How does one even begin to introduce the inimitable Vern?
I’m not sure.
So…well…here he is…
My friends I am here to tell you about a new comedy called SUPERBAD. What this is about is two young gentlemen named Seth and Evan. Seth is a fat guy with curly hair. Evan is taller and skinnier and wears a hoodie. The story begins with a phone call. Evan answers while opening the refrig– ah, fuck it, you guys already know what it is. I just want to agree with the whole world that it’s on the top shelf of comedies in recent years.
I like the down-to-earthness of this movie. It takes place over two days. Nobody’s trying to save the world or prove their innocence or even get married. They’re just trying to buy booze to impress some girls. There’s not a villain. There is a bully but he enters and exits in a grand total of two short scenes. Most of the movie is about two friends yelling at each other, and they do have a bit of a falling out, but there’s no phony misunderstanding or big blowup that separates them so they later have to make a speech to explain themselves and prove their sincerity and make up. They steer clear of most of the usual bullshit.
The movie this will be compared to most is DAZED AND CONFUSED, because both are slice of life/coming of age/underage drinking movies. DAZED is a well made movie and if you grew up in Texas in the ’70s I’m sure it would mean more to you than SUPERBAD would. But to me personally this one is better because it has about thirty-five to forty times more laughs. It’s one of those movies where you miss alot of the dialogue because people are laughing so hard. The personalities of the characters are funny in themselves and you can tell they must’ve done multiple takes of just about everything and put together all the stuff that made them laugh the hardest. But made it feel right, it doesn’t have that random stitched-together-skits feel of ANCHOR MAN and those type of movies. Nobody’s gonna get attacked by a bear in this style of comedy, they stay roughly somewhat fairly true to life.
For me the biggest obstacle the movie had was that I’d seen that same trailer ten thousand times in the past couple months. So you know alot of the scenes that are coming and they gave away one of the more emotional parts. I wish I hadn’t seen that thing so many times but the good news is it doesn’t give away all the best jokes, because there are way too many jokes to give away.
In a world of PG-13ified entertainment you gotta also appreciate that this movie doesn’t hold back. There’s nobody involved in this movie who would ever use that stupid god damn phrase “the f-bomb.” These characters don’t say “jerkoff” instead of “motherfucker,” they only say jerkoff when they actually mean jerkoff. The movie opens with teens having an in-depth discussion of subscription porn web sights, the benefits of membership, different genres, hardcore vs. softcore and other important issues facing the modern consumer. Usually when this type of shit is covered in movies it is broad and not true to life. But Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg clearly know their porn. In KNOCKED UP they referenced Mr. Skin, here they graduate to The Bang Bus. By the way, you kids today, you don’t even know what you have. In my day porn was in magazines and you had to steal it from somebody’s dad. And hardcore was as elusive as the blood diamond. If somebody had tried to explain free mpg samples to us it would’ve sounded like alien technology. You think it’s hard to get your Quicktime working with a G4 and OSX try getting a hold of a stag film AND a projector AND figuring out how to thread the god damn thing. Kids today don’t have to work for their porn. I just hope you appreciate it. Treat it with respect. Treat it like a lady.
Anyway there’s no nudity in the movie (www.bangbus.com) and very little violence (except to cars) but it has some of the foulest conversations you will hear other than in real life actual conversations between humans. Well done.
The cast is good all around but especially the two leads. Michael Cera (Laurel) has a hilariously authentic awkwardness with every line he says and every facial expression he makes. Jonah Hill (Hardy) is the more aggressive and obscene of the two but he is just as vulnerable as the other guy. My favorite line in the whole movie is at the end when he tells Evan he’ll call him later and his way of sounding adult in front of girls is to say “I have your information.” Also you feel sorry for him because he gets spit on, puked on, bled on, hit by two different cars, hit in the head with a baseball bat and attacked by cokeheads. (But not by a bear. Like I said, realistic.)
You know what, picture Charlie Brown with hair and a young John Belushi in thrift store clothes trying to bring liquor to a party because they think it might get them laid. Throw on some funk music and you got SUPERBAD. That’s one thing that probaly hasn’t been covered too much: good ironic use of funk music. Because real ’70s funk is the best way to show that a character is cool and confident it’s also funny to play for some nerds walking in slow motion or dancing bad. Some of the shit is a little disco for my tastes but mostly they did a great job on the soundtrack. They got one of the better Rick James numbers (“Bustin’ Out”) and a great pick from Curtis Mayfield (“P.S. I Love You”). I’m so thankful they didn’t just take something off the SUPERFLY soundtrack or Parliament songs from some cheesy Funk For Rookies compilation they bought off TV. Best of all they got an original end credits theme from Bootsy Collins backed by an all star band of his JB and P-Funk colleagues.
I can’t speak for how teens would relate to this movie, but it definitely connects with human awkwardness in general. So unless you are Shaft or somebody who has never felt the firm grip of humiliation and self doubt on your guts I think you can sympathize with the characters. As an old man I also noticed one thing other people might not get out of it in the scenes where SPOILER (I did the spoiler before the spoiler this time, that was awesome) the girl Evan’s had a crush on turns porno queen on him and talks about giving him “the best blow j ever.” Usually in movies it’s supposed to be funny fantasy fulfillment when a naked girl attacks a nerd like that. (Unless the girl is about to turn into Freddy Krueger.) But for him it’s too much, almost a turn-off, and to me it’s a good commentary on the sexualizing of young women in today’s pop culture. I’m honestly not a prude but it’s sad how many girls today have role models from moronic reality shows, leaked sex tapes and that fucked up cartoon where the girls with giant eyes talk on their cell phones and buy clothes. And I guess with that easy access to porn you kids have there probaly really are girls trying to live up to those type of images. Maybe if Charlie Brown with hair was just trying to get laid like used to happen in the ’80s or in AMERICAN PIE that would be great but this is his little red haired girl, he actually likes her, he’s not trying to bring her on the Bang Bus.
SUPERBAD = not bad meaning bad but bad meaning good. Talkback guy says reviews R 2 long – trying make short – no time explain
Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/33690
View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback
Aug. 16, 2007, 2:20 p.m. CST
Judd & Co
by Robur Limax
It seems like every comedy that comes out has “From the makers of 40 Year Old Virgin” before it’s title. Waddup wit dat?
Aug. 16, 2007, 2:30 p.m. CST
…have to wait til sep 3rd though, gutted!
Aug. 16, 2007, 2:33 p.m. CST
Great review, but Parliament IS funk.
by Nice Marmot
Any Parliament track would make the soundtrack better. Can’t wait to see this fucking movie this weekend.
Aug. 16, 2007, 2:50 p.m. CST
Finally saw this at a screening in NYC last week
It’s easily the funniest movie of the year. Hands down. I defy anyone to name a funnier one.
Aug. 16, 2007, 2:52 p.m. CST
The penis drawing scene floating online
has to be one of the funniest things I’ve seen. I actually have two friends who go around and draw “dickchickens” everywhere. Since they were kids and they are now grown men so that scene had me tears.
For me this could be the movie event of the summer only because those guys in that movie are a lot like me and my very close friends. Jonah’s part really nails one of my friends to the point where it’s scary. Where even the guy he seems to be emulating can’t deny it. I really can’t wait. I may need to be bring another set of underwear though because I just may end of pissing myself from laughing so hard from the sounds of it.
Aug. 16, 2007, 2:57 p.m. CST
I was astounded by how realistic this movie was
Not necessarily the whole “one crazy night” story, but just the social status of everybody in the film and the dialogue. There’s no retarded “these are the cliques at the lunch tables” scenes…this is a movie where the main characters are just semi-uncool guys who hang in the background and aren’t labeled as nerds, jocks, or band geeks — instead they’re just part of the majority of real high school kids who live in a gray area and don’t draw too much attention to themselves. The popular girl isn’t some prom queen bitch but instead a nice girl who doesn’t like to drink and is way more mature than the guys. (The Entertainment Weekly review called the female characters unrealistic, which is the most depressingly unqualified assumption I ever remember reading.) And Vern, you got it absolutely right when you pointed out the truth in the scene where Evan suddenly gets cold feet about his crush throwing herself at him…teenage anxiety at it’s most truthful. Oh yeah, and the movie’s fucking hilarious.
Aug. 16, 2007, 3 p.m. CST
Sounds to me like a Kevin Smith movie.
And that’s good in my book. But I would have watched it anyway, even if I really start to hate this Rogen dude, because everybody treats him like he is Jesus himself, who re-invented the comedy genre :P
Aug. 16, 2007, 3:03 p.m. CST
Where’s the McLove?
Superbad is really two movies and this review seems to becompletely ignoring one of them. Sure the Cera and Hill stuff is funny but the other story, with their friend “McLovin” and the two cops is the funny as hell. Better even. Can’t believe it’s not even mentioned. Strange.
Aug. 16, 2007, 3:04 p.m. CST
Bangbus is for n00bs. Furries is the real shit.
by Rickey Henderson
Aug. 16, 2007, 3:04 p.m. CST
I am McLovin
Totally Mclovin looks like my hero. this movie is gonna be badass
Aug. 16, 2007, 3:17 p.m. CST
It’s like Hostel 2 all over again
Can we stop with the SuperBad reviews now? It’s good. We get it.
Aug. 16, 2007, 3:18 p.m. CST
That’s not what I meant NiceMarmot. I love Parliament. But “Give Up the Funk” and “Flashlight” are the go to cliches for if you need a funk song in a movie. Same thing with Superfly. I couldn’t say a bad thing about that album, I consider it the best song soundtrack of all time. I’m just sick of other movies using “Pusherman” and shit on their soundtracks, like that’s all they know. These are all great songs but they’re too obvious. So I commend this movie for digging slightly deeper.
Aug. 16, 2007, 3:20 p.m. CST
I agree, McLovin and the cops are great. I just had to keep it short as a tribute to short attention spans, so I tried to focus on Seth and Evan which I think are more what the movie is about.
Aug. 16, 2007, 3:33 p.m. CST
I agree they are the central focus of the film and their story takes classic teen movie tropes and puts a winning spin on them by having protagonists who are nice, credible and not the usual pseudo-date rapists we’re usually supposed to be rooting for. But, fella, not even a mention? Like reviewing Star Wars and not mentioning the droids, Lord Of The Rings without Aragorn, etc. Seth and Evan show what teen movies should be like in these elightened times. McLovin shows what they should be like all the time.
Aug. 16, 2007, 3:42 p.m. CST
SUPERBAD was HILARIOUS!
saw it last night (for free!) it was totally funny and also very sweet (as all Apatow touched material tend to be). it was annoying though when everyone laughed at EVERY LITTLE THING! fucking annoying..every little thing is not laugh out loud funny. fucking easily entertained masses (coughdanecookcough). But then “Friends” lasted for 18 million seasons and that show was not funny at all (despite what the laugh track tells you) so what the fuck do i know. SUPERBAD is a great comedy.
Aug. 16, 2007, 3:46 p.m. CST
Vern, that review was 2 short.
I, for one, like the novel length reviews.
Aug. 16, 2007, 3:49 p.m. CST
This review was too long
I stopped reading it.
Aug. 16, 2007, 4:02 p.m. CST
I saw George Clinton & the P-Funk All-Stars on stage
by Spandau Belly
Best fucking concert of my life!
Aug. 16, 2007, 4:02 p.m. CST
I got a kick
out of the old codgerish “in my day” lecture about PORN. Awesome.
Can’t wait for this movie.
Aug. 16, 2007, 4:06 p.m. CST
Great review, much better than that shit posted earlier
by Kentucky Colonel
Now that’s how you write up a movie! The soundtrack, to use language the kids can understand these days, is totally pimp. The awkwardness, the foul language, the bad clothes…just like when I was a kid, only without the internet porn.
Damned Vern, you nailed that. These kids wouldn’t have the patience to string a 16mm today. “My Quicktime is soooo slow. Fuck off, junior. You don’t have a clue what it was like “back in the day”.
I’ll be there tomorrow night after Yoga w/Criss. AMC Hoffman 22. Perhaps I’ll wear the skeleton shirt??? I missed too much last time…too busy laughing. Maybe then I can enjoy the subtle nuance of the performances.
And the Cola are $4.50 with unlimited refills…day of show only!
Aug. 16, 2007, 4:07 p.m. CST
by Gatsbys West Egg Omlet
you are damn funny. great review. can’t wait to see it.
Aug. 16, 2007, 4:11 p.m. CST
Cola is, Colas are
by Kentucky Colonel
lets call the whole thing off!
Aug. 16, 2007, 4:55 p.m. CST
I’m still hoping for 3.8 million first weekend…
Aug. 16, 2007, 4:56 p.m. CST
“Treat it with respect. Treat it like a lady.”
by James Westfall
Vern’s words are as true today as they were in his time. As someone who can remember porn even before it was Annette Haven and Jamie Gillis, he’s dead-on. Don’t ever let porn lose its magic. Twenty years ago it was Christy Canyon. Today it’s Katie Morgan. May the glory live on.
Aug. 16, 2007, 4:57 p.m. CST
trying to watch scrambeled Skinamax films. That was a pain
as for porn stars throwing themselves at you, I agree most dn’t want that in acutallity, but I might be tempted in Eric Campbell threw herself at me…rorrwwwww
Aug. 16, 2007, 5:05 p.m. CST
I just bought Pass The Peas yesterday. Meant to get it ages ago after reading about it in Vern’s tribute to JB. Thanks Vern. Now I’m addicted. I already have Superfly and it seems I have to get some Parliament now. So gang, any more advice for a novice funkateer?
Aug. 16, 2007, 5:32 p.m. CST
i don’t mean to hate on the rest of the crew, but i’ve come to only read and appreciate your reviews lately. The only other stuff i read is news. Well done, again.
Aug. 16, 2007, 6:34 p.m. CST
You might want to try some Meters, New Orleans style funk. And as long as we’re talking soundtracks I recommend Black Caesar (James Brown and Fred Wesley) Coffy (Roy Ayers) and Trouble Man (Marvin Gaye).
Aug. 16, 2007, 6:54 p.m. CST
I am Super Bad
IN MY PANTS!
Aug. 16, 2007, 7:44 p.m. CST
“as elusive as the blood diamond…”
by Alonzo Mosely
Yeah baby, Vern is back… After some solid, but lackluster, reviews, this is old school gold Vern… And don’t listen to the ‘too long’ morons… Some of us are at work trying to stick it to the man by not doing any actual work, so the longer your review, the more we are sticking it to the man… And yes I am fully aware how rediculous it is for a guy in his 30s to pretend reading a review on the internet is sticking it to the man, when multiple promotions have made me an official part of the man-corporation. What were we talking about again? Die Hard 4? 90s action movie throwback, better than most other big budget action movies released in recent years, but in no way deserving of the Die Hard name or the McClane character… Oh wait we weren’t talking about that, oh Superbad, cool, seeing as my crappy town now has a corporate knockoff of the Alamo drafthouse, I can watch this while being served beer and nachos… Sounds like a plan…
Aug. 16, 2007, 7:50 p.m. CST
The Stoned Age
Dazed and Confused and this fit well with “The Stoned Age”, a little seen flick in the same vein. Love that film.
Aug. 16, 2007, 8:20 p.m. CST
He’s a big bad wolf in your neighborhood…
Not bad meaning bad but bad meaning good.
Why is the scene in trailer, where the robber just jump-punches the clerk in the face so f’ing funny? Comedy gold I tells ya.
Aug. 16, 2007, 8:35 p.m. CST
Mysterious Yobo and Vern…
Thanks boys. Most grateful.
Aug. 16, 2007, 9:33 p.m. CST
I’m really looking forward to this.
I’ve yet to see Knocked Up, but I enjoyed the 40-Year-Old Virgin quite a bit. I don’t normally do this, but I have high hopes for this one.
Aug. 16, 2007, 11:50 p.m. CST
Gotta agree. The access and the easy availability has made it dull. Things are always more fun when forbidden and i miss the days of trying to see a nipple through the squiggles(damn that blue screen you get today!)
This movie does look promising. My only doubt is Mike C. Seems like a cool cat, but does he have any range in comedy? Seems he sticks with the same routine in each role(AD, the web show, this) I hate hyper comics(R Williams, J Carey, ect) but a little mix up in the energy/delivery would be good i think.
Aug. 17, 2007, 12:35 a.m. CST
Another day, another Superbad review…
..at least is Vern´s! May the gods bless you, prision spawn.
Aug. 17, 2007, 12:47 a.m. CST
thanks for your take on this. I’m gonna see it no matter what, but it’s always good to hear your seattle perspective!
the best old soul precurser to funk is “Soul Finger” by the Bar-Kays…I mean, look at the title…they were already getting funky…also a lot of Booker T. and the MG’s rhythms were a direct influence on funk, I think. I just can’t handle the audaciousness of funk music, I like the subtleties of the older stuff.
and I know you’re an old man, brother, but it’s a web “site”, not a “sight”…just, you know…that’s how the kids write it nowadays…
Aug. 17, 2007, 2:34 a.m. CST
Vern and Yobo covered the basics well, although they deserve a mild bitchslap for overlooking the Godfather of Afrofunk, Fela Kuti (start by picking up the ’69 LA Sessions.) If you want a great ‘sampler’ compilation of rarer, awesome funk though, try to find the Pulp Fusion series of discs. Grabbing one at random (Volume 3, Revenge of the Ghetto Grooves) you’ve got some obscure Ike & Tina, the Blackbyrds (jazz master Donald Byrd’s funk-fusion band), the Propositions’ transcendent song ‘Africana’, the Lafayette Afro-Rock Band’s brilliant slow-burning ‘Darkest Light’, and the theme from Black Belt Jones. The other CDs in the series are equally as good — if you know your hip-hop, every disc contains a bunch of samples you’ll instantly recognize.
Aug. 17, 2007, 2:51 a.m. CST
“Soul Finger” is actually on SUPERBAD. I don’t remember where they used it but I picked up the CD today and it’s on there. I like Booker T too, that band is tight. They did a movie soundtrack or two also.
Aug. 17, 2007, 4:53 a.m. CST
Vern, I’m disappointed.
If I want intelligently written, insightful reviews I’ll go, um, somewhere. From your reviews I want hilarity (the whole Morpheus bit in the Invasion review nearly made me fall out of my chair!), so shape up!
Just kidding. It’s good to see you reviewing more and more stuff, besides just the DTV and Segal stuff. Yours and Mori’s are the reviews I find most useful and entertaining to read on this site.
Aug. 17, 2007, 4:58 a.m. CST
BULLSEYE!, Just A Couple Off Center
Lives up to the hype. THAT 70’S SHOW as directed by Kevin Smith. It meets the #1 requirement of any good comedy… it’s chock full of laughs. You’ll recognize blue version scenes from any number of previous movies, but it still works because the characters are so well drawn and elicit such pathetic sympathy. On the surface, it’s just another teen flick that could be subtitled: THE SEARCH FOR BOOZE, but at its heart it’s about 3 identifiable geeks, presumably from high school hell, trying to salvage at least one cool night to remember their adolescense by. What makes it special is the craftsmanship on display that so unobtrusively gives it heart and empathy. As much as this is mostly guy stuff, it seems the women in the audience laughed the loudest at the raunchy nerdliness of it all. Maybe recognizing a date or two with one of these pathetic, but still likable losers. Or responding to the raw reflection of themselves through the other side’s lusting, but prayerful eyes. Since everyone loves this movie so much, it may be worth pointing out a few quibbles that made this not quite up to VIRGIN and KNOCKED UP. One would be Michael Cera as Evan. He’s just too wooden in this role and comes across at times like a painfully sensitive kid who’s gay and just hasn’t figured it out yet. Maybe that ambiguity was unintentional, but it seemed like too serious a life and relationship issue to even hint at in the context of dick and puke jokes. Evan stood out also as the one male character that not only wasn’t over-the-top hilarious, but downplayed to an awkward normality that didn’t quite fit. One couldn’t help thinking…. if only they had discovered this generation’s Topher Grace for this role, it would have been so perfect. Too late to recast? Another problem is a little too much in EVERY respect of the not-so-likable, not-so-believable cop buddies, still trying to hold on to THEIR adolescence. Yeah, funny enough, but eventually overbaked humor that began to not work structurally and thematically. Any sense of careful craftsmanship goes out the window in their scenes. Lastly, less of them, and maybe more time with the girls. There was a hint of what could have been there, that they maybe had their own awkwardly raunchy pratfalls to mirror the guys’. But they never got much farther than cut-out characters despite being the objets de desire of the boys. None of these serious flaws, but a few style point deductions in between the guffaws. Entertaining as hell, if not quite a classic.
Aug. 17, 2007, 9:23 a.m. CST
What’s with all the Dane Cook hate!?
Honestly, he’s a funny guy (well, his stand up is, his movies suck). You can’t tell me the Monopoly lines or the Kool-Aid lines aren’t funny.
But to stay on topic, I am seeing this movie AS SOON AS I GET OFF WORK. I have been waiting way too long for this day!
Aug. 17, 2007, 10:02 a.m. CST
by Spandau Belly
Hot damn, I knew Vern was older but that description of setting up a projector was totally pre-VHS.
Does anybody know which actor portrayed Vern in ‘The Notorious Betty Page’? I’m guessing it was that bloke in the restaurant!
Aug. 17, 2007, 10:11 a.m. CST
Vern, know what else was super bad? Die Hard 4.
Yep, sure was.
Eat a dick.
I did find your thoughts about porn in this review amusing.
Aug. 17, 2007, 11:52 a.m. CST
when did BGDAWES become my archnemesis?
I didn’t notice when it happened but now he seriously has it in for me. He seems to have some sort of grievance having to do with a part 4 of some kind. Might be my imagination.
Aug. 17, 2007, 11:53 a.m. CST
This review is way too short…
And I don’t like being warned of spoilers ;P
Aug. 17, 2007, 1:06 p.m. CST
This movie’s story reminds of some movie….
a movie which i liked and which had two sequels and they stank as did the spin off. Two high school kids who try to change their luck with the ladies on their last day of high school, oh and remember the bright future of that particular cast. what movie am i talking about. Here is a clue Elvis was the citizen of this country and Krusty the clown throws these at sideshow Mal.
Answer: American Pie! or american pies. Chris and paul weitz have made very interesting films since American pie but where are the cast now….Now there is a question.
Aug. 17, 2007, 1:46 p.m. CST
I’m just joking Vern-O!
You seriously are one of the best writers on this site, your sense of humor really cracks me up!
I was just so disappointed in Die Hard 4 and I’m transferring that anger into a personal attack on you. For that, I apologize; it’s not you, it’s me.
Now go fuck yourself.
Aug. 17, 2007, 2:59 p.m. CST
ive been saying this in every SB TB, but this movie
rocks like nothing else. seriously, just go see it.
Aug. 17, 2007, 3:46 p.m. CST
jesus christ, as if I didn’t already have enough reason to see this movie…holy hell!
Aug. 17, 2007, 11:22 p.m. CST
Vern + BGDAWES 4 EVR…
Vern-o, thought I should post another talk back in hopes of mending our relationship after the falling out we’ve recently had.
Tonight, as I was having beers with my bro’s here in Chicago during our fantasy football draft (I selected Shaun Alexander instead of Larry Johnson; still not sure if that was the best choice) I realized the importance of friendship.
So again, I apologize Vern-O. I hope that my actions do not negatively impact our relationship.
In closing, boobs are great, Die Hard 4 sucked cock and balls, Transformers sucked but was better than that piece of shit fake Die Hard 4 made for TV movie, and…uh…I’m awesome.
( . Y . )
Aug. 19, 2007, 8:31 p.m. CST
by fight this generation
It’s not mine, but all you cats talking about funk/soul should head on over to that way about, oh, once a week or so and dl whatever Oliver has posted. Veritable cornucopia of rare funk/soul/r&b/latin-funk/hip-hop and some damn fine writing about the tracks to boot…
Jan. 15, 2008, 11:30 a.m. CST
by just pillow talk
Fucking hysterical movie. Ghostbuster box full of dick treasure (or something like that).
Aug. 12, 2008, 1 a.m. CST
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< Test I say test >
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Aug. 12, 2008, 1:01 a.m. CST
Aug. 12, 2008, 1:02 a.m. CST
It fuckin WORKED.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.