwork.

Who’s in It: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Taika Waititi, Tessa Thompson, Russell Crowe

Where to Watch: In Theaters

see in theaters
https://www.fandango.com/thor-love-and-thunder-2022-226754/movie-overview
4. ‘Black Bird’ (July 8)

AppleTV+’s newest series, Black Bird, is based on the book, In With The Devil: A Fallen Hero, A Serial Killer, and A Dangerous Bargain for Redemption. Egerton plays Jimmy Keene, a police officer’s son who is given a major choice: serve 10 years in a minimum-security prison with no parole or serve his 10 years in a maximum-security prison for criminally insane people.

Who’s in It: Taron Egerton, Ray Liotta, Paul Walter Hauser, Greg Kinnear, Sepideh Moafi

Where to Watch: AppleTV+

watch here
https://tv.apple.com/us/show/black-bird/umc.cmc.30gx1y8nwthydkrvhqu156p3
5. ‘Better Call Saul’: Season 6, Part 2 (July 11)

Better Call Saul is finally (and sadly) coming to a close this July, with the second part of Season 6 airing in just a few weeks, serving as a final wrap-up for the extraordinary run it’s had since its premiere in 2015.

Who’s in It: Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn, Giancarlo Esposito, Michael Mando, Patrick Fabian, Tony Dalton

Where to Watch: AMC and AMC+

6. ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ (July 15)

Based on the insanely best-selling book of the same name by Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing is getting its Hollywood treatment in mid-July with a film rendition of the novel. Daisy Edgar-Jones stars as Catherine “Kya” Clark, a young girl who lives in the marshes of North Carolina and later finds herself at the center of a murder trial.

Who’s in It: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, David Strathairn, Harris Dickinson

Where to Watch: In Theaters

see in theaters
https://www.fandango.com/where-the-crawdads-sing-2022-227252/movie-overview
7. ‘The Gray Man’ (July 15)

A Netflix original movie, The Gray Man is being brought to us by Anthony and John Russo, the two brothers responsible for directing quite a few Marvel films, including Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Endgame. With that kind of resume, there are definitely high expectations for this film, which follows a mercenary who—after exposing a slew of classified information—is being tracked by his old colleague.

Who’s in It: Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Dhanush, Regé-Jean Page, Ana de Armas

Where to Watch: Netflix

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/81160697
8. ‘The Rehearsal’ (July 15)

This new series was announced with practically no hint whatsoever to its arrival, starring cult-favorite, Nathan Fielder, of the series, Nathan for You. There’s not a ton known about this show just yet, except for a short synopsis that was released by HBO: “a new series that explores the lengths one man will go to reduce the uncertainties of everyday life.”

Who’s in It: Nathan Fielder

Where to Watch: HBO Max

watch here
https://www.hbo.com/the-rehearsal#:~:text=With%20a%20construction%20crew%2C%20a,why%20leave%20life%20to%20chance%3F
9. ‘American Horror Stories: Season 2’ (July 21)

With Season 1 of the American Horror Story spinoff under its belt, Ryan Murphy is back with the second season of American Horror Stories. We’ve got a (mostly) new cast this season with both new and old faces, though it’s not completely clear what the story this time around will be (is it ever clear, though?). From the looks of it, it has something to do with multiple rooms in a house and dolls (as if that helps at all).

Who’s in It: Dominique Jackson, Judith Light, Bella Thorne

Where to Watch: FX/Hulu

watch here
https://www.hulu.com/series/american-horror-stories-04d07a40-2e27-4141-aa47-cef856aeee60
10. ‘Nope’ (July 22)

Jordan Peele’s newest horror flick is dropping this month, as Nope follows two siblings who own a ranch and start to notice odd things occurring in their fairly remote town. Horror combines with science fiction in this genre-defying film, as unidentified flying objects are incorporated, along with a mysterious force that seemingly rips through the air and lifts people up.

Who’s in It: Keke Palmer, Daniel Kaluuya, Steven Yuen, Barbie Ferreira

Where to Watch: In Theaters

see in theaters
https://www.fandango.com/nope-2022-227045/movie-overview
11. ‘Harley Quinn”: Season 3 (July 28)

Two years in the making, we’re finally getting Season 3 of Harley Quinn, which turned out to be a major hit on HBO Max both before and especially during the pandemic. Kaley Cuoco stars as the voice of the eponymous character with a majorly stacked cast who keep the laughs going in this dark animated comedy.

Who’s in It: Kaley Cuoco, Lake Bell, Tony Hale, Ron Funches, Alan Tudyk, Jason Alexander, J.B. Smoove

Where to Watch: HBO Max

watch here
https://play.hbomax.com/series/urn:hbo:series:GXxis0w4EP8N_vAEAAACO
12. ‘Vengeance’ (July 29)

In his debut as a feature director, B.J. Novak brings us Vengeance, a dark comedy about Ben Manalowitz (Novak), who heads down to Texas to investigate the murder of a woman he was casually dating. Oh, and he’s also looking to turn the story into a true-crime podcast.

Who’s in It: B.J. Novak, Issa Rae, Ashton Kutcher, Dove Cameron, Isabella Amara, J. Smith-Cameron, Lio Tipton, John Mayer

Where to Watch: In Theaters

see in theaters
https://www.fandango.com/vengeance-2022-228044/movie-overview
Categories
Popular Culture

‘Black Bird’ Review: A Dark Trip to the Depths of Human Depravity

Few, if any, of us know what it’s like to stare into the eyes of a killer. The cold, dead gaze of someone with no regard for another human’s life and, in the case of serial killer Larry DeWayne Hall, enjoys taking that life. On AppleTV+’s upcoming limited series Black Bird, we dive into Hall’s life and view it through the eyes of James Keene, another convict who has been sent to elicit a confession from Hall.

Similar to shows like MindhunterBlack Bird focuses on what makes serial killers do what they do and why they are compelled to do so. Even though it’s a dramatized retelling of actual events, Black Bird is a compelling look into the mind of an absolute monster and how doing something as simple as talking to him can nearly destroy someone in the process.

Per AppleTV+, “Inspired by actual events, when high school football hero and decorated policeman’s son Jimmy Keene (Taron Egerton) is sentenced to 10 years in a minimum security prison, he is given the choice of a lifetime — enter a maximum-security prison for the criminally insane and befriend suspected serial killer Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser), or stay where he is and serve his full sentence with no possibility of parole. Keene quickly realizes his only way out is to elicit a confession and find out where the bodies of several young girls are buried before Hall’s appeal goes through. But is this suspected killer telling the truth? Or is it just another tale from a serial liar?”

For anyone familiar with a Dennis Lehane story—Mystic River, Gone Baby Goneand Shutter Island are among the most notable—you know that he has a talent for creating stories that keep you guessing until the end. Lehane, who developed Black Bird, does the same thing here. Serving as the writer and one of the executive producers, Lehane took this story and molded it into what is one of the best real-life adaptations in recent years.

It’s no secret that prison, especially a maximum security prison, is somewhere no one wants to be. In this story, Lehane paints a picture of what the day-to-day is like in this facility and how someone like Taron Egerton’s character is forced to adapt to a place where he doesn’t belong.

AppleTV+

The story is told through two lenses: One in the prison where Jimmy Keene tries to buddy up to Hall, and the other that follows two detectives (Greg Kinnear and Sepideh Moafi) as they also attempt to garner evidence that will keep Hall in prison. Moafi’s character, FBI Agent Lauren McCauley, also serves as Keene’s handler while he’s in jail.

It can be a bit of a clunky narrative device, especially at the show’s beginning when there are two timelines, but once things settle in, the two stories are almost perfectly in sync. Their investigation helps provide some clarity and backstory to Hall’s murders, and, in essence, we live part of the story through the eyes of his victims.

These scenes can be tough, as most of Hall’s victims were teenage girls, and even though he was only convicted on two of the murders, he was suspected of up to 20. It’s a heartbreaking story, especially considering that it’s all perpetrated by another human being.

What makes someone do this? Why do they seem to hate the world?

Rather than sympathize with someone like Hall, we try to learn what makes him tick. As mentioned above, it’s remarkably similar to Mindhunter, which didn’t make us care about the serial killers or empathize but got to the heart of the psychopathy that lies beneath the surface.

AppleTV+

The real highlight of Black Bird is the acting, most notably a powerhouse performance from Paul Walter Hauser. He is a terrifying villain, one who, in the beginning, you feel a shred of sympathy for due to his upbringing. He speaks with a high-pitched and soft voice, where he doesn’t seem threatening at first.

As you listen to him talk and describe his life and crimes, that’s when you see the man for what he is: a beast beyond redemption. Hauser’s performance is perfect for the role, as you rarely see his true persona bubble to the surface, but you feel a sense of genuine fear when it does. His facial expressions can change on a dime, further hammering how chaotic his personality is.

As he talked about when he was a grave robber in his youth, he said a line that stuck with me throughout the show: “The dead are pleasant; looking into their faces gives me hope that the next world is the good one.” Hearing him saying it is different than reading it, and Hauser nails it.

AppleTV+

Opposite Paul Walter Hauser is Taron Egerton as Jimmy Keene, and he is also fantastic as the co-lead. Keene is the polar opposite of Hall: Charismatic, handsome, well-spoken, and well-liked. You can tell that while he is buddying up to Hall and conversing with him, he struggles to identify with his life.

Even talking with someone like Hall affects Keene’s mental health and well-being, and it’s easy to sympathize with him here. Egerton’s confident swagger mixed with the inner torment of interacting with a psychopath is a true test of his talents as an actor, and he pulls it off incredibly well.

Sadly, the world lost Ray Liotta earlier this year. In his final television performance, he portrays Jimmy’s father “Big Jim” Keene in Black Bird. Part of the reason Jimmy takes the job investigating Hall is that his father suffers a stroke, and he’s unsure if he will live beyond Jimmy’s prison sentence.

Liotta is incredible as his father, and his tragic performance is only made all the more somber given his passing. Big Jim is remarkably similar to his character in Blow, in which he also plays the father of a drug dealer. Both love their sons and try to accept the fallout of their actions and still help them through it all.

AppleTV+

Shows like Black Bird are not for everyone. They are heavy watches that require you to examine a side of humanity that we’d all prefer didn’t exist. And even though they are fictionalized accounts, they are stories that must be told. Not to glamorize the killers but to give their victims the remembrance they deserve.

Black Bird premieres on AppleTV+ on July 8th.

Categories
Popular Culture

‘Only Murders in the Building’ Recap: Season 2, Episodes 1 and 2

Death, cocotinis, and a parrot that says “f*** you” in a thick Brooklyn accent—that’s Only Murders in the Building.

In only eight months, Hulu was somehow able to turn around an entire second season of the show, picking up exactly where we left off in mid-October when its first season came to a shocking close with Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez) crouching over the deceased board president, Bunny Folger (Jayne Houdyshell), of her apartment building.

If you’re like me and were thinking that there was no possible way that this season could be better than the first—well, they found a way.

Hey, You Got a Little Blood on That Sweater
Craig Blankenhorn / Hulu

After being hauled out of the Arconia by the police, our good buddies, Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin), Oliver Putnam (Martin Short), and Mabel were separately questioned by Detective Williams (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) and a new face, Detective Kreps (Michael Rapaport), at the local precinct. The detectives are taking things quite a bit more seriously than our trio is, but Kreps doesn’t seem competent enough to blame this murder on them. Since Williams is more familiar with the group, it’s clear that she’ll be in charge of the investigation, though she gives them a fair warning about staying out of things if they want their names cleared.

Upon their release, Mabel’s trying to wrack her brain around just how all this happened in the two minutes she ran upstairs to her apartment to grab some champagne back in season one’s finale. Each time she thinks back to that moment, a new detail is unveiled: first, it’s of hearing Bunny say the number “14,” and later on, it’s of her saying “savage,” which also happens to be Charles’ last name.

Reboots
Barbara Nitke / Hulu

The trio is a bit divided on how each of them wants to continue on with their lives after being named as persons of interest in Bunny’s murder case. Detective Williams warned each of them to stay out of things and to find a new hobby; while their knee-jerk reaction is to continue on with their own investigation into Bunny’s murder, they might actually take her advice this time around.

For one, Charles’ former show, Brazzos, is getting a reboot, which would take up the bulk of his time if he were to join the cast. The only catch? He’s not the star of the show; instead, he’d be playing the role of Uncle Brazzos, which Charles isn’t too pleased about.

Then we’ve got Oliver, who runs into new neighbor, Amy Schumer, who expresses interest in turning the “Only Murders in the Building” podcast into a TV series. While Oliver’s pretty jazzed about this possibility, he hasn’t forgotten about his two friends and their podcast; as he considers Schumer’s offer, he’s also weighing this in the back of his mind.

Finally, a random art curator, Alice Banks (Cara Delevingne), slides into Mabel’s DMs about her artwork, looking to possibly represent her at the art gallery where she works. They meet up later on at her art gallery and hit it off, which eventually leads to a bit of a romantic encounter between the two; I guess Oscar (Aaron Dominguez) is truly in the trash now.

While Charles, Oliver, and Mabel are all excited about their new possible ventures, something’s holding them back: the fact that they’re still persons of interest in Bunny’s murder investigation. Yeah, that little detail might hold one back from enjoying their life.

Eventually, the three of them regroup and decide that they just can’t stay away from the investigation, which is now being covered by the legendary true-crime podcast host, Cinda Canning (Tina Fey), who’s throwing herself into investigating Charles, Oliver, and Mabel by making them the subject of her new podcast. With that, our three friends decide to band together once again to prove their innocence—and to start up the second season of their podcast.

A Painting With Legs
Barbara Nitke / Hulu

While meeting up in Mabel’s apartment, Charles, Oliver, and Mabel start to hear Bunny’s voice coming through the vent that leads to her apartment. But she’s dead. Right? Well, kind of; her spirit—and voice—lives on through someone else.

Wanting to figure out what’s causing all the ruckus, the trio decides to tunnel through the air vents and into Bunny’s apartment, where they find her foul-mouthed parrot, Mrs. Gambolini, to be the one speaking like her owner. While in her apartment, they decide to snoop around and remove all evidence that could implicate them, which includes a slew of rude messages that Oliver sent to her. However, while inside, residents Uma Heller (Jackie Hoffman) and Howard Morris (Michael Cyril Creighton) open her door and walk in, as Uma is hoping to take with her a noteworthy (and semi-pornographic) painting of Bunny’s.

They run into Bunny’s bedroom and hide in the closet, though the footsteps get closer and closer as the painting is hanging up in the bedroom. But when Uma and Howard walk in, there’s an empty space where the painting should be. The two leave shortly after, though while hiding in the closet, Mabel makes a discovery: there’s an elevator hidden behind Bunny’s wide array of fur coats that leads down to the back of the Arconia by the dumpsters.

After this discovery, Charles heads back up to his apartment and discovers that the painting is now hanging up in his apartment. Who is toting around this massive painting from room to room constantly? After telling Oliver and Mabel about this, they decide to pull off a little switcheroo. Here’s the plan: Oliver and Mabel will bring the painting to Charles, who will be waiting for them outside of the elevator that leads to Bunny’s closet. He’ll sneak the painting back into the apartment and onto Bunny’s wall while everyone’s gathered for her memorial.

Oh, yeah. There’s a memorial for Bunny. With her gone, it only seemed right for the residents of the Arconia to throw a small memorial to remember their often-times divisive and rude board president. But at the gathering, a new figure comes front-and-center, ready to sniff out who murdered her daughter, Bunny. And that, my friends, is a face that we haven’t seen in quite a while on the big screen: Shirley MacLaine. She’s playing Leonora Folger, Bunny’s mother, who has a long past with the Arconia and knows quite a bit about the history of the building and its residents.

Through her, we’re able to learn a few things about the painting. It turns out that it’s actually depicting Charles’ father with a semi-nude woman, and the painting was done by Rose Cooper, whom his father was having an affair with. Cooper also lived across the street from the Arconia years ago. But okay, back to the story.

When it comes time for the scheme to go down, Charles gets locked outside of the door to the elevator by the apartment building’s dumpsters, leaving him, Oliver, and Mabel out in the open with the stolen painting. As other people start to head over to the dumpsters, they have to hide the painting between those very dumpsters, hoping to retrieve it later. However, upon returning, the painting is (of course) gone.

While visiting Schumer’s penthouse apartment to talk about the proposed series, Oliver notices—while Schumer poorly plays away on the bassoon—that the painting is hanging up in her apartment, as she apparently found it in the dumpster. However, later on when Oliver, Charles, Mabel, and Leonora head up to Schumer’s apartment, Leonora proclaims that the painting in her apartment is not the original—it’s a dupe.

Now that we know the painting that’s being moved from room to room is a fake, Charles, Oliver, and Mabel are left with quite a bit up in the air with regard to their investigation. However, we’re given five final words to end off the second episode, and they happen to come straight from the beak of Bunny’s parrot (which has now taken up residence in Oliver’s apartment).

“I know who did it.”

Squawk.

Final Thoughts

The one thing that I seemed to have conveniently forgotten from the first season of Only Murders in the Building is just how absolutely torturous it is to have to wait each week for a new episode. I know, this could be easily applied to any series that releases a new episode each week, but for some reason, the wait between each one of these episodes hurts a lot more.

So far, I’ve especially loved seeing more of Uma, as her disdain for basically everything and everyone is incredible—including her hatred of screw-top wine caps: “With a screw top? What happened, you couldn’t find a box?”

We’ve only had Shirley MacLaine around for one episode, and I’m praaaaaaaying that she’s a recurring character for the remainder of the season, even if it only means her telling us that her cocotini looks like “canal water.” Listen, I could live without Schumer and Rapaport being a part of things, but MacLaine—both herself and her character—has been one of the most exciting people to watch in these first two episodes. I know she’s 88 years old, but she’s brought a freshness to this show that I didn’t realize was even possible.

All in all, this season of Only Murders in the Building is already everything we wanted it to be—and more.

Categories
Popular Culture

The 16 Best Christian Bale Movies, Ranked

Christian Bale has gone through it all during his time as an actor and he’s clearly one of the greatest currently on this planet. An acting chameleon, no weight, loss or gain, stands in his way from playing any role. Whether playing an anorexic industrialist worker or a bloated Vice President, Bale always brings his best to the table and this begs the question as to what the best Christian Bale movies actually are.

With a new Bale performance incoming from the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Thor: Love and Thunder, we decided to take an in-depth look at his acting career so far. Here is a ranked list of the best Christian Bale movies. It’s important to note that I am taking both his performance and the overall quality of the film into consideration, it’s not just the best movies he’s been featured in.

16. ‘Empire of the Sun’

Kicking off this list is one of Christian Bale’s first ever appearances in a feature film. At just the age of 13, Bale already had a lead role in a Steven Spielberg epic. Despite being one of Spielberg’s lesser-known films, Empire of the Sun is still a very inspiring film while relying on the performance of a child actor which can oftentimes be a huge risk. Thankfully Spielberg’s choice paid off as Bale nails one of his first roles and captures what life was like for a young boy when Japan invaded and occupied China during World War II.  

Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Empire-Sun-Christian-Bale/dp/B001N3JY82
15. ‘Hostiles’

No doubt an underrated Christian Bale gem, Hostiles is an outstanding film carried on the shoulders of Bale’s exceptional performance. In 1892, army captain Joseph Blocker (Christian Bale) must escort the Cheyenne chief and his family through rugged lands in order to return to their tribal lands in Montana. Despite having some slower moments, this is a beautifully shot western that is reminiscent of Dances With Wolves and is subtly one of Bale’s best performances of his career.  

Hulu
https://www.hulu.com/movie/hostiles-2017-1cc5a89f-4ccd-4e7b-86a4-147776660d73
14. ‘3:10 to Yuma’

Another western film makes the list yet it plays out very differently from the previous one. 3:10 to Yuma follows rancher Dan Evans (Christian Bale) as he must hold captured outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) and bring him to the train to Yuma for the reward of 200 dollars. The task sounds simple, but the transport is much more hazardous than anticipated for Bale’s character as he must face ambushes from Indians, attacks from Wade’s gang, and Wade’s own conniving attitude along the journey. The film is more action-packed than your typical western and by combining it with a great performance from Christian Bale, it’s hard to get much better than that. 

HBOMax
https://www.hbomax.com/feature/urn:hbo:feature:GYd5QxgVW0Km7iQEAAAEu
13. ‘Rescue Dawn’

A sometimes brutal film, Rescue Dawn doesn’t shy away from showing the struggles of survival. Christian Bale plays a U.S. fighter pilot named Dieter Dengler, who gets shot down over the country of Laos during the Vietnam War and must fight for survival. For a rating of PG-13, this is a tough watch. The film takes a deep and depressing look into the life of a prisoner in a POW camp. The film is tough, brutal, gritty, and features another overlooked yet powerful Bale performance. 

Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Rescue-Dawn-Zach-Grenier/dp/B0011NFLGS
12. ‘Vice’

One of Christian Bale’s more recent films, Vice is an entertaining biopic. The film follows Vice President Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) as he quietly held great power and reshaped not only the country at the time but also the world we live in today. The film does have its flaws, but Bale as Cheney is an unsurprising powerhouse. Just like for similar roles Bale had done in the past, he had to manage his weight drastically and packed on the pounds. Bale ultimately weighed around 230 pounds for the role. The film also features other great performances from Amy Adams, Steve Carell, and Sam Rockwell. Not only is this another solid Christian Bale movie, but it is also a good addition to writer and director Adam McKay’s catalog.

Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/81203755
11. ‘The Machinist’

This is where Christian Bale’s dedication to perfecting the look for a role goes a little too far. The Mechanist follows industrial worker and insomniac Trevor Reznik (Christian Bale) as he begins to break down and lose his mind. While the film can be depressing at times, it plays out like a mystery thriller and does have some tricks up its sleeve. This role is infamous for Bale because of the extreme weight loss he endured. Bale dropped down to 110 pounds and in order to achieve that weight, for four straight months he stuck to a diet of black coffee, an apple and a tin of tuna per day. The dedication definitely paid off as this is one of his most unforgettable films.

Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Machinist-Christian-Bale/dp/B000I52LUO
10. Howl’s Moving Castle

Similar to other Studio Ghibli films, Howl’s Moving Castle is extremely original and entertaining while also having a lot of heart at its core. But of course, Christian Bale plays a big role in this film otherwise it obviously wouldn’t be on the list. The film follows Sophie (Emily Mortimer) who gets cursed by a witch and transformed into an old lady and has to rely on a young, flawed wizard named Howl (Christian Bale) in order to be freed. Bale is able to elevate this film with his top-notch voice-over for the timid and reserved wizard Howl. Throughout the film, Howl goes through many ups and downs and Bale is able to capture his feelings perfectly. As far as the film goes, it’s one of the best from Studio Ghibli and is an absolute joyous ride full of love and adventure that can’t be overlooked. 

HBOMax
https://www.hbomax.com/feature/urn:hbo:feature:GXrHR0QRNbnUYOAEAAABB
9. American Hustler

An all-around solid film, American Hustle is entertaining throughout thanks to the fantastic cast who bring this film to life. The film follows con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) who is forced to work and corporate with wild F.B.I. Agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) in order to help hustle corrupt politicians and members of the New Jersey Mafia. There are many great performances in this movie from Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jeremy Renner, but Christian Bale’s performance is definitely a standout amongst the talented others. Nominated for 10 Academy Awards, American Hustle is a top-tier crime movie that can’t be ignored as one of Christian Bale’s best.

Starz
https://www.starz.com/us/en/movies/american-hustle-50880?gclsrc=aw.ds&&referrer=mat_click_id%3D0b64208418ae4b9d85d5204c0224c013-20220623-161028%26link_click_id%3D1068556532419088398&mat_click_id=0b64208418ae4b9d85d5204c0224c013-20220623-161028
8. ‘Ford v Ferrari’

A racing film like no other, Ford v Ferrari is filled with full throttle fun. The film tells the story of car designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) who attempt to beat Ferrari at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race all while constantly having to battle corporate interference to achieve their ultimate goal. Despite its long runtime, the film hardly drags because of its fast-paced editing and intriguing storytelling. Additionally, this is a very entertaining Bale performance as he plays the stubborn, hardworking, and intuitive Ken Miles to perfection.

Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Ford-v-Ferrari-Matt-Damon/dp/B081DZ57RF
7. ‘Batman Begins’

With the first film in the Dark Knight Trilogy, writer and director Christopher Nolan sets the stage for future Batman films by finally providing the world with a great Batman and Bruce Wayne performance combination captured by Christian Bale. Batman Begins follows the beginnings of Bruce Wayne as he traverses the dark Gotham City atmosphere and must battle with his past demons to defeat both old and new enemies all while figuring out his new persona as Batman. This film has everything you need from an origin story, and Nolan elevates it with his elite vision as a filmmaker. Despite that, the main focus of this list is Christian Bale who without a doubt brings comic book fans joy as Batman but also still gives a genuine performance as the billionaire Bruce Wayne. 

HBOMax
https://www.hbomax.com/feature/urn:hbo:feature:GXeOM3Q7qcZuAuwEAADwo
6. ‘The Prestige’

An underrated gem from writer and director Christopher Nolan, The Prestige is nothing short of excellent storytelling. The film takes place in London during the 1890s and follows two magicians who increasingly try to outwit the other in an attempt to create the ultimate illusion. Christian Bale of course shines, as he plays one of the lead magicians in the film. On top of that, the rest of the cast is stacked with names like Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine, Rebecca Hall, Andy Serkis, and even David Bowie. There’re many layers of secrets and tricks hidden in this film and the ending is sure to leave you stunned.

Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Prestige-Hugh-Jackman/dp/B003QS67F0
5. ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

I guess you could call this a ‘hot take’, but The Dark Knight Rises can’t be ignored as one of Bale’s best and is still an epic finale to one of the greatest trilogies of all time. Bale yet again stars as Batman and has to protect the city of Gotham from a new and extremely powerful (literally) threat known as Bane (Tom Hardy). Unsurprisingly, Bale does another excellent job at portraying both Batman and Bruce Wayne as he roams the streets of Gotham one last time.

Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Knight-Rises-Christian-Bale/dp/B009LRE040
4. ‘The Big Short’

It was a tough choice picking the 3 and 4 slots on this list, but in the end, the performance he gives in the next movie (somehow) outshines this one. Nevertheless, The Big Short follows the build-up to the 2008 housing market crash and focuses on a few outsiders who knew it was bound for failure beforehand. Bale plays Michael Burry, a one-eyed hedge fund manager who was looked at and made fun of for years because he believed that the crash was imminent and saw what nobody else could. Bale crushes this role, perfecting the awkwardness and sometimes arrogance of the real Michael Burry. As far as the film goes, writer and director Adam McKay does a brilliant job at keeping what some might consider a boring topic entertaining as hell which ends up landing this film at the number four spot on this list.

Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Big-Short-Christian-Bale/dp/B01995O5OS
3. ‘The Fighter’

Even while having a smaller role, Bale steals the show. Writer and Director David O. Russell brings us an amazing true story about a boxer on the rise, Micky Ward (Mark Whalberg) who’s trying to escape his troubled, older boxing brother, Dicky’s (Christian Bale) shadow. This movie is full of great performances but Bale is by far the standout. He is at the top of his game here and it’s no surprise that he received an Academy Award for his performance in this film. Bale plays a crackhead who thinks he’s helping his brother out but in reality, is causing the biggest problem. The transformation Bale’s character undergoes is remarkably captured and it’s clear he gives this role his all. 

Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/70113534
2. ‘The Dark Knight’

The ultimate Batman film, The Dark Knight is not only the greatest superhero film of all time, but it also features one of Bale’s most iconic performances. When the Joker begins to cause chaos in Gotham City, Batman is forced to take him down and fight his toughest physical and mental challenge yet. Many of you might’ve thought this would be at the number one slot, but it’s at two for a reason. Heath Ledger overshadows Bale’s performance as the best in the film. Don’t get me wrong, Bale is yet again, amazing as Batman and Bruce Wayne, but Ledger’s performance as the Joker is one of the greatest performances of all time. As far as the movie goes, it’s spectacular, but it doesn’t quite make the number one spot on this list. Bale was already an established actor at this point and he really didn’t break any new ground with this performance. 

HBOMax
https://www.hbomax.com/feature/urn:hbo:feature:GXdkpqAvyDaXCPQEAADdn
1. ‘American Psycho’

No, I’m not putting the Dark Knight over this. Sure it might be a better film, but when it comes to pure Bale enjoyment, this performance and movie top them all. American Psycho is pure insanity as Bale plays an odd yet successful investment banker by day and a crazed serial killer by night. As ridiculous as this movie is, there are so many quotable lines in this divisive slasher flick from the turn of the century which my brother and I quote daily. Bale is given free rein on this assignment and he’s able to show off his acting prowess on all levels by playing a character with no limits. The film is timeless and violently hysterical, sorry but I’m done with this description, I have to return some videotapes. 

HBOMax
https://www.hbomax.com/feature/urn:hbo:feature:GWIeb3gOZ7MMjXQEAAACW
Categories
Popular Culture

The 33 Best Summer Movies To Add to Your Watchlist

With the summer solstice behind us, the most divisive season of the year is in full swing. Divisive I say? Well, only because some people prefer not to be absolutely scorched by the sun for three months out of the year. But for the rest of you who adore it, these are 33 of the best summer movies to give a watch before September 22 comes around.

1. ‘Wet Hot American Summer’ (2001)

Who’s in it: Janeane Garofalo, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon, Christopher Meloni, Michael Showalter, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks

Rating: 37% (Rotten Tomatoes)

Run Time: 1h 37m

Total Box Office: $295, 206

A satirical take on the last day of summer for a group of camp counselors, Wet Hot American Summer has gained a massive cult following in the years since its release.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Wet-American-Summer-Janeane-Garofalo/dp/B005EYLFOW
2. ‘Jaws’ (1975)

Who’s in it: Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw, Lorraine Gray

Rating: 98%

Run Time: 2h 4m

Total Box Office: $472 million

For me, Jaws is a winter movie—I’m not going anywhere near a film about a man-eating shark during the months where I’m most likely going into the ocean.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Jaws-Roy-Scheider/dp/B008LY5VHE
3. ‘The Sandlot’ (1993)

Who’s in it: Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar, Patrick Renna, Chauncey Leopardi

Rating: 64%

Run Time: 1h 41m

Total Box Office: $34.3 million

Baseball and summer go hand-in-hand; throw in a group of misfit kids and a massive dog and you’ve got an instant summer hit. But a 64% on Rotten Tomatoes? Really? Don’t even pay attention to that.

Watch on Disney+
https://www.disneyplus.com/movies/the-sandlot/4dZNO1hdVSXv
4. ‘Top Gun’ (1986)

Who’s in it: Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, Meg Ryan

Rating: 58%

Run Time: 1h 50m

Total Box Office: $357.3 million

We’re hot off the presses from Top Gun: Maverick, which means we’ve got to throw it back to 1986 with the original Top Gun. Okay, maybe it isn’t a summer movie in the classical sense, but it’s got some beach volleyball and it takes place in California—major beach vibes.

Watch on Paramount+
https://www.paramountplus.com/movies/video/OZkLn_xRuFBy_B3dQnzkewP0hw99lxaZ/
5. ‘Dirty Dancing’ (1987)

Who’s in it: Jennifer Grey, Patrick Swayze

Rating: 69%

Run Time: 1h 37m

Total Box Office: 214.6 million

The summer movie of all summer movies. Dirty Dancing is the icon, crossing off just about every box that any teenager needs for the perfect seasonal flick. It’s got defying parents, music, dancing, love, is set on a lake, and has Jennifer Grey doing her iconic dance by the dock—what else could you need?

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Dirty-Dancing-Jennifer-Grey/dp/B000IDEORY
6. ‘500 Days of Summer’ (2009)

Who’s in it: Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Rating: 86%

Run Time: 1h 35m

Total Box Office: $60.7 million

After Tom’s (Gordon-Levitt) girlfriend, Summer (Deschanel), breaks up with him, he goes through each of their 500 days together to try and figure out just what went wrong. Basically, it’s one major nostalgic trip down memory lane.

Watch on Paramount+
https://www.paramountplus.com/movies/video/r0dQLoo_xfj3aITGBbIkor8QJMdm7mJe/
7. ‘Almost Famous’ (2000)

Who’s in it: Kate Hudson, Patrick Fugit, Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand

Rating: 89%

Run Time: 2h 2m

Total Box Office: $47.4 million

Sure, part of Almost Famous takes place during the tail end of the school year, but time is basically just an illusion when you’re a kid on tour with one of the biggest bands in the country. This film’s got summer written all over it; and if that’s not enough, Kate Hudson in her role as Penny Lane is a ray of sunshine personified.

Watch on Hulu
https://www.hulu.com/movie/almost-famous-aed20007-ec2b-47a1-a27b-5df83f53496b
8. ‘Mamma Mia!’ (2008)

Who’s in it: Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård

Rating: 55%

Run Time: 1h 48m

Total Box Office: $611.3 million

I don’t care if you think that this movie is dumb, overrated, obnoxious, or that it deserves its 55% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (it doesn’t): Mamma Mia! is one of the greatest summer films of all time.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Mamma-Mia-Movie-Meryl-Streep/dp/B001N4RORE
9. ‘Mystic Pizza’ (1988)

Who’s in it: Julia Roberts

Rating: 77%

Run Time: 1h 44m

Total Box Office: $14 million

In her breakthrough role, Julia Roberts plays Daisy Arujo, who works at the local pizzeria in Mystic, Connecticut for the summer after she graduates high school. Alongside her at the pizzeria are her sister, Kat, and their friend, Jojo, who are each going through their own post-high school growing pains.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Mystic-Pizza-Vincent-DOnofrio/dp/B009510RBM
10. ‘The Parent Trap’ (1998)

Who’s in it: Lindsay Lohan, Natasha Richardson, Dennis Quaid

Rating: 86%

Run Time: 2h 8m

Total Box Office: $92.1 million

We’ve got summer camp, taking a holiday in London, traversing a vineyard on horseback, and a camping trip that starts with someone coughing up a lizard and ends with someone stranded in the middle of a lake. Oh, and there’s a little switcheroo in between all of that. The Parent Trap has literally everything you could ever want in a film—it’s why I’ve genuinely watched it around a hundred times since the age of seven.

You should, too.

Watch on Disney+
https://www.disneyplus.com/movies/the-parent-trap/5LsTU243zQ0B
11. ‘Dazed and Confused’ (1993)

Who’s in it: Matthew McConaughey, Parker Posey, Jason London, Ben Affleck

Rating: 92%

Run Time: 1h 35m

Total Box Office: $8 million

For a film that wasn’t super successful at the time of its release, Dazed and Confused has quite the cult following today; it’s similar to Wet Hot American Summer in that both had casts comprised of young actors who would later turn out to be major stars on the acting scene. Dazed and Confused follows a slew of teenagers on the last day of school in late-1970s Texas.

Watch on Hulu
https://www.hulu.com/movie/dazed-and-confused-e8905fdc-e1fe-4fa5-9a8d-0da28f6f08c5
12. ‘The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie’ (2004)

Who’s in it: Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Stephen Hillenburg

Rating: 68%

Run Time: 1h 27m

Total Box Office: $141.1 million

Many have labeled this film as being the last great episode (movie) of SpongeBob SquarePants—everything after this kind of sucks. And the thing is, it’s completely true. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie tracks SpongeBob and Patrick as they attempt to find King Neptune’s crown after Mr. Krabs is accused of stealing it.

Watch on Paramount+
https://www.paramountplus.com/movies/video/mM6oBlGnK1Tt1OzTyjM8vc_0QE1vui9k/
13. ‘Call Me By Your Name’ (2017)

Who’s in it: Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer

Rating: 94%

Run Time: 2h 10m

Total Box Office: $41.9 million

Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer take on the roles of two young men who develop a strong bond and relationship during the summer of 1983 in Italy. The two meet as Elio’s (Chalamet) father is a professor who has invited his student, Oliver (Hammer), to stay with them that summer.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Call-Your-Name-Armie-Hammer/dp/B0791VJLVB
14. ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ (2003)

Who’s in it: Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Keanu Reeves, Frances McDormand, Amanda Peet

Rating: 72%

Run Time: 2h 8m

Total Box Office: $266.7 million

Quite possibly the spark that created the “coastal grandmother” style aesthetic, Something’s Gotta Give pairs up Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson as Erica and Harry, who develop a close bond after Harry suffers a heart attack at her house. It’s an unlikely pair, as Harry had actually been dating Erica’s much younger daughter and is known as an infamous bachelor in New York City.

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/60031278
15. ‘Thelma and Louise’ (1991)

Who’s in it: Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis

Rating: 85%

Run Time: 2h 10m

Total Box Office: $45.4 million

Nothing screams summer like a road trip—especially an impromptu one that begins after one friend kills a man in a parking lot. Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon are the fearless Thelma and Louise, two friends on the run from the law who encounter quite a bit of trouble on their way out of the country.

Watch on HBO Max
https://www.hbomax.com/feature/urn:hbo:feature:GYVt78QfM9L2ZwwEAAAED
16. ‘Stand By Me’ (1986)

Who’s in it: River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman, Jerry O’Connell

Rating: 91%

Run Time: 1h 29m

Total Box Office: $52.3 million

Based on Stephen King’s The Body, Stand By Me takes place during Labor Day weekend in 1959 when four boys go hiking and end up finding the dead body of a child who had recently gone missing. An absolute staple of the coming-of-age genre, Stand By Me has become quite the beloved film over the years.

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/994992
17. ‘Grease’ (1978)

Who’s in it: Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta, Stockard Channing

Rating: 76%

Run Time: 1h 50m

Total Box Office: $366.2 million

Only the tail end of Grease takes place after school lets out, but there’s an undeniable air of summer in the film that just can’t be overlooked. Also, it wasn’t until literally writing this that I realized Grease takes place over an entire year—someone make that make sense to me.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Grease-Randal-Kleiser/dp/B001CTGQBK
18. ‘Midsommar’ (2019)

Who’s in it: Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, Will Poulter

Rating: 83%

Run Time: 2h 51m

Total Box Office: $48 million

Maybe it’s not the most comforting summer movie to watch, but Midsommar delivers in basically every other way possible. Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor play a couple who travels to Sweden for a midsummer festival, though things take a turn for the worst when it turns out to be a cult.

Watch on Hulu
https://www.hulu.com/movie/midsommar-0bb36f11-0d9a-4d80-b0a1-8815d27021cc
19. ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ (1997)

Who’s in it: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Freddie Prinze Jr.

Rating: 43%

Run Time: 1h 39m

Total Box Office: $125.3 million

Definitely a dark summer flick, I Know What You Did Last Summer is a classic slasher film about a group of friends who are harboring a year-long secret: they killed a man in a car accident the summer prior to this one. In the present day, that very same group is stalked by a killer with a hook for an arm.

Watch on HBO Max
https://www.hbomax.com/feature/urn:hbo:feature:GYEbCKwmkw19_ZwEAAAAr
20. ‘Adventureland’ (2009)

Who’s in it: Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Ryan Reynolds

Rating: 89%

Run Time: 1h 47m

Total Box Office: $17.2 million

This dramedy is centered around an amusement park back in the summer of 1987 and follows James Brennan (Eisenberg), who’s forced to work at Adventureland because of his financial situation after graduating from college. He meets Emily Lewin (Stewart) there, where they’re able to develop a close bond, though a love triangle starts to form, leaving Brennan on the outside of things.

Watch on Hulu
https://www.hulu.com/movie/adventureland-1d852f16-7763-40ba-8e9b-c092e6d7bb3e
21. ‘We’re the Millers’ (2013)

Who’s in it: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Emma Roberts, Will Poulter

Rating: 49%

Run Time: 1h 50m

Total Box Office: $270 million

Based on the previews alone, We’re the Millers seemed like the type of movie that was just bound to be terrible, but after actually watching it, I can firmly say that it’s deserving of a way higher rating than the measly 49% that Rotten Tomatoes has given it. The plot of the movie centers around David (Sudeikis), a local pot dealer who finds himself on his way to Mexico with his fake family in order to repay a debt he owes to his boss.

Watch on Hulu
https://www.hulu.com/movie/were-the-millers-d6e8b572-9a13-4ff5-b68b-51de2e6ea283
22. ‘American Graffiti’ (1973)

Who’s in it: Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Candy Clark, Charles Martin Smith

Rating: 96%

Run Time: 1h 50m

Total Box Office: $140 million

Before George Lucas had Star Wars, he had American Graffiti. Set during the course of a single night, the film tracks a group of California teenagers involved in the rock culture of the 1960s.

Watch on Hulu
https://www.hulu.com/movie/american-graffiti-fceea7cc-9bbf-4444-9883-d53c26b00169
23. ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ (2019)

Who’s in it: Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Samuel L. Jackson

Rating: 90%

Run Time: 2h 10m

Total Box Office: $1.132 billion

Set during Peter Parker’s (Holland) high school summer field trip to Venice, Italy, an elemental water creature appears, though a new superhero is able to stop it from causing any further destruction: Mysterio (Gyllenhaal). Parker and Mysterio work together while abroad in Europe to defeat various elementals, though it’s later revealed that Mysterio is no superhero at all.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Spider-Man-Far-Home-Tom-Holland/dp/B07TKZQFJC
24. ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ (2006)

Who’s in it: Abigail Breslin, Paul Dano, Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin

Rating: 91%

Run Time: 1h 41m

Total Box Office: $101 million

Abigail Breslin plays Olive Hoover, a child who’s set on competing in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant way out in California. The only problem? She and her entire family live in New Mexico, meaning that the whole lot of them will have to pack up their bags and trek to Redondo Beach in their Volkswagen bus.

Watch on Hulu
https://www.hulu.com/movie/little-miss-sunshine-600d042e-7905-4474-8867-5a9fdce5f90e
25. ‘Girls Trip’ (2017)

Who’s in it: Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith

Rating: 92%

Run Time: 2h 2m

Total Box Office: $140.9 million

Four friends take a girls’ trip to New Orleans after one of them is invited to speak at Essence Music Festival there, reuniting the group years after they graduated from college together.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Girls-Trip-Regina-Hall/dp/B073VD4W4Z
26. ‘Skate Kitchen’ (2018)

Who’s in it: Rachelle Vinberg, Nina Moran, Dede Lovelace, Ajani Russell, Moonbear, Jaden Smith

Rating: 90%

Run Time: 1h 46m

Total Box Office: $268,021

All skaters in real life, the cast takes on a fictionalized version of their lives in Skate Kitchen, which follows a group of female skaters—focusing especially on Camille (Vinberg), whose life majorly changes after she first meets this group of skateboarders in New York City.

Watch on Tubi
https://tubitv.com/movies/591147/skate-kitchen
27. ‘Wine Country’ (2019)

Who’s in it: Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, Maya Rudolph, Ana Gasteyer, Paula Pell, Emily Spivey

Rating: 66%

Run Time: 1h 43m

Total Box Office: N/A (Released on Netflix)

Alright, this movie isn’t perfect, but it’s definitely a great summer pick if you’re just looking to laugh and enjoy this insanely stacked cast. Basically, Wine Country is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a group of women who travel to Napa Valley for a wine-filled weekend.

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80194950
28. ‘Do the Right Thing’ (1989)

Who’s in it: Spike Lee, Danny Aiello, Rosie Perez, John Turturro

Rating: 92%

Run Time: 2h

Total Box Office: $37.3 million

Taking place in Brooklyn, Do the Right Thing quickly transforms from a story about a pizzeria to one about neighborhood racism when a local pizza joint only puts up Italian actors on its wall of fame instead of the black community it’s sitting in.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Do-Right-Thing-Ossie-Davis/dp/B000I9VOGW
29. ‘Meatballs’ (1979)

Who’s in it: Bill Murray, Harvey Atkin, Kate Lynch, Russ Banham

Rating: 72%

Run Time: 1h 32m

Total Box Office: $70 million

Bill Murray takes on his first lead role in Meatballs, a comedy about camp counselors-in-training at a summer camp in Ontario, Canada. The film puts a major focus on the various jokes and pranks carried out through the campgrounds, as well as spotlighting some of the local campers and their rivalries.

Watch on Tubi
https://tubitv.com/movies/400850/meatballs
30. ‘West Side Story’ (2021)

Who’s in it: Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose, Rita Moreno, David Alvarez, Mike Faist, Ansel Elgort

Rating: 91%

Run Time: 2h 36m

Total Box Office: $76 million

While most of us know the basic plot of West Side Story by this point, the newest iteration of the classic 1961 film released in 2021 truly brings the cinematic, summer vibes right to our screens. And come on, all musicals count as summer movies, right?

Watch on HBO Max
https://www.hbomax.com/feature/urn:hbo:feature:GYf0-iQ1eoRKojgEAAAAC
31. ‘Sisters’ (2015)

Who’s in it: Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, Ike Barinholtz

Rating: 60%

Run Time: 1h 58m

Total Box Office: $105 million

With their old family home being sold by their parents, sisters Maura (Poehler) and Kate (Fey) head back to Orlando, Florida in order to clean out their bedroom. Being that it’s their last night in the house, they decide to throw a blowout party where basically everything gets out of hand and the pool in their backyard somehow turns into a sinkhole.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Sisters-Tina-Fey/dp/B019EJ8AGS
32. ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ (2018)

Who’s in it: Constance Wu, Michelle Yeoh, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Awkwafina, Lisa Lu, Ken Jeong

Rating: 91%

Run Time: 2h 1m

Total Box Office: $238.5 million

Based on the book of the same name by Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians follows Rachel Chu (Wu), who learns—upon arrival at a wedding in Singapore—that her boyfriend, Nick (Henry Golding) is actually a very wealthy man with a super wealthy family to match.

Watch on HBO Max
https://www.hbomax.com/feature/urn:hbo:feature:GX6QtHQxBD5nCwwEAAAHM
33. ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ (2022)

Who’s in it: Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly

Rating: 97%

Run Time: 2h 17m

Total Box Office: $1.010 billion

Set about 30 years following the original Top Gun, Maverick (Cruise) is ordered to be an instructor back at TOPGUN, where he’ll be working with a group of talented pilots who are about to take on an almost-impossible mission for the U.S. Navy. Maybe it’s not technically a summer movie, but after seeing it, it sure feels like summer.

Watch in Theaters
Categories
Popular Culture

Andrew Callaghan Discusses The Creation of Channel 5 and His Best Piece of Advice

Even inside a crowded artist lounge at Lyrical Lemonade’s Summer Smash in Chicago, it was hard not to recognize Andrew Callaghan. Standing at 6-foot-3 with curly, messy hair and wearing a tan brown suit, Callaghan was prepared to capture his next interview— likely another hit added to his ultra-successful Channel 5 media platform.

Over the past 14 months, Callaghan and his close friends and collaborators Nic Mosher and Evan Gilbert-Katz, have witnessed the massive success of Channel 5. First launched in April of 2021 following a publicized contract dispute, the trio has elevated their new YouTube-based platform with a style of journalism best defined by them— first-person storytelling aided by a wide range of humor and honesty from its participants that is hard to believe by those watching.

“What’s surreal about our success is the access we’re getting now,” Callaghan said. “I always had a deep interest in strange subcultures and general empathy towards groups, I’m not too familiar with. So being a journalist is the only way to be everywhere at one time.”

Whether you’ve followed Callaghan through Channel 5 or beforehand, there’s a clear sense of journalistic pride. After you look beyond the jokes and forms of madness within his content, which has attached 65+ million YouTube views and millions more via social media, Callaghan serves as the presenter of the environment he’s in without making himself the center of attraction. In a way, the Seattle, WA native is a savvy point guard who knows how to be efficient, control the pace, and make the right decisions.

As we continue living in this era of multi-media journalism where realism serves as its root, Callaghan and Channel 5 consistently raise the bar. Just before Callaghan and I spoke, he finished filming another interview and had nearby attendees’ attention, with their phones out taking pictures and videos of it. But regardless of his present and future fame, there’s a sound piece of advice Callaghan remembers.

“You have to keep doing what you’re doing. Even if certain friends don’t understand what you’re doing, you can always make new friends and create stronger bonds. You can’t hold onto everything all the time.”