What Exactly Constitutes a “Comeback”?

Just one more day to enter to win Ed Lover tickets for Saturday night, check out all the details and rules on how enter and win!

don't call it a comeback. no, really. don't.

Only caught a little bit of the Grammys last night in between getting the kids to bed and Walking Dead, but I did catch Justin Timberlake’s performance. It was good, but why are we getting all hot and bothered over the “JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE COMEBACK!“? And yes, the exclamation point, all-caps and bold are all necessary since no one in the last 24 hours has said it’s the “Justin Timberlake comeback,” in a low, mumbling tone. They say, “JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE COMEBACK!” and scream it so that you know exactly who we’re all talking about. Anyway, I think we’re not taking the word “comeback” literally enough. You have to have been gone for some period of time for it to be a comeback. JT never left. He left music, yeah, but when did he leave your TV? What talk show did he not appear on (none, he was on all of the, like twice a day, for the last five years)? How many movies was he in (12 since 2006, when Sexy Back was out)? So what’s he coming back from? Making movies in Hollywood? That must have been a tough transition! And it’s only been seven years! You can’t listen to KRZ for a day without hearing Sexy Back at least twice, like it was still on the charts or something. We didn’t even have time to miss him. It’s just not a comeback. It’s a new album. The song is just OK, the performance was actually pretty cool, but geez, let’s all take a step back here, guys. It’s not like Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr got on stage to jam for a while and then announced a new album.

I jumped off Up All Night long, long ago, and never looked back. I sporadically caught some episodes because my wife kept up on it, but who in their right mind would think it’s a good idea to go from a single-camera, no-laugh-track format to a traditional multi-camera format? At this point, when you’ve already bled viewers and are on the brink of cancellation anyway, do you think you can actually change people’s minds about the show? This reeks of one of the worst decisions I can ever remember in TV — inserting a canned laugh track into Sports Night “so that people knew where to laugh.” The result was the most awkward TV show ever filmed, at least until Parental Control hit the airwaves on MTV. One person who didn’t believe the format change was a good idea — Christina Applegate. The star of the show decided to walk last week, presumably leaving a steaming pile of poop in her dressing room with a note next to it saying, “This is what I think of your idea.” Now Will Arnett is forced to soldier on by himself with a replacement actress, since, you know, that’s always worked so well. Has that ever worked, where a new actor came on to replace the old actor in the same part? Three off the top of my head:

1. Darrin on Bewitched, which was awkward, but no one really cared because he was just there to be called Derwood or whatever.

2. Vivian on Fresh Prince, which was REALLY awkward because she wasn’t as hot, funny or talented as the first lady who played the part.

i always forget this actually happened

3. Becky on Roseanne, which I don’t even remember because I had long checked out of Roseanne by the time Sarah Chalke came in to play the role after the first girl had done the first four years, then I think she quit so she could go to college or something.

So let’s just say this move is likely to backfire.

That wasn’t the news NBC wanted to hear after it suffered through just a horrible, horrible week. Smash debuted its second season (without The Voice to bolster ratings) and was down an incredible 70 percent from its debut last year. That’s unheard of. Deception might be the dumbest show I’ve tried to watch this season and its ratings fall further each week. But the gut punch is Do No Harm. The alternate personality show (which I reviewed very unfavorably a couple weeks ago before it aired) first hit as the lowest-rated debut for a scripted TV series on any of the Big Four networks, then somehow lost even more viewers in the second episode. NBC rightfully canceled it and decided to just go with a blank screen for an hour on Thursdays from 10 to 11, correctly assuming that would draw more viewers, be more interesting and be much cheaper to produce. Shockingly, NBC had high hopes for this show, even though it was an unadulterated mess of plot holes and bad acting. Is anyone watching these shows before they go on the air? Like, really watching them? Someone that can ask questions like, “Isn’t a ridiculous conflict of interest for an FBI agent to go undercover into a home where she was best friends with the daughter, lovers with the son and thought of as a quasi-daughter? Wouldn’t a second grader know that anything she finds would be thrown out in court?” The answer is yes — I’m still regretting the 45 minutes I spent watching Deception. Hopefully NBC is regretting the decision to put it on the air. I’ve been saying for a while now that it’s perfectly believable that NBC could just up and go off the air. That’s how bad it is there, and now other people are starting to talk about that too.

this probably won't be happening as much on the new show. because, you know, we're all like grown up and stuff.

The G4 network was at a crossroads before it decided to become the Esquire Network. It has been around for about 10 years, so the gamers and nerds that had loved it when they were 20 now were 30 and hadn’t picked up an xBox controlled in five years. This is what happened with MTV in the early 90s, its core group of fans that grew up with it in the 80s were finally burning their parachute pants, which proved remarkably easy, all they had to do was a light a match within 10 feet of those things and they went up like kindling. Anyway, instead of growing up with its core audience, MTV decided to thumb its nose at anyone over 40, and just keeping finding what the kids wants. MTV had the luxury to do that, they were universally known as the “cool” channel and everybody wanted to be there. G4? They don’t have that kind of cache. It has an audience to cater to, one that will dwindle if they keep sticking with its rep as the video game channel, even though it hasn’t functioned that way for years. A complete rebranding while not really changing much of who you cater to is probably the way to go.

Olivia Munn in the Princess Leia slave bikini is a perfect transition into the news that, to the shock of exactly no one, Disney had much, much more aggressive/lucrative plans for the Star Wars franchise. Disney is not just making the next three movies in the series, but is going ahead with stand-alone movies based on famous Star Wars characters — like Han Solo and Boba Fett. I said it back at the time, but you don’t spend $4 billion on something just to make three movies. They can easily turn this into releasing a Star Wars movie every year, or even twice a year — much like how the Avengers franchise has been handled since Iron Man in 2008. I’m on board 100 percent with Han, but don’t envy the person who plays him. Every agent in town is going to have their clients running screaming from that part. I’ll never, ever understand the obsession some fans have with Boba Fett. He’s got about five minutes of screen time between two movies, carelessly gets eaten by the Sarlacc, doesn’t really do much except flutter into space in a pile of garbage … what gives? I know there’s a lot of fan fiction based in his universe, but then I’d have to do reading and stuff.

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Your Snow-Abridged Weekend Fun Guide

enter to win everyone!

You’ll be hearing a lot about this for the next couple days here because it’s such a quick turnaround, but make sure you enter to win the Ed Lover comedy show contest. He’s playing two shows here on Feb. 16, and I’m giving away one pair of tickets to each show. You have to be entered by Tuesday though. Enter now!

I’m not going to get too heavy into the Weekend Fun Guide this week because I have no clue what’s going to get snowed out and what isn’t tonight, so I’m mostly sticking to stuff tomorrow. Too bad, because before the snow this looked like a really busy weekend. Anyway:

Geez, how long has it been since we’ve had any kind of beerfest around here, like, three months? Seems like too long a time, doesn’t it? The Rotary Club of the Smithfields is taking care of that with a fundraising beer tasting event from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday night at Alpine Mountain. They’ve got a pretty nice lineup of beers, almost all of which are from Pennsylvania, and it includes our two local beers, Barley Creek and Shawnee Craft. Tickets are $25, and all the proceeds go to the charities helped by the Rotary Club. I don’t know if you’ve noticed lately, but tickets for beerfests are through the freakin’ roof these days. The Split Rock one in November went up like $10 last year, and I paid $45 for one in Media last year. So $25 for three hours of really good beer? That’s about the best price you’re ever going to see for any kind of beerfest again. Excuse me, beer tasting. That’s there to give the illusion that it’s all fancy schmancy when we all know deep in our hearts it’s just a cool way to go out and drink beer.

Joe O’Malley said his happy hour show at Rudy’s tonight is going off with or without the snow, which is a good idea. He might be bunking at the college instead of going back up the mountain, but I still say good idea. I always liked braving snowstorms to go out to bars because there’s no one there and that’s when weird things happen. All the people working are pissed/scared that they’re at work, so they end up giving away free drinks. OR they got called in Clerks style and keep saying, “I’m not even supposed to be here today,” as they conveniently walk past the cash register yet again after pouring you another. If there’s a band or a singer, there’s usually no one there, so they’ll pretty much play anything you request in an “Eff it, I’m not getting anything from the door tonight” kind of way. I once got a guy to sing Weird Al’s Fat during a snowstorm. I seriously doubt that would have happened if there were 500 people there instead of the 10 that were there. And that’s the other good part — no one there. Well, good for me, not good for the bar. Then Joe is at Camelback tomorrow afternoon for a show. Think there will be some people at the ski mountains tomorrow? Yeah, me too.

I’m going to have to get more acquainted with everything that’s going on down at the Newberry Building on Main Street. It’s an art studio now? There’s a “Wear Red” art show there tomorrow afternoon from 4 to 8 p.m., plenty of time to get the roads clear. There are about 15 artists participating, and you’re supposed to wear red too.

so what you're telling me is this may not be suitable for kids?

Wait, there is a such thing as family-friendly professional wrestling matches anymore, like the ones at Big Wheel tomorrow? Are you sure? Some of you might remember “The Ref” who wrote a wrestling column for the old Sharp Magazine. I called him The Ref because he is, actually, a professional wrestling referee at matches around NEPA and the Lehigh Valley. He’s always asking me to come and check out some of them, and I really want to — but they’re all on Friday and Saturday nights. Those are two nights I have my daughters with me while my wife works. And as much as I want to, I just can’t bring myself to take a 4-year-old and a 1.5-year-old to wrestling yet. The Ref says the same thing — too early. But the family-friendly thing intrigues me. Instead of barbed wire, do they gently nudge each other into a turnbuckle? Instead of throwing someone through a table, do they politely ask, “Excuse me, can I pin you now?” I gotta say, I’m intrigued.

The Speakeasy Lounge at Pocono Manor is holding a benefit Saturday night with the Who Knows Band performing for a local 17-year-old who has a really nasty disease, and it really sounds like his family could use some help. Check out the story on the event page on FB. It’s pretty gut-wrenching.

The Panda in Marshalls Creek has been open for a couple months or so, but why let that get in the way of a grand opening party? They’re doing it up tomorrow night with some DJs and other entertainment (good), free buffet (now we’re talking!), beer models (OK!), drink specials (YES!) and a $3 cover (awwwwww). Kenny’s been working like a dog to get that place going, and the roads should be fine by tomorrow night, so get over there and check it out.

It looks like the storm is going to be worse the further east you are, so the West End might not get hit as badly as, say, Milford. That’s good news for the fans of Flyin’ Blind and Big Things, both of whom are playing in the West End on Saturday night and should be in no danger of cancellation by then. Flyin’ Blind is making its debut at the Luna Rosa in Gilbert, while Big Things is playing at the Beltzville Bar and Grille just over the county line in Kunkletown.

The best way to warm up after a weekend of being snowed in has got to be chili. Lots and lots of chili. Hey, we’re in luck! The Cinder Inn in East Stroudsburg is having its first-ever chili cook-off Sunday afternoon to benefit its Relay for Life team. It’s $10 if you want to just go and taste the chili. I always threaten my wife that I’m going to enter her chili in a cook-off sometime, because her chicken chili is one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. Someday. OK, I can’t write about this anymore, I’m getting hungry.

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Contest time!

Haven’t done a contest in a while, so let’s bust one out with a pretty quick turnaround.

I grew up on late 80s-early 90s rap. I ate it all up because I thought it was the only form of music doing anything different. Yo! MTV Raps was required daily viewing for me, and that’s where I discovered that Ed Lover was one of the funniest guys of his age. He never got the comedic respect he probably deserved, but he used to crack me up.

no dr dre, apparently.

And now he’s coming here! I didn’t get the chance to interview him pre-show, but he’s playing two shows in the Poconos on Feb. 16, and I’ve got a pair of tickets to each show to give away. The first show is at The Lounge in the Comfort Inn in Bartonsville at 8 p.m., and the other at Fernwood Hotel in Bushkill at 11 p.m.

Wanna win them? Normal PopRox contest rules apply, but since I haven’t done a contest in about eight months, here they are:

–Entries are accepted electronically only, so you’ll have to email your entry in to me, Facebook message me or DM me on Twitter. Just include your name, town, age and your daytime contact information. Umm, make sure you read that part twice: “Include your name, town, age and your daytime contact information.” You’d be amazed at how many people just send me an e-mail with “pick me!!!!” in the subject line and nothing in the rest of the email. They believe it constitutes an entry. It does not.

–Deadline to enter is Tuesday at 2 p.m.

–Feel free to share this or the Facebook link with your friends. The more entries I get, the better.

–One entry per person, per e-mail address. If I get two entries from the same e-mail, I’m deleting them both.

–If you enter by messaging the PopRox account on Facebook or DM-ing on Twitter, it counts twice. Almost all of the recent winners have randomly come from Facebook entries, fyi.

–Whichever message method you choose is the only way you can enter. If you email your entry in, you cannot Facebook it in too. If I get an email entry and a Facebook entry, I’ll be deleting the Facebook entry. That means instead of getting two entries through Facebook, you’ll only get one entry through email.

–Please know that you can go if you enter. I’ll get in touch with the winners Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday, and you’ll have to come down to the Record office in South Stroudsburg to pick them up.

Maybe you’ll get to see this:

Good luck! On to blog business:

(This is a preview of the PopRox column in the Sunday Pocono Record.)

When it comes to music awards shows, you’re in one of two camps: Team Grammy or Team VMA.

For years, I was firmly entrenched in Team VMA. The Grammys were basically white noise I was able to tune out as the show trotted out people older than my grandparents to sing songs I’d never heard of.

But as the VMAs have stumbled to near-incoherence to anyone over the age of 25, the Grammys has picked up the slack and cast a wider net to reach out to those people like me that have been aged out of the VMAs.

The categories are still outrageously confusing and far too inclusive, but we’ve definitely seen a shift lately where the Grammys have gone back to being more relevant than the VMAs for a few reasons:

It doesn’t matter what kind of mainstream music you like — the Grammys has it. Rap, rock, country, hip-hop, pop, alt-rock, it’s all in there. Where else could you have Elton John, Frank Ocean and Justin Bieber on the same list of performers? Lovers of opera are kind of up the creek, but they’re used to it by now. If you’re even a casual observer of music, you know who every performer is. And even better? You don’t have to see Jack White’s butt crack this year. Which I say is a relief.

get your fill, it might be the last time she sings it. like, ever.

It’s the one place you can guarantee it. Go to a concert in the summer, and the band is there to play the new songs off its new album it coincidentally released two weeks before and is available to buy for $9.99 on iTunes through a QR code you were just handed as you walked in the ticket gate. So instead of going to see the Rolling Stones and hearing some of the greatest songs ever made, Mick and the boys will do a medley of 10 greatest hits that might last 15 minutes, then everything else pre-encore is new material that no doubt will pale in comparison to Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’. So even though the guys in fun. would rather tear their own ears off than have to play We are Young one more time, they’re going to have to since it’s nominated for record of the year. Seeing as that’s what most fans actually want to hear, everybody wins. Except for fun., which may end up with ear-less heads. Then again, if you’re sick of hearing We Are Young, Ho Hey by the Lumineers and We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift, then you might want to flip over to The Walking Dead.

The MTV Video Music Awards passed out the Grammys as the best music awards show at least 20 years ago because the Grammys took themselves way too seriously, and the VMAs were all about having fun. But for the last few years, the VMAs have just been a direction-less hot mess that you can’t watch or understand unless you’re not old enough to drink legally. While the Grammys have obviously taken at least a cue from the VMAs, they’ve haven’t gone ridiculously overboard trying to top themselves year after year like another Moonman-based awards show that shall remain nameless.

no respect until he dumped his buds.

It’s not a complete no-boy-band zone the way I dream about. Backstreet Boys gave a performance in 2000 and there have been random nominees here and there over these last 20 years of what I like to call, “The Annoying Boy Band Blitz.” Through that wretched blitz, the Grammys have done a genuinely exemplary job of ignoring boy bands as much as it possibly can. New Kids on the Block (one nomination, no wins), Backstreet Boys (seven nominations, zero wins) and ‘N Sync (eight nominations, zero wins) have gotten about as much respect as they deserve. The latest mind-numbing sensation One Direction received no nominations this year — despite winning three VMAs in September. If that’s not a point in the favor of the Grammys, what is?

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No Loss of Power Here

Links that have nothing to do with power outages. OK, that will be the last “Super Bowl power outage” joke. I think. I’ll let the pros handle that.

a perfect plan

Marvel might be the smartest movie makers of my lifetime. How did they screw up their comic book movies for so long, but then turn into brilliant geniuses all of a sudden? Anyway, if the latest report on Avengers 2-Hulk movie-Avengers 3 is true, then I love, love, love it. I couldn’t imagine it going any better than that, with the Hulk getting kicked off the planet at the end of A2, then getting a standalone movie and then returning to earth to take on the Avengers in A3. This is exactly why Marvel/Disney is so far ahead of DC/Warner Brothers. They’ve got this whole thing laid out for years ahead, while DC is still trying to figure out what to do with Justice League, is praying Man of Steel doesn’t bomb and trying to figure out what to do with Batman now. They probably have a road map of how they want to do it, but seemingly no direction in how to get to the end game. Marvel gives off the feel of a company that has everyone on board with everything the studio is doing, and they’re running like a well-oiled machine.

Speaking of Marvel, no new clues really after the Iron Man 3 Super Bowl trailer last night. Tony’s house gets blown to smithereens, Mandarin looks like he’s behind it, Tony still feels bad about pretty much destroying New York City. We got that look at Iron Man trying to save the people who fell out of an exploding plane, but that’s pretty much it. Looks like we’ll have to wait for a new trailer (attached to Die Hard 5, perhaps?) to get any more clues. I do like the story arcs it looks like we’ll be getting though.

The rest of the Super Bowl trailers were pretty pedestrian. Since the Iron Man 3 look was pretty pedestrian too, that means everything was pretty pedestrian. Blah.

i don't get it.

Maybe Marvel isn’t that smart after all, casting Emily VanCamp as the female lead in Captain America 2. She’s never done anything for me, and I usually think she brings her scenes down. Plus, she’s not terribly attractive, so I’ve always wondered what the appeal was. When she got her own show I remember thinking, “Does this mean people actually like her?” Now that she’s nailed down the Captain America part, all I’m thinking of is, “Is she dating the head of a studio?” I guess she’s just going to be someone I’ll never understand. Seeing as I’ve already promised my daughter I’d take her to see it because she for some reason loves The Winter Soldier more than Captain America, I’m going to be stuck in that VanCamp trap for two hours. Well played, Marvel.

Beyonce is a take-her-or-leave-her kind of thing for me, but I just don’t understand where the criticism is coming for the halftime show last night. Sure, with my Beyonce-obsessed wife next to me giggling and smiling from ear to ear, it made it easier to watch, but she freakin’ nailed it. I can’t even imagine how long it took to perfect that 20-minute show, but we’re talking about months, easy.And if there was a nip-slip, then it only adds to the allure. Not surprisingly, she announced a world tour this morning.

I’m not even going to bother reviewing the 30 Rock finale because I barely remember it. How’s that for a one-word review: “Nondescript.” I didn’t see it after it aired on Thursday and didn’t have a chance to watch it until Friday night, which gave me all day to see the Internet headlines about how great it was. Which sent hipsters into a tizzy talking about how great and unappreciated the show was. But it hasn’t been great for a couple years, and the finale tried to crowbar in gags left and right that had no business being in the finale. I think I laughed once for the whole hour, and I’m fairly certain it was more of a chuckle than a full-blown laugh. The people who said they cried at the end were even funnier. I felt absolutely nothing, and I’ve teared up at finales I’ve barely watched. I’ve seen every episode of 30 Rock, and I felt nothing.

yup. i had this card.

Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, OH MY GOD!!! I usually joke around about the level of concerts we get around here, with good reason. But then today I stumbled upon what might be the greatest concert to ever come to the Poconos. And if you think I’m kidding, you’re crazy. Looks like you can’t buy tickets, that BBD is for people who are staying at Cove Haven only. So now I have to figure out how to sneak in. It might be a little hard since I’ll somewhat inebriated from my in-laws’ St. Patrick’s Day party that day. Or maybe that will make me more likely to get in, I’m not quite sure how that would work. What do you think the chances are that they don’t play Poison? It’s gotta be a trillion to one or so, right? No chance in the world? By the way, I did Poison at karaoke a couple weeks ago.

IMAX should have been doing things like this long ago, working out deals to release high-end blockbusters a couple days early to spark some interest. Normally, this would have really made theater owners nuts because it would be funneling all the business to certain theaters. But now that there are a whole bunch of theaters with the IMAX format, it’s not as big a deal. Although is the deal for IMAX-brand theaters exclusively? Will Cinemark’s XD format be included?

More confusion for X-Men: Days of Future Past. I’m prepared for the inevitability of my head spinning when I walk out of that movie.

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Your Super Poconos Weekend Fun Guide

I might as well say it one more time — I can’t stand the Super Bowl.

ravens +3.5, under 47.5.

I hate it in the way that drinkers hate New Year’s, because it’s amateur hour. People who spend the fall and winter bitching about people watching too much football are now sitting next to you with a prop sheet in their hand saying things like, “I thought a field goal was worth four points. It’s not?” while you bash your head off the bar.

But what the Super Bowl does provide is yet another excuse to hit the bar. And there is such competition to get customers into the bar — Sunday isn’t exactly the biggest drinking day in the world — that they slash prices, offer tons of free stuff and entice you with giveaways. There are very few days when you’re going to get a better deal at a bar than Super Bowl Sunday. I don’t get out of bed for a Super Bowl party unless I hear “free buffet” as part of the offering.

Sorry, but this is for Super Bowl only. We’ll get back to the rest of the nightlife next week.

Game? Why wait for the game? Burke’s Tavern in Mount Pocono is offering free happy hour bar snacks not just for the game, but for the whole day. They’re also doing $2 beers and well drinks and a bunch of other food specials, like what I like to call The Instant Heart Attack, a half-pound hot dog wrapped in bacon. Apparently they’re drawing the line at putting five types of melted cheese on it.

The first Super Bowl party I went to at a bar was at Front Row, back in the day when it wasn’t a given that every bar would have a free buffet. But they did — and I’ pigged out to the point that I got my brother Erik to go with me the next two years on the promise of the free food. It never disappointed. Owner Barry Lynch has kept that free halftime buffet going and now Jock N Jills/Grace O’Malley’s has about 20 prizes to give away too. The restaurant will eb featuring two special wing flavors — Niners by the Bay (wings with an old bay flavor) and Ray’s Ragin’ Ravens for Ray Lewis (Cajun style wings) and the Creole flavor of New Orleans.

I don’t hear about stuff going on at Goal Line in East Stroudsburg that much, but they’ve got a nice little spread for the game. $1.25 drafts, $2 Miller Lite bottles and a free buffet during the game. They’re also doing T-shirt giveaways and have a raffle for a Miller Lite folding chair and two Yuengling fleece pullovers. I like it in Goal Line. I was in there randomly last summer for some reason and won a T-shirt playing Megatouch. I don’t know if they still do it, but every time you get the high score on certain Megatouch games, they give you a free T-shirt. I think it took me three games to get the high score on whatever game it was that I won on. I think it was Zip 21.

unless i know there will be something that looks like this, and that i won't have to pay for it, i'll pass.

Making a drunken fool of yourself during the game is sooooo cliche. So why not wait until after the game? If that’s your plan, Panda’s Pub and Sports Bar in Marshalls Creek might be a good choice since after the game is over, they’re running they’re normal Saturday night karaoke contest. I’ll set the over/under at 2.5 songs before a group of 49ers/Ravens fans drunkenly sing We Are the Champions off key. You know, like this. As for the game, we’ve got the magic words in play — free buffet. They’re also doing trivia contests and giveaways — and one of the prizes is a flat-screen TV.

At Sarah Street in Stroudsburg, you can let someone else do the postgame singing with Pocono Due going on stage right after the game. Drink and wing specials too.

Maybe you’re more of the giving kind of person, and you’d rather see someone else win big prizes. OK, you’re not. No one is. But you can help a hot girl go to Jamaica at Mount Airy Casino Resort for the party at Gypsie’s. The Red Hot Models (we’ve talked about them before, I’m not explaining it again) will be on hand, and you can vote for which one you think is the hottest. The girl with the most votes gets a trip to Jamaica. What a good idea, let’s go to a bar and give a hot girl MORE free things than they already get! Go away, Bitter Mike. The bar is also having an all-you-can-eat buffet, though I’m not sure if it’s actually free or not, although it’s a $10 cover. And just so you know, the Andrew Dice Clay show at the casino Saturday is sold out.

hey, did anyone else hear ray lewis is retiring? if he is, he's keeping a pretty good lid on it.

Pretty touch to resist what Siamsa is selling: Free food, $1 drafts and a halftime raffle for authentic jerseys of both the 49ers and Ravens. I’m not sure which one I would take. Probably the 49ers because you could get more for it on eBay, I’d imagine. On a side note, this looks like a good place to throw this in. In a former life, I covered the Ravens for a newspaper in southcentral Pennsylvania. Went to every home game, every training camp, offseason workouts, agents called me during contract negotiations, the whole nine yards. Did this in 1998 and most of 1999. If you remember, the Ravens moved to Baltimore in the 1996 season, so the fans were just getting used to being football fans again. And they … they weren’t good. It’s gotten better now that they’ve been there for 15 years, but you’d swear these people had never seen a football game before. Highlights of my time covering the Ravens: Peeing in the stall next to Walter Payton, with me being so star struck all I could say was, “You know, I’m gonna tell all my friends I peed next to you” … A one-on-one, 90-minute interview with Brian Billick before his first year as head coach that taught me more about football than I had known in my previous 24 years … Getting in an accident (not my fault) on my way back from the first post-draft workout in 1999 that allowed me to ditch my college kid junker and get a new car … The dorkiest press box in the history of professional sports, rivaled only by the Orioles press box that was led by Tim Kurkjian and Ken Rosenthal. It was so dorky I looked like freakin’ Brad Pitt … Finding out Ray Lewis is a really good guy two years before “the incident” … Getting to meet Randall Cunningham, one of my childhood heroes, when the Vikings came to town.

The Mountainview Restaurant and Lounge at the Chateau Resort and Conference Center in Tannersville is doing a Super Bowl party too, perhaps the perfect end to a day of skiing at Camelback? Anyway, for $10, you get in to the party with a buffet and $2 drafts. It’s free if you’re staying there overnight.

It might not be a free giveaway, but the PourHouse Neighborhood Bar and Grille in Mountainhome is giving away a Twisted Tea mountain bike during the game. The raffle ticket costs $2. They’re also doing the drink special, food special thing.

OK, so, when a lot of places say, “buffet,” free or otherwise, it could mean a whole bunch of things. You never know what you’re going to get, you could show up and it ends up being a tray of cookies or something. That’s no fun. Jubilee/Pub in the Pines in Pocono Pines is at least telling you what you’re getting with its $15 buffet — and it’s pretty impressive. Granted, it’s more than you’d spend at Old Country or the Chinese buffet, and that’s before you’ve bought beer, but they had me at wings and taco/nacho station. Seeing as there’s also a humus platter (and a bunch of other stuff), I’m not sure I’d want to be anywhere near this place by about 10 p.m. I think I’d want to avoid avoid Pocono Pines altogether. The smell might be too much to take. What, they couldn’t finish it off with chili?

The Sycamore Grill in Delaware Water Gap is having its own little shindig, with free snacks at the bar, 45-cent wings, $2 Miller Lites and $3 SoCo and lime shots. Because nothing says football in February like SoCo and lime.

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A Good Day to (Talk About) Die Hard

(This is a preview of the PopRox column in Sunday’s Pocono Record. Since it’s impossible to find a Die Hard video link without naughty language, be warned that some of these links aren’t appropriate if you’re at work with the sound turned up on your computer. You’ve officially been warned.)

I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like Die Hard.

You know why? Because it’s awesome, that’s why. But for all the people who love the Die Hard franchise, they don’t love it more than me. If they do, they certainly haven’t examined it in the kind of detail I have.

With the fifth one hitting theaters on Valentine’s Day, it’s time for a primer to see where the franchise is at before it becomes A Good Day to Die Hard:

come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs ...

It’s the greatest action movie ever made, period. John McClane is the best action-movie character ever, period. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this movie, and everything about it is right. The script is a thing of sheer beauty, with more quotable one-liners than any other action movie and 99 percent of comedies. Sure, maybe some of them are a smidge cheesy, but they work with at least a 97 percent success rate. Bruce Willis should wake up every morning and thank his agent, manager or whoever got him this job, because it paved the way to him making zillions of dollars for the last 25 years. Then again, maybe that’s the same agent that hooked him up with Color of Night, so they’re probably even. Part of the sacred William Atherton Must be a Real Jerk trilogy with Ghostbusters and Real Genius. GRADE: A++++. I’d give it more pluses, but you get the idea. The problem is when you have perfection, there’s only one way to go …

the answer is yes. they most likely kiss their mothers with those mouths.

… and that’s down. Make no mistake — Die Hard 2 isn’t a bad movie, not by a long shot. But the script obviously was slapped together in a weekend, then infused with more random and meaningless F-bombs than any other movie of its era, perhaps to distract from the fact that the script really wasn’t that good in the first place. If Dennis Franz hasn’t washed out his mouth with soap yet, he probably should get on that immediately. Willis himself has admitted the sequel business wasn’t as sophisticated as it is now, and that in hindsight, they probably should have taken more time to make Die Hard 2. That’s got to be why John Amos was ridiculously miscast as some sort of military commando, right? No one else was available on such short notice? Willis has also apologized for Striking Distance, so what does he know? Anyway, the action is still good, McClane is still McClane and Willis is strong enough to put the movie on his back and carry it to a surprisingly plausible ending. Yeah, that’s right, I said plausible! GRADE: B

you can simply say there was a fat woman on the phone and it took you a minute to get her off!

The franchise made up for it here. Glaringly underrated in the overall action genre, it originally was supposed to be the script for one of the Lethal Weapon movies. It was reshaped as the third Die Hard, and instantly reinvigorated the franchise. Like it even needed it! It’s where we discovered that Willis is getting older, so it probably wouldn’t hurt to bring in some top-flight talent to help him out. You know, a little higher up the acting food chain than Reginald VelJohnson. Pairing him with cool-as-ever Sam Jackson and playing cat-and-mouse with Jeremy Irons was a stroke of casting genius, and probably the best decision ever made within the franchise. Yup, the ending is beyond awful and nonsensical, and the alternate ending is shockingly even worse, but at least it only takes 10 minutes. The other 95 percent of the movie is Die Hard at its best. Plus, now that I’m teaching my daughters how to bless themselves, I’m always, always, always thinking, “North, south, east, west,” the manner with which McClane succinctly teaches Zeus to bless himself. GRADE: A

let's just stick with justified, ok?

Aaaaannnnd, we’re done with all that good will. Same goes from Die Hard 2 — this is not a bad movie. It’s just doesn’t have the John McClane feel to it and it’s the first one that feels like a money-grab. Die Hard 2 was a money-grab, but at least McClane was McClane. Here, it seems like Willis had to go back and watch the first three to re-teach himself how to be McClane. He does plenty of John McClane things and spouts a bevy of John McClane one-liners, but very few of them land in the right spot. Even though my man crush on Timothy Olyphant normally would force me to believe otherwise, he can’t hold the Gruber brothers’ jocks. On the other hand, it has the best stunts of the franchise, has just about the right amount of Kevin Smith-iness and would easily survive and thrive on its own as a non-Die Hard movie. GRADE: B-

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Random Reviews, aka, What I Do at Night

I’ve been on my annual January movie kick, trying to watch as many as I can over the next couple weeks to do a competent top 20 list before the Oscars. And there have been some high-profile TV premieres. And I haven’t done any straight reviews in a while. And … that’s all I got.

Here’s how I’ve been passing the time lately:

how 'bout, "do no season 2!" see what i did there? funny.

DO NO HARM (premieres 10 p.m. Thursday, NBC): To pull off a show about multiple personality disorder — or Dissociative Identity Disorder, in this case — you need to have an actor who can genuinely convey both sides of that person. It’s tough, especially when for that TV show to be good, those two personalities have to be on polar extremes. No one is watching a show about a guy who is nice during the day, then turns into an even nicer version of himself at night. You need conflict. As much as I like Steven Pasquale from his Rescue Me days, he isn’t the guy for this role. But it’s not like it’s all his fault. I swear one of these days I’m gonna start a website plothole.com (never mind) and just rip on TV shows and movies for either ignoring or just missing the gaping holes in their stories. And holy poop does Do No Harm have them. How about this one: Pasquale is one of the best neurosurgeons in the world, apparently, but not once — NOT ONCE — has he had some kind of emergency where he’s had to go into surgery between 8:25 p.m. and 8:25 a.m. Or this one: The stereotypical evil doctor guy who of course is always at odds with the forward-thinking Pasquale, is able to call up Pasquale’s former hospital and ask why he left, apparently getting an interesting answer. How the frigg did no one do this when he was hired in 2005??? “What was the reason he left? Because he has an evil alter ego that has done physical violence to a multitude of people and also tried to perform brain surgery without any training. Is that enough for ya, or should I go on?” And that’s only the tip of the iceberg! Throw in Phylicia Rashad as a reedunkulously naive chief of staff (guessing) and you’re batting 1.000 on the Crappy Show Checklist. Luckily, it has NBC’s implausible stinker Deception around to make it look downright believable. So why do I think I’ll watch the next episode? The visuals don’t hurt. Yeah, that’s probably it. GRADE: D+

has anyone noticed kevin bacon actually looks like co-star shawn ashmore in this picture?

THE FOLLOWING (9 p.m. Mondays, Fox): There are a lot of comparisons out there between The Following and Alcatraz. Both are Fox shows. Both premiered on the same day of the same week of the same midseason month. Both are killer-of-the-week procedurals masked as serials. Both debuted to high ratings. But here’s the difference. When Alcatraz premiered in 2012, people saw exactly where it was headed and steadily checked out week after week based on the ratings. Except for my brother Mark, who hate-watched it the whole way through and then would email me on Tuesday about how much it sucked. The Following actually picked up viewers in its second week. In case you’re wondering, it’s the ONLY SHOW THAT’S DONE THAT THIS SEASON!!! In today’s TV world, especially for something that was marketed as heavily as The Following was, that’s freakin’ impossible, to the point that you almost think it’s either a mistake or an anomaly. The only way something like that happens is if it has extremely positive word-of-mouth to the point that friends physically tie their friends down and force them to watch. I’m not going that far — but the show is good. Maybe a step below “really good,” but pretty good nonetheless. It steals from the Walking Dead playbook, throwing in three or four intentionally shocking moments — people with their eyes cut out, a naked woman stabbing herself in the eye, you know, the normal stuff — just for the sake of being intentionally shocking. And of course, hardened, disgraced FBI agent Kevin Bacon has … drum roll … A DRINKING PROBLEM!!! Because, you know, they all do. Let this be a lesson to all TV writers — you can’t add layers with a bottle. You’re got to work harder than that, sorry. But the villain guy is pretty good,  the feel of the show really is creepy and Bacon probably should have turned to TV earlier than he did, not just as a way to recoup his fortune. Crossing a serial killer by sleeping with his wife and possibly fathering his child is a pretty good way to get yourself in trouble, and I think it will be campy fun watching Bacon get himself out of it. Even if he’ll be drunk when he’s doing it, of course. GRADE: B-


LINCOLN: When I posted on Facebook a couple weeks ago that I wasn’t interested in seeing Lincoln because I hated 2011’s The Conspirator, my buddy Big opined that’s like not seeing LA Confidential because I didn’t like Mulholland Falls. We had seen Mulholland Falls at the Colonial Park Theater in Harrisburg together, he knew I didn’t like Mulholland Falls, and he kinda had me dead to rights on the logic. Seeing as LA Confidential is one of my 100 or so favorite movies of all time, I decided if the opportunity presented itself, I’d see Lincoln. And I did. And while it’s true D-Day from Animal House/the evil coach from Wildcats is one of the five greatest That Guys ever and Daniel Day-Lewis is probably the best actor of this generation, Lincoln is a two-and-a-half-hour civics/politics history class that reminds me of every other similar Spielberg movie.That’s not to say it’s a bad movie, it’s not. Day-Lewis is worth the price of admission by himself, and if it is a history lesson, it’s certainly an entertaining one, regardless of its validity that I don’t have the inclination to look up. In theory, it’s a great idea. Dredge up ancient history from 150 years ago that only a minute percentage of the population knows the intimate details of. Not like how we can bash Moneyball for its blatant twisting of the truth because it played out before us less than a decade ago. Who’s going to challenge the truthfulness of a ridiculous House of Representatives vote? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? Didn’t think so. It’s hard not to like the movie because everyone is just so dang likeable and fighting for the side of truth, justice and the American way. It’s a classic white hat-black hat story, with the guys wearing black hats a bunch of rich white guys vehemently defending slavery. SLAVERY!!! Maybe if this movie was played in 1869 there would have been some sympathetic characters on the side of the bad guys, but today? You might as well dress them up as devils, give them pitchforks and have them wear white hoods. When words come out of their mouths, all you do is shake your head and feel bad that it took us hundreds of years in America before we realized the whole “owning a human being” thing isn’t a very good idea. But beyond that kind of soupy, manufactured emotion, you can’t take your eyes of Lewis. He”s just masterful. You’d say this was the part he was born to play, if it wasn’t for the fact that he’s been better in, like, five movies. I’m going to be a little peeved if Tommy Lee Jones wins his Oscar, because he wasn’t nearly as good as Robert DeNiro, Philip Seymour Hoffman or Christoph Waltz. Lincoln will be in the mid-teens for my top 20 movies of the year. GRADE: B

did you know while the phillies were winning the world series, pat and tiffany were on a date of some sort? c'mon, gimme a break. when am i going to have the chance to use this pic again?

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK: My random takeaways from this movie, which is probably will end up my favorite movie of the year:

RANDOM: Bradley Cooper isn’t getting enough attention for best actor … I can’t believe this is the same Bradley Cooper that laid out Vince Vaughn twice … I’m pretty sure that Pat’s family is my family … As if it’s not bad enough that billions of women fall over their tongues just thinking about Bradley Cooper, now they have to see that he can tap dance? Save some for the rest of us Brad!!! … Mark Wahlberg would not have pulled off the role of Pat … Robert DeNiro > Tommy Lee Jones … Jennifer Lawrence = Jessica Chastain … Cooper = Daniel Day-Lewis … SLP > Lincoln, by far … My Cherie Amour immediately enters the list of songs I will never be able to hear without thinking of the movie it’s prominently featured in … No one will ever have that song played at their wedding again, DJs will be taking it off their possible playlists en masse … Lawrence’s “You’re bleeping killing me” line might be the most powerful, real line I’ve heard in a movie this year.

PHILLY-RELATED: Pretty sure that was Monsignor Bonner High School, or whatever it’s called now, that Pat subbed at … Pat’s jogging route at least partially overlaps the jogging route I used when I lived in the Drexel Hill area in 1997 … I’m a fan of the Llanerch Diner, even though I routinely passed it to go to the Burger King right down the road … Those guys who started crap at the Eagles game were the perfect embodiment of drunken, tailgating North Philly guys, which reminds me …

PHILLY SPORTS ONES: One of my wife’s takes: “They certainly captured why Eagles fans are douchebags” …The odds someone like Pat would get in a fight at an Eagles tailgate are something like 1-10. It’s borderline inevitable. What was he doing there? … Noticing they were keeping in line with the results of the 2008 Eagles and Phillies season in reality, I was able to tell my wife, who was visibly worried, “Don’t worry, the Eagles win that game 44-6” … Although keeping in line with the reality of those seasons presents about 100 problematic continuity issues that I won’t bore you with … OK, just one. Tiffany says the first time she and Pat meet the Phillies beat the Dodgers 7-5 in the NLCS. That game happened on a Monday (just trust me), but they met on a Sunday. There really are about 100 other ones I could name. Don’t care. GRADE: A+

no one has actually been looking for him for almost 15 years

SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN: It’s really hard to make a documentary. If you can’t hook someone in the first five minutes, they’re gone and they’re never coming back. So you need to front-load that first five minutes with the most interesting part of your story, then hope people feel compelled enough to stick around for the next hour and a half. Searching for Sugar Man is a great example of that — it’s impossible not to be hooked after the first five minutes, and then to stay hooked for the next hour and 20 minutes. But the last 15 minutes, the movie breaks down. One of the other big requirements for a documentary is that the final conflict should live up to the billing you give it … but this one doesn’t. We’re almost tricked into thinking something we shouldn’t. The film crew spends an hour showing all the twists and turns in finding an obscure guitarist, including splicing in present day footage. But that’s not how it goes. He was actually found in the late 90s, has done concerts in South Africa for the last 14 years and now has his web page and Twitter account. So the film crew didn’t do jack, they just interviewed the people who did. You’re not supposed to feel duped after watching a non-Michael Moore documentary, at least not that I know of. I liked Queen of Versailles much, much better than this. GRADE: B-

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JJ Abrams: Right or Wrong?

Stay safe out on those roads everyone! UPDATE, 4 p.m.: The Pocono Beer Club has postponed its meeting at Pocono Brewing Company to next Monday. So yeah, it’s slick out there.

the man that will lead star wars

The problem with this blog is that I’ve got a pretty good groove going, and the end of the week is taken up. Thursdays are for the preview to Sunday’s column in the paper, Fridays are for the Weekend Fun Guide. So when something major happens in the world of pop culture late Wednesday, like, oh, I don’t know, naming a surprising a director for the new Star Wars movie, I usually don’t get a chance to do anything with it here until Monday. Soooooo JJ Abrams, huh? How ’bout it! I’m on board with it from a theoretical perspective. He’s probably the best guy for the job, and if he’s not, he’s certainly in the top 5. From the standpoint of the future of the Star Wars universe, you have no choice but to believe the franchise is in good hands for the next 10 years as long as he sticks around that long. What bugs me is the public posturing that now seems like nothing more than a hard-balling for a bigger payday. In December, Abrams said he was too much of a fan of the movies to be the one making them. He wanted to be in the theater with the rest of the fans, a noble reasoning that obviously not only was understandable, but certainly curried favor with those same fans that worship at his altar. But the people who are in charge of this franchise are no dummies. Before this whole thing was announced in October, they probably already had a road map for how to go about casting, what the budget would be, where it would film and who they wanted to direct it. If they didn’t have JJ Abrams at the top of that list, they were insane. They most likely made overtures to him in October or even earlier, letting him know they were interested. Abrams had some time to think about it, saw that big-name possible directors were dropping like flies, so once they got back to him, he knew the pickings were pretty slim. So he came up with his fan quote, which the people at Disney had to read and just say, “fffffffuuuuuu …” You know the rest. At that point, Abrams was pretty much saying, “I’ll do it, but only for the GDP of at least three African nations.” Disney balked at first, but smartly decided to pull a Teddy KGB and say, “Pay him. Pay that man hees mahnee.” Two months later, the franchise has a direction with a captain that has proven he can restart a ship once thought to be sunk. Should we even care what it took to get there? No, we shouldn’t. My gripes are somewhere between “nitpicking” and “cranky old man talk,” probably leaning closer to the latter.

if for no other reason that i really doubt disney wants to see internet gifs of hulk fighting darth vader or something floating around

The other interesting thing that came out of the announcement is that the release could be pushed back from the summer 2015 release date to accommodate Abrams’s schedule. That’s a perfectly understandable reasoning seeing as Abrams always seems to have about 50 TV shows on the air, another 250 in development and 30 more movie projects he’s juggling. Part of that posturing had to be, “I’ll do it, but I’ll do it when I feel like doing it.” I don’t think anyone had to twist Disney’s arm, though. It’s already got Avengers 2 coming in May 2015 and Pirates of the Caribbean in July 2015, so why would it want to push through its other most valuable tentpole to take possible money away from those movies? There is no way Star Wars 7 comes out in the summer of 2015.

Is the Oscar race becoming a bit more clear after the Screen Actors Guild Awards last night? Argo got its second big win in January after winning at the Golden Globes, and there aren’t many other awards shows before the Feb. 24 Oscars. Right now Argo is looking more like the favorite, though the whole “Affleck wasn’t nominated for best director” thing is a legitimate worry. Actor (Daniel Day Lewis), supporting actor (Tommy Lee Jones) and supporting actress (Anne Hathaway) are looking more like lock city now, but everything else is probably up for grabs.

brad cooper isn't getting enough attention for best actor.

Looks like it’s going to be Oscar bait and little else at the theaters for a while after a p!ss-poor box office weekend. The only good news out of it is that Silver Linings Playbook is finally, rightfully, gathering some steam as it keeps expanding to more theaters, including finally getting into Monroe County. Saw it this weekend after multiple thwarted attempts, and damn if I didn’t see my favorite movie of the year. I still have about five or six movies I want to see, but I’ve notched off everything on my list of movies in theaters and can concentrate on DVDs for the next couple weeks before the Oscars. I won’t be seeing Life of Pi, Les Miserables or Amour, but will have seen the other six best pic nominees. I’ve had to start cutting movies from my top 20 that I liked a good deal — Bernie and best documentary nominee Searching for Sugar Man lost out on the chopping block — and that’s a good sign that we’ve had some good movies this year. Right now competing for my my top 5 movies, in some order, are Silver Linings, Zero Dark Thirty, Avengers, Django, the shockingly good Norwegian movie Oslo, August 31 and Take This Waltz. And I still need to see Argo, Flight, End of Watch, Seven Psychopaths, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Skyfall and The Sessions. So I’m feeling pretty good about my top 20, actually it’s the best I’ve felt about it in a couple years. I don’t think there’s going to be anything on my list that I wouldn’t hesitate to get the Blu-ray. I think I might throw a bunch of random reviews of movies and some new TV shows into Wednesday’s blog.

Well who needs ya anyway! That’s what I say to Steve Carell since he won’t be back for these last couple episodes of The Office. As much as I don’t like it, Carell is probably right. Why bother? His story was brought to a complete end, so why bother throwing off the rhythm of the show now? Granted, it’s not much of a rhythm. But still, you’ll probably be angering a bunch of your friends in the cast who have been holding down the fort since you’ve been gone as they watch you hijack the finale when you haven’t been around for two years. Michael’s ending was about as perfect as a character departure can be, let’s not eff with it.

ok, so who's next?

I’m not going to worry about the next X-Men movie and how they’re going to pull the whole thing off. It hurts my brain to think of, especially since this pipe dream of reuniting the old cast in the movie timeline’s future is becoming more of a reality every day. What’s even more weird is that they keep bringing in characters who weren’t in the reboot!Actually, other than Professor X and Magneto, there aren’t that many characters that were in both. Let’s see what happens when Kelsey Grammer is added to the cast, then I’ll really need to pop a couple Tylenol.

Girls got a third-season order, because it’s the kind of show HBO loves, one that will keep it in the headlines of hipster review sites like AV Club and Vulture. but the news wasn’t as good for a couple other shows, as both Fox’s Ben and Kate and TBS’s Wedding Band were canceled. I liked Ben and Kate, but only watched the first two episodes. Back in October I predicted it would fall of my radar, and sure enough, it did. As for Wedding Band, I’ll pretty much run screaming from anything when Brian Austin Green is prominently involved, so I never even bothered watching.

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Your Poconos Weekend Fun Guide: Tatts, Tickets, Syllabus Week and More …

Next week for the Fun Guide will be the Super Bowl edition. If you’re a local bar having an event or just anyone having an event for the Super Bowl you want publicized, get the details in to me and I’ll make sure to include it.

sarah miller of the spike tv show ink master will be part of the sherman's rock n ink expo

The Sherman Theater is doing a three-day Rock N Ink Expo tattoo festival starting today with bands everyday, celebrity tattoo artists, all that good stuff. One of those bands is This Way to Egress, which will be playing tonight and Saturday at the festival. I’m not a tattoo guy for at least three reasons: 1. Guilt if I got one over what my parents would say. Yup, I’m about to turn 38. 2. I’m ridiculously Irish white-skinned, especially in the winter, and that’s not a good look for tattoos. 3. Fear for what it would look like in 30 years. I honestly think the profession with the most future growth potential in this country is tattoo removal expert. There are going to be millions of 50-year-olds and above starting in about 2025 who are going to start talking about grand kids and saying, “What the eff was I thinking putting a flaming skull in my cleavage???” and the money is just going to start rolling in. I know exactly what I’d get if I ever did get one — a red Phillies “P” on the back of my shoulder — but I’ve just never had the stones to pull the trigger. I’d imagine that train has probably left the station by now.

You’ve heard of this somewhat new thing where breweries try to pair the perfect craft beer to go along with your meal? Like wine people do? That’s got to be pretty hard, right? Well how about this — the ShawneeCraft Brewery at the Shawnee Inn is hosting the first of its Rhythm and Brews music series, where it will pair the perfect beer with the music the bands are playing.the bands are from Jersey, the Quimby Mountain Band and Only Living Boy. I … I don’t know how you go about this task. But wouldn’t it be fun trying? “Nope, that’s not it, gimme another … nope, not that one, let’s try again … Man, those first 10 didn’t pan out, but let’s hope this is the one!” No one goes home disappointed or without cab fare that night.

umm, ok.

Don’t look now, but it’s the summer convert season creeping up on us! I have no idea whether it was planned this way or not, but is there a better time than this week to start announcing summer shows? “Hey east coast, it’s 2 degrees right now, but in six months, when our concert rolls through, it’s gonna be 85 and sunny. You interested?” Yes, yes I am interested. Normally? Maybe not so much in shows like The Roots annual summer festival show in Philly, or the MMR-B-Q concert that features Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and Cheap Trick. Wait, really? That’s the lineup? Why does that make me think of this? And it’s not all outdoor summer shows going on sale this week. If you hurry, maybe you can head over to the Sherman for tickets to the Bullet for my Valentine show on May 19. They wet on sale at 11. If you’re more of a fan of the 60s, tickets to see The Zombies at Penn’s Peak on June 20 go on sale Saturday. I’m sorry, I’m still stumped. Should people who once dressed like this share a bill with Alice in Chains?

never seen it. still funny.

For as much as people think Sinbad was a major star of the 90s, and he probably was since he passes the “Say His Name and Everyone Knows Who He Is” test, he should probably be more known for his stand-up — which he’s bringing to Cove Haven in Lakeville on Sunday. I just looked over his filmography, and, umm, it’s a little shabby. I’ve seen exactly one of his movies (Necessary Roughness) and I can honestly say I purposely went out of my way to avoid everything else he did. How did he not get one half-way decent role in the 90s? And what exactly was his biggest role? Jingle All the Way? It probably was. I now remember Jingle All the Way for two reasons:

1. When FX had the ill-advised idea of competing against TBS’s Christmas Day marathon of A Christmas Story, they ran a 24-hour Jingle All the Way marathon. In typical FX fashion, they promoted the everlasting shat out of it. And the final line of the commercial is Arnold standing over a fallen and injured Sinbad and uttering in that ridiculous Austrian accent, “Aww, poor baby,” then smiling and running away. For some reason, this cracked me and my brothers up. It remains a Sadowski House staple whenever someone mentions Schwarzenegger.

2. One of my favorite Conan O’Brien bits was the fake Schwarzenegger via satellite thing. And in every segment fake Schwarzenegger would always mention “ZCHINGLE ALL ZA WAY, BUY MY DEE VEE DEE!” It was ridiculously hysterical. FF to the 3:30 point and watch the magic happen. Or watch the whole thing and enjoy more:

Local favorite Gary Dillon is playing the Sycamore Grille in Delaware Water Gap starting at 8 tonight. I love the Grille’s description on its FB event page: “He’s a local favorite who’s raspy voice and smooth melodies are the perfect backdrop for a cold and snowy evening the Poconos.” In other words, “It’s freaking cold outside, so come over and get drunk wit us while a cool guy plays music.” Sold.

The Blue Tequila in Minisink Hills is doing an after-ski “melt the snow” party at 9:30 tonight with DJ Jess MixGoddess playing the show. Not a bad idea for a hotel bar about five miles from a ski slope to do an after-ski party. the only thing that worries me is the $2 house tequila shots. WHAT?!?!?! You walk into that place around 1 a.m. and people might be lying passed out in the lobby floor.

Perhaps the demise of live music at Whispers has been slightly exaggerated. Flyin’ Blind is going to be playing there Saturday night starting at 9, so you have a choice. You can turn out in droves to make the bar reconsider its move to more of a dance club and support live music, or you can not show up and just let another Main Street bar turn into a dance club. This looks like it could be a last-ditch effort, so hopefully you’ll choose to go check out the guys (and girl) of Flyin’ Blind so that we have another choice to check out local bands (cover or otherwise) in the Poconos.

Guitarist and singer Pieter Holland– who runs the Rock N Roll Ranch recording studio in Canadensis — will be at the Panda’s Pub and Sports Bar in Marshalls Creek on Saturday starting at 9:30 p.m. Holland has the distinction of being the only person quoted in a Sharp Magazine cover story/center spread that I didn’t write. I’m fully aware that means absolutely nothing to anyone other than me, by the by. Tonight, the Panda is doing a DJ and a free happy hour buffet.

Speaking of free happy hour buffet, Pocono Brewing Company in Swiftwater is back in my good graces because it’s had buffalo wings for its free happy hour buffet the last two weeks instead of whatever other crazy flavor of wings people supposedly like. There’s no free buffet Saturday night, but the Poconuts Comedy Club is still going on.

you might think it's ironic and funny to wear this shirt next week. it is not. don't be that guy.

I must have missed the memo of this Syllabus Week thing at ESU, but it’s a fantabulous idea. You don’t do jack squat your first week back of college, you’re seeing your friends for the first time in six or seven weeks so there’s a good chance you might not have had any late-night companionship in that long, you’re finally out of your parents’ house again … why not go out and get plastered and have a blast every night? That’s what I did, I just didn’t have a name for it. Oh, right, yeah I did, it was called “Me and Two Buddies Sitting Alone at the Bar Week” because back then everyone else thought they had to be on their game for that first week. I never understood it. “You don’t understand, it’s very, very important when the professor reads word for word from a syllabus that he just handed us anyway, because I might not be able to read it myself.” Although the side effects of things like Syllabus Week and the trend of making up events just to drink could be that every college kid in this generation likely will develop some form of alcoholism. Anyhoo, Jock and Jills and Siamsa are having events every night next week.

Can’t say that I know who Red Love is, but they’re at Burke’s Tavern in Mount Pocono tonight. they’re an original funky blues band, although I’m not quite sure what “funky blues” are. Sounds interesting though. Should be an interesting night on the mountain with snow coming and the cold staying. I had to take a picture this morning by the airport on 611 and I stayed out of the car for as long as I could — about 45 seconds. Maybe a minute. Sometimes I don’t know how people can live up there.

Local favorites Bad Influence is at the Original Pocono Pub in Bartonsville tomorrow night, after the bar has a DJ tonight.

Zac Lawless is at the Cinder Inn tonight, and as per the bar’s usual, it’s no cover. Then they’re doing a dart tournament Sunday to benefit Relay for Life. That’s a pretty good way to avoid the reminder that there is no football on Sunday for the first time since Labor Day.

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At Least Now I Won’t Have to Type the Show’s Full Name Anymore

Stay indoors and enjoy the links:

you owe her and the show an apology, society.

Dammit. It’s not like the writing wasn’t on the wall for Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23, but it was nice to have hope when the ABC bosses backed the show a couple weeks ago at the winter press tour. Now, James Van Der Beek tweeted this …

… and Krysten Ritter tweeted this …

— krysten ritter (@Krystenritter) January 22, 2013

… and I’m first of all going to be mad that our WordPress site doesn’t embed tweets the way I’d like, and second will be angry that this show couldn’t catch on. If anyone watched it that tuned out at some point, I’d love to know why. What didn’t you like? Was it too funny? Was it too original?Are you not interested in supporting NEPA actresses? Are you just not a humorous person who instead would rather watch 2.5 Men reruns? WHAT WAS IT??? Hopefully we will at some point get to see those final eight episodes, maybe in a summer burn-off or something. This isn’t good news for Happy Endings, an even funnier show with what have to be even more peculiar reasons for no one watching it. I’ll have even more questions about the humor level of society when that gets canceled.

Debbie Downer start, so how about some more Omeletteville-type happy news — Mad Men coming back April 7! So begins the long plod to then, full of ambiguous rumors, half-truths and misdirection followed by my fawning over the show for its three months of air time. Fun for you, fun for all! I already assumed that’s when it was coming back because Walking Dead ends the week before, but it’s comforting that AMC announced it now before we all hit the RSS feed of yet another Mad Men blog that claimed it knew for sure when the show was coming back. I think I followed, like, 30 of them over the last month.

why would they make that the ending if they didn't intend to make him batman???

If you’ll keenly notice in Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s statement about his rumored involvement in the Justice League movie and his future as Batman, there is no straight denial. There’s a nice little tap dance around the subject about how the rumor is stir crazy, but there is never a flat denial. This is how actors work, guys. They say things like, “That’s crazy!” and “Ha ha, yeah, sure, I’m the next Batman, ha ha” so that when it actually does happen they can say, “Well I never said it wasn’t true.” Which they didn’t. So until I see Man of Steel and see that JGL isn’t in it in some cameo at the end a la Robert Downey Jr. in The Incredible Hulk, JGL can make all the vague “denials” he wants to. All I know is: 1. I actually saw Dark Knight Rises, and if there’s no plan to make him the new Batman, they sure as &%#@! fooled me and 2. DC would want some kind of continuity leading into the Justice League movie. They’d get that from the Superman and Batman movies.

Speaking of Man of Steel, it got a PG-13 rating, as if that’s any kind of surprise. How could they even make it R? Have Superman snap Zod’s neck, then whip it out and pee on his shallow grave? A full frontal, non-simulated sex scene with Amy Adams? I wouldn’t even want to see an R-rated Superman.

And other very minimal super hero summer movie news — Iron Man 3 will be in IMAX. Because no way did anyone think it would be, not with Avengers setting all kinds of records, partly because it was in IMAX, right?

Bruce Willis will be headed back to Sin City in the sequel coming out in October even though it sure seemed like he kinda sorta died in the first one. Looks like there will be another Marv story, but it centers on what Marv did while Willis’s cop Hartigan was stuck in jail. Guess that means it will be kind of cameo or something? Used for time continuation? Isn’t the bigger question, “Why is Robert Rodriguez still making casting decisions for a movie coming out in October?” Seems a little late, no? Shouldn’t this thing be getting pretty close to wrapped up so it can premiere at Cannes or have a good full-length trailer ready to be in front of Iron Man 3? Nope, they just added four actors this week. doesn’t seem like a good sign, especially for a movie that has been in the works for about five years. You would think they would have signed some people up in that time.

can't wait to see how they explain these two coming back.

For as convoluted as Sin City 2 is going to be when it comes to continuity and getting the story right, that’s nothing compared to what X-Men: Days of future Past is going to have to pull off. The comic story is great, it’s one of my favorites, I just have no idea how you can pull off a real-life movie with real-life actors in it when your audience expects real-life continuity. This seems like an obvious double-back on the whole rebooting thing when the movie didn’t make a zillion dollars, and in fact made less than all of the four other X-Men movies. “Fine, you don’t like our cast, we’ll give you the old cast, but we saw the treatment, and we can’t make heads or tails of it. Just sayin’. But hey, at least Anna Paquin and Shawn Ashmore are back, right!” This might be a whole other blog post, “20 Potential Continuity Goofs the New X-Men Movie Won’t Possibly Be Able to Explain.”

While my attention is on tonight’s AHS: Asylum season finale and next week’s30 Rock series finale, it’s also time to start looking to The Office finale. Easily one of my 10 favorite sitcoms of all time, and probably the one I feel the most affinity for, I’m going to be downright sad to see it go. Hey, maybe we should start thinking about an Office finale party at a bar around town somewhere when it airs in May? Would anyone be interested in that? If enough people say they’re interested, I’ll make the arrangements. Hit me up if you might be interested.

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