Category Archives: Entertainment

TV, Movies, etc

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I & II (Special Rehearsal Edition Script)

 There are two types of people in the world: fans of Harry Potter and everyone else. Me, I’m a fan of Harry Potter. A part of my life ended back in 2007 when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released and the series ended. But then J.K. Rowling announced that she would continue the story onstage in a play. She also realized that not everyone would be able to see the production so she released the script in book form as well, bless her soul. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I & II (Special Rehearsal Edition Script) was released on July 31, 2016 and the Harry Potter nerds suddenly had a new story to lose their shit over. 

I kind of slacked off and forgot to preorder a paper copy, but I bought the e-book version and read the entire thing on my iPhone in a couple of hours. It’s mostly dialogue with a little bit of stage direction so it’s a much faster read than the later books in the series. It was written by Jack Thorne and John Tiffany and based on a story by J.K. Rowling. The story starts in the epilogue of the Deathly Hallows with an older Harry sending his sons James and Albus off to Hogwarts. I don’t want to say too much else. Spoilers aren’t fun. And you should be friending to read it for yourself so I won’t give anything major away. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are important characters, but the plot revolves around Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy (Draco’s son). They are the next generation of wizards and they are trying to escape the shadow of their fathers. 

 We visit old charters. We meet new ones. And it feels good to be back in the wizarding world, I must say. The humor and charm are still there, as is the sense of dread that something wicked this way comes. It’s very satisfying. I wish it was longer. It’s always sad to reach the end of a great story, and this definitely seems like final chapter. I hope that J.K. Rowling has more in store for us, but this is a solid way to say goodbye to Harry Potter. Goodbye, Harry, old chum.

 Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Ghostbusters (2016 film)

 Hollywood has been churning out reboots and remakes for the past couple of decades. No classic film is safe, as evidenced by the recent reboot of Ghostbusters. The new film is directed by Paul Feig and stars Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Chris Hemsworth. It’s kind of like Bridesmaids but with more ghosts. It’s really funny with the right amount of spooky thrills. It’s a definite reboot. They pay homage to the original films, but the girls are the first batch of ghost exterminators in this universe. Most of the cast from the first films make cameos, the notable exceptions being Rick Moranis and Harold Ramis. Rick Moranis basically quit Hollywood and Harold Ramis passed away. They could have had him cameo as a ghost but that would have been disrespectful.

 The plot is similar to the first film. You kind of feel like you know what’s going to happen before it does. But the characters make the film worth watching. The four ghostbusters are all hilarious. The riff and play off of each other and it’s apparent that they are all having fun. Comedies are supposed to be fun. Chris Hemsworth had some of the best moments as their bumbling secretary. Who knew that he had comedic chops to rival Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy? 

 I liked the special effects. The ghosts looked retro like in the first two movies of the franchise. I saw it in 2D because that was the best showtime for me, but I wish I saw it in 3D because the climax was so spectacular. The end of the world has been depicted in countless movies, but this was one of the most memorable apocalypses I’ve seen. 

 There are a lot of haters who decided to hate this movie without watching it. You can’t hate it if you never experienced it. I experienced it. I liked it. Everyone else in the theater with me liked it too. I heard laughs and gasps and a smattering of applause when it was over. I heard no boos and no demands for a refund. I don’t think this movie will make its budget back. It won’t be a blockbuster even though it deserves to be. It sucks too, because the scene after the credits sets up a sequel that we might never see. 

 Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Pokemon Go

My thoughts on Pokemon Go: DON’T FUCKING DO IT. 
Critically Rated at 1/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Going to the Game by Myself

 I went to work yesterday and I didn’t feel much like working. I had an opportunity to leave early and so I took it. I clocked in at 10:30 and I clocked out at 10:45. I had the whole day ahead of me and I wasn’t going to let it go to waste. The Giants were playing the Diamondbacks at 1:05 and I was in the mood for some baseball. I started texting friends to see if anybody was down to go. Nobody could go on such short notice so I bought a standing room only ticket for myself and went alone. It was my first time going to the game by myself and I don’t think it will be my last. It was a lot of fun. I could do whatever I wanted. I didn’t have to settle for inferior beer. There was no debating where to go for food. I could make bathroom trips whenever I wanted and didn’t have to wait for anyone stuck in a longer line than me. And I wasn’t bored because I still talked baseball with the other fans around me. I feel like I paid a lot more attention to the game. I still prefer going with other people but now I know that I can go to the game whenever the mood strikes me. And going to the game is always better than watching it on TV. You can call me a loser but you can’t say I’m not a fan. Go Giants! 

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Finding Dory

 Finding Dory is the long awaited sequel to Finding Nemo, which is one of Pixar’s best movies. I’m glad to report that it doesn’t disappoint. It doesn’t feel like a sequel, it feels like a continuation and that’s hard to do with such a classic movie. The story picks up a year after the events of the first film. Marlin and Nemo are living comfortably in their sea anemone with Dory living right next to them. Dory starts getting flashbacks of her childhood and remembers that she has parents that love and miss her. She feels compelled to cross the ocean to be reunited with them. High jinx ensue. I’m not going to talk about the plot. I’m just going to say that if you like Finding Nemo, you will like Finding Dory. You might even like it more than Nemo. I think Dory is a more complex film. The storytelling is nonlinear. It’s sad and happy, funny and serious, nostalgic and fresh. We revisit old characters and meet new ones. It’s everything that you want from a sequel. I left the theater feeling very satisfied. I felt like I got my money’s worth and I would gladly see it again. 

 The voice cast is solid. Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks reprise their roles as Dory and Marlin. Ed O’Neil plays a surly octopus. Sigourney Weaver has an unforgettable voice cameo. Eugene Levy plays Dory’s awkward father. Newcomer Hayden Rolence takes over the voice of Nemo because puberty is not kind to child actors, but Alexander Gould (the original Nemo) lends his voice to a minor character. Diane Keaton, Idris Elba, Dominic West, Kate McKinnon, Bill Hader, John Ratzenberger, Willem Dafoe, Stephen Root, and many others have bit parts. Andrew Stanton returned to write, direct, and play Crush, everyone’s favorite sea turtle. 

 Finding Dory is a good family flick. It’s also great for date night. I saw it a few days after opening night and my auditorium applauded it after it was over. Not every movie deserves an ovation. This one did. Go watch it. It’s worth it.

 Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young


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She’s All That

  She’s All That is one of those nineties teenage Rom-Coms that you either love or hate. I was in the middle of eighth grade when it first came out, just the right age for a movie about high school to make a lasting impression, and I have to admit that I liked it. I’ll even admit that I watched it again last night with my girlfriend. I’m not proud to admit it, but I’m not ashamed either. Anyway, She’s All That stars Freddie Prinze, Jr. as Zack Siler, the resident big man on campus who makes a bet that he can turn any girl into Prom Queen. Rachel Leigh Cook plays Laney Boggs, the nerdy outsider who becomes the object of the bet.  

 I’ll give you the general plot line now, so spoiler alert. Zack gets dumped by his girlfriend for another guy, so logically he makes a bet with his douchey friend that he can make any girl Prom Queen. Laney is chosen because she looks awkward in overalls and a ponytail. Zack lies, deceives, and manipulates her into a fake relationship. At some point he decides that he really does want to fuck her, but then his douchey friend decides that he wants to fuck her too, and that leads to drama. At some point there’s a dance-off. Oh, and some bullies eat pubes on a pizza. In the end, Zack ends up with Laney because high school popularity is all that matters.

 Ok it’s not a great movie, but it’s a movie that I like. I saw it at the right time in my life. You can’t judge me. It’s funny to go back and watch it now. You realize how dramatic everything was in high school, how it seemed like everything was important, and that it was all bullshit. It’s especially hard to take this movie seriously if you’ve seen Not Another Teen Movie, which does a great job parodying She’s All That. That’s a review for another day though. 

 Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young 

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Goon (film)

 The other night I was browsing through Netflix’s vast library looking for a movie to watch. I couldn’t find anything that I was in the mood to watch, so I caved into choosing one of their suggested movies for me. I ended up watching Goon, a little known 2011 sports comedy that I must have ignored a thousand times before. I thought it was just a random hockey flick starring Stifler. I’m really glad that I was wrong. Seann William Scott plays Doug Glatt, a nice guy and self aware dummy with a skill for fisticuffs. His talent is enough to get him a gig as an enforcer with a minor league hockey team. He can hardly skate but he knows how to punch, and his love of the game transforms his team from a rag tag bunch of losers into playoff contenders. It sounds cliche. It kind of is. There’s even a tacked on romantic subplot. 
 But it’s good. It’s really funny, there’s a lot of action, it’s sappy when it needs to be, and it’s genuine. You can’t fake honesty. Jay Baruchel cowrote the movie, and he costars in it. It was a passion project of his and it shows. He’s even tacked on to direct the sequel. Liev Schreiber plays a rival enforcer on another team and provides a lot of enjoyable drama as you await the inevitable matchup between the two gladiators. Alison Pill plays the imperfect love interest. Eugene Levy plays the awkward dad. Marc-André Grondin plays the cocky teammate who squandered his talent and only plays for himself. Kim Coates plays the coach who tries to control his players and get them to work as a team. It’s a solid movie with a solid cast and the film deserves a lot more attention.
 So I decided to blog about Goon in order to get the word out. Good movies deserve to be watched. Goon is a good movie. I was a little late to find out about it, but I still beat you to it if you haven’t seen it yet. And if you haven’t seen it yet, you should. It’s worth it. I promise.

 Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young 

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Playing Cards

 Everybody should have a set of playing cards. I’m talking about your standard fifty-two card deck. You know, Ace through King… Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds and Spades… Don’t forget the pair of Jokers. You can never be truly bored if you have cards. There are thousands of card games with a million variations. You can play Poker, Blackjack, Crazy Eights, Spoons, War, Bullshit, or Bridge with friends and family as a source of entertainment anytime and anyplace when you have a deck of cards. And you can always play Solitaire if you have no friends. Not a fan of games? You can also use cards for magic tricks. Do a solid card trick in front of a drunk crowd and blow their minds. I’m sure you’ll impress the ladies. Chicks dig magicians. If you don’t have a deck of cards in your house, you should. If you don’t have a house, that fucking sucks but maybe a deck of cards will help take your mind off of it. Playing cards. Get on it.

 Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Shadow Kite

Last Sunday was a gorgeous day. My roommate and I both had it off. We decided to celebrate by day drinking on the beach. Half of San Francisco had the same idea as us. There was a ton of people out, doing everything you’d expect people to be doing on the beach. There were sunbathers, swimmers, surfers, dog walkers, people playing catch, little kids building sand castles, and some people flying kites. We found a decent spot to set up shop, threw our towels down, laid out, cracked open our tall boys, and watched the waves and the people around us. The sun was hot and there was very little wind, making it seem even hotter. At one point there was a couple of young kids walking down the beach while carrying a pair of kites. They walked passed us and their kites cast a brief shadow overhead, giving us a quick break from the sun’s unrelenting rays. But the shade went away as soon as the kids did and we relapsed into the heat. That gave my roommate a revelation.

“We need a big ass kite,” he said. “And we let it get really high above us, and we can rest in its shade. We need a shadow kite.” It was a great idea. I wish I thought of it, but I didn’t. My roommate did. His name is Jerry. If you know Jerry, or ever meet Jerry, you should tell him that shadow kites are a great idea. It’s thinking outside of the box and he should be commended for it. Don’t be surprised if you see Jerry launching a Kickstarter campaign for shadow kites, the coolest way to keep cool at the beach. People like kites, and they like being in the shade on a hot day. A shadow kite gives you the best of both worlds.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

I finally got around to seeing Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice last night. I’m slacking, I know. It’s the sequel to 2013’s Man of Steel and Zack Snyder returns to direct, while Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, and Diane Lane reprise their roles as Superman, Lois Lane, Perry White, and Martha Kent respectively. New to the series is Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince. It’s also the feature film debut of Aquaman, Cyborg, and the Flash but they only appear for a few moments on screen. Even though it’s a sequel to Man of Steel, Superman takes a backseat to Batman in this movie. There are more heroes and villains and bigger action sequences, but the film seems like a step backward. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t exciting. It was pretty disappointing.

The film was too bleak. It’s supposed to be a comic book movie. They were trying to capture the gritty realism of The Dark Knight but the studio doesn’t seem to realize that Superman is not dark and gritty. Wonder Woman is not dark and gritty. Lex Luthor is not dark and gritty. It should have been more campy and upbeat. There were hardly any jokes or humor. It wasn’t fun. Comic book movies should be fun. The action sequences were bigger than the ones in Man of Steel, but the action wasn’t as good. Snyder likes to speed up and slow down the action and that worked really well in Man of Steel because it captured the power of Superman. It made him seem unworldly and godlike. You don’t get that feeling in Dawn of Justice. Superman isn’t as impressive. It feels tired.

It’s not a terrible movie, but it did not live up to the hype. The plot was meh. The characters were meh. The acting was meh. Like Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor? Lex Luthor is one of the most formidable villains in the DC Universe. Jesse Eisenberg is not formidable in the slightest. It’s like casting a pug to play Cujo. It doesn’t work and it brings down the film’s integrity. DC and Warner Bros. were using this flick as their foundation for their Justice League franchise. There are a lot of cracks. Doesn’t seem like Marvel has much to worry about competition wise.

Critically Rated at 10/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Being on TV

Everyone wants to be a little famous. You want people to know who you are. It’s human nature. That’s why everyone gets so excited about being on TV. You see it all the time. There’s always some jackass waving his arms and ruining the shot whenever a reporter is doing a live segment on location. People will make clever signs to get camera time at sporting events. They’ll sign the consent form to show their face on Cops. They’ll talk about shit they don’t know about if it means that they’ll be on the 6 o’clock news. I know because I’ve done it. I’m guilty, I’ll admit it. Being on TV is always a thrill. I once saw myself shaking my head in disbelief on SportsCenter Top 10 in the background of a botched SF Giants play. I once camped out all night on the street to get into The Price is Right during Bob Barker’s last year. It was worth it. I was on TV. National TV. Millions of people saw me even if they don’t know it. That doesn’t make me a celebrity but I still feel like one. Get on TV if you haven’t and you’ll see what I mean.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Finding a New TV Show

I recently started watching Love on Netflix. It’s a new show and I can’t get enough of it. There are only ten episodes in the first season. I’ve gone through eight already. Finding a new TV show is like discovering a new drug. You do as much as you can while you can and then you start fiending for more. You start binging. And you want everyone to know how great it is. You want everyone to feel how great you are feeling. You want to talk about it but you can only talk to people who are down with it too. You have to be somewhat discreet. So you find people that you know have the same vices as you and you tell them to check this shit out. It’s great, you’ll say. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you feel everything in between. Get through the first one and it’s like crack. You won’t be able to stop. Ok, but seriously, check out Love on Netflix. It’s a Judd Apatow production. That should be enough endorsement.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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UNO (game, not the numero)

UNO is a card game similar to Crazy Eights, but you use a specially printed deck of UNO cards instead of using a regular deck of cards, because the creators wouldn’t make money if you played UNO with a regular deck of cards instead of their unique cards. UNO is pretty easy to learn. Everyone gets dealt seven cards and you try to be the first one to get rid of them all. There are a bunch of rules that some people follow and some people ignore, but one thing everyone can agree on is that you have to say “UNO” when you play your second-to-last card so that everyone else knows that you have one card left. I think that’s why they call it UNO but I’m not really sure.

I was inspired to write this post after playing UNO with a couple of friends. One of them had never played before, but we explained him the rules and he was kicking our ass a few games in. He won three or four games in a row. We chalked it up to beginner’s luck. A week later he drunkenly confessed that he cheated. It was completely out of the blue, like he was proud of cheating and wanted us to know. Don’t be that guy. Don’t be the guy who cheats at UNO. Especially not during a friendly game when there are no stakes. That’s not how you make friends. That’s how you lose them.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Deadpool (film)

I finally got around to seeing Deadpool a few days ago. Now I’m part of the Cool Kids Club again. Let’s start with some backstory before we start talking about the movie. Deadpool was originally created as a blatant rip-off of DC’s Deathstroke. Marvel has never tried to hide this fact, they talk about it openly. They have similar names, costumes, and both are mercenaries. They have different powers and skillsets, but the biggest difference between the two of them is that Deadpool knows that he’s a character in a comic book. He breaks the fourth wall and talks directly to the reader. He knows that he’s not real. It’s all very meta.

My biggest fear about the movie is that it wouldn’t be able to capture the tone of the comics. I felt a great sense of relief as soon as the opening credits started to roll. Ryan Reynolds, director Tim Miller, and writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick were able to bring the Deadpool to life the right way. They made the film as funny, violent, and raunchy as they could. They took a huge gamble by making it Rated R as opposed to PG-13. The gamble paid off. It’s already the highest grossing R-rated film of all time and it’s been out for less than two weeks. What’s more impressive is that it’s also the highest grossing X-Men movie.

The plot of the movie is pretty generic. It’s an origin story about how a regular guy became a superhero and then the bad guy kidnaps his girlfriend and he has to use his powers to get her back. The story structure is a little more advanced. They start in the middle of the action and then they tell the backstory through flashbacks. It’s as much of a comedy as it is a superhero action flick. The humor was witty and fresh and I was laughing hysterically every couple of minutes. There were also a few touching moments that I wasn’t expecting. It made a surreal character seem real, relatable, and likeable.

As strange as it sounds, I think Deadpool is a great date movie. There’s enough violence for the men, there’s enough romance for the ladies, and it’s funny enough to keep everyone entertained. It’s a solid flick all around. That’s hard to do these days. So go and see it if you were on the fence about it. It’s worth it.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Air Drums

I was cruising to work on my longboard, weaving in and out of the pedestrians while blasting nineties rock songs on Pandora when I caught myself playing the air drums. I was hitting the imaginary hi-hat with my left hand, rapping the invisible snare with my right, and every once in a while I would play my way through the tom-toms. Air drums mean that I’m feeling the music. Some people jam out by playing the air guitar, some people prefer the air piano/keyboard, and everyone gets down to a sexy air saxophone solo, but I’m all about the air drums. I think they are the most fun to play. As long as there’s a beat you’ve got something to rock out to. Air guitarists sometimes have to wait for the guitar solo to rock out, but you can go crazy on the air drums anytime you want. I can play practically any air instrument, but the air drums had me hooked right away.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The First Time I Snuck Into a Movie

I used to be a child actor. My best job was a play at Berkeley Repertory Theatre when I was fourteen. Child labor laws are a bit tricky in the business, so I was double cast with another actor. That means we took turns playing the same role so we weren’t working fulltime and could still go to school and stuff. I was double cast with a kid named Eli Marienthal. He had solid career. He was in a bunch of movies and TV shows. You might not know his name, but you’ve seen him before. Anyway, we had a couple weeks of rehearsals together and one time we got out early and had the whole afternoon to spend in Berkeley before our moms came to pick us up. We decided to go to the movies and so we did.

There’s no good way of setting up this story so I will just say what fucking happened. We bought tickets to The Iron Giant because it was Rated PG and snuck into American Pie because it was Rated R and we wanted to see it. We were teenagers and teenagers are supposed to rebel. That was the first time I snuck into a movie. I felt like a badass. It wasn’t until a few years later that I realized how cool that situation actually was. I bought a ticket to a movie so I could sneak into another movie with a friend who was in both movies. Yessiree, Eli Marienthal was the voice of Hogarth Hughes, the animated protagonist in The Iron Giant, and he also played Stifler’s little brother in American Pie. It’s not as exciting as seeing Jim Carrey movies with Jim Carrey, but it’s still pretty cool. I’ll take it. It’s also kind of funny that people used to sneak into movies. Now we just download them.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Music Visualizer

Every now and then, if I really like a band, I will buy an album of theirs on iTunes. I like iTunes because I have access to anything I purchase from there will be available on my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Pro. My favorite way to listen to an album for the first time is to play it on my laptop with a nice set of headphones plugged in. I always make it a point to turn on the visualizer. A music visualizer is a feature that makes music visual, in case you couldn’t figure that out for yourself. The next time you catch yourself listening to music through a media player, check to see if there is a visualizer option. That shit takes it to another level. The notes of a song become swirls of smoke, or dots and dashes, or bolts of electricity. Colors shift and patterns change and you’ll go on a journey through time and space if you only give in and let yourself go. Smoke a bowl and enjoy the light show.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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