Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Year's Music

When people think of Holiday themed music, Christmas obviously dominates, with hundreds of songs for the season. Halloween follows in the distance with a good chunk of music. Yet, there are numerous songs you can listen to as you ring in the New Year as well! So while you

"What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" by Various Artists. This gem dates back to 1947, when it was independently written by Frank Loesser. It has since been covered by numerous artists, and my vote for the best versions go to The Carpenters and Ella Fitzgerald. Nobody did Christmas songs quite like The Carpenters, and "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve" was added to their album "An Old-Fashioned Christmas". Fitzgerald also delivers a perfect rendition of the classic, as expected from a legend.

"New Year's Day" by U2. Released in 1983 on their album War, "New Year's Day" has stood the test of time as one of U2's most well known singles. It wasn't meant for that though, being a more politically charged song. The lyrics were inspired by the Solidarity Movement in Poland. So while New Year's isn't the main subject of the song, it is a piece of it.

"Auld Lang Syne (The New Year's Anthem)" - Mariah Carey. "Auld Lang Syne" is the most well known New Year's song, played every year on New Year's Eve. So for this list I just decided to include the Mariah Carey version from her 2010 Merry Christmas II You album, being one of the more recent versions, and from the woman who gave us a modern Christmas classic in "All I Want For Christmas Is You".

"Happy New Year" by ABBA. Released in 1980, this New Year's song from ABBA was a big hit in Europe, though a lot of its success came during reissues after the initial recording of the song. The English version wasn't released as a single until 1999. It did get a cheesy music video though even without a single release in 1980, which is worth watching:
I mean, I know the video was probably filmed on some sound stage, but did the party need to be surrounded by total blackness? Not even a disco ball? And what was with the random horses in the background? Its cheesy, but you just can't help to love it.

"1999" by Prince.  Leading up to December 31st 1998, this song was played by pretty much every radio station and on every TV broadcast, as well as a year later in the lead up to Y2K and the new millennium. It was originally released in 1982. It made the Top 40 in 1998 as well, becoming the last single by Prince to chart that high. You can still party like its 1999, so fire this track up.

"Sleigh Ride" by TLC. Released on the Home Alone 2 soundtrack, Sleigh Ride is mainly a Christmas song that also gives some love to New Year's, so why not celebrate both?

"Maybe Baby (New Year's Day)" by Sugarland. Much like "Sleigh Ride" this song shows some love to both Christmas and New Year's. The country/rock/pop duo released it on their Christmas album "Gold & Green" in 2009. It features Kristian Bush on lead vocals rather than Jennifer Nettles, who gives background vocals this time around.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Best Christmas Episodes of 'The Simpsons'

'The Simpsons' have always been known for their Halloween "Treehouse of Horror" episodes they do every year. However, there are plenty of great Christmas themed episodes as well, including the very first episode of the series.

1. "Miracle on Evergreen Terrace" (1997) - Bart wakes up early to play with presents before everyone gets up, where he ends up burning down the tree and destroying everything. He buries the remnants outside in the snow and tells everyone a burglar stole it all. The entire town finds out and gives them money, and of course they soon find out it was all a lie. While its not the most memorable Christmas episode, it delivered the most laughs for me.

2. "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" (1989) - This is the episode that started it all. Bart gets a tattoo and to have it remove they have to spend all their Christmas money. Homer tries being a mall Santa but that doesn't work, so he goes to the race track and blows the rest of it on Santa's Little Helper, who ends up becoming their dog and completing the family we still love to this day.

3. "She of Little Faith" (2001) - Bart & Homer blow up the church with a rocket, and to pay for the repairs the Church sells out to Mr. Burns, who then sells ad space and makes the Church into a corporate entity. This causes Lisa to leave it and become a Buddhist, which continues on the series to this day. At first she refuses to celebrate Christmas, but eventually agrees to pay lip service and celebrate, which is all Marge wants.

4. "Marge Be Not Proud" (1995) - One of the best Bart & Marge episodes that really delivers a great storyline. After Bart shoplifts, he is left out of Christmas activities. Eventually he is back in her good graces when he gives her a picture as a Christmas present. Bart even pretends to enjoy a lame video game that Marge thought was the hot new game, giving us an episode where Bart shows a softer side. And we also get to see him being forced to make a snowman out of the dirty snow under the car.

5. "Holidays of Future Passed" (2011) - This is one of the better episodes in the series that deals with the future, featuring numerous gags that stand out to make it one of the more enjoyable Christmas episodes as well. Besides having numerous laugh out loud moments, it has a heartwarming story without being too sappy either.

6. "Tis the Fifteenth Season" (2003) - Mr. Burns gives Homer a Joe DiMaggio rookie card, not knowing anything about it. Homer then takes it to Comic Book Guy who empties his cash register for it, leading the Simpsons to shop at the expensive mall, Springfield Heights Promenade, where Homer blows all the cash on a talking Astrolabe.

7. "Grift of the Magi" (1999) - A toy company takes over Springfield Elementary to pay for ramps to be installed after Bart breaks his coccyx and is in a wheelchair. They then use the school just to create a toy called Funzo who ends up killing other toys and terrorizing people. Gary Coleman also makes an appearance as a security guard in a well done cameo.

The rest of the Christmas episodes are fine as well, though these are the best of the bunch.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Sarah Palin "Wrote" a Christmas Book

It's been ignored for far too long by the lame-stream media, as we've all been too preoccupied with the Iraq War and terrorism. Another war waged right here in America from sea to shining sea. It's the War on Christmas, and thankfully Sarah Palin-Kardashian wrote a book about it.

I was right in the middle of this war, member of the Sugar Plum Battalion, where I lost 3 of my toes before returning home. I also now have a glass eye from when my squadron was assaulted during the infamous Candy Cane Offensive. I fought alongside some brave men and women, and there are also stories of heroism, which I hope Ms. Palin will touch upon.

One morning we woke up to see a swarm of turtle doves above us, what must have been hundreds. This was odd, but nobody thought much of it. Then it happened. Out from the clouds came an explosion of gingerbread, crashing down towards the Earth (which was littered with gingerbread and gum drops as far as the eye could see.) The atheists had struck at the very heart of us. It could have been disaster if not for the brave souls who quickly moved us into a forest of Douglas Firs, which softened much of the blow to leave us with some scrapes but nothing more. The nazi's who dare say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" may have knocked us down a few times, but we just got back up time and again.

Speaking of Sarah Palin, of course she would give her two cents on the whole Phil Robertson/Duck Dynasty-A&E thing. Why can't people mind their own business? This whole thing about "Stomping all over our freedom of speech!" is entirely misguided, and for people like Palin just an attention seeking moment to keep her name in the press. The first Amendment protects us from being persecuted by the US doesn't protect anyone from being criticized by people who disagree. It also doesn't protect reality TV stars, who are locked under contracts that basically makes them owned by the network. A&E is not the government, they are allowed to do what they want as well. And I may completely disagree with Robertson, but I don't think he should be fired. The over-reactions to these situations from both sides can be quite annoying.

I'm just wondering where all this uproar was when Martin Bashir was fired by CNN for his lewd & controversial comments about Sarah Palin? And then Bristol Palin comes out and says the gay community and its supporters are hypocritical. Wow, really? What's hypocritical is the convenience the Palins have of acting like they are this high and mighty holy family that lives by the Bible and is better than everyone because of it. Apparently the part about having pre-marital sex and getting knocked up as an unwed teenager, then forced to get engaged and put on a fake smile with Levi Johnston to try and save face during her mothers failed Vice Presidential run is okay? Talk about hypocrisy... And hey, did you know that there are 29 states where it is technically legal for a person to be fired for being gay? If the Palins are all about "Freedom for all", I find it curious they aren't working to change those laws. You know, since they are so concerned with freedom. Or maybe that's only when it suits their interests and beliefs? Mhm, though so.

Sarah Palin has another reality show on the horizon for 2014 as the Palins continue their battle with the Kardashians for most overexposed reality tv personalities.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Michael Thomas Steps Up For Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins
Michael Thomas, an NFL player who was part of the 49ers Practice Squad a week ago, was claimed this past week by the Miami Dolphins when one of their cornerbacks went onto Injured Reserve. Many Dolphins players didn't even know his name yesterday, and neither did most fans. Yet, with the Dolphins leading the Patriots 24-20 and the Patriots at the goal line in the final seconds of the back and forth game, Thomas intercepted future Hall of Fame QB Tom Brady in the endzone to seal the big victory for the Dolphins. Is there a better feel good story? NBC really dropped the ball by not making this late season clash a Sunday Night Football game before the season (CBS protected it from being flexed). Though it may have worked out for the Dolphins, as the Patriots defense seemed to wilt in the heat.

To add to it, Thomas was only in the game because the two starting Cornerbacks for the Dolphins had to leave the game after being banged up. He is primarily a Safety, but Miami needed him at Cornerback. He knew Brady would throw at him, and he stepped up to deliver a memorable victory for Miami and put them in the drivers seat for the playoffs. After that whole Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito drama, the Dolphins are playing better, going 5-2 since then and easily the hottest team in the AFC. How long can they keep it going?

A frustrated Tom Brady cursed and walked off the podium during a press conference. Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill is currently outshining the rest of the 2012 draft class, Andrew Luck, RGIII and Russell Wilson, all of whom get talked about more than Tannehill. The Dolphins went from a team being attacked and debated about across the country to a storybook team playing exciting football. Let's hope this keeps up.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Amy Poehler & Billy Eichner Go Caroling

The streets of New York City are always an interesting place, so Amy Poehler and Billy Eichner decided to go Christmas Caroling and trying to get people to join in with them for a dollar. Of course, hilarity ensues. It's quite amazing how many times they were snubbed! I would carol with them in a heartbeat. Be sure to watch Billy on the Street's hysterical videos with SNL alum Rachel Dratch as well.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Greg Hardy...Hogwarts

Key and Peele aren't the only ones who can have some fun with the NFL introductions.

On Sunday night during the Carolina Panthers-New Orleans Saints Sunday Night Football game on NBC, Panthers defensive lineman Greg Hardy, while donning a pair of shades, did the greatest thing ever and introduced himself as "Kraken... Hogwarts". This also led a fan to change his college on Wikipedia to Hogwarts as well, though briefly. It's clear that his patronus would be one mighty Kraken capable of sending dementors away for good. Watch the Harry Potter shoutout below.

Friday, December 6, 2013

2014 FIFA World Cup Groups Set

The 2014 FIFA World Cup draw just took place...and its safe to say England & the United States have a tough road after getting drawn together in a manageable group in 2010. Australia also has a brutal road ahead... FIFA was not kind to the English speaking countries this year. Well, FIFA's plastic balls weren't kind. The groups are as follows:

Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon
Group B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia
Group C: Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan
Group D: Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy
Group E: Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras
Group F: Argentina, Bosnia, Iran, Nigeria
Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA
Group H: Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea

As you can see, the United States and England were both drawn into what can be called a Group of Death. USA plays two of the top teams in the world in Germany and Portugal, plus a Ghana team who knocked the United States out of the 2006 & 2010 World Cups. USA will open up play against Ghana on June 16 at 6PM ET. They'll then face Portugal on June 22 and Germany on June 26. They must beat Ghana in the first game to have a hope of moving on from the group. They will then have two rematches from the 2002 World Cup. USA shocked Portugal in the group stage, defeating them 3-2 which helped them move on and sent Portugal home early. They faced Germany in the Quarterfinals after defeating Mexico, losing a tight contest 1-0. USA would have had a goal, but a German handball that kept it out went unnoticed by the refs. We'll see if these 2014 contests will be as memorable. One thing you can say about this group is it will be exciting. USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann is a German legend, adding yet another storyline to Group G. This could be the final World Cup for Landon Donovan.

England also has a tough group, taking on Uruguay in South America (which is never fun for European countries) and Italy. Poor Costa Rica has an uphill climb there. Japan could be dark horses much like the women who became 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup champions. They landed into a manageable group and can definitely take on Greece and Colombia. We'll see how they handle the physical nature of Ivory Coast. Spain and Netherlands, who played each other in the final of the 2010 World Cup, will meet in the same group. France & Argentina lucked out by getting into the easiest groups, and Belgium should be clear favorites to win Group H. The battle between South Korea and Russia should decide 2nd place there.

Draw winners: France, Argentina, Belgium. Losers: English speaking countries Australia, England, USA, who got hosed by the plastic balls much like they did by the voters for 2018 & 2022 in favor of controversial human rights violating countries Russia & Qatar.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Batman vs. Superman and Wonder Woman

The upcoming 2015 film 'Batman vs. Superman' will officially be introducing Wonder Woman/Diana Prince into the DC film franchise. The iconic character will be featured in a movie for the first time (Lynda Carter played her in the Wonder Woman TV show from 1975-1979), and be played by Gal Gadot (Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6). Much like when Ben Affleck was announced as the new Bruce Wayne/Batman, there has been a lukewarm internet response to the casting, though not quite as much as with Affleck.

Gadot comes from a modeling background rather than an athletic/fitness one. However, she can obviously hit the gym and build up her muscle some more, plus she has been in action films before. Also, the Wonder Woman character comes from another planet and wouldn't need huge muscles to be powerful on Earth. I think people should just wait for the film to come out before judging Affleck & Gadot or the idea of the film as a whole. There still haven't been any pictures or plot released, so for now people should just take a wait and see approach. 

The goal is to build to a Justice League movie with numerous other DC superheroes joining the action. You can also expect a solo Wonder Woman movie at some point should 'Batman vs. Superman' be a success...which it probably will be considering you have Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman in a summer action movie together.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Paul Walker Killed In Car Crash

TMZ has reported that 'Fast & The Furious' star Paul Walker has died at the age of 40 in a car crash in Southern California, after the car he was in lost control and crashed into a tree, bursting into flames.

He was in Santa Clarita for a car show that was raising money for the Philippines typhoon disaster. For someone to die coming back from a charity event is one of the worst things to hear. His reps confirmed the news, stating, "It is with a truly heavy heart that we must confirm that Paul Walker passed away today in a tragic car accident while attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide. He was a passenger in a friend's car, in which both lost their lives. We appreciate your patience as we too are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news. Thank you for keeping his family and friends in your prayers during this very difficult time. We will do our best to keep you apprised on where to send condolences." Thoughts go out to his family.

'Fast & Furious 7' is due to be released in July, but filming began in September and likely isn't finished yet, so with this news there may need to be changes to the film. He rose to fame in 1998 & 1999 with roles in 'Pleasantville', 'Varsity Blues', 'She's All That' & 'The Skulls' before taking on his biggest role in 'The Fast and the Furious' in 2001, a series he still stars in which is still going and making lots of money.

Friday, November 29, 2013

True Cost of Black Friday

Black Friday has long been known for offering some good deals, with the name originating in stores turning a profit and moving into the black. It seems to eb starting earlier each year, with some stores now opening on Thanksgiving at 5pm and 6pm. You'll never catch me in a store on Thanksgiving night.

A website called "Black Friday Death Count" tallies up the deaths and injuries that have been reported, with links to news stories as confirmation. It currently goes back to 2006. This year there was a shooting at a Kohl's when two robbers were approached by a cop. The cop went to get in the car and the robber drove off, so the cops partner shot him. How dumb must you be to rob a Kohl's on Black Friday? Aren't the clothes supposed to be affordable on the biggest shopping day? There have also been numerous reported fights at various Walmart locations. There was a stabbing over a parking space as well.

This is just a grim reminder of what crazy people will do for a "deal" on a TV. Even though the stores jack up the prices of the rest of the equipment, like cables, that you need to make the TV work in the first place. There are Christmas deals all throughout December, plus online shopping, so there is no need to go insane for a cheap TV.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

U2 Return With 'Ordinary Love'

U2 have released their first new song since 2009 with "Ordinary Love" as well as an accompanying lyric video from artist Oliver Jeffers. Bono appears briefly in the video. The song is featured in the end credits and soundtrack of the upcoming Nelson Mandela film 'Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom' starring Idris Elba & Naomie Harris. You can almost bet the song will be nominated for a Golden Globe and/or Academy Award.

A special version of the song will be released on Vinyl for Record Store Day 2013. The B-Side will be an alternate Nelson Mandela-themed version of their song "Breathe", which was released on 2009's No Line On The Horizon.

"Ordinary Love" sounds like a cross between "Beautiful Day" and "One Tree Hill". Their next studio album is due out in 2014, and this song won't be on the album (at least not in this current form) as it was made specifically for the soundtrack to 'Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom'. Watch the video below.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

'Jurassic Park' and Harry Potter Take New York

Ever since 'Jurassic Park' was released in 1993, we've been wondering if it would actually be possible to create one in real life. Well, this may be the closest we get, thanks to Improv Everywhere and their awesome "Movies in Real Life" series. I've always wanted a Jeep that has the Jurassic Park paint job.

Another fantastic episode featured a young wizard dressed as Harry Potter, complete with a stuffed Hedwig in a cage wandering around Penn Station looking for Platform 9 3/4. The reactions are mostly hilarious of course. When he tries to run into the pillar between Platforms 9 & 10 but goes nowhere you come to the sad realization that the movies are much more exciting.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Irish Times: 'Eat Out Catherine Cleary'

Catherine Cleary

The Irish Times managed to go viral today with a header that has provided a nice Monday laugh for everyone, posting a header titled "Eat Out Catherine Cleary". And she has a giant smile on her face to boot. I'm just wondering why they wouldn't instead title it "Eating Out with Catherine Cleary".

Now this is where print media comes in handy. Whenever there is an error, they can't easily go in and correct it. The paper is already out and about. Of course, when it happens online people just take a screenshot, but still. It's the same reason why Live TV can be so much never know what might happen.

Friday, November 15, 2013

'Maleficent' & 'Noah' Trailers Debut

Two trailers were recently released for big 2014 fantasy films this week - 'Maleficent' and 'Noah'.

Disney brings us 'Maleficent', starring Angelina Jolie as the evil title character we all know from 'Sleeping Beauty'. We don't often see a villain get their own film & origin story focused on them, so this should be a refreshing change of pace. Elle Fanning will also star as Aurora/Sleeping Beauty. Jolie's daughter Vivienne Jolie-Pitt will make an appearance as the younger version of Aurora as well. 'Maleficent' hits theaters on May 30, 2014. It marks Jolie's return to live action films, her last being 'The Tourist' in 2010.

'Noah', loosely based on the story of Noah's Ark, is one of the more talked about films of 2014, hitting screens on March 28. The film stars Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, & Logan Lerman. Its the first big budget fantasy film for Emma Watson since the Harry Potter series, between which she starred in numerous drama and comedy films.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Best Thanksgiving Movies

In October we have plenty of well known Halloween themed movies ("The Nightmare Before Christmas", "Hocus Pocus", "Halloween" series, "Sleepy Hollow", "Casper"). And of course there are hundreds of Christmas themed movies. The animated "Free Birds" is out now to help represent Thanksgiving some more, but Thanksgiving tends to get passed over on the big screen. However, there are plenty of good movies that feature the holiday.

Pieces of April (2003) - "Pieces of April" is one of the best Thanksgiving movie of the bunch. Part comedy, part drama, this indie flick stars Katie Holmes, Patricia Clark, Oliver Platt & Alison Pill. April (Holmes) is the older, rebellious daughter of a highly dysfunctional family, and she's never gotten along with her cancer-stricken mother (Clark). She decides to have Thanksgiving in her apartment on the lower east side of Manhattan. Of course, her stove breaks among other obstacles. It's a quick moving film that has a satisfying ending.

Addams Family Values (1993) - The movie is set during the summer, but one of the best moments of the film comes when the summer camp that Wednesday (Christina Ricci) & Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) were sent to. They are forced to act in a play about the first Thanksgiving. Wednesday doesn't take this lightly, and concocts a devious plan to turn the production upside down, as her and her fellow misfits acting as Native Americans burn the pilgrim village to the ground and take back their land. Joan Cusack also delivers an outstanding performance as the villain you just can't help but laugh with, Debbie.

Tower Heist (2011) - Well you can tell from the title that the film includes a heist. The people who work in a high-rise apartment building find out a wealthy tenant was operating a ponzi scheme and their money is gone. They decide to break into his apartment during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade since that is when his hearing is. The comedy stars Ben Stiller, Casey Affleck, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Alan Alda, Gabourey Sidibe, & Tea Leoni.

The Ice Storm (1997) - Set across Thanksgiving weekend of 1973, 'The Ice Storm' is a drama that takes a look at life in the affluent suburbs of New York City, taking a look at the political climate as well as the sexual revolution of the early 1970s. Yes, that means a Key Party. It all happens during a pretty nasty ice storm (which, is what much of the country may experience this year). It features Christina Ricci (Queen of 90s movies), Sigourney Weaver, Joan Allen, Kevin Kline, Tobey Maguire, Elijah Wood, Allison Janney & Katie Holmes. Holmes was also in the Thanksgiving themed bomb 'Jack & Jill' in 2011, making that 3 Thanksgiving set films.

Home For The Holidays (1995) - Jodie Foster directed this film that deals with a woman who was just fired from her job that decides to spend Thanksgiving at her parents. Its a Dramedy in the same vein as "Pieces of April", while also packing quite the cast that features Claire Danes, Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Charles Dunning, Anne Bancroft, Steve Guttenberg & Dylan McDermott.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987) - This comedy classic directed by John Hughes and starring Steve Martin & John Candy tackles Holiday travel as Neal Page (Martin) trying to get home to his family in Chicago for Thanksgiving, which is complicated by a run-in with Gel Griffith (Candy).

And don't forget these favorites: 'Grumpy Old Men', 'Hannah & Her Sisters', 'Alice's Restaurant', 'Funny People', and 'The House of Yes'.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Blockbuster Stores Closing Completely

There are currently 300 physical Blockbuster stores left in the United States. By January of 2014, all stores will be closed, signaling the end of an era.

Blockbuster Video first opened in 1985, and quickly rose to prominence. Wayne Huizenga (former Miami Dolphins & Marlins owner) purchased Blockbuster in 1987 and the chain started to grow, becoming a massively successful company in the 1990s which continued into the early 2000s. With the quick rise of convenient digital items, streaming services like Netlflix and OnDemand rentals through cable companies, Blockbuster quickly went downhill in the late 2000s and filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Dish Network purchased the company which has kept the remaining stores alive for the past few years, though 2014 marks the end of all physical Blockbuster stores.

Anyone who grew up in the 90s and early 2000s probably has fond memories of walking into a Blockbuster store as a kid and seeing what seemed like miles of movies and video games to rent down long aisles. And also remembers rushing to the store to try and slide the Video/DVD/game into the slot in time to not get the high fees added to your card.
A sight you'll never see again after 2014

Monday, October 28, 2013

Marilyn Manson on 'Talking Dead'

You know something is up when one of the highest rated shows, 'The Walking Dead' on AMC, airs a new episode but all people can talk about is the episode of 'Talking Dead' that airs after it. Marilyn Manson was one of the guests...and he kept going off on a perplexing tangent throughout the program. It's just something you have to see to believe.

At one point he was trying to relate women burning their bras in the 1970s to Carol (Melissa McBride) burning the two bodies of the diseased characters at the prison. Okay then! He also said it may have been caused by Activia since she looks like Jamie Lee Curtis. Chris Hardwick was just as surprised as the rest of us and handled it in the best way possible with his sarcasm. His facial expressions were a thing of beauty as well. At one point he had to say, "You can't get zombies pregnant, Marilyn Manson." Jack Osbourne was on the panel as well. He tweeted, "Yep. I know how you all feel."

Manson must have been on a steady diet of NyQuil, Molly, and a side of Go-Go Juice before appearing on camera. At first his mic wasn't working, which as the show went on it made clear that this was probably no coincidence. I came away thinking that Marilyn Manson secretly worked as Mitt Romney's head speech writer last year. Oh, and 'The Walking Dead' kicked ass tonight as usual, particularly when Michonne (Dania Gurira), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Tyreese (Chad Coleman) & Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) take a Dodge Charger into a horde.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Two New 'Anchorman 2' Trailers!

'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues' is getting closer and now we have two brand new trailers with some very funny scenes that weren't seen in the previous ones. There is also some plot introduced, as the first trailer shows Meagan Good for the first time playing Linda Jackson, who is in charge of a new cable news network called GNN. Both trailers show we're in for a hilarious send up of the 24-hour cable news networks, which comes at a perfect time considering how ridiculous our current ones can be. We still haven't seen much of Kristen Wiig as Brick's lover yet, which gives us something awesome to look forward to when the film hits theaters on December 20th.

The second trailer (an international UK version) gives our first brief look at Harrison Ford, and shows a little bit of why Ron & Co (Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd & David Koechner) are off trying to get back in the game at a cable news station: Veronica (Christina Applegate) has seemingly become the only anchor at Channel 4 news. She was also seen on the couch possibly watching GNN with another man, so we can possibly assume there is trouble in paradise for Ron & Veronica. This trailer is the one that really pushes the parody of stupid cable news broadcasts, and you know there will be plenty more where that came from.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Best of TLC

The TLC biopic 'CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story' premiered last night on VH1 detailing the highs and lows of the girl group that rose to massive fame during the 90s. Keke Palmer, Lil' Mama and Drew Sidora all looked perfect for their roles as Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes & Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and all had the unique look of TLC down to a T. The big story from the film will be their issues with former manager Pebbles, who managed to buy them their first (used) cars...with their own money. Aw, how nice. TLC are currently recording a new studio album, and no they won't be replacing Left Eye, who died in a car crash in 2002 before the release of their last album, 3D. So before we hear some new material, let's take a look at their 10 best songs.

1. Waterfalls (CrazySexyCool, 1994) - Like there would be any other candidate for TLC's best song? The song spent seven weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Something people will always remember about the track is the accompanying music video (back when those were still a big deal on TV), which had one scene where the ladies we're transformed into water using the latest computer technology at the time. It also highlighted the dangers of HIV & drug use, continuing the groups message of safe sex that began with their earlier music videos. 

2. Damaged (3D, 2002) - "Damaged" benefits from having live instruments in the background, and the awesome guitar work meshes very well with Chilli & T-Boz's vocals to create possibly the strongest song in their catalogue. 

3. Unpretty (FanMail, 1999) - "Unpretty" continued the TLC trend of songs with a positive message. In this case is was all about self esteem and being proud of who you are regardless of what others think. The track blends Pop, R&B and Rock to create an all around well rounded song.

4. Baby-Baby-Baby (Ooooooohhh... On the TLC Tip, 1992) - TLC's first big ballad, the sultry and seductive sound would become a trademark of the group through all their other releases.

5. Creep (CrazySexyCool, 1994) - Well, this was a different kind of message. About a woman who knows her man is cheating on her, so she gets back at him by doing the exact same thing. The real reason this is one of their best is just the infectious nature of the song. Try listening to it without getting it stuck in your head.

6. Turntable (3D, 2002) - "Turntable" is their tribute to Left Eye, who died a few months before the album was released. Its a song that doubles as both a fitting tribute to Left Eye, as well as a song that everybody can relate to. 

7. Red Light Special (CrazySexyCool, 1994) - "Red Light Special" is perhaps the groups most seductive and sultry song. They amped up the maturity and sexuality on CrazySexyCool, and this soulful song is a perfect representation of that.

8. What About Your Friends (Ooooooohhh... On the TLC Tip, 1992) - TLC's first album is heavy on the new jack swing that was popular at the time, and this is one of the many songs that incorporates that into the pop & hip hop that permeates the track. The video showcases their fun and wild personalities, and you really can't beat the bright neon 90s style.

9. No Scrubs (FanMail, 1999) - Another infectious song with a beat that can't escape your head, the version featured in the music video is a bit better than the album version, as it includes an awesome rap by Left Eye that fits so well with the song. You couldn't escape this song in the spring and summer of 1999.

10. Meant To Be (20, 2013) - 20 is their greatest hits album that was released to coincide with the biopic, and "Meant To Be" represents the lone new track included. It stands fairly well with their hits, and continues the trend of a positive vibe as seen throughout their career. It's an enjoyable pop/R&B song that seems like a grower.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

'Toy Story of TERROR!' Thrills

Pixar is known for their outstanding feature films and award winning shorts, but they finally hit the realm of TV with 'Toy Story of TERROR' on ABC. The Halloween special, Pixar's first, was a nice Television debut for the studio and a great supplement to the 'Toy Story' film series. There were plenty of callbacks to the films throughout the half hour special to please fans, which helped form the basis of the story rather than just be throwaway moments.

The biggest of these callbacks was the addition of Combat Carl (voiced by Carl Weathers), who showed up to help Jessie save the day. If you forgot, a Combat Carl was blown up by that douche Sid in the first 'Toy Story' movie back in 1995. He was missing his hand for most of this special. Poor guy can't catch a break (until the end, of course!) 

Jessie (Joan Cusack) was the star here, facing her fear of being trapped inside an enclosed space in order to save Woody (Tom Hanks). The origin of her fear is referenced by Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles) from when she was abandoned in a box of old things by her original owner Emily in 'Toy Story 2'. No depressing Sarah McLachlan song this time around. 

Other characters featured were Rex (Wallace Shawn), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Trixie (Kristen Schaal), and Mr. Pricklepants (Timothy Dalton). The group get stuck at a motel after Bonnie's mom's car breaks down. They are then picked off one by one courtesy of an iguana, who brings them back to the motel owners office. He apparently is a creep who steals toys and sells them online. It seemed like a variation of the 'Toy Story 2' plot, but it works for this as well. My favorite scene was when the cat shaped Pex dispenser threw up a pez when Jessie stuck her hand in the Iguana's mouth to retrieve Potato Head's missing arm.

Here's to hoping Pixar gives us a Thanksgiving and/or Christmas special! And you can expect 'Toy Story of Terror' to air every year around Halloween just like 'It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown'. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

'The Walking Dead' Ratings Kill Everything Else on TV

Another season premiere, another record shattered by 'The Walking Dead'. 16.1 Million people tuned into the season 4 premiere of 'The Walking Dead' on AMC, becoming the highest rated show of the season. The previous record for the series was 12.4 Million. The Cable show is getting live ratings that the Broadcast networks could only dream of right now. It also seems like the walkers took a chunk out of the ratings for all the broadcast network shows, which were all down across the board in competition. 'The Walking Dead' is an event now, people want to watch it live so they can talk about it afterwards rather than DVR it and possibly get spoiled.

Another big milestone is that the show received 10.4 Million viewers in the 18-49 demographic, which makes it the most watched program of the season in that advertising coveted group, surpassing every NFL game. Before last night, all the highest rated programs among 18-49 year olds were all NFL games. The pigskin is no match for flesh eating zombies.

The new season is off to a solid start as well with a good first episode. Some clear storylines forming with Rick (Andrew Grimes) now taking on a role as farmer & having a new hatred of violence. Michonne (Danai Gurira) is leaving the prison for extended periods in search of the Governor (David Morrissey) to get her revenge on him for the death of Andrea (Laurie Holden). Glenn (Steven Yeun) & Maggie (Lauren Cohan) have a wedding to look forward to...and we have to wonder if it will be as insane as the Red Wedding on 'Game of Thrones'.

Carol (Melissa McBride) is teaching story-time to the children...with a fun twist of knife lessons to defend against walkers. Story-time during the zombie apocalypse is badass. Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) & Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) have acclimated well and are important members of the prison. Daryl (Norman Reedus) is still the Daryl we love. The survivors finally found a Big Lots! superstore after 4 years...and just their luck the roof caves in with zombies raining down. Dear superstores: please build stronger roofs.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Best Quotes From 'Hocus Pocus'

Its been 20 years since 'Hocus Pocus' entered our lives and became one of the greatest Halloween themed movies of all time. It didn't break any records at the box office, though it was released in July. Whose genius decision was that? Regardless, it became a monster hit on VHS, then DVD and eventually Blu Ray as well as a Television staple that gets shown multiple times every fall (and even sometimes throughout the year). This cult classic will forever be a Halloween staple now, even if those damn critics gave it mediocre reviews. They missed just how quotable and endearing this whimsical film is. Here are some of the best quotes:

1. Jay and Ernie aka ICE are possibly the greatest high school bullies of all time, and here is one scene chock full of their quotes when they run into Max (Omri Katz) in the graveyard.
"Got any cash...Hollywoooooood?" "They're very health conscious in Los Angeles." "Check out the new cross trainers."

2. "I don't have any, what do you call them Max, yabbos? Max likes your yabbos. In fact, he loves them." -Dani (Thora Birch) to Allison (Vinessa Shaw)

3. "What are you supposed to be? A new kid on the block?" "For your information he's a Little Leaguer!" - Jay & Dani

4. "Thank you Max, for that mahhhhvelous introduction." -Winifred (Better Midler), because it is exactly how you'd imagine Bette Midler as a 17th century witch would say that.

5. "Aw man, how come it's the ugly chicks that always stay out late?" - Jay to Winifred, Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) & Mary (Kathy Najimy).

6. "We desire...Children." "Hey it may take me a couple tries but I don't think that would be a problem." - Winifred to the bus driver. Disney just loves to slip sexual innuendo's into family movies.

7. "Why was I cursed with such idiot sisters!" "Just lucky I guess." - Winifred & Sarah.

8. "Sisters look, it's the chocolate covered finger of a man named Clark." - Mary, about a Clark Bar.

9. Sarah yelling "Amok!" over and over before Winifred hits her.

10. "You wanna look in windows and watch babes undress?" "It's 3AM, they're undressed already." Ice & Jay before getting caught by the Sanderson Sisters.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

'Wonder Woman' Short Takes Web By Storm

Back in the 1970s, Lynda Carter donned the lasso and bullet destroying bracelets in the hit TV show 'Wonder Woman'. Since then all attempts at another live action Wonder Woman have gone into development hell, with animation being the only versions of the character.

A new short film was just released by Rainfall Films, and though it is only 2 minutes and 34 seconds long, it has gone viral to much applause around the web. The short film has a gritty look to it as we see Wonder Woman handle some gun toting baddies on Earth, while flashing back to when she was on her home planet doing battle with some large creature. The best scene of course is when one guy shoots at her and the bullet shatters into nothing on her impenetrable bracelet.
The video is a great representation of what the character should be, and its all in a slick package with pretty awesome visual effects considering the lack of a huge budget. Director Sam Balcomb wrote, "’s one hundred and fifty seconds of pure fantasy, where I get to consider the two sides of my favorite warrior: a crusader in man’s world, and a paragon of virtue told through Greek mythology.It’s a fun world to hang out in."

The company is the same one that made an April Fool's video for IGN in 2008, which was a trailer for a fake Legend of Zelda film. The Wonder Woman short is different in that it is just a passionate project which will hopefully spur Warner Bros and DC Comics into bringing the character back to life in live action form. There have been rumors that she will make her debut in the Superman-Batman film starring Ben Affleck & Henry Cavill, but those are just rumors for now. A Justice League movie is in the works that will feature Wonder Woman of course, but that is still at least four years away, maybe more.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

'Desolation of Smaug' Trailer; 'Gravity' Reviews Are In

We enter the next wave of big 2013 movies this week with the release of the Oscar contender 'Gravity' starring Sandra Bullock & George Clooney. Following the May-July onslaught of Summer movies, October-December always provides another wave of films just in time for both the holidays and awards season. 'Gravity' is getting a ton of positive buzz all across the board from the story, to the special effects and performance of Sandra Bullock, which could net her another Academy Award. It currently sits at 96% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Alfonso Cuaron has done it again, and shown how to properly make a film in 3D, which amounts to much more than just a cash grab.

The latest commercials have been enough to show that the film does a great job showing the desperation and panic of astronaut Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) as she floats away into deep space. The 3D will only amplify this as you feel like you're stuck in the vast blackness of outer space with her. Cuaron stated, "We didn't want it to be 3D for the sake of fake excitement."

Possibly the biggest release after 'Gravity' and during the Holidays will be 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'. The full trailer has been released [watch below], and it gives enough to hold people over until the December 13, 2013 release date. The most impactful was hearing Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug the dragon. You get a nice view of the precious ring, as well as the return of Legolas (Orlando Bloom) in action for his first time since 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Kanye West Has Twitter Rant On Jimmy Kimmel

Kanye West posted this Spongebob Meme to his twitter
Kanye West has gone on a twitter rant...which is never a good thing. Okay, its good for a laugh. Jimmy Kimmel aired a spoof of Kanye West's ridiculous interview with Zane Lowe on BBC Radio 1, with Kimmel's spoof featuring a kid version of West making fun of the interview. In the actual interview, West called himself the "number 1 rock star on the planet" and compared himself to Michael Jackson & Steve Jobs. Note to West: there are two big guidelines to being the number one Rock Star on the planet: 1 - If you have to call yourself that, you aren't it. Strike one. 2 - You can't use auto-tune. Strike two.

Kimmel, in typical comedic fashion, obliterated West in his monologue. How did he do it? Basically by showing all the tweets and meme's that West posted. Those are the jokes in and of themselves. He also said Kanye called him and told him to publicly apologize for the spoof (note: he didn't). Here are some of West's insane tweets:





I feel bad for his keyboard. He's probably just looking for attention, as he usually is. Knocking up Kim Kardashian wasn't enough?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Welcome To 'Jurassic World'

'Jurassic Park IV' has been discussed on-and-off since 2001. Just when you thought it was close to extinction, the film is finally stomping its way towards release. Universal recently announced that the film will actually be called 'Jurassic World', and will be released to theaters on June 12, 2015.

Not much is known yet, though news will surely continue to trickle out soon as filming should probably begin in Spring 2014. Here is what we know so far:

1. It is confirmed that there will be a number of new dinosaurs to terrorize us tiny humans, including one very big one on the level of the favorite T-Rex. They won't say which dinosaurs, though Jack Horner (a paleontologist who has worked on all three movies) promised that, "you'll want to keep the lights on after you see this movie."

2. Colin Trevorrow ('Safety Not Guaranteed') is the director, and seems like a perfect fit as a known fan of the first three films. You just know he cares enough about the franchise to want this to be more than your average sequel. 'Safety Not Guaranteed' is also a fantastic and highly original movie, which should boost confidence that 'Jurassic World' will succeed. Steven Spielberg is producing it, so the movie will get his stamp of approval.

3. Many scenes will be filmed in the Hawaii location where the first 'Jurassic Park' was shot, and Trevorrow confirmed that at least some of the movie will take place on the original Isla Nublar.

4. Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern have both said in the past they would consider returning to the franchise. However, there is no word on any past cast members returning yet. The only rumblings about casting include a rumor about John Krasinski ('The Offce') possibly playing a "dinosaur tamer". The latest rumor is that Bryce Dallas Howard ('The Help', 'Spider-Man 3') is currently in talks to join the film.

5. The title change to 'Jurassic World' could possibly be a play on a park like Sea World, which further helps those rumors that the film will deal with a new park that has been fully operational and successful. Of course, terror will somehow take shape.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Return To The World Of 'Harry Potter'!

WB announced a new partnership with J.K. Rowling. The Harry Potter author will act as screenwriter for a new film set in the famous Wizarding World, called 'Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them', based on the textbook used throughout the Harry Potter series.

The movie is not a sequel or prequel to any of the Harry Potter movies, but it will take place in the same world. The main character of the film will be the fictional author of the book, Newt Scamander, whose grandson Rolf is married to Luna Lovegood. Rowling said the film will begin in New York, 70 years before the start of Harry Potter. So no, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, & Rupert Grint won't be involved in the film. However, other characters we know from the series could be in it. She did say some of the characters will be familiar to Harry Potter fans, so it's possible we'll see younger versions of characters like Dumbledore and McGonagall.

'Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them' will also include video games, products and a link with the Pottermore website.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

USA Qualifies For 2014 FIFA World Cup

The United States is heading to Brazil. After defeating arch rival Mexico 2-0 in Columbus last night, the US Men's National Team is headed to its 7th straight World Cup, and 10th overall. The 2-0 scoreline has become a modern legend in the USA-Mexico rivalry, now called "Dos a Cero". That has been the final score of USA victories over Mexico in Columbus, Ohio in 2001, 2005, 2009 and now 2013. The score has also surfaced outside of Columbus - in 2000, 2007 and most famously in the 2002 FIFA World Cup round of 16. Landon Donovan sealed the deal with the US' second goal...complete with an infected eye. Apparently he only needs one eye to score against Mexico. The Dos a Cero was in danger of becoming a Tres a Cero when the USA was awarded a penalty kick, but Clint Dempsey missed a bit wide. Many joked it was intentional to preserve the famous scoreline, but that seems unlikely.

The Dos a Cero is a symbol of the United States' dominance over Mexico in the 21st century, a turning of the tide from when Mexico held the upper hand, during a time when the USA failed to qualify for the World Cup between 1950 and 1990 and Mexico dominated. Times have changed of course, and the US has qualified for every World Cup since 1990.

So far, the following nations have qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup: Brazil, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Iran, Netherlands Italy, USA, Costa Rica & Argentina. You can expect some of the usual suspects like Spain, France, England, & Germany as well. Belgium is also about the qualify, and is my early pick for possible winners of the tournament. Mexico has an uphill battle. There is just one automatic spot left for CONCACAF, and Honduras is leading the way and likely to take it. Mexico & Panama will battle it out for 4th place, and whoever gets that spot will have a playoff against OFC winner New Zealand to see who goes to the World Cup. Mexico last missed the World Cup in 1990.

Landon Donovan, and possibly Damarcus Beasley, will be playing in their fourth World Cups, becoming the first American men to do so. They join some of our legendary women: Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Joy Fawcett, Briana Scurry & Christie Rampone have competed in four, with Abby Wambach likely to join them during the 2015 Women's World Cup. Kristine Lilly is one of the rare soccer players to compete in five World Cups. To have that consistency of veteran players to go with the fresh faces is very important for the development of the team.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

NWSL Season Ends On A High Note

The first season of the NWSL (National Women's Soccer League) is in the books. Portland Thorns FC defeated Western New York Flash in the championship on Saturday night 2-0, on a soaring golazo from Tobin Heath and a late clincher from Christine Sinclair (with the assist by Alex Morgan). Abby Wambach, Carli Lloyd and the Flash played well but just couldn't find the net, as Karina LeBlanc was on her top form. LeBlanc probably would win a seat as the mayor of Portland if she ever chose to run. The whole game was exciting from start to finish, and was even better than NBC's slate of EPL games on Saturday.
Thorns fans packed Jeld-Wen Field all Year
The Portland Thorns set the standard for women's club soccer, averaging over 13,000 fans per game with a season high of 17,619 on August 4th. US Soccer President Sunil Gulati said there won't be any expansion in 2014 as they focus on the current teams building their base. He did say there could be more NWSL teams that link up with an MLS (Major League Soccer) team. The New York Red Bulls and Sky Blue FC were the clubs mentioned who could form a partnership. The Portland Timbers ownership also owns the Portland Thorns, which has given them this big edge. They were able to bring in many Timbers season ticket holders, and the "Timbers Army" supporters group members joined the "Rose City Riveters" Thorns supporters group in giving the Thorns an atmosphere that can rival some European men's teams.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Brief History Of The Foam Finger

The 2013 Video Music Awards will be remembered mainly for one thing: Miley Cyrus molesting a foam finger, as well as "twerking" with some giant teddy bears and against Beetlejuice. She subsequently may have killed the tradition of the foam finger as we know it. We've had a week to digest it all. Let's give the foam finger some love with a brief history.

It all started back in 1971 when Steve Chmelar created one during High School out of paper-mache instead of foam. He did it for the Iowa High School basketball finals, and a picture was snapped by the AP.

Geral Fauss then decided to create some hands and sell them at the 1978 Cotton Bowl game between Notre Dame and Texas. In 1979 he started a company called Spirit Industries that manufactured the very first foam versions.

They started appearing at stadiums all over in the 1980s for all the major sports teams, and the rest is history. It spawned custom versions as well, such as the "Hook 'em Horns" shape used by University of Texas fans. Non-hand versions became available as well, such as the foam tomahawk and foam talons.

And now of course in 2013, nobody will be able to look at one again without thinking of Miley Cyrus and her Hellboy shaped hair simulating sex with one on a stage. Original creator Steve Chmelar stated, "She took an honorable icon that is seen in sporting venues everywhere and degraded it. Fortunately, the foam finger has been around long enough that it will survive this incident." Well, it may survive, but we won't look at it the same anytime soon. So, you probably know way more than you ever wanted about the history of the foam finger. You can thank Miley, she was just being Miley.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Listen To Paul McCartney's 'New' Song

Artwork for McCartney's new song, 'New'
Paul McCartney doesn't have to release new music. He's set for life and can sell out stadiums forever with a back catalogue of The Beatles, Wings, & countless solo work. Which makes the fact that he can still release such a fantastic new song capable of standing with his best music all the more impressive. He clearly put forth a good effort in crafting his newest gem.

His new song, titled 'New', sounds like something that could fit on a Beatles album. Take 'Got To Get You Into My Life', mix in some 'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da', add a dash of 'Penny Lane' and you get 'New'. If you aren't in a happy mood while listening to this song, then I'm not sure what will put you in that magical place. Listen to it in the video below.

The song is is off his upcoming album, also titled 'New', which is out October 14th [UK] and October 15 [USA]. If this track is any indication, the album should continue the impressive streak of recent McCartney albums that have all been well received since 'Flaming Pie' in 1997.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

So Miley Cyrus Had Sex With a Foam Finger...

Mtv held its annual Video Music Awards (VMA's), because they haven't started giving them out to Teen Moms yet. During a performance of "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke, Miley Cyrus basically had sex with a foam finger on stage after twerking against Thicke (dressed like Beetlejuice), and subsequently killed the sports stadium tradition for children around the world.

If you missed it, you may be in luck, as anyone watching this catastrophic event needs to go out and get checked for crabs. Why couldn't she defile a Vuvuzela instead? Those are way more annoying than foam fingers, i'd rather those be burnt for all eternity than the foam finger. Oh, she also humped a giant Teddy Bear before that performing her own song. After watching her with the Foam Finger, you almost forget about that part, which is saying something. Though I'm still wondering whether its real or if Al Qaeda dropped acid into our water supply and we imagined it all.

Some other "highlights":

-Lil Kim morphed into LaToya Jackson.

-Jared Leto somehow compared Kanye West to Jimi Hendrix, which led me to change the channel in protest. Comparing them is like comparing getting those aforementioned crabs to getting a billion dollars. There is none.

-Justin Timberlake and Nsync performed together, minus the "sun in" bleached 1998 hair. It was the worst kept secret of the summer.

-Will Smith and his kids Jaden & Willow were just as confused as the rest of us during Miley's performance, which was a far cry from the "Carlton Dance".

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Batman Is Back...Already. Ben Affleck, Come On Down!

Incredibly rough sketch of Affleck as Batman
The dark knight just can't stay hidden for long.

Orange is the new black, and former Daredevil Ben Affleck is the new Batman (or Batfleck). 'The Dark Knight Rises' just came out 13 months ago, but Warner Bros. has already found a new Bruce Wayne/Batman to follow Christian Bale. He'll be joining the follow up to 'Man of Steel' which starred Henry Cavill as Superman, a Batman/Superman film which is on schedule to come out in 2015. No word on plot details or any other characters. I'm hoping for a scene where Batman yells "Argo fuck yourself!" at Superman. Doubtful on that happening though. The Internet has been set ablaze since the news, and for some reason many have voiced displeasure...even though the movie hasn't even started filming yet. Geeze people, give Ben a chance.

Christopher Nolan's 'Dark Knight' trilogy drew rave reviews as it sent these famous characters into a realistic setting following the the more fantasy based Batman films of the 1990s. You also have to wonder whether they will soon look to showcase some other recently portrayed Batman characters, like the Joker & Catwoman, which had stand out performances by the late Heath Ledger & Anne Hathaway. It might be a gamble to try and re-create them so soon after two of the biggest movies of all time. Of course they may wait to bring in those characters for a singular Batman film starring Affleck, which is probably on the horizon as well. Another option would be to use characters that weren't in the Nolan films. It would be hard to resist the two most popular ones (Joker & Catwoman) though.

Affleck previously played Daredevil in 2003, which got mixed reviews. The movie gets an unfair bad rap though, especially if you watch the Director's Cut, which featured an entire subplot cut from the film and an R-rating. Jennifer Garner also kicked some major ass as Elektra.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The 99ers Still Captivate

ESPN films finally tackled "The '99ers" with their Nine for IX/30 for 30 documentary series, and it was a glorious presentation featuring behind the scenes footage from the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup thanks to Julie Foudy and her trusty camera that she took around to document the history making event. Eight members of the team also got together at the Rose Bowl (site of the famous final), looking back and giving charming, funny and serious stories about their experience at the tournament.

They captivated the nation thanks not only to their skill, but they were like the girls next door, with personalities as big as the stadiums they filled. The footage shown in the excellent documentary gave even more proof of that, while showcasing how they won the United States' last World Cup as a team. Mia Hamm was the face, with Brandi Chastain, Michelle Akers, Joy Fawcett, Kristine Lilly, Julie Foudy, Carla Overbeck & Briana Scurry all making names for themselves as well. However, the whole team contributed to make the summer of 1999 a special one in our history. None of those players even scored in the USA's 3-0 victory against North Korea (goals came from Tisha Venturini & Shannon MacMillan). You could see these players were incredibly united, and it rubbed off on the nation as a whole.

I'll always remember being glued to the TV for it. The final against China was a nail-biter as expected, in front of over 90,000 people at the Rose Bowl, with an estimated 40 million watching on TV. In "The '99ers", Chastain explained that she took the game winning penalty kick with her less preferred left foot in addition to not realizing that she was the fifth kicker until before going up. The tournament elevated the Women's World Cup & Olympics to events that fill large stadiums and garner the attention of millions to this day. If you didn't watch "The '99ers" on ESPN, be sure to look for a replay and reminisce on that magical summer.

In the late 80s and 90s, women's soccer was dominated by China, USA, Norway, Germany, Brazil & Sweden. Since then we've seen the additions of Japan, France, Canada, England, North Korea & Australia to that list, which is still growing as more nations want to boost their programs. When the 2015 Women's World Cup rolls around, I wouldn't be surprised if Netherlands, South Korea, Italy, Denmark, Spain, Mexico or Iceland make the leap. Much of that can be contributed to the massive success of 1999.

Watch a great recap of the 1999 Women's World Cup:

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Putin & The Sochi 2014 Soviet Union Olympics

Sochi 2014 Logo, the worst Olympic logo ever
I'm surprised people are still saying the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics are being held in Russia, because from now on I'm going to be calling it the Soviet Union. It feels as if they've slowly turned back into the Soviet Union, led by an oppressive government and a dictator/former KGB officer named Vladimir Putin that seeks to deny people rights simply for being born different. I'm surprised they haven't opened up concentration camps for gays yet. Though who knows, that could be on the horizon from Comrade Putin and his cronies. People who think gays "choose" to be gay are both mental and stupid. The Russian Government fits the bill, seeking to snuff out any gay Russians who would dare come out. Lady Gaga recently lashed out at the Russian government, for seeking to ban her under their "anti-gay propaganda" stance. That is a law they enacted after artists like her started expressing support for gay rights on Russian soil at concerts.

We all know what happened to Pussy Riot (the female Russian punk rock band, jailed on "hooliganism" charges) when they dared to do something their government didn't like. They were jailed for going to an Russian Orthodox Church and performing an anti-Putin song to protest. Wait...I thought communism was gone? Guess again, its just in a shiny new package. And yes, "hooliganism" and "blasphemy" are both things you can be jailed for in Russia. In 2013.

Yet Russia, aka the Soviet Union 2.0, is supposed to be opening their arms to the world with the Winter Olympics. Fat chance of that happening. Boycotting would be pointless, it is far better to go there and make some noise. Some people say you shouldn't get political at a sporting event. However, the Russian government is doing exactly that by trying to push their ignorant laws on athletes and fans. USA runner Nick Symmonds dedicated his silver medal to gay friends, right on Russian soil. Emma Green Tregaro, a Swedish high jumper, painted her nails rainbow colors and was then sadly forced to paint over them by the IAAF.

Keep up the protests everyone. It should be interesting to see what goes on when the big stage of the Sochi 2014 Olympics rolls around.

Friday, August 9, 2013

'Homeland' Season 3 Trailer

'Homeland' returns with the highly anticipated Season Three premiere on September 29th, and Showtime has released the official trailer! It starts with a scene from the end of Season Two with Brody (Damian Lewis) & Carrie (Claire Danes) going their separate ways before taking us into a look at the upcoming season. 
We see interspersed scenes that give a hint at the action, but not many spoilers. We know Carrie and Saul (Mandy Patinkin) are going to be questioned about what happened with the bombing in Season Two, as we see in the clip. Brody also seems to have gotten himself in yet another predicament, being captured yet again. And they shaved his head this time. Can't he ever just enjoy a quiet night alone? Carrie was spotted in a hospital gown, because it wouldn't be a season of 'Homeland' without two things: 1. Carrie in a hospital at some point and 2. Carrie having an epic crying scene, which we also see.

Brody's daughter Dana (Morgan Saylor) up to no good seemingly taking a nude cell phone pic, and then looking like she might be doing a Muslim prayer. Those two things clearly don't mesh well...poor girl doesn't know what to do. Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) is shown looking as serious as ever, building a bomb and carrying a gun. Just like Brody needs a quiet night, Quinn really needs some laughter in his life.

Fall can't get here soon enough! 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Crazy Rhubarb Lady

This video has to be seen to be believed. An unknown woman was caught stealing rhubarbs from under a fence, and then confronted by the lady who owns the rhubarbs that grew under her fence. She also has a voice that can only be described as a cross between Roz from Disney/Pixar's "Monsters Inc." and Linda Blair while she was possessed in "The Exorcist". Crazy Rhubarb Lady's response while confronted? "This is alley property bitch!" She also took a shot at the "pigs who stole her lawn mower". I love that as she keeps cursing and arguing, she goes about continuing to pick the rhubarbs. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Awkward: Amanda Bynes Circa 2007

If you want to feel awkward and confused, all you have to do is watch this Amanda Bynes interview on Rachael Ray from 2007. Ray talks about how normal Bynes is at various points in the interview. What happened?
After finally getting some (forced) help for starting a fire in someones driveway and then running through the streets to a liquor store to wash gasoline off her poor little dog (which has hopefully been given to her parents), police placed her in a mental institution where she is now getting extended help. Her mom is seeking conservatorship, which she should get. We all remember the infamous Britney Spears meltdown of 2007 when she attacked a car with an umbrella after shaving her head. She seems on a better path now since getting help.

It's clear what happened to Bynes isn't just someone wanting to drink and party and act stupid, she has a real issue that may be helped by being in a hospital. Hopefully it helps other people with problems as well to realize they can get help also.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

'Gravity' - Sandra Bullock Gets Detached

Alfonso Cuaron & Sandra Bullock were both at Comic-Con this week to discuss the ambitious upcoming film 'Gravity'. Now we have another clip of the film that is similar to the first trailer, but expands upon the actual destruction of the shuttle and offers longer glimpses at the outstanding work that was done in regards to the visuals. Earth has never looked so crisp and clean on film before.
The clip ends with Bullock's character, Ryan Stone, floating off into space away from George Clooney's character, Matt Kowalsky. There is clearly going to be many moments of terror in this movie beyond the actual destruction of the shuttle. Its going to put the viewer into the character's perspective, and the idea of floating around in the vast blackness and expanse of outer space with no connection to life is enough to terrorize any of us. Its a different kind of "horror movie" that we're used to seeing. I put that in quotes because this movie seems hard to classify. It has elements of suspense, horror, sci-fi, and drama.

Bonus for Harry Potter fans: besides being directed/written/edited by Cuaron, who directed 'Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban', it's also being produced by David Heyman, who produced all eight 'Harry Potter' movies. 'Gravity' is out on October 4, 2013, and will of course be in 3D and IMAX. It should be one of the better films released in 3D/IMAX recently.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Kate Middleton Has The Royal Baby

So the Royal Baby was born to Kate Middleton and Prince William, and it's a boy. He wasn't born with a lightning bolt scar on his forehead, so my interest level waned very quickly from "mildly curious" to "who cares I just want some fish and chips."

The real star of the day however was the Royal Town Crier, whose name is Tony Appleton. He announced the birth in a fierce outfit. His shouting of the announcement made me worried that he would pop a blood vessel. Easy does it next time, no need to strain yourself, we all have twitter now.

Now please don't follow the Kanye West/Kim Kardashian model for naming a baby.

Friday, July 19, 2013

'The Walking Dead' Season 4 Trailer!

Season 4
Well this is a nice way to start the weekend, with everyone's favorite neighborhood Zombies! The official trailer for Season 4 of AMC's 'The Walking Dead' premiered at Comic-Con, and is now online. Watch it below.

Good news: the survivos have finally found a giant retail store a la Wal-Mart. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) seems to have stopped seeing visions of Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) in a flowing white dress. Michonne (Danai Gurira) has a horse. Bad news: The prison becomes overrun with walkers at some point.

'The Walking Dead' returns on Sunday, October 13th at 9pm. Besides this insanely long never ending heat wave, we now have yet another reason to want Fall to arrive ASAP!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Incredible Honey Boo Boo Parody: 'Precious Plum'

Mama June on her Wedding Day
'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo' is back on TLC (with Watch 'n' Sniff cards), and Mama June is making the promotional rounds in New York City this week, all during a sweltering heat wave. In honor of the return of everyone's favorite rednecks, I've decided to share the best spoof of Honey Boo Boo...Precious Plum.

Courtesy of College Humor, Precious Plum is a spot on and hilarious parody of Honey Boo Boo, taking everything from that show a huge and ridiculous step further. There are three short episodes so far, and hopefully with many more to come. Watch the first three episodes below, as Plum heads to a "Little Miss Tiny Tits" pageant in the parking lot of a waffle house in Chunky, Mississippi. She then adventures to the "Miss Tallahassee Tiny Hussy" competition in the basement of a shut-down Staples. Finally, Plum makes her way out to become "Best Drifter Midriff" under a bridge by that big mural of a dick.