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Proposed Olympian Opening Ceremony Uniform.

The Entertation Index: July 25-29


Each week KSR’s Funkhouser collects the best of pop culture. The Entertation Index collects the best of the week for your consumption.


3D –– A team of researchers at MIT have allegedly devised a new technology for a completely glasses-free 3D experience in theaters. There’s no name for it so far, but the current working title for it is “a play.”

Link: Cinema 3D with no Glasses? MIT Has Done It

Girls, Gilmore — It’s not my bag but I’d be remiss if I didn’t toss this out there for those of you who enjoyed it, so here’s the trailer for the new Gilmore Girls-on-Netflix trailer. Don’t ask me anything about it, though, because I got nothing. I think one of these ladies was in Bad Santa and the other has some traveling pants of some sort. Anyway, from what I gather this is a big deal.

Link: The Gilmore Girls Netflix Trailer 

Heart Risks, Astronaut — A NASA-affiliated team of physicians and scientists has opened a study to investigate whether our nation’s astronauts who have gone to the moon are at a greater risk for heart and cardiovascular disease. Inside sources say there is a connection, as exposure to that amount of cheese can wreak havoc on the arteries.

Link: Study Asks if Moon Astronauts Got Increased Heart Risks


Showdown, Caraoke — Clearly combining elements from James Corden’s immensely likable “Carpool Karaoke” segments with Cash Cab, Spike TV has announced the mobile game show Caraoke Showdown, where host Craig Robinson will pick people up and then force them to sing, finish song lyrics or act out songs in his back seat. Or, if you just want an obnoxious driver to awkwardly attempt to insert himself into your life, you could just do what everyone else does and call an Uber.

Link: “Caraoke Showdown” Series a Go at Spike

Street, Sesame — According to comments made by one of the actors at a recent press outing and an official statement from Sesame Workshop, the actors who portrayed longtime Sesame Street residents Bob, Gordon and Luis have been fired from the current Sesame Street cast. Even worse, whenever Big Bird wants to talk to one of them now he’ll have to instead dial a number for an overseas call center, which will really cut into the show’s running time.

Link: Sesame Street Fires Bob, Gordon and Luis

Proposed Olympian Opening Ceremony Uniform.

Proposed Olympian Opening Ceremony Uniform.

Uniforms, Olympic Opening Ceremony — Fashion juggernaut Ralph Lauren unveiled the American athletes’ uniforms for the Rio Opening Ceremonies next Friday, which will consist of white denim jeans tapered at the ankles, navy blazers and red, white and blue boat shoes. Designers felt that it was important to both tap into a relaxed look which incorporated our nation’s colors and styles and also to look like a bunch of douchebags.

Link: See Team USA’s Olympic Opening Ceremony Uniforms

Up, Buckle — If you have plans to Cincinnati’s Buckle Up Country Music Festival next weekend, start figuring out something else to do because the even has abruptly been canceled less than two weeks before it takes the stage. Tickets are being fully refunded by festival organizers and jilted would-be attendees who hoped to hear music from Brad Paisley, Tyler Farr, Maddie & Tae, Chase Rice and others are advised to just go literally anywhere else in the entire region at any time.

Link: PromoWest Cancels Buckle Up Country Music Festival in Blue Ash

Little Moments From The Night Of

Little Moments From The Night Of


Little moments are what sell you on HBO’s new mini-series, The Night Of. Written by Richard Price and Steven Zaillian, the show equally relies on smart dialogue, flawless acting and lingering images. As an audience, we’ve heard witty banter and we’ve watched actors come on screen and earn their Emmy nominations but The Night Of includes something more. There is an intentional decision to include visual cues to the audience that linger just a little bit longer than your traditional show.

It’s the little things, the things that seem arbitrary at first, that make The Night Of compelling.

Here are a few of the little things that I’ve noticed that I believe will be useful in solving the mystery of The Night Of.

 * Spoilers ahead *

John Stone’s Eczema 


John Turtorro’s portrayal of John Stone is the most endearing character on the show. The first time his character pulls at your heartstrings is when he pulls out what I thought was a wand. In reality, it is just a stick to help him scratch his skin-afflicted feet. The show is relentless in pointing out Stone’s frustrations with eczema.   It’s possible that there won’t be any payoff with the constant reminder of his disease. The problem is there to show us that Stone can be trusted. He’s just a good guy with a minor flaw. The audience is reminded of this when he saves the cat, jokes with his kid, takes care of his other client and buys a Riker’s-island-care-package for Naz.

The Taxidermied Deer


If your high school English teacher was worth their salt, when you read The Great Gatsby, the eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg are etched in your memory. His faceless eyes watch over the violence. In The Night Of, the taxidermied deer similarly presides over the gory mess. He knows what’s up. Often, the camera will linger on his eyes. What worries me is that those eyes remind me of someone. It took awhile, but that doe-eyed stare reminds me of Naz’s empty stare.   The deer saw what happened.   Does Naz know as well?

The Mother’s Dinner


The moment I knew I would finish all eight episodes of the show was the last scene of the first episode. I do want to know the result of the trial, but I was emotionally invested when I saw Naz’s shoeless father searching for his car in the middle of the street. Each episode has saved a moment to show the parent’s perspective on Naz’s journey through the system. The moment when his mother brought a dish of leftovers to the jail was particularly heart wrenching.   The foil-covered plate is another example of the little moments, the little things that give the show heart.

The Harvard Shirt

Detective Box is perfectly described with this quote, “like all good cops, he does you over inside the rules. He’s a talented oppressor. A subtle beast.” He is also perfectly described with one little moment. When Naz is about to be transported to another cell, Detective Box picks a shirt out of the lost and found for him to wear. Box picks out a weathered Harvard shirt. Giving Naz a shirt is a perfectly decent thing to do, but the subtle beast in him picks out something that will be a signal to the other inmates. A Harvard shirt makes Naz look like an easy target.   As a talented oppressor, Box knows this and acts within the rules accordingly.

In The Night Of objects tell more about the story than the character’s words and expressions. Like a crime scene, there are scattered clues.   I look forward to putting together the pieces with Naz, Detective Box and John Stones eczema ridden feet.

The Best Movie Trailers from Comic-Con

You don’t need to see a trailer to be convinced to go see Suicide Squad. Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn should be more than enough motivation.

Each year nerds flock to San Diego for a mid-summers convention on all things nerd.  You don’t have to be a nerd to enjoy the product.

The pictures of people in CosPlay (a.k.a adults playing dress up) are entertaining, but the best results are the trailers released for upcoming movies.  Superhero movies are usually the big winners, but they’ll sometimes throw you for a loop.  Get the popcorn ready and enjoy the best of what #SDCC16 had to offer.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Harry Potter comes to America with Eddie Redmayne as the protagonist.  To land a guy who’s got back-to-back Best Actor noms is a pretty strong move.  Also starring Colin Ferrell, you don’t need to be a Harry Potter nerd that visits Harry Potter World (a.k.a me) to enjoy this one.

Kong: Skull Island

I’m still pretty pissed they wouldn’t open this ride when I was down at Universal Studios, but I can get over that with some F Bombs from Samuel L. Jackson.  Here’s to hoping Kong’s origin story is dedicated to the memory of Harambe.

Doctor Strange

Superheroes meets Inception.  If Benedict Cumberbatch wasn’t involved, I wouldn’t be interested, but seeing Sherlock in a cape has piqued my interest.

Justice League

I don’t think this is the first Justice League trailer, but it’s pretty neat nonetheless.  I still haven’t gotten around to see Batman vs. Superman, but since I don’t see Superman in this trailer, I’m assuming he lost.  Not a fan of Affleck’s raspy voice, but he’s got a Bruce Wayne that I can appreciate. Regardless, I have a feeling The Flash is going to steal the show.

Wonder Woman

Those who did see Batman vs. Superman told me she was better than either of the title characters.  After watching this trailer, I understand why.

The LEGO Batman Movie

Winner, winner, chicken dinner.  This movie is going to be excellent; satire grown-ups can enjoy with their kids.  I dare you to watch this without smiling.  Besides, if I was Batman, the password to the Batcave would definitely be, “Na na na na na na na BATMAN!”


Prepare Yourself: ’The Little Prince’ Arrives To Netflix On August 5th

Prepare Yourself: ’The Little Prince’ Arrives To Netflix On August 5th



“Here is my secret. It’s quite simple: One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”

On May 23rd, Netflix announced that it had picked up the distribution rights for the latest film adaptation of the well-loved children’s book, The Little Prince.  However, this was no ordinary announcement.  After premiering successfully at the 68th Cannes Film Festival, the 2015 animated film was scheduled to hit the U.S. market in March 2016, but was surprisingly and without explanation dropped by it’s distributor, only to be saved by the popular streaming network.  There have been nearly fifteen TV and film interpretations of the adored classic, and with so much going on, I didn’t want you to miss, what looks like the best iteration yet.  So what makes this newest adaptation so unique, and more importantly will it be able to tame you?


“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.”

Originally published in 1943, The Little Prince, is a charming allegorical tale told from the perspective of a stranded aviator, after his plane crashes in a desert, and his unique eight day encounter with a mysterious and inquisitive boy, a young prince, who has journeyed to Earth far from his home on the tiny asteroid B-612.  This singular book, is widely celebrated as one of the most successful works of literature ever published.  In fact, the book, written by Antoine de Saint-Exupery is so well-loved, it’s been translated into 250 languages or dialects and you’re almost certain to find the novella being prominently displayed or lining the shelves in the children’s section of any bookstore.

It’s easy to see why The Little Prince is so appealing not only to children but also to grown-ups.  On the surface, the book presents a beautiful and poetic narrative which can be easily understood by all ages, juxtaposed alongside quirky, but beautifully watercolored illustrations by the author himself which compliment the written word, and at nearly one hundred pages, it’s quick bedtime reading.  Goodnight!  However, hidden between the words, lies a deep philosophical message, which Saint-Exupery invites readers to reflect upon.  So, what exactly makes The Little Prince so magical and endearing to countless generations?  At its core, the book explores a number of themes including:  truth, exploration, and innocence and how we gain and lose our perspectives at times.  But the main theme, is the one the Little Prince himself learns and teaches the aviator and ultimately all of us, from his time spent with the fox:  looking beneath the surface to see the uniqueness of the things we love and also to cultivate meaningful relationships with those things.  This simple message (if we choose to) allows us to experience the essential things in life such as real love, thus providing meaning to our existence.  Otherwise, we spend our lives lost and alone much like an aviator stranded in a desert.


“All grown-ups were once children…but only few of them remember it.”

Having already premiered overseas, both critics and audiences alike have embraced the adaptation and praised it as a wonderfully animated film with a great message.  Rotten Tomatoes has even given it a 95% rating.  By the looks of it, U.S. audiences both young and old will instantly fall in love with Netflix’s latest offering too for a variety of reasons including:  the animation, an all-star cast and a fresh take on the seventy-two year-old story.  Despite being visually appealing, the real question is will the film capture the novella’s central message?  Anytime you take source material, especially one as recognizable and cherished as The Little Prince, there’s going to be changes, and  this film is no different.  Rather than keeping the film traditional to the book’s storyline, the writers have reinterpreted the celebrated book giving audiences a new twist on an old but relevant tale, particularly in the third act of the film which could leave some book devotees scratching their heads.  Possible spoiler alert coming, be warned.  Let’s start with the obvious, the film, directed by Mark Osborne (Kung Fu Panda) is visually stunning.  The animation is the first thing you notice, and it pops off the screen, crossing back and forth into Pixar-esque CGI for it’s modern storyline and into a paper-mache stylized animation for the flashback/traditional story scenes.


“Growing up is not the problem, forgetting is.”

We see a little girl, voiced by Mackenzie Foy (Interstellar) being groomed to grow up quickly under the loving but overbearing shadow of her overprotective mom played by Rachel McAdams (The Notebook).  Her sheltered and structured world begins to change when she meets and later befriends a neighbor, the aged Aviator, voiced by Jeff Bridges (The Big Lebowski), who ignites her curiosity by sharing the lessons he learned during his time with the Little Prince of asteroid B-612 who is voiced by Riley Osborne, the director’s own son.  The Little Prince leaves his planet and his beloved rose, played by Marion Cotillard (Inception) to understand his place in the world.  In his journey around the universe, he encounters a number of curious individuals who are preoccupied with various so called “important” things including:  The Conceited Man voiced by Ricky Gervais (The Office), The Business Man played by Albert Brooks (Finding Nemo), and The King voiced by Bud Cort (Harold and Maude).  All absorbed with worldly things like:  self-admiration, status, immense wealth, power and even work, rather than life’s essential things such as:  beauty, love and friendship which he learns from the earthly fox voiced by James Franco (Freaks and Geeks).

Readers of the book will recognize the Little Prince’s fateful and symbolic relationship with the riddle speaking Desert Snake voiced by Benicio Del Toro (Usual Suspects).  However, (SPOILER ALERT) aficionados may not remember the film’s biggest plot deviation from the original source material which is the creation of a grown-up Little Prince voiced by Paul Rudd (Ant-Man) who has sadly also forgotten the essential message he learned as a boy.

Despite the changes, it appears that the newest film adaptation of The Little Prince is something to cherish, but prepare yourself for all the feels.  I believe the film will be a success for two reasons.  First, like so many others, the novella has had a profound impact on my life, before and especially after I had children of my own.  Because the book allows you to reconnect with what is essential in life, when sometimes, like many of the characters in the book and film, we lose sight of that.  So anyone who covets the book’s core message, should be excited to reconnect with this latest retelling, in spite of the slight deviations in storyline.  Conversely, those who fall in love with this animated film, but who are unfamiliar with the original tale, may be so emotionally moved, that it causes them to seek out a new relationship with the book (and others) which has served as a guide for generations.  The Little Prince will be waiting for you on Netflix, on August 5th.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I believe someone is cutting onions.


“It is the time you wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”


The Entertation Index: July 18-22

The Entertation Index: July 18-22


Impersonator, Donald Trump — Philadelphian John Di Domenico, a Donald Trump Impersonator since 2004, says that since the businessman has risen to the ranks of political candidate he has begun raking in money for “Trump” appearances, sometimes netting up to $40,000 a month. Great. Now I get to watch this guy’s dreams come true while all those years I’ve spent in front of a mirror perfecting my Jim Gilmore impression means nothing. NOTHING.

Link: After Twelve Years Trump Impersonator is Cashing In

Jagger, Mick –The 72 year-old Rolling Stones frontman has confirmed to press that his girlfriend, a 29 year-old ballerina, is pregnant with the singer’s eighth child. So in case you were wondering, “How’d you come back to my place and meet Keith Richards?” works as a pick up line, it does.

Link: Great-Grandfather Mick Jagger is Expecting his Eighth Child


National Convention, Republican — This week saw the run of the Republican National Convention, which many hailed as being out of touch with young America and saw presidential nominee Donald Trump rolling out his Vice President nominee, Indiana governor Mike Pence. In a move predicted to capture the young voters Trump has forsaken, pundits expect democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to announce next week her own running mate, Jigglypuff.

Link: It’s Official; Mike Pence and Donald Trump on Republican Ticket

Rock, The — During a recent Good Morning America appearance, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson told hosts that he hasn’t ruled out a run for the presidency, stating that if he felt he could “make a real difference and make change,” he would do it. Pundits have already begun denigrating the former wrestler by accusing “the people’s elbow” as being a patently communist finishing move.

Link: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on Potential Future Presidential Run

Top Gun 2 — Fandango delivers a “state of the union” as to the status of a Jerry Bruckheimer-helmed sequel to the 1986 pilot film, and here’s what we know so far: Bruckheimer’s back, Tom Cruise will be back as Maverick, the plot will probably involve drones, Kelly McGillis may cameo and, according a series of phone calls to a “secretary” named Carla that sounded suspiciously like Val Kilmer doing a falsetto voice, Val Kilmer will return as Iceman.

Link: Will We See Top Gun 2? Here’s What We Know


Update, SNL’s Weekend — Fresh from owning every scene of Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters, SNL’s Kate McKinnon appeared at the RNC as Ruth Bader Ginsburg to give Donald Trump a piece of her mind in a fun, special edition Weekend Update Appearance. Enjoy.

Link: Kate McKinnon as Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lets Loose on Donald Trump

World, Super Mario — A Japanese professional video gamer named Hup Chapter has broken the world record for beating the beloved SNES game Super Mario World by blazing through the game blindfolded in an amazing seventeen minutes and forty-six seconds — a time, surprisingly, only eight minutes longer than the record for his longest conversation ever with a girl.

Link: Blindfolded Man Sets New Super Mario Record

Funkhouser’s Offical Forecastle 2016 Report – Saturday, July 16th

Funkhouser’s Offical Forecastle 2016 Report – Saturday, July 16th


Forecastle Festival, in its 14th year of existence, stands to be one of the great music festivals in the country. Rolling Stone has gone as far as calling it “One of the coolest festivals in America.”  Forecastle is not only incredible based upon the musicians that the city of Louisville is able to draw to the riverfront complex, but it also serves to be one of the best representations of Kentucky in festival form.

Everywhere you walk within the enclosed area along the river screams Kentucky.  Upon entering the gates, you’re greeted with the Kentucky For Kentucky/Kentucky Kicks Ass booth, offering their wares branded with “Y’all” and various obscure towns in Kentucky (Rabbit Hash).  There’s the inflatable Forecastle Derby, giant walking Hunter S. Thompson and Colonel Sanders marionettes and booths selling bourbon slushes (Four Roses Yellow Label & Tropical Red Bull… Try it, you’ll love it).

IMG_1038 IMG_1062

So with the atmosphere set for a very (hot) Kentucky weekend, it was time to get the music going on Saturday afternoon.  I arrived to the grounds right around 3:00, which was just enough time to get settled over at the Mast (main) Stage, as Shakey Graves was getting ready to start his set.

Shakey Graves


Of all the acts that I was most looking forward to see, Shakey Graves was right around the top of the list.  Not knowing much about Shakey Graves before listening to The Rattle Hour w/ Tanner Griggs.  His song, Dearly Departed, is probably the one that you have heard most pop up in your Pandora stations if you listen to similar artists.  In the dead heat of the Saturday afternoon, Graves took the stage opening with a bouncy guitar riff to start his song “Roll the Bones”, which set the tone for the remainder of his set.  Shakey Graves’ americana sound garnered great reaction from the crowd who clapped and bounced along with the songs.

When you listen to the first 4-5 songs in the Spotify playlist below, you get a sense of those bouncy lines in the opening parts of the songs.  Shakey Graves was able to get the crowd to sing along to most of the songs he was singing, realizing that he had a following show up at Forecastle. Graves’ set was a great start to the day, because it encouraged the festival goers to have a ton of fun, regardless of how hot it was.

Shakey Graves Forecastle Setlist

After Shakey Graves, we ventured around to try and find some food.  There were approximately 16-20 food vendors located under the overpass of the interstate, along with many other booths scattered among the festival grounds.  In trying to hone in on a single place to eat, along with finding a Reverb water station to refill our water bottles, we heard an intriguing beat coming from the other side of the underpass.  We made our way over to the ‘Ocean Stage’ where we were greeted with the sounds of Danny Brown.

I will be the first to admit that I have never heard of Danny Brown.  I just now listened to his most streamed song on Spotify and I’ve never heard it before.  I know like two rap songs total: Cut It (because it’s hilarious), and a song which I call the Uncle Phil song (which is apparently J. Cole’s – No Role Modelz)  However, I have a penchant for enjoying hip-hop performances in a festival setting.  I’m not really sure why, but it’s fun.  I think if Danny Brown had been the closer, still on the stage under the overpass, but was playing as everyone was headed out from Alabama Shakes, that would have made for an awesome ending to the night.

I bounced back and forth between a couple of stages over the next few hours.  In meeting up with some people, I started hearing a song that I would listen to back in college.  Turns out it was Dark Blue by Jack’s Mannequin. As I got closer to the stage, I found Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness playing on the Boom Stage. McMahon was the lead singer for Something Corporate, along with Jack’s Mannequin.  He played mostly songs from his Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness album, but pieced in songs from Jack’s Mannequin, including Dark Blue, Holiday From Real and Bloodshot.  It was a nice throwback to something I used to listen to 8-9 years ago, and if you closed your eyes, McMahon sounded just as good now as he did back then.

Andrew McMahon’s Forecastle Setlist

Sylvan Esso


After finally connecting with friends after about 4 hours of being at Forecastle (It’s not hard to find people you know, but sometimes hard to find the exact people you’re looking for), we followed them over to Sylvan Esso, whom they were very excited to see.  Let me reiterate, for future trips, the Ocean Stage under the overpass is where some of the coolest acts end up, and Sylvan Esso is included in that list.

Sylvan Esso is a collaboration between Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn in a sort-of “electro-folk pop” act, and they deliver one heck of a show.  I recognized their song “Coffee” from the “Get up, get down” chorus. I find Sylvan Esso hard to describe in their sound, but when I think of the performance it just makes me smile… so I think that is a positive review on the set.  You can’t help but just move and dance during Sylvan Esso’s, especially when they started playing H.S.K.T. (yes, Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes).  Sylvan Esso is in the process of putting together a new album, and played some new songs during their set, which will not appear in the setlist below.  But, if you’re a fan of Sylvan Esso, I can assure you, you’re going to like what is coming out.

Sylvan Esso’s Forecastle Setlist

Alabama Shakes


Photo Credit: Richmond Bramblet – 2016

I’ve been wanting to see Alabama Shakes since they really hit mainstream scene back in 2012-13.  Alabama Shakes should have been the front-runner to win the 2013 Grammy for Best New Artist, but got taken over by the steamroller that was Fun.  So, finding out that the Shakes were going to be in Louisville for Forecastle made this a must attend event for me, and they did not disappoint.

First, the difference between Friday night’s headliner (Avett Brothers) and Alabama Shakes is somewhat apparent in their two different styles.  While the two groups fall under the “americana” category of music, the crowd interaction that you will see varies greatly.  A band like The Avett Brothers is going to bring a show with a lot of band breaks for the crowd to sing lyrics, clap along, etc.  For Alabama Shakes, what we received on Saturday night, was 90 minutes of straight soul.  The tempo of their music is not so that you’re going to get a big crowd to jump up and down and croon with the lyrics, but rather sway in the amazement of the sound that the band is able to produce.

Brittany Howard is INCREDIBLE.  Unless you were right up on stage, you could see people watching the giant screens to either side of the stage to just watch her work.  The vocals she is able to produce, and the way in which she moves her mouth to make that happen is something I’ve never heard or seen before live.  I hope that during this time of Alabama Shakes’ popularity that she gets some major exposure, because there is no singer quite like her, and there might not be another one like her for decades to come.

Alabama Shakes Forecastle Setlist

All in all, despite only attending one day of Forecastle, the event proved to be a mighty success and a great representation of the state of Kentucky.  If you get the opportunity in the future to attend Forecastle, jump at the opportunity, because you will not be disappointed.

Funkhouser Fight Club: RNC Edition

Funkhouser Fight Club: RNC Edition

Funkhouser Fight Club

With the guys bringing us the latest in GOP politics, the spirit of the Republican National Convention has spread to Funkhouser. As the RNC heats up in Cleveland, things are also heating up at the Funkhouser Fight Club.  Entering the fighting pits tonight are two highly acclaimed campaign-based movies: The American President and The Ides of March.  Both movies boast top notch crews and casts and are considered two of the best movies related to politics.  Per Funkhouser Fight Club rules, the fight will last a full five rounds with the winner determined at the end.  My the best movie win.

Round 1: Critical Acclaim

Scoring for Round 1 is based on an average score based on scores from Rotten Tomatoes critic and audience scores, IMDb, MetaCritic, and Letterboxd.  Both movies scored well with critics and moviegoers alike with President pulling in an average of 74 against a 73 for Ides.

Round 1 Winner: The American President

Round 2: Awards 

Round 2 will be based on each movies’ Golden Globe/Academy Award nominations and wins.  The Ides of March netted one Academy Award and four Golden Globe nominations for a total of five points.  The American President got one Academy Award along with five Golden Globe nominations for a total of six points.

Round 2 Winner: The American President

Round 3: Most Realistic

***Spoilers for both movies follow***

Here’s a quick synopsis of both movies.

President: Widower first term president meets and falls for an environmental lobbyist.  They make a deal about passing legislation and political maneuvering and commence with a romantic relationship all while being hounded by the would-be opponent in the next general election.  President forgoes the “politically sound” move to make a move based on love.  Realism rating (out of 5): 3

Ides:  Junior campaign manager gets involved in front-runner nominee’s campaign.  Campaign manager becomes involved with intern, finds out intern has had an affair with the nominee which leads to an abortion and political blackmailing.  The campaign manager uses his info as leverage to become head campaign manager after a series of political moves nearly gets him out of the game completely.  Ultimately the nominee sells the rest of his integrity to ensure that the whole thing doesn’t hurt him in the primary.  Realism rating: 5

Round 3 Winner: Ides of March

Round 4:Most Likely to be Shown at the RNC

Since this is RNC week it’s only fair to give a nod to the one GOP conventioneers would most likely screen at the convention.

Ides of March features a Democratic Presidential nominee whose infidelities and backroom political dealings are so bad that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to secure his nomination.  If Hillary Clinton could be photoshopped into all of George Clooney’s scenes, Trump would basically have a 102 minute attack ad.

The American President features a Democratic President who makes politically questionable decisions based on his relationship with his girlfriend.  While this seems like a movie Republicans would enjoy, it does cast their party in a fairly negative light.  The lone Republican presence in the movie is cast as a ruthless, heartless politician who is willing to destroy the girlfriend’s life for his own political advancement.  Though this may not be shown publicly at the convention I’m sure plenty of GOP politicians would enjoy a private screening.

Round 4 Winner: Ides of March

Round 5: Box Office Success

Ides of March: Total domestic gross: $40.9 million

The American President: Total domestic gross: $60 million

Round 5 Winner: The American President

Funkhouser Fight Club: RNC Edition Winner- The American President

michael douglas


Spoiler Free Review:  Stranger Things

Spoiler Free Review: Stranger Things


Nearly a month ago, I shared my excitement for the nostalgic, sci-fi-horror and Netflix original television series, Stranger Things, here, which I described “as if Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, and John Carpenter had a baby and this show was the result.”  The entire season, eight, hour-long episodes, finally dropped Friday, July 15th, and I spent the entire weekend binge-watching the series. Despite my legitimate enthusiasm, the show didn’t disappoint, however, it’s not without its flaws.  Rest assured this is a spoiler-free review of Stranger Things, discussing what worked, and what may still need to be developed in future episodes.

I’m a sucker for nostalgia.  Apparently, I’m not alone.  The directors of Stranger Things, the twin brother duo, known simply as the Duffer Brothers, share a similar affinity for the films of my generation, the 1980’s.  That era of filmmaking, particularly in the genres of sci-fi, horror and action, was launched by the out-of-this-world success of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.  Because of this, so many subsequent films of the decade (and beyond) tried to capture its cinematic formula to varying degrees.  Stranger Things is the most recent example of this.  The Duffer Brothers paid great attention, and were successful in capturing the look and feel of the 1980’s using many of the key elements of classic 80’s films. Some of those standards used in Stranger Things include, but are not limited to: Troubled, misunderstood, bullied kids, but resourceful mind you, from troubled homes, possibly single-parent households, who are surrounded by deeply flawed adult archetypes with traumatic pasts themselves, living in every day, boring suburbia, aka Anytown, U.S.A. where nothing ever happens, until something BIG happens which tests their values and friendships in their formative years. If you weren’t hooked from the trailer, you will be after the jarring moments of the principal episode.  The writers and directors accomplished what they set out to do:  create something new and exciting while at the same time serve an homage to the beloved decade. They are transparent in that they drew inspiration from the storylines of Stephen King, the wonderment of a Spielberg type film, along with the monstrous horrors captured in so many memorable Carpenter films.  In fact, “the show’s writers all watched (or re-watched) a large list of films including: E.T., The Goonies, The Thing, and A Nightmare on Elm Street” before developing the series.

Despite the successful effort, some audiences may find that Stranger Things seems all too familiar.  While I believe following a successful blueprint is clearly one of the show’s greatest strengths, it can also be seen as its biggest weakness.  If the mysterious show is to blossom, it will need to carve out its existence in a sea of other binge-worthy programming.  If it doesn’t it could suffer the same fate as other exciting shows which burned out too quickly, such as the cult-classic, Twin Peaks, which only lasted two seasons Writers will need to spend more time on answering lingering problems with some of its characters and story arcs, as well as its pacing.  What good is a puzzle if it cannot ever be solved?

At the end of the day, after watching Stranger Things, I’m left with more questions than answers.  Regardless, one thing is for certain:  I want more.

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BBN Takes Louisville’s Forecastle Music Festival

UK fans were hard to miss at Forecastle, especially the ones waving large flags.

Forecastle, the music festival held at Louisville’s Waterfront Park, happened this weekend. And yes, even in the heart of Cardinal Country, blue gets in. 

Before Danny Brown’s set started Saturday afternoon, one group started a C-A-T-S chant.

There were hundreds of people attempting to stay cool by the water reservoir, this UK fan included:

There were jerseys… lots of jerseys:

photo via Mary Caroline Farah

photo via Mary Caroline Farah


Another festival-goer brought out a throwback jersey, Rajon Rondo during his Boston Celtics days:



But the coolest spotted member of the BBN had to be the guy waving his UK flag during Big Gigantic’s entire set:

Overall, it was a great weekend of music, food and UK fans.

Five Can’t-Miss Forecastle Festival Acts

From Forecastle 2013, via moon_taxi | IG

From Forecastle 2013, via moon_taxi | IG

The state’s preeminent music festival is this weekend at Louisville’s Waterfront Park.  One of my favorite times of the year, this year’s lineup features two of my favorite bands that always bring the heat when they take the stage.  Here are some shows that I won’t be missing and you shouldn’t either.

5. Danny Brown — Saturday, Ocean Stage, 4:15

You have to be in a certain mood to enjoy Brown’s hip-hop, but I’ve heard only good things about his live performances.  He’ll surprise you more than any other that takes the stage this weekend.

Song Suggestions

  • Grown Up
  • Dip
  • Kush Coma
  • Dope Song

4. The Arcs — Saturday, Mast Stage, 5:15

If you like The Black Keys, you’re in luck.  The Black Keys’ lead guitarist and vocalist, Dan Auerbach, took a break from his brother to form The Arcs.  They share a similar sound, but with more players in the band, there’s more going on.  After headlining the show in 2013, Auerbach’s role will be different, but it will still rock.

Song Suggestions 

  • Outta My Mind
  • Put a Flower in Your Bocket
  • Pistol Made of Bones

3.  Avett Brothers — Friday, Mast Stage, 9:30

You can call it folk, you can call it twang, but no matter how you describe their music you better call it “good.”  Seth and Scott Avett bring a variety of sounds to the stage, from hard rock and screeching screams, to soft, sweet string lullabies.  Always a good time, this show will be more unique than previous performances because it will be one of the first concerts since they debuted their new album “True Sadness.”

Song Suggestions

  • Murder in the City
  • Satan Pulls the Strings
  • Smithsonian
  • Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise
  • Talk on Indolence
  • Their Third Live Album, just all of it

2.  Moon Taxi — Friday, Boom Stage 6:30

“The Best Band in All the Land” is how I would describe them.  After I saw them on Halloween 2013 at Cosmic Charlie’s, I didn’t miss them when they came into town, seeing them six times until I pressed pause before they dropped their new album, “Daybreaker.”

Trevor Terndrup is a spectacular vocalist, hitting high notes and cranking out head-banging solos.  Whenever they played into “Blinded by the Light” during the “Whiskey Sunset” solo, I lost my shit.  This will be the first time I get to hear them play their new stuff, and it goes without saying that I’m geeking just thinking about it.

Song Suggestions

  • Whiskey Sunsets
  • River Water
  • Make Your Mind Up
  • Southern Trance
  • Red Hot Lights
  • Who’s to Say?
  • Mercury

1.  Alabama Shakes — Saturday, Mast Stage, 9:30

Saturday’s headliners are the most popular “hipster” band in America.  Even if you’re somebody stuck listening to Top 40 music, you still probably know the Alabama Shakes and their powerful, polka-dot wearing lead singer, Brittney Howard.  The girl’s pipes convey emotion like few before her.  They bring a funk that’s enjoyable for all.

Song Suggestions

  • I Ain’t the Same
  • Sound and Color
  • Give Me All Your Love
  • Hang Loose
  • Hold On
  • I Found You
  • Be Mine

Honorable Mentions

  • The Local Natives
  • Gary Clarke Jr.
  • Pokey LaFarge
  • Big Gigantic
  • Baauer
  • Ryan Adams

You Should Be Watching: WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic

You Should Be Watching: WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic


Despite not winning the Monday Night Wars in the late 90s, early 2000’s, there were a lot of things that World Championship Wrestling did correctly.  To be fair, there were a lot of things that WCW did horribly incorrectly, but early on, WCW was the place to be.  What drew me early on to WCW was the world of the cruiserweight wrestlers.  Doing gymnastics as a kid, watching wrestlers like Rey Mysterio Jr., Eddie Guerrero, Psychosis, I thought they were doing some of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen.  Then throw in the likes of Dean Malenko, Chavo Guerrero, Chris Jericho and others, you had some of the most technical wrestling that was ever available on Television.

Fast forward to 2016 where Triple H is leading the charge in WWE to produce just as (if not more) exciting wrestling on the WWE Network.  He started first with NXT, WWE’s developmental program, where stars like Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Finn Balor, Neville, Shinsuke Nakamura, among others, have put on the most incredible wrestling performances in recent memory on WWE branded programming.  And now, debuting last night, July 13th, Triple H and WWE Network brought to the world the WWE Cruiserweight Classic.

The CWC brings together 32 of the best cruiserweight wrestlers from across the globe, representing 16 countries.  It is to be noted that almost none of these wrestlers are under exclusive contract to WWE, which makes this event even more special.  These cruiserweights are essentially on loan from their home promotions, which allows their home companies from around the world to get even more exposure as well.  This is pretty much a win-win situation for everyone involved.  The program has a different feel than anything that is currently on WWE Television.  The graphics resemble a 1990’s SNES/Genesis video game like Street Fighter.  The commentary is provided superbly by Daniel Bryan and Mauro Ranallo, who both have great knowledge of these performers and what they can do.

Cruiserweight Wrestlers To Watch
(Other than “all of them”)

Zack Sabre Jr

Courtesy: WWE

Zack Sabre Jr.

Zack Sabre Jr. might be, if not is, the best technical wrestler in the world today. Billed as “The Technical Wizard”, Sabre’s matches are like watching someone put on a clinic in professional wrestling, able to go in and out of submission holds with grace and ease.  Sabre has a notable list of accolades, including being the PWG Battle of Los Angeles winner (2015), the 2016 wXw 16 Carat Gold Tournament winner, and two-time Pro Wrestling NOAH GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion.  If anyone in this tournament should be considered the odds-on favorite, it’s Zack Sabre Jr.


Courtesy: WWE

Kota Ibushi

If this Tournament is not set up to make Zack Sabre Jr. a star, it’s to further rise the popularity of Japanese wrestler Kota Ibushi.  Ibushi has been a big name in Japan for almost 10 years now.  He has wrestled for New Japan Pro Wrestling, DDT Pro-Wrestling, while also making appearances in places like Chikara.  He is a three time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion, Best of the Super Juniors 2011 Champion and 2009 Chikara Rey de Voladores Champion.  Kota Ibushi is such an incredible wrestler that he could even make a rag doll look like a million bucks.  No, seriously…


Courtesy: WWE

Johnny Gargano

Johnny Gargano is the Bees Knees, the Cat’s Pajamas, The Whole She-Bang, All-Heart, Cleveland’s own Johnny Wrestling.  I’ve seen Gargano live on a number of occasions and he is just a fun wrestler to watch. He’s also a big super nerd, openly loving Disney World, Boy Meets World, among other things. Gargano always seems to be having a good time in the ring.  Gargano is a decorated wrestler as well, holding the Dragon Gate USA Open the Freedom Gate Championship on two occasions for a combined 1005 days, the only two time champion.  He was also a two-time Chikara Campeonatos de Parejas (Tag Team Champion) with the “Kentucky Gentleman” Chuck Taylor.  Oh, and part of the most adorable wrestling couple:

The WWE Cruiserweight Classic airs on the WWE Network on Wednesday Nights at 9PM, immediately following NXT.

An American’s Guide To The Great British Baking Show

An American’s Guide To The Great British Baking Show



In true American fashion, I just assumed that the USA was the best at reality television. I knew that the Brits had cornered the market on entertainment involving wizardry and corsets, but I thought we had the upper hand in regards to “unscripted” TV.   Like Paul Revere, I’m here to warn you that the British are coming and all they want is to bring us biscuits and adorable judges.   The Great British Baking Show is the most charming show on TV.   There are some parts that are jarring to viewers on this side of the pond, but the initial shock wears off quickly.

The Great British Baking Show is a competition where amateur bakers compete to be crowned “star baker.” That’s it. There isn’t a cash prize.   There isn’t a new kitchen provided by Saran Wrap™. It is all for the love of the bake. Contestants have regular jobs as prison wardens, teachers and fitness fanatics. Each week, they are challenged to create a perfect example of a different type of baking. It is an insanely delightful show.

With that in mind, let’s get some American Frequently Asked Questions out of the way, so you can get a comfortable seat on the TGBBS bandwagon.

Q: Why aren’t the judges berating the contestants?

Typically, this is many Americans first reaction when watching the show. Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood (which could double as porn names) are notoriously constructive and kind in their critiques. The best example of their thoughtfulness is when Mary Berry begins all of her commentary with the phrase, “For me…” Which implies her opinion may be different than yours, but she respects you point of view.

Unlike some judges…20160712_211427

Q: There is something different about these contestants that I can’t quite put my finger on.

That isn’t a question, but I’ll still help you answer it. The bakers are all amateurs so if the bakes don’t turn out correctly, their whole world isn’t ruined. The contestants help out other competitors if they are in trouble.  They are decent to each other and for most reality shows this is a novel idea.

Since the contestants have a week to prepare for the next challenge, they often bring heirloom plates, handcrafted pots or their own inventions that will give them an advantage during their preparations. This is the most endearing thing about the contestants. I love seeing a pitifully made clay pot that will serve as a vessel for 36 biscotti.

Q: Why are there two hosts? Is that necessary?

Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc are most definitely necessary. Sure, their infinite variations of “on your mark…. get set…. BAAAAKE” can be painful, but they add a wonderfully playful quality to the show. Mel is there to remind contestants that “it’s just a cake” when the mousse oozes out the side of a pan. Sue is there to accidently squash the bowl that a contestant spent a whole hour creating. They are like have two rambunctious toddlers in the kitchen. Who wouldn’t want that!?

Q: Where does the “Technical Challenge” rank in the list of the best reality show segments?

One. Obviously.

During the technical challenge, all of the contestants are given the same recipe and ingredients and are instructed to create the perfect version of that item.   There are a lot of quiet moments spent reading and re-reading the recipe. The magic comes when the bakers begin pulling their bakes out of their oven doors of the future with their pot-holder scarves. When twelve competent people try to make the same thing, but different interpretations of the directions veer them off course, the magic lies in all the diverse outcomes. The bakers line their bakes up on the “gingham alter” and, all of the sudden, viewers are able to see just how much can go wrong in a simple recipe. The slight variations show just how perfect the perfected bake actually is. It is a moment that no reality show has come close to replicating.

Q: What’s the over-under of shows before Mary Berry breaks her tooth on an overcooked biscuit?


Q: Even though each episode is shot over two days why do the contestants WEAR THE SAME CLOTHES EACH DAY?

I have no clue. It must be a British thing.

Q: What’s your favorite quote from the series?

“My rosemary is vindicated.” Someone needs to print that on a shirt. Stat.

Q: If the show is about making “perfect bakes” then why is there a raspberry missing on the cake in the opening title card?

Your guess is as good as mine and that picture frustrates me every time I watch it.



Review: Ghostbusters

Review: Ghostbusters


Reviewing 2016’s Ghostbusters reboot is a dicey proposition for a writer; after all, never has there been a summer popcorn movie so pre-packaged with a discussion on gender politics and the potential “implosion” of a beloved franchise. I’d like to address those issues up front, just to get them out of the way.

First, forget the noise on the gender-flipping recasting – the truth is that new Ghostbusters has a comic pedigree nearly as solid as its original. Director Paul Feig (who, in addition to Bridesmaids and Spy, I’d argue created one of the best studio comedies of the last five years in 2013’s The Heat) has quarried an impressive quartet in Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, all seasoned and proven comedy vets who boast a remarkable level of almost instant chemistry together. As a team, they click. If you still really care that much whether they’re men or women, well, I can’t help you.

Second, let’s address the bigger elephant in the room: that Feig’s Ghostbusters cannot escape the larger shadow of the original. I’m sorry, but it simply can’t. As a reviewer, I steeled myself going in, trying my hardest to divorce the reincarnation from its forefather, but it’s nearly impossible. I understand the argument that we’re all supposed to look at this film as its own new beast, but you simply can’t ask that of an audience for whom Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters has existed as a timeless, near-perfect comedy for nearly forty years – and in many ways it’s not fair to ask an audience to do that. I regret to inform you that if you are a person who really loves Ghostbusters you will constantly have the original in mind while watching the reboot. This, trust me, is a non-arguable fact.

It doesn’t help matters much that Feig doesn’t seem to want us to forget that a widely-adored original text still exists. Everywhere one turns in his Ghostbusters is a nod or wink to its predecessor, which keeps you reminded of it for the duration of the film. This is fun and clever, at first, but after a time you begin to wish Feig – a comedy director who doesn’t need to rely on these gimmicks – would just toss the references and create a universe of his own. These intermittent signposts of the past detract from our being able to go all in for a new story.

But I know what you’re here to find out – Does it work?

Again, a tricky question. But the short answer is this: Some of it does, and some of it is an unruly mess.


What works, largely, occurs in the first half of the film and highlights Feig’s great gift for writing snappy, funny dialogue and setting up verbal punchlines. McCarthy and Wiig click well together – Wiig largely playing the straight woman while McCarthy tosses perfectly-timed bon mots all over the place – and Leslie Jones doesn’t offer much of a different character than you’ve seen her play week in and week out on Saturday Night Live. For my money it’s McKinnon, currently bringing a level of almost Farley-esque re-invigoration to the SNL cast, who winds up nearly running away with the proceedings as the lunatic lab rat Holtzmann (it should be noted that Feig wisely avoided similar personalities to the original and instead created amalgams of the original ‘Busters).

Along the way bit-parters abound; Andy Garcia and The Tonight Show’s Steve Higgins both do well here while SNL’s Cecily Strong widely overplays her character as a haughty city PR exec. Nearly all the original Ghostbusters crew shows up in new roles as well, Bill Murray’s feeling too forced into the story while Ernie Hudson’s seems most organic. SNL writer Neil Casey, as the film’s villain, doesn’t make much of a dent though Chris Hemsworth seems like he’s having a fun time as the team’s dim-witted receptionist. If it sounds like there’s a lot being thrown at the wall here, you’re probably right.


The major problem here lies in the fact that despite impressive ghost effects and snappy banter (though there are a few too many let’s do this-es and light ‘em ups!), Feig doesn’t seem to know where to take the story outside of emulating the original’s “all hell breaks loose” climax. You know how the story goes, you’ve seen Ghostbusters before – they fight some ghosts, something more evil is afoot, no one believes them until the city’s in grave danger – as the film ticks along until the last thirty minutes. Oh, those last thirty minutes.

Without spoiling too much, I can pretty much assure you that no matter what the level of fun you’ve had thus far has been, you will almost cringe your way through the final act, which features everything from ghost pilgrims to ghost parade float balloons to Slimer driving around in a car with his girlfriend. Yes, really. And that’s kind of a shame, because what so far has been perfectly fine, fun summer fare becomes something that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and just feels like “this is how a summer action movie is supposed to end.”

Is Ghostbusters fun? Sure, it’s pretty fun, even if it’s far from great. It’s not hurting anyone and it certainly doesn’t deserve to be despised. There’s a lot to like. But it ends up being such a mixed bag that there you’ll undboubtedly experience both sides of the coin, which makes it tough to recommend. Look, if you’re a Ghostbusters fan, you owe it to yourself to at least check it out – and if you are, I know you will, at least outside of its theater run – and the movie will make a ton of money and it’s already got tendrils into a sequel. That’s okay and, let’s face it, predictable. Let’s just hope that now Feig has gotten all the sturm und drang of conquering a reboot out of the way, the next go-round he can spend a little more time doing what he wants to do, what he does best, and not as much of what he feels obligated to do.

Ready, Set, Go!

Ready, Set, Go!

pokemon go

By now you’ve surely heard of the latest craze sweeping the nation.  Pokémon Go has taken over.  Nick Roush documented the craze at SEC Media Days here.  People of all shapes, sizes, and colors have been huddling together in small groups with cell phones out looking for the creatures.  Even Tim Duncan’s retirement was influenced by Pokémon Go.  When asked why he was calling it quits now, Duncan reportedly replied “I’ve done everything in the NBA.  Now I want to catch ’em all.”  The part of the game which is getting the most attention is that it promotes being active by requiring players to physically go to locations to capture and manage Pokémon.

Pokémon Go is a location-based cell phone game based on the wildly popular regular Pokémon you already know about.  It’s like geocaching or  a scavenger hunt where the item you’re searching for is a character from the Pokémon universe.  Thanks to GPS and smart phones, the Pokémon Go app maps out wherever you are and as you move through the world you discover Pokémon living right in your neighborhood or town.  When you come across the Pokémon you simply flick your phone to toss a Poké Ball and capture it.  The big deal is that there are 151 different Pokémon and like the Big Fundamental, you gotta catch ’em all.

Now, the game doesn’t end once you capture the Pokémon; rather, that’s when it begins.  After you’ve roamed the world, capturing these creatures like a 17th century British imperialist, you must train and evolve your Pokémon.  To do this you have to take your Pokémon to a gym, which you can find on your GPS map.  Once your Pokémon has been trained and evolved (Pokémon slang for upgraded) they become stronger and you can battle in the gym against other Pokémon.

During this whole time of collecting and training, the player is moving around the great outdoors. Get a group of Pokémon-playing friends together and head out for some searching.  You know, taking the dog or kids for a walk is a lot more fun when you’re searching for Pokémon. Dread going on that run?  Why not make a game of it and chase some Pokémon while chasing your dreams. My Fitbit stats have seen a marked improvement since the game’s release.  Of course, searching for Pokémon isn’t always a good time.  As with any hunt, maybe you aren’t finding the Pokémon you’re looking for.  Perhaps the game is getting in the way of your job or school.  Maybe this is your Facebook status.


There are definitely some ways the game can improve.  Pokémon Go is still kind of a bare bones game.  The battle system has some room for growth and the ability to link up with friends on the game itself would be nice too.  There have also been some buggy issues with the app, but that’s to be expected with a new game.

Overall my experience has been very positive.  I wasn’t a Pokémon fan until this game came out.  Despite having no real understanding of the Pokémon universe outside what I’ve absorbed through my friends’ experiences, I did not feel the game was exclusive.  In fact I was really surprised at how easy it was to pick up.  Perhaps the best part of the game is how inclusive it actually is.  There’s just something nice about seeing groups of people positively interacting with each other.  Whether it’s a group of friends or just random strangers who showed up at the same place looking for a Pokémon, Pokémon Go may just be the healing salve people need these days.  Then again, this could just be a big government conspiracy to track everybody.   ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Dear Hollywood:  Audiences are Ready for a Bob Ross Feature Film (or Five)

Dear Hollywood: Audiences are Ready for a Bob Ross Feature Film (or Five)


Hollywood your love affair with painters is nothing new.  There have been several films produced over the years celebrating a handful of noteworthy, so called “elite” artists for their creations as well as their historical influence on popular culture.  Take Vincent Van Gogh for example, as one of the most beloved artists of all-time, filmmakers remain starry-eyed with the post-impressionist painter thus documenting his short but colorful life more than any other artist with four feature films, including the lauded bio, Lust for Life (1956) starring Kirk Douglas.

Surprisingly, filmmakers have likewise featured Spanish artist, Francisco Goya in four movies, (maybe more, if you’re counting foreign films) the most memorable being Goya’s Ghosts, starring Stellan Skarsgard as the acclaimed painter as well as actors Javier Bardem and Natalie Portman.

Although Pablo Picasso is a name synonymous with artistic greatness in art or other creative endeavors, this prolific artist and pop-culture phenomenon of the twentieth century only has two films, the most impressive being the perennial Surviving Picasso (1996) starring Anthony Hopkins, as the cruel, but charismatic, larger-than-life artist.

The 1980’s neo-expressionist, graffiti artist and one-time Warhol collaborator, Jean-Michel Basquiat is tied with Picasso with two films, including, Basquiat (1996) starring an all-star cast featuring:  Jeffrey Wright, Benicio del Toro, Gary Oldman and David Bowie as Andy Warhol.

Then there’s a hodgepodge of other notable films thereafter such as:  The Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003), appertaining to Dutch master, Johannes Vermeer, Pollock (2000), about the life of abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock, Frida (2002), celebrating the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, and Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010) a documentary concerning the elusive, underground graffiti-artist and political activist, Banksy, which are worth mentioning.

All the same, there’s one preeminent painter missing Hollywood, and I’m not happy about it!


“Happy Little Mountains and Pleasant Hills Where Snow Lives” by Bob Ross

July 4th marked the twenty-first anniversary of the death of Bob Ross, one of the most beloved painters the world has ever known.  Ross is a treasured icon.  More than any other artist, he exposed painting to millions of latchkey kids through his mesmerizing television series, The Joy of Painting, which aired on PBS from 1983 to 1994.  His lesser known show Beauty is Everywhere is currently streaming on Netflix.  Known for his expeditious “alla-prima” technique, he created nearly 30,000 paintings in his lifetime, hundreds of which were immortalized in his television show.  His art featured: majestic, snow-capped mountains, fluffy clouds, and happy little trees.  While audiences fondly remember his serene landscapes and his proclivity for using a fan brush, they also appreciate his gentle demeanor and love for nature and particularly small rodents.  Like Warhol, Bob Ross had a trademark look:  the unmistakable, frizzy afro, scraggly beard, the unbuttoned dress shirt, and tight denim jeans.  However, it’s Ross’ zen-like message about art, creativity and humanity, that audiences remember most.  It’s been said that “the majority of people who watch Bob Ross, have no interest in painting.”  There’s some truth to that, because were his paintings any good?  Art critics argue, no.  But many others disagree.  They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and if you connect with Ross’ message or work, then isn’t that of lasting permanence?  And wasn’t that his lesson all along?  Which begs the question, what makes Van Gogh, Picasso, or any other aforementioned artist “better” than Bob Ross?  Regardless of which side you’re on, there’s no denying Bob Ross is one of the greatest pop-culture icons of the twenty-first century.  With that said, do you know how many films have been made about Bob Ross?  Zero.  That’s right, nada!  There’s never been a better time to start a new genre of Bob Ross inspired films.  So, since we have a blank canvas, I have 5 Bob Ross inspired film ideas, that I’m ready to discuss with you Hollywood.

Pixar, sure you’ve made some fantastic films about:  cars, toys, fish, monsters and rats, but stop playing with our emotions and get your writers to see the forest through the trees.  I envision a parent lost to a forest fire, but remember everyone loves happy endings.


Photo by Matthew Mahone

It turns out you do have to suffer for your art, at least when you get trapped in Bob Ross’ basement, where all his paintings were made.  Let’s push the envelope and make a trademark Tarantino style film.  I can’t wait to hear the soundtrack.


Photo by Matthew Mahone

Everyone loves a good romantic comedy, but casting is key.  You’ll want to make a film that is funny, but profoundly heartwarming.  It’s been said that Pitt, “uses his star power to get people to look to where the light doesn’t usually shine” and that’s just what a Bob Ross movie needs.


Photo by Matthew Mahone

No animals would be harmed in the making of this surreal film.


Photo by Matthew Mahone

Christoph Waltz stars as Bob Ross, who gives the outward appearance as a gentle soul, but in reality, he was a manipulative sociopath.  How else can you explain the fact that there were no humans in his paintings and all his friends were trees?


Photo by Matthew Mahone

It was Ross himself who said, “The secret to doing anything is believing that you can do it. Anything that you believe you can do strong enough, you can do.  Anything.  As long as you believe.”  Do you believe Hollywood?  You know where to find me, my number hasn’t changed.