Thursday, August 25, 2011

What’s Next for Batman?

Christian Bale remade the iconic superhero role of Batman, first with “Batman Begins”, then with the “Dark Knight”, and finally with “Dark Knight Rises” set to be released in 2012. He took us back through how Batman became Batman, showed us how to combat the craziThe Batsuit of Batman Begins, worn by Christia...Image via Wikipediaest of Jokers, and presented us with the sufferings of a real hero in a modern dark world. I’m not totally sure what Batman will do next as Batman, but I know that it will involve Anne Hathaway and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, keeping with the theme of pretty, level-headed girls who become Batman’s girl. However, it seems that this time the level-headed girl who will become Batman’s girl…will also become Catwoman. Some of us are psyched to see Anne Hathaway in the Catwoman costume, many of us are indifferent.

What is really interesting is what Christian Bale will do next, as he had said he is not pursuing any new projects until “The Dark Night Rises” officially wraps. Coming off an Oscar for “The Fighter”, and one of the more successful superhero franchises, it’s going to be very intriguing to see what his next move his. Does he go back to the popcorn action flick, or does he go after another statue? According to some trade sources, his options include a lot of possible Oscar pictures, and a couple fun roles.

Christian Bale Batman Begins Premiere Hollywoo...He’s looking at working with Clint Eastwood in Warner Bros’ remake of “A Star is Born”, which already is going to star Beyonce Knowles. A very cool possibility is Bale starring in Spike Lee’s remake of the Korean Thriller “Oldboy”, which would have him playing the villain. For anyone who has seen the original “OldBoy”, you know that it will take an amount of sensitivity for some grueling circumstances, as well as a sense of humor. Spike Lee is a good fit for that, and for anyone who has seen American Psycho, you know that Bale can bring depth to a disturbed man. Also, Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah” is being looked at by Bale, which would be interesting to see him in a biblical epic produced by Paramount. In my opinion, all these options are very good for Bale, so as I said before, this will be one of the more intriguing moves by an actor this year, and could prove to make or break the rest of his career. Good luck The Dark Knight, you’re going to need it.

Big Bang Theory Going Big at Emmys

Stars of the hit show The Big Bang Theory will be hitting the red carpet for the Emmy Awards on September 18th, and Jim Parsons will be coming off of last year’s surprise win over leading candidate Alec Baldwin. Baldwin is a two-time winner and still in the hunt for a third trophy this year. With Curb Your Enthusiasm taking 2010 off, there’s more of an open field. Some say Steve Carell has the best chance because of his dynamic performance in the last year of his tBEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 16:  Actor Jim Par...enure with The Office. However, the only other actor to win the Emmy award on his last year on a show was one Ricky Gervais, for his portrayal of the same character on the British version of The Office. Also, Steve Carell has been nominated every year he’s been on the show, which statistics say gives you a worse chance at winning. You also have Matt LeBlanc in his first cable show starring in Episodes, playing himself. This also means that next year we may have two actors up for Emmy awards who are playing themselves in a typical Hollywood world, but that’s another story for another day.

As for The Big Bang Theory, in addition to Jim Parsons defending his not-so-heavyweight title, Johnny Galecki is also up for an Emmy nomination. Unfortunately, the theory on the Big Bang Theory at the Emmy awards this year is that each actor, so liked on their popular show, will cancel each other out in the voting. In the case of Modern Family in their first year, this did not happen, but with the Big Bang theory it is different. The show has been on for awhile, so it doesn’t have that fresh advantage. Also, with Jim Parsons winning last year, and pretty much considered the funniest part of the show, it presents a hard situation for Johnny Galecki. It seems either he will take votes away from Jim Parsons, or just simply watch his co-star take the award live and in person. Either way, I don’t think the Emmy award night is going to go well for Johnny Galecki, but I’m sure he’ll have an ok time. I also think that the Big Bang Theory as a show will have just an ok time, because there are too many power-house actors in the way. Maybe they can rack up an Emmy from one of the lesser known categories. It should be an interesting night either way. Bazinga!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Anchorman - A look back at the hilarious Ron Burgandy

There's no denying it: "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" is a genuine, laugh-out-loud funny movie. With humor ranging from crass to absurd, it shocks and amuses. Will Ferrell's arrogant anchorman "Ron Burgundy" spearheads the Channel 4 Nightly News gang, a group of buffoons whose ignorance infiltrates the homes of San Diego. Steve Carrell depicts a, presumably mentally retarded, weather man, who describes Iowa as the "Middle East." His facial expressions threaten to dominate every scene he's in, his talent as a comedic actor is unquestionable. The plot itself doesn't shy away from the heights of critical satire or the lows of sexual innuendo. But unlike a vast majority of modern comedies, this film doesn't unintelligently exploit easy laughs. Anchorman may resist a serious interpretation, but the film genuinely has something to say about the state of entertainment and media in America.

Most visibly, the film addresses sexism in the entertainment industry. Veronica Corningstone, Ron Burgundy's simultaneous rival and lover, struggles through the male-dominated world of the nightly news. She is constantly slighted and objectified, despite her confidence and talent. She is forced to work twice as hard as Mr. Burgundy to establish herself as an anchor, and is given his spot only when he proves his complete incompetence. Her attempts to break the glass ceiling are entirely relatable to women who sought equal employment opportunities in the '70s. And the way she is regarded in the media is unfortunately still pertinent in today's news world, as women strive to succeed because of their talent, rather than be valued only by their appearance.Cover of Cover via Amazon

The film also mocks the triviality of the news industry, with its easy sensationalism and warped priorities. For instance, at the end of the film, every news anchor in town races to the zoo to get a shot of a panda giving birth. The event is lauded as a winning story. This sequence is, of course, blatant mockery of the news stories that are, inappropriately given enormous weight by the media. The film mocks the replacement of facts and serious news with trifles and cute animals.

The treatment of the nightly News Gang, in their gross incompetence and ignorance, also suggests that the media does not exist as a forum for the most informed individuals to update the masses. It exists as a money generating machine. The ruthless quest for higher ratings, rather than better news, dominates every decision the television station makes.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

New Married With Children Box Set Now $39.99

Remember Married With Children? It was the sitcom that broke all the rules. The Bundy's brought dark humor to prime time in a way that few television families could. They broke all the pre-established rules of sitcoms, with several lewd and crude themes. The show was so popular that they still play it in syndication to this day. Of course, you'll have to stay up until the wee hours of the morning to catch it, but you can still find it on TV. If you don't want to do that, there are also a slew of DVD releases spanning every season of the series.

Sadly, if you want the entire series, you might find yourself spending hundreds of dollars. With 11 seasons in the series, you'll be purchasing quite a few box sets just to get it all. There is also a complete series box set, but that currently sells for well over $100. Don't you wish there was an easier way to get your Married With Children fix? Well, your dreams are about to come true. On September 27th, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will be releasing the entire series in a new DVD box set for the low price of $39.99. Considering that there are over 250 episodes and 11 total seasons in the series, this is an incredible price for the entire set. This will basically be a re-release of the original complete series box set in much cheaper packaging.
Of course, the low price indicates that it won't be the best quality DVD set in the world, but it for what you're getting it's not a bad price. As with most low price DVD sets, you can expect prints that aren't of the highest quality and really bad packaging. All that being said, if you're looking for a lot of entertainment for a low price, this could be right up your alley. If you're a stickler for special features and excellent packaging, this might not be the set for you. However, at a price that even the Bundy's can afford, you can't expect brilliance. Still, if you're getting the whole series for $39.99, who really cares? Al would be proud of you for picking up a deal like this. If you're at all interested, consider placing a pre-order for this set as soon as possible. After all, a deal like this isn't going to last forever!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Brief Analysis of the Characters in Caddyshack

At first glance, Harold Ramis’s Caddyshack may seem like a raunchy and funny jaunt through the golf courses of America. After all, that’s what the entire movie revolves around is the golf course and the competitive spirit of the game. But a closer and more analytical look at the movie, specifically its characters, will reveal a commentary of society which may still be considered relevant today.
Cover of Cover of Caddyshack
Take, for instance, Judge Smails. Played by Ted Knight, the judge seems to represent the various levels of the government in Caddyshack. Smails is essentially morally bankrupt and he has the money to prove it. He drives up in a Rolls Royce (how many “on the level” judges can do that) and he still wants more. He gets jealous of Al Czervik, played by Rodney Dangerfield, when he sees that he is even better off financially and well-liked by everybody else on the course. Smails is also jealous of Ty Webb, played by Chevy Chase, because of his success with the ladies and his golf-playing skills. Not only is Smails portrayed as being jealous and greedy, he also cheats at golf and he refuses to honor the bet that he had with Czervik after losing.

Dangerfield’s character – Al Czervik – is as crude and obnoxious as he is rich. He represents the idea of “new money” because he wasn’t always rich. However, he is more generous than the jealous judge. But Czervik doesn’t get off very easy, either. His character is portrayed as a greedy builder who cares nothing about the environment. In fact, the reason the gopher is terrorizing the golf course on which the movie is set is because he was driven away from his home due to Czervik’s condo-building project just a short distance away.

A discussion of Caddyshack characters simply wouldn’t be complete without talking about Carl Spackler, the oddball greenskeeper with all the funny lines played by Bill Murray. Spackler tries throughout the entire movie to catch, maim or even kill the gopher that is tearing up the beautiful greens at Bushwood Golf Course. Spackler seems to have delusions of grandeur as he speaks about being a caddy for the Dalai Lama and he is the “Cinderella story” of the Masters Tournament (a scene which many guys can recite verbatim when given the opportunity to do so). Yet he cannot capture that one little demon that haunts his life – the gopher. In many aspects, the gopher represents the little demon in all of us – that one habit or vice that we simply can’t quench.

Every movie has a lesson or commentary that is not always readily apparent on the surface. Caddyshack is no different. When you watch Caddyshack more than a few dozen times, it’s easy to see a social commentary that the filmmakers were trying to get across. After reading this, you’ll probably never see Caddyshack the same way ever again.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Cowboys and Aliens - A Crossover flick

As a fan of nerdy action flicks and crossovers, I was ecstatic when I found out Cowboys & Aliens was being adapted into a film. It’s a fairly straightforward movie; if you’ve seen the trailer, you know the plot. There are cowboys. There are aliens. They fight. That sounds simply fascinating on it’s own, but surprisingly, I found myself quite underwhelmed while watching two hours of the alien-sprinkled western. After mulling it over, I realized the problem was that the The type of fedora worn by Ford in the Indiana...Image via Wikipediafilmmakers didn’t take enough creative liberties, which sounds ridiculous given the premise. Unfortunately, the title “Cowboys & Aliens” is leagues cooler than the actually film.

Cowboys & Aliens, which was directed by Job Favreau, stars Daniel Craig as Jake Lonergan, a man who initially awakens with a technologically advanced metal bracelet around his wrist and no memory except for English. Craig is incredibly stoic in his role, showing next to no emotion. Ultimately, this makes his character incredibly boring by the end, a warm body to fill the role of the protagonist.

The film also stars Olivia Wilde as Ella Swenson and Harrison Ford as Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde, and both make a respectable effort, but the rest of the characters are western stereotypes that offer no surprises as the story progresses.

However, what’s most disappointing is not the stereotypical characters, but how the source material was disregarded. Cowboys & Aliens is an adaptation of the 2006 graphic novel, but the only thing the two have in common aside from there being both aliens and cowboys is the name. The graphic novel included awesome alien technology like X-Ray goggles, energy whips and explosives other than dynamite. The graphic novel even had flying horses because a blacksmith used scraps from a flying alien ship to make anti-gravity horseshoes. The filmmakers decided to forgo all of that in favor of knives, spears, and old-fashioned guns – a decision I cannot fathom.

Favreau, the writers, and the producers could have taken creative liberties to the point of indulgence. In fact, the film would have been better if they had. A film with the title Cowboys & Aliens needs to live up to its name, and a semi-cheesy crossover film that had truly embraced the clash of two worlds would have been awesome, but the film has so much by-the-book self-restraint, it confines itself to mediocrity.

Personally, I was underwhelmed and disappointed by the film, but ultimately not bored. If you just want to see cowboys and aliens fighting, then Cowboys & Aliens is worth seeing.

Hot New Trend: Costumes that Aren't

Every year in the United States, consumers spend millions of dollars on Halloween costumes, decorations and candy. In fact, the amount of money spent on adult costumes in 2010 was just under $1 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.

For young adults, dressing up is not for trick-or-treating. Bars, clubs, parties and parades are where these students and young professionals are debuting their Halloween couture. As a result, their costumes are a reflection of their grown-up taste and for females they are often tighter, sexier, and smaller than what might be considered appropriate for a regular night out. Getting only one use out of a potentially expensive outfit is a major drawback for anyone on a tight budget.

One cure for the inescapable ridiculous feeling of dressing up: having your friends right next to you in the exact same outfit. The lure of banning together as a group attracts buyers to themed costumes with multiple characters like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Sesame Street.

Enter the perfect solution and sure to be a big trend this season: the tank dress costume. Tight, sexy, and flattering? Check. Variety to ensure a group of girls can dress up together? Absolutely. The costume designers have taken the classic tank dress trend, made famous by brands such as American Apparel, and printed characters or props right onto the fabric. A girl could even wear the dress any other day of the year; it does not have the regular telling signs of a cheap and cheesy Halloween outfit. Priced at around $30, girls can buy a dress knowing they'll have more than one use for it. They can even switch characters with their friends the following year.

Could this be a trend for men as well? With small or simple accessories could an array of printed t-shirts suit a group of guys up for Halloween?

For those not looking to "try too hard" or break the bank with their Halloween spending, the clever and cute look of printed costumes will surely be a hit for the upcoming season of spook.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Four Allusions to Movies in Seinfeld

If you watch Seinfeld closely, you have probably noticed that they mention several movies without actually mentioning them. They do this by allusions, or referring to something from the movie that viewers would readily recognize. Here is a list of four allusions to movies that yTom's Restaurant, a diner at 112th Street and ...Image via Wikipediaou may or may not catch when watching Seinfeld reruns.

Everybody remembers the scene in Basic Instinct where Sharon Stone uncrosses her legs during an interrogation and makes the questioners sweat during the questioning. In “The Package” episode, the show makes an allusion to this scene when Jerry is being questioned about a stereo that he was sending back to the manufacturer. On the advice of Kramer, Jerry was essentially committing mail fraud and he was being questioned by Newman, who was played by Wayne Knight. The brilliance factor that comes into the scene is the fact that Knight was also one of the interrogators in that famous Basic Instinct scene as well.

Chapter Two
The famous Neil Simon play was mentioned outright in the episode entitled “The Letter,” but only after several allusions were made to it. The girl that Jerry was dating in that episode wrote him a breakup letter that she copied directly a scene in the classic play and Jerry just happened to recognize it while flipping through the channels and seeing the scene in which the monologue was being spoken.

This is probably one of the most popular allusions to a movie throughout the Seinfeld series. It involves Jerry trying to explain how ridiculous Kramer’s and Newman’s theory was that Keith Hernandez spit on them in the parking lot following a Mets game. He insisted there had to be a “second spitter” to make their theory plausible. The episode used grainy footage and a reenactment just like the courtroom scene in JFK. Ironically, Wayne Knight was also in JFK and in the Seinfeld scene in which the “spitting event” occurred.

The Wolf Man
When Jerry starts shaving his chest to impress a girl, things don’t go well for him. The hair keeps growing back and getting itchier and itchier each time. Then, when he is stuck in a bus that is dropping off muffin tops at a garbage dump in the evening, he sees the full moon and finally has to run out of the bus to scratch his chest, letting out a “howl” of relief as he does so.
Do you have any favorite movie allusions that you have noticed in Seinfeld?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

An Addiction to Weeds

Weeds was essentially all downhill from season three, yet as a viewer, I cannot help but yearn for the simpler and better written days of Agrestic. I can't seem to kick my weekly habit of watching the Botwins self destruct and unfortunately, against my better judgement, will follow Nancy Botwin and her zany family wherever they lead. Though I miss the salacious and annoying Celia Hoades of yester-weeds as well as her plus size model lesbian dauThe cast of Weeds during Season 2, Left to Rig...Image via Wikipediaghter, for some reason I am drawn to this great turned awful series despite its twists and turns. But the question is, why?

Nancy Botwin is probably the most unlikeable and unapologetic character in television history. Perhaps, the fact that the writers have committed so firmly to making sure she has no chance at personal redemption, societal acceptance or ultimate retribution, makes me feel somehow enamored by her TV presence. Normally when you look closely at any series lead there is something heroic about them, something you can find to admire and relate to. Nancy, however doesn't claim to be a hero, she doesn't seek love or any sort of connection, she is in essence satisfied with how much you hate her. Her numb self loathing makes for a character emotionally hollowed by life and somehow, in her own incredibly corrupt way anchored by family.

While Showtime and HBO boast serial killers and vampires as their lovable anti-heroes, Nancy appears to be the darkest presence of all. From selling weed to exchanging explosives for drugs even her prison stint hasn't seemed to rehabilitate her desire for trouble, despite serving a sentence for murder and losing her youngest child in the mix. While Shane's story line has evolved over the years, from a quirky child with a dark disposition to a stellar assassin, his plot is flat and character supposedly aged solely by sideburns. Sylis' lovable ignorance has grown shirtless and stunted as he embarked briefly on a modeling career and came full circle back to growing pot. Andy's love for Nancy has taken a backseat to his silly invention ideas while Doug simply comes along for the bland ride. The supporting cast still does not hold a candle to their prior selves, drawn out people with actual wants and needs. Episodes of this series will literally come and go with zero development, evolution or plot turns.

This all leaves me wondering why I have remained a loyal viewer from little boxes on the hillside to halfway houses in a contrived version of Washington Heights. Only time will tell whether Weeds will live up to the shadow of what it once was or remain lost in it's own tightly rolled series joint. But one thing is for sure, despite its lack of tact and television poise, it's entertaining, if only to see how awful next week will be. Of course, I'll be tuning in tonight. As always. I'm hooked.

Dance Moms – At Least You're Not A Prositot

When a friend of mine suggested we try watching the new Lifetime reality series “Dance Moms”, I have to say I was a little apprehensive, if not a bit weary of the topic at hand. From the trailer, the show seemed like guilty pleasure material, but I wasn't exactly enthralled by the topic, nor did I expect much from yet another somewhat kitschytopic revolving around children performing on stage in skimpy outfits, overmakeuped and ultrasequencedd glory. From moment one, I was hooked on the high pressure and cruel world of child dance competitions. The Abby Lee Miller Dance Company sucked me in like a pop culture vacuum. Four episodes later I found myself obsessed with this ridiculous and downright cruel world of dance, not to mention doing metaphorical high kicks for trophies and shiny crowns.

Based in Pittsburg, Abby Lee Miller is more than just an overweight, pack-a-day voiced terror, she is a star maker with high expectations and a low threshold for children. Kids come ready to work, parents come ready to bedazzle and cameras stand by filming everything from tears to wins to knockdown, dragout brawls. The cast of zany and flat out insane mothers chosen as our main ensemble is pitch perfect. The completely psychotic look in their eyes as they fight for their child's (as well as their own pitiful) glory, is addictive and mind numbing. They push kids through muscle aches and ambivalence into walking targets. They are not only hit by the cruel judgement of Abby herself, but the golden trophy, just a grapevine away, that lies on the other side of the stage.

The singer Rihanna in AMA'S red carpetImage via WikipediaAbby has created a team of overgrown monsters gunning for their crown wearing spawn to jump to the top of the “Dance Pyramid”, or a stack of head-shots organized on a chalk board by talent and endurance. Each week ends with a competition and the Abby Lee Miller Dance company doesn't just come to dance, they come to annialate the competition (other six year olds in jazz shoes). Most of the time they succeed, yet in what has now become my favorite episode, entitled “Wildly Inappropriate”, the girls are dressed in full out S&M gear, dancing horrifically and far to maturely for their age to a song called “Electricity”. The mini Britney-Rihanna moves mixed with the hyper sexualized presentation caused the judges to eliminate the kids from prizing and rip an undefeated title straight out from under their insanely inappropriate electric blue hot pants.

While this is an absolute tragedy of childhood exploitation and only proves that some people should not be allowed to procreate, the only solise I can find in the mess that Abby Lee has created is, one of the most entertainingly terrible TV shows I've ever seen (and I've seen quite a few). From the alcoholic bleach blonde mom with too much money to the parent that cleans the dance floor to pay for seven day a week lessons, these mothers are an incredible specimen of drama bearing momagers with no shame, integrity or empathy. In what has now become the greatest sound byte in the show's brief history, one mom calls her daughter a “Prositot”. If you're looking for a fantastic and shameful escape from every day life, I cannot recommend “Dance Moms” more. This is appointment television if I have ever seen it. Put down your book, stop checking your email, don't bother feeling sorry for yourself because life is harder than you expected. Just think, at least you're not these people. It's uplifting isn't it?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Lesser Known Johnny Depp Flick “Dead Man” Coming to Blu-ray in August

You know, a lot of people tend to give Johnny Depp a bad rap. Perhaps it comes with the territory of fame and fortune, but a lot of the negativity towards this actor is undeserved. Okay, so maybe our generation doesn't have any Bogarts or Stewarts, but we do have actors like DiCaprio and Depp. Few would argue that they match up to the excellence of those that came before them, but that doesn't mean we should be disappointed in the work of the truly great actors of our time. In fact, Depp has shown a range of acting that often can't be found in just one actor. Did you know he's starred in a Western? Well, if you didn't, you'll get your chance to check him out in Dead Man soon.

Dead Man is a western directed by Jim Jarmusch (Ghost Dog, Broken Flowers) from the Johnny Depp during the Paris premiere of Publi...Image via Wikipediamid 90's. It's surprising how few people in the states ever even knew that this film existed. In the movie, Depp plays a man named William Blake, who travels westward looking for employment. When he is unable to find work, he unintentionally becomes an outlaw and travels through the wilderness with his new found indian guide. The ironic and interesting aspect of this is that Depp himself is part Native American. When you consider how few Native Americans have actually ever become well known actors, let alone played starring roles in westerns, his portrayal of William Blake in Dead Man becomes all the more impressive. Of course, Depp has also wowed audiences with such films as “What's Eating Gilbert Grape” and “Pirates of the Caribbean,” but one of his most interesting roles just so happens to be one that most audiences aren't familiar with.

If you're one of those who has written off Depp in the past, do yourself a favor and check out Dead Man when it comes to Blu-ray on August 9th, 2011. It's definitely not your typical western, but Depp plays his role to perfection and proves that he is not just a one trick pony. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the film also features a cast filled with other well known actors such as Gary Farmer (Smoke Signals, Adaptation), Michael Wincott (The Crow, Alien Resurrection), Crispin Glover (Back to the Future), and Robert Mitchum (Night of the Hunter, Cape Fear). In other words, there's no reason not to give this flick a shot after over fifteen years of being ignored and forgotten. Don't be so quick to write the guy off unless you can say that you've actually seen some of his finer work.

Friday, August 5, 2011

“HOLY SCHNIKES!” A Look At Tommy Boy: A Movie You Need To Watch Again

Several months before Chris Farley died in December of 1997, I watched him host Saturday Night Live. Call it a sneaking suspicion, but watching him execute his brand of physical humor in a body that was noticeably inflated from its usual size, I wondered how much longer he was going to be able to keep it up.Tommy BoyImage via Wikipedia

Two months later… he was dead. His early departure: a heroin and cocaine overdose.

I cried. He was, is, and always will be, my favorite comedian.

Many of us will pass on from this life to the next, unnoticed by the masses around us because our life’s work involved whittling pieces of wood into toothpicks or selling term life insurance over the phone. Not Chris Farley. Regardless of the fact he only made a few movies, Chris Farley will always be remembered by the magic he created on the silver screen.

Tommy Boy, in my opinion, was his “coup de gras”: the film that made him better than any overly rotund, anti-slapstick, goofball comedian around.

Released in 1995, Tommy Boy is about a graduate student, after seven years in college, who returns home to work for his father Big Tom Callahan (Brian Dennehy). His father’s business is selling auto parts and the jobs the business provides supplies the small town with many jobs.

When the dim-witted Tommy Boy comes on board to help in the family business, it becomes obvious he is clumsy and not quite the wordsmith his father is when it comes to selling auto-parts. His father doesn’t expect much of Tommy though, he has the advantage of being Big Tom Callahan’s son and that’s enough to get him by.

As fate would have it, before the opening of the company’s new brake pad division, Tommy Boy’s father suffers a fatal heart attack and dies. When the heart of Big Tom Callahan goes out… it appears as if Callahan Auto Parts will go out as well, eliminating many of the jobs in the small Ohio town.

But not so fast!

While Tommy Boy is the antithesis of the salesman his father was, he takes to the road anyway to gather as many sales orders for the new brake pads as he can. The future of his father’s company, as well as the livelihoods of all its employees, hang in the balance as Tommy Boy stumbles, trips and falls all over the country.

To aid Tommy Boy in his quest to save the world as they know it, the company elders select Richard: Big Tom Callahan’s right hand man (played by David Spade), to accompany Tommy Boy as he visits potential buyers.

Hilarity ensues.

If you are unfamiliar with Chris Farley’s brand of physical comedy… it will furrow your brow and drop your jaw. It is only best to imagine in your mind what a very large man with a seemingly endless amount of energy looks like when digging his heart out for a laugh. The world will never see another large man with as much energy as Chris Farley exudes. If setting himself on fire would guarantee you would laugh at him, he wouldn’t wait another second to douse himself in gasoline.

Additionally, the proof of a fantastic movie lies in how many one-liners you use in everyday life. Many movie one liners I use today come from this movie:

“Fat guy in a little coat. Fat guy in a little coooooaaaat!”
“Brothers don’t shake hands… brothers gotta hug!”
“Housekeeping! You want fresh towel? Housekeeping! You want me jack you off?”
“Did you eat a lot of paint chips as a kid?”
And perhaps the best: “HOLY SCHNIKES!!!!”

Not to sound all soulful and overly sentimental for the sake of this article, but the emotions I experienced while watching Farley and Spade work together are the same I suspect my ancestors went through watching other comedy duos or trios like Laurel and Hardy, The Smothers Brothers or the Three Stooges. While Farley is the funnier of the two, their work together is nothing short of a classic duo.

Sadly, they only got to do one more movie together, the subpar “Black Sheep”.

Before Chris Farley died, there were rumblings that Farley and Spade were going to make a third movie. I would have liked to have seen it, but fate had other plans.

The great thing about Chris Farley is that it never has to seem like he died. His moving pictures are emblazoned everywhere. While we may not ever be able to see any new comedic masterpieces by one of the pioneers of “anti-slapstick”… we always have the incredible masterpiece he’s already done: Tommy Boy.

If you haven’t seen it… watch it. If you’ve already seen it… watch it again. You won’t regret it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My Wife’s Favorite Johnny Depp Movies and Why

My wife is like many other women in the United States – she loves Johnny Depp. She has seen almost every movie with him in it and she has purchased many Johnny Depp movies as well. Here are some of her favorite movies starring Johnny Depp and her reasons for liking the movie so much.

Photograph of the head of Johnny DeppImage via WikipediaThis 2003 movie starring Johnny Depp isn’t one of the star’s best known feature films but it is still a good movie. It involves CIA plots to overthrow a government and it has great shootout scenes and Salma Hayek. You can’t go wrong by putting Depp and Hayek in the same movie together. My wife enjoyed this movie even though Johnny Depp has his eyes plucked out at the end. According to her, Depp “is hot even when he has no eyes in his head.”

She just lumped all of these movies into one because it is basically the same movie each time with some slight twists and turns to the storyline. Many people like this franchise, but few like it for no other reason than because Johnny Depp stars in it. That’s the reason my wife like Pirates of the Caribbean. Even as a flamboyant pirate, he can make it work and he’s hot while doing it, according to my wife.

This is one of the first movies that starred Johnny Depp and made him a household name. He plays essentially a freak of nature that has scissors for hands. His love interest in the movie is Winona Ryder who invites Edward into her home and into her life. But the surrounding community begins to have a problem with him after awhile. Edward Scissorhands is one of my wife’s favorite Johnny Depp movies because, as she puts it, he’s “kind of creepy-hot in this movie.”
I’ve never seen this movie but my wife has watched it over and over again. She really enjoys this movie and she thinks Johnny Depp is at his hottest in this movie from 1993.

Some of the other Johnny Depp movies that my wife mentioned include From Hell in which he plays a detective trying to track down Jack the Ripper and Sweeney Todd in a musical in which he plays a deranged and murderous barber. In short, she thinks he was hot in almost every movie he’s been in. Do you have a wife that is as enamored by Johnny Depp as my wife is?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How to Make it on HBO

by Jeff DiGirolamo for

“My lifestyle’s crazy, that’s how I roll”. That is, in a nutshell, the the theme of ‘How to Make it in America’. It premiered on HBO in February of 2010 to the tune of only 8 episodes. It wMark WahlbergCover of Mark Wahlbergas sort of a those of us who got into it. ‘How to Make it’, being on HBO had some pretty tough competition when you think about all their Emmy award winning shows with all devoted fans. Some might even say it is a knockoff of ‘Entourage’ and it won’t have the longevity that ‘Entourage’ endured. Then there is others who say that since this show is being produced by part of the ‘Entourage’ crew (Mark Wahlberg, Rob Weiss, etc.) that it is here to fill the void that ‘Entourage’ will leave after it’s 8th and final season.

So, how do you really make it on HBO?

Well, first of all you need characters who are relatable yet still a little out of reach. Ben Epstein (Bryan Greenburg) and Cam Calderon (Victor Rasuk) are two buddies in NY who still live by the hustle...mostly Cam. The two of them are trying break through the stiff competition that is New York’s fashion scene with their hip clothing branenglish: This is the american HBO brand logo. ...Image via Wikipedid, “Crisp”. Ben has the fashion sense and smarts, and Cam has “let’s do this” attitude and right amount of hustle. They use Cam’s cousin, Renee (Luis Guzman), for connections and funding, but most of the time that does not work out so well for them.

How to Make it in America”, like ‘Sex and the City’, is a nice montage to New York. Which is good, because I don’t think it would have worked out so well in, let’s say...Cleveland. It takes us on a tour of the fashion world in New York, the hustling in the streets, and with friends like Domingo Dean (Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi), it does make it a little easier. So it does give us a little something different than the other shows.

So with season 2 about to premier in October 2011, do yourself a favor and watch the first season. Don’t be skeptical and ignore the critics. It is a fun show with believable characters and a good story line. It is ‘Entourage’ for the streets.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Roscoe P. Coltrane Seeks Revenge

Yes, this might be the title for any number of Dukes of Hazzard episodes, or even a title for a darkly fun B movie reboot of the show. In real life, James Best, the actor who played the goofy sheriff in the original TV show Dukes of Hazzard is suing Warner Bros. for millions of dollars in unpaid royalties. Best, known for his character that was quite inept, seems to be less inept at keeping track of what he is owed. In a North Carolina federal court, the actor filed a complaint last week aimed to expose some wrong doings by Warner Bros. in regards to how mThe Dukes of HazzardImage via Wikipediauch money he should have been paid since the show went came on the air. The Sheriff cited examples of contract stipulations that suggested he should have received more money from merchandise sales that contained his character, and money from anything related to his character from the movie made in 2005 starring Johnny Knoxville and Sean William Scott.

Best claims his original contract with Warners would entitle him to 5% of revenue from merchandise that featured his identity, and 2.5 % of any revenue from merchandise with other cast members involved. Small margins for sure, but no doubt would have added up over time. It’s no question that the show continues to have a following, and merchandise from the show continues to popular. With very recognizable logos, and a very recognizable car that has been purchased for kids and adult fans alike in model form since the show went on the air in 1979.

James BestCover of James Best
The main issue is not really that Warners is not honoring the contract stipulations, it’s more about how much money they are claiming to have brought in for total revenue from the show. Recently in 2009, Warners sent a financial summary suggesting that the total revenue from products associated with Roscoe P. Coltrane only added up to less than $10 million. Best says that this number is in direct conflict with a report that came out claiming the show brought in $190 million per year during the first six years it aired. All math equations aside, I’d imagine that his character was involved in more than $10 million dollars worth of that total if that was just over the first six years, and of course if that report was correct.

This is yet another issue where it’s going to come down to numbers at first, then it’s going to come down to what the studio considers sales associated with his character versus sales associated with just the show. I hope Roscoe P. Coltrane gets what he’s owed, but not any more than that

G.I. Joe Sequel to Snag Second Star Trek’s Weekend

Originally slated for August, 10 2012, the much/mildly anticipated sequel to G.I. Joe might move to the July 28th weekend of 2012, to replace the opening of the Star Trek sequel. J.J. Abrams, the director of Star Trek and mostly likely the director of the sequel, isCover of Cover via Amazon currently directing and producing….I don’t know…seven things at once? That’s just a ballpark guess, but I can’t be too far off. The worry now is that he won’t have enough time to direct the actually anticipated sequel of Star Trek. Also, Paramount wishes to avoid the situation that went down with Iron Man 2, yet another sequel to a movie based on an older story. Iron Man 2’s script was apparently still being written as they were shooting, which I have to believe would be a little frustrating for cast and crew. Iron Man 2 came out to mixed reviews, but either way it wasn’t as good of a situation as Paramount would have hoped, especially with all the money they are banking on comic book movies and their intertwining characters.

As for G.I. Joe 2, the director Jon M. Chu and the producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura will have to squish down their post-production schedule. To me this could mean a couple things. They know G.I. Joe 2 does not have the potential box office dominance as Star Trek’s sequel, and a July release is historically more profitable than an August date. Therefore, maybe they are trying to give it a better chance as well as hoping that the quality of Star Trek 2 will reach its potential with J.J. Abrams being allowed more time. On the other hand, they may be thinking that G.I. Joe 2 is going to be awful anyway, so they don’t care if the post-production is schedule is cut down, because they know they will make the money back with a strong Star Trek sequel.

Either way one thing is abundantly clear, and not only and am I not the first person to notice this, but I’m certain that this has been going on forever, but the rushing the sequel out thing has got to stop. It’s ruining good stories and good movies. However, the only way to stop it is to not go see them, because as long as butts are in the seats in large volumes as they always are with sequels, studios will keep regurgitating them as fast as a mother bird feeding a hoard of baby birds. Some sequels are great, but usually they’re either by accident or because they really had the story figured out well in advance. It still remains a crap shoot, but with large opening weekends, it’s a risk studios will always be willing to take. And even after this rant, as long as there are still Dark Knight’s and Spider-Man 2’s potentially out there, I can guarantee there are some sequels I will wait in line to see. They have us figured out I guess.