A Handful Of… Songs That Reference Video Game Systems

As I set out to make this short list of songs that reference video game systems (in other words, A Handful Of), I realized that rap music is not one of my strong suits.  So I would have included Notorious BIG’s Juicy if I was familiar with the song.  But I’m not; so I won’t… even though it included references to Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis.  I don’t have any songs that reference those systems, but I have my standards.  So onto the list:

  • Cee Lo Green’s Fuck You (XBOX, Atari)
  • Another Bad Creation’s Iesha (Nintendo)
  • B.O.B. and Bruno Mars’  Nothing on You (Nintendo 64)
  • American Hi-Fi’s Flavor of the Weak (Nintendo)
  • Eminem and Rihanna’s Love the Way You Lie (ugh, Nintendo again)
  • Notorious B.I.G.’s Juicy (Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis)

I had to include it.  Standards, schmandards.

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A Handful Of… Trapped People Flicks

Buried - not to be confused with Barried, Barried, or Berried

I pretty much ignored Ryan Reynolds’ Buried when it came out in the theaters, and I pretty much ignored its arrival on DVD.  What I have been unable to ignore is the constant bombardment of James Franco’s 127 Hours, which is now in wide-release courtesy of its Academy Award nominations.

This further reminded me of two things.

  1. How the screenwriter of Buried, Chris Sparling, basically begged to be nominated for an Oscar.
  2. How 127 Hours is basically the same thing, and it is nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.

But wait… isn’t one about a guy in a coffin and the other one about a guy cutting his arm off?

Yes, but they are both essentially “unfilmable” stories about a man trapped.  And they aren’t the only ones.  Here are A Handful Of Trapped People Flicks.

I can see it now... "Buried 4 127 Hours"

  • Rope (1948) – people trapped in real-time murder plot
  • Die Hard (1988) – man trapped in terrorist-filled building
  • Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990) – man trapped in terrorist-filled airport
  • Under Siege (1992) – man trapped on terrorist-filled battleship
  • Toy Soldiers (1991) – student trapped in terrorist-filled school
  • Passenger 57 (1992) – man trapped on terrorist-filled airplane
  • Speed (1994) – people trapped on speeding bus
  • Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995) – man trapped on speeding terrorist-filled train
  • Executive Decision (1996) – man trapped on terrorist-filled airplane
  • Daylight (1996) – people trapped in underground tunnel
  • Air Force One (1997) – man trapped on president’s terrorist-filled airplane
  • Con Air (1997) – man trapped on criminal-filled airplane
  • Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997) – people trapped on speeding terrorist-filled cruise ship
  • Cast Away (2000) – man trapped on island
  • Phone Booth (2002) – man trapped in phone booth (written by Larry Cohen)
  • Open Water (2004) – people trapped in shark-infested waters
  • Cellular (2004) – man trapped in terrible plot involving keeping a cell phone powered (written by Larry Cohen)
  • Penny Dreadful (2006) – woman trapped in a car
  • Captivity (2007) – woman trapped in underground lair (also written by Larry Cohen)
  • Frozen (2010) – people trapped on a ski lift
  • Buried (2010) – man trapped in coffin
  • 127 Hours (2010) – man trapped underground by a rock
  • Unstoppable (2010)men trapped on a missile the size of the Chrysler Building

The Sh– To Just Sh–ty… The Title, Mr.

The above video might not be the best way to have started this post, or it may be absolutely perfect.  (The band’s name is Mr. President, and their song Coco Jambo has over 38 million hits.  38,000,000!)

Basically, the title Mr. has taken quite the beating in recent years.  I’m not sure if the intent is to distant its association with its origin word, master, or if it’s mainly because we’ve lost all sense of formality.

Now what does this have to do with pop culture?  Everything.

When our fine country was founded, the most dignified and non-alienating title the founding fathers thought to bestow on our nation’s leader was Mr. President.  Nowadays, if you want a sure sign a movie or a TV show will suck, you put Mr. (or Mister) in the title.  It’s not an absolute, but the highs are definitely outnumbered by the lows.  I considered highlighting the highs, but it may be more fun for you to decide.

(SIDENOTE: I’d highly recommend playing Coco Jambo in the background while you read on.)

MOVIES

  • Mr. 3000
  • Mr. Baseball
  • Mr. Nice Guy
  • Mr. Wrong
  • Making Mr. Right
  • Mr. Brooks
  • Mr. Jones
  • Mr. North
  • Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium
  • Mr. Bean’s Holiday
  • Mr. Holland’s Opus
  • Mr. Saturday Night
  • Mr. Mom
  • Mr. Nanny
  • Mr. Destiny
  • Mr. Woodcock
  • The Ghost and Mr. Chicken
  • The Incredible Mr. Limpet
  • Mr. Magoo
  • Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • Mr. and Mrs. Smith
  • Mr. and Mrs. Bridge
  • Mr. Deeds
  • Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
  • Mr. Nobody
  • Mr. Jealousy
  • Mr. Lucky
  • Mr. Wonderful
  • Mr. Accident
  • Mr. Murder
  • Mister Frost
  • Mister Lonely
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  • They Call Me Mister Tibbs!
  • Looking for Mr. Goodbar
  • Goodbye, Mr. Chips

TELEVISION

  • Mr. Ed
  • Mr. Belvedere
  • Mister T
  • Mr. Lucky
  • Mr. Magoo
  • Mr. Bean
  • Mr. & Mrs. Smith
  • Mr. Smith
  • Mr. President
  • Mr. Personality
  • Mr. Show
  • Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper
  • Mr. Sunshine (1986)
  • Mr. Sunshine (2011)

Musical Musings… Rip-Off (Air Quotes) Artist

 

Dr. Luke, Daydreaming New Ideas

 

You may not have ever heard of Lukasz Gottwald, a.k.a. Dr. Luke, a.k.a. DJ Douche (not really), but you’ve certainly heard his work.

But I’m not here to celebrate him (if you can already tell), but to tell-all and make you aware of the source of his “artistry” as a writer and producer.

The latest is a minor tussle over whether Britney Spears’ new song, Hold It Against Me, rips off The Bellamy Brothers’ If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body.  In this case, I say no (as do others), but it’s not the first time good ol’ Dr. Luke’s skillz have been called into question.

  • Avril Lavigne’s Girlfriend / The Rubinoos’ I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend
  • Daughtry’s Feels Like Tonight / The Asphalt’s Tonight

If you skip to the 1:04 mark, you’ll notice the chorus is awfully similar to this.  Read more about this one here.

  • Pink’s U + Ur Hand / The Veronicas’ 4ever
  • Ke$ha’s Tik Tok / Katy Perry’ California Gurls

He’s not even above ripping himself off.  And Justin and Jessica Q. Public still lap it up.

Sure, there’s plenty more originals in his repertoire than copies – even a few that I like – but something has to be done to stop this mad man.  Never forget he allowed THIS to happen.

IN CLOSING:

I realize that Dr. Luke’s not going anywhere anytime soon.  Let’s just call him disappearing from the music scene my Teenage Dream.  He is who he is, and We R Who We R.  Not even Magic nor Dynamite could get rid of him.  We could go Right Round in circles as the hours Tik Tok away, but ultimately I guess he’s here For Your Entertainment, and not mine.

It’s not like I’m Your Daddy or anything, but I want you to know that I’ll Keep Holding On to the notion that I know what’s best for you. Who Knew any of this would be such a big deal?  Behind These Hazel Eyes (they really are hazel) is a man who respects the arts and thinks that stealing (“liberally borrowing“) without acknowledging it is wrong.

I just fear that one day, when Dr. Luke is no longer practicing his medicine, I won’t find myself saying, “Since U Been Gone, My Life Would Suck Without You.”  Or something akin to that.  Does that come across as fickle?  A little con then pro, nay then yay, Hot N Cold?  Maybe.  But if I finally admit today that his music’s not all that bad, Feels Like Tonight might be the night I finally say, “I Kissed a Girl.”

And hopefully that same girl won’t notice my toupée and say, “Take It Off…”

Drunken Recollections… Coconuts And Bowling Balls

What else did you expect this post to open with?

Train rides are not commonplace for me back home, let alone drunken train rides.  While I’m in Prague, I’ve gotten quite used to them.

During one of my many discussions with Steve, we started on the topic of tropical films, namely Couples Retreat.  I mentioned that it’s a general rule that films that take place in vacation spots feel like half-assed movies.  Everyone’s in paradise!  Why would they want to work?

So we started thinking about the exceptions and the rules.  Obviously, on the inebriated spot, we didn’t mention most of these:

RULES

  • Couples Retreat
  • Club Dread (I liked this one, but it really isn’t that good)
  • Club Paradise
  • The Beach
  • Into the Blue
  • Blue Crush
  • Fool’s Gold
  • Six Days, Seven Nights
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
  • A Perfect Getaway
  • Jaws: The Revenge
  • 50 First Dates (also likeable but weak… let alone twisted)
  • Summer Rental
  • Joe Versus the Volcano
  • Captain Ron
  • Cabin Boy
  • Cutthroat Island
  • The Pirate Movie
  • The Heartbreak Kid (remake)
  • My Father the Hero

EXCEPTIONS

  • Forgetting Sarah Marshall
  • Cast Away
  • Jurassic Park
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
  • One Crazy Summer (you gotta give me this one)
  • Point Break (you don’t hafta give me this one)

UNDECIDEDS

  • Blue Lagoon
  • Return to Blue Lagoon (probably a RULE)
  • The Heartbreak Kid (original)
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Open Water
  • Scooby-Doo
  • Weekend at Bernie’s
  • Weekend at Bernie’s II (probably a RULE, too)

It even applies to TV shows, if not more so than.  But I’ll save that for another post.

Oh!  And as to why there’s a mention of bowling balls – Steve wondered what it would take to have a bowling lane in your home.  If it looked like this…

"Pardon me, but I left my shoes in my other bowling alley."

…then it would only cost $88,000.  If it looked like this…

Yep. I went there because it's easy.

…then prepare to shell out $149.99.  Plus tax.

Did I miss any?  Did I misplace any?  Comment below!

A Handful Of… Part 3’s That Surpassed Parts 1 & 2

Jesus Christ...

Trilogies (let alone film series) are a tricky thing.  How do you continue to succeed three films in?

The most common option is to add more of the same but different.  Cases in point:

  • Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (added villainous Jack Frost)
  • Once Upon a Time in Mexico (added blinded gunslinger played by Johnny Depp)
  • Oh, God! You Devil (added another George Burns)
  • Blade: Trinity (added Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel, for some reason)
  • Look Who’s Talking Now (SPOILER ALERT! It’s dogs!)
  • Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (This. Is. Real. Folks.)

By doing so, filmmakers walk a fine line between celebrating the previous entries and making mockeries of them (not that any of the above were masterpieces, but still).

Some III’s have gotten close by following the above examples, and at times in my youth, I might have argued that they were better than the original film, but I’ve gotten budwiser.

  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (added “dad” like how Big Momma 3 added “son” *chills*)
  • Return of the Jedi (added Ewoks like how Blade 3 added Biel’s hot booty)
  • Back to the Future 3: From the Old West to the New! (I know that’s not its real name, but it changed the game like Once Upon a Time in Mexico did)

The other route Part Trois’ follow simply lead to clusterfucksville by trying to go big AND go home.  Don’t see the banging whimpers:

  • Matrix Revolutions
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Only a few 3’s have got it right.  They’ve walked the line of concluding with a bang (sometimes continuing with a bang), adding new, but celebrating the before.  In no particular order:

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Lord of the Rings Return of the King

Also known as: "Aragon's Song"

Some could argue that this had a rich story to pull from, or that it’s really just the ending of one long movie (this is what I argued), but isn’t that what a trilogy is supposed to be?  Writer/director/cameo Actor! Peter Jackson kept reveals hidden from each film to the next, and it kept each installment an exciting time investment.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Not pictured: The Okay

I haven’t seen this film (not without trying), but it’s considered the best of director Sergio Leone’s The Dollars Trilogy or The Man With No Name Trilogy.  The trilogy’s name is almost a trilogy!

Three Colors: Red

Slogan: "It'll tickle you pink!"

This I did see.  Fancy that… a French film over a Western.  I guess that’s why I said fancy that.  Writer/director Krzysztof Kieslowski brings it all home in the third film of the Three Colors trilogy (Blue and White) precede it.  Although at first, none of the stories seem connected, this one does all the heavy lifting in the end.  Très vachement forte!

Goldfinger

"Five Goldfingers! Four Dr. No's, three Moneypenny's..."

This third official James Bond film set not only records, but precedents for the rest of Sean Connery’s appearances as Agent 007.  A classic amongst classics!

Toy Story 3

I finally get it! It's like "Toy Store-E"... ha!

If Mickey Mouse created Walt Disney, then the original Toy Story made Pixar.  As the studio’s first major theatrical release, Toy Story lit G.I. Joe action figures on fire and raised the Barbie Dream House for what animated films could not only look like, but make you feel.  Disney even had to chase and catch up.  Although the first film is still a fun, endearing piece of entertainment, Toy Story 3 is a beautiful swan song that exemplifies fifteen years of cinematic accomplishments.  Quentin Tarantino even thinks so.

Piranha 3D

Jaws 3D was already taken.

Having seen all three Piranha movies, this one accomplished what it exactly set out to do: be a dumb, fun, titillating (pun intended) 3D summer movie.  Sure, the original Piranha had some weird small creature walking around that was never explained, and James Cameron’s infatuation with water showed its gums in Piranha Part 2: The Spawning, but this had… well, I’m not going to spoil anything for you.

(SIDENOTE: Jackass 3D was thisclose to making it, but I never saw the first two and decided it wouldn’t be fair.  For some reason.)

Disagree with anything?  Agree with everything?  Comment below!

A Handful Of… Decent Songs Performed In Non-Musicals

I’m sorry, but I am not going to apologize for having any of these songs on the list.  Wait.  Does that work?

Anyhoosiersshouldneverbemadeintoamusical, here are A Handful Of songs I enjoyed that were sung by characters in movies that were not musicals.  Agree or disagree in the comments (Jeremy!)…

  • Sex Bob-Omb’s Garbage Truck from Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

This song was actually written by Beck (I’m not sure if the actors performed it), so there’s that.  And the movie is kick-ass (not to be confused with Kick-Ass), so double win.

  • Eddie and the Cruisers’ On the Dark Side from Eddie and the Cruisers

This movie originally came out in 1984, and I guarantee more people know John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band’s song than the flick itself.  Actor! Michael Paré would go on to make tons more B-movies.  He would also co-star in TV’s The Greatest American Hero, believe it or not.

  • The Soggy Bottom Boys’ Man of Constant Sorrow from O’ Brother, Where Art Thou?

Okay… this wasn’t a song originally made for the Coen Brothers’ film, but I still have to include the remake of Dick Burnett’s classic.

  • Josie and the Pussycat’s 3 Small Words from Josie and the Pussycats

Letters to Cleo front woman, Kay Hanley, performed all the eponymous rock group’s songs, and you have to admit the song’s as catchy as chlamydia herpes syphilis a smile.  Also, take notice of the clever countdown in the chorus (6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1)…

  • The Wonders’ That Thing You Do! from That Thing You Do!

The group might have almost been called The Oneders, but real-life rock group, Fountains of Wayne, did a great job at capturing the pop hit feeling of that era.  They proved their pop hit chops again a few years later with their own overplayed catchy hit – Stacy’s Mom.

  • Electric Dream Machine’s Dayman from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Pure pop perfection.