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Why the acclaimed Eddie Murphy Netflix movie 'Dolemite Is My Name' is a comeback story for its director


dolemite netflix

  • Director Craig Brewer is riding high with the acclaimed "Dolemite Is My Name," a look at the making of the Blaxploitation hit "Dolemite," and is currently shooting the anticipated "Coming to America" sequel. 
  • But for years, Brewer struggled to stay in the business following the success of his hit indie "Hustle & Flow."
  • Brewer talked to Business Insider about what helped him bounce back and why the story of Rudy Ray Moore getting "Dolemite" on the big screen is similar to his own story.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


Though many who have seen the Netflix comedy "Dolemite Is My Name" (in select theaters Friday and on the streaming service starting October 25) have pointed out that Eddie Murphy gives one of his strongest performances in years, he's not the only one making a comeback with this movie.

Director Craig Brewer, who is known best for his 2005, Memphis-set gritty underdog indie "Hustle & Flow," has spent a lot of time since that movie trying to navigate what can be the cruel and confidence-shattering business.

"Hustle & Flow" put Brewer on the map thanks to the breakout, Oscar-nominated performance by Terrence Howard and the hit Three 6 Mafia song "It's Hard out Here for a Pimp" (Three 6 Mafia became the first rap group ever to win an Oscar). But after that, Brewer struggled to capitalize on the success.

hustle and flow paramount picturesHis follow-up, "Black Snake Moan," starring Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci, wasn't the hit "Hustle & Flow" was. And his 2011 remake of "Footloose" was forgettable. For the next handful of years, Brewer bounced around trying to get TV pilots and feature scripts off the ground with little success. The biggest wins he got for his effort were creating the online series "$5 Cover" for MTV in 2009 and getting a screenwriter credit on the 2016 movie "The Legend of Tarzan."

"It was getting really hard to get movies made," Brewer told Business Insider. "But I think it was a good healthy time for me to go through a rough patch."

Read more: "Joker" is a chilling look at one of the greatest villains in comics that's all the more twisted because of its realness

But around 2015 things changed when Lee Daniels, the cocreator of the hit Fox series "Empire," hired Brewer to write, direct, and produce two seasons of the show. It was the shot in the arm the filmmaker needed to prove to himself that he could still be a storyteller.

"My career was rescued by Lee Daniels," Brewer said. "I kind of fell in love with directing again on that show. It wasn't this heartbreaking place that movies had gone to for me where you write a script and then spend three years to get it going and then it would die."

In fact, Brewer said his first encounter with Eddie Murphy was just that: teaming on a project that never got off the ground. But that led to Brewer being on Murphy's mind when he was developing "Dolemite Is My Name," a movie that looks at the making of the Blaxploitation classic "Dolemite" and its driven creator, Rudy Ray Moore.

dolemiteThough the late-1970s movie is known best for its below-par filmmaking and profanity-laced insults delivered throughout by Moore's Dolemite character (which he had been perfecting for years on the stand-up circuit), the backstory of how Moore came up with his Dolemite alter-ego and then got a movie made and seen by audiences was ripe for a Hollywood telling (think "Ed Wood" or "The Disaster Artist").

And Murphy wanted Brewer to bring to the movie that root-for-the-underdog sensibility he had in "Hustle & Flow."

"I think Eddie understood that I enjoy playing in a very human world of underdogs going after the American dream," Brewer said. "I really had a specific idea about the tone of the movie and I didn't want it to go into an area where you wouldn't believe that Rudy is going after this dream."

Craig Brewer Eddie Murphy Invision APHaving the story grounded doesn't hurt the laughs. Murphy is hilarious as Moore, who has to be part salesman part filmmaker to make the Dolemite character on the big screen become a reality. But part of the reason Murphy is getting so much praise is the direction by Brewer (and the script by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski). The story pulls at the heart strings as we see Moore navigate his personal and professional highs and lows.

With "Dolemite Is My Name" sporting a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (the highest score ever for a Brewer movie) and with Brewer currently in production on "Coming 2 America," the highly anticipated sequel to the Eddie Murphy classic "Coming to America," the director is fully aware he's riding a hot streak. And he can't help but compare it to the underdog story of Rudy Ray Moore told in "Dolemite Is My Name."

"I felt this project is similar to what I've been going through of having ups and downs," he said. "To make this movie and now 'Coming 2 America,' it's a dream come true."


SEE ALSO: How box-office hit "Abominable" was drastically changed for the Chinese release

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How 'Cinderella' has changed over time, from animated classics to live-action remakes


cinderella evolution

For years, the classic "Cinderella" story has been adapted for television, books, and, of course, films.

From the iconic Disney cartoon to the upcoming remake starring Camila Cabello, each adaptation features its own unique versions of the story's characters, storylines, and costumes.

Here's how "Cinderella" has changed over the years

Walt Disney's "Cinderella" (1950) is incredibly memorable — but it's not actually the first film adaptation of this story.

Arguably the most well-known version of the story, Walt Disney's animated film included some of the most recognizable aspects of the fairytale that many have come to associate "Cinderella" with today.

Some of the film's signatures include Cinderella's iconic blue gown, a pumpkin-turned-carriage, a magical fairy godmother, an evil stepmother, a midnight curfew, and, of course, a glass slipper that's found by Prince Charming. 

That said, Disney's "Cinderella" was not the first film adaptation of this story — and it's actually quite different from movies that came before it. 

Some earlier versions of "Cinderella" include a silent short film from 1911 in which Cinderella's father is actually alive and a 1922 German version originally called "Aschenputtel," which features silhouettes instead of actual people.

Read More: Popular 'Cinderella' adaptations, ranked from worst to best

In 1955's "The Glass Slipper," Prince Charming and Cinderella have a childhood connection.

In"The Glass Slipper," Cinderella, whose name is Ella in the film, is an antisocial orphan who is a servant to her stepmother and stepsisters.

Unlike many other versions of the story, in this film Ella has a deep connection with the prince from the very start. She doesn't first meet him at the big ball, since Ella and the prince actually met when they were children.

And although Ella does lose a glass slipper as expected, in this version of "Cinderella," the fairy godmother comes in the form of an eccentric older friend, Mrs. Tuoquet, whose magic is mostly hidden and low-key. 

Mrs. Toquet brings Ella a beautiful dress and glass slippers and arranges a carriage as transportation to the ball, but Ella doesn't attribute these things to magic.

Later in the movie, the carriage crashes and turns into a pumpkin and Mrs. Toquet vanishes into thin air, revealing that she was magical all along. 

Unlike many other versions of "Cinderella" where the lead has long, blonde hair, Ella has dark, short hair and her appearance is actually an important plot point. 

Because of her appearance, the townspeople at the ball mistake her as being an Egyptian princess. When Ella later hears rumors that the prince wants to marry a strange Egyptian princess from the party, she doesn't realize they are actually talking about her. 

Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical "Cinderella" was broadcast live on television in 1957.

In this 1957 musical retelling, Julie Andrews starred as Cinderella and Jon Cypher played Prince Christopher.

Although much of this movie's plot is consistent with other popular retellings of "Cinderella," this version is made unique by its book and score, which are crafted by the famed composer duo Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Because of this, the movie is jam-packed with songs and dance numbers which are much different from what you'd see in the animated Disney flick and other versions of "Cinderella."

Notably, this film was also performed live instead of being filmed on a set.  


The musical from 1957 was remade in 1965 with a new cast and some new scenes.

This made-for-TV movie adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical isn't too different from the original, but it did have a fresh cast and a newly added scene where the prince meets Cinderella before the ball.

The prince also sings a song called "Loneliness of Evening" that was not in the original film.  It had initially been composed for Rodgers and Hammerstein's show "South Pacific" but ended up being cut.

That said, the film still contains plenty of "Cinderella" staples, like a fairy godmother, magic transformations, and a fancy ball. And although she still wears a gown, Cinderella's gown in this movie is white, gold, and accented with fur. 

In 1997, Rodgers and Hammerstein remade their musical version again, this time with a more diverse cast.

A fan-favorite version of "Cinderella," this adaptation featured Brandy Norwood in the titular role.

The film has been applauded for its more diverse representation since it features a black Cinderella and a Filipino-American prince. The cast also includes Whitney Houston as the fairy godmother and Whoopi Goldberg as a queen.

That said, even though it's adapted from Rodgers and Hammerstein's earlier films, the music in this movie is notably different.

This time, the score was decidedly contemporary, mixing "Broadway legit with Hollywood pop," according to its co-producers Chris Montan and Arif Mardin. 

The costumes in this movie also seemed more vibrant and exciting than before — many characters, including the prince, wore brightly colored outfits or looks adorned with sparkles and metallic prints.  

Released in 1998, "Ever After: A Cinderella Story" was a historical take on the classic fairytale.

A history-heavy adaptation of "Cinderella,""Ever After" stars Drew Barrymore as Danielle de Barbarac, a girl in 1500s France who must work as a servant to her stepmother and stepsisters. 

Although similar to classic tellings of "Cinderella" in some ways, this film stands out because of its emphasis on history.

Throughout the film, viewers see frequent references to real people and events from the past, such as the Brothers Grimm, Leonardo da Vinci, and the French Revolution. 

In addition, Danielle seems to be a bit more well-defined and empowered than past Cinderellas. She's depicted as an intelligent, proactive, powerful heroine as opposed to a passive participant who is perhaps waiting for a prince to track her down and save her from a bad situation.

Most notably, this retelling is devoid of any magic, helping it to feel more like historical fiction and less like a fairy tale. 

"A Cinderella Story" (2004) centered around a high-school girl who loses a cell phone instead of a glass slipper.

Starring Hilary Duff as the main character, Sam Montgomery, "A Cinderella Story" takes common themes from the 1950 animated film but changes many details to make the story more modern. 

Instead of working as a maid or servant in her stepmother's house, Sam works as a waitress in a diner, which once belonged to her father but now belongs to her stepother, so she can save money for college.

Notably, she's also a straight-A student who is determined to attend college, which helps viewers develop a sense of her goals and intelligence. 

An added layer to this adaptation is that Sam has a secret connection to her "Prince Charming" long before they meet on the dance floor. 

Throughout the movie, Sam frequently confides in an online pen pal, who later turns out to be Austin Ames, a popular football player who ends up being her "prince" in the film. 

In terms of a fairy godmother, "A Cinderella Story" cuts out the magic and instead features Sam's coworker, Rhonda, in this somewhat motherly role. 

In true fairy-godmother fashion, Rhonda lends Sam her old wedding gown to help the high-schooler prepare for the homecoming masquerade dance (which replaces the ball seen in previous movies). 

Sam ends up having a romantic time with Austin at the dance, but when she has to rush off to make it back to the diner by midnight, she drops her cell phone instead of a glass slipper. 

Like other versions, Austin goes on a hunt to find his "Cinderella" by using the item she left behind. 

Unlike other adaptations, "A Cinderella Story" doesn't end with a wedding — instead, the happy couple ends up going to college together. 

2004's "Ella Enchanted" is a more fantasy-based retelling of "Cinderella."

Although most "Cinderella" adaptations feature the main character in some form of servitude to their stepfamily, "Ella Enchanted" takes it one step further — the protagonist, Ella, is under a spell that forces her to obey every command she is given. 

The film primarily follows Ella, played by Anne Hathaway, on her mission to find her fairy godmother and have her undo this spell. 

The journey results in her meeting a collection of mystical characters that no other retelling of "Cinderella" seems to have — ogres, elves, and giants, to name a few. 

That said, there's still a love story at the core of the film — Ella falls for Prince Charmont — and she does attend a ball, but there are still major differences from other popular adaptations.

For example, in the end, Ella is a bit of a heroine when she saves the prince from being poisoned; Past films haven't really seen Cinderella in a hero role. 

Plus, this film features a variety of modern songs, such as Queen's "Somebody to Love," instead of an original score.

"Another Cinderella Story" is a 2008 time capsule, with a portable music player replacing the iconic glass slipper.

Another modern retelling of "Cinderella," this version stars Selena Gomez as Mary Santiago, a high-school student with dreams of being a dancer.

From the very beginning, Mary's situation is different from what we've seen before — she is forced to live with her cruel legal guardian (not a stepfamily) after the death of her mother (not her father).

In the film, Mary falls for Joey Parker, a famous pop star who comes back to his high school to reconnect with his roots. Mary later has a romantic encounter with Joey at the school dance and she is also wearing a masquerade mask, as we saw in "A Cinderella Story."

She then runs off to meet a curfew, leaving behind only her Zune (a now-defunct portable music player that was popular in the 2000s) for Joey to use as a clue to find her. 

In this adaptation, Cinderella's dress is vastly different from all others. It's short, bright red, and is accented with long black gloves.

This film doesn't feature any magic, either. The fairy godmother role is taken on by Mary's best (and only) friend in the movie, who helps her prepare for the big dance. 

The 2015 live-action remake of "Cinderella" is extremely similar to the animated version from 1950.

Kenneth Branagh's 2015 adaptation was produced by Disney as part of the company's string of live-action remakes of animated classics, so it's not surprising that the film stays true to the original version.

For starters, many key details from the 1950 movie are present in this one — Cinderella (who goes by Ella), played by Lily James, is once again blonde and wearing the iconic blue gown.

Magic is highly involved in the film's plot, and this retelling also features classic imagery like the pumpkin turning into the carriage and Cinderella's transformation from rags to ballgown.

This film does differentiate itself from the animated version by providing more backstory regarding Ella's absent parents.

The movie also throws in the twist that the prince, whose name is Kit, is hiding within his own line of guards as they go from house to house looking for the girl who fits into the glass slipper.


Camilla Cabello's upcoming "Cinderella" remake will be a "new, more empowered version" of the fairytale we all know and love.

In April, it was announced that Grammy-nominated pop singer Camila Cabello will star as the titular character in an upcoming "modern reimagining" of "Cinderella."

Set to be released in 2021, the film's plot has largely been kept under wraps. 

Although the details of the film aren't yet available, it's safe to assume that this version of the classic fairytale will surely stand out from past "Cinderella" remakes, as it features a Cuban-American lead as Cinderella and is set in modern times. 

In addition, Cabello is reportedly very involved in the discography of the film, which could mean the film will have a soundtrack that is more pop-centric than what we've heard in previous "Cinderella" adaptations.

Read More:

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'Joker' had the biggest October opening weekend ever, taking in $93.5 million


This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Joaquin Phoenix in a scene from

  • "Joker" wins the box office with a $93.5 million take.
  • That's the biggest opening weekend ever for an October release.
  • It beat out previous record-holder "Venom," which earned $80 million its opening weekend last year.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Warner Bros. is king of the mountaintop this weekend in Hollywood, and it's thanks to combining the Clown Prince of Crime with the director of "The Hangover."

"Joker," Todd Phillips' extremely dark and twisted origin story of DC Comics villain The Joker, brought in an estimated $93.5 million over the weekend, which is the biggest opening ever for the month of October. 

The film, starring Joaquin Phoenix as the legendary comic book character, played on 4,374 screens, the most ever for an October release. The result is a record-breaking weekend cume that has already made back the movie's north of $60 million production budget for Warner Bros. The record came despite heightened police activity at movie theaters due to fears surrounding potential violence at the screenings and a Rotten Tomatoes score that plummeted following buzz from the Venice and Toronto film festivals. 

Here are a few notable benchmarks for the movie:

It's a huge win for Warner Bros., which has been on a roller coaster ride this year in regards to how its movies have performed. There have been highs like "It: Chapter Two,""Shazam!," and "The Curse of La Llorona," but also lows like "The Kitchen,""Isn't It Romantic," and "The Goldfinch."

An interesting test for "Joker" will come next weekend when Paramount opens the Will Smith movie "Gemini Man." Not being received well by critics (43% on Rotten Tomatoes), the movie will have a fight with "Joker" for the top spot.


SEE ALSO: Disney is reportedly banning ads from Netflix on its entertainment TV networks

Join the conversation about this story »

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Kevin Smith on life after the heart attack, reconciling with Ben Affleck, and how 'Jay and Silent Bob Reboot' became his most emotional movie in years


Kevin Smith Astrid Stawiarz Getty

  • In the lead-up to Kevin Smith's latest movie, "Jay and Silent Bob Reboot," the director sat down with Business Insider for a wide-ranging interview.
  • Smith explained how failed attempts to make sequels to "Clerks" and "Mallrats" led to him making the latest Jay and Silent Bob movie (characters which he owns). 
  • Smith outlined the steps he took to feature the other characters from his movies that he doesn't own the rights to into "Reboot," even those from the Harvey Weinstein-owned "Dogma."
  • He also talked about reconnecting with Ben Affleck for a cameo in the movie after the two hadn't spoken in years (a private jet and Snoop Dogg were big factors). 
  • And Smith said the movie's surprising emotional core came from him seeing his costar Jason Mewes become a father.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


Tucked away deep in the Hollywood Hills, Kevin Smith is completely in his element. He's sitting in a chair, with a joint in his hand, talking about his movies.

The writer-director of 1990s classics like "Clerks,""Mallrats,""Chasing Amy," and "Dogma" is the first to admit he lives in the past. Literally. Walking into his office is the closest one will get to entering the View Askewniverse (the fictional universe most of the characters from his movies live in, named after his production company, View Askew Productions). His walls, shelves, and desk are completely covered with photos, posters, paintings, props, and movie swag from his 25 years of filmmaking.

But the setting is fitting, as he's about to release his latest movie, "Jay and Silent Bob Reboot" (in select theaters starting October 15), which is a celebration of the wacky characters he's brought to the screen over his career. Now if you're asking yourself, didn't he do that already with 2001's "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back"? Yes. The movie is partly making fun of the reboot culture we live in by remaking that movie. But Smith also sees it another way.

Read more: Kevin Smith says Harvey Weinstein cold-called him to dangle a "Dogma" sequel a week before The New York Times published its exposé on the producer

"'Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back' you could tell I ran out of original s--t to say because for the last four years I'd been making movies," Smith told Business Insider. "I took a victory lap way prematurely. 'Reboot' feels like the earned victory lap."

It's earned because Smith survived a "widowmaker" hear attack and also because this time he has something to say.

Though "Jay and Silent Bob Reboot" has all the crass jokes, pop culture references, and celebrity cameos you would expect from a Kevin Smith movie, tucked inside is a touching story about a father's love for his daughter, as Jay (Jason Mewes) discovers he has a love child (played by Smith's daughter Harley Quinn Smith) and suddenly decides to do something important in his life for once: be there for her. The inspiration came to Smith after seeing Mewes, who has been sober for close to 10 years after struggling with substance abuse, being a loving father to his own daughter.

The result is some of the most moving material Smith has written in years.

Business Insider sat down with Smith at his home in Los Angeles to talk about how failed attempts making sequels to "Clerks" and "Mallrats" inspired "Reboot," why being ghosted by Snoop Dogg led to a Ben Affleck cameo, and how he got a "Dogma" reference in the movie though he doesn't have the rights to it.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Jason Guerrasio: It hit me about halfway through this movie that "Reboot" has a lot more heart than the first Jay and Silent Bob movie.

Kevin Smith: We made a Jay and Silent Bob movie where you don't even have to be a pushover to be a little glassy-eyed once or twice in the movie. And that to me is the magic trick. In fact, it's all a magic trick! I should be dead from the heart attack. It's a magic trick we found money to make this movie. It's also a magic trick with the cast we got.


Guerrasio: I think all of these years watching your movies I've finally figured out your master plan.

Smith: Okay.

Guerrasio: Kevin Smith can't walk into a room and pitch the heartfelt story. But he can walk in with a story about all the wacky characters he's created, sneak in a deep story, and someone will write a check.

Smith: Yes and no. Getting the check is always interesting. Early in my career, it was easy because we were in a place where it was, "What do you want to do? Go ahead." But after "Zack and Miri Make A Porno," I went out on my own and then I entered the world of true indie financing. I wanted to make "Clerks 3" but the whole thing fell apart because one of the cast didn't want to be involved. [Jeff Anderson, who played Randal, backed out of the movie but after this interview Smith posted on Instagram that Anderson had agreed to be in "Clerks 3" and the movie is now back on.] Then I thought I could gets the rights to "Mallrats" from Universal and make a sequel. I wrote the script and gathered the cast and then my agent told me, "Never in the history of Universal Studios has it ever given somebody back a movie so they could go off and make a sequel without it. And they don't want to make this movie."

So I got frustrated. I own Jay and Silent Bob, why am I banging my head trying to do these other things? So I hacked up the "Clerks 3" and "Mallrats 2" script for parts. The opening scene to "Jay and Silent Bob Reboot" was the opening scene to "Clerks 3." The entire third act of "Jay and Silent Bob Reboot" was almost the entire third act of "Mallrats 2," except Stan Lee was a major character [Lee died before his scenes could be shot].

Guerrasio: You're in full preproduction on "Reboot" and then you have your heart attack?

Smith: Yeah, I had the heart attack. When I was on the table I was fine with dying. The doctor said, "You are having a widowmaker, in 80% of the cases of 100% blockage, like you got, the patent always dies. But you're going to be in the 20% because I'm good at what I do." I'm lying there and I started examining my life and I was actually okay with it. I was totally comfortable. 47 is young to die but you had a great life. But then I realized if my life might end tonight the last movie I will have made was "Yoga Hosers."

Guerrasio: [Laughs.]

Smith: That's not the way to go out. Luckily the doctor saved my life. We then double-timed our efforts to make the movie happen. One year from the day of the heart attack was the first day of shooting the movie. We scheduled it that way. It was a big f--k you to the heart attack.

Jay and Silent Bob Reboot Saban Films

Guerrasio: But what inspired you to tell the subplot about a father and his love for his daughter? Which is what Jay goes through in the movie.

Smith: For the last four years I've been watching Jason be a dad. He's a better father than I was and I thought I was pretty good. I wish he had gone first because I would have learned how to do it. It's profound to me how great of a dad he is. And I just don't mean like he puts his kid to bed every night. He relates to that kid. There were times as a parent I would tolerate my kid, this guy has never tolerates his kid once. So I thought if you are that guy what about your alter ego, Jay? That would be fun story. Jay turned out to be a super dad so we came up with the long-lost kid story. There's a lot of "The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training" in the DNA of this movie. 

Guerrasio: And "The Cannon Ball Run."

Smith: Yes. Even down to the Captain Chaos name check.

Guerrasio: Explain to me how you can include all the characters from the View Askewniverse in this movie. You only own Jay and Silent Bob.

Smith: You can do it through "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back." Originally, it was just going to be Jay and Silent Bob because I own the characters. Then I fell in love with the idea of just doing the same f---ing movie. That would be hysterical, they now have to stop the reboot. So now I would need everything from "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back." Miramax at that time was owned by Lantern Capital, so [Miramax CEO] Bill Block was like, "Go ahead, give us a credit and cut us off a piece of the money and go do whatever you want." So now that you have that movie you can do any character you want. 

Guerrasio: But "Dogma" puts a wrench in things.

Smith: I don't own "Dogma."

Guerrasio: Right, it's owned by Harvey and Bob Weinstein. But Loki [played by Matt Damon] makes a cameo in "Reboot." How did you pull that off?

Smith: We put out word to them a long time ago, "What's the chances we can buy our movie back?" We never heard back. Then with "Reboot" we were in post and Matt got back from vacation and was like, "Don't leave me out, I want to do something." I felt I didn't have anything for Matt to do, but we were going to do a cartoon to highlight Jay and Silent Bob's journey to Chicago. Instead of that, we decided to have Matt come in and have him say, "Jay and Silent Bob head to Chicago." At the time I didn't have him as Loki, just as Matt Damon. Because he plays "Matt Damon" in "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back." I tell Jennifer [Schwalbach, Smith's wife] this and she says, "That's fine, but why didn't you think of using him as Loki?" And I said, "But Loki's dead." She was like, "Yeah, in the movie. They are just movies." And I was like, "Oh, you're right." So I thought this would be fun, give a "Dogma" update. 

Dogma Lionsgate

Guerrasio: Though you don't have permission to use Loki, is your thinking the Weinsteins have more pressing things to worry about these days?

Smith: They have never gotten back to us about wanting to buy the movie back. This is the 20th anniversary of "Dogma." I can't celebrate it because the movie is not owned by me. It's not available publicly. At a certain point, I felt I created Loki. It's not like we are building the marketing campaign on Loki, so I'm going to weight a certainty over a doubt and I'm certain including Loki is the right thing to do. The only thing that would be the doubt is he starred in a movie that you don't technically own. 

Guerrasio: I knew a Ben Affleck cameo was coming at some point in "Reboot," but what you did with him — his character drives home how important family is which becomes the lightbulb moment for Jay — is another highlight of the movie.

Smith: Imagine if that scene isn't in the movie. There was no Holden scene. We're two or three weeks into shooting and I hear what he said at the "Triple Frontier" junket and I was like, "That's just some nice s--t you say at the junket. Don't read into that." [Affleck said he was available to be in "Reboot."] And a week later Jason was like, "You should reach out to him." At first I was going to tweet him and right before I sent it ["Reboot" producer] Jordan [Monsanto] was like, "Don't do that, it's so impersonal. Text him." I was like, "I got four numbers I don't know if any one of them work." I try to first one and it worked. He responded to it well. At that point we were cast up so I asked him if he would play Cocknocker. We don't have a Cocknocker (originally played by Mark Hamill in "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back") and we had done the Bluntman and Chronic stuff. He said, "Yeah, that would be fun." 

MY BOYFRIEND’S BACK! When the trailer for @jayandsilentbob Reboot dropped (link in my bio), folks found out a few of our secrets - one of the biggest being that @benaffleck is back as Holden McNeil! The co-creator of #bluntmanandchronic and friend of #jayandsilentbob plays a crucial role in the Reboot and his scene is one of the best bits of cinema I’ve ever been involved with: it’s absolutely magical and life-affirming and all the things I really care about now, post-heart attack. But when we started shooting the movie, the scene didn’t exist. This scene - and more importantly, my reunion with a guy who I’ve missed terribly for nearly a decade - only happened because of @kevinmccarthytv. Kev interviewed Ben for his @netflix movie #triplefrontier and kicked off by asking Ben “Did they call you for Reboot yet?” And Ben said no, but he was available. So producer @jordanmonsanto said “Call Ben.” I told her “That’s just some nice shit to say at a junket. He wasn’t serious.” A week later, Jordan, @jaymewes and @jenschwalbach we’re all pressing me to reach out to Ben, so I finally did. I was scared to be rejected, but I texted him “To paraphrase the sad old King Osric in CONAN THE BARBARIAN? ‘There comes a time when the jewels cease to sparkle, when the gold loses its luster, when the throne room becomes a prison, and all that is left is a director’s love for the people he used to make pretend with.’” And after a long beat of wondering how he’d receive this, my estranged friend wrote back as only he could: “Of course you still liken yourself to a king,” he joked. And then “Would be a pleasure to see you again, Old Man.” So naturally, weepy me - who breaks down emotionally during comic book flicks - was a blubbery mess. Not only did we score an amazing scene for the flick, but I also got my friend back - all because of entertainment journalism. Thank you, #kevinmccarthytv - your #viewaskew themed opening question not only allowed me to make an 8 page sequel to #chasingamy in the middle of #JayAndSilentBobReboot, it also brought back a massive missing piece of my heart. #KevinSmith #benaffleck #JasonMewes #reunited #comiccon #holdenmcneil

A post shared by Kevin Smith (@thatkevinsmith) on Jul 19, 2019 at 7:54am PDT on


Guerrasio: Do you two from there start talking on the phone?

Smith: No. Just texting. The next day I text him and ask if he would be up for playing Holden (who Affleck played in "Chasing Amy"). The movie ends at BluntCon and he cocreated the characters. He said he would love to do that. Then he texted me and asked, "What kind of money do you have on this movie?" I tell him $10 million, and he goes, "You don't have a private plane do you?" Now there's no way we would have had private plane money other than that time and here's why: We asked Snoop to be in the movie and his people where like, "You have to get him a private jet, he doesn't fly commercial." So we made a side deal with the Kush Boys that we would reference them in the movie. They agreed, we put them in the movie, and they gave us money to get a jet. Then Snoop ghosted us. So we have this money but no one to use the jet. Three days later Ben asks about the jet so I was like, "Normally I would say of course not but I can actually get access to a jet." And he was like, "If you can get me down in a jet I'll play whatever you want." 

I sent him the Holden scene and he was like, "That monologue, that's the kind of stuff I want to say right now." He came so prepared that most of the stuff in that scene is from his very first take. The only reason I had him do it a second time was because I was like, "You came all this way, let's do it again." He elevated the movie. Holden allowed me to put myself in the movie because Holden is the closest character to me. 

Guerrasio: So are you and Ben staying in touch?

Smith: Yeah, we kept texting. He came over and watched the movie. It was like getting a piece of your heart back. Not only did it make the movie better but I got my friend back. Post heart attack everything means more and that's an instance where I realized that's why we made the movie. He was so complimentary of Jason. The last version of him he saw was a kid he couldn't trust. He comes to set and sees super dad who has been clean for nearly 10 years.

Guerrasio: Do you want to work with Ben again?

Smith: I wouldn't hesitate, but I'm sure he's busy working on his own stuff.

Kevin Smith MOTU Rich Polk Getty

Guerrasio: You have reshaped your career a lot over 25-plus years. In the '90s, you were the indie star writer-director. You then lifted your fanbase to bigger heights when you started podcasting. You survived a heart attack. What's left to conquer?

Smith: Post heart attack I'll do anything. I've learned to let go of myself as who I thought I was as an artist. My self-esteem is fine. I don't need the ego blow of, "Now everyone knows my movie is coming out." I made "Tusk," I got no ego. We're getting our handprints at the Chinese Theater, me and Jay. That happens October 14, the night of the premiere. I told my mother and she cried. In 1979, we did a family vacation on a train cross country and I still have the picture of my brother and me at Grauman's kneeling in front of the R2-D2, C-3PO, Darth Vader foot prints. I was nine years old and now 40 years later I'm going to put my hand prints. Me and Jay. That puts us in there with not just the old-timey starts like Charlie Chaplin but the Avengers and Stan Lee. I feel like with that now I'm kind of done. That's dad famous. That's the kind of thing that if my dad was still alive that would blow his mind.

SEE ALSO: Why the acclaimed Eddie Murphy Netflix movie "Dolemite Is My Name" is a comeback story for its director

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Disney's ad-free streaming service will cost $6.99 a month for access to thousands of movies and TV shows


disney plus

  • Disney's new streaming service Disney+ launches on November 12.
  • A month-by-month subscription will cost $6.99/month. The yearly subscription is a little cheaper and will cost $69.99/year ($5.83/month).
  • For these prices, subscribers get ad-free access to thousands of movies and TV shows, including exclusive original programming from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and 20th Century Fox. 
  • New subscribers can try the service for free for the first seven days. 

One of the most affordable streaming services on the market is coming to your TV soon. 

Disney+, a new ad-free streaming service created by the Walt Disney Company, becomes available on November 12.

The highly anticipated service will feature programming from not only Disney, but also all of Disney's subsidiaries: Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and 20th Century Fox. 

Subscribers can enjoy movies and TV series old and new, including programming that can only be found on Disney+. 

Find more information about the cost and features of Disney+ below. 

How much does Disney+ cost? 

There are a few different prices, depending on whether you want to pay on a monthly basis, commit to a yearlong subscription, or bundle Disney+ with Hulu and ESPN+. Regardless of which you choose, you get a seven-day free trial to see whether you want to sign up for the full subscription.  

Seven-day trial for new subscribers: Free 

Month-by-month subscription: $6.99/month

Yearly subscription: $69.99/year, or $5.83/month

Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ bundle: $12.99/month ($18/month if you sign up for each service individually)

What's included in this price? 

  • Ad-free streaming of thousands of Disney movies and TV shows, including original movies, series, and documentaries exclusive to Disney+ 
  • Unlimited downloads 
  • Ability to stream on four devices simultaneously
  • Ability to add up to seven profiles 

How does the price of Disney+ compare to that of other streaming services? 

Disney+ offers a competitive price. Here's how it compares to other popular, non-live TV streaming services. The prices shown are for the ad-free plans (if applicable). 

Netflix: $8.99 to $15.99/month 

Hulu: $11.99/month 

Amazon Prime Video: $8.99/month 

HBO Now: $14.99/month

If you would also like sports content and movies and TV from non-Disney sources, you should consider the bundle option. The Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ bundle, which also becomes available on November 12, costs $12.99/month. If you sign up for each of these services individually, the total would come out to $18/month.

Read everything else you should know about Disney+ here:

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The 12 worst horror movies of all time


The Happening

  • Horror movies can be fairly hit or miss — with many movie buffs claiming there are far more misses.
  • Some of these lackluster movies like "Birdemic: Shock and Terror" and "Troll 2" are so bad, they've amassed a cult following.
  •  Others, like "Death Bed: The Bed that Eats" have not had such luck. 
  • Here is a list of 12 of the worst horror movies of all time. 
  • Visit INSIDER's homepage for more stories. 

Horror movie fans are a forgiving bunch. The ratio of great to terrible horror movies is far from even, but sometimes all it takes is an interesting idea or innovative kill for a bad one to win over its audience.

The films on this list have no redeeming qualities ⁠— they're just bad to the point of being offensive. 

From sequels that completely betrayed the spirit — and plot — of their predecessors to low-budget efforts that seemed as if they were made by aliens who had never seen a movie before, the titles included in this list are 12 of the worst movies of all time.

Related:9 predictions from old sci-fi movies that actually came true

Preemptive disclaimer: There are many deep-cut titles and shot-on-video films that horror fans will hate to see left off of this list. The dozen films that made the cut are ones that readers can easily track down on the internet and watch today, should their curiosity get the best of them.

Without further ado, here are the 12 worst horror movies of all time.

'Troll 2' (1990)

Of course the film that inspired the critically acclaimed documentary "Best Worst Movie" needs to be on a list of the worst horror movies of all time.

"Troll 2" was marketed as a sequel to the 1986 film "Troll," but there is no sanctioned connection to the original. The plot centers on an American family being hunted by vegetarian creatures who try to turn them into vegetable paste so they can eat them.

Mild spoiler: There isn't a single troll in the entire film. In fact, the movie was originally titled "Goblin," but was rebranded to capitalize on the "Troll" name.

Even the film's leading actor Michael Paul Stephenson — who was 10 years old when "Troll 2" was shot — has criticized the film years after it went straight to video.

"It was the perfect maelstrom of events to create this unintentional comedy,"Stephenson told the Guardian. "Everyone wanted to make a good film and we failed. You can't replicate that."

You can't piss on hospitality— that's an actual quote from the film — but you save yourself from this train wreck.

'Death Bed: The Bed That Eats' (1977)

George Barry wrote, produced, and directed this late-1970s gem — and, thankfully, told audiences everything they needed to know in the title.

The term "arthouse" is often used to describe this bizarre film about a cursed bed that dissolves hands until they're nothing but bare skeleton, but the movie only takes a few bites out of an apple and returns the core. 

If there is deeper meaning hiding in the 80-minute runtime, no one has found it in over 40 years — and with a 31% Rotten Tomatoes audience score, it might be safe to say no one ever will.

'The Mangler' (1995)

Robert Englund is a classically-trained actor and a horror legend who will hopefully be remembered as Freddy Kreuger from the "A Nightmare on Elm Street" franchise, not as Bill Gartley from Tobe Hooper's "The Mangler." Based on a short story by Stephen King, the titular star of the film is a laundry press with a taste for blood. 

"That silly contrivance, along with lackluster story and thesping, should guarantee the would-be frightfest a short spin and quick fade at the box office,"Godfrey Cheshire wrote for Variety.

If you're asking how or why multiple people got close enough to be murdered by the machine, then you're probably overthinking it. Ted Levine (Buffalo Bill from "The Silence of the Lambs") is the cop on the case, but even he can't solve the mystery of why this film is so bad.

'Manos: The Hands of Fate'

Released in 1966 and written and directed by Harold Warren, "Manos"— whose title does indeed translate to the very redundant "Hands: The Hands of Fate"— is an indie cult film that owes much of its notoriety to its inclusion in a 1993 "Mystery Science Theater 3000" installment.

The plot, according to IMDb, centers on a family that gets lost on the road and stumbles upon an underground cult led by the "Master" (Tony Neyman) and Torgo (John Reynolds), his servant. Master wears a black flying squirrel poncho with giant red hands that almost form the Wu-Tang hand sign when he raises his arms, which happens more often than not. 

The film feels like a small-town stage play that someone recorded for personal use but accidentally forwarded to the world. The acting is terrible and the script is somehow worse. The only redeeming quality may be the Master's cute dog who deserved much more screen time. 

'The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?' (1964)

It's an incredibly long title for a strange horror musical that you are probably better off not watching.

Another "Mystery Science Theater" favorite, this 1963 film was written and directed by Ray Dennis Steckler, a filmmaker whom The New York Times referred to in his 2009 obituary as a "low-budget auteur." 

Steckler also starred in the film, under one of his many pseudonyms, as Jerry, one of three friends who encounter a zombie-making fortune teller at a carnival. The rest of the plot doesn't really matter because it won't make the experience any better. At least the poster art was cool?

'The Giant Spider Invasion' (1975)

Giant bug movies were cheesy in the 1950s, but drive-in crowds still found them entertaining. Director Bill Rebane and his crew on "The Giant Spider Invasion" tried to recapture the magic of that bygone era, but somehow missed the mark when it came to telling a coherent story. 

The people who were paid to fabricate giant webs and totally un-scary spiders out of Volkswagens deserve a round of applause, but that's about it. The film apparently made millions on its $300,000 budget and contributed greatly to the economy of Merrill, Wisconsin, where it was filmed. 

The not-so-silver lining, according to Rebane, is that it is among the most pirated films of all time, and none of the money reached his pockets.

'The Happening' (2008)

M. Night Shyamalan's star began to fade when "The Village" turned out not to be the terrifying horror film that trailer watchers expected. Then came "Lady in the Water," which swam its way to a 25% on Rotten Tomatoes

"The Happening" was strike three. The eco-horror thriller stars Mark Wahlberg as a high-school science teacher who becomes the de facto leader of a group trying to survive a mysterious event that is causing people to suddenly and violently kill themselves. The twist, if you can call it that, is that the trees are responsible. 

Tim Grierson and Will Leitch of The New Yorker wrote"it's the strangest big-budget thriller to come out in the last 25 years. It also might be the worst."

'Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2' (2000)

How do you successfully make a follow up to one of the most profitable and influential films of all time?

Do the exact opposite of what the filmmakers responsible for "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2" did. 

Released just 15 months after "The Blair Witch Project,""Book of Shadows" exists in a universe where the original fictional movie has become a cult phenomenon. The main characters visit the woods where it was filmed and spooky things begin to happen.

Smart idea, but the execution is muddled. Real footage of Roger Ebert's review of "The Blair Witch Project" is shown in the sequel, but that cameo couldn't save it from a 2-star rating

"One viewing is not enough to make the material clear, and the material is not intriguing enough, alas, to inspire a second viewing,"he wrote. He added that a sequel to the original film was "inevitable, but this is not the sequel, I suspect, anyone much wanted."

'Plan 9 From Outer Space' (1959)

The reputation of "Plan 9 From Outer Space" extends beyond the horror genre, as it is often called the worst film ever made, period. 

Directed by Ed Wood, the black-and-white sci-fi picture has aliens, the resurrected dead, and gothic horror icon Bela Lugosi, but it still manages to go off the rails. Cheap effects, poor writing, and atrocious acting combined to make the film a laugh riot even though it was not intended to be a comedy. 

Wood reportedly once referred to the movie as his "pride and joy," but others did not appreciate his singular vision. There have been several articles and think pieces written over the years by critics looking to reevaluate and defend "Plan 9," but it will take more than a few essays to make this film better.

'Jaws: The Revenge' (1987)

Talk about diminishing returns. "Jaws 2"was a solid meh and "Jaws 3-D"was one big gimmick that nobody asked for, but "Jaws: The Revenge" was a different beast entirely.

For one thing, the shark roared like a lion, which was a questionable choice and not at all scientifically accurate. It also had a telepathic link with Chief Brody's wife, Ellen. Michael Caine was in this film, and it cost $20 million to produce, not including advertising fees. Despite being predicted to be a box office hit, it only brought in a fraction of the expected revenue.

Sheila Benson of the Los Angeles Times called it"dumb beyond belief, hollow, bloody and nonsensical, it's Universal Studios' vanity movie, a way of providing employment yet again for its Great White icon."

'Birdemic: Shock and Terror' (2010)

Alfred Hitchcock gave the world "The Birds" in 1963, but those crows, sparrows, ravens, and seagulls have nothing on "Birdemic: Shock and Terror."

Directed by Vietnamese software salesman James Nguyen, the indie film was initially rejected from the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Determined to see his dream fully realized, Nguyen began promoting it on the streets with a van, stuffed birds, some fake blood, and flyers

Word spread about the awful film and it achieved cult status, landing on the front page of The New York Times and in actual movie theaters where its lackluster special effects and stilted dialogue played like gangbusters to late-night crowds. 

'Creepshow 3' (2006)

"Creepshow" is often regarded as one of the best horror anthologies of all time, and there are segments in "Creepshow 2" (i.e. "The Raft") that horror fans mention in conversations about the best vignettes they have ever seen.

Those things definitely don't apply to "Creepshow 3." 

Neither George Romero nor Stephen King were involved with the third installment of the franchise, which was a red flag from the beginning. Not only did it fail to reach the high bar set by the previous two, but it barely made it off the ground. "Tales From the Darkside: The Movie" is often called "the real Creepshow 3" because those who have seen it don't like to acknowledge that the 2006 film exists.

Everyone is realizing that the iconic 'Friends' fountain is also in 'Hocus Pocus'


Friends and Hocus Pocus

  • Eagle-eyed fans spotted iconic "Friends" fountain in the Halloween movie "Hocus Pocus."
  • The fountain first appeared in the 1993 movie "Hocus Pocus," in a scene where Max, Allison, Dani, and Binx run through a local park.
  • The fountain later made an appearance in the "Friends" opening credits when the show premiered in 1994.
  • While "Friends" was set in New York City, and "Hocus Pocus" was set in Salem, Massachusetts, they were both filmed on the same Warner Brother's lot in Los Angeles.
  • People made jokes that they were "today years old" when they first noticed that "Friends" and "Hocus Pocus" were filmed on the same lot, instead of locations on the east coast.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

People are realizing the iconic "Friends" fountain is in the Halloween movie "Hocus Pocus," and it's the crossover event no one knew they needed until now.

Eagle-eyed fans spotted the connection between the 1993 film and the sitcom, which premiered in 1994, and posted photos to Twitter.

People made jokes on Twitter saying that they were "today years old" when they first noticed that "Friends" and "Hocus Pocus" were filmed on the same location and noted similarities between the sets. 

Read more:Everything 'Friends' is doing to celebrate its 25th anniversary, from special merch to traveling couches

The fountain appears in the opening credits for "Friends." It's in the background of a scene about halfway through "Hocus Pocus," after characters Max, Allison, Dani, and Binx plot to destroy the Sanderson Sisters. The following scene shows the group celebrating in a local park.

Here's the fountain in Friends: 

Friends opening credits

Friends opening credits.

And here it is in Hocus Pocus: 

Hocus Pocus.Hocus Pocus.

Though the fountain was pictured first in "Hocus Pocus," it was "Friends" that made it famous. The TV show was set in New York, so people apparently think the fountain is in Central Park.

But while "Friends" was set in New York City, and "Hocus Pocus" was set in Salem, Massachusetts, they were both filmed on the same Warner Brother's lot in Los Angeles.

The Warner Bros. Ranch is Hollywood history! We used it for an event just last month and it reminded us of all the shows that have been filmed here ... It was the backdrop for such TV shows and movies as Father Knows Best, Dennis the Menace, Hazel, Bewitched, Gidget, I Dream of Jeannie, The Monkees, The Flying Nun, The Partridge Family, High Noon, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, The Wild One and many more. 📺 Only the front facades of the houses and buildings were built; the interiors were always shot at other locations or studios. The streets were constructed and arranged in such a way as to allow shooting at multiple angles to create the illusion of a much larger area, though the lot only spans across about six city blocks.

A post shared by Warner Bros Special Events (@warnerbrosevent) on Aug 7, 2019 at 6:04pm PDT on

If you want to see the fountain in real life, Warner Bros. is hosting a handful of tours this November in celebration of the show's 25th anniversary.

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Kevin Smith rekindled his friendship with Ben Affleck thanks to a private jet and getting 'ghosted' by Snoop Dogg


jay and silent bob reboot ben affleck saban films

  • Writer-director Kevin Smith explained to Business Insider how his new movie, "Jay and Silent Bob Reboot," led to him reconnecting with Ben Affleck.
  • The two had not talked to each other for close to a decade, but after Affleck told a reporter during an interview for his Netflix movie, "Triple Frontier," that he was free to do "Reboot," Smith reached out to the actor.
  • Smith said Affleck asked if the director could provide a private jet to get him to the set. 
  • Typically, Smith would not have that luxury, but he said because Snoop Dogg had requested a private plane for a cameo and then "ghosted" him, Smith could get Affleck a plane.
  • "And he was like, 'If you can get me down in a jet I'll play whatever you want,'" Smith said Affleck told him.
  • Affleck reprises the role of Holden McNeil in "Reboot," the main character from Smith's 1997 movie, "Chasing Amy."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


After nearly a decade of not being on speaking terms with Kevin Smith, Ben Affleck is back in the writer-director's latest, "Jay and Silent Bob Reboot" (in select theaters beginning October 15). 

On the last day of shooting, Affleck shot his cameo scene in which he plays Holden McNeil, the main character from Smith's 1997 movie "Chasing Amy." 

"My boyfriend's back!" Smith proclaimed in an Instagram post in July that featured a selfie of Affleck, Smith, and actor Jason Mewes (who plays Jay opposite Smith's Silent Bob in the movie) on set. Smith went on to detail in the post how he reached out to Affleck after hearing the actor tell reporter Kevin McCarthy during an interview for his Netflix movie, "Triple Frontier," that he was free if ever approached to be in "Jay and Silent Bob Reboot."

MY BOYFRIEND’S BACK! When the trailer for @jayandsilentbob Reboot dropped (link in my bio), folks found out a few of our secrets - one of the biggest being that @benaffleck is back as Holden McNeil! The co-creator of #bluntmanandchronic and friend of #jayandsilentbob plays a crucial role in the Reboot and his scene is one of the best bits of cinema I’ve ever been involved with: it’s absolutely magical and life-affirming and all the things I really care about now, post-heart attack. But when we started shooting the movie, the scene didn’t exist. This scene - and more importantly, my reunion with a guy who I’ve missed terribly for nearly a decade - only happened because of @kevinmccarthytv. Kev interviewed Ben for his @netflix movie #triplefrontier and kicked off by asking Ben “Did they call you for Reboot yet?” And Ben said no, but he was available. So producer @jordanmonsanto said “Call Ben.” I told her “That’s just some nice shit to say at a junket. He wasn’t serious.” A week later, Jordan, @jaymewes and @jenschwalbach we’re all pressing me to reach out to Ben, so I finally did. I was scared to be rejected, but I texted him “To paraphrase the sad old King Osric in CONAN THE BARBARIAN? ‘There comes a time when the jewels cease to sparkle, when the gold loses its luster, when the throne room becomes a prison, and all that is left is a director’s love for the people he used to make pretend with.’” And after a long beat of wondering how he’d receive this, my estranged friend wrote back as only he could: “Of course you still liken yourself to a king,” he joked. And then “Would be a pleasure to see you again, Old Man.” So naturally, weepy me - who breaks down emotionally during comic book flicks - was a blubbery mess. Not only did we score an amazing scene for the flick, but I also got my friend back - all because of entertainment journalism. Thank you, #kevinmccarthytv - your #viewaskew themed opening question not only allowed me to make an 8 page sequel to #chasingamy in the middle of #JayAndSilentBobReboot, it also brought back a massive missing piece of my heart. #KevinSmith #benaffleck #JasonMewes #reunited #comiccon #holdenmcneil

A post shared by Kevin Smith (@thatkevinsmith) on Jul 19, 2019 at 7:54am PDT on


Smith revealed in a November 2018 tweet that what led to the falling out between him and Affleck was that the director has "a big mouth" and told "too many candid stories" about his famous friend. 

After hearing Affleck's "Triple Frontier" interview, Smith was going to tweet at him, he told Business Insider. But he was dissuaded by his producer Jordan Monsanto, who felt it was impersonal and that he should text Affleck instead. "I was like, 'I got four numbers I don't know if any one of them work,'" Smith said. "I try the first one and it worked."

Smith said they continued to text back and forth, figuring out what character Affleck would play, and eventually landed on Holden. Smith raced to write up a scene, and then Affleck texted him to ask if it were possible to fly him to set on a private plane.

Read more: Kevin Smith on life after the heart attack, reconciling with Ben Affleck, and how "Jay and Silent Bob Reboot" became his most emotional movie in years

The budget of "Reboot" was $10 million and typically a movie of that size can't pull off that kind of luxury. But it turned out Smith had a resource because of a Snoop Dogg cameo that fell through.

"We asked Snoop to be in the movie and his people where like, 'You have to get him a private jet, he doesn't fly commercial,'" said Smith, who was able to make a deal with Kush Boys to be mentioned in "Reboot" in exchange for the jet money.

"Then Snoop ghosted us," Smith continued. "So we have this money but no one to use the jet. Three days later Ben asks about the jet so I was like, 'Normally I would say of course not but I can actually get access to a jet.' And he was like, 'If you can get me down in a jet I'll play whatever you want.'"

Ben Affleck Kevin Smith Paul Redmond WireImage GettySmith sent Affleck his pages and he said the actor was very receptive to what he wrote, in which Holden opens up to Jay and Silent Bob about the joys of having a child and how it brought his life into focus.

"He was like, 'That monologue, that's the kind of stuff I want to say right now,'" Smith said Affleck told him.

"He came so prepared that most of the stuff in that scene is from his very first take," Smith said. "The only reason I had him do it a second time was because I was like, 'You came all this way, let's do it again.' He elevated the movie."

Since shooting "Reboot," Smith said he and Affleck have stayed in touch. Affleck came to his house to see the movie and Smith expects him to come to the movie's premiere.

"It was like getting a piece of your heart back," Smith said. "Not only did it make the movie better, but I got my friend back."

So, since they've patched things up, should we expect the two collaborating more?

"I wouldn't hesitate, but I'm sure he's busy working on his own stuff," Smith said.

SEE ALSO: Kevin Smith says Harvey Weinstein cold-called him to dangle a "Dogma" sequel a week before The New York Times published its exposé on the producer

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'Gemini Man' starring Will Smith is an astounding technical achievement with a truly terrible story


Gemini Man Paramount

  • "Gemini Man," starring Will Smith as a hitman on the run from his younger self, has a story that comes nowhere close its technical achievement.
  • Director Ang Lee shot the movie at 120 frames per second, which delivers the sharpest picture I've ever seen in a movie theater.
  • But the story is dull and unoriginal.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


The most frustrating thing about watching "Gemini Man" (in theaters Friday) is all the pieces are there for it to be a special film.

You have the blockbuster star in Will Smith, some really impressive action sequences, and director Ang Lee going all-in once more with shooting a movie at 120 frames per second. All those things should equal that "experience" audiences crave at the movie theater. Sadly it's missing the most important component: a good story.

Maybe it's because the project has been in development for close to 20 years by countless directors, stars, and studios (it was eventually produced by Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Skydance Media with Paramount releasing it), but there is nothing of substance in "Gemini Man."

Will Smith plays Henry Brogan, an aging assassin for the government who is smart enough to realize while on his latest hit that he's losing a step and decides to retire. However, that's not so easy. After finding out that his last hit was on someone who did nothing wrong, Henry tries to figure out why he's been misled (and if it has happened more than once). That leads to Henry becoming a target. And the assassin out to get him is … himself.

Read more: Kevin Smith rekindled his friendship with Ben Affleck thanks to a private jet and getting "ghosted" by Snoop Dogg

A black ops unit known as Gemini cloned Henry years ago and a younger version of himself has been raised by the company's director Clayton Varris (Clive Owen) to become the ultimate soldier.

It's compelling on paper, but the execution of the story is downright abysmal. All of Smith's abilities to be the superstar are tested by a horrific script (some of the dialogue is so bad you can't help but laugh out loud) and puzzling direction by Lee (for some reason he fell in love with the tight shot on this movie). Lee going with POV-heavy bike chases in the movie is a real highlight, however.

The movie does have its strengths.

The crisp 120 fps photography (which Lee did for the movie "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk") and the fact that it was shot for 3D gives the movie a super crisp look that's the sharpest picture I've ever seen in a theater. From the first frame, I was completely in awe. For some it might be a little too sharp, but I have no complaints.

And the visual effects to have old and young Will Smith face off are also flawless. Done by Weta Digital (behind "The Lord of the Rings" movies), it's an incredible achievement that is one of the few things I can say the movie does right.

So even though the story is a complete bore, it's hard to stop you from going to see this movie. But find a theater that has a projector that will show it at 120 fps and in 3D. You will not be satisfied by what you watch, but I assure you it will look beautiful.

The business details:

  • In theaters October 11.
  • 117-minute running time.
  • Shot in Glennville, Georgia; Cartagena, Colombia; and Budapest, Hungary.
  • $138 million budget

SEE ALSO: "Joker" cinematographer on what star Joaquin Phoenix was really like on set and the controversy surrounding the movie

Join the conversation about this story »

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10 of the best and 10 of the worst horror movies that have come out this year, so far


best and worst horror movies of 2019

  • The horror genre has gained a variety of new additions in 2019, with some films being heralded by critics and others being picked apart. 
  • Horror films like "Sweetheart,""Us," and "Ready or Not" earned praise from critics for elevating the horror genre with inventive storytelling. 
  • Other horror movies such as "The Haunting of Sharon Tate,""The Curse of La Llorona," and "Jacob's Ladder" missed the mark and were panned.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

2019 has welcomed plenty of horror films, from monster flicks and ghostly tales to mind-bending thrillers and stories of survival. 

But not every terrifying movie that's come out this year was a smash hit. 

Here are 10 of the best and 10 of the worst horror films to come in 2019, so far.

As a note, the scores listed throughout the piece were accurate at the time of publication but are subject to change.

"Sweetheart" charmed critics with its simple premise and captivating star.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 96%

When Jenn (Kiersey Clemons) washes ashore on an isolated island she quickly gathers that she not only has to battle the harsh elements, but also must survive a mysterious monster that awakens at night. 

The horror thriller debuted to limited release early in the year, impressing critics with its minimalist approach and Clemons' central performance.

"['Sweetheart'] not only fully delivers the conventions of genre and storytelling that audiences expect from the film's premise, but it also elevates and refines them to a sharp point," wrote Todd Gilchrist of The Wrap

"Us" proved itself as an electrifying follow-up to "Get Out" (2017).

Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%

Despite reservations, Adelaide (Lupita Nyong'o) and her husband Gabe (Winston Duke) return to the same beach she frequented as a child with her own children in tow.

When eerie coincidences crop up and four strangers arrive unwelcome on their doorstep, Adelaide rises to defend her family. 

After comedian-turned-director Jordan Peele impressed audiences with his horror satire "Get Out" (2017), critics were quick to commend his sophomore film effort for its originality and mastery of tone.

"In his newest film, the Hitchcockian horror 'Us,' the writer, director, and producer Jordan Peele offers a sharp, often funny meditation on the terrifying power of human connection," wrote critic Hannah Giorgis for The Atlantic

Read More: 11 things you didn't know about 'Us'

Critics called the action thriller "Ready or Not" darkly funny.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%

When Grace (Samara Weaving) weds into the powerful Le Domas family, she's surprised to learn she has to play hide-and-seek to seal the deal. Her disbelief turns to fear as her new in-laws grab weapons and crossbows to play the game with a grisly twist. 

Film critics praised "Ready or Not" for deftly balancing elements of horror and comedy, with many pointing to Weaving's lead performance as a highlight of the film.

The Times critic Ed Potton called "Ready or Not" a "delicious romp with a game heroine that never takes itself too seriously, and has some pointed things to say about the class system."

Read More: Critics are loving the horror-comedy 'Ready or Not.' Here's what they're saying about the surprise hit.

"Little Monsters" earned praise for breathing new life into the zombie-horror genre.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%

The horror-comedy "Little Monsters" stars Lupita Nyong'o, Josh Gad, and Alexander England as a trio of adults who do their best to protect a class of elementary-school children during a sudden zombie outbreak. 

Zombie films may be well-tread territory in horror films, but critics applauded "Little Monsters" for finding inventive ways to explore the sub-genre.

"Cinematically speaking, zombies have been done to death, but in this new comedy from Australian writer-director Abe Forsythe the gag is precisely how far the trope can be taken for granted," wrote The Age critic Jake Wilson

Critics found "Depraved" to be a welcome addition to a plethora of "Frankenstein" remakes.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%

"Depraved" is a modern update on Mary Shelley's classic novel "Frankenstein" in which an unhinged surgeon builds a man out of body parts and reanimates his assembled corpse in a Brooklyn apartment. 

Although the story of "Frankenstein" has been remade and retold countless times, film critics found Larry Fessenden's take on the tale to be surprisingly refreshing.

"The movie has an unexpected poignancy: At the end of the day, it seems, all a monster really wants is a girl of his own," wrote The New York Times critic Jeannette Catsoulis

"Girl on the Third Floor" was praised for its unsettling atmosphere and imagery.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 87%

In "Girl on the Third Floor," a man (CM Punk) attempts to renovate an old house to provide for his wife and prepare for the birth of their unborn baby.

Despite his wife's concern that the renovation is taking too long, Don pushes on even as the crumbling infrastructure reveals gruesome horrors. 

When praising the film, critics particularly pointed to its well-laid atmosphere of dread that paved the way for its gorier elements.

"If 'Fatal Attraction' and 'The Shining' moved in together into a house built by Clive Barker then it would likely look a lot like 'Girl on the Third Floor,'" wrote Kat Hughes for The Hollywood News

Critics adored "The Hole in the Ground" for its dread-inducing story.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%

After moving to a new home on the countryside of Ireland, a young boy falls into a sinkhole and re-emerges unharmed. However, his mother soon suspects that the disturbed child that returned to her is no longer her son. 

Although some critics didn't find the material particularly original, most felt that "The Hole in the Ground" was an effective horror film due to its chill-inducing tone.

"In this creepy Irish-Finnish co-production, that fear combines with more modern concerns about the traumas of parenting in a way that freshens up the soil," wrote Paul Byrnes for the Sydney Morning Herald

The slow-burn pace of "Midsommar" captivated critics.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%

In the aftermath of a family tragedy Dani (Florence Pugh) accompanies her long-term boyfriend and his friends on a trip to Sweden for a mysterious festival.

From the onset of the trip, Dani begins to suspect that something is wrong, but her anxiety does little to prepare her for the horrors to come. 

Critics felt that Ari Aster's "Midsommar" was a skillful follow-up to his horror debut "Hereditary" (2018), lending praise to the film's suspense-driven plot.

"I was never, even for one second, feeling the length," said Film Week critic Claudia Puig. "I found it so unsettling and sinister. At moments it was a little uneven, but it's so watchable and gets under your skin in a really creepy way."

Read More: All the hidden meanings you may have missed in the 'Midsommar' ending

Critics called "Crawl" exciting and teeth-rattling.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 82%

In the action-thriller "Crawl," a hurricane hits Florida right as Haley (Kaya Scodelario) discovers her injured father in the crawl space of their house.

As floodwaters rush in and an alligator appears, Haley desperately tries to save her father and herself. 

Critics felt "Crawl" fully delivered on the campy thrills and notes of terror necessary for a solid creature feature.

"'Crawl' moves and moves us in a classical fashion like a survival film," wrote William Venegas for La Nación. "That is why actions are more important than words. The suspense is generated from shot to shot, from scene to scene."

Read More: 16 must-watch horror movies, according to critics

"The Lodge" was praised for its disturbing premise and talented lead.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 80%

Forced to spend time with her soon-to-be stepchildren in an isolated winter cabin, Grace (Riley Keough) confronts psychological demons from her traumatic past and she tries to protect the children from harm. 

"The Lodge" earned acclaim for doling out an intriguing premise and a riveting performance from lead actress Keough.

"This film will unsettle you in the moment and leave you thinking about the repercussions of grief, violence, blind faith and manipulation long after the credits roll," wrote Jennifer Verzuh for Little White Lies

On the other hand, critics panned "Critters Attack!" for lacking energy and charm.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 44%

In the science-fiction horror "Critters Attack!" 20-year-old Drea (Tashiana Washington) is tasked with babysitting for her professor's children.

Drea decides to take the kids on a hike through the woods without realizing that alien creatures have crashed in the forest and are out for blood. 

Despite the self-aware campiness of "Critters Attack!" most critics felt the film suffered from a weak script and lack of charm.

"The Critters themselves are fun enough, but ultimately the plot is sluggish and even the hard-R rating for gore and 'bloody creature violence' is not really enough to make it worth your time," wrote Deirdre Crimmins of High Def Digest.

"The Prodigy" seemed to rely on jump scares more than storytelling.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 43%

As her son grows older, Sarah (Taylor Schilling) suspects more and more that a malevolent spirit is taking hold of her child. The film takes a dark turn as Sarah realizes just how forsaken her son may be. 

Critics largely disliked "The Prodigy," expressing that the story seemed mishandled and relied too heavily on cheap scares.

"Not even an amiable central performance from Taylor Schilling ... and some early atmospheric mood-setting can save this 'demon child' knock-off from its ineptitude," wrote The Times critic Kevin Maher

"47 Meters Down: Uncaged" was called "brainless."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 42%

The sequel of "47 Meters Down" (2017) follows four young women as they plan a diving trip to see Mayan ruins at the bottom of the ocean.

They realize too late that the ruins are also home to dozens of bloodthirsty sharks. 

Critics largely blamed the film's shortcomings on a lack of direction and pacing that failed to instill fear in viewers.

"This brainless sequel to '47 Meters Down' forsakes much of what made that 2017 survival thriller the lean and mean success it was, a credible shark threat being first and foremost," wrote Toronto Star critic Peter Howell.

Critics said "In the Tall Grass" stretched its premise too thin.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 41%

Alarmed by the sound of a child crying amidst a field of tall grass, two siblings (Laysla De Oliveira and Avery Whitted) go to help him, only to become ensnared in the grass as well. Their confusion turns to terror as they look for a way to escape. 

Based on a novella by Stephen King and Joe Hill, "In the Tall Grass" garnered negative reviews from critics for stretching its source material too thin.

"Despite an uneven track record, 'In the Tall Grass' gives the lamest King adaptations a run for their money, as writer-director Vincenzo Natali labors to stretch out the story, which takes a wrong turn in more ways than one," wrote Brian Lowry for CNN

"Don't Let Go" was called convoluted and tonally messy.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 38%

In the dramatic horror "Don't Let Go," Detective Jack Radcliff (David Oyelowo) grapples with the sudden murder of his young niece (Storm Reid).

When a phone call from his niece connects him to the past, Jack races to solve her murder before it can happen again. 

Critics felt that "Don't Let Go" unevenly shouldered its tonal shifts, swinging between despair and optimism at a disorienting speed.

"The time-traveling investigation is indeed optimistic, but in reality and execution, it's just magical thinking wrapped up in a fussy, overly convoluted plot," wrote Katie Walsh for the Los Angeles Times

Per critics, "Tone-Deaf" mishandled its message on culture clash.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 38%

In "Tone-Deaf," millennial Olive (Amanda Crew) decides to leave the city for a moment of peace and quiet in the countryside.

Unbeknownst to her, the man renting her the house (Robert Patrick) is a vicious psychopath fueled by an unhealthy contempt for younger generations. 

Critics said that any attempt at social commentary in "Tone-Deaf" was lost upon delivery.

"Gruesomely diverting and agreeably bizarre in shorts bursts but ultimately undone by its determination to use its characters as proxies in a facile, idiotic Boomer-vs.-Millennial culture clash,"Andrew Wyatt wrote for The Lens

Critics felt that "The Silence" wasted a talented cast.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 30%

As the world falls prey to creatures who hunt by sound, Ally (Kiernan Shipka), a young girl who is deaf, attempts to seek refuge with her mother and father (Stanley Tucci).

As the family waits out the monster invasion, a nefarious cult looks to exploit Ally. 

Most critics found little to praise in "The Silence," feeling that the merits of the cast were wasted on an uninventive film with a plodding pace. 

"Even the always-welcome Stanley Tucci can't add any flair to a movie that feels so much like a relative of John Krasinski's 2018 smash hit ['A Quiet Place']," wrote Roger Ebert critic Brian Tallerico.

Critics called "The Curse of La Llorona" clunky and listless.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 29%

Based in Los Angeles in the 1970s, a social worker named Anna (Linda Cardellini) tries to protect her son and daughter from a deadly curse connected to the supernatural mythos of La Llorona, a weeping woman who preys on young children.

Critics mostly derided "The Curse of La Llorona" as a listless horror film that's overstuffed with cheap scares.

Critic Joshua Rothkopf of Time Out wrote, "It may further the brand a bit, but it's the opposite of frightening: a sludgy collection of tired jump scares, inexpertly mounted period décor — this time we're in a too-shiny 1973 Los Angeles — and a continued slump into generic blahness."

Critics said "The Haunting of Sharon Tate" exploited its subject matter.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 18%

"The Haunting of Sharon Tate" centers on the real-life tragedy of actress Sharon Tate (Hilary Duff) and her untimely murder at the hands of members of the Manson "family."

Although the story is based on Tate's murder, the film added elements of premonitions and psychological trauma. 

The critical consensus for "The Haunting of Sharon Tate" was strongly negative, with many reviewers writing the film off as exploitative.

"The movie's petty folly its failure of imagination and morality is that it actually goes out of its way to turn the Manson murders into schlock horror," wrote Owen Gleiberman for Variety

Read More: Movies about murderous cult leader Charles Manson, ranked by critics

"Jacob's Ladder" was widely dismissed as an unnecessary remake.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 5%

In David M. Rosenthal's "Jacob's Ladder," surgeon Jacob Singer (Michael Ealy) focuses his attention on his wife and child after the untimely death of his brother. But when a stranger insists that his brother is still alive, Jacob's grasp on reality is shaken to its core. 

Many critics scratched their heads at this modern update to "Jacob's Ladder" (1990), questioning the reason for a remake that fell so short of the original.

"The new 'Jacob's Ladder' is less strange and scary, and more mindlessly action-packed," wrote Noel Murray for the Los Angeles Times. "It doesn't feel like a dream. It's more like hearing a stranger describe a dream."

Read More:


Horror movie juggernaut Blumhouse is jumping into podcasting with a series for iHeartRadio



  • Blumhouse and iHeartMedia will produce a series of horror podcasts for iHeartRadio, the two companies announced exclusively to Business Insider.
  • The scripted fictional original stories will range from murder mysteries to science fiction.
  • Popular stories could be developed into movies or TV shows that would be produced by both companies.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


Blumhouse is taking its horror storytelling pedigree to audio form.

On Thursday, the horror-movie juggernaut Blumhouse ("Get Out,""Split,""The Purge" franchise) and iHeartMedia announced exclusively to Business Insider that they will team up to produce a series of original horror-focused fictional podcasts for iHeartRadio.

The two companies will collaborate to develop and produce the scripted podcasts that will include thrillers, murder mysteries, and science fiction audio-plays.

Kicking off the slate will be "The Mantawauk Caves," from writer-director Dan Bush ("The Signal,""The Vault"). The story will be a mix of social drama and supernatural horror as it follows three boys who enter a cave in the Appalachian Mountains with only one making it out alive.

Read more: "Joker" cinematographer on what star Joaquin Phoenix was really like on set and the controversy surrounding the movie 

"We're such avid fans of great podcasts at Blumhouse and we were eager to partner with iHeartRadio to curate a slate of dark, fictional stories together," said Jason Blum, founder of Blumhouse. "We're thrilled the partnership has already produced 'The Mantawauk Caves,' the first of what we hope are several successful collaborations."

"The Mantawauk Caves," which will be told over 12 episodes, is set to go live next year. It will be available across iHeartRadio broadcast radio stations and all its digital platforms, including the iHeartPodcast Network.

IHeartRadio is one of the leading podcast publishers, sitting at No. 2 overall behind only NPR, according to Podtrac.

"We think fiction is one of the next big genres in podcasting, tapping into the incredible imaginative power we all have — the theater of the mind," said Conal Byrne, president of the iHeartPodcast Network.

Stories that find an audience could potentially be developed into movie or TV show projects that would be produced by Blumhouse and iHeartMedia. This follows the recent trend of podcasts that have jumped over to moving image form, like Amazon's "Homecoming"; "Dirty John," which was on Bravo its first season and will be on USA Network for season two; and HBO's "2 Dope Queens."

SEE ALSO: Kevin Smith on life after the heart attack, reconciling with Ben Affleck, and how “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot” became his most emotional movie in years

Join the conversation about this story »

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'Gemini Man' was made in such a technically advanced way that zero movie theaters in the US can show it as intended


Gemini Man Paramount

  • Oscar-winning director Ang Lee's "Gemini Man" was made in such an advanced way no theater in the US can play it in the form he intended.
  • Lee shot the movie in 120 frames per second, which gives the movie an incredibly sharp look. Ideally, Lee wants the movie shown in theaters at that frame rate, on a 4K projector, and in 3D.
  • Theaters in the US can't do all those elements at the same time. The closest is 120 fps, on a 2K projector, in 3D, which is available at 14 theaters.
  • "At the end of the day you have to ask is a guest willing to pay more for this experience because it's so cutting edge?" one theater owner offering "Gemini Man" at a high frame rate, who asked to speak anonymously, told Business Insider. "I don't think it has risen to that level yet." 
  • There's also the strain put on the theater of having to show a movie of that size. One source at a theater chain showing "Gemini Man" at a high frame rate told Business Insider the projectionist had to deal with the movie crashing while doing tests.
  • "But all those things are capable of being overcome assuming that there is an appetite for this type of format in watching movies," Russell Vannorsdel, vice president of Iowa-based chain Fridley Theatres, told Business Insider.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


Director Ang Lee is determined to give you a specific experience at the movies, even if it's currently impossible.

The two-time best director Oscar winner ("Life of Pi" and "Brokeback Mountain") has been on a quest of sorts recently: getting audiences and Hollywood to appreciate high frame rate as much as he does.

The standard movie is shot at 24 frames per second. But for Lee's latest movie, "Gemini Man" (in theaters Friday), he made it at the extremely sharp and ultra-realistic high frame rate of 120 frames per second. He also shot it digitally and for 3D.

That might sound great for the viewer, but collectively, those elements cause a major challenge. In fact, not a single theater in the US can play "Gemini Man" the way Lee wants it seen: 120 fps, on a high-resolution 4K projector, in 3D.

This isn't the first time Lee has been in this situation. His previous movie, 2016's "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk," was also shot at a high frame rate of 120 fps and could not be seen in 4K and 3D because — as is still the case today — no theater in the US had the capabilities. 

Gemini Man ParamountSo if theaters can't show Lee's work the way he intends it, why is he so determined to continue making his movies this way?

"My dream is, I hope this movie [will] do some business and other filmmakers join in and we develop this thing," Lee told Collider

But right now he is the lone trailblazer and theaters are only going to go so far in helping him.

Outside of seeing "Gemini Man" in standard 24 fps, many chains are giving audiences the option to see it at 60 fps in 3D, including IMAX. That's sharper than standard, but in no way the amazing feat of 120 fps.

The closest way to see the movie in the US how Lee wants you to is at 14 theaters, all run by AMC, which have Dolby theaters showing it at 120 fps, on a 2K projector, in 3D.

"At the end of the day you have to ask is a guest willing to pay more for this experience because it's so cutting edge?" one theater owner offering "Gemini Man" at a high frame rate, who asked to speak anonymously, told Business Insider. "I don't think it has risen to that level yet," 

Read more: "Gemini Man" starring Will Smith is an astounding technical achievement with a truly terrible story

And then there's the strain on the theater showing the movie. One source at a chain showing "Gemini Man" at a high frame rate this weekend told Business Insider the projectionist has had to deal with the movie crashing while doing tests.

Russell Vannorsdel, vice president of Iowa-based chain Fridley Theatres, said issues testing the 60 fps version his chain will show this weekend were minimal. But he could only imagine how hard showing "Gemini Man" the way Lee intended would be. 

"When you're talking full-blown 120 fps, 4K, 3D, that's a really big piece of content file and playback is challenging in those circumstances as well as storage," Vannorsdel told Business Insider. "But all those things are capable of being overcome assuming that there is an appetite for this type of format in watching movies."

Remember how the popularity of James Cameron's "Avatar" made movies in 3D popular again? The same needs to be done with high frame rate. And Lee isn't getting it done.

Gemini Man Paramount"Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" only brought in $30.9 million worldwide ($1.7 million domestic). And despite Lee making his high frame rate follow-up an action movie starring Will Smith on the run from a younger version of himself, "Gemini Man" is suffering from bad reviews (28% on Rotten Tomatoes), and isn't even expected to dethrone "Joker" from the top of the box office this weekend.

"It's always tough to have a technological advancement become a box-office draw," the Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian told Business Insider. "Theater owners want movies that are going to make box office. I don't think anyone bases their moviegoing decision on any particular technology. It's the movie that gets them in. It's still, 'What is the movie about?'"

But Lee may finally get some help in his quest. James Cameron has said as far back as 2011 that he plans to make the "Avatar" sequels in a high frame rate. But for now, theaters are not expecting amazingly sharp picture quality to drive in the crowds.

"To me, it feels like we've got a little bit of a longer path yet," Vannorsdel said.

SEE ALSO: Kevin Smith rekindled his friendship with Ben Affleck thanks to a private jet and getting "ghosted" by Snoop Dogg

Join the conversation about this story »

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10 of the best and 10 of the worst comedies of the year, so far


the best and worst comedies of 2019

  • Many comedy films have been released in 2019, and some have been much better than others. 
  • The top comedies of the year, like "The Farewell,""Booksmart," and "Stan & Ollie," were commended for their talented performers, intelligent scripts, and stylistic choices. 
  • However, other comedies such as "The Professor,""A Madea Family Funeral," and "The Hustle," received negative reviews across the board. 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

2019 has welcomed dozens of new comedy films — and critics feel some of them have been witty masterpieces and others have been unfunny flops. 

To see where some of the year's biggest comedies stack up, Insider looked at critic scores on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Here are 10 of the best and 10 of the worst comedies of the year, so far. 

As a note, the scores listed throughout the piece were accurate at the time of publication but are subject to change.

The dramatic comedy "The Farewell" was hailed as heartfelt.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 99%

Based on a true story, "The Farewell" follows Billi (Awkwafina) as she travels to China with her family burdened with the news that her grandmother (Shuzhen Zhou) has a terminal illness.

When Billi's parents make her promise not to reveal anything to her grandmother, Billi struggles with cultural expectations that feel foreign to her. 

Critics praised the dramatic comedy for its emotional center and talented cast, from Awkwafina to Zhou. 

"Immigrants, for whom such experiences often overlap in intimate ways, can tell some of the most compelling stories about the human condition and the dislocating shocks of modernity," wrote Zoë Hu for The New Republic

The teen comedy "Booksmart" won over critics with its witty cast.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%

Surprised to learn that their seemingly deadbeat classmates have gotten into the same elite colleges they were accepted by, overachievers Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) attempt to stuff four years of partying into a single night before they graduate.

The comedy "Booksmart" was hailed as a hit with critics, with a lot of praise being given to Dever, Feldstein, and debut director Olivia Wilde in particular. 

"A solid debut for Wilde, but really puts Dever and Feldstein on the map," wrote Hannah Woodhead for Little White Lies

Critics said "Stan & Ollie" was elevated by its main leads.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%

The dramatic comedy "Stan & Ollie" portrays the lives of comedy legends Stan Laurel (Steve Coogan) and Oliver Hardy (John C. Reilly) toward the end of their careers.

All too aware that their golden era is behind them, Laurel and Hardy use their last tour to reconnect with fans and each other. 

Bolstered by positive reviews, "Stan & Ollie" won critics over with Coogan and Reilly's affectionate portrayal of the comedic duo Laurel and Hardy. 

"It's a modest film, but a very good one, and by the end I was quite moved by its valiant belief in decency and in the duo's eternal appeal," said Michael Phillips for the Chicago Tribune

Critics likened "Sword of Trust" to indie films from the ‘90s.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%

When the only thing Cynthia (Jillian Bell) receives in her grandfather's will is a Civil War-era sword, she pawns it off to collector Mel (Marc Maron) and his assistant.

But when the value of the sword is higher than they expected, Cynthia, Mel, and their friends are pulled into the world of black-market sales. 

Critics likened writer-director Lynn Shelton's movie to independent films of the 1990s, applauding "Sword of Trust's" unique roster of characters and sharp wit.  

"A throwback to the kind of rambling, character-driven, micro-budgeted indie flicks that used to be all over theaters in the 1990s," wrote Roger Ebert critic Matt Zoller Seitz.

Critics adored the humor in "Always Be My Maybe."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%

Celebrity chef Sasha (Ali Wong) travels back to her hometown of San Francisco after taking a break from the man she thought she was going to marry.

Soon, Sasha runs into Marcus (Randall Park), an old flame and childhood friend, who she always held onto as a romantic possibility. 

The Netflix original comedy "Always Be My Maybe" entertained critics with its likable stars and a seamless sense of humor. 

"The film shines in little moments between characters and the occasional excursion that takes time away from the plot to luxuriate in this funny, little world," wrote Dominic Griffin for Spectrum Culture

Read More: All of Netflix's original romantic films, ranked by critics

"Wild Nights with Emily" was commended for its subtlety and charm.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%

Molly Shannon plays Emily Dickinson in "Wild Nights with Emily," a film that aims to shed light on the lesser-known aspects of the reserved and talented poet's life.

This comedic drama positions Dickinson as a woman romantically entangled with her close friend and sister-in-law Susan (Susan Ziegler). 

Through its talented lead actress and subtle humor, "Wild Nights with Emily" amused and delighted critics.

Film Week critic Christy Lemire wrote, "There is a lot of truth to what we are seeing, but it is presented in a sly, deadpan way that is always amusing."

Critics praised the chemistry between the leads of "Plus One."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%

In the comedy "Plus One," friends from college Alice (Maya Erskine) and Ben (Jack Quaid) decide to band together during wedding season and attend weddings together as dates, even though they've never expressed interest in seriously dating each other. 

Critics appreciated the contemporary themes of "Plus One" and said the chemistry between Quaid and Erskine was the true highlight of the film. 

"'Plus One' might be a romcom squarely from the dude's point of view, but Erskine is the real breakout star here," wrote Kimber Myers for the Los Angeles Times. "She's raunchy and funny, giving the film a loose, wild feeling in its best moments, though it's too often predictable in its larger beats."

"Blinded by the Light" was revered as a great, funny homage to Bruce Springsteen.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%

"Blinded by the Light" traces the upbringing of Javed (Viveik Kalra) as he discovers newfound love for Bruce Springsteen in a traditional Pakistani household.

Javed uses music as a new way to express himself as he comes of age in 1987. 

Critics were charmed by the musical comedy, praising the film's message of self-expression and heralding Kalra as an endearing star. 

"'Blinded by the Light' represents such a sweet, easy-to-relate-to story that it deserves to be seen, at the least, by anyone who has shown a little faith that there's magic in the arts either in music, or a darkened theater," wrote Brian Lowry for CNN

"Brittany Runs a Marathon" earned praise for its protagonist.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%

In the comedy "Brittany Runs a Marathon," 27-year-old Brittany Forgler (Jillian Bell) is shocked when she tries to get an Adderall prescription at a doctor's office and is instead told to lose weight.

At first, Brittany feels overwhelmed by the road before her, but she learns to take things one mile at a time. 

Critics praised writer-director Paul Downs Colaizzo for centering the film around deeper character development beyond superficial change, and gave Bell recognition for embodying her role so well. 

"The highest mountain Brittany has to climb is getting over herself, a struggle Bell makes poignantly, piercingly real in her performance and that takes the film into its darkest yet most relatable moments," wrote Katie Walsh for the Tribune News Service

Critics praised "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" as another solid work from Tarantino.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%

In a bold, comedy-drama retelling of a notorious time period in Hollywood history, Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" follows washed-up actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) as they find new roles for themselves in Los Angeles in 1969. 

Critics rated "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" highly as a solid addition to Tarantino's filmography, putting emphasis on DiCaprio, Pitt, and Margot Robbie as magnetic performers. 

"Bolstered by strong performances and immersive production design, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is an introspective and rewarding film from Tarantino," wrote Chris Agar for Screen Rant

On the other hand, critics felt "The Beach Bum" was thematically tedious.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 57%

Upon the sudden death of his wealthy wife Minnie (Isla Fisher), retired writer Moondog (Matthew McConaughey) is told that he won't receive any money from his wife's estate until he finishes his next book.

Set upon a life of leisure, Moondog looks for loopholes in the task set before him. 

Although most critics noted the artistic style of Harmony Korine's direction, the film received negative reviews for its repetitive nature and lack of development. 

"'The Beach Bum' would be more entertaining if it weren't the same scene over and over, with escalation in lieu of evolution," wrote David Edelstein of New York Magazine. "But that's Korine's strategy, for better or worse, possibly both."

"The Dead Don’t Die" was called mindless by a slew of critics.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 56%

Jim Jarmusch's "The Dead Don't Die" centers around a zombie apocalypse in a sleepy town that reluctantly bands people together.

The survivors include slow-thinking police officers, quirky neighbors, and teenagers passing through town during the end of the world. 

Although most critics appreciated the appearance of famous faces in "The Dead Don't Die's" ensemble cast, many also derided the film's limp script and low energy. 

"'The Dead Don't Die' stomps in like your drunken uncle at a wedding disco and announces that it's here, and that everything's fine because it's going to have a lot of fun at the zombie movie's expense," wrote Times critic Kevin Maher

Critics said "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" was a misfire.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 48%

Based on the novel of the same name, "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" is about a mother (Cate Blanchett) who decides to pursue her dreams after years of sacrificing her time and energy for her family.

Although director Richard Linklater had a great track record, many critics were dumbfounded by the fact that such a lackluster film could include his direction and Blanchette's talents. 

"As troublesome and overstuffed as Blanchett's performance might be, it's also one of the few interesting things going on in this troublesome and overstuffed misfire of a book adaptation,"Oliver Jones wrote for the Observer

Read More: 15 celebrities you didn't know were in a romantic comedy

Reviews for "Hampstead" referenced a weak screenplay.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 44%

In the London neighborhood of Hampstead, Emily (Diane Keaton) and Donald (Brendan Gleeson) make a surprising team when they come together to take up a fight against real-estate developers who threaten to take Donald's home. 

Critics praised Keaton and Gleeson but largely found the screenplay lacking in character development and structure.

"Robert Festinger's screenplay never really establishes any expectations or promises for what the story and characters will be," wrote reviewer Mark Dujsik.

Critics felt trapped in a car with the stars of "Stuber."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 42%

Uber driver Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) gets more than he asked for when a hot-headed cop (Dave Bautista) requests a ride in his car.

As the cop closes in on the convict he's after, Stu finds himself in the middle of a murder case. 

Although reviewers generally had only good things to say about Nanjiani and Bautista's compatibility in "Stuber," most had heaps of criticism for nearly every other facet of the film. 

"Talk about running on fumes," wrote Peter Travers for Rolling Stone. "This buddy comedy traps two talented dudes Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista in a car that's going nowhere so fast that Thelma and Louise would hop right on."

"Poms" was received by critics as a clichéd comedy.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 34%

After moving into a retirement community, Martha (Diane Keaton) attempts to liven up her fellow residents' lives by creating a cheerleading team with other older women. 

The light-hearted comedy was rife with talented actresses, including Jacki Weaver, Pam Grier, and Rhea Perlman, but critics largely felt that their involvement in the film was put to waste. 

"Even by the elastic standards of mass-market escapist trifles the creators of 'Poms' might consider the challenges of growing old and confronting death without infantilizing both characters and audience," wrote Ella Taylor for NPR

Critics said "Being Frank" lacked a proper sense of direction.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 32%

In the dramatic comedy "Being Frank," Jim Gaffigan stars as a father who forbids his son from traveling state lines.

When his son betrays his trust and sneaks away, he realizes that his father wanted to keep him close to home to prevent him from learning a dark truth about their family.

Most critics lent praise to Gaffigan for his appeal as a dramatic actor, but found little else to like in a comedy that was too muddled for its own good. 

"It adopts a tonally dissonant and thematically confused approach to what is, in essence, little more than a Lifetime movie writ large," wrote Zaki Hasan for San Francisco Chronicle

Critics felt Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson were wasted in "The Hustle."

Rotten Tomatoes score: 14%

High-profile con artist Josephine Chesterfield (Anne Hathway) takes new hustler Penny Rust (Rebel Wilson) under her wing in the comedy "The Hustle."

Together, they pull their street smarts and refined charm to con their next target: a tech billionaire.

Many critics were not impressed with the film's dragging pace and low-brow humor, which they say only hindered Hathaway and Wilson as leads. 

"Why waste an important female led vehicle as a relatively mediocre rehash of a twice remade comedy?" asked critic Kimberly Pierce of Geek Girl Authority

Tyler Perry's "A Madea Family Funeral" was largely received as a messy affair.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 12%

In the conclusion of Tyler Perry's "Madea" franchise, intrusive matriarch Madea (Tyler Perry) attends a funeral with her relatives and digs up the skeletons that have long been sitting in the family's closet. 

A lot of critics dragged the movie as a cheesy comedic mess that served as an anticlimactic conclusion to a long-running franchise. 

"'A Madea Family Funeral' gives its title character an unceremonious send-off, as amateurish and schlocky as any of the mean-but-good-hearted old lady's previous forays into the big screen," wrote AV Club critic Ignatiy Vishnevetsky.

Critics felt "The Professor" muddled its own message.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 10%

A college professor (Johnny Depp) was once a teacher who always followed the rules, but a cancer diagnosis sends him into a spiral.

With the end of his life staring him in the face, his personality drastically changes as he brings a more rebellious attitude into his classroom. 

Many critics wrote off "The Professor" as a forgettable film that suffered from an unlikeable lead character and a screenplay that often lost sight of its message. 

"Depp, sporting a distractingly foppish, unfurling-flag hairdo, commits to his character's tricky balancing act but over-relies on his signature rakishness to fully convince," wrote Gary Goldstein for the Los Angeles Times

Read More:

'Gemini Man' is pacing to be a huge box-office flop this weekend and lose its studio millions


Gemini Man Paramount

  • Paramount's "Gemini Man" took in $1.6 million at Thursday-night previews.
  • Its projection for the weekend is now $24 million to $29 million, according to Variety.
  • It's a bad start for a movie made for $138 million.
  • The Will Smith action movie has been slaughtered by critics and has only a 28% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

It's not looking good for Will Smith's latest movie.

Paramount's "Gemini Man," the latest action movie from the two-time Oscar-winning director Ang Lee ("Life of Pi,""Brokeback Mountain"), which stars Smith facing off with a younger version of himself, brought in only $1.6 million at Thursday-night previews.

Weekend projections for the movie are now $24 million to $29 million on 3,642 screens, according to Variety.

For a movie that was made for $138 million (with millions more spent on marketing), Paramount and the other companies that ponied up money (Skydance Media, Fosun Pictures, and Alibaba) are looking at a major loss when box-office figures come in Sunday.

Read more: 'Gemini Man' was made in such a technically advanced way that zero theaters in the US can show it as intended

The project has a tattered history. The story was conceived in 1997 and kicked around in development for close to 20 years, going through the hands of stars like Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sylvester Stallone. Then Lee came along, bringing Smith and a love for making films in a high frame rate that provides a sharp picture quality audiences rarely see.

The combination of a superstar like Smith working under the watch of an artist like Lee, with technology that would stretch the limits of CGI and how movies are seen, should have been a huge win. But that's clearly not the case.

No theater in the US can even play the movie as Lee intended, and the story itself is being trashed by critics. "Gemini Man" has a Rotten Tomatoes critic score of 28%.

As Warner Bros. looks at a repeat weekend atop the domestic box office with "Joker,""Gemini Man" will be battling to get Paramount a second-place finish versus the other big new release, United Artists' animated "The Addams Family."

SEE ALSO: Horror movie juggernaut Blumhouse is jumping into podcasting with a series for iHeartRadio

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Trying to diagnose the 'Joker' shows what the film gets wrong about mental illness, according to a psychopath expert


joker joaquin phoenix

  • "Joker" has sparked many conversations about mental illness.
  • But while the movie gets some things right, it also gets a lot wrong, according to psychiatry professor Dr Ziv Cohen.
  • Cohen, who specializes in violence and psychopathy, told Insider that "Joker" strengthens the incorrect stereotype that there is a link between mental illness and violence. Also, the Joker is probably not diagnosable anyway.
  • He said the Joker doesn't fall into the criteria for diagnoses like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. He is more likely to be a psychopath, but even that is reductive.
  • "Some of the greatest crimes in human history were committed by persons with no mental illness or evidence of psychopathy in their daily lives," Cohen said.
  • "I think the Joker character forces us to grapple with this innate human capacity for evil, which is ultimately unexplainable, and which is fruitfully explored in works of art."
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Like many ideations that came before him, Joaquin Phoenix's "Joker" has been a polarizing character for audiences since the movie came out a week ago.

While reviews have ranged from labeling the film as brilliantly provocative to irresponsible in an era where there have been so many mass shootings, one of the biggest conversations it has generated both on screen and off has been about mental health.

Dr Ziv Cohen, a criminal psychiatrist and clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Cornell University, specializes in violence, predatory behavior, psychopathy, and other toxic personality disorders. He told Insider the film portrays the lack of resources and neglect around mental health quite well, but it also gets a lot wrong.

Read more: 'Joker' makes an explicit connection between mental illness and violence. Here's why that's dangerous and wrong.

"Joker" tells the story of Arthur Fleck, who turns to violence after feeling unfairly outcast by society. It attempts to explain how a man who was once a mental patient turned into the most infamous villain in the Batman saga.

Cohen said he is worried this origin story will add to the stigma that already exists around mental illnesses. It's particularly problematic to diagnose "evil" characters who do wrongful things, he said, as it strengthens the incorrect stereotype that there is a link between mental illness and violence.

"Research clearly indicates that individuals with mental illness are no more violent than the population as a whole," he said. "In fact, persons with mental illness are more likely to be victims of crimes than to commit them."

In any case, while the Joker is mesmerizingly complex as a character, trying to diagnose him would be reductive, he said.

"Fully alive characters, like people, can never be reduced to a simple diagnosis," he explained. "For example, when we give someone in psychiatry the label 'bipolar,' that doesn't mean that we are reporting on the most interesting thing about that person. It's just one aspect of that person, and rarely fully explains behavior."

joker laughing

Cohen said he doesn't think the Joker meets the diagnostic criteria for mental illnesses or disorders that sometimes — albeit rarely — explain unlawful behavior.

Here are two examples of mental disorders the Joker does not have

  • Schizophrenia, a severe mental illness that sees individuals experience thought disorder where they are not able to think clearly or logically, delusions where they believe things that aren't true, and negative symptoms like not having the motivation to engage in anything productive. "Clearly, the Joker does not fit this mold," Cohen said. "He is a very lucid thinker, can pull off incredibly complicated, well-orchestrated villainy, is highly motivated, and is able to interact with others at a very high level (i.e. manipulate them). In addition, he shows no evidence of delusional thinking at all."
  • Bipolar disorder, which is a condition characterized by "manic" and "depressive" episodes. When manic, someone with bipolar disorder will be incredibly energetic and impulsive, speak quickly, and excessively engage in behaviors like having sex and spending huge sums of money. "In contrast, the Joker shows excellent self-control," said Cohen. "He can be swift when he needs to be but he can also control his behavior and 'act' whatever parts suits him. That is not at all consistent with bipolar disorder."

Even labeling him a psychopath may be reductive

Psychopathy isn't an official diagnosis in the DSM-5, but basically falls under the criteria for antisocial personality disorder.

Like many personality traits, psychopathy is a spectrum. About 1-2% of men and 0.3-0.7% of women in the general population are estimated to be true psychopaths, but for the rest of us, we fall on the scale somewhere lower down.

It's associated with charm, manipulation, callousness and the ability to tell the difference between right and wrong but having little care for the rules in practice. In short, a psychopath has no empathy for other people and acts on their impulses and calculated decisions for their own advancement alone.

Read more: The main differences between male and female psychopaths

Psychopathy is sometimes mistaken as a person being "criminally insane," Cohen said. Hannibal Lecter, for instance, was kept in a mental facility under the watch of a psychiatrist.

"But really, when a person is a psychopath, they are not mentally ill, except in a philosophical sense," he added.

"What I mean is that philosophically, we can argue that a person who deliberately disregards morality is acting in a manner that is 'insane,' that the behavior is totally contrary to all that most humans believe and the rules that make society work. But from a psychiatric perspective, these people do not have a disease. The psychopathy is a personality trait."

Cohen said the Joker could be considered a psychopath, but again it is probably too simplistic. Psychopaths, after all, thrive on some of the most challenging career paths, like law, medicine, and leadership roles, because of their ability to deal with stress with a cool head. Most of the time they do it without murdering anyone.

"Some of the greatest crimes in human history were committed by persons with no mental illness or evidence of psychopathy in their daily lives," Cohen said. "I think the Joker character forces us to grapple with this innate human capacity for evil, which is ultimately unexplainable, and which is fruitfully explored in works of art."

Read more: 

Diagnosing the mental health of celebrities like Kanye West and Amanda Bynes from afar is damaging and dangerous

Psychopathic traits are usually only attractive to other psychopaths — here's why

The one trait that separates psychopaths from sociopaths

Both DNA and upbringing can determine whether a child will grow up to be a psychopath — here's how

Sociopaths are hiding in plain sight — so we asked one how he does it

Join the conversation about this story »

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Kevin Smith says while having a heart attack he was 'fine with dying' — until he remembered his last movie was 'Yoga Hosers'


Yoga Hosers Invincible Pictures

  • While in the midst of suffering a widowmaker heart attack in 2018, Kevin Smith said he was fine with dying.
  • "But then I realized if my life might end tonight the last movie I will have made was 'Yoga Hosers,'" Smith told Business Insider.
  • Surviving the heart attack fueled him to make his latest movie, "Jay and Silent Bob Reboot." 
  • He also has the Netflix anime series "Masters of the Universe: Revelation" in the works, and announced a "Clerks 3" is coming.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


For the last 25 years, writer-director Kevin Smith has built a career making light of everything — including his own death.

On February 25, 2018, after performing on stage at a show in Glendale, California, Smith suffered a massive heart attack that he would learn when he got to the hospital was a "widowmaker," in which there's 100% blockage of the heart. He was told by his doctor that in 80% of cases like this the patient dies.

At that moment, before the surgery to try to save him, Smith said he took stock of his life.

Read more: Kevin Smith rekindled his friendship with Ben Affleck thanks to a private jet and getting "ghosted" by Snoop Dogg

"I was fine with dying,"Smith told Business Insider. "I was totally comfortable. 47 is young to die but you had a great life. But then I realized if my life might end tonight the last movie I will have made was 'Yoga Hosers.' That's not the way to go out."

Smith is known best for his indie comedies from the 1990s like "Clerks,""Mallrats,""Chasing Amy," and "Dogma." But recently Smith has been making outlandish movies like "Tusk," starring Justin Long as a podcaster who becomes the captive of a recluse who turns him into a walrus, and a spin-off of that movie two years later, 2016's "Yoga Hosers."

Starring Lily-Rose Depp (Johnny Depp's daughter) and Smith's own daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, the creepy comedy goes even deeper into the strange and bizarre than "Tusk" did. It resulted in one of Smith's biggest flops, as it was bashed by critics and audiences alike.

Kevin Smith MOTU Rich Polk Getty"Luckily the doctor saved my life," Smith said.

When he had the heart attack, Smith was in preproduction on "Jay and Silent Bob Reboot," a sequel to 2001's "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back." After surviving the heart attack, he doubled his efforts to make the movie.

"One year from the day of the heart attack was the first day of shooting the movie," he said. "We scheduled it that way. It was a big f--k you to the heart attack."

Since the heart attack, Smith has lost a considerable amount of weight after going vegan and he said he has a newfound drive to his work because he knows the next project may be his last. Along with promoting "Jay and Silent Bob Reboot" (which opens in select theaters October 15), he's the showrunner on the upcoming Netflix anime series "Masters of the Universe: Revelation," and recently announced he will be making "Clerks 3," which will focus on the franchise's main character, Randal, recovering from a heart attack. 

"I've learned to let go of myself as who I thought I was as an artist," Smith said of life after the heart attack. "My self-esteem is fine. I don't need the ego blow of, 'Now everyone knows my movie is coming out.' I made 'Tusk,' I got no ego."

SEE ALSO: Kevin Smith on life after the heart attack, reconciling with Ben Affleck, and how "Jay and Silent Bob Reboot" became his most emotional movie in years

Join the conversation about this story »

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THEN AND NOW: The cast of 'Fight Club' 20 years later


jared leto fight club thjen and now

  • It's been two decades since the cult-classic film  "Fight Club" first came out in theaters.
  • Since 1999, actors like Brad Pitt, Jared Leto, and Helena Bonham Carter have become some of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood. 
  • "Fight Club" stars like Holt McCallany, David Andrews, and Brad Pitt have gone on to work with Netflix.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

It's hard to believe that it's been 20 years since audiences first learned that the first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club. 

Although the film had mixed reviews when it first came out in 1999, it's gained quite the cult following in the years since.

Here's what the original cast of "Fight Club" is up to two decades after the film was released.

Edward Norton played the main character, The Narrator.

Before starring as the film's protagonist, the award-winning actor had many prominent roles.

He played Derek Vinyard in 1998's "American History X" and won a Golden Globe for his roles as Aaron and Roy in 1996's "Primal Fear."

After his turn in "Fight Club," Norton went on to produce and direct both "Motherless Brooklyn" (2000) and "Keeping The Faith" (2019).

He's also continued to act in several award-winning films, playing Mike in "Birdman" (2014) and Henckels in "The Grand Budapest Hotel" (2014).

Although Brad Pitt's career has spanned over three decades, his role as Tyler Durden might still be one of his most memorable ones.

Prior to his role as the charismatic fighter, Pitt was already a household name.

In the yeas prior, he played Louis in "Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles" (1994), Tristan in "Legends of the Fall" (1994), Mills in "Se7en" (1995), and Joe Black in "Meet Joe Black" (1998). 

Pitt's star power has only increased since.

Recently, the actor turned director and producer snagged a best picture oscar for the 2013 film "12 Years a Slave."

He also went on to memorably play Rusty Ryan in the "Ocean's" trilogy, Cliff Booth in 2019's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," and Billy Bean in 2011's "Moneyball."

He was recently the executive producer of Netflix's "The OA" as well as the star of and a producer for the 2019 film "Ad Astra."

Jared Leto played Angel Face, Durden's right-hand man.

Also in 1999, the actor memorably played Casey in "Black and White" and Tobias Jacobs in "Girl Interrupted."

A year after "Fight Club" aired, Leto would go on to play Paul Allen in "American Psycho," Harry Goldfarb in "Requiem for a Dream," and Glen Walker in "Sunset Strip."

Leto would go on to pursue a music career while also starring in big movies like "Dallas Buyers Club" (2013).

He won multiple awards for his role in "Dallas Buyers Club" while also continuing to pursue a music career as the lead singer for the rock band 30 Seconds to Mars.

In 2016, he played the Joker in "Suicide Squad."

Helena Bonham Carter starred as Marla, Durden's love interest who meets The Narrator at a support group.

Before playing Tyler's distraught leading lady, Bonham Carter already had an illustrious acting career with plenty of historical roles like Ophelia in 1990's "Hamlet," Lucy Honeychurch in 1985's "A Room With a View," and Elizabeth in 1994's "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein." 

Following her "Fight Club" appearance, Bonham Carter memorably starred in a number of Tim Burton Films.

Some of her hits include the 2010 remake of "Alice in Wonderland" and 2007's "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street."

She recently played Princess Margaret on Netflix's "The Crown" and is set to soon appear as Mrs. Holmes in the film "Enola Holmes."

Meat Loaf played Robert "Bob" Paulsen, a former bodybuilder who suffered from testicular cancer.

By 1999, the musician and actor was an old hand in Hollywood, and he reportedly got to help director David Fincher pick takes for "Fight Club."

His previous roles included Eddie in 1975's "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." 

The actor and musician has been on a few shows and in a few movies since.

Recently, he starred as Doug Rennie on the SyFy show "Ghost Wars," which ended in 2018. 

Zach Grenier had a minor role as The Narrator's boss in the film.

Prior to his "Fight Club" appearance, the actor had several smaller TV roles as Vaczy on NBC's "The Golden Girls," Eric Terry on NBC's "Miami Vice," and Jack DiRado on ABC's "C-16: FBI."

Grenier heavily leaned into television after the 1999 film was released.

In addition to taking on the role of Carl Webb on Fox's "24," he also played Andy Cramed on HBO's "Deadwood," and David Lee on CBS's "The Good Wife."

He's also starred on Showtime's "Ray Donovan" and is set to appear on the upcoming 2020 show "Devs."

David Andrews played a support-group member named Thomas in the film.

Some of his early roles included Pete Conrad in 1995's "Apollo 13" and William Monroe on the 1995 ABC series "The Monroes."

He later went on to star opposite Pitt in 2013's "World War Z" as a naval command officer.

He also played Hugh Murphy on ABC's "How to Get Away with Murder" and Tim Corbet on Netflix's "House of Cards."

Recently, he played a judge on USA Network's "Queen of the South."

Holt McCallany played The Mechanic, the leader of the Fight Club.

The mixed-martial-arts fighter and actor has previously appeared in the 1992 film "Alien 3" as Junior and in 1997's "The Peacemaker" as Mark Appleton. 

Although McCallany's career has spanned three decades, he's most known for his recent role as Bill Tench on Netflix's "Mindhunter."

In addition to playing the FBI agent on the Netflix series, he also recently played Robert McCoy on the CBS show "Blue Bloods."

Read More:

'Joker' scores an October 2nd weekend record at the box office, while 'Gemini Man' bombs



  • "Joker" won the domestic box office for a second-straight weekend.
  • It brought in an estimated $55 million, the best week two performance ever by a movie released in October.
  • "Gemini Man" came in third place, earning only $20.5 million.
  • The movie's budget was $138 million.
  • Neon's "Parasite" brought in $376,264 on three screens and had a per-screen average of $125,421, the best average of any movie this year.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Warner Bros. has got something special with "Joker." The super serious (and ultra violent) origin story of DC Comics' greatest villain continues to put up record-breaking numbers for October.

After having the biggest opening weekend for the month last weekend, in its second go around "Joker" brought in an estimated $55 million. That's just a measly 43% drop from last weekend and an October record for best week two performance, topping the studio's release of "Gravity" ($43.1 million) in 2013.

Budgeted around $55 million (north of $60 million when you count marketing), "Joker" now has a global cume to date of over $540 million. WB is raking in the money!

Read more: Kevin Smith rekindled his friendship with Ben Affleck thanks to a private jet and getting "ghosted" by Snoop Dogg

But while Warner Bros. soaks in the fruits of its labor, across town Paramount is in full crisis mode with "Gemini Man."

Will Smith's latest movie, which showcased technological feats rarely seen in theaters, was supposed to be a worthy adversary to "Joker," but the Ang Lee movie didn't put up much of a fight.

"Gemini Man" came in third place (United Artists' "The Addams Family" came in second with $30.2 million) only bringing in $20.5 million this weekend. That's below its industry projections and setting the stage for Paramount and the other companies that shared the financial burden (Skydance Media, Fosun Pictures, and Alibaba) to potentially lose millions as the movie cost $138 million to make.

Whether it was its tired story, which had been floating around in development for almost 20 years, or the decision by Lee to shoot it in the high frame rate of 120 frame per second, which gives the picture a sharpness audiences aren't huge fans of yet (it's so advanced no theater in the US could show it the way Lee intended), nothing worked for "Gemini Man."

Now Paramount, whose biggest earner in 2019 is the Elton John biopic "Rocketman" with over $195 million earned worldwide, will put its hopes in "Terminator: Dark Fate" (opening November 1) providing a lift for the studio to close out the year.

Meanwhile on the arthouse side, Neon's "Parasite" showed that the hype is real for the latest movie by Bong Joon-Ho ("Snowpiercer,""Okja"). Playing in only three theaters this weekend, it brought in $376,264 and had a per-screen average of $125,421. That's the best screen average of any movie this year. It's also the highest per-screen average since 2016's "La La Land."


SEE ALSO: Horror movie juggernaut Blumhouse is jumping into podcasting with a series for iHeartRadio

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Taika Waititi explains the origins of his Oscar contender 'Jojo Rabbit,' why he ended up playing Hitler, and what it was like directing in costume


Jojo Rabbit Fox Searchlight

  • Taika Waititi spoke with Business Insider about his acclaimed Nazi satire, "Jojo Rabbit."
  • Waititi wrote and directed the movie, and also stars as an imaginary Adolf Hitler who the main character talks to.
  • Waititi said the first draft of the script was more dramatic and didn't include the Hitler character.
  • Almost five years after Waititi wrote the script, Fox Searchlight said it wanted to make the movie, as long as Waititi played the Hitler character, "which was lunacy to me," Waititi said.
  • The director eventually agreed and the result is a movie that is building Oscar buzz.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


Taika Waititi's eyes widen when he spots a couch in the room where his interview with Business Insider is set to take place. He goes straight for it and lies down, stretching across the entire piece of furniture. Moments later, he takes off his shoes to get even more comfortable.

Waititi will take relaxing moments when he can find them. His last few weeks have seen him pin-balling from Disney's huge fan event D23 in Los Angeles, to the Toronto International Film Festival, to the Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, and now back to LA.

But the actor-writer-director isn't complaining.

He's currently a hot commodity in every facet of his career. On the acting side, there's roles in anticipated projects like the Disney Plus series "The Mandalorian," the Ryan Reynolds comedy "Free Guy," and James Gunn's "The Suicide Squad." Waititi has also begun work writing "Thor: Love and Thunder" (coming out November 2021), the sequel to his successful first directing effort of a Marvel Cinematic Universe title, "Thor: Ragnarok." But what he's focused on most as he lies on the couch is his latest directing effort, "Jojo Rabbit" (in select theaters on Friday).  

Written, directed, and starring Waititi, the movie is a unique coming-of-age tale: Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) is a young boy living with his mother (Scarlett Johansson) in Germany at the height of the Nazi regime during World War II. Jojo wants nothing more than to grow up to be a loyal Nazi and even has an imaginary friend who is a Nazi: Adolf Hitler himself (played by Waititi).

But the boy's life is thrown for a loop when he learns that his mother has been letting a Jewish girl hide in their house. 

In typical Waititi fashion, the story is original, full of heart, hilarious at times, and showcases the talents of its actors (particularly Johansson). All that adds up to a movie that you will hear more about as we get deeper into award season (especially after the movie won the audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival, which has led to Oscar gold for numerous past winners).

Business Insider spoke to Waititi about switching quickly from drama to dark comedy in the early drafts of writing "Jojo Rabbit," why he knew casting a major star to play Hitler was the wrong move, and what it was like to direct while in his Hitler costume.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Jason Guerrasio: The source material for "Jojo Rabbit" is Chelsea Winstanley's book, "Caging Skies," but did your time spent in Berlin painting during your 20s influence the story at all?

Taika Waititi: No. I stole some of my friends' names that I grew up with while living in Berlin and put them in. While I was in Berlin, I was living the life of an artist so it was very free. Germany was very vibrant and liberal. The club scene was incredible. I think I drew more on the World War II films that I'd seen and some comedies.

Guerrasio: Speaking of watching war movies, was "Empire of the Sun" one of them? Because in some ways I compare the journey of Christian Bale's Jim character with Jojo's. 

Waititi: I definitely watched it in the last few years. I would have watched it to specifically look for something. 

Guerrasio: Even John Malkovich's character in that movie has a similar father figure-like relationship that Sam Rockwell's Nazi commander character has with Jojo. 

Waititi: Yeah. You're right. So there's that. "Alive Doesn't Live Here Anymore," that was more for the mother relationship. Ellen Burstyn is the greatest single mother character that's ever been committed to screen. She's so good in that. Having a mother who raised me by herself I was really struck by watching that film. And having kids myself, I also just fully realized how hard their job was. And not to just keep a kid alive, but to shield them from bullying and prejudice and the darkness of the world. Trying to keep their lives bright and happy even when you're feeling like s--t. Not to take it out on them, trying to raise a good person. 

Guerrasio: Scarlett Johansson's character is a mother who really knows how to keep her interactions with her son not as toxic as everything around them. Is that a character trait your mother had?

Waititi: When I was growing up I felt it was pretty chill but obviously there are certain things, and again, being a father now, there are just things kids do that piss you off. [Laughs.] With Scarlett's character I thought a little of [Roberto] Benigni in "Life Is Beautiful," where he is distracting his son from what's really going on around them. He never loses it at all. There's the one moment with Scarlett in the living room where she just snaps and then remembers herself. But I really wanted people to fall in love with her. I wanted the audience to see her as really the only grounded force in the film. Everyone else is running around like headless chickens and all she's trying to do is keep the kid safe. 

Guerrasio: Did you get any rehearsal time with her? I would think with her schedule you only had her for a limited time.

Waititi: Yeah, we just talked. We talked a lot about it. 

jojo rabbit foxsearchlightGuerrasio: Did you feel that was enough?

Waititi: Unless you are searching for something, I'm not really sure you need much rehearsal. I felt the script was really in a place where I was really happy with it, and if there was anything we were searching for dialogue-wise, we could just talk about it and go off and try to execute those notes. And then there's also having amazing actors. With Sam and Scarlett, you don't really need to overthink it. I've learned that over the years, if you know someone is really good and they're smart and you have had those homework discussions earlier then most of your work is done. 

Guerrasio: Let's change it up and talk about Hitler.

Waititi: I've brought this on myself. 

Guerrasio: It sounds like early drafts of the script didn't have him in the story, right?

Waititi: The very first draft didn't have him, but then I started all over again. 

Guerrasio: What was the lightbulb moment?

Waititi: The book, I'll be straight up, is not a comedy. It's very much dramatic. And I was just about to do "What We Do in the Shadows," and I felt then that I was only interested in doing this if it's a different story from these World War II films. Knowing myself, I knew eventually I was going to put humor into it somewhere. When I rewrote it, I just started typing and it just kind of wrote itself. It only took me a couple of weeks. And I don't usually start at page one but I started and basically wrote all the way through. And the Adolf character came about and the script hasn't changed that much since. It's really hard to explain because the only time it's really happened to me is with this script.

Guerrasio: So in the rewrite that's when things get outlandish. 

Waititi: Yeah. The first version wasn't a comedy. 


Guerrasio: That first draft was more true to the book?

Waititi: Yeah. I wrote the first draft with a friend of mine. It was brilliant but it just didn't feel like me. 

Guerrasio: And also you probably asked yourself, "Do you want to do a serious movie on this subject?"

Waititi:"Do I have to go to work and feel sad and angry all day." So I started again. I didn't even have this idea in my head of having this imaginary friend. I think I wanted to get rid of the father. I wanted to have this life in the house small and simple. Just the kid and the mother. In the book there's the kid, the mother, the grandmother, the father comes back and forth. There were just too many characters to try and do this. So I got rid of all of that and then just gave him a friend.

Guerrasio: How did you end up playing Hitler?

Waititi: It was never my intention. The furthest thing from my mind was me playing him. Then we shopped it around to a few agencies, not even specific actors, and asked, "What do you think of the script? Who do you think would work?" Back when we were getting this off the ground it was all about what actors are a box-office draw when it came to making period movies. So a lot of the investors said, "We need an A-lister to play Hitler." I could see why they would say that, but weirdly it's not like that anymore. 

Guerrasio: And if you cast a star, all I'm going to see in that role is that star.

Waititi: You're exactly right. So, let's come up with a name. Big movie star. 

Guerrasio: Um … Brad Pitt. 

Waititi: If it's the Brad Pitt Hitler movie that's all it's going to be known as. 

Guerrasio: It's true. 

Waititi: And he'll be the only thing on the poster and it will distract from the real heart of that story which are these kids. And I want to see a Brad Pitt anything movie but it would have taken away from what the story is trying to deliver. 

Taika Waititi Kimberley French Fox SearchlightGuerrasio: So you have to take the role. 

Waititi: And it was [the movie's distributor] Fox Searchlight's decision.

Guerrasio: Really?

Waititi: After I finished shooting "Thor: Ragnarok" they came in and said they really loved the script. This is four or five years after I wrote it. They said they really want to make it but they said, "We're only interested if you play Hitler." Which was lunacy to me. 

Guerrasio: What was their pitch? Why?

Waititi: They made a good point which was that particular role is written a certain way and it needs to be handled by the person who invented that character. Part of it, like we said, is the celebrity distraction thing, but also because the way I wrote it, and because I knew how it needed to be played, it fell on me. And it actually made it easier to play because I didn't have to deal with someone else filtering what I was trying to do. They were right, looking back on it. If I worked with another actor maybe that person would have researched it too much or tried to do a more authentic version of Hitler and pulled away the buffoonery I was after.

Guerrasio: So what was it like on set directing in costume? 

Waititi: Yeah, it was horrible. 

Guerrasio: Did you address everyone on set the first day of shooting? "Sorry guys, it is what it is." 

Waititi: I did actually have to do that. I was just embarrassed on set. Having to be dressed like that and having to talk to people. Often I took off the mustache between set ups or put a hat on. Or I would take the jacket off. But still, you catch yourself in a reflection and you're reminded. For most people it's something like seeing themselves and going, "I forgot, I got a haircut yesterday." For me it was, "Ah, I forgot, I look like Hitler."

SEE ALSO: The Nazi satire "Jojo Rabbit" is a heartfelt coming-of-age comedy by the director of "Thor: Ragnarok" that feautures an amazing performance by Scarlett Johansson

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