Best Movies of 2017

I love being entertained. With that being said, I thoroughly enjoy a good movie. As you half sing the champagne laced lines of what portions that you actually know from Auld Lang Syne (you know the New Years Eve song) and lean to kiss your selected sweetie; I was poached on my couch watching movies while everyone was either asleep or playing in video games (you can figure out who was who in that scenario). After a conversation with a friend of mine on Facebook the next day while reading his favorite movies of 2017, I realized just how great this year was in regards to movies. So as I always do, my first thought was to write a blog and do my favorite thing: make my own top ten list. I know that I usually do my top 10 lists on Tuesday but here is a Wednesday Top 10 list. ūüôā So here is my “Best Movies of 2017” list. Not only are they my favorite of 2017; but I’m suggesting that you watch them if you have not.


Honorable Mention. Justice League – The super hero movie is here to stay. They are¬†becoming more and more of a spectacle; and there are no larger names than Batman and Superman. So in the aftermath of the successful Wonder Woman and Batman/Supermanmovies, the most logical thing would be for them to push a Justice League movie. I’m sure that the extremely successful Avengers movies didn’t have a thing to do with the idea. Despite a lot of hate from critics, the Justice League movie allows you to see the powerful group on screen.

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10. Spider-man: Homecoming – Michael Keaton, my Batman, was starring as the villainous Vulture in this stand alone Spider-Man movie. We had seen Tom Holland and his version of Spider-Man a couple of times already and I was impressed. I liked him and I had hopes for this movie. Now don’t get me wrong but Disney, I mean Marvel likes the muddle with characters. I won’t go into detail but sometimes they just need to leave well enough alone.

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9. Ghost in the Shell– My wife would say that I wanted to watch Scarlett Johansson’s Ghost in the Shell because of my affinity and celebrity crush status of well…Scarlett Johansson; and there is only slight truth in that. The truth is, 13 year old me who was completely obsessed with Anime and would wake up early to watch shows like Bleach and over-watched movies like Ghost in the Shell and Akira was going into full geek mode. The fact that the movie version of Ghost in the Shell just happened to star my celebrity crush…was just as they say ‘icing on the cake’.

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8. The Lost City of Z – I admit that I initially wanted to watch this movie because Charlie Hunnam (who was on one of my favorite TV shows Sons of Anarchy). The movie ended up being a spectacular showcase of a true-life drama that centered around the British explorer Colonel Percival Fawcett. Col. Fawcett disappeared in the Amazon during the 1920s looking for the mysterious city of Z. I know I probably gave away the whole entire movie with that spoiler but the trials and tribulations that they go through are worth the watch.

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7. Thor: Ragnarok– I felt…cheated. Like there could have been so much more to the storyline behind Thor’s Ragnarok. The blending of the Planet Hulk and Ragnorok story lines did produce a believable and definitely entertaining movie but…like many Marvel movies, their stirring away from the original comic book story lines hurts the feelings of some of us actual comic book fans. Despite me catching feels, the story was great and Chris Helmsworth would have made a spectacular He-Man. I mean he made a great Thor. ūüėČ

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6. Wonder Woman – I have to admit that in the beginning I was not sold on Gal Gadot being cast as Wonder Woman but after watching her in the self titled Wonder Woman movie…I admit that I was wrong. She was spectacular as the Amazonian Goddess. Watching her discover her powers and unearth her destiny…all while palling around with Captain Kirk, I mean Chris Pine…was great for me.

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5. Star Wars: The Last Jedi – I won’t talk too much about this movie because it might include spoilers to the movie that my wife was not able to see with me and Daniel in the theater. So…I’ll just say that even though Disney upsets me with how they treat some characters in the Marvel brand; they absolutely do amazing things with the Star Wars brand. Not only have they made the CGI and production of these movies amazingly great, the story itself is spectacular. That is. It is worth the watch. Yes you are free to make some more Disney.

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4.¬† Baby Driver – Baby Driver was one of those movies that my best friend and I decided to watch in his man cave. The movie surpassed all expectations and the overall flow of the movie makes you want to watch it multiple times to catch the nuances that you might have missed the first time or second time. The cast was amazing and the soundtrack….oh I don’t want to ruin it for you if you haven’t seen it but turn up the surround sound, sit back and wait for an amazing movie. By the way, prepare to hate Jamie Foxx while you watch this movie. Trust me, you’ll need to prepare yourself.

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3. John Wick: Chapter 2 – I’ve always been a fan of Keanu Reeves. Whether it was the Matrix trilogy or even Bill and Ted; Keanu was one of my favorite actors. His John Wick movies are what Steven Seagal wishes his movies were. The John Wick character is an ex-hitman who is literally drug out of retirement to seek revenge. And the second chapter in what I hope is a long, long line of movies continues right where the other one stopped. Keanu’s ability to become a character and bring his own personality into a role is definitely visible and I suggest watching this movie. If you don’t like blood and violence…you uh…might want to watch something else though.

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2. Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2 – Oh how I love the Guardians of the Galaxy movies and Vol 2 may have just risen above the original on my favorites list. But this specific Guardians of the Galaxy movie gives you exactly what you would want in a movie: great acting (yes even from Batista), comedy, suspense, action, great CGI, love, and a plot twist. The movie fits amazingly well in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and you can even see how it will tie into the current Infinity Wars storyline.

logan movie poster

  1. Logan – Oh the speculation that surrounded Logan when word got out that they were going to do a Logan movie. What comic book story line would they use? Was Clint Eastwood play Old Man Logan? Would it show him finally interacting with the other Marvel characters, like in the Old Man Logan comic series? I was excited to say the least, because ever since the 1990’s X-Men cartoon, Wolverine was my second favorite character of all time of any genre (second to He-Man of course). When I finally watched Logan I brought my dad and Daniel along with me because the Western-esque vibe to Logan would entertain my dad and well…its a comic/action movie, so Daniel would be entertained. Little did I know, that by the end of the movie all three of us would be blubbering and crying like babies who had had just steal our candy. The movie is amazing. The movie that shows the vulnerability of everyone’s favorite X-Men doing his best to take care of Professor X in a Mexican border town before their lives being shaken by the discovery of a new mutant. This mutant is the laboratory created daughter of Wolverine and allows Logan/Wolverine to find something that he had lost long ago: love. It is by far one of my favorite movies of all time, my favorite super hero movie of all time and definitely would earn the top slot in the best movie of 2017.

All movie poster images and likenesses used as Fair Use.

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Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: Stand-up Comedians

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From watching old-school nightclub veterans on old VHS tapes, HBO Specials, seeing them in person, or just watching their specials where they fill stadiums; stand-up comedy has been part of my life since I can remember. I have great memories watching Rodney Dangerfield’s Young Comedians Specials back in the 80s where I wasintroduced to the likes of Louie Anderson, Yakov Smirnoff, Harry Basil and Bob Nelson. There was even a time when I was a kid that I laughed so hard at Howie Mandel’s HBO special that I woke my parents up. When I became an adult I would go see comedians live. I have been able to see comedians like Mitch Hedberg, Jim Gaffigan, and even Larry the Cable Guy.

Even though putting yourself through the ‘choice’ process is risky and sometimes arduous task, I want to do so since stand-up comedy and comedians have been such a large part of my life. So without wasting anymore of your time with rambling, lets get to the important stuff. I present to you (my choices of the) –¬†Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10:¬† Stand-up Comedians:¬†

Updated Honorable Mentions: Bruce Bruce, Jonathan Winters, Sam Kinison, Lavell Crawford, and Bill Cosby

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10. Jerry Seinfeld – Most people recognize the name Seinfeld because of the “show about nothing”. The sitcom, Seinfeld, ran for almost a decade and showcased the mundane yet hilarious daily lives of George Costanza (played by Jason Alexander), Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), the doting across the hall neighbor Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards) and Jerry Seinfeld playing a fictionalized version of himself named Jerry Seinfeld; but long before the sitcom became one of the two top shows of its time (second only to ER), Seinfeld was a very popular comedian. Again calling back to my Rodney Dangerfield specials, I remember watching Seinfeld on Rodney Dangerfield’s HBO special early in his career. This stand-up career earned him the number 12 position on Comedy Central‘s greatest Comedians of all time list and even higher on mine.

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9. Dave Chappelle – My dad took me to see the 1993 Mel Brooks movie Robin Hood: Men in Tights. It was so funny that I distinctively remember us both laughing so hard that we cried. A young Dave Chappelle starred as Ahchoo (yeah, I know) and over time, Chappelle would continue popping up. From the cult classic “Cheech and Chong-esque” stoner film¬†Half Baked to starring as the insulting comedian in The Nutty Professor to his HBO stand-up specials¬†to the immortally popular¬†Chappelle’s Show;¬†Chappelle was all over the comedy map. Heck he was all over the comedy universe until he abruptly left the Chappelle Show due to ethical and personal concerns that he had. He took a journey to Africa and ‘found himself’ again. He would tour sporadically but his career resurged in 2013 when he began co-headlining tours with the Flight of the Concords. 2016 was a big year for Chappelle when he finally hosted Saturday Night Live and Released multiple stand-up comedy specials through Netflix.

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8. Brian Regan – Even though the self-deprecating comic hates being known as a ‘clean comic’, the fact of the matter is that you can listen to Brian Regan with your 60 year old mom and not be embarassed by what she will hear. Regan’s material is mostly free from any profanity or off-color humor which is why we watched Brian Regan as a family. His eccentric body language, wild facial expressions, and atypically physical humor appeals to any age group. I know it appeals to 12 year olds and people in their thirties because Brian Regan is one of the comedians that is played more than anyone at our home.

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7. George Carlin – The aforementioned Comedy Central (as well as Rolling Stones Magazine) Greatest Comedians list placed George Carlin as second and it is a well deserved location for this black comedian. Now when I say ‘black comedian’, I am by no means referring to the color of his skin. The term black humor, black comedy or dark comedy is a comedic style that makes light of subject matter that is generally considered taboo. You know all that stuff that most people would pass over because it might offend someone? Well black humor takes those topics and slaps in the face with them all while using all of the seven dirty words to curse you out. Widely regarded as one of the most influential stand-up comedians of all time, the ‘dean of counterculture comedians’ almost worked as a shock comic after he reinvented himself in the early 1970s. He hired talent managers to appeal to a younger audience and even though his venturing into smaller clubs caused a drastic cut in his income; Carlin’s popularity was increasing exponentially. Carlin was bringing back the radical social commentary comedy that Lenny Bruce had pioneered during the 1950s. My first experience were his ever popular HBO specials. Of course at the time, I had to sneak to watch them because his comedy was undeniably inappropriate for a ten year old to listen to.¬† But after watching Carlin playing Rufus, the time-traveling mentor of Bill & Ted in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure…I had to see more of this guy. His comedy became more relevant as I grew older and could understand the powerful wisdom that this man had pouring from his mouth.

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6. Louie Anderson – You usually don’t start off the conversation about a comedian with the description ‘Emmy award winning actor’. The author, actor, television host, and stand-up comedian has been making people laugh professionally for over 30 years. Ever since I watched Louie on that Rodney Dangerfield Comedy Special VHS tape, I appreciated his style of comedy. Not only is the comedian still touring on the comedy circuit but has won Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 2016 and 2017 for his role as “Christine Baskets” in the critically acclaimed comedy Baskets aside funny-man Zach Galifianakis. He is one my top list as well as the Rolling Stones Top 100 comedian list.

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5. Mitch Hedberg – Once you heard the unconventional, deadpan delivery of his non sequitir jokes one-liners or short absurd jokes…then you are hooked. He’s the comedian that you have to listen closely to because you just might miss something important. Millions of comedy fans, myself, and many big named comedians like George Carlin, Dave Chappelle, Mike Birbiglia and Lewis Black were huge fans of his comedy; and he was even dubbed the next Seinfeld by Time Magazine. Sadly he was found dead in a hotel room in 2005. It was only a few weeks before that I was watching him live in Athens, GA during one of his last performances. His impact is felt by the many comedians that were in attendance at that venue that night. It will be a show that I will never forget; just like the many up-and-coming comics that were in attendance that night have made it known the influenced that that one show had on them starting their career.

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4. Rodney Dangerfield – In regards to the amount of people that give credit where credit is due; “(he) don’t get no respect, no respect at all.” Many successful comedians from the 80s and 90s can thank Rodney Dangerfield’s comedy and his Young Comedian’s Showcase of young comedians for their success. His HBO shows helped the careers of comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Jeff Foxworthy, Jim Carrey, Tim Allen, Sam Kinison, Roseanne Barr, Robert Townsend, Bill Hicks, Rita Rudner, Andrew Dice Clay, Louie Anderson, Bob Saget and many more. Jim Carrey owes Dangerfield a special debt of gratitude due to Dangerfield signing Carrey to be his opening act for two years worth of shows after seeing his performances at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles. His multi-decade stand-up career, grammy award winning comedy albums, popular Miller Lite beer ads, Tonight Show appearances, a string of movies (Caddyshack, Easy Money, Back to School, and many more), and his outrageous personality brought him to the forefront of comedy in my opinion; but earned him a coveted place in the Smithsonian Institute (his trademark white shirt and red tie are on display).

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3. John Pinette – John Pinette might¬† not be the most notable comic in the world but he is definitely one of my favorites. The comic got his start doing the comedy club circuit but got his big break when Old Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra, asked him to tour with him. John’s acting credits are numerous but are not as important as his DVD sales and his being named Stand-Up Comedian of the Year by the American Comedy Awards. He received many awards during his life and at the time of his death, he held the record for the highest-selling one-person show in the history of Just for Laughs. We watch/listen to John Pinette in my house every couple of months and it never gets old.

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2. Jim Gaffigan – What can truly be said about the palest man in comedy? What needs to be said besides his contribution to the comedy game cannot be denied. As one of the top grossing comedians, Jim Gaffigan has risen to be more than just the “Hot Pocket” guy. Even though his funny catchphrases may be memorable; Gaffigan’s comedic style is what is truly unforgettable. His ‘connection with the audience’ voice is always a favorite part of his routine. His routine which normally centers around topics that we all can draw inferences to our own lives (i.e. food, being lazy, losing weight, parenthood, and other normal life experiences). His comedy could be deadly because I remember almost laughing so hard that I lost my breath a couple of times when we went to see him live. Guess that’s the price you pay to experience the best.

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1. Robin Williams –¬† Though Robin Williams is known in most circles for starring in award winning TV shows and movies; Williams started his career as a stand-up comedian in the 70s. He rose to fame in 1978 as the quirky alien Mork on the TV show Mork and Mindy, his career as an actor skyrocketed parallel to that of his stand-up career. Williams would go on to star in everything from a live version of Popeye to the emotionally charged Dead Poet’s Society to offering his voice as the Genie for Disney’s Aladdin¬†and even the heart breaking, emotional roller coaster that was Good Will Hunting. His stand-up comedy had unprecedented success but the Julliard trained actor/comic was more than just a comedian or an actor; he was a light of hope and beauty into a dark and ugly world. He visited the troops over seas during USO tours countless times, gave emotional speeches about America while helping us cope with the hell in the world through humor. His work with Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal had raised over $80 million as of 2014 for the homeless through their HBO televised benefit show Comic Relief USA. He donated huge amounts of money and time to the USO, multiple charities, the Red Cross, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital…just to name a few. After his suicide, the world stood in shock and greatly affected me and my family. Not that we knew him personally but because of the immense impact that this positive person had had on our lives. Billy Crystal called him the “brightest star in our comedy galaxy” and he truly is just that.


Featured Image: Jerry Seinfeld knocks on the Oval Office window image by and accredited to Pete Souza – P120715PS-0551, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46324753

Images: Jonathan Winters 1986 image by and accredited to Unknown – Cropped from U.S. Department of Defense photo, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2590921
Howie Mandel image by and accredited to photo by Alan Light, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1598085
Jerry Seinfeld 2016 stand-up image by and accredited to slgckgc – https://www.flickr.com/photos/slgc/31240934022/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58915970
Cropped image of Dave Chappelle by and accredited to Davej1006 – Cropped from File:Sean and Kris with Dave Chappelle.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3791240
Brian Regan “The Epitome of Hyperbole” image by and accredited to Brian Regan, fair use, brianregan.com
George Carlin routine image by and accredited to Bonnie from Kendall Park, NJ, USA – Jesus is Coming.. Look Busy, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4027016
Louie Anderson image by and accredited to Melly Allen – Alicia Jacobs & Louie Anderson, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51750370
Mitch Hedberg IMDB profile image credited to IMDB, fair use, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0373136
Rodney Dangerfield in 1978 by and accredited to Jim Accordino, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7492985
John Pinette at the 2010 Leukemia Ball image by and attributed to dbking from Washington, DC – _MG_1560, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18544735
Jim Gaffigan making a goofy face image by and accredited to Alan Gastelum РSent to him personally, CC BY-SA 1.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49897376
Robin Williams at the Happy Feet two Australian premiere image by and attributed to Eva Rinaldi РRobin Williams, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56728659

Time Machine Time: Top 10 Concerts

I have always been proud of my eclectic musical taste and the live performances that I have been blessed to see over the years is the proof in the pudding. ¬†I’ve seen everyone from Metallica to B.B. King to the Celtic Women to the Wu Tang Clan to Big & Rich. To me, the live concert experience is like none other and therefore there are regretfully many concerts or live performances that I was not able to see (mostly because they happened before I was born or where in a different country). So if the Doctor just happened to visit me or Doc Brown and Marty McFly loaned me the Delorean there are many things that I would love to do or see. A big part of that list would be to go back and see certain human events like the Wright Brothers flying for the first time, to see Jesus perform miracles, to walk with Ghandi, or to hear the wisdom of the Buddha. Among the list of amazing human feats that I would love to see many things. How awesome would it be to see the Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman “Rumble in the Jungle” fight; see Gladiators fight in the Flavian Ampitheatre (aka the Roman Colosseum); or to have been one of the 93,173 attendees in the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan back on March 29th, 1987 when Hulk Hogan body slammed Andre the Giant and when ‘The Macho Man’ Randy Savage and Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat had one of the greatest wrestling matches of all time.

But…we’re here for music. SO with that being said, here a joint blog representing both the Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10 and Time Machine TimeConcerts (representing the Top 10 concerts that I would love to be able to go back in time to see).



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Honorable Mention:¬†Rammstein – Parkbuhne Wuhlheide, Berlin (1998) –¬†Despite their participation in the ever popular Family Values tour (with Korn, Limp Bizkit, etc) in 1998, the solo European tour in 1998 was Rammstein’s finest. The music paired with the wild pyrotechnics must have been a site to behold.

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10. Bob Marley – Kingston, Jamaica (April 22, 1978) – After the Smile Jamaica concert; Bob and his band, the Wailers, exiled themselves in London for about a year. They wrote an album while in England and rightfully so named it Exodus. During their exodus in London, the turmoil in Jamaica was dying down and to prove that they needed Marley to come back to help unify the country; rival gang leaders flew to London to convince Marley to come back. He flew back and put on a free concert in Kingston. The beautiful music, paired with the political unification that Marley brought by bringing together both rival gang members, as well as the opposing governmental factions earned him a United Nations’ Peace Medal. What a completely amazing concert that that must have been.

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9. Fleetwood Mac – Nashville Municipal Auditorium (5/21/1977) – The radio poured out the hits of Fleetwood Mac during the Summer of 1977. The Rumours world tour which took place in two parts went on for almost a year and a half. The tour celebrated the release of the band’s eleventh album (of the same name). The band went everywhere: from all over North America to Europe, their native UK, Japan and Oceania. I have always been a Fleetwood Mac fan after hearing the albums when I was a kid. I was not lucky enough to see them in their prime and the performance at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium would have been a fantastic place to catch the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees at their prime.

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8. Beethoven – Theater an der Wien, Vienna (April 1803) – Before he went def, Beethoven had been appointed composer in residence at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna in the early 1800s. In the spring of 1803 Beethoven led the Symphony in a concert where the audience heard the First and Second Symphony, the Third Piano Concerto, and the oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives. To be able to experience some of Beethoven’s greatest works, live from the man himself…would be more than I could bear. Tears would definitely flow.

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7. Led Zeppelin – Madison Square Garden, New York (July 27-29, 1973) –¬†Led Zeppelin performed three-sold out shows at Madison Square Gardens to close out their 1973 North American tour. The filming of these live performances were filmed for a motion picture that was released in 1976. The on-stage theatrics, as described by Jimmy Page, were as far as they could make them and they most definitely took the audiences experience into account. The set-list consisted of songs that will go down as some of the greatest rock songs of all time. Years later, ‘the songs remain the same’ and the DVD allows us to experience, but I would count it an immense blessing to have been able to experience this spectacle in person.

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6. Jimi Hendrix – Woodstock, Bethel, New York (August 18, 1969) – I would have braved the mud and the 400,000 potentially drugged out hippies to witness (who is in my opinion) one of the greatest performers of all time at the infamous festival. The Woodstock Festival is listed as one of the 50 moments that Changed the History of Rock and Roll and with Jimi Hendrix joining a lineup including Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Joan Baez, Santana, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Who, and many others…who could imagine that it wouldn’t. Hendrix’s now infamous “Star Spangled Banner” performance was just a drop in the bucket compared to the over 60 minute set. I could definitely have dealt with the 3 days of peace and music as long as I got to hear Jimi Hendrix.

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5. Metallica – Tushino Airfield, Moscow, Russia (Sept 28, 1991) – Despite seeing Metallica multiple times already, I regretfully have missed some amazing performances that I think could have been more epic than the concerts that I was blessed enough to witness. One specific concert was a specific concert on September 28th, 1991 in Moscow. The Monsters of Rock Festival was one of the biggest concerts in the history of the world. The attendance during the Metallica show was slated to have ranged anywhere from 500,000 to almost 2 million fans. This could easily be one of the most epic live performances of all time and to feel the feedback from over a million people would have just been breathtaking.

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4.¬†Queen – Wembley Stadium (11/07/1986) –¬†As many of the concerts from this list, the moments were saved by releasing the video via VHS/DVD. In December of 1990, Queen at Wembley was produced and the DVD version has gone platinum five times in the US alone. Audience members have stated that the energy in the crowd was breathtaking and we as viewers of the DVD since then can attest that Freddie Mercury and Queen presented us with one of the best live performances ever.


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3.¬†Metallica with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra – Berkley Community Theatre (April 21-22, 1999) –¬†Yes, I know what you’re thinking; “gosh Chris, two Metallica concerts on your top 10 list of concerts that you would go back in time to see?” The answer is unequivocally, yes! Metallica is my favorite musical group/band and I most definitely would want to see these two events. I have seen the DVD but was unable to fly to San Francisco in 1999 to experience this concert in person. Back in 1999, Metallica was trying to find themselves after so many years of being together. They were/are the biggest rock/heavy metal band of all time and taking a cue from their late guitarist Cliff Burton, intertwined classical music and heavy metal to bring about something truly magical. Taking clues from Deep Purple’s 1969 Concerto for Group and Orchestra (in which Deep Purple performed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra), did a concert with the additional symphonic accompaniment of Michael Kamen and the San Francisco Symphony orchestra (hence the name of the album: Metallica: S&M). I am not afraid to admit that when I first watched the DVD of the concert, that I wept during the performances of “Bleeding Me” and “- Human”. These two songs, along with the 19 other tracks, brought a total of over 2 hours of complete melodic perfection.


 

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2. Nirvana – Sony Music Studios, New York City (November 19, 1993) –¬†The American Grunge band Nirvana changed music forever. Some people view it as a bad thing, and some people view it as something that set a pace for music. On December 16, 1993, I was viewed to the TV and it dared not be turned from MTV. As part of the infamous MTV Unplugged¬†series, Nirvana performed an acoustic performance where they covered their lesser-known material and cover versions of many of their favorite bands. The album, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, was certified 5x platinum in the US by 1997. The performance won a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album and posthumously it is Nirvana’s most successful album. The performance of many of the songs have gained notoriety throughout the years. The song “Where did you sleep last night?” (which was arranged by blues musician Lead Belly) is regarded by many as one of the greatest live performances of all time; whereas Nirvana’s rendition of David Bowie’s classic “The Man who sold the world” (specifically Kurt’s playing) is listed by MTV and Rolling Stones as one of the greatest acoustic performances of all time (despite his use of foot pedals and an amp). To have been one of the select fans that got to witness this concert first hand would have been an amazing adventure to behold.


 

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  1. ¬†Pink Floyd – Earl’s Court Exhibition Hall, London (June 17, 1981) –¬†Pink Floyd puts on an amazing show. The lights, the theatrics, the larger than life stage show, and the extra nuances that make them great are only shadows on the wall behind the amazing performers that they are. The Wall is one of my favorite albums of all time and to be able to hear David Gilmour’s “Comfortably Numb” guitar solo in person could quite possibly be one of the closest things to perfection that you can find. There isn’t much to say, except….a Pink Floyd live experience would be just that….a truly awesome experience. The Wall was not a traditional traveling tour. It was a complete theatrical experience. The experience is more than just music and emotion….it was a spectacle.


Images: Featured Image: Pink Floyd 1973 Retouched photo by and accredited to TimDuncanderivative work: Mr. Frank (talk) РPinkFloyd1973.jpg, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10703646
Fleetwood Mac Trade ad for Rumours by and accredited to Warner Bros. Records – Billboard, page 86, 25 Jun 1977, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29477518
Beethoven in his home painting by and accredited to Carl Schloesser – http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuva:Beethovenhome.JPG
Engel by Rammstein image accredited to http://www.flickr.com/photos/closeto94/ Рhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/closeto94/6932258453/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22797146
James Hetfield concert image by and accredited to wonker from London, United Kingdom – James Hetfield, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41529767
Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant image by and attributed to Dina Regine – http://www.flickr.com/photos/divadivadina/465006384/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8022602
Jimi Hendrix’s Guitar Strap photo by Sam Howzit – CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44052647
Queen’s Freddie Mercury image by and attributed to Carl Lender, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5904129
James Hetfield image by and attributed to I, Flowkey, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2427494
Nirvana Unplugged logo attributed to http://theriveranswers.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/nirvana-unplugged_in_new_york.jpg
Pink Floyd “The Wall” logo by and attributed to pink floyd – http://www.seeklogo.com/files/P/Pink_Floyd_The_Wall-vector-logo-15898F56FA-seeklogo.com.zip, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38936704

Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: Greatest Male Body Builders of all Time

 

Upon seeing¬†the word Buff in The Daily Post¬†today, my first thought was body building. I Frederick_Winters_during_1904_Summer_Olympicshave been in love with the world of weight lifting and body building since I was a young boy. The 80s were fueled by larger than life characters. Cartoons characters like He-Man (my personal favorite) and Thundercats; wrestlers like Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior; or actors like Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, or Arnold Scwarzenegger were enough to cause the most mentally strong among us to develop body dysmorphia. Getting back to our friend Arnold. He wasn’t just known as his work in Conan or the Terminator…no no no. Arnold was a champion bodybuilder. When we finally got HBO in the 80s, I watched a little documentary about the unknown sport of bodybuilding:¬†Pumping Iron. Pumping Iron was released in 1977 and there is no doubt that it launched Arnold’s popularity into the mainstream, but it also brought light into a sport that was very misunderstood.

Ed_Fury_and_Jackie_Coey,_1953

With the advent of social media and video platforms like Youtube, bodybuilding is an ever growing and ever changing sport. Bodybuilding is defined as “the use of progressive resistance exercise to control and develop one’s musculature,” while an “individual who engages in this activity is called a bodybuilder.” These bodybuilders appear in lineups and perform specified poses for panels of judges who rank their scores based on symmetry, muscularity, and conditioning. This comprehensive list will be throughout time and will Falk,_Benjamin_J._(1853-1925)_-_Eugen_Sandow_(1867-1925)be not necessarily be based on IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilding) sanctioned competitions wins at the Arnold, Mr. Universe, or Mr. Olympia (which its winner is recognized as the world’s top male professional bodybuilder); but will be based on a combination of their aesthetics, physiques, training regiment/work ethic, and over all influence on the sport. Bodybuilding developed in the late 19th century but traditional stone-lifting traditions were practiced in ancient Egypt, Greece and Ireland whie weightlifting developed in Europe in the late 1800s. Strongman feats of strength for public display was to showcase their strength while bodybuilding is based on the muscularity and one’s physique. The “Father of Modern Bodybuilding” would be considered Eugen Sandow and he even organized the first bodybuilding contest on September 14, 1901 which was called the “Great Competition”. Though I do list Sandow on my list of greatest bodybuilders, Sandow’s lasting impression on the world of bodybuilding is seen every year when “The Sandow”¬†(a trophy in his likeness) is presented¬†to the winner of the Mr. Olympia contest.

So with that being said, I present to you Top Cat’s Top 10: Greatest Male Bodybuilders of all time.¬†



Honorable mentions:

Franco Columbu – At only 5’4″, Franco Columbu accomplished a lot in the world of bodybuilding. The two time Mr. Olympia and former World’s Strongest Man competitor did not let his height stand in the way of his domination of anything that he put his mind to.

Frank Zane – Frank Zane ruled the bodybuilding world from 1977 to 1979, when he won the overall Mr. Olympia title all three years. Besides being one of three men to have beaten Arnold Schwarzenegger in a bodybuilding competition and being one of the few Olympia winners under 200 lbs; Zane became known as “The Chemist” due to his supplement and amino acid use back in the day. It also could have also had something to do with the fact that the math and science teacher received a bachelor of science degree from Wilkes University in 1964 and¬†a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cal State in 1977.



branch warren

10. Branch Warren РI began repping House of Pain workout gear around 2002; when I began to be serious about my weight lifting. At that time Branch Warren was beginning to be a big name in weight lifting and his sponsorship through House of Pain brought images of a bald headed brute doing dips with 240 lbs of chains around his neck to the homepage. As time grew, I would watch his videos and modify my workout plans because of his results in certain areas. He was and is a huge motivation for me in regards to weight lifting. Oh. I got so caught up with my stuff that I forgot to mention that he has placed within the top 10 at the Mr. Olympia competition 8 times, won the Arnold Classic 2 times and has countless other show wins/accolades. His bare bones, heavy weight lifting regiment is criticized by some because of the risk of injury but it has gotten him the results to place him amongst the greatest.


Phil_Heath

9. Phil Heath¬†– The current and 6-time Mr. Olympia has placed first in every competition from 2011 to 2016. The multi-time champion is a Seattle, Washington native and is known as the Gift. Whether he is known as the gifted because he is gifted or because he has been ‘gifted’ a lot of things in the sport is of much debate to number 8, Kai Greene. I don’t like him, but I have to give credit where credit is due. He is a great bodybuilder and is definitely influential. Okay. That’s all the nice things that I’ll say about him.


Kai_Greene_IFBB_2009_Australia_5

8. Kai Greene – The soft-spoken, philosophical bodybuilder is known for his eccentric ways; but the ‘mind-muscle connection’ bodybuilding technique, as well as the utilization of his self-portraits allows Green to maintain his ideal physique. The avid artist is a formidable influence in the world of body building.


Flex_Wheeler_Auto_Photo

7. Flex Wheeler – Despite the former police officer being known for¬†his arrogant behavior in the world of bodybuilding, his multi decade influence on the sport cannot be denied. Fellow bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman stated that Flex Wheeler was the ‘best bodybuilder that he ever competed against’ while Arnold Schwarzenegger said that he was one of the greatest body builders that he had ever seen. His amateur titles starting coming in as early as 1985 while his professional titles started in 1993 and didn’t stop until 2003. Flex even hinted at a comeback during the 2017 season. I guess the bodybuilding world hasn’t seen the last of Flex.


Jay_Cutler_bodybuilder_2008-crop

6. Jay Cutler – No. Not the former Chicago Bears Quarterback Jay Cutler. I’m talking about the blond highlighted, 4-time Mr. Olympia who made being a bodybuilder look cool. He lives in Las Vegas, drives a Rolls Royce, ate sushi, and talked about his fancy watches. Jay Cutler embraced his financial success and made weight lifting look cool. He has since retired from competition but his business ventures still working towards building a better future for the body building world.


lee haney

5. Lee Haney – The former Chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports is a devout Christian with a TV show on the Trinity Broadcasting Network¬†who shares the title of most Mr. Olympia title wins with Ronnie Coleman (8 total). He spoke of clean living and clean eating and said that, “(i)t takes more than just a good looking body. You’ve got to have the heart and soul to go with it.” Between his training regiment and rich spiritual outlook, the bodybuilding great deserves his place amongst the greatest.


dorian yates

4. Dorian Yates – I just want to go on record (as much as it may matter) that Dorian Yates has/had the best back physique in the business. Despite his controversial political stances, the six time Mr. Olympia will forever be remembered as one of the top bodybuilders in history.


Dexter_Jackson_IFBB_2008_Australia_4

3. Dexter Jackson – Dexter Jackson aka the Blade only won the Mr. Olympia title one but he holds the distinction of winning a record-setting 28 IFBB professional bodybuilding titles and as of 2016 has made a record-setting 17 Mr. Olympia appearances. He won the Arnold Classic five times (which is more than anyone else) and is one of only three bodybuilders EVER to have won both the Mr. Olympia and the Arnold Classic bodybuilding competitions. He is also one of the oldest bodybuilders to ever win an open IFBB pro show at the age of 46. Jackson has competed and has been winning since 1992 and it doesn’t seem like he shows any sign of stopping since in 2015, he placed 2nd at the Mr. Olympia competition.


ronnie coleman

2. Ronnie Coleman – “YEAH BUDDY!” It wasn’t ‘nothing but a peanut’ for Ronnie Coleman to win the Mr. Olympia title eight years in a row. Through hard work and determination he is now regarded as one of the greatest of all time (and not just by me). Ronnie Coleman’s 26 record winning victories in IFBB sanctioned competitions were won by his rigorous training. He wasn’t afraid of hard work and loved utilizing free weights to maximize flexibility and be able to have a free range of motion. Early in my weight lifting days, I remember watching his videos and the comical videos that he made to show the food he ate. I’ll never forget his love of ketchup and BBQ sauce. I still use that excuse with my wife when we are dieting: “Ronnie Coleman drank soda and used BBQ sauce on his food and he won Mr. Olympia 8 times!”


Arnold_Schwarzenegger_1974

  1. Arnold Schwarzenegger – Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t just a retired body builder. He is an actor, producer, businessman, investor, author, philanthropist, activist, politician, as well as a 7 time Mr. Olympia winner. The two term Governor of California is widely considered the greatest bodybuilder of all time, but he is body buildings icon. Pumping Iron put body building on the map, and Arnold was the poster boy. His legacy is commemorated every year when the Arnold Classic is held. The IFBB Arnold Sports Festival is a multi-sport event consisting of bodybuilding (the Arnold Classic), strongman (Arnold Strongman Classic), fitness, figure and bikini competitions. The event is the second most prestigious event in professional bodybuilding, physique, figure, and bikini competitions. Many of my top ten have won the Arnold Classic: Branch Warren, Kai Greene, Dexter Jackson, Jay Cutler, Ronnie Coleman, and Flex Wheeler). With that being said, the Austrian Oak is and always will be an important fixture in the world of bodybuilding. From his physique to his training to his positivity in the sport; Arnold is the greatest of all time.


Images:

Featured Image: Eugen Sandow image by Benjamin J. Falk, wikipedia.

Fredrick Winters during the 1904 Summer Games image attributed to unknown, olympic.org.

Model Jackie Coey with Mr. Los Angeles contestant Ed Fury in 1953 image; original uploader was Tillman at English Wikipedia – Los Angeles Times photographic archive, UCLA LibraryPublication: Los Angeles Daily NewsTransferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48344990

Frank Zane image accredited to http://www.flickr.com/photos/d_vdm/ Рhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/d_vdm/508414155/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14702262

Jay Cutler Bodybuilder 2008 image by and accredited to robbdenderivative work: Nesnad (talk) – Jay_Cutler_bodybuilder_2008.jpg, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6869850

Kai Greene 2009 IFBB Australian Pro Grand Prix IX image by and accredited to LocalFitness Pty Ltd (LocalFitness) – http://www.localfitness.com.au, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8132125

Flex Wheeler Autographed photo by and accredited to EnigmaGemini1975 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47574592

Dexter Jackson IFBB 2008 Australia 4 image by and accredited to http://www.localfitness.com.au – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3687963

Ronnie Coleman 8 x Mr Olympia 2009 Melbourne, VIC, Australia image by and accredited to http://www.localfitness.com.au – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8138844

Arnold Schwarzenegger before defending the title for his fifth Mr. Olympia contest in 1974 image by and accredited to Madison Square Garden Center РRMY Auctions, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50792011

All other images used are from Google search engine and are attributed to fair use.

Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: Most Iconic Swimsuit Moments

Barris_Marilyn_MonroeThe entertainment industry is an ever changing field. Movies and television shows are constantly attempting to produce better and better content. Sometimes this content climbs to the precipice and we are left with an iconic scene that you will have no qualms about keeping in the annals of your mind forever. I, of course, am referring to the most infamous and iconic swimsuit moments in movie and television history.

So I (with help from my wife) racked my brain to present to you Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: Most Iconic Swim Suit Moments.¬†


norbit

To start us off, I’ll hit you with my Honorable Mention:¬†Eddie Murphy in Norbit –¬†Eddie Murphy and his brother Charlie (RIP) wrote a movie in an attempt to coast on the success of Eddie’s 1996 hit rasputiaThe Nutty Professor¬†and its sequel The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps. But alas the romantic comedy was negatively received by critics and viewers alike. I got about ten minutes into the movie and there were no redeeming qualities that would make me not regret the rental. Well there was one redeeming, regretfully disgusting part of the movie. Eddie, as we said earlier, tried to coast on the popularity of The Nutty Professor, dressed up as mild-mannered Norbit and his glutinous wife Rasputia. The only memorable thing from the movie is Eddie (as the extremely rotund Rasputia) in a skimpy bikini on a water slide. Now I have to think about something else to get that image out of my mind. Eek.


burt lancaster

10. Burt Lancaster in From Here to Eternity – The events in the world in the 1950s led many in the United States¬†to create a politically and socially conservative time. The Cold War and social mores regarding sex were creating taboos and most of the nation’s people were conforming to almost¬†becoming prudish. The decade was riddled with conservatism and conformity but there were people fighting back. Artists like Jackson Pollock and ¬†Writers like J.D. Salinger, William S. Burroughs, or Ray Bradbury (one of my favorite authors) were pushing the envelope on the literary front. The launch of Hugh Hefner’s Playboy magazine was pushing limits but received extreme backlash.¬†The Academy award winning 1953 romantic drama may be demure by today’s standards but the 64 year old movie pushed the bounds of sexual tension with a now infamous scene between a swimsuit clad Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr rocking a¬†‘small for that time period’ bathing suit. The famous ‘kiss scene’ paired with their controversial attire launched this to become of the most famous ‘sex scenes’ in film history.


 

borat

9.¬†Sasha Baron Cohen as Borat from Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (more commonly known as Borat) –¬†The man of many faces, Sasha Baron Cohen, created Borat during his tenure on his show: Da Ali G Show. Borat’s title character, Sagdiyev (played by Cohen), from the “Greatest Country in the World is coincidentally in love with the number 4 selection in our countdown. The mockumentary was full of over-the-top, distasteful moments; but none were quite as memorable as Borat’s swimsuit. It truly is an image that you want to get out of your head as quick as possible.


8. Bo Derek in “10” – Besides playing the swindling new ‘hot’ step-mom of Chris Farley in 1995’s classic comedy Tommy Boy; Bo Derek¬†is known for the ‘run on the beach scene’ from her 1979 Movie “10” starring comedy legend Dudley Moore. You may not have seen the borderline creepy, romantic comedy…you’d more than likely remember her braided hair and swimsuit running down the Mexican beach.


elvis surfing

7. Elvis Presley in Blue Hawaii – You can call him The King, The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis the Pelvis, but now-a-days ‘controversial’ is the last thing that you would call Elvis. Just put yourself in the conservative landscape of the 1950s and 1960s, then you will realize just how controversial that Elvis and the sex symbol’s thrusting pelvis would have been. In that conservative landscape having someone who was already a sex symbol don nothing but a swimsuit in a romantic comedy set in Hawaii was asking for women ‘all shook up’¬†in the theaters; hoping to catch a glimpse of Elvis’s side burns, his bare chest and his abs.


Beach_Party_Annette_Funicello_Frankie_Avalon_Mid-1960s

6. Annette Funicello in Beach Party – Britney Spears wasn’t the first Mouseketeer to steer away from the pearly smiles of their former Disney days. Annette Funicello, out of respect, covered her belly because of demands from Walt Disney. Though her naval saw the light of day during two of the what seemed like endless sequels to Beach Party¬†(Muscle Beach Party and Bikini Beach); the controversy surrounding Disney’s beloved Mouseketeer’s swimsuits are definitely part of history.


baile-de-salma-hayek

5. Salma Hayek in From Dusk Till Dawn –¬†Imagine a movie that combined Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, vampires, and a bikini clad Salma Hayek. That’s what we received in 1996. The movie centered around a two brothers on the run after a bank robbery; and the brothers kidnap a preacher and his kids and force them to take them to Mexico. Well they chose the wrong place to hole up in because they decided to go to a topless bar which just so happened to house a brood of vampires. The head vampire, Hayek, seduces the crowd in a tiny bikini and a large snake draped around her neck.


pamela anderson.jpg

4. Pamela Anderson from Baywatch – “Some people stand in the darkness, afraid to step into the light. Some people need to help somebody, when the edge of surrenders in sight.” Yes I know the theme song by heart. Yes it may be sad, but just like every heterosexual male in the 90s…I was in love with Pamela Anderson. It would seem that Pamela Anderson and that red one-piece swimsuit are mostly one synonymous image.


3. Halle Berry, Ursala Andress, and¬†Daniel Craig¬†from the¬†James Bond franchise¬†– There is nothing more dramatic and sensual in movies than seeing a completely drenched, gorgeous actor coming out of the water, through the waves, and onto the beach. This scene has become somewhat of a running theme in James Bond movies; most notably: Dr. No, Die Another Day and Casino Royale. Dr. No (the first James Bond movie) not only set the tone for all future James Bond movies, but Ursala Andress’s white bikini set a beauty precedent for all future ‘Bond girls’, like Die Another Day‘s Halle Berry. James Bond himself had a moment but it came as an accident. While filming Casino Royale, Daniel Craig was planned to swim up to the shore but as he was swimming up he came upon a sandbar and was forced to stand. The end result was a PR blessing and the images of the new, muscular James Bond in his tiny swimming trunks became THE image to use in advertising the movie.


phoebe ftrh

2. Phoebe Cates in Fast Times at Ridgemont High – In¬†the late 1970s and well into the 1980s; sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll seemed to be as American as baseball and apple pie. Many movie writers and movie producers popularized on this ‘party mentality’ with¬†movies like Animal House, Back to School, and of course Fast Times at Ridgemont High. As¬†for Fast Times at Ridgemont High, the movie has become¬†synonymous with two things: Sean Penn’s burnout surfer¬†“Jeff Spicoli” and the image of Phoebe Cates rising up from a pool in a skimpy bikini. The memorable scene is listed by many as one of the sexiest moments in movie history and is most definitely deserving of such a title.


  1. Carrie Fisher in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi¬†– The late Carrie Fisher¬†was far from a sex symbol, but her metal and leather bikini (more commonly known as the ‘Slave Leia’ outfit) has become a thing of legend. Despite feminists having a field day over George Lucas’s over sexualization of the scene; many women argue that the disgust of Princess Leia in her position and her quite literally killing her captor with the chains that bound her. Many pop culture outlets, cosplayers and fanboys alike have kept the controversial outfit relevant¬†while fueling its cultural and sensual impact.

slave leia choe

*Note that my list was formulated to showcase the cultural impact of these images and not to express the ‘sexualization’ of a movie/TV character. If you agree with my list, give us a like.¬†If you disagree with my list, who did I miss or whom would you have chosen?


Images:
Featured Image: Marilyn Monroe image by and attributed to George Barris, http://i895.photobucket.com/albums/ac154/inspiremehappy2/10017am6.jpg, public Domain.
Eddie Murphy as Rasputia in Norbit accredited to Paramount Pictures, fair use. 
Burt Lancaster “From Here to Eternity” beach image accredited to Columbia Pictures, fair use.
Borat image accredited to Sacha Baron Cohen and 20th Century Fox, fair use.
Bo Derek in “10” accredited to Orion Pictures, fair use.
Elvis Presley surfing in Blue Hawaii image accredited to Paramount Pictures, fair use.
Annette Funicello from Beach Party image accredited to American International Pictures, fair use.
Salma Hayek with snake in From Dusk till Dawn image accredited to Miramax Films, fair use.
Pamela Anderson in Baywatch image accredited to NBC studios, fair use.
James Bond beach images accredited to Ian Fleming and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Columbia Pictures, fair use.
Phoebe Cates in Fast Times at Ridgemont High image accredited to Universal Pictures, fair use.
Carrie Fisher in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi Slave Leia images accredited to Lucasfilm Ltd., 20th Century Fox, and/or Disney; fair use.
Christy Marie as Slave Leia image by and accredited to Jason Scragz from Portland, Oregon, USAderivative work: Fanfwah (talk) – Christy_Marie_as_Slave_Leia_at_San_Diego_Comic-Con_2006.jpg, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7167437

Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: Most Gruesome Comic Book Scenes

deadpool mauled by elephant

Deadpool and the recent Logan movies may be the first rated ‘R’ comic book movies that are riding this wave¬†of comic book popularity; but Deadpool isn’t the only character to have¬†gruesome fight scenes or allow readers to witness¬†brutal deaths. After the Golden comic codeand Silver ages of comics; the comic book industry itself has long been getting more and more comfortable with putting out more and more violent material. During the Golden/Silver ages of comics, the Comic Code Authority had to approve all images and most deaths and more violent acts had to be done in a tongue in cheek manner. With all the disturbing images/deaths in the comics over the past 30 years; and an Rated R scene¬†in a comic book or a comic book movie should not be viewed as a¬†temporary¬†thing. Shock value has always been important to comics and keeping, we (even I am a loyal reader since I was 9) readers, on our¬†toes is paramount.

Hearing all the talk about the new comic book movies and the controversy over ¬†‘rated R comic book movies¬†has me thinking about the times that we’ve already witnessed R-rated events on the pages of our favorite comic books. So here are Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: Most Gruesome Comic Book Scenes:



 

Thamuz

10. The Master of Torture is ‘face’ to face with Spawn¬†– Between the cartoon series, the comic and the ill fated movie starring Michael Jai White; Spawn was everywhere in the 90s. I, like many, was a fan of the anti-hero (despite the Christian in me having reservations about liking a story that convolutes and distorts¬†the Judeo-Christian Bible many times) and will never forget the battles between Spawn and Hell’s Master of Tortures: Thamuz. The two had many great battles (one in which he ripped Spawn’s soul apart) but the events of Armageddon led to Thamuz unleashing havoc on Earth. Spawn (who was sporting those angelic wings and some Heavenly divine power) finally found Thamuz; and led to an epic battle which culminated in Spawn literally punching Thamuz’s face OFF.



 

x-men 25

9. Wolverine and a Magnetic personality – In the early 90s I was obsessed with the X-Men. I played with the toys, watched the weekly episodic Fox cartoon series and read the comics. I was obsessed. So when the Fatal Attractions X-Men crossover series was introduced to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Marvel’s creation of the X-Men; I was embedded in the storyline. In great marketing strategy, Marvel spanned the crossover to the entire line of books: X-Factor, X-Force, Uncanny X-Men, X-Men, wolverine adamantiumWolverine, and Excalibur. In the story, Magneto is thought to be dead but the X-Men¬†quickly find out that he was hiding in Cable’s old base the space station, which is now called Avalon. Magneto and Colossus (distraught over his sister’s death joins with Magneto) along with the Acolytes (a supervillain team who followed the principles of Magneto led by Fabian Cortez), fight the X-Men. Angry after Wolverine almost guts him¬†with his claws; Magneto rips the adamantium from Wolverine’s bones. It was one of the first times that I remember crying while reading a comic book (one of the other was Uncanny X-Men 319). The way that the comic had been written, it seemed like Wolverine was going to die.



blob eating wasp

8. Blob Eats a Dead Wasp –¬†In the aftermath of a doomsday ‘machine’ that Magneto blob headunleashes upon the world; Marvel’s Ultimate Universe ‘Ultimatum’ storyline houses some of Marvel’s most grotesque deaths. Down Magneto’s genocidal path we witness¬†(again) Magneto ripping out Wolverine’s adamantium, a Thor who sacrifices himself to save Captain America from Valhalla, and many other atrocities. Among these atrocities, we find Hawkeye and Yellowjacket searching for Wasp but they find her lifeless corpse being eaten by the Blob. In a fit of rage, Hank Pym changes¬†into¬†Giant-Man and bites off the head of the Blob.



full two page wolvie vs hulk

7. Hulk ultimately rips Wolverine into – Thanks to Marvel’s many alternativeultimate wolverine vs hulk timelines;¬†the writers can have fun with established characters and veer off from existing story¬†lines. In one Ultimate Universe mini-series, we find Nick Fury trying to kill The Hulk. Nick Fury hires Wolverine to track down the Hulk after an atomic bomb doesn’t destroy him. During¬†the malay of one fight, Hulk shows his dominance and power by ripping Wolverine in half. ¬†Wolverine’s healing factor of course allows him to ‘heal’ himself but the undeniable display of power by the Hulk is spine-tingling if you think of the destructive force that could ultimately be unleashed.



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6. Burning Down the House¬†–¬†Anyone who has read the extremely influential graphic novel The¬†Watchmen;¬†then you are familiar with the masked vigilante known as Rorschach. Rorschach and the rest of the Watchmen have done some pretty disturbing stuff but nothing can take the cake to what came after Rorschach tried to find a watchmenkidnapped little girl. After¬†putting more than a dozen people in the hospital just to find information about her kidnapper, Rorschach tracked her down to the house of Gerald Anthony Grice. Grice had killed her, chopped her up, stored her body for consumption and fed her bones to his German Shepherds. In a fit of rage, Rorschach takes the meat cleaver that Grice used to cut up the little girl and cut the dogs heads open with the meat cleaver. He then waited for Grice to come home from a night of drinking. Rorschach grabs him and handcuffs him to the furnace only to begin pouring kerosene throughout the house. He pulls out a match, lights it and drops out. He watches the house burn for an hour. Plagued by his realization of the ’emptiness of human existence’; Rorschach fought crime in open defiance of the law.



wolverine bursting out of hulks belly

5. Hulk can’t keep his food down – The 2008 mini-series by Mari Millar, Wolverine: Old Man Logan (in which the 2017 movie Logan is roughly based), is full of violence. But while we find an older Logan that is living in exile with his family. In this scenario Wolverine returns home after taking a job from Hawkeye to find his family was slaughtered. He approaches the Hulk (whose land that he lives on) and a fight ensues. The Hulk overpowers Wolverine and eats him. Yes eats him. While Hulk thinks that he has the upper hand, Wolverine’s healing power kicks in and he brings out his claws one more time. Wolverine makes Hulk regret his dining choice and he slices his way out of Hulk.



Jason_Todd_meets_Crowbar

4. The Joker kills Robin (Jason Todd) – There was much speculation over¬†the¬†Joker and Robin’s involvement in the Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice movie thanks to the robin suitshrine to a fallen Robin in Batman’s lair which housed a spray painted suit. It appeared that the Joker had not only killed Robin but had added insult to injury by¬†vandalizing the suit by spray painting “Ha Ha Ha, Jokes on you, Batman.” This segment was inspired by the Batman four-issue story arc (issues 426-429) where we find the Joker brutally beating Robin (aka Jason Todd) within an inch of his life with a crowbar moments before blowing him up Todd and his mother with a time bomb.



 

Wolverine kills them all

3. Old Man Logan‘s Bloodbath – In this dystopian¬†future, the world is ruled in sections of the United States by different supervillains. One thing that you notice about¬†Wolverine: Old Man¬†is the lack of other ‘superheroes’. It seems that Wolverine is living in isolation on purpose and the landscape is just devoid of superheroes because he wants to be by himself but in a flashback, we find out that there is a sad reason why Logan doesn’t use his claws anymore. It’s because the villainous Mysterio, fools Wolverine into believing that he was carving up villains breaking into the X-Mansion…but in reality it was the X-Men. Logan is left with the guilt of knowing that he has the blood of innocent mutants (the children attending the school and his closest friends) were quite literally on his hands. Since my wife hasn’t seen Logan yet, I won’t say how¬†the 2017 movie Logan explains things; but man oh man is it powerful as well.



 

deadpool kills the marvel universe

2. Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe¬†– So we all know that Deadpool is a sick individual, despite his immense popularity. In this one-shot non-canonical story, Deadpool is placed in the Ravencroft Asylum by the X-Men to help with his ‘insanity’.deadpool shoots spiderman What they don’t know is that Psycho-Man was brainwashing the patients of the Asylum but the plan to stop the voices in Deadpool’s head backfired and the voices were replaced by one that told him to ‘kill ’em all’. He starts with Uatu the Watcher and goes on from there. He destroys the Marvel Universe in what would seem to be their established order. Starting of course with the Fantastic Four, onto the Avengers, and then onto all the Mutants.



 

joker killing joke

  1. The Killing Joke – In the 1988 one-shot graphic novel, we find The Joker is trying to literally drive Jim Gordon insane. This story is mirrored with the origin story of the Joker in an attempt to show that ‘one bad day can drive you insane’. The shooting and paralysis of Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl aka Jim Gordon’s daughter led to the development of the Oracle. Though many consider this one-shot story to be one of the best Batman stories ever written; the twisted and sadistic things that the Joker does to Barbara Gordon makes this¬†graphic novel all that more disturbing. The Joker finds Barbara’s at home, and as soon as she opens the door he shoots her in the stomach. He then proceeds to strip her naked and rape her. The whole time he is taking pictures of this event that will later be shown to the now LCD-drugged Jim Gordon; to further drive him mad.


As you can see, The Killing Joke¬†is my pick for the most gruesome¬†comic book scenes. Did I miss any good ones? What are your ‘favorite’ gruesome comic book scenes? Leave me your answers in the comments. And as always, make sure to follow my blog along with liking and sharing the post. ūüôā


 

  • Images accredited to respected brands: Marvel, Image, and DC Comics. Fair use.

Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: Most Memorable Movie/TV Tattoos

A big part of most of our lives are the characters that we invest our time into on the small and large screens. TV and movie characters become part of our worlds when we invest as much time into them as we do. So it’s likely that we notice the nuances and subtle things that make a character’s ensemble complete. Whether it’s Jane’s beanie hat from Firefly, Marty McFly’s self lacing shoes from Back to the Future 2, or the 4th Doctor (Tom Baker)’s 12 foot colorful scarf; we notice and love the extra details. Tattoos are an important way of adding something extremely noticeable and memorable to a TV/Movie character and today I’m going to give my Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: Most Memorable¬†TV/Movie Tattoos.


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10. Edward Norton as Derek Vinyard in American History X: There is nothing more shocking than that first image of a shirtless Edward Norton proudly bowing his chest to display the swastika tattoo on his chest. The Academy Award nominated performance by Edward Norton is just as impactful as the swastika on his chest is offensive.

2002_red_dragon_0109. Ralph Fiennes as Francis Dolarhyde in Red Dragon:¬†I remember watching Silence of the Lambs as a teenager and the movie’s intense storyline fueled a passion to become a detective. I of course didn’t do that because I didn’t particularly want to get shot at or see dead bodies; but that didn’t change the fact that I was enthralled with a good detective/slasher/thriller movie. Red Dragon came along in 2002 but was a prequel to the 1991 Silence of the Lambs. Ralph Fiennes character Dolarhyde is obsessed with William Blake’s famous paintings and tattoos a¬†melding of Blake’s work. The psychologically thrilling movie is as intense as Dolarhyde’s massive back tattoo.

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8. George Clooney as Seth Gecko in From Dusk Till Dawn: George Clooney’s character Seth Gecko in 1996’s From Dusk Till Dawn came about at the perfect time because tribal was literally all the rage. I remember my friends in high school rushing out to get tribal tattoos. I remember we were drawing and designing them in our high school art class. It was huge…just as huge¬†as Gecko’s from¬†ear to neck tribal tattoo. The movie’s main characters, Gecko and his out-of-control brother, Richard, are on the run bank robbers who hide out in a former minister’s RV as they venture into Mexico; but the topless bar that they hole up in turns out to be the home for a group of vampires. Sounds as crazy as a giant tribal tattoo on George Clooney; but the mesh up of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino and the giant tribal tattoo are pretty impressive.

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7. Guy Pearce as Leonard in Memento: I was in college when I first saw the psychological thriller, Memento, that was written and directed by Christopher Nolan. The movie centers around a man who suffers from short-term memory loss (due to an accident) and must tattoo himself with memorable words and phrases to help track down the man who raped and murdered his wife. The movie’s amazing story line and beautifully arched story telling process are intensified by the character’s tattoos.

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6. Wentworth Miller as Michael Scofield in Prison Break. The TV prison drama follows Michael Scofield; who attempts to break his brother out of prison. His completely tattooed torso are riddled with hidden escape routes and information that he and his brother will use to break out of the Fox River prison.

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5. Ray Parks as Darth Maul in Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace: Not since Boba Fett has a character with such a short amount of on screen time had such a large amount of cultural influence. Ray Park’s portrayal of the Sith apprentice Darth Maul was cut short by his on screen death but no one can deny that it was memorable. Part of what made Darth Maul so empowering was his head full of sharp, short horns, red face and black tribal tattoos. The double-light saber wielding Sith Lord’s painfully received his second set of tattoos from his Sith master Darth Sidious to prove¬†his devotion to the Dark Side (after he was stripped of the black portions of his red and black Nightbrother tattoo markings that he received from his mother in a Dathomirian ritual). This Sith Lord’s scowling face will forever be entrenched in the minds of Star Wars fans…partially thanks to those unforgettable tribal tattoos.

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4. Dave Bautista as Drax in the Guardians of the Galaxy:¬†The already heavily tattooed former professional wrestler took on the roll of the brutal yet emotional Drax The Destroyer; Drax’s 3D-esque tattoos leapt off the screen. The makeup took hours to do during every shoot but the visual effect was well worth it. The tattoos (which Drax explained are a showcase of the good and bad experiences of his life) make a statement that adds to the already bad-ass appearance of Bautista.

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3. Charlie Hunnam as Jackson Nathaniel Teller aka Jax Teller¬†in the TV series Sons of Anarchy: The Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club’s Redwood Original mother chapter based in Charming, California rumbled their way into our homes in 2008. The heavily tattooed protagonist, Jax Teller, ends up as the MC’s President but that comes at a pricey cost. The death of many of his loved ones is just as visible on his face as his tattoos are on his skin. The giant¬†grim reaper emblem¬†and many others are¬†proudly worn¬†on his skin.

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2. Popeye the Sailor:¬†The cartoon character seems to have been around forever but the one-eyed, corncob pipe smoking sailor was inked into existence in a comic strip back in 1929. The spinach eating is among the greatest cartoon characters of all time and has and will always be one of my favorites. One unmistakeable feature of our favorite character is Popeye’s huge muscular forearms that are accented by his matching anchor tattoos.

  1. Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flanery as Murphy and Conner McManus in The Boondock Saints: In 2002, (I was looking through the DVDs as I am a movie buff) I came across a movie entitled “The Boondock Saints”. I bought it on a whim because the premise sounded interesting and I immediately fell in love with the movie. The gritty crime movie showcased two fraternal twins who think that they are called by God to cleanse Boston of evil with vigilante justice. The “Saints” become heroes to some and enemies to others. The brother’s expression of their faith does not stop at their yearning to cleanse the streets of filth but to the rosary that they wear around their neck and the religiously themed tattoos that adorn their bodies. The movie is as impressive and memorable as the inked art that they wear upon their bodies.

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Honorable mentions: Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow in The Pirates of the Caribbean, Matthew McConaughey as Van Zan in Reign of Fire, “Dude/Sweet” tattoos from Dude, Where’s My Car?, Robert De Niro as Max Cady in Cape Fear, Death Eater tattoo from Harry Potter


Image credits:

American History X theatrical release poster by and attributed to Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4793280

Red Dragon tattoo image by and attributed to Universal, Fair Use.

From Dusk Till Dawn Image by and attributed to Source, Fair Use.

Leonard from Memento Image by and attributed to Source, Fair Use.

Michael Scofield from Prison Break Image by and attributed to Source, Fair Use.

Darth Maul Cosplayer image by and attributed to Christopher Brown from Houston, United States РComic Con 2013 РDarth Maul cosplayer, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42563049

Drax the Destroyer from Guardians of the Galaxy image by and attributed to Source, Fair Use.

Jax Teller promotional Image by and accredited to user queenbuffy, sonsofanchry.wikia.com/wiki/Jackson_%27Jax%27_Teller?file=Jax-Teller-sons-of-anarchy-17671595-500-306.jpg

Popeye comic (Cover of Bud Sagendorf’s Popeye #50) by and attributed to Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3035220

Boondock Saints images by and attributed to Source, Fair Use.