Friday, June 3, 2016

The Resurrection of Jake The Snake & The Battered Bastards Of Baseball

Hello Dwellers and Welcome To The Basement…

A bit of a bonus blog, as today I want to talk about a pair of documentaries that I watched this week, The Resurrection of Jake The Snake and The Battered Bastards of Baseball.

We’ll start with The Resurrection Of Jake The Snake… for those of you who may not know, Jake Roberts is one of the all time greats of professional wrestling, but he has battled substance abuse for years… in the fall of 2012 he moved with Diamond Dallas Page with the goal of getting clean, sober and back in shape… Page being one of the most ‘positive people’ on the planet, invested his time and effort into this cause because years earlier Roberts helped him out in his career… along the way Scott Hall, another wrestler who has battled similar demons to Jake, moved in and through hard work and dedication the story has a happy ending of both men ending up in the WWE Hall of Fame.

This probably isn’t the best summary of the documentary, because it hits a lot of lows and a lot of highs, but you basically get the story of where Jake was in 2012 and how far he came by 2014. Page having the foresight to get as much as possible on film from the very start may seem a bit odd, but one could argue that he ‘knew’ he was going to get Jake (and by proxy Scott) into the best condition, both mentally and physically’ they have been in years.

It really is a great watch, seeing the transformation take place, and it’s pretty damn inspiring.

The other documentary, The Battered Bastards of Baseball, tells the story of the Portland Mavericks, an independent Class-A team owned by the late Bing Russell. After the Portland Beavers (A Triple-A affiliate then associated with the Cleveland Indians) was moved to Spokane, Washington, Russell founded the Portland Mavericks to be apart of the Northwest League, as the sole independent club, as in no association with a Major League Franchise. From 1973 to 1977, the team  best described as cast-offs, had winning seasons and four division titles while also doing something that was was being killed off by Major League Baseball at the time… having fun.

You see, because they were an independent team and didn’t have to worry about any of their players being moved up to Double-A, Triple-A or even the Major Leagues, the Mavericks were able to gel as a team and didn’t have to adhere with a lot of the cold, manufactured ‘business’ style of baseball… which really pissed off MLB, because here was this ragamuffin team beating their minor league teams that have players they drafted. Hell the only reason the Mavericks never won a championship was because they would end up facing players from the higher levels of their opponents franchise who were sent down to basically to tip the scales in the favor of their affiliated clubs.

This documentary sees interviews with team alumni Kurt Russell (star of such films like Escape from New York), Jim Bouton (World Series Champion with the New York Yankees), Oscar Award Winner Todd Field (Who was team bat boy) and others… and really show cases the for a magical time out in the Pacific Northwest in the mid 70s, the underdogs had their day.

Both films are currently available on Netflix and I encourage everyone to check them out!

This Week: Spider-Man, Judd Apatow & More!

Hello Dwellers and Welcome To The Basement…

It’s Friday… so let’s go over THIS WEEK with the Superheroes…

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows has his theaters, and I have mixed views if I’m going to see on the big screen. I’m not the biggest fan of Michael Bay as they are just visually stunning, but there isn’t much else to them. Then there is the factor that I wasn’t really impressed with the first Turtles film under his tenure that didn’t know what the hell it was supposed to be… and of course the Turtles look down right horrible.

Rick Famuyiwa has been announced as the new director of The Flash movie that no one is asking for… and this seems very ill-advised to me, because he’s about as generic a director one could find, someone who can do the ‘paint by numbers’ approach of getting a movie done in an assigned amount of time for an assigned amount of money… which means The Flash movie will not get a big budget and probably be filled with ‘character moments’ and ‘coming of age’ routine to retell The Flash story for the big screen even though we’ve been watching the TV show for two seasons so far.

In fact the director they should’ve gotten was Edgar Wright, whose films include a number of action comedies cause the work he’s done on the Shaun of The Dead and Hot Fuzz indicates to me that A Flash movie done with the tone of both of those films would be a big hit.

Marvel has regained the film rights for Namor… and that’s good news, cause it keeps him from being bastardized by Fox for any concepts they have in mind for sequel to that dribble that was last years Fantastic Four movie.

It’s been reported that Disney has ordered a ton of reshoots for Rogue One…. Sure we’re six months away (give or take) from when it’s supposed to hit theaters in December, and this feels like ‘studio meddling’ because they are scared to death that their ‘Star Wars’ Universe that they are wanting to do will fall flat on it’s face… I will not be surprise if the piss-poor  reception for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice has a lot to do with this.

The ‘controversial’ Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 has been flying off the shelves…and it proves that the decision to imply that Cap has been a Hydra Agent all along was a smart creative choice.

IDW is starting to put the Hasbro-character related books into a ‘shared universe’… and I’m all for this… just as long as My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is included in some way… hell Pinkie Pie will probably show up regardless cause she makes reality her submissive bottom!

Judd Apatow this week said the following…  “I would assume there’s a very large crossover of people who are doubtful Ghostbusters will be great and people excited about the Donald Trump candidacy. I would assume they are the exact same people.”  To which I say this… Judd… you can make like a frog and hop a lily pad. People are KNOW that this remake / namesake of Ghostbusters is going to bomb because the cast sucks, the director is someone who has no business heading up a franchise because he has yet to make a movie that doesn't have all of his usual agendas stamped on it

 Hell, Paul Feig wanted to make a James Bond movie that pushed his agenda but because no-one is stupid enough to give him the keys to the Bond franchise, he went and made Spy instead, which was a horrible movie.

Plus we as fans KNOW AND HAVE SEEN how the Ghostbusters movie continuity should have continued!

You look at the Extreme Ghostbusters, the IDW run with the Ghostbusters license and even the 2011 Ghostbusters video game… what do they all have in common? Oh yeah… CONTINUING THE FROGGIN’ STORY!

So the next time you want to insult someone, get the froggin' facts pal.

Alright… that said… let’s get to this week’s shows…

Oh… right… there are no shows to watch…

But hey, I did went and re-watched the 1994 Spider-Man animated series… and animation being clearly dated aside… it does hold up.

Much like X-Men (which also aired on Fox at the same time), Spider-Man had a heavy serialized format, with nearly every event building up towards an eventual conclusion. In fact episodes from the first season were referenced and served the basis of later episodes and character development. Characters were introduced and brought back on a regular basis, and even tying in to The Iron Man and Fantastic Four series that ran in syndication, in addition to X-Men… plus other characters like Blade, The Punisher, Daredevil and others utiltize… meaning back in the 90s, there was a shared Marvel Animated Universe. Hell Blade was used in such a way one would think the character would’ve gotten spun off into his own series… but alas… all that became of him was few movies.

But perhaps what most notable about this Spider-Man series was actually the spin it put on various story lines, for example the Death of Gwen Stacy (who only appeared in the final episode of the series in an alternate Universe) was changed to be the ‘disappearance of Mary Jane’… The Secret Wars was adjusted to have Spider-Man be tested so he can save the ‘Spider-Verse’, the origin of Venom symbiote is changed (not to mention for all intents and purposes Venom is killed off… hell when reading the comic versions of these stories, it’s amazing of what got switched around in the show.

Also of note is that the show does come across as a comic book in that you always know what Peter Parker / Spider-Man is thinking cause his inner-monologue is always heard… so the justification of calling him Spider-Brat was even further fueled, particularly when there is a trend of things not going his way... which is pretty much a reoccurring theme.

Now if I have to select my favorite storyline of the series, it would be the Six Forgotten Warriors from season five, which not only brought in Captain America, but also introducing some older heroes: Miss America, Black Marvel, The Destroyer, The Thunderer and Whizzer… all of whom were superheroes who all debuted in 1941. As a fan of The Justice Society of America, this was just awesome when I got to learn more about what was basically Marvel’s equivalent of the JSA.

The series is available for viewing on Hulu under the title ‘Marvel Comics Spider-Man’ and I recommend checking it out and also watching it in order. It’s 65 episodes, but the seasons are short, hell I recommend binge watching whole seasons over a series of weekends.

And on that note, we’ll wrap things up for this week. Tomorrow is Saturday which means Tales From The TARDIS and we’ll be wrapping up The Keys of Marinus!

Catch ya later!

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