The film’s premise is simple yet made suspenseful with a 21st Century twist.
Bryan Singer, TJ Miller, Kevin Hart, Johnny Depp, Mark Wahlberg, Rob Schneider. What do these problematic famous people have in common? They're all people Olivia Munn has worked with in an effort to have the film career she deserves. Every attempt to forge an interesting path has left her with a trail of bloated corpses in her wake, each belonging to careers Hollywood has refused to fully end despite a history of abusive or vile behavior, while Munn has showed up to work and not really been rewarded for her hard work and for having a functioning conscience. When the controversy behind "The Predator" broke, I felt like someone handed me a pile of bricks and said, "11th floor, elevator's broken." How does she keep getting shortchanged like this? She ought to be Scarlett Johansson (minus the recent cluelessness, obviously—Jesus is everyone trying to get cancelled now? What the hell happened?)
Anyway, I loved 95% of “The Predator.” I bought tickets to see it. Then I watched a bad camera rip of “The Predator,” and then I bought “The Predator.” I've already covered Shane Black and Fred Dekker's "The Monster Squad" for this column so perhaps it's not news that I loved “The Predator,” but the toxic press did make it seem like a sure thing all of a sudden. And yeah, I see where the studio and reshoots maimed it. I see the strings, the cracks, the flaws, the bad. And you know what? I don't care. This is a Shane Black monster movie and that's the kind of movie I'm going to hold onto forever. His writing, this setting, the cast, and Olivia Munn in the part she was born to play. This essay gets at the issues with “The Predator,” textual and extra-textual, and yes, there's a lot to talk about. Let's dive in.
To watch previous video essays from Scout Tafoya's "Unloved" series, click here
Scout Tafoya's video essay series on maligned masterpieces continues with a celebration of Shane Black's The Predator.
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