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.

Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony

Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony (2012)

Pony doc will have you whinnying

Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony

Gender roles have changed greatly over the past several decades. Men are now free to choose any profession they want, rather than being limited to the choice of becoming a lumberjack or bear wrestler. Men can express emotions, even going as far as to cry… provided they have stubbed their toe, or just finished watching the series finale of ALF, that is.

One thing society has not fully embraced, however, is a man’s right to watch a television show aimed at young girls. Thankfully, a movement is in place to change that way of thinking, and that movement is captured in the terrific documentary Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony.

You may be asking yourself, “What in the blue hell are bronies?” Bronies are male fans of the My Little Pony franchise, in most cases more specifically of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic television series. Not only do these men watch the program, but they collect pony figurines, attend conventions and create wonderful works of art inspired by Rainbow Dash and company.

John de Lancie is a veteran actor who has appeared in a few shows with rabid fan bases. He portrayed Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and has also had recurring roles in Stargate: SG-1 and Breaking Bad. So he was certainly used to getting attention. But nothing could have prepared him for the adulation he received from his work as the voice of Discord in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. And he certainly wasn’t expecting to be receiving this praise from grown men.

So de Lancie, along with Tara Strong (the voice of Twilight Sparkle) and series creator Lauren Faust teamed up to produce Bronies. The documentary takes us deep into the world of My Little Pony fandom, and all the mania (or should I say mane-ia) surrounding it. We get to see footage from BronyCon, Galacon, and B.U.C.K., three of the largest gatherings of bronies (and their female equivalents, known to some as pegasisters).

We meet a father who is struggling with his son’s fondness for all things pony. Only a trip to the largest brony convention could break down the walls between them and lead to a greater level of love and understanding.We meet a young man who has been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, and thus does not interact well with others. However the thought of being amongst his pony-obsessed brethren is an opportunity too great to pass up, and he must struggle to shed his inhibitions as he travels alone to the convention.

We are also introduced to some of the world’s preeminent brony artists, tremendously skilled individuals who compose ballads, paint pictures and create elaborate light shows, all inspired by this fine television program.

Not since I first watched Weekend At Bernie’s 2 could I describe a movie-watching experience as being life-altering. But I would definitely say that about this film. Immediately after watching this film, I threw all of my two-year- old son’s “boy” toys out in the trash. That new fire station he got for Christmas was gone, replaced by a Barbie Dream House. Goodbye, Thomas and Friends; hello, Disney Princesses. It is now up to Strawberry Shortcake, Smurfette and Pinkie Pie to mold my son into the man I know he can be.

For the unforgettable characters introduced, and the wonderful message it presents, Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony is truly deserving of four hooves up. Hopefully Roger Ebert didn’t copyright that rating system as well.

Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead

Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead (2011)

Excellence meets flatulence

Zombie Ass

Each year, hundreds of films are produced that feature things being inserted into asses. However, for whatever reason, very few films about things coming out of asses see the light of day.

Enter writer/director Noboru Iguchi. The creative genius behind such influential movies as Beautiful Girl Excretion School, Celebrity Signorina, Take Your Shorts Off! and Veterinary Pet Beauty Big Bust W Cast Teacher also saw a disparity between ass input/output motion pictures, and put crayon to paper to rectify the situation. The resulting masterpiece, Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead, may be the most unique film I have ever had the pleasure of viewing.

I’m sure we have all seen movies where a group of young people go out to a cabin in the woods, and things go horribly wrong. Usually there will be a slutty girl, a nerdy guy, and a reserved girl who manages to outlive all of her companions. Well, that also happens to be the basic outline of Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead. However, this film strays from the formula in such wonderful ways that it ends up bearing little resemblance to other films in the genre such as Cabin Fever and Cabin in the Woods. This is not so much a tale of cabins or the horrors lurking outside of them. No, it is primarily about asses.

I will do my best to explain what happens in this film, and rest assured, I am not making any of this up. Five young people set out on a carefree trip, but things take a dramatic turn for the worse when Maki, who has modeling aspirations, ingests a parasite which she believes will make her skinny. She begins to experience some major bowel issues, and then the poop really hits the fan… and everything else for that matter! Fecal-drenched zombies emerge from a porta-potty hole while Maki is attempting to relieve herself. But there is no relief in sight for Maki and her companions as they find themselves being pursued by stool-stained stalkers.

These dead do not merely walk; they are filled with more gas than a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Farting zombies – nothing could be more terrifying than that, right? Wrong! Not only do these creatures break wind, they break new ground in the zombie genre when parasites begin emerging from their rear ends. Can you imagine the creature from Alien bursting out of someone’s backside? Well, you don’t have to imagine it, because this film pretty much shows you what that would look like. Again and again!

The onus (or should I say anus) for dealing with these flatulent creatures falls on Megumi, a shy schoolgirl who not only can kick some major butt, but do some major damage with her own derriere. This all leads to an ass-tonishing final battle between Megumi and a giant parasite that has emerged from her friend’s gluteus maximus. Who emerges victorious, and who brings up the rear? You’ll have to watch the film yourself to find out.

I had high expectations going into my viewing of this film, and I must say, Zombie Ass is everything that it was cracked up to be. The script, the acting, the music, the visual effects, everything was simply ass-tounding. No if, ands or butts about it, you will certainly want to tap Zombie Ass.

I’ll Be Home For Christmas

I’ll Be Home For Christmas (1998)

Cross-country Claus chaos

I'll Be Home For Christmas

The holiday season is upon us, and many students will be making it home to join their family to celebrate, well, whatever it is that their particular family celebrates. Christmas. Hanukkah. Kwanzaa. Winter solstice. Milla Jovovich’s birthday. Hopefully each student’s journey is a safe and relatively uneventful one. Maybe you’ll have a run-in with a rude flight attendant. Maybe your luggage will get damaged. I pray, however, that you don’t run into as many obstacles as the main character does in the film that I will be examining this week, I’ll Be Home For Christmas.

Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Home Improvement) stars as Jake, a somewhat selfish young man who is currently attending college in California, along with his girlfriend Allie (Jessica Biel). He plans to take Allie to Cabo San Lucas for the holidays, but she puts the kibosh on those plans. She wants them both to head home to New York to spend time with their families. Jake gives in, but not to please Allie, but rather because his father has made him an offer he cannot refuse.

Gary Cole shines as Jake’s father. Cole is best known however for his role as Bill Lumbergh in Office Space. Basically, he tells Jake, “Ummm, I’m gonna need you to go ahead come home before 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve. So, if you could be here around 6, that would be great, mmmk… oh oh! And I almost forgot, ahh, I’m going to go ahead and give you a Porsche if you make it here on time, ’kay?” I’m paraphrasing a bit, but that is the gist of his message.

It sounds pretty straightforward, right? Jake just has to get his and Allie’s patooties across the country, and he’ll land a sweet ride. Well, that wouldn’t make for much of a movie. Luckily, shenanigans ensue. Jake’s rival Eddie and his buddies take Jake (who is wearing a Santa suit) out into the middle of the desert and leave him stranded there. This allows Eddie to swoop in and save the day by driving Allie home.

So while Allie fumes the whole way home thinking that her boyfriend has abandoned her, Jake engages in a series LOL escapades as he makes his way across the country dressed as Santa. He manages to win $1,000 cash by competing in a Santa Claus race, and it looks like he will make it home in time. But things get complicated when he learns that the runner-up was the mayor of the town, who has won the race every year, and uses the money to buy turkey dinners for needy families.

Hold the phone! Up until this point in the film, the writing of Michael Allin, Tom Nursall and Harris Goldberg has been absolutely perfect. But clearly they spent so much time researching college students, family dynamics and the racing abilities of mall Santas that they didn’t know a darn thing about mayors. Let’s get this straight. Mayors divert taxpayer money for their own personal use. They smoke crack cocaine. They inexplicably sprint across the room at council meetings, knocking down any grandmothers in their path. They make inappropriate remarks about their wife’s genitalia. They most certainly do not feed the hungry. Frankly, it would have been more realistic to have had the mayor transform into a helicopter during the race.

Once Jake hears about this preposterous scenario, he feels guilty, and drops the money off at the mayor’s home. The mayor invites Jake in to partake in Christmas dinner with his family, but Jake realizes that he has more than enough to eat at home, and makes one last ditch effort to join his family for their holiday feast.

Does Jake make it home? Does he win back the heart of Allie, and earn the keys to the Porsche from dear old Dad? You’ll just have to watch the film and find out for yourself. The film is available on Netflix, and according to Wikipedia, it has aired on CBC every Christmas season since 1999. Consider that information my Christmas gift to you, and yes, I do expect something in return.

I guarantee you will love this motion picture. Despite the terrible characterization of the mayor, I still feel that I’ll Be Home For Christmas is the greatest holiday offering since a wise man brought myrrh to baby Jesus 2,000 years ago.