Thursday, December 31, 2015

How TV Shows Can Still Be A Hit On A Small Budget

Television is big business in our country. Millions of Americans sit down every night expecting a break from the daily grind. They want to be entertained. They want to laugh, cry, shout and become engrossed in the story. Viewers are always looking for interesting new shows. A large budget doesn't necessarily mean that the show will be super successful. Many big budget shows have failed miserably. In fact, a growing number of lower budget television shows are gaining increasing numbers of viewers and for some are creating a huge fan base.

A great example of a very low budget show gaining great success is the classic television series Dr. Who. In the beginning, Dr. Who episodes were created on a shoestring budget. Some of the villains were even made of everyday household items to try to save money. Today, more than ever, the show's success is at an iconic status and continues to gain new fans at time goes on. The show has been running since the 1960's. Other notable low-budget sci-fi success stories include The Outer Limits, Mystery Science Theatre 3000, Red Dwarf, and Babylon 5. Not just sci-fi shows gain popularity on a budget, shows like cable television channel MTV had huge hits with ultra-low budget shows such as Beavis andButthead, and Wayne's World. They rocketed to huge success and became a household name. People everywhere were glued to their television to see what these comical and quirky characters were up to next.

The thing that most of these shows had in common was creativity. They offered fresh ideas when viewers were getting bored with the traditional offerings from large budget shows. The episodes had a new approach and fun, unique writing. Whether the characters were animated or real, they offered something different and original. That is precisely what audiences want. They want something new and exciting. Something that has not been overdone by other shows. They want a cast whose faces haven't been seen in tons of productions. Fresh faces attract viewers especially if their characters have substance and offer unique characteristics. Low budget characters seem to have more of a variety of personality that large budget shows tend to shy away from for fear that mainstream culture will frown upon them. Shows on a low budget seem to take more chances and use more creative freedom.

More and more low budget films have the potential to rake in huge earnings and attract large audiences. Not all low budget shows will have success, but for a select few with the right qualities, they will go from rags to riches. All a show really needs to make it big is a great story line, interesting characters, and fresh ideas.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Do You Hate New Year's Eve Like Jennifer Lawrence? Here's Our Top 5 New Year's Eve Movies

Top 5 New Year's Eve movies

In a recent interview with actress Jennifer Lawrence with Vanity Fair, the actress has proclaimed that she isn't a fan of New Year's Eve, "I really hate it, " she has said, "I've never had a good one--everyone's chasing a good time and it's always a disappointment."

Perhaps there's  something to Lawrence's declaration that the holiday is a real bummer.   Have you ever felt the same way about New Year's Eve yourself?     Have you gone out for a night on the town and encountered the wrong drunk people, or ended up at a lame-ass party with people who are too drunk to even stand up?    It seems as if we're all sort of looking for that big New Year's Eve party that we've seen over the years portrayed in our favorite Hollywood movies.   We want to be a part of that one big, unforgettable party that features a cool DJ, a bunch of hot girls and guys dancing around us, unlimited drinks flowing, and something crazy or wacky that happens that really puts it all over the edge.   Think about the party that was recently portrayed in The Night Before--the party that Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt arrive at via that tunnel of holiday lights!   Now, that's a party.   For many, New Year's Eve is a reminder of where one hasn't gone in their life yet, and it can be depressing as hell.      For whatever reason, whether its our understanding (via the unconscious mind) of the definition of time itself and how it is relative to all things--we're all very aware of our status in life's game and where we want to be and where we don't want to be, and how we aren't there or not quite there.   There's something very depressing about it, when you stop to think about it--perhaps that's why we drown ourselves in drink on the one night of the year?  

Or maybe it's Hollywood's fault.   Maybe we've all fallen in love with the idea of the New Year's Eve party because of the ones we've seen in our favorite movies, or perhaps, we've fallen in love with the situations or experiences that the characters in our favorite movies have experienced--as we relate to them!   Maybe, it's the nature of the beast, that the movies afford us a means and way in which we can relate or experience/prepare/learn life's experiences--as if to ready us for our own in reality?  

If you're one who doesn't enjoy New Year's Eve, or if you're one, who like Jennifer Lawrence doesn't love "chasing the good time," or going out for New Year's Eve, then perhaps you'd rather say inside for the night with our list of New Year's Eve movie favorites?  These are our favorite New Year's Eve movies that offer us all that big party, allow us to revel in depression, who remind us that that gathering of friends who are all steeped in the big life experience or big moment in time which always seems best suited for New Year's Eve, or at least, feels like it should be is never available to us for some reason.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Top 5 TV Duos of All-Time

Do you appreciate high quality TV production? If you do, then you‘ll realize that some of the best shows in history not only had the best directors and producers, but also had the best stars. Most of these shows have had acting duos that’ve been favorites among a TV show’s audience. With that said, we countdown the Top 5 TV Duos of All-Time.

TV Duo #5: Laverne De Fazio & Shirley Feeney - Laverne and Shirley
The female odd couple started their acting career in the 1950s with a little help from their neighbors, Squiggy and Lenny. Their impact on comedy created some of the most remarkable TV moments in history. What really made the duo stick out was the Laverne and Shirley show that ran on ABC from January 27, 1976, to May 10, 1983. It was a spin-off from the show `Happy days`. Due to its popularity, it became the second most watched show in America after its 2nd season. The show had a very exhilarating theme song at the beginning of the show. Nobody can forget Laverne and Shirley sing the theme song while hopping in the middle of the street. It always captivated its audiences. The theme song was released as a single and rose to become a top 30 American hit in 1976. This made the two actors, even more, popular.

TV Duo #4: Fred & Barney - The Flintstones
The hit show `The Flintstones` became a really great hit in 1960. Who can overlook the quote `Yabba Dabba doo!` by Fred Flintstone? The quote was nonetheless originally stated as `Yabba Dabba cough`. Anyway, the show was used to advertise Winston cigarettes, dove, and Kentucky fried chicken. Fred and Barney were the main stars of the show with Wilma and Betty as their respective wives. The Flintstones had a daughter, Pebbles, and a dinosaur that acted like a dog, Dino while the Rubbles had an adopted son Bamm-Bamm. What made the show shine in the 60s is its setting in the Stone Age. The show depicted Stone Age technology and names of places were changed to sounds like rocks and minerals, for instance, Mexico was called Mexirock. Fred and Barney steered the show to great heights by their gag quotes. These 2 guys were best of friends and their chemistry to together can be described as simply uncanny, even for a cartoon series.

TV Duo #3: Corey & Shawn - Boy Meets World
Corey and Shawn brought out some of the best bromance moments in their hit TV series ~Boy Meets World`. Whatever came their way, they always had each other’s backs. Shawn was the only one that could cheer Corey up. There are so many instances with the two, like Corey is seen to try to bring Shawn and his girlfriend Angela together when Angela tries to break up with Shawn, that we cannot even begin to count. The 90s show became popular due to the endearing friendship depicted by Corey and Shawn in middle school, high school and even into college. The lessons they’ve learned along the way made their friendship seem more like they were brothers in a way. And that’s why they’re on this list.

TV Duo #2: Beavis & Butt-Head - Beavis and Butt-Head
The 90s animation was designed by Mike Judge. The show was centered on two rock loving teenagers Beavis and Butt-Head who are in 9th grade at Highland High school. They’re socially incompetent and lack respect for each other. The two apparently seem to lack any adult supervision and are quite undereducated. They have no experience with women but are very obsessed with sex. What’s surprising is that Judge did all the voices in the show except for Daria and Stewart. The show had a lot of idiotic laughter and crude jokes, making it a must watch to its audiences. All the stuff they get into together, along with some of their catch-phrases and just overall chemistry, makes these two, #2 (get it) on this list.

TV Duo #1: Walter White & Jesse Pinkman - Breaking Bad
Jesse Bruce Pinkman and Walter white are the only two actors to appear in every episode of the show. Jesse is seen to have so much loyalty to Walter and as such are stuck to each other to the end. The show hit the roof with ratings since the two always brought out good suspense in every episode. Walter is seen to do some of the most incredible things for those he cares about even though what he does isn’t legal. Although he keeps getting himself in danger, he survives it. Jesse sees him as a father he never had and that explains his loyalty. The two kept their viewers on their toes by twisting every event and creating suspense while cooking up meth.

As you can see, these Top 5 TV duos of all-time changed television history for the better. This is why they became the favorites among their audiences and steered the shows they were in to greater heights.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Top 5 Star Wars Movie Rip-Offs

Top 5 Star Wars movie rip-offs
Did you see Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet?  What did you think?   We thought it was amazing here at TVSO which is why we wanted to point out all of the movies that have come out since the original Star Wars hit big screens back in 1977 that were inspired by it--no doubt a slew of low-budget films will be coming out soon in the wake of the success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.   What follows is a list of 5 films that have obvious Star Wars influence residing in them.   These movies weren't just inspired by Star Wars, they rip-off to one extent or another, whether its using characters from the Star Wars movies and putting them in a different context with a different actor being them to completely taking the entire plot of the original Star Wars and re-using it or re-fashioning it around another set of characters--they movies all owe a huge debt, if not money itself to the original 1977 George Lucas mega box-office success.

Here are the Top 5 Star Wars movie rip-offs (in no particular order):

Friday, December 18, 2015

HBO or Showtime: Which Side Are You On?

There are no better competitors, or rivals than these two major networks. Since the early 70's, HBO and Showtime, just like siblings, have been in competition. With such a variety of television shows, movies and documentaries, it's hard to choose. But what makes one better than the other? Is there a side to choose? Which side are you on? HBO or Showtime?

In one corner we've HBO, a major network that has been long standing, and ever growing. With television shows such as Ballers starring the infamous Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, a show catering to all the sports fans and drama lovers. Filled with delectable treats such as sex, drugs, money, and fame. Then in another kingdom there is Game of Thrones, a fantasy series that'll have you at the edge of your seat. When parents need a babysitter, HBO does the trick with movies like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or the classic Home Alone.

In the opposing corner is the 39 year old network giant, Showtime. This opponent may have less time in the industry but it's just as strong. With award winning shows like Dexter; a bloody good time, sure to have you wondering, why one would root for a serial killer type program. Other awesome shows such as Ray Donovan really dive deep into criminal activity in a rich suburban lifestyle. If you're in to more of the weirdness and drama, then Shameless is another show that you'll enjoy. When families are looking for a night in, you can tap into First Kid, and Disney's Mighty Joe Young.

With the advancements in technology, these networks are doing what they’ve to do to reach their audiences. From instant access on your mobile device, to social media engagements. Now you don't have to be at home, in front of your television to enjoy your favorite movie or show. Television just got interactive, and it’s a guilty pleasure that many of us just can't let go. 

As competitive networks they hold their own. Both being strong contenders. HBO, a diverse television network that has varied programming that captivates different backgrounds and statuses. Showtime has a strong sports line up that they broadcast, and also has successful shows and movies on their network. While both networks differ they're also very much alike, they cover the same sports events from boxing to football.

So when it comes to making a decision on which network to watch, the choice couldn't be clearer, watch both. With both of these network giants having such a variety to choose from such as; movies, shows, and sporting events these networks are pleasures we can't let go. Like two opponents in the boxing ring, we never really know who wins. It depends on the season, and show. It also depends on the cast and the plot line. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Top 5 WTF Crazy Movie Musicals (You Probably Haven't Seen)

Best WTF weird movie musicals

Do you have a secret yearning to burst out in song or dance?   You're sitting in your office cubicle and you're humming to yourself a melody of one of your favorite movie musicals?  Or maybe, you're sitting at the airport right now, bored out of your skull, and are looking for a list of movies that you've never heard of before.    We here at TVSO love movie musicals as much as we love superhero movies, action flicks, and classic television shows.    Most people are fairly familiar with movie musicals, not just those that have come out in the last ten years, but certainly, those made in the golden age of movies during the 50's and the 60's.    It doesn't matter if we've seen any of those made all that time ago, but we certainly know the names of them because they've become so ingrained in our culture that it's hard not to know, at least, their names.    Movies like Singin' In the Rain or Paint Your Wagon come to mind, for example....

And throughout the 1970s we were treated to musicals like Tomorrow, Xanadu, Liztomania, Tommy, The Monkee's Head, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

And as there are cult movies with big followings we thought that we might offer up a fun list list of some of our favorite lesser-known movie musicals.   These are musicals that have a cult following and aren't necessarily afforded big notices in the mainstream culture.  Even though, with the invent of DVD and now Blu-ray, perhaps that might all be coming around...

Here are our Top 5 WTF Crazy Movie Musicals that you probably haven't seen, but really should....

In no particular order:

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Top 5 Greatest Steve Martin Movies

Top 5 Steve Martin Movies
 Top 5 Steve Martin Movies

Steve Martin is a comedy genius.  Not only is Martin a talented comedian, but he's also an equally talented writer, director and musician.   Certainly, Martin has been criticized in the recent years for his move away from the wild and crazy guy he had once played in movies in the early 1980s,  but every artist must grow and transcend.  With that being said, damn, we miss the classic Steve Martin of the early 1980s, which is why we've assembled this list of our favorite Steve Martin movies.
In no particular order:

Monday, December 14, 2015

30+ Years of Mario and Counting

Who would’ve thought that a character from the 1981 video game ‘Donkey Kong’ would evolved from ‘Jumpman’ to the beloved character, Mario, an Italian-American plumber, and the main character of over 200 video games? The Mario game franchise holds the title of the bestselling video game franchise of all times. The Mario series of games has sold over 210 million units, not counting non-platform games including sport series games such as Mario Kart racing, golf, and tennis games as well as educational games including Mario's Time Machine and Mario Is Missing. Included in the franchise are comics, television shows and films as well as licensed merchandise.

In 1983, Mario Brothers became a platform game featuring Mario and his brother, Luigi battling creatures in the sewers below New York City in arcade, the Family Computer and Nintendo Entertainment System Versions. Developers Shigeru Miyamdo and Gunpei Yokoi made Mario a little more invincible for his transition from Donkey Kong to the Mario Brothers game as well as modified his wardrobe. In Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. Mario would suffer his death by falling from great heights and wore a blue shirt and red overalls. In the Mario Brothers game his wardrobe changed to a red shirt and blue overalls. He reverted to red overalls but wore a brownish shirt for Super Mario Brothers. For Super Mario Brothers 2, he wore the red shirt and blue overalls and the overalls has remained the same ever since. Miyamota gave his reason for Mario wearing overalls being to make his arm movements more noticeable.

He also changed professions from a carpenter in Donkey Kong to a plumber in Mario Brothers. Luigi's inclusion allowed for two player competition. Home versions of Mario Brothers were also available on Apple II, 4 different Atari platforms, ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC despite the video game crash in 1983. Super Mario Brothers is thought to be the game that help the video game industry bounce back as part of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and accounted for the huge sales volume of the system. Super Mario Brothers was first released in Japan in 1985 and later in America, Europe and Australia in 1987 and was the first of the Super Mario Brothers series. In this version, players controlled Mario and Luigi on a quest through the Mushroom Kingdom to rescue Princess Toadstool from Bowser, her kidnapper.

Between 1988 and 2007, Super Mario Brothers game series had eight different titles including Super Mario Land (1989), Super Mario World (1991), Super Mario Sunshine (2002), Super Mario Galaxy (2007) and Mario and Sonic at the Olympics (2007). Mario themed games were bundled in 2010 for its 25th anniversary and those who registered their Nintendo 3DS game systems at the end of 2013 to the end of 2014, with different time frames for different countries, received free download codes through their emails.

Gamers that have watched Mario evolve have also witnessed the evolution of technology. New generations are still finding Mario interesting and challenging. As technology continue to evolve, future generations will enjoy the many quest and adventures that Mario takes them on just as those of the 80s.

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Top 5 Greatest Boxing Movies Of The Last 40 Years

Top 5 Boxing Movies of the last 40 years
The release of Creed (2015) recently, we thought it might be wise to make a list of what we deem as the best boxing movies ever made.   And as we've been culling over a largest and broader list of boxing movies that have been made since the start of the movies, we've been thinking that its all the while possible that Creed could, likely, be on such a list of the greatest boxing movies in the history of the movies themselves. Why?  Because, not does it bring the spirit of Rocky Balboa full-circle, but it also represents the quintessence of the drive of the fighter himself.   Is Creed as good of a boxing movie as the original Rocky?  Most would likely say that a movie like Creed couldn't and shouldn't even be considered in a conversation up against the first Rocky film.   There have been dozens and dozens of boxing movies to come out over the years; movies that saw boxing as its central story line, or those that saw boxing as a secondary subplot, or a means in which a comedy could be set up.  An example of the latter would be The Main Event (1979).   Some boxing movies have even examines the fighter himself and delved into into character/personality to try to get at the nature of the beast.  Some have been successful while others haven't.     Will Creed become one of the best boxing films ever made?  Only time will tell.

There have been so many boxing movies made over the years that it's almost impossible to narrow a list down which best represents what we think are the best boxing movies ever made, as certainly, one must take into account the wonderful boxing movies of the '40s like Champion with Kurt Douglas or Body and Soul with John Garfield; certainly one would also be wise to consider the slew of documentaries that have been made about boxing as well such as:  When We Were Kings (1996) or Boxing Gym (2010) for example.     As there have been so many excellent boxing movies over the last 70 years, we thought it might be best to narrow down our list to five boxing movies that were made within the last 40 years as a means of satisfying contemporary film attention spans, understanding that some, don't appreciate black and white movies today strangely enough...

What follows are our favorite boxing movies (in no particular order):

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Top 5 Movies With Video Game Stories

Top 5 Movies with Video Game Stories

It's a video game world.   More than any previous decade, we are rooted in video game culture and playing has become more of an obsession today than going to the movies, reading a good book, or listening to music.    What is it about the video game that has captivated us to the point where it's the predominate form of entertainment of the current generation?    With video games being more popular than they've ever been before, we find it odd that the bulk of the movies made around and/or centered in the video game world were all made, mostly, in the 1980s.   Certainly, the imagination of kids who grew up in the 1980s was captured by the incoming video game culture with the release of Nintendo, the continued-success of Atari, the video arcade boom of the late '70s and early '80s etc...    

This all begs the question:  Why hasn't there been a movie like any of the below made recently?  Certainly, we've seen our share of movies made out of the video games themselves, but never again have we seen something that featured people living/working, taking the journey through the video game culture that has become such a major part of culture today.

What follows are our favorite video game-rooted movies.  These are movies were the story of the movie is centered around the video game culture or finds characters immersed in the video game world etc..

In no particular order:

Monday, December 7, 2015

America's Obsession with Re-Runs on Television

With the currently saturated atmosphere of reality shows, it's a breath of fresh air to see some of the classic re-runs from back in the day on television. In many ways, shows were more wholesome and family oriented. However, there wasn't such a level of sensitivity as there's today. Things were delivered in a more comical sense than they are now, and it's a relief from some of the more dramatic and reality based shows that we see today.

When speaking of shows from the 80's that we still watch, one that's still significantly resourceful for many children is, Reading Rainbow. There aren't many educational programs these days. With access to technological resources such as, on demand availability, the internet, and Youtube, shows like SesameStreet & Mr. Roger's Neighborhood remain timeless and help to benefit our children.

While many shows today are trendy and similar in subject matter, TV shows from the 80's and 90's seemed to be more diverse. For example, The Facts of Life still serves the basic purpose of many of the issues young girls experience today. The message is pretty much the same with shows such as Growing Pains.

Another reason the American audience still has a taste for old school re-runs are because many of those classics were groundbreaking. Shows such as Different Stokes, The Jeffersons, and The Golden Girls all touched on new territories that didn't necessarily fit the status quo. While Different Stokes tackled issues of race relations, who would've ever thought those little, gorgeous old "Golden" ladies would've been so vibrant and full of life.

Some of the more out-of-the-box popular TV re-runs from the 80's and 90's such as the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Full House really showed how you can mix in so many different life lessons while having a sense of humor, while also having an interesting story per episode.

Although we learned a lot about life issues and most of us were somewhat educated from shows over those two decades, who can forget the drama- laden shows that kept our attention from week to week. Shows such as Dallas and Miami Vice provided that sense of edginess that still entertain us until this very day.

As mentioned earlier, a large percentage of today's shows are reality based. Although many of the stars from the re-runs of the past have gotten older and moved on, society as a whole can still benefit by producing patterns of entertainment that echoed many of the shows from the past. Who wouldn't love to see a spin-off of Who's The Boss, or Cheers? These shows are timeless with a relevant message for years to come.

For now though, you always have cable networks such as TV Land and Nick at Nite to watch some of your favorite shows from back in the day.

Friday, December 4, 2015

The 5 Most Bizarre, Surreal Childrens Animated Movies of the 1980s

Top 5 Weird animated movies of the 80s

Today we live in such a PC-friendly culture.  Parents, programmers, and the likes of such are terrified of offending whomever or scaring whomever.    Certainly, the 1980s was a different landscape when it came to children's entertainment, particularly animated movies.  Today, we are seeing more animated films released then ever before, and while all of these movies are certainly fun, a great afternoon of family enjoyment at the movie theater, there are little if any scares at all associated with anything in the realms of Disney or Pixar.    But, back in the 1980s animators, studios, or film-makers expressed any sort of worry when it came to the audiences of their animated feature length films. In fact, a large portion, not just of animated feature films but weekly cartoon series, segments in animated-anthology series were scary as hell if you were a kid that grew up in the 1980s.
What follows are some of our favorite bizarrely fantastic, over-the-top, frankly scary as hell 1980's children's animated films (in no particular order):

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Top 5 Most Under-Rated Christmas Movies

Top 5 Most Under-rated Christmas movies
With Christmas looming right around the corner there are two questions often asked: 1. ) Do you have all of your Christmas shopping done?  2.)  What movies have you got picked out for the holidays?    With today's cable or online streaming services offering a extreme selection of holiday movies for all to enjoy this holiday season, for whatever reason, they just don't work when you have them at your fingertips for some reason.    It's great to watch Home Alone, or It's A Wonderful Life, or A Christmas Story even one or twice, maybe even three times, during the month of December but what do you watch when you've had enough of those or something, say, like, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation or Bill Murray in Scrooged?
Here is a list of our favorite under-rated Christmas movies for this month, when, nothing else is cutting the cheese, and you're looking for something that is fun or a  little more edgy than the others (in no particular order):

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The 3 Nerdiest Sitcoms of Today's Generation

We're living in a golden age of ‘nerdiness’. Comic books, video games, and extreme fandom are all hugely popular, with comic conventions being some of the biggest events in American pop culture. What this means is that nerd chic is all the rage, especially in television. Chances are good you know at least one person who can quote The Big Bang Theory line for line, or who goes on and on about "The Doctor". Even if you don't consider yourself a die-hard "nerd", you've probably watched one of these sitcoms.

Nerdy Sitcom #3: The Office
For 9 seasons, we watched the ridiculous antics of Michael and Dwight, pined for the love between Pam and Jim, and primarily simply laughed at the office of Dunder Mifflin. A curiously successful adaptation of a British comedy of the same name, The Office was a hugely successful sitcom, one of NBC's biggest. It's the nerd crowd, however, that bolstered the ratings and kept it going for 9 years. A show about awkward people in an office setting, trying to interact and find their place, is a concept that's pretty easy to relate to, especially for well, nerds. Spanning a multitude of story-lines, personality types, and varieties of humor, The Office's appeal is still apparent, even now, two years after it ended.

Nerdy Sitcom #2: Doctor Who
This is a very unique program, in that it's been on the air for so long. Beginning in 1963, and only increasing in viewership and popularity as time has gone on, the show exemplifies what high-quality writing can do for a series. And a popular one at that with nerds for many reasons. Doctor Who is at its heart, a sci-fi series about an immortal "Time Lord" and his travels throughout the universe, helping people and saving lives. The heroics resonate with viewers for sure, but the ability to manipulate time and space makes for an endlessly refreshing potential for plots, locations, and companions for the Doctor. As previously mentioned, the show is incredibly well-written, which serves to fill the gaps that the small-budgeted and often silly special effects create.

Nerdy Sitcom #1: The Big Bang Theory
With 4 extremely nerdy personalities and a beautiful neighbor, The Big Bang Theory seems like an odd mix. It's only after you see the effective humor, cogent cultural references, and appealing humanity of the characters that you really understand why nerds (and everyone else) loves this show. While nerds can identify with the characters' personalities and struggles, it has done a lot to help 'nerdiness' become mainstream in general and allow people to feel good about letting their inner nerd out.

While there are plenty of other nerdy shows out there currently, these are undoubtedly the biggest and most influential. What shows can boast the broad viewership of The Office, the longevity of Doctor Who, or the cultural impact of The Big Bang Theory? Do your nerd-side a favor and check them out if you haven't already, and see what the nerds already know!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Is It Time to Remake “Back to the Future”?

One of the most successful movies ever is definitely ‘Back to the Future’, written in 1985 by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, who was also the director. The starring roles were given to Michael J. Fox, Thomas F. Wilson, Crispin Glover, Lea Thompson, and Christopher Lloyd. This movie is a story about a teenager who was sent back to the past to the year 1955, and suddenly, he met his parents and fell in love with his mother. But, he realized that he must repair the history and make his parents fall in love. Of course, he would do all this with a help of a scientist, and then he would return back to 1985. An exciting story, isn’t it?

Modern time travel movies appear to be more sophisticated than they were some 30 years ago. Once Back to the Future achieved its success, Hollywood has got overwhelmed with time travel movies. Some of these movies, such as The Terminator, have seen several successful sequels. Because of all these movies, it appears that the audience has got used to a bit different story lines. This opens up lots of possibilities for a fantastic story to be developed for Back to the Future.

According to Hollywood’s big preparation for the remake of Back to the Future, we can expect the new version soon. But, the director, Zemeckis, doesn’t think the same. He refuses to give the authority to reboot the first version of the movie although millions of fans are waiting for its return. Despite this, the Universal Pictures has already started with the project of remaking Back to the Future.

Who are the main actors?

The remake can’t have the same actors because the starring Michael J. Fox suffers from Parkinson’s disease. Unfortunately, the first version released in 1985 went on the 11th place on the box office charts, so the Hollywood productions are still pushing the idea of its reboot.

The actual proposal for the remake of Back to the Future by Universal Pictures West and Robert Zemeckis for 2016 would look like this. The writers would be Josh Trank, David S. Goyer, and Zemeckis, who would also be a director and co-producer. The producer would be Avi Arad (Iron Man). And, the most important thing, the main actors will be Aaron Paul as Marty McFly, John Malkovich as Emmet Brown, Jimmy Tatro as Biff Tannen, Sam Rockwell as George McFly, and Betsy Brandt as Lorraine McFly. The other actors on the list are Jonathan Banks and Christa B. Allen. The budget for the film, according to Zemeckis, would be about $180 million. There is some news that the shooting should end in the fall of 2016.

And the special effects?

When we think about special effects, the idea of having a remake of Back to the Future sounds really cool, especially if we take into account everything that the special effect technology can do. This will maybe give the remake a deeper storyline, maybe with some Matrix-like special effects. Also, since the car from Back to the Future was smashed to bits, there would have to be a new one.
Some movie experts agree with this believing that the movie could be rebooted perfectly, as every character can be brought back to life with the use of certain special effects and computer graphics. Also, they think that the special effects in the remade version should support those from 1985, which were made by Industrial Light and Magic. 

As you can see, the remake of Back to the Future is a huge challenge for Hollywood production houses. But, it’s possible to happen, especially when there are a good crew and budget to make it real! So, would you like to watch the remake of this movie, with some little changes, but with the best special effects ever?

Well, hopefully, Back to the Future can be the nearest future of the movie world.


epicfail comic con costumes
Comic Con is a right of passage for so many, and at the same time, it's a place were fans can go to meet like-minded others, similar die-hards that share your same passions.   But it's also a place where fans go to dress up like some of their favorite comic book, movie, or television characters, and while, mostly, these costumiers go way out of their way to create a costume that, sometimes, rivals the screen-used version, there are others who really just completely half-ass their costume.

Here are some of our favorite #EPICFALL Comic Con costumes of the last 2-3 years of Comic Con season from across the country as well as from the United Kingdom.  These are so bad that they're good.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

#EpicFail: The Top 5 Worst Superman Movies

The Worst Superman movies
At the end of the day, no one can say anything bad about Richard Donner's, filmed back-to-back, Superman: The Movie and Superman II.   Both of these Superman films star the great, and gone-much-too-soon actor, Christophe Reeve.    Donner, filmed both films at the same time more or less, and although, in the end, Superman II was ripped out of his hands by the films' producers and he was fired,he managed to have his day with his Special Edition Superman II Donner Cut DVD release.   The Donner Cut really shows the greatest of the early 80's Reeve Superman; which is a pity because ultimately, while Superman III has it's loyal campy and cult following, Superman IV makes it all the more bittersweet because of just how awful that film really is.  And certainly, given the rise in popularity of the superhero movie in the last ten years in Hollywood; these films earning big box office bucks in a time which we've seen only Hollywood studios recycling everything, including yesterday's news---Superman had tried and tried to make his way back to the big screen since 1987, since Superman IV tanked and made the franchise a laughing stock.    And while there have been those in Hollywood who have fought and struggled to bring the Man of Steel back to the big screen, we've heard about the failures, especially with the recent documentary out highlighting Tim Burton's re-imagining for Clark Kent.  
And then there's Bryan Singer.   Singer, who was once best known as the film-maker who crafted such masterworks as Public Access and The Usual Suspects, has turned his sites on comic book movies and superhero influx.   While Singer has found great success in bringing the X-Men to the big screen, his take on Superman was a turd, although a steel one at that.    With Singer's Superman in the can, and 2013's improved but still lacking Man of Steel, is it possible to bring Superman back to the big screen. But with the same grace and magical propensities that Christopher Reeve had in the role? Or with the same great qualities that Richard Donner brought to the character and story?     Perhaps, only time will tell.   In the meantime, the answer is likely no.     In the meantime, we're supposed to be satisfied with the Supergirl television series?    Are we supposed to be re-watching our Lois and Clark DVD box set?   At this point, one would expect that their DVDs of Superman: The Movie and Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut would be getting worn out from repeated play.  When will Superman return to the big screen proper?   Richard Donner will you please save us?
Here are the Top 5 Worst Superman and Superman-related movies (in no particular order):

Sunday, November 22, 2015

What Made "How I Met Your Mother" So Popular to Watch?

"How I Met YourMother" was a unique and engaging show that kept audiences guessing. There are many sitcoms in which you can watch different episodes at different times without having to miss out on most of the storylines, but with "How I Met Your Mother," it acted as a timeline that you had to keep up with; an excellent way to keep audiences engaged for each airing. Besides this, there were many other reasons why "How I Met Your Mother" was so popular for audiences to watch.

Good Cast Chemistry
The cast of "How I Met Your Mother" seemed to have always been friends. They were friends off-screen, which helped them to develop this dynamic, and it worked. Barney and Ted had the perfect ‘bromance’, and Lily and Marshall were the perfect couple and it felt wrong that it wasn't that way off-screen, although they’re friends. And Robin added the perfect twist with her unstable, but close relationship with both Barney and Ted.

Unique Comedy
The social rules in "How I Met Your Mother" were probably one of the most intricate and unique pieces of comedy that the show offered. There were things such as the ‘slap-bet’, ‘bro code’, and the ‘nothing good ever happens after 2 AM rule’. Audiences watched as the characters struggled to follow these rules, mostly according to the way Barney developed them, which was always entertaining and sometimes even took over the whole story-line of episodes. Audiences also had to remember that the stories were being told from future Ted's perspective. He was telling the stories to his kids, and sometimes they were censored or changed slightly, which was another comedic aspect of the show that was unique. For example, many bad words were changed to "Grinch" and "smoking marijuana" was changed to "eating a sandwich."

Intricate Character Personality
With the multiple flash-backs, audiences follow throughout the entirety of the show. The character development shines and makes their personalities intricate, more in-depth, and overall, more comedic. With Robin going from a Canadian teen pop star and Barney going from a confused kid with no father and a brother who looked nothing like him to a hippy barista to an always wearing a suit bachelor, it kept audiences intrigued and entertained. Not only were there flash-backs to show character development, but there were also flash-forwards that gave little hints to future events, but not enough to give anything away completely.

These three factors were what made this show so unique, funny, and connectable. Many audiences find themselves wanting to re-watch the episodes to catch subtle hints of the ending that they might not have noticed before. Even though the show’s over, it still seems to be going on.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Movie Review: The Night After (2015)

 The Night Before offers little laughs....

 As we've just started the 2015 holiday season, Americans are flocking to their local multiplex for a spot of entertainment.  This means that they're out there looking for that perfect holiday movie.   These types of movies usually involve a story with heart that is set up against the backdrop of a holiday such as Thanksgiving or Christmas itself.   These movies are mostly always centered around a comic situation as well, which is why, on the exterior The Night Before likely looks be the perfect holiday season movie-going fodder.     
And one would be correct in that assumption about the film. Certainly an indication of The Night Before's intentions would be easily deciphered simply by one watching the film's trailer that has been heavily-touted around on television over the last several weeks.   Which is fine, and The Night Before is enjoyable, but only to a degree.
The Night Before has no intentions to re-invent the comedy wheel.  It was designed simply as a piece of entertainment during the holiday season hussle and bussle.   In fact, its too entertaining. And it tries way too hard to be a bunch of different things all at once.   It's so loaded with Hollywood tropisms that you can predict how its all going to end in the first seven minutes after its started.   So the question becomes: if you know how a movie is going to end right when it begins, can you still enjoy it?  The only way one can do that is if they believe and identify/sympathize with the characters.
Does The Night Before allow one to do that?  Not really.  The basic premise, and not to give out too many spoilers: three friends get together every year on Christmas to have a wild night out on the town together partaking in a lot of drinking and drugs.   The tradition was started ten year prior when one of the friends (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) loses both of his parents in a horrible car accident.  His friends come to his aid, like good friends should, and they become his surrogate holiday family.  Everything is kicked off when Gordon-Levitt's character steals a set of special tickets to an exclusive party that the three have been trying to get invited to for a decade while sporting some pretty funny ugly Christmas sweaters.
When you walk into the movie theater to watch something like The Night Before, something that, for better or worse, has been marketed, almost passively-impressively as a holiday movie, one doesn't think that they're going to be subjected to over-the-top debauchery that features more dicks than there are boobs and a character that is so steeped in his own drug use that he rivals Keith Richards' own in the 1970s.  
The Night Before does promote heavy drug use, and doesn't attempt to, at least, suggest that it might be a bad idea to take a lot of drugs out for a night on the town in the holiday season by the end.   The problem with the drug jokes in the movie is that they're just lame.  All in all, the target audience for The Night Before, although the screenwriters wouldn't likely admit it, would be those between the ages of 30-35; those who have been through some drug experimentation and are well on their way to middle age suburban death, those who are stuck in crappy jobs, those who are about to become parents or parents for the second time.   People under 30-35 will laugh at the jokes, but only because they've barely lived any of the experiences that the characters in the film are smack in the middle of themselves.  

And what of the holiday audience?  What about the Grandmas that may see the film with their family this holiday season thinking that this will be the perfect holiday season movie fare?  Will the film be too much for them?  Well they get the drug references or will those alienate them?      After all, this isn't Seth Rogen and Barbara Streisand driving in a car together across the country; a film that most likely pleased Grandma.   Will Grandma appreciate the scene in The Night Before of Seth Rogen talking to his wife while he is on LSD and seeing her as a dragon?  Will she find the dick pic texting scene hilarious?  Doubtful.    Which is why The Night Before doesn't quite work, firstly as a holiday movie, but secondly as a comedy.   It's very uneven.  The jokes, in particular, the drug jokes, the man questioning his sexuality jokes, are just sort of played out, they're not used here in a fresh or unique way.  Perhaps those that find everything Seth Rogen does as funny; perhaps those people will find this all-in-all amusing, no matter what the age, but those people may be few and far apart.    Overall, it's a very uneven film, it's predictable too.   Even the "surprise" cameo of James Franco was expected.  Watch for a silly Miley Cyrus cameo as well here.  
In the end, The Night Before can't seem to decide whether it wants to be a comedy or a drama.  While some may not find the jokes funny, they are there nonetheless, but they are so few.   The scenarios aren't even absurd. The situations are mild.   The film can't even manage to come across as a comedy of manners.   It also tries to be this Charles Dickens Scrooge kind of thing, but in the end, because it can't decide if it wants to make you laugh, make you cry, or play into your holiday whimsy, it doesn't successfully do any of those things because it tres to go into all three directions at one time.  

Friday, November 20, 2015

#EpicFail: The Top 5 Science Fiction Box Office Failures

Top 5 Sci-Fi Box Office Failures
There are great science fiction films, and then there are those that are not-so-great.   Still, if you're a sci-fi junkie like we are here at TVSO then you probably just love it all whatever the heck it is as long as it has some spaceships in it, right?   If there's a contemporary genre of movies that is as popular as American comedy today it's science fiction and horror.   While dozens of horror films get churned out, almost weekly, it seems--science fictions take a little more care.   And yet, to go back to those not-so-great science fiction films again:  are they really that bad, or are our expectations so high and mighty that it is impossible for us to enjoy them in the first place?   There may be something to that when it comes to a beloved adaptation of your favorite science fiction book of yesteryear.

Books like Battlefield Earth and Dune certainly proved themselves to be major let-downs when it came to their movie adaptations.    And what of the remake? Did Tim Burton really have any rights to attempt a remake of a classic such as Planet of the Apes?  Hell, no.  He didn't, and his career, his perfect filmography, will forever be tainted by that hairy Tim Roth-y-over-the-top-disaster.  The Science Fiction genre should wow, dazzle, and inspire.  It's the thinking person movie genre.  It should have a aura of mystery about it, and at the same time, be completely entertaining.

While the following list reflects only a selection of sci-fi movies that have failed at the box office in one way or another, let it be suggested, that we here at TVSO don't have anything negative to say about any of these films in themselves.  Each has found itself a cult following (no matter how tiny) and each has its detractors and its admirers. These just so happened to be #epicfails at the box office.  Audiences stayed away in droves or took a stand against these.   Okay, Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes was so awful...there's no sugar-coating that.    We'll never forgive him for it either. 

What follows is our list of the Top 5 Science Fiction Box Office Failures (in no particular order):

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fascinations with the Supernatural in Comics Books

Almost every comic book out there has some element of the supernatural. Batman has to deal with the Penguin, who has been mutated in a non-normal way into a super-villain. ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ is always out there slaying vampires--it's all in the title! Then there's ‘Thor’, who isn't actually a "God", but people on Earth perceive him as one because he comes from a different realm. Spawn has to do with a man who is combined with some kind of demonic entity, and becomes a crusader for good. In short, most comic books use as a vehicle either for the plot or the protagonists some supernatural motif. 

But why?

Well, part of the answer may have to do with the generation to whom the content of the comics is being marketed to. Modern generations have forgotten the supernatural in their brick-and-mortar, cement-and-electrical, internet-and-television worlds. Today, everything's let on to be explicable by naturalistic sciences. The reality is, naturalistic science does a terrible job of explaining the modern world in many ways, but scientific terminology hoodwinks those who don't know better into thinking everything is understood. Yet inside them they know it isn't, and for this reason a drive toward exploration of supernatural entertainment naturally grasps them.

Consider that great volumes of supernatural fiction weren't around in the past, when many stories are set. In antiquity, people were relatively illiterate; but it's presumable certain supernatural exigencies of life assailed them enough, it became desirable to block them out! The legends survived because they were based on facts, as inconvenient as that may or may not have been.

Now, we still have apparitions in the attics, demon possessions in the streets, and warlocks creeping around at night effecting their wicked charms. There are even people that actually believe themselves to be vampires--in the 90's an entire cult was started around the subject. As it turns out, scientifically there's some aspect to ingestion of human bodily fluids which fundamentally changes the ingesting party's genes--Ted Talks have indicated what we do directly affects our DNA.

So why do we like supernatural things today? They've been excluded from us, and we're told they don't exist; but in our hearts and souls and minds we know naturalistic explanations just don't explain everything. So the writers of comic books like Buffy the Vampire Slayer bring us back to reality, as ironic as that sounds, by reminding us there are things that go bump in the night; and perhaps we should be grateful for the trappings of modernity.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Worst Star Trek Cosplay Costumes

Worst Star Trek costumes

God bless the Trekkies!  There are two kinds of people in this world--those who love Star Wars and those who love Star Trek.   You can love both, you can geek out over each, but one resides more in the brain than the other does.   The Star Trek costumes are, relatively speaking, easier to put together than something in the vain of Chewbacca or C-3PO, one only needs a red long-sleeve shirt and a sew-on Star Trek logo patch and you've got yourself a instant Star Trek costume.  But, what about those who try to mash-up Star Trek costumes and Star Trek cosplay with other characters in pop culture?   Should Star Trek be mixed up with Batman or Star Wars?  Methinks not.   And what about those who sort of half-ass their Star Trek costumes for any upcoming convention?  Does one think that sometimes a Star Trek or Star Wars fan half-asses their costume out of their wry sense of humor or financial means?   Perhaps, we'll never know....

What follows is a collection of the Worst Star Trek cosplay costumes that we can find (in no particular order):

bad star trek cosplay

bad star trek costumes

funny star trek cosplay

awful star trek costumes

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bad star trek movie costumes

worst star trek costumes

bad Star Trek costumes