American Horror Story: Coven – the [could be] next chapter

This week American Horror Story fans witnessed the finale of Coven, the franchise’s most successful season yet.  Many people (myself included), in typical AHS fashion, were left craving for more from the bewitching season – and we wanted answers to all of our now lingering questions – and ideas!

In an exclusive interview with Entertainment Weekly, show creator Ryan Murphy said he’d considered a spin-off series just for the ladies of Coven, but that he was “never” returning to “something we’ve done.”  So much for all those lingering questions and desires to know what happens next for the women who graced the halls of Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies.

So I thought, to have a little fun, I’d do a little story planning and character arc projections for what could happen if Coven had continued:

Misty Day

1.  Misty Day. 

What happenedMisty Day isn’t the supreme after all.  The last time we see her, she’s in hell on loop – she uses her resurgence power to reanimate a [dead] dissection frog, which the teacher comes and instantly slices open – this is how Misty will spend eternity.  Her physical body disintegrates and she is no more.  Tragic.

Projected Story/Character ArcEarly in the series, Misty is burned at the stake.  Then she brings herself back to life and hides in a swamp (before ending up at Miss Robichaux’s Academy).  Using the power of resurgence, I suspect Misty Day would find a way to bring herself out of hell and back to life.  Free from hell, Misty would turn from the good-natured Stevie Nicks-loving witch into a formidable foe intent to exact revenge against the Coven for “not saving” her and allowing her to endure such torment…and you thought Fiona was bad. #MistyDay #VengeanceOfMistyDay

2.  Marie Laveau and Madame Delphine LaLaurie

What happened:  Delphine LaLaurie finally gets her hands on “The Voodoo Queen” Marie Laveau!  LaLaurie dismembers Laveau and buries her body parts all around New Orleans.  Since Laveau can no longer honor her end of the bargain with Papa Legba, her immortality is revoked – as is LaLaurie’s – and the two are now subjected to eternal hell with one another.

Projected Story/Character Arc:  The Coven is revitalized – witches from around the world descend on Miss Robichaux’s Academy.  Laveau and LaLaurie are, without a doubt, going to become topics in the house among these new witches.  I suspect Madison wasn’t the only curious little bitch witch intent on creating a Frankenstein – so it should go without saying that a trio of new, rebellious witches will find (the pieces of) and bring back The Voodoo Queen (and Delphine LaLaurie, since they’re immortally linked).

Now that she’s back, the truce will end, and Marie Laveau, along with her “insider” recruits/followers will wage a war against the Coven for supremacy of New Orleans.  It’ll take a special hex or bargaining by Cordelia to keep Marie Laveau at bay.  Meanwhile, Delphine LaLaurie relocates to a small town just outside New Orleans to continue her torturous ways - through new means she has never imagined (sinister discoveries! Trial and error!).  Once she’s “experimented” for a while, she’ll begin building a new witch/voodoo-hunter corporation (Delphi Trust lends its name quite nicely).  #TheVooDooQueen #DelphiTrust

Nan

3.  Nan

What happened:  Nan, who was slowly becoming a powerful witch, was killed-off by Fiona and Marie Laveau and her soul was given to Papa Legba.  That is all we know.

Projected Story/Character ArcI’d like to believe that Nan isn’t going quietly into the darkness to spend eternity with the devil.  She’s a powerful witch – perhaps her clairvoyant powers can help her escape what is likely a short-cycling hell on repeat.  She could expand her horizons and begin her afterlife collision course with Fiona.  Nan had started to become a little darker throughout Coven, I suspect hell is where darkness consumes her. #EvilNan

4.  Fiona and Papa Legba

What happened:  Fiona fakes her own death only to be confronted by the new Supreme, Cordelia, in the season finale.  She regrets the time she never had with her daughter and dies in Cordelia’s arms.  She is, as per the agreement with the Ax Man, subjected to hell that smells like “fish and cat piss,” full of regret and left yearning for more time with her dear Delia.

Projected Story/Character ArcFiona was a bad woman.  A very bad woman.  She has a tragic, yet fitting end to her story.  She is right where she needs to be.  In that final shot of her, we see her clinging to The Ax Man while Papa Legba looks on and mockingly laughs – but if we learned one thing about Fiona this season, it’s that she’s a woman who always gets a one-up.  The Ax Man will be easy work for Fiona, and Papa Legba isn’t safe – a woman – er a witch –  will take over hell – and the new ruler will be crowned.

Once she’s rid hell of Papa Legba, Fiona will run a “whole new show” until she comes face to face with Nan.  Fiona and Nan will engage in a battle for supremacy of the afterlife.  Witches rule hell – but in the heat of the battle, Fiona will frantically begin looking for a way out – a way back to life.  This distraction will be her downfall and Nan’s evil turn will be complete.  Time for her to start haunting the living and buying souls.  #NanVsFiona #MamaNan #ByeByePapaLegba

Cordelia

5. Cordelia, Spalding, the baby, and Madison

What happenedAs you already know, Cordelia became the Supreme. Spalding was murdered – now, he haunts the attic in Ax Man fashion.  He “advises” those who can see him, to get certain people out of his hair.  A couple episodes before the finale, Spalding finally gets a living “doll” (the baby Maria Laveau had stolen!).  We never receive closure for the baby – what happens to the baby!?  And in the end, Spalding takes Madison’s body (again) after Kyle murders her.

Projected Story/Character ArcFirst things first, Madison is dead.  Kaput.  Done.  She’s not coming back.  Or maybe she might (but not likely).  She is now Spalding’s rotting corpse bride/doll.  Her stench attracts mild attention at first – from the “insiders” recruited by Marie Laveau.

Marie Laveau showed affection for the baby – now she wants it back.  She’ll have her “insiders” do the bidding – and send them through the house in search of it.  Here they’ll confront Spalding – and discover Madison’s body.  The Voodoo Queen will teach them how to rid the house of spirits and instruct them to bring her the baby.  One night, after performing their ritual in the attic, Spalding will be dispelled from Miss Robichaux’s Academy forever.  But once Cordelia discovers them in the attic, the baby will never leave the house.  Instead, upon learning of the new witches’ betrayal, Cordelia will expel the girls and become aware of Laveau’s renewed war against her Coven.  Cordelia will keep the child to raise as her own (since she can’t physically have children!) – giving Marie Laveau a new sense of sinister purpose.

Marie will use the child to torment and mentally unsettle Cordelia.  Using her black magic and a voodoo doll, she’ll turn the baby into a nightmare for the reigning Supreme. #CovenBaby

6.  Queenie, Zoe, and Kyle

What happenedNeither of them are the Supreme, but they are welcomed into the house and appointed by Cordelia as the new Coucil! They’re her right and left hands.  Kyle is the new Spalding.

Projected Story/Character ArcQueenie and Zoe make up the new Council.  They’ll have their hands full mentoring and dealing with new and misbehaving witches and performing the Coven’s own set of witch trials.  When they’re not dealing with the witches, they’ll be learning of the newly formed Delphi Trust and be tormented by “visions” of a vengeful Nan and Misty Day.

They’re the Coven’s first line of defense which will be flawed by Zoe’s distraction with Kyle.  There’s a new group – a large group – of witches in the house.  Kyle will be more than distracted – some of the girls will be more than eager – and Zoe will be a little more or less, jealous.  Zoe’s fixation with Kyle and petty squabbling with some of the new girls will leave the Coven vulnerable at the most inopportune moment.

Delphine LaLaurie and Misty Day will form an alliance - and it’ll work because of how upset Cordelia was when Misty died.  Misty, on the Delphi Trust “payroll,” will be welcomed back into the house by Cordelia – and that’s when the true horrors begin and black witches go missing (they’re shipped back to a newly experimental Madame LaLaurie)!  With Zoe distracted, Queenie disappears (and wakes up – bound and gagged – for the “entertainment” of Delphine).

What Have I Done?

I’ve set them all up for my own, not-to-be-revealed final episodes.  The Coven will be under constant threat/attack – from all angles.  Will they survive? Could they survive?  That’s for you to decide.  So what’ve you got?  How do you think it all ends?

Nan rules hell.  Cordelia is distracted by Marie Laveau’s baby voodoo. Queenie is at the mercy of a newly experimental, and far more sinister Delphine LaLaurie.  Misty Day is vengefully working with LaLaurie’s new Delphi Trust – and she’s inside the Coven.  And Zoe and Kyle’s distracting love leaves them both vulnerable and unable to “see.”

#TheNewCoven #BobbysJamesPresentsCovenChapterTwo #CovenChapterTwo #WhatHappensNext #AmericanHorrorStory #AmericanHorrorStoryCoven

Radio Bobby: Top 5 New Music Releases (1/27)

Lana Del Ray1.  “Once Upon a Dream” by Lana Del Ray (from Maleficent) - (soundtrack) After debuting stateside a couple years back and then tackling last year’s The Great Gatsby (notably with “Young and Beautiful”), Lana Del Ray moves on to lend her beautiful, harrowing voice to another soundtrack – for Disney’s upcoming Maleficent.  “Once Upon a Dream” receives a refreshing twist that only adds to excitement in the buildup to Angelina Jolie’s villainous debut.

2.  “Invisible” by Hunter Hayes - (country) An empowering and inspiring anti-bullying song from one of country music’s brightest rising stars.

3.  “Clockwork” by Easton Corbin - (country) A contemporary country crossover track that feels equal parts country and pop.  It’s very catchy and Corbin’s phrasing is spot-on!

4.  “I Want It All” by Karmin - (pop) “…one more night with you…” That’s what you get with Karmin from the forthcoming album.  It’s catchy, bubbly pop.

5.  “I Hold On” by Dierks Bentley - (country) Bentley has a hit for sure with “I Hold On.” Interestingly enough, though this sounds like a cliché country tune, but it’ll probably grow on me (and you) with more plays and may be a surprise finisher at the end of the year.  A solid vocal effort and a song that will definitely sound amazing against a sunset in summer.

 

The 2013 Bobby James Awards: The Movie Awards + Top 25 Movies of 2013

The time has come – the final category winners of the 2013 Bobby James Awards are about to be revealed.  I announce my “Best of Movies” awards last because they’re so near and dear to my heart and because technicallyI’m qualified to do so!  OJanuary to get around to seeing everything that will qualify and should be nominated (damn you August: Osage County and Her!Unlike the other categories (Music, WWE, Impact, Television) which have a December 31 deadline to qualify, I give movies until January 15.

Now, you’ve seen the nominees – and I’m sure you have your own opinions about what were technical achievements and outstanding performances – so that’s what the comment section is for (I would love to hear your thoughts, honestly, I really would – I love watching and discussing movies!!!).  Shall we?

Achievement in Cinematography:     12 Years a Slave - Sean Bobbitt

12 Years a Slave

Look at this one screencap from Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.  It’s visually stunning; often times in this slavery-era drama, the lighting reflects the mood perfectly.  This encounter between Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender) and Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is as tense as the picture would suggest – and this is just one of many harrowing, but beautiful moments on display.  There is no doubt that 12 Years is a strikingly beautiful film.

Achievement in Editing:     The Lone Ranger - James Haygood and Craig Wood

The Lone Ranger

The final battle/action sequence alone in The Lone Ranger secured this spot.  Gunfire, shattering glass, trains on opposite tracks, and The Lone Ranger (Armie Hammer) riding through the middle of it all on horseback.  Windows blip faster than the bullets fly as Tonto (Johnny Depp) appears to be doing some amazing things with a ladder – and the best part?  It’s all one incredibly fast-paced and clearly visual action sequence (that looked amazing on the big screen!).

Achievement in Visual or Special Effects:     Gravity - Neil Corbould and Manex Efrem

Gravity

Some have listed Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity as the year’s best picture for its technical mastery alone.  Visually it’s a splendid look at space – one that places the size of mankind in perspective.  We are insignificant – especially when compared to the universe and great unknown Cuaron’s team brings to life.  This is the mastery of special and visual effects – hands down.

Achievement in Art Direction:     Her – Austin Gorg

Her 2

Her was/is such a beautiful movie.  From the set designs to the color schemes - I felt immersed in this world.  The contrasts of light and dark was as visually dynamic as Theodore Twombly’s  (Joaquin Phoenix) emotional states.  In a world that seems depressing and mundane, viewers are bombarded with bright colors and then dropped into the middle of bland, washed out backgrounds for full emotional impact – each undoubtedly the work of the art director and director’s collaborations.

Achievement in Costume Design:     The Great Gatsby - Catherine Martin

The Great Gatsby - costumes

Set in the “roaring twenties,” The Great Gatsby was always going to boast the year’s best costumes.  From the flappers and pinstripe suits to the hair accessories and jewelry, Gatsby committed to a costume order exceeding 1,240!  While some exaggerations were made, the work speaks for itself.

Best Original Score:     The Great Gatsby - Craig Armstrong

Composer Craig Armstrong blended vocals from The Great Gatsby soundtrack, orchestral sounds, jazz, and swing to created an immersive score that takes listeners through the movie and creates visual associations.  Yes, a score is supposed take the listener on a journey through the film, but only a few actually create visual points of reference (ex. the love scene that plays over “Together” by The XX) and induce fantasy.

Best Original Song:     “Together” – The Great Gatsby - performed by The XX

This was a tough call because I’m a big fan of Idina Menzel’s “Let It Go” from Frozen, but “Together” by The XX resonated with me immediately and has stuck with me.  Is it the lyrics or the fantasy that I’ve associated it with?  I’m not sure – but I love the simplicities and complexities of this song.  It sounds hollow yet full of meaning – it’s a paradoxical song - one I can vividly associate with a scene from the movie, and one that represents the movie as a whole.  Isn’t that what an “original song” should do? Yes.

Best Original Screenplay:     Her - Spike Jonze

Her Script Page

How do you write a screenplay about a man falling in love with a computer operating system and make it work?  Spike Jonze knows – and so does the lead, Joaquin Phoenix.  Theodore Twombly exists in a world that is full, but cold - and this is purely an exploration of the fantasy within and a striking, unsettling portrait of a could-be(?) future – that works.

Best Adapted Screenplay:     12 Years a Slave - John Ridley

12-Years-a-Slave-Script-PageAdapted from a novel of the same title, 12 Years a Slave is full of dynamic characters, heartbreaking imagery, and empowering dialogue.  While it is a drama through and through, there are multiple layers to this movie and many of its characters are so well-developed (and acted) that this story instantly resonates and comes to life.  It’s unforgettable – and very, very well crafted.

Actor in a Supporting Voice-Over Role:     Benedict Cumberbatch – “Smaug” – The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug

Oh Smaug.  Wait, isn’t that a line in the movie?  Maybe.  Smaug is the best part of the second movie in The Hobbit franchise.  Partially because of Benedict Cumberbatch’s motion capture movements, but mostly because of his voice.  It’s villainrific! I know, that’s not a word - but that’s what I came up with in the moment.  His voice was distorted just enough to make you ask who the voice belongs to, yet it’s dynamic enough for you to know that some great work went into it.

Actress in a Supporting Voice-Over Role:     Idina Menzel – “Elsa” – Frozen

Idina Menzel as Elsa

Menzel’s a Broadway powerhouse known for her role in Wicked.  Here she brings “Elsa” to life in Disney’s feminist animated feature and belts out one of the biggest motion picture songs of the year, “Let It Go.”  I’d say she was a perfect casting choice and her voice (spoken or sang) clearly defines the character that becomes a queen.

Actor in a Leading Voice-Over Role:     Jonathan Groff – “Kristoff” – Frozen

Jonathan Groff as Kristoff

Here I go again with my perfect casting suspicions, but I really feel like Jonathan Groff was the perfect person to voice Kristoff.  He’s fun, witty, and charming, yet soft-spoken and his musical numbers are exactly as they should be (I really love “Reindeers are Better Than People). He’s one of Disney’s more vocally dynamic princes and the voice (and animation) just make him seem like a memorable, lovable guy.

Actress in a Leading Voice-Over Role:     Scarlett Johansson – “Samantha” – Her

Her - Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson does amazing work as “Samantha,” the operating system in Her.  Her voice is robotic enough to seem engineered – and its subtly becomes infused with an impossible amount of emotion.  Her breaths and phrasing work well to create a character who’s never really “there.”

Actor in a Supporting Role:     Michael Fassbender – “Edwin Epps” – 12 Years a Slave

Michael Fassbender - 12 Years a Slave

Michael Fassbender had an incredible year of performances, but his role as Edwin Epps is a career high.  He makes you remember the character.  You hate him – and just when you think that you could like him (maybe even just a little), he outdoes himself and makes you hate him all over again.  By the end of the movie, you’re hoping for his death – and after the movie – you’re left to remember the name “Edwin Epps” and to associate Michael Fassbender with some of the most horrific, angering, and disturbing scenes.

Actress in a Supporting Role:     Lupita Nyong’o – “Patsey” – 12 Years a Slave

Lupita Nyongo

By watching 12 Years a Slave you’d never suspect Lupita Nyong’o to be a newcomer – but she is.  She generates a great amount of sympathy and compassion for her character “Patsey,” and acts in a way that tugs at your heart.  She guides you through her every emotion – even the fleeting moments of calm and happiness.  I suspect this is just her beginning.

Actor in a Leading Role:  Joaquin Phoenix – “Theodore Twombly” – Her

Joaquin Phoenix - Her

Joaquin Phoenix hasn’t been an actor on my radar for a quite a while.  Yet, here he is, falling in love with his computer – and doing so with enough charm to make the audience love him all over again, like it’s the first time.  As superficial as the movie may sound, I can assure you that Joaquin Phoenix gives nothing short of a magical performance – it really is like a one-man show and you feel for every tear and share every smile.

Actress in a Leading Role:     Emma Thompson – “P.L. Travers” – Saving Mr. Banks

AND

 Judi Dench – “Philomena Lee” – Philomena (tie)

For the first time ever, I have a tie in an acting category!  I spent the last three weeks contemplating if I liked Judi Dench as “Philomena Lee” or Emma Thompson as “P.L. Travers” more.  I couldn’t decide because both women were incredible.  Emma Thompson is great – from her character’s intonations and emotions to her foot tapping – I can’t get over how heartbreaking and inspiring her character really is.  I haven’t forgotten the name P.L. Travers – nor the film Saving Mr. Banks - and I haven’t been so inspired to watch Mary Poppins just to see the work this woman did and to imagine her standing up to Walt Disney.

The same goes for Judi Dench.  She is witty and sometimes funny, her story is heartbreaking though she is strong – and there really is not another actress that can move you to such as degree as she does in Philomena.  The level at which she performs is inspiring and I can’t tell you how many times you get to look into her pain-filled eyes and wonder about this woman’s life.  She is remarkable.

The Lumiére Award for Directing:     Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave

Steve McQueen - 12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave really is a masterful work by Steve McQueen (who you may recognize as the director of the acclaimed 2011 film Shame).  It truly is a journey that takes viewers through a host of emotions and stirs uncertainties about ourselves and our nation’s history.  McQueen’s direction is great – from the variations of shots to the overall vision and captured performances – 12 Years a Slave is one of the most important movies of the year – and in less-skilled hands, that may not have been the case.

Animated Short Film:     Feral - Daniel Sousa

Feral - Daniel Sousa

Daniel Sousa’s Feral isn’t necessarily the best story-driven animated short – but I am really fond of the animation style and the abstraction of the story.  It’s beautifully engrossing and the 12+ minutes fly by – and it stays with you and makes you wonder more about it.

Haven’t seen “Feral?” Rent it for $1 or buy it for $2 on Vimeo

Animated Feature Film:     Frozen 

Frozen ensemble

Disney’s Frozen is great.  It’s fun and full of memorable characters, songs, and one-liners that classic Disney movies are known for.  The ensemble voice cast is great and its unexpected format is intriguing (there’s not a central villain, but there is a fairly unpredictable plot twist!).  Not to mention, I think it’s one-of-a-kind with its overarching feminist message.  Frozen is an instant classic.

“Blockbuster” Movie of the Year:     The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (42% of vote)

Catching Fire - Victory Tour

Congratulations! You have spoken and named Catching Fire our “Blockbuster of the Year” in the first-ever fan-voted Bobby James Award.  I loved Catching Fire, I think director Francis Lawrence and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy did an amazing job with the second Hunger Games movie.  While the idea wasn’t totally original (due to the prequel), Catching Fire served its purpose – to get us from The Hunger Games to Mockingjay and introduced some of the novel franchise’s most anticipated characters, Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) and Johanna Mason (Jenna Malone).

“Blockbuster” Character of the Year:     “Katniss Everdeen” – Jennifer Lawrence – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (36% of vote)

Katniss Everdeen

Seems fitting that Katniss Everdeen would be named our “Blockbuster Character of the Year” given that Jennifer Lawrence is now the reigning queen of the movie industry and is the female lead topping the American box-office for the first time since 1973′s The Exorcist.  Each year she’s been involved in the Hunger Games franchise, she’s collaborated with David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle) and has been nominated come award season for that work – which I think is inferior to the craft she brings to the role of Katniss Everdeen.

Documentary Feature of the Year:     Blackfish - Gabriella Cowperthwatie

Blackfish

This is the most moving and enraging documentary I’ve seen in years.  Because of Blackfish, I will always think twice before paying to walk into a zoo or amusement park full of animals.  The way places like Sea World acquire and treat these creatures is alarming and unacceptable.  These two statements should show you how powerful this documentary is.  Yes, it’s heavy-handed, but several times throughout the movie, it’s noted that Sea World could not be reached for comment.  Hard to balance when the accused stands quiet beneath a guilty spotlight.

Foreign Feature of the Year:     The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)

Broken Circle Breakdown

What a tragically beautiful movie.  The Broken Circle Breakdown is full of spectacular music and relationships.  The actors are great and their characters are hopeful and sympathetic.

TOP 25 MOVIES OF 2013

25.  42

24.  Gravity

23.  The Suicide Shop

22.  Philomena

21.  Don Jon

20.  Wadja

19.  Out of the Furnace

18.  Prisoners

17.  Mud

16.  The Butler

15.  Man of Steel

14.  The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

13.  Stoker

12.  American Hustle

11.  Captain Phillips

10.  Trance

9.  The Wolf of Wall Street

8.  Saving Mr. Banks

7.  Frozen

6.  Rush

5.  The Broken Circle Breakdown

4.  The Great Gatsby

3.  Her

2.  Inside Llewyn Davis

By now you’ve probably already figured out what my feature film of the year is.  12 Years a Slave is a cinematic masterpiece.  It’s a timeless, beautiful, engaging, and heartbreaking story about a free man sold into slavery and his quest to be free again.  Directed by Steve McQueen and brought to life by an incredible ensemble cast, 12 Years a Slave will likely be regarded as one of the most culturally significant and timeless movies of this decade.  This is an important movie that shows us where we’ve been and where we can never go again – its call for universal social justice is loud and clear.

From the gorgeous lighting and the villainous and sympathetic characters and actors who bring them to life, to the detailed work of its director, 12 Years a Slave is, without a doubt, the best movie of 2013.

Feature Film of the Year:     12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave  - Movie of the Year

There it is – the final installment of the 2013 Bobby James Awards.  Agree or disagree with my selections?  Let me know – I told you once, I love talking and watching movies!!!

 

Diva Dream Matches: AJ Lee vs. Kharma

The Competitors:

AJ LEE:  Diva’s Champion (current, longest reigning), former RAW General Manager

KHARMA:  2012 Royal Rumble entrant (third woman ever)

Background:

Diva’s Champion AJ Lee and Kharma have had similar, yet vastly different paths to the WWE.  Lee was an indy worker prior to being signed to a developmental contract with WWE and competing on the all Diva’s season of NXT.  Since then, Lee has proven her star-power by moving from the main-event scene outside the women’s division, to re-establishing the women’s divison and restoring prestige to the women’s title.

Kharma on the other hand is a well-documented, world class wrestler.  From her training in Japan and days on the indy circuit to her noteworthy run with TNA Wrestling (as Awesome Kong) and debut in WWE, Kharma has really climbed the mountain of success.  Yet, despite having debuted with WWE, Kharma has yet to conquer the place of the immortals.  An untimely pregnancy and subsequent complications meant her WWE career ended after whirlwind month (in 2011) and a 2012 Royal Rumble entry.

Bleacher Report recently posted a scenario for Kharma’s WWE return.  Inside the article, they mention that Kharma has unfinished business in WWE – namely with The Bella Twins.  But before that feud could resume (presumably), Kharma would need to go through the WWE’s reigning queen, AJ Lee – which would be a perfect program for the upcoming WrestleMania 30!

As Bleacher Report notes, the Diva’s Championship has never been defended at WrestleMania (since it’s creation in 2008!).  Lee has certainly earned the right to be on the card defending her title – and she’s certainly earned the right to defend it against a competitor beyond Total Divas (sorry Nattie!).

AJ vs. Kharma would play out one of two ways, as a David and Goliath contest – or as a squash match (the latter of which would/could destroy everything AJ’s worked for).  Could you imagine AJ applying the Black Widow to Kharma?  How about Kharma sealing AJ’s fate with her signature Implant Buster?

What exactly would this match look like?  I’m not sure, I think AJ (with Tamina Snuka by her side) could stand a chance against a foe like Kharma – but I think the sheer power of Kharma alone would be too great – and I have a feeling AJ wouldn’t be skipping anywhere in the immediate future.

Predicted Winner:  Kharma

Likelihood:  Strong Possibility

Missed Opportunity?:  No, not at all.  In fact, the opportunity is now - this year!  AJ appears to be unstoppable – it’d take someone like Kharma to derail AJ’s little crazy train of terror.  Besides that, the reintroduction of Kharma would only elevate the division further.  There would be fresh possibilities and dynamics.  Kharma’s karma being served to The Bellas…or the possibility of Kharma vs. Natalya…or maybe even the luring of the “Glamazon” Beth Phoenix from retirement…or the main-roster debut of Sara Del Ray.  Anything is possible – but it would require AJ Lee vs. Kharma to be the launchpad – the point of no return.

Radio Bobby: Top 5 New Music Releases (1/20)

1.  “Us Again” by Chuck Wicks - (country) a successful follow-up, or continuation rather, to his 2013 EP Rough, Chuck Wicks delivers another stellar country song about reminiscence and rekindling old love.  His vocals soar as he continues to be one of country music’s dark horses and best, most underrated stars.

2.  “Diamond and Silver” by Barcelona - (alternative) I think I caught a bug with Barcelona.  Their alternative-meets-pop style and catchy hooks and vocals are enough to drive you crazy – in a very good way. See #3 and 4.

3.  “Background” by Barcelona - (alternative)

4.  “Paper Lion” by Barcelona - (alternative)

5.  “Stand Down” by Little Mix - (pop) Little Mix, a newer pop group.  Feels like bubblegum mixed with a little bit of auto-tune, but it’s catchy, sassy and fun.

 

2013 Bobby James Awards: Frozen leads with 11 nominations!

Olaf (voice of Josh Gad) from Disney's FROZEN - look how happy he is with all the nods!

Olaf (voice of Josh Gad) from Disney’s FROZEN – look how happy he is with all the nods!

Finally!  The moment has arrived – led by Disney’s Frozen (which has a record-breaking 11 nominations), the nominees for “Best of Film 2013″ are here.  This year, I’ve added four new categories (voice-over supporting actor, voice-over supporting actress, “Blockbuster” film of the year, “Blockbuster” character of the year).  The nominees are:

Achievement in Cinematography

The Great Gatsby – Simon Duggan

The Broken Circle Breakdown - Ruben Impens

12 Years a Slave - Sean Bobbitt

Her - Hoyte Van Hoytema

Inside Llewyn Davis - Bruno Delbonnel

Achievement in Editing

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - Greg Hayden

Frozen - Jeff Draheim

Gravity - Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger

The Lone Ranger - James Haygood and Craig Wood

Rush - Daniel P. Handley

Achievement in Visual or Special Effects

Gravity - Neil Corbould, Manex Efrem

Man of Steel - Allen Hall

Pacific Rim – Rocco Larizza

Ender’s Game - Yves De Bono

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Steve Cremin, Christian Eubank

Achievement in Art Direction

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – John Collins

Frozen - Michael Giaimo

American Hustle - Jesse Rosenthal

The Great Gatsby - Ian Gracie

Her - Austin Gorg

Achievement in Costume Design

The Great Gatsby - Catherine Martin

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Trish Summerville

American Hustle - Michael Wilkinson

Her - Casey Storm

Gangster Squad - Mary Zophres

Best Original Score

Man of Steel - Hans Zimmer

Rush - Hans Zimmer

Frozen - Christophe Beck

The Great Gatsby - Craig Armstrong

12 Years a Slave - Hans Zimmer

Best Original Song

“Let It Go” – performed by Idina Menzel – Frozen

“Together” – performed by The XX – The Great Gatsby

“In Summer” – performed by Josh Gad – Frozen

“If I Needed You” – performed by Veerle Baetens and Johan Heldenbergh – The Broken Circle Breakdown

“Young and Beautiful” – performed by Lana Del Ray – The Great Gatsby

Best Original Screenplay

Prisoners - Aaron Guzikowski

American Hustle - Eric Singer and David O. Russell

Inside Llewyn Davis - Joel and Ethan Coen

Her - Spike Jonze

Rush - Peter Morgan

Best Adapted Screenplay

Captain Phillips - Billy Ray

12 Years a Slave - John Ridley

The Wolf of Wall Street - Terence Winter

Philomena - Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Simon Beaufoy, Michael Arndt

Actor in a Supporting Voice-Over Role

Benedict Cumberbatch – “Smaug” – The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

Pierre Coffin – “Kevin the Minion” – Despicable Me 2

Josh Gad – “Olaf” – Frozen

Christoph Waltz – “Mandrake” – Epic

Ryan Reynolds – “Guy” – The Croods

Actress in a Supporting Voice-Over Role

Idina Menzel – “Elsa” – Frozen

Cloris Leachman – “Gran” – The Croods

Helen Mirren – “Dean Hardscrabble” – Monsters University

Elsie Kate Fisher – “Agnes” – Despicable Me 2

Sofia Vergara – “Gabby Babblebrock” – Escape from Planet Earth

Actor in a Leading Voice-Over Role

Jonathan Groff – “Kristoff” – Frozen

Nicholas Cage - “Grug” – The Croods

Brendan Fraser – “Scorch Supernova” – Escape from Planet Earth

John Goodman – “Sullivan” – Monsters University

Rob Cordry – “Gary Supernova” – Escape from Planet Earth

Actress in a Leading Voice-Over Role

Scarlett Johansson – “Samantha” – Her

Kristen Bell – “Anna” – Frozen

Amanda Seyfried – “Mary Katherine” – Epic

Isabelle Spade – “Lucrece” – The Suicide Shop

Amy Poehler – “Jenny” – Free Birds

Actor in a Supporting Role

Jared Leto – “Rayon” – Dallas Buyers Club

Matthew Goode – “Charles Stoker” – Stoker

Bradley Cooper – “Richie DiMaso” – American Hustle

Barkhard Abdi – “Muse” – Captain Phillips

Michael Fassbender – “Edwin Epps” – 12 Years a Slave

Actress in a Supporting Role

Lupita Nyong’o – “Patsey” – 12 Years a Slave

Oprah Winfrey – “Gloria Gaines” – The Butler

Sarah Paulson – “Mistress Epps” – 12 Years a Slave

Julia Roberts – “Barbara Weston” – August: Osage County

Margot Robbie – “Naomi Lapaglia” – The Wolf of Wall Street

Actor in a Leading Role

Chiwetel Ejiofor – “Solomon Northup” – 12 Years a Slave

Oscar Isaac – “Llewyn Davis” – Inside Llewyn Davis

Joaquin Phoenix – “Theodore Twombly” – Her

Leonardo DiCaprio – “Jay Gatsby” – The Great Gatsby

Matthew McConaughey – “Ron Woodruff” – Dallas Buyers Club

Actress in a Leading Role

Sandra Bullock – “Dr. Ryan Stone” – Gravity

Emma Thompson – “P.L. Travers” – Saving Mr. Banks

Judi Dench – “Philomena Lee” – Philomena

Meryl Streep – “Violet Weston” – August: Osage County

Amy Adams – “Sydney Prosser” – American Hustle

The Lumiére Award for Directing

Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street

Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave

Joel and Ethan Coen – Inside Llewyn Davis

Spike Jonze – Her

Paul Greengrass – Captain Phillips

Best Animated Short

Get a Horse! - Lauren MacMullan

Feral - Daniel Sousa

Mr. Hublot - Laurent Witz

Requiem for Romance - Jonathan Ng

Room on the Broom - Max Lang, Jan Lachauer

Best Animated Feature

The Croods

Monsters University

Frozen

The Suicide Shop

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

Best “Blockbuster” Film

(Fan Voted Award)

 

Best “Blockbuster” Character

(Fan Voted Award)

 

Best Foreign Feature

Wadja - Haifaa Al-Mansour (Saudi Arabia)

The Broken Circle Breakdown - Felix Van Groeningen (Belgium)

The German Doctor - Lucia Puenzo (Argentina)

The Hunt - Thomas Vinterberg (Denmark)

Still Mine - Michael McGowna (Canada)

Best Documentary Feature

Blackfish - Gabriella Cowperthwatie

20 Feet from Stardom - Morgan Neville

The Act of Killing - Joshua Oppenheimer

Bridegroom - Linda Bloodworth-Thomason

Let the Fire Burn - Jason Osder

Feature Film of the Year

12 Years a Slave

The Great Gatsby

Inside Llewyn Davis

Her

Rush

The Broken Circle Breakdown

Frozen

Winners to be announced next week!

#BodyBobby Update (1/14)

I’m a day late with this #BodyBobby Update, but never fear – you’re gonna love it.

Weigh-In:  225 pounds

There has been no change in weight since the beginning of the year and now – and there probably should have been.  Instead of making excuses for why, I’m just gonna own it.  I know it’s not acceptable – and you all know this too.  I promise there will be a difference come Monday (Jan. 20 – and I’ll get the “update” blog posted on-time next week, too!).

What’s been on the #BodyBobby Menu? 

Lots of fruits, veggies, and white meats (mostly chicken).

I kick-started the year swearing off red meats (so far, that’s been a success for the most part).  I’ve also started to get a little more creative in the kitchen – and I’ve been relying on grazing throughout the day, as opposed to eating three big meals, but when I’ve had meals, they’ve been really tasty and beautiful!

I know, now you’re hungry (and maybe a little jealous?).  Well you shouldn’t be.  Most of these things are very simple to make – and while the French Toast Sticks weren’t necessarily the healthiest (100 calories/stick - yikes! – but they’re so amazing) - it’s all about, you guessed it:  moderation.  Oh, I forgot to mention, that delicious-looking chicken dish wasn’t self-prepared either (I ordered it at Prasino in St. Charles while having dinner with my friend Erin – who tried to persuade me to have some delicious short ribs! One bite isn’t killing anyone – and anyway it was of the cauliflower soufflé actually).

Wanna know what one of my favorite discoveries was recently?  Single-serving PIZZA!!!  Who said you can’t have pizza while you’re eating healthy?  Here’s a way (get excited, I’m gifting you a recipe!):

What You Need1 wheat tortilla – 3 TBS of spaghetti sauce (I prefer Essential brand “Garden Vegetable” – very flavorful, extremely low calorie and low-sodium!) – 3 slices of 40 calorie, thinly sliced Sargento cheese (I love the provolone)  – and veggies!

Here’s What You DoPreheat the oven to 350 degrees (F).  On a non-stick baking sheet, place the wheat tortilla.  Bake it for 2 minutes on each side (be sure to deflate the air bubbles and to flatten with a spatula).  The tortilla should be slightly hardened.  Spread your sauce to the edges – then top with your favorite diced veggies (I used some Roma tomato and a red bell pepper) and spices (I like red pepper flakes and Indian Fennel seeds).  Bake the “pizza” until the cheese is melted and starts to brown slightly.  Then, you cut it up to enjoy!

Exercises on the #BodyBobby radar?

Does movie-watching count? Probably not (damn Bobby James Awards! haha).

I did get back to the gym (finally) today! I began with a 10-minute cardio session on the arc trainer at level four.  Then I moved into some upper-body strength training.  I performed compound rows, overhead shoulder presses, chest presses, and back extensions.  Sadly, I cut my workout short when after the second set of back extensions I began feeling light-headed, semi-nauseous, disoriented, and like I was about to faint!

That’s never happened before – and I was executing really well too!  I took a seat for a few minutes, did some deep inhaling/exhaling, and drank some water.  I’m attributing this to my lack of sleep the night before, and because perhaps I went too hard in my return to the gym.  My body hasn’t been used to that level of training in months.  I’ll try again tomorrow – hopefully with more success!

Radio Bobby: Top 5 New Music Releases (1/13)

Welcome to the first edition of #RadioBobby for 2014.  Last year, I tracked 300+ songs (all year).  This week alone, I sampled/tracked 32 songs! If this week is any indication of things to come, it’ll be a great year for the music biz.  Let’s get to our Top 5 of the week, shall we?

Bastille 21.  “Laughter Lines” by Bastille - alternative – Bastille made a splash on the US music scene with their hit single “Pompeii” (used to promote the upcoming animated movie Peabody & Sherman), so listeners should be expecting more great things from the British band with the release of their new album All This Bad Blood.”

My favorite song from the album, “Laughter Lines,” is an incredible song about the future “when we are full of stories to be told…with…laughter lines.” Boasting a blended instrumental/engineered backdrop – “Laughter Lines” sounds futuristic (think Roswell, aliens) and classical (think gorgeous violins) with hints of Imogen Heap.  I don’t usually even think about my year-end Top 50 list this early (ever), but I predict this will finish somewhere in the Top 5!

2. “The Draw” by Bastille - alternative - Also from All This “Bad Blood,” “The Draw” is another great effort from Bastille.  The intro and ethereal sound reminds me of artists like Javier Dunn (think “Here’s the Thing”) and James Blake (“Retrograde”) – and if you saw my Top 50 Songs of 2013 you’ll be aware that not only did both songs chart (as did Bastille), but that I’m fond of this particular sound.  I think Bastille outdoes either of those two comparative songs – they have a great harmony and vocal – and this is a great song to be “lost” in.

3.  “Mind Over Matter” by Young the Giant - alternative - The lines between alternative rock and pop are blurring – it seems that alternative is experiencing a boom in hook and anthem driven songs - and is boasting better, more enjoyable vocals than the run-of-the-mill products from bubblegum pop machines that produce (auto-tune) everything to sound the same.  That said, “Mind Over Matter” sounds retro song that’s been infused with some contemporary new life.

4.  “Ba55″ by Switchfoot - alternative - “Ba55″ should be a commercial success for Switchfoot.  Yes, I’m aware this song was released late December/early January, but since the album Fading West was just released this week, I’m making up for the fact that I didn’t do a post at the beginning of the month (where this would have topped weekly chart).  I love the sound of “Ba55,” it’s really unlike anything this band has done before – it’s twisted and manipulated into an almost anthemic song (I’m channeling The Hunger Games here).
Shakira and Rihanna
5. “Can’t Remember to Forget You” by Shakira f. Rihanna - pop - When two pop icons collaborate, the result is either something spectacular or something that should have been left on the floor.  On “Can’t Remember to Forget You,” Shakira and Rihanna complement one another very nicely, yet maintain their distinct vocal styles – and what you get is an upbeat, surprisingly great piece of music.  I’m pegging this to be a chart performer… 
MUSIC VIDEO OF THE WEEK
“Cannonball” by Lea Michele - pop - Lea Michele’s “Cannonball” video is what you’d expect from Lea Michele.  It’s optimistic: consider the dark color schemes and moments in dark – then factor in the constant flares and rays of light.  It’s a hopeful song that will hopefully perform well for Michele.  The video is a gorgeous light show – not too edgy, not too artistic – that features beautiful cinematography and silhouettes – not too mention Michele’s great vocal and overarching uplifting message (by the way, did I mention, I’m quite fond of this song?).

2014 Golden Globe Award predictions & winners

Golden Globe Awards

Here are my predictions for the 2014 Golden Globe Awards:

Best Motion Picture, Drama:  12 Years a Slave / Winner:  12 Years a Slave

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama:  Emma ThompsonSaving Mr. Banks / Winner: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama:  Chiewetel Ejiofor12 Years a Slave / Winner:  Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyer’s Club 

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy:  Her / Winner:  American Hustle 

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy:  Amy AdamsAmerican Hustle / Winner:  Amy Adams

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy:  Joaquin Phoenix, Her / Winner:  Leonardo DiCaprio, Wolf of Wall Street

Best Animated Film:  Frozen / Winner:  Frozen 

Best Foreign Language Film:  Blue is the Warmest Color / Winner:  The Great Beauty 

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture:  Lupita Nyong’o12 Years a Slave / Winner: Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture:  Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave / Winner:  Jared Leto (Dallas Buyer’s Club)

Best Director – Motion Picture:  Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity / Winner:  Alfonso Cuaron - Gravity 

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture:  Spike Jonze – Her / Winner:  Spike Jonze - Her 

Best Original Score – Motion Picture:  Hans Zimmer – 12 Years a Slave / Winner: Alex Ebert - All Is Lost

Best Original Song – Motion Picture:  “Let It Go” – Frozen / Winner: “Ordinary Love” - Mandela 

Best TV Series, Drama:  Masters of Sex / Winner:  Breaking Bad 

Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama:  Kerry Washington, Scandal Winner:  Robin Wright, House of Cards

Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama:  Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad / Winner:  Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad 

Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy:  Modern Family / Winner:  Brooklyn Nine-Nine 

Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy:  Lena Dunham, Girls / Winner:  Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation 

Best Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy:  Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory / Winner:  Andy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine 

Best TV Movie or Mini-Series:  The White Queen / Winner: Behind the Candelabra 

Best Actress in a Mini-Series or TV Movie:  Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven / Winner:  Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake 

Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie:  Matt Damon, Behind the Candelabra / Winner: Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra 

Best Supporting Actress in a Mini-Series or TV Movie:  Janet McTeer, The White Queen / Winner: Jacqueline Bisset, Dancing On the Edge 

Best Supporting Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie:  Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad / Winner:  Jon Voight, Ray Donovan 

After votes have been tallied and laughs have been laughed – the dust will settle and some people will have some Golden Globes … question is:  How right or wrong will I be? You never know! So here we go.

PREDICTION RATING:  24% … abysmal I KNOW! I’ll get it back come the Oscars! Bobby James Award nominees on Wednesday! Winners revealed Thursday or Friday + Top 25 Movies of 2013!

January 8, 2014 | A Day of Infamy in the WWE

WWE Network 2-24-14For the past week, WWE has been teasing a major announcement.  Fans were all but sure the press conference was about the launch of the WWE Network – this much was evident through the appearance of some of the biggest names in WWE history, people like Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, John Cena, and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.  As it turns out, the WWE Network is officially a go beginning February 24, 2014.

For $9.99 per month (with a minimum 6 month commitment), through the WWE App, fans will have access to all 12 live pay-per-views, including WrestleMania 30 – exclusive original and first-run shows and content – encores of RAW, Smackdown, and Main Event – and access to WWE’s extensive video library (including WCW and ECW pay-per-views and shows).  For a full listing of shows and content that will be available on the WWE Network, click here.

Beyond the WWE Network announcement, there is some somber news coming out of the WWE Universe today:

Kaitlyn competed in her last match on WWE Main Event against Diva’s Champion AJ Lee.  The match was reminiscent of last summer’s impressive and memorable championship program that helped re-establish the Diva’s division.  From her days as a “green” NXT hopeful (and eventual season three winner) to her run as champion, Kaitlyn drastically improved her skills in the ring and became a wildly popular member of the WWE’s roster.  The former Diva’s Champion was granted her release on her own “terms.”  Since news broke earlier today, both Kaitlyn and her fiancée took to twitter to tease a huge announcement.  #ThankYouKaitlyn.

UPDATE (1/9/2014):  For what they’re worth, “reports” indicate that Kaitlyn was unhappy with her position in WWE and subsequently requested her release.  Kaitlyn was prominently featured in Diva’s Championship programs on WWE TV from the end of 2011 (against Eve Torres) to late summer/early autumn 2013 (against AJ Lee).  Since her reign as Diva’s Champion ended, Kaitlyn was sparsely used on WWE programming (some could argue the successful launch of Total Divas spelled disaster for the popular “Hybrid Diva” and NXT winner).

UPDATE 3 (1/14/2014):  It has been confirmed that WWE Hall of Famer Mae Young has passed away at the age of 90.

UPDATE 2 (1/9/2014 – 10:30 a.m.): Mike Mooneyham stated that Mae Young has been removed from life-support, but is gravely ill and has not passed away.  Mooneyham stated on twitter that “the source who reported her passing received incorrect information.”

UPDATE (1/9/2014):  According to initial reports, Mae Young was taken off life-support on January 8, current reports indicate that she died in the early hours of January 9.

In other news, after being admitted to a hospital last week (and subsequently being released into hospice), WWE Hall of Famer Mae Young passed away at the age of 90.  Young was a true pioneer of women’s wrestling, known to most recent wrestling fans as an associate of fellow Hall of Famer “The Fabulous Moolah,” Lillian Ellison.  Young debuted in 1939 and helped blaze a trail for lady wrestlers all across the country during World War II.  Since then, Young was a women’s champion in her own right and a WWE ambassador in her later years.

Though Young was never a WWE Women’s or Diva’s Champion, she is regarded highly in the professional wrestling community and recognized for her contributions.  Additionally, Mae Young hold the distinction of being the only professional wrestler to perform in nine different decades – a testament of her devotion, love, and dedication to her sport.  RIP Mae Young.  #NineDecadesOfMae.