Saturday, December 02, 2006

We're Gonna Need Something with a Little Bit More Kick


For most males of my generation, much of the mid nineties were devoted to sitting in front of the computer playing the granddaddy of all shooters, Doom. Before the game, most video games were family friendly plat formers like Mario Brothers and even games that involved killing things like The Legend of Zelda, the killing was very cartoonish. But with Doom, you took a first person account of blasting hell spawn and zombies complete with blood spatter. There was even a time that there more computers that had some form of Doom on it than Windows. The game eventually gave way to the gorier Quake that featured multiplayer through the internet so you could now spend day on end killing your dorm mates.

Then over ten years after its original release and a year after a third installment in the series hit computer screens a movie tie-in made it to theaters despite ever other movie that was based on a videogame has sucked massively. Well of course the one exception being Super Mario Bros. with Bob Hopkins playing the red overall wearing plumber. Okay, enough sarcasm. Transferring Doom into a movie is an odd choice due to the video game being a first person shooter with evil doers being the only other characters in the game. So some changes had to be made for the transition to the big screen. First instead of one space marine shipped off to Mars, we get eight. The biggest change though is that the evil doers don’t come out of portal from hell. Where the actually come from in the movie is bit of a spoiler and I won’t tell you where or how not because I don’t want to spoil you, instead because it’s extremely complicated.

There in lies one of the big problems with the movie, its way too complicated for a film based on a game where all you had to know was kill anything that moves. When the marines hit Mars, they run into a bunch of scientists that bog down the dialog with way too many big words that you needed to take upper level biology and archeology courses in college to understand. The other big problem is you can’t see anything, ever. The lighting in the movie is so dark, even when the evil doers come on screen it’s hard to be scared because you have no clue what you are looking at. The only part of the film that old school gamers can appreciate is they discover of the BFG (my censors won’t let me tell you what it completely stands for but “B” is big and “G” is gun) and the segment where film takes on a first person view. But even those inclusions would make it worth sitting through the rest of the film.

Doom gets a Terror Alert Level: Low [GREEN] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Merry Christmas Baby and a Happy New Year

A Very Special Christmas

Even though many don’t ever release Christmas albums, most artists have a holiday song for radio stations to play in December. For years there wasn’t a way to have those songs in your collection unless you sit in tape them off the radio, yes kiddies, this was how we got our music in a time before the internet and CD burners. But in 1987, a compilation of holiday music came out with the biggest names in music titled A Very Special Christmas which is naturally December’s induction into the Scooter Hall of Fame. As an added bonus proceeds from the album were donated to the Special Olympics.

The album was a mixture of rock legends like Bob Seger, with Little Drummer Boy and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s rendition of Merry Christmas Baby, granted his version of Santa Clause Is Coming to Town is more associated with him, but the Pointer Sisters version of that song is what appears on the album. The eighties upstarts represented weren’t too shabby either including Madonna appropriately doing Santa Baby and Whitney Houston’s rendition of Do You Hear What I Hear? And long before the genre became mainstream, Run-DMC’s Christmas in Hollis made the tracklist. But the highlight of the album is my personal favorite Christmas song of all time Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by U2.

Five years later, a second volume was released including contributions from Boyz II Men (The Birth of Christ), Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (Christmas All Over Again), and Debbie Gibson (Sleigh Ride). Then in 1997 the third album featured Dave Mathews Band (Christmas Song), Blues Traveler (Christmas), and another personal favorite Hootie and the Blowfish’s rendition of The Christmas Song. 2001 saw the release of the fifth installment and the series also includes Jazz, World Music, Live and Acoustic albums. Today with advent of iTunes you can mix and match your favorites but it would be hard find a better array of Christmas music than that found on the original A Very Special Christmas. Now only had it included The Twelve Pains of Christmas it would have been perfect.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

First Impressions: My Boys

The cast of My BoysAfter years of syndicating different dramas across different genres and types including a library of probably over a thousand different episodes from it dozens of offshoots, TNT started producing original programming including the critically acclaimed The Closer. Now its sister station TBS, which focuses on comedies, has decided to go the original programming route to fill the gap between all those Friends episodes including My Boys.

The show centers around a grown up tomboy, P.J., who spends must of her time with her, well, boys. All of those boys are just platonic and that doesn’t bode well for her love life because apparently numerous boyfriends were scared off by all her male friend that include her whipped married brother, her college roommate and two random dudes that were picked up along the way to round out their poker games, a game that seems like a daily even as they played multiple times over the course of the first two episodes.

Yep, she plays softballThe latest inclusion to the gang, and the only recognizable actor as one of Drew Carey’s bosses during the last season of that show, is the new superstar shortstop of their softball team, just some happened to be captained by P.J. And no it’s no a co-ed league either, that’s just how butch she is. Dude also catches P.J.’s eye which leads to the most unrealistic scene ever on television where P.J. starts taking dude’s cloths off in the heat of the moment only for the dude tells her to stop. If you’re a guy and an uber-cute chick starts taking off your clothes, you never, under any circumstance tell her to stop.

Rounding out the cast is the P.J.’s lone female friend who she met in journalism school and just so happens to be the exact opposite and is very much a girlie girl. The friend also was the catalyst for the most blatant product namedrops with the numerous mentions of who just so happens to sponsors the show. But to P.J.’s journalism degree, not so surprisingly she used it to get a job as a Cubs beat writer for the Chicago Sun Times. Luckily there were no Jay Marriotti sightings yet.

Verdict: As good as you would expect a sitcom for a cable show would be but maybe something worth sticking with and you find it while channel surfing because there were a few good laughs. If you would like to check out the first two episodes check out . My Boys airs Tuesdays at 10:00.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I Like This Show, it’s Tawdry week 3

It's all so clear nowFrom very early on this season of Veronica Mars I had a sinking suspicion that the rapist world turn out to be different people, the original rapist then the copycat, but having a tandem that were teaming up definitely took me by surprise. And the who experiment conducted by Homer Simpson earlier this season became a little more important when it was insinuated that that was how Mercer and the Fraking RA met (in case you blinked and missed it, Moe was wearing a prisoner’s shirt in the picture and called Mercer “sir” while Mercer referred to Moe as “prisoner”).

Logan takes a swingAlthough even with them working together we never did find out who committed the rape over the summer while Mercer was in Mexico. Was it Moe fulfilling his hair fetish while Mercer was out of town? Was it another Lilith fake rape? But Mercer’s Austin Powers type of monologue as why he does it to his passed victim which was about as long as it would take him to get in the girls pants anyways was highly entertaining whether it was supposed to or not. It was over the top I half expected to hear him mutter, “I would have gotten away with it if it not for that meddling blonde” to Moe in the cell before Logan shows up. Speaking of whom, it’s always the highest of high comedy whenever they have the action happen in the background like with him taking a baseball bat to the cop car.

You go ParkerIt was a little disappointing that Parker was MIA for most of the episode considering she was the catalyst of the mystery arc. But it was nice that she ended up being the one to save Vee especially after their conversation on how well the rape whistle works. For those that never took any sociology courses, study after study backs up Ronnie’s claim that just because you blow the whistle are state you are in danger, most people won’t stop to help you out. Even in the scene it took a second cry for help before anyone else showed up. I know the serial rapist got a bad rap among some people, but I thought this was a great ending for the arc.

Have You Ever Been Mellow?The whole conclusion to the rape was great and all and graduated Right Here, Right Now into iPod status, but the best part of the episode was when we learned that Dean O’Dell’s car mix includes Olivia Newton John’s Have You Ever Been Mellow? I literally did a spit take as they transitioned from Dick on his float to the Dean in his car. Sadly we won’t get to fid out what else is on the Dean’s playlist as he was on the that won’t see the second mystery arc because, well, it looks like he will be the second mystery arc. It’s a shame that he never learned that Chip Diller also got a crack at his wife.

And for everyone who complained about the three mystery season, keep in mind they spent the last six episodes setting up a lengthy list of suspect so figuring out who did it. If you are going to do a multiple arc season this was definitely the way to go as the second mystery started long before we even realized it did. As for the lengthy list of suspects, it’s too early for Oddsmakers (not to mention I just did one) but here’s my list so far in no paricular order:

The Trophy Wife
Landry: The Perfect Murder?Professor Landry
Richard Greeko
Lillith House
Chip Diller
The Board of Trustees
Cigar smoking dude
The dude from The Nanny

Feel free to tell me if there was anyone I missed. Now from this list, Landry, with his back loge of “Plan the Perfect Murder” papers, would be the top suspect. And I would not be at all surprised if the death mirror a certain paper that detailed the killing of the local sheriff; it is the general consensus that that was the subject of Ronnie’s paper right?

And now we get our first break from the show until at least January, but come February the Toss Up between Lost and Veronica Mars will back in full swing.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Been a Dogg, Smoke You Like a Menthol

Tha Blue Carpet Treatment - Snoop Dogg

Over the past decade or so has become more than a brand than a rapper staring in movies, commercials, his own variety show, even lent his name to a porno, wrote a book, started up his own clothing line including a pet accessory line, hosting his own satellite radio show, starred in video games, and founded the Snoop Youth Football League. But the biggest impact was giving new slang for suburbanite white dudes everywhere to annoy their parents. But among all the extracurricular sometimes his music gets overlooks; most casual music fans probably can’t named any of his songs between Jin & Juice and Drop it Like it’s Hot. Even Snoop’s son fully respects his dad’s rapping because when the elder ask him who his favorite lyrist, the Bigg Snoop Dogg wasn’t on the list.

The disrespect from Lil’ Snoop is the catalyst for Snoop Dogg’s latest album . The title naturally comes from his affiliation to his former gang the Crips who get their own song on the Neptunes produced 10 Lil’ Crips. To give his advisories equal airtime, Snoop brings in , a Blood to spit a couple verses on Gangbangin’ 101. Longtime producer shows up behind the boards on four songs and Dre’s old running mate drops a couple verses on LAX. And no Snoop album would be complete without a hook from who lends his trademark baritone for Crazy while also show up on the album. New collaborators the Neptunes actually deliver a banging track Vato, one of the few this year, and is only heightened by having B-Real of on the hook.

Snoop Eastwood embraces the new school too as he brings in , who seems to show up on all rap songs lately despite having a voice that sounds like nails on a chalk board, for two songs but he’s not as bad as the sorry appearance. brings some dancehall to the Timbaland produced Get a Light, another stand out track. Snoop also brings in a catchphrase maker in his own right for Candy but the two can do much better than the over obvious double entendres that show up in the song. And regardless of his falling out with , tha Doggfather still collaborates with , finally out of the closet, for That’s That (Expletive Deleted) which humorously samples the best line from .

Tha Blue Carpet Treatment though is way too long at seventy-eight minutes. Plenty of mediocre tracks could have been cut to make a much more complete hour length album. Then they stuck some of the best track at the end including the introspective Imagine which sees Dre step out from behind the boards and takes the mike and D’Angelo on the hook. For the closer, Snoop brings in the legendary to rework Have a Talk with God into Conversations. So many rappers sneek in a religious song at the end of their albums, imagine is one would fill up a album with songs like this instead of re-treading the “G” that has overtaken the genre for over fifteen years.

Song to Download - Conversations

Tha Blue Carpet Treatment gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Oddsmakers: The Hearst Rapist

Tomorrow sees the conclusion of the Rapist mini-arc on Veronica Mars so naturally I have compiled a list of possible suspects. The list is significantly lower than last year’s last for who crashed the bus yet also lacks clear cut suspects like the Fitzpatricks or Mayor Goodwood (granted neither turned out to be the culprit), so a wide open field this time around. Go ahead and place your bets on the comment section*.

Dean O'DellDean O’Dell (150:1) - Since his wife is getting her jollies elsewhere, he may look to alternative places to get his. And since he doesn’t like college students he may drug them to make them easier to deal with

Professor Landry & Chip Diller (99:1) - We just learned that the Prof isn’t the most moral person on campus as he’s been secretly meeting the Dean’s wife (who gets around herself) and there more before her or so Not-Lucky would have us believe. Same goes for Chipper who has also had the Dean’s wife and one of his brother’s girlfriend. But as a great philosopher once said, “Why rape the cow when you can get the milk for free?”

Mercer (85:1) - Was exonerated by the computer schedule that had him hosting Club Flush at the time of Parker’s rape. But here something that makes me wonder about his alibi: couldn’t it have been changed afterwards? Of course if that was the case, Mercer would have known to tell someone about the show.

WeevilWeevil (60:1) - We all know he likes the party girl type, but maybe he isn’t getting lucky with them with his new appearance. Even though we don’t have a definitive timeline, but he may have been in jail for one or more of the rapes.

Not Lucky (50:1) - He has he creepy bulletin board that all serial killers have. With him pointing out that there was no DNA evidence gave him a very Dexter feel to the dude (works on the cases he commits and is meticulous in cleaning up the crime scene).

The Field (45:1) - Anyone else not stated. Do you think it was Wallace, Deputy Saks, Shelly Pomroy? This is where you place your bets.

A Chick (30:1) - We already know Claire faked her rape and Ronnie insinuated to the Lilith meeting that they may have done more. Plus we learn there has been no DNA evidence suggesting there may not have been any sexual contact which supports the theory that it was a girl. Also the nose ring chick helps out with the booze cart so she would have access.

The Frakking RAThe Frakking RA (10:1) - Has opportunity and motive: He helps out with the booze cart and has keys to the dorm rooms and being a Battlestar Galactica fan it’s safe to assume dude’s not getting laid so he would need some assistance to get in a girl’s pants. Plus thanks to the keys, he also could have framed Mercer by planting GHB in his dormroom.

A Phi Sig (5:1) - Even though Dick tried to exonerate his brother’s by telling Ronnie that they get some whenever they want, but every Fraternity has a member that isn’t that lucky with the ladies and with the point system could possibly resort to nefarious tactics to get the required numbers to avoid punishment.

Apparently there will be a death tomorrow too according to the promo. Unlike the previous list here, I have now prime suspects, but if I were a betting man, I’ll go with the Dean’s wife which could set up the next arc because her long trail of lovers leads to numerous suspects.

* This game is strictly for entertainment purposes, no money is meant to change hands. Unless of course you would like to donate to the Scooter McGavin is Poor Fund.