Next Chapter

Ok, I’m not going to talk about this on video or make any sort of grand announcement because I did that once already. But I did want to give those of you who follow me on social media the heads up that I have given my 2 weeks notice to Complex and that I’m leaving Collider Video. Since I took 2 weeks vacation time when my friend died on Friday, that means you won’t be seeing me back on Collider (except for some stuff I pre-recorded and any guest or freelance stuff I do with them in the future).

Here’s the thing, the death of my buddy this week affected me far more profoundly than I anticipated. His passing made me realize 2 things:

1) Life is far too short to allow yourself to be unhappy

2) I have been unhappy at Collider for a while

Now, before anyone reads too much into that last statement, I love the people at Complex and Collider. As a matter of fact, I was just texting back and forth with my (former) boss last night about how bad Transformers 5 is. We get along great. He’s moving to Los Angeles and we’re probably going to hang out a lot. The SVP of Complex was on the phone with me yesterday asking if there was any way I’d reconsider. They, and the team I’ve built over the years, are all amazing and I hold them all in high regard and respect them greatly. I’ll probably still do some random things with them in the future.

However, the direction the operation was heading in, as well as some key decisions that were being made, I’ve disagreed with strongly and have made me very uncomfortable. Not to say that I’m right to disagree nor that they’re wrong. Not at all. Right or wrong doesn’t come into it. But as I told my (former) boss, if I stayed I was just going to continue being frustrated and unhappy and maybe become an obstruction to what he wants to do with Collider. Neither of those are good scenarios for anyone. I want to be happy, and I want my boss to succeed because he and all the folks at Collider are awesome.

Life is too short to allow yourself to be unhappy.

It’s also important to know that I’m not leaving for something else. I don’t have anything lined up yet. I have some standing offers from places and I’m sure I’ll get others.

One thing I’m absolutely going to do regardless of any other jobs I take in the future is to get my own YouTube channel properly back up and running. I realized a long time ago that I’ve never been happier than when I was just running my old site The Movie Blog. My own site. My own property. My own thing. I love doing stuff on my own channel and I’m absolutely going to be doing a lot more there moving forward. I hope you’ll join me.

Life is too short to allow yourself to be unhappy.

So please, let’s not make a big deal out of this. I specifically asked Collider NOT to make any sort of announcement. I want the focus at Collider Video to be on the people who are still there doing great stuff every day. Not on me leaving.

So you might be asking yourself “why tell us this then?”. Well, because I couldn’t think of a way to ask you guys to start tuning into my YouTube channel more without telling you what was going on. Trust me, I wish I could have just disappeared and never mentioned it, but I didn’t see any realistic way of doing that.

Lastly, please do 2 things:

1) Continue to watch and support the team at Collider Video. You’ll never have any idea how much they bust their asses over there to give you the best content they can.

2) Please consider watching and supporting me too! Subscribe to my YouTube channel, youtube.com/johncampea and make sure you’re following me on facebook and twitter @johncampea. I’ll update you immediately if and when I decide to take another gig.

Thank you.

My Old Transformers 2 Review

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Eight years ago I made a video review of Transformers 2. In the video I expressed how outraged and offended I was over the blatant racism and use of overtly negative black racial stereotypes. I was beside myself. Granted, I may have been especially sensitive to the subject matter since my girlfriend of almost a year at the time just happened to be black. The twin autobots in the film were the embodiment of every negative and poisonous black youth stereotype you could muster including them being illiterate (no seriously, robots that couldn’t read) and a lack of intelligence. In the video I juxtaposed the positive portrayal of Jazz in the first film to highlight how offensive these characters were. instead of making these characters strong positive characters like Jazz, I said in the video they opted to portray them as “hood niggas” to highlight just how offensive those characters are. I refused to sugarcoat what I felt the movie did. I was angry. I used extremely ugly language to properly call out and label an extremely ugly situation the movie created with those characters.

That was 8 years ago and it seems everyone who watched my ENTIRE review understood it perfectly. However, this weekend, 8 years later, someone took that video and selectively picked out the 3 SECONDS where I used the phrase “hood niggas” while editing out all of the context of the video. Clearly the person had an agenda. They made their own 3-second video, of a review I did 8 years ago, obviously in an attempt to make it appear like I was saying something I was clearly saying the opposite of. It sickens me that I even have to write this “explanation”, but that’s the nature of trolls online today. I encourage you to watch the full true context of this nonsense, please view my full review here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvYgzfhwEfI

My objective was not to offend anyone, but rather to share my outrage with others and communicate just how offended I was as an individual over the reckless and heinous use of negative black stereotypes. The reason my review is still online today is because everyone who saw it viewed it in context and understood it as such. In 8 years I never received any complaints from anyone misunderstanding my point. I never heard from any viewers expressing they were offended or hurt by my use of the phrase in context. If anyone had, I would have removed the video EIGHT YEARS AGO. But now, when a bunch of people see it for the first time out of context in a 3 second selectively edited video, it becomes a different beast (and to some degree that’s understandable). Obviously, I feel terrible and am deeply sorry if anyone took offense or felt hurt by my choice of words. I hope in context it at least is clear that my intent was to express outrage over what I considered to be an unacceptable portrayal of an entire people group.

I know the trolls that create these sorts of things are just trying to get a reaction, and it sucks that they’ve succeeded in getting me to respond. It especially bothers me that I have to deal with these trolls the day after my friend died, and instead of being on the phone with my friends back home grieving, I’m having to deal with this. Terrible day.

**UPDATE** Apparently the post with the 3 second video has been deleted by the person who put it up. Ummm… thank you???

Why You Shouldn’t Believe Ben Affleck’s Statement Re: Not Directing Batman

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To some it came as a complete shock and surprise. To others, who had been paying attention to the events, odd statements, mixed signals and contradictory positions not as much so. Either way it shook the entertainment world this past weekend when Ben Affleck announced that he was stepping down as the director for the upcoming Batman stand alone film. His statement was very diplomatic, professional… and complete fiction. Here’s his statement:

“There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions. Performing this role demands focus, passion and the very best performance I can give. It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require. Together with the studio, I have decided to find a partner in a director who will collaborate with me on this massive film. I am still in this, and we are making it, but we are currently looking for a director. I remain extremely committed to this project, and look forward to bringing this to life for fans around the world.”

Diplomatic. Professional. Complete fiction that isn’t to be believed.

Before I venture into why no self-respecting film fan should buy into this well meant, although completely deceptive statement, let me say that this was nonetheless absolutely the appropriate statement to make. Regardless of how messy, heated or conflict muddled the true situation between Ben Affleck and his vision for the Batman film and Warner Bros had become, it would serve no one’s best interests to air the grievances. No party here stood to gain anything by throwing the other under the proverbial bus or engaging in any sort of public “he said/she said” quarrel, especially since they are both stuck working together (more on that later). The professional thing to do here was to draft a statement singing the praises of each other and that’s what they did. That’s also what they should have done notwithstanding that it’s a complete lie.

So why am I and others completely convinced that this statement is nothing more than a PR charade masking a much deeper problem? Well there are several reasons:

1) A GROWING LIST OF DYSFUNCTION AT DC
One could look much more innocently at the directorial departure of Ben Affleck as nothing more than the face value of his statement had this been the first “break up” between WB/DC and one of its filmmakers in recent months. However, Affleck’s departure is just the latest in an ever increasing pattern. From FLASH recently discarding their script (yet again) for a full page 1 rewrite, to WONDER WOMAN director Michelle MacLaren leaving the project over “creative differences”, to FLASH going through 2 on record directors (and a third unofficially as it was strongly reported that LEGO MOVIE’s Lord and Miller were tapped to direct the project before departing the project) and still to this day is without a director after parting ways with Rick Famuyiwa. The list astoundingly does go on. A DC movie disruption of one sort or another has become a weekly headline and occurrence. To see the Affleck departure outside of that light would be neglectful at best.

2) DID BEN LIE TWO WEEKS AGO OR NOW?
Amidst speculation and reports that the relationship between Affleck and WB was souring (I’ll go more into that in a moment), Affleck took to the stage on Jimmy Kimmel roughly 2 weeks ago to “set the record straight”. Kimmel directly asked Affleck: “Are you directing the next Batman”? To which Affleck firmly replied: “I’m gonna direct the next Batman we’re working on it now”. It was clearly set up intentionally. Affleck and WB wanted to dispel the reports and rumors that had started swirling that he may be looking to get out of directing Batman. It was a strategic move to quell the rumors and keep fans confident in the project. With such a calculated and definitive statement made just mere weeks ago, are we actually to believe that Affleck, who has already taken on the dual role of director and actor in 3 films, one of which winning Best Picture at the Academy Awards, now suddenly just days later had a complete reversal of philosophy or confidence? Why was he still firmly confident in his ability and desire to direct Batman just weeks ago, and then suddenly convinced he was incapable of competently doing it now? These are realizations that happen over the span of years, not days.

3) IT WAS CLEAR HE WAS BECOMING UNHAPPY
It wasn’t that long ago that Affleck was speaking enthusiastically about the status of his project. He seemed excited. So much so that he actually revealed to the world that he was so far along in the process that he had selected actor Joe Manganiello to play his villain Deathstroke and had even conducted some concept screen tests which he shared with the public. However, that projection of enthusiasm and excitement ended. Near the beginning of this new year Ben gave us our first look at things falling apart in paradise. When asked if he was still directing Batman, Affleck famously responded:

It’s not a set thing and there’s no script. If it doesn’t come together in a way I think is really great I’m not going to do it,”

Not a set thing? No script? Not coming together? Affleck was the writer. He had seemed highly motivated and at least gave the impression that the script was more than just “coming together”. It was clear that there was something bigger happening under the surface. Speculation began that certain WB execs had begun meddling, essentially derailing Affleck and stymying his creative process. The Jimmy Kimmel appearance and statement was in direct response to these rumors, and as I mentioned above, that statement now has to be drawn into serious question.

4) SINCE WHEN CAN AFFLECK NOT ACT AND DIRECT THE SAME MOVIE?
One of the most obvious fabrications of the Affleck/WB statement is the supposed claim that Ben had decided that he could not properly act in and direct a Batman film at the same time. In the 2012 film ARGO, Ben both acted and directed… and it could be argued that it was both Ben’s finest work as an actor AND his finest work as a director. The film went on to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards and Ben went on to receive the Best Director award from the Director’s Guild Of America, The Critic’s Choice Awards and the Golden Globes.

Some may want to say that the pressure of directing a Batman film would be different. I could accept that logic had it not been for the fact that Ben has already been dealing with that pressure for over 3 years now ever since it was announced he was playing Batman. He went through shooting 2 movies as Batman (Batman V Superman and the first Justice League which is long since wrapped). Ben Affleck did not just suddenly “realize” that there would be great pressure in doing a Batman movie. Not in just the last 2 weeks. He has been living it and dealing with it and acclimating himself to it for years already. If Ben Affleck was going to suddenly drop out of directing a Batman film because he realized it was going to be too much to handle, he would have done it while shooting Justice League, or BVS, or early in the stages of shooting LIVE BY NIGHT. Again, I have to go back to the statement he made just a few short weeks ago. Just WEEKS ago. “I’m gonna direct the next Batman”.

Are we to believe that he went through the hellish internet backlash upon the announcement that he was our new Batman, that he went through seeing the rigors firsthand shooting Batman V Superman and how much difficulty there would be in directing it, that he went through the entire production of JUSTICE LEAGUE and still felt completely confident that he could act in AND direct the Batman movie enough to say on national television “I’m gonna direct Batman” only to then have a total change of heart on the issue just 2 short weeks later? The thought is utterly absurd to anyone with an ounce of common sense.

5) AFFLECK IS OBLIGATED TO CONTINUE TO PLAY BATMAN
Some try to lend credibility to the statement by saying “If Ben was unhappy or if there was trouble, why would he still stay on to play Batman”? The answer is a simple one. Affleck would actually have no choice in the matter. He is contractually obligated to play Batman for however many more films remain on his deal. It would be a crippling PR disaster for WB/DC to let Affleck walk. Affleck as Batman was one of the few elements of Batman V Sueprman that most people agreed was a strong point of the film. To allow Affleck to walk out of his deal would not only crush the already fragile public perception of the DC Cinematic Universe, but also hurt them creatively as Affleck’s Batman is needed to carry the franchise. This leaves Ben in the position that he would have no choice but to act professionally, continue to do his job as an actor, and help the company save face by co-signing the drafted statement. To fail to do so would not only put Affleck in a precarious position legally with WB, but also damage his reputation with other studios who may think twice about working with him again were he to throw another employer under that proverbial bus we talked about earlier.

SO WHAT HAPPENED?

The statement Affleck and WB released makes absolutely no sense whatsoever and doesn’t stand up to the slightest tests of logic or critical thinking. So what really did happen? What is the real reason Ben Affleck is no longer the director of the upcoming Batman film? There are a lot of possibilities. Endless possibilities actually. Anything I list here would just be scratching the surface of what is possible. The only thing I feel very confident in is that the statement in question is not the truth. There are large systemic problems at WB/DC in terms of how they are handling their DC Cinematic Universe and I fear the enormity of Ben Affleck stepping down as the director of Batman is just the tip of the iceberg.

How To Get Your Question Or Topic On Mail Bag

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The amount of mail we get has always been insane, so getting a question asked on the Mail Bag segment of Movie Talk, or on the Mail Bag show itself, has been challenging to say the least. Is there any way to guarantee you’ll get your question/topic asked on one of the shows? No. However, there are some things you can do to give yourself a better chance. Here are some pointers:

  1. Keep your email SHORT. Nothing makes us close an email faster than when we open it up and see someone has written a short novel. Seriously, instant delete. Think of it this way, if you can fit your question into a tweet you’re on the right path. It doesn’t HAVE to be that short, but that should be your target.
  2. Don’t ask something Star Wars or Comic-Book movie related. We obviously take Star Wars and Comic-Book movie questions, but about 80% of the questions we get are about those which leaves us scrambling a bit to find other questions too. So if you submit a question about something else, you’re only competing with 20% of the other questions instead of competing against the 80%. Much better chances.
  3. Don’t ask something that would give away a spoiler either in the question itself or in the answer. We pass on those instantly.
  4. Don’t ask about something really obscure. If you ask a question about a movie or property most people haven’t heard of, it’s unlikely we’ll answer it since it would immediately leave out most of our audience.
  5. Never ask a question that includes us making a list. I.E. “What’s your top 7…”

Again, following these guidelines won’t guarantee you get your email read, but it does give you a fighting chance. Hope this was helpful! And remember, email us at collidervideo@gmail.com

Looking To Hire Line Producer For Collider Video

financeAs we continue to grow over here at Collider Video, more needs arise including the need for sharp, detailed oriented person to help us determine the costs and budgets for upcoming projects as well as track and manage the finances of our existing productions. Basically, we need a studio Line Producer. This vital role will be working alongside our senior management team to ensure all of our creative efforts can run smoothly and on budget.

LINE PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITIES INCLUDE:

  • Developing budgets for upcoming and proposed projects
  • Keep track of expenses of existing and ongoing projects
  • Work with  Programming Coordinator and Production Manager to keep  track of  all  freelancer talent expenses
  • Work with  Programming Coordinator and Production Manager to track staff expenses and reimbursements
  • Work with  Complex Head Office personnel to ensure all  proper finance and expense procedures are followed correctly

WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR:

  • Fluent in Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets
  • Experience in working with production budgets
  • Dedicated to the principles of teamwork
  • Able to take direction
  • Familiarity with Movie Magic budgeting software
  • Lives in the Los Angeles area. Office is in Burbank (not flexible on this)

The successful candidate will be a full-time staff member with a salary starting at $50k/year along with benefits.

If interested please send along a resume to john.campea@collider.com. Only those selected for an interview will be contacted. Thanks!

My Top 10 Movies Of 2016

Since a lot of people have been asking me to put up my top films of the year list, I thought I’d do it here instead of on the YouTube page.

Since all film is subjective, my list won’t be just like anyone else’s. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with theirs or with mine, it just means film hits us all in different ways.

Another thing to keep in mind about my list. To me, not all films have to be about heroes saving the world to be good. Not every film has to be about heroin addicted college drop outs struggling to restore a relationship with their alcoholic fathers to be good either. Great storytelling comes in all shapes and sizes and I hope my list reflects that.

Now, before I get to my list I want to highlight some honorable mentions. These films are all fantastic and absolutely no disrespect is intended for any of them for not making my final 10. The honorable mentions (in no particular order) are:

Sing Street
Silence
Fences
The Nice Guys
Midnight Special
The Jungle Book

So, without any further ado… here’s my top 10 0f 2016:

#10 – QUEEN OF KATWE
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This is the kind of movie that reminds me of why I love the movies. It’s just a story about really good people doing really good things. There’s not even a villain. Just remarkable people confronting and overcoming their daunting circumstances and environment. I deeply love this film.

#9 – THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN
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Honestly, I didn’t know Hailee Steinfeld had it in her, nor was I prepared for how well Woody Harrelson would play off her so hilariously. Being a teenager can suck, and I don’t think I’ve seen a better 80’s style teenage/coming of age comedy translated so well into a modern context.

#8 – MOONLIGHT
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It’s a daunting task for any director to present a story to an audience that may fall well outside their worldview. However, director Barry Jenkins does just that with an amazing sense of directness yet subtlety at the same time. The film makes you walk a mile in another person’s shoes so well that you almost forget to take them off when the film ends.

#7 – MOANA
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I unapologetically include MOANA on this list. Not only is it the best animated film of the year, far outdistancing films like Dory, Zootopia and Kubo, but it deserves a place amongst the best films of the year. Beautiful mythology, fantastic music, two heroes journeys as one seeks her purpose and one seeks redemption with humor, excitement and thrills along the way. It’s one of those films that gets better and better with each viewing.

#6 – DEADPOOL
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On just a pure entertainment level, DEADPOOL is a hard film to beat. The outrageous nature of the character mixed with sharp wit, frantic action and a legit love story all rolled into a fourth wall breaking escapade left audiences catching their breath and dying to see it again. It far exceeded even the most optimistic fan’s expectations and deserves to be on this list.

#5 – LA LA LAND
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Newsflash: Musicals are not dead. Not by a long shot if this incredible feat of sound and images has anything to say about it. Emma Stone may very well get her first Oscar for this one and she flawlessly draws us into every scene she’s in with incredible emotion. And they Gosling guy is no slouch in this either. I know musicals aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but go see this movie. No seriously… forget your pre-existing thoughts on it and just see it.

#4 – STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE
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Where most of my peers seem to enjoy the second half of this movie more than the first, to me the first half is where this movie really shines. More than another Star Wars film, ROGUE ONE truly has the feel of a space western with shades of The Dirty Dozen thrown in for good measure. This movie made me look at the Rebellion in a whole new, and admittedly dark, way. And yeah… VADER!

#3 – CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
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I know putting a comic book film on your top films of the year list isn’t the “cool” thing to do, and I’ve got two of them, but I really don’t care. CIVIL WAR was heart-stoppingly exciting with real dramatic tension and purpose to its awe-inspiring action set pieces all while delivering the best performances the MCU has given us thus far. Instantly one of the top 5 the genre has ever produced.

#2 – HELL OR HIGH WATER
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I really didn’t have high expectations for this film. The first 2 minutes set that aside pretty quickly. If any of us had any doubt that Chris Pine can be a powerhouse performer, this movie settles the debate. Ben Foster has been in my top 3 most underrated actors list for year and Bridges is just vintage in this. Powerful, slow burn, riveting film has you exploring your own ethics, changing sides and swapping between laughing and gasping more times than you can count. A BRILLIANT film that would have been my #1 film of the year had it not been for….

#1 – HACKSAW RIDGE
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Even if this film weren’t based on a true story it would still be my favorite film of the year. The fact that it’s real just highlights it even more. An incredible performance by the entire ensemble, fist clenching action that makes you appreciate the heroism and horror of war all at the same time without being apologetic for either. It’s one of those films I think is important for people to see.

So there you have it. My personal top 10 of 2016. So many great films this year. Please feel free to comment and let me know your top 10. Cheers!