• ERIC BUTLER

Before they were Marvel stars part 1

In my never-ending search for content, I've decided on Wednesdays when I don't have pressing news, I will showcase 3 stars from the Marvel Universe and suggest 3 movies you should see. Some may be mainstream films that I feel are essential to view, and others may be indie gems that somehow slipped past you. This is the first installment and I've decided to pick 3 stars from the Iron Man franchise. First up is the main man himself ...


Robert Downy Jr. (Tony Stark) has 94 credits to his name and had a period where he was in and out of rehab and jail. Before scoring the Iron Man gig he was still trying to make a comeback, but being the face of Marvel helped slingshot him back to the top. The dude can act and I've always been a fan. So while I could say Back to School, Weird Science, Chaplin, or Less Than Zero, here are 3 films I think you need to see:


#1 - U.S. Marshals

So first off I am a Wesley Snipes fanboy, especially his late 80s & 90s stuff. Add in the fact this is a semi-sequel to The Fugitive, and this is a must-see action-packed popcorn fest. You can stream it on Netflix.


Blurb - U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard and his team of Marshals are assigned to track down Sheridan, who has been accused of a double-murder.


#2 - Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

Shane Black knows how to make a good movie. He's written and directed some of my favorite movies. The really good ones let the talent do their thing, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang does just that. Robert Downy Jr and Val Kilmer have great chemistry in this buddy "cop" / actor misadventure. You can't stream it for free right now but it does pop up on Prime and Hulu.


Blurb - After being mistaken for an actor, a New York thief is sent to Hollywood to train under a private eye for a potential movie role, but the duo are thrown together with a struggling actress into a murder mystery.

#3 - A Scanner Darkly

Based on a Philip K Dick story and directed by Richard Linklater, this science fiction film is rotoscoped to give it that extra WTF feel. The cast is amazing, and this is a fun film to consume. If you have the Criterion App, you can stream it but it's worth a purchase.


Blurb - An undercover cop in a not-too-distant future becomes involved with a dangerous new drug and begins to lose his own identity as a result.


 

Next up is The Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson. She has 75 credits to her name. She's never in any trouble and has a wide range of movies in her catalog. I think she's been fantastic as Natasha and hope they find a way to bring her back. Here are the three films I think you need to see ...



#1 - The Prestige

I'm sure most movie fans have seen this but if not, add it to your list. Christopher Nolan sandwiched this film between his first Batman movies, and it has Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, and Mrs. Johansson. It pops up on Netflix, but right now you will have to pay to stream this one.

Blurb - After a tragic accident, two stage magicians in 1890s London engage in a battle to create the ultimate illusion while sacrificing everything they have to outwit each other.


#2 - Lucy

I'm a huge Luc Benson fan, especially when he's both writing and directing, and Lucy is no exception. Full of action and sharp dialogue, watch Johansson in all her butt-kicking glory. You can stream this one on Peacock Premium.


Blurb - A woman, accidentally caught in a dark deal, turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.

#3 - Jojo Rabbit

Director of Thor 3 & 4, Taika Waititi, tackles the Third Reich in this comedy. You can stream it on something called fuboTV, but I'm thinking most people will have to rent or buy to stream this one.


Blurb - A young German boy in the Hitler Youth whose hero and imaginary friend is the country's dictator is shocked to discover that his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their home.



 

Last we have Don Cheadle. He's been in 104 productions, and made the character of James Rhodes his after Marvel gave Terrence Howard got the boot. He's been in a ton of great shows and movies, and while you probably should see Traitor, Hotel Rwanda, and the Ocean trilogy, I'm going to suggest the following ...



#1 - Traffic

This is a powerful and depressing look at how both sides are affected by the war on drugs. I saw this in a packed theater, where some morons brought their 2 young children and allowed them to run back and forth of the last row. Luckily the movie was so good, I don't remember what they were up to after it began. You won't have that issue when you rent/buy to stream this one.

Blurb - A conservative judge is appointed by the President to spearhead America's escalating war against drugs, only to discover that his teenage daughter is a crack addict. Two DEA agents protect an informant. A jailed drug baron's wife attempts to carry on the family business.

#2 - Manic

This movie is a gut punch, but well written & acted. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Cheadle have a great dynamic, and there is real chemistry between Gordon-Levitt & Zoey Deschanel. Check it out on HULU.


Blurb - After attacking another player with a bat during baseball at school, Lyle's sent to the psych ward. He meets other teenagers with problems. Will group therapy help?

#3 - Swordfish

2 X-Men & War Machine team up with John Travolta to give us a fun and action-packed spy movie. You can catch it on HBOMax.


Blurb - A covert counter-terrorist unit called Black Cell led by Gabriel Shear wants the money to help finance their war against international terrorism, but it's all locked away. Gabriel brings in convicted hacker Stanley Jobson to help him.



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