ENTERTAINMENT NEWS: Scooby Doo to WWE and More…

UPDATE 10/31/2012:  The tentative title for the Warner Brothers-WWE Scooby Doo project is Scooby Doo:  The Curse of the Ghost Bear.

Original Article posted on August 16, 2012

Announced this week, World Wrestling Entertainment will partner with Warner Brothers to produce a new Scooby Doo animated feature.  The feature will focus on a mystery surrounding WrestleMania and will employ the vocal talents of current WWE Superstars Triple H, John Cena, Brodus Clay, The Miz, Santino Marella, Sin Cara, and Diva AJ Lee.  Of note, AJ Lee will be the WWE’s first female talent to star in a WWE Studio’s film.  The target release date for the project is scheduled for a 2014 straight-to-DVD release.

As of this writing, the tentative plot is that Shaggy and Scooby win a pair of tickets to see WrestleMania, prompting the team to travel to WWE City in the Mystery Machine.  A mysterious ghostly bear appears and threatens to ruin the entire show.  Daphne, Fred, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby must then work with WWE Superstars to solve the crime and unmask the bear.

In other entertainment/casting news, it was announced today that former Xena and Spartacus star Lucy Lawless will star in multiple episodes of NBC’s Parks and Recreation.  For those unfamiliar with Lawless, she gained notoriety as Xena, Warrior Princess which aired from 1995-2001.  Recently, the New Zealand native reinvented herself and gained popularity from her role as Lucretia on the hit Starz series Spartacus (2010-2013).  As Lucretia, Lawless played one of the most complex characters of the series, surviving three seasons (Season 1: Blood and Sand, Prequel Season: Gods of the Arena, Season 2: Vengeance) before being killed off in the Season 2 finale.  For Parks and Recreation, Lawless will play a single mother named Diane, who becomes the love interest of Ron (Nick Offerman).

Finally, Walt Disney Studios announced Thursday that The Avengers sequel has been given an official release date of May 1, 2015.  The second installment of the franchise will be directed by the returning Joss Whedon.  The release date announcement rounds out Disney-Marvel’s second phase, which includes:  Iron Man 3 (May 3, 2013), Thor: The Dark World (November 8, 2013), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4, 2014), and Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1, 2014).

For those of you who may be unfamiliar, the Guardians of the Galaxy are a team of superheros from the 31st Century.  In the original comics, they appear and ultimately team with The Avengers for a final, epic battle.  The concept art for Guardians was revealed at Comic-Con in July 2012.  Also, following the success of The Amazing Spiderman, there has been chatter of possibly adding the web-slinging superhero to the Avengers franchise, but no official announcement on Spidey’s inclusion has been made, though the release date for The Amazing Spiderman sequel is scheduled for May 2, 2014.

-B. james

26: B-Day Weekend

 Hello there everyone!  I’d first like to begin by thanking you all for the flood of birthday wishes today! What a fantastic day it was to cap off a busy weekend!

It really began on Friday night when all four of my nieces and nephews (Jamie, Cody, Molly, and Lucas) were crashed in the living room floor!  Saturday began with Cody’s fourth birthday party! The party gave me a chance to connect with the entire family this weekend.  I even received a couple [early] birthday cards of my own and a brand new ATARI from my Momma.  Hopefully she’s ready to be schooled in about all sixty pre-loaded games.  Yeah, I’m pretty excited about that one.

Saturday night – Kacie, Lachelle, and I took Teresa to her first drag show at Shameless Grounds in Soulard.  The show was hosted by and featured the first drag queen I’d ever seen (Siren).  I thought Siren’s eccentric and somewhat outlandish ways would be good first-time viewing for Teresa – little did we know, Pinko, another performer would be hot on Siren’s heels as a show-stealer, though Siren threw out some great comedy that kept us all laughing!  I was branded by the barista as a “double fister” when Teresa ordered me a Caramel Macchiato and Kacie ordered me a White Chocolate Screamer (vanilla shake with white chocolate syrup) – happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me… drink for each hand!

Sunday, my actual birthday, was super fantastic! Woke up to the smell of fresh ground and brewed Kona coffee and fresh-baked Cinnamon Rolls. (mmmm!).  Then Cody helped me open my gift from Aunt Charlene and Uncle David, which was a pretty cool wall decor film reel/strip (fits perfectly with the Hollywood/Movie theme).  After that, it was off to play Tennis – mixed doubles.  Lachelle and I teamed up to take on Josh and Lauren.  We won!  And I scored Match Point! That was exciting… Wait, they didn’t let me win because it was my birthday, did they?  Guess a re-match is in store to find out!

Later in the day, I headed out to 3 Margaritas in Fenton to meet Josh, Lauren, Kacie, Roxi, Bryan, JP, and Nycki for Margaritas and late lunch!  Did you know that you have a choice between desert and a tequilla shot!?!? Yeah, neither did I, but I figured, what the hell – why not do the shot… oh boy, I’m a shooter too – wait, that could sound bad considering the shot Kacie, Lachelle, Teresa, and I had Saturday night was a blowjob shot.  Nevermind.

Finally, to cap off the weekend, Josh, Lauren, and I went to see The Campaign starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis.  Might I just say, it’s good for a few laughs … okay, maybe a bit more than a few.  It’s a satire on American politics.  Ahhhh, funny movie.  I wonder how people would really react to some of those situations, or even just how would they react to a politician punching a baby! I’ve gotta say, it’s good for a few ideas too… I wonder if putting a lightning bug on your butthole would really make your farts glow…?

Anyhoopla, this was one jam packed weekend, but at least it was full of good times and laughter! The way every birthday should be! Thanks again y’all for the b-day wishes!

-Bobby-james

New Dreams start from “Love”

I’m in my mid-20s and never been an athlete.

Despite both of those facts, just Monday (8/6/12) I made an announcement:  I am going to begin playing competitive tennis around mid-2013-2014.

The Back Story

My desire to compete in tennis dates back a decade, to when I was a freshman in high school at Francis Howell Central.  I decided that in my sophomore year I wanted to play one of three sports: tennis, soccer, or volleyball.  Then I moved.  Unfortunately, Ste. Genevieve Senior High didn’t offer any of those sports, leaving me to focus my energies on non-athletic extracurriculars.

When I began college, I’d entertained the idea of playing tennis but thought, “I can’t possibly do this, the people I’ll be playing against have probably been playing their whole lives.”  So again, opportunity fled and my attentions turned to a Bachelor’s degree and acting, theater, and film (all things I love).

After graduating from Webster, I began rebuilding my suffering social life.  During this time, I got my first feel for tennis.  My good friend Kacie and I started playing against one another recreationally (translation: no rules!) before we began incorporating rules and more people (my brother, Josh, who was an all-around athlete his entire life and his girlfriend Lauren).  In 2010, I finished the season with a 50% win record (of 22 matches I won 11, lost 10, tied 1 – even though ties don’t happen, one did, pre-rules!), but recreational tennis is far different from what I’m hoping to achieve.

In the academic world, I’ve done it all with varying degrees of success.  I’ve earned two college degrees, averaged an A (3.9) for my Bachelors, earned a 4.0 in my first semester of Grad school (still more of that to come!), and won some awards along the way.  As a thespian, I’ve acted on the stage, was awarded a theater scholarship, and wrote and directed my own [small] show.  I’ve made some short films, penned film reviews, and wrote a lengthy film-based analytical thesis.  But there’s one thing I haven’t done and that’s try to be an athlete.

Mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling

The Final Inspiration

My brother always enjoyed the success of athletics in comparison to my academics, but this year, my brother claimed an academic record by winning the Skills USA competition in Automotive Service Technology.  His academic accomplishment inspired me to want to achieve something I’ve never achieved before, an athletic record or victory.

The final inspiration came during the Murray/Federer Olympic gold-medal match.  The match captivated me – I couldn’t turn it off and refused to leave (for work) before its conclusion (I was late!).  Something inside me clicked and I realized I’d had this burning desire to compete in this sport – that in order for me to not have this regret later in life, it’s something I need to do – for myself.  This match in particular resonated with me, causing me to think, “There’s a void in my life - something I haven’t done, something I haven’t succeeded at – and that something is as an athlete in a competitive sport – a sport I’ve always wanted to play, but not just play, to be great at. To win.”

That’s why I’ve poured a lot of thought into this decision and am ready to condition, train, and prove that this is one worth making.  Maybe I’m a dreamer, but when I’m under pressure to deliver I tend to deliver my greatest achievements.  I hope this will be one of them.

The Reception

Most of the reception to my announcement has been supportive.  Though, there are the occasional naysayers who say, “you’re too old to start,” and “you’ll be competing with people who’ve been playing their whole lives.”  Some think I’ll get where I want to go, others have questioned my ability to do so, saying I’ll likely max out in local tournaments and never make it beyond that point.  So far I’ve heard it all – and I guess this is where desire, passion, and commitment begin.

The Plan

For the remainder of the year:

- Condition (cardio, cardio, cardio) and Strength Train

- Yoga (daily)

- Tennis Instruction (classes/coaching)

- Enter my first tournament in 2013/2014 and move up the rankings from there.

There you have it, announcement, intentions, back story, and plan.  I’m confident in my abilities and feel I have at least a 6-8 year competitive run in this body of mine.  I’ll keep you all posted here! Coming along for the journey?

-Bobby-james

Mission Accomplished!

 NASA’s rover “Curiosity” officially landed on Mars.  This historical event marks a major event for planetary exploration and the United States’ space program.  Upon surface contact, Curiosity began sending high resolution photos home (like the one seen here).

What an amazing moment to witness.  This proves that boundaries and possibilities are limitless.  Congratulations NASA.  Moments like this are what define and inspire generations and make the United States a great country.

From here, we may only begin to learn what, if any life exists/existed beyond our own.  Excitment is all the future holds.

-Bobby-james

London 2012 – Day 6: All-Around Gold

 Gymnast Gabby Douglas, of the United States’ “Fab Five,” claimed the gold medal in the Women’s Gymnastics All-Around final on the sixth day of Olympic competition.  Douglas’ four scores (15.966 [vault], 15.73 [uneven bars], 15.5 [balance beam], 15.033 [floor]) earned her the right to be called the best all-around female gymnast in the world.  Douglas’ team-mate Aly Raisman, who was heavily favored to medal almost did.  After she and Russia’s Alyia Mustafina had unfortunate balance beam rounds and when the dust had settled, they found themselves both in third place, with the same exact score.  The judges crunched the numbers and dropped the lowest score each of them had (balance beam), after which Mustafina edged out Raisman, leaving Russia with the silver and bronze.

Despite the US Men’s volleyball team advancing to the quarterfinals over Brazil, the pool was the place to be tonight though, as it offered yet another Lochte-Phelps showdown.  Lochte and Phelps found themselves competing against one another, just a day after winning a relay together, in the men’s 200 meter IM.  Many suspected Lochte would claim the victory, just as he did in the 400 meter IM.  But it wasn’t to be as Michael Phelps became the first swimmer to “threepeat” and win his third consecutive Olympic gold (though it was his first individual gold of the London games, his 20th Olympic medal overall).  Lochte earned silver.

One could argue that Lochte’s loss to Phelps could be partially contributed to him participating in the 200 meter backstroke final, which he had competed in just a half hour prior (though the argument would likely fall on deaf ears seeing as how Missy Franklin was involved in a similar situation just two days prior, yet she claimed gold with only ten minutes between swims).  Like the 200 IM, Lochte just didn’t have enough gas in the tank to finish gold in the backstroke final either – instead he claimed bronze and was surpassed by his fellow American swimmer Tyler Clary, who established a new Olympic record while winning his first Olympic medal.  But don’t feel too concerned for Lochte, these two medals gave him a total lifetime-Olympic medal count of 11, putting him in a position to challenge Phelps’ record should he be able to compete come 2016 in Brazil.

Finally, in the women’s 200 meter breaststroke final, American Rebecca Soni set a bunch of records while earning her golden medal.  Soni became the first woman to ever win back-to-back gold medals in the event, established a new world record (breaking her own world record she had just set on day 5), and swam the 200 meter final in 2:19:59 – the first ever under 2:20:00, barely!

Looks like Day 7 will be on its way from London, where Serena Williams looks to be the only American tennis player advancing to the next round, since all the other American tennis players fizzled out.

-Bobby-james

ENTERTAINMENT news: Tippi Hedren guest stars

Today, creators of FX’s popular horror/thriller series American Horror Story (2011) have officially titled the second, upcoming season American Horror Story: Asylum.  The new season is set in 1964 and boasts an all-star cast including Zachary Quinto, Adam Levine, and the returning Jessica Lange in an insane asylum.  Lange will assume the lead role of the series as the nurse in charge.  Nurse Rached anyone?

On topic with the mid-1960s, Tippi Hedren, the actress who famously portrayed Melanie Daniels in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 classic The Birds, will guest star in the season three premier of FOX’s Raising Hope.  Hedren will guest star as Nana, Sabrina’s (Shannon Woodward) dead grandmother.  Joining Hedren will be her real-life daughter Melanie Griffith, who has been cast in multiple episodes of the comedy series as Sabrina’s mother.

Hedren isn’t the only blast from the past this week as trade publication Sight & Sound released their once per decade Greatest Movie Of All Time list.  Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane (1941) was dethroned from its position atop the list by none other than acclaimed British filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock and his 1958 film Vertigo.

Additional Casting News:  Jonathan Rhys-Meyers was cast last week in NBC’s announced primetime vampire thriller/drama Dracula.  And today, Wonderfalls star Caroline Dhavernas joins Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen in the upcoming primetime series Hannibal.  Dhavernas will assume the leading female role of a psychology professor intent on protecting an FBI agent (Dancy) from the emotional strain of working with serial killers.

Finally, for animal lovers, Gator Boys has been renewed for a second season by Animal Planet.  The show features Paul Bedard and Jimmy Riffle, two crazy dudes who capture nuisance alligators with their bare hands.  In the second season, set for 2013, Paul and Jimmy will relocate to Mississippi, where the alligators are bigger and meaner than the ones they’re used to in Florida.

There you have it, your first briefing! Enjoy!

-Bobby-james

London 2012 – Day 5: Golden Girls

UPDATE (8/9/12):  CONGRATULATIONS TO Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jenkins on your third consecutive Olympic gold medal! Quite the impressive feat for such a duo – there will probably never be this level of success again.  May-Walsh conclude their time together as Misty May-Treanor will retire, ending her competitive career.  May-Walsh finish their Olympic dream together undefeated in 21 matches and only losing 1 set out of 43. That’s called domination.

American beach volleyball powerhouses Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jenkins continued their court dominance today by defeating Austria’s Schwaiger sisters in three sets.  However, the Schwaiger sisters defeated May/Walsh in the first set 21-17, handing the two-time defending Olympic champions their first set loss ever in Olympic history – to that point, May/Walsh had been 32-0 in Olympic sets.  The loss rallied the Americans to win the second set by a dominating 21-8.  From there, it was academic that May/Walsh would continue moving their match record forward to “USA” chants.  They now have an undefeated Olympic match streak of 17-0 as they continue their quest for their third consecutive Olympic title.

Nathan Adrian

Beach volleyball wasn’t the only event boasting an expectation.  Australia’s “Missile” James Magnussen was favored to win the Men’s 100 meter freestyle final, and he would have had he not been out-touched by American swimmer Nathan Adrian by 0.01 seconds!  Adrian established a new world record while claiming his first individual Olympic medal!  Adrian wasn’t the only record breaker tonight, Hungarian swimmer Daniel Gyurta aimed his sights in the 200 meter Breaststroke.  London 2012 marked Gyurta’s third Olympic appearance in the event.  In 2008, he took home the silver medal, but tonight, he returned to the games to claim gold and establish a new world record.  Gyurta finished ahead of Britain’s Michael Jamieson and Japan’s Ryo Tateishi.

The Olympic waters remained active throughout the entire day as they saw both Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps qualify for final events, one of which provides another showdown between Lochte and Phelps on Thursday, the 200 meter IM.  American swimmer Rebecca Soni set a new world record in the semi-finals of the women’s 200 meter Breaststroke.  And the American swimmers just kept the records coming the 4 x 200 meter relay, where Team USA delivered a new world record and claimed Olympic gold as they defeated a strong Australian team and a distant  French team.  Finally, the Chinese claimed their fourth diving medal over Russia and the United States in the Men’s synchronized 3 meter platform.  Unfortunately, one of my favorite Olympians, Canada’s Alexandre Despatie failed to medal, but American Troy Dumais experienced something different entirely.  These games marked Dumais’ fourth Olympic appearance – though, the bronze medal marked his first in the event.

Lastly, the evening presented the final in the men’s gymnastics all-around.  Competing on behalf the the USA were John Orozco and Danell Leyva.  Orozco’s dreams were dashed after a disasterous event where he scored a low 12.  Leyva however, kept his dreams alive heading onto the fifth and sixth apparatuses in seventh place.  Call it fate, or whatever you will, thanks to a few other mistakes by other gymnasts and Leyva’s impressive performances on the parallel and high bars, Leyva claimed the bronze medal.  Third, only to Germany’s Marcel Nguyen and Japan’s Kohei Uchimura – who won gold and remains undefeated after three world championships and now the Olympics.  What a day – and Thursday presents the all-around final for women’s gymnastics, where Americans Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman will compete to repeat the 2008 success of Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson.

-Bobby-james