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Denim Has Been—And Will Always Be—My Style Soulmate

I was eight when I got my first pair of jeans, and I had no idea what to do with them—which is ironic, since of all the pieces of clothing you can have in your closet, denim is one of the most freeing.

As a kid, I loved dresses. Thanks to repeated screenings of Disney films and living vicariously through Anne of Green Gables (the greatest movie ever made), I romanticized dresses, puffed sleeves, and floral prints. And if I did branch out, it would be to matching jogging suits, T-shirts and shorts, and stirrup pants with an incredible Beauty and the Beast print, if I do say so myself. Jeans seemed too cool, too adult, too something that seemed worldlier than my OshKosh sneakers. And then my aunt Daina bought me a pair of jeans from the Gap for my birthday. I was as enthralled as I was nervous.

My ascent into a life defined by denim was fast and furious. These Gap jeans quickly became my go-to. When I couldn’t afford to buy more, I would look elsewhere to get my fix: jeans on sale from Sears, a denim jumper from Northern Getaway. I quickly realized that jeans allowed for the amalgamation of selves. You could still wear puffed sleeves with a dark-rinse bootcut, topped off with a woven belt (as if Anne of Green Gables had stepped into TGIF). I felt like I’d found a world in which my fashion choices were endless. Plus, I took comfort in knowing that the adults I wanted to be like when I grew up wore denim, too.

Some of the (very cool) women who’ve worn denim iconically.


Rose Hartman
Mario Ruiz

Of course, the older you get, the more you tend to reject the person you used to be and the way that person once dressed. By the time I was a teen, I wanted my jeans ripped, worn super-low, and as far from the pretty-and-preppy versions I’d once loved so much.

Fast-forward to my twenties, and my choice of denim acted as a bold declaration of self: These are the type of jeans I wear (high-rise skinny), this is the person I am (hip and cool—not really, but try telling a 23-year-old that), and these are the trends I reject (traditional femininity, despite vying for the male gaze). Arguably, denim was the fastest way to convey all three.

Trends come and go, but denim is forever.

Hanna Lassen

But the less sure I was of myself as a person, the less I knew how to use denim (or any other type of clothing) to answer who I was and where I intended to go. I was, like countless people braving their quarter-life crisis, a young woman lost. So slowly, my style began to reflect that. Eventually, I had no idea where denim fit in anymore—or if it ever would.

23 Iconic Denim Outfits We’re Still Talking About Today

Denim is so ingrained in pop culture, it’s easy to take its influence for granted. Sure, it’s charming when a celebrity buys jeans we can shop ourselves—but we’re ultimately not that surprised when they do. (Don’t forget that, nearly a year ago, all it took for Meghan Markle to become the world’s most relatable royal-to-be was a pair of distressed jeans.) But denim has irreversibly altered the fashion landscape, despite its relatively brief history. (The first women’s jeans weren’t released until 1934, though denim wasn’t considered “acceptable” for women’s wardrobes until the late forties.) Still, denim broke down certain gender and class barriers other types of apparel hadn’t because of its nearly universal appeal. And its most extreme reinterpretations—like, when a public figure stepped out in a surprising take on the style—challenged conventions of what we wear and how we wear it today.

Pop culture played an important role in denim’s rise to ubiquity. Look back on the past eighty-odd years, a handful of key moments from entertainment, politics, and fashion stand out. And there’s a reason why we still talk about them. Here, we revisit some of the most influential denim outfits from the past century.

17 Best Mermaid Makeup Ideas and Tips for Halloween

Mermaid makeup is taking Instagram by storm and we’re calling it now: The ocean-themed, rainbow-fish-esque creations—complete with shimmering scales, an ethereal glow, and turquoise-hued shadows—will be everywhere for Halloween. It’s not hard to see the appeal. With The Little Mermaid live-action remake on the horizon and searches for iridescent highlighter and purple eyeshadow at an all-time high, Halloween is the one time of year you can go hard on mermaid makeup—even if the trends aren’t your normal go-to in real life.

To get you inspired, we’ve rounded up 17 of our favorites takes on the look and asked the influencers behind them to share their best advice. Grab your mermaid crown and dive in.

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This Rotten Week: Predicting Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil And Zombieland: Double Tap Reviews

This week we have a couple of sequels that are targeting very different audiences. An evil queen is back for another dose of fairy tale adventures, and there’s a crew of zombie hunters still fighting for survival. Get ready for Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil and Zombieland: Double Tap.

Just remember, I’m not reviewing these movies, but rather predicting where they’ll end up on the Tomatometer. Let’s take a look at This Rotten Week has to offer.

Maleficent glows green in Maleficent mistress of evil

Rotten Watch Prediction

This has been a huge year for remakes of classic Disney properties, and now following in the footsteps of Dumbo, Aladdin, and Lion King, this week we are seeing the return of one of the brand’s great evil villains. 2014’s Maleficent (53%) retold the story of the antagonist in the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale with a twist, focusing on Angelina Jolie bringing the creepy, and it fared really well at the box office ($750 million total) even though critics thought it pretty meh. Because money talks, however, we are now getting Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.

This sequel is helmed by Joachim Ronning, who previously co-directed Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (30%) as well as the Marco Polo television series on Netflix. This latest looks like an uninspiring follow up to an uninspiring original. The cast is strong, and I suppose it’s riding high on the money made from the original, but I can’t imagine it scores all that well considering the lack of critical success the first one had, and really no additional intrigue added here.

Abigail Breslin Emma Stone Woody Harrelson Jesse Eisenberg in Zombieland Double Tap

Rotten Watch Prediction

When we last left the funniest group of apocalypse survivors around in the first Zombieland, Columbus, Tallahassee, Little Rock and Wichita had hung out with Bill Murray (only to kill him) and then escaped a group of zombies in an amusement park standoff. The film (90%) was an excellent adventure, both hilarious and oddly heartwarming, and it brought a fresh take on a somewhat saturated genre. Now, 10 years later, the group is back.

In Zombieland: Double Tap, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin are all back making their way across America again, and meeting up with all the other survivors out there in what looks to be a humorous film… though perhaps without the surprises and originality of the first. This one looks like a similar story but loaded with cameos that could possibly take the place of a solid script. I’m a little skeptical about this one following up the first’s critical success. Director Ruben Fleischer is back, though, it should be said that the first Zombieland is the only “fresh” movie on his resume. His others include 30 Minutes or Less (44%), Gangster Squad (32%) and Venom (29%). That’s an rough run and I think this latest falls in line with those films. It will have an audience, but critics won’t think much of it.

There were three movies out in wide release last week, and I came within 10% for two of them, with the third missing by a lousy single percentage point. I’ll take this a winning week for sure, though. Starting with the miss, Gemini Man (Predicted: 37% Actual: 26%) continued Will Smith’s subpar run of movies over the last decade or so. It’s really something, but this guy has had exactly one “fresh” film in the last twelve years. That’s a brutal stretch for such a huge name, and at this point I just want the bleeding to stop. He’s too good of an actor to continually running out there in lesser films. I don’t know if it’s bad luck, bad choices or both, but since Hancock (41%) it’s kind of all been downhill.

Meanwhile, The Addams Family (Predicted: 35% Actual: 44%) just scraped within ten percent as well. One could see from the trailer that the story looked stale and predictable with a bunch of canned jokes and possibly a lazy script. That ended up being in line with the critical response.

And finally, Jexi (Predicted: 20% Actual: 15%) was a disaster that wasn’t tough to see coming. The trailer looked like an absolute mess with nary a single laugh to be found in what should have been some of the film’s highlights. I suppose there’s a funny premise in there somewhere, but they really missed the mark with this film. I felt very confident with this prediction.

Next time we will see the arrival of Black And Blue, Countdown, and The Current War. It’s gonna be a Rotten Week!

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Nightmare Before Christmas’ Jack Star Has Strong Feelings About A Sequel

What’s this? The Nightmare Before Christmas came out in 1993 as a Halloween or Christmas classic, whichever holiday you prefer. (The correct answer is Halloween. Fight me.) There was recently chatter about a possible sequel or even live-action version of the Tim Burton classic. Fans responded with a resounding hell no, and CinemaBlend had its own take on why a sequel is a terrible idea. You know who disagrees? Jack Skellington.

Chris Sarandon voiced Jack in The Nightmare Before Christmas, although Danny Elfman did Jack’s singing. Here’s what Sarandon said about returning for a Nightmare Before Christmas sequel:

Wow! Not only is he a fan of the idea of a sequel, he told he’d crawl coast-to-coast to be a part of it. Huh. He loves the character and that’s why he wants to return. Many fans also love the character and the original movie and that’s why they were initially against a return. But we don’t even know what the sequel idea would be.

However, we know know what Tim Burton has said in the past about doing another Nightmare Before Christmas. Here’s what he told MTV News in 2006:

Tim Burton made those “purity” comments while he was revisiting the movie for a holiday release in 3-D. His feelings may have changed. He came up with and produced The Nightmare Before Christmas but it was directed by Henry Selick and Caroline Thompson has screenplay credit. Disney seems to have the rights, but I can’t see anyone moving forward with a sequel without Tim Burton’s blessing.

Nothing official has been said about a Nightmare Before Christmas sequel, and there have been rumors about one before. But Chris Sarandon is clearly down to return to voice Jack. Sarandon is an Oscar nominee for Dog Day Afternoon — and he’s how Susan Sarandon got her last name since she kept it when they split — but he’s probably still best known to fans as Prince Humperdinck in The Princess Bride. That’s another movie to come up in recent conversation, this time for remake rumors.

Chris Sarandon told ComicBook he didn’t understand why anyone would need to remake either Princess Bride or Nightmare Before Christmas because they are so iconic and have such cultural imprints. However, he was clearly OK with a sequel to Nightmare, which is a different beast altogether.

What do you think? Has Chris Sarandon’s enthusiasm changed your mind at all about a Nightmare Before Christmas sequel, or do you still feel however you felt when you first heard the rumors?

Mandy Moore Is Working on a New TV Show Based on Her Life

Long before Mandy Moore was yanking at our heartstrings and racking up Emmy nominations as Rebecca Pearson on This Is Us, she was one of the biggest popstars of the early aughts. If her first single “Candy” hasn’t been stuck in your head for the past two decades, there’s a nostalgia-fueled new show coming to reacquaint us with Moore’s early career on the pop charts.

Audiences will get to relive an interpretation of Moore’s meteoric rise to fame with 90’s Popstar, a TV show coming to ABC. Deadline reports that the show, which has a pilot commitment, will follow a plot loosely based on Mandy Moore’s early stardom. In it, a Florida teen becomes a pop singer seemingly overnight—leaving her and her family to navigate a wild new reality.

The show’s teen singer is inspired by Moore, who signed a recording deal with Empire Records in 1999, when she was just 15 years old. You know the rest of Moore’s story: Her first album, So Real, went platinum, and she reached her first Billboard Top 30 Single with 2000’s “I Wanna Be With You.” Despite her connection to the forthcoming show’s source material, Moore reportedly won’t be playing any of the characters on the show. Instead, she’ll be behind the camera as an executive producer.

One look at the names joining Mandy Moore on 90’s Popstar, and you know this show is going to get emotional. The script is being written by Amanda Lasher, who’s hailed over TV successes including The Bold Type, Gossip Girl, and Riverdale. The rest of the behind-the-scenes team for 90’s Popstar includes This Is US showrunners Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, who’ll join Moore as executive producers.

Casting announcements and an expected air date haven’t been shared for the pop stardom vehicle quite yet. But with Moore lending a hand, it’s safe to say her new show is going to be good. Until the new show airs, Moore will be busy with This Is Us. NBC announced in May that it ordered three more seasons of Moore’s popular drama.

In Zack Snyder’s Watchmen Movie, Bruce Wayne’s Parents Don’t Die And He Never Becomes Batman

Batman Begins

In Zack Snyder’s visually stunning adaptation of Alan Moore’s graphic novel Watchmen, the world of superheroes is different from the ones we’re used to. It’s a universe where the heroes are filled with moral doubts and grounded complexity, and the common folks aren’t very welcoming of their super-heroics. Evidently, it’s hard for a superhero to save the day when they might not be able to save themselves. Nevertheless, during the film’s highly memorable opening credit sequence, which plays as a stylish montage throughout the years that gives an overview on the history of this world’s superheroes, there is a subtle background detail that suggests that Batman doesn’t ultimately exist.

At least, not in Zack Snyder’s vision for Watchmen. While the contentious filmmaker would ultimately tell the character’s story in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and (to a more modest extent) Justice League, it would appear that Bruce Wayne’s parents were not killed during that fateful night in the alley in the Watchmen world, likely preventing the character from adopting the cape and cowl and become Gotham’s bat-fearing crusader. While the universe of Watchmen has no shortage of troubled superheroes, it would seem that this small detail suggests that Batman is simply not one of them. But what exactly does that mean? If there is no Batman, what becomes of his greatest foes and his biggest allies? And what did Bruce Wayne turn into instead?

Let’s speculate on the possibilities of Batman not existing in Zack Snyder’s divisive cinematic adaptation of Watchmen.

Watchmen Intro/Opening Credits

Nite Owl Rescued Bruce Wayne’s Parents From The Mugger Outside Gotham Opera House

As it was spotted by one eagle-eyed Reddit user, the famous opening credits in Watchmen show us a snapshot where Nite Owl is punching an armed masked burglar square in the jaw, in front of a camera flashing, while a well-dressed, well-to-do middle-aged couple is seen fleeing the scene. While the movie doesn’t outright say that this couple is Thomas and Martha Wayne, the large sign in the background that reads Gotham Opera House is a pretty big giveaway that this is meant to be the most famously slain progenitors in comic book history. Thanks to Nite Owl, they walked away with their lives.

If Bruce Wayne didn’t lose his parents on that tragically fateful night, then there’s a very high chance that the character found no need to become the Caped Crusader. More like than not, Bruce likely took over his family business and just became your average handsome multi-billionaire. We’re sure you know a few. In any case, if Bruce Wayne didn’t lose his parents and didn’t become Batman, what exactly does Gotham look like then?

Christian Bale - The Dark Knight

Bruce Wayne Still Becomes The Head CEO of Wayne Enterprises, But He Probably Sticks To Business Affairs And Socializing

Though it’s hard to know what a character would be like when his most defining life moment is taken away from him, one’s best guess is that Bruce Wayne — no longer robbed of his parents — would likely take over his wealthy father’s capital, still be the head of Wayne Enterprises and ultimately enjoy all the privileges that come from being an extremely rich, good-looking millionaire/billionaire playboy at the very peak of Gotham’s upper class.

There’s a good chance that, after some time partying and philandering with assorted acquaintances, Bruce Wayne will probably settle down, get his affairs in order and raise a family of his own. His sullen demeanor is mostly likely gone, with practically little-to-no reason for Mr. Wayne to adopt such a grim disposition in life, and he would carry with him no fears of forming a family and building the Wayne legacy. There’s also a good chance that Bruce would not form such a tight, familial bond with his butler, Alfred Pennyworth, since the professional acquaintance of the family wouldn’t need to become a secondary father to the boy outside of making sure he is orderly and decent. Bruce Wayne would live an exceptional — if not heroic — life.

Brett Cullen - Joker

Thomas Wayne Would Probably Have A Tough Stance On Crime

With his life barely intact after this near-fatal encounter with a mugger, there’s little doubt that Thomas Wayne — have nearly kissed death — would be living the second half of his life much differently than he did before. Specifically, after his harrowing encounter, Thomas Wayne would likely adopt a tougher stance on crime, and his business perspective (as well as possibly his political perspective) might be drastically changed by this difficult night.

If Thomas Wayne continued to hold court on the company, there’s a possibility that — after this terrifying encounter with a low-life criminal — he’d change his business perspective and focus more on protection and safety for the citizens of Gotham. Either this would dispel crime in the area, with criminals feeling more discouraged to partake in any unlawful activities, or they would simply feel more emboldened to do so, and they would simply need to be craftier in their approach. Either way, Thomas Wayne would clammer down on petty crimes and make a point to try to stop it at the root. If not as a businessman, then perhaps as a politician, or at least backing the politician who’d try to prevent widespread attacks.

Joaquin Pheonix - Joker

Batman’s Most Famous Rivals Might Not Find The Inspiration To Become Gotham’s Biggest Foes

With a man running around in a bat costume, it’s hard to know for certain if some of the zany villains that run amok in Gotham would be the people they are in the comics. Sure, they would be criminals (at least, some of them would still be), but would they adopt their over-the-top appearances, notably since they would still live in the Watchmen universe (which is filled with costumed crime-fighters), or perhaps aim for something more subtle?

It’s hard to know for sure, but there’s a good chance that a lot of these familiar villains might not find their true sense of purpose with Batman/Bruce Wayne. For instance, would Joker still become the Clown Prince of Crime as we know him to be? It’s difficult to say. More likely than not, he would still be a madman, running in-and-out of Arkham Asylum, but he would probably be more in line with your typically criminally insane individual, with the clown aspect being less likely. Though last weekend’s Joker suggests that even without Batman, there would still be a clown running around town.

Brenton Thwaites - Titans

Dick Grayson, i.e. Robin/Nightwing, Would Probably Not Be The Crime Fighter We Know Him To Be Today

Without his special interest in orphans, since he would still have two living parents who love and care for him, Bruce Wayne would probably not spend as much time providing for or caring after orphanages in the surrounding Gotham area. Therefore, he would likely never be acquainted — not in any strict or professional sense, at least — with Dick Grayson, the boy-turned-man who would become his sidekick known as Robin (and later Nightwing).

There’s a possibility that Dick Grayson would still feel emboldened to solve Gotham’s growing crime problem, but he probably wouldn’t become a Boy Wonder and don the tights with Batman. Instead, he would likely join the local police force or join the crime division as a detective or something else, without any real physical confrontations involving punching and kicking criminals. It’s likely a quieter, less hectic life, and Grayson would probably find himself either in the orphanage for the remainder of his childhood years or perhaps be adopted by a different foster family altogether. Of course, in this butterfly effect scenario, who is to say that Dick Grayson’s parents died as well? Maybe in the rippling effect, they also found themselves living as well.

The possibilities that arrive from Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne avoiding death are vast and nearly endless. It is a fun little aside in Watchmen, but it raises a bunch of questions that the movie has no time to answer. Let us know your own personal theories for what Bruce Wayne’s life would be like if his parents survived that terrible night in the comment section below. We’re sure you have your own ideas that are both fun and thought provoking.

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Joker Box Office: Gotham’s Greatest Villain Defeats Will Smith And The Addams Family

Arthur Fleck puts on a fierce face in Joker

Given that Todd Phillips’ Joker is a very different kind of DC Comics adaptation, Hollywood was apparently willing to bet on it only having a modest second weekend. As a result, multiple studios released a broad mix of new wide releases hoping to grab the attention of different demographics. For the kids there was Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan’s animated The Addams Family; Ang Lee’s Gemini Man was aimed at fans of big action blockbusters; and Jon Lucas and Scott Moore’s Jexi was aimed at those looking to have a few laughs. Unfortunately for them, however, Joker has turned into a steamroller, and it soundly crushed all of them over the last three days with a shockingly small weekend-to-weekend drop.

Check out the full Top 10 below, and join me after for analysis!

Joker Box Office October 11-13, 2019
1. Joker

$55,000,000 Total: $192,728,787

LW: 1

THTRS: 4,374

2. The Addams Family*

$30,298,000 Total: $30,298,000


THTRS: 4,007

3. Gemini Man*

$20,500,000 Total: $20,500,000


THTRS: 3,642

4. Abominable

$6,170,000 Total: $47,971,350

LW: 2

THTRS: 3,496

5. Downton Abbey

$4,900,000 Total: $82,687,590

LW: 3

THTRS: 3,019

6. Hustlers

$3,850,000 Total: $98,015,339

LW: 4

THTRS: 2,357

7. Judy

$3,255,353 Total: $14,974,204

LW: 6

THTRS: 1,627

8. IT Chapter Two

$3,225,000 Total: $207,135,424

LW: 5

THTRS: 2,303

9. Jexi*

$3,100,000 Total: $3,100,000


THTRS: 2,332

10. Ad Astra

$1,947,000 Total: $47,035,432

LW: 7

THTRS: 1,678

Those who read this article regularly/follow box office reports know that it’s normal for a new release to see its numbers fall between 50 and 60 percent in the second weekend, but Joker performed well outside the norms over the Friday-to-Sunday stretch. Looking at the $55 million it just brought in, and comparing it to the $93.5 million it brought in last time around, you’ll note that the new comic book movie only fell off 42.8 percent – which is damn impressive, particularly for a title that just set the record for biggest October opening weekend ever. To put it in some context, this time last year it was Ruben Fleischer’s Venom that broke the same record, and it fell off 56.4 percent in its second go-round, only pulling in about $35 million.

This means that within the next week Joker will be the just the eighth title in 2019 to make more than $200 million domestically – following on the heels of Andy Muschietti’s IT Chapter Two, which also just joined that exclusive club. Of course, it’s totals get even more impressive when you factor in A) the fact that, unlike most comic book movies, it was made for only $55 million; and B) that it has also made an additional $351.2 million overseas. That means its currently global total currently stands at $543.9 million, which is enough for it to already crack the Top 10 chart for worldwide releases in 2019. It still has to make a lot more money if it wants to continue climbing up the ranks, as it currently stands behind Chinese releases The Wandering Earth ($699.8 million) and Ne Zha ($700.5 million), but there still exists a lot more opportunity for the film to make money.

While there is no doubt that much of the box office success has come as a result of the controversy surrounding the subject matter (and people buying a ticket just so they can be a part of the conversation), not to mention the DC Comics branding, one has to appreciate the movie’s appeal from a macro perspective. This is a seriously dark, character-based drama that actually features multiple sequences of its protagonist slowly dancing around alone, and yet it is a blockbuster hit. It’s not the kind of film that would typically rake audiences in, and yet tickets are selling impressively well. That’s kind of weird, and kind of awesome.

Of course, the success of Joker comes as a detriment to the performances of the all the other new wide releases out this weekend – but some definitely wound up hurting more than others. For example, The Addams Family didn’t really fail; it just performed adequately. Without adjusting for inflation, the animated adaptation of the classic property actually had a better opening than any previous title in the franchise, as Barry Sonnenfeld’s original 1991 live-action feature only brought in $24.2 million, and its predecessor, Addams Family Values, made only $14.1 million when it came out in 1993. The new movie was only made for a reported $40 million, which means that it is well on its way to becoming profitable… so long as Joaquim Ronning’s upcoming Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil doesn’t totally steal its core audience in upcoming weeks.

The news is definitely less positive for Gemini Man – which is a project that has been in development for more than two decades waiting for visual effects technology to catch up with the concept behind its plot. Unlike Joker and The Addams Family, this is a film that cost a pretty penny to make (a reported $138 million), and surely Paramount must have been hoping for more than third place and a sub-$25 million opening. The good news is that the foreign markets will surely contribute a lot to the global total, which will probably wind up letting the project appear profitable on paper, but this definitely isn’t a great start for the release, and it will probably wind up being labeled as one of the bigger disappointments when 2019 draws to a close.

And then there’s Jexi. This is a movie that didn’t exactly get much of a marketing push, and it wasn’t screened for critics prior to release, and so the box office results are definitely on the predictable side. A grand total of $3.1 million from a 2,332-theater-wide release makes a good amount of sense for a movie that is currently rocking a 14 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and received a “B-” CinemaScore. It probably doesn’t need to be said, but this will probably be the last time we write about this title in this column.

Lastly we’ll go a bit outside the box office Top 10, as Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite has earned some special attention this week. Most of you probably didn’t have the opportunity to see the acclaimed release this past weekend, as it was only showing in a grand total of three theaters nationwide, but those movie houses were PACKED. With a total of $376,264 earned from ticket sales over the last three days, the per-theater average for the film was $125,421 – which is incredible. Having won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival last year, and earned acclaim from everyone who has seen it, the feature has been building buzz for months, and hopefully this limited release success will lead the title to find its way into more theaters around the country.

While there will obviously be a lot of eyes still on Joker next weekend, we have another big slate of wide releases arriving on Friday ready to compete. As mentioned earlier there is the forthcoming arrival of Angelina Jolie’s Malifecent sequel, but audiences will also get to experience a special 10 year reunion in the form of Ruben Fleischer’s Zombieland: Double Tap, and the wonderful weirdness of Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit. Those movies, along with the limited release of Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse, should do a nice job shaking things up, and we’ll be back next Sunday to report on the final results.

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Cinemas ‘Shouldn’t Be Invaded’ By Marvel Movies: Martin Scorsese Fuels MCU Feud

If you were waiting for Martin Scorsese to apologize for comparing Marvel movies to theme parks as opposed to real cinema, grab a snack. It’ll be a while. He just repeated his comments at a film festival panel, making a plea for movie theaters to make space for real “narrative films”:

Martin Scorsese made his latest comments during a panel on the future of cinema at the London Film Festival (via BFI), which screened his upcoming movie The Irishman.

Here’s what the director previously said about Marvel movies — or “Marvel type” movies, since “Marvel” is becoming shorthand for superhero movies, like “Kleenex” is for all tissue brands:

You could certainly argue with that take, and plenty of Marvel fans definitely did. Marvel Cinematic Universe’s James Gunn was saddened by Martin Scorsese’s take. Samuel L. Jackson also made his own counter-argument. Robert Downey Jr. just respected Scorsese’s opinion. (Maybe he’s leaving the door open to be cast in a future Scorsese film.)

The idea that movie theaters should leave room for more than just Marvel or other superhero movies? Absolutely! It’s nothing new, though, for a multiplex to pack theaters with the latest blockbuster action movie. Theaters exist to make money, and those are the movies a majority of people are willing to get out and see week after week. The market dictates the space. Marvel didn’t invent that wheel, it’s just riding it very, very well.

However, giving thousands of screens to the still-popular Downton Abbey movie, for example, showed that fans are indeed willing to turn out for more than just comic book movies. It was a risk to give a quiet lower-budget drama big theatrical space, and the risk paid off. (It helped that it had its own built-in brand from TV, but someone like Martin Scorsese has his own built-in brand too.)

People want to watch good stories — “narrative films,” as Martin Scorsese might call them. As someone who lives in the middle of nowhere USA, I have to drive hours to find an independent movie theater. However, I have Netflix right on my TV, so I can watch a movie like Roma and — pretty soon — Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman more easily from home.

The Irishman is scheduled for a limited theatrical release on November 1 before it arrives on Netflix on November 27. The Irishman debuted to a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and it’s still there after 62 reviews.

If I were Martin Scorsese, I might be a little frustrated that a film that’s already getting such acclaim will only get a limited theatrical release before arriving on Netflix. He’s an old school auteur in the best way, so having a movie show at the local movie theater is a big deal. But times have changed, and having a movie on Netflix is part of that evolution. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It just means someone like me will be able to actually see The Irishman this year instead of maybe waiting until it showed up later on HBO, or having to buy it on DVD.

Martin Scorsese isn’t the only one ruffling MCU feathers — remember when Joker‘s Marc Maron insulted superhero films and then blasted outraged Marvel fans? And since Avengers: Endgame is the new #1 movie of all time, it’s going to take some potshots. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, and Marvel rules all these days. There were three $1 billion+ MCU movies in 2019, and the MCU slate just keeps going and going, with four MCU titles coming in 2021. Brace yourself, Marty!

Meghan Markle Had Prince Harry Deliver a Sweet Voicemail to Her Pen Pal

Meghan Markle has been taking a break from the public eye since returning to England from her royal tour of South Africa. But despite being absent from royal appearances this week, the Duchess of Sussex enlisted Prince Harry to help her with a special mission during one of his solo engagements.

On Thursday, Prince Harry visited students at Nottingham Academy as part of his programming for World Mental Health Day. There, he met Aleyna Genc, a teenager who is recovering from a brain tumor and has been Markle’s pen pal for the past two years. 14-year-old Genc reached out to the royal after she saw a speech that Markle delivered at the United Nations, the Nottingham Post reports. “I wanted to tell her that she had inspired me and so I sent her a letter,” Genc said. “We have been sending letters back and forth ever since then.”

All that time writing one another built a special bond between the two—which Genc got to experience firsthand during Prince Harry’s visit. After speaking with Genc’s classmates, Prince Harry took her aside to deliver a gift: a voicemail from Meghan herself.

Genc didn’t reveal the voicemail’s specifics, but it sounds like the royal’s message was from the heart. “She sent me a voice note which I got to listen to on Harry’s phone. She basically wished me well,” Genc told the Nottingham Post.

Genc delivered a gift of her own for the royal family. Prince Harry headed home from Nottingham Academy with a stuffed dog the teen picked out for baby Archie.