30th Jan2015

West Week Ever – 1/30/15

by Will

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kinane

I’m back on a standup kick, so the week started out with me watching Kyle Kinane: I Liked His Old Stuff Better. I’m still trying to get over the fact that Kinane is the Comedy Central voiceover guy. How did I not realize that sooner?! Anyway, I love this guy, and he’s in my top 5 of modern day comedians, but this special’s title was pretty much on the money. He had some good bits there, but I’ve just come to love his other stuff because I’ve heard  it a million times on Comedy Central Radio. Maybe I’ll warm to this special once I’ve heard the jokes just as many times.

Soul Train Awards 2012 at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, NV

Next up was Gary Owen: I Agree With Myself, If you’re white, you probably don’t know who he is. If you’re black, you know him as that white dude who’s always in black stuff. No, not Turtle from Entourage. The other one. Yeah, him. This special was HILARIOUS as he dealt with race issues, his marriage, and his mentally challenged cousin who contracted an STD. I won’t say it’s politically correct, but it’s funny nonetheless.

donald glover

Finally, I watched Donald Glover: Weirdo. Most folks know Glover from Community, but you might also know him by his rap name, Childish Gambino. It’s a good special, as Glover’s a good storyteller. My problem with Glover is that he’s got such career ADD that he doesn’t seem to know what he wants to do. Is he an actor? A rapper? A comedian? He hasn’t slowed down enough to perfect any of these areas. Instead, he’s just “pretty good” at all of them. I wish he’d slow down and focus on what it is he wants to be. Wow, I sound like my mother…

bojack

On the Netflix front, I finished season 2 of Maron and decided to check out the Bojack Horseman Christmas Special. I’ve written about my love of Bojack already, but I was surprised like everyone else when the Christmas Special had a stealth release back during the holiday season. In Bojack Horseman, Bojack used to be the star of a family sitcom called Horsin’ Around, so the Christmas special was actually a Christmas episode of Horsin’ Around. During the series, we got clips of Horsin’ Around, but this is the first time we see an entire episode. I loved it, and I hope we get to see more of the Horsin’ Around world in season 2. After all, there are 2 other cast members whose whereabouts are still unknown at this point. My favorite line of the whole thing was “Goober didn’t molest all those Laker Girls. The actor who played Goober molested all those Laker Girls.” It’ll make more sense when you watch the episode, so check it out!

girls1

I caught up on this season of Girls so far. I’ve got to ask: is there anyone out there who doesn’t hate-watch this show? Surely there can’t actually be people out there who like Hannah, can there? I watch the show just to see bad stuff happen to them all. I like seeing Marnie cry, because she sucks at life. I laughed when Hannah’s bike was stolen (TWICE!) because she sucks at life. I thought it was awesome when Jessa was arrested for peeing in the street because she thinks she’s above everything and everyone. And Adam…in the words of Hank Hill, “That boy ain’t right.” I’ll refrain from using “the R-word” (is that really where we are as a society now?), but he’s seriously close to that classification. The only one I love is Shoshanna because she’s so dumb that she loops back around to smart. And she knows that she has no business hanging with these other girls. Why? Because they clearly suck at life, and she wants better for herself. I know that Lea Dunham is supposedly the “voice of a generation”, but I fear for that generation, as they all need to be drowned in a river. If you wanna watch the same generation, but actually laugh with them, check out Broad City.

ghostbusters-cast

Now for the controversial stuff. This week, depending on what you read (it has spanned from “rumored” to “confirmed”), Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones are your new Ghostbusters. No, this isn’t Dan Ackroyd’s planned Ghostbusters 3, but another all-female take on the franchise by the studio. According to Variety, Gillian Bell from Workaholics/22 Jump Street is rumored to have a role, while SNL‘s Cecily Strong is rumored to play a government employee like Walter Peck. And the internet lost its shit! “Why are they all women? How dare they do this to Ghostbusters? Why couldn’t they get someone funny?” All of this and more was uttered across Twitter and Facebook (and probably by that one guy who’s still over on MySpace). How do I feel about it? I LOVE IT. I love the cast (seriously, why do y’all love to hate Melissa McCarthy so much?) and I’m curious to see what they do with this. I find it interesting that no men have been announced in any roles yet. Is this some sort of Y: The Last Man scenario, where all the men are gone or something? Someone I follow on Twitter said that Ghostbusters is a flawless movie and doesn’t need to be remade. I don’t know about all that. I don’t hold Ghostbusters in that high esteem. Don’t get me wrong – I have loved every incarnation of the franchise, from the movies to Extreme Ghostbusters. I even love Ghostbusters 2, which is blasphemous to some people. My thing is that I’m not “Mr. Movie”, so I don’t feel qualified to say if something is “flawless” or not. I only know what I like, and I like this idea. Plus, the thing to remember is that this doesn’t really affect the movies that already exist. Sure, it might kinda sully the brand a bit, but the stuff you loved will still exist, so let’s not jump to conclusions. It’d be more interesting if they destroyed the originals every time they remade something. THEN, I could see people getting upset. I do kinda wish they’d called it something other than Ghostbusters, just so more people would be willing to give it a chance. Anyway, if you don’t like this idea, don’t go see it. Nobody’s forcing you. But you’ll still go. I know it. You know it. So let’s just cut the bullshit.

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

The Best Pop Album of 2014…That You Didn’t Know Existed

-David Tennant has been cast as The Purple Man in Netflix’s AKA Jessica Jones series, while Rachael Taylor has been cast as Patsy Walker (Hellcat).

-Ryan Adams and Mandy Moore filed for divorce

-Disney wants Chris Pratt for Indiana Jones

-Sly Stone was awarded $5 million in back royalties

-Black actor Mehcad Brooks has been cast as Jimmy Olsen in the Supergirl pilot. Awaiting the internet’s racist reactions in 5…4…3…2…

-If you love anime and/or TGIF, you’ve GOT to watch this!

My pal Matt sent this along. Apparently, scientists combined Lady Gaga with Iggy Azalea. Oh, and there’s a dancing biscuit.

ff trailer

Staying with controversial stuff, let’s talk about the Fantastic Four trailer. Everyone kinda hated this but, again, I don’t know why. I thought it looked interesting. Sure, it looks like a generic sci fi movie, but a darn engaging one. I have to be honest, though: I’ve always hated the Fantastic Four. I find them boring, and I’ve never liked any of their adventures. People always try to sell it as “they’re a family!”, but I don’t see it that way. Sue’s more interested in a fish king than her own husband, Johnny’s a womanizer jerk, and Reed is cold and distant. The only character I liked was The Thing, and I’m not really sure why. Maybe I felt sorry for him. Whatever the case, I didn’t really care about the Fantastic Four until the Ultimate incarnation came along in Ultimate Fantastic Four. They were younger, not yet a family, and they had problems. I could get behind that FF. After about 40 issues or so, even it got boring to me. The younger, hipper FF just couldn’t hold my attention. I like the characters when they interact with the rest of the Marvel Universe, but I just don’t like those 4 as a self-contained team – regardless of interpretation. I’ve heard that this reboot is taking more cues from the Ultimate version, which I like, but this is an uphill battle for me, as I’m predisposed to disliking whatever they do since it’s the Fantastic Four. This trailer, however, kinda got me excited. And that’s not an easy feat. So, for that, the Fantastic Four trailer had the West Week Ever.

23rd Jan2015

West Week Ever – 1/23/15

by Will

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The week started out with me watching The Chernobyl Diaries, which was a departure for me because I’m not really into horror movies. I am, however, into most things Russian, and I’m fascinated by the abandoned city of Pripyat. If you’re not familiar with the whole Chernobyl incident, Pripyat was the city where the Chernobyl workers lived with their families. It’s just tons of apartment buildings and an amusement park. When the Chernobyl reactor blew, everyone had to evacuate immediately, without being able to gather most of their belongings. So, now Pripyat is a ghost town, where nature has reclaimed most of the land, and it just looks like everyone got raptured. It’s beautiful and eerie all at once.

chernobyl-diaries

So, The Chernobyl Diaries was about a bunch of Americans on a European vacation who decide to take a side trip to explore Pripyat. Once they get there, however, their van is sabotaged, and they’re forced to try to survive in what is partially a nuclear wasteland. Spoiler Alert: they all die. What happens to them doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and I’m still kinda confused after having watched it 1.5 times (it aired again the next morning, and I caught the ending of it).I also don’t get why it has diaries in the title. There was nothing concerning a diary in the entire thing. This isn’t Anne Frank we’re talking about here. Where’s the damn diary?! Since I’m not a connoisseur of the horror genre, I can’t say whether or not I recommend it. Overall, was it a good movie? Not really.

maron2

I also started watching season 2 of Maron, now that it’s on Netflix. I’ve said it before, but I prefer Maron to Louie. I can relate to Marc Maron a lot more. He’s bitter, damaged, and he’s going through the whole “Why are my peers doing better than me?” thing. Sure, that doesn’t paint me in the best light, but I can understand where he’s coming from. He tackles things that speak to me, like how hard it is to make friends as an adult. There’s an episode where he thinks Ray Romano is becoming his friend, when Ray is really just making Marc his bitch. It’s funny and poignant at the same time. A lot of folks are fans of Maron’s podcast, but I’m not sure if they’ve all checked out his show. It’s a great chance to get a glimpse of the man behind the mic.

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In the world of television, it was announced that CBS has cast Melissa Benoist as their Supergirl. I can’t remember if this was ordered direct to series or if this is only for a pilot. In any case, it’s by Greg Berlanti, and the rumor is that his deal to produce the show was that it had to take place in the Arrow/Flash universe. People forget that CBS owns The CW, so it’s definitely doable, although CBS brass have said that a crossover wouldn’t happen too early in the show, as they want Supergirl to stand on her own two feet for a while. I know nothing about Benoist, since I still haven’t seen Whiplash and I dropped Glee years ago, so I have no real opinion on the casting. I’m not the biggest Supergirl fan, but in Berlanti I trust, so I’ll check it out.

milestone-poster

It was announced this week that Milestone Media would be returning to the world of comics. If you’re black, you’ll remember this as the comic company that gave us Hardware, Icon, Rocket and more. If you’re white, then you’ll know it as the company that gave us Static Shock. Yeah, 20 years later, and its only real legacy is Static Shock. I’m kinda conflicted by this news. On the one had, comics could use some diversity, and Milestone had the best shot at injecting that into the industry. However, as someone who has almost every issue of Hardware, I didn’t think they were that good. Maybe they were ahead of their time, and I just wasn’t the right age to be reading them, but Milestone books were just a little too ghetto for me. And I don’t say that because they were black. I say that because they were set in Dakota City, which just seemed like a dark, dank ghetto. There was no joy to the books. They fully encapsulated the EXTREME edge of 90s comics, and just added some color to the mix. That’s not really something I’m looking for in my comics today. The characters made an appearance in DC Comics a few years ago, and it’s not like they really set the night on fire over there. So, I’m not quite sure why this announcement came this week. According to the Washington Post article heralding its return, the creators only promise that the comics will be available both physically and virtually, but they didn’t announce a publishing plan, and they only hope to have some promo art ready by San Diego Comic Con. Right now, it just seems like they put the cart before the horse by announcing this now. I guess time will tell whether or not this was a good idea.

MarvelSecretWars

Speaking of comics, Marvel announced this week that this summer’s Secret Wars will essentially reshape their comic universe going forward. Ripped from the pages of Avengers and New Avengers, the Marvel Universe (616) and the Ultimate Marvel Universe (1616) will smash into each other, and the chips will fall where they may. As Editor In Chief Axel Alonzo stated, it’s like a pizza where some toppings will combine, while other toppings will fall off. the aftermath of the event will be the Marvel Universe going forward. I have so many thoughts on this, and it’d probably be easier to say than write, but this is the medium I have at my disposal, so let’s see how it goes.

What It Means for 616: This is a big deal for the mainstream Marvel Universe, as it serves as the first time that they’ve really embraced a universe-spanning reboot. Sure, DC Comics does this every 10 years through their Crises, but Marvel has pretty much managed to avoid having to do this by employing a loose, sliding timeline. Over 50 years of continuity were somehow crammed into a timeline of about 11 years as far as the characters were concerned. They’re essentially wiping this out for this new future. What’s odd to me, however, is that they’ve gone to great lengths to make the comics more like the movies. They introduced Agent Coulson to the comics, and they halfassedly created a black Nick Fury so that he’d be familiar to moviegoers. Now, they say that their goal ISN’T to make the movie and comic universes one and the same, but their actions say otherwise. So, why do all that only to just blow it all up now? Also, Marvel just did a whole diversity push with Falcon becoming Captain America and the debut of “She-Thor”. What happens to them? This also means that Marvel gets out of the corner it painted itself into in several instances. There’s no need to bring Wolverine back from the dead, because nothing matters anymore. There’s no need to return Steve Rogers to a younger age, because nothing matters anymore.

What it Means for 1616: This sounds like the death knell for the Ultimate Marvel Universe, which makes me sad. Created in 2000 as a newer, hipper take on the Marvel Universe, Ultimate Marvel reimagined classic heroes in modern settings. It was as if the Marvel Universe had started in the ’00s instead of the ’60s. I enjoyed the concept because, to me, it was like what it must have felt like to have been a fan in the 60s. The beginning of the line was full of excitement, as architects like Mark Millar and Brian Michael Bendis introduced us to modern takes on classic ideas. Spider-Man became Ultimate Spider-Man, a critically acclaimed, all-ages take on Spider-Man as a teenager. Avengers became The Ultimates, a widescreen Hollywood blockbuster of a book focusing on new versions of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and The Hulk. I became a dedicated fan of the Ultimate U, and I have a full run of every book that’s been released. It’s fair to say that the Ultimate Universe is near and dear to my heart. So, it saddens me to see what has become of the universe in recent years. Unlike in most comic universes, in the Ultimate Marvel universe, dead means DEAD. So, as they killed off known heroes, they never really did much to fill that void. As my friend, Jenn, said, recent Ultimate Marvel has simply been Spider-Man standing amid the littered corpses of reimagined X-Men. There’s only one jewel in the crown of the Ultimate Universe at the moment, and that’s the current Spider-Man, Miles Morales. I’ve written about him at length before, so I won’t get into all of that here. Let’s just say that Miles is one of my favorite characters in recent history. And it’s safe to say that he’s really the only thing left in the Ultimate Universe worth saving. So, I’m sure he’ll survive the event, but at what cost? What happens to his supporting cast, like best friend Ganke, or even his dad?

Anyway, Marvel tends to get West Week Ever quite often, but that’s usually for something that the movie division has done. The comic side of Marvel is constantly coming up with event after event – all promising to CHANGE THE MARVEL UNIVERSE FOREVER!!!! This is the first time, however, that I feel they may actually mean it. So, for that, Marvel Comics Secret Wars had the West Week Ever.

09th Jan2015

West Week Ever – 1/9/15

by Will

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Welcome to 2015! I hope, by now, you’ve all had a chance to read West YEAR Ever. If not, you can do it now. I’ll wait. Good? Cool. So, I had a stomach virus for most of last week, so I spent my time on the couch, watching DVR and Redbox. So, that brings us a movie-heavy WWE this week.

obvious child

I’ve been a fan of Jenny Slate ever since she accidentally said “Fucking” during a live SNL broadcast. So, I’ve especially loved whenever she popped up on shows like Parks & Rec and Married. When I heard about Obvious Child, I knew I’d never see it in theaters, but would pick it up on Redbox – which is exactly what I did. Plainly put, it’s an unlikely love story centered around an abortion. Slate’s character ends up pregnant from a one night stand, and immediately decides to have an abortion. The movie follows her as she shares her decision with the people around her, while also getting to know the father of the child. I highly recommend it, and one of the bonus features is the original Obvious Child short film from 2009, so it’s interesting to see how a 30 minute short was fleshed out into a feature-length film.

edge of tomorrow

Edge Of Tomorrow/Live. Die. Repeat. really wasn’t what I’d call “my type” of movie, which is why it surprised me that I really enjoyed it. If you haven’t seen it, it’s Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers. Tom Cruise plays a communications officer who finds himself on the front lines of a war against alien invaders. Due to ingesting the blood of one of the aliens, he finds that every time he’s killed, the day resets to right before he’s placed in his unit. Cruise may be crazier than a shithouse rat, but he’s really hard to dislike. He’s great in the role, and Emily Blunt is a surprising action hero. If the talks of her becoming Captain Marvel are serious, I’m certainly on board, as they could do a lot worse. The thing I found funny about the movie is that the invasion seemed like a European problem. Sure, the invaders would probably eventually make it to America, but part of me was like, “Why are we in this war again?”

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Wish I Was Here is an interesting little film. Did you see Garden State? If yes, then you’ve basically seen Wish I Was Here. Zach Braff only seems to know how to write one type of movie. They’re not exactly “coming of age” tales, but it’d be more appropriate to call them “failing into adulthood” movies. They focus on that unrest that precedes quarterlife/midlife crises, and that feeling of “There’s got to be something more”. This movie was somewhat controversial because Braff sought out Kickstarter to get financing for the film. A lot of people felt that Kickstarter is for the up and coming creator, and not an established writer/director like Braff. At its core, the movie is about Braff as he tries to get some meaning out of life as his father dies from cancer. Yeah, it’s bit of a downer, though it does have its bright moments. As much as it was fan service, my favorite scene was probably the Guy Love reunion of Braff and Donald Faison. There are several outtakes on the disc of just this scene, which shows that those guys still have great chemistry all these years since Scrubs.

burt

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone was actually a decent movie. Steve Carrell and Steve Buscemi play a magician team whose act grows stale once a new, radical street magician (Jim Carrey) hits the scene. That’s pretty much it. Olivia Wilde plays their assistant. There aren’t any twists or turns, and it’s a pretty straight-forward riches-to-rags-to-riches story.

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Non-Stop, or as I like to call it “Taken To The Skies”. Seriously, one day, when you find that 4-movie Liam Neeson collection in Target, this is the movie that’ll be in the #4 slot, along with the other 3 Taken movies. He’s basically playing the same guy, only now he’s on a plane. The interesting thing about this movie is that the cast is wasted on the material. You’ve got Julianne Moore, Lupita Nyong’o and Lady Mary from Downton Abbey.  Apparently, it was filmed in 2012, but didn’t come out until last year, so they were just waiting for the supporting cast  to have a bit more heat on them before releasing it. At its core, it’s a message about how “safety” in the post-9/11 world is just an illusion, but it’s a pretty clunky delivery method for that message.

skeleton twins

The Skeleton Twins was not what I expected at all. If you told me that Kristin Wiig and Bill Hader were doing a movie together, I would’ve told you it would be a guaranteed laugh riot. And I would’ve been wrong. God, this was a dark movie. It basically begins and ends with a suicide attempt, so that should let you know what you’re getting into. Hader goes through a breakup with his boyfriend, so after an unsuccessful suicide attempt, he goes to stay with his sister (Wiig), who’s struggling with issues of her own. The movie does have some funny moments, like the “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” singalong, but it’s a dramedy with full emphasis on the drama.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it, either. I don’t hold any of the TMNT movies in that high of regard, so it pretty much held its own with the rest of them. That said, I did have some issues with the cultural misappropriation. In the past, the turtles were just teenagers, but something about them this go-round made them seem more like minority teenagers. They were either Black or Puerto Rican, but there was some ethnic stuff in there that hadn’t been a component of turtles past. Look at the bandanas, which hang more like du-rags, or the sagging pants on Mikey. Something about that just kinda bothered me. Also, as dumb as Splinter’s origin seemed in the original movie (kung-fu rat who mutated), it seemed even dumber in this version (mutated rat who teaches himself martial arts from a book he found in the sewer). I also didn’t really buy Megan Fox as April. I feel like she really tried her best, bless her heart, but that wasn’t good enough. I get that it’s a movie for kids, but I feel like even a smart kid could pick out the plot holes in the movie. For example, why does Sacks have a ton of deadly chemicals in the spire of his building BEFORE he even knows there’s a cure out there in the form of the mutagen. After all, he thought the mutagen was lost, so why would he create this doomsday device without the antidote?

Man-of-Steel_01

Man of Steel is certainly a movie. A joyless hunk of a movie. I’ve never been much of a Superman fan, but it’s amazing to contrast this with the Christopher Reeve movies. He brought such wonder to the role. You wanted to be Superman. I don’t wanna be Henry Cavill’s Superman. That dude’s just built and sad. Who do you think gets the FEMA money first? Metropolis or Smallville? Those were the kinds of questions I was asking myself during the fights. And, seeing as how the Snyder/Nolan DC films take themselves so seriously, are we still supposed to believe that humans are dumb enough to be fooled by a pair of glasses? I get that these movies are about suspension of disbelief, but that’s not how this was filmed. This seemed to want to be a realistic take of “What would happen if we found an alien amongst us?” I thought that the movie was going to give up the identity of Clark Kent, and I felt that was a bold direction in which to take the character. This Superman would just be Superman all the time. Then, they went and made him a reporter at the end, which is just an insult to the intelligence of everyone involved.

MillionWays

A Million Ways to Die In The West was much better than I’d been led to believe. I’m pretty much a Seth MacFarlane disciple, so he can do very little wrong as far as I’m concerned. I’m still willing to call him out when there’s a misstep (like this year’s Christmas episode of Family Guy), but I’m typically a booster of everything that he does. The movie bombed in theaters, so I figured it had to be bad if his other fans didn’t support it. That wasn’t the case, though. I think the idea of a comedic western is just polarizing to a lot of people. In some circles, Blazing Saddles is the gold standard of that genre, and can’t be touched. I’m gonna say something that might be blasphemous to some, but I never really found Blazing Saddles all that funny. Sorry, but I didn’t. I’m not a fan of the west (ironic, I know), so I can understand others not jumping at the chance to watch this movie. Having seen it, however, I LOVED it.

What else happened this week? Oh yeah, someone went into my car and stole some stuff that I was planning to donate. I can’t say they “broke” in, as I had left it unlocked, but I was in my mom’s driveway, so I figured it was safe. I got back in the car several hours later, and noticed the donation bag gone. And I think they stole my GPS (I’m not sure, and it was almost obsolete anyway). In any case, I hope they’re happy with their dictionary of real estate terms and some Harley Davidson puzzles.

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The was an Ant-Man teaser released this week. It was kinda meh. If you want a good scene-by-scene takedown, check out this post from my pals over at The Robot’s Pajamas.

galavant

I’ve been looking forward to Galavant ever since I wrote my ABC fall preview post. Now that it has actually aired, I’m not quite sure where I stand with it. I finally watched the two-episode premiere the other night, and while I enjoyed it, I have to agree with some critics that the pacing somewhat hurts it. Whose idea was it to make this a 30-minute show? And to air it in one-hour blocks? Lately, networks have embraced the “burn-off” technique of airing shows (NBC with Parks & Rec, for example), but it really is to the detriment of the show itself. It’s almost like a vote of no confidence, and it’s the network saying “We paid for this, so we might as well air it.” I was a musical theatre kid, so I love the musical aspect of the show. Still, I found myself unable to fully pay attention to everything going on. Knowing it’s only a 4-week “event” is good because it shows that it will actually have an ending, but it almost makes me want to wait and watch it all once it’s over. It just doesn’t feel like the kind of thing I’ll watch in real-time, and I feel no obligation to try to “save” it since the season’s already been shot. It’d be great if it could get a second season, but I never had high expectations for the show. I was excited for it, but I knew it’d be a long shot. If it doesn’t do well, ABC can just spin it as “Hey, it was just a special event, and was never meant to be a regular series.”

I’m probably the last person to know about this, but I found it hilarious. My pal Keith showed it to me on New Years, and made me promise to mention it this week. In any case, I’m really impressed by all the artistry that went into making this. I can’t really say much more about it, so just watch:

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

– USA canceled Covert Affairs after 5 seasons

-John Travolta was cast as Robert Shapiro in FX’s OJ biopic American Crime Story

-Marvel’s Daredevil series will debut on Netflix on 4/10/15

-It was announced that the X-Men spinoff Gambit will be released on 10/7/16 – giving us 3 X-Men movies in one year.

-Neil deGrasse Tyson is getting his own weekly talk show, called Star Talk, on Nat Geo. Yay.

-Bob’s Burgers was renewed for season 6

agent carter

The week belonged to Agent Carter. Spinning off of the successful Captain America: The First Avenger, Agent Carter follows SSR Agent Peggy Carter as she battles nefarious foes in post-WWII America. While she could’ve gone down in the annals of movie history as simply “Captain America’s girlfriend”, Agent Carter found a way to make her a strong character in her own right. Every review I read gushed over how it was this bold step for women. I don’t know if I’d go that far. It was better than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., so it’s got that going for it. Personally, I don’t like the Agent Carter character. She’s kind of a bitch, without a sympathetic side. Sure, she’s doing the whole “People who get close to me get hurt” thing, but there’s really no evidence of that so far (well, except for her dead roommate). Still, the episode did rather well, and it accomplished its goal of keeping the audience excited about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So, for all of that, Agent Carter had the West Week Ever.

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

Saga

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!

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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!

29th Dec2014

West Week Ever – 12/29/14

by Will

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My birthday was pretty low-key last Tuesday, as most of my family members were under the weather. So, I spent the night clearing off the DVR. What did I watch? Well, I’m glad you asked! First up was Ride Along, starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart. I’d love to travel back to the 90s and tell Ice Cube that his future is filled with cop roles. He’d probably shoot himself, unraveling time and space as we know it! Anyway, Kevin Hart gets accepted into the police academy, and to prove himself to his girlfriend’s cop brother (Ice Cube), he goes on a ride along. And hilarity ensues. Or does it? I enjoyed the movie because I love Kevin Hart, but it’s formulaic as Hell. Unless you’re a Hart fan, just skip it because you already know exactly how it’s gonna play out. There are no “Shyamalanian” twists or anything. It’s got some high speed chases, but felt like something directed by McG. Decent way to pass some time, but it’s not worth owning or anything.

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Next up, I watched Walk of Shame, starring Elizabeth Banks. This movie was released directly to Video On Demand at the same time as its theatrical release. That should tell you all you need to know. Actually, the dual release probably helped it, as it was only released in 51 theaters and made a paltry $38,000 on a $15 million budget. Banks stars as TV reporter Meghan Miles who’s dying to get a network anchor job. Her opportunity arises, but she may lose it due to one very bad day following a one night stand. If you’ve ever seen the Michael Douglas movie Falling Down, think of this as a comedic version of that same template. A whole bunch of shit happens to Banks, while she runs around in a tight yellow dress. If that sounds like something you’d like, then this movie’s for you. Like Ride Along, however, this movie was SO formulaic. You haven’t even seen it, but you probably know how it’s going to end. So, come for the humor, stay for the tiny yellow dress. It’ll be worth a watch once it comes to FX, but you definitely shouldn’t go to any trouble to watch it or anything.

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Finally, I watched R.I.P.D. This movie wants to be Men In Black so bad, but I don’t have a problem with that. I actually really enjoyed it and it’s a shame it bombed, as I’d be down for a R.I.P.D. franchise. Poor Ryan Reynolds can’t catch a break, as I’m sure he thought this would be a success when he heard that Jeff Bridges was in the cast. He certainly needed a win after the failure of Green Lantern. Sadly, the box office didn’t feel the same way. Reynolds plays a pseudo-dirty cop who’s killed by his partner. Once dead, he’s recruited into the Rest In Peace Department, and learns that there’s a whole supernatural world outside of the world that he knew. The R.I.P.D. is tasked with apprehending “deadoes” – evil souls that fell through the cracks of judgement. Teamed up with Western lawman Bridges, Reynolds vows to stop his former partner before he initiates a ritual that will return the dead to the Earth. One thing I found interesting about the movie was that it was the most secular take on the afterlife that I can remember. They deal with death, life after death, and the concept of evil souls, yet they never mention God. They do mention judgement, and that everyone has to take their chances with it, but the R.I.P.D. doesn’t work for the Man In The Clouds. They do seem to answer to a collective of elders from on high, but there doesn’t seem to be an ultimate, supreme being amongst them. The special effects are really good, as many of them are worth the price of admission alone. If you ever get the chance on a rainy Saturday, definitely give this one a chance.

Fast and Furious 6

It was announced this week that Justin Lin, director of much of the Fast & Furious franchise, will be directing the 3rd movie in the Star Trek reboot series. I don’t even know what to make of this news. First of all, it makes me think the Enterprise is gonna have a NOS button and have 13 warp nacelles, but maybe I’m being unfair. He’s proven he can do action, but can he do science fiction? Notes trickling out from the studio report that they want the movie to be more like Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy – whatever that means. Are they looking for more humor? More derring-do? What exactly would make Trek like GOTG, and would that even be a good thing? And is Lin the one to provide that? After a lot of shake-ups, it seems like Lin was simply the last man standing. After all, Roberto Orci dropped out of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers reboot in order to helm Trek 3, only to be sent packing months later. These developments don’t make me feel great about this next installment, especially when I wasn’t such a big fan of Star Trek Into Darkness.

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In a reversal of fortunes, it appears that The Interview will see the light of day. There were screenings of the movie on Christmas Day, but you can currently watch it online via Google Play, YouTube, and XBox Video. I haven’t had the chance to watch it yet, but rest assured I’ll share my thoughts once I do.

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According to the infamous Sony hack, Idris Elba was being considered for the role of James Bond. Of course, this would make him the first Black Bond, and certain folks, like Rush Limbaugh, aren’t too happy about it. I think the Bond franchise has done a pretty good job of changing with the times, so maybe it’s time for a Black Bond. Elba is certainly dashing, and he’s got the acting chops. It’s just a question of whether the audience is ready. After all, the racebending Annie remake isn’t doing so well in theaters, but it remains to be seen if that’s because of Black Annie or if it’s simply not a good movie.

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This week, I discovered the Cartoon Network series Clarence, and my world was changed. I haven’t loved a cartoon this much since I discovered Regular Show. If you’ve never seen it, the show’s about a little fat boy, with an annoying voice, named Clarence. While that description might not sound positive, he’s actually an endearing character. Clarence is joined by his friends “Sumo” and Jeff. Here’s where things get interesting. Sumo is basically white trash, while Jeff’s parents are a lesbian couple. These two would never be friends naturally, but Clarence serves as the link between the two. I’ve never seen a kid’s cartoon have a depiction of lesbians before, and I’m also intrigued by its exploration of Sumo’s socioeconomic status. I making it sound heavier than it is as, on its surface, it’s just a goofy cartoon. Under the hood, however, there’s a smart, interesting show that you should check out.

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If you’ve seen Love Actually, then you know that the song that’s #1 at Christmas is a big deal in the UK. This year, that prestigious honor went to The X Factor winner Ben Haenow, with his cover of OneRepublic’s “Something I Need”.

I have a passing familiarity with the Kids React series, but I simply had to watch this. Folks forget that Power Rangers is over 20 years old, so of course the early days of the franchise might seem odd to today’s kids.

Jimmy Kimmel adds dialogue from Maury to Rudolph footage, and hilarity ensues:

Every wrestling fan has seen the video of Booker T calling Hulk Hogan the “N-word” but here he is, actually addressing the situation:

Here’s how Craig Ferguson signed off on his final episode of The Late Late Show. As a fan of finales, as well as The Drew Carey Show, I especially loved this:

 

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

-Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton have split up after 13 years. Yes, that sound you hear is everyone making the same “Who gets custody of Johnny Depp?” joke.

-The trailer for the Entourage movie was released this week. No, I’m not linking to it ’cause that show was full of douchebags. The only one I liked was Turtle ’cause he was fat and goofy. Then he lost all that weight, and now I’m a hater.

-Halle Berry-starring Extant will be back for a second season. I guess Halle’s gotta keep up with that child support. In any case, it seems that most of the supporting cast will be gone for the new season.

-Forbes named Adam Sandler the Most Overpaid Actor of 2014

Links I Loved

The Long, Powerful History Of Stephanie McMahon Slapping The Hell Out Of People – UPROXX

Miss Cleo on Her Allegedly Fake Patois and Getting Ripped Off By the Psychic Readers Network – Vice

20 Songs Turning 20 in 2015 – Mashable

Pam and Tommy: The Untold Story of the World’s Most Infamous Sex Tape – Rolling Stone

The Invention of the Slurpee – Gizmodo

5 Disturbing Things I Learned in Scientology’s ‘Space Navy’ – Cracked

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I don’t have many decades-spanning friendships, so I cherish the ones that I do have. I wanna tell you about my friends James and Jenn. I first met James over 16 years ago, at the airport waiting to fly to Cornell. We were both attending Accepted Minority Student Weekend (yeah, that’s a thing), and we hit it off immediately. This was before the age of Facebook or really even cell phones, so I didn’t really think I’d see him again after that weekend. So, imagine my surprise when I ran into him during orientation, and he introduced me to his girlfriend, Jenn. This was funny to me because we had basically just gotten to campus, and he already had a girlfriend?! Surely, he wouldn’t be talking to her by Thanksgiving, right? Right?

Wrong. James and Jenn became some of my closest friends over the next four years, as we took trips to the comic shop, and they came to support me at my a cappella concerts. Still, this was just gonna be a college relationship, right? They’d move away to jobs and that would be it. Again, wrong. They moved to Tucson, Arizona and later moved to New Haven, Connecticut. They’ve been together FIFTEEN years now and I joke with them about how they could have a kid in high school by now.

Well, a few weeks ago, James contacted me because he needed my help. After fifteen long years, he’d decided that it was time to propose. He saw no reason to wait any longer. And he wanted me to sing. Now, I haven’t sung in about 10 years, but they still listen to my CD, so I had remained a part of their relationship in that capacity. So, last weekend, I hopped on the bus, and joined them during a New York City weekend where the surprise was going to go down. We went to a museum exhibit on the Chinese Exclusion Act (way more interesting than you might think), and then had dinner at a vegetarian restaurant (I love my meat, but it was actually pretty good. Except for the cornbread. That was a hate crime.). After dinner, James started talking about Cornell and how they used to come see me sing. This was my cue. I did a verse of Drops of Jupiter, which was their favorite song of mine. When I was done, he presented the ring and she was blown away. And she said yes!

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As I said, James and Jenn have been some of my closest friends for a long time, and I wouldn’t even be blogging without Jenn (she’s created every incarnation of this website). So, I’m ecstatic for them, I love them, and to me, they clearly had the West Week Ever.

19th Dec2014

West Week Ever – 12/19/14

by Will

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Welcome to post #900! Actually, I’ve written a whole lot more than that, but I cleaned up my archives a few years ago, so this is post #900 of version 2.0 of the site. Anyway, let’s get to the pop culture news that you love so much!

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There’s no bigger news this week than Sony and their handling of The Interview. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, Sony was set to release The Interview on Christmas Day, wherein Seth Rogan and James Franco’s characters are tasked with killing North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un. This led to the Sony hacks, which we talked about last week, which have been traced back to North Korean hackers. Next, they issued terrorist threats that there would be 9/11-ish attacks if the movie were to be released. Sony balked, and decided to cancel the theatrical release of the movie. This sets an interesting precedent as, to some, it means that “the terrorists won”.

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I’ve discussed this on Twitter, but I’m torn. I think it goes without saying that it was a pretty irresponsible film to make. Sure, Team America got away with it, but that was a different dictator and a different time. And they were puppets. I’m sure it all seemed like it was “in good fun”, but you run a risk when you mock a sitting dictator. I don’t quite see how there was a “right” answer here. To remove the movie from theaters, it appears that we gave in to terrorist threats. To have shown the movie, with the threats out in the open, it would’ve been just as irresponsible as making the movie in the first place. If people had been killed, what then? And don’t say we’d go to war. This is America, so we’d do what we always do when there’s mass death: NOTHING. At least that’s how we treat our own terrorists. Anyway, it just seemed like a no-win situation. Sucks, ’cause I definitely planned to watch it once it came to Redbox. At the moment, though, there are no plans for DVD or Video On Demand. So, The Interview will probably end up one of the most sought after movies of our generation, and I bet it’s not even that good. I mean, it’s being marketed as “From the guys who brought you Neighbors“, which I found to be a serviceable, yet forgettable, movie.

Craig Wayne Boyd

Craig Wayne Boyd won this cycle of The Voice. As a member of Team Blake, he maintained Blake Shelton’s dominance as he’s the 4th Team Blake winner in the show’s history. Since winners of The Voice never really go anywhere, this is probably the last time you’ll see his name. Unless he ends up killing someone. He’s got one of those assassin names.

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It was announced that The Help/How To Get Away With Murder actress Viola Davis has been cast as Amanda Waller in DC’s Suicide Squad movie. I’m kinda disappointed because they’re clearly going for New 52 Waller. For you non comics folks, allow me to explain: When Amanda Waller first appeared, she looked like everyone’s Black aunt. She was short, fat, and full of attitude, but she was a BOSS. She was behind some of the most secret aspects of the superhero world, and she got shit done. About 3 years ago, DC Comics initiated The New 52, where they restarted most of their series from scratch (initially released as 52 new comic titles), and reimagined a lot of their characters. As a result, the new, modernized Amanda Waller is svelte and pretty, much like her depiction in Arrow. She’s still a ballbuster, but I feel that Waller’s physical appearance was so integral to her character. I mean, they didn’t call her “The Wall” for nothing, and it just seems like another example of comics wasting the opportunity to create something real. Anyway, while I wanted CCH Pounder for the role, she doesn’t currently have the heat of Davis. I was sort of holding out hope that they’d let Angela Bassett reprise the role from Green Lantern, but there was no chance of that happening. If they had to go with someone whose star is rising, then I’m pretty pleased with the casting of Davis.

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Also in comic movie news, the word on the street is that Andrew Garfield is out as Spider-Man. Sony doesn’t really know what to do with the Spider-Man franchise at the moment, and if Spider-Man does eventually merge with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel’s gonna want their own guy. This saddens me, as I loved Garfield’s Peter Parker. I know people hate those movies, but I don’t think they’re that bad. What do I know, though? I also love the Daredevil movie. Still, it’s a shame that Garfield won’t get to fill out his own trilogy, and it just adds more unneeded turmoil to the whole Spider-Man franchise.

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

-The Colbert Report wrapped up its 9-year run last night, as Stephen Colbert prepares to host The Late Show on CBS

-Kris and Bruce Jenner are officially divorced

-Due to our renewed relationship with Cuba, you can now enter the United States with $100 worth of Cuban cigars

-Former Florida governor Jeb Bush announced that he’s looking into a Presidential run in 2016

-7th Heaven‘s Stephen Collins has admitted to having inappropriate sexual contact with underage girls between the years of 1974 and 1994.

-Christina Aguilera will be returning for the next cycle of The Voice

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Nothing dominated my week quite like Syfy’s miniseries Ascension. Originally conceived as a 6 episode miniseries, Syfy chose to burn it off over three nights in 2-hr chunks. Where to even begin with this? OK, in 1963, an organization launched Ascension – a spaceship on a 100 year mission to colonize a new planet called Proxima. When the the series starts, the crew is at year 51 of their mission. Since they have been away from Earth for all that time, they missed out on so many social movements, like Civil Rights, the Sexual Revolution and more. On the flip side, they also missed Vietnam, 9/11, and the last season of Roseanne. They’ve created their own class system, based on the deck on which you reside. The lower deckers are the poor, while the higher decks are home to the more affluent passengers. A seemingly idyllic existence is interrupted when a murder takes place on the ship, where the victim was shot. This is notable because no guns were allowed when the ship launched, and this is the first report of one in the past 51 years. This throws the ship into chaos, as they try to solve the murder mystery. I kinda thought of it as a grown-up version of Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy (space station launched to colonize new planet), and I was OK with that.

Then, everything you thought you knew is thrown out at the end of the first installment. We find out that Ascension NEVER really left Earth! It’s really more of a social experiment to see if humanity could survive such a journey, but the ship and its passengers have been in a secret bunker for the past 51 years. Then the series bounces between the murder mystery on the ship and the folks on Earth trying to protect the secret. There’s sex, there’s Tricia Helfer ass shots, there’s a little girl with powers, and Billy from Ally McBeal was something of a mad man. It was such a mindfuck of a miniseries, which was clearly a 6-hour pilot. I say that because nothing was answered, and the whole thing felt rushed over the 5.5 hours that it had to tell its story. To be honest, I don’t even know if they even solved the murder mystery. It’s just so engaging, even though there are 8,000 things going on at once. Is this what people felt when they watched Lost? There HAS to be another miniseries or regular series coming because this was definitely setting up something big. If you didn’t get the chance to see it, Syfy will be showing all three parts over the next few days; I highly recommend you check it out. For keeping me on the edge of my seat, and constantly checking googling to see when the follow-up is coming, Ascension had the West Week Ever.

Happy Hanukkah & Merry Christmas!

12th Dec2014

West Week Ever – 12/12/14

by Will

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Can someone pinpoint when Bruce Willis just stopped even trying? I watched A Good Day To Die Hard a few days ago, and it just as easily could’ve been RED 3 or The Whole Eleven Yards.  On the plus side, I was glad they went with an R rating for this one, so it didn’t feel as neutered as Live Free Or Die Hard. That said, it really just felt like a failed “passing the torch” movie. About 75% of Willis’s lines are “I’m on vacation”, while Jai Courtney isn’t charismatic enough to inherit the franchise from Willis. And that plot! This was the first movie where I had to read the wiki entry afterwards just to understand what I just saw. It had all of the ingredients to make me like it – it’s in Russia, it’s Die Hard, it’s rated R – but it just didn’t do it for me. I’m a big Die Hard fan, even though I initially watched them out of order (3, 4, 1, 2), but I can hardly even count this as part of the franchise.

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A Sony email leak revealed the fact that Marvel and Sony had been in discussions for Spider-Man to appear in Captain America: Civil War. The initial plan was for Marvel to produce a trilogy of Spider-Man films where Sony would still retain some quantity of creative control. Talks broke down, however, and now Sony is moving ahead with its own Spidey plans. For example, there are talks of an animated Spider-Man comedy from the 22 Jump Street team.  I’m in the minority here, but I don’t feel like Sony is as adrift with the Spider-Man franchise as some would like to believe. Sure, it’s not as strong as it was during the Raimi days, but I’ve enjoyed the Garfield movies. I don’t see why they just don’t move ahead with a third instead of all of these spinoff ideas (Sinister Six, female-led Spider film, etc).

22 jump street

Speaking of 22 Jump Street, that same Sony leak revealed plans to cross over the Men In Black and Jump Street franchises. The hope is to reinvigorate the MIB franchise, seeing as how the studio lost money on Men In Black 3, despite the fact that it made $624 million worldwide. It’s believed that Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones wouldn’t be in the movie, but would focus on Tatum and Hill interacting with the MIB universe. I’ve got to say that I don’t exactly hate that idea. I’ve never been a huge MIB fan, but I LOVE the Jump Street movies, so I’d be onboard for this.

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Entertainment Weekly got the exclusive reveal of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens character names, and it was done in the form of trading cards. I really hope Finn’s last name is Jenkins, but I’m sure they’ll go with something like “Starwiper”.

Song of the Week: “When Will I See You Again (Japanese)” – The Three Degrees

Things You May Have Missed This Week

-Time Magazine announced the Ebola doctors as their Person of the Year

-Former WWE star Phil “CM Punk” Brooks announced that he has signed with UFC

-Mike & Molly‘s 5th season started on CBS

-FX’s Sons of Anarchy ended its 7-season run

-Guardians of the Galaxy was released on DVD/Blu Ray

-iPod Classics are selling for up to $900 since Apple quietly discontinued the model

-ABC announced that new comedy Fresh Off the Boat will occupy the Tuesday 8 PM slot formerly filled by Selfie

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-New comic, Bitch Planet, was released by Image Comics. I read it, and don’t understand it, but I love that title.

Links I Loved

How Darude’s “Sandstorm” Became the EDM Track Everyone on the Web Knows – Gawker

Holly Jolly Ninja Turtles Gift Guide – Crooked Ninja

Ten 80s Cartoon Characters Who Are Impossible to Christmas Shop For – UnderScoopFire!

The Best Female Character in Sci-Fi & Fantasy – The Robot’s Pajamas

AwesomeToyBlog Holiday Gift Guide Day 7 – Power Rangers – Awesome Toy Blog

The Onion’s Person Of The Year 2014 (TIE) Malala Yousafzai And John Cena – The Onion

ROWAN BLANCHARD, SABRINA CARPENTER, RIDER STRONG, BEN SAVAGE, AUGUST MATURO, DANIELLE FISHEL

I’ve been a booster of Girl Meets World since it was in the rumor stage, but I sort of stopped watching it because it got a little schmaltzy. I came back, however, last week and boy am I glad that I did. You see, it was the Christmas episode and it brought back a lot of the cast that we loved from the original Boy Meets World – namely Cory’s parents and best friend, Shawn Hunter. I was amazed that they packed so much into a half hour episode, but it was a great dose of nostalgia. We even got to meet the teenage version of Cory’s little brother who was born near the end of BMW.

I do have a few little gripes, though: where were Eric and Morgan, and why weren’t they even mentioned? Boy Meets World has a tendency to forget about Morgan, but there’s no excuse for an Eric omission. The news is that he’ll be appearing in season 2, but it really would’ve rounded out the package if he had been in this episode.

Anyway, We find out that Shawn’s still got a wandering soul, as he now travels and blogs about it for his job. Cory’s daughter, Riley, wonders why Uncle Shawn never really pays attention to her when he’s in town, and it turns out that she just reminds him of what his life is missing. And I’m not saying that I relate, per se, but I definitely know where he was coming from. It’s so weird to see that these characters have grown with me, and are now dealing with 30-something problems that I, myself, have to confront. That’s sort of been my issue with Girl Meets World: it’s heavier than I feel a tween show should be. In my teen show experience, everything is supposed to be in neon colors, and the characters are supposed to get into wacky adventures. GMW forgoes all of that, and it really tries to be a coming of age tale of Riley and the things that she has to confront as she grows up. BMW was certainly a more lighthearted show, but maybe this is what this generation needs. What do I know? Well, what I do know is that seeing Rider Strong (that name will never fail to make me laugh) was a welcome treat, and it was nice to see what the character has been up to since we last saw him. Most of my friends who watched it said they loved it, so the show successfully catered to BMW‘s former audience, while still appealing to its new demographic. So, for its Christmas-themed nostalgia, the Girl Meets World had the West Week Ever.

05th Dec2014

West Week Ever – 12/5/14

by Will

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So, this whole time I’ve been watching Netflix, I totally forgot that I have movie channels as part of my cable package now. So, over the past week, I’ve had the DVR working overtime to record some movies that I’d wanted to see but never got around to watching. The first movie I watched was The Internship, starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. While I was expecting Wedding Crashers 2, I got something completely different. Vaughn and Wilson star as former watch salesmen who put themselves in the running for jobs at Google after their company folds. As part of their internship, they’re teamed up with a bunch of other “outliers” who also hadn’t been chosen for teams. So, this team of leftovers has to compete against overly ambitious tools in order to win the chance to work for Google. Because their characters were salesmen, and due to their slimy performances in Wedding Crashers, I kinda expected the same thing from Vaughn and Wilson in this movie. Surprisingly, they’re really nice, genuine guys in this film; I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, but they really served as older, experienced mentors to the other interns on their team. They didn’t try to hook up with young girls, and they didn’t fast talk their way out of trouble. In all, it was surprising characterization in what was otherwise a predictable story. The weird part, though, is how the entire movie is just a commercial for Google and its products. I haven’t seen anything this blatant since 1989’s The Wizard. I checked the wiki page to see if Google invested any money in the project, but of course there’s no information about those kinds of things. I can see why nobody saw this in theaters, but it’s not bad if you catch it on TV on a boring Saturday afternoon.

delivery-man

Next up was Delivery Man. THIS was the Vince Vaughn I was looking for. This could have been a spiritual successor to Dodgeball, as it’s not the same type of humor, but Vaughn plays the same type of character as Dodgeball‘s Peter LaFleur. He’s a down on his luck, middle-aged man saddled with massive debt and no direction in life. This all changes when he finds out that he has 532 biological children due to a mixup at a sperm bank he’d donated to years ago. The center had fallen on hard times, so for several years, it relied solely on his sperm samples for its clients. Now, the kids are of legal age, and have decided that they have a right to know who their father is. Due to confidentiality agreements Vaughn signed when he first donated the sperm, the kids aren’t allowed to know his identity. So, the movie is about how he secretly gets to know his kids, while they are fighting in court to get him to reveal his identity. Like The Internship, it’s a fairly predictable movie, but it’s not without its moments. I hate when people say they got “the feels”, but there are some moments with a lot of heart. This is another film worth watching on cable if you catch it when it’s on.

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Finally, I watched The World’s End, with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and those guys. Out of director Edgard Wright’s “Cornetto Trilogy”, I liked it more than Shaun of the Dead, but not as much as Hot Fuzz. Five old friends reunite to recreate a pub crawl they’d started 20 years ago, but never completed. While on the pub crawl, they start to realize things don’t seem right in their old hometown. They discover that much of the population has been replaced by robots, and the pub crawl turns into them running for their lives. My favorite aspect of the movie was that this time Nick Frost is basically the straight man, while Simon Pegg is the fuckup. The ending was kinda wonky, though. Still not sure I know what to make of it all. If you’re a fan of Pegg, however, I’m sure you’ve already seen it, so I’m preaching to the choir.

OK, so there’s been something controversial in the news that I haven’t really been talking about. It’s already polarizing, and has ended some friendships. I’ve come to a place in my life where I don’t like to comment on something if I don’t have all of the facts, and in this case, I have to say that I’m not too well-versed in the major bullet points. It also involves issues of race, which is never a fun topic. Yes, I’m talking about the Star Wars teaser trailer. Didn’t love it, but didn’t hate it. Already, folks have written too many words about the new lightsaber that everyone’s losing their minds over. I’m not a big enough Star Wars fan to have any strong emotions about it, but it’s definitely got me curious.

Squad

Speaking of movies, the cast of DC’s Suicide Squad film has been announced, and it includes Will Smith as Deadshot and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. Deadshot is not black, so you can imagine the outcry from fans online. My issue with the casting is that it simply makes Deadshot less interesting. Will Smith only plays Will Smith, so he won’t really bring any nuance to the character. Anyway, Suicide Squad is about a bunch of criminals who are chosen for suicide missions because nobody would miss them. It’s always been an interesting comic book, but I don’t know how it’ll play as a movie, especially since they’ve added The Joker (Jared Leto), who wouldn’t really work in that environment. Yeah, that’s another problem I have with this movie – The Joker. They know they need him for name recognition, but he would never be a member of the squad, as he doesn’t work well on teams.

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

-The Girl Meets World Christmas episode, featuring the original Boy Meets World cast, airs tonight on Disney Channel.

-Marvel went against my choices, and cast Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones and Mike Colter as Luke Cage for the Netflix series.

-Speaking of Marvel, Benedict Cumberbatch was confirmed as Doctor Strange in the upcoming movie.

-Wrestler CM Punk went on Colt Cabana’s podcast to explain why he left WWE. I HATE Punk, but I think I gained an ounce of respect for him after listening to that show.

-Ryan Reynolds has officially signed on to play Deadpool

-90s heartthrob Andrew Keegan formed his own religion.

-TV adaptation of the comic Preacher has been picked up by AMC.

-Madonna named the world’s richest recording artist, with an estimated worth of $800 million

-Terminator: Genisys trailer was released. Still looks like a fan film.

-The 24th James Bond movie was announced. Spectre will star Daniel Craig, Cristoph Waltz, and Monica Belluci

-Parks & Recreation to be burned off with back to back episodes every Tuesday in January. Series finale is set for Feb 24th.

-Fox cancelled Red Band Society at 13 episodes, and has left it off its Spring schedule.

-NBC is ending production on Constantine at 13 episodes, but says that a second season is still possible. Fans are now clamoring for said second season, though it’s pretty safe to say that the show is done.

Olivia

-Twitter got on the case to determine the identity of #oliviafromsonic. Then, it turned out she was a high school junior, and it felt like a Dateline trap.

Links I Loved

Re-Creating My Dad’s Long Lost 1986 Treadmill Mix Tape – UnderScoopFire!

It Happened To Me: Nick Took Over My School And Wouldn’t Leave – ClickHole

A Former Welfare Kid On Why Donating Toys Matters – The Robot’s Pajamas


Too Many Cooks (Looping Cello Version) – YouTube

flarrow

Gotham and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have their fans, but nobody does comic book drama like The CW. Three seasons ago, they roared onto the scene with Arrow, detailing the exploits of Oliver Queen and his allies as they try to protect Starling City. This season, we got The Flash, as Barry Allen does the same thing for Central City. While the heroes met briefly last season on Arrow, before Barry got his powers, this week was the first time that we got a superhero team-up between the two. On Tuesday night, Arrow, Diggle, and Felicity traveled to Central City on a case, and ended up meeting The Flash and his allies. Barry gets into a fight with villain Roy G. Bivolo, which made him experience extreme hatred, leading to a fight with Ollie. Meanwhile, Dr. Wells and the Flash crew discovered that Oliver Queen was The Arrow. It was a thrilling hour, and that was only part 1 of their interaction. Now, I’ve got to be honest – I didn’t watch the Arrow episode because I’m still in the middle of season 2 in my bingewatch, and I didn’t want to be spoiled by anything. The Flash episode dropped one little tidbit that I hadn’t gotten to yet in Arrow’s second season, but it didn’t spoil too much. Since the Arrow episode would be more entrenched in the goings on of Starling City, I decided to wait it out until I catch up. From what I’ve read, though, part 2 was just as good as the first. These are thrilling comic-based shows that make us excited about their universe, which I can’t say about the aforementioned Gotham, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is finally starting to understand. In any case, for knocking off my socks with their team-up, The Flash/Arrow Teamup had the West Week Ever.

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

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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.

31st Oct2014

West Week Ever – 10/31/14

by Will

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Halloween 2012

Happy Halloween, everybody! I’m not as much into Halloween as I used to be, but I know that it’s akin to Christmas for some of you. My pal, Dex, over at AEIOU…and Sometimes Why has been running a series all month long where he interviewed several bloggers about their past Halloween experiences. I was honored to be asked to participate, and you can check out my entry here. I implore you to read all of the entries, though, as I learned a lot about my fellow bloggers that I didn’t know before.

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Monday saw the premiere of Mike Tyson Mysteries on Adult Swim. It was funnier than I was expecting, as it mixes Scooby Doo hijinx with the insanity of Mike Tyson. I mean, he punches out a Chupacabra and sings a song about not having sex with birds. He also teams up with his adopted Asian daughter, a talking pigeon, and a ghost. You have GOT to check out this show! My only gripe with it is that it’s one of those 15-minute Adult Swim shows. I want a full half hour! Anyway, it’s kinda weird watching a cartoon starring a convicted rapist, but I guess he did his time…

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Tuesday saw the premiere of Friends of the People on truTV. I tend to avoid truTV shows, as they reek of “fake”. That’s the case with their reality shows, at least. They seem to be turning a new page in their programming, though, as they seem to want to be a low budget Comedy Central now. Friends of the People is a 7-person sketch show and I really wanted to like it. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t funny. I mean, it was unfunny on a House of Buggin level (10 points to anyone who remembers that shortlived Fox show). It’s no SNL, but it’s not even a MADtv. I think the show has potential, but the cast seems wildly uneven. I also don’t really understand the appeal of The Lucas Bros. They were funny enough in 22 Jump Street, but I don’t get why they got a FoxADHD show (Lucas Bros Moving Company) and I certainly don’t get how they were cast in a sketch comedy show. I don’t think folks will be talking about this show because it’s not funny enough, nor is it edgy enough to be relevant.

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Tuesday also saw the premiere of Benched on USA, starring Eliza Coupe from Scrubs/Happy Endings. I loved Happy Endings more than most shows in the past few years, so I have trouble watching them in new shows. It’s just a reminder that HE isn’t coming back, and I’m not ready to admit that yet. I haven’t even followed the cast to their new shows. I dropped New Girl when Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. moved back an hour, so no Damon Wayans Jr. I dropped The Mindy Project for the same reason, so no Adam Pally. And I have yet to watch Casey Wilson’s Marry Me on NBC. I like Coupe, though, and I tend to like cable comedies (RIP Wedding Band), so I thought I’d give this one a shot. I’ll only be watching it on DVR, though, as it comes on the same time as Forever on ABC, and I have to support that show so it can get a second season. Anyway, Benched was good. Coupe plays a corporate lawyer who has a MAJOR meltdown when she’s passed over for a promotion, and ends up working for the office of the public defender. I like the supporting cast, including Maria Bamford and Oscar from The Office. It’s hard for cable comedies to find an audience, especially at 10 PM, but I hope this show sticks around.

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Speaking of cable comedies, I’m still trying to get used to American Dad on TBS. I don’t feel like it’s as funny as it was on Fox, but at least they can say “shit” and “dick” now. I’d say the show is trying to find its footing, but it’s been on for years. The change in network really shouldn’t have affected the quality, but I feel it has.

In music news, T-Pain just recorded an episode of NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series, WITHOUT AUTO-TUNE, and he sounded amazing! I’d usually just point a link, but y’all never click those, so here it is in its entirety:

Things You May Have Missed This Week

– Some dude disappeared at a Broncos game, and was found a few days later – 118 miles away

– A viral video on street harassment edited out all the white guys, making minorities look like a bunch of horndogs

– ABC’s Manhattan Love Story is the first rookie show to be canceled for the 2014-2015 TV season. I didn’t even have it in my ABC Upfronts post, so I can’t say that I called it.

Entertainment Weekly debuted pics from Terminator Genisys that make it look like a fan film

– Charlie Sheen’s still trying to get a meeting with the Two and a Half Men producers so he can come crawling back.

– Apple admitted that they ceased production on the iPod Classic because they could no longer get the parts to make it.

– Death Row Records founder Suge Knight and comedian Katt Williams were arrested for stealing a photographer’s camera. No, this was not the plot of Friday 4: Friday Three Weeks From Now

– CBS is currently casting the pilot for Supergirl from the Arrow producers.

Links I Loved

The 30th Anniversary of the Sitcom Episode that Scared the Sh*t Out of Every 80s Kid – UnderScoopFire!

Avengers Age of Ultron Trailer and Breakdown of Each Shot – The Robot’s Pajamas

Ten Toys More Offensive Than Breaking Bad Action Figures – Toyriffic

Borrowed from TheRobotsPajamas.com

Borrowed from TheRobotsPajamas.com

OK, let’s get this out of the way. On Tuesday, Marvel announced every movie they’re releasing until I’m 38 and the Internet almost exploded. In 2016, we’ve got Captain America 3: Civil War and Doctor Strange. In 2017, we’ve got Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Thor: Ragnarok, and Black Panther. In 2018, we’ve got Avengers: Infinity War Part 1, Captain Marvel, and The Inhumans. And, wrapping things up in 2019 is Avengers: Infinity War Part 2. That’s a lot to swallow! Usually I have strong opinions on such things, but these all seem so far away at the moment. It;s somewhat surprising that there’s no Hulk movie in the lineup, though some folks have wondered if the title of Guardian of the Galaxy 2 might be Planet Hulk. I doubt it, but it’s an interesting theory. I also feel like Marvel is treating Black Widow like a sidechick – they use all she has to give, but never give her her own spotlight. I think she could carry a spy thriller, and it kinda sucks she’s not being given the chance. Anyway, I’m going to give my opinion on the movies with one to two sentences each:

Captain America 3: Civil War – We all saw it coming, but he’s also gotta find some time to track down Bucky. Sounds like a packed movie.

Doctor Strange – He’s meant to be the lynchpin of Phase 3, which saddens me because I don’t really like the character’s mythos.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2: BRING IT ON!

Thor: Ragnarok – Let me guess: it’ll have Loki. You pretty much know what you’re getting with a Thor movie, but Hiddleston and Hemsworth are great in their roles

Black Panther – he’s been described as King Batman, but I’ve never really seen it. Even as king of a world power, he just always felt tokeny to me.

Avengers: Infinity War – I HATE the cosmic side of Marvel, but maybe the movies will make me gain an appreciation for it

Captain Marvel – Meh. I hear she’s gotten more interesting as Captain Marvel, but I remember her as Ms. Marvel – a recovering alcoholic who couldn’t get her shit together. Casting will be important for this one.

The Inhumans – More meh. I’ve never really cared for them, and now they’re about to become Marvel Studios’ mutants. Marvel seems to be invincible at the box office, so I guess I should just trust what they have in store.

Needless to say, Marvel Studios had the West Week Ever.

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