Monthly Archives: May 2016

Drive By Biography: Christopher Titus

You know me!  I can’t even look through my DVD collection without finding a way to turn it into something fun for the site!  Almost everything I do is preceded by the question “how will I be able to turn this into an awesome post?” and lo and behold I have done it yet again!  One of my favorite comedians is Christopher Titus and as luck would have it I’m going to be seeing him live in less than a week, so  I figured now would be as good a time as any to take a look back at his career and how his work has been a great influence to me.  I guess we should start this by answering the most basic question first.  Who is Christopher Titus?

.

I love being from a screwed up family

CTDBB1

Christopher Todd Titus was born in Castro Valley California in 1964 to Kenneth and Juanita Titus.  Throughout Christopher’s childhood, he had to deal with his manic depressive, paranoid, schizophrenic mother who was in and out of his life as well as his mean alcoholic dad who did his best to raise him right but was dealing with demons of his own.  Most of his life story is told to us from his first major stand-up special Norman Rockwell is Bleeding which he had performed for years before getting it adapted into a TV show on Fox in 2000 simply called Titus; though to be clear, the recording you can find of that special was done a few years after the TV show had ended.  Whether or not all of the stories about his life are true is something that can be reasonably questioned as my cursory research produces little evidence outside of his own personal accounts for what he had to go through, and since a lot of his appeal (at least for me) is the frankness, sincerity, and openness with which he talks about rough subjects, the material NOT being true would certainly hurt that image (like when Robin Williams’s off the cuff delivery style is undercut by the fact that he would always tell the same stories on every talk show he did).  Personally, I don’t have a reason to question him or what he went through, and on the off chance that he DOES stretch the truth for comedic effect (in a memorial to his father at the end of an episode of Titus, his father says that only ten percent of what we hear is the truth), I still feel his comedy fills a need and speaks to an audience that very few comics have been able to reach.  Probably the comedian that comes the closest would be Marc Maron who had a similarly rough life (though mostly AFTER his childhood) and frequently bares his soul to the world through his stand-up routines and his WTF podcast, on which he did in fact interview Christopher (one of the show’s better episodes in my opinion).  The first time I ever heard Christopher’s comedy was when Norman Rockwell is Bleeding had aired on Comedy Central’s Secret Stash* which was (or maybe still is, I have no idea) a block of time around midnight or one in the morning on the weekends that would show movies and stand-up specials with the bad language intact, not to mention Girls Gone Wild commercials.  Needless to say that I watched Secret Stash A LOT when I was in middle school, and even managed to stumble upon some great comedians in the process.  The one comedy special that stood out the most for me though was the aforementioned Christopher Titus special, and it’s honestly something I would put in the top ten if not top five comedy specials that have influenced me greatly, some of which include Denis Leary’s No Cure for Cancer, Bill Maher: The Decider (he hit his peak during the Bush years), George Carlin’s Life is Worth Losing, and Whoopi: Back to Broadway.  Now by the time I had discovered him, it had been YEARS since he had established himself and also years after his television show.  What happened with that exactly?

Continue reading

Advertisements

Super Recaps: Sailor Moon Crystal Act 34 (Infinity 8: “Infinite Labyrinth” 1)

We’re back with another episode of Grey’s Moon-atomy!  The last episode ended on quite the cliffhanger with Hotaru turning into Evil Hotaru and then proceeding to rip the crystal right out of Chibi-Usa’s uniform; leaving her in a coma and the Sailor Moon absolutely distraught.  Now that Usagi has to face the consequences of letting her daughter fight bad guys while still in grade school, she must decide how she should handle the new Hotaru moving forward.  Will she stick to her guns and refuse to let someone else’s death be an acceptable sacrifice for the rest of humanity, or will she listen to the great Mr. Spock and realize the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with Chibi-Usa in the hospital after getting attacked by the full grown Evil Hotaru and her wicked hair.  We’re not sure exactly how we got from the fight to here (did the Scouts just run away?  Did Haruka teleport herself to General Zod?), but that seems a bit inconsequential considering that Chibi-Usa is… well…

SMC34-1

“Gee doc.  You think we should DO something about that?”

Continue reading

Super Recaps: Sailor Moon Episode 24 (Naru’s Tears: Nephrite Dies for Love)

Sailor Moon and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Toei Animation and licensed by Viz Media

Episode directed by Junichi Satou and Takuya Igarashi

If the title wasn’t a good enough indication, this is gonna be the last time we see Nephrite.  Not only that, but it also kind of spoils HOW he’s gonna meet his end if the whole “dying for love” thing isn’t some red herring.  Still, there is potential here for a solid conclusion to this subplot that, despite my misgivings, is certainly an interesting diversion before we get back to the actual story line.  Will this be a satisfying way to capstone the end of Nephrite’s career, or will his tenure as the big bad guy fizzle out the way pretty much all of his evil schemes did?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with Naru and Usagi at nearby park; the former of which is still feeling distraught over the events of the last episode.  She now knows that Nephrite is a bad guy but has also bought into his (obviously phony) story about trying to quit the Evil Organization, so now she’s faced with the prospect of never seeing him again which… I guess would be a bad thing.  I won’t continue to drone on about how bad of a relationship they would end up have if they ACTUALLY got together and about how much of a manipulative prick Nephrite is, but it does make it hard for me to care whether or not they will be an OTP by the end of the episode.  Usagi, not feeling too different from what I’m feeling, has the problem of having to see her friend suffer over her current situation which means she’s feeling pretty bad about it herself but knows what the right move would be which is to keep them apart.

SM24-1

“I’m sure he’s doing what’s best for you.”     “He didn’t even bother to send a good bye letter though!”     “A goodbye letter… that could work!”     “What was that Usagi?”     “Nothing!”

Continue reading

Super Recaps: My Little Pony season 6 (Applejack’s “Day” Off)

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Hasbro.

Episode directed by Denny Lu and Tim Stuby

We’re back with another episode of The Rarity and Applejack Adventures, which is the closest thing we’ll get to an American Absolutely Fabulous!  Okay, CANADIAN Absolutely Fabulous!  Whatever!  Despite their differences in occupation and lifestyles, Rarity and Applejack do have quite a bit in common; not the least of which is their business sense and drive for personal success.  We haven’t gotten an episode with these two characters specifically since Made in Manehattan from season five, and that ended up being a highlight of that rather underwhelming season.  Does this episode accomplish the same for season six, or has the dynamic between the two been explored to the extent the writers are willing to go?  Let’s find out!!

The episode begins with Rarity enjoying a day at the spa and eagerly waiting for the arrival of Applejack in the steam room.  Sadly enough Applejack is overburdened with chores recently and doesn’t arrive until several hours later; setting up the conflict for the rest of the episode and giving us a sight gag in the process.  I don’t think that steaming can cause your face to melt off, but maybe they’re using magic steam.

MLPS06E10-1

“LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE!  Do you KNOW how long it will take for them to put my face back on!?”

Continue reading

Cinema Dispatch: X-Men: Apocalypse

XMACD0

X-Men: Apocalypse and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by Bryan Singer

It’s that time again for another X-Men movie to try and prove its relevance in a post MCU world!  So far, I think they’ve been doing a fairly good job of keeping this series humming along since Mathew Vaughn kicked the franchise back to life again five years ago.  The post First Class movies haven’t been perfect, but the second shot at a Wolverine solo picture and the one that brought Brian Singer back to the franchise were both fine enough films, and now that Deadpool is kinda sorta in the mix, there may be hope yet that this franchise can make that leap to the big leagues instead of sitting comfortably as the acceptable knock off.  Is this movie the start of that transition, or is this series just gonna keep spinning its wheels until another X3 disaster kills it off for good?  Let’s find out!!

The movie picks up about ten years after Days of Future Past which is still about twenty years before the original X-Men, which I THINK is still in continuity (only X3 is the one we know for sure got blinked out of existence).  In the intervening time, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) has finally set up his school, Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) has gone into hiding and now has a family in Poland, and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence)… well she’s basically doing the same thing as she as in the last movie, only now she’s a symbol of peace rather than a violent radical after she had saved the president from Magneto.  Things seem to be at a tentative state of peace with the humans being somewhat okay with mutants and Erik more or less retiring Magento so he can live a normal life.  We don’t come to an X-Men movie to see people be happy though!  What’s gonna screw it up for everyone!?  Well two things really.  First is that Erik suffers a tragedy that throws him back into his anti-human hobby, and second is that there is a millennia old mutant calling himself, among other names, Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) that just so happened to wake up from his deep slumber and is ready to take over the world (presumably after getting a shower and a bite to eat).  It doesn’t take long for him to make his presence known so the X-Men must reunite and get some of the new students to fight the greatest threat to all of humanity… at least now that the Sentinels aren’t gonna be a thing anymore.  Can Charles and Mystique whip these newbies into tip top shape to fight the new bad guy and save the world?  What exactly will Erik do now that he’s given up on ever finding peace for himself?  How many times are they gonna blow up the damn school!?

XMACD1

“What happened this time?”     “Someone left a fork in the microwave.”     “SERIOUSLY!?”     “Well… we put the microwave next to the jet fuel storage container.”     “Did you at any point think that was a bad idea?”     “Oh THANK YOU Captain Hindsight!  Where would we be without your input!?”

Continue reading

Cinema Dispatch: Alice Through the Looking Glass

ATTLGCD0

Alice Through the Looking Glass and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by James Bobin

A sequel to a movie six years after everyone stopped caring about it!  THAT’S never gone wrong, am I right?  To be fair to Disney, the original film did make an astonishing amount of money (one BILLION worldwide) but this feels way too late to capitalize on whatever moment that first movie had.  Not only that, but it was also one of the early 3D films which I’m sure boosted the ticket sales, yet now we’re at a point where people are just sick of the gimmick, so it doesn’t even have THAT going for it.  Still, the first movie did manage to be pretty decent and the trailers for this looked very creative to say the least.  Can this manage to be a damn fine sequel that just needed a little extra time to fully come together, or is this a naked cash grab for everyone involved?  Let’s find out!!

The movie picks up three years after the first movie where Alice (Mia Wasikowska) has spent the intervening time traveling the world as a sea captain for Ascot family’s trading company (I think).  She returns to England at the start of the movie to see her mother (Lindsay Duncan) and plan the next trip with the company.  Unfortunately, the Ascot patriarch has died since she last returned and the one in charge of the company is his son Hamish (Leo Bill) who you may recall was set to be Alice’s husband in the first movie which didn’t end up panning out.  Now that this new guy is in charge (and he has a wounded ego) Alice is not only no longer employed as a sea captain, but for some reason is given an ultimatum to either sell her father’s boat or risk losing her mother’s house.  It gets worse when you find out that the mother has been working behind her back to make sure she gets fired so that she would have no choice but to “settle down” as all proper ladies do.  Well I’d say THAT’S enough stuff to stress over to make a trip to Wonderland seem like a wondrous vacation, right?  She gets led to the titular looking glass by the butterfly Absolem (Alan Rickman) and eventually finds the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) on the other side who is slowly dying and not quite so delightfully mad.  Apparently he found a modicum of proof that his family is still alive but no one else believes him so he’s going to slowly die of depression… I guess.  Alice has no choice but to go back in time to save the Hatter’s family from the Jaberwacki and has to face off against Time himself (Sacha Baron Cohen) to get that ability.  Will she be able to save the Hatter from his battle with depression?  What will she learn as she travels back to the glory days of Wonderland, and what must she risk in order to get the opportunity to do so?  Does anyone else notice that its’ a lot brighter this time around?

ATTLGCD1

“Did you bring the sunscreen?”     “The hell do you need sunscreen for?  YOU HAVE A HAT!!”

Continue reading

Cinema Dispatch: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

NEIGHBORS2CD0

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Nicholas Stoller

They just couldn’t resist the urge, could they?  I guess there was just too much money lying on the table to NOT make another one of these.  Sequels to unexpected hits (especially comedies) are almost always underwhelming as it’s like trying to capture lightening in a bottle twice.  Caddyshack 2, Ghostbusters 2, Horrible Bosses 2, you could make a neigh infinite list of them.  Now the first film was a pretty solid movie that had a bit more to it than you would expect from a movie that’s essentially a prank war.  Not only that, but they’re coming into this one with a decent enough idea in regards to how Sororities are viewed by the education system, even if it is a bit ridiculous that the SAME THING happens to these people twice in a row.  Can this manage to be the few comedy sequels to NOT be the worst thing imaginable, or is this movie destined to be the worst thing imaginable?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins a few years after the first one ended with Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron) still wasting his life away but now doing so as Pete’s roommate (Dave Franco) and Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) planning to sell their house so that they can move to the suburb.  There’s a small roadblock though to their plan which is that they ALREADY bought the house in the suburb, but the house they just sold is in escrow which the movie thankfully explains is a thirty day waiting period where the buyers can back out of the deal if something were to change.  That couldn’t POSSIBLY happen though, right?  Well back on the college campus (what college is it anyway?) the new female freshmen are trying to get into Sorrorities, but three of them (Chloë Grace Moretz, Kiersey Clemons, and Beanie Feldstein) find the guidelines about not being able to party too restrictive, so they decide to start their own independent Sorority.  Well SURELY they won’t end up at the EXACT same house that Teddy’s frat was at, right?  Well speaking of Teddy, Pete just got engaged so Teddy has to move out which means he’s lost once again and needs to find not only a new place to stay, but some meaning in his life.  Oh look!  The house he used to live at!  And look!  The girls are touring it to see if it works for their needs!  An unholy (and tenuous) alliance is born between the girls of the new Sorority (Kappa Nu) and the frat boy looking to relive his glory day, so they rent out the house to the terror of Mac and Kelly who just want to sell their place and move on with their lives.  And so the war is on once again as the girls refuse to keep things quite for thirty days and the old people try to keep them from exercising their right to party!  Can Mac and Kelly once again destroy the young people who are trying to fuck up their lives?  Will the sisters fail in their endeavor to bring about a new kind of Sorority that’s empowering those who want to have fun but don’t want to be objectified?  Things can’t get any crazier here than they did in the LAST movie… right?

NEIGHBORS2CD1

“My painted on abs give me strength!!”     “KILL THE FAT GUY!!”

Continue reading