26th Jun2015

West Week Ever – 6/26/15

by Will

photovisi-download (1)

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briefcase

I watched absolutely nothing this week, so I’ve got nothing for this part of the post. Oh wait – I did watch The Briefcase on CBS. Have any of you seen it? It was pretty controversial when it first aired, and the season finale is already airing tonight. Basically, they present a briefcase filled with $100,000 to two different poor families. The families, then, have to decide whether to keep the money for themselves, or to share some of it with the other family. So, they’re demanding poor people make a Sophie’s Choice over this windfall that could be seen as a gift from Heaven. I mean, they all could use the money, but they don’t wanna look like assholes by keeping it all to themselves. Later in the show, once the families meet, they realize that there were TWO briefcases, and not just the one that was presented to them, so there’s $200,000 up for grabs. On the episode that I watched, one family gave $20,000 to the other family, while the second family gave $11,000 to the first family. So, they both ended up with the bulk of the money. For each of them, the amount given was such a drop in the bucket that I would’ve been offended, but they at least pretended to be thankful. They both owed so much money that the full $100K still wouldn’t have solved all their problems. I really hope there’s a “Where Are They Now” episode next season if the show gets renewed.

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Lots of news in the world of Spider-Man this week. First off, it was reported that Miles Morales, formerly the Ultimate Spider-Man, will be the MAIN Spider-Man in the regular Marvel Universe following the Secret Wars event. The new series, Spider-Man, will be handled by the Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man team of Brian Michael Bendis and Sarah Pichelli, and it also appears that a retired Peter Parker will serve as his mentor. I’ve written about my love for Miles in the past, and I’ve also written about how an association with Peter could only be a good thing for Miles. This is a pretty big deal, as Miles will also be one of the New Avengers as that team rebuilds following the event. I’m really excited for this, but part of me is wondering “How long is this really gonna last?” Comics have tricked us with “cowl rental” in the past, and the original wearer always comes back. I’m drinking the Kool-Aid, and I really want this to be a permanent thing, but I just know better than to get too excited about it yet.

Tom+Holland+Arrivals+Pre+BAFTA+Party+sgu3IKYLLMXl

Meanwhile, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel and Sony decided on Tom Holland, and not Asa Butterfield, as the next actor to portray Peter Parker/Spider-Man. A moment of silence for Andrew Garfield. Not only will Holland star in the 2017 Spider-Man film, but he has been confirmed to debut in next Spring’s Captain America: Civil War. In fact, they say that he has already been sent to the set to start filming his scenes. Meanwhile, Jon Watts has been tapped to direct the next Spidey film, which will only be his third feature film.

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Also this week in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it was rumored that Selma‘s Ava Duvernay had been hired to direct Marvel’s Black Panther. While Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has confirmed that they’ve had talks with DuVernay, her hiring is still just speculation at this point. While I know she’d bring a certain amount of, I guess, “legitimacy” to the movie, I don’t really know if that’s what her career needs. Sure, Kenneth Branagh directed Thor, but I kinda hate that we live in a period where it’s assumed that EVERY director needs to have a superhero film under his/her belt. I mean, other than the fact that they both feature Black casts, why would you think the director of Selma would automatically be the best person to showcase the king and world of Wakanda? To me, that’s just as dumb as the marriage between Storm and Black Panther which seemed based solely on the fact that they’re both African. It’s just sort of stupid that once you’re on everyone’s radar these days, it’s assumed your next move will be a superhero film.

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Also in movies this week, Rotten Tomatoes held a Q&A livestream with the cast of the Independence Day sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence. I guess the importance of the event was to showcase the new title, but it just seemed kinda like a sad affair. Instead of being excited about the movie (which is a year away), I was more sad for these actors that they didn’t have anything else lined up. I mean, even secondary characters like Vivica Fox, Brent Spiner and Judd Hirsch are back. Hell, if Harvey Fierstein hadn’t died in the first one, they probably would’ve gotten him back, too. But there is one glaring omission: Will Smith, who reportedly wanted $50 million to do the two planned sequels. So, instead of having him, they cast actor Jessie Usher (who?) as Smith’s character’s son. Anyway, since filming just started a month ago, they really didn’t have much info to share. I’m not sure whose idea it was to schedule this thing so early, but it was just an awkward, uncomfortable mess.

Photographer Dennis Stylist Lin

Photographer Dennis
Stylist Lin

Some San Diego Comic-Con exclusives are starting to trickle out (you can get up-to-the-minute coverage over at Awesome Toy Blog), but my favorite is probably this Toys “R” Us exclusive Batgirl figure. I was a pretty devoted collector of the Batman ’66 line, and I’ve been waiting for this figure since it was announced over a year ago. I really kinda hate that it’s an exclusive (especially since it’s a TRU exclusive, exclusively for SDCC – it’s an exclusive inception!), as that means it’ll be harder to get than just walking into your local TRU store. It seems that TRU actually posts these for sale on their website during the convention, so I’ll try my luck at getting one that way. I’ll need two – one to open and one to put in storage. Yes, I’m that guy. Sometimes.

dustin-diamond

It was quite a week for fallen child stars. First off, young Anakin Skywalker, Jake Lloyd, who apparently suffers from schizophrenia, attacked his mom before setting off a high speed police chase. Then, Saved By The Bell‘s Dustin Diamond was ordered to serve 4 months in jail for stabbing a guy back in December.

taylor

In the world of music, Taylor Swift surprisingly became the voice for artists’ rights when she declined to allow her album 1989 to be offered via Apple Music’s streaming service. This is nothing new for Taylor, as she also yanked all of her albums off Spotify a few months ago. Still, she wrote an open letter to her fans, saying that she couldn’t go along with Apple, seeing as how they weren’t going to be paying artists royalties for the first three months of the service. Well, she cried and Apple listened. Responding to her on Twitter, Apple senior vice president of internet software and services, Eddie Cue, said, “Apple will always make sure that artist are paid,” tweeted Cue. “#AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period. We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple.” Now if she could only squash that beef with Katy Perry that easily…

General-Lee

I don’t usually get too political on here, but this has been some kind of week. As I’m sure you know, there’s been a lot of movement to get the Confederate flag taken down at southern government buildings. Then things really shifted into turbo, as Wal-Mart, Amazon and more announced that they would no longer be selling items bearing the flag. Then Warner Bros announced that they wouldn’t sell any more Dukes of Hazzard merchandise with the flag on it. When all of this stuff was happening, I jokingly tweeted that I was fine with the flag being on the General Lee. And then they pulled it. Finally, Apple kinda screwed the pooch by removing Civil War games from the App Store because they depicted the flag. I say “screwed the pooch”, as this is almost like pulling a textbook because the flag was in it. It’s a part of history, but that’s where it should remain. If it’s a game or book about history, then it seems kinda fitting for it to be in there. It just probably shouldn’t be flying high like we’re still all in 1861.

As a Black man in America, it should be pretty clear where I stand on this matter. As someone whose relatives hail from the South, it has even more meaning to me. I’m conflicted, though, ’cause I grew up loving The Dukes of Hazzard. I guess you could say that I didn’t know any better, but I was an avid fan of the “Cars Jumping Over Shit” genre of television that ruled the early 80s. I was asked to write a guest post about my stance on this, and I really didn’t know how to approach it without coming off like some kind of race traitor. I hate the flag, but I love the General Lee. I’m not going to get into a debate about whether or not the flag represents racism or any of that. You already have your opinion, and some rando’s pop culture blog isn’t about to change that. I will say this, though: Nice work, America.

I say that sarcastically because this whole thing was NEVER about the flag to begin with. I have a pretty strict No Death policy for West Week Ever, but everyone knows that 9 people were killed in a church last week. And, as these things are prone to do, the debate about gun control was just about to start up and then all this flag shit happened. This is what they want. Instead of doing something about guns, they’ve diverted our attention to this other matter, hoping we’ll forget the first thing. And I don’t say this as some kind of “Nobody needs guns!” kind of person. I honestly haven’t fully fleshed out my views on the matter, but I do know that a church is supposed to be a safe place. Just like a school. Or a movie theater. And none of that is true anymore.

Keep the flag or get rid of it. That’s not what any of this is about. It’s about changing the conversation, and it’s been very successful. I guess we’ll revisit the original conversation after the next mass shooting. Or maybe we’ll finally change the Redskins’ name instead. End of soapbox rant.

Links I Loved

‘Star Trek’: The Story of the Most Daring Cliffhanger in ‘Next Generation’ History – The Hollywood Reporter

Paul Rudd and Marvel’s Kevin Feige Reveal ‘Ant-Man’s’ Saga, from Director Shuffle to Screenplay Surgery to Studio’s “Phase Three” Plans – The Hollywood Reporter

Why I Left Scientology – Gawker

Harmony Korine on ‘Kids’: ‘It Would Be Impossible To Make That Film Now’ – The Guardian

The Least-Plausible G.I. Joe and Cobra Vehicles – The Robot’s Pajamas

ctu27

Now this is typically the part where I tell you who had the West Week Ever, but I’m gonna try something different this week. You see, I’ve been working on a project that I kinda want to share with you.

After guesting on some 40+ podcasts, I always get the same question: When are you going to start your own podcast? Well, I never really wanted to because A) I’m lazy and B) I didn’t really think there was a demand. I mean, I already have to beg folks to read this thing every week, so why would I think they’d want to listen to me, too? It just didn’t seem worthwhile. Then, I had a conversation with my Twitter Sister, Brandi Brown. I call her that because we’re basically the same person, only she’s a stand-up comic in Minnesota, and I’m not. We started talking about Carmen Sandiego, and then we just fell down the rabbit hole trying to make sense of that whole franchise. We decided that it would probably be a good idea for a one-off podcast. As we kept talking, we realized that we had a few topics that deserved to be discussed – the only catch would be that this wouldn’t be a weekly show. Hell, it might not even be monthly. Think of it like a series of specials. If they do well, then we’ll figure out where to go next, but for now, we’re just thinking of this being an occasional sort of thing. Well, our good buddy Classick, over at the Cold Slither Podcast Network, invited us to be on the latest episode of his Classick Team-Up show. That episode was to serve as something of a “backdoor pilot” for the show that Brandi and I had devised. Oh, you don’t know what a backdoor pilot is? It’s when an episode of an existing show is used to spin off a new show. Got it? Good.

It was a lot of fun recording this, as we tackled topics such as Rachel Dolezal, paying it forward, and the conspiracy theories that we hold dear. The project is clearly a work in progress, so bear that in mind. We’ve got to figure out things like audio levels, podcast setup, mics, etc. Still, I think there’s a lot of potential here. So, I ask that you give it a listen and let me know what you think. Do you want more Brandi & Will? It’s all up to you. If not, I’ll be cool with that, too. Sure, I might cry a little, but I’ll get over it. So, in lieu of a West Week Ever, I give you Classick Team-Up #27 with Brandi & Will.

Oh, and there won’t be a post next week ’cause y’all never read it on a holiday weekend. So, unless something crazy happens and I write it on Thursday, we’re taking a week off.

20th Mar2015

West Week Ever – 3/20/15

by Will

photovisi-download (11)

 

oie_922142seDasWF9

First off, thanks to everyone who read my Batgirl post, as I had my best traffic in over a year. Who knew that something I wrote in the middle of the night would garner that much discussion? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click the link!

hasbro-transformers

This week, I caught the series premiere of Transformers: Robots In Disguise and I don’t really know what I saw. Taking place years after Transformers: Prime, it features Bumblebee (voiced by Will Freidle) as the leader of a ragtag group of Autobots trying to recapture some Decepticons who had crash landed on Earth. I love Will Freidle and I love Bumblebee, but I I’m not sure I love Will Friedle as Bumblebee. Also, it was kinda jarring that the sequel to the CGI Prime is a standard 2-D animated show that looks more like the sequel to Transformers Animated. I’m not the biggest Transformers fan, so I kinda don’t have a horse in that race, but I still thought I’d check it out. It didn’t hold my attention, so I can only imagine how kids are gonna feel about it.

tammy02

On the cable front, I checked out Tammy. Yes, I know that some people hate Melissa McCarthy and, yes, I know that they trailer did a horrible job explaining what the movie was about. Still once it hit DVD, I knew I was gonna watch it. I’d meant to get it from Redbox, but it premiered on HBO last weekend. So, what is it about? Well, after a really bad day – where she finds out that her husband’s cheating on her and she’s fired from her job – Tammy (McCarthy) sets out on a road trip with her grandmother (Susan Sarandon). Was it funny? I thought so. It’s produced by Will Ferrell’s Gary Sanchez Productions, so you’ve kinda got an idea of the type of humor that it contains.

FMarvel.0

Speaking of movies, some drama’s been going down concerning upcoming Aquaman, Jason Momoa. Apparently, he signed a fan’s poster with the words “Fuck Marvel”. While some folks are saying this was unprofessional, others are happy that he’s igniting a true cinematic rivalry between Marvel and DC. DC fans say that the Avengers stars run their mouths about how their movies are superior, so why is this any different? I think it’s more a case of the fact that Marvel’s proven its worth. Momoa’s untested and hasn’t even acted in anything yet in the DCU, yet he’s already knee deep in a “rivalry”. If Henry Cavill had said it, I’d take it, since he’s already gotten his feet wet with Man of Steel. As it stands, however, Momoa really doesn’t have anything to back himself up. Someone on Facebook tried to say that Momoa passed on being Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy, so clearly he must have more faith in DC by taking the Aquaman role. I beg to differ. I think he realized he’d made a mistake when GOTG went on to be HUGE and he jumped on the next train that came along. Anyway, let’s see who’s laughing when Dawn of Justice finally comes out.

archiepredator

On the comics front, I got my hands on an advance copy of Archie vs. Predator #1. Sadly, I probably know more about Archie than I do the Predator franchise (I’ve never seen any of the movies). So, I’m sure some Easter eggs were lost on me. Still, the story should still be rather accessible, right? Wrong. It just doesn’t flow well. The characters’ personalities are off, as they seem to exist at extremes. Reggie’s REALLY a dick. Betty’s REALLY a dumb blonde. If Jughead had more than 2 lines, I’m sure he’d be REALLY hungry. It felt like a book made by someone with little familiarity with Archie for someone with little familiarity with Archie. On top of that, the level of gore that we get at the end of the issue doesn’t fit tonally with the rest of the issue. It reads like a “My First Archie Story” for kids, and then ends with eviscerated corpses hanging from trees. There are 3 more issues in the miniseries, but this one didn’t leave me with the desire to read more. I was expecting them to pull it off, like Archie Meets The Punisher, but this wasn’t on that level. If you love Archie or Predator, you’re gonna hate this.

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In the video game world, it’s rumored that game developer Hideo Kojima has left Konami. Now, I’m the furthest thing from a “gamer”, but I do know that he’s behind the highly successful Metal Gear franchise. That game series holds a special place in my heart, as I almost beat Metal Gear Solid II: Sons of Liberty, and that game’s theme is what I want played at my funeral. Seriously, just listen to it:

Anyway, if Kojima has left Konami, this will be a huge blow. Apparently, there’s been a falling out between Kojima Productions and Konami, and Konami has lashed out by removing Kojima Productions branding from Twitter and the Metal Gear website. For now, if he hasn’t left already, it’s believed that Kojima Productions will leave following Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes, as well as what happens to the Metal Gear series.

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It’s been confirmed that Toys “R” Us won’t be renewing their lease for the well-known flagship store located in the heart of New York’s Times Square. TRU has been in the space since 2000, and they occupy 110,000 square feet. This is a sad development that shows the current state of the toy market. In fact, the brokers are convinced that they won’t be able to find a single tenant for the entire space, so it’ll end up being divided. It’s rumored that TRU might actually lease retail space at the nearby Marriott Marquis, but I’m not sure if they’re going to take the giant dinosaur and the Ferris wheel with them to the new location. The move should take place next February.

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

-In the IDW Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic, one of the turtles was killed this week. Hint: It’s not the one who leads, the party dude, or the one who’s cool but rude.

-The series finale of Glee airs tonight. I’ve seen, like, no fanfare for this thing, so I wonder who even knows about it.

-a well known comic blogger was accused of cyberbullying a former comic editor, driving her to the point of PTSD. I’m not naming names ’cause at least one of them seems like to type to Google her name. Yeah, the blogger was a dick, and the editor never really seemed screwed on too tightly. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.

EmpireFinale

-One of my tweets was used in an Essence.com recap of the Empire season finale.

-I joined the guys at Nerd Lunch to discuss TV series finales. The episode will go up Tuesday, and I’ll post a link in next week’s post.

-I’ve been obsessed with the ’60s group Jay and the Americans lately. Here’s their hit “Cara Mia”:

– The California Raisins are coming back in a live action/CG film

-President Obama might be buying the Magnum P.I. house

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s Ruth Negga has been cast as Tulip in AMC’s Preacher adaptation.

Links I Loved
Batgirl Variant Cover Glorifies Sexual Violence | #CancelTheCover – Reappropriate

MTV Spring Break Used To Rule – Deadspin

The 100 Sexiest Women on Television | 2015 Edition – UnderScoopFire

Ranking Marvel’s Superhero TV Movies – The Robot’s Pajamas

community-season-6-cast

Community is the little show that could. After 5 seasons on NBC, it seemed like all was lost. Then, Yahoo stepped in and picked the show up to be featured under the Yahoo Screen banner. Well, the first episodes hit the Internet this week, and it was good to see the gang again. It was also kind of jarring to realize how much they’ve lost over the years. Troy’s gone, Pierce is dead, and now Shirley’s gone to her own spinoff (it makes sense when you watch the episode).

Certain things didn’t work. For example, Abed didn’t seem like himself. It’s like he’s trying to be a new person, and he no longer seems interested in imagining that they’re all characters in a sitcom. Also, things didn’t really work on a technical level, either. You see, Yahoo Screen can be viewed via a browser, but it can also be used through an Android or iOS app. The Android app is pretty janky, as it was constantly buffering – sometimes for periods up to 5 minutes. I thought it might’ve been my connection doing it, but I’ve read that others had the same issues. So, with that going on, it took about an hour to watch a 27 minute episode.

Certain things did work, though. The writing is still there, and it definitely feels like Dan Harmon work and not the episodes from the “gas leak season” (the one during which Harmon was fired). I also enjoyed the addition of Paget Brewster, as I’ve loved her ever since Joey and Chandler were fighting over her on Friends. Her character, Frankie Dart, seems like she’s there to keep the show grounded, but it’ll be fun to watch her get sucked into the madness that surrounds Greendale.

The show’s joke was always #sixseasonsandamovie, and they just might pull it off. It nothing else, they might get another season on Yahoo Screen. Either way, I was glad to see it back, so Community had the West Week Ever.

24th Oct2014

West Week Ever – 10/24/14

by Will

photovisi-download (3)

 

oie_922142seDasWF9

It’s gonna be a light one this week, folks. The internet and cable went out at my place on Saturday night, and wasn’t fixed until Tuesday. So, I missed anything that would’ve aired during that time. This included the Black Dynamite premiere, the American Dad premiere, and the lack of internet prevented me from continuing my Arrow bingewatch. We finally got everything fixed Tuesday afternoon, but my car wouldn’t start in a random parking lot and, waiting for AAA, I ended up missing Flash, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Forever. So, needless to say, it’s been a crappy week, and I have little to show for it.

neighbors-poster-art

Walking home yesterday, I came across a Redbox that had recently been restocked, and I picked up 2 movies that I’d been wanting to see. I thought I was getting comedies, but the jury’s still out on that one! The first one was Neighbors, starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron. In the movie, new parents Rogen and Rose Byrne are mortified to learn that a fraternity has moved into the house next door. The frat makes too much noise, which keeps Rogen’s newborn up at night. Rogen and Byrne want to confront the frat, but don’t want to seem like old fuddyduddies. You see, they’re still trying to cope with “Adulthood” and their newfound status as parents. They want to still be “cool”, even though they now have different priorities and responsibilities. After having the cops called on them, the frat retaliates by sparking off a prank war with Rogen and Byrne. Underneath all of the pranks, there’s a message about fear of growing up. Rogen fears he’s no longer the cool guy, while Efron is scared he won’t be the cool guy once college ends. By the end, they both seem to have come to terms with where they are in life. In all, it was a serviceable, yet pretty forgettable, movie. I’d say wait for it to come on TV, but I don’t know how they’ll air it with all the dildos and whatnot.

Sex Tape Poster

The next movie I watched was Sex Tape, starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel. If you’ve ever wanted to see Cameron Diaz’s ass and/or sideboob, this is the movie for you. The whole movie is basically given away in the trailer, but in case you never saw it, here we go: Segel and Diaz used to have sex all the time, but now they have kids and responsibilities and the spark seems to be gone. On a rare night alone, they decide to film themselves performing every move from The Joy of Sex in an effort to be wild and crazy. Well, Segel doesn’t delete the video like Diaz told him to, and it ends up being uploaded to a bunch of iPads that Segel has given to various people, including the mailman. Let’s take a break here and examine that little plothole: who the Hell just gives away iPads to random people? Do you know how much those things cost?! Before they can get all the iPads back, someone decides to blackmail them for $25,000 or else they’ll upload it to YouPorn. As you can imagine, “hilarity ensues” as they race around trying to track down every copy of the file. In the meantime, Segel almost kills a dog with a treadmill, Nat Faxon makes a cameo with his weird teeth, and Rob Lowe appears as a creepy cokehead. Let’s take another pause here: I’ve noticed that recreational coke use is all the rage in “edgy” comedies these days. It seems that white people are giving up on weed, and going straight to the cocaine. Is this true? Is it now as prevalent amongst the early 30s set as Hollywood has depicted lately? Anyway, the movie’s pretty predictable, although it journeys into the unbelievable near the end. At its heart, though, it’s a movie about how a relationship can break down to the point where the partners feel they need something like a sex tape to save things. That aspect was kinda heavy.

superbad

What I’m learning is that the whole Judd Apatow set is growing up with me. When I was in my 20s, they were in their 20s and had goofy movies like Superbad and Pineapple Express. Now that I’m in my 30s, they’re in their 30s, going through the same stuff I am. Right now, a lot of those movies are about how much it sucks to get old. This includes This Is 40, Neighbors, and Sex Tape. That’s sort of scary. I look to movies as an escape, but they’re just kinda adding to fears I already had. And the answers they provide aren’t very reassuring. Oh well, I guess that’s what we get when we look to Hollywood for answers. Anyone got any coke?

scottneitlich

It was a big week for toy folks to get their Underoos in a bunch. First off, Scott Neitlich, AKA “ToyGuru”, resigned from Mattel. This is a big deal, as he was basically the face of the company’s collector lines, such as Masters of the Universe Classics and DC Universe Classics. As the face of the company, he also had a target on his head, and every questionable decision made by the company was squarely blamed on him. The message boards were on fire over the weekend, as people either wished him well at his new company or cursed the ground he walks on for ruining their childhoods.

BBFigure

Now, this next little piece of business. So, this chick in Florida, Susan Scrivjer felt that Breaking Bad figures had no place in Toys “R” Us, as they glorified the drug trade. So, she started a petition which reportedly got around 9,000 signatures. What did TRU do? They acquiesced and removed the toys. This enraged adult collectors, as it seemed like it was just an issue for a small minority (until the 9,000 signature petition), and it sets a precedent that nothing’s safe. It also seemed hypocritical, as they sell Mature-rated video games, but have a problem with simple, shittily-made (in my opinion) action figures. I’ve said my piece on Twitter, but I guess it bears repeating here. See, maybe I’m old fashioned, but I kinda don’t think those should be in TRU. I’m a bit of an old fogey, I know. I remember when those toys were comic shop only, and I was a bit surprised when I started seeing them at TRU. To be honest, I’m kinda surprised it took this long for there to be backlash. I never thought it would be the Breaking Bad toys, though. I kinda thought it would’ve happened with the HB Hellboy figures or the KA Kick Ass toys. I mean, if you can’t even put the name of the property ON the toy, then maybe you’re not selling in the correct marketplace. But now we’ve got a slippery slope going, because anything is fair game to pull and a precedent’s been set.

T2

 I think it’s more about industry clout than it is about subject matter. Terminator 2 toys came out because of Kenner, and TRU needed the revenue from other Kenner wares. Sure, T2 was an R-rated movie, but Kenner was a major player, so it’s not like TRU could say no. They pulled the Breaking Bad toys ’cause they were from Mezco. This never would’ve happened with Mattel or Hasbro; they need that money too much. Other decisions would hinge on it. Plus, those companies would never waste their time on “staction figures” based on a cable drama.  This was a slap to the little guy. Anyway, the toys have been put on an “indefinite sabbatical” according to a TRU statement, so Scrivjer and censorship won. At the end of the day, though, kids wouldn’t even know who Walter White was if it weren’t for shitty parenting. He’d just be a figure of “some old guy”.

awesomecassette

Next month, they’re releasing the Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix on cassette. So, good luck finding a tape deck!

peyton

This week, Peyton Manning, of the Denver Broncos, made history as he broke Brett Favre’s 509 touchdown record. I’m not really a football guy, but Lindsay will kill me if I don’t mention it.

There was some good news this week: we found out the sex of the baby! Lord, give me strength…

Links I Loved

I watched WWE for the First Time in 15 Years and It Was Confusing as Hell – deathandtaxes

The Last Twisted ToyFare Theatre Ever – JustinAclin.com

Halloween Web – Holidaze – AEIOU…and Sometimes Why

After These Messages….the Slow Death of Saturday Morning Cartoons – Raging Nerdgasm

Are we gonna even pretend that the Age of Ultron trailer didn’t have the West Week Ever? I mean, just look at it!

Yeah, the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer had the West Week Ever. ‘Nuff said.

09th Sep2014

Baltimore Comic-Con 2014 In Pictures

by Will

Well, another year, another trip to the Baltimore Comic-Con. This year, I didn’t make it until Sunday, even though this was the first year it was expanded to a 3-day show. This meant that I missed all the Friday and Saturday excitement, but that was fine with me. I actually expected the con to be a ghost town on Sunday, seeing as how it was the opening home game for the Baltimore Ravens. While the game contributed to traffic woes, it didn’t seem to affect the size of the con crowd, as the show was pretty crowded, but not overly so.  If I’m doing m math correctly, this was my 10th year at the show, and the 15th anniversary of it overall. With that in mind, I’ve basically done all there is to do at the show. I’ve seen most of the creators (the guest list doesn’t change much from year to year), and I wasn’t really in a buying mood. So, I went to spend the day with my friends Jay, Emily, and Keith, and I took some pics as we walked around.

Poison Ivy and Emily

Poison Ivy and Emily

 

Cap and The Winter Soldier

Cap and The Winter Soldier

 

Green Arrow #1

Green Arrow #1

 

Falcon, with Working Mechanical Wings

Falcon, with Working Mechanical Wings

 

2014-09-07 12.28.53

I bought the DC poster about 4 years ago, and still haven’t figured out anywhere to hang it.

 

Jerry "The King" Lawler. He wanted $20 for a pic, so I had to take this one on the sly. He looks like Burt Ward if he'd stayed in shape.

Jerry “The King” Lawler. He wanted $20 for a pic, so I had to take this one on the sly. He looks like Burt Ward if he’d stayed in shape.

 

Really cool Bat Mite puppet

Really cool Bat Mite puppet

 

This guy was painting Groot on glass, via a lightbox.

This guy was painting Groot on glass, via a lightbox.

 

Yes, Superman is wearing heels. And yes, he was being led around by a leash. Emily's doing the honors in this pic.

Yes, Superman is wearing heels. And yes, he was being led around by a leash. Emily’s doing the honors in this pic.

 

2014-09-07 13.11.22

Hunter S. Thompson

 

Armored Wonder Woman

Armored Wonder Woman #1

 

Dark Phoenix, getting checked out by Crossbones

Dark Phoenix, getting checked out by Crossbones

 

I have no clue who these kids are, but I figure they're from some YA property, right? Anyway, Link's in the middle.

I have no clue who these kids are, but I figure they’re from some YA property, right? Anyway, Link’s in the middle.

 

Green Arrow #2

Green Arrow #2

 

Comic Fashions #1

Comic Fashions #1

 

2014-09-07 14.13.28

Comic Fashions #2

 

The Merc With The Mouth!

The Merc With The Mouth!

 

These are basically leaked cell phone pics from DC heroines. What, too soon?

These are basically leaked cell phone pics from DC heroines. What, too soon?

 

This was a really cool print that I probably should've bought, but it was easier (read: cheaper) to take a pic of it

This was a really cool print that I probably should’ve bought, but it was easier (read: cheaper) to take a pic of it

 

Batwoman, as seen on the DC Bombshells variant

Batwoman, as seen on the DC Bombshells variant

 

Cute Dazzler art

Cute Dazzler art

 

The owner of this booth gave me permission to laugh because she was Asian.

The owner of this booth gave me permission to laugh because she was Asian.

 

Friends of Humanity cosplay

Friends of Humanity cosplay

 

Dazzler

Dazzler

 

Robin & Hawkeye

Robin & Hawkeye

 

Lantern Spectrum. Red Lantern's a coworker from my TRU days

Lantern Spectrum. Red Lantern’s a coworker from my TRU days

 

Black Canary & Green Arrow #3

Black Canary & Green Arrow #3

 

Silk Spectre & Nite Owl

Silk Spectre & Nite Owl

 

Apparently, this bobok was sold in Urban Outfitters, which isn't the least bit surprising.

Apparently, this book was sold in Urban Outfitters, which isn’t the least bit surprising.

 

Armored Wonder Woman #2

Armored Wonder Woman #2

 

Zatanna

Zatanna

 

Tony Stark. You can't tell in the pic, but his arc reactor lit up.

Tony Stark. You can’t tell in the pic, but his arc reactor lit up.

 

Mad Hatter & Queen of Hearts

Mad Hatter & Queen of Hearts

 

2014-09-07 16.02.09

Harley #1, Harley #2, and Riddler

 

LARPing Mario & Luigi

LARPing Mario & Luigi

 

Thing

Thing

 

Wasp & Ant-Man

Wasp & Ant-Man

 

Harley #3 and the orange girl was covered in gold glitter

Harley #3 and the orange girl was covered in gold glitter

 

Joker & Harley #4

Joker & Harley #4

 

Crossplay Star-Lord, with S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in background

Crossplay Star-Lord, with S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in background

 

Mr. Fantastic & Human Torch. Theoretically, I guess you could say Invisible Woman's there somewhere.

Mr. Fantastic & Human Torch. Theoretically, I guess you could say Invisible Woman’s there somewhere.

 

Either Batman's texting Alfred, or he's on Tinder.

Either Batman’s texting Alfred, or he’s on Tinder.

 

Lydia & Beetlejuice

Lydia & Beetlejuice

 

2014-09-07 17.09.58

Dalek at the exit

In the end, it wasn’t the best Baltimore Comic-Con experience, but it was far from the worst. I didn’t really add much to my collection, but it was a fun day with friends and sights. Tune in next week, as I’m heading to Wizard World Richmond to meet original Green Ranger, Jason David Frank. There’s sure to be a few stories from that trip!

06th Aug2014

Thrift Justice: YSE – Special Forces

by Will

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Man, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts, so let’s hope I still remember how it goes. If you’re new to this site, Thrift Justice is where I showcase all the crazy stuff I’ve bought at thrift stores. Meanwhile, Thrift Justice: Yard Sale Edition focuses on the crazy stuff I get at yard sales. Got it? Good. This yard sale season hasn’t been very action packed, much to my dismay which means that I haven’t had the chance to write many of these posts. This season, I’ve turned my focus more on bulk LEGO, as I can flip those and make a nice little profit. I figured you wouldn’t want weekly pics of bricks, so I’ve just kinda done that in secret. I, however, am not the only member of the Thrift Justice: YSE team, as my trusty partner Mike, AKA “Special Forces”, is always along with me for the adventures. Mike’s a good friend of mine from my Toys “R” Us days, and he’s the video game guy in our operation. Oh, why do I call him “Special Forces”? That’s a long story for another time. Anyway, Mike’s had a great season so far, grabbing some stuff that has made me jealous. So, this time, I thought we’d look at some of the cool stuff he’s picked up over the past few months.

Artist's rendering of Special Forces

Artist’s rendering of Special Forces

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First up, we’ve got this Nintendo game cabinet. As I’m usually driving, I didn’t even notice this thing on the side of the road. We were driving around a pretty lackluster neighborhood sale when Mike noticed this in some woman’s driveway. It seemed to be kind of an anomaly, as the rest of her items were old Ronald McDonald toys. I didn’t even think the cabinet was official, as Mario looked kinda janky on it, but Mike knows his video game stuff, and quickly looked it up online to verify what he was looking at. He ended up walking away with it for a cool $10, which isn’t bad for a vintage Nintendo piece.

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I’m still kinda mad about this one. Ya see, since I’m driving, I don’t get to see some items as quickly as Mike, as I’m trying not to hit people and other cars. We pulled into a neighborhood sale, and some kids were running a sale in their driveway. Mike saw this Bose Acoustic Wave system and was hopping out of the car before I’d even stopped. Bose is pretty damn nice for your home audio system, and it’s especially hard to find cheap. The kids clearly didn’t know what this was, and totally needed adult supervision to make this sale. They said they wanted $40 for it (which is about 10% of its original retail value), and Mike had the balls to haggle with the kids. He walked away with it for $30. I was mad when I thought that he was gonna resell it, as I knew what he could get for it. Since he decided to keep it for himself, I’ve found it in my heart to be happy for him.

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This Electronic Dream Phone game was an interesting pick, as it was more in my wheelhouse than Mike’s. After all, he’s the video game guy, while I try to make money off obscure board games. We found ourselves at this OVERWHELMING church sale. I mean, this place had multiple buildings, tents, the works. Mike found this, and thought I’d be interested. Looking at it, I didn’t think it was complete, because the box was kinda smashed in and it just felt too light. So I passed on it. Still, it was only $1, so he decided to take a chance on it. Not only did it turn out to be complete, but I think he played it a few times before he sold it. I heard Tyler thinks he’s dreamy!

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The top three games still kinda piss Mike off. Ya see, we went to this sale where a guy was selling all of his GameCube games. The problem, however, was that he had no prices set. Instead of trying to figure out something on the spot, he asked Mike what he was willing to pay for him. Negotiation 101: Don’t throw out the first number. So, already, Mike was at a disadvantage. On the spot, and not taking the time to go off and research on his phone, he gave the guy $20 for the three games you see up top. Once he got home and finally did the research, he realized that they were basically worthless. Like I said before, he usually knows his video game stuff, but this was one of those times when his powers failed him. He still thinks back on this sale and gets mad when he thinks about how he should’ve negotiated a better deal. The bottom game isn’t too clear because of glare, but it’s Videocart-9 for the Fairchild Channel F Video Entertainment System. I’m not a huge video game guy, so I’d never heard of the Fairchild system before we found this game. Apparently, it’s from the late 70s, and would cost around $700 adjusted for 2014 dollars (Thanks, Wikipedia!). I know Mike doesn’t have a Channel F, so I don’t even know what he plans to do with this. Maybe he just wanted a video game relic of the past. Maybe he’ll chime in in the comments.

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This was a product of my benevolence. Ya see, we went to a sale where a guy was selling off his childhood DIRT CHEAP. How cheap? I got an original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Sewer Lair Playset for $1. He also had a ton of vintage Power Rangers zords and role play toys, with their original boxes. I ended up getting the original Megazord, Dragonzord, Thunder Megazord, Tor: The Shuttlezord, White Tigerzord, and the Power Dome for about $40 total. He also had this set here. About 2 years ago, this was a $150 set on the secondary market, but then Bandai released the Legacy Morpher, which sent prices for this down the crapper. Still, it was a pretty cool set, and Mike was clearly interested in it. I figured I’d had enough of a field day with my other finds, and I wanted to make sure Mike walked away with something cool that day (even though this was our first sale of the day), so I let him take it. I thought he wanted it for his personal collection, but it turns out he was gonna sell it. Well, that’s when he discovered what I also discovered when I got home: the guy had left the batteries in all of these toys. These 20 year old toys. Yeah, you can see where this is going. In the morpher, Mike found that the battery acid had corroded the poles, so he tried to solder the contact points, which resulted in him melting a piece of the backing plastic. Yeah, that story didn’t have the happiest ending. But I still look like a prince ’cause I shared my spoils with my friend. Which he proceeded to melt. Anyway, he’d already listed it on eBay, so he was forced to swap it out for his own childhood morpher to complete the sale.

Well, that brings us to the end of this installment, but it’s certainly not the last you’ll hear from Special Forces. If you want to follow his exploits on Twitter, he’s @trooperlite. Meanwhile, be sure to tune in next time, when we look at the crazy board games I’ve been finding lately.

01st Nov2013

West Week Ever – 11/1/13

by Will

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oie_922142seDasWF9

Happy Half Price Candy Day!

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Last weekend, the wife and I went to a Halloween party where one of us put a lot of thought into their costume, while the other simply wore stuff he already owned. Everybody wins! Anyway, Lindsay almost won the costume contest for hers, so there’s that.

I found this hilarious because I would react the exact same way as Andy:

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To follow up on last week’s post, I did get LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, but I haven’t played it yet. I ended up getting it from Toys “R” Us, ’cause you just can’t shake a stick at free $15! At first, the card wasn’t working, so they were about to just give me $15 off the game. I, however, preferred having the card to spend at a later date, so they ended up putting the $15 on a gift card.

So, my daily traffic for the past few months has been sustained by a post that I wrote called “Reboot That Bitch: The Fall Guy”, in which I cast an imaginary reboot of the cult TV show. I never really understood why the post got so much activity until I Googled “The Fall Guy Reboot” and found that I’m one of the top results for that. What was even more surprising is that The Rock is actually slated to star in a cinematic version of the franchise, which was announced last month at the Toronto International Film Festival. Here’s an MTV UK story about the whole thing. Look at me, predicting the future! I think The Rock is a horrible choice, though…

movies-xmen-days-of-future-past-posters

So, the X-Men: Days of Future Past trailer hit this week. I’ve gotta say that I’m tired of dark comic movies AND Bryan Singer. These movies require so much from the viewer that they’re exhausting. Also, it’s really hard to “believe a man can fly” when you see it every 3 months. The magic is gone in terms of WOW Factor. Will I see it? Probably. I mean, I still haven’t seen Man of Steel or The Wolverine, so it’s not like I’m a complete hypocrite. I just want something light and fluffy. Sure, that’s not worth the $150M budget, but I’d love to see a movie about Superman rescuing cats and shooting rainbows from his fingers – a real Silver Age Superman movie. Instead, it seems like grim and gritty rules the cinema, and I’m just too tired of it to care anymore.

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CBS announced plans for How I Met Your Father, which is exactly what you think it is. I don’t see this project getting off the ground, as they have already severely tested the patience of their audience for 9 years. Nobody’s got it in them to go on this ride again. I think it’d be a cute episode arc if this season weren’t consumed with the wedding weekend. I mean, I’d love a Roshomon tale of what the Mother was doing in between the adventures of the series regulars, but that does not a full series make.

movie-43-poster03honest

Anyone remember Movie 43? I had completely forgotten about it until it popped up as a Netflix suggestion. I had nothing to do, so why not? The trailer made it look horrible, and I was convinced that everyone involved had been blackmailed into it. I mean, we’re talking Liev Schreiber, Naomi Watts, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, and more. Why would they agree to be in Kentucky Fried Movie 2000 unless it was under duress, right? Well, I was surprised to find that it really wasn’t that bad. Yeah, I’m surprised I’m typing that, too. Like all anthologies, some entries are stronger than others, but the stronger ones are pretty strong. Hands down, the best skit was the Schreiber/Watts vignette about homeschooling. I won’t spoil it here, but the movie’s worth watching just for that alone.

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Once I finished Movie 43, I got an odd recommendation for a movie called A Good Old-Fashioned Orgy. I was gonna skip it until I looked at the cast: Jason Sudeikis, Nick Kroll, Tyler Labine, Will Forte, Lake Bell, Leslie Bibb, Lindsay Sloane and more. They had me at Sudeikis. Basically, Sudeikis and his circle of friends from high school throw these huge ragers at Sudeikis’s dad’s house in the Hamptons. When dad decides to sell the house, Sudeikis plans one final blow-out for the house – an orgy with the group of friends. It’s the kind of movie Vince Vaughn would’ve made 10 years ago, and Sudeikis is a great leading man. I’m not sure why this never hit theaters, as it was certainly good enough. I guess theater owners would’ve been scared off by “orgy” in the title, the same way they had to shorten it to Zack & Miri, removing the Make A Porno for marketing purposes. I don’t wanna spoil any of it, ’cause I really loved the whole thing, so I highly recommend it if you’re looking to kill 90 minutes.

young-adult

Finally, I watched Young Adult (can you tell I have problems sleeping lately?), starring Charlize Theron. I’m not sure what I thought this movie would be, but I remembered wanting to see it when the commercials were out. Written by Diablo Cody, Theron stars as an alcoholic children’s book author who returns home to try to win back her married ex-boyfriend. That’s pretty much all you need to know. While it’s probably best described as a “dramedy”, it has moments that are downright cringe-inducing in the level of discomfort they generate. I will say, however, that it’s the first time I’ve liked Patton Oswalt in a long time. Still, I don’t really recommend it unless you’re a hardcore Theron or Oswalt fan.

Links I Loved

Why S.H.I.E.L.D. Is This Season’s Biggest Disappointment – TV Guide

Justin Timberlake Tells Jessica Biel No One Will Believe Her – The Onion

21 Lazy (and Fake) Spinoff Concepts that are No Worse than ‘How I Met Your Father’ – UnderScoopFire!

Washington Redhawks – Brand Proposal – Behance

Michelle Obama Responds to Kanye West’s Recent Comments – Grantland

One’s a video game, while the other’s got a whole lotta game. One is something that’ll never see the light of day, while the other just became official. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

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I wrote about this a few weeks ago, so I hope you contributed to the Kickstarter. In any case, a couple of my pals, including Brian at Cool and Collected, Cody at Crooked Ninja, and Howie at UnderScoopFire! are behind the creation of Cool and Collected Magazine, which hopes to fill the void left by the late ToyFare Magazine. The gang needed $6,000 in order for the first issue to go to print, and that goal was reached yesterday – with another week to spare! It’s not too late to chip in, as all additional monies will help their case for future issues. From what I’ve seen, the magazine looks like it’s gonna be great, but it couldn’t have come to fruition without the crowd-sourced support of the internet community. So, for that, Cool and Collected Magazine had the West Week Ever.

On Twitter yesterday, I teased that this might be the FINAL West Week Ever. That was a lie. I just wanted attention on the fact that next week will mark the ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of West Week Ever! So, there might be some tweaks and changes, but it’s not going anywhere for the foreseeable future. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see ya next week!

24th Oct2013

West Week Ever – 10/25/13 – Trekkies CAN Be Warsies!

by Will

103012-star-wars111

 

oie_922142seDasWF9

This is a special West Week Ever this week, as I decided to tackle one of my pop culture blind spots: the original Star Wars trilogy. I can’t remember if I’ve ever actually seen them before, as I have no real lasting memory of them. So, I’m taking the “born again virgin” approach: I’m saying it didn’t happen, and just acting as if that’s true. I’ve had a bit of free time on my hands lately, so yesterday I watched the whole trilogy in one sitting. Now, before we get to that, I’ve always had a bit of a “hate/hate” relationship with the Star Wars franchise. First, I hated it because I was a Trekkie (well, more of a Trekker, based on more recent definitions), and I grew up believing that Trekkies couldn’t be Warsies. You had to choose your camp, and stick with it. Next, I had no real desire to get to know the Star Wars franchise, as it seemed so daunting. Sure, there were only 3 movies (6 now), but there’s also the Expanded Universe, the comics, the video games, etc. It just seemed like I had missed the boat. Still, you can’t dabble in pop culture without coming into contact with Star Wars references. At this point, I know all the major players, all the quotes (without context), and the general gist of the franchise. Still, I needed to bite the bullet and finally sit down and watch the movies, even if just to know what I’m looking at on toy shelves. So, what did I think? Well, here are my thoughts as I was sitting through my Warsathon:

A New Hope

Rebel security is just a bunch of retirees in penis helmets

How do they take Vader seriously? I mean, look at him!

R2 is clearly not built for this Tatooine’s  terrain

That bugfaced droid looks cool, but that other one is clearly a cafeteria trashcan

Luke’s whiny line about picking up power converters makes him come off as such a douche. Great first impression.

Ha! The “help me obi wan” line

How come Aunt Beru is still dressed like a 70s housewife?

The score really is amazing.

That’s right, Luke. Just play with the sword made of lasers like it’s nothing

They’re burning the Jawas’ bodies? That’s kinda cold

Kinda fucked up that Luke didn’t defend the droids at Mos Eisley. “We don’t serve their kind!” “Sorry, guys. wait outside.”

Are there no women on the Imperial side? Even though stormtrooper suits have those little titty wells on the chest?

Leia wields a blaster like she’s never held one before. Which is probably the most accurate way to play that scene

I knew all the quotes. I just didn’t know the context

They really don’t mourn their dead in this universe

You knew Biggs wasn’t making it back when he wouldnt listen to Luke’s stories

Obi Wan suffered something of an anticlimactic death, huh?

Empire Strikes Back

Yeti!!!

This franchise would be a lot funnier if John Ritter had been Han Solo. They even had the same hair.

R2 and 3PO – best friends, like Bert and Ernie? Or lovers, like Bert and Ernie?

Lando’s perm should’ve been enough to let everyone know he was gonna turn on ’em

Did the lightsaber instantly cauterize the wound?

Kind of a non-ending, huh?

Return of the Jedi

Nappy Chewie!

There are way too many creatures in this movie

Defrosted Han looks like Jerry O’Connell

I know he was in that car accident and all, but Hamill’s Luke is starting to look like Miss Jane Hathaway from the Beverly Hillbillies.

How come all the blacks seem to work for Jabba?

Boba Fett went out like a bitch. I’ll never understand why you people love him so much. He died in such a slapstick manner that would squander any cool points he may have amassed up to that point

All the women in the galaxy, and Luke immediately knows Leia is his sister? Oh yeah, “The Force”…

Ewoks!

I wanted Leia to say, “But I KISSED You!”

I kinda miss bratty Luke. Now he sounds too much like Jesus, with all this “Father, don’t let me die” stuff.

“It’s a trap!”

Black X-Wing pilot!!!

Ewoks care more about their dead than any human does in this entire trilogy

Those Skywalkers love losing hands, huh?

I know he’s old, but you mean to tell me that the Emperor couldn’t fight off being picked up and tossed away like that?

I have no clue how Wedge survived all 3 movies.

I have to say, I loved those movies. I honestly did. It may also have something to do with the fact that the Abrams Trekverse has really soured me on that whole franchise for the moment. Still, I finally feel like I’m in the club with the rest of you guys! All I had to do was watch 3 movies, there’s no pesky television show to keep up with, and there were no real weak spots. While A New Hope is a great complete movie, Empire had more going for it – if only it had a proper ending instead of the whole “To Be Continued” vibe. ROTJ was OK, but it had too damn much of a Jim Henson thing going on. And it needed more bratty Luke. So, there you have it. I’m one of you now. So, where do I pick up my lightsaber? Will they mail it to me? Anyway, Star Wars had the West Week Ever.

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AirBaseMcDs

Lately, I’ve found myself fascinated by fast food – more accurately, I’m curious about the fast food outposts on military bases. Who runs those? Are they individually owned franchises, or are they owned by corporate? And the civilians working there, are they locals or were they shipped over? Are there top gun cashiers just waiting to be deployed to the Taco Bell in Kuwait? “I’m getting deployed next month.” “Oh, really? What branch?” “KFC.” Anybody reading this have any knowledge on this subject? I have SO many questions!

frosty

Speaking of fast food, I hate when I get a Frosty at Wendy’s, and they give me a straw. A Frosty ain’t a shake, bitch! It’s a frozen dairy treat. Now give me my friggin’ spoon!

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On the Netflix front, I watched Jeff, Who Lives At Home. I can’t really describe it, but it was enjoyable enough. Great cast, with Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon, and even Rae Dawn Chong.  I was drawn to it not only for the cast, but also because it was from the Duplass brothers (The League).  Segel’s character lives his life by looking for signs, and the movie follows what happens on one particular day when a ton of storylines converge. It’s a tight, contained little movie, but nothing that’ll blow you a way. There are worse ways to kill an hour and a half.

I think LEGO Marvel Superheroes is going to be the first video game that I buy during its release week. I loved LEGO Batman, and this one seems like a bit of a no brainer. Right now, though, I’m trying to figure out where I should buy it. If I go to Walmart, I get a cool War Machine LEGO minifigure (which I really want). If I go to Target, I get a Loki keychain (I’d probably just rip off the chain part and put him with my other minifigures). Toys “R” Us, however, seems to have the best deal, as you get a $15 gift card with purchase. I want that War Machine, but, c’mon, 15 free dollars?! I think I’m going to TRU later today.

Links I Loved

We Do Not Need a Wonder Woman Movie – The Nerds of Color

The 100 Sexiest Men on Television – UnderScoopFire!

09th Sep2013

Track Star: Willa Ford Vs. M2M

by Will

track

Welcome to Track Star! Don’t know the rules? Read this first.

Today’s Challengers:

Willa Ford – Willa Was Here vs M2M – Shades of Purple

Willa Ford (AKA Amanda Williford) was known for one thing – she dated Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter. Apparently, she also dated syndicated radio DJ Kane of The Kane Show, but there’s not a whole lot of information about that. Anyway, when there was the initial Battle of the Pop Princesses, Willa was the first one to slut it up, right out of the gate. Her only hit was “I Wanna Be Bad”, which included a video of her writhing around and licking stuff. In this battle, however, she already starts at a disadvantage – the CD skips on the most important song! Can she recover from such a stunted start? Let’s see.

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Willa got a co-writing credit on 9 out of 11 tracks on her debut album, which is pretty much unheard of in the pop world. Not that the quality is really there. I mean, these are standard pop songs you’d get during that era of music. They come off like the filler tracks on an *NSYNC album. Anyway, track 2 begins to skip. Then track 3. Finally, I take out the disc and, I kid you not, there’s a splotch on it. Is this a testament to her sex appeal? We’ll have to clean the disc and come back.

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So, I was forced to move on to M2M prematurely. Not a huge group of the time, M2M hung out on that 3rd tier of millennial pop that included the A-Teens, Vitamin C and The Moffats. If you still had Radio Ahhs or Radio Disney, you were likely to hear them. In fact, M2M are probably best known for their song, “Don’t Say You Love Me” on the soundtrack for Pokemon: The First Movie (coincidentally, Willa was also on that album, using her earlier stage name, Mandah). Anyway, M2M was comprised of Norwegian teens Marit & Marion, and their sound was evocative of a two-person Wilson Philips. In terms of maturity and subject matter, they were basically the prototype for Taylor Swift – only I’m sure they knew that Romeo wasn’t in The Scarlet Letter. These were the kinds of girls you’d be proud to see on your daughter’s wall (no, not crucified – I’m talking about posters!) The biggest hits from this album are “Don’t Say You Love Me” and “Mirror, Mirror” (God, did they play this all the time while I worked at Toys “R” Us!). “The Day You Went Away” has a nice poppy beat to it. “Pretty Boy” is a sweet ballad with gorgeous harmonies.”Our Song” features an awesome Bee Gees sample.  Most M2M songs fall into the “they all sound the same” boat, but that’s not a bad thing when you like that sound.

So, back to Willa. After her hit, we’ve got “Did Ya Understand That?” with a pseudo-Latin tinge that was in all pop songs circa 2000. Next up is her faux R&B ballad “Ooh Ooh”, which just falls flat. “Tired” sounds like it would’ve been right at home on *NSYNC’s No Strings Attached album. It’s funny, though, as it’s about how she’s tired of being compared to Britney and other pop starlets of the time. “Prince Charming” is funny, as she gives shout outs to all the hot guys of the moment, like Matt Damon, Kobe Bryant, and Sisqo. “Somebody Take The Pain Away” loosely samples “Here Comes The Rain Again” by The Eurythmics. “Dare” closes out the album with Willa telling us she’s “nasty nasty nasty!”

So, who wins this round? The strongest tracks for Willa are “I Wanna Be Bad”, Tired”, and “Somebody Take The Pain Away”, so she’s got the 3 tracks required in order to do battle. M2M have too many to mention. At the end of the day, there’s nothing memorable on Willa’s album. She might’ve been the pioneer of turn of the century “skank pop”, but it didn’t translate to any iconic songs. M2M just bring such a melodic mix to things that there isn’t really a question as to who’s more versatile. Pop radio only plays Willa as a joke on throwback weekends, while M2M still pop up from time to time.

The Winner:

M2M – Shades of Purple

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23rd Aug2013

West Week Ever – 8/23/13

by Will

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 I haven’t given a Netflix update in a bit. Once I finished binge-watching The IT Crowd, I found myself watching End of Watch. Let me explain my thought process. You see, The IT Crowd‘s Richard Ayoade was in Ben Stiller’s The Watch. Since I wanted to see more of him, I decided to give that movie a shot. Sadly, however, it’s not on Netflix Streaming. Instead, they recommended End of Watch – a movie I’d wanted to see when I initially saw the trailer, but had completely forgotten existed. So, I decided there was no time like the (then) present, so I watched the movie. It’s pretty much exactly what you think it’d be. Jake Gyllenhaal (ha! I spelled that correctly without even looking it up!) and Michael Pena star as two beat cops who find themselves on the wrong side of the Mexican cartel. Everything you think will happen happens, and the only real unique aspect of it is that it’s from the POV of cameras that Gyllenhaal’s character is using for a class he’s taking. Anna Kendrick’s a nice surprise, even though she looks 16 the whole time…

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Next up, I watched Ryan Gosling in Drive. Contrary to what I’d been led to believe, he did way more talking than I expected. I have so many questions, but it’s that kind of movie. I enjoyed it, but it almost tried too hard to be “cool”. Like it wanted that ’80s Miami Vice vibe so badly, but kinda like Peter Griffin’s opinion on The Godfather, it insists upon itself. That said, I still enjoyed it, but it may have been a tad overhyped.

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Oh! I forgot to mention that I finally watched G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and I had 3 basic thoughts on it:

1) Jaye Burnett? Its Allison!

2) Why does Firefly sound like a Klan leader?

3) What “elite” force sends EVERYONE into battle? They didn’t leave anyone back at The Pit?!

Overall, it was OK. Not really that much better than the first one, but I’m one of the few people who didn’t have much of a problem with that movie. At the end of the day, this franchise is based on a TOY LINE, so I’m pretty much amazed that they’ve done anything remotely cohesive with it. Still, I think this movie thrives on the injection of star power from The Rock and Bruce Willis. Without them, it would’ve been on even footing with the first one.

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It’s rumored that *NSYNC may reunite and perform at the MTV VMAs this Sunday. Before you start with that whole “MTV doesn’t play videos” mess, you can stop ’cause ain’t nobody got time for that! Anyway, Justin’s winning the Video Vanguard award, which is basically their Lifetime Achievement award. Yeah, for the 32 year old. With 2.5 albums. Whatever. Anyway, I should be excited by this prospect, but I’m not. I’d love for them to reunite, but not because of Justin. Sure, he’s been the holdout, but I want a reunion where they’re all on somewhat equal footing. Not to take anything away from Justin, but JC never gets enough credit, and he was the better singer. I’ll be screaming along with the rest of the fangirls, should it happen, but I ain’t happy over the circumstances.

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I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it here, but I’ve been collecting the Hot Wheels Retro Entertainment series of vehicles. I’m not really a Hot Wheels guy, but I felt like I simply had to own these. Well, yesterday, I must’ve stumbled into TRU shortly after they opened a new case, as I was able to get what I believe is the entire next wave of vehicles. Kinda surprised Magnum got a van AND TC’s chopper, but no car? Anyway, I’ve almost got a complete set; I skipped the Muppets bus ’cause I foolishly thought it was part of a different series, and I also sold my KARR because I thought I’d be able to find another one. I thought wrong. So, those, along with the horrible American Graffiti car, are what’s keeping me from a complete collection at this point.

Links I Loved

The God of ‘SNL’ Will See You Now – The New York Times

Yikes! Brandy Performs to an Empty Stadium – Yahoo! Music

‘Getting Ready for a Car Crash’: An Interview With Triple H – Grantland

What Kick-Ass Gets Right and Wrong in the World of Real Life Superheroes – The Robot’s Pajamas

RetroCon 2013 Coverage Starts Now! – UnderScoopFire!

Interview: Joseph P. Illidge on the Intersections of Comic Books – Comicosity

Buy some stuff from Will’s World of Wonder!

One sexually harassed with the best of them, while the other needs to get those blurred lines checked out. One violated a pink swear with Uncle Sam, while the other is Batman. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

Ben Affleck; John Goodman; Kyle Chandler; Barry Livingston; Tate Donovan; Alan Arkin; Victor Carber; Scoot McNairy, Rory Cochran

So, as I was writing this, it was revealed that Ben Affleck will be the next Batman in the Man of Steel sequel. I don’t hate it, but it does fill me with memories of Clooney. People like to bring up Daredevil, but that wasn’t a bad movie. At the time, people didn’t know what to expect. Remember, we’d only had X-Men movies and Spider-Man, and DD was a 3rd-tier Marvel character at the time. If you revisit the Daredevil movie, you’ll find it’s not as bad as you once thought. Oh well, there’ll be plenty of time for web hate about this. It was a slow news week, and this is kind of a big deal. So, for (allegedly) preparing to don the cape and cowl, Ben Affleck had the West Week Ever.

09th Aug2013

West Week Ever – 8/9/13

by Will

 

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So, to get this out of the way, Canada had the West Week Ever. Pourquoi, you might ask? Well, that’s because Lindsay and I spent the better part of a week there, and I’m here to tell you all about it. She’s a teacher and only gets about a month off because she teaches summer school. We were originally going to go somewhere tropical, but we dragged our feet and didn’t book anything. Then, she came up with the bright idea of Niagara Falls. I’m not sure I though much of it at the time (I don’t like getting excited about things ’cause it just leads to disappointment. You can learn a lot about me from that sentence), but it turned out to be a great idea.

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We woke up early Sunday morning and set off for Niagara Falls. After a 7 hr drive, abbreviated by Walmart stops, we arrived to the American side of the falls. First, however, we had to check into our Bates Motel room. This place was so antiquated that they still had KEYS! Anyway, we explored the American falls, and experienced Cave of the Winds (btw, not a real cave), where you walk along the falls, while they drench you. They give you sandals and a poncho, but it doesn’t matter. You still get soaked. Afterwards, we walked around and checked out the Seneca Niagara casino. That night, we drove to Buffalo and had authentic wings at Duff’s. Apparently, you don’t call them Buffalo wings in Buffalo; they’re just “wings”. Lesson learned!

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-I saw a building shaped like a turtle!

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The next day we went over to the Canada side, where we visited a butterfly conservatory. Next, we boarded the Maid of the Mist, which takes you right up next to the falls. Afterwards, we walked around downtown, and waited for the 10 PM fireworks. On Tuesday, we packed up our stuff and moved to our hotel in Toronto. Called the Stay Inn, it was MUCH nicer than the Niagara place, and I hated to leave it to go sightseeing! We made the mistake of venturing out at rush hour, but we made our way to the hipster area, where we ate dinner at The Burger Priest, and dessert at G is For Gelato.

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On our last full day in town, we walked ALL OVER THE CITY! We popped into the Art Gallery of Ontario, walked along the waterfront, and experienced the Toronto subway. Yesterday, we packed it all up and headed home. In all, it was a great trip, and the first time we’d really been away for a reason other than someone’s wedding. Still, before I leave you, I had some more random thoughts about Canada:

-There are only 3 songs on Canadian radio:  Blurred Lines, Radioactive, and Same Love

-Speaking of the radio, y’all need to get over that Verizon buyout, Bell employees. It’s gonna happen whether you like it or not.

-Everyone loves Marineland!

– 439-bumpa-bumpa-bumpa-bumpa Pizza Nova!

-Just as Robin Sparkles taught us that The 80s didn’t reach Canada until The 90s, they’re also still rollerblading up there

-No such thing as the Black Guy Head Nod up there. African-Canadians (is that what they call themselves?) don’t give a shit if you’re also black.

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-See all those red tags? Those are SALES! Yes, Canadian Toys “R” Us stores actually have SALES on things! Not just clearance, either (though they have that, too). For example, those horrible Wolverine figures are on sale for $5.17, which is closer to what they’re worth.

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-Tim Horton surely must’ve been the King of Canada at some point. No mere hockey player could establish such an empire as that. I fell in love with Timbits, which are just Donut Holes. The catch, however, is that you get 10 for $1.99. I can’t think of a thing in America that I could buy 10 of for $2. Pencils, maybe. Do they even sell pencils like that? Anyway, I will miss the delectable little orange-tangerine Timbits.

– It’s pronounced “MAHZ-duh”, and “Maz-duh”!

-There was just free, unbridled porn on the hotel TV. I’m not sure if that’s a Canadian thing or just that particular hotel. All I know is that I went from How I Met Your Mother to How Your Mother Swallowed Your Brother in one press of a button!

-Speaking of TV, Come Dine With Me: Canada is such an entertaining show. I wish someone would adapt that for the US.

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-At night, giant spotlights are shone on Niagara Falls, making them change colors.

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-Canada’s so cute – they have a gambling addiction resource centre INSIDE the casino! Do we do that here?

 

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The Inbetweeners Movie

Before leaving for Niagara/Canada, I got a little more use out of my Netflix account. They finally added Season 5 of Breaking Bad, but I just don’t have it in me yet. I’ll probably get to it over the weekend. What I did watch, however, was The Inbetweeners Movie. Some of you may know the show from MTV’s failed adaptation, but I was a big fan of the UK original. It’s basically about four friends who are between college and university (British stuff), and the adventures they get into just trying to get laid. I also like that the main character’s name is Will. Anyway, I’d been dying to see the movie, which had even received a limited theatrical release in the states, but it never came to any of the theaters in town. In the movie, they’re basically on the UK equivalent of “Spring Break”, and they head to Malia to try to get their rocks off. And hilarity ensues. If you were a fan of the show, I highly recommend it. Make sure you’ve watched the show before the movie, however, so you’ll pick up on certain nuances.

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Since I was in a British mood, I finally caved to all the haters of The Big Bang Theory, and I checked out The IT Crowd. At first, I hated it. It seemed just as pandering as TBBT. After a few episodes, however, I came to love it. Watched the first season in one night (don’t worry – there weren’t that many episodes). I still wouldn’t compare the shows, however. It’s like comparing apples to oranges, and I still don’t see the level of “respect” everyone claims The IT Crowd lends to nerddom. It’s an unpopular opinion, but I think they’re both good, yet both problematic. It’s not like a sitcom is out to change the world or anything, so if either offends you, don’t watch it. It’s that simple. And I swear, if one you dares to make the “It’s blackface for nerds”  statement in my comments section…

So, that wraps things up this week. I can’t do a Links I Loved ’cause I haven’t read anything this week. No links to post, ’cause I didn’t write anything else this week. I’d love to do another Thrift Justice: YSE soon, but I think Special Forces may have been killed in action. He doesn’t reply to my texts anymore. A moment of silence for a fallen American hero. Until next time, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars. But don’t do it in public. You’ll look kinda retarded.

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