Dear Evan Hansen: A Review

Dear Evan Hansen: A Review

Introduction:

Broadway is still reeling from the game-changing success of Hamilton, the rap musical that has taken the world by storm. Over a year after their major Tony Award sweep, Broadway is now buzzing about an under-appreciated gem: Dear Evan Hansen. The pop musical tells the story of Evan Hansen, a suicidal teen with social anxiety and a broken family background who is told to write letters addressed to himself to subside the anxiety. After a classmate commits suicide and is found with one of Evan’s letters, he mistaken as a friend of Connor Murphy’s, propelling him into the life he’s always wanted when he lands his dream girl and gets a new family. But can a family built on lies stand? The fantastic musical is written by Steven Levenson with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Directed by the Tony-award winning Michael Greif (Rent) with orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire (Hamilton).

1. Anybody Have a Map?

The first song in the musical sets up the different family dynamics perfectly, backdropped by a great pop sound. The utilization of acoustic guitars and pop stylings similar to Phillip Phillips is great. It’s a wonderful song to start the musical with.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

2. Waiving Through A Window

This is the My Shot of Dear Evan Hansen. This is an amazing ballad that talks about Evan’s anxiety and desires, with subtle hints to his failed suicide attempt. It’s an incredible song that I am really surprised didn’t make a bigger splash with mainstream audiences.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

3. For Forever

The song follows Evan’s fantasy as he imagines what it would be like to have a best friend while painting a realistic, fantastical, tragic story for Connor’s parents about the last time he saw his “friend”. It’s a very well done ballad about friendship that really brings tears to the eyes.

Trak Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

4. Sincerely, Me

After Connor parents ask Evan for more letters between the two, he enlists the help of a classmate, Jacob, to forge emails between Connor and Evan that paint them as friends. It’s a fun, bantering, boisterous song that just rocks. It’s so fun to listen to and sing along with.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

5. Requiem

This song is tragic and a sad, acoustic song that shows the individual feelings of hurt, sorrow, and betrayal felt by the family of Connor Murphy. It’s a hard song to get through. It’s pretty, but it’s not one that I will revisit any time soon.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: A-

6. If I Could Tell Her

This is a great love song. Zoe, Connor’s sister and Evan’s dream girl, asks him if her brother ever said anything about her. Evan, not knowing Connor, just says how he feels about her and what he thinks about her as if her brother said it. Ben Platt and Laura Dreyfuss play off each other very well in this song and the brief acting bits in the recorded track are stellar. Platt’s vocals are incredible.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

7. Disappear

This is another tragic song, but the entire ensemble comes together to make this a positive song. The ghost of Connor that has been present with Evan throughout the story begs him to make sure he isn’t forgotten. As the chorus says, “No one deserves to be forgotten.” It picks up over the course of the song and ends in a swelling of emotions.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

8. You Will Be Found

Another ensemble piece, the act one finale picks right up from the previous track and provides hope and inspiration to the those who feel lost. It’s a wonderful song that is fueled with emotion and passion. It’s a great song and one of the best first act finales of all time.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

9. To Break In a Glove

This song felt out of place at first, but upon repeat listening, it fits perfectly. It not only gives Evan the father figure he always wanted and needed, it also shows Connor’s father’s pain of losing his son and the sense of failure he feels. It’s a beautiful and well-produced song.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

10. Only Us

The second love song of the show is not as good as the first. It’s a pretty duet where Zoe reassures Evan about why she loves him. It’s nice and adds to the story, but it isn’t the best version of what it was trying to be.

Track Rating: 7/10

Grade: A-

11. Good For You

This song is the only one that is fueled by anger and spit and thus is the only rock song in the show. It’s like a break up song between Evan’s mom and his two friends to him for leaving them behind for his new family with the Murphy’s. It’s the most underrated song of the show.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

12. Words Fail

This is really the saddest song of the show. Evan comes clean to the family in this emotional ballad that exposes the personality and the psyche of Evan Hansen. It’s an explosion of emotion and features the best singing and acting blend I’ve seen in Broadway history. Ben Platt is amazing.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

13. So Big/So Small

This was a really sad song that adds to Evan’s story and adds character to his mom, but overall, it feels sort of jarring and out of place. It’s nonetheless a good song. It really hits emotionally and gives Evan’s mom her due emotionally, bringing her range full circle.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A

14. Finale

This short and sweet finale leaves the audience simultaneously satisfied with the landing, but wanting more of a definitive conclusion. There’s not much in this song to say anything negatively.

Track Rating: 8/10

Grade: A-

Conclusion:

Dear Evan Hansen is an amazing project and is a masterclass in performance art. Ben Platt is a massive talent and the whole team involved hold their own and shine. If Dear Evan Hansen had not been released so close to Hamilton, I think it would’ve been more of a phenomenon. Overall, Dear Evan Hansen is worth the download and is one of the best musical theatre albums of all time.

Album Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

 

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To The Future: The Movies I’m Looking Forward To For the Rest of the Decade

To The Future: The Movies I’m Looking Forward To For the Rest of the Decade

As a massive cinefile, movies are my lifeblood. I love stories and there an abundance of them coming in the next few years. As the second decade of the twenty-first century begins to wind down, I decided to organize a list of films that I’m excited to see before 2020.

1. Cars 3

Lightning McQueen finds himself in the same position as his late mentor Doc Hudson and must decide wether or not to return to the racing world and defeat his new rival, Jackson Storm.

Release Date: June 16, 2017

Director: Brian Fee

Screenwriters: Keil Murray, Bob Peterson, and Mike Rich

Starring: Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper, and Nathan Fillion

2. All Eyez on Me

The life story of rap legend Tupac Shakur.

Release Date: June 16, 2017

Director: Benny Boom

Screenwriters: Jeremy Haft, Eddie Gonzalez, and Steven Bagatourian

Starring: Demetrius Shipp Jr, Danai Gurira, Kat Graham, and Hill Harper

3. Transformers: The Last Knight

The most disappointing and action-packed franchise in Hollywood returns with the latest installment. Optimus Prime returns from space to lead an attack on Earth and faces opposition from Bumblebee and the rest of the Autobots.

Release Date: June 23, 2017

Director: Michael Bay

Screenwriters: Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, and Ken Nolan

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Laura Haddock, Gemma Chan, and Isabela Moner

4. Despicable Me 3

After failing to catch the super villain Balthazar Bratt, Gru is fired from the superhero business and is enticed to return to super-villainy by his long lost twin brother: Dru.

Release Date: June 30, 2017

Directors: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin, and Eric Guillon

Screenwriters: Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul

Starring: Jenny Slate, Kristen Wiig, Steve Carell, and Julie Andrews

5. Baby Driver

A young getaway driver is recruited to work for a crime boss and finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.

Release Date: June 30, 2017

Director: Edgar Wright

Screenwriter: Edgar Wright

Starring: Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Jon Hamm, and Jamie Foxx

6. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Following the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker returns to New York where he works for Tony Stark and takes on a new superbad: the Vulture.

Release Date: July 7, 2017

Director: Jon Watts

Screenwriters: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Day, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, and Erik Sommers

Starring: Tom Holland, Robert Downey Jr, Marisa Tomei, and Michael Keaton

7. War for the Planet of the Apes

After years of a cold war between the apes and humans, Caesar seeks to make peace, but is forced to war by a new human faction lead by the Colonel.

Release Date: July 14, 2017

Director: Matt Reeves

Screenwriters: Mark Bomback and Matt Reeves

Starring: Judy Greer, Woody Harrelson, Andy Serkis, and Steve Zahn

8. Dunkirk

Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire, Canada, and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.

Release Date: July 21, 2017

Director: Christopher Nolan

Screenwriter: Christopher Nolan

Starring: Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, and Mark Rylance

9. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Two intergalactic agents are tasked with protecting Alpha, a vast metropolis that houses a thousand planets.

RD: July 21, 2017

Director: Luc Besson

Screenwriter: Luc Besson

Starring: Dane DeHann, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, and Elizabeth Debicki

10. Atomic Blonde

A British special agent uncovers a plot within MI6 and finds everyone is now out to silence her.

RD: July 28, 2017

Director: David Leitch

Screenwriter: Kurt Johnstad

Starring: Sofia Boutella, Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, and Bill Skarsgård

11. Detroit

Following a police raid in 1967 Detroit, one of the largest riot in US history breaks out.

RD: August 4, 2017

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Screenwriter: Mark Boal

Starring: John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, Algee Smith, and Jacob Latimore

12. It

In small town Maine, seven friends come face to face with their greatest fear in the form of Pennywise, a clown that lives beneath the city.

RD: September 8. 2017

Director: Andrés Muschietti

Screenwriters: Chase Palmer, Cary Joji Fukunaga, and Gary Dauberman

Starring: Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard, and Sophia Lillis

13. Battle of the Sexes

The true story of the 1973 Tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.

RD: September 22, 2017

Directors: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris

Screenwriter: Simon Beaufoy

Starring: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Sarah Silverman, and Elisabeth Shue

14. American Made

The story of a pilot turned CIA drug runner during the 1980s.

RD: September 29, 2017

Director: Doug Liman

Screenwriter: Gary Spinelli

Starring: Tom Cruise, Caleb Landry Jones, Jesse Plemmons, and Sarah Wright

15. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

After a murder case becomes cold, the mother of the victim paints three billboards leading into town with a controversial message for the sheriff, leading to clash between law enforcement.

RD: October 13, 2017

Director: Martin McDonagh

Screenwriter: Martin McDonagh

Starring: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, and Peter Dinklage

16. Marshall

The true life story of Thurgood Marshall.

RD: October 13, 2017

Director: Reginald Hudlin

Screenwriters: Jacob and Michael Koskoff

Starring: Dan Stevens, Josh Gad, Chadwick Boseman, and Kate Hudson

17. Geostorm

I can’t even justify my excitement for this besides it’s Gerard Butler fights global warming.

RD: October 20, 2017

Directors: Dean Devlin and Danny Cannon

Screenwriters: Dean Devlin and Paul Guyot

Starring: Gerard Butler, Abbie Cornish, Ed Harris, and Robert Sheehan

18. Thor: Ragnarok

Hela destroys Thor’s hammer and sends him to alien planet where he fights in gladiatorial combat against his fellow Avenger The Hulk. Meanwhile, Loki is left to defend Asgard and find Thor as the two team together with Doctor Strange to locate Odin, the last hope for Asgard.

RD: November 3, 2017

Director: Taika Waititi

Screenwriter: Eric Pearson

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo, and Benedict Cumberbatch

19. Suburbicon

A home invasion shakes up a suburban community.

RD: November 3, 2017

Director: George Clooney

Screenwriters: George Clooney, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, and Grant Heslov

Starring: Matt Damon, Oscar Issac, Julianne Moore, and Noah Jupe

20. Justice League

Inspired by Superman’s sacrifice, Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince assemble the world’s greatest heroes to protect against an imminent threat of annihilation.

RD: November 17, 2017

Director: Zack Snyder

Screenwriters: Chris Terrio and Joss Wheadon

Starring: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, and Jason Momoa

21. Murder on the Orient Express

Thirteen strangers are stranded on the lush Orient Express when a murder occurs. Lucky for the innocents, the world’s greatest detective Hercule Poirot is also on board.

RD: November 24, 2017

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Screenwriter: Michael Green

Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Penélope Cruz, Michelle Pfeiffer, Josh Gad, Judi Dench, Lucy Boynton, Willem Dafoe, Derek Jacobi, and Leslie Odom Jr

22. Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi

Rey has found the last Jedi master Luke Skywalker and seeks training, meanwhile Kylo Ren and the First Order hunt General Leia Solo and the remaining members of the Resistance.

RD: December 15, 2017

Director: Rian Johnson

Screenwriter: Rian Johnson

Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher

23. Pitch Perfect 3

The Barden Bellas return as alumni return to coach the failing acapella team.

RD: December 22, 2017

Director: Trish Sie

Screenwriter: Kay Cannon

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, and Elizabeth Banks

24. The Current War

The race to create a marketable and sustainable system for electricity between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse.

RD: December 22, 2017

Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Screenwriter: Michael Mitnick

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Nicholas Hoult, and Michael Shannon

25. The Greatest Showman

The story of P.T. Barnum and his rise to becoming an international sensation.

RD: December 25, 2017

Director: Michael Gracey

Screenwriters: Michael Arndt, Jenny Bicks, and Bill Condon

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson, Zac Efron, and Zendaya

26. Black Panther

T’Challa defends his nation of Wakanda from physical threats and political challengers in a post-Civil War world.

RD: February 16, 2018

Director: Ryan Cooler

Screenwriters: Joe Robert Cole and Ryan Coogler

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, and Martin Freeman

27. Pacific Rim: Uprising

Following 2013’s surprise smash Pacific Rim, the world builds more defenses for an imminent kaiju return.

RD: February 23, 2018

Director: Steven S. DeKnight

Screenwriters: Emily Carmichael, Steven S. DeKnight, T.S. Nowlin, and Kira Snyder

Starring: John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Charlie Day, and Tian Jing

28. A Wrinkle in Time

After her scientist father disappears, Meg and her brother and friend are sent to space to find him by three peculiar beings.

RD: March 9, 2018

Director: Ava DuVernay

Screenwriter Jennifer Lee

Starring: Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon, Zach Galifianakis, and Michael Peña

29. Sherlock Gnomes

When other gnomes go missing, Gnomeo and Juliet recruit Sherlock Gnomes, the world famous detective to solve the case.

RD: March 23, 2018

Director: John Stevenson

Screenwriters: Kevin Cecil, Andy Riley, and Ben Zazove

Starring: Johnny Depp, James McAvoy, and Emily Blunt

30. Ready Player One

A world suffering from an energy crisis serves as the backdrop for a virtual rollercoaster ride about a massive hunt for an easter egg within the open world of the OASIS, in which a high school senior makes the first progress towards winning the inventor Halliday’s fortune in five years.

RD: March 30, 2018

Director: Steven Spielberg

Screenwriters: Ernest Cline, Zak Penn, and Eric Eason

Starring: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Mark Rylance, and Simon Pegg

31. X-Men: The New Mutants

A team of heroes composed of graduates from Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters embark on their first mission.

RD: April 13, 2018

Director: Josh Boone

Screenwriters: Josh Boone, Kante Gwaltney, and Knate Lee

Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams, Rosario Dawson, and Henry Zaga

32. Avengers: Infinity War

The Avengers face their greatest threat yet as they prepare for impending doom at the hands of Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet.

RD: May 4, 2018

Directors: Joe and Anthony Russo

Screenwriters: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Chris Pratt, Pom Klementieff, Karen Gillian, Zoe Saldana, Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brie Larson, Dave Bautista, Cobie Smulders, Vin Diesel, Sebastian Stan, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Olsen, Tessa Thompson, Samuel L. Jackson, Josh Brolin, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Rudd, Peter Dinklage, Paul Bettany, Benicio Del Toro, Sean Gunn, Benedict Wong, Anthony Mackie, and Winston Duke

33. Han Solo: A Star Wars Story

The story of the young smuggler Han Solo leading up to his involvement in the original Star Wars.

RD: May 25, 2018

Directors: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller

Screenwriters: Jon and Lawrence Kasdan

Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke, and Woody Harrelson

34. Deadpool 2

Deadpool returns with Cable for more shenanigans and chimichangas.

RD: June 1, 2018

Director: David Leitch

Screenwriters: Rhett Resse and Paul Wernick

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, T.J. Miller, and Morena Baccarin

35. The Incredibles 2

The Incredibles return 15 years later.

RD: June 15, 2018

Director: Brad Bird

Screenwriter: Brad Bird

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, and Raymond Ochoa

36. Jurassic World 2

Jurassic Park meets Jurassic World.

RD: June 22, 2018

Director: J.A. Bayona

Screenwriters: Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow

Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeff Goldblum, and BD Wong

37. Hotel Transylvania 3

The monsters are back, and better than the Dark Universe.

RD: July 13, 2018

Director: Genndy Tartakovsky

Screenwriters: Genndy Tartakovsky and Michael McCullers

Starring: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, and Selena Gomez

38. M:I6 – Mission Impossible

Ethan Hunt teams with MI6 once again.

RD: July 27, 2018

Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Screenwriter: Christopher McQuarrie

Starring: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Henry Cavill, and Simon Pegg

39. Scarface

A Mexican immigrant’s rise up the ladder in the drug trade.

RD: August 10, 2018

Director: David Ayer

Screenwriters: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Jonathan Herman, and Terence Winter

Starring: Diego Luna

40. Venom

Eddie Brock, a disgraced journalist for the Daily Bugle, discovers an alien symbiote that grants him superpowers similar to the hero who ruined his life: Spider-Man.

RD: October 5, 2018

Director: Ruben Fleischer

Screenwriters: Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg

Starring: Tom Hardy

41. Jungle Book

An orphan boy is raised in the wild by animals and hunted by a tiger.

RD: October 19, 2018

Director: Andy Serkis

Screenwriter: Callie Kloves

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, and Andy Serkis

42. X-Men: Dark Phoenix

The X-Men face a betrayal from within their ranks and fight an unexpected war.

RD: November 2, 2018

Director: Simon Kinberg

Screenwriter: Simon Kinberg

Starring: Sophie Turner

43. Mulan

A young woman rises up to save China.

RD: November 2, 2018

Director: Niki Caro

Screenwriters: Lauren Hynek, Rick Jaffa, Elizabeth Martin, and Amanda Silver

44. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Animated; The Grinch plots to ruin Christmas for the town of Whoville.

RD: November 9, 2018

Directors: Peter Candeland and Yarrow Cheney

Screenwriter: Michael LeSieur

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch

45. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2

Dumbledore and Newt Scamander work together to stop the dark wizard Grindelwald.

RD: November 16, 2018

Director: David Yates

Screenwriter: J.K. Rowling

Starring: Johnny Depp, Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, and Ezra Miller

46. Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2

Ralph’s adventures move from the arcade world to worlds of mobile and internet gaming.

RD: November 21, 2018

Directors: Phil Johnston and Rich Moore

Screenwriters: Phil Johnston and Pamela Ribon

Starring: Sarah Silverman, John C. Reilly, Jane Lynch, and James Cordon

47. Untitled Animated Spider-Man Film

Following the death of Peter Parker at the hands of the Sinister Six, a young boy named Miles Morales dons the mantle of Spider-Man after gaining superpowers.

RD: December 12, 2018

Directors: Bob Persichetti and Peter Ramsey

Screenwriters: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, and Rodney Rothman

Starring: Liev Schreiber and Shameik Moore

48. Aquaman

Arthur Curry returns to Atlantis following his escapades with the Justice League to find his brother Orin has stolen the throne.

RD: December 21, 2018

Director: James Wan

Screenwriters: Will Beall, Geoff Jahn, and James Wan

Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, and Patrick Wilson

49. Mary Poppins Returns

The now adult Jane and Michael Banks and his three children are treated to a return from the ageless treasure Mary Poppins, who is accompanied by Jack, a young colleague of her old friend Bert.

RD: December 25, 2018

Director: Rob Marshall

Screenwriter: David Magee

Starring: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Dick Van Dyke, and Meryl Streep

50. Bohemian Rhapsody

The story of Queen leading up to their Live Aid concert in 1985.

RD: December 25, 2018

Director: Bryan Singer

Screenwriter: Anthony McCarten

Starring: Rami Malek

51. Glass

A sequel to Unbreakable and Split; David Dunn returns to superhero duty at the news that a new villain called The Horde has surfaced, and is revealed to be manipulated by Mr. Glass himself.

RD: January 18, 2019

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Screenwriter: M. Night Shyamalan

Starring: Bruce Willis, James McAvoy, Samuel L. Jackson, and Anya Taylor-Joy

52. The Lego Movie Sequel

A sequel…nothing is really known yet.

RD: February 8, 2019

Director: Mike Mitchell

Screenwriters: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller

Starring: Chris Pratt

53. Bride of Frankenstein

The second installment I’m Universal’s Dark Universe.

RD: February 14, 2019

Director: Bill Condon

Screenwriters: Neil Burger, Dirk Wittenborn, Davon Koepp, Alex Kurtzman, and Chris Morgan

Starring: Javier Bardem

54. How to Train Your Dragon 3

The conclusion to Hiccup’s trilogy.

RD: March 1, 2019

Director: Dean DeBlois

Screenwriter: Dean DeBlois

Starring: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Jonah Hill, and Gerard Butler

55. Fast and Furious 9

The family returns.

RD: April 19, 2019

Screenwriter: Chris Morgan

Starring: Vin Diesel, Lucas Black, and Tyrese Gibson

56. Avengers 4

The continuation of Infinity War.

RD: May 3, 2019

Directors: Joe and Anthony Russo

Screenwriters: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely

Starring: Everyone from Infinity War + Evangeline Lily

57. Star Wars: Episode IX

The epic conclusion to sequel trilogy that involves Rey, Kylo, Poe, and Finn.

RD: May 24, 2019

Director: Colin Trevorrow

Screenwriters: Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow

Starring: Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, John Boyega, and Andy Serkis

58. Minecraft

I’ll admit.. I just wanna see how they pull this off…

RD: May 24, 2019

Director: Rob McElhenney

Screenwriters: Rob McElhenney and Jason Fuchs

Starring: Steve Carell

59. The Lion King

A young lion prince runs away following the assassination of his father and returns to find his kingdom in disarray under the rule of his uncle.

RD: July 19, 2019

Director: Jon Favreau

Screenwriters: Jeff Nathanson

Starring: Donald Glover, James Earl Jones, Seth Rogan, and Billy Eichner

60. Wicked

An aspiring young sorcerer uncovers a plot by the devious Wizard of Oz and rises up against him despite being branded the Wicked Witch of the West.

RD: December 20, 2019

Director: Stephen Daldry

Screenwriter: Winnie Holzman

 

 

Top 40: Ed Sheeran

Top 40: Ed Sheeran

Recently, I had the idea to start a series of ranking articles and came up with the idea of doing a Top 40 list. By Top 40, I mean my 40 favorite songs by a particular artist. The obvious first choice was Ed Sheeran, my favorite artist of the twenty-first century. Today, I will be ranking my top 40 Ed Sheeran songs.

40. Small Bump – +

The song comes midway through Sheeran’s debut and is a fun, sweet, acoustic song about pregnancy and love. It’s a very chill jam that tells a sweet story. Sheeran also released a live version of the song on the Wembley Edition of X, but the original + version is better in my opinion.

39. New York – X (Wembley Edition)

One of many special additions from the Wembley Edition of Sheeran’s sophomore effort, New York tells the story of falling in love in the big apple.

38. Everything You Are – Don’t (EP)

One of the forgotten gems of Ed Sheeran, this song appears on his EP Don’t, which preceded X. The song has a very Elton John vibe to it and is so much fun to listen to. It’s a crime it didn’t get more recognition.

37. Even My Dad Does Sometimes – X

This slow ballad talks about how it’s okay to cry and mourn the tragedies and hard things that come your way. It’s a beautiful song that pleads the listener to keep going and not give up.

36. Shirtsleeves – X

This song about comforting heartbroken friends details the story of a boy who loves a girl who has just now become available and he makes himself present to her by comforting her. It’s a song with a sweet sentiment.

35. Take It Back – X

One of the lesser known songs from Sheeran’s second album, Take It Back demonstrates the third talent in this singer/songwriter’s toolbox that makes him a triple threat: rapping. Performing over an acoustic beat, Sheeran demonstrates an elegant flow pattern that absolutely kills while he simultaneously shreds on his guitar.

34. Barcelona – ÷

Appearing on his junior effort, the latin-pop blend mixed with Sheeran’s trademark acoustic stylings is a killer track that is sure to get your feet tapping.

33. Bloodstream – X

This tragic song about doing drugs is a cautionary tale told from Sheeran’s own personal experiences.

32. Don’t – X

This track about friends with benefits was the most popular to come off X and was named one of the songs of the summer upon its release, garnering ludicrous amounts of radio play. Unfortunately, this is why it’s so low on my list.

31. I’m A Mess – X

This song about emotional heartache is evocative and features some of Sheeran’s best vocals.

30. Runaway – X

This song tells the story of a child running away from home, which is inspired by Sheeran’s own personal experience. The song is very blues-inspired and is a rich song to listen to.

29. Hearts Don’t Break Around Here – ÷

This love song is inspirational, uplifting, and holds its own spot on what is easily Ed’s most energetic effort yet: ÷.

28. Nina – X

Nina is a pretty, piano-driven love song about teenage love and how he fell in love with Nina.

27. New Man – ÷

Ed always has a song on his albums where he criticizes the newest partner of his former lover. This iteration of the theme takes it in a more lighthearted direction and does a fun job of jabbing at the “new man”.

26. Happier – ÷

This is probably one of Sheeran’s most tragic and real songs. The song tells of Sheeran’s expressed tragic happiness for his ex-lover’s new found romance and profound happiness as he waits to be that happy with someone else as well.

25. Bibia Be Ye Ye – ÷

The perfect road trip song, this care-free diddy follows Sheeran as he traces his steps from last night’s drunken escapades including finding his wallet and keys. It’s a delightful song that is a must for any road trip.

24. Sing – X

This is another popular track from Sheeran’s second album that is about needing love from a specific girl. It’s a very fun song,

23. Lego House – +

The song that led most people to his music, Lego House details his want to fall in love and grow old with his love and how he wants to rebuild the relationship and keep going.

22. English Rose – X (Wembley Edition)

This is another road trip song that follows Ed as he travels Tennessee looking for his dreams while reminiscing about the love that he has waiting for him back in England. The acoustic jam is very upbeat and fun.

21. Make It Rain – X (Wembley Edition)

This one is one of the extremely rare examples of Sheeran building his song off of an electric guitar instead of an acoustic. The R&B/Gospel-style song is infectious and slow and evocative.

20. Autumn Leaves – +

This gentle treasure tales about falling in love during the fall and is, in my opinion, the definitive “autumn” song.

19. Touch and Go – X (Wembley Edition)

This song is fun and fast-paced and treat for the ears. Trust me and listen to it. You’ll thank me.

18. You Need Me, I Don’t Need You – +

The song that solidified Sheeran’s talent as a rapper, the song shows off Sheeran’s talents and vents his frustrations about industry people and critics.

17. Shape of You – ÷

Easily Sheeran’s best produced song, Shape of You is the flagship song of his third album. The song talks about lovers who meet in a bar and the relationship that follows. It’s a great song, but I don’t need to tell you that.

16. Afire Love – X

This song tells the sweet story of Sheeran’s grandfather and the struggles of old age. He also tells about what his grandfather said to his grandmother. It’s a beautiful song.

15. Dive – ÷

This is the other example of Sheeran building his song around an electric. The slow jam details Sheeran’s hesitations to “dive” into a new relationship.

14. Tenerife Sea – X

This acoustic ballad talks about falling in love and does it masterfully. It’s a beautiful song that is unmatched in Sheeran’s catalog, which features lots in the way of love songs.

13. Supermarket Flowers – ÷

This piano-driven song is a tragic one. Detailing the death of his grandmother and the mourning process that followed from the perspective of his mother. It’s by leaps and bounds the most heartbreaking song in his catalog.

12. What Do I Know?

This song talks about how music and love can save the world. It’s a very important and powerful song. There’s only one image that can sum up this song…11590722

11. I See Fire – X

This haunting song was written for 2013’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and appears in the end credits. Its depicts the story of Smaug’s attack on Rivendale, the scene that closes out the film.

10. The A Team – +

This ballad about a prostitute’s life is tragically beautiful. It’s the best one from his debut album.

9. Galway Girl – ÷

This catchy tune about a perfect night in Galway with the fiddler in an Irish band is perfect.

8. One – X

The opener for his second album is a great song about waiting for love from a specific person and how they are the only one for him. It’s the perfect start for an album.

7. Thinking Out Loud – X

Many have named this the definitive slow dancing love song. I would agree had a certain song not been released on ÷. Nevertheless, the grammy-winning song is a masterpiece.

6. Photograph – X

This beautiful acoustic ballad about lost love works surprisingly well for road trips.

5. Castle on the Hill – ÷

You know how a song can find you at the right time and right place? This is one of them for me. As a newly minted senior in high school, the lead single off of Sheeran’s third album, the song about nostalgia and childhood is perfect to me.

4. The Man – X

This rap song about betrayal and moving on is excellent, with some of the best production on a Sheeran song ever. Bravo!

3. Nancy Mulligan – ÷

Irish music is very fun, especially for Irish people such as myself. This song about how his grandparents got together is infectious and stellar. It’s always on rotation in my house.

2. All of the Stars – X (Wembley Edition)

This beautiful song about falling in love under the stars is gorgeous and sweet. It’s an underrated and under-appreciated gem in Sheeran’s catalog.

1. Perfect – ÷

The song is literally called perfect, need I say more? This love song is actually the best love song of all time and is absolute mesmerizing. It’s my favorite song in his catalog.

 

What do you think? What is your favorite Ed Sheeran song? Which artist should I make a  Top 40 for next? Let me know!

 

 

Ranking The MCU: Live Rankings

Ranking The MCU: Live Rankings

The MCU is gearing up to the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming next month and I thought it was a good time to rank the various films in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. This franchise is one of my favorites and I can’t believe it’s already nine years old. Check back here after every Marvel movie to see my updated list!

16. Iron Man 2 (2010)iron-man-2-di

Iron Man 2 isn’t a bad film and definitely has rewatch ability. The plot just feels very filler and the film was kind of unnecessary to the overall MCU. It doesn’t do much but tease the next year’s films. It felt kind of like a cash grab, but it was the most enjoyable cash grab ever. It is nowhere near as good as the original, but it is definitely good for white noise on FX every month.

15. Thor: The Dark World (2013)460372

This was very boring the first time, but, upon revisiting, it is more enjoyable and contributes significantly to the MCU overall. It features the worst villain ever and the biggest waist of a great actor in Christopher Eccleston’s Malekith. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki carries the film through dull moments and is the emotional drive of the film. This was very much about Loki post-Avengers. And if they had made it Loki rather than jam it with meaningless Thor junk then maybe this would’ve been much higher on the list.

14. Ant-Man (2015)ant-man-captain-america-3-giant-man

Ant-Man is funny at times, but this character really only works within an ensemble. It’s a necessary installment to set-up Civil War and Paul Rudd is great, but it has no rewatch value and was very dull for an MCU film. It also introduces Marvel’s de-aging scene in the beginning, which is now a staple of MCU films.

13. The Incredible Hulk (2008)the2bincredible2bhulk2b1

The Hulk’s introduction to the MCU is good. It’s very interesting, but it does not feature nearly enough Hulk. In the long run, Marvel has sort of swept this one under the rug, mainly due to Edward Norton’s departure from the role in post-production and we’ve heard only small references to it. That was, until Civil War, but besides that, the film is still enjoyable, but is overly full of character and low on HULK SMASHING!

12. Thor (2011)thor-3-ragnarok-chris-hemsworth

Thor’s introduction is fun and the most diverse introduction to an MCU character yet. The film has second act that is focuses on character and heart and boy does it succeed, but it’s just a hair long. The third act is short and effective, but ultimately dissatisfying. Overall, Thor is effective and a thrill, but ultimately fails to completely deliver.

11. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)the-avengers-2-ultron-captain-america-iron-man-official

The film had the big task of living up to the original while also introducing new characters and elements to drive the story forward. In most regards, it does. It gives us the first permanent death in the franchise, while also driving the direction of the MCU forward. It also features a great villain in the form of James Spader’s Ultron and turns Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye into a lovable character. Overall, AoU succeeds, but it does have some parts that feel weird and unnecessary, like the Thor in a cave pool stuff. Weird.

 

10. Iron Man 3 (2013)tumblr_static_ironman3

Widely considered as awful at the time, the film’s twist works and the story work as a self-contained ending for the Iron Man trilogy. It concludes his story perfectly, while being avoided by the wider MCU because of the poor fan reception and the fact that Robert Downey Jr’s contract was almost up at the time. Shane Black delivers a great story set in a superhero world.

9. Captain America: Civil War (2016)civil-war-2

Captain America’s series is one of the rare and beautiful examples of perfect trilogy. The series feels like they always mainly serve as Avengers stories without the whole team involved and this film definitely embraced that by bring virtually ever Avenger in for what can only be described as a better Avengers 2 or Avengers 2.5. The film is great, building fantastic character arcs and delivering amazing action sequences. Spider-Man and Black Panther are standouts and the rest of the cast is developed forward in their respective stories. It feels like a comic book crossover come to life and is an absolute delight.

8. Doctor Strange (2016)doctor-strange-1

Benedict Cumberbatch is excellent. With a fantastic story and self-contained discover for the MCU, the film introduces its most interesting character since Captain America. The film features a great ensemble and the best VFX of the franchise. Strange is a masterpiece and I can’t wait to see his return.

7. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)at6khn8b

This is the most accurate depiction of modern day high school on film. Tom Holland is fantastic and his ensemble cast is stellar. The film also features some of the best costumes in the franchise, as well as one of the best villains in the MCU in Michael Keaton’s Vulture. The film personalizes the MCU again, while still connecting to larger events. It was a fantastic high school film and stands as the best Spider-Man film.

6. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)rjhvhttx0kxduc5anmh9

Superheroes in World War II…what more do I have to say. This story is perfect and works as a great period piece while introducing arguably the best character in the MCU in Chris Evans’ Captain America. The film also features one of the best villains of the series in Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull. And that post-credits teaser for Avengers…what more must I say.

5. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (2017)guardians-of-the-galaxy-vol-2-wallpaper

The latest installment of the franchise works on so many levels. The growing ensemble has so much chemistry and work together so well. The great character development and the moments delivered pay off in unexpected ways and work so well. With breakout returning performances from Michael Rooker, Bradley Cooper, Sean Gunn, and Dave Bautista, Guardians 2 succeeds immensely. The film also features the best villain introduced in the MCU since 2011 in Kurt Russell’s Ego The Living Planet. The film ends beautifully and features a great soundtrack. However, it does have too many post-credits scenes.

4. Iron Man (2008)greatest-superhero-films-iron-man

The film that started it all works so well. It’s a brilliant comedy and a self-contained story that gives the best character arc of any single film in the franchise. Iron Man is brilliant and kickstarted a franchise that has grown to an amazing powerhouse.

3. Captain America: The Winter Solider (2014)captain-america-the-winter-soldier-hd-wallpaper

The second film in Cap’s trilogy is so different from anything else in the MCU. The Winter Soldier is an amazing political thriller that is relevant and features a great villain in Robert Redford’s Alexander Pierce. The film pulls back the covers on the biggest, most detrimental twist in the MCU: SHIELD is HYDRA. The death of SHIELD affects the MCU in big way and helps shape the landscape in away that propels us towards Infinity War.

2. The Avengers (2012)the-avengers-2-full-page-feature

The culmination of the first phase of the MCU, The Avengers is a non-stop thrill ride that delivers excellent moments and a great story that finals births the MCU as we know it. It is eminently re-watchable and works on so many levels. It is the definition of a blockbuster and is the epitome of the Marvel Universe. It is the product of Kevin Feige’s vision and is a near perfect film.

1. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)guardians-of-the-galaxy-wallpaper-roster-nebula

This film is an instant classic that creates a whole new side of the MCU that is fun, thrilling, daring, and dangerous. The Marvel Cosmic Universe is the brainchild of James Gunn, who masterly directs this project through two installments that couple together to make a perfect, seamless story. This film, however, stands perfectly alone and features the most incredible cast with Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Dame Bautista, and Vin Diesel and their chemistry is so explosive that is trumps the untouchable chemistry of The Avengers. And to top it all off, the film features the best soundtrack in cinema history.