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.

Waller

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.

Spider-Man

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.

Finn SW

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.

Call-of-Duty-Advanced-Warfare1

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

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

Things You May Have Missed This Week

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

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

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

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

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

-Amanda Bynes is still crazy.

-Downton Abbey was renewed for a 6th season.

-Fox canceled ratings-starved reality experiment Utopia.

-Wayne Brady admitted that he suffers from depression.

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

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

Links I Loved

Next Round of Prototype Fetts Hitting Walgreens – Awesome Toy Blog

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

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

Taylor_Swift_-_1989

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

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

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

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…

friends-of-the-people-group

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.

benched

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.

24th Oct2014

West Week Ever – 10/24/14

by Will

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It’s gonna be a light one this week, folks. The internet and cable went out at my place on Saturday night, and wasn’t fixed until Tuesday. So, I missed anything that would’ve aired during that time. This included the Black Dynamite premiere, the American Dad premiere, and the lack of internet prevented me from continuing my Arrow bingewatch. We finally got everything fixed Tuesday afternoon, but my car wouldn’t start in a random parking lot and, waiting for AAA, I ended up missing Flash, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Forever. So, needless to say, it’s been a crappy week, and I have little to show for it.

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Walking home yesterday, I came across a Redbox that had recently been restocked, and I picked up 2 movies that I’d been wanting to see. I thought I was getting comedies, but the jury’s still out on that one! The first one was Neighbors, starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron. In the movie, new parents Rogen and Rose Byrne are mortified to learn that a fraternity has moved into the house next door. The frat makes too much noise, which keeps Rogen’s newborn up at night. Rogen and Byrne want to confront the frat, but don’t want to seem like old fuddyduddies. You see, they’re still trying to cope with “Adulthood” and their newfound status as parents. They want to still be “cool”, even though they now have different priorities and responsibilities. After having the cops called on them, the frat retaliates by sparking off a prank war with Rogen and Byrne. Underneath all of the pranks, there’s a message about fear of growing up. Rogen fears he’s no longer the cool guy, while Efron is scared he won’t be the cool guy once college ends. By the end, they both seem to have come to terms with where they are in life. In all, it was a serviceable, yet pretty forgettable, movie. I’d say wait for it to come on TV, but I don’t know how they’ll air it with all the dildos and whatnot.

Sex Tape Poster

The next movie I watched was Sex Tape, starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel. If you’ve ever wanted to see Cameron Diaz’s ass and/or sideboob, this is the movie for you. The whole movie is basically given away in the trailer, but in case you never saw it, here we go: Segel and Diaz used to have sex all the time, but now they have kids and responsibilities and the spark seems to be gone. On a rare night alone, they decide to film themselves performing every move from The Joy of Sex in an effort to be wild and crazy. Well, Segel doesn’t delete the video like Diaz told him to, and it ends up being uploaded to a bunch of iPads that Segel has given to various people, including the mailman. Let’s take a break here and examine that little plothole: who the Hell just gives away iPads to random people? Do you know how much those things cost?! Before they can get all the iPads back, someone decides to blackmail them for $25,000 or else they’ll upload it to YouPorn. As you can imagine, “hilarity ensues” as they race around trying to track down every copy of the file. In the meantime, Segel almost kills a dog with a treadmill, Nat Faxon makes a cameo with his weird teeth, and Rob Lowe appears as a creepy cokehead. Let’s take another pause here: I’ve noticed that recreational coke use is all the rage in “edgy” comedies these days. It seems that white people are giving up on weed, and going straight to the cocaine. Is this true? Is it now as prevalent amongst the early 30s set as Hollywood has depicted lately? Anyway, the movie’s pretty predictable, although it journeys into the unbelievable near the end. At its heart, though, it’s a movie about how a relationship can break down to the point where the partners feel they need something like a sex tape to save things. That aspect was kinda heavy.

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What I’m learning is that the whole Judd Apatow set is growing up with me. When I was in my 20s, they were in their 20s and had goofy movies like Superbad and Pineapple Express. Now that I’m in my 30s, they’re in their 30s, going through the same stuff I am. Right now, a lot of those movies are about how much it sucks to get old. This includes This Is 40, Neighbors, and Sex Tape. That’s sort of scary. I look to movies as an escape, but they’re just kinda adding to fears I already had. And the answers they provide aren’t very reassuring. Oh well, I guess that’s what we get when we look to Hollywood for answers. Anyone got any coke?

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It was a big week for toy folks to get their Underoos in a bunch. First off, Scott Neitlich, AKA “ToyGuru”, resigned from Mattel. This is a big deal, as he was basically the face of the company’s collector lines, such as Masters of the Universe Classics and DC Universe Classics. As the face of the company, he also had a target on his head, and every questionable decision made by the company was squarely blamed on him. The message boards were on fire over the weekend, as people either wished him well at his new company or cursed the ground he walks on for ruining their childhoods.

BBFigure

Now, this next little piece of business. So, this chick in Florida, Susan Scrivjer felt that Breaking Bad figures had no place in Toys “R” Us, as they glorified the drug trade. So, she started a petition which reportedly got around 9,000 signatures. What did TRU do? They acquiesced and removed the toys. This enraged adult collectors, as it seemed like it was just an issue for a small minority (until the 9,000 signature petition), and it sets a precedent that nothing’s safe. It also seemed hypocritical, as they sell Mature-rated video games, but have a problem with simple, shittily-made (in my opinion) action figures. I’ve said my piece on Twitter, but I guess it bears repeating here. See, maybe I’m old fashioned, but I kinda don’t think those should be in TRU. I’m a bit of an old fogey, I know. I remember when those toys were comic shop only, and I was a bit surprised when I started seeing them at TRU. To be honest, I’m kinda surprised it took this long for there to be backlash. I never thought it would be the Breaking Bad toys, though. I kinda thought it would’ve happened with the HB Hellboy figures or the KA Kick Ass toys. I mean, if you can’t even put the name of the property ON the toy, then maybe you’re not selling in the correct marketplace. But now we’ve got a slippery slope going, because anything is fair game to pull and a precedent’s been set.

T2

 I think it’s more about industry clout than it is about subject matter. Terminator 2 toys came out because of Kenner, and TRU needed the revenue from other Kenner wares. Sure, T2 was an R-rated movie, but Kenner was a major player, so it’s not like TRU could say no. They pulled the Breaking Bad toys ’cause they were from Mezco. This never would’ve happened with Mattel or Hasbro; they need that money too much. Other decisions would hinge on it. Plus, those companies would never waste their time on “staction figures” based on a cable drama.  This was a slap to the little guy. Anyway, the toys have been put on an “indefinite sabbatical” according to a TRU statement, so Scrivjer and censorship won. At the end of the day, though, kids wouldn’t even know who Walter White was if it weren’t for shitty parenting. He’d just be a figure of “some old guy”.

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Next month, they’re releasing the Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix on cassette. So, good luck finding a tape deck!

peyton

This week, Peyton Manning, of the Denver Broncos, made history as he broke Brett Favre’s 509 touchdown record. I’m not really a football guy, but Lindsay will kill me if I don’t mention it.

There was some good news this week: we found out the sex of the baby! Lord, give me strength…

Links I Loved

I watched WWE for the First Time in 15 Years and It Was Confusing as Hell – deathandtaxes

The Last Twisted ToyFare Theatre Ever – JustinAclin.com

Halloween Web – Holidaze – AEIOU…and Sometimes Why

After These Messages….the Slow Death of Saturday Morning Cartoons – Raging Nerdgasm

Are we gonna even pretend that the Age of Ultron trailer didn’t have the West Week Ever? I mean, just look at it!

Yeah, the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer had the West Week Ever. ‘Nuff said.

17th Oct2014

West Week Ever – 10/17/14

by Will

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The week started with a quick trip up to NYC for the New York Comic-Con. I hadn’t been to the show in years, as it tends to fall on the weekend of my anniversary. You see, the show used to kick off the convention season in February, and then someone got the bright idea to move it to October, thus thwarting my plans! I caught an early morning bus, and got to the show about noon. Remember how I got into Toy Fair? Well, seeing as how the show was sold out, I employed a similar tactic to gain access to NYCC. My name for the day was “Juan” (When I was gonna write a standalone post recapping the show, I thought about calling it “Juan For The Road”, but I got lazy).

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Anyway, after about 10 minutes on the show floor, this chick came up to me and gave me a card about a Dark Horse series called Concrete Park. I looked at the card, and knew she only gave it to me because I was black. I looked up at her, and blurted out, “Hey, I know you!” It was actress Erika Alexander, better known as Cousin Pam from The Cosby Show/Maxine Shaw from Living Single. She had written the comic, and told me to come by the Dark Horse booth at 1 for a free signing. I later went to that signing, and got the above pic taken with her.

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Soon afterwards, I met up with my pal, Jay, and we tried to navigate around the show floor. There were simply too many people there. With a reported 151,000 attendees over the weekend, NYCC is now even bigger than San Diego Comic Con. There have been a lot of articles lately blaming cosplayers for the decline of convention commerce. The argument is that cosplayers jam up the walkways, and take attention away from the professionals trying to make a living. Up til now, I’d been on the side of the cosplayers, as I thought this was just a case of sour grapes from the comic folks. After NYCC, however, my opinion has changed. They really do congregate at the WORST places for photo ops, and it was hard enough to get through as it was. I saw a lot of great cosplay, and would love to have taken pics for a blog post, but I wasn’t about to add to the traffic jam. It’s a shame because there was so much great stuff to see, but no time or space to enjoy it.

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Jay had a 2:00 bus to catch, so after he left, I finally got to meet my Twitter pal @bionicbigfoot (Chris). We’ve been trying to meet for some time, and I’d missed him at Toy Fair. He’s a great guy and the best Archie historian around! At the same time I met him, my buddy @Tekcorps (“Sprocket”) came up and we all walked the show floor together. They got some great deals on dollar box comics, but I just couldn’t find anything to spend money on. The toy selection wasn’t that great, and I couldn’t find any comics that I needed to fill gaps. Still, it was great hanging out with those guys, as it definitely made the trip worthwhile. After Chris left to do an interview, Sprocket and I headed to Artist Alley to see what we could find. It was there that we ran into Twitter buddy @T16Skyhopp (Nik). Since the show was winding down, Sprocket and I decided to leave before the mass exodus of people. We were both headed to Penn Station, so we were gonna split a cab. Unfortunately, we found ourselves on the wrong side of the street of the first available cab. We walked out into the street just as the light turned green, and almost got his by a bus! Let’s just say the cabbie wasn’t too pleased with our stunt, but our money was green, so… Anyway, Sprocket hung out with me as I waited for my bus, and I got to know a lot about him, Eventually, we parted ways, and I headed back home. In all, it was a great trip, but not necessarily because of the convention. The show, itself, was just too much. I’ve been to San Diego, and this felt worse than that. I don’t really like crowds, so this was not the place to be. I didn’t really get anything awesome, and I took part in virtually NO convention programming. What made it a great trip, however, were the people. It’s always great to put a face to a Twitter name, and I look forward to hanging out with them again at Toy Fair. Oh yeah, I’m going back. I just need to figure out who I’m gonna be…

 

Civil War

So, some pop culture news. Reports surfaced that Robert Downey Jr. would be appearing in Captain America 3, seemingly kicking off the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of the Civil War storyline. If you’ve never read it, Civil War featured Iron Man and Captain America on opposite sides of an ideological battle. Following the destruction of Stamford, Connecticut, the public calls for regulation of super beings, complete with registration with the government. This was the side that Iron Man chose. The Cap side, however, believed that registration was a violation of their rights, and that they had no reason to make their identities public. As we saw in The Winter Soldier, Cap is already in a place where he doesn’t exactly trust his government, so things are likely to get worst before they get better for him. Still, this movie isn’t coming out until 2016, which feels so far away, so I’m going to wait to get excited about it.

trinity

Speaking of comic movies that are so far away, Warner Bros finally revealed their plans for their comic book movie universe. Ten movies are slated through the year 2020, and the list includes:

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice directed by Zack Snyder (2016)
Suicide Squad directed by David Ayer (2016)
Wonder Woman starring Gal Gadot (2017)
Justice League Part One directed by Snyder, with Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams reprising their roles (2017)
The Flash starring Ezra Miller (2018)
Aquaman starring Jason Momoa (2018)
Shazam (2019)
Justice League Part Two directed by Zack Snyder (2019)
Cyborg starring Ray Fisher (2020)
Green Lantern (2020)

Where to even begin? It looks like the reports of Momoa as Aquaman were correct, but it’s a shame what’s happening with The Flash. This news should’ve been announced at SDCC, before the premiere of The Flash. Instead, they allowed The Flash to break CW viewing records, and now folks are falling in love with a hero who won’t get a shot at the big screen. This is reminiscent of when Brandon Routh was cast in Superman Returns, while Smallville was a television hit. Things didn’t work out so well for Routh (who now finds himself on the TV version of a DC franchise, Arrow), and I don’t see it working out for Ezra Miller. I don’t know anyone who wants a Cyborg movie, but it shows DC beating Marvel to the punch in terms of diversity, as the slate includes a solo movie for a woman and a black hero. Still, Marvel has several mystery movies that haven’t been announced yet, so they could still shock us by announcing Black Panther or Captain Marvel. I think it’s funny that the Shazam movie is 5 years away because it’s almost like they’re waiting for a star to rise who can hold his own against The Rock. It’s odd that they would cast the charismatic actor as the villain, as there really isn’t anyone who can currently match him onscreen. It almost would’ve made more sense for them to have cast him as Captain Marvel, which would’ve been terrible casting, but would’ve solved the problem of needing a hero with star power. Anyway, I’m sure there are folks out there excited by this news, but I’m not one of them. It’s not the projects themselves that leave me wanting, but it’s the fact that they’re so far away.

Tyrus

In wrestling news, my recently-released favorite WWE wrestler, Brodus Clay, has resurfaced in Total Nonstop Action as “Tyrus”. I love me some Brodus Clay, but I don’t love him enough to watch TNA Impact every week. I just can’t do that to myself. So, I wish him luck, but I’ll catch up with him when he eventually makes his way back to WWE.

This has not been a great week for me on Twitter. First off, some dude called me a “Geekmudgeon” because I hate-watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It’s just not a great show, and it’s too bad people can’t see that. Anyway, it escalated to the point where I ended up blocking him, and I never block anyone! Things got worse, however, the next day. You see, I had missed the premiere of Casey Wilson’s Marry Me, and tweeted about it. In that tweet, I also kinda mentioned that the fact that it starred SNL alum Tim Meadows meant that it wouldn’t last. It’s true! Look at his IMDB! Anyway, guess who Twitter searched his name?

meadows

Not only did he find it, but he retweeted it! Then, when I acknowledged that I noticed his retweet, he retweeted that! It’s like he wanted to mobilize his fans against me, but nobody said a thing. Why don’t people ever see when I say good things about them? I DO! Sometimes.

revengerclassick

Have you been listening to Classick Team-Up lately? Not only did he have the debut of the Thrift Justice duo on a podcast, but he’s also had some great interviews with @LamarRevenger and @P0lishPhen0m lately. Head over to the Cold Slither Podcast Network to check it out.

Arrow

“YOU HAVE FAILED THIS CITY!” Oh man, oh man, oh man! Guys, I am so late to the party here, and I completely acknowledge that it’s my own fault. You’ve been telling me that Arrow was great, and I just wouldn’t listen. I reviewed the pilot when it first aired, but then I never went back. Last Saturday night, I decided to rewatch the pilot on Netflix and I’ve been bingewatching it ever since. I’m still on season 1, so please don’t spoil anything for me! I LOVE this show, and I think I prefer watching it like this, as I don’t think I could wait a week between some of those cliffhangers. Stephen Amell is great as Oliver Queen, and he’s like a young, hotter Chris O’Donnell. Meanwhile, Laurel is like a pretty Maggie Gyllenhaal. And socially awkward Felicity Smoak is my new favorite fictional character. Everything I thought about this show was wrong, and I can’t get enough of it. I want to discuss it with folks and shout it from the mountaintops, but I’ve got to get caught up first. I’m sure this probably should go to NYCC or the DC announcements, but nothing rocked my world this week like Arrow. For that reason, Arrow had the West Week Ever.

 

03rd Oct2014

West Week Ever – 10/3/14

by Will

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The week started off with a trip to Retrocon, where I finally got to meet @Classickmateria, and I was reunited with @LamarRevenger. I made the journey with @trooperlite, and I think a good time was had by all. If you want the full story, though, be sure to check out the Retrocon recap podcast on the most recent Classick Team-Up.

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As I promised last week, I ended up buying Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 while at Retrocon. As a result, I haven’t been to bed before 2 AM any night this week. If any of you are on XBox Live, my gamertag is THRIFTJUSTICE.

 

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In celebrity news, George Clooney got married, and the vaginas wept of millions of women who never had a chance. Meanwhile, both Amanda Bynes and Michael Phelps were arrested on DUI charges this week. This is just par for the course when it comes to Bynes, as she’s just as much of a trainwreck as Lohan, but it was a bit surprising for Phelps. He was caught with marijuana a few years back and had to publicly apologize but I’m not sure how he’s gonna handle this one. What about the kids, Michael? What about the kids?!

baywatch

It was reported that The Rock will lead the Baywatch movie adaptation. I don’t really have a lot of thoughts on this, as this movie has been in the works for years, and nothing has ever come of it. Plus, from all reports, it’s supposed to be a hokey comedy instead of a cheesy drama. I’d rather it be the latter.

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In Marvel movie news, some less than reputable sources are reporting that Psych/The West Wing star Dule Hill has been cast as Luke Cage in the upcoming Netflix series. By the end of yesterday, most of those sites had removed the story, but it’s definitely interesting casting if true. I like Hill, but I don’t think he has the build to pull it off. I’m still in the Isaiah Mustafa camp, but I think most of the world has forgotten him since Old Spice stopped running those commercials.

youre-the-worst

Now, for some TV news. It was reported this week that two of my favorite new shows this season, Satisfaction and You’re The Worst, have officially been picked up for second seasons. I’ve already explained my reasons for liking these shows, so this is great news to me. Next summer can’t get here fast enough! For some reason, though, they’re shipping You’re The Worst off to FXX, which is really just a Simpsons depository in between episodes of The League. I still feel like Fox doesn’t have a lot of faith in the network, and it’s where Totally Biased went to die. Hopefully folks will be able to find it in its new home.

Community

Over in the Community saga, Yvette Nicole Brown has announced that she won’t be continuing with the show when it moves to Yahoo Screen. She needs to care for her ailing father, so her character, Shirley, will be written out of the show. The actress will, however, be popping up as recurring characters on the reboot of The Odd Couple, as well as on USA’s Unbenched. So, she can’t do full time work, but she’s still available for cameos. Whatever. Part of me wonders if she just wanted to get off that sinking ship. It’s sad that Community no longer has any black cast members, but maybe they knew something that we don’t.

agents-of-shield-logo

In the ratings game, things aren’t looking good for 2 ABC fan favorites. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had its lowest ratings ever this week, and this is just the second episode of the season. If they want this thing to see a third season, they better start talking to Jeremy Renner’s people for a cameo (he’s the only one from the movies I could realistically see taking a TV paycheck). Meanwhile, Black-ish‘s ratings dropped from the premiere. This sort of drop is usual, as most of the looky-loos who checked out the pilot have moved on, and the show is settling into its natural audience. The problem, however, is that this week’s ratings were in the same range as the second episode of Rebel Wilson’s Super Fun Night last season. Why is that notable? Well, Super Fun Night ain’t on anymore. I think Black-ish is safe for now, but whether or not it gets a second season depends on what ABC has ready for midseason. Fresh Off The Boat still needs a timeslot, but I really don’t see it having the same acclaim as Black-ish. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Ello

In the social media sphere, everyone’s been talking about Ello. While it has prematurely been called a “Facebook killer”, it’s certainly loved by privacy advocates, as it has no ads and you don’t have to use your real name. Right now, it’s invite-only, and just seems kinda barren. If you’re over there, give me a follow at williambrucewest. Let’s see if we can make that thing exciting!

Deadpool

Speaking of social media, my Tumblr popularity keeps chugging along, as this Deadpool pic has gotten over 142 likes and reblogs. It’s funny how things over there don’t even make a dent on Instagram. I just haven’t figured out how to crack IG, but I’m enjoying the attention I’m getting on Tumblr. If you wanna follow me there, it’s wbwest.tumblr.com.

Links I Loved

Sh*t You Guys, A Real Life Version Of Bill Brasky Has Passed Away – UPROXX

7 Horrifying Lessons Learned Directing a Porno – Cracked

Classick Cinema: My Pitch for a Proper Sequel to “Gremlins” – Cold Slither Podcast

Family-Guy-and-The-SImpsons-Crossover

Nobody thought it would ever happen, and now that it has, I can’t believe it didn’t happen sooner: The Simpsons met The Griffins in the season premiere of Family Guy, called “The Simpsons Guy”. The Griffins’ car is stolen while they’re passing through Springfield, and Homer and Peter team up to track it down. Meanwhile, Stewie idolized Bart, while Lisa found out that Meg was a natural on the saxophone. After Peter and Homer end up on opposite sides of a lawsuit, the episode is capped off with a Peter vs. The Giant Chicken fight, only Homer’s standing in for the chicken. It’s even more absurd than it sounds, and I loved every minute of it. I know some folks think The Simpsons is past its prime, but I always enjoy it whenever I tune in. Moreover, some folks just aren’t fans of Seth MacFarlane’s humor, but I certainly am. All of these themes were dealt with in the episode, and it delivered more than I ever thought it would. I think both shows brought their A-game and I wouldn’t be opposed to them crossing over again at some point in the future. In any case, for completely blowing my socks off, “The Simpsons Guy” had the West Week Ever.

25th Sep2014

West Week Ever – 9/26/14

by Will

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warrior dash

The week started out with me in CT, taking part in the Warrior Dash. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically a mud run obstacle course, but not as hardcore as the Spartan Race. I’d never done anything like it, but my college friends James, Jenn, and Debra wanted to do it, so I decided to make the trip up there. Seeing as how I can’t swim, I was planning to skip all of the obstacles that had to do with water. Little did I realize that the very first obstacle would be in the water. We had to walk through neck-high water to a raft, climb up on it, walk across, and walk to the shore through the water again. I sucked it up and did it, even though I could’ve drowned. When everything was said and done, I didn’t end up skipping any of the obstacles, and I’m pretty proud of myself. I did mess up my knees on the rope ladders, but they’ll heal. If you ever have a chance to do a mud run, it’s definitely something different. I’m still not sure if I’ll do it again, even though my friends are already excited for next year.

black-ops-2

While in Connecticut, I developed an addiction to Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. I am far from a “gamer”, and I especially suck at first-person shooters. Something about this game, however, clicked for me. When we first started playing, I couldn’t even figure out how to turn my head, but by Sunday afternoon, I was killing terrorists with the best of them. Outside of the Warrior Dash, most of our time was spent playing that game. In fact, I played so much that I’d see it when I closed my eyes to sleep. I’m finally able to sleep without seeing terrorists around every corner, but I’m seriously considering buying that game.

kenan

On to pop culture news! It was announced early in the week that Kenan Thompson would be leaving Saturday Night Live at the end of the season. Then, there was some backpedaling, as sources started reporting that the initial announcement may have been premature. So, no one really knows what’s going on right now. It would certainly be a blow to the show, even though some folks might say that it’s been a long time coming. One writer, when speaking to Slate, basically said that Kenan can save any weak sketch, and SNL definitely needs a guy like that these days.

true-detective
The leads for season 2 of HBO’s True Detective were announced this week, and it seems like Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell will be our new cop duo. I enjoyed the first season, but I fall into the camp who felt it was overrated. Part of this could be due to the fact that I binge-watched it in a day. I felt like it tried to build this weird mythology within the case that didn’t have a lot of payoff. Maybe it’s because every drama in post-Lost television feels it needs something mystical to hook the viewer, but I feel like the show would’ve been just as strong if they’d handled a straightforward murder case instead of the Yellow King stuff. A lot of folks are upset about this casting news, as they were hoping for possible female leads, but I like Vaughn, and I now have HBO, so I’ll give it a shot.

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As a Batman fan, I’m sure some people wonder what I thought about Gotham. Well, to be honest, I only saw the last 15 minutes. I wasn’t sure I was gonna watch it because I really have no desire to see another Batman origin story. I have big problems with the purpose of the show. Unlike Smallville, which is where Clark Kent spent his formative years, Gotham holds very little meaning for Bruce Wayne’s development. I mean, it’s the site of his parents’ deaths, but his training takes place around the globe. If it were a show about THAT, then I’d probably watch. There are a lot of “lost” tales from that era, as we got most of our knowledge of his training from Batman Begins. Other than that, we don’t know much, and I’d be down for a show about that. Maybe a show about Bruce training with Henri Ducard. This show, however, starts with Bruce as a KID, and intends to follow him as such. There’s no story there. In the meantime, I don’t really care about seeing where Edward Nygma and Oswald Cobblepot came from. It’s enough that they exist, but this show seems to want to wrap a nice little bow on all of their origin stories. Plus, it’s only a matter of time before they start teasing The Joker, because they won’t be able to help themselves. I also don’t like the casting, except Donal Logue – who was born to play Bullock. They’re reairing the pilot tonight on Fox, so I’ll watch the whole thing to give it a fair shake, but I don’t think this show is for me.

agents-of-shield-logo
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. came back and introduced Absorbing Man. It was nice they finally went with an existing, established comic villain, and it was a decent enough episode, but I still don’t really like anyone but Coulson and Triplett. And now there are two black guys, so it’s only a matter of time before one of them dies. On the ratings side of things, the premiere wasn’t much higher than last season’s finale. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if it lasts until Avengers 2, it will have done its job. This was never a show with the staying power to last 7 seasons. If it turned out to be a massive hit, then that would’ve been great, but the real purpose of the show was the whet our appetites for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in between movies. On its own, it’s a dud, but when linked to that universe, like with The Winter Soldier, it has a lot of potential. The problem with 22 episodes of television is that it has to tread water until these beats present themselves. It’s nice to see that Marvel’s willing to take chances and, luckily, they’re only “miss” has been on TV and not cinematic. I’m saying Agent Carter is a one and done show, while Agents will probably wrap up after season 3.

blackish
The show I was most anticipating was ABC’s Black-ish, which premiered after Modern Family Wednesday night. I’ve loved Anthony Anderson since he was Teddy on Hang Time, and I knew his career would eventually amount to something. It’s a comedic take on the struggle to maintain one’s cultural identity while also fitting in with the world. There’s a lot of “Black people do this, and white people do this” humor, but it wasn’t as hackneyed as your typical Comic View comedian. I think the show has a lot of heart, and it launched to big numbers, so I think it’s a keeper. Unless something crazy happens over the next few weeks, it’ll definitely get a full season pickup. I think ABC’s got a hit on their hands. I am, however, curious to know how white audiences felt about the show. On Twitter, black viewers were pretty vocal in their support, but I wondered if some of the race stuff was too “on the nose” for some white viewers. Anybody wanna share their thoughts in the comments?

FOREVER - Pilot Gallery (ABC/Bob D'Amico) IOAN GRUFFUDD, JUDD HIRSCH

Ya know, I considered giving this honor to Derek Jeter, but then I remembered that this is MY site and that I don’t care about sports. In I know Jeter’s a future Hall of Famer, and I’ve heard he “plays the game the right way”, but I know him more for the notches on his bedpost. Mariah Carey, Minka Kelly, Jessica Biel? The man is only surpassed by Justin Timberlake when it comes to the women who have streamed through his bedroom. No, I decided to take about my favorite show so far of the fall season: Forever.

When I did my ABC upfronts post, I said that this show might have a hard time if it just poses questions without answering them. It’s the only show so far this season to have aired two episodes (it premiered on Monday, and moved to its regular timeslot on Tuesday), so I’ve got more to go on for it than with the other new shows. Forever stars Ioan Gruffudd, whom Americans may remember as Reed Richards in the Fantastic Four movies. I love that guy, and I think he’s my Colin Firth. There’s just something dashing about him, so maybe I’m biased. Anyway, Gruffudd plays Henry Morgan, a medical examiner for the New York Police Department. He knows a LOT about death, mainly, because he can’t die. Sure, he dies, but he always comes back to life – naked and in a body of water. He’s been enduring this cycle for over 300 years, so he’s been keeping journals on his deaths and their different pain levels. Because he’s died so much, he’s great at determining the cause of death of victims who come through the morgue. He uses his knowledge and talents to help the homicide division to solve crimes. Meanwhile, since every post-Lost era drama has to have a mystery to it, there appears to be another who shares his same affliction, and has been watching Morgan from afar. He sends him vague messages, signed by “Your Fan”, and the show is clearly leading up to a big meeting between the two. Here’s hoping it lasts that long. The ratings for both episodes weren’t stellar, but they were steady. If it can prove itself as a reliable performer, Forever just may get to finish out its season. I really hope more viewers give it a chance, as it’s really good and I’m curious to see where it’s going. Anyway, for being my favorite television debut of the week, Forever had the West Week Ever.

16th Sep2014

Wizard World Richmond 2014 – A $25 Show at Twice The Price

by Will

2014-09-13 10.46.50

So, that title isn’t too optimistic. At the end of the day, it was a good experience, but it wasn’t without its issues. I’d never been to a Wizard World show before, so I didn’t really know what to expect.  Considering Wizard has been putting on shows for years, I expected a well-oiled machine, even if this was their first foray into Richmond.  I had been to the VA Comicon in Richmond, so surely it had to better than that, right? Right?! Why was I making the +2 hour trip to Richmond? One reason: to meet Jason David Frank, the original Green Power Ranger. After crossing meeting Stan Lee and Adam West off my bucket list, that left one person I wanted to meet. My Power Rangers fandom has been covered at great length, so this should come as a surprise to no one. This as the closest Frank appearance in years, so I talked Special Forces into joining me, and we made the trip.

2014-09-13 10.55.42

We got to the Greater Richmond Convention Center around 10, just as the show was starting. We didn’t prebuy tickets because we didn’t want to pay the online fee. This meant that tickets at the door were $55 for one day. That’s more than twice the Sunday price for Baltimore Comic-Con. Surely, I’d get my money’s worth, right? Or so I thought. We walked into the showroom and started to make the rounds. We were done by 11 AM. There just weren’t enough booths to fill up all the space.

They eventually put up a curtain so kids couldn't see all the vibrators

They eventually put up a curtain so kids couldn’t see all the vibrators

The first thing to know is that this is more of a pop culture show than a comic convention. This meant that there were only 2 comic vendors, and they were selling the kinds of books that would’ve been on Wizard‘s Top 20 List 20 years ago. Stuff like Venom #1 (not Agent Venom, but the original brain eater) and old issues of Uncanny X-Men. The rest of the vendors sold toys and collectibles – several of whom I’d just seen in Baltimore the earlier in the week. They seemed so pressed for vendors that there were some decidedly non-Con companies there, like Lasik and Adam & Eve. The local CW affiliate was there, promoting this fall’s new shows and giving away temporary Flash tattoos. Artists, like Neal Adams, Arthur Suydam, and Kevin Eastman, were scattered amongst the vendor booths.

At the back of the room were the celebrity autograph booths. In addition to Jason David Frank, there was Ernie Hudson, Sean Patrick Flanery, Giancarlo Esposito, Dean Cain, Ron Pearlman, Batista, Michael Rooker, James Marsters and Lou Ferrigno. Oh, and the guy who plays Slade on Arrow. On top of the admission paid to get into the show, you then had to pay extra for autographs and photo ops. These prices ranged from $30-100, depending on the celebrity. I was amazed by how much Dean Cain thought he could charge for an autograph, and I wasn’t alone, as he didn’t have much of a line all day. Oh yeah, Harry Kim from Star Trek: Voyager was there, and he didn’t seem to have much demand either. I mean, he’s one of the lesser characters of the most hated Trek show. What do ya expect? Cameras weren’t allowed in that area, as they wanted you to pay for pictures, so we didn’t linger there for long. Seeing as how my prepaid photo op with Frank (another $55) wasn’t until 6:30, we had to find some way to kill the next 7 hrs. We were gonna have to go to some panels.

Usually when I go to cons, I avoid the panels because they take up valuable showroom time, and most are recapped online anyway. Lately, I don’t even look at the con programming, since I have no plans to take part in any of it. This time, however, we had to go to some panels just to kill time. The first one that caught our eye was a 30-minute preview of Gotham, courtesy of Fox. It seemed odd to me that they would only show us 30 minutes of a 45-minute show, but free is free. The panel was from 12:00-12:30, and they didn’t get started until about 12:10. Before it starts, they tell us they had plans to show the whole pilot, but Fox had pulled it from them the day before. So, we’d now be watching a 20-minute preview sent by the network. What we ended up getting was a 10-minute future DVD featurette about the show and nothing else. People started leaving the minute we were told it wasn’t the pilot, but more people left during the featurette. I don’t believe that the Wizard World staff ever had the whole pilot because the pre-printed programs already mentioned that it was a 30-minute preview, which wouldn’t have been enough time for the pilot anyway. I think they always meant to show the featurette and just covered it up by saying Fox pulled the pilot from them.

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Once the Gotham thing was done, we went back to the show floor and made the rounds a few more times. Mainly, we’d stop by the CW booth to see if they had their prize wheel out again. It was at this time that I finally talked Special Forces into doing Sci Fi Speed Dating. If you’ll remember, about a year ago, TLC had a special called Geek Love, about sci-fi speed dating – an event that took place at SDCC and the New York Comic-Con. I guess the guy decided to expand, as here he was in Richmond, VA. We had passed his table several times, and he’d called out to us. I couldn’t do it, ’cause ya know, married, but SF was fair game. Once I agreed to finance it (it was free for women, but $20 for men), he finally agreed to do it. When I heard that it was $20, I blurted out, “These better be some top shelf women!” The speed dating host tried to shame me and replied, “And what if they aren’t?” My answer should have been, “Then I want my money back”, but I knew what he wanted to hear. I said, “Well, I guess that’d be alright, too.” Ugh. Anyway, when Mike was done, I asked him how it went. All he could say was “It was stupid! It was dumb.” So, I don’t really know what happened behind those doors…

Packed house for Adam & Burt

Packed house for Adam & Burt

While he was in speed dating, I went to the Adam West and Burt Ward panel, commemorating the release of Batman on DVD and Blu Ray. It was your standard Q&A, complete with stupid questions. One kid asked how many Batphones were used during the filming of the show, while some other folks asked Mayor West questions. No real juicy tidbits came out of it, but it was good to see them in a panel setting since I didn’t get that when I met them at Monster Mania last year.

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After that, we went to the Jason David Frank Q&A session, which was really good. He’s engaging and great with his fans. Like any Q&A, the questions ranged from good to stupid, but he had great answers and stories for all of them. He told us how he’d been invited to Neverland Ranch, but that it was OK because he was over 18. And he told us about how Amy Jo used to get calls from prisoners. In all, it was the best panel of the day.

When it was finally time for my pic with Jason, I was really nervous while I waited in line. Would I smile? Would I pose with my Morpher? I met him and he shook my hand. The pics were an assembly line, but he was nice and gracious the whole time. I told him it was an honor to meet him and shuffled off to pic up my print.

will west with green ranger

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

You didn’t come for all that exposition, though, did you? You probably came for cosplay pics. Well, here ya go!

Wolverine

Wolverine

 

Magna Defender from Power Rangers Lost Galaxy

Magna Defender from Power Rangers Lost Galaxy

 

2014-09-13 10.22.30-1

Harley & Joker

 

The Tick & Lil Deathstroke

The Tick & Lil Deathstroke

 

Um....some anime something.

Um….some anime something.

 

2014-09-13 10.38.42

Kick Ass & Hit Girl

 

No clue, but it was cool and ornate.

No clue, but it was cool and ornate.

 

Batman '66 & Catwoman

Batman ’66 & Catwoman

 

Last Airbender Aang

Last Airbender Aang

 

"MASTADON!"

“MASTADON!”

 

Ghostbuster

Ghostbuster

 

Nick Fury

Nick Fury

 

The friendliest Joker you'll ever meet

The friendliest Joker you’ll ever meet

 

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy

 

Supervillain Pirate Lasses

Supervillain Pirate Lasses

 

Boba Fett

Boba Fett

 

He is THE LAW!

He is THE LAW!

 

No clue, but it looked cool

No clue, but it looked cool

 

Loki

Loki

 

Firefly Jaynes

Firefly Jaynes

 

Arrow & Black Canary

Arrow & Black Canary

 

A black Harley! A Blarley!

A black Harley! A Blarley!

 

Steampunk Ghostbuster

Steampunk Ghostbuster

 

Zatanna

Zatanna

 

Rogue & Friends

Rogue & Friends

 

No clue, but it was impressive.

No clue, but it was impressive.

 

Bat Family

Bat Family

 

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

 

Katniss (?), Batman, Rogue, and Logan

Katniss (?), Batman, Rogue, and Logan

 

 Joker & Harley #3? I lost track.

Joker & Harley #3? I lost track.

 

Poison Ivy and Lisa from Weird Science. I love the look on that dude's face!

Poison Ivy and Lisa from Weird Science. I love the look on that dude’s face!

 

The second greatest Ranger of all time.

The second greatest Ranger of all time.

 

Batman & Storm

Batman & Storm

 

MEGATRON!

MEGATRON!

 

Ursula

Ursula

 

Gamora

Gamora

 

Cassandra Cain Batgirl

Cassandra Cain Batgirl

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