Saturday, February 27, 2010

Super Bowl's over and Spring's almost here so it's time for XFL Football!



I wish. That's right, I said it. I was one of the many fans of the XFL but one of the very few who will actually admit that fact to this very day. The league only lasted for one season and then had the carpet ripped out from under its feet as it was gearing up for a second season.

Back in 2000, WWE (WWF at the time) owner Vince McMahon announced he was going to launch his own football league called the XFL (the X really didn't stand for anything). WWF was red hot back at the time, so being the innovator he is, McMahon attempted to bring a new brand of football to the public. He promoted it as a "non-competitor" to the NFL and a spring league. NBC, UPN and TNN (now SPIKE) signed on to cover the live games and give their full support of the league.


The XFL already had two strikes against it going in. One simple fact was EVERYONE in the sports media wanted it to fail. The sports media gave it negative coverage because it was headed by McMahon and you know how the sports industry loves to diss professional wrestling anytime it gets a chance. Jokes were made that
defensive linemen were going to hit QBs over the head with chairs - an obvious nod to wrestling. McMahon didn't help his cause when he firing back by calling the NFL the "No Fun League" and stating that "our QB don't wear panties". It was typical McMahon arrogant hype-talk, but he really just wanted to bring a new brand of football with some innovative ideas. No matter how innovative, the naysayers trashed his concepts before given a chance (more on that later).

Some innovation the XFL brought to the table:


- No coin toss to determine if a team kicked off or received. The ball was placed at mid-field and one player from each team had to scramble 20 yards to get possession of the ball. The player who came up with control of the ball was the winner. A safety from Orlando injured himself and was out of the season after leading the league's first "scramble", so a sense of danger established early.

- All games were to be played on grass fields; no artificial turf

- There were no PAT kicks after touchdowns and teams had to run a play. If they ran the ball in successfully, the team was awarded one point and two if it was passed in. A 3-point conversion was established for the league's playoffs.

- Full Bump and Run coverages, no halos or fair catches allowed, forward motion, and "quick kicks" were other rules that separated them from the NFL standard.

- The cheerleaders were scantily dresses (a favorite rule of mine)


Why was this considered a bad thing, by male sports writers no less?

- In-Game interviews: Sideline reporters could interview coaches and players at any moment, which led to some funny shouting matches. Especially after players would throw an interception/fumble or if a coach made a horrible call.

- Full locker room access and uncensored helmet mics.

- The Sky Cam, which provided an excellent view of the field, but was TRASHED every week by members of the sports media. Concerns were that it was not a traditional camera angle and should not be used. Naysayers insisted it would get in the way of plays (which it NEVER did) and that it was a gimmick that would never catch on (it did...oh it really, really did).

Another detractor of the league came from the hyping of former and recognizable NFL players like Tommy Maddox, John Avery, Rashaan Salaam, Jim Druckenmiller, and Casey Weldon. These players were the names of NFL busts, flame-outs and disappointments so no one was really getting excited about seeing these guys on the field. Even if I chuckled when I heard these guys were going to be in the league. Little did people know that the lesser known players were going to be the heart and soul of the the league and that these busts actually busted their asses with this second chance. Plus the notable commentators were Jesse "The Body" Ventura, Bob Golic, Jim Ross, Jerry "The King" Lawler, and Brian "The Boz" Bosworth. Ventura, Ross and Lawler represented the WWF and Bosworth was the quintessential definition for the term NFL bust, so their work behind the mic was easily goofed on. Too bad that Boz did a respectable job in the booth and Ross was amazing as a football commentator. Football announcing was good ol' JR's background and original career with the Oklahoma Sooners.



There were eight teams:


Orlando Rage

Chicago Enforcers
New York/New Jersey Hitmen

Birmingham Thunderbolts

Las Vegas Outlaws

Los Angles Xtreme
San Francisco Demons

Memphis Maniax


The season started off with a bang. The ratings were monstrous on NBC and UPN for the opening weekend, but fell to Earth quickly afterward. The media took shots at the fact that players wore their "nicknames" on the back of their jerseys as opposed to their real last names. For example, Outlaws RB Rod Smart became the poster boy for the league with his "He Hate Me" moniker. Then the racy nature of the cheerleaders were also turning a lot of people off...because somewhere along the way, guys stopped liking sexy cheerleaders or something. Yeah I never understood that point. But to be honest, the football during the first week was lacking.


His moniker became a Trivial Pursuit question...seriously

One notable incident that made national news in the league's following weeks was that a double overtime between the Xtreme and the Demons, which was an outstanding game to watch, caused an hour and a half delay of Saturday Night Live (with special host Jennifer Lopez) that gave them horrible ratings. SNL creator Loren Michaels was so pissed because the ratings were worse than a SNL re-run that aired the previous week. He blamed the XFL, but maybe Jennifer Lopez being the host was what chased people away. Just kidding. She was HUGE back then and pre-
Gigli, so the low ratings enraged Michaels which in turn infuriated NBC. This was already not looking good for the XFL/NBC relationship.

As the weeks went on, the football action got better and stars were being born on the field:


- Tommy Maddox had a career resurrection with Xtreme by passing all over the league's defenses to Jermaine Copeland and Darnell McDonald, who were two other lesser known NFL castoffs.

- Meanwhile, the Orlando Rage was undefeated led by quarterback Jeff Brohm and running back Derrick Clark. Orlando had the league's best attendance and most diehard XFL following. Living in O-Town at the time and attending a few games at the Citrus Bowl, I can personally note that the stadium was always packed and the crowds were loud and enthusiastic for the Rage.

- Everyone loved to mention "He Hate Me", but the real star of the Outlaws was QB Ryan Clement. Clement came into the league during week one for injured starter Chuck Clements and guided the team to several victories. His main target, Mike Furrey...recognize that name? (More on him later). And Brandon Sanders and Corey Ivy were feared in the secondary.


- NY/NJ had a switch under center, when the coach benched Charles Puleri for Wally Richardson, leading to a certain level of success.

- John Avery was tearing up the league on the ground for the Enforcers while someone names Corey Ivy was the league's most feared defender in the secondary.

- Kevin Prentiss and Salaam were doing great for Memphis, while Stepfret Williams was utting up numbers for the Birmingham Bolts.

The XFL Playoffs saw the L.A. Xtreme take out the Chicago Enforcers while the San Francisco Demons upset the Orlando Rage. Orlando was a favorite to make the finals and win the whole thing, but the team was decimated with injuries by time they played the playoff game against Demons. The Rage were down to using their third string running back and their third string quarterback. To make matters worse, their third string quarterback was injured in the second quarter and the fourth string (signed the day before this game!) had to QB the rest of the way. While the Rage converted the first and only three-point conversion in pro football history (at the time), the Demons rolled past them and into the finals.

In the final game of the season, dubbed the "Million Dollar Game" with the players spliting $1m between them if they were victorious, the L.A. Xtreme waxed the San Francisco Demons 38-6. Kicker Jose Cortez was named the game's MVP while Maddox was awarded league MVP and coach Al Luginbill was named the league's top coach.

Here are the XFL's final 2001 standings per Wikipedia:











































Eastern DivisionWonLost
Orlando Rage82
Memphis Maniax55
New York/New Jersey Hitmen46
Birmingham Thunderbolts28
Western DivisionWonLost
Los Angeles Xtreme73
Chicago Enforcers55
San Francisco Demons55
Las Vegas Outlaws46

Playoffs:

L.A. Xtreme defeated Chicago Enforcers
San Francisco Demons defeated Orlando Rage


Million Dollar Game:

L.A. Xtreme 38, San Francisco Demons 6


In the end...




The XFL closed down operations on May 10, 2001 after NBC dropped covering any future games and McMahon could not come to terms with TNN and UPN. This was on the heels of McMahon promising a second season and naming expansion teams in D.C. and Detroit. Also, McMahon was going to allow high school players turned down for college or could not afford to go to college XFL draft eligibility. There were also serious plans to have a supplemental draft for the CFL players. But the ratings were not what was expected and the league's attendance did not meet its' expectations. I understand that argument, but businesses usually begin with starts off with financial loses and recovery of that lost revenue manifests over time. And for the ratings issue, the XFL averaged better ratings then the NHL and the WNBA, so if a semi-pro league grabbed better ratings than those two pro leagues...hmm?

It was too little too late for the XFL by season's end:

- The XFL began to cease the crossover promotion of the WWF and stupid halftime shenanigans, like the elderly McMahon sneaking into the cheerleaders' locker room or having WWF wrestlers show up all the time and cutting ridiculous "lay the smack down" promos.

- The football action got extremely entertaining. Players started getting used to the national stage and the different rules. Players were performing their fundamentals at a higher level: passing, catching, blocking, etc.

- Fans started recognizing and accepting the players on their respective teams. Jeff Brohm, who was seriously injured on a play, went back into the game and led the Rage down the field for a score. When the sideline reporter asked him why would he go back into a game if he seriously hurt, Brohm screamed out, "Why?? Do I have a pulse!?" When asked about his remarkable game winning catch in the Xtreme's Double OT win, Jermaine Copeland proclaimed, "Big players make big plays in big games!" I have heard that reiterated by many athletes in different variations hundreds of times since then. There were more quotes that made the fans love the players, but these were the only two I can recall from memory.

- Except for ESPN (owned by ABC) and FOX Sports (owned by FOX), the sports media in general stopped bashing the NBC-backed league out of respect for the guys who were busting their asses on the field.

Don't get me wrong when reading this post, I love the NFL and that league is my true passion. But the XFL was a great league to watch and a fun carryover sport until NFL preseason in the Spring. Especially during my time living in Orlando (I have moved back to PA since then), who still does not have a NFL team.

I like to root for the "underdog" and this league was full of them. It was many of these guys' last chance to make an impression and make some money doing what they love with their God-given abilities. While that sounds good and all, I am a realist. Bottom line: it lost money and it's national television backing. That was a critical blow. It makes some sense that Vince would pull out as well, but he really
needed to carryover the good things about the second half of the first season into at least one more season and try to get a bigger audience. This was a heck of a lot better than his WBF league. You remember that? I'm trying to burn it out of my brain.

My belief is that had the XFL not been promoted or connected to the WWF, it would still be around today and moderately successful. No question in my mind. Why? Let's take a look...

- When trying to create reasons for the XFL folding, some sports writers stated that the XFL should have been more extreme and "have the defensive linemen hit the QBs over the head with steel chairs". Wait...isn't that what the writers used to bash the league in its inception?

- Wanna see the XFL/McMahon Sky Cam everyone hated so much? Watch an NFL game. They own that technology now and has become a new standard in the sport. Vince was light years ahead with that one. To me, it's just as cool now as it was then but it was spit on since it was in the XFL at the time. That camera was a constant complaint by the sports media and now it is praised.


Maddox hoists the first and only XFL championship

- So many players went onto the NFL and had good careers. Maddox was the starting QB for the Pittsburgh Steelers and won Comeback Player of the Year Award. Rod "He Hate Me" Smart started as the KR in the Super Bowl for the Carolina Panthers. Corey Ivy was a defensive starter for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Super Bowl Championship team. In 2006, Mike Furrey set the pro football record for most catches in a season (98) by a non-rookie. And other players served time for the NFL teams with lesser exposure, but there was obviously a little pool of talent in the XFL. Even to be third string, you have to be prettu damn good to make an NFL roster. The XFL could have served as a great developmental league rather than NFL Europe or the AFL.

- Players are mic'ed for all-access on sports broadcasts nowadays? XFL started it

- Coach interviews during games? XFL started it.

- The aforementioned SKY CAM. It was a main XFL-bashing point. Now no one says anything. I ma glad the NFL adopted it because I have always loved that angle.

So many new standards were set by the league and carried over by all other professional sports leagues. Not just football, but hockey, baseball, basketball, bowling, racquetball, poker. Okay I was kidding after basketball.

There's still some love for the XFL out there and I wanna take the time to recognize them as well as thank them for the information on their websites. It helped jog my memory of events that happened 9 years ago. Their websites keep the torching burning...

Remember the XFL

XFL Insider

OfficialXFL.com

All-XFL Memorial Network

I doubt that I will get a comment on this post, but this was a fun ride down memory lane. My friend even started an XFL Fantasy Football League at our job and got a lot of people to join. It was a way to learn the players and made the league a little more interesting. Thank God he knew a lot about some of these players' past because I was clueless. My team won the league but I shared my trophy with him for a major GM credit. I even remember when the same friend bought an official XFL ball that we used to throw around all of the time.

Overall, the XFL's one and only season was a fun ride and an alternative to hold me over until the following NFL season. After visiting the above listed sites, a lot of memories came flooding back and I felt enthusiastic to post a little retrospect on the defunct league.

I had high hopes for a XFL resurgence when the new United Football League was announced last summer. But the game and presentation was boring, plus VS. is not the greatest channel on the planet. After three weeks, I gave up. They seemed like the longest games I have ever watched. The football didn't seem to get better and their championship game contained just as much excitement. But hey, they got a second season (thanks to their support from the NFL) and the XFL didn't, so what do I know.

If you have any XFL memories and would like to share, please comment here and I will update this post and credit you/plug your blog. Thanks for reading.

Friday, February 26, 2010

House of the Devil (2009) Review)




I'm late to the dance again with these reviews, but I'm here to chime in anyway. This film should be pretty recognizable by now as it was released with a lot of hype. As usual I avoided any and all reviews so I could go into it fresh and here is my two cents.

I won't indulge too much into the story because the trailer has been out for some time and other bloggers offer non-spoiler reviews. So I'll keep my plot explanation brief: Sometime in the 1980's, college student Samantha (Jocelin Donahue) responds to a babysitting ad at a house in a secluded area. Soon she learns of happenings at the house that are just as weird as her new "employers", the Ulmans (genre icons Tom Noonan and Mary Woronov).




Tom Noonan


Now I expect to get hit with some stones here but you know I always give an honest review even if I have to swim against the tide. Let me get the bad stuff out of the way first:


- This is a sssllllooooowwwww film. It takes some time to get to the "House" part. I understand character development and all of that, but this added time didn't make me feel closer to the character or feel more sympathetic towards her. Honesty it just didn't.

- And once we do get to the house, everything continues to troll along.

- After all of this slow pacing, I was expecting way more of a payoff at the film's end. The final act should been a little longer and for timing issues, while some of that other acts should have been trimmed. Then, I feel that some more shreds of information should have been distributed about what the hell was actually going on. I figured it out, at least I think I did, but it took me some time to digest everything. And if you hate abrupt endings, you're not going to be happy.

Now that I got all of the technical irritations out of the way and you think I hated his film, let me tell you all that I actually liked this film. I'm not fully raving about this being the next big thing in horror films. It was worth a watch, but it is not as great as I expected.

Director Ti West made this film as a throwback to the older horror films...and he nails it! There were some times that I actually forgot I was watching a new release and felt like I was transported a couple decades back as a little kid watching some crazy horror film on VHS. Except for the times I noticed some technological inconsistencies, but that's besides the point. The credits, the music, the lighting, the film stock...it was as close to a cinematic horror time machine as you can get. Bonus points go to me for watching it really late at night to totally deliver the appropriate ambiance.




Fat Jesus from Hangover makes an appearance...j/k!


Pacing issues aside, director West has serious skills and I predict he will serve at the helm of some great projects in the future. Becky from The Horror Effect recommended some of West's early works that I queued up.
The Roost just arrive today, so I am looking forward to view his earlier work.

I liked it but it was not the classic I envisioned. I fear many will complain about the director's style because they won't recognize or appreciate that nostalgic factor. My issues deal with the pacing, while all cinematography aspects get stellar praise.

Again - I can't wait to see some of West's earlier work and what he has planned in the future. Big things are ahead for West, so please make sure to see this film. Recommended, but don't expect to be blown away by your expectations based on the trailer.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Awards: A Zombie Rabbit Outbreak is Spreading!




A wonderful follower and contributor to the horror blog community, iZombie have sent the recent "outbreak" of awards in the form of a Zombie Rabbit outbreak. Now that I have been infected with this wonderful virus, I must pass it along to 8 other bloggers (I'm breaking the rules a bit, so sue me...actually you can't sue me 'cuz I'm a rabbit-infected zombie now!!!! BRAINNNSSS!!!!!!) who are worthy of continuing the outbreak.

With the recent award dispersal last month, I would like to send the zombie rabbits to affect the following AWESOME blogs that YOU MUST CHECK OUT...


Planet of Terror

Hmmm

The Jaded Viewer

The Horror Effect

Not Worth Mentioning

I Think It's Interesting

Pandorah's Box

The Daily Dose of Reality


These are all frequent commenters to the 'Cave, so nuthin' but love for 'ya! If I missed you, you probably were already infected or I will catch you next time. Major Love and Respect to all my 194 out there!!!!!!!

So remember to check out iZombie's must read blog and the other blogs I mentioned. They are worth daily views, so trust me when I tell you to please check them all out!!!

Thanks again, iZombie!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Before American Idol, Simon Cowell Produced Stuff Like This...

Be careful...this song CAN easily get stuck in your head. Great retro-wrestling cheese.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

This Day in SPAM Fail - 2/23/10




eet and happy daily life


As her word, and Mrs. Tony successfully interviewed, the good Irish lady
returned home in triumph bearing a large bundle of cast-off garments,
and at once summoned the Tenement to her apartments. The first arrived
ladies were already giving vent to their appreciation of the Tony
generosity when Miss Carew and Miss Bonkowski arrived, Mary's bony face,
in deference to the angelic prejudices now ruling her, red and smarting
from an energetic application of the same soap as ministered t


MY REPLY (he really ended it there mid-word)...


Dear
Bustios Vosquez,

You made this too easy, my friend. You started with such promise by spelling "Eat" with two "e's", then followed up by telling some story like you were on three hits of acid. And then, you labeled prejudice as "angelic", which made me tink you might be John Mayer giving a Playboy interview...and then you forget to type the rest of the story where I am sure you asked me for my SSN and some large amount of money to send me back more money, of course. Dude, I mean you took off from finishing your email mid-word...mid-word! That's a first.

So you wanted to tell my about eating well and living a good life but you attach this jpeg...





What the hell does this have to do with eating? Wait don't answer that. Look, thanks for providing all the laughs and not really requiring me to put any creative thought into this installment.

Look - you know got real problems when you can't even spam people correctly. So I won't give you the standard "GFY with a chainsaw" farewell, but I would like to g





lol just kidding Bustios. I'm gonna finish my e-mail to you.


Go learn to finish e-mails,

gcap2719

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Evil Things (2009) Review




First things first, thanks to my awesome friend Cortez of the equally as awesome Planet of Terror for sending me the screener of this film to check out. Whether or not I liked it doesn't matter. I appreciate anyone who is a good fellow blogger to me. So thanks again Cortez! Now on to the film review ...

I have never made it a secret that I was not a fan of the "found footage" subgenre for a long time, thanks to The Blair Witch Project. For a long time the exception was The Last Broadcast, which contained more of a documentary feel, but it was a flawed film. My recent rejuvenation in the subgenre ignited with my viewings of Cloverfield and Paranormal Activity over the past couple of years, so now I am not afraid to be disappointed by these types of films. In fact, I have begun really looking forward to seeing more of them and judge them of their own merit.

I read a few spoiler-free reviews of Evil Things from some of my fellow bloggers and it sounded interesting enough to garner my interest. The more and more positive fare I digested with each review, the more and more I wanted to see it. Luckily, Cortez hooked me up with a screener of writer/producer/director Dominic Perez's flick, so I was in for a great Saturday night.

Since I work in outbound marketing, I appreciate any and all ways that creative people can market their products. And I am amazed when such creative means used by those individuals with smaller budgets can pull off a release of their product into a major league arena. Which brings me to the presentation of the disc itself before I even delve into the actual film. As mentioned in several other reviews, the DVD is labeled as being CONFIDENTIAL material from the F.B.I., but I did not receive the accompanying official letter that stated the Feds wanted me to help with their missing persons investigation by watching this footage. I didn't receive this letter but I did know the whole deal from reading other sites. I needed to mention it because it is an essential piece of the creative marketing aspect I referred to before (and I hope to see what the letter actually looks like one day). Well done from that perspective, Mr. Perez!





I put the DVD into my player and immediately the color bars pop up in the screen for about 10 seconds (nice touch) and the "footage" begins. There are five students/friends from NYC headed out to the country in order to celebrate one of the friend's birthday. At this point, it is obvious that our five missing persons are going to be Leo, Mark, Tanya, Cassy, and Miriam. And poor Miriam is going not to have a happy birthday.

On the long journey to Miriam's aunt house in what seems to be the middle of nowhere, a van starts harassing our quintet. A couple of times along the way, it seems that the van's unidentifiable driver is going on about his business until he returns to stalk them again. Even an angry approach to the van by one of the male friends does not seem to deter the perpetrator from trailing them until they finally arrive at their destination. He seems to keep going and leave them alone for good.

The quintet is having fun and acting goofy on camera. Then they take a walk in the woods for some fun in the snow and get lost. That's right - they get lost! So just when I start to develop into a bit of panic with ghosts of Blair Witch past dancing in my head, they recover and get back to the house. And I breathed a sigh of relief.

There is so much I want to say about this film but do not want to spoil it or hinder any potential plans for release in the future. Perez's film needs some theatrical distribution because it has the potential to be a money maker.

It is necessary to note the acting for such a low budget affair based on it's believability. Trust me when I tell you that the group's members are totally passable as friends and their fear emotes into your nerves. These kids genuinely look scared when the you-know-what hits the fan and it made me feel uncomfortable...I mean that in a good way.

You know this is the Man-Cave, so I always have to comment on women who catch my eye. So let me talk about the attractive appeal of Laurel Casillo (Cassy). She was cute but also maintains real thespian talents. She can act and it's never more apparent than in the final act. I look forward to seeing her in more projects.




Laurel Casillo


Overall, this was an enjoyable film, unless you are stubborn when it comes to this type of film. It was shot on a light budget but delivers and I recommend you give it a watch if you are lucky enough to get your hands on a copy.

Allow me to discuss what I did not like about it. Ambiguity. This is what killed Blair Witch for me and you are going to get a major dose of it here at the end as well. But at least you will get a bit of closure and Perez didn't take the BWP way out by at least delivering a bit of a payoff.

I promised no spoilers but I need to express my thoughts on the ending for those who have seen it. These spoilers are hidden below. Just click, hold down the left mouse button and drag to see the hidden spoilers below...

Here's my take on the ending...When we pull away from the video screen to see a person from behind, ala Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget sans cat, who appeared to be editing the video together. This gave me a whole new outlook at the overall film and surprised the hell out of me. What we saw was not from the F.B.I., it was from the killer! Apparently he stalks and murders groups of young people who film/video record themselves. This way he can combine his own footage and the footage of his victims into his complete "film". This also explains how footage shot from from inside the van made it on the "F.B.I." DVD and why there was a musical score towards the end. He included a preview of his next victims after his reveal in order to brag about his body of work and let us know his intentions because he is still on the loose. And he had the "character names", not their real life in "his" end credits. Seriously, that was a cool twist.

That is what I took away from the film anyway. Maybe I am over-thinking things, but that is my deduction. My brain was stimulated.

The turn of events is what made this a unique project in the flooded sea of "found footage" productions. My DVD was from the film's antagonist and not from any type of law enforcement.

END SPOILERS

For anyone who has seen the film and read the hidden spoilers above, I invite discussions and thoughts, whether you liked it or not.

Again, well done Mr. Perez. I pray for a wide release and I recommend you sell the DVD in the same marketing set you used to send the screeners in. Such a great concept should not be abandoned.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Get Him to the Greek trailer

Writer and director of Forgetting Sarah Marshall? I'm in.





This is not the strongest promo but I hope, like Sarah Marshall, they kept the funny parts out of the trailer and left tons of surprises in the actual film. Remember the Sarah Marshall trailers? It made that film look horrible...like it wasn't even the same film I saw in theaters.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell (2009) Review

This film is based on the best-selling book by the same name about author Tucker Max's supposedly real life sexual conquests. Max proclaimed that this film would whoop the shit out of The Hangover in the box office last year and re-invent the comedy genre. FAIL on both accounts. But let's talk about the actual film first...

Beer in Hell is the story of Tucker (Matt Czuchry) who takes his friends Dan (Geoff Stultz) and Drew (Jesse Bradford) to an out-of-town strip club for Dan's bachelor party. That's pretty much it. He must have been joking when he said "re-inventing the comedy genre" because nothing new was added to it all in actuality. There are some "haha" moments, but overall this film just wasn't really funny enough to be memorable. And trust me that I really wanted to like it because this is my kinda flick. I mean when you go as far as ripping off Wedding Crashers for your film's BIG gross out moment and then even go as far as to have a character mention the gag is from Wedding Crashers...well that's pretty lame. Seriously that was the nail in the coffin for me.

The whole film was too over-the-top to be considered true, but that aside - the film's only strength was the dialogue. And I am not trying to even give that factor too much credit. There were some zingy one-liners, but the conversation between characters sometimes felt delivered with too much exposition, like in Kevin Smith's earlier work but not as good. As for the one-liners though, that is why I am so pissed that I made the cardinal rule of watching a "film" before a "book". Now I have no desire to go back and read this book, which I deduct as 100% BS after doing some research, but I am sure is funny once you look past the depravity. Max seems to get the shit end of the stick, but if "broken" women are going to act like he is a rock star and throw themselves at him to be used as cum dumpsters...that should actually be on them, not him. Yeah he's a major douche but it takes more than two to tango, or something like that - just ask Billy Madison.

Too many friends with the same humorous taste have been recommending the book like hell to me, so maybe I can give it a shot once the thought of this film gets washed out of my brain a little. Max might be a best selling author, so he should stick to the books. While he blames the awful $5.3m loss on his $7m
budget production due to poor marketing, the real reason is the final product. He now claims that Beer will be the best-selling DVD of '10. Now THAT is funny!

The Good:
- Some funny one-liners
- Decent acting from Bradford and Stultz

The Bad:
- Please don't make me repeat myself.


Avoid and go on living your life.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Jaws 3D Part Deux?

(Source: 411mania)

I guess the foretelling in Back to the Future II is coming true...

According to Cinema Blend, Universal Studios is planning a reboot of
Jaws...in 3D. And the best part, Tracy Morgan is being considered to play Matt Hooper, Richard Dreyfuss' role in the original. I'm serious and it's too early for April Fools.

I'll give you a few seconds to laugh and get your composure back....

.....

It's funny right?! Yeah I laughed for like three minutes straight....

.....

Almost done laughing yet? I think Morgan is hilarious but come on....

OK now take a look at the following pictures of Tracy Morgan and imagine his voice belting out these famous Dreyfuss/Hooper lines:




"Well, this is not a boat accident! And it wasn't any propeller; and it wasn't any coral reef; and it wasn't Jack the Ripper! It was a shark."





"I think that I am familiar with the fact that you are going to ignore this particular problem until it swims up and BITES YOU ON THE ASS!"





"It's a carcaradon carcharias. It's a Great White "


Now someone put me out of my misery. Enough shits have been dumped on the JAWS franchise that another load of crap is not needed. JAWS is one of my all-time favorite films.

If you wanna read more, click on this link or continue to read below...



Universal Planning A 3D Remake of JAWS with Tracy Morgan

By Dave Zani

With all the craziness of reboots and remakes in Hollywood we feared this day might come. Universal may be planning a re-make of the 1975 Spielberg classic, Jaws. With the added popularity of Avatar’s 3D, there’s serious money to be made in a CGI reboot of the famous shark, presented in Real D 3D.

A source of ours over at Universal Pictures says the studio is strongly considering a remake of the summer blockbuster in hopes of dazzling younger audiences with new special effects. Their claim is that people now expect more, visually, from their movie going experience. So, Hollywood studios are inclined to take some of their tried and true franchise names like Jaws and bring them into the 3D world.

Our insider says Tracy Morgan was at one point being considered for the part of Matt Hooper, previously played by Richard Dreyfuss. While it’s uncertain whether that’s still the plan, it does indicate that they seem to be taking a more comedic direction with the part.

This is just a rumor, from a source we’ve spoken with, but never used before. We're working on some sort of official confirmation. In the meantime file this under gossip which, let’s face it, isn't hard to believe. Universal already busted out a few laughable Jaws sequels in the 80’s. They even tried their hand at a 3-D version of the shark with 1983’s Jaws 3-D. It only makes sense to come back to the idea now that they have the technology to do it right.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Heroes Season 4 Finale Review

There's Gonna Be Some Spoilers, but it did air over a week ago so it should be safe to post some of them...


And this may be my Heroes SERIES finale. I wrote a State of the Union on Heroes last fall and recommended some changes that writers needed to do in order to get things back on track. And it almost seemed that immediately following that post, things on the show went back on the up-and-up. In fact, I would go as far as to say (minus a couple dud minor plotlines) it was approaching the character-based feeling of the first season.

I really started getting back into the series and could not wait for Monday night so I could see what was going to happen next. Then the last couple of episodes going into the finale really killed any steam it was building.

First of all, there was too much Claire! I know she's a pretty girl and all but she is an instant scene-killer. Hiro finally got his shit together and got rid of that season-long annoying tumor storyline, but then they made Sylar get all bitchass again. And Peter, the series' supposed main protagonist? He is all "Ah no problem, Sylar. I know you killed my brother in cold blood, but hey shit happens, you know. Let's be pals and save the world." WTF?!

Those annoyances aside, once again the writers' season finale deliver the money shot of a 13-year old. They hurried up and wrapped everything up in 45 minutes of actual running time. Once again, they tried to tie up too much too quickly. Hell I didn't even realize it was already season finale time already. It's February!

To make matters worse, the main storyline for season five is already set up to be lame as hell. Now the "Heroes" are exposed to the world on national television, so it remains to be seen if normal humans will accept them or turn against them. And guess who is setup as the story's central piece? FUCKIN' CLAIRE!!!!!

It's funny that while I was still trying to find my identity for this blog (which still hasn't happened yet lol), one of my first posts on ETMC was the season three finale of Heroes. And guess what, that sucked too! I feel like deja vu all over again.

I really need to wash my hands of this show as soon as possible because the writers' ever erect boners that they have for Hayden Panettiere is never going to go limp, completely ignoring the fact that she is just not a good actress. Zachary Quinto is getting so many film offers right now, that he has to turn them down for this show. I see him in a VERY limited role next season if he comes back at all. And without him, bitchass or not, this show is going down in flames fast.

I mean how bad are things when Sendhil Ramamurthy, who plays Mohinder begs to be written off the show to do a pilot that may or may not be picked up. He'd rather tempt fate than stay on Heroes. And Milo Ventimiglia looks like he just stopped trying. The best work I have seen from him recently is as Rick Rape in Gamer. Yeah exactly.

This season was critical as a last chance to get new viewers and retain the loyal ones they already had before they jumped off the boat. And they dropped the ball once again with a lame finale that sets up Claire-bear as the central character for next season.

Big thumbs down from me. I have already wasted too much time writing about it already.

Hiro, come teleport me back to the end of season one so I can end my Heroes venture there.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day retreat

Hi Everyone!

I took the wife to Mohegan Sun in CT for a fun, little Valentine's Day retreat, so I was away from the Bloggersphere for the last few days. That being said, I hope no one got pissed that you didn't see me commenting on your blogs. Those posts you read on here were auto-scheduled to be released in my absence, so I appreciate you checking them out.


Check out some of the cheesy commercials Mohegan Sun has to offer and be prepared to laugh your ass off...









Sunday, February 14, 2010

SafetySuit - Mohegan Sun 2/12/10



Me with SafetySuit after show (Dave got cut off!)


While I review a great deal of films, television programming and other pop cultural events here at ETMC, this is my first foray into the music review frontier. And I could not have picked a better band to spotlight then SafetySuit.


I got to see these guys jam live in my backyard of Philadelphia last month at the World Cafe Live (WCL) and they rocked the hell out of the place. One thing that surprised me was that they were the opening act to the band Parachute, but you could have fooled me. No offense to Parachute, but one could tell that 90% of the audience was there to see these guys.

Just to give a little background, SafetySuit is comprised of Doug Brown (front man and rhythm guitar), Dave Garofalo (lead guitar), Jeremy Henshaw (bass), and Tate Cunningham (drums). Hailing from Tulsa, OK but currently based out of Nashville, TN. These guys are on the incline in terms of popularity since their debut effort Life Left to Go in 2008. Since that time, they have released three singles including Someone Like You, Stay and the recent Annie. Stay is considered the band's breakout hit and biggest claim to fame thus far as it reached #1 on the VH1's Top 20 Countdown and was a mainstay in that countdown for a majority of the summer.

My wife Juliana has been a fan since the debut of Someone Like You and became a die hard once Stay hit the airwaves. She is the one who really brought the band to my attention. While some of their slower songs seem to be gauged at the female audience, there is no doubt that the songs have real depth in the written lyrics - something that is missing in today's electronic and hip-hop age. I would compare these guys to 3 Doors Down, Puddle of Mudd, Matchbox 20, and the like. Their faster songs really rock the house!

Now that the formalities have been delivered, let's get to the concert...

SafetySuit performed on Friday, February 12 in the Wolf Den at the Mohegan Sun (Uncasville, CT). All concerts at the Wolf Den are free, which I had no idea about. When my wife told me that the concert was free, I laughed at the thought that Mohegan would have been certain to bring in some serious dough based on my experience in Philly. But that is neither here or there.

To say these guys rock would be both cliched yet an understatement, but it is the damn truth. There was quite a sizable fan base, but there were also a great deal of people who got into this concert but had no idea who they were. By the time the concert came to a close, that obviously changed and I would gamble (no pun intended) that they left with some converted fans as well. Same thing happened to me after I saw them play live in Philly.




Bassist Jeremy Henshaw


Why? One of the band's many strengths include their ENERGY. Sure most bands have energy, but these guys come out with the pedal flat to the floor and don't let up. Like in the WCL performance, they opened their show with Crash (from their upcoming untitled CD) which is a perfect song to get the crowd on their feet. Personally, Crash is among my favorite songs and it just sets the right mood with ENERGY.


Following their opening act, you get to see another of the band's strengths, the humor and zaniness of front man Doug Brown. Brown welcomed the audience, introduced the band and told them that it was "their idea to not charge for the performance" completely deadpan. Then he immediately said that he was kidding and continued on to tell the audience that they just wanted to play some music and have fun tonight. By the way, Doug's advice was for everyone in attendance to bet on "Black 26" at the roulette tables.




Front man Doug Brown addresses the fans


At one point, Brown jumped into the audience and ran to the back in order to dance with an older couple, who was totally "rocking out" to the band the whole time. Then, Brown sat at someone's table and kept right on singing the song to a happily embarrassed fan. Later antics included Brown grabbing a fan's camera in the middle of a set to record video of himself and the rest of the band in action. Finally, Brown even took a self portrait with him and another fan using her digital camera, without missing a beat.
All the while the band looked on from the stage and laughed while they continued to play.

For a "free show" they exerted as much high energy into this performance as the one we paid to see last month. Looking around the room at about the mid-point of the show, I saw that the band had everyone's undivided attention. In fact, people were lined up by the entrance rails to check out the band and even began dancing in the casino portion. It was a very surreal moment and you could tell the audience knew these guys were special!




Drummer Tate Cunningham banging the skins


This brings me to another strength...the fact that these guys always look like they are having fun! You get the genuine feeling that they love playing for their audience and they wouldn't rather be doing anything else. While Brown was executing his fan-interactive shenanigans, the guys on stage smiled amongst themselves and joked with Brown once he returned. While the audience is supposed to be the "entertained", the band looked like they were having just as much fun as we were...maybe even more. And that is a good feeling when you are watching a live show. Don't get me wrong, I don't want you to think they are the Ray Stevens of alt rock when I emphasize their humorous nature. Their songs' meanings are deep, but they just love to interact and have a good time with their audience.


Funny thing is that this show was a few minutes longer than the WCL performance as the band played another song from their upcoming CD entitled You Don't See Me and closed out the night with Gone Away. One of the best live performances I have ever seen and at a free show no less. That itself should speak leaps and bounds.

Lastly, let me tell you how down-to-earth these guys are. They make it a point to have meet and greets after each of their shows and these dudes could not be more friendly and personable. They have real conversations with you, take pictures and sign autographs for each and every fan that lines up. And they look like they are genuinely glad to meet you and hang out with you after leaving it all on the stage for over an hour with zero breaks.

How cool is that of them, you ask? I paid over $300 to take Jules to see Britney Spears only to see her lip sync for less than two hours and look like she wouldn't piss on you on you if you were on fire. I had the feeling the guys in SafetySuit would have actually grabbed a blanket and tried to put me out. They don't take any fan for granted. And though Doug doesn't wear hot school girl outfits, he doesn't lip sync either. He has a CD quality voice that sounds amazing live.




Lead Guitarist Dave Garofalo jamming during the first song


When I spoke briefly with lead guitarist Dave Garofalo and asked if the band got cool comps for playing at the Mohegan Sun, he told me that while it sounded cliched, they just love the fact that they are playing. I told him that "I totally understand what you mean." It was only a few years ago that I was running around working close to 70 hours a week in my internship with the Philadelphia Flyers for peanuts. People asked me "Why would you bust your ass for close to nothing?" And I told them that I was "living my dream and doing PR for a pro sports team" - doing something I loved doing. So I made that connection there with his comments. My BS meter was on and what he said came straight from the heart.

Their show gets a perfect score from me. You should check out the band's official website for future dates to see if they are coming to your area. Trust me when I say it is worth your time and money to see these guys jam live! Also be sure to check out their website to see the band from a candid perspective...especially their hilarious pranks they pull on poor Henshaw (see below).

The Scare Part 1:

The Scare from SafetySuit on Vimeo.




The Scare Part 2:

The Scare: Part Two from SafetySuit on Vimeo.





Here are some videos that Jules was kind enough to upload on Youtube of the band 's performance. Enjoy...


DOWN:






STAY:








cool

Enjoy my Valentines to you at ETMC





Happy Valentines Day from me at ETMC. Please enjoy my funny valentines to you...


























Friday, February 12, 2010

I BOUGHT MY TICKETS FOR MONSTER MANIA!

As a follow up to my post last month, I pulled the trigger on buying two Saturday Only passes for Monster Mania on March 13th in Cherry Hill, NJ. The list has gotten A LOT better, at least for me, and I am targetting a few celebs to meet and get a pic with:


First Tier:

Thom Matthews - FTW!!!!



He is a MUST MEET as far as I am concerned. Yes he FTW but his appearances are pretty rare.



Bill Moseley



I always miss this guy some way or the other at these cons, so I made it a point to meet him this time.



William Katt



The first known celebrity to view The Man-Cave and my review of AVH back over the summer. I'm a big fan of his from back in the day with Greatest American Hero so this should be cool.


Doug Bradley

He's gonna be on the high end of celeb signings and the line is going to be gi-nomous, so I will have to play it by ear. If he is signing and getting pics in full Pinhead gear, I'd pay triple!!!


Second Tier


Dario Argento

He JUST got added in the last couple of days! See above, he's going ot be on the high end with a HUGE wait in line. I like some of Argento's stuff but I'm not a DIEHARD fan.


Beetlejuice and Medicated Pete

Hey - I'm a HUGE Howard fan. What can I say?


Greg the Hammer Valentine

I'll give him double the fee if he slaps the Figure Four on me.


These tiers and lists could all change because they are STILL adding guests.


Also, there's only one film playing Closed For the Season. I would like to see this film but I hope there are more playing. Seeing films are a big draw for me to go to these events.


BTW - Remember Kim Myers (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2) and Jill Whitlock (Night of the Creeps)? I just saw recent pics of them and all I can say is that the women must drink the blood of the young. They are still hot as hell. Unreal!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Oh What Could Have Been: Hellraiser on the NES



How fucking bad ass would this have been???!!!!!


I still remmeber the day I got my issue of Nintendo Power in the mail and saw the advertisement for this game. It was supposed to revolutionize the gaming industry with its next gen graphics that would re-invent the way we would play video games. This new technology was going to make Hellraiser a first-person scroll game that would appear to be in 3D - mind you this years before event he SNES debuted. Well it was never released, thus I did not include it in my NES horror games retrospect post last week. For years I always wondered what the hell happened to this game? Was it a dream, was it an epic fail? What the hell-raiser? Hardy-har-har!



The article that got me all hyped up when I was a little puke

Anyway I located a site a few months back and spread the word to those who were in the dark about the game like me or simply did not even know it existed to begin with. Source is an excellent article from UVL (the two final entries/updates are from someone who worked on the game)...


The main character is trapped in the Hellraiser puzzle box (a cube). A solvable puzzle from the outside (think Rubic's Cube), and some sort of other dimension on the inside. The player can find ways in the game, to manipulate the outside and therefore solve the puzzle and escape. Of course HellRaiser's assorted buddies in the cube interfere with the main character, this is a 1st-person-shooter after all. Meanwhile, the changing configuration of the cube also changes the layout of the levels on the inside, allowing access to new areas and blocking access to others. Once solved, the player and demons are freed and the player must then unsolve the puzzle in reverse order one demon being banished per move, while also 1st-person-shooting.





The box shown is an early version. The final box for Hellraiser was to be a replica of the Hellraiser cube (big enough for the add-on hardware)

This game was going to use and improved version the Wolfenstein 3D engine (layered and animated textures) and a Z80 CPU. ON THE NES! Two configurations were explored for the Z80 CPU. One solution would have the CPU on the circuit board in the cartridge, more than doubling its retail cost. The other solution would have been an add-on unit, purchased separately, that plugged into the expansion port on the bottom of the NES (It's hidden under a snap-in cover then under a vent that must be cut out). Also included was some programmable array logic chips (PAL) and 4? megabytes of Dynamic RAM. The whole thing could run in parallel with the NES and access the NES' RAM without a memory controller (programmers had to manually prevent conflicts via software). Claims of "16-bit graphics" were made but in reality the graphics were constructed from two sets of 8-bit graphics. The idea was to switch from a frame of one set to a frame of another set at 60 frames per second. The frames were supposed to blend in human perception and create an illusion of one color. While humans can only perceive 30 frames per second, technical aspects of CTRs cause flicker to be perceptible at frame rates of up to 120. On the NES, with uniquely designed Video RAM (at the time), was never intended to display 60 FPS, the flicker was definitely noticeable (in fact the Atari 2600 can do faster frame rates than the NES). Screenshots, video cameras, even some photo cameras, also failed to fully capture the effect and were often perceived as double the horizontal resolution but the two frames sliced up like venetian blinds for every other raster.





The cost for the add-on unit and Hellraiser game separately would have been more than if the CPU was in the cart. But, subsequent games for the add-on (Super 3D Noah's Ark) would have been higher quality games on the NES at normal price. It seems that Wisdom Tree may not have license the Wolfenstein 3D engine directly from id software, instead, Color Dreams did! When Color Dreams switched to being Wisdom Tree, they took the license along.
Zerothis - # 2008-08-16 07:55:14


[From NES Warpzone]"I worked on Hellraiser which you know never was released. They [Color Dreams] had the rights to make the game for several years and just sat on it. I don't know why. We were gonna use the Wolfenstein 3D engine for the game. I remember that the progammer on Hellraiser got the graphics in and the monsters working. It was all very bare bones stuff, but it was getting there and looked like it'd be fun. And then it was abandoned again for other titles." [sic] - Roger Deforest
Roger Deforest - # 2008-08-16 07:40:26 - game Author comment - source
Source: UVL

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

CoCo and FOX To Begin Serious Talks




As Jay Douche-Chin begins his hijacking of Conan O'Brien's earned late night spot, CoCo and FOX begin talks for the network's planned late night show.

From 411mania (who FTW!!)



Talks get serious…


by Larry Csonka


Talks between Conan O'Brien and FOX are reportedly getting serious, with FOX looking to create a new late night show for Coco. Serious meetings should begin in a matter of weeks, with both sides very serious about launching a new show by January at the latest. FOX is said to be treading lightly, partly due to the publicized nature of the split from NBC and also because they are taking a few factors into consideration before a final deal is reached.


ETMC's thoughts:

I am a little confused by the hestitation of FOX to sign O'Brien based on the publicity of his split with the 'Cock. The publicity was all good for CoCo while NBC plus Leno rightfully look like the pricks in the whole matter. If anything, FOX will look like the good guys as well by giving Conan an outlet to reclaim a late night spot and be praised by the legion of Team CoCo's members.

If anything, Conan has to make sure that he goes to a network that will properly back and position him to take out Leno and win the late night wars. Whether it is FOX, Comedy Central or WE, all that matters is that Conan gets back on the air to put his creative genius at work again.