Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dear God, MORE Deflategate News?!?!

Somehow, someway, like a festering boil, the NFL created drama known as Deflategate just won't end. The NFL requested an expedited hearing for their appeal of the vacating of Tom Brady's 4-game suspension for his alleged knowledge of a deflated ball conspiracy.

Criminal Mastermind Tom Brady

Yesterday, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals announced that oral arguments could begin as early as Feb. 1, 2016, days before the Patriots play in the Super Bow (Yeah, I said it, what the hell), all over air that was most assuredly not missing from 11 of 12 footballs.

Pictured above the playful dolphin performing tricks is the NFL's
public enemy #1 beating up the palm tree: Air. That bastard.

The NFL has decided that after getting demolished publicly in a court of law it wanted to get beat up again, and fast! Seriously, how the FUCK are we still talking about this? This is the most overblown (Editor's Note: Or is it "underblown?") "controversy" in the history of sports. The fact that the NFL cannot let this go goes to show what an ego Commissioner Roger Goodell has. Let's go over some actual facts here:

Friday, September 25, 2015

NFL Pick 'em: Week 3

Points Standings
B-Cuddy-6
Dan-3
Miggsy-3



We're back after a dreadful and weird week two in the NFL. This week's slate of games are UGLY so hopefully we pretty em up, like meeting a beautiful woman in a bar at 7pm and not like picking up a giant pig monster in an alley at midnight.


Dan's Picks:

Atlanta (-2) @ Dallas THE PICK= ATLANTA
With Dallas losing their two biggest playmakers in Romo and Bryant, I have very little faith in their ability to move the chains. Their running game without Demarco Murray this year has been atrocious. I have zero confidence in Brandon Weeden as their new QB. That has nothing to do with his athletic ability. He's just so stupid looking. He's got a very punchable face. That ginger fuck should be a 3rd shift bus driver, not the starting quarterback for the most expensive team in the most expensive league in the world.

He always looks like he just ate bad mayonnaise.

Meanwhile, Matty Ice is a GORGEOUS specimen & he and Julio Jones continue to tear things up on the offensive side of the ball for the Falcons. I don't see that stopping in Dallas this week.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pro Wrestling: A Mark's History, part 15 (Stone Cold! Stone Cold! Stone Cold!)

As 1998 began it was clear the WWF was taking back some of the momentum from WCW.  Steve Austin was now poised to challenge for the WWF Title and become the new face of the company, while Vince McMahon turned the volume way up on his new heel persona following the Montreal Screwjob.  The seeds were planted for Austin to become a constant thorn in Vince's corporate side, and I knew this was going to make for some wild television.

Not unlike Shawn Michaels' rise in 1996, Austin seemed to be a mortal lock to win the '98 Royal Rumble match, thus earning a title shot at WrestleMania.  The departure of Bret Hart and Davey Boy Smith left two large holes in the roster and therefore the Rumble match itself contained little suspense or star power.  But to me it was okay because the focus was on Austin's journey to the Championship and I couldn't wait to see it all unfold (I've always held the belief that in wrestling, predictability is fine as long as it makes sense dramatically and financially.  I'd rather see the obvious next top star make the trek to the Championship in the traditional fashion, than see swerves that don't make logical sense.).  The company was creative about putting obstacles in his way and creating a bit of suspense, but Austin predictably triumphed.  Another standout in this Rumble match was I-C Champion The Rock, who lasted about fifty minutes and was the final man eliminated.  I think this was the first time I really became a Rock fan.

Monday, September 21, 2015

NJPW Destruction 2015 Predictions!!!

Welcome back to Enuffa.com, and another edition of New Japan PPV Predictions!  This week we get a double-dose of NJPW awesomeness, following up on the excellent G1 Climax.  It's NJPW Destruction, a two-part PPV taking place in Okayama and Kobe.  The key matchups are spread out between the two shows and the cards are filled out by the usual tag team bouts involving feuding stars.

For this column I'll only be predicting the really important matches, which ends up being four from each show.  So let's get to it...


Destruction in Okayama - 9.23.15


NWA Jr. Heavyweight Championship: Steve Anthony vs. Tiger Mask


This is a tough one for me to call as I haven't been keeping up on NWA current events, but being a title match I figured I'd include it and more or less flip a coin.  Steve Anthony beat the legendary Jushin Thunder Liger for the Title back in April, so I could easily see Liger's fellow countryman Tiger Mask avenging the loss and capturing said belt.  And I like Tiger Mask a lot, so I'll be rooting for him anyway.

WWE Night of Champions, or Why Seth Rollins is the New Shawn Michaels

Well sir, Night of Champions is now in the history books, and I'll be damned if it wasn't a highly entertaining, satisfying little PPV.  At seven matches (plus a pre-show match) NOC was nice and streamlined, and every bout was given time to breathe.  The finishes all made sense, nothing was overbooked, and we got two potentially very important title changes that could have long-standing ramifications.  Let's review, shall we?


The opening match kicked things off beautifully, as NXT grad Kevin Owens challenged the powerhouse Ryback for the Intercontinental Title.  This match accomplished exactly what it needed to and got just enough time to do it.  Owens was obviously outmatched in the strength and size department, but he targeted a limb and worked the crap out of it, utilizing innovative attacks to keep the match interesting.  Ryback staged a late-match comeback but Owens used classic heel tactics (the eye rake and the pull of the tights) to escape The Big Guy's finisher and score a quick rollup pin.  Kevin Owens is a perfect candidate to help restore prestige to the I-C Title like Daniel Bryan had intended.  He's one of the hottest heels in the company, excellent on the mic, delivers spectacularly in the ring, and can believably have his way with most of WWE's midcard pool.  I love this development and hope Owens gets a nice long reign.

The rematch between Dolph Ziggler and Rusev was next, and it was about as good as their SummerSlam bout - very well-worked by both guys and they got plenty of time to make an impression.  Unlike its predecessor this match actually had a finish, where Summer Rae got into a spat with the referee and threw her shoe (Who throws a shoe?  Honestly.), hitting Rusev by mistake.  Ziggler then hit the Zig-Zag (This man desperately needs a new signature move) for the upset.  Lana was absent due to injury but I'm hoping she figures into the inevitable third match by turning back heel and rejoining Rusev.  Those two need each other. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

NFL Pick 'em: Week 2

Welcome back to your official Enuffa.com NFL picks, for week 2, where my associates Dan, Miggsy and B-Cuddy predict the top three games of each week.  Let's get to it!


Points Standings
B-Cuddy-4
Miggsy-2
Dan-1


Dan's Picks

Goddamn Mike Tomlin screwing me outta two points last week. Not even from the betting perspective on this, but can anyone explain to the what he was doing? They were down by two touchdowns with about ten seconds left. All he was doing was risking injury to his players. Befuddles my mind. Thankfully I was drunk. Anyways, onto the new week.

St. Louis (-3.5) @ Washington – THE PICK = ST. LOUIS
The one team as inept as my picks last week was Washington. Sure, they almost came back to squish the fish. But their ineptitude played out as planned. I expect that to continue this week (and honestly throughout the season. Skins STINK). Nick Foles should light up this sad looking defense. And whichever Gruden is coaching the Skins can make make faces and scream all day as his team loses, as usual.

Tennessee (-1) @ Cleveland - THE PICK= TENNESSEE
The New York Jets carved up the Browns defense last week's and beat them by three touchdowns. With Harvard grad Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm of the Jets offense. Now, I'm not dumb enough to think Marcus Mariota is the next great quarterback yet, but I damn sure know he's better than Fitzy. And I damn sure know that the line is waaaaay too low for this game. I don't see Cleveland being too competitive in this game. Johnny Football looked flustered last week and Tennessee's gonna bring the heat to him. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

WWE Night of Champions 2015 Predictions!

Welcome to the official Enuffa.com predictions for this Sunday's WWE Night of Champions!


Coming off a very strong SummerSlam card which was headlined by two part-timers, WWE needed something big for the September followup.  A shot in the arm if you will.  And what better way to galvanize the 2015 fans than by bringing back the hot new WWE sensation Sting!  That's right, direct from WCW circa 1997, the Stinger is back and ready to claim his rightful place atop the WWE roster.  Hot off the heels of his WrestleMania loss to Triple H, it only made sense for the 56-year-old youngster to step up and challenge WWE's top dog Seth Rollins for the WWE Championship!

Okay, snarky rant finished.

Let's get to the predictions.  Dan leads Justin 35/53 to 34/53.



PreShow Match: Stardust/The Ascension vs. Neville/Lucha Dragons


On paper I like this alright.  The Ascension are pretty terrible workers but the other four are all fun to watch.  As I feared though, Neville has been listless since being called up to the main roster.  It's a sad thing when moving UP from NXT to WWE is a poor career move.

Pro Wrestling: A Mark's History, part 14 (The Birth of Attitude)

Before I get on with this installment, a few words about Brian Pillman:

On October 5th, 1997 Brian Pillman was found dead in his hotel room in St. Louis, the day of the WWF's Badd Blood PPV.  Before the show went on the air, Vince McMahon made the somber announcement. 

I must confess I had never been one of Pillman's biggest fans, as when he debuted in the NWA in 1989 I thought of him as just another pretty boy high flier.  I stopped watching NWA programming in 1990 so I hadn't really followed Pillman's evolving career except in brief flashes.  I liked the Hollywood Blonds team with Austin but didn't see much of their work.  In late '95/early '96 I read about his character now being a loose cannon heel and found that intriguing.  Then in the summer of '96 the WWF announced they had signed him.  I thought, "oh cool, he'll be a good addition to the roster."  It was then announced that he had been in a terrible car accident and suffered a shattered ankle.  "Oh super, they signed him and who knows when he'll be able to wrestle again."  When he finally returned to the ring in 1997 I liked the possibilities his persona presented.  He could have a killer feud with Austin, or have a great match with Shawn.  Unfortunately due to his injury Pillman had to drastically alter his in-ring style, which more or less put the kibosh on any epic main event singles matches he could've had.  Obviously no one can say where Pillman's WWF career would've gone had he not been in that car accident - he could've easily been a top-tier pre-Attitude heel, and the idea of a healthy Brian Pillman vs. Shawn Michaels is certainly interesting.  Sadly Pillman died of an undiagnosed heart condition, so he was evidently destined to die young.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Awesomely Shitty Movies: Timecop

Welcome one and all to the fifth edition of Awesomely Shitty Movies, here at Enuffa.com!

Since last installment dealt with the Back to the Future sequels, I thought while we're on the subject of time travel movies, why not examine the tremendously entertaining but pretty terrible Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle Timecop?
 

Timecop was released in 1994 and stars the aforementioned Van Damme as Max Walker, a police officer for the futuristic government agency known as the Time Enforcement Commission.  See time travel has been invented and predictably exploited by criminals for either financial gain or to alter the timeline to their advantage, necessitating the formation of the TEC.  Walker stumbles onto the case of Senator Aaron McComb (Ron Silver), who has become head of the Commission and is abusing his position by stealing money from the past to fund his future Presidential campaign.  What follows is a pretty intriguing-but-not-good sci-fi action thriller as Walker travels back and forth between 1994 and 2004 to thwart McComb's plot and retroactively prevent his own wife's murder at the hands of McComb's agents.

The movie was directed by Peter Hyams (who helmed the Sean Connery sci-fi western Outland, as well as the sequel to Stanley Kubrick's 2001) and is loosely based on a comic book story.

So let's take a look at what was good about this movie, and then we'll look at what wasn't.


The Awesome

Time Travel

As I said last time, I'm a sucker for time travel stories.  I find the whole concept fascinating and by using that as a backdrop there's instant sci-fi credibility in my book.  Of course it's also a very delicate line to walk, given how easily a plot-unraveling paradox can ruin the film.  But as long as the characters are interesting and the overall story works, one can forgive a certain degree of time-travel plot holes. 

In Timecop we see the villains traveling back to the Civil War era and the Great Depression to take advantage of lesser technology and a vulnerable economy, respectively, coming away with a fortune.  Even though these scenes were brief, I enjoyed seeing these different time periods depicted and found the thievery inventive.  We also see the main villain McComb interacting with his younger self to alter his own future, and we see the hero Walker trying to evade the baddies while trying not to be seen by his own younger self, lest the timeline be unnecessarily tampered with.  This is all neat stuff.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Awesomely Shitty Movies: The Lost Boys

Welcome back to Enuffa.com for another edition of Awesomely Shitty Movies!  

Today we'll be examining the brazenly tawdry late-80s time capsule known as The Lost Boys.  Before the Twilight movies forever ruined the vampire genre Joel Schumacher gave us teenage vampire garbage we could really sink our teeth into.  Teeth, get it??  Cuz vampires like to bite people?  With their teeth? 

Buckle up and set the DeLorean for 1987, the heyday of such screen legends as Corey Haim, Corey Feldman (what's with all the Coreys??), Jason Patric, Jami Gertz, and the one teen heartthrob from this era whose career escaped more or less unscathed, Kiefer Sutherland.

The Lost Boys (1987)



Originally The Lost Boys was to be a Peter Pan-inspired film about pre-adolescent vampires, stemming from the idea that Peter could fly and never grew old (Kiefer's character was originally called Peter, while the protagonist brothers were Michael and John, later to be Michael and Sam).  However when Schumacher came on board he decided teenage characters would be much more marketable/sexier.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Top Ten Things: Iron Maiden Songs

Welcome to another Enuffa.com Top Ten Things, where I pick my ten favorite somethingorother and bug all of you about it.

Today, in celebration of their 16th album having just come out (a two-disc marathon called The Book of Souls) it's my ten favorite Iron Maiden songs! 
One of the most influential metal bands of all time, Iron Maiden was formed in the mid-70s by bassist Steve Harris.  Over the first few years the band went through various incarnations, hiring and firing band members with a frequency that would make Spinal Tap cringe.  Finally in 1980 they released their self-titled debut album and immediately gained a strong UK following, in competition with the burgeoning punk scene.  Bands like Maiden, Diamondhead, Venom, Motorhead, and several others formed a musical zeitgeist called The New Wave of British Heavy Metal (which influenced literally dozens of bands here in the States).  Maiden was soon forced to sack lead singer Paul D'Anno due to his increasing drug issues, and his replacement was diminutive onstage firecracker Bruce Dickinson, who brought incredible vocal range/power and athletic physicality to the role of frontman.  Their third album The Number of the Beast was a No. 1 smash hit in the UK and propelled Iron Maiden to international stardom.  A slew of successful albums followed, containing scores of classic songs, until Dickinson left the band in 1993 to pursue a solo career.  His successor Blaze Bayley recorded two albums to a rather tepid reaction, and in 1999 Dickinson was coaxed back into the fold.
Over the past fifteen years Maiden has released five more albums and embarked on several hugely successful world tours, and they remain a chart-topping worldwide phenomenon.  Their music has evolved a bit over the years but they've always maintained their signature galloping energy and  literature-inspired lyrics.  Their onstage enthusiasm continues to defy the band members' advancing age, and they routinely deliver an amazing live concert experience.  A side note: historically just as mythical as the band's music are the album covers and other associated imagery.  For years artist Derek Riggs created some of the greatest cover art in music history, featuring the band's undead mascot Eddie the Head.  A few of my favorite Riggs pieces are the covers of Powerslave, Somewhere in Time, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, and Live After Death.
But enough about that; here are my picks for the Top Ten Iron Maiden songs of all time
**Note: While I like and appreciate some of their 21st Century work, for me the classic Maiden period was 1980-1992, so all ten picks fall into that timeframe.**
10. The Trooper
Probably the most noteworthy song on 1983's Piece of Mind (Dickinson's favorite album), "The Trooper" kicks off with a start and stop feel, over which Bruce barks a defiant battle cry ("You take my life but I'll take yours too/You fire your musket but I'll run you through").  The band then dives into charging pace as the wordless chorus takes over.  What other lasting metal tunes boast a refrain consisting of nothing more than "Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh!"


Pro Wrestling: A Mark's History, part 13 (USA vs. Canada)

1997 was an absolutely game-changing year for the WWF.  Events unfolded throughout the year that would have incredible long-term ramifications on the entire industry.

I began 1997 pretty optimistic about where the company was headed.  Shawn Michaels was poised to challenge Sid for the WWF Title at the Royal Rumble, the Rumble match field was as competitive as it had been in years, and since the PPV would be in San Antonio, the company imported several Mexican stars to help flavor the card (at the time I didn't realize how poor these particular Mexican wrestlers were compared to the top-flight ones WCW had already scooped up - Vince was just a little late to that party). 

The '97 Rumble gets an unfairly bad rap as far as I'm concerned.  At the time I absolutely loved the show and felt it was quite stacked.  Since multiple wrestlers were pulling double duty neither the Rumble nor the undercard had to be watered down.  This was the first Rumble match in a while where the winner wasn't obvious going into it.  Bret Hart, Steve Austin, Undertaker, Vader, Mankind, Owen Hart, and Davey Boy all seemed like viable options.  I figured Bret would win to set up a 'Mania 12 rematch (I wasn't aware of the offscreen animosity that was building between Bret and Shawn), and honestly I was a little bummed that Bret would likely be winning back the Title.  Bret was still a guy I underappreciated at the time and I really wanted to see Steve Austin elevated to a World Title contender and eventual Champion.  Needless to say I was pleasantly shocked when Austin "stole" the Rumble win by sliding back into the ring after his elimination.  This was all kinds of awesome, and totally fitting for his character to get a tainted win after such a gutsy babyface-like performance.  It beautifully continued the angle of Bret becoming increasingly disillusioned and slowly turning heel.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

NFL Pick 'em: Week 1

Hello all and welcome to a new weekly feature here on Enuffa.com. I'm an American, and as an American, I've been known to place a few bets here and there. And with the pending NFL season starting today, we've come up with this pick'em column to see who can prognosticate the best. We'll be picking three games a week, with one game being the LOCK OF THE WEEK. The lock of the the week is worth two points, and the other games are worth one point a piece. The winner will get a prize to be named later. We'll be picking with the spread based on a fine, reputable, perfectly legal website....maybe...

This is what we call 'research'

And just who will be picking these games?

First up is me, Dan Moore. I've been gambling since I could pick up a deck of cards. I'm more of a poker or blackjack guy, but I got no problem losing money betting on football.

Next up is newest Enuffa contributor Brandon Cuddemi. I've met some NFL gamblers in my day but I've never seen a guy sweat out the Pro Bowl before. He's got parlays on top of parlays and when they inevitably don't come in, the tornado of expletives is GLORIOUS.

Finally, one of my oldest friends, Mike Parker, or Miggsy as he's known. You got something to gamble on, he's your man. From dice to the ponies, the man will bet on it all (he once lost fifty bucks betting on what the first commercial would be during a Super Bowl).

You Used to Be Sooooo Good: Rob Reiner

Welcome back to our vaunted Enuffa.com regular feature, You Used to Be Sooooo Good, where I, Justin Ballard and my esteemed associate Dan Moore discuss things that used to be super awesome and now, well, just kinda suck.


There he is.  A former master of cinema.

JUSTIN: This week we'll be discussing the films of director Rob Reiner.  From a well-renowned comedy pedigree, Reiner became famous as Meathead on All in the Family, but made the transition to directing films.  His filmography began with an amazing streak of seven good-to-excellent films, no fewer than four being bonafide cinematic classics.  Just take a gander at his early work.....

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

This Week's Patriots Controversy: Deflategate or Spygate?

(Editor's Note: Dan Moore is back to talk about the NFL/ESPN's latest smear campaign against the New England Patriots.  We're also joined by newest Enuffa.com contributor Brandon Cuddemi!)

Yesterday, the NFL's PR firm, otherwise known as ESPN, released its latest smear campaign against the New England Patriots, the reigning Super Bowl Champions. After the NFL and Der Fuhrer Goodell got embarrassed by a federal judge in court last week over the Deflategate nonsense, ESPNFL decided to drop an article rehashing the almost decade-old Spygate controversy. Below is all the new info included in the article:


The whole thing is essentially, "Anonymous source says 'We always thought something was going on but we can't prove it.'"  Since when is that reporting? There are no actual facts in the entire 10,000+ words. And the "reporters" responsible for this are getting all kinds of praise for this garbage article. We're officially in Bizarro World.

It states the Patriots taped 40 games from 2000-07. It strangely leaves out the fact that taping from an area other than the sidelines was legal til '07. The Pats were punished for taping in non-designated area. In fact, it's still legal to record the other teams from around the stadium as long as it's not the same game day. So I honestly don't even know what the point of this is, other than ESPN saying "Hey, the Pats got caught doing something years ago." They were successful beating NFL in court last week, so the NFL smeared them with this article to remind American citizens the Pats are the cheatingingst cheating cheaters that ever lived.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Welcome To My Newest Twitter Follower, Chris Mortensen

Editor's Note: Our very own Man on the Street Dan Moore has a brand new celebrity follower on Twitter!

During the wee hours of the night, one likes to sleep soundly and dream. Typically one doesn't like to get woken up at 1:23 AM by a phone you forget to silence. That happened to me last night. I groggily woke up and looked at the phone. What I saw was something strange. I had gained a new Twitter follower.


This now technically makes me an NFL insider
        
Now, gaining followers in the middle of the night isn't a weird thing. But this particular one is quite strange to me. Good ol' Mort has been on radio silence for about a week now. Not reporting on the biggest NFL story of the year. Tom Brady's suspension for Deflategate was overturned by the courts, and Mort has been silent. Not a word on Twitter, Facebook, ESPN or even MySpace (but who knows about that one).

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Tom Brady Freed! Deflategate: Phase 1 Victory for Brady, Patriots

Finally, our long, national nightmare is over (until the appeal). Tom Brady, the best quarterback in New England Patriots history and one of the best ever, has had his suspension overturned for general awareness of some footballs that might have been missing air. 

Live look at Roger Goodell

From the moment this "controversy" was unearthed the night of the Pats bashing the Colts in the AFC championship game, it seems the only people that knew Brady was being railroaded by Goodell and the NFL were in New England. The notion that this equipment "violation" would be turned into the #1 talking point on national newscasts and websites is complete insanity. In the world of sports, air leaking from a football is (and always has been) a non-story. But Goodell wanted to treat this (supposed) violation with a death sentence instead of the parking ticket-like slap on the wrist it deserved.

The NFL peacocked all over TV and newspapers about "the integrity of the game" while ignoring the integrity in their own offices. From false stories being leaked to outright lies, the NFL has shown nothing but a complete and total lack of integrity from the get-go. This investigation has been nothing but a way for the NFL to distract the public from its actual problems. The unending concussion debates, rampant 'roid issues, and countless domestic violence cases. Sure, Tom Brady won and his suspension is overturned, but in a way the NFL has won also. Squishy footballs is a far better headline to be talking about than the latest in head traumas or another of your players hitting a person he "loves." The public has been blathering about TB12 being a cheater instead of steroid suspensions. Definitely a PR win for the Shield.

Regardless of those issues, as it stands, Tom Brady is free to play football again. Hopefully, this is the end of it (no way in hell). I'm looking forward to seeing #12 under center next Thursday on opening night, and cheering along as the Patriots raise the fourth championship banner in their history to the rafters. With Tom Brady cheering along as well, a free man.

You Used to Be Sooooo Good: Harrison Ford

Welcome back to another edition of You Used to Be Soooo Good, where Justin & I, Dan Moore, discuss things used to be awesome but now, eh, not so much. This week we discuss a true hero of cinema. An icon in every sense of the definition. A great actor who lately has been serving us up a steady diet of shitburgers.

                  Harrison Ford:  You Used to Be Soooo Good

Yes....look at him.
DAN: I think the main problem with Ford is that his early movies, some of the biggest hits of all time, from Star Wars to Indy, were huge, important pop culture films. These are movies that, as silly as it sounds, are very important to people. They have Star Wars-themed weddings; people dress their kids up like Indiana Jones. Those characters are powerful and influential. And that’s how we think of Mr. Ford. This huge, mythical man, playing amongst the stars and foreign countries looking for treasures. To see him in such lackadaisical films now is a letdown. We have him built up as THE movie star, essentially, and he hasn’t had a groundbreaking or pop culture shattering role in some time.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Awesomely Shitty Movies: Face/Off

Welcome to another edition of Awesomely Shitty Movies, here at Enuffa.com, where I'll examine a movie that is horribly entertaining but also entertainingly horrible.

Today's entry in the series is John Woo's 1997 action thriller, Face/Off



Face/Off stars John Travolta as FBI agent Sean Archer, whose son was killed by his arch-nemesis Castor Troy, a manic, sadistic terrorist played by Nicolas Cage.  Six years later Troy announces to the FBI that there's a bomb hidden somewhere in Los Angeles which could potentially kill millions of people.  The FBI attempts to capture Troy in an ambush but Troy ends up in a coma before they can learn the location of the bomb.  After unsuccessfully interrogating every member of Troy's gang, Archer reluctantly submits to a radical new procedure wherein his face will be removed and replaced with Castor's, allowing him to impersonate his enemy and infiltrate the maximum security prison where Castor's brother/accomplice Pollux is being held.  Archer's subterfuge fools Pollux, who reveals the bomb's location, but before Archer can arrange his release from prison, the real Castor Troy emerges from his coma, forces the surgeon to apply Archer's face to his, and then kills everyone who knew about the procedure.  The real Sean Archer is now trapped in prison as Castor Troy, while the real Castor Troy takes over Archer's life.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Helluva Band: Metallica (Part 2)

In case you missed Part 1, click HERE

I saw Metallica in concert again in the summer of 1994 and figured they'd be playing one or two songs off their upcoming album, but they didn't.  Dammit.  In fact at one point James asked the crowd, "You guys wanna hear some new shit?  Yeah, so do we....."  What a tease.  The band more or less went dormant for 1995 as the recording process had clearly shifted into high gear.

When they emerged in 1996 with an album title and release date, the salivating commenced.  The record would be titled Load and would be released on June 4th.  Oh, and all four members of the band now had short hair.  Say what now??  Yup, the unthinkable had happened.  After grunge got huge and everyone decided metal was now passe (What a tragic era that was), the biggest metal band in the world elected to reinvent themselves for the mid-90s.  Even their world-recognized logo was toned down, with little fangs on the M and the A where huge zig-zag shapes once resided.  I had mixed feelings about all this.  On some level I understood that to avoid fading into irrelevancy like so many of their genre colleagues, Metallica would need to adapt.  The music they made so popular five years ago was no longer considered cool, and the band would need to keep exploring new territory.  But at the same time I knew I'd miss the band I was originally introduced to back in 1989.



One afternoon I was listening to the radio, knowing the debut single from Load would be premiering that day.  Without any fanfare a somber beat kicked in over a fretless bass line, and I instantly knew this was Metallica (not sure how).  It was of course the now infamous ballad "Until It Sleeps," which sounded absolutely nothing like anything they had done before.  Looking back it really was a weird choice for the first single.  Second?  Sure.  But songs like "Ain't My Bitch" or "King Nothing" seem like more conventional choices.  I guess that was the point; the band wanted to make everyone uncomfortable with their new direction.