Thursday, July 30, 2020

Parents' Night In #42: Hamilton, The Movie!

It's time for Parents' Night LIN!  As in Lin-Manuel Miranda!  As in Hamilton, the Broadway milestone that is now available as a film on Disney Plus!  Kelly and Justin will enjoy some bubbly, do some really bad rapping, and talk about the play, the film, the soundtrack, and how they fell in love with all three, plus how incredible the entire cast is, Justin's man-crush on Daveed Diggs, Kelly's woman-crush on Renee Elise Goldsberry, and Justin and Kelly's idol worship of Lin himself.  Get ready to laugh, cry, and cringe as we discuss Hamilton on this special Parents Night In episode!

Snippet of "My Shot," music/original lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Parody Lyrics:

Parents' Night, episode forty-two
Parents' Night, episode forty-two
Hey yo, we drink lots of bubbly
And spit rhymes that are ugly
Welcome to episode forty-two

It is time for you to click sub-scribe
It is time for you to click sub-scribe
If you experience elation
Hit that notification bell
And make sure you like us and sub-scribe

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Disclaimer- Some contents are used for educational purpose under fair use. Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

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Thursday, July 23, 2020

Parents' Night In #41: The Fugitive (1993)

Kelly and Justin love Harrison Ford, and it's summer, so we're watching one of his great summer films, The Fugitive!  Released in 1993 and co-starring Tommy Lee Jones and Julianne Moore, The Fugitive is a taut action thriller about a wrongly convicted doctor on the run from the authorities and trying to clear his name.  We'll talk about the film, Chicago, the Chicago accent (Justin has a lot of fun with this), and our difficulty stringing together coherent sentences at times.  This episode eventually got out of control like the derailed train in The Fugitive!  Check it out...

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Thursday, July 16, 2020

WWE Extreme Rules 2020 Preview: It's a Horror Show, Alright

The.....Horror Extreme Rules.  Huh?  Did Vince McMahon take up psychedelic drugs?  What kinda happy horseshit is this?

This Sunday is an Extreme Rules PPV that apparently doesn't have any Extreme Rules matches but has a Swamp Fight and an Eye for an Eye match, which can only be won when one guy pulls another guy's eye from its socket.  Somewhere Vince Russo is taking a victory lap.  WWE's solution to putting on wrestling shows without a crowd really is, I guess, to just get rid of the wrestling and make "movies."  Also why is the color scheme for this "horror show" neon green and purple?  Shouldn't it be red and black?  Ya know, HORROR-type colors?  This lineup feels so WCW 2000.

Ugh, let's get this over with.

US Championship: Apollo Crews vs. MVP

One of the worst things about Paul Heyman being replaced by Bruce Prichard as RAW's creative head is Prichard's inexplicable need to push guys who peaked 12-13 years ago, hence the 46-year-old MVP getting a title match, on a PPV, in 2020.  This guy hasn't been relevant since 2008, and he's not the only irrelevant title challenger on this card.  And why the fuck is Randy Orton feuding with Big Show?  In 2020?  Christ, it's not like WWE was lighting up the ratings in 2008.  The way forward is, well, FORWARD.  Anyway, I would hope WWE has the sense to keep the belt on Crews here.

Pick: Apollo retains

Smackdown Women's Championship: Bayley vs. Nikki Cross

Bayley and Sasha are obviously on a collision course (only four years after both were called up), so this is a filler match to keep Bayley busy till SummerSlam.  Nikki is a solid worker and a fun character but she's obviously not winning the belt here. 

Pick: Bayley retains

RAW Women's Championship: Asuka vs. Sasha Banks

This is the one match on the show I have any interest in.  Asuka is amazing, Sasha is great (God I hope she jumps to AEW next year), so there's no reason this shouldn't steal the show (especially with this lineup).  It's possible they have Sasha win this title so she and Bayley can be the Two-Woman Power Trip and fight each other for both belts later, but I dunno if they'll do that so soon after Asuka won it.  I'll go with Asuka to retain, possibly due to botched interference from Bayley.

Pick: Asuka retains

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

AEW Fight for the Fallen 2020 Preview & Predictions

AEW is back with another special Dynamite episode, this time it's Fight for the Fallen!

The two-night Fyter Fest is in the books and both shows were quite enjoyable.  I liked Night 1 better, with its stacked lineup of mostly championship matches (the Omega/Page-Best Friends main event was probably the best match on either show and I also loved the MJF/Wardlow-Jurassic Express opener) but Night 2 had some memorable bouts as well (the spectacular 8-man match and the Jericho-Cassidy main event).  But since Jon Moxley-Brian Cage had to be postponed due to Moxley's wife Renee Young contracting COVID, here we are with another special show.  Five matches have been announced, two of which are title bouts.  So let's get into it.

Nightmare Sisters vs. TBA

Evidently we'll see Brandi Rhodes and Allie in action against an unnamed team.  I assume this will be like Nyla Rose's match last week, where "TBA" just means "jobbers" instead of the usual "mystery team that ends up winning."  I'm guessing this will be a short showcase match.

Pick: Nightmare Sisters

The Elite vs. Jurassic Express

This should be tons of fun, as Kenny and the Bucks face all three Jurassic members.  Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus are coming off a win over MJF and Wardlow, but I imagine Marko Stunt takes the pin here.  This'll be a crazy match.

Pick: Elite

Monday, July 13, 2020

Top Ten Things: Christian Bale Roles

Welcome to another Top Ten Things, here at, where I rattle off ten things I like (Duh...).

Today I'll be talking about probably my favorite film actor in the world today, the eminently gifted Christian Bale.  I first became aware of Bale in 2000 (I'd seen him in a couple films prior to that but had no idea who he was), and from that point I was fascinated by this charismatic, chameleonic actor.  For a few years it seemed he'd simply be a cult hero, but starting in 2005 he became a household name playing one of the most iconic characters of all time.  Since then his filmography has been a mesmerizing blend of crowd-pleasing blockbusters and smaller, more challenging roles, but the constant throughout has been Bale's complete dedication to the characters he portrays.  Known for wildly changing his appearance and accent for each role, Bale often becomes unrecognizable from film to film, and for me it makes each new performance an event.

Here are my ten favorite Christian Bale performances.....

10. Dan Evans (3:10 to Yuma)

This 2007 remake starred Russell Crowe as adventurous, charming outlaw Ben Wade, and Bale in the somewhat thankless role of rancher Dan Evans, deputized to bring him to justice.  But even as the taciturn protagonist Bale still imbued his character with considerable pathos and we root for him to succeed over the much more outgoing villain.  A lesser actor might've played Evans as a morose bore, but Bale's natural onscreen magnetism makes his character an honorable, reluctant hero and an excellent foil for the bankrobbing assassin.

9. Alfred Borden/Fallon (The Prestige)

Bale's character in Christopher Nolan's period piece makes an unexpected transition from shifty tortured artist to sympathetic protagonist.  The Prestige centers around Alfred Borden's professional-turned-personal rivalry with fellow magician Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman), and at the outset Bale's character seems the clear antagonist, seemingly so consumed with his profession that he cannot relate to other people.  But as the film progresses we sympathize more with Borden and his ingenieur Fallon, as Angier's obsession with destroying Borden consumes him.  Bale adeptly handles this character transition (as well as the surprise double role), manipulating our sympathies with prodigious skill.  Incidentally Borden is the only character on this list whom Bale played with anything close to his real Welsh accent.

8. Michael Burry (The Big Short)

Contributing to Bale's reputation as a chameleon was his Oscar-nominated turn as eccentric investor Michael Burry, the antisocial drumming enthusiast with a glass eye from The Big Short.  Much of his screen time in this film was spent behind his desk and on the phone with various colleagues and bankers, but Bale made the character both memorable and amusing, as Burry comes off as the smartest (and weirdest) dude in the room.  As the film wears on, Burry goes from a cocksure know-it-all to quietly increasing desperation; the housing bubble he's predicted will burst shows no signs of doing so until after he's lost himself and his colleagues millions.  As usual Bale conveys this character arc with a proficient dedication to the character.

Friday, July 10, 2020

NJPW Dominion 2020 Preview & Predictions

Well this is gonna be a short one today since NJPW Dominion's full card still hasn't been announced.  Only three matches as of this moment, which is sad considering Dominion is normally the second-biggest show of the year for them. 

Well it's great to finally have NJPW back after a four-month COVID absence.  I've been enjoying the delayed New Japan Cup and it's actually refreshing to only have two-hour shows to keep track of, with two to four tournament matches per show, plus one to three filler tag bouts.  If nothing else it's been pretty easy to keep on top of.  The matches themselves have been mostly very good, with a few great ones.  The tourney stealer for me has been Hiromu Takahashi, who despite being the Jr. champ made it deep into the tournament, defeating Honma, Yano and Ishii (in a fantastic match) before falling to the mighty Okada (in the best match of the tourney so far).  I was actually hoping to see the Timebomb win the whole thing and face Naito on Sunday, thus delivering the planned Anniversary Show match.  But alas.  Anyway let's pick the winners for the four big matches this weekend (I'm including the New Japan Cup final).

New Japan Cup Final: Kazuchika Okada vs. Evil

It's no surprise that Okada made the finals, being the biggest star in the company and the best in the goddamn world.  That said, I think it's too soon for a Naito-Okada rematch, particularly since they can't sell out any buildings right now.  Furthermore we're effectively still in March thanks to all the event cancellations.  Don't forget, the New Japan Cup winner was supposed to face Naito on March 31 at Sakura Genesis.  So clearly Okada wasn't slated to win the tournament then; it would've been a case of them blowing their wad way too early.  Thus, Evil takes the tournament.  Evil's push has been kinda sudden, but he's shown that old killer instinct in this tournament, cheating to beat even his best friend Sanada in the semis (I found it intriguing that LIJ took three of the four slots).  I think we'll see him do more of that against his mentor on Sunday as well, which should make for an interesting dynamic.

Pick: Evil takes the Cup

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Parents' Night In #40: The Lost Boys (1987), Kelly's Live Reaction

It's summertime and that means walks on the beach, fun in the sun, amusement park rides, and of course, vampires.  Hang out with us and listen to Justin introduce Kelly to The Lost Boys, that popcorn movie disguised as a vampire film.  Directed by Joel Schumacher (RIP) and starring Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Jami Gertz, Dianne Weist, and of course Kiefer Sutherland, The Lost Boys has been one of Justin's favorite horror-comedy romps since its 1987 release.  This delightfully 80s favorite is full of exhilarating horror set pieces, vampire humor, and big hair.  We'll talk about not only this film but Joel's other works, our favorite vampire films, and lots more. Grab a beer and sink your teeth into this episode!

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Disclaimer- Some contents are used for educational purpose under fair use. Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

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Friday, July 3, 2020

Late to the Party: Hamilton

Welcome to a new feature called Late to the Party, where I discuss a movie, an album, a recording artist, a book, what-have-you, that for me was an acquired taste of the tardiest kind.  Something everyone else seemed to get right away, but for which I was slow on the uptake.  Case in point, Lin-Manuel Miranda's epic Broadway musical Hamilton....

As with so many artistic ventures that seem to come out of nowhere and take the world by storm, I was initially quite resistant to Hamilton when I first became aware of it.  Not really being a musical theater enthusiast (I like some musicals, but it's a pretty select few) and most certainly not being a hip-hop guy (Aside from Outkast there's very little in this genre that interests me), the idea of a rap musical centered around one of the less celebrated founding fathers didn't exactly pique my interest.  Couple that with the almost hysterical devotion this show has generated since its January 2015 debut, not to mention the astronomical prices being charged for tickets, and my first reaction was something along the lines of "Get the fuck outta here with this...."

Fast-forward two years, and my wife finally gave the Cast Recording a listen after much prodding from a close friend who was already obsessed with the show (We'll call her Shamilton).  By the third or fourth go-round my wife was all, "Justin, you HAVE to listen to this."  "Yeah yeah yeah, whatever," I replied.  Then one weekend we had a drive up to the beach, roughly 80 minutes each way, and she chose that as the time to make me a captive audience.  I'd been expecting an hour-long soundtrack album, not realizing Hamilton had no dialogue outside of the songs, and said, "Jeezus, how long is this thing??"  So I listened to it front-to-back and found it mildly interesting.  I'd be lying if I said it blew me away the first time.  The music was so densely composed and covered so much ground, and I wasn't sure who was singing what to whom, that a lot of it was in one ear and out the other.

But like so much of the best art, the Hamilton album isn't about instant gratification.  It slowly burrows its way in, and only after you've become familiar with the story being told and fully absorbed the music does it yield its true rewards.

About a week later, after hearing the album again in the background at a pool party (I will say this stuff doesn't make for the best passive listening experience), I decided to give Hamilton a really honest try on my own iPhone, with no distractions.  And goddammit, everyone else was right.  I was wrong.

As a double album, Hamilton is a grandly concieved, meticulously detailed, obstinately ingenious concept record about the rise and fall of this underappreciated co-architect of the American experiment.  The 47 tracks cover the ambitious Hamilton's journey from orphaned immigrant (born in the West Indies, grew up in the Caribbean) to Revolutionary War officer to the first Secretary of the Treasury, and depict his numerous sweeping contributions to America's inception, as well as his various political and personal battles while helping shape the ungainly, chaotic system of government known as democracy.  Indeed, Hamilton makes no effort to lionize the founding fathers; they, like all human beings, are flawed, ego-driven, and prone to mistakes.