The Summer of Mail


Please email Stephen all of your movie, TV, and random entertainment questions:

The dog days of summer are officially upon us, and with the heat and humidity making everyone miserable, I would gladly take some of that “Winter is coming” that Jon Snow is always talking about.  This is a very unusual time of year with baseball taking a break for a few days, most of the summer blockbuster movies have come and gone (RIP Indominus Rex), and Comic-Con has completed sending sweaty nerds home with visions of Joker dancing in their head.  There will not be any grand studio movie announcements anytime soon, and we have to wait until the fall for the TV shows we love to come back into our lives.

What I am trying to say is that I am bored, and even though Ant-Man and Trainwreck come out this weekend, there is nothing exciting on the horizon.  So what is a bored writer to do during this dark time when “Winter is coming,” but it won’t be here for quite some time?  He opens up the mailbag and answers some questions from his readers.  There are some terrific questions that I’ve wanted to get to, so let’s dive in and help each other beat the heat with some entertainment talk.

This time of year sucks as far as TV goes, what should I be watching right now?  I miss Sunday nights being the best night for TV, and True Detective isn’t doing anything for me.

Shane – Dallas, Texas

Sunday night is still must watch and I will tell you why: Battlebots!!!  There is NOTHING more metal that robots fighting each other with sparks flying, flames throwing, and nerds getting mad at each other.  If there was a way to gamble on this, then I might like this show more than Game of Thrones.  The smart money is on Tombstone, an intimidating number one seed, who has taken a basic robot design and is using it to make spare parts out of the rest of the field.


Sure, there may be other decent shows on that are dramatic and enthralling, but I am with you on not being able to get into True Detective, and I think part of that is that I need a break this time of year.  For years now, Sunday night was all about Breaking Bad or Mad Men or Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, so during the summer I am really enjoying my “drama” in 3-minute fights between two robots that were built by really smart people to destroy each other.  It is exciting and fun for all ages, so why not just enjoy the lull with something like this.  Battlebots is a bracket style tournament; you will quickly find someone to root for and even people to root against, like spoiled MIT kids who act entitled and who I hope meet Tombstone and have to watch their dreams destroyed in a violent manner.  Suck it MIT kids, Tombstone Fo Life!!

Can you give me any recommendations for a video game?

Jessica – Houston, Texas

Does this count? This is the last time I was current on video games.


I have spent the last month arguing with friends trying to decide who would win in a “John off” and have gone back and forth several times, so I’m sending this to you for help deciding.  Who would win in a fictional fight between Jon Snow and John Cena?

Jeremy – Waco, Texas

I hate to break it to you Jeremy, but both answers are wrong when it comes to who wins the battle of the John’s.  John Wick walks into a room with Cena, Snow, Wayne, or any other John you want, and walks out of that room alone.  Nobody wins a fight against John Wick, and I mean nobody, just ask Theon Greyjoy how it worked out.


That is one of the secretly underrated parts of John Wick, while we are on the subject.  If you are a fan of Game of Thrones, then you can watch full-dick mode Theon Greyjoy for the first part of the movie, and then seem him shit his pants and go full Reek as soon as John Wick shows up.  I’m sorry that I couldn’t settle your internal struggle of John; nobody stands a chance in this fight.

Is it me or is July 17th starting to resemble a heavyweight fight between Trainwreck and Ant-Man?  Who do you think wins the opening weekend?

It’s the most underrated movie battle of the year, and on top of those two movies going at it, don’t forget about those pesky Minions who will also be in the mix.  Trainwreck has been promoted so much now that it almost feels like I have seen the movie, so I am hoping there will be some surprises along the way. Amy Schumer is one of the funniest people in the world, and Judd Apatow is widely known and respected, so I have a strong feeling that this movie will be good, but you never know.

Apatow Productions
Apatow Productions

I had that same feeling about Funny People, and it is far from being a good movie.  It has good parts, but for the kind of star power it has, it drastically missed the mark.  Will Trainwreck have that same type of thing happen or will it stand out as the best comedy of the summer?  I honestly don’t have an answer, just the opinion that it will succeed, and even if it doesn’t, it is going to have a strong opening weekend.

Ant-Man, however, is something that I know will be good, but I’m not so sure about how it is going to open.


I am sure that it will be good because Marvel is a well-oiled machine at this point, and I trust that studio more than any other right now to turn out a quality product.  Guardians of the Galaxy had a solid opening weekend at $94 million with characters that nobody knew about at the time, but the only other movie it was going against was the less than stellar James Brown biopic Get On Up.  With Ant-Man, there is serious competition, and this may be the first Marvel movie that doesn’t open strong, even though it is going to be a strong movie.  I have a feeling that one of these two movies is going to suffer because of the other, and come in third at the box office with Minions coming in second.  I’m calling it now.

Who won Comic-Con this year?  I have watched the Batman v. Superman trailer at least 20 times.  It has to be that right?

Kenneth – Houston, Texas

I absolutely loved the Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer, and it was exactly what I wanted to see from the movie.  Seeing portions of Wonder Woman in-costume fighting is something that is new and exciting, and the only other thing that I wanted was Aquaman footage, but I get why they are waiting at this point.  I actually think Aquaman is going to be a key to part of the plot, so who knows if they will show him in the trailer at all.  All of that being said though, Suicide Squad, and more specifically The Joker, is what I came away from Comic-Con being the most excited about.  The trailer from that movie showed just enough of Leto as The Joker and holy shit does it look and sound amazing!

I have never seen a version of Joker like this on film, and I could not be more excited about Leto being the one who is bringing it to life.  In the Bats v Supes trailer, there is a brief shot of the Bat Suit with The Joker’s writing on it, so it appears as if this is post Killing Joke where it is taking place, which puts it in some of the most dark and scary Joker times that there have ever been in the comics.  The one thing that DC DEFINITELY does better than the competition is produce villains that are terrifying, and for my money, there is no better villain in the world than The Joker.  That short 20-second look at him in this trailer, and the knowledge that David Ayer is the one in charge, makes me so very excited to see the darkest version of this character.  That, to me, won Comic-Con and was the loudest reaction that I heard from any of the footage.

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

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