Here’s What I Know, Volume 7: The end of Chucky Cheese, Unbreakable 2, Kingdom BS, and Big Mac hate 

Chucky Cheese needs to die. With no offense to the poor fellow who roams around in that fucking suit, the establishment is an absolute shit hole. Imagine a place where the bottom of the human species barrel hangs out, and then think lower. 

Hold on. Fuck the guy who wears the suit; the asshat was outside Vin’s school, and for the last four days, the kid has been dying to go there. Every day, it’s the same mantra: when are we going to Chucky Cheese? I’d rather spend one hour explaining hockey to Donald Trump. Anyway…we went Saturday night. 

An hour into the CC Hell Dive, I see a little girl wandering around the gaming area. I assume her mother is coming back. I wait. And wait some more. No one comes around, so I ask a worker. He tells me that the invisible code stamped on our hand doesn’t allow a party to leave separately. Thanks, but kidnappers will find a way. 

10 minutes later, a woman comes and grabs the little girl, and walks back to a birthday party. While I don’t hit women, I felt like paying a woman to deck her. 

You see, I’m an overprotective parent. There’s enough nasty things happening in the world that I will skimp on every area of my life, but parenting. I’m a fucking secret service agent every time Vin and I travel outside the house. He doesn’t leave my sight. 

There’s only been 219 kids that have disappeared from the St. Louis city area since 2010. No thanks. Be better, mysterious woman who was busy eating shitty pizza and forgot where her kid was. 

*I don’t mind a good rainstorm, but St. Louis has been pissed on for four straight days. The past 48 hours have crept towards monsoon territory, and there’s some flash flood warnings. When you go downstairs and see water in the basement, and you know why, it really sucks. Please stop raining. 

The cooler weather can stay though. 

*Baseball is a bastard. Other sports hit you intermediately over the course of a few months. Baseball kicks you in the neck during the first month. 

Example: the Cards started the season with a 3-9 stretch. Doom fell over the audience. Worst start ever! It’s done! Cancel the season! 

Fast forward to today’s rainout, and the Cards have won 9 of 11 for a record of 12-11. I predict a 5-5 future, because this team has no defense and run the bases like a bunch of first graders. Still, it’s important to give the team a little more time. 

My first bird checkup comes near the seven week mark of the season when the Cards welcome the Cubs back to Busch. 

*Why Him is a terrible movie that funny man Keegan-Michael Key somehow makes watchable. Check out the underrated comedy, Keanu. 

*How excited am I about the Unbreakable sequel? The balls are tingling. M. Night didn’t give a shit back then, and set the tone for the Superhero Genre before DC and Marvel started their engines. 

*Love or hate The Fast and Furious films, but there was an actual demand for more films. Nobody wanted another Pirates of The Caribbean adventure. I don’t even think Johnny Depp wanted another one, but who turns down 25 million dollars and top billing. 

*The Blues are proof that a regular season is anything but regular. They were lost in January, and open up action in Game 3 against Nashville this afternoon for a chance to go up 2-1 in an effort to reach the Conference Finals. All it took was a slew of coaching changes, a roster shakeup, and a goalie resurrection. And Jori Lehtera off the top line. Thanks Mike Yeo. And to think people hated bringing you into the fold. Idiots. 

*My son is approaching six years of age. What in the ass happened? He used to be this football sized stomach surgery survivor and now he’s a four foot tall beast with a personality and ambition. Five years ago today, he went to his first baseball game. Now he hands me the remote and loves Adam Wainwright. 

**I don’t need to tell him how bad Adam Wainwright looks on the mound. No need to dampen a kid’s hero by telling him the claws aren’t exactly coming out all the way these days. (hey Beyersdorfer!)

*Nothing is official yet, but I can say there’s a good chance you’ll be hearing me on the radio again soon. After spending the past four weeks off the radio after my departure from 590, I’ve collected my breath and taken the time to find out what it is I want to do. At a certain point in life, you need to develop a niche. I’ve found it. More news to come. 

*I’ll rant a little more about this very soon, but Direct TV and Endemol Studios canceling Frank Grillo’s MMA drama series-Kingdom-after three seasons is absolute bullshit. Why stop something with so much story left to tell? Why shut down a warehouse with more space to fill? As Alvey Kulina would say, “you’ve got to be fucking kidding me.” MMA fan or not, you had to appreciate this show’s drive. Byron Balasco’s masterpiece explored the mind of a fighter better than any film or TV series ever could or will. Grillo was born to play Alvey. It’s extremely rare for an actor to roam so freely and find so much in a character. You should watch it. 

Oh wait, there’s no real way for you to find it. The first season was on ITunes, but isn’t. The first season is on DVD and the second might be. It’s not on Netflix or Hulu. The third and Final season starts in a month. 

Fuck! 

*What would live sporting venues do if they couldn’t sell alcohol? I rarely spend the 9 dollars to sip a watered down beer at Busch or Scottrade, but damn there’s so much beer sold at every event. What if there was none? How popular would sports be?

*Red wine is my new crush. Beer and whiskey just don’t always do it. A bottle of dry red takes the edge right off. 

*I couldn’t care less about the NFL draft or the upcoming season. I was losing interest before the Rams left, but when they departed, my need to watch the sport died on the spot. The league doesn’t care about former players health or current players for that matter, so why give it my time. 

The NBA sucks too. Natural sleep meds. 

*Who is my favorite comic book character? Frank Castle’s Punisher. He’s the original Avenger. 

*I don’t give a shit if Mark McGwire used steroids, and I wouldn’t trade a second of the 1998 season. He made mistakes, but so did hundreds of other baseball players, so why smash one guy because he had success. I don’t expect people to agree with me here, but I take solace in the fact that Mac didn’t lie under oath (looking at you Rafael) and left the game before he was told to leave. When his knee was shot, Mac walked away from a two year deal worth a lot of money. He rescued Cardinal baseball and the sport itself with that miraculous run. I won’t get on my moral horse and crucify him. Let him into the Cards HOF. He’s earned it. 

That’s all I got. I’ve typed all of this by hand on my iPhone, and frankly my hands are tired. 

For all my regular coverage, check out KSDK News and St. Louis Game Time. 

This stream of consciousness is closing up. 

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‘Gifted’ aims for the heart, but leaves you with a stomach ache

This movie manipulates the viewer like a bottle of pancake syrup and plays it too safe in the end.

Gifted is like pancake syrup-it looks warm and loving, and tastes sweet while serving as a catalyst for a fine meal, but in the end, it manipulates your taste buds into making a bad choice for your stomach, which then creates an ache. Allow me to explain.

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Frank Adler (Chris Evans) just wants to lay low, raise his niece Mary (McKenna Grace), and create a small quaint life in the peaceful suburbs of Florida. There’s only one problem: Mary is a mathematical genius and stands head and shoulders above the rest of her first grade class and isn’t fitting in. When Frank refuses to send Mary to a prestigious school for gifted kids, certain measures are taken to ensue the young girl is given the “proper” education. But what exactly is “proper” for Mary and does it fit with Frank and the grandmother, Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan), who may have ulterior motives. Continue reading “‘Gifted’ aims for the heart, but leaves you with a stomach ache”

‘Their Finest’ isn’t good enough

A comedic dynamo like Bill Nighy can’t save this melodramatic WWII flick.

In a way, every single movie works as propaganda for the soul. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the execution exists.

Someone walks into a movie theater needing to be swept off their feet for a few hours in order for the real pain of everyday life to subside for a bit. It’s a certain medicinal practice that doesn’t harm the organs, but can enrich the soul. Their Finest is a 1940’s drama that functions as a movie within a movie, and succeeds on the coattails of a supporting actor rather than its leading duo.

It’s 1940 and World War II is breaking out across Europe, so the British ministry has the desire to make a propaganda film to raise the spirits of the people back home struck in shock and horror at the casualties that are pouring in. In order to get a certain female touch, Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton), to draw up a plot centering around twin sisters escaping from the Germany occupied Dunkirk with the help of a heroic soldier named Johnny. Catrin is aided by the witty idealist Buckley (Sam Claflin from The Hunger Games) and in order for the film to reach the right audience, aging television star Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy) is brought in.  Continue reading “‘Their Finest’ isn’t good enough”

17 years later: The Fast and Furious franchise engine remains strong

A mixture of casting, locations, identity recognition, and stunt heaven.

When it comes to sequels and legit cinematic franchises, the name of the game is domestic and international gross. Worldwide figures, ladies and gentlemen. Over its first weekend, The Fate of the Furious-the eighth film in the movie franchise-broke the record for the largest global opening at 532 million. After four days, the film has doubled its massive budget, and is well on its way to a billion dollar gross.

How is it  still doing this after eight films? Casting, directing, stunts, and knowing what your identity and key audience is. In other words, you keep replacing the engine and wheels, and assemble body work on the car. Let me break it down further.

Back in 2007, the Fast and Furious franchise was on fumes. Vin Diesel, the star of the original, had bolted after the first film, and the second and third film were trash and didn’t make great money at the box office. Luckily, Diesel was brought in for a cameo at the end of Tokyo Drift that signified his return to the franchise as star and producer. The team was back together, and the magic relaunched. Continue reading “17 years later: The Fast and Furious franchise engine remains strong”

‘Fate of the Furious’ is a special brand of fuel ejected movie swagger

Unplug your brain, sit back, pop open a cold one, and just enjoy the mayhem.

Outrageous. Ridiculous. Far-fetched. Impossible. The Fast and the Furious franchise live mightily by the same descriptive words that would scare other producers, directors, and writers out of their minds if they were listed in their reviews. Here, it’s that special brand of fuel ejected swagger that separates their films from the pretenders.

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It’s their code of honor-when the spring rolls around, it’s time for fast cars, beautiful women, dialogue with macho-infused fuel running through its veins, big sweaty bald-headed action stars, and outlandish stunts to take over. The Fate of the Furious-the eighth entry in the franchise that never sleeps and shows zero signs of dying-is a highly entertaining and luxurious experience for action fans to rejoice with for two hours.

This time, the Furious six are divided when their leader, Dominic Toretto (franchise face, Vin Diesel), goes rogue due to a mysterious piece of leverage held over him by Cipher (Charlize Theron). She exploits the main weakness of our rogue anti-hero, and that is the invaluable existence of family. This forces him to run his foe turned friend Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) off the road after a successful heist in Berlin, and leave the rest of the crew dazed and confused. Continue reading “‘Fate of the Furious’ is a special brand of fuel ejected movie swagger”

Kong: Skull Island—No thank you

Go watch Peter Jackson’s Kong instead.

Here is a movie that will end with you asking yourself one question: why did I just hand over ten dollars of my hard earned money and two hours of my life to such an unnecessary reboot? Kong: Skull Island assembles a wonderful cast of actors, tosses them into recycled action sequences, bores you to death, and is a complete waste of time and money.

Tom Hiddleston is paid to brood around the set, and play the storied action hero role. I liked him better as Loki in Avengers. Brie Larson just won an Academy Award for The Room, but she is given the role of “damsel in distress who steals the big fella’s heart”. It’s a classic Oscar win rebound role, so I hope she has something special planned with Captain Marvel. John Goodman gave one of the most overlooked performances of 2016 in 10 Cloverfield Lane, but there he is playing the supposedly crazy “geological” hunter of inhuman beings. Snooze-worthy. Samuel L. Jackson plays Samuel L. Jackson again, and there are mild benefits to that which drift away quickly.

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John C. Reilly is the only one who didn’t run to the bank to cash his check, and actually breathes a little life into the role of the local Island kook who leads the trackers, photographer, and soldiers around to their imminent death. Continue reading “Kong: Skull Island—No thank you”

Boss Baby: An adult comedy trapped inside an animated kid film body

Alec Baldwin’s voice work elevates the film.

Thank you Tom McGrath and Marla Frazee for creating a kids film that parents can also appreciate. More than a mere animated film about the tyranny of an adopted “boss baby”, the film takes not so subtle glances at the responsibilities of a big brother and the effect that a new kid can have a household. It’s also a very funny film that will gather more chuckles out of its older audience than the preferred younger demographic, and that is for a simple reason: Alec Baldwin.

The actor’s voice work isn’t just spot on for the title role, but will remind cinemaholics of his brief yet legendary role in David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross. Instead of telling poor young Tim (voice as a kid by Miles Christopher Bakshi and as adult by Tobey Maguire) to put the coffee down, the cookies are restricted in Michael McCullers script. When I finished watching Glengarry for the first time, all I wanted was more of Baldwin’s shadowy yet vital figure. With Boss Baby, I was given a full serving of his anarchic personality.

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What’s it all about? Tim isn’t pleased when his parents (delightfully voiced by Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow) welcome a baby brother, who is dressed like a Quentin Tarantino Reservoir Dog instead of a onesie. From the moment the baby sits down and the dinner table and belts out a cry, the older brother knows he has met his match. The baby has the two adults firmly placed in the palm of his hand, but Tim knows its more than simple cute looks and endearing giggling. Continue reading “Boss Baby: An adult comedy trapped inside an animated kid film body”