On this episode of The World’s Best Podcast, we give our straight out of the theater reaction, to latest MCU film, Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings! While not a FULL SPOILER review, a few MAJOR SPOILERS get dropped in our discussion, so listener beware! Instead of the studio, we recorded this in our car, immediately after seeing the film, which is why there’s a little background noise. However, I did want to include some Easter Eggs, interesting background info, and connections to the rest of The MCU, that just might enrich your experience when seeing Shang-Chi.
One of the cool things about Shang Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings, is that certain elements of the character’s history have been present in The MCU, all the way back to the first Iron Man film in 2008. None of this really counts as a spoiler, because it’s nothing that hasn’t been shown in the trailer. is nothing that you haven’t seen in the trailers. The Ten Rings is like a more mysterious, ninja HYDRA. I’m going to elaborate on how the organization was pulling the strings and making moves during some key moments in The MCU. The Ten Rings make their debut in the first MCU movie, Iron Man, in 2008. The Ten Rings were the terrorist organization that kidnapped Tony Stark at the beginning of the movie. They want him to make a weapons of mass destruction but instead Tony plans an escape by building his Mach 1 armor. With that Iron Man, and the MCU, was born.
In Iron Man 2, it’s revealed that, in a deleted scene, agents of The Ten Rings, helped Mickey Rourke’s Whiplash get past security and onto the race track, where ha attacked Tony in his race car during the Monaco Grand Prix.
Even in Ant-Man, towards the end of the film the current head of Pym Tech, Cross has finally been able to replicate his hands on Hank Pym’s shrinking technology. Cross, who’s a real sack if shit, intends to sell it to the highest bidders. Many shady buyers showed for the unveiling of the Yellowjacket, Cross’s version of the Ant-Man suit. Including Hydra, A.I.M., several agents of The Ten Rings. If you have Disney+ I’d also recommend checking out the short film All Hail The King, starring Ben Kingsley‘s character from Iron Man 3, Trevor Slattery. Not only is it a really fun little short, it also has a really cool connection to Shang Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings.
Listen here: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/46360628 Or subscribe/listen on Spotify, Stitcher, Spreaker, iHeartRadio, Deezer, Podchaser, Castbox, Podcast Addict, Google Podcasts, & Apple Podcasts/ITunes…
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I’ll be honest, some may be surprised to hear, that I’ve had some big reservations about Spider-Man: No Way Home. After all, I’m an MCU super-fan and Tom Holland is without a doubt my favorite live action Spider-Man. When I’ve expressed my trepidation about this new movie I’ve been met with some pretty strong responses. Like this recent exchange for example, “What’s this guy’s fuckin’ problem?! Does this prick think he’s BETTER than Spider-Man?! You and little fucking website and your shitty podcast can GO FUCK YOURSELF!”. To which I replied, “Jeez Mom, that a bit much, don’t you think?”
However, in my defense, I think I had a few good reasons to be concerned. Far From Home had such a spectacular cliffhanger ending. Not only was I beyond thrilled too see J.K. Simmons return as J. Jonah Jameson, in The MCU no less, but Mysterio framing Peter for his murder, streaming the doctored footage, and revealing that Spider-Man is Peter Parker, for all the worlds to see. That is one hell of a way to end a movie!
I loved that J. Jonah Jameson was the one to get the scoop. Their decision to make Ole’ J.J., a controversial, fringe, Alex Jones-esque, online news outlet that broke the story was only the icing on the cake. I was really curious to see how this story would play out. But then as proctions was ramping up, rumors and information about No Way Home begin to trickle in. Jaimie Foxx was returning as Electro from The Amazing Spider-Man 2, then the great Alfred Molina would be appearing as Doc Ock from Spider-Man 2. They were playing the same versions of their characters that we had already seen in other Spider-Man franchises that didn’t take place in The MCU.
The last piece of the puzzle fell into place for me when Benedict Cumberbatch signed on for a size-able role in movie as Doctor Strange. After No Way Home, the next MCU film is Doctor Strange and The Multiverse of Madness (You don’t have to be a genius to figure out the type of thing Doctor Strange will be dealing with that movie). As the months went on and more rumors about casting continue to swirl, it was sounding more and more to me like this was essentially going to be a live action version of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. Don’t get me wrong, I love Into The Spider-Verse. It’s easily one of the best superhero movies ever made Live-Action, Animated, or otherwise. That’s just not what I wanted to see from a third MCU Spider-Man movie. I was very excited to see what, I imagined was, a more grounded Spider-Man film that dealt with the fallout of the last movie. At this point I should simply learn to trust Marvel and Kevin Feige because this trailer laid my fears to rest. Not only is Peter’s identity becoming public a huge part of this upcoming film, it is the event that movies the entire story forward. It’s the catalyst for the whole movie.
I was pleasantly surprised how excited I was after watching this teaser. Now that it’s finally available for our viewing pleasure, I was really blown away by it and I thought the best way to cover it, would be a Trailer Commentary. Below, you will see the 1st trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home, If you’d like, you can sync up with me and follow along, as I give my commentary and my insights on this new teaser for The MCU’s third Spider-Man movie. I have a lot of fun stuff to cover so I hope you join the ride! When rumors and bits of information about this movie were hitting the Internet, it was clear that this was going to be a film that dealt with the multiverse and some other big, sci-fi concepts. Which is all well and good, but I was afraid that they were taking this route, at the expense of the story set up at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home. I gotta admit my fears were laid to rest after watching this teaser. I mean…Wow.! What a trailer! This baby was certainly worth the wait! Watch it here:
There were so many things I loved in this. The return of J. Jonah Jameson! The pumpkin bomb! Goddamn it’s good to see Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock again. I can wait to see this Peter Parker fight those tentacles. They naturally lend themselves to interesting action sequences. I could be wrong, but it seeemed like Peter sees Doc Ock in the same place we see the pumpkin bomb and hear the unmistakable laugh of Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin. I was very critical of Dafoe’s Norman Osborn in the original film, so I’m surprised by how happy i was by the trailer’s suggestion of his return.
The set up of the film is reminiscent of the much maligned “One More Day” story arc in which Aunt May is shot after Peter’s identity becomes public. He then makes a deal with the demon Mephisto to put Spider-Man’s secret identity back in the bottle in exchange for his marriage to MJ. It’s pretty fucking stupid, but I love what they’re attempting to do here. Of course, it’s always a pleasure to see Jon Faverau, the man who started it all, return as Happy Hogan. Also, l’m calling it right now. This is going to be the biggest superhero blockbuster of all time. This is going to break box office records left and right. So pull up the trailer, sync it up with mine, and let’s dive into this Spider-Man: No Way Home Trailer Commentary!
Listen here: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/46225075 Or subscribe/listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Spreaker, iHeartRadio, Deezer, Podchaser, Castbox, Podcast Addict, Google Podcasts, & Apple Podcasts/ITunes…
Thanks for listening! Follow us on Twitter @PJWrightWBM, Instagram @worldsbestmedia2017, and our Facebook Page, Worlds Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!
It’s an exciting week to be a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe! LOKI on Disney+ is in full swing, with the season finale premiering next Wednesday. More significantly, this week sees the release of the long-awaited and much anticipated Black Widow film, starring the always incredible Scarlett Johansson. But those sly dogs over at Marvel Studios always want to leave us wanting more, so they dropped the first full trailer for WHAT IF?… their upcoming Disney+ series premiering in August. I was already excited for this project, now that I’ve seen the full trailer and I understand the ambition of where they’re going with this, I’m really psyched. So, take a look for yourself right here:..
Follow us on Twitter @PJWrightWBM, Instagram @worldsbestmedia2017, and our Facebook Page, Worlds Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!
As crazy as it must sound, it’s been just over a year and half since Spider-Man: Far From Home hit theaters. The film served as an epilogue of sorts to The Infinity Saga and our last piece of new content from The Marvel Cinematic Universe. When WandaVision premiered on January 15th, it ended what almost became the longest gap in new content since the studio’s inception. Second only to the 1 year 11 month gap between The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2. Fortunately, it looks like we have an insane amount of new MCU content coming our way this year, with WandaVision as the first out of the gate..
If going to talk about WandaVision, if you’ve seen the trailers, which I’m sure most of you have, you know the deal. But just in case, I’m posting a trailer right here to refresh your memory. Take one last look if you need a brief reminder:
I’m not gonna waste time going over the set up. Instead, I’m going to dive right in to what worked, and what didn’t, in The MCU’s first and highly anticipated new Disney+ shows. So, what did I think of the first 3 episodes of WandaVision? Does it live up to the hype? Was this the right project It kick off Phase 4 for Marvel Studios? Honestly, I don’t know yet.
The Big Problem: Weekly Episode Release Vs. Binge Format
My biggest take away from WandaVision was that streaming services desperately need to go back to the format that made them so intriguing and unique in the first place: Release all episodes of their original programming on the premiere date! It was so exciting things when a new season of Daredevil or Stranger Things, would premiere on Netflix and I could watch the entire story at my leisure! It was like getting to watch a trilogy of your favorite movie series over one weekend!
I understand that when Disney+ launched, the service needed to build up its library of original content and it’s subscriber base. The concern being, that people would just sign up, watch the first season of The Mandalorian over the weekend, and then cancel the subscription. Disney+ is successful enough now that it can move beyond that way of thinking and remember what drew people to streaming services in the first place.
For a series like WandaVision, the weekly format actually hurts the show. In fact, it’s WandaVision’s biggest weakness. Each episode of the show is formatted to replicate and pay homage to a classic sitcom era. Episode 1 feels very much like The Dick Van Dyke Show, while Episode 2 feels more like Bewitched, with Episode 3 turning into something like The Brady Bunch or Happy Days. While this is certainly extremely unique and innovative for a superhero story, it’s too earnest for its own good. Let’s be real, we don’t really give a shit about the sitcom format, we’re all here to watch this series because we know this is The MCU and something extremely strange afoot. We care about the mystery of WHY Wanda and Vision are stuck in this weird TV sitcom reality. The series takes the sitcom gimmick that they’re replicating each week, way too seriously. It seems like the creators didn’t just use the aesthetic and style of a 1960s sitcom, they also seem to be following the rules of storytelling that you’d see in a sitcom in the 60’s, which isn’t all that interesting. Like I mentioned before, innovations like this need to continue for superhero films to survive and thrive. But WandaVision would’ve been much better served leaning into the creepy and unsettling aspects of the whole TV sitcom format, more like something out of The Twilight Zone. As it stands we get a pretty earnest and straightforward series that’s basically a sitcom staring Wanda and Vision, with hints of something darker and mysterious in the background. How did the characters find themselves in this strange TV world? Who or what is doing this? Is it Wanda herself? The answers to those mysteries are what we’re here to see.
Know Your Audience & Why They’re Watching
They don’t have to show their hand right away, but we want more than just a silly sitcom with hints of something more interesting down the line. It couldn’t help but make me think of the film, Natural Born Killers, where Juliette Lewis’ abusive upbringing is shown in flashback form as a 60’s style TV sitcom, complete with a laugh track, while keeping the dark and twisted nature of her family life in tact. Seeing a horrible childhood juxtaposed with the wholesome sitcoms of yesteryear is what made that sequence so disquieting. Even Supernatural once did a crossover episode with Scooby-Doo, without ever compromising the tone or identity of either series.
WandaVision would’ve been much better served to up the creepy factor by 100%. The sitcom format would work so much better if we were more frequently reminded of the unsettling truth that something sinister is causing this. As it stands it’s basically just a sitcom that occasionally reminds us that there’s something unusual and dangerous at the heart of these events. There are more creepy and disturbing moments, as well as more overt clues about what’s actually be going on, in Episodes 2 & 3. Which is why I think the 2nd and 3rd installment are so much stronger than the 1st. Now it feels like we’re going to have to sit through weeks of a sitcom that we’re not really interested in watching, to get to the part of the story that really matters, which will probably be around the last three episodes. I’m old enough to have watched many of these old shows when they aired in the “Nick-At-Night” days. A large part of the audience won’t even know what show’s WandaVision is drawing inspiration from.
If the whole season dropped at once, the first 3 episodes would seem so much more charming and intriguing because we wouldn’t have to wait weeks to find out where this is going. We could dive right in and finish it out over a weekend. After all, it’s only six hours of content. Having said all that, I definitely like the show. Despite some of the creative choices that I disagree with, WandaVision is as fun as something like this could possibly be. Mainly because Wanda and Vision are such great characters and Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany are excellent actors who really give it their all. They’re a fun duo to watch and they have great chemistry as a couple.
The bottom line is I encourage any superhero or MCU fan to check out WandaVision, just know what you’re getting into first. This is not an action adventure series. It’s very deliberate and with it’s own methodical and sometimes slow pacing. Which can be frustrating at times, but the potential of the underlying mystery as well as the performances by the excellent cast, will keep me coming back for more each week.
Like any good Marvel fan, or fanatic in my case, I kept my eyes peeled for Easter Eggs and believe me there are a ton of them! Wanda and Vision both have such storied history‘s as characters that there is a lot of storytelling there for the show to pull from. There are a lot of cool callbacks, Easter Eggs, and clues to previous MCU projects, comic book characters and storylines, as well as upcoming shows and films, in The MCU.
Easter Eggs, Clues, & References
First of all, Wanda seems to have undergone a massive power upgrade. She can seemingly create and manipulate matter at will. Conjuring up objects from thin and altering existing ones. There’s a neat end credits sequence at the end of each episode with a musical score that’s creepy as hell and works as a unsettling contrast to the bright and bubbly nature of everything that comes before. It reminded me quite a bit of how Wanda’s powers would manifest in miniseries House of M with these sort of blocks. When she creates or destroys, something it comes apart or is put back together again small squares much like what we see in the end credits.
All 3 episodes drop huge clues that the people monitoring Wanda and Vision are S.W.O.R.D., we see their symbol in the van monitoring thing at the end of Episode 1 and it appears again in on a red and yellow toy helicopter that Wanda finds in Episode 2.
The inclusion of SWORD is extremely interesting because they’re basically SHIELD for space. They monitor extraterrestrials threats to Earth and other dangers to the planet from outer space. This would imply that something extraterrestrial is at play in WandaVision, which opens up all sorts of fun possibilities. In one of the Spider-Man: Far From Home post-credits scenes Nick Fury is seen on an alien ship or space station, which led many to theorize that he was setting up S.W.O.R.D.
Wanda makes a new friend in Episode 2, a young African-American woman who introduces herself as Geraldine. They meet while attending a planning event on a sunny afternoon, under gazebo filled with other women from the community.
They’re all there to discuss the upcoming talent show fundraiser that the town is putting on. Right off the bat, there’s some really weird shit going down at this gathering of happy homemakers. Within her first few seconds of interacting with Wanda, Geraldine looks almost frightened and appears confused as to why she’s even at this meeting in the first place. As if she just woke up from an upsetting and disorienting dream. In Episode 3, we see that she’s wearing a necklace bearing the insignia of SWORD . She may introduce herself as Geraldine, but we know better. She is in fact Monica Rambeau a.k.a. Spectrum. We’ve actually encountered Monica in The MCU already, we met her as a child, in Captain Marvel. Monica is the daughter of Carol Danvers’ best friend. Monica is clearly following in the footsteps of the woman she look up to since she was a little girl. The next time we see her in The MCU outside of WandaVision will be as a full fledged superhero in Captain Marvel 2 which will likely involve SWORD in someway.
Someone, presumably SWORD, are tattempting to contact Wanda through the radio. You very clearly hear them asking her “Who is doing this to you, Wanda?”The voice on the radio is Agent Woo who we first met in Ant-Man and The Wasp.
Wanda and Vision perform a magic act in the town’s talent show school fundraiser. One of the props they use in their act, “The Cabinet of Mysteries”, has a symbol on it that looks a lot like The Mind Stone. An artifact key to the origins of both Wanda and Vision.
The commercial in Episodes 2 is for a watch made by Baron Strucker, who gave Wanda and her brother their powers. The watch also has the HYDRA symbol and says HYDRA on its face. Episode 3 has a commercial for a bath product made by HYDRA
In Episode 2, Wanda goes from normal to what looks to be about six months pregnant in a matter of moments. In episode three she gives birth to twin boys named Billy and Tommy. Shortly after their birth Wanda tells Geraldine (AKA Monica) that she was a twin and she had a brother named Pietro. This causes Geraldine to snap out of it for a moment and mention how Pietro was killed by Ultron.
At which point Wanda makes note of Geraldine’s SWORD necklace and hurls her out of town, back into the real world. She’s intercepted by what looks to be a massive government operation that seems to be monitoring the strange dome that has encased this town. Which reminded me a lot of the facility SHIELD constructs around Thor’s hammer, Mijonir, when it falls to Earth in the first Thor film.
It was also really cool just to hear Ultron referenced in Episode 3. He was an underrated villain who I’ve always wanted to see return. I had a theory that Ultron could somehow be involved in the events of WandaVision. I’ll just hold out hope that he’ll possibly make an appearance by the end of the season, who knows?
In the comics, Wanda and Vision have twin children (Billy and Tommy), who are later revealed to be constructs created by Wanda’s powers. The knowledge that her children were never “real” eventually leads to her mental break with reality that results in the deaths of Hawkeye, Scott Lang, and Vision. The fallout causes The Avengers to briefly disband. Which would seem to suggest that these children will likely be a very important part of the series going forward.
In the comics, It’s later revealed that the children were in fact real and survived. Eventually becoming the Young Avengers known as Speed (Tommy) and Wiccan (Billy), whose powers mirror those of Wanda and her brother Pietro AKA Quicksilver. Other members of Young Avengers include Scott Lang’s daughter, Cassie, who will develop size changing powers in Ant-Man 3. As well as, Hawkeye’s protege Kate Bishop, who will be making her debut in the upcoming Hawkeye Disney+ series with Hailee Steinfeld in the role.
Expect us to continue covering WandaVision as the series continues!
Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. We’re on Instagram @worldsbestmedia2017. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!
WandaVision has finally premiered on Disney+, officially kicking off Phase 4 of The Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel Entertainment has posted this very cool video to mark the occasion. The video shows how the Phase 3 films, which begins with Captain America: Civil War and ends with Spider-Man: Far From home. The video shows how some the Phase 3 films perfectly re-create iconic images and moments from the comic books source material and put them on the big screen. Take a look:
Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. We’re on Instagram @worldsbestmedia2017. Those likes and followsgo a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!
Due to overwhelming demand, Ryan McDonald and I have finally returned to complete our journey through Middle Earth. After our smash hit episode all bout The Lord of The Rings Movies, our listeners wanted, nay DEMANDED, a follow up episode exploring the other, less beloved big screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s work. That’s right, this episode is all about The Hobbit Trilogy!
Unlike the nearly universally praised Lord of The Rings films, many fans criticized The Hobbit, feeling that 3 films to cover one of Tolkien’s shortest works was one film too many and an unnecessary cash grab by the studio. The individual films in The Hobbit Trilogy were viewed by some as being overly long and even boring.
Some of the criticisms surrounding the films were fair, other weren’t. As a Tolkien junkie, I loved spending as much time as possible in Peter Jackson’s vision of Middle Earth. The characters, the heart, the spectacular action set pieces, the groundbreaking special effects, I loved it all! I couldn’t get enough. I remember when the films were being made, I followed the production closely and when the movies were released it was an event for my friends and I. I was the guy who thought things like “They’re going to make 3 movies back to back instead of 2? Fuckin’ A! I love it! Bring it on!”, “They’re releasing extended editions on blu ray, just like LoTR? SICK! Add to shopping cart!”. My point is that I definitely have a positive personal bias with these films. While I’m the first to admit that I’m not 100% objective, I sincerely believe these are excellent films.
There are phenomenal performances from Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, and Richard Armitage, just to name a few. There are some beautiful, profound moments in these films. Not to mention the action and battles scenes which kick all kinds of ass! Oh, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Benedict Cumberbatch as the dragon, Smaug. He’s terrifying and fascinating all at the same time. The motion capture performance and voice performance by Cumberbatch, along with some VFX wizardry from the guys at Weta, combine to create one of the best motion capture CG characters of the past decade. I almost forgot to mention Howard Shore’s predictably excellent score.
But enough beating around the bush! Listen to the show below, where Ryan and I offer up our arguments for why these films are underrated, we give some background about the films problematic pre-production, and discuss our favorite characters and moments from the Trilogy. Of course, like every great episode of The World’s Best Podcast, we inevitably take some fun detours along the way
At the beginning of the episode, we announced that we’d calling attention to a great charity dedicated to fighting colon cancer. The organization is Colon Cancer Coalition of Boston, you can check out their website right here:
Thanks for listening! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, which go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again!
Holy Fuck! Avengers: Endgame is finally here! I wanna say right up front that there will be absolutely NO SPOILERS in this article. However, we go into FULL SPOILERS in our deep dive review of Avengers: Endgame on this episode of The World’s Best Podcast! My Marvel Movie companion, Paul Sr. and I had a chance to see the movie a few days early, but we wanted to wait until at least some of our listeners had a chance to see the film, before we posted this SPOILER-RIFFIC review.
It so rare for movies to live up to the hype, but Endgame manages to surpass expectations. One of the many things fans love about comics, especially from DC and MARVEL, is the interconnected universes. You could be reading a Spider-Man comic and the X-Men or Iron Man or Daredevil would pop up. That was the ingredient that had been missing from superhero movies when the “Superhero Boom” began with movies like Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man and Singer’s X-Men.
It seems so obvious, but it was still brilliant. I remember seeing Iron Man for the first time and being blown away that SHIELD was in the movie. It seems so small now, in retrospect, but that little addition made it feel like the Marvel Universe (It was also the first appearance of fan favorite character, Agent Phil Coulson). Then of course there’s the immortal post credits scene from the first Iron Man film, when Tony meets Nick Fury which I’ve posted here below:
Building off the incredible success of IronMan and then creating 22 films that make this beautiful tapestry of a story, is mind blowing. The fact that out of the 22 films released so far, there have been so few missteps is astonishing. Even their weakest movies, and there’s only 3 or 4 like Thor: The Dark World, are pretty good or not bad at their worst. Everything else is more less gold.
The Russo Brothers, who’ve directed Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and now Avengers: Endgame, absolutely stuck the landing with this movie, it’s a must see. The films directed by The Russo Brothers, Joe and Anthony, aired the 4 best films in The MCU. Who would’ve thought that guys who worked on TV shows like Community would go on to tell some of the most epic stories of our generation? For the record, I loved Community.
I think the real hero in all of this is Kevin Feige, the head of Marvel Studios. He was not only a massive fan of the source material, but he’d seen what mistakes other Marvel superhero films had made in the past and learned from them. So when it was time for Marvel Studios to start producing their own films, he knew what he was doing and he got the right people involved to work with them. Another huge kudos goes out to Casting Director Sarah Finn, who’s worked on almost all of the films, if not all of them. With maybe one or two exceptions out of literally hundreds, each character was a flawlessly cast. We owe a lot to her work as the reason these films came out so well.