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Movie Review Logan

Movie Review Logan

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(The following review is written by special features contributor Brad Morris)

I have a confession to make. And it’s hard for me to bear my soul regarding this confession. You see, as a geek/nerd/dork (whatever you want to call someone that likes comics and superheroes as much as I do), it is difficult for me to ever speak bad of anything in the pop culture industry. However, I must stay true to my fandom. Growing up having to actually READ comics about superheroes on this thing called paper, I never dreamed that we’d get to the point that we’re getting a new Marvel or D.C. movie every 3-5 months versus… well… never. So here’s my confession:

Except for 2 or 3 comic book movies in the last 20 years…. I’ve hated them. Not disliked… Hated them.

My reasons for this blasphemy are simple. It has always felt to me that the true story has been put on paper in the past, some great artwork done by amazing artists, and the characters seen on the page; have never been truly and/or correctly fleshed out on the silver screen. Major movie studios are in the money making business. And while they correctly deduced that comic books were a treasure trove of wonderful characters and stories, they’ve very rarely let the new artists (actors, directors, screenwriters), tell these stories as they were meant to be seen. It’s a big risk to let someone tell a story without wanting some control over the final product. And while a dork like myself would jump every time Harrison Ford says “Trust me.”, studios haven’t had that luxury. Until now. The only 3 movies that have reached a true representation of their characters and stories for me are The Dark Knight, Deadpool, and now added to the list Logan.

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First things first when it comes to Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of the Wolverine. While having no physical resemblance to the comic characters physical traits (Jackman is too tall and slender compared to his comic counterpart), the first time he donned the hair, cigar, and claws, Jackman BECAME the Wolverine. People really dug his take on the character when he first appeared in the first X-Men in 2000. There has been a problem with the past 17 years of X-Men and Wolverine movies that has always frustrated me, and that is rating, namely PG and PG-13. The Wolverine has been watered down and stuck in these ratings shackles. And thanks to Ryan Reynold’s Deadpool, studios seem to be realizing that they shouldn’t be afraid of letting characters this well known and loved to pop up in a R rated movie. Wolverine says F#*$, Wolverine cuts off limbs, Wolverine stabs people in the head with blood flying. We haven’t been shown these in theaters… until now.

I’m going to avoid spoilers as much as I can, so this will be a basic plot description. Loosely based on the Marvel comic arc Old Man Logan, we begin the movie seeing Logan working as a limousine driver in the year 2029. He’s taking care of an aging Professor Xavier, with help from the mutant Caliban, played fabulously by Stephen Merchant. Logan is approached by a woman regarding a young girl, begging him for help. A series of adventures and advisories come along, and turns into an unbelievable ride.

This is the Wolverine finally unleashed. No holds barred, no cuss word censored, gallons of blood spilled, cats and dogs living together, MASS HYSTERIA! It may have taken 17 years for Hugh Jackman to get to this type of Wolverine movie, but I believe it’s all been worth it. If you ground your characters with a great story, it doesn’t matter what kind of movie it is. Rom-com, drama, comedy, horror, etc. Story matters. Seeing Logan at his full potential is stunning. You do feel cheated that it’s taken so long to get here, especially since this is it for Jackman and his adamantium claws, but it’s a fitting finale for him.

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This also is Patrick Stewart’s last turn as Professor X. Besides Jackman, Stewart has been the most consistent of the X-Men through the years. The movie is a wonderful finale for him, as well. He’s allowed to expand on Professor X’s history and really walk around in those well worn shoes.

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The introduction of Dafne Keen’s character Laura/X-23 is an amazing beginning. A mostly unspoken role, Keen shows what appears to be years of experience in her subtleties of facial expressions and body movements. If at any point we see her in this role in the future, we can expect a fun ride.

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And last but not least, the bad guys are BAD GUYS. I wouldn’t want to cross their paths ever. Not in a dark alley, not on a street corner at noon. There is always a danger with the various evil doers and they constitute a real threat. So kudos to the storytelling from their angle.

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So how would I rate Logan? I’d give it 4.9/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. It is as close to a perfect movie as I’ve seen in quite some time. Everything from setting, to action, characters, to pace, this is a wild and emotional ride. I HIGHLY recommend this movie to you as a great escape into the true realm of what a comic book movie should be.

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P.S. Speaking of Ryan Reynolds ☠️💩L, you’re in for a very small, but enticing treat. Just make sure you’re there on time or you might miss it.


So You Want To Be a Texas A&M Yell Leader!

So You Want To Be a Texas A&M Yell Leader!

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Hello!

Thank you for your interest in becoming a “Yell Leader” for the upcoming 2017-18 Texas A&M athletics season. We have received and are currently processing your written application and audition video (submitted in one of the requested media formats). In the meantime, we would like to take this opportunity to instill in you the importance and reverence which comes with being one of the university’s recognized “Yell Leaders.” It is hoped that you will take this position as seriously as those who have come before you and take pride in your work.

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The Aggie Yell Leader tradition dates back to 1907 and has becoma a crucial part of Aggie sports over the last hundred years. IT IS NOT A SILLY POSITION. If you believe this to be a position to be one where you make “jokes,” “gags” or “goof ’em ups” then you have vastly misjudged the charge of the Yell Leader. THIS IS ALL COMPLETELY SERIOUS AND SHOULD BE TREATED AS SUCH.

Texas Governor Perry answers question about indictment in Texas on two felony counts of abuse of power during appearance at business leaders luncheon in Portsmouth

Former Yell Leader.

Taking on the responsibility of being a Texas A&M Yell Leader requires more of you than just donning some white coveralls (though, if you are selected to serve as a Yell Leader you will be required to wear such during games and will receive your designated coveralls — one to two times sizes smaller than the size you have designated on your application — within four to six weeks before football season begins). You will also need to commit to memory and be able to accurately perform, on command, such classic yell leader moves as:

-Clasped-hand air-fist shake
-Open palmed, bent wrist backward windmill
-Knee-down finger gun point (to the left side)
-Knee-down finger gun point (to the right side)
-Double thumblock (waist, one footed)
-Finger-to-shoulder-to-crowd
-Up-and-down clasped fist pump (waist to above head)
-Vaudeville-act-finishing hand sparkles
-Tiptoe air punch

It is also important, as a Yell Leader, that you work out enough to look like you could beat someone’s ass at any time. This is how it’s been since 1907 and it is a tenet we take very seriously.

 

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Fig. 3: Knee-down finger gun point (right side)

THINGS TO REMEMBER AS AN AGGIE YELL LEADER
-Bellows, whoops, hoots and shouts are not yells. Such non-yells will incur a written warning, and dismissal upon second offense.
-Never take advantage of your Yell Leader status to encourage crowds at birthday parties, children’s swim meets or concerts (a full list of yell-restricted gatherings will be provided)
-A&M Yell Leaders are disqualified from any pedestrian yelling competitions or events
-A.B.Y.: Always Be Yelling

Not a designated Yell Leader.

Not a designated Yell Leader.

Your initiation period, should you be selected as a Texas A&M Yell Leader, will consist of two weeks of yelling practices and fourteen weekly hours of hand motion work with a gesticulation professional. As a designated Yell Leader, you will be required to yell whenever the situation calls for such; however, normal speaking voices may still be used for intimate gatherings. You will also be required to cut your hair really short, despite not being a recognized member of the United States military. Being a Yell Leader is hard, but it will all pay off with all the action you’re going to get from the ladies. Trust us on this.

We will be in touch soon with your approval status based on the information you have provided to the Texas A&M Yell Leader Offices. We wish you the best of luck during this process and can’t wait to hear more of your yelling in the near future for our Aggies!

Best Wishes,
Gary Houck
“Yell Chief”


Funkhouser Presents The Kentucky Deadcast: Episode 11

Welcome back to Easy Street! Unfortunately for viewers, we are subjected to that horrible, mind numbing song again. But Eugene not only likes it, he can do a little head banging to it. This week Brad and Josh discuss the episode “Hostiles and Calamities “. The chit chat includes:

– Dwight and his troubles with Negan
– Negan getting convinced his Doctor is the problem
– Eugene hanging out in a teenage nerds dream

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes, streaming on Podbayor via Android’s Podcast Addict app.


2017 Oscars Recap

2017 Oscars Recap

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Don’t ever let the Academy Awards think they are too important.  The red carpet coverage discussed the possibilities of what you can do with pockets in a dress. (You can put your phone in there! You pose with your hands in your pockets or out!) Honestly, they can’t even be trusted with announcing the correct winner.  There are many moments that expose the silliness of taking the awards too seriously and yet, we still return year after year. There is something about the Oscars that makes everyone feel like their opinion is correct and must be heard.  Even Dickie V. had a hot take about a ceremony celebrating movies he has most definitely never watched…

Here are some of the moments that make all of the dress/pocket analysis worthy of our time: 

  • Best Picture Confusion- Whether the confusion about who won was genuine or a prank, the result was still entertaining.  Warren Beatty and Faye Dunnaway’s bumbled announcement is all that anyone will ever remember about this show.  As an American, I’m beginning to have a lot of trust issues with election results and this “Moon-land” debacle doesn’t help. Regardless, the mistake did help to take the “stuffy air” out of the ceremony. Jordan Horowitz’s revelation might be the most genuine thing on screen the whole night.
  • The Hidden Figures Photo-Op:

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Katherine Johnson and the cast of Hidden Figures’  moment early in the broadcast might be forgotten, but the moment is still cool nonetheless. 

  • Viola Davis: she deserves an Academy Award for her acceptance speech.  Davis said, “We are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.” Live your life. Speak your truth. Win your award Ms. Davis. It is a pretty self-important thing to say, but why put so much effort and creativity into something that isn’t worthy of your time and effort?
  • The Tourist Bit-

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In an attempt to make a stuffy ceremony seem more off the cuff, producers dropped a bus full of Hollywood tourists off at the venue.  They were adorable. I could watch Gary and Jackie schmooze with celebrities all day. Denzel married them with his wonky fingers! GARY WAS HOLDING HER PURSE THE WHOLE TIME! It was so kind of them to let the common folk in their fancy award ceremony.

  • Presenters Paired People Who Inspire Them – Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan proved that sometimes co-stars dislike each other and forcing them to present is painful.  Producers might as well pair actors with people who inspire them like Charlize Theron and Shirley MacLaine and Seth Rogan and Michael J. Fox.  The pairings are more natural and interesting.  It also speaks to the theme that movies are awesome!  

For every important moment, there are a few moments that fell short:

  • Best Picture Confusion- I’m torn about the “Moon-Land” mistake.  I don’t want to encourage more ceremonies to mess with the results.  We are now in a “Boy cried wolf” situation and we don’t need to encourage this type of behavior.  As a side note, can you imagine how much Twitter would riot if they had announced that Moonlight won and then had to re-gift it to La La Land?
  • Dropping snack food from the ceiling – In an attempt  to create a viral, food-centered award show moment, candy was dropped from the ceiling.  It truly added nothing to the show.
  • The Receipt Overkill- Now that Amazon is in the movie business, Wal-Mart felt the need to expand as well.  The “competing” trailers for fictitious movie just reminds me that audiences can easily be tricked into wanting to watch a movie that is literally impossible to watch.  (Which speaks to the theme that movie trailers are fake news.)
  • Live Tweets – I get uncomfortable when I watch people who are not proficient at operating phones try to tweet.  Jimmy Kimmel attempted to live tweet the President.  His fumbling fingers were painful to watch, but he does get bonus points for the #MerylSaysHi. 

You can read all of the results after the jump! 

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UK’s DanceBlue event raises $1.785 million to fight pediatric cancer

UK’s DanceBlue event raises $1.785 million to fight pediatric cancer

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The numbers are officially in! University of Kentucky’s annual DanceBlue event brought in a whopping $1,785,286.96 to fight pediatric cancer!

The 24-hour dance marathon began yesterday at 8:00 p.m., and finished in dramatic fashion when the final total came through.

DanceBlue is the largest philanthropy event at UK, where hundreds of students gathered at Memorial Coliseum and danced the day and night away for an unbelievable cause.

Check out some moments from the event:

Thank you to all who participated and/or donated to the cause. Your efforts are more appreciated than you realize.

#FTK (x1,785,286.96)


Funkhouser Presents The Kentucky Deadcast: Episode 10

Welcome back to the Kentucly Deadcast. We’ve been waiting patiently through the holidays for the Walking Dead to return to our Sunday nights. A multitude of story lines and walker kills are ready to be chewed up. This week Brad and Josh discuss:
– How good/bad was Episode 9
– The best Walker kill ever done on the show
– The characters ongoing story lines in the Apocalypse
– Some Kentucky basketball creeps its way into the Deadcast
You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes, streaming on Podbayor via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

The Entertation Index: Feb. 20-24

The Entertation Index: Feb. 20-24

Entertation3Each week KSR’s Funkhouser features the best of pop culture. The Entertation Index collects the best of the week for your consumption.

Beyonce — Beyonce, set to headline this year’s Coachella music festival, has dropped herself from the 2017 lineup after the singer, pregnant with twins, received orders from her doctor to start keeping a “less rigorous schedule.” But let’s be honest — there’s a probably a big jump between “keeping a less rigorous schedule” and “being carried around by acrobats who bow in worship to you on stage while you do yoga poses dressed like a sun goddess.” How about we split the difference, Bey? Thx.
Link: Beyonce has Officially Dropped Out of Coachella and Fans Aren’t Happy

Magical Genie Nick Cannon

Magical Genie Nick Cannon

Cannon, Nick — The former Mr. Mariah Carey this week posted a photo of his new baby boy with former Miss Arizona Brittany Bell, whom he has chosen to name Golden “Sagon” Cannon. Those wishing to give a gift to the baby are asked to send toys, while those looking to give Nick Cannon a gift can try to find him SOMEONE WHO WILL TELL HIM NO.
Link: Nick Cannon Welcomes Son Golden “Sagon” Cannon

Chrisley, Todd — After it was revealed via social media that Chrisley Knows Best daughter Savannah has begun to date Memphis Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons, weird dad Todd went on Access Hollywood to tell the world that we all know NBA players are “ho hounds” and went on to school us on how professional basketball players have two phones — “one for the main chick, one for the side chick.” Todd Chrisley may have said some more after this stuff but my television literally chose that moment to grow sentient and light itself on fire, so I don’t know.
Link: Todd Chrisley Admits Concern over Savannah’s NBA Boyfriend

OscarsThe New York Times has announced its predictions for this Sunday’s Academy Awards and has the musical-throwback La La Land slated for not only Best Picture, but Best Director and Best Actress (Emma Stone) — not to mention an almost certain statuette for Best Song. You can watch La La Land before Sunday, or I can just summarize it for you here: Acting is hard! Music is Hard! Los Angeles is SO Amazing! But also hard! Believe in your dreams! It’s a virtual lock that anyone in the entertainment industry wasn’t losing their sh*t over the self-congratulatory exercise, so get used to hearing about it Sunday.
Link: And the Oscar Winners Will Be…

Springsteen, Bruce — A 14 year-old Australian boy skipped school to see a Brisbane Bruce Springsteen concert only to find himself on-stage jamming with The Boss himself, further proving the old adage “Don’t go to school.” I envy this kid; when I skipped school at 14 I slept late, walked two miles to watch Terminator 2 twice in a row and went boob-spotting on a VHS copy of European Vacation. Advantage: this Australian kid.
Link: Kid Skips School to See Bruce Springsteen, Ends Up Performing With Him

Trebek, Alex — If you’ve been on the internet this week, and if you’re seeing this you have, so stop lying, you’ve seen peeks of Jeopardy host Alex Trebek reading rap lyrics. Someone graciously put all those together in a compilation, so enjoy this from Trebek — or, as he was known in the day, Big ‘Stache Hustla.
Link: Alex Trebek Reads Rap Lyrics

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Tri-State, Good Morning — I tweeted about this yesterday, but if you somehow missed the beautiful-but-failed pilot Good Morning Tri-State from director Jason Woliner and actor Mark Proksch, block off nineteen minutes today to remedy that. The premise, a staged morning news program which features escalating mania from its bizarre anchor, features co-hosts and guests who aren’t in on the joke and an unnatural attachment to the 2001 Hugh Jackman movie Swordfish. Take my word for it.
Link: Check out Mark Proksch and Jason Woliner’s Unaired 2013 Pilot “Good Morning Tri-State


The Biggest Lie From Big Little Lies

The Biggest Lie From Big Little Lies

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HBO’s Big Little Lies begins with a murder.  Unlike most stories the mystery isn’t centered on who is the murderer, but who has been murdered.  The series, based off of Liane Moriarty’s best selling novel, takes place in a small, affluent community.  The show pits working moms v. stay-at-home moms, ex-husbands v. current spouses and assumptions v. reality. The book is the perfect beach read.  Even though the roster for the series is stacked (Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Adam Scott, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley) the series comes up short.  The biggest lie from Big Little Lies is that the show is worth watching.  Here are some of the little fibs that HBO’s newest series tells that turn into one big little lie.

big little lies cxoverLie: The Cover.

The cover leads you to believe that there is a playfulness to this story.  In reality, the image of a fragmented lollipop suspended in time contradicts the new-agey aesthetic that the story actually tells. The cover suggests fun and whimsy, but there is nothing vibrant and cheerful about the series.  Even the children are more mature that the six year olds I know.  Chloe (Reese Witherspoon’s daughter) has already made career plans and Shailene Woodley’s character’s son is named after a dead rock star’s famous song. It is all muted and mellow, the exact opposite of sugary sweets being blasted to smithereens. It goes without saying that these women would never eat a lollipop.

 

Lies: Everything that comes out of Reese Witherspoon’s mouth

Everything that comes out of Madeline Martha Mackenzie’s mouth tumbles out awkward and forced.  As Witherspoon teeters around in her heels, her character’s words do not come across as believable. At one point Witherspoon says that someone “whooshed” by a while ago. When she said “whooshed” she meant hurried, but the damage was already done.  Madeline Martha Mackenzie, the character with the worst monogram of all time, loses all credibility. Characters who are folksy and homely say “whooshed.”  Characters who are not concerned with appearances and status say “whooshed.”  Upper-crusty women named Madeline Martha MacKenzie don’t use the word “whooshed.”  It is the most shining example of the disconnect between what MMM would say and what she actually says on the show.

The exception that proves the rule is when Mrs. Mackenzie tells one of her fellow characters that she “has no idea what she is talking about.” Ditto. Retweet. Preach.

Lie: How the teacher handles the conflict

According to the series, the murder would never have happened if it hadn’t been for the incident on the first day of school.  Ziggy,  Shailene Woodley’s character’s son, not Bob Marley’s kid, is accused of choking the daughter of one of the richest parents at the school.  The teacher gathers up all of the parents and asks the little girl to point out the student who did this to her.  The little girl points out Ziggy.   Ziggy’s mom whooshes in and declares that her son would never do that to another student.  The crowd gasps.

It literally could not have been handled worse.  There is no way that a teacher would handle this type of incident this way.  It is impossible to be committed to solving the murder mystery when the creators aren’t committed to creating a believable plot.

I really want to like this series.  I love exploding treats.  I love backyards that use large redwood trees as focal points in the center of patios. I love themed costume parties. A good “whodunnit” will always have space on my DVR.  But, the biggest little lie is that all of these things are enough to make Big Little Lies the next drama worth watching.  


The World Isn’t Flat, but Uncle Drew is Still Getting a Movie

The World Isn’t Flat, but Uncle Drew is Still Getting a Movie

It’s been a busy week for Kyrie Irving.  Over the weekend Irving’s Flat-Earth belief stirred up the NBA and the internet, prompting everybody from the KSR comments section up to the NBA commissioner to comment on whether the shape of the Earth.  While this was certainly an entertaining aside to the All-Star weekend, the more interesting Irving story was the news that broke on Thursday.  Irving’s Pepsi commercial character Uncle Drew is getting a movie.  Reported by ESPN’s Darren Rovell and confirmed by Pepsi, the movie is actually happening and already has a writer, a loose plot, and Baron Davis.  In a weekend where Irving was on top of the ridiculous totem pole, this may actually take the cake.

First things first, it’s egregious that Uncle Drew is making the jump from commercial to movie when the greatest NBA  pitch man never made it past the small screen.  That of course would be Lil Penny who dominated the scene in the mid-90s.  Fox Sports did a great Lil Penny retrospective last year which can be seen here , but in case you forgot…Lil Penny was a legit star.  Superbowl commercials, music videos, and he was even designed by the company run by Mythbuster Jamie Hyneman.  Uncle Drew is a good gimmick, but Pepsi went that route with a few sports figures (Jeff Gordon and Kevin Love) to create a sort-of “viral” feel to the ads.  There was only one Lil Penny and he deserves his shot.

The next reason why this is so ridiculous is the extremely bad history of NBA players starring in movies.  I’m not talking about Space Jam, it’s a classic which I will never disparage.  It, along with He Got Game, are also anomalies.  Along with their NBA stars, those two movies featured solid supporting casts and are entertaining.  Other NBA player movies have not fared so well: anything Shaq starred in (Kazaam, Steel), Thunderstruck featuring Kevin Durant (and Mark Krebs), and My Giant (Gheorghe Muresan) all come to mind.  Along with Irving there will probably many other NBA stars which jump in for bit parts in the Uncle Drew movie.  Baron Davis is already attached and everybody knows Lebron likes to expand his brand when possible.  Kevin Love will probably show up in his old man makeup as well.  In any case, this has the makings of a pretty bad acting cast.

Ultimately, an Uncle Drew movie will serve the same purpose the Uncle Drew commercials serve: promote Pepsi.  I can’t imagine how paying the cost of a feature film would be profitable, but it might work. Could a bunch of NBA players in old man makeup be a funny movie?  Probably not on their own.  If they wanted to do this as part of Grown Ups 7 then it might be worth checking out, but anything else will probably be pretty awful.  In the meantime I think the KSR crew needs to start on their own Drew movie called Earned, Not Given.  Don’t worry, I’ve already prepared the synopsis:

A young man trying to break into the world of sports journalism falls on hard times as his gambling debt causes him to miss his big opportunity.  Just when he thinks his dream is over, an old curmudgeon sees a glint of talent and offers him the second shot he so desperately wants.  As Drew starts this journey to redemption, it’s up to him to learn that success in life is truly…earned, not given.

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The Creative Connection.  Netflix’s Series ‘Abstract: The Art of Design’ Speaks to the Artists, the Dreamers, and Me

The Creative Connection. Netflix’s Series ‘Abstract: The Art of Design’ Speaks to the Artists, the Dreamers, and Me

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IMG_2748ake a look around you—it’s ok, I’ll give you a second or two—what do you see?  Whatever it is, it was more than likely designed by some “artsy” or “creative-type” person.  Admittedly, I abhor labels.  Maybe it’s my own insecurities about my own work—including the piece you’re reading now—or already stopped reading I assume.  Or simply because I feel that those monikers are hackneyed and often misapplied—stereotyping and classifying individuals into the haves and have nots.  Some would say I fall in the later.  Regardless, ideas and ultimately the process of creating stuff—some of which you interact with daily—doesn’t happen by happenstance, nor is it a result of black magic. That’s not what the dark arts refers to.  Rather it’s birthed out of an invigorating, thoughtful, systematic and at times painstaking process.  In fact, as Hal Riney said in the 2009 documentary Art & Copy, “the frightening and most difficult thing about being what somebody calls a creative person is that you have absolutely no idea where any of your thoughts come from, really. And especially, you don’t have any idea about where they’re going to come from tomorrow.”

While I believe everyone possesses uniquely primal creative traits, not everyone has the ability to successfully translate their ideas into actual execution, let alone create work, i.e. posters, logos, furniture, etc., that connects with and speaks to others in intimate and powerful ways.  That’s evident to anyone who’s ever attempted, persisted or absconded any artistic endeavor.  Truly great designers see the world different from most.  Above all they’re curious.  Drawing inspiration from both the present and the past, and from familiar and even the unlikeliest of places. Listening and always looking to solve pragmatic problems—they just do so in their own, sometimes unconventional—I’d even go so far as to say radical—ways.  Great designs are all around us.  Some have dramatically transformed and influenced our culture and many have made a profound impact on the world around us.  But how did they get that way?

Netflix’s new documentary, Abstract: The Art of Design focuses on such designers, pioneers who are shaping the way we look at and interact with the world.  Akin to Chef’s Table, the eight-part series, each episode focuses on a particular artist, exploring the genesis behind their work in the fields of: graphic design and illustration, footwear design, stage and runway design, architecture, photography, and interior design.  It’s a fascinating and rare glimpse into the minds of some really unique “creative-type” visionaries, who are at the forefront of artistic exploration and cultural change—where art begets design and design becomes art.  The series feels cinematic, and is aesthetically captivating and the approach is extremely winsome.  Likewise, each 45 minute episode is singularly focused, fast-paced, chic, and as idiosyncratic as the designers it features.  That’s not to say that each one will speak to you, but it’s certainly binge-worthy nonetheless.

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Christoph Niemann

Three episodes in particular really connected with me the most.  First, the inaugural episode featuring illustrator and award-winning artist, Christoph Niemann, who’s known for his New Yorker covers and Instagram sketches.  His quirky, inquisitive nature and playfulness shine through his eccentricities.  Whether he’s toiling with LEGOs, explaining communication through design using the Abstract-O-Meter, or working on his Sunday Sketches where he combines traditional art mediums like pen and ink with everyday objects to make beautiful works of art, this episode will surely delight you.

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Paula Scher

Next, is actually Episode 6 which explores the world of typography, and showcases Paula Scher, who has been described as “the most influential graphic designer on the planet”. From her album covers to her recognizable logos, Scher does more than simply arrange letters, words, and images together: She creates an emotional connection through her work which finds ways to influence our everyday lives including what we read, how we process information, and even our buying decisions.  There’s also a lesson in the episode on poor design—in this case, the 2001 Florida ballot fiasco.

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Tinker Hatfield

Lastly, Episode 2, featuring a former athlete who studied architecture, but whose name ended up being synonymous with sneaker culture which continues to leave an indelible footprint on pop culture, footwear designer, Tinker Hatfield.  Nike wasn’t always the brand that it is today, and its success can be directly linked to Hatfield’s designs.  While he’s best known for his collaborations with Michael Jordan, Tinker is also a forward-thinker, developing revolutionary, wearable technology, turning sci-fi fantasy into real world applications.  He’s a bit of a mad scientist—part Picasso, part rock star—and all around fascinating.

So take a look for yourself and let me know which moments or episodes speak to you.

Abstract: The Art of Design is rated TV-14.


The Walking Dead Recap: “Rock in the Road”

The Walking Dead Recap: “Rock in the Road”

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The following recap is written by guest features writer Brad Morris for Funkhouser.

Everyone loves Tom Hanks movies, right? Or at least appreciates the mid 90’s run he had with Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, and Apollo 13. There’s a scene early on in Apollo 13 where he and his crew are training. At the end, the moderators throw a problem at the crew, who handle it beautifully. Upon exiting the simulator, Hanks quips to the other crew that the training was 3 hours of boredom, followed by 5 minutes of terror. Well that’s what last nights Walking Dead felt like to me, and in a good way.

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Our weekly post on the show is back, and I must say, I was a little thrown off with the episode. It didn’t feel like a mid season premiere, but more like a filler episode during the “in between big” episodes. So to combat the slowness of it, let’s talk about what saved the episode for me. And that is the Zombie kill of the entire series, the duel car limbo walker kill!

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There have been countless Walker kills throughout the 7 seasons of TWD. Some that stand out:

The little girl Rick kills at the very beginning of Season 1
The Well walker in Season 2
Daryl slamming a rear door on a Walkers face
Rick killing the SWAT team walker at the prison

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And after each walker kill, the image that pops in my mind is Woody Harrelson in Zombieland, asking everyone with him if his recent dispatch of a zombie was “Zombie kill of the week?” All of thee above are worthy, but last night has to take the brass ring. So let’s talk about the scene.

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We start out with our group driving back to Alexandria, when they come upon a series of cars blocking the road. While some of them move the cars, Michonne discovers a steel cable on the other side of the road. It’s hung between 2 cars, and has a vast amount of explosives attached to it. Rick and crew realize 2 things quickly. The Saviors have put this up to stop/warn them of a herd of walkers, and Rick’s crew need the explosives for a future fight. The gang starts to gather the dynamite and get spooked, when a herd starts coming toward them (conveniently). Our group works quickly, and that’s when a plan is hatched to escape the herd.

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Rick and Michonne each jump in to drive a car that holds the cable. And with a mighty push of the accelerator, we have a game of Red Rover! Josh Juckett and I debated on the Kentucky Deadcast how many walker kills would we have this week. I took the over of 10.5, and boy was THAT a safe bet. The amount of kills may have been between 200-400 within a matter of seconds, and in my opinion, will go down as the top dog of walker kills in the entire series. It definitely saved a very slow and drawn out episode.

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As far as characters go, nothing was out of the ordinary, save for Father Gabriel. What the hell is he doing running off with all the food? In my opinion at first, he is ticked off that the Saviors will come back for their food. However, I believe his actions have something to do with the new group at the end, which is totally crazy for me! This group shown surrounding our gang at the end has no comic background whatsoever. Nothing, nada, zip, zilch. So for the creators of the show to bring them on board I think is a stroke of genius, and I’m giddy for next week.

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We also got the Alexandrians arriving at the Kingdom and meeting King Ezekiel. This didn’t go as planned for now, but at least we’ve found Daryl a safe haven. Something tells me his presence will help push Ezekiel to come around on his decision not to fight. And at some point Daryl will find out about Carol, and they’ll have a big old hug it out moment.

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I’m glad we’ve got our weekly gang back to follow, and I’m hoping that there will be more action next week. The first half of the season was very inconsistent in terms of storytelling, bookended by some great episodes. Let’s hope that with the arrival of a new group, and Rick’s return to being the Sheriff, we get some great scenes next week. Until next week, ta ta…