17th Jul2015

West Week Ever – 7/17/15

by Will

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It’s been so long since I’ve done one of these that I’m gonna have to kick the dust off everything. Basically, brace yourself for a whole lot of “This Is What Will’s Been Watching”.

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A few years ago, I read Shopgirl, by Steve Martin (Yep, that Steve Martin). I remember it because we had lost power due to an intense heat wave, and I really had nothing else to do. Plus, as a novella, it was short. I remembered enjoying it, but feeling that it was a bit of a sad story. So, last week, when I saw that the movie was on (also starring Steve Martin), I thought, “Well, I remember liking this. Let’s watch!” I have to say that I don’t remember reading most of what was in that movie. I’m not sure if there was that much of a departure, or if my memory is just that bad. I watched that thing like I had never even encountered the story before, as everything felt new to me.

If you’ve never heard of Shopgirl before, it’s about a girl who works in a department store (Claire Danes), who begins an affair with one of her customers (Martin). He’s not looking for love, but she is. Meanwhile, Jason Schwartzman is there, being Jason Schwartzman – trying to get Danes to notice him. It’s a typical love triangle, and ends like you’d expect. Would I recommend it? Um, sure? I dunno. I seem to say this a lot, but there are worse ways to kill 90 minutes. If you’ve ever wanted to see Claire Danes’s ass, this is the film for you. Other than that, I’m not sure I like Steve Martin in a dramatic role. I know everyone’s doing it, from Robin Williams (RIP) to Bill Murray, and he’s certainly capable at it. I just prefer the Steve Martin who “was born a poor Black child.”

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The next movie I watched was the unnecessary sequel, Horrible Bosses 2. I enjoyed the first movie, as it has a likable cast. Bateman, Sudeikis, and Day? Hilarious! Throw in Jamie Foxx as “Motherfucker” Jones, the ex-con who’s gonna help the guys do in their overbearing bosses? Priceless! I can understand the desire to get the band back together, but there was no real reason for a sequel. The plot is really flimsy, and the antagonist isn’t even technically their “boss”, so the title is a misnomer. This time around, the guys have invented a product to revolutionize the way people take showers, when their investor decides to screw them over by forcing them into foreclosure and taking the product for himself. So, to get back at him, they decide to kidnap his son and ransom him to get back the money they need to pay off their loan. Only the son WANTS to be kidnapped, to stick it to his dad. And then I just stopped paying attention. It got way too convoluted for a comedy. This ain’t Oceans 11! Do not watch!

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On the TV front, there are a couple of new shows I’ve been checking out. First up is HUMANS, on AMC. In the near future, people can buy “Synths” – synthetic humans designed to make their owners’ lives easier. The duties performed by the Synths range from cooking and cleaning to more…sensual matters. The show really sort of focuses on how people react to having the Synths in their lives. Meanwhile, there seems to be a group of Synths who have gained autonomy, and they’re being hunted down because of what they might mean for the future of Synths and humanity. It’s a really interesting show, and if you’ve watched any British shows in recent years (it’s a joint venture between England’s Channel 4 and AMC), you’ll recognize some of the actors – like Katherine Parkinson, from The IT Crowd. It’s an 8-episode season, and AMC has only shown the first 3 episodes so far, so it’s not too late to jump in.

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Meanwhile on USA, I’m watching Mr. Robot. It’s a show about a hacker who gets recruited by a hacker collective known as f society, who plan to take down an evil corporation. To be perfectly honest, the whole take down plot is completely lost on me, but I enjoy the show because I like the characters. I haven’t watched a show with such a morally-ambiguous cast since Nip/Tuck. Now, I didn’t end up finishing that show, as boredom eventually kicked in (some cable network should really be showing reruns of that show. Get on that, somebody!). I hope the same thing doesn’t happen here, as I could feel boredom creeping in during this week’s episode. I’ll still watch for now, though, as the lead looks like SNL‘s Pete Davidson, so it’s fun to imagine that the show is just a really long, elaborate sketch.

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Over on Bravo, I fell in love with the scripted comedy Odd Mom Out. Starring Jill Kargman (and based on her 2007 novel Momzillas), the show focuses on a fictionalized version of Kargman as she has to navigate the excess and affluence of New York’s Upper East Side. When I first watched the show, I thought that everyone sucked at life. Then, I realized you had to get into the mindset of the show. The primary Bravo audience is tuning in for Real Housewives shows, so how would they receive the show? Now that I’ve seen the 6 episodes that have aired so far this season, I love the show. Kargman has this cool vibe to her where I’d really love to be best friends with her. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that she always favorites my tweets when I write about the show. Abby Elliott costars as Jill’s sister-in-law, while The Office‘s David Wallace (Andy Buckley) plays Jill’s husband. It’s not for everyone – especially not the geek crowd that tends to read this post every week – but I think a few of you out there may really enjoy it.

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Finally, over on Fox, I discovered Wayward Pines. I originally meant to watch this show back when I wrote my Fox Upfronts post last year. Then, it debuted and I just kinda forgot about it. Well, I started watching it Monday night and ended up watching the first 5 episodes in one night. I thought it would just be a Twin Peaks ripoff, but it’s so much more, and it’s SOO GOOOD! Matt Dillon wakes up after a car accident and finds himself in a small Idaho town, called Wayward Pines. The townsfolk seem to be filled with fear, hidden behind forced smiles, and everyone’s under surveillance. Dillon tries to leave the town, but finds that he can’t because it’s walled off from the rest of the world. And that’s when shit REALLY gets weird. In Episode 5, you learn the truth about the town, and it will BLOW. YOUR. MIND. The show is executive produced by M. Night Shyamalan, so you really shouldn’t be surprised that there’s a twist. Still, Shymalan’s career has taken a beating in recent years, which is probably why they’re trying to downplay his involvement here. It’s a shame, because this could be seen as his comeback vehicle. The series finale is next Thursday, and I’m filled with questions. Also, I’m kinda surprised that Fox is sticking to this being a one-time limited series, since it seems to be a summer hit. I just can’t imagine they wouldn’t try to somehow develop a second season out of it. Anyway, you’ve got a week to catch up On Demand, so you can watch the finale along with me.

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Yesterday on social media, everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) made the same Ivan Ooze joke about the depiction of Apocalypse in the next X-Men movie (I didn’t even know that many people had seen Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie!). It does, however, lead back to an apprehension I’ve had since the X-Men movie franchise began. While it’s nowhere near as grounded as something like the Netflix Daredevil series, the X-Men movies have been grounded enough in their own version of reality that it was going to be hard to shift into some of the more “exotic” villains like Apocalypse and Mr. Sinister. Based on the world that Bryan Singer created, there would never be an option to go against something like Mojo or The Brood. Luckily for them, they’ve wasted all their movies telling yet another iteration of the Xavier vs. Magneto sparring match. I just think there’s a wealth of characters that could be mined for an X-Men film, but they painted themselves into a corner. Now, they finally decide to go for one of the more outlandish X-Men villains, and this is how it’s received. Apocalypse just doesn’t fit in the world that they’ve crafted. Let’s hope he looks better when they slather him with effects.

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Speaking of comic book movies, the trailers for 3 anticipated films debuted last weekend at San Diego Comic-Con. These included the latest one for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, as well as Suicide Squad, and Deadpool. Of course, bootleg versions of the latter two leaked online, as these things are wont to do, and Warner Bros were none too happy about it. They decided to officially release the Suicide Squad trailer, but only because their hand had been forced by “piracy”. And they made sure to address this while releasing the clip. Fans contrasted this with Marvel’s reaction to leaked Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer, where the company simply tweeted a jocular “Dammit, HYDRA!” Basically, the tone of the Warner Bros message was basically “We had no intention of showing this to you, but thanks to a few bad apples, we decided to show you the trailer as it was originally intended, and not in the low quality version that’s making the rounds.” They seemed to think they were getting in front of the issue, but seemed like such a bunch of crotchety old fogies while doing so.

Anyway, my thoughts on the trailers:

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice – I’m no more excited about this movie than I was before. That’s to say, I’m really not excited about it. At all. I don’t really like the Snyderverse, as I didn’t hate Man of Steel, but I didn’t love it, either. I’m also not sure about Affleck’s Batman. I saw Man of Steel On Demand, and that just might be the case here. The only reason I’d see it in theaters is because Batman’s in it, but I’m not sure this is my Batman.

Suicide Squad – Again, not very excited. I’ve seen people losing their shit, talking about how awesome it looks. I’m happy for them, but I don’t share that sentiment. I can’t get out of my head how someone said that the promotional image of the team made them look like those Homies figures you get out of vending machines. That was SPOT ON! I’m not a big Will Smith fan, I don’t really like this version of Harley, and I don’t even know what to think of Leto’s Joker. Again, the only thing that might get me to see this in theaters is the fact that Batman’s in it.

Deadpool – looks fun, but Ryan Reynolds is box office poison right now. He’s got a string of flops behind him, from Green Lantern to R.I.P.D. to Self/Less. I’ve been a fan since Two Guys, A Girl, and A Pizza Place, but times are not great for him lately. Reynolds aside, I think the biggest problem is the R-rating. I’ve said it before, but I don’t see anything about Deadpool that deserves an R-rated movie. His comic isn’t a MAX title, so it’s not Mature Readers. That means there’s no sex and no cursing. While it could be pretty violent, it’s a cartoon violence, and nothing on par with, say, Punisher. I think they’re really cutting out a big chunk of their potential audience by making it rated R, as parents like to take their kids to superhero movies. The only 2 R-rated comic movies that have been successful are Blade and Kick-Ass. I still say that Blade did well because it drew in the vampire fans moreso than the comic people (Comic fans don’t really love Blade, as he’s never had a series to last more than 13 issues). I got nothing for Kick-Ass. Also, people will debate me on this, but I don’t think Deadpool’s a household name. Sure, comic fans know who he is, but if you showed him to the man on the street, he’d ask “How come Spider-Man has swords now?” I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how this all turns out. Don’t get me wrong – I WANT it to be a hit, but I’m just skeptical right now.

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

– 50 Cent filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Where’d all that Vitamin Water money go?

– Brandy sang on the New York subway, and was shocked when nobody gave a shit

– I watched the ending to Batman: Arkham Knight on YouTube (way to not release it on the 360, Rocksteady!) THAT’s how you tell a Final Batman Story!

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My pals, Zac and Adam, co-host the No Topic Required podcast, and this week’s episode was very special, as it was the FINAL episode. Luckily, I was invited to take part, and it was a pretty fun time. I’m always sad to see one of my favorite podcasts go (looking at you, Cold Slither Podcast), but I’m sure that Zac will be back with something new once he recharges his batteries. In any case, you should go give the episode a listen!

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You know what didn’t have the West Week Ever? San Diego Comic-Con. Usually an informational mecca for the pop culture set, nothing really came out of there this year, outside the trailers I already mentioned. Marvel and Image had already revealed their big plans, so it was really DC’s con to lose. And lose they did. They announced the Milestone characters would be returning as Earth-M in the Multiverse (meh), Adam Kubert and Klaus Janson would be the artists for Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight III: The Master Race (meh), and Ben Affleck and Geoff Johns would be teaming up for a standalone Batman film (I’m listening…).

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Since I skipped 2 weeks, and left you all without a true WWE in that post, I didn’t want to come back and say that nobody had the West Week Ever. So, you know what had it? Go Set A Watchman, by Harper Lee.

Have I read it? Nope. Have I heard good things about it? Nope. In fact, it’s probably just a cash grab, resulting from Lee’s manipulating caregivers. Still, its release this week is pretty important to the literary world, as it’s the sequel that no one thought they’d ever see. It’s the Ghostbusters 3, Who Discovered Roger Rabbit?, and Goonies II of literature. And that’s gotta count for something, right? I mean, Lee retreated from the fame generated from the release of To Kill A Mockingbird, and vowed to never release another book. Yet, here it is. It almost doesn’t even matter if it’s good or not. The most important thing is that it exists. And as of this past Tuesday, you can own it and read it for yourself. I definitely plan to read it, so I’ll share my thoughts once I do, but for now, Go Set A Watchman had the West Week Ever.

20th Mar2015

West Week Ever – 3/20/15

by Will

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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-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

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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.

07th Nov2014

West Week Ever – 11/7/14

by Will

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Portlandia season 4 finally made it to Netflix, so I’ve been bingewatching it this week. It’s everything I’ve come to expect from the show, meaning it’s great. I’ve still got 2 more episodes to go, so I hope the season ends as epic as season 2’s “Brunch Village” production.

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Tuesday saw the premiere of Marvel: 75 Years, From Pulp to Pop! on ABC. While the special was meant to celebrate 75 years of Marvel, they really glossed over some particular parts of Marvel’s history. While the 90s were a dark period for the company, X-Men was still the bestselling comic in the industry, and that was pretty much ignored. They also ignored the influence of the Raimi Spider-Man franchise, basically since they weren’t released by Marvel Studios. Similar to Marvel: Assembling A Universe, this was another self-congratulatory infomercial for Marvel and its movies. I give them credit for not talking about the movies until the last 15 minutes, but it still felt like “Look how awesome we are!” The special also included some footage from the upcoming Agent Carter. While it was nice seeing Howard Stark again, I care almost nothing about this show. It’s hard enough caring about modern-day SHIELD, let alone the 1940s equivalent.

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Tuesday also saw the release of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare on all major video game consoles. I’ve never considered myself a “gamer”, but I’m still addicted to Call of Duty: Black Ops II. So, I actually considered buying the game this week. Then I thought about it, and realized that I still only play one level (“Hijacked”) on BOII, so I still have a lot more game to cover before taking on something new. Plus, I really didn’t feel like dropping $60 on a video game.

The following aired on Adult Swim the other morning at 4AM, and it’s PERFECT. It contains so many 80s tropes, and then it gets WEIRD. I love everything about this:

Things You May Have Missed This Week

Toy Story 4 is coming. I still haven’t seen the third one, but I’m sure someone’s excited about this.

-It was announced that Star Wars Episode VII Will be called The Force Awakens. A lot of folks hate it. I don’t. In fact, it has me intrigued. Has The Force been asleep? Does it wear pajamas? So many questions!

-It was announced that Craig Ferguson’s final Late Late Show guest will be Jay Leno, on December 19th.

-Elections were Tuesday and everyone seems disappointed – even those whose parties won.

-Benedict Crumbsnatcher, or whatever his name is, got engaged this week.

-Amanda Bynes is still crazy.

Downton Abbey was renewed for a 6th season.

-Fox canceled ratings-starved reality experiment Utopia.

-Wayne Brady admitted that he suffers from depression.

-Starbucks updated their dress code policy, banning engagement rings with stones. I thought everyone who worked at Starbucks was single anyway…

New Girl got a new opening sequence, so you won’t be seeing this gem anymore:

Links I Loved

Next Round of Prototype Fetts Hitting Walgreens – Awesome Toy Blog

Rad Review: TMNT Comic Book Raphael – Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang

The Painful What-If That Haunts ‘Ghostbuster’ Ernie Hudson – Entertainment Weekly

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Selling 1.3 million copies, Taylor Swift’s 1989 posted the best one-week sales since 2002. She’s also the first artist to go platinum this year. Album sales may be in the crapper, but there’s no stopping Ms. Swift. In the ultimate Screw You move, she removed her catalog from Spotify which, no doubt, helped her album sales. She released the following statement:

“If I had streamed the new album, it’s impossible to try to speculate what would have happened. But all I can say is that music is changing so quickly, and the landscape of the music industry itself is changing so quickly, that everything new, like Spotify, all feels to me a bit like a grand experiment. And I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists, and creators of this music. And I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free.”

Spotify pleaded with Taylor to come back, but they also created a “What To Play While Taylor’s Away” playlist. This is the future of music, folks. Anyway, for recordbreaking sales, and for bucking the system, Taylor Swift had the West Week Ever.

25th Sep2014

West Week Ever – 9/26/14

by Will

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warrior dash

The week started out with me in CT, taking part in the Warrior Dash. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically a mud run obstacle course, but not as hardcore as the Spartan Race. I’d never done anything like it, but my college friends James, Jenn, and Debra wanted to do it, so I decided to make the trip up there. Seeing as how I can’t swim, I was planning to skip all of the obstacles that had to do with water. Little did I realize that the very first obstacle would be in the water. We had to walk through neck-high water to a raft, climb up on it, walk across, and walk to the shore through the water again. I sucked it up and did it, even though I could’ve drowned. When everything was said and done, I didn’t end up skipping any of the obstacles, and I’m pretty proud of myself. I did mess up my knees on the rope ladders, but they’ll heal. If you ever have a chance to do a mud run, it’s definitely something different. I’m still not sure if I’ll do it again, even though my friends are already excited for next year.

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While in Connecticut, I developed an addiction to Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. I am far from a “gamer”, and I especially suck at first-person shooters. Something about this game, however, clicked for me. When we first started playing, I couldn’t even figure out how to turn my head, but by Sunday afternoon, I was killing terrorists with the best of them. Outside of the Warrior Dash, most of our time was spent playing that game. In fact, I played so much that I’d see it when I closed my eyes to sleep. I’m finally able to sleep without seeing terrorists around every corner, but I’m seriously considering buying that game.

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On to pop culture news! It was announced early in the week that Kenan Thompson would be leaving Saturday Night Live at the end of the season. Then, there was some backpedaling, as sources started reporting that the initial announcement may have been premature. So, no one really knows what’s going on right now. It would certainly be a blow to the show, even though some folks might say that it’s been a long time coming. One writer, when speaking to Slate, basically said that Kenan can save any weak sketch, and SNL definitely needs a guy like that these days.

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The leads for season 2 of HBO’s True Detective were announced this week, and it seems like Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell will be our new cop duo. I enjoyed the first season, but I fall into the camp who felt it was overrated. Part of this could be due to the fact that I binge-watched it in a day. I felt like it tried to build this weird mythology within the case that didn’t have a lot of payoff. Maybe it’s because every drama in post-Lost television feels it needs something mystical to hook the viewer, but I feel like the show would’ve been just as strong if they’d handled a straightforward murder case instead of the Yellow King stuff. A lot of folks are upset about this casting news, as they were hoping for possible female leads, but I like Vaughn, and I now have HBO, so I’ll give it a shot.

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As a Batman fan, I’m sure some people wonder what I thought about Gotham. Well, to be honest, I only saw the last 15 minutes. I wasn’t sure I was gonna watch it because I really have no desire to see another Batman origin story. I have big problems with the purpose of the show. Unlike Smallville, which is where Clark Kent spent his formative years, Gotham holds very little meaning for Bruce Wayne’s development. I mean, it’s the site of his parents’ deaths, but his training takes place around the globe. If it were a show about THAT, then I’d probably watch. There are a lot of “lost” tales from that era, as we got most of our knowledge of his training from Batman Begins. Other than that, we don’t know much, and I’d be down for a show about that. Maybe a show about Bruce training with Henri Ducard. This show, however, starts with Bruce as a KID, and intends to follow him as such. There’s no story there. In the meantime, I don’t really care about seeing where Edward Nygma and Oswald Cobblepot came from. It’s enough that they exist, but this show seems to want to wrap a nice little bow on all of their origin stories. Plus, it’s only a matter of time before they start teasing The Joker, because they won’t be able to help themselves. I also don’t like the casting, except Donal Logue – who was born to play Bullock. They’re reairing the pilot tonight on Fox, so I’ll watch the whole thing to give it a fair shake, but I don’t think this show is for me.

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. came back and introduced Absorbing Man. It was nice they finally went with an existing, established comic villain, and it was a decent enough episode, but I still don’t really like anyone but Coulson and Triplett. And now there are two black guys, so it’s only a matter of time before one of them dies. On the ratings side of things, the premiere wasn’t much higher than last season’s finale. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if it lasts until Avengers 2, it will have done its job. This was never a show with the staying power to last 7 seasons. If it turned out to be a massive hit, then that would’ve been great, but the real purpose of the show was the whet our appetites for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in between movies. On its own, it’s a dud, but when linked to that universe, like with The Winter Soldier, it has a lot of potential. The problem with 22 episodes of television is that it has to tread water until these beats present themselves. It’s nice to see that Marvel’s willing to take chances and, luckily, they’re only “miss” has been on TV and not cinematic. I’m saying Agent Carter is a one and done show, while Agents will probably wrap up after season 3.

blackish
The show I was most anticipating was ABC’s Black-ish, which premiered after Modern Family Wednesday night. I’ve loved Anthony Anderson since he was Teddy on Hang Time, and I knew his career would eventually amount to something. It’s a comedic take on the struggle to maintain one’s cultural identity while also fitting in with the world. There’s a lot of “Black people do this, and white people do this” humor, but it wasn’t as hackneyed as your typical Comic View comedian. I think the show has a lot of heart, and it launched to big numbers, so I think it’s a keeper. Unless something crazy happens over the next few weeks, it’ll definitely get a full season pickup. I think ABC’s got a hit on their hands. I am, however, curious to know how white audiences felt about the show. On Twitter, black viewers were pretty vocal in their support, but I wondered if some of the race stuff was too “on the nose” for some white viewers. Anybody wanna share their thoughts in the comments?

FOREVER - Pilot Gallery (ABC/Bob D'Amico) IOAN GRUFFUDD, JUDD HIRSCH

Ya know, I considered giving this honor to Derek Jeter, but then I remembered that this is MY site and that I don’t care about sports. In I know Jeter’s a future Hall of Famer, and I’ve heard he “plays the game the right way”, but I know him more for the notches on his bedpost. Mariah Carey, Minka Kelly, Jessica Biel? The man is only surpassed by Justin Timberlake when it comes to the women who have streamed through his bedroom. No, I decided to take about my favorite show so far of the fall season: Forever.

When I did my ABC upfronts post, I said that this show might have a hard time if it just poses questions without answering them. It’s the only show so far this season to have aired two episodes (it premiered on Monday, and moved to its regular timeslot on Tuesday), so I’ve got more to go on for it than with the other new shows. Forever stars Ioan Gruffudd, whom Americans may remember as Reed Richards in the Fantastic Four movies. I love that guy, and I think he’s my Colin Firth. There’s just something dashing about him, so maybe I’m biased. Anyway, Gruffudd plays Henry Morgan, a medical examiner for the New York Police Department. He knows a LOT about death, mainly, because he can’t die. Sure, he dies, but he always comes back to life – naked and in a body of water. He’s been enduring this cycle for over 300 years, so he’s been keeping journals on his deaths and their different pain levels. Because he’s died so much, he’s great at determining the cause of death of victims who come through the morgue. He uses his knowledge and talents to help the homicide division to solve crimes. Meanwhile, since every post-Lost era drama has to have a mystery to it, there appears to be another who shares his same affliction, and has been watching Morgan from afar. He sends him vague messages, signed by “Your Fan”, and the show is clearly leading up to a big meeting between the two. Here’s hoping it lasts that long. The ratings for both episodes weren’t stellar, but they were steady. If it can prove itself as a reliable performer, Forever just may get to finish out its season. I really hope more viewers give it a chance, as it’s really good and I’m curious to see where it’s going. Anyway, for being my favorite television debut of the week, Forever had the West Week Ever.

12th Sep2014

West Week Ever – 9/12/14

by Will

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Last week, I mentioned that I’d wait til this week to cover all the Netflixin’ I’ve been doing lately. Well, first up is Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac. I wanted to see this film when it was first announced, but there was no way I was going to watch it in a theater. It’s a four-hour story, broken up into 2 two-hour volumes. It took me a little over 3 weeks to get through it all, as I needed some time to digest volume one before I tackled the second one. Where to begin with this? Well, it starts out with Stellan Skarsgard (the old scientist guy from the Thor movies) finding a beaten up Charlotte Gainsbourg in an alley, and he takes her home to nurse her wounds. As she recuperates, “Joe” regales him with tales of her life as a nymphomaniac. The tales range from awkward to hilarious (especially the Uma Thurman chapter). Despite the sex, it’s not a sexy movie. In fact, her life as a nymphomaniac wasn’t very fulfilling, as she pursued sex to fill a void inside herself. There’s still some hardcore sex, though. Whether you want to or not, you even get a glimpse of Shia LeBeouf’s “La beef”. If you’re a 13 year old boy, and you’re reading this, most of the sex is in volume 1. There, I saved you 2 hours of your life so you can go play Destiny or whatever.

Volume 1 focuses on Joe’s youth, and has most of the sex, but the real character development starts in Volume 2, as you learn more about Joe and Skarsgard’s Seligman. In fact, there’s a reveal pretty early on in Volume 2 that telegraphs how the movie is gonna end, even though you really don’t want it to happen. Anyway, there’s more to the movie than sex, and it’s a really engaging story. I especially enjoyed the interplay between Gainsbourg and Skarsgard. She educates him about sex, while he educates her about philosophy and history. Even though they met the night before, you really see their friendship develop. Apparently, there’s a 5-hour cut of the film, which debuted at the Venice Film Fest. I enjoyed the saga enough that I’d actually be interested in seeing what the extra hour holds, but I hear it contains a scene of Joe performing her own abortion. Jay-sus! If you like artsy fartsy erotic stuff, I highly recommend Nymphomaniac.

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One thing I didn’t expect to like, but grew to love, was Bojack Horseman. As a Netflix original series, Bojack Horseman is an animated series that focuses on the titular Bojack, a washed up former star of a TGIF-esque sitcom in the 90s. As the series begins, he’s teamed up with a ghostwriter to help him write his memoir. In the 90s, Bojack was the star of Horsin’ Around, a sitcom where he took in 3 orphans and hilarity ensued. He hasn’t done much in the 18 years since the show went off the air, and he’s something of a Hollywood joke. The problem, however, is that he doesn’t seem to realize just how much of a joke he is until his ghostwriter starts working on the book. Will Arnett is perfect as the voice of Bojack, and the voice cast also includes Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, and Aaron Paul. After so much time on Breaking Bad, it’s refreshing to have Paul in a comedic role, and he’s great as stoner with the heart of gold Todd.

At first, it was hard to get into the world of the show, as humans coexist with talking animals, but I got over that quickly. One thing I loved about the show is the continuity, as you really feel like the 12 episodes are one big story, instead of typical episodic television. For example, Bojack’s former costar sets fire to his ottoman in the middle of the season, and the ottoman remains burned for the rest of the series. The events build off of each other, leading to a satisfying ending that I didn’t see coming. I felt that Bojack was gonna lose all his money and be forced to get a job. I’m so glad I was wrong about that. It’s already been greenlit for a second season, and those new episodes can’t come quickly enough for me!

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Zack Snyder revealed the Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice Batmobile the other day. Man, am I sick of tankish Batmobiles! I’m ready for something sleek again. I know this is supposedly influenced by The Dark Knight Returns, so I can understand the need for a Bat Tank, but it’s not necessarily what I want. I’m not even gonna get started on the guns…

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They’re making 23 Jump Street! This isn’t much of a surprise, as I’m pretty sure everyone involved likes money. That said, I’m scared they can’t eke out a 3rd movie. After all, the second one is basically the same as the first, but a lot of the humor came from them acknowledging that. I can’t deal with another Rush Hour 3, though. I don’t know how they can do the whole “This is the same movie as the first” a second time. I’ll watch it, and I eagerly await it, but I’m scared.

Che

It was announced last night that Cecily Strong is out as co-anchor of Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live. Last season, when Seth Meyers left to helm Late Night, he was replaced with Colin Jost. While it’s true that Jost and Strong lacked chemistry, I hardly believe that she was the problem. Everyone I know hated Jost’s delivery, though most felt that he would eventually ease into the role. I know that Lorne probably wants to shake things up for season 40, but this hardly seems like the way to go. In any case, Cecily will remain as a cast member, while her Weekend Update seat will be occupied by comedian Michael Che. Apparently, Che comes from The Daily Show, so he’s got a resume, but time will tell on whether or not he’s the right fit for the Weekend Update desk.

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There was a Married…With Children reunion this week, as the cast reunited to celebrate Katey Sagal getting her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. They look good, and I’m glad to see Sagal getting some recognition. In related news, E! is reporting that MWC may get the Girl Meets World treatment, as Sony wants to do a spinoff focusing on Bud Bundy and his family. It’s just in the pitch phase now, so nothing may come from it.

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Speaking of questionable moves in the television industry, there’s word that TNT is close to picking up a live action Titans series. I really don’t know what they hope to do that 10 seasons of Smallville didn’t already accomplish. I mean, by the end of that show, hadn’t we basically seen everyone they could possible give us in a DC TV series? According to the Hollywood Reporter, the show will focus on Nightwing as he sheds the Robin identity and strikes out on his own to lead his own team. So, we’re basically getting another Batman Without Batman show. I mean, most of the budget will be spent on Beast Boy’s transformations anyway. Anyway, it’s just pilot talk, and nothing will probably ever come from it. Plus, TNT seems like a horrible home for this project. They know drama, not capes.

Nev

People in glass houses shouldn’t throw punches. Everyone and their mom had an opinion on the Ray Rice situation this week, and the media made sure that we got all the celebrity reactions. Well, one such reaction came from everyone’s favorite Internet detective, Catfish‘s Nev Schulman. He tweeted a selfie in an elevator, with the caption, “Real men show strength through patience and honor. This elevator is abuse free.” Ugh. He sounds like the kinda douche nozzle who calls himself a feminist just to help him hit on women. Why do I say that? Well, in his recently released book, In Real Life: Love, Lies & Identity in the Digital Age, he recounts the time he was kicked out of Sarah Lawrence College for punching a girl in the face. He paints it as a situation where he lashed out at someone who didn’t want him taking her picture, whom he didn’t realize was a woman until after he hit her. Other accounts claim he just whaled on this chick. You can even read the victim’s account of the whole matter. Whatever happened, Schulman was arrested but the case was dismissed. Still, he was kicked out of Sarah Lawrence, so I guess he feels like he “did his time”. Either way, he probably should’ve kept his mouth shut this week, as his book has been available for months, yet nobody said anything about this event until he decided to put a spotlight on himself. So, either his fans were willing to give him a pass, or nobody read his book until this week.

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Apple introduced the Apple Watch this week, which is basically the Galaxy Gear with the battery life of one day. So, have fun with that, Apple Disciples!

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I’d bet that Walgreens has never had as much foot traffic as its stores have gotten over the past week. Why? Well, Walgreens has entered the exclusive toy arena by carrying the Spider-Man Marvel Legends Infinite Agent Venom figure, as well as the Star Wars Black Series 6″ Boba Fett (Prototype Armor) figure. I live in CVS country, so there are only a handful of Walgreens stores, but I’ve been making the rounds for the past 2 weeks trying to find these figures. Luckily, I found Agent Venom last week, and stumbled upon Fett last Sunday on my way back from Baltimore Comic-Con. I haven’t opened either, as I plan to sell mine, so I can’t really offer a review of the figures. I just wonder how many Walgreens employees thought I was stealing, considering I walked in, looked around, and walked out several times a week. That HAD to look suspicious!

Links I Loved
10 of the Worst Ideas for Board Games Ever – The Robot’s Pajamas

13 New Fall Shows That Will Be Cancelled by Christmas -UnderScoopFire!

In Case You Missed It This Week
Baltimore Comic-Con 2014 In Pictures

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Oh, to go from Ugly Duckling to Belle of the Ball! That’s what it must have felt like to work at TMZ this week. Typically, people hate TMZ and its paparazzi tabloid journalism. That changed this week, however, as TMZ’s reporting led to the release of Ray Rice from the Baltimore Ravens due to domestic violence. The incident happened months ago, but it wasn’t until TMZ released the security footage that shit got real. The NFL suspended Rice indefinitely, the Ravens released him, and now NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will probably be fighting for his job now that the truth has come to light. Some people are applauding the NFL for its swift action, but that’s wrong as the NFL could’ve acted sooner, and it wasn’t until the footage went wide that they finally felt pressured to do something. So, TMZ comes out looking like the hero in all of this, and even if you hate to admit it, they were exactly what this situation needed in order for justice to be done. Anyway, I hope the TMZ crew is happy with all of this good press, as folks will probably just go back to hating them next week. For now, however, TMZ had the West Week Ever.

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

 

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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.

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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.

23rd May2014

West Week Ever – 5/23/14

by Will

 

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670px--1,751,0,419-Classtime

Girl Meets World has already premiered on Disney WATCH, Disney’s online on-demand site. I’m tempted to go watch it, but they make you enter your cable provider credentials and a bunch of other info I don’t have at my disposal (my wife handles all that). So, I guess I’ll just wait until June 27th with the rest of y’all. I’m getting excited, though! In the meantime, here’s the theme song:

It’s sung by the show’s stars, so Disney’s still pumping out those actress/singers.

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X-Men: Days of Future Past comes out today, and I just can’t bring myself to care. Mainly, I just don’t trust Bryan Singer. Sure, he was great on X2, but that was SO long ago, and the taint of Superman Returns is still somewhat fresh. So far, the reviews have been positive, but I still may wait for Redbox on this one.

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The Man of Steel sequel’s title has been officially released: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. As I said on Twitter:

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That’s simply not the title of a box office hit, but I don’t get paid the big bucks so what do I know?

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24 is back, and 2004 Will would be really excited. 2014 Will, however, just can’t get on that horse. There are no stakes, as Jack can’t die and even something as shocking as Valencia, CA getting nuked is just brushed aside like it’s nothing. I can’t do that dance anymore. I do, however, still follow along with what’s happening by listening to the Cold Slither Podcast’s: Anutha Twenny Fo Podcast. I may not care about Jack Bauer, but I still love hearing what other folks think about him, and Classick Materia does not disappoint! You can catch new episodes every week at ColdSlitherPodcast.com

Last week, I had the pleasure of guesting on the No Topic Required Podcast. As you can probably guess, there was no main topic, but we discussed net neutrality, network TV fall schedules and more. You can listen to it here.

Links I Loved

Knockoff Analysis: Lego Ninja Turtles – Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang

10 Ways ‘The Golden Girls’ Was Way Before Its Time – UnderScoopFire!

Where The New Black Comics Writers Are – The Nerds of Color

How Did the Newest Saturday Night Live Cast Members Do in Their First Season? – Vulture

Top 10 Sci-Fi Scenes Ruined by Bad Extras – The Robot’s Pajamas

In Case You Missed It This Week

Upfronts with Will – NBC Edition

Upfronts with Will – CBS Edition

It had no right to be any good. Michael Jackson died in 2009, and here’s a new album being released 5 year later, comprised of scraps and unreleased tracks. It was a recipe for disaster. Xscape came out last Tuesday and defied expectations. The debut single, “Love Never Felt So Good” is a disco masterpiece – both in it’s mixed form, as well as the remix with Justin Timberlake. That single, however, wasn’t the end. You see, we’d been introduced to modern-day hologram technology in 2012, when a hologram of Tupac Shakur “performed” at Coachella. Now, that same technology was about to be applied to the former King of Pop. Last Sunday, at the Billboard Music Awards, hologram MJ gave a dazzling performance set to the song “Slave to the Rhythm”. Not only was it an amazing spectacle, but it also led me to playing “Slave” on repeat for the rest of the week. So, for an amazing posthumous album, and an amazing posthumous performance, Michael Jackson has the honor of being awarded the first posthumous West Week Ever.

 

07th Mar2014

West Week Ever – 3/7/14

by Will

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IFC's Maron

So, this week I’ve been watching Maron on Netflix. If you’re not familiar, it stars comedian Marc Maron and it’s basically the same formula as Louie. The difference, however, is I find I relate to Maron more than Louis CK. I’ve never listened to Maron’s podcast, but I’ve heard a bunch of his bits and I find him really witty. He also has this self-loathing streak that’s kind of brave for him to be putting out there in public. So, I guess Maron has a vulnerability that I don’t see in Louis. It’s interesting they both ended up with the same kind of show, seeing as how they’re contemporaries and also had a longstanding rivalry. I’m sure it’d be easy to just write off Maron as a rip-off of Louie, but I think there’s more heart to it.

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I never thought I’d have to do this, but I may have to strip a prior winner of West Week Ever status. If you remember, last year I bestowed the honor upon iCarly‘s Jennette McCurddy and Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons. It seemed like a cute internet love story, as he had posted her as his “Woman Crush Wednesday” choice on Twitter, and they eventually ended up dating. Well, they didn’t live happily ever after, as McCurddy explained on Pete Holmes’s You Made It Weird podcast. She admitted that she only dated Drummond for the publicity and said that he was a bad kisser. Listening to the podcast, she doesn’t really come off as malicious, but she still aired their business in public. Drummond, seemingly, retaliated by “leaking” a racy photo that she’d sent him. He’s denying having anything to do with the leak, but she’s pretty certain that he’s the one who did it. Who knew that a celebrity relationship would end like this?!

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This week, it was announced that Batman would be returning to next-gen consoles in Batman: Arkham Knight. I own Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, but still haven’t gotten Arkham Origins. I won’t be following Bats into this latest game, however, as it’s not going to be released on the 360, and I’m not planning on ever getting a PS4 or an XBone. Sucks, ’cause I’d really like to drive the Batmobile, as you’ll be able to do in this installment. Oh well, I’m sure I’m sure I know someone who’ll end up buying it and I can just play theirs.

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I swear I never set out to talk about Arsenio every week, but he keeps giving me material. I’m not sure if this has happened in other markets, but I noticed that our CW affiliate kinda cut some of his support once the second season was announced. You see, they had created a sort of “black bubble” to boost his viewership. When the show launched, its lead-in was syndicated episodes of The Middle. Someone at Channel 50 realized it had nothing in common with Arsenio’s target demographic, so in January, they started airing Judge Mathis at 10 . It was weird to see court shows that late at night, but I eventually got used to it. To ease folks out of Arsenio, they aired Cosby Show reruns after his show. This created said black bubble, as the shows were aimed at black viewers. Well, the bubble burst this week, as they took off Judge Mathis and now air Seinfeld in the 10 PM slot. I’m not sure what they’re trying to accomplish, as the Seinfeld audience isn’t the Arsenio audience any more than The Middle‘s audience was. They had created a nice little nest for Arsenio and now they’ve gotten rid of it (though the Cosby episodes are still the lead out). I wonder what the grand plan is for that 10 PM slot.

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Speaking of odd programming choices, it was announced this week that Conan O’Brien will be hosting the MTV Movie Awards. This is most certainly a step down for someone who once hosted The Tonight Show. These aren’t even the fabled Video Music Awards that we’re talking about here – these are the MOVIE awards. Sure, Conan has always wanted to be hip, but the MTV crowd ain’t his audience. And it’s not like it was a contractual obligation from the network, as his show is produced by Turner while MTV is a Viacom network. Like the Arsenio scheduling, I wonder what the endgame is here.

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I stumbled across Upload with Shaquille O’Neal on Tru TV. Funny enough, everything on Tru TV is blatantly fake, but I gave it a chance because of Shaq’s cohosts – comedians Godfrey and Rachel Feinstein. I love both of them for different reasons, but it was painful to see them in this show. What is Upload? Basically, it’s Tosh.0 hosted by Shaq. And it’s even worse than it sounds. Since Shaq’s a lummox, Godfrey and Rachel are there to do the heavy comedic lifting, but they’re not given much to work with. Anyway, avoid this show at all costs!

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Speaking of bad television, last week Jim Parsons hosted what may be the worst episode of Saturday Night Live that I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t just unfunny, but it was weird in an uncomfortable way. He kicked off the show with a song and dance number about how he’s “not that guy” that he plays on The Big Bang Theory. Then, he spent the next 90 minutes essentially being that guy. So, I think he failed on that goal. I can’t say that I’m expecting better with this week’s host, Lena Dunham.

Anyone who’s ever been to this site knows that I eat this kinda stuff up:

I probably would’ve liked it more had he spliced in some PR footage for the visuals. It’s kinda weird watching him as he belts all those songs (especially when he kinda Britta’d some of them). Still, it’s pretty impressive.

Links I Loved
Thundercats LIVE! Was The Stuff of Nightmares – Double Dumbass On You

15 Things You Might Not Know About Star Wars – UnderScoopFire!

Jackie Robinson and the Mythic Black Superhero – Snoopy Jenkins

One’s career seems to be on the decline, while another seems to be on the way up. One seems like a moron, while the other is more of a Maron. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

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Who had a week like Lupita Nyong’o? Sure, Adele Dazeem jokes aside, everyone was talking about Lupita’s award-winning performance in her first role. Now everyone’s speculating on what she’ll do next. Well, history and Oscar haven’t been kind to my people. Cuba went from Jerry Maguire to Boat Trip. Halle ended up doing The Call – from WWE Films, mind you. Octavia did a guest stint on CBS’s Mom. While an Oscar usually means the sky is the limit, for a black actor it usually means the limit is the sky.  I haven’t seen 12 Years A Slave yet, but I hear it’s powerful. So, enjoy your week, Lupita, ’cause it’s only a matter of time before you’re cast in A Haunted House 3 with the Wayans Bros. For now, however, let’s enjoy Lupita’s win by crowning her as having had the West Week Ever.

14th Feb2014

West Week Ever – 2/14/14

by Will

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I’ve never seen a full Jackass movie, so I didn’t know what to expect from Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa. All I knew was that the commercials looked funny, and I had vowed to pick it up on Redbox the minute I got the chance. Since I didn’t know the “mechanics” of the Jackass franchise, I spent the movie wondering “Do these people know what’s happening? Did they sign a release form?” My questions were answered during the credits (No and Yes), but that didn’t help while I was watching the movie. Little Billy’s mom is going to jail for crack possession, so his grandpa Irving (Johnny Knoxville in makeup) has to drive him across the country to live with his dad (who just sees Billy as a welfare meal ticket). Along their road trip, hilarity ensues as they steal from convenient stores and Irving hits on women. Oh, did I mention that Irving’s wife just died, and her body’s stashed in the trunk? Yeah. Anyway, even as a Jackass movie, the narrative had a lot of heart. I mean, it’s fake and predictable, but it was still fun to watch.

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The trailers for Don Jon never really gave a great idea as to what the movie was about, and there’s a reason for that: you can’t show most of that stuff on television. You see, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, Jon, learned everything he knows about relationships from pornography. He’s got a tight bod, a sweet ride, and a happening pad – all of which help him close the deal with a streak of “8s”. That said, no matter how much minge he gets, it doesn’t compare to the orgasm he gives himself. So, the whole movie is about how he hides that fact about himself while dating bossy Scarlett Johannson. If you’re 12, you’ll love this movie ’cause there’s porn and tits everywhere. It’s an entertaining movie, but that ending kinda comes out of nowhere. The movie gains an emotional beat about 3/4 of the way in, which causes the ending to be somewhat incongruent with the bulk of the movie.

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What if the Girls Gone Wild also liked to perform armed robberies? That’s Spring Breakers. To be honest, the movie’s boring until James Franco pops up and then it just goes insane. I still want to know who the primary audience was for this film, as it starts off as jailbait-apalooza. Selena Gomez looks about 15, and she and her friends just bounce around in bikinis most of the time. They used to charge a quarter for this kind of movie in Times Square. I sat there, asking myself, “What the Hell am I watching?” This is the kind of movie that was created to help the former Disney girls (Gomez and Hudgens) shed their squeaky clean image, and it worked. And that ending?! I’m not gonna spoil it here, but there’s NO WAY that movie ends the way that it does. No way in Hell.

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Kick-Ass 2 is a far superior movie to Kick-Ass, which is a shame since no one saw it. I actually got this thing at Redbox on Friday and didn’t end up watching it until Wednesday. Hell, I could’ve bought the thing for as much as that’s gonna cost me! Anyway, I just wasn’t in the mood to watch it, even though I had been in the mood when I first got it from the kiosk. Finally, I hunkered down and watched it and was pleasantly surprised. Jim Carrey contributed to the negative press on the film, as he was against its depiction of violence (though he had no problem cashing that check). It’s sad he felt that way, as he was really good in the movie. I had problems with the liberties that the first movie took with the story, but I had no problems with them going off-book this time around. Most of the film is original, only taking a few cues from the Kick-Ass 2 comic. My only problem was the fact that Chloe Moretz aged, so they had to age her character as well. This led to some underlying sexual tension that’s not present in the books (since she’s about 10 there), and that was kinda weird.

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After the Redbox selections, I remembered that I have Netflix. What did I watch first? LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Maximum Overload. This little 22 minute show was kinda cute and I guess I watched it to get myself in the mood for The LEGO Movie. Basically, Loki uses his Norn Frost to boost villains’ powers through “overloads”. The bittersweet aspect of the special is that it showed how cool things would be if Marvel Studios had the rights for X-Men and Spider-Man. I’d really love to see that shared cinematic universe, but I don’t see that happening any time soon, so the animated stuff is the best we’re gonna get.

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Since it’s not a West Week Ever without a standup update, this week I watched John Mulaney: New In Town. Formerly a writer for Saturday Night Live, if you don’t know Mulaney, you soon will. I’d heard every single bit in the special because Comedy Central Radio loves to play his stuff. Still, I love every second of his material, so I didn’t mind that it was all “old” material.

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Once I was done with the Mulaney special, I remembered that I have Amazon Prime, so I hopped over to see what was available over there (that’s also where I saw Spring Breakers. I wasn’t gonna spend money on that thing!). That’s where I found that the first season of Inside Amy Schumer was available to stream. I’ve always liked Schumer’s material, as it’s similar to Sarah Silverman’s, only Schumer’s humor has more of a sexual edge. After all, you can’t get through a Schumer performance without her mentioning that she has HPV, or that her recent sexual partner had no testicles.

flappy bird

I want to be mad at my wife for getting me addicted to Flappy Bird. I wanted no part of it, but when she heard that the creator was going to take it offline, she basically made me download it, “just in case”. I’m not much of a gamer, especially when it comes to things intended to frustrate, but I haven’t gotten too mad at the game. My high score is only 25, so it’s not like I’m a champ at it, but it’s another way to kill time.

Super Megaforce

Well, since most of my traffic comes from mentioning Power Rangers, I guess I’m required to mention the premiere of Power Rangers Super Megaforce tomorrow. The main draw for this season is that the Rangers can draw powers from, and transform into, any of the Power Rangers teams from the past 20 years. The pilot’s been available on Nick.com since Saturday night, so I’ve already seen it. In my opinion, it’s a good start to the season, but my opinion doesn’t really matter. The main issue is whether or not kids will like it. I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t, however a lot of the teams won’t be familiar to really young kids. My only “gripe” is that’ they’re clearly pirates (based on the Japanese source footage), yet that word is never spoken. It’s like we’re supposed to pretend we don’t know that’s what’s going on.

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Has Coke won any kind of industry award for the Coke Freestyle machine? I mean, this thing isn’t new, but it offers over 100 different sodas in one fountain. It’s like the future that science fiction foretold for us! Anyway, I hope someone, somewhere, has given Coke the recognition it deserves for such a modern marvel.

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I’m supposed to be going to the American International Toy Fair in New York this weekend, but I don’t know if the weather’s going to cooperate. I don’t even know why I’m going, as I don’t have invites to any of the fancy parties. I just wanna get in and see what I can see. It’s been 7 years since I last went, and that was a dream come true, so hopefully I’ll come back from this trip with some good pictures and stories.

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Before we go, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the UnderScoopFire guys to record their latest podcast. We talked about the Super Bowl, TV ratings, and more. As usual, I had a great time, and you can check it out here.

Links I Loved

RoboCop: The Thinking Man’s Action Movie – Snoopy Jenkins

What if 80s Cartoon Characters Wrote Dirty Messages on Candy Hearts? – UnderScooprFire!

Remembering Shirley Temple Requires Us To Remember Her Legacy of Blackface Cinema – Reappropriate

The Return of Boy-Band Impresario Lou Pearlman, an All-Time Music Industry Swindler – Grantland

In Case You Missed It This Week

Adventures West Coast – Superman: Earth One Vol 2

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I know a lot of my readers don’t follow sportsball, so you may not know the man in the picture. To be honest, most of the country didn’t know who he was a week ago. That all changed, however, when he came out as gay this week. Michael Sam, a defensive end for the University of Missouri will probably be the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL, which is a pretty big deal. Hopefully, we’ll get to a point where something like this isn’t “news”, but we’re not there yet. It took a lot of courage for him to come out, with his potential future at risk by doing so, but all signs seem to imply that the NFL is finally ready to take this step. Some have said that his presence would serve as a “distraction”, but the naysayers are being drowned out by the supporters. This is an important event in professional sports history, so that’s why Michael Sam had the West Week Ever.