Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I Want My Music Videos: "Weird Al" Yankovic Edition

When Beyoncé air dropped her album before Christmas I wondered what artists could also do the same with some sort of success. Taylor Swift and Adele first came to mind (the latter of which is rumoured to be doing just that this fall) followed by a few rapper like Kanye West and Jay-Z (who both did limited roll outs last year). Who would have guess that “Weird Al” Yankovic would be the first to successfully pull it off? Okay, he did announced the album a month ago but did not give any preview tracks until the day before the release leading many of us to guess which songs he was parodying just by the song titles.

But this paid off as Mandatory Fun is looking like it could be Al’s first number one album ever (it is down to him and Jason Mraz) and his best selling week in the Soundscan era. Boosting these sales was Al’s new marketing plan of releasing eight new music videos over eight straight days starting last Monday. Since record labels do not have large budgets for videos ever since MTV started ignoring their first letter, he partnered up with various websites like Nerdist, Funny or Die, and, um, the Wall Street Journal to underwrite the videos to various degrees of success. So here are those eight videos ranked.

1. Word Crimes – Everyone has parodied Robin Thicke in the past years and each made fun of the video usually having haft naked dudes. Not Weird Al, of course he turns the song into an English class and of course the video is a lyric kind. Sure Al got some digs in at the video with the obnoxious hashtags and “Weird Al Yankovic has a big dictionary” but I liked the subtle two decade old dig at Alanis Morrisette.

2. Foil – A Lorde parody seemed obvious, the only question would be the subject. Apparently my guess of a Game of Thrones parody was a bit too on the nose, instead the parody turned out to be food adjacent. Well until Al take a sharp left with Al going the darkest he has ever gone after putting the tin foil hat on his head. And who did not have a sinking suspicion that Patton Oswalt was one of those secret lizard people from V?

3. Tacky – The video that started off the eight days of Al was also the most star studded with Aiesha Tyler, Margret Cho, Eric Stonestreet, Kristen Schaal, and Jack Black all don their tackiest clothes in a one take shot version of the Pharrell video. Yes Al ran done five flights of stairs for each take for the video.

4. Handy – You really cannot parody the Fancy music video because you would essentially just be parodying Clueless, instead he went with the Schneider from One Day at a Time look. But hey, dancing plumbers will always be funny.

5. First World Problems - Al’s non-parodies this time around were not his best. This was probably the best I pretty much had three of them happen to me.

6. Sports Song

7. Lame Claim to Fame

8. Mission Statement

Bonus: Now That’s What I Call Polka: There was not an official video for the album’s polka (always a highlight for one of Yankovic’s records) but of course someone synced up the original with the Weird Al version and put it on YouTube.

Monday, July 21, 2014

I Want My Music Television: 7/21/14

There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I thought I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.

Angel in Blue Jeans - Train

Sure the new Train song kind of sucks in a jumping on the folk rock trend two years too late kind of way but if you are going to release a bad song you might as well pay Danny Trejo copious amounts of money to lip-sync your lyrics making an actual entertaining video. So congratulations to Train, you almost got me to almost like your crappy Mumford and Sons rip off simply by getting me to watch the music video multiple times.

You and I (Nobody in the World) – John Legend

Just when you think John Legend was going to release yet another music video based around his Sport Illustrated it turns into a very real look at the various types of women that populate the nation. It is empowering and heartbreaking at the same time. Seriously, if you did not break out crying at the breast cancer victim, you very well may not have a soul.

Try - Colbie Caillat

If that is not enough real women for you Colbie Caillat takes that John Legend idea one step further (to be fair, Try hit YouTube two days earlier and is exactly what the song is about; I just put You and I first because it is a much better song) as Colbie and another group of ethnically diverse strip themselves of all their numerous beauty products.

Mother and Father – Broods

We have hit that time a year when people start posting their silly half-year lists. One thing that stuck out to me on these lists is that music so far this year kind of sucked. Making things worse is that are not many good new artists. Around this time last year there were already great albums or EPs from Lorde, Haim, Kacey Musgraves, Daughter, and Chvrches. It is depressing to think Iggy Azalea is probably going to get a Best New Artist nomination basically there is no one else (granted since Ed Sheeran got nominated in the category last year, maybe Lorde will get nominated this year) even though she only has only been on two songs anyone cares about and is the worst part of both songs. Sure there have been a couple songs by new artists that have piqued my interest this year but I really not interested in full albums by Hozier, Bleachers, Jamie N Commons, or X Ambassadors (I have not even been bothered to see if the last two are the same act or two separate ones collaborating on Jungle; which is not to be confused with the new band Jungle that I do not really care for that much) but there is only one group that I am looking forward to hearing more from and that is Broods. They put out a solid EP earlier this year and next month they are releasing their debut album Evergreen (apparently it will not be released stateside until October but sometimes these foreign releases show up on Spotify here before we Americans can buy them). The first single from the album is actually better than anything on that original EP and shoots the album up my list of what may be a crowded most anticipated fall albums (even though many of the biggest names do not have a release date as of now).

Sunday, July 20, 2014

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 7/20/14

Falling Skies: Juts when I thought it was unnecessary when they killed off the old dude last week, they brought back Weaver’s daughter only to have her in the middle of a skitter transformation (that is happening quick now) and just when I thought they would just bring her to Lexi to “cure” her, they just kill her off. What?!? This show is just getting too depressing.
You can download Falling Skies on iTunes.

The Strain: I had high hopes going to the show and it came very close to meeting those. The old dude is all sorts of awesome and he owing Weevil was a great introduction to the character. The CDC guy was a bit much in the court mandate therapy but was much better when he got on the job. And those the show had been pitched as a vampire project, these are definitely not your father’s vampires (or little sister’s for that matter). They kind of seem like zombie vampires which manage to be scarier than both originals. Especially with those worm infested hearts (so that is what was in the old dude’s mason jar which he creepily feeds with his own blood). The first episode does ask a very interesting question, at what point do you believe the crazy old dude with the snake handled sword who wants to burn everyone who was on the plane, even the four “survivors.” Of course, we the viewers know they should have done as he said, but the characters do not have the same information as we do. You really cannot take him at his word at first, especially considering if you did, there probably would not be a show. It seemed like the CDC guy was coming around when he say the worms in the dirt. And if not then, when you learn all the corpse up and left the morgue, that is indefinitely time to start believing the crazy old dude. So I guess the show from here on out will be the CDC guy, his team, and the old dude going around killing everyone on the plane. But who will be the one to chop off the little girl’s head? Samwise better take that one for letting the coffin leave the airport.
You can download The Strain on iTunes.

Switched at Birth: Was no one at all suspicious that Clarence Weidman was Angelo’s doctor. I personally would not have trusted that guy to do brain surgery on a loved one. Granted Clarence did us all a favor because Angelo could have been killed off a long time ago.
You can download Switched At Birth on iTunes.

Under the Dome: I think I said this when he was on Wilfred, but Dwight Yoakam without the cowboy hat is extremely creepy. Somebody give him his own horror franchise. And now he apparently has some of the answers but of course did not spill any yet. Instead we got the start of quite possibly the lamest love triangle of all time between the teenagers. At least we got one answer in that the new girl actually went to Chester Mills High back in 1988, probably not so coincidently the same year the picture of Junior’s mother, uncle, and Dwight Yoakam was taken. Wait, are we really supposed to believe Dwight Yoakam was a teenager in the eighties? (a quick scan of Wikipedia… Dwight Yoakam turned 32 in 1988.)
You can stream Under The Dome on Amazon Instant Video, free for Prime users.

Pretty Little Liars: Mona always seemed like the most likely candidate to be the latest incarnation of A, if she ever really stopped but considering the height of the attacker and her wanting Ali to leave and A making Ali stay I guess we can rule out Mona out (though I bet whoever was under the mask was probably a random stunt person and not the actor who will turn out to be A; and Mona vocally wanting Ali gone could just be her misdirecting everyone from thinking it was her). That would leave Melissa and a not so very blind Jenna as the prime suspects. Also Paige has been extremely squirrelly this season two, there is definitely something going on there (plus she wanted no part of Mona’s let get Ali to leave town cabal).
You can download Pretty Little Liars on iTunes.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Best of the Week: 7/19/14

Quote of the Week: I don’t wear pink. It’s for (expletive deleted) and little girls who want to grow up and be princesses. (Eleanor Nacht, The Bridge)

Song of the Week: Who'll Stop the Rain – Dwight Yoakam (Under the Dome)

Big News of the Week: Christopher Walken Is Your New Captain Hook: After the success of The Sound of Music Live!, NBC was quick to announce that the live musical would happen this year (and probably for the foreseeable future) and it was eventually announce that Peter Pan would be the next one. We finally got our first casting news and surprisingly it was not for the titular character. Instead we learned this week that Christopher Walken would be the antagonist. Awesome. Sure the seventy-one year old actor may be two decades too old for the role, but thanks to Fatboy Slim we do know he can dance. And he will definitely be a better Captain Hook than the Abercrombie model they have on Once Upon A Time.

Back when Peter Pan was announced I suggested Jack Black whom probably would have been a better fit age wise, but that the Walken casting does is bring star power to the show and do not have to reach for the lead with name recognition like they did with Carrie Underwood and instead can cast someone who is competent and does not have to be a household name. So let me again suggest Brie Larson who may not be a big a name as Underwood, but we know she can act (see the critically acclaimed Short Term 12), that she can sing (see Scott Pilgrim vs. The World); and this week we learned she is even a passable as a boy when she popped up in Jenny Lewis’ video for Just One of the Guys (which sadly is not the theme song for a reboot of the awesomely bad eighties movie of the same name).

Preview Picture of the Week:

“Hail Mary” Tyrant, Tuesday at 10:00 on FX

Free Download of the Week: Busy Earnin' – Jungle (iTunes)

New Album Release of the Week: Nobody's Smiling - Common

New DVD Release of the Week: Godzilla Vs. Megalon [Blu-ray]

Video of the Week: It was just a couple weeks ago when I suggested we needed more Keira Knightley in our live. And just when that film who trailer made me make that declaration is hitting theaters, here is yet another Keira Knightley film trailer which is yet another indie film set in modern terms with Keira doing a surprisingly good American accent. Now that the Keira Knightley revival it is time to get her into a superhero movie or one of those super high quality miniseries that are all the rage lately. Oooh, since she is so good at period pieces and the character would need a sidekick, how about getting Keira Knightley into the upcoming Agent Carter television show. That would have the potential of being the greatest show ever in the history of the medium.

Next Week Pick of the Week: The Lottery, Sunday (tomorrow) at 10:00 on Lifetime: A year or two ago I was offered access to Lifetime screeners despite being a dude (I was also granted access to History which is more aligned with my idea of gender roles). Since they were nice enough to think of me I occasional check what is available and every that I watch I came away thinking, I am just too male to enjoy this. I check out their latest project The Lottery because who does not need more Marley Shelton in their life? Sure the women in the dystopian future all being infernal really preys on women’s emotion but I came away thinking it is the best thing they have ever produced and could actually appeal to the less fair sex. You can check out my full review here: Previewing The Lottery: A Dude's Review of Lifetime vol. VIII.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Around the Tubes: 7/18/14

I have gotten a plethora of cool press releases have been flooding my inbox recently that you may find interesting. This post will include blurbs on Hemlock Grove, Face Off, The Line, Wicked Tuna: North vs. South, Chop Shop, Bert Blyleven, Guster, Smashing Pumpkins, and The Expanse.

- What is lurking within the city limits of Hemlock Grove? Werewolf transformations of course! Netflix has released an all-new exclusive clip showcasing the behind-the-scenes of this fan-favorite moment of Season two! The clip features new Season two executive producer/showrunner Charles "Chic" Eglee as well as cast members Landon Liboiron and newcomer Madeline Brewer discussing how these special effects came to life! Fans of the Emmy-nominated Eli Roth Netflix original series can now witness new transformations, thrills, chills, murder, suspense and more blood for themselves, as Season two of Hemlock Grove is now available for streaming at Netflix.com/HemlockGrove. Check out a clip below:

- Premiering Tuesday, July 22 at 9:00, season 7 of Syfy’s special effects makeup competition series Face Off begins with two of the aspiring artists being eliminated before the competition even begins, a twist that shocks the 16 aspiring hopefuls the moment they arrive to Los Angeles. This begins Face Off’s “Life and Death” season, in which the contestants face creative challenges that will inspire them to explore themes of rebirth and mortality. In the premiere, the contestants must incorporate a prosthetic into their audition makeups in a stressful four-hour challenge. As the artists are working, host McKenzie Westmore introduces a special guest advisor for the challenge, horror icon Robert Englund (Nightmare on Elm Street’s Freddy Krueger). In the end, two artists are eliminated before ever moving into the Face Off house or stepping into the lab. Syfy also rolls out an interactive social element for season 7, Tweet Off: The Fan Favorite Sweepstakes. Every week, viewers can tweet which of the contestants is their favorite using #FaceOff. At the end of every episode, there will be a reveal of which contestant garnered the most positive sentiment for the week. And at the end of the season, the contestant who has the most cumulative weekly wins is named Fan Favorite and will be awarded $10,000. Tweet Off: The Fan Favorite Sweepstakes also gives viewers the chance to win. Starting with the premiere on July 22 and running through the end of Face Off’s season 7, viewers can enter the sweepstakes at www.faceoff.syfy.com to win a Kryolan make-up kit and a tutorial from the season 7 Fan Favorite.

- Game Show Network, the leader in game shows and competitive entertainment, announced this week it has greenlit a new traveling game show, The Line, from High Noon Entertainment. Hosted by Jeff Davis (Whose Line is it Anyway?) and Candace Bailey (Attack of the Show), the series offers people the chance to win cash and prizes by playing outrageous games while waiting in a line for their shot at answering a series of trivia questions. The Line, which will shoot five episodes in Nashville beginning July 19, is a unique traveling game that invites hundreds of people to line up each day for a chance to win cash and prizes. Though the goal is to get to the “Trivia Vault” at the front of the line, where each contestant can attempt to win a jackpot by answering eight true/false questions, many will have an opportunity to play and win while waiting in the line itself. Those who make it to the front of the line will see the jackpot grow with each contestant who fails to answer his or her eight questions. Still, everyone who gets in “The Line” may have the chance to be a contestant and a winner – one way or possibly both!

- On the heels of its third and highest-rated season for hit series Wicked Tuna, National Geographic Channel pits Gloucester’s finest against good ol’ Southern fishermen in an exciting new series, Wicked Tuna: North vs. South, premiering Sunday, Aug. 17, at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. n order to succeed, the Gloucester rod-and-reel veterans will need to master the different method of fishing — greensticking, in which artificial squid are trolled from a 30-foot fiberglass pole in order to entice bluefin swimming near the surface — and best a fleet of North Carolina captains battling for the same catches. Bluefin season in the Outer Banks only lasts a limited time, and there is a highly restricted government catch quota. But if the captains can reel in some “monstah” fish before the quota is reached, the winter months could potentially yield a greater catch than in Gloucester. In fishermen’s terms: a cash bonanza.

- Paramount Digital Entertainment and Machinima have partnered on a gritty, new action drama Chop Shop to premiere today. Chop Shop follows a crew of car thieves as they rise from the mean streets of Los Angeles to become high level international players. The series will premiere exclusively on Machinima’s channels. Elliott Lester (Blitz) directs the Bandito Brothers (Act Of Valor) and Joshua Weinstock produced series, alongside writers Josh Baizer and Marshall Johnson (Mortal Kombat: Legacy). Series stars John Bregar, Rene Moran, Ana Ayora, along with Robert Patrick. Check out the trailer below:

- On Monday, July 14 in Minneapolis, legendary pitcher Bert Blyleven teamed up with 2 GINGERS® Irish Whiskey to face brave batters in a Wiffle® ball battle heading into the 2014 MLB All-Star Game®. Blyleven pitched his iconic curveballs, and every batter who struck out took a pie in the face. For every pie thrown, 2 GINGERS® donated to the Wounded Warrior Project and the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, resulting in a combined total of $10,000.

- PledgeMusic is excited to announce a freshly launched pre-order campaign with Boston alternative rock band Guster for their upcoming album. Produced by Richard Swift (The Shins, Foxygen), the new album is the follow up to 2010's Easy Wonderful. With the album fully recorded, Guster wants to offer exclusive merchandise and experiences and create frenetic fan engagement leading up the album's early 2015 release. Fans can purchase pre-order exclusives such as signed CDs, handwritten lyrics, and a skydiving adventure with the band. Among the unique experiences available for pledgers, they can welcome Guster's Ryan Miller to DJ a house party while wearing a Chewbacca costume or accompany the band to a local Tesla dealership where they will test drive a Model S with you and then purchase it for you (for a cool $150K USD). In addition, fans can spend a day with Guster on the idyllic Maine seacoast with paddling, lawn games & archery followed by a sunset BBQ and acoustic set, hosted by the L.L.Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools. For more details visit Pledge Music.

- When it was first released on June 1, 1998, the Smashing Pumpkins’ Adore, the follow-up to their mega-successful 1995 double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, fans were puzzled by its lack of rock guitars, its folk and electronic elements and relative intimacy. Even the album title, as Billy Corgan mentions in the booklet that accompanies Universal Music Enterprises’ 107-track, six-CD/DVD reissue of the epic disc—due Virgin/UMe on Sept. 23—was misunderstood. “The funny thing was [it] was a joke that no one ever got,” says Corgan, explaining that Adore was meant as a play on “A Door.” In addition, Adore will be available as a single CD, a double-vinyl version and a deluxe, 90-track digital package.

- Syfy and Alcon TV today announced that three-time Golden Globe nominee Thomas Jane (Hung, The Punisher) will star as the world-weary Detective Miller, a native of “the Asteroid Belt” between Mars and Jupiter, in The Expanse, the new 10-episode space opera based on the international best-selling book series, premiering on Syfy in 2015.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Previewing The Lottery: A Dude's Review of Lifetime vol. VIII

Marley Shelton from The Lottery

Near future dystopias have been all the rage in multiplexes lately it is surprising it has taken this long for it to make it to the small screen. Since the future dystopian movies are like comic book movies for the fairer sex, it should not be surprising that Lifetime got in on the ground floor. And they are really hitting at female fears with what went wrong in the near future: In The Lottery all women become infertile. As the opening scenes describes: “In 2016 there was an alarming drop in worldwide human birth rates. No specific cause could be identified. In 2019, only six children were born. They were the last ones. Every effort to reverse infertility has failed.”

See, every young woman’s nightmare. But here is the thing; the show may be the first project Lifetime has ever done that can actual appeal to dudes too. Except instead preying on possible dystopian fears for women, the world that The Lottery lives in is a utopia for men. Seriously, a future where even chubby dudes with receding hairlines can get to hook up with absurdly attractive doctors because if you also decent from Ethiopia, you are extremely fertile (oh yeah, dudes are still fine in the future, it is the woman’s uterus that is the problem; there are even billboards plastered everywhere that says, “Sam wants you to donate sperm”). Seriously, sex is so prominent in this future there are beds inside the bars because people cannot even be bothered to spend the time to drive home. Awesome, if not kind of extremely unsanitary.

The Lottery picks up in 2025, so those final six kids are now six years old. One of course is raised by a single dad who has to be getting more action than even your average chubby Ethiopian with receding hairline. And though there are no kids under six (sorry kindergarten teachers, you are now out of work in this near future) at least there are now televisions inside gas pumps and virtual treadmills for those who what to feel like their outside without actually having to be outside. But do not fret women of the future, Marley Shelton was able to fertilize one hundred embryos (of course the chick from Sugar and Spice plays the smartest doctor in the world).

So why The Lottery? As you can probably guess the show is not based on the short story you probably read in school about the dystopian future where kids are stoned to death. No, the president, facing low poll numbers and a possible recall (apparently you can also recall the president in the future too; wait until the Tea Party hears of this idea) has decided to host a lottery where the one hundred women of America will get to carry one of the embryos to term. Yeah, Lifetime is really going hard at the female viewer. But I am just watch for the thought of the future where I can easily hook up with any random hot chick with a ticking biological clock without fear she would actually get pregnant barring some miraculous super sperm. But in all seriousness, this is the best project from Lifetime that I have seen yet.

The Lottery airs Sundays at 10:00 on Lifetime.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Previewing Expecting Amish: A Dude's Review of Lifetime vol. VII

The amish of Expecting Amish

I can be stubborn, stuck in my ways, and fear change but no one is more stubborn than the Amish who shun fancy things like electricity. Now I have to admit the about ninety percent of what I know about their culture I learned from “Weird Al” Yankovic. Then the other ten percent was half an episode of Amish in the City which probably not the best representation. As the latest Lifetime Movie, I am not sure if Expecting Amish is a better representation of the culture.

One of the aspects of the Amish life I learned about Amish in the City was a rite of passage Amish young adults take where they live in the modern world and after a month they decide if they want to come back and be baptized in the church or stay in modern civilization and be shunned (which was the basis of the show). It has a name, but it long and weird and I am too lazy to look up the correct spelling so let us just call it Amish Spring Break.

Amish Spring Break is the basis of Expecting Amish where AJ Michalka (Cow Belles) and her three Amish buddies go to Los Angeles where they are amazed by self closing car doors and toaster ovens. They are so naïve they are even enamored by One Republic, just wait until they get to hear some real music like The Clash. How the Amish are able to afford such a swanky LA pad goes unexplained, but I guess when you are not spending all your money on disposable income on iPads, Playstations, or even groceries because you grow and kill your own food, it is easier to save a nest egg.

Then the Amish go to a college party to party like it’s 1699 with the “faithless” including Jesse McCartney (Beautiful Soul). Since this is a Lifetime Movie, it from there can go one of two ways: they can be roofied and taken advantage of or fall in love with a modern boy who teaches her there is more to the modern world than toasters and computers. (Granted the ultimate Lifetime Movie, both would end up happening.) But with a title like Expecting Amish, the result of the trip to Los Angeles is fairly obvious. Then, of course, hilarity ensues (well depending if you take Lifetime movies serious or watch them semi-ironically).

Expecting Amish premieres Saturday at 8:00 on Lifetime. Two more Lifetime movies premiering this month includes Guilty at 17 premiering on Sunday at 7:00. It is a thriller starring Erin Sanders who co-stars on Melissa and Joey. She plays 17 year old Traci, who falsely accuses a teacher of sexually harassing another student. When the teacher commits suicide and Traci finds out the teacher was really innocent, she confides in a substitute teacher who places both of them in danger when she takes matters into her own hands. Also there is The Chocking Game premieres on Saturday, July 26 at 8:00. Based on the YA novel called Choke by Diana Lopez, Freya Tingley (Jersey Boys), Peri Gilpin (Frasier) and Alexandra Steele (De Grassi) star in the drama that follows a teenager who flirts with disaster after being introduced to the "game" of intentionally cutting off oxygen to the brain to get high.