Here Comes the Boom: Oscars anyone?

“Let’s do this.  Let’s lose” – Scott Voss

Voss, as played by Kevin James, fights his way through the MMA world in the role of a lifetime

When one considers the all time filmic greats, Scorsese, Kubrick and Spielberg have all solidified themselves as legends in their artistic medium.  Each respective filmmaker has his opus, be it Taxi Driver, 2001: A Space Odyssey, or Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.  Having recently sat down to watch a little-known, 2012 sports comedy, I believe veteran director Frank Coraci has developed his own opus.  Here Comes the Boom transcends its own medium, an accomplishment even the previously mentioned films fail to do, and establishes itself as one of–nay, the greatest artistic work of all time.

Coraci’s film opens with a sweeping pan of Scott Voss’s life achievements, including wrestling trophies and the 2002 Teacher of the Year award.  While the sequence undoubtedly forecasts the numerous Oscars, People’s Choice, and Nobel Peace Prizes  Here Comes the Boom will demand in the near future, Coraci’s focus completely rests on advancing his story and familiarizing his audience with the film’s protagonist.  Voss, as played by the uproariously funny Kevin James, is a former NCAA wrestler, whose successes have translated into the academic field.  As the camera moves from accolades to its currently disheveled, lazy recipient, Coraci makes a statement on the effects of time and lays the foundation for his critique of american academia.  The “late for work” cliche inches into the frame upon Voss’s reaction to his alarm clock, but Coraci dispels and even attacks this story-telling tradition through Wolfmother’s Joker and the Thief.  The song’s title establishes the director’s position in relation to every other hollywood director; while every schlub with a camera continues to steal his or her audience’s time and money, Coraci (through the guise of Scott Voss) satirically jokes about filmic tradition.  The statement is subtle, but nonetheless effective.

But let’s not restrict ourselves to HCtB’s opening sequences.  It would be fallacious to solely examine the opening moments without any recognition of the story’s full arc.  For those who have yet to see Coraci film, the plot revolves around biology teacher Scott Voss and his attempts to save Wilkinson High School’s beloved music program.  Voss, who has lost enthusiasm for education over his years at Wilkinson, realizes this would result in the loss of his colleague Marty, as played by Henry Winkler, and immediately pursues alternatives for saving the music program.  Voss’s first course of action is teaching a night class for American citizenship (a natural step for a high school biology teacher), and when that fails to produce the $48,000 needed, he resorts to mixed martial arts and, eventually, the UFC.  Part of Coraci’s charm as a storyteller is the organic unfolding of his story.  Of course Voss would enter into mixed martial arts to save the music program of a school for which he’s lost all enthusiasm.  Of course it falls upon a biology teacher to raise money for a music program.  Coraci recognizes the trials associated with the current American academic system, and highlights the paths nearly all teachers have been pushed down.  Voss’s progression from teaching to MMA is obvious, yet such  blatancy raises larger questions: why has this time-tested tale yet to be told on the big screen? The answer, surprisingly, is it has been portrayed in Gavin O’Connor’s 2011 film Warrior.

With two films holding such similar premises, it becomes impossible not to connect Coraci’s and O’Connor’s respective efforts.  Unfortunately for the latter, Warrior fails in nearly every category where HCtB succeeds.  Beginning with acting, Coraci assembles a stellar cast of Kevin James, Salma Hayek, Henry Winkler, and former mixed Martial artist Bas Rutten.  Though not a newcomer to film, Rutten displays a form of cinematic intelligence and grasp over character unseen in Warrior.  The likes of Tom Hardy, whose fame needlessly skyrocketed from some 2012 costume movie, and Joel Edgerton (who?) do nothing to help this atrocity stay afloat.  Character motivation also tends to divide the films; Coraci seamlessly connects education, financial difficulties, american citizenship, parental approval, and the declining emphasis of the arts.  Warrior, in contrast, does little to connect very similar themes.  Would a house foreclosure really inspire a former teacher to get back in the octagon? Gimme a break! It is much more believable that a deadbeat biology teacher would want to save his school’s music program.  When comparing the two films, it becomes clear Hardy has a tendency to pick films with gaping plot holes.  While we cannot fault the actor entirely, it might suit Hardy to associate himself with Kevin James and the rest of the Sandler crew.

Returning to HCtB, the sheer attention to details is what separates a Coraci film from the lesser known directors such as Nolan or Tarantino.  When tackling a complicated subject such as the Ultimate Fighting Championships, it is important to know the company’s structure from the inside out, and the director does a marvelous job of research.  Most people might not know this, but Joe Rogan is actually the mastermind behind the entire UFC.  Though a colour commentator to the casual viewer, Rogan helps to set up matches, organize entrance music, and (though buried in the film’s deleted scenes) assemble the octagon.  Coraci highlights Rogan’s involvement through the setting up of Voss’s UFC appearance, and assembling the school band for Voss’s entrance music.  Even avid viewers of UFC have much to learn from the film.  Coraci’s film pleases both veterans of the octagon and newcomers to the sport, further solidifying its position as the greatest piece of art in the history of human existence.

In summary, whether you’re looking to witness the pinnacle of storytelling, or just searching for a reason to continue this banal existence, director Frank Coraci has developed something even the most suicidal of people would step off their ledges to watch.  As Scott Voss asserts in the film’s initial sequences “Let’s do this.  Let’s Lose”, Coraci, perhaps mistakenly, breaks the fourth wall and hails his audience to laugh with such assertions; in a film where its protagonist sets out to lose, its larger artistic implications do nothing but win.

Batman vs Superman trailer: Review

Don’t you hate it when the trailer gives everything away?

Well that’s exactly what the Batman vs Superman trailer did when director Zach Snyder released the clip late last night.

The Batman v. Superman trailer, which gives everything away.

I mean, I’m all for trying to sell a movie, but why not throw a “Spoiler Alert” right before the meaty parts of the trailer?

Anyways, since all the mystery is gone and we basically know how this blockbuster is going to end, I figured I’d look at some of the key moments and analyze them more thoroughly.

Snyder’s trailer opens with a sweeping shot of the Superman suit, famously donned in 2013’s Man of Steel.  The suit looks as good as it did back then, there’s only one problem: no Kal-El.

Superman is not in his super suit.

The trailer then moves to the next shot of Batman’s famous cowl and cape. Again, no Bruce Wayne filling out Lucius Fox’s kevlar designs.

I think it’s pretty obvious from the “trailer” (read: entire movie) that Batman and Superman will not be against each other as the title so blatantly implies.  Here we can only assume that Clark and Bruce are running around without their costumes.  In fact, I think the movie’s title image tends suggests they’ll be doing a little more than “running around” without their costumes.

Batman v Superman logo.  Notice anything suggestive?

Batman v Superman logo. Notice anything suggestive?

Look at how the Batman logo is behind the Superman logo.  The Caped Crusader is extending his wings out, almost wrapping around the world’s most famous S.

It reminds me of another famous movie scene.

Jack_and_Rose

Just sayin’.

That’s right.  I think it’s pretty clear this DC cinematic event isn’t going to be an all out battle as the title suggests.  I don’t think it’s going to be a battle at all.  If anything, it should probably be named Batman+Superman=<3

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  I, for one, am happy that in this era, a movie studio is willing to hold up a mirror to society and show how the world really is.

And this explains a lot about the notable absence of Robin in the recent Dark Knight instalments.  There’s always been a questionable tension between Dick (ha!) Grayson and Bruce, but it seems Warner Bros. and DC were saving Bruce for a more “age appropriate” love interest.

Good on them, but I’d like to see them push the series even further, with even more important social commentary.  No longer should these two have to keep secret identities.  This is 2015 for Cripe’s sake! Be open.  Fly free. You don’t have to hide in your caves or your fortress of solitude any longer.

It’s a great cinematic achievement, and I’m extremely excited for the release.  I only wish that Zach Snyder had left just a smidgen of movie up for the viewer’s imagination.

Avengers: Age of Ultron leaked script!!!! part 2

With under a month before the release of the second Avengers flick, I’ve received several pages of Age of Ultron‘s final script.  My source, who prefers to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, assures me this is 100% legit.  Since it’s SO much to handle all at once (and because I need to make four posts to satisfy this class’s requirements), I’ll be making four separate posts, each with a different bit of the leaked script.

So here goes PART 2:

INT. Gymnasium. Day

The Avengers are in the gym, training for an upcoming challenge.  The Hulk is at the benchpress, while Hawkeye does the spotting.  The rest of the Avengers are scattered around the gym.

Hawkeye

…6 billion, 6 billion and one, 6 billion and two. (Hulk finishes his set and rests the bar back on the thing)

Hulk 

Hulk done. Hulk swole.

Hawkeye 

Well done, Hulk.  I’d hop on as well, but you might have to take off a few pounds…a few MILLION pounds.  HAHA! (laughs)  But seriously, I’m proud of the team.  They’re working so hard in anticipation for this upcoming football game against Ultron.  Winner-take-all! Literally! HAHA! (laughs)

Hulk

I play linebacker. (comically puts a football helmet on backwards, stumbles around and falls, shaking the gym)

Black Widow

(falls over while doing squats) Geez.  Watch where you’re falling, big guy.  You wouldn’t want to see me when I’M angry. HAHA! (laughs, while Hulk has a romantic grin on his face as he removes the helmet check out Scarlett Johansen (sp?))

Thor

Aye! Would you laddies and lassies keep it down over there? I lost count.  (Goes back to his exercise, which is taking his mighty hammer and bashing it against a tire…y’know, like how they do it in the commercials?) Twenty-one ach! Twenty-two ach! Twenty-three ach!

Quicksilver 

Hey, do you guys know if this treadmill has any higher settings?!

ALL

HAHA! (laughs)

Nick Fury

(enters gym) Listen up you mother fuckers! We’ve only got three days left of fuckin’ training before the big game and you idiots are fooling around in this damn gym.  Now, where’s my secret weapon?

Air Bud

(Walks out from behind the corner) Bark Bark!

Nick Fury

There he is.  Y’know, I may be sick of mother fuckin’ snakes on that mother fuckin’ plane, but I’m not sick of mother fuckin’ dogs on this mother fuckin’ team! (pauses for applause break, waiting for audience to recognize the reference)

The scene fades to black.  Near the end of the movie, right before the full credits roll, the words “Starring Air Bud” appear (like the movie Se7en dealt with Kevin Spacey’s surprise role).  We were able to hide that this was an Avengers meets Air Bud crossover.  Nobody suspected a thing!

Avengers: Age of Ultron leaked script!!!! part 1

With under a month before the release of the second Avengers flick, I’ve received several pages of Age of Ultron‘s final script.  My source, who prefers to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, assures me this is 100% legit.  Since it’s SO much to handle all at once (and because I need to make four posts to satisfy this class’s requirements), I’ll be making four separate posts, each with a different bit of the leaked script.

So here goes PART 1:

EXT. OUTSIDE COTTAGE NEAR WOODS. DAY

Captain America and Iron Man are outside chopping wood.  These two, and the rest of the Avengers, have retreated to a cottage.  They’re trying to figure out how to beat the evil Ultron, but they’ve also got other demons they’re battling…

Iron Man

Hey man, pass me that axe?

Captain America

You’ve got it, friend. (passes axe)

Iron Man

Y’know, we’ve battled the fiercest enemies in the world, but who’d’ve thought this TREE would make a formidable foe!

Captain America

Haha, you’re so right about that!

Iron Man

But seriously, Cap’, what are we doing out here?

Captain America

It’s a bit of a work retreat.  We’ve been assembled for so long, I thought it would be nice to disassemble for once; let off some steam.

Iron Man

Jeez, who made YOU captain? (smirks and looks at camera, pauses for laughter)

Captain America

Tony, you’ve gotta start taking this stuff more seriously.  I know they call you Iron Man, but you’re acting like an Iron Boy!

Iron Man

(sighs, bites knuckle before speaking) It’s just so tough, being a super hero.  It’s like no matter what I do, no matter how much I try, nobody understands me.

Captain America

Being understood isn’t what we signed up for partner.

Iron Man

Easy for you to say! You’re Captain AMERICA.  I’m just a man – a man with a machine in place of his heart.

Captain America

Could be worse…you could be ALL machine! (Captain America looks over his shoulder, where a thought bubble appears showing an image of Ultron.  The audience is reminded of the REAL issues at hand)

Iron Man 

Boy, you always know what to say, Captain.  What an interesting group of characters we Avengers are.  There’s a real…(pauses and looks at the camera again) STARK difference between us all!

Both men laugh and hug it out.  Even when they have such drastically different views, they have a lot of respect for one another.  The scene fades to black.

Six hilarious impressions that will win over your friends!

Want to show your friend that you know mimic classic, obscure characters/actors? Here’s a few to practice…

1. Christopher Walken 

Your friends will love you saying “Wow” or “my watch” with weird inflections! Your friends might not recognize who you’re doing, so make sure to add in “I’m Christopher Walken” or “I was in Pulp Fiction” to help clarify.

2. Bane

This one’s great, because you get to use your hands as well as your voice.  Cup your hands over your mouth, so you get that classic echo.  Then say stuff about having “permission to die.” This one will never go out of style.  If your friends haven’t seen the TDKR in a while, make sure to say “I’m Bane” or “I was in The Dark Knight rises” to help clarify.

3. Cartman 

Those classic “screw you guys I’m going home” or “I’m not fat” quotes will have your friends in stitches – but make sure to practice.  This one’s pretty difficult.  Also, if your friends don’t watch South Park regularly, make sure to say “I’m Cartman” or “I’m in South Park” to help clarify.

4. Charles Barkley 

Get your southern drawl ready.  This one will knock their sneakers off! Be sure to include the guy’s golf swing in your routine, and but stay on course and constantly reference basketball.  If your friends aren’t basketball fans, always good to toss out an “I’m Charles Barkley” or “I played basketball.”

5. Ahhhhnold Schwarzenegger

Ahaha just playing, it’s spelt Arnold! But seriously, nothing livens up a room more if you’re leaving and toss out an “I’ll be back.” If all else fails, an “I’m Arnold Schwarzenegger” or “I was in Terminator” will help people connect the dots.

and 6. Your mother

This one’s hilarious, because EVERYONE has a mother! They can relate! And don’t all moms have weird quirks.  Don’t get me started lolz.  Best way to start the routine? “[your name], this is your mother.  Have you done your chores?” Instant classic.

4 Ways to Improve Your Sex Life – Easter Themed!

Just in time for an Easter romp, here’s some Easter-themed tips for pump things up in the boudoir!

1. “The Egg Hunt”

Remember when your parents would hide chocolate eggs all around the house or yard, and you’d be running all over the place trying to find them? Why not try that with sexual intercourse? Have your partner hide somewhere in the house or yard, and go chase him/her with your “basket” (in this case, basket refers to your genitals).

2. “The Res-erection”

Maybe you or your fella is having trouble keeping “up” with the festivities.  The res-erection keeps things festive while “raising spirits”.  Simply wait until Easter Sunday, then pop one of those blue pills.  When everything starts kicking in, proudly proclaim, “He hath risen!”

3. Passover 

Jesus not your thing? Try this maneuver.  It’s a little complicated, so stay with me…

Have your partner be your “slave” for decades, and subject them to “backbreaking labour” and “unbearable horrors”.  Then have your buddy Moses send numerous warnings to the “Pharoah” (your) about ten potential “steamy” plagues that could be unleashed on the household.

Next, when the clock strikes midnight, have a third party kill your firstborn child.  Unleash some locusts and frogs, spread some disease onto your pets, and replace your running water with blood.

After all of this sexy foreplay, have your partner leave the bedroom and walk the other way of your house for days.

Required items: murder weapons, locusts, frogs, strands of disease, buckets of blood

4. “Hop”

Just check out the 2011 animated film directed by Tim Hill.  Almost as good as Like Mike!

Hop poster

Review: Birdman

Well, this one took a lot of effort – NOT!

Did you guys see this movie? They did it all in one long, dumb take.  How much talent could that possibly require? It’s like the director said “Uhh yeah we’re just gonna keep this thing rolling.  Just keep going.  MAYBE we’ll have some semblance of a plot by the end of it.”  Despicable.

The sign of a truly great film is the amount of cuts they can fit in.  Have you guys Like Mike? Loads of cuts. Like Mike 2: Streetball? Even more cuts! Do you think we would’ve understood the drama of L’il Bow Wow’s orphan childhood and subsequent rise into the NBA if it had been one continuous shot? Forget about it.

Sean Penn was right to slam this director for not having his green card! How do you say cut in spanish?

And don’t get me started on the plot largely ignoring the REST of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not one allusion to Thor’s hammer, or Tony Stark’s iron suit.  Nope, instead our main villain is “Alcohol” and “Troubles at home.”  Well excuse me if I’m not looking forward to those villains popping up in the next Avengers flick.  Dumb.  And I didn’t see Edward Norton’s Bruce Banner hulk up once throughout the hour and a half borefest.  Not once.

I thought the acting was just okay, and suffered from some major miscasts.  Michael Keaton as a washed up actor who used to play a major superhero? Yeah right, LOL! And Norton as some stuck-up actor that’s difficult to work with? I don’t think so.

If I had to pick one redeeming quality, it would be the exciting prospect of bringing some Spiderman characters into the MCU.  That rooftop exchange between The Hulk and Gwen Stacy was pretty sweet (see: featured image).

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