Shea Serrano on His New Book and Why ‘John Wick’ Is the Ultimate Action Franchise
Writer Shea Serrano has lots of ideas about motion pictures. If you’re certainly one of Serrano’s 300Ok-plus Twitter followers (and even should you’re not), you’ve in all probability heard a number 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 Movies (And Other Things), Serrano explores a few of the subjects and questions he’s been enthusiastic about 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 excellent film heist crew? Is Regina George the final film villain?
Serrano, a employees author for the sports activities and popular culture web site The Ringer, beforehand discovered success with the New York Times best-sellers Basketball (and Other Things) and The Rap Yearbook. So when he acquired the likelihood to do one other e book, he knew precisely what the topic could be.
“I knew eventually I’d want to do a movie book, and I felt this could be another one in this series,” Serrano advised Men’s Journal forward of the e book’s October eight launch. “There were lots of similarities to me with movies and basketball. A movie year is like a sports season filled with winners, losers, surprises, awards snubs—all the pieces seemed to fit.”
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Movies (And Other Things) / Twelve Books / Josh Huskin
We caught up with Serrano to speak about his new e book, what makes The Rock so charming, the John Wick franchise, villains, and far more.
Men’s Journal: What goes into placing a e book like this collectively?
With the basketball e book, I had extra enjoyable than I believed I might. I appreciated the construction of it, that every chapter was a special factor, all stitched along with a principal through-line. A e book like this takes lots 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 in the sequence, I knew there could be illustrations. I knew how I needed to open it. The complete factor took 18 months from writing to being totally performed, and in all probability 9 months have been spent in 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 liked him. My uncle took me to see it—and, looking back, it was fairly violent for a child. But I’ll always remember seeing it in a theater. Another one I bear in mind watching that was form of profound was Mortal Kombat. What blew my thoughts at the time was that these totally different streams of popular culture—video video games and motion pictures—may cross collectively. I didn’t know that was one thing that would occur. I bear 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. Another one which stood out to me was White Men Can’t Jump. I’m at all times drawn into shit-talking, basketball participant scams and hustles that occur, individuals making an attempt to determine issues out, and I do not forget that film drawing me in. Those have been three massive ones for me once I was like 12 and beneath.
What’s your favourite motion film of all time?
It’s in all probability Die Hard. It’s a simple decide, but it surely’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 in the 1980s—to Die Hard principally marked the finish of that period of massive muscle tissues. It turned extra about regular-sized guys and believable tales. They nonetheless make these massive, muscular motion pictures, however total it marked a serious second. Like in Commando, Arnold jumps out of an airplane and lands in a swamp and it doesn’t even hassle him. In Die Hard, 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 in search of in a superb motion film?
I’m in search of 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 sensible 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 in 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 in the arm. Never 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 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.
Here’s that second from Taken:
Why do you’re keen on the John Wick motion pictures a lot?
Keanu Reeves is a good film star. John Wick is an ideal position for him. He leans into the stuff he’s good at: look cool, growl a few strains, get in some fights. Some film stars, they’ve a factor. The phrase is known as “fight confidence.” You watch and it seems plausible. Christian Bale, he doesn’t actually have battle confidence. Keanu practices all of these items in actual life. He can principally do all 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 hold bringing in new characters and concepts. In Chapter Four, I’m certain we’ll get extra wild stunts and issues we haven’t seen earlier than.
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You have a chapter in the e book about whether or not sure motion pictures could be higher if The Rock have been in them. What do you assume makes him so interesting?
He’s an enormous, muscular, good-looking man—and he’s extremely charming. He looks as if a fantastic hold. He additionally looks as if he could be a superb dad, and these are issues everybody’s in search of always. He actually is a film star. It is smart that everyone falls in love with him. The Rock turned this international star when that wasn’t taking place anymore. The manner issues have been with film stars 20 years in the past—like Denzel Washington, Tom Hanks, and so on—it’s simply not taking place now.
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Do you may have some favourite motion pictures on your checklist which may shock individuals?
The factor that individuals are shocked by is that I’m an enormous rom-com man. In the e book, I knew I used to be going to do a chapter on Something’s Gotta Give and Diane Keaton. I really like that film. She got here alongside later in my life. I used to be perhaps mid-to-late 20s once I first noticed her, and I used to be like, ‘Who is she? I haven’t seen her in something.’ And then I discovered she’s been round for 30 years and I someway hadn’t remembered that she was in The Godfather, which after all I had seen. I additionally love highschool motion pictures—ones like Mean Girls, 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 Kid, it’s Daniel, in others you may have Regina George, Ferris, they’re iconic ones.
How did you determine on the chapters and subjects you’d cowl?
More than something, I needed the e book 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 hold monitor of chapters, and I put them in numerous sections on the chart. I attempt to verify the sections are even on my chart, it was the identical course of that I had on the basketball e book. It retains the items organized, so if you look and see you may have 9 foolish chapters and 4 severe ones, you may see what sections it’s good to pump up. It’s like making dinner: if somebody places plate in entrance of you all mashed potatoes and one chew of meat, you’re going to need extra of the meat.
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You’ve hosted a podcast and written so much about villains. What do you want about them a lot?
Villains to me are oftentimes the most fascinating a part of the film. It’s cool to see unhealthy individuals doing unhealthy issues, and see how difficult they will get. With a hero, they’re only a hero. They must do a superb factor, and save the individuals, and be heroes. Villains could be a lot extra nuanced, fascinating, and interesting in numerous methods. Like Hannibal Lecter. We can perceive how harmful and vicious this man is, however there’s one thing about him that makes you wish to discuss to him. Someone like Killmonger in Black Panther [played by Michael B. Jordan], that character is fascinating as a result of what he says is smart. Is he truly the good man? The villains could be so fascinating… individuals like Regina George in Mean Girls and Amy Dunne in Gone Girl.
I appreciated the part on “Who wins in 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 typically it appears they get it incorrect, or not less than give awards for the incorrect causes. For instance, wanting again on The Social Network and The King’s Speech, nobody has spoken about King’s Speech since that got here out and The Social Network continues to be simply as related in the present day.
I feel you and I’ve the same feeling towards awards. We perceive the status and what it means to win, getting the validation not directly. 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 feeling is like rooting for a sports activities staff. That was amongst my favourite sections, as a result of I by no means hung out to dig via all of the previous Oscar winners. That chapter begins with 1995. The Best Picture was Forrest Gump and Best Actor was Tom Hanks. You watch it at 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 fascinating dialog about how motion pictures have modified and how viewpoints have modified. It’s cool to see and look via that lens—about how a film gained over these different motion pictures that have been completely ignored, and so on. That’s a part of the enjoyable. Social Network and The King’s Speech—these are massive ones. I write about Social Network in the e book. Another one is American Beauty. We look again at 1999 as certainly one of 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, certainly one of my favourite film stars of all time, she was nice and it was cool to see her lastly, perhaps get her due for an Oscar nomination. She ought to have one for Selena, that was an enormous one. I liked John Wick three, Booksmart, which I write about in the e book. I additionally actually appreciated Crawl.