Friday, February 27, 2015

My love letter to the Parks and Rec Cast

     There have only been a few shows in the history of television that have evoked an emotional response out of me when they left.  The one that sticks out the most was "Cheers".  The reason Cheers was such a great show was that every single member of that cast could make you laugh.  Every member could carry an entire episode.  You really began as a viewer to care about these fictional characters.  I guess when you think about it, it's kind of silly.  Silly or not, I felt that way this past Tuesday night when Parks and Recreation ended its 7 year run.  I felt like my dog died.  I really held back tears that night.  I thought to myself, "Bill get ahold of yourself man, this is just a TV show."  Fandom is a weird thing.  There are extreme fans who are psychotic and stalk celebrities and there are fans like my friends and I who often are able to bond just by discussing the past weeks episode.  There are always characters that you relate to on a show, there are characters that you despise on a show, and there are always characters you root for on a show.  The Parks and Recreation cast was the type of show where I rooted for every character on that show (Excluding Jeremy Jamm of course). 
     Hollywood and actors are a mixed bag these days.  Despite being a fan of a considerable amount of TV shows and movies out there, you always hear about the actors personal struggles and it somewhat tarnishes the product.  The clearest example of this is Two and Half men.  Im sure that 90% of the people that work on that show are talented, well adjusted, people.  The problem is that you have the Executive producer and Charlie Sheen going at it through the media and quite frankly it ruins it for the viewer.  The show ran for 12 years and couldn't even come together to give their fans a decent ending.  Personally I wasn't even a fan of the show but it was one of the first shows my wife and I watched as a couple.  The point of this is that I never felt that way with the people at Parks.  They always seemed to love their job and they seemed like a family.  I'm sure there were things that didn't go well on set but you never heard about them if they existed.  I have seen many interviews with the cast and producers and they always just seem to be full of joy and genuine love for one another.  That's a very refreshing thing to see when you hear about so many bad working relationships in the business. 
     The writing on the show was brilliant.  Most shows lose their "mojo" about half way through their run.  This show stayed consistent from the opening bell until the very last episode.  The quirkiness of each character made every episode worth watching.  Every actor on Parks was spot on with their comedic timing and I loved each and every one of their characters.  I truly believe that this is perhaps the best ensemble cast in the history of television.  I never understood why the show didn't get killer ratings.  I know amongst my group of friends that it is ranked way up there and deservedly so. 
     The cast was outstanding and of course it has to start with the charming and brilliant Amy Poehler.  Amy has been a star with me since her early SNL days.  She is definitely one of the best weekend update anchors ever and her seemingly tireless energy was something to behold.  My friends and I had a joking conversation one time whether we were Poehler people or Fey People.  It was a joking conversation of course because we are fans of both but Ive always been more of Poehler guy.  I liked 30 Rock but loved Parks.  Leslie Knope is one of the true great female characters of all time.  Leslie was goofy of course but there seemed to be a very determined inspirational character in there.  I think she deserves to be up there with all of the other strong female tv characters of all time...strike that, men or female characters.
     I loved Amy's character but if I had to pick my favorite character it would have to be Ron Swanson.  I had no clue who Nick Offerman was before Parks came along.  I certainly know him now.  The guy is absolutely genius in that role.  Ron Swanson has had so many memorable quotes over the run of this show.  The funny thing is that I'm nothing like the character Ron.  Im kinda a nerdy guy but there is just something about his "extreme" manhood that is just addicting to watch.  Having Megan play his wife was great and their interactions are some of the funnies physical comedy I've ever seen. 
      Chris Pratt is the man.  The guy is just comedy gold.  Ive always thought that when an  actor can pull off a character like that they have to be either really hard worker or just a naturally blessed physical comedian.  I think there is a little of both there.  I remember Andy in the first season and I was almost a little annoyed with him but he soon found his groove with me and he became one of the funniest characters on the show.  His chemistry with Aubrey Plaza was spot on.  Johnny Karate, Burt Maclin, etc....all things I will always remember about this show.
     Aubrey Plaza is smoking hot.  I think all fellow geeks like myself have a small crush on her.  The thing about her is that she seems to be a budding star.  She is an amazing presence on the screen.  Her looks can bring down the manliness man.  Her interactions with Rashida Jones were priceless in the first few seasons.  I am excited to see what the future brings for her.  Her French kissing Jim O'heir at the end of the Seth Meyers show Tuesday night was one of the funniest things Ive ever seen.
     I am so glad that both Rhetta and Jim O'heirs characters made it into the main cast of the show.  I loved her relationship with Tom.  Treat yo self was one of my favorite episodes.  I loved her interactions with the entire cast.  She was like the cool person in the cast.  Tommy wanted to be cool but she was cool. 
       Aziz Ansari is one of the funniest stand up comedians out there today.  My wife and I saw him in Indianapolis about a year or so ago and it was amazing.  Tommy Haverford so wanted to be a serious baller and watching him on that journey was pretty hilarious. Him and John Ralphio were great as a team and watching the rise and fall of entertainment 720 was fun
       Adam Scott is one my favorite comedic actors out there today.  His dry humor and facial expressions to the camera were some of the highlights of the show.  His nerdy character Ben Wyatt of course rung very close to home.   I feel bad for him as an actor because im sure he will feel the wrath of the geek nation asking him stupid questions for the rest of his career.  Especially about that Cones game. 
       Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe were my biggest surprises on that show.  Being a product of the80s I was very familiar with Rob's resume.  Ive enjoyed the majority of his work and I knew he had comedy in him from watching the Waynes World movie but I was so impressed with his character on the show.  He actually at times was the Literally the funnies part of the show.  Rashida Jones is very easy on the eyes and has always been but she was so important to the chemistry on the show.  I remember her short stint on the office and she was great on that as well.  She played so well off of Amys Knope that it was kinda sad to see her go early.  She was sorta like the female version of Ben with the looks at the camera. 
      Lastly I want to talk about Jim O'heir.  Not because he was Jerry and should be last but because he may be my favorite actor in the cast.  I recently joined Twitter because my son had monopolized our mancave and while he plays video games, I sit on the computer.  One night when I was on Twitter I exchanged a couple of messages with Jim O'heir and asked him if he could do me a favor.  I asked him if he had anything I could give a friend of mine who is a fan of the show for his upcoming wedding.  Im not in the habit of doing things like that but I was actually shocked that a celebrity was responding to my tweets.  I was even more shocked when Jim replied "what kind of thing are you looking for?"  He eventually offered to make a short video to give to my friends who are getting married.  I can't tell you how appreciative I was that someone who didn't even know me would take the time out of their very busy schedule to do something so nice.  I actually at first was afraid it wasn't really him or someone that ran his twitter account but as I exchanged tweets with him I learned that it was probably him.  A couple of weeks later he delivered on his promise and send me the video.  I was able to give this video to this said friend and they were floored by it.  I know it was only a 20-30 second video but to them it meant the world to them.  It will forever be apart of their wedding and it just shows what a good human being Jim is.  That being said Jerry Gergitch was priceless.  What a fuck up!  A loveable fuck up though.  The fact that the entire cast ripped him to shreads was just hilarious. 
      The last thing I want to talk about is the city of Pawnee.  The city itself was a huge character in this show. The writers did a masterful job of creating a unique ridiculous community that was almost as funny as the main cast.  From Ethel Beavers to Perd, they were all awesome.  I remember just laughing so hard at the paintings that were hung up in the government buildings.  The little things like that are what makes this show stand out from the rest.  I will eventually find a new favorite show.  It will be sad for a few months.  I just wanted to write this to say thank you to everyone that was involved in making this amazing show.  I hope to see all of you in your future projects.  Pratt of course is a huge movie star now and being a comic book nerd, Jurassic park fan ,and fingers crossed Indiana Jones fan Im sure to see him a lot in the next few years.  You guys are all talented and I wish you nothing but future success. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Why the end of the Undertaker's streak is probably the best thing for the WWE.

     The Undertaker's streak was broken this past Sunday at WrestleMania XXX and like so many others I was completely shocked when it happened.  I wasn't shocked like I was when the New England Patriots lost to the New York Giants during their undefeated season but shocked nonetheless.  Professional wrestling is predetermined, unlike the NFL, and quite frankly that streak belongs more to Vince McMahon than anyone else.  Vince could have ended this years ago if he really wanted to but he recognized the money he could make with it.  The Undertaker isn't my favorite wrestler of all time but I probably respect him as a performer more than any other.  He knows how to put on a good show.  Unfortunately like any good athlete, age has caught up with the guy.  I think that even though Vince could have ended the streak at any time, he probably has left it up to Mark Calloway to decide when he wanted to end it.  I sat there in disbelief when Brooockk Lesnar got the three count on Sunday,  It really made no sense to me why the WWE would not give the streak to a young talented wrestler to progress their career.  I deliberated it for a while and realized that perhaps this was the best thing for the company.  These are my theories on why this happened now.
     My first theory is that Calloway probably was ready to end the streak.  The taker is a shell of his former self and despite the fact that he can roll his eyes back in his head with the best of them, he cant hide the fact that he is almost 50 and keeping up this streak has been more of a nuisance than anything positive.  I try to look at it from his perspective.  He knows this is not a legitimate physical accomplishment.  He only wrestles one event a year probably because his body can only take one event.  They have probably only kept this streak going this long because the WWE was in an off period of popularity and the Streak was one of the few matches people would tune into.  There was also talk a couple of years ago that Taker wanted to give the streak to Lesnar.  Would I have picked Lesnar? Hell no!...He is a part timer who probably only gives a shit about a paycheck.  The thing I realized though, especially after watching Raw this past Monday, was that the streak was given to Paul Heyman just as much as it was to Brock Lesnar.  Paul Heyman is the WWE's number one heel.  They realize how valuable he is and giving him the streak can only help the future.  His speech on Monday was one of the most brilliant promos ive seen in years. 
     My second theory is that the WWE used this WrestleMania, HHH/Stephanie's first, as a way to pass the torch to the young wrestlers.  There is one constant complaint among wrestling fans for years now and it has been that older wrestlers wont just retire and let the young guys run with the ball.  So lets examine what happened at WrestleMania XXX.  They opened the show with the older wrestling legends in non wrestling roles.  The opening was iconic without having to put one of them over at the expense of a current wrestler.  Daniel Bryan defeated HHH.  The Shield defeated the veterans Kane and the New Age Outlaws.  Cesaro and the Big Show were the last two in the Andre the Giant Battle royal.  I thought for sure Big Show was winning and sure enough Cesaro dumped big show and won the trophy.  The Wyatt family despite losing to John Cena, were the clear cut fan favorite in the match and just facing Cena after really only a year under their belts is huge.  Finally Daniel Bryan won the title.  This was a message to the young wrestlers that this is their time.  Its a gamble but it looks to be paying off.  Lets not forget now that there is a one more match for younger talent at wrestlemania now that there is no more streak. 
     I think that this is a step in the right direction for the WWE.  It will now allow the young talent on the roster to shine.  It gives the best mic guy in the business the credentials to build a stable of young guys and deliver the proper heels that the company needs.  I look at professional wrestling as a tv show, nothing more.  I get invested in the characters like anyone else but I realize that its time for a changing of the guard.  The Undertaker may well be done and he had a great career.  Id probably put him in the top 5 or 6 ever but its time for him to go.  I could possibly see him do one more match with someone like Sting.  Evidentily he was pretty seriously concussed at WrestleMania, enough that Vince rode in the ambulance with him so that might have been it for the phenom.  Time will tell.  Im look forward to the future and kudos to HHH/WWE for having the balls to do that.  The future is here, hopefully these guys can make it fun.  Now all we have to do is get rid of Cena!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Half way point of the NFL season

         This has been an interesting season so far in the NFL.  I really love the way the National Football League is compared to other major sports.  You don't really have a team like the Yankees, Lakers, or Celtics that dominate yearly.  The way the league is set up you really have few dynasties and the makeup of contending teams changes every year.  An example of this is the Indianapolis Colts, who were abysmal last year and are 6-3 now.  I can't help but to pull for them.  Andrew Luck has probably had more pressure on him to succeed than any players in the last couple of decades, well perhaps Aaron Rodgers from a couple of years ago.  Other surprises include the Falcons and the Bears who are 15-1 combined.  These two teams were good teams last year and undoubtedly playoff teams but 15-1....that's pretty amazing.  There are a few story lines and players that I would like to discuss and give some opinions and/or predictions on what will happen the rest of the year. 
        Peyton Manning - If there was any doubt in any ones mind how good Peyton Manning is then this season should be clear cut evidence that he is one of the top 3 QBs of all time.  The guy is a winner and can single handily raise the play of the players around him.  Try and think of 3 other Bronco offensive players...its hard to do.  The guy is alot like Magic Johnson was in the 80s to the LA Lakers.  The guys drive to win is so strong that it is contagious.  I truly believe that Peyton will bring the Broncos to the AFC Championship game.  I don't believe they will make it to the Superbowl but it would not surprise me. 
          Atlanta Falcons - The Atlanta Falcons are the leagues only undefeated team and they have a bunch of talent but my main problem is that they can't ever bring it together playoff time.  I sense that the Falcons may suffer the same fate as the Packers did last year.  The Packers looked unstoppable in the regular season but then fell flat on their faces in the post season.  I sometimes think its counterproductive to win most of your games early in the season because you begin to become arrogant about your play and then when you do lose its panic time.  Obviously you don't want to lose any games but sometimes it helps your team to lose one every now and again.  The patriots were undefeated all the way into the Superbowl with the Giants and we all know what happened there.  They obviously have the talent and Matt Ryan is having an MVP season but I don't think they will win the Superbowl. 
          Baltimore Ravens -  The window is closing for this team.  I think sometimes a team can just get by on the spirit of one of their great players.  Ray Lewis is the Peyton Manning of defense.  Other players want to excel for Ray Lewis but with him sidelined with the torn triceps i think the Ravens will start to tank soon.  I think that Joe Flacco is decent QB at best and is way too inconsistent at the position.  They have one of the top all purpose running backs in the league with Ray Rice but I just don't see this team going far in the playoffs.  I fully expect the Steelers to eventually outlast them for the division title. 
          Michael Vick - I think that Michael Vick is the most Overrated football player maybe of all time.  I have never thought of him as a top tier Qb.  The guy is an athlete but that doesn't translate into wins in the National Football League.  He reminds me of a low rate Randall Cunningham.  The guy is getting older and he is just too careless with the football.  I don't blame him for all of the Eagles problems because that offensive line is atrocious.  Andy Reid is the longest tenured coach in the NFL but its time to let him go.  They have very talented skill players on offense that would be doing way better with a different offensive scheme and QB.  I predict this is the last year for both Vick and Reid.
          I'd like to now take some time to discuss my hometown Bengals who have yet again underachieved this year.  I think the biggest mistake the Bengals made this year was not attempting to being in a more established running back that Benjarvis Green-Ellis.  The lack of a running game and the non existence of a second go to receiver has doomed the Bengals.  I cant remember more than maybe one run play this entire season that was over 20 yards.  Green Ellis just falls forward for 4 yards and that's it.  I'm sure it has something to do with the O-line but good running backs find a way.  Cedric Benson was a way better option.  I just find it frustrating because the Bengals have always struggled over the years but they usually had a decent running back...James Brooks, IckyWoods, Harold Green, Corey Dillon, Rudy Johnson....but this year it is painful to watch.  The defense is good enough to win games but the offense is falling flat on their face as of late.  The defense is not perfect, their secondary is way too old and i can almost guarantee what they will be drafting come draft day.  I think the perhaps the Bengals biggest problem is game planning and that falls on the shoulders of Marvin Lewis.  I think its time to say goodbye to Marvin.  I liked Marvin when he was first hired but it just seems like he has the inability to motivate the team for games that either they should win or big divisional or playoff games. I thought it was funny that he called out recently Dalton and Rey Maluega (sp?) when in reality he needs to be called out.  There is no excuse for the Bengals to lose to both the Rookie led Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns in consecutive weeks.  I know that some of it has to fall on the players executing but I think that Marvin has to be able to call a better game.  I also think that Marvin needs to use better judgement on using that damn red flag for replays.  The Bengals are not making the playoffs this year and for a team that is as young as it is, they need to not fall back on the losing mystique of the Cincinnati Bengals.  Mike Brown needs to get rid of Marvin and bring in someone like Tony Dungy to come in here and fix some the glaring problems of this team.  Draft Secondary, Running Back, Offensive Line...Pick up a decent wide receiver in free agency.  Perhaps the Bengals will be able to turn their season around but I'm not counting on it.  If they do I will admit I'm wrong about them but with the final four games being Dallas, Philly, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore I just don't see a playoff scenario.  The game against the Giants today is a make or break game for the Bengals so I hope I'm wrong.  Who Dey!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Casting Star Wars today.

          The big news this past week was the acquisition of Lucasfilm by the Disney Corporation.  I have to admit that I was utterly shocked that Watto err George Lucas sold his baby to someone.  I have made it pretty clear over the years to my friends of my general distaste of the Disney corporation and some of their tactics over the years.  I will have to concede though that Disney has done a fairly good job with the Marvel properties and to be totally honest I would rather Disney be at the helm of a new Star Wars trilogy that Lucas himself.  I feel that Georgie Boy had just lost touch with audiences and became kinda lazy depending on entire CGI set pieces.  Lets not forget his ability to write dialogue either. 
          I got to thinking about a new trilogy and how they should approach it.  I can't make up my mind if I want to see recasting or really old versions of the characters from the original trilogy.  Of course noone even knows if it will follow them but I have a feeling there will be some mention.  I thought it would be fun to just pretend like they were casting the original trilogy all over again and who in hollywood today could fill those shoes.  This is complete list of characters from the original trilogy and who I think could pass for them now.   

Luke Skywalker - I would personally go with Aaron Johnson from Kick Ass fame and Savages.  I think he would be the perfect age and could definitely show the young nieve side and later the hardcore jedi side. 

Princess Leah-   I know she is the "predictable" choice here but I do like Emma Stone.  She a good actress and easy on the eyes. 

Han Solo-  This one is a hard one for me.  I would no doubt pick Nathan Fillion but would the chemistry between an aging Fillion and a young Stone work....whatever thats my pick.  All younger actors really get on my nerves these days and I think he embodies who Solo was. Plus Harrison was 14 years older than Fisher and Fillion is 16 years older than Stone....not a big difference

Obi Wan-  Another hard one.  I want someone old looking but with the sense that they could kick your ass if they had to.  My first thought is sort of an unconventional one.  I really like Gary Oldman.  I believe he would make a good one but you would defintely have to age him a little. 

Emperor Palpatine-The only actor(non voice) from all three trilogys that could play the role without anyone noticing aging.  Ian McDiarmid is still my choice for this role.

Lando Calrisean-  This was the hardest one for me.  Jamie Foxx, Terrence Howard, Don Cheadle....all could probably do it....I think I would go with Cheadle....but frankly wouldnt  Michael jai White be awesome at it....

So theres my big 6......the rest really can be done by anybody...would love to hear some other choices....I did this on the fly so Im sure I will miss some people. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thank god thats over! My last political post until 2016

         The election is finally over!  Everyone can stop being nasty to each other, take a breath, and now we can get on with our lives.  I really can't remember an election that created such a split among my friends and family.  I have personally been soured by the whole electoral process and did not bother to vote.  I know, I know...horrible!....Well when there comes a time where I feel that voting for someone will result in actually getting something done then I will get out there and vote.  I blame BOTH Republicans and Democrats for the state of this country and until they can somehow work together and get something done I will continue to pass on voting. Unfortunately I do not see that happening anytime soon.  I think that people should vote and its a very American thing to do, especially if one candidate represents your best interests.  I just dont feel like anyone really is working for me and my family.   They are just concerned about getting their agendas over and burying the other party.  Perhaps I should vote for the lesser evil but I have a hard time justifying doing that.  I would probably lean more democrat but the lines seem to be blurring more and more these days.  I think elections now boil down to one thing..The widening gap between the Rich and the middle and poor classes is getting so large that when people vote they associate Republicans with the wealthy and Democrats with the middle and poor class.  Candidates like Linda Mcmahon spends upwards of 100 million dollars on their campaigns and that doesnt go unnoticed by the people.  The Republican party has lost touch with a portion of the country and really needs to reevaluate how they approach the next election.  I'm certainly not rooting for them but it's obvious that their line of thinking needs to be adjusted.  Democrats are certainly not innocent in all of this.  They spend tons of money on campaigns as well.  They, as well as Republicans, refuse to really work as a cohesive governement body that actually looks to improve the country.  They both are more concerned about getting credit and being the party that accomplishes the feat rather than just doing it together.  I personally hope that the House and the President can pull it together and get some things accomplished.  Phillibusting and stonewalling each other into oblivion really doesnt accomplish anything but losing the confidence of the American people.  I'm a huge advocate of a significant third party but realize that will probably never happen.  I think the Checks and balances system would be more effective if a third viable option for people was there. 
          I really hope that the President learns from his mistakes and can get some things accomplished.  He really tried to do too much too soon when he was first elected and perhaps underestimated the unwillingness of the Republicans to work together.  I felt like when I watched the debates this year that he was the more genuine of the candidates.  I still felt like I was watching two used car salesman though.  I get this overwelming feeling during election time that the candidates insult out intelligence with the things they say.  They always mention some recent factory worker they had met by name and talk about their struggles and how "their plan" will change that.  Unfortunately I think this Ra Ra campaigning works for alot of people.  I tend to look more at what they promise and what the end result is.  People get too hung up on promises and not results.  I can promise to dunk a basketball in the next 4 years but I guarantee that my fat ass wont accomplish that feat.  I fully believe that this country's people could fix alot of the problems themselves if the government could show that they could work together.  Its hard to get motivated when you hear about the unwillingness to help one another. 
       This country is changing and if the politicians dont figure this shit out soon there will eventually be an uprising.  This gap that keeps widening will eventaully cause the poor to rise.  It might not be in my lifetime but its coming.  There were some postive things that happened this election year.  Gays are now allowed to marry if a few more states.  Personally I have never understood the beef religious people have with this.  We are all "Gods" creatures so why deny a certain group happiness.  I've always said to nauseum that if you want to judge people then turn your judgement toward Heterosexuals since the divorce rate is now over 50 percent.  Its not Homosexuals who are ruining the institution of marriage, its heteros....The institution is already falling apart.  I don't believe in God but respect people who do.  I just feel that religion should be used to give you and your family peace and happiness and not used to judge others and the way they live.  The bible has tons of things in it that dont apply in todays society so why do .....ya know what...why bother?...noones changing their opinion on this.  I think it all boils down to the fact of how you were raised.  If you have had no real relationship with a gay, black, hispanic, etc then you probably rely on stereotypes and other things you have been taught throughout your life.  If you think that a homosexual is an "abomination"then thats your right to think that, but once you vocalize that and publicly denounce a person or group thats when I feel like you are overstepping.  I have relatives that do not believe in gay marriage but they are very respectful of the their beliefs and do not use derogatory terms to get their points across.  Thats the beauty of this country, unlike others, is that we can express ourselves freely.  Homosexuals deserve to be happy just like any other people in this country and to insult them with a civil union is discrimintory and quite frankly just unamerican....but thats just me. 
        Also marijauna is now legal in a couple more states.  I have never, nor will ever try Mary jane but I feel like its something that needs to be legalized because it is helpful in pain treatment and quite frankly is not much different than alcohol.  I think they should either legalize pot or go back to making alcohol illegal.  We know thats not happening.  People are going to smoke it so it might as well be regulated.  Tax it....I know I know ....where do we stop? Coke, heroin.....Pot is way different then those drugs.  You cant die from one use of Pot.  I dont advocate drugs....but really why does alcohol get a pass and pot doesnt.
      Anyway now that Ive pissed off half my facebook page...haha I guess I will end this rare political post.  I know it probably seems hypocritical to talk about politics even though i didnt vote but my reasoning for not voting to me is a valid one.  I can still care about my country and not vote.  If i did vote it probably would have been for an independent.  I was just soured on the whole process.  I have voted before and I will vote again.  Probably for specific issues that effect my family but if the politicians get their act together more and a candidate comes along then I will revisit voting for president.  I kinda compare it to my love for baseball.  I loved baseball growing up.  I knew all about eveyr player on every team.  I used to play it everyday as a child.  I collected baseball cards, played table top baseball, and watched all of the reds games.  The steroid scandal hit and immediately I lost interest.  I have unfortunately never gone back to something I loved so much because even now players are continuing to find a way to cheat.  Eventully my interst will come back, just like voting.  Unfortunately alot will have to happen to show me that its worth my vote.