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) – PinkFloyd1973.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/ – http://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.

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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 – I 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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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!”


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  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/ – http://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 – RMY 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. 


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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.


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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.


 

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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.



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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. 🙂


 

  • 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.


American_history_x_poster

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.

george clooney

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.

michael scofield

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.

tattoos-sons-of-anarchy-ED

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.

johnny-depp-tattoo-jack-sparrow

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 – Comic Con 2013 – Darth 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.

Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: WrestleMania 33 letdowns

Wrestlemania_33_Stage
Another WrestleMania has come and gone but this WrestleMania did not leave many wrestling fans unscathed despite many positive moments. The wrestling fan has gotten used to not having the results that we had planned out in our heads (or written about in our blogs or spent hours talking about on podcasts for that matter) but we are used to being left with a feeling of regret (again despite any good things that might have happened.

Less than 48 hours ago, we were all hanging in suspense, waiting for the beginning of what would become (in my opinion) a lackluster WrestleMania.  As I stated earlier, fans will never get exactly what they wanted because the diverse fan base would never agree to one specific story line but there were many letdowns at WrestleMania 33. Does this mean that I didn’t enjoy it? Most definitely not. Does this mean that there could have been things to improve?

Before I rip into how the WWE failed me as a wrestling fan during this year’s WrestleMania…I will tell you what they did right.

Shane_McMahon_performing_a_shooting_star_press_at_WrestleMania_33

  • Shane-o-Mac. That’s all I have to say. He took one of my favorite wrestlers, AJ Styles, to the limit and actually wrestled. He proved that he isn’t just the boss’s son. He proved that he has the skills to not only pay but to make some bills.
  • The Randy Orton taking on Bray Wyatt  for the WWE championship was an impeccable match. The two top stars proved that they were not only top caliber athletes but truly knew how to tell a story inside and outside the ring.
  • The Triple Threat Ladder Match was going to be amazing to begin with (as I am a fan of Enzo Amore and Big Cass) but when the camera panned to the top of the entrance ramp…I knew that my prayers had been answered. Then hits the Hardy Boyz music and despite having almost lost my voice due to allergies, I screamed as The_Hardy_Boys_at_WrestleMania_33_(33779867716)loud as my crackled voice could amplify. To see the Hardy Boyz finally grace the WWE ring with their combined presence thrilled me and filled me with fear. I hope that Vince utilizes their talents and allows their “broken” personas to shine. My fear is that he will just ‘delete’ them after he has milked them for what they are worth due to their recent skyrocketing popularity shift. He’s good for that you know. My hope is that the Brothers Hardy will continue to prove that they are, Ha Ha, the greatest tag team in all of space and time. 😉

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  • Despite my hatred for Seth Rollins and my distaste for HHH’s new persona in the company, the two of them put on a heck of a show. Besides all of that…when HHH picked up that Sledgehammer; I admit that I got goosebumps.

Now that I’ve said the positives….let me tell you what let me down. Here are Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: WrestleMania 33 letdowns:

WrestleMania_33_(33761042576)10. The ramp – Yes its cool that you had the longest entrance ramp in WWE history but there is a negative to having the longest entrance ramp in WWE history. THE NEGATIVE IS THAT IT TAKES FOREVER FOR THEM TO GET FROM THE CURTAIN TO THE RING! HHH had to ride a motorcycle just not be exhausted by the time he reached the ring. Sometimes Vince needs to realize that the spectacle’s massive scale doesn’t always guarantee reward.

9. John Cena’s proposal – I love John Cena. I really do. I love the Miz. I really do. But the match between Cena (plus one) and Miz (plus one) felt forced. It felt forced by the WWE to make us want to love the Bella’s again. John Cena is the shining star of the WWE; and he and the Miz have had some amazing matches in the past (even at WrestleManias in the past) but this was not a WrestleMania caliber match. This was a primetime Raw or Smackdown match at best. Good job at the string pulling John. You won those brownie points.

Charlotte_Flair_entrance_at_WrestleMania_33_(33779948166)Charlotte_with_belt
8. Card placement
– The card felt jumbled. Something didn’t feel right but having the Smackdown Diva’s Championship match to be the Top 3 matches of the night? WASTE OF TIME SLOT! The Raw Women’s Championship match was a formidable replacement. The athleticism of Charlotte Flair, the Boss-ness of Sasha Banks, the strength and power of Nia Jax taking on the huggable Bayley would have been a better option for that time slot.

Big_Show_(4872080412)7. Waste of Big Show’s Last WrestleMania – The Big Show has slimmed down a lot. He has gotten a hold on his health and looked amazing. He is still a Monster in my opinion but the WWE dropped the ball in honoring the veteran on his last WrestleMania. The Big Show has been a feather in the hat of wrestling for years, and deserved one last push before he exited.

6. The Andre the Giant Battle Royal – Speaking of The Big Show. Though Vince usually loves the Monsters and Big Men, big men like Braun Strowman, Mark Henry and even The Big Show got booted from the Royal Rumble match early on. Instead of allowing The Big Show to win the match in his last WrestleMania appearance or utilize the amazing talent that is Braun Strowman, the WWE liked the story line and star power appeal that Mojo Rawley’s best friend (New England Patriots party-boy tight end Rob Gronkowski) brought to the ring. They knew that it would cause headlines to pop up all over the place and from a marketing standpoint, I understand. From a fan of Rumble style matches…I disapprove.

5. Bray Wyatt’s Bugging-out gifs – Would was slated as a gross out or fear inducing Bray_Wyatt_entrance_at_WrestleMania_33_(32977442834)moment from one of the most talented wrestlers in the WWE ended up as a corny deterrent. The distraction technique did not deter Bray Wyatt’s neck from finding an RKO right out of nowhere. So the childish bug gifs were a slap in the face to the brutality and heartbrokenness that we saw leading up to the WrestleMania.

Brock_Lesar_at_WresleMania33_WWE_Universal_Champion
4. Goldberg/Brock Lesnar – Don’t get me wrong, I was a huge Goldberg fan back in the
WCW days and even in his WWF/WWE days BUT this time a title reign felt pushed. I loved the fact that he easily defeated the Beast-incarnate Brock Lesnar. It had me hyped up! He had Brock’s number and that was how it should have stayed. I’m tired of Brock. It’s that simple.

3. Former BFF Fight: Kevin Owens vs Chris Jericho – I have never been a fan of Y2J Chris Jericho and his annoying antics with his then bff Kevin Owens just extended my hatred of his pompous character. The fact that the WWE placed a ‘former bff’ “you were never my best friend” fight on a WrestleMania card is preposterous! It could have culminated at a PPV sure but it was by no means WrestleMania worthy.

2. AJ Styles – When AJ Styles came to the WWE, I was truly excited. He was my favorite wrestler in TNA and as he went from ROH to Japan where he expanded the already huge popularity of the Bullet Club. He rode that success wave to America where he joined the biggest wrestling organization in the world: the WWE. Here he has won the Heavyweight title and feuded with top stars. SO….why make him turn and be the whining ‘why am I not a star’ wrestler? Why not use his abilities as they are and give him the push he deserves?!? He is the best pound for pound wrestler in my opinion and he should be given the push he deserves.

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  1. This is my yard: Undertaker/Roman Reigns – The Undertaker will go down in history as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. He will be remembered amongst the great ones like Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold, Ric Flair, or Bruno Sammartino. So are we as wrestling fans to just lay back and believe that Roman Reigns is a replacement for The Deadman…The Lord of Darkness…The American Bad Ass…The Big Evil…The Phenom…the man whom the Big Show called the greatest professional wrestler…the man who Mark Henry and Vince McMahon himself called their Undertaker_at_Wrestlemania_25_croppedfavorite wrestler of all time? I am partial in this argument because I don’t like Roman Reigns. He worked as a member of the SHIELD faction but now that he is being force fed down our throats, I can’t stomach it. I don’t think that he is a technically sound wrestler. I don’t think that he can work the mic. He can’t cut a promo. So….is the WWE pushing him in hopes that he can be as successful as the Rock? I think so. I think that that being the ‘passing of the torch’ for the Undertaker is a slap in his face. I will give the WWE one credit: they did give him the last slot of the PPV and allow him to take off the hat, gloves, and jacket in a memorialized fashion. The Undertaker has been wrestling for over 30 years and deserved better than to lose to Roman Reigns at his last hoo-rah. But that’s just my 2 cents.

 


 

Featured Image: WrestleMania 33 Stage image by and attributed to Lee Dyer from Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom – A #Phenomenal start to #WWE #WrestleMania #WrestleMania33 last night as the sun starts to set in #Orlando #Florida #AJStyles #ShaneMcMahon, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57704230
WrestleMania 33 set up image by and attributed Lee Dyer from Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom – Live for WrestleMania 33, and the incredible set up for it! Just Amazing! #WrestleMania #WrestleMania33 #Florida #Orlando, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57698644
WrestleMania 33 Banner image By Jeff Kern from Orlando – Apparently, there’s some little wrestling event this weekend in Orlando. Interesting people watching opportunities while I wait for my friend’s birthday dinner . . . #wwe #downtownorlando #amwaycenter, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57698528
Shane McMahon performing a shooting star press at WrestleMania 33 image by and attributed to Lee Dyer from Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom – #ShaneMcMahon shows off his high flying skills as the crowds watches in awe – Another amazing match at #WrestleMania #WrestleMania33 #WWE #AJStyles #Orlando #Florida, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57698830
The Hardy Boyz at WrestleMania 33 image by and attributed to Lee Dyer from Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom – The Hardy Boys return at #WrestleMania to create fireworks! #WrestleMania33 #WWE #Orlando #Florida #HardyBoyz #JeffHardy #MattHardy #BrotherNero #Delete, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57698636
Charlotte Flair entrance at WrestleMania 33 image by and attributed to Lee Dyer from Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom – Fireworks as the #WWERaw #WomensChampionship gets underway at #WrestleMania #WrestleMania33 #WWE #Orlando #Florida #CharlotteFlair, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57698657
Charlotte with Belt image by and attributed to Tabercil – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50251230
Bray Wyatt entrance at WrestleMania 33 image by and attributed to Lee Dyer from Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom – A stadium full of light, while the lights are off! Amazing to view. #WrestleMania #WrestleMania33 #Orlando #Florida #Wyatt #BrayWyatt #RandyOrton #PhoneLights #FollowTheBuzzards, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57698660
Triple H makes his entrance at Wrestlemania 33 image by and attributed to Lee Dyer from Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom – It’s time to play #TheGame! #HHH makes his entrance at #WWE #WrestleMania #WrestleMania33 #Orlando #Florida, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57698844
Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 33 WWE Universal Champion image by and attributed to Brock1990 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57688786

Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: The New Doctor Who?

480px-wpdwUnless you have been living under two rocks in the middle of the Sahara Desert for the last 50 years, you’ve seen a blue Police Box and its two hearted occupant; “The Doctor”. Yes, I am talking about the world’s favorite time traveler, Doctor Who and his blue TARDIS.

I was introduced to Doctor Who in the early 80s while watching PBS (one of the few channels that we had on our old turn knob television set) one Sunday afternoon; when all of a sudden I came across a silly man wearing a long colorful scarf, a brown suede fedora, and having grand adventures. Throughout the 80s incarnations of this altruistic humanoid alien, I watched Doctor Whotom_baker_as_dr_who on PBS (from Tom Baker to Sylvester McCoy) until my parents got one of those huge satellite dishes and we had more than 5 channels to peruse. Fast forward to 2006…I had graduated from college in 2005 and had a place of my own.  I also had broken down and paid the extra money for a satellite TV. Late one night that first week of having more channels to watch, I come across a beautiful blonde running around with the guy from one of my favorite movies, Gone in Sixty Seconds, now clad in a leather jacket. Needless to say I checked the show’s information and realized that this was a new Doctor Who show. After a few searches on the internet, I realized that I had missed a whole season of this reincarnation by not having satellite and that this new Doctor had already been replaced with another Doctor. So…I binged watched all of the 9th Doctor’s episodes and got caught up with the 10th Doctor’s episodes and continued along the way. This new incarnation would quickly become one of my favorite things.

tardis2As any Doctor Who fan knows, the Doctor changes. If your not familiar with Doctor Who, he is similar to James Bond and multiple characters have played the same person; except with The Doctor, a plot device was created for the show thusly allowing the Time Lords (the race of alien’s that The Doctor belongs to) to have the biological ability to regenerate their cellular structure and completely change their appearance. On the show this regeneration is how The Doctor ‘recovers’ from death but in reality it is how the originators of the show wanted the ability to continue the show, Patrick Troughton took over for William Hartnell after he became deathly ill in real life and had to leave the show. The Doctor character’s regenerations happen on screen when an actor leaves (or is fired from) the position. So far we have had 13 on screen regenerations and it would appear that when Season 10 with our current Doctor (portrayed by Peter Capaldi) is over, we need to prepare for another Doctor to take his place. Capaldi announced in January of this year 640px-2014_august_22_peter_capaldithat it was time to move on to other things despite loving Doctor Who. Since we are left with yet again ANOTHER regeneration to look forward to, that leaves me wondering who is going to be the next Doctor? I have compiled my list of my top ten potential choices based on the input and speculation over the years and the ones that I think would bring the most to the table by taking the helm and huge pop culture responsibility of becoming The Doctor.

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So here are the Top Cat’s Top 10: Who’s the New Doctor Who?:

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10. Hugh Laurie – He’s already played a Doctor on TV but just imagine the line delivery and performance from English actor, writer, singer, musician, comedian, and director Hugh Laurie. I mean…it would be Doctor House becoming Doctor Who. He’s a Golden Globe and Screen Actor’s Guild winning actor who was in the Guinness World Book of Records as the most watched leading man on TV! I think that his acting prominence will keep him from becoming The Doctor but it is fun to imagine.

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9. Robert Carlyle – During the speculation period between Doctor’s 10 and 11, we didn’t know that Matt Smith would be our next Doctor. After we found out that David Tennant was leaving the show, there was much speculation that Robert Carlyle was going to be the next Doctor. I had only seen Carlyle in Trainspotting and 28 Weeks Later; and I hadn’t seen either of those in a long time. But as things go, he was not cast as our next Doctor but who is to say that his prominence and being the front runner in the past would put him at the top of the pick-list.

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8. Russell Tovey – If you’re familiar with other BBC shows, you’ve probably seen my number 9 choice. You may have seen Tovey as the werewolf, George Sands, on the BBC show Being Human or if your keen eye isn’t fooling you; you may recognize him from his current stint on ABC’s series Quantico. Oh. I forgot to mention that he’s been on Doctor Who before. Twice actually. He starred in the 2007 Christmas Special as Alonso Frame and he reprised his role again in the 2009-2010 Christmas special, “The End of Time”. My speculation is high on Tovey being cast as the Doctor (despite his low placement) because in 2007, Russell T. Davies, Doctor Who’s executive producer and head writer suggested that Tovey could be the replacement for then Doctor, David Tennant. Despite currently being cast in an on-going show, the history of Doctor Who reusing ‘old faces’ and the huge recommendation a couple of years ago by the show’s executive producer….I’d say that odd’s are forever in his favor. And no that wasn’t a slight homage to the Hunger Games.

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7. Jason Isaacs – Do you not recognize the name? Well, this seasoned actor has usually played a protagonist on film (everything from voicing Ra’s al Ghul in a Batman animated film to his portrayal of the cold-blooded British commander Colonel William Tavington in Mel Gibson’s Revolutionary War action-drama The Patriot to his most famous role as Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movie series). That’s right. I’m suggesting that Lucius Malfoy be The Doctor! How can I make such an audacious claim? Basically…he’s a seasoned British actor whom I think could bring a darker side to the Doctor that I think we all need. A darker, edgier side that we were promised to receive with Peter Capaldi, but alas never did.

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6. Bill Nighy – Not Bill Nye the Science Guy. I’m referring to British theater, television, and film actor Bill Nighy. If you’re still clueless, he was the elder Vampire Viktor in the Underworld movies. Still not clear who he is? Well, he also starred in one of my favorite movies of all time as the Magrathean planet designer Slartibartfast in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. You still don’t remember? Jeez. Okay….last hint! He was Davy ‘friggin’ Jones from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise! Yeah…that guy! The thing that excites me about including Nighy in our list is the fact that he starred as Dr. Black in what could arguably be one of the greatest Doctor Who episodes and by far one of my favorite episodes, “Vincent and the Doctor”. Dr. Black is a curator at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. Oh did that ring some bells for you? Maybe Matt Smith’s Doctor saying that he would love to be a curator at a museum in “The Day of the Doctor” (which is another one of my other favorite episodes by the way) where at the end of the episode are joined by none other than the 4th Doctor Tom Baker who is….a curator at a museum! That’s a spiderweb of confusing back and forths but by George you have to see how that all works together beautifully. Oh I just got goose bumps writing it all down. The conspiracy works and even though the actor is in his 60s, I think that just hearing his voice retorting “I’m the Doctor” would make me squeal with girlish delight.

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5. James Norton – Speaking of girlish delight. I’m not going to talk about this guy too much because I don’t want you to get too excited about seeing this heart throb becoming the new Doctor. The reason why is because Norton and Michael Fassbender (X-Men‘s new Magneto) are in the running to become the next James Bond. I say regretfully in the running because I really enjoy Daniel Craig as 007 and Norton would bring a lot to the table if he were cast as Doctor Who. An actor of his caliber, at his age, with his sex appeal…I imagine that, even though he’s a ginger, he would probably be our next James Bond before he would be our next Doctor Who.

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4. Richard Ayoade – My cousin introduced me to The IT Crowd a short while ago and I binge watched every episode within a 3 day period. I have since re-watched every episode again because I enjoyed it immensely. Richard Ayoade and Chris O’Dowd’s on screen charisma and the show’s hilarious antics still have me cracking up to this day. In The IT Crowd, Ayoade’s character Maurice Moss quirky genius made the show. I would love to see the quick responses and quirky genius that Moss has shown in his many on screen characters and representations on Doctor Who. I think that his intelligence and quirkiness would be just what we and the Doctor needs.

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3. Chris O’Dowd – Okay. So its not coincidental that these guys are together side by side on the list. They are both amazing choices but if I had to choose, I would want to see O’Dowd because Ayoade’s Moss character is AMAZINGLY FUNNY and I don’t know if I want to see him diverting too much from that character. I am sure that Ayoade could pull off the serious bits because he is a great actor but between O’Dowd’s stint on The IT Crowd, his time on the HBO show Girls, or his heart warming role in Christopher Guest’s series Family Tree; O’Dowd has the charisma and charm that would allow him to make a great Doctor.

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2. Ben Whishaw – Ben Whishaw and our current but soon to be out the door Doctor, Peter Capaldi, have already starred together in the 2014 film, Paddington. Despite the fact that Whishaw only voiced the character, there is an existing connection. Besides this very obscure and completely unrelated connection, Whishaw is one of the top choices to be the next Doctor.

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1. Rupert Grint – Rupert Grint, or as you may commonly know him Ron Weasley, has remained relatively out of the limelight since his multi-movie appearance as the goofy best friend of Harry Potter in the Harry Potter film series. Besides the Doctor finally becoming a ginger, Grint is bringing with him a career that has spanned since he was 11 years-old. At 28, he may be young but a fresh, yet extremely well known, face may be just we Whovians need. Bringing in the Harry Potter fan base to the Doctor Who universe would also be beneficial. As stated before, he would be one of the youngest actors to ever play the Doctor…but most of all, he would finally be a ginger. I’m not a Harry Potter ‘fan’, so to speak; so my pick isn’t all that fan oriented. I mainly pick him because I think that it would bring something to the show that we haven’t had in a long time.

Honorable mentions: Chris Barrie, David Harewood, Andrew Buchan and Rory Kinnear.

Noteworthy: Here comes the part that is going to make me unpopular. You might notice that my top 10 list was void of any potential female Doctors. My reasoning behind that is that I do not think that there should be a female Doctor. Before you get all bent out of shape and think less of me, let me explain. As I stated earlier, I have been a fan of Doctor Who since I was a child and I do not think that it will be for the betterment of the character to change ‘him’ into a woman. Do I think that the actresses that have been slated to potentially take the Doctor’s place are terrible choices? By no means do I think that Olivia Coleman or Tilda Swinton would make amazing choices if it were the right time. Why not have the Doctor die and allow his daughter to pilot the TARDIS; if we’re dying have a woman take the lead in the show. In Marvel comics, Iron Man has passed his mantle over to a young black woman named Riri Williams. Was I upset? No. Because after reading the story, the move seemed right. It was written beautifully. The mantle was handed over and the characters cohesively existed in the same universe. I just think that a decision to make the Doctor a woman would be politically charged and be done for shock value, more-so than to truly be a character development for the show. That is all. I’m not a racist bigot who doesn’t allow change. I just don’t want to see something tampered with for a politically motivated reason.  So….don’t hate me for having a differing opinion; even if three of the former Doctor’s have agreed that the new Doctor needs to be a woman. 🙂

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1. Doctor Who Logo by and accredited to Manbemel – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22447638
2. Tardis and logo photo by and accredited to Edjoerv – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32937870
3. Tom Baker by and accredited to CathyL007 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20584802
4. Tardis prop photo by and accredited to the original uploader was Zir at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2747260
5. Peter Capaldi in crowd photo by and accredited to Priya Deonarain – SAM_0953, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36685357
6. Hugh Laurie photo by and accredited to Flickr user Xside. User account: http://www.flickr.com/people/estmed/derivative work: RanZag (talk) – LaurieJacobsShore.jpg, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7697330
7. Robert Carlyle photo by and accredited to vagueonthehow from Tadcaster, York, England – Robert Carlyle, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34824751
8. Russell Tovey photo by and accredited to Charlotte Pritchard – Russell Tovey, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41524611
9. Jason Isaacs photo by and accredited to Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America – Jason IsaacsUploaded by maybeMaybeMaybe, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22896327
10. Bill Nighy photo by and accredited to alotofmillion – Bill Nighy, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3172889
11. James Norton photo by and accredited to Punting Cambridge: Website – Scudamore’s Punting Cambridge – https://www.flickr.com/photos/punting/21216646535/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45096040
12. Richard Ayoade photo by and accredited to Yusuf Laher (dudephotography) – http://flickr.com/photos/dudephotography/5510600348, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16872309
13. Chris O’Dowd photo by and accredited to Christopher William Adach from London, UK – WiPe – random_, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32538560
14. Ben Whishaw photo by and accredited to Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK – Judy and BenUploaded by tm, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27909421
15. Rupert Grint photo by and accredited to Joella Marano, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14961976
16. David Tennant photo by and accredited to vagueonthehow from Tadcaster, York, England – Russell T Davies & David Tennant, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36733382

Top Cat’s Top 10: Best of 2016 and Most Anticipated of 2017

As I looked glanced to the bottom of my MacBook screen the other day at work, it occurred to me that we are almost through the first month of 2017. SO much has already happened within the first 24 days of 2017 but this doesn’t take away from the memory of the most memorable events of 2016. From North Korea conducting missile/nuclear tests to the Donald quite controversially being elected our 45th President to the Chicago Cubs winning a World Series after a 108 year drought. (Glad the curse of Murphy the Goat was finally lifted.) We had a lot of ups and quite equal amount of downs, so I think its important to now look back at the Top 10 Most Memorable Moments in Pop Culture that happened in 2016. These lists are completely based on my opinion….so, here we go. 🙂

Top Cat’s Top 10 Most Memorable Moments of 2016: Pop Culture edition

10. Carpool Karaoke – It doesn’t seem like that long ago that James Corden was the reluctant flat mate of Matt Smith’s Doctor in the fifth series Doctor Who episode “The Lodger”. As we not only have a new Doctor Who, it seems that James Corden has done very well for himself since his short stint on one of my favorite TV shows of all time: Doctor Who. Corden succeeded Craig Ferguson as host of the Late Late Show. Corden’s Late Late Show’s popular segment Carpool Karaoke tipped the scales of popularity in 2016 when the sketch with pop singer Adele became the biggest YouTube viral video of 2016. The segment which aired in January of 2016 was viewed over a staggering 135 million times! I say that the reluctant companion of Doctor Who has done well for himself and doesn’t look like he shows any signs of stopping.

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By Siebbi – ipernity.com, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14740864 

9. Leonardo DiCaprio gets an Oscar – Dare I ask if there is a more versatile actor in Hollywood than Leonardo DiCaprio. I didn’t think so. Leo has been everything from a booger eating mentally challenged boy in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape to the reluctant lover boy in the Titanic to a broken father in the movie that would bring him his Oscar: the Revenant. The movie which gives us a glance inside of the dark window that is our nation’s past. Besides the amazingly written script, the spectacular cast, the breathtaking scenery or even a completely terrifying showcase of what it would be like to be attacked by a bear; the movie allowed us to see just how dedicated to his craft that Leo was and is. Leo deserved his award and his Oscar win most definitely deserves a spot on the top 10 memorable events of 2016.

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By Ethan Doyle White at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50463988

8. Ghostbusters – The Cultural icon that is the Ghostbusters brand was rebooted with an almost exclusive Saturday Night Live, all-female lead cast. Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Kristen Wiig did their respective nod to the original Ghostbusters movies while cementing their own legacy as the ‘new’ Ghostbusters. I’m still not sure how I feel about the movie it was definitely memorable.

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By Gage Skidmore – →This file has been extracted from another file: Cast of Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them.jpg, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53413122

6. Fantastic Beasts and where to find more Harry PotterHarry Potter fans around the world rejoiced with the release of the first companion (or prequel if you will) book to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them allowed Harry Potter fans to delve deeper into the wizarding world. The movie which showcased a world that took place almost a century before Harry Potter was even born, allowed us to fall in love with new characters and fill the void that has been in fan’s hearts since 2011’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.

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By Lowtrucks – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50284157

5. Stranger Things and the year of the Woman – 2016, could possibly go down as the year of the woman. From Hillary Clinton to both DC and Marvel Comics putting a woman in the forefront of their own show (both Jessica Jones and Supergirl) to the almost all female ghost killing ensemble in Ghostbusters (who are helping to redefine what it means to be a leading lady) has help solidify the influence of women in the world and Pop Culture. We are seeing women discussing Hollywood wage gaps based on sex and seeing more and more parts being written for women. In the case of Millie Bobby Brown’s character Eleven from Netflix‘s Stranger Things, the psychokinetic preteen impressed us more and more with each episode. The 80s sci-fi series truly set itself apart from anything else out at the time. Thankfully for us, Netflix renewed the show for a second season so we can witness the strange story unfold even further.

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By Pierregagne98 – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10879401  

4. Civil War – To we ‘geek types’ the term Civil war doesn’t refer to the Boko Haram conflict in northeastern Nigeria or even the American Civil War fought from 1861 to 1865..no no…to we geek types Civil War is Team Captain America or Team Iron Man. A decision that is harder to make than trying to figure out what to put on  your Subway footlong. I, of course, followed blindly to whatever side that Scarlett Johansson would meander but it did cause quite the stir to movie goers and serious fans. The controversial ‘ownership’ of certain characters caused the original Marvel Comics storyline  to be altered but despite the set backs, the movie was a box office success.

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By Incry – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=202115

3. “Where have all the cowboys gone?” – After losing the lead singer Lemmy Kilmister ,of one of the most iconic rock bands of all time, it would seem like losing the singer of Motorhead was the hardest thing for us to handle but it was not the end…it was merely just a break until the beginning of 2016. 2016 was not an easier pill to swallow in regards to losing some of our most loved celebrities. I don’t know whether we had a lot of celebrities die, or if we just have a lot people famous for a lot of different things. But most notably we lost some musical icons that have shaped the face of music for decades: Prince, George Michael and David Bowie. In their respective fields, each of these entertainers have been and will continue to be innovators. As the pantheon of celebrities gone too soon would be done due to the end of the year coming soon; we lost Carrie Fisher and her mother, Hollywood icon Debbie Reynolds.

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By vagueonthehow from Tadcaster, York, England – Suicide Squad, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49480910

2. Suicide Squad – Much like 2014 was the year of the Guardians of the Galaxy for my family, 2016 was definitely the year for Harley Quinn. I mean the year of Batman’s bad guys. I mean Suicide Squad. The now Oscar nominated film (despite any and all negative reviews) dominated the box office, DVD sales, digital downloads and merchandise throughout the pop culture world. This antihero team not only unveiled a new Joker, but this blockbuster hit gave us our first glimpse at the big screen version of everyone’s lovable yet psychotic hottie: Harley Quinn. Suicide Squad was not only one of the highest grossing movies of 2016 but it has made DC comics A LOT of money in merchandise. I’m pretty sure that my family has watched it 6 times since it was released for Digital download and that was after the initial time at the theaters. As a matter of fact, just talking about it makes me want to watch it again this weekend. 🙂

1. Pokemon Go – Okay, so I won’t deny the fact that I am a grown man that has chased digital Pokemon down the street. I’ve ridden in the passenger side seat while my wife drove Daniel and myself to Pokemon gyms or to catch another Dratini. It seemed like everyone in the world became completely engrossed in Pokemon Go. It seemed like everyone you saw walking down the street had their phone in their hand. People who had had nothing to do with Pokemon in their whole entire life suddenly knew Bulbasaur and wanted the illusive Pikachu. Alas it seemed that Pokemon Go faded just as quickly as its popularity skyrocketed. People got tired of not being able to find 25 Squirtles much less a Pikachu. I still pull it up every now and then for nostalgia purposes but its short lived. I’ll see a Weedle or maybe even a Rattata on a good night. I don’t think I can ever delete the app from my phone based on how awesome the memories were and how much time was put into it but 2016 will be remembered as the year of Pokemon Go. Just thank God its 2017.

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By Flirtey – Flirtey, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54823032

Wonder what fad I’ll get into next. From a new President to Amazon delivering food via drone; we’ll have a really entertaining year.

I mean look what we have to look forward to: Lego Batman: The Movie, Logan, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Taboo (TV Show), Ghost in the Shell, Fast and Furious 8, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Game of Thrones (TV Show) – Season 7, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Legion (TV Show), Wonder Woman, Cars 3, Despicable Me 3, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, Justice League, and Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi.

Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: James Bond movies

In 1952 Ian Fleming introduced the world to a character who would change the face of popcasino-royale-book-cover culture forever. His name was Bond. James Bond. A British secret service agent who loves beautiful women and likes his martini shaken not stirred. Fleming’s first Bond novel, Casino Royale, was the first in many successful books and short stories. Fleming’s wartime service for the British Naval Intelligence Division during WWII allowed him to have all of the details that he needed to write 11 Bond related books and multiple other short stories between 1953 and 1966. The James Bond character which has appeared in film twenty-six times and has been portrayed by seven actors has been popular since Dr. No’s release in 1962. But despite who portrayed James Bond (codename 007) in the movies they were relatively a hit. From 1962 to the latest Bond movie that was made in 2015; it is obvious that I would have a few that rose above the rest on my favorites list.

So here are my Top Cat’s Top 10 James Bond movies:

10. License to Kill 

license-to-kill-bond-movieThe 80s produced a lot of things and the 16th James Bond movie was one of them. Timothy Dalton stars in his second and final Bond movie in the first movie not use the title of an Ian Fleming story. The movie showed Bond in a more violent, darker Bond than people had been used to but it was just what people in the 80s had been looking for.

9. Die Another Day

die-another-day-posterBefore our blue eyed blonde Bond stole the screen in Casino Royale, Pierce Brosnan took to the big screen and portrayed Bond in four spy films. In Die Another Day the MI6 agent is betrayed and imprisoned. He spends 14 months in prison and must then track down his betrayer. It’s a typical Bond storyline but the CGI of the movie is…..well…a little off putting. The redeeming factor? Halle Berry. Even though Pierce Brosnan is by far my least favorite Bond, Die Another Day’s action scenes and story line were almost as beautiful as Halle Berry.

8. Dr. No

dr no.jpgSean Connery was the first to don the on screen James Bond persona. Since Dr. No is not the first James Bond movie, the movie fills in movie goers who have not read the books. The movie also introduces us to the criminal organization SPECTRE (which appears in all six subsequent movies, as well as in the Daniel Craig movies). In Dr. No, Bond travels to Jamaica to investigate the disappearance of another 00 agent. He finds Dr. No, who is trying to destroy America’s first human spaceflight program with a radio wave weapon. Bond frees the bikini clad beauty that he had met earlier in the movie and boils Dr. No in the water from a nuclear reactor. The two escape in a boat as Dr. No’s lair explodes in the distance. The movie begins a chain reaction of popular James Bond movies and many other mock spy movies. Dr. No made James Bond a house hold name and it has remained there since 1962. And I don’t see it leaving any time soon.

7. Quantam of Solace

quantum-of-solaceAfter we were introduced to Daniel Craig’s pastiche of the James Bond character in 2006’s Casino Royale, James not only seeks revenge over the death of his love but must also try to stop a mysterious organization who is hell bent on destroying the world’s most valuable resource. The movie delves us deeper into the psyche of 007. We also get to see the convoluted relationship between M and Bond deepen.

6. From Russia With Love

from_russia_with_love_posterIn 1963’s From Russia with Love, which is our second James Bond movie (second time with Sean Connery at the helm) and this storyline takes our favorite agent to Russia where he battles rogue agents of the KGB and from, what it seems, every SPECTRE agent alive to keep a decoding machine out of the hands of SPECTRE. He finds a beautiful girl (of course) and defeats all of the bad guys. This and every James Bond movie, the tag line should be “His new enemies, His new women, His new Adventures!”

5. Goldfinger

goldfingerA bad guy who loves gold and ironically has the last name of Goldfinger whose driver is a super strong henchman who can chop people’s heads off by throwing his derby hat after getting off the plane being flown by a gorgeous woman named Pussy Galore? Yeah. I’ll watch that. In the beginning Bond makes Goldfinger look like a fool and steals his girl. Well while he’s out handling business, Goldfinger has her gilded. Yes. You heard me right. Bond tracks Goldfinger down and finally gets caught. When he thinks he has it all under control, he realizes that he has his work cut out for him when it came to taming the gorgeous Pussy Galore but his real work was the fight between he and Oddjob (the driver/henchman) after he breaks out of Goldfinger’s prison. He stops them from breaking into Fort Knox’s gold reserve and gets the girl.

4. Casino Royale (2006)

casino-royaleAll James Bond fans were apprehensive when we found out that there was going to be a new Bond. Especially because this bond had shockingly beautiful blue eyes, blonde hair and a sculpted body. But as a fan, I can say that within the first 10 minutes I looked at my best friend (also a big Bond fan) and smiled. We both were pleased with the studios choice and Casino Royale easily became my favorite Bond movie at that time. Movies series get better with time because of increased graphics and the fact that more money is spent in production (ie Marvel’s The Avengers, X-Men, etc). Oh…about the movie. Our favorite fictional MI6 agent James Bond finds himself at the beginning of his 00 career. He is just earning his “license to kill” (definitely pun intended) and of course proves his awesomeness. The new time line follows Casino Royale with Quantam of Solace, Skyfall and Spectre.

3. You Only Live Twice

you-only-live-twiceJames Bond + Ninja powered Japanese secret service agents + gorgeous women + threat of nuclear war + Spaceships hijacking other country’s space capsules + a great opening/theme song = a great movie. SPECTRE is behind the theft of an American Space Capsule and their journey to start WWIII is thwarted by 007.

2. Spectre

spectreA lot of us fear that Spectre will be the last time that we see Daniel Craig as Bond and if it is, we will not be able to deny his amazing run. In Spectre, we find Bond following a cryptic message left to him by a deceased M. Bond starts to unravel and piece together the hell that he has went through during his whole 00 career. Bond begins to uncover the deep layers of deceit that have been the misreable truth that is SPECTRE. The movie ends with Bond riding off into the sunset with the newest of his many loves.

1. Skyfall

skyfallThe last and final movie on our list is Skyfall. The second to the last Bond movie that has been created. I hope that it is one in a long line of Bond movies. I hope that it is also one in a long line of movies that have Daniel Craig as the lead. This Bond movie showcases a time where his assignment goes really wrong and all of the agents around the world are exposed. The MI6 building is attacked and M has to utilize the one person in the world that she trusts: Bond. Bond follows a baited trail to what ends up being a shady figure from M’s past.

Manic Monday and Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: Top 10 Most Common Annoyances/Pet Peeves

So the other day I was reading the incredibly popular and inspiring information website Huffington Post and found an article that they had published on a topic that hits close to home for me: Pet Peeves. We all know that I have an affinity for writing about them: Here, here, and here are some examples. The article from Huffington Post showcases a chosen 76 Incredibly Accurate Pet Peeves That Will Drive. You. Nuts. After reading this article, I realized that not only do I feel good about the particular Pet Peeves that I have; but I’m pretty sure that 75% of the population is walking around with a vein popping out of their forehead due to the stress that is being inflicted by our pet peeves. So to make the people afflicted by these pet peeves feel less alone (and the fact that I guess I’m addicted to making Top Ten lists), I’m reviewing this article and integrating two of my blog types. So here are my Top Ten Pet Peeves that are Guaranteed to Drive You Nuts! 

10. When you let a car cut in front of you and they DON’T WAVE TO THANK YOU!!!! Same goes to you ‘Ms. I stopped at the cross walk even though I didn’t have to so you could walk across the road at the mall/Walmart’.

9. People who talk over you when you’re clearly still in the middle of a sentence.

8. Slow drivers who stay in the ‘fast lane’ and don’t allow you to go past them. This also goes for groups of people or people in general who walk slowly or stop suddenly in the middle of a sidewalk or aisle. MOVE!

7. People who constantly say ‘no offense’ as if it takes away from the extremely mean thing that you just said!

6. Strangers who listen to their music through the phone’s speaker, instead of headphones.

5. People who purposely use bad grammar and do not correct their spelling.

4. People who don’t cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough.

3. People who smoke cigarettes or use electronic cigarettes around non-smoking. And your e-cigarette or ‘vape’ is still smoking. Smoking is smoking.

2. People who scuff their feet as they walk down the street, especially if they’re wearing flip flops, boots or UGGs. AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST…

  1. Loud chewing, or people chewing with their mouths open. This also covers people who chew gum loudly and attempt to blow bubbles in confined quarters.

*Maybe this list will make you and your quirks feel a little bit ‘less weird’. Don’t feel ostracized by your pet peeves. You can’t help that you want to smack your friend in the face when she’s chewing her gum with her mouth open. 😉