Weekly Recap: Welcome to Wakanda
Marvel’s Black Panther is shredding box office records this weekend. The movie is performing like a summer blockbuster in the traditionally slow month of February. That bodes well for Panther‘s long-term prospects since it is unlikely to face any real competition in the coming weeks. Additionally, Ryan Coogler’s superhero epic is a damn good movie. Arguably, the best Marvel movie yet and undoubtedly the most complex. Fans are going to want to revisit the fictional world of Wakanda both for the amazing visuals on the screen and the complicated ethical questions the movie poses. Black Panther has a lot to say about the world we live in, but it never gets preachy nor does it offer easy answers. Better still, it works on the level of a butt-kicking superhero adventure and hero’s quest should you be in the mood for pure escapism. As the 18th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Panther needed to find a way to differentiate itself from the movies that preceded it. And it does while also remaining a piece with the overall fabric of the Marvel franchise. Really, truly, Black Panther is a remarkable achievement.
To celebrate the release of Black Panther, I updated my Worst to First ranking of all the Marvel movies to date. But there was a lot more than just superheroes at the site this week. What did you miss? Let’s recap and find out.
Jestak’s birthday articles are always a good place to start. Let’s see who celebrated a big day this past week:
- February 12 & 13: Carol Lynley, Christina Ricci, Darren Aronofsky, Jesse Spencer, Josh Brolin, Kim Novak, Mena Suvari, Stockard Channing
- February 14 & 15: Alex Borstein, Amber Riley, Angela Robinson, Danai Gurira, Freddie Highmore, Harvey Korman, Jack Benny, Matt Groening, Simon Pegg
- February 16 & 17: Christopher Eccleston, Ed Sheeran, Elizabeth Olsen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lucy Davis, Mahershala Ali, Michael Bay, Rene Russo, Sarah Clarke, Sasha Pieterse
- February 18: Cybill Shepherd, George Pelecanos, John Travolta, Laia Costa, Malese Jow, Molly Ringwald, Toni Morrison
It’s not the longest list of celebrants we have ever had (which is why Jestak doubled up several days), but there are some pretty big names here and four WTHH subjects. There’s Wednesday Addams, an Academy Award-nominated director who is currently nominated for a Golden Raspberry, a former Goonie turned galactic tyrant, a Hitchcock blonde, an American beauty, a Pink Lady, the Family Guy’s wife, a sword-wielding post-apocalyptic samurai, the good doctor, Hedley Lamarr, a television legend, the creator of The Simpsons, the most recent Scotty, the ninth Doctor, a Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, the Scarlet Witch, a cop who may or may not have taken up the mantle of Christian Bale’s Batman, an employee at the original office, Cottenmouth, the guy who makes those robot movies, Thor’s mom, Bella Swan’s mom, a pretty little liar, the owner of the Blue Moon Detective Agency, the disco dancer, and the teen who was so pretty in pink.
Oscar season kicked into high gear as Daffy rolled out several articles related to the awards. First he started a series in which readers can vote on past Oscar-nominated movies that failed to win the big prize. Movies like The Wizard of Oz and Citizen Kane famously failed to take home the Best Picture statue often losing to movies that are not nearly as well remembered. Part One covers the years from 1938-1940 which were packed with losers who are well-remembered today. Last I checked, that poll was stuck in a tie so be sure to drop in and vote if you haven’t already done so. The second Fixing the Oscars article covers 1941-1946. In terms of the current crop of nominees, Daffy covered the musical categories. First he shared his thoughts on the nominees for Best Original Song and then Best Original Score.
While it didn’t win any Oscars (or score any nominations), this week marked the 30th anniversary of Carl Weathers’ attempt to launch his own blaxploitation franchise in the late 80’s. Action Jackson was reasonably successful at the box office, but a sequel never got off the ground because the rights were sold off to an indifferent studio. That qualifies Weather’s most high-profile leading role as a movie that was supposed to start a franchise, but didn’t. We also had Kevthewriter share his thoughts on why those cheap animated movies based on TV toons almost always bomb. And we revisited Daffy Stardust’s look at the best comedies of the 1990’s.
The Movieline cover story this week was an interview with Jennifer Lopez back when she was better known as an actress than a pop star. When the article ran in the February 1998 issue of the magazine, Lopez was promoting her new movie U-Turn and was just months away from the release of Out of Sight. Already, she was a diva. To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we had a list of actors and actresses circa 1998 picking the costar they thought they would have the best chemistry with. Rounding out the 1998 issue was a profile piece on rocker-turned-actor, Jon Bon Jovi. The February 2003 issue included a Joe Queenan piece on glamorous actresses who play down their looks in hopes of winning awards. As is often the case with Queenan, this article won’t be for everyone. Some of the author’s opinions didn’t sit well with me this time.
Next week: More birthdays, more Oscars, a controversial Movieline cover story, and plenty more of the stuff that keeps you coming back week after week.