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Hacking for Dummies: The Funniest Computer Hacking Movie Moments of the 80s and 90s

(Warning: The videos in this post contain language that’s NSFW unless your boss is a big fan of movies from the 80s and 90s that featured computers and swear words.)

Look, I’m going to be really honest with you right now. I have never hacked a computer. Not once. Not to change my friends’ grades after bombing a test in high school. Not in a covert attempt to access secret government files. Not even to upload a virus into the central nervous system of a strange race of alien beings hell-bent on destroying mankind. And the reason I admit that fact to you here, on the internet, is to tell you that, although I’ve never personally participated in the hacking of any sort of electronic system or device, I’m pretty confident that no movie ever made has portrayed computer hacking accurately. This 90s Computer Hacking Supercut by the team over at FoundItemClothing does a pretty great job of collecting some of the worst offenders for your viewing pleasure.

There are some real gems here, including Jean-Claude Van Damme getting the digital finger in Universal Soldier: The Return, Keanu Reeves navigating the world of virtual reality to manipulate some weird triangle puzzle in Johnny Mnemonic, a young Angelina Jolie calling in the killshot to her group of electronic troublemakers in Hackers, and, of course, multiple appearances by the best/worst tech movie of all time, The Lawnmower Man. I’m sure real computer hacking isn’t very visually exciting, so it makes sense that filmmakers have spent the last several decades trying to find an entertaining way to depict digital maneuvering onscreen. But, man, do they really make it look silly and ridiculous.

If watching actors furrow their brows at compeer screens and randomly slap their hands against keyboards is your cup of tea, here’s more Hollywood hacking goodness, this time courtesy of some of the greatest movies of 1980s (the highlight of which is Weird Science‘s Wyatt and Gary using the “Crypto-Smasher v 3.10″ to hack into the local power grid):

Personally, I can’t wait for the 2000s hacking super cut, if only because it will contain what might be the most ridiculous scene in movie history – Hugh Jackman’s hacking montage in 2001’s Swordfish (seriously, has anyone ever looked more absurd while pretending to type?!):

 

@TheSEShepherd

 

 


The Babadook Review — You Can’t Get Rid of Him

The Babadook Review — You Can’t Get Rid of Him

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Babadook DOOK DOOOOOOK.

HELL. NAW.

After watching The Babadook with your significant other or friend (friendzone), you will undoubtedly be screeching BABADOOK in a loud and guttural voice that will terrorize those who have seen the film, and annoy those who haven’t. It sounds quite similar to the woman in the smoking cessation commercial. You know the one I’m talking about.

So have fun with that!

It’s no longer October, but I suggest that you make time for a new Thanksgiving tradition in your family as November 28, the Australian indie horror flick is finally available on VOD. The long wait is over!!

I got a special screening (courtesy of myself), and the film defied even my overly inflated expectations.

The story centers around a widower of seven years, Amelia, struggling to raise her troubled young son, Samuel, very much on her own.

Young, pallid, somewhat cute Samuel has an overly active imagination, checking in the closet and bed every night for monsters and taking advanced homemade weaponry to school to use against them, of which school officials are not particularly fond. (The weapons and Samuel that is.) His proclivity for violence and temper tantrums leads to young Samuel’s indefinite suspension from school while Amelia tries to figure out what to do with him.

A caretaker in a nursing home, Amelia is #foreveralone and forever taking care of someone other than herself, and with only her sister still willing to talk to her and Samuel (but not come to her creepy, giant old house); Amelia’s life is not picturesque. Her frustrations with other “desperate” housewives are emblemized when she goes ballistic on a neighborhood mother for complaining about her gym and charity work being so damn difficult.

babadook

What drove this mild-mannered woman to commit social suicide? You thought I forgot about Mr. Babadook had you? I have not. It was him.

Samuel pulls this mysterious red book off the shelf for his mother to read him to sleep, and if I’ve learned anything from watching films, it’s don’t read that unknown book. And NEVER aloud! Haven’t you seen The Evil Dead, Amelia??!!

“If it’s in a word or it’s in a look, you can’t get rid of the Babadook.” Sounds like your typical children’s popup book actually. Carry on.

After traumatizing her child and herself further with a children’s book, things go from just bad to badder.

The film has plenty of jumpy moments in which you may find yourself shrieking at the sight or potential sight of the Babadook in his top-hatted glory, but the building tension to the inevitable–a mother lashing out at her own child, is what is truly horrific.

While both classically phantasmic and anchored by a classic creepy kid trope, watching Amelia’s lonely descent fills you with both extreme pity and fear. Suffering from insomnia, migraines, and a constant jaw popping that made me want to remove my own jaw, she is not even holding on by a thread.

The Babadook is visually stunning despite all Amelia’s distracting maladies, taking the most beautiful visual elements of an eerie and almost animated horror palette and psychological thriller ‘destroyer of your psyche’ suburban realism to explore the absolute depths of a relationship between parent and offspring.

It takes the “I love you but I hate you” guilt of parenthood to its absolute extreme, and in the vein of The Orphanage, a preternatural child spurs it on.

The film’s most disturbing moments are disparate and range from subtle — Amelia urging Samuel to sit in the tub with her fully clothed — to less so — hundreds of roaches crawling out of a wall, and this tension keeps you sitting on your hands throughout as you wait for the inevitable …. BABA DOOK DOOK DOOK DOOK

Sidenote: Director, Jennifer Kent, is best known for directing Babe: Pig in the City. Makes sense.


Wrestling with Wrestling: Tapping Out In The Reality Era of Pro Wrestling

Wrestling with Wrestling: Tapping Out In The Reality Era of Pro Wrestling

Grumpy Cat

When I was in college, I ate, slept, (conquered, repeated) professional wrestling.  I had always been a big fan of “sports entertainment” ever since I was a child, but when I was in college, I had the ability and the means to travel and see live shows.  WWE only came around town about once a year, but there was (and still is) a company called Ring of Honor that would do loops through the area.  In my junior year of at Transylvania, I would grab a couple buddies, pay for front row tickets, drive us up to Dayton, OH to the Montgomery County Fairgrounds and have the BEST time.  The action was so different than what is shown on television.  There was athleticism, brutality, comedy, it had everything you could ask for.

After being at Ring of Honor shows in Dayton enough times, we were recognized by the referees and the timekeepers, with whom we would make small talk between the matches.  The event of going to a show had turned from being fandom to a personal experience, as we were getting one-on-one interaction with people in the show.

I’ve written about a specific moment on Funkhouser before, how one time I got to have a very interesting altercation with a wrestler named Claudio Castagnoli.  Claudio hails from Switzerland and is a big fan of Swiss tennis player, Roger Federer.  So, trying to get his attention, during a match against a guy named Tyler Black in Louisville, KY, I yelled “Roger Federer Sucks.”  Claudio hopped down off the ring apron, got in my face, and wiped all his sweat off on my Kentucky state flag I had draping over the railing.  Instantly, Claudio became my favorite wrestler, and still is, now under the name “Cesaro” in the WWE.

Cesaro

On an aside, I work out at a CrossFit gym (I won’t talk your ear off about it though)  In the world of professional wrestling, there is one wrestler in the WWE who is known for being the CrossFit guy in the company, and that is Seth Rollins. He posts pictures from the local CrossFit boxes (gyms) he visits when he is in various towns.  Rollins, coincidentally, used to wrestle under the name of Tyler Black, who was also part of that the match in the Claudio story above.  I knew a couple weeks ago that the WWE was having Monday Night Raw in Roanoke (where I live) on Nov. 17.  So, on a longshot, I sent Rollins the following tweet:

Seth Rollins is currently in the top storyline on WWE Television as Mr. Money in the Bank.  I figured there is no way he’s going to see my one tweet among the hundreds or thousands that I’m sure he gets on a daily basis.  Days and the week goes by, no favs, no replies.  The WWE was coming back from a tour of England, so I figured they’d roll into town pretty late.  UNTIL, this popped up on our gym’s Facebook page:

Rollins

I immediately contacted the owners of the gym, asking what time he was getting there and if I could hang out to meet any of the wrestlers that were going to show up.  They said “11-2, it’s on the DL though.”  Not a problem.  I can just show up, hang out, watch them workout and I can do the 12:15 class so I’m not lingering for a period of time that just seems more than long enough.

Monday, November 17th rolls around and my energy level is at an 11 from the moment I wake up.  I head to work, have a little morning meeting, take care of some emails and get out of the office at 10:45, so I can make it to the gym by 11.  I come over the bridge that is close to the gym, and I can see in the parking lot a car that is kind of doing figure-eights, trying to figure out where to park.  I get a little more excited, thinking, “that’s got to be a wrestler”  I roll up into a parking spot in the lot, and look over, and stepping out of the car beside me is 6’5”, 232 lb. Swiss superstar, Cesaro.  No. Way. This. Is. Happening.  I take a deep breath in that kind of “You’ve got to play it cool,” sort of way.  I get out of the car:

Me: How’s it going? (Great start… you’re not blowing it)
Cesaro: Pretty good, how are you?
Me: Not bad.
C: Which way is the entrance? Is it on the back or front of the building?
Me: There’s one here on the side.  I’m Richmond, nice to meet you (shaking his hand, I’m killing the game right now)
C: Claudio.  Do you work here?
Me: Ha, no, I just work out here.  So, I never thought I’d actually have the chance to show you this (I pull out my phone).  In 2010, I went to a lot of Ring of Honor shows, sit in the front row and yell out, “Roger Federer Sucks!”
C: Oh… That was you? (He either remembers, or is just being really nice).  He’s hurt by the way.
Me: Huh?
C: Federer, he’s hurt right now.
Me: Oh, that sucks.  Anyway, once in a match you came down and got in my face and wiped your sweat on my flag (show him the picture).
C: Oh, that’s awesome.  Well, I hope you had a good time at the show.  (We enter the building where he’s greeted by the owners).

Claudio was the nicest person you ever will meet.  I had 2-3 conversations with him over the afternoon and he was very receptive to chatting.  He was interested in what you had to say, and that was really cool.  Not before too long, Seth Rollins appeared from the side entrance, looking a bit tired, but still in good spirits.  He introduced himself under his real name, and started introducing himself to the staff.

Hi, I’m Colby
Hey Colby, I’m Amanda and this is Jay, we’re the owners of the gym. (Rollins turns to me)
Hi, I’m Richmond… I’m just here…

Claudio came over and talked to Rollins for a bit, catching up from the travel, as it seemed they had been separated for a bit.  Claudio also told Rollins that the new issue of “The Box” magazine came out, which happens to have Rollins on the cover.  He was unhappy with the image they used on the cover, but all of the pictures on the inside of the magazine were pretty sweet.

Rollins

They went on to do their workout, and I to mine.  After my workout was finished, I said my goodbyes, nice to meet you’s, etc.  I asked one of the owners when they thought the guys were leaving and she told me about 2:00 PM.  It was 1:40.  I get in my car and start to head home, until I realize that I HAVE the poster from that specific Louisville event hanging on my wall, with both Rollins and Claudio as the headline acts on the poster.  I live 2-3 minutes from the gym, but I had to run home, get the poster out of the Michael’s professionally framed frame, drive back to the gym and hope they’re still there.

I pull up to my house in the middle of Roanoke and hop out, car still running.  I run past my crated dog, “Hey Abigail, Sorry Abigail!”, and head straight to the poster.  I pop it off the wall (3M Velcro Picture Hangers, ftw) and run straight to the screwdriver.  With the skill of MacGyver, unearth the poster from the frame and get back in the vehicle.  I arrive at the gym right as Claudio is putting his gear in the car.  I lay on the horn like they’re some sort of emergency,  hitting a pot hole full of water and nearly missing Claudio with a huge splash, whew.

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I hand over the poster and a sharpie and said, “When would I ever have the chance to have the two guys from this show sign the poster on the same day?”  He looked at it, said “This is awesome, why would we have done a show on a Thursday?  Oh yeah, that’s when we were doing the Louisville shows.  This is really cool.”  Again, Claudio was so nice about everything yesterday.  I ran inside and got Rollins to sign it too, as he was also impressed by the poster.  He was a little less enthused, but he may have still been upset about The Box cover.  Either way, I finally got to meet the two guys from my most vivid wrestling memory, and tell them the story.  Best. Day. Ever.

IG

However, I told you that story, to tell you this story.

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The Walking Dead: ‘Consumed’

The Walking Dead: ‘Consumed’

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Good afternoon!  This week on the Walking Dead there was dialogue (not that this is a dialogue episode), action (not that this is necessarily an action episode), driving (it’s hard to say if this qualifies at all as a driving episode), and walking (spoiler alert:this is a walking episode).  Someone dies (spoiler alert: it’s a walker on the screen for 2 seconds that I named Narwhal.  RIP Narwhal), someone lives (spoiler alert:I see you Georgia Dome!), and Carol may or may not be in this episode, maybe.

In all honesty, I can neither confirm nor deny that this was a Walking Dead episode that may or may not have treaded water, waiting with manufactured suspense for a mid-season finale that we all know is coming.  If anything, this is another perfect example of a typical mid-season TWD episode, with everything that entails.  You want some specifics?

You sure?

I’m going to talk about the episode in specific terms after the break, you’ve been warned…

That means you’re going to hear all about Narwhal.  You sure that’s cool?

Ok, let’s go!

PS.  Thanks again to everyone who participated in the #BBWD, keep ‘em coming!

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Fun with IMDB: “Dumb and Dumber To” Edition

Fun with IMDB: “Dumb and Dumber To” Edition

Like most people, I like to go down the IMDB rabbit-hole from time to time. Few things bring me as much joy as scrolling through the long list of bit players and background actors who round out the casts of big movies. The lazily named roles alone are usually good for a few chuckles, and sometimes the profiles of these character actors and Hollywood hopefuls are equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking. Previously on “Fun with IMDB,” I looked at the rag-tag group of actors who played a bunch of heavies and tough guys in Let’s Be Cops.

This weekend, the Farrelly Brothers return to theaters with Dumb and Dumber To, a sequel that probably would have been a huge hit if it were released within a decade of the original Dumb and Dumber (and if the studio hadn’t tried to cash in with 2003’s terrible prequel, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd). Still, the follow-up will probably do decent business thanks in large part to all of the fans of HBO’s The Newsroom and their borderline psychotic devotion to Jeff Daniels (just kidding, that show is literally the worst). To their credit, the Farrelly Brothers managed to get the band back together, enlisting Daniels and Jim Carrey to reprise the roles of Harry Dunne and Lloyd Christmas. But of much greater interest to me is the lineup of bit players the directors enlisted to round out the cast. Here’s a look at a few of my favorites:

 

Pascua

David Pascua. A native of Orange County, California, David has played a number of uncredited roles in movies and shows you’ve probably seen, including Anchorman 2, Eastbound & Down, Under the Dome, and The Conjuring. He once again appears in an uncredited roll in Dumb and Dumber 2, playing “Mariachi Trumpet Player.” If, after looking at his photo, you think David appears to be more of a worldly scholar and gentleman of leisure than a struggling background actor, you’re right. According to his official bio, David holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing, an MBA from Pepperdine University, and he spent several years working in “marketing-related” areas. But don’t try to pigeonhole David as some marketing washout in the midst of a midlife crisis, because that couldn’t be further from the truth. Check out this little tidbit from his bio:

“In his current stage of life, David is enjoying a creative renaissance and personal reinvention. He thrives in the creative realm, whether it be as a photographer, graphic designer, multi-media editor, as well as a musician. As an actor, it is creatively liberating for him to be on the other side of the lens.”

Actually, that sounds exactly like a dude in the midst of a midlife crisis. Well, at least he probably got to meet Jim Carrey, right?

 

Henneberg

Lauren Henneberg. Why Lauren is stuck playing “Upscale Guest” in Dumb and Dumber To and not playing “The Other Lady with a Sword” on The Walking Dead is beyond me. I mean, look at that photo! I’m sure she’s decked out in some sort of awesome cosplay as a character with whom I’m not familiar because I’m old, but she looks like she’d fit right in with the rest of the survivors trying to stay alive in a world overrun by Walkers. And guess what? She HAS been on The Walking Dead! BOOM! You just got M. Night Shyamalan’d! Lauren has actually appeared as a Walker on TWD 12 times already. Which means not only can she rock a samurai sword LIKE Michonne, she’s probably had her Walker-head lopped off BY Michonne!

 

Glover

Jeff Matthew Glover. Oh, man. There are a lot of cool things about Jeff, the least interesting of which is that he happens to appear in Dumb and Dumber To as an “Orderly.” This 6 foot, 3 inch mountain of steely-eyed, chrome-domed true grit plays beer league hockey, is a huge fan of Chicago sports teams, and claims to have once jump started Harry Carey’s rental car in Mesa, Arizona. But none of that really matters. All you really need to know to understand Jeff is this:

“[He] became the class president of Schaumburg High School class of 1990 in a hostile takeover of power.”

You bet your sweet bippy it was a hostile takeover of power. That’s the only way Jeff rolls. It doesn’t matter if he’s jacking fools up in a beer league hockey game or getting down and dirty in the seedy world of high school politics, Jeff gets what Jeff wants by any means necessary. Be on the lookout for Dumb and Dumber Thee (get it?) starring Jeff M. Glover as Harry and Lloyd’s new friend, Jeff.

 

Gregory

Gregory Fears. Gregory appears in Dumb and Dumber To as “Man at Gas Station.” But I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “That dude right there kinda looks like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.” If that is indeed what you’re thinking, then congratulations, you should quit wasting your life reading dumb blog posts on the internet, move to Hollywood, and get a job as the person who finds unknown actors who kind of look like more famous actors. Gregory doesn’t just kind of look like The Rock, he’s basically The Rock’s shadow. From Gregory’s official bio:

“Before Greg was able to pursue acting on a full-time basis, his main goal was to do a film with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. By 2013, Greg was hand-picked by the director of Fast & Furious 7 to be the stand-in, photo and body double for The Rock. Greg was given high marks from the director, crew and personal staff for The Rock for his skills and likeness on set.”

You read that right: Gregory received “high marks” from The Rock’s “personal staff” for kind of looking like The Rock. In fact, Gregory did such a good job of kind of looking  like The Rock that he earned what might be the greatest nickname in the history of nicknames: The Pebble.

A+. Great nickname. Nice work.

 

BillJennifer1

Bill Murray and Jennifer Lawrence. LOL! Look at these two wannabes. Bill Murray looks like someone’s weird uncle who drinks too much at family gatherings and starts telling “Dirty Johnny” jokes at the dinner table.  And Jennifer Lawrence looks like she is destined to a career full of “airhead best friend” roles playing opposite Hollywood’s leading ladies in terrible romantic comedies, assuming she manages to land another part after her tiny role in Dumb and Dumber To. Both of these “actors” seem like fine folk, but let’s be honest, I don’t think legitimate acting careers are in the cards for them. Best of luck on wherever life takes you next, Bill and Jennifer!

 

All photos via IMDB.

 

@TheSEShepherd

 


Fun Fun Funkhouser II : An Interview with Rachel Bloom

Fun Fun Funkhouser II : An Interview with Rachel Bloom

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Welcome all to the second annual Fun Fun Funkhouser Recap!  That’s right, for the second year in a row they let your humble blogger into Austin’s premier festival to make merry and mischief.   There was metal, hip-hop, bikers, bakers, kim-chi fries, and–naturally–the highest density of hipsters in the country.  It was wonderful.

This year I experienced my very first sample of live EDM, drank more Red Bull than I’d had in the rest of my life combined, and thought a lot about how anyone has the capability to not be hungover on the third day of a festival.  But, most excitingly, this year I had the great privilege to interview the extremely funny and talented Rachel Bloom.

Rachel-Bloom-at-Fun-Fun-Fun-Fest-in-Austin

Rachel Bloom is a gifted writer, singer, and actor from California.  She’s written on shows like Robot Chicken and Allen Gregory, and has provided the voices for numerous characters like Ariel, April O’Neil, and Smurfette (in Robot Chicken) and Laura on the Netflix series, BoJack Horseman.  Additionally, Rachel has written, produced, and starred in numerous amazing YouTube videos [NSFW] including, Jazz Fever, You Can Touch My Boobies, and the Hugo-nominated short, F*ck Me, Ray Bradbury.  She was named one of 13 Comedians to Watch in 2014 by Cosmopolitan magazine, as well as by Time Out L.A. and Backstage magazines.  I sat down with Rachel at the New Movement Comedy Club in Austin, TX to ask her a few questions:

[Interview does contain some NSFW language]

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Morning Monologue: Game Shows Galore

Morning Monologue: Game Shows Galore

Capture

Another start to the week and another good night from late night talk shows.  However, before the late night shows began, Pat Sajak LOST HIS MIND on some contestants.

Jimmy Fallon is pretty good about hitting all of the game shows.  He’s done Password and Family Feud, and is now venturing in to Pyramid.  Last night he played along with Jeff Daniels, Nick Jonas and Usher.  They’re all pretty terrible at the game… like Barkley terrible…

 


The Walking Dead: ‘Self Help’

The Walking Dead: ‘Self Help’

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Now there’s the Walking Dead I know!  After a shockingly good start to this season, this is the episode I had come to expect.  Long on exposition, short on meaningful action, a little bit boring.  Just like last year sometimes I close my eyes and think that there are two hours of ‘Talking Dead.’  What I mean to say is that they talk too much.

I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I seriously couldn’t care less about the back story of Sgt. Ford, of Eugene, or of Rosita at all.  You know why?  Because they don’t matter.  The story isn’t made any better by hearing another generic story about families dying and survivor guilt.  That has been done so many times that it becomes filler.  Not that the characters aren’t interesting, not that the story couldn’t be good, it just wasn’t great the way it was presented.  It was pretty boring.  As our friend Dave Scott put it:

Maybe you’ll disagree with me, so let’s get to what actually happened in the episode:

PS.  Thanks to everyone who contributed to #BBWD, keep ‘em coming!!

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Pegboard Nerds: Thompson House Preview

Pegboard Nerds: Thompson House Preview

Pegboard-Nerds

It’s a big weekend for we humble bloggers of Funkhouser as Kalan Kucera will be covering Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin (SUPES JELLY), and I will be heading an hour and 20 up the road to Newport’s old Thompson House to see rising electronic stars, Pegboard Nerds.

After attending the inaugural Haunted Fest in Columbus last weekend (ft. Zeds Dead, Arty, Audien, & A-Trak) an event that would have definitely been cooler in a less enormous/carpeted venue, I’m following it up with my second dance music weekend in a row! Mom’s so proud.

Pegboard Nerds are a duo under the indie Monstercat label, which is best known for former signees, Krewella and Vicetone, and for giving its artists a lot of free reign to label hop for singles. The natives of the Viking land of Norway have been in the production game for a long time, but they’re beginning to make a name for themselves as a touring duo, and were recently named as Artists of Tomorrow” by TomorrowWorld Festival in Atlanta.

If you need a well-known benchmark comparison for their sound? … perhaps a Skrillex-y Zedd who enjoys the film Wreck-It Ralph? Meh, I hate labels. So constricting *hipster Kermit tea sip. They dabble in electro house, like many of us.

Their sound may be genre-hopping but it is not the “easier listening” EDM I tend to post here at Funkhouser; the Nerds are a bit more dubstep than my taste (post-2012), but hey, when in Rome da club. And thankfully, the guys are always adapting to the changing sounds of electronic music in their own way, and I believe it will have a positive impact on their music outside da club.

So if you want to go rage to some bangers with a bunch of sweaty, scantily-clad 20 somethings making heart shapes with their hands (and a very awkward me) head out to Thompson House at 9 tonight!

Check out Pegboard’s latest hard dance single, Heroes, which was featured in this hilarious Superman GoPro ad. ^

And here’s my personal favorite Nerds tune. Of course it’s called Coffins… I am Aubrey Plaza.

And here’s their best dubstep track to date. Yes, dubstep can be ok you guyz.

Pegboard Nerds Soundcloud

 

 


To Infinity and Nowhere Else

To Infinity and Nowhere Else

interstellar.thm_

This is not the Interstellar post that I wanted to write.  I was 100% ready to wax poetic about another cosmically minded movie showing the strength of human ingenuity and of the human spirit.  I was prepared to go on and on and on (as I am wont to do) about how Matthew McConaughey was the ideal Texan, or even the ideal man.  A slow-drawl, metaphysical Prometheus sent down to show us human beings how to make fire.  I was ready to hail this as a masterpiece of storytelling that opened my mind, fired my imagination, and left me breathless with wonder.  That is the review I was mentally prepared to write.

Sorry to say, though, that was not the movie that I saw last night.  In fact, as my excitement and wonder waned over the course of nearly three hours of incomprehensible gobbledygookI realized something that is almost certainly true and makes me really, really sad.

Christopher Nolan is the new M. Night Shyamalan.

The movie starts out innocently enough.  Matthew McConaughey plays an engineer turned farmer named ‘Coop’.  With his daughter Murph, son Tom, and father-in-law (played by John Lithgow) he grows a bunch of corn in the middle of nowhere America.  In this dystopian future the Earth is “turning” on its inhabitants and corn becomes the only sustainable crop, due to some undisclosed issue with the planet’s dirt.  Therefore, all technology [and NASA] has been outlawed.  Why?  Because.  “People need to worry more about growing food than about spaceships.”  Or so Murph’s teachers tell Coop at a parent teacher conference.  Cue the first of many times I rolled my eyes.

Cut to a ghost that Coop’s daughter has been seeing.  A ghost who gives them the direct coordinates to NORAD–aka THE MOST SECRETIVE LOCATION ON THE EARTH.  After driving there on a whim, instead of being shot, they happen upon one of Coop’s old college professors who happens to be preparing the last mission to save mankind.  Guess what?  Coop is the ONLY person who can pilot the mission.  Why, you ask?  Because he has to.  With that Coop is convinced to leave the planet and his family in order to search for another habitable planet for mankind.  Oh, and by the way, they’re traveling through a worm-hole near Saturn that “other beings” left behind… for no reason… except plot convenience, I guess.

That’s it.  That’s your exposition.  One of the most tangential, loose, non-sensical set-ups for a Sci-Fi movie that I have ever seen; and I’ve seen Rollerball (or WestWorld; or Escape from New York; or Hell Comes to FrogTown; etc.).  I also won’t spoil any more of the movie for you because chances are a lot of you will still go out to the theater to see this thing.  When you inevitably do, expect a couple of surprise cameos, a lot of Star Trek : The Motion Picture style space tracking shots, some Cosmos level special effects, and a whole lot of crying.

My disdain for the plot aside, I thought that the actor’s performances were just fine.  Sometimes actors just have to work with what they’re given.  We’re all well aware by now of how much I dig what McConaughey is doing these days and he’s great here.  In fact, the film suffers from lack of McConaughey in my opinion.  I’d have been all on board with Nolan releasing a director’s cut where they add back in all of the ad-libbing (a la Anchorman) metaphysics that I have no doubt McConaughey was spewing on set.  That would be an amazing movie.  Also, completely adequate turns here by Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain, John Lithgow, and Casey Affleck.  The cast honestly seemed secondary to the ‘visual wonder’ and other parts.

Like the ‘the twist‘.  I’m not going to tell you what it is, or even hint about the supposedly “mind blowing” ending, but it is why I truly feel that Christopher Nolan is becoming the M. Night Shyamalan of the 2010’s.  After an exceptionally great beginning, with Memento and Insomnia and most of the way through his blockbuster Batman trilogy, we’d come to trust Christopher Nolan as a filmmaker who would not only give us fantastic concepts and beautifully shot film, but great characters and writing as well.  I’d say that after The Sixth Sense and Signs (I liked that one, anyway) we as an audience also expected great things from M. Night Shyamalan.

Somewhere amongst fan expectations, the evolution of the blockbuster, and pressure to top themselves both filmmakers seem to have lost sight of what made people love their movies in the first place.  With this movie, Nolan firmly joins Shyamlan in the camp of directors who are trying so hard to come up with a novel idea, trying so hard to make something that ‘transcends’ the medium in some way, that they end up with a jumbled mess.  That’s absolutely the best description of this film that I can come up with.

I feel absolute wonder when I contemplate the universe and our place in it.  There are books, documentaries, TV shows, and YouTube videos that are so infinitely cool, they make your skin tingle thinking about the myriad possibilities of humanity’s future.  Christopher Nolan apparently wanted this movie to encourage the resumption of man’s wonder with space, and manned space-flight.  That’s a lofty goal and something I support more than anything else in the world.  At the end of the day, though, I just wish he would have made an entertaining movie.


Return to Camp Firewood: Wet Hot American Summer 2 Coming to Netflix

Return to Camp Firewood: Wet Hot American Summer 2 Coming to Netflix

WetHot1

If you attended summer camp as a kid, or if you just have a fondness for the “camp romp” movie genre defined by movies like Meatballs, then chances are you know and love Wet Hot American Summer. The 2001 film written by David Wain and Michael Showalter, two original members of comedy-troupe-turned-influential-MTV-series The State, is a hilarious and deranged send-up of the summer camp experience and the movies produced in the 80s and 90s that served as love letters to this all-American experience. Set in 1981, Wet Hot follows the exploits of a rag-tag group of counselors during the closing days for Camp Firewood as they try to hook up, get drunk and high, and prepare the campers for the end-of-summer talent show. Most of the “teen” counselors are portrayed by actors in their late 20s and early 30s, which adds an additional level of absurdity to the proceedings. The original trailer does a pretty good job of capturing the overall feel of the film:

The film’s cast is basically an all-star lineup for comedy nerds. In addition to Showalter, the cast includes Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks, Christopher Meloni, A.D. Miles (who, in addition to his acting career, is the head writer for Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show), Molly Shannon, Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, and other key players from The State, including Michael Ian Black, Joe Lo Truglio, and Ken Marino. Oh, and a pre-stardom Bradley Cooper is in it, too.

Earlier this year, there were rumblings that David Wain was close to getting the gang back together to produce a prequel to the film. But instead of aiming for release on the big screen (something that was never likely to happen seeing as the original film grossed less than half a million dollars at the box office and only became a cult hit following its release on DVD and home video), Andrew Wallenstein of Variety reported in May that Wain was looking to set up the project as a 10-episode series with Netflix, similar to the fourth (and rumored fifth) season of Arrested Development. That was amazing news for Wet Hot fans everywhere, but since those reports surfaced just before the summer, there hasn’t been much news on the status of the project.

Until now!

On Tuesday, Marino — who starred in the original Wet Hot as Victor Kulak, the afro’d Camp Firewood counselor who wants nothing more in life than to score some quality make-out time with fellow staffer Abby Bernstein — took to Twitter to answer questions from fans while promoting his new NBC sitcom, Marry Me (which, by the way, you should totally watch. It stars Marino and Casey Wilson, and was created by writer/producer David Caspe who was the driving force behind the criminally under-appreciated Happy Endings that ran for three seasons on ABC). I took the opportunity to get an update on the status of Wet Hot 2:

 

 

That sounds pretty definitive to me. Also, just call me Wolf Blitzer because I am breaking news!

The biggest hurdle to producing Wet Hot 2 likely is reuniting the cast, some of whom have become legitimate superstars since the original film premiered in 2001. Bradley Cooper is about as A-list as you can get at this moment in time, Poehler is now one of the most universally beloved names in comedy, and Rudd is about to make the jump from star to mega-star when he joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Scott Lang in the upcoming Ant-Man. But as Wallenstein mentioned in his article back in May, “the plan is to [have] each of the actors shoot their scenes in just a few days because not every character will appear in every episode,” so hopefully all of your favorite Camp Firewood counselors should make an appearance.

If, as Marino indicates, filming has yet to begin, we probably can’t expect the prequel to hit Netflix’s streaming service until late next year at the earliest. But that’s OK, it just gives us all plenty of time to make sure everything is nice and tidy before we settle in to binge-watch all 10 episodes in one sitting:

 


This Adult Swim Thing is the Most Adult Swim Thing Ever

This Adult Swim Thing is the Most Adult Swim Thing Ever

too-many-cooks-adult-swim-video

You’re probably at work. Or maybe you’re driving your car right now, or using the bathroom, or sitting at the doctor’s office or DMV or having your oil changed. Whatever it is, you just need to stop it. STOP IT, right now, and watch the above video.

It’s entitled “Too Many Cooks,” and it aired unannounced on Adult Swim in an infomercial time slot in the wee hours of the morning, and it’s completely bonkers. It’s insane, brilliant, and I’m not going to tell you even what it is because it will be more fun to discover what it is (whatever the hell it is) by yourself.

Now just imagine you’re bleary eyed in the middle of the night and this comes on the television. You would think you’ve gone fantastically insane.

 


What is Platooning? And Other Military-Themed Approaches We Should Prepare for This Season

What is Platooning? And Other Military-Themed Approaches We Should Prepare for This Season

Patton-1

Hello, friends. You look well today — but I’m sorry, I’m out of candy. Oh! I’m sorry, I thought you were still trick or treating. I first thought you were wearing a rubber Jimmy Carter mask that sat next to a candle for too long; I did not realize that was actually your face. How unfortunate for you, except on Halloween. Still, bet it was a good Halloween, eh? Lots of candy!

Friends, there has been a lot of talk these days about Calipari, the Cats, and “platooning.” The term, which of course has roots in military maneuvering, denotes a tactic wherein Cal has two distinct “waves” of teams which can come on and leave the court en masse, thus resting five players at once (with extra players available to sub in and out if need be). While UK has, many times in the past, had a rough platooning schematic due to a depth of solid players at multiple positions, this would seem to be the strongest true instance we’ve seen of it in recent years.

With platooning poised to work mightily for the Wildcats during the 2014-15 season, rumor around those who’ve witnessed practices is that platooning isn’t the only miltary-themed tactic we might see this season. While talking with an unnamed source this past week I garnered some insight into other secret plays coming to Rupp in the near future, and at the risk of angering my source I feel it’s my duty to share those with you today in a piece we’ll call Military Terms Adapted to University of Kentucky Wildcat Basketball. As always, you’re welcome. And I’ll see you next week.

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Platooning
Originally seen as a strategic move for baseball teams of the early-to-mid 1900’s, the approach is becoming increasingly popular for current-day basketball coaches with — aside from Cal — head coaches Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski experimenting with the platoon system.

Weak Side Attacking
Identifying the weaker links in a team’s defense and continuously exploiting those weaknesses by pushing to the goal in the most vulnerable spots. Example: Alex Poythress driving against an uneven defensive matchup in order to score more easily.

Flanking
By surrounding and containing an opposing team’s defense in the paint and surrounding them in three to four points on the perimeter increases UK’s options on finding a hole and shooting. Example: Aaron and Andrew Harrison exchanging quick passes back and forth, perhaps even with another forward, until a weak spot for one to shoot opens up.

Ambush
Lulling the opposing team into a false sense of confidence and then surprising them at the opportune moment. Example: Dakari Johnson hides behind the goal, leading the opposition to believe the Wildcats are currently playing only four players without a center, until suddenly Johnson leaps from behind it screaming and startles everyone as Trey Lyles simultaneously alley-oops the ball for his dunk.

Disinformation Propaganda
Intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread intentionally, manipulating the opposition at a rational level by supporting false conclusions. Example: Marcus Lee, during game play, turns to Dominique Hawkins and loudly asks him “Is the game over now?” to which Hawkins replies “Yes, it’s time to go to the locker room.” The opposition, overhearing this misleading information, walks off the court and allows the offense to continue to score unimpeded.

Night Combat
Reducing visibility of a defense in order to capitalize on attacking in familiar territory under the cover of darkness. Example: During the second half of the North Carolina game, the power in Rupp goes out as Willie Cauley-Stein and Derek Willis — using ancient meditation and sense-memory techniques to visualize the court and its dimensions — maneuver quietly through the blackout and secretly score during the confusion on-court before the lights return.

Amphibious Warfare
Using water-based maneuvers to attack opponents onto hostile territory. Example: During a time out, Rob Bromley stealthily and “accidentally” spills several water bottles onto the court, creating a hazardous surface by which to lure the opposing offense, stealing the ball as they slide comically around or an offensive player hilariously looks like he is running but is going no where because he’s running on water and everyone is laughing at him, embarrassing him.

Airborne Operations
Attacking strategic targets by air. Example: As precious final seconds tick off the clock during a tied game, Karl Towns appears with arms spread and flies over the court, dropping Tyler Ulis through the basket with the ball. Crowd goes wild. Game over.


Zella Day tambourining her heart out

Best Songs of October: Top Five and Then Some

Zella Day tambourining her heart out

Zella Day, tambourining her heart out

A rural Arizona native and teenage flower child lookalike, Zella Day, is my highlight artist for the month of October; she is one of the most blogged about artists of the year and has released Internet hits that could soon be Hot 100 hits along the lines of Echosmith, BANKS, Lana Del Rey, Ryn Weaver, and MØ. She’s got an eclectic mix of alt-country influence, Scandinavian electronica, and Stevie Nicks sensibilities that can keep her popular on the Soundcloud scene as well, as the Billboard charts. With catchy hits such as East of Eden, Compass, Sweet Ophelia, and 1965 already released to much buzz this year, she had another pop banger, (head-turner?), this month in Hypnotic, my #1 track.

 

#1 Zella Day x Vanic — Hypnotic

Her voice is very attuned to remixing and that will only lend to her potential popularity; we may get to see DJ’s other than David Guetta and Calvin Harris as mega-mainstream stars (please God).

Remixing her latest tune and taking it to some NEXT LEVEL ISH, was another up and comer, Canadian melodic producer, Vanic. This song is ever so catchy and you won’t regret giving it a listen.

Two new songs and two new artists. Give it a goooOoOOoo.

One other excellent new lady pop vocalist for you to consider–Shannon Saunders. Listen to her October single, Silly Little Things.

 

#2 Years and Years — Desire

More electronic pop, brought to you by UK electro-pop trio, Years and Years; their latest EP debuted at number one on the UK electronic charts. The guys will be touring with Sam Smith this fall and are definitely some guys that you will be hearing more from in the future.

I just love this song. It is bouncy and features guys who sing like girls. We all love that.

Here’s an excellent remix by Tourist (a producer who was supposed to perform at Forecastle and did not….) if you can’t get enough.

 

#3 Parkay Quarts — Uncast Shadow of a Southern Myth

The Americana roots “alter ego” group for Brooklyn rockers, Parquet Courts, Parkay Quarts (yes, I’m confused) is touring as the latter this fall and released this first single for their new group a few weeks back. Uncast Shadow of a Southern Myth, with its long title and long, lyric-heavy track doesn’t seem like a very hypable track; song is slow and somber, but one I’ve found myself listening to again and again.

The Pitchforkers of the world absolutely love it, a good or a bad thing depending on your POV, and I’m excited to give Parkay Quarts’ full album, Content Nausea, a listen. (It was released today). Right after I finish 1989. I have yet to finish 1989.

 

 

#4 The M Machine — Just Like

I adore this song, and hot damn it’s a unique one. OWSLA record label’s superstars, The M Machine, is a house trio that’s known for being eclectic and drawing from obscure sources to inspire their music, but this song takes it from their typical brooding to Super Nintendo-land.

The funky vocal samples and chill, but thumping bassline are great for a mini rave at your desk. You may get some looks.

 

#5 Tkay Maidza  — Switch Lanes

There is a terrible dearth of rap music in this top five, so here we are! Some rap! Instead of going with anything by Run the Jewels, Drake, or Chance the Rapper like the rest of you! Hipster power! My favorite rap track of the month is by an 18-year old Australian/Zimbabwean girl, Tkay Maidza.

Much of my favorite music is coming from Australia of late, and Tkay is giving me more reason to head down to the Southern Hemisphere for a quick hiatus from real life. This bouncy track is as unlike the song of the same name by Tyga as it could be, and that’s an excellent thing. Combining  FIRE  lyrics with UK house production by Paces=ahelluvasong.

 

My favorite honorable mentions that did not make the top-five. Sorry, guyz.

Ellie — Loyal x Don’t (ft. Skizzy Mars)

This song is Chris Brown’s Loyal mashed up with Ed Sheeran’s, Don’t, covered by the very talented lady, Ellie AND featuring a verse from Skizzy Mars. And it’s remixed. It’s very confusing, but so so good.

Manic Focus — Bumpin on the Voodoo (ft. Dominic Lalli)

This song is SO FUNKY, incorporating blues and jazz and electronic influences all into one delicious head bumper. Manic Focus THA GOD.

Bully — Milkman

This single is by Nashville rockers, Bully, who happen to be managed by former KSR writer, Chris Thomas. They go hard in the paint for those of you who miss grungy rock music–check them out.

Higher Self — Ghosts (ft. Lauren Mason)

This Spinnin Deep track is very deep house and very groovy and R&B influenced like deep house is “posta do.”

 

I have so many more favorites from the yesteryear of October, and have compiled them all here for you to peruse. Yes, I included Randy Marsh/Lorde/Sia’s track, Push (Feeling Good on a Wednesday), duh.


Sam Smith to Pen New Bond Song; PLUS: Ranking the James Bond Title Themes

Sam Smith to Pen New Bond Song; PLUS: Ranking the James Bond Title Themes

would-you-read-a-comic-book-about-james-bond-soon-you-can

Yesterday Page Six revealed that sad Brit warbler Sam Smith would be the voice behind the next Daniel Craig/Sam Mendes installment of the James Bond franchise, [thankfully] edging out Lana Del Rey, who needs no more press than she’s already received. Smith, I think we can all agree, is a good choice for a Bond Title Theme artist, following of course in the footsteps of his fellow countrywoman Adele, who absolutely slayed with 2012’s Skyfall theme.

In honor of this announcement, I began to wonder how the years of Bond themes stack up — and thus today we reveal our choices for the best James Bond Title Tracks, in order of best to worst (and only including films in which the title track was a song/artist combo and not a musical score of the traditional Bond theme):

1. “Goldfinger” (Goldfinger)- Shirley Bassey

2. “Live and Let Die” (Live and Let Die) – Paul McCartney & Wings

3. “Nobody Does it Better” (The Spy Who Loved Me) – Carly Simon

4. “A View to a Kill” (A View to a Kill) – Duran Duran

5. “Skyfall” (Skyfall) – Adele

6. “All Time High” (Octopussy) – Rita Coolidge

7. “Diamonds Are Forever” (Diamonds Are Forever) – Shirley Bassey

8. “Thunderball” (Thunderball) – Tom Jones

9. “Goldeneye” (Goldeneye) – Tina Turner (w/ Bono & The Edge)

10. “Another Way to Die” (Quantum of Solace) – Jack White & Alicia Keys

11. “For Your Eyes Only” (For Your Eyes Only) – Sheena Easton

12. “The Man With the Golden Gun” (The Man With the Golden Gun) – Lulu

13. “You Only Live Twice” (You Only Live Twice) – Nancy Sinatra

14. “From Russia With Love” (From Russia With Love) – Matt Monro

15. “Moonraker” (Moonraker) – Shirley Bassey

16. “You Know My Name” (Casino Royale) – Chris Cornell

17. “The World is Not Enough” (The World is Not Enough) – Garbage

18. “License to Kill” (License to Kill) – Gladys Knight

19. “We Have All the Time in the World” (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) – Louis Armstrong

20. “The Living Daylights” (The Living Daylights) – A-ha

21. “Die Another Day” (Die Another Day) – Madonna

22. “Tomorrow Never Dies” (Tomorrow Never Dies) – Sheryl Crow

Enjoy the entire Bond playlist below: