Over The Top actor Robert Loggia passes away

OTT-Loggia

Legendary actor Robert Loggia, best known for his co-starring role in the 1987 Sylvester Stallone film Over The Top passed away on Friday at the age of 85.

In Over The Top, Loggia portrayed Jason Cutler, a wealthy man who does everything in his power to keep his grandson Michael apart from his estranged father Lincoln Hawk (Stallone). However, the bond between an arm wrestling championship winning father and his son proves to be unbreakable.

Loggia was said to have lived his life by the motto “The world meets nobody halfway”, which he picked up from his time on the set of Over The Top.

Loggia also starred in Scarface and Big.

Ensuring a future for Alvin & The Chipmunks

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December 18th, 2015 is a date millions of cinephiles have marked on their calendar. That is the day when the latest chapter of one of motion pictures’ most beloved franchises will be released. It is a chapter that I thought would never see the light of day.

It is not that I thought there wasn’t a lot of stories still left to be told involving Alvin, Simon and Theodore, the lovable rodents who have been delighting audiences for over fifty years. I simply thought that they had run out of quality puns to use as secondary titles for future films. I mean it is hard to top The Squeakquel (2009) and Chipwrecked (2011). That’s like painting the Mona Lisa and Dogs Playing Poker back-to-back.

Then I heard about The Road Chip, the fourth installment of the storied Chipmunk franchise. I immediately felt ridiculous for doubting the Chipmunk creative team’s ability to come up with a clever title, and then construct a movie to suit it.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip is clearly going to making a load of money. They’ve got some stiff competition on December 18th. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s Sisters arrives that day, as does the new Bruce Willis/Kellan Lutz/Gina Carano flick Extraction. But let’s be honest, if you see anyone camping outside a movie theatre around that date, rest assured, they are there to see what misadventures those scamps Alvin, Simon and Theodore are going to get into on their road trip…. sorry, road chip.

Now I have faith in the Chipmunk team’s ability to come up with winning material, but just in case the well runs dry, I’d like to present my ideas for future releases.

Alvin and The Chipmunks: Poker Chips – Dave is in danger of losing the house, so the Chipmunks decide to take up gambling to raise funds. Kenny Rogers would co-star, reprising his role as Brady Hawkes from The Gambler series. It would work out well, as the same team that does the CGI for the Chipmunk movies also does the CGI for Kenny’s face. Plus then this version of “The Gambler” could get a wider release:

Alvin and The Chipmunks: Munk E-business – This one would take place in the 90s. Alvin hits it big in the dotcom world with a website that allows people to download music.

Alvin and The Chipmunks: Shaolin Munks – Hilarity ensues when Alvin, Simon and Theodore, on the run from a vicious drug dealer, take up residence in a Shaolin Monastery.

Alvin and The Chipmunks: CHiPs-Munks – Starksy and Hutch, The Dukes of Hazzard and The Brady Bunch all got the big screen treatment, so isn’t it about time that the 1977-83 series detailing the adventures of two California Highway Patrol motorcycle officers arrived in your local theatre? Alvin, Simon and Theodore would take on the role of the CHiPs. Original series star Erik Estrada, in a stunning twist, would portray the villain!


Alvin and The Chipmunks: Fish N’ Chips – The Chipmunks go overboard during a fishing trip with Dave, and end up living with a school of fish. I’m not sure how long chipmunks can hold their breath under water, so viewers might have to suspend their disbelief.

So there’s enough ideas to keep this franchise going for the next 15 years, which in turn would generate billions of dollars. You’re welcome.

Should Rousey tap out of Road House remake?

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This past Saturday night, the biggest sports upset since the Harlem Globetrotters defeated the Green Bay Packers at Super Bowl XXV occurred when Holly Holm was victorious over Ronda Rousey for the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship.

MMA pundits immediately began to question when Rousey would get her rematch, or even if she would continue in the sport.

The bigger question however is, how will this effect plans for Rousey to star in the planned remake of the 1989 classic Roadhouse.

Earlier this year it was announced that Rousey was cast to star in the film, which would be directed by Nick Cassavetes, best known for his work on The Notebook. Word even leaked that Rousey had received the blessing of the wife of the late Patrick Swayze. Whether Ronda asked nicely, or applied a vicious armbar to receive this blessing is unknown, but either way she was able to sway Swayze’s widow.

At the time the casting seemed brilliant. Rousey seemed unstoppable, going 13-0 in mixed martial arts, winning most of her fights in the first round. But after the loss to Holm, many are wondering is she can still be convincing in the role of the “cooler”.

What would have happened if back in 1988, Patrick Swayze ran into Sugar Ray Leonard at some high profile function. Perhaps heated words would have been exchanged, fisticuffs ensued, and it is not inconceivable that Leonard would have managed to gain the upper hand against Swayze. Would audiences been able to buy a defeated Swayze as the tough-as-nails, throw ripping out fighting machine known as Dalton? Highly unlikely.

Luckily Swayze was able to maintain his aura of invincibility, with many tough guy performances on his resume. Who could ever forget his work in Dirty Dancing, where he played a dirty cop who used every dirty trick in his playbook to thwart dirty terrorists who were holding hostages at a high school dance. Actually I’ve never seen the film, that’s what it’s about, right?

Ronda Rousey has done enough in mixed martial arts to earn the right to go back to the top of the ladder, and gain an immediate rematch with Holm. But she is clearly not qualified, at least not at this point, to step into Swayze’s shoes.

Perhaps she can start off by starring in a remake of one of Swayze’s lesser films, Ghost. I can envision a version of the film where both gender and race roles have been switched. Rousey could play the Swayze part, Kevin Hart could play the Demi Moore role, and Channing Tatum could take over for Whoopi Goldberg. I have no doubt that Rousey could easily hoist Hart up for the infamous pottery scene.

Hollywood bigwigs and Ronda Rousey, you’re welcome.

Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery

Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery (2014)

Doo not miss this Scooby/WWE mashup

Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery

Vince McMahon and the employees of his World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) enterprise have faced a great many challenges over the years. There have been steroid trials, a high death toll amongst performers and competition from other sports entertainment companies. One thing Mr. McMahon has not had to deal with was a blood thirsty ghost bear. Thanks to the newly released direct-to-home video flick Scooby- Doo! WrestleMania Mystery however, McMahon can now say that he has faced and overcome all possible challenges.

Scooby and his owner/best pal Shaggy are enjoying a night of hijinx, playing the latest video game offering from the WWE. After vanquishing a foe, they move onto the bonus level, where the game format inexplicably changes from wrestling, to a Dance Dance Revolution-style rhythm challenge. When Scooby achieves a perfect score, he is greeted with a video message from WWE head honcho Mr. McMahon, informing him that he has won a trip to WrestleMania, which is taking place in WWE City.

WWE City? Yes, in the world of Scooby Doo, WWE is not a traveling show, but its own city, complete with not only an arena, but training facilities, and all you can eat buffet restaurants. If Vatican City can exist, then why not a WWE City. The residents of both cities have their own J.C. which is central to their existence. The WWE’s version is their top star, and one of the heroes of this story, John Cena.

Scooby and Shaggy are eager to travel to WWE City, but their friends need a little arm-twisting, and not the kind that the WWE superstars like to do. Fred agrees so he can snap some photos with his fancy new camera. Velma decides to go so she can compare the WWE to ancient gladiatorial society. Daphne is adamant that she will not go, but changes her tune after taking a gander at the aforementioned John Cena.

So Scooby and pals go to WWE City, enjoy WrestleMania, and everything goes off without a hitch, right? Wrong! You see, WWE City is being terrorized by a ghost bear. Long ago, it was not uncommon for wrestlers to have matches with bears. No, this is not a wacky idea dreamed up for the purposes of this animated film. This actually used to happen. The site that would eventually become WWE City was once host to a match between a masked Mexican wrestler name Sin Cara Grande, who overcame the odds, and defeated the bear. Now after all these years, the bear is back – this time in ghost form, to seek vengeance.

Mr. McMahon is very worried about the bear. Not because he is concerned about the welfare of his fellow WWE City residents, but because he is afraid that something will happen to the extremely valuable WWE championship belt. So, after hearing of the legendary exploits of Scooby and pals, he hires them to be protectors of the belt. But Scooby and Shaggy find themselves in deep Doo Doo when the belt goes missing, and all signs point to Scooby being the culprit.

Justice is not dealt out in a courtroom in WWE City, but rather in the wrestling ring. Scooby and Shaggy must earn their freedom by competing against the WWE’s scariest performer, the nearly seven-foot-tall Kane. In the immortal words of Scooby, “Ruh-roh!”

Along with the voice work of Scooby regulars such as the Matthew Lillard, Mindy Cohn and the legendary Frank Welker, a host of WWE superstars are along for the ride, including John Cena, Kane, Triple H, AJ Lee, Sin Cara and The Miz.

Scooby Doo has had some incredible encounters over the years with stars such as Sonny & Cher, Don Knotts and KISS. Nothing has come close however to the magic created when Scooby first set his four feet onto WWE soil. Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery is a delight from start to finish. I Scooby-Dooby-Doo recommend that you download your digital copy from Amazon or iTunes, and then also purchase a physical DVD as well. It is important to have a backup, as watching Scooby over the years has taught me that people are always stealing things, and there might not be some meddling kids to prevent them from nabbing your copy of this excellent film.

The Room

The Room (2003)

No Room for improvement

The Room

Martin Scorsese. Steven Spielberg. Dan Aykroyd. Hulk Hogan. Jenna Jameson. All people who have contributed greatly to the motion picture industry, and have attempted, with varying degrees of success, to make the perfect film. Well, these fine artists can stop now. Cinematic perfection has been achieved, and it happened all the way back in 2003. That is when a remarkable being known as Tommy Wiseau directed, produced, wrote and starred in an astounding motion picture known as The Room.

Wiseau portrays Johnny, who can best be described as the love child of Gene Simmons and Fabio. Yes, I do understand that Fabio and Mr. Simmons could not have fathered a child together. Obviously, they both have had vasectomies, otherwise they would have produced thousands of offspring.

Johnny is a successful banker and all around great guy. He has basically adopted an 18-year-old boy named Denny, setting him up in his own apartment, and offering to pay his tuition for him. He also treats his fiancée Lisa like gold, regularly bedding her while rubbing roses down her naked body, surrounded by candles. They have two steamy sex scenes in the first half-hour of the film. Just take a look at this dialogue that exhibits the chemistry between the two:

Lisa: Do you want me to order a pizza?

Johnny: Whatever, I don’t care.

Lisa: I already ordered a pizza.

Johnny: You think about everything, ha ha ha.

It’s like something out a Harlequin romance novel. Unfortunately for Johnny, Lisa actually has three sex scenes during the first half-hour, as she is also sleeping with Johnny’s best friend Mark.

Lisa reveals to her mother – and anyone else who will listen – that she has no feelings for Johnny. However, she likes the financial freedom that being with Johnny provides, so decides to continue stringing him along while continuing her fling with his best pal. Poor Johnny continues to spend a small fortune on roses and candles.

The passionate love triangle, and the paranoia it breeds, is the meat of this film, but The Room is filled with so much more. Specifically, football. Throughout the film, the male characters are constantly tossing footballs to one another. I swear there is more pigskin action in this film than in Remember The Titans, Rudy and The Longest Yard combined.

While Wiseau deserves kudos for his writing and directing efforts, it is in the role of actor that he truly shines in The Room. He employs a very minimalistic approach to acting. It almost appears as though he isn’t putting the slightest bit of effort into his performance, which is the true sign of a great thespian. His performance throughout the film is reminiscent of someone who has just woken up from having their wisdom teeth removed. Whatever it was that he was drawing from at the time this film was being shot was clearly working.

The Room is an unforgettable tale of love, betrayal and pickup football games. It is easy to see why a decade after its initial release, it is still selling out theatres across the world. You will certainly want to make room on your DVD shelf for The Room.

GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling

GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (2012)

A GLOWing review

GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling

The Olympics are in full swing, and I couldn’t be more excited. Not because I am a fan of events such as Short Track Speed Skating or the Nordic Combined. Let’s face it; nobody has given a damn about the majority of the sports that comprise the Winter Olympics for the past three years and 50 weeks. So I don’t feign excitement when some nincompoop from Moose Jaw makes it down a mountain faster than some dingbat from Helsinki.

So what has me excited, then? Well, as opposed to professional sports, I feel male and female Olympic athletes are treated as equals. People care as much (or as little) about a female luger as they do a male luger.

Contrast that with the spotlight (or lack thereof) that is shone on female professional athletes. The WNBA has been around since 1996, but legendary female basketball players such as Swoozy McBossoms and Sassy Fannypants are far from household names. In fact with the upcoming increase to the Ontario minimum wage, a woman would be financially better off working at an Oshawa Arby’s restaurant than trying to make it as the point guard of the Indiana Fever.

Luckily there is one professional sports league that is at the forefront of gender equality, that being World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). While the ladies of the WNBA and LPGA are segregated from their male counterparts, performing in front of crowds of a dozen or so in church basements, female professional wrestlers are treated with the utmost respect. They perform on the same events as the male wrestlers, and therefore their competitions are shown in primetime on major television stations, and broadcast in colour. Those are claims that other female pro athletes cannot truthfully make.

It wasn’t always a bed of roses for women wrestlers, however. Back in the 1980s, female and male grapplers were not on equal footing, and as a result, the women were forced to compete in their own league, known as GLOW, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.

GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling is a fascinating documentary that details the short history of the women’s-only pro wrestling organization. The company was founded in 1986, when a group of young women with little to no grappling experience were brought in and taught the basics in a short boot camp. From there they would appear in a very successful syndicated program that featured rap videos, comedy skits and of course, wrestling matches. Stars such as Hollywood, Mt. Fiji and Tina Ferrari battled it out, under the watchful eye of Jackie Stallone (Sylvester and Frank’s mother), who portrayed the organization’s owner. What the women lacked in athleticism, they more than made up for with over-the-top personality. They were tremendous performers who gave it their all. The only thing that differentiated them from the likes of Andre The Giant is that Andre was not able to write off halter tops and Daisy Duke shorts as a legitimate business expense.

The show became an international phenomenon, before it was shockingly cancelled after four seasons. In this documentary we get to learn not only about the company, but more importantly we are taken behind the curtain, and learn about the women behind the characters. In yet another example of wrestling promoters bending the truth, only a handful of the women were gorgeous as advertised. The rest of roster was, quite frankly, rather homely. But Homely Ladies of Wrestling would not look very good on a marquee I suppose. Plus HLOW sounds like Dutch profanity, which would have affected the promotion’s chances of success in the Netherlands.

I assume that it is every young girl’s dream to grow up and become a professional wrestler. Therefore, GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling is an absolute must-see film for young women. The names Gloria Steinem and Susan B. Anthony get bandied about when people discuss great feminists in history. If you ask me, there are some other names that have played an equal, dare I say greater role in the feminist movement. GLOW stars such as Matilda The Hun, Jailbait and Babe the Farmer’s Daughter should each have their own page in Encyclopedia Britannica.

While great women of the past burned their bras in the fight for equality, these tough-as-nails women did them one better. They scratched, clawed and maimed one another so that the next generation of competitors, names such as Trish Stratus and Stacey Kiebler could perform in their bras in front of appreciative audiences. I can only hope that one day the women of the WNBA, LPGA and Lingerie Football League are held in the same regard.

Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead

Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006)

One clucking good movie

Poultrygeist

Not only am I a cinema connoisseur; I also consider myself to be a chicken connoisseur. I enjoy poultry in many different forms – nuggets, fingers, breasts and balls. Thanks to the fine folks at Troma, I am now able to enjoy chicken in another form, that being the 2006 horror/comedy/musical Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead.

Troma is an independent movie studio that produces “B-movies.” I assume that the “B” stands for brilliant. The Toxic Avenger, Surf Nazis Must Die and Chopper Chicks in Zombietown are just some of the classics that have been produced by this company. Sex and violence aplenty are usually found in these films, and Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead is no exception.

At its core, Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead is a love story about high school sweethearts Arbie and Wendy, who are reunited after a year apart. Arbie plans to visit an ancient Native American burial ground, where the two made love the year before… or at least attempted to before being interrupted by a masturbating man, who goes on to be killed by a zombie.

Arbie is in for a bigger surprise than that this time around. You see, the cemetery has been replaced by a chicken restaurant, and its parking lot is filled with angry protesters who are crying fowl. Among the protesters is Wendy, who has returned from college, and is now romantically involved with another young woman.

Heartbroken, Arbie takes a job with the chicken restaurant out of spite, but it soon becomes clear that there are more than 11 herbs and spices added to the product at this particular establishment.

While the proprietor of the American Chicken Bunker took great care in moving the corpses from the cemetery into a dumpster, the spirits of these men and women still remain, and they are pissed. They take possession of not only the food being served, but those who are consuming it. Before long, men start growing chickens eggs out of their chest, which hatch chickens. Some customers turn into human/chicken hybrids. Heads are severed, and people are ripped apart, much like one would rip apart a delicious chicken wing. The climax of this film is more chaotic than a Saturday night shindig at Justin Bieber’s pad.

The good folks at the Guinness Book of Records have to take a look at Poultrygeist, as I am sure this film would be immortalized in their publication. It absolutely has to be the bloodiest movie ever made. It gets to the point where an hour into the film, someone’s testicles are ripped off, and thrown in a deep fryer. I didn’t even bat an eyelash. In any other film, that would be a major talking point. Just imagine if Jennifer Lawrence did that to Christian Bale in American Hustle. That would surely be a scene that people remembered. In this film, it doesn’t make the top 10 most gruesome moments.

It would also challenge for the record for the most fecal matter ever displayed in a motion picture. Eating possessed chicken will wreak havoc with one’s digestive tract, and as a result, this film is filled with so much shit that I had to double check to make sure Michael Bay hadn’t directed it.

It also features perhaps the most topless musical numbers ever performed on film. Though to be fair, it has been a while since I watched Mary Poppins or The Sound Of Music, but I have no memories of mammaries being on display while Julie Andrews was belting out some tunes.

If for some unfathomable reason the thought of gratuitous violence/ nudity/excrement just isn’t appealing to you, then you probably shouldn’t watch Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, as I understand it is a film that might ruffle some feathers. However, if you are open minded enough, I cock-a-doodle-doo think that you will love Poultrygeist, and that you will come bock-bock-back for more viewings. And let me reiterate: at its core, Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead is a love story, so you should think about watching it with your sweetie this Valentine’s Day.