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Why John Denver’s Music Is In So Many Movies This Year

Charmaine Blake




7 hours ago

john denver in kingsman 2

If you’ve seen a glut of movies in 2017, there’s a good chance you heard a John Denver song in at least one of them. And while it may seem like a giant coincidence that movies from Alien: Covenant to Okja and Logan Lucky to Kingsman 2 all used a John Denver song this year, there is some method to the madness, and namely it comes in the form of one Brian L. Schwartz. But who is that, you may ask?

Brian L. Schwartz is behind 7S Management, which has managed John Denver’s estate since 2010. Over the last few years 7S, which includes Schwartz and his business partner Amy Abrams, have been strategizing to get more of John Denver’s music into the popular realm. The two didn’t even stand out as obvious choices for the gig at the beginning, according to Yahoo, as their business is more about managing bands than estates. But they were hired by John Denver’s children because they had intriguing ideas about how to get Denver’s music back into the public consciousness, and that included pitching Denver’s stuff when movie studios were looking for tracks from that era.

Still, they were hired over seven years ago, so what took so long for John Denver to be, well, everywhere? Per Brian L. Schwartz, his team helped the Denver estate to switch publishing partners, and those labors are now bearing fruit. He said,

In this position, you always have to be thinking ahead of the curve, and be aggressive and active. It takes a while to plant the seeds before you see them grow, and that’s what we’re seeing now. We really wanted to see an increase in the licensing for film and TV, and we do monthly calls with them and come up with creative ideas. Kobalt knows what movies, commercials, and TV shows are being made and require music and are actively pitching when appropriate.

Interestingly, John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” has been used to very memorable effect this year in both Logan Lucky and Kingsman: The Golden Circle. In the former movie–and we’re about to get into minor spoilers–Channing Tatum’s character, Jimmy Logan, makes it to his daughter’s pageant, just in time for her to bolt out the lyrics to his favorite song and get the whole auditorium singing along. Kingsman 2 also uses the song during a big moment, as the lyrics serve as a distraction for some bad guys and a rousing final act for one of the film’s major characters.

As for Alien: Covenant and Okja, the former also uses a version of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and the latter uses “Annie’s Song.” The circumstances in Okja were a little different because they were a result of Bong Joon-Ho really wanting the track in his Netflix movie, and getting it. But counting it all, there are four big movies harkening back to John Denver this year, and that’s not including Denver’s music appearing in stuff like Free Fire and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul. I gotta say, I don’t hate it. To see what movies will or won’t feature John Denver in the coming months, take a look at our full premiere schedule.


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The movie Gotti Earns a 0% score from Rotten Tomatoes



Image: Brian Douglas/Lionsgate/Emmet/Furla Oasis Films/new york times

The reviews are in for the mobster movie Gotti which profiles the life of notorious crime boss John Gotti. Following the laundry list of excellent mob movies this should be an easy win, but Gotti‘s reviews are apparently the only entertaining thing about it.

The movie currently has a 0 percent Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s right, zero.

Tomatometer ratings are based on “the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show,” provided there are at least five reviews. Personally, I didn’t even know a 0 was possible. 

Among the 18 approved “Tomato Critics,” not one gave Gotti a positive, or “fresh,” review, though we should note that the audience score is currently at 82 percent, with an average rating of 4.1 out of 5 from 6,678 reviews at the time this story was published

Regardless, here are some of the best snippets from the reviews. 

1. “He may have been a murderer, but even Gotti deserved better than this.”

 – Brian Tallerico for

2. “There’s not really a story here. It’s more a series of recognizable scenes from any number of gangster movies…” 

-Mark Dujsik for

3.”Gotti ends up feeling like a kitschy assemblage of other directors’ ideas.”

-Gary Thompson for

3. There are 44 credited producers on the picture (good. lord.), and not one person had the nerve to question just what kind of derivative, borderline nonsensical film was being made.

-Brian Orndorf for

4.  You don’t put the “Theme From ‘Shaft’” in a movie that is not “Shaft.” Come on.

– Glenn Kenny for the New York Times

5. “… the picture is a chaotic assemblage of short, disconnected scenes interrupted by snippets of archival footage, bits of narration and even moments when Travolta breaks the fourth wall by talking directly into the camera.” 

– Frank Swietek for One Guy’s Opinion

6. “While Travolta has his moments, the woefully uneven film too often settles for mobster stereotypes rather than providing meaningful insight into its subject.” 

– Todd Jorgenson for Cinemalogue

7. “John Travolta and E from Entourage turn infamous mob boss Gotti into a scowling bore.”

– Mike D’Angelo AVClub

(Writer’s note: This is just the headline, but OMG what a headline.)

8.  “… the vibrant, rap-infused score by Pitbull, which features three solo tracks by the popular artist, doesn’t quite jibe with the movie’s general style and tone.”

 – Gary Goldstein for the Los Angeles Times

9. “…Gotti is a connect-the-dots disaster — the don’s greatest hits, so to speak — without discernible theme or cohesive narrative.”

-Franke Lovece for Newsday

10.”[Director Kevin] Connolly’s in too much of a rush to get somewhere and doesn’t seem to know what that destination is.” 

– Chris Nashawaty for Entertainment Weekly

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Let’s talk about the shocking ending of ‘Hereditary’



“Let’s pore over the details of Hereditary like it’s an overdue art project based on our tragic lives.

Warning: Major spoilers ahead for Hereditary.

Hereditary is the kind of film you need to sit with.

It’s not just that it has a lot of shocking twists, though it does, or that the scares linger in your psyche, though they do. It’s also that Hereditary is dense with details that only reveal themselves upon closer examination and careful thought… or at least a deep dive into an explainer like this one.

Here’s everything you missed in Hereditary.

1. Yes, King Paimon is real

And people really do worship him.

To be clear, Paimon is “real” in the sense that he was not invented by writer-director Ari Aster for this film. Whether you think he’s actually, literally real depends on whether you believe demons and spirits are real. For what it’s worth, mentions of Paimon go back centuries – he’s even included in the 17th century grimoire Lesser Key of Solomon.

“I’m not tied in any way to the occult, so the research was disturbing, but I knew that I had to go there and I knew that I wanted the ritual elements of the film, which are held at a distance and you only get pieces of them, I knew I wanted them to be rooted in something real,” he said to Thrillist. “I was lead to witchcraft manuals that are instructing people on how to cast spells and this and that.”

2. Charlie has never really been Charlie

From the moment we meet her, it’s obvious there’s something off about Charlie. What exactly that is takes a while to reveal itself.

Early in the film, Annie (Toni Collette) explains that when her son Peter was born, she kept him away from her mother, Ellen. When her daughter Charlie was born, though, Annie relented and “gave” her to Ellen. Ellen…..”

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Heart Rate Challenge for the Horror Movie Hereditary!



This is your face watching “Hereditary”

Image: A24

“People are losing their shit over Hereditary — and we mean that almost literally.

We knew we were in for a ride after the jaded film critics of Sundance called the A24 film the “most traumatically terrifying horror movie in ages.” Now, people are even asking “can a movie be too scary?

As horror lovers, we say never to that question. But A24 is known for bringing some of the most riveting and unique horror in recent memory to the screen, like 2016’s much-adored The Witch.

Those heart rates at the 90 minute mark do not lie

Image: A24

So they tested this hypothesis on Hereditary by tracking the heart rates of 20 participants during promotional screenings of the movie at eleven different….”

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