More Of MisenPOPic!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Only Real Solution for the USA-Tom Hanks

It's been a long time, but having read a lot of books over the past few years and having the energy now to write again, the blog of Mikey Hersh mixing humor, culture, and ramblings returns!!!  And it's completely free until somebody entices me with a scheme to make money on this!!!

From your ambassador of awesomeness who is looking to earn smiles and hugs and laughs with his writing, and not interested in providing tools for you for my own personal gain or profits (although my kids really want those Hatch-a-moles!)

It’s nothing new in politics, celebrities have held public office for the past forty years.  Arnold Schwarzenegger was the governor of California, Jesse “The Body/”The Mind” Ventura was the governor of Minnesota, Ronald Reagan was the president from 1980-1988 (for those who don’t remember history, he was an actor! Bedtime for Bonzo!!) and now we got perhaps the biggest celebrity of all taking over the White House soon.  The former host of The Apprentice who took a stunner from Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania and told Kevin McAllister how to find the front desk at a hotel in Home Alone 2.  Ladies and gentleman, Donald Trump!

Over the past few days, it’s no secret that people are really pissed!!!!  But instead of coming up with any solutions, we continue to air our gripes at the water cooler and via social media and are determined to protest.  That’s cool, it’s our right as Americans and freedom of speech, baby! I think we are just going to have deal with this for four more years and continue to question our reality.  So let's spend time caring about our family and friends and the stuff that makes us happy.  But we still need to come with a plan. So let’s look for a viable solution. Since we know creative and outside-the-box ideas go over like a fart in church in today’s landscape, I am going to offer a solution that I think works for everybody.  I’m not reinventing the wheel here.

We sure aren’t ready for a woman president YET, or another African-American president as it's been made known to us.  So Hilary, Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Oprah Winfrey, and Anna Kendrick are out!  We definitely love our celebrities, and whatever they tweet, we listen and reshare their comments with all of our friends.  The republicans have done it over and over, but the Democrats haven’t done it yet.  I’m nominating Tom Hanks right now for our next president for the Democratic party!!  Our reality has been distorted by our new celebrity culture, so doesn’t this make perfect sense?

1) He has no experience, but he seems like a really nice guy.  He takes photos with fans in Central Park, a lot of people I meet at fan conventions say he truly is a nice guy.  He is friends with a lot of other celebrities.  His movies have earned a lot of money and he won two Oscars in a row so he is a proven winner.
2) He appeals to everyone.  For the hard-edged veterans who support our troops, Tom Hanks died in World War II in Saving Private Ryan.  He wins the conservative vote who are on the fence with another four years of Trump based just on that.
3) He appeals to the LBGT community.  Did we not have empathy for him in his Oscar-winning performance in Philadelphia?
4) He is great for the handicapped and mentally challenged.  Just look at all of the cool things he was able to accomplish in Forrest Gump.
5) We need to build the economy and manufacture more toys in the United States.  C’mon, Tom Hanks was the voice of one of the most beloved characters in film history, Toy Story.  Our kids will actually care about our president (bonus points for Polar Express)
6) How about the liberal drug community? Tom Hanks had the greatest bachelor party in film history and even provided cocaine to a donkey in Bachelor Party.  He is not beyond scandal like previous presidents before him such as Bill Clinton and JFK.
7) Tom Hanks appeals to all the kids at heart and was even able to make a wish on a Zoltar machine to be big, grew up overnight and experienced the corporate workplace in BIG.  So he knows how to look at the world from two sides.
8) The women love him, he wins the female vote.  I mean, c’mon, all girls love Sleepless In Seattle and You've Got Mail.
9) Disney appeals to everybody.  The man knew what it was like to be Walt Disney as he portrayed him in Saving Mr. Banks.  So, he understands business.
10) He knows how to manage a team.  He did an amazing job managing a bunch of women ballplayers in A League Of Their Own.

Also don’t forget he was in love with a mermaid, was stuck on an island by himself for a long time and got off, went up into outer space, dealt with some bad neighbors, did police work with a dog, solved the Da Vinci Code, managed a popular one-hit wonder, and was Sully the U.S. Hero! Plus, he is 55 years+ and is your typical white Anglo-Saxon protestant male!!! 

Don’t laugh, why can’t this happen?  After what we have seen over the past ten years in which many people care more about famous people’s opinions and taking selfies with celebrities rather than being in communities with peers and using real cameras to document important personal events with their families, you are telling me this isn’t an option that works for everybody!!!  He’s Tom Hanks, I’m sure he can figure this out.  Who doesn’t want this??

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Brian Johnson (AC/DC) Book Signing (May 26th, 2011)

My brother and I were fortunate to meet Brian Johnson at Bookends in Ridgewood, NJ and got him to sign a copy of his new memoir, Rockers & Rollers. I'm not a big fan of waiting in line for two hours to meet somebody for three seconds with a rare chance to get a photo with that person. But it's a legend! Besides, I was going to buy the book no matter what, so if there was an opportunity to get it signed and get a possible photo with him, why not? Surprisingly, I was able to get some decent photos only my piece of shit digital camera decided not to work on this day of all days.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chiller Theatre April, 2011 at

A fun little montage of my Chiller Experience!!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Chiller Experience #6: April 2011

What can I say about the Chiller Theatre show? What once started out as a simple horror convention in Secaucus, NJ has evolved into the mecca of pop culture-related shows. What's even better is that the show takes place at the Parsippany Hilton down on Route 10, only a few minutes down the street from my house. Considering how much of a pop culture geek I am, what more could I ask for when the Chiller show comes to town each October and April? This kick-ass show brings out the creme de la creme of guests: Oscar Winning screen legends, professional wrestlers, rock & rollers from some of my favorite bands, horror movie icons, and former porn stars. But of course the main attractions for me are the actors and actresses from the movies of my childhood, those movies that are in my Top 25 of which I can pretty much recite from word for word. These actors portrayed characters that I grew up with appearing in movies that I have seen over and over and over again. Going to Chiller is kind of like a family reunion, seeing those key people that are part of my history that I haven't seen in a long time, or have heard so much about but am finally getting to meet them face to face. I could see an actor like Brad Pitt or Robert Pattinson both of whom I'm not much of a fan of walk down the street in NYC, think it's kind of cool, and then just go on my merry way. But at a Chiller Show, I'll meet a cast member from an 80's classic like Revenge Of The Nerds and get so excited that I almost poop in my pants due to the adrenaline. What separates the Chiller show from other shows of it's kind is the fan-friendliness. For the most part, even if you don't want to spend money for an autograph or a photo, you can still pay the admission fee and have conversations with the guests about their careers. I have been fortunate to be a part of the last six Chiller shows making new friends, meeting cool celebs, and reliving my childhood through great conversations with these people. Here's a long-winded recap of my experience at Chiller.

The original plan was just to hit the Chiller Show on Friday night. I was originally going to help out a fellow movie buff in Kentucky with getting his posters autographed, but his stuff didn’t come via UPS in time. It actually worked out since I would not have had enough time to get all of his stuff signed that night anyway. So I decided I’d hit the show again on Saturday or Sunday to help my new buddy out. So the first day was all about taking care of me and my needs! With my brother, dad, future sister-in-law, and pal Ron as my entourage, I got to once again enjoy another kick-ass Chiller show and chat with notable stars from movies and rock bands that I love.

"Nerds! Nerds! Nerds! Nerds! Nerds!"
Long story short, I have a bunch of movie lists with the most important one being the list of the Top 100 Movies I Enjoy. Number Five on that list is the 1984 classic, Revenge Of The Nerds. I will take the Nerds four pack (Nerds, Nerds In Paradise, The Next Generation, & Nerds In Love) over the Harry Potter series any day of the week. Watching Revenge Of The Nerds for the first time when I was seven years old taught me new dirty words including a term for female pubic hair and a word that starts with d and ends with g. I also got my first taste of what to expect when I grew up thinking pantie raids and belching contests at college were going to be the norm. I was fortunate to have met Robert Carradine (Lewis) and Curtis Armstrong (Booger) at the last April Chiller show. This time around, I could get my Nerds II: Nerds In Paradise poster 80% complete by meeting Larry B. Scott (Lamar) and Andrew Cassese (Wormser).

Poor Larry B. Scott! He portrayed the most feminine pansy in the history of movies, and most people expect him to be just like Lamar in real life with the limp wrist. Guess what, everyone? Larry is not gay, well at least not gay in the homosexual way, but gay in the real happy way. This guy was just so happy and down to earth that I was shocked. We spoke in depth about his career and course the Nerds movies. He told me that doing those cheesy dance scenes in Nerds IV in order to attract the in-the-closet but obviously gay butler was a real blast for him. The reason for having very little screen time in The Karate Kid was because he was filming Revenge Of The Nerds at the same time and was traveling back and forth from Arizona to California. He enjoyed filming Space Camp was proud that the cast from Space Camp all moved on to bigger and better things. Larry kept shouting "Nerds here!! Get your nerds here!" to entice more people to come visit him, and how could anybody resist the chance to meet a Tri-Lamb? He thought about marketing Nerds javelins to bring to the show and sell but it would have cost a fortune to produce and ship. The rumored next generation Nerds movie is actually a done deal. Larry told me it's already in the can, but doesn't know if it will ever see the light of day. It had better never get released or I will protest and boycott just like I have done so for Larry B. Scott's other remade movie, The Karate Kid.

Andrew Cassese arrived a little bit late because he got stuck in traffic coming back from New York City after doing some voice over work. I wasn't sure what he was going to look like since the last photo I saw of him was in an issue of Maxim for a Revenge Of The Nerds reunion feature and he looked awful. This time around, he looked more like an older version of how he looked in Revenge Of The Nerds II. He was very laid back, but a really nice guy and appreciative of our love for his work in the first two Nerds movies. Per our chat with Andrew, he told us they he too had caught wind of the remake of the Revenge Of The Nerds script and was shocked that it wasn't a train wreck. When asked why he didn't appear in the courtroom scene at the end of Revenge Of The Nerds III, he said that nobody even told him about it but would have done it if asked. Since he aged between the first two Nerds movies to the point of unrecognition, he figured most people just assumed it was him even though it was character actor Sean Whalen instead. Andrew told us he doesn't do much in front of the camera anymore, but does a lot of voice-over work that we probably knew but didn't recognize as being his voice. The reason he looked so different and unshaven in the Maxim Nerds feature was because he was doing a play at the time and wasn't allowed to shave.

"It's alright, it's okay. He's got tits!"
Of all the guests announced for this Chiller show, the person I most wanted to meet was Joyce Hyser. Hyser was Bruce Springsteen's girlfriend in the 80's and of course is best known as Terri Griffith from Just One Of The Guys, another of those classic 80's movies which ranks on the top 25 of my all-time favorite films. At the Chiller show in October 2009, I had the opportunity to meet and actually interview Clayton Rohner. He provided some interesting facts about the making of the movie that I was dying to hear about since a DVD commentary was never made and there is very little known about the behind the scenes stuff available on-line. I was thinking of interviewing Joyce Hyser for even more information, but decided I'd be more than happy to just get a photo of her and even go for an autograph on a poster I picked up on Amazon. Wow, even though it's been twenty five years since Just One Of The Guys, Joyce Hyser still looked damn hot. And boy was she so sweet! I really wanted to give her crap about her infamous "nude scene", but figured it would be best to keep that smile of hers from turning into a frown. Joyce was impressed with my knowledge of the inside information of Just One Of The Guys. We discussed the band that played at the school dance, and she was blown away that my brother and I had the soundtrack and knew that "Hard Way" was performed by Brock/Davis who were members of Rod Stewart's backing band in the 80's. I struggled to come up with a catch phrase from the movie for her to write on the poster, so I went with the simple quote, Maybe my balls don't itch! She then jokingly asked me if my balls were itching at the moment. When I did my best Buddy Griffith impersonation, and said "All balls itch, that's a fact!", she lost her marbles and began laughing. I'm not sure if she was pulling my chain, but when I asked her about a possible sequel, she indicated there was a script called "Just One Of The Dads" and all of the main characters would return from the first movie. I assume if this does happen, it's going straight to DVD, but that's fine by me. Just One Of The Guys is a beloved movie by many, but I'm not sure a movie studio is going to invest much time and resources for a long overdue sequel to this movie, but you never know. I got my photo with Joyce even if the person handling her told me it was an extra $10 but was going to charity. I didn't really think that was fair, but I needed the photo to go along with the autograph, so I obliged. Joyce took a great photo with us, but then my brother and his fiancee also wanted a photo. Joyce invited them to take a photo with her, but right as I took the photo, the mean old lady at her table (who I believe was the mother of a former 80's star) screamed that I owed more money. Joyce just shrugged it off and told the lady to lay off, that it was her wedding present to my brother since he was getting married in a few weeks.

"Be Excellent To Each Other... And Party On Dudes!"
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is my favorite movie of all time, and it has remained so since 1989 when I saw it in a Florida movie theater and it blew my mind. I seem to quote from it every day, and at one time when my memory was top-notch, I could recite most of the movie line by line. I must have seen this movie 500 times. Keanu Reeves who played Ted ”Theodore” Logan went on to a much successful career appearing in blockbusters such as The Matrix trilogy, Speed, and The Devil’s Advocate. So meeting him is probably not going to happen unless he happens to be sitting next to me in an airport. But the dude who played Bill S. Preston Esquire, Alex Winter, has also had some success but nothing to the degree of Keanu. So it was only a matter of time until he was going to start doing these Chiller shows. When I get to meet and take a photo with an actor who portrayed such a iconic character in an iconic movie, the lottery has been won. He was pretty much just running the motions, but still was a nice guy who answered my questions. Of course the big question I had for Alex was if Bill & Ted 3 is really going to happen. He said the script is close to done, and it’s going to be awesome. He has no plans of directing the third installment. I told him I spoke to William Sadler who played Death in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey at the last Chiller show. Sadler told us it was the most fun he ever had making a movie and he hopes to hear from Alex about the third movie. Alex indicated that Sadler was indeed a lot of fun to work with, and most of his lines in B&T Bogus were improvised. He seemed honored when I told him that it’s my favorite movie of all time! Alex Winter, time spent with you was non non non non heinous!

"Rock & Roll Ain't Noise Pollution!"
Eddie Trunk is living the dream. The host of VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show and infamous metal DJ, Eddie Trunk has the career I can only dream about. I guess the closest I can get is to live my dream is through him as he interviews the classic hard rock legends and discusses the history of music for a living. We also have a lot in common as we are both from Jersey, are rapid KISS fans spewing venom against the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame for continually dissing them, and have a wide knowledge of music. I just picked up Eddie Trunk’s new book on Amazon, and figured I’d get him to sign it and get a photo with him at no cost since he indicated on his website he would do it for free for anybody who missed his previous book signings. I was lucky to have met him once before at the first Chiller show I ever attended, although I do remember him when he worked at the Alwilk music store in Livingston Mall. Just like the last time, he was really down to earth and spoke passionately about his thoughts on random hard rock topics I hit him with. We tried to "Stump the Trunk by asking him what he knew about the band, Wyld Stallions, whose logo was my brother’s T-Shirt. He got nervous for a second as it was a band he wasn’t familiar with, but laughed when we mentioned it was the name of Bill & Ted’s band from the classic movie. Eddie told us about the guests he is trying to get for the next season of That Metal Show. He thinks there is a good chance James Hetfield will be on. Still a no go on Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, or the KISS hired guns (Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer). There is no chance a guy like Vito Bratta from White Lion will appear as he just is done with the scene. Jake E. Lee is too much of a loose cannon to appear. Eddie would love to have Angus and Malcolm Young from AC/DC on, but guys such as them who don’t live in the United States are tough to book. I asked him why he is so down on Judas Priest’s classic 80’s album, Turbo, since it was full of cool melodies. He liked a few songs on the album, but is firm with his opinion that the album was garbage. Oh well, I still love it!

"One, Two, Freddy's Coming For You!"
Do you remember the cute blond who broke John Cusack’s heart in Better Off Dead or Freddy Krueger’s first victim in A Nightmare On Elm Street? That actress is Amanda Wyss, who I wanted to meet but wasn’t sure if I wanted to shell out money for a photo with her or an autograph. I did have to meet her and say hi, and boy was she a sweetheart! Amanda Wyss definitely gets the award for Nicest Chiller Guest for this show. Not to take away from the other guests who were nice, but Amanda was definitely in a whole other league. Did I mention she still is very cute even though she looks nothing like she did back in those 80’s classics? She asked the obvious question when she noticed my twin brother standing next to me, “Are you guys related?” I had to answer with a snappy retort, so I told her he’s my new buddy who I just met for the first time at Chiller? That got her laughing hysterically, to which I asked her that now that I made her laugh, could I get a photo with her at no cost as I really don’t need her autograph, and paying to take a photo with my own camera is ridiculous. She agreed that it was a dumb rule, but she was paranoid and didn’t want to break the rules in fear somebody was watching her. She told me to come back later to chat some more and she would take the photo with me. I didn’t want to stick around until the end of the show, so I figured I had some extra cash and she was so nice so I’d throw $20 down. If I was to do that, then I would need her to autograph my Elm Street documentary poster I had picked up at the show. When I came back, she told me that she loved my Breaking Bad Shirt. I asked her if she even knew what the shirt meant since the photo of Jesse Pinkman kind of looked like a portrait of me. She said she knew casting directors on that show, had a place in New Mexico, and had done a movie with Bryan Cranston a few years ago. Although she has only seen bits and pieces of the show, she would die for a part on the show. We talked for a good ten minutes about Breaking Bad, and my passion for the show which I believe to be the greatest of all time. I don’t know if she was flirting with me, but my fantasy of hooking up with an 80’s movie star was starting to play out in my mind. Who cares if I’m married, and she’s almost twenty years older than me? We got a great photo, and she asked if I would be back tomorrow so we can talk some more. I told her she wouldn’t remember me even if I did return, to which she replied that I was unforgettable and of course she would remember Mikey The Breaking Bad Guy. She even went so far as to mention she would even remember me even if I saw her at a future show. I kept razzing her and making her feel guilty that she wouldn’t. She must be a great actress, because she finally convinced she would remember me, so we’ll see what happens in the future.

"You Got The Body, And I Got The Brains!"
A Nightmare On Elm Street 2 is the most unintentionally (or maybe it was intentional) gayest movie of all time. Could you believe that Freddy Krueger represented a teenager’s sexual repression? Mark Patton played Jesse, the main character in the film who was struggling with his feelings on whether he loved penis or vagina. Ironically, Mark Patton was portraying a gay character in 1985 even though he himself was still in the closet and wouldn’t come out until later on. I was really happy when I saw Mark Patton would be appearing at the Chiller Show as I had to at least thank him for appearing in one of the campiest and silliest horror movies of all time. When I first approached him, he appeared to look angry. I spoke to him a little about the movie and of course mentioned how gay the movie was. He told me that he’s proud to have a photo still of himself, Marshall Bell, and New Line Cinema big wig Bob Shaye in leather outfits that must be worth a small fortune. After I met Amanda Wyss, I figured I should probably go back and get a photo and signature of Mark Patton. This time around, he seemed more laid back. After I got him to sign the photo, “He’s Inside Me!” and got the photo with him, he told me I now get a prize. Hmm, what could the prize be! He told me to pick a hand, and my prize was a unique bright T-Shirt with the phrase, “Jesse Is A Homo!” I would have bought the shirt anyway had I known he had them on his table, so I didn’t feel so guilty shelling money out for a photo. This isn’t a shirt I was going to find in Hot Topic or Spencers. He also wanted a photo of us holding up the shirt for his Facebook page, and I was more than happy to oblige. Mark Patton turned out to be a real cool guy. He had quit the movie business and now has an art store in Mexico. After many years of staying out of the spotlight, he’s now happy to talk about his Elm Street experience. He also mentioned a documentary is in the works about his performance as Jesse and how it impacted other gay teenagers to come out of the closet. I definitely have to check it out when it’s released. I'm also happy to say he's now my buddy on Facebook. It's an honor to be friends with the first horror male scream queen!

"Snozzberries? Who has ever heard of a Snozzberry?"
There always been some super awesome guests at Chiller, but I don’t think anything could top the 40th anniversary reunion of the kids from Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. This movie is a staple of my life, one that I have seen so many darn times, one that I still will stop everything I am doing and watch when it’s being aired for the millionth time on cable. Quotes like “I Want It Now”, “For every bad deed shines a good and noble deed”, “You get nothing, good day!”, “But I want it more than anybody!” , and “So much time and no little to do, strike that and reverse it” are now part of my daily vocabulary. The opportunity to meet the kids from Wonka all grown up was a real special treat, kind of like winning my own personal golden ticket. I would have killed to meet Willy Wonka himself, Gene Wilder, but he does not attend conventions such as Chiller or really speak much about Wonka anymore for that matter. But I was more than happy to meet Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum), Veruca Salt (Julie Dawn Cole), Augustus Gloob (Michel Bollner), Violet Beauregarde (Denise Nickerson), and Paris Theimman (Mike Tee Vee) all grown up. And an added bonus was Diana Sowle (Mrs. Bucket) who is best known for her heartwarming song from the movie, “Cheer Up Charlie.” While waiting for my friend and brother to arrive, my dad and I were scouting the rooms and having good conversations with the Chiller guests that didn’t have any lines for them. The Wonka room had a crazy line, so we decided to wait. As we were walking down the hallway, I noticed an older lady with a Chiller guest badge wondering where she was going. When I checked out her badge and saw it was Diana Sowle, my heart sank. This was Charlie’s mom, and an opportunity to get a photo with her without having to pay since I didn’t figure on meeting her come time to get my Wonka poster signed. She was so happy that I asked her for a photo and stood posing with me for a few minutes while my idiot dad was figuring out how to use my camera. Such a sweet lady!

My original plan was to get my Wonka poster that I picked up on Amazon signed by all five kids. When I found out that there would be no group cost, and that each person was charging $25, my plan had to change. My brother was willing to get something autographed and shell out the $125 it would cost to get each Wonka kid’s signature. I figured I would give him my poster as a sign of goodwill, and in return I could at least get photos with all of the Wonka kids. What a good brother I am! As the night progressed, the line to enter dwindled down and entering the Wonka room became less of an obstacle. The first of the Wonka kids we met was Peter Ostrum aka Charlie. Very low-key and proper, Peter was more than happy to sign for us and listen to us babble on about how much we loved him. Of course we already knew he had quit the business and is now a veterinarian in upstate New York, but this came as a surprise to my buddy Ron. Ron figured he should ask some questions about his cat, to which Peter was more than happy to give him information. Ron was so happy that he got medical information from Charlie Bucket. Next up was Paris Theimman aka Mike Tee Vee. He unfortunately got put up to the task of gatekeeper as we hounded him with questions about the other guests, what was available to purchase, and why Gene Wilder couldn’t make it. Paris was more than happy to answer our questions and taking photos with us. He even unveiled a replica Wonka hat for us to pose with. The third of the Wonka kids we met was my brother’s personal favorite, Julie Dawn Cole aka Veruca Salt. Super sweet and very attractive for her age, Julie was displaying her new book, “I Want It Now!” which she had written about her experience making the movie. I already have added it to my Amazon wish list, but figure I will wait until a New Jersey library has it. Ron asked her about the Royal wedding since she happens to be British, but she told us that shemissed out on the royal wedding this morning as she was up in an airplane coming to the Chiller Show. It was a real honor to meet this woman whose character was so popular that there is a rock band named after her. We had to wait for Michael Bollner and Denise Nickerson to come back from a smoke break, so we killed more time talking to Peter Ostrum and Paris Theimman. Michael Bollner aka Augustus Gloob was the first to return to the room, and we hit him up quickly. For some reason, he didn’t make the poster and also due to not saying much in the movie, finding a quote for him to sign on the poster was a challenge. I think we just decided for him to write “Saved some room for later!” My buddy Ron got around to chatting with him about German electronic/techno bands which was a personal highlight. Although he had a thick German accent, he now speaks much better English than he did a few years ago when he did the DVD commentary. Last up was Denise Nickerson aka Violet who seemed a bit disheveled trying to be in three different places at one time. She was very nice and insisted on signing the poster with her infamous catch phrase, Can it, you knit!” What a great experience it was meeting the Wonka Kids, since I always envied them for winning the Golden Tickets and being able to live out the fantasy of seeing Wonka’s factory even if things didn’t turn out great for all but one of them.

"They're all gonna laugh at you!"
She was the ditzy chick in Carrie. She was one of Mike Myers victims in Halloween. She got naked for Bill Murray in Stripes. She was Goldie Hawn’s buddy in Private Benjamin. And she was the only Chiller guest who allowed me to take a photo with her for no money. That would be PJ Soles. She’s probably had a bigger career than half the guests at the show who charge a ridiculous $25 fee just to take a photo with them. And there were no crazy lines or potential issues as a lot of the everyday Chiller guests probably didn’t even know who she was. Maybe other B and C level stars can learn from her. PJ Soles was a class act, and was more than happy to take as many photos with us as we wanted. I only wish I spent more time talking with her, but she was in the middle of a deep conversation with somebody else, so I left.

Other Highlights:

The biggest surprise of the show was seeing Robert Romanus pretty much sitting by his lonesome doing a USA Today crossword puzzle with not many people crowding his table. If I had extra cash and a Fast Times poster to get signed, I would have paid. Seriously, this is the guy who played Mike Damone, the best character in that movie besides Spicoli. Yes, he has aged quite a bit since 1982, but this guy had a pretty decent career. I did have a quick chat with him and asked him about the infamous penis scene of his that got cut out of the movie. He laughed and told me he was glad it got cut or else his mother would have died of a heart attack.

Unfortunately, only the head of the Human Centipede (Akihiro Kitamura) was in attendance at the Chiller show. He was a really cool guy and was able to poke fun at himself for being part of a really strange concept. I only wish Ashley Williams who played the middle piece of the Centipede was there Friday night. I really needed to know if she plans on getting more roles having now been typecast as the middle piece of a human centipede that ate poop from a stranger’s butt and had her poop eaten by another woman. She must have some fortitude to have gone along with that role.

Whoa! Sean Kanen, the dude that the ladies know from soap operas, and who I know as Mike Barnes from The Karate Kid Part III is in the house. He was a cool guy, although a little ditzy and acted more like a salesman than a dude simply there to meet his fans. He was hawking all kinds of posters and even was going to sell a signed original script of The Karate Kid Part III. I only wanted a photo with him, only a little on the fence about getting an autograph. He would only do it if I bought something. $5, maybe. $25, no thanks.
Any fan of the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise, or documentaries in general has to see Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy. A lot of in-depth discussions about all of the Elm Street movies including the gay theme of Elm Street 2, the music, the TV show, the history were all included. Except for Johnny Depp, Patricia Arquette, and Larry Fishburne, most all the cast members from the Elm Street franchise were featured. Hell, even Don Dokken and Alice Cooper discussed the infamous tunes they wrote for the franchise. I was talking to a guy sitting at Heather Langenkamp’s table and noticed the poster for the documentary on the table. I told him that whoever produced that was a genius and it was the best documentary about a movie franchise I had ever seen, to which he replied he was that genius. His name is Tommy Hutson and he was shocked when I told him I’d like him to sign the poster and even take a photo with him. Tommy signed the poster thanking me for calling him a genius. His mom must be so proud.

Ex AC/DC drummer Simon Wright was at the Chiller show. I totally forgot to bring an AC/DC album cover to get signed. He told me being in AC/DC was one helluva experience and an honor it was to play with the Young brothers. I also got to meet the legendary metal bassist from Quiet Riot, Rudy Sarzo as well as Joe Bouchard from Blue Oyster Cult. Aren't I cool?

It feels pretty damn cool when a pop culture icon remembers you. My good friend, Geri Reischl aka “The Fake Jan Brady” shouted a “Hi Mike!” from her table as I walked around in the pit. That’s something I’ll tell my grandkids someday.

Of any guest at Chiller, the one with the biggest audience was Gary Busey. The loony bird had a line a mile long that caused some issues for others like me who were not interested in meeting him but only to enter the room to meet Alex Winter, the Elm Street cast, and PJ Soles.

The Mother chick from Danzig’s music video was an absolute mess. She came down the elevator looking like she just came from a nice crystal meth session in her room with Gary Busey. I had no interest in posing for a photo with her since I was scared I might catch some kind of disease.

Jane Wiedlin has always been my favorite Go-Go, even if I thought Belinda Carlisle was cuter. I would get to chat more with her on the second day of the show, but I appreciated when I began singing the chorus to her 80’s hit, Rush Hour "Ooh you send me", and she sang the rest, “Baby in a rush hour.” I couldn’t get that song out of my head the rest of the weekend.

Day Two: My second day at the Chiller show was all work! My brother and I mapped out a plan to meet more stars and get photos as well as help my guy in Kentucky with his stuff. We worked damn hard by hitting the right spots, making sure we got the stuff signed right while taking photos of all the celebs signing at the very least. We would hit only a few road bumps in terms of getting the photos with the celebs. For the most part, it all worked out.

"Dinner With Drac"
I guess it was only a matter of time until I met Zacherley. There might not even be a Chiller show without this legend. He was the easiest person to meet since there usually never was a line for him at previous shows as most horror fans have already met him. As a favor to my pal in Kentucky who wanted his signature, I would meet Zacherley with the bonus being getting a photo with him. As you can imagine, he is very old, and I’m not quite sure if he even knew what was going on. I wanted to ask him about his hit single, Dinner With Drac, but I don’t think he would have been to hear me so I refrained. What did strike me as odd were his fingers which were really bent out of shape. I doubt this guy is able to eat his spaghetti without some help.

"One bad apple don't spoil the whole bunch!"
She may be a cute blonde that also has appeared in Playboy, but the reason I wanted to meet Mercedes McNab was because she was April Buchman in Addams Family Values. Her photos do her a lot of justice because although I wouldn't look away if she passed me in a shopping mall, she just isn’t as hot in person. Her attitude and overall demeanor was piss poor. It appeared that we were doing her a favor by asking her questions. She looked at me with a face indicating, “Show me the money or get lost!” My buddy had sent a Fantastic Four poster that he wanted me to sign for him, so I figured a free photo with Mercedes McNab was going to happen. She told me that a photo with her was going to cost extra. Yikes! I kept my cool and asked if she would at least allow me to take a photo of her signing the photo, which she gladly did and even posed. Mercedes told us this was the first Fantastic Four poster she had ever seen, not just at the Chiller show but ever. She has never even seen the movie. The only reason the movie was produced was so that the studio could eventually get the rights to other Marvel properties. I struck out with Mercedes in adding another photo of me with a Hollywood hotty. What does it say about Mercedes when she charges an extra $10 for a photograph with her, yet PJ Soles who is a much bigger star charges zero for a photo opp?

"Whoa, Whoa! Little China Girl!"
Bai Ling has a nice little resume including guest appearances on Entourage and Lost, deleted scenes in a Star Wars prequel, a Playboy pictorial, and co-starring with Jason Lee in The Crow. Did I also mention she is also sexy in a really erotic way? She was more beautiful in person. She liked the whole twin thing my brother and I have and we had a fun conversation with her about her career. I asked her which part she liked better, playing Jack’s island fling on a nonsensical episode of Lost, or training Vincent Chase for a Japanese commercial on Entourage. She turned the question back to me, and no doubt it had to be her role on Entourage since she did a nude scene. I had some cool stuff for her to sign including a Spanish poster of The Crow that got her mother kind of excited. I took photos of her signing everything, and she seemed cool with taking a photo with us. But there was a money-grubbing dude at her table telling us it was an extra $10 for a photo with her. I just spent $60 to get things signed, that wasn’t enough? Bai Ling is really hot, but I wasn’t paying extra money to take a photo with her with my own camera.

"In A World Of Pure Imagination!"
Because my work order included getting a Willy Wonka print and a Golden Ticket signed by Peter Ostrum, Julie Dawn Cole, Michael Bollner, and Diana Sowle, I would be able to get another session in the Wonka room. Since I was getting more stuff signed, why not get another photo or two with Charlie Bucket and Veruca Salt? Plus, now my brother would get his photo with Mrs. Bucket. Of course, anything I didn’t ask on Friday night, I was sure to ask now. Peter Ostrum and Julie Dawn Cole were even nicer the second time around, and it made me so happy to see Peter Ostrum wearing a Wonka T-Shirt. Diana Sowle also was no nice, and it was so cute seeing her husband hanging out behind the scenes supporting his wife. He even wanted to make himself useful so he agreed to take the photo of my brother and I with Diana. Once again, I had to thank her for “Cheer Up Charlie” a song that I seem to always sing to people when they are upset with hopes their frown will turn into a smile. My brother and I left the Wonka room ecstatic that we got our Wonka’s worth from the Chiller show. That would have been true if we didn’t realize that we had not missed the special Willy Wonka reunion panel, which we just had to attend and maybe even attempt to get a photo of us with the entire cast?

What sounded great in theory turned out to be kind of disappointing. The panel started a bit late, and the panel moderator leading the panel didn’t seem to have a clue what he was doing. There was no structure or anything. Only a few people in the audience got to ask questions, many of which were questions of which I already had known the answers to. I raised my hand to ask a real question like would Peter Ostrum have done the sequel if asked, or how come Charlie’s other grandparents got the shaft in favor of Grandpa Joe? Somehow, I didn't get picked and I felt like I was back in high school again. The bulk discussion was about the Tim Burton piece of garbage remake which could have been summarized in two minutes. Don’t get me wrong, I was glad to have attended. I just wish there was more time and more good tidbits about making the movie. I guess I’ll get more information from reading Veruca Salt’s book. Also, the cast members bolted out rather quickly so getting the “money shot” with the Wonka kids didn’t happen. Oh well!

"The Freaks Come Out At Night"
I might know a lot about movies, but I’m always striving to gain more knowledge about stuff I may have missed out on. Although I do know a little about horror movies and have recently caught up on The Evil Dead movies and The Human Centipede, I can’t honestly admit I know anything about Italian horror movies. The only reason I checked out the Italian Invasion room featuring the Demons reunion was because this was the #1 priority on my Kentucky guy’s list of must-haves. As a favor to him, I was more than happy to oblige. Just from observing the fans in the room, I could see there was a passion about this Demons movie. As a person who appreciates those who are passionate about things that I might have missed the boat on, I was curious to learn more about Italian horror. I got a complete crash course from Simonetta Simonetta who explained the impact of the movie, why it was so special that Bobby Rhodes was in attendance, and other interesting tidbits. She definitely sparked my interest and it’s only a matter of time until I watch the movie via Netflix. It goes to show you that an old dog can learn new tricks, and to keep an open mind because you might gain knowledge that can help you out later in life. I’m not sure knowing about Italian horror is going to get me far in life, but adding it to my knowledge of the history of film can only add to my repertoire.

"You're the best around, nothing's ever gonna keep you down!"
Tom Friedley might not really be a big name, but he did have a very small part in The Karate Kid and also happens to be John Travolta’s nephew and Ellen Travolta’s son. He does have horror ties appearing in one of the Friday The 13th movies, and per my work order, he was on the list of signatures I needed to get. So why not get a photo with him also? Tom was a real nice guy, really down to earth and eager to talk about his career. When I asked him why he had very little screen time in The Karate Kid, he told me his character originally had a back story which was cut due to the movie being too long. I asked him if he still keeps in touch with the actor who played Freddy in The Karate Kid. He couldn’t even remember the actor’s name, but we both had a chuckle at the character’s Makin Bacon T-Shirt in the movie. I told him it didn’t hurt to build a career in Hollywood when your uncle is Vinnie Barbarino, but Tom clearly stated he got no breaks and had to read for all of his roles.

"Doesn't Matter What They Say! Our Lips Are Sealed!"
Not only is Jane Wiedlin my favorite Go-Go, but she just so happens to have been in two of my favorite movies of all time. She was Joan of Arc in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and the singing telegram girl who gets shot in Clue. I heard rumors that she wasn’t very nice, but those rumors were not true. Jane Wiedlin was an absolute sweetheart. She made sure to take photos with both my brother and I in solo shots, and then a group shot of three of us. We asked her if she’d be appearing in the next Bill & Ted movie to which she replied she would love to but doubts her character would be returning. I asked her what she thought of Belinda Carlisle’s memoir. Jane said she was disappointed as the book was more about Belinda’s struggle with drugs then a good story about the band. I told Jane to write a book, she said that wasn’t happening any time soon. Jane was promoting a new comic book featuring her a super hero, and my guy in Kentucky requested a signed copy of the comic, which thankfully got me a photo with her. I found out the Go Go’s are playing in Morristown in a few weeks, I might just have to go and check them out.

Other Highlights:

All additional photos I got with guests were a bonus. Thanks to hard work and perseverance, I was able to get photos with Brit Eklund and Robert Dix. I totally forgot Brit Eklund was Rod Stewart’s former lover and the ex-wife of Slim Jim Phantom from The Stray Cats. She still has a smoking body, but she isn’t as hot as she was in the 70’s. I must admit that I knew very little about Robert Dix, but he was in a James Bond movie, so why not get a photo with him after he signed the James Bond poster I gave to him.

I just missed out on Ernest Borgnine and Maude Adams. Funny story is that as I was waiting to meet Brit Eklund, I noticed that the woman who I thought was Maude Adams was closing shop. We had a fun discussion while the whole time I thought I was chatting with Maude asking her questions about making movies. When I asked if she would sign one more item for us, the lady proclaimed that she wasn’t Maude Adams, only her sister. Hmmm! She actually did fool us twice when I noticed on Facebook a few days later that she was just an assistant who worked Maude Adams’ table for the weekend.

Unfortunately, Don Jamieson from That Metal Show didn't appear on Friday or Saturday. A nice surprise, though, was seeing the other guy on That Metal Show, Jim Florentine. Had my brother known he was going to make a guest appearance, he would have worn his Special Ed Crank Yankers shirt and gotten it signed. I overheard him talking with a Chiller staff member that he'd like to do a three day gig at the next Chiller show. Looks like we can expect the voice behind Special Ed and Bobby Fletcher to be at the October show.

Not only are the guests at Chiller top-notch, but so are some of the obsessive fans that get dressed up. Some of the best costumes I saw were a dude who looked and talked just like Ozzy Osbourne, a fake Edge who admitted that retirement sucked, people dressed up like Nerds, Misfits rejects and this "Asshole":

There also was a horror chick covered in red makeup with her boobs pretty much open for all to see. I saw some photos of the she-demon online with pasties on her breasts, but I’m pretty sure when I saw her at the show, there were no pasties. Or maybe my eyes were seeing things they only wanted to see. Perhaps Chiller staff told her that for legal reasons, the pasties had to be placed on her nipples so as not to offend the children. This crazy girl also tried to steal the show in a different way by getting into a cat fight with another woman.

After six Chiller Shows on my resume, I’m running out of legends who I need to meet. I’m crossing my fingers that William Zabka and Donald Gibb will be at Chiller come October, 2011. I still have to chat with Johnny Lawrence/Greg Tolan and Ogre. Regardless who is on the next guest list, you can be sure that I will be there probing the guests with tons more obscure questions.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The MisenPOPIC Year In Review: The Best & Worst Of Pop Culture 2010

Pop culture has always had a huge impact on my life, ever since I first started collecting baseball cards, watched MTV six hours a day when I was a young lad, listened to my dad's Barry Manilow 8-tracks, or woke up early Saturday mornings to watch The Smurfs just to name a few things. Yet for the first time in a long time, pop culture took a back seat to something or should I say someone who means so much more. In 2010, I became a daddy blessed with a little sweetheart who simply rocks my world. So you can imagine that caring for a baby controlled much of my time, and took away from discovering new music, watching TV, or going to the movies every Tuesday night. Of course, I still was able to catch up on my books, TV, music, and movies when I could, but I realized their importance was not primary anymore, just secondary. As my daughter gets older, I'll introduce her to Angus Young's power chords, Paul Stanley's cheesy song introductions, the Muppets, Walter White & Jessie Pinkman, Dexter Morgan, along with everything else that has brought me so much happiness. She also hopefully will understand that things nowadays are more obvious about making a buck instead of purely entertaining us. But, tradition is tradition, and of course I can always find the time at the end of each year to reflect on the best and worst of pop culture. So here we go:

Top 10 Songs of 2010

If you want to confirm the best songs of 2010 in terms of actual talent and musical integrity, you have come to the wrong place. There are no Fleet Foxes, Radiohead, The Decemberists, My Morning Jacket or other critics darlings here. If you want to confirm the so-called best in music, go read Spin Magazine or something. I might sound like a broken record, but 2010 was definitely not the best year for music, especially rock & roll music. In order to cut costs, music labels figured it more profitable to keep chugging out hip hop, dance, and teenager music recorded on a computer instead of paying session musicians or quality sound engineers to mix a classic rock album. Not that I'm totally complaining, because a good pop song is still something special no matter if there is less thought put into producing it. Wait until you see this list below, you won't even believe you are reading a pop music historian's blog based on some of the vanilla songs that I actually found interesting this year.

10) California Gurls by Katy Perry w/Snoop Dogg- Not an updated cover of the Beach Boys classic, but just a fun little ditty by Katy Perry about surf, sun, and summer. Was Snoop Dogg really needed, though, to contribute to the tune only to gain more airplay and sales in the hip-hop community?

9) Break Your Heart by Taio Cruz & Ludacris- Yet another unnecessary collaboration with an up and coming star and a big name hip hop artist. Taio Cruz came from nowhere to release a kick ass dance tune that even my wife enjoys and allows me to keep on high volume during a long car ride. Who cares about the Ludacris rap?

8) Sexy Bitch by David Guetta and Akon- I'm 33 years old and my dancing in club days are over. But if I were 21, this would be the tune that would get me out on the dance floor. A cool beat if I ever heard one. This David Guetta fellow was all over the music scene this year, and might be the modern day Fatboy Slim. Of course, the edited version Sexy Chick doesn't work for me.

7) Never Enough by Kiss- Technically this song was featured on Sonic Boom released in 2009, but the single didn't hit radio in 2010. Paul Stanley blatantly stealing the riff of Nothing But A Good Time from Poison, but who cares? It works and Bret Michaels has enough on his plate to attempt to sue one of his influences.

6) Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars- I figured it was going to be an R&B cover of the Billy Joel classic the first time I heard the title. Instead, Bruno Mars created a perfect R&B song that I could not get to escape from my head. In fact, I think this song gets better and better every time I hear it. Had it been released earlier, it might have been the song of the year.

5) Dynamite by Taio Cruz- Wow! Taio Cruz with two of the best songs of the year. And next year he'll just be a random answer to a trivia question. "Dynamite" was the 2010 Dance Song Of The Year, so let's rock this club like it's Dynamite!

4) Best Of Me by RATT- When a has been metal band like Ratt releases one of the best rock albums of the year, you seriously have to wonder what the hell happened! The 2010 Rock Song Of The Year, Best Of Me was a cool tune featuring the classic 80's metal sound mixed with a little more modern production.

3) Raise Your Glass by Pink- If only Pink decided to cover a Kiss song based on the title of her latest single from her Greatest Hits album? I have to give credit where credit is due, in terms of pure pop music, Pink is one, if not the best, in terms of singing great pop songs with catchy melodies. Raise Your Glass was a great tune which of course ended up being overplayed on pop and adult contemporary radio. We'll be hearing this tune at wedding and Bar Mitzvahs in 2011!

2) Airplanes by B.O.B and Hayley Williams- A song that made me want to hurl when I originally heard it, Airplanes turned out to be a classic song and one that I constantly sing to my daughter. Of course, the best part of the song is Hayley Williams belting out "Shooting Star" in that weird emo twang. A nicely produced rock/rap collaboration and a song that I think we'll be remembering ten years from now.

And the best song of 2010!!!....

1) Teenage Dream by Katy Perry- No matter how many times it gets played on the radio, I end up raising my fists and telling myself to don't ever look back, ever look back! A perfect and formulaic pop song written by Max Martin and sung by one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen, Teenage Dream was kind of like an anthem. It kills me to honor this song as the best of 2010, but I have to go with my heart and admit it was the song I most enjoyed this year. Even if it means I'm going to be ridiculed!!

Previous Song Of The Years:
2009- Sexy Little Thing by Chickenfoot
2008- Rock & Roll Train by AC/DC
2007- Home by Daughtry
2006- Sexyback by Justin Timberlake
2005- American Baby by Dave Matthews Band
2004- American Idiot by Green Day
2003- Stacy's Mom by Fountains Of Wayne
2002- Without Me by Eminem
2001- One More Time by Daft Punk
2000- Everything You Want by Vertical Horizon
1999- Cowboy by Kid Rock
1998- Psycho Circus by Kiss
1997- MMMBop by Hanson
1996- When Love And Hate Collide by Def Leppard
1995- Long Way Down by The Goo Goo Dolls
1994- Always by Bon Jovi
1993- Are You Gonna Go My Way by Lenny Kravitz
1992- Symphony Of Destruction by Megadeth
1991- Hole Hearted by Extreme
1990- Thunderstruck by AC/DC

The Worst Song Of 2010
Billionaire by Travie McCoy & Bruno Mars- Uggh! Not only is Travie McCoy making money and having banged Katy Perry, but he's writing songs that he isn't happy unless he's a billionaire so freakin' bad? I'm sorry, this song lacked intelligence, melody, or anything redeeming. Of course, this meant it hit #1 for a few weeks on the Billboard Top 100 Chart!

Top 5 Albums Of 2010
Just like I previously mentioned in terms of quality songs, there also wasn't much on the album front that got my motor running. I will admit that listening to complete albums or discovering new bands fell by the wayside this year due to being inundated with creating music history playlists and spending time with my baby. It took until the writing of this article to actually determine the five albums I most enjoyed in 2010. This might be the most pathetic list of albums ever in the history of reviewing music.

5) We Walk This Road by Robert Randolph & The Family Band- Not one of his better albums, but one I enjoyed more and more after each listen. Also, the songs worked a lot better live after seeing him perform twice in 2010. Critic's darling producer T-Bone Burnett was the so-called mastermind, which probably is why I didn't enjoy it as much as Randolph's previous two albums.

4) Guitar Heaven by Santana- A cool idea allowing Carlos Santana to perform updated covers of classic rock songs with current artists. Although I wasn't too happy to hear Nas butchering the lyrics to AC/DC's Back In Black, the rest of the album was kind of neat. The best tracks were awesome covers of Def Leppard's Photograph featuring Daughtry and Dance The Night Away from Van Halen featuring Pat Monahan from Train. What could have been a disaster of an album turned out to be pretty enjoyable.

3) American Idiot Broadway Soundtrack- American Idiot was like the modern day Rent. Not much of a story, but a killer array of songs for a Broadway show. It was nice to hear Green Day songs sung from a Broadway ensemble with some new tunes written by Billie Jo as well.

2) Infestation by RATT- Doing what other bands from their era have previously done, RATT got back together with original lead singer Stephen Pearcy and recorded an album staying true to their original sound. It was the first original new album with Pearcy since 1999's self-titled disaster. Carlos Cavazo from Quiet Riot also made his RATT debut on this album contributing some great guitar licks.

And the best album of 2010!!!....

1) No Guts. No Glory by Airbourne- The next best thing to AC/DC even though this band can't light a match to the greatest rock and roll band of all time. What I always found amazing was AC/DC's sound is so simple, yet nobody can come close to duplicating it. Still, Airbourne once again gave their best effort. Good to know there still is some good and simple rock & roll music still out there. No Guts. No Glory was as good if not better than Airbourne's previous two albums.

Previous Album Of The Years:
2009- Feel The Steel by Steel Panther
2008- Black Ice by AC/DC
2007- Icky Thump by The White Stripes
2006- Live To Win by Paul Stanley
2005- One Way Ticket To Hell..And Back by The Darkness
2004- American Idiot by Green Day
2003- Permission To Land by The Darkness
2002- I Get Wet by Andrew W.K.
2001- Everyday by Dave Matthews Band
2000- Everything You Want by Vertical Horizon
1999- Devil Without A Cause by Kid Rock
1998- Psycho Circus by Kiss
1997- Spice World by The Spice Girls
1996- Trial By Fire by Journey
1995- (What's The Story) Morning Glory by Oasis
1994- Dookie by Green Day
1993- Off The Ground by Paul McCartney
1992- Adrenalize by Def Leppard
1991- Pornograffiti by Extreme
1990- The Razor's Edge by AC/DC

Worst Album Of 2010:
A Thousand Suns by Linkin Park- When did Linkin Park decide to be like Radiohead and Depeche Mode and want to be taken seriously? I gave a quick listen to their new album and was repulsed. I'm not the biggest fan of this band, but I enjoyed some tunes from their previous three albums. This album might sell and please music critics, but true Linkin Park fans are going to absolutely hate it.

Top 10 Movies Of 2010
Movie studios still don't get it. Instead of allowing directors to create their own visions without interference or marketing outside the box films, the studios keep playing it safe and released the same types of movies that will make a quick buck: Unwanted sequels (Cats & Dogs 2, Shrek 4), over-hyped comic book adaptations (Jonah Hex), shows inspired from 80's television (The A-Team) and remakes of classic 80's movies (The Karate Kid, A Nightmare On Elm Street) that really pissed off fans of the original like me! Even if the reviews for the new Karate Kid were good, I just had to boycott the movie based on principal. No Zabka or Macchio, then no dice! Lucky for me, I've wised up with my movie-viewing habits. I'm still a fan of seeing the movie in the theater, but unless it's a ballyhoo reviewed movie or a must-see, I'll just wait a month or two and rent it on Netflix or watch it on HBO. And if I do go the movies, I'll go by my lonesome on a Saturday afternoon to pay matinee price and enjoy a private screening without having to deal with teens on their cell-phone, loud talkers, or tall people sitting in front of me. A few years ago, I would have wasted a lot of time and money just to be disappointed that the much awaited sequels or retreads that lacked continuity or smarts. And the whole 3D thing is completely overrated! I understand the studios want to add the new technology to all kid movies to earn some more $$$, but I personally think the 3-D detracts from the movie experience. You lose the color of the animation, and sometimes it even hurts my eyes. If the technology is much improved nowadays, why can't these 3-D movie effects be as good if not better than the stuff from the 80's. I mean, c'mon, Captain EO with Michael Jackson in 1986 was mind blowing. Now those were some killer effects!!! I did see a lot of decent movies in 2010, and most of them were somewhat entertaining. But really only the #1 movie which you will see indicated below was a classic that I'll watch over and over again.

10) Inception-
Critics loved this mind fuck of a movie! I thought it was unique and thought-provoking but couldn't light a match to Christopher Nolan's other classics such as The Dark Knight, Memento, and The Prestige. I don't mind movies that make you think, but this one just hurt my brain. I do love Marion Cotillard, though, and will watch any movie she appears in. Boy, that lady can act and she also is easy on the eyes!

9) Machete- Robert Rodriguez doesn't have any movies in my personal Top 100 list, but he has made some memorable movies. Movies like Sin City, Desperado, and Grindhouse all stick in my mind as unique movies! Add Machete to this list. A cool movie featuring Danny Trijillo as the renegade bad-ass, with an all-star supporting cast including Jeff Fahey, Michelle Rodriguez, Jessica Alba, Robert DeNiro, Don Johnson, Lindsey Lohan, Tom Savini, and Steven Seagal. To think the idea for this movie came from a goofy trailer made for the Grindhouse movie Rodriguez and Tarantino did a few years ago.

8) Grown Ups- Adam Sandler is the AC/DC of Hollywood. His movies always stick to the same formula that works for me, no matter how simple it is. Always a nice message at the end, some fart jokes mixed with adolescent humor, a cute leading lady to play Sandler's love interest, and a kick-ass soundtrack of 70's and 80's rock classics. Fuck the critics, Sandler knows his audience and gives us what we want sticking with the same formula he has been using since the late 90's. That trend continues with Grown Ups, the annual summer comedy featuring Sandler and his entourage of actors that appear in most of his movies: Kevin James, Rob Schneider, Chris Rock, David Spade, and Steve Buscemi. A fun movie with a few minor plot lines that weren't really developed. The movie really just felt like a home movie of Sandler and his buddies goofing on each other and their families with a little heart mixed in.

7) Little Fockers- A good sequel is one that keeps the core characters together, continues the story, brings the same actors back, has continuity from the other film, and doesn't shy away from the source material. Which usually means critics are going to hate it. I have gotten smarter over the years and realized not to broaden my expectations for first or second sequels to some of my favorite films of all time. That's why I was surprised to walk out of the theater after seeing Little Fockers with a smile. Nothing earth shattering, or crazy, but I liked it as the final (hopefully!) piece of the Focker trilogy. Go in with low expectations, and you'll like it.

6) The Town- Ben Affleck is becoming one helluva director. His first effort, Gone Baby Gone, was good, and The Town was a nice second act for Big Ben. Kevin Smith has taught him well, just hopefully he doesn't start making garbage comedies like Zach & Miri or Clerks 2 like his buddy anytime soon. Jeremy Renner is becoming my favorite actor, and I think he deserves an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his brilliant acting in this film. Jon Hamm was great also in this movie and proved he shouldn't be typecast due to being best known as Don Draper on Mad Men. A nice movie that might steal some Oscar nominations.

5) Iron Man 2- Although not as good as the original, Iron Man 2 still was a thrill ride of a movie. What did bother me, though, was that the soundtrack was all AC/DC, which I assumed meant that the band's music would be featured throughout the movie. Besides one scene featuring Highway To Hell at the beginning of the movie, there was no AC/DC songs to be had. What a disappointment, a score from Angus and Malcolm Young could have have made this the best super hero movie of all time. Mickey Rourke was a cool bad guy, although I wished his character had more to do. Great action, great special effects, a reminder that not all popcorn movies have to be awful.

4) The Fighter- The Fighter was a good movie, but I'm not sure it's worthy of an Oscar nomination for Best Film. The film definitely deserves nominations for Amy Adams (doesn't it seem like she does something great and gets nominated rightfully so every year?) Melissa Leo, and Christian Bale who finally will get his first Oscar nomination for Supporting Actor, and who I think might just win. I love Christian Bale, the man can act, and he was brilliant as Dicky, the crack-addict ex-boxer who taught his brother the rules of the game. I appreciate that this movie was not just an updated Rocky, or a boxing cliche movie.

3) Brooklyn's Finest- It's a cool movie about three Brooklyn cops which stories all mingle in the end, kind of like Crash. Richard Gere is the veteran cop about to retire who is beaten down due to the the job, Ethan Hawke is the dirty cop who steals money on drug busts to help his family and who wants to defy the politics of the system, and Don Cheadle is the undercover cop caught in the drug trade who has to determine if handing over a friend of the game is worth getting what he always wanted. Great performances by all three actors. Also, nice to see Omar Little/Chalky White in a few scenes. Probably one of the best "dirty cop" movies ever made, and one of the best movies of 2010.

2) Kick Ass- Remember Blankman from the early 90's which starred Damon Wayans and David Alan Grier? It was about a regular guy who wanted to be a super hero and decided to fight crime. It was a good concept, but the movie was strictly a comedy film and was panned by critics (although I liked it!. Kick-Ass used a similar concept, but due to the enormous success of comic-book movies, this movie was more in vein of a Watchmen or Spiderman. Some comedy, but a lot of action. The movie had a few flaws, but definitely entertaining and a lot of fun. The little girl, Chloe Morentz, was so adorable in this film as Hit Girl. She might be the next Meryl Streep earning future Oscar nominations, or she could end up being the next Lindsey Lohan earning DWI arrests? Good stuff from Nic Cage, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse who just might be able to escape simply being known as McLovin.

And the best movie of 2010!!...

1) Toy Story 3- Toy Story 3 is not only a great sequel, but a classic film. Pixar has done it again creating a film with heart that features some of the most lovable characters in movie history. How can you not cheer for Woody, Buzz, Rex, and Mr. Potato Head? The Toy Story franchise hopefully will be to my daughter's generation what Star Wars was to my generation. The theme of the movie held true to my heart, what does a young man do with his toys when he has grown up and moved onto a different stage of his life? Obviously for some guys like me, it took a little longer to give up on his action figures regardless if I bought them and kept them displayed in the blister packs on my wall. What's funny is I saw this movie in 3-D, but even though this was one of the "must-see 3-D" movies, I thought it detracted from the movie. I bought it for my daughter for Chanukah and just watched it again without the 3D, and enjoyed it even more on my bright DLP TV without 3D. Toy Story 3 was head and shoulders above all of the other movies I have seen this year, and is a movie I can't wait to watch over and over again with my kids.

Previous Movie Of The Years:
2009- Avatar
2008- The Dark Knight
2007- Superbad
2006- Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
2005- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith
2004- Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
2003- School Of Rock
2002- Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones
2001- American Pie 2
2000- Keeping The Faith
1999- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (Uggh!)
1998- Titanic
1997- The Lost World: Jurassic Park
1996- The Rock
1995- Showgirls
1994- Dumb And Dumber
1993- The Sandlot
1992- Wayne's World
1991- Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey
1990- The Adventures Of Ford Fairlane

The Worst Movie Of 2010:
The Runaways- As a music historian, you would think I would mark out for rock biopics about classic rock and roll artists. Yet, they don't do much for me. I didn't like The Doors, Walk The Line about Johnny Cash was just okay, and I could only stomach a few minutes of Ray about Ray Charles. The trend continued with The Runaways, the fictional account based on Cherie Currie's memoir about the first successful all-girl rock band. Kristen Stewart was a doppelganger of Joan Jett, as I had to do a double take due to her really looking and acting like the rock & roll star. Her acting was the only thing I liked about the movie. I though Michael Shannon was too over the top as Kim Fowley, the genius behind the scenes who put the band together. Dakota Fanning was also too bland as Cherie. A lot of the band's history was left out of the movie due to contractual issues with the other members of the band. Lita Ford's role was very tiny as I've heard she was totally opposed to having anything to do with the movie. The bass player's name and appearance were totally off filter. The story didn't really go anywhere, and instead of really digging deep into how influential the Runaways were to girls in the USA, the movie was really just about Currie's drug issues and love/hate relationship with Joan Jett. Too fictionalized and artsy for my taste!

Top 10 Television Shows Of 2010
If you wanted to watch something with substance, something with excellent acting, excellent cinematography, excellent characters, or excellent writing, you didn't need to go to the movies. You could just turn on a cable or premium cable network and catch some great stuff. Music is my first love, but I'm starting to become a TV junkie, and 2010 saw TV stand out as my favorite medium of pop culture. I've probably watched more television in 2010 whether during first airing in prime time, catching up on DVD, or on DVD-R than I ever have in my life. I just can't stand the reality or network comedies anymore which are too formulaic and lacking in any quality. It's all about shows on HBO, Showtime, FX, and AMC, and for some reason the networks save the best for Sunday nights. Below is the list of the best in television in 2010.

10) Survivor: All Stars- The all-star season of Survivor was so fantastic. I knew after the finale and reunion show that I would never be able to watch another season of it again since any future Survivor episode could never live up to the insanity of this season. The best of the best were playing this time around: Boston Rob, Russell, Colby, Jerri, Coach, Sandra, Tom, Parvati, and Cirie. Unlike the first All-Star season which was good but too phony, this season was downright nasty and strategic as there were players in it to win, and not just to get on TV again. I'm now officially done with Survivor unless there is another All-Star season coming. I couldn't even watch one minute of Survivor:Nicaragua and stayed true to my word that I'm done with reality shows.

9) Friday Night Lights- The best "family" show on TV, or should I say Direct TV. The show is too smart for network TV, but we do get the re-runs on NBC in April after the show wraps up on Direct TV. Season 4 was not the best season, but still enjoyable. Seeing Tim Riggins continue to screw up and make bonehead mistakes was entertaining TV. The final season is currently airing on Direct TV with the majority of classic characters from the first three seasons making cameos. I truly believe FNL is the best TV show ever adapted from a film.

8) South Park- Trey and Matt keep on doing their thing. South Park remains consistent, and the sarcastic liberal humor resonates strongly with me. South Park remains the funniest and most unique animated show on television. Too bad Family Guy and The Simpsons lost their spark and faded into typical network cartoons that think they are edgy, but pale in comparison to South Park. How some of the stuff on South Park even makes it to air puzzles me due to the vulgarity and offensiveness of the material?

7) Dexter- I lauded Dexter as the best show on television three years ago. The first three seasons were outstanding. Last season was off and on, but the finale blew me away. The fifth season of Dexter in 2010 was a total waste of time. I'm going to pretend it never happened and await what I hope to be the final season in 2011. There is only so much more the writers can do with Dexter until it becomes totally outrageous. Escaping justice should not be as convenient as it is for Dexter Morgan.

6) Lost- The final season was Lost's worst, and the huge ending was a major disappointment and Eff you to fans like me who were onto the show since the first episode of the first season. It hurts me to write or even think of all the time I wasted on this show. The first four seasons I own on DVD are being put on Ebay as I can't stomach ever re-watching the show again. I do have to give credit where credit is due, Lost might have been the best drama in network history which is why I have to rank it as #6 for 2010.

5) Sons Of Anarchy- So Season 3 was a huge letdown, but this show about renegade bikers still is better than any drama on network TV. I finally caught the first two seasons on DVD and was blown away by the writing and characters. the third season had a drawn-out plot taking place in Ireland which went nowhere. I'm worried due to the increase in audience, the network is more involved and the show could be getting to big for it's britches. I expect a rebound season four in 2011.

4) The Walking Dead- AMC is batting .775. Three of the four shows on this network are in a league of their own. AMC almost hit .1000 as Rubicon started off great, but the last few episodes and finale were disappointing, so much that the show was not renewed for a second season. Not a problem as The Walking Dead garnered nice ratings for the network. And rightfully so as The Walking Dead was outstanding. If you think it's only a show about zombies, you are so wrong. Yes, there are zombies on the show. But the basis of the show is how you function with others in a new world when all the rules of society you followed no longer apply. There were only seven episodes in Season One, but seven solid episodes. I can't wait for Season 2. I recommend this show for those who were disappointed with how Lost ended.

3) Boardwalk Empire- The show that The Sopranos should have been. Mark my words, when all is said and done, Boardwalk Empire is going to be ranked as one of the top 5 TV dramas of all time. Great storytelling based on real life events. Steve Buscemi shines as Nucky Thompson, and Michael Pitt went from boring in the first few episodes to an actor worthy of an Emmy for his work as Jimmy. The dude with the plastic mask is a fantastic character. I even gained respect for Michael Shannon as an actor. You also can not beat all of the gratuitous nudity on the show from Paz De La Huerta, Gretchen Mol, and girls in the background!! We just need more of Chalky White aka Omar from The Wire!!! HBO has a masterpiece on it's hands!

2) Mad Men
- Most shows in their fourth season seem to dip in quality. Not the case with Mad Men. Season 4 might just have been the finest season. The show was funnier, and a lot of easier to grasp. Even time it appears Don Draper is down the kill, somebody or something enables him to rise back to the top. Mad Men is not for everybody which I why I don't recommend it. But for those interested in sixties culture and the inner workings of ad agency, it's brilliant. Mad Men lacks any real story arc, so those who worry about not having watched other seasons could jump right in and enjoy. In past seasons, half of the episodes were good and half were to artsy. This season, all thirteen episodes were brilliant. Mad Men has won the Emmy for Best Drama the past three years, and although Boardwalk Empire is just as good, Mad Men's awesome fourth season merits another win.

And The Best Show Of 2010!!...

1) Breaking Bad- Shame on any of you who have not drank the kool-aid I've been offering. Breaking Bad is now in the same echelon as KISS, AC/DC, The Muppets, and 7-11 Coke Slurpees. All of these things get me giddy just talking about them, let alone even thinking about them. Not only was the third season of Breaking Bad the best thing on television this year, this show is the greatest television show ever produced. Brilliant acting by Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul who were rewarded for their work with Emmys this year. Fantastic supporting characters. Beautiful cinematography. Suspenseful plot. Classic dialogue. To indicate how brilliant this show is, a basic filler episode featuring the two main characters (Walter White and Jessie Pinkman) locked in a meth lab just conversing back and forth was better than the Series Finale of Lost which was airing the same time. I'm counting down the days until Season 4 returns in July!!!!

Previous TV Shows Of The Year:
2009- Breaking Bad
2008- Dexter
2007- Lost
2006- The Office
2005- The Office
2004- Lost
2003- Survivor
2002- 24
2001- The Sopranos
2000- Freaks & Geeks

The Worst Television Show Of 2010:

Glee- Last year, I had Glee on my list of best shows! Once the show resumed in January, I couldn't bear watching anymore. The show seems to be written by a fifth grader. The characters are too over the top and cliche. Besides Jane Lynch, the actors should stick to singing only. The plots made no sense (A guy thinks he got his girlfriend pregnant because he prematurely ejaculated in a hot tub!) The music renditions are cool, but cheesy! Every musician wants to make a quick buck now and get their songs featured on the show even if it means their music will sound like something sung from a real glee club. Dianna Agron and Lea Michelle are super hot, but their acting is as wooden as my pencil. Everything wrong with network television is present in this show! The fact that Glee has been nominated for writing and production is just ming-boggling. Unless you are a 14 year old teenage girl, don't waste your time with the show. If you like the music, just illegally download the songs from YouTube!!!

Personal Pop Culture Highlights of 2010:

Robert Randolph & The Family Band in Music Fest in Cranford (For Free)

Robert Randolph Concert at Bowery Ballroom in NYC

Air Supply Concert at Community Theatre in Morristown, NJ
and getting to meet the band after the show

American Idiot on Broadway for my Fifth Year Wedding Anniversary

Breaking Bad Season 3 Premiere in NYC (Meeting Emmy Winners Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul as well as show creator, Vince Gilligan)

Chiller Theater Show in April at Parsippany Hilton
(Meeting Robert Carradine and Curtis Armstrong
from Revenge Of The Nerds)

Chiller Theater in October at Parsippany Hilton (Chiller Show#5 for me and meeting Ginger Allen, Patty Duke, Lita Ford, Seka, and Michael Beck just to name a few)


Ronnie James Dio (Rock & Roll Singer & Legend; Member of Black Sabbath, Rainbow, and Dio; Classic Songs-Rainbow In The Dark, Stranger In The Dark, Rock & Roll Children, Heaven & Hell)

Teddy Pendergrass (R&B Singer; Classic Song-One Shining Moment)

Bob Schimmel (Comedian; I saw him perform live at Bananas Comedy Club in 2007)

Doug Fieger (Rock & Roll Singer: Lead Vocalist of The Knack; Classic Songs-My Sharona, Good Girls Don't)

Tony Curtis (Actor; Father Of Jamie Lee Curtis; Classic Movies: Spartacus, Some Like It Hot; I met him at a Chiller Theater Show)

Leslie Nielsen (Actor best known as Frank Drebin; Classic Movies: Airplane, The Naked Gun Franchise, I met him a Chiller Theater Show)

Irvin Kershner (Director: Classic Movie: The Empire Strikes Back)

Corey Haim
(Actor: Classic Movies: Lucas, License To Drive, Blown Away (great Nicole Eggert nude scenes); I met him at a Chiller Theater Show)

Gary Coleman (Actor: Classic TV Show: Arnold Drummond on Different Strokes; "Whatchoo talking about, Willis?")

Peter Graves (Actor; Classic Movies/TV Shows: Mission Impossible, Airplane, Airplane: The Sequel' "Have You Ever Seen A Grown Man Naked?")

Tom Bosley (Actor; Classic TV Shows: Happy Days, Father Dowling Mysteries)

Barbara Billingsley (Actress; June Cleaver from Leave It To Beaver)

Dixie Carter (Actress; Classic TV Shows: Different Strokes, Designing Women)

Robert Culp (Actor: Classic TV Shows: I Spy, The Greatest American Hero; I met him at a Chiller Theater Show)

Rue McClanahan (Actress; Classic TV Show: Golden Girls as Blanche)

Art Clokey (Artist known for his work on Gumby & Friends)

Bob Guccione (Magazine Publisher whose Penthouse magazine was the first nudie magazine I ever saw; Producer of Caligula)

John Leslie (XXX Actor, Classic Movie: Candy Goes To Hollywood) *Rest in peace, Johnny Door Opener!!

Here's to 2011!!!!! -MIKEY