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Monday, September 11, 2017

Geekdom Comes (Back) to the Music City: Wizard World Comic Con Nashville



After a year away from the Music City, Wizard World Comic Con arrived back in Nashville, and better than ever for 2017.

Their return didn't disappoint as cult heroes like Brian O' Halloran and Jason Mewes from "Clerks" fame were in attendance, as well as living legends the likes of Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek) and Sam Jones (Flash Gordon), and lest we forget the living legend of all living legends; the creator of some of the most iconic comic book characters; Spider-Man, The X-Men, The Fantastic Four, the list goes on: Mr. Stan Lee.

Lee entertained the Sunday crowd in Music City Center's Davidson Hall, taking questions from the audience, including his favorite Marvel cameo, here's a hint, it's when he gets kicked out of a bar after a little too much to drink. Lee was also gifted a comic book by one fan. The young man, Chris, stepped to the mic, called Lee his hero, and offered up a book that he wrote himself to Lee who took the book and offered his gratitude. Lee's only concern was that it would one day outsell Marvel to the audience's delight.

Stan the Man himself
His sly sense of humor bordered on self-depreciating to dry as a desert well. The crowd hung on every word and genuinely enjoyed his words of wisdom including this little nugget:

"Keep writing....the more you write, the better you get. And write stuff that you like. Don't write something that you figure, 'eh, that's not bad, but they won't like it.' You never know who they are, and what their taste is. But you know you're own taste. So always write something that you think is great, and the chances are that there are other people with the same kind of taste. So always write for yourself as your audience and write stuff where you say 'Boy, that's good.'"

Be a Raconteur
Another highlight was the teaching and overall personality of Victor Dandridge, who played hype-man before the start of Stan Lee's arrival in Davidson Hall, but also hosted the "U Cre-8 Comics" panel. Dandridge, a Ohio native, took the audience through the steps of creating their own superhero or super villain with the help of a handy book, essentially a guide to let your creativity run wild. You can find Dandridge's guide HERE, and start creating your own world-saving hero, or city-conquering villain.


Still the best Batmobile




The showroom was a testament to commerce, autographs, photo-ops, cosplayers, and several dozen exhibitors. Guests were also treated to replicas of the 1989 Batmobile, amongst other iconic vehicles, and sculptures of The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man as you entered the main showroom. 


Hulk Smash


The main stage offered great music from the likes of local Nashvillians "Hey, Listen!," who performed jazzy renditions of iconic video game music, introduced by none other than Kato Kaelin, who played MC all weekend, greeting guests and of course ribbing when ribbing was needed.


Signed by Jeremy Scott himself
If music wasn't your bag, you could also play some trivia along with CinemaSins, the Nashville-bred YouTube mega hit. Being a film buff, I had to give it a shot, and I ended up a big winner! While the guys from CinemaSins certainly have their detractors, you can look at one recent spat with the director of "Kong: Skull Island," they are genuine film lovers, and in getting to meet Barrett Share, one of the hosts of The Sincast, he offered some great advice about podcasting, releasing content, and how to grow an audience. It just goes to show you that in a world filled with so many podcasts, film reviews resources, and video content, there is a still a sense of community with those who have common interests and goals. 

With 2017's Wizard World Comic Con in the books, you have to wonder where the event goes next year. Nashville continues to grow, and the need for bigger events grows with it. While the guest list was a who's who of pop culture and sports entertainment, fans will continue to expect much more year after year. It's clear that Nashville has the audience and the fandom needed to continue to grow the event, so it will be exciting what will be in line for 2018.

To find out where the next Wizard World Con will be heading, click HERE.


Sunday, September 3, 2017

(Ep. 90): SR Podcast - September 2017

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES

Hello friends and soon-to-be enemies!  Since its Labor Day Weekend, the gang at Simplistic Reviews thought it would be a great time to get back to work.  But it wasn't all fun and games on our Summer break.  The fellas got a brand new studio...a brand new intern...and brand new ideas to pollute your brain with...like a sitcom about Hitler and Eva Braun or the craziest idea for a Bridesmaids sequel you'll ever hear.  In between that Matt, Justin, and DJ tackle some of the topics they missed and prepare for nuclear winter from either North Korea or our own government while staving off ignored but still rampant national racism; institutional or otherwise...FUN FUN FUN!  But mainly they use obscenities to take out everything from The Dark Tower, to a Joker stand alone film, to Brett Ratner.  All this and more on an Always Sunny episode of The Simplistic Reviews Podcast.

0:00:00 Opening Skit
0:03:50 Show Monologue
0:8:43 Simplistic Showcase
0:36:55 TV Round Up
1:05:34 Kill F%$k Marry
1:32:21 Closing Skit

MUSIC
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Thursday, August 3, 2017

(Ep. 89): Gymkata - Movie Commentary: August 2017

Gymkata
1985 ‧ R Action/Action/Adventure ‧ 1h 30m

It's that time of the year again, August. The month we all hated as it was the end of our summer vacation and the beginning of back to school. So a little treat is needed and what could be better then Olympic gymnast Kurt Thomas, who combines his gymnastic ability with martial arts to enter a deadly competition? I'm going to guess NOTHING!. Thomas has a few awards under his leotards. In 1985 he earned the big nomination for a Razzie Award as Worst New Star. Wow nothing but the best for you here at Simplistic Reviews. 


"Watching Gymkata is a roundhouse kick of pure American action!" - Justin

So are you ready? Cue up your copy, sit back and be in awe over how a movie like this could even exist. Thank you movie gods!





Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Let's Go to Camp! Summer Camp Movies That Make You Feel Summery

Been a while since we put on a list, I mean didn't you hear that lists make the world go round in this business of ours?!

So being in the dog days of Summer might be a little rough, but I'm sure we all remember those day at camp. Going to the pool, archery, ghost stories, panty raids, alllll the good stuff. So I put on the old thinking cap and came up with some films that bring out the spirit of the season and get us back to camp! In no particular order, let's go to camp!

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
Sure, this isn't the best F13 film, but by and large, this is the one that introduced some of the more interesting aspects to Jason and pretty much made him a super powered, teleporting killer. Plus, this is the only film in the series that actually had a Summer Camp with kids at the camp. There were actually some stakes in this edition and it also closed out the three film Tommy Jarvis arc.

Camp Nowhere
Growing up, I loved "Salute Your Shorts." If you ask me, it was one of the best to ever grace Nickelodeon. "Camp Nowhere" was the closest thing I ever got to a "Salute Your Shorts" movie. Imagine being a kid and thinking that you could run your own camp and buy anything you want and have free reign to go ape shit. And just look above, you have Doc Brown using a fish as his ventriloquist dummy. Classic Summer hijinks.

Ernest Goes to Camp
I'm a sucker for Ernest flicks. Most of them aren't very good, but just like "Camp Nowhere" there is a definite nostalgia factor for me here. Ernest is your classic ner-do-well trying to get a group of disorderly teens whipped into shape. Then you have some subplot where an Indian Reservation is going to be destroyed by a group of greedy land owners, and it just kind of gets weird. But overall, it's campy camp goodness. 

Addams Family Values
Even though the camp aspect of "Addams Family Value" is just a side plot, it provides a good amount of the comedy beats throughout. A worthy sequel that in many ways surpasses its original and is still a fun watch to this day.

Wet Hot American Summer
"Wet Hot American Summer" is great in all of it's absurdity. Talking vegetable cans, Vietnam flashbacks, and obvious 30 year olds playing 18 year olds is just half the fun. Being a longtime fan of "The State" this film has all the insanity of the underrated sketch comedy show with an A-Z list of actors who would make it big in just a few years. Unappreciated in it's time, this flick has aged incredibly well. 

Troop Beverly Hills
This one is for the ladies. Take all the films you know about the misfits and underdogs, and you have "Troop Beverly Hills." In a genre that is littered with male-geared Summer Camp fantasies, it's cool to have the ladies take the wheel and have some fun.

Sleepaway Camp
If you dig down into the bones of "Sleepaway Camp" it's almost a camp comedy featuring bad dialogue, weird camp tropes, a pedophile that gets their comeuppance. If you've never seen this one before, you owe it to yourself to see the turns it takes in the 3rd act. 

If you have any other Summer Camp flicks that make you yearn for your mommy and daddy back home, leave a comment below!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

George Romero......In Memorium


Every genre of film has their captain; Steven Spielberg invented the Hollywood Blockbuster, George Lucas crafted the most important science fiction film of all time, John Ford, and Sergio Leone, made some of the most important westerns of all time, and when you look back at the history of horror, of course you'll always think of John Carpenter and Wes Craven, but it's safe to say that George Romero will always been the man who brought horror to the masses and created an actual conversation about class warfare and racism all because of a movie about zombies walking the Earth in 1968's "Night of the Living Dead."

While many will always remember Romero for his work on "Night," "Dawn of the Dead," and "Day of the Dead," I will always and forever go to "Creepshow" as my all time favorite. It combined my love of comics and horror and wrapped them into five nearly perfect stories. You had zombies, monsters, aliens, and bugs, not to mention a cast of actors you wouldn't expect in a genre piece, but nonetheless gave it their all, and it creates the perfect horror anthology.

I'd say Rest in Peace in George, but we all know he wouldn't want that.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

(Ep. 88): SR Podcast - July 2017

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES

When this show gets to 88 episodes, you're gonna hear some serious shit!  On the July edition of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast, the boys tackle everything from Back To The Future to Judge Dredd.  Justin is in the driver's seat for Word Association and tells his Steve Guttenberg story, DJ is forced to say something nice about Transformers: The Last Knight, Matt talks Castlevania Netflix 5000 on TV Roundup, and the boys take a break for the show to do a live commentary track on a television show in honor the great Adam West in a new segment called Simply Goofing Off.  (Watch Along With Them With The Following Link: SIMPLY GOOFING OFF.) All that and more on a time traveling episode of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast.

0:00:00 Opening Skit
0:03:54 Show Monologue
0:12:09 Word Association
0:43:28 TV Round Up
0:53:27 Simply Goofing Off
1:16:58 Simply Say Anything




MUSIC
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Sunday, July 2, 2017

(Ep. 87): Thunder in Paradise - Movie Commentary: June 2017

Thunder in Paradise

PG
 1993 ‧ Adventure ‧ 1h 44m

With all of the remakes coming out these days we figured doing Thunder in Paradise would help our chances of getting Hurricane Spencer and Bru back on the waters kicking ass on silver screen, or maybe not.  
 Terry "Hulk" Hogan stars as R. J. "Hurricane" Spencer who is an ex-Navy S. E. A. L. and confirmed bachelor struggling to make ends meet. In order to save his superboat THUNDER (and ultimately, his business) Spencer is forced into a marriage of convenience with the snobby Megan Whitaker. When Megan gets kidnapped it's up to Spencer and his partner Bru to save the day or risk losing everything.

Well today is the perfect day to release this action packed movie commentary. With July 4th days away, this holiday weekend we thought, what could be more American then ex-Navy SEALS saving the day off the Florida coastline?

 Answer? NOTHING...Thunder in Paradise it is!






So join us this holiday along with classical trained actor (and def not racist) Hulk Hogan and America's 2nd favorite Lemmon.

Hell even the "President" was excited for this Movie Commentary! Happy 4th everyone!





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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Mythbusting Season One of 'American Gods'

The higher the concept, the bigger the risk. That's been the play for Starz for a while now, and most of those have ended abruptly. From 'Camelot' to 'Da Vinci's Demons,' Starz hasn't had the same success that networks like HBO and Showtime have had recently.

Sure, 'Outlander' has been a success, and 'Black Sails' ran it's course, but Starz has always lacked that one show that would make people coming back to the network season after season, ala, 'Game of Thrones', and perhaps they've found that one show in 'American Gods.'

Spearheaded by Bryan Fuller and Michael Green with Neil Gaiman serving as Executive Producer, there are some heavy hitters involved in 'Gods,' but can and will it be enough to actually save the series and allow it to continue even after a relative cliffhanger to end the first season.

The long and short of 'Gods' can be as complicated or as simple as you want it to be. Simply, we follow a just paroled man named Shadow Moon get involved in things far beyond his comprehension that involved Old Gods, New Gods, and other mythological beings. Add in a powerful revenant from beyond the grave and trippy flashbacks, and you have 'Gods' in a nutshell.

If you look at the series numbers, they dropped week after week, which is never really a good thing, but considering the high productive value and the high concept, you have to believe that Starz has big plans, and high hopes for the show that could be their own water cooler show.

What 'Gods' has going for it are a couple of things. One is certainly the shock factor of seeing some truly crazy things, ie, women swallowing people with their vaginas, genie fellatio, and even a game of checkers, it gets really wild. The second, and third, biggest things are the visuals and the story composition of each episode that includes visuals out of a Tarsem Singh film mixed with the work of Clive Barker and even Jim Henson. Most episodes begin with a flashback that usually preludes the actual content in said episode and introduces us to a new character, new superstition, or new religious belief. These are some of the strongest aspects of the show, if you're into the folklore element of the show. This is where the divergence can stem.

A show that is so reliant of flashbacks and exposition can really drag a show into the muck and perhaps that is why the ratings steadily declined week to week. Shows like 'Game of Thrones' usually always had forward momentum even with the large amount of characters to juggle. The characters in 'Gods' are pretty minimal, yet there is a lot of exposition to deal with and with a limited amount of episodes in season one, there are only eight, the start and stop aspect can be hard to deal with at times.

However, this doesn't mean 'Gods' isn't interesting, in fact, it's very interesting and I'd love to see where it goes from here, especially being a non-book reader and from what I've heard, there are a great deal of divergent stories and a ton of extra stories to be told. The good thing about a show that deals with mythology and theology is that there are 1000s of years to draw from and 100s of religion and belief structures to draw inspiration.

The fact that we actually had a show created out of the vivd and lush dreamscapes of Neil Gaiman is a miracle. 'Sandman' has been stuck in development hell for the longest, and will likely continue to be, and I'm sure the relative success of 'Preacher' last year over at AMC helped in getting 'Gods' green-lit and put into production. But the question will be; how long of a leash will Starz give these 'Gods,' and can it go the distance in giving the definitive version of one Gaiman's best works to date.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Best of Armond White: (A Retrospective) Part Four

All good things much come to an end, and we're going to end this retrospective with something very special and something we can all relate to. Hate; deep-seeded, unadulterated hate. We love hate on the Internet, it's what created the Internet and what makes it so wonderful!

Suicide Squad (2016): 25% RT Score

Armond Says: Think metaphorically again, and see that Suicide Squad entangles post-Vietnam and post-9/11 notions about heroism and citizenship...Suicide Squad is The Dirty Dozen for millennial viewers (and voters), who think their patriotic moral conflict is new.

Matt Says: Well that's one way to put it. You could also say that "Suicide Squad" is a film bloated beyond repair with what we could agree on is one of the worst villains in recent comic book films. But on the other hand this film has been beaten to death and saying anything else about it is just white noise.

Green Lantern (2011): 26% RT Score

Armond Says: The F/X of Hal creating objects out of his ring's green light are successfully, modestly fantastic. Such professionalism needn't resort to dumb stereotyping.

Matt Says: There's no doubt some of the effects were done nicely, but there was no saving this film from itself. An early blunder by DC that would set the tone for many of it's future failures.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011): 32% RT Score

Armond Says: Depp's caricature is so far past its expiration date that it forces speculation about the actor's own movie stardom.

Matt Says: It's safe to say that the ship has sailed on Jack Sparrow, and this film just kicked sand in the audiences' faces.

Red Riding Hood (2011): 11% RT Score

Armond Says: Too bad Hardwicke didn't adapt The Scarlet Letter -- better yet, she could have transformed the asinine Easy A.

Matt Says: You get a two for one with this one. Not sure I understand the hate for "Easy A," it was fun enough, but we can agree on that "Red Hiding Hood" should have stayed under the hood.

Morning Glory (2010): 56% RT Score

Armond Says: Morning Glory is just routine Hollywood dishonesty (with the most annoying song-score since Juno) and wastes its stars.

Matt Says: Another two-for-one with a dig at "Juno." I can't speak much for "Morning Glory," as a film; it was forgotten about just as quickly as it was watched.

The Heartbreak Kid (2007): 29% RT Score

Armond Says: We deserve better than this and expect better from the Farrellys.

Matt Says: Personally I haven't expected much from the Farrellys since "Kingpin."

88 Minutes (2008): 5% RT Score 


Armond Says: 88 Minutes plays like a script Tom Cruise rejected back in the '90s, forcing Pacino to run -- across campus, across town, through parking garages, up and down stairs.

Matt Says: Let's be honest, Pacino isn't a very good runner onscreen. Just see "Insomnia" and "Heat" for prime examples of old men running poorly.

The Happening (2008): 18% RT Score 


Armond Says: A better title for M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening would be Nonsense. It's like an amusement park ride that has no reason for being -- and no meaning -- besides visceral excitation. Only difference is that The Happening isn't fun.

Matt Says: Yeah, this film just isn't good. I mean, it's just bad. You'll wish you were the person laying down in front of a riding mower.

Well there it is folks. You've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. In the Wild West that is Rotten Tomatoes there is a lot of blame to go around. However, the beauty of RT is the fact that it gives everyone a voice. Critics aren't going to agree with audiences, and vice versa. But speaking from both a critic and a member of the audience; just go and watch film. Watch the worst of the worst and the best of the best. If you truly want to be part of the conversation, you need to see it all.

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