Thursday, December 29, 2016

WWE Network Original Specials Second Half 2016

Welcome to the second half of 2016 recap of original content for the WWE Network. For newer readers, twice a year I will give recaps on the most noteworthy original content the Network has to offer so you can decide if it is worth the time to stream or not. Feel free to check out my previous installments in links at the bottom of this blog. I do not watch all the original content as there are some regular running original Network material I skip almost all the time. Such as the weekly RAW & Smackdown pre-show (but I do watch the PPV kickoff pre-shows since they have matches and I just have to hear Booker T's quack quack moment of the night!) and the This Week in WWE weekly recap of key storylines since I stay on top of RAW and Smackdown already. Enough prefacing let us get on recapping the second part of 2016!

Cruiserweight Classic - This 10 episode limited series that took place over the summer is must-see for all fans! Make it 11 episodes by including the preview 'Bracket-ology' episode that gives a thorough look at most of the 32 participants in this tournament featuring Cruiserweights that WWE scouted all around the world. There are no over-the-top WWE storylines here, just the story of the best around the world competing to see who is the best in their class. Each episode is three or four matches, with a little interview clip featuring the wrestlers telling us a little bit about themselves so we know a little more about them. That is it, and it is absolutely fantastic. The first couple episodes feature more rapid-fire matches to get through the 16 matches in the first round, but usually each episode has at least one standout, main event quality match.

I am not super familiar with the international wrestling scene, but there are several familiar faces including veterans such as Tajiri and Brian Kendrick resurfacing in hopes of getting one last shot at glory. Current NXT tag champs Johnny Gargono and Tomasa Ciampa square off against each other in the first round in what wound up as one of the best matches of the tournament. International sensations Zack Sabre Jr. & Kobashi I heard a little bit of before, but from the moment they kicked off their matches they owned the arena and I could tell they were big deals and I was easily won over by both of them by the time they both wrapped up in the tournament.

Each episode has intriguing bracket updates from Corey Graves in a sweet setup that harkened back to memories of the Mean Gene Control Center updates in his WWF/WCW days in the 90s. Daniel Bryan & Mauro Ranallo do an excellent job at calling the action in authentic sports-like sensation and the two gelled wonderfully together and had me worked up and heavily invested in most match ups. I was caught off guard by the winner of the tournament, who got to be crowned the new Cruiserweight champion. I cannot recommend this tournament enough, this and The Monday Night Wars are the first two original series on the WWE Network all new subscribers must binge watch first. The Cruiserweight Classic was such a success that a couple months after it finished they got their own original WWE Network show.....

205 Live - As the name of the show suggests, it features wrestlers under 205 pounds, and is broadcasted live, immediately following Smackdown Live on Tuesday nights. They are only several episodes so far, but the show is slowly starting to come into its own. For a couple months the entire Cruiserweight division was part of RAW but only featured in one, maybe two matches a week, and they were mostly non-essential multi-man tag matches that were quickly forgotten about. Here, they get an hour a week to shine. This features a lot of the wrestlers from the Cruiserweight Classic as well as some other WWE roster mainstays that switched over to this division like SinCara and Neville.

The main feud over the Cruiserweight title was this back-and-fourth nonsense between Kendrick, Rick Swann and TJ Perkins that did not win me over first three or four episodes, but now a super hideous Neville is now in the mix and that has made it exponentially more interesting. Some of the other wrestlers are now starting to flesh out their characters now too with Cedric Alexander and Noam Dar vying for the attention of Alicia Fox and a few other guys like Ariya Daivari and Mustafa Ali starting to rack up wins to establish a few other acts to keep an eye on. The last couple episodes have got me hopeful that WWE can salvage this Cruiserweight division after a disastrous two month start to it when it was exclusive to RAW.

Holy Foley! - WWE put a lot of hype into this reality show following Mick Foley's family. Yes, this is WWE's version of The Osbournes and the spiritual successor to Hogan Knows Best. WWE Network currently has five episodes up and claims it is the first half of a 10 episode season. The first episodes follow Mick's son, Dewey around as he tries to make it on his own as a WWE TV writer with him trying to shake off his dad from interfering. Mick's daughter Noelle, is trying to break into the business as a wrestler (but since this is WWE-land, she keeps WWE lingo in check by constantly referring to 'wrestler' as 'superstar').

Mick's comedy career, his wife and other children also are up to no good in side stories in these episodes, but most of the five episodes were a bit of a chore to get through. I am kind of interested to see where they go with Noelle and how serious she gets about trying to make it in the WWE, but I do not care about Dewey's writing hopes at all, and the rest of the show is a moreorless a wash. Sorry Mick, I still love ya, and I will still give the remaining shows a chance when they air, but the first half did not win me over.

Talking Smack - This is the surprise hit of second half of 2016. It is the 20-30 minute post-Smackdown Live show. Renee Young and Daniel Bryan recap the show and bring on a couple guests each episode. What is readily apparent is that unlike the heavily scripted interview and super-long promos on RAW and Smackdown is that the wrestlers are not scripted and essentially wing it on their own while trying to stay in character. This resulted in quite a few big moments over the past several months, including an intense encounter between The Miz and Daniel Bryan that had a lot of people buzzing that things went off-kilter and got personal.

It is so refreshing to see the stars be themselves and have their own voice instead of having to remember (mostly) awful pre-written scripts for them on camera. Baron Corbin especially has broken out on Talking Smack and always has my attention whenever he is a guest. The same can be said for Becky Lynch and the Usos, while others have kind of flopped on the show and gave me the impression they would be better off with some coaching and more scripting, but for the most part this has been a surprisingly good post-show that sells the storylines and helps flesh out the characters for the Smackdown roster.

WWE Story Time - Now this is how the WWE should do an animated show! Forget the awfulness that was Camp WWE from earlier this year, and invest your entire animated budget into Story Time instead. This features current and former WWE stars telling old road stories and pranks, but with the tales getting a Family Guy-esque animated treatment and it surprisingly works! The animation is over-the-top in all the right spots and filled with little insider gags and references for those of us that spend way too much time reading up behind-the-scenes online and watching documentaries over the years. Best of all, each episode are quick and easy watches between 10 and 15 minutes long.

Ride Along - There have been three new episodes of this since the last blog, and even the least entertaining ones are still good fun because the premise of the show just works. Throw cameras in a car recording the conversations between wrestlers as they travel between towns and tell old war stories and get to know each other. The best of the three new episodes features The Club in one car and WWE's two most tenured talents, Chris Jericho & Mark Henry in another. Watch Henry crush an apple, you will not regret it! Poor Byron Saxton proves he is as obnoxious as he is on camera as he endures a ton of ribbing from JBL and Michael Cole, and the Dudley Boyz have some good tales from their paths in an episode featuring them before they retired.

Legends with JBL - JBL had a ton of new interviews for the second half of 2016. Each one touches on major moments and controversies throughout their careers. New interviewees since the last blog are a two part interview with Booker T, Sting, The Outsiders, Bruno Sammartino and Alundra Blayze. I would recommend listening to Sammartino's interview first since he has not done a whole lot of interviews for the Network so far, and the man still has an excellent memory and tells a lot of unbelievable tales throughout his entire life, including eluding capture from the Nazis and his many triumphs in the ring. Alundra Blayze/Madusa may be a bit of an eye opener to some too if all you knew her for was just trashing the old Women's Title on Nitro. She has had quite the storied career in Japan, AWA, WCW, WWE and yes, monster truck driver! Almost all these interviews have a ton of good anecdotes on there, and you probably heard a good chunk of them before, but I learned something new about each interviewee, but Blayze and Sammartino I learned the most out of, and hopefully you will too.

Unfiltered with Renee Young: Season 3- Renee took nearly five months off from Unfiltered shortly after I posted the last blog. Ms. Lunatic Fringe came back in November though with a new slate of episodes featuring Chris Jericho, Becky Lynch, Enzo & Cass and John Cena. Like Story Time these are nice, quick watches around 15-20 minutes long each. I am glad she stopped interviewing celebrities like in the first season as they just did not work that well, and even Renee admitted that some of them she regretted. Renee continues doing little sketches and mini-interviews with other WWE talent before the episode's featured guest arrives several minutes in. These are not like the career retrospective interviews with JBL, but more lifestyle focused on what has been happening with the star being interviewed lately and goes into interesting personal interests too. Definitely give Unfiltered a chance if you have not already.

Miscellaneous - WWE only had one new installment of WWE 24 in the second half of 2016. The episode featured a extensive build up to the Women's title match at Wrestlemania 32 this year. It also goes into what lead to the Diva's title being rebranded as the Women's title and how the infusion of Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks into the main roster in 2015 truly revitalized the division for the WWE. It is a well done look at how women's wrestling has evolved from throughout WWE's history, and WWE essentially apologizing for the 'Diva Search' era that took over the division from 2007-2014. If you missed my blog from earlier this month, old school ECW fans should check out OMG Vol 3: Top 50 Incidents in ECW History and the Authentic Untold Story of ECW that went online about a month ago. Check out the blog entry for my rundown on those two specials that are must-see, with the Untold Story catering towards ECW diehards more familiar with the product and OMG Vol 3 serving as a good primer for newer fans to get acquainted with 50 of the most standout moments in ECW history.

There were no new Steve Austin, Chris Jericho or Mick Foley WWE Network branded podcasts for the remainder of 2016. I think the Dean Ambrose podcast may have went up just a week or so after my last WWE Network blog where Dean was caught off guard and came off as extremely out of it and unlikeable and WWE Network has not done a podcast since. As a result, I am guessing they will leave their big 'hard hittting' interviews to JBL who does not do his interviews live like Stone Cold does so he can edit out anything undesirable if need be. There were only a couple new Table for Three episodes posted since this half of the year, and I would recommend checking out WWE veterans Mark Henry, Kane and Big Show gather around so they could share a ton of stories from their many years in and out of the ring.

Finally, there is an interesting 'State of the WWE Universe' special that can be found under the 'In-Ring' category in the WWE Network. It is Renee Young hosting a panel with both RAW & Smackdown general managers and commissioners shortly before the Survivor Series. They really tried to play up the whole 'RAW vs. Smackdown' angle going into that PPV, and the hosts had fun engaging in this kayfabe debate on why their brand is better. It is interesting to watch as it felt like they did not have scripts and were winging their answers, with Daniel Bryan standing out the most with many good answers, and unfortunately Mick Foley got me a little concerned as he went off on bizarre tangents that went nowhere relative to the topic on hand and other had to step in and steer him back on track.

Past Wrestling Blogs

Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume 2
Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume 3
Biggest Knuckleheads
Bobby The Brain Heenan
Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes Yes Yes
Dusty Rhodes WWE Network Specials
ECW Unreleased: Vol 1
ECW Unreleased: Vol 2
ECW Unreleased: Vol 3
For All Mankind
Goldberg: The Ultimate Collection
Its Good to Be the King: The Jerry Lawler Story
Ladies and Gentlemen My Name is Paul Heyman
Legends of Mid South Wrestling
Macho Man: The Randy Savage Story
Memphis Heat
OMG Vol 2: Top 50 Incidents in WCW History
OMG Vol 3: Top 50 Incidents in ECW History
RoH Supercard of Honor V
RoH Supercard of Honor VI
RoH Supercard of Honor VII
RoH Supercard of Honor VIII
RoH Supercard of Honor IX
RoH Supercard of Honor X
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
Sting: Into the Light
Superstar Collection: Zach Ryder
Top 50 Superstars of All Time
Tough Enough: Million Dollar Season
True Giants
Warrior Week on WWE Network
Wrestlemania 3: Championship Edition
Wrestlemania 28
Wrestlemania 29
Wrestlemania 30
Wrestlemania 31
The Wrestler (2008)
Wrestling Road Diaries Too
Wrestlings Greatest Factions
WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2015
WWE Network Original Specials Second Half 2015
WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2016

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve

It is only fitting that I watched and blogged about this film today. Each year I try and watch at least a couple of my go to Christmas films each and every year which consists of classics such as National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Merry Christmas Charlie Brown and A Harold & Kumar Christmas. It was nice to mix it up this year with a different film in my annual line up with last year’s indie release, Christmas Eve (trailer). Christmas Eve features an ensemble cast of over a dozen individuals who find themselves stuck in a series of elevators across New York City over Christmas Eve night after a sudden blackout.

I never heard of this film before until I saw it on retailer’s shelves a couple months ago, which was surprising since it has a pretty decent cast. Turned out this only played in a limited run of theaters and grossed just under a $100,000 at the box office. As you can see on the video cover art, Patrick Stewart is front and center, but his character, Harris, has the least airtime since he is stuck in an elevator alone. I mostly was interested in this because I saw James Roday was in this film, and I am a huge Psych fan and this is the first thing I have noticed him in since that show ended nearly three years ago.

I tend to enjoy films shot in limited or single settings such as Phone Booth, 127 Hours and Buried so to see this type of film executed with an ensemble cast in multiple single settings was a twist on the trope that easily appealed to me. I read the description on the back, so to see the cast and my aforementioned history of how I enjoyed films shot in this style yielded in me making a gut decision to go in blind on Christmas Eve. I hoped it would at least be an average feel-good Christmas film where all these strangers would initially start off the night despising each other, but in the end would all embrace the spirit of Christmas and wind up in a wholesome happy ending. I guess it turned out I was both right and wrong.

Not every set of characters in each elevator is likeable, but each elevator has a unique gimmick to it. James Roday plays the character simply known as “B” and he is stuck with one Annie (Julianna Gall) as the two predictably start off instantly despising each other, but things gradually change as the night goes on. As mentioned above, Patrick Stewart is the hard-nosed kingpin boss who finds himself alone all night. A hospital elevator features one Dr. Roberts (Gary Cole) stuck with a cancer patient (Christina Chong) he just hours earlier he deemed too far along to perform surgery on. Another elevator features a boss (Max Casella) with an employee (Jon Heder) he just laid off earlier in the day. The most unique predicament is a section of an orchestra en route to a Christmas concert that is stuck together for the night.

Since there are six elevator (and one non-elevator) settings Christmas Eve is constantly switching between, not one set of characters overstays their welcome, especially in this brief hour and a half runtime. Some of the elevators are particularly fun to follow along with the shenanigans that ensue for the night, with the orchestra stealing the show when they naturally break out into a big performance in what resulted in my favorite scene of the movie. I will also give a shout out to Gary Cole in his silent-yet-powerful scene towards the end of the film. Others are kind of bland and suffered from poor dialogue. As much as I am a fan of Roday, him and Annie’s elevator was the one I enjoyed the least because it almost played along verbatim to the elevator scenes in New Years Eve from a few years ago, but with Roday upping the creep factor exponentially so.

Director Mitch Davis and Tyler McKellar both wrote the film, but both only have a handful of prior writing credits to their name and I can imagine that this movie could have benefitted greatly with a more veteran presence to handle so many characters. Again, not all the dialogue is bad as I enjoyed the characters and exchanges in about half of the elevators, but it seemed the writers spread themselves a bit thin here. I will give them props however with how all the ‘endings’ for each elevator plays out in the final scenes. Not each elevator has the stereotypical feel-good ending I was expecting. Some do, while others have kind of bummer endings, while others left me feeling mixed and inconclusive. I will give the writers props for going in that direction as I did not see it coming and it kept me more intrigued on how each setting played out.

There are not a ton of bonus features on the DVD. There are several mini-interviews with the cast and crew members and a deleted scene tallying up to a little under a half hour. I would not say any really stand out, except for Patrick Stewart who I could listen to talk about anything and never get bored. Christmas Eve did not wind up as the sleeper hit holiday movie that blew me away, not that I was anticipating that. It would be overdoing it to say I wholeheartedly recommend adding it to your regular Christmas movie line up, but it would also overdo it to say this is a complete dud. I would say it is just above passable, but definitely not must-see. However, if you happen to stumble upon it on cable, Netflix or at a Redbox during the holidays I would easily throw it in your ‘wild card’ mix like I did this year for a breather from the usual holiday favorites.

Other Random Backlog Movie Blogs

3
12 Angry Men (1957)
12 Rounds 3: Lockdown
21 Jump Street
Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie
Atari: Game Over
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Batman: The Killing Joke
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
Bounty Hunters
Cabin in the Woods
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Clash of the Titans (1981)
Clint Eastwood 11-pack Special
The Condemned 2
Creed
Dirty Work
Faster
Field of Dreams
Fight Club
The Fighter
For Love of the Game
Good Will Hunting
Hercules: Reborn
Hitman
Ink
Jobs
Man of Steel
Marine 3 & 4
Mortal Kombat
The Replacements
Rocky I-VII
Running Films Part 1
Running Films Part 2
San Andreas
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Steve Jobs
Source Code
Star Trek I-XII
Take Me Home Tonight
TMNT
The Tooth Fairy 1 & 2
Veronica Mars
Wild
The Wrestler (2008)
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Saturday, December 17, 2016

OMG Vol. 3: The Top 50 Incidents in ECW History

I have a rare timely wrestling blog covering one of the latest features that WWE released just a few weeks ago. This one is for OMG Vol 3: Top 50 Incidents in ECW History (trailer | excerpt). I had a similar somewhat timely review with the last entry in the OMG series, covering WCW’s Top 50 OMG moments and for some bizarre reason that is my most viewed entry on this website so it only seemed right to do the series justice and have another somewhat timely blog with OMG Vol 3!

It is worth noting that OMG Vol 3 did not have a retail release. One was planned, but WWE cancelled it and a couple weeks ago released it as a WWE Network exclusive in tandem with an excellent ECW roundtable discussion with Paul Heyman and other ECW alumni. The awesome folks at WWE Network News fill in the details here and I will reference the fine people at WDN for their awesome original BluRay artwork and this article where they came up with their dream rankings so you can watch it along with the network’s countdown and see how it stacks up.

I had some original fears that since OMG Vol 3 was quietly getting released on the WWE Network with very little to no buzz that it was going to be a quickly slapped together hour long piece, but that is not the case. Like the previous two installments, OMG Vol 3 dedicates ample time to all 50 ECW moments that yields a total runtime of 2 hours and 18 minutes. This retains the same television countdown format style where they show clips of the moment interspersed with interview excerpts from talent who were involved in the ‘incident’ and/or were part of that ECW alumni. These are all new interviews as well, as WWE did not reuse prior interviews for this countdown.

Notable interview subjects include Joey Styles since his interview presumably was recorded before his release this past summer, Chris Jericho, Tommy Dreamer, Mick Foley, Rhyno, Rob Van Dam, the Dudleyz (including tracking down Spike and Sign Guy Dudley also), Joel Gertner, Cyrus, Mikey Whipwreck, Tazz, Lance Storm and Raven. Several of these names have gone many years since or never have been interviewed before for a WWE feature. Noticeably absent is Paul Heyman which is a head scratcher since he is still under WWE employment. Paul is seen throughout in moments he is a part of throughout the countdown, but I have no idea why Paul did not want to be interviewed for this. He is part of the excellent roundtable mentioned above, and he does talk about ECW in great length in other documentaries by WWE so perhaps he was just burnt out and needed a break.

The prior OMG releases had many moments of lightheartedness to them, especially the WCW installment that had many countdown moments that involved many embarrassing hokey incidents in their final years that led to the promotion’s demise. I presumed ECW’s countdown would get the same treatment, but that is not the case as the countdown has a constant dark and gritty feel that parallels ECW’s ‘Blood and Guts’ slogan they were known for. They even changed up the lovably corny OMG theme music from the past two countdowns my friend and I loved so much and replaced it with a much more fitting Joey Styles sound bite between each and every countdown. Just a quick heads up, this only goes covers the original ECW promotion from 1992-2001 and none of the ECW re-launch from WWE is featured. That is too bad because I would have popped to see a nod to my beloved ‘Gulf of Mexico’ match.

The countdown list has a lot of fitting moments that earned their spot on the list. I watched OMG Vol 3 with the same friend I watched the last two with and we noticed a lot of repeating moments with the Dudleyz, Shane Douglas, Beulah, Raven and Tommy Dreamer. Most were very OMG-worthy moments, but it got to be a bit repetitive seeing the same acts over and over. If you were there for ECW’s history you recall there were a ton of crazy moments in the Raven/Tommy Dreamer/Sandman lore where they got their families involved and seem an inspiration for a lot of the soap opera theatrics dominant in WWE storylines today. Rest assured the Sandman crucifixion spot ranked high on the list, and my friend called the Tommy Dreamer/Kimona/Beulah hardcore make out session making the top 10, albeit a bit higher than he predicted.

While WWE nowadays likes to boast they are in the PG era and are family entertainment, this is one of the rare releases by WWE to get a TV-MA rating. While I loved some of the dumb cheeseball nature of the past OMG entries, the dark, serious nature of the ECW version is the right tone to take with it, and it definitely wears its TV-MA rating proudly on its sleeve. If you have kiddos make sure to keep them out of the room because there is buckets of blood and some nasty violence nonstop throughout this, and they hold nothing back when it comes to the moments featuring the ladies from ECW as well since OMV Vol 3 has a few moments featuring previously unreleased footage. Perhaps this is another reason why WWE decided to go with making this a streaming exclusive. This way it had less of a visible retail presence and it could possibly go more unnoticed by the general public they try so hard to appease with their family friendly branding.

I hate to take this blog to a dour note, but I kind of have no other choice. The unfortunate reality of what we know about concussions today resulted in the loss of a lot of lives from ‘Attitude era’ wrestlers of the mid-to-late 90’s, and especially for ECW wrestlers who upped the violence and risk to new levels. It seemed WWE wanted to keep the spotlight away from wrestlers who passed because they are only featured at a minimum. There are a few exceptions like the Malenko/Guerrero classic, Tazz beating Mike Awesome for the ECW Title and Dreamer sending Brian Lee through a stack of tables but I guess I can see why WWE took this approach to the countdown so it did not appear as a nonstop ‘point out who all is dead’ marathon.

Now that I got that out of the way, whether you know your ECW History or not, definitely make time to check out OMG Vol 3: The Top 50 Incidents in ECW History. I have covered a lot of ECW material on here already and seen other documentaries, but there were still around a dozen ‘incidents’ on here I had no idea of or I had long forgotten about them and it was nice to get a refresher with new insight from the subjects that were interviewed. It is easily the best produced and most enjoyable of the three OMG releases.

Past Wrestling Blogs

Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume 2
Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume 3
Biggest Knuckleheads
Bobby The Brain Heenan
Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes Yes Yes
Dusty Rhodes WWE Network Specials
ECW Unreleased: Vol 1
ECW Unreleased: Vol 2
ECW Unreleased: Vol 3
For All Mankind
Goldberg: The Ultimate Collection
Its Good to Be the King: The Jerry Lawler Story
Ladies and Gentlemen My Name is Paul Heyman
Legends of Mid South Wrestling
Macho Man: The Randy Savage Story
Memphis Heat
OMG Vol 2: Top 50 Incidents in WCW History
RoH Supercard of Honor V
RoH Supercard of Honor VI
RoH Supercard of Honor VII
RoH Supercard of Honor VIII
RoH Supercard of Honor IX
RoH Supercard of Honor X
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
Sting: Into the Light
Superstar Collection: Zach Ryder
Top 50 Superstars of All Time
Tough Enough: Million Dollar Season
True Giants
Warrior Week on WWE Network
Wrestlemania 3: Championship Edition
Wrestlemania 28
Wrestlemania 29
Wrestlemania 30
Wrestlemania 31
The Wrestler (2008)
Wrestling Road Diaries Too
Wrestlings Greatest Factions
WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2015
WWE Network Original Specials Second Half 2015
WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2016

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Adventures of Briscoe County Jr. - The Complete Series

This article has been at least a couple years in the making, so I am thrilled to finally knock it out! The Adventures of Briscoe County Jr. (Original TV Promo) is a western comedy TV series with a hint of sci-fi thrown in for good measure to keep things interesting. It originally ran on FOX for 28 episodes during the 1993-94 TV season before being cancelled during the summer before production kicked off for season two. I had vague recollections of catching a few episodes of it growing up, but quickly forgot about it over the years.

Jump ahead nearly 20 years later and I found myself picking up the complete series on DVD as a birthday gift for my brother a few years back since I know he is a huge Bruce Campbell fan. Several years ago I was reminded of this TV series when my brother borrowed me Bruce’s autobiography, If Chins Could Kill where he had mostly positive memories of his time on the show. My brother said he would only watch episodes of the show with me whenever we got together and hung out. So starting roughly a year and a half ago we started watching the episodes in one or two episode chunks every month or two. A week ago we finally finished, and even though technically the DVD is my brother’s, since I originally purchased it and watched every episode with him I feel it would be appropriate to cover it here.

If you never heard of this show and thought it might have been a predecessor to the awesome Firefly western/sci-fi series going by my description than you are sadly mistaken. If you watch the linked commercial above it is clear that Briscoe County is far more lighthearted than Firefly. Bruce Campbell is the leading role as Briscoe County Jr., and the show kicks off with Briscoe’s father getting murdered in the line of duty. We jump ahead to Jr. trying to live up to his dad’s legacy by being as good as a sheriff as his dad was, but by playing by his own rules as a private bounty hunter.

Joining Briscoe is Lord Bowler (Julius Carry), who originally is Briscoe’s rival bounty hunter trying to compete with him on bringing in the latest on the wanted list before him. It was entertaining watching Bowler transition from rival to partner with Briscoe over the show’s first several episodes. Carry and Briscoe absolutely nail their performances as the carefree ‘opposites attract’ partnership. Joining them is attorney Socrates Poole (Christian Clemenson) who is the over-the-top-yet-loveable doofus who fills them in on their latest mission and occasionally joins them in the field to stir things up for all parties involved.

The show has the familiar ‘villain of the week’ TV setup, but there is also a grander season spanning mystery where a couple familiar foes have recurring roles. The Bly Gang was responsible for Briscoe Sr.’s death and Briscoe is after them for the first half of the season, while the Bly Gang is also after a mysterious orb that Briscoe & Bowler are also after. This orb is where the sci-fi elements come into play, and as much as I enjoyed this show, the handful of orb-themed episodes were not usually among the good ones as things just got a bit too out there for me to suspend my disbelief. I did get a chuckle watching the awesomely bad 1993-era TV special effects that happened around the orb, but if you are trying to marathon this show as quick as possible I recommend skipping the orb episodes or watching them at double speed if you must.

The better lighthearted moments that hit more at home with my brother and I were whenever the show hinted at future technology. Briscoe County Jr. is set 100 years before it originally aired in 1893 when America is on the cusp of an industrial revolution. The show has a professor by the name of Albert Wickwire (John Astin) who occasionally pops up to demonstrate all kinds of zany prototypes for automobiles, rockets and rubber bullets to name a few. There is a few other minor periphery character that appear throughout the season. Most of whom added a lot to the show like the lovely Dixie (Kelly Rutherford), but occasionally there were some that were just completely off the mark and mind-numbingly annoying such as the wannabe Elvis sheriff, Aaron Viva (Gary Hudson).

Even though I already mentioned how out-of-date the special effects are, since this is a western themed show not a lot of other cutting edge effects are needed for the majority of episodes that do not have sci-fi hijinx. This was shot in the Warner Bros. lot so one can only imagine the nearly limitless wardrobe, props and set pieces they had available to them. While this is a comedy, this hit all the right notes for me as far as western action scenes went, with plenty of fist fights and shoot-outs aplenty. The few serious moments in the show really hit home because of how seldom they transpired, case in point is the series finale which is a two episode special. If the producers would have known they were going off the air after the first season at time of production, they could have ended the show with the most gut-wrenching, dour moment of the season at the end of the first part of the special because of how well crafted it was. Luckily, that is not the case and we got a more open-ended closing where Briscoe and Bowler ride off into the sunset ready for wherever their next adventures take them.

This DVD is loaded with extra features. There is one commentary on the two-part pilot with Bruce Campbell and producer, Carlton Cuse. There is an excellent booklet accompanying the DVD set filled with liner notes from Campbell on each and every episode that provided some worthwhile background info I made sure to read after each episode. There are several behind-the-scenes features with the standout being History of Briscoe County, which is a half hour retrospective with the cast and crew. I really dug this as they interviewed all the major cast and crew members on their memories of the show, and thoughts for ideas of season two and how surprised they were when it got cancelled and how the show gained a new audience in reruns on Saturday mornings on TNT. Worth noting is they did interview Julius Carry here just a couple years prior before he passed from cancer. If you are not one to really dive deep into extras make sure to at least go out of your way and indulge in just this one.

Tools of the Trade is 12 minutes of combined interviews from the cast and crew with a bunch of amusing anecdotes from the show and Reading from the Book of Bruce is Campbell spending seven minutes reading the entire excerpt relating to his time on the show from his aforementioned autobiography. Finally, Briscoe County Writer’s Room is where several of the writers and producers gather in an open 43 minute discussion reminiscing from their time on the show. There are many good tales in here, but a few times they did get a little heavy into the nuts and bolts production process that went over my head and there are times where they were shouting over each other that got to be a little much, but then again it shows how passionate they were for the show.

Minus several episodes, my brother and I had a riot enduring the 28 episode season of The Adventures of Briscoe County Jr. Of the 28, I would say roughly 20 of them are hits while eight did not do it for us. I do not fault the show though because that does seem to be a slightly longer than usual season, so I could see how some ideas made it out of the writer’s room that should have stayed there. I am not nearly the mega Bruce Campbell fan my brother is, but I enjoyed Briscoe County just as much as he did, and if you are up for some western comedy than this will be right up your alley.

Past TV/Web Series Blogs

2013-14 TV Season Recap
2014-15 TV Season Recap
2015-16 TV Season Recap
Angry Videogame Nerd Vol 8
Angry Videogame Nerd Vol 7
Mortal Kombat: Legacy - Season 1
RedvsBlue - Seasons 1-13
Roseanne – Seasons 1-9
Seinfeld Final Season
Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle
Superheroes: Pioneers of Television

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Jobs & Steve Jobs

I am fresh off having a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend so my gift to you is a special two-for-one entry today covering the two recent biopics done on Steve Jobs from Universal. Those films are 2013’s Jobs (trailer) and 2015’s much more uniquely titled Steve Jobs (trailer). I am well aware and a fan of the TNT original TV movie, Pirates of Silicon Valley (trailer) from 1998, but I already dug that movie out of my backlog a couple years before I started this blog. I vividly recall in 2011 it was only a week or two after I rewatched Silicon Valley when Steve Jobs suddenly passed away.

Steve Jobs already finished his autobiography, Jobs, before his death, but it released a few weeks later to rave success and a film adaptation quickly followed in 2013. I read and really enjoyed the biography as it goes pretty in depth about Jobs’ entire life and he has a ton of insight throughout it. A lot of people know of Jobs to be the man who founded Apple and responsible for the Apple II, Macintosh, iMac, iPod and iPhone. The mammoth book covers a ton of his other endeavors, both successful and unsuccessful, and unfortunately for the film version of Jobs it walks that fine line of the two hour mark and just manages not to overstay its welcome, but with that length it is just simply not enough time to devote to everything Jobs accomplished.

A lot of time is dedicated to seeing Jobs (Ashton Kutcher) and Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad) founding Apple right out of the Jobs family garage. The avid game player in me will give Jobs brownie points for being the only one of the three movies about him that covers his brief time at Atari where him and Wozniak helped design the arcade hit Breakout. The film hits the main bullet points of Jobs Apple career with Apple making it big with the release of the Apple II thanks to their first big investor, Mike Markkula (Dermot Mulroney), the friendship and betrayal of Apple CEO John Sculley (Matthew Bodine), the big Super Bowl ad reveal of the Macintosh and its failure in the marketplace that lead to the ousting of Jobs from Apple. The film skips about a decade just in time to see Jobs return to Apple and takeover the iMac project to huge success that leads to him becoming the CEO of Apple.

The film ends at that point and other than a quick wraparound at the beginning of the film, there is no time dedicated to Apple’s portable devices that made Apple the behemoth it is today. I understand and get that because at some point you got to find a good “now you know the rest of the story” moment to cut off at and that seemed absolutely perfect. I wish there could have been some actual verbal nod to Jobs founding Pixar and all the success he had there in his years off from Apple, but the film mostly sticks to his computer career. There is a couple of brief scenes of Jobs distancing himself away from his estranged daughter Lisa early on, and she is far less of a focus of the film here than in Steve Jobs.

Jobs does a decent job with the massive ground it has to cover. Ashton Kutcher does a pretty solid performance of Steve Jobs, and he is excellent doing the Steve Jobs freak out at overworked Apple employees, but he is simply outmatched by the excellent Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs. I have seen interviews with the real Steve Wozniak and I would say he is somewhere in between how the two films portray him. Josh Gad portrays him as the stereotypical computer geek and Seth Rogen portrays him as an alpha and one of Jobs’ few peers willing to stand up to him and call him out in front of his entire team. Rogen’s performance is far more entertaining than Gad’s and there was part of me that was gratified to see Rogen knock a serious role out of the park and it was nice to see him go one flick where his on screen character does not use drugs.

I remember not seeing a trailer when I reluctantly saw Steve Jobs at the theater last year and I went in expecting a redux of the biopic with more credible actors and the film trying to cover more ground on Jobs’ life and career since Jobs had a mixed reception. I could not have been more wrong and was blown away at the unique concept Steve Jobs went with for its format. Steve Jobs is separated into three parts with each part lasting about 35-40 minutes before Steve Jobs delivers a big press conference for three big product reveals in his life: the 1984 Mac debut, 1988 Next Black Cube debut, and the 1998 iMac debut. In those 35-40 minutes before Jobs hits the stage he is shown frantically moving about and getting ready for the show while interacting with six key figures from his life. Those figures are the aforementioned Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen) and John Sculley (Jeff Daniels). Joining them are marketing executive Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet), top programmer Andy Hertzfield (Michael Stuhlbarg), his ex-girlfriend Chrisann (Katherine Waterston) and daughter Lisa (Makenzie Ross, Ripley Sobo, Perla Haney-Jardine).

The dialogue for this script is unbelievably well written. Every encounter Steve has with one of these figures is usually an intense verbal clash acted to perfection. It would feel awkward to describe Steve Jobs as a ‘total nonstop dialogue’ movie, but that is exactly what it is and I absolutely loved it. The film wisely sneaks in very brief periods to let you breathe and digest what you witnessed from time to time. Every key conversation Steve has circles around a big moment around his life previously detailed above. As much as I enjoyed this film, I could not help but think to myself as I watched it, “there is no way all these pivotal exchanges in Steve’s life happened just moments before these three big press conferences.” I came to find out later through production interviews and the commentaries on the BluRay that the film used creative license where it took real exchanges in Steve’s life with these six figures, but spliced them all together so they transpired conveniently before the big press day.

Both Jobs and Steve Jobs have a couple behind-the-scenes features and commentaries for their extra features on their respective BluRays. Jobs has a few brief EPK extras that serve more as extended trailers, a couple minutes of deleted scenes and a commentary with director Josh Stern. There is one really good deleted scene for Jobs that has a good moment with Steve and his daughter worth seeing. Stern has plenty of good facts and insight about the production, but he could have worked better in the booth with someone else to team up with.

Danny Boyle has the better solo director commentary for Steve Jobs, and he speaks just as fast as the dialogue moves in the film as he has tons of notes on the cast and production that he wants to squeeze in that made for a very informative and entertaining listen. There is a second commentary for Steve Jobs, this one with writer Aaron Sorkin and editor Elliot Graham. They have a remarkable discussion breaking down most of the intense dialogue scenes in the film and elucidate on their favorite lines and lines they regret cutting, but felt they had to. It got really into the nuts and bolts of the script writing process, but I was on board with them all the way. Sadly, both Steve Jobs commentaries reference a couple deleted scenes that they wish could have made the final film but presume we would be treated to them on the extras, but for whatever reason Universal decided to omit them on the BluRay. We do however have a far better Making of Steve Jobs behind-the-scenes special that is exponentially better than the EPKs on Jobs. The Making of is a thorough 44 minute piece interviewing the cast and crew on how this film was shot in its unique style and their thoughts on Steve Jobs himself.

If you made it this far it should come as no surprise that I easily prefer Steve Jobs over Jobs. If you got the time to devote to it, I would far more recommend the Jobs biography over the film. It is a decent Cliffs Notes version of his life to a certain point, and it would probably actually help benefit to watch it first before Steve Jobs to get familiar with a lot of the supporting players and key points it addresses so you do not miss a beat in the blitzkrieg of dialogue bliss that is Steve Jobs.

Other Random Backlog Movie Blogs

3
12 Angry Men (1957)
12 Rounds 3: Lockdown
21 Jump Street
Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie
Atari: Game Over
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Batman: The Killing Joke
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
Bounty Hunters
Cabin in the Woods
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Clash of the Titans (1981)
Clint Eastwood 11-pack Special
The Condemned 2
Creed
Dirty Work
Faster
Field of Dreams
Fight Club
The Fighter
For Love of the Game
Good Will Hunting
Hercules: Reborn
Hitman
Ink
Man of Steel
Marine 3 & 4
Mortal Kombat
The Replacements
Rocky I-VII
Running Films Part 1
Running Films Part 2
San Andreas
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Source Code
Star Trek I-XII
Take Me Home Tonight
TMNT
The Tooth Fairy 1 & 2
Veronica Mars
Wild
The Wrestler (2008)
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume 3

Last year WWE released what I presume will be the final collection of WCW’s Monday Night offerings with The Best of WCW Monday Nitro Vol. 3 (trailer). Former WCW star and yoga sensei Diamond Dallas Page did such a bang-up job hosting the last two collections that he returns here to host the third installment. DDP is an awesome host as he usually has a few behind-the-scenes stories about one of the wrestlers in the match he is about to introduce. I have the BluRay of Vol. 3, and just like the Vol 2 BluRay, it collects seven hours of matches, promos and other segments playing out chronologically throughout the entire 1995-2001 run of Nitro. Just like Vol 2, there is an an exclusive eighth hour of material just for the BluRay. Including the BluRay exclusives, there are 38, yes 38 matches on this BluRay. On top of that there are around a dozen other special promo segments interspersed throughout the matches.

For fans who did not grow up in the ‘Monday Night Wars’ the key thing to remember is that RAW and Nitro would give away main events worthy of headlining PPVs on TV every week, but to make up for it most of those televised matches would usually have some kind of wonky interference or lame DQ finish to the match. The reason for this was so the promotion would have the true match to end a feud at the ever-important monthly PPV fans had to pay around $40 a month for. Every great now and again the promotion would throw us a bone and give us an incredible televised PPV-caliber matchup with a ‘clean’ finish, and that ratio of quality is about what you get on this collection. For every five matches that have some serious star power involved, expect only one to have a finish without any interference.

Like my entry for Vol 2, I will not recap every single one of the 38 matches here, but will point out an assortment of highlights throughout the collection. I completely forgot Marc Mero, AKA Johnny B. Badd in WCW competed on Nitro in its first year before he went to WWE, and you can witness him and Eddie Guerrero put on a good high-flying matchup for the TV title. There is a World Title change on here from early ’96 in a match between Randy Savage and Ric Flair when those two played hot potato with the World Title during that time.

Vol. 3 has an extraordinary amount of Rick Steiner material on here. Most of it consists of him running in for interference, but there are a few Steiner tag matches on here and there is also the very short match of the Dogface Gremlin taking on Sting in December 1996. That bout is noteworthy because it will go down as the only time Sting wrestles in 15 months when he debuted the ‘Crow’ version of Sting after Fall Brawl ’96 until he won the title from Hogan at Starrcade ’97. Shortly after this match in the collection is Chris Jericho with his very first Cruiserweight title defense against Juventud Gurrera. According to the announcers this is just the second time we witness him using his new finishing move, the Liontamer, better known as the Walls of Jericho today.

We have proof that Stevie Richards was in WCW for a cup of coffee in 1997, as he appears here for a very short match against DDP. An extended clip of when the nWo takes over Nitro plays and it just goes on forever as they redecorate the announce booth. There are also many matches from 1996-1999 that feature a ton of interference from the nWo, so you have that to look forward to. Worth pointing out is about half of the entrance music WWE no longer holds the rights to so we get noticeably inferior music dubbed over instead (or in some cases some wrestler’s WWE themes get dubbed over their WCW music), but for what it is worth there is actually a pretty decent instrumental cover version of “Voodoo Child” for “Hollywood” Hogan.

Remember the Flock? Remember good ‘ol Reese? I hope you do not, but we are ‘treated’ to one of his debut appearances as he helps fellow flock member Billy Kidman get a victory. There are a lot of nWo interview clips from the summer of ’98 when the group split up into nWo Hollywood and nWo Wolfpac. Still all these years later it just did not seem right to see Lex Luger and Sting donning the nWo colors after fighting them off for two years, even if they were part of the ‘good’ version of the nWo. There is a really good segment included here where Hogan and Bishoff call out DDP & Karl Malone which turns into a awesome encounter with a hot crowd to really emphasize the impact, and then DDP and Malone cut a righteous promo of their own too. This segment is easily one of the hidden gems of Vol. 3 not to overlook.

There is a surprising amount of Bret Hart matches on here considering he wrestled for WCW for only two years. There are really good clean matches on here with him squaring off against Booker T and Lex Luger. There are also a few matches on here where Bret faces the likes of Sting, Jeff Jarrett and Hulk Hogan that start off surprisingly good (yes, even the Hogan match!) but have rather awful finishes (especially the Hogan match, I am not even going to attempt to explain it). We get a surprise Sandman cameo from his short run in WCW where he competed as Hardcore Hak on this collection against Rick Steiner. It seemed only fitting that of all three Nitro collections the only one that has Hak in a match is a hardcore match that trails off backstage and he gets tossed off to the side and forgotten so Sting and Rick Steiner can brawl for a bit to build up their feud instead.

There is a bizarre tornado tag match from early 2000 I must recommend. An inside joke a couple of my friends and I have always had is our tongue-in-cheek love for WWE relaunch of ECW, with us especially loving the ‘Gulf of Mexico Match’ between Chavo Guerrero and CM Punk. Turns out WCW had a prototype Gulf of Mexico Match with Sting & Vampiro against Lex Luger & Ric Flair. It will probably be first and last time I see a match end with a piledriver in the water. It is a hilariously dumb match all Gulf of Mexico enthusiasts should watch! The last match on the main feature is a really good tag bout between Booker T and DDP against an all-evil Steiner Brothers.

Noteworthy from the BluRay extras are the aforementioned Bret Hart matches against Lex Luger and Hulk Hogan. There is also a really good interview with Ric Flair calling out Bret Hart to set up Bret’s first real feud in WCW in early ’98. There is a world title match between Jeff Jarrett and Sting that has an awful finish, and then it is immediately followed up with a blink-and-you-will-miss-it clip of a Goldberg monster truck for no apparent reason.

That wraps it up for The Best of WCW Monday Nitro Vol. 3. As mentioned above there is a ton of matches that have finishes that leave you cringing, but there are also a fair amount that have good action throughout and mostly clean finishes. It was also entertaining to see this volume have special cameos from guys I forgot about from WCW history like Johnny B. Badd, Reese, Hak and Stevie Richards. You get a pretty good mix of action from each year of WCW history, so there is a solid amount of high-flying cruiserweight action, a ton of nWo run-ins, a good dose of action from past their prime, but could still go hall-of-famers like Bret Hart, Ric Flair, Hogan, Savage and Sting and a lot of garbage 1999-2000 booking from Vince Russo that put the final nail in WCW’s coffin. A watched this in a few hour and a half to two hour sessions and usually by the end of each session I was starting to get good vibes of the Monday Night War all over again. With that said, if you want to relive this era of WCW and do not have the time to devoure every episode of Nitro on the WWE Network, then you cannot go wrong with this latest collection of Nitro history.

Past Wrestling Blogs

Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume 2
Biggest Knuckleheads
Bobby The Brain Heenan
Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes Yes Yes
Dusty Rhodes WWE Network Specials
ECW Unreleased: Vol 1
ECW Unreleased: Vol 2
ECW Unreleased: Vol 3
For All Mankind
Goldberg: The Ultimate Collection
Its Good to Be the King: The Jerry Lawler Story
Ladies and Gentlemen My Name is Paul Heyman
Legends of Mid South Wrestling
Macho Man: The Randy Savage Story
Memphis Heat
OMG Vol 2: Top 50 Incidents in WCW History
RoH Supercard of Honor V
RoH Supercard of Honor VI
RoH Supercard of Honor VII
RoH Supercard of Honor VIII
RoH Supercard of Honor IX
RoH Supercard of Honor X
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
Sting: Into the Light
Superstar Collection: Zach Ryder
Top 50 Superstars of All Time
Tough Enough: Million Dollar Season
True Giants
Warrior Week on WWE Network
Wrestlemania 3: Championship Edition
Wrestlemania 28
Wrestlemania 29
Wrestlemania 30
Wrestlemania 31
The Wrestler (2008)
Wrestling Road Diaries Too
Wrestlings Greatest Factions
WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2015
WWE Network Original Specials Second Half 2015
WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2016

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

San Andreas

Last week I was visiting some friends out of town and when I arrived they were watching a documentary on earthquakes off Netflix. It was playing in the background while we visited and during it I just felt like blurting out, “this kind of makes me want to watch San Andreas again” and both my friends agreed too for being in the mood to witness The Rock kick an earthquake’s ass! San Andreas (trailer) hit last year in 2015 and is a perfect example of a popcorn summer blockbuster.

I am a sucker for over-the-top natural disaster flicks such as Deep Impact and Dante’s Peak being some past favorites of mine. San Andreas ups the ridiculous quotient to a new level, but since it features The Rock as an everyday, mega-jacked-up rescue helicopter pilot with a million dollar smile this earthquake has a foe ready to take it head on! Audiences worldwide agreed as San Andreas ended up being a worldwide box office success.

Of course it would not be a disaster movie without a disjointed family with a lot of history deciding to also come to a boil during this disaster that rocked Los Angeles all the way up to San Francisco. Dwayne Johnson is Raymond Gaines, a divorced father who already lost a daughter in a rafting accident and is trying to reconnect with his other daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario). Raymond’s ex-wife Emma, (Carla Gugino) complicates that by pressuring Raymond to hurry up and sign the divorce papers. One other primary character here is Dr. Lawrence Hayes (Paul Giamatti) who is a scientist at CalTech with the latest in earthquake prediction technology being on the cusp of forecasting the disaster that is about to transpire.

In order to appreciate this movie you just have to suspend disbelief and accept you are going to see a lot of crazy stunts and special effects that will definitely get you scratching your head. There are countless “yeah, right!” moments in this film, but once you just roll with them and embrace them you will be in for an awesome ride. If it were any other film trying to get away with this, odds are I would probably dismiss the film right away, but the unbelievable charismatic enigma that is The Rock makes it irresistibly difficult to do so that I cannot help but root for Raymond to overcome every obstacle the earthquake puts in his path so he can rescue and reunite his family!

The background family story is pretty forced and ugly to stomach, but while watching this I felt the producers felt this way too. I got the impression the filmmakers rectified this by hamming up all the campy family moments whenever possible that I could not help but share a million dollar smile with the Rock whenever they transpired, that went doubly so with his “second base” line being absolutely priceless in delivery. Trust me, you will know it when you see it, and only Rock can get away with corny moments like those and turn them into theatrical gold. The special effects and action scenes are top notch from beginning to end and you can tell the filmmakers spared no expense when it came to CG.

Actually, when watching the extras it was surprising the amount of effects that were practical and the filmmakers actually admitting to cutting corners on certain aspects of the film because a lot of their budget went to the pricey CG. I will give props to a certain action shot that was one continuous take for nearly five minutes when Emma gets caught in the earthquake while on the top floor of a skyscraper restaurant that had many intense moments. There is only a half hour of behind-the-scenes extras, but they are well worth watching as they break down these crazy scenes and how they looked shot in raw green screen footage and how they materialized on the silver screen. There is also a director’s commentary with Brad Peyton who does a commendable job for a solo commentary full of many production facts like not being allowed to shoot at the actual Hoover Dam, the filming process in Australlia and many shout outs to the cast members in major and minor roles.

San Andreas is the perfect movie to throw in on a rainy night to enjoy with your family and friends and a big bowl of popcorn. It makes full use of its $110 million budget, and with it raking in $474 million worldwide it came as no surprise a sequel was quickly greenlit and is due out in a year or two. I am eagerly anticipating its arrival and will be there day one with a bucket of popcorn by my side!

Other Random Backlog Movie Blogs

3
12 Angry Men (1957)
12 Rounds 3: Lockdown
21 Jump Street
Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie
Atari: Game Over
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Batman: The Killing Joke
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
Bounty Hunters
Cabin in the Woods
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Clash of the Titans (1981)
Clint Eastwood 11-pack Special
The Condemned 2
Creed
Dirty Work
Faster
Field of Dreams
Fight Club
The Fighter
For Love of the Game
Good Will Hunting
Hercules: Reborn
Hitman
Ink
Man of Steel
Marine 3 & 4
Mortal Kombat
The Replacements
Rocky I-VII
Running Films Part 1
Running Films Part 2
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Source Code
Star Trek I-XII
Take Me Home Tonight
TMNT
The Tooth Fairy 1 & 2
Veronica Mars
Wild
The Wrestler (2008)
X-Men: Days of Future Past