Saturday, September 24, 2016

Selecting the Perfect Halloween Costume for an Office Party

When October is just around the corner, you know that the Halloween costumes are about to come out of the closet. Whether this is your favorite time of the year and you look forward to selecting a new costume or you're known as someone who never dresses up, you can't deny the excitement of a work party to celebrate this spooky holiday. It's your chance to network and have a little fun with your colleagues, but you need a costume that will impress without crossing the professional line.

There are thousands of costumes out there, but you may not have time to browse them all before making your selection. This guide will take the work out of your search by delivering a detailed list of the best costumes for work Halloween parties.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Is There Too Much TV Sitcom Drama?

Let's face it, we watch sitcoms for a good laugh. These are designed to bring in the laughs and make us forget our troubles. But there are those times during a sitcom where drama can come in to emphasize the scene. Why does this happen, what happen to the day when Abbott and Costello played it completely for laughs, and so did the Three Stooges. Well, perhaps this happened because the sitcom became pretty much what it stands for a situation comedy. In situations drama can come in even if it's just for a fleeting moment.

In the 70s the sitcom MASH along with the ground breaking sitcom All in the Family took the mixture to a new level. Where All in the Family was concerned, they too hard hitting relevant issues of the time yet found a way to mix the comedy into the drama itself. Where MASH was concerned, the first few seasons did seem to play out mostly for laughs but that was like ignoring the elephant in the room, namely the Korean War. There's little funny about war and when the program let the war in it also had to let in the drama. MASH became known as TV's first dramedy which was a combination of drama and comedy. For the program the formula worked, and fans continued watching it.

These days it'd seem that "dramedy" has made a comeback without even trying. There are highly popular programs such as Modern Family, Blackish, and It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia whom although are classified sitcoms do also contain dramatic moments. These shows also work without the laugh track that can still be found in some sitcoms. Yes, there are viewers who still prefer that half hour sitcoms continue to just before laugh. That's not to say that some aren't Mike and Molly, Two Broke Girls and Last Man Standing do seem to still play it for laughs mostly even if there are a few moments of drama sneaking in. Hey, how can it not these are sitcoms of today. After all, who would of thought the day would come when a sitcom regarding a mother and daughter would exist that has them both battling a substance abuse issue which is the basis now for the sitcom Mom. Yes, this one does have a laugh track but it also has hard hitting issues such as friend dying from an over dose.

Perhaps the thing that has changed the face of the sitcom is the fact that the world continues to evolve. Now a days we can look at a wholesome show such as The Brady Bunch and shake our heads. This program certainly wouldn't make it in the market of today. Yes, maybe some would say that there is now too much drama in sitcoms and that isn't what we watch them for. We watch them to forget our troubles not to be reminded of them. But there is something that makes the shows that don't avoid today's issues so popular maybe for some we want to see these addressed. Maybe we want to see how our favorite characters that we have come to identify with deal with these same issues we have. But take heart if these become too much to bear there are always DVDs of Abbott and Costello or the The Three Stooges to fall back on, these were done for laughs only.

Friday, April 22, 2016

TVSO INTERVIEW: Steve Parker and Jody Wheeler on The Dark Place

Steve Parker and Jody Wheeler crafted a terrific little thriller called The Dark Place  - which you can now find on VOD. The duo are now working on the upcoming horror project WTF!... 
TVSO: How did you both get into producing? Is that a bit of a loaded question? Will we need to stretch that out over 10 questions?
Parker: I produce to get projects to happen.  It’s the best way to get a chance to edit and direct, especially narrative features.
Jody: How does the adage go? If you want something done right you have to do it yourself? Somewhere along the way, I figured out that if I was going to go to all the effort to write stuff, then if I wanted to see it on the screen, I’d have to make the effort to produce it as well. That led me on some great adventures, I learned a lot, figured out the business a bit better, and upped my writing game to better deal with budgets. I ran into Steve on another project, hit it off, and decided to produce together.
TVSO: What came first – the film-making or the producing? Does anyone ever set out to become a producer - - it would seem to be something filmmakers do to remain involved in films without having to wear the filmmaker’s cap?
The Dark Place (2015)
Parker: Film-making came first, for sure.  On my first short was Gregg Araki-style: written/directed/shot/edited by me. Some producers I’ve met are just that—they just want to produce.  However making a film is a huge undertaking, so sometimes producing helps your creative partner focus on directing for example.  All movies are unique.

Jody: I think you produce out of necessity. A long time ago, you could just be a writer and that was enough to get your projects made, be they big projects, medium projects, or really small projects. Writers wrote and producers produced. Now,  all of the competition across so many platforms, and the narrowing of studio opportunities, you can’t just be a writer. You have to produce as well. Plus, it is kind of fun. 

TVSO: Are most of your projects self-financed or are studios backing you?

Parker: We’ve self-financed, or at least raised from angels we’ve located.

Jody: Our two newest films,  one a horror comedy and the other a fantasy adventure series, are both going to have some kind of larger dollar financing be it studio or tax incentives or film funds. These are large dollar projects, so the challenge is getting them funded at that dollar level.

TVSO: What’s the meaning behind your company name?

Still from upcoming WTF!
Parker: Cthulhu Crush Productions--Our love of H.P. Lovecraft, and crushing it!

Jody:  One of Lovecraft’s big contributions to Sci-fi was Mr. Tentacle-Face-Doom-From-The-Deep himself, Cthulhu. When it came time to come up with a name for the company, somewhere in bouncing possible names around, we added something sweet — “crush” — to something crazy — “Cthulhu” — and realized we had a pretty unique name. Sure, no one can spell it or say it, but those are just details.

TVSO: WTF! Sounds intriguing. Is it, as the marketing material suggests, similar in tone to other horror fare like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer?

Parker: Yes, and a bit like Cabin In The Woods, but with the killer amongst them. But who?
Jody: Yes! WTF! is totally in the spirit of those films. Director and co-writer Peter Herro is a big fan of Scream-type films. He came to us with the script ready, the locations set up, and his production team in place.  We decided it was a good film to cut our company’s teeth (sharpen its tentacles?) on while we were setting-up our other projects. Steve was able to arrange the financing and we were off to a cabin in the woods to kill people. Not literally. Or maybe….

TVSO: As producers, were you on the set  a lot?

Parker: I was on set for only a few days, due to my schedule.  I was focusing on the edit, where we got almost to picture lock in 6 weeks.

Still from upcoming film, WTF!
Jody: We kept in mind that you don’t want to be there to the point that  the director thinks you have no confidence in him. Nor do you want to be absent when a first time director could really use your help. This film was a great opportunity to get that balance right. For the most part, I think we did.
TVSO: Is it hard to produce a film that neither of you are directing? Lots of compromises have to be made?
Parker: Actually director Peter Herro was line producing, so our producer duties were primarily fairly high level.

Jody: The goal is to figure out how you can best serve the new production. What can you do as producers to make sure the director achieves his vision within whatever realities they’re forced to work under!

TVSO: What are your hopes for WTF!?
 Parker: Besides riches and fame?!? It’s a chance to do something in the classic horror genre...
Jody:  That the fun, fears, humor, and blood is fantastic enough that they download the movie multiple times for friends, family, and strangers on the street, and that they then come back for the sequel. Sequels. Lots of sequels.

TVSO: Can you tell us what else you have coming up?

Parker: We have a delightful “creature feature” set in Beverly Hills.  What happens when you extend the L.A. subway into Beverly Hills?  The creatures come out from underneath to get you!

Jody: Steve modestly forgets that he also directed  a short film. That movie, entitled Love, Colin, has exited post and will be playing in film festivals this summer.  I’m typically chained to my desk writing. It seems to work best that way.

Friday, April 15, 2016

TVSO INTERVIEW: Miles Doleac from The CW's Containment talks his new movie, The Hollow

Miles Doleac
Veteran actor Miles Doleac (American Horror Story) is currently playing two very different roles – firstly, he’s the writer, director and co-star of a new murder mystery called The Hollow, which will be released later this year; he’ll also be seen as Captain Scott on the new CW series Containment, which kicks off April 19.

TVSO: Firstly Miles...Congrats on The Hollow – we just saw that it was recently picked up for distribution by Uncork’d? Was that something you shot a while ago?

DOLEAC: Thank you. We shot it last summer. I was incredibly fortunate to have a terrific, impassioned group of people working on it, on both sides of the camera.

TVSO: And how long did it take you to write it?

DOLEAC: Three quarters of the script came very fast. Probably in less than month. I had several different ideas about the ending and it took me a while to settle on the right one. I set the script aside for a few months and just let those ideas percolate. When I came back to the script with fresh eyes, not only had the ending become clear, but I was able to add some layers to the characters that I hadn’t thought about before.  When I sat back down to work on it again, I finished it in about a week. It was quite a different process from the script for my first feature, The Historian, where I was noodling away at the thing for a year, tweaking and polishing, in the case of some scenes, right up until the day we shot them. With The Hollow, it was more like jazz. It flew out of me in a couple bursts of inspiration and, when I got up from the computer that second time, it was, more or less, the script we shot.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Audiences’ Opinions of the Mid-Season Finale of “The Walking Dead”

For those of you who haven't seen it as of yet, here’s a warning: this is article contains spoilers regarding The Walking Dead's mid-season finale which aired on AMC last Sunday. Anyway, the episode has been getting much hype online for months now. It would seem that it was leaked out that yet another beloved character was going to meet an unfortunate fate.

So, viewers braced themselves, after all this it wouldn't be the first time this happened on this long running program. Since it began, other characters such as Shane, Laurie, Andrea, and Beth all died and some in shocking ways that left fans reeling. So, why should this one be any different. 

So, many fans tuned in to watch who it would be, after all the notorious villain from the comics the series is based on Negan makes his first appearance. Yes, the survivors had to deal with the diabolical Governor and now this guy isn't it enough they have to always contend with walkers coming after them. Anyway, back to who dies, was it Carol who is highly featured in this episode, was it Morgan who came to Carol's aid, was it Daryl, was it Rick? The answer, brace yourself for this one, no one knows for sure.

That's right, after all the hype, viewers were left with a cliffhanger and were met with an untimely end won't be answered till the show returns in October no doubt during fear fest. Needless to say this didn't go over too well with The Walking Dead Fans. Twitter and Facebook were all ablaze with comments that ranged from calling it a cop out to individuals saying they had it with the program. All the while AMC was no doubt sitting there going right see you in October. 

The thing is, despite the outrage, The Walking Dead completed their task. People are talking about this episode and social media has been all the blaze. So what if some of its negatives are still banter, it seems that it’ll no doubt pay off for the cable network in the end. 

Not the first time and certainly won't be the last time a program has gone this route. Keeping viewers hanging goes all the way back to when someone shot JR Ewing at the end of season 3 and kept viewers talking about it all through the summer. This was back in the 80s before social media or the Internet existed. Just imagine what a fire storm that would have caused. Then of course there were the fire storms caused by Game of Thrones, the Red Wedding, the Purple Wedding and of course their notorious cliffhanger from last year with beloved character Jon Snow lying in the snow dying from a stab wound.
So, The Walking Dead isn't the first ones to take the shocking cliff hanger route and they won't be the last. No doubt viewers will continue talking for months on Facebook and Twitter contemplating who died as they’re right at the moment which again is pretty much what AMC wanted by leaving them hanging this way.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Micah Lyons
Micah Lyons plays one of the titular fiends in the new family comedy How to Beat a Bully.

TVSO: Had you worked with the film-makers before or was it an audition that won them over?

LYONS: No I hadn’t worked with them before. I was pretty nervous about doing the NYC mobster/goon accent and when I walked into the studio to audition, one of the first things that [HTBAB Co-Writer] Marilyn Anderson mentioned was that she was from New York... I knew that I would have to win the role by being the funniest, not by being type-cast. So, just let loose and gave it all I had and luckily, that was just enough! Overall, I had an incredible time working with everyone involved and am really hoping to work with them all again someday very soon!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

How Well Will This Upcoming Season of Game of Thrones Do on HBO?

With Game of Thrones soon returning to TV and HBO GO enabled devices around the globe, several people are holding their breaths and wondering just how the ratings battle will play out this year.

Over the past several seasons we've seen an endless rise in viewers, with the first and last episodes usually topping all episodes in between. Though several benchmark events have already occurred, with many people being turned into fans by book fans who encouraged friends to watch the Red or Purple Wedding, there's plenty left to behold.

A quick glance at several YouTube Season 6 prediction videos tells this author that people are still deeply entrenched in Game of Thrones with it entering this season, with plenty of views on nearly every video on the first few pages. 

The question is, will Game of Thrones continue to be a top runner for HBO? 

Most signs seem to point to yes. The faithful viewers seem to be ever-faithful despite changes within the storylines from the books to the show. With the expansion of HBO GO and other various internet-based viewing products, the Game of Thrones audience has more ways to watch now than ever and HBO is keeping up with those viewers. 

Game of Thrones also demands a prime spot in HBO's Sunday evening line up, a time when most people have sent the kids to bed but aren't quite ready to think about the work week themselves. With the show running at just about an hour in length, this is a nice cool down for both non-parents and parents before bed time for the dreaded Monday morning.

This season the prediction mills seem to be very excited about revisiting Bran Stark and his comrades. We won't spoil anything for those not up to date on the show, but having missed Bran entirely during season 5, fans of the Stark clan look forward to seeing this young wolf back. We may also get a glimpse or two of Rickon along the way. 

Dany's story has taken flight and, without revealing too much, her countless appearances in the released trailers have everyone wondering what the Mother of Dragons will be up to this season. If the hints are correct, we'll be seeing plenty of her and Drogon.

Arya's current storyline seems to be hinted that it will continue to be at the forefront of the tale. Nearly every trailer and teaser released has featured Arya in some way or another and book fans have a good many ideas where she's heading.

Along with other fan favorites such as Tyrion, Jon Snow and Cersei's never ending... Cersei-ness, season 6 of Game of Thrones promises to be a fun ride.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Kim Kardashian replacing Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman?! Say it isn't so!

Kim Kardashian replacing Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman?! Say it isn't so!: Warner Brothers announced this morning that Gal Gadot will not be continuing on in the role of Wonder Woman within the DC Universe.

TVSO PICKS: Top 5 Greatest OJ Simpson Movies

Top 5 OJ Simpson Movies
Have you been watching FX's American Crime Story: The People Vs. OJ Simpson?   It's okay, because we have too, and its probably the best show on television right now.   There's much to mull over regarding the Simpson case looking back at it these 20 years afterward, and while the public might be more interested in the what could've been between Los Angeles Prosecutors Marsha Clark and Chris Darden, what has been touched upon in the series, but hasn't been picked up on by the public watching the show is the purely metaphysical nature of the situation as it relates to Simpson and the dichotomy of racial desire.   What does that mean?    Maybe you should re-watch the show if you don't know.     Simpson, in our eyes, has always been a great actor, and perhaps that's one of the brilliant facets of the case and how he seemingly managed to keep his cool during the trial;  he even went so far as to produce a home video in 1996 which tried to explain why he didn't commit the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.    And to boot, Simpson wrote a book which purportedly suggests the premise:  If I did do it, here's how I would have done it.   Insane.    
Blah, blah, blah....   Here's our favorite OJ Simpson movies (in no particular order):

OJ Simpson Capricorn One
Capricorn One (1977)
And you thought Stanley Kubrick was behind the moon landing?   While the premise that movie director Stanley Kubrick had anything to do with the moon landing in the late 1960s proves that culturally we desire conspiracy, Director Peter Hyams takes the whole idea farther with his 1977 film Capricorn One.    Starring Elliot Gould, James Brolin, Sam Waterston, and The Juice, the four play astronauts who the world believes are being sent on the first manned mission to Mars.   However, when a technical glitch in the ship malfunctions, NASA decides that it would be better if they didn't call the whole thing off, but stage it on a Hollywood-like sound stage.   Stopping people who discover what they're up to, people die in order for this conspiracy to unfold in proper time in front of the American people watching "history" being made from at home, safe, in front of their television sets.   
Detour To Terror

Detour To Terror (1980)
A made-for-television thriller that stars OJ and features a small cameo role from his soon-to-be-wife Nicole Brown, Detour To Terror is a sort of rip-off of Wes Craven's The Hills Have Eyes minus the whole cannibals-eating-and-killing-stranded-tourists thing.       A busload of tourists, headed by Simpson are terrorized on the road by a trio of dune buggy crazies.  What we don't know, until later on in the chase is that their homicidal dune buggy enthusiasts have set their sights on kidnapping one of the people on the bus.    After a chase, all hell breaks loose, and the bus goes off the road.   From there, it's up to OJ to save the day,
Naked Gun OJ Simpson

Naked Gun (1988)
From comedy-spoof masters The Zucker Brothers comes Naked Gun aka The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!   This 1988 box office success stars the ultimately unlikely ensemble players ever assembled: Priscilla Presley, George Kennedy, Leslie Nielsen, and OJ Simpson.    Completely slapstick-y, and loaded with the Zucker Bros. trademark use of visual gags, the film is a spin-off of the Leslie Nielsen comedy television series Police Squad!  Simpson is hilarious as "Nordberg," the slightly, inept police sleuth that for whatever reason is bested every-time he encounters Nielsen's character on screen.    Who knew comedy would be so easy for The Juice?

CIA Code Name: Alexa OJ Simpson
CIA Code Name: Alexa (1992)
Directed by C-movie director Joseph Merhi, CIA Code Name: Alexa is hardly a C-list movie.  However, it was made for the schlocky PM Entertainment, and stars (then) husband-and-wife team Lorenzo Lamas and Kathleen Kinmont as a para-military team that go out against a select gang of terrorists who have aims at getting their hands on some nukes.   OJ co-stars, and The Juice kicks a lot of ass in CIA Code Name: Alexa.    Perhaps, this is the film that OJ was 'training" for when it was reported that he had just underwent special military training in the wake of his arrest following the Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman murders.  Maybe his "training" in CIA Code Name: Alexa helped him kill them both?     Disturbing.
OJ Simpson Firepower

Firepower (1979)
Originally a movie that was intended to featured tough-guy actor Charles Bronson, director Michael Winner (best-known for working with Bronson) casts equally-tough, but more handsome James Coburn in the lead role opposite The Juice.   A joint American-English production, Firepower is about a former mafia hitter (played by Coburn) who is sent to track down and arrest a crazy billionaire who is in love with sex goddess Sophie Loren.    The film was shot all over the world, specifically in places like: Antigua, Saint Lucia, Brooklyn, New York, and Miami, and Key Largo, Florida.  Oh yeah, and Bridgeport, CT. (WTF?)   The Juice is a bad-ass in Firepower, and perhaps his handling of the firepower in this Winner film contributed, years later, to his penchant for death and violence?

Thursday, March 31, 2016

INTERVIEW: New Comedy From Thomas Baldinger Plays On Adult Film Industry

Thomas Baldinger,
TVSO INTERVIEW:  Thomas Baldinger, head of 624 Productions, talks us through his upcoming comedy Who’s Jenna…?

Scripted and directed by the shingle head himself, the film focuses on Jonathan Burke (Bill Sorvino), a successful financial advisor, as he starts dating Jenna Casey (Tracey Birdsall), an accomplished lawyer.  Jonathan's best friend, Andy Roma (Joseph D’Onofrio) is convinced she looks exactly like a famous adult film star.

The official trailer was released last week for the Fall 2016 release.

Friday, March 25, 2016

How Cartoons Have Really Evolved: A Look at the Last 30 Years

It’s amazing how cartoons have really evolved over the last 30 years. We’ve gone from the weekly ritual of Saturday mornings to now being able to watch on-demand, virtually 24-7.

TV cartoons have also evolved for specific audiences, and are no longer just considered ‘kiddie fodder.’ Let’s take a look at how cartoons have really evolved through the past 3 decades:

TV Cartoons in the 80s

You might be too young to remember it, but there was a certain magic in the 80s to watching TV cartoons on Saturday mornings. It was roughly 5 hours straight of TV meant for children, but it was only once a week. A staggering 20 million viewers watched those cartoons.

A lot of the 80s cartoons were tied to toys, like Transformers and Care Bears for younger children, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the ‘tweens. Reagan’s repeal of toy advertising regulations allowed for tons of TV cartoons to be created for products.

At the same time, MTV videos started experimenting with cartoon crossovers for teens and adults. Money for Nothing by Dire Straits, for example, or A-ha’s Take on Me.

It wasn’t until ‘89 though, that a cartoon managed to unite the family as a TV-watching unit. The Simpsons hit the right notes for every age, from child to adult. And 25 years later, they’re still going strong.

TV Cartoons in the 90s

One of the biggest changes the 90s brought to TV cartoons was cable and satellite TV. Children of all ages were now able to watch cartoons daily, without waiting for Saturday. Families, too, were changing. With divorces becoming almost a norm, weekend visits were too important for 5-hour watch-a-thons of cartoons. Video games surged, taking up free time, while the Internet began growing at an astonishing rate.

It started in 1991, with FOX Kids airing TV cartoons 2 hours daily. NBC and CBS had drastically reduced cartoons. Then cable and satellite TVs trifecta (the Disney Channel, the Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon) began airing cartoons and shows geared to children and teens almost non-stop. MTV also drifted away from a purely music video focus and began to add regular shows.

The 90s were good and bad for cartoons. They offered a lot of diversity and creativity in programming, but the overload also led to a large amount of ‘filler’ cartoons and poorer quality (My Little Pony Tales). They also added more ‘realism,’ with fast action, blood-and-guts and adult humor.

Cartoons for children included Pokemon and Rugrats; ‘tweens tastes went from Batman: The Animated Series and The Ren and Stimpy Show to Powerpuff Girls or Daria; and adult cartoons really expanded. The Critic, Family Guy, King of the Hill, South Park and Duckman, to name a few, were all popular.

TV Cartoons 2000s to Now

TV cartoons have- and are undergoing- another evolution in the 00s to now. Cable and Satellite TV are still used, but the Internet has taken over and improved on the cartoons 24-7 model. It’s also decreased the amount of viewers, because the audiences are so spread out.

Being able to stream, download entire series to watch at your convenience and binge-watch has almost brought watching cartoons full-circle from the 80s. It used to be a treat to watch cartoons Saturday mornings; now we can decide when to block a chunk of time to ‘treat’ ourselves.

Many people feel that children’s cartoon programming has been watered and dumbed-down, lacking educational value (Dora the Explorer is cited as an exception).

‘Tweens and what cartoons they watch have evolved differently. They’re much more discerning and individual with their choices, opting for smaller niches and mixing in a large dose of reality shows. Samurai Jack, Kim Possible and Ed, Edd, n Eddy are a few examples.

Teen and adult cartoons have morphed even further, into a cartoon channel of their own: Adult Swim. It offers some touches of nostalgia with Hanna-Barbera relaunches, anime series like Bleach and original series like The Venture Bros.

What's Next for TV Cartoons?

Looking back, it’s interesting how TV cartoons have really evolved over the last 30 years. We’ve gone from one specialized morning to non-stop cartoons, to being able to choose the tone, quality and amount of watching we (or our children) do. Who knows what the new form of cartoon evolution will be?


Top 5 Gross Out Horror Movies of all time
What is it about our obsession with sex and violence?  Certainly, there have been many scholars over the years that have equated the two has being closely linked in terms of our psychological responses and synapses.   But how does extreme blood, gore, and nastiness figure into all that.   Horror movie fans are, perhaps, the most devoted fans in the entire world.  Arguably, they are an even more devoted legion that comic book lovers.   And when it comes to horror movies, you have your fans of slasher flicks (Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street are good examples), then you those specifically devoted to splatter flicks.  The most blood and gore a horror movie has--the better, say some horror nerds.    Which that in mind, we here at TVSO has seen our share of blood and guts horror movies.   And we've assembled here a list of five that we think particularly stand out above the rest.  Certainly, others have come along in recent years that have tried to do things so over-the-top that it almost isn't gross, it's just plain funny.   These represent, what we think, are the best, and the original innovators of the blood and gore horror genre.
Brian Dead 1992
Brain Dead (1992)
Before Peter Jackson lost a ton of weight and spent a decade skipping around in Tolken's shire with his Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, he had actually made a very impressive string of genre-based horror films that were just as raunchy and gross as anything that had come before him.    A perfect example of this:   Braindead aka Dead Alive (Dead Alive was the US title of the film), which featured a Rat-Monkey that is infected with a virus.  It bits someone and turns them into a zombie-like ugly face and that spreads across Jackson's native New Zealand.    It's insane.  A brilliant movie that is sick, trusted, dark, and just plan gross.  Watch for a sequence, in which our hero mows over a gaggle of the brain dead with a lawnmower.   Gross to the max.  

Cannibal Holocaust
Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
An Italian movie with American actors, Cannibal Holocaust might be the grossest horror movie of all time.  The Story:  a film crew heads into the Amazon to film and study primitive tribes.   Then they disappear.   What survives is some film footage of that the missing crew shot.    To investigate a crew goes into the Amazon looking for them, but what they find is only trouble.   The primitive tribe attacks them, one tribesman even bits the penis off of one of the explorers.  A naked woman, is run through a spike, which is then placed in the ground, making her to look as if she was a muddy, naked, dead lollipop on a stick.   The whole thing is disturbing and was banned in a few countries when it was released.   Certainly, the found-footage aspect pre-dates The Blair Witch Project and is a hundred times better than Eli Roth's recent rip-off of the film, The Green Inferno.

The Wizard of Gore (1970)
The Wizard of Gore (1970)
Directed by the "Godfather of Gore,"  H.G. Lewis, a Chicago-turned-Florida independent auteur, Lewis pioneered the gore horror genre in the early 1960s when he created, on his own, a string of extremely over-the-top, gross-out, blood and guts movies about men who set out to down pure harm to small communities.  Shot in Chicago, The Wizard of Gore is about a magician, who in his stage show, hypnotizes volunteers from the audience who be part of his tricks.  But he also hypnotizes his audiences to think that the tricks that they are seeing are false, when in reality, he is actually killing women on the stage with his tricks; he saws a women in half for example, and all of her blood and guts come out of her landing at his feet.   The audience are amazed, but not when people start reporting missing women to the local police.   This one will make you so sick you might have to stop watching it.
Nekromantik (1987)
A highly-disturbing German independent movie made in the mid 1980s by film-maker Jorg Buttgereit, Nekromantik is about a man who brings home dead bodies so that he has his wife (who is alive) can have sex with them.    But, once he gets fired from his job, the wife leaves him so that she can continue on having sex with one of the dead bodies that she has.   What makes Nekromantik so disturbing--well, obviously its the fact that these two people are having sex with the dead, but in addition, it's not really a horror movie, per say.  It's not scary, it has no chills, no jumps or anything of that nature.    The movie plays out as if it were a melodrama or some romantic comedy o something.  It's absurd, and very very disturbing.
Burial Ground (1980)

Burial Ground (1980)
Directed by Italian sleaze-meister Andrea Bianchi, Burial Ground, often times called: Night of Terror or Zombi 3, is pretty much your run-of-the-mill Italian zombie movie.   That means that it has a ton of flesh ripping, arms being bit into, people being stabbed etc etc.    In reality, the gore of Burial Ground isn't much different today than what you'd see on a Sunday night episode of AMC's The Walking Dead.  However, what causes us to list Burial Ground on our list of Top 5 Gross-Out Movies of all Time is the weird, incestuous relationship that two of the characters have in the midst of this house they are staying in being attacked by a plague of zombies.    A mother and son, two close for comfort for any audience watching the film--you get the sense that they are closer than they should be.  The disturbing aspect is that it's not sexual, at least to the mother that is.  She has a husband or boyfriend that is with them.  It's the son, played by Italian actor wunderkind Peter Bark that has googling eyes for his mother.  He's a sort of miniature Peter Lorre, but Italian.    And what's equally creepy about Bark is that he says the most bizarre things ever.  He talks of clothing smelling like death.  He watches his mother and her lover get it on in a bedroom, and in the end, when he's bitten, and about to turn into a zombie himself--his mother, as a means to soothe him, perhaps grant him his dying wish even as adult man who looks like a dwarf--allows him to suckle her breast.    This of course, turns out badly because as he is suckling his mother's breast, he turns into a zombie, and bites her breast off!  No good.  Gross, profane, insane, weird.  A must watch.

Friday, March 18, 2016

TVSO PICKS: Top 5 Movies From South Park's Trey Parker & Matt Stone

Is it just us here at TVSO are the creators of South Park--Trey Parker and Matt Stone--due for another movie?    We haven't had a new South Park movie or other from the minds of the two warped, twisted, geniuses since 2004.   Why not?  Certainly, they earned all kinds of acclaim with their Broadway Book of Mormon in recent years, and while South Park is still drudging along on the air, Parker and Stone haven't brought us anything new for the big screen in over ten years. WTF, guys!?!
Personally, we'd like to see another live action film in the spirit of BASEketball or Orgazmo, but that's just us.   With that in mind here are our favorite Trey Parker and Matt Stone movies, and yes, for once, these are in the order in which we movie them.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

TVSO PICKS: Top 5 Movies About Time Travel You've Never Seen (But Should)

Top 5 Movies about Time Travel
What is it about the premise of time travel that has captivated us for so long?   Certainly, we can look back to the great literature (books, ever read one?) of the 19th century for instances where time travel was used to catapult a narrative along.    There's a literal, physical time traveling that is features in science fiction, and then there's the metaphysical time-traveling--instances were our minds play tricks on us, or we are transported to another era through the power of our human minds.   Hollywood has never been shy about making time travel movies.  They've made science fiction films as early as the 1950s (maybe earlier, even) that transferred the science drama of HG Wells' The Time Machine--the book--into a successful movie starring Rod Taylor in the 1960s.    They have been time traveling television series, time traveling romantic movies, actioners, horror flicks, even time travel comedies--Hot Tub Time Machine, anyone?

So of the best remembered time travel movies would find a list that would include:  The Terminator, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Back To the Future, Interstellar, Groundhog Day, Planet of the Apes, the Austin Powers movies. There are also cult gems--movies that feature a revisionist take on time travel like The Butterfly Effect, Safety Not Guaranteed, Timecrimes or Donnie Darko, for example.    Even movies that ask us, the audience, to interpret the time traveling presented as being in the mind of the hero of the movie, like Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys.   There have also been lousy time travel movies like Jean Claude Van Damme's Time Cop for example (but let's not talk about that one.)

How A Lot of Us Can Relate To 'The Office'

There are many ways that people who work the “typical” 9 to 5 job can probably relate to the show, 'The Office' in many ways. From the relationship to your not-so-stable boss, to office rivalries to office romance, all of these things can happen in any office or business. Our lives around work produce many meaningful and funny story-lines and watching this show always brought them to the surface. The show was great because each of the characters presented something a viewer could relate to.

A Boss Who's Out of Touch
One of the best parts of the show is the behavior and antics of Michael Scott, the boss at the office. From holding meetings with no real purpose, to providing information that nobody really needs to know, Michael was the nucleus on which the show was built. He's relatable because everyone thinks their boss is a bit on the crazy side. From his infatuation with Ryan through his relationship with Jan, to his bankruptcy, Michael Scott keeps you laughing. It's partly the catchy dialogue but also it's the fact that we've been in uncomfortable work based gatherings, for training or for fun. A boss like Michael who acts alternately like a 10 yr old kid and someone without a clue brings a ton of situations we can relate to. We just wish we didn’t have to.

Annoying Coworkers 
Whenever there are people with different perspectives on life working together, there's a chance for someone to be annoying. You may not work with someone like Dwight Shrute but his antics probably remind you of what some of your coworkers can do. Jim Halpert was a likeable character because he was fighting the fight we all wish that we could. Many of us would like to pull pranks on our own Dwights. It'd be fun to send him messages from the future, wrap his desk in wrapping paper or just come to work dressed up like him. Dwight is the annoying, rule minding, suck up that we all have dealt with and with each prank against him, and we're all able to take pleasure in the payback for time wasted in our own work life. Jim provides the likeable jokester part of the equation that we all would like to be.

Dealing with Corporate Foolishness
Anyone who has ever worked for a large company understands the problems faced by all of the employees of Dunder Mifflin Paper. As the rules get sent down from the higher levels of management, the working class people have to implement them and make them work in real life. Sometimes it seems like things are going just fine and then a decree from one of the higher-ups comes to change everything. These changes seem to have very little to do with the reality of performing your job. So when Michael has to deal with the new policies that the New York Office sends, it's relatable. We'd all like to just ignore them and throw them away like Michael Scott but in the real world you've to follow the policy. No matter who you are, you can relate to having to deal with short sighted, difficult policy changes that're done for no good reason.

The Office supplied everyone who has ever worked in that type of situation a relatable visual experience. It provided a great escape from the mundane daily existence that work can be. Some of it might have been a bit unrealistic but in a world where things are constantly changing it was nice to be able to watch a group of people you care about deal with situations that you can relate to. Where we work's a huge part of our lives and the people we work with, good and bad are a part of it. That's why watching the office connects with so many people because it represents the modern version of the American Dream.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Top 3 TV Shows You Should Watch On St. Patty's Day

The luck of the Irish is around us. It's that time again to wear your green and raise a glass to the lads and lasses of the Irish land. However, while some of you will be hitting the bars, there are some of you who might like to celebrate the Irish day the Irish way from the comforts of your own home. So, kick back and relax as we share with you our quick Top 3 TV shows we think you should watch on St. Patty's Day!

St. Patty’s Day TV Show to Watch #3: Cheers
Like the theme song says, where everybody knows your name, you’ll have tons of laughs at this bar as everyone screams Norm as Norm walks in. They know how to treat their patrons with the old Irish manor and there's always plenty of beer to go around. That's the biggest thing you would expect of any pub at any time of year, but especially on St. Patty's Day. We feel you can't go wrong with this show.

St. Patty’s Day TV Show to Watch #2: Sons of Anarchy
You can always relax while watching Sons of Anarchy. Now, maybe laughter isn't your thing. If you’re a true Irishman, you’ll be ready to put up your dukes and lose your cool every now and then. You’ll get tons of that when you watch Sons of Anarchy, too. These guys like to stick to their crew and you better not mess with any of them or they will mess with you. So get ready to watch some bad-ass skills this St. Patrick's Day when you watch this show. Beware though, once you start watching it, it’ll be hard to turn it off. It’s gonna be a marathon, and you really won't want to watch it any other way....well, maybe with some green beer and some Irish food.

St. Patty’s Day TV Show to Watch #1: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

The last show we’d suggest you watch on the tube if you’re looking for a good St. Patrick's Day show would be Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia. We know what you're thinking. What does Philly have to do with the Irish? It has plenty to do with the Irish. Just like the Irish, these characters had to go through plenty to get their day of fame. Together they run a pub which come on, this just screams Irish. Together they serve patrons who view this bar as family much like the Irish are known to do. And don’t forgot the comedy mischief these characters get into as well. Seriously, what can be more Irish than this show?

It's time to spend some time with the lads and lasses you love most on television. Wear your green and talk like the Irish as you watch these Irish favorites. They will have you on the edge of your seat and leave you feeling like the luck was with you this Saint Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 11, 2016

TVSO PICKS: Top 5 Sketch Comedy TV Shows You've Never Seen (But Should)

Top 5 Sketch Comedy Shows You've Never Seen
When everyone thinks of sketch comedy today the first thing that instantly comes to mind is the television show Saturday Night Live.   That, firstly, and then for a few, a minor few, Fox's long-running MadTV.    But what people fail to consider or seemingly always forgot, at least, those who great up in the early 1980s, even the mid/late 70s was that sketch comedy was even bigger on television in those days than it is today.    While some of these shows can come to DVD in recent years, others haven't--which is sad because it deprives fans of sketch comedy from experiencing the full scope of the televised sketch show zeitgeist as they should be able to.     What follows is our list of favorite 5 sketch comedy shows that you probably haven't seen (but should):

Carol Burnett Show
Carol Burnett Show (1967-1978)
Perhaps the best sketch show in the history of television, and likely the main influence that inspired everything that came after it, The Carol Burnett Show (named as comedy great Carol Burnett, the show featured players Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, and Vicky Lawrence), after Saturday Night Live is the longest running sketch show in the history of television.  First hitting the air on CBS in 1967 running up until 1978, the Burnett Show earned several Emmy Awards and created the spin-off character for another long-running sitcom, Mama's Family, Mama.    Vicky Lawrence got her start on the Burnett Show right out of high school after writing Burnett a letter encouraging her to come and see her in a high school play.    What made the Burnett Show was that it didn't delve into contemporary political satire, but wished to stay within the parody of popular culture.    It never tried to be timely, political or a commentary, it was, in the purest sense, set to entertain only.  And it did, which is why TV Guide ranked it No. 17 on their list of the 60 Greatest TV Shows of All Time in 2013.

MTV The State
The State (1993-1995)
Running for what equated to just a mere year and a half on MTV in the middle of the grunge-alternative 1990s, The State featured a group of NYC improv actors who created surreal, yet edgy sketch comedy for the times that featured situations, culturally, of MTV's audience.   Well-known actors like Tom Lennon, Michael Ian Black, Ben Garrett, and Ken Marino all got their start in The State initially.

Fridays ABC Andy Kaufman
Fridays (1980-1982)
Put on the air to compete with the mega success that Saturday Night Live was enjoying since the mid/late 70s, Fridays was a shot in opposite of SNL, in that, while Saturday Night Live was shot in New York City, Fridays was a show that was shot on the West Coast in Los Angeles, CA.   Fridays had to work very hard to compete with SNL, and in the end, while they lost to Lorne Michael's brand, historically they attempted to be more edgy that SNL.  They did this by staging audience tricks courtesy of Andy Kaufman and edgy musical acts as special acts like: Devo, Kiss, and The Plasmatics.   Seinfeld's Michael Richards and Larry David were weekly cast members on the show on ABC. 

Julie Brown The Edge FOX Network
The Edge (1992-1993)
Running for a mere 6 months on the Fox Network, The Edge, while very funny and very "Los Angeles" had stiff competition with audiences already in love with Saturday Night Live (which was enjoying a resurgence with the success of Wayne's World at the box office), and those teens who were too hip for Saturday Night Live--who watched The State on MTV.   Running off the success that comic and actress Julie Brown had had previously with her series on MTV "Just Say Julie,"  Fox gave Brown and a collection of actors a sketch series.  Brown's collective featured: Seinfeld's Wayne Knight, Jennifer Aniston, and the voice of Spongebob Sqaurepants: Tom Kenny.

SCTV John Candy
SCTV (1976-1984)
Canada's version of Saturday Night Live, SCTV ran for 6 years on a hodge-podge of networks such as:  CNBC, NBC, and Cinemax.     While SCTV was a sketch series that featured some comedy legends: John Candy, Eugene Levy, Dan Thomas, Rick Moranis, Martin Short and several others, the show had a artsy premise which saw SCTV (Second City TV) located in the town of Melonville--ambiguously-suggested to be in the United States.    The show would air, as if you were watching a series of television network interruptions during a broadcast cast.  The satire was brilliant and the show was tackle parodies on sitcoms, movies, talk shows, commercials.   Perhaps, the best known sketch from SCTV was that of Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis as "Bob & Doug Mackenzie," two hoser-Canadian beer drinking hockey lovers that still lived with their parents.   A movie would be made about the Mackenzie brothers called Strange Brew.  

Thursday, March 10, 2016

TVSO PICKS: Top 5 Saturday Night Live Movie Spin-Offs

Top 5 Saturday Night Live Movies
The majority of SNL spin-off movies have been hit-or-miss in the wake of the release of Wayne's World.   Heck, Wayne's World 2 wasn't that great, and certainly others in the SNL movie cannon like Superstar, MacGruber, and The Ladies Man left a lot to be desired by the audiences who may have actually ventured out to see any of those when they were released into theaters.  The SNL movies thread that fine line which begs the question:  does these characters, crafted for a 3-5 minute sketch translate well-enough to the big screen?   We suggest that yes, they do, but in most cases specifically when it comes to the titles mentioned above--these suffered, not from poor characterizations, but from poor story lines in the end.    Which is why we've decided to list our favorite Saturday Night Live Spin-Off movies, because what these represent are the best of the best, the creme of the attempts to translate characters from the 5 minute late-night sketch onto the big screen for the duration of 90 minutes.   
Here are our favorite SNL spin-off movies (in no particular order):

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Deeper Meanings Behind Dr. Seuss' Works

Dr. Seuss has been a household name for decades. Dr. Seuss has created quite a large collection of children’s books. Many of these books are quite entertaining and they hold a much deeper meaning that most people are aware. 

Seuss Geisel is the creator of Dr. Seuss. In addition, Geisel did most of his own illustrations for his many books and publications. One of the most popular and most celebrated works of Dr. Seuss is the book “Green Eggs and Ham”. This publication has been a favorite of children for many years. 

What many people do not know is that Geisel wrote many of these books based on his experiences as a child as well as his later years. Seuss Geisel lived through wars, the great depression and other historical events. 

Geisel wrote many of these books to reflect the imagination of the child. Most children think of kind thoughts, happy times, and exciting events. Geisel in a way was seeking a form of escape from the unrest and difficulties that many faced during time of war and unrest. 

All of Dr. Seuss publications have a happy and pleasant ending. This is why most children enjoy reading Dr. Seuss. Life would be a much happier place if everything ended happily. These publications can make it seem as if all problems of every day are virtually non-existent. 

Nearly all of Geisel’s books reflect his days growing up and living in Springfield Mass. For example, “Mirror in Watercourses” makes reference to Springfield Park. Springfield Park is a place that Geisel frequented during his youth. This seemed to provide a perfect setting for much of his later work. 

“To Think I saw it on Mulberry Street” was one of Seuss more popular publications. This publication is filled with imagery from Springfield. A great deal of Geisel’s publications were inspired by his early life as well as his many experiences which shaped his life.

One of Geisel famous sayings was “there are places to go” “there are points to be scored”. Many of these sayings in addition to his books gave great inspiration to countless people. The publications not only added humor to a situation but it also helped children and adults to not take life so seriously. 

Generally, there are much deeper meanings behind the works of Geisel. He was able to take all his knowledge and experiences into account while creating some of his best works. It’s impossible to ever forget Dr. Seuss and his wonderful contributions.

Friday, March 4, 2016

TVSO PICKS: Best Movies About Golf

Top 5 Golf Movies
It used to be a game for gentleman, but at some point, it turned into an outing for guys to get together, get drunk, and storm across the field in a golf cart.   We all love golf, perhaps, we all don't enjoy watching it on television as much as we do physically playing it--there's something completely peaceful about it at the end of the day.    It's a test of man's will and concentration, out there, starring down an goal with obstacles in his way.   Golf is a metaphor for life. 
Since we love golf as much as the next person we thought we'd put together a list of our favorite golf movies (in no particular order):

Thursday, March 3, 2016

TVSO Picks: Top 5 Hockey Movies Of All-Time

Top 5 Hockey Movies
For years in the United States Hockey was a dirty word.   If you were in the know and proudly exclaimed your admiration for the sport back in the 80s, you were either made fun of or just outright ignored.   Certainly, Hockey is violent enough to be more popular than football, but what's more American than Football?  Nothing.   Maybe, baseball, but we American's love our violence, and there ain't much of that on the diamond across nine innings.   There isn't another sport that exists that you can see one man crash another man into a giant glass wall while the both of them are skating around on little, thin, steel blades.    Where else, but hockey, can you see a little, black, puck flying in the air at a zillion miles an hour, and a guy that is left to defend a net that looks like he's a stunt double for movie monster slasher Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th movies?   Only in hockey.

And as we're die-hard hockey fans here at TVSO we thought we'd list our Top 5 Favorite Hockey Movies (in no particular order):

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Athletes Appearing on TV Shows

Athletes are human just as us, but people love them. They’ve a huge fan base. However have you ever wondered about what they do when their season is over? Many of you know they make great money, but did you know there are more things they do besides just playing the game?

One of the common things many are finding are athletes appearing on TV shows. There has been a huge increase of this happening and the trends are changing. What used to be athletes appearing on sports news shows and reality television programs is not so much the case any longer. That's not to say they aren't still appearing on these reality television shows and talk shows, but more so, they are appearing in sitcoms and nightly drama series such as Law and Order SVU.

Some of you might wonder why this is. There are many reasons to have them air on such shows. One of the main things is that it boosts ratings. Think about if you saw your favorite athlete on a show that you watch or even don't watch? Would you tune in? Of course you would. 

Another thing that it does is that it helps them find people they don't need stunt doubles for and such. Many of the players who appear on such television shows are appearing as the athlete they are. They might have a different name in the script, but a basketball player would still play a basketball player. 

It's really a win-win situation. The player gets paid to appear which helps them to bring in money during the off season. It also allows fans a chance to see their favorite sports players during the off season which allows the athlete to keep their fan base. This looks good on resumes as athletes know they can't play the sport forever. 

Yet, they’re still making their faces known on the reality television shows talking about who they’re and their skill with the game of choice. Many are making their air time a bit more useful than just talking about themselves though. Another trend we have seen with these athletes in the spotlight is how they use this time to talk about charities they have either started or are an active part of. This allows them to bring awareness all across the United States. The thought is that we’ll be seeing more athletes on television in more roles than what we're accustomed to.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Is it Time to Bring Back 'Saved by the Bell'?

With the debut of "Fuller House" on Netflix, 90s nostalgia is in full swing. The next candidate for a series revival could easily be the classic sitcom "Savedby the Bell," which ran from 1989-1993, spawned two spin-off series and two TV movies. There's no doubt that audiences love Zack, Kelly, Screech, Lisa, Slater, Jesse, and all their misadventures at Bayside High. But what would it take to update this series to the modern day? NBC would have a lot of variables to consider.

A New Format?
"Saved by the Bell," "Saved by the Bell: The New Class," and "Saved by the Bell: The College Years" were all 30-minute sitcoms. It makes sense to imagine that a new "Saved by the Bell" show would follow this same format. But does it have to? In their college years and in the TV movies, "Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style" and "Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas," Zack and the gang began to tackle serious issues. If the show revisited these characters in their adult years, it might be suited to an hour-long drama instead. Supposedly, the original actors in the series always had a strong interest in more adult themes. This new format could entice them to return. 

Making a New Class
NBC attempted to recreate the original Bayside gang with "Saved by the Bell: The New Class," and that show was largely unsuccessful. If the network decided to make a new "Saved by the Bell" with new young stars, they would have to make sure they landed the right types of characters. There's the Zack-style lead - the charismatic troublemaker who is likable despite his unwise decisions. There's Kelly, the popular and genuinely kind girl, Slater, the jock with a heart of gold, Jesse, the lovable and brainy feminist, Lisa, the fun shopaholic, and Screech, the comic relief nerd. These characters have become tropes in many shows and movies, and NBC would need a new variation. Why not make Zack a girl? Why not make the Lisa of the group a young gay man? The characters, as well as the issues, should be updated for a new generation.

Deciding the Plot
So what would the issues be, exactly? High school has changed a lot since the days of gigantic cell phones and VHS in the classroom. A new "Saved by the Bell" would be handling the digital world, where teenagers often define themselves by the number of likes on a photo or by who responds to their Facebook post. This generation is also more socially and culturally progressive than the old days. Jesse's feminist views used to seem extreme, but now they are the norm. Schools are less homogeneous and life isn't as simple, and a new show would have to reflect young people in a changing world. But that could be good. Just as with "Fuller House," audiences are ripe for old-fashioned, heartfelt entertainment. If NBC can successfully update the types of shows that people feel nostalgic for, they're guaranteed success.

NBC struck a goldmine in 1987 when they produced a light-hearted teen sitcom that spoke to a generation. Today, "Saved by the Bell" remains an iconic show in television history. If the network brought back Bayside High, they would have to consider how to format the show, whether to ask back the original actors or rely solely on a crop of new ones, and how to make the spirit of the show translate to the modern world. But in an age where everything old is new again, it could be worth it to explore the world that Zack and the gang brought to life.