17th Apr2014

Adventures West Coast – Nick Fury Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. TPB

by Will

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In light of recent events in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as well as Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., I figured it’d be a good time to finally read this tale. Upon reading it, it’s clear that it was more of an inspiration for The Winter Soldier than the actual Winter Soldier storyline. As it’s a miniseries from the 80s, it predates the debut of the Winter Soldier by about twenty years, but that doesn’t change things. Nick Fury discovers that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been infiltrated, and he goes on the run as an enemy of the state. Sound familiar? Lets take a closer look.

When the story starts, Fury and other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are trying to recover the nuclear power core from the recently destroyed helicarrier. The minute it seems like the core is secure, A.I.M. and Hydra attack and steal the core. Thanks to a well-placed deep cover agent, Fury discovers that the core is actually in the possession of the evil Roxxon Corporation. When he reports back to his superiors, they cut him off and say they’ll look into it. Next thing Fury knows, The Council is saying that there’s no evidence against Roxxon, and it appears his deep cover agent has been brainwashed. Suddenly, Fury is wanted for treason, and is forced to go on the run from his own organization.

While Fury’s on the run, we find out that people aren’t who they say they are, as several S.H.I.E.L.D. agents have been replaced by clones. Jasper Sitwell is placed in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D. and he leads the search for Fury. Sitwell meets with both Avengers teams, as well as the Fantastic Four, and warns them not to aid Fury. With no heroes to turn to, Fury is forced to turn to deep cover agent Alexander Pierce. Unlike in The Winter Soldier, Pierce is not Fury’s boss, but rather another sleeper agent who’s a little rusty since he’s been out of the game for a while. While escaping several ambushes, Fury and Pierce piece together a ragtag group that includes Al McKenzie, the CIA liaison to S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as an incarnation of Madame Hydra – all in an attempt to figure out what’s been going on with S.H.I.E.L.D.  Here’s where the similarities end, and the third act gets kinda weird.

The person behind the whole S.H.I.E.L.D. infiltration was a Life Model Decoy (LMD) that gained a sense of independence. It was originally designed to maintain areas that were too dangerous for human agents, and it increased its objective to be on a global scale. Instead of maintaining S.H.I.E.L.D.’s systems, it sought to maintain humanity. In order to do this, the LMD worked its way through S.H.I.E.L.D., replacing key people with Deltites – flesh and blood clones with malleable personalities. This expanded into almost a game, as the LMD eventually controlled S.H.I.E.L.D., A.I.M., Hydra, Roxxon, and The Council. Deltites would help him assert control over humanity, but there was a problem: the Deltites decayed at a rapid rate, so the clones kept having to be recreated. Like copying a tape, the further you got away from the source, the worse the copy. So, the only way to make sure the Deltites didn’t decay was to infuse them with the Infinity Formula that keeps Fury from aging.

There’s a whole bunch of other craziness, like the LMD created a false religion and disciples in order to serve the Deltites, and Hydra kills a village of a couple thousand people. In the end, S.H.I.E.L.D. is ordered to disband.

So, in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, both Nick Fury and Captain America share the comic Fury role. Both were betrayed by S.H.I.E.L.D. and both go on the run. In the movie, it makes more sense that the agency would be infiltrated by Hydra rather than by an LMD – a concept that hasn’t even been introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe at this time. Sitwell finds himself on the wrong side of history, and both stories end with S.H.I.E.L.D. being dismantled.

At this point, I’m not even sure this miniseries is considered canon. A lot of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who were replaced by Deltites are still around, even though they were supposedly killed when the switch took place. Clay Quartermain, Jimmy Woo, and Jasper Sitwell are all key agents who were killed in the story, yet there’s been no mention of it since.

So, do I recommend this story? Sure. If you’re like me, and you’ve always been curious about how S.H.I.E.L.D. operates, it’s a really interesting story. It even references the Academy, which I didn’t even know existed until it was featured on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  The first two acts are suspenseful in the same vein as The Winter Soldier, and it’s just unfortunate that the final act is bogged down with an exploration of what it means to be human and to have a soul. It really kills the suspenseful mood, and I don’t feel like it stuck the landing. Still, if you’re looking for a comic that mostly feels like The Winter Soldier, this is a good place to start.

11th Apr2014

West Week Ever – 4/11/14

by Will

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So, the week started out with me finally getting to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Not only did I enjoy it immensely, but I have no fanboy quibbles with it whatsoever. I can’t, however, say the same for my comic shop guy. He pointed out that the Howling Commandos exhibit shouldn’t have been in the Air & Space Museum, seeing as how Cap had nothing to do with air and/or space. Touche. Anyway, we’ve all seen the movie, so I’m not gonna dedicate too much time to that here.

HBO's "True Detective" Season 1 / Director: Cary Fukunaga

I burned through as much premium cable as I could before Watchathon Week ended. I checked out True Detective solely because @OAFE made a Twitter reference about Alexandra Daddario’s breasts that I didn’t understand. Well, I’d also heard the show was good, yadda yadda yadda. As much as I enjoyed the characters and their struggles, I couldn’t follow the Yellow King case to save my life. Am I dumb? Did anyone else have this problem? I could watch another entire season of Marty and Rust, but I couldn’t give two shits about the case they’re working on.

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It turns out that House of Lies was, in fact, a part of Watchathon Week; they must’ve added it after I was already watching Girls. I finally finished the second season, and got about 4 episodes into season 3 before I passed out and Watchathon Week ended. I have a strange relationship with House of Lies. When the show premiered, I watched the pilot on Showtime’s website. At the time, I thought “Nobody’s as diabolical as Marty Kaan.” Then, I met someone who was. And he tried to take me down. I’m not even being dramatic. It was at my last job, and this guy just didn’t care who he hurt. He was out for himself. So, he threw me under the bus. My only solace is that I took him down with me. So, now when I watch House of Lies, I’ve gone from disbelieving Marty to loathing him. Still can’t fight the fact that he’s so damn entertaining, though.

Speaking of Don Cheadle, I’m not trying to constantly promote Arsenio, but I thought this was a funny clip:

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I caught HBO’s Silicon Valley on YouTube, mainly because it was a Mike Judge show. Now, I read Fast Company, and I like startup culture, but that show did absolutely nothing for me. Maybe I’m just not into the tech world enough to care. Guy creates music site with hidden potential, which sparks a bidding war amongst industry giants. I get that much, but it just wasn’t funny enough, especially considering it had TJ Miller and Kumail Nanjiani. I’d say I’ll give it another shot, but I don’t have HBO, so I guess it’ll have to wait until the next Watchathon Week.

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Wrestlemania 30 was this week, and the day that I’ve dreaded finally happened: The Undertaker’s streak ended. If you’re not a wrestling fan, The Undertaker is a relic of a bygone age – when wrestlers had gimmicks and stage names. He dresses like an undertaker/goth priest/redneck biker, doesn’t say much, and has been an institution for almost 25 years. He’s my favorite wrestler because he’s the only one who harkens back to the old days. If he debuted today, his name would simply be Mark Calaway, and he’d have nothing special about him. Anyway, he had never lost at Wrestlemania, and his streak was 21-0. Now, before I get the people on here with the whole “wrestling isn’t real” argument, I know that. I’m not a moron. Still, within the confines of a storyline, you have to admit that a 21-year gimmick is kinda impressive. In recent years, Taker really only came out for Wrestlemania, and then spent the rest of the year in physical therapy. I mean, he’s a 49 year old man who’s been taking abuse for 30 years. That’s got to take a toll on a body. Folks have been expecting his retirement for years now, but I don’t think anyone actually believed he’d lose Sunday night. All eyes are on what his next move might be, as Sunday may have been The Dead Man’s last match. If that’s the truth, I know I’ll be sad, as he was a big part of my childhood. This guy took it harder than most:

Shocked WWE

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Sadly, I have to make a correction from last week. It turns out that the NERF Nuke was, in fact, an April Fools joke. So, there will be no thermonuclear foam warfare in the near future. Sad face emoticon.

Links I Loved

Captain America is a Traitor, and Other Narrative Problems in the Winter Soldier – Reappropriate

Top 15 80′s and 90′s Board Games – Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang

11 Essential Ultimate Warrior Items Every Fan Should Have – UnderScoopFire!

That’s It, I’m Done with NECA – The Robot’s Pajamas

It’s the Mall Showdown: Old Malls vs. New Malls – Retroist

Colbert

In just a week since the announcement of David Letterman’s retirement, Stephen Colbert has been announced as the next host of The Late Show. As I said last week, I was always Team Leno, so I’m not quite sure how this announcement affects me. I’ve reached a point where I don’t really watch any late night talk shows anymore because the best stuff will be online the next morning anyway. So, it’s a bit of an antiquated model. Still, this is a big move for Colbert, whom I’ve always enjoyed when I caught his show (as opposed to Stewart, who I find smug and insufferable). I’ll definitely check out his first night and, who knows, this might be the show to make me tune into late night talk again. The Late Show doesn’t have the same legacy as The Tonight Show, but it’s still a big deal to be following in Letterman’s footsteps. There were very few people on my shortlist, and Colbert was right up there, so I’m not disappointed. I look forward to seeing what he brings to late night, and for that, Stephen Colbert had the West Week Ever.

04th Apr2014

West Week Ever – 4/4/14

by Will

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So, I finally got around to watching American Hustle, or as I like to call it, The movie where fat Batman’s married to Mystique, and he, Lois Lane, and Rocket Raccoon screw over Hawkeye. The real star of the film is Amy Adams’s deep cleav, as those puppies are showcased in every scene she’s in. In all, it was an entertaining movie, but I’m not sure I get what all the hype was about.

lettermanThe biggest news of the week is that David Letterman announced last night that he would be retiring next year after 22 years. I’ve, shamefully, always been Team Leno so I don’t really have a horse in this race. Part of me kinda wishes CBS would pull out of late night entirely, as the field has gotten too crowded with late night talk shows. That said, with Chelsea Handler ending Chelsea Lately, this would be the perfect time to get her on a network late night show. I’ve also read that CBS is interested in Colbert, whose Comedy Central deal ends soon. I, however, like the idea of Tina Fey, but I’m not sure she’d want to potentially jeopardize her development deal with NBC. Either way, it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

himymThis week saw the long-awaited series finale of How I Met Your Mother. As a fan from the very beginning of the show, I have to say that I was disappointed. I’m going to be dropping spoilers, so you might wanna skip ahead if you don’t want to see them. When the show began, it was under the premise that Ted Mosby was telling his kids about how he met their mother. It always seemed a bit odd that he would linger on all of the other women he banged, especially Robin Scherbatsky (yup, I spelled that correctly without even looking it up!). Well, at the end of the series, we find out that Robin and Barney got a divorce three years into their marriage, and that Ted is actually telling his story 6 years after The Mother has died (which I called years ago). So, in essence, telling the story was Ted’s way of getting the kids’ blessing to ask “Aunt Robin” out on a date. So, despite the quest for The Mother, and the will they/won’t they between Ted and Robin, the story ends with Ted and Robin, seemingly, together.

I have several problems with this ending. First of all, I feel betrayed by the final season. Season 9 took place over the span of Robin & Barney’s wedding weekend, all leading up to the big day the week before the finale. Then, merely 20 minutes into said finale, we find out that their marriage only lasted 3 years. Why make us invest that much into the marriage when it was always doomed to fail? Why make us buy into the notion that Robin & Barney were meant to be, when it was all just a stalling tactic? That leads into my second problem with the ending: the timing.

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Ted and Robin had been given too many chances, and Ted had finally gotten to the point of letting go. Had this ending occurred, say, 4 seasons ago, I probably would’ve been fine with it. That said, 9 years was too long for them to simply say “Ted ends up with Robin after all.” Plus, it’s almost like a cop-out. In an exit interview, Josh Radnor points out “…and he wins in the end; he gets both girls.” NO! Ted Mosby has always been about finding The One. His eternal optimism of finding that one special person is the driving force of the show. While people like to say that this story was about the journey and not the destination, that’s not entirely true. It’s about Ted telling his kids about how he eventually found the woman who changed his life and, in turn, gave him said children. For Ted to end up with Robin, he’s essentially telling them that she was The One the whole time, and that The Mother was really just another in a long line of women that he had to meet in order to reach that realization. What a slap in the face to the kids! I’m not OK with that.

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In many ways, the ending was always telegraphed. After all, the show was called How I Met Your Mother and NOT How I Met My Wife, so it was clear that The Mother was out of the picture in some capacity, be it death or divorce. And there was always an added emphasis on Robin – enough so that even the kids picked up on it. Another telling aspect, though, is that the creators once said in an interview that had the show ended a lot earlier, they were going to say that pastry chef Victoria (played by Ashley Williams) was The Mother. If the role of The Mother was so interchangeable, and the ending had been known since the beginning, then she’s clearly not integral to the actual ending of the show. We all should have seen the Robin thing coming, and I feel a little foolish that I wasn’t honest enough with myself to acknowledge that earlier. It’s just that it was NINE SEASONS, and they tried so hard to sell us on Robin & Barney that the lengthy misdirection is almost unforgivable. So, I could accept Ted & Robin, happily ever after, in a 5 season show, but I just can’t accept that as the ending for a 9-year journey.

Speaking of the 9-year stint, the ending came at the cost of character growth. We had watched Barney Stinson mature and finally realize he could settle down with one woman, who happened to be Robin. He burned The Playbook and put a ring on it. Sure, even though the wedding didn’t last, it didn’t make sense for him to just automatically revert back to old womanizing Barney. What about the lessons he’d learned, or the personal growth he’d experienced? The Barney that we saw in the finale was the Barney we saw for the first 6 seasons of the show – another indicator that the show could’ve ended years ago.

When Seinfeld ended, the finale bothered me so much that I didn’t watch the reruns for 10 years. I’m not sure that’s the case here. If anything, I’ll probably rewatch with a more careful eye, but I’m still not happy about how it went out. Maybe in time, I can find some more appreciation in it. After all, some folks out there liked it, but I never really liked the Ted & Robin pairing, so that ending just didn’t do it for me.

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This is Xfinity’s Watchathon Week, where they let you watch full seasons of a ton of shows on demand. Last year, I was introduced to Girls and House of Lies. For some reason, Showtime shows aren’t included this year, so I’m still a year behind on House of Lies and will be for the foreseeable future. So far, I’ve bingewatched season 3 of Girls and I still find them all deplorable. It felt like one of those shows that splits its seasons into 2 parts, as there’s almost no growth amongst any of the characters. It was just 12 episodes where stuff happened, but there was no real forward movement. I’m also trying to get into Veep, but it’s just not doing it for me. I should enjoy it, as I like the cast, but the show isn’t hitting the right notes. I think part of the problem is the dialogue is somewhat rapid-fire, and I really wanted something I could casually have on in the background. I’m tempted to try to get into Game of Thrones, but Watchathon Week ends Monday, and I’m not sure I can get through the first 3 seasons in that span of time.

FamilyFeud2007LogoI recently wondered if there’d ever been a Family Feud episode where one person had won the Fast Money segment on their own. It turns out it’s been done, but it was during the Ray Combs (RIP) era.

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It’s been announced that Pharrell will officially replace Cee Lo on The Voice. I was really hoping for someone as flamboyant as Cee Lo. To be honest, I was really hoping it would go to Gaga. The show needs another female on the panel, and she brings just the right amount of weird to counter Xtina. Plus, Gaga’s in a bit of a transitional period, and it would be interesting to see her cultivate the Little Monsters into future stars. Alas, it’s not to be, as Pharrell and his fountain of youth will be occupying that fourth chair.

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Has anyone seen this thing? It’s a NERF Nuke! It fires EIGHTY darts and there’s even a Nuke launcher that lets it explode from the air. I’d never pay $100 for it, but I MUST see one in action!

Links I Loved

Why We Deserved More From The “How I Met Your Mother” Series Finale – BuzzFeed

The How I Met Your Mother Finale Bailed on the Entire Show – Vulture

Watching Movies in the 80′s. Good Times. – Cool and Collected

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I know I made my case against the finale, but How I Met Your Mother, as a franchise, had the West Week Ever. As much as I disliked the ending, you can’t shake a stick at a successful 9-season run. For its endurance, I’m not quite sure it got the thanks it deserved from CBS. In the past, when long-running shows ended, there was usually some kind of fanfare from the network. When Married…With Children ended, Fox ran a screen card thanking them for all the laughs. USA Network aired the Psych After Pshow after Psych‘s finale last week. NBC has always dedicated the whole night to finales, be it Cheers or Seinfeld. Those shows got one-hour retrospectives, followed by the series finale. Hell, the city of Boston even declared it Cheers Day on the day of its finale, and the cast all appeared on The Tonight Show. I’m not saying that HIMYM was on a Cheers or Seinfeld level, but it had been a staple of CBS Monday nights for almost a decade. Instead of honoring that, CBS rushed it off the air (seriously, what Fall-launching show has a March finale?), and used it to prop up the premiere of Friends with Better Lives. Sure, Cobie Smulders did Letterman that night, but in terms of “look back” specials, the closest thing we got was the cast’s appearance on Inside The Actor’s Studio last week. That was not, however, a gesture by CBS. Maybe that’s just not in CBS’s DNA. After all, I don’t remember similar gestures for Murphy Brown (10 seasons), Everybody Loves Raymond (9 seasons) or Walker, Texas Ranger (8 seasons) – three other longrunning CBS staples. I guess “The Tiffany Network” is too good for a simple “Thanks for all you’ve done for us.” So, if HIMYM can’t get the respect it deserves from its own network, the least I can do is respect it here. It may not have ended to my liking, but it still gave me 9 years of laughter. For that reason, How I Met Your Mother had the West Week Ever.

28th Mar2014

West Week Ever – 3/28/14

by Will

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I haven’t really used Netflix in a few weeks, so no news on that front. I RedBoxed American Hustle, but haven’t had the chance to watch it yet. I have, however, been watching a LOT of TV. First up, let’s talk about Chrisley Knows Best. Cable has so much faith in this show that it airs on almost as many networks as Cosmos. Todd Chrisley made a ton of money in real estate, and the show follows him and his super rich family. One son has a halfy baby, one daughter got a boob job, and another daughter got a Mercedes for her 16th birthday. Ya know, normal people stuff. The hook is that they supposedly have “real people problems” even though they seem so extravagant. I wanted to hate them, but it is an entertaining show. One draw, especially, is the “Is He or Isn’t He?” pertaining to Todd’s sexuality. In this day and age, it shouldn’t matter, but here’s this guy with 5 kids and a happy family, who also seems to be really gay ( and there’s nothing wrong with that!). When I first saw the commercials, I thought it was some sort of Queer Eye reboot, where he’d take some poor schlubs and make their lives fabulous. Contrary to belief, though, he’s a married man…who may be living a lie. Well, I’m gonna keep watching just in case there’s a “very special reveal” one episode…

Thrift Hunters - Spike

Have any of you been watching Thrift Hunters? For a few years, I’ve been a member of a Facebook group called Thrifting With The Boys, which is a gathering of fellow thrifters who share tips and tricks. Well, the creators of the group – Jason T. Smith and Bryan Goodman – have been given their own show on Spike TV. Airing on Saturday nights, it’s a formula you’ve seen before: think American Pickers but in antique and thrift shops. The guys are likable enough, and it doesn’t feel as forced as a lot of reality TV. Unlike Storage Wars, where the buyers just assign a value to the items they find, you actually get to see the guys sell their stuff on eBay, so you get an idea as to how much profit they made.

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Along the lines of reality TV, I used to be a big fan of The Real Housewives of New York City. I never thought I’d be a Real Housewives fan, and I’ve been able to avoid all the other incarnations. Still, something about NYC appealed to me because they were SO over the top and always fighting. Whether it was Bethenny vs. Jill, or The Countess saying something stupid, it was always entertaining. Then, they went and changed the cast on me. They fired most of the cast and hired new housewives, whom I loathed. I eventually stopped watching and was pretty convinced it had been canceled. This week, I found out that it does, in fact, still exist. It seems they’ve gotten rid of The Countess on a regular basis, and Ramona’s the only original housewife left. I can’t imagine how boring the show must be now. I tried to watch an episode, but the quality drama wasn’t there anymore. One of them was crying because her husband made her do a mud run, one of the chicks has a fake leg, and the others…well the others are just boring. I might tune in to the episodes where Countess LuAnn makes a cameo, but I think I’m officially done with the ladies of the Big Apple.

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It took me a while to come around to it, but Rick and Morty might just be my new favorite show. Created by Community‘s Dan Harmon, and airing Mondays on Adult Swim, the show follows old drunk scientist Rick and his grandson Morty as they get in crazy adventures. I’m totally underselling it, as the “adventures” are a lot more complex than I’m making them sound. In one episode, Rick buys Morty an alien sex robot, who ends up pregnant with Morty’s baby. Did I mention Morty’s 12 years old? Anyway, I bingewatched every episode that Comcast had on demand and I LOVE it. I can’t wait for more episodes.

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Speaking of bingewatching, I caught up on the last month worth of Enlisted. I realized, however, that Fox has been airing them out of order. I hate when networks do that.  Anyway, I’ve written about the show in the past, so I have to ask: Why are you not watching this show? I hear that The Goldbergs has a lot of heart and that there aren’t a lot of shows on the air like that anymore. Well, Enlisted has a lot of heart, too, and it’s a shame that Fox buried it on Friday nights. I really think it would’ve been a great companion show for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but they had to go with Dads instead. If you haven’t seen it yet, you may not get a chance, as Fox is pulling it from their schedule for Kitchen Nightmares, but they promise it’ll be back at some point. So, be sure to watch it TONIGHT at 9 PM EST!

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Remember how I didn’t want to give West Week Ever to the Muppets last week? Well, I was in the right, as Muppets Most Wanted flopped. I’ve got to say that I’m actually surprised, but it just seems like nobody really wanted to see the movie. I blame Ricky Gervais. I mean, I don’t feel like paying $14 to see Gervais convince Kermit that there’s no God. While we’re on the topic of flops, did anyone go see Need for Speed? I haven’t come across anyone who’s admitted to having seen it. According to IMDB, it has only made back half of its estimated $66 million budget. Let’s hope it does well overseas and on Blu Ray.

The new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles teaser trailer came out yesterday, and folks are already up in arms ’cause it’s a Michael Bay production. I saw it and I didn’t hate it. The thing about TMNT that people forget is that the franchise is revised every few years for a new generation. Everyone likes to act like the Fred Wolf cartoons are the “original”, but try telling that to the fans of the original comic series. At this point, there’s the comic, the Fred Wolf cartoon, the first movie trilogy, The Next Mutation, the 2003 series, the 2007 animated movie, the current Nick cartoon, and now the Bay movie. Everyone has “their” incarnation of TMNT, and this movie is just another in a long line. There’s no need to be too upset, ’cause there’ll be another one along in a few years. The only thing that’s odd is why they would take such a departure from the current cartoon when it’ll still be on the air when the movie’s released. I mean, in “Bay Turtles”, April’s father created the Turtles, and they seem to be about 7 feet tall – none of which is reflected in the current Nick series. So, that seems kinda confusing, but it’s not the end of the world. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie came out while the show was on the air, and it took a lot of liberties with the franchise, so this is just another example of that.

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Speaking of trailers, the new X-Men: Days of Future Past trailer came out this week. Maybe it’s because I’ve settled into suckling at the teat of Marvel Studios, but this thing does absolutely nothing for me. I don’t trust Bryan Singer, and the movie just looks like a bunch of dark angst. I know folks are excited, and I enjoyed First Class, but this ain’t by the guy who gave us First Class. This is the guy who gave us X2: X-Men United (yay!) AND Superman Returns (boo!). Kind of a mixed bag there. I’ll see it, but I may not see it in theaters. I waited until both First Class & The Wolverine were on DVD before I saw them, and that might be the case here, too.

While we’re talking about movies, my good buddy Jay Spence wrote and directed his first film. Here’s the RED BAND (NSFW!!!) trailer for You’re F@#k’n Dead!

It’s an homage to grindhouse cinema, and I’m really impressed to see this all come together. He had an indiegogo for post-production, but I wasn’t too swift about posting it on here before it ended. If he has any more fundraisers for the film, I’ll be sure to pimp them.

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My pal Matt over at Awesome Toy Blog has a contest going on where he’s giving away 3 Funko Pop! vinyls from Entertainment Earth. If you’re a fan of Despicable Me, Wreck-It Ralph, or R2-D2, you’re gonna want one of these cute little guys for your collection! You can get all the contest details here.

Also, part 2 of my discussion with @SnoopyJenkins and David Walker has been posted, where we discuss diversity in comics.

Links I Loved

20 Things You Forgot You Had as a Kid – UnderScoopFire!

50 (Okay, 7) Reasons Why Arrow Is Better than Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – The Robot’s Pajamas

Pizza Thrower: A History of Reuse – Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang

Superman is a White Boy – Snoopy Jenkins

 

Psychcast

I was late to the Psych boat, as I didn’t have cable when it started. A few years ago, ION Television picked up the reruns, and they would have Psych marathons every Saturday night. One episode and I was hooked. If you’ve never seen it, Shawn Spencer and his friend, Burton “Gus” Guster, run a private detective agency called Psych. Oh, did I mention that people think Shawn is a psychic? Well, that’s the hook. He’s actually just really perceptive, but he’s accurate enough that the Santa Barbara police department commonly use Psych as consultants on cases. The beauty of the show is that it’s a love letter to children of the 80s, and Shawn and Gus are just two guys who don’t really wanna grow up. The show could be zany (Gus was in a collegiate singing group with Kenan and Urkel, and Shawn starred in a Spanish telenovela), but could also be really serious (Shawn tangled with psychopath Mr. Yang). The guest stars were always impressive, and a bad episode was a rare occasion. People have said that this season was a little too wacky, and I could see that. Even I couldn’t sit through the 2-hour musical episode, but my love never wavered for Shawn and Gus. This week saw the series finale of the show after 8 seasons. In my mind, I always thought that the show would end with Gus getting married and Shawn being forced to grow up. After all, Gus was basically the straight man, and he seemed to have his life a little more together than Shawn. So, I was pretty surprised when I saw how they actually decided to end the show. That said, I didn’t hate it. It was actually kinda endearing, and it makes me happy to know that there’ll be more Psych adventures, even if we don’t get to see them on a weekly basis. So, for bringing a smile to my face for 8 seasons, Psych had the West Week Ever.

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14th Mar2014

West Week Ever – 3/14/14

by Will

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I was in Orlando for work all week, so I didn’t know if I’d get around to writing this. Forgive me if it seems scattered; I just had a few thoughts I wanted to “put to paper”, so to speak.

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Ya know, it’s kinda surreal to be on a flight, while watching news coverage of a flight that has disappeared. JetBlue has Direct TV, so I happened to catch Erin Burnett (Mmmm…) as she covered the flight on her show, OutFront. That was followed by Anderson Cooper (Mmmm – equal opportunity!) doing the same exact thing. I don’t know what happened to that plane, but there are some crazy theories going around. I just hope they eventually find something, ’cause I don’t want another Amelia Earhart situation.

Speaking of JetBlue, they have BLUE potato chips! BLUE! And they’re pretty good, too.

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Good news on the TV renewal front, as TBS renewed Ground Floor, while CBS renewed Two and a Half Men. I know it seems like they’ve run out of stuff to do on that show, but I still enjoy it. I also find it amazing that it gained such a powerful second wind after Charlie Sheen left.

Wrdq_2009One of my favorite things about traveling is checking out the off network TV offerings. In Orlando, they have this Channel 27 that’s unlike anything I’ve encountered. It’s not a CW and it’s not a My Network TV. It’s an independent channel kinda like we used to have before UPN and The WB came along. For instance, I had no clue The Cleveland Show was in syndication. We don’t have that in DC, and the American Dad reruns that we do have are at 4 in the morning. Also, I learned about a tabloid news show, called OK! TV, which is basically TMZ meets Extra. I didn’t even know such a thing existed. I love shitty television! Steve Harvey’s talk show comes on at 9 PM. And I thought late night court shows were weird!

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I had no clue that Barry Weiss from Storage Wars was getting his own show, Barry’d Treasure. First Hester left, then Balelo died, and now this. I don’t even know why they keep Storage Wars going, now that it’s basically just Jarrod, Brandi, and Darrell.

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This amazing poster almost makes up for what was an absolutely terrible movie. I stole this off Jason David Frank’s facebook page, and it’s for Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie. It’s funny how many people don’t even realize there was a second Power Rangers movie. I think most of my generation had moved on by that point (it was season 5 by then). Plus, people tend to forget that the first movie, technically, isn’t in continuity, while the second one is. You could watch the first movie without really ever having seen Power Rangers before, but the second one was basically a TV movie that somehow got a theatrical release.

AFB-logo-newSpeaking of Power Rangers, I had the pleasure of joining @Engineernerd of the Action Figure Blues Podcast and @ExveeBrawn of Superhero Time to discuss the Power Rangers toy line. Could Power Rangers be the best toyline of all time? Listen along, as we make the case!

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The suit for The Flash was revealed this week. Like some other folks, I think it looks kinda Daredevily, but it could work. I’m probably not even gonna watch the show, so I don’t have a horse in that race. I still haven’t watched Arrow since my review of it last year. Ever since I binge watched Breaking Bad, something’s been broken in me. I just can’t handle one-hour dramas at the moment. Maybe one day, but not now. Arrow, and The Flash, will just have to wait.

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And no, I’m not excited about Gotham, either. I mean, who really wants a Batman prequel? I have no interest in the goings on of pre-Batman Gotham. Just like with the Birds of Prey show, the only draw will be the hope of seeing Batman. Since most of Bruce’s training occurs outside of Gotham, I just don’t see what the appeal of this show could be.

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I found this at Toys “R”Us this morning, but I just can’t justify a $79.99 price tag (it’s sitting in a different spot in the pic for better lighting). It’s a gorgeous piece, and it’s heavy, but $80?! I’ll just continue to be content with my original one.

My Twitter bestie, Brandi, does comedy, and here’s a set that she did when Jackie Kashian came to town.

Links I Loved
65 Songs You Will Never Be Able To Listen To The Same Way Again – Buzzfeed
Blockbuster Video Presents: The UnderScoopFire Tournament of Super Powers – UnderScoopFire!
Hands On With Marvel Unlimited – Double Dumbass On You

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Ya know what had the West Week Ever? Walt Disney World. I went there for the first time, and boy do I have some thoughts. But you’ll have to wait until sometime next week for those ;-)

07th Mar2014

West Week Ever – 3/7/14

by Will

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IFC's Maron

So, this week I’ve been watching Maron on Netflix. If you’re not familiar, it stars comedian Marc Maron and it’s basically the same formula as Louie. The difference, however, is I find I relate to Maron more than Louis CK. I’ve never listened to Maron’s podcast, but I’ve heard a bunch of his bits and I find him really witty. He also has this self-loathing streak that’s kind of brave for him to be putting out there in public. So, I guess Maron has a vulnerability that I don’t see in Louis. It’s interesting they both ended up with the same kind of show, seeing as how they’re contemporaries and also had a longstanding rivalry. I’m sure it’d be easy to just write off Maron as a rip-off of Louie, but I think there’s more heart to it.

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I never thought I’d have to do this, but I may have to strip a prior winner of West Week Ever status. If you remember, last year I bestowed the honor upon iCarly‘s Jennette McCurddy and Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons. It seemed like a cute internet love story, as he had posted her as his “Woman Crush Wednesday” choice on Twitter, and they eventually ended up dating. Well, they didn’t live happily ever after, as McCurddy explained on Pete Holmes’s You Made It Weird podcast. She admitted that she only dated Drummond for the publicity and said that he was a bad kisser. Listening to the podcast, she doesn’t really come off as malicious, but she still aired their business in public. Drummond, seemingly, retaliated by “leaking” a racy photo that she’d sent him. He’s denying having anything to do with the leak, but she’s pretty certain that he’s the one who did it. Who knew that a celebrity relationship would end like this?!

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This week, it was announced that Batman would be returning to next-gen consoles in Batman: Arkham Knight. I own Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, but still haven’t gotten Arkham Origins. I won’t be following Bats into this latest game, however, as it’s not going to be released on the 360, and I’m not planning on ever getting a PS4 or an XBone. Sucks, ’cause I’d really like to drive the Batmobile, as you’ll be able to do in this installment. Oh well, I’m sure I’m sure I know someone who’ll end up buying it and I can just play theirs.

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I swear I never set out to talk about Arsenio every week, but he keeps giving me material. I’m not sure if this has happened in other markets, but I noticed that our CW affiliate kinda cut some of his support once the second season was announced. You see, they had created a sort of “black bubble” to boost his viewership. When the show launched, its lead-in was syndicated episodes of The Middle. Someone at Channel 50 realized it had nothing in common with Arsenio’s target demographic, so in January, they started airing Judge Mathis at 10 . It was weird to see court shows that late at night, but I eventually got used to it. To ease folks out of Arsenio, they aired Cosby Show reruns after his show. This created said black bubble, as the shows were aimed at black viewers. Well, the bubble burst this week, as they took off Judge Mathis and now air Seinfeld in the 10 PM slot. I’m not sure what they’re trying to accomplish, as the Seinfeld audience isn’t the Arsenio audience any more than The Middle‘s audience was. They had created a nice little nest for Arsenio and now they’ve gotten rid of it (though the Cosby episodes are still the lead out). I wonder what the grand plan is for that 10 PM slot.

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Speaking of odd programming choices, it was announced this week that Conan O’Brien will be hosting the MTV Movie Awards. This is most certainly a step down for someone who once hosted The Tonight Show. These aren’t even the fabled Video Music Awards that we’re talking about here – these are the MOVIE awards. Sure, Conan has always wanted to be hip, but the MTV crowd ain’t his audience. And it’s not like it was a contractual obligation from the network, as his show is produced by Turner while MTV is a Viacom network. Like the Arsenio scheduling, I wonder what the endgame is here.

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I stumbled across Upload with Shaquille O’Neal on Tru TV. Funny enough, everything on Tru TV is blatantly fake, but I gave it a chance because of Shaq’s cohosts – comedians Godfrey and Rachel Feinstein. I love both of them for different reasons, but it was painful to see them in this show. What is Upload? Basically, it’s Tosh.0 hosted by Shaq. And it’s even worse than it sounds. Since Shaq’s a lummox, Godfrey and Rachel are there to do the heavy comedic lifting, but they’re not given much to work with. Anyway, avoid this show at all costs!

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Speaking of bad television, last week Jim Parsons hosted what may be the worst episode of Saturday Night Live that I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t just unfunny, but it was weird in an uncomfortable way. He kicked off the show with a song and dance number about how he’s “not that guy” that he plays on The Big Bang Theory. Then, he spent the next 90 minutes essentially being that guy. So, I think he failed on that goal. I can’t say that I’m expecting better with this week’s host, Lena Dunham.

Anyone who’s ever been to this site knows that I eat this kinda stuff up:

I probably would’ve liked it more had he spliced in some PR footage for the visuals. It’s kinda weird watching him as he belts all those songs (especially when he kinda Britta’d some of them). Still, it’s pretty impressive.

Links I Loved
Thundercats LIVE! Was The Stuff of Nightmares – Double Dumbass On You

15 Things You Might Not Know About Star Wars – UnderScoopFire!

Jackie Robinson and the Mythic Black Superhero – Snoopy Jenkins

One’s career seems to be on the decline, while another seems to be on the way up. One seems like a moron, while the other is more of a Maron. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

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Who had a week like Lupita Nyong’o? Sure, Adele Dazeem jokes aside, everyone was talking about Lupita’s award-winning performance in her first role. Now everyone’s speculating on what she’ll do next. Well, history and Oscar haven’t been kind to my people. Cuba went from Jerry Maguire to Boat Trip. Halle ended up doing The Call – from WWE Films, mind you. Octavia did a guest stint on CBS’s Mom. While an Oscar usually means the sky is the limit, for a black actor it usually means the limit is the sky.  I haven’t seen 12 Years A Slave yet, but I hear it’s powerful. So, enjoy your week, Lupita, ’cause it’s only a matter of time before you’re cast in A Haunted House 3 with the Wayans Bros. For now, however, let’s enjoy Lupita’s win by crowning her as having had the West Week Ever.

21st Feb2014

West Week Ever – 2/21/14

by Will

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Welcome to our new look, thanks to @reappropriate! It’s still a work in progress, so bear with us during our construction.

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First up, let’s do our standard What Will Watched This Week. I Redboxed The Wolverine, and I’m surprised to say that I really liked it. When it comes to the comics, I HATE Wolverine In Japan stories. I loathe them. He suddenly changes from scruffy loner into a samurai, and it always seemed at odds with his other characterization. I mean, how do you have a code of honor AND a berserker rage? Anyway, the best part about this movie is that he had been to Japan in the past, but upon returning, there’s none of the noble samurai stuff. He doesn’t know the language, the customs, any of it. This way, he struggles to adjust along with the audience. I did find it odd that the movie had no opening credits whatsoever. You don’t see that in too many movies these days. Speaking of credits, the post-credits scene really has me intrigued for X-Men: Days of Future Past, so there’s that.

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Next up, I watched In A World…, which was written, directed by, and starred Lake Bell. Howie Decker (of UnderScoopFire!) and I have discussed how Lake Bell is an anomaly, as she can be beautiful, but she can also look like a refugee off the cover of National Geographic. Well, in this movie, she was at her refugee-est, as the slacker daughter of a famous voice-over star. Since the death of famed movie trailer announcing god Don LaFontaine, the hunt was on to see who would bring back his famous “In a world…” intro. Bell’s father is up for the job, as well as newcomer Gustav Warner. Through a crazy chain of events, Bell’s character is also in the running, and the race is on to see who will say “In a world…” for future epics. It was a cute little comedy, with a great cast. Along with Bell, there’s Rob Corddry, Dimitri Martin, Nick Offerman, and Ken Marino. I definitely recommend this movie.

Guardians-of-the-Galaxy

So, let’s start off with the fun stuff from the week. The Guardians of the Galaxy trailer came out, and it was pretty entertaining. It’ll be interesting to see how this movie does, however. It’s kinda jarring that Marvel Studios did a great job at grounding their movies in “reality”, and then all of a sudden, SPACE! I mean, do you understand that Peter Quill is a HUMAN in SPACE?! That’s a pretty big leap from what they’ve been doing. Sure, they fought aliens in The Avengers, but that was still as “grounded” an invasion as they could do. Guardians of the Galaxy, however, changes the scope of everything. Anyway, I’m not sure if it’s gonna break any records, but it should be a fun movie. And yes, Marvel got a talking raccoon in a movie before DC got a Wonder Woman movie off the ground. I’m so frickin’ sick of hearing about how Wonder Woman doesn’t have a movie…

legendary morpherSomething else that grinds my gears: adult Power Rangers fans pissed off about toys. Last week, I mentioned how Power Rangers Super Megaforce was premiering, in which the Rangers could call upon any of the Ranger powers from the past 20 years. Well, they do this via the Legendary Morpher, and since the show is pretty much a giant toy commercial, there’s a toy of said morpher. Each ranger has a key, which is used to unlock the powers. Bandai America produced the keys, which are sold in packs of 3, yet seem to omit most of the female rangers. Now, AFOPRs (Adult Fans of Power Rangers – let’s see if that catches on) are upset that the females are being omitted, ranting “Girls watch Power Rangers, too!” Yes, they do, but Power Rangers is a BOYS toy line. It was conceived as such, it has won awards as such, and that, as Stone Cold Steve Austin would say, is the bottom line. Sure, girls watch Power Rangers, but I’m sure some boys play with Barbies. Are they, however, clamoring for Ken’s Dream House? No, because the line was *primarily* meant for girls. AFOPRs seem to think that the omission of the female keys flies in the face of the Power Rangers message of empowerment and inclusion. I don’t think it does any such thing. I just think Bandai knew that they weren’t going to make much money slinging pink keys. Sure, there are some seasons, like Time Force, where Pink was pretty important, but I’m not gonna lose sleep over the fact that some 13 year old show isn’t getting its due in a 2014 toy line. As I said last week, the kids watching Super Megaforce are probably too young to know most of the teams that will be showcased, and the Super Megaforce powers aren’t gender specific, as we saw last week when everyone transformed into a different Red Ranger – including the girls, transforming into Rangers who’d previously been male. I’ve often said that if you’re old enough to bitch online about the decisions made on a children’s show, it’s not for you. I may come off as a hypocrite, but I’m bitching about the fans and not the product. The kids will like it just fine, and at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.

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Yesterday, the Fantastic Four reboot cast was announced, and everyone lost their shit. Still, despite all of the changes that are apparently on the horizon, folks are still upset about Michael B. Jordan cast as Johnny Storm. I wrote about this a few months back, and my feelings haven’t changed. Comics change important details ALL THE TIME, so I’m not quite sure how changing his race hurts the character of Johnny Storm. Does it help the character? Who really knows? That remains to be seen. People say that it’s just change for the sake of change, but I have no real problem with that. I’ve never really liked the Fantastic Four, but these changes have me intrigued. Isn’t that the point? To get people in the seats? On the race matter, folks say things like, “Well, you’d never make a black character white.” Well, no. First of all, there aren’t too many, so you’d be dipping into a very shallow pool as it is. Second of all, you don’t WANT our heroes. Seriously, why would you want a black guy with falcon wings when you’ve got friggin’ Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc. White people already have all the powerful heroes, so why waste their time on “reacquiring” an ex-con with bulletproof skin? It just doesn’t make any sense. Still, folks say, “You’d never see a white Shaft.” OK, I’d totally watch a white Shaft, but it’s already been done and it was called Banacek. Never heard of it? See if you get Cozi TV on one of your digital channels, and tune in around 8 one night.

Miles-Teller

As for the Fantastic Four cast, I have problems with everyone except Jordan. Miles Teller as Reed Richards? I hate his face. I’ve hated him ever since 21 & Over. I said it on Twitter, but Miles Teller has the face of the Class Asshole. Not the Class Clown. Sure, he does stuff for laughs, but he’s mainly a dick. I simply dislike the cut of his jib. I don’t know much about Kate Mara, as I’m the only person in DC who hasn’t watched House of Cards yet. According to IMDB, I’ve never seen anything with Jamie Bell, though that’ll probably change once I get my hands on a copy of Nymphomaniac. It might be good and it might suck. We won’t know until the movie’s out. It seems folks have already decided it won’t be good because it’s not from Marvel Studious, but maybe Fox can turn things around. Based on the ages of the actors, it seems like they’re going the Ultimate Fantastic Four route – taking a page from the Marvel Studios playbook, so that makes me happy. Maybe all of this change will be for the best. And for those not willing to see the movie due to personal beliefs or whatever, I know you’ll still see it. You’re the same folks who claimed Michael Bay “raped” your childhood until DINOBOTS!

I got the attention of the Toy Hunter on Twitter the other night. He was buying some original Star Wars action figures, and the math didn’t seem to add up to me. So, the following took place:

Toy Hunter Tweets

When I first read the “love your tweets”, a part of me got all squishy. “Jordan knows about my tweets?” Then, I realized he just meant he loved the tweets regarding the show. ‘Cause I hashtagged them. Stupid Will. Anyway, it was one of my better celebrity exchanges online.

Speaking of toys, I went to New York Toy Fair last weekend, but that’ll get its own post. For now, I just wanna say it was great meeting @MattGuzy, @T16skyhopp, @Preternia_, and @Tekcorps!

Links I Loved
5 Things You Should Never Say to an Adult Toy Collector – UnderScoopFire!

T-T-T-Toy Fair Roundup 2014! – The Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang

Cereal Prize! – AEIOU and Sometimes Why

Nutbusters XXX: A Review of a Ghostbusters Remake (NSFW) – The Robot’s Pajamas

In Which I Seek My Father – The Nerds of Color

In Case You Missed It This Week
Comical Thoughts – 2/19/14

One’s getting used to new claws, while another thinks everything is awesome in space. One’s got a smug mug, while the other’s got a problem with pink. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

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Nobody had a week like Chris Pratt. The LEGO Movie is still ruling the box office, while the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy made its debut this week. People were clamoring so much for that trailer that they were eating up 15-second teasers of the thing. Pratt seems poised to become the big screen star that Taylor Kitsch couldn’t. They both have similar career origins (Kitsch on Friday Night Lights and Pratt on Everwood), but Pratt seems to be the real deal. If he keeps this up, one day we may eventually ask each other, “Remember when Chris Pratt was on that TV show?” That’s the same thing folks say about Clooney now. That’s a good thing. Anyway, for his rising star in Hollywood, Chris Pratt had the West Week Ever.

14th Feb2014

West Week Ever – 2/14/14

by Will

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I’ve never seen a full Jackass movie, so I didn’t know what to expect from Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa. All I knew was that the commercials looked funny, and I had vowed to pick it up on Redbox the minute I got the chance. Since I didn’t know the “mechanics” of the Jackass franchise, I spent the movie wondering “Do these people know what’s happening? Did they sign a release form?” My questions were answered during the credits (No and Yes), but that didn’t help while I was watching the movie. Little Billy’s mom is going to jail for crack possession, so his grandpa Irving (Johnny Knoxville in makeup) has to drive him across the country to live with his dad (who just sees Billy as a welfare meal ticket). Along their road trip, hilarity ensues as they steal from convenient stores and Irving hits on women. Oh, did I mention that Irving’s wife just died, and her body’s stashed in the trunk? Yeah. Anyway, even as a Jackass movie, the narrative had a lot of heart. I mean, it’s fake and predictable, but it was still fun to watch.

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The trailers for Don Jon never really gave a great idea as to what the movie was about, and there’s a reason for that: you can’t show most of that stuff on television. You see, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, Jon, learned everything he knows about relationships from pornography. He’s got a tight bod, a sweet ride, and a happening pad – all of which help him close the deal with a streak of “8s”. That said, no matter how much minge he gets, it doesn’t compare to the orgasm he gives himself. So, the whole movie is about how he hides that fact about himself while dating bossy Scarlett Johannson. If you’re 12, you’ll love this movie ’cause there’s porn and tits everywhere. It’s an entertaining movie, but that ending kinda comes out of nowhere. The movie gains an emotional beat about 3/4 of the way in, which causes the ending to be somewhat incongruent with the bulk of the movie.

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What if the Girls Gone Wild also liked to perform armed robberies? That’s Spring Breakers. To be honest, the movie’s boring until James Franco pops up and then it just goes insane. I still want to know who the primary audience was for this film, as it starts off as jailbait-apalooza. Selena Gomez looks about 15, and she and her friends just bounce around in bikinis most of the time. They used to charge a quarter for this kind of movie in Times Square. I sat there, asking myself, “What the Hell am I watching?” This is the kind of movie that was created to help the former Disney girls (Gomez and Hudgens) shed their squeaky clean image, and it worked. And that ending?! I’m not gonna spoil it here, but there’s NO WAY that movie ends the way that it does. No way in Hell.

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Kick-Ass 2 is a far superior movie to Kick-Ass, which is a shame since no one saw it. I actually got this thing at Redbox on Friday and didn’t end up watching it until Wednesday. Hell, I could’ve bought the thing for as much as that’s gonna cost me! Anyway, I just wasn’t in the mood to watch it, even though I had been in the mood when I first got it from the kiosk. Finally, I hunkered down and watched it and was pleasantly surprised. Jim Carrey contributed to the negative press on the film, as he was against its depiction of violence (though he had no problem cashing that check). It’s sad he felt that way, as he was really good in the movie. I had problems with the liberties that the first movie took with the story, but I had no problems with them going off-book this time around. Most of the film is original, only taking a few cues from the Kick-Ass 2 comic. My only problem was the fact that Chloe Moretz aged, so they had to age her character as well. This led to some underlying sexual tension that’s not present in the books (since she’s about 10 there), and that was kinda weird.

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After the Redbox selections, I remembered that I have Netflix. What did I watch first? LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Maximum Overload. This little 22 minute show was kinda cute and I guess I watched it to get myself in the mood for The LEGO Movie. Basically, Loki uses his Norn Frost to boost villains’ powers through “overloads”. The bittersweet aspect of the special is that it showed how cool things would be if Marvel Studios had the rights for X-Men and Spider-Man. I’d really love to see that shared cinematic universe, but I don’t see that happening any time soon, so the animated stuff is the best we’re gonna get.

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Since it’s not a West Week Ever without a standup update, this week I watched John Mulaney: New In Town. Formerly a writer for Saturday Night Live, if you don’t know Mulaney, you soon will. I’d heard every single bit in the special because Comedy Central Radio loves to play his stuff. Still, I love every second of his material, so I didn’t mind that it was all “old” material.

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Once I was done with the Mulaney special, I remembered that I have Amazon Prime, so I hopped over to see what was available over there (that’s also where I saw Spring Breakers. I wasn’t gonna spend money on that thing!). That’s where I found that the first season of Inside Amy Schumer was available to stream. I’ve always liked Schumer’s material, as it’s similar to Sarah Silverman’s, only Schumer’s humor has more of a sexual edge. After all, you can’t get through a Schumer performance without her mentioning that she has HPV, or that her recent sexual partner had no testicles.

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I want to be mad at my wife for getting me addicted to Flappy Bird. I wanted no part of it, but when she heard that the creator was going to take it offline, she basically made me download it, “just in case”. I’m not much of a gamer, especially when it comes to things intended to frustrate, but I haven’t gotten too mad at the game. My high score is only 25, so it’s not like I’m a champ at it, but it’s another way to kill time.

Super Megaforce

Well, since most of my traffic comes from mentioning Power Rangers, I guess I’m required to mention the premiere of Power Rangers Super Megaforce tomorrow. The main draw for this season is that the Rangers can draw powers from, and transform into, any of the Power Rangers teams from the past 20 years. The pilot’s been available on Nick.com since Saturday night, so I’ve already seen it. In my opinion, it’s a good start to the season, but my opinion doesn’t really matter. The main issue is whether or not kids will like it. I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t, however a lot of the teams won’t be familiar to really young kids. My only “gripe” is that’ they’re clearly pirates (based on the Japanese source footage), yet that word is never spoken. It’s like we’re supposed to pretend we don’t know that’s what’s going on.

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Has Coke won any kind of industry award for the Coke Freestyle machine? I mean, this thing isn’t new, but it offers over 100 different sodas in one fountain. It’s like the future that science fiction foretold for us! Anyway, I hope someone, somewhere, has given Coke the recognition it deserves for such a modern marvel.

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I’m supposed to be going to the American International Toy Fair in New York this weekend, but I don’t know if the weather’s going to cooperate. I don’t even know why I’m going, as I don’t have invites to any of the fancy parties. I just wanna get in and see what I can see. It’s been 7 years since I last went, and that was a dream come true, so hopefully I’ll come back from this trip with some good pictures and stories.

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Before we go, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the UnderScoopFire guys to record their latest podcast. We talked about the Super Bowl, TV ratings, and more. As usual, I had a great time, and you can check it out here.

Links I Loved

RoboCop: The Thinking Man’s Action Movie - Snoopy Jenkins

What if 80s Cartoon Characters Wrote Dirty Messages on Candy Hearts? – UnderScooprFire!

Remembering Shirley Temple Requires Us To Remember Her Legacy of Blackface Cinema – Reappropriate

The Return of Boy-Band Impresario Lou Pearlman, an All-Time Music Industry Swindler – Grantland

In Case You Missed It This Week

Adventures West Coast – Superman: Earth One Vol 2

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I know a lot of my readers don’t follow sportsball, so you may not know the man in the picture. To be honest, most of the country didn’t know who he was a week ago. That all changed, however, when he came out as gay this week. Michael Sam, a defensive end for the University of Missouri will probably be the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL, which is a pretty big deal. Hopefully, we’ll get to a point where something like this isn’t “news”, but we’re not there yet. It took a lot of courage for him to come out, with his potential future at risk by doing so, but all signs seem to imply that the NFL is finally ready to take this step. Some have said that his presence would serve as a “distraction”, but the naysayers are being drowned out by the supporters. This is an important event in professional sports history, so that’s why Michael Sam had the West Week Ever.

 

07th Feb2014

West Week Ever – 2/7/14

by Will

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"I ain't no damn bean pie!"

“I ain’t no damn bean pie!”

Today in Black History, boxer Cassius Clay was bitten by a radioactive Muslim, transforming him into Muhammad Ali

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Last Sunday was the Super Bowl, and man did it suck. As many of you know, I’m a Denver fan by marriage, so it was pretty painful to watch. In the end, though, I can say that we had a good season, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. It would’ve been nice if some of that team had made it onto the field on Sunday. Oh well, there’s always next year. The commercials were kinda boring, but folks have already covered the important ones (Radio Shack, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Amazing Spider-Man 2). I think my favorite was the Captain America: The Winter Soldier trailer. I didn’t even see it during the game, so for all I know that version sucked, but the full length trailer was amazing. I’m really looking forward to that movie!

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So, I finally finished Portlandia, and I was actually sad to see it go. I’ve read reviews that said the third season was one to skip, but I actually really enjoyed it. At that point, it becomes something of a “skitcom”, where there are still skits, but they’re placed around an ongoing sitcom narrative. Chloe Sevigny comes on board as roommate, and eventual love interest for both Fred AND Carrie. I like how the show didn’t even make a big deal out of the Carrie pairing. You’re left thinking, “Oh, I guess Carrie likes dudes and chicks. OK.” It all came to a head in the season finale, where Portland experienced a blackout. The show’s not over, as the fourth season starts on IFC at the end of the month. Sadly, I don’t get IFC, so I expect to watch it on Netflix in a few months.

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Speaking of “skitcoms”, have any of you caught Broad City on Comedy Central? It stars Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, and it’s basically Girls only it’s funnier and you don’t want to kill all the characters. It started out as a series of web shorts, and then Amy Poehler decided to executive produce a TV version of it. On the first episode, the ladies found themselves willing to do almost anything to earn money for Lil Wayne tickets, and the drugs they’d need to go along with them. Last week, we found out that Ilana transports her weed in her vagina to throw off the cops. Yes, you read that correctly. I won’t say the show is “quirky”, but it’s definitely not like anything you’ve seen before.

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It’s funny how we all have our prejudices and limits. It had been rumored that Michael B. Jordan was being sought after to play Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four reboot. At that point, a lot of fanboys were in a tizzy, saying “Johnny Storm’s not black! 60 years of storytelling supports that!” I thought they were overreacting, and felt that they should give Jordan a chance. Well, this week, it was said that they’re considering making franchise Dr. Doom a WOMAN! My knee-jerk reaction was “Dr. Doom’s not a woman!” Then, I caught myself and realized I was no better than the other naysayers. At the end of the day, I couldn’t give much of a shit about the Fantastic Four. I’ve always found them to be a boring concept. If a black Johnny and female Dr. Doom makes it exciting, then I’m all for it. So, I welcome you, boobed Doom.

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While we’re on comics, the new, Muslim Ms. Marvel debuted this week. I discussed this when it was first announced, so I had to pick it up to see how it turned out. What did I think? I liked it. Kamala is an interesting character, and you can see how she struggles to reconcile her culture with her desire to be “normal”. My only “gripe” was that it doesn’t feel like it takes place in the Marvel Universe. Sure, the Avengers are mentioned, but only in fanfic and hallucination scenarios. In a lot of ways, it almost feels like this takes place in the “real world”, which would’ve been an interesting take on the character. I feel like she’s going to suffer once she’s dragged into Marvel’s next summer crossover. Still, the fact that she’s in New Jersey may create enough of a buffer to keep her from being “tainted” by all the heroes in NYC. Like the Runaways before her, perhaps Kamala can establish her own world away from the crazy action of NYC Marvel. I’m not sure I’m ready to make a monthly appointment with Ms. Marvel, but I’d definitely give the trade a shot.

CM Punk

If you follow professional wrestling, then you know that main eventer CM Punk has left the building. And I couldn’t be happier! I have always hated Punk and his whole straight edge gimmick. On top of that, he’s just never had the size that I felt was required of a WWE champion. I guess he stands out as a little guy amongst monsters, but that never made me like him. Plus, he reminded me of an old boss who I wanted to hit with a chair. So long, Punk!

Jay Leno Signs His New Book At 92nd Street Y

Last night was Jay Leno’s final, FINAL night on The Tonight Show, and that also means it’s the end of an era. I know that it’s not cool for the younger set to like Leno, but I’ve always admired his work ethic. On top of the show, he still takes his standup on the road during the weekends. He’s a man who really just loves to work. When the whole Conan thing went down, it was the cool kid thing to side with Conan. I did it, too. After reading both sides of the story ad nauseum, I find myself more on Jay’s side now. I mean, if you were about to lose something that you really loved, wouldn’t you do whatever it took to keep it? Even if you were kinda demoted, but they still wanted to keep you around? At the end of the day, Leno was loyal to NBC but never really got anything in return. He’s been seen as disposable TWICE in 5 years, even though his ratings are still strong. Conan’s a funny guy, but his humor was never gonna cut it with Middle America in that earlier timeslot. The things that made him funny, such as Triumph and The Masturbating Bear couldn’t come with him, and he never seemed comfortable in the role. Sure, they didn’t give him time to grow into the role, but he landed on his feet. Jay got his job back, and while folks hated him for how things went down, the ratings went back up. You can’t really argue with the numbers, even if you’re not a fan of the guy. I think Jimmy Fallon will be a great Tonight Show host, as he manages to charm everyone with his everyman demeanor. While Conan felt that he had earned The Tonight Show (and perhaps he had), Jimmy’s a guy who seems to always be grateful for what he has and for where he is. Even he can’t believe that he’s about to get the Big Chair, and that’s part of what makes it so exciting. Anyway, I’m looking forward to what’s next for all involved, but I know I’ll certainly miss what Jay brought to late night.

facebookfFacebook celebrated its 10th anniversary this week, and I didn’t even realize that much time had passed! Man, time flies. Anyway, to commemorate the occasion, users were given the ability to post Facebook Movies compiled of all the top pics and statuses they’ve uploaded since joining the site. I’ve been on since 2004, back when it was still called thefacebook, as Cornell was the 5th school to be allowed to join – ya know, before they let in all the riff raff *adjusts ascot*. I wish I could post my video here, but they didn’t add sharing functionality. Let’s just say that I expected a lot more stuff from my early days, and not as much recent stuff. To see my video, you’d think I’ve only been active with Facebook for the past year or so, with all my milestones having to do with my wedding. Yeah, it was a lovely day and all, but where are my zany pics? Where’s me running from the dragon? Where’s the pic of me dressed as every Marvel superhero at once? Where are all my skinny pictures?! Anyway, 10 years is nothing to shake a stick at, as it’s quite the accomplishment. If you’re reading this, you probably either got here from Twitter or Facebook, so that shows the power of social networking. So, to commemorate the impact that it has had on social media, Facebook had the West Week Ever.

 *Special thanks to Matt Guzy for the new site banner!

24th Jan2014

West Week Ever – 1/24/14

by Will

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So, this week I spent a lot of my time watching standup specials. When all was said and done, I had watched three, but laughed very little. First up was Neal Brennan: Women and Black Dudes. Brennan may not be a household name, but he should be as he co-created Chappelle’s Show. Since the show ended, he’s been making a name for himself as a standup comedian, and he’s got some pretty funny stuff based around race relations and perceptions. His funniest bit is that he’s friends with a lot of black guys who call him “the N-word”. He says that it happens so much that he finds himself calling himself that word when no one’s around. You need to watch the special to get the whole gist of it, but it was pretty funny.

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Next up was Chris D’elia: White Man, Black Comic. D’elia’s most recent role was as Whitney Cummings’s boyfriend in Whitney, but he’s been doing standup for years. Most of his his act revolves around accents and how women are crazy. To be honest, I thought his Comedy Central half hour special was funnier, but I won’t hold it against him too much. This isn’t the special to watch if you want his best stuff, but if you’re already a fan, you should check it out.

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Finally, I caught Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain on Netflix. Kinda like with D’elia, this wasn’t his best work, but it shows that his act has matured, as he opens up about his infidelity and how it helped him grow as a man. There are a lot of funny bits in the special, but I expected to bust a gut. That didn’t happen.

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While I was on the comedy kick, I wanted to watch more, but didn’t feel like sitting through an entire special. So, I decided to finally give Portlandia a chance. I don’t say this much, but I think it just might be too white for me. I mean, I got a few laughs out of it, but it’s SO niche. I guess you could say that I came for Fred Armisen, but stayed for Carrie Brownstein – who has an aloof cuteness about her. I’m only 2 episodes in, but I think I’ll power through and see what the rest of the series has to offer.

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It’s been sitting on my DVR since about October, but I finally sat down and watched CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story. Before the jokes start, no, it was not a movie about The Learning Channel! I never really processed that TLC basically had the same career trajectory as a boyband. They released 3 albums in about 10 years and then disappeared. The movie suffered from too much creative license. Like The Temptations, events coincided too often in order to make the story more compelling. Left Eye’s dad dies the same day the girls are signed. Chili finds out she’s pregnant the very day she’s asked to rejoin the group. It also skipped a few important parts, such as Left Eye signing the girl group BLAQUE to her label, as well as R U The Girl? – the UPN reality show designed to replace the deceased Left Eye in the group. I still say the second verse of “Waterfalls”, with its oversimplification of HIV, makes no sense whatever.

Timonium

I started the week off by going to a toy show in Timonium, MD. In my mind, the show sucked. Pretty hard. The silver lining, however, was that I got to meet @smurfwreck and @shezcrafti in the flesh! Above is my meager haul from the show. Mr. Sinister only cost me $5, and he’s an addition to my X-Men Marvel Legends collection. Doom was carded and cost me $10 – he’s an addition to my Marvel movie figure collection. Finally, K.A.R.R. cost me $7, which was about half what folks were charging for it at Baltimore Comic-Con. I’d actually found K.A.R.R. a few months back, but @smurfwreck seemed to want it more than I did (I really wanted K.I.T.T. and hadn’t found him yet at that point), so I had sold it to him. Now that I have K.I.T.T., the “brothers” can now hang out on my wall together.

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Something hit a little too close to home this week. As you probably know, I tend to write a column called Thrift Justice, where I talk about stuff I’ve recently picked up at thrift stores. For quite some time, I was the only thing that came up in Google searches for “Thrift Justice”. Then, the other night, The Colbert Report decided to use the phrase in their The Word segment. It’s odd, because it seemed to have nothing to do with the topic at hand – the diminishing supply of execution drugs. After watching the segment, I’m hardpressed to understand where or how that phrase even entered into the discussion. Anyway, now my Google hits have been pushed down by political blogs linking to his segment. Too bad I couldn’t get any traffic out of the who ordeal. I had actually let the ThriftJustice.com url lapse, but the minute @OAFE tweeted that Colbert had used the phrase, I immediately renewed the domain – just to cover my ass.

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No one had a week like Richard Sherman. Even if you’re not a fan of sportsball, you no doubt know his name by now. Following the Seattle Seahawks’ NFC championship win, Sherman went OFF on Michael Crabtree of the San Francisco 49ers. We all joked that he “cut a promo”, like a WWE wrestler. He also decided to declare himself the best corner in the game. So, there were accusations that he was a “thug” and that his outburst showed a lack of class. Supporters have said that we have no idea the emotions he must have been feeling, and that we can’t judge him on that. My favorite thing floating around is the whole matter that Sherman graduated from Stanford, so “…not only is he not a fool, odds are he’s smarter than you and me.” Hold on there, sportswriter. I have an Ivy League degree, in just as useless of a major, so we’re probably on the same level when it comes to smarts. He’s just better at football. But I digress. All eyes will definitely be on Sherman during The Super Bowl, and he’s probably responsible for the creation of a few new Broncos fans. In any case, you couldn’t get through the news this week without hearing about Richard Sherman, and that’s why he had the West Week Ever.

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