Solving the Mystery of J.J. Abrams

  • Published on Mar 10, 2018
  • Let's talk about JJ Abrams.
    (Felicity is streaming on Hulu)
    Help us make these videos:
    Matt Torpey
    Special thanks to Jake Torpey, Danny Spencer, & Mike Curran
    Music by Epidemic Sound
    Patrick Willems
    P.O. Box 380333
    Brooklyn, NY 11238
  • EntertainmentEntertainment

Comments • 859

  • SoCal Drifter
    SoCal Drifter 19 hours ago

    Felicity is well known in many circles as Super White no never seen it.

  • Erik Kastner
    Erik Kastner 9 days ago

    How could you not mention the haircut??? I saw the sly reference you put in, but that's not enough! What did the haircut teach JJ about fan-service, continuity, western ideals of feminine beauty, not to mention the very clear effect it had on Rae's hair style. You're better than this!
    Seriously though, this was an awesome reminder of a show I got really into when it aired.

  • BillyPilgrim
    BillyPilgrim 13 days ago

    Mystery Box = Being too lazy of a storyteller to finish your own story

  • Bookiebaker
    Bookiebaker 22 days ago +1

    okay buuutttt Fringe???

    • Brandon Radcliffe
      Brandon Radcliffe 21 day ago

      I was about to say, how're we going to discuss J.J without bringing up fringe?!?!?!

  • TheKiro5505
    TheKiro5505 23 days ago

    It all makes sense... a form of time travel has been established in the star wars canon... It's why darth sidious can be heard laughing in the trailer... it all comes back to star wars: rebels... space whales!

  • mantra3000
    mantra3000 29 days ago

    It's actually weird how you think human culture started with Star Wars.

  • Yora
    Yora Month ago +1

    Turns out, the Mystery Box is empty.

  • Simone Brunini
    Simone Brunini Month ago

    Prepare for Episode X to be announced this weekend...

  • John Veitch
    John Veitch Month ago

    Is that a young Greg Grunberg at 4:22, in the shot of JJ Abrams' first directing credit?

  • harrysecombegroupie

    I wish someone would do this for Steven Moffat. There's plenty of videos about why his writing always ends up sucking, but not why he keeps writing that way. There's a mystery that needs solving.

  • Behr Willsonn
    Behr Willsonn Month ago

    And I thought I was a dork. not compared to whoever this fu**in' guy is.

  • Neani Neto
    Neani Neto Month ago


  • Elbert Lee
    Elbert Lee Month ago

    Abrams recycled an expired story that no longer captures the imagination of new audiences. It was completely based on fan nostalgia as its own merit. Just because you erase the over CGI anime look of Lucas’s Prequels, add snappier dialogue and use real mode X Wing fighters with scuff marks, does not a franchise builder make.
    If anything Lucasfilm was trying to tell fans that they can do original Lucas better than George Lucas. George was insulted by TFA and the proof of its lack of ingenuity is China. The film was made for fans to stoke fan nostalgia.
    Abrams is a hack but inventive at times. But he was so spooked by fans that he forgot to ideate around REAL Galaxy far far away. Instead- LAZINESS in crafting characters. We can relate to an orphan (Luke), who wonders where he came from. But Kylo Ren worships a Dead war criminal grandpa whole he never met simply because Abrams thinks the AUDIENCE can relate to thinking “Vader is cool”.
    Vader IS cool as villain pop icon. But he is no pop icon in the SW. We have a character who makes no sense. It want even explained why a kid with best role models can idolize a dead war criminal.
    Killing Han without context about their relationship? I am sorry, but Harrison Ford killed Han. Nothing about TFA transported me to a place that feels at all real.

  • edvaira6891
    edvaira6891 2 months ago


  • Thomas Kamakani
    Thomas Kamakani 2 months ago

    Thank you! Since JJ was announced for Ep. 8 I've been saying this exact same thing (minus taking the time to watch 84 hours of Felicity...). To be clear, I am a JJ fan and I LOVED Ep. 7, BUT I've been concerned about his ability to finish this story. I have faith, but there's still concern.

  • ChristianCountryBoy i Love Jesus Christ!

    I feel sorry for you. You could probably make your own better movies than the ones your studying in the amount of time your research takes. Are you sure this is what you want to do with your life? God bless :-)

  • Ross Coe
    Ross Coe 2 months ago

    JJ dicknose sucks

  • Robert Lewis
    Robert Lewis 2 months ago


  • Vero7BH
    Vero7BH 2 months ago

    J..J. Abhrams.... let Kamala know that San Francisco will not be her cash cow any longer. I've know you since 91, sad that you have to host to political non sense. If you did this for favors... I will personally answer and give you that much needed favor. All that is positive I will grant you.

  • Jesse Enniss
    Jesse Enniss 2 months ago

    You mentioned earlier that J.J Abrams followed the Hero's journey because he was a huge fan of Star Wars. Well if the end of Felicity was her "returning" to basically where she was in the beginning but better (as in she chose for herself), then isn't that the end of the Hero's journey cycle; the return?

    Doesn't that mean that J.J. Abrams is just following the hero's journey back to the start? Which means that's what he's going to do in Star Wars? I'm framing this as a question because you know a lot more about this than I do and it seems very obvious to me so maybe I'm missing something.

    This comment is also super old so there's that... Just found your page yesterday and have been binging ever since

  • Tim Kitchen
    Tim Kitchen 2 months ago

    Hey Patrick, just gotta say your channel really is spot on.
    Biggest thing to me is you go and do the first hand research and plainly state where you're coming from, providing that extra oomph for genuine and precise insight. This gives a super firm foundation for your talents of pattern recognition and comedy through honesty to shine through as well.

    Love your channel man. Feel like I'm learning high quality & clear principles on filmmaking, and also like, the culture that bonds our whole society together, man.

  • Don Ventura
    Don Ventura 2 months ago

    You think he's going to conclude the series? No it's more sequel bait.

  • Jason Cromwell
    Jason Cromwell 2 months ago

    The biggest mystery in Episode IX is what to with Kylo Ren? Poe is either dead meat or the greatest Force Pilot since Luke. Finn is the lovable sidekick. Rey ends up the hero either way. Do you kill Kylo like the Emperor or does he turn out to be good despite killing his father? I think Carrie Fisher's death really damaged this franchise, because they would have really needed her for Kylo's redemption back into Ben Solo

  • Milo Jones
    Milo Jones 2 months ago

    At least when Shamylan twists pay off, they pay off.

  • Ian Bush
    Ian Bush 2 months ago

    I’m surprised you missed the theme you kept hitting on and interpreted it as simply “time travel”... his core message is the cyclical nature of things, like how when you’re a kid you start off life one way and try to deviate from that in your journey of self discovery and in the end kind of find out that maybe mom and dad were right and it took you growing up to realize that you want to go back but with the knowledge you have now. The Star Wars franchise itself is the epitome of that and George Lucas has said so himself.
    So the question is what can the characters in Star Wars go back to with the knowledge they’ve gained along their journey? What collateral damage will have to happen for them to get there?

  • george griffin
    george griffin 2 months ago

    I think we should challenge you to watch more shows in a week

  • collegerebel
    collegerebel 2 months ago

    If he introduces time travel in Star Wars, or anyone really for that matter, I'm honestly done. Somehow time travel doesn't work for Star Wars IMO.

  • colton carroll
    colton carroll 2 months ago

    Maybe he won't end it. I could see Disney wanting to keep the story going even longer because money.

  • Madcircle
    Madcircle 2 months ago

    Thank you for wasting your week so random strangers across the Earth could waste fourteen minutes

  • WudiMIA
    WudiMIA 2 months ago

    There's always Michael Bay

  • Nick Howard
    Nick Howard 2 months ago

    after hearing you describe it, I've never wanted to not watch a show more than Felicity

  • whoiamforever
    whoiamforever 2 months ago

    I loved felicity, but yeah, it's basically young people being friends and having youth problems! rinse. repeat. #teambenalways

  • moondog548
    moondog548 2 months ago

    Sir, I have laughed out loud.

  • Ian Purcell
    Ian Purcell 2 months ago

    You should have watched fringe instead

  • PD Zombie
    PD Zombie 2 months ago

    It's very easy to put a mistery box in every movie when you don't know what's in it...

  • Shane Pye
    Shane Pye 2 months ago

    What about Fringe?

  • NecroW Productions
    NecroW Productions 2 months ago

    A J.J. Abrams film is a non-original, non-intellectual consisting of lens flares and cheesy acting!

  • allgonne
    allgonne 2 months ago

    Abrams is a hack. An influential hack, but a hack nonetheless. Without the end of a mystery, you're left with myst; a nebulous cloud were you think you see something, but really, it's just a trick of the light.

  • Felipe OA
    Felipe OA 2 months ago

    I understood that reference...The talking into the recorder one.

  • SuperFlik
    SuperFlik 3 months ago

    11:51 Wait, are you serious?
    > Looks up synopsis of the last few episodes of Felicity
    Holy crap, you're serious

  • Cody Eason
    Cody Eason 3 months ago

    Love the fact you filmed it in 3-4 o I got it I saw it right away I got the reference.

  • En Emerson
    En Emerson 3 months ago

    To be fair, the point about Star Trek shouldn't really apply, as that's what the whole point of what the story is about. It's about enjoying the adventure the crew is on right now and being even more excited for what's to come. This is why it doesn't feel stale when we leave off with Kirk sitting in the captain's chair looking out on into the great beyond as that's pretty much exactly what happens in the television show and books, especially in the original series which these characters are based off of.

  • Doctor Roses
    Doctor Roses 3 months ago

    I'm not a fan of his mystery box storytelling but if he can fix the sequel trilogy, I think he should stay on directing Star Wars so that we don't get hacks coming in and changing the story.

  • Optimistic Whovian
    Optimistic Whovian 3 months ago

    Interesting theory because it's since been revealed J.J. is indeed using time travel in episode 9, most think this is to repair the story damage done by Johnson but you could be onto something, maybe this is his tool for resolution, as for his mystery box that's just a string he dangles infront of people without any actual carrot on the end of it, he's a bit of a con artist really and I think he's overrated. Explains why Kerri Russel suddenly appears in Mission Impossible though.

  • William Thomson
    William Thomson 3 months ago

    Audio de-synch

  • Relative Strength Advantage

    So that explains Rey's parents

  • Pantheragem
    Pantheragem 3 months ago +1

    JJ cannot finish anything he starts. So naturally Disney hires him to put a capper on the greatest cinematic saga ever created.

  • Brian R. Fuller
    Brian R. Fuller 3 months ago

    The mystery is that he’s a bad director.

  • S Js
    S Js 4 months ago

    He probably took episode 9 based on the fact he wants to finish it

  • S Js
    S Js 4 months ago

    Wait are u saying MI3 didn’t tell a complete story? Cuz it’s arguably the best one - Star Trek told a full story.... you are hoping he’s an ideologue and he’s not - why would there be a core idea at the heart of all his individual works ? What’s spielbergs “core message”?

  • S Js
    S Js 4 months ago +2

    Wait have u read the heroes journey? Returning home is like the last step literally...

  • S Js
    S Js 4 months ago +1

    Dude has made a Star out of countless actors

  • S Js
    S Js 4 months ago +1

    Bottom line is he’s a really good filmmaker - and a masterful casting director and marketer and producer - he has the talent to be an all timer

  • Trueskeptic
    Trueskeptic 4 months ago

    You act like Vsauce.

  • Alex Wilson
    Alex Wilson 4 months ago

    Hes a director and producer...... solved

  • A.D.S.F
    A.D.S.F 4 months ago +1

    forget Bay and snyder .. J J Abrams is the biggest hack fraud in the history of hollywood

  • Homo Sapiens Logicus
    Homo Sapiens Logicus 4 months ago +1

    Imagine a mystery box with no mystery.... plenty of room to store your valuables, but no way to know what your taking out... though it can never be anything that you didn't first put in.
    You put in Star Trek, you get out random bits of Star Trek strung together haphazardly.
    You put in Star Wars, same.
    He is great at setting up the box, and explains why he is never there when it comes time to open it. You can't have a mystery so deep that its creator doesn't know what it is, and yet somehow, he thinks doing so is genius.

  • Ellen Case
    Ellen Case 4 months ago

    I love Abrams but I am not happy that he is ending the Skywalker Saga

  • Felix Kristensson
    Felix Kristensson 4 months ago

    Sofia Coppola....

  • Jake Jones
    Jake Jones 5 months ago

    This video is amazing. I think that Rey going back to Jaku and somehow doing good there would be a fascinating arc for her. Maybe she helps the young people on jaku get out of jaku or something or starts some kind of orphan home.

  • Jack Elmore
    Jack Elmore 5 months ago

    I have not seen felicity and i was guessing that you were parodying it. I am not sure if i just know your style pretty well or if you are great at conveyance. Im pretty average so lets go with the latter.

  • Nathan Hicks
    Nathan Hicks 5 months ago

    I'd actually say that the answer lies in Super 8, which I think is his best film. His movies do focus on duality, but the bits he does write are about the confrontation between warring halves. In that the monster is finally calmed by the child who is suffering himself.
    I would argue that the death of Snoke will make it possible for Ben to realize that he can be loved.

  • Hamza Fundikira
    Hamza Fundikira 5 months ago

    lol you're so extra, I love it

  • John Nappa
    John Nappa 5 months ago

    I really like JJ but yeah, repeating the motivation for Kirk in Into Darkness always bothered me. It was like a copy and paste, but replace his dad with Pike. Meanwhile, Pike's character had a lot to add and should've stuck around for way longer.

  • TacticusPrime
    TacticusPrime 5 months ago

    I've just now discovered that Keri Russell is going to be in Episode 9.

  • Rawbeard
    Rawbeard 5 months ago

    rumors say Kylo will get a mask again in Star Wars 9. so he will literally end up where he started. JJ... never change.

  • Baalcebub
    Baalcebub 6 months ago

    Whoa whoa whoa, no mention of Fringe? The uber filial conflict story with one of the biggest mystery boxes? And also probably the best example of how a great story can go terribly wrong when you let others answer the mystery. Although if I remember correctly, it was some of the writers who set up the mysteries at the beginning of Lost (without any intention of solving them themselves), who came to close the story of Fringe and did such a shitty job. To be clear, Fringe is amazing, it's last season is a disappointment.

  • Eric Kenney
    Eric Kenney 6 months ago

    Felicity is my favorite guilty pleasure series ... I'm in my 40s and still quietly/silently go back to it .. please don't tell anyone

  • pavo6503
    pavo6503 6 months ago

    So why did they give the final chapter of one of the longest running serials in American film history to a guy who doesn't know how to end a story? Seriously, he can't finish a TV series and they want to give him the last chapter? I bet the ending of this ending will genuinely suck, and I kinda liked TLJ.

  • Kutlu Mızrak
    Kutlu Mızrak 6 months ago

    what the...
    Matt Reeves was the exec producer with JJ on Felicity?!

  • Mr Temporal
    Mr Temporal 6 months ago

    Obviously, JJ Abrahms and his movie style ARE the mystery box. And everything he works on and all his mystery boxes and stories in general are clues to the ultimate mystery box-
    him. Obviously, this ultimate mystery box will never really, truly be satisfyingly answered/solved.

  • triston murray
    triston murray 6 months ago

    jar jar abrams*

  • Stefan Travis
    Stefan Travis 6 months ago's like Dorothy's coming-of-age story in "The Wizard of Oz", where she grows up to realise she doesn't want to grow up at all?
    That's a shitty message.

  • Zachary Rudolph
    Zachary Rudolph 6 months ago

    "one of the most anticipated films in cinema" I'm pretty sure that's infinity war part 2 instead of... ANYTHING star wars at this point. I'm not gonna blindly say the franchise sucks but Disney blew their load a bit too early. I'm sure episode 9 will be interesting, but I think the hype's been deflated a lot thanks to the lukewarm-at-best episode 8 and Solo, the first star wars film to underperform.

  • Cammy
    Cammy 6 months ago

    Check out Wayward Jedi's latest videos, he speculates that Episode 9 will basically involve Rey going back and changing the past so that episodes 7 and 9 don't happen. And he came to his conclusions without studying Felicity. JJ really just can't flesh out an idea at all.

  • Kristin Turnak
    Kristin Turnak 7 months ago

    Nice use of the mystery box Imagery.

  • Maple Street Pictures
    Maple Street Pictures 7 months ago

    I don’t think a filmmaker needs to have a specific over arching thing they are trying to say. For each film they should have something to say. But there does not need to be a core idea at the center of an enter body of work.

  • Fernando Iglesias
    Fernando Iglesias 7 months ago

    At one point you said no one watching this video saw Felicity. Oh, I saw Felicity. All of it, when it first aired. I still love her. I want to f** Elizabeth, but I still love Felicity.

  • Noah Redding
    Noah Redding 7 months ago

    Felicity is actually a really good show. One of my favourites from the 90s.

  • Uncompetative
    Uncompetative 7 months ago

    _Episode IX_ opens with Rey sat in front of the legs of the downed AT-ST she uses as her home wearing the Rebel helmet she had fallen asleep in and dreamt the bulk of _Episodes VII_ _VIII._ Poe falls into quicksand, never to be seen again, and Finn wanders the desert until he collapses with dehydration. Unkar Plutt gives Teedo sixty food portions for BB-8 and then sells the droid to the First Order Stormtroopers. They bring the course to Luke Skywalker to Kylo Ren who takes a Star destroyer to Ahch-To and destroys the island from orbit, Porgs and all. Leia senses her brother’s death.
    We never get an explanation of who Snoke but as he is never seen it doesn’t matter.

  • jolo logon
    jolo logon 7 months ago

    I think you solved it Patrck! There are reports today, Oct12th, that Star Wars IX hints at return to original trilogy planets.
    Excerpt: "According to Star Wars News Net, the final chapter in the Skywalker Saga will be filming in Ireland, Italy, and California. Shooting in Ireland likely hints at an appearance from Ahch-To, while Star Wars: The Phantom Menace shot in Italy as a stand-in for Naboo. Multiple sequences in the original trilogy were filmed in California, ranging from Death Valley standing in for Tatooine and the Redwoods of Northern California conveying the Forest Moon of Endor."

  • Alex R
    Alex R 7 months ago

    I saw the very first episode of Felicity way back then and didn't want another episode after that. All I heard was that it had 'hair' problem in season 2, so that must of been something. Maybe I'll get the DVD set and watch the rest of the first season sometime. :)

  • Dylan Perez
    Dylan Perez 7 months ago +1

    I have to agree with the idea that there is no answer to J.J. Abrams. I think he’s a talented filmmaker, and I enjoy some of his work - but he is no auteur. He’s simply not in the stratosphere of Nolan, Fincher, or Villeneuve.

  • Taylor Olson
    Taylor Olson 7 months ago

    I feel like Fringe would really help with the family conversation

  • MyssBlewm
    MyssBlewm 8 months ago

    Felicity was the best show EEEEEVVVVEEERR when I was 13.

  • Michael M.
    Michael M. 8 months ago

    "We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time, and unplug then replug a magic tubstopper, the way we turn our internet off and then back on when it's acting weird"-J.J. Elliot

  • Adam McHardie
    Adam McHardie 8 months ago

    Heard Russell is in episode 9 odd

  • Anthony Cashaw
    Anthony Cashaw 8 months ago


  • Michael San
    Michael San 8 months ago

    Time travel. He also produced Alcatraz and fringe which also had time travel. Lost had time travel.

  • WingIT Productions
    WingIT Productions 8 months ago

    Jar Jar is a hack. Your video was far more interesting than anything that nepotist fella has ever done. Style over substance is his style. The “mystery box” would be better described as “just because so there”.

  • Charlie Dawson
    Charlie Dawson 8 months ago

    He's talented, but struggles to find a voice of his own.

  • emmy lite
    emmy lite 8 months ago

    I'm so sick of hearing about this Mystery box nonsense ! TFA set up absolutely nothing in terms of plot/storyline ! Oh my goodness Yoda spoke in a vision ! Okay so ! Kylo Ren appeared ! So what ! Obi-Wan presumably said These are your first steps to Rey ! Again big deal ! Oh i guess Obi must be Rey's daddy now right ?! OH PLEASE ! These mystery boxes are just a cheap excuse for a hack & fraud to have no plot/storyline nor provide answers to anything !

  • Lucas Cardoso Toca Clássicos

    12:09 rockstar logo on the mirror

  • Luke Wilson
    Luke Wilson 8 months ago

    I think there’s some credence to choosing to start a project and then hand it off to someone else. Usually it’s only done with movie franchises, but if you, as a creator, like creating a concept and handing it off to someone who likes the challenge of continuing it, I think that’s a valid form of storytelling and doesn’t make you a hack. There have been novels built around photographs (like David Levithan’s “Every You, Every Me”) and serials built around fan suggestions (like Stephen King’s “Green Mile”), so I don’t see how what Abrams does as any different. Just because he prefers to hand projects off to other people doesn’t mean he CAN’T finish a story to completion.

  • Luke Wilson
    Luke Wilson 8 months ago

    What would be interesting to consider is the novel J.J. Abrams co-wrote with Doug Dorst. It’s called “S.” (like a backward question mark) and literally comes in a box sleeve that’s grey with nothing but a giant “S.” on both sides. The story follows 3 simultaneous mysteries told slightly out-of-chronology in two different centuries (à la time travel??) with two main characters writing to each other in the margins of a novel. It’s weird, dense, and kinda hard to follow- BUT it has an actual ending that resolves with the characters growing as people and solving the mysteries along the way. It’s almost an antithesis to his mystery box: the question mark is inverted, you have to open it by breaking an actual seal, and the mysteries inside are actually answered. I liked it a lot and it shows that Abrams can not only successfully end a story, but he can do it well.
    He did have a co-writer, but I’m pretty sure his main contribution was adapting Abrams’ story into prose form, since Abrams is only really versed in script writing.

  • Sean Collett
    Sean Collett 8 months ago +1

    Let me put you wise to Abrams. As a visual storyteller he gets an A, as a narrative storyteller he is a miserable failure. Not everyone with a bit of talent can be everything necessary to be great at a particular field.

  • kobathedread
    kobathedread 8 months ago

    Guy's got daddy issues.

  • Perkūnas
    Perkūnas 8 months ago

    hey vsauce, Patrick here

  • Linda Coan
    Linda Coan 8 months ago

    The man who's never finished anything (really), is in charge of finishing the largest movie series in the history of ever. But, no pressure J.J.!!! Honestly come on, give us something good, please please please.

  • altrocks
    altrocks 8 months ago +1

    Hmmm... a well off white guy with nothing to say that keeps being handed gigantic platforms to say whatever he wants... it's almost too good of a setup to be coincidental.