Welcome to Run It Back. Each week, S.E. Shepherd brings you a unique look at the best (and worst) in TV, movies, sports, comedy, online video, and life in general. Is there something you’d like S.E. to cover? Hit him up on Twitter @TheSEShepherd.
What a week, folks! Half of the UK/UofL game was awesome (the other half, not so much). The contenders and pretenders in the NFL are starting to show themselves. The summer TV shows are wrapping up and giving way to the new fall TV season. One of the most highly anticipated video games of the year debuted this week. And the internet continues to churn out ridiculous videos at a break-neck pace. It really is a lot to keep up with. But, don’t worry; I’m here for you. Here’s a quick round-up of things from the last few days that mattered to me and might matter to you.
In Case You Didn’t Hear, There Was a Pretty Cool Video Game Released This Week
This week saw the launch of Grand Theft Auto V, which made a ridiculous $800 million in first-day sales. And while I admit that, much to my wife’s chagrin, I’ve spent more than a few hours in the game’s L.A.-like world of Los Santos stealing cars, pulling off elaborate heists, and making it rain on virtual strippers, the game I’ve been most obsessed with this week is this fan-created flash game based on Breaking Bad.
The side-scrolling beauty lets you play out some of your greatest Heisenbergian fantasies, including collecting the ingredients to cook meth with Jesse, finding creative ways to dispatch of Emilio and Krazy-8, supplying Badger and Skinny Pete with drugs to sell, and making breakfast for Walter, Jr.! There are 24 levels total, so there’s plenty to keep you busy between now and Sunday’s penultimate episode.
As a side note for those of you out there who are tired of hearing about Breaking Bad, just relax, OK? In two weeks this beautiful beast will be gone forever and you can go back to dominating the internet with, I don’t know, recaps of Dancing with the Stars and games based on Two and a Half Men or whatever. Until then, let us BrBa fans enjoy this. Down here, it’s our time; it’s our time down here!
Color Me Bad
If you’re a fan of hip-hop and coloring — and, let’s face it, who isn’t? — you may already have discovered Bun B’s Jumbo Coloring and Rap Activity Tumblr. The brainchild of Houston-based rapper Bun B and music critic/artist Shea Serrano, the blog posts printable coloring pages featuring some of the rap world’s biggest and most notorious acts, like our boy Drake (seen above, minus his eyebrows). In addition, there are a variety of games and activity pages, including Tupac-Tac-Toe, MC Serch’s Word Search and Rap Libs with Ice Cube.
The site has been around for a minute, but this week saw the release of the official printed book. In what is perhaps the first useful blog-to-book deal in the history of the internet, the 48-page paperback features everyone from Ice-T and Queen Latifah to Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover) and Wiz Khalifa.
Bun B’s Rap Coloring and Activity Book is available on Amazon for less than $10. There is literally no way this isn’t the perfect gift for somebody in your life, so order a copy, buy a $3 box of crayons, and make that special someone’s day.
Sylvester Stallone. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Jason Statham. And Kelsey Grammer?
Earlier this week it was announced that Kelsey Grammer would be joining the cast of The Expendables 3. For the uninitiated, The Expendables franchise is Sylvester Stallone’s attempt to dust off geriatric action stars from the 80s and 90s, drop them into a bunch of overblown, under-scripted, hard-to-follow battle sequences, and have them spout horrible one-liners that do nothing more than remind us how awesome some of these guys actually were in their heyday. The first two films featured some of the biggest names in action movie history, including Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis (who allegedly isn’t returning for the third flick because he wants too much money), Chuck Norris, and Jean-Claude Van Damme. The latest installment is rumored to up the ante even more, dragging the likes of Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Antonio Banderas and Wesley Snipes into the mix.
Which makes the casting of Kelsey Grammer even more of a head slapper. The man most famous for playing the straight-laced psychiatrist and radio show host, Dr. Frasier Crane, for well over a decade seems like the least likely addition to the cast of a tough-guy action movie ever. I know Grammer raised some eyebrows playing the snarling Mayor Tom Kane on the short-lived Starz show Boss, but I’m not sure it upped his street cred enough to drop him into the middle of this testosterone-fest.
Maybe it’s nothing more than the producers’ attempt at surprising the audience by casting against type. Fair enough. But even if Grammer’s inclusion is just a bit of good old-fashioned stunt casting, here are a few guys I would have expected to make the cut before him:
1. DJ Qualls (aka the weird-looking, bag of bones dude from Hustle and Flow)
2. Stephen Tobolowsky (aka Ned Ryerson aka Needle-nose Ned aka Ned the Head from Groundhog Day)
3. Toby Jones (aka Truman Capote from Infamous, the other movie about Truman Capote that didn’t star Philip Seymour Hoffman)
4. Warwick Davis (aka Willow aka Wicket the Ewok aka Leprechaun)
5. Jesse Heiman (aka The World’s Greatest Extra)
I suppose it’s possible Kelsey Grammer will surprise me with his ability to fit right in with the rest of his muscle-bound cast mates and The Expendables 3 will prove to be the best action movie of 2014. If that happens, I will be more than happy to admit I was wrong. So stick around until 2017 or so when I finally catch The Expendables 3 randomly playing on HBO one afternoon while I’m trying to take a couch nap and I’ll let you know what I think.
Uncommon Valor at Commonwealth
At last weekend’s UK/UofL game, I was among the resident rowdies who hit the lots around Commonwealth Stadium for a little pre-game tailgating action. Despite the early morning start time, UK fans were out in force and, by 9 a.m., the beers were popping and the bourbon was flowing. As I settled in for a long day of drinking and football action, I had no idea I was about to witness one of the most remarkable acts of selflessness ever to occur in the state of Kentucky, nor that it would have nothing to do with the action on the field.
While waiting in line to use the port-a-potty about an hour before kickoff, I noticed a young woman sheepishly stick her head out of the door of one of the johns. It was immediately obvious that she was already three sheets to the wind as she swayed on wobbly legs and struggled to open her eyes beyond the halfway point. She refused to leave the stall, holding the door open with her knee as she shouted and flapped her arms like some sort of booze-drenched bird, trying desperately to get the attention of someone further back in the line. It wasn’t long before the crowd grew tired of her antics and someone shouted, “What’s the hold up?” It was then that the woman informed the crowd that she just committed the one and only unforgiveable sin related to using a public restroom in the age of technology: She had dropped her phone in the toilet.
Now, folks, if it was me in her position, my response would have been far more subtle: After hearing the phone plop in the rancid filth at the bottom of that hole, I would have simply thrown a quick glance down the poo-tunnel to confirm my gadget was indeed lost in a sea of muck, grimaced at the thought of having to shell out hundreds of dollars for a new phone, then zipped up my pants and been on my way, not giving the incident another thought. Because once the device breached the plastic rim and began its journey into the dark abyss, it would be dead to me. Nary a thought of attempting to rescue it from its stinky grave would have crossed my mind. So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, bye bye.
But that was not the case with this fair lass. Instead, she summoned her boyfriend from the end of the line and recruited him to participate in her own, strange version of Dirty Jobs. This heroic young man silently walked to the stall as hoots and hollers from the crowd rained down upon him. I could see in his eyes that he had already gone catatonic and was on autopilot, his mind having left his body and taken refuge in an imaginary vat of hand sanitizer far away from that which stood just a few steps in front of him. As he reached the stall, someone handed him a plastic bag from Kroger — nothing more than a thin layer of the cheapest plastic ever created — which he reflexively wrapped around his hand like a glove, as if it had any chance of protecting him from the vile conditions that awaited him at the bottom of that cesspool.
At this point the crowd reached fever pitch. With the door closed and his hand searching blindly in a tank of human excrement, I imagine all that man heard, beyond his own muffled curses and gasps for air, was a chorus of mocking laughter and exaggerated retching.
After a few moments, the couple emerged. The man handed the bag, now turned inside out and containing a phone, to the young damsel in distress. She smiled and looked at the ground as he pulled his UK baseball cap over his face, trying to avoid eye contact with any witnesses as he bolted away from the scene. There was little doubt this moment would be the source of nightmares sure to haunt him for the rest of his life. Some battle-worn veterans will never forget the sights and sounds of combat, just as I expect this man will never forget the smell of that port-a-potty. This was his Vietnam.
As the woman walked behind him, all I could think about was how lucky she was to have someone in her life willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for her happiness. I love my wife more than anything, but if her phone ever falls in any toilet — much less a port-a-potty outside of a football stadium — it will stay there forever. Because I can assure you my hands will never willfully find the inside of a toilet as long as I have any say in the matter.
I hope that woman spends the next month doing whatever she can to disinfect her phone before she brings it anywhere near her face. But after that, I hope she goes to her toilet-diving boyfriend and professes her undying affection and loyalty to him. That dude is definitely a keeper.
This may not be the mythical brown note, but it must be pretty close. Also, it is just me or does “Mr. You Call That Bass? THIS is Bass!” look kind of like the world’s happiest mortician?
That’s it for this week. I’ll be spending the weekend neglecting my responsibilities as a husband and a father while I play Grand Theft Auto V. I hope you have big plans, too!