Why real fights are far cheaper—and far better–than fake CGI cray-cray

Yes, every movie and TV show can now afford to use CGI, which they do. Way too much.

And you can’t watch a Marvel or DC movie without noticing how every frame is packed to the gills with CGI: fake set, fake hero suits, fake explosions, and fake fights.

The fake fights are what kill me.

Every action film and superhero movie is required to end in a final brawl, hero vs. villain. Usually at night and in the rain. Hey, I don’t make the laws.

Here’s the thing: these fights are the absolute climax of these movies. If you nail them, the whole movie works. Screw them up and the audience remembers forever.

I loved the hell out of BLACK PANTHER, but couldn’t buy the cartoonish final fight, which made me feel nothing.

The scene right after, with real human actors doing this thing called acting, generated tons of emotion.

This is an old problem. Way back, THE MATRIX looked revolutionary, and every fight felt real. In the horrible sequels, they poured all kinds of money and effort and CGI into fights that should have been epic yet looked like cut-scenes from a video game.

Here is an old-fashioned final battle that completely avoids CGI and completely works. It also avoids the modern problem of blurry action with a camera that never stops moving. You can see the whole fight and it’s glorious.

And I’ll end with the best fight from a Marvel movie, one that’s very real and human that makes you think Sebastian Stan is the baddest man on the planet.

VERDICT: Save a few million and step away from the CGI, directors. Hire fight choreographers and film real fights with real human beings. Because that’s how you generate real human emotions.

Fire up the Netflix and watch Chadwick Boseman in MESSAGE FROM THE KING

chadwick boseman

This is not one of his more famous roles–it’s kind of an obscure movie. A hidden treasure. And because this week is where we pay tribute to the King, there’s no better way than to talk up movies he made that people may not know about. Especially this one.

Here’s the trailer, then we’ll chat.

What makes this so good?

I mean, Chadwick Boseman could have gone grocery shopping in Safeway with a short list, and I’d still watch 40 minutes of film about him talking to the woman at the seafood counter about sea scallops and clams.

MESSAGE FROM THE KING isn’t a big-budget movie. I doubt there’s a single frame of CGI in this film. More and more, I appreciate films that rock without an ounce of CGI.

What makes this so special isn’t just Boseman’s acting, which is always stellar. I like how this thriller sets up our hero as being badly outnumbered and outgunned, in a foreign land, and still winning–not because he’s faster and tougher than the bad guys, which is the typical path of any action movie. On occasion, they’ll mix it up and have the hero win by being more brutal and bloodthirsty. You know, DEATH WISH or DIRTY HARRY style.

This movie shows our hero do clever thing after clever thing. And yes, he gets into fights, but he does it smart. In the final confrontation, instead of taking on all the bad guys on a rainy rooftop, outnumbered 10-to-1, minimum, he uses the greed of the villains against them. It’s so well done.

Chadwick Boseman was an amazing talent and it still hits me that he’s gone.

Note: If you like the accent he used when playing Black Panther, his character in this movie is from South Africa, and he does the accent so damn well I freaked out when seeing him speak at the MTV Awards show, kinda like hearing Christian Bale’s natural Welsh accent for the first time and your brain is completely befuddled.

It’s worth watching the clip for what he does during his acceptance speech for Best Hero–what a decent, honorable, good-hearted man.


Fire up Netflix, watch this film, and raise your glass in Boseman’s memory.

ALL THE STARS is the perfect song for a perfect movie

black panther, all the stars, sza, kendrick lamar, chadwick boseman

Usually, I will do one of three things with a music video: (a) find an obscure and bizarre treasure to share, (b) dissect something terrible, or (c) decipher the lyrics to an amazing song.

Today, I’m listening to ALL THE STARS on repeat, and there’s a good chance this may be a weeklong tribute to Chadwick Boseman, because the man was amazing. Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall, James Brown, Black Panther–the man could play anybody. Boundless talent and a bottomless heart. He visited kids in cancer wards for years and never let on that he was sick himself. Not once.

Wakanda forever, damn it.