All posts by Josef Rodriguez

Hey, I'm Joey and I'm a (usually) film and pop culture blogger, but I'll write about pretty much anything.

Check Out the Original Parody that Started Rick and Morty

Three seasons in, it’s easy to forget that Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty started as a Back to the Future parody, starring Justin Roiland as both Doc and Mharti, who eventually became, well, you know. Where the final product has been lauded for its cleverness, creativity, and ingenuity, this 4-minute short – though it does share some similarities with the series it eventually inspired including little subtleties like the way characters’ lips sag when they aren’t talking – is the complete antithesis of that, wherein the punchline to every single joke is just Mharti licking Doc’s balls.

According to a write-up in Vice:

Creator Justin Roiland stated the original short was “a way to poke fun at the idea of getting cease and desist letters.” Back in October 2006, he wanted to call the short, Back to the Future: The New Official Universal Studios Cartoon Featuring the New Doc Brown and Marty McFly in order to “troll” Universal Pictures. Timespace travel, and general weirdness have been strong themes for Roiland, who first started making pilots for Channel 101, MTV2, Acceptable TV, and Cartoon Network. Even in his early work, you can see the beginnings of what would become Rick and Morty, from the character designsvoices, to even the opening theme song. Anyway, enjoy The Real Adventures of Doc and Mharti, but keep your tongue off the balls of old dudes.

It’s interesting to point out that Rick and Morty has always refused to do a time travel episode, stating the lack of agreeable science on the subject. So, with that in mind, Roiland’s contribution to Rick and Morty is more to do with characters and using his voice as a weapon of pure comedy, which allowed Dan Harmon to come in, tighten up the loose screws, and do something interesting with the universe Roiland had been creating. In a way, Harmon and Roiland are much like Rick and Morty, themselves, and the difference between this short and the final show really brings that to light.

YouTube has the edited version (below), or if you really want to see the whole thing, which gets a little pornographic, you can check it out at Vimeo.

Be sure to watch Rick and Morty on Adult Swim every Sunday at 11:30 PM! There’s only a couple of episodes left this season!

Images: Vimeo

Countdown to Halloween #26: Damien Thorn

In a genre that benefits from creepy kids doing creepy things, none of them compare to Damien Thorn, the literal son of the Dark Lord himself. Portrayed four times by four different people in four different movies, Damien’s never gotten the cinematic treatment he deserved. The one true great Damien is the original Damien,  starring in the 1976 film The Omen directed by Richard Donner, who went on to direct a film about the purest soul in Earth’s existence (gotta savor that irony, no?).

Continue reading Countdown to Halloween #26: Damien Thorn

Grizzly Review: The Hole

It’s been nine years since Joe Dante has directed a movie (2003’s Looney Tunes: Back in Action), and he hasn’t made a good movie since 1998’s Small Soldiers (another quick side note, if anyone ever insults Small Soldiers in my presence, you will not be pleased with the consequences; that is all) [Editor’s Note: That movie sucked. Do something.] Dante’s claim to fame was and always will be the classic 1984 horror/comedy Gremlins. Sure, by that time he had already directed the Jaws spoof Piranha, but Gremlins was really the thing that put him in the mainstream.

After that, he just kind of dropped off the face of the Earth. While he still directed some stuff, including 1990’s Gremlins 2: The New Batch, looking at his career, is there honestly one film that was as good as the original GremlinsThe ‘Burbs? Runaway Daughters? Matinee? All entertaining movies, sure, but not classic. [Editor’s Note: The ‘Burbs IS a classic. Consider that a correction.] Now, a decade after Dante’s last film, audiences are given The Hole, a blood and gore-lite horror film aimed at the bravest tween viewers.

Dane (Chris Massoglia) has just moved to the small town of Bensonville with his mother, Susan (Teri Polo), and his brother, Lucas (Nathan Gamble). Coming from Brooklyn, Dane and his family have moved around the country multiple times for his mother’s job, and have settled in Bensonville so she can work at a nearby hospital. Initially dreading his new life there, he soon meets his next door neighbor, the cute and fun, Julie (Haley Bennett).

The two become friends after Lucas discovers a mysterious hole in the basement. Guarded by numerous padlocks, the ominous pit has no apparent end. Anything that is dropped into the hole is immediately sucked in and never seen again. Spending most of their days attempting to figure out the origin and power of the hole, Dane, Lucas and Julie experience strange phenomena that tap into their deepest and darkest fears. It’s only after the sudden appearance of a little girl who climbs out of the hole do they realize that it’s the source of their fear and they have to stop it before any other malevolent spirits make their way out.

As one could theorize, The Hole essentially, The Door to Hell is In My Basement: The Movie. Julie even points this out at one point during the movie, something that validated my skepticism throughout. Aimed at a younger audience, The Hole is, for the most part, a pretty routine exercise for horror fans, but serves as a great introduction for children in their young adolescence, especially ones that have taken an interest in what goes bump in the night.

Treating its prepubescent with a little more respect than most kids’ movies do, The Hole can’t help but sometimes feel like a Nickelodeon Halloween special with a couple extra swear words. The characters aren’t written thinly, so to speak, but they’re written with an immediate sense of familiarity and predictability. We know this story, we know where it’s going, and we know how it’s going to end. Despite an initially original premise, The Hole is slowed down substantially by its insistence on appealing to a younger audience.

Joe Dante is a pretty good director, and there are some genuinely creepy moments in this movie, but as soon as things get a little too intense, a quick jump scare pulls whatever character that is in peril, out of said peril, and quickly moves on to the next scene. For instance, a wonderfully shot bathroom sequence that could have ended with something terrifying is cut short by a group of girls that walk in at just the right moment, literally tearing through the tension with their presence. The Hole is filled with moments like this and by the film’s 60th minute, it became a little annoying.

Much like other PG-13 horror films, The Hole never reaches its true potential. Then again, some of the great horror films of the 2000s have been PG-13 and this movie isn’t much more than an attempt at scaring younger kids without really “scaring” them, if you know what I mean. But more than any of that, what makes The Hole so unsatisfying is that it’s not terrible and it’s not very good either, it’s mediocre and repetitive. When there are literally hundreds of horror movies out every year, being mediocre is no longer an option.

What We Know About ‘Red 2’

After the critical and box office smash that was 2010’s Red, fans of the original film are getting excited about the upcoming 2013 sequel, Red 2. Bringing back most of the original cast plus some excellent additions, the Red series is turning out to be a geriatric version of The Expendables, which is pretty geriatric on its own.

The sequel was announced in January of 2011, with the entire original cast settling negotiations by later that year. Since then, numerous actors have been signed on to the project including Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lee Byung-hun, David Thewlis (Professor Lupin from the Harry Potter movies), and even Anthony Hopkins. Dean Parisot, who directed the brilliant Galaxy Quest but the so-so Fun With Dick and Jane, signed on to direct, which both increased and decreased the film’s potential simultaneously. If science proves to be true, that means absolutely no change was made to the film’s potential. Moving on.

As of right now, not much is known about the film except that the gang reunites to face new enemies in Europe. With that being said, I doubt the setting and plot of the film will play much of a factor into its level of adrenaline-fueled fun. I’ll admit, I was one of the people who was initially disappointed by Red when I first saw it in theaters back in 2010. Maybe the humongous age gap between me and the central characters played a part in it, but I can honestly say I walked out before Helen Mirren made it on-screen.

But after re-watching it, Red proved to be quality action cinema. The Expendables with a little more brain and about 50 collective years of age added to its cast. Red is a fun flick that will hopefully spawn a halfway decent sequel. I’m a huge Dean Parisot fan and I’m sure that, unlike Simon West’s directorial contribution to The Expendables 2, he’ll find a great way to either improve or reinvent the material of the original film, which rested mostly in the surprise that came from Helen Mirren shooting a .50 cal, among other things.

Sadly, Ernest Borgnine’s passing will prevent him from participating in the film, but I’m interested to see how the recent additions to the cast will play against the original members of the group. One thing that really relieved me was how the casting focused on talent as opposed to the biggest names in Hollywood. Ladies, I’m sorry to say that one of the Hemsworth bros will, in fact, not be participating in Red 2. As talented as they both are, Liam felt really out-of-place in Expendables 2, and he successfully out acted everyone in the cast except for Jason Statham.

Getting back on track, Red 2 is probably going to be a cool flick. Though somewhere deep down I hoped to see Richard Jenkins attached to this somehow. Anything that guy touches turns to old, I mean, gold. Thinking about it, wouldn’t it be funny if the cast of Red and the cast of The Expendables 2 teamed up for one giant movie. It’d be almost too much for one screen to handle. Then again, Bruce Willis would literally have to play Frank Moses and Mr. Church in the same movie. Double the Willis, double the disdain for humanity. I can see it now.

Check out the first Red 2 poster below:

G4 to Change Format: Resemble Something Like GQ

In some of the saddest geek news of the year, G4, which has already been on the decline for the past few years, has finally decided to change the format completely by 2013. NBC Universal, which owns the channel, has decided to go the direction of GQ, slowly pulling themselves away from the TV/Music/Movies/Video Game format the channel was known for. Debuting in 2002, G4 was one of the few places nerds could go watch TV and actually enjoy what was going on.

Then came along Olivia Munn. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Munn-ster, but, as one of my fellow Grizzly Bomb writers pointed out, she once said X-Cube 360….yeah. Speaking of said Grizzly Bomb writer, who happens to be none other than Cheesebadger himself, we began talking about this in detail when he first heard about the change. He brought up some really great points and you can read those below:

They used to have long blocks of a show called Cinematech, which was the cutscenes from games, edited together in a theme. It was interesting. There was also a terrible game show called Game On, where two unfunny comedians tried to play games competitively against each other, to win some inane prize. Sadly that show is probably leagues ahead of the bullshit they’re showing now. It really so gradually became less and less about games I didn’t notice until they hired some no name model to start hosting in place of sarah lane, an actual tech tv senior who was leaving, along with all of the other actual game/tech related people. That no name model? Olivia Munn. In a way, she was the beginning of the end for G4. As likeable as I find her, she’s the epitome of what was wrong, and what is wrong with that channel. A pretty face hired to read lines and pretend they’re interested in geek subjects, and to pander to a geek audience. When she started out, she clearly, CLEARLY had no idea what the hell she was talking about. She called it a “Xcube 360” once. She’s clearly a gifted comedic actress, who carefully and skillfully manipulated a geek audience to gain a fanbase to build her reputation and recognition on, to jump ship and pursue her true intents all along. I don’t blame her, she’s a good actress, but her whole “geek goddess” thing is so goddamn fake.

There you have it, folks. The Badger has spoken. Regardless of the possibly interesting direction G4 could go in, I’m definitely going to miss Attack of the Show, even if it was, as Cheesy said, the beginning of the end. But, seeing that there are literally thousands of channels on TV, it’s hard to imagine a world where a G4 spawn or spin-off isn’t possible. It seems that only time will tell.

This is for hardcore gamers looking for serious media reports…

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hun-Oh, You Must Be Joking

When I first heard that Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters was actually, like, a thing, I wasn’t as angered as I could have been because I heard that Adam McKay and Will Ferrell were producing. Awesome, a satire using classic fairytale characters as the protagonists, I’m in. Now, after seeing the trailer…I’m not sure.

The first thing that struck me as odd was the fact that the name Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, or Gary Sanchez Productions was nowhere near this thing, leading me to believe it’s a bit of a marketing ploy to get the asses in the seats. Something similar to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Second, despite Jeremy Renner’s participation in this film, this really does look like the worst thing ever put to film, and I’m not even joking. Every moment this went on was a moment I wanted to die. Seeing Famke Janssen shooting a giant machine gun as a vampire; cool in theory, not so much in practice.

According to the Wikipedia synopsis:

Catching up with Hansel (Renner) and Gretel (Arterton) 15 years after the traumatic incident involving a gingerbread house, the siblings have evolved into vengeful bounty hunters dedicated to exterminating witches. Over the years, the siblings became expert hunters, famous for their proficiency at tracking and taking down their prey. Although still recovering from their ordeal, their work is relatively easy as for an unknown reason harmful spells and curses do not work well against them.

The Mayor of Augsburg recruits them to rid the town and nearby forests of an evil sorceress (Janssen) who is planning to sacrifice many local children at the witches’ gathering during the upcoming ‘Blood Moon’ night in two days time. To make things worse, the duo also has to deal with the brutal Sheriff Berringer (Stormare) who has taken power in Augsburg and conducts a very indiscriminate witch-hunt of his own.

Well..that just sounds awful, now doesn’t it?

Seriously, though, my advice? Watch a good movie. Any other good movie will do.

Check out the trailer below, I guess…