[Something In Review] The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel

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We are back, and this episode was recorded live before an internet audience over on Twitch.

Do you dig murder?  I mean… not like that… but do you find yourself mindlessly addicted to documentaries about the horrible things that horrible people do to people?

Yeah, look, we all do. That said, there is a new one on Netflix, but the results aren’t precisely what you think they are. The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel takes a police procedural documentary and turns it on its ear with the focus moving from the important facts of the case and sliding on over to an entirely different topic.  

Is it good? Is it worth it? We have opinions…. oh boy, do we. And once you are done, be certain to check out Hatton’s article on Vocal.Media

Okaaaay here we go!

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[BLOG] A Little Something Extra, Music That Makes Rob Tick

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Hey all you Somethings!

We haven’t talked much Music lately, and we’re always looking to give listeners an insight into what makes us “Us”, so I’ve compiled a list of 10 albums that, as a catalogue, speak volumes as to the person I am. In no particular order….

10 – Eat ‘Em and Smile – David Lee Roth.  The year was 1986, and an impressionable PCR was just entering High School.  Between Yankee Rose (with Steve Vai’s ‘talking guitar’, and the frequency of the video on MTV), Shy Boy, Tobacco Road and I’m Just a Gigolo.. this album quickly became one of the soundtracks of my High School years.

9 – Passion and Warfare – Steve Vai.  A second shout out on this list to Steve Vai.  Up until now, my musical interests had been rather… vanilla?  Commercial?  Mainstream?  Whatever the word, 1990 hit and this album caught my eyes and ears.  Liberty, Erotic Nightmares, The Audience Is Listening and The Animal spoke to ‘college Rob’ in ways other primarily instrumental music hadn’t.

8 – Raising Hell – Run DMC.  I remember recording the Raising Hell concert off WBLS when they aired it live (Fun Fact : Beastie Boys opened for them.  More on that later).  Full transparency, I love EVERY Run DMC album, but this is the one that started that love for me.

7 – Disney’s Robin Hood Album – Various.   I had this on vinyl.  I listened to it endlessly.  I can still quote 90% of the movie word for word in the accents.  Fight me.

6 – License To Ill – Beastie Boys.   The ‘sampling’ issue had been around for a while, but when License came out I was old enough to understand it.  Sampling from Led Zeppelin for Rhymin’ and Stealin’  felt almost like… well… stealin’, but the beats they dropped for other songs such as She’s Crafty, No Sleep Till Brooklyn, and the rap/rock of Fight For Your Right. turned me in to a longtime fan.

5 – BomBARDed – The Library Bards.  The story of how we met Bonnie and Xander has been told before, but meeting them in person was one of the best things this show has ever done, and we were happy to support both of their albums, the newest of which is BomBARDed which can be found at https://librarybards.bandcamp.com/

4 – Running With Scissors – ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic.  Much like Run DMC, I love ALL of Al’s albums, but for my money, this is probably my favorite in no small part to seeing him live and watching him do The Saga Begins and All About the Pentiums live.  The man is an unstoppable force when performing live and it remains one of my top concerts ever.

3 – Appetite For Destruction – Guns n’ Roses.  Not a bad song on the entire album.  My current workout jam.

2 – Un-Led-Ed – Dread Zeppelin.  Take a reggae band that does Led Zeppelin covers and give it an Elvis impersonator as a lead singer and you have this bit of genius.  First introduced to this band when it was background music at a party I was at, my brain kept saying “I know this song… but not… THIS.. song…”.  Once I was able to focus, I was hooked.  Seeing them live (with Mojo Nixon and the Toadliquors) was hilarious.

1 – Sunshine On Leith – The Proclaimers.  This album was unexpected.  Originally purchased for one song and one song only (I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)) the rest of this album I absolutely adored.  From Cap In Hand, My Old Friend The Blues and Sunshine On Leith showing off their soulful side, to Then I Met You and Oh, Jean being more raucous and rambunctious, this album is still a go to for me on long road trips.

Honorable Mentions.
Music From The Elder – KISS.  My favorite album from one of my favorite bands.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles.  My top Beatles album.
Disraeli Gears – Cream.  For my money, the definitive Cream album.  


Every week, the Somethings will be giving you a little something extra, so please check back every week for reviews, lists, cool finds, and more!

Badass Women in Film

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Were you aware that it is Women’s History Month?

Well it is, and to celebrate that the way the Somethings do.. we are talking about our favorite badass women from movies! Now, of course, you are already concocting a list in your head of your favorites, and I assure you – some of them are mentioned – but we also are diving into some of our favorites from movies you might have missed! Oh, and they aren’t all heroes, to be certain…

So if you are ready for some ass-kicking ladies, some gun-toting gals, some name-takin’ dames – settle in and get ready because we’re ready to rock.

And one last time, we would like to thank Quixotic Games for sponsoring these last few episodes.  You have one more chance to get your copies of Core Worlds: Empires & Nemesis as they accept late pledges for their successful Kickstarter campaign! Don’t miss your window, the offer will only be open while supplies last.

Ok, here she goes!

Full Episode

[BLOG] A Little Something Extra, Hatton’s Good & Bad Movies

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How many movies have you seen the past year?  If you are anything like good ol’ Hatton here, you have probably seen a lot.  I have been getting annoyed with myself at just how many damned movies I’ve digested in the last year because.. honestly, why the hell shouldn’t I?  I’ve found in recent months that it is harder to settle in to a television show (although I most certainly have), but I can convince myself to give up 2 hours to movies about almost anything. So here are a few of the movies I’ve watched that I’ve loved, and also a couple that I’ve hated.  If you have any interest you can read my shorter reviews on these and every movie I watch over on Letterboxd (which is basically like GoodReads, but for movies (which is basically Raveller, but with books (which is basically … ok, I’ve run out, but about yarn).

The Good

SOUL – Yeah, there was no way that Pixar’s journey into the afterlife, what it means to live, the soul, and jazz wasn’t going to make a list of movies I enjoyed. It’s just rich in color and tone, it makes the music feel like a living and breathing character while the performances of Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey are so emotional in both the good and the bad, I would believe that they are best friends outside of work. I also would watch that talk show. Anyway, Soul is beautiful and the music, from a genre that I don’t usually have anything to say, makes the world live.

 

VFW – In the ‘weird subgenre’ tropes that exist out there, the ‘a group have to defend their place from evil’ is one you don’t hear a lot from. Things like Breakin‘ 2 or Revenge of the Nerds, obviously 1980’s fair and Home Alone being the most famous. (I do hope you are now sitting there and trying to find the connection between those 3 movies, and I assure you.. it’s there. They’re movies about a group of like-minded people defending a THING, a PLACE, an IDEA from evil.  Well, in VFW it’s a bunch of veterans defending their watering hole from evil drugged out punks. It’s an action movie riot – and stars so many actors you know from that action movie thing they did that time.  The film looks dated, the locales look old… this movie could be from 1993 Cinemax and you wouldn’t know the damned difference.  It’s brilliant.

 

SPONTANEOUS – This is, by far, the best movie I’ve seen in a long time. Part of that, I’m sure, is because I wasn’t expecting it.  The premise is that there are kids in a high school that occasionally blow up, so the rest of the class has to deal with it. It sounded like it was going to be a perfect little silly horror comedy, but it isn’t what I got. It is a movie with humor that actually made me laugh out loud, and the emotional weight of a Heathers or a Pump Up The Volume. The movie is a breakdown of the modern teenage experience in ways I can’t empathize, but I certainly can sympathize.  If you go look up one thing on this blog post today – This should be the one.

 

THE BAD

GIRLS WITH BALLS – A weird French Canadian film about a volleyball team fighting deliverance style backwoods types that turn out to be a cult?  I mean, it isn’t the worst premise in the world… sadly, the movie it got is just a series of  scenes that may have had plots, but somehow they don’t now. The same 5 bad guys dying over and over again due to, I am sure, budget reasons. Moments of suspense ruined by these girls yelling at each other over their status in the team, but the comedy being ruined by not having a punchline. This movie fails at fundamentally everything, it doesn’t even fit the mark for a ‘so bad its good’ because it knows its bad… so there is intent, which makes it even dumber. The poster is actually much cooler than the movie

 

STARFISH – The world is ending and this girl may or may not have the answer to fix it?  I mean, that feels like a good slug line for a reasonable film… but this movie just.. walks around. Takes a nap. Reads a book. Feeds the fish. Ignores the monster outside. Doesn’t tell you much about what’s going on. Takes another nap. Ends.  Seriously, won’t lie, that’s pretty much the whole thing. The worst kind of ‘horror as art’ and ‘I don’t have to explain it to you, Warren…

 

30 MILES FROM NOWHERE – A bunch of 30 – 40 somethings all meet in the woods after one of their own’s funeral. I actually am most disappointed by this one, as I find the premise is wonderful. It is the sort of premise you hear about a great play… there is a history the viewer isn’t aware of, tensions we can’t see, there is so much that could be happening before the story even starts that it is rife with things to reveal — but 30 Miles just starts the film with everyone acting nice, but hating each other. It is less ‘Friends reconnected’ and more ‘We have to do this’ – which would be fine, that is a reasonable direction, but none of them respond to anything reasonably. They just do dumb plot-pushing things and yell at each other!

That’s that! A few movies to tide you over until we’re allowed outside – I mean, even the bad ones take up time… it’s an angry, want to crush and destroy, time.. but it’s time.

So what have you seen during the world of lockdown? What great or horrible thing had you previously missed? Let us know!  

 


Every week, the Somethings will be giving you a little something extra, so please check back every week for reviews, lists, cool finds, and more!

[The End] Sense8

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A group of people, connected.. somehow.. for some reason. 

They can see what the others see, they can take control when it’s time to, and when one feels pain… they all feel pain.

Part Wachowski FeverDream, part JM Straczynski longform storytelling – gone before it told its story its own way…. we’re talking about Sense 8. What did the boys think about the movie-length finale that was only done to sate the rabid fanbase? Find out on an episode that spans 3 continents.. on The End: Sense 8

Ok here we all go!

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[BLOG] A Little Something Extra Rob’s Nightmare on Elm Street Movies: Ranked

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Hey Somethings!

Been playing a fair amount of Freddy on Dead By Daylight lately, and that got me thinking about the “Nightmare” franchise, so here’s my take on ranking all nine movies from worst to best!

#9 – Freddy’s Dead : The Final Nightmare
This movie was trash.  Most of their plots and ‘revelations’ were lifted from other movies that the viewer had known for a while (Wait… you can PULL FREDDY OUT OF A DREAM?!?!?…) which made things very boring for me, and the times they tried to be original (Freddy having a daughter.. his power coming from ‘Dream Demons’…) were so schlocky that this movie easily falls to the bottom of the list.

 

#8 – A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge
Regardless of the possible ‘subtext’ of this movie… it was a huge downgrade from the original with lackluster acting, cheesy visuals, and ZERO memorable scenes. The lack of memorable scenes gives it JUST enough of a boost over the AMAZINGLY memorable(ly bad) Final Nightmare to have this one clock in at number 8.

 

Good, bad, I’m
the one with the
knives…

#7 – A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010 Remake)
Rebooting a beloved franchise that had fallen off in recent years?  Casting Jackie Earl Haley (who was amazing as Rorschach in ‘Watchmen’) as Freddy?  I’m in!  At least… I wanted to be in.  It felt like a college film project based on the original.  Visually it was close (although, I wasn’t a fan of Freddy’s ‘new’ look), but it lacked the heart and… dare I say charm.. .of the original.  All in all, the title was accurate, though not in the way that was intended.

 

#6 – Freddy VS Jason
It was a bold move to even attempt this movie as it had the potential to ruin two different, beloved horror franchises…however, out of all the matchups that could have been made… the ‘immovable object’ of Jason paired up with the wise-cracking Freddy was the perfect match.  While the ending was to be expected, it was a valid homage to both fan bases and well done.

 

#5 – Wes Craven’s New Nightmare
This movie is underrated.  Arriving 3 years after ‘The end of the franchise’, I love the metaness of it.  I love seeing the principle cast back.  While it’s the poorest performing movie of the lot, and falls a bit outside of the continuity of the franchise, it was an amazingly bold direction to go in and I applaud the choice.

 

#4 – A Nightmare on Elm Street : The Dream Child 
The wrap up of the ‘middle trilogy’, “The Dream Child” uses Alice’s unborn baby’s dreams to fuel Freddy’s ability and was the poorest performing of said trilogy.  The gas was starting to run out of the series, which lead to the inevitable “Final Nightmare” debacle.

 

#3 – A Nightmare on Elm Street : The Dream Master 
This was the mid point of the “Dream….” trilogy and it effectively put Renny Harlan on the map.  Pulling in nearly $50 mil on a $6.5 mil budget, it was the highest grossing film of the series in the U.S. until Freddy VS Jason came out… even with Patricia Arquette’s role recast to Tuesday Knight.

 

Plus, that song…

#2 – A Nightmare on Elm Street : Dream Warriors
Spots 2 and 1 are close enough for me to almost be interchangeable… (almost).  With a great cast (Langenkamp, Arquette, Fishburn…) it revitalized the franchise after the dismal “Freddy’s Revenge” and really drove the series for the next two films.  Had this movie tanked, it easily could have relegated “Nightmare” movies to late-Saturday-night-schlockfests until it died with a whimper.  Instead, it lit a fire in the fandom and shifted the series from straight horror/slasher to more Horror/SciFi/Fantasy which was a wise choice.

And the number one is!

#1 – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
This is the one that started it all, and therefore deserves top spot on the list.  With an original concept for a slasher/killer and amazing practical effects, this movie put not only Freddy, but Langenkamp and a young Johnny Depp on viewer’s radar.  Without the impact this movie had, none of the others would have been made, and therefore takes its rightful spot at the top of my list.


Every week, the Somethings will be giving you a little something extra, so please check back every week for reviews, lists, cool finds, and more!

[The Wheel] Predictions: Marvel Phase 4

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It’s time for another adventure with the WHEEL!

With a myriad of topics and journeys for the Somethings to go on, what is it this week? Well the answer is right there in the title, but you should still act surprised.

From WandaVision to Dr. Strange, the Young Avengers, X-Men, and all of the movies pushed back – we are going to talk about what might be coming next for the House of Ideas.

Don’t forget to check out our friends at Quixotic Games brand new Kickstarter for the CORE WORLDS sequel and its expansion. CORE WORLDS: EMPIRES and NEMESIS that are not only live, but almost to goal!

Ok, here we Mephisgo!

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[BLOG] A Little Something Extra, Hatton Takes On Evil…

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We’re on a mission from God…
..not him though…
…that’s Kurt Fuller.

Have you listened to our recent episode about Cobra Kai & Evil? Well, if you haven’t – take a minute – go listen now… I’ll wait.

Now that you’re caught up – since that episode, I’ve binged down Evil and figured it seems only right to discuss it. (And I challenge my podcasting partner to do the same with a certain karate oriented program)

The only information I had walking in was what Rob had told me – the show was about a man of faith trying to debunk exorcisms with a tech and a shrink on his side. The premise felt like the type of show I would dig, add in that there are lengthy background mysteries going on the whole way through and a villain in Ben Linus—- I mean Michael Emerson, it was an easy sell.

So, with all that, was it worth the time and effort – and the answer is a yes, but not without qualifications.

Both Mike Colter, playing David Acosta and Katja Herbers, playing Kristen Bouchard are three-dimensional characters who spend the season fighting demons (internal, external, and imagined) and come across as three-dimensional layered and conflicted people. To round out their trio is Ben Shakir, as performed by former Daily Show alum Aasif Mandvi, the skeptic tech expert who is enjoyable to watch, even though out of the three, his character feels the most stereotypical.

One of the main factors the show wants you to question throughout is ‘what is real and what is supernatural’ – is this person possessed or do they have an identity disorder? Is that person pulling secrets from the aether or is someone being stalked? That, it does well. Even weird creepy things from the first half of the show get more concrete answers later. To the point where it lulls you into a false sense of security when you see something that you are certain must be supernatural.

No man is an island…

The only problem the show suffers from is one that a lot of shows do – and that is the ‘nothing is normal’ issue. It’s a minor gripe, but its one that never ceases to be notable. A perfect example is an episode near the end of the season where David is invited to a woman’s house because she is having a crisis of faith. It also just so happens that she has a man chained up in her basement for offenses he may or may not have committed. Why was David called? Why would she invite David over? Can’t David just go to someone’s house and tell them about his Lord and Savior and provide them a bounty of pamphlets and associated literatures?

A lot of that is simply the buffalo of television – nary a minute can be spent not developing a plot lest they lose our attentions which is reasonable. It wouldn’t be an interesting episode if he just so happened to visit a an old friend, they talked about their favorite episode of Friends and there was no possible demon infestation… but when the weird shit is the only thing you see, it makes it feel like these characters just stumble place to place and every portion of their life is an interconnected plot of intrigue.

I will give it this though – the last ten minutes of its first season makes you re-evaluate what you’ve just watched. Not in a ‘Fight Club’ way, but in a ‘Oh, this is a story about Sam Gamgee’ sort of way. It makes you look at one particular character’s journey in a new light… and also makes you wonder what Baphomet charges for in-patient office visits. (When you watch the show, that will make you laugh..)

So was Rob right? Is Evil a show for me? The answer is yes. I’m not riveted, but I’m enjoying it. It’s a show that teeters on the edge of too much. The villain is too smart and gets what he wants too easily. The ramifications of actions are brushed aside when they’re not necessary… but it is telling an interesting story, and that’s all that really matters.


Every week, the Somethings will be giving you a little something extra, so please check back every week for reviews, lists, cool finds, and more!

[Something In Review] Evil & Cobra Kai

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Why review two things when there are two of us, am I right? You see, there is a lot of television going on right now. If we were allowed to go places with water coolers, I don’t know how any work would get done with all the chatter about what we saw last night…

With that in mind, the Somethings were live on Twitch and reviewed not just one show, but two. One is about a team fighting evil at every turn, and the other is Evil! So hang with Hatton and Rob as we breakdown two shows that have gotten us through at least a little of our lockdown.

And don’t forget to jump on the Core Worlds Kickstarter, going on right now!

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[BLOG] A Little Something Extra, Rob’s Great Scenes From Movies You’ve Probably Never Seen

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I love me some movies.  I also love me some well filmed movies.  Even better?  Movies that have scenes that just, for one reason or another, stick with you for years after you watch them.  With that in mind, here’s some of mine.

Immediately hired by White Wolf

Near Dark
End Chase.  Near Dark is a great vampire movie, and while there are a number of good scenes in it, the image of Jesse and Diamondback in the station wagon, huddled under blankets to block the sun, smiling as they smoulder and start to catch fire as they try to run over Caleb is just a great visual scene.

Bound
Cesar’s Death.  Bound is another movie that is chock-full of great scenes, but the best one for me is Cesar’s death.  The top-down camera angle as it pulls back and we see Cesar, his blood pooling into the large puddle of white paint, then pulling back further and the white paint puddle framed by the dark floor… the way it was filmed, the contrast… it reminds me of the scene in The Untouchables after Capone killed that guy with a bat at the banquet table, just some great cinematography.

Welcome… to the Rock

Men With Brooms
“The Juggernaut’s Entrance”.  Years ago, after seeing curling for the first time on the Olympics, a friend of mine and I found a place in NJ and took lessons.  It was there we learned about a fun little movie called ‘Men With Brooms’.  If you’ve played curling or are familiar with it, this movie is great, and the cast is pretty impressive.  The scene I loved the most was when Alexander “The Juggernaut” Yount and his squad enter the bonspiel in matching silver lamé tracksuits with cheerleaders and pyro going off at the entrance.  The fact that curling in and of itself is such a subdued/great sportsmanship sport made their entrance scene completely hilarious.

28 Days Later
Deserted London.  I know you’ve probably seen this movie, but I had to include it for the scenes of deserted London.  It wasn’t a huge scene to be honest, established to get the point across of how empty everything was… but the scenes of London Bridge… just… EMPTY… it hit on a scale of not only what kind of undertaking it was to get that scene filmed, but how absolutely terrifying it would be to be in that position of being there and just… being completely alone. 

…I don’t think this is the right image…

Ghost Dog
Sidewalk scene.  This is a visually amazing movie from Jim Jarmusch with Forest Whitaker in the lead.  There’s a scene in the movie where he’s walking down a fairly busy sidewalk while people and businesses are interacting around him and.. the cinematography is nothing short of stunning in my opinion.  The way that people are talking to each other, bringing trash to the curb, waving to people driving by… but do so in a way that NONE of them actually make visual contact with Whitaker as he walks… one pace… never changing speed…it was such an amazing way to show how his character walks through society under the radar.


Every week, the Somethings will be giving you a little something extra, so please check back every week for reviews, lists, cool finds, and more!