Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Man-Cave Podcast with Jay of The Sexy Armpit (part 2)


Hope you had a Memorial Day to remember and party 'til the sun came up. As promised last week, here is the exciting conclusion of my podcast with Jay of The Sexy Armpit. Party on...



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Man-Cave Podcast with Jay of The Sexy Armpit (part 1)


Jay of The Sexy Armpit stops by the Man-Cave as the guest for my second podcast. Enjoy part one before you start your Memorial Day Weekend! Catch you all back on the intrawebs next week with part 2...



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Almost Invisible (2010)




An outcast invites some college mates over to her house for the party to end all parties, but this gathering turns into one that could end their lives.


A group of friends are looking for a way to let off some steam over the weekend and their prayers seem to have been answered when April (Sara Cole) invites them over to her house to party down while her parents are out of town. April is a goth outcast who the friends don’t like at all, but they cannot refuse her offer and basically use the poor girl for their own desires.

The night begins with drinking, dancing and raising hell, but soon some supernatural occurrences transpire. Their guest might or might not be the reason for this hell on Earth, but they realize they must try to survive the night. Hopelessly trapped inside April’s home by some unknown force, the group each experiences their own hallucinatory horrors, before they begin dropping like flies.  Or are they dropping like flies?


Almost Invisible by SkyBridge Films is my first experience with a film distributed by Chemical Burn, a company which I really had no knowledge about prior to receiving a large amount of their screeners to review. This film’s premise seemed to have some promise, like a Night of the Demons clone, but nothing could be further from the truth.

It is an independent flick, so the acting is pretty terrible outside of the passable performance by lead Cole. Filmmaker David Allingham attempts to project an otherworldly appearance, utilizing some bizarre lighting, editing and special effects, but the budget restrictions are extremely obvious.


As a supporter of independent film makers, I never hold budgetary restrictions, including quality of actors, against them. The reason why this film fails is not the understandably poor acting or cheesy effects, but rather the story. Simply put, the movie was hard to follow and the pacing was really off the mark. In fact, I had no idea what was going on half the time and became bored to the point where I was asking myself if it was Almost Over. And with this film’s running time, that is a huge problem. Even the scare scenes lacked any energy, but again, the failures are due to the execution and not the budget.

One word to describe Almost Invisible is confusion. When I finally figured out what was going on, I was indifferent because the ride getting there was not worth it at all. At that point, the pacing killed any real tension or plot twist the film was trying to establish. The big twist and "revelation" were mediocre as the movie ends on a goofy note that contradicted the entire mood of the film.


The only positive factor I can mention is the soundtrack. The score was pretty good as well as some of the actual songs that were present throughout the film. Apparently, Allingham wrote some of these songs, so he should be commended for his film’s decent music. Also, even though the acting was C-level, the actresses were gorgeous. A+ for the female eye candy, including random shots of firm female midriff. Were these done on purpose? Thank you either way, Mr. Allingham!

Chemical Burn receives a mulligan from me on their first try. They might not have delivered this time, but this one might be more on Allingham and company rather than the Burn. So here’s to hoping my next pick from the Chemical stack will contain a better experience.


TRAILER:






RATING: 

WARNING! YOU HAVE ANGERED THE CREEPER SANTA!

1 out of 5 Creeper Santas


















IF YOU MUST BUY IT:




Monday, May 23, 2011

See Bret "Hitman" Hart Make (Really Bad) Cunnilingus Jokes on TV

No I'm not joking. The original Hart Foundation, consisting of Bret "Hitman" Hart and Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart along with manager Jimmy Hart, were contestants on a faux dating game show on an old 1986 TV wrestling program. I won't Bret's joke, but I will warn you to get a barf bag ready.


Friday, May 20, 2011

The Man-Cave Fridays presents Larry & Burt's Gut Rot: Episode Six



And so it has come to an end. This is the final episode of the hilarious web series Larry and Burt's Gut Rot by the hilarious indie film making folks at SubProd, but I am sure we will be seeing them back on The Man-Cave in some shape or form soon enough. If you missed last week's episode, click here. I hope you enjoyed this new feature on The Man-Cave and I hope to continue with more Friday night goodies in the coming weeks.


So grab your pizza, get your beer off ice and relax to the final episode of Brett and Jason Butler in...


EPISODE SIX: HAPPY ENDINGS 



Happy Endings from Substance Production on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Death Hunter: Werewolves vs. Vampires (2011)




After being bitten by a werewolf, a man learns to control his new lycan powers so he can rescue his wife from a stable of vampires.


Since I first started this site, only once have I written a review on a film that did not contain a completed listing in the IMDB. That film was The Lights which bored me to tears. Imagine my disposition when I received a screener for Death Hunter: Werewolves vs. Vampires and learned shortly after that it had also contained a barren IMDB listing, with the only credit going to stunt man Chris Swinney. Not a good sign. While the concept of were-beasts scrapping with the undead is definitely not a new concept, it's usually at least worth watching for fun. Hey, it got me through Twilight: New Moon, which film my wife made me sit through. Let’s take a look at Death Hunter

After an opening sequence showcasing a werewolf attack on a camping couple, this film begins with John Croix (Sam McConkey) and his wife Maria (Shari Wiedmann) becoming lost in the desert and ending up at a dive bar right out of From Dusk ‘Til Dawn, except it looked like it filmed in a fire hall or someone's basement, for help. At first, the bartender and patrons come off a bit creepy to the couple, until it is revealed that they are vampires. 

The head vampy Sotreum (Paulino Hemmer) is some extremely handsome rico-suave type, who wants Maria for his eternal pleasure and to hell with John. His horde of voice-reverb bloodsuckers attack the unneeded John, who is able to fend them off and escape into the desert, where is bitten by a werewolf the following night. At this point, John should buy a lottery ticket with the luck he’s having.

Wow that background doesn't look fake as hell...
Thankfully he is saved and injected with some antidote by a desert dweller named Arthur Van Ness (Mike Lawler). The mysterious serum is somehow able to thwart John from becoming a full-fledged savage lycan, yet still retain the supernatural creature’s strengths. Now, Mr. Croix has all of a werewolf’s strengths yet able to maintain his manhood, but is susceptible to silver of course.

Arthur explains to John a deeper meaning behind reason why he saved his life instead of just deep-sixing him. He hoped that John was the prophesied one who could control the powers of the lycan and use them in order to defeat the evils of the desert, both werewolves and vampires. Although John has been forcefully adopted into werewolf bloodline, they are still just as dangerous a foe to him as vampires. Arthur also discloses that his own wife was also kidnapped a long time ago, but he is not physically strong enough to accept the magic serum in his body to fight Sotreum himself.

What's that you got on your face?
Just because John has lycan blood flowing through his veins does not mean he can just get up and start kicking vamp and wolf booty. John must learn to control his powers and prepare himself for battle. It is then that the film turns into an 80’s karate film so to speak, complete with a "training montage", as Arthur trains John how to harness his powers in order to kill the supernatural. His training consists of learning to upgrade standard water into holy water, by developing faith in God, which is useful against both wolves and vamps. The same goes for silver. However, John’s go-to weapon is coating normal weapons with holy water to oust bloodsuckers from the planet. When all is said and done, I hope John’s mortgage is paid up because this training lasts six months. Six months!! For Croix’s sake, I hope these vamps didn’t decide to pack up and head to Germany or this would be all for nothing.

After some werewolves mortally injure Arthur, John realizes that his training is now complete and must now face rico-suave Sotreum to take his woman back. First thing he does is shave himself hairless and arms himself in gear that makes him look like a bootleg version of Blade. This is all very confusing because if he is supposed to be representing a semi-lycan allegiance and hair is symbolic of werewolves, why does he shave it all off? And where did he get the Blade getup at in the middle of the desert? Arthur and Mike eat desert rats for the entire film, so if there is no supermarket out in that desert, I am sure there isn’t an army surplus store out there either.

...neither does this one.
As soon as Mike has begun his journey for a final showdown with the vampire kidnappers, this is where the film completely goes completely schizo. We are treated with an extended scene of teenagers who become stranded and run into John. Mainly used as unneeded comic relief which completely changes the tone of the film, they follow him all of the way to his final battle, adding nothing to the film until the last scene. ??? The characters and that part of the story felt so out of place, delivering comedy in a film that was previously as straight as a 4x4.

Where does one begin in pointing out why this film falls flat on its face? For starters, the editing is atrocious and a majority of the camera angles are extremely tight. Maybe some of the quick cuts and close angles were to mask the film’s budgetary limits? Either way, it is a major distraction. The sets are also awful, the bar in particularly, and the CGI backgrounds are right out of Full Moon’s Arcade. Remember that one? What do you mean, no?!

Bar or Basement? You decide?
As bad as they may seem, those are not even Death Hunter’s main detractors. The main foul is found in the marketing. If you advertise a movie about werewolves versus vampires, especially in the title, make sure that there is at least one scene where those creatures face off against each other. You will never see vampires fight any werewolves in any capacity for the entire duration. The title could not have been talking about the lead character, because he never transforms into an actual lycan. As previously mentioned, John is a hybrid but remains a human who shaves all of the hair off his body, like the guy in Pink Floyd: The Wall, runs really fast, jumps extremely high, and needs to rely on his Blade-like arsenal to eliminate baddies. At least give the man some funky eyes or animal choppers or something wolf-like. Something…anything to make the title fit. It would be like calling a film Shark Frenzy, only it is about killer starfish.

Death Hunter is very derivative, too ambitious for its budget, with horrible effects, and pretty boring. That can be forgiven since it is extremely low budget, but the main problem is Death Hunter: Werewolves vs.Vampires is that there are zero confrontations between werewolves and vampires. All they do is attack humans, and John the outcast hybrid, the whole time. For all we know, the suckers and furballs play on the same team in this universe and only fight over human carcasses.


If you want to see werewolves versus vampires, skip this one and watch Twilight: New Moon. Yes it is that bad. After some research before posting this review, I read the cast and crew are filming an Easy Rider prequel. From spikes to bikes? Ok, I have to see that one!


RATING:

WARNING! YOU HAVE ANGERED THE CREEPER SANTA! 
1 out of  5 Creeper Santas






















But if you must own it:




Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Bucket List: JAWS on Lake Travis





In the great state of Texas, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema team has been screening films in the most unique ways for several years, but none so intriguing than their annual Ultimate JAWS Floating Roadshow over the summer. Ever since I learned about this event a couple years back, I have been trying any and all ways to get out to Texas in the summertime just to be able to watch the 1975 Steven Spielberg blockbuster in an extremely unique and a bit creepy setting.

During this summer event, the Alamo Drafthouse team screens JAWS on a giant floating screen while attendees watch from their inner tubes as they float in the deep and dark Lake Travis. Doesn’t sound too scary, right? That is because I forgot to mention that this is an “interactive experience”, which delivers the creepiness part of the show.

For starters, the film begins at sunset. That’s right, this happens at night, in the dark. Not only are you floating in a deep, oceanic lake, but the whole thing goes down in pitch black.




Besides the fact that you are watching a film that made people afraid of going into the ocean even to this very day, and the fact that you are afloat in the dark, that does not sound too bad, no? Oh I almost forgot. To keep you on your toes, the team has divers who will bump your tube and pull at your floating limbs during certain “key” moments of the film.

And apparently the team has their own JAWS shark of some sort - a giant shark fin that cuts the water throughout all of the floating moviegoers. I think that even the bravest of souls might soil themselves in this circumstance. Add in the fact that recent information proves bull sharks can live and feed in fresh water as well as salt, and this might be the scariest aquatic haunted house ever invented.




Big thanks to Titans Terror & Toys for the pictures they snapped last year's event. Envying people is unhealthy but I can’t help but be jealous that the writers at Titans got to attend one of these. And I believe they got to see The Shark is Still Working during the same evening...which ups the jealousy factor tenfold.

Summer is right around the corner and whenever I think of summer, I think of one of my top all-time favorite films, JAWS. The event in Texas is one of their (if not “the”) most popular shows they have all year. It has gotten so big in fact, that they hold the event on three separate nights. 




What do you all think? Does this rule or drool? Sound like something you would venture to do if you are in Texas? Are you brave enough to accept the challenge?

If you have ever attended any of these showings, please comment here and save no details. And if you are in Texas, I suggest you make the trip to the lake and for a late night frightening swim.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Full Moon Roadshow recap - Armpits are Sexy




This past Saturday, I took a trip to Metuchen, NJ to visit the great Jay Ryan and attend the Full Moon Road Show on its most recent stop. Jay, the power scribe behind The Sexy Armpit, was kind enough to supply me with a ticket that included a special advance screening of Evil Bong 3D: Wrath of Bong. Muchas gracias, mi hermano!

We ventured to Metuchen’s Forum Theatre Arts Center for the eight-hour event, located right off Main Street. The Forum is a small, old time theater, complete with upstairs balcony and seating, that was built for small town plays as opposed to a cinema. I love these little venues, just like the one I have in my backyard of Media, PA. While the venue was chic retro, the marquee listing was about as flattering for Full Moon as telling your own mother that she is a fat, old hag. Look at this huge attention grabber


Horror Fest?! That’s it?! Wow I bet that really helped put asses in the seats.

Since it was scheduled for the length of a typical working day, I was under the impression that this road show was going to be like mini convention. That was not the case, as there were only four small tables of Full Moon merch and screenings of three Full Moon films: Puppet Master 2, Evil Bong 3D: Wrath of Bong and From Beyond.

As you came through the door, the first table on the left was setup for two Full Moon alumni, Charlie Spradling and Barbara Crampton. Apparently Helen Hunt was unavailable and has not heard Kings of Leon’s “Radioactive” - remembering where you came from and all. Crampton has aged very well, citing daily exercise and good nutrition, but Charlie was almost unrecognizable. She looked good, don't get me wrong, but you can tell that she had some work done and underwent a complete makeover. Gone is her short-cut black hair and pale complexion from the glory days, and their replacements are her new long, flowing blonde hair and killer tan. Being a big fan of Barbara, Jay got a picture with these two lovely ladies.


The next table was loaded with all Full Moon DVDs, but nothing I could buy since I already owned them all. There were just a couple of copies of The Haunted Casino with Sid Haig that Jay picked up. Unfortunately, they have yet to release the “Definitive Megan Ward Collection”, but I’m still keeping my hopes alive. Come on - Trancers 2 and 3, Arcade and Crash & Burn...who doesn't love Megan Ward? 

The adjacent table was filled with both Full Moon branded and unbranded merchandise for sale. The one that jumped out at me was The Gingerdead Man Halloween mask. Man would I love to wear that out to a bar for a Halloween party this year. The last table had the usual puppets from Puppet Master on display. 



Finally, there was the ticket counter to but tickets if you had done so ahead of time. This was the counter where you also obtained an official flyer for the event, your 3D glasses, and your scratch-n-sniff card. Remember that Evil Bong 3D was not only shown in 3D but also in Stinkervision!

We skipped the Puppet Master 2 screening and the “road show” segment, as our main attention was to see the advance screening of Evil Bong 3D. As sad as it is to report, EB 3D was pretty awful. This is surprising since I laughed at the utter cheesiness of the original and King Bong, so imagine how disappointed I was. I plan on reviewing this film in more detail some time down the road, but let’s just say that my feelings for the film caused me to leave before the screening of From Beyond


Afterward, we headed to a local bar in walking distance of the theater called NJ’s Tavern. No the NJ does not stand for New Jersey. The staff was great and the place reminded me of a “man cave”, so of course I felt right at home! Just wanted to mention this because of my extreme love for "dive" bars, and I say that with the utmost love", and the special charm this little watering hole maintained in its paneled walls. It was also helped by frosty mugs and an ex-DJ picking out what the jukebox was spitting out.

Hanging out with Jay this weekend was awesome, no question at all, but the road show was not what I was expecting and the film was boring. The absence of Charles Band was unfortunate as I was really looking forward to meeting him. Seeing his picture all over the ads for the show, I assumed he would be there. And you know what they say about when one “assumes” something. Another disappointing factor was the anemic attendance. You could literally count the number of people in the theater...and that made me sad as a Full Moon fan. I blame this on the lack of advertising, the $25 ticket price and the lame marquee - from a local perspective.


In the future, I hope their continued road shows are more engaging than this one. The offerings were nothing different than what I have seen at past Monster-Manias...only less of it. And this was a show totally dedicated to Full Moon! The ticket price was certainly not worth it considering that the merch for sale was pricey and getting pictures with Barbara and Charlie were $20 a pop! Factor in that you did not know that ahead of time and are sprung at the last second to "donate". Then you are "suggested" to pay $20 for a picture with them. Smell what the Rock is cooking? Major turnoff.  

In the end, it was cool to see an advanced screening of a film, because it has been a long time since I have seen one. How long ago? Let's just say the last advances I saw were Dark Water, Cabin Fever and Wrong Turn. It was also fun to throw down some suds at NJs, but more importantly, it was a blast hanging with J-Ryan! Look for some future collaborations between us coming in the near future. In the meantime, always believe...


Monday, May 16, 2011

Charlie Bit My Finger Gets a Horror Makeover

Ever hear of the Charlie Bit Me viral video. The one with the baby that bites his brother's finger, who then overreacts about it? It's horrible...actually it's Rebecca Black horrible. Well I didn't hear about that vid until Friday when I saw Jeff Chan's horror short "inspired" by it. That video is lame...but Chan's rules. 1:46 of adrenaline for you to start the week.

Thanks to Allison of Allison Writes for the heads up!  



Friday, May 13, 2011

The Man-Cave Fridays presents Larry & Burt's Gut Rot: Episode Five

Welcome to the fifth installment of The Man-Cave Fridays! If you missed last week's episode, click here. For the next two weeks, I have partnered with the hilarious indie film making folks at SubProd in order to air their entire web series entitled Larry and Burt's Gut Rot.

So grab your pizza, get your beer off ice and relax to the hilarious works of Brett and Jason Butler in...


EPISODE FIVE: STREET FIGHTIN' MEN


Street Fightin' Men from
Substance Production on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Monsoon & Heenan: The Most Underrated Comedy Team of "Prime Time"!



Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy…there have been many classic comedy pairings throughout the ages that you here about all of the time. What about the ones you tend to forget? Back in the mid-80's, the World Wrestling Federation united an unlikely pair that became instant comedy gold when Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan became hosts of their two-hour Monday night wrestling program Prime Time Wrestling on the USA Network, way before characters were welcomed.

A precursor to Monday Night RAW, Prime Time featured the two co-hosts interacting with each other in between airings of recently televised and untelevised WWF matches. Monsoon was a large, ex-heel wrestler for the company turned commentator while Heenan was the top current heel manager after coming over from the AWA.


These guys contained the right chemistry to succeed in a comedic landscape. On one side, you had Monsoon supporting the “faces” and on the other side, Heenan always sided with the "heels". The formula was simple: Heenan would play the unintentional comedy relief to Monsoon’s straight man. Yes, the formula was simple, but their believable conflicting on-air personalities made it genuinely work. Most times their banter was more entertaining than the matches they were airing that week.

On every episode of Prime Time, Brain would mastermind some silly scheme for he and The Heenan Stable, his group of wrestlers he managed, to get ahead in the Federation. Examples include calling the head of the USA Network to get Monsoon kicked off Prime Time, so he could host it solo or petition “President Jack Tunney" to give one of his wrestlers a title match against then-champ Hulk Hogan.

Week after week, Bobby went off on tangents about how Gorilla was his “guest, not a host” or how he was going to take over the wrestling scene. Monsoon would calmly retaliate by busting his balls or calling him something along the lines of “a piece of garbage” or “a piece of work”. Gorilla always stayed cool by never appearing threatened or ever seeming impressed by any of Brain’s antics, as Heenan spastically complained about one thing or another.

Prime Time was so hot that they eventually received their own set and figures

Besides direct interaction, another winning formula between the two was having Heenan fabricate stories about the good guy wrestlers and Monsoon's gut reactions to these remarks. This was most evident when the duo paired up for commentating duties on syndicated Saturday morning WWF programs. Heenan constantly sang the praises of rule-breaking heels while Gorilla would actually have to yell at the Brain and put him in place.

The classic Monsoon-Heenan recipe was born! Here is an example (thanks to thatguywiththeglasses.com):

(Ultimate Warrior runs to the ring)

Brain: Here comes Captain Schitzo!!



 
Gorilla: Will you stop?



Brain: Why? This guy makes coffee nervous.

They did this routine often - Heenan stated something snarky and then Monsoon delivered his patented "Will You Stop?!" Worked like a charm every time.
Prime Time was so popular at one point, that the Federation would be used establish feuds and continue angles. Sometimes these were entertaining and some were straight-up terrible.

An example of the good is a memorable episode when Terry Taylor, a wrestler who had recently fired Heenan as his manager, was a guest on the program. Monsoon set it up so that Heenan and Taylor would air their grievances and conclude with Brain apologizing. Of course, The Brain had other ideas. He hired The Brooklyn Brawler to do a "pearl harbor job" (a sneak attack) on Taylor, injuring him and knocking out Monsoon in the process. Gorilla lambasted Heenan for weeks after until Taylor got his revenge in a follow up match by beating the living crap out of Bobby. Then, Monsoon basked in the glory of Heenan showing up on Prime Time sporting his trademark neck brace, something he wore in public every time he got roughed up. Here is a rough clip of the attack, which was entertaining from a hilarious, not serious, point-of-view:


A bad example would be the sing-off between Dusty Rhodes and The Honky Tonk Man. I could tell this was an abomination even when I was a little kid watching this mess happen. I will spare you a video of the 1989 debacle, but trust me when I state that it is one of the worst things ever to air on Prime Time Wrestling.

We live in a new world and if Heenan would make some of his usual off-color comments on TV today that he back then, he'd would have either been thrown off WWF TV or fined by the Federation. Especially when it came to pro wrestler Tito Santana. If a Santana match was coming up, you just knew that Heenan was going to fill the air with (tongue-in-cheek) racial stereotype jokes. For example, he had a running joke about Santana’s finishing move, the Flying Forearm. Bobby used to call it either “The Flying Jalapeno” or “The Flying Burrito”! He would also make jokes about the Santana family using every cheap, stereotypical gag in the book, whether it be having 300 members in the Santana home or Tito running a vegetable stand when he was not in the ring. Funny thing is that Tito and Bobby were good friends off-screen.

Here is a classic Santana bash (thanks to thatguywiththeglasses.com):


Brain: Did you know that Tito holds a place in the Guinness Book of World Records?

 
Gorilla: Yeah, for what? 


 
Brain: He picked over 1600 heads of lettuce in a half an hour. 



 
Gorilla: Will you stop?!



(Then during post-match commentary)

 

 
Gorilla: Well, it doesn't look like Tito needs to concern himself with lettuce heads anymore.



 
Brain: Yep - he can move right on to tomatoes.

Oh...Bobby was armed to the gills with these type of insults for the entirety of Santana's matches every time he wrestled on WWF TV. And being a mid-carder in the 80's, that was often. One time he asked "why Tito was like a cue ball?" and his answer was that "the more you strike him, the more English you got out of him." Ruthless, to say the least.

Being an equal insult opportunist, he would even let the southerners have it when he had the chance:


 
Brain: Now THAT'S no way to introduce a man like Hillbilly Jim!! 


 
Gorilla: Well, how would YOU do it, Brain?? 


 
Brain: Ladies and Gentlemen... the HICK FROM MUD LICK, HILLBILLY JIM!!

As you can see, in today's discriminatory-sensitive world where being politically correct is mandatory, Heenan would have be making public apologies every week. However, his ignorant dialogue is what made him the most despised manager in the WWF back then, and why he was given a derogatory moniker by the good guys to mock him, "The Weasel" instead of "The Brain".

In the late 80’s Heenan was replaced by Roddy Piper for a short time in a planned angle, and received the last half-hour of Prime Time for his own talk show. Soon they reunited until 1991, when the format of Prime Time changed with Vince replacing Gorilla, retaining Heenan and having the show shot in front of a live studio audience as an interview show. That is when it went downhill fast and eventually RAW came along to replace it.

On October 6, 1999, Robert James "Gino" Marella, Gorilla Monsoon's real name, passed away due to heart failure brought on by diabetes. Bobby Heenan was working for WCW at the time, and even though Marella never worked for the company, Eric Bischoff allowed Heenan to offer his condolences. 


That is probably the only time Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, broke out of character and became Raymond Louis "Ray" Heenan on camera during a wrestling program. After growing up watching these guys work together week in and week out, watching Heenan tear up while talking about Gorilla is very heart-wrenching. It showed just how close these two guys were and how much they must have had entertaining the world together as much as the fans enjoyed watching them.

During his induction speech at the 2004 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony, Heenan stated, "I wish Monsoon were here." And I am sure if Monsoon was there, he would tell Brain, "Will you stop?"

Marella-Heenan, Monsoon-Heenan...whatever you call them, they made Monday nights so much fun before the advent of the Monday Night Wars. Their comic style was adult in nature, but also clean enough for the kids. So here is a toast to the greatest comic duo in professional wrestling history!

I will leave you with some classic clips of Monsoon-Heenan antics to enjoy:



















Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Final Recap of the VH1 Best Cruise Ever 2




Click to read the Day 1 recap      

Click to read the Day 2 recap


Sadly, the cruise was coming to an end as Day 4 rolled around. Even though that dreadful feeling of everything coming to an end hit us in the gut when we woke up that morning, it did not stop us from making the best of the precious time we had left to party.

Things started out on the wrong foot with the Pop Culture Trivia event. A trivia contest is something I requested in my comment email after last year’s cruise, so I was looking forward to playing ever since I received an email that trivia was on the schedule. Unfortunately, it was disorganized and the only saving grace was the hilarious remarks made by the Yacht Rock Revue, who were on stage playing as well. This is not a knock against Sixthman, but the room was pretty crowded and there were a lot of people interested in playing, so I hope there will be more structure to it for next year. A pop culture trivia contest should not consist of 85% Hip-Hop/R&B questions and if it is scheduled for an hour, please don’t make it only 20 minutes long.


The majority of the day was spent topside on the Lido Deck with Train playing a great show. They sound incredible live especially in that type of setting, which is a lot coming from me since I am not a huge fan. Also playing on the Lido later that day was the very beautiful Colbie Callait, who missed a 2 ½ days of the cruise due to a conflict; performing in NYC for some royal wedding gig.

Speaking of Colbie, I know she is easy in the eyes and a “good person” with her charity work, but considering she did not show up until halfway through the third day of the BCE 2, you’d expect her to make herself consistently available to the fans to make up for time lost. She was heavily promoted as a “headliner”, and this is no fault of Sixthman as her other obligation took precedent, so her going M.I.A. was disrespectful to those that went on the cruise especially to see her. It didn’t really affect me either way since I am indifferent to her, so save the flame comments, but I thought I would mention this since many people expressed these thoughts to me on the cruise that were in fact big fans who were disappointed. Those are the people I feel bad for and just had to mention that. 


Next up was my chance to finally see The Daylights’ entire show on the Promenade. These guys are truly a wonderful indie band with a very unique sound. Some of their songs sound better live than on the CD, which is funny because you would usually say that the other way around, with the CD sounding better than a live performance. I had a great view of the show, met the other band members Ran Jackson and Svend Lerce, and was able to shoot some videos:
  



Before we got ready for the cruise’s final shows, we saw Deck of Jack perform one last time in the Promenade. This time, they were dressed up in red, white and blue to commemorate their show, which was called “Welcome Back to the U.S.” Once again, Jim Shearer had me laughing my ass off. I wish I could have found a video of their song Blow Up the Bin, about his experiences working at McDonalds when he used to pack too much food into those old plastic bins they use to have. Jules and I are still laughing up about that song more than a week later.

Danny from the Script was supposed to join him on stage for a jam, but he disappeared somewhere, so Ben Carey from Lifehouse was supposed to fill in. The concert’s best moment was when Ben headed towards the elevator. Jim stopped mid-song and yelled, “Ben! You’re coming back, right?! No seriously man I need you in a little bit.” Ben acknowledged and Jim went right back into his song without missing a beat. Hil-f’n-larious! Here are some vids:


Speaking of Ben Carey, Jules and I got to meet him and other Lifehouse band member Bryce Soderberg. We also met Mat Kearney, who I cannot say enough wonderful things about.
  




  
This night, May 5, 2011, will always be remembered a very special day to me, as well as many other cruisers, as the night that the report of Osama bin Laden’s execution was released. While we were on the floor waiting for SafetySuit to play their final show, Chad came back from the bar and told us all the news that he saw on CNN by the bar. Halfway through the performance, front man Doug Brown made an announcement about it as well, to roars and cheers of U-S-A, U-S-A! He also commented that his dad was in one of the towers when a plane hit it and he was one of the fortunate ones who made it out alive. That was unexpected for him to share that, but it was a real eye-widener for everyone in the room.
  

Normally these guys play with some high energy, but this one was like injecting a million Monster Energy drinks into their performance after the announcement was made. In turn, the audience fed off that vibration and gave it right back to the band. The final show of the cruise felt like a celebration party so to speak, as one of the most dangerous men in the world, who hated every single one of us just for being born American, ended that night.
  

You know those “Where Were You When…?” questions get asked years down the road about a major event. Well, we cruisers will remember that the night bin Laden was announced dead was during the last night of the Best Cruise Ever 2 with SafetySuit rightfully closing out the cruise.

The only complaint I had with the VH1 Best Cruise Ever would be the security regulations during the Paris Lounge shows. They were pretty strict on flash photography and video recording, giving offenders two warnings to seize and then would confiscate your camera on the third warning. It seemed that every five minutes or so, security waved a flashlight around one of the rows in my line of sight, due to them reprimanding those taking photos and video. For one thing, it was a major distraction when you are trying to enjoy the performances, but for another thing, I guess I am missing the harm in all of it. Sure the flashing can be a bit distracting to the artists, or so we were told, but I am not sure they are really that phased by it, especially with the spotlights shining in their faces on stage. These artists play in front of thousands of flashing lights every night during their other concerts, so why was it a big deal here? Also, where do you think many of these videos are going to end up? That’s right, Youtube. For me, I would think that would be free advertising and non-costly promotional benefit for those who skipped out. Imagine that you had reservations about attending the cruise and decided to hold off this year? Then, you go onto my website or Facebook or any other sites recapping the event, and see some of the performances you missed out on. You would be so upset that you did not make the trip and make sure that you buy a ticket for next year the second they go on sale, so you are not left out in the cold again. Sixthman does not sell any DVDs of any of the concerts, so there is no conflict of interest. And it is not like these videos are a replacement for being there, because nothing beats being at a concert in person. Nothing. You can watch it on Youtube on a little fuzzy screen with muffled sound or you can be there in the flesh only a few rows away from watching your favorite band jam. The winner of those two options is obvious. Again, maybe I am missing something, but these are the thoughts that went through my mind.

On that note, I would love to thank the Sixthman security with the sincerest gratitude for rectifying the biggest drawback of last year. During the Paris Lounge shows on BCE 1, people would cram into all of the rows making it both extremely uncomfortable and obstructing the view to the stage. People lined up for hours before a show in order to secure primo seating and then the next thing you know, people were pushing their way ahead of those concert goers into the rows right as the concerts started. Sardines had more space in their cans. This led to many verbal fights, including one myself, that detracted from the fun. This year, security made boxes out of tape and placed them on the floor, signifying spots. If you were not in one of those boxes, security would tell you to take a hike. Not even the “oh I’m so drunk, I don’t know what’s going on” would fly with them. Hopefully, Sixthman will continue this improvement because it made all the difference in the world.


Let’s wrap this up.

The Good: one bad ass party that last four days, awesome performances, fun theme nights, heavy fan interaction, enforced occupancy in the rows for the Paris Lounge shows, more concerts than you could hope to attend, and booking big bands against each other to avoid overpopulation in the rooms.

The Bad: Security regulations on flash photography and video recording, muffed up trivia (not Sixthman’s fault), Callait going M.I.A. (again, that’s not on Sixthman), and the elimination of beer cards. The latter is also not Sixthman’s fault either, as I assume that was Carnival cruise line’s deal, but it was made up for by the “buckets” you can purchase. This way you could keep your beer on ice for the concerts. So that negative is a ruled a draw.  

As you can see the positives far and beyond outweigh the miniscule negatives. I just had to name the negatives so this did not seem like a biased recap. I had the time of my life and will probably attend next year, money and good health pending. It is something that you should not miss out on either, if you have not taken a Sixthman cruise before and you love music.

But don’t take it from me. Danny from The Script sums it up the best with this video, expressing how he felt the event went… 


Let me offer one last thanks to Sixthman and VH1. Last year, they set the bar for the most rockin’ time at sea and then topped with this effort. Resetting the bar once again for next year’s cruise will be hard to achieve, but with the brilliant minds and staff behind Sixthman heading the show, I am confident they will pull it out again.

One last thanks goes out to all of you readers who endured and (hopefully) enjoyed these recaps over the last week or so.

Make sure to be on the lookout for the VH1 Best Cruise Ever 3 when it is announced. If you want to see more, VH1’s Top 20 Countdown is dedicated to the Best Cruise Ever 2, so you can see more behind the scenes goodies…especially the last segment with Jim Shearer. You will see me, Jules, the Jones sisters and the Orrs signing off the show. I will hold off to post the video of this segment until the Top-20 Countdown re-airs have cycled out.