Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side


Rated: Unrated | Running Time: 54 Minutes
From: 20th Century Fox Home Video

As the last few months have gone by I am slowly becoming a fan of “Family Guy.” Okay, I’m actually becoming a fan of half of “Family Guy” because here in Chicago they replay episodes at 10PM on WGN and my TV is generally on timer, set to go off at around 10:15PM.  So, as I’m drifting off to la-la land, I’m catching half an episode, but for the most part I am loving half the episode.  As such, being the half-fan that I am, and also being a huge fan of “Star Wars,” I was, I suppose, 3/4 interested in seeing “Something, Something, Something, Darkside,” Seth McFarlane’s and the Family Guy folk’s look at “The Empire Strikes Back.”  At the end of it all, and watching the episode twice (I’ll explain that in the DVD stuff), I can say I was 100% happy.

So pretty much we get the power going out in the Griffin home and the family wants to hear a story. “Black Snake Moan” doesn’t seem to foot the bill, so Peter begins the tale of “The Empire Strikes Back.”  Now I could go into the entire story, but please, we all know the story of “The Empire Strikes Back” (that’s the one with Lando Calrissian being introduced, the one where Luke finds Yoda in the swamp place, and where Luke gets his hand cut off in the “cloud” city). But this is a “Family Guy” episode, with the comical stylings of a “Family Guy” episode, so all of the “Star Wars” characters are portrayed by “Family Guy” characters, and it’s funny, yet oddly true to the “Star Wars” story, as hell.

Yup, Peter is Han Solo, Lois is Princess Leia, and Chris is Luke.  Then you get Stewie as a hilarious Darth Vader, Cleveland Brown as R2-D2, and even Meg gets some screen time as the space slug.  Incorporate them all, and yup, you get some “Family Guy” hilarity infused into the realm of “Star Wars,” and I loved it all.

Now, being a new fan of “Family Guy,” I will admit not having seen the predecessor to “Something, Something, Something, Dark Side” called “Blue Harvest,” which paid homage to the first “Star Wars” film, “A New Hope” (and yes, I know that’s actually Episode IV), so for most Family Guy fans I guess the “Something…” episode can just be some rehashing, but for me, it was fresh, it was new, and it reinforced my newfound love for the “Family Guy” clan.

I guess you can tell I really liked “Something, Something, Something, Dark Side,” so yup, it’s 5 stars out of 5 for the Blu-ray, and even better were some of the extras on the Blu-ray that I’m thinking a lot of “Family Guy” fans will love.  You get some commentary if you want it, you get a really great look at a lot of the work that actually goes into making an animated show, and for me, yes, I actually watched the entire episode again, in “Pop-Up” mode, where little balloons pop up during the episode giving tons of fun facts as well as keeping track of just how many different voice Seth McFarlane does for the episode.  Lots of fun, you get some swearing, so go ahead and get the Blu-ray for your adult, viewing pleasure!

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

Failure to Launch


Rated: PG-13 | Running Time: 97 Minutes
From: Paramount Pictures

Sometimes, as a movie reviewer, I find myself in the minority of movie reviewers, and such I find myself again in regards to the movie “Failure to Launch,” because, well, I actually liked the movie. First, let’s get to the movie itself…

“Failure to Launch” gives us Matthew McConaughey as Tripp. Tripp is in his 30’s and lives at home with parents Al (Terry Bradshaw) and Sue (Kathy Bates). This may sound odd, but with his utter fear of commitment, and the fact that his mom still makes him breakfast, washes his clothes, cleans his room, and they let him have his friends over, it’s actually a pretty sweet set-up. I mention the fear of commitment part because even though Tripp is good with the ladies, once he sees that look in their eyes that they want a more meaningful relationship, well, Tripp then takes them back to “his” place where once the girls find out he still lives at home, well, they’re out of there quicker than shit through a goose.

Well, Mom and Dad are getting a little tired of Tripp still living at home, and they find out about this service, or dudette as you will, who will let you pay her to get your kid moved out. Enter Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker), said dudette. Yup, she gets hired to get Tripp to move out, and she things are going smoothly until, well, I know, you can guess it, she starts falling for Tripp. But she has a job to do, especially since she’s getting paid for it, so she keeps trying to work Tripp, who, in the meantime, is, of course, falling for Paula. With that Tripp knows it’s time to end the relationship, so he invites Paula “home,” except when Paula “finds out” Tripp lives at home, Paula throws a wrench into Tripp’s break-up plans by, well, not breaking up with him. Tripp is in new waters, Paula does the one thing she’s not supposed to do as part of her job, namely sleep with client’s son, but the movie must move along. In the meantime, one of Tripp’s buddies is falling for Paula’s friend, Kit (Zooey Deschanel), to give us a subplot.

Yes you can probably guess how things go, I mean, it’s pretty straightforward. You can guess that Tripp will find out Paula was hired by his parents to get him to move out of the house, and of course, this will not have a good ending. You can guess it will be revealed why Tripp still lives at home. You can also guess that Mom, Dad, Kit, and the friends, all connive a ways to get Tripp and Paula back together. And yes, you can probably guess that all live happily ever after.

Critics seem to be bashing this film because it is so predictable but sometimes predictable can be fun. Other critics are bashing that we really don’t need to see Terry Bradshaw’s butt, and even though I agree, I would rather have seen Zooey’s, I found the scene pretty funny. Still other critics just consider all of the characters, except maybe Kit, as complete idiots. Me, I laughed, and really, that’s all I wanted to do. I’m not saying “Failure to Launch” will make it into the annals of a “Sleepless in Seattle” romantic comedy, but I wasn’t the only one laughing in the theater so I don’t think I’m alone in liking it for what it was.

There are worse movies out there, and I’ll bet some dudes, as they get dragged to the theater to see this movie, whose relationships might be near the ending stage, might actually figure that Tripp has a pretty good set-up living at home. They might even wish they lived at home, too, so they could take their date home after the movie, sleep with them, have them figure out he lives with his parents, and they break up with him. You know what Tripp gets the morning after a break-up? A fantastic breakfast from Mom, he steals the sports’ section from Dad, and Mom cleans his room. Not too bad.

Nothing great, nothing horrible. I’d say pay for a matinee and it’s a solid DVD rental. With that, as opposed to most critics who seem to really not like this movie, I’m giving “Failure to Launch” 3 ½ stars out of 5.

That’s it for this one! L8R!!!

The Challenge of the Dust Collector

I suppose I got it from my father. I’m not talking about my wonderful good looks, nor my nose, but my love of knick-knacks. You know knick-knacks? If you type “knick-knack” into Google you get: “a small worthless object, especially a household ornament,” with wonderful synonyms like: “trinket, novelty, gewgaw, bibelot, ornament, trifle, bauble, gimcrack, curio, tchotchke, memento, souvenir, kickshaw.” My wife simply calls them dust collectors, so I guess, I’m a dust collector, although looking at the synonyms I’m thinking of shifting to calling them bibelot if only because then it sounds fancy.

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Late Phases: Night of the Lone Wolf

 

MPAA Rated – Not Rated
It’s 1:36 Long
A Review by:
Andy Labis

The more I think about it, the more perfect “Late Phases: Night of the Lone Wolf” was, especially in the realm of the old-school, and I mean this with all due respect, cheesy, werewolf movie. First there is the title, or at least the “Night of the Lone Wolf” part. Sure there’s the solo werewolf at the start, but by the end there are multiple wolves. Maybe I’m misunderstanding the title and our hero is the lone wolf, but I just couldn’t get past the fact that our main werewolf all of a sudden decided to go on a biting spree and instantly we have a pack of werewolves.

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Believe Me

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:33 Long
A Review by:
Andy Labis

I know. I read the press release for “Believe Me.” And yes, I know the synopsis mentioned a group of college kids who figured out a great way to make a quick buck, namely by scamming Christians to donating money to their phony-baloney charity, and then said kids would realize the true meaning of being good people. And finally, I know that’s what the movie ends up being about, but I so wanted it to flip directions and be a full parody of Christian fundraising. Instead, yes, our foursome realized the error of their ways and became good people again, until, “I, um.”

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A New Watch Every Few Years?

Are You Considering Buying the Apple Watch?

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It’s almost here. It’s almost time. The world, and our lives, is about to change. Why? Because the Apple Watch is almost on sale. Fine, there hasn’t been an official launch date, there is finally an official Apple “Special Event” titled “Spring Forward” that will most likely showcase the watch, and other than some articles about possible pricing, some sightings of it out in the wild, and the general rumors that seem to come around any Apple release, we still don’t know anything official about it except, that, in the world of watches, unlike the watch that you might receive as a graduation gift, an anniversary gift, a birthday, you know, the watch you will cherish for the rest of your life, the Apple Watch will actually have a shelf life. Watches in the past were mechanical, or even if digital maybe you would just need to change a battery, and there are people who still have a wind-up watch handed down for generations. The Apple Watch, on the other hand, is technology, and like all technology has a shelf life.

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He Couldn’t Ring Dem Bells

I found myself in a bell tower. I won’t go into when I found myself in a bell tower because then the story would probably be worse, but there I was. I was led to the door to the bell tower, but we thought the door was locked. The 15-year old in this 47-year old body really wanted to go into the bell tower, but alas, it appeared a little lock was there between normal-ness and adventure. Oh well. Then an opportunity came for me to be by that door again, and low and behold the lock wasn’t really locked, I opened the door and found myself, alone, climbing the stairs. But I was torn. In my head I knew I shouldn’t really be there, the initial stairs were kind of rickety, but I continued to climb. I made it to the first level, looked up the next set of stairs, and somehow continued going up.

Then thoughts entered my head.

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VANish

MPAA Rated – Not rated.
It’s 1:19 Long
A Review by:
Andy Labis

VANish
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Maiara Walsh, Danny Trejo, Tony Todd, Austin Abke, Bryan Bockbrader, Adam Guthrie
MPAA Rated: Not Rated.
Released By: Dark Sky Films
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Kiddie Movie: Send them to bed. Lots of blod!
Date Movie: If she likes blood-splattering thrillers.
Gratuitous Sex: There is an attempted rape in the van, though it doesn’t turn out too well for the dude.
Gratuitous Violence: Headshots, shotgun blasts, machetes, and a handy little cutting saw help with the blood splatter.
Action: Not really much action.
Laughs: Some chuckles.
Memorable Scene: Emma kicking the crap out of Shane.
Memorable Quote: “What kind of amateur bullshit is this?”
Directed By: Bryan Bockbrader
Extras on the Blu-Ray: The bloopers were decent enough, and I actually liked seeing the alternate endings.

The press release said: “three thugs viciously kidnap a drug cartel boss’ only daughter from her home in broad daylight.” With that I was a little confused at the opening scene of VANish as a dude and his lover were being abducted at night, in the California hills. Now let’s cut to the next scene of two dudes in a van, talking calmly amongst each other as dudes will talk, and I’m wondering where is the third dude? Is this the van? And what happened to those people in the first scene?

Little did I know the importance of the first abduction to the plot of the movie, to be explained during a later scene, and now I was being fully introduced to possibly the dumbest trio of kidnappers that there have ever been in a movie. That’s okay, though, because the trio of dopes really made VANish an entertaining film in the realm of blood-splattering thrillers.

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Out in Less Than One Day

As a Catholic and a Polish dude I was preparing for Lent. Paczki were ordered, and I began pondering the Lenten season. For years we are always told we should give something up until Easter, although the rules were always a little shady as sometimes we were told we were able to have on Sundays what we gave up, other times there was the spirit of “fasting” for the entire season. One year I did great, giving up adding sweetener, both artificial and natural, into things, specifically my iced tea and coffee. Somehow I made it through the season although I did pick up the diet soda after Easter. This season, though, I had a plan. I was going to add some things which I know kind of goes against the theory of Lent, but I felt trying to consistently do my yoga, meditation, and exercising for the season would make me a better person, but on the giving up something I went back to the old standard, giving up soda.

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One Staple of College I Seem to Suck At

I have an Aerospace Engineering degree from Illinois Institute of Technology, I have made some iPhone apps, I can, or at least used to be able to play the violin, and I can cook an awesome steak, but why is it when it comes to the staple of college students everywhere, something I never actually made when I was in college, I find that I somehow suck at making Maruchan’s Ramen Noodle Soup. The discovery came a little while back when, at the request of my wife when she wasn’t feeling well, she requested I make her a bowl of soup. My immediate thought was some Lipton Cup-o-Soup, but for her she wanted Ramen Noodles.

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