Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Greatest Jack Black Movie You've Never Seen (But Should)

Jack Black Airbourne (1993)
While Jack Black might be best known today for his roles in movies like Shallow Hal, Kung Fu Panda, School of Rock, Bernie and Nacho Libre, what most don't know or have forgotten about Black is that he came up threw the Hollywood ranks as a character actor before beginning the box office superstar that he is today.       As a character actor, Black has had memorable roles in both big-budget Hollywood movies as well as in low-budget indie films throughout the 1990s.  

Additionally, Black used to be a writer and at-times player on the influential HBO sketch comedy series Mr. Show.

Black has had stand-out roles as a character actor in such films as Bob Roberts, Waterworld, The Cable Guy, Dead Man Walking and High Fidelity

But there is one film that Black has appeared in that most haven't seen to date.   In Airbourne (1993), Black plays a flunky hockey player tough guy who, along with a few of his jock friends, begin to bully a new kid who moves into town from California.     Set in Cincinnati, beach teen Mitchell Goosen moves to the Midwest from California to be with his extended family while his parents are off working in another country, and in the process he stirs the pot.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Learning The Dating Game By Watching Television

There are definitely a few tips we could all learn about dating from our favorite TV characters. From heightened sexual tension that never culminates until Season 6 and so on to finding true love from a one night stand, here are some tips on dating from the best in television. 

Be Open-Minded
Sometimes the best relationships can be found with the most unlikely of people. Take Penny and Leonard Hofstadter from TheBig Bang Theory or Cece and Schmidt from New Girl. Maybe your "type" isn't the best match for you after all. Have an open mind and date people that’re different from the type of person you always go for. You may be surprised and find what you were looking for all along.

Get to Know Your Deal Breakers
Are they a low-talker or a close-talker? We all know what type of partner we aspire to have, according to Seinfeld, but those relationships don't always necessarily work out the way we want them to. Why? Nobody’s perfect. Everyone's quirks begin to shine through sooner or later. Know what qualities makes a person sponge-worthy to you. 

Have Confidence 
Whether you're a more of a Don Draper or Andy Dwyer type, confidence is the key to success. Own who you are and what you’ve to offer as a partner because that’s a big turn on and can turn any first date into a second one.

Try, Try, and Try Again
In the end, all of us might as well be Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother, with a blue French horn in front of Robin Scherbatsky's door. Playing the dating game means always being up for new experiences and meeting new people. Some dates go well and some don't. Patience and the belief that you’re deserving of love is key. Sometimes you've already met the one you're truly meant to be with and the timing just wasn't right.

If there's anything that TV shows have taught us, it's that we're all deserving of love. Whether your love life is on again / off again relationship like Rachel and Ross from Friends, or in a perpetual state of single-hood like Samantha Jones from Sex and the City, the journey to finding love alongside family and friends is one of the best journeys that life has to offer. Enjoy it and hold on tight for the ride.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Top 5 Stand Alone, Monster-of-the-Week Episodes of The X-Files

Top 5 X-Files monster-of-the-week episodes

With The X-Files returning to television this Sunday on Fox at 10pm EST / 7pm CST we thought that we'd look at a few of our favorite episodes of the show this week in preparation for the show's amazing return to the airwaves (although only for 6 episodes, bummer), and while a couple days ago we covered (what we thought were) the best episodes to crash course oneself regarding the mythology of the show, today we're looking at five of our favorite episodes from the series that served as pulp fiction, standalone novellas that featured, not so much a story line that advances the shows overall mythos, but really served as fun, creepy existential forays into the heart of monstrosity and mystery.   While these types of episodes, certainly, were perhaps the main inspiration for show creator Chris Carter (he has indicted the 70s show Kolchak: The Night Stalker was a major influence),  these episodes feature some sort of natural or supernatural monster being behind a series of grizzly murders wherever Mulder and Scully find themselves investigating.    While these monsters, certainly, in the first season of the series were often times doofy, and even worse, blatant rip-offs of classic genre movies of earlier days, these episodes have become the fan favorites and perhaps equal in segmenting a certain populous when it comes to the show's fan base then, and especially today.

What follows are our favorite X-Files monsters or our favorite X-Files stand alone monster-of-the-week episodes from the series (in no particular order):

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Countdown To The Return of The X-Files: Top 5 Best X-Files Mythology Episodes

Best X-Files episodes for show mythology
With the return of The X-Files, albeit, a 6-episode teaser set to air this Sunday, January 24th at 10pm EST / 7pm CST, we thought that we'd do our TVSO readers a solid and post what we feel are the best 5 episodes of The X-Files from the first turn of the series.   Now, if you haven't watched an episode of The X-Files, or either of the two feature movies that have come out since the series went off the air, not to worry--as there are two things that you need to know.  1.)    There is a bigger picture story that runs through the entire Fox Television TV series of the 90s.   Well okay, actually there are two bigger stories that run through the series.  The first:  FBI Agent Fox Mulder, who is played by actor David Duchovny is on the search for his missing sister "Samantha."   She was possibly abducted by aliens or by the government in a conspiracy against the people of the United States to cover up the existence that aliens are out there.   2.)  There is the total conspiracy that involves "The Cigarette-Smoking Man" as well as "X," the latter played by well-known character actor Steven Williams.  The Cigarette-Smoking Man plays for both sides, firstly though, he tries however he might to turn agents Mulder and Scully off the trail of exposing to the world that aliens do exist, and then at times of weakness, he helps them when they are in dire need as well.   X, played by actor Williams, is a tipster who secretly gets clues to Mulder regarding the overall narrative of the series spread across later seasons of the show.  

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Playing a Younger Role On TV

It’s said that age is just a number. Nowhere is this truer than in show business. Actors and actresses are consistently sliding into roles that’re younger or older than them. In fact, one would say that the hallmark of a great artist is their ability to play correctly, out of an allowed age range. For example, TV shows with teenage-drama themes seem to have the most time-bending cast members. From Pretty Little Liars to Glee, these stars are doing a stellar job at looking younger than they are. But how do they manage to pull it off without making a fool of themselves?

First, they have to work backwards. They must sermon all their memories to a time when they were the age that they were playing. This may well be easier for a twenty-something playing a teenager than for a forty-year-old playing a fifteen-year-old. Thus, it’s important to do a little research. They can begin by studying those in the age group that they’re portraying. Take note of their mannerisms, physicality, and movement; basically, anything that’ll help bring the character out better. Trying to incorporate what one has gleaned from research in their acting might just make all the difference and may even help one get into the mindset of the character faster.

Second, adding a little bit more energy to the character would make it more believable. With age, comes a slowing of gait, a jaded spirit, and loss of that sense of wonder typical of youth. Hence, it’s important to infuse energy back. For instance, a sixty-two-year-old playing a twenty-two-year-old will have to muster all their energy. That glint in the eye must show through.

Another important aspect of playing a younger role is the make-up and costumes. It’s important for an actor or actress to remember that when they’re time-bending, age comes from the outside. Finding out about the character’s style and embracing it for a while may help one to get into it faster. Usually, the make-up and costumes are done by a team employed to do that. However, there’s no reason for one not to try getting into character at home by wearing clothes and make-up styles designed for the age which they’re playing while they’re rehearsing their lines. It’ll make all the difference.

Playing a younger role isn’t easy to pull off. However, paying attention to minor details like mannerisms, physicality, energy and style of the youth could make it a walk in the park because when you’re bending time; it’s the tiny details that matter.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

R.I.P Actor Alan Rickman: TVSO's Top 5 Favorite Alan Rickman Movies

Top 5 Alan Rickman movies

The world was shocked today to find out that the great character actor Alan Rickman had passed away from cancer.    Rickman, perhaps, best known for his character-portrayal as "Professor Snape" from the J.K Rowling's Harry Potter franchise, had 40 years experience as an actor, and his work in films made in the United States as well as those made across the pond in Great Britain will continue to introduce this greatly under-rated actor to generations that follow.

And yet, Rickman was so much more than Snape from Potter.  He had made his career playing a variety of characters, he wasn't type-cast ever, and his range included playing villains to angels and ghosts. Rickman was born in 1946, and early on in his days as an apprentice actor he became a member of the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company. Rickman even went on to win a Tony Award in 1985.  As well as a Golden Globe Award, an Emmy, and SAG award for his performance as the Russian mad monk who could not be killed, "Rasputin."

Rickman passed away today at the age of 69.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

On Screen: Both Sides of a Conversation

Eddie Murphy in the Nutty Professor, Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future 2, Mike Myers in Austin Powers. These are some of the most notable performances of actors playing 2 or more roles in a movie. Should the actors take the credit for their repeated and consistent portrayals of multiple characters or should the editors and visual effects team claim the accolades for their tireless efforts?

The actor's ability to portray a multitude of characters not only displays their skill, but showcases their total understanding of how scenes are developed and finished in post-production. In many cases, the actor will be the only person in front of the camera speaking to an empty marker. To keep an image of a living, breathing, communicating being were one doesn't appear may look like an asylum patient rambling to themselves. Thinking of the way you would speak to another and notice as they shift from side to side while they react to the words you are speaking. The difficulty is not imagining a human form sitting across from the actor, rather the treatment of the form as a dynamic object presents some acting skill. While this is the simplest method of 'cloning', this requires double the amount of filming time as well as time consuming post production cut sequences not to mention the abilities of the actor.

The responsibilities of making the actors efforts appear as seamless and natural as possible lays solely with the editors. Lower budget shows may not rely on CGI technology to create a new character or clean up live action mistakes. All the work that is done in front of the camera must be layered and finished to the point where it is believable that the actor is speaking with their double. Other methods exist where the actor will play their part with a stand in wearing a green mask. The beauty in the technology to allow film makers to superimpose another actor's face onto a blank canvas has reduced on-site production time and also assisting the actors responses to real time actions, this method can be compared more closely with animation than acting. However, without their timing and technical skill the acting will have been in vain and the scene would be awful.

There’s no question that TV shows and movies with actors copy and pasted in the same scene contributes to the mood of the piece. It can add a layer of humor or strictly focus on inner turmoil depending on the scene. I believe that shows, such as Orphan Black, rely on teamwork between production staff and actors to complete the final piece. So too, should credit be shared between the contributors.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Our Top 5 Favorite Robin Williams Movies

Top 5 Robin Williams movies

When Robin Williams passed away in 2014, the world was dealt a huge loss to its comedy ranks.   Williams was a comic genius, and for him to pass away, especially at this own had, shattered many's notion of the clown and his duties to entertain.   Williams was like a whirlwind of energy that twisted through the zeitgeist leaving everything in its wake in rubble.  He was hilarious, fast, one the edge of collapse, and crazy.   With that said, there was also a hint of sadness in his personality at times, a sadness that fans of his work could see in his more serious and dramatic works.    Most may remember Williams from Good Will Hunting, especially, the moving scene in which Williams, along with Matt Damon, sit on a park bench together taking about the loss of wife.    Williams had the ability to not only entertain, make people laugh, but also to move those to tears.    Such is the essence of the actor, in particular, in the acting genius.   

What follows are our favorite Robin Williams performances.  Serious or dramatic, even funny; all of them wee distinctly Robin Williams at his very best.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Addicted to Soap Operas?

Have you ever wondered why you can’t let yourself miss the latest episode of your favorite soap opera? Fear not, you‘re not alone! These shows are just so captivating! Every day soap operas capture the hearts of viewers all around the world. The characters are just like you, the plot is incredibly plausible, and the drama will keep you at the edge of your seat. Soap operas are the best!

The characters in any soap opera are often characters that you can identify with. These people are businessmen, wives, sons, daughters, employees, and everyday people just like you are. This makes it easy to take out your favorite character and fantasize that you have replaced them. Maybe you are a new business owner wondering what it would be like to have a relationship with the girl of your dreams. Maybe you have two kids that you have never seen. Maybe you just want to be someone that you’re not. Any of these characters could be you!

Audiences love soaps because they are so full of drama. The main character is having an affair and finds out about some third party with children that they’ve never met. Maybe the wife in the soap opera is creating some new identity or completing some dirty task in secret. Even though these soap operas are realistic, there are always twists and turn that draw viewers in. Soap operas are never boring because they’re so full of drama!

Most soap operas seem to end with “to be continued…” or “next time on….”. With endings like this, it’s hard not to pull your hair out wondering what will happen next! These endings will draw you in and ensure that you will be viewing the next episode of your favorite soap. The drama is simply never ending!

The people in soap operas have realistic jobs, realistic families, and realistic work environments. It’s entirely possible to put yourself in place of the guy that works for the law firm in your favorite soap opera. There are no fairies, unicorns, or gremlins jumping out at you to make you believe that the soap opera is anything less than what could happen in real life.

So really, watching a soap opera is like watching yourself on the television screen. These soap operas are so catchy because they’re so realistic! Mystery solved!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Top 5 Worst Adam Sandler Movies

Top 5 Worst Adam Sandler movies
Do you remember when Adam Sandler was the funniest guy in movies?     Back in the day, you'd go to school on Monday and chat with your friends about what he did on Saturday Night Live that week, and eventually that led into quoting the funniest bits from his early movies like Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore.    And while those movies are still very funny, the movies that he's made in the last 6-7 years haven't been.  Why is that?  Is that because we as a culture have outgrown his brand of gibberish?    Are the times changing, resulting in a sway away from Sandler's brand of comedy?       

This has happened one or twice before in the history of the movies?  One only need recall the box office success of late 1950s and early 1960s comedy film-maker Jerry Lewis, who in the early 60s was the highest-paid actor/comedian working with any major Hollywood studio.   And then that went away.   Whereas Jerry Lewis had been a big box office draw in the age of innocence, the pre-Kennedy assassination era, that disappeared following the death of President John F. Kennedy and America's entrance into Vietnam.    Whereas just a couple years prior, Lewis had been funny, to the Vietnam-war era flower children he suddenly became unfunny and even worse, un-hip.

Is that was has happened to Adam Sandler?  Have the times changes so radically that his brand of comedy is no longer funny to us?   Certainly, comparing Adam Sandler to Jerry Lewis, in its own, funny way would be like comparing apples to oranges, but if the times have, in fact, truly changed, what has changed about them so much that Sandler is no longer funny to us?

Certainly, the 2010's are as turbulent as the 1960s in terms of politics and war, but culturally, not.    And with Sandler latest film Pixels having recently crashed on home video DVD and Blu-Ray, where will he go next or what will he do?   Sandler, has dared dramatic turns in recent years which have resulted in indifference from critics and hot and cold feelings via his fan base.  Anyone remember Punch Drunk Love or Spanglish?       Even Reign on Me was a big dramatic turn for him.     All of these are great films, and Sandler delivers impressive performances in all of these films, but you have to ask yourself, exactly why he did these roles in the first place?    Did he have a desire to stretch his acting wings or was it a case of the directors of those movies thinking that they could cast him in their lead roles in the hopes that their films/stories might be seen by Sandler's mixed, and wide audience?

And what of the last 10 films that Sandler has churned out?    They seem to be getting worse and worse with every passing release, as if, he's almost doing it on purpose!   What follows is our list of the worst Adam Sandler movies ever made.

In no particular order:

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year's Day Football? Our Top 5 Football Movies

best college football movies, top 5 football movies
If New Year's Day has any meaning whatsoever past the notion that our lives, in a funny way, re-set to prepare for the next year, it means football.   Not only are we as football fans treated to numerous college bowl games during this week, but also we are additionally treated to a slew of football-centered movies on cable television.

With that in mind, we thought that we'd list our favorite Top 5 football moves (in no particular order):