Night of the Squeal Hunter (2012)

Just wishing you all a Happy Halloween.  Here is a video I created (this semester) to go perfectly with the holiday … enjoy! :o)

Inspiration for “Night of the Squeal Hunter” – Growing up, I loved The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton.  Ever since then, a part of me has been attracted to dark, or sinister, films and subject matter.  This semester in grad school, I decided that I wanted darkness to be a recurring theme in my short films, beginning with this.  Additionally, I was inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (a clear reference given the crows) and by the classic vampire-horror film Nosferatu, which inspired the setting (town).

-Bobby-james

 

Will the Phoenix rise again?

Tonight, “The Glamazon” Beth Phoenix wrapped up her career with WWE.  In her last match against AJ Lee, Phoenix initially lost via roll-up, but acting RAW supervisor Vickie Guerrero restarted the match, allowing Phoenix to pick up the win with the Glam Slam.  The bittersweet victory comes on the heels of speculation that Beth Phoenix would be finishing with WWE at the end of October.  It appears we witnessed the finale “The Fabulous Firebird” (unless it’s part of a storyline).

For months, rumors had circulated the internet that Beth Phoenix was frustrated with the lack of emphasis on the Women’s Division and with her position in the company – and rightfully so, seeing how one of WWE’s most dominant in-ring women was jobbed out to “Extra’s” Maria Menounos at this year’s WrestleMania event.  During her time in WWE, Phoenix became a decorated competitor capturing the Women’s Championship on three occassions, winning the Diva’s Championship once, winning a Slammy Award for Diva of the Year, and being recognized as the second woman in history to compete in the WWE Royal Rumble.  Unfortunately, “The Glamazon” leaves WWE without a defining WrestleMania moment and failed opportunities, most notably against Natalya Neidhart and Kia Stevens (who was briefly known as Kharma in WWE, more recognized as Awesome Kong in TNA).  She was, however, a trailblazer who competed in the first women’s “I Quit Match” (against Melina), “Tables Match” (with Natalya against LayCool), “Extreme Makeover Match” (against Michelle McCool) and in a Women’s Championship “2-on-1 Handicap Match” (against LayCool).

For the past seven years, Beth Phoenix has been a joy to watch and was an amazing specimen to bear witness to.  One can only hope she’ll continue her wrestling career – but some speculation is that she’s leaving the ring to enjoy her life and to start a family.  Whatever “The Glamazon” chooses to do, I wish her the best and thank her for all the years of hard work and amazing moments.  There will always only ever be one real “Glamazon.”

Maybe this is all storyline and she’ll come right back to WWE, or maybe she’ll surface in IMPACT Wrestling, as some rumors have stated – and maybe the dream matches we’ve all been waiting to see will finally come to life (Beth Phoenix vs. Kia Stevens or Beth Phoenix vs. Natalya) … or maybe they won’t.  Whatever happens, I’d like to think that like a Phoenix “The Glamazon” will rise again someday…

Until then, thank you Beth, you will always be one of my favorites,

-Bobby-james

Bobby James makes his IMPACT debut

Last night, I attended my first IMPACT Wrestling live event, and I must say, TNA sure does know how to throw a party.  More importantly, you heard it right, Bobby-james entered the Impact Zone (accompanied by Kacie)!  Let me first begin by thanking my friend Kris Long, who made it possible for me to visit – thank you, it was a great show.  Next, I’d like to bullet the highlights of my evening:

  • Met and received an autograph from Mr. Anderson, the asshole himself.
  • Met and received autographs from “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles and “The Charismatic Enigma” Jeff Hardy!
  • Was in attendance with professional wrestling legend Harley Race.
  • Yelled to Mr. Anderson that he was an “Asshole” – and the comment was acknowledged – yes, I felt special.
  • I got to see a real-life Widow’s Peak!

Now let’s give it a recap (for a quick listing of match results, scroll all the way down):

The show opened with Christy’s Hemme singing a nice rendition of the Star Spangled Banner (it actually had an edgy, singer-songwriter vibe to it).  We the people were then welcomed to IMPACT – enter “The Cowboy” James Storm, who was sorry about our damn luck.  Storm told a story about a child he’d met pre-show before challenging Aces and Eights to a Streetfight.  Two masked men came through the crowd and began the beat down, until Mr. Anderson made the save.  This, of course, resulted in Christy Hemme sending a message up the food chain to Hulk Hogan to see if “Cowboys and Assholes” could be booked in a tag match against the menacing masked men.  Meanwhile…

Match #1:  TNA Knockouts Championship:  Tara (c) vs. ODB

Christy Hemme announced Earl Hebner as the referee for the bout.  Tara entered the Impact Zone, sans Jesse (who was “in Celebrity rehab with Dr. Drew”), and proceeded to run down the fans, whom she “was forced” to meet and greet earlier in the day at Direct Auto Insurance (the night’s sponsor).  She then said Earl could not referee her match because he was a “pervert.”  Out came Brian Hebner.  Tara, dissatisfied, said the Hebner family was full of perverts.  Then she warned Brian, “don’t look at my butt…because it’s already taken.”

ODB came out – flask in one hand, lady parts in the other – to challenge.  Tara and ODB started things with a lock up and some basic matt grappling.  The match went back and forth for a good while until Tara connected with the Widow’s Peak and scored the 1-2-3 to retain her Knockout’s Championship.

Winner via pinfall:  Tara

Christopher Daniels is out first, dressed for Halloween as Magneto.  Though this Magneto, as he explained amidst his constant hip thrusting, had animal magnetism (instead of metal).  He said he had the “rear that makes girls cheer, and hips girls want near their lips.”  Daniels gave the audience permission to worship him before orgasmicly exclaiming “You’re welcome” to the crowd.  Both the crowd and AJ Styles had heard enough and it was clear there was no worship to be had.  Hernandez rounded out the trio and the match of the night was underway.  Spot after spot, Styles, Daniels, and Hernandez delivered an awesome power hitting, high-flying match that ultimately ended with Hernandez pinning Daniels.

Winner via pinfall: Hernandez

Match #3: Bully Ray vs. Kurt Angle

Christy Hemme introduced our next bout, beginning first with Bully Ray.  His opponent?  The only Olympic Gold Medalist in professional wrestling, Kurt Angle.  Unfortunately, this match was full of lengthy submission holds and a few stiff clotheslines.  Angle nailed Bully Ray with an Angle Slam and locked on two Ankle Locks before losing out to Bully in the end.  After the match, the two men showed some mutual respect, which drew applause from the crowd in attendance.

Winner via pinfall:  Bully Ray

Christy Hemmed informed the fans that she’d heard back from Hulk Hogan and that James Storm and Mr. Anderson would face Aces and Eights tonight in a tag team match.

It was then noted that referee Earl Hebner marked a milestone in pro wrestling – he’s officially refereed over 100,00 matches – yes, you read that right, 100,00 matches – in his career.  To commemorate Hebner’s achievement, TNA was offering a shirt, which members of the audience could have signed by Earl and Brian Hebner for $10.

Intermission

Christy Hemme welcomed us back to the Impact Zone and Direct Auto Insurance awarded one lucky fan $200 to spend on TNA Merchandise.

Match #4: “The Asshole” Mr. Anderson and “The Cowboy” James Storm vs. Aces and Eights

Pre-match, Mr. Anderson came out and had a little fun with the crowd.  During his into, he reached out and waited for his mic – but to his surprise, there wasn’t one.  Being Mr. Anderson, he conspired with Christy Hemme and improvise a solution.  Christy got a chair from ringside, stood on it, and “dropped” the mic into Mr. Anderson’s hand – classic.  Anderson talked about all the assholes in attendance and the “douchebags” they were about to face (this started a “douchebag” chant).  Anderson was then joined by his tag team partner James Storm.  Anderson teased a kid with his shirt and then threw it down in the ring (didn’t give it to the kid) so I yelled, “Asshole,” and Anderson and Storm were quick to point out the word “Asshole” printed on Anderson’s tights.  There was one moment in particular, while  talking to a section of the audience, he asked if there were assholes in the crowd – he then told the kid that yelled back, “You’re too little to be an asshole…you can be a…a… little butthole.”

A trio of Aces and Eights members made their way through the crowd ready to go.  As they delayed their in-ring entrance and slowly began removing their coats the crowd chanted “Take it off!” Mr. Anderson, teased taking off his trunks before Storm saved the day and said, “Whoa, you’re not Magic Mike, you’re an asshole…these people are telling them [Aces and Eights] to take their jackets off, they’re shouting “Jacket-off.”  Then a loud “Jacket-off” chant started before the bell finally sounded.

There was a fair amount of back and forth action, but Aces and Eights double, and triple-teamed James Storm for a bit before Storm was able to make the hot tag.  Interesting moment when a woman in the front row stood up and wanted to fight the big masked man – “The Cowboy” made the save.  Anderson finally got the tag, and from then on, the match was academic.  Mr. Anderson scored the pinfall for the team and sent Aces and Eights packing like a pack of scalded dogs.

Winners:  “Cowboys and Assholes” Mr. Anderson and James Storm

Match #5:  Main Event for the TNA Heavyweight Championship:  Bobby Roode vs. Jeff Hardy (c)

“The IT Factor,” Bobby Roode vowed to embarrass Jeff Hardy, like the Giants did the Cardinals, and said he was leaving St. Louis as the TNA Heavyweight Champion.  Jeff Hardy entered to thunderous applause and the match was underway.  Roode gained the early advantage and kept Hardy grounded and on defense the first half of the match.  Roode locked in a lengthy Figure Four Leg Lock, which Hardy eventually escaped amidst the  “Woo’s” coming all directions.  At one point during this submission, a kid stood up and yelled to Bobby Roode, “You’re mother’s not proud of you.” From that point on, it was an evenly contested bout that saw Hardy hit many of his signature moves – the last of which was the Twist of Fate to secure the win.

Winner via pinfall:  Jeff Hardy

Overall a fun show.  I’m really excited that I had the chance to meet three great wrestlers and be in attendance with another.  I simply must also rave about TNA’s amazing merchandise offer.  For $50, I got the ten-year anniversary program (which I had signed by Anderson, Styles and Hardy), three action figures (Matt Morgan, AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy), four DVDs (Best of the X-Division 2-disc set, Best of TNA 2007, and Bound for Glory 2011), a drawstring bag, an “Est. 2002″ TNA T-shirt, and to meet three members of the roster - that is what I call a deal and complete fan-appreciation – good job TNA.

The only real disappointment for me tonight was the relatively boring and unlively crowd in St. Louis.  Come on St. Louis, next time we can (and should) do better than that.  Wake up people – take an energy pill, have a red bull, go skydiving and boost that adrenaline, because next time, I don’t want the silent treatment – it’s bad manners.  This show was fun.  Some of the matches were slow in spots and most were slow to get started, but all things considered, IMPACT Live is a great, great value!  Bravo TNA, bravo.  See you next time!

-Bobby-james

Forgive some of the photo bluriness please, I was only mildly excited to meet someone (Jeff Hardy) whose career I’ve followed for the last 11 years…. Yes, I flashed him the TeamXtreme hand signal, like a dork.  What?  I couldn’t control my inner-child – Hardy’s one of my favorites.  AJ Styles was really cool too.  Was really awesome to meet one of the men responsible for growing TNA Wrestling and the current champion… let’s get that feud going now!

MATCH RESULTS

  • Tara def. ODB to retain Knockout’s Championship
  • Hernandez def. Christopher Daniels and AJ Styles
  • Bully Ray def. Kurt Angle
  • Mr. Anderson and James Storm def. Aces and Eights
  • Jeff Hardy def. Bobby Roode to retain TNA Heavyweight Championship

St. Louis International Film Festival News

 This year marks the St. Louis International Film Festival’s 21st anniversary – and will be the fourth SLIFF I’ll attend.  The event begins November 8 and ends November 18.  Features, documentaries, and shorts will be screened at various theaters throughout the St. Louis area – The Tivoli, Plaza Frontenac, Webster University, Washington University, the Hi-Pointe Theater, and Wildey Theater.  A full list films is available at www.cinemastlouis.org.

While I’ve only seen a handfull of films with SLIFF - Brokeback Mountain, Waltz with Bashir, The Artist, and Jane’s Journey -  this year, I’ll be adding more features to that list…and they are:

 

 

Guilty (2011) on November 9 at Plaza Frontenac @ 9 p.m.

Informant (2012) on November 10 at Webster University @ 4:30 p.m.

A Trip (2011) on November 11 at Plaza Frontenac @ 8:30 p.m.

Casualties of the State on November 17 at the Tivoli @ 10:00 p.m.

Cafe de Flore on November 18 at Plaza Frontenac @ 3:45 p.m.

Remember to check www.asseenby.com for my reviews!

Ciao, ciao for now,

-Bobby-james

P.S. – Can I say how much I love the artwork for this year’s SLIFF? It looks amazing and is by far the best I’ve seen yet!

Stratusfied: 30-Day Challenge starts NOW

At the beginning of 2012 I declared this would be my most successful fitness year - and to date, I’m still 20 pounds less than I was when I started that quest!  Unfortunately, at this point in the year, I had hoped to be in a very different place – and it seems the last couple months, while I had tennis, school, and work keeping me busy, I’ve had a mis-step and it’s time to get it back!

I will use the tools I have and starting as soon as this blog as posted, my next Stratusphere 30-Day Challenge will begin.  This means food charting and following a strict workout regimen – all things that worked extremely well for me from January through March, my most successful months this year (12 pounds went bye-bye in six weeks!).  In addition, I’m looking to implement my own Yoga routine again and I’m declaring a new personal cardio goal:

By the end of the 30-Day Challenge, I will run 1 mile in 7 minutes flat

If you’d been following my progress up through August/September, you’d know that my mile time began at 13.5 minutes.  Most recently, I’ve worked to a personal best of 7 minutes and 48 seconds (that’s faster than my first grade mile I used to drive me to a goal!).

Well, enough chit-chat… time to get my sweat on and to move into the challenge …. the gun show is coming – keep checking back here for progress updates!

Ciao, ciao for now -

-Bobby-james

PolitiPost: “Sit down Governor Romney, thank you”

President Obama and Governor Romney met in their second debate, a town hall, moderated by Candy Crowly.  Compared to their last encounter, this debate maintained some similarities, but was vastly different in tone.

Let me first say this:  I found many of the questions to be posed stereotypically - I’ll explain.  The “jobs” question was asked by a 20-something college student, the immigration question asked by a Latina, and the ‘What have you done?’ was asked by an undecided black voter who said he didn’t share the same passion for Obama that he did in 2008 – cliché?  Absolutely.

Tonight, while Governor Romney regurgitated much of what he said last week in his avoidance-based introduction, while continuing his anti-bird agenda.  Last week he launched an attack on Big Bird, this week he made his unfriendly conservation status quite clear.  While criticizing Obama’s decrease on permits and licenses to drill for oil, Romney said, “20 or 25 birds were killed…” (is that insignifcant? Were they endangered? Birds mean nothing? … what) before citing a conservation-based movement was enacted to protect the birds.

What kind of birds?  Not sure, but one may question, why Romney has a hidden agenda against birds.

Romney stated that permits and licenses for domestic drilling were cut by 50% under Obama’s administration, to which the President replied, “you use it [public land] or lose it,” maintaining a position that permits were granted to be used, not saved for later dates and the benefit of oil companies or manufacturers.

A later question focused on pay-discrimination for women in the workplace.  Governor Romney mentioned his “binders full of women,” which he used to recruit and employ qualified women.  Unfortunately, Romney surely alienated some female voters by citing “cooking” and “caring for their children” as reasons why women need flexible schedules (guess men aren’t responsible for those tasks in the Romney house) and as likely contributing factors to unequal pay.  In response, President Obama firmly stated, “We do not tolerate discrimination for women.”  Obama’s firm stance remained.

Question to Obama:  “What have you done?”  Obama cited job growth and his unyielding commitment to working for the American people everyday.  Romney said Obama was, “great as a speaker” but that the American people, “have a record to look at.”  Interestingly enough, by this (the sixth question) point, Romney had offered little insight into his oft-referenced “plan” which begs the question:  Without a plan, what of Romney’s (besides tax documents) do the American people have to look at?

On immigration policy, Romney’s grand idea was to offer green cards to skilled foreigners, so they may be put to work in America, while offering no amnesty and promoting “self-deportation.”  That entire train of thought is a joke!  How does one grow the American economy and create jobs for qualified Americans while recruiting “skilled” foreigners and awarding them green cards?  How do you offer no amnesty and promote “self-deportation” while not being in favor of “rounding people up”?  Who is going to deport themself?  In fact, when Candy Crowly said, “Let’s speak to self-deportation.” Romney replied, “No.”  I wonder why.

On the same issue, President Obama proposed immigration reform be streamlined and that people have a “pathway to citizenship,” while referencing America’s immigration-based establishment.  It was during this segment that an unruly Governor Romney was told by Candy Crowly,

“Sit down Governor Romney, thank you.”

Following immigration, the often-referenced topic of Libya was reached.  Governor Romney’s biggest blunder came during this segment.  He declared, and was corrected by President Obama and Candy Crowly, that President Obama did not call the attacks in Benghazi an act of terror.  Romney was referred to the transcript, where Obama said he gave a statement to the American people from the Rose Garden.  During this question, the President scolded Romney saying, “You don’t use national security for political points,” before saying, “the suggestion that anybody on my team would play politics [with the Libya attacks] is offensive.”

The debate then flowed into how the government will combat domestic attacks involving assault rifles (ex. AK-47s).  President Obama emphasized the importance of education in a person’s development and Governor Romney took the point a step further and said, “We need Mom’s and Dad’s helping to raise their kids,” before suggesting violence reduction would come from people being married before having children.  Confused?  I was too.

The last question pertained to manufacturing jobs in the United States, and China’s growth to being the manufacturing leader of the world.  Governor Romney said,

“China is stealing intellectual property”

before stating that on day one he will label China a currency manipulator and [if needed] impose tariffs on Chinese trade.  President Obama on the other hand said the solution is to attract jobs back to the United States by lowering corporate tax rates and citing an increase in American exports during his first term in office.

Finally, to the perception of their character, Governor Romney said he cares about “100% of the American people” (contrary to his 47% remark) and said that his “passion flows from the fact that I believe in God,” before spouting off with a last-minute tangent of desperation to “get America working again.”  President Obama said he believes in free enterprise, rewards for risk, and in fair shots on even playing fields for everyone – he said, “I want high wage, high skill jobs…I want manufacturing…for the future.”

Additional Thoughts: 

1) Looks like Mitt Romney would have a busy first day in office.  To date, “on day one,” Governor Romney is going to (1) Repeal “Obamacare, (2) cut funding to PBS (and Big Bird), and (3) label China a currency manipulator who’s been advantageous of the American marketplace.  If that’s not a recipe for failure, then it’ll be a long day for Mitt Romney.

2) I’m disappointed that the social issue of marriage equality wasn’t touched upon.  Governor Romney said violence could be reduced if people were married before they had children, yet he never said who should marry or raise children.  Should irresponsible heterosexual adults be able to pop out babies on a whim and dump them in foster care while social inequality dictates against marriage and adoption equality?

3) President Obama was more vested and lively in this debate.  Governor Romney avoided questions, repeatedly interrupted and remained highly condescending, especially toward Candy Crowly… guess she’s not in one of his “binders full of women.”

Victor:  President Barack Obama (I think the message tonight was clear, sit down Governor Romney)

-Bobby-james

PolitiPost: VP Debate – Biden vs. Ryan

Tonight’s debate between Vice President Biden and GOP hopeful Paul Ryan was more intense, intelligent, and lively than last weeks Obama-Romney encounter.  Paul Ryan delivered an amazing opening and closing, while Biden edged out Ryan with policy chatter – all under the watchful eye of Martha Raddatz.  To demonstrate the amount of battle, at one point Paul Ryan said:

“I know you’re under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground.”

However, if one were judging the debate on ground covered, Biden would take the cake – but sometimes, actions speak louder than words.  To be fair, last week I called out Mitt Romney for his highly aggressive and abrasive, rude antics.  This week, I’ll call out the Vice President.  I’m not sure if it’s because there is a near 30 year age gap between Biden and Ryan, but the VP came off condescending tonight with his eye-rolls, finger-pointing, dismissive tone, and blatant interruptions.  It, to me, was a tasteless way to handle an opponent and seemed to be done more for theatrics than necessity.

That said – I’d like to take a different approach to analyzing the candidates in the debate tonight.

Joe Bidenstrengths – knowledge and completeness of the Obama Administration’s policies and thoughts regarding Iran, Jobs and Unemployment, Medicare and Entitlements, Taxes, Syria, and Abortion.  weaknesses – the opening question regarding policy on Libya – Biden’s answer was repetitive and avoidance based.  He dodged the first question!  Biden’s fizzy beginning erupted like a shaken soda that exploded, but by the Abortion topic and Closing – he had fizzled out.

Paul Ryanstrengths - he had a powerful opening that we pro-rasslin’ fans would say “laid the Smackdown on Joe Biden’s candy ass.”  Ryan also drew my support by saying President Obama has a weak foreign policy (an area where I agree with Romney/Ryan) and with his positions on Afghanistan.  In addition, Ryan, though clearly out of his element in the middle, financial portion of the debate, remained collected and calm – meaning he was emotionally transparent.  Finally, Ryan’s other strength was his powerful closing statement (though it became cliché with all the tag lines inserted): “…It’s been an honor to debate with you…What is America going to be?…The choice is clear, and the choice rests with you, and we ask for your vote.” weaknesses – policy specifics from the Romney campaign, which President Obama alluded to last week as a “trend.”  Despite a significantly strong opening, Ryan’s ability to be offensive with Biden was virtually non-existent, he was on the defensive rather.

Though each candidate had their own strengths and weaknesses, moderator Martha Raddatz was exceptional and commanding.  She took both candidates to task and committed to time and topic accordingly.  She showed America how the moderation of a debate is conducted.  One shining moment/exchange she had on the program (among many) was:

[To Paul Ryan, RE: Tax Policy]: Do you have specifics or you still working on them and that’s why you won’t tell the voters?

Paul Ryan did his best to answer Raddatz’s question, but she persisted, “You’re sure the math adds up?” Ryan’s weaknesses glared here against the moderator as he segued into defense to which Raddatz retorted, “Yeah [let's discuss defense] because that’s another math question.”  Raddatz was equally cut-throat with Vice President Biden silencing his “he had more time than me” concerns and one key question:

[To Joe Biden, RE: Afghanistan]: Are they [Taliban] taking advantage of our timeline [withdraw by 2014]?

The Vice President stated the withdraw was taking longer because America was training Afghani forces for when America withdrew.  Biden reinforced his position by assuring, “We are leaving in 2014. Period.” It was during this sentiment I agreed with Paul Ryan when he said it wasn’t America’s responsibility to train the Afghani forces and:

“We don’t want to embolden our enemies with a date to mark on their calendars.”

In fact, though I gave the edge to Vice President Biden during these middle debate topics I agreed with Ryan’s sentiments regarding a specific, publicized withdraw date from Afghanistan and that if Iran developed nuclear weapons there would be an arms race to see who could take them from Iran.

While I agreed with the Romney/Ryan stance on Afghanistan and Iran, I severely disagreed with their humanitarian/social message regarding Syria.  Martha Raddatz tasked Mr. Ryan with “What are your criteria for intervention?”  Ryan said, and I’m paraphrasing, that a US intervention (when thousands of people being killed by an oppressive government) would have to serve the country’s national interest – basically, the US wouldn’t be intervening.  I battled with that for a moment and thought, “fine, it’s not our business,” but then on second thought, I couldn’t help but wonder about the risks of allowing repeat Holocausts or Rwandan genocides.

Finally, Vice President Biden twice referred to the Obama Administration inheriting a “tough situation.”  Paul Ryan acknowledged and agreed with the sentiment, but he and I both agree once more that the Obama Administration has been in place since 2009, it’s time to move beyond the Bush-era and start owning the successes and shortcomings of Obama’s first term.

This debate was full of zingers and intense battle – that said, it’s time to declare a winner.

Winner:  Edge to Paul Ryan; Martha Raddatz

Agree? Disagree? I want to know…

-Bobby-james

Upcoming Post-Screening Panel

On Friday, October 12, 2012, I will be part of a post-screening panel discussing the film Confucius (2010).  Starring Chow Yun Fat (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon).  The film explores the life of the highly influential Chinese philosopher, Confucius.

If you’re interested in attending, the screening is part of Lindenwood University’s Film Series.  Admission is $5 at Young Auditorium in St. Charles, Missouri.  The show begins at 7:00 p.m. with $1 concessions.

For more information on the Film Series, or for directions, vist Lindenwood Film Series – Confucius

-Bobby-james

ENTERTAINMENT news: Hollywood’s “Board”

 The formerly imaginative world of Hollywood has announced a three picture deal with Hasbro to develop feature-length films about board games Monopoly and Hungry, Hungry Hippos and toy Action Man.

Production on Monopoly is set to begin in 2013 with director Ridley Scott (Prometheus, Gladiator) rumored to be a producer on the project.  The current belief is that Monopoly could be a comedy/parody about the housing market.  I’d personally like to see the film take the Megamind route and create a sympathetic villain.  Why does the greedy character always have to be bad?  Couldn’t there be a twist a la Megamind, where the villain becomes the hero?  Couldn’t Rich Uncle Pennybags have an Ebenezer Scrooge-like arc?

In addition to Emmett/Furla (one of the largest independent film production and finance companies) taking viewers from “GO” to “Boardwalk,” plans call for animated versions of Hungry, Hungry Hippos and Action Man - all of which have the primary goal of being family-friendly while containing mass appeal (which could happen if those involved stay away from live-action – i.e. Smurfs).  These three films join other board game/action figure pictures in the works including Candyland (Sony) and Stretch Armstrong (Relativity Media).

In the wake of the Battleship bomb, are board game adaptations a good idea?

PolitiPost: Obama vs. Romney

Tonight’s debate: the first in this Presidential race and the first I’ve ever watched.  President Obama went head to head with Governor Romney.

Romney came off in a falsely confident, overzealous, arrogant and aggressive manner.  Problem is, I just spent over an hour watching Mitt Romney numerically bullet point his vague ideas and plans for America, and still only have vague ideas about his platform.  Not to mention, Romney’s increased tone was distasteful each time he disrespected the moderator, and his nonverbals said to me that he was unsure (the smirk, raised eyebrows, blinking lashes, lack of eye contact) of his own plan of action.

Tonight, Romney made several contradictory statements, particularly regarding education and taxes.  According to Romney, he will not cut the education budget.  Instead, he proposed to shift the responsibility of education to state and local levels, to “grade” schools - to allow students’ parents to choose where they send their kids to school, and to allow federal education dollars to follow children to schools of their parents’ choice.  Inherently, Romney’s plan is flawed and contradictory.

Should his intent be to shift the responsibility of education to state and local levels, he’s [indirectly] declaring a cut on federal spending for education.  That’s not a hard point to see.  Through Romney’s approach, allowing “school selection,” he is proposing that good school districts risk being overflowed with children from poorer districts.  Problem is, how are class sizes kept minimal, and when the school district needs expansion, who pays for it?  The taxpayers he won’t raise taxes on?

Regarding taxes, Romney claimed he wouldn’t increase taxes, rather he’d close loopholes and deductions.  How exactly does this work in favor of taxpayers?  This plan, in essence, requires more out-of-pocket for taxpayers.  In addition, Governor Romney stated he’d lower the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25% (as opposed to Obama raising it to 40%), before saying “maybe I need a new accountant” when Obama suggested there were tax breaks in place for companies outsourcing jobs – is/has Mitt Romney been part of a company responsible for outsourcing jobs/work?  His present-tense comment would suggest as much.

Finally, Governor Romney directly stated he’d cut funding for the Public Broadcast System (PBS) – a television network responsible for educational and cultural programming such as Sesame Street, Nature, or any one of the many fundraising concerts broadcast throughout the year.  PBS is a supporter of a various programs that promote and benefit education and support underprivileged youth.  Romney stated, “I love Big Bird,” yet his action plan would eliminate programming that has been a cornerstone in many people’s developmental and adult lives.

Romney said:

“If elected I’ll sit down on day one, actually the day after I’m elected…”

Doesn’t Governor Romney think he should win the election and then be inaugurated as the President of the United States before declaring when he’ll begin acting as the President immediately following election day?  Obama did, stating:

“…not just saying I’ll sit down, you have to have a plan…”

Conversely, President Obama remained poised while discussing talking points and highlighted things that have been accomplished during his Presidency (Obamacare, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Bin Laden’s capture/death, etc.).  As for his re-election bid, Obama declared his intent to increase education funding and to require more staff be implemented in the emphasis areas of math and science.  Obama took his plan a step-further, beyond primary and secondary education to post-secondary/college students.  He vowed to work to keep student loan rates low and to have agencies and companies work with colleges and universities to help emerging graduates be placed in the workforce.

Adding to his stance on education, President Obama admitted that while healthcare premiums have increased over the past two years, they have increased at a fifty year low, and defended “Obamacare” saying it doesn’t let “insurance companies jerk you around.”  He said under the “Obamacare” provisions, insurance companies will be required to provide rebates to their customers when their administrative spending exceeds spending on care provided, and that individuals may be eligible for group rates (which are an average of 18% less).  Though he received less speaking time, Obama’s vision was clear:

“Everything I’m promising…is designed to make sure the American people…get a fair shot…I promised I’d fight every single day, and I’ve kept that promise.”

VICTOR:  President Barack Obama

-Bobby-james

P.S. – the news anchor in the post-debate analysis stated that Mitt Romney appeared Obama’s equal.  I disagree.  Romney, as I stated, was overzealous and arrogant and offered no clear solutions, only propositions.

“It wasn’t very detailed, this seems to be a trend” - Obama re: Romney’s plan