03rd Apr2015

West Week Ever – 4/3/15

by Will

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

Greatest Movie Ever Sold

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

Jay Mohr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Things You May Have Missed This Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

13th Mar2015

West Week Ever – 3/13/15

by Will

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So, I had a bunch of snow days last week, and just didn’t have the motivation to write. We’re back now, however, and we’ve got a lot to talk about!

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Trying to clear off my DVR, I watched the standup special Sommore: Chandelier Status. If you don’t know Sommore, you’ve clearly never seen BET’s ComicView. You’re also probably White. Seriously, except for Celebrity Fit Club, Sommore really hasn’t broken out of the Black Comedy world. Still, I’ve found her to be hilarious in the past, so I thought I’d check out this special. It was really nothing to write home about. It was about an hour’s worth of “Black people do this, and White people do that.” That gets old fast. I think I laughed twice. Kinda disappointing, as I had high expectations for that special.

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While on the comedy topic, I also checked out Aziz Ansari: Live At Madison Square Garden. Now, I’ve gone on record to say that I didn’t like his last special, Buried Alive, because he spent too much time talking about grown-up stuff like having kids and his fear of marriage. Well, this special was really just more of that. I think I’m starting to realize that I like younger, less mature Aziz who talked about hanging out with Kanye and going to R. Kelly concerts. Older, wiser Aziz is WAY too introspective, and I don’t find a lot of *humor* in what he has to say. He’s more like a relationship guru than a comedian these days, and that’s just not what I’m looking for.

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On TV, I caught The Marine, which has quickly become one of those “I have to watch it whenever I see it’s on” movies for me. I can’t really explain it, but I think John Cena is a pretty good action star. And whatever happened to Kelly Carlson? After Nip/Tuck, she seemed poised for bigger things. Sure, The Marine is just a WWE Studios production, but it was still a job. Nowadays, I hear she’s acting in some online spinoff of Supernatural. Eww, a webseries!

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Speaking of disappointing webseries, this week saw the premiere of Powers on the Playstation Network. If you’re not familiar with the concept, it’s a police procedural based  in a world of people with superpowers, and it’s based on the comic of the same name from Brian Michael Bendis. Now, I have a complicated relationship with Bendis; I used to love everything he did, but then I met him. Don’t meet your heroes, kid. Anyway, as much as I’ve loved his work, I never really liked Powers. I felt it was overrated and moved WAY too slowly. So, I’m probably not the target audience for this show. That said, it was just as bad as I expected. The show had been in development for years, and eventually landed at FX with a pilot starring Jason Patric. FX passed on the series, but the creators were determined to get it on the air somewhere. So, they went back to the drawing board and gave us the show that we have here. The trailer for it made it look like a big budget fan film, and the actual product wasn’t much better than that. It felt like a really bad Canadian series that would air on Syfy. And no, not a American show filmed in Vancouver for budgetary reasons – I’m talking about a show made by and for Canadians, like Lost Girl or something. The effects are hokey, the casting is off (Sharlto Copley? Really?), and it just feels empty, though yearns to be so much more than it is. The series will air exclusively on Playstation Network, but the pilot is currently available on YouTube. If this show is indicative of PSN’s original programming capabilities, I am far from impressed.

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It’s not all bad news this week, though. I have a new favorite reality show: Kosher Soul. Airing on Lifetime, the show follows the relationship between standup comedian O’Neal McKnight and celebrity stylist Miriam Sternoff. He’s Black, she’s Jewish and hilarity ensues! When the series starts, they’re planning their wedding and O’Neal is starting the conversation to Judaism, as it’s important to Miriam that she marry a Jew. O’Neal’s a funny guy, though I’m not that familiar with his standup. He’s friends with other reality show stalwarts like Fonzworth Bentley and Russell Simmons. Meanwhile, Miriam reminds me a lot of Bethenny Frankel – who was my favorite of the Bravo Real Housewives franchise. Right after their wedding, Miriam wanted to start trying to have kids, so that’s where we are at this point in the show. O’Neal and Miriam seem to have great chemistry, and I can see how their relationship has endured for 9+ years. Hell, they may last and they may not, but they’re trying to make it work. I’ve seen no hype about this show, and only watched it because I ran across it On Demand. It doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page yet! So, with my luck, it’ll probably be canceled after one season.

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Had I done a West Week Ever last week, that honor would have gone to The Last Man on Earth. I never thought it had a chance to work, and the jury’s still out on it, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the three episodes that have aired so far. If you haven’t seen it, Will Forte stars as Phil Miller – the seemingly only survivor of a virus that has killed the rest of the world’s population. So, the pilot follows him as he gets used to the idea that he is, in fact, the last person on Earth. Then, at the end of the pilot, you’re thrown for a loop, as you learn that he’s not alone; he may be the last *man* on Earth, but there happens to be a woman – Carol Pilbasian, played by Kristen Schaal. So, then the show focuses on the relationship between the two, as Carol thinks she and Phil are meant to repopulate the world, while Phil really wants nothing to do with her. I thought this would work as a movie, but I had no idea how they’d get an entire series out of it. Three episodes in, and I’m still not sure where it’s going, but I’m enjoying the ride so far.

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So, I was busy on the Internet this week, and some might even say I was trolling. I didn’t think that was the case, but let’s take a closer look, shall we? So, on Monday morning, I was tweeting with a friend about American Idol, and he mentioned Kris Allen. I replied, “Man, where’d THAT dude end up?” And he replied, “In the scrap heap along with Taylor Hicks, Lee DeWyze, and Scotty McCreery.” And then the floodgates opened. We got tons of replies from obsessed fans who clearly set filters for anytime those guys’ names are mentioned. They insisted that Taylor and Scotty weren’t on a “scrap heap”. Turns out they were right. I mean, I already knew of Scotty’s country success, but who knew that Taylor Hicks made $2.5 million last year? Apparently, he’s the first Idol to get a residency in Las Vegas. Anyway, as I got sick of these grannies blowing up my timeline, I tweeted the following:

guarini 1If you’re not familiar, a “stan” is slang for an obsessive fan – based on the Eminem song of the same name. Oh, and Justin Guarini lost to Kelly Clarkson in the very first season of American Idol. I didn’t really have to call out Guarini, but he seemed like an easy target. Kick a man while he’s down, I guess. I was riled up by all the old ladies defending their favorite Idols, and I was really just trying to call out some more fans, as I was amused by their terrible misspellings and grammar. And since he has nothing to do with his time, Guarini responded. He has since deleted his tweets to me, so let’s see if I can do it from memory:

JG: “*stars *shitty”

This was his was of trying to correct me. He thought I meant to say “stars” instead of “stans”. He was also correcting the end of my tweet to read “Justin Guarini ain’t shitty”

And I replied:

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JG: “Hey fan. I know a fan when I see one, fan.”

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Then things took off. He tweeted his response with the period before the @, so all of his followers could see it. So then everybody started favoriting his tweets to me. And then one theatre groupie tried to say that I was kissing up to him. I actually wasn’t. While my tone might seem conciliatory, in my mind I wasn’t done. I didn’t appreciate him reaching out to his followers for support. What I said was true – I had voted for him, and an ex had given me From Justin to Kelly. I failed to add that I sold that DVD and that I thought his album was a piece of shit. Seriously, it’s terrible as there isn’t one commercially viable single on the entire disc. I didn’t add any of this, though, because I had been an asshole and it was probably best to let it drop. The next day, however, I listened to Kelly’s new album and I got the desire to tweet Justin and ask him what he thought of it. I was just about to hit send, but I thought better of it. I like a good feud, but I’m not particularly a fan of a situation where I’m the bad guy.

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Last time, I mentioned that I had a bottle of Pepsi True in my refrigerator. Well, I tried it. And it tastes like bilge water. In the Stevia flavored mid-calorie cola department, Coke Life wins the title.

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

– Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke lost a court case against the family of Marvin Gaye, who claimed that “Blurred Lines” ripped off Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up”. This decision resulted in a $7.3 million payout to Gaye’s children. I get that they kinda sound similar, but I really don’t get this decision. Plus, it sets a really bad precedent for anything that remotely sounds like anything else. Thicke had kinda been a bit of a douchenozzle over the past year, so I wonder if that played into the jury’s decision.

–  a new trailer was released for the Netflix Daredevil series. For a great scene-by-scene breakdown, check out this post at The Robot’s Pajamas.

-Rolling Stone had a great minute-by-minute breakdown of the We Are The World recording session on its 30th anniversary.

– Have you ever wanted to see Earl Sinclair from Dinosaurs rap Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize”? Who cares. Here it is and it’s awesome:

– My pals over at the Nerd Lunch Podcast did a musicals episode that you should really check out.

– At a Disney shareholder’s meeting, it was reported that Star Wars Episode VIII will be released May 26, 2017. Also, Felicity Jones to star in the Rogue One spinoff. I have no idea who she is…

– My pals at UnderScoopFire tackle the Pop Culture Alphabet

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I had no idea I’d love this show as much as I do, and I don’t know what I did with my life before it came along. Yes, I’m talking about Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix. Originally developed by Tina Fey for NBC, the show was picked up by Netflix with a 2-season guarantee. It stars The Office‘s Ellie Kemper as Kimmy Schmidt who, along with 3 other women, has been held captive in a doomsday bunker for 15 years. When the series starts, they’re liberated from the bunker, and Kimmy moves to NYC to start her life over. Since she was in middle school when she was first abducted, Kimmy’s missed out on a LOT, including current music and slang. Once she gets to New York, she moves in with flamboyantly gay Titus Andromedon who eventually becomes her best friend. Meanwhile, she works for a crazy rich lady played by 30 Rock‘s Jane Krakowski, and tries to put her bunker life behind her.

If you loved 30 Rock, you’ll love Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. They share a sensibility, and I’d even consider them in the same universe if it weren’t for the fact that Krakowski and Tituss Burgess are playing different characters. Whenever they watch TV on the show, I keep hoping for a mention of TGS, Bitch Hunter or MILF Island just to confirm that Jack Donaghy and Liz Lemon are in the same city somewhere.

Part of what makes the show work so well is the casting. Kemper is simply adorable as Kimmy, as she manages to capture the wide-eyed wonder that the character would certainly experience by her new surroundings. She spent her adolescent years in the bunker, so her development’s a bit stunted. If you’ve ever seen 13 Going On 30, you know that Jennifer Garner was awkward as Hell as a 13 year old girl who magically becomes a 30 year old. This takes that formula and gets it right. Kimmy may be 29, but she’s still a 14 year old in many ways. And Kemper does an excellent job portraying that. Meanwhile, Tituss Burgess is AMAZING as Titus Andromedon. Everything he says is quotable, and he manages to straddle the line of self-serving and lovable. If you watched 30 Rock, you’ll remember him as D’Fwan – a hilarious member of Tracy’s wife’s entourage. Here, it’s like he’s playing the same character, but cranked up to 11. He and Kemper have great chemistry, and it’s fun to watch their friendship grow.

I don’t want to spoil the guest stars, or where the story goes, as that’s half the fun of the experience. The minute I was done, though, I instantly wanted season 2. I haven’t felt that way since Bojack Horseman – another Netflix series I fell in love with. All of my friends online have been talking about Kimmy Schmidt, so I see that I’m not alone in my love for the show. If you haven’t checked it out, remedy that soon. I’ve heard the first episode didn’t grab some folks, but stick with it. So, for being the belle of the comedic ball this week, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt had the West Week Ever. Troll the respawn, Jeremy!

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.

Ben-Haenow

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.

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).

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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.

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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

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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.

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.

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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.

 

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.

2014-09-13 10.17.34

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.

2014-09-13 15.39.11

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

09th Sep2014

Baltimore Comic-Con 2014 In Pictures

by Will

Well, another year, another trip to the Baltimore Comic-Con. This year, I didn’t make it until Sunday, even though this was the first year it was expanded to a 3-day show. This meant that I missed all the Friday and Saturday excitement, but that was fine with me. I actually expected the con to be a ghost town on Sunday, seeing as how it was the opening home game for the Baltimore Ravens. While the game contributed to traffic woes, it didn’t seem to affect the size of the con crowd, as the show was pretty crowded, but not overly so.  If I’m doing m math correctly, this was my 10th year at the show, and the 15th anniversary of it overall. With that in mind, I’ve basically done all there is to do at the show. I’ve seen most of the creators (the guest list doesn’t change much from year to year), and I wasn’t really in a buying mood. So, I went to spend the day with my friends Jay, Emily, and Keith, and I took some pics as we walked around.

Poison Ivy and Emily

Poison Ivy and Emily

 

Cap and The Winter Soldier

Cap and The Winter Soldier

 

Green Arrow #1

Green Arrow #1

 

Falcon, with Working Mechanical Wings

Falcon, with Working Mechanical Wings

 

2014-09-07 12.28.53

I bought the DC poster about 4 years ago, and still haven’t figured out anywhere to hang it.

 

Jerry "The King" Lawler. He wanted $20 for a pic, so I had to take this one on the sly. He looks like Burt Ward if he'd stayed in shape.

Jerry “The King” Lawler. He wanted $20 for a pic, so I had to take this one on the sly. He looks like Burt Ward if he’d stayed in shape.

 

Really cool Bat Mite puppet

Really cool Bat Mite puppet

 

This guy was painting Groot on glass, via a lightbox.

This guy was painting Groot on glass, via a lightbox.

 

Yes, Superman is wearing heels. And yes, he was being led around by a leash. Emily's doing the honors in this pic.

Yes, Superman is wearing heels. And yes, he was being led around by a leash. Emily’s doing the honors in this pic.

 

2014-09-07 13.11.22

Hunter S. Thompson

 

Armored Wonder Woman

Armored Wonder Woman #1

 

Dark Phoenix, getting checked out by Crossbones

Dark Phoenix, getting checked out by Crossbones

 

I have no clue who these kids are, but I figure they're from some YA property, right? Anyway, Link's in the middle.

I have no clue who these kids are, but I figure they’re from some YA property, right? Anyway, Link’s in the middle.

 

Green Arrow #2

Green Arrow #2

 

Comic Fashions #1

Comic Fashions #1

 

2014-09-07 14.13.28

Comic Fashions #2

 

The Merc With The Mouth!

The Merc With The Mouth!

 

These are basically leaked cell phone pics from DC heroines. What, too soon?

These are basically leaked cell phone pics from DC heroines. What, too soon?

 

This was a really cool print that I probably should've bought, but it was easier (read: cheaper) to take a pic of it

This was a really cool print that I probably should’ve bought, but it was easier (read: cheaper) to take a pic of it

 

Batwoman, as seen on the DC Bombshells variant

Batwoman, as seen on the DC Bombshells variant

 

Cute Dazzler art

Cute Dazzler art

 

The owner of this booth gave me permission to laugh because she was Asian.

The owner of this booth gave me permission to laugh because she was Asian.

 

Friends of Humanity cosplay

Friends of Humanity cosplay

 

Dazzler

Dazzler

 

Robin & Hawkeye

Robin & Hawkeye

 

Lantern Spectrum. Red Lantern's a coworker from my TRU days

Lantern Spectrum. Red Lantern’s a coworker from my TRU days

 

Black Canary & Green Arrow #3

Black Canary & Green Arrow #3

 

Silk Spectre & Nite Owl

Silk Spectre & Nite Owl

 

Apparently, this bobok was sold in Urban Outfitters, which isn't the least bit surprising.

Apparently, this book was sold in Urban Outfitters, which isn’t the least bit surprising.

 

Armored Wonder Woman #2

Armored Wonder Woman #2

 

Zatanna

Zatanna

 

Tony Stark. You can't tell in the pic, but his arc reactor lit up.

Tony Stark. You can’t tell in the pic, but his arc reactor lit up.

 

Mad Hatter & Queen of Hearts

Mad Hatter & Queen of Hearts

 

2014-09-07 16.02.09

Harley #1, Harley #2, and Riddler

 

LARPing Mario & Luigi

LARPing Mario & Luigi

 

Thing

Thing

 

Wasp & Ant-Man

Wasp & Ant-Man

 

Harley #3 and the orange girl was covered in gold glitter

Harley #3 and the orange girl was covered in gold glitter

 

Joker & Harley #4

Joker & Harley #4

 

Crossplay Star-Lord, with S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in background

Crossplay Star-Lord, with S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in background

 

Mr. Fantastic & Human Torch. Theoretically, I guess you could say Invisible Woman's there somewhere.

Mr. Fantastic & Human Torch. Theoretically, I guess you could say Invisible Woman’s there somewhere.

 

Either Batman's texting Alfred, or he's on Tinder.

Either Batman’s texting Alfred, or he’s on Tinder.

 

Lydia & Beetlejuice

Lydia & Beetlejuice

 

2014-09-07 17.09.58

Dalek at the exit

In the end, it wasn’t the best Baltimore Comic-Con experience, but it was far from the worst. I didn’t really add much to my collection, but it was a fun day with friends and sights. Tune in next week, as I’m heading to Wizard World Richmond to meet original Green Ranger, Jason David Frank. There’s sure to be a few stories from that trip!

18th Jul2014

West Week Ever – 7/18/14

by Will

photovisi-download

oie_922142seDasWF9

Man, has this been a week! Let’s not waste any time and just jump right into it.

 

The female version of Thor – looks like a woman, acts like a man.

Marvel turned this into a “Don’t Read The Comments” week with two announcements. First off, they went on The View (wow, this is my second blurb about The View in 2 weeks. They ought to be paying me!) to announce a new female Thor. Then, they went on The Colbert Report and announced that Sam Wilson, AKA The Falcon, would be taking up the mantle of Captain America. Ugh. While some folks are applauding Marvel for embracing diversity, none of these things matter. Not at all. It’s shortsighted storytelling, because the same white dudes will be in the suits again by the time Avengers 2 comes out. The Thor thing doesn’t even make sense because they’re now treating “Thor” as a title, akin to “captain” instead of the dude’s name. Other characters have lifted Mjolnir in the past and that did NOT make them THOR. Why? Because it’s the dude’s name! If I take your car, I don’t automatically become you. I just become Will in Stolen Car. It’s going to be written by Jason Aaron, a writer I usually trust, but I just can’t get excited for this. He maintains that this isn’t “She-Thor”, as I guess that moniker would lessen the character somehow. No, this is THOR…who happens to be a She. I don’t even read Thor, so I’m not gonna let this get my blood pressure all high!

blaptain

As for Blaptain America (I really hope that catches on), it’s not a new concept to anyone who’s ever heard of The Truth – a miniseries from the early 2000s about the first Captain America, who happened to be black. THAT was controversial. This just seems like a retread. It could be seen as a well-deserved promotion for Falcon, but it doesn’t quite work. Instead of putting him in the white hero’s shoes, why not make his character more important in other ways? You don’t have to make him Cap in order for him to be front and center; you just have to give him more exposure on his own. Make him the leader of a team. Give him his own title. There are other ways. I’ve actually known about the Falcon thing for a few months, so I’ve had time to process it. Still, it doesn’t make any more sense to me now than when I first heard about it.

My biggest problem with all of this is that it’s being treated like Event Storytelling. In the 80s, something like this could’ve happened and it never would’ve gotten media attention. It would have been a storyline and then everything would return to the status quo. Since Event Storytelling got into full swing, every big change has to be reported to mainstream media, and then you end up with comments from the peanut gallery of people who don’t even read comics. The problem with this kind of thing is that it’s reported like “This is how things will be from now on”, while anyone familiar with comics knows that these attention-/moneygrabs are only temporary. Man-Thor and White Cap will be back. Count on it. I’ve been in comics long enough that I don’t fall for this stuff anymore, but it’s so tiring watching this cycle happen over and over in mass media. Superman’s Dead! Captain America’s Dead! Thor’s A Woman! Captain America’s Black! Give it a rest! At the end of the day, this isn’t some kind of “bold step” for Marvel, as everything will return to the way it was. The best we could hope for is that these gimmicks give the characters enough exposure to stand on their own when all is said and done. Like when Bucky took over the role of Captain America, it made him popular enough for his own Winter Soldier series. Maybe that’s what’ll happen with Falcon and She-Thor, and I guess that could be considered a “win”. Only time will tell, but I’m really just tired of the theatrics. If it’s a good story, tell it and it will stand on its own. Stop grandstanding for major media outlets. You’re trying to get a new audience into comics, but even if it works, they’ll be gone by the time you figure out what to do with these characters. Give it a rest, Marvel.

susan heyward

While we’re talking about comics and color-shifting characters, it’s been announced that The Following‘s Susan Heyward has been cast as Deena Pilgrim in the Powers series for the Sony Playstation Network. Powers is a police procedural, set in a world of superheroes, based on the comic series by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming. As much of a Bendis fan as I might be, Powers just never really grabbed me. Still, it has its fans, and this television series has been in the works for years. There was a pilot shot for FX, with more established actors in the roles, like Lucy Punch as Pilgrim, but FX passed on the show. Eventually, it resurfaced at Sony as part of the Playstation Network, and the roles are being recast. In the comic, Deena Pilgrim is a white character, but you can see that Sony’s going a different direction. The news hasn’t been promoted in enough mainstream outlets to measure much of a response, but you can be sure that you probably won’t want to read the comments when you find it.

Archie

Oh, I forgot another comic this thing week. Archie died. Yeah, he took a bullet for his friend, Kevin Keller,  a newly-elected senator who won on a platform of stricter gun control. I swear, not all comics have to be grim and gritty. I know that this occurred in Life With Archie, which is an alternative look at a grown-up Archieverse, but that seemed like the one area of comics that never needed to succumb to gimmick storytelling. Archie is Archie. There’s a band, Jughead likes hamburgers, Reggie’s an asshole, and Archie two-times Betty and Veronica. That’s all you need to know. If any comic title didn’t need to mirror real-world politics, it’s Archie. Comics are supposed to be fun escapism, and it didn’t get more escapist than the “Pleasantville” town of Riverdale.

tbbt

Some of you TV fans will be happy, as it’s looking like The Big Bang Theory is in trouble at the moment. I like the show, but I know it has its detractors. Apparently, the 3 leads make $350,000 per episode, but now they want to triple that. Yes, TRIPLE. In a way, I kinda think they deserve it, based on the ratings (it’s the highest rated comedy on television), but I know that Ashton was making about $800,000 per episode for Two and a Half Men, making him the highest paid actor on television. Back in the 90s, you had situations where the Friends were making about $1M per episode for the final season, but the television landscape has changed, and folks aren’t being paid that much anymore. In any case, the cast isn’t showing up for work, and CBS is scrambling to figure out what to do if negotiations don’t end soon.

"Obvious Child" New York Special Screening - Arrivals

The axe is coming down over at Studio 8H, as it was announced that 3 featured players and a regular cast member are leaving Saturday Night Live. Brooks Wheelan, John Milhiser, and Noel Wells won’t be enjoying a second season live from New York. It’s kinda sad, as the cast was too bloated to give anyone exposure (other than Sasheer Zamata), so I almost feel like they never had a chance. In a departure that makes me really sad, Nasim Pedrad also isn’t coming back, but this is mainly due to her role on Fox’s Mulaney next season.

Kumar

Harold & Kumar: The Animated Series is coming to Adult Swim. I dunno, but I feel like this is a day late and a dollar short. I mean, remember when Napoleon Dynamite came to Fox, and nobody gave a shit ’cause the movie was 9 years old? This feels like that. At least they got the original cast back, but I just don’t see this being a big hit.

146345417TH003_A_E_s_Storag

There’s good news and bad news coming from the Storage Wars camp. The good news is that, following the success of their special, Jarrod and Brandi are getting their own show, Married to the Job. The bad news, however, is that Mr. Yuuup himself, Dave Hester, returns on August 12th. I guess he settled his lawsuit against A&E, but the show must be in some kinda trouble if they crawled back to him. It’ll be interesting to see how the newer buyers like Renee and Ivy interact with him.

sam-and-cat-favorite-show-5

The show’s over for Sam & Cat, as Nick has cancelled the series. At this point, it’s still not clear if it was due to the pay gap between the two stars or if it was due to Jennette McCurdy’s racy pics. Either way, Ariana Grande can focus on her singing, while Jenette will have to look for her next gig.

woll

The Marvel news keeps on coming, as it was announced yesterday that True Blood‘s Deborah Ann Woll will be playing Karen Page in the Netflix Daredevil series. I know these things are supposed to be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but outside of Rosario Dawson, none of the casting decisions have really gotten me excited. I hope the execution of this show is stellar enough to put me at ease.

EW1321-1322-Ultron

In movie news, we bring it right back to Marvel, as they scored the cover of the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly. There we got our first glimpse at the movie version of Ultron, as well as some hints as to his cinematic origin. In Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, it appears that Tony Stark creates Ultron as a robotic defense system in order to give the Avengers a break. And, of course, this goes horribly wrong. I’m really looking forward to this movie, and I don’t have any qualms with the new Ultron origin, as it fits with what they’ve been doing with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

roberto_orci

It looks like Saban may actually be throwing some money at the Power Rangers movie reboot, as it was announced this week that Roberto Orci has been brought on as executive producer. He’s got actual industry credits (Star Trek, Amazing Spider-Man), so this is certainly a good sign.

Kacy Catanzaro became the first woman to complete the American Ninja Warrior course this week. I don’t really watch this show, but I was in a sleep center doing a sleep study and it happened to be on. Anyway, it’s pretty incredible and I just marvel at how many places in the course I would’ve just given up and gone home. I really need to get in shape…


I don’t talk about it much here, but I’m a casual wrestling fan. I used to be more into it than I am now, but I still enjoy bouts in the squared circle. So, it was to my disappointment that my favorite wrestler at the moment, Brodus Clay, was released by WWE a few weeks ago. He was never gonna win the Heavyweight Championship, but he was still fun to watch, as he was just so lighthearted. It was especially great when he danced with his Funkadactyls. Anyway, I’m gonna miss seeing him, so let’s pour one out for the Funkasaurus.

marvel

I may not like the announcements they made, but there’s no denying that Marvel dominated the week. Folks are still talking about She-Thor and Blaptain America, while that EW cover took over social media when it was released on Wednesday. Sure, these changes won’t last, and everything will eventually go back to the way things were, but the goal was to get the spotlight on Marvel and it succeeded. For that reason, Marvel had the West Week Ever.

 

06th Jun2014

West Week Ever – 6/6/14

by Will

 

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So, I finally saw Ted. I guess to commemorate the release of A Million Ways To Die In The West, Ted was brought back to Redbox and I was able to snag it during one of my many trips to 7/11 last week. In all, I really enjoyed it. Someone described it to me as a “live action Family Guy“, and it did not disappoint. I especially loved the world in which it was set – where folks just accept this sentient bear, and that he’s such old news that they don’t even turn and stare at this point.

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I also watched the pilot for Tagteam on YouTube. I never would’ve known about this had the Nerd Lunch Podcast not mentioned it last week, so I thank them for that. If you’ve never heard of it, Tagteam was an ABC pilot from 1991 that aired the night before Super Bowl XXV. In it, Jesse Ventura and Roddy Piper play pro wrestlers who find themselves banned for life from wrestling because they wouldn’t throw a match. Without any real skills, they struggle to figure out what to do next with their lives. After foiling an armed robbery at their local grocery store, they decide to join the police academy so they can keep taking down bad guys. On their first case, they’re assigned to guard a witness to a murder, but they end up suspended when their veteran partners are attacked and the witness gets away. In the end, the two use their wrestling skills to take down the hitmen and deliver the witness to the courthouse just in time for her to testify. Ya know, given the era in which it was made, it didn’t suck. I guess ABC just didn’t get the ratings they’d hoped for. It had that Glen A. Larson style of violence, where folks are shot at but not killed. To me, however, the most baffling aspect was that Ventura and Piper were going to be working the undercover unit, having been midcard tag-team wrestlers in their former career. Sure, the average guy on the street may not recognize them, but eventually someone’s gonna say “Hey, didn’t I see you wrestle at the Garden?” or whatever.

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On the Netflix front, I watched Women Who Kill, which is nothing like it sounds. It’s a standup special featuring female comedians. In all, there were four – Amy Schumer, Rachel Feinstein, Nikki Glaser, and Marina Franklin. If you know your comedy, you’re probably asking “who?” to that last one. As the only black woman on the special, Marina’s not as well known as her white contemporaries, which is a crime because she is hilarious. Amy has her own show, Rachel is a co-host of Upload with Shaquille O’Neal, Nikki was a co-host of Nikki and Sara Live!, but Marina’s biggest credit is Best Week Ever back in ’04. It just goes to show the divide in opportunities in comedy. Give Marina some work!

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I’ve got more DVDs than I’ll ever watch in my lifetime, but I’m trying to make a dent in them. Since they’re short, I decided to watch a few of the DC animated movies. First up, I watched Batman: Under the Red Hood. The problem with these things is that they try to tell 6 month story arcs in 77 minute cartoons. Sure, a lot of those comics are decompressed, but the DVDs tend to tackle pretty major storylines that need a chance to “breathe”, so to speak. It’s been so long since I read the actual Red Hood story that I couldn’t tell you if it was accurate or not. The major beats were there, with Ra’s Al Ghul, etc, but it still felt rushed. My favorite part of the DVD, actually, was the Jonah Hex DC Short that was included on it. I think it’s because if you pay close attention, you’ll see and hear a cowboy motorboat a prostitute in the background.

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Next up, I watched Batman: Year One. Again, it’s been so long since I read the story that I don’t know how accurate it was, but it was an entertaining watch. It’s basically Jim Gordon’s story, and I didn’t even realize it he was voiced by Bryan Cranston until I saw the credits. My problem with the movie is the same problem I have with the comic: WHAT HAPPENED TO JAMES JR?!!! Sure, the comic has recently tried to reintegrate him into continuity, but they made him psychotic and didn’t do a great job explaining where he’d been. I mean, this seminal storyline introduces the fact that Gordon has a kid, and then the next 25 years are spent ignoring that kid and focusing on Gordon’s niece/daughter, Barbara.

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It was a big week for director news, as Marvel announced that Dr. Strange will be directed by Scott Derrickson. Derrickson’s mainly a horror director, and I’m not a horror guy, so I’ve seen nothing that he’s done. Next up, Josh Trank has been announced as the director of the first standalone Star Wars spinoff. Again, I haven’t seen Chronicle, but I’m looking forward to his Fantastic Four reboot, so I’m not all that familiar with his work. Meanwhile, the hunt is still on for a replacement for Edgar Wright on Ant-Man.

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I’ve come to realize that Jamie Lynn is the more talented sister in the Spears family. Sure, everyone knows Britney, but a lot don’t realize she has a younger sister, Jamie Lynn, who rose to fame as the star of Nick’s Zoey 101. That all came to an abrupt end when Jamie Lynn got pregnant at the age of 16. Now 23, she’s embarking on a country career with the release of her first EP, The Journey. And if you like country music, it’s really good. Vocally, she’s an actual, talented singer, unlike Britney who does that whole breathless moan thing. Anyway, here’s her first single, “How Could I Want More?”

A Guy Love Reunion!

Links I Loved

Dave Holmes Revisits ‘U Can’t Touch This,’ ‘Poison,’ and Other 1990 Jams – Vulture

Mr. Serious Presents: Power-Ranking this Season’s 5 Freshman Comedies that Got Renewed – UnderScoopFire!

Baywatch Creator on Indie TV: A Producer’s Guide to Avoiding the Upfront Madness – Box Office Insider

X-Men: Days of Future Past – Nerd Thoughts! – The Robot’s Pajamas

America’s Best News Channel Is Owned by Arabs – Huff Post Media

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This week, I did things a little differently. Ya see, nothing really stood out to me as having had THE West Week Ever, so I opened it up to votes on Twitter. Based on the suggestions I got, I was amazed by how different all of our tastes are. Orange is the New Black is coming back, but I’ve never seen it, so it doesn’t hold a ton of meaning for me. Sure, Reading Rainbow had a pretty incredible Kickstarter campaign last week, but ol’ literate Kunta Kinte doesn’t do much for me. Speaking of Kickstarter, a couple of smaller boutique toy companies also had a good week promoting their respective toy lines, but I knew next to nothing about them. Someone even mentioned Mario Kart 8, but I still haven’t played the GameCube version that I’ve been sitting on for years. Finally, @crookedninja recommended Ghostbusters. Eureka! I LOVE the Ghostbusters franchise! This week has seen an explosion of Ghostbusters-related news to mark the 30th anniversary of the franchise. First, the LEGO CUUSOO Ecto-1 set was finally released at retail, allowing fans the chance to build the famous car. Next, it was announced that the original film will be getting a theatrical re-release on August 29th, to be followed by a blu-Ray release on September 16th. Ghostbusters has often been called the perfect movie, but I’ve always been more of a fan of what the movie led to, i.e. toys and cartoons. I still have my Ghostbusters firehouse and proton pack, and I was a HUGE fan of The Real Ghostbusters. I’m actually kind of ashamed that I didn’t think of it myself, as the Ghostbusters franchise has truly had a banner week. So, for tugging on the nostalgia heartstrings, and for being all around awesome, Ghostbusters is having the West Week Ever.

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