Tent Pole Spectacular: Stephen’s Summer Movie Guide

tumblr
tumblr
Please email Stephen all of your movie, TV, and random entertainment questions: stephenthescoop@hotmail.com


If you are a fan of action and sci-fi movies, then you can probably feel that familiar tingle of huge Hollywood blockbusters approaching with your Spidey sense.  Obviously I am a fan of all movies, big and small, and love a small film with a good script and a great cast.  That being said, I am no fool either and the thought of Hulk punching Ironman with a car makes my nerd boner want to blast into orbit!

Marvel Comics
Marvel Comics
Summer is a magical time for the movie industry, when millions of sweaty nerds cascade inside movie theaters to get out of the sun and hand over billions of dollars to see their fantasies come to life on the big screen.  Note: comic fantasies, not their real fantasies that involve Lt. Uhura, a leather jacket, and the theme from Shaft.

Summer officially starts on May 1st with Avengers: Age of Ultron and ends on August 14th with one of the most interesting movie release weekends in recent memory.  Each month has at least one big release, with May stacking up to be one of the biggest box office months that we have ever seen.  I mean have you seen the trailer for Pitch Perfect 2?  The Pitches are back and better than ever!  With so much excitement getting ready to explode onto screens across the world, let’s take a month-by-month look at what to expect and maybe a few predictions along the way.


May: One Month to Rule Them All

The month of May is going to be a power house of Hulk-like proportions the likes of which we have never seen.  Even the movies that I’m not as excited to see, like San Andreas and Tomorrowland are going to clear $100 million at the box office.  Kids will flock to any movie starring The Rock, and women from far and wide will show up to see George Cloontang doing his signature “tilt your head down and then slowly look up and say something” move that has been cashing checks and making women shuck clam (hat tip JP) for going on 3 decades now.  Those movies are going to be successful, you can count on it, but that doesn’t even scratch the surface on what Hollywood is unleashing on the month.

Reddit
Reddit
Mad Max: Fury Road hits theaters May 15th and if you are anything like me, you grew up with Mad Max and could not be more excited that George Miller is dusting off this franchise and has cast Bane as the lead.  Fun fact: Miller did Mad Max, Road Warriors, and Thunderdome in the 80s and also did Babe, Babe: Pig in the City, Happy Feet, and Happy Feet Two.  If you can find a director with a more…ummm…diverse body of work, then you are better than me.  Fury Road is one of those movies that I am going to see more than once, and I will be there on opening day.  In fact, I already have plans for a bro date with Movie Yoda to be in attendance, because if there is anyone who can appreciate a George Miller classic, it’s the Movie Yoda.

Those films are certain to have box office success, but only one has the singular goal of taking down Avatar as the highest grossing movie of all time.  Avengers: Age of Ultron is going to come out guns blazing and isn’t looking up until there are no other competitors in its path.  If Marvel has proven anything, it’s that it absolutely knows how to make a blockbuster, and this movie is meant to top them all.  They already have 2 of the top 10 grossing movies of all time with Avengers and Iron Man 3 checking in a 3 and 6 respectively, and there is no doubt in my mind that the fine people at that studio want that top spot, and they want it bad.

Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios
Age of Ultron is going to be a runaway train at the box office that even Denzel and Captain Kirk won’t be able to stop.  I am going to watch this movie in 2D, 3D, IMAX, at the drive in, on a bootleg copy from the convenience store up the street, at Cinema Latino, and any other format that I can possibly find.  I have very, very high hopes for this movie and all of the Science Bros goodness that it has promised.  It is going to deliver on that promise and I am calling it now…Avengers: Age of Ultron will end the summer as the highest grossing movie of all time.


June: Starlord vs. T-Rex vs. Drama

The month gets started with Vinnie, E, Turtle, Johnny Drama and the rest of the Entourage crew hitting the big screen for what is sure to be a mixed bag of results.  Critics are going to HATE this movie, and fans of the show will enjoy spending more time with the group that came into their living rooms for so long.  The fact is, this movie was never made for anyone other than fans of the show, and to be a mindless summer movie with jokes, action, and what is sure to be a ton of nudity.  This movie does not care if you like it or not, it is going to have its audience, and that group will be loyal to the brand and will turn out to see the movie.

tumblr
tumblr
The following week will be the next big test for Chris Pratt, when Jurassic World hits the big screens with its made-up dinosaurs and Starlord charisma.  Guardians of the Galaxy was a huge success, thanks in large part to Pratt, but that movie was going to make money regardless.  The fact that it was outstanding as well is directly tied to Pratt’s charm that jumped off of the screen in 3D, so to see him carry another franchise with a script that might not be as good is an excellent test for him.  I’m not sure if Jurassic World will be any good or not, but I am fairly certain that Pratt will be. How much of a box office draw will he be alone?  We will find out this June, and I for one am very, very excited to see the results, even if I’m not as excited about the franchise.


July: Star Spangled Stripping

Two things are going to be a certainty this 4th of July.  1) I am going to get stuck in a crowded parking lot with my daughter trying to see fireworks, because there are very few things in this world a 6-year-old likes more than exploding fireballs in the sky.  2) I am going to be irrationally angry when Magic Mike XXL makes more money at the box office than Terminator Genisys.

Iron Horse Entertainment
Iron Horse Entertainment
I completely get that there is nothing more patriotic to the ladies than Channing Tatum and his thong full of independence, but I have no way to be rational about the Terminator, so I am going to see it twice in protest.  I just hope that I see those same women the following weekend hanging their heads in shame as they walk by that poster on the way to see Minions with the kids.  I may even tell a kid to ask his mom why those men aren’t wearing any clothes on the poster as payback.  Who knew that movies about bondage and stripping would be the woman version of comic book movies in 2015?  I may need to take a jazzercise class at my local Curves gym to get into shape for this new trend.

The great thing about July is that after the stripper dust settles that weekend, the next two weeks will be two of my favorite of the summer with Ant-Man and Trainwreck being released.  I have zero thoughts on Ant-Man, other than it is going to be the closest thing to a comedy that Marvel has released to date, but that doesn’t mean it is going to be a good movie.  I have faith in Marvel Studios, but this is the first thing that they have released that I have some serious trepidation over.  It could be great, but the casting really gives me pause.

Apatow Productions
Apatow Productions
Trainwreck, however, might be the surprise hit of the summer, and outside of Ultron and Mad Max is the movie that I am the most excited about seeing.  Amy Schumer is a power house comedian and one of the funniest people on the entire planet, so the fact that she wrote this movie is a huge plus.  The other huge plus is that Bill Hader is in it with her, and Hader is someone who I would watch in absolutely anything.  There is something to be said about good casting, but this might be the perfect casting for a very, very R-rated movie that is sure to be great.


August: Straight Outta My Childhood

Tumblr
Tumblr
There are only two possible outcomes with the NWA biopic that comes out this August, but your guess is as good as mine with which is most likely.  It will either be Ray-level good and become a movie that is talked about far and wide, or it will be a steaming pile of shit that will lead Ice Cube to throat punch critics for talking bad about his son’s portrayal of him.  There will be no other possible outcomes here, which is part of the excitement of this movie.

Most people are saying that if you don’t get Easy right, then the movie won’t work, but I humbly disagree.  When is the last time you heard Easy talking?  I’m not talking about in a song; I just mean talking in general?  That is my point exactly, there are very few people who even know what his speaking voice sounds like, and in reality, the driving force behind the group was always Cube.  He was the first one to have solo success, he was the first one to star in a movie, and he has one of the most recognizable voices in the world to this day.  If you mess up that role, then the entire movie goes down the toilet, which is the same reason Notorious was doomed from the start.

Columbia Pictures Corporation
Columbia Pictures Corporation
Biggie and Tupac had two of the best and most unique voices that the music industry has ever seen, and Notorious missed badly on both of them.  That is the secret rule for biopics that studios don’t seem to understand, and the one rule I wish they could get right.  It’s never been about how much an actor looks like someone, it is how much they sound like them, and that rule holds even more weight with someone in music.

I know that several people enjoyed Walk the Line, but I grew up listening to Johnny Cash, and for all of the acting talents that Joaquin Phoenix has, he never, ever, ever sounded even a little like Cash.  It ruined the movie completely and makes it unwatchable to this day.  If they make that mistake with Cube in this movie, then it will never make it and will be a complete failure.


Stephen Balding is the Entertainment Badass for The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenB_41.

Advertisements

Stephen Went There: The Dallas International Film Festival – Part 2

Red Productions
Red Productions

Please email Stephen all of your movie, TV, and random entertainment questions: stephenthescoop@hotmail.com


I have spent the last 7 days hanging around the lobby of the Angelika Theater waiting for the next screening of a movie to start.  At this point in time, I’ve seen 9 feature films, 4 documentaries, and 16 short films.  I’ve also gotten to shake hands with Dirk Nowitzki, see a private screening of my favorite short film in a barber shop, and also witnessed a live concert from the main character of the short film in the same barber shop.  All in all, it has been a great time at the Dallas International Film Festival with even more fun to come this weekend.

Like anything with such a large collection of things to see, some of them were excellent, some were just ok, and some were really hard to get through.  I want to run through some of the hits and misses that I’ve seen so far and let you know what to look forward to when they hit a wide release.


Documentary:

You’re going to have to take this with an extra-large grain of salt, but I thought Nowitzki: The Perfect Shot was really well done.  That was the surest bet to be something that I enjoyed because Dirk is my favorite DFW athlete from all of the major team sports…ever.  He is my guy over Emmitt Smith, (You can’t jump ship to go after a “championship” and then sign with Arizona.  You chased the money Emmitt, you know it, I know it, everyone knows it.), Troy Aikman, Pudge (a very, very close second), and even Nolan Ryan.  So with Dirk, the film could have been bad and I still would have watched it, but what director Sebastian Dehnhard accomplished was no small feat.  He intertwined young and old Dirk, Germany and

Perfect Shot Productions
Perfect Shot Productions

Dallas Dirk, Holger and Dirk, and hit every milestone along the way.

The majority of the film focused on Holger and Dirk, which is always where you want to start, but I was surprised how candid they were with how the team felt about Holger and how that has evolved over time.  Holger is a unique entity in the basketball world, but so is Dirk for that matter, and you can’t tell one story without the other.  Those were the moments that I enjoyed the most, but I was also impressed by how they didn’t ignore things like Cristal Taylor and how heartbreaking that process was for the Nowitzki family as a whole.  I’m not sure where the documentary goes from here, but I’m sure it will end up on HBO or a sports channel, and when it does I recommend giving it a look.

The other documentary that really stuck with me was Cartel Land, which is a truly amazing story of the Mexican state of Michoacán and the uprising against the cartels led by Dr. Jose Mireles.  I’m sure that I’ve been fooled by something more than the story of “El Doctor” and how I thought something would turn out, but I cannot remember when.  Is he a loving family man who is genuinely concerned about his home and family?  Is he someone who is using his uncanny ability of speaking and moving a crowd to get the state behind a movement?  Is he someone who uses his power to seduce women and take money from a government who many feel turned its back on its people?  This film presents all sides and allows you to choose for yourself.

Our Time Productions
Our Time Productions

The narrative is told through the eyes of extremists on both sides of the border, but the best thing about the film is the journey it takes you on and how that journey changes several times, and that journey includes cameramen getting shot at by fully automatic weapons.  It is intense, political, sad, and infuriating all at the same time, which is a hard combination to pull off, but one that director Matthew Heineman pulls off with ease.  This was by far the best documentary of the festival and one that I will watch several times once it is released.


Short films:

Some of the best things that I have seen at this festival have been the short films, which at their best leave the audience wanting to see more of the narrative, either as a feature length film or TV series.  One of the best is Oasis, which tells the tale of a woman named Nieves, who we find struggling to survive after the death of her husband.  She takes over his job and discovers something so disturbing that it forces her to make choices that she wasn’t prepared to make.  The film is about choices, morality, loss, and how much one person can stomach before risking her life to do what is right.

During the block of short films that Oasis showed in, there were several films that had the audience laughing and smiling, but when Oasis was on, the entire crowd was in silence.  That is something that hasn’t happened in any other film that I’ve seen, and when I tell you that the silence was deafening, you could have heard a pin drop.  Oasis immediately caught your attention and never let go of it, and thankfully the next film was not as intense and the crowd was back to laughing.   It is enthralling and something that I hope to see more of in the future.

The other short film that stuck with me is the same one that has been my favorite out of everything that I’ve seen.  If you recall from last week, I was impressed by writer/director James Johnston, and decided to make my way to a short film block that featured his film Melville.  My instincts were spot on, too, because this film is something that I cannot get enough of and I want to see other incarnations of film.  F. Stokes makes his acting debut here, but you would never know from how he owns the screen from beginning to end playing Marcus.

The film starts with Marcus receiving some bad news, and follows his (mostly internal) struggle with how to deal with his past and future at the same time.  The current coffee shop owner (think hipster, not waffle house) and former MC decides to blow off some steam and deal with his demons on stage, culminating in a song that perfectly and precisely sums up everything about his life and the subject matter (I’m not spoiling what that is, go see it).  It’s one of a few emotional moments about a subject matter that is part of many people’s lives, but it’s handled in such a way that it leaves you at the exact moment that you want to see more.  I want to see Marcus before he receives the news, I want to see how he deals with it after this moment, I want to taste the coffee he is making because it looks amazing.  The bottom line is that I was left wanting more.

Photo Credit: Stephen Balding
Photo Credit: Stephen Balding

I managed to get that “more” I was seeking when I found out on Twitter that there was a private screening of Melville, and a concert by the film’s lead, F. Stokes, at the Fort Worth Barber Shop that Saturday night, and I managed to get a ticket to be there.  Seeing the film again was the main reason that I was there because I wasn’t able to catch it again Saturday afternoon like I had planned.  It was equally as good upon second viewing and you could tell there was love in the room between the actor and filmmakers.

After talking to a few people, none of whom had seen the movie, it was time for the show.  Everyone loved the film, and the performance after the film was tremendous.  I have quickly become a fan of James Johnston and F. Stokes, who have a film that I believe has legs as something more than a short.  The film has a feel like something that you could watch every week on television and the camera movements even have a TV feel to them.

I say all of this as someone who witnessed all of this from a distance, having never talked to the lead or director, and that is what I liked the most.  It was great to see people who are genuinely passionate about what they do, and it comes across when you listen to them answer questions and talk about it.  The memory from that night is one of the lasting memories that I will carry with me after the festival concludes.  Even if nothing is heard from Melville in the future, it is always great to see inspiring people who are proud of their work.


Stephen Balding is the Entertainment Badass for The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenB_41.

Stephen Went There: The Dallas International Film Festival

Photo by Stephen Balding
Photo by Stephen Balding

Please email Stephen all of your movie, TV, and random entertainment questions: stephenthescoop@hotmail.com


Two weeks ago, on Wednesday March 25th, I sat at home with my daughter blowing out birthday candles on my cake and was very excited for the events of the next couple of days.  My birthday is not something that I typically celebrate, it’s just another day at this point in my life; but with a 6-year-old, if you don’t have birthday cake then you might as well be committing a cardinal sin.  Later that night, she was doing her Young Authors homework and I was writing, but I was very distracted because my mind was elsewhere.

The reason for the distraction was that the previous week, I was approved for press credentials to cover the Dallas International Film Festival, and I was starting by covering a Filmmakers Round Table that Thursday and Friday afternoon, which would be the first thing that I have covered as anything more than an enormous fan of movies.  Uncertain of what it would be like, I was working diligently on researching the movies and assembling a list of questions to ask the people who would be there promoting their movies.  I was also watching A Few Good Men on cable, but quickly turned it off so I wouldn’t accidentally write down “DID YOU ORDER THE CODE RED??” as one of my questions to a director.

As I was sitting there doing research I decided then and there to just own the fact that this is my first event to cover, but I wouldn’t let it effect how I wanted to convey events from the Festival to you.  Even now, as I type out my thoughts, I am hesitant to out myself as being a first-timer, but I’m not sure how to function if I’m not completely transparent with you, so over the next three weeks I am going to share with you my thoughts on the event, any movies that may have moved me, any hijinks that I encounter, and finally the DIFF experience overall.  First and foremost, I am a movie fan and that perspective will never go away in my writing, so why would I change something that is so deeply ingrained in me?  That answer is that I wouldn’t, so I shut my laptop and was ready for my movie adventure to start.

Day one of two for the Round Table had arrived and I was nervous and excited, but most of all afraid that I would walk into the place and immediately be spotted as a fraud and escorted out by an armed guard.  The nerves were just because it was my first press event, so I calm myself with the knowledge that I have a loyal readership at The Scoop and my love/knowledge of movies makes me more than qualified.  So after calming my nerves, I left home with my trusty writing book for notes and questions in tow and I headed towards the event.  Just for context on my state of mind, I was listening to this on the way, and was dressed nice as to not stick out when I walked in the building.

When I arrived I met Julie who was running the event and the person that I had been in contact with the week prior, and she could not have been nicer. She handed me the order for the day and told the arm guard it was fine that I stayed, but also warned me that if I asked any stupid questions or started screaming about a “Code Red” that she would roundhouse my face off (or she just smiled and said thanks for coming….again, I was nervous).  Once the event started, it was clear that this was old hat for most of the filmmakers that were there, as some of them were just going through the motions and some you could tell were new to the process and genuinely happy to be a part of it.  I’m not saying that some of them weren’t excited about the festival and their movies, but there were a few that had passion for their films bursting out of them.

Most notably for me was

Credit: Stephen Balding
Credit: Stephen Balding

James Johnston, who was fresh off of a successful run at SXSW, and was so interesting that I changed my itinerary to make sure that I see his film Melville.   I had a question written down, but changed it because I wanted to know something else instead.  I swallowed, raised my hand, and asked “As a writer and a director how do you view a project when you start it?  Is it with an eye towards the visual or with written word?“.

He told me that he almost always starts with visual and wants to be able to convey the message from his movie, even if there was no sound at all.  He was engaging, nice, and was one of those people that you meet that just see’s the world differently. Out of all of the people there, he was the one that gave me the sense that he is going to have a big career.  I have nothing to back that up with, but when you meet certain people, it’s just obvious that they are going to succeed at what they do.

The other person that made an impression on me was Mindy Raymond, who I had seen before in the short film Wasted NYC, which she co-wrote and gives an excellent performance in.  I remember seeing that short film and thinking that it would have legs and turn into a feature film, or even a television series, so I was excited to meet her.  That and she was the voice of Batgirl

Credit: Stephen Balding
Credit: Stephen Balding

in a video game, so she automatically held a place in my heart before I even met her.  As it turns out, she is an absolute charm factory and really sold her film, The Adventures of Pepper and Paula, which also made my list of movies to check out.  I’m sure that I’m not their main demographic for the movie, but I have a 6-year-old daughter, so word of mouth from parents can’t be a bad thing.

In the end, I made it through both days, didn’t embarrass myself, and managed to get a couple of questions in.  Great success!  As for the rest of the festival, I have 12 movies and a John Landis Q&A that I

Universal
Universal

am planning on attending, and the rest of the time, I’m just going to go where the wind takes me.  I have a plan for most of the event, but I want to have at least 4 days free to see things from people that I meet, word of mouth movies that are generating buzz, or especially being surprised by walking into a theater with no expectations and being blown away by something.

The one thing that I know for certain is that I absolutely love movies of all shapes and sizes, so seeing people pour their heart and soul into something they are passionate about is inspiring.  That is what I am the most excited to experience over these next 10 days.  Yes, I will be there to cover the event, and believe me it is a responsibility that I take very seriously. But why does why does that mean I have to be something that I’m not?  I am and have always been a fan of movies, which is what led me here in the first place, so that is the perspective that I enter with.

I am going to see at least 22 movies, and I have a plan for most of what I want to see, but I also want to have no plan for most of it, since like we talked about earlier, this is my first event to cover.  Why would I spend so much time planning out each and every thing that I want to do, when I am not sure what all there will be to do?  I’m here for the experience, and wherever that experience takes me will be fun.

That is what I’m going to share with you over these next two weeks.  If there is something that I think you should drop everything and go see, then I will absolutely tell you about it. I’m happy that you will be along for the ride, and hope to see you there since one of the great things about this festival is that all fans are welcome.  So buy a pass and come experience it for yourself, and if you do, just go with the flow. I will be there 8 out of the 10 days, so if you happen to arrive and want to talk movies, then reach out to me on Twitter because I am happy to meet fans of mine and especially fans of movies.


Stephen Balding is the Entertainment Badass for The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenB_41.

Stick the Landing: A Final Season SNL Cast

NBC
NBC

Please email Stephen all of your movie, TV, and random entertainment questions: stephenthescoop@hotmail.com

If you read my column about SNL40, then you know that Saturday Night Live is my favorite show that has ever been on television.  I’ve watched every episode spanning all 40 years, and I think about its historical impact all the time.  So after reflecting on the 40th Anniversary Special and wondering what happens with Lorne Michaels and the current cast, I had some thoughts on how the show would end.  I’m not sure how much longer the show will continue, or if Michaels is even thinking about retirement, but I do know the one thing that Lorne will not do is let the show struggle to the finish line.

NBC
NBC

Eventually the show will right the ship, and eventually there will be a plan on ending the show when that time comes.  What will the end look like, and how much of a tribute will the last season be when it comes to reflection on the entire run of the program?  When that planning process starts, there will be people much smarter than I am that will ensure the show ends on a high note, but that’s not going to stop me from offering up my idea of how the show should ride off into the sunset.

My idea is simple; the final season of Saturday Night Live should be an “All-Star” season for the cast and hosts.  Yes, Lorne prides himself on finding new talent, but what if some of the best cast members came back for one more season?  If we learned anything from SNL40, it is that everyone who has spent any amount of time with Lorne Michaels has a tremendous amount of respect for him, which is the basis for my idea.  Sure, there are some former cast members who have careers too big to stop for an entire year to come back, but with so many to choose from, I think we can put together a cast that would be a dream for any and all SNL fans.

Here are the ground rules I followed when assembling the cast:

  1. Does the person still have enough left in the comedy tank to perform at a high level for 20 episodes?
  2. Is the person at a point in their career where it would be plausible that they would take a year to be on the show for the final season?
  3. Does the person fill a specific role in the cast and are they willing to play background characters to fill out a sketch?

The third rule is the most important to me, because if you had a final season with a 20-person cast, then several would get lost during the season, either by wearing down towards the end of the season, or being difficult to work with to the point that writers ignore them.  Each and every person on the cast needs to be willing to play smaller roles in other’s sketches because the cast needs to be smaller for this to work, so cast members who are nice and willing to help are going to fit best from a chemistry standpoint.

We need to fill out 8 spots for cast members, and if someone doesn’t make the cast, then they will be moved to a hosting spot in one of the 20 episodes.  The entire season is about the best cast members, the best hosts in SNL history coming back, and musical guests who resonate with the show.  Most importantly, the material is going to be all new, so there will be no video tributes that take up a third of each show.  So let’s run through the cast and then decide on the perfect hosts to go along with them.  Remember there are only 8 cast spots available, so there are going to be some great people left off of this list.


The Cast:

Bill Hader

NBC
NBC

I know that he just left the show and that he is having success in movies, and will soon have much more when Trainwreck comes out this summer, but if asked, he is definitely coming back to the show.  He has spoken many times about how much he loved the show growing up, and he is also one of the nicest people on the planet, so there is no chance he turns down this chance.  Plus, he is one of the best character actors that has ever been on stage in 8H. Also, he fills any role that is needed, from lead character, to a father/doctor type, to a weird guy walking through a scene, and he is happy to play all of them.  Bill Hader is the type of performer who will hold a cast like this together, and he has to be the first phone call.

Tina Fey

NBC
NBC

She might be the hardest to get, but with her writing ability and how she killed it on Weekend Update, she needs to be there.  She is writing and filming movies, and has had a great career post SNL, but to be the last anchor and head writer for the final season is something that she would feel is too important to pass on.  Having a woman in those positions would carry a certain weight, for sure, but Tina is also the most qualified person for the job.  Lorne knows this and would do anything possible to make it happen.

Dana Carvey

NBC
NBC

If Bill Hader isn’t the best character actor in the history of the show, then it is Dana Carvey.  He did so many characters on SNL and knows that drill as well as anyone.  He might be the most flexible person of our entire All Star cast.  It would be great to have Mike Myers, too, but I don’t see him coming back for an entire season after the billions he has made. Could he be talked into hosting though…

Maya Rudolph

NBC
NBC

Kristen Wiig would be the dream here, but she is going hard after a movie career and probably couldn’t be talked into coming back.  That doesn’t matter though because Maya Rudolph was and still is one of the funniest women on the planet.  She is as underappreciated now as she was during her time on the show.  There are only so many spots to fill and she is the most versatile woman here.  She can fill out the Diva role as quickly as she can fill out the nerdy girl pining for Randy through the homeroom window.

Chris Parnell

NBC
NBC

Parnell is the ultimate straight-man for this cast.  My favorite Parnell is the Parnell who is having insane stuff happening to him that he just doesn’t understand.  Plus, if you are going to have a straight-man with a hidden talent, why not have that talent be amazing rapping skills?

Jon Lovitz

NBC
NBC

I’m not sure that there is a more unique voice in the history of the show than Lovitz.  Sure, he has gotten a reputation recently for being very difficult, but he would behave in the middle of this amount of talent, and even if he didn’t, at least there would be some great behind-the-scenes drama.

Kenan Thompson

NBC
NBC

Kenan has to be a part of this cast and you will never convince me otherwise.  I’ll never understand why he isn’t recognized more for his ridiculous talent and timing.  He can carry a sketch, be a key player, or just have one line that he kills time and time again.  Kenan Thompson for life, bitches!

Will Ferrell

NBC
NBC

This might be the biggest stretch of anyone on my list, but he might also be the one that is the easiest to get if it came down to it.  Ferrell left SNL and went on to be the face of comedy in movies, which made him one of the biggest stars in the world, but that flame has dimmed in recent years, and he’s not hitting grand slams at the box office anymore.  On top of that, Will Ferrell is so incredibly nice that if Lorne asked him, I don’t see any way he says no.  Having Will Ferrell means you have someone who carries the cast week in and week out, since he is either one or two on everyone’s list of best cast members.   This does not work without that top guy, and nobody has the chops to pull it off more than he does.


The hosts and musical guests:

I’m not going to list out week by week who I think should host and be the musical guest, but I do want to list a group of people who need to be on the final season, without exception.

NBC
NBC

Paul Simon and Justin Timberlake both need to fill both roles during the course of the season, and you could make an argument that JT should be on the show as much as possible.  You could even make the case that he could be a member of this cast.  That guy has so much talent, and it would be great to see him attempt a season as a full-time cast member.  As for Paul Simon, he was the host and musical guest for the second show ever and has been a staple of the show ever since.

As far as the hosts, there is a list of people that have become an important part of the history of the show.  Tom Hanks was the first person that hosted twice in one season, Alec Baldwin has hosted more than anyone, and Christopher Walken has killed it as host in 3 different decades.  As for the rest, Martin Short, John Goodman, and Steve Martin are on the list for what they have meant, and for still having what it takes to knock it out of the park.

NBC
NBC

The other hosts are going to be a tribute to the best cast members in SNL history who are not a part of the full All Star cast.  Jimmy Fallon, Mike Myers, Kristen Wiig, Adam Sandler, and Andy Samberg have all had huge success and need to make a victory lap during the final season.  Any of them can carry a show by themselves and would be great teamed up with Pearl Jam, Paul McCartney, or especially Timberlake with Fallon or Samberg.

The one host that Lorne has to go hard for is Eddie Murphy, and Lorne has to be the one to do it since he is the main reason Eddie hasn’t been back in a sketch since leaving the show.  Eddie is the greatest cast member in the history of the show, and single-handedly saved the show from being cancelled.  The problem though, is that Lorne was absent during those years and doesn’t have the connection to him that others feel. This is a huge problem.  It HAS to be resolved though because the show would not be on the air

NBC
NBC

today without Eddie Murphy putting it on his back.  Nobody has meant more to the show, and yet nobody is appreciated less than him, and that needs to be corrected before the end of the final season.


That is my entire list and plan for the farewell season of SNL, and for my money you cannot do any better as far as a send-off.  Sure, it would be great to have Mike Myers and Adam Sandler, but realistically that is not happening.  The best thing about this list is that it is very plausible and combines the best group for chemistry purposes…and Lovitz.


Stephen Balding is the Entertainment Badass for The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenB_41.