The Epitome of 'Swag'
It's been awhile.
Admittedly, I've been gathering a ton of info, compartmentalizing said info, thinking of a good time to unleash it all as I gear up for a stretch of more creativity to feed the mind. In addition, sports has returned to our television screens after a hiatus lasting about as long as the arrests of the Breonna Taylor murderers. As expected, I've been fully invested in the shorten baseball season because I wouldn't have it any other way, and yup, I gave into ANOTHER year of Fantasy Baseball - which has completely taken my attention away from the tomfoolery of the world. I couldn't be happier.
As summer nears an end and we prepare for the cool autumn months ahead, I wanted to briefly discuss a few dudes who personify the word 'cool.' As usual, I am late to the party, but better late than never, right? The Jabbawockeez have been around for a minute, but due to my social media, television and human interaction negligence (don't blame me on the last one, blame yourselves!), I only came across the infamous dance group a few short years ago courtesy of YouTube (where would I be without YouTube?). Not only are these the coolest cats to come out of the 2000s thus far, but they can really dance! In fact, they make today's dance moves look a whole lot better than the people credited for them - all while keeping their identities concealed thanks to their Michael Myers-inspired masks. The Jabbawockeez have competed in dance contests worldwide, having been featured at events like the NBA Finals and on programs like 'America's Got Talent' and 'World of Dance.'
Sidebar: I've got a mean 2-step, I can pop-lock like nobodies business and 'cool' is my middle name. If you're looking for a new member, I'm your man. Just sayin'...
Check out the video that started my fandom:
More to come!
Films That Should Have Won Oscars
The 91st Academy Awards have come and gone and I couldn't be ANY happier, BUT, I failed to capitalize on the event like I'd originally planned. So without further ado, here is my personal list (in no particular order) of movies that deserved to win for Best Picture.
Disclaimer: The plan is to ONLY list 10 movies, but there's a slight chance I might get carried away. My apologies in advance.
1) Pretty In Pink (1986) - Say something smart...
2) The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005) - My first glimpse of Steve Carell before becoming a bonafide junkie of 'The Office.' I remember being in tears when I first saw this movie; tears of laughter. We also got to see a young Kevin Hart with a few funny lines.
3) The Fugitive (1993) - So, Tommy Lee Jones won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, but that wasn't enough. The film ALONE was fantastic. Based on the TV series (of the same name) back in the 60s, the 1993 thriller (damn! it's been 26 years??) had me at the edge of my seat. I loved every bit of it, rooting immensely for Harrison Ford to evade the law.
4) The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988) - Let's see... I got slapstick comedy, California, Leslie Nielson at his best, sprinkled with a little baseball and O.J. Simpson (before the Ford Bronco chase). If that isn't enough for an Oscar I don't know what is...
5) The Sandlot (1993) - This movie was flawless. If you grew up a baseball junkie, this was/is a must see. Unfortunately, kids these days would rather make ASMR videos and shoot 3-pointers from half-court.
6) Fatal Attraction (1987) - I'll go on record by saying Michael Douglas is my 2nd favorite actor (Denzel takes the crown) and he was certainly "the man" for a good stretch of the 80s and beyond. If you enjoy crazy, psychotic women chasing after wealthy men, brace yourselves. The movie received 6 nominations, but went home empty handed.
7) Wall Street (1987) - Mike Douglas and a young Charlie Sheen did their best to convince me that corporate was the way to go... until my very first job on Wall St. had me contemplating whether life was even worth living 😂 I loved this movie, along with Gordon Gekko's memorable quotables, and though Douglas won an Oscar for Best Actor, the film itself also went home empty handed.
8) Kids (1995) - Aaaah, NYC circa 1995; such great memories. No way on God's Green Earth would this movie have EVER seen the light of day on Hollywood's grandest stage, but the Independent flick was brilliantly filmed; showcasing the lives of a group of teens set in early 90s NYC. The movie highlighted sex, drugs, alcohol, mischief and it almost felt too real. I remember watching it for the first time with an old friend who rented the movie from Blockbuster Video. We watched intently, mesmerized by the realism and I desperately wanted to become "cool" afterwards.
9) The Hangover (2009) - Vegas, comedy, and Bradley Cooper before he started making love songs with Lady Gaga. One of my all-time favorites films. In fact, I'll go on record and say I've thoroughly enjoyed all 3 Hangover movies.
10) The Town (2010) - Ben Affleck stars in this thriller about a group of bank robbers who come up with an immaculate game plan to commit bank robberies throughout the city of Boston. The best part about the film? they actually got away with the crimes for a good stretch! 'The Town' is one of the first flicks I can recall cheering on the "bad guys" hoping they'd escape the law... until eventually they were caught. OF COURSE they were.
***I can't stop at 10. But to my credit, I warned you!***
11) House Party (1990) - Bright colors, high-top fades and plenty of laughs. I remember seeing this at the theater envisioning life as a free-spirited teen who danced and got all of the ladies... until I became a sports jock who ran home to play video games and watch The Ricki Lake Show.
House Party was a defining moment in cinema, showcasing many young acts of hip-hop, becoming an instant classic; a term I typically won't throw around so easily. The movie made such an impact on black culture, where LeBron James has openly discussed his plans on remaking it.
If he knows what's best, he'll leave this ALREADY CLASSIC-THANKS, LEBRON, BUT NO THANKS! movie alone.
12) Sleeping with the Enemy (1991) - "Laaaaaaurrrrrraaaa!"
I'm inclined to watch this movie anytime it comes on TV, and for some strange reason... that's a LOT these days - some 28 years after it hit theaters. Yet another thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
13) Friday (1995) - Cult classic. 'Nuff said.
14) Major League (1989) - I seriously thought I had a shot at making it to the Big Leagues after watching this classic. Loved every bit of this film.
15) The Wrestler (2008) - Very underrated flick (as far as never being discussed with other great films), starring Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei, who both took home individual awards. The movie peels back the layers of the world of professional wrestling and for those who have followed me throughout my journey, you know I grew up a wrestling nut, so it was a must-see. Strangely, I've only watched this movie once (unlike the others on my list), but I remember being blown away by the storyline. This movie certainly played with my emotions... almost identical to what wrestling did to me as a kid. The irony.
It was extremely hard leaving out some other well-deserved Oscar snubbed movies, but I'll certainly revisit this at a later date...
A Sad Goodbye To 'Mean' Gene Okerlund
A part of my childhood was taken away. I felt my stomach drop once news broke of the passing of wrestling announcer 'Mean' Gene Okerlund, who died at the age of 76 - only a few weeks after celebrating a birthday. Death awaits us all, but I wasn't prepared for this.
As fans of 1980s wrestling can attest, 'Mean' Gene played a key role on WWF (now WWE) television, interviewing in-ring legends (adding great banter with the late 'Macho Man' Randy Savage and using priceless facial expressions during segments with the Ultimate Warrior - I'd advise anyone to punch the footage up on YouTube), reporting breaking news, providing top-notch professionalism, commonly giving wrestling a feel of realism (in an era where we didn't know any better). Before making the leap to Vince McMahon's WWF in 1984, Okerlund was a key contributor to A.W.A. television throughout the 1970s. It's where he'd develop a distinct chemistry with Hulk Hogan, before trickling over to the WWF at the start of the 'Rock n Roll Era' of the mid-80s. Their legendary backstage interviews became must-see-TV, as Hogan stared into the camera with enough intensity to persuade millions of fans that his upcoming bout was worth the price on Pay-Per-View.
As a wide-eyed six year-old who worshiped the land of superheroes and villains, I knew Okerlund was a class act. I'd experience a moment of anxiety anytime a "bad guy" threatened him during an adrenaline-fueled interview, yelling at the top of my lungs: "Hey, don't talk to 'Mean' Gene like that!" I was supposed to react that way. Wrestling used to have its way with our emotions; the good 'ol days.
The business has lost many greats over the years; through the law of life, that number will continue to grow, but 'Mean' Gene will always hold a special place in my heart. Thank you for the memories.
'Mean' Gene Okerlund and 'Macho Man' Randy Savage
(courtesy of my old wrestling figures - which you can read more about here)
5 Film Favorites for the Holidays
I usually don't get caught up in holiday hype, scurrying through department stores, maxing out my credit card, standing on ridiculously long lines as if I'm anticipating an award for "Sucker (ahem! Shopper) of the Year." However, I do enjoy Christmas themed films and will watch the listed movies in the days leading up to the big day.
5) Bad Santa - Comical, with enough F-bombs to put any holiday grinch in a good mood.
4) Scrooged - Funny, mean-spirited, yet relatable; Bill Murray at his best!
3) A Christmas Story - An 80s classic; fun, enjoyable, filled with plenty of memorable moments.
2) Home Alone - Everything was right about this movie. I honestly can't believe it was filmed nearly 30 years ago!
1) National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - I used to be a Chevy Chase nut. As a kid, nothing he did ever came off as corny to me (as an adult, I beg to differ). But slapstick humor is king! Christmas Vacation isn't my favorite Chevy Chase film (that goes to Funny Farm and Caddyshack), but I absolutely loved the flick. It was goofy, with enough laughs and holiday warmth to ultimately take the number one spot (what, were you expecting Miracle on 34th Street?!).