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KSR’s take on recent non sports related happenings
By S.E. Shepherd on ©March 06th, 2015 @ 8:00am
If you live anywhere near Kentucky, odds are you’re up to your gonads in snow today. While this is just the region’s second big snow storm this winter, it’s enough to make you long for the warmer climate of more desirable locales like the middle of Death Valley or the surface of the sun. As you face another long weekend trapped in your house (and if you have kids, may God have mercy on your soul), your thoughts probably turn to your couch, your TV and an appointment with a bunch of movies to watch while you wait for the white stuff to melt. There are endless options available for your viewing pleasure, but given the circumstances, you need to be careful about what you choose to watch while you’re holed up. As a service to you, dear reader, here are five movies you should do your best to avoid while you’re snowed in.
Winter is a magical time, full of snowmen, hot chocolate, cuddling by the fire, and pondering the possibility of having to consume the hindquarters of your closest friends. Based on a true story, Alive depicts the horrors facing a Uruguayan rugby team who crash land on the snowy Andes mountains in the 1970s. After they run through their limited rations, members of the group decide to dip their toes in the warm waters of cannibalism and eat the remains of their fellow passengers in order to survive. It’s a harrowing tale, no doubt, but imagine settling in to watch this with your significant other during a snow storm and then discovering you’re out of bread and milk. How long could you hold out before you start contemplating which section of your bae might make the tastiest roast? That’s probably a door better left unopened, don’t you think?
4. The Grey
Make no mistake, The Grey is a good movie. It’s just not a good movie to watch while you’re staring at 8+ inches of snow outside your window. Accurately described as “Liam Neeson vs. Wolves,” The Grey follows Neeson and a group of Alaskan oil workers who are forced to battle the elements and a merciless pack of wolves as they try make their way back to civilization after their plane goes down in the middle of a blizzard. The last thing you want to watch while you’re trapped in your house is a bunch of hardened tough guys slowly reduced to sniveling cry-babies and wolf food as they wrestle with the hopelessness of their situation. You’ll especially want to avoid this one if you have a dog. Because if you’re trapped in your house, that means your dog is trapped in your house, too, and you don’t want that little descendant of the “canis lupus” getting any ideas from The Grey’s furry antagonists.
No, not THAT Frozen. This Frozen was directed by low-budget horror legend Adam Green, and features three twenty-somethings trapped high above the ground when the ski lift they’re riding is shut down early ahead of a massive winter storm. It features a whole bunch of stuff you don’t want to think about while you’re cut off from society thanks to miserably cold weather: unanswered screams for help, frostbite, skin freezing to cold metal, compound fractures, and murderous wolves. If you like to ski (or, really, do ANYTHING outside in the winter), you’ll absolutely despise it after watching Frozen.
2. Dead Snow
You know what’s worse than being trapped in your house in the middle of a snow storm? Being trapped in your house in the middle of a snow storm while also having to battle the reanimated corpses of Nazi soldiers. That’s basically the premise of Dead Snow, a gory Norwegian flick that takes the standard zombie movie tropes and throws in a heaping helping of snow! This is a really fun movie to watch in the spring or summer or fall, when there isn’t a flake of snow in sight. But watching it while your entire neighborhood is blanketed by snow is a recipe for disaster. It won’t take long for you to convince yourself that a random branch sticking up out of a snowdrift in your backyard is actually the arm of a Nazi zombie clawing its way out to come eat your face. You’ve got enough problems without having to deal with that sort of mental torture.
1. The Shining
Like The Grey, The Shining is a great movie, but one you should avoid at all costs if you find yourself captive in your own home due to a foot of white powder blocking your door. While you may initially find yourself appreciating Stanley Kubrick’s meticulous exploration of insanity or Jack Nicholson’s legendary portrayal of a good man slowly embracing psychosis, if you pop The Shining into your DVD player while you are unable to leave the confines of your house to make a beer run, you’re likely to start identifying with the notion of “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” more quickly than you’d care to admit. If you have a family or, worse yet, live near a maze constructed out of overgrown hedges, do yourself a favor and run The Shining DVD through your cross-cut shredder as soon as Chris Bailey hints at the possibility of your area getting an inch or more of snow.
From: Steve Carlson, Production, CBS Sports
To: Sean McManus, President, CBS Sports
Date: March 4, 2015
Subject: Tournament production bumpers/teasers
You wanted me to report back to you on the progress for the bumpers and teaser promos for the upcoming NCAA Tourney coverage. I’ve checked in with all teams and have some updates. I think you’re going to be really pleased with the creativity and outside-the-box thinking our teams have done on this project.
1. Coach K’s people are being difficult about the shots we have of him. They don’t want him to come off as having a “mad face” or look “mean.” We are currently fixing his eyes in CGI to make sure he looks less threatening. You won’t be able to tell the difference.
2. From the regular season, we have a file folder of nearly 800 clips of Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell sinking a shot, turning around and getting low to the ground and screaming at the camera dramatically as he runs down the court. Of course we’ll run one of these going into every commercial break when Louisville plays, as usual, but we’re going to have to find other ways to burn off these clips otherwise. Perhaps we can superimpose a handful of TD Ameritrade brochures into his fists for one, if that would please the sponsors?
3. Some great marketing/coach tie-ins this season: Mark Few has agreed to liberally apply Nivea for Men face lotion during the games, Roy Williams will eat out of a mason jar of Red Mill™ Gluten-Free sorghum at time outs and Mike Bray has sold advertising space on the band collar of his shirt to a company that makes band-collar shirts.
4. Since the big story this season is Kentucky’s big dominance over the season and into the tournament, we’ve been working on some graphics for our analysis pieces and musical clip packages. Team has some good ideas:
-A stylish montage of each of the two Kentucky platoons shooting then cutting to a shot of a basketball goal comically overstuffed with basketballs because the team has shot so many, then the backboard and rim explodes into confetti spelling out “NCAA Tourney on CBS.”
-A clip of John Calipari devouring a large rotisserie chicken with his bare hands, stuffing it into his mouth to show his dominance as a coach. The rotisserie chicken is other teams.
-Superimpose crowns onto the heads of UK players. This signifies that they are the kings. Of basketball, or of a fictional land where basketball is a thing people can own and govern.
-We make all the basketballs Kentucky players dribble look like earths. We can do this with a Microsoft paint program. This means that they are really good and the world is their oyster, and the oyster is a basketball.
-A graphic where John Calipari loads his team into a bus and the bus starts down a highway toward the sun, and then the bus flies up into the sky and directly into the sun, and the sun explodes, and then night falls over the planet and most people die as the human race decreases its fossil fuels and resources, but those who live forge a new world underground in caves along streams and underground rivers until one day they walk out of their cave holes and look up into the sky, blinking and shielding their eyes because they’ve lived underground for so long, and then the dark clouds of ash which have covered the earth in darkness suddenly part and there’s big “NCAA on CBS” logo in the sky and animals come out of the woods and flowers begin to bloom again because life is new again and it’s time for basketball!
Let me know what you think.
Kevin Spacey is a two-time Oscar winning actor who is currently chewing up scenery and the nation’s bandwidth on Netflix’s beloved and bingeworthy House of Cards. Let me be the ten thousandth to say that such a development seemed impossible only a few years ago. TV was the staging area for Hollywood’s nursing home, and big name actors fought it off like the plague. Now, obviously, the narrative has changed, and prestige TV series have become downy soft landing spots for renowned actors, not just preserving their careers, but strengthening them. Clive Owen (Oscar-nominated for Closer) came to TV with The Knick, Frances McDormand with Olive Kitteredge, Kate Winslet with Mildred Pierce, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson with True Detective (and Vince Vaughan, Colin Farrell, and Rachel McAdams are doing the same for that series’ season two).
It’s a long list. The point is that TV, more than ever, is a haven for talented actors whom Hollywood has begun to ignore in favor of younger – often less capable – faces. These five stars could all carry TV shows and writers and producers would line up to work with them, so there’s no real reason for any of them not to make the move besides the archaic view that movies are still king. Well, that and vanity. Thankfully, actors aren’t known for their vanity, so convincing them should be no big deal.
Why not start with the biggest of big guns? Wait, speaking of guns, here are Denzel’s last five movies: Safe House, Unstoppable, Flight, 2 Guns, and The Equalizer. 4 out of 5 are action-centric explosion-fests. In Flight, Denzel actually got a chance to act (you know, the thing he does better than almost everybody when he has some good material), and drew raves for his performance. The talent he showed in Glory, Philadelphia, Malcolm X, Hurricane, and Training Day is still there, but the roles he’s landing these days are pretty narrow. He’s being Liam Neeson’d, and it’s not ok. I’d love a series built around Denzel (especially Denzel as a villain) that allowed him to show his chops again without feeling the need to blow something up every three minutes.
I don’t know how many actors can say they’ve won Oscars fifteen years apart, but however small the club, Blanchett’s a part of it. Unfortunately, as great actresses age, the movie business has a way of conveniently forgetting how great they are. Roles shrink or become more niche as younger, fresher faces more recognizable to the 18-49 demographics take over, acting chops be damned. Blanchett is good enough that she’ll find success wherever she goes, but I’d like to see somebody of her magnitude and talent carry a TV series (for some reason, I keep envisioning her as a female version of Jimmy McNulty on The Wire – producers take note).
Hot off his win for Best Actor at- wait, what? How did he not win Best Actor for Birdman? Eddie Redmayne? Really!? Good grief. Anyway, hot off his film’s powerhouse performance at The Oscars, Keaton has a real world-oyster situation going on here. He should have, to some extent, his pick of projects, and Birdman shows that he’s more concerned about being in something interesting than just cashing a check, so why not check in with HBO and see what they would be interested in developing around his talents. He seemed to really enjoy working with Alejandro G. Iñarrítu, and big name directors like David Fincher and Steven Soderbergh have gotten into the TV game recently, so maybe they could work out a way to carry their partnership to our living rooms. The options for Keaton probably won’t ever get more wide open than they are right now, and hopefully he doesn’t let them pass him by.
This one may seem counterintuitive, since Ejiofor is still young, and it was only last year that he took home the Best Actor Oscar for 12 Years a Slave. His work in Children of Men was the first time he caught my eye, and I’m always glad to see him show up in a movie. Thankfully, Ejiofor is pretty selective with his choices and picks some really good projects. However, I don’t think he’s going to be given the opportunity to be a true star (which he should be; his talent is incredible) in the film industry. His upcoming role in The Martian is a perfect example of what I mean. He’s playing an important supporting role in that movie, while Matt Damon plays the lead. That’s fine. Matt Damon is great and enough of a box office draw to be a no-brainer for the studio. But Ejiofor would have been great as the lead in that movie (the book is phenomenal). Studios are still hesitant to open big movies with black actors not named Denzel, Will Smith, or occasionally Jamie Foxx, unless the subject matter is about slavery, the civil rights movement, or a biopic of a black historical figure. TV has seen Oscar-nominees Terence Howard and Don Cheadle star in series built around their characters, and maybe Ejiofor could find a home, and garner the serious attention his brilliance deserves by testing the waters outside the film industry.
Make a movie once every few years, draw raves for your performance, win tons of awards, reclaim your spot as the greatest actor of your generation, lather, rinse, repeat. Daniel Day-Lewis has been killing it onscreen for as long as I can remember, and I’m pretty sure that he’s one of those people who still sees TV as a lesser art form. But seeing the way that Jon Hamm and Bryan Cranston have built career-defining performances out of the flawed psyches of their fascinating characters (and I don’t mean the doctor from 30 Rock or Hal from Malcolm in the Middle) makes me wish somebody like Lewis would give a TV series a shot. He’s accomplished everything anyone could hope for in film, and getting the chance to see him sustain one character over a long period of time, exploring the ins and outs of an individual’s life, is a viewer’s dream.
So who’s missing? Let me know in the comments which big name actors you’d like to see make the switch from the big screen to the small.
By C.M. Tomlin on ©March 04th, 2015 @ 8:00am
It’s a Wednesday, it’s getting ready to start snowing, and we’re all just sitting around. Let’s review some things!
Kingsman: The Secret Service
Over the last forty years we’ve seen a lot of folks pay homage to — and liberally steal from — the conventions of MGM’s James Bond franchise. And why wouldn’t they? It’s a recipe for action-movie success. Kingsman is, probably, the first in a very long time to get it really, really right; it also very openly winks that it’s using the Bondian formula throughout. When teen delinquent Eggsy (newcomer Taron Egerton, nailing it) discovers that his father was once an agent in the order of Britain’s super-double-secret service, suave gentleman spy Harry Hart (Colin Firth) recruits the lad to help bring down villainous media mogul Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson, doing his best Russel Simmons). It’s way over-stylized and a tremendous amount of fun; it’s also a lot more British and bloody than you’d likely suspect. Think of it as Bond by way of Danny Boyle and Quentin Tarantino. All the elements are in place: crazy gadgets, a mountain lair, over-the-top action sequences, a plot which merges elements of Thunderball and Moonraker (in a good way). It’s kind of a shame Kingsman was sloughed off in February — don’t be fooled, it’s much better than standard February fare — because it would’ve made a smashing summer film. Oh well. Sally forth, I suppose.
The Last Man on Earth (FOX, Sundays)
What feels like it could’ve been a premise for a ten-to-one SNL sketch from former player Will Forte gets blown out into a clever, creative comedy in FOX’s Last Man on Earth, which strands everyman Phil Miller (Forte) as perhaps the only human left after an unexplained virus wipes out the rest of the planet’s population. Looting the Smithsonian for his own collection (he lounges watching TV in Michael Jordan’s Bulls uniform), Phil turns the empty town of Tucson into his own personal playground, driving through storefronts, bowling with automobiles and relieving the city’s abandoned supermarkets of their Twinkies. What you’ve seen of the show’s trailers, which have been running since well before Christmas, is unfortunately all I can talk about here without ruining anything — but believe me when I say there’s a brilliant sub-premise that gives the show it’s future potential. Incredibly polished for a pilot, directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (21 Jump Street, The Lego Movie), working from a concept by Forte, turn in two first episodes which alternately are laugh-out-loud funny and cleverly subversive. I have no real idea where Last Man on Earth is headed and I’m okay with that because I trust the showrunners. Worth a look.
The Odd Couple (CBS, Thursdays)
On its debut evening last week, CBS’ new reboot of the Neil Simon classic premiered after the network’s cash cow The Big Bang Theory and, on that evening, retained 90% of its lead-in audience. This means either a.) the audience for The Big Bang Theory really can’t tell a good sitcom from a bad one, or b.) 90% of the audience of The Big Bang Theory last Thursday died somewhere between 8:29 and 8:46 and left their televisions on, the flickering blue light of their TVs illuminating their vacated bodies in the ethereal glow of tepid CBS comedy. Despite the pedigrees of its lead characters — former Friend Matthew Perry as the messy Oscar Madison and Reno 911/The State‘s Thomas Lennon as uptight Felix Ungar — the reboot is abysmal, from third-rate jokes to tired sitcom tropes you’ve seen a thousand times in the eighties. In fact, if you didn’t stop to think about how much money the network is likely paying them both for this lifeless shell, you might even feel sorry for them. It’s like watching Chandler do dinner theater in Boca Raton. And Lennon has too many things going for him right now (as executive producer of Chris Hardwick’s solid @Midnight, as well as a host of comedy scripts in the pipeline at any given time) to slum it like this. Pass.
QI (BBC America, Thursdays)
Currently in its twelfth season in the United Kingdom, notoriously charming intellectual Stephen Fry hosts the British quiz/panel show QI (for “Quite Interesting”), a droll, fact-based affair that comes across like Around The Horn if Around the Horn was a dinner party at a flat on Northumberland Street attended by a rotating group of British television personalities only exciting to Richmond Bramblet and myself. Fry floats out intriguing topics to his guests and then proceeds to school them on the most unknown and curious of facts about said topics, asking them questions and then ever-so-politely telling them their answers are wrong. It’s very funny, not for everyone, and perfectly comfortable, entertaining fare for watching as you pour yourself a drink and wind down for the night. Also available on Hulu.
Many interesting things took over the internet last week. We had llamas, dresses, the passing of legends, but somewhat lost in the shuffle was a short film which brought a new twist to an old classic. The original (American) incarnation of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was incredibly campy, but had ninja fighting, huge zords, some awesome villains, and ninja fighting. Growing up in the 90s I spent plenty of watching and pretending to be a power ranger. At first my favorite was the Red Ranger, Jason until Tommy, the Green turned White Ranger, showed up with his cool sword and overall awesomeness. Over the years there have been new Power Ranger iterations, but the original show and movie always held a special nostalgia.
Now in the age of remakes and nostalgia throwbacks, MMPR has made it’s return and it did not disappoint. Gone are the cheesy one-liners and non-lethal fight sequences, replaced by NSFW language and lots of blood. The tone of the short is incredibly dark, even darker than anything Ivan Ooze or Lord Zedd could ever come up with. As enjoyable as it is though, it could be better. Here are five things which would’ve taken the MMPR short from good to awesome: (Minor spoilers follow)
5. More Putty!
The putty (the MMPR equivalent of the foot clan) were among the cheesiest parts of the original show, so I understand their omission. BUT IT’S THE PUTTY! They’re the entire reason I thought I could be a Ranger. They’re such a non-threatening enemy, especially compared to Goldar and the zords.
4. Better Cast
For an independent short film, the casting isn’t bad. First off, there are two fairly well-known actors, Battlestar Galactica alum Kalee Sackhoff as Kimberly (Pink Ranger) and James Van Der Beek as Rocky (Red Ranger from the 1995 movie). Beyond that there isn’t anyone of note. Since these are things that would make this better, I’m going to recast the rest of the Rangers how I would want to see it:
Tommy/Green Ranger-Kit Harington. As Jon Snow, Harington in Game of Thrones has already proven his ability to fight with a word and be a leader. He also has shown his ability to be moody too, which Tommy definitely was during his tumultuous switch from Green to White Ranger.
Zack/Black Ranger- Anthony Mackie. Mackie was funny and showed his capacity for action in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He was also in Real Steel so he has experience with zord-like machines.
Trini/Yellow- Lucy Liu. If you switch Liu’s costume from Kill Bill Vol. 1 with Uma Thurman’s yellow jumpsuit, you basically have the Yellow Ranger. Hardly any work at all here, make it happen.
Billy/Blue Ranger-Michael Cera. Nerdy yet loveable, check. Mild action experience, check (looking at you Scott Pilgrim). Cera would definitely be able to pull off Billy, and in this darker take he would be able to use that somber aloofness thing he’s so good at.
Jason/Red Ranger-Josh Hutcherson. Battle hardened fighter who knows how to lead. Also, since I’m not fond of the color red anymore, they should also change the color to blue too.
3. A Zord or Two
Aside from a brief glimpse there is not any zord action. There was one “it’s morphin’ time”, but I wanted dinosaurs and large machines.
2. Alpha 5 and Zordon
Also notably absent are two of the mainstays of the show, Alpha 5 and Zordon. Without these two the Rangers were never going to realize their full power and potential, that is probably why the machines ended up winning. They couldn’t even throw in a token “ay ay ay”? SMH.
1. An Actual movie
Why not? I’ve got the cast ready, the storyline is more or less written, this needs to happen. In the meantime, enjoy this walk down memory lane.
Well, it looks like John Stewart may have a new job lined up after he’s finished with the Daily Show. Last night on WWE Monday Night Raw, after about two weeks of jawing between Stewart and “Mr. Money in the Bank” Seth Rollins, Stewart showed up to confront Rollins. It was a breath of fresh air for Monday Night Raw, which since its last pay-per-view has been mainly just all promos and no wrestling. While this was a talking segment, Stewart showed a strong product knowledge and actually kept the overly-negative New Jersey crowd in the palm of his hand. If only it were that easy for any of the other guest hosts in the history of Monday Night Raw.
However, when Stewart finds himself in trouble at the hands of Rollins and J&J Security, the Daily Show host saw only one opportunity to make an exit.
It will be interesting to see when next week’s host Wiz Khalifa has to arm wrestle the Diva’s division, while Jerry The King Lawler ogles on…
By Abby Newcom on ©March 02nd, 2015 @ 3:00pm
In honor of the “Women Tell All” episode of ABC’s The Bachelor tonight, I thought we’d take a look back at the series’ “craziest” contestants. Believe it or not, there have been 19 seasons and 480 contestants over the years. This season- quite possibly- could take the cake as far as outrageous moments, especially considering Chris is one of the least dramatic bachelors in the show’s history. For more than a decade, these women and gents have consistently provided more watercooler moments than probably any other series in TV history. Producers have accepted and embraced all the tears, cat fights and panic attacks and have portrayed (I use “portrayed”- because I imagine the 4 am rose ceremonies after all-you-can-drink wine bring out the worst in the girls and I like to give them the benefit of the doubt) many unfairly, but that is what makes great reality television and why the show has been as successful as it has – despite a really lame premise.
Chris Soules, or Prince Farming as he has been named, has taken the crazy moments in stride, always sincerely seeing the best in even the most crazy girls. With Becca and Whitney left pining for Chris, the “Women Tell All” episode airing tomorrow night at 8 p.m. ET is where the manure will hit the fan- no doubt. In honor of the inevitable Britt and Carly blow up, a Kaitlin confrontation, crazy Kelsey’s maniacal laugh, Ashley I.’s mascara tears, and just Ashley S.’s general presence, here is a walk down memory lane at some of the most unusual bachelor contestants of the last 19 seasons- in no particular order.
Kelsey- Season 19
After dubbing herself as the widow of the group, this season Kelsey waited for the “perfect” moment to tell Chris about the death of her husband making it sound more like fairy tale than an actual tragic even in her life. She was then accused of faking a panic attack before a rose ceremony during which she told a paramedic, “I’m gonna get a rose tonight, for sure.” She also liked to point out (more than a few times) that the girls were jealous of her because used “big words”. She’s also a guidance counselor at a school, so let that sink in.
Craziest quote: “Isn’t my story amazing? It’s tragic, but amazing. I love my story.” (talking about the death of her husband which happened a year ago)
“I am blessed with eloquence. And I’m articulate and I use a lot of big words because I’m smart.”
Ashley S. – Season 19
Ashley S. is, hands down, the wackiest contestant to ever appear on the show. Let’s start with the fact that she constantly interrupted Chris’s interviews, randomly wandered the grounds, and said in week four, “I just love you, Chris. I like really love you, Chris. I love everything about you. It’s crazy at this point in time, but I actually do really, really love you. And I hope this resonates in your mind tonight…you don’t have to say anything in regards to that.” How did she even made it to week four? Producers- it had to be producers.
Craziest Quote: “Every person you meet is like an onion. You cut them, but when you cut them, you peel them back and what you do is you peel them back layer by layer. That to me is an onion…it’s blooming. Take a look at the freakin’ onion. Look at this onion. Seriously, I’m not even kidding. That’s a freakin’ onion. I swear it’s an onion. Can I just please just pick it? If it’s a pomegranate, then god bless it. It is a pomegranate. It is. (She then picks said pomegranate.) Wow! I feel powerful!”
Courtney- Season 16
After skinny-dipping on national television with Ben Flajnik, admitting to a prior relationship with Jesse Metcalfe (C-list TV actor of Desperately Housewives fame), and calling another girl “a stripper” on camera, she actually won her season and wrote a book about it.
Craziest PG quote (from her book): “The second night we all watched Finding Nemo together. I was horrified to learn that Ben knew every line, which he recited during the movie.”
Stacey- Season 12
Stacey un-sneakily put pair of her panties in bachelor Matt Grant’s pocket at the cocktail party, just before passing out prior to the rose ceremony- all on the first night.
Craziest Quote: “I just wanted to spice things up. I am very spontaneous and outgoing so I thought it would be something fun to do and for the record those were an extra pair of panties that I had.”
Madison- Season 15
She had professionally made fangs, which she wore on the first night of Brad Womack’s second season. Shockingly enough, she decided to leave him in week 3.
Craziest Quote: “I’m a Twilight fan.” Remember, this was 2011.
Michelle- Season 12
Poor Michelle got sent home early, but on the plus side her cat missed her.
Craziest Quote: “I’m going to make sure she’s OK. It’s going to be great to have her purr again. And lay on my legs again. And to be with her again because she’s the love of my life at the moment.”
Tune in tonight to ABC to “The Bachelor: Women Tell All” at 8 p.m. ET. It’s the last episode before next week’s finale, when Chris will/ is expected to propose to one of his two remaining prospects — Becca, a chiropractic assistant from San Diego, or Whitney, a fertility nurse from the Chicago area who’s hometown is actually Louisville! Filmed February 21, the rejected women sought “closure” from Chris and only time will tell which woman gets to be the next bachelorette- which is pretty much better than winning (my money is on Kaitlin). Even veteran host Chris Harrison says this season of ABC’s The Bachelor has been the “craziest” ever. So fan or not, no doubt it will be entertaining.
By Kalan Kucera on ©March 02nd, 2015 @ 10:30am
(minor spoilers for House of Cards may appear in the haze of this 13 hour trek)
Knowing what I am about to embark upon (at least 15 hours of sitting in a chair) I went on a 5 mi. Wralk (a “run” that consists mostly of walking) this morning. I’ve gotten breakfast, I have coffee, my laptop is charged and I have my special sitting pillow ready. There may be more illustrious tests of endurance out there–your triathlons, decathlons, dodecathlons, pentalons, hopalongs?–but I’m under no illusions that what I’m about to do will be easy. I’m going to watch every episode of Season 3 of House of Cards in a sitting (with a gamebreak for the Cats!). Wish me luck!
When we left off, Frank had just been sworn in as President of the United States….
Yikes, are these all really a god’s honest hour? Not the 45 min “hour” from most TV? The first episode was fairly good, starting out with a major LOLZ. All I’ll say is, “UR-INE” for a real treat! Bahahahahaha. Also, some very surprising character reveals, I think quite a few people will be/were surprised. On the titillation front, it’s current Boobs 1 – Hairy Man Buns 5, so that’s a shocking score. We also get a pretty clear idea of what an Underwood White House looks like, would not want to work there.
My body is still good, little bit of a caffeine buzz, and had to grab socks and a sweater because it got cold. The weather is drab and frosty, much like Frank’s relationship with Congress. I’m now warm, though, and ready for episode two.
Now that was some political intrigue! Things are shaping up for the season’s arc and, I don’t want to give anything away, but man this show knows how to show gripping political maneuvers! That episode is why every re-loves Kevin Spacey. The range of emotional… stuff he does! A very good episode, very enjoyable. To our titillation scoreboard we add Getting Off On Political Maneuvers 2 and Sincerely the Weirdest Sweatiest, Slobberiest Weird Kevin Spacey Sex Scene Ever 300. Ewww.
Endurance-wise, that was one of the first of what I anticipate to be many 20 minute stretches where I really had to pee. I made it, but was really clenching during the last 10 minutes of the episode. My brain still seems to function and my wits are about me. Time to start episode 3.
The more I’m watching of this season, the more of an American Horror Story vibe I’m getting; AHS: Politics! Episode 3 was topical (Statecraft!) and there was a bizarre and seemingly out of place musical number by the lead. The pipes on Kevin Spacey! Still intense, negotiation wise. Probably not accurate, I’m sure statecraft is much more boring in real life, but man the writers know how to spruce it up! The titillation scoreboard was pretty “bear” that episode (that’s a not-very-functional joke about Russia), but I’ll chalk up 10 points to Not-Vladimir Putin and the deft maneuvering of his tongue. Oh, yeah. Pussy Riot was also in this episode, the actual band. Was a little weird.
It’s gray, I’m sitting, and there’s the pitter-patter of rain outside. That means that I’m getting a little nappy, which is bad. I yawned for the first time this episode and it’s only the third one! This does not bode well. I also have a cramp in my left knee from the strange way of sitting in my recliner. As my physical state begins to deteriorate, I still have my mind–for now. Give me all you’ve got Episode 4!
Man, subordinates and symbolism. One is untrustworthy and the other is unmistakable (and a little heavy handed!). Serviceable episode, plot wise, everything starting to fall into place. I wonder if they map out all of the myriad moving pieces beforehand, or if they just throw everything into a pot–a political burgoo–and we make our own connections. Oh crap, I’m starting to get philosophical about HoC. That’s bad news. This episode abandoned all titillation, missed the dartboard completely. Unless you like boiled peanut action. 5 points to boiled peanuts I suppose.
My hands are somewhat achy, must be the weather. I also closed my eyes for a brief moment near the end of the episode which, honestly, is pretty lame. I stood up though and paced around my chair. I’m going now to pee (#3!) and to get some caffeine. I anticipate hitting my second wind around episode 7. We shall see. Avast, ye episode 5!
It’s getting really good now, all of the character’s stories are coming together, plans seem to be going the Underwoods’ way (likely right in time to be ripped out from underneath them), and the whole shebang is really impressive. And Claire! How about Claire? If there’s something that this show does well, it’s portray strong female characters. Between Claire, Dunbar, and Jackie Sharp, this show is really strong in that regard. They also add heartily to the Titillation meter, garnering 5 pts for the Minority Whip and a whopping 100 pts for Claire owning the Russians, because if power doesn’t titillate, why even watch this show?
I’ve know been sitting in a chair for 5 straight hours. I’m already sore and tired which, c’mon! I’m not even 30 yet, how does this happen! I’m going to break for a couple of hours to watch the Cats beat Arkansas down, but soon I’ll be back in my chair, ready for the 8 hour homestretch. I feel like NASA should be paying me for this. Episode 6, I’ll see you soon!
C-A-T-S, CATS, CATS, CATS! (Amazing win, total beat-down. Pushed my approx ending time to approx. 2 AM)
I didn’t know how much I could enjoy the opening credits of a show until I watched Sons of Anarchy. The song begins with a big country chord and the rest of the song is as trashy and awesome as the show. There is something about the four words “the crow flies straight,” that makes me want to ride a motorcycle (even though it took me until the sixth grade to wean myself off of training wheels.) The point is… the song fits the show. It even gets nerdy, uncoordinated people like me to feel a little bit like Gemma Teller (but, without all the questionable fashion choices.)
Here are some of the Dos and Don’ts of creating a well-crafted, mood-creating opening credit sequence.
DON’T- Be Boardwalk Empire.
What I don’t understand is how the show’s producers can be so meticulous about the weird tie-clasps in the wardrobe (see picture above) and the width of the boards on the actual boardwalk (see here) but just throw all of the accuracy into the Atlantic with the opening credits. I’m not entirely sure, but I’m pretty confident that they didn’t have electric guitars with whammy bars in the 1920s. Also, the opening soundtrack sounds so lackadaisical, I could comfortably skip down the beach to the song, not watch a man get butchered and put in a box. (No spoilers, I think.) The song doesn’t fit the mood and time period. I can’t stress this enough! The tagline for Boardwalk Empire is, you can’t be half a gangster. Well, you also can’t have half of the opening credits be accurate.
Do- Have a Gimmick
RIP Parenthood. You will be sorely missed. In the show, I always appreciated how all these people had all this time for all that drama. I also appreciated the opening credits. I loved the gimmick of having actual photos of the cast as children. It is a way to get everyone involved in the opening without Full Housing them. (Full Housing means weird, staged shots that showcase the cast doing something associated with their character.) *see below
Don’t – Feel like you are obligated to include everyone in the intro
The original New Girl opening looked like it was crafted from a pin on Pinterest. I loved that oval, overly ornate frame. I wanted one so bad. Now, since the show is less centered on Jess and more about the ensemble, they made a generic, boring, pinterest-free intro that lacks the quirky personality of the show. It is frustrating and I’m pretty sure the same people who made the Boardwalk Empire intro made this intro as well.
Do-Keep it short!
The How to Get Away With Murder intro is so short, it could be a vine. It takes longer to write out the title than it does to show the opening credits. I like that. This means you get more time watching Viola Davis win herself an Emmy!
*take note Orange is the New Black. The Regina Spektor opening song is lovely at first, but when you are binge watching for six straight hours, the song becomes unnecessary. I’d like to think I have some self-respect. The exception that proves this rule is “This Life” from Sons of Anarchy, I could listen to that song all day.
I know that I left out many fabulous TV intros. Feel free to let me know on Twitter @meg_suttles
Writer, Director, and television icon Leonard Nimoy passed away today at the age of 83 from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. I’m pretty bummed out about it, as I have been, and always shall be, an enormous Star Trek fan, and a big fan of Nimoy’s other work (especially in Fringe). Best known for his work as Spock, Nimoy was one of the first in a long line of science fiction actors who deftly explored the nature of humanity through his role as an alien being. A trailblazer as a character turned into a long career with highlights (directing Star Trek III and IV, and Three Men and a Baby) and some not-so-highlights (the beloved music career!).
It’s pretty safe to say that pop-culture won’t see anyone like Leonard Nimoy again. Below are some of my absolute favorite Nimoy clips. Live Long and Prosper, my friends.
Star Trek: Amok Time
Star Trek VI: An Undiscovered Country
The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins
If I Had a Hammer
Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
RIP Leonard Nimoy
Hello, friends. You’re looking well today. Oh hey, look at this..let’s see, it’s right over…HERE – You looked, now I get to hit you twice on the arm for looking. Ready? Hold Still. ONE…TWO. There…no, you can’t do it to me, the game’s over. We’re not playing that anymore.
Friends, I don’t have to tell you that this weekend Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson will bring his Hogs (players, not actual hogs) into Rupp for a shot at the king. The Razorbacks are currently second in the SEC and Anderson will no doubt be bringing his favorite strategy “Forty Minutes of Hell” to the proceedings, which of course is his version of the basketball strategy the great Nolan Richardson made famous many years ago. But what exactly is Anderson’s version of “Forty Minutes of Hell” and why should we fear it? I’m pleased today to print, in advance of the game, Anderson’s exact plans for us on Saturday, minute by hellish minute. Shall we? We shall.
20:00 – Full-court press.
19:00 – Full-court press.
18:00 – Jabril Durham calls Devin Booker and hangs up, repeatedly.
17:00 – Nick Babb stands behind Sam Malone and keeps flicking him in the ear.
16:00 – Scary Movie 5 DVD director’s commentary
15:00 – BlueCross BlueShield customer claim hotline.
14:00 – Bobby Portis performs nasal irrigation for sixty seconds.
13:00 – Wildcats attend a one year-old’s birthday party.
12:00 – One corner of Dakari Johnson’s bedsheet keeps coming off the mattress.
11:00 – Kale chips for everyone.
10:00 – Willie Cauley-Stein helps Anton Beard move.
9:00 – Karaoke with ONLY Elton John songs.
8:00 – Karl Towns attends a timeshare presentation.
7:00 – Anthlon Bell stares uncomfortably at Tyler Ulis.
6:00 – Razorbacks flip through radio stations without stopping on one.
5:00 – John Robic accidentally clips a fingernail down too far.
4:00 – Dominique Hawkins goes to Fayette Mall on December 23.
3:00 – A Time-Warner representative goes over their new promotions.
2:00 – The Wildcats remove a tree stump in the heat.
1:00 – Couples’ baby shower.
20:00 – Aggressive press.
19:00 – Internet is down.
18:00 – Michael Qualls leaves his wet towel on the guest room carpet.
17:00 – Cal loses Ellen’s Gladware™
16:00 – Alandise Harris sends Andrew Harrison an email with the caps lock on.
15:00 – Mysteries of Laura marathon.
14:00 – Slice Rohrssen waits for an oven to preheat.
13:00 – Maroon 5 plays three encores.
12:00 – Ky Madden eats an orange with no plate on Aaron Harrison’s couch.
11:00 – Moses Kingsley shows Kenny Payne photos from his trip to Washington D.C.
10:00 – Brian Long loses a contact lens on a busy carpet.
9:00 – Bill Meck breaks in with weather news.
8:00 – Mike Anderson “sexy-dancing.”
7:00 – The Wildcats try to figure out which smoke alarm is beeping.
6:00 – EJ Floreal zips himself up in his fly.
5:00 – Tod Lanter can’t merge.
4:00 – Trey Lyles has to babysit while his friends go to the biggest party of the year.
3:00 – Total breakdown of society.
2:00 – The dark lord Satan turns the arena into a pit of fiery torment.
1:00 – Fouling.
By Richmond Bramblet on ©February 26th, 2015 @ 9:00am
When I’m at work, my best friend is my YouTube subscription list. I always have to have something playing in the background while I’m going through statistics, photos and whatnot. Favorite subs include: The Dice Tower, Crossfit, KEXP, various late night accounts, etc. However, there is only one that renders me completely unproductive every time I open it up.
Tested is the website run by Jamie and Adam of Mythbusters’ where they do various technological experiments and builds, among other various awesome things. So when I saw that Adam was building the Overlook Maze from The Shining, I had to give it a look. Even though the video is 24 minutes long, I couldn’t look away. I got nary a single thing accomplished while I was watching this. Adam had seen at the Stanley Kubrick traveling exhibit a maze that was supposed to be a model like the one in the film. Adam was so incensed that it was not an accurate representation, he painstakingly took the time, over three weeks to build a near exact replica of the maze. In fact, Savage’s new model is going to take the place of the old one in the Kubrick traveling exhibition.
All work and no play makes Adam an awesome replica builder
All work and no play makes Adam an awesome replica builder
All work and no play makes Adam an awesome replica builder
By Josh Corman on ©February 25th, 2015 @ 3:00pm
News broke recently that Netflix is developing a new live-action series based on The Legend of Zelda. Maybe it sounds, at first blush, like a great idea: a series based on a beloved video game full of epic heroism, spectacular battles, and an ever-deepening mythos. Let’s throw in that it’s being developed by the streaming content giant behind House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. Huge built-in audience + a leader in prestige TV programming = automatic home run, right?
Nuh-uh. Nope. Nein. Nyet. Not so fast, my friend. (Sorry, I don’t know how to say “no” in Japanese. But I desperately hope the people at Nintendo do.)
I hate to be the party pooper on this one, especially since 12 year-old me might’ve actually passed out at the news that Zelda might follow Boy Meets World on TGIF, but it didn’t take long (somewhere in the 15-20 second range) for me to sour on the series’ chances for success.
Let’s think about it together, shall we?
1. Netflix’s TV track record isn’t as great as you think it is.
House of Cards and Orange is the New Black are unqualified successes. They’ve built big audiences, impressed critics, and broken into the awards conversations much more quickly than I ever would have bet. And Netflix’s role in distributing BBC series like The Fall, Happy Valley, Top of the Lake and Sherlock makes it feel like the folks pulling the strings over at HQ have unimpeachable taste. But Netflix has benefited from a lot of luck, and their missteps are often conveniently ignored. They’re like Chris Johnson back when he played for the Titans and went first in every fantasy draft for three straight years: they’ve kind of fooled people into thinking they’re consistently great just because of a few huge, flashy runs. Remember the fourth season of Arrested Development? You don’t? Is that because you’ve scoured your brain with a Brillo pad to erase the memory? Or what about Marco Polo, their attempt to throw enough nudity and swordplay into a show that people might get confused and think it’s Game of Thrones?
2. The Legend of Zelda sets up pretty poorly for adaptation.
There’s plenty of scope to the Zelda games. Link’s heroic journeys always feature lush settings, long odds, and hard fought battles between good and evil. Sounds great, right? The stuff of successful movies and TV shows going back forever, no?
Sure, but the focus of the Zelda games has never been its setting or even the triumph of right over wrong; it’s always been about the puzzles (yeah, I’m aware of the threatening level of nerdiness that sentence contained; yeah, I’m OK with it). In every Zelda game, the player, as Link, spends the game completing increasingly complex puzzles in the form of dungeons. When people say they’ve poured dozens of hours into a Zelda game, they’re probably talking about the massive amount of time and effort it takes to navigate the (sometimes infuriatingly complicated) dungeons. The epic boss battles at the end? They’re really just the final piece of the puzzle, and often don’t really provide much in the way of satisfying narrative (you know, that thing that great shows all have in abundance?). There’s no good way to translate the feeling of pained accomplishment associated with completing one of Zelda‘s grueling puzzles to a TV viewer, and if you don’t have the puzzles, you don’t really have Zelda.
Now, it might be easy to read all this and think that the lack of an intricate plot is good news, that it makes The Legend of Zelda a blank slate, the perfect canvas on which to paint a successful TV series. But one of the problems with adapting this series is that the slate is too blank. Most adaptations have to worry about what to cut to make the story work for the screen. The folks at Netflix would have to break their backs to come up with elements to add just to fill a single season, which really means that what we’d be watching wouldn’t be an adaptation so much as a shallow cash-in on a much-loved property. That might draw a lot of views initially, but it’s going to be hard to sustain an audience on that premise. Oh yeah, that reminds me…
3. Video game adaptations are historically terrible and the fan base Netflix would be counting on is going to be very hard to please.
Actually, the subtitle there kind of says it all. Here are some video game adaptations that I can think of off the top of my head: The Resident Evil series, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, Super Mario Bros. (an all-time dud), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, House of the Dead, Street Fighter, Silent Hill, Mortal Kombat, Prince of Persia, Need for Speed, and Hitman.
That, my friends, is a parade of terrible the likes of which the world has seldom seen. I’d be willing to bet that even the most dedicated fans of those games don’t enjoy their respective adaptations on any non-ironic level. If you can think of an exception to the rule, let me know, but I’m telling you, any adaptation of a game as well-loved as The Legend of Zelda is going to have its work cut out for it. The people most likely to tune in (so to speak) from the beginning are going to be the show’s harshest critics. That’s a volatile combination.
Netflix has a lot going for it. It’s insanely popular, there are no ads (yet), it’s entirely independent of any kind of studio control, and even their worst flop probably isn’t going to matter as long as House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and old hits like Friends and Friday Night Lights reside on the service. But just because they can make a live-action Zelda series doesn’t mean they should. Some things are better left alone. The Legend of Zelda is definitely one of those things.
SPOILER ALERT!!! The following post will contain spoilers about House of Cards seasons 1 and 2 starting now.
On Friday February 27th, the world will witness the return of one of the greatest binge watching extravaganzas with the third season premiere of House of Cards. Frank Underwood has risen from Senator to President in just two seasons and now that he has achieved this goal, there is no telling what he is going to do. Rather than try to guess President Underwood’s upcoming actions (given his history this would be a completely pointless exercise) we will return to the Funkhouser Fight Club arena for a fictional Presidential throw down.
Josiah “Jed” Bartlet vs. Thomas Whitmore
There have been many fictional Presidents to grace our screens in the past, but Bartlet (The West Wing) and Whitmore (Independence Day) stand above the rest. Both faced incredible challenges in their presidencies and rose above them all. When the world needed to be united, they were there. When doing the right thing meant putting themselves on the line, they were there. When action needed to be taken, they were…yeah you get it. Today these two battle for fictional President supremacy. Spoiler Alert (again) for plot points regarding The West Wing and Independence Day. You’ve been warned.
Round One: Most Presidential
Admittedly there is more evidence to sift through for Bartlet than Whitmore, but wow what evidence he has. Bartlet’s list of Presidential achievements is ridiculous. Just to sum up, he brokered peace between Israel and Palestine! On the other hand Whitmore is faced with a challenge much bigger than anything Bartlet ever faced: the extinction of humanity. In the long run though, what did Whitmore contribute as a President with this problem? There’s the whole “plausible deniability” thing, he has a horrible Secretary of Defense he keeps listening to, and he failed to react quickly enough to the initial threat of the alien invasion. Based on the evidence, Bartlet clearly is the most Presidential.
Bartlett: 1 Whitmore: 0
Round Two: Greatest Presidential Achievement
Segueing from the most presidential debate we will examine the greatest presidential achievement between the Bartlet and Whitmore. As alluded to in the previous segment, the greatest achievement for Bartlet was brokering peace between Israel and Palestine. Real life politics notwithstanding, this is quite simply an amazing accomplishment. As great as that is though, Whitmore hopped in a fighter jet and led the defense of Area 51 and the assault on the alien warship threatening to obliterate the entire base. Whitmore displays incredible skill, daring, and leadership during this battle which earns him the victory in this round.
Bartlet: 1 Whitmore: 1
Round Three: Best Dressed
Again, more evidence to draw from for Bartlet than Whitmore. Bartlet showcases many different looks throughout The West Wing, sporting tuxes, three-piece suits, two-piece suits, sweaters, outdoors wear, and a classy robe. Quite frankly, Bartlet has style. In the limited time we have with Whitmore we see a couple of fashion choices. The first 75% of the movie Whitmore is wearing what appears to be the same suit. Granted he was hastily evacuated from the White House, but he boards Air Force One, which surely has some emergency suits. Besides, when the aliens show up shouldn’t evacuation be considered an option at this point, and wouldn’t that option have some clothes for the President? In addition to the suit, Whitmore also wears a fighter pilot jumpsuit. He could find one of those easily enough but the man doesn’t have an extra suit. Bartlet wins if for no other reason than he would have had an extra suit.
Bartlet: 2 Whitmore: 1
Round Four: Best Speech
Both are amazing speeches, but Whitmore wins.
Bartlet: 2 Whitmore: 2
Round Five: Most likely to defeat Frank Underwood in an election.
Neither, Frank would likely have them both killed or at the very least imprisoned. When Frank Underwood grabs power…he holds it.
Winner: Frank Underwood
Before we start with this week’s morning monologue, if you haven’t taken a chance to check out Abby Nyquist’s look at the top Oscar moment, be sure to go do that.
Now, on to Morning Monologue… Everyone knows that Jimmy Kimmel is the home of the post-Oscar show, which took place on Sunday evening. But, Kimmel and his crew had a little left in the tank to air on Monday evening. First, Guillermo took to the red carpet to get interviews with some of the celebrities. What he ended up getting, was drunk:
Also on Sunday night, Kimmel debuted the Kimmel School of Perfect Acting 2, which had some of the top celebrities participate. Last night, however, he aired the outtakes and bloopers from that shoot: