Category Archives: Entertainment

TV, Movies, etc

The Disaster Artist (2017 Film)

The Disaster Artist is a 2017 film based on the book with the same name about the making of The Room, which is widely hailed as the best worst movie of all time. Watching The Room first isn’t required but is definitely recommended. In case you have seen it, The Room is a train wreck of a film that you can’t stop watching. The acting is terrible. The dialogue is terrible. The plot lines are terrible. Yet it’s become a cult classic and beloved by millions.

The Disaster Artist takes you behind the scenes and shows how The Room came to be. James Franco directs and stars as Tommy Wiseau, the real life creator of The Room. Dave Franco plays Greg Sestero, Wiseau’s friend, costar, and coauthor of the book on which this film is based. Seth Rogan produced and also plays script supervisor Sandy Schklair. Every single role seems to be played by somebody famous, that’s how beloved The Room is in Hollywood.

The Disaster Artist could have taken the easy way out and simply make fun of the eccentric Wiseau and how shitty his vision turned out to be, but James Franco makes him sympathetic. He humanize him. You feel for Wiseau. You want him to succeed even though he fails spectacularly. This film celebrates the success that arose from his failure.

I enjoyed every second of this movie. It grabs you from the get-go and never lets go. It is hilarious and fascinating. Spoiler alert: the film ends with a side by side comparison of iconic scenes from The Room that are reenacted by the Francos and friends. I wanted to watch it again as soon as it was over. Instead I had to settle on watching YouTube reviews and interviews. It’s pretty awesome to see how much James Franco and Seth Rogan have grown creatively since Pineapple Express. They still make stoner comedies but now they are Oscar worthy stoner comedies. The Disaster Artist was probably the best movie I’ve seen this year. Go see it so I can talk to you about it.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment

HQ

HQ is a trivia app that’s currently only available for iOS. There are a lot of trivia games out there, but HQ stands out for two reasons. The first is that it’s free to play but you can win real money. Secondly, it’s a live broadcast so you can’t just open it up and play. There are two games daily Monday through Friday (one at 3:00 p.m. EST and the other at 9:00 p.m. EST) and one game daily on the weekend (at 9:00 p.m. EST). They send you an alert when the game is about to begin, you open the app and join the game. The host, comedian Scott Rogowsky, comes out, explains the rules, gets you hyped, and starts powering through twelve questions. Some questions are easy, some are tricky, and some are really hard. Whoever goes the distance shares the pot with the other winners.

My brother-in-law told me about HQ a week ago. I’ve only played it four times since then, never getting past the eighth question. I’ve played a bunch of trivia games and this is one of my favorites. I like the fact that there are only one or two chances a day to play. It’s addictive but you can’t get your fix whenever you want. You’re on their time. There are a couple of crazy hard questions each game. They show you how many active players there are, I’ve seen 100,000+ playing and a savage question can eliminate tens of thousands at once. It makes you feel smart when you get it right. But you don’t feel bad if you get it wrong along side forty thousand other people.

If HQ sounds fun, that’s because it is. Download it for yourself and see. Use my referral code: Bmani429. This isn’t a paid ad, I get a bonus life for each referral. Join the bandwagon before it gets played out.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment

Tom Petty

Once upon a time in the summer of 2001, I walked into a Best Buy and walked out with the compilation album Greatest Hits by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I didn’t know much about Tom Petty at that point. I knew a couple of his songs like “Free Fallin'” and “The Waiting” and that was enough to justify buying it. I popped the CD into my car stereo on the drive home and my life was changed forever. His music spoke to me. It awakened something in my soul. I felt like Tom Petty was singing to me directly. He became my favorite artist instantly.

He was a rock star, a real rock star. He had hit singles and critically acclaimed albums and put on one hell of a live show. No road trip was complete without listening to a little Petty. In an era of illegal downloads, I made it a point to buy his albums, all of them. Even his stuff with Mudcrutch, the Traveling Wilburys, and Johnny Cash. I wanted him to have my money. I was lucky enough to see him live five times. Once at the Hollywood Bowl, twice at Outside Lands, once at the Oakland Coliseum, and the last one at BottleRock in what became his final tour. Watching Tom Petty live was better than listening to his albums. Everybody would sing along to every song, spark joints during “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” and just enjoy experiencing a legend do what he did best.

I hate that I have to speak about Tom Petty in the past tense now. He was a big part of my life. He always will be. You are the soundtrack to my life, Tom. Thank you.

Critically Rated at 17/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment

Matt Cain

Matt Cain pitched his last game on September 30, 2017, one day before his 33rd birthday, retiring after thirteen seasons with The San Francisco Giants. It’s very rare to see a player wear only one uniform for over ten years and he deserves to be recognized. He accomplished many great things in his career. He has three World Series rings, three All-Star recognitions, and the only perfect game in Giants history. He never got the fame or glory that Tim Lincecum or Madison Bumgarner got, but he was the backbone of the team for many seasons. He was called the Horse for a reason. He was reliable. You knew he was going to go seven innings and that he was going to keep you in the game.

I grew up a Giants fan. I remember the magical 2010 season in which we finally won the World Series as the San Francisco Giants. I went to a lot of games that season but the most memorable one was my first ever postseason game. I saw Matt Cain take on the Phillies in the pivotal Game 3 of the NLCS. He was masterful with only two hits in seven innings, giving us a 3-0 victory. I celebrated in the stands and snapped a photo that became my iPhone background for the next couple of years. I remember watching his perfect game two seasons later. I started watching it at Red Jack Saloon, my favorite dive bar. I made the trek home and got back just in time to see Gregor Blanco’s amazing catch. I knew that I was witnessing history in the making. They got that last out and Matt Cain cemented his legacy. Lots of people win multiple championships. Throwing a perfect game is damn near impossible.

Matt Cain will always be one of my favorite Giants. His poster is on my wall. He will stay on my wall. It’s not the greatest honor but it’s the least I can do.

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment

It (2017 Film)

In this era of Hollywood there is an abundance of sequels, prequels, remakes, and reboots and most of them suck. But every now and then a seemingly unnecessary reboot comes out and steals the thunder from the original. Mad Max: Fury Road comes to mind. It is one of those films as well. Most people grew up with the beloved 1990 miniseries starring Tim Curry as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. It was scary, but lots of things are scary when you’re five years old. The miniseries was tame. They didn’t have the budget to do anything spectacular. It was made for TV so they had to censor things and leave stuff out. The movie has an R rating and they run with it.

Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise was iconic. Bill Skarsgård had some big shoes to fill. He filled them, and then had to get bigger shoes because his feet were too big to fit them. He Heath Ledgered it. Skarsgård’s portrayal is terrifying and mesmerizing. He’s unpredictable and makes you feel uneasy. The only way to keep your sanity is by reminding yourself that it’s only a movie.

The movie stars a bunch of kids. Movies that rely on child actors are hit or miss. It only takes one shitty actor to ruin the whole film. The entire cast is solid. Jaeden Lieberher does a great job as Bill Denbrough, the main character. If he sucked the movie would suck. All the kids in the Losers Club are good. Finn Wolfhard, aka the kid from Stranger Things, adds another classic child horror story to his resume. Jeremy Ray Taylor plays Ben, the fat new kid. He’s actually overweight, not the usual version of Hollywood’s stereotypical fat kid. He adds to the realism. Jackson Robert Scott plays Georgie, the film’s first depicted victim of Pennywise. He’s the youngest actor and has some of the creepiest lines. 

Director Andy Muschietti has created a blockbuster. It is already the highest grossing horror film of all time. It is also the highest grossing film to be released in September. That’s pretty impressive. It deserves all the hype it is getting. Right after I saw it, I went home and watched the opening scene from the miniseries and from the movie on YouTube to compare them. Watch it now, see for yourself. It’s night and day. It made me realize how cheesy the miniseries actually is. 

In conclusion, go see It.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

You’ll Float Too!

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment, Random Rants

Dear White People (TV Show)

Dear White People is a 2017 Netflix dramedy about racism in a fictional Ivy League school. It’s based on the 2014 film of the same name and it brings back some of the actors as well as the writer/director, Justin Simien. I never saw the movie so I can’t talk about any comparisons between the two, but holy shit, the show is great. Racism is a sensitive subject and Dear White People tackles it head on. 

The show follows a core group of black students at a predominately white university. They each deal with being black in different ways. They all have their own ideas on how to combat the racism that they deal with everyday. Some try to stand up to the man, some try to assimilate into the campus culture to fit in, some try to remain neutral. But you can’t stop racism, you can only expose it.

I don’t want to talk about the plot. I don’t want to spoil anything. You should just watch it. I really like how they tell the story. Each episode focuses on a different character and the timeline jumps back and forth. You see the same events but from different perspectives. 

It’s a dramedy so you’ll experience a lot of different emotions. Sometimes you’re angry, sometimes you’re laughing, sometimes you’re crying. It takes place at a fictional college but it feels all too real. There are only ten episodes, each one is thirty minutes or less which is perfect because it makes binge watching easy. I flew through the last six episodes in one sitting. 

Not only is this an entertaining show, it’s an important one that can lead to real life changes. Dear White People makes racism a talking point in the same way that Thirteen Reasons Why makes suicide a talking point. These are taboo subjects that need to be dealed with. Racism is real. It’s too bad that the people that the show is trying to educate will hide behind their bigotry and never watch it. I can honestly say that I’m a better person after watching it. You will be too.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a 2017 superhero flick based on Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s the sequel to 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy and the fifteenth entry of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It brings back writer/director James Gunn and most of the actors from the first film including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, and Michael Rooker and brings in newcomers like Kurt Russel, Sylvester Stallone, Pom Klementieff, and features one hell of cameo from (*spoiler alert*) David Hasselhoff. 

The film tries hard to recreate the magic of the first one and it succeeds for the most part. The humor is there, the character interaction is there, the action is there, but it’s missing the joy of discovery. At this point we know what to expect from Star-Lord and his crew. That’s not a bad thing. You’ll like it if you liked the first one. My girlfriend hadn’t seen the first one so we watched it on demand and then watched Vol. 2 later that night. That’s practically five hours of Guardians of the Galaxy in one sitting and we didn’t get sick of it. That’s impressive because I have a short attention span. I’ll end this review on that note because I hear the ice cream man outside. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is good. Go see it in IMAX 3D if you can, it’s worth the money and not many movies are these days.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment

Iron Fist (TV Show)

Iron Fist is a 2017 Netflix show based on the Marvel character of the same name. It’s about a rich dude who uses his iron fist and martial arts skills to fight crime. It’s part of Netflix’s mini Marvel universe that includes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. Each show introduced their titular character and soon they are all going to team up in The Defenders. It’s a good time to have a Netflix subscription.

I watched Daredevil and I loved it. It had some of the best action scenes I’ve ever seen. Go on YouTube right now and search for “Daredevil hallway fight scene” and prepare to have your mind blown. Jessica Jones wasn’t as good, but it was very compelling and has a great villain to keep you interested. Luke Cage was really good and gets you hankering for the next entry in Netflix’s mini Marvel universe.

That’s where Iron Fist comes in. It’s not good. I’m watching it right now. I’m in the middle of the sixth episode and I’m not impressed. It’s sluggish. The action scenes are meh. Finn Jones can’t handle the fight choreography and that’s bad when you’re the star of a show about a good fighter. The plot lines are murky and forced. It’s boring quite frankly. I’m only watching it because I watched all the other shows leading up to The Defenders so I feel like I have to watch it. Watching Netflix shouldn’t be a chore, it should be entertaining. Iron Fist isn’t entertaining. Oh well. Even Pixar fucks up every once in a while. I’m still can’t wait for The Defenders.

Critically Rated at 7/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment

Joking Hazard

My girlfriend likes to play party games like Heads Up! and Cards Against Humanity. I guess she likes having fun and socializing with friends and family. So I bought her a game called Joking Hazard and we invited some friends over to play. I had never heard of it before I stumbled upon it in Target but I think that it has the potential to rival Cards Against Humanity as the next great party game. It’s simple to learn. There’s a stack of cards with offensive cartoon panels. Everyone gets dealt seven cards. Each person takes turns being the judge. The judge flips a random card over from the deck, then plays one of his cards create a setup, and then everyone else plays one of their cards as the punchline. The judge chooses their favorite and that person gets a point. You play until someone wins. Offensive cartoons + friends (+ alcohol) = a great time. We played a few other party games that night, but Joking Hazard was my favorite. I might be biased because I bought it, but I know a good thing when I see it and Joking Hazard is a good thing. 

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment

Beauty and the Beast (2017 Film)

Last night I saw Beauty and the Beast, Disney’s latest live-action remake of one of their classic cartoon masterpieces. It’s good. You would already know that if you’ve seen the cartoon. And if you’ve seen the cartoon, you’ve seen this movie. You know what happens. There aren’t any M. Night Shyamalan twists. They added some backstory and more character details, there are a few new songs, but it’s the same fucking movie.

That’s not a bad thing. The cartoon was the first animated movie to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. I’m sure this version will be nominated for a few awards as well. It’s already a blockbuster success and nobody should be surprised about that. It stars Emma Watson as Belle. Motherfucking Hermione Granger! You know how many Harry Potter fans were already invested once they heard about the casting?!? A lot. Like more than twelve. There are lots of Harry Potter fans. Dozens.

The only bad thing I can say about the movie is that the new songs are terrible. Terrible. Especially the Beast’s solo right before the climax. It totally ruined the mood. And you don’t want to ruin the mood right before you climax. I know that characters express themselves through song in musicals, but geez, enough is enough.

The special effects are top notch. Ewan McGregor’s accent is not. The story takes place in France, yet everyone speaks with a British accent except for one ridiculous French accent. But he can sing so he gets a pass. 

It’s a good movie. It’s worth paying money to see in the theatres. You might even splurge to see it in 3D. Not many movies are worth paying money for these days. This one is.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment

Logan (Film)

Logan is the tenth instalment of the X-Men film franchise and marks Hugh Jackman’s final portrayal of Wolverine. He’s played the iconic character for seventeen years. That’s a long fucking time. I saw X-Men in the theaters when I was fifteen, just after my freshman year of high school. I went to college, I moved around a bit, worked a few jobs, and now I’m thirty-one with a couple of kids and a mortgage. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine was there for all of that. Ok, I don’t have kids or a mortgage, but I could if I didn’t live in San Francisco.

Hollywood has gone crazy with remakes and sequels and reboots and prequels. On the big screen alone I have seen three Spider-Mans, three Supermans, three Punishers, five Batmans, but there has only been one Wolverine. Logan is the perfect way to say goodbye to him. 

I realize that I haven’t actually talked about the movie yet. By now I’m sure you’ve heard that it’s good. It is good. I hear lots of comparisons to Deadpool because they are both R-rated and do justice to their comic book counterparts. I think it’s a better film than that Deadpool. It has more heart, more weight, more to say. It’s a more complex movie for a more complex character. Deadpool is great. Logan is better. X2 was easily my favorite X-Men movie… now it just might be Logan. That’s a bold statement. 

Props to Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier, and especially to Dafne Keen as Laura/X-23. I’m not a fan of child actors, but Keen’s performance was on par with Jackman and Stewart. Anything less would have derailed the film. James Mangold directed one hell of a film. I wouldn’t be surprised if it won a couple of Oscars. It’s a legitimate film. Check it out, it’s the end of an era and it deserves to be recognized.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment

Tactile Dome

I went to San Francisco’s Exploratorium with my girlfriend and some friends the other day. It’s a big museum with a bunch of interactive science exhibits. You learn about magnets, optics, human behavior, electricity, you name it. But the best thing to do there is the Tactile Dome, hands down. 

The Tactile Dome costs extra but it’s worth it. It’s basically an obstacle course/maze with a twist: it’s pitch black. You have to stumble through it blindly. You feel around trying to find your way out. Some rooms force you to crawl. You climb up a rope ladder. There are slides. It’s exhilarating and exciting and a unique experience. I particularly enjoyed staying still in one spot and then scaring the shit out of my girlfriend when she came close.

The Tactile Dome was created by Nicholas Cage’s father. Seriously. I’ll end my post with that fun fact.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

Selfie inside the Tactile Dome

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment

Playing Poker

I played poker the other night for the first time in a few years. It was a house game with some friends. I took that shit seriously. I downloaded some poker apps and started playing, studying as many flops as I could. I watched YouTube videos. I developed a strategy. And I dominated. I destroyed. I won the game and made my presence known. I made a hundred dollars. Yeah, a motherfucking Benjamin.

Poker was huge a decade ago. It was the game that kept you home on a Saturday night. You could get laid or you could make money. A lot of dudes chose to make money. For twenty bucks (plus maybe a couple of buy-backs) you can play cards with friends for hours on end and potentially make a profit. That sounds like a fun night. It was. It still is. Playing poker is a tradition for reason. Getting laid is always fun, but so is taking money out of your friend’s pocket. 

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment

A Good Idea for a Restaurant 

I have a good idea for a restaurant. You remember that dinner scene with the Lost Boys in Hook? The one where Robin Williams as Peter Pan regains his imagination and an amazing feast appears before them, you remember that? My restaurant will recreate that wonder. 

You start by approaching a large communal table. You’ll sit right next to strangers. It’s real friendly like. The servers will bring out a bunch of empty plates and dishes and put them on the table. There’s about five minutes of pretending to eat, then suddenly the empty plates and dishes are replaced with real food.

Of course the food is all inspired by the food that appears in the movie. All the different types of meat and fruit, the hunk of cheese with Thud’s face in it, the crazy colered pie things, cups of hot cocoa with heaping servings of whipped cream, it’s all there. Everyone eats their fill. The feast ends with a food fight. It’s a little wasteful but it’s worth it.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment, Random Rants, Snacks

Home Videos

When I was a senior in high school I bought an iMac and a video camera and started filming my life for the next couple of years. I took my camera everywhere. I brought it when my friends and I would drive aimlessly around town staving off boredom. I brought it to school. I brought it on vacations. I brought it with me when I went to college. Literally everywhere. I would edit the footage and make home videos to give to friends and family. I’m glad  I did all that because I documented some of the best years of my life. 

My girlfriend saw some of my DVDs in my movie collection and begged me to show them to her. I popped one in and got to relive the last few months of high school when I was suffering from senioritis and filming Jackass-inspired stunts on campus instead of going to class. I got to relive my epic trip to Yosemite with twenty-something friends and remembered how grueling the hike to Half Dome was and how relaxing lounging riverside was. 

The memories came flooding back.  I saw friends that I’m still in touch with, some that I’ve lost contact with, and a few that are no longer with us. It was good to see them again. It’s a good thing I was nerdy enough to film my life for a few years. So many good times with good people caught on tape, preserved for as long as I have a working DVD player.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment, Random Rants

Sour Grapes (Documentary)

I’m in the restaurant industry and I’ve always been suspicious of self-proclaimed wine connoisseurs. They always seem so pretentious and full of shit. Last night I watched Sour Grapes, and it appears that my suspicions have been confirmed. Sour Grapes is a 2016 documentary about Rudy Kurniawan, a con artist who made millions of dollars by selling bootleg bottles of wine to rich suckers. It’s a cool crime story involving forgery, counterfeiting, manipulation, and wine. I won’t even discuss what Kurniawan did, how he did it, or who he did it to because I want you to watch it. It’s on Netflix. It doesn’t even matter if you like wine or not. In fact, it’s probably better if you don’t like wine because it’s fun to laugh at other people’s misfortunes. Watch it. Or don’t. It’s really up to you.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

Leave a comment

Filed under Drinks, Entertainment

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

2016 was a great year for Potterheads, especially me. I went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood in April. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child came out during the summer. And then Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them came out in November. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a spinoff film and the first flick of a five film franchise. J.K. Rowling wrote a book with the same name for charity, but it was just an encyclopedia of imaginary creatures from the books. The film is a completely new story created for the big screen, which is awesome for real fans of Harry Potter.

Real fans of Harry Potter were never truly amazed by the films because we read the books before and knew what to expect. We already knew what was going to happen. We just debated what they were going to show, what they were going to skip, and speculate how they’d portray certain parts. I went into Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them without a clue of what was going to happen. It was awesome to meet new characters and creatures and to see a whole new side of the wizarding world as the plot unraveled in front of me. It was the most fun I’ve had at the movies since Deadpool. 

I won’t even talk about what actually happens in the movie. I want you to discover it for yourself. My girlfriend is not a Harry Potter fan (nobody is perfect) but she really liked it. That’s how I know it’s a good movie and I’m not just being biased. J.K. Rowling wrote the screenplay. David Yates, the guy who directed the last Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and both parts of Deathly Hallows, is back in the director’s chair for this film. You get solid performances from the cast and there’s a mindfuck of a cameo at the end that leaves you anxious for the next installment. Damn, 2018 is a long time away.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young 

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment