03rd Apr2015

West Week Ever – 4/3/15

by Will

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So, last weekend I finally got around to watching St. Elmo’s Fire. If you’re not familiar, it’s one of the Brat Pack films from the 80s, though it’s nowhere near as critically acclaimed as The Breakfast Club; I never realized that until I started reading old reviews after watching the movie. Anyway, if this movie were released today, it’d be called White Privilege. It’s the story of 7 college friends who graduate from Georgetown University and embark upon adulthood. The problem is that most of them suck at life, and aren’t very good at being “adults”. Emilio Estevez stalks Andie MacDowell, Rob Lowe sleeps with everything with a vagina, Judd Nelson cheats on his girlfriend in order to pressure her into marrying him (yeah, that plan makes no sense), Andrew McCarthy is obsessed with Judd Nelson’s girlfriend, Demi Moore sleeps with everything with a penis, Mare Winningham has NO self esteem, and Ally Sheedy is just there. I know it came out during the “Me Generation”, so I’m sure it spoke to a lot of people at the time. Looking back at it now, however, it’s just hard to like any of the characters. Living in the DC area, it was cool to see what Georgetown looked like 30 years ago. I also enjoyed seeing the Q107 sticker on the pay phone (Q107 was the predecessor of WRQX/Mix 107.3, which is now the struggling “DC’s 107.3″). From where I stand, the best thing about the film is David Foster’s “Love Theme”. Just listen to it:

Greatest Movie Ever Sold

Next up, I watched the documentary POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. From Super Size Me‘s Morgan Spurlock, the doc follows Spurlock as he tries to finance a movie completely from sponsored endorsements. Meanwhile, he delves into the practice of branding and how it affects our daily lives. For example, the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo has outlawed all outdoor advertising, so there are no billboards, no bus ads, and no corporate graffiti. As a result, local businesses have to rely upon referrals and word of mouth in order to stay afloat, yet everyone feels that the move allows them to fully take in the world around them without being assaulted by ads. I liked Super Size Me, although I completely sided with Big Mac (Spurlock’s girlfriend, now ex-wife, was a vegan chef. He got sick because he simply wasn’t used to eating meat. It wasn’t all McDonalds’ fault. Plus, nobody should eat that shit THREE times a day. Even I know that, and I DO IT). Anyway, it was funny watching the man who singlehandedly destroyed the Super Size option go out into the world and try to court sponsors. I mean, everyone’s already seen what he did to McDonalds, so how could brands be sure that he’d portray them in a positive light? As interesting as the movie is, it’s still built on a weak premise. It’s not like he’s actually courting brands to help finance some sort of Hollywood blockbuster. No, he’s courting brands to sponsor the documentary that you’re already watching. That is the movie. It’s very meta. It was definitely an interesting documentary, but I think I expected more from it.

Jay Mohr

On the standup comedy front, I caught the Showtime special Jay Mohr: Happy. And A Lot. I’ve been fascinated by Jay Mohr ever since his stint as a featured player during the SNL dark years of the early 90s. I’ve even read his book, Gasping For Airtime: Two Years In The Trenches of Saturday Night Live. His body of work isn’t very memorable, but he did create Last Comic Standing, which has been pretty influential in the standup world for the past decade or so. Then, to cap it all off, he married Nikki Cox, who was quite the hot number in the late 90s. Anyway, I really enjoyed the special, which surprised me since my recent track record with standup specials hasn’t been so great. The material isn’t stellar, but some of it spoke to me. For example, he said that married couples don’t have to have shared interests, but rather need shared hates. Maybe my wife and I are terrible people, but that’s definitely true for us. Then, he capped off the special with a pretty killer Norm MacDonald impression. I’m not so sure I’d recommend it, but I enjoyed it.

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Ciara Renee has been cast as Hawkgirl in the CW Arrow/Flash spinoff, while Arthur Darvill has been cast as Rip Hunter. I don’t know either of those actors. I like what The CW’s doing with Arrow and The Flash, but I fear they’re about to dilute the brand by adding this 3rd show (possibly 4 if they keep Supergirl in-universe). As good as The Flash is, I feel like the quality of Arrow has slipped a bit, with the good stuff going over to the former. Maybe I’m just saying that because I’m used to binge-watching Arrow instead of consuming it on a weekly basis, and I’m not so sure that’s working for me.

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Meanwhile in live action comic adaptations, an April Fools video with Ryan Reynolds claims that the Deadpool film will have an R-rating. Now, I’ve heard folks longing for this in the past, and I don’t quite understand it. Why does it need to be an R? I consider myself a Deadpool fan, but I don’t go way back to his origins. I’ve been a completist since his series started during Secret Invasion, and I’d read some Cable & Deadpool before that. In all of my Deadpool reading, I haven’t experienced anything that indicated a film adaptation would need an R-rating. The comic is not for mature readers, so it seems like it would translate more to a PG-13, with one “fuck” thrown in for good measure (that’s allowed in PG-13 movies).

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The speculation surrounding a reboot earned Full House the West Week Ever back in August. Well, it looks like we’re closer to getting Fuller House (that’s the name they’re using now) after all. Reportedly, the show is headed to Netflix, and will focus on the friendship between Candace Cameron Bure’s DJ Tanner and Andrea Barber’s Kimmy Gibbler. Considering how much Candace has gone on the evangelical offensive over the years, I wonder if that hurts the potential audience for this show. Anyway, score another one for Netflix. Right now, I’m sure Yahoo Screen is looking into rebooting Empty Nest.

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-It was reported that Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje has been cast as Killer Croc in DC’s Suicide Squad movie. I have no clue how to say that dude’s name. If I ever met him, I’d have to play the “What’s up, my brotha?” card. Anyway, that guy from Latino Review who loves scooping stuff reports that Suicide Squad will take place between Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice in the span of the DC Cinematic Universe. *Yawn*

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In the world of music, Jay-Z and his Illuminati friends announced the purchase of Tidal – a new streaming service that costs more than most other services because the artists want to make more money. There was a press conference and everything. It ended with them signing a document that you’d think was the Hip Hop Magna Carta or something. Anyway, the files are supposedly of a higher quality, but you won’t be able to tell the difference if you’re listening through headphones. Good luck with that, Hov!

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In the world of television, Weird Loners premiered on Fox Tuesday night. It feels like someone found some old Happy Endings scripts, but there were food stains all over the best jokes. Seriously, this show feels like it really wants to be HE, complete with the casting of Zachary Knighton, but the rest of the cast just isn’t that strong. Plus, I can’t get over how that one guy looks like Nick Swardson if he really let himself go. Anyway, I guess I shouldn’t expect too much from “The creator of The King of Queens, and the executive producer of New Girl.” What’s it about? Four people who are unlucky at love kinda band together as friends. Oh, and 3/4 of them are kinda assholes ’cause that’s how they make sitcoms now.

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Meanwhile, in the world of television, South African comedian Trevor Noah was announced as the new host of The Daily Show. And the people rejoiced…for about a day. Then, someone checked out his Twitter history and discovered that he’d said a bunch of off-color stuff. Ya know, like a comedian. You ever follow a professional comedian on Twitter? With the exception of very few, they’re all just throwing shit out there to see if it sticks. If it gets retweeted or favorited, excellent. A lot of them come off as insecure when they do this, and it’s not necessarily coming from some place of bravado. If anything, they’re tearing others down in order to feel good about themselves. Whatever. I’m not a licensed shrink. All I know is that Comedy Central decided they wanted to go the comedian route for the job, and they knew what they were getting themselves into. Comedy Central has already said that they stand by him, so I expect nothing to come from this. Plus, Stewart’s fans are gonna hate any replacement in the beginning, just because he’s not Stewart.

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This week also saw the premiere of the Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber. SNL‘s Pete Davidson was great (I had no clue his father was a firefighter who died on 9/11), but Martha Stewart was surprisingly brutal. My pal Chris Piers pointed out that there’s no way she wrote those jokes, but I just give her credit for saying them. The roast ended with a well-written, yet clearly staged, apology from Justin himself for his outrageous behavior. Even though it was somewhat canned, I felt like it showed a lot of maturity, and I’m eager to see where his path leads him. After all, Justin Timberlake was once just “that guy in that boyband”, and look at him now. I’m not saying Bieber is that multi-talented, but I’d really like us to get to a place where “Justin Bieber” isn’t an instant punchline anymore.

 

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I loved this article about the making of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. My favorite part is that they acknowledge that Raph has mental problems. I’ve always felt this, but had never seen it actually written anywhere. Seriously, if Raphael is your favorite turtle, I wonder about you…

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This week, I had the pleasure of joining Corey and Eclectik over on the UnderScoopFire Podcast. We discussed all of the pop culture stuff we’re looking forward to during the months of April through June, and it was a lot of fun. I was really starting to think that folks were tired of having me on their shows, so it felt really good to get back in the swing of things. Anyway, give it a listen!

Things You May Have Missed This Week

-Speaking of Turtles, Stephen Amell has been cast as Casey Jones in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2. Sure, movies trump TV, so this is good for his IMDB page, but it almost feels like a lateral promotion.

-Hugh Jackman announced that Wolverine 3 will most likely be his last appearance as Wolverine, after 17 years in the role.

-It was announced that season 6 will be Downton Abbey‘s final season. I still have seasons 4 and 5 on my DVR, so I’m not quite sure if I’m saddened or relieved by the information.

-In other news about shows I need to watch, House of Cards has been renewed for a fourth season on Netflix.

-Gnardians of the Galaxy, the porn parody of Guardians of the Galaxy, released its trailer. Nope, I’m trying to be Safe For Work, here!

-Cougar Town‘s series finale aired this week. One day, I’m gonna have to catch up on that show.

-Fresh off the cancellation of What Not to Wear, Clinton Kelly will be getting a new show on TLC where he and Real World: Brooklyn‘s Devin Symone will give social media makeovers to folks looking for love. Think of it like What Not To Catfish.

-This week on The Today Show, Darius Rucker said that Hootie and the Blowfish would reunite, but it was simply a matter of timing. Uh-huh. He’s gone Full Timberlake but doesn’t want to admit it. I’ll believe this reunion when I see it.

-Wrestlemania 31 was this week. So that happened. Technically, I’m a WWE guy whenever The Undertaker is involved, but even I couldn’t get excited about his match against Bray Wyatt. Anyway, The Dead Man won, so I guess I’m happy. I tend to care more about the Hall of Fame ceremony than the actual event; I’ve got it on my DVR, but haven’t had the chance to watch it. So, look for my thoughts next week.

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I love Scientology. Let me rephrase that: I love all secret society-ish things, and Scientology happens to fall under this banner. Over the years, I’ve read and watched a LOT of stuff about the religion, and I continue to be fascinated by everything that I discover.

I can be a Judgy McJudgerson at times, but I try not to criticize anyone’s religion. At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to make it in this life, one day at a time. Some folks need some sort of coping mechanism to do this, while others don’t. Plus, and some folks won’t like this thought, but all religions have their farfetched aspects. Yup, even mine. We criticize Scientology because our parents are older than the religion, and the idea of Xenu and whatnot seems hokey as Hell. The funny thing about Xenu is that that information isn’t even available to Scientologists until they fork over the money to learn it. It’s not like that’s their pitch to the man on the street. No, for that they use e-meters to give you “stress tests”.

Anyway, based on my fascination with all things Scientology, I knew that I’d have to watch the documentary Going Clear, based on Lawrence Wright’s book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief.  It was SO GOOD! I was already familiar with the concept of Operating Thetans and the Sea Org, but the doc does a good job of explaining these things for the uninformed. Not only does it cover the celebrity aspect, like John Travolta and Tom Cruise, but it also documents the abuse and the living conditions suffered by the more common members of the religion. Tom Cruise may seem like an all-powerful supervillain, but that’s because he’s got money. If you or I joined Scientology, we’d be drafted into their space Navy on a billion year contract, doing menial labor and making about 40 cents a day. This is the side of Scientology that no one talks about.

I could understand the attraction to celebrities, but I’ve never quite understood why an average Joe would join up. For this, I’m not sure the documentary did the best job of explaining. I mean, it seems like a rich celebrity club, with tax-exempt status, but the celebrity aspect is so small compared to the men and women who raise their families in the religion. According to a 2008 study, about 25,000 Americans identified as Scientologists, and Tom and John are only two of them. Outside of the celebrity world, who are these people? What’s the draw? In the footage that they showed of the annual conference, there were Black people in attendance. How, pray tell, do you get a Black Scientologist?! The documentary focused on Hollywood members, like writer/director Paul Haggis, but I would’ve liked more info on “the little people”. I guess there’s only so much you can fit into two hours, so I’ll need to check out the book (Lindsay read it and highly recommends it).

If you have even a passing interest in Scientology, I really think you should give this documentary a shot. It’s worth it just for the story about how they “recruited” Tom Cruise’s new girlfriend. So, for being the most interesting thing I consumed this week, Going Clear had the West Week Ever.

17th Mar2015

Much Ado About Batgirl

by Will

So, usually I’d just let this kind of thing go, or just drop a casual mention of it in West Week Ever, but I was inspired to say more about this particular thing. Last week, DC Comics revealed a variant cover for the upcoming Batgirl #41, which can be seen here:

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The cover, by Rafael Albuquerque is an homage to Batman: The Killing Joke – the 1988 graphic novel where The Joker shoots Batgirl/Barbara Gordon and paralyzes her. This was a violent and pivotal storyline, resulting in Barbara eventually adopting the role of Oracle to the DC Universe. The reason this cover is controversial, however, is because of this page from The Killing Joke:

Killing Joke

You see, after shooting her (in her Barbara Gordon guise), Joker then showed pictures of her, naked and bloody, to her father, Commissioner Gordon. Over the years, it has been surmised that Joker actually sexually assaulted Barbara before and/or during the photoshoot. The creative team of Alan Moore and Brian Bolland have never confirmed whether or not this was a depiction of the aftermath of a sexual assault. It’s really left open to interpretation by the reader. I can see where that idea comes from, with the S&M imagery of Commissioner Gordon’s garb to the facial expressions in the photos. That said, until DC Comics comes out and says “Yes, Barbara was raped” (and yes, they are just dumb enough to do that), then I’m going to assume that she was not. I don’t even think DC would go that far.

So that brings us to the variant cover above. Many people felt it was in bad taste because it harkened back to this assumed sexual assault. The Joker with his arm draped around her, holding a gun pointed downward, while her eyes fill with tears. The Internet heated up with demands for DC to cancel the cover, via the #CancelTheCover hashtag. Eventually, things got out of hand as death threats were being hurled around, and DC finally announced that they were cancelling the cover at the request of Albuquerque. Well, what do I think about all this? So glad you asked!

I think the Batgirl cover’s uncomfortable, but I also think that’s *the point*. There’s more storytelling in that image than anything current Batman writer Scott Snyder’s done. As my Twitter pal @Friginator put it,

It’s supposed to trigger a response in you. They want the reader to think that there are high stakes involved. That said, I’d probably cry if I were cornered by the guy who paralyzed me. He wouldn’t have had to have raped me to trigger that response. To me, the cover is just another Big 2 crossover tactic to make you think something worthwhile may actually happen in the book. That said, covers haven’t really correlated to a comic’s content in years. For all we know, Joker’s on the cover, but Batgirl’s probably saving the local coffee joint in the story (if you haven’t read recent Batgirl, she’s moved to the hip Burnside neighborhood, which is Gotham’s stand-in for Williamsburg). At the end of the day, it’s probably much ado about nothing.

I’m also surprised that this kind of uproar is the result of a VARIANT cover. If you’re not familiar with how the comic industry works, variant covers are considered incentives to the retailer. Let’s say a retailer typically orders 35 copies of Batgirl. DC would like retailers to order more copies, so as an incentive to do so, they’ll give the retailer a special cover if they increase their orders to, say, 50 copies. The idea is that the retailer can then sell that variant cover at a price that’ll make up the difference in copies that may never actually sell. It’s a common practice, and variants can be offered at any level. Some publishers offer a variant cover for every 10 copies ordered, while some high dollar variants are 1:100. In this case, there are 25 Joker-centric variant covers released in June to commemorate the character’s 75th anniversary. The main point that I’m trying to make is that these aren’t the regular covers going to consumers. Right now, it’s unclear as to what kind of ratio in which the variants will be shipped. People were worried about what kind of impression the Batgirl cover would make on a new reader, but that’s probably not the cover that a new reader will see. The regular, common cover of the book looks like this:

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This isn’t the first time in recent history that a variant cover has caused fan uproar. Just a few months back, Marvel commissioned a variant cover for Spider-Woman from noted erotic artist Milo Manara. After all of his years in the profession, Marvel had to know what it was going to get from him. The result was this:

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The uproar was deafening, though Manara just did what he had been asked to do. He did what he does best, and apparently that’s drawing apple bottoms on crazily-contorted superheroes. Whatever. The point is that Marvel couldn’t play dumb since they knew the guy’s resume, but they also didn’t want to alienate the fans. So, they canceled the cover. Which was a variant. Which most people would never see outside of the websites bashing it.

I can understand the side that opposed the cover, even if I don’t share that sentiment. What bothers me is the precedent that this sets. Kinda like the Robin Thicke/Marvin Gaye decision, I fear for what this means for the future of the comic industry. Are they going to have to run everything by The Mary Sue (popular website by and for female comic fans) before they approve it? Does Gail Simone (DC Comics’ most prominent female writer) have to give her approval for everything concerning women before it’s universally accepted by fans? Are all controversial comic decisions going to have to be approved by some sort of committee comprised of fans and professionals? Nobody needs to be hurling death threats over *comic books*, so this clearly escalated quickly. Did DC make the “right call”? Well, that’s in the eye of the beholder. In his statement following the cancellation of the cover, Albuquerque said, “I respect these opinions and, despite whether the discussion is right or wrong, no opinion should be discredited.” I think this whole thing uprising was a bit much, but that’s just my opinion. Convince me I’m wrong in the comments!

20th Feb2015

West Week Ever – 2/20/15

by Will

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At the top of the week, I watched A.C.O.D., or Adult Children of Divorce. It stars Adam Scott as an adult whose parents divorced when he was young, though he’s still feeling the effects of it. His mother and father haven’t spoken in 20 years, but Scott tries to bring them together to celebrate his younger brother’s wedding. And, of course, nothing goes according to plan. The thing I loved about this movie is that Adam Scott is working with a ton of people he’s worked with before, so they already have proven chemistry. Richard Jenkins plays his dad, while he played his stepfather in Step Brothers. Amy Poehler plays his stepmother, while she plays his wife on Parks & Rec. Jane Lynch plays his therapist, while they worked together on Party Down. And Clark Duke plays his younger brother, and they worked together on the upcoming Hot Tub Time Machine 2. So, the movie is almost one big Adam Scott: This Is Your Life. In all, it’s a cute little movie, and a decent way to kill 90 minutes.

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I also caught the cult comedy classic Wet Hot American Summer. I’d seen parts of it before, but never the entire movie. There’s been renewed interest in the movie since Netflix just greenlit a prequel series. First off, who isn’t in this movie? While the movie’s from 2001, the cast is chock FULL of people who’d go on to bigger and better things. That said, I don’t really get the hype behind the movie beside its stellar cast. Sure, it had its moments, but it wasn’t as hilarious as I thought it was going to be. Right now, On Demand, it’s being marketed as “From the Producers of Role Models“, and I’ve got to say that Role Models had me rolling in the aisles. This movie? Not so much. I would watch it again, though, as I feel like it might be an acquired taste, and it seems like the kind of movie where you notice something different each time you watch it. For now, though, all it did was remind me of my crush on younger Janeane Garofalo.

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Last night saw the series finale of Two and a Half Men. Say what you will about it, the show had an impressive run over 12 seasons and 262 episodes. Everyone thought the show was doomed when Charlie Sheen went crazy on tiger blood (#winning), but it managed to reinvent itself into something with a lot of heart. Ashton Kutcher’s Walden Schmidt was a welcome reprieve from Sheen’s lothario Charlie Harper. Where Sheen’s character was lecherous and without a conscience, Kutcher’s Schmidt was naive and optimistic. He wasn’t out to take advantage of people, but this also meant that he didn’t always realize when folks were taking advantage of him. Later in the run, the show lost its “half man”, as Angus T. Jones found God and decided that he no longer wanted to be a part of the show. The show circumvented this by adding Amber Tamblyn as Charlie’s long lost daughter. Every time something came along that could end the show, they found a way to keep it going. It still averages about 11 million viewers a week, and could probably last another 3 seasons, but it’s just time for it to end. I won’t go into the finale, but let’s say it’s meta and pokes fun at the fact that it knows it’s a TV show. To many, the quality of the episode comes down to whether or not Charlie Sheen returns one last time. I won’t spoil that for you, but I was very satisfied with the finale.

Power Rangers Imaginext

Last weekend was the New York Toy Fair, where all of the toy buyers gathered to see what would be the hot new items throughout the year. As you may remember, I attended the show last year, but couldn’t make the trip this time, due to my baby shower. From what I’ve read, it doesn’t look like I missed much, as something about this year’s offerings just seemed sort of lackluster to me. To me, the most surprising announcement is that Fisher Price will be adding Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to its Imaginext line. I didn’t really think that Bandai would allow something like that to happen, but it’s happening! For full coverage of the show, however, be sure to check out Awesome Toy Blog.

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Announced some time ago, there’s a Guardians of the Galaxy cartoon coming to Disney XD. Well, this week, news started trickling out regarding the voice cast for the show. If you follow animated series, a lot of these names will sound familiar. For example, Kevin Michael Richardson will be voicing Groot. Outside of Phil Lamarr, Richardson is the workingest Black man in animation. Meanwhile, Boy Meets World‘s/Batman Beyond‘s Will Friedle will be voicing Star-Lord. I haven’t checked out any of the Disney XD Marvel series, but I might give this one a shot.

Links I Loved

Norm Macdonald tells the story of #SNL40 – Storify

Isn’t the internet big enough for more than one “Angry Asian”? – Reappropriate

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This week also saw the celebration of Saturday Night Live‘s 40th season. Airing over the course of 3 and a half hours Sunday night, the special was a welcome look back on past sketches like Celebrity Jeopardy and Wayne’s World. A lot of the original sketches fell flat, as the Super Bass-o-Matic felt like a Leno-era Tonight Show skit, while I’ve never been a fan of The Californians. To me, the best parts of the night were the true retrospective parts, such as the montage of audition tapes from the likes of Kevin Hart and Zach Galifianakis. There were a few awkward parts of the night, such as the tribute for he’s-not-dead-yet Tracy Morgan (accompanied by a dreadful impression by Alec Baldwin). Also, there’s the debate of whether or not Eddie Murphy “freaked out” onstage. I don’t think Eddie has stage fright, but I do feel like he’s uncomfortable in public. And I kinda can’t blame him, as he’s had a lot of bad luck over the years, from the string of box office bombs to the male prostitute incident back in the 90s. Like Marshawn Lynch, he’s clearly a man who just doesn’t really have a great relationship with the media these days.

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Anyway, half the fun of the special was watching the crowd, as you never quite knew who you might see. There was even a rumor that *NSYNC would reunite, and I have no idea who started that one. Most of them, with the exception of JC Chasez, were in attendance, but it just wasn’t the venue for such a thing. I was more surprised by some of the SNL people from whom we got nothing, like Cheri Oteri. Say what you will, she was just as instrumental to the rebuilding era as Molly Shannon and Maya Rudolph. Sure, the other two have had stronger post-SNL careers, but I figured they could’ve given Oteri a line to say. Hell, even Ellen Cleghorne got a line!

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Anyway, I felt like there was too much emphasis on extremes – either the first season stuff or the recent stuff. A lot of the “in between” years got lost, especially the late 80s/early 90s bunch. In any case, SNL is an institution, and 40 years is an impressive feat. I’ve been wondering if we’ll get an SNL50, seeing as how Lorne is 70 but doesn’t really have a successor. That’s another 10 years, and it just might be too much to hope for. So, we have to appreciate what we do have, which is 40 years of something that has touched a lot of lives. That’s why Saturday Night Live had the West Week Ever.

As a “bonus track”, here’s a pic of the awesome cake from the baby shower:

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07th Jan2015

West YEAR Ever – 2014

by Will

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The time has come to say goodbye to another year, and boy was 2014 a doozy! They say that every day is a blessing, but that was hard to agree with some days last year. It seems like it was rough for a lot of people, and it didn’t help that we had to deal with things like hacks and the word “bae”. In any case, this is where we take a look back and see what kind of year I had as I was bringing you the best in pop culture entertainment. Well, that was the goal, at least. Anyway, let’s get started, shall we?

Milestones of 2014

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I finally gave in to Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga

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Mister Mister squared off against Boy Meets Girl in audio combat

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I was linked by NPR’s Code Switch blog

I met @smurfwreck & @shezcrafti at a toy show

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I discovered that the Quokka exists

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I reviewed Superman: Earth One Volume 2

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I had some thoughts on some comics

I had a Twitter dialogue with the Toy Hunter

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I went to Toy Fair and finally met @MattGuzy, @T16skyhopp, @Preternia_, and @Tekcorps in the flesh!

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I went to Walt Disney World for the first time!

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I dissected the problems with the How I Met Your Mother series finale

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I reviewed the classic Nick Fury Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D.

There was a Free Comic Book Edition of Thrift Justice

I previewed the upcoming fall shows from Fox, ABC, NBC, and CBS

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I examined what made The Cleveland Show special

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I discussed FX’s new comedies Married and You’re The Worst, and got a tweet favorited by co-star Aya Cash.

The cast of Power Rangers Super Megaforce said my name! It’s recorded!

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Special Forces got his own spinoff installment of Thrift Justice!

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I rebooted Three’s Company!


We said goodbye to Jimi Jamison, former lead singer of Survivor

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I made my annual trip to the Baltimore Comic-Con

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I discovered Nymphomaniac and Bojack Horseman

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Special Forces and I made the trip to Wizard World Richmond and I met Tommy, The Green Ranger!

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I did the Warrior Dash in Connecticut

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I finally met @Classickmateria and we (including Special Forces) met up with @LamarRevenger at Retrocon

Lindsay and I celebrated our second anniversary!

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I found out I’m gonna be a daddy!

2014-10-12 13.03.10

I made my return to the New York Comic-Con, where I met up with @Tekcorps and finally met @BionicBigfoot

I was invited to participate in my pal Dex’s Halloween Countdown, over at AEIOU…And Sometimes Why.

I hit post #900 on version 2.0 of the site!

2014 Hidden Tracks

While I tend to talk about everything on the site, there are a few things that happened during 2014 that I never got around to blogging about. First of all, I had my first paid writing gig, which was printed in Bleeding Cool Magazine. I interviewed the creative team behind Boom! Studios’ Hexed ongoing series. Seeing as how almost no comic shops carry Bleeding Cool (and the interview wasn’t published on the website), I have yet to actually see it, but I still got paid, so there’s that.

Near the end of the year, I found myself on TMZ Live, talking about Nicki Minaj’s ass. It all started when I replied to one of TMZ host Harvey Levin’s tweets. The next thing I knew, the TMZ account was asking me if I wanted to be a part of that day’s TMZ Live broadcast. I was getting off work early, so I figured “Why not?” They called me up, and had me talk about Nicki’s ex-boyfriend. Apparently, he’s been having suicidal thoughts since she broke up with him. My response basically boiled down to “Can you blame him? Have you seen dat ass?” I made Harvey laugh. And then they didn’t use the recording. Womp womp.

West Week Ever Recipients of 2014

1/10/14 – Sasheer Zamata

1/17/14 – Michael Douglas

1/24/14 – Richard Sherman

1/31/14 – Ryan Lewis

2/7/14 – Facebook

2/14/14 – Michael Sam

2/21/14 – Chris Pratt

2/28/14 – Jimmy Fallon

3/7/14 – Lupita Nyong’o

3/14/14 – Walt Disney World

3/21/14 – N/A

3/28/14 – Psych

4/4/14 – How I Met Your Mother

4/11/14 – Stephen Colbert

4/25/14 – Lupita Nyong’o

5/2/14 – John Boyega

5/9/14 – Now That’s What I Call Music

5/16/14 – Superman vs. Batman Batsuit

5/23/14 – Michael Jackson

5/30/14 – Charlie Cox

6/6/14 – Ghostbusters

6/20/14 – The Cold Slither Podcast

6/27/14 – Batman (1989)

7/3/14 – Community

7/11/14 – Garth Brooks

7/18/14 – Marvel

7/25/14 – SDCC 2014

8/1/14 – @MattGuzy

8/8/14 – Guardians of the Galaxy

8/22/14 – Taylor Swift

8/29/14 – Full House

9/5/14 – 14 Year Old Boys

9/12/14 – TMZ

9/19/14 – Alex Trebek’s mustache

9/26/14 – Forever

10/3/14 – “The Simpsons Guy”

10/10/14 – The Flash

10/17/14 – Arrow

10/24/14 – Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer

10/31/14 – Marvel Studios

11/7/14 – Taylor Swift

11/21/14 – Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B

12/5/14 – The Flash/Arrow Teamup

12/12/14 – Girl Meets World

12/19/14 – Ascension

12/29/14 – James Lamb and Jenn Fang

Totaling things up, we have a five-way tie, as Lupita Nyong’o, Taylor Swift, Marvel, Flash, and Arrow each won 2 weeks out of the year. Lupita doesn’t clench West Year Ever, as most of her impact came in the beginning of the year. The Flash doesn’t get it because, while it’s a great series, its second West Week Ever win was the result of a teamup between it and Arrow. The same goes for Arrow itself. So, that brings us to Taylor Swift vs. Marvel. Technically, Marvel Comics won one week, while Marvel Studios won another, and they’re not really the same thing. So, that leaves us with Taylor Swift.

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Taylor Swift’s 1989 was arguably the best pop album of 2014. Really a Robyn album in disguise, the synth-heavy 80s-inspired offering picked up the ball from Miley’s 2013 Bangerz and ran with it. It was a milestone for Taylor, as it officially marked her transition from country to the mainstream. She also rocked the industry model, when she took all of her albums off of Spotify. Everyone thinks that streaming is the future, but Taylor is one of the biggest artists to simply state that the model didn’t work for her. In October, she became New York City’s newest ambassador – due in part to her track “Welcome to New York” from the album. 2014 was the year that the ladies took back pop music from the guys, and Taylor led the charge. When everything’s said and done, nobody had a 2014 quite like Taylor Swift, and that’s why she had the West Year Ever.

2014 was also the second full year of West Week Ever, and I couldn’t do it without you, the readers. Thanks for all your support and I hope you’ll stay with me into 2015!

07th Nov2014

West Week Ever – 11/7/14

by Will

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Portlandia season 4 finally made it to Netflix, so I’ve been bingewatching it this week. It’s everything I’ve come to expect from the show, meaning it’s great. I’ve still got 2 more episodes to go, so I hope the season ends as epic as season 2’s “Brunch Village” production.

Marvel

Tuesday saw the premiere of Marvel: 75 Years, From Pulp to Pop! on ABC. While the special was meant to celebrate 75 years of Marvel, they really glossed over some particular parts of Marvel’s history. While the 90s were a dark period for the company, X-Men was still the bestselling comic in the industry, and that was pretty much ignored. They also ignored the influence of the Raimi Spider-Man franchise, basically since they weren’t released by Marvel Studios. Similar to Marvel: Assembling A Universe, this was another self-congratulatory infomercial for Marvel and its movies. I give them credit for not talking about the movies until the last 15 minutes, but it still felt like “Look how awesome we are!” The special also included some footage from the upcoming Agent Carter. While it was nice seeing Howard Stark again, I care almost nothing about this show. It’s hard enough caring about modern-day SHIELD, let alone the 1940s equivalent.

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Tuesday also saw the release of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare on all major video game consoles. I’ve never considered myself a “gamer”, but I’m still addicted to Call of Duty: Black Ops II. So, I actually considered buying the game this week. Then I thought about it, and realized that I still only play one level (“Hijacked”) on BOII, so I still have a lot more game to cover before taking on something new. Plus, I really didn’t feel like dropping $60 on a video game.

The following aired on Adult Swim the other morning at 4AM, and it’s PERFECT. It contains so many 80s tropes, and then it gets WEIRD. I love everything about this:

Things You May Have Missed This Week

-Toy Story 4 is coming. I still haven’t seen the third one, but I’m sure someone’s excited about this.

-It was announced that Star Wars Episode VII Will be called The Force Awakens. A lot of folks hate it. I don’t. In fact, it has me intrigued. Has The Force been asleep? Does it wear pajamas? So many questions!

-It was announced that Craig Ferguson’s final Late Late Show guest will be Jay Leno, on December 19th.

-Elections were Tuesday and everyone seems disappointed – even those whose parties won.

-Benedict Crumbsnatcher, or whatever his name is, got engaged this week.

-Amanda Bynes is still crazy.

-Downton Abbey was renewed for a 6th season.

-Fox canceled ratings-starved reality experiment Utopia.

-Wayne Brady admitted that he suffers from depression.

-Starbucks updated their dress code policy, banning engagement rings with stones. I thought everyone who worked at Starbucks was single anyway…

-New Girl got a new opening sequence, so you won’t be seeing this gem anymore:

Links I Loved

Next Round of Prototype Fetts Hitting Walgreens – Awesome Toy Blog

Rad Review: TMNT Comic Book Raphael – Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang

The Painful What-If That Haunts ‘Ghostbuster’ Ernie Hudson – Entertainment Weekly

Taylor_Swift_-_1989

Selling 1.3 million copies, Taylor Swift’s 1989 posted the best one-week sales since 2002. She’s also the first artist to go platinum this year. Album sales may be in the crapper, but there’s no stopping Ms. Swift. In the ultimate Screw You move, she removed her catalog from Spotify which, no doubt, helped her album sales. She released the following statement:

“If I had streamed the new album, it’s impossible to try to speculate what would have happened. But all I can say is that music is changing so quickly, and the landscape of the music industry itself is changing so quickly, that everything new, like Spotify, all feels to me a bit like a grand experiment. And I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists, and creators of this music. And I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free.”

Spotify pleaded with Taylor to come back, but they also created a “What To Play While Taylor’s Away” playlist. This is the future of music, folks. Anyway, for recordbreaking sales, and for bucking the system, Taylor Swift had the West Week Ever.

05th Sep2014

West Week Ever – 9/5/14

by Will

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On the Netflix front, I’ve watched a few things, but we’ll get to most of that next week. This week, however, I did watch Lavell Crawford: Can A Brother Get Some Love? Most people are familiar with Lavell due to his role as Huell in the later seasons of Breaking Bad, or as a contestant on season 5 of Last Comic Standing. I’d heard about 1/4 of the material before, but it was still funny, as Lavell’s a funny storyteller. He does the usual “White people do this, but Black people do this” thing, but it’s not as trite as it usually is. I definitely recommend it.

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My pal, Keith, came to town and we had an Amazing Spider-Thon. I’d never seen The Amazing Spider-Man, so we started out with that, and the next night we watched The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Why, exactly, do people dislike those movies? I really enjoyed the first one. I’d even go as far as to say that Andrew Garfield was a better Peter Parker than Tobey Maguire. I really liked his performance, and even though I’m a Mary Jane guy, I dug Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy. I mean, the reboot was completely too soon, but I liked what they did with it. I was telling Keith that I was dreading the familiar beats, like the death of Uncle Ben and the stupid wrestling part, but the movie threw a curveball at me and changed both of those aspects of the origin. I will say that the sequel wasn’t without its problems – mainly that I didn’t completely understand Electro’s motivation. I mean, he was invisible to people as a person, so he just wanted to matter. I get that, but why become evil? Considering he idolized Spider-Man, why not team up with his hero rather than try to fight him? It also suffers from Too-Many-Villains-Itis. I didn’t hate it, though; it just wasn’t as good as the first one.

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Speaking of comic movies, The Rock finally confirmed what he’d been hinting at for months: he’ll be portraying the villain Black Adam in a Shazam movie. With everything being so PC these days, are they just gonna call him “Adam”? I don’t know anyone under the age of 60 who’d want a Shazam movie, but good for him.

Matt_Nable

In comic TV news, Matt Nable has been cast as Ra’ Al Ghul for Arrow‘s 3rd season. One of these days, I really need to get back to watching that show. Anyway, I’ve never heard of Nable, and folks are just gonna whine that it should’ve been Liam Neeson, in order to create some fantasy shared universe that doesn’t exist.

The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story aired on Labor Day, but I forgot about it. Luckily, I was able to DVR it later, but I still haven’t gotten around to watching it, so look for my thoughts next week. For now, though, what a terrible title! Couldn’t it have been something like “Behind The Bell: The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story”? It needs a name with some gumption to it!

Selfie

If you curious, Karen Gillan’s Selfie is available to stream on ABC.com. I took some time out of my day last Friday and checked it out. I’m not quite sure how this is going to work as a series. I mean, it would’ve made a decent rom com, but a full fledged TV series? I have my doubts. Basically, it’s an update of My Fair Lady. Eliza Dooley (instead of Doolittle here) is a bit of a social media addict, with tons of Instagram followers. After one really bad day ruins her social media presence, she seeks out the help of a coworker (John Cho) to help rebrand her image. At the beginning, both characters are pretty unlikeable, as Dooley is more vapid than your average teenage girl, while Cho’s character seems to have a hard time fitting into the world around him. By the end, however, there are traces of heart in both characters, but I don’t know if we’re supposed to stick around for Eliza’s transformation or for the inevitable Will They/Won’t They they’re building up between the characters. I don’t see this getting a second season, but we’ll just have to see.

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It was announced that Rosie Perez and former Bush communications chief, Nicolle Wallace, will be joining Rosie and Whoopi on The View this season. Rosie Perez? Really? So, half the hour is just gonna be folks trying to understand what she’s saying, right?

toy-hunter

Multiple outlets are reporting that Toy Hunter may be over. I’m not shedding any tears. While I initially liked seeing all of the rare, old toys, I just couldn’t get past Jordan. In the first season, he was really lowballing folks. He improved over time, but then the show became saturated with D-list celebrity guests who didn’t really fit the show (DMC?). I love toys, but I never really loved the show (I did love the brief period when Julia Collier was his “assistant”). Hopefully, this will end the Toy Hunter Effect of making people think all their worthless attic junk is actually some priceless artifact that ever collector must have. There was definitely an increase in sale prices at toy shows and comic cons because of this mentality, and I’ll be glad to see it go. I know some folks will miss the show, but I’m sure something will come along to fill that void soon.


While he was in town, Keith introduced me to Kung Fury.There was originally a Kickstarter in order to help them raise the funding to make the full short film. They ended up making around $630,000, so something should be coming soon. As a fan of all things ’80s, I can’t wait to see the finished product.

 

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Do you love Ghostbusters? Who doesn’t?! Be sure to head over to The Robot’s Pajamas, as this week is Ghostbusters Week, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the franchise. They’ve got a lot of great features, and they even dusted off the Robot’s Pajama Party Podcast to take part in the festivities.

Links I Loved

4 Reasons Chris Pratt is Totally the Next Tom Hanks – UnderScoopFire!

Marvel Legends X-Men Infinite Series Storm Review – Preternia

TMNT Targetgate – Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang

In Case You Missed It This Week

Jimi Jamison : 1951-2014

boys computer

Ugh, I don’t really know how it came to this, yet here we are.  Over Labor Day weekend, someone hacked into iCloud and leaked nude pics of several female celebrities, including Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst, Jennifer Lawrence, McKayla Maroney, Victoria Justice and more. These pics were posted on 4chan, and later on reddit, under the heading “The Fappening”. While several of the nudes have been reported as fakes, many more were the real deal, exposing moments that were meant to be private. This has sparked debate on whether this was a simple invasion of privacy in the digital age or if this could even be considered a sex crime. I’m not Judge Judy, so I’m not here to get into all that. I will say, however, that it was like having Christmas, your birthday, and your Bar Mitzvah all at the same time if you were a net savvy teenage boy. The threads have since been taken down, but the damage has been done, as PR reps had their work cut out for them this week. Looking past all of the laws broken to get here, this was the stuff that teenage dreams are made of. Which is pretty sad and pathetic. People’s lives were derailed through an invasion of privacy, but these kids just don’t care. To them, it’s just “Yay, titties!” So, that’s why 14 year old boys had the West Week Ever.

02nd Sep2014

Jimi Jamison : 1951-2014

by Will

jamison

I’m sure some folks say that I could’ve waited until West Week Ever for this, but there’s something about West Week Ever that I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned: there’s a strict No Death policy. You see, I figure if I mention one death, I have to mention them all – even when they don’t really mean anything to me. So, I decided to just ignore all of the celebrity deaths. This time, however, I felt like I needed to say something.

Jimi Jamison, former lead singer of Survivor, was found dead yesterday from an apparent heart attack. When you think of ’80s music, you can’t help but think of Survivor, with hits like “Burning Heart” from Rocky IV and “The Search Is Over” (Jamison joined after “Eye of the Tiger” was recorded). I, however, remember Jamison from what I consider to be his greatest contribution to popular culture: “I’m Always Here”, AKA The Baywatch Theme. I spent MANY a Saturday afternoon during my formative years watching syndicated fare on TV, and nothing topped Baywatch. It was the #1 show in most of the world, and it probably brought Jamison’s music to more people than the Survivor stuff did. I LOVE the Hell out of that theme song, and it’s how I’ll always remember Jimi Jamison. So, my thoughts and prayers are with his family, and to remember him by, here’s “I’m Always Here”:

27th Jun2014

West Week Ever – 6/27/14

by Will

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Last week, I finally got to see 22 Jump Street, and it was HILARIOUS. It’s the same exact movie as the first one, but it pokes fun at that fact. If you’ve seen the movie, then you know that the end credits show what the next sequels would look like in the franchise, like 23 Jump Street: Medical School and 41 Jump Street: Magic School. I want ALL of these sequels to happen!

Elden Henson

There’s been a lot of movement on the casting for the Netflix Daredevil series. While I was on my bye week, they announced that Rosario Dawson had been cast in an important role – believed by many to be Elektra. Yesterday, it was announced that Elden Henson had been cast as Matt Murdock’s friend and legal partner, Foggy Nelson. Apparently he was in The Mighty Ducks, but it’s been so long since I’ve seen those movies that I don’t remember him.

The Flash

The pilot for The Flash leaked this week, and I had to watch it. Usually, I’d do a whole post on the thing, but I figure I’ll wait until everyone’s had a chance to see it. Barry has a Spider-Man quality to him, which makes me like him. It’s better than Smallville, and more engaging to me than Arrow. Nice Easter eggs (Ferris Air, Iron Heights, etc). It’s gonna be like Smallville/Misfits, though, where every villain of the week is gonna be a result of the same phenomenon that created him. I won’t say any more, so as not to give away spoilers, but I’ll just say that the final scene gave me chills. Oh, and I love Tom Cavanagh in everything, so there’s that.

Goldbergs

Speaking of TV, when does The Goldbergs get great? I mean, ABC’s been airing it twice every Wednesday, giving me a chance to catch up on the show that all my friends love. That said, I like it, but don’t love it. Does it hit its stride at some point? Is this it? I really want to love it, but something’s missing for me. Maybe I just don’t wanna revisit the 80s. Maybe it’s the fact that it won’t commit to a year, instead going with “1980-something”.

I don’t watch Game of Thrones, but someone redid the credits as if the show were an 80s action series.

I’d totally watch this show.

I never watched Wacky Races, but I did enjoy the “Fender Bender 500″ shorts on Wake, Rattle, and Roll. This was a pretty cool commercial, giving us a live action Wacky Race.

I hate when a song paints a pretty clear story that’s completely ignored by the video. That’s the case with Lady Antebellum’s “Bartender”. In the song, a girl’s trying to get over her ex, so she needs a night out where all she does is drink and dance. It even goes as far to spell out what she’s wearing (favorite dress and sky high leather boots). The video does NONE of this. Instead, it has Kate Upton getting into a drinking contest with Arrested Development/Veep‘s Tony Hale. I guess it’s good for all you Kate Upton fans, but she’s dressed like a housewife.

I received my first check this week for work done for a comic company. That’s a pretty big milestone for me, and I kinda don’t wanna cash the check. Something like that should be framed! Anyway, I’ll talk more about it when I’m given the OK. It’s really nothing major, so don’t get too excited.

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Be sure to check out my review of Mattel’s DC Multiverse figures over at The Nerds of Color. I’m not really an action figure reviewer, and it shows, but I still had a few thoughts on the movie-inspired figures.

Links I Loved

Hey Squirrels, Electric Hatchback Cars, 80s Lovers and Cheap Piñatas – Can We Talk? – UnderScoopFire!

The Drive (and Despair) of The Rock: Dwayne Johnson on His Depression, Decision to Fire Agents and Paul Walker’s Death – The Hollywood Reporter

Mr. Serious Presents: A Love Letter to Batman ’89 – UnderScoopFire!

Looking Back at Batman: The Animated Series – The Nerds of Color

Batman-Logo

So, this week saw the 25th anniversary of 1989’s Batman, which ushered in a new era of comic book movies. It also seemed to have a profound effect on the lives of geeks everywhere. In the past week, I’ve been on 2 separate podcasts about the impact that the movie had on pop culture, plus my pals over at The Nerds of Color have christened this “Bat Week” in honor of the anniversary. Since I’ve been on those podcasts, I really don’t have much more to say about the movie than what I said there. If you’re interested, check out the final episode of The Cold Slither Podcast, as well as the latest episode of Hard N.O.C. Life. In any case, for making us believe a man could dress up like a bat and fight crime, Batman had the West Week Ever.

16th Jan2014

Track Star: Mr. Mister Vs. Boy Meets Girl

by Will

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Welcome to Track Star! Don’t know the rules? Read this first

Today’s Challengers:

Mr. Mister – Welcome To The Real World vs. Boy Meets Girl – Reel Life

Today, we’re pitting two ’80s acts against each other. Mr. Mister had a hit song to which nobody seemed to know the words, while Boy Meets Girl were a songwriting act who weren’t used to being in the spotlight themselves. This time around, we’ve got a sampling of 6 songs from each group. Who’ll take the crown in this round of Track Star?

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Mr. Mister is a group known for two particular songs and, luckily, they both happen to be on Welcome To The Real World. This was actually the group’s second album, but served as a breakthrough since it included the #1 singles “Kyrie” and “Broken Wings”. This is a VERY ’80s album, as evidenced by the song “Don’t Slow Down”, which seems like it was written for a movie montage. “Run To Her” is a beautiful ballad, reminiscent of “Broken Wings” – known to every child of the ’80s. “Is It Love” is so ’80s that it’s wearing legwarmers and shoulder pads. Everyone knows “Kyrie”, even if they don’t know what’s being said (for the record, it’s “Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel.” It’s Latin for “Lord, have mercy.”). The album wraps up with the title track, “Welcome To The Real World”, which sounds like another montage anthem.

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Best known for their song “Waiting For A Star To Fall”, Boy Meets Girl spent most of the ’80s in the shadows of other people. The group was comprised of the songwriting duo of George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam. They wrote Whitney Houston’s hits “How Will I Know” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”, while they provided background vocals on Deniece Williams’s “Let’s Hear It For The Boy”. In 1988, they released Reel Life, which included their hit “Waiting…”, along with 9 other songs. I love this album because they sound like the prototype for the California Dreams – strong female vocals, great harmonies, and a sweet, poppy sound. The Dreams comparison begins with the opening track, “Bring Down The Moon”, which, then, leads us right into “Waiting For A Star To Fall”. Next up, “Stormy Love” and “If You Run” just further the comparison between Boy Meets Girl and the Dreams. “Restless Dreamer” is one of the strongest tracks on the album. Because this came later in the decade, I have to say that this feels and sounds more like a ’90s album than an ’80s album. Just listening to this and Mr. Mister back to back, it’s apparent that they weren’t contemporaries. The album closes out with “Someone’s Got To Send Out Love”, which is giving off a California Dreams ballad feel. Considering my love for that show and those songs, I’m really pulling for this album to win this round. Can it do it, though? Let’s find out.

You really could’ve seen where this one was headed, as I simply loved Reel Life. Sure, it suffers from “they all sound the same”-itis, but that’s not a problem if you’re a fan of that sound. At the end of the day, Reel Life just has more repeat “listenability” to me than Welcome To The Real World. Sure, there’s “Kyrie” and “Broken Wings”, but there’s not a whole lot other than those two. There are strong, serviceable tracks on the album, but they just aren’t as consistent as the songs on Reel Life. I feel like Boy Meets Girl have aged better, even though Mr. Mister are included on every 80s collection infomercial. It’s the “hidden gem” nature of Reel Life that really went a long way in this match-up.

The Winner:

Boy Meets Girl – Reel Life

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For those playing along at home, agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments!

20th Sep2013

West Week Ever – 9/20/13

by Will

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So, last Saturday, Lindsay and I did the Color in Motion 5K. It was the first 5K for both of us, and it went pretty well. Like other color runs, there are stations set up along the route where volunteers NAIL you with a corn starch colored powder. For a good chunk of the race, I was blind in my left eye from where the red volunteer just went crazy on the left side of my face. Seeing as how a 5K is roughly 3 miles, I can say that I ran the first mile without stopping. Then, I realized I’d lost Lindsay, so I looked for her and we walked the rest of the way. Once done, I gave myself a baby wipes bath in the parking lot, and then headed up to Retro Con.

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Retro Con, held outside of Philly, is a celebration of all things from the 80s and 90s. The vendors had everything from Transformers to Nintendo games. But I wasn’t there for the vendors. No, I was there for a mega Twitter meetup, as I’d finally get to meet a lot of my online friends for the first time. And it did not disappoint. Over the course of the day, I met @claymationhowl, @JohnDoctorKent, @FakeEyes22, @meistershake, @bmorin54, @doubledumbass, @P0LISHPHEN0M, @howardthedeck, @chapmanrunner, @monsterfink, and I reconnected with @lamarrevenger. Using the UnderScoopFire table as home base, we took turns taking tours of the place to see what we could find. Mostly we just found overpriced collectibles. I’d taken some Will’s World of Wonder stock to sell, but there weren’t many takers. In fact, it seemed like other dealers were doing most of the buying from each other. I had a rather tacky experience where I sold a Batman figure to a guy for $15. Later on, I found out he had a vendor table, and as I walked up, he tapped the figure, saying “Thanks for the hookup, man.” That’s when I noticed he had a $30 price tag on it. Needless to say, he ended up taking it home unsold. There were also retro cars like K.I.T.T., the General Lee, and the Back to the Future Delorean, but I ended up only seeing the DeLorean (I’d forgotten about the others until they had already left). Wanna see some pics?

I think I was this kid's first black experience. Even after I finished taking the pic, he continued to blast me until his mom made him stop.

I think I was this kid’s first black experience. Even after I finished taking the pic, he continued to blast me until his mom made him stop.

 

Flash Gordon and blerds!

Flash Gordon and blerds!

 

"I pity the fool who thinks I'm Chris Kirkpatrick!"

“I pity the fool who thinks I’m Chris Kirkpatrick from *NSYNC!”

Fighting evil by moonlight...

Fighting evil by moonlight…

 

It's my first Joe

It’s my first Joe!

 

Yeah, I collect Toy Fair catalogs, but there was no way I was paying $75 for this.

Yeah, I collect Toy Fair catalogs, but there was no way I was paying $75 for this.

This has become my most popular Instagram pic.

This has become my most popular Instagram pic.

 

In other news…

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Since all the cool kids were talking about it, I decided to go out and seek some of those limited edition monster cereals that are hitting Target. Since Count Chockula and Boo Berry are kinda pedestrian, I went for the deeper cuts of Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute. I’d never had them growing up, as I wasn’t allowed to have much sugary cereal. So, what did I think? As an adult fan of sugary cereals, I was disappointed. Yummy Mummy is described as “orange cream flavored”, but it misses something. You see, I expected it to be infused with a citrusy twang, but it’s really just “orange” in scent and surface. At the end of the day, it’s just another sweetened corn cereal, but it doesn’t really do as much for its fruit side as Froot Loops or Crunchberries do. I killed the box yesterday morning and proceeded to open the Frute Brute – which is the same exact cereal, only orange-cream is traded for cherry. According to my taste buds, Yummy Mummy won the matchup.

arsenio

Arsenio Watch, Week 2: I quit. I’m not the biggest fan of myself, but I love myself enough to not endure that torture anymore.

I tend to wake up late in the mornings, so I watch a lot of daytime TV, like Jerry Springer and Judge Mathis. Since those shows are geared towards the unemployed, all the commercials are either for payday loans or unaccredited for-profit colleges being pimped by Lil Romeo. One, however, caught my eye recently. It’s for Kaplan University’s School of Nursing, and it stars a cute girl who’s updating her social media profile on her first day of nursing. All her friends and family are getting the message and congratulating her as she goes about her day. Then they show one of the “patients”:

2013-09-12 07.59.04

WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?! KILL IT WITH FIRE!!! You probably can’t tell because this picture was taken with a tube TV, but this guy looks like one of those soulless CG characters from The Polar Express. Uncanny Valley!!!! Someone had to have complained because I haven’t seen this commercial in a week. I found it on YouTube, and that scene is mysteriously missing:

Who can help me solve this mystery?!

Links I Loved

Magneto Was Right – The Nerds of Color

Rubber-Suit Monsters Fade. Tiny Tokyos Relax. – The New York Times

The History of the Trapper Keeper – Mental Floss

That ep of the No Topic Required Podcast that I mentioned last week has been posted, and you can listen to it here.

I’m not even gonna play the usual games. Considering all the friends I got to meet, it’s no contest that Retro Con had the West Week Ever. Make sure you follow them all on Twitter!

Me and Howie Decker

Me and Howie

Me and Corey

Me and Corey

Me and Tank

Me and Tank

 

Howie, Tank, Brian, and Dean

Howie, Tank, Brian, and Dean

 

See you guys next year, if not sooner!