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Random Awesomeness (part 2019.12)

Random Awesomeness

Purchase Let’s Rock by the Black Keys!

Random Awesomeness (part 2019.9)

Random Awesomeness

What I’m Reading Right Now: Almost Yankees: The Summer of ’81 and the Greatest Baseball Team You’ve Never Heard Of by J. David Herman.

Purchase “Bullet Holes” (from John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum) by Bush!

Christmas gift ideas for your Stranger Things-loving friend

Many of you will be gathering around the dinner table tomorrow to devour some turkey and fixings. Chances are, some of your family members that will be eating with you will be fans of the phenomenal Stranger Things Netflix series. Perhaps you weren’t sure what to buy these people. Maybe you were thinking about something like a restaurant gift card, or cold, hard cash. And while those are certainly acceptable gifts for those you don’t know very well, a Stranger Things collectible might be a better option for fans of the Duffer Brothers series. Here are a few ideas:
Stranger Things

Personally, I liked the second season much better than the first…and that’s saying something, because I absolutely loved the first season! So whether your friends/family members/neighbors/secret Santa partners are fans of the original cast or enjoy the additions of Bob, Max, Billy, and Dr. Owens, these gift ideas will hit the mark.

I like Stranger Things

Possibly worth an entire year’s subscription to Netflix (which is now free on certain T-Mobile plans), the second season of Stranger Things was released just over a week ago. Seriously, this is not just the best show on Netflix. This is the best show period. Nothing else holds a candle to it, except maybe The Goldbergs, but that’s a whole different genre.

Last year, Punk Rock Paint made an awesome set of trading cards for Stranger Things, and he implied yesterday that series 2 is in the works…

I love my set of season 1 cards, and can’t wait for the second series…but I’m very impatient.

So I made my own…

I dropped a few on my Twitter last night…

I have a handful more that I plan to post soon, if there is interest to see them. I’ve tried to keep them spoiler-free, but I offer no guarantees.

Marvel’s Daredevil (2015)


Marvel’s Daredevil
Starring: Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Vincent D’Onofrio
Netflix, 2015
13 episodes, 48-59 minutes each

[Review by TWJ contributor Joshua.]

Marvel’s Daredevil takes place after the catastrophic destruction of New York in 2012’s The Avengers. It ties in perfectly, making many obvious references to the cinematic universe, as well as subtle nods to the comic book readers who may be watching. One of the major themes throughout the show is the methods used to rebuild, both literally and figuratively, as New York reconstructs homes and businesses, and the citizens try to move on, despite the troublesome times.

The series focuses on a blind attorney, Matthew Murdock, working from a criminal defense office he owns with his good friend, Foggy Nelson. Their neighborhood, Hell’s Kitchen, is ridden with drugs distributed by the Russians, manufactured by the Chinese mafia, and enforced by the Japanese mob, all of whom are led by a seemingly untouchable man at the top, the Kingpin.

Matt may know the law, but that doesn’t mean he abides by it. In order to clean up the city and keep civilians out of harms way, Murdock dons a mask to combat the evil spreading through the streets. His heightened senses and advanced knowledge of multiple forms of martial arts makes him more dangerous than most criminals realize, which often spells their undoing.

From the very beginning we see Matt struggling with the morality of his actions and his methods of keeping the peace, while also showing us how a boy learns to use his disability to bring out his inner strengths. Marvel’s Daredevil is definitely a show worth watching from the unsettling crimson musical intro all the way to the climactic finality of the end. The show does a fantastic job of taking us along the journey Murdock follows to transform from a man of the law into a symbol of dark justice.

Sign up for Netflix and start watching Marvel’s Daredevil now!

New on @Netflix

I have heard a lot of good things about Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, so when I saw the option to watch instantly added this morning, I was happy. I plan to check it out later tonight (after the kids hit the sack, of course), and if I make it all the way through, I’ll let you know what I thought.

Here are a few reviews from around the web:

New streaming titles on @Netflix

A few titles added this morning that caught my eye:

  • I Sell the Dead: “As 19th-century grave robber Arthur Blake faces the guillotine, he confesses his sins to a priest, revealing a life filled with unearthly high jinks in this macabre comedy starring Dominic Monaghan as the doomed digger and Ron Perlman as the cleric.”
  • Chillerama: “The screams — and laughs — come fast and furious in this anthology of four tongue-in-cheek horror tales, each from a different writer/director. The baddies range from a gang of gay “werebears” and a monster sperm to Nazi madmen and zombies.”
  • Vampires (in French): “In this sly faux-documentary send-up of both the current cultural obsession with vampires and the way society treats those on its fringes, a TV crew sets up shop with a family of bloodsuckers living the good life in French-speaking Belgium. Vampires, it turns out, are not so different than the rest of us. Thus, when party-boy son Samson breaks bat rule No. 1 — no sleeping with your leader’s wife — the family of immortals gets exiled to Canada.”
  • Kidnapped (in Spanish): “On the day they’re celebrating their move into a beautiful new house, a Madrid couple (Fernando Cayo and Ana Wagener) and their teenage daughter (Manuela Vellés) become the targets of a brutal home invasion by a masked and violently determined trio of criminals. The family struggles to resist even after the gang separates the father from the two women. Their defiance leads to a brutal, bloody drama in what had been a peaceful middle-class setting.”

Indie horror movie feast (via @HorrorHound and @Netflix)

I picked up the special November convention-exclusive issue of HorrorHound Magazine last night at HorrorHound Weekend in Cincinnati. The article “The HorrorHound Grill” lists a ton of independent movies that have been released over the past couple of years. Below is a list of the titles I could locate available to stream on Netflix (* = foreign language):

Of these seventeen movies, I have only seen Hobo With a Shotgun, Red State and Rubber (which I need to re-watch because I was really tired when I watched it and don’t remember much about it at all). I needed a list like this since so much goes by without much fanfare, and if I don’t recognize the cover art or any of the people involved, many times I won’t take the time to look into it.

Hopefully a few more titles will pop up on Netflix in the future. The write-ups for both Rare Exports and Stakeland look interesting, and the artwork for Kidnapped looks terrifying (even if it is in Spanish and I hate subtitles).

I will start watching some of these movies, perhaps tonight, and will of course let you know if something in particular strikes my fancy. If you have any recommendations for other recent releases that are available to stream through Netflix, or if you have an opinion of any of the above films, let me know!

Last of the Living (2008)

Last of the Living
Directed by Logan McMillan
Starring Morgan Williams, Ashleigh Southam, Robert Faith, Emily Paddon-Brown

Zombies are big…even in New Zealand. A zomcom along the lines of Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead, Last of the Living follows three slackers that are thrust into the role of saviors. When they meet a female scientist named Stef who has the blood sample needed to find a cure, they must help her get to an island where scientists are waiting for that last piece of the puzzle.

My favorite character in this film was Ash (played by Ashleigh Southam), playing the lovable loser who longs for the affection of Stef (Emily Paddon-Brown), but must compete with his self-centered friend Morgan (Morgan Williams). Rounding out the group is Johnny (Robert Faith), a rocker at heart who continues to practice his drumming, even though all his bandmates were zombified long ago.

If you like movies with a happy ending, this isn’t for you. But if you like low-budget zombie flicks with a little bit of dark humor, and you can overlook budget restraints, check out Last of the Living.

I will say this, for an independent movie, it has one of the greatest theme songs ever (and several of the other songs in the movie are pretty cool, too). Presenting “Last of the Living” by The Frank Woo

And the trailer for the film…

Big Fan (2009)

Big Fan
Directed by Robert D. Siegel
Starring Patton Oswalt, Kevin Corrigan, Michael Rapaport
Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival

I have had the movie Big Fan sitting in my Netflix queue as long as I have been a Netflix subscriber. Last night, I finally clicked “play.”

Starring Patton Oswalt (“King of Queens”) as Paul, an overweight, underachieving New York Giants rooter, Big Fan explores the irrational mind of an obsessed fanatic even after he is physically assaulted by the athlete he most admires. His family (including his brother, a personal injury lawyer) is against him, and he is taunted on late night sports talk radio by an Eagles fan who calls himself “Philadelphia Phil” (portrayed by the extremely talented and underappreciated Michael Rapaport). In the end, Paul gets his revenge on Phil, but not without consequences.

This is not slapstick comedy. It is a dark movie, one that may make the devoted sports fan question the rationality of his own allegiance to his team. How much do you love your team? How much are you willing to personally sacrifice to ensure that they have the best chance of winning?

A solid movie, well written, well directed and well acted. Oswalt is a winner playing the pitiful loser. This is a movie every sports fanatic needs to watch.

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