Archive for the ‘Misc.’ Category

Plants vs. Zombies Halloween

Posted: 10/31/2011 in Misc.

No real post today. Just thought I’d share a pic of my daughter and I celebrating Halloween…Plants vs. Zombies style!

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Reaper Wrap-Up

Posted: 09/21/2011 in Misc.

Reaper

So, I finished my viewing of the entire run of the television show Reaper. I have to say that my memory was accurate and that Reaper was a really great show, killed in the prime of its life. Here are some of my final thoughts and notes on the series:

* Reaper had some really good music. In the first three episodes alone, we get tracks from The Bravery, Silversun Pickups, and Queens of the Stone Age.

*A zombie character first appears in Season 2 episode 4.

* Season 2 episode 6 stars Golden Zombey award winner: Stephen McHattie.

* The son of the Devil, Morgan, is played by Armie Hammer. Hammer played the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network. If you want someone to play a handsome douchebag, Hammer’s your man. (He also must have one of the worst names in the Screen Actors’ Guild. There’s no way you can hear his name and not think of baking soda.)

* The series really begins to pick around episode 6, which stars Patton Oswalt. Coincidence? I think not.

* Lucy Davis stars in a few episodes as part of a side story arc revolving around Ben and a green card marriage. Davis starred in Shaun of the Dead and is probably best known as the female lead (the “Pam” if you will) in the original, British, The Office.

2011 Golden Zombeys

Posted: 09/09/2011 in Misc., Movies

Last week concluded the 2nd full year of Zombie Movie Night. That means it is time to hand out awards to the best and worst of the ZMN participants this year. Eligible movies were any that were viewed as part of ZMN between October 2010 and September 2011. Here’s a quick rundown of the winners. For a more detailed presentation click the link: 11 Zombeys PDF

Best Picture: The Horde

Best Actor: Joshua Grote – DIEner…(get it?)

Best Actress: Claude Perron – The Horde

Best Supporting Actor: Bobby Rhodes – Demons

Best Supporting Actress: Kathleen McDermott – Dead Set

Outstanding Zombie: Lollipop Zombie – Plaga Zombie: Zona Mutante

Best Villain (Non-Zombie): Patrick – Dead Set

Best Foreign Language Film: The Horde

Best Zombie Comedy: SARS Wars: Bangkok Zombie Crisis

Best Nudity: The Dead Pit

Best Soundtrack: Plaga Zombie: Zona Mutante

Most Memorable Massacring of Zombies: The Horde – Ouess’ Last Stand

Most Original Zombie Origin: Demons – Evil Movie Prop

Most Bizarre Zombie Behavior: Damned by Dawn – Flying Zombie Skeletons

Best Unintentional Comedy: Death Valley: The Revenge of Bloody Bill

Biggest “WTF!” Moment: Rammbock – Man Sleeps in Bear Suit

Gone Too Soon: Reaper

Posted: 09/01/2011 in Misc.

Reaper

I was scrolling through Netflix’s list of movies and television shows that you can Watch Instantly when I came across Reaper: The Entire Series. I had immediately mixed emotions. Excited, as I planned out my evenings for next few weeks, watching episodes after my wife and daughter go to sleep. But also, very very sad at the realization that this would probably only take me a few weeks. You see, Reaper was put down just as it was reaching maturity, killed in the prime of its life. Two seasons and a cliffhanger season finale with many questions that will remain forever unanswered.

On his 21st birthday, a slacker named Sam Oliver (Bret Harrison) discovers that before he was born, his parents sold his soul to the Devil. Instead of whisking him away to eternal torture in the depths of Hell, the Devil (played brilliantly by Ray Wise) employs Sam. Sam’s duties include finding, capturing, and returning souls who have escaped from Hell. Sam’s two best friends Sock (Tyler Labine) and Ben (Rick Gonzalez) partner with him as he attempts to do the Devil’s work while also dealing with an annoying (earthly) boss, aloof parents, and a flailing love life.

(In case you were wondering, I can include Reaper on this blog because season 2 introduces a zombie character, although any further details would be too spoilery.)

Reaper worked really well because of the cast. Ray Wise is probably my favorite Devil portrayal of all time. Harrison is good as the lead character and Missy Peregrym gives a solid performance as his love interest. Labine and Gonzalez are particularly great supporting characters. (Just saw Labine in the trailer for Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, also starring Steve the Pirate from Dodgeball. It looks pretty funny, I can’t wait to see it.) Later episodes also include characters played by Michael Ian Black and Ken Marino (Childrens Hospital). I’ll always like these actors because of their parts in Reaper. (Though not enough to watch Peregrym’s police drama or Labine’s formulaic sitcom, both of which I’m thinking must have been cancelled already.)

The first season of Reaper starts out with a pretty set routine. Devil introduces a soul with a crazy super-power. Sam and friends then have to figure out the soul’s weakness and exploit it so that they can send it back to Hell. It’s a little wooden at first as the actors work into their characters. Some stuff that doesn’t work is quickly and quietly removed, such as Sam’s annoying “Devil sense” (e.g. Sam slips and slides on normal surfaces when he’s charged with capturing a soul with slimy powers). By the end of the first season, however, the show had really found its groove. The story lines were a little more involved and serious questions carried over from episode to episode. By the end of the series I found myself anxiously awaiting the next episode and for me, Reaper had become appointment television. (And I’m not a big series TV guy at this point in my life. The only shows I set aside time to watch when they first air are Parks & Recreation and The Walking Dead) Unfortunately, after season two, Reaper was cancelled. The last episode is a cliff hanger that will never be resolved and I’m left watching reruns on Netflix and dreaming about what could have been.

So, I implore you, Gods of television and motion pictures, Give me a Reaper movie to wrap up all the loose ends!

Adventure Time Zombie Episode

Posted: 07/10/2011 in Misc.

Adventure Time with Finn and Jake

My 2-year-old daughter has been sick for the last few days. As such, we found ourselves hanging out on the couch and watching a lot of TV this weekend. There’s only so much Backyardigans and Handy Manny one man can take, so I decided to switch over to the Cartoon Network. They were airing a weekend marathon of Adventure Time with Finn and Jake. I’d heard of it, but never watched it. It seemed just wacky enough to give it a chance.

Adventure Time chronicles the exploits of a young man named Finn and his dog Jake, who possesses Elongated Man-esque* super powers. They live together in a treehouse in a strange land full of strange creatures. You might recognize the voice of the dog as Bender from Futurama. The character is pretty similar too. The dopey animation style and tone of the show reminds me of the Brad Neely cartoons formerly found at SuperDeluxe.com. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go to youtube and watch the Washington video right now! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7iVsdRbhnc )

The reason I’m talking about the show at all is because while we were watching, an episode came on titled: Slumber Party Panic, which featured…you guessed it, zombies. It starts out with Finn and the princess of a candy kingdom conducting science experiments in a candy cemetery in hopes of resurrecting the dead (standard kid’s show stuff). The experiment goes wrong and all of the dead candy people (that is: people who are made of candy) begin rising: zombie-style. Finn and the princess race back into town to gather the townsfolk and protect them from the incoming threat. Princess throws in a monkeywrench when she announces to the people that they are all there for a slumber party. She informs a confused Finn that when candy people get too excited or scared, they explode. Finn is charged with both protecting the people while not letting them know that they are in danger, as the princess works on a cure. Wackiness ensues as the zombies approach and Finn’s dog tries to learn the truth.

As an episode, it’s OK. There’s one moment when a zombie attacks a piece of candy, saying “Gimme some sugar, baby”. (A nice reference, even though the Evil Dead movies are not zombie movies) There are few other laughs, but it didn’t appear that this was one of Adventure Times’ better episodes.

As a series I give Adventure Time: 14 out 18 stars

The episode, Slumber Party Panic: 11 out of 23 stars

* That’s right, I opted for Elongated Man, not Plastic Man or Mr. Fantastic

Carl Grimes: damaged young man

********************Warning: Walking Dead spoilers ahead************************

If you’re caught up on your Walking Dead comics, you know that right now Carl Grimes is in a bad way. I have little doubt that Kirkman’s going to have the little guy pull through. But, it has made me think about what a messed up adult Carl’s going to turn out to be, and that was even before he lost half his face.

Therapists and counselors have a tool that they use to measure childhood trauma. It’s called the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Score. Research has found that a high ACE score can be linked to all sorts of negative consequences later in life; things like criminality, drug and alcohol abuse, relationship problems, and mental health issues. Determining a child’s ACE score assists counselors to provide early intervention and can guide treatment goals.

I decided to use the historical data found in the annals of The Walking Dead to piece together Carl’s ACE Score:

He's also been shot twice!

The results are pretty grim for young Mr. Grimes. Hopefully, one of the survivors in Alexandria has got some counseling skills.

(Childhood trauma is serious business, if you’d like to learn more about Adverse Childhood Experiences, visit acestudy.org)

Full disclosure: I haven’t read Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. I didn’t like the book in high school and even the inclusion of zombies hasn’t motivated me enough to pick it up and give it a read. But, it has started an interesting trend: introducing zombies to all ready existing works. It got me thinking about which of my favorite movies could be improved by a little zombification. So without further ado, I give you:

Five Movies That Need Zombified Sequels!

5. Pootie Tang – You were gonna guess Pootie Tang, weren’t you? No? What the hell is wrong with you? Not critically or commercially successful, Pootie Tang was a Chris Rock creation about a jive-talking (read: nonsense) super-cool customer named, that’s right, Pootie Tang. Pootie Tang is smooth with the ladies, cool with the fellas, and an inspiration for the kids. But he’s also not afraid to smack someone with a belt. I admit that I might be the only person in the world who would like to see how Pootie Tang would fare against the undead. “Zombie, I’m gonna sine your piddy on the runny kine.”

4. The Big Lebowski – If anyone is ready for the zombie apocalypse, you know it’s hard-nosed, Vietnam vet, Walter Sobchak! Zombies rise from the grave and attack…on league night. The Dude and Walter find themselves in a fight for survival…and then a bunch of wacky shit happens. This movie writes itself! C’mon, Coen Brothers, step up! You could even have Donny return from the dead. (Steve Buscemi is no stranger to zombie movies, see: Ed and His Dead Mother)

3. Forrest Gump – Ok, I’m stretching the rules here a little bit. I don’t really want a Forrest Gump zombie sequel. What I really want is a movie where one character (it could even be a zombie) finds himself cluelessly involved in a host of classic zombie moments. He wanders by an old, zombie-sieged farmhouse, he turns up at the Monroeville Mall, he finds himself on a zombie-infested island, he attends a house party that ends with a lawnmower massacre. The possibilities are endless! Make it happen, Hollywood!

2. Die Hard – The film opens with John McClane thwarting a terrorist plot…almost. The terrorists managed to set off a device that has zombified an entire city. The leader tells John that there’s an antidote, but in order to activate it, he and McClane have to form an uneasy alliance and get out of the city alive. Oh yeah, and Samuel L. Jackson is involved somehow! There needs to be a zombie movie with Samuel L. Jackson in it! (Also, the opening credits are a montage of the terrorist plot that McClane originally thwarted. It contains images of McClane doing wacky Die Hard stuff like jumping off the wing of one airplane onto the wing of another and riding an explosion on a surfboard)

1. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – Is Gene Wilder still alive? Who has time for research? Either way, Wilder reprises his role as Willy Wonka for this sequel (suck it, Johnny Depp). After the end of the first movie, bastard-ass Charlie sold Willy out and let Slugworth buy out the factory. Ole Slugworth tried to evict Wonka, but authorities never could remove him from the booby-trapped maze of candy factory. The factory has remained closed for decades. The zombie apocalypse hits and a ragtag group of survivors seek shelter in the abandoned(?) old factory. Wonka emerges and the survivors begin to question whether they’re safer inside the factory or out. Key selling point: Zombie Oompa Loompas!!!