Monday, October 31, 2016

WWE Hell in a Cell 2016 Review: Sasha and Charlotte Make History

History was made at Hell in a Cell, as the RAW Women's Division got to headline a main roster PPV for the first time, one year after breaking that barrier in NXT.  Not only that, but it took place in the first-ever Women's Hell in a Cell match that also included (to my knowledge) the first-ever Women's table spot.  A glass ceiling was shattered in Boston, MA, and while the overall results were mixed, it was certain an historic occasion.

The show opened with one of three Cell bouts (If you're going to include three of the same gimmick match on a PPV it certainly makes sense to spread them out), pitting US Champion Roman Reigns against hated rival Rusev.  This match sadly didn't do much for me, as I didn't get a sense of brutality or hatred which, given the nature of this feud, should've been front-and-center.  This match was needlessly stretched to 24 minutes when 15 would've sufficed, and I would've preferred a strong style-esque match where they simply pounded the bejeezus out of each other while the Cell itself took a back seat.  The closing stretch contained solid work however, so it wasn't a total loss for me.  I am getting tired of the overused booking template where one guy hits the other with his finisher, fails to win, and the other guy hits one comeback move followed by his own finisher for the duke.  This wasn't the only match on this show to end that way.  Reigns retained as expected and I'm sure we'll find out soon enough who his next challenger is.

Bayley got a much-needed decisive win in the second match against Dana Brooke.  This was fine for what it was - Dana has a great character and owns it well but still needs to improve in-ring.  I assume Bayley will be stepping up soon to challenge for the belt.

Enzo & Cass had an entertainingly brief tag match against The Club after cutting a pretty fun promo, now referring to Anderson & Gallows as "Andy & Big Gal."  Not sure why I found that funny but I did.  This match was also just fine.  The Club finally got a win on PPV, using the aforementioned one-move comeback booking.  Once someone points out this formula it's hard to get past it.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Top Ten Things: Hell in a Cell Matches

Hey there, and welcome to another Top Ten Things, here at!  

Since the event named after this type of match takes place this Sunday, today's list is all about the most demonic of wrestling gimmick matches, Hell in a Cell.  Introduced by the WWF in 1997, HIAC expanded on the traditional Steel Cage match by surrounding the entire ringside area with the volatile mesh structure.  They also covered the whole thing with a roof, trapping the combatants inside but giving them enough room to utilize the numerous unforgiving surfaces and weapons found outside the ring.  The result was one of the most brutal recurring stipulations in the history of the business, where only the most personal and heated of rivalries would be settled.  2009 saw the creation of a Hell in a Cell-themed PPV, which undermined the severity of such a gimmick match by making it an annual tradition instead of a feud-ender.  Regardless of its recently history though, Hell in a Cell still remains one of the most intriguing special attractions in WWE.

Here are my picks for the ten greatest HIAC matches of all time....

10. Batista vs. Triple H - Vengeance - 6.26.05

After two rather lackluster efforts at WrestleMania 21 and Backlash, Hunter and Big Dave finally delivered a classic inside the hellacious cage.  This was a bloody, grueling fight that ran over 26 minutes and finally solidified Batista as Triple H's conqueror.  These two made innovative use of weapons, as well as the ol' cage walls to create a shockingly good Cell bout.  When it was over, the torch had finally been passed to Batista, who along with John Cena became one of the faces of the company.

9. Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose - Hell in a Cell - 10.26.14

After multiple years of underwhelming HIAC matches two young, hungry stars took the gimmick back up a notch at last year's event.  Mortal enemies Ambrose and Rollins followed up their unruly SummerSlam Lumberjack match with this brutal, chaotic fight that kicked off atop the structure.  After about ten minutes of crazy brawling leading to both men falling through announce tables (the first spot like that since the Mick Foley years), the match officially resumed inside the cage, and 13 minutes later Rollins took advantage of Bray Wyatt's (hokey) interference to win the bout.

Friday, October 28, 2016

NFL Pick 'em 2016: Week 8

by Dan Moore (@SouthieDanimal), Mike Parker (@UncleMiggsy) & Brandon Cuddemi

Dan's Pick

Lotta happenings and goings on here at work so this week's picks look to be short and terrible as opposed to long and terrible. Get the insults outta the way first: Brandon’s slow and dimwitted and I’m shocked he’s ever had sex with a woman without paying, and Miggsy’s got a gross, large bald head and breath that could floor a skunk. Also, our picks stink (though I pulled off a win last week YEAH).

The only possible reaction while reading this column

The BrockStar is now dead to me. Long live TEAM FATFACE! Not only does Stafford have a big ol’ chunky kisser and a rocket for an arm, but he has an uncanny resemblance to that now-bloated kid from the Sixth Sense.

I see fat-faced people

WWE Hell in a Cell 2016 Preview & Predictions

Welcome to your official PPV Predictions for this Sunday's Hell in a Cell!

Well the RAW weekly shows have largely been stinkers, but the brand has a pretty damn solid lineup for this PPV, including three Hell in a Cell matches (which is undoubtedly too many).  But what's noteworthy about this show is the inclusion of the first-ever Women's HIAC match, and for me that's the big draw.  I'm hoping WWE puts that one on last since neither of the other Cell bouts is likely to top it, and it involves by far the best of the three feuds.  But anyway, let's get to the predictions.

***I lead Dan 46/74 to 45/74, thanks to an abysmal 2-for-6 showing at No Mercy***

PreShow: Cedric Alexander, Lince Dorado & Sin Cara vs. Tony Nese, Drew Gulak & Ariya Daivari

This is just a way to get more cruiserweights on the show.  We haven't been given much of a reason to care about any of them beyond the Cruiserweight Classic tournament unfortunately.  Here's an idea, add Neville to the division instead of jobbing him out to Bo Dallas.  Dopes.  This'll be a fun match but nothing terribly memorable.

Justin's pick: Alexander, Dorado & Cara
Dan's pick: No clue who any of them are, so the other guys

Enzo & Cass vs. The Club

Not a ton of interest in this feud if I'm being honest.  Anderson & Gallows still feel very flat as heels and I'm not sure what's missing, other than the fact that they were separated prematurely from their leader AJ Styles.  Maybe they should be moved to Smackdown.  Enzo & Cass are still doing their schtick and the crowd still likes it.  The match should be fine, I'm just not invested.

Justin's pick: Enzo & Cass
Dan's pick: Enzo & Cass

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Awesomely Shitty Movies: Son of Frankenstein (1939)

Welcome to the third Awesomely Shitty Movies piece dedicated to the Universal Studios Frankenstein series!  In case you missed part 2, check it out HERE.  Today we're talking about the third film in the franchise, Son of Frankenstein!

After the critical and commercial triumph that was Bride of Frankenstein, it seemed like another sequel would be a natural.  But Carl Laemmle Sr and Jr were soon forced out of the company due to their extravagant spending, and it seemed monster movies were off the table as well.  It was only due to an LA theater reviving Dracula and Frankenstein as a double feature, and the ensuing huge box office success, that the studio opted to jump back into that pool.  James Whale was not interested in returning however, and Rowland V. Lee was hired to direct the third film.  Son of Frankenstein was originally to be shot in color as well, but the monster's makeup didn't look quite right, so that plan was scrapped.

Son of Frankenstein was another box office success and helped pull Universal out of its financial slump.  Following this movie the studio began churning out cheesy Frankenstein sequels and crossovers, making Son the last serious entry in the series.

So what worked and what didn't?  Let's take a gander...

The Awesome


This series thus far has been full of rich, expressionist lighting, off-putting Dutch angles, and an emphasis on intense lights and darks to plunge the viewer into this bizarre world.  Son of Frankenstein continues this trend and in some ways takes it a step further, with some of the sets including angular, surrealistic staircases that cast jagged shadows on the walls behind.  Almost every set in fact has bare, textureless walls so the shadows can come across more strongly.  More on that aspect a little later.  The Film Noir genre was just beginning to blossom at this point, and many of those films must've taken some visual cues from Son of Frankenstein, among others.

Great use of lighting and angles

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Music Review: Lady Gaga - Joanne

Lady Gaga's fifth studio album Joanne dropped on Friday, and I'm pleased to say I'm already a big fan of it.  Shedding much of the pop star accountrements and focusing on the music itself has resulted in a streamlined, mature, timeless-sounding release from the eccentric songstress.  Gone are the slickly produced dance floor anthems and "Ain't I weird?" lyrics, and in their place are pop-rock songs with dashes of country, soul, folk, latin, and plenty of 1970s influence.

I've been a Gaga fan since about 2010, when her bizarro dance-pop radio hits began to grow on me like a fungus, and by the time her 80s-heavy, second full-length record Born This Way was released I was all-in.  Even more impressive to me was the decadently over-indulgent Artpop, seemingly an ode to Gaga's own iconic status.  Sadly that album underperformed in sales (a measly 2.5 million copies worldwide), and it seems likely her audience had by 2013 tired of Gaga's over-the-top theatrics.  I actually consider Artpop her best album, but a change in direction was the right move; Artpop had taken the concept of The Hugeness of Lady Gaga as far as it could go.

With Joanne we have a much scaled-down presentation which has thus far carried over to her public appearances.  Her on-stage attire is still flashy but in a much more subdued, minimalist way, and the focus now is entirely on the songs.  And Joanne boasts some damn good ones, aided by several talented collaborators.

From the midtempo opener "Diamond Heart," with its live drum and guitar sounds, the stage is set for something really different.  Gaga's considerable vocal talent is allowed to shine through from the get-go, largely free of the usual radio pop effects.  The song's syncopated chorus is instantly memorable in a completely fresh way, and I was drawn in immediately.

Probably the most traditionally hooky song on the album is the raunchy "A-Yo," boasting an energetic backbeat and a Shania Twain-ish swagger.  Guitarist/producer Mark Ronson lends his quirky guitar licks here and on several other songs, and the result is a delightful pop/rockabilly hybrid.

The biggest stylistic departure is the title track, a touchingly simple, finger-picked guitar-folk ballad written for Gaga's recently deceased aunt.  This song reminds me of mid-90s alt-folk like Sheryl Crow and Joan Osborne, with a touch of acoustic Dylan.

The first single "Perfect Illusion" has grown on me with repeated listens and harkens back to 70s Donna Summer, with its highlighting of attitude over saccharine melodic hooks.  The climactic final chorus showcases Gaga's vocal power.

The next three standouts are the piano-driven track "Million Reasons," a vulnerable and honest ballad about a failing relationship featuring gentle harmonies and a soulful chorus; an old-fashioned country-western song with a hint of surf guitar called "Sinner's Prayer;" and a throwback to Motown (think Darlene Love) called "Come to Mama," dealing with humanity's self-destructive tendencies.

The penultimate track on the album is "Hey Girl," a duet with Florence Welch, whose beat immediately brings to mind Elton John's "Benny and the Jets."  But this song is a 70s-style anthem to friendship and support, and its vocal melodies stand completely apart from "Benny."

The album's intense, emotional closer "Angel Down" is a stripped-down piano-heavy tearjerker featuring lyrics dealing with senseless gun violence.  The soulful chorus is reminiscent of Hozier's "Take Me to Church," but Gaga delivers the melody with a sense of outrage and resentment, taking to task all who would stand idly by in the face of such tragedy.  This is one of her most powerful songs, and for me the album's standout.

If you sprung for the Deluxe Edition you were treated to three additional tracks: "Grigio Girls," a fast-paced and fun celebration of wine enjoyment that would sound fitting on a Sheryl Crow record; "Just Another Day," a bouncy, Paul McCartney-style pop-rocker; and a work tape version of "Angel Down" set in a higher key with an intense air of urgency.

Gaga's career and musical style have taken a refreshing 90-degree turn on Joanne, with an understated sensibility, lyrics of frank openness, and an emphasis on pure songwriting and vocal prowess.  She summed up the tonal shift perfectly with the comment "It was about going into the studio and forgetting I was famous."  Joanne shows the singer-songwriter maturing in much the same way The Beatles did during the Rubber Soul era - the music seems less intended for heavy radio rotation and dance clubs, and feels more like a serious exploration of complex, human themes, with a diverse musical palette as its engine.

I give Joanne **** out of *****

Monday, October 24, 2016


by Dan Moore


This year’s world Series pits the Chicago Cubs against the Cleveland Indians. Both of these franchises haven’t won a championship in a looooooooong time, with Cleveland’s last pennant in 1948 and the Cubs' way back in 1908, when I was only 11 years old. So both of these teams are in quite a drought. But more importantly than any of that, both of these teams are filled with ex-Red Sox greats. Here now, my list of the very best of em.

9. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, CUBS (Drafted by Sox in ‘07)

This one’s a bit of a cheat, as he never actually suited up for the big club, but GODDAMMIT how I hated to see him go. He was one of the keys in the trade for Adrian Gonzalez. I remember reading about his patience at the plate and big bat, and hated to see his name in that trade. He’s blossomed in Chicago, and it kills me. Plus, a GREAT last name.

8. Coco Crisp, OF, INDIANS (Sox ‘06-‘08)

Another Hall of Famer in great names, Coco had a completely unmemorable run with the Sox. The epitome of good glove, no bat when he was here. He won a ring in ’07 on the team that beat the Rockies in the WS. He’s obviously a good player, as he’s still in the league almost a decade after leaving Boston, but he has no real great moments in Fenway (though he did almost get run over by the mascot in Seattle, which was HILARIOUS).

"Don't stand on the tracks when the ATV's coming through" - Mariner Moose

Awesomely Shitty Movies: Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Welcome to the second installment in our Awesomely Shitty Movies series pertaining to Universal Studios' Frankenstein franchise!  (Part 1 can be seen HERE)

Today it's the Frankenstein sequel that is almost universally (heh, get it?) praised as being superior to the first film, Bride of Frankenstein!

After the monumental success of the 1931 adaptation, Universal Studios understandably pushed for a follow-up, but James Whale was initially skeptical, thinking there was nothing more that could be explored in the material.  Instead Whale directed another hit horror film, The Invisible Man, and the studio pushed even harder for a Frankenstein sequel.  Whale finally agreed on the condition that Universal would produce a film of his called One More River, and when directing Bride opted to swing for the fences.  It would be a much larger-scale production with garish surrealism and subversive undertones, blending monster horror with dark comedy.  On paper this movie should never have worked as well as it did.  Whale was allowed to inject so much of his own personality into the film and its characters, and thus it became a celebration of those who live outside the norm.  With the expressionist influences of the first film turned way up for the second, and the drama ranging from horrific to funny to genuinely touching, Bride of Frankenstein is the pinnacle of the Universal monster films.

Now let's criticize it.....

The Awesome

Karloff Again

Boris reprised the role that made him a superstar, once again slipping on the giant boots and flat head.  This time the monster actually spoke, lending more depth to the character and making him even more sympathetic.  Indeed, Bride of Frankenstein is much more about the monster's character arc than Frankenstein's.  His driving motivation in this film, much like in the novel, is the search for a companion of some kind, and Karloff gives a largely quite tender, vulnerable performance that further solidifies the monster as a misunderstood brute.

Still the man

Friday, October 21, 2016

NFL Pick 'em 2016: Week 7

Dan's Pick

The Brock-Star saved me a bit last week. Texans were getting whalloped and he came outta nowhere to save the Texans' season. Now they won, but that only left me with a measly push. A PUSH? Who am I, Molly Brown?

Anyways, I’m sure those two dolts will go on and on with the same tired jokes about how I’m old and senile. But let’s get real here. Have you seen these two? Here’s Brandon with an actual text message he sent 'cause he can’t figure out his newfangled iPhone.


The guy’s getting all discombobulated by technology and bingo in consecutive weeks. It may be time to send him off to the old nursing home in the sky.

And the less said about Miggsy, the better. Have you seen his television debut in the Ice-T Geico commercial?

Lookin' good, buddy.

Top Ten Things: Wrestling Heel Turns

Welcome to another edition of Top Ten Things, here at  You know the drill - a list of ten items, why I picked 'em, yadda yadda.

Today's topic is in a roundabout way related to Halloween, in that it involves the darker angels of our nature, as it were.  I'm talking about one of the great plot devices in the pro wrestling universe, The Heel Turn.  In the world of pretend fighting a character will suddenly decide he doesn't like one of his friends, or the fans, or the world, and go bad.  This generally reframes his whole persona and sets off a major feud or angle of some kind.

The best heel turns usually happen suddenly, so there's a feeling of shock and betrayal from the fans, but it's also important that the turn doesn't feel like a cheat or a contrivance.  It has to make sense within the context of the story being told.  There has to have been some kind of foreshadowing or tension between the betrayer and his victim(s), thus when the turn happens it's appalling but also satisfying.  You've invested in this ongoing story and here's a major inciting incident.  Also the subsequent heel run generally needs to last a while and have some kind of long-term impact on the overall product.  So often these days a wrestler will turn heel just so he can be repositioned to feud with whomever the writers want him to feud with.  And then three months later he's back to being a babyface (Big Show, I'm looking in your general direction).  When this kinda thing happens too often, not only does each character turn lose meaning, but the fans cease to invest in said wrestler because he changes his stripes constantly.  Sadly in recent years the effective heel turn has become something of a lost art, as today's wrestling bookers don't seem to have the discipline to properly execute it.

The other kind of heel turn that can be effective is the gradual variety, where a wrestler will start to show a mean streak but it's amplified over several months, and eventually before you know it, the guy's fighting babyfaces (see Punk, CM; Jericho, Chris; *surname omitted*, Edge).  I find those don't work as well, although gradual turns have produced some great heel characters (such as the aforementioned three).  That's not to say I don't like the gradual ones, I just find it more fun when a guy turns heel sort of all at once but it still makes perfect sense in context.

Here now are my ten favorite heel turns in wrestling history...

10. The Road Warriors (1988)

1988 was a year of multiple heel and babyface turns in the NWA, and one of the last ones to take place was when the almighty Road Warriors betrayed Sting during a six-man tag match.  Sting was a last-minute substitute for the Roadies' longtime partner Dusty Rhodes, and Hawk & Animal were none too pleased that a) Dusty wasn't present as scheduled, and b) the Johnny-come-lately Stinger was selected as a replacement.  This kicked off an uber-mean streak from the Legion of Doom that included a gruesome incident where they tried to poke Dusty's eye out with a shoulderpad spike.  As a 13-year-old fan I felt horribly wronged by my favorite badass team, and initially found them pretty scary as bad guys (Another hallmark of a great heel turn), but after a couple weeks I came back around and actually liked them even more with their newfound lust for brutality.  Sadly the Road Warriors' heel run was short-lived, since the fans never really wanted to boo them.  But this was a quite effective angle at the time.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Awesomely Shitty Movies: Frankenstein (1931)

Welcome to a special Halloween-themed Awesomely Shitty Movies, where I dissect a beloved classic and ruin everybody's fun, like an unwashed neighborhood kid pissing in the community swimming pool.

Today's subject, and the first of a series of ASM articles, is the 1931 horror milestone Frankenstein, based on the legendary 1818 novel by Mary Shelley (of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein fame).

Now look, before you get upset that I'm referring to this film as "awesomely shitty," please understand I hold Frankenstein in very high regard.  I've been a fan of this film since I was about six years old and I make it a point to watch it (and its first sequel) once a year during Halloween season.  That said, there are quite a few flaws with the film and I'm here to point them out and probably piss a lotta people off.  But whatever....

Frankenstein first emerged as a novel after its author, her husband Percy, and their friend Lord Byron were rained in one night on vacation and decided to have a little ghost story contest.  Mary had a "monster" of a time (Get it? Eh??) coming up with a story idea, but it finally came to her one night in a dream - the vision of a medical student bringing life to a man he'd stitched together from parts of the dead.  Eventually the tale grew into a full-fledged novel, and a literary classic was born.

The visual aspect of the story instantly lent itself to theatrical interpretation, and nearly a century later as the film industry blossomed it found itself the subject of several cinematic attempts (the first being Thomas Edison's 1910 short).  But it was Universal Studios and producer Carl Laemmle jr. who would make the word "Frankenstein" a household one.  Coming off the heels of a tremendously successful Dracula adaptation, Laemmle hired director James Whale and veteran actor Boris Karloff to bring the story to life.  Frankenstein was a "monster" hit (I did it again, did you catch it??), spawning three direct sequels and four crossover films, and changing monster movies forever (No no, that time it wasn't a pun).

So what worked about this immortal film and what didn't?  Well, I'm here to set the record straight....

The Awesome


In bringing Frankenstein's monster to life, makeup artist Jack Pierce and director James Whale collaborated to create one of the most instantly recognizable characters in cinema history.  The flat head, heavy brow and neck electrodes were all strokes of genius, as was Boris Karloff's added touch of mortician's wax on his eyelids to give him a half-awake zombie-like appearance.  This makeup immediately became iconic and it's still considered the definitive Frankenstein look, used extensively in Halloween decor and marketing.

Such a great look

Monday, October 17, 2016

The History of NWA/WCW Halloween Havoc (1989)

Welcome to another look at PPV History, here at!  This being the Halloween season I'll be looking back at the very first PPV I ever ordered, the NWA's inaugural Halloween Havoc!

Halloween Havoc '89 is a bit of an overlooked gem.  1989 was considered by most to be the NWA's best-ever year from a creative and match quality standpoint, featuring two landmark Ric Flair feuds and the rise of future headliners like Sting, Lex Luger and The Steiners.  It was the company's first full calendar year under the ownership of Ted Turner, and it felt like the changes at the top temporarily brought about a renewed sense of focus.

Most fans correctly cite The Great American Bash and Chi-Town Rumble as the company's top two PPVs of that year, but for me Halloween Havoc isn't far behind.  Sporting a stacked card (particularly in the tag team division) and a unique first-time gimmick match, Havoc was a thoroughly enjoyable show from start to finish, and it became one of the company's flagship PPVs until its 2001 demise.

But let's take a closer look, shall we?

Philadelphia Civic Center - 10.28.89

The centerpiece of this show was the first-ever Thunderdome match pitting Ric Flair and Sting against Terry Funk and The Great Muta.  After having feuded for much of 1988, Flair and Sting became allies at The Great American Bash, discovering they had common enemies.  The ensuing feud became so heated and intense it was decided the only way to settle it would be inside a giant steel cage with an electrified top and campy horror decor adorning the upper sections.  Each team would have a "second" stationed at ringside holding a white towel, and the match could only end when said team representative threw in said towel.  To ensure law and order, the NWA brought in the vaunted Bruno Sammartino as the guest referee.  This match sure had a lot of window dressing, but it all helped give the bout a big-fight atmosphere and made it feel like something special.

It may seem quaint now but in 1989 this dive was the goddamnedest thing

The match itself was a wildly fun brawl that ranged all over ringside as the four combatants gradually figured out the lay of the land.  The fisticuffs frequently took place on the side of the cage as Terry Funk repeatedly attempted escape.  Sting made good use of the structure at one point, diving off the cage rungs onto an unsuspecting Funk in the center of the ring.  Another memorable moment occurred early in the match, when a cage prop caught fire and Muta managed to put it out with his green mist.  I'm pretty sure that's never happened before or since.  After an unruly 23-minute battle, Flair caught Funk in the Figure Four and Sting nailed Funk's legs with multiple top-rope splashes.  Funk's manager Gary Hart attempted to interfere but ran into Flair & Sting's second, Ole Anderson, who knocked Hart loopy with a punch.  Hart's towel flew out of his hand and Sammartino declared Flair and Sting the victors.  While certainly not on par with Flair vs. Steamboat or the two Flair vs. Funk singles matches, the Thunderdome match was a very worthy main event and all four guys worked hard to make the awkward match structure a success.  My only gripes were the lack of blood and the fluky finish.  But then this match wasn't designed as the blowoff to this feud - that would happen at New York Knockout.

Rolling Stone's Top 500 Albums of All Time, Picked Apart (201-250)

by Michael Drinan

We carry on with our bashing of Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by tackling entries 201-250. You can catch up with Part 4 HERE.

201. Simon & Garfunkel - Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme
202. Michael Jackson - Bad
203. Cream - Wheels of Fire
204. Prince - Dirty Mind
205. Santana - Abraxas
206. Cat Stevens - Tea For the Tillerman
207. Pearl Jam - Ten
208. Neil Young with Crazy Horse - Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
209. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
210. Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain

I love Michael Jackson’s Bad. It’s my favorite album of his and I would argue it’s better than Thriller. Thriller is overrated because of the hype it had when it was released and because of the video.

Yeah, I said it.

With Cream, Wheels Of Fire should’ve replaced Fresh Cream at #101. Switching those two would make me comfortable with the placement. It’s a better album than Fresh Cream.

Pearl Jam’s Ten I think should be higher. It’s a pretty notable album for what it helped create. Should be in the low 100’s somewhere. Maybe switch Fresh Cream at #101 with Ten. Yes, there’s the answer and we all win!

211. Rolling Stones - Tattoo You
212. Ike & Tina Turner - Proud Mary: The Best of Ike & Tina Turner
213. New York Dolls - New York Dolls
214. Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley
215. Bobby Bland - Two Steps From the Blues
216. The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead
217. Beastie Boys - Licensed to Ill
218. The Meters - Look-Ka Py Py
219. My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
220. Professor Longhair - New Orleans Piano

I’m wincing a little bit with The Stones’ Tattoo You being listed while at the same time not totally hating its inclusion. I kind of feel there are far better albums than this one but at the same time I get why it’s listed. I’ll live.

Love New York Dolls. Very underrated punk band in terms of influence. Even though they were right there with The Stooges and Velvet Underground, they were never given enough attention and credit. They wore women’s clothes before Twisted Sister and all the hair metal bands of the ‘80s. I always enjoy seeing them listed.

Movie Review: Sully (2016)

by Varun Bhatia

Director: Clint Eastwood
Cast: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney.
Rating: 3.75/5

Sully is based on the true story of US pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who saved the lives of everyone aboard Flight 1549 after multiple bird strikes had failed all the engines.

The brilliance of Sully lies within its nonlinear plot. If this plot had been linear, I doubt the movie would have been bearable. Eastwood has a brilliant eye for direction, as he stretches a story that would hardly make a 45-minute movie into a 96-minute movie, without boring you for a single second. The storytelling was absolutely spotless.

The film takes a realistic approach to the events that follow after the miracle landing of Sully - the effects the incident had on the pilot, co-pilot and the government case that ensued.

The short runtime is what sets it apart from other movies based on true stories. I appreciated the lack of pretend drama and the fact that the movie hardly follows any mainstream movie cliches.

Acting is another plus for this movie; Hanks plays up the cool, yet disturbed Sully fabulously. You can see the amount of research he has put into his role. Aaron Eckhart has improved by miles compared to his previous work; this might be his best performance for me at least. No one else has a role even remotely as big, but I would like to acknowledge Anna Gunn for her portrayal of a NTSB agent.

The slow piano score that picks up in places fits the movie brilliantly, it truly encases all emotions, especially PTSD. Although no other instrument would have done justice to the tone of the movie, the score is rather forgettable.

The editing is sharp and to the point, which is what prevents the movie from getting boring in places where most movie of this type fail.

There isn't much to be said about the cinematography or costuming; considering the setting of the movie they are neither great nor terrible.

The low point however is the lack of threat or high-stakes, which makes the movie a little bland. There is a missing sense of danger, which if incorporated would have added to the movie's list of pluses.

Also the ending was quite sudden, which although it avoids cliches, makes you wish they showed a bit more.

All-in-all, Eastwood has made another good, indeed very good, movie.  Even though it might not be on par with American Sniper, do not miss it as it makes for a great watch.

Nomination Chances:

There is a low-medium chance for Hanks to be nominated for best actor.  A medium chance for the editor to be nominated.  A low chance for best adapted screenplay.

Rating Key:

0.5-1.5: Why was this movie even made?

1.75-2.5: A few good scenes, nothing memorable, disappointed me.

2.75-3.25: The movie did exactly what was expected of it, didn't add anything, but at least  it didn't fail.

3.5-4.25: The movie exceeded expectations and will help you look intellectual at discussions with friends.

4.5-5 Instant classic. This movie should be Oscar Nominated at the least.

Friday, October 14, 2016

NFL Pick 'em 2016: Week 6

by Dan Moore (@SouthieDanimal), Mike Parker (@UncleMiggsy) and Brandon Cuddemi

Welcome to another edition of our terrible picks. I won last week. Miggsy won last week. Brandon lost so he can blow it out his ass. Loser. But the real losers in this are you, the bettors. Because hopefully you’re ignoring these picks and betting on something better, like cockfighting.

That bird's a ringer

And not only do we stink at sports betting, but any casino gambling seems to be an issue too. At Foxwoods last week, Brandon lost so much he tried to get a marker for his little hip hop car there, but they laughed him off and told him to keep making pretend with his friend Drake. The less said about Miggsy’s day, the better.

"I'm ruined...."

Top Ten Things: KoRn Songs

Welcome to another Top Ten Things, here at, where I rattle off ten things I like.  Or don't like.  Or whatever you like.

Today I'll be talking about one of my favorite bands, that ragtag group of nu-metal pioneers, KoRn!  In anticipation of their upcoming album The Serenity of Suffering (Released October 21st - I'll take my check now, guys), I'll be counting down my ten favorite KoRn songs.

I came by my KoRn fandom rather unconventionally, which is to say I hated (HATED) this band for years before finally embracing them.  I first heard KoRn while working at Strawberries records store in the summer of 1995, when "Blind" was featured on the monthly disc of songs the company was pushing.  I didn't think much of the song and quickly dismissed this messy-sounding metal band as a passing trend.  Fast-forward a couple years and KoRn had become the biggest thing in heavy music, much to my chagrin at the time.  As a fan of traditional, intricate speed metal and the like, I couldn't wrap my brain around the detuned, deliberately ugly sound this band was peddling.  Songs like "Chi" and "Got the Life" actually made me physically angry to listen to, and not in a good way.  Then suddenly in 1999 they released Issues, a more melodic effort with dense vocal harmonies and textured guitar performances, and it all clicked into place for me.  I was able to get past my preconceived notions of what hard music "should" sound like and just enjoy this eccentric new approach.  Soon thereafter I relistened to their earlier albums, and within weeks I was a full-blown KoRn fanatic, and have been ever since.  The band may not get much mainstream attention these days, but I still rush out to buy every album.

But which songs are my favorite?  Well let's take a closer look.....

10. Spike in My Veins

The final single from their 2013 album The Paradigm Shift (notable for the return of Brian "Head" Welch on guitar), "Spike in My Veins" boasts a syncopated groove, complementary back-and-forth guitar overdubs, and a melodically simple but eminently hooky chorus.  The song instantly grabs you but also includes enough intricacies to warrant further listens, illustrating how much stronger the KoRn machine is with both of original guitarists in the fold.

9. Seed

This late-album track from Follow the Leader is seemingly about Davis's relationship with his son and his resultant longing for the simpler days of childhood.  The verse meanders at a slower tempo before shifting dramatically to a driving chorus, and the bridge section features two bizarre scat sections aided by a whammy pedal, giving Davis's voice an otherworldly, demonic sound.  "Seed" is one of the darkest-sounding songs on the album and for me a classic KoRn song.

8. Sing Sorrow

One of the bonus tracks from their untitled 2007 album, "Sing Sorrow" is unquestionably the best song from those sessions as far as I'm concerned.  This midtempo anthem deals with themes of society's values falling by the wayside, and the descending chord progression and elastic melody makes for one of the band's best-written hooks.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Top Ten Things: Scary Movie Moments

Welcome to another edition of Top Ten Things, here at!

Since it's October I thought I'd do a Halloween-themed list, so today I'll be talking about truly frightening or disturbing moments/scenes in some of my favorite scary films.  I generally don't scare very easy when watching a film; I've seen so many in my lifetime, and coming up with new ways to shock audiences becomes more difficult with each passing year.  But there are some cinematic scares that have endured for me, either because of a visually harrowing moment, or because of the sheer genius of a scene's construction.

10. The Shining: Bear Suit - This first entry isn't terrifying in the traditional sense, but I've included it more because it's such a strange and upsetting image.  In this scene from one of the all-time horror classics, Wendy Torrance is running through the halls of the haunted Overlook Hotel trying to find her son.  She stops in her tracks and the camera abruptly zooms in through the open doorway of one of the rooms, on a ghost dude in a bear suit pleasuring another ghost dude in a tux.  The novel provides an explanation for these supernatural shenanigans, but it's so much more effective as an unexplained cinematic bit.  This visual is so traumatic, so bizarre and disorienting, for both Wendy and the audience, particularly since neither of these men is supposed to be there.  It's like something out of a nightmare that you can barely remember; one of those dreams where you can only recall fragments of out-of-context imagery that stay with you for weeks.

Seriously, what the hell's goin' on?

9. Invasion of the Body Snatchers: Pointing - The 1978 remake of this sci-fi classic (in my opinion the best version by far) ends with the entire city of San Francisco being taken over by human-impersonating pod people.  The protagonist Matthew Bennell has seemingly escaped without being assimilated and is spotted by his friend Nancy, one of the few humans left in the city.  As she approaches him, he turns and lets out the signature body snatcher screech, revealing to us that he's one of them, and alerting the other pod people to Nancy's presence.  It's a truly terrifying conclusion to the film, and the visual of Donald Sutherland pointing at her accusingly with this inhuman facial expression is an iconic horror moment.

If you ever suspect someone of anything, just point at them like this
and I guarantee they'll own up to every shitty thing they've ever done.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Top Ten Things: Weird Al Yankovic Albums

Welcome to another Top Ten Things, here at!

Today I'll be talking about a musical legend.  And a comedy legend.  And a certified genius (Seriously, he skipped second grade and was senior year valedictorian at sixteen).

Weird Al Yankovic burst into the American lexicon in 1984 with an off-beat parody of a Michael Jackson hit, and has somehow managed to build a hugely successful thirty-plus-year career lampooning our most cherished pop music stars.  As an eight-year-old Michael Jackson fanatic I was initially offended that anyone would parody one of his songs, but Al won me over when I first saw the video for "Eat It."  Here was a dorky, bespectacled nerd mimicking all of Jackson's dance moves (badly I might add) and conjuring comedy from already-tired rock video imagery.  By age twelve I'd bought all of Al's records, and I've been a huge fan ever since.  In 2000 I got to see Al from the front row, and he even yelled at me for not singing along to "Dare to Be Stupid."  It was indeed a privilege.  A new Weird Al CD is event listening in my house (for me anyway, my wife is non-committal).  Despite originating as a novelty act, Weird Al has endured three decades and shows no signs of stopping.  For many artists, being parodied by Al is a badge of honor, a sign that they've truly "made it."  Al is like a pop culture mirror, making light of all the silly fads we as a society cling to.  Here now are my ten favorite Weird Al Yankovic albums....

10. UHF - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and Other Stuff

The soundtrack to Al's 1989 summer flop sadly didn't fare much better than its film counterpart, but it did contain some fun parodies and solid originals, plus a few snippets of the film itself.  Al's spoof of Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing," which is essentially the Beverly Hillbillies theme set to different music, was accompanied by an excellent sendup of the Straits video.  Other highlights were "Spam," based on REM's "Stand," and two hilarious originals, "Generic Blues," which literally just recycles all the woe-is-me blues lyrical tropes, and folk-rock epic "The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota," which recounts in great detail a trip to go see the World's Largest Twine Ball (Yes, such a thing actually exists).  Released at a time when a) the summer movie season was quite cluttered (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Batman, Star Trek V, and Lethal Weapon 2), and b) Weird Al's record sales were somewhat contingent on including a Michael Jackson parody, this album and film kinda got lost in the shuffle.  But it's not too shabby at all and shows evidence of Al's growth as a musician.

Key Tracks: Generic Blues, Spam, The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota

9. Dare to Be Stupid

Al's third album, and the first musical comedy album to see a CD release, showed that Al was growing beyond his reputation as "that funny guy who does the Michael Jackson parody."  With songs like "Like a Surgeon," "I Want a New Duck," and the superb "Yoda" (based on The Kinks' "Lola"), Al was attempting to last beyond the fifteen-minute lifespan most gave him.  But it's in the original songs where this album really achieves.  Style parodies like the doo-wop ballad "One More Minute" and the Devo-inspired title track demonstrated Al's gift for recreating different genres (Devo frontman Mark Mothersbaugh once said that "Dare to Be Stupid" captured the exact sound he himself had been trying to create).

Key Tracks: Dare to Be Stupid, One More Minute, Yoda

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

WWE Monday Night RAW: Oldberg Gets Invited to Suplex City

Goldberg.  Really?  Really?  REALLY???

When all you've got is your size and you don't even have that anymore....

I'd heard rumors of this development for weeks but last night on RAW it became official.  WWE is booking Brock Lesnar vs. Bill Goldberg for Survivor Series.  In an apparent continuing effort to further ruin what used to be one of my favorite annual PPV events, Vince McMahon has decided that the best way to utilize a monster box office draw like Brock Lesnar is to once again pair him against a guy with whom he stunk up the ring over a decade ago.  To be fair, Lesnar's recent matches against John Cena and The Undertaker were obviously massive improvements over their 2003 counterparts.  But John Cena is a completely different performer than he was back then, and Taker is, well Taker.

Bill Goldberg hasn't wrestled since he and Brock took a giant New York dump in the middle of Madison Square Garden, and let's be honest, he wasn't exactly a ring general before that.  Goldberg got as far as he did based primarily on mystique and physical presence, and in 2016 that isn't enough to be a success in wrestling.  So why in the name of all things holy, THE FUCK, would anyone in WWE think a rematch from WrestleMania XX is a good idea, over twelve years later?  Goldberg is 49 years old and literally 18 years removed from his peak.  Last time we saw him his performance (and Brock's) was so bad both guys got booed out of the building.  So yeah, let's get him back in here.  While you're at it, sign Buff Bagwell.  I know his last match in the WWF was so abysmal it sank the WCW relaunch, but he must've improved since then, right?

This pic was taken 3 minutes into the match and this is all they'd done so far.

I will never for the life of me understand Vince's obsession with reliving the Ruthless Aggression Era when it comes to Brock.  He's been trying to book a Brock vs. Rock rematch since 2012 when Lesnar returned, meanwhile half a dozen first-time matches against current stars (for whom a match with Brock would be a huge career boost) have been left on the table.  Had they not booked Sheamus and Cesaro into the ground, both of them would be excellent opponents for Brock (Oh wait, we got Brock vs. Sheamus at a house show earlier this year, and Cesaro is Swiss).  They could've booked Brock vs. Batista a couple years ago but let that one slip away.  Also Kevin Owens, AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, and best of all Samoa Joe would all have instant classics against Brock.  Christ, even Bray Wyatt or a return match with Roman Reigns would be better.  Nope, we gotta redo Brock vs. Goldberg.  Because apparently 2002-2004 was WWE's Golden Age.

And from what I've read Brock's future is going to get even bleaker, as Vince evidently wants Brock vs. Shane at WrestleMania.  Shane McMahon.  Ya know, the 46-year-old businessman whom The Undertaker actually had to treat as an in-ring peer six months back?  Taker was reportedly so unenthusiastic about that match he hasn't been back since.  If Brock vs. Shane goes more than thirty seconds, congratulations, you've just destroyed Brock Lesnar's credibility as a monster.

No wonder the full-time roster can't carry ratings.  Every time Brock Lesnar comes back they either have him steamroll the guy (Orton, Ambrose) or fight someone he already beat when I was in my 20s.  And I guarantee Lesnar vs. Goldberg gets the main event slot at Survivor Series, despite literally nothing being at stake.  Zero.  For a promoter who supposedly cares about telling stories, Vince sure doesn't seem too concerned about that aspect when Brock's involved.  We now have two primary championships in WWE, but as with SummerSlam they'll both get pushed to the undercard to make room for a pointless one-off match designed to pop a quick buyrate (which doesn't exist anymore thanks to the Network).  Once again a big marquee match with no overarching story gets top billing over all the ongoing angles and full-time members of the roster, and the night after Survivor Series neither guy will be on RAW and the rest of the roster will have to pick up the slack.  Super.

It's getting to the point that I dread the Big Four PPVs, because WWE always feels the need to load them up with "big" matches instead of good ones.  I'm a Brock Lesnar fan, but I'm getting bored with the Suplex City schtick, and especially tired of seeing him fight guys he already faced during his first WWE stint.  Can't we all just move along?

Monday, October 10, 2016

WWE No Mercy 2016 Review

The second Smackdown PPV of the new brand split era is behind us, and as with Backlash the Little Blue Brand That Could delivered a succinctly satisfying show.  The roster may be thin and the undercard bouts were little more than filler, but the top of the card at No Mercy delivered a pair of excellent showings.

Due to the Presidential debate, WWE opted to move the WWE Title main event to the top of the show.  An odd move considering this wasn't a weekly show subject to ratings like RAW or Smackdown; with a PPV you can start watching late or pick it up in the middle and then go back and see what you missed.  But whatever, this main event was absolutely tremendous regardless of its slot on the card.  AJ Styles, John Cena and Dean Ambrose strung together a non-stop thrill ride that flowed smoothly and made innovative use of the Triple Threat format.  We still got the usual stretches where one guy was out of the ring selling while the other two continued fighting, but those were kept short and logical.  My only gripe about this match was the false ending where Cena and Ambrose simultaneously had AJ in a submission hold and he tapped out.  Since the referee couldn't declare one winner the submission was thrown out and the match restarted.  Logically shouldn't the title be held up at that point, pending a Cena-Ambrose singles match?  That said, this wasn't the worst way WWE has handled such a situation; in late 2004 Triple H defended the World Title against Chris Benoit and Edge on an episode of RAW, and the same thing happened.  Hunter tapped out while both opponents had him in a submission hold.  The Title was held up, but rather than a one-on-one Edge-Benoit match to settle the situation, they just threw six guys into an Elimination Chamber and Hunter regained the belt.  'The hell sense does that make??  Anyway, after the restart, AJ resorted to a chair shot on Cena to get the win and retain.  I read some complaints about this finish, but I have no problem with it.  In the first place, it's a no-DQ match type so why wouldn't you use a chair?  Second, AJ is a heel and he almost just lost the belt.  Makes perfect sense for him to employ underhanded tactics to keep his Title.  Great match (easily ****1/4) and it's a shame it couldn't close the show.

Next up was Nikki Bella vs. Carmella.  This was exactly what I expected and no more.  One of the filler bouts on the show.

Third was Heath Slater & Rhyno vs. The Usos for the tag straps.  I liked this better than their Backlash match.  The energy was there, the crowd was into it, The Usos changed up their look and used a more aggressive style.  This was just fine.  Slater & Rhyno retained, and if Jimmy & Jay are moving on to a feud with American Alpha I'm not sure who's next to challenge for the belts.

Friday, October 7, 2016

NFL Pick 'em 2016: Week 5

by Dan Moore (@SouthieDanimal), Mike Parker (@UncleMiggsy) & Brandon Cuddemi

Dan's Pick

Up 13 with 4 minutes left, you’re counting the money. But then the Chargers did what they do, and that’s blow the whole fucking thing. So now I’m done with the Bolo life. I’m with Miggsy, fuck Philip Rivers right in his dumb mouth.

Eat a drippy dick, Phil.

So congrats to Brandon on victory #2. He’s used to that number, although typically he’s doing #2 in his pants on a golf course like a fucking ANIMAL. He’s a gross human being, just flouting society’s conventions. Perhaps this disgusting hooligan would like to have a poo party right here in this picks column!

A live look at B-Cuddy's preferred bathroom

And then we have Miggsy, who’s supposed to be an upstanding citizen with a child on the way. But what do we have here? That’s right, this is a pic taken just last night and definitely not a Polaroid from ten years ago at a bar that no longer exists.
My face has been covered to protect my innocence

NJPW King of Pro-Wrestling 2016 Preview & Predictions

Welcome to another edition of PPV Predictions here at!  It's a busy weekend as both WWE and New Japan have big events taking place (I know, technically NJPW's show is on Monday, but it's Columbus Day, so go screw!).

King of Pro-Wrestling is NJPW's biggest show of the fall and has already produced numerous classic matches in its short existence.  This is in fact only the fifth KOPW event, but it's got quite the lineage to live up to (KOPW 2012 and 2013 are among the best shows of the last five years).  Fortunately on paper this show stacks up very well.  Let's get to prognosticatin'....

Adam Cole, Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi vs. Tomohiro Ishii, Will Ospreay & Yoshi-Hashi

The first few matches of this show are your standard 6- and 8-man tag warmups, but they all have potential to be enjoyable little bouts.  Cole's interaction with all three CHAOS members should be fun to watch.  I wonder if this'll set up Ishii challenging Cole for the ROH Title at some point.

Justin's pick: CHAOS
Landon's pick: As much as I love Adam, I wanna see Tomohiro beat the hell out of him. CHAOS wins.

Great Bash Heel, Bobby Fish & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Roppongi Vice, Jado & Toru Yano

Hey wait, didn't Yano JUST team with the NOAH guys AGAINST his CHAOS stablemates?  What gives, Toru?  Anyway, this'll be brief but pretty wild I imagine.  Not much at stake here.

Justin's pick: Team GBH
Landon's pick: WE FINALLY GET TAIGUCHI AND YANO IN A MATCH TOGETHER. This is all I’m gathering from this. GBH/Fish/Ryuske to win.

Go Shiozaki, Katsuhiko Nakajima, Masa Kitamiya and Maybach Taniguchi vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi

Another NJPW vs. NOAH match, following up on the 8-man tag from Destruction in Kobe.  New Japan took that match, rather unexpectedly, so I'll go with NOAH to win here.

Justin's pick: NOAH
Landon's pick: I’m sure you said that a lot during the Invasion angle, too Justin. Although, with the 3rd generation I’ll agree the NOAH prediction.

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Championship: The Young Bucks vs. Ricochet & David Finlay

Here's where business picks up.  The brand new team of Ric and Dave just pulled off an upset, teaming with Kojima to beat The Bucks and Adam Cole for the Six-Man Titles, and now they'll face Matt & Nick again for the Jr. straps.  I wonder how long Matt Sydal will be unable to compete in Japan due to his visa issues.  Regardless it's nice to see Finlay getting some Championship matches and even his first taste of gold.  This should be a lotta fun.

Justin's pick: Bucks retain
Landon's pick: Bucks win. If David Finlay and Prince Puma get the IWGP Jr. Tag titles, I will personally post a video on Youtube of me doing 500 Hindu Squats.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

WWE No Mercy Preview & Predictions

Welcome to another round of WWE Predictions, here at!

These WWE PPVs sure have become a barrage, haven't they?  Every two weeks is a tad excessive.  Fortunately the split-brand PPVs have been solid work thus far.  Smackdown's Backlash overachieved and RAW's Clash of Champions was top-to-bottom one of the best main roster PPVs this year.  This Sunday's No Mercy looks on paper to follow suit.

As I said before, while Smackdown's roster desperately needs some thickening up, the one good thing about their lack of depth is these SD PPVs don't need to be 3.5-hour epic shows.  Just a nice, easily digestible sub-3-hour show with a handful of fun matches.  This way it doesn't feel like overkill.

Anyway, let's get to the card.  I currently lead Dan 44/68 to 41/68.  Neither of us is having a great year.  Eff you.

PreShow Match: Baron Corbin vs. Jack Swagger

Smackdown is becoming the show of second chances, with The Miz, Ziggler, Hawkins, Wyatt, and now Jack Swagger populating the damaged roster.  Swagger's first order of business is to feud with Baron Corbin in a hoss battle.  I'd be lying if I said I'm excited about this, as Swagger is so beyond irrelevant and his act so stale at this point.  But maybe he'll turn it around.

Justin's pick: Swagger
Dan's pick: Corbin, though I don't like him at all

Curt Hawkins vs. TBA

Welp, WWE brought back former Edgehead Curt Hawkins for some reason, despite never doing anything with the guy before, other than making him an Edge disciple.  The buildup to his comeback has been pretty good though, with the Chuck Norris-esque "facts."  Curt is only 31 so if used properly he could actually become an asset to the brand.  His opponent hasn't been announced yet but it doesn't matter really.  Curt's obviously winning his debut match.

Justin's pick: Curt Hawkins
Dan's pick: Who? But sure. He wins.