Saturday, May 30, 2015

People Who Need To Be Punched in the Face, Number Nine

So here we are again kids! Another edition where I tell you who needs to be punched in the face. That's right. It's the end of may, almost the end of Spring, so what better way to kick-off the new season, than with a list of celebrities and others, who all need punched in the motherfuckin' face? Yeah, baby (and all that jazz!). So anyway, here we are at another post all about punching people in their respective (but probably not respectable) faces. Yeah yeah, I know - violence never solves anything. But come on, whether we actually punch any of the following peeps in the face (and from a legal standpoint, please remember that I am not advocating violence in any way, nor am I responsible, in case you do actually punch any of these fine folks in the face), but yeah, whether we punch any of these peeps in the face, these are all more than worthy candidates for the aforementioned punching. So there! Now let's get on with the list...and on with the punching. And please remember, if you have anyone you would like me to add to a future list (and ya know ya do), just let me know in the comments section, and I'll try to squeeze them in. And with that being said, awaaaaaay we go. Time for some punchin'.

Don King
That guy who said that thing
The Christian at Work
Old Man Joe
Ted Cruz
Ted Cruz
Ted Cruz
Wolf Blitzer
Lena Dunham
Lena Dunham fans
Guys who willingly move to Alabama
Have I mentioned Ted Cruz?
Ass Hats & Douche Bags
Miss Piggy
Boss Hogg
Piglet from Winnie the Pooh
Men's Rights Activists
The Ghost of Tupac
Uppity Owls
 Overly affectionate Hippies
okay...all Hippies!
Lou Avery (the prick!)
Players who play play play
Haters who hate hate hate
Heartbreakers who break break break
Fakers who fake fake fake
Cathy Rigby (Why? Why not!)
Anyone who has ever bought a Smashmouth CD
Reverse Flash
Guys named Sven
The Gambler
Ted Cruz (seriously!)
Sweaty guys named Gus
People who do not like cheese
Two of the Three Amigos
Parakeet Pete
Mr. Sluggo
The Cat in the Hat
Mahnud Anel (that's just Lena Dunham, backwards)
The band Creed (and their fans - if they actually have any)
People who gasp and clap at fireworks
All the Duggar Men
Kirk Cameron
Mike Huckabee
Dennis Nedry
All those Duck Dynasty Assholes
Anyone who watches those Duck Dynasty Assholes
Ugly Kid Joe
Frankie Two-Toes
Six of the Seven Dwarfs (not you, Bashful)
The Ghost of Benedict Arnold
Larry the Loser
Bill Cosby
Rick Santorum
Rick Santorum Supporters
Have I mentioned Ted Cruz?
Lady Gaga Haters
Butterhead Jones
Ass Nuggets
The Giant Anteater (can't trust that guy)
Uncle Meat Pants
Any guy with a man bun
Reggie Mantle
Eddie Haskell
Dr. Everett Scott
Porch Dick Pete
Ann Coulter (of course)
Ted Cruz (again)
Lena Dunham (again)
Art Vandalay
Fred O'Bannion
A-Rod Haters
People with unnecessary Y's in their names
People who do not like Madonna's Vogue
Everyone at Fox News
Everyone who likes Fox News
Rush Limbaugh
Rex Reed
Axl Rose
Donald Trump
Green Lantern (smug bastard)
People who prefer whole wheat
Boring Sots
Lady Macbeth
Men named Chester
People who watch Grey's Anatomy
Kevin James
Pastepot Pete
Franco Harris
Kale Lovers
Chips off the old block
Guys named Chip
Larry Wilcox
The Chief of CBS
Rat Bastards!
Jason Todd
Kevin Costner
Gob Bluth
Lord Longshanks
Raymond Luxory Yacht
Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner
Grandpa Walton
Guys with pinky rings
Ted Cruz (one more time)
Michael Bay
The Governor
Princess Bride Haters
People who would not want to hang out with Jeff Goldblum
That guy Robin is punching in the picture below
Monday Mornings
Kevin Alexander
The arrogant prick writing this list

So there!
That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Breaking News!: The 2015-16 NBS Season Schedule is Here

So here we are TV fans. It may be later than the other networks, but it was well worth the wait. the official announcement of the 2015-16 TV season schedule for the National Broadcasting System, aka NBS. There will be 18 shows returning from last season (plus another 4 returning at midseason) with 10 brand new shows making their respective debuts in the Fall. This new season is a comedy heavy schedule (16 comedies + 4 comedy/drama hybrids) and is highlighted by three new shows starring former Mad Men stars. Anyhoo, you can give your thoughts on the new schedule, in the comments section below. So, without further ado, we give you the NBS 2015-16 TV Season Schedule.

Sunday Night

7:00 - Superesque [NEW SHOW] - Taking a cue from the success of the superhero genre, but also owing a nod to the cult TV show, The Greatest American Hero, Superesque is an action-comedy hybrid about a hapless schmuck who so wants to be a superhero, even though he fails again and again and again. The show stars Rich Sommer of Mad Men fame, as super wealthy Hawthorne Payne, heir to the Payne Foundation. Hawthorne lives in Capital City, in a world where there are superheroes and villains, alien invasions and monsters galore. It is a modern world of action and adventure, where superheroes are like rock stars, and poor Hawthorne just wants to be part of that. Unfortunately, even though he has the ways and means to became a Batman-esque superhero (there are some quite obvious satiric nods to the Batman mythos throughout), Hawthorne is a bit of an idiot. The show also features Ken Wahl (Wiseguy) as the police chief, Nick Zano (Cougar Town, One Big Happy) as real superhero, Captain Awesome, Jessica Pare (Sommer's one time Mad Men costar) as Polly, Hawthorne's wouldbe girlfriend, and Eric Roberts as Hawthorne's stern father.

8:00 - My Favorite Martian [NEW SHOW] - Putting a feminist twist on the original 1960's sitcom, this show is about an alien who crash landed on Earth, and must take refuge in the apartment of a kind stranger. The show stars Michaela Watkins (Trophy Wife, The New Adventures of Old Christine) as the stranded alien, trying (and failing) to fit into Earth society in New York, and Cristin Milioti (the mother on How I Met Your Mother), as Regan, the good Samaritan who takes her in. The show will also feature Margo Martindale and Keegan-Michael Key.

8:30 - Holy Hannah - This show, which came in 56th place last season, is the lowest ranked show to be renewed by the network. A sitcom about a naive girl who grew up in a convent, and is now trying her hand at being a singer. An old school style multiple camera sitcom, Kate Micucci (Raising Hope, Big Bang Theory) stars as the titular Hannah. Her inability to know how to deal with the outside world gets her into silly predicament after silly predicament. The show will get a bit of a reboot in season two, as the setting is now (mainly) a coffeeshop in Portland, Oregon (as opposed to the California convent and LA apartment building of season one). Hannah's convent past will still be a part of her character, and Laurie Metcalfe returns as Sister Francina. The rest of the season one cast is gone though, to be replaced by Liam Hemsworth, Chris Colfer (Glee), Nasim Padrad (SNL), and Lisa Kudrow. Riki Lindhome (Micucci's partner in the singing duo, Garfunkel & Oates) will appear on the show in various cameo roles.

9:00 - Brian Williams Was There [NEW SHOW] - This single camera comedy revolves around Brian Williams playing himself. The show, and Williams himself, play at satirizing the scandals of the newsman's recent days. Part sketch comedy, part sitcom, part reality TV, this show mocks the system, and all the players in it. The show also features SNL alum, Casey Wilson, comic Nick Kroll, Kate Walsh, and former Seinfeld star, Michael Richards.

9:30 - The Dakota Show - This mid-season replacement is back for another go. 21 year old Dakota Fanning plays 21 year old Dakota Lane, in this single camera situation comedy about a brilliant video game programmer, who is the youngest person to ever run a Fortune 500 company. The show also stars Zoe Lister-Jones as Dakota's snarky VP, Hamish Linklater as a listless game tester, and Ami Dolenz as Dakota's trashy mother. Wiley Wiggens (Dazed and Confused) joins the cast in season two, as a rival video game creator.

10:00 - The Patton Oswalt Sketchy Sketch Comedy Show [NEW SHOW] - Patton Oswalt (who is on about a dozen shows this Fall) created this satiric sketch comedy show, and calls it the anti-SNL. The show will feature Oswalt, along with Whitney Cummings and former SNL writer/actor John Mulaney. The show will also feature several up-and-coming comics.

Monday Night

8:00 - Chloe at Seventeen - With an obvious name change from Chloe at Sixteen last season, this comedy/drama hybrid follows the life of seventeen year old budding movie star Chloe Randall, as she lives her life in a harsh Hollywood atmosphere. The show stars Chloe Grace Moretz, playing what is basically a semi-satiric version of herself. The show also stars Justine Bateman as Chloe's over-protective mother, Renee Olstead as her older sister and rival, Nichole Sullivan as Chloe's rock and roller aunt, and Joel Murray as Chloe's inept agent. Season two will see the addition of a romantic interest, played by Asa Butterfield.

9:00 - The Adventures of Laura Jane [NEW SHOW] - This is a show about a time traveler. The year is 2065, and Laura Jane Wilcox (Sarah Wayne Callies of The Walking Dead fame) has created a time machine. The only problem is that the controls do not necessarily work all that well, and now Laura Jane is stuck in time. Each episode will see her traveling to a new place and a new time, trying to find her way home, or at least fix the controls. Along for the ride is her seventeen year old daughter (Laura Marano) and her android assistant (Kathryn Hahn).

10:00 - Life With Charlie - Charlie Manson is back for a second season. Filmed in conjunction with the California Corrections Department, this show takes iconic and infamous killer Charlie Manson, and puts him in a house with thirteen contestants. The premise is to show how living in lock down inside a house with Charlie Manson can be the best of times and the worst of times. Each week, a contestant is kicked to the curb by a viewer phone-in vote, until week twelve, when the last two contestants are pitted against Manson in a series of bizarre contests. This show was NBS' second highest ranked show of last season, being beaten out only by its own celebrity version, which will have its own return midseason.

Tuesday Night

8:00 - Song & Dance - Moving from last season's Friday night spot (where it was a hit) to become the new lead-in to NBS' Tuesday night line-up, this musical comedy is set in the footlights of an off Broadway production company, and showcases both the good side and the bad side of musical theatre. The show stars Molly Shannon as the head of the company, and features Idina Menzel, Anthony Rapp, Jessie Martin (a Rent reunion), former Glee cast member, Ashley Fink, and Dinah Manoff of Grease fame, as an aging diva. Peter Scolari also stars as the company's square money manager. Season two will see the addition of former Mad Men head honcho Robert Morse and Pitch Perfect star, Skylar Astin.

9:00 - Maggie [NEW SHOW] - This single camera comedy is the story of Maggie Richards (played by Maggie Gyllenhaal), a sports agent based in L.A.. More knowledgeable about sports than many of her male counterparts, Maggie often comes to blows with these usually chauvinistic colleagues. The show also features Josh Duhamel, as Maggie's fiercest rival (and ex-husband), as well as Conchata Ferrell and Nate Torrence.

9:30 - The Middle Age is All the Rage - Winner of the Golden Globe for Best Comedy Series and Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, this situation comedy is set sometime during the Middle Ages, in a land full of kings and queens, knights and sorcerers, monsters and dragons. Think Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings, but with a comedic bent. The show stars Oliver Platt as King Harold the Eleventh, Portia de Rossi as Queen Hesther, Johnny Knoxville as not-so-brave Sir Trumbly, Stephen Baldwin as the royal wizard Sojourn, pop star Ariana Grande as the spoiled teenage Princess Juniper, Logan Lerman as her poor farm boy lover, Flan, Sinbad as rival King Blotto the First, and Jeffrey Tambor as the mysterious hermit known only as Flummox the Odd. Season two of this highly critically acclaimed show, will see the addition of Ethan Suplee as a wandering minstrel, and will feature cameos from the likes of Tina Fey, Jon Stewart, and Melissa McCartney.

10:00 - Homestead Days - The winner of the 26th Annual GLAAD Award for Outstanding Drama Series returns for a second season on NBS. This dramedy is about three gay married couples in a small Maine town, and how their neighbours and co-workers deal with them. There are both good and bad reactions, and the show revolves around how these reactions affect each couple. The show stars Taylor Kitsch, Johnny Weston, Penn Badgley, Trevor Donovan, Clea DuVall, and Sofia Black D'Elia. Judith Light, after a guest starring spot last season, will join the cast as a regular in season two. Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) will also join the cast in the new season.

Wednesday Night 

8:00 - Scavenger Hunt - This successful reality game show (#12 for the 2014-15 season) is back for season two. The show revolves around contestants going on scavenger hunts. Simple as that. Though the show isn't really all that simple, since many of the items on the scavenger hunt may have to be procured through means that are both death defying and illegal. The show is hosted by the great Michael Rooker.

9:00 - What's Cookin' Kiddo? [NEW SHOW] - This single camera situation comedy stars 15 year old Kiernan Shipka (Sally Draper on Mad Men) as Kaitlyn McReynolds, the spoiled teenage host of a popular cooking show. Playing the diva, Shipka shows her great talent in the role, proving she can do comedy as well as she does drama. The comedy also stars Jane Adams as Kaitlyn's producer, Rory Culkin as a rival host at the cooking network, Edie Falco as the network's CEO, Bailee Madison (Bridge to Terabithia) and Willow Shields (The Hunger Games) as Kaitlyn's BFF's and teen entourage, and David Hyde Pierce as Kaitlyn's just-as-diva-esque father and manager. The show was created by Arrested Development and The Middle Age is All the Rage  creator Mitchell Hurwitz.

9:30 - Beauty & the Blogger [NEW SHOW] - This single camera situation comedy stars Karen Gillan as a struggling single mother, trying to put herself through college, while working three jobs, and Nicolas Wright, as her Bohemian blogger next door neighbour. The show plays out as a quirky, deftly written rom com. The show also features Jane Levy (Suburgatory) and former New Kid on the Block, Joey McIntyre.

10:00 - The Street - This gritty cop show which debuted in midseason, is back for a second season. The show is set in Detroit, and revolves around the vice squad of the Detroit Police Department. Critics have called this the best cop show since The Wire. The show stars Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad), Michael Mando (Orphan Black), Irone Singleton (The Walking Dead), Peyton List (The Tomorrow People), Zak Orth (Revolution), and Maggie Q. 

Thursday Night 

8:00 - Daniel Boom! - NBS's successful Thursday night line-up stays completely in tact in the new season, starting out with the longest running series on the young NBS, as Daniel Boom! is back for a fourth season. The setting is the 1870's Arizona Territory town of Boggle Bluff, and Daniel Boom is an honest lawman in a very corrupt town. Played by Jason Bateman, Boom is a frustrated lawman surrounded by idiots and imbeciles. The show also features Bateman's Arrested Development co-star, David Cross, as the town's shady saloon keeper, Jack McBrayer as Boom's not-so macho deputy, Stockard Channing as Daniel's meddlesome mother, Patrick Warburton as Boom's rancher nemesis, Ryan Lee (Super 8, Trophy Wife) as Daniel's son, and Roseanne and Scrubs alum Sarah Chalke as the town madame, and Daniel's love interest. 

8:30 - Margo & Me - This situation comedy stars Judy Greer as brilliant-but-flighty best selling novelist Margo McNeil, and Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development) as her put-upon personal assistant, Suzie Tanner, the titular Me. The show revolves around Suzie trying to keep Margo on track for her new novel, as well as her personal appearances, all the while attempting to keep the star writer from doing the stupid things she is prone to do. The show also stars Jason Alexander as Margo's demanding, self-centered publisher. This second season will also feature former Mad Men star Jay R. Ferguson, as Margo's conniving ex.

9:00 - The Reality of It All - Sort of a 30 Rock-ish take on the reality show, the show revolves around a Big Brother/Real World like reality show, and those running the show. Jim J. Bullock stars as the befuddled exec producer of the show. The Reality of It All, also stars Patton Oswalt (the busiest guy in show biz) as the head writer, Katie Holmes as the show's director, and Emily Rutherford ("New" Christine from The New Adventures of Old Christine) as the show's diva-esque reality TV star. Season two will also feature Mindy Kaling as Oswalt's new writing partner.

9:30 - The Dead Life - Ever wonder why there has never been a zombie situation comedy on American television? Me too! This single camera sit-com takes place after the coming Zombie Apocalypse, and follows some Walking Dead-like survivors as they wander through a broken civilization, trying to evade those undead flesh-eaters. Unlike The Walking Dead though, The Dead Life is all comedy, baby. The show stars Oliver Hudson, Cobie Smulders, Jodie Sweetin (Stephanie Tanner from Full House), Dave Franco (James' little brother), Chris Hardwick (the nerds in the audience know), Snoop Dogg (that's right), Friends alum David Schwimmer, and nut job royale, Gary Busey. Both Harry Shearer and Leah Remini join the cast in this second season, and Donald Glover, who guest starred in two episodes last season, will return as a regular cast member..

10:00 - Shooting Star - This is the dramatic story of a young singer, played by The Walking Dead's Emily Kinney, and her harrowing rise to stardom. Kinney plays Miranda Bright, an up-and-comer with a beautiful voice, but a woman who lacks the ability to make good life  decisions. It's a rough rough road to stardom, but Miranda is determined to get there any way she can - even if it destroys her, and all those around her. After the hopeful season one finale, season two will see Miranda teetering on the edge of stardom, but we all know, it won't be that easy. The show also stars Ben Feldman (Mad Men) and Yael Stone (Orange is the New Black).

Friday Night 

8:00 - Livin' the High Life [NEW SHOW] - Mad Men star Elizabeth Moss, stars as Janice Reed. Janice was once married to a Manhattan billionaire, but now, at thirty, finds herself divorced, ousted from her high society lifestyle, and forced to move back home to Miami, Florida, and take a job as a cocktail waitress in a local nightclub. Not only does Janice have to face life on her own for the first time (she was married the day after graduation), but she has to deal with working for a living, making ends meet financially AND she has to deal with her family, who she had been estranged from since she got married and ran off to New York. 

9:00 - Tales From the Projection Room - This hit anthology-esque show is back for a second season. A fantasy show with a cinematic bent. Based (kinda) on Buster Keaton's Sherlock, Jr., this is a show about the aptly named Buster, a nebbishy movie theater film projectionist, working in an old beat-up arthouse cinema where 35mm classic and cult films are still played, who fantasizes about being in old movies. Each episode includes tributes to, and reenactments of, classic and cult films, all starring Buster himself, played by SNL alum Bill Hader.

10:00 - The Bitch Squad - TV icons Roseanne Barr, Jean Smart, Christine Beranski, and Shelly Long, star in this biting top ten rated comedy. Former high school friends who grew apart after graduation, and have come back together as they all turn sixty, realizing after all these years that they can't stand each other. Think The Golden Girls meet Sex and the City and then turns into Desperate Housewives. The show was the second top rated comedy on TV this past season (only The Big Bang Theory beat it out) and is back in its Friday Night timeslot to kick more ass in season two.

Saturday Night

8:00 - Happy Happy - One of last season's surprise hit shows, this hour-long comedy is set in Catalina, and revolves around a pill-popping private investigator named Happy Happy. Yeah, that's his name. The show stars David Duchovny as Happy, and features Aisha Tyler as his ex-wife, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as his boat captain buddy, and Sarah Paulson as Happy's regular femme fatale. Season two will see the addition of former Mad Men semi-regular, Bryan Batt, as a local restaurateur.

9:00 - The Twins [NEW SHOW] - Real life twins Giovanni and Marissa Ribisi, play fictional twins Hayden and Gloriana Westgrave. Hayden and Gloriana are telepathic and telekinetic, and share a bond forged centuries ago, when their family was cursed with a need to feed on human emotions like psychic vampires. A dark and twisted tale of murder and mayhem, with a pair of brilliantly nuanced performances by the Ribisi siblings.

10:00 - The Crooked Man - This show about a serial killer has been controversial from its very inception. Many tried to get it taken off the air last season (some even before it aired its first episode) but it never worked, and instead, here we are in season two. The titular Crooked Man (we are still not given an actual name), is played by Crispin Glover, and he goes about his murder spree with a gleeful delight, and no one is safe. There is torture and rape and other gruesome and nefarious acts. This is a dark show, possibly the darkest on TV. It is also one of the most critically acclaimed shows on the network.

Midseason Shows

The Oscars - After its successful run this past Spring, this intriguing series about the behind-the-scenes antics during each season's Oscar race in Hollywood, will return for another 13 episode season in January. The show, with an almost entirely new cast from season one, will feature Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad), Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire), Kim Catrall (Sex & the City), Kristin Bauer van Straten (True Blood), and John Slattery (Mad Men).

Abraham - Abraham is a man who travels the world, thinking he is the messiah. The real question though, is who he really is? Is he a wanted criminal? Is he a spy? Is he a man with delusions? Is he the messiah? He may be none of these or he may be all of these. The show stars Luke Perry.

Celebrity Life With Charlie - This is a celebrity version of the hit series, Life with Charlie. It pits infamous jailbird, Charlie Manson against celebrities, in all kinds of silly fun and games. Some of the (big name) celebs involved in this second season will be Vanessa Hudgens, Axl Rose, Gary Valentine, Lou Dobbs, and Justin Beiber.

Johnny Damon's Beach House Adventure - This quirky comedy is part reality TV, part sit-com, and part WTF. Starring former MLB outfielder, Johnny Damon, as himself, the show revolves around the former player's crazy adventures with all his equally crazy friends. Guests will include the likes of former teammates Manny Ramirez, and Nick Swisher, Food Network star Guy Fieri, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, several Playboy Playmates (of course), Andy Dick, and former MTV veejay, Kennedy.

The Devil and Danny [NEW SHOW] - This classic multi-camera situation comedy was created by Dan Harmon of Community fame, and stars Community star, Danny Pudi, as a down-on-his-luck TV producer who makes a deal with the Devil in order to make his shows successful. Like Community, this new show has a very meta feel about it. The Devil will be played by Rob Riggle.

A Girl Like Maria [NEW SHOW] - Stand-up comic Maria Bamford writes, produces, and stars in this sitcom about a stand-up comic dealing with her dysfunctional family and her own bouts of depression and anxiety.


That's it gang (for now). See ya 'round the web. Remember to check back to see how all these shows fare. All updates (weekly ratings, awards announcements, renewals and cancellations, schedule changes, and what have you) can be found on the NBS page on the Index page, under the TV section. Huzzah!

*editor's note: Yes, this is an alternate TV history thing. Please do not search the TV this Fall for any of these shows. Granted, they should be on the air, and if I had my druthers (and a couple billion dollars) they would be, but alas...well, you know the rest.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Fond and Tearful (But Not At All Cynical) Farewell to Mad Men

After seven rather brilliant seasons, AMC's Mad Men takes its final bow this week, with what may be the best damn finale in television history - as well as the perfect way to end such a show. For those who have not yet seen the final episode, and wish to spend their time, spoiler free, then you should probably go somewhere else until you have seen the episode. Ye have been warned. For all those still with me, wasn't that the perfect ending!? Yes it was Kevyn, is the only correct response to that query.

Matthew Weiner's groundbreaking (yes, groundbreaking!) period drama, spanning the entirety of the 1960's (even spilling over into the opening year of the seventies) has always been about one thing. Yes, the show tackled everything from the dangers of smoking to the inherent sexism of the period, but over all of that, mad men was about consumerism. Good old fashioned consumerism. Some say that consumerism has taken over our lives in more modern times. Some may be correct. Sure, without consumerism, our economy would tank (even worse than it has), and therefore it is a necessary thing. Some people are just overly sensitive to the seemingly all-encompassing modern day consumerism. Ads are everywhere now, even in places like gas pumps and taxi cabs, and yes, it can all be a bit daunting. but, alas, it is something our economy needs, in order to survive. Sure, we probably don't need it to the near-omnipresent state that we now have it, but we do need it. And with this need for consumerism, we also need advertising, and in turn, those people who are the creative forces behind these ads. This brings us to Mad Men. I knew I'd get there eventually.

Back in the early days of the advertising boom that followed the economic boom of the 1950's, Mad Men takes a look at these ad men...and yes, these were ad MEN in 1960. By the end of the show's run, in 1970, there were a few women who made their way up the ladder. One made it there on her back, but then went on to prove herself more than worthy of the position of power she found herself in. The other began as a mere secretary (the show's first episode is this character's first day at the ad firm of Sterling-Cooper) and later became one of those aforementioned creative forces behind some of the best ads of the times. One can claim that this character, Peggy Olsen (my favourite of the show btw - forget Betty or Joan, it was Peggy who stole my heart), is as much the star of the show as Don Draper ever was, but let's face facts - this was the story of Don Draper, and how he changed both the advertising world, and himself - the latter part literally, as he stole another man's identity. But hey, if you are still reading this, then you are most likely a Mad Men fan, and have no need for any sort of attempt at a series synopses. So let's get on with things and talk about that ending. That fantastic, near-perfect series finale. Yes, the final episode, as a whole may not have been one of the better episodes, but that last scene, those final few moments, were pure, unadulterated Mad men bliss.

After a Kerouacian journey to find out just who he is (Don Draper? Dick Whitman? Somebody else altogether?), and just what and where is his place in this world, Don Draper ends up on a commune on the coast of California. About as far away from Madison Avenue as one could get. Having failed at relationship after relationship, and then it ends with that knowing smirk, and then that iconic Coke ad. Seriously, it has been four days now, and that damn song is still in my head. But anyhoo, back to that ending, that finale. Some have whined that it was an easy out to end the series (some even claim it was a cynical finale), but in my not so humble opinion, it was the perfect coda for a show about consumerism - and not at all cynical. Sure, it does have a taste of ambiguity (did he really go back and create that ad or was it just an empty coda to the story, and Don really did find himself in the California sun), but however one looks at it, the show could not have ended any other way - and it should not have ended any other way. But enough of my gushing and rambling. Mad Men was one of my favourite shows (and may be the best drama ever on television) and it will be missed. That's it gang. See ya 'round the web. Now let's finish on a different note. Here's my darling Peggy, in the third from final episode, being the rock star she was always meant to be.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Worst to Best: The Stanley Kubrick Filmography

Hello and welcome to a brand new regular series here on the ole blog. In this second episode of this new regular series, I take a look at all thirteen of Stanley Kubrick's feature films. He's my all-time fave director, and five of his films are in my personal top 100 films (more than any other director) and the guy never made a bad film, so the term worst is merely relative. So here we go. Have at 'em!

13. Spartacus (1960) - As I stated in my intro, Stanley Kubrick never made a bad film, but if any of his films comes close, it's Spartacus. Just the filmmaker's fifth film, this big budget studio pic was also the one film Kubrick had little to no control over. Sure, it's a good film, and better than your average studio pic of the era, but when compared to the rest of Kubrick's oeuvre, this is the one that doesn't quite fit. Not a bad film (we've already established the man never made a bad film) but not a great film either. Now, as for the auteur's other dozen works...

12. Killer's Kiss (1955) - This was Kubrick's second feature. I never saw the damn thing until about five years ago though. Shameful, huh? Anyhoo, this was yet another film the young Kubrick did not like. He had already pulled his first film (Fear and Desire - see #10) from circulation due to not liking the final product, and when United Artists demanded he give this film a happy ending, he denounced this one too.

11. Eyes Wide Shut (1999) - Although he had already began pre-production work on A.I. when he passed away (finished by Spielberg, after his death), Eyes Wide Shut would be the auteur's final film. Released four months after Kubrick's passing (the director had shown his final cut to the studio just days before he died), Eyes Wide Shut, with its sexual politics, was the director's most controversial film, or at least his most controversial since 1971's A Clockwork Orange. But anyone who can make a great film around Tom Cruise, is pretty talented indeed.

10. Fear and Desire (1953) - Kubrick had already made a pair of short films, but this film, also rather short-ish at 62 minutes, would be his first actual feature. Kubrick was not all that happy with the final product (then again, the perfectionist in him rarely was ever happy with his final products) and it was not a box office success at all, but it did garner critical praise. Eventually, the film (mostly) disappeared from public view, only to be found and restored just a few years back.

9. Full Metal Jacket (1987) - By the time Full Metal Jacket was released, it had been seven years since Kubrick's last film (and would be another 12 until his next). Basically, this was Kubrick's answer to Apocalypse Now and the slew of war film wannabes that came after. Both visceral and ethereal, this is probably the least analyzed of Kubrick's films (save for the director's first two films), and therefore is not given the credit films like 2001 and Strangelove and Clockwork get.

8. Barry Lyndon (1975) - When people think about Kubrick, they think cerebral visions and dark humour. Barry Lyndon is probably the least like this image of any of the auteur's films, yet beneath the period costumes and so-called proper dialogue, it is still as much a Kubrickian nightmare vision as anything the director has ever put out there.

7. Dr. Strangelove (1964) - Outside of some funny moments in Full Metal Jacket and even A Clockwork Orange, this hilarious film is Kubrick's one true comedy - and one hell of a comedy it is. Politically charged (of course), Strangelove was an out-and-out hit, becoming Kubrick's first Best Picture nominee (Clockwork and Barry Lyndon would also receive BP nods), and is one of the best damn satires the cinema has ever seen. So there.

6. The Shining (1980) - Many of my fellow critics would probably put this film a bit lower down on their respective lists, and that is a shame. Never getting the respect it deserves, this Stephen King adaptation is one of my all-time favourite horror films. The same cannot be said for Stephen King's thoughts on the film, as he and Kubrick fought over most things the director was doing. Eventually, the film became less and less King's and more and more Kubrick's.

5. Lolita (1962) - Due to the time period and the studio system (which, granted, was pretty much defunct by this time, but still had some sway) there was no way Kubrick would have been able to make a true adaptation of Nabokov's classic novel. This, of course, did not stop the auteur from making one of the finest, if not wholly accurate, literary adaptations ever made. The book was adapted again in the 1990's, but nothing can top Kubrick's vision of the book.

4. Paths of Glory (1957) - This may be one of the strangest war films ever made, and that is part of why it is so great. Yeah, the crisper than crisp black and white cinematography is more than stunning, and Kirk Douglas' performance is one of the best of his career, but is Kubrick's strangeness that makes this war film work as well as it does. A true creature of beauty is this strange little film.

3. The Killing (1956) - This is another one of those Kubrick films that never gets its proper due. A film noir masterpiece, starring Sterling Hayden, The Killing is a brilliant film, full of twists and turns. Its fractured storyline and Rashomon-esque dis-jointed perspectives, have been a major influence on many modern filmmakers, most notably Quentin Tarantino, who called this film a significant influence on his first feature, Reservoir Dogs.

2. A Clockwork Orange (1971) - One of only two X-rated films to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, this infamous adaptation of the equally infamous Anthony Burgess novel, is the kind of film that one either hates or loves. many cannot even watch the damn thing without becoming sickened and/or disturbed. That's kind of what I like about the film. It may not be an easy watch for some (overly sensitive dandies that they are) but goddammit, it's a fucking fantastic work of art!

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - And here we are at the best. This was the first film I ever bought on DVD, as well as the first I ever bought on Blu-ray. As with most of Kubrick's films, I have been lucky enough to see this on the big screen (Barry Lyndon and Paths of Glory are the only two I have not...yet) and damn if it ain't one of the most gorgeous things you will ever see up there. This is actually my second favourite film of all-time (second only to The Red Shoes) and a film every person should be made to watch. Yeah, I know, they say that 2001 isn't for everyone, but screw that. Watch it!

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web. Please enjoy this shot from the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Heavenly Body of the Week: Aura, Planet of the Vampires

Anyone who knows anything about classic cinema, already knows how great Mario Bava is, was, and always will be. For those who do not know, you better hurry up and get to knowing, because you are missing some of the best horror films of all-time. For today's lesson, I give you the 1965 film, Planet of the Vampires. The story is pretty basic. A couple of spaceships from Earth, land on the uncharted planet called Aura, after receiving a mysterious distress call. Once they land...well, I'm guessing you can figure out who and what they find there.

This film is a rather pretty cool cult classic, and a huge influence, both in narrative and visually, on Ridley Scott's Alien. Granted, Scott has claimed he had not seen Planet of the Vampires before making Alien, but that's got to be a lie, or at the very least, a misremembrance of the director's past. Yeah, Scott got a lot from HR Giger, but he also got a lot from here. Bava, especially for not being all that well known outside of cinephiliac circles these days, was actually a big influence on many of today's directors. Everyone from Carpenter and Cronenberg to Tim Burton and Tarantino, were influenced by Bava. Even Scorsese's oeuvre has a bit of the ole Bava in it. I am sure Scott had seen Planet of the Vampires when he was younger. Perhaps he saw so many films (the guy is a cinephile after all) that he forgot this one. Anyhoo, this classic pulp magazine-esque B-movie is one ya'll should see. It is sexy and campy and a delicious work of cinema, indeed. Visually, this is one fantastic looking heavenly body. Although we should probably call this one a Hellish body, huh? However ya'll look at it, you should watch it. You are welcome for the recommendation.

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Universal Monsters Poll: The Scary Results

So here we are, at the end of our Universal Monster Poll. Your job? To pick and choose your favourite of the classic Universal Monsters. You had about six weeks to do this, so hopefully you got your vote in while it still counted. If you didn't? Oh well, it's too late now, because here come the results.

This was actually a pretty close race. Well, for some of the contestants. Out of the eight official Universal Monsters in our poll, four of them were battling it out for the top spot, while another one (a certain lovely lady monster) tried valiantly to make it a five way race. But let's start at the bottom, and work our way up, shall we? Evidently, no one really likes the Phantom of the Opera all that much, as the poor schmuck received just 3 votes - and this was out of a total of 111 votes cast. And one could also say that the Invisible Man was kind of invisible as well, garnering just 8 votes, for a seventh place finish. then, in sixth place, with just 11 votes, was The Mummy. This is where things began to get interesting. As I had alluded to earlier, The Bride of Frankenstein tried to make this a five way race, but in the end, the lone female combatant could not keep up (sexism!!) and the lovely lady with the stand-up hair (gotta love that do!) ended up in fifth place, with 15 votes, many of these gathered in the final few days of the poll. But you other guys. That's where it all was.

The vampire, the monster, the lupine, and the creature. Now that was a race. At one point, each of them had the lead all to themselves, only to have it yanked away, time and time again. Like I said, a real battle royale. Seriously, this was one of the closest polls we've had yet. But who won the damn thing!? Yeah yeah, I'm getting to that. Chillax homeskillet. So, coming in fourth place was the wouldbe hubby of that aforementioned bride. Frankenstein's Monster (and not Frankenstein, as that was his creator, and a real big pet peeve of mine) garnered 17 votes. Then in third place came the hairiest of our monsters, as The Wolf man beat the monster by just one vote. That would be 18 votes for those unable to do basic math. And then came the second place finisher, which I thought was the biggest surprise of 'em all - but a welcome surprise if ya ask me. With 19 votes, The Creature From the Black Lagoon takes home the silver medal. Way to go tall, green, and scaly. But alas, in what many probably saw as a forgone conclusion, the so-called king of the monsters, master of the night, and all around baddass dude, Count Dracula, took home the top prize, garnering a total of 21 votes. So suck on that! See what I did there?

So that's it for our Classic Universal Monster Poll. This is usually the part where I announce the new poll, theoretically starting up today, but as I have no new poll ready at the moment, we are going to have to hold off on that one. But not to worry true believers, for a brand spankin' new poll is just right around the corner, and you will be the first, or at least one of the first, to know all about it. For now, that's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Monday, May 11, 2015

All Things Kevyn Proudly & Defiantly Presents the All Things Kevyn Phonetic Alphabet 2.0 (a Replacement for the Tired NATO Version)

So, everyone knows about the tired old NATO Phonetic Alphabet, right? You know the one. It goes Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, yada yada yada. Yeah, that one. They made it back in the 1950's, in order to unify all the world's code speakers into a catch-all of sorts. My name would be spelled Kilo Echo Victor Yankee November. Kinda cool, huh? Anyhoo, the damn thing has been around for sixty some years now, and is getting a little boring. So, I went and did the only reasonable thing. I created my own version of the alphabet. A Phonetic 2.0, if you will. So far I have not heard back from NATO (or any other official source) as to when they are going to adopt my new version. I'm sure I will hear back soon, though. Oh, and before I publicly unveil my all-new, all-better phonetic alphabet, to the right is the original version for comparison.

And so, without further ado, here is the official All Things Kevyn Phonetic Alphabet 2.0.

We should probably start out with a rather positive, even affirmative, first letter. You know, to get everything started on the right note. Yeah, atta boy (or girl).

Sure, anyone can use an umbrella, but it's much cooler if you use a bumbershoot instead.

In the words of Cookie Monster, "Me want cookie!" Yeah, I like cookies, what's it to ya!?

Anyone who knows me personally, or even anyone who is a regular reader here, knows damn well that my pet name for the little missus is Doodlebug. 'nuff said.

 Be it a snowy one or a Chinese one or an Eastern Reef one, or even an Intermediate one, the Egret is the greatest of the looney birds.

Boy, I say, Boy! Yes, the coolest rooster this side of Cock-a-Doodle-Doo made the cut.

The home world of the Time Lords and everybody's favourite Doctor. And bow ties are cool.

Yeah, this is a reference to both A Clockwork Orange and Rocky Horror. So there!

As in, it's probably pretty iffy that NATO (or whoever is in charge of such things) is going to actually accept and use the new and improved 2.0 Alphabet. The bastards!

With J, you can go mean or yummy. Player's choice.

Come on! Look at the name of the blog. Like I could do this without throwing my name into the ring.

Boy, I say, Boy! Yes, the rooster has a last name too.

Here's a little shout out to all the fine folks over at Seinfeld. If you get it, you're aces in my book.

This one goes out to the late great Robin Williams. If you do not know the connection, then shame on you.

The term A-OK should have always been A-Okey Dokey. 'nuff said.

What some peeps may not know about me (and I am sure all my faithful readers know) is that I collect Pez dispensers. The collection currently stands at 2,505 dispensers.

Okay, so who said all the words had to be easy words to say. Okay, maybe that would be the smarter way to go, but dammit, I don't care!

 And this one's for all my Norsemen and Viking homies.

 How could a smiley-face not make a, Plus there's the existence of the great comic book series, Smiley-Face Land Adventures. Yeah, you should really check that out.

The original list had India on it, so I thought the 2.0 version needed a country as well, so why not the tiniest little island on the edge of Polynesia?

At first it sounds kinda dirty, until you realize it's just that dangly thing in the back of your throat.

I firmly believe in the power of the onomatopoeia. Vroom Vroom, indeed.

I saw Star Wars upon its initial release back in '77. I was ten and I was hooked. So yeah, I had to include someone or something from the Star Wars Universe, and who better than a Wookiee?

I could have gone with the X-Men themselves, but decided their founder would be more appropriate.

I didn't go with Bigfoot for B, nor Sasquatch for S, so here we are at Yeti for Y.

And last, but certainly not least, the name of the coolest cat (aka, feline) you will ever know. My pet cat, Zooey. The Zoo-Meister. Zoo-Dog. Hong Kong Zooey. Zoo-Dingo! Zoo-Man-du!! Oh, and J.D. Salinger used the name too, but we don't want to get sued, so forget I even mentioned that part.

And check it out, now my name is spelled Kevyn Egret Vroom Vroom Yeti Nanu Nanu. Pretty coolio, huh?

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web. Now, here are some pop art pineapples, just because.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Film Review: Avengers: Age of Ultron

So here we go again. Another superhero movie. Another Avengers movie. Another box office boffo opening weekend, and another franchise builder. All-in-all, it's just another typical weekend in Hollywood USA. The thing here though, as opposed to many of the more generic blockbuster franchise fodder that gets thrust upon audiences these days, is that this is a fun movie. Just like the first Avengers movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron is a fun fun movie, full of tons of great geeky stuff to keep us comic book nerds happy happy happy. Is it the second coming of Citizen Kane? Of course not, but then it was never meant to be. Is Joss Whedon the fan boy equivalent of Orson Welles or Stanley Kubrick? Of course not. That's J.J. Abrams. I kid (sorta), but seriously, Avengers: Age of Ultron is a blast of a movie, a fun time for any action movie aficionado, and an added second blast for all the comic book fans who "get" all the quick asides and in-jokes and Easter eggs galore.

For those not in the know, and if you are not in the know, you probably don't care about this film, and therefore are not reading this review, but for those who may squeak in there without great knowledge of what The Avengers movies are all about, here's a little background for you. The Avengers are a superhero group ensconced within the Marvel Universe. Created in 1963 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, The Avengers have had many members lo these fifty plus years. In the cinematic version, the team consists of Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo, with a little help from the CGI team). In the first movie, we saw the team come together (just like how the original comic brought together characters from other comics, the film version brings together characters from various precursor solo films), and do some major ass-kicking against Loki and his brood of alien invaders. Here, in the second film, we see the team more organized, and now taking on the robotic Ultron (voiced by James Spader), a character actually created by Tony Stark (Iron Man, for the initiated) and Bruce Banner (The Hulk's alter ego). Originally, Ultron was supposed to be a tool for peace, but you know how things go. Now he is set on human destruction, along with his unaware minions, Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor Johnson) and The Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). That's basically the story here, folks. To say anything else would give away important plot points and twists and turns and such.

As a comic book nerd from waaay back (after discovering the X-Men at nine, The Avengers were the next big thing in my young comic book reading world) there are a lot of fun, interesting bon mots throughout the film, that those only familiar with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (as opposed to the comic book world) may not get. The banter between the characters, the quippy inside jokes, the hidden gems. A wonderfully giddy (at least I was giddy) off-duty scene involving all the heroes trying to lift Thor's hammer. And no, that is not a euphemism. The freakin' Hulkbuster armor! It's all here in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Everything happening in this film, just like in all other MCU films, is laying the groundwork for the next phase of Marvel films. It is truly an al-encompassing cinematic universe that is trying to be created here. Granted, Joss Whedon has announced he will not be back for the third and fourth Avengers films (Avengers: Infinity War, parts I and II), and after you watch the film, you will see that many of the stars and characters will not be back either, but with the seemingly seamless array of changing characters (upcoming will be Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, and even Spider-Man in a Sony/Disney crossover event) is what makes these films work as well as they do. And we haven't even discussed the TV version of the MCU (Daredevil, Luke Cage, and others) yet.

But hey, this is a review of Avengers: Age of Ultron (not that a movie like this can really be properly reviewed and/or critiqued), so let me just finish by saying that it may not be quite as good as the first film (though certain individual parts are better, but not an overall greater film) but damn it is a fun movie. Yes, the film does suffer from a bout of oft-criticized sexism, which runs through most Hollywood movies, and not just here (bigger picture problems there), and some sub plots never really go anywhere of interest, instead just act as wonton character development that also never goes anywhere of interest (more Hawkeye, more Black Widow!), If I were to rank the the MCU movies, this one would not rate in the same company as the first Avengers, nor either Captain America film, the first Iron Man, nor Guardians of the Galaxy, the latter of which may just be the best of 'em all so far. Still though, especially for this comic book nerd from waaay back, it's an enjoyable romp.That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Heavenly Body of the Week: Abuda-3

So, in honour of International Star Wars Day on  Monday (May the Fourth be With You), and coinciding with the opening weekend of Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron, we here at All Things Kevyn (aka, me me me) thought it would be a good time to include a planet from Marvel's Star Wars comic series from the 1970's/1980's. Which brings us to issue #8 of the Bronze Age series. Once the original film adaptation was over with issue #6, the story moved onto new planets and new perils. A couple issues later, and Han and Chewie found themselves teamed up with six fellow rogues and rapscallions. Maybe even a scruffy nerfherder or two. This new story arc also brought this gang to the planet, the heavenly body, if you will, called Abuda-3. Yeah, not a very sexy name, but then this storyline is often thought of as one of the low-lights in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Personally, I remember really enjoying the story back when it first came out in early 1978 - especially the six foot tall green rabbit. Then again, I was just turning ten years old at the time, so what the hell did I know!?

Sure, Disney has since rendered much of the Expanded Universe stuff null and void, including this old Marvel series, but that doesn't mean we can't discuss it here. I mean, it's not like we are talking about those supposed prequel things everyone is talking about. I personally don't think they actually exist, but I digress. I honestly don't remember much of this story arc, other than Jaxxon, the aforementioned  big green rabbit, some porcupine-like dude, and some kick-ass chick in a fluffy pink and red bikini (those just burgeoning preteen hormones, ya know), but I'm sure it was quite good. Or maybe not. Who knows. All I know is I remember enjoying it, even if I don't remember what happened. There was a heavenly body though, and that's all that matters here and now.

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.