Tag Archives: Sam Raimi

Ironman 3 Opening And What It Means For Marvel

Marvel is now officially on top of the world. Ironman 3 has opened 175 Million it’s first weekend in the U.S. Alone, and has grossed 680,000,000 WorldWide in the past 10 days.  That’s the second highest opening save the Avengers last year and it looks as if Ironman will be the highest grossing film of the year, and definitely the summer.  This is  the moment that officially marks Marvel as a brand to be reckoned with.

Summer of 2011 Thor and Captain America performed Modestly with both around 400 Millionand 350 Million , both really good starts for B- List comic book characters.  Marvel’s A List Characters are Hulk, Fantastic Four, Xmen, Spiderman, and DeadPool, and seeing as Marvel only has one of those properties they’re doing extremely well.  Avengers last year was predicted to only make around 800,000,000.  I say only like that’s not a lot of money, but Marvel has always been the underdog of Geek Properties. Needless to say it made that in foreign release only and caught everybody by surprise. It was better then we could’ve hoped, and a lot of people went back to see it multiple times. I saw it twice in one night.  So of course same situation with Ironman 3, People are expecting Man of Steel to do better, and Ironman to make only around 700,000,000 Million.  Welp once again through great marketing, risky choices, and overall quality Ironman 3 has made that in it’s first week and a half. So what exactly does this mean for Marvel Studios.

This may still be a little pre mature, but basically it means they have a license to print money.  As long as they keep on a winning streak Marvel movies will continue to out perform and make more money because of the shared universe aspect. Marvel is pretty much going to make at least a billion a year, at least, not even counting The Avengers gross. And even if Avengers 2 doesn’t gross as much as Avengers 1, it will still be made up from the boost of the individual movies. It overall increases an interest in the characters and individual franchises.  The beauty of it is that marvel hasn’t made a bad film yet, and the chances of franchise fatigue is really low, since we only get a Thor or Ironman movie every three years as opposed to every other year or every year.  People are excited for properties that were before just for comic book fans.  Marvel’s Phase Two will be extremely lucrative.

What’s it mean for new properties coming out?  They’ve confirmed a Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy, and an Ant-Man,  adaptions to come out.  Now this is where it might be back to square one, as none of these properties are very well known, but the entire idea is to use the avengers as a spring board to propel other movies to more public interest.  Guardians of the Galaxy is already selling more comic books and if done right will be sort of another Avengers except in space.  I imagine one more sequel will be announced for Phase 3, possibly Thor or Captain America, or possibly even Guardians, which has a chance of making a lot of people new fans.

Basically the Reason everybody loves Marvel is because they’re the best of both worlds.  They have the Disney Marketing Machine which will make the movie appeal to wide audiences, but Marvel will make sure every movie is of quality first and the fans will be the first ones served.  It’s a dream come true, a studio that cares about making money, but also about making good movies first and foremost, and this is a giant nail in the coffin to the other studios trying to imitate their business model, looking at you DC and Fox.

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Ironman 3 a dissapointment?

Just saw Ironman 3 last night, and wow did I enjoy it.  I’m not going to say I love it yet, I want to go see it again to really get a feel for it.  I think the biggest hurdle this movie has is the fact that it’s not a superhero movie anymore.  It’s much more of a thriller, maybe a little Jason Bournish, with a mystery all through it.  This is not a review, this is purely a comparison to the Ironman Franchise, including Avengers.

This is the mis steps Ironman 3.  This is a mixed complaint, but the movie doesn’t have a really fast pace or great story structure.  There’s no 3 act template so the movie, probably on only the first viewing,, doesn’t seem to have a direction for a lot of it. The story is also very untraditional.  A british screenwriter Drew Pearce wrote the script with Shane Black and you can really feel his hand here.  It feels like a new franchise, and a new character.  there’s also a real lack of action during the beginning. Also the snappy dialogue is gone and it’s more of a dry wit sort of thing, so it’s not as funny, whilst still being pretty funny. The complaints that I have are more in the comparison with The Avengers then Ironman 2.  There’s also a character moment that I won’t spoil that personally I enjoyed, but I can understand why people found it unsatisfactory.

Now the positives, and there are many, is that this is the most mature Marvel film out of the bunch, and while I did complain that Tony Stark wasn’t swarmy or Jokey enough, that’s the point, he’s not the smooth talker anymore, we get a little bit of it in the beginning, but now he’s out of his element.  The humor is darker and more specific dialogue then the rapid fire style of the first two.  But Ironman 2 was too jokey with lazy humor, people talking over each other, and it really wan’t all that funny.  This is a new side of Tony Stark, much more vulnerable and frightened almost frail portrayal.

This movie is ultimately a left turn for the franchise, instead of being a traditional action movie, it’s a thriller.  As a thriller it’s pretty bad ass, It wasn’t very convoluted it has good villains, really good acting,and a real sense of threat.  Most of the time Ironman is in a defective suit and can’t fight the way he usually does adding a sense of danger, that was missing in Avengers and Ironman 2.  Also the villain to me hands down is a mass improvement for the franchise, much more clear motivations, and a plan that’s actually excellent.

Basicaly all my complaints with Ironman are in comparison with Avengers, it was hard to top and I don’t think they were trying to do that, I think they were trying to make a tony stark centric story and focus back on the characters.  In comparison with Ironman 2, it’s a much more superior film, in almost every fashion.  So for anybody wondering it’s better then Ironman 2 not as good as Avengers.  If you come in expecting Avengers you will be utterly disappointed. I’m finding more things to appreciate it the more I think about it

GangSter Squad, the entitled of bloggers, and the dumbing down of movie audiences

There’s a certain entitlement you get when you attach yourself to a particular group of people. Not only am I a film buff, but I am also a Blogger, so needless to say I have my nose pretty far up in the air.  A big problem I have is judging people based off their taste in entertainment.  Now this isn’t just me in person or anything it’s usually somebody raving about a movie that I deem is terrible.

Now I’ve dedicated a significant amount of time to not only filming but creative writing, so I can consider myself a somewhat authority, whilst not being supreme.  Just like how somebody who plays Sports, watches sports, and play fantasy league is the authority on Football.  But when I think a movie is all around bad, and I see a Facebook update about how good it is I wince.  Maybe even roll my eyes, and sometimes I have to remind myself that liking a bad movie isn’t a reflection of intelligence, just like liking a good movie or a movie I deem good make me any smarter.  There’s just a lot of factors that go into a good movie that other people don’t recognize or even look for.  Story Structure, Editing, Pacing, etc.  And there’s nothing wrong with anybody enjoying anything.  I liked For Colored Girls , as an absurd comedy, but I’d still watch it again.  Sometimes I wonder where does the general audience fall on movies, and if they know something is bad.

There are certain movies I hate.  Generally speaking they’re usually really lazy, or have bad logic or character motivations. Basically if you have potential you use it.  My least favorite movies are the ones that get by solely on having an ensemble cast.  Expendables and Red come to mind.  To me both extremely mediocre movies that have no business on anything other then a Redbox Exclusive.  The reason I hate these movies is because of the lack of effort.  Say what you will about Twilight, it’s polishing a turd.  The best Twilight movie you could make would be a self aware parody of itself.  There is no real way to make a good Twilight movie.  But when you have a cast full of superstars, there’s absolutely no reason you should squander such talent.  There’s no excuses.

So coming back to this wonderful audience who I constantly remind myself, I am not better then them, I wonder when does an audience stop appreciating a movie on a purely visceral or base experience and when does it begin to become a good movie for them?  All the time, I look at the number one movie in the U.S. and think “wow that’s a shame”.  But who says Audiences are going into Transformers to see Citizen Kane.  With Movies like Stark Trek, Avengers, and Fast and Furious you can have exciting action and still have a good movie with it.  Not every movie has to be an Oscar Film.  And hell most of the films getting Oscars, I don’t think deserve them either. Hollywood can’t win with me.  But maybe some audiences like movies because they’re tailored for them, just like naturally I was going to enjoy Avengers.

That being said, a movie that I openly despise is coming out on Bluray recently.  The movie called “GangStar Squad” is everything I hate about a movie while admittedly being not bad.  Maybe I was disappointed, this has maybe one of the greatest ensemble cast of the year.  There was a lot in place to make this a good movie.  Great actors, a new director who had a hit with ZombieLand, and really interesting marketing.  The trailers led me to believe this was a really smart tongue in cheek homage to classic gangster movies, while discussing itself as a generic action movie.  What I got was the generic action movie.

Let me talk about on a purely non biased non personal level what’s wrong with this movie. First off everything is a cliche.  EVERYTHING.  If you played a drinking game with water, how many times you can call how a scene will play out you’d  overdose on water.  I’m meeting the movie on every level, but it just sinks.  At a certain point I just said to myself ” If the action is good we’re okay” but no the action scenes are boring, and filmed flatly.  It’s all cookie cutter and dull.  The performances are okay, and the script is absolutely anemic.  No character development , just cliches, can’t blame the director , but he’s losing credibility with me by the second.

Now the reason part of me hates this movie is because of what it represents.  The audience wash’t coming out saying ” oo that was fun” they are saying “that was a good movie” , now this has happened before, but it’s usually a specific audience, say tweens coming out of twilight or black people, i’m black it’s okay, out of  a Tyler Perry film.  This movie gets off purely on it’s star power , and marketing rather then any actual quality.  And I get that some people don’t watch as much movies as me, probably doesn’t recognize some cliches, but I can’t point out how many moments are stolen from other movies.  Is what’s considered a good movie becoming less and less selective?  Or do people really vote with their wallets.  Overall, I just have to remind myself, in retrospect it doesn’t really matter, Audiences will see what they want to see , and really bad lazy movies will be #1, great movies will struggle in the box office, and occasionally you’ll get a Limitless and Source Code which will outperform expectations critically and finically, one can only hope Audiences and Snobby Film Buffs like me can try to see eye to eye more.

The Dark Knight Is A Liar

Everybody loves The Dark Knight trilogy.  Geeks love it , Girls love it, Jocks love it, Parents love it, inmates love it, Nolan excels at making thinking man movies that also function as pop corn movies.  Fans of Nolan think he is a genuis, and god’s gift to cinema.  Detractors say that he’s overrated, and simply uses narrative tricks to fool people into thinking his movies are better then they are.  Me being Mr. That’s Over rated , Tend to lean to the detractor side.

Not to say that Nolan isn’t a genius, or at least isn’t capable of being a genius, but I think he’s a much better director then screenwriter.  His dialogue is absolutely atrocious ” Cat’s got your tongue”, and his scripts tend to have get really sloppy, especially during the third act.  I don’t think I’ve seen a Nolan movie that hasn’t dipped in quality in the third act.  Inception was going great until it buckles under the weight of itself and really lost me emotionally. The Dark Knight has one of the weakest 3rd acts , for me personally , because it falls into the trappings and just becomes your typical Batman movie.  I noticed with Dark Knight Rises , and I hope this trend doesn’t continue, that his movies have gaping lapses of logic inside of them.  Stuff will happen that doesn’t make sense that nobody can explain.  Like in the beginning of The Dark Knight the joker knew exactly when to drive a bus out of the side of a building, and none of the other drivers or passengers notice?

The Dark Knight, to some, is the epitome of superhero movies.  Personally it’s more of a crime drama , so i prefer the darker Spiderman or the Avengers before.  Now I’m going to lose a lot of people, but the dark knight trilogy do not have a “dark” tone.  Now somebody of lesser intelligence may say ” What are you talking about it has dark in the title”.

Let me explain.  Having a dark tone, means having a movie that on the surface level is funny , quirky, or fun, but on further inspection you realize how depressing it is. It also means having characters you aren’t necessarily supposed to root for, and characters who are introspective and self loathing or even doubtful.  Fight Club is a good example, it’s real funny, but overall the story and characters and the situations they find themselves in are messed up.

The overall message of The Dark Knight trilogy is hope in humanity and hope in general.  It’s got other themes and ideas that ultimately conflict, but basically what I got from Dark Knight is people are good.  That’s definitely not dark, and of course there’s nothing wrong with that except it feels like a cop out.  The reason people like myself honest to god hate the dark knight rises, but can understand why some people of equal intelligence can like it, is because all the contradictions.  The Themes conflict other movies,  The overall smartness conflicts with the dumb logic the movie has and plot inconstancies, and worst of all is the tone.  The overall tone for your last movie needs to be absolute dread, something that was pulled off a lot better in The Dark Knight.  Harry Potter was a much better conclusion for several reason.  First it split up the movies into two parts giving both stories time to breathe and keep the story structure in pacing under control.  Second it meant that we can really get a sense of looming dread throughout the series.  They even desaturated the posters and marketing to make it look like saving private ryan to help really nail home ” This is the end”.  The most obvious thing it did was kill off it’s characters. Spoilers I guess, or is it too late?  Shit even Twilight had the balls to kind of kill off most of the main characters.  In the entire Dark Knight trilogy only 2 secondary characters die.

It doesn’t feel dreadful because Nolan is too soft to kill off any of his main characters.  Your last movie needs to have character death or that sense of dread, neither work because the last act is so rushed you don’t really get a sense of time passing for suffering.  The lesser intelligent person may also say ” But it’s so realistic and gritty, and he’s Batman”  Well you’re not all the way wrong.  He is in fact Batman, and it’s realistic and gritty for a superhero movie I suppose, but not really.  Kickass was realistic and gritty save the rocket launcher.  TDK trilogy always had moments that stick out as clearly unrealistic but no more so then TDKR, and gritty? Not really if you read the comics you realize Batman is a thug.  He will break your bones, snap limbs, bring you to the bring of death, but there’s none of that here.  Bane even snaps a guys neck offscreen.  Nolan doesn’t have the edge like Fincher who would’ve knocked this out of the park. And even if it was “gritty and realistic” outside of relations to other comic book movie that still doesn’t mean it’s dark.  It’s more of just a pop corn movie then an intellectual masterpiece people make it out as.

That being said, i can genuinely see why people love this movie.  It really only pays service to people who like TDK , which is a lot of people.  For people like me who loved TDK but doesn’t think it’s the best film ever, it’s a serious letdown, to each his own

Why Tropic Thunder Should’ve Won An Oscar

In 2008 There was two geek properties that had a match lit under them.  On of these properties was The Dark Knight.  Everything about this movie was on point.  The Marketing was great, it had a great director, but what really set it off was it’s iconic villain. The Joker, who has steadily changed the face of villains for time to come.  He was smart, funny cool, and had a real distinct look about him.  Most of all he was terrifying.  Everything about this performance was on point.  The voice, the clothes, the posturing, even Heath Ledger’s unfortunate passing bled into the mystique of the character.

The other geek property which set fire to the industry if not more so.  Ironman was a slightly smaller hit, I remember when it came out everybody referred to it as ” better then Spiderman”  Ever since TDK came out there was a blatant turn on spiderman by the general public , but before that it was the pinnacle of superhero movies.  Ironman ushered in a wave of spinoffs prequels, and worked in the concept of a shared universe among movies which had only been hinted at before.

Ironman ultimately got overshadowed by TDK, but not completely gobbled up like The Incredible Hulk.  In retrospect I prefer Ironman over The Dark Knight, and my love for Robert Downey Jr. blossomed.  Later that summer Tropic Thunder came out.  A movie directed by Ben Stiller, which I thought I would hate, but actually liked it okay.  Everytime I see it I find new things to love about it and it gets better every time, but one thing that stood out was Kirk Lazarus as an Irish Award season darling, who was playing a black soldier in a Vietnam war movie.  It sounds dumb, and it was, but in the best way possible.

Now I’m going to be hypothetic as I would never take an Oscar from the Great Ledger, but let’s say Heath hadn’t tragically passed, who he had deserved an Oscar? Any other year I’d say yes, but here I  gotta say no.

Ironically everything you can say good about Heath’s performance you can say about Downey’s.  Heath Stole every scene he was in, he had several ticks, he made the movie.  Same can be said as Robert.  Only one was funny and one was terrifying.  There’s even a level of make up that adds to the parallel performances, and makes them more interesting aesthetically.  Nominations were announced and Robert got himself nominated for an Oscar for best supporting.

To me the best thing about Robert’s performance is the layers of character and irony. ” I’m a dude playing a dude disquised as another dude”.  It’s a real statement on actor’s and the ways actors get Oscars.  In some ways it’s an Oscar bait performance mocking oscar bait performances.   You have the total unrecognizable transformation, the make up, and the double accent.    Same can be said as Heath’s performance. Except one is the definitive supervillian and one is black face.  You can’t sum up RDJ’s performance in one sentence and do it justice.  It’s a parody of Russell Crowe and Daniel Day Lewis, it’s also a statement on how actors transform themselves whilst having an actor transform himself, it’s also a statement on how far actors are willing to take risky career choices for an Oscar, whilst once again having an actor take a risky career movie, it’s also a parody of Robert Downey Jr himself, it’s also a metaphor for not knowing who you really are. The fact that the Academy actually nominated this performance is hilarious in itself.

The Joker is just crazy, which can be interesting and is, but Kirk Lazarus is also crazy, and we really delve into his character’s psyche.  We get a very subtle understanding of why he does what he does, and we understand this.  The Joker doesn’t really get any real explanation, and why that makes for him being more captivating it doesn’t add for a more fleshed out character, which to me lends itself to a better performance.

Fixing Franchises – The Fast and The Furious

Next to the Aliens and Evil Dead Franchise, The Fast and Furious movies are very much inconsistent. The First one is a pretty straight forward action movie, The second one is much more dumb and over the top, The Third one Tokyo Drift is absolute shit, and the Fourth one is a cop thriller with cars.  Now my absolute favorite is the pinnacle of stupid fun, Fast Five.

Fast Five is a badass movie, it’s got charismatic characters, badass set pieces, hot ass women.  Normally I’m very cautious to approach these type of movies.  Dumb Fun has to be inventive and creative, not just dumb dumb.  That’s the difference between Bad Boys 2 and Transformers 2. One is dumb on purpose and the other one had no choice.  This is one of the few times I can look at the flaw in the movie and either laugh at them, or roll my eyes and laugh at them, resulting in the ultimate theatre experience in which I regret I was super in. Admittadly this should’ve came out before Fast Five, so I guess technically this is Fixed Franchises.

Keep Old Characters

The Power of any franchise is it’s characters. While it could be potentially corny looking back at the franchise the characters are actually pretty well defined and developed oddly enough.  Well, at least from the main cast the side characters aren’t , but Every character that’s been on the box art from the previous movies are really cool characters.  Tyrese , Ludacris, and the asian guy are all really welcome returns.  Keep the old characters in as to avoid franchise overload, because they’re making about 10 of these movies.

Introduce New Interesting Characters

Dwayne Johnson is not one of my favorite actors , but he never disappoints.  His introduction really nailed the aim the franchise was going for and actually gave the movie a decent villain and sense of threat. As Cheeesy as the guy is he’s a brick house, and if he punched me I feel like I’d turn to jello.  Keep that up, introduce more characters to beef up this franchise, when you really think about this series is the equivalent of the Avengers or Ocean’s Eleven, so new characters is the fuel.

Make A Good Villain

Now this is my only complaint about every movie in the franchise. The villains are generic and ass.  Aside from the Rock, which we all kind of knew wasn’t that bad of a guy, the villains are not very memorable.  They need an A-list actor to come in and soak up some scenery and really give the movie a sense of a threat.  That way there’s still tension when they’re on the screen as opposed to just a sense of fun.

Keep it an ensemble

Ensembles make the best movies.  That’s why Avengers is better then The Dark Knight, that’s why Toy Story is better then Shrek, That’s why Lord of the Rings is better then Harry Potter.  The team dynamic is tricky, but if pulled off gives a sense of fun and charisma to any movie.  This movie is the pre avengers Avengers.  Not to say it comes even close, but it still can with the sequel if it makes the team a bigger deal.

Don’t go darker go dumber

Now let me be clear, if this movie wants to go darker that’s fine, but people confuse dark with gritty and realistic thanks to Nolan.  No dark means introspective and grim, upping the stakes.  Now if you want to give every character a personal demon and stretch the limit to which they stay loyal to the team, DO THAT. That’s actually what I’d love to see.  But don’t make the mistake of killing off a character because as much as I praised the characters , I really couldn’t care less if one of them died.

Now if they can strike that balance of more personal turmoil and dumb shit I’m all for it. Basically make a good movie or make a dumb movie.  But either do both or do them right. Fast Five was a great stepping stone.  As much as people complain about rehash in a franchise it took a complete Left Turn, and once again delivered fan service in a way that actually help told the story.

I want it to go Full Retard.  I want the next one to take place underwater with underwater cars. I want the one after that to take place in outer space. After that they should have a crossover with another dumb ass franchise like Step up.  Go Full Retard. Give us what we want, I want the feeling of intoxication when I leave the theatre due to the amount  of pure visceral thrown at me. Fast Five was just the tip, but take me there Fast and Furious I need that.

5 Reasons Ironman 3 Could Make a Billion

This will be my most biased article ever. I think Robert Downey Jr. is the most versatile and talented actor working today. The fact that this man can get nominated in black face really shows how compelling he is and his screen presence. I think literally every other role he takes is Oscar Caliber which is something I can rarely say about a block buster actor. Ironman is my favorite Superhero, Ironman is my second favorite movie only behind Avengers. But Biased aside, Ironman really ushered in a new wave of Superhero movies.  It’s also a really reliable franchise, but not something that completely breaks the box office bank , like Lord Of The Rings, Spiderman, or a number of other geek properties.

But this year wishful thinking tells me that he might just hit that Billion dollar mark.  It doesn’t matter the movie will make money, it will more then likely be great, and possibly even better then the avengers.

Lack of Immediate Competition

Ironman 3 has two full weeks of no real domestic threat of competition. Of course Star Trek 2 will be coming out another great geek property, but Billion dollar movies happen because of repeat business. I saw The Avengers and The Dark Knight twice in theaters.  That means geeks can not only see it twice in one weekend, they have two whole weeks to gear up for Star Trek 2.  If I was Marvel and Paramount I’d market the fact that these two geek properties are lined up. ” Get Ready for Star Trek 2 , by watching Ironman 3″.

Even more so most billion dollar movies don’t make their money domestically they make them oversees.  Ironman is coming out a whole week earlier in other places to soak up that International Foreign money.  It worked for Amazing Spiderman which didn’t get completely squashed by Dark Knight Rises by coming out early and making it’s money internationally.

First Out Of The Gate

Studios are getting smarter, they know the best time to release a summer block buster.. is anytime but Summer. Sure you have your Dark Knight’s which can be released any time, but a lot of box office titans are released slightly before summer, August, Christmas , or before Oscar Season.  Thor and Fast Five where the first out of the gate and both exceeded expectations.  Avengers was the first movie pre summer and killed the box office and poor Battle Ship, and Dark Shadows.

Robert Downey Jr. 

Robert is still one of the few actors who have a reliable star power and box office draw.  Tom Cruise, Adam Sandler, and Jim Carrey three box office titans are only as strong as their franchises now a days.  Channing Tatum is the only other guy who really brings people in on name alone, and he doesn’t have a single movie over half a billion while RDJ has five.

3D and IMAX

If I honestly sat down with myself and said, how much do you honestly think Ironman 3 is going to make I’d say around 700 – 800 Million. They say the 3D bumps up the average ticket cost by 20 percent.  That means for every say Hundred Million you get an extra 20 Million without fractioning in IMAX and other factors. Not to mention Inflattion, Ironman 3 has a really big boost, as a billion dollars is meaning less and less ticket sales now a days.

Franchise Power.

Avengers was a super hit , and now everybody and their son daughter grandmother, wants more Avengers.  Ironman 3 is the closest people are going to get to another Avengers.  Not to mention that Ironman was a huge success. Rules of franchises go the first movie makes the least amount the second movie, if good, makes a significant amount.  The Dark Knight franchise went from 400 Million to one Billion, by having a good sequel.  Ironman 2 of course wasn’t perceived as well as Ironman 1, and therefore didn’t have the sequel jump in box office that Lord of The Rings and The Dark Knight had.

But there is a silver Lining.  After making a sub par sequel if you make a really good second sequel it makes a lot of money SkyFall for example.  Haters of the second Ironman movie will love this one and Fans of Ironman will also come.  They bank double. Not only that, the marketing is really pushing this Ironman as darker and more serious.  Almost to say “That last movie sucked but we got this one right”. Some peoples complaints about Avengers, which where unjust, was that it was a kid’s movie.  Here comes Ironman 3 looking all dark and stuff.  Not to mention they have a new director and writer who both have a built in fan base in Shane Black and Drew Pearce.  Not to mention the Disney Marketing Machine, which has been going crazy over the past month, even I’m getting a little tired of the constant tv spots. Just Kidding I love each and every one of them.

The biggest factor of course will be word of mouth, which nobody can really forecast or foresee.  Something Tells me not only will this be the best Ironman movie this might just end up on every bodies end of year best lists.