Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Top Spooky Music Videos

It is Halloween, and I know you want to get scared.  I have a few music videos that might help get you into the spooky mood.  Check them out over at Collective Publishing.

A Dad of Contradictions

I'm not always the best at making up my mind.  You'll discover that any time that I'm reading a restaurant menu.  I also have a tendency to speak very passionately about one view, but then up end doing the exact opposite.  This doesn't change with my parenting either.  I want the very best for my son and I do whatever I can to make sure he is safe and healthy.  But after that, I really can't make up my mind.  I explain why in my latest Dad's Eye View.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Real Life Example of Why a Freelance Writer Needs Multiple Revenue Streams

I was notified this past Saturday that the site Road Runner is restructuring and changing their business model.  This restructuring includes canceling content from contributing writers, and changing how they do television reviews.

This means effective immediately they won't need my Last Resort reviews anymore.  Which means effective immediately, I'm no longer getting paid to watch Last Resort.

Losing a writing gig always sucks.  This is why I try to have many clients at one time.  You never know when a relationship could change or things dry up from a specific client.  It is a bummer the Road Runner gig suddenly disappeared, but I also have several other jobs to help pay the bills.  I also still have three weekly jobs that allow me to have a public byline.  I not only am still getting money, but I have my weekly ego boost and needs for attention satisfied.

There is another potential job ready to replace my Road Runner gig.  This job will likely be bigger and higher profile.  I am pretty excited about that.  I'll let you know all about it when I can.

For now, don't feel too bad for me losing Last Resort.  I'm doing okay.

Reason #783 My Wife is the Best

A few weeks back, Emily asked me if October 28th worked for a lunch in Toronto with "the girls."  I thought it was odd they were having a lunch so close to their last get together.  I decided that maybe it was being arranged so they could see the significant others and children.  They haven't seen Everett in a long while, and maybe they needed their "Christopher rambles on and on about his writing career" fix for the fall.  I also didn't want to expend too much brain power over such a small issue, and just agreed to tag along and make sure my calendar was free.

On the 28th, Emily was really big on making sure we arrived on time for 1:00pm.  It seemed a little against her nature, but we have recently tried adopting a "let's be early rather than just on time" plan in order to stop being late to everything.  I just felt this was part of the new Spicer strategy.  I was also a little shocked that she was ready before our agreed 11:30 departure time.  I'm not sure if that has ever happened.  I again didn't give it much thought, and decide once again this was just the new Spicer way of doing things.

Emily then drove, and I proceeded to not pay attention to where we were going.  Because well, that is what I do best.  It also is the reason I'm often lost or late.  I should probably remedy the whole not paying attention to where I am strategy, but it at least worked into Emily's master plan.

Finally, Emily is in the area she wants to be, and I notice something.

"Hey, there are those circus tents.  This is where we've seen Cirque du Soleil."

"Wow, I'm impressed you actually know where you are."

"Look at all those cars.  They must have a show on today."

Emily didn't respond to that.  I started thinking how much I love Cirque du Soleil and should look into getting tickets for this new show. 

Emily then was parked and we got out of the car.  I thought it was an odd place to park, because I didn't see any restaurant anywhere.  Was Emily so intent on getting free parking that we were stuck in the wastelands where there was just a circus tent and some factories?  I started to fear that the girls have decided shoe leather and screws were a delicious lunch choice.

Then Emily said, "You may have noticed there aren't any restaurants around here.  Surprise!  We are going to see Cirque du Soleil, and this is your early birthday present!  Happy early birthday!"

So, yeah, this is probably one of the first ever true surprises in my life.  I've faked being surprised.  I've been a little surprised but often had an idea that it was coming.  This time, I really did think we were going for lunch with "the girls".  It never even crossed my thoughts that we would be seeing Cirque du Soleil.

It was an awesome surprise from an awesome woman.  I also got to watch Everett enjoy his first circus experience.  For a 10 month old, he was super behaved and seemed to like it for the most part.

I know Everett distracted me a bit.  I was still able to enjoy the acrobatic stunts, tricks with unicycles, crazy contortions, and the story about a young girl trying to connect with her true love despite the disapproval of her pet lizard and her cello playing mom.

I love Cirque du Soleil, but more importantly, I love my wife.

The Next Big Purchase of the Day

Collective Publishing buys my story on Disney buying Lucasfilm.

Okay fine, that isn't even close to being big news.  But it does have a more significant impact on my family.  I now have the money to buy those tickets for me and Everett when it finally comes out.  Though I have a feeling I'd have spent it by then.  After all, there are Pop Tarts that need buying and eating.

Mickey Mouse Now Has the Force: Disney Buys Lucasfilm

Disney has just expanded their galactic empire and George Lucas has added 4 billion to his bank account.

Disney is an entertainment juggernaut, and I'm now convinced by 2030, they will own every entertainment entity known to man.  They bought ABC, Pixar, and Marvel, and now they can have Goofy play with a light saber.

I'm sure there is a fanboy somewhere moaning about the Disneyfication of the Star Wars universe, but it is time to be realistic.  This is a very, very, very good thing if you're a Star Wars junkie.  You just have to look at the Marvel films, and realize the Disney connection has probably helped them become blockbuster spectacles.

Disney knows how to make glossy, mainstream spectacles that are fun and entertaining, and makes the masses salivate and want to gobble them up.  The ownership of Pixar and Marvel hasn't done anything to harm those properties, but has just made Disney several billion dollars richer.  I'm sure they'll use some of those billions to eventually buy Warner Brothers or Nintendo.

So, why is the Disney purchase of Lucasfilm something every Star Wars fan should be incredibly giddy about?

First of all, it means that George Lucas no longer owns the franchise.  Most fans are still moaning about how Lucas crapped the bed with the prequel trilogy.  Those films are the strongest living proof that Lucas shouldn't write and direct.  Plus this means that we hopefully will be saved the 10th overhaul and Special Edition of the original trilogy.

I want to be clear that George Lucas is a visionary and the most influential figure for the last 35 years in cinema.  He revolutionized the technological end of film, and brought some of the greatest innovation to film.  The man was a genius when it came to how you see a film.  He also is responsible for creating one of the most beloved universes ever.  Star Wars was my childhood, and I watched those movies close to a hundred times each.  I couldn't get enough of them.  It's fun to moan and bitch about the recent trilogy and Lucas's constant meddling in the original films, but he is still the only reason those films actually exist.

I am eternally thankful to George Lucas, and I hope he enjoys his extra 4 billion.  But I am also happy that George Lucas is now relinquishing the universe to other filmmakers.

The fact is that there would never be another Star Wars film if George Lucas was the sole owner of the property.  He has taken a beating from fanboys for the last decade, and he has made it clear he doesn't want to create any more films because of that.  Star Wars was sentenced to being a video game and toy property for the rest of eternity.  Then Disney saw billions of dollar signs in the series, and bought Lucasfilm for the right to make more movies.

We didn't really need an announcement that there would be an Episode 7 after the sale.  Why else would they have bought the company?  The only real property is Star Wars, and it isn't like they need more toys or video games.  They want a huge brand name to makes huge blockbusters.  Star Wars is arguable the biggest brand name of the past 3 decades.

But is it damaged goods?

I don't think so.  I disliked the prequel trilogy, and still got giddy with the promise of an Episode 7 in 2015.  Plus kids loved the prequel trilogy, and the movies still made a ridiculous amount of cash.  Plus old fanboys are still nostalgic about that universe and characters, and their beef was more with Lucas.  The promise of someone new playing around is likely to give hope -- a new hope, even.

This is why I am excited.  Lucas was a visionary when it came to building a film experience thanks to sound and special effects.  He couldn't write or direct.  Now, Disney is going to hand over one of the most majestic and popular universes of all time to someone who is a competent writer and director.  Or at least, I assume that is the plan.

Disney currently has a deal with Joss Whedon to write and direct the next Avengers.  Why not then dangle the Star Wars universe in front of him when he is done?  Is anyone else wetting their pants with excitement over a possible Whedon scripted Star Wars film?  A Star Wars film with strong dialogue and a cohesive narrative?  Yeah, that is pretty much the awesome.  And you all know it.

I realize it is unlikely Whedon will do the first film.  They want to release for 2015, and he is pretty busy with other Marvel properties at the moment.  You still have a good chance that Disney will deliver the Star Wars films to the Marvel Studios, and allow their creative to make some magic.  All of the Marvel films have been successful, and most of them have been pretty fun and easy to watch.  They already know how to make action packed and loud event films.  This is exactly what Star Wars needs to be.

Disney now owns Star Wars, and trust me this is awesome.  Even if you want to complain now, after you see the first Episode 7 trailer in two years or so, I'm pretty sure you'll be lining up for a ticket.

Star Wars was magic for my childhood.  I admit I am pretty thrilled that my son can grow up in a world where new Star Wars films are being made.  I am already making plans to take him to the theatre to watch the newest trilogy.

Disney, let force be with you.

More Proof I'd Be An Awful Network TV Executive

ABC made a full season order of The Neighbors.

Because someone out there hates people.

I was pretty sure that The Neighbors was one of the guaranteed cancellations of 2012.  Now, it will be peddling its ugly CGIed aliens and "please poke a screwdriver in my eye" humour for an entire year.  Why is ABC intent on destroying television?

I admit I haven't watched a single episode.  I did see the trailer.  I had to fight for my very survival after being afflicted to those 3 minutes of torture.  Did anyone really think that the '80s sci-fi sitcom movement was something that needed to be replicated, but this time with dated humour (to be fair, ALF and Small Wonder would be dated now too)?

Maybe it is ABC's strategy to make their other top notch sitcoms look even better.  Modern Family and Suburgatory are fantastic shows, but they're Nobel Prize worthy compared to the greatest sitcom atrocity of modern times.

What I don't understand is how does a critically panned and only modestly rated show get to pollute the airwaves for an entire year?  This is only going to encourage studio executives to greenlight a sitcom about a family of mummies that run a sassy hair salon and try to hide their undead dog from their nosy vampire neighbour.

Joss Whedon Even Does Awesome Political Ads

Now, this is how you endorse a presidential candidate.

This is also proof why Whedon is more awesome than your Uncle Fred.

I'm off to get more can goods and a better pair of running shoes. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Walking Dead Episode 3: Welcome to Woodbury

This week's episode goes in a bit of a different direction than usual.  First of all, there is no Rick.  You also end up meeting a bunch of new characters.  The most important being the Governor.  It looks like he is going to provide all kinds of crazy and creepy.  You can find out about the important bits in my latest The Walking Dead review for BuddyTV.

Revenge Episode 5 Review: Sorry About That Whole Drowning Thing

Revenge tries something different by delivering an episode with forgiveness, sincerity, and hugging.  You almost are tricked into thinking the characters like each other or can be nice.  Then it serves up a heaping plate of deception and cruelty.  Everything is back to normal.  You can read all about the best parts in my latest review for BuddyTV.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

10 Months & 1 Day

And it has been a wondrous and magnificent 10 months and 1 days with my Chubbling.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Question(s) About My Film Reviews. . .

I've done several film reviews for Collective Publishing this year.  They seem to be pretty popular.  Maybe not Roger Ebert popular, but they attract a small group of regular readers.  The one thing my reviews lack, which is prominent in many other reviews, is a rating system.

Do you think they need one?  Would you find it to be handy?  Does it actually help in figuring out if a movie is worthwhile?

I stayed away from them at this point, because I felt the system to be rather arbitrary.  My experience is that after a time, you'll start giving higher star ratings to a film that you actually didn't think was better than a previous.  I also struggled with coming up with what made a 3.5 star film compared to a four star film.  I'm still new to the game, and I was just trying to hone the craft of viewing a film critically and writing worthwhile reviews, and felt attempting to make a credible review rating would complicate things.

But I also recognize a rating system is pretty much standard in film reviews.  So, I was wondering if readers actually feel that their absense is harming my own film reviews.

Or would a rating cause people to skip the actual review, and then not find out what actually earned a film four stars or whatever.  A film may earn a low ranking or even a high ranking, but there is often a caveat attached to it.  For example Taken 2 wouldn't get anything past 2 stars, but if you love Neeson and mindless action then you should still go see it.  You wouldn't know that from a 1.5 star rating, but my write up makes that clear.

Do you feel my write ups give you a fair feel for the film?  Would the ratings actually add any kind of value to my reviews?  Or they just an archaic system that old school reviewers have trouble letting go of?

I'm really interested in getting some feedback and find out what my readers think.


Last Resort Episode 5: Chaplin has Nothing to Lose

The much anticipated face to face negotiations happen between Marcus Chaplin and the American government finally went down.  It goes about as well as you'd expect for a show about a renegade submarine crew.  This is good news for the viewer, because the chaos brought all kinds of awesome action and drama.  I offer up the major highlights in my latest Last Resort review for Road Runner.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Everett Doing His Best Rocket Impression

Because that boy sure knows how to launch.

Or at least when he has the devices to assist him in standing up right, that is.

About Yesterday's Collective Pulbishing Article. . .

There was a small glitch with the lay out of the article, which you would have saw if you tried reading it in the morning.  The problem was completely solved in the afternoon, but by that time, I was delving deep into other work and forgot to report it.  In case you left the article in a fury because it was hard to follow, then you can read it now where you'll only leave in a fury over words I actually wrote.  We all prefer it that way, right?

Go click here if you haven't read yesterday's piece on the decline of the horror film genre.

And speaking of horror films, I then discovered a trailer for the new Evil Dead, and there is a small chance we'll actually have a scary film in 2013.  If you like awful night sleeps and buckets of blood then you may want to see the trailer here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Because the World Will Explode if a Lord of the Rings Film isn't Almost 3 Hours Long

The new Lord of the Rings film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, is set to be the shortest in the franchise.  In this series that means the film is going to clock in at 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Really?  It had to be that long?

Peter Jackson is making a trilogy out of one book, The Hobbit.  I realize the latest fad has been taking books and dividing them into two parts -- okay fine, Twilight and Harry Potter did it and I can't think of anyone else, so it isn't much of a fad.  I know that some hardcore fans complained about the original trilogy missing out on key characters and plots.

But come on, they were all almost three hours.  They were good.  I admit that.  I loved them.  But whenever I see a film that long, I end up dancing in my seat for the entire climax, because I drank my medium soft drink too quickly.

The Hobbit is shorter than any of the books from the trilogy.  Each of those books were made into one film.  I realize this was before someone came up with the brilliant idea of splitting books into two parts.  They probably would have done it with the LOTR novels if they were adapted today.  But I'm just not sure how they're going to stretch this adaption into three looooong films.

Jackson's attempt to make all things epic may backfire on him.  This one could drag and include plot points that aren't necessarily done well in cinematic form.  I don't understand why epic always has to be super duper long.  There are many films that would be even better if they cut off a half hour or so.  Only a very few films really deserve to stretch way past two hours (and the original series did deserve it).

Of course, the trailer for the first film does look awesome.  So, what do I know.  I'll just pace myself with my Diet Coke, and hopefully, get swept away by the magic.

I want it to be awesome.  I really do.

This Evil Dead Trailer Seems Fitting After Today's Collective Publishing Article

In today's Collective Publishing, I basically called out Hollywood for making sucky horror movies for the last few years.  There hasn't been anything remotely fresh or you know, terrifying in the horror genre.  Everything is just so predictable and sanitary.  You don't have really disturbing films anymore like the original 1978 Halloween or Evil Dead.

The answer seems to be to remake those movies.  They've already redone Halloween (psst. . . no where near as good as the original), and so it is apparently time to do Evil Dead all over again.

Based off this trailer, the movie might actually be scary.  It also may overly rely on blood and being gross, but there were some small hints in the trailer that they understand how to unsettle the viewer and actually create a terrifying mood.

This trailer makes good use of music, it isn't overly CGIed, it looks dark and creepy, and the fast cuts make it hard for you to breath.  It is probably one of the scarier trailers I've seen in 5 years, which isn't saying much since horror is awful lately but it is a start.

I'm not totally convinced yet that this will be scary and awesome, and that it will finally give me my horror fix.

But I have hope.

Who would have ever thought this trailer could give me such a feeling.

Check it out if you love gore, blood, and not being able to sleep peacefully at night.

Summit Goes Western

Or at least, looks rather fine in a bandana.  But my title is more catchy.

Where is the Scary in Modern Horror Films?

Do you love to be scared during Halloween?  Isn't it great to watch a horror film that freaks you out and forces you to put on a light night before going to bed?  Sure, for the non-horror fan this sounds absurd, but there is a special kind of thrill being legitimately scared by a movie. 

If this is what you like, then you probably want to pass on the current crop of horror films at the cinema.  I discuss the decline of modern horror films in my latest Collective Publishing Pop Culture article. 

Training Daddy

Is there only one right way to parent?  It appears certain spouses believe this.  But what do they do when their significant other is "doing it all wrong"?  Well, they start rigorous training to get them on the right path.  Except it is a secret training that the other partner doesn't even know about.  Are you curious about this secret training?  So am I.  I try to figure it out in my latest Dad's Eye View. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

666 Park Avenue: Thoughts On Another 3 Week Old Episode

I finally got around to checking out the 666 Park Avenue series premiere.  Much like most series premieres, it is a show that has glimmers of potential but spends most of its time trying to cram all the characters and storylines for the season in 45 minutes or so.

The show also didn't sort out exactly what it wants to be.  It got sold on being a horror series, but it isn't scary.  It is currently more campy and soapy.  If it that is what it wants to be then that is fine, but then it is competing with several other shows already.  A scary series on network TV is absent, and this show has potential to do that.

I do like the fact the show has already dealt with the issue of "why are people sticking around a haunted apartment building."  It seems that most are staying by choice since they've entered deals with the devil or his assistant or whatever Terry O'Quinn is playing.  He does play it well, and is definitely creepy.

The show had some forced moments in order to rush along the plot.  Why would a sudden blurting of historical facts be enough to win over an employer in a job interview?  Do they typically want strong Trivial Pursuit players for building manager positions? 

The show also had a few silly moments of trying to create suspense.  Okay, so the building once had a door and now they put a wall over it.  Filling up a door doesn't mean an evil dark history, but rather you now wanted a wall there.  I realize in this case it will mean a deep and dark secret, but it isn't the only reason for filling in a door.  The characters should be unaware they're in a horror series thus not assume dark secrets.

I liked the episode for the most part.  It'll be interesting to see if the front desk guy is really bitter for being passed over for the building manager job, and also finding out how much he actually knows about the building.  He seems to hint that he did know the real fate of the prior manager (he is in some place warm). 

The elevator attack actually surprised me.  I assume this means the building (is it a living thing?) wants writer dude's wife out of the picture.  Why does it want him to hook up with that blond girl?  Is she associated with the building in some way?  This whole scenario has me intrigued.

Then there is the thief that can possible see the future by touching jewellery.  Or that is what I got out that scene.  Is she on Jane's side?  Is she trying to fight the powers in the building?

It wasn't a great premiere, and there was already some plot holes and forced moments.  I understand that you really need to rush things along in order to set everything up for the season.  It has enough moments that I liked, that I'm interested in sticking with it for a bit.

In the new show rankings, I'd put it below Last Resort but above Revolution.  I think I'll probably stick this one through for the entire season, which is something I haven't decided yet for Revolution.

What does everyone else think about this show?

The Walking Dead Episode 4 Review: Rick Battles Sanity

The Walking Dead has been serving up tons of action this season.  It has also been very disturbing.  Surprisingly, the most disturbing stuff hasn't been caused by zombies.  Find out the cause and all the other major events in my latest review for BuddyTV.

Revenge Episode 4 Review: Don't Argue with a Rich Mom on a Balcony

Revenge has some crazy plot twists this week.  I know, you're shocked.  We get some pretty major development with Emily's mom.  You may never think the same way about a mother's love.  You can read about bits of the crazy in my latest review for BuddyTV.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Thoughts on a Three Week Old Episode of Survivor Philippines

I just got around to watching the third episode of Survivor Philippines, because last night was my first chance in three weeks to do non-paid TV watching.  I'm really glad I voted to try to catch up on Survivor, because it was a doozy of an episode.

If you're backlogged on TV shows like me, then be warned that this is filled with spoilers.

The Not So Gradual Destruction of Matsing

Are we looking at the first tribe to ever be wiped out before the merge?  Sure, Survivor Palau showed Ulong lose every single Immunity Challenge, but Stephenie Lagrossa at least made it to the merge.  Matsing is doing a fine job of trying to make Survivor history by going kaput by 6 episodes.  If you've watched all the episodes, then you already have the answer here and I suspect the producers don't have the guts for an elimination of an entire tribe.  Malcolm has potential to be a great shit disturber and schemer, so that is the main reason why I wouldn't want to see a complete wipe out.

It's a shame that Angie is sent packing early, because she is some delicious eye candy.  She really never brings much to the game other than her declaration of her love for cookies during tribal.  She could have been a really good player and likely would have gone deep if she was lucky enough to be on a different tribe.

I read a few sites that were creating Russell into a monster at the tribal council.  Russell has had his pouty moments, and really hasn't looked good this season, but I don't see a monster at tribal.  Sure, he makes Angie cry, and that is jerky.  Russell has a good chance of getting voted out and he definitely knows that.  He does whatever he can to make himself look like a better option than Angie.  He does, even if it seems mean.  He isn't mean for the sake of being a villain, but rather a serious plea to stick in the game.  I don't really see how he comes off badly.

Angie does exit with grace.  She is one of the few castaways that doesn't don bitter pants when making an exit speech.  She cheers on her team rather than wishing for their fiery demise.

Penner and Kent Unite?

Jeff Kent gets his entire tribe to be against Penner.  The first two episodes and half of this episode show Kent rallying the tribe against Penner and convincing them to make him the first evictee from their tribe.  I'm not sure if it was dumb luck or Penner has super senses, but he offers an alliance with the man who seeks his elimination.  It was a genius move on Penner's part, especially admitting he has the idol that Kent expected him to have anyway.

Is Kent actually planning to stick with the alliance?  Penner is a notorious flip flopper and is known to backstab.  Is Kent forming the alliance because it will make it easier to blindside Penner with the idol?  I don't think this alliance will make it to the end, but I also believe Kent will find it worthwhile to stick with him for the short term.  This season really does have a good bunch of players that are willing to connive and strategize.  Hopefully, these guys back up their talk with some big moves in the future.  I know Penner will make moves and push for blindsides, but is Kent willing to play that game?  It seems like it, but I think he goes home if he tries to double cross Penner.

Pete Gets Interesting

Prior to this episode, Pete was a "background character I keep forgetting about."  He was part of the majority alliance in his tribe, but was just following the pack.  This episode Pete actually makes some moves and looks to want to be the puppet master.  He suddenly has become more interesting, and hopefully Malcolm, Penner, Pete, and Kent all make it to the merge for a battle of wits and control.

Pete wants Skupin out, and essentially knock RC out of the control spot of the tribe.  R.C. is really competitive and willing to make moves, but she also is oblivious that Abi has turned against her.  Which is understandable, because the betrayal seems to either be based off the fact RC stood in Abi's sunlight for too long or dares to talk to people who are not her.  Abi doesn't seem like a strong strategist but is likely this season's obligatory "nutbar that makes everyone miserable."

Pete seems to believe the battle of control is with RC.  At this point, I think he is right, because she is really the only other person on the tribe with a game plan.  The plan to knock Skupin out early would be a huge move, but I sense Pete makes a mistake by trusting Lisa to help vote him out.  Skupin was the only person to approach and befriend Lisa at the start, plus she is a huge Survivor mark.  If it turns into a battle for votes, I see her surprising Pete and going with Skupin.  She claims to be a huge fan, and so she must deep down dream of doing a major blindside, even she likes to talk about integrity.

Pete also is tightly aligned with Abi who found the idol.  He is the power player on the tribe, and it will be exciting to see if he can stay strong.  He is way more interesting than Skupin at this point, whose greatest value has been his clumsiness.

A lot of deals and moves this episode, which always keeps things interesting.  I always look forward to finding out who dares to make the first big betrayal.  So far, this looks like it will be a really fun season and hopefully, pretty unpredictable (other than Matsing always losing).

Friday, October 19, 2012

Last Resort Episode 4 Review: Sometimes You Can't Get Good Help

Or at least help that doesn't come on your submarine and threaten you with a grenade.  It is just such a bummer way to spend your day.  Of course, it makes for some pretty great TV.  Last Resort knows how to be great TV.  You can find out how last night's episode measured up in my latest review for Road Runner.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Watch Out! Here Comes an Army of Pictures. . .

And cuteness.  Don't forget the cuteness.

Chimps Are Weeping Over Latest 2012 TV Season Fatality

Animal Practice gets to be the second show of the season to be shipped off to the TV Cancellation Graveyard.

I prefer the show to be called "House with a Monkey."  I'm not really sure why NBC thought this was going to be ratings gold.  I am absolutely the opposite of shocked that it was an early cancellation.  I admit that I never watched the show, but the trailer screamed "One of the most painful half hours in television."  I'm glad it is over with, though I hope the cute monkey can find work.

The only real bummer is that Whitney is the show being slotted in as the replacement rather than Community.  I'm sure Guys with Kids only has about a month left (and it would likely have been shorter if it wasn't a show produced by NBC golden boy, Jimmy Fallon).  Community will either be rubbing against Whitney or if Kids somehow avoids the ax, then it looks like it'll be a mid-season show.

Community is one of the most underrated comedies on TV (well, it currently isn't on TV, but it will be back).  Animal Practice was the opposite of that.  Farewell, moody vet, we'll have forgotten about you by Halloween.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Argo Review: Does the Film Cement Ben Affleck's Legacy?

Argo has arrived with a lot of buzz.  It looks like a compelling mix of comedy, drama and spy thriller.  The big things that makes Argo so interesting is that it is Ben Aflleck's third film to be directed.  He has directed two great movies.  Is Argo able to continue the streak and really prove him to be one of the gems of Hollywood?  I answer that exact question in today's Collective Publishing film review. 

Oh Yeah, I Have a Wife

I try to make time for Everett every single day.  I like to think that makes me a pretty decent father.  A lot of parents also have a partner, and I'm not the exception.  Actually, I have the world's most amazing wife.  This means that she really does deserve some attention and affection too.  In today's Dad's Eye View, I discuss my need to spend time with my wife and help our relationship grow. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The 10 Great Things About Freelance Writing and 10 Awful Things About Freelance Writing

Freelance writing is the greatest job in the world.  Most days.  There are those moments where it is only slightly better than sticking my tongue into a turned on toaster.  I would love to brag about my career, but I feel it is only fair to balance it with some of the downsides.  Even if with these downsides, it really is the only job I want to have for the rest of my life.

If you've ever thought about being a freelance writer then here are 10 great reasons to dive in, but also here are 10 just as good reason to stick with your day job.

1. Good - Variety of Work:  Sure, you're always writing, but you often get to write on a wide variety of things.  I've written everything from company brochures to press releases for upcoming musicals to advertisements to parenting columns to film reviews to humour pieces.  This is only a small piece of all the available opportunities for writers, including of course every writer's dream of a book.

Bad - Constant Pitching:  Yes, there is a lot of work and opportunities out there.  But you need to constantly brain storm the ideas and then send out pitches to publishers, editors and clients in hopes they will be suckered into paying you.  There are examples of publishers seeking out writers to do a project for them, but those writers usually have names like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling.

2. Good - No Limit to Amount You Can Make:  You're freelance, so there isn't a set amount of pay you'll receive every two weeks.  Once you start to get a positive reputation and a modicum of recognition, then you can start landing larger and higher paying clients. 

Bad - No Limit to How Little You Can Make:  If you have a few weeks of no clients then that is a few weeks of no way to pay the heating bills.  Clients and publishers are also notoriously cheap when you're first starting out, which means you better not be too attached to that idea of a social life.

3. Good - Flexible: If you decide that Wednesday is better suited for making a pop tart fortress, then that is exactly what you can do.

Bad - Only Get Paid for Work You Produce:  There are no sick or personal days when you are your own boss.  Good luck finding a client to pay for you to make forts out of pastries.

4. Good - No Boss:  Nobody is telling you what to do, and you can decide when to write.

Bad - Easy to Be Distracted:  Cute YouTube videos about dancing kittens won't finish your sales copy.

5. Good - Editors:  When you have a good editor, you have someone that treats you like an equal that is willing to help mold your work into the very best it can be.  You'll get great advice and guidance, but they'll also be open to your own suggestions.

Bad - Editors:  Sometimes they're the eternally unemployable son of the owner.

6. Good - Hard work leads to huge reward:  You'll have those nights where the words just won't be coming to you or you seem to just be battling to get the copy done.  You end up staying up far too late and you're absolutely exhausted.  It was war.  But then you look at that copy and suddenly realize this may have been the greatest thing you have ever written.

Bad - Hard work leads to shit:  You'll also have other nights that are just as long and just as tiring and you worked just as hard.  You look at your finished product and want to burst into tears.  You wouldn't even force your mortal enemy to read this garbage.  But deadline is 10 minutes away, and you have to send out something.

7. Good - Work Gets Read by a Huge Audience:  I'm still humbled and astonished there are people who want to read my work.  One of the greatest natural highs occurs when a site administer/editor tells you that your article is the highest viewed piece of the month.  

Bad - Work Gets Read by a Huge Audience:  What if all these people hate what I write, and it ruins my chances of ever getting decent work again?  Sometimes, having a large audience can cause your anxiety to run wild.

8.  Good - Everything Triggers a Story:  When you become a freelance writer, you start to see the world differently.  Your mind is always formulating the next tale to be told.  I often find myself running a personal commentary in my head, and usually am able to find a humorous anecdote in every situation.  Life just seems to be fresh and exciting again when you constantly have a new perspective.

Bad - You Need for Everything to Trigger a Story:  Remember that anxiety thing?  Every few weeks, a part of my brain starts screaming, "What if this is the last great idea you ever have!"  Not fun.

9.  Good - Paid to Do Hobbies:  Your spouse thinks you play too many video games or watch too much TV or eat far too many Cheetos?  That is why you become a professional reviewer, and you must do those things in order to pay the bills.

Bad - Things You Love Become Work:  I haven't watched a movie in almost a year without my "reviewer brain" turned on full blast.

10.  Bad - Lose Time for Personal Creative Work:  You start getting so focused on trying to find writing that pays that you start neglecting the things that made you love writing in the first place.  Writing becomes a job.  You risk neglecting the aspects of writing that personally fulfill you.

Good - You're Making a Living Off Your Passion:  Yeah, this.

Monday, October 15, 2012

NBC Can Make Smart Moves: Dane Cook Series Dropped

Nothing personal against Mr. Dane Cook, but he isn't funny.  I want to watch his films or see his stand-up act about as much as I want to arm wrestle a grizzly bear while coated in fish guts.  I'm not sure which one is more detrimental to my long term health.

I don't want Dane Cook to be stopped from being able to make a living.  I know there are people who think he is fifty kinds of awesome funny.  I give them their right to laugh at crap.  But I had some joy bounce around my belly this morning when I found out Dane Cook's new sitcom got cancelled before it even got to premiere.  Now, that is how you should cancel an awful show.

NBC has had a rough last five years or so.  It has dipped down to being the fourth rated American network out of five, and really, nobody considered CW to be a real network.  NBC has made a bit of a comeback this season, and some of their shows have actually had what networks like to call "people who watch your show."  It appears they may have started learning how to produce programs that people actually want to watch.  Of course, you have to ignore the fact they also are airing shows like Animal Practice (aka House with a Monkey) and Guys with Kids (aka Gah, Men Can't Change Diapers!).

They did realize that Dane Cook on network TV is a stupid idea.  They do have some decent sitcoms, like Go On, that are doing well this season.  There is no reason to mess it up by having Cook make fart noises for 22 minutes each week.

Besides, everyone in the entire universe realized the show was getting canceled anyway.  Why not just save some time?

Kudos NBC.  Now they need to realize a prequel series on Hannibal Lecter is the second stupidest idea for a network TV show (might possibly be okay for cable though).

The Walking Dead Premiere: A Gory Dose of Zombies

Did you think the second season was lacking in zombies and gore?  The premiere likely filled you right up then.  The Walking Dead premiere delivered an army of zombies and probably crammed the most violence against zombies in TV history.  There were some other pretty significant stories going on too.  I talk all about the episode in my latest review for BuddyTV.

Revenge Review: It Is All About Mothers

Except for all the crazy storylines that didn't have anything to do with mothers.  Because this is a show with about 100 storylines and plot twists rammed into one episode.  It is an ADD person's dream.  The most recent episode delivered some huge revelations with the biggest being about the fate of Emily's mother.  If you were able to keep track of everything then you have some amazing attention skills.  I do my best trying to cover all the crazy in my latest review over at BuddyTV. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Last Resort Episode 3: A Race Against Time

I have not been hiding my love for Last Resort.  My goal is to convince all my readers to watch the show in order to ensure ABC keeps this show around for the season.  If you watched it this week, then you'd have got to witness the world's craziest game of hide and seek.  You'd also finally seen the first big showdown with Chaplin and the evil drug lord.  The crew also had to beat the clock in order to save the lives of their own. There was also tons of craziness back in Washington.  Last Resort is building towards many exciting things, and you just can't miss it.  If you need more convincing then check out my latest review for Road Runner.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

First Casualty of the TV Fall Season

Made in Jersey.

Because apparently, the world wasn't dying to see yet another show with the words "Jersey" in it.

Though to be fair to this show, it apparently was nothing like that other show.  First off, it was a scripted show.  Secondly, it was a lawyer procedural show. Thirdly, it clearly has way less of a potential audience.

I never saw the show, and only know that it was about a tough, sassy, Jersey born female who becomes a lawyer.  I did read a few columns that predicted this show would be making an early exit.  The pilot was apparently awful, but I can't actually give any fair assessment of it.

Of course, my assessment would be useless since the show has bit the dust no matter what I say.

I still want to give the show one small bit of kudos.  I still like to root for shows with female leads, because it is something TV needs to do more often.  Though, if you look at the current TV landscape, there are actually quite a few shows with females with top billing. I get the impression the lead character in this show wasn't necessarily a paragon for women's liberation or anything either.

I have to admit I never really shed a tear when a procedural is cancelled.  CBS has way too many dang procedurals.  It often feels like that is the only kind of drama that the network knows how to produce and air.  It is nice to see one fail, and maybe the network can start trying to produce some serialized programming.  Then again, this is CBS, which is the network where the majority of the viewers witnessed the moon landing and try to be hip by saying "groovy".  They tend to like predictable programming or something that can be on while they do crosswords and knit sweaters.  Procedurals are good for those things.

Made in Jersey won't be able to do any of that though.  The show will now always be known as the first casualty of the 2012 season.  I wish I actually made predictions of the first shows to get the boot.  Though, I likely wouldn't have predicted Made in Jersey, since I thought it might have a chance to drag out for a few months since it was on the very uncompetitive Friday night.

What do you think will be the next 2012 cancellation?  I'm going to throw in a vote for Mob Doctor, which is getting killed on Monday night.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

When T-Shirts Make Me Emotional

I've always thought clothing's only real purpose is to make sure you don't violate disorderly conduct laws or emotionally scar the neighbour's kids.  I was never really attached to clothing.  I felt that would be the same with baby's clothing.  Apparently, that isn't the case.  A few of Everett's t-shirts have some significant value to me.  I get rather sentimental and nostalgic in today's Dad's Eye View.

Taken 2 Review: Can Liam Neeson Rescue Another Film?

The original Taken wasn't a great film.  I say that with full knowledge that Liam Neeson could be scouring the internet for reviews, and will no doubt be able to find me.  Taken will be known as the film that Neeson broke out as the next big action star, which is something I never would have predicted.  Neeson was absolutely awesome in the original, and brought a very unique presence to the action genre.  It was enough to make it a fun two hours of action.  Now, Taken 2 has been released and the main appeal will be watching Neeson break bad men in half.  Is the Neeson magic enough to make the sequel worthwhile?  Find out in my latest film review for Collective Publishing.  

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

This is How You Do Viral Marketing. . .

I was already pumped for the upcoming Wreck-It Ralph film.  It will be awesome to see some of the classic old school video game characters show up on the big screen.  Even if the film turns out to be a bummer, the nostalgia alone will be enough to make the film worth my time.  Disney appears to understand that nostalgia is a major selling point for this film.  They're putting a lot of time and creativity into the promotion.  If the marketing campaign is any sign, then we may finally have a Disney animated film that rivals Pixar (which is fitting, since the most recent Pixar offering reminded more of a Disney picture).

Here is a commercial for the old Fix-It Felix Jr. arcade game (of course, the commercial is actually new and the game is fake -- but you knew that right?).  This screams '80s, and is definitely making me feel a bit like that little video game addict from back then.

Monday, October 08, 2012

A Canadian Thanksgiving Reheat

Yes, yes, yes, I've been awful at updating on here lately.  It has been nothing but pimping other work or posting TV reviews.  Even then, they come after about a few days of disappearing.  I'll fix that soon.  I promise.  But it won't be today.  Because today is Thanksgiving, and I need to go do Thanksgiving things.

Since it is Thanksgiving, then it is all about leftovers.  I've got a delicious little post from last year that I'm ready to heat right back up for you.  It is my tribute to one of the most important animals during Thanksgiving time.

Revenge Ep. 2 Review: A Resurrection of Crazy TV

Victoria made her official return from the dead this week, and she brought an army of crazy along with her.  A whole bunch of story development was crammed into this week's episode, and Revenge is now a soap on steroids.  Or at least is chugging a high dose of coffee and washing it down with energy drinks.  If you like a sudsy prime time then Revenge is the best way to spend your Sunday night.  I have a review of the latest craziness over at BuddyTV. 

Friday, October 05, 2012

Last Resort Episode 2 Review: Who can the Crew Trust?

I really, really, really hope people start watching Last Resort.  It would be a travesty if it was cancelled.  I am not just saying that because I would be out of a review job.  It really is one of the best things on TV.  The first two episodes have delivered tons of thrills, twists, and turns.  There are just too many questions I have that I don't want to have to live the rest of my life with them unanswered.  Have you seen it?  You haven't?  Well, you should check out my review over at Road Runner and see if it is the show for you.  If you have seen it, you should check out my review of Road Runner to see if you agree with my thoughts and ramblings. 

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Looper Review: Is It One of the Next Great Groundbreaking Science Fiction Films?

Science fiction has had a bit of a revival over the past few years, even if directors like Ridley Scott claims it is dead.  Christopher Nolan has led the way with smartly written and layered science fiction action films like Dark Knight and Inception. But can a smartly written science fiction film still be of high quality and provide some thrills when created by another director?  Rian Johnson tries with his film Looper. Is Looper one of the next great groundbreaking science fiction films?  I answer that question in today's Collective Publishing film review.

Are TV's Evil for Babies?

I know a lot of people that seem to believe that a baby will turn to stone if they look at the TV.  Or at least, it will be detrimental to their development.  Is it really that harmful?  Well, I throw out my thoughts on the subject and detail what we do with Everett in my latest Dad's Eye View.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Revenge Season Premiere Review: A Series that Delivers Soap with a Vengeance

Revenge is an overly dramatic, sometimes spiteful almost always nasty, and incredibly racy prime time soap.  Many across North America have likely been convinced to avoid summering in the Hamptons.  It also is one of my favourite shows on TV.  It isn't inspiring or profound, but its hour of crazy storylines is a nice cathartic experience before the work week begins.  The series returned with it season premiere, and will be the first sign of if the show will be able to continue to deliver the twisty goodness.  You can find out if the premiere delivered in my review for BuddyTV.

Once Upon a Time Season Premiere Review: Can the Magic Remain?

Once Upon a Time was one of the most original and compelling shows on TV last season.  It had a captivating hook with the curse that was the town of Storybrooke, and many wondered how the writers were going to effectively span this story for several seasons.  The answer was they weren't, because they broke the curse in the finale.  The question now becomes, how would they keep the show engaging and avoid getting too convoluted?  The season premiere started to answer that question, and helped viewers decide if this show still had the magic to keep going strong.  I'll let you know if this is a show worth investing in based off the season premiere in my review for Road Runner.