Friday, October 31, 2014

November Movie Preview!

November Movie Preview!

So November is finally here and that brings us whole new group of films.  We can finally say with complete certainty that award season is upon us.  What a glorious thing it is too!  
   October, in it's own right, was a great month with many great stories, characters, and surprises.  I laughed.  I was in suspense.  Heck, I almost peed my pants.  Okay, maybe not that bad, but there was fear.  
     So let's kick this month off!  

November 7, 2014:
Big Hero 6, Interstellar, Laggies, Merry Friggin' Christmas, Theory of Everything, and Jessabelle

Excitement Level: 3.5
Reasons: Christopher Nolan is back!  Matthew Mcconaughey has been on role for the last two years now, and I hope it continues.  I have purposely not watched the trailers for this movie, cause I don't want to have it ruined for me.  I want to be surprised!

Excitement Level: 3.5
Reason: Big Hero 6 is based off a Marvel comic.  Also looks like Disney will continue the roll of good animated features.  The balloon man character looks really funny too.

Excitement Level: 3
Reason: Regardless of how you feel about his theories, looks like it will be an entertaining film.  Also looks like Eddie Redmayne might get an Oscar nod as well. 

November 14, 2014:
Dumb and Dumber to, Foxcatcher, Whiplash, Rosewater, Wolves, Saving Christmas, and Miss Meadows

Excitement Level: 4
Reason:  This might be Steve Carrel's year!  It will be crazy to see how much he gets transformed into this character.  Tatum and Ruffalo look like the are great in this as well.  A ton of Oscar buzz around this film.  

Excitement Level: 4
Reason: If you haven't seen a trailer for this movie, your missing out!  Miles Teller and J.K Simmons look like they will be a shoe-in for the Oscar's.  Looks simply amazing.

Excitement Level: 3
Reason: This either could be really good or just terrible.  Hopefully would be a funny movie.  Great to see both the original actors back after all these years.  Can't be any worse than that crappy prequel they made a while ago.

November 21, 2014:
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, The Imitation Game, and VHS: Viral

Excitement Level: 3.5 
Reason:  I really like the second movie so much, it almost made my top ten movies of 2013.  I'm a big Jennifer Lawrence fan.  Also one of the last movies we will be able to see the great Phillip Seymour Hoffman!  

November 26, 2014:
The Penguins of Madagascar, Horrible Bosses 2, and Paradise Lost

Excitement Level:
Reason:  The first one was really funny.  Hopefully, they could bring the same laughs like they did with the first one.

November 28, 2014:
The Babadook

My Top Five Most Anticipated Movies of the Month:
1. Foxcatcher
2. Whiplash
3. Interstellar
4. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
5. Big Hero 6

Summary of the Previous Month!

Well last month a great month.  There was some really good performances and films, that you must see!  I was able to go see 7 movies last month, they all had something to offer.  Here is my ranking for what I witnessed!

1. Birdman
2. Gone Girl
3. Fury
4. Nightcrawler
5. John Wick
6. Annabelle
7. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

And my favorite performances..

1. Michael Keaton (Birdman)
2. Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)
3. Carrie Croon (Gone Girl)
4. Shia LaBeouf ( Fury) 
5. Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)

Also I  watched some movies on DVD

1. Kramer vs Kramer (1979)
2. Margin Call (2011)
3. The Fault in Our Stars (2014)
4. Broken Flowers (2005)
5. The Grand Seduction (2014)

But my movie of the month goes to...

     What did you see?  What do you want to see?  Do you agree with my list?  
      Thank you again for reading, and I hope you have fun at the movies!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

SNL 40.4 Review - Jim Carrey, Iggy Azalea

Original Airdate - 10/25/14

If you were to make a list of personalities that should have been castmembers at Saturday Night Live, Jim Carrey would be near the top of that list.  His brand of comedy, especially in his prime, was perfect for the sketch show as was evident in his breakout opportunity being on the sketch show In Living Color.  The fact that he is so perfect for this show led to my surprise that this was only the third time he had hosted the show.  This was just one of three things that made this an anticipated show entering Saturday night.  Second, it was the debut of Leslie Jones as a featured player.  After several successful guest spots at the Update desk, the writer was promoted to the newcomer cast.  Third, it was the Halloween episode which always brings something special.

Cold Opening

The cold opens this season so far have been quite uneventful.  This is usually where the show gets jumpstarted with a statement on today's pop culture or current events (or both).  It seems the writing staff has been trying so hard to find stories to address that they have created a series of flat, forgettable sketches.  This is the latest in this run as they make a use of Pharaoh's spot-on Obama as they discuss the questionable selection of the recently-appointed Ebola Czar.  I'm getting bored just talking about it.  At least Al Sharpton shows up at the end to talk about the Ebola Caesar.


One thing that became apparent from the moment you spotted Jim Carrey in this episode was that he would definitely be bringing his special brand of silly to this episode.  This started with Helvis, Carrey's Devil/Elvis hybrid.  He then sang a song about pecan pie.  The host singing a song in the monologue is something that happens quite often, but this was more than just your average monologue song.  It was, like I said, just pure silliness, and I loved it.

Weekend Update

I don't know what happened this week at the Update desk, but all of a sudden everyone clicked.  Michael Che is continuing to improve every week, and Colin Jost seemed to relax for the first time at the Update desk.  This week reminded me of the hayday of Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey at the Update desk.  It was one of the highlights of the show.  The first guest was a clever take on the standard rom-com formula.  This was delivered to perfection by Vanessa Bayer, and received perfectly by Che.  It was one of the best original characters they have created recently.

Next, we have this season's first Drunk Uncle appearance.  Since Bill Hader left the cast, Drunk Uncle has definitely taken Stefon's place as the most popular Weekend Update guest.  The formula is the same sketch after sketch, but it never ceases to be funny.  This was definitely no exception as it takes advantage of the added dynamic of having a black Update anchor with one of the show's most racist characters.  It was also refreshing to see Bobby Moynihan have a pretty significant role in this episode.  He had been riding the bench for much of the season so far.

Best Sketch

This was an easy choice, as this sketch went viral in the days following the broadcast.  It's nice to know I am not the only one that finds the new Matthew McConaughey Lincoln car ads a little odd.  This led to Jim Carrey unleashing his beautiful McConaughey impression on the world as he recreates the ads, making light of just how ridiculous they are.  A series of three ads showed throughout the night, each more hilarious than the first.  If you haven't seen this yet, or even if you have, take a break and enjoy.

Honorable mention has to go out to the Carrey family reunion.  Although it wasn't the funniest sketch of the night, it was a wonderful tribute to the amazing career Jim Carrey has had, and the wide array of characters he has created.  It also allowed for Jeff Daniels to make an appearance to remind us all that Dumb and Dumber To is coming, ready or not.

Worst Sketch

There were a couple of clunkers that came out near the end of the episode.  The worst of these sketches was definitely this portrayal of the zombie apocalypse.  As a group hunkers down to fight off the oncoming onslaught, Carrey arrives wanting for him and his son, who has obviously already become a zombie.  Outside of watching Pete Davidson make a pretty convincing zombie (I'm telling you, future star!), this sketch really is without laughs.

Dark Horse Sketch

Just when you think this episode is winding down, this sketch pops up that redefines the entire episode.  A costume party at work turns into a ridiculous tour of the entire studio as Carrey and Kate McKinnon (and even Iggy Azalea for a moment) dance in the fashion of the girl in the music video for Sia's "Chandelier."  You know it's something special when Lorne Michaels can't even keep a straight face during his cameo.

As I said in the start, silliness was expected, and silliness is what we got.  Not all sketches were great, but the Lincoln ads and the dance routine created pretty spectacular book-ends as both are early candidates for a list of top sketches of the season.  Add that to a return to the glory days of Weekend Update, and you have a pretty spectacular episode that is definitely worth a watch or two.


Watch the full episode here:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

SNL 40.3 Review - Bill Hader, Hozier

Original Airdate - 10/11/14

It's always an event when a former castmember hosts the show, especially when it is a beloved and revered SNL alum.  Unlike the previous episode's host, Sarah Silverman, this episode is hosted by one of those beloved and revered alums, Bill Hader.  It had been a little over a season since Bill Hader left, and this is his first hosting gig since.  It was only a matter of time before they would bring one of the most versatile performers the show ever saw back to host.  I was actually surprised it took this long.  However, the main reason he didn't get his hosting debut until now is because he didn't do anything post-SNL until now that warranted such an honor.  With the release of The Skeleton Twins, Hader was able to come back to a place so familiar to him.  How did he do?

Cold Opening

The first sketch made light of an interesting piece of current events that had been rolling around the news outlets.  North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, normally a very public figure, had not been seen in public for weeks.  Some of the speculation was that he injured his ankles.  Some probably wondered if he was still alive.  SNL solves the riddle by bringing about a public appearance of the Communist dictator via Bobby Moynihan, one of the most underused cast members so far this season.  This bit is a little silly, but effective for its purpose.


We knew what kind of performer Bill Hader was coming in to the show, however he had never had to give a monologue before.  One of the popular formats of the SNL monologue is to have the host sing a song, which brought about an interesting bit of trivia: Bill Hader had never sung a song before on Saturday Night Live.  As he considered whether or not to sing, we get two cameos: one predictable (fellow SNL alum and Skeleton Twins co-star Kristen Wiig) and one not predictable (Harvey Fierstein).  Eventually, you realize there's a reason why Hader doesn't sing, but no one really cares by that point.  The ridiculousness of the scenario brings enough laughs to kick the show off right.

Weekend Update

As our new co-anchors continue to get more comfortable, this backbone to every episode is becoming more and more of a highlight.  Jost and Che are starting to prove what kind of humor they bring to the table as they truly settle in.  There were two guests to the Update desk in this episode.  The first brought about the second appearance in three episodes for new featured player Pete Davidson (bodes well for the newcomer in the over-populated cast).  This bit about how wearing gold chains change you is not as funny as his first appearance, but he does show once again that much of the immediate future of the show rests on his shoulders.

And now the moment everyone was waiting for.  If Bill Hader is hosting the show, many former characters and bits will be considered for re-hashing.  However, one character was practically guaranteed to reappear: city correspondent Stefon.  One of the most popular characters in the show's history makes his long-anticipated return to the update desk to tell of all the hottest spots in NYC.  One of the best parts of Stefon's appearances are the moments where the jokes get the best of Hader as we get a rare crack in character.  Legend has it that this is a result of former writer John Mulaney, who co-created Stefon with Hader, changing jokes at the last minute and letting Hader know as he walks on set for the live broadcast without rehearsing them.  Even though Mulaney has moved on to his new sitcom, no one else could help Hader create Stefon's return, or bring about Hader's latest laugh fest.  According to Mulaney's Twitter post, he texted one of the SNL writers right before broadcast his customary changes to Stefon's cue cards.  Hader was never told of the changes, and you must think he wouldn't expect them coming since Mulaney wasn't around.  So he was discovering what the jokes were right along with the viewing audience, and it is quite obvious on some of them.  You can tell they had been saving up some of these jokes over the last year as this may have been one of the best Stefon sketches to date.

Best Sketch

When a former castmember like Hader hosts, you have to qualify the best sketches as reworkings of old sketches and completely fresh and new material.  The best sketch of the night was definitely the reappearance of ancient news reporter Herb Welch, on the scene of yet another story and getting all the facts wrong as he cracks insensitive and sometimes racist remarks.  It is Hader at his best.

There weren't many noteworthy original sketches, as it was obvious most of the brainpower was spent making the character reappearances hit it big.  Of these original sketches, this was my favorite as I am a sucker for a good impression.  Most of these impressions in Hollywood Game Night we have seen before, but the surprise of the night comes courtesy of Beck Bennett's Nick Offerman.  It's perfect!

An honorable mention for best sketch that has to be mentioned is this beautiful tribute to the late Jan Hooks.  Hooks was a castmember in the late 80's and early 90's and helped pave the way for future stars like Molly Shannon, Ana Gasteyer, Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, and the list goes on and on.  This sketch, fittingly co-starring the late Phil Hartman, is a perfect sketch to honor a fallen great.  It also serves as a reminder just how many of the great SNL personalities have left us too soon.  The only issue I had with this touching moment is it once again reminded all of us that they have yet to give a proper tribute to Don Pardo.  I know I've belabored this point before, but Pardo was involved in more episodes of SNL than creator Lorne Michaels has.  How do you not stop for more than five seconds and pay tribute to the voice of Saturday Night Live?  No matter what happens, this season will be considered a failure if no Don Pardo tribute is aired.

Worst Sketch

There weren't really any sketches that missed their respected marks, however this one was one I just didn't get.  To start, I must confess I have not seen Divergent or The Maze Runner (although I have seen the first two Hunger Games films).  That probably adds to my confusion behind this sketch.  This movie spoof idea presumably combines the storylines of these three films to make The Group Hopper.  We see the heads of SNL are starting to recognize what I have already said: Pete Davidson is the future of the show.  He stars as a kid out to rebel against what he is told is normal.  The sketch has its moments, and I'm sure it would make more sense if I had seen all these films, but I just feel like I missed the joke.

Dark Horse Sketch

There were several off-the-wall sketches in the second half of the episode that were quite good.  An honorable mention can go out to the first of Kyle Mooney's goofy sketches to get a sophomore appearance with their "Inside SoCal" talk show.  However, my favorite goofy sketch comes from a twisted take on The Cat in the Hat.  The sketch starts off with the build-up to the Cat's appearance, only to discover that the mother of the children that called on the Cat happens to be his ex.  Hader as the Cat is perfect, and the reveal of the kids' new dad is priceless.

When I heard Bill Hader would be hosting, this is the type of episode I was hoping for.  Bringing back his history of past performances on the show gives the writers an easy episode to write as they don't need to come up with as many original sketches.  As for the original sketches, a seasoned pro like Hader can make even the dullest sketch entertaining with his showmanship.  Because of this, this was the best episode of the season so far.  However, this also makes this the least impressive episode so far as well.  The writers really couldn't screw this one up.  Although that doesn't really affect the quality of the show, it definitely is something to keep in mind moving forward.


View the full episode here:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Week 8 College Football Recap: Rankings, Heisman, Playoff Projections

Week 8 brought us a few fantastic early games, then a host of blowouts, capped by one of the best games of the season so far. We have a rash of one-loss teams and only four unbeatens left, two of which from the same conference…division…state… This is the perfect scenario to mess with the selection committee and force the NCAA to boost their playoff system to 8 teams within a few years. I love this schizophrenic season. Check out the fallout below.
Top 25 Poll
Others receiving votes: East Carolina, Georgia Southern, Oklahoma State, Stanford, UCLA
Dropped from the rankings: Oklahoma State (17), Stanford (18), Washington (21), Texas A&M (22)

25  (NR). Colorado State (6-1) – Their sole loss was in Boise, which there really is no shame in. They do not have a signature victory, but stacking up wins in BC and Nevada bode well for the ever-improving program.
24 (NR). Boise State (5-2) – Since their competitive opening loss to Ole Miss, the Broncos have continued to improve and have become maybe the best team in a decent MWC.
23 (12). Oklahoma (5-2) – The Sooners are always hyped so much, and then a team that is just better coached comes in a breaks their hearts at home. All of the Sooner upset losses are always in Norman.
22 (NR). West Virginia (5-2) – Morgantown proves once again to be one of the toughest places to play in the country after the Mountaineers dismantled Baylor. Their two losses to Oklahoma and Alabama look pretty good right now.
21 (19). Nebraska (6-1) – Weird to move them down after a big rivalry game win, but they sputtered for three quarters once again. Not every team will be worn down by their relentless running attack.
20 (NR). Minnesota (6-1) – Their only loss was a 30-7 beating by TCU, one of the best teams in the nation. This team is always hard to predict. David Cobb is a stud, though. This could be a shocker B1G Championship Game participant.
19 (20). Duke (6-1) – The Blue Devils are still sitting here with one loss to the most Jekyll and Hyde squad in the conference in Miami. This team is really good and always well coached. They have to be the favorite in that division.
18 (24). Utah (5-1) – When you travel to Corvallis, it is survive and advance. A double OT victory works. Their only issue is that they have that head-scratching loss to Washington State on their resume, the worst loss for a one-loss team in the nation.
17 (25). USC (5-2) – The Trojans demolished Colorado yesterday. Their two losses are a game in which they hardly showed up in Boston and that hail mary against ASU. This is a frightening team that no one should want to play.
16 (23). Arizona State (5-1) – This was the first time in several years where a team just completely made Stanford look average. They had no answer for the Sun Devil speed and versatility. (15). Marshall (7-0) – They still count as an unbeaten, right? If they lose, I will be shocked. Rakeem Cato…check him out. That guy is a stat machine.
14 (11). Michigan State (6-1) – Sparty scuffled with Indiana for a bit before pulling away. The Big Ten is just not all that good. It is hard to really judge a team that lost its only real test by 19 points.
13 (10). Georgia (5-1) – Other than Utah, the Bulldogs (…and East Carolina, I guess) have the worst sole loss on their ledger. I think they are a great team, but how exactly did they lose to the Gamecocks? I watched that game, and I still don’t know.
12 (14). Ohio State (5-1) – Since their loss to Virginia Tech, the Buckeyes have pretty much stepped on the throat of every opponent. This looks like one of the best teams in the nation. We will see when they get to play Sparty.
11 (2). Baylor (6-1) – It has to be discouraging to Bears fans to have such a magical comeback / best win in program history one week, only to just not show up defensively and lose to a lesser team. Baylor is always going to just be one step away until they get a rockstar D Coordinator.
10 (6). Auburn (5-1) – IDLE.
9 (9). Oregon (6-1) – They torched the Huskies in that rivalry game that has lost nearly all its juice over the last 11 years. It disgusts me.
8 (8). Arizona (5-1) – IDLE. (16). Alabama (6-1) – After hardly getting going against Arkansas, the Tide spanked a ranked Texas A&M squad as bad as any ranked team has ever been spanked. 59-0. Yikes.
6 (3). Notre Dame (6-1) – The Irish were a couple strange penalties away from taking down Florida State, who still hasn’t lost in two years. They proved to everyone (I didn’t really need that confirmation) that they are absolutely legit and still are well within play for a playoff spot.
5 (13). Kansas State (5-1) – It is weird to think that Kansas State really just outclassed Oklahoma in their own building for the second time in a row. Never count out Bill Snyder. This is the only Big 12 team without a loss, and their only non-conference loss was that fluky field goal debacle on a Thursday night against Auburn.
4 (7). TCU (5-1) – The Big 12 is insane. That conference has so much depth. This might be the best team? I really don’t know, though. I haven’t seen Oklahoma State get manhandled like that since…well before Dez Bryant was there. The Frogs somehow got that pathetic defensive showing against Baylor out of their heads in one week.
3 (4). Mississippi (7-0) – The Rebels will get beaten soon. You can’t go scoreless against hapless Tennessee for the first 25 minutes of a game and expect that to be good enough. That defensive is stifling, though…no doubt the best defense in the nation.
2 (5). Florida State (7-0) – After taking down Notre Dame in memorable and controversial fashion, I can now start to buy into this team again. Winning big games has never been this program’s problem. We will see if they can avoid a slipup against a bad team in that putrid ACC.
1 (1). Mississippi State (6-0) –  IDLE.

Top 5 Games for Next Weekend
5. Ohio State (#12) at Penn State, 5:00PM ABC – The Nittany Lions used to be my darling pick, but after two losses in a row, it is clear that their format was not sustainable. The Buckeyes have been rolling, but can they keep it going in Happy Valley?
PREDICTION: Ohio State 20-13
4. Arizona State (#16) at Washington, 7:45PM ESPN – The nightcap game next week pits a couple teams that always seem to have memorable matchups. Washington is going to have a gut-check after getting smashed by the Ducks, while ASU is coming off a huge win against the Cardinal.
PREDICTION: Washington 17-10
3. West Virginia (#22) at Oklahoma State, 12:30PM ESPN – This will be another big shootout Big 12 game for a couple teams trying to avoid their second loss and being all but eliminated from conference title consideration.
PREDICTION: Oklahoma State 38-35
2. Mississippi (#3) at LSU, 4:15PM ESPN – The Tigers are not a great team, but they still somehow have racked up 6 wins in 8 weeks. Mississippi is coming off a sluggish performance. Can we see an upset in Baton Rouge?
PREDICTION: Mississippi 28-9
1. USC (#17) at Utah (#18), 7:00PM FS1 – This is certainly the most interesting matchup. They are two teams that are playing at the top of their game at the moment, and this could very well decide the Pac-12 South.
Heisman Trophy Watch
5. Rakeem Cato, QB, Marshall – His team is probably going undefeated, and this would be the closest thing that we could have to recognizing greatness throughout a career. He is the most underrated player in the nation.
4. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin – His stats are just stupid. He is electric to watch and will no doubt get an invite if he can keep it up without much help at all from his passing game.
3. Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska – Another absurd rushing day places the senior right back in the thick of things. If he can carry his team to a conference championship game, then he needs an invite.
2. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon – He still has yet to throw an interception, and with his offensive line looking better, he has been able to heal up and return to his unstoppable self.
1. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State – He remains #1 even though he didn’t play and should remain #1 until they lose…if they lose.

College Football Playoff Projections
~Dream scenario for someone who wants the playoff system to expand or blow up~
1. Alabama lost to Ole Miss
2. Ole Miss loses to Auburn
3. Auburn lost to Mississippi State
4. Mississippi State loses to Alabama
5. All four teams finish with one loss, ranked #2-#5 behind an unbeaten Florida State team. 
Don’t get me wrong. I hate the SEC as much as anyone, but we need 8, 12, or 16 teams in a playoff to make it fair. This is not out of the realm of possibility either. Anyway, back to reality…

Chik-fil-A Peach Bowl: Mississippi State over Marshall
Cotton Bowl: Michigan State over Mississippi
Fiesta Bowl: Oregon over Alabama
Orange Bowl: Notre Dame over TCU

College Football Playoff Semifinal #1 (Rose Bowl): Florida State over Georgia
CFB Playoff Semifinal #2 (Sugar Bowl): Kansas State over Ohio State
National Championship Game: Florida State over Kansas State

What did you think of this weekend? Rankings? Heisman predictions? Let me know below!

Friday, October 17, 2014

October Movie Preview!

October Movie Preview!

   Recently, I decided to do a monthly movie preview article.  What I hope to accomplish, is to inform others of upcoming films for that month.  As well as what I'm excited about seeing.  Then the following month I'll do a summary of the previous month. 
        I will also tell you why I'm excited/interested in seeing certain movies.  I'll be giving a rating system for my excitement from 1 to 4 (4 being the highest and 1 the lowest) as well.
  So lets begin...

October 3, 2014:
Gone Girl, Annabelle, and Left Behind
Excitement Level: 4
Reason:  It's a David Fincher movie!!!  The screenplay was written by the author of the book.  A super creepy feel to the film.  An amazing cast.

Excitement Level: 1.5
Reason:  I really enjoyed "The Conjuring".  So I'm not really sure why this needed to be made (oh yeah money!) or if it even will tie into the other film.  But other then "Saw" and "Ouija"  this film might bring the best scares of the month.

October 10, 2014:
Dracula Untold, Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day, The Judge, and Addicted.
Excitement Level: 2.5
Reason:  This could be Steve Carell's year (Foxcatcher!!!)!  It will be good to see him in a comedy before he changes his tune next month. This hopefully will be a fun family movie, that was based on a popular children's book.

Excitement Level: 1.5
Reason:  Looks like the popular thing to do now, re-imagine classic stories, has gotten it's hands on Dracula.  Might be okay.  The bats look cool and it is Dracula!?!

Excitement Level: 1
Reason: Well Downey Jr and Duvall are in it, so it must be good.  But most likely will just be a lackluster film, that Todd and I can make fun of for the rest of the year!  What the hell, lets Netflix it! (Maybe...)

October 17, 2014:
Fury, The Book of Life, Birdman, Kill the Messenger, Camp X-Ray, The Best of Me, and Dear White People 

Excitement Level:
Reason:  A unique World War 2 film, based inside a tank.  I have never seen a tank film before (is there another one??).  Plus there is an amazing cast!!

Excitement Level: 4
Reason: Michael "Freaking" Keaton!!!  Talk about a guy who has totally rebounded and breathed new life in his carer!  Tons of Oscar buzz around this film, with an all-star cast.  

Excitement Level: 3
Reason:  A movie about our government and how one man will stand up and fight back.   Jeremy Renner looks like he has carried over his role from "American Hustle" really well.   

Excitement Level: 3
Reason:  Looks like a fun animated film with good voice acting.  Also the animation looks incredible and truly brings out the Hispanic feel too.

October 24, 2014:
Ouija, John Wick, and St. Vincent

Excitement Level: 3
Reason:  I have never been a huge Keanu Reeves fan, but that might change.  Every trailer I have seen for this, he basically sells this movie to me.  Looks like a fun action flick, in a mildly crowed drama and horror filled week.

October 31, 2014:
Nightcrawler, Saw, and Horns

Excitement Level: 4
Reason:  Jake Gyllenhaal gives a super creepy performance.  He continues to be better and better with each film he puts out.  He gives the news room and creepy presence.

My top 5 for most anticipated for this month are:
1: Birdman
2: Gone Girl 
3: Nightcrawler
4: Fury
5: John Wick/ Kill the Messenger

Summary of Previous Month:

Well I only saw one film in theaters last month, so it will be my movie of the month for September!!!
                                      The Skeleton Twins                                           
                                                2.5 Stars

Alright, well that concludes it.  I'm looking forward to October at the movies!!

Monday, October 13, 2014

SNL 40.2 Review - Sarah Silverman, Maroon 5

Original Airdate - 10/4/14

It's always an event when a former castmember hosts the show, especially when it is a beloved and revered SNL alum.  However, rarely do you see a former cast reject that only lasted a season get big enough to garner a hosting gig.  As funny as they may be, it is hard to picture a universe where people like Brooks Wheelen or John Milhiser come back and haunt Lorne Michaels to the point that he has to bite the bullet and invite them back to host.  Such was the case with Sarah Silverman.  Silverman was a featured player in the 1993-1994 season, but didn't make a big enough impression to garner a sophomore year.  However, she went from there to become one of the most successful female comedians working today.  Rarely does Lorne give a second chance like this, but Silverman definitely deserved it and showed throughout the episode the talent that brought about her original hiring.

Cold Opening

It is always a solid start to the show when they go political.  This time the show opted for a sit-down interview with President Obama brought to you by Jay Pharaoh.  Discussing the recent issues with the ISIS organization in the Middle East, they take this opportunity give their commentary on social media.  It is a solid sketch that has a few laughs, but one that is fairly forgettable by the end of the episode.


In one of the longest monologues in recent memory, Sarah Silverman basically combines two monologues into one.  You could tell the writers didn't know which idea to go with for the monologue, so they decided to go with both.  It starts with her interacting with the audience in an awkward way only Sarah Silverman can.  I feel for that poor girl in the front row that Silverman picked out of the crowd.  Never mind, no I don't.  She got front row seats to SNL!!!  After her crowd interaction portion of the monologue was completed, she addressed the fact that she was a former cast member, but didn't really do much other than feed the host questions from the crowd during the monologue.  She then took questions from herself back in 1993 via archive crowd footage.  It was a creative way to bring up her history with the show.  I'm glad they did the double monologue.

Weekend Update

The sophomore outing for new anchor tandem Colin Jost and Michael Che brought some progress, but still showed many areas for improvement.  For the first time since the days of Seth and Amy do we have attempts at banter between the co-anchors.  Although the effort is there, it's still not great.  It's better than last season though, when Cecily either didn't have time to develop the chemistry with her two co-hosts or simply couldn't handle the improved nature of the banter.  Either way, you can start to see the potential of this tandem.  Now on to the guests!  First, we had Kenan's Al Sharpton talking about the security breach at the White House.  Kenan's impression is so ridiculous and campy, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't funny.

Second, we had feminist folk band Garage & Her performing some of their music.  In this short bit, the most notable takeaway is just how similar the styles of Sarah Silverman and Kate McKinnon are.  These two are a match made in heaven, and this band is so silly you have to laugh.

Best Sketch

What made this such a solid episode was the fact that so few sketches missed.  Most of the sketches had their high points and laughs.  However, this sketch stood out from the crowd.  Over the years, Joan Rivers has been the butt of many SNL jokes.  The reason she was probably such a frequent target was because of her great sense of self-deprecation as well as her ability to bash just about anybody.  No one was untouchable to Joan Rivers, which I'm sure is what made Sarah Silverman such an admirer.  When Joan Rivers suddenly died over the summer, you knew an SNL tribute would come at some point, but it had to be fitting of Joan Rivers.  Having Sarah Silverman hosting provided that opportunity.  The idea of a sketch where Joan Rivers roasts several dead celebrities in heaven as its newest member may seem quite disrespectful, but if you think so, you didn't know Joan Rivers.  It was the perfect way to honor her life, and only someone who respected her as much as Silverman did could bring her persona to life the way she did.  It wasn't necessarily a laugh-out-loud sketch from start to finish like many best sketches are, but because of the what this sketch meant and how it was executed, it could easily stand as one of the best sketches of the season.  The only problem with this sketch is it once again reminded us that SNL has yet to provide a proper tribute for late announcer Don Pardo.

Disappointing Sketch

Granted, this was the last sketch of the night, which is usually a little off-beat and quirky more than funny, however it still has to be good.  This infomercial about a high-end blender that turned into a social class debate is one of the worst closing sketches in some time.  It got off to an awkward start and never really found its stride as it just seemed to fall flat from start to finish.  When the studio audience can barely muster a chuckle, you know it's not good.

Dark Horse Sketch

Silverman's awkward brand of comedy hit perfect in this sketch.  After being picked up from the airport from a long vacation, Silverman confides in her friend that she may have cheated on her boyfriend during her vacation.  We then discover that her boyfriend (Bobby Moynihan) pops up in the back seat, engagement ring in hand ready to propose in the car.  Before the sketch is over, we discover that along with the boyfriend, the back seat also holds mom, dad, and a hungry Adam Levine.  It's goofy, it's awkward, and it's hilarious.

Like I said, this episode rarely missed a beat.  The lowest moment of the episode didn't even come until the last sketch of the night (however, that sketch was pretty bad).  However, outside of the Joan Rivers tribute, this episode rarely hit the unforgettable status.  The parody of The Fault in Our Stars was clever but not special, and the commercial celebrating white people was somehow both original and not at the same time.  Overall, I laughed more times than not even though the episode ended up being slightly forgettable.  I will take episodes like this over that horrendous season premiere any day.


View the full episode here:

Friday, October 10, 2014

SNL 40.1 Review - Chris Pratt, Ariana Grande

Original Airdate - 9/27/14

Coming into the 40th season of SNL, there were a lot of questions that needed to be answered.  How would the landmark show celebrate its 40th season?  How will the show stay fresh, yet still honor its rich history?  Which of the 8 featured players that debuted in Season 39 would make the cut to Season 40?  And possibly the greatest question of all: how will Lorne Michaels replace Don Pardo, the show's announcer and one true mainstay of the show since day one that passed away over the summer at 96?

Many of those questions were answered in this first episode.  They had two options for host for this first episode of the new season: a classic host with history on the show or a fresh newcomer making his debut on the show.  They opted for a newcomer, and there was no one that deserved the honor more than Chris Pratt.  He has shown over the last few years that he not only is hilarious, but a great actor.  As far as the cast, 4 of the 8 featured players (John Milhiser, Mike O'Brien, Noel Wells, Brooks Wheelen) from last season were no longer a part of the cast (Mike O'Brien moved back to the writing room).  That meant 4 of the 8 featured players (Beck Bennett, Colin Jost, Kyle Mooney, Sasheer Zamata) were back as featured players, with newcomers Michael Che and Pete Davidson joining them.  The final question, and the most intriguing, was answered in the best way possible.  Don Pardo accomplished more for setting the tone for every episode than any sketch would.  When Pardo died, a part of the show's history and tradition died.  They needed someone that could bring something new to the table and not be compared to Pardo while still continuing on the tradition of SNL.  When Darrell Hammond, the longest tenured cast member in the show's history, was announced as Pardo's replacement it only made too much sense.  As for the question about how the show will celebrate it's anniversary season, hopefully the first episode was no indicator as it neither showed any recognition of the show's history, nor showcased any strong sign the show is headed in a strong direction.

Cold Opening

The cold opening is usually reserved for commenting on recent pop culture developments.  This makes the first cold open of the season one of the most interesting as they have a whole summer's worth of pop culture to discuss.  They decided to attack the NFL's recent string of domestic violence.  This line of commentary led to impressions of the evasive Ray Lewis and the cartoon-ish Shannon Sharpe.  This also led to an appearance by Chris Pratt channeling his inner Roger Goodell.  It wasn't a legendary sketch, but it was definitely a strong start to the episode and the season.


Chris Pratt's monologue was the perfect example of why he is one of America's favorite average Joe actors.  After discussing how he is honored to have this opportunity, he pulls out his guitar and sings a simple song that he wrote about his experience.  This included a shout out to his wife, 2-time host Anna Faris.  After stumbling over a couple lines (my favorite being the line about him being up for 40 straight hours), you can't help but love the man.  The show had some serious promise.

Weekend Update

The new anchor combination of head writer Colin Jost and writer Michael Che was debuted this episode, and you could tell it was their first time.  The dynamic between the two showed some promise, but was very stiff and awkward for this first episode.  Jost isn't exactly established, taking over for Seth Meyers halfway through last season, and Che was added to the cast simply to take on this task.  It will get stronger throughout the season as they seem to be trying for some back-and-forth banter much more than Cecily did with either of her co-hosts.  Speaking of Cecily, one of the biggest drawbacks to her anchoring Weekend Update was it meant the end of the Girl You Wished You Hadn't Started a Conversation With at a Party, one of the budding new guests to the Update desk.  Well, in her first episode in a season she wasn't an anchor, they brought back the Party Girl.  They must have really missed her, and it also allowed for Cecily to indirectly show that there were no hard feelings.  She showed once again what makes her such a strong cast member.

Our second guest to the Update desk was Leslie Jones, a new writer to the show making her second appearance at the Update desk.  Jones is hilarious as she brings a brand of comedy to the show with her quasi-stand-up that really nobody else has in the cast right now.  She is a welcome sight whenever she wants to come on and yell at the camera for a little while.

The last guest to the desk was the debut of the newest, and youngest, cast member, Pete Davidson.  Immediately, he showed why he was brought in.  In two minutes, Davidson proved he was naturally funnier than any of the cast members who were not brought back.  It was a little raunchy, but what do you expect out of a 20 year old stand up comedian?

Best Sketch

Although it sounds like the episode was pretty solid from the Cold Open, Monologue, and Weekend Update, those were the only highlights of the first half of the show.  It was really hard to find a regular sketch that had any laughs in it.  There were actually no laughs in the first half the episode after the monologue.  I had to go to the first sketch after Weekend Update to find a sketch that was funny at all.  This sketch had Chris Pratt and Aidy Bryant trying to flirt with each other by using rap lyrics.  They were cheap laughs, but at least they were laughs.

Worst Sketch

There were several contenders for this title from this episode, however the winner has to be the first post-monologue sketch.  This is supposed to be the strongest and best sketch of the night as it sets a real tone for the show.  Well this sketch about a boy who wishes his toys would come to life sure set that tone, but I don't think it was the tone they were meaning to set.  Also, it brought a needless cameo from Ariana Grande way too early in the show.  I don't know what they were thinking with this one.

Dark Horse Sketch

One of the main reasons Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett thrived last year and made it to a sophomore season was their off-beat quirky digital shorts that ended almost every show.  It became something to look forward to at the end of every episode, as it took the prize for Dark Horse Sketch more times than not last season.  Well, in this disappointing season premiere I knew I could count on Kyle and Beck to bring something different to the end of the show once again.  Add to that Chris Pratt, whose brand of comedy fit in a little too well with the duo, and you have not only the quirkiest sketch of the night but possibly the best one.  This sketch channels retro 80's/90's family sitcoms in a bizarre plot and corny music and punchlines.  I don't know why, but the stuff these guys put out just fascinates me in its strangeness.

With the start of a landmark season and one of the biggest funny men in the world right now hosting, this was quite the anticipated episode and disappointed on so many levels.  The majority of the sketches were not funny and the writing was terrible (a trend I was hoping wouldn't continue from last season).  However, worst of all was that it missed so many opportunities to honor the history of the show.  If you are a fan of the show at all, you were probably like me waiting to see how they were going to pay tribute to Don Pardo.  This personality that was a part of almost every episode of the first 39 seasons of SNL got a tribute of a five second screen shot afterthought at the end of Weekend Update just like any other fallen celebrity.  Even if this episode had been top notch, this one fact would have made it a disappointment.  However, the episode was about as bad as this 40th season could have started.


Watch the full episode here:

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Week 6 College Football Recap: Rankings, Heisman, Playoff Projections

Without any real debate, this weekend was the craziest weekend of college football at least since the final week of 2007. We had a QB break a 24 year old FBS record for passing yards by hucking for 734 in a losing effort. We had another Hail Mary in the Pac-12. We had 5 of the top 8 in the polls go down. And just to prove that we don’t know anything about this season: look at Florida State. Without Jameis Winston, the ‘Noles squeak out a win at home against Clemson. Winston comes back, and they have to mount a comeback to win in a shootout against NC State. This week, FSU spanks putrid Wake Forest, while Clemson dismantles NC State 41-0. Yes, Zach. This season is on drugs. WE KNOW NOTHING!
For my poll this week, I am going to just put all of the legit unbeatens (not Georgia Tech or Marshall) at the top. Honestly, the only team, aside from Marshall, that has any shot at ending the regular season without a loss is the winner of the October 18th Florida State-Notre Dame game, just because their schedules are not all that difficult. All of those random unbeatens will all filter back into to the rest of the pack in the next week or two. We know nothing. Look at the wreckage below:

Top 25 Poll
Others receiving votes: Clemson, Louisville, USC, Washington, Wisconsin
Dropped from the rankings: LSU (16), BYU (22), Wisconsin (23), USC (24)

25 (NR). Utah (4-1) – We don’t really know what we will get with this team week in and week out, but they look pretty tough and the loss to the WSU is a confusing fluke. The Pac-12 South is a mess. (NR). Arizona State (4-1) – That had to be the easiest Hail Mary of all time. He just walked in front of the pile of Trojans looking to catch a punt or something, and he just snagged the ball and walked in. Someone teach someone how to defend that play! This is getting absurd!
23 (20). East Carolina (4-1) – I lost a bit of respect for them after they gave up a few touchdowns to the worst team in the nation this week, and their loss to South Carolina is looking worse. Maybe they aren’t quite as powerful as we thought.
22 (13). Stanford (3-2) – Losing in South Bend should not really count against them. Once again, it came down to the wire. Those teams would split evenly 10 games…or 100 games…or 1000 games…
21 (17). Oklahoma State (4-1) – They move down because…I couldn’t really tell you. They are still solid and in control of their destiny in the Big 12. We saw what they were able to do last year. They are constantly under the radar, season after season.
20 (15). Georgia (4-1) – They are looking either more confusing or worse seeing how bad South Carolina is. The Cocks lost to Kentucky…Kentucky?! Yes, Kentucky.
19 (12). Nebraska (5-1) – “A little fight in ya…I like that.” They played half of a quarter of good football, and that was almost good enough to beat the best team in the pathetic Big Ten. Yeah…
18 (NR). Marshall (5-0) – Yeah, they haven’t and will not play anyone this year. But they are fun to watch.
17 (NR). Georgia Tech (5-0) – This seems like a good spot for an undefeated team that we don’t know anything about yet. They beat Miami, which is a solid win, I guess…
16 (6). UCLA (4-1) – They lost at home to Utah, who just lost at home to WSU, who this week lost by scoring 59 points and passing for almost 750 yards. I love college football.
15 (19). Ohio State (4-1) – The Buckeyes are slowly looking more like the team we had imagined them being with Braxton Miller. They are still without a loss in the conference, so suddenly their matchup with Sparty seems vital.
14 (21). Kansas State (4-1) – Their resume keeps looking better and better with every ass kicking that Auburn puts on their SEC opponents. They should have beaten them too.
13 (10). Michigan State (4-1) – They had a nearly disastrous collapse against Nebraska, but they showed throughout that they are still the best team in the Big Ten by a country mile.
12 (1). Oregon (4-1) – Watching their last two games, it is clear that this team just isn’t up to the standard that we have held the Ducks to. They simply have no offensive line, and Mariota lacks a killer instinct. They will still be right there in the Pac-12 North, but it will not be as easy as usual. (7). Alabama (4-1) – This has got to be the worst defense that Saban has had since his first year in Tuscaloosa. The offense is legit, but they were shut down by the underappreciated Ole Miss D. They need to rebound quickly.
10 (5). Oklahoma (4-1) – It is hard to believe that they could not stop anyone in that loss to TCU, but that just shows how good the Frogs are. They have nothing to worry about, though. Their season will likely be defined by the Baylor game. That still seems weird to say…
9 (4). Texas A&M (5-1) – The Aggies still have a lot going for them. Even watching them get physically beaten up by the Bulldogs, it still seemed a little like a fluke. Don’t count them out in that division.
8 (14). Mississippi (5-0) – Yes, they beat Alabama, but it was at home. Until they prove that they can win a big road game, they are going to be the weakest of the unbeatens.
7 (25). TCU (4-0) – Taking down Oklahoma was a long time coming for this program. Every year they challenge, but now they have an insane air raid offense that will not quit. This team will be a tough out for anyone in that high flying offensive conference.
6 (18). Arizona (5-0) – The Wildcats had the most impressive win of the weekend winning in Eugene. This team is frightening. They will not end without a loss, seeing how average they are in first halves. Someone will put them away early and not let up like Cal did in that 36 point 4th quarter comeback.
5 (9). Florida State (5-0) – They are doing what they do, which is beating up on weak ACC teams. They had their slight hiccup with the suspension, but they will be rolling heading into that matchup with the Irish in a couple weeks.
4 (8). Mississippi State (5-0) – This team looks absolutely legit. It is not just a team that is sneaking up on anyone either. They are bigger and more athletic than anyone in the SEC. They could come out of that insane western division.
3 (3). Baylor (5-0) – They had some struggles for the first time this season, but they got it together eventually. This team is the class of the Big 12, but no one comes out of that conference unscathed.
2 (11). Auburn (5-0) – Their raping of LSU was as impressive as anything that happened over the weekend. That offense is blistering. They are a lot better than they were last season.
1 (2). Notre Dame (5-0) – They are not a perfect team, but they just survived and showed some guts against the toughest defense they will play all year. They should be able to outscore their remaining schedule.

Top 5 Games for Next Weekend
5. USC at Arizona (#6), 7:30PM ESPN2 – This is more out of curiosity than anything. The Pac-12 South is a wild ride, and we will know what Arizona is really made of after getting a top 5 win and now being ranked in the top 10. Can they get back up for a streaky USC team that might be the best D they will play all year? PREDICTION: Arizona 24-23
4. Mississippi (#8) at Texas A&M (#9), TBA – Mississippi is riding their biggest win maybe ever, and A&M had their first slipup of the year. It is in Kyle Field, so I cannot see the Aggies dropping two in a row. PREDICTION: Texas A&M 34-17
3. Oregon (#12) at UCLA (#16), 12:30PM FOX – This was circled on my schedule before the season started, but both teams losing at home the week before makes it lose a bit of its luster. Typical of both programs, though. This will still be quite a sight to see. PREDICTION: UCLA 27-21
2. TCU (#7) at Baylor (#3), 12:30PM ABC/ESPN2 – This is going to be a shootout of the highest caliber. Both of these teams can score at will in several different ways. In Waco, it will be hard to beat the Bears, but the Frogs are out for blood. PREDICTION: Baylor 42-38
1. Auburn (#2) at Mississippi State (#4), TBA – This week was the highest profile game for Mississippi State in decades. Now, this game is. PREDICTION: Auburn 27-23

Heisman Trophy Watch
5. Everett Golson, QB, Notre Dame – He is better than we thought he could be, and that final game-winning drive against the Cardinal was all Golson. He is the real deal on the best team in the nation…at least for right now.
4. Nick Marshall, QB, Auburn – He has improved so much since last year, and honestly since the beginning of this year. He is a legit talent and might very well coast to the ceremony with how that offense is humming. Anu Solomon, QB, Arizona – His second halves are off the charts. This guy willed the Cats to a win in Eugene, where very few teams win anymore. I fear that when they lose, he will drop off every ballot, but he is firmly on my radar.
2. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia – His team might not be that great, but is carrying the team on his back. He is the most gifted back in the nation, and he deserves all the accolades he is getting and will get.
1. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State – He is the talk of the SEC right now with his Cam Newton-esque skill set and flair for the dramatic in big games. If they keep winning, then he will be in the race.

College Football Playoff Projections
Chik-fil-A Peach Bowl: East Carolina over Texas A&M
Cotton Bowl: Michigan State over Stanford
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma over Mississippi State
Orange Bowl: Alabama over Oregon

College Football Playoff Semifinal #1 (Rose Bowl): Notre Dame over Baylor
CFB Playoff Semifinal #2 (Sugar Bowl): Auburn over Florida State
National Championship Game: Auburn over Notre Dame
What did you think of this weekend? Rankings? Heisman predictions? Let me know below!