Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Recap of 2014

Hey everyone, Dana here. A few weeks ago, I did a music review on my favorite local band, Logan's Room. Since today is the last day of 2014, I might as well recap some of the most important events that happened this year. I usually make a status about it on Facebook, but I feel like making a blog post about it instead. I hope you all enjoy it.




January

Aside from the massive amount of snow, it was a pretty uneventful month. My life consisted of working part time, job hunting, band practice, sewing, and many matches of Mortal Kombat with Eddie, Brendan and Evan on the weekends. One of the things I remember vividly is driving home from work during one of the snowstorms, and it took me an hour and a half, when it usually takes only twenty minutes to drive home. The only other somewhat big thing that happened was that I finally got my final grades from my last semester of school, and I was waiting on confirmation of getting my diploma.




February

February was another quiet month. I didn't care about the Seattle Seahawks, the Denver Broncos or Bruno Mars, so the Superbowl party at Eddie's consisted of watching the Puppy Bowl and listening to fun music. February was a good month for music too; February 2014 marked the 20th anniversary since the release of Dookie, and remembering the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first visit to the U.S and appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show. My band played at The Hub in Island Park, but because there was a dusting of snow, it was an extremely quiet turn-out. The highlight of February? This:





March

A lot of fun and amazing things happened in March. First, my good friend Brian asked me to fill in on bass for his band's show, and it was a really great turn out. I hung out with and ran into so many familiar faces. Although it felt so weird to be playing the bass on stage without Eddie and Brendan by my side, it was a lot of fun to play something different. Since I'm quite small, and pants tend to be a little too long for my legs, I taught myself how to hem pants without using a sewing machine! I even traveled back to the 1950's for my friend's 50's themed 25th birthday too! But the one thing that happened in March that still leaves me starstruck was this glorious moment:




That is Michale Graves, former lead vocalist of one of my favorite bands of all time, the Misfits. It was such an honor to meet him; let alone share the stage as him.


April

April was an interesting month. For the first time in my life, my April Fool's prank worked! I made everyone think I got fired from my job. My good friend Melissa and her boyfriend came back to NY for a visit and I reconnected with friends of hers that I met for the first time, or friends that I made at her going away party four years earlier.  I saw the "Bears" movie/documentary with Eddie, and our movie tickets went towards the National Park Foundation. I discovered a new passion for shopping at thrift stores and learned how to use a sewing machine! Oh, and my birthday was at the end of April. But my favorite highlight was this wonderful moment: receiving my diploma!




May

Like every May since 2012, May was a very emotional month for me. I started the month off right by celebrating my 23rd birthday at my house instead of Eddie's house over the years. Since the weather got warmer, I was able to ride my bike for miles on my days off; usually ending up lying down on a blanket reading a book at the private beach located a couple miles from my house. Those were the happy moments. But, like I said earlier, it took an emotional turn, for I remembered the loss of my dear friend Casey who passed away two years earlier. May was also rough with job hunting; I spent every night applying to jobs, but I either got no response at all, or the automated "we will contact you only if we feel you're a good fit for our company" email responses. Needless to say, those were turbulent nights. But it wasn't completely miserable. I saw Godzilla, and celebrated Eddie's birthday with multiple cases of Mountain Dew Baja Blast! My favorite moment of May was when my band opened up for Insubordination, a punk band from Virginia! 




June

This was one of my favorite months this year. I went on two job interviews (neither of them worked out) and played many shows with my band. First, we played at Even Flow and met a cool photographer who bought us chicken wings after our set! Later that weekend, we returned to Mr. Beery's to play with awesome bands like The Cavalry Is Us, The Best Lies and All New Episode! A couple days later, we  played at Revolution in Amityville! Our drummer quit right after our set. It was stupid of him to quit when we still had a show lined up, but we adjusted. And then just a week or two later, we played a set at The Hub in Island Park. It wasn't our best set since we had a literal last minute drummer play with us, but it was a good turn out. I then discovered Logan's Room; their debut concert that left me in awe. Unfortunately, that was the night we discovered our drummer dumped us to be the lead vocalist for another band. It's okay though, he got kicked out 3 weeks in, and we're great friends with that band anyway!♥ In short, I met so many awesome friends in June. Here's a couple:


July

Another interesting month in 2014. We started off by returning to The Hub to play an acoustic set on a rainy 4th of July show, but we networked with other bands and enjoyed spending time with them. My band spent most of July auditioning new permanent drummers and playing shows with fill-in drummers too. But the search came to an end when we auditioned Dillon, our long-lost little brother. After the session was over, I turned to Eddie and Brendan and said "I want Dillon in the band. I don't care about the others." From that moment on, Dillon joined the Bending Over Backwards family, and it was the happiest moment of 2014.


August

Like May this year, it was fun, but emotional. We played our first show with Dillon at Sinclair's Pub in West Babylon. About a week later, I took a tumble down a hill while on my bike and strained the muscles in my right arm. It took about a week and a half to heal, but it was one of the most painful injuries I've had since I sprained my ankle in 2010. How I managed to walk way with just a bruised arm and no broken bones is beyond my wildest dreams. Two days later, I had a job interview that went really well. That weekend, we played a show at a bowling alley with our good friends in Logan's Room. Another awesome moment in August was when the channel FXX ran the "Every Simpsons Ever" marathon; the longest running animated sitcom in television history broke the record of airing the longest running marathon in television history. Fantastic. Unfortunately, just a few days later, I got the call from my potential job that they decided not to offer me that job. I was heartbroken, but I didn't let it ruin the rest of my summer. My band played a house party, I finally read Greg Sestero's memoir The Disaster Artist, and of course, going to Rockaway Beach with these awesome people:


September


This was the first September in 18 years that I wasn't enrolled in some sort of educational institution. Boy, did that feel weird.Preparing for the super busy month ahead at work took up most of my days, but it wasn't all work! I had some pretty awesome times in September as well. I returned to Rockaway Beach and enjoyed my last hot summer day before the first day of Fall. My band played at an awesome record store in Sayville, and I watched the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover episode. My favorite moment of September? Being front and center at the Social Distortion concert at the Paramount with Eddie and Brendan!


October

Oh man, October was literally the busiest month out of every month I lived through in 2014. Because what happens when you work at a costume shop during the month of October? i.e Halloween? Work, work, work, work, WORK! I barely had any time to rest, eat, write blogs, or practice with my band. I managed to squeeze in some fun by playing Beatles monopoly with the band, going to a wedding, and pulling other non-work shenanigans, but I racked up over 40 hours one week, and then worked 10 hours a day towards the end of the month. But it was all worth it in the end. Remember the job interview in August? Remember I didn't get the job? Well, they called me back for a different position in another department, and I GOT THE JOB! I put my two weeks notice in at the costume shop, and got a chance to celebrate Halloween! Look how awesome me and Eddie looked as the Joker and Harley Quinn!


November

It was a very eventful month. I quit my job at the costume shop and started my new one at Kravet. I never worked at a corporate 9 to 5 Monday through Friday job before, so it took a bit of an emotional toll on me. But after being there for a week or two, I started adjusting to my new schedule. It's not bad at all, and my life didn't change either. My anxiety lead me to believe that I would never have a social life again, I'd have to quit my band, yada yada yada. But that was not the case at all. I saw Dumb and Dumber To, played board games such as Clue and Scattergories with my friends, took a trip into the city to celebrate my friend Kate's birthday, and of course: played shows with my band and other wonderful bands.♥


December

And here we are in December. Working at my new job and adjusting to corporate life, spending the first few Fridays at Brendan's house by watching movies and ordering in take-out and sleeping in on the weekends. I watched Logan's Room open up for Tantric at the Emporium in Patchogue, and even though Eddie Brendan and Dillon couldn't make it, I still had fun hanging out with everyone else who showed their support! Tantric put on a good show, but I had to leave early due to work the next morning. Another glorious moment in my life was waking up to find out that not only Joan Jett FINALLY got inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but so did Green Day! My two favorite bands got inducted together! And of course, finally, Ringo Starr as well.♥ I guess my rant about Joan and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year finally paid off. They definitely saw it and finally listened to me! (haha...) I also received my very first jury duty summons, celebrated Christmas, and played a show at Revolution again! My favorite moment? Making a look-alike of the rag doll featured on Korn's album, Issues.


 


And now that it's New Year's Eve, I'm going to be celebrating it with some really great people tonight. I can honestly say that 2014 was a really great year, despite the frustrations with the job hunt. I met some really incredible people this year, I got myself a full time job, and finally got the permanent band lineup I always wanted since day one. One more thing: exactly one year ago today, I quit my job at CVS. Happy New Year, everyone. I love you all!♥

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Review of Logan's Room

Hey everyone, Dana here. Last week, I wrote a motivational blog post about job hunting and rejection letters I received upon learning of my rejection. Tonight, I've got something fun. Earlier this year, I reviewed Event Horizon's CD. However, this particular band doesn't have anything recorded just yet, but they will in the future. I'm reviewing a local hard rock band that hails from Long Beach, NY: Logan's Room!


From left to right: Matt Capitano, Jordan Klinger,
Michael Giordano, David Kaufman
The current lineup consists of Jordan Klinger as lead vocalist and rhythm guitar, Matt Capitano on lead guitar, David Kaufman on bass, and Michael Giordano on drums and backing vocals. Their influences include, but not limited to, Rage Against The Machine, Nirvana, Metallica, The Beatles, and Alice In Chains. I can hear a lot of their influences in the music they've created. When I'm watching them on stage, I feel like I'm back in the 80's and 90's again. 

Their songs range from kickass, rockin' songs that have me headbanging, to slow ballads that almost bring tears to my eyes. I love a band that can write a wide variety of songs. There's nothing more disappointing than listening to a band/album that have songs that sound like they're getting played on repeat five times in a row. Logan's Room is the antithesis of that. Their influences are so different, and I love hearing songs that pay homage to those artists. And their covers? Don't even get me started on their cover of "Killing In The Name Of" by Rage Against The Machine. It's incredible.

Speaking of incredible, they've been together for a whole six months, yet the chemistry and talent these four guys have leave me at a loss for words. I saw them at their first show on June 29th, 2014 at The Hub in Island Park, and saw them last night at The Emporium in Patchogue. I can't even begin to describe how much they've grown in the past six months. Oh wait, I can.

When I first saw them after my band, Bending Over Backwards, played our set, we stuck around to listen to the other bands who shared the stage with us. I was immediately drawn to Logan's Room, who played right after us. I noticed they were missing a bass player, but I didn't think anything of it because my band didn't have a proper drummer for our set; we were incomplete too. But when I talked to Matt the next day, he told me that was their debut performance. I was completely blown away. I was speechless. But then, I immediately thought this: If they're this good without a bass player, and never set foot on stage prior to last night, I can't even imagine how great they'll be years from now, let alone months from now! Here I am, nearly six months later, and they're a completely different band.

Logan's Room has opened up for artists such as Kellen Heller, Affiance, and most recently, Tantric. They are currently in the process of recording their debut album, LBNY. When it's released, I'm calling shots of getting the first copy that's sold! These guys have great potential to go far, and they have my 100% unconditional support.

Thank you all for taking the time to read my review of Logan's Room, and I hope all of you check them out on Facebook for more information on future shows, and their album release. I'll be writing again soon, my friends. Have a good night, and enjoy the rest of your week.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Job Hunting and Rejection Letters

Hey everyone, Dana here. A few weeks ago, I did a movie review about Dumb and Dumber To. Tonight, I'm changing it up. I'm not reviewing anything, I'm not putting my two cents into anything viral or trending online or in the news, and it isn't any other observation. I'm here to share my experience of applying to hundreds of jobs, and out of the hundreds I sent my resume to, I either got the automated "We will contact you only if we feel you're a good fit for our company," or rejection letters. I'm here to let you know that you're not alone and you will find your place. Let me tell you about all of the rejections I dealt with...


I almost lost hope when I graduated college and didn't have a "real job" lined up. I spent endless nights crying my eyes out and wondering why they didn't pick me, why they didn't give me a chance to get interviewed, yada yada yada. But after almost a year of editing my resume, sending into human resources offices of said companies I applied to, I finally landed somewhere; and you will too. If you're feeling discouraged, hopeless, or just plain down in the dumps because you've been rejected by multiple job opportunities or any other big step in your life, please remember that it's okay to feel sad. You don't have to explain that to anyone. But don't lose hope. Something will come your way. I promise.

Let's start with the first rejection (aside from asking a person out on a date) a person deals with when applying to places: college rejection. Before I graduated high school, I applied to SUNY schools and CUNY schools and I got rejected by all of them except for Nassau Community College. Why? Because my SAT scores were trash. I went to Nassau Community College for two years, got kickass grades, and earned myself an Associate's Degree! Yay, right? Wrong! Take a look here:

See that? When I was 20 years old, Queens College rejected me when I was about to graduate from Nassau Community College in 2011. I sent them my college transcript, high school transcript, and every other paperwork they asked me to mail them. Because I got a D in Math 101 at NCC, Queens College refused to accept me into their school. I was on the verge of giving up because the colleges I applied to didn't accept me. But I didn't give up. My future was on hold, and I wasn't planning on giving up without a fight. Much to my dismay, I returned to Nassau Community College after I graduated to re-take Math 101. I spent my summer studying the one subject I couldn't stand. It was the worst summer ever. But it was either suffer with math for two months, or don't go to college. I survived math and got accepted to Queens College. I even graduated two years later. But believe me, it was NOT an easy two years. I applied to dozens of internships, and I either got the automated "we will contact you only if we feel you're a good fit," or the following rejection letters:





Out of all of the internships I applied to and got rejected by, I only got accepted by ONE. But guess what? It didn't even work out for me. I didn't get hired afterwards either because they promoted the other intern to be a full-time employee over me. Guess what else happened? I didn't get paid for it; I didn't even get college credit for it, so I didn't graduate on time. I had take an extra semester during my senior year. I was horrified, but I didn't let go. I then decided to stop looking for internships and start applying to real, paid jobs. I started with the banks and credit card companies, but take a look here:



You'd think that a girl who has poor math skills would stay as far away from banks and using numbers, right? Well, I was desperate for a job following my college graduation. I was looking for ANYTHING. But despite my qualifications of having an Associate's Degree and having a lot of experience with customer service, I STILL got rejected. I'm a stubborn girl and kept trying. I then decided to take a different route: apply to jobs via temp agencies. But that didn't even work out:

I couldn't even get hired as a temporary employee. And the worst part about all of these rejections is that I didn't even get interviewed by any of these companies. I literally got rejected before they even got a chance to hear my voice or see my face. Because they didn't like the way I looked on a piece of paper, they dismissed me before they even got a chance to know me. The company I currently work at even rejected me the first time because they felt another candidate was a better match for them. But guess what? They called me back for a different position, and I got the job offer less than an hour after the interview took place. 

For the past two years, I've learned that for every bad thing that happens in life, something good and better will come out in the end. I don't mean to throw in movie quotes, but "If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything." Rejection is a heartbreaking thing to go through, but all it can do is make you stronger. Yes, it's discouraging. Yes, it will make you want to give up and throw everything you accomplished away. Yes, it's okay to feel that way. But don't actually lose hope. You'll get through this. 

Thank you for reading, everyone. I hope my experience has given you the strength to keep going with whatever struggles you have so far. The future is a scary thing; hell, I'm even still afraid of it. But I'd like to end this blog with a quote by Doctor Emmett Brown from Back To The Future Part III: "Your future hasn't been written yet. No one's has. Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one."

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Review of Dumb and Dumber To

Hey everyone, Dana here. It's been a while since I posted because October was the absolute busiest month I had throughout this whole year. Firs and foremost, I got myself a new job lined up, so I had to fill out a lot of paperwork and other technicalities to get hired. Secondly, I worked at Costume America...and what happens during the month of October while working at a costume shop? Hundreds of Halloween purchases and rentals! So, writing kind of didn't happen for a while. I'm sincerely sorry for that. Today, I got a movie review for you! On Friday night, I saw Dumb and Dumber To, and this is what I have to say! Here it goes!

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't seen this movie and do not wish to find out what happens, close out of this window and do not read until you have seen it.

The film begins with an aerial view of a mental institution, and Harry(Jeff Daniels) has supposedly been visiting a vegetative Lloyd(Jim Carrey) every Wednesday for the past twenty years. After he changes Lloyd's waste bag, Harry tells him that he shouldn't be dwelling on the loss of Mary Swanson for all of these years, and Lloyd's mental state has taken a toll on him too. He breaks the news that he can't see him anymore, and as he walks away, Lloyd breaks out of his vegetative state and reveals that he was faking it the whole time. Harry is angry at first, but is delighted that his best friend is perfectly sane and finds it absolutely awesome. Harry breaks Lloyd out of the mental institution, and they're on their merry way to pull some new shenanigans! While they're walking home, Lloyd admits that he would have told Harry about his faked mental state earlier, but felt it would have been funnier to reveal it after 20 years instead of 10. In other words, it was a play on Jim Carrey's decision to wait twenty years to do a sequel. Very clever.



After they pay a visit to Billy, the blind person they sold a dead bird to in the first film, Harry breaks the news to Lloyd that he needs a kidney transplant. And now we know what the plot of the movie is: Harry needs a kidney and they have to find the match! I'm going to pause for a second. When I took a screenwriting class in my senior year at Queens College, I was told that a good screenplay has a plot that unfolds within the first ten minutes of the film. Dumb and Dumber To made the perfect example of that, and I praise the Farrelly Brothers for making that happen. I've seen many movies where I was completely lost because the plot wasn't revealed until a good half hour or forty minutes in. Even if they won Academy Awards, a plot that isn't revealed within the first ten minutes makes a poor film; in my opinion.

Anyway, Harry and Lloyd ride a bike to Harry's parent's house, and we discover that they're Asian, so they're not a donor match. After all of these years, Harry realizes that he's adopted and is heartbroken. I'm going to stop again. If you saw the prequel, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, Harry wasn't adopted, so having Asian parents didn't really make sense to me. However, the Farrelly Brothers had absolutely nothing to do with the prequel, so making Harry adopted didn't need to have continuity from the prequel, and the adoption also adds to the plot.
Harry also never changed his address after he moved out of his parents' house, so his parents have held his mail since 1991. While reading it, Harry discovers a postcard from Fraida Felcher(Kathleen Turner) that says "Harry, I'm pregnant. Please call me."

Since they haven't talked to Fraida in twenty years, they have no idea where she lives. They  remember that they met Fraida through their old friend Pete (Pee Stain) Stainer, and decide to pay him a visit in the middle of the night. Lloyd pays homage to the first film by asking Harry what "the second most annoying sound in the world" is by obnoxiously ringing the doorbell as fast as he could. "Pee Stain's" parents are horrified and appalled that they'd wake them up to ask about their  son who died nearly twenty years ago. Harry remembers meeting Fraida, who worked at the funeral home where Pete's wake was held. They reunite with Fraida, but discover that she aged terribly, to the point where they didn't even recognize her. It's another play on how terribly Kathleen Turner aged since the 1980's. She reveals that she gave up Penny for adoption and attempted to contact her, but the envelope was
returned with "do not contact me again" written in the corner. However, she found a picture of her daughter online, and Lloyd is instantly infatuated with her. Fraida lends them a hearse to track down Penny (Rachel Melvin), but they end up at her house because they read the return address on the back of the envelope instead of the address on the front. They venture their way to the address which leads them to the Pichelow residence, and they reveal themselves as Penny's biological father and friend, but she left for a KEN Convention in El Paso, where she will be giving a speech on her "father's" work as a scientist. However, she is just as dumb as Harry and Lloyd, and leaves a very important package and her cell phone that she was supposed to bring with her. So, they're paying homage to the first film: delivering an important package to a beautiful girl. In the mean time, Dr. Pichelow is getting poisoned by his wife so we also have an antagonist that has some form of a relationship to the beautiful girl, like in the first film. Well played.

After pulling shenanigans on each other and Travis, the Pichelow's housekeeper and Harry and Lloyd's assassin, Travis couldn't deal with their unfathomable stupidity any longer. A firecracker blows up in the back of the hearse and causes them to stop in the middle of train tracks. Harry and Lloyd get out of the car after getting deafened. Travis attempts to shoot them, but a train hits him and the hearse; killing him instantly. Lloyd gets his hearing back, but Harry doesn't. They think Travis drove off with their hearse because they didn't hear the
train hitting the car, so they journey on their way by foot. They realize that they need money to get Harry some hearing aids, so they break into a nursing home. After Lloyd gets sexually molested by an old woman at the nursing home, they get money for hearing aids, and Harry regains his hearing. They briefly find their old Mutts Cuts van, but break it down after driving down a hill and crashing at the bottom. They subsequently steal a Zamboni and eventually make it to El Paso.

They attempt to attend the convention by dressing up like scholars in graduation gowns, but are refused admission due to the lack of credentials. However, a scientist mistakes Harry for Dr. Pichelow and escorts them to the auditorium. After being obnoxious and rude during a man's presentation on dark matter, Lloyd is escorted out of the auditorium for not having proper credentials and not proving himself to be "Dr. Christmas." Before he is forced to
leave, Harry accuses Lloyd of being interested in his daughter, and claims that she can do better. Heartbroken, Lloyd wanders outside and meets Penny at a fountain, to discover how similar he is to Harry. They go out to lunch, and Harry gives Penny the letter Fraida wrote, and realizes that he was in the location where she was conceived, thinking that HE, himself, is her father and not Harry. He then realizes that if Penny isn't Harry's daughter, he can't get a kidney, and his best friend will die. Damn, that's really heavy for a comedy.

Mrs. Pichelow exposes Harry as a fraud, Fraida winds up at the convention and meets Penny, and a desperate Lloyd went to Mexico to have his kidney removed so he could give it Harry. The villains corner Harry, Lloyd, Penny and Fraida to shoot them, but a healthy Dr. Pichelow arrives to have Adele and her men arrested for attempted murder. The package turned out to be cupcakes, and Harry is rushed to the hospital after getting shot.

After Lloyd asks the doctor at the hospital to put his kidney inside Harry, it turns out to just be a pork chop, and Harry confesses that he was faking the need for a kidney. In other words, Harry got revenge on Lloyd for wasting 20 years of his life visiting him in the psych ward. Like Harry in the beginning, Lloyd is horrified that he removed his own kidney for absolutely nothing and his best friend lied about needing one, but then finds it hilarious.


After they leave the hospital, Fraida confesses that neither Harry nor Lloyd are Penny's father because she never had sex with either of them. The place where she conceived Penny was "her place" and had multiple sexual encounters with many men there. We also learn that they don't even comprehend the idea of sex, and are horrified by it. Despite the insanity throughout the movie, we learn that "Pee-Stain" was Penny's father all along, and she is
reunited with her mother and paternal grand-parents.

Harry and Lloyd lament on once again not getting the girl in the end. However, they see two beautiful women walking towards them and they promise not to waste this perfect opportunity. They shove the two women into the hedges, laugh their asses off, and run off as the camera zooms out and fades to black.

Despite the negative reviews and unfavorable words, I thoroughly enjoyed Dumb and Dumber To. They paid homage to the first film, but had new jokes, new punch lines, and a lot of laughs. Slapstick/toilet humor comedy is the perfect description of this film, and they did a damn good job at keeping that theme. The only thing I didn't understand is that if Harry was never Penny's biological father, why did Fraida send him that post-card to tell him that she was pregnant? If he wasn't the father the whole time, why did she tell him? But after thinking about it, two possibilities came to mind. 1) She trusted Harry out of all the men she got close with and needed someone to talk to about it. 2) After she gave up Penny for adoption, she trusted Harry into finding HER daughter because no one else would have the guts to do it.

When this film comes out on DVD or ends up on one of the movie channels, I will gladly watch this again. Thank you so much for reading my review, and I'll be writing again as soon as possible! Enjoy the rest of your week, ladies and gents.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Review of The Simpsons/Family Guy Crossover

Hey everyone, Dana here. Last week, I did a review of my top 10 favorite/influential albums. This one is gonna be a TV review! Yeah, I know, it's been a while since I did one; forgive me. I was originally going to do just a plain review of the Simpsons and how different they are from earlier seasons in light of the Every Simpsons Ever marathon of FXX. But since the marathon ended weeks ago, I figured I'd do this instead. Without further ado, here's my review of the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover that aired last night.




So, the episode begins with Peter publishing a cartoon in the newspaper that was considered misogynist, so every woman in Quahog is protesting outside the house with picket signs and throwing bricks through the living room window. Finding themselves in danger, the Griffins decide to get out of Quahog for a while; at least until the riot dies down. As Peter falls asleep behind the wheel and miraculously manages to stay on the road, they find themselves lost. After they stop for gas, their car gets stolen. So after a short while, they find themselves in Springfield, the home of The Simpsons! From that moment on, they have officially crossed over into the Simpsons universe. The theme song plays, the clouds clear and show a panoramic view of Springfield, just as if we were watching the beginning of a Simpsons episode. Very clever, I must say.

Since their car got stolen, they go to Springfield to report their stolen car. On the way there, they stop at the Kwik-E-Mart to get some food and subsequently meet Homer Simpson, who buys them a dozen donuts. Homer offers to help Peter file a report on their stolen car. Since Chief Wiggum and the rest of the Springfield Police Force essentially suck at their jobs, their search for their stolen car is on hold. Homer offers to let the Griffins stay at their house, and the families officially meet. Homer and Peter become friends, Marge and Lois become friends, Stewie idolizes Bart, Lisa tries to help Meg find something she's good at, and Chris and Brian take Santa's Little Helper for a walk. Alright, so far so good. A fun introduction to both families, they seem to hit it off. Not bad, Seth. Very good sense of exposition.


Bart introduces Stewie to prank phone calls. They call up Moe's Tavern and he pulls the "innuendo name" prank that he's been pulling for the past 25 years. Stewie offers to give it a try. He calls Moe and says "Hey Moe, your sister is being raped." This scene caused A LOT of controversy throughout social media. Alright, I'm gonna stop here. Now, I understand Family Guy is known for their lewd and "inappropriate" context in their episodes. That's not shocking, nor should it be since Family Guy is an ADULT animated sitcom. There's an "explicit content" warning with a "viewer discretion is advised" prompt before every episode, so there's no excuse for parents to get their panties up in a bunch if their kid watched that scene.  They've pulled plenty of controversial jokes in episodes prior to last night, so this is literally old news to me. Stewie's remark is supposed to show that rape jokes are not funny and should never be used as a prank phone call. But, let's look at this at a different angle. What if the viewer, who happens to be a Family Guy fan, was raped? Is that a good reason to get upset and offended? Yes, that person should be. Rape should never be taken as a joke or should be used in a comical fashion. It's disgusting, vile, and probably the most heinous crime a person could commit. I honestly wasn't too thrilled about that scene either. But Seth MacFarlane did not intend to make it a joke. He wanted to show that it isn't funny through Stewie's remark. It was just a misunderstanding, and was obviously not offensive enough for that scene to be cut. Let's carry on, shall we?


Stewie watches Bart get bullied by Nelson, so Stewie gets revenge by tying Nelson up and torturing him; trying to impress Bart. Meanwhile, Lisa shows Meg the saxophone, and discovers that Meg plays the saxophone better than her. Out of jealousy, she downplays her talent and no longer likes her, yet Meg looks up to Lisa and finally feels like someone understands her. However, Lisa is horrified to find that Meg cut Lisa's name into her arm. Afterwards, Lois did not enjoy her movie date with Marge, Bart gets freaked out by Stewie's insane behavior after finding Nelson tied up in the garage, while Chris and Brian try to find Santa's Little Helper after accidentally setting him free. Peter gets hit by the stolen car, and discover that it was stolen by Hans Moleman. (Haha, I love that guy!) To celebrate, Homer and Peter go to Moe's Tavern, only to argue whether Duff is the better beer or not. They discover that Pawtucket Patriot beer is actually Duff, but plagiarized. Duff's lawyer happened to be there when the discovery was unraveled, and sues Peter since he is the only one who represents the Pawtucket Patriot brewery. Now, if this lawsuit were to really happen, the actual representatives of Pawtucket Patriot would have flown or driven to Springfield to settle this case. But then again, it's a cartoon, the logic doesn't actually apply here. I feel that they could have handled this case in a better way, but I guess the writers couldn't come up with anything else, or they didn't have enough budget to have more characters appear in this episode. It's not terrible, though. I still like it so far.


While in the Springfield Court room, we see various Simpsons and Family Guy characters with their respect counter parts next to each other. Kent Brockman and Tom Tucker, Carl and Cleveland, Krusty and Mort Goldman, and Mayor Quimby next to Adam West. Instead of Judge Roy Snyder (due to Harry Shearer's absence from this episode), the judge who is looking over this case is Fred Flintstone. He rules in favor of Duff, and Peter subsequently loses his job. I thought the idea of having Fred Flintstone as the judge of this case was pretty stupid, but because Harry Shearer had scheduling conflicts, his characters did not have any speaking roles, or they didn't appear at all. They had no choice but to use an outside character to play the role. The only other judge Springfield could have used was Judge Constance Harm, played by Jane Kaczmarek, but she probably had scheduling conflicts too. But I keep forgetting that this is a Family Guy episode with The Simpsons guest starring, and Family Guy has outside characters making appearances in almost every episode.


The Griffins prepare to leave in dismay as Homer feels remorse for costing Peter his job. He attempts to make amends, but Peter fights with Homer in a chicken-fight fashion and nearly destroys Springfield. So, like every chicken-fight, it goes on for roughly ten minutes. They destroy buildings, crash cars, yada yada yada. They end up airborne across the Springfield Gorge, paying homage to the Simpsons eighth episode of the second season, "Bart The Daredevil" with Peter and Homer falling painfully to the bottom.They finally stop fighting, and realize that despite their differences, they admire and respect each other; and agree to keep their shows "a half hour apart with a pile of garbage between." From afar, Comic Book Guy comments that it was the "worst cross-over ever." Nah, I've seen worse. I smiled throughout a good portion of the episode.

Upon the return to Quahog, the Griffins settle in as Stewie pretends that he's over Bart's friend rejection. But he mimics the chalkboard gag in the beginning of every Simpsons episode to cope with his failed friendship and weeps as the camera zooms out.


Despite not really liking Family Guy since the first cancellation in 2003, this crossover was very well done and I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. From beginning to end, this episode was very well written. I was very impressed that even though the controversial Stewie prank phone call pissed off a lot of people, he wrote the reaction into the beginning of the episode with Peter's comic. There was an equal amount of references to both shows, and even paying homage to other TV shows really made it creative and clever. People tend to compare The Simpsons and Family Guy with each other, and always wondered if the two shows would ever collide. Well, it happened and seemed to have critical acclaim despite the controversy. If I truly had to choose between the two shows, I'm a Simpsons girl. Family Guy has it's moments for me, but I'd choose The Simpsons over Family Guy any day. But at the same time, I feel the humor of The Simpsons has declined since maybe Season 14 or 15, so I kind of stopped watching the newer seasons. But The Simpsons will forever have a place in my heart, and I wouldn't hesitate to watch mini marathons of earlier episodes on FXX.

Thank you so much for reading this review, and I will be posting again soon. Enjoy the rest of your week!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dana's Top 10 Albums

Ladies and gentleman, my blog has officially awakened from its coma. Please forgive me for not posting since the beginning of the summer. I cannot apologize enough for the lack of blogging and weekly updates. I really hope you can forgive me. I'm back again, and my blog is no longer comatose. At the beginning of the summer, I did a movie review on that really awful Bevanfield Films version of Aladdin and I pretty much ripped it to shreds. Tonight's blog is a music review, however I'm not reviewing just one album...but my TOP TEN favorite albums! I never really discussed more than one full length album before, but this should be something fun to write about. I hope you all like it and are happy to see a blogpost from yours truly. Here we go, my Top 10 albums!


10)

Hybrid Theory was the first full length album I ever bought with my own money when I was twelve years old. I discovered Linkin Park through Dragonball Z music videos and fell in love with them. The heartfelt, powerful lyrics in every song from beginning to end made me feel like someone understood how I felt when things got rough. Back then, I never really knew about any other bands out there until I discovered Linkin Park. (Remember, I was TWELVE.) They were alternative metal but had hip-hop thrown in there as well. I never heard anything like that before. To this day, I can listen to this album from beginning to end and smile. I don't really like Linkin Park anymore, but this album will forever have a soft spot in my heart.


9)
Anti-Flag's fifth album, For Blood and Empire, had an effect on me when I discovered them at age 16. I'm not really into politics; I rarely ever discuss them unless someone asks my opinion about a particular issue. However, Anti-Flag's songs have socio-political messages that are mostly anti-corporate, working class struggle, anti-imperialism, etc. According to the U.S Government, I'm a registered Democrat. Obviously, so is Anti-Flag. Pretty much everything that Anti-Flag says on this album essentially explains my views on the government and how I feel about how this country is being controlled. If you're one of those people who are seriously into politics, take a listen and discuss amongst your political friends.


8)
The Offspring's fifth album, Americana, is another childhood favorite of mine. What I love about this album in particular is that it significantly influenced the 90's punk scene along with Rancid, Nirvana (yes, they were a punk band before they were labeled as grunge), Green Day, NoFX, etc. Although earlier albums such as Smash and Ixnay on the Hombre launched The Offspring into mainstream, Americana gave them a bit more of a push and gained even more popularity. Another thing: every song sounds different. There's nothing more irritating than listening to an album that sounds like the same song was recorded five times in a row.


7)
The Ramones' third album, Rocket To Russia had a lot of hits, but didn't chart as well as their debut album. That didn't matter to me, though. There's a wide variety of sounds that are different from the first and second Ramones album. They experimented with new sounds that are different than typical 1970's punk albums like Nevermind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols that was also released in 1977. Rocket To Russia was released during the band's most popular and well-known line up, and in my opinion, the best line up. All four of them are now deceased, but they're all alive in my heart. 




6)
Social Distortion's self-titled album is my favorite out of every album they released. The first album I ever heard by them was Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll, but it didn't affect me as much as their self-titled album. I'm no fan of country music, but  Social Distortion decided to throw in some cow-punk and rockabilly riffs in their songs. Somehow or other, I really enjoyed it. I love when a band experiments with new sounds and new ideas instead of just releasing a carbon copy of an older album. One more thing: their incredible cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire." I like it better than the original version. Social Distortion closes their concerts with that cover. Bravo.




5) 
Issues was the first Korn album I ever listened to. To be honest, I didn't even know much about Korn except for a few hits such as "Ya'll Wanna Single," "Freak On A Leash," and "Coming Undone." But then my dear friend Brendan told me to listen to Issues. I did, and I can't believe I missed out on Korn for all of these years. The haunting lyrics, memorable melodies and the removal of their hip hop elements from the previous album, Follow the Leader, gave them a new alternative metal sound; including a commercial success. My thoughts about the spine chilling closing track "Dirty?" Let's just say I can't listen to it at night because the 4 minutes of static kept me lying awake in bed after listening to it.


4)
American Psycho was the first Misfits album I ever heard, and was the first studio album with Michale Graves on lead vocals. Because of that, I never knew about Danzig until after discovering American Psycho. Although some of their songs sound a bit similar to the other, I can't help but sing along whenever one of the songs on this album pops up on my iPod. Each song is fun, catchy, and memorable. I've seen the Misfits before and even had the wonderful privilege to meet both Jerry Only and Michale Graves at two different events, and they're both wonderful. Also, I'm very glad that Danzig dropped the lawsuit. I don't like him. Clearly, I'm a Jerry Only and Michale Graves kind of girl.


3)
Joan Jett's most recent album, Unvarnished, completely blew me out of the water when I first listened to this last year when it was released. From beginning to end, Joan left me in awe. Her songs ranged from her experiences during Hurricane Sandy to the death of her mother. For the first time, she wrote an entire album that was autobiographical and didn't include ONE cover. If you look at Unvarnished and her debut album Bad Reputation, you can clearly see how much Joan Jett grew as a musician. Bad Reputation had little to no originals with mostly covers, while Unvarnished had no covers at all. I could go on and on about this album, but I've already talked about that if you haven't seen it  here.


2) 
Green Day's third studio album, Dookie, will forever be their best album. Raw punk rock can easily describe the sound Green Day had in the 1990's. There is not one bad song on this album. I'd listen to Insomniac or their first album 1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours and skipped a bunch of tracks because they either sounded too similar to the other, or they just didn't have the right composition. Dookie, on the other hand, is a classic hands-down. Almost every song is catchy enough to play in your head over and over, and the majority of the songs on that album became radio hits. To this day, Dookie is Green Day's best-selling album with millions upon millions of copies sold all over the world.





And my number one album is...




1)
Meet The Beatles! Their second studio album is by far my favorite and the best album ever released. This is the album that pretty much made Beatlemania happen in the United States. Please Please Me charted decently well in England, but didn't quite chart in the United States. I noticed that the majority of the songs on Please Please Me were covers so I can see why they didn't gain popularity until their next album. They were still experimenting. Out of the twelve tracks on Meet The Beatles, only one of them was a cover (Til There Was You.) Every song on this album was pretty much a hit. The majority of the songs they performed on the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964 were the songs on this album. Last February, I listened to this album from beginning to end to commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles arriving in New York, and I was smiling the whole time. The Beatles was the first band I ever heard, and they will forever be the number one band in my life. No band will ever compare to them. Fifty years later, and they're still the most well-known band in rock and roll history.


That's all, folks. Thank you so much for reading, and I'll be writing again very soon. Once again, I sincerely apologize for not writing for all of these months. Enjoy the rest of your week.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Bevanfield Films presents: Aladdin

Hey everyone, Dana here. I sincerely apologize for not posting since the beginning of the month. If you haven't seen my most recent blog post, I discussed that sick article about the two twelve year old girls who tried to murder their friend to prove that Slenderman was real. Don't worry, tonight's blog post is much more light-hearted and won't freak you out. It's a movie review! And for the ones who enjoy angry movie reviews...this one is for you. Tonight, I'll be reviewing Aladdin. No, silly, I'm not talking about the fabulous Disney movie. There's another Aladdin movie made by Bevanfield Films...and it may be the worst film I ever saw. Yes, it's even worse than The Room. It's...THIS ONE:
Just by the look of this poster, it's BAD.


Last weekend, I was at Eddie's house with Brendan, and Eddie's dad found this DVD with a bunch of movies on it while he was at work. One of the movies on the disc was this one. Now, I'm open minded to everything. I never give my opinion on anything unless I see it for myself. So, we popped the DVD in and watched it from the beginning to end...and I can't even begin to describe how poorly this movie was made. Oh wait, yes I can.

Scary gypsy lady!
Wannabe Jafar man!
Let's start from the beginning, shall we? The film opens with an aerial view of this town/village in Morocco, along with credits of who's in the film, who wrote it, produced it, etc. Then it cuts to this creepy guy with a mustache that moves when he talks, who I assume is Jafar, walking about the market place, sight seeing...I don't know. There was no explanation to who this man is. Then it cuts to this scary white-haired gypsy lady who calls Wannabe Jafar man over to show him something. To be honest, I couldn't even tell what was going on because the voice acting was barely audible over the music playing. Not even a minute has passed and I am already lost. She then gets angry at Wannabe Jafar man..and he laughs at her. She runs off, and he follows her into a room where Scary Gypsy lady is brewing some foul smelling potion. Once again, the voices are so low that they are literally incoherent. Not only are the voices incoherent, but the sound isn't properly synced up to the lip movement. After a few minutes of incoherent whispering to one another, we learn that Wannabe Jafar man has to travel to China to find a boy that will help him find a lamp. So...what is the relationship between these two characters? Are they friends? Allies? We'll never know because Scary Gypsy lady is never seen again until the end of the film. 
This British blue eyed Chinese guy is "Aladdin."

The setting moves to a village in China, where we see this kid who is supposedly stealing oranges and is chased off by the scary looking merchants who work there. It turns out that this blue-eyed, Chinese kid with a British accent is Aladdin; the one that Jafar needs to meet in order to find the lamp. 

Stop. Let me get this straight. THIS derpy faced kid is Aladdin? A person of Chinese decent has an Arabian name...and came from England? Are you kidding me? Aladdin is NOT Chinese, nor British! I don't care of this is a kid's movie and it was meant to be silly. It's completely inaccurate. I can clearly see why this DVD was found in the trash. I don't think anyone even knows about this version of Aladdin since the Disney version came out the same year. We obviously know which version is far more superior than the other.

The next scene takes place at some lagoon/palace where Aladdin spies on a couple of girls bathing in the pond/pool they're lounging in. His eyes land on the one who is brushing through her long dark hair that cuts into a song sequence. This girl is apparently a princess. I'd like to think that she's Jasmine, but this story is different from the Disney version. In the Disney version, Aladdin and Jasmine meet on the streets and become good friends before falling in love. Instead, Aladdin has fallen in love with a girl who he saw for a few seconds, and she doesn't even know he even exists. After the song sequence ends, he gets chased out of the palace and heads home. 

Okay, this movie has been on for over ten minutes and we still don't know what the plot of this movie is even about. The viewer is supposed to know the main idea of the plot within the first ten minutes, so there's another thing that's wrong with this movie. All I've seen so far is that Wannabe Jafar man has to travel to China, and Aladdin falls in love with some pretty girl after trespassing on private property. He heads home, and runs into Wannabe Jafar man who claims to be Aladdin's "long lost uncle." After maybe ten minutes of more incoherent blabbering in front of the hole, Wannabe Jafar man then bribes Aladdin into exploring an underground cave to retrieve a lamp that is supposedly buried down there.


Who IS this guy? Why is he wearing sunglasses in a dark cave?

While exploring the mysterious cave, Aladdin rubs his hands together where suddenly, a giant black guy with sunglasses and an afro appears out of nowhere, claiming to be a genie...or, Genie Jordan, to be specific. Are you serious? Can this film be anymore inaccurate in regards to Arabian culture and the time period? First off, the name is way too modern to be used in that time period. Secondly, the type of sunglasses that the genie guy is wearing weren't invented until the 20th century. This is based off an Arabian FOLK tale and wasn't published until the 18th century. Obviously the writers had to have been high or completely hammered when they wrote this disaster of a story. After these two meet, random clips of them goofing off, setting things on fire, getting lost, nearly drowning when the cave spontaneously floods, or just not adding anything to the plot. I was totally lost. I literally did not understand a damn thing about their time in that cave.

Aladdin and Hipster Genie man retrieve the lamp and escape the cave after meeting an English talking bird that flies them out of the hole in the ceiling that brings them back to Aladdin's backyard. Wannabe Jafar man supposedly left and Aladdin has doubts that Wannabe Jafar man really was his uncle after all. Hold on, wait a minute. Wasn't the whole idea of Wannabe Jafar man traveling to China was for the damn magic lamp? If Aladdin got the lamp, then why the hell did he leave before Aladdin returned? Did he decide to go for a jog or went to go take a nap somewhere? Where did he go, and why did he leave?

While Aladdin is outside cleaning the lamp with a cloth, another genie appears, but only Aladdin can see him and talk to him. So in other words, if he tries communicating with non-hipster genie man in public, Aladdin has gone bonkers and lost his mind. Aladdin uses a wish to become rich so he can marry a girl that he's looked at for a total of five minutes. The girl hasn't even had a conversation with Aladdin. What if she was in an arranged marriage? Who does those things? Again, stupidity at it's finest. If Aladdin is insane, so are the writers. I guess the writers of this movie wrote this acid trip of a movie about themselves.

Later on, after another series of incoherent conversations between the Sultan and other characters that have no back story or introduction, Aladdin is suddenly famous for producing light without a flame. He succeeds, and wins the Sultan's respect so he can marry the Sultan's daughter. But isn't there supposed to be conflict? Plots can't continue without conflict or there's no story to be told.

Later on, Wannabe Jafar man gets his revenge and has Scary Gypsy lady come back to kidnap the Sultan's princess and make the palace disappear. Aladdin, Hipster Genie guy and other minions travel to find the missing palace and the wife, or whatever her name is since the voice acting and voice sync is so bad, that no one can comprehend what is going on. While journeying through the snowy mountains, that English talking bird from the mysterious cave finds Aladdin and his men and guides them to the missing palace so they can rescue the wife. Aladdin succeeds and they live a happily ever after.

Are you kidding me? I literally lost an hour of my life watching it. I've seen some pretty terrible movies in my life...but now, I can officially say this is the worst of them all. At least with The Room, I can laugh, enjoy it, and watch it because despite it's poor acting, plot holes, etc, it at least developed a cult following. This movie, however, is so bad that I literally had to dig through the depths of IMDB just to get the name of this movie. This movie was clearly found in the trash for a reason. I've never heard of "Bevanfield Films" in my life, and I'm sure they're pretty much dead too.

This movie is broken up into six parts on YouTube. If you really want to let your eyes bleed from how terribly made this movie is, knock yourself out and watch it. Don't say I didn't tell you so. Thank you for reading, and enjoy the rest of your week.