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Lord Reptile’s Top 5 Apocalypse Movies

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 - by Jeremy Swindle

You’re reading the concluding post for Preparedness Week, a weeklong series of blogs about disaster and emergency preparation inspired by the launch of Freedom Academy’s newest e-book, Surviving the End: A Practical Guide for Everyday Americans in the Age of Terrorby James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. You can download the e-book exclusively at the PJ Store here.

5. Mortal Kombat

If the apocalypse means having my skull smashed open on the rocks by Goro while Napalm Death plays then count me in. After all, Reptile is just Shang Tsung’s humble bodyguard for swatting down mortal weaklings in this film. The Reptile can take a few body slams with no problem.

Anyway, if you’re unfamiliar with the Mortal Kombat video games’ plot it shouldn’t matter. The movie involves a brutal tournament between the mortals of Earthrealm and Shang Tsung’s flunkies of Outworld. If Earth’s warriors lose the 10th tournament, the emperor Shao Khan becomes the ruler of Earthrealm.

I’m not going to spoil the ending but it should be fairly obvious that a certain Shaolin monk by the name of Louis Kang lays the smack down on the evil sorcerer and reappears for the sequel, Annihilation. This is the only proper MK film. Don’t bother with any others.

Mortal Kombat is a fine apocalyptic movie for parties or any situation.

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The 20 Best Films of the 1930s

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015 - by Kyle Smith

Editor’s Note: This is the last list in Kyle Smith’s series ranking films by decade, an expansion of his top 10 films of the 1930s list from July of 2014 here. Previously he expanded his ’00s list to a top 20 herehis ’90s list here, his ’80s list here, his ’70s list here, his ’60s list here, his ’50s list here, and his ’40s list here. Also see his list of the Click here to read “What Makes a Great Movie?,” Kyle’s essay explaining his criteria for these lists.

20. Duck Soup (1933)

The Marx Brothers’ freewheeling word association, irreverence and physical comedy were all in high gear in their funniest film, in which Groucho plays Rufus T. Firefly, the appointed ruler of the fictional land of Freedonia. The much-imitated mirror scene is a tour de force of precision physical comedy.

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R40: The 6 Best Rush Albums

Monday, February 16th, 2015 - by J. Christian Adams

This summer Rush launches the R40 tour celebrating 40 years as a band. The Canadian trio was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013, years after other acts like ABBA, Jefferson Airplane and Grandmaster Flash were inducted.  Unlike those era-centric acts, Rush has 24 Gold, 14 Platinum and three multiplatinum albums spread across 40 years. Their most recent studio album, Clockwork Angels, debuted at #2 on Billboard’s 200 album chart in 2013. Only the Beatles and Rolling Stones have more consecutive gold and platinum albums.

Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart have been producing music since they they first took the stage together at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena in August 1974. Peart was the new guy in the band then, but has since become its voice, penning lyrics that made hipster critics cringe – touching on, in chronological order – Tolkien, male baldness, the Solar Federation, starship Rocinante, forced equality of outcome, FM rock, automobile bans, Space Shuttle Columbia, concentration camps (Lee’s parents survived Auschwitz), Enola Gay, China, clever anagrams, chance, AIDS, the internet, expectations shattered by 9-11, more expectations shattered and finally, carnies.  It’s hard to find a list of rock’s greatest drummers that doesn’t include Neil Peart.

Over the decades, hipster critics praised acts like Elvis Costello, Tom Waits and the Talking Heads while they mocked Rush. But 40 years later, Rush fills arenas and tops album charts, forever reinventing a sound that defies categorization. It’s just Rush.

This summer, you can catch Rush in hockey arenas as well as lots of outdoor venues starting May 8.  Here’s a PJ Lifestyle ranking of the six most important (and best) Rush albums.

6. Roll the Bones (1991)

Roll the Bones is the album where Rush got its groove back.  The first Rush album to hit the Billboard Top 5 since Moving Pictures (eventually going Platinum) Roll the Bones marked the end of a ramble through the electronic wilderness where the songwriting and the sonic grandeur returned. After Moving Pictures in 1981, Rush released a series of roaming (yet often very good) albums dabbling or drenched in synthesizer and driven by aural tones rather than raw guitar energy. Grace Under Pressure, for example, was a very good, but very alienating work. By the time Hold Your Fire was released in 1987, the biggest rock power trio was drowning in synth. Presto in 1989 broke free from the trend with excellent songs that were shrunken by timid production.  It was Roll the Bones where it all finally came together.

“Dreamline” received massive radio airplay in an era when massive radio airplay mattered. “You Bet Your Life” is about how everyone rolls the bones on their life, they take their chances and either win or lose. “Heresy” might be the only rock song about the fall of Soviet Communism:

The counter-revolution/ at the counter of a store/ people smiling through their tears/ who can given them back their lives/ and all their wasted years?

The album is simply filled with good songs, period.

Highlights: “Dreamline,” “Bravado,” “The Big Wheel.”

We travel in the dark of the new moon
A starry highway traced on the map of the sky
Like lovers and heroes, lonely as eagle’s cry
We’re only at home when we’re on the fly, on the fly

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The 13 Most Shocking Insanity Pleas: Does Chris Kyle’s Killer Qualify?

Saturday, February 14th, 2015 - by Alex Shelby

#Honor #ChrisKyle and #ChadLittlefield

A photo posted by Andrew (@andrewdecker593) on

Since the release of the movie American Sniper a collective interest has surrounded the trial of Eddie Ray Routh, the killer of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield. Now that Routh’s trial is officially underway, his plea of not guilty by reason of insanity provokes a sense of, shall we say, injustice.

Less than 1% of defendants charged with homicide attempt the insanity plea, and about 25% of them are actually successful. This comes out to about 25 murderers annually in the United States who end up in a mental hospital rather than a prison. Nearly half of the residents in mental hospitals are there as a result of a crime conviction, misdemeanors and felonies alike.

So where does Routh fit in to this mix? How does his case compare to some of the most notorious insanity pleas and, based on what we currently know, will he be able to avoid prison?

1. Andrew Goldstein (1999)

Exhibiting behavior consistent with schizophrenia, Andrew Goldstein shoved a woman into the path of an oncoming N train in New York. Prior to this murder he voluntarily attempted to check himself into a mental hospital 13 times, but was put on a waiting list due to overcrowding.

Verdict: Guilty – 25 years to life (he eventually admitted to being consciously aware of his actions)

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The 10 Most Overrated Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time

Friday, February 13th, 2015 - by Jeremy Swindle

Editor’s Note: this list is an expansion of “The 5 Most Overrated Guitarists in Heavy Metal“ from earlier this month. It’s also a continuation of an on-going series exploring the highs and lows of the genre. Send Jeremy your ideas and arguments for which bands and albums are worthy of praise and others in need of rhetorical decapitations. He can be challenged to battle on Twitter here.

Due to the commotion that was roused in the comments section by Lord Reptile’s Guitar list, he has returned with a vastly superior lineup this time. Lord Reptile enjoyed reading your petty squabbles and thought it appropriate to KO 5 more guitar players. Lord Reptile is a generous god.

Every guitarist on this list (except maybe the dude from Avenged Sevenfold) was hugely influential to Reptile when it came to learning how to play guitar. That being said, as a musician it’s very important to look at other musicians objectively and poke fun at each other’s antics from time to time.

If you can’t handle some internet writer’s witty jabs to your guitar idol then maybe you’re just better off hiding under your bed until your mom says it’s okay to use the computer again.

No disrespect is intended towards anyone here unless they have stupid hair or tribal tattoos.

10. Nigel Tufnel (Spinal Tap)

Spinal Tap is an absolute rubbish band. The fact that they cannot even function on the same level of stupidity without lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel is quite pathetic, really. His solos are among the clumsiest in heavy metal, one is almost reminded of master Angus Young but without any sense of finesse or substance.

And then there’s his infamous guitar solo where he kicks a guitar on the ground and plays his main guitar with a fiddle. I know it’s a joke, but let’s be honest: he probably couldn’t play an impressive, self-indulgent guitar solo even if he had a sheet of acid in his headband.

9. Richie Faulkner (Judas Priest)

Come on, Judas Priest chose this scrub to replace the retired master KK Downing? What were they thinking? They probably could have picked any world-class guitarist, but no, they had to choose this nobody. The fact that Richie Faulkner was the guitarist who composed Christopher Lee’s cringe-inducing Christmas metal album should have been a huge red flag.

Priest simply just does not have the same blazing, dual-guitar approach that helped make them the greatest heavy metal band of the ’70s. On the one hand you had Glenn Tipton’s superior finesse and melodic soloing, and then BAM, KK Downing kicks you in the face shredding on the other channel playing the most passionate rock ‘n’ roll guitar solo to finish off the exchange. Glenn and KK played off each other brilliantly, and that’s sadly missing from the newest Priest album. Hopefully Lord Halford will release a new solo album because he’s still shattering skulls with his screams of vengeance.

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10 Movies Much Sexier Than Fifty Shades of Grey

Friday, February 13th, 2015 - by Kyle Smith

The erotic bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey has hit the screen with some sizzling bedroom (and dungeon) action featuring leads Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as a naive college student and a zillionaire with peculiar bedroom demands. Let’s take a look back at the sexiest mainstream movies (not counting outright porn) ever made.

10. Body Double (1984)

Brian De Palma’s fixation on Alfred Hitchcock drove his sexy 1980 thriller Dressed to Kill, which was obviously inspired by Psycho, and also this even more erotically charged thriller, which was an homage to both Rear Window and Vertigo. Deborah Shelton plays the dancing neighbor whose nightly routine attracts the voyeuristic attention of a journeyman actor (Craig Wasson) who discovers a strange link between the girl he watches through the telescope and a porn star (Melanie Griffith, then a red-hot ingenue). 

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Looking for Something to Netflix this Weekend? Here Are the 10 Best Films of the 2010s

Friday, January 30th, 2015 - by Kyle Smith

Editor’s Note: This is one of the last lists in Kyle Smith’s series ranking films by decade. Recently he expanded his ’00s list to a top 20 here, his ’90s list here, his ’80s list here, his ’70s list here, his ’60s list here, his ’50s list here, and his ’40s list here. Do you disagree with Kyle’s choices? Do you have your own ideas for lists of movies or other cultural subjects? Which years and what subjects would you most like to see covered at PJ Lifestyle? Email: DaveSwindlePJM [@] gmail.com. Also check out Kyle’s top 10 movie picks for the ‘30s before he expands them to a top 20 too, completing the series. Click here to read “What Makes a Great Movie?,” Kyle’s essay explaining his criteria for these lists.

The second decade of the century has seen a surge in effects-driven, superhero-centric movies. But that’s okay, because there is so much money floating around the system that talented independent filmmakers seem to have little difficulty evading the strictures of the popularity-chasing studio system and producing personal artistic statements. Moreover, the blockbusters are pretty good too: they’ve gotten increasingly sophisticated and now attract some of the best writers and directors. Here’s one critic’s look at the best films of the first half of the 2010s:

10. War Horse (2011)

Looking at WW I’s madness, evil and destruction through the eyes of an innocent beast, Steven Spielberg’s best film since Catch Me If You Can resonated like a parable. Only rarely does a war film take in such a broad panorama.

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10 Science-Themed Rock Songs For Your Internet Debates

Thursday, January 29th, 2015 - by Allston

Back when, I was a Moderator/Science Expert at a certain large, science-themed message board. Here and there, debate points would be illustrated by a person’s posting a piece of music to illustrate their points, or to emphasize what they were stating, or just because. It’s all good.

There has been the all-too frequent debate over, “what would a helicopter do on the moon?”  Billy Preston essentially nailed the question.

1. Billy Preston – “Go round in Circles”:

I wanted the SSC. I needed the SSC. Sadly, it was not to be. We were fools, because we instead spent the money on what? Paying to study gay whales in Patagonia?

2. Tribe – “Supercollider”:

We know that Closed Timelike Curves are possible, as well as other, more esoteric methods of time-travel not precluded by the Standard Model.  Listen, if you find a blue police box in your den, just go for it. We won’t think the lesser of you, assuming that you ever return.

3. Timelords – Doctoring the Tardis”:

Who knew that Vanadium and Americium could be so…entertaining?

4. Tom Lehrer – “Elements”:

He is simply insane. Then again, Brain does, in fact, match the personality of many a multiply-degreed scientist I’d worked with. Come to think of it, I also recollect some graduate students who bore a close resemblance to Pinky too.

5. Pinky and the Brain – “Brainstem”:

Scientists can be like that – think up some astounding idea, and be so fixated on it that they’ll walk out into moving traffic while pondering it all.

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5 Songs for Surviving a Blizzard

Monday, January 26th, 2015 - by Allston

Written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne in July 1945, during a heat wave, no less:

1. Frank Sinatra – “Let It Snow”

A call-and-response duet, in which the male singer tries to convince the female to stay at home for a romantic evening, because the weather is so fierce:

2. Ray Charles and Betty Carter – “Baby It’s Cold Outside”

What with two (plus) feet on the white stuff en route, oh yes, we will all assuredly be “blue”:

3. Muddy Waters – “Cold Weather Blues”

The 1933 song was featured in the 1943 movie of the same name:

4. Etta James – “Stormy Weather”

From a master of cool jazz for a cold day:

5.  Gerry Mulligan and Paul Desmond – “Wintersong”

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The 20 Best Films of the 2000s

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015 - by Kyle Smith

Editor’s Note: This is an expansion of Kyle Smith’s list of the 10 best films of the 2000s published here in July 2014. I’ve asked Kyle to expand his series as PJ Lifestyle begins offering more lists, articles, essays, and blog posts exploring culture, art, technology, and history by decade. Recently he expanded his ’80s list to a top 20 here, his ’70s list here, his ’60s list here, his ’50s list here, his ’90s list here, and his ’40s list here. Do you disagree with Kyle’s choices? Do you have your own ideas for lists of movies or other cultural subjects? Which years and what subjects would you most like to see covered at PJ Lifestyle? Email: DaveSwindlePJM [@] gmail.com. Also check out Kyle’s top 10 movie picks for the ‘30s before he expands them to a top 20 too, completing the series. Click here to read “What Makes a Great Movie?,” Kyle’s essay explaining his criteria for these lists.

20. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

A glorious union of Eastern martial arts and Hollywood production values, Ang Lee’s timeless 18th century story is magical, exciting, romantic and sweeping, one of the most beautiful and bewitching action films ever made. 

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Which of These 7 Versions of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony Is Your Favorite?

Monday, January 5th, 2015 - by PJ Lifestyle Classical Music In the Morning

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The 10 Most Underrated Movies of 2014

Friday, January 2nd, 2015 - by Kyle Smith

You’ve seen the superhero movies, but what about all the great films that didn’t have $50 million marketing budgets or didn’t attract much of an audience? There were plenty of sleepers in 2014, and many of them are now available on home video or on streaming services such as Netflix. Here are some don’t-miss films.

10. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Chris Pine isn’t much of an actor to play the Tom Clancy take on James Bond, but in this origins story Pine isn’t expected to be Harrison Ford but merely the fresh-faced, slightly nervous young recruit just gaining his footing. A careful, methodical spy thriller that puts story over cheap thrills, Kenneth Branagh’s film features an able supporting cast including Kevin Costner as the mentor, Keira Knightley as a wily girlfriend and Branagh himself as a Russian terrorist with a plan to kneecap the U.S. economy.

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7 New Year’s Resolutions for Conservatives

Thursday, January 1st, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard

shutterstock_62795851

The conservative movement faces many challenges as we turn the calendar to 2015. There are ongoing battles with those on the left who think we are stupid or evil (or both) and with those in the Republican Party who find more in common with the big-government Democrats than with those on the right who favor smaller government and traditional values. As we look forward to a new year, it’s a good time for all of us to consider how we can be more effective activists, so I offer a list of some areas for improvement. This is in no way an indictment of the entire conservative movement or an attempt to stereotype anyone — I am fully aware that most movement conservatives already do these things. But I’ve needed to work on all of them at one time or another (and need to do so on a continuing basis) and so I thought perhaps they might inspire you to set some new goals for 2015.

1. Talk to People with Whom You Disagree

It’s tempting to think of people on the other side of the political spectrum — both those in the other party and those within our own party — as enemies. And while it’s true that there are some extremists who are literally trying to destroy this country from the top down (and the bottom up), the vast majority of people we have disagreements with are really decent people who see the world differently than we do. They have children and families and go to work every day and really do want to make the world a better place, however misguided their efforts may be.

The truth is we have very deep divides in this country and they’re not going to be healed if we demonize our opponents and shun dialogue, so let’s resolve to have more meaningful conversations with those on the other side of the political spectrum in 2015.

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The 10 Most Essential Christmas Specials and Holiday Movies

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014 - by Chris Queen

Editor’s Note: This article was first published as “Essential Christmas: The 10 Best Holiday Specials And Movies” in 2011 and is now resurrected and republished as part of today and tomorrow’s Ghost-Lists of Christmas Past Series.

In a day when parents and children rarely watch the same TV shows, Christmas TV specials and holiday movies still somehow manage to continue to bring families together.

These days it’s even easier than it used to be to share these traditions. ABC Family has made an art out of holiday programming with their “25 Days of Christmas” programming blocs that package specials throughout the month of December. Home video and streaming services also allow families to watch programs whenever they want.

In the spirit of Christmas, I’m offering to you this list of the ten most essential specials and movies of the season.

We’ll start with a pair of very different types of animation from a production company synonymous with Christmas specials…

10. The Year Without A Santa Claus

Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass are synonymous with their stop-motion Christmas specials of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Viewers not familiar with their names will recognize their unmistakable round-headed characters, candy-colored landscapes, and softly falling snow. A few of their specials are on this list, starting with The Year Without A Santa Claus.

In this 1974 special, Mrs. Claus (voiced by Shirley Booth) tells the story of the year Santa (voiced by Mickey Rooney) decides — on doctor’s orders — to take a vacation. Two of his elves and the young reindeer Vixen take a trip to find enough Christmas spirit to cheer Santa up. Along their way, the elves battle the Heat Miser and Snow Miser and visit Southtown, USA, where they get lost. Santa journeys south to find Vixen and discovers that the children of the world need him. He can’t skip Christmas.

The Year Without A Santa Claus is a clever story with some memorable scenes and catchy songs, including those involving the villains.

It’s not as ubiquitous as Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer or Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, but The Year Without A Santa Claus is trippy holiday fun.

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12 Wonderful Christmas Songs

Monday, December 22nd, 2014 - by Allston

An Irving Berlin song about an old, traditional Christmas, this was one of the wonderful songs featured in the 1942 film Holiday Inn. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, this is the number one hit single of all time, with over 50 million copies of the Bing Crosby version sold, and over 100 million counting all of the remakes.

1. Bing Crosby – “White Christmas”

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5 Creative Musical Acts You Probably Haven’t Heard of But Should Know

Friday, December 19th, 2014 - by Allston

Australian by birth, Tal Wilkenfeld began playing guitar at age 14. Two years later, feeling “this just isn’t going to work out for me,” she dropped out of high school and emigrated to the United states. A year later, having changed her instrument to bass guitar, she graduated in 2004 from the prestigious Los Angeles Music Academy College of Music.

That same year, she moved to New York City, and began performing with numerous greats – as a guest with the Allman Brothers, then with Chick Corea, Jeff Beck, Wayne Krantz, Herbie Hancock, Eric Clapton, and many others. As the lead for her own act, she has earned critical acclaim as one of the most exciting new artists of recent memory.

1. Tal Wilkenfeld – “Serendipity Live”

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17 Reasons Why I Enjoyed Summer TV More than the ‘New Fall Season’ on Broadcast, Part III

Saturday, December 13th, 2014 - by David Forsmark

5. Life is Beautiful: Dr. Who

Before they brought Holmes and Watson into the 20th century in the excellent personages of Benedict Cumberbach and Martin Freeman, the Sherlock team first produced this marvelous update of the ultimate geek cult classic, Dr. Who.

For the uninitiated, The Doctor is a time-traveling alien, last of his species which was known as Time Lords, who generally is incarnated with some sort of accent from the British Isles, and travels through time and space in a blue time capsule that looks like a blue British police call box circa 1963 (when the series debuted on the BBC.)

The Doctor is of an undetermined age, and regenerates every so often with a new body and slightly different personality. This season, he is played by Peter Capaldi and is, to his initial consternation, an older and grouchier, Scotsman. In the most recent seasons he has been played to great effect by Christopher Eccleson, David Tennant and Matt Smith.

The Doctor travels with an appealing and adventurous sidekick, generally a young and pretty British woman.

Like The Doctor himself, this show has heart to spare, generally with the characters saving some civilization from extinction. While Dr. Who is consistently life-affirming, the show recently aired one of the most blatantly pro-life episodes in the history of television.

Forget wondering if a baby might ruin one’s career, in this case, the dilemma was whether to kill the last of an alien species in utero, even if letting it hatch meant risking the future of Earth itself.

Utterly whimsical and completely addictive, Dr. Who has a sense of wonder and humanity that is unique in modern television.

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The 20 Best Films of the 1990s

Saturday, December 13th, 2014 - by Kyle Smith

Editor’s Note: This is an expansion of Kyle Smith’s list of the 10 best films of the 1990s published here in June. I’ve asked Kyle to expand his series as PJ Lifestyle begins offering more lists, articles, essays, and blog posts exploring culture, art, technology, and history by decade. Recently he expanded his ’80s list to a top 20 here, his ’70s list here, his ’60s list here, his ’50s list here, and his ’40s list here. Do you disagree with Kyle’s choices? Do you have your own ideas for lists of movies or other cultural subjects? Which years and what subjects would you most like to see covered at PJ Lifestyle? Email: DaveSwindlePJM [@] gmail.com. Also check out Kyle’s top 10 movie picks for the ‘30s and the ’00s before he expands them to top 20s. Click here to read “What Makes a Great Movie?,” Kyle’s essay explaining his criteria for these lists.

20. Braveheart (1995)

Mel Gibson’s stirring, vigorous historical epic about Scottish nationalists taking on the more powerful English is a throwback to ’50s filmmaking – big battles, yes, but also attentive to the love scenes and most of all to the sense that heroic individuals shape history, even if they lose, because they’re so inspiring to others long after they fall.

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10 Songs That Remind Me of Summer

Friday, December 12th, 2014 - by Allston

It’s a cold, windy, rainy, crappy weather day outside here. I don’t know about you, but at the moment I could use something to listen to, a reminder of summer. (Stepping into that pothole full of icy water earlier didn’t help matters much.) It’s a long haul until then, but winter makes us appreciate summer, doesn’t it?

If anyone could make you want to give it all up, move to Brazil, and spend your days walking barefoot on the beach, it would be Bebel.

1. Bebel Gilberto – So Nice (Summer Samba)

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10 Supporting Characters Who Spoiled Their Movies

Friday, November 28th, 2014 - by Pierre Comtois

You know who they are.

You’ve seen them in movies you really wanted to like only to have the film taken down a peg, maybe two, by those annoying, bothersome supporting characters who, for some reason, writers, producers, or some studio suit considered indispensable. Sometimes they’re sidekicks, sometimes comedy relief, sometimes they’re kids, and sometimes they’re just plain head scratchers. But in every case, they stick out like sore thumbs, dragging down the quality of otherwise decent pictures or films that could have been great but fell short due to bad casting.

We speak of the mysterious extra punch that movie makers throughout cinema history have at one time or another considered indispensable to the success of a film. Often such instincts have proven on the money (literally!) as endless numbers of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers films can attest! And in case modern audiences have become too smug in their belief that today’s filmmakers are way too sophisticated to fall back on such dubious casting, they’re asked to look no farther than the string of Star Wars movies, blockbusters all!

But even as we disparage their use, there has been a method to filmmakers’ madness in casting such annoying characters. Often they’re used to keep the stars from getting too full of themselves — taking the air out of their sails when it threatens to carry them away. Other times, it’s to inject some needed comedy relief in tense situations. In still others, it might be to inject some pearls of wisdom or unconscious bits of philosophical truth to the goings on. Sometimes they might be allowed to display certain kinds of emotions such as fright or sentimentality not allowed the hero lest he seem less heroic. Sometimes he might even play cupid, maneuvering the hero and his romantic interest into each other’s arms. Which is to say, under the proper circumstances, the supporting character can work, but when they don’t, movie buffs end up with Supporting Characters Who Spoiled Their Movies!

hale-virginia-city

10) Alan Hale

Perhaps in love with the jovial nature he projected on film, producers in the golden age of Hollywood seemed to have high regard for Alan Hale, Sr., who appeared in countless films from the silent era until his death in 1950. Although Hale worked in many of his parts, his oft-repeated role as comedy relief for Errol Flynn managed to take such films as The Adventures of Robin Hood, Desperate Journey, and The Sea Hawk down a notch or two from perfection.

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The Top 10 Ultimate Tough Guy Movies

Friday, November 28th, 2014 - by James Jay Carafano

Editor’s Note: See James Jay Carafano’s article from yesterday for the opposite of the films on this list: 10 Tinseltown Turkeys That Make Real Men Choke.

10. Straw Dogs (1971)

Dustin Hoffman made his bones as a misfit Hollywood Holden Caulfield in The Graduate (1967). Who would have thought of him as an action hero? “Bloody Sam” Peckinpah, that’s who. The director of the Wild West’s wildest tough guy movie, The Wild Bunch (1969), followed up with a controversial film starring Hoffman as a meek math professor on sabbatical in rural Cornwall. When a bunch of rowdy locals storm his home, Hoffman goes all Rambo proving his “manhood” in an orgy of violence. Even Hoffman’s character can’t believe what happens. “Jesus, I got ‘em all,” he mumbles at the end of the movie. This film cemented Peckinpah’s place as the king of his generation’s tough guy moviemakers. For some unfathomable reason, the movie was remade in 2011. Stick to the original.

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10 Great Films That Flopped in the Last 20 Years

Thursday, November 27th, 2014 - by Kyle Smith

Let’s look back at 10 of the best money-losing movies over the last couple of decades.

1. The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)

Joel and Ethan Coen’s fond sendup of 1930s screwball comedies was an ingeniously plotted story of a neophyte businessman (Tim Robbins) charged with becoming the puppet leader of a corporation that wants to depress the stock price. Instead, he turns out to be an entrepreneurial visionary who invents the hula hoop. An irascible Paul Newman is hilarious as the scheming board member frustrated by the simple honesty of the Robbins character. The movie deserves the cult success that later attached to The Big Lebowski.

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10 Tinseltown Turkeys That Make Real Men Choke

Thursday, November 27th, 2014 - by James Jay Carafano

Sometimes Hollywood serves up some pretty indigestible fare. Some films, such as Howard the Duck (1986), are impossible to swallow—so terrible they become synonymous with “bad cinema.” (Who can forget Gary Larson’s The Far Side cartoon depicting “Hell’s Video Store,” its shelves stocked solely with copies of Ishtar (1987)?)

But not every bomb reaches such heights of notoriety.  Here’s a list of movies that are every bit as bad—and leave “real men” with extra heartburn. They degrade the genres that “real men” love best.

10. Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)

All right, this utterly dreadful sci-fi schlock is, admittedly, no stranger to lists of worst movies ever. And justifiably so. Written, directed and produced by the world’s least talented filmmaker, Edward D. Wood, it’s a bijou of awfulness. What twists the knife in this celluloid sacrilege is the sight of Bela Lugosi, one of Hollywood’s greatest horror stars, shambling through what was to be his last appearance on the silver screen. Rather than try to sit through this sad excuse for a film, better to watch Tim Burton’s engaging biopic Ed Wood (1994), which tells the story behind the movie.

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6 More Very Talented Percussion Masters

Thursday, November 6th, 2014 - by Allston

Once again, my thanks for all of the great suggestions. You keep ‘em coming, I’ll keep posting them up. And once again, the standard disclaimer – I can only post so many songs per/article, so if I did not (yet) post someone you feel is relevant and a great percussionist, please make a suggestion in the comments. This is one of several open-ended series of articles, and there are hundreds of great drummers out there, so please be patient.

Peart joined Rush in 1974, just two weeks before the beginning of a major tour, and just four months after their self-titled debut album.

1. Neil Peart – (with Rush) – “Tom Sawyer

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