Some of the wonderful things rattling around in this full brain 'o mine. UPDATED EVERY TUESDAY AND THURSDAY (or at least twice a week)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Cure for what ails the Pistons...

What happened Tuesday night was kind of a travesty...if you're a Pistons fan.

If it continues, it could be looked back on history as 2 things:

1) The startling and abrupt crumbling of the Pistons Big Game mystique.
2) The annointment of King James and his Roundtable into instant Title Contenders.

And nothing would make the media happier.

After the Cavs pushed the Pistons to 7 last year, and tired them to the point where they never recovered against the Heat, many were ready to put James and his Merry Band of miscreants into the Title picture. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if 7 out of 10 sportswriters picked the Cavs to take the #1 seed by 5+ games this year.

Alas, the Cavs stumbled. Unfortunately, in the East, stumbling equals the #2 seed in the conference, and because of a freak Gilbert Arenas injury (and to a lesser extent Vince Carter again crumbling in crunch time), the Cavs had the easiest path to the conference finals that any team has ever had.

I thought for sure that the Pistons, after sweeping a tough Magic team, and playing well for most of the 2nd round, would be better off when it came time for them to face the Cavs. I thought the Cavs would be full of themselves, while the Pistons had been somewhat humbled by Chicago's sudden turnaround to make Round 2 a series.

Boy, was I wrong.

What have I been treated to since this round began?

The Cavs have outplayed the Pistons every single game. What's scary is that even holding James to under 20 points, the Cavs had more than enough chances to win the two games at the Palace. Chauncey Billups' well documented troubles with the Cavs came back, and he's just not looking like the same player I've come to know and love over these last couple of years.

I think alot of this has to do with the Cavs Defense, which I just don't think has been given enough credit. The Cavs are swarming, giving the Pistons different looks, trapping the easiest plays that the Pistons obviously have taken for granted. Billups is rushing, which for him, is never a good thing. I haven't seen him this screwed up since the first half of 2004 when Larry Brown was in his head on every possession.

What remains is a best of 3, with the Pistons still holding home court. If the Pistons lose tomorrow at the Palace, the series may not be over...but I'd put the Cavs' chances at better than 75% that they finish the Pistons in 6.

What needs to be done to take the Pistons into the Finals for the 3rd time in 4 years?
1) Chauncey needs to slow down and breathe.
He is rushing, making bone-headed plays at the end of games. He needs to just relax. Not push, and let the game come to him.

2) Sheed needs to maintain his cool.
For God's sake, he needs to calm down. I've been ultra-impressed with him this postseason, and he needs to continue to play up to this new standard.

3) Rip needs to be involved the whole game.
For the most part, he's been involved in the 1st quarter, and then I barely notice he's on the court until 2 minutes left in the game. If he's on the floor, start running more staggered screens to get him open for shots.

4) Play CWebb and Hunter/Delfino in the 4th.
Look, I know McDyess is better than CWebb defensively. But, maybe, to open the 4th for maybe the first 5 or 6 minutes, put in Hunter or Delfino (to throw a wrench against Lebron/Gibson/Hughes) and put CWebb in to help facilitate the offense more. In the 4th, the Cavs have clamped down, and Billups just hasn't been able to break their traps for the most part. Put CWebb at the elbow, let Hunter or Delfino and /Prince/Rip run cuts trying to get easy access to the hoop. I think it would give the Cavs a different look they haven't seen for the most part that they wouldn't be able to clamp down on.

Here's hoping there's still baskball for Deeeeeeeetroit fans after this weekend....

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memorial Day...Venice Beach

Well…I have no idea what I usually do for Memorial Day, but this Memorial Day was pretty cool. The GF and I decided to get out and explore a little more the OC and surrounding areas…which enabled us to go to Venice Beach!

For those of you who’ve ever heard anything about Venice Beach…it’s all true. First things first though, shortly after starting our ride toward the Santa Monica Pier…we saw riding…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…


That may not seem big to most…but it was too me. I loved watching Norman wrestle back in the day!

Anyway, here is the video I took of our little venture…rest assured, we’ll be back very soon to witness the greatness that is…Venice Beach!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Genius of Bruce Campbell…and Old Spice?

Saw Pirates last night…in a theater packed. Great movie…not as great as the first one, but definitely better than the second one. It reminded me just how great of a character that crazy bastard Barbosa really is…

Anyway, onto todays blog-worthy:

I guess I’m just kinda partial, since I’ve been using Old Spice deodorant for years…but 6 months ago, this started showing up on TV:

I love Bruce Campbell. I liked Old Spice. Now though…my like of Old Spice turned into love.

Then…just recently, this started showing up on TV:

I love Bruce Campbell. I now loved Old Spice. I love lounge versions of great 80’s songs ala Richard Cheese. Now my love for Old Spice has officially started gushing out my eyeballs.

Just kidding…but this is an example of great marketing. Take note!

Any other examples of great marketing you can think of? Let me know in comments!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Revealing the Joker from The Dark Knight…

Following last week's launch of The Dark Knight's viral campaign with the "I Believe in Harvey Dent" website, a second piece of guerrilla marketing is now online and it includes a really cool picture of Heath Ledger as The Joker.

read more digg story

I liked Batman Begins a lot…but I wouldn’t say that I loved it. I understood what Chris Nolan was trying to do with it, and in a lot of ways, I appreciated it. I mean, I’m such a huge Batman fan, have been for over 20 years, and he got the closest anyone has gotten to what the character is about.

That being said, I came upon this Sunday after noon with baited breath. I’ve kinda been dreading this moment, since the first couple of hoaxes on the look of the Joker in the Dark Knight a couple of months ago. Hopefully, you were one of the people who put in an email address into the I believe in Harvey Dent Too site before they took it down. If you did, you were slowly treated to what is believed to be the look of the Joker in The Dark Knight. Now, the picture is gone, replaced with a bunch of hidden Ha Ha’s….which, as pointed out here, you can decode to produce something saying “See you in December.” Many are of the mind that this means we’ll be treated to our first teaser for the film in December…which makes sense. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll see our first official look at the Joker. If anything, they should try and keep as much under wraps as they can until closer to the actual film opening, like they did with Venom and Spider-Man 3.

Regardless, this blarticle is about the look of the Joker. My first thought is…I like it. Again, it’s not a purist view of the character…but I understand what he’s going for. Truth be told, if they would have gone with the Jack Nicholson incarnation…it just would have looked funny. The Joker is supposed to be anything but funny. He’s supposed to be scary…because of his look and his sense of humor. He has such a warped sense of humor, sadistic in his ways, that that’s what makes the character menacing. Otherwise, he’s just a guy with a permanent smile.

Now…I first thought they were going to go with something similar to what happened to the general in Pan’s Labyrinth. Actually have his cheeks cut open wider than a normal mouth should be. Looks like that’s kinda what they went for…only those wounds look jagged, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were self inflicted. The scarring that accompanied the healing of the cuts…it just works. This is the way you make him scary, yet seem to have that permanent smile.

Now, if they just portray him right in the film, it’ll be great. Absolutely great. It’s a great start, to say the least.

What do y’all think? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, May 14, 2007

'Heroes' Shocker: A Spin-off Series!

How they managed to keep this quiet is a shocker itself, but NBC execs will announce today at their annual upfront presentation in New York that they've been developing "Heroes: Origins," a spin-off series of this season's breakout hit that will, at least temporarily, replace "Heroes" on NBC's Monday night schedule.

read more digg story

Gotta love this one folks: a spinoff of a show to determine new characters to put on next season? Sounds like a plan to me. Out of all the shows the GF and I watch with any regularity, Heroes is the only one that seems relatively popular. Studio 60 is getting cancelled, Scrubs almost got cancelled, and Medium also almost got cancelled. You people are missing out! Of course, I don't even want to go into watching Lost, Nip/Tuck, or the 4400. Regardless, as long as the writers can keep coming up with good interesting material, anything based off of Heroes should be shiny.

What do you think the new characters powers should be? Let me know in comments!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Spider-man 4, 5, and 6…The Posibilities are endless!

Having already announced Spider-man 4, 5, and 6, I thought I’d take a stab of where the franchise should go from here, as a lifelong comic fan and movie geek.

IGN’s article on this subject, is a really decent start, and you’ll tell that some of my ideas somewhat mirror those, but I’ve got some different directions in mind as well…

Spider-Man 4 – John Jameson’s life was in shambles after MJ left him. He decided to take another mission to space, and was part of a moon landing, bringing back strange rocks on the moon. One of the rocks “calls to him” and he makes it into a necklace. This rock turns him into Man-Wolf during the days surrounding a full moon.

Pete finds out that he’s invited to a reading of Harry’s will. During the reading, just as Pete finds out he’s the soul beneficiary of Harry Osborn's fortune, in walks…Norman Osborn. Peter is aghast. Norman puts a stop to the proceedings, and resumes business with Oscorp. Spidey digs up Norman’s grave, to find no body in the casket.

Spidey hunts Man-Wolf. Man-Wolf almost kills him. He goes to Connors for help in treating his wounds, and ends up letting Connors take some blood for testing. Kraven comes to town to hunt the Man-Wolf to add to his collection (at the behest of Norman Osborn). Kraven captures the Man Wolf on live TV and is made into a hero by the city.

Spidey finds out that Man-Wolf is JJ’s son, and MJ pleads with Spidey to free him and help him rid himself of this curse. Peter gets a little jealous, but decides to help an ultimately innocent man. Spidey tails Kraven to find out where Man-Wolf is being held, and finds Kraven giving the Man Wolf to Osborn. Osborn immediately starts doing tests on the Wolf to figure out what makes him tick. Spidey slinks in to release Man-Wolf, and fights Kraven. Spidey releases the Man-Wolf, and rips off the moonstone that gives him his power.

Kraven releases footage of Spider releasing the Man-Wolf, and vows to stop Spidey. Kraven hunts Spidey, and Spidey defeats him, humiliating him by unearthing footage of him using canned hunts for some of his greatest “triumphs.” Kraven is put in jail, Man-Wolf is no more, JJ has his son. Spidey visits Norman to confront him about Man-Wolf, Norman explains he was trying to protect his city that his son died saving. Norman has no recollection of Spidey killing him, or any of his own Goblin activity. Spidey lets Norman know he’ll be watching him. At the very end, MJ lets Peter know she’s going to Europe to be a model. Close up on Norman Osborn’s face looking out over the city, his face starts to get a little plastic…his face morphs into Spider-Man’s face…and in Spidey’s voice…”I’ll be watching you. HA!” as his face morphs from Spidey’s to the Chameleon.

Spider-Man 5 – In the 5th movie, Chameleon/Osborn would again start Oscorp down the path of defense contracts, competing with Hardy Enterprises. Vincent Hardy is killed by Chameleon’s “Super Soldier” Electro, and his daughter (Felicia Hardy) gets caught up with his own “Super Soldier” experiments which have involved Dr. Connors and Peter. She ends up having an experiment done to her to change her into the Black Cat. She hunts Electro, runs across Spidey a few times. They start a “relationship” in that she’s very turned on by the danger in her new life. They hunt Electro together, but in the end, she intends to kill Electro for killing her father, and Spidey has to stop her. In the end, Electro is defeated, and the Black Cat leaves town to start her life somewhere else. Connors comes upon the initial research dealing with crossing reptile dna with human dna to enable regeneration. At the end, Chameleon is working at in Osborn’s office, and the door slides open. Chameleon looks up to see, Norman Osborn. Confused, he pulls out a gun. Norman jumps over the desk, knocking the Chameleon down. He grabs the Chameleon by the throat, and throws him out the window at the top of Oscorp. Close-up on Norman’s face “You’ve cost me everything Peter, now I’m going to take it all back.”

Spider-Man 6 – MJ returns to NY a huge star. She starts dating Peter who now works at the University with Connors and still at the Bugle. Connors uses the reptile super soldier research combined with Spidey’s blood to come up with a formula to allow him to regrow his arm. He takes it, and his arm regrows. This movie would detail his slow descent into insanity as the formula slowly turns him into a full blown Lizard monster, slowly (think, the Fly). Combine that with Osborn working behind the scenes to buy the Daily Bugle, and fire Peter. He exposes Connor’s work at the university, and get’s Connors fired (again, putting Peter out of a job). He buys Mr. Ditkovich’s building, and knocks it down to build another portion of Oscorp. He’s also working on replicating the Goblin formula to make it better. He takes the formula again, and returns as a meaner, more menacing Goblin (think Ultimate Goblin). In the end, Spidey has finally reverted the Lizard back to Connors, and the new Goblin fires a blast through Connors’ heart saying “Try regrowing that.” Before flying away cackling into the night as Spider-Man is left to hold his dying mentor (and father figure) in his arms.

Future films could deal with the Ultimate Goblin, Tombstone and Robbie Robertson, heck…even Rocket Racer….or maybe not. The Rhino, the Scorpion, another Doctor Octopus, Morlun, or eventually Hobgoblin could also be brought into place.

As for who plays these characters…especially if you’re going to restart the franchise…here’s my suggestions:

Peter Parker/Spider-Man
Justin Chatwin or Joseph Gordon-Levitt – both would work for the inbetween cool/still geeky Parker.

Eliza Dushku – she’d be able to convey a newer more independent MJ.

Felicia Hardy
Scarlett Johansson – Black Cat needs to be…curvy. Scarlett would satisfy that.

Norman Osborn/Chameleon/New Ultimate Goblin
John C. McGinley – I always thought he had the perfect look for Norman.

Oded Fehr

Lizard/Dr. Curt Connors
Stick with Dylan Baker

And of course, J.K. Simmons has to keep playing JJ Jameson!

The World revolves around Paris Hilton…

Ah yes, Paris Hilton. Gotta love her…or hate her…

Much has been made of her attempts to not serve her jail sentence…

And there have been plenty of people who’ve signed to keep her out of jail.

I instead chose to sign to make her serve her sentence…as she should. You should sign as well, if you think she deserves to serve for the wrongs she’s committed. (Let’s face it, she’ll never serve enough time as she should for ALL her wrongs – DUI's, The Simple Life, Miniature Dogs in handbags, being a beeyatch, not coming out as a hooker, etc. etc. etc.) Keep in mind, you don’t have to donate money to the site…just sign, and call it good.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Spider-Man 3 Review: Does everything a spider can…

You know, I meant to have this out days ago…at least keep with my Tue/Thu posting schedule…but as with all things, life (or work) sometimes gets in the way. So anyway, today’s post will be a review of Spider-Man 3, and next post (either tomorrow or Friday) will be about where I would go for Spidey-Man 4, 5, and 6, since those have already been announced… By the way, thanks for that link Kelly.

I always find it hard to review comic movies, or really movies involving any property that I’ve previously been involved in. Plus, with the virtual onslaught of information about all aspects of how this movie was made, and reading plenty of reviews from various movie sites like this one. That being said, even though I’ve been a huge comic fan, I’m often easier to please than most comic fans. I remember liking Batman Forever, and not hating it, accepting their Robin character, even though he’s one of my favorites. I liked the old TV Incredible Hulk movies. I even, to an extent, like X-Men: The Last Stand, even though there are loads of missed opportunities with that movie. I just like seeing characters I love up on the screen. I still love the original Spider-man, with the Green Goblin redesign and all, even though I may not have agreed with casting choices. I didn’t flip out about the organic web-shooters. I really didn’t flip out about the Goblin much either, because, truthfully, I viewed it like X-men, those costumes would look hilariously bad in real life. My top rated comic films still are Spider-Man, X2, and Spider-Man 2.

That being said, I liked Spider-Man 3. But, I didn’t love it. Non-spoiler review = 3 out of 5 stars. For those of you who don’t already know what it’s about, I’ll go with the truncated version (spoiler warning from here on out!):

Peter’s happy. He got the girl, he’s gained the adoration of the city, he’s on a high. He’s so high in the clouds, that it’s all he talks about is how great he is. He becomes a jerk. Uncle Ben’s real killer is revealed as the Sandman. Peter’s in competition with Eddie Brock for a job at the Bugle. He’s not being a good boyfriend to Mary Jane. He fights Harry a couple of times. Harry loses his memory, get’s it back, and forces MJ to break up with Peter. Peter merges with the black suit, and it makes him Emo-Spidey and Emo-Peter. Emo-Peter uses Gwen Stacy to get back at MJ. Emo-Spidey realizes he’s even MORE of a jerk with the Emo-suit. Peter rips off the Emo-suit and it attaches to Brock. Brock becomes Venom, teams up with Sandman, and Spidey and Harry (now good and not insane anymore from the Goblin formula) team up to fight the villains.

I look at this movie, similar to how I look at X-Men the Last Stand (even though this film is much better in that it doesn’t look like it was done for TV). This movie is a bunch of missed chances. Missed chances left and right. Missed chance to do some great characterization of the Sandman. Missed chance to do characterization of Peter and Gwen Stacy. Missed chance on the entire Venom character. Missed chance with Dr. Conners.

As a general movie perspective, I agree with what a lot of people have come out saying: that there’s just too much packed into this film. They talk about all the new characters jammed in there, but I only agree to a point.

This film would have been just perfect, if they just would have done less…if they just would have gotten to a plot point and stopped, instead of insisting on finishing the arc. I’ve read around that Sam Raimi was forced to include Gwen Stacy and the Venom characters. I can see that. They get almost no love from the script in general. Gwen’s just mostly eye candy. What would have probably been best for the franchise as a whole would have been introducing the black suit, Eddie Brock, and Gwen in this movie, and instead of forcing all those arcs to finish themselves in this movie, have them roll right into the next making Venom the sole villain in the next movie. In fact, the scene from the trailer with Peter ripping off the symbiote and it falling onto Eddie would have been a perfect ending. I think it’s the biggest missed chance of the franchise, because if Sam Raimi actually had the time to run with the Venom character, after learning more about him, I’m sure he’d make a great horror type movie, as Venom is a scary character. He’s stronger than Spidey, he knows all of Spidey’s secrets. But no, they had to have him in here. I also don’t generally agree with Spidey taking his mask completely off again, letting Sandman get away, and the killing of Harry and Eddie.

All that being said, I still like the movie. The designs of Venom are spot on. Sandman looks great, although I did laugh when he took that green shirt out of his dresser. I mean…who wears a shirt like that? I liked Mr. Ditkovich and his daughter. I liked that Peter went to Dr. Conners for help. I liked JJ Jameson, and everyone at the Bugle. Aunt May is even good in here.

The action is spot on. The action is probably the best I’ve seen in any comic movie (until we get a full on Wolverine/Sabertooth fight, or Superman Returns again fighting an actual supervillain). The movie makes me happy…but also a little sad when I think about what could have been…

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Now THIS is Movie Marketing – Ultimate Movie Standee’s throughout time...

Wow…I have to admit, I’m always impressed with the way movies market themselves with standees. Back in the day, we use to love setting up standees, and taping a walkie talkie to the back and yelling at kids as they walked by the standees. Now that was fun with Blade, telling everyone that he wanted to suck their blood. The stakes have definitely been raised over the last couple of years though.
First one that pops into mind is the life size King Kong replica set up in New York last year for the film opening. I remember thinking that this would be the coolest thing to see live and in person. I remember reading about the original King Kong release (1933) and how they brought in the life size bust they made of Kong, the one that had the moving eyes and mouth that they shot close-ups of Kong chewing people. That would have been totally tits as well.

Well…just this last weekend, the Girlfriend and I went to see The Invisible. Upon walking into the theater, we were treated to the following standee:

Crazy. First thought I had was: I want it for our living room. I still remember when it was a big deal if the movie had a banner, this is taking it to a whole different level. As is the new Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer standee below.

We saw this one as well, and it looks really really cool. Probably the best and coolest looking standee I’ve seen in a theater, and the first one I’ve come upon that I wanted my picture taken with.

Well, on top of all that, leave it to Sony to try and top them all:

Came upon this whilst jaunting around IGN’s site…I think that’d be pretty cool to have an overlook of that lot out your office window. I would say I’d love to take that home…unfortunately, I think it’s bigger than most houses…

Here’s hoping we get a great Iron Man Mach I suit in theaters in the next year!

What other great movie promotions have you seen through the years? Leave ‘em in the COMMENTS!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

NBA Referee's Racist?

Everyone's a rittle bit lacist...even NBA Refs.

I have to say, I’m surprised Mark Cuban probably didn’t already know this when he did all of his deconstructing of the referees a couple of years back. It is kinda funny that he owns one of the first teams to really diversify itself with players from many many different countries.

Regardless, I started reading this this morning on the Detroit News website, where I go first thing every morning to read everything I can about the Pistons. There it was, quoted from the NY Times original article:

“An academic study of the National Basketball Association, whose playoffs continue tonight, suggests that a racial bias found in other parts of American society has existed on the basketball court as well.

A coming paper by a University of Pennsylvania professor and a Cornell University graduate student says that, during the 13 seasons from 1991 through 2004, white referees called fouls at a greater rate against black players than against white players.

Justin Wolfers, an assistant professor of business and public policy at the Wharton School, and Joseph Price, a Cornell graduate student in economics, found a corresponding bias in which black officials called fouls more frequently against white players, though that tendency was not as strong.“

The article goes onto state that the “different rates at which fouls are called ‘is large enough that the probability of a team winning is noticeably affected by the racial composition of the refereeing crew assigned to the game.’”

Crazy. David Stern must have seen this and flipped.

Truth be told, I agree with David Berri when he’s quoted saying ““I would be more surprised if it didn’t exist,” Mr. Ayres said of an implicit association bias in the N.B.A. ‘There’s a growing consensus that a large proportion of racialized decisions is not driven by any conscious race discrimination, but that it is often just driven by unconscious, or subconscious, attitudes. When you force people to make snap decisions, they often can’t keep themselves from subconsciously treating blacks different than whites, men different from women.’”

They re-ran the numbers, doing multiple different reports, but kept coming up with the same results. What’s the NBA to do besides vehemently deny? Most likely, nothing. There’s nothing you can do, as long as you have live people refereeing your games. It’s just going to happen. Still, this is just another public relations black eye for the NBA referees, most recently and notably the Joey Crawford blowup with Tim Duncan.

Are These Two Ref'd Differently?

By the way, the Times talked to Cuban, “We’re all human. We all have our own prejudice. That’s the point of doing statistical analysis. It bears it out in this application, as in a thousand others.” That’s one of the fun things about being in statistical analysis, the data doesn’t lie.

I always did think it was kinda funny to have a bunch of mostly middle-aged old white guys “policing” a mostly black league though…maybe it’s time to diversify more with the refs. Of course, if most of the players weren’t spoiled whiny brats on the court too, that would help as well. I think there’s a middle ground there somewhere, but I don’t see them getting to it anytime soon. Watch though, this won’t be the last time the refs will be called into question in these playoffs. Heck, I remember the firestorm last year dealing with Dwayne Wade getting every single call in the playoffs.

Just makes me want to watch something more noble as a sport, like Hockey…or even Professional Wrestling.