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The Pros And Cons Of Adaline

The Pros And Cons Of Adaline

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There are finally movies coming out that can dethrone Furious 7. The movie that is most tempting is The Age of Adaline. (I’m the demographic for the film.) In the movie, Adaline Bowman cannot physically age past 29. The situation seems ideal, until a love interest complicates things. The trailer looks like a cross between the heartache of The Notebook plus all of the somewhat plausible science of Mel Gibson’s Forever Young.

The Age of Adaline looks like a home run.

The Age of Adaline looks like a gamble.

I’ve waffled back and forth on the subject for about a week. Abby Newcomb recommended the movie in her April Movie Preview, located here. I totally trust her recommendation. It just looks too good. I worry that they are trying to cover up a crap movie with an exceptional preview. I’m not sure if I’m willing to risk getting caught putting the amount of butter I truly want on my popcorn to get to watch this movie. Before I put all of my eggs in The Age of Adaline basket, I’d look to weigh the pros and cons presented in the trailer.

CONS:

👎Looks too good to be true

👎Ellis Jones, the love interest in the film, is described as a “Charismatic Philanthropist.” An anagram for charismatic philanthropist is “Pretentious Goober.” (Don’t check the math on that one.)

👎 Potential Benjamin Button without the Brad Pitt

👎  Harrison Ford calls it a “high-concept film.” I believe the concept to be totally fathomable.

 

PROS:

👍Harrison Ford removed his earring for this role

👍Blake Lively’s braid game is strong

👍Watching fashion evolve decade by decade is like binge-reading subsequent American Girl books

👍Game of Thrones’ Daario Naharis (Michael Huisman) is thrown into the modern era with a lower possibility of being eaten by a dragon

👍There is hope for a unique and surprising ending.

👍The Age of Adaline! Alliteration! Always!

 

Who am I kidding, I’m going to go see it.  I’m a sucker for a good trailer.


We Eat Food: Funkhouser Reviews Sprite Lebron’s Mix

We Eat Food: Funkhouser Reviews Sprite Lebron’s Mix

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If you thought LeBron James was just an amazing basketball player cursed with the receding hairline of a middle-aged accountant, you’re wrong. So wrong. LeBron also happens to be a connoisseur of carbonated beverages – a sommelier of soda, so to speak – or at least that’s what the makers of Sprite would have you believe since they currently are selling a special edition Sprite called “LeBron’s Mix.”

Apparently in this day and age, when you sign a superstar athlete like LeBron to promote your product, part of the deal includes handing over the keys to the soda factory and allowing King James to do his best Willy Wonka impression. No longer is a signature sneaker the pinnacle of athletic fame; now, you’re nothing but a baggy pair of shorts and an arm sleeve unless you have your own vanity beverage.

Curious to see how LeBron’s prowess on the court translates to the world of combining high fructose corn syrup with bubbly water, I purchased a two-liter of Lebron’s Mix, cracked a few ice cubes into a cup and poured a couple fingers worth of the sweet ambrosia. The verdict? It looked like Sprite. It basically smelled like Sprite. And it tasted like a hot mess.

Sprite’s official website describes LeBron’s Mix as:

Created with LeBron James, this flavor represents LeBron’s favorite mix of Sprite: Sprite with a twist of natural cherry and orange flavors. Available in 16 oz cans, 20 oz bottles and 2L bottles, the unique flavor reflects LeBron’s style and the crisp refreshment of Sprite.

But judging from the drink’s taste, it would appear LeBron knows as much about making pop as I do about dunking basketballs. Which is to say, very little. Or, to be more exact, absolutely nothing. I couldn’t throw down a dunk on a 6-foot rim and I’m 5’ 11”.

So how did this subpar brew come to be? Here’s a clue:

Judging from the story told in that video, a friend of LeBron’s ordered a Suicide Soda one time, LeBron loved it so much he drank it for the next decade (could that explain the hair loss?) and now Cleveland’s Savior is forcing Sprite to bottle the stuff and sell it in stores. It’s good to be King, I guess.

I’m not trying to hate on LeBron. The dude will go down in history as the greatest baller of all time, even if he never wins another ring. But here’s what someone in his entourage needs to say to the man: Lebron, you have an opportunity for which every chubby, soda-guzzling pre-teen in America would kill. So do something amazing with it! Forget adding cherry and orange flavors to Sprite. Sprite is basically just 7Up with a little extra sugar to begin with. You’re the best basketball player ever to draw breath in the pathetically brief history of man. Use your powers for good! Forget Sprite. Sprite stinks. Tell those sugar-water-making dweebs to bring you the finest ingredients from across the globe. Order them to send teams of unpaid interns to the darkest corners of the earth – MAKE THEM SCALE MOUNTIANS, DAMMIT! – to find a natural sweetener that only grows along the banks of a single stream in Nepal. Or insist Sprite’s Senior Vice President of Lemon and Lime himself assemble a world-class team of Iditarod-winning sled dogs so he can man a solo mission into the harsh barrens of Antarctica to chisel ice from an ancient glacier, ensuring you have the purest water on earth at your disposal. Or demand they employ a team of newborn babies attached to snorkels to fill the water with tiny bubbles, so that your soda boasts the most angelic form of fizz. And then, after taking a moment – a very brief moment, mind you, because you’ve got to get back to putting a ball into a netted hoop – to mourn the deaths of all those lost fulfilling your every whim, combine those one-of-a-kind ingredients in the giant vats that formerly held Sprite before you ordered that swill emptied into the nearest river, and unleash upon this country – nay, this WORLD – the one true soda deserving of carrying the LeBron moniker!

Odds are it will probably end up tasting a lot like Cheerwine, and that’s OK, because that stuff is dope.

 

Funkhouser Rating: 2.5 Bald LeBron’s out of 5

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@TheSEShepherd

 

 


The Kentucky Fan’s Basketball Season Exit Interview

The Kentucky Fan’s Basketball Season Exit Interview

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Hello, friends. I hope you’re well. And I hope you’re good and recovered by now from the sad conclusion to our men’s basketball team season. It was a tough one, though I don’t need to tell you that. With the season at a close, and all who are declaring for the NBA declared and ready to leave, we here at KSR would like to administer a brief survey to you at season’s end for our own internal purposes before you the dead period before football talk starts up again. It should only take a few minutes and we appreciate your time.

—————

1. How pleased were you with the overall season?
a.) Very pleased.
b.) Somewhat pleased.
c.) Not pleased.
d.) Pleased, then very pleased, then not pleased.

2. How could this season have ended which would have been more satisfactory?
a.) The Wildcats could have won the National Championship.
b.) The players could have all decided to stay an additional year.
c.) Mike Krzyzewski could have sat on a nail and leaped into the air, banging his head on the underside of an overhanging rock, and then fallen back down on the nail and leaped into the air again, banging his head on the underside of an overhanging rock, in a repeating fashion over and over, yelling each time.

3. How could John Calipari have handled this season differently?
a.) He did everything perfectly and created a strong, supportable team.
b.) He could have pretended that the NBA was awful and no one should go there.
c.) Before the Wisconsin game he could have delivered the exact speech Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, starring as Coach Sean Porter in the 2006 film drama The Gridiron Gang, gave his team about dedication and learning to value themselves and each other.

4. How did you enjoy KSR’s coverage of the 2014-15 season?
a.) I found it to be informative and engaging.
b.) I enjoyed its entertainment factor with my sports news.
c.) I wish it had focused more on statistics.
d.) I don’t know what KSR is because I have an Android phone, but I can only assume it is some sort of liberal Apple-based propaganda run by a bunch of Obama-huggers.

5.) My favorite article of the 2014-15 basketball season was:
a.) That one article about the basketball players being nice.
b.) That BTI piece with all the numbers in it.
c.) The Funkhouser story about Jennifer Lawrence.
d.) The picture of Boone’s Butcher Shop.

6. If I could change one thing about the upcoming season, it would be:
a.) We would retain more of last year’s players.
b.) We would play a lighter pre-conference schedule.
c.) More tickets would be available for games.
d.) Our team would be coached by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson from The Gridiron Gang.

7. My feelings about the new commenting system are:
a.) I like that it requires a log in and registration.
b.) I wish there were more comments so I could gauge other opinions.
c.) I don’t like that, instead of commenting, now I have to just announce loudly that C.M. Tomlin’s pieces are worthless garbage to my workplace peers and administrators.

8. My favorite video on KSR from this season was:
a.) The video of the fan song “Big Blue Fan in the Morning.”
b.) The montage(s) of big plays from the SEC Tournament.
c.) The pre-season footage of the players from Media Day.
d.) The video where the old grandmother at the wedding is dancing and gets off balance and accidentally stumbles falls into the wedding cake.

9. When it comes to recruiting information, I am:
a.) Very interested.
b.) Somewhat interested.
c.) Not at all interested.
d.) Currently parked outside a recruit’s high school looking at his Instagram photos, leaving a message on his Facebook page and trying to secure a picture of his girlfriend.

10. I will probably spend the next two months:
a.) Visiting KSR for recruiting information.
b.) Focusing on golf, hockey, the NBA and major league baseball.
c.) Enjoying my new DVD copy of The Gridiron Gang™, available from Columbia Pictures Home Entertainment.

Thank you for your input!


What to Do and Watch Every Single Weekend of This Summer

What to Do and Watch Every Single Weekend of This Summer

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If you’re like me, you love summer but you hate the oppressive heat of a white hot sun. Unfortunately, the pop culture landscape all but requires us to get out in that humid mess almost weekly (weekly!) if we want to enjoy all the sweltering months have to offer. In order to keep your non-air-conditioned traveling at a minimum, I present to you today precisely what you’ll need to do or watch each weekend of summer 2015. (Mostly mosquito and sweat-free, guaranteed.)

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May 1
Best pick: Avengers: Age of Ultron
C’mon. Like this isn’t going to be what everyone’s talking about. Joss Whedon’s second foray into the Marvel Universe is a safe bet, if you can handle all the merchandising you’ll have to endure for the next two months.
Also check out:

Welcome to Me (Kristin Wiig does quirky/indie.)
Hyena (Brutal British crime flick.)

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May 8
Best Pick: Mumford & Sons, album, Wilder Times
Those tuning into SNL a few weeks ago may have been confused by hipster darling Mumford & Sons’ re-emergence into a hard-driving Foo Fighters-esque rock band, but early word on the group’s third album is that ditching the banjos recreated them into an entirely new — and still viable — act on the scene.
Also check out:
Maggie (Arnold Schwarzenegger protects his zombie daughter. Of course.)
I am Big Bird: The Carol Spinney Story (The voice of Big Bird gets his spotlight. The voice of Snuffleupagus still waits in the wings.)

Unknown-1
May 15
Best Pick: Mad Max: Fury Road
Look, I’m not the world’s biggest Mad Max fan, but I defy you to tell me this isn’t the wildest trailer you’ve seen in some time. It’s insane. If the actual movie contains a fraction of this insanity — especially in IMAX — it could be a huge surprise.
Also check out:
Pitch Perfect 2 (You know you’re going to, anyway, and I can’t stop you.)
A$AP Rocky, album, At.Long.Last.A$AP (He puts dollar signs where the letter “S” goes!)

Unknown-2
May 22
Best Pick: Poltergeist
Will the reboot of Steven Spielberg’s spookiest Poltergeist scare anything up at the box office? Normally I’d say no, but the fact that this is on the summer slate might signal that it’s bigger and badder than we might think. With Sam Rockwell in the title role and, presumably, scary clown doll still in tow, Poltergeist may be a fun summer flick.
Also check out:
Tomorrowland (Brad Bird’s Clooney-helmed sci-fi will probably be fantastic; too bad it’s so under wraps so far and no one seems to know anything about it.)
Faith No More, album, Sol Invictus (The band’s first studio album in 18 years.)

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May 29
Best Pick: Taylor Swift/Barry Manilow/NKOTB at the Yum! Center
(Not together; separately.) I know, I know. “But Chris! It’s going to cost me SO MUCH money to see these three nearly-consecutive shows at Louisville’s YUM! Center in the span of June 2-7!” That’s true, but can you really put a price on destroying your musical street cred in six days? What a rare opportunity to become a person no one relies upon for musical recommendations ever again.
Also check out:
San Andreas (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson battles an earthquake. Can you smell what the rock is discovering in the fissures of the earth?)

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June 7
Best Pick: Bunbury Music Festival, Cincinnati
There’s something for (mostly) everyone at Cincinnati’s fourth Bunbury Music Festival, which this year features The Black Keys, the Avett Brothers and Snoop Dogg as well as Walk the Moon, The Decemberists and the Reverend Horton Heat. Bonus: Rhinegeist and cheese coneys, everybody!
Also check out:
Entourage (Bro! It’s the Entourage movie, Bro! I laugh but I will watch the hell out of this.)
Love & Mercy (Paul Dano and John Cusack both play Beach Boy Brian Wilson at different points in his life.)
Spy (Melissa McCarthy + Paul Feig = Always a good idea.)

Unknown-2
June 12
Best Pick: Jurassic World
Think back to the thrill you felt the first time you saw Jurassic Park. It blew your mind, right? Knocked you out, right? Imagine if that had been in IMAX 3-D. While we’ll never have the luxury of seeing life-sized dinosaurs on the screen for the first time again, we have an opportunity here for a great movie thrill…IF Jurassic World delivers.
Also check out:
Live From New York! (It’s a documentary chronicling the ins and outs of Lorne Michael’s SNL empire! Because we haven’t had enough of these.)

Unknown
June 19
Best Pick: Orange is the New Black (Season 3)
On Sunday the world will be chomping at the bit to start bingeing once again at Litchfield Prison, which is still reeling in the aftermath of a Red/Vee showdown, an administration shake-up and an stash of hidden heroin in the walls. I still say this isn’t technically a comedy, Golden Globes — but it is a solid show.
Also check out:
Inside Out (Amy Poehler, Bill Hader and Lewis Black helm Pixar’s newest money factory.)
Dope (Strong word of mouth on this indie about a geeky high schooler with designs on a drug dealer’s girlfriend.)

Unknown-3
June 26
Best Pick: Ted 2
Truth is, Seth McFarlane’s original Ted, for all its crudeness, ended up being a strong, almost eighties-esque comedy with a decent sized hard underneath all the matted plush. The trailer’s not as good for this as it was for the previous Ted, but it’s still a solid bet for a good time.
Also check out:
Big Game (Samuel L. Jackson plays the president lost in the woods after Air Force One is shot down.)

Unknown-1
July 4
Best Pick: The Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest 
Fireworks are great, but nothing can prepare you for a solid Fourth of July like the weiner-gobbling superstars of the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. 2014 saw human spare tire Joey Chestnut win his 8th consecutive win. Can he do it again? And isn’t that kind of probably unhealthy? Joey Chestnut’s complexion these days is literally “gray.”
Also check out:
Terminator: Genisys (I hope Paramount pictures realizes its typo on “Genesis” before release)
Magic Mike XXL (Speaking of weiners.)

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July 10
Best pick: Minions
Best pick? Probably not, but no one’s even really going up against this film this weekend. So get ready to see these things everywhere for another two years. Seven years, including the two inevitable sequels.
Also check out:
Crippling heat
A pool

Unknown-2
July 17
Best pick: Forecastle Music Festival
Louisville’s biggest music event this year boasts acts like Widespread Panic, Sam Smith, Houndmouth and Modest Mouse. Always an impressive lineup.
Also check out:
Ant-Man (Paul Rudd enters the Marvel Universe)
Mr. Holmes (Sir Ian McKellen plays an aged, dying Sherlock Holmes.)
Trainwreck (Amy Schumer, directed by Judd Apatow. Big potential.)

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July 24
Best Pick: Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp
Technically having streamed the week before this weekend, this will be the best time to Netflix-binge on all eight episodes of David Wain’s prequel to the fantastic Wet Hot American Summer — and every single famous funny person on earth has signed on for this series. EVERY ONE.
Also check out:
Pixels (Based on a well-loved short, which Adam Sandler and Kevin James will certainly F*** all up.)
Pan (Hugh Jackman in a Peter Pan prequel. Er…just what we’ve been waiting for?)

Unknown-3
July 31
Best pick: The End of the Tour
Jason Segel channels David Foster Wallace in an adaptation of David Lipsky’s book, where the reporter followed the eccentric writer through a tumultuous promotional tour. It’s totes egghead bait and I love it.
Also check out:
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (You get the idea. I’m not even going to look this one up for you.)

Unknown-5
August 8
Best pick: A Midsummer Night’s Run
Choose to either run the race or drink a lot while your friends run the race; either way take part in the greatest Lexington running tradition outside of crossing Nicholasville road without getting run over.
Also check out:
Masterminds (Zach Galifiniakis and Kristen Wiig in a movie has the unfortunate curse of not possibly being able to be as good as it looks on paper.)
Fantastic Four (One more time, with feeling!)

Unknown-6
August 14
Best pick: Straight Outta Compton
Ice Cube’s son plays him in a bio pic based on the rise of the controversial mid-1980’s rap group. It also stars Paul Giamatti, presumably not as MC Ren.
Also check out:
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (Guy Ritchie takes on the old spy TV show, likely with a lot of gruesome face punching and cockney accents.)

Unknown-7
August 21
Best pick: Criminal
In case you needed any reminder that the summer is over, here’s one last actioner straggling in starring Kevin Costner as a convict who’s implanted with the memories of a dead CIA agent so he can finish a super-important mission. You know, that old yarn.
Also check out:
Sinister 2 (Yep. We’re definitely on our way out of summer.)
Digging for Fire (The reliable Joe Swanberg directs Jake Johnson and Rosemary DeWitt in a dreamed about a couple who find a bone and a gun buried in their backyard.)

Unknown-9
August 28
Best Pick: Hitman: Agent 47
Best pick? Really? Let’s just call the summer over at August 21st. Let’s not let it end with Hitman: Agent 47. Can we all agree on that? Okay then. Enjoy your summer. The pool closes in six days, dammit!


Movie Franchise Playoffs Part II

Movie Franchise Playoffs Part II

For a recap of how the tournament works, how the bracket was established, and the first two rounds of the Movie Franchise Playoffs click here.

As usual, Spoiler Alert for the the films below.

Time for the semi-finals of the Movie Franchise Playoffs!  Here is how the bracket looks after the quarterfinals:

bracket semi finals

Semi-Finals

Godfather versus Indiana Jones

Game 1: Fan Vote

Godfather: 2     Indiana Jones: 5

Winner: Indiana Jones

Game 2: Individual Awards

Godfather: Academy Awards- Wins: 2 (Best Actor, Best Actor in a Supporting Role) Nominations: 8 (Best Actor in a Supporting Role x7, Best Actress in a Supporting Role), Golden Globes- Wins: 1 (Best Motion Picture Actor), Nominations: 6 (Best Motion Picture Actor x3, Best Supporting Actor x2, Most Promising Newcomer)

Indiana Jones: Academy Awards- Wins: 0 Nominations: 0 Golden Globes- Wins: 0 Nominations: 1 (Best Supporting Actor)

Godfather Totals: Wins-3 Nominations- 14  Indiana Jones Totals: Wins- 0 Nominations- 1

Winner: Godfather

Game 3: Quoteability

Godfather- “Leave the gun.  Take the cannoli.”  “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.”  “If not, it’s all-out war, we go to the mattresses.”  “I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart. You broke my heart!”  “Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.”

Indiana Jones- “Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?”  “I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go!”  “I hate snakes, Jock! I hate ‘em!”  “Prepare to meet Kali… in Hell!”

Both franchises have some great quotes, but the Godfather is to movie quotes what Indy is to bullwhips.  The impact Godfather quotes have had on other movies, tv shows, and general everyday conversation gives it the edge over Indiana Jones.  Sorry Indy, it was only business.  I always liked you.

Series Winner: Godfather

Lord of the Rings versus Star Wars

Game 1: Fan Vote

LOTR: 4   Star Wars: 3

Winner: LOTR

Game 2: Individual Awards

LOTR: Academy Awards- Wins: 0 Nominations: 1 (Best Actor in a Supporting Role) Golden Globes- Wins: 0 Nominations: 0

Star Wars: Academy Awards- Wins: 0 Nominations: 1 (Best Actor in a Supporting Role) Golden Globes- Wins: 0 Nominations: 1 (Best Supporting Actor)

LOTR Totals: Wins- 0 Nominations- 1    Star Wars Totals: Wins- 0 Nominations: 2

Winner: Star Wars

Game 3: Quoteability

LOTR:  “My precioussssss.”  “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”  “One ring to rule them all…”  “Come on, Mr. Frodo. I can’t carry it for you… but I can carry you!”  <Every line Theoden says>  “What’s taters, precious?”

Star Wars: “I know”  “I am your father.”  “That’s no moon.”   “These are not the droids you’re looking for.”  “Use the Force, Luke.”  “May the Force be with you, always.”  “Who’s scruffy-looking?”  “Never tell me the odds.”

This is by far the toughest matchup.  What Star Wars lacks in pure epicness of quotes they make up for with a barrage of memorable one-liners.  On the other hand Star Wars’ iconic lines are matched by LOTR’s depth as all three movies contain memorable lines.  If ever you find yourself on the brink of a massive battle, some quotes from Gandalf or Aragorn may be what you’re looking for.  Ultimately, quoteability is determined by which franchise is most ingrained in the lexicon of pop culture.  Victorious, Star Wars is.

Series Winner: Star Wars

 

bracket finals

Finals: Godfather versus Star Wars

Game 1: Film-based Awards

Godfather: Academy Awards- Wins: 7 (Best Picture x2, Best Writing/Screenplay x2, Best Director, Best Art Direction, Best Music) Nominations: 12 (Best Picture, Best Director x2, Best Costume Design x2, Best Sound, Best Film Editing x2, Best Music x2, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction)  Golden Globes- Wins: 4 (Best Motion Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Original Score) Nominations: 9 (Best Motion Picture x2, Best Screenplay x2, Best Original Score x2, Best Director x2, Best Original Song)

Star Wars: Academy Awards- Wins: 8 (Best Music/Original Score, Best Effects, Best Film Editing, Best Sound, Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction, Special Achievement Award Sound Effects, Special Achievement Award Visual Effects) Nominations: 5 (Best Music/Original Score, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Writing/Screenplay, Best Achievement in Makeup  Golden Globes- Wins: 1 (Best Musical Score) Nominations: 3 (Best Musical Score, Best Motion Picture-Drama, Best Director-Motion Picture)

Godfather Totals: Wins- 11  Nominations- 21     Star Wars Totals: Wins- 9 Nominations- 8

Winner: Godfather

Game 2: Cultural Impact

There is not really a wholly objective way to examine cultural impact, but in this case there is not much of a debate.  In terms of cinematic history and impact on the film industry, Godfather is considered one of, if not the most influential franchises of all time.  When it comes to cultural impact though, Star Wars is in its own galaxy.  The merchandise, tv shows, subsequent sequels and prequels, books, comics, etc have created a following and dedication to Star Wars which quite simply doesn’t exist for the Godfather franchise.

Winner: Star Wars

Game 3: Rankings in AFI Top 100 Films

Godfather: Godfather- 2, Godfather Part II- 32  Star Wars: Star Wars IV- 13

Released in 2007, the American Film Institute’s Top 100 Films used “a jury of 1,500 film artists, critics and historians” to rank the top 100 films of all time.  The Godfather franchise is the only franchise to have more than one entry on the AFI Top 100.  Not only does it have two, but it has two in the top 40 films…of all time!  When it comes to movie franchises, The Godfather franchise is simply in a league of its own.

Champion: Godfather  

The Godfathers’ path to the title: (NSFW)

 


Five Stars Never Looked Better at the ACMs and One Needs A Re-Do

Five Stars Never Looked Better at the ACMs and One Needs A Re-Do

 

Last night the music industry celebrated the 50th Academy of Country Music Awards in Texas at the Dallas Cowboys stadium which held 70,000 people- breaking an award show record for most-attended live award show.  Miranda Lambert led all the contenders with eight nominees and winning her sixth consecutive award for female vocalist of the year. George Strait, the only country singer named the ACM’s entertainer of the year in four different decades, received the first Milestone Award at the show Sunday. The Texas native is one of seven artists to be honored with a Milestone Award, along with Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Reba McEntire, Lambert and Taylor Swift. Swift’s mother, Andrea Swift, presented her daughter with her Milestone. Recently diagnosed with cancer, she spoke of watching “the tangled-hair girl growing up on our farm” turning into a woman “brave enough to explore her musical curiosity, having a voice against those who hate and giving of herself in need.”

 

While people aren’t tuning into the ACMs for their glamorous red carpet, there were five stars who have never looked better.

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Miranda Lambert- The winner of the night stunned in this plunging neckline and high slit.

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Willie and Korie Robinson- The Duck Dynasty duo took their Louisiana charm to the red carpet- beard and all.

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Taylor Swift- Despite her transition into pop music this year, the star looked elegant and spring-y in her powder blue Reem Acra gown.

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Reese Witherspoon- The Nashville native and founder of the Southern lifestyle website Draper James struck gold in this metallic mini adding a rock-n-roll feel to the country night.

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Kasey Musgraves- The double nominee shined in her feminine and flowy pink gown.

 

… but one star stood out from all the rest

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Steven Tyler and his pop art pants seemed out of place at the award show, but the carefree rocker announced he is making a country album this year and has recently moved to Nashville. So welcome to the South Steven, just leave the pants in Texas.

 

Who was your favorite performance of the night? Tell me in the comments below!


Would You Rather? Mad Men Edition

Would You Rather? Mad Men Edition

Mad Men

Watching AMC’s Mad Men is like reading War and Peace and Where’s Waldo simultaneously. It is hard to divide your attention between the two overwhelming parts. I sometimes find my eyes wandering throughout the set and then focusing on the costumes. I often realize I wasn’t paying attention to Don’s sales pitch or his ever increasingly creepy pick up lines.

My wandering mind often puts me in situations that present the question: if I were in this era, what would I do? Would I rather be a Peggy or a Joan? A Pete Campbell or a Ken Cosgrove? Below are some of the more difficult questions that the last season of Mad Men presents.

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Would You Rather… Have Roger Sterling’s fabulous mustache, but become mute OR have Pete Campbell’s hairline, but have ten million dollars?

If you have watched Pete Campbell grace the scene of Mad Men, then you have uttered the phrase, “Ugh, Pete Campbell is the worst.” He really is.  Would you, however, take on his receding hairline but be fiscally blessed or would you rather be America’s spirit animal but without the ability to deliver clever one-liners? It is a difficult choice. I’d take a second look at that hairline before you pick.

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Would You Rather… Live your life with Bertram Cooper’s no shoe rule forever OR have everyone’s voice sound like Don’s secretary, Meredith?

We’ve all seen those runners who swear that it is more comfortable to run barefoot, are you willing to spend the rest of your life shoeless? The alternative is that for as long as you live, your life will be one continual Alvin and the Chipmunks album.  While she wears a field of daises well, her voice is like nails on a chalkboard to Don.  I suspect it would be a similar experience for us all.

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Would You Rather… Be Betty Francis and always have to talk over a blender OR be Megan Draper, but all of your carpets are stained with wine?

Don Draper listens to most women like they are talking over a blender.  He hears about every third word.   The rest of the time, he’s thinking about how to take off their fur coat or if he has met them before.  (That is, unless they are telling a sad, sad story.  Then he’s all in!) Betty is used to not being listened to, that’s why she’s going to master in psychology. She’s such a good listener.

Poor Megan, she just can’t have nice things.  She had the soap opera gig, but she quit it to go out west.  She thought she was marrying a savvy millionaire, but it turns out she married a distant and somewhat-skeevy ad man. She thought she had modern white carpet, but then Don had to go and ruin that too.

Either choice you make, you are going to have some anger and resentment for Mr. Donald Draper.

All hypothetical situations aside, I look forward to the last four episodes of Mad Men.   I don’t have many theories about how it will end, but this I can guarantee you: Sally Draper will roll in with some raging teen angst, Peggy will get what is due to her and Don’s demise will be as slow and stylish as the man falling in the opening credits.

 

 


Everyone's new favorite droid, BB-8!

A New Trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Everyone's new favorite droid, BB-8!

Everyone’s new favorite droid, BB-8!

Trailer #2, in all its glory…

No word yet on the plot, or who the new characters (Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, John Boyega, Adam Driver, etc.) may be, but man does this trailer look good.  Hit the home run JJ!


We’re Talkin’ About Playoffs!

We’re Talkin’ About Playoffs!

It’s almost time for the NBA Playoffs!  Hope springs eternal for those lucky 16 teams who find themselves in contention for a championship while the other 14 pray a UK player is available to them in the lottery.  Fans of Golden State, Cleveland, and Atlanta are hopeful for that elusive playoff success.  Meanwhile all the San Antonio fans (and the rest of the NBA fans outside of the three previously mentioned teams) are looking at this picture and just nodding their heads as the Spurs gear up for another ridiculous postseason run.

Spurs

Here at Funkhouser we have our own playoffs to help get you in the playoff mood.  Instead of NBA franchises chasing a championship, we have 16 of the best movie franchises of all time vying for glory in the first annual Funkhouser Movie Playoffs.  This is slightly less prestigious than an Academy Award but significantly better than those MTV Movie Awards (are those still popcorn statues?).  A few words before we unveil the bracket.  For the purpose of this tournament a franchise is defined as three or more films telling one continuous story.  For example, the James Bond films used are isolated to the Daniel Craig Bond films and only the Christopher Nolan Batman films are considered for the Batman franchise.  Each matchup is a best of three series with each franchise represented by their three best entries.  The “best” three films of a series were determined by critical ratings (explained below) and not by my personal preference.  Everybody got that?  Good, great, grand, wonderful!  On we go!

The Bracket:

updated movie playoff

 

Seeding for the bracket was determined by polling the Funkhouser crew and other cinephiles I know.  Each person ranked all franchises 1-16.  They were then seeded based on their average.

While I enjoy the NBA Playoffs, I hate that they take a full two months to complete.  To make this playoff go by slightly faster, rounds one and two will not include as much analysis and commentary as rounds three and four will have next week.

Round 1

*First round winners determined by critical success using an average based on ratings from IMdB, Metacritic, and Rotten Tomatoes

Godfather vs. Jaws

Game 1: Godfather- 69.4    Jaws-61.7

Game 2: Godfather II- 62.7   Jaws 2- 29.35

Game 3: Godfather III- 44.8  Jaws: The Revenge- Yeah I know I didn’t need to do game three of the series; but as Funkhouser correspondent Kalan Kucera pointed out, “Michael Caine!!!!”.

Winner: Godfather

James Bond vs. Rocky

Game 1: Casino Royale- 61.3   Rocky- 58

Game 2: Skyfall- 60.2  Rocky II- 39.5  *There is no Metacritic score for Rocky II, but injuries happen in sport and this is just a tough blow for the Rocky franchise.

Winner: James Bond

Batman vs. X-Men

Game 1: Dark Knight- 61.6    X-Men: Days of Future Past- 57.7

Game 2: Dark Knight Rises- 58.1     X-2- 54.1

Winner: Batman, and yes I was just as surprised that Dark Knight Rises got a higher average critical grade than Batman Begins

Indiana Jones vs. Iron Man

Game 1: Raiders of the Lost Ark- 64.5     Iron Man- 59.9

Game 2: Last Crusade- 53.7    Iron Man 3- 49.3  Iron Man deserves to lose after butchering The Mandarin like they did.

Winner: Indiana Jones

Star Wars vs. Back to the Future

Game 1: A New Hope- 64.2    Back to the Future- 63.5

Game 2: Empire Strikes Back- 60.9   Back to the Future 3- 45.1

Winner: Star Wars

Toy Story vs. Terminator

Game 1: Toy Story- 66.7    Terminator- 64

Game 2: Toy Story 3- 66.4   Terminator 2- 56.1

Winner: Toy Story, I always knew Buzz Lightyear>Skynet

Harry Potter vs. Jurassic Park

Game 1: Deathly Hallows Part 2- 63.7    Jurassic Park- 56.3

Game 2: Prisoner of Azkaban- 60.2    Jurassic Park 2- 39.1

Winner:  Harry Potter

Dumbledore dance

Lord of the Rings vs. Hannibal Lecter Trilogy

Game 1: Return of the King- 65.9    Silence of the Lambs-  62.2

Game 2: Two Towers- 64.2    Red Dragon- 45.4

Winner: Lord of the Rings

Bracket round 2

 

Round 2

*Second round winners determined by box office performance.  Box office figures are adjusted for ticket price inflation.

Godfather vs. James Bond

Game 1: Godfather- $652 million    Skyfall- $304 million

Game 2: Godfather II- $211 million   Quantum of Solace- $168 million

Winner: Godfather

Batman vs. Indiana Jones

Game 1: Dark Knight- $616 million    Raiders of the Lost Ark- $641 million

Game 2: Dark Knight Rises- $478 million    Temple of Doom- $444 million

Game 3: (Finally a real game three!)  Batman Begins- $265 million    Last Crusade- $410 million

Winner: Indiana Jones

Star Wars vs. Toy Story

Game 1: A New Hope- $1.1 billion (yeah billion)    Toy Story 3- $433 million

Game 2: Empire Strikes Back- $654 million    Toy Story 2- $397 million

Winner: Star Wars

Lord of the Rings vs. Harry Potter

Game 1: Return of the King- $510 million   Deathly Hallows Part 2- $398 million

Game 2: Two Towers- $475 million    Goblet of Fire- $374 million

Winner: Lord of the Rings.

gandalf

bracket semi finals

So here are the semi-finalists.  Now is the part where you dear reader get to exert your influence on the tournament.  Semi-final winners will be determined by three criteria: fan vote, individual awards (most Best Actor/Actress, Best Supporting, etc), and quoteability.  The fan vote will be open until midnight on April 19.  Votes can be made here in the comments section, on the Funkhouser Facebook page under the comments for this post, or on Twitter @banterjosh.  The finals will be included in next week’s post as well.  The champion will be crowned based on cast-based awards (Best Picture, Best Director, etc), average ranking in the AFI Top 100 Films list, and cultural impact.

 


Morning Monologue: Carpool Karaoke Is Back

Morning Monologue: Carpool Karaoke Is Back

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We are now almost a month into the Late Late Show With James Corden experience, and it has certainly seen its ups and downs.  Let me preface the rest of this by saying, if you knew how many DMs and text messages there have been between myself and Tomlin regarding Corden’s show, you’d be astonished (or maybe not…).

Corden has brought a lot of “viral” moments to his late night show, with the Tom Hanks bit, Katie Couric’s April Fools Prank, Kentucky’s Peyton Henderson’s appearance, and most certainly his hosting an entire show from a strangers house.  I will say it now, the Tommy’s house episode will be a key moment in the history of the James Corden Late Late show.  If they had ended up in anyone else’s house, that episode could have gone south so quickly, and in turn, the series.  But we’re already to the point where James is having recurring bits, and he’s starting with Carpool Karaoke, and it’s pretty perfect.  Hudson plays along much better than Mimi did the first go ’round, including a great trip through a drive through… check it out:

@rbramblet


Newest Binge-Worthy Originals from Netflix

Newest Binge-Worthy Originals from Netflix

 

Critics are calling this era television’s “New Golden Age.” Following the success of House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, Netflix is ramping up its original series in 2015 at an alarming rate and scoring some incredibly impressive stars. Thank you Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright for paving the unconventional TV way for A-list actors joining the Netflix ranks and raising the bar for network TV to follow.

Fair warning: some of these shows are already streaming so make sure you have some room in your social calendar for binge-watching, which may mean having to wait until Keeneland’s spring season ends.

 

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Bloodline – Now streaming

From the creators of FX’s Damages (catch up on Netflix if you missed that show-Rose Byrne and Glenn Close!), Bloodline is set in the gorgeous Florida Keys and follows a family that owns a boutique hotel on the beach. Dangerous drama unfolds when the prodigal son returns home. If you miss Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights), he plays a son/brother of the family and is also the local sheriff.

 

grace and frankie

Grace and Frankie - streaming May 8

From the founders of Friends, this show stars the legendary ladies Jane Fonda Lily Tomlin as long time rivals who are brought together after their husbands announce they are leaving their wives for each other. I have a feeling this could be our generations Golden Girls and I’m excited about that.

 

Wet-Hot-America-Summer-Plot-Details

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp – Streaming July 17

This cult favorite following a group of counselors through summer camp is coming back as a prequel. Pretty much everyone from the film’s original cast including Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, and Paul Rudd have joined this limited series and may actually keep us indoors this summer.

 

daredevil

Daredevil – Now streaming

First the silver screen, then our TV screens, and now our computer screens. Daredevil is the first of four Netflix-exclusive dramas exploring characters of the Marvel empire. Following Charlie Cox as a blind superhero who fights crime using his other, enhanced senses, this will be the newest obsession for comic book die-hards and dabblers alike.

 

marseille

Marseille – streaming late 2015

Off the success of House of Cards, “Marseille” is another story of power, corruption and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the French port city. The story of Robert Taro, mayor of the city for 25 years, upcoming elections have him run against the man he chose as his heir and the fight gets rough. This drama centers around revenge, drug lords, unions, and the political players of the city. Oh, and the show is in French- here’s hoping for subtitles!

 

What will you be bingeing this spring? Tell me in the comments below!


The ‘Devil’ is in the Detail

The ‘Devil’ is in the Detail

Daredevil-

Maybe it was that one can still remember the god-awful, Gigli-era Ben Affleck version that was an affront to all that is good.  Maybe it was a feeling of complete disinterest after watching the first 5 episodes or so or Marvel’s heretofore flagship television show, Agents of Shield.  Or perhaps the feeling that most of the big budget Marvel movies (with the exception of Guardians of the Galaxy) are diverging into a tired plot structure of villain mad, city go boom, #Sacrifice, good guys win.  Whatever it was, I can tell you that my expectations for the new Daredevil on Netflix were fairly low.  Luckily for us, though, this new show (at least the first 4 episodes) is incredible television.

Being one of Marvel’s second tier of characters, you may or may not know too much about Daredevil.  It’s based on a comic by, who else, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Bill Everett, and is the story of young boy named Matt Murdock.  After being blinded in an accident as a kid, Matt grows up to be a lawyer as well as a badass, night-stalking, vigilante who’s honed his other senses to a razor sharp point.  With this canvas to paint on, the show-runners use a number of exciting elements to keep this show fast-paced and fresh.

One of these is that, so far, it has dedicated about the same amount of time to his origin story as I just did.  While some franchises (See: Spiderman, The) have seen it necessary to continually rehash and belabor the origin, the writers for Daredevil cover his childhood and his accident in extremely succinct flashbacks.  It’s a very refreshing change and one that allows the story to move at a faster pace.  The characters also feel much more fleshed out from the get-go, a common trait for good shows that start in the middle, not at the beginning, of the action.

Probably due to the fact that Daredevil is not the most well-known character, as well as its home on Netflix, the show also seems willing to take chances other (i.e. network) shows won’t.  You can see this in the pacing; they didn’t rush out the villain, but rather built up to his appearance slowly.  Ditto for Matt Murdock’s training and complete lack of a love-interest, things that would happen in the first third of a feature and are commonly set-up in the first two episodes of a series.  It also definitely takes chances with the action scenes in the show.  The fighting so far has been brutal and dirty, akin to movies like The Bourne Identity and Oldboynone of the A A Left B Down choreography that other shows exhibit.  It’s also full of the kind of I-can’t-even-look-at-this gore that you’d never get away with on one of the big four networks.

Beyond that, the best part of the show so far is its smallness.  The show is set in the same universe as the Marvel films (the vaunted MCU), as shown by a number of small allusions to other titles, but the scale here is so much smaller.  The Hell’s Kitchen of Daredevil is part of the debris left over from the first Avengers movie.  It’s part of the story of what happens to the little people who have to live in the destruction wrought by gods (figuratively and literally!), and never having been shown this part of the world before, it’s both refreshing and fascinating.

Who would get the rebuilding contracts after a city block was destroyed by a giant alien bug?  Who’s affected by all of the preparation or repair for superhumans fighting in the skies above your tiny slice of reality?  Those are the people who populate this show.  Matt Murdock doesn’t get super powers when he’s bathed in a toxic chemical, he just goes blind and has to teach himself how to live in this world.  Not on a grand, planetary or galactic scale; but in his tenement building, on his block, in his neighborhood.

Obviously none of this would work without some great writing and great acting and the central cast of Charlie Cox (Matt Murdock/Daredevil), Elden Henson (Foggy Nelson, law partner/friend), Vincent D’Onofrio (Wilson Fisk/Kingpin), and others.  D’Onofrio especially does some very interesting work as Fisk in his first appearance, a single data point in a hopefully positive trend.  Cox also does equally well in courtroom, action, or other scenes making for a very interesting lead–of course he’s British too (it’s the TV British as American Invasion!).

All of these factors add up to make Daredevil a compelling and eminently watchable show, and the best entry into the Marvel television universe so far.  If it continues to explore this world on a smaller scale and keeps taking care of small details of character, location, and pacing, there’s not a moment of this show that won’t be enjoyable.

@KalanKucera

@FunkhouserKSR

FunkhouserKSR on Facebook


7 Fast Thoughts And One Furious Note On Furious 7

7 Fast Thoughts And One Furious Note On Furious 7

 

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Furious 7 isn’t a high-brow film.  After a devastating loss on Saturday, I needed to see some cars parachute out of a plane. I needed to see a grown man flex out of a cast. I needed to say “no way that could happen” and not “no way, did that just happen?” Furious 7 didn’t disappoint. Here are a few thoughts on the film as well as one angry note.

1. The Trailer: Not all movie trailers are created equal. Some show all of their jokes upfront in the preview (This is the End.) Some portray the film in the wrong genre (The 5 Year Engagement) Not Furious 7.
Even though there is the world’s best moment in all of previews for F7 (Paul Walker parkour-ing on a bus falling off of a cliff) there is still more left to see in the movie.

MoleRat
2. Vin Diesel = Naked Mole Rat: Every time I see Vin Diesel, he reminds me of a naked mole rat. Throughout the whole film, I would wonder why is a rodent wearing human clothes? How did he learn to drive? Who changes the cedar chips in his cage?
*I’m just kidding, Vin. Don’t send your family of speed-racing criminals to me. I only drive a Kia.  Kia car-owners are more accostomed to hamsters driving their cars.
3. A Clinic on Coordinating: Have you ever tried to coordinate an event? A bake sale? A group of friends? A classroom of children? It never goes as planned. There aren’t enough brownies. Someone doesn’t show up. Someone always has to go to the bathroom.
What’s lovely about Furious 7 is there are rarely hiccups to the plan. If someone is supposed to meet under the bridge…they meet under the bridge. It is a wonderful change of pace from real life, where things typically don’t go according to plan.
4. Crazy Camera Angles: Throughout the film, the production crew used a technique where the camera completes a full 360 degree turn as the person is thrown to the ground. It is as if the CBS camera crew from the NCAA tournament is in charge of the film angles.

CGI Paul Walker

5. CGI-Believability: I believe American Sniper ‘s babygate lowered everyone’s standards for potential stand-ins in movies. For the most part, I didn’t think the CGI creation of Paul Walker detracted from the film. Paul Walker’s digitally remastered face in the final moments of the film aren’t as jarring as the completely unmolested white Toyota Supra “he’s” driving. Where are the goofy vinyl graphics, ridiculous wings, silly wheels?1

6. F7 Commits: *spoiler alert* Furious 7 isn’t going to win an Oscar. The movie does, however, know what type of movie it is and it commits. The film suspends what would actually happen in reality and allows the story to cheat a little for the purpose of entertainment.  Take Vin Diesel’s bottomless pit of classic muscle cars, for example. If this were real life, he would have a ban placed against him by every classic car auction known to man.2

7. A Touching Ending: Paul Walker’s final scene is handled appropriately. Even though it may or may not be his actual face, the sentiment is sweet. You can tell the film is crafted by people who love and miss Paul Walker.

One Furious Note: 

One of the best and simultaneously cringe-wrothy moments of the movie is when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson delivers the line, “Woman, I AM the cavalry.”  I laughed, but I didn’t want to.  I thought I had some self-respect and girl-power. Now, my husband likes to begin requests with the phrase.  I don’t laugh then.  I do, however, look forward to the day when I meet the The Rock and I have the chance to say, “Dwayne, don’t call ME woman.”

 

1 This comes from my brother who might have the most opinions about automobiles

2 Another sassy comment from my brother. He’s a lot of fun to go on long car trips with, until he’s not