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

Author Shea Serrano has lots of ideas about motion pictures. In the event you’re one in all Serrano’s 300Ok-plus Twitter followers (and even for those who’re not), you’ve in all probability heard just a few 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 ebook Motion pictures (And Different Issues), Serrano explores a number of the subjects and questions he’s been fascinated by for years—issues like, Would this film be higher if The Rock have been in it? What motion pictures ought to have truly gained Oscars? Who would make the right film 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 Instances best-sellers Basketball (and Different Issues) and The Rap Yearbook. So when he received the prospect to do one other ebook, he knew precisely what the topic could be.

“I knew finally I’d wish to do a film ebook, and I felt this may very well be one other one on this sequence,” Serrano instructed Males’s Journal forward of the ebook’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 crammed with winners, losers, surprises, awards snubs—all of the items appeared to suit.”

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Author Shea Serrano / Movies (And Other Things) / Twelve Books / Josh HuskinMotion pictures (And Different Issues) / Twelve Books / Josh Huskin

We caught up with Serrano to speak about his new ebook, what makes The Rock so charming, the John Wick franchise, villains, and rather more.

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

With the basketball ebook, I had extra enjoyable than I assumed I might. I appreciated the construction of it, that every chapter was a distinct factor, all stitched along with a primary through-line. A ebook like this takes lots of heavy lifting—determining what the ebook appears like, what it’ll really feel like, discovering the tone you’re going for. At this level, with it being the second ebook within the sequence, I knew there could be illustrations. I knew how I needed to open it. The entire thing took 18 months from writing to being totally finished, and possibly 9 months have been spent within the preliminary building-out course of.

What motion pictures made a big effect 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, on reflection, 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 films—may cross collectively. I didn’t know that was one thing that would occur. I keep in mind when it opened with the Mortal Kombat dragon brand and the theme music began enjoying… it was a pivotal second in my life. That ‘Oh my god’ second the place you notice issues can occur. One other one which stood out to me was White Males Can’t Soar. I’m at all times drawn into shit-talking, basketball participant scams and hustles that occur, folks making an attempt to determine issues out, and I keep in mind that film drawing me in. These have been three huge ones for me after I was like 12 and underneath.

What’s your favourite motion film of all time?

It’s in all probability Die Onerous. It’s a straightforward choose, but it surely’s so clearly when every little thing shifted in motion motion pictures. The trajectory from Stallone and Arnold—who had like 19 mixed motion pictures within the 1980s—to Die Onerous mainly marked the tip of that period of massive muscle tissue. It turned extra about regular-sized guys and believable tales. They nonetheless make these huge, muscular motion pictures, however general it marked a serious second. Like in Commando, Arnold jumps out of an airplane and lands in a swamp and it doesn’t even trouble him. In Die Onerous, Bruce is in tears making an attempt to drag glass from his toes [laughs]. It was an enormous shift.

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What are you on the lookout for in an excellent motion film?

I’m on the lookout 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 very 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 working 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 really like John Wick a lot. It’s a brand new world, a storyline that is sensible: 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 known as “struggle confidence.” You watch and it appears 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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Author Shea Serrano / Movies (And Other Things) / Twelve Books / Josh HuskinJosh Huskin

You’ve gotten a chapter within the ebook about whether or not sure motion pictures could be higher if The Rock have been in them. What do you suppose makes him so interesting?

He’s an enormous, muscular, good-looking man—and he’s extremely charming. He looks like an ideal grasp. He additionally looks like he could be an excellent dad, and people are issues everybody’s on the lookout for always. He actually is a film star. It is sensible that everyone falls in love with him. The Rock turned this international star when that wasn’t occurring anymore. The best way issues have 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 might have some favourite motion pictures in your checklist which may shock folks?

The factor that persons are stunned by is that I’m an enormous rom-com man. Within the ebook, I knew I used to be going to do a chapter on One thing’s Gotta Give and Diane Keaton. I really like that film. She got here alongside later in my life. I used to be possibly mid-to-late 20s after I first noticed her, and I used to be like, ‘Who’s she? I haven’t seen her in something.’ After which I discovered she’s been round for 30 years and I someway hadn’t remembered that she was in The Godfather, which in fact I had seen. I additionally love highschool motion pictures—ones like Imply Ladies, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Can’t Hardly Wait. I feel everytime you make one, you want an iconic character that may anchor it, so like in Karate Child, it’s Daniel, in others you might have Regina George, Ferris, they’re iconic ones.

How did you resolve on the chapters and subjects you’d cowl?

Greater than something, I needed the ebook to really feel balanced. I needed for there to be components that had some gravity and have been severe and extra insightful, and others straight-up foolish. I’ve an organizational chart the place I preserve observe of chapters, and I put them in several sections on the chart. I attempt to ensure the sections are even on my chart, it was the identical course of that I had on the basketball ebook. It retains the items organized, so if you look and see you might have 9 foolish chapters and 4 severe ones, you possibly can see what sections it’s essential to pump up. It’s like making dinner: if somebody places plate in entrance of you all mashed potatoes and one chunk of meat, you’re going to need extra of the meat.

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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 essentially the most attention-grabbing a part of the film. It’s cool to see dangerous folks doing dangerous issues, and see how sophisticated they’ll get. With a hero, they’re only a hero. They need to do an excellent factor, and save the folks, and be heroes. Villains might be a lot extra nuanced, attention-grabbing, and interesting in several methods. Like Hannibal Lecter. We are able to perceive how harmful and harsh this man is, however there’s one thing about him that makes you wish to speak 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 sensible. Is he truly the nice man? The villains might be so attention-grabbing… folks like Regina George in Imply Ladies and Amy Dunne in Gone Woman.

I appreciated the part on “Who wins within the new Academy Awards.” I really like motion pictures and I really like the Oscars—however I additionally hate them as a result of so usually it appears they get it flawed, or at the very least give awards for the flawed causes. For instance, wanting again on The Social Community and The King’s Speech, nobody has spoken about King’s Speech since that got here out and The Social Community remains to be simply as related right now.

I feel you and I’ve the same feeling towards awards. We perceive the status and what it means to win, getting the validation indirectly. When it’s a film that you just 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 by way of the entire previous Oscar winners. That chapter begins with 1995. The Greatest Image was Forrest Gump and Greatest Actor was Tom Hanks. You watch it on the time, and it’s a enjoyable film, and if it got here out now, wouldn’t it 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 by way of that lens—about how a film gained over these different motion pictures that have been completely ignored, and so forth. That’s a part of the enjoyable. Social Community and The King’s Speech—these are huge ones. I write about Social Community within the ebook. One other one is American Magnificence. We glance again at 1999 as probably the greatest yr’s in movie—ever—and that’s the film that gained?

What motion pictures or performances have you ever appreciated from this previous yr?

Hustlers was unbelievable. Jennifer Lopez, one in all my favourite film stars of all time, she was nice and it was cool to see her lastly, possibly get her due for an Oscar nomination. She ought to have one for Selena, that was an enormous one. I cherished John Wick three, Booksmart, which I write about within the ebook. I additionally actually appreciated Crawl.

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