During the 2017 preseason, college basketball prognosticators liked what they saw in the Cats, with one →
KSR’s take on recent non sports related happenings
***Written for Funkhouser by Brad Morris. You can follow Brad on Twitter @BHMDeadcast***
Do you smell that scent in the air? If its drifting from Louisville, then it must be time for the run for the roses. This of course means that Spring is in full effect and Summer is right around the corner. With summer comes the biggest time for the movie studios. I’ll never forget the summer that Independence Day came out. My dad and I walked out of the movies right at dusk on July 4th and were pumped to go watch fireworks after Will Smith blew up the silver screen. It seems that every summer since then movie studios have tried to put more and more of their biggest money makers, or at least potential money makers, in between the first weekend of May and run through the last weekend of August.
With all of this in mind, we at Funkhouser decided to look ahead at what is going to be on the menu for the summer of 2017. And parts of that menu look juicy. Let’s look at the appetizers of May.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
The sequel to the surprise hit opens up today. Every time a new Marvel character or group gets introduced, the critics continue to say this is the Marvel movie to fail. GotG was not well known outside of dorks like me. What the first movie did was show that great storytelling and good acting can make believers of us all. The inevitable sequel has high expectations, both from fans and critics.
If the first movie was about bringing the team together, Vol 2 is how that team works after some time together. Having watched an advanced screening, I can firmly say they do a good job. Once again the characters are the story and not all of the CGI. And this edition of the gang is surprisingly emotional. It’s a story of family, or what you can consider family, because even those we have no blood relation to can become family. Also, the music is spot on. Suicide Squad tried and failed miserably to copy GotG, but GotG Vol 2 once again gives us the right tunes at the right time. And finally, there are plenty of surprise cameos and Easter eggs to keep an eye out for. As always, stay in your seats through the credits.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
It feels like every year there is an English legend reimagined and regurgitated to bring in money for the studios. It usually flip flops between Robin Hood and King Arthur. This year, its King Arthur’s turn. What does this one give us that others haven’t? Guy Ritchie. The British director has a much different style of movie making. My favorite he’s made is Snatched, a British comedy hit. I’m looking forward to his take on Arthurian lore and also what kind of crazy action he can bring to the dark ages.
One of the actresses that I admired growing up was Goldie Hawn. Her comedy is well known to anyone over the age of 40. Thanks to Amy Schumer we get to see Goldie back on the big screen. After being dumped by her boyfriend right before an exotic vacation, Schumer convinces her mother, played by Hawn, to go with her. High jinks ensue once they arrive. I’m looking forward to seeing two different generations of comedians come together. The potential for laughing your butt off is high, so be careful eating your popcorn and have your drink ready.
Look, Prometheus was a let down. I think those of us who fell in love with Ripley in Aliens will always have a hard time moving onto the next stories. Prometheus was thought to change that feeling. Instead it enhanced it. Now it seems that Ridley Scott is trying to get the franchise back on course. Covenant is a direct follow up to Prometheus, following in the footsteps of Noomi Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw and Michael Fassbender’s android David. A crew of colonists find out what happened to Shaw and David, and also stumble into a mess of face huggers. There is always a lot of stumbling around in Alien movies. With a diverse cast of victims, I mean colonists, hopefully this is the movie to get the franchise back on track.
Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Before you roll your eyes at another Pirates movie, hear me out. I went back and watched the first four this past week. It’s hard to remember this summer movie franchise started out as a ride at Disneyland and DisneyWorld. And it’s target of summer popcorn lovers has worked. It has been a fun ride with Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, and Elizabeth Swan. It made a star out of Keira Knightly. And Johnny Depp found a cash cow he could’ve retired on. Instead they have pushed forward with his not quite right Captain Jack. The fourth movie didn’t use Will and Elizabeth and this lead to it being not quite as fun. Granted it still made money, but I would have given the movie a solid “meh”. DMTNT will be the final voyage for all the original characters, and a few new ones as well. I’m looking forward to Javier Bardem’s Captain Salazar as the bad guy facing off against Captain Jack. As Cotton’s parrot would say, “Ready to sail.”
What? You thought there were more movies to go over? Like Wonder Woman, The Mummy, or Transformers? Well, you’re right. There are more movies to go over. But that would take half a day to go over with you, so let’s remember that what you read above this paragraph is only what’s coming out in MAY! So let us have this first preview as the appetizer for the summer. We’ll go over the soup and salad course of June with the next portion of the menu. Which movies are you looking forward too the most this summer? Let us know in the comments section. Until then, have fun at the movies! I’ll see you there.
Do you love horses but find it incredibly intimidating to put on nice clothing and watch a bunch of them running in a pack? Want to make a lot of money in about two minutes but don’t know how? The Kentucky Derby is a great way, each year, to grow more comfortable with both horses and gambling. But knowing the ins and outs of the event is key, especially if it’s your first time at the Derby. Here, then, are some Tips & Tricks to fitting in (and winning big) at the Run for the Roses. You’re welcome.
-Get there early for the secret race. The little known “Breakfast Stakes” is a secret race which runs promptly at 8:15. Only two horses run in this race and you can bet on it if you’re there early enough. If the ticket window isn’t open yet, find any Churchill Downs worker who will take your bet as anyone who works at the facility is licensed to accept wagers. Then, after the race, go find that employee to collect your winnings.
-Know the slang. Sure, you know the difference between a “trifecta” and a “trifecta box.” You may even know that a “mudder” is a horse skilled on a muddy track. But knowing some extra racing slang will give you the extra edge. Try betting the “octofecta” if you think you can guess which eight horses will come in (in order) and if you want some extra gambling action ask the teller to “put some squirts on it.” Don’t worry! He or she will know exactly what you mean! Example: “I’d like the six horse to place, and put some squirts on it.” Most people won’t tell you about this secret, but I will. Because I want you to succeed.
-If you don’t know how to bet, when you wait in line to get to the teller be sure to ask him or her to explain everything about betting to you. That’s what they’re there for! Don’t worry if a line gathers behind you; everyone will be totally friendly. A teller will glady spend as much time with you as needed as you learn all about the racing form, and those behind you will respect your thirst for learning.
-Ask to ride one of the horses. In all the pomp and circumstance of the Kentucky Derby, few people realize that all you have to do to ride one of the horses in a race is ask! It’s a Derby memory you won’t forget, and you might even win the race! Good luck, Keith!
-As you continue to win, tuck all the money noticeably into your hatband. You may have noticed, at Keeneland, individuals walking around with cash sticking out of their hats – there’s really no better way to show off your winnings and it looks super cool. You might even make some rap friends!
-Choose your horse based on a hilarious inside joke you share with a friend and text that friend that you’re going to be wagering on that horse based on that inside joke. Your friend will be pleased and find it humorous that not only is there a horse that shares a facet of the inside joke, but that it’s possible your inside joke could bring a monetary windfall! Also, explain this inside joke to your friends there who don’t yet know the joke, so everyone can enjoy the uncanny fortuitousness of your wager!
-Tell your friends from out of state that they need to buy a mint julep and that everyone in Kentucky loves them. This is the greatest joke in the history of our Commonwealth. As they pretend to enjoy it, point at them and laugh. Suckers!
-See how many hats you can collect. It’s hard for women to run in heels!
-Work hard and believe in yourself and maybe you’ll rise up out of the infield and be somebody. If you start out determined in the morning, even though everyone tells you you’ll never amount to anything, refuse to quit. It won’t be easy, but don’t let yourself be defined by your ticket. By three o’clock you could find respect and by five o’clock you might even change the world. Go get ‘em!
-Enjoy yourself. Remember, the opportunity to stand out in the rain in a linen suit while pressed against two hundred thousand people watching TV only comes once a year, and it’s our heritage. Make the most of the day! Sorry about all the money you will lose.
The 2017 KSR Movie Bracket is drawing to a close, but one final matchup remains. While the guys spend some time preparing to cast their final votes we decided to let the movies duke it out amongst themselves. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Funkhouser Fight Club. If this is your first visit to the FFC, here’s how it works: combatants square off in five categories to determine who is victorious. The first three rounds are Box Office Success, Critical Response, and Awards. The fourth and fifth rounds, if needed, are Most Quoteable and Who Would Win in an Actual Fight. Stepping in the ring tonight are Forrest Gump and Pulp Fiction. Without further ado, let the battle…begin!
Round 1: Box Office Success
Forrest Gump: $329,694,499
Pulp Fiction: $107,928,762
Analysis: Since both of these movies came out in 1994 this breakdown is really simple. Gump finished number one at the box office in 1994. That is impressive in its own right, however, what makes this even more impressive is that the number two movie it beat was The Lion King. Disney animated movies during this period were box office gold. The Lion King, at this time, was the best performing Disney animated film at the box office. Gump not only beat it, but beat it by nearly $20 million.
Round 1 Winner: Forrest Gump
Round 2: Critical Response
Forrest Gump: Rotten Tomatoes 72, IMDb 8.8, Metacritic 82
Pulp Fiction: Rotten Tomatoes 94. IMDb 8.9, Metacritic 94
Analysis: Pulp Fiction was a critical masterpiece in 1994, which is why many felt Pulp was snubbed when Gump won Best Picture (more on that later). Pulp Fiction was director Quentin Tarantino’s third feature film and came after his first big hit, Reservoir Dogs. Critics were still trying to figure out this guy who seemed to love cuss words and random explosions of gore. Though Tarantino today feels a bit repetitive, Pulp Fiction was the masterpiece that really introduced us to his madness.
Round 2 Winner: Pulp Fiction
Round 3: Awards
***Methodology alert. Awards are measured by a scoring system I created using the LA Times’ most prestigious awards list from this article last year. Scoring is as follows: Academy Awards: Win- 8 pts, Nomination- 5 pts; Golden Globes: Win-7 pts, Nomination- 4 pts; Screen Actors Guild: Win-6 pts, Nomination- 3 pts.
Forrest Gump: 135 points (6 Academy wins, 7 Academy noms; 3 Golden Globe wins, 4 Golden Globe noms; 1 SAG win, 3 SAG noms)
Pulp Fiction: 74 points (1 Academy win, 6 Academy noms; 1 Golden Globe win, 5 Golden Globe noms; 3 SAG noms)
Analysis: Many think Pulp Fiction was robbed of the Best Picture Award, which it lost to Forrest Gump. Though not the most egregious Best Picture snub (looking at you Saving Private Ryan), there is a case to be made based on the critical evidence. What cannot be denied, though, is Forrest Gump’s absolute domination on the awards scene which makes it the very clear winner of round 3.
Round 3 Winner: Forrest Gump
Round 4: Quoteability
“My momma always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re
“Stupid is as stupid does”
“Run, Forrest! Run!”
“But you ain’t got no legs, Lieutenant Dan”
“The truth is you’re the weak. And I’m the tyranny of evil men. But I’m tryin’, Ringo. I’m tryin’ real hard to be the shepherd.”
“Oh man, I shot Marvin in the face.”
“Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. And now, little man, I give the watch to you.”
“Say ‘what’ again. Say ‘what’ again, I dare you…”
Analysis: First and foremost, due to this being a family friendly site I am not able to post the best Pulp Fiction quotes, at least not in their entirety, and for that I apologize. However, even with all the best quotes from Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump is easily the most quoteable between the two. From succinct life lessons to fun little quips, the ease of delivery for many of the famous line make it easy to use in casual conversation. Anytime I want to get ice cream I simply look at my wife and say “Lieutenant Dan, ice cream”. How many times have you said any of the four quotes listed above? Odds are you’ve said them at some point. I will now defer to Drew Franklin to regale us with quoting Forrest Gump in its entirety.
Round 4 Winner: Forrest Gump
With a score of 3-1 through only 4 rounds the winner in this Funkhouser Fight Club showdown is Forrest Gump. Those of you rooting for Pulp Fiction, I hear you, and I was rooting for it to win too. Facts are facts, however, and even though facts are usually optional they show a pretty clear winner here. Now let’s celebrate with some ice cream!
In a year of alt facts, the documentary Casting JonBenet is focused on identifying alt truths. Casting JonBenet strives to tell the story of the murder of the young beauty queen through alternative means. The director, Kitty Green, doesn’t use news segments or grainy pageant footage. Casting JonBenet uses the auditioning actors’ memories of the murder to tell the story. It is a documentary created out of hearsay. Green, uses these alt truths to weave together the public’s perception of what truly happened in December 26, 1996 in Boulder, Colorado.
A few minutes into the film you figure out what the documentary is trying to do. There have been many articles written about this specific aspect of the story. But, the overall thesis of these articles is that public perception shapes the collective truth that we believe. Regardless of their connection to the crime, the audience will create their own narrative about what happened. The new story now becomes the truth in their mind.
The actor’s new narrative is what makes the documentary worth being discussed, but what makes the documentary memorable is the actors themselves.
Surprisingly, JonBenet isn’t one of these memorable actors. Although JonBenet is the subject of the murder investigation, she is not the main subject of the casting call. After our initial introduction, the part of the toddler is played by a white blanket. The producers seem to focus on showing the different portrayal of Patsy and John, but are not too concerned about the different types of JonBenet. Casting JonBenet explains that the public is truly enamored with the murder, not the murder victim.
For me, the part of Patsy Ramsey is the most interesting. These moms are creepy. The black blazer with the white piping is the perfect costume for a serial killer. If the actress’s hair is disheveled she looks overwhelmed and crazy. If the actress is perfectly put together she looks obsessive and crazy. The Patsys seem dead-set on portraying the mother as legacy-driven and overbearing. Through their speculative process, the actresses have found that their character could have killed her daughter because of bedwetting or she never would have killed her because she was carrying on her “pageant legacy.”
It’s an open ended conclusion that you can sit with because the film doesn’t try to solve the murder.
The casting call also shows how people assume police communicate. Green highlights the moment when the police chief calls about JonBenet’s autopsy. Initially, the actor’s ad-lib is gloriously awful. To convey the idea that the police chief is thoughtful and meticulously focused, the actor peppers his convo with “ummmms” and “uhhhhhs.” It’s funny till you realize they are ad-libbing a murder investigation with cheesy chitchat. The casual response of “How’s your wife and kids” is jarring. It shows the gap between what would actually happen and what we assume would happen in our Law & Order tainted pop culture brains.
Casting JonBenet shows that everyone approaches a story with his or her own speculation. One of the mothers said “just watching her made me angry.” There’s a lot of watching. In the Meta sense, we are watching actors who watched the real victims who act like they are being watched at every moment. Watching the actors’ explanation is fascinating, as long as you ignore the gruesome scenario from which it sprung.
By Josh Juckett on ©May 02nd, 2017 @ 3:00pm
It is now May and with it comes a slew of things to look forward to. The Derby, finalizing UK’s upcoming basketball team, and summer movie season. Things get off to a strong start this week with the premier of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and the continuation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Funkhouser’s own Josh Corman broke down why he thinks the first Guardians is the best Marvel movie and you can check it out here. Here at the Funkhouser Fight Club we’re going to see how the first Guardians fares against the one that started it all, the first Iron Man. This is your standard “veteran” versus “new face” fight with Iron Man representing the well-known, extremely successful, original MCU rollout and Guardians representing the lesser known, also extremely successful, second phase story. As always, two movies enter, one movie leaves.
Round 1: Box Office Success
Iron Man: $585,174,222 Worldwide ($318,412,101 Domestic)
Guardians of the Galaxy: $773, 328, 629 Worldwide ($333,176,600 Domestic)
Analysis: The numbers here seem to indicate a story that isn’t even close. A further breakdown reveals a much closer story. Iron Man fared really close in domestic performance despite being theaters for five fewer weeks. In inflation adjustments for years of release, Iron Man actually performs better than Guardians domestically, but Tony Stark just couldn’t keep up on the international draw.
Round 1 Winner: Guardians
Round 2: Critical Reception
Iron Man: Rotten Tomatoes: 94%, IMDb: 7.9, Metacritic: 79
Guardians: Rotten Tomatoes: 91%, IMDb: 8.1, Metacritic: 76
Analysis: These numbers pretty much speak for themselves. Both movies are universally loved, but ultimately Iron Man ekes out the win here.
Round 2 Winner: Iron Man
Round 3: Awards
Scoring system for awards: 5 points for Academy Award nominations, 4 points for Screen Actors Guild nominations, 3 points for British Academy of Film and Television Arts nominations, 2 points for Grammy nominations
Iron Man: Academy Award nominations: 2, SAG nominations: 1, BAFTA nominations: 1, Grammy nominations: 1, Total points: 19
Guardians: Academy Award nominations: 2, SAG nominations: 0, BAFTA nominations: 2, Grammy nominations: 1. Total points: 18
Analysis: Both of these movies received a ton of nominations from many different outlets. To reduce this down to a workable list I used this LA Times ranking of film award groups to determine which awards to consider and how to score them. The Grammys weren’t on this list, but they’re a major award and should be considered.
Round 3 Winner: Iron Man
Round 4: Quoteability
Iron Man: Not really a ton to work with, maybe the best quote is “I am Iron Man”?
Guardians: “I am Groot.”, the “metaphor” exchange with Drax, “pelvic sorcery”-Gamora, and just about anything Rocket Raccoon says.
Analysis: I get that of all the rounds so far this one is the most subjective, but this is a runaway for Guardians. Tony Stark has some great dialogue, but in terms of lines you can just casually drop in everyday conversation there isn’t much. “I am Groot” became a thing and would win this category on its own, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to some of the other gems in the movie.
Round 4 Winner: Guardians
Round 5: Who would win in an actual fight?
This wouldn’t be an appropriate fight club without a fight would it? The Guardians are a team of five, all with a specialty which makes them a crazy good team. Iron Man has an awesome suit which is tailor made to fight multiple tougher than normal opponents. I posed this scenario to a panel of experts (my friends who are fans of both movies) for an outside opinion. The result was a runaway: Guardians got five votes and Iron Man got 0. Maybe if it was Iron Man 3 and he had his whole suit army, but the Iron Man technology just wasn’t developed enough by the end of the first movie to withstand the Guardians’ barrage.
Round 5 Winner and Winner of this Funkhouser Fight club: Guardians
By Matthew Mahone on ©May 01st, 2017 @ 9:30am
First impressions are everything! Business cards have always been a way to differentiate yourself from the crowd. They serve both functional and practical purposes and have the potential to leave a lasting impression, either good or bad, on those you encounter. Business cards are a form of branding, an extension of your personality, persona, and uniqueness while communicating your personal values. Although some are more creative than others, all possess various but diverse elements of design including: assorted fonts, textures, shapes, sizes, levels of legibility, and use of logos as well as the addition of atypical information or purposeful and blatant omissions.
Today, our consultants rank and also share their insight and expertise on the 15 greatest business cards in pop culture.
15. R. Sterling, Quantum of Solace (2008)
Experts say: Matte Black is a bold choice. Stylish and sophisticated, the monochromatic color scheme oozes sex appeal.
14. Tobias Fünke M.D., Arrested Development: “Forget Me Now” (2005)
Experts say: Classic design. Hard stock with Baskerville font. The gold internal framing pulls you inward. Great use of space including the oval monogram. I assume that’s pronounced a-nal-ra-pist?
13. Ace Ventura, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)
Experts say: The flamboyant caricature in the center is silly, but eye-catching. The entire space is used, but it doesn’t feel overcrowded. Bold arced text paired with basic primary coloring, makes it pop. It’s low-rent cardstock, but noteworthy nonetheless.
12. Agent K, Men in Black (1997)
Experts say: Déjà vu. While the minimalistic embossed design is intriguing, there’s no way you’re going to remember anything about the person who handed you this or any other consequential details for that matter.
11. Murph and the Magic Tones, The Blues Brothers (1980)
Experts say: The glitzy pattern combined with the script font give it a retro look, suitable for the entertainment industry. The glossy finish borders on being cheesy, but it’s not too distracting. I’m intrigued, when and where are they playing next? I’m on a mission to find Murph and the rest of the band and hear what they sound like.
10. Tyler Durden, Fight Club (1999)
Experts say: Artisan, possibly hand-inked and pressed, or even just simply photocopied. The person’s probably a freethinker, possibly an anti-consumerist and therefore they believe all this is useless fine print—read it and you’re wasting your time. Their message: quit your job and pursue your passion. Start your own business—hipster soap is so in right now.
09. Patrick Bateman, American Psycho (2000)
Experts say: On the surface the card is exquisitely crafted—from the bone coloring to the Silian Rail lettering. Yet honestly, it looks like every other yuppie-type card out there, and it reeks of insecurity, shallowness, and self-hatred. There’s even a misspelled word. I bet underneath the guy’s a real phony, maybe even a sociopath.
08. Cosmo Kramer, Seinfeld: “The Strike”(1997)
Experts say: The condition of the card with the chipping around the corners and borders, scuffs, creases and the fading ink, isn’t optimal, however, I sense there’s a great vulnerability at play here. The card’s unsophisticated, but the holder is more than likely an unconventional type, aloof, possibly misunderstood, intrusive, yet entrepreneurial.
07. Lionel Hutz, The Simpsons: “Bart Gets Hit by a Car” (1991)
Experts say: Attorneys are a dime a dozen. Seen one card, you’ve seen them all. However, when you need one to help get you out of a little scenario in Tijuana, involving you, a donkey, and a woman that’s not your wife, you want someone that’s a bit unscrupulous and above all cheap! Avoid lawyers that print their cards on that premium Strathmore stock, and go with the one whose card turns into a sponge when you put it in water—to help clean up that mess you’ve gotten yourself into.
06. Mirage, The Incredibles (2004)
Experts say: Effortless, chic, and seductive, especially when the light reflects off the iridescent Cinzel Decorative typeface. There’s more to this card than meets the eye, and mysteries are probably hiding in plain sight—making it a card that’s superior to most.
05. Wile E. Coyote, Merrie Melodies (1949)
Experts say: That color is southwestern, I believe it’s called Zuni, a muted version of bird-of-paradise. Well it’s certainly not lacking gravitas. Arrogant, maybe even too self-assured. Catchy expressions, or tag lines can make illustrious connections – this one’s balanced and gives the air of someone who’s resourceful, persistent, and not afraid to fail.
04. The Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters (1984)
Experts say: A classic example of how a clever customized logo paired with text can be a powerful and bold marketing tool. Iconic and unforgettable. Once you see it, who else are you gonna want to call?
03. The Joker, The Dark Knight (2008)
Experts say: Unconventional. Bold. It definitely stands out from the crowd. The card’s a bit unnerving, a little brutal even. Strikes me as an expressive type, maybe a force to be reckoned with in the workplace, and one who doesn’t take themselves too seriously.
02. Paul Allen, American Psycho (2000)
Experts say: Magnificent! That subtle off-white coloring, the tasteful thickness of the stock, it..oh…my…god, it even has a watermark! I’m actually perspiring. Now, this is a card you’d kill for.
01. Carter J. Burke, Aliens (1986)
Experts say: Because of its non-traditional design, you might think that a futuristic-looking business card made from LV-426, an eco-friendly, clear synthetic polymer, might send your budget out-of-this-world, but these state-of-the-art cards are surprisingly affordable, extremely resilient, and attention- grabbing. Time to reboot your brand.
Honorable mentions: Rand Peltzer, Gremlins (1984), Elwood P. Dowd, Harvey (1950), God, Oh, God! (1977), The Devil, Bedazzled (2000), Inspector Detector, Speed Racer (2008), Newman, Seinfeld: “The Package” (1996), Moe Szylak, The Simpsons: “Pygmoelian” (2000), Vesper Lynd, Casino Royale (2006), Kevin Gnapoor, Mean Girls (2004), Cordelia Chase, Angel (1999), Mark Zuckerberg, The Social Network (2001), Robert Clayton Dean, Enemy of the State (1998), Caterine Vauban, I Heart Huckabees (2004), and Max Fischer, Rushmore (1998).
Folks, it’s going to be a long hot summer on Saturday’s at Kentucky Sports Radio. To change things up, I’m killing two birds with one stone: watching classic, must-see movies and creating KSR content. A child of the 90s, I missed many great cultural moments that every person should encounter. The only New Year’s resolution I ever accomplished was “listen to The Beatles” and it was one of the best decision’s I’ve ever made.
The following posts will feature some of the greatest movies ever made. I know little to nothing at all about these movies, save for a few famous pop cultural references (i.e. the horse head in the bed in Godfather). First, I’ll share my expletive-free running notes from the movie, followed by some overall thoughts. Naturally, this thing is going to be filled with spoilers.
The first film is in the KSR Movie Bracket and available on Netflix, Mel Gibson’s Braveheart.
— The Baby William Wallace looks more like Baby Joe Dirt. Beginning with a young Mel, I don’t expect to see his dad survive more than ten minutes. I know it’s not a Disney movie, but Disney movies taught me that a movie isn’t great unless you kill off a parent. (He barely lasted ten minutes.)
— Grown up William looks odd. Mel Gibson isn’t young, but as one of the few without a beard he looks younger than the rest of the Scotts. He looks different, but to Gibson’s credit, he has an excellent Scottish accent.
— Really, a love story? I’m hear to watch people get murdered, not to see Mel swoon. But hey, boobs.
— OH NO THEY DIDN’T! They killed his wife? Already? We’re just 15 minutes in and his lover had her throat cut. At least they’re using it to turn Wallace into a badass. His horse may have gotten stabbed, but so did all of those English bastards.
— Edward Longshanks is a great name for an evil King. The way Longshanks rolls off the Scottish tongue makes it sound even more despicable. He also kind of reminds me of King John’s depiction in the Robin Hood cartoon. Meanwhile, his son isn’t concerned with his hot French wife. Apparently Game of Thrones watched Braveheart before creating noble’s with gay extramarital affairs.
— Wallace is fighting with his mind and it’s fantastic. The brutal killings are great, but they wouldn’t happen if he didn’t use his mind first, a line uttered early and often. Wearing English uniforms is one of my favorite moves so far, straight guerilla-warfare.
— The crazy Irishman is probably going to be my favorite character. “It’s my island.” You gotta have some stones to declare you’re the baddest of asses on an entire island. He proved it by saving Wallace’s neck during a hunting trip.
— The best Wallace is blue-faced Wallace. I don’t know much about the movie, but I do know blue-faced Mel Gibson is iconic. The speech is famous, but I like his quick retort before they discuss battle terms even more: “I’m going to pick a fight.” Watching Wallace antagonize the English is the best scene in this entire movie.
— Mooning and flashing your enemy might be the best battlefield tactic I’ve never seen. Outmanned and out-gunned, what does Wallace do? Show them his junk. “Bold strategy Cotton, let’s see if it pays off” (it does).
— Never seen so many dead horses. Chivalry usually spared the beasts, but that’s just how crazy the Scots were.
— The siege of a medieval castle is the craziest act of war. Before we had chemical weapons, we poured hot tar on people who were trying to shove a giant log through a door. What a wild time to be alive.
— It’s a head in a box. The most intimidating body part in a box move until…
— Longshanks pulls a Lannister. The prince’s lover was out that window faster than a young Stark witnessing incest.
— The Princess totally wants Wallace. You could tell she wanted him while listening to stories about him, but when he busted out Latin and French in front of her, Game Over. Lesson: chicks dig the use of romantic languages.
— Cal learned how to recruit from William Wallace. Too bad Longshanks pays his players. It cost him the Battle at Edinburgh and almost his life.
— Horses don’t belong in bedrooms. If a horse is in a bedroom, it will die. This one wasn’t headless, but he took one hell of a dive into a lake after the noble Scot got his face smashed in.
— Wallace cucks Longshanks. I didn’t think they’d pull the trigger, but Gibson is the director. If he wants to sleep with the Princess, he sleeps with the princess.
— DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK. Seriously, don’t. We thought he had one in him, but that stupid leper noble had to betray Bill Wallace. This isn’t going to end well.
— This isn’t going to end well. I really thought William Wallace might sneak an epic comeback before the end of the movie, but I should’ve known my Scottish history better. At least we got to witness a pretty epic torture scene and without seeing the awful visual of someone being drawn and quartered.
It’s a slow-starter, making the movie push three hours, too long for many attention spans. The biggest problem I have with any time-period movies is the required love story. Titanic and Pearl Harbor were essentially love stories within a significant historical event. Braveheart‘s love story is not as cheesy or emphasized as the previously mentioned movies, and it simply acts as Wallace’s motive for murdering every English bastard in Scotland.
The movie does a fantastic job capturing the brutality of medieval times, all in the middle of an intriguing story that is filled with twists and turns. Gibson plays the crazed Wallace well (which is no surprise in hindsight), inspiring the commoners to battle while his lack of people skills prevent him from politicking with noble families, leading to his ultimate demise.
Even though we didn’t get a happy ending where Wallace leads his men to ultimate victory, he’s a poised martyr whose death is not left in vein, leaving the viewer satisfied after investing three hours into the wonderful epic.
Braveheart greatly exceeded my expectations and this summer series is off to a great start.
(Written for Funkhouser by Brad Morris)
Welcome back to another Media Weekend Forecast! I have a feeling everyone is getting excited for summertime. The kiddos only have a month before summer break, and family vacations to the beach are coming up fast. I can already taste the margaritas and watching the tide roll in. So lets get through this weekend together. No theme for this week, just great movies and tv to watch. Also, we’re not doing the why not to watch this week, because all of these choices are too good to pass over.
Netflix: The Prestige
Why To Watch: This movie is done by Christopher Nolan of Christian Bale Batman fame. During his run through the Dark Knight trilogy, Nolan took a break to bring us this movie of competing magicians, starring Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman. The theme of the movie is underneath the surface the entire two hours, and it is a study in how much a person is willing to sacrifice behind the scenes to get what your heart desires and how far you’re willing to go. A great cast goes with the story, including a masterful performance by David Bowie as Nikola Tesla. And if you have a keen eye, you’ll also see Smeagol/Gollum from Lord of the Rings. If you do, then bravo.
Hulu: The Handmaid’s Tale
Why To Watch: I’ve been putting off this Hulu original series for just the right weekend, and I feel I can’t hold off any longer. If you want to dive into a post-USA government series, there are several out there. This series takes a unique look at the return of a caste system, ala the dark ages. Throw in a huge amount of religious themes and fantasy, and you have a successful series. The episodes come out 2 or 3 at a time, so this weekend you can catch up very quickly. The face of the series should make Mad Men fans happy, as Elisabeth Moss stars as Offred. I won’t spoil why that is her character’s name, tune in and find out why for yourself.
TV: The Son
Why To Watch: The Son is the latest series from our friends at AMC, home of Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and The Walking Dead. Starring Pierce Brosnan as an older Eli McCullough, the series takes place in 1915 in southern Texas. The story feels like an old western, as two competing families argue and fight over oil as it becomes a cash cow in a time in Texas history that was still bloody. The master stroke of the series is several flashbacks to 17 year old Eli after he is captured by a group of Comanche Indians. It shows what his motivations are as an older man, and why he does what he does. It also shows how his family is an extension of his upbringing and how each person must choose their own path. Tune in for the conflict, stay for the family struggle.
Movies: The Circle
Why To Watch: The best seller by David Eggers is brought to the big screen. And there are some serious actors brought in to tell the story of a possible future in our world. Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, John Boyega, and Patton Oswald lead us into the world of social media and the question of how much privacy can change. This is also, sadly and with a heavy heart, the last performance of Bill Paxton, playing Emma Watson’s father. I will be carving out the two hours this weekend to ask if seeing is believing.
Why To Watch: There is a historic match-up this weekend, as the Cubs visit Boston. The two fan bases suffered for so long, this will be a chance for fans to bask in the glow of being champions instead of lovable losers. Instead of arguments over which fan base suffered more over the last century, I have feeling many beers will be shared in the stands with fans saying “You’re great!”, “No, you’re great!”. The only thing missing for this series is Big Papi. So take yourself out to the ballgame, or at least on tv.
This weekend also marks one week until the Kentucky Derby, so in between mowing the grass and cleaning the house, get your nose into which horse is going to be yours. And don’t listen to that shady stable hand who thinks he knows everything.
Stay safe this weekend and enjoy your viewing pleasures.
Hello, friends. I hope you’re well. You look fantastic. Would you maybe sometime like to – no? Okay? I’m sorry to have bothered you, I didn’t know that was your boyfriend. Husband? Oh, okay then. You two make a handsome couple.
Friends, if you’ve ever been to the clubhouse at the Kentucky Derby you know that it’s a very classy affair. And if you’ve ever been to the Derby Infield you know it’s decidedly different from that. But how does the Clubhouse translate to the Infield? Let’s have a look, shall we?
CLUBHOUSE: Here, I have a chocolate in my purse.
INFIELD: Here, I have a plastic flask of Fireball duct-taped to my inner thigh.
CLUBHOUSE: I just dropped $300 on an appealing trifecta.
INFIELD: I just dropped my cellphone into a dirty hole.
CLUBHOUSE: I admire your hat and I think it is very fashionable.
INFIELD: I admire your doo-rag and I think it is on fire.
CLUBHOUSE: Excuse me, would you care to join me for a delicious aperitif?
INFIELD: Excuse me, would you care to join me for a joint I’ve been holding in my butt?
CLUBHOUSE: This shirt is linen and it really is a great weight for early May.
INFIELD: This shirt is bothering me and I’m just gonna take it off.
CLUBHOUSE: Bob Baffert once shook my hand at a charity luncheon.
INFIELD: Kid Rock’s drummer once pushed me down a flight of stairs at an Econolodge.
CLUBHOUSE: My father is both the CFO for a Fortune 500 company and has invested well.
INFIELD: My father thinks I am both at work and not-pregnant.
CLUBHOUSE: I would like some more champagne, please.
INFIELD: I would like some more Buck Cherry, please.
CLUBHOUSE: Good day. I am a gentleman; I believe I may have found a handkerchief you dropped.
INFIELD: Good day, I am a gentleman hobo; I believe I may have pooped in your cooler.
CLUBHOUSE: Hi there! I would like $60 on the number four horse to place.
INFIELD: Help me! I would like to dislodge my leg from this portable toilet!
CLUBHOUSE: I have thoroughly enjoyed this day at the Kentucky Derby.
INFIELD: I think I need to probably go to an emergency room.
By Josh Corman on ©April 27th, 2017 @ 9:00am
There’s a whole lot of movie-related craziness happening around the KSR compound this week, so I thought I’d join the fun. No, I’m not entering into the “Best Movie of All Time” fray, nor am I worried about Funkhouser’s competing “Best Movie of 1984” effort.
Instead, I’d like to take a minute to, in light of its sequel’s release next week, celebrate the best movie (no bracket necessary) Marvel Studios has ever made: Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1.
Upon seeing the trailer for GotG a few years back, I had one thought: this is either going to be really, really good, or it’s going to be absolutely terrible. There really was no middle ground. For one thing, it was the first time Marvel had made a movie about characters that didn’t have a notable following outside of comics nerd land, so they couldn’t just coast on fans’ enthusiasm at finally seeing beloved heroes on screen for the first time. They had to:
- Present characters interesting enough to stand on their own,
- Integrate those characters and their stories into a larger, already-developed cinematic universe,
- Nail the comedic, self-aware tone of the comics and let audiences in on the joke of making a patently ridiculous movie (there was no way this thing was going to work as anything but a comedy), while still generating emotional investment.
- Perform well enough at the box office to overcome the lack of built-in comics nerd fans and generate enthusiasm for the sequel, which the Marvel universe needed if their huge overarching story was to make sense.
If it had failed to do any of the things listed above, it could’ve been a train wreck, the ugly, forgotten Marvel cousin that everyone avoids at the family reunions. Instead, it’s the best thing they’ve ever put on screen.
Now, you may disagree. That’s fine. I can sympathize. Marvel’s done a lot of good work in the past decade. The Captain America movies are the studio’s most timely, dealing seriously with issues of government surveillance and the complexities of war in an age of nearly limitless technological power. The Avengers did a nearly perfect job of bringing together fans’ favorite heroes and somehow making a movie that wasn’t just two hours of stuff getting punched or blown up. The Iron Man movies are hit-or-miss, but those charming Robert Downey Jr. performances make up for it.
Yes, there’s much to be said for Marvel studios, but not one other movie they’ve produced has been as immediately engaging, as thoroughly entertaining, as consistently funny, or as sharply written as GotG. In some ways, it’s a shame they even have to do a sequel, since it’s almost certain to fall short of the out-of-nowhere brilliance of its predecessor.
It’s not just those four macro-level accomplishments I listed above that make it so great. Let’s think about some of the other incredible things GotG pulled off (another list; hooray!):
It made Chris Pratt a star.
Yes, Parks and Recreation made Chris Pratt (and his lovable goofball persona) famous, but GotG proved that he could parlay that into the kind of leading-man charm that saw him become the face of the Jurassic Park franchise and a member of Denzel Washington’s Magnificent Seven. I don’t know if you saw Chris Pratt in the early years of Parks and Recreation, but “leading man in an action franchise” was not a phrase that could have been credibly used to describe him. Yet here he is. Guardians took a chance on him, he rose to the occasion, and now he’s one of Hollywood’s fastest rising stars.
It starred a talking raccoon and a tree that says just a single word. And it worked.
Be honest; when you saw the trailer for GotG, you scoffed at the machine gun wielding raccoon. You did. It’s ok. But then you saw the movie, and somehow, the talking raccoon worked perfectly. He delivered laugh after laugh while quietly serving as the movie’s emotional sensor. A talking raccoon. I swear I still don’t know how they did it. As for the talking tree? Vin Diesel’s finest performance, no question.
It made a random collection of cheesy 70s and 80s tunes the number one album in America. Yep, a soundtrack was the hottest album on the charts after GotG was released. In 2014. That’s amazing.
So yes, Guardians of the Galaxy is the best Marvel movie. It has more personality in its little finger than Thor has had in two movies (and if you watch the trailer for the third, you’ll notice a distinct whiff of Guardians flavor. As great as I think Vol. 1 was, however, I don’t have incredibly high expectations for its follow-up. I think it’ll be funny, and I’ll be glad to see the characters again, but James Gunn and company are no longer playing with house money. If GotG had failed, no one would have been shocked. But it was a smash, and with any smash comes a heap of expectations, which generally translates to safe, palatable sequels. I’d love it if the movie proved me wrong.
Wouldn’t be the first time.
There’s nothing new under the sun and NBC’s Trial & Error proves the old adage is true. The show follows Larry Henderson (played by John Lithgow) during his murder trial of his second wife. There is an ensemble of odd characters from East Peck, South Carolina that make Larry’s Lawyer’s job more difficult. As he tries his first murder case, Josh Segal finds out that it’s not as easy as it looks on TV. Like a bird that takes bits and pieces from different places to make their nest, Trial & Error scavenged bits of pop culture to create their first season. The hodgepodge of shows come together to tell the tale of a lovable man accused of murder.
30% is borrowed from The Office
Like the Dunder Mifflin “documentary”, Trial & Error relies heavily on footage shot through vertical blinds. Obscured camerawork isn’t the only similarity. Larry Henderson is a well-meaning man who is often problematic. He’s the Michael Scott of the show. Some of Larry’s lines seem like they have been filtered through Michael Scott’s brain. Speaking about his wife, Larry tries to explain how much she would hate the flowers at her grave. In the most Michael Scottian way he says, “She hated tulips. It went racism then tulips.” Josh Segal has perfected the can-you-believe this-guy stare into the camera. He’s the Jim Halpert of the show. Although he lacks the height and flippy hairdo, Segal and Halpert are both charismatic leads that people love to love.
30% is borrowed from Parks & Rec.
Pawnee and East Peck have a lot in common. Both locations have obscure festivals, quirky citizens and hometown pride in abundance. At one point, I quit being too snooty to enjoy the “GO PECKERS” peppered throughout Trial & Error. I think Leslie Knope would approve.
Also, every good Parks & Rec copy needs an Andy Dwyer. Dwayne Reed, the lead investigator in the murder, fills the part of lovable doofus nicely. Dwayne can do no right, but he means well and that’s enough to keep him around. For example, in Dwayne’s mind, a match of biblical proportions would be “Moses vs. Voldemort.” I’m forever grateful for this imagery and the introduction to a new lovable weirdo on TV.
10% is borrowed from all other Crime Shows
There are some parts of the show that seem like an homage to a grab bag of murder-centric entertainment. Larry states that his favorite show is How To Get Away With Murder. The Night of has its time in the spotlight. Making a Murderer is also referenced in the title card. The show’s producers are banking on the audience’s recognition and appreciation of the morbid Easter eggs in the show.
10% is borrowed from all the other syndicated TV shows
Let me be clear, the show isn’t the next The Office or Parks and Recreation. I don’t even think it’s even as good as The Good Place. There are parts of the show that are just as cheesy and painful as any run-of-the-mill syndicated TV show. From the beginning, it seemed painfully obvious that Jason Segal and Carol Anne Keane were going to get together. It was inevitable. Also, Sherri Shepherd’s character, Anne Flatch, is troublesome. Anne is the defense’s assistant. She’s “funny” because she has been diagnosed with obscure afflictions. Anne can’t recognize faces. She has to walk backwards. She laughs at inappropriate times. She faints at the sight of beauty. Anne’s only clear diagnosis is that her maladies are painful to the viewer. (I’m allergic to people who are too extra.)
10% is its own original thing
While the show borrows from many beloved shows, T&E creates it’s own space on the pop culture shelf. The Mur-der Board bit alone makes the show worth watching. The show takes dark subject matter, films it using the silliest of formats and uses a bunch of weirdos to tell the story. There is nothing new under the sun. Trial and Error is 30% The Office + 30% Parks and Recreation + 10% Mur-der Shows and 10% its own weird little original thing. And if you think my math is off, just know that I subscribe to the Dwayne Reed rules of Algebra where 8 x 8 =1,000.
(All you need to do is carry the two in your head.)
We’re less than a week away from the premiere of what I hope will be the perfect filler between now and Game of Thrones. This coming Sunday, American Gods premieres on Starz and I am very pumped for it. To make sure you are adequately excited as well, here are five reasons you should eagerly await the premiere:
1. The source material is amazing.
The series is based on Neil Gaman’s best selling book of the same name, and it is a great read. Gods tells the story of a man named Shadow Moon who, upon being released from prison, encounters a mysterious man who offers him a job. Shadow takes the job and is quickly brought into the middle of a budding war between Old Gods and New Gods. The Old Gods are the actual gods from various myths and religions which immigrant believers brought to America (think Americanized Norse, Greek, Native American myths and legends). The New Gods are the modern day gods of technology: computers, television, information, etc. The upcoming war is for the worship of people, which provides them with the ability to exist. While the war itself is a great story, the real meat of American Gods is how American it is. The story takes the reader (and presumably the viewer) on a cross-country tour of America and dives into many of the historical roots of the different cultures represented in modern-day America. The book really emphasizes how different people are, but also how a lot of us have more in common than we may perceive.
2. The Cast is Legit
There are several new faces in key roles on American Gods, which will hopefully turn out well. What you can count on, though, is some serious firepower in other key roles. American Gods features Ian McShane (Deadwood), Gillian Anderson (X Files), Cloris Leachman (Young Frankenstein), Kristen Chenoweth (seemingly everything), and many more people you’ll say “what else have I seen them in?” when they come on screen. The show also appears to have solid directorial support. Episode 1 is directed by David Slade who directed 30 Days of Night, an episode of Breaking Bad, several episodes of Hannibal, and the highest rated Twilight movie (even he couldn’t save that series). Gaiman is also involved with the production as well.
3. Early Critical Reviews are Very Good
As of this writing American Gods has an 8.1 on IMDb, a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, and an 86 on MetaCritic. Those are some solid early ratings.
4. Neil Gaiman is Just Plain Awesome
Whether you’ve read a Neil Gaiman book or not, you’re probably familiar with his work. The first book that really caused me to take notice was his joint project with Terry Pratchett, Good Omens. That got me hooked and I ran through several others, such as Neverwhere, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and, of course, American Gods. What gives me a lot of hope for this show is how many of his other works have been adapted to tv and movies and done really well. Stardust, Coraline, Neverwhere, and Sandman (which introduces the main character of the popular show Lucifer) have all been adapted to screen and have IMDb ratings of 7.3 or higher. In addition to all of that, Gaiman has quite possibly the most pleasant voice in the world. It’s hypnotic and makes his interviews and audio books amazing. Enjoy this gem:
5. American Gods Helps Bridge the GoT Gap
With eight episodes in its first season, American Gods will conclude on June 18. That leaves only a four week gap until the return of Game of Thrones. Once you get hooked into the first episode this Sunday then the next two months will fly by. The real question is which will finish first, the NBA Playoffs or American Gods? My money is on American Gods.
American Gods premieres on Starz at 9:00 on April 30.
By Richmond Bramblet on ©April 25th, 2017 @ 9:00am
Grab your dice and meeples and get ready for the Fifth Annual International TableTop Day, which takes place on Saturday, April 29th. International TableTop Day celebrates the board, card and role-playing game hobby and strives to introduce new people to the world of games. Board gaming has had a bit of a stigma to it, as most people who haven’t played a game in years immediately think of their 20 hour games of Monopoly or Risk, which ruined the hobby for them forever. To be honest, it’s ok to think of those games as not very fun, and that’s coming from a Monopoly apologist. But since the last time you threw a thimble at your sister for taking every last penny you had, thousands upon thousands of new games have been released into the wild. International TableTop Day 2017 strives to show people that there are games out there for everyone, and how accessible the games are to people of all ages, skill-levels, and interest levels.
I thought I’d bring up some ideas for people on ways to prepare for TableTop day coming up this Saturday. Some may be better for new to the hobby gamers, while others may lean more towards the experienced gamer. Either way, they’re all good activities to help enjoy TableTop Day 2017.
Find a Podcast About Board Games to Listen To
I would venture to say that there are hundreds of podcasts relating to board games, running the gamut of depths of interest within the hobby. However, there are a few that I tend to lean towards in offering up to other people:
- The SnakesCast – The SnakesCast is run by the game-gurus from Snakes & Lattes, a board game cafe in Toronto, ON, Canada. The SnakesCast recently changed the format of their show, which I find makes it even more welcoming to all levels of gamers. New episodes drop every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, covering the same topic over the course of the week. Monday’s show is an introduction to that week’s theme, with notes on more entry-level or accessible games within that genre. Wednesday and Friday’s episodes dive deeper into the topic, getting progressively deeper throughout the week. Some weeks, discussion is focused around a single game, with more in-depth conversation upon that game over each episode. Each episode is only about 10 minutes, which makes the series very palatable for short drives or even waiting until Friday to listen to all three at once.
- Flip The Table – I’m sure I’ve mentioned Flip The Table on Funkhouser before, and for good reason. If you want to take a look back at some of the nostalgic, but ultimately terrible games that you played during your childhood, Flip The Table is your jam. This monthly podcast (I would be remiss in not mentioning that we’re on the final season, but the backlog is 100+ episodes deep), features a lot of games with promotional tie-ins to movies, tv and fast food. One of the big hits of our Extra Life 2016 fundraiser event last year was The McDonalds Game (which Nick Roush won), is featured on Flip The Table, and boy is it ridiculous. The guys on FTT have a great time really basking in the awfulness of some nostalgic games, and is certainly worth your listen.
- Blue Peg, Pink Peg – Friends of Funkhouser, Blue Peg, Pink Peg, is a great podcast for those who have a little more experience in the hobby. Hosted by Patrick, Jeremy, Robb and Christina, the bi-weekly podcast discusses “board games, relationships and the interaction between the two.” Each episode the group chats about games that they have played over the past two weeks, then discusses the game of the week in which they do a deeper review. Also, some episodes wrap up with a discussion topic about various items within the board gaming world. My recommendation of this podcast comes, not only from how solid the podcast is, but after having met the four hosts, it’s a fair representation of how the four actually are. Each host has a fairly distinct style of game that they enjoy, but in sharing that together, and with their kids, you get a sense of just enjoying being around people and playing any kind of game. Good podcast, great people, take a look.
There are certainly plenty of other podcasts to get into, and by taking a listen to these, you will be able to find others to branch out to if you want to look any deeper into this podcasting genre.
Watch People Play Board Games on YouTube
If I were to ask you to make a list of the most boring things imaginable, there’s a good possibility that you might actually write down “watching people play board games on YouTube”. Seriously, I don’t blame you. Watching people play something, while you just sit there and not participate, might drive a person to lose their mind. I, however, will offer a counterargument to that notion with this: watching people play board games is one of the best ways to a) learn the rules to a game you might want to play -and- b) help you find games that you haven’t heard of, or might be of interest to you and your friends.
There are a couple of different styles of board game on YouTube videos. First is the tutorial or how-to-play style of video. For me, the tutorial video is perfect for when I know I’m going to have a game night and want to break out a new game, but might have some questions about items that the rulebook doesn’t explain fully or properly. Some publishing companies (like Portal Games or Plaid Hat Games) even put links on the box to YouTube channels to watch instructional videos. One of the best YouTube channels for this is Watch It Played by Rodney Smith. Rodney, the very friendly Canadian that he his, gives a very visual representation of the rulebook by breaking down every thing you would need to know. He sits behind his game table and lays out the game elements just like they would be needed in an actual game and teaches you all the rules. Videos range from 10-45 minutes, but even the lengthier videos are crucial to breaking down rulebooks that might be more dense than they should be. The Watch It Played channel will also have game play videos that accompany the ‘How To Play” video, so you get to see a full game in action and how all of those rules work together. Rodney’s probably the best around, which is the reason this is his full-time job. Other “How To Play” style videos come from channels like JonGetsGames (who also does full play-throughs) and GeekandSundry.
Another style of YouTube board game content are gameplay videos. These videos, while still having brief rules breakdowns, are set out to entertain you and let you see how a full game will play out. Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop is in its fourth season on YouTube, a series which pits Wheaton in competition with three other online or TV/Movie personalities in very accessible games. A brief instructional video prefaces the gameplay just so the viewer can follow along with the main gameplay, but that only takes up two minutes or so of the 30-45 minute program. Tabletop will edit down games to make the program shorter to eliminate downtime, which is good for entertainment, but doesn’t necessarily give a good representation of the actual length of the game. “GameNight!” by BoardGameGeek is another fantastic program which sees four players (usually the same four) play a different game every couple of weeks. The show starts with a rule breakdown, followed by a full gameplay, which means episodes range anywhere from 30 minutes to over two hours. While the length of the program might be daunting, it’s an accurate representation of a lot of situations you may encounter.
Attend A TableTop Day Event
One of the best ways to just enjoy TableTop Day itself is to attend a Tabletop Day event. There are plenty of restaurants and retailers that will be holding events in your area and you can check TabletopDay.com for what might be happening around you. We’ve picked out a few of note to let you know about:
- Extra Life International TableTop Day Fundraiser at The Rook OTR in Cincinnati – Board Game Cafe, The Rook in Over the Rhine in Cincinnati is hosting their own Extra Life TableTop event in their second floor game hall with organized events and open play. All ticket sales go to Extra Life, but 10% of all food/beverage sales will also go to Extra Life. You can check out all of their official events HERE.
- TableTop Day at Legendary Games Lexington – Legendary Games in Lexington (302 N. Ashland Ave) will be hosting open play from 11am-10pm. Bring your favorite games, come meet new people and play new games. If you don’t know how to play certain games, hop in with someone and they’d be happy to teach you!
- TableTop Day & Meet The Rather Dashing Designers at Cafe Meeples in Richmond, KY – Cafe Meeples will be hosting an evening for TableTop Day from 6:00pm-9:00pm. You can also meet the designers of Rather Dashing Games: Grant Wilson & Michael Richie, and learn to play their games “This Belongs in a Museum” & “Element”. No cover charge for the event, and all game play from the library is free with a cafe purchase of $5 or more.
There are plenty of other events that are going on around you, and if you just want to get friends together at your own home, brewery or wherever else, that works as a TableTop Day event. The goal of TableTop Day is to celebrate the fun of tabletop games and to introduce new people into the hobby. Hopefully you get a chance to break out a game this Saturday, no matter where you are.
In this Funkhouser installment, I rummage through a hodgepodge of television shows and films, some of which are so obscure, you might be discovering them for the first time, others, simply forgotten about, several possibly mothballed and finally a few that just vanished into the ether altogether. This is Lost and Found: Episode 7.
Sadly, independently owned bookstores are becoming a rarity. Every year it seems, a handful of antiquarians close the books on their businesses, leaving behind an orphaned hodgepodge of yellowed, mildewed, thrifty paperbacks, and dusty, but treasured leather-bound classics. Over my life, I’ve spent a lot of time in such places—not so much reading or buying anything, but mainly piddling and poking around. This practice is one of the many reasons to blame for their demise, I suppose. However, it’s good to see that in the age of Amazon and Goliath-type businesses, a few booksellers remain defiant. Stores like these have certain unmistakable and common qualities about them. Navigating their maze-like shelves can be treacherous: you have to be mindful not to bump into the assorted stacks of titles and periodicals, rising like stalagmites, from above the creaky, well-worn, wooden floors, that bend and yield under your weight with every step. There’s more often than not, a bell tied to the front door to alert the proprietor of customers, typically a lethargic or deceased dog or cat laying around, withered plants, empty bottles, strategically placed cobwebs, and a handful of dead insects lining the hazy glass windows. But it’s always their eccentric owners, who are the real gems and give the stores so much of their character.
Bernard Black is one such owner.
Black Books is an out-of-print, but classic nonetheless, British television sitcom, originally airing in the U.K. from 2000 to 2004. Until now, I was unfamiliar with its existence, but forced indoors, away from the dreary and cold-weather this weekend, I found the series almost by accident—all eighteen episodes—streaming on Netflix, and I binge-watched it in its entirety. Don’t judge a book, or show rather, by its cover—believe me, the show’s dark, pessimistic tone coupled with the mundane, sometimes outlandish storylines are deceptively funny. Not surprising the show has everything you’d expect from a British comedy: loads of sarcasm, sardonic put-downs, subtle tongue-in-cheek humor, and enough double entendres, you’ll catch yourself laughing at the most inopportune times, long after it’s over.
Set in London, Black Books, centers around Irishman Bernard Black (Dylan Moran), an unkept, anti-social, chain-smoking, nihilistic, drunkard, and proprietor of said bookstore. Like many of his real-life counterparts, he’s a likable louse, but quite vexing, most notably in his indifference on whether or not he sells anything at all. Often hungover, he’s callous and rude towards customers and his help—you wonder how he stays in business at all. His only on again/off again employee is Manny Bianco (played deftly by comedian, Bill Bailey) a genuinely talented, good-natured, but lovable dolt, who serves as shopkeeper, primary salesperson, and chief whipping boy for Black. Rounding out the cast is Fran Katzenjammer (Tamsin Grieg) a neurotic, shrill, obsessive man-eater, former one-night-stand, and long time friend of Black’s, who runs a chotsky shop next to the bookstore. Together, their adventures, akin to Seinfeld, border on a show about nothing, but that narrative works, because one can only imagine the bizarre turn of events and goings-on that happen within the walls of a bookstore, and between the ears of the uniquely peculiar proprietors. Although the show features a laugh track, you’ll find yourself grinning and snickering at the dialogue, which is smart and bitingly clever, as well as each character’s uniquely habitual mannerisms, idiosyncrasies, quirks and tics. I would recommend watching S1:E1 but after that, it’s up to you. If binge-watching it from start to end (S3:E18) is your thing, have at it. But if that doesn’t suit you, then take your time, meander around—maybe viewing the series à la carte will hook you. Whatever.
Black Books, much like the remarkable one-of-a-kind bookstores and the flaky owners that inspired it, is something you’ll have to experience for yourself.
“ALL RIGHT, THE SHOP IS CLOSED. EVERYBODY GET OUT!!”
Black Books is rated TV-PG.
This post is an ode to Mike Pence. The Vice President and former Indiana Governor is busy traveling around the Pacific. During a flight between Indonesia and Australia, Pence informed Air Force 2’s press pool they will be watching Hoosiers, “the greatest sports movie ever made.”
Even though I’ve never seen Hoosiers (shame on me, I know), I thought it’d be the perfect opportunity to share with you a list of the greatest sports movies ever created. You’ll quickly notice this list is the objective, undeniable truth.
1. Friday Night Lights
4. Space Jam
5. Remember the Titans
6. Major League
8. Varsity Blues
9. Hoop Dreams
10. Talladega Nights
11. The Karate Kid
12. The Waterboy
13. The Fighter
14. Field of Dreams
15. The Replacements
Feel free to call men an idiot in the comment section for omitting Rocky. I don’t care what you say because at the end of the day, “I’m the best around, nothing’s going to ever keep me down.”