Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday, Friday

If the Braves don't start hitting the damn ball soon, I'm gonna... well, bitch more. Trade rumors are starting to swirl around Jeff Franceour, and while it would be weird to think of the Bravos trading the kid we once called The Natural, it might be the only choice if he doesn't start picking it up.

It's the return of the...

WEEKEND 6-PACK!

Blaine Duncan & The Lookers -- Blaine Duncan & The Lookers
Drive-By Truckers -- Decoration Day
Dexateens -- Singlewide
The Rolling Stones -- Sticky Fingers
Justin Townes Earle -- Midnight at the Movies
Alabama -- Mountain Music

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Things I think

OK, so I'm flipping through an issue of Esquire, and while it is usually filled with ads that I find strange, I came across one that takes it to a whole new level. Tell me, Diesel, how the fuck do you think this makes me want to buy your cologne? Last I checked, Esquire was marketed towards straight guys, and that ad certainly ain't.

Uncle Tupelo > Son Volt > Wilco

If you're not a Squidbillies fan, you should be. See below:


I've went back and watched the first three Terminator movies after seeing Salvation Friday, and it's only made Salvation that much worse.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

God this is awful basketball

Game 3 of the Magic/Cavs series is the worst game of basketball I have seen since a bunch of 5-year-old kids played during halftime of an Alabama game years ago.

BUT, my buddy Nate has made one entertaining point: Stan Van Gundy looks like Monty from the Rescue Rangers. See for yourself...

Terminator Salvation

On Friday, my 25th birthday, I went and saw the latest installation of a series that has also graced this earth for a quarter century: Terminator Salvation.

Coming into the summer, this was probably the film I looked forward to the most, and I left the theater... disappointed.

It's not a bad film by any means, in fact I was fairly entertained by the flick. But, after viewing it I couldn't help but think about the numerous ways that the film could've been improved upon.

The acting was solid all-around (although I wasn't overly impressed with Moon Bloodgood), and the action scenes were awesome of course. As an action film, it worked.

But the Terminator series isn't strictly about action. It's also science fiction, and great science fiction only uses it's science as a setting and background, and not as the driving force. Star Wars wasn't about outer space, it was about the characters. Jurassic Park wasn't about dinosaurs, it was about the ethical limitations of science.

Salvation did not obey this rule.

I felt like director McG (side note: what the fuck? McG? Douche.) assumed that everyone watching the movie already knew every intricate detail about the Terminator series already. But, this is supposed to be a stand alone trilogy, and he relied too much on previous knowledge of the series. Yes, the connections are needed, but he didn't need the amount he used.

The main problem I have is that because of the above assumption, McG sacrificed character building and plot development in favor of an extra action scene or three. The movie would have been immensely better had he sacrificed 15-20 minutes of action for some more story telling.

Hopefully, he'll learn from this film and capture the full potential of the series in the next film. But for now, unless you're a die hard fan of the series, wait until the DVD.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Random thoughts

Saw Star Trek the other day, thoroughly enjoyable movie. It wasn't the greatest thing ever like some reviews say, but it was pretty good. I had absolutely zero knowledge of anything Star Trek going in, and the movie did a pretty good job of introducing me to it, so kudos there.

So, I'm a little annoyed that Ole Miss is getting so much love in various post-spring Top 25s. Now, I know it's blatantly early to worry about this kind of stuff, but seeing them picked ahead of the Tide in the SEC West is rubbing me the wrong way. Yes, they had a strong year last year, and their QB Jevan Snead is the best in the league behind Tim Tebow. But they lost some very key parts on defense, and are rebuilding their offensive line. To see them in the National Championship talk is a bit ridiculous. It's Houston Nutt people, he's still too one-dimensional.

The Braves are still killing me, but at least the bullpen has turned around. The hitting, however, is gray hair inducing. We need a solid cleanup guy, but I just don't know where one is. Garrett Anderson is not it, and as great as Brian McCann is, he's just not a power guy. If Jeff Francoeur turns it on, he could be the in-house solution. But I don't see that happening. And I just heard a very disturbing stat: the Braves have hit into 32 double plays this season, in now their 37th game. That's almost a double play a game. Sheesh.

Wrestling thoughts: I love Randy Orton more and more each time I get to watch him. His dark, brooding, monotone mic-work is superb; and his in-ring work only continues to flourish. I also like the recent trend of some younger guys like MVP and John Morrison getting pushes (like the Morrison face-turn too). Things I don't like: the continued misuse of the tag team division (Cryme Tyme hosting Diva segments every week, really?); and the rumor that Vince McMahon wants to put a show on Wednesday nights, meaning there would be five nights of WWE programming a week. Unless you get rid of the brand extension, this won't work. However, it could work if they unite the rosters, unify the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships, drop the ECW Title (who wants a fucking silver belt anyway?), add another mid-card belt (Cruiserweight), unify the Womens/Divas belts (and shelve the stupid segments with pillow fights and crap every week), and really push the young guys and tag teams. Don't overexpose your top guys, let storylines play out, get your young guys TV time. It could work.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Blaine Duncan & The Lookers

Thank the lord for Blaine Duncan & The Lookers. Because, finally, I have a reason to be excited about new music.

Let's face it: there ain't much to get excited about in the country/Southern rock music scene these days.

Mainstream radio hasn't put out anything that can even remotely be called country since Shania Twain burst on the scene in the '90s and with the ever-graceful presence of the angel of death. Yeah, there are a couple of mainstays that you can't deny (Alan Jackson and George Strait, namely); but, it ain't country anymore -- it's pop, plain and simple. The Nashville suits are always looking for the next Rascal Flatts or Taylor Swift. Shooter Jennings said it best: "They built Music City by sacrificing soul."

And rock radio... well, has there ever really been a place for Southern rock in the mainstream? Quick, name me five Southern rock acts who really transcended boundaries and rose above the regional biases. Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers, ZZ Top... umm, that's it, right? Maybe there's not room for simple songs about life. Or maybe if you don't wear eyeliner and shirts four-times too small with a scarf you don't get played. I don't know the rules, I just know they're stupid.

So we're forced to look beyond what's given to us. We're forced (although a good number of us, like myself, go willingly) into smoke-filled, dimly-lit bars to hear real music.

And it is there that you find Blaine Duncan & The Lookers, as sure and dependable as any band out there.

Their live shows are unmistakable. The three-guitar melodic attack of Duncan, David Phillips and Ham Bagby leads the way, striking a fine balance between boogie-down licks and rock-fist thrusting solos. The rhythm section of Kendall Rich on bass (a spot formerly filled by Ryan Akers, who appears on the album as both bassist and co-songwriter) and Mikey Oswalt on drums pounds out toe-tapping beats one after the other, with the steady ferocity of coal miners doing their jobs day in and day out. Then there's Duncan, who leads them all with his "aw-shucks" charisma -- always starting out shows looking almost nervous on stage, then erupting into a flurry of Pete Townsend-esque guitar strums and rally-leading shouts.

But the translation from live performance to CD is where the band's magnificence really shines. The songs are put together with an intricate tightness, something you can really appreciate as a music fan -- especially when Nathan Pitts lends a hand on pedal steel and banjo. But at the same time they have a carefree attitude, almost as if there's a subliminal message hidden somewhere that tells you to crank your stereo, roll down your windows and rock into the breeze.

The songwriting is absolutely superb. It's simple and thought-provoking without tripping over itself trying to be too complex. There's no pandering to any formulas, just an honest freshness. There are no stereotypical "I'm from the country" anthems, no cookie-cutter love songs.

There's just the boys in the band and their music. Boys who don't take themselves too seriously -- as evidenced by songs like "I Don't Smoke Dope With Satan (Since He Left Me at the Mall)" -- but still know how to settle in and delve into heartfelt efforts like "The Death" and "Virginia (State Park)" with a seamless ease.

In the end, you won't want to take this one out of your CD player until you wear it out. The play count on your iPod will climb and climb until you know every word by heart. You'll eagerly anticipate their every show until you realize the soul Shooter Jennings was talking about may have been sacrificed in Music City, but it still lives strong in bands like Blaine Duncan & The Lookers.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Let's all go to the lobby!

And get ourselves a snack. It's summer time, and you know what that means: movie time. Perhaps the most anticipated movie of the year has already come and gone, that being Watchmen of course.

But I kicked off my summer movie season this past Sunday when I saw State of Play, and came away thoroughly impressed. Or maybe I started it a few weeks ago when I saw Observe & Report (HIGH-larious) and Adventureland (not what I expected, but solid).

So what else does the summer hold in store for us?

X-Men Origins: Wolverine
In theaters
We were gonna see this Sunday, but all of these horrible reviews swayed us in another direction. But, I still wanna see it. Huge X-Men fan, and it can't be worse than X-Men 3, can it? I mean, it's got Gambit and Deadpool, after all.


Star Trek
May 8th
I can't say I'm the biggest J.J. Abrams fan. I think Lost is absolute crap, and I hated Cloverfield with a passion. I also have never, ever been a fan of Star Trek movies or series. But damn if the trailers for this one don't have me interested.


Terminator: Salvation
May 21st
Really excited for this one. Christian Bale is the man, and the Terminator series is top notch action/sci-fi. Salvation takes us to the post-apocalyptic 2018, where John Connor leads what's left of humanity against Skynet. Should be action packed, involving, and thrilling.


Up
May 29th
Pixar never misses, ever. Seriously, why is this gonna be any different?


Land Of The Lost
June
It looks like they didn't take themselves seriously while making this, and if that's true, this should be good, campy fun.


Year One
June
Jack Black, Michael Cera and McLovin. Probably your comedy of the summer.


Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen
June
OK, when I saw the first one, I liked it. But, as time went on, well... look, Spider-Man 3 came out that same year, and compared to that everything is fucking amazing. Michael Bay turned the Transformers into Lego Bionicles. He added his usual unnecessary love story (incredibly, amazingly, unimaginably hot as Megan Fox may be). He dropped story/character development in favor of over-the-top special effects. And what the fuck is Sector 7?!?!?


The Hangover
June
OK, maybe Year One isn't the comedy of the summer just yet. This looks friggin' hilarious on a whole 'nother level.


Funny People
July
Judd Apatow strikes again! In Apatow's third directorial effort, Adam Sandler joins Seth Rogen and Eric Bana in a film about a comedian (Sandler) who has a terminal illness and befriends a fellow comedian (Rogen). This one seems to be a bit heavier than the usual Apatow-related flicks, but has a lot of potential.


Public Enemies
July
Johnny Depp plays John Dillinger. Christian Bale plays the FBI agent trying to catch him. Michael Mann will direct them. Who doesn't enjoy a good old-timey gangster flick? With that cast, this seems like a can't-miss.


BrĂ¼no
July
Good news: another Sacha Baron Cohen movie. Bad news: there are still douche bags who endlessly spew out "sexy time!" and "high five!" and "very nice!" from Borat.


G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra
August
Umm, just watch the trailer. Either you'll get really geeked up, or you'll be like me and think, "Good lord, that's just gonna be crap."


Inglorious Basterds
August
Quentin Tarantino. Brad Pitt. World War 2. Yes, please.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Random musings

The Braves are killing me this year, absolutely killing me. No cleanup hitter, and no bullpen. But, somehow, all hope is not lost. Brian McCann is due back at the end of this week, and hopefully his eye problem will be a thing of the past and he can help out the lineup. On the pitching side of things, we are still without Tim Hudson and Tom Glavine, and when Hudson returns -- and if Glavine does -- we can move a couple of back end starters to the pen for help. And better yet, Tommy Hanson is due up sometime this year, and hopefully he can contribute the same way as David Price did for the Rays last season.

Two CD releases to get excited about: This Saturday Blaine Duncan & The Lookers will hold their CD release party at Little Willie's in Tuscaloosa for their self-titled debut. Next Tuesday, May 12th, The Dexateens unleash the highly anticipated Singlewide upon the world. I strongly recommend both to fans of Southern-twinged rock n roll. Videos for your viewing/listening pleasure:





Good piece on Alabama QB Greg McElroy over at ESPN.com by Mark Schlabach. I'm fairly confident in the kid, he doesn't have to do much, after all. The defense is going to be sick nasty this fall, and he's surrounded by enough weapons on offense that he can step in and play the same game-manager role as John Parker Wilson did last season.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Yo

Howdy y'all. Sorry for the quiet lately, been a bit busy with moving and such. Also sorry to say, the new place does not have DVR, therefore the wrestling reviews will have to be put on hold for a little bit. But, that should only be temporary, the newer place I'm moving to this summer will be equipped, I guarantee you that.