5 Movies I Would Like to See Re-Made

•March 14, 2013 • Leave a Comment

No real explanation needed here.  I’m not necessarily saying that these were originally made poorly, though, some certainly were.  Mainly, just movies that I’d like to see re-visited with maybe more money, or just modern techniques/technologies.

1. Twilight.  All of them.  I know, these movies are new, and were made using a cruise-liner full of cash, and made even more, but from what I understand the books are actually fairly entertaining.  I mean, for that many people to go nuts – something in them had to appeal to someone…  That being said – those movies were awful.  I mean, from top to bottom, that was some of the worst film I’ve ever seen.  The acting was horrendous, the production values at times looked like something from the SyFy channel, and the lines they chose to adapt from the books play like they were chose by a 12 year old monkey.  So, wouldn’t it be cool if in 10 years someone came back and actually made these right?  Made them so that they’d appeal to everyone, instead of just the crowd that would scream and “awwwwww” anytime they saw the actors in paleface kissing from 13 camera angles?

2. Backdraft.  I really liked this movie – a lot of people did.  In ’91, though, they just weren’t able to make every scene inside of the fires realistic enough.  I definitely think this one could use a reboot with modern CGI and stuntwork.

3.  Weird Science.  Okay, so, this movie was really campy.  And, I don’t really think that should be changed in a remake.  But there are so many things that this movie could do now with CGI.  (Getting rid of so many puppets, for one.)  Plus…let’s bump this one down to say, “R”, instead of that all-so-frustrating “PG-13?”

4. Outland.  Sean Connery was in this old-school sci-fi flick that had a bit of a Firefly feel to it.  I really think this one should be revisited – definitely with a darker feel.  What can I say?  I just can’t get enough of the deep space western genre…

5. Logan’s Run.  This movie had everything going for it.  A solid script.  Decent acting.  Underlying dark premise.  The Future as we thought it would be from the 70s.  Unfortunately…it also had the 70s.  This movie has everything that makes a great sci-fi movie – it just needs that modern kick in the pants!

Honorable Mentions:  Kelly’s Heroes, The Great Escape, Maximum Overdrive.

Fixing Football

•February 22, 2013 • Leave a Comment

There’s a lot of talk these days about long-term injuries in contact sports – none more prevalent than those incurred by football players.  The league is trying to remedy the problem by fining players for making a tackle that may or may not have been on purpose and may or may not have caused an injury.  The players are trying to remedy the problem by not caring, and hitting each other in the forehead as hard as ever – then suing the league 10 years later when instead of seeing their dog, they see a blurry warband of criminals trying to steal their soul.

Some people think the problem lies with the advent of the non-leather helmet.  They think, and they may be correct, that when you wear it, you feel invincible, and it causes you to recklessly throw yourself through the air at an opponent like a semi-retarded, suicidal duck.  The problem is, if they went BACK to a less-safe helmet, the players, (well at least those have pretty much replaced the entirety of their brain cells with a deer antler, goose-urine, and battery-shavings cocktail,) will likely keep going kamikaze on each other just to prove a point.  Once they’ve effectively killed each other off, we may start to see some change.  Until then, CBS is going to have to air games after 10pm so that they can show the games with a rating of TV-MA V.

Here’s what I think the problem is:  for the most part, hurting each other doesn’t affect the players at that exact moment in time.  Meaning, they will get fined – but tomorrow.  They may get suspended, but next week.  They may go brain-simple, but in 10 years.  Sure, a 15-yard penalty can, and has, changed the course of a game – but for the most part, it’s just one play in a game with hundreds.  There is one sport, though, that I think has done it right – and  this may surprise some of you: hockey.  Now, you may be thinking that I’m also messed up on the goose-urine, but just here me out.  For those of you that watch hockey, you know exactly what I’m talking about here.  You see, in hockey, you get penalized instantly, and instantly give your opponent a fairly major advantage for however long your penalty lasts.  A fairly minor penalty?  (Think false start in football.)  2 minutes in the penalty box, giving the other team a 5-4 advantage of skaters on the ice.  A bit more major?  (Think holding, pass interference, etc.)  5 minutes.  But what’s also nice, is that penalties can “stack” on each other – meaning, if a player instigates a fight, and fights, he gets a short penalty for instigating, and a longer one for fighting.  So, two penalties enforced together.  There are also different levels of penalty depending on if there is injury/blood, etc.

Continue reading ‘Fixing Football’

AB on MB, Hooray!

•November 18, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I’ve done a few blog posts about food-based entertainment in the past.  Most notably – my article about the downfall of Food TV’s on-air personalities.  (What’s the point of that phrase “on-air personalities.”  I was a broadcast production major in college, and I said and heard that phrase more than my own name.  I always wanted to ask…”Why would we ever refer to off-air personalities?  Who would be considered off-air personalities?  Is like…Frank from accounting?  Whom every refers to as “a character”?  Or is it would you would call the on-air guys’ backups?  Am I over-thinking this?)  Most notably – I’ve pointed out in the past that the guys that made food television what it is today – have all been kicked to the wayside, or, in one massive case, been relegated to hosting duties – and pointing out how “interesting” the new “chefs’” recipes are…

In the early 2000s, Food Network was “Come for the Emeril, stay for the Alton.” Alton Brown, of course.  Brown’s show Good Eats was one of the only shows on Food Network that was able to combine the entertainment value of a normal cooking show (watching someone cook and make interesting comments about what they are cooking and why,) and actually learning about why foods do what.  Why does this matter?  Well – on today’s Food Network, you get the opportunity to see Rachael Ray for 22 hours throwing random ingredients and spices that she’s never heard of into $380 cookware, and then pretending like A. she’s actually eating it, and B. if she were eating it, that it would taste better than low-grade dog food.  The other 2 hours are filled by loud, obnoxious 30-somethings that are certified to teach the culinary arts due to their tab at the local foodie-supply kiosk in the mall.  Oh, and throw in Sandra Lee, who may actually be a modern-day, real-life culinary siren.  If you happen to dwell on the channel too long, and her rabid raccoon-inspired eyes happen to catch your gaze, you might as well forget your common sense, because by the end of the first segment, she’ll have you believing that you can throw cookie dough, pot roast, shallots, and toothpaste in a pressure cooker and serve 10 of your closest metro-sexual friends.

So, you see, what Alton was doing was important.  It changed the way millions of people, myself included, cooked.  I no longer miss out on a dish because I’m missing a base ingredient – Alton has taught me why I would use flour there, and how corn starch is a viable replacement.  Raytard Rachael Ray would just tell you that it’s no problem if you don’t have any flour, cocoa powder kinda looks like flour’s hip neighbor…so it should be fine.

So, after suffering through Alton’s new role on all-thing-foodie-TV for so long…I can’t even begin to describe my utter elation when he popped up (literally) on Mythbusters this Sunday.  Now, someone tell me why this relationship wasn’t created/exploited a long, long, long, looong time ago?  When he popped up, (again, literally,) I bet 4 million people sat back in there chair and said “Huh.  Yep.  This makes PERFECT sense.”  In fact, when he and the Savage began talking, I realized that Alton Brown is THE perfect guest for the Mythbusters.  He instantly brings the geeky, fun, inquisitive, and inventive mind that perfectly matches Adam’s, but at the same time, he brings the brilliance, thoroughness, and analytics that mesh so well with Jamie.  It’s almost like Alton Brown instantly became the gel that takes Adam and Jamie to the next level of legit.  (I know…legitimacy would probably be grammatically correct there…but read that sentence aloud that way I wrote it.  Huh?  Sounds kind of better…more hipster, doesn’t it?)

So, hooray for Mythbusters, hooray for AB, and hooray for us viewers that were able to get the first Christmas (or Hanukkah…if that’s your persuasion,) present of the year.

 

(If this article seems a bid dis-jointed…well…deal with it.  I was actually watching the end of the Mythbusters episode as I wrote this…and I enjoyed it so much…that I often forgot my thought.  I often forgot my thought.  I often….crap.

Thought of the Day

•November 2, 2012 • Leave a Comment

“New Girl:  Come for the Jess, stay for the Schmidt.”

-Daniel

Chicago Fire y Nashville Reviewed (Now with 20% more Spanish words in the title!)

•October 12, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I watch a lot of new television each fall.  I watch a lot of bad new television each fall.  If this was the Academy Award show – a scrolling list would now display the following in white text over a black background with stock orchestra music:  Emily’s Reasons Why Not (1 episode), Anchorwoman (1 episode), Lonestar (2 episodes), My Generation (2 episodes), The Paul Reiser Show (2 episodes), Man Up! (1 episode).  I think that we have some to add to the list this year, but probably not the 1-2 episode list.

I’ve already expressed my dislike of The New Normal.  But, with it pulling in 4.5 million viewers last week, I doubt it’s going anywhere anytime soon.  (It beat out Fox’s 9:30 offering by almost a million viewers.)  Speaking of Fox’s 9:30 offering, the Mindy Project is just not good.  But, again, 3.68 million people watched it last week, so apparently someone likes it.

Let’s move on to the other new shows this week.  ABC finally trotted out Nashville, it’s musi-drama starring Connie Britton and the no-longer-the-little-girl-from-RemembertheTitans Hayden Panettiere.  Britton plays the reigning-but-aging queen of country music (think Reba) and Panettiere plays the young, reckless starlet without much reverence for the way things “used to be”,  (think Taylor Swift combined with Lindsay Lohan.)  I wasn’t sure what to expect from this show when it was first promo’d.  I knew one thing:  after what seemed like the billionth season of Friday Night Lights, I was just about tired of Britton’s fake Texan accent.  (And she was the best part of that series…)  So, I didn’t exactly have high hopes for Britton’s revival of said accent…  Panettiere on the other hand is kind of a wild-card.  She was great in Heroes, but this is kind of a different role for her – and one that she will have to nail weekly in order to pull off a starring role.  The bit characters are what you’d expect from a show like this – plenty of good looking, countrified man-meat for the woman to watch so that they don’t feel threatened by Britton and Panettiere.  (Let’s not fool ourselves – just like life’s equation of good and evil balancing out – in order for an hour-long drama to work, hot women must always be balanced out by hot men.  Unless you’re making a show on Spike or an animated series on Fox.  In those cases, you only have 14 female viewers, so no one is going to argue when the sweaty fatso gets the 95lb model.)  Both ladies, however, did exceptionally well in the Pilot episode.  The men…well…we’ll see.  There was definitely some iffiness there that will take some time to determine just how much of an anchor they will be.  (And not anchor in the “solid-as-an-anchor” sense, rather anchor in the “this-boat-cannot-move-forward-because-your-acting-is-a-400lb-anchor-dragging-the-bottom-of-the-lake” sense.)  But, the true test of any Pilot episode, is whether or not you would be willing to watch hour 2 (episode 2) immediately, or if you went to bed satisfied, but not hungry.  I can safely say that I would have watched at least another hour of Nashville.  Had I been at Golden Corral, there would have most definitely been another trip to the hot bar in my immediate future.  (That analogy is kind of weak, I apologize.  It’s been a while since I wrote anything.)  I give Nashville a 4/5.

Nashville wasn’t the only big ticket item for viewers to watch on Wednesday.  NBC brought it’s big hour-long drama hammer with Chicago Fire.  How can I explain Chicago Fire?  It’s kind of Rescue Me meets ER, with a little bit of Trauma thrown in for seasoning.  If you like action – the Pilot delivered.  If you like story, well, there wasn’t much in the Pilot.  I can only assume that the story will ramp up as the season progresses.  (If not…well, I like fire trucks as much as the next guy, that’s why I became a firefighter…but it’s probably not enough to make me devote an hour to watching them run up and down the streets of Chicago each week…)  Fire wasn’t exactly an opening-day hit with the audience, either.  The pilot was watched by 6.61 million viewers.  That doesn’t sound bad when you compare it with some sitcoms, but when the other two shows in its timeslot, Nashville and CSI, get 8.93 and 10.7 million viewers respectively, you’re in an early hole.  As far as reviewing the show…well…there is a lot of action, there was some medical stuff, there was a rivalry, a love interest, a death, and a new guy.  Seriously…substance just didn’t floweth over in episode 1.  I will say, though, that just as I said with Nashville, I was ready to watch more right away.  I really wanted to see where we were going with this, and I honestly have quite high hopes for week 2.  The question is, will the viewership go up enough from the pilot to keep this series alive for NBC?  That will be the big question.  I  give Chicago Fire a 3.5/5.

The Revolution Begins (or: Lost Reloaded)

•September 21, 2012 • 1 Comment

Premiers, premiers, and more premiers.  What a busy week for new TV! This week, Go On found its rhythm, Revolution, and The Mob Doctor kicked off, and The New Normal limped into week 2. Were there other shows starting this week? Most definitely. Were there other shows starting that I wouldn’t watch with your eyes? Yep. So, let’s not focus on them. Maybe if the 100 or so people that read this blog pretend they don’t exist…they won’t come back. (Hey…it could happen.)

Revolution began its bid to be the next show vying for the affection, and blind, puppy-dog love of the aimlessly wandering Lost fanbase Monday on NBC. (When the Season 1 DVD is released…do you think that will be one of the quotes on the back of the box? Should be.) Let me summarize the plot the best I can. No real “spoilers” here, unless you’ve been living under a rock, and missed the 2.3 million previews pushed by NBC throughout the last 6 months.  Plot:  In modern times (aka: now,) something happens to completely suspend certain laws of physics. In other words…Physics becomes only a good idea – not the law. So – the primary effect of this is that electricity no longer works – nor does the internal combustion engine, apparently. Flash-forward (hmmm…Flash Forward…that phrase reminds me of another show like this….) a few years, and here we are in a post-apocalyptic-like America. (After all, without the engine and electricity, apparently all hell breaks loose.) While this show was mostly entertaining – I have some SERIOUS problems with the fundamental plot. And, because I’m a nice guy, I’m going to lay them all out here in a very easy to use bullet-point list. If at any time you get the urge to reply “It’s only a TV show”, I’m looking at you Sparky, I refuse to acknowledge that as an excuse here. Guys being able to take a bullet in the chest, and continuing to jump from building to building? Sure. But not when the entire premise of a show is as stable as Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign…

Continue reading ‘The Revolution Begins (or: Lost Reloaded)’

The New Normal and Go On: Reviewed

•September 13, 2012 • 2 Comments

I’m starting this post without knowing just how long it will be – or where exactly I’m going to go with it. This week, two new shows began their runs at renewal: Go On and The New Normal.  I’d like to review each of them…but unfortunately, neither contained enough entertaining content to fill the vast expanse of white space I’m currently staring down.

Okay, that isn’t exactly fair – but believe me when I say that neither premiere was worth a bump in your DVR scheduling.  I will say that the result of watching these episodes wasn’t without surprise, however.  If you had asked me 2 months ago what my tone would be in this review, I’d have been completely wrong.  (In fact…I think the last podcast reflects this.)  If I was a betting man.  If I had enough money to bet with – I’d have taken great odds that Matthew Perry and Go On would follow the footsteps of his former Friends castmates’ offerings, and be a total disaster.  I would have also surmised that The New Normal would quickly move it’s way into the exclusive club that is my DVR top 15 – joining the likes of Modern Family, Sons of Anarchy, and Parenthood.  But alas, neither were to be true.

Go On is a sitcom that follows Perry’s Ryan King, a sports talk-radio host, as he attempts to deal with the recent passing of his wife by attending mandatory group-therapy.  Let’s be honest, this show has the makings of just about every other early-release sitcom in past 5 years:  it’s got a “big” name, a few “hey, look, it’s that guy!” minor movie/TV actors looking to get a steady paycheck, and a huge supporting cast of nobodies.  While this may work for a show on HBO, or Showtime (see The Newsroom, Game of Thrones,)  it just doesn’t usually work on television.  (Ask Aaron Sorkin – he seems to run around Hollywood pulling every resume off of street corners for his massive productions.  Studio 60, anyone?)  Here’s the interesting part:  it really isn’t terrible.  DVR15?  No way…but top 30?  High enough to record over Thomas the Tank Engine, and Wordworld?  Sure.  But not enough to compete with any of the big boys.  (See – if you switch over to the NY Times, or the Indianapolis Star to get your review of this show…I guarantee that you will not get DVR-placement advice.  I mean..they won’t even MENTION quality children’s programming in their reviews.  It’s a shame, really.)  Perry’s relatively harmless – if not a bit unbelievable as a grieving widower.  Sure – they throw in the dramatic 8 second scene every once in a while – but I’m sure they learned in their early screen tests that Perry just doesn’t have the chops to be pulling Shakespearean drama out of his hat.  The supporting cast is sufficient, if not forgettable – which will probably be the ultimate reason why this show gets cancelled.  There just isn’t enough interest to be found in them.  For shows like this to be successful, you need to come for the star – stay for the supporting cast.  I give Go On a surprising 3 out of 5.

The New Normal, however, is the shocker here.  (I’m looking forward to Kevin’s review of this one – because he totally disagrees with me.)  Let me start by saying that I never, ever understood how people enjoyed Raising Hope.  When I watch that show I see a handful of bad actors, reading mostly harmless (read: safe) dialog – that’s supposed to be shocking, with a plot that can only be fresh for about 6 episodes.  (Ask Jimmy Fallon in about a month how the baby-based comedy business is working for him.)  This show is Raising Hope with different people.  Now that you know that, digest this review accordingly.  At no point during the Pilot episode did I ever even enter the room that contained the thought: “hm…this could be okay.”  Okay.  Not good.  Okay.  I honestly thought that the Pilot was the worst television episode I have seen since making it through 2/3 of last year’s monumental disaster: Work It!  Enough with the Pilot, let’s move on to week 2 – after all, I’d be a hypocrite if I only judged on week 1.  Week 2, I must admit, was 100% better.  The reason?  The super-annoying, over-the-top, horribly acted/written/thought of/dressed/cast character of “Nana” played a much smaller role – and they instead focused on the likable characters of the series: the incredibly lovable gay couple played by Justin Bartha and Andrew Rannells, and the mother/daughter duo of Georgia King and Bebe Wood.  These characters are not only harmless – they are actually quite enjoyable, and may….may….end up being the saving grace here.  I wasn’t sold on Andrew Rannells at first, thinking that the writers had just jumped feet-first into the stereo-typical “super-gay”/”kinda gay” relationship scenario, with Rannells playing the “Jack” role (if we’d somehow switched to an analogy of Will & Grace.)  In Week 2, however, they showed that they are content having a prominent gay couple on television that is a bit more “real” than the standard television-issue gay couple consisting of a super-manly-male on one side and a bowl of Skittles on the other.  The problem is – I don’t think this will last.  Unfortunately, I think the frustrating “Nana” character is here to stay – as an integral part of the series.  Racism/Sexism/Ignorant-ism was topical/funny in the 70s.  Today?  It’s like a  toddler throwing himself on the floor in the grocery store.  You’re only doing it to get attention – but it’s more sad than funny.  I give The New Normal a very sad and un-funny 2 out of 5.

 
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