Friday, July 25, 2008

Family Reunion Vacation

Unfortunately, for my millions-upon-millions (read: three) of devoted readers, I am off to the great state of North Carolina and the Outer Banks for a full week of fun in the sun.

Every two years my grandmother rents a huge house in the Outer Banks for my entire family to get together for a family reunion-type vacation. This week will be the third time we have traveled to OBX.

The first trip happened in 2004, I had just graduated college and was working in Plattsburgh, but Erika had to stay in Pittsburgh for her final semester. So, my travel arrangements were to fly into Norfolk, Va and my parents were picking me up for the rest of the car ride to our rented house. It was a fun week, despite having to sleep in bunk beds.

The second journey to North Carolina was a much longer one - Erika, my sister and I traveled the 14-plus hours via car. The longest part being stuck in New Jersey during rush hour. Being from such a small town - traffic and I do not get along too well. But, we made it and had another exciting time - and we even got our own room. Kasey was just a few months away from being born.

This year will be Kasey's first experience (outside the womb) of Outer Banks. I am looking forward to seeing how enjoys such a big house, the beach, swimming for a week, etc. He is so fun when he is experiencing new and exciting things - so the week should be a fun time with him - I expect to be even more tired after vacation than before. The trip down, starting tomorrow, I hope works out - we are traveling 10 hours tomorrow to Virgina, then the final four on Sunday. Hopefully, we won't have any hiccups along the way - I am hoping he behaves himself for the trip. He'll have toys, books and movies - but for 14 hours, it'll be tough to keep him satisfied.

So until August 4th (unless I sneak onto a computer during the vacation, which is doubtful) you must survive with out the ramblings of one Kano.

Here is a countdown to help you through this difficult time:

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fair Time

The Fair has come to town again. I remember a time when I used to love going to the fair, but I can't really remember why.

The rides were always so terrible, and it costs an arm and a leg to get into the place, let alone eating something, enjoying the rides or playing any games.

I hadn't been in a few years, but last night we took our son to the fair for the first time. It still isn't the best time in the world - but it was nice to see him enjoy himself.

We started off with a little hot dog dinner before heading over to the 4-H building to see the various animals. Kasey enjoyed the cow the best. We went back to view the horses (which there didn't seem to be any) and actually found some elephants and a few camels instead. Kasey really enjoyed the elephants.

We stopped off for some fried bread dough, Erika and Kasey had some, and we got some cotton candy and candy apples for later.

It was nice to get out of the house and walk around a little. And I believe Kasey enjoyed himself, so it was worth it.

The problem is, the fair brings out the worst in people. I have to assume that most of these people don't actually wear the kind of outfits they wear to fairs during regular business days. Is there a sign at the front of the fair that won't allow people in unless they are wearing skin tight pants and a tank top?

I am sure now that we are having children that we will be going back year-after-year, but I wish they would get a few more attractions that sensible adults would enjoy. A man can only take so many cows. Even if they were kinda cute.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Top 10: Movie Villains

This is a difficult subject to get into, but I figured I would do my best to honor Heath Ledger's terrific performance as The Joker in The Dark Knight film.

I had to do some carving - so I didn't include serial killer-types like Jason Vorhees, Freddy Krueger, Mike Myers or Ghostface - although each and every one of them were terrific villains.

Also, for the bottom two on this list - I went with possibilities instead of actual screen time, but I will explain that in a minute.

Here are my Top 10: Movie Villains (in reverse order as always):

10) Darth Maul - Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
Reasoning: I thought that the idea of Darth Maul was amazing. Ray Park also did a great job at creating the character - he just looked vicious from the first time you get to see him. He is highly skilled, quick and strong with The Force. I was disappointed with the quick demise of Darth Maul, as his character was one of the best in the Star Wars universe - killing him off in one episode was a serious mistake.

9) Venom - Spiderman 3
Reasoning: Again, this character could have done so much more. Apparently, Venom was an afterthought in the movie, and put in for fan approval. But, the way he was used could have been so much better in my opinion. I actually thought Topher Grace was great in the role - but it was too minor for such a great character. Hopefully, we haven't seen the last of Venom.

8) Wicked Witch of the West - The Wizard of Oz
Reasoning: Is the Wicked Witch of the West truly a villain? Apparently she was always as ruthless and sinister before Dorothy arrived in Oz, at least according to the Munchkins. But, her hatred towards Dorothy might have been merited - she did drop a house on her sister's head. But still - her vengeance towards the four yellow-brick road followers was truly wicked.

7) Magneto - X-Men Trilogy
Reasoning: The mutants in the X-Men universe were clearly given a choice - either use their powers for the good, or for evil. Magneto was originally an ally of Dr. Xavier, but the prejudice towards mutants from the humans forced his hand - and he became the face of evil throughout the X-Men Trilogy.

6) Dr. Octopus - Spiderman 2
Reasoning: Talk about a guy who takes his work seriously. After killing his wife and his mechanical arms are fused into his body, Dr. Otto Octavius becomes Dr. Octopus and will stop at nothing to finish his experiment. In order to complete his experiment, he needs tritium, which Harry Osborne possesses - to obtain it he must kill Spiderman.

5) Hannibal Lecter - Silence of the Lambs
Reasoning: Despite not really being the villain in the film - that belongs to Jame Gumb 'Buffalo Bill' - but it was Lecter who was the most frightening, even behind that glass cage he was housed in. Despite helping Clarice Starling track down the infamous Buffalo Bill, Lecter always appeared to have a hidden agenda. And it was his mind games that made him a true force.

4) Khan - Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Reasoning: Khan's story is one of revenge. Kirk had exiled Khan to the planet Ceti Alpha V in the episode 'Space Seed' of the original Star Trek television series. Back for his revenge in the second of the Star Trek films, Khan commandeers the USS Reliant and goes into all-out war against Kirk and the Enterprise in search of 'Project Genesis' - a quick process of transforming a planet into a livable one.

3) Lord Voldemort - Harry Potter Franchise
Reasoning: He Who Must Not Be Named, has been the enemy of Harry Potter from birth. Killing Harry's parents, and scarring him with a lightning bolt scar on his fore-head, Voldemort was 'killed', but is slowly returning to finish what he started. I have not read the books, so I only know what I have seen - but it appears Harry is the only hope to send Voldemort back where he belongs.

2) The Joker - The Dark Knight
Reasoning: The Joker has been around for ages, but in all forms (despite some animation) he still didn't seem all too terrifying. But, enter Heath Ledger, and The Joker was transformed into a true mass-murdering psychopath. His only real reason for committing these crimes was to prove that anyone could turn evil in the right situation.

1) Darth Vader - Star Wars Original Trilogy
Reasoning: In my mind no one is as villainous as Darth Vader. Despite taking orders from Emperor Palpatine, he was the true bad ass who carried them all out. He was masterful with a light saber, had one of the best understandings of The Force - and despite being bulky, was surprisingly nimble. But it wasn't just his fighting skills - he also had a knack for getting under your skin with his brain.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Dark Knight

I went into this movie expecting greatness. I had read the early reviews. I had read the reviews of some of my fellow bloggers who were lucky enough to see the movie right away. Each and every one of them had nothing but good things to say about this movie.

Well, I am here to tell you something.

They were absolutely right.

My lone negative of the film is I was left wondering, but those questions could be answered in the absolutely has to happen sequel, or in another one down the line.

I found myself looking at my watch, not because I was bored and the movie was too long - but because I was hoping the film would last longer.

Right from the start, the introduction of The Joker, I was immediately into the movie. Heath Ledger does have another film on his resume that will be released after The Dark Knight, but this is a movie that if you have to go out - you want to go out with a performance like this.

I didn't even know he had it in him. Sure, he was an amazing actor - but this shot him into the likes of Tom Hanks in my book. Amazing performance, he truly made The Joker his own - and it was spectacular.

I wasn't sure how they were going to handle the villain aspect of the movie - I had heard rumors about the inclusion of Harvey 'Two-Face' Dent, but was under the impression that it would be a quick cameo in order to setup the next film (sort of like the joker card at the end of Batman Begins). The older Batman films got a little out of hand with so many different villains on the scene at once, much like Spiderman 3 sort of got a little too jumbled.

*SPOILER* Director Christopher Nolan did a tremendous job including two villains in the same movie, without really going over the top. This movie, as it should be, was devoted mostly to The Joker, but the introduction of Two-Face was done very well, and it worked with the film's overall premise.*SPOILER OVER*

Before heading to the theater, I re-watched
Batman Begins and I have to say the flack that Katie Holmes received for portraying Rachel Dawes was a little unjustified. I felt she gave a pretty good performance, but nevertheless, she wasn't totally missed in the sequel as Maggie Gyllenhaall did a marvelous job picking up where Holmes had left off.

Morgan Freeman's Lucius Fox wasn't a central piece in this film, but his performance was, as almost always, very top notch. Michael Caine's Alfred was very well done - and I enjoyed the little back-and-forth that his character shared with Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne.

Finally, I have always been a Michael Keaton as Batman guy. I was not too happy when he was replaced by Val Kilmer, then again by George Clooney. But, Bale has done a stellar job portraying the Dark Knight. As others have pointed out, I am not a huge fan of the deep, throat-like voice that he uses when in the Batman suit - but that is not that big of an issue for me.

This film was easily the best superhero movie I have ever seen. I do hope they continue to make Batman films, but I hope they continue at this current depth - the original films sort of lost their place after the second film, I would hate for history to repeat itself.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Dark Knight Hits Theaters

As millions upon millions of people head to the movie theaters this weekend to gaze upon The Dark Knight, just remember that the action you are seeing is nothing compared to this:

I am hoping to check out The Dark Knight on Sunday, so if I have a chance (and a working computer) I could have my thoughts on it up on Sunday. If not, I will share my opinion on Monday. With all I am hearing though, it definitely should be a great movie.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Quick Rant: Charles in Charge

OK, this is going to sound weird because Charles in Charge hasn't been in production in almost two decades, but I have been catching up on episodes in my down time, and I am near the completion of season one.

Charles in Charge is like any other situation comedy out there. Each and every week a story is told, and in the end of the 24 minute episode, a lesson is learned. Things were a little different with Charles in Charge, however, as most of the lessons weren't taught by a family member, but the live-in babysitter.

Charles was played by Scott Baio, he was a college student who needed a place to stay and in return for room and board, offered to help a family out with their children. His best friend Buddy Lembeck was played by Willie Aames. Buddy was the girl-crazed bubble-head, who played so well next to Charles' smart and mature persona.

During the first season which ran from 1984-85, Charles was the live-in caretaker of the Pembroke family. The Pembroke's were a lovely family led by father Stan (played by James Widdoes, or Hoover in Animal House). Jill (Julie Cobb) played the mother, while the three children were Lila (April Lerman), Douglas (Jonathan Ward) and Jason (Michael Pearlman).

Lila was a teenager in junior high, who was confused about her status in life. She was a smart girl, who was interested in student government, but was also trying to be popular and play a sport. Douglas was 12 years old and a science fiction nerd, who loved to learn - he was often found wearing rubber masks or science fiction-themed costumes. Michael was 10 years old, but small for his age, and loved to play sports - despite his size.

The reason for this rant, however, is that I was not used to the Pembroke family when I think of Charles in Charge. When I think of the show, I think of the Powell family - because that is who the family was when I watched.

The problem is, when I watch the original season now - I actually think I enjoy the Pembroke family better than the Powell family.

According to wikipedia, the original season which had the Pembroke family in it aired from 1984-85. The show was then on hiatus for nearly two years until it was picked up for syndication in 1987 and ran until 1990.

When the show returned, Charles still remained in the house (they played it off as if there wasn't a 2-year gap in the lives of those on the show), however, the Pembroke family sold their house to the Powell family and moved to Seattle. But, of course, the Powell family allowed Charles to remain living in the house, but this time would take care of their three children.

The Powell's consisted of a grandfather, Walter (James T. Callahan), mother, Ellen (Sandra Kerns) and her three children, Jamie (Nicole Eggert), Sarah (Josie Davis) and Adam (Alexander Polinsky). Buddy also returned as the faithful sidekick to Charles.

The premise remained the same, although Jamie was more into fashion and popularity than Lila was. Sarah was the brain of the family (and middle child), much like Douglas. And Andy was a lot like the Jason character.

I could find no real reason for the change in families. I enjoyed Charles in Charge during its original run, but now that I have seen the original season, I have to admit I think I would have liked the show a lot more had the Pembroke family remained.

Perhaps they changed the family to add Eggert, who was much easier playing the popular high school girl than Lerman could have. Eggert is nice to look at (see example), but Lerman was by no means unattractive.

Another reason is, perhaps they had a difficult time corralling the entire Pembroke family after a 2-year hiatus. Lerman was a highly regarded Broadway singer, and Widdoes, despite not appearing on camera in awhile, has spent a good amount of time behind it directing. So, without a handful of family members, perhaps the producers decided best to just start over with a new family.

Either way - I would have liked to have seen how the Pembroke family played out. Maybe it's time for a Charles in Charge reunion.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Will Ferrell!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Top 10: Positioned All-Stars

With the 2008 Major League Baseball All-Star Game kicking off tonight, I figured I would do my Top 10 list a little different this week.

I have put together a list of my favorite players at each position in my time as a sports fan (I have noted before I am not the biggest baseball fan, but still).

So, here is my list of a player at each position - in no real particular order:

Catcher - Mike Piazza
Synopsis: When thinking of catchers during my time, only two come to mind - Piazza and Pudge Rodriguez. Piazza is not particularly known for his defense, but it was with his bat that he was so spectacular - becoming one of the best hitting catchers of his time.

First Base - Sid Bream
Synopsis: Bream was my childhood hero. I met him twice when he played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and when he was traded to the Braves, my allegiance followed him there. The above picture is from his most infamous slide - defeating the Pirates in 7 games to reach the World Series.

Second Base - Craig Biggio
Synopsis: Despite coming into the league as a catcher, Biggio blossomed with his chance to become a second baseman. He was a player that would do anything for the team, even moving to the outfield when the Astros got Jeff Kent. Biggio finished his career with over 3,000 hits.

Third Base - Chipper Jones
Synopsis: When Bream retired, Jones was just up-and-coming for the Braves, so I immediately gravitated towards him. And he hasn't really let me down. Despite his injuries weighing him down, he has been one of the best third basemen in the league today - and is even flirting with hitting .400 this season.

Shortstop - Nomar Garciaparra
Synopsis: Garciaparra was one of the best shortstops in his 'class'. He came up along with A-Rod, Jeter and Miguel Tejada, and was considered in his prime to be the best of the bunch. Injuries, however, have derailed his career - although he has resurfaced in Los Angeles, he probably will never be the superstar he was in Boston.

Outfield - David Justice
Synopsis: Justice is another of my favorite players from the Atlanta Braves. It was thanks to him that I was able to see them finally win a World Series title, and not be the Buffalo Bills of the MLB. He was traded to Cleveland and I still followed him, but when he signed with the hated Yankees, I lost a little bit of respect.

Outfield - Ken Griffey Jr.
Synopsis: The Seattle Mariners could have been something special. They had all of the promise with Randy Johnson, A-Rod and Griffey - but it fell apart before it could ever get going. Griffey was A-Rod before there was an A-Rod. He was the superstar that would break all the records, but injuries again would be his Achilles heel, although he has had a pretty good season this year.

Outfield - Vladamir Guerrero
Synopsis: I was lucky enough to witness the emergence of Guerrero before the Expos disbarred and Guerrero flew to Los Angeles. His home runs were epic, and his old school style of hitting (see lack of batting gloves) was something to see. But, it was his arm strength and accuracy that was truly a marvel to watch.

Designated Hitter - David Ortiz
Synopsis: He is one of the most clutch baseball hitters in the history of the MLB. And, he is one of the most fun loving players in baseball today. The designated hitter is a much discussed position in baseball - but Ortiz has certainly owned the position. He was even mentioned for MVP despite not playing a field position.

Pitcher - Pedro Martinez
Synopsis: Martinez was THE power pitcher of my generation. Due to the surliness and steroid allegations of Roger Clemens, I could not consider him for this spot. Martinez has always played with a certain joy - much like Manny Ramirez. And his dominance while on the Red Sox was a sight to see.

Monday, July 14, 2008

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

This was a very laid back weekend at the Kane household. There was absolutely nothing on the schedule for the weekend, which might be the last time for a good month.

It was nice to spend some time with my wife and my son without anything having to force us out of the house. It was very peaceful.

And, we were able to catch up on some movies.

We watched a trio of movies this weekend (well more than that, but these were three we put into the DVD player). The first of which was National Treasure: Book of Secrets.

I had started watching the first National Treasure film a year or so ago, but the DVD which I was watching it on had a glitch - and I had not finished the film until just a few weeks ago. So, it was pretty fresh in my mind when watching this sequel.

For most people out there, Nicolas Cage is a terrible actor. But, I am not one of those people - while I will admit he is not anywhere close to a great actor, he gets no ill-will from me. I can actually deal with him.

That being said, I really enjoyed National Treasure: Book of Secrets. I thought it flowed very well, and of course a lot of the things that happen are very unbelievable (it is a movie), but it is highly original, which I like. And, it kept me interested throughout.

The whole idea about clues hidden on or in historical documents leading to treasures or more historical documents is amazing. I love treasure hunt movies, and this one was very good.

Things start out as Ben Gates (Cage) and his father Patrick (Jon Voight) are giving a lecture about how Patrick's great-grandfather (or perhaps grandfather) Thomas Gates hid the location of the City of Gold from the Knights of the Golden Circle and John Wilkes Booth.

After the lecture, a man named Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris), whose relative was a member for the KGC, shows them a part of Booth's diary with names of the members of the KGC - including the name of Thomas Gates.

So, in order to preserve their family name, Ben and Patrick, along with Riley Poole (Justin Bartha) and Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger) set out on a second journey, this time to find the City of Gold.

There were a few things I did not like - for instance the oil lamp near the end of the film that just happens to be there, it reminded me a lot of the first movie, which could have been avoided - but, I guess I am just nitpicking.


P.S. - In the future, I am hoping to have a certain tie-in to the movies I watch during the weekend - that is, when I am able to watch movies on the weekend. Something like a 'Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon'-type thing.

Vantage Point

Our second movie that we took in this weekend was Vantage Point.

Vantage Point is a thriller, terrorist movie that shows a single moment from a handful of different perspectives.

The film opens from the view of GNN (Global Network News) and their team. The President of the United States is set to give a speech against terrorism. There is an assassination attempt on the president, which is followed by multiple explosions.

The film then rewinds and shows you the point of view of Thomas Barnes (Dennis Quaid), who had previously taken a bullet for the president and was just returning to duty.

Basically, the film begins to unwrap more and more with each perspective that you are able to see. Forest Whitaker, William Hurt, Matthew Fox and Sigourney Weaver co-star in this action-packed film.

The film had a lot of great moments, and it was pretty fun to follow as each perspective was shown - and little-by-little the information was given to you - until you find out who is behind the attack, and how they are going to be brought down.

I would give this movie a better grade, however, if it wasn't so predictable. I told my wife right away, I believe from the second perspective, who was involved in the attack. It was far too easy to figure out. But, it was definitely a fun watch and fun to see how things went together.


The Bucket List

The third movie that my wife and I were able to watch this weekend was The Bucket List.

The film stars Jack Nicholson as Edward Cole, a billionaire who owns a ton of hospitals. During a hearing where he is trying to take over another hospital, Cole coughs up some blood and is sent to one of his own hospitals. There, he finds out that he has brain cancer.

His roommate, Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman), has also been diagnosed with cancer - his of the lung variety. During their stay, the two form a rare bond - which is only strengthened as they are each given a diagnosis of six months to a year to live.

Chambers' before the news, had started jotting down a 'Bucket List' - a list of things in which you would like to accomplish "...before you kick the bucket".

When the news came, Chambers tossed the paper on the floor. Cole, however, takes a glance at it the next morning, and is given the idea to add a few things to this bucket list - and convinces Chambers to join him in completing these items.

The movie was marketed as a comedy, which I think actually hurt it. Yes, it does have it's comedic moments, Nicholson and Freeman are a pretty good pairing, and play off each other well. But, the movie is a little more dramatic than comedic. And, it works.

Again, I am not giving away the ending, but there is a great moral to the film, and it sort of gets you thinking.

I really enjoyed the movie. It's funny though, even before I watched it - the trailer inspired me to think about things I would like to accomplish in my lifetime. I, along with my wife, have started jotting down 10 things that we (each) would like to do over a lifetime. As of now, I only have five or six items, but I do hope that I will be able to accomplish them over time.


Friday, July 11, 2008


Pink for the weekend!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Quick Rant: Brett Favre

I have never really understood the strangle hold that Brett Favre has held over the NFL.

For years I have heard dozens-upon-dozens of reporters/commentators slurp up to this guy like he was the second coming of Jesus.

Has he really been the best quarterback ever? Or even in the top 10? Probably not.

He led the Green Bay Packers to just one - count it: one - Super Bowl victory in his tenure under center. But for some reason, he continues to get praise.

Perhaps it' s because he appears human. He developed a dependency to vicodin, his wife developed breast cancer, his brother-in-law was killed in a ATV accident, his family in Mississippi were victims of Hurricane Katrina. Instead of driving a fancy car, Favre shows up to football games in a pickup truck. Yes, he is an every man's man, so people identify with him a little more.

It seems like the past few years has always been Favre's last season. He continually has offseasons wavering back and forth whether he will retire or not. The Packers drafted future quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the first round to learn under Favre, and to take over the duties at quarterback when Favre retires.

Finally, the 2007 season appeared to be Favre's last under center. He officially announced his retirement at an early enough time that the Packers could give him his well deserved farewell, and also plan for the upcoming season. The Packers appeared to have moved on, they had handed things over to Rodgers and drafted Brian Brohm in the second round to backup Rodgers.

But, here comes Brett again. It appears to me that he is of the Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan-ilk. He craves attention. If his name isn't in the news, he has to do something to get it there.

Why do you think he played the back-and-forth for so many years about retirement? It was the offseason, and no one was talking about him. Now, he is retired, so people are no longer talking about him. So why not mention that you have that 'itch' to get back out onto the field.

Well, duh. For the past 17 years you have been heading to training camp around this time. It's no wonder you have the 'itch' because you are an NFL football player. Mike Golic said on Mike & Mike that he still gets the 'itch' every year around this time, and he's been retired for 13 years. It's engraved into your brains - this time of year is time to start football.

I have had it with Favre and those who slurp him. And I have for a long time now. Yes, he is a wonderful quarterback - yes, he is one of the 25 best to ever play the position. His longevity, however, is the main reason he is leading in almost every passing category. You play for so long and never miss a game, you're bound to break a few records.

Here is a quick list - tell me who of these 10 that Favre is better than:
  • Tom Brady
  • Peyton Manning
  • Steve Young
  • Joe Montana
  • Terry Bradshaw
  • John Elway
  • Troy Aikman
  • Dan Marino
  • Johnny Unitas
  • Fran Tarkenton
It's time to stay retired Brett. Do yourself, your family, the Green Bay Packers and the Packer fans a favor. You are going out on a pretty good season, that isn't guaranteed again. The Packers and most of their fans have moved onto the Rodgers era. It's time to stop holding the franchise hostage: you are an all-time great, they can't move on until you retire for good. And finally, spend some quality time with your family. Football takes up a lot of a person's time - they have supported you for this long, it's time to repay the favor.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

LWITM: Remember the Titans

Today, I am again at a loss for a truly decent blog posting. Nothing has truly transpired in my life worth writing about in the past few days - and I have not seen a movie, nor finished a television series.

So, I felt it was time for another Look Who's In That Movie (LWITM).

Today's movie: Remember the Titans.

The major star of the film is Denzel Washington, who was obviously a well known talent well before signing up to play Coach Herman Boone in this film. Will Patton, who plays assistant coach Bill Yoast in the movie, was also well respected in the film world before this movie.

However, most of the players and secondary characters were relatively unknown at the time of this movie - which was released in 2000.

A list of some of the characters who, today, are up-and-coming stars.

  • Wood Harris - Played Julius Campbell in the film, a pivotal character in the film, who helped pave the way for the combining of the white/black football players. Harris has not blown up as of yet, but was a key character in the hit series The Wire playing Avon Barksdale. He currently has five different films releasing this year.
  • Ryan Hurst - Played Gerry Bertier in the film, the other part (along with Campbell) that formed a friendship helping the combining of the two schools. Hurst has been in a handful of movies since Remember the Titans, as well as being a star of a few television series' like Wanted.
  • Donald Faison - Played running back turned defensive standout Petey Jones in the movie. Faison had been in a few movies like Clueless and Can't Hardly Wait, but he was still a couple years away from making it big as Turk on Scrubs.
  • Ethan Suplee - Played lineman Louie Lastik in the movie, a player with a heart of gold and brains of mush. Suplee was also known before this movie for his role on Boy Meets World as well as his time in Kevin Smith movies Mallrats, Chasing Amy and Dogma. He has blown up even larger with his role as Randy Hickey in My Name Is Earl.
  • Kip Pardue - Played Ronnie 'Sunshine' Bass, the replacement quarterback from California, who his teammates mistake for being homosexual. Pardue hasn't become very large in Hollywood, but has still been plenty busy with roles in television and in movies.
The final three on this list have become huge since this movie was released.

  • Ryan Gosling - Played Alan Bosley, a cornerback who had a hard time keeping up with a lot of the faster opponents. Gosling has become a major Hollywood player with large roles in such films as The Notebook, The Believer, Lars & The Real Girl and was nominated for an Oscar for his work on Half Nelson.
  • Kate Bosworth - Played Emma Hoyt, Bertier's girlfriend who had a hard time accepting the fact of the races mixing at first. Bosworth made a name for herself in movies such as Blue Crush and Win a Date with Tad Hamilton. She has since been Lois Lane in Superman Returns and a card counter in the fun movie 21.
  • Hayden Panattierre - Played Sheryl Yoast, daughter of Bill Yoast and football enthusiast. Panattierre was only 10 years old while filming this movie, but has since become a huge star thanks to her role as Claire in the hit television series Heroes.
Well that was LWITM #2. A look back at a pretty terrific movie filled with (at the time) relatively unknown actors. But, trying to get this group together for this film today might prove a difficult task.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Top 10: Things to Look Forward to this Summer

I apologize for missing the Top 10 last week, obviously I had another blog that I wanted to write instead.

I have to admit, it is getting pretty difficult coming up with these Top 10 lists each and every week. But, I will continue to try and do my best.

This week's is a little different. Summer is my all-time favorite time of year, despite the ungodly heat and the amount of sweat pouring off of my body. But, when you live where I live, and winter consumes about eight months out of the year - you learn to love the heat.

This Top 10 list is in honor of the things I am looking forward to for this summer - some have actually already happened, but I still include them.

10) 4th of July
Explanation: Each year we have a big to-do at our house for the 4th of July. It actually was just this past weekend. Rouses Point has a parade that goes right by our house, and fireworks follow at dusk. So, we invite friends and family to the house for a nice BBQ.

9) Green Grass
Explanation: Living in the frigid North, the grass is usually covered with a thick blanket of snow. So, when the summer months finally do come and the grass is allowed to grow, there is nothing prettier than a perfectly mowed lawn with no weeds or brown spots (which mine currently is filled with).

8) Barbecues
Explanation: I am pretty decent on the grill. I am not much of a cook on the inside of the house, I leave most, if not all, of the cooking to my wife. But, when it comes time to grill I actually enjoy it. And who doesn't love a nice cooked burger or steak off the grill?

7) The Sun
Explanation: This is an oddity, because I am a fairly skinned person (OK, I am see-through), so actually enjoying the sun is pretty difficult to do. I guess I don't really like laying out in the sun, but having it out really brightens (pun intended) up your day.

6) Cold Drinks
Explanation: Now obviously you can enjoy a nice, cold drink any day of the calendar year. But, how nice is that ice cold drink on a warm day? I love coming in from the warmth of the outside and enjoying a nice cold drink.

5) Summer Basketball
Explanation: As I have stated in previous blogs, I am playing on a summer basketball team. I have always enjoyed the game, and miss playing competitively. So I enjoy when the summer finally rolls around and I can enjoy playing at least once I week.

4) Outer Banks Vacation
Explanation: Every other year my entire family on my father's side gets together in the Outer Banks for a family reunion. This will be the third year we are going, and the first for Kasey. I am pretty excited to see how much he enjoys the beach - because I know he'll love the pool.

3) Anniversary
Explanation: June 4th was our 3rd anniversary. Still starting out, we didn't get to do too much, but we spent a good amount of time together, which is pretty rare nowadays. We went to Lake George for the night, and went to the Great Escape for the day.

2) Friends
Explanation: No, not those friends, but my friends. During the summer months there seems to be a little more time, and a little more to do, to spend with your friends. I have a handful of really close friends who I wouldn't trade for the world.

1) Family
Explanation: Family is very important to me, and during the summer months you can actually get out and do a lot more. My son absolutely loves the outdoors, and spent a good amount of time outside this weekend. Although we don't do a whole lot outdoors, it's nice to know that when we want do that we can.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Be Kind Rewind/Men With Brooms

During this stellar 4th of July weekend I was able to catch a couple of movies.

On Saturday I had a little down time after cleaning the house, and while Kasey and Erika took a nap so I tossed in Be Kind Rewind. I was pretty excited about the movie, because the premise looked like it could really be a funny movie.

Basically the plot goes like this: Jerry (Jack Black) is electrocuted and his body becomes a bit magnetized. Mike (Mos Def) has been left in charge of the video store, Be Kind Rewind, which is a little behind on the times - currently only holding VHS titles. Jerry comes into the store and, due to his magnetization, accidentally erases the entire library of videos.

So, in order to please their customers and not get in trouble - Jerry and Mike decide to remake the movies themselves. And to their surprise, their customers actually enjoy the movies. They call the movies 'Sweded', and are soon drawing in tons of new business.

Little do they know, however, is that Elroy Fletcher (Danny Glover) is out trying to find a way to upgrade the store to make more money, so that they can stay where they are located. A builder has plans to renovate the property - evicting the video store.

I have to admit, I was not that pleased with the movie. There were some pretty good parts, and the ending was kind of nice, but it just didn't hold my attention like I thought it would. The scenes where they were remaking the movies were pretty funny, but those scenes weren't long enough. I am glad I checked out the movie, and it's possible that some people might actually like it, but I can't truly recommend it - especially for repeat viewing.


The other movie I checked out this weekend was Men with Brooms. I have seen this movie multiple times, but it had been awhile since I had watched it.

The movie stars Paul Gross (Chris Cutter), Jed Reese (Eddie Strombeck), James Allodi (Neil Bucyk), Peter Outerbridge (James Lennox), Molly Parker (Amy Foley) and Leslie Nielson (Gordon Cutter).

I was first interested in this movie when I saw the trailer. The movie features music from two of my favorite bands: The Tragically Hip and Our Lady Peace. It's kind of weird how music can actually draw you to a movie, but I am glad it does. It's happened a few other times, especially with Life As A House which featured another favorite band, Guster.

Men with Brooms is a movie about a curling team. The film is set in Canada and starts with the death of Amy Foley's father, who also happens to be a curling coach. His death brings together his former team of Chris Cutter, Eddie Strombeck, Neil Bucyk and James Lennox. The team hadn't been together in nearly 10 years after Cutter mysteriously left the group. We later find out that the reason he left was because he lied about a team member touching a stone, in order to preserve a victory.

Their coaches last wish was for the quartet to compete one last time for the curling championship. Cutter recruits his father, Gordon, to get the team back up to speed in order to compete in the championships.

Each member is dealing with different issues in his life, which throughout the movie they are forced to face and deal with.

Despite the lack of any real stars (Nielson being the lone big name) this movie was pretty amazing, and I can watch it multiple times. It was funny, there was drama, there was a love story and there was curling. I have never truly been a fan of the sport, but it was interesting to see the dynamics of the game.

Overall I definitely recommend checking out this movie. Especially if you are into Canadian humor and Canadian music. For a special bonus, The Tragically Hip actually had a cameo appearance in the film as a rival curling squad from Kingston, Ontario.


4th of July Weekend

The 4th of July has morphed into an all-out weekend, especially this year thanks to the 4th falling on a Friday.

I was let out of work on Thursday and had a softball game at 6:30. I wasn't able to play because I also had a basketball game at 7:45, so I would have had to leave early. The softball team fell, but apparently the women on the team were carrying the men.

I am starting to get the feeling that our basketball team is pretty good. On Thursday we played Peabody's - or the team from Chateaugay. They have been a powerhouse in our league for awhile now, but we actually controlled the game from the opening tip. I kept waiting for them to take the lead - but it never happened.

I am still not contributing very well on the scoring front - in fact I was the only player not to score on Thursday (only shot twice though). But, I think I am contributing in other aspects. I have been really strong defensively, my passing has been pretty decent - and I have even been rebounding - which has surprised even me. We are now 3-0, but play another undefeated team on Thursday, so we will see where we are at.

On Friday Erika, Kasey and I went to Plattsburgh for the 4th of July parade. I am getting pretty tired of the lack of real imagination in this city. The parade pretty much sucked right from the start. I was pretty appalled that they didn't close off the street in terms of parking. Cars were parked up and down the street, and it was pretty much impossible to see the parade unless you were lucky enough to get there in time (like we were) to sit in a parking spot.

As for the parade, I don't call throwing a bunch of ambulances, fire trucks and vintage cars in a line and letting them drive down the street a parade. Not one band - at least the year before we had bagpipe players. The lone highlight: a small cement truck that was actually filled with candy - and dumped a crapload out for kids to enjoy.

We went over to our friends Mark and Danielle's house for a little volleyball/picnic action. Their house is in perfect viewing of the city fireworks - so we had some s'mores and watched the fireworks before heading home.

Saturday was pretty much used for cleaning the inside and outside of the house. My sister and Cyle came up later in the day and we played some Guitar Hero: Aerosmith for awhile before heading to bed.

Sunday was our 4th of July party in Rouses Point. We had a lot of friends and family come up and I think it went pretty well. I grilled up some burgers and hot dogs, and everyone brought a little something to the table. We watched our parade (which was a lot better: 3 different bagpipe bands), then those that remained went in and played a little Wii before heading over to the fireworks.

All-in-all it was a pretty fun and eventful weekend. We didn't get to bed until late last night, so I am pretty exhausted this morning. I hope everyone had a good time - and I look forward to doing it all again next year.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July
See ya Monday!