Enjoy this blog because what you read is of legendary status.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

60 Favorite Television Characters: 49

Yes, of course there are going to be animated characters on this list. What? Did you think that they aren't "real" enough to be on the list. To that, I say neigh neigh (get it?). Animated characters have just as much, if not more, substance than any live-action character out there. And BoJack Horseman fits the bill perfectly. Look, at the root of everything, BoJack is an asshole. There's no other way to put it. But he doesn't want to be that way. It's like his mother told him when he was a child: "You're incomplete. Your read your books and you have your movies and your girlfriends, but it won't make you whole. You're BoJack Horseman. There's no cure for that." It's a chilling line, but it's true. He just simply cannot be a decent person even when he tries. But he's a great character because despite his flaws and his depression, it's exactly that. He tries.

BoJack Horseman: Lead character on BoJack Horseman portrayed by Will Arnett.

Happy Halloween

It's that time of the year again! Halloween! Enjoy the spookiest holiday of all; it's sure to be a great one. The last one we celebrate on this blog, in fact. Happy Halloween, everyone!

Lip Sync Battle: Ellen DeGeneres

As decent as the Lip Sync Battle television show was, there's nothing like a good, old-fashioned Tonight Show Lip Sync Battle. It just feels right and it is just better. And I've always felt like Justin Timberlake and Ellen DeGeneres would make good additions to the mythology that is the Lip Sync Battle. And sure enough, they did. It was Jimmy Fallon v. Ellen DeGeneres with Justin Timberlake as the judge. And this one, I do actually agree with the ruling. Jimmy was great, but Ellen edged him out. Enjoy it for yourself, though, if you haven't seen it already.

Friday, October 30, 2015

60 Favorite Television Characters: 50

Jesse Pinkman, of Breaking Bad fame, is not a bad selection to begin the top fifty of this sixty character-long countdown at all. I do enjoy watching dramas on television, but there's no dying the fact that there are going to be more characters from comedies than dramas. That's just the truth. (Sorry, Tony Soprano! I promise to watch your show one day. I've heard only good things.) But Breaking Bad was just too good of a show to ignore. And why should I ignore it? Jesse Pinkman was just such a well-made character because most audience members can think of some kid they knew growing up who was like Jesse. Mixed up in awful stuff? Sure. A good person at heart? Absolutely. You root for Jesse from start to finish on that show because he is just so tortured. It's tough that he never even really got his happy ending. But he's got a chance.

Jesse Pinkman: Supporting character on Breaking Bad portrayed by Aaron Paul.

History of Rap 6

Justin Timberlake has appeared occasionally on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon since it debuted back in February of 2014, but he had only been an official guest on the show once (The 20/20 Tour kept him busy) and that was the fifth episode. That disturbing fact changed, fortunately, last month when Timberlake made his triumphant return to hang out with his best friend. And, of course, to celebrate the two created the sixth installment in their History of Rap series, even starting the episode with it! These two together are like no other duo. You just gotta love it.

David Ortiz at 500

On September 12th, David Ortiz became just the twenty-seventh person in history to accomplish an incredibly rare and challenging feat. Hit five hundred home runs in his MLB career. His five hundredth came off a pitch from Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Moore at Tropicana Field and Boston Red Sox fans the world over rejoiced! He joins Manny Ramirez, Jimmie Foxx, and Ted Williams as the only other Red Sox to ever join the club. Congratulations are due to Big Papi!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

60 Favorite Television Characters: 51

Ben Wyatt is one of the greatest character additions to any shows that was fairly well into its tenure at the time of casting. He's not the greatest. I mean, after all, there's another one from Parks and Recreation who meets the same criteria and who you'll be seeing later in the list. But still, Ben Wyatt is one of the all-time greats in this regard. And, as evidenced by the title, one of the all-time fifty-one greats overall. I just love Ben for how completely comfortable with himself he is, how kind and compassionate and unbelievably intelligent he is. Adam Scott exudes charisma and this finds its way to pervading Ben's unabashedly nerdy persona, as well. It's hard to pick a favorite character from Parks and Rec, but Ben Wyatt is always in the conversation.

Ben Wyatt: Supporting character on Parks and Recreation portrayed by Adam Scott.

Advice for Stephen Colbert

Before Stephen Colbert debuted his version of CBS's The Late Show (aptly titled The Late Show with Stephen Colbert), Vanity Fair gathered a whole bunch of late night hosts to give him advice. Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O'Brien, James Corden, John Oliver, Larry Wilmore, and Trevor Noah all assembled to give short little soundbites of encouragement for Colbert. You may notice that Jimmy Fallon was not in the video. That's okay. He showed his support by being a part of the very first episode, reciprocating what Colbert did for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. They're friendship goals.

This Week's Entertainment by David

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

60 Favorite Television Characters: 52

If you looked at the very heart of The Office, I believe you would find Pam Beesly's sweetly beaming and innocently doubtful essence. She was the heart of that show, no doubt. You could make a case for Jim and Pam's relationship being the heart, but if you can only pick one character, it's Pam. No doubt. She has such talent that goes unappreciated because she just has no confidence. That's only in the first couple seasons, though, because by the end of The Office's nine-year run, Pam is completely and unabashedly herself: fun and dorky. But that all happens after season three because that third year is when she becomes the star of The Office, going through a whole lot of character development as she grows and becomes the woman she always was. It's probably the greatest single season character development ever done on a sitcom or any television show for that matter. You've just gotta love Pam.

Pam Beesly: Lead character on The Office portrayed by Jenna Fischer.

Jimmy Fallon Ride

It's been a rumor for a couple months now, but it was just confirmed last night. Universal Studios Orlando will be getting a new ride to replace the lackluster Twister! attraction. Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon is coming to the theme park and I must say that this is some of the most exciting news I've heard in my entire life! Originally thought to be a trip through Fallon's mind, it is now confirmed to be a hectic trip throughout New York City complete with plenty of celebrity guests, Fallon-esque fun, and "smoke," as Jimmy declared. He compared it to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which is over at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure, the sister park of the one Fallon's ride will be located. He said that, instead of Harry Potter and Hogwarts, it's him and New York City. I'll be riding it for sure!

Nickelodeon Crossover Movie

Recently, to jump in on the shared universe craze, Nickelodeon and Paramount announced that they are working together (as usual) to create a massive, animated crossover movie that will star the characters of many of the classic cartoons from the 1990s. The film is a team-up style movie titled Nicktoons, with no release date yet. But the cartoons involved will be Rugrats, Angry Beavers, Ren & Stimpy, Hey Arnold!, Doug, and more. I'm definitely intrigued.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

60 Favorite Television Characters: 53

While here on this list now we feature Barney Stinson, he was not initially the only character from How I Met Your Mother I had featured. I also had Lily Aldrin and Marshall Eriksen. But upon further thought, I realized that in the grand scheme of the top sixty, Barney was truly the only deserving one of a spot. And he's a great character with a lot more depth than most people give him credit. Look, I understand a lot of the criticism of the show and of Barney. If I knew a guy like Barney, I probably wouldn't be friends with him, Yes, he's a douche with a Peter Pan/your misogynistic uncle drunk at Thanksgiving combination of complexes, but as the show went on, the audience realized that there was more to Barney. Beneath all of his Casanova swagger was real pain, real aching, real intelligence. And his character shone even more when this was revealed, time and again.

Barney Stinson: Supporting character on How I Met Your Mother portrayed by Neil Patrick Harris.

Lucille Ball Biopic

This is definitely a movie I'll be seeing, though it's not one I ever expected to see. Aaron Sorkin, one of the all-time great screenwriters, is slated to pen the script for a biopic about one of the most influential comedians to ever live, Lucille Ball. Attached to star as Lucy? Well, that would be Cate Blanchett. Apparently, the film will chronicle Lucy's tenure on I Love Lucy and her twenty-year marriage to Desi Arnaz. Sign me up!

This Week's Sports by David

Monday, October 26, 2015

60 Favorite Television Characters: 54

It's often been said that It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia was the psuedo-successor (though, Curb Your Enthusiasm could also be in the running for that title) to Seinfeld in that the characters were all terrible people who found solace in their own friendships. But the characters on It's Always Sunny are, like, truly terrible people times one thousand. But it's Charlie Kelly who is the least awful of the bunch and that may just be due in part to his stupidity. He has a childlike idiotic quality about him that can either be really hilarious or really endearing. Either way, his illiteracy will never get old.

Charlie Kelly: Lead character on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia portrayed by Charlie Day.

Jon Rudnitsky Joins SNL

The entire cast of Saturday Night Live's fortieth season will be returning for the forty-first, but they'll be adding another guy to the mix. Jon Rudnitsky has joined the cast of SNL as a featured player. A stand-up and YouTube parody comedian, Rudnitsky has likely been added to properly accommodate the wide field of politicians that SNL must lampoon. Additionally, Beck Bennett, Kyle Mooney, Colin Jost, and Sasheer Zamata have all been upgraded to repertory status. It's going to be a fun season.

Mindy Kaling Is Not Done

Paste Magazine recently published this great article (click on the world article if you want to read it) about Mindy Kaling. An interviewer from the magazine spent some time with Kaling and eventually shaped the article around how Kaling is nowhere close to thinking about what it would be like to be anything less than prolific. Isn't she just the greatest?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

60 Favorite Television Characters: 55

Whether you know him as Burton Guster or Felicia Fancybottom...or Squirts Macintosh...or Hummingbird Saltalamacchia or The Vault of Secrets or Ghee Buttersnaps aka "The Heater" or Gus "Silly-Pants" Jackson or Lavender Gooms or Schoonie "U-Turn" Singleton or any one of the many nicknames Gus has worn reluctantly and, occasionally, with pride, there's no doubting that Gus is probably the greatest sidekick in television history. And he's not even really that much of a sidekick because he's every bit as valuable as Shawn! And he'd be the first to tell you that, too. Gus is driven, passionate, and loyal and he has an undercurrent of longing for love, too. Most times that hole is filled by Shawn. But through all his many ups and downs, I'm sure everyone has a great deal of love and respect for Bruton Gaster.

Burton Guster: Lead character on Psych portrayed by Dule Hill.

Recap of the 2015 D23 Expo

A lot happened at this year's D23 Expo, an event that occurs just once every two years (but man is it great when it's an odd-numbered year). The first look at Captain America: Civil War was shown, as well as concept art from Doctor Strange. Pixar announced their upcoming slate of films, as did Disney Animation, which also bolstered the event with an announcement that Dwayne Johnson would star in their upcoming film, Moana. Magic Kingdoms was announced to be a new game coming soon to mobile phones, but everyone cares about the real theme parks when it comes to the D23 Expo. And there was some huge news in that arena that weekend in mid-August. Let's take a look at all the theme park news announced.

  • Soarin' at EPCOT will receive a new film that will lead the ride into its change to be called Soarin' Over the World. To me, this is the most exciting news because I love Soarin' and I can't wait to see what it's like to travel the world in that capacity. Maybe the ending will be in space. That would be something really special.
  • A new restaurant will open at Magic Kingdom's Adventureland called The Skipper Canteen and it will be themed like The Jungle Cruise!
  • Finally, an attraction has been announced for Pandora: The World of Avatar over at Animal Kingdom. The ride will be titled Avatar: Flight of Passage and it will place riders on a Banshee that dashes through the land of Pandora in the film's climactic action sequence.
  • Similar to Disneyland Paris, Hollywood Studios will now be home to an eleven-acre Toy Story Land. Included in the land will be a family-friendly roller coaster on top of Slinky Dog and a saucer-esque ride that makes the guest feel like one of the squeeze toy aliens as they try to avoid The Claw.
  • Finally, what was arguably the biggest news of the whole weekend. At Disney's Hollywood Studios, a fourteen-acre Star Wars Land will be taking a spot in the park over by Star Tours. The two main attractions coming with it will be a customized individual mission to pilot the Millennium Falcon and what has only been described as "an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle." In addition to these, the land will have Star Wars Launch Bay, an introspective look at the seven films, Jedi Academy, where characters can be met, Seasons of the Force, a fireworks show set to John Williams's score, a revamped Star Tours, and a Cantina-themed restaurant. This sounds epic.
It was definitely a good year for the D23 Expo. Even though this blog is ending, I will definitely have to come back with my thoughts on the way Walt Disney World looks once all of this is open. An exciting time!

Farewell, Don Orsillo

"Last Sunday at Fenway will be the greatest moment of my life. I can tell you that right now. Your tribute to me, I will never forget. Ever. I've been asked many times over the last six weeks how I would like to be remembered. To be remembered at all is enough for me. Thank you. Orsillo rounding third and heading home." And so were the final words that Don Orsillo uttered as a member of the Boston Red Sox, a part of the NESN broadcasting team. I mean, Boston has always had a feeling that NESN is a shit company and now we know that NESN is a shit company. They didn't show the incredibly moving montage that aired at Fenway on their channel so it had to be shakily found on YouTube. Nothing about the move to fire Orsillio makes any sense, but whatever. It's happened. Now, we just need to celebrate the man who called every Red Sox game I've ever known, the voice behind some of my greatest sports memories, the voice of my athletic childhood. I'm going to miss Orsillio and his in-game intensity that was coupled with his affable sense of humor. There will never be anything like his, "Here comes the pizza!" call. That's just the greatest. I'm going to miss him calling any Sox game I happen to watch. And as Jerry Remy wiped tears away and the Red Sox left the dugout to tip their caps to Orsillo, I'm sure many more were doing the same at home. Thanks, Don.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

60 Favorite Television Characters: 56

I haven't seen many episodes of Cheers. It's probably not the best way to have watched the show, but I watched the last two episodes and then the first sixteen and then nothing in between. It's on my itinerary of shows to binge watch on Netflix, but as it stands currently, I have only seen eighteen episodes and there are well over two hundred. But from what I've seen, I agree with the popular opinion in that I love the character, Norm. You know Norm from everyone yelling "Norm!" whether it's on the show or not. But he's the heart of Cheers, that much is obvious to me. He's arguably the most important character on the show. Besides the bar, that is.

Norm Peterson: Supporting character on Cheers portrayed by George Wendt.

Amy Schumer's Book

Amy Schumer has made a name for herself lately as one of the biggest names in comedy thanks to her prolific acting and writing talents that are emphasized the most by her stand-up circuit and creations, Inside Amy Schumer and Trainwreck. But now, her writing talents will be put to their biggest test yet as she has landed an eight million dollar deal to write a memoir for publishing company Simon & Schuster. Comparatively, Tina Fey made five million dollars for Bossypants and Lena Dunham made three and a half million for Not That Kind of Girl. I can't wait to read Schumer's foray into the literary world!

New Poll and Header - October 2015

Now that there is a new countdown, it's time for a new header! I went a bit minimalist on this one, but I like the way the layout turned out and I think the message is conveyed very clearly without giving too much of the list away. Can you guess every character included in the header? I bet the top right is super hard.

Additionally, in honor of the time of year when Peanuts specials air again (The Great Pumpkin, Thanksgiving, Christmas) and a new movie on September 6th, it's time to decide who everyone's favorite character of the Peanuts gang is! Check the right sidebar to vote.

Friday, October 23, 2015

60 Favorite Television Characters: 57

Lindsay Weir was the heart and soul of Freaks and Geeks, the cult television baby of Judd Apatow and Paul Feig. This was the type of show that, if it did anything but debut on NBC in the 1990s, it would have survived. With a cast like Martin Starr, Seth Rogen, Linda Cardellini, James Franco, Jason Segel, John Francis Daley, Busy Phillips, and Samm Levine, how could it do anything else? But Lindsay stands out because of how she had one foot in the geek group and the other in the freak group. She was torn between two factions while struggling heavily with her sense of self and her identity. Her story was the one that kept every viewer invested. The rest was just gravy.

Lindsay Weir: Lead character on Freaks and Geeks portrayed by Linda Cardellini.

The President Runs Wild

The NBC reality program Running Wild with Bear Grylls has had many celebrity guests attempt to survive in the wilderness with Bear, including Ben Stiller and Seth Rogen. But he took it to the next level with one of his most recent guests, the leader of the free world. That's right, President Barack Obama went to Alaska with the host to film an episode of the show. There's no premiere date for the episode yet, though NBC said it will air later this year. So expect it soon!

Andy Samberg and Will Forte

At this year's FOX upfronts, two former SNL cast members were joyfully reunited by way of the fact that they both have their own comedy shows on the network. Andy Samberg, the star of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, was conducting an interview when suddenly his speech was crashed by Will Forte, the start of The Last Man on Earth. What a joy it is to see these two together again!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

60 Favorite Television Characters: 58

Well, our streak of main characters has ended. After Jake Peralta and Chuck Bartowski, we now move to someone who, despite being in every episode, is a supporting character. Obviously, the main characters on I Love Lucy were Ricky and Lucy Ricardo, but what would they be without their cohorts and, in this specific instance, Fred Mertz? Sure, Fred was rude, stingy, verbally abusive, but you can spin these traits, too. He was independent, fiscally responsible, and comfortable. And, I mean, they played them for comedic effect so it's not really that big of a deal. And don't even try to tell me that you didn't root for Fred to save a nickel if he could. Because damn it, Fred loves his nickels!

Fred Mertz: Supporting character on I Love Lucy portrayed by William Frawley.

The Jungle Book Trailer

One of Disney's most iconic and classic animated films of all-time is The Jungle Book. And now, keeping with their live-action reboot pattern (Maleficent, Cinderella), they have released the trailer for the upcoming live-action remake of The Jungle Book. The trailer is really great. It is visually stunning and the casting all seems like it's going to be perfect. But the best moment of the whole two minutes? Mowgli sitting on Baloo as they float down the river with a bit of whistling to the Bear Necessities. So great. Nostalgia to the max.

This Week's Entertainment by David

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

60 Favorite Television Characters: 59

We're going to keep the main character paradigm rolling with the second installment on the list of television characters. Today, not only is the selection the main character of his respective show, but he is also the program's namesake. Chuck Bartowski was the perfect choice to be given the Intersect. Once, a mild-mannered technology employee of the Buy More, Chuck became the most coveted super spy of the United States government. But staying personable all the way, Chuck touched the lives of everyone with whom he came into contact. He's everything that comprises the definition of "lovable."

Chuck Bartowski: Lead character on Chuck portrayed by Zachary Levi.

Martin Short and Maya Rudolph

I guess NBC liked what they saw when Maya Rudolph hosted her own variety show back in 2014. But then they also liked what they saw during Saturday Night Live's fortieth anniversary special when she and Martin Short hosted a fifteen-minute segment of SNL's musical sketch history that was considered one of the highlights of the evening. Because now NBC has ordered a pilot for a new variety show that will be co-hosted by Rudolph and Short. I'm on board if it comes to fruition!

Red Sox Break a Different Curse

Everyone knows about the eighty-six year Curse of the Bambino that plagued the Boston Red Sox in their incredibly long championship drought that was set in motion by the trading of Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. But there's another curse that was ended eleven years after that other one was. The Curse of Ben Affleck, which assured that, since the release of Good Will Hunting, the Sox had never won on Affleck's birthday, August 15th, since 1997, going 0-15. This year, the streak was broken when Boston beat the Seattle Mariners, 22-10. Quite the drubbing. After the win, Affleck thanked the Red Sox. It's been a long time coming.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

60 Favorite Television Characters: 60

We are now beginning a new countdown. Yes, it was fun to experience the wealth of quality music in the world by way of the album, but now it's time to return to the visual, the small-screen as it were. We will now be counting down what is, in my opinion, the sixty best television characters there of all-time.

And to begin this list, we look to a very recently created character. So recent that the show actually first debuted in 2013 and it is only in its third season currently! But that's okay because this guy is deserving. I know a lot of the love from fans for characters on Brooklyn Nine-Nine might go to some of the more outwardly funny characters like Gina or Terry, but when I think of this I am reminded of the great thought B.J. Novak once had. That main characters are often times underrated. And this applies to Jake Peralta, the lead on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. He is smart, intuitive, endearingly awkward, and just so fun to watch. You just can't help but root for the guy. And Andy Samberg plays him to perfection, emphasizing all of his strengths as an actor.

Jake Peralta: Lead character on Brooklyn Nine-Nine portrayed by Andy Samberg.

Dwayne Johnson in The Jungle Cruise

Remember way back when when Disney announced that they would be making a movie inspired by the theme park ride, The Jungle Cruise? And they said that Tim Allen and Tom Hanks (who also starred in the Toy Story trilogy together) would be the ones starring in it. Yeah, they're not starring in it anymore. In fact, they've found a new leading actor. And his name is Dwayne Johnson. That's right, this project is no longer in developmental hell because The Rock is confirmed to star with John Requa and Glenn Ficarra signed on to write the script and Kristen Burr overseeing. No other details regarding the director or the plot or release date or anything like that have been announced, but it's good to see the movie is not dead.

This Is the End Maze

Based on the best comedy film released in 2013, a new maze is coming to Universal Studios in both California and Florida. This Is the End 3D is a "dizzying, 3D experience" of a "horror maze" that is one of the keynote events at Universal's Halloween Horror Nights, an annual event at the theme parks that celebrates the happenings of Halloween. In the maze, you begin by arriving at James Franco's house for a huge blowout party and you end fighting satanic demons. I hope it's exactly what Seth and James wanted.

Monday, October 19, 2015

50 Favorite Albums: Recap

We have, after fifty days, concluded the long and storied countdown of my fifty favorite albums (that's music for all you photographic and easily-confused types) and I have to say, this was one of my favorite countdowns that I've done what with all the reliving iconic music to which I just love to listen. I do want to shout out one honorable mention to Catalina Breeze by the Blue Jean Committee. When I started the list, I had never heard it, but now I realize that it's phenomenal. Not Rumors by Fleetwood Mac. Anyway, let's take a look back at the fifty that graced this blog.

50. Nice 'n' Easy by Frank Sinatra
49. Harvest by Neil Young
48. Revolver by The Beatles
47. War by U2
46. Cheap Thrills by Big Brother and the Holding Company
45. Hits of the 50s by Sam Cooke
44. Turtleneck and Chain by The Lonely Island
43. Overexposed by Maroon 5
42. The Muppets (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by The Muppets
41. A Night at the Opera by Queen
40. The Best of Schoolhouse Rock! by Schoolhouse Rock
39. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles
38. Blood Sugar Sex Magik by Red Hot Chili Peppers
37. Hotel California by Eagles
36. Mary Poppins (Original Soundtrack) by Mary Poppins
35. Native by OneRepublic
34. Love by The Beatles and George Martin
33. The 20/20 Experience by Justin Timberlake
32. Aim and Ignite by Fun.
31. Waiting for My Rocket to Come by Jason Mraz
30. V by Maroon 5
29. Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends by Coldplay
28. Never Trust a Happy Song by Grouplove
27. Runaround Sue by Dion
26. Waking Up by OneRepublic
25. Business as Usual by Men at Work
24. Shut Down Volume 2 by The Beach Boys
23. Sherry & 11 Others by The Four Seasons
22. Stadium Arcadium by Red Hot Chili Peppers
21. The Everly Brothers by The Everly Brothers
20. Abbey Road by The Beatles
19. Love Is a Four Letter Word by Jason Mraz
18. Christmas by Michael Buble
17. Awesome Mix Vol. 1 by Guardians of the Galaxy
16. I Am by Earth, Wind & Fire
15. Please Please Me by The Beatles
14. Songs for Swingin' Love by Frank Sinatra
13. Hozier by Hozier
12. Mr. A-Z by Jason Mraz
11. Showroom Internationale by Elvis Presley
10. By the Way by Red Hot Chili Peppers
9. The Joshua Tree by U2
8. Saturday Night Fever: The Original Movie Soundtrack by The Bee Gees
7. A Rush of Blood to the Head by Coldplay
6. Hunky Dory by David Bowie
5. Cargo by Men at Work
4. Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder
3. We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things by Jason Mraz
2. Magical Mystery Tour by The Beatles
1. The Stranger by Billy Joel

What a great list, no? Tomorrow, we begin the next countdown. What could it be?!

This Week's Sports by David

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Marquee

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert debuted last month (on September 15th, 2015 to be exact) and it has been performing pretty well both critically and commercially thus far. What's worthy of note, without weaving through every single episode that Colbert and his team have produced to this point, is that The Ed Sullivan Theater, in which The Late Show was filmed with David Letterman at the helm and now, Colbert, has a new marquee outside. And it fits every aspect of Colbert's M.O.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

King Kong at Universal Studios

A certain famous movie monster is making his return to the Universal Studios theme park in Orlando, Florida. Over at Islands of Adventure between Toon Lagoon and Jurassic Park, a new King Kong ride will be joining the fray. But an entire land surrounding it will be added to the park, as well. This will be known as Kong: Skull Island, which coincides with the upcoming movie. Seems like it has a lot of promise! The area is expected to open sometime next year.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Gilda Radner's Screen Test

Before Lorne Michaels trotted out the Not Ready for Primetime Players in 1975 for Saturday Night Live's iconic debut, he did a series of screen tests with the original cast (Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Laraine Newman) and two others who would later become strongly connected to SNL (Bill Murray and Andy Kaufman). These auditions have recently popped on YouTube so I thought it would be worthwhile to share my favorite with you. The one from Gilda Radner.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

50 Favorite Albums: 1

Were you wondering where Billy Joel was for the entire list? Well, here he is. Feast your eyes! It's basically because, although Billy Joel has only ever recorded one bad song, the majority of my favorites of his came from his fifth studio album, The Stranger. Obviously, this is my favorite Billy Joel album because it's also my favorite album ever released. Let my just give you the track listing because there is honestly not one miss.
  • Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)
  • The Stranger
  • Just the Way You Are
  • Scenes from an Italian Restaurant
  • Vienna
  • Only the Good Die Young
  • She's Always a Woman
  • Get It Right the First Time
  • Everybody Has a Dream
  • Piano Man: Live
Although only six of these were released as singles, all of them have grown and flourished to their well-deserved iconic statuses. It's just the perfect album. All of these songs are so beloved and so beautiful and Scenes from an Italian Restaurant is his greatest song and it's just...it's, ugh, it's just so good. It was number two on the Billboard 200 for six consecutive weeks, it is Joel's top-selling album of all-time, and it was number seventy on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums ever made. At the time, it was the highest-selling album ever made, overtaking Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water. This whole album became the basis for Movin' Out, a Broadway play that used Billy's music. The Buffalo News gave it a perfect four out of four star rating. There is an endless amount of praise for The Stranger. But what elevates it to the greatest album ever made is its flawless sound.

The Stranger: 1977 soulful rock album from Billy Joel.

50 Favorite Albums full list, recap, and honorable mentions coming tomorrow!

The Pixar Slate

At this year's D23 Expo, Pixar revealed their next six cinematic releases by showcasing a wall of posters for their movies, four of which are sequels and two of which are original stories. Even more recently, Pixar announced the release dates for these films that are coming off the hot tail lead by Inside Out, championing Pixar's return to the foray of movies. The lukewarm, cast-overhauled The Good Dinosaur will be in theaters later this year on November 25th, 2015, specifically. Finding Dory, the long-awaited follow-up to Finding Nemo comes next year on June 17th, 2016. The whatever-I-guess-this-is-just-for-merchandising-but-who-knows-maybe-they-actually-figured-Cars-out Cars 3 will be released almost an entire year late on June 16th, 2017. Coco, the Dio de los Muertos movie that I've been excited about for forever will come and serve as Pixar's second dual-movie year on November 22nd, 2017. Toy Story 4, a film of which I am inordinately skeptical, will bow on June 15th, 2018. And finally, the Pixar film that most deserves a sequel (sans Toy Story), The Incredibles will get one on June 21st, 2019, fifteen years after the release of the first movie. It's all something to be excited about!

This Week's Entertainment by David

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

50 Favorite Albums: 2

The Beatles have had a countless amount of iconic albums, most of which I've talked about during this countdown. (See: Abbey Road, Revolver, Please Please Me, Sgt. Pepper's, etc.) But, to me, Magical Mystery Tour is undeniably the greatest one Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and John Lennon ever collaborated on and released. It even became the number one Grammy-nominated album in 1968. The first side of Magical Mystery Tour is nothing really all that special; it's your run-of-the-mill Beatles side with songs like Your Mother Should Know and I Am the Walrus. But the second side is absolutely, positively perfect, flawless, magical, mysterious, tour! It's any adjective that is positive and can be used for me to gush about The Beatles some more. Most of the songs would later be blended on the Love album to create the mystical remix of Strawberry Fields Forever, but take a look at them individually. Baby, You're a Rich Man, Strawberry Fields Forever, Penny Lane, Hello Goodbye, All You Need Is Love. Oh. My. God. Hit after iconic song. The Beatles are, simply put, the greatest band there ever was, is, or will be.

Magical Mystery Tour: 1967 psychedelic rock pop album from The Beatles.

The New Seth Meyers Monologue

Recently, Seth Meyers revamped his show, Late Night, by bucking one of the most common late night talk show traditions. Instead of delivering his monologue standing as every host has done before him, he took a seat behind his desk to deliver one that was very reminiscent of his glory days on Weekend Update over at SNL. I think the format is definitely well-suited to him and he's been crushing it lately. Godspeed to you, Seth! You can read Dave Itzkoff's take on this change over on The New York Times by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

50 Favorite Albums: 3

To date, this is the midway point of Jason Mraz's journey as a musician and as an artist. We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things marked Mraz's enormously successful transition from a soft pop/hip hop blended artist to an alternative soul singer. No singer ever made a transition like that as well as Mraz did. Especially since this is still widely considered the greatest album he ever made. It reached number three on the Billboard 200 and its lead single, I'm Yours, was nominated for Best Song at the 2009 Grammy Awards and it reached number six on the Billboard Hot 100. Its time on the Billboard charts broke the record for longest stay with seventy consecutive weeks. (This record was later broken by Imagine Dragons.) Everything just came together perfectly here. In addition to I'm Yours, Mraz's signature song, he also boasted Lucky, his duet with Colbie Caillat, Make It Mine, Butterfly, Live High, If It Kills Me, and what is, in my opinion, his best-ever song, A Beautiful Mess, all from this one album! He's a legend; I could gush about him all day.

We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things: 2008 alternative soul and pop rock album from Jason Mraz.

Walt Disney: American Experience

PBS recently released a two-part (totaling four hours) documentary as part of their American Experience series with the subject of Walt Disney, arguably the most important pop culture figure of the twentieth century. Ahead of this documentary, PBS released a clip of Richard Sherman, one of Disney's old songwriters, talking about what it was like to work with Walt. It was a very thought-provoking and interesting documentary that I definitely recommend, but this clip is good, too, for those with difficulty in maintaining attention.

Monday, October 12, 2015

50 Favorite Albums: 4

Some musicians just peak with one album altogether. But better to peak on an album than never peak at all, right? Plus, when you make an album as good as what Stevie Wonder made with Songs in the Key of Life, why would you ever need to peak again? I want to name songs to you. I Wish, Sir Duke, Isn't She Lovely. That could very well be the best big three songs any album boasts ever. This is, without a doubt, the magnum opus for Wonder. Elton John even dubbed it the greatest album ever made. But the fact of the matter is, it was revolutionary. Right in your ear tongues.

Songs in the Key of Life: 1976 soul, funk, and jazz album from Stevie Wonder.

This Week's Sports by David

Sunday, October 11, 2015

50 Favorite Albums: 5

And now we've reached the top five. This is a very exclusive place on the list to be. And what better band to kick off this final stretch of the countdown than the iconic band, Men at Work? Cargo is the second album released by the Colin Hay-lead band, but it is the first album on my list of favorite albums by Men at Work! Just take a look at the hit songs that came from Cargo before anything else: High Wire, Overkill, It's a Mistake, and Dr. Hekyll and Mr. Jive. It doesn't get much better than that. I could listen to Hay's vocals all day long. They are truly just so very pleasing.

Cargo: 1983 new wave rock album from Men at Work.

Jimmy Fallon in 2021

In exciting, the-opposite-of-what-happened-to-Conan-O'Brien news, NBC and Jimmy Fallon have agreed to a contract extension that will keep him as the host of The Tonight Show for six more years at least! That means we will have Jimmy as the late night king until 2021 at the very least. Hopefully, he's around for much longer, but this is the perfect extension for him! Yay Jimmy!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

50 Favorite Albums: 6

David Bowie is probably on my Mount Rushmore of singers. Rounding out that list? Well, subjectively it's probably Jason Mraz, Billy Joel, and Paul McCartney. Objective? I might replace Mraz with Frank Sinatra. But still, it's a good group of five either way. And shouldn't we be making room on Rushmore for JFK or FDR or Nixon or someone? Anyway, Bowie is great. He's a legend. There's no doubt about it. And Hunky Dory is, to me, the best album he ever produced. There's no better way to describe it than music critic Stephen Erlewine's review that read it as, "a kaleidoscopic array of pop styles, tied together only by Bowie's sense of vision: a sweeping, cinematic melange of high and low art, ambiguous sexuality, kitsch, and class." There's never been a more fitting review for an album or for a singer, in general. Hunky Dory boasted Changes, Queen Bitch, and Life on Mars. He considers this album the most important of his career. Bowie's the man.

Hunky Dory: 1971 folk art rock album from David Bowie.


Another movie I saw this summer was the premiere studio comedy of the season, Trainwreck. This was the "it" film vehicle for Amy Schumer, who has risen to comedy prominence thanks to her Comedy Central sketch show, Inside Amy Schumer. She wrote and starred in this movie, but she tapped Judd Apatow to direct it. The script was amazing, though. It was very funny, though not very tight. That's probably a fault of Apatow, though, because there's never a movie of his that doesn't feel like it's gone on a little too long. Regardless, Schumer killed it in the lead role and Bill Hader was also fantastic in his supporting turn. The supporting cast was also filled with very funny people like Vanessa Bayer, Daniel Radcliffe, Pete Davidson, Colin Quinn, and Matthew Broderick. But it was LeBron James who was the most surprising part. Because he, too, was hilarious. I recommend Trainwreck as probably the funniest film of the year so far.

Friday, October 9, 2015

50 Favorite Albums: 7

It's getting to that point in the list where I have to start giving up my favorite albums from some of my favorite bands and musicians. And even though A Rush of Blood to the Head is my favorite album from one of my favorite bands, Coldplay, it still has to be ranked at number seven because the list is more competitive than it ever has been before. But this is still an excellent spot for the soundtrack. It deserves it, too. Coldplay's greatest song (which, this goes back and forth with Viva La Vida), The Scientist comes from this, their second studio album. But the titular song, A Rush of Blood to the Head, is also a beautiful, if not haunting melody, and, of course, who could ever forget Clocks?

A Rush of Blood to the Head: 2002 alternative rock album from Coldplay.

A Walk in the Woods Is a Movie

Bill Bryson is one of the greatest authors of the modern age and one of his finest literary works is A Walk in the Woods, his memoir of his hike on the Appalachian Trail with his friend, Stephen Katz. And I was very surprised to learn that a movie based on the book was actually being made and released in theaters. Robert Redford plays Bryson and Nick Nolte plays Katz while Nick Offerman and Emma Thompson are present in supporting roles. It didn't get great reviews, but the whole thing was rather peculiar so I had to remark on it. Book was great, though!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

50 Favorite Albums: 8

Was there ever a movie soundtrack that launched a musical group and produced a plethora of Billboard chart-topping hits better than the soundtrack for Saturday Night Fever did? It was number one on the charts for twenty-four weeks, it was on the overall charts for two hundred and eighty weeks, it went platinum fifteen times, and it is currently in the Library of Congress. The Bee-Gees (lead by Barry and Robin Gibb) were catapulted to superstardom and Hall of Fame status with this one album as they revolutionized the music industry by defining the disco movement. Night Fever, Stayin' Alive, More Than a Woman, How Deep Is Your Love, You Should Be Dancing. The list goes on and on and on. Plus, KC and the Sunshine Band and Kool and the Gang were also featured on an album that will never die. Its legacy is far, far too looming.

Saturday Night Fever: The Original Movie Soundtrack: 1977 disco album from The Bee-Gees.

This Week's Entertainment by David

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

50 Favorite Albums: 9

Up until the point of this album, The Joshua Tree, U2 was a very soft, soothing, and peaceful sounding rock band, but this is what changed everything and gave the crew made up of Bono, Edge, Larry, and Adam their distinctively iconic sound. As much as I love Sunday Bloody Sunday, I can't argue that U2's most popular songs do, in fact, come from this album in the form of I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For and With or Without You. The world had been paying attention to U2 up until this point, but The Joshua Tree changed everything. It radicalized the world of music. It lead to the world worshiping U2 instead of just paying attention.

The Joshua Tree: 1987 rock album from U2.

Sudeikis Is Back!

The Last Man on Earth's second season has an added bonus to its certain greatness. Now that Will Forte and Kristen Schaal are off on the road together and alone (the second best part of the season one finale), another story line will get some progress. And that is the first best part of the season one finale. Jason Sudeikis, playing Will Forte's (Phil Miller's) brother, alive and in space. Sudeikis has been confirmed to be returning in a recurring role for the second season of the show. What a big get! It's going to be fantastic.