Shea Serrano on His New E-book and Why ‘John Wick’ Is the Final Motion Franchise

Author Shea Serrano has quite a lot of ideas about motion pictures. In case you’re considered one of Serrano’s 300Ok-plus Twitter followers (and even if you happen to’re not), you’ve in all probability heard a couple of of these opinions. Serrano’s opinions run the cinematic gamut from motion franchises to romantic comedies. And now, Serrano’s put these ideas on paper.

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In his new e book Motion pictures (And Different Issues), Serrano explores a few of the matters and questions he’s been eager about for years—issues like, Would this film be higher if The Rock had been in it? What motion pictures ought to have really gained Oscars? Who would make the proper heist crew? Is Regina George the final word film villain?

Serrano, a workers author for the sports activities and popular culture web site The Ringer, beforehand discovered success with the New York Occasions best-sellers Basketball (and Different Issues) and The Rap Yearbook. So when he bought the possibility to do one other e book, he knew precisely what the topic can be.

“I knew finally I’d need to do a film e book, and I felt this might be one other one on this sequence,” Serrano advised Males’s Journal forward of the e book’s October eight launch. “There have been a lot of similarities to me with motion pictures and basketball. A film yr is sort of a sports activities season full of winners, losers, surprises, awards snubs—all of the items appeared to suit.”

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We caught up with Serrano to speak about his new e book, what makes The Rock so charming, the John Wick franchise, and extra.

Males’s Journal: What goes into placing a e book like this collectively?

It takes quite a lot of heavy lifting—determining what the e book seems like, what it’ll really feel like, discovering the tone you’re going for. At this level, with it being the second e book within the sequence, I knew there can be illustrations. I knew how I wished to open it. The entire thing took 18 months from writing to being totally executed, and possibly 9 months had been spent within the preliminary building-out course of.

Motion pictures (And Different Issues) / Twelve Books / Josh Huskin

What motion pictures made a huge impact on you as a child?

One is the very first one I noticed in a theater, Kickboxer. By that time, I had seen and fallen in love with Bloodsport and Jean-Claude Van Damme. I cherished him. My uncle took me to see it—and, looking back, it was fairly violent for a child. However I’ll always remember seeing it in a theater. One other one I keep in mind watching that was sort of profound was Mortal Kombat. What blew my thoughts on the time was that these totally different streams of popular culture—video video games and flicks—may cross collectively. I didn’t know that was one thing that might occur. I keep in mind when it opened with the Mortal Kombat dragon emblem and the theme music began enjoying… it was a pivotal second in my life. That ‘Oh my god’ second the place you understand issues can occur.

What’s your favourite motion film of all time?

It’s in all probability Die Laborious. It’s a simple decide, nevertheless it’s so clearly when all the things shifted in motion motion pictures. The trajectory from Stallone and Arnold—who had like 19 mixed motion pictures within the 1980s—to Die Laborious mainly marked the tip of that period of huge muscle mass. It turned extra about regular-sized guys and believable tales. They nonetheless make these large, muscular motion pictures, however total it marked a significant second. Like in Commando, Arnold jumps out of an airplane and lands in a swamp and it doesn’t even hassle him. In Die Laborious, Bruce is in tears making an attempt to tug glass from his toes [laughs]. It was a giant shift.

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What are the elements of a superb motion film?

I’m searching for a bunch of issues: Can I be launched into a brand new world I’ve by no means seen earlier than? Can I be launched to a brand new thought I’ve by no means seen earlier than? Can I be launched into a brand new set piece or stunt I’ve by no means seen earlier than? An instance is Taken with Liam Neeson. It’s a extremely good motion film that jump-started the old-guy-doing-badass-things style. And there’s an element in that film the place he’s arguing with a man he used to work with, and that man has a desk job now, which is a operating gag within the film. At that time, the man pulls out a gun, and Liam says [“That’s what happens when you sit behind a desk. You forget things. Like the weight in the hand of a gun that’s loaded and one that’s not.”] Liam took the bullets out of the gun! I’ve by no means seen that earlier than—and he shoots the man’s spouse within the arm. By no means seen that in a film. That’s why I like John Wick a lot. It’s a brand new world, a storyline that is smart: A man has one thing taken from him and he’s going to get revenge. And we get stunts we’ve by no means seen earlier than.

Right here’s that second from Taken:


Why do you like the John Wick motion pictures a lot?

Keanu Reeves is a superb film star. John Wick is an ideal position for him. He leans into the stuff he’s good at: look cool, growl a few traces, get in some fights. Some film stars, they’ve a factor. The phrase is known as “struggle confidence.” You watch and it seems plausible. Christian Bale, he doesn’t actually have struggle confidence. Keanu practices all of these items in actual life. He can mainly do all of the issues John Wick does. He has that confidence. He’s excellent in it. The story is nice. It introduces a brand new world, and the sequels preserve bringing in new characters and concepts. In Chapter 4, I’m positive we’ll get extra wild stunts and issues we haven’t seen earlier than.

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You may have a chapter within the e book about whether or not sure motion pictures can be higher if The Rock had been in them. What do you suppose makes him so interesting?

He’s a giant, muscular, good-looking man—and he’s extremely charming. He looks as if an awesome dangle. He additionally looks as if he can be a superb dad, and people are issues everybody’s searching for always. He actually is a film star. It is smart that everyone falls in love with him. The Rock turned this world star when that wasn’t occurring anymore. The way in which issues had been with film stars 20 years in the past—like Denzel Washington, Tom Hanks, and so forth—it’s simply not occurring now.

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Do you’ve got some favourite motion pictures in your listing that may shock individuals?

The factor that persons are shocked by is that I’m a giant rom-com man. Within the e book, I knew I used to be going to do a chapter on One thing’s Gotta Give and Diane Keaton. I like that film. She got here alongside later in my life. I used to be possibly mid-to-late 20s once I first noticed her, and I used to be like, ‘Who’s she? I haven’t seen her in something.’ After which I came upon she’s been round for 30 years and I by some means hadn’t remembered that she was in The Godfather, which after all I had seen. I additionally love highschool motion pictures—ones like Imply Ladies, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Can’t Hardly Wait.

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You’ve hosted a podcast and written quite a bit about villains. What do you want about them a lot?

Villains to me are oftentimes probably the most attention-grabbing a part of the film. It’s cool to see dangerous individuals doing dangerous issues, and see how sophisticated they’ll get. With a hero, they’re only a hero. They need to do a superb factor, and save the individuals, and be heroes. Villains may be a lot extra nuanced, attention-grabbing, and interesting in numerous methods. Like Hannibal Lecter. We are able to perceive how harmful and cruel this man is, however there’s one thing about him that makes you need to discuss to him. Somebody like Killmonger in Black Panther [played by Michael B. Jordan], that character is attention-grabbing as a result of what he says is smart. Is he really the great man? The villains may be so attention-grabbing… individuals like Regina George in Imply Ladies and Amy Dunne in Gone Woman.

I admire the part entitled “Who wins within the new Academy Awards.” So usually it looks as if they get it unsuitable or give awards for the unsuitable causes.

I feel you and I’ve an analogous feeling towards awards. We perceive the status and what it means to win, getting the validation indirectly. When it’s a film that you simply like or care about, if it doesn’t win, it’s like, ‘F*ck these awards!’ When one does, you’re like, ‘Hell yeah!’ The sensation is like rooting for a sports activities staff. That was amongst my favourite sections, as a result of I by no means frolicked to dig via all the previous Oscar winners. That chapter begins with 1995. The Finest Image was Forrest Gump and Finest Actor was Tom Hanks. You watch it on the time, and it’s a enjoyable film, and if it got here out now, would it not do what it did then and win awards? The thought it in all probability wouldn’t maintain up is an attention-grabbing dialog about how motion pictures have modified and the way viewpoints have modified. It’s cool to see and look via that lens—about how a film gained over these different motion pictures that had been completely ignored, and so forth. That’s a part of the enjoyable. Social Community and The King’s Speech—these are large ones. I write about Social Community within the e book. One other one is American Magnificence. We glance again at 1999 as among the best yr’s in movie—ever—and that’s the film that gained?

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