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Bernie Taupin Talks One Rocketman Moment That Happened In Real Life

The Elton John biopic Rocketman used the tagline “based on a true fantasy.” Even up front, the movie was making it clear that the story we’d be seeing wouldn’t exactly be the “true story” of Elton John’s rise to pop super stardom. Having said that, a lot of the events in the film are quite real, if embellished by musical numbers and special effects.

At the center of Rocketman, is the relationship between Elton John and his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin. The relationship is one of two men who become incredibly close through working together, though the film implies that in a drunken moment Elton John tried to make the relationship something more. It turns out, according to Bernie Taupin himself, that this scene actually happened.

It’s a scene that certainly could have been created by a screenwriter, but Bernie Taupin told Yahoo that it really did happen. The only significant difference between the movie and the reality is that in the movie, Elton John tries to kiss Bernie, whereas in reality Elton put his hand on Bernie’s leg.

It’s an important scene in the movie because we see Bernie Taupin have a polite and measured response to the advance. It wouldn’t have been shocking to see a straight man who receives an advance from a gay man to become offended in some way, especially in the 1960s, but Taupin simply makes it clear he’s not interested, and then moves on. He does it in such a way that Elton doesn’t feel too embarrassed about the whole thing.

The scene does say a lot about the relationship between these two men, which is the point of the scene, but the fact that it happened tells us the movie isn’t changing the nature of that relationship for the sake of the movie.

Taupin does admit that Rocketman does make some changes to actual history. In the film, Taupin discovers that Elton John is gay earlier than it actually happened.

There are always going to be liberties taken with the truth in film. Often, reality doesn’t happen in a way that makes for a good story. There’s nothing inherently wrong when a biopic or other historical film does this, but it’s nice to know when what you’re seeing actually happened and when it didn’t. It helps to give perspective.

Rocketman has a lot of fun with reality, the fact that the movie is an actual musical gives the film license to get away with things that most biopics couldn’t, but clearly, there was an attempt to keep the core of the story based on reality, making the film a true story, that simply gets exaggerated with a style that you would tend to associate with Elton John anyway.

Rocketman is available now in Digital HD and will hit Blu-ray August 27.

How to Dye Curly Hair Without Damaging It

Every curly-haired woman has a curly hair horror story. It might involve going to a salon that doesn’t know how to properly cut and shape. It might have to do with a stylist getting a little overzealous with heat and causing your subsequent fear of flatirons. It might even center on someone using a relaxer to “tame” your curls a bit (yes, this happens). We have trust issues, and rightfully so. Our hair is high-maintenance and sensitive at the same time. Anything that threatens our natural curl pattern—which we’ve spent years coddling, moisturizing, and detangling—is met with a lot of well-justified hesitation.

Naturally, when I decided I wanted to get highlights recently, I experienced an unsettling combination of feelings: cautious, skeptical, and extremely nervous. Even with the research I’d done on how to dye curly hair—an essential step before any salon visit—I still had a deep-seated fear that something could go wrong.

Thanks to my extensive research, it turns out I had nothing to worry about. My biggest piece of advice from this experiment: Find a great colorist. That’s undoubtedly the most important part of the process. Below, seven more tips on how to dye curly hair that’ll ensure you walk away with perfectly colored curls.

Book a Consultation—And Explore Alternatives to Bleach

Before any color appointment, you should always book a consultation. It’s helpful to bring in reference photos, then work with your colorist to see if it’s possible to duplicate those results on your hair type. Seventy-two hours ahead of my appointment, I went to London’s 3Thirty Salon to meet with stylist and owner, Tiff J. During our consultation, she asked what I was looking for and gave me more than enough time to ask all of my burning questions. Since I was shooting for a warm caramel shade and had “virgin hair” (meaning it hadn’t been colored before), she informed me that we would skip the bleach and opt for a permanent tint instead. If I had wanted a lighter tone, though, bleach would have been necessary.

That’s not to say bleach isn’t safe; you can use it on curly hair and retain your texture when it’s applied carefully and properly. Curly girls are often told that this step can ruin our texture and the only way to save it is to cut it off. This is and isn’t true—many factors go into taking your hair from healthy to fried. For instance, if your hair has a lot of elasticity to it and you’ve been moisturizing, you’re likely a better candidate than someone who uses a lot of heat and skips their deep conditioners. Another factor is your colorist, which is why the consultation is so important. Ideally, they’ll talk through some alternative techniques with you and work out a plan to limit damage instead of immediately pulling out the bleach. If that’s the case, you might want to book elsewhere.

“[Some colorists] think any dark hair that needs to be lifted more than four shades needs bleach,” says Tiff. “That’s where people go wrong.” However, keep in mind that if you already have color in your hair and want to go cooler-toned or lighter, your colorist may need to use bleach to lift it and cleanse the cuticle.

Load Up on the Olaplex

According to Tiff, a big saving grace for women who color their hair—both curly and otherwise—has been the invention of Olaplex. “That’s our best friend,” she says. “Colors break down the natural bonds within the hair, so what Olaplex does is rebuild as much as possible. That way you don’t feel like your texture changes so much.” She mixes the salon-grade product into the color itself, then shampoos and conditions hair with the rest of the range.

Netflix’s The Politician: Everything We Know So Far

At last, we finally have a first look at The Politician, Ryan Murphy’s first TV show for Netflix. (The prolific producer signed a deal with the streaming giant in April 2018.) Starring Ben Platt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Lange, and Zoey Deutch, this comedy-drama seems to mix the campy comedy of Glee with the biting wit of Scream Queens. So, in other words, Ryan Murphy is quite literally in its DNA.

Here’s everything we know about the show so far:

The release date. September 27, 2019.

The episode count. The first season will consist of eight episodes, and a second season has already been green-lit.

The premise. Per the show’s first official trailer (watch below), The Politician centers on a vicious high school presidential campaign set in an upscale suburb. Platt stars as Payton Hobart, a type-A, whip-smart student keen on winning the race, while Lucy Boynton plays Astrid, his biggest competition. Meanwhile, Zoey Deutch portrays Infinity Jackson, a seemingly sick female student who runs alongside Payton as his vice president. Thrown into the mix is Jessica Lange as Infinity’s mother and Gwyneth Paltrow as Payton’s mom.

Watch the trailer for yourself, below:

The cast. A full list can be found here. According to Variety, both Bette Midler and Judith Light are slated to make guest appearances in The Politician, as well.

Jessica Lange in The Politician.

Netflix

IT Chapter Two Gave James McAvoy Nightmares Before Filming Even Began

Stephen King is an author who has given many people nightmares in his career. Whether you’re a fan of his books, or the movies based on them, odds are something you’ve read or seen has chilled you at one point or another. James McAvoy, who plays the role of the adult version of Bill in the forthcoming IT Chapter Two, is no exception.

McAvoy first read Stephen King’s IT when he was 15-years-old, but the actor recently told EW that reading the book as a kid didn’t give him nightmares. Rather, it was when he re-read the book in order to get prepared for his film role that the book really got to him. According to McAvoy…

For whatever reason, apparently James McAvoy wasn’t terrified of Pennywise as a teenager, but many years later the clown would finally get to him. Maybe that’s somewhat fitting considering that the actor is playing the adult version of one of the kids who defeated the clown the first time around. Just because they are adults doesn’t mean that they’re going to be in any better position to beat the clown again. If anything, as adults they’re smart enough to realize just what kind of danger they are in, something they maybe didn’t contextualize as children.

Of course, one has to wonder if the first IT movie may have had something to do with the fact that the book gave James McAvoy nightmares the second time around. Picturing the events of the book in your head are one thing, but we now have Bill Skarsgard‘s performance as Pennywise to help add flavor to the experience. It would be difficult to read the book now and not see Skarsgard’s version of Pennywise in your head.

If the first movie was enough to give you nightmares, get ready for IT Chapter Two to take things to another level. We’ve been teased that the sequel will be even more terrifying than the first movie. There are certainly enough moments in the book that could be translated into terrifying images on screen, though we know the filmmakers aren’t limited by the book either.

The first movie, which told the story of our heroes as kids, set box office records for a horror movie, and every indication is that the sequel is going to follow suit. If the new movie matches the first one in viewer perception as well, IT could end up being one of the most successful novel adaptations we’ve ever seen. Of course, even that won’t be the end because we’ve already been promised an extended cut of IT Chapter Two somewhere down the line.

Underwater Trailer: Kristen Stewart Goes Up Against A Deep Sea Monster

Kristen Stewart has fought vampires, evil queens and government agents, but in the 2020 action-thriller Underwater, the acclaimed actress takes a dunk and goes up against a deep sea monster. The first trailer for Underwater has arrived so dive in and check it out below.

The first thing that the Underwater trailer establishes is that this crew of underwater researchers is going to the very deepest parts of the ocean. The trailer doesn’t let us in on the specifics of their objectives or what they are studying, but all we need to know is that these characters are about as far as a person could possibly be on this planet from the nearest help or hope of rescue. That sets the stage for what’s to follow.

Something shakes the entire subterranean research laboratory and Kristen Stewart’s character Norah sees what has to be the most terrifying thing you could see in a place that deep underwater: a leak. The whole thing begins to flood and when the crew regroups, that’s when we get the first idea of what exactly might be going on. It seems that like the Dwarves in the mines of Moria, they “delved too greedily and dug too deep” and freed or awoke…something.

When the crew has to walk across the bottom of the ocean to survival, they must contend with the deep sea creature or creatures that are now awake. Unlike last year’s The Meg, and despite having comedian T.J. Miller as part of the cast, Underwater seems like it will largely eschew campiness. Instead it goes for a true sci-fi horror vibe and it was hard not to think of Ridley Scott’s original Alien while watching the trailer.

The one thing I really like is that similar to something like James Cameron’s underwater science fiction mystery The Abyss, which is still not on Blu-ray for some reason, the trailer for Underwater really makes the deep ocean feel like a different world. Just like space, the depths of the oceans are strange, unknown and alien and therefore frightening.

The special effects in this trailer look solid and the visuals have a real horror quality to them and appear distinctive enough to help this movie stand out if it’s good. My only concern on that front is that Underwater is a January release and while it’s not necessarily as true as it once was, that month is historically a dumping ground for movies Hollywood studios have no faith in.

On the other hand, that rule has exceptions and perhaps Underwater could find itself benefitting from Kristen Stewart appreciation following her role in November’s Charlie’s Angels reboot. The Signal is the third film from director William Eubank, who previously helmed 2014’s The Signal with Laurence Fishburne. For Underwater he lined up a cast that in addition to Kristen Stewart and T.J. Miller, also includes Vincent Cassel and Iron Fist and Game of Thrones actress Jessica Henwick.

Underwater splashes into theaters on January 10, 2020. There’s still plenty to look forward to in 2019 though, check it all out in our premiere guide.

Watch Chris Hemsworth Become Bro Thor For Avengers: Endgame

Following its record-breaking theatrical release, Avengers: Endgame is now officially available on DVD and Blu-ray. The Russo Brothers’ blockbuster may have hit theaters back in April, but the conversation surrounding its contents hasn’t slowed in the following months. One of the most discussed aspects about Endgame was related to Thor’s story, and his transformation into Bro Thor. Now we can see how Chris Hemsworth became the character on set.

Will The Star Wars Movies Be Jumping To The Future Soon?

Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker coming towards the end of the year, the future of Star Wars is largely a mystery. The saga will continue, Disney is making sure of that, but where exactly can we expect things to head in the near future?

If I’m placing bets, I’m thinking Star Wars is jumping into the future sooner than later. There are some moves being made that may support that opinion, and some chatter from those with some say in the franchise’s future to support this idea. Here’s some things to consider, and why we all may soon visit a galaxy far, far away not all that long ago.

Rey Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker

Disney Is Wrapping Up The Sequel Trilogy

As we all know by now, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will mark the conclusion to the Skywalker saga. That presumably means that, after Episode IX, this franchise is going to move past the events that directly deal with the Skywalker family and onto something else. That family has had quite the legacy, and one would think the only way to escape it would be to go somewhere on the “galaxy’s edge” or deep into the past (such as for a Knights of the Old Republic story) or future.

So how far of a time jump are we talking here? Well, far enough that Star Wars: Resistance is going to end its run right up to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, although an animated series ending isn’t explicit evidence the franchise is prepping for a time jump. With that said, the fact that key actors in the sequel trilogy have gone on the record and said they don’t think they’ll be returning to the series has to mean something.

Either things are taking a jump to a completely different part of the galaxy (which is possible) or this franchise is taking a big jump forwards or backwards. To be honest, it could be doing all that, which is great considering we’re set to be getting more Star Wars content than we’ve had in past few decades in the near future. With that said, the future jump seems like the most obvious play, and one that the franchise is building towards elsewhere.

Thrawn Star Wars: Rebels

The Establishing Of The Outer Reaches Of The Galaxy

While a majority of Star Wars fans have been keeping an eye on the films and theories based on what’s seen there, the franchise has been slowly, but surely setting up stories along the edges of the Star Wars galaxy. It’s where The Mandalorian will take place, a setting that frequently keeps popping up in the new Thrawn novels by Timothy Zahn, and let’s not forget Disney Land’s latest attraction is galled “Galaxy’s Edge.”

To say this sudden spark of interest in a region that presumably had little to no role in the Skywalker saga all the sudden is interesting. Where were all these civilizations during the wars? What has been going on since then? Why are we just now hearing about them? It’s a question that, in a universe where light speed travel is possible, poses the question of just how far removed are these civilizations from the events of the core story.

If these factions were incredibly far away, then it would make sense it could take some time for them to successfully reach and impact the story of Star Wars. Or there are plans that have been secretly in development in these far reaches of space for decades, and whoever or whatever is planning on making a move is simply waiting for this First Order and Resistance conflict to play out so it can swoop in and clean up whatever side comes out on top there.

An arrival of an outside force wouldn’t be something that dominates a film that’s supposed to wrap up every movie that has come before, but it could make for a phenomenal scene just before the end credits. It would be different than how trilogies have concluded in Star Wars‘ past, but this is a new era. I’m not saying it’s a good or bad thing, but are we really going to believe Disney is going to wrap Episode IX with absolutely zero tease of where the franchise is headed in the future?

Broom Kid Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Rian Johnson Talking About His Star Wars Trilogy

Love it or hate it, Star Wars fans, Lucasfilm has Rian Johnson overseeing a future trilogy in the franchise’s universe. Now, because most Star Wars secrets are kept under lock and key, we know next to nothing about what his trilogy will entail, but recent comments the director was allowed to make were very telling.

To start, Johnson revealed that his trilogy will move past the legacy characters. At a minimum, that seems to mean Luke, Leia, Chewbacca, and others that have been around since the original trilogy, and to an extreme this could mean even the folks we only just met in the sequel trilogy. Going back to the bit where the current generation of Star Wars lead actors don’t seem so sure they’ll be reprising their roles. it seems like they may be out of this new chapter as well.

So how does one set itself apart from events and characters that have dominated the better part of a century? Well, going to the farthest reaches of the galaxy is an option, but telling a story completely unrelated to the Skywalker Saga in entirely unfamiliar territory would be a shock to audiences, especially those who were already shocked (and outraged) by some of the themes Johnson introduced in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

The better solution would seemingly be to jump beyond these characters into a future that’s been impacted by these individuals. After all, we’ve all been impacted by the actions of our forefathers, and we live our lives without making mention of it on a daily basis. Yet the evidence is still around us, and it would still be to a Star Wars audience even if characters aren’t sitting in a classroom and learning of R2-D2’s journey to Luke.

Do we know Star Wars is for sure headed into the future? We don’t, although as shown above, there is reason to suspect a major leap forward would solve some problems the franchise will face as it tries to distance itself from the Skywalker saga. We’ll, of course, have a better idea as we get closer to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, or maybe even sooner than that as D23 is right around the corner. Stick with CinemaBlend in the meantime for updates on both.

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Attention: Ava Max, CNCO, And Megan Thee Stallion Will Perform At The 2019 VMA Pre-Show

There’s only one week left until the 2019 VMAs, and all of your hard-won votes are being tallied to determine which stars will take home a shiny new Moon Person. But before the show actually kicks off, as is the custom, there will be a certifiably lit pre-show to set the mood. And to make that happen, this year’s pre-show is boasting blazing live performances from Ava Max, CNCO, and Megan Thee Stallion.

To help you navigate all the red-carpet excitement will be hosts Terrence J and Nessa, with Zara Larsson as special correspondent. And reigning Push Artist of the Year Hayley Kiyoko will be on hand to pass the torch and award this year’s winner. It’s all going down an hour before the main awards show, on August 26th at 7 p.m. ET/PT. But of course, that’s not all.

Today (August 19), we’re also revealing the nominees for not one, not two, but three more categories: Best Group, Best Power Anthem, and Song of Summer. Better give those voting fingers a good stretch, because your job isn’t done!

In the Best Group race, K-Pop phenoms BTS and BLACKPINK will face off against some beloved boy bands: Backstreet Boys, Jonas Brothers, PRETTYMUCH, CNCO, 5 Seconds of Summer, and Why Don’t We. Voting for that category is open now on MTV’s Instagram Story and will run for 24 hours.

Over on the Best Power Anthem front, Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift — who have already racked up a whopping 10 nominations each this year — now have another one to their names; Ari’s “7 rings” and Tay’s “You Need to Calm Down” are both nominated. The rest of the category is rounded out by fellow pop peers Miley Cyrus, Halsey, and Maren Morris, as well as hip-hop heavyweights DJ Khaled, Lizzo, and Megan Thee Stallion, whose viral “Hot Girl Summer” provides some stiff competition. Voting for Best Power Anthem begins on Tuesday (August 20) at 12 p.m. ET and runs for 24 hours on MTV’s Instagram Story.

As for Song of Summer, it’s a predictably stacked race, with 16 nominees that range from chart stalwarts like Lil Nas X‘s “Old Town Road” and Billie Eilish‘s “Bad Guy,” to viral sleeper hits like DaBaby‘s “Suge” and Lil Tecca‘s “Ransom.” Voting for the bracket-style Song of Summer opens via MTV’s Instagram Story on Wednesday (August 21) at 12 p.m. ET and will end after three rounds of votes on Sunday (August 25).

See the full list of nominees for all three categories below, and get voting for your faves!

  • Best Group

    5 Seconds of Summer

    Backstreet Boys

    BLACKPINK

    BTS

    CNCO

    Jonas Brothers

    PRETTYMUCH

    Why Don’t We

  • Best Power Anthem

    Ariana Grande – “7 rings”

    DJ Khaled ft. Cardi B & 21 Savage – “Wish Wish”

    Halsey – “Nightmare”

    Lizzo ft. Missy Elliott – “Tempo”

    Maren Morris – “GIRL”

    Megan Thee Stallion ft. Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign – “Hot Girl Summer”

    Miley Cyrus – “Mother’s Daughter”

    Taylor Swift – “You Need To Calm Down”

  • Song of Summer

    Ariana Grande, Social House – “boyfriend”

    Billie Eilish – “bad guy”

    DaBaby – “Suge”

    Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber – “I Don’t Care”

    Jonas Brothers – Sucker”

    Khalid – “Talk”

    Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus – “Old Town Road (Remix)”

    Lil Tecca – “Ransom”

    Lizzo – “Truth Hurts”

    Miley Cyrus – “Mother’s Daughter”

    Post Malone ft. Young Thug – “Goodbyes”

    ROSALÍA & J Balvin ft. El Guincho – “Con Altura”

    Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello – “Señorita”

    Taylor Swift – “You Need To Calm Down”

    The Chainsmokers, Bebe Rexha – “Call You Mine”

    Young Thug ft. J. Cole & Travis Scott – “The London”

The 2019 MTV Video Music Awards will air live from The Prudential Center on Monday, August 26 at 8 p.m. ET!

Harry Styles Living It Up At An Ariana Grande Concert Is My Monday Motivation

Think you’re an Ariana Grande fan? Pfft. You haven’t seen anything yet.

If you’re finding it hard to roll out of bed and get your Monday going, we proudly present Harry Styles absolutely losing it at one of Ari’s concerts. He went hard. Hard to the core. Harder than worldwide stadium tours, to quote will.i.am.

Styles recently spent a night out with Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown in tow at one of Ari’s stops in London. But he wasn’t just standing around nodding and mouthing lyrics. Oh, no. Ya boy Harry was dancing like his entire life depended on it, and if you needed a reason to spring out of your pajamas and right on into the day, this should do it for you.

Just look at this grindin’ and booty poppin’! He looks good, he feels good, he’s on top of the world in these clips. Yes, babies, Harry is feeling himself.

Social media has since erupted as people have been sharing videos of him bringing his amazing dance moves to life during “Dangerous Woman” and “Baby I,” among other hits. I mean, it’s perfectly understandable why. Have you ever seen someone so impossibly into the music other than yourself in front of the mirror pre-shower?

Meanwhile, Harry and Millie were seen excitedly chattering together, likely over the force of nature that is Ariana Grande. If you thought Harry shakin’ it was impressive, listen to sis serving those vocals.

What are they discussing? What are they planning? Are we able to get in on this newly-blossoming friendship? Maybe Harry is dishing on why he decided to turn down the role of Eric in Disney’s The Little Mermaid remake. Maybe Millie told him when the next season of Stranger Things is set to air. Details! We need details.

Whew. When legends stan legends, right? You love to see it.

5 Will Smith Movies Worth Streaming Right Now On Netflix And Beyond

Will Smith in Ali I Robot The Pursuit of Happyness

Will Smith, now 50, has been a household name for about 30 years now. But he just had his highest-grossing film ever in 2019 with Aladdin. That Disney remake is coming to Digital on August 27. Before you consider buying his blue genie magic, you can stream several other Will Smith movies right now on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and other platforms.

Each week, I like to focus streaming recommendations on what’s available for free through a subscription or free trial, rather than stuff you have to pay extra for. Otherwise you can stream almost anything at any time if you track it down and buy it. Apart from that, we live at the mercy of what Netflix and other services give to and take from subscribers each month. So, ahead of Aladdin‘s Digital release and the new September 2019 titles coming soon, float like a butterfly over to these Will Smith movies available to stream right now.

Will Smith as Muhammad Ali in Ali

Ali

Will Smith earned his first of two Oscar nominations (so far) for his portrayal of Cassius Clay Jr./Muhammad Ali in this Michael Mann film covering 10 years of the iconic boxer’s life. The star-studded supporting cast includes Jamie Foxx, Jon Voight, Jeffrey Wright, Mykelti Williamson, Mario Van Peebles, and Smith’s real-life wife Jada Pinkett Smith. The 2.5-hour film earned solid, if not spectacular, reviews and a B+ CinemaScore from polled moviegoers. However, the Christmas Day 2001 release ended up losing money at the box office, making only $87.7 million off a reported production budget of $107 million, per Box Office Mojo. Still, Ali was seen as a huge step forward for Smith’s career as a serious actor in addition to already being famous as a comedic actor and action hero. Ali was also a departure for writer/director/producer Michael Mann, who was better known for crime films like Heat, Manhunter, and Thief.

Stream Ali right now on Showtime, and through Amazon with a 7-day free Showtime trial.

Will Smith Jaden Smith The Pursuit of Happyness

The Pursuit of Happyness

This movie turned me into a pile of mush when I saw it in 2006. I’m a sucker for this kind of down-and-out-and-desperate movie, and it made me nearly as emotional as cinema classics like Bicycle Thieves and Umberto D. Will Smith plays Chris Gardner, father to Christopher Gardner, played by his own son Jaden in his film debut. Smith gives arguably one of his best performances, earning him his second Oscar nomination. The movie — wonky spelling and all — won over fans with an A CinemaScore and an 87% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 8.0 rating on IMDb. Critics were OK with it too, giving it a fresh rating and crediting Smith’s performance for elevating the film above what could’ve been pure melodrama.

Stream The Pursuit Of Happyness right now on Amazon Prime.

Will Smith Joel Edgerton Bright Netflix

Bright 

When Netflix released Bright in 2017, it became the new poster child for the fan vs. critic divide. Critics were sour on director David Ayer’s (Suicide Squad) modern-day fantasy cop drama, giving it a 26% Rotten Tomatoes score and a Metscore of 29 on Metacritic. But the movie has an 84% audience score on RT from more than 19,000 users. It’s a lot lower on IMDb — 6.4 from 150,000 users — so it’s clear opinions are divided. Netflix touted the movie’s streaming figures, saying it had been viewed more times in its first week than any one of its other movies up to that point. (This was before Bird Box and Murder Mystery.) There’s even a Bright 2 sequel in the works. I watched Bright after the reviews came out, so I had low expectations. The movie isn’t great, but I got through it easily enough and I will watch the sequel if/when it arrives. It’s a perfectly fine Netflix movie, and I don’t mean that as an insult. I just mean I’m happy to watch it at home and not have to pay extra for it. Is that an insult? Maybe it is.

Stream Bright right now on Netflix.

Will Smith I Robot

I, Robot 

By the time I, Robot came out in 2004, Will Smith had already established himself as an action hero. He brought his Fresh Prince of Bel-Air TV charisma to the big screen with Bad Boys, Independence Day, and Enemy of the State. Not all of his action movies were successful — lookin’ at you, Wild Wild West — but by 2004 he had already produced sequels for Men in Black and Bad Boys. I, Robot was a slick futuristic sci-fi thriller with just enough thought-provoking content to be a decent meal alongside the action dessert. It came out in July 2004, in keeping with Will Smith’s ownage of that month at the box office, and picked up $347,234,916 worldwide. Smith continued on a dystopian future track in later movies like I Am Legend — one of my favorites from him — and After Earth.

Stream I, Robot right now on HBO Go or Hulu.

Rosario Dawson Will Smith Seven Pounds

Seven Pounds 

This was another polarizing movie for Will Smith. Some critics hated it in a way they later hated his 2016 movie Collateral Beauty. But viewers seemed to appreciated Seven Pounds, giving the 2008 romantic drama a 75% RT audience score, from more than 636,000 user reviews, and a 7.6 IMDb score from 270,000 users. In the movie, Will Smith’s character aims to change the lives of seven people, including Rosario Dawson’s Emily. When the movie came out, Newsweek asked Smith why he took on such a haunting film. Here’s his answer:

Usually with the films that I make there are ideas that I connect to, but lately I’ve been dealing with the bittersweet in life because it feels more natural. You don’t ever get it really the way you want in life. That really fascinates me. As an actor there are certain parts of a character that you create, and you train yourself to have those reactions and then it becomes hard to stop them when the role is over. You have to retrain yourself. My character in this film is like hot grits. You know you can’t shake them off and when you do, it hurts.

Netflix doesn’t have many Will Smith options for viewing at this point — that may change in September 2019, and change again in October 2019, etc. — but Seven Pounds is one of them, so if you haven’t seen the movie and want to know why it earned extreme reactions, give it a stream when you have 2 hours and 3 minutes to spare.

Stream Seven Pounds right now on Netflix.

There are more Will Smith movies to stream for free (with subscriptions) out there, including The Legend of Bagger Vance on Amazon Prime Video and Six Degrees of Separation on Tubi or Vudu. If you’re looking for more streaming recommendations, check out these past features:

What movies have you been streaming lately, and through which streaming services?

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